31 December 2009

Happy New Year – Feliz Año Nuevo 2010

Mexican Happy New Year - Feliz Año Nuevo

 

2010 is a transitional year. but unlike any other it aims for a future of wonder and the things next to come in the second decade of the 21st century. If the year 2000 meant that we were touching the Future.  2010 is the year were we need to accept that we are now living it.

Now lets think, dream and act on the promise of a better future and a reality of based on the better good.

 

Angel de la Independencia en Año Nuevo

Happy New Year and a prosper 2010!

Feliz Año y prospero 2010!

-Avatar X



24 December 2009

Merry Christmas – Feliz Navidad

SONY DSC

                                  (New Christmas Tree in Mexico City for 2009)

I just wanted to wish everyone Merry Christmas – Feliz Navidad. I hope everyone have a great Christmas dinner and a night full of good memories with the people you love.

Happy holidays!, now i leave  you with this nice image that was part of this year Mexican Christmas Spirit .

Best Wishes,

-Avatar X



23 December 2009

100th Post

tmp22

100 posts in Appatic so far is not a bad mark considering that it is a one man blog worked on part time.

There are many things left to do with the blog look and general content. But given that the blog is not even 3 months of full activity and has not been promoted at all. It is doing OK. A 100th post marks serves for me as the invisible mark needed for me to start promoting it and start tweaking the blog performance in all levels. The reason being that it is always about the content first. I wanted to have enough content to justify such parallel tasks.

Right now my first goal is to accelerate the pace and start opening more communication channels for the reader beyond the comments and to everyone else that wants to contact me.

If you like this blog, please help it grow faster by following it and engaging with it by subscribing to it via:

Feed

Mail

Twitter

Google Friend Connect  (Widget is in the sidebar of this blog)

And if you want to contact me you only need to write to me at:

AvatarX@live.com

or add me as @AvatarX in Twitter.



MyBlogLog: A Perfect Example Of Missed Opportunities [Rant]

tmpC

Yesterday happened to end with a bad news as i was finishing reading my feeds for the day. Marshall Kirkpatrick over at the ReadWriteWeb posted about a unconfirmed but extremely likely to happen rumor:

Yahoo! Will Kill MyBlogLog Next Month.  

(Recommended to read along with this post)

That means that by the end of January of 2010. MyBlogLog will be no more. To add insult to the injury, It will close as the service reaches its fifth anniversary. How classy of Yahoo.   **See update 2

What was MyBlogLog?

When MyBlogLog started, it was actually only a visitor counter with stats geared for Blogs only. Hence the name.

Then a genius idea from someone in the startup came up with “Why don’t we make it a Blog Directory/ Blog Community Index too?”. From that it evolved into leveraging the network that consisted of your own blog readers into a Widget that showed who had just visited. It was a new play on the classic “Who is online now?” widgets from the early 2000’s that only show someone IP and from what country it is.

From that it evolved into a series of widgets that delivered activity streams and personal lifestreams and also served as Online ID Cards. All of this thanks to the data that MyBlogLog mined from the users and the data you could aggregate to MyBlogLog as it had also become a Online Activity Aggregator.

So you had that MyBlogLog got to be about:

  • Blog Stats
  • Blog Network Widget
  • Blog Directory
  • Blogger Directory
  • Blog Community Index
  • Online Acivity Aggregator
  • Lifestream Widget
  • Online ID Card Widget

 

It is obvious that even the MyBlogLog team didn’t knew how big it was what they had created or how big it could had been. They decided to sell to Yahoo for 10 million dollars and from the time it was bought in 2007, it was only measly updated during the first year of its acquisition. After that it was just left to rot until this day.

What it should had been?

Let say that even if Yahoo failed to recognize its incredibly potential, they had cared enough to keep it updated and tweak it so it could be the best of what it already was.

I.-The UI-UX

The first obvious problem of MyBlogLog is that it had a outdated look even when it was acquired and it was not very well organized.

MyBlogLog gave it a go and delivered a good enough organization once in Yahoo. But for some reason the look of the site was never pretty and instead it just looked dull and boring.

It needed a vibrant and clean look that also looked integrated with the Yahoo Brand. It never happened.

II.-The Widgets

They looked like crap in most cases, they were not very customizable or they came off as flamboyant.

I think this point was what really riled up many people as most hated the look and the poor customization that such great widgets had. A example is that even i decided to put up the original classic version of the Blog Network widget (Appatic Readers) instead of the last version they did. A lot of people also preferred to use modded versions of the classic widget instead.

They needed to look good and to be flexible, if they only had left people build truly customizable widgets that looked good. It would had captured a lot of more people.

III.-The Business Model

MyBlogLog always had a business model. it was not very good or ambitious enough. But it had one.  Never understood why they didn’t sold advertising at the site and why they never rethought their prices or blog stat packages even before the Yahoo acquisition.

The stats package they sold was expensive and the amount of stats you got from paying were a laugh even compared to StatCounter. They charged you by Blog, didn’t had a global yearly payment option for all your blogs (even if that meant only up to lets say 10 blogs). It never got good and was never updated by Yahoo either.

It should had been a lot better, It should had been Yahoo response to Google Analytics and if they had priced aggressively  by account instead of by Blog. I would not have wanted any other kind of analytics. Many would have agreed with me on that too.

