Sites That Will Matter in 2009: Readers' Choice

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

Woopid

At Woopid you can watch training video for various tech products--software, Internet services and some devices like the iPod. For instance you can learn how to manage and sync your files with SugarSync or how to build a presentation with PowerPoint. The site offers training videos for PC and Mac applications and services. Woopid organizes its videos in bundles: you can easily find and watch ten videos about using your iPod or managing your photos. You can also search the entire Woopid library for specific videos.

Verdict: In general the Woopid site is well organized and the videos are short, to the point, and helpful, even if there aren't as many of them as at similar tech training sites, like Lynda.com. But Woopid has one definite advantage: It's free.

Embedr

"Another site I stumbled upon that I could see being very useful is Embedr," writes reader svenski. "The problem with video hosting sites nowadays is that they aren't compatible. If you have uploaded 10 videos to YouTube, 10 videos to Vimeo, and 10 videos to Blip.tv, you can't have a uniform user experience when you embed them on your site." Well said. I immediately liked Embedr because it appears to address a significant pain point in managing online video: videos are posted at YouTube and Vimeo and Yahoo and MySpace and about a million other places on the web--all in different players and formats. You can make playlists of videos at YouTube, but, as svenski points out, what if you want to watch a set of videos hosted by several different sites, in quick succession?

Embedr lets you make custom playlists by inserting the embed codes of videos from virtually any video site, stitches the videos together in one standard (and clean-looking) player, and posts the whole thing at your blog, web site or MySpace page. It's a great way to put together a greatest hits package of music videos or to reassemble a movie video posted in 10 parts at Google Video.

Verdict: Embedr is not a world-beater, but video enthusiasts will find a bunch of good uses for the free tool beyond the ones mentioned above. A good idea well-executed. The developers also get extra points for posting a funny FAQ page.

TwitR.me

"Just discovered TwitR.me, they describe themselves as Cross Social Network Messaging," writes reader glueglme. "Sounds a like a Twitter Picture, Ask Twitter, Twitter Video, Twitter Maps, Twitter Bots, Twitter Private Group, Twitter Search, Twitter Tiny URL, if they execute it will be something to write about." After reading that, my expectations for TwitR.Me were naturally pretty high.

TwitR.me is an ambitious little app. The idea behind it is to act as a translation center for different kinds of messaging. In other words, after you sign in with OpenID (your Gmail, Yahoo or Facebook username and password, for example), you can set up a group of friends and then communicate with that group through TwitR.me using e-mail, SMS, Twitter, or chat apps; you can even attach sound or image files to those messages. Group members can tell TwitR.me how they want messages conveyed to them. For instance, Twitter might be the best way to reach Bob, while Sally might be more of an e-mail person. All of this preference data is designed to rid you of the hassle of switching among several apps to communicate with your friends. TwitR.me also has a search page that displays tweets containing your keyword on a map of the word. I tested it by punching in "South by Southwest" and saw people from all over the world discussing the upcoming music conference on Twitter.

Verdict: TwitR.me is a broad application; it seems to do a little of everything. And in my somewhat limited testing of it, it seemed to deliver what it promised. Real-time communications like micro-blogging and IM are already headed toward mainstream use; as they move further up the acceptance curve, translator apps like TwitR.me may end up addressing the immediate needs of a lot of people. I'm giving this application "best in show" honors.

Tweetmeme

" Tweetmeme is better than Tweetag," writes reader govtrust. (If I had encountered a reader comment like that five years ago, I would have thought the aliens had taken over.) Staying with the Twitter theme, Tweetmeme is a far simpler app that TwitR.me. Tweetmeme goes out and reads all of the links on Twitter, determines which ones are the most-clicked, and then categorizes the links based on whether they are links to blogs, videos, images, or audio files. The app tells you how many times a link has already been tweeted, and offers you a button that makes it easy to tweet about the same link yourself.

Verdict: The app looks nice, explains exactly what it does, and does it well. I don't think this will be a hugely popular app, though, because the one trick it does could easily be built into other Twitter-based apps--like TwitR.me, for example.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon