Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Alltop Indexes Blogs Better

Alltop is a popular attempt at Technorati 2.0 - i.e. how in W3's name do we sort through the bit piles that make up blog mountain. And boy is there a need. You see no one (who knows anything about the massively cluttered blogosphere) would disagree that one of the greatest challenges known to mankind is figuring out how to discover valuable and insightful blogs worth following. You know, not too many, not too few and enough to cover each of our range of interests.

Alltop's spin is to offer a virtual magazine rack and filing system so that we can quickly and easily scan blogs, choose the ones we like and set up a myAlltop dashboard of blogs and Websites we want to follow. Nice, if you have the time to wade through Alltop's thousands of magazines in the virtual rack. I think that they are onto something and yet missing something.

They are a good source for indexing, discovering and scanning blogs and content sites. What they seem to lack is a dashboard and filtering system. If they added reviews of top 10, top 50 sites per category by 'most visited' and 'most popular' that would be a start. Even most regularly updated would help. And imagine if they added to that a user review system for each blog. And how about an Alltop or Alltop-panel-of-experts list of the most interesting or valuable sites. Then they'd hook me. But maybe that's just me. Sometimes less can be more.

Thursday, June 11, 2009 Launches Web Service for Entrepreneurs

A new Internet service for entrepreneurs,, has just gone live. Being a first or second time entrepreneur is one of the harder career choices available to mankind. Richard Branson once wrote that entrepreneurs are modern day discoverers, requiring just as much grit, determination, skill and risk taking as any Columbus or Cook equivalent.

The problem is that even though entrepreneurship is more vital than ever to our global economy, there are few schools, tools, methods or systems for entrepreneurs. So how do we know how to be a successful entrepreneur? Developing the right idea, taking it to market effectively and building a valuable business from it. Often we don't.

Innovatrs aims to remedy this by offering entrepreneurs and innovation officers a one stop innovation methodology and start-up system, plus Web based consultancy and mentoring as well as a series of tools, tips, tricks and more. The service costs $250 per month which sounds reasonable and potentially more attractive than the piece meal alternatives.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Apple's Latest Innovation - Price!

Yesterday Apple introduced its iPhone 3G S which will be available later this month and dropped the price on the current model of its smart phone to $99. They also unveiled two new lower-priced laptops and dropped the sales tag on its upcoming OS, Snow Leopard.

Is it only me or has Apple got Innovation block. They don't seem to have announced anything really big since the first iPhone release 2 years ago. Where's the iPhone Nano, the real Apple TV, the mass market Mac Netbook (Air), the 7 or 9 in iPhone/MiniMac etc.

Innovating on price alone is cool but not enough. Maybe Apple is suffering more from Steve Jobs absence than their results show.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Lijit Do Next Generation Blog Search

Lijit may have a tongue twisting name, but its got a neat Web 2.0 app. It takes blog search tools to a valuable new dimension. Searching on blogs today is simple and a bit too basic. Lijit moves the game on by providing a search tool that you link not only to your blog but also to your other Web 2.o assets - making your blog the centre of your content. This you may or may not like.

Lijit will not only search your blog but also your videos at YouTube, your Twitter account (no surprise), bookmarks, your network of friends and the blogs you read in your RSS feader. Nice. So, if you want your blog to be the portal for your life - then Lijit looks the way to go. If not, stay hemmed in at Facebook.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Why Old Media Will Die

Old media are staring like frozen rabbits before bright headlights screaming "where for art though - online subscription revenues". Each desperately seeking that holy grail of cash for content. Their knight in shining armor Sir Rupert of The Wall Street Journal. Leader of the Web content charging pack.

So old media huddles as we speak in back rooms across the Western world plotting subscription models and micro-payments to pay each of us back for years of abusive zero cash content. Fuming about their run down print presses and desperate to hang onto their old ways, chubby cost bases and private jets.

Hulu is one of the first to come forth as the next white knight, announcing that they are about to charge their users a subscription to watch their coveted online movies. And while this old media murmuring continues I can't help feeling that for every online news site, video streamer or music player that charges subscriptions for their content another 5 will spring up offering it for free, making money through ads, promo's, merchandise, products and ancillary offerings.

And so old media will one day die. Even Sir Rupert of The Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Zhiing - Mobile Location Made Easy

Zhiing, a Web 2.0 mobile software company, is leading a clutch of ventures going after the mobile location-services space. Most of the other players look a little gimmicky. Not Zhiing. They have a simple, clear and useful app. Use Zhiing to send a message to folk you're waiting for at a meetup, bar, restaurant or park and with your message to 'get a move on' Zhiing embeds your location. Neat.

And best of all your location is only revealed as a one off with the message - so none of this permanent switching on of location services which allow friends and others to Internet stalk you. Finally.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Google Wave - Gmail 2.0

Google has announced Google Wave - Gmail redefined. And its kinda cool. It is Google's answer to social networking stickiness and an attempt at turning your Gmail interface into a social networking, Web conversation and communication portal - where you go to do mail, IM, share pics, update mates and tweet.

Looks like all its missing is voice calling, blogging and I'm done. More time at Gmail here we all go - and one last goodbye to AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft mail. At least for consumers. At first...

Bing v Wave - the Next Net Frontier

Microsoft and Google are pitching their futures on two new services that point towards the next Web frontier - convergence. Microsoft yesterday announced Bing as its latest answer to Google search. It is not a direct competitor to Google search, but a competitor in trying to redefine Web searching - not just a search engine but a 'decision engine'. A kind of Web 2.0 Wolfram Alpha.