IV.-The API

Unfortunately it came off late at a time where people was already having serious doubts of Yahoo commitment. Pretty much no one used it and there were never good examples to be inspired from when it was introduced.

It would had been used if Yahoo would had built some demos and added proper documentation and a development community worth a damn.

V.-Yahoo Integrated

It never happened. Why it was not better integrated with delicious, flicker, buzz or other Yahoo services is something everybody wondered on without getting a response from Yahoo.

If it had been integrated. Maybe Yahoo would have figured it out what they had bought.

What it could had been?

This is the big one. What MyBlogLog could had archived if they didn’t had sold out or if Yahoo would had the vision to execute the potential of it.

I.-Lijit before there was any Lijit or a Lijit Competitor.

I don’t know if Lijit was a inspired response to what they saw as the void of Blogger having a horrible blog search back then and if they were looking at what MyBlogLog and others were trying to do as a chance for success with their niche product.

That is something only Lijit Founder or CEO can reply to. Lijit obviously archived success and it is doing good enough. But they could have very well never existed or they would be in a never ending competition with MyBlogLog. If the latter had though of adding Blog Search Widgets to their staple prior to any though of Yahoo buying it.

II.-A Better Technorati

I got a rant reserved for Technorati very soon, But seriously.. how i wish MyBlogLog had done that. I cannot think of a reason why they didn’t leveraged their already in place Tagging System and Tag Tracking ways and competed with Technorati. It is a inexcusable thing in my mind.  It was actually what i first thought Yahoo had bought MyBlogLog for.

If they had gone and competed. Technorati would have either died off already or it had been acquired by someone that had done a better job with it.

III.-Wikio/Blogged

The only reason Wikio and Blogged exist, have survived  and i would actually recommend them is because both MyBlogLog and Technorati failed to fulfill their potential. Both saw that and acted. Good for them

IV.-Blog Ad Network

The second thing that crossed my mind when Yahoo acquired MyBlogLog. I seriously thought that they were going to turn it into the playground to  test their AdSense alternative and develop advertising services. Never happened.

But if MyBlogLog had turned itself into a Blog Ad Network, it would had been a great Blog Ads, Technorati Engage, AdBrite and BuySellAds alternative and potentially bigger than any of them.

V.-OneRiot before there was any OneRiot.

MyBlogLog already got the lifestream aggregation, Online ID data and Personal Activity Aggregator services in it. How hard it would had been to search for what they were ALREADY aggregating?

Exactly.

A social real-time search engine would had been a great step into the future for them too.

VI.-Facebook Connect before Facebook connect.

MyBlogLog already had the Online ID Data. They could have turned themselves into a Login ID. What is more tragic is that Yahoo could have bundled their ID with it too. Instead they went on that Solo but it didn’t turned into nothing but a late late late reaction.

VII.-Alternative Blog Comment System with Reputation Ranking and Social Messaging Integration.

Continuing with point VI, There was nothing that complicated with MyBlogLog launching a product of what you now know as JS-KIT Echo or Disqus. They already had everything that was needed.

What Startups Could Replace The Void Left By MyBlogLog?

Lets pretend it is already dead and closed. What other startups could step up and remake what MyBlogLog was and extend on what it should had been?

I.-Blog Catalog

Most obvious choice. They introduced a MyBlogLog like widget already long time ago, they are also a Blog and Blogger Directory.

I.-Lijit

Second most obvious choice. They got a Ad Network, they got blogrolls, they got blog search widgets. Adding a MyBlogLog like functionality would a actual natural evolution.

III.-Blogged

Got a Blog Directory and Blog Ranking Index.

IV.-Wikio

Blog Ranking Index

V.-Technorati

The last obvious one. They got blog search, tags, index, directory and ad network. Adding MyBlogLog like functionality would be a actual good way to revitalize Technorati. I leave it last because it is also in a bad stagnation state. So bad it could not survive 2010 either.

Conclusion

I know i abuse of the hypothetical's here and that the last two points in the “What it could had been” are a bit of a stretch. But that is why this is marked as a Rant after all.

But even if you disagree with most of what i have said. You cannot disagree with the main points with a straight face. MyBlogLog should had done better, Yahoo should have done better. Even at this point if Yahoo truly wanted it. They could easily do EVERYTHING i have listed above. But in their usual late stupidity, they will probably just kill it instead.

*Update* (23/12/09): Yahoo has responded to ReadWriteWeb with a blog post that says absolutely nothing, so stay tuned:  Update on MyBlogLog

*Update 2*(01/02/10) : So far Yahoo has not killed MyBlogLog yet, but has left it to rot instead. Will update if things change.

*Update 3*(24/05/11) : MyBlogLog is now Dead.

.

Technorati Tags: ,,

.



Star Wars Weather Forecast

tmpB

Looking at weather information is not exactly something you could consider fun or amusing. But Star Wars Weather Forecast from Tom Scott manages to be both. 

With it you can put up your City and it will tell you about your weather status referenced to the weather in a Start Wars planet with some witty commentary added into the mix. It is your city currently hot as Tatooine, cold as Hoth or maybe something else?. 3 seconds in this page and you will know.

For example when in consulted the weather of my town it told me that it was like Endor:

Tlalnepantla-Endor 

Linkage

Star Wars Weather Forecast

.

.



