7 Web Tools for Students

Students are always looking for tools that will save them time and help them boost their productivity. While there is a huge variety of tools available on the Web, most of them are either too expensive, too complicated or just not what is needed. Plus, with so many to choose from, it can be hard to choose the right one. No one really wants to test out 10-20 different tools just to find out which one is right for them. So, here are 7 Web tools for students that are sure to be all that you need and more.

Evernote

Evernote is the only notebook you’ll ever need as a student. It’s the ultimate note-taking tool that lets you save text, audio, images, and screenshots in an organizable online notebook. Once you sync your notes, they can be accessed from the Web, computer desktop and most mobile devices. What makes Evernote most useful its super fast search engine that lets you search through all of your notes, even text within images, in a matter of seconds. With the ability to add tags and create numerous notebooks, it’s very easy to stay organized with Evernote. [Read more...]

Adobe Flash 11 and its future

flash Adobe Flash 11 and its futureIn a few weeks Adobe will be releasing both the Adobe Flash Player 11 and Adobe Air to the market. Adobe has been advertising the new products as being significantly more powerful than previous versions, even going so far as describing it as a game console for the web. Adobe claims that the increase in graphics is almost 1,000 times faster than the previous version of Flash Player and Adobe Air.

But Adobe, as any tech savvy person knows, is also caught in a fight for its survival. Even though Flash Player and Adobe Air are quite commonly installed in PCs, Apple has removed Flash from the iOS platform and also on Macs. And another sign that does not bode well for Adobe is the recent announcement by Microsoft that the new version of Internet Explorer that will be included with the forthcoming Windows 8 Metro environment will not be supporting browser plugins – the entry point for Flash in a browser.

With slowly shrinking support and the threat being posed by HTML 5, will Adobe’s Flash still have a future especially in a post-PC age?
If Adobe will be asked, the company thinks that Flash still has a bright future for it. It has already called Flash Player 11 and also Air 3 the “next generation for the web”. This is quite a lofty claim. [Read more...]

9 Cool Tricks for Samsung Galaxy S2

galaxy s2 198x300 9 Cool Tricks for Samsung Galaxy S2Samsung Galaxy S2 comes with TouchWiz, a custom UI layer that makes the device stand out among other smartphones running Android OS. Besides its noticeable benefits, TouchWiz has another advantage which is less known by users: it supports many shortcuts and commands that help you get more out of your device. Next you’ll discover 10 cool tricks that will make you like your Galaxy S2 even more. [Read more...]

Mobile Internet – Make the Most of It

lggm750vodafonesmartphone Mobile Internet – Make the Most of ItAs much as a convenience mobile Internet can be, it can also add up to your bills quite heftily if you don’t know how to use it right – so make sure you’re prepared to make the most of your time while surfing the Web from your mobile. In some cases, it could be a good idea to install a new browser on your device, and not use the default one – this is especially valid for non-smartphone mobiles, which tend to often have some questionable designs for their browsers.

The device itself is important as well, of course – a phone with a small screen and uncomfortable keyboard can make it very inconvenient to do your browsing and subsequently increase the time you need to do anything when surfing the Web through mobile Internet. Nowadays, there are plenty of good deals for mobiles that are specifically designed for Internet users – so do some shopping around until you find one and go for it – if you’re an active surfer, you’ll be thanking yourself later on!

Don’t just use the Web for your entertainment though – this may sound like redundant advice for some of you folks who’ve been using their mobiles for this purpose for a while, but still – it can also add up to your productivity to a great degree. You can check the schedules for the trains or public transport, check out what’s running at your local cinema, whatever you can think of – be creative and try to really benefit from the powerful mini-computer you’re carrying in your pocket!

It takes having some good pricing plans on your mobile Internet if you want to really make some benefit off of it though, so do your “homework” well before landing on a deal.

The Journey of Amazon

Amazon is the oldest and largest online retailer in the US. It initially started life in the mid 90′s selling books but now sells a variety of products from DVD’s to toys and even furniture. Below is a graphical representation of their growth and success over the last 15 years.

Journey of Amazon infolabs The Journey of Amazon

Enjoy this great Infographic from our friends at Infographiclabs

nextMEDIA: Rock ‘n Roll In the Social Media Revolution

As always, if you want to see everything I am writing about nextMEDIA, please check out BrandingDavid.com where I’ve placed an index for all of the posts I am doing around the Splashpress Media network.
This is the panel that I was most looking forward to at the event. Nadia Nascimento and Will Pate, but panels are difficult to write about in a blog post format. Hopefully, most of the best content from their answers translates well.

What is the model around the community you are trying to grow?

Diana – Cineplex.com is a website for entertainment that includes social tools to compliment and extend the experience that people are having with our site and in the theatre. We also introduced blogs with comments, and areas for photos and videos to be able to have competitions and contests.

They currently have 10,000+ members that is okay by them, but they want more engagement but are still learning what works and what doesn’t work in growing and advancing the community and their bottom line revenue.

[Read more...]

Calacanis hunts displays and keyboards are getting expensive

I like to treat myself to an inspiring work area. That’s why my office has a nice red couch, gaming consoles although I don’t review much anymore, great speakers for my computers and stuff like that. I want to feel inspired to do things when I sit down in the morning with my coffee.

I also like to have great tools to save time as well as make it more fun to work. Let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun blogging on a MacBook than it is doing it on a crappy PC from 2001, with a flickering CRT monitor and a yellowish keyboard that should’ve hit the garbage bin years ago. [Read more...]

Aggrega’s Pandora for Videos

snap aggrega Aggregas Pandora for Videos

Aggrega‘s concept is great: a Pandora for music videos (it also has a photos section that I haven’t tried). Unfortunately, while it’s home page looks inviting, and its playlist page is cleanly laid out, it’s “create channel” algorithm is sorely lacking. Pandora’s algorithm shines, being able to offer very relevant suggestions when you specify an artist name or song title. Aggrega’s not there yet.

For example, I entered two artists from the 1980s as “seeds”. (They were not obscure, but I can’t remember what I used.) Aggrega came back with a ginormous list in two very widely separated columns. It was painful trying to checkmark and scroll down, checkmark and scroll down. This is the first thing that has to be fixed, followed by better relevance. This morning, though, I tried “U2, Elvis Costello”, and it produced a list of about 4 artists, including U2 twice. Not sure what that’s about, and there were no recommendations for additional, similar artists. Except that one that I’d never heard of. Surely there are other artists to recommend. I can think of half a dozen British acts that match Costello’s “angry young man” years.

Yes, I know Aggrega’s in beta, and yes, I really think I could love Aggrega, but not just yet. For now, it’s just flirting with me, teasing me with what could be. For the time being, I can produce a more compact visual content using SplashCast and YouTube, building a complete music video channel in a single player, with auto-forward between videos.

However, if Yahoo and Microsoft are on acquistion sprees, to keep up with Google, here’s my suggestion. One of you pull out your wallet and buy both Aggrega and Pandora, then combine their functionality. Do that, and you’ll have one of the coolest applications online. If these video “channels” can be transferred to a portable video device, even better. And if you merge, like the Friday blogospheric buzz indicated, then you can’t lose. Right?

MindMeister Mindmapping Tool Goes Live

mindmeister MindMeister Mindmapping Tool Goes Live

MindMeister, a web-based mindmapping tool, has finally gone live as of last week. As a hardcore mindmapper, I’m always big on trying out these new tools. Mindmapping is ideal for brainstorming as well as planning, and can be both a business and personal productivity tool.

While MindMeister is nowhere nearly as full-featured as standalone mindmapping apps such as Mindapp, MindManager or ConceptDraw Mindmap, what it does have is collaborative features: sharing of maps, email messaging, and text message alerts via Twitter. Other features include copy/paste between maps and import from MindJet MindManager maps. (There are several new features, but I’m not linking to the page because for some ridiculous reason MindMeister makes you login to see the change list. Instead, here’s the premium features page.)

If you want to check out MindMeister, the free basic version will remain without restriction of features until May 31st. After that, you’ll need to pay to get premium features. Cost is US$4.16/mth (Eur 3.21/m).

Can MindMeister survive against web competitors Bubbl.us and Mindomo? Well, Bubbl.us is a bit lacking in advanced features at present, and Mindomo is far more featured. However, Mindomo doesn’t have have all the same collaborative features (you can share). Of course that may change. At present, Mindomo has the slicker interface, closer in resemblance to standalone mindmapping.

The premium version of Mindomo is listed as Eur 4.99/m, so MindMeister has the cost advantage. For casual mindmappers, either one is more cost effective than spending US$199-$349 for a standalone package. (If you’re really on a budget, try the free Freemind. Both MindMeister and Mindomo can interact with Freemind maps.) With the exception of collaboration features, however, none of the web-based tools are powerful enough for hardcore mindmappers. Not yet anyway, and not for me.

If you want to see MindMeister in action, DemoGirl offers a how-to-use MindMeister screencast.

Still Twittering? More Plugins and Apps

twitter Still Twittering? More Plugins and AppsIn addition to Twitter alternatives, the Twitter-based apps and plugins keep coming. Stan Schroeder at Mashable lists 8 Twitter-related plugins for the Firefox browser. Didn’t think Twitter had enough functionality for all these? Many Twitter-based third party apps are either “watchers”, “extenders”, or “posters”. In this list of eight there are some variations I haven’t come across previously.

One is TwittyTunes, which is put out by the same folks who offer the very cool FoxyTunes Firefox extension. With TwittyTunes, anytime you listen to a song or watch a video on iTunes, it’ll post that info to your Twitter stream. Personally, I think that’s a bit much. It’s one thing to use an app like Last.fm or iLike (and the iLike sidebar), which show your recent listens in a couple of ways, and still another to commit your tastes into a stream of tweets. Some people will no doubt consider this as a type of Twitter pollution. Others will like it. It depends on how you Twitter, and what you expect to see in the tweet streams of those Twitterers you follow.

On the other hand, Twitbin and Tweetbar simply take Twitter functionality and encapsulate it into the sidebar of Firefox. Download Squad describes Twitbin in more detail.

Want Twitter on the go? Check out their new mobile interface. Word is that a number of existing web services sites have started implementing functionality similar to Twitter. No doubt mobile Twitter clones are next.