Hold Better, Less Stressful Meetings with the Web

meeting_tablesWe all know how painful it is to coordinate a meeting involving more than a couple of people. Everyone has to check their calendar of events to find a date and time that will work for everyone’s schedule. The more people involved with the meeting, the more difficult it all becomes. If the meeting involves ordering food for everyone, then the plot only thickens. Here are some free tools and services that can help tremendously with coordinating and even conducting meetings, as well as getting everyone fed.

First, Lock ‘Em In

Tungle makes scheduling a convenient time and place so much easier by sharing your available times to anyone via the web. Microsoft (s msft) Outlook users within the same organization don’t need it, but it comes in handy for those outside of the corporate firewall. Tungle’s interface is great, and there’s also a Tungle.me widget that you can embed on your web site to give people quick access to your calendar and events.

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Phone and Computer Etiquette

For those of us who earn our living working online, the always-connected lifestyle can have its benefits and its drawbacks. I spend most of my day at my computer, whether I am in my office or working from other locations. When I step away from the laptop, I rely heavily on my phone as a way to check email, Twitter and RSS feeds, and I use it to look up information or get a map to the location for my next meeting. However, it isn’t always clear when using these devices violates the social rules defining acceptable behavior. In the New York Times, Alex Williams shares his views on the topic of smartphone usage and manners, so I thought that I would try to outline my take on appropriate use of devices in various social situations.

Photo by scriptingnews

Photo by scriptingnews

Conferences and events: For most events, using a laptop or phone falls within the boundaries of acceptable behavior. We use our devices to take notes, blog or tweet about the event, and keep up with our email and other work during these events. Possible exceptions to this rule could be where the event is small and intimate, or where most of the attendees are not computer-savvy and so someone typing on a laptop might seem out of place. Read More about Phone and Computer Etiquette

Vid-Biz: YouTube Lawsuit, AnySource, Family Guy

French Record Labels Sue YouTube; Societe Civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SPPF) claims copyright infringement and says the video-sharing site is hosting 100 music vids from its members. (Variety)

AnySource Gets AP Content; agreement will put web video from the news organization on the TV. (release)

FOX Launches the “Freakin’ Sweet Family Guy” App; includes 20 clips from the animated show and the ability for users to make their own video mix. (Variety)

Outcast Partnering With AdtekMedia; two companies forming joint venture to control 12,600 screens on gas pumps in 15 different markets. (The New York Times)

YouTube Celebs Sign on for JetBlue Promotion; Kevin Nalts and Delphine Dijon among those hitching a free ride to L.A. and documenting their experience. (Ad Age)

Don’t Expect LCD TV Prices to Drop; DisplaySearch says panel prices are on the rise because of increased TV demand from China. (Gadgetwise)

Videosurf Lets You Search Videos Through Twitter; Tweet “@videosurf s [search term]” and the company will reply with a Tweet with results. (Videosurf Blog)

How Do You Respond to Requests?

580773_dont_be_lateI am in a constant state of “meeting avoidance mode,” especially for those meeting requests that don’t directly relate to revenue generation. However, I just finished an interesting IM conversation with a friend of mine. It went something like this:

Him: “What are you doing on Friday afternoon? We want to bounce some ideas off of you before you go to Beer and Blog at 4pm.”
Me: “Sure, let’s meet for lunch”

After we disconnected from IM, I noticed that I never even bothered to ask him what he wanted to talk about, and I realized that this is a recurring pattern with this person. He has introduced me to so many great people and projects over the years that I’ve stopped asking what and why and started skipping right to when.
Maybe this is how some people handle requests for meetings, but it’s not my usual strategy. I get many requests for meetings, ranging from people wanting to discuss my consulting services, to people wanting to pick my brain about some online community topic, to those who want to talk to me about one of my many side projects. I get more requests than I can reasonably handle, as I have a chronic calendar problem of having too many events, meetups and meetings with random people, while not having enough time for paying client work. As a result, I normally try to avoid extra meetings, and I have a few meeting avoidance techniques that I use. Read More about How Do You Respond to Requests?

