Beta Watch: Jinni, Producteev, and PocketMeeting
Jinni: A Field Guide to Video
If you like Pandora's taxonomic method of classifying music, you'll love Jinni. This free video-recommendation service breaks down movies, TV shows, and online shorts into their component parts. The comedy Groundhog Day, for instance, is described this way: "Mood: Witty; Plot: Nothing Goes Right, Opposites Attract, Fall in Love...Audience: Date Night" If you're a Netflix subscriber and the movie you're reading about is in Netflix's catalog (and really, what title isn't?), you can add it to your rental queue with one click-or start watching it if it's available for instant viewing.
Producteev: Task Management Inside the Box
Producteev (free for a basic account, up to $79 per month for 100 users) is a little bit to-do list, a little bit collaboration tool, and a little bit Twitter. Getting started in Producteev is easy. You create a new box for a new project, and then start filling it with tasks. To assign a task to a colleague, you drag it over the icon for that coworker. You can share files and send out quick status messages to colleagues. Applications can put Producteev information on your desktop or on your Windows Mobile or Nokia phone (iPhone and BlackBerry apps are in the works). My two worries: If you have a lot of projects to manage, the box approach could become unwieldy. And there's no way to assign a deadline to a task-a crucial omission, especially if you're assigning it to a coworker.
PocketMeeting: Share Your Screen
Sometimes, you just want your colleague at the other end of the phone line to be able to see your computer screen. You have no wish to endure the hassle and expense of setting up a full-on Web conference. If sending your screen long-distance is worth $5 to you, PocketMeeting could be a good option. For your Abraham Lincoln, you'll be able to share your screen with up to ten people for 24 hours. All the participants need to do is accept a Java applet. And if they come up with a great idea that they want to show off, you can reverse roles and start to view their screen.