The coming age of the smart personal assistant

We’re entering the age of the smart personal assistant, as computers increasingly listen and understand what we’re saying and fulfill our requests in real time. Siri and Watson have gotten a lot of attention but we’ll see this type of service in a variety of areas.

A Second Look at Evernote, Joint Contact, Backboard, Retaggr and Zemanta

I’ve been blogging here about Web apps and ideas for work for a while now so I thought I’d revisit some of the apps I’ve posted about in the past months. Where are they now? What are some of their latest developments?

Ever Improving Evernote

EvernoteI blogged about Evernote back in April while they were still in private beta. Mike Gunderloy has also covered them several times. Judi Sohn has also mentioned them a few times including recently.

The latest from Evernote seems to be some tweaking to add more finesse to the application’s versions on the Web, via Mobile Web and on the iPhone such as:

  • Rich text editing including bullets, colors, and styles on their Web version.
  • A new web clipper Firefox and Flock extension for Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • The ability to change the title of a note during web clipping
  • The ability to edit text notes on Evernote Mobile Web and soon on iPhone.

I like the way Evernote uses social media communications to stay in touch with customers including FriendFeed and via a Facebook fan page.

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Zemanta Adds Reblog and Other Features

Zemanta LinksA month ago, I reviewed Zemanta, the blogging extensions service company that provides contextual images, links, latest articles or blog posts and tags to your blog posts. I was a little harsh on the somewhat lack of relevant images and sometimes even irrelevant links that Zemanta offered up to me in their feature bar that appeared neatly embedded in my Typepad and Blogger publishing tools. I think my exact words were “all hell broke loose.”

Since then, I’ve still not incorporated Zemanta suggested items into this WWD blog but have used them more and more often on some of my other blogs, particularly my personal blogs where I have less stringent writers guidelines to follow and anything goes because they’re mine. Now Zemanta has added a few more features that have caught my attention.

Zemanta says their tools can help increase traffic to your blog because of:

1. better annotation of posts, links, images with actual crawlers for Google and Yahoo can rate the post higher and glean more context from your post; and

2. placement of links to related posts across blogosphere helps get more track back for the post which can also increase traffic. Read More about Zemanta Adds Reblog and Other Features

NBC Finds More People Watching Full Episodes

NBC released new research today that it says shows a large chunk of its online audiences are watching full-length episodes of programs — and better remembering the ads in them. The research was funded by NBC, so take it with a grain of self-promoting salt, but it does seem to fall in line with previous independent research.

NBC found 77 percent of its NBC Rewind player users were streaming shows as a complement to TV viewing, with most saying they were catching up on missed episodes. Solutions Research Group had earlier found that 20 percent of the U.S. online population watched TV on the web on a weekly basis, and 21 percent of all visits to major network sites were to watch a specific show. The NBC number is a little vague as to how many “most” is, but its numbers do suggest that people are searching for particular shows.

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Will CES be spoiled by a rotten Apple?

IphonehomescreenbookmarkI’m boarding my plane for CES in a few short minutes, but can’t get one particular thought out of my mind. Last year, Apple completely deflated the CES balloon with the iPhone announcement at the same time as the show. Those in attendence at CES will likely attest: it was as if the Earth stopped spinning for a few minutes at CES and the show was definitely in the shadows as opposed to the forefront.

In 2008, MacWorld is a week after CES, but I still suspect a masterful PR move from Apple this week. Nope, I don’t expect any new hardware announcements as those will be reserved for next week. I said it before, but want to go on record now: I think Apple will provide a killer upgrade to the iPhone this week if at all possible. We’ve already seen a build of the iPhone firmware 1.1.3, but I wonder if we’ve seen all of the features in the final version. I could be way off base here, but that’s my guess… folks buzzing about new iPhone software with at least "one more thing" in it that we’re not yet aware of. Full support for Microsoft Exchange perhaps? Could we see some off-the-cuff comparsion to MIDs with Apple suggesting "hey, that’s nothing new… we’ve had a MID out for quite some time..." Thoughts?

Master Viral Video Advertising in 3 Easy Steps

What if I told you that you could get the word out about your company for cheap? What if I told you that you could not just get the word out, but really make a splash? Call now and we’ll throw in free shipping!
I moderated a panel at Streaming Media West in San Jose, Calif., this week that featured three small companies who’d employed online video as an experimental, non-conventional form of advertising. Some of their spots went viral, some of them didn’t — but what did they learn?
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kct opinion: Vista can run well on mobile devices

I’ve read through James’ opinion piece entitled "Vista will never run well on mobile devices" several times. I’ve also read the many comments that the post generated. While I agree with the observable facts, I’m actually finding that I have a completely different experience. How so and why is that? Good questions which I’ll address in this opinon-based article. I can only provide my thoughts from my own experiences here and there’s no doubt that your own experiences will vary. And that’s the key premise behind the issue at hand; but first: my experiences with Vista on my Samsung Q1P UMPC.

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Skype This and Skype That

Every since I posted my last piece on Skype, there has been a deluge of Skype Related information. For instance, Simon Perry has a great review of the Siemens-Skype Gigaset S440 phone. He likes it. I think it looks nice, though no idea about the quality and sound. Given that most of Siemens phones are of high quality, this will be no different. Meanwhile James “Kiddan” Enck has discovered that more and more corporate types are using Skype to manage global projects. Peace Corps and Accenture are two names he just throws out.

Comcast’s VoIP Dream

Brian Roberts, CEO of the largest cable company says that Comcast’s voice-over-Internet-protocol system should be 100% built by mid-2005, and the company is already testing the VoIP service in three markets. Roberts says Comcast’s VoIP calls will travel to its switching office and back over a private network to the call’s recipient. Comcast VoIP will not be transmitted over the Internet. In other words, it could be flying over Level 3’s network, or AT&T network.