If, by now, you are totally confused - lets try and simplify. Bing attempts to change search engine into Internet assistant. Not just providing the most relevant links, but exposing the most relevant answers, which includes simple access to the information. Video thumbnails go live as you hover over. Shopping comparison is embedded and travel information comes alive. Try it - it goes fully live next Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Animoto Turns Slideshows into Videos

There is a small crop of new Web 2.0 start-ups going after the slideshow to Web video space. Animoto looks to be one of the cooler players. Their proposition is straight forward - email your photo slideshow over to them, pick some cool (copyright approved) music or musac and bingo they'll mash it all together and create a free Web video. Which could make you look cooler at YouTube, your blog or wherever.

Chez Animoto 30 second clips are free. Thereafter you pay - proving that Fremium models are all the rage. But I'm left with one niggling question. Why doesn't everyone just buy a Flip and go DIY?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

iPadio Do Phlogging

Phlogging (phone or audio blogging) seems all the rage. Recently we reviewed a free service from Audio Boo. And here's another. It's called iPadio which is interesting branding. It rings with I paid. For radio?

And there is the big question - who pays? For Audio Boo it seems no one. iPadio are aptly named because companies do - consumers don't. After all someone's gotta pay right? Ipadio's USP for consumers is that you can apparently use any phone to phlogg - oh and of course its free - whereas Audio Boo is free but just for iPhone users right now - which is a growing and Web savvy audience.

iPadio believe that their phone-to-Web model has multiple business applications including customer service, field agents who need to report, Radio and disability services. But which is their killer app? Beats me. Maybe its too early to tell. Phlogging holds a great deal of promise and the early players are off - it will be interesting to see how Six Apart and Google's Blogger respond. They should be in the mix.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Need a Start Page -

Need a Web based, easy and quick to set, public up start page - check You can get up and running in minutes with all your favorite, publicly accessible links, nicely categorized and ready for you to share with the world. It could even become a link driven human home page.

And this probably points to the future of - your personal portal to stuff that matters most that you also want to share. Beyond this, it could be neat for to allow you to run your blog, twitter feed and more scrolling live, next to your links at your home page.

Then, bingo, forget my Yahoo - it's myPortal. And I'd buy into it for one.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wolfram Alpha Challenges Google?

Wolfram Alpha, the next wave in Internet search with a couple of branding challenges, is going live on the 18th May. Just 5 days to go. It feels like a countdown to something, well, potentially huge. Wolfram Alpha could be the next Google. It's a next generation search engine that answers your question by scanning the Web, then utilizes the most advanced computational models to turn Web based data into newly computed answers to your original search query. If that sounds like techno mumbo jumbo let me try and explain it more simply.

Wolfram Alpha will attempt to give you real answers to real questions - not just a list of relevant links. So, if you type in 'how long does it take to fly from New York to London' you will get a real answer such as 7 hours, not just a bunch of relevant links a la Google.

The huge question is is Wolfram Alpha competitor to Google or partner? Given that Google is desperately, behind the scenes, trying to come up with a similarish service - they see them as competitor first. For us users they should be hugely complimentary Wolfram Alpha gives you direct answers to your questions, Google gives you links. But guess who Google's gonna try and buy damned soon??

Friday, May 08, 2009

Stupeflix Does Video Mash-ups

Stupeflix, (stupid!) is a Web 2.0 start-up offering mash-ups of your latest pics, words and videos to produce a professional looking video - stupid! It reminds me of Apple's iMovie for the Web. So for all of you who do not own a Mac or are too lazy to figure out iMovie here's one for you.

Also, if you use your smartphone to shoot movies and take pics they have a nifty way to mash 'em together without the vid/pic/word thing looking to kitsch. Or amateur.

For the rest of us I guess we'll hang onto our MacBooks and use iMovie a while longer. But they're worth watching...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Audio Boo Does Podcasting on the Go - iPhone

So here's a cool new Web 2.0, Brit tech, start-up - with a splash of iPhone. It's called Audio Boo and it's a podcasting tool for the masses. You sign in at, then download their iPhone app, and presto it turns your iPhone into a podcasting recording device. After recording some fruity voice messages/snippets/personal radio rantings it automatically loads and plays your track at your personal Audio Boo page.

It's kinda like a YouTube for podcasting - assuming you've got an iPhone of course. But, hey there's enough of those around the place by now and if it takes off they can probably port to other smartphones. Recording quality is OK but cramped by iPhone speaker ruggedness and we're not quite sure how long you can podcast for at any one speak'ing. Other than that its a start-up worth watching and an iPhone app worth downloading. Unlike most of the rest of the 35,000 plus out there!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Building a Successful Start-up is About Context

I read a couple of interesting articles today on tips from a failed entrepreneur and how to bootstrap a company by a venture guy - which seems a bit of an oxymoron. Or is it moron?

Either way, they got me thinking. Both are right and yet they lack something. And I think that something is context. You see entrepreneurs today all too often fail because they lack context. They either lack domain expertise or a broad understanding of the process by which to build a particular company at a specific point in time.

What are the exact steps required, what are the do's and don'ts, which tools are required and how do you know which is the right decision at any one point in time. Check Innov@te's blog. They seem to have some ideas. And remember it's all about context. Surround yourself with those that can provide context and you stand a chance.