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New Website for Obama’s White house - Change has come to Whitehouse.gov

January 20th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Creative innovation, Reviews, Technology Talk, Website of the week by admin

The Inauguration Ceremony went nicely. As President Barack Obama was giving his inauguration speech, another transfer of power was happening online. At exactly 12 PM ET, Whitehouse.gov , the official Website of the President switched over to a new design. A government website that doesn’t look like a government website.

My first impression of new whitehouse.gov website looks cool, very sophisticated, easy to navigate, most of the stuff accessible in few clicks. One cool addition is whitehouse blog. Today first blog post is written by Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media. Macon Phillips is titled: “Change has come to Whitehouse.gov.” He suggested that blog post is going to continue by him and other staff of “New Media”. He assures that WhiteHouse.gov and the rest of the Administration’s online programs will put citizens first and laid down three priorities for new media efforts. – Communication, Transparency and Participation.

There are a number of feeds (though some are still empty as I wrote this):

Hopefully, the administration will continue some of the experiments with citizen participation which it tried on Change.gov, its transition Website. Whitehouse.gov certainly has the same look and feel. However, currently, no social networking connections to be found on new website.

Congratulations to Mr. President and Mr. Vice-President. And Good luck!

Via [WhiteHouse.gov, whitehouse blog]

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McCain attacks Obama with high-tech website versioning tool.

MCCAIN vs OBAMA
In the presidential campaign candidate keep track on opponent as much as she can. In the era of internet, it has reached unprecedented new levels. Using technological tool, it’s probably easy and accurate to keep track on certain things, like changes on the opponent website. McCain team is exactly doing the same thing. Recently McCain attacks Obama using website versioning tool-versionista.com, which tracks all campaign pages’ precise word changes up to an hourly basis. Recently, McCain team caught the changes on ethics page of Obama’s website regarding “Campaign Finance Reform” issue which gives enough material to attacks Obama.

Obama Campaign Finance Reform changes

The McCain campaign web site recently published a link to a Versionista comparison that shows changes to Obama’s web page about the Iraq war

Track version changes of the programming code is fairly common in software development world but Versionista is bringing it to the new level in fast changing world and gave you upper hand about competitive and critical information useful to journalists, campaigns, corporations, and activists. Versionista provides side-by-side comparison and multiple other views let you see “before and after” versions of every monitored page.

General audience can also get the benefit using this tool for monitoring prices on a product page of your favorite shopping sites. Tool highlights what text has been added, deleted, or moved. Versionista tracks up to 25 versions per page. Also, Versionista will email you whenever a change is found. Versionista subscription based service, price/fee is starting from $16/month for 30 urls tracking and goes upto $499.00/mo for 2500 urls.

Alternative Web Page Monitoring Services to versionista are ChangeDetect and watchthatpage.com. And price is just right (Free!)

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Tour the Tour de France with Street View

July 6th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in Cool Application/Website, Google, Google Map, Technology Talk by admin

From July 5th Tour de France is started. I am not going to be there to watch, and there are plenty of coverage (official Tour site is at letour.fr, You can get live updates, photo galleries, video highlights and in-depth analysis of TdF website at VeloNews. Tour De France video coverage optimized for iPhone at mobile.velonews.com. Cyclingnews.com and Pez Cycling News have dedicated and comprehensive TdF coverage with live reports, news and videos. Wired has a great online guide to the Tour, You tube Tour De France 2008 Video coverage) but What if I want take a look at the route from a spectator’s view? Google thought about that, and has developed a Street View of the entire route of Tour de France

Watch official video below or take a tour in Google Maps

Google’s blog post announcing the launch gives us the info:

With this launch, you can now follow the race through each of the 21 stages with just a click of a mouse and enjoy a perspective similar to what your favorite cyclists see as they wind through France’s majestic mountains, vivacious cities, and tranquil countryside.

The Tour de France route marks our first launch of Street View imagery in Europe, and we’re bringing with us some of our newly released features such as ground-filling and face blurring.