21 December 2009

HootMonitor: Website Uptime Monitor With Downtime Alerts

*Update* (09/03/11): This service has been shutdown by its creator and it is no longer in service. For something somewhat similar to it check out DownOrNot.

tmp9BC

HootMonitor is a online service that can Monitor the uptime of your Websites or Blogs and send you a E-mail or Tweet (or both) to Alert you in the case any of them goes down.

This can be specially useful for anyone that is Hosting their website or their blog. I can think specially of Wordpress users since these can go down not only if your host goes down but if you database happens to fail for any reason, your blog has been hit by large amounts of traffic very suddenly (and your blog then fails for some reason) or your blog just got attacked by someone (wordpress specific attacks are now common).

But it don’t has to end there, anyone with a website or a blog elsewhere like Blogger, TypePad,etc can benefit from monitoring the uptime as this can tell you more about your Host or your blog platform reliability.

Hootmonitor best advantage is that you can login without the need of registering via Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Open ID. Pretty much the only big ID provider missing is Live ID. But those 5 are very well enough to ensure you can login into the service right away.

tmp9C3

Once you have logged on you got 2 service versions with 2 different feature sets:

FREE

  • Sites per account    3
  • Check frequency (mins)   60
  • HTTPS support
  • Simple Stats
  • E-mail Downtime Alert
  • Tweet Downtime Alert

Paid

  • Sites per account    15
  • Check frequency (mins)   15
  • HTTPS support
  • Basic HTTP auth support
  • User-agent selection
  • Detailed stats
  • Monthly report
  • RSS feed
  • Page keyword search
  • E-mail Downtime Alert
  • Tweet Downtime Alert
  • SMS Downtime Alert

The Free version is more than enough for most cases. But if you got a blog network or you are a webmaster that needs to be alert anyway of a lot of websites from many clients, then the paid version is a considerable time and money saver depending the nature of the blogs and websites you are running.

I liked Hootmonitor and it is something that i was actually looking so i can keep a eye on Appatic and Bloggeratto. So if you got a blog, it is worth a try.

Linkage

HootMonitor

*Update* (09/03/11): This service has been shutdown by its creator and it is no longer in service. For something somewhat similar to it, check out DownOrNot.

.

.



Tuxpi: Apply Photo Effects And Picture Frames In A Instant

tmpABA

Tuxpi is a easy way to apply photo effects or picture frame effects to a photo directly from a webpage. you only need to upload a photo, apply a photo effect or picture frame and the re-download it the modified photo result.

tmpABC

There are 38 effects in total you can apply to a photo:

    • Motivational Poster Tool

      Create Motivational Posters with custom pictures and text.

    • Postage Stamp

      Your picture as a postage stamp.

    • Polaroid Effect

      Make your pictures appear to be taken with an instant camera.

    • Water Reflection

      Apply a water reflection to your picture.

    • Wanted Poster

      Make a Western Style wanted Poster.

    • Infinity

      This photo effect layers and blends a picture multiple times onto itself, giving it an effect of depth.

    • Pop Art Collage

      Remember the famous Warhol painting? With this tool you can create a similar collage using your own photo.

    • Mat Picture Frame

      Mat and frame your pictures with different colors and textures.

    • Flag Collage

      Create a collage with your photo and the flag of your country.

    • Canvas Tiles

      Modern art style canvas print effect.

    • Thumbnail Picture Frame

      Frame a photo with thumbnails of itself.

    • Stardust

      Add flashy stars to your picture.

    • Film Strip Effect

      Let's your picture look like a piece of a film strip.

    • Newscast Picture

      Make today's news yourself! Create a TV Newscast with your own photo.

    • Pixels

      Adds a clustered pattern to your pictures.

    • Wirl

      An artistic photo effect that layers and blends a picture onto rotated copies of itself.

    • Blueprint Photo Effect

      Add a cool blueprint effect to your picture.

    • Wall Painting Photo Effect

      Gives your photo the look as painted on cement.

    • Brushstroke Frame

      Add a discreet brush pattern around your pictures.

    • Photo Circles

      Circular copies surrounding your picture.

    • Fiery Flames

      Frame your photos with flames.

    • Nightvision

      Easily add a nightvision effect to your picture.

    • Heatmap

      Create a heatmap from your picture.

    • Photo Strips

      Slice your photo into strips and rearrange them.

    • Kaleidoscope

      This photo filter will apply a kaleidoscope effect to your picture.

    • Tritone Filter

    • Flower Frame

      Surround your picture with flowers.

    • Pencil Sketch

      Apply a pencil sketch effect to your photos.

    • Color Channel Swap

      Create fancy color effects by exchanging color channels with each other.

    • Sepia Tone Effect

      Apply a sepia tone to your photographs.

    • Swirl Picture Frame

      Montage your picture onto swirled tiles of itself.

    • Fade Out Effect

      Fade out parts of your photos, make them blend with the background or add a glowing effect.

    • Shape Tool

      Crop your photo to irregular shapes.

    • Pixeled Picture Frame

      Montages your photo onto a pixelized copy of itself.

Linkage

Tuxpi

.

.



ToDo: Text ToDo List For Your Desktop

tmp92E

I have posted about some pretty basic and simple ToDo apps before in Appatic. But ToDo is not only basic in its generic name. I am pretty much sure that it must be one of the most basic apps that may have ever been done in WPF too.

Done by Clint Rutkas as a excuse to play with WPF. ToDo is a ToDo List app that will render the Text inside a .txt file you need to name “todo” and put in your desktop.

tmpAB5

This way you can now manage your ToDo List with a .txt file that will update the rendered text every time you change it. You need to have a clear wallpaper for you to see the text from the ToDo List.

Right now if you want to install and use it you only need to download the zip file. extract it to a folder anywhere you may like and launch from the setup file. Assign a desktop shortcut to it and once you place a .txt file named todo with some text in it. The app will render the text.

So simple and yet convoluted that i cannot help but be amused by this little app. Needless to say that i don’t accept reclaims if you install it and dislike it. You should only download if this almost “too basic” idea amuses you too.

Linkage

ToDo Info        <—Project Page

ToDo                 <—Direct Download Link

.

via Clint Rutkas

.

.



SendShots: A Quick Way To Share Private Video Messages Online

tmpAB0

SendShots is a way for you to record private video messages with your webcam and microphone without you having to do it offline.

tmpAAD

The concept here is to save you time. Because if you only got a integrated webcam and mic, then it also means you can record a video, but then you need to upload it online and share it with the default software you may have for it. SendShots point is that you record your video message online and then it will help you share it by sending  a video link for the video to whoever you want to see it via e-mail. It is a simple Flash based app and this is all it does.

tmpAAF

A nice single-purpose tool if you got a netbook with cam and you just want to send a simple video message without you wanting to record it locally.

Linkage

SendShots

.

.



20 December 2009

Framer: Put Your Photos Into Frames In 3 Clicks

tmp992

Framer is a Flash based Single-Purpose app that lets you apply frames to your photos and re-download them with the Frames added. It got 13 Frame Styles that can be applied to a photo. 

Linkage

Framer         <—Direct Link

.

Technorati Tags: ,

.



Slidentity: A Basic Presentation Creation App In Silverlight 3

tmp93F

 

Slidentity is a Presentation Creation app that Mike Harsh from the Silverlight team at Microsoft worked on for a Month by himself, and that he actually used as a code proof of concept while Silverlight 3 was in beta and later on also as a Tech Demo once Silverlight 3 was released as he did his presentation about Silverlight 3 using Slidentity to do them.

tmp94C

The best of the app is not only it is simple, light and looks good. What make it a nice choice if you need to make a basic presentation is that you can use it directly from your browser or that you can use it in your desktop because it got SL3 Out Of Browser support.

tmp950

Features

 

Line Editing

  • Bullets and indents using the tab key
  • Font face, size, style and color

Slide Editing

  • Background image and color
  • Slide reordering

Presentation

  • 3D cube view Transition effect
  • Full Screen View ( Ctrl+F)
  • Zooming In  (Ctrl+Z)
  • Open & Save Locally
  • Can be loaded into a querystring

Usage

  • Via Browser (IE, Safari, Firefox)
  • Via OOB install     (PC and Mac)

Some Notes

As with all Silverlight 3 with OOB, if you want to install it you only need to right click once you are viewing it in your Browser and if you want uninstall once you already got it installed in your desktop, then you only need to launch it and right click again once it has loaded.  Installing or Uninstalling takes no more than 10 seconds to archive.

Linkage

Slidentity  <—App Files Link

 

*Update* (03/09/2013) : The app website has been down for like a year. And so it is the case for the app files. But given someone requested me the app files. I have now upload them and updated the link in this post  accordingly. You can still use the app in-browser by clicking on the default.html file inside the Slidentity.Web folder. However you cannot install it to desktop without it breaking. Later I will show an easy way to keep using the app for those that happened to really like it and update this post with a link to that.

.

via Mike Harsh Blog

.

.



Picasa Downloader: A Simple Picasa Album Downloader

tmp8FD            tmp92E

Downloading Picasa Albums in bulk is something that is not straight forward and simple. Many people use Picasa without really liking it because they got a Blogger Blog. Many don’t like the Picasa Desktop because it overlaps with Windows Live Photo Gallery and adding Picasa Support in WLPG is merely a case of adding a Plugin. So if you are using Picasa Web Albums and you are just interested in Downloading your Albums at any time…

Picasa Downloader is a Open Source .NET 2.0 based App that got the single purpose of letting you download your Picasa Albums in one go. All without you needing to have Picasa Desktop installed.

tmp900

What you see in the picture above is everything you need to know and see. You put the username of your Picasa Account ID, click list and it will list your Picasa Albums, you only need to click download and off you go.

That is all. No thrills, frills, or dazzle to be found in this app, but what it is set to do it does very well. It is also very light in resources and stable. Can be used in Windows XP, Vista or 7.

Linkage

Picasa Downloader Info       <—Project Homepage

Picasa Downloader                 <—Direct Download Link

.

.



14 December 2009

TeuxDeux: Online Calendar Timeline Styled ToDo List App

tmpB1

TeuxDeux (Phonetic play of To Do) is a very different kind of To-Do app, because of its Horizontal Timeline format that makes me think in Plurk and its strict use of Minimalism in its design.  It was designed by Swiss Miss and built by Fictive Kin in what results a very good Designer Studio-Development Studio collaboration because while TeuxDeux could not be simpler from how it looks and how it works. This kind of simple is usually hard to archive when it comes to having the will to Edit and Cutout as much from a elaborate design and end up with something basic while keeping relation to whatever the original concept was when it was being developed.

The Service

tmp41A

 

Once you have made your account it is ready to go. You are presented with a simple the mentioned Horizontal Calendar Timeline interface and right away you will see that the present day is marked in red to give you the sense of urgency and to call out your attention while subsequent days are presented in black. If you go back in the Timeline it will show the days and lists in them all grayed out and faded.

You only need to write into each day input field and hit enter to start filling you To-Do list columns. There is no way to rearrange them or mark their corresponding priority yet. I think a option that simply showed entries numbered as you input them would go a long way. So would be the way to rearrange them in the column.

You can write your tasks and reminders as long as you want them but TeuxDeux will only show the first line. You only need to hover in the “…” line for it to be shown as a context tooltip. If you don’t cross a task you have put for the present day, TeuxDeux will move it to the next day automatically. A simple but great thought gesture.  Yet a option to mark a task with “Only Today” rule would be handy for task that cannot be done any other day. That way they would not get moved automatically.

 

tmp419

Another good design call from TeuxDeux is that it got a always present Show/Hide Feedback tab in the bottom right of the interface that lets you give feedback to the team at any given time without any transition elsewhere or without the new of a Lightbox.

tmp41B

Finally, if you scroll down to the end of the page, there is a Someday list set of columns that TeuxDeux refers as a Bucket List. So TeuxDeux is not only for short-term To-Do lists but also the Hypothetical, the Wishful and the Long Term ones.  Certainly a nice Final touch. So that’s about it. There are no real settings or anything else you can go see in the service.

Features

  • - week overview
  • - check off done tasks
  • - delete tasks
  • - move tasks
  • - someday bucket

The Demo

TeuxDeux put a well thought out Demo that is very quick  so i am adding it here too. In case you just need to see another take.

TeuxDeux Demo from TeuxDeux on Vimeo.

Some Notes

There is nothing really wrong with TeuxDeux as it is. But given the layout you are given, you immediately start thinking in what kind of features would be good to have in it. I did some suggestions above. But just like i put in their Feedback Tab, what i would like to see in order to use it in my usual workflow that others might also find useful to have is the following:

  1. A way to set the Font Size.
  2. A way to set the size of TeuxDeux itself so you can easily have it in another but smaller browser window while you are working. I think 800x600 would be more than perfect.
  3. A 3 days overview based on Past-Present-Future.  So you can see 3 column lists. One for Yesterday so you know what you did, Today for what you are doing or should be about to do and Tomorrow so you act upon on that today. For me there is no really a need to see 5 days at a time.

Other thing that would be good to have is a Mobile Web version so it can be seen in every Smartphone OS

But that said, TeuxDeux is a really refreshing take on To-Do List apps and i love the concept and execution of its first version. If development on it has a nice pace, it is a app that could really make a difference for some. Very Recommended to take a look to it.

Linkage

TeuxDeux

.

via Digital Inspiration.

.

.



13 December 2009

Yes, Appatic Is Changing Theme

 

I am deciding on the new look for the site based in the Urban Snow Template i had made previously (Bloggeratto).

There are going to be some bumps and sudden changes here and there.

Sorry in advance for any inconvenience you may encounter while visiting the homepage.

*Update 1*(13/12/09): It may very take all week to get it right but posting WILL NOT be interrupted.

.



10 December 2009

Capture A Screenshot: A Basic Screen Snipping Tool For XP

 

tmpAD

With XP there is a constant tryout of Snipping Tools because XP didn’t came with one in the form of a integrated accessory app. This of course came by default with Vista and was improved a little bit in Windows 7. So if you got a XP it is more than likely you have a third party desktop snipping tool. Capture-A-Screenshot is one of the definitive classic ones.

tmpA7

It is basic, small, minimal and to the point. You got choices for:

  • Entire Screen
  • Active Window
  • Selection

Plus the optional features of specifying which path you are going to save to and what name you are going to give the capture. That is it. The reason you may like it is precisely because it is so simple and because it so light (670k). A good option to try if you got a XP based Netbook.

Linkage

Capture A Screenshot Info            <--Homepage

Capture A Screenshot                     <—Direct Download Link

.

.



09 December 2009

Meizu M8 Theme Builder

tmp178               tmp3CF

Unlike what the constant diatribe most of the Big Gadget Blogs usually spew about the Meizu M8, it is actually a nice alternative smartphone. I got the chance to handle one since a guy i know somehow had got his hands on one now that they come with Wi-Fi. It is a good device, there are actually over a thousand apps for the device and it is a popular device in its natal taiwan.

The difference with this chinese device is that the materials and the OS base got the same kind of quality you can expect from major brands. Being honest the Meizu M8 with its WinCE 6.0 based OS got beat most Symbian and LG or Samsung Custom OSes based smartphones very easily. The Meizu is going to get its own App Store soon and it should provide lots of good stuff for those that have got one or that would like to get one.

main

call    standby

Meizu M8 Theme Builder is a Open Source .NET 3.5 app that will let you do better themes for the Meizu M8 that can be used and reused multiple times. If you got a M8, it is really a great app to have.  It will let you customize in a very easy way the main screen, the call screen and the standby screen.

But the developer in the project assures he will do more releases and that these will allow for a lot more customization. Right now there is a 2.0 stable release and a 2.5 beta release to choose from.

Linkage

Meizu M8 Theme Builder Info     <—Project Page

Meizu M8 Theme Builder              <—Download Page

.

.