7 Tips for Efficient Meetings


As web workers, we probably have to endure meetings less often than our cube-dwelling counterparts. When you do hold a meeting with a client or with your teammates, either face-to-face or as a teleconference, you want to make it as effective as possible so you get the outcomes that you want, without wasting anyone’s time.

Here are some tips for making sure that your meetings are less of a chore, go smoothly and have outcomes that are favorable for everyone. Read More about 7 Tips for Efficient Meetings

Is it time for an Android netbook/smartphone modular system?

air_automobiles_184349The article noting how the ever more powerful smartphone and the netbook/ notebook are sharing a lot of DNA these days leads me to question if it’s time to think about a modular netbook.  We’re hearing a lot of talk about Android-powered netbooks coming down the pike and the thought of a modular phone/netbook combo gets my juices going.

The concept of a smartphone-powered little notebook is not new, Palm (s palm) almost jumped into the Foleo a while back, and we’ve noted the Celio Redfly is pretty useful.  Where I think both of those devices missed the mark was in keeping the netbook part of the equation totally separate from the smartphone.  You had to have the smartphone (which was not included) to get any benefit from the netbook side, and that ended up being very expensive.

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Recently on jkOnTheRun


This week was a quiet one in the tech world with the Mobile World Congress starting next week.  It was likely the lull before the storm as we expect big news coming out of the MWC as usual.  Here are the top stories on jkOnTheRun you might have missed:

When is Good: Spend Less Time Scheduling, More Time Meeting

wiglogoIn general, I am meetings-averse. Most of the time I find them of questionable value, with attendee lists that defy logical explanation, and a frequency which is almost never merited. They are also frustratingly difficult to schedule at a time that suits all of the attendees. Accordingly, anything that makes the business of meetings easier, and less of a hassle to organize, is a useful tool in my book. When is Good, a new, simple scheduling web app designed to take some of the calendar-fumbling out of planning a meeting, definitely fits that description. Read More about When is Good: Spend Less Time Scheduling, More Time Meeting

Netbook enthusiast web sites getting C & D using term “netbook”

This is very preliminary but we are hearing that some netbook enthusiast sites are getting “cease & desist” letters from a firm in the UK ordering the sites to stop using the term “netbook”.  The letters claim that the term netbook is trademarked by the firm that produced the Psion netBook in the early 2000’s.

We have not received one of these letters but have corresponded with a site owner who did receive one and they were ordered to remove the term “netbook” from content by March 2009 or face legal action.


Our research into the matter shows that the Psion Teklogix firm who produced the Psion PDA line years ago did in fact produce a Netbook and Netbook Pro device.  The Netbook device was a small laptop form that ran the firm’s EPOC operating system and was a cross between a PDA and a laptop.  The Netbook is amazingly similar to the netbook of today with the exception of the operating system which was quite advanced for that time.

The Netbook device was discontinued by Psion but it looks like they still make accessories including batteries for the Netbook.  You can find a review of the netBook on Geek.com and the video below shows how it resembles modern netbooks.  We’ll provide updates on this development as they appear.

BBC iPlayer Coming to a Mac Near You

The BBC’s iPlayer is nothing short of a digital revelation — providing viewers in the United Kingdom with online access to an ever-changing (and free) selection of the BBC’s internationally-revered quality programming.

For an increasing number of us Brit’s, BBC.co.uk/iPlayer is the site we surreptitiously visit on our lunch-breaks at work and the destination for catching up on missed TV in the evenings. Yet upon its initial beta launch back in 2007, the iPlayer was a national disappointment; exclusively for Windows and with more bugs in it than an entomologist’s cupboard.
While iPlayer downloading may have been refined somewhat — Windows users can grab DRM-ridden episodes for play in Windows Media Player – it’s still not an option for Mac users. However, Erik Huggers is the man set to change all that. He’s the BBC’s verbosely-titled Director of Future Media and Technology and a veteran of Microsoft, having spent nine years with the Apple-competitor.
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