View Larger Map

MapMyRide.com also has interactive maps of the Tour de France. Each stage is marked out and people can view the course on street maps, satellite maps, or even download right into Google Earth and ‘Fly the Course’ in 3D. MapMyRide.com’s Tour de France Maps

Via [Google Blog and Wired.com wiki website and google.com/tourdefrance2008]

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Reduce the global warming with few clicks.

On this World Environment day, if you don’t want to go out and plant a tree (yard work) but at least you can promote tree planting using unique search engine www.ecocho.us which promises to plan a tree for every 1000 searches made. This will help to offset tons of greenhouse gases. Ecocho.us is using yahoo search technology for search engine.

Simarly, Ecoogler, the ecological search engine, has created quite a bit of buzz with the same theme. They promise to help reforesting trees and safeguard water resources in the Amazon region, which constitute today one fourth of the fresh water reserves of our planet. Ecoogler is using Yahoo technology. However, it’s worth noting that some people believe that Ecoogler is a fake, as you can read on Digg. Ecoogler says that you get same results (as Yahoo) and help the non-profit association Aquaverde founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2002. Ecoogler promises to grow a tree pre 10,000 searches.
ecoogler
One of the reader on treehugger.com is not so happy about this standards.

1 tree for 10,000 searches doesn’t seem that generous to me. A comparable search engine that uses google, offers 1 penny to a non-profit of your choosing. Even if I did a 100 searches a day, which seems somewhat high, it would take 100 days to plant a single tree. I know there are other programs which will plant many more trees for an equivalent effort.

Obviously I like the idea but I think Ecoogler missed the mark. Also switching to the yahoo engine is not a plus for me, if they had kept using the google engine I could switch my habit much more easily. As it stands now I think there are much better alternatives.
- Eniryt Manaen

Via [TreeHugger.com and ecoogle.com and ecocho blog]

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Walmart.com offering free classified ads

June 3rd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in Tech/Biz News, Technology Talk by admin

Craigslist is known for free classified ads for everything that can be found around your day-today life, like you will find everything in Wal-mart store near you. Well, now Wal-Mart is looking to be in the field of classified “Wal-Mart of classifieds.” Walmart.com is beta testing a classifieds service, powered by Oodle that allows the site’s shoppers to post free classifieds on all kinds of stuff: cars, RVs, apartments, etc. I am not sure how serious threat to Craigslist but hey what’s wrong in trying new ideas. Specially, not every town in America is covered by Craigslist, Wal-Mart classifieds could be nice and solid alternative.

Walmart Classifields

“Our new classifieds beta at Walmart.com provides an expanded offering of products and services, the majority of which are not traditionally available from Wal-Mart,” Walmart.com spokesman Ravi Jariwala said in an emailed statement.

The service is being powered by Oodle, which runs an online classified advertising web site and collects classified ad listings from the web.

Via [Reuters and ]

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Yahoo beats Google in providing real time stock quote

May 29th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted in Google, Tech/Biz News, Technology Talk, Website of the week, Yahoo! by Technology Madness

Yesterday, Yahoo Finance declared to provide real time stock quote on their finance portal. They announce the availability of free US real-time ECN (ECN stands for electronic communication network, and serves as alternative trading place to the various exchanges) quotes on Yahoo! Finance. Yahoo has partnered with a company called BATS Trading for such service.

As a matter of fact, Yahoo introduced such real time data back in August 2006 but later due to change in pricing structure, it’s been removed from Yahoo! Finance. But now, it’s back.

Google is still behind in the race of providing real time stock quote. (However, they (Google finance) do provide major Indices data in real time, but not any individual stock price - reference: here)

Check it out on http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=GS and watch your favorite stock in real-time.

Here’s a screen shot from the normal quote page: (After the market closed, it stopped saying “real time” and started saying “After hours”):

Update: [June 3, 2008] Google just announced that they’ll be providing stock prices in real time on the Google Finance website. However, NYSE and Dow quotes remain delayed

Who else join the gang in providing live-real time quote: CNBC, Google, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and Xignite.

“This is an important, and in many ways, overdue development in the U.S. securities markets,” stated Adena Friedman, Executive Vice President, NASDAQ OMX. “With universal access to the Internet and the real-time nature of the web, investors need real time data, and now they don’t have to pay for it, thanks to CNBC, Google, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and Xignite.”

Google finance logo

Via [Yahoo Finance Blog and Google blog and BATS trading press release, Nasdaq] lifehacker.com

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Jeff Bezos: Amazon.com Kindle- price break

Jeff Bezos: Amazon.com Kindle- price break

Extra reading:

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MindBites.com: Where real people teach real things: like knife throwing

Do you know that you can sell your skills (like, how to cook Indian curry? Or how to buy a used car? or How to Act on Camera?) in form of instructional videos?

Austin, TX based MindBites.com, a social marketplace and publishing platform for instructional video, has raised $1M for your skills to show case to the world. MindBites has a paid content model where instructor can upload the video lesson and user can purchase it; using credits priced from $1.69 to $1.99, handing $1 of that to the instructor, users can watch it online or download it to their PC or iPod.

I believe this is bit expensive especially where competitors including 5MIn, VideoJug, ExpertVillage, Howcast, WonderHowTo, Graspr, Sutree, Sclipo and Zippidee are around. It is also noticible that they launched such business where iTune and youtube are market leader. (Reference here) Isn’t everything on the Internet trending towards free? (Extra reading: Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business: here)

This Startup’s founder and CEO is Jason Reneau who was VP Kiva.org

Everyone here at the MindBites team is excited to be building our social marketplace and publishing platform for video instructional content. One of the fundamental reasons we decided to build MindBites, was that we simply believed that there needed to be a platform and marketplace to enable the millions of talented people out there who have something to teach. A paid content model is the most direct way for users to compensate authors for their knowledge, innovation and creativity. We are also (unsurprisingly perhaps) big fans of PaidContent, and proud to be joining the fray in the belief that there is a place for paid content models on the Web. Thanks again, and we look forward to keeping the PC community informed of our progress and learnings. - Jason Reneau At paidcontent.org

Similar reading:

Not every video tutorial site would show you, step by step, how to beat the crane game in your local movie theatre, or how to make a fire using only potatoes, salt, and some toothpaste, but Wonder How To is completely willing. Only a few clicks from a video that explains how to cheat on any test is another video that teaches you how to make a perfect omelet. If this doesn’t sound like traditional fodder for a site that offers instructional videos, there’s a reason for it: Wonder How To is completely crowd-sourced, allowing anyone who wants to show the world how to do something to post a video or submit another video they’ve found elsewhere. There’s some editorial checking, but not as much as some other competitors in the instructional Web video space…. Continue reading here

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Via [MideBites blog and here and Appscout]

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The New BBC Homepage

March 1st, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in Alert, Tech/Biz News, Technology Talk, Website of the week by admin

BBC has just launched a new home page at here - you can personalize every section on the site to match your interest, including color, position of any section. You can also add and remove your favorite sections the way you want, the where you want. However, layout can not be change from three columns to two columns. Currently, it is designed in three columns, with top story section merged in two columns.

What you can not do? You can not remove Top story section. Weather section can not be set for any of non-Britain location. Also, you may not be able to set your favorite stock price in business section. There are few more, may be you can add it in comment section <:-)

Overall it is beautifully designed and works well in latest Internet explorer and Fire fox

Via [BBC internet news blog]

Most polular “Google Reader” shortcuts

February 28th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in DIY, Google, Google Search, HowTo, Technology Talk by admin

Google Reader is well-known for its keyboard shortcuts. It is one of my top tier feed reader. Recently Reder blog published which shortcut/key has been used the most by google reader. As per google reader blog, the “j” key (which takes you to the next item) is perhaps the most well-known keyboard shortcut. Below are the top used shortkeys:

Key \ Description
j \ next item
n \ item scan down
k \ previous item
m \ mark as read/unread
t \ tag item
p \ item scan up
shift-n \ next subscription
v \ view original
o \ expand/collapse item
s \ star item

you can see them all in this list, here (It shows you a google reader cheat-sheet of all the other shortcuts)