Fix WMP 1.0: In The Case You Need To Fix Windows Media Player

tmp3C8

There is always a lot of hollering about alternate WMP options, but the truth of the matter is that you can also Mod Windows Media Player with plugins, themes and codec packs of all kinds. The amount of power  it can reach really has to do with what Windows OS you are running. XP version is not as powerful as the one from Vista even if they are the “same” version. Windows 7 of course triumphs all WMP versions in what it does by default and what can be pushed to do.

But if you are indeed a WMP power user, then you know that sometimes you do something wrong and cripple it and leave it inoperable. There are of course the cases when the failure comes from root-kits and media based malware files that can make WMP to die on you.

tmpAB

The Windows Club is now putting a end to you having to uninstall, clean, reboot and reinstall sessions by releasing Fix WMP 1.0. Like the other Fixer Apps from them, Fix WMP 1.0 is a portable app you can use to fix a app without having to reinstall (rebooting is still recommended).  You can use it in XP, Vista  & Windows 7.

So if you are getting WMP errors or you know you broke it. This is the recommended app to repair that.

Linkage

Fix WMP 1.0 Info      

.

.



Windows 7 USB / DVD Download Tool Available Again And Now Open Source.

 

          

After a long time unavailable, the  Windows 7 USB / DVD Download Tool (WUDT) is now available again and it is now being offered in Codeplex under a GPLv2 license.

Peter Galli, Open Source Community Manager at Microsoft explains the details here:

Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool Released Under GPLv2

I have now accordingly updated my post on it and all links are now working.

Link:   http://www.appatic.com/2009/10/windows-7-usb-dvd-download-tool.html



Interview With Ryan Goodwin, CEO Of Simler.com

This is a guest contribution by Matt R. A good online friend of mine that allowed me to republish his interview for Appatic. Pay him a visit in his Posterous Blog

tmp498 

How did you come up with the idea for Simler?

The idea for Simler was born from using other social networks like Facebook. It was really fun to reconnect with old friends for a while. But I consistently noticed that I would talk to these people once or twice only to lose touch once again. Why? Because we have nothing in common. The simple idea of creating a place for people to connect based on common interests was an obvious step. And surprisingly enough, no one else was really doing this.

So I asked myself, how would people want to connect with others based on interests? It seemed that networking around one interest at a time as well as being able to compare multiple interests other people would be the most compelling.

How long has Simler been in production?

The idea for Simler was hatched in January. I incubated the idea for another four months before starting design. Development started in June. We put the first users on in August in order to help with the proof of concept. And by October, we were open to the public—albeit in Beta.

What is Simler built on?

Simler is built on a Django framework, although we have started breaking out of Django and going straight to python in order to increase performance. Front-end technologies include JQuery, JSON, and AJAX.

Would you say that Twitter is competition?

No, we are a totally different animal. Twitter is about content publishing in 140 characters or less. Because of this, it has truly become a platform for Guru's and Groupie's. Simler is about discussion and deeper relationships based on common interests. The only real overlap is that both can be put into a social messages platform "industry." We believe that most people will continue to use Twitter to publish, while they can use Simler for more in depth discussions about any topic under the sun.

Will we be seeing a Desktop and iPhone version anytime soon?

Allowing more ways for people to participate in the discussions  is most definitely in the works. We are working on an API right now to allow third parties to develop for our platform. We are also working on developing our own iPhone app to make it easier for people to participate on the go.

What's next for Simler?

In the future, the possibilities for Simler are literally endless. But our mission will remain the same: creating the easiest way for people to connect with others based on commonalities.

--------------------------

Some Notes (Avatar X):

While my Full Review update of my Simler.com Preview Post may still be weeks away, This is a nice and quick Interview on Simler.com genesis and serves as a snapshot of the concept and direction Simler is going for. Right now another of the recent news was that Simler had a medium but very very untested and unfinished update, that it is now really doing promotion (Ads, Pr, etc) and to top it it off that Louis Gray will be serving as Advisor of Simler. These are great things for the service and it does paints a light of hope for simler to transcend. I look forward to the update that will finally take it to version 1.0 (from the 0.9 it is right now)

Linkage

Simler.com

via Original Interview Version (Matt R.)

.

.



Transmute: Advanced Bookmark Manager And Converter

 

tmp4B7

In essence, Transmute main utility is to covert and transfer Browser Bookmarks (Any Main Browser) so they can be used in another browser you got installed. This app is for those that use Two Browsers or/and those/that also like to have around all of the main browsers installed for any given reason like yours truly.

But Transmute app got two sides; A Free One and A Paid One. So Lets lay them down:

Free Transmute

tmp4B8

Features

.

1.-Extensive Browser Support

tmp4C1

2.-Ease of Use

The free consist on three clicks operations so it could not be easier, the pro version is very well laid out too and while featured it is very straight forward.

3.-Safe Transfer

Transmute Backups the Bookmarks before converting and keeps track of that when it transfers them to another browser.

Paid Transmute (PRO)

tmp4BA

Everything FREE Transmute has and….

Advanced Features

.

4.- Online Bookmark Service Exporting

It can export to Delicious or Google Bookmarks.

5.-Use Profiles

Store and run multiple conversions from a single profile. This allows for easy execution, reuse and tweaking

6.-Advanced Control

Advanced modes, including presets such as "Mirror" and "Synchronize," allow you to control exactly how your bookmarks are handled.

