AntStorm: Bookmarking Plus

AntStorm: Join the colony, change the world (tm) - Mozilla Firefox (Build 2008070206)AntStorm is an interesting new entrant in the online bookmarking space. Though their just-launched public beta has some rough edges, they have an interesting vision, combining several niches into a single web application. First, they’re a bookmark manager, designed to make it easy to use your bookmarks on multiple computers. (Right now they’ve got a Firefox toolbar to make management easier, with an IE version promised). Second, they’re a social bookmarking site, where you can selectively make your bookmarks public in groups called “trails”. Third, they’re a scheme to raise money for charities, by kicking back part of their Google AdSense earnings to the charity of your choice.

Beyond that, they have plans to turn this collective intelligence of bookmarking into human-powered search, though those plans are as yet a bit fuzzy. Right now, their drag-and-drop user interface needs some tuning, and there’s not much content on the site yet. But if you’re not already committed to another bookmarking site, they might be worth a look.

MobileMe Transition: July 9th

If you have .Mac already, you are no doubt familiar with the .Mac status page which lists services that are available. (Hopefully, you won’t have to be familiar with the page when MobileMe takes over because there won’t be as much downtime.) Just below the status lights, you will see that Apple warns that the transition to MobileMe will take place on July 9th, from 6pm-12am PT. Nothing will be available except for desktop email clients.

I am sure that Apple is doing all they can to make sure you don’t lose any data in the process, but it might not be a bad idea to back up everything if you have deleted it from your computer.

It looks like MobileMe will be available on July 10th for current .Mac subscribers, but July 11th is probably when Apple will start selling it officially, and add it back as an optional add-on for new computers. Or maybe it will be on sale tomorrow, since the Apple Store is down! and it is available as a boxed item from Amazon and Apple.

Apple is offering additional storage, above the standard 20GB for a very Apple-esque fee: 20 extra GB for $49/year and 40 extra GB for $99/year.

How to Transfer Firefox Bookmarks and Other Settings

If you are switcher with one foot still in the proverbial grave and haven’t entirely let go of your PC, this article is for you.

In my profession, I tend to change computers a lot. Thankfully, I get Macs. We gave away our PC to a friend, and needed to save my wife’s bookmarks on my MacBook, until we get a replacement. On a Mac, it is very easy to transfer all of your personalized preferences from one computer to another. Going from a PC to a Mac takes a few more steps, and you can’t transfer everything as easily.

I usually only want to save my preferences when I get a new computer, just because I like fresh installs of all my software. I know it is a lot easier to use Apple’s Migration Assistant, but this is how I roll.

To get everything from one Mac to another, all you do is go to [username]/Library/Application Support/Firefox and copy the entire Firefox folder to your new computer. You can do this with any application you have on your computer. It copies all of your information, preferences, plugins, and history. Very slick.

From a PC to a Mac, I could not find a way to export everything from Firefox to my Mac. I can export the bookmarks, but that is it. My wife wasn’t too happy about that. All she really cared about were her bookmarks, though. When you tell Firefox to import from the file menu, it only asks to import all your preferences from Safari. You can do that if you have been using Safari, but it is better to go to the Bookmarks menu, choose “Organize Bookmarks…”

You will want to click the “Refresh Favorites” or settings button, and choose import HTML. Choose your bookmarks.html file, and it will import the PC Firefox bookmarks.

Or, just as easily, use the File->Import Bookmarks in Safari and import them into Safari, and then you can get all your Safari bookmarks and your PC Firefox bookmarks in one fell swoop.

Is it time for me to embrace the two laptop minimum?

BeachofficeI have always prided myself on my ability to capitalize on one mobile device that will serve all of my varied mobile computing purposes.  I am in a great position to be able to put my hands on a large assortment of mobile devices and use that experience to pick the one mobile device that will fill all of my needs.  The recent discussion about the "two laptop minimum" first got me thinking about my own mobile computing needs and if it’s time for me to make a change along those lines.  That premise is that mobile devices are getting more capable and cheaper and that for some mobile workers it is actually more productive to have a larger laptop for serious work and a smaller, more mobile device for field work.

The recent evaluations I have conducted of the Celio Redfly, the HP Mini-Note and the Fujitsu P1620 (I bought that one) have really gotten my thinking process going in overdrive about my long-time philosophy of one tool for all the jobs.  While that has served me well there is no question that in some areas any one given device requires compromise(s) to get the job done.  One device might be sufficient to get a given task done but if the compromise is too great it can make the execution of that task more difficult than it could be.  This has been driven home to me the past few weeks.  I have used a single mobile device, most recently the Fujitsu P1620, for a long time.  The P1620 is an outstanding Tablet PC which I need in my consulting work for taking gobs of notes and its small size makes it an extremely mobile workhorse for that task.  The ability to swivel the screen around when confronted with the execution of writing assignments and I needed to type away meant that the Fuji was a good device to be the one device I use routinely.