7.-Duplicates Removal

Remove duplicate bookmarks on a per-folder or per-collection basis.

8.-Dead Bookmark Removal
Delete dead links to keep your collection up-to-date and optimized.
9.-Customizable Sorting

Sort your folders and/or bookmarks according to the specified properties.

10.-Command Line Support

Run profiles directly from the command line. This is essential for automatic scheduling as well as running conversions from batch files or other programs.

Some Notes

The FREE version of Transmute is more than enough if your use and management of Bookmarks is not intensive and you just want to have your bookmarks in your two most used browsers locally.

The Paid version of Transmute will run you $25 bucks. A price i consider quite steep for this kind of app. It would be nice if it was $9.99 or even $14.95. $25 is just too much but if you really want it is because your Bookmark management needs are very intense that you need to  sync even locally, need to be constantly checking for your Bookmarks status and you are also interested in having your Bookmark Locally and Online. But even if that it is the case you can replace the paid features with two separate apps and just use the Free part of Transmute. But as i said, if it was better priced and it offered support for more online services like Live Favorites (via Skydrive), Xmarks and Diigo. Then it would truly be more worthy of consideration.

But you can also get the Paid version for free if you are willing to fill some surveys and check some ad based offers from trailpay. And if you are a Android user you may also have another reason for the paid version as there is a Transmute Android app. Really weird to not see a iphone and windows mobile equivalent yet, so that is another point of improvement it would be needed to make the service rounder. But the basic service of what Transmute does it and does it so well that it is the best app for that so far, that i have seen. So that it is the reason i still recommend to use it.

Transmute is a .NET 2.0 app so it works in Windows XP, Vista & 7

There are also Mono 2.4 versions for Max OS X and Linux

Linkage

Transmute Info                              <—Homepage

Transmute FREE                          <—Direct Download Link

Transmute FREE Portable      <—Direct Download Link

Transmute FREE Linux           <—Direct Download Link

Transmute FREE OS X              <—Direct Download Link

.

.



08 December 2009

The Problem Of Filebox And Too Generous Online Storage Services In General. [Rant]

 

tmp1AA

No one likes to be the realist, but while Filebox 488 Gigabytes of Cloud Storage for Free sound like a incredible gift from heaven (get it?). Filebox even got a more outrageous claim: You can profit from your uploaded files by sharing.

This remembers me of the classic 3 Steps for Profit guide most should be familiar with if you have been using the internet for at least 1 year:

  • 1.-Spend Money (In Huge amounts of servers and bandwidth while paying users for spending resources like crazy.)
  • 2.-??????????????????????????
  • 3.-Profit!!!

And it is not as if history has not taught us better with many many many Online Storage Services, that have debuted with claims from 50gb to 1 Terabyte of free storage, and so far all have gone bankrupt or never caught on and that is the reason some of them lasted for a while.

The best example being ADrive (25gb) from AOL. AOL, whatever you may think of it is not a “small” or “irrelevant” company, leave those kind of attack words to Silicon Valley bloggers. Yet they failed to make projections for its Online Storage Service that would work fast enough for them to justify investing on it. I see that case as overcautious and i still think that was a big mistake from AOL as well it was when it shutdown its Photo Storage service. But they are on their right to be overcautious.

What about Yahoo retiring from this space all together and concentrating in supporting the storage on their E-mail service and Flickr?.

Or how about streamload from Mediamax that offered lots of Gigabytes for free and then said “just kidding, it was just a test”.

There are many other examples all around of failures in that space coming from Big companies. The ones that have succeeded in the space is because they offer little for free and everything else on a paid basis (Dropbox, Box.net), Are heavily Ad based and Commercial Driven (like MegaUpload) or in the cases they offer a lot is because it requires some compromises and the services are P2P based (like wuala).

There is only one company that has been able to offer 25gb for free that you know it won’t go up in the smoke and that is SkyDrive from Microsoft. Go figure. They still have a file size limitation but it is to be expected.

And just to put in perspective how expensive the space of Online Storage is. It can be even more expensive than VIDEO depending on the scale of users. This is the sole reason why Google didn’t dared to enter the space years ago as it originally intended. If Google tomorrow decided to match the same 25gb of Skydrive and decided it is going to allow you the File Size to be of 1gb with a fully public and featured service. The potential cost of launching such a offering would be very big because they would need to make sure that the storage and bandwidth is there from the let go for no less than 10 million accounts.

You obviously would then think that 10m x 25gb = 250 petabytes. You would be wrong since the data needs to be replicated from 2 to 3 times and you need to add a full run of bandwidth to the mix so that would give you a potential 1000 petabytes (1 exabyte) of resources they need to have from day one for such a service. Having a higher file size range will also mean that every failed transaction will cost more and that every download session will cost more than the one from SkyDrive. That is why SkyDrive was launched headless and restricted and has been improved in a very slowly way. The costs are Sky High! (pun intended). Obviously that for Chrome OS to be launched, The so far elusive gDrive does have to exist and be launched before or a bit after Chrome OS debuts. But i am telling you that the costs and resources needed for that will make YouTube costs seem like not a big deal.

So even if FileBox only get to have lets say 1000 users right now and are ready to grow to 10k users. That still means they need to have 1 petabyte of resources right now (In the best-case scenario) and that they will be able to have 10 petabytes of resources  later on for their growth in the first year and be able to pony up the money for that in advance without having any profit!!……...

So forgive me if i just don’t recommend you to go using a service that while the scale of users is very small wants to give you 20 times more free resources for you to use and abuse than the top free service.

Maybe it is just me not forgetting history easily or that the economics  and service propositions just don’t match up for me. You are of course free to disagree.

But if you are using it, just don’t use it for critical files or files with personal value.

I just wish new Online Storage Services would focus on improving the UI-UX and the coverage of access and everything around the service that could make it awesome. and not in throwing around Insane amounts of resources just because.

*Numbers i throw down here are actually conservative. But even then just approximates that should be taken with a grain of salt since they are for context and illustrative purposes*

Linkage

FileBox

.

.



07 December 2009

AM-DeadLink: Detect And Remove Dead Links From Your Bookmarks

 

tmpC9

AM-DeadLink is a nifty little utility for the only goal to help you remove dead links from your browsers bookmarks. Because if you are like me you got thousands of local bookmarks even if you later sync them online, they are there.

So when you get to certain amount of Bookmarks, managing if you still need old bookmarks or not is a pain. That is where this little tool should help to make things easier and a lot faster for you.

tmpCB

There is not really much else about it, it is also not a “pretty” app but its usefulness is big enough to let that slide. You can use it in every Windows OS from Windows 98 to Windows 7. But in the case of Vista & 7 it may be better to run in compatibility mode, if you see it is not working right the very first time you launch it.

Linkage

AM-DeadLink Info        <—Homepage

Am-DeadLink                 <—Direct Download Link 

.

.



04 December 2009

There Will Be Rants

 

therewillbeblood2

Around apps and tech that is.

I decided that i want Appatic to be more personal and conversational than now. One of the best ways is to bring Rants into it. There are a lot of times when i write in my notes while researching posts, some stuff that of course never makes it to the actual post because it is too much back story or i go on a tangent about the Why, How and Who of this App, service exists, is worth a shot, etc.

Just today i had to erase a 1000 words draft i had on Etherpad since it is now useless because of the news of Google acquiring it. I already had this happen to me here in Appatic 3 times so far. It happened me with a private beta of something that i had got invites to give here and the post had to be erased because the startup in question resulted to be not only illegal and now it don’t even exists.  Other post got shafted because a startup in private beta changed his opinion on me showing photos and doing a preview.  Unlike big blogs, i do respect NDA’s, i do respect your CEO’s calls. So if you tell me to back down, i will honor the NDA. That is how it is.

But there also a lot of stuff you learn about the startups, the CEO behind the startups and so on that would not be out of place if wrote for Valleywag. but it is not the dish that actually interests me to tell (to know, if it falls on my path?..well..). For me it about the motivations and the connections of how such a product came to success or failure.

So, expect to read some Rants at any given time since i will not even try to schedule them .

And there is no need to actually assure they will be 100% rants, if we go the civil route in the naming, they can easily be: Opinion Pieces. Or at least that would be the idea.



ClocX: A Super Featured Widget Like Alarm Clock With Reminders And A Calendar For Windows.

 

tmpAC2

ClocX is the perfect example of a multi-purpose tool disguised and a single-purpose one that at first look seems like the most simple thing. This is of course a Lie. While ClocX looks almost as if it was a random Windows Gadget, It is a super featured but super light multi-purpose Alarm Clock.

Another good example of what i cite above would be my almost too long title for this very post.

tmpAC5       tmpACA

ClocX is one of the Apps i actually use on a daily basis because it is so well thought out and yet so extremely light in resources that until now i have not found anything that can replace it.

tmpACB

Features

1.-Widget-Like

It is a full desktop app that behaves like a small windows desktop gadget

2.-Alarm 

Just by sound, With Alarm Window Reminders, App Trigger, Shutdown Trigger.

3.-Calendar

No thrills, No Frills, just a simple calendar included

4.-Super Light

Uses 5-15mb of Ram

5.-Super Customizable

Skinnable, Resizeable and Transparency Capable

6.-Super Controllable

You can Pin it, Lock it,Make it Float, Adapt it to low resolutions or Multiple Monitors

7.-Super Compatible

You can use it in Any Windows OS made in the last 15 years:  95,98, 2000,ME,XP, Vista and Windows 7. Full feature set only from 2000 and up. You can also use it in 64bit versions of XP, Vista and Windows 7 and if that was not enough it comes in 30 different languages. So it is safe say that this is pretty much a “UNIVERSAL” Windows Desktop app.

tmpAC4

Some Notes

What i can say is that to me it is one of the best Alarm Clock apps for Windows ever ever. That is the reason i had to post about it here, since i personally have been using it for years. One of the reasons and that don’t appears here explained further is because it can run multiple instance of itself and you can also set multiple Alarm task and add a different reminder to each Alarm task. I also must specially recommend it for netbooks or laptops as it is a great way to manage time while you are working.

The only bad thing about it is that it is not in active development anymore and that is a real shame because the last thing the developer was adding was the idea of making it extensible via plugins. I can only imagine how even more awesome it would have been if he had added a Skins and Plugins gallery. But even then it comes included with lots of skins and if you don’t find them enough you can grab the skins and customize them yourself and create your own skins without any problem. Super recommended Windows Desktop app.

Linkage

ClocX Info               <—Home Page

ClocX Resources    <—Download Page

ClocX                     <—Direct Download Link

.



Categories

Subscribe Via Email

Web Analytics