Then I started evaluating the HP Mini-Note that is almost as mobile as the Fuji but has a much better (and larger) keyboard for those writing assignments.  The ability to write gobs of prose on the Mini demonstrated to me first-hand how much I in fact compromise when I use the Fuji for that heavy writing.  The Fuji is a much more powerful and full-featured device than the Mini but it doesn’t offer nearly as good an experience on writing assignments.  There is no doubt in my mind that I am more productive with the HP Mini on those types of tasks, just as I have no doubt that the Fuji better serves my consulting note-taking needs.  Sure the Fuji can do both types of tasks OK but I am not as good at some of them as I am with the HP.  The fact that the HP is relatively cheap compared to the "all-in-one" devices like the Fuji means that I can have both tools in my kit and use the best tool for a given job in front of me.  That is more productive and is easier on me too.

I have come very close to pushing the button to order an HP Mini-Note for this reason since the evaluation unit I have will go back to HP soon.  I haven’t ordered one yet because until I send that one back there is no driving urgency to do so plus I think I’d prefer to order a Mini with XP installed which should be available next month.  The likelihood is I will order a Mini, or something similar that comes along, so that I can use the right tool for the given job.  These lower cost mobile devices are definitely causing me to change the way I think about how I approach my work.  I’m probably not the only one in that regard.

MeeVee Seeks Buyer Via Business Wire

You might be surprised that I’m admitting this, but sometimes, the best way to get your pure, unfiltered message out there is to put out a press release. That’s what video guide startup MeeVee did today, asking all interested acquirers to please send it an email.

Due to accelerated development of the online entertainment market, the Board of Directors at MeeVee has determined that combining with an established player will maximize the potential for the community, technology and content relationships the Company has built. Accordingly, MeeVee is engaged in multiple discussions with potential acquirers that provide the greatest long term upside and synergy. Interested parties should contact Steve Hughey ([email protected]) for more information.

See our previous coverage on MeeVee’s recent layoffs and CEO departure, efforts to be acquired, acquisition of another startup, and fundraising. We saw the please-buy-us release on paidContent.

Instapaper: Bookmarking Elegance for Web Workers

If web site bookmarking is something you do day in and day out, there’s a new bookmarking tool you need to add to your browser – Instapaper (via TechCrunch). The side project of Marco Arment, creator of the very cool micro-blogging service Tumbir, Instapaper is online bookmarking that gets out of your way so you can bookmark the way you need to when you spend your working day on the web.
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MeeMix Joins the Social Music Party

MeeMix, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based social music startup, is joining competitors including MOG, Last.fm and Pandora by offering music-oriented communities centered around your listening habits. I met MeeMix Founder and CEO Gilad Shlang when I visited Tel Aviv earlier this year. Shlang had articulated to me a vision of social radio that struck me as interesting, and as a result, I have followed company’s progress. They will go into public beta in a month or so, but I got an invite earlier today and tried out the service. Here are my initial (and very quick) impressions:
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iPhoneRingToneMaker adds customized ring tones to your iPhone

Iphoneringtonemaker

One of the most basic and valid gripes around a digital music-based phone device would have to be no way to add custom ring tones. In Windows Mobile it’s a no-brainer function and my T-Mobile AT&T Dash always has a song from The Beatles as the ringer. It didn’t take long for a custom ringtone application to pop-op for the iPhone. Case in point: the aptly named iPhoneRingToneMaker.

Matt Miller plunked down the $9.95 introductory price of this Windows-only application and it definitely works as advertised
. He provides a five minute YouTube video of his experience to show how easy it is to use the application so you can get a feel for it. Now, if we can just get Matt off the vintage T.V. show themes, we’d really be in business. 😉

Monday Morning Vid-Biz Headlines

AT&T Video Share Launches, in 160 U.S. markets. (release)
Make $5.3M Posting Nude Scenes on Web? That’s what Mr. Skin did last year — now studios even send the site advance copies of their movies. (New York Times)
The Daily Reel Starts Social Network; ReeledIn wants to connect online video makers. (New York Times, site)
TinyTube Does iPhone; the site that helps optimize video search and playback on mobile phones now has an iPhone-compatible version. (company blog)

Syncing with multiple Macs

I have a lot of Macs. I have a MacBook Pro that my work gave me, another MacBook Pro that is my personal computer and a 20″ iMac Core 2 Duo that is our family (err, my wife’s) computer. My wife also has a 12″ Powerbook G4 that we use to check email and watch DVD’s when we’re on the road.

I used to find it almost impossible to move between computers with ease… All my passwords, bookmarks, and important files had to be transferred manually (usually on a thumbdrive) each time I worked on a different computer. I’ve found a few resources that help me transition easily between multiple Macs, and synchronize contacts, bookmarks, passwords and appointments and more.
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