Web roundup: Feb 19, 2008

February 20, 2008

What’s going on around the internet world??? News and analyses from best and well-regard sources such as TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, VentureBeat, etc.

Read the round up at www.unitedBIT.com

VCs putting money into personal finance sites

February 17, 2008

Venture capitalists have been busy investing in personal-finance Web start-ups, attempting to tap into a new generation of consumers who have never balanced a checkbook and increasingly view online money management as they would any other kind of Web service.

Read at www.unitedBIT.com

Is bad news for banner ads equal to good news for ‘featuretisements’?

February 17, 2008

In 2007, BlueTie has developed a new Web marketing technique, called ‘featuretisement.’ For advertisers or retailers, featuretisements blend the targeting of AdSense with the one-click sale of an auction or store listing. For users working inside a Web application such as BlueTie’s hosted e-mail and collaboration software, they minimize disruption.

Read at www.unitedBIT.com

HR’s struggle with Web 2.0

February 15, 2008

They’re born at a seemingly nonstop pace: Web start-ups offering new ways for businesses to connect with people. Companies large and small are furiously developing MySpace pages and Facebook applications, and hoping that the masses will beat paths straight to their doors.Some companies have leveraged the parade of Internet hot shots to their advantage, and many are still trying to find a way. They understand the value of connecting with people as customers. But when it comes to using the Internet to connect with people as potential recruits, it’s a different story.

Read at www.unitedBIT.com

Nielsen: How People Use Web Video

February 15, 2008

In its first significant study of how people consume online video, Nielsen Online has found that women tend to favor network television on the Web, while men are drawn to user-created content.

Women are nearly twice as likely as men to tune into videos on TV networks’ Web sites, according to Nielsen Online’s first public release of its research into online-video viewing habits.

Reat at www.unitedBIT.com

Online Software: Buzz vs. Business

February 15, 2008

Online software is supposed to make business computing cheaper and easier. But cost and simplicity don’t matter if the software doesn’t do what a company needs it to do. That is currently one of the challenges facing corporate-technology leaders. Even the ones who favor online software often can’t find a product that meets their needs. And ultimately, that is what is most important for businesses.

Read at www.unitedBIT.com

The Truth About Software as a Service (SaaS)

February 14, 2008

“What if we created a utility for enterprise automation? Then you don’t have to create a data center! Then you don’t have to have a CIO!” That was Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff in June 2003, selling the benefits of the then-new concept of software as a service (SaaS). Fast-forward four years, and Salesforce.com and dozens of other companies are inundating business users and CIOs alike with pitches for all sorts of SaaS applications. Right now, SaaS seems to be everywhere.

Read at www.unitedBIT.com

Three Big Ideas for Doing CRM Online in 2008

February 14, 2008

Just 10% of the 558 IT executives we polled in CIO’s latest “State of the CIO” survey identified “external customer focus” as critical to their jobs. That’s not enough. The external customer is exactly whom CIOs should understand. Across industries, understanding how customers interact with the company must inform the work of IT managers. Doing so can mean more profits for the company, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity for career development.

Read more at unitedBIT.com

Web Meeting Service Startup Takes On Cisco, Microsoft

November 21, 2007

Dimdim, a startup made up of entrepreneurs and technologists, on Monday launched a free Web meeting service that’s meant to compete with Cisco Systems’ WebEx and Microsoft’s PlaceWare. The service, also called Dimdim, will be showcased at this week’s DEMOfall 07 conference where new products, technologies, and companies make their debut. The free service is offered as a private beta for now, but will be widely available on registration basis in two to three months.

Dimdim is browser-based and doesn’t require any software to be installed, which makes it easy to use, said DD Ganguly, the company’s CEO and co-founder, in an interview. “A customer once told us: ‘This is just like visiting a web site.’ Anyone who can use a browser irrespective of technical ability can use Dimdim,” Ganguly said.

Dimdim uses a rich Internet application with advanced collaboration features. The service allows people to share their desktop files, show slides, and chat using a webcam. Cisco and Microsoft offer similar capabilities as part of their Web meeting services. Cisco acquired Web conferencing company WebEx earlier this year, with plans to integrate its own voice and video products into the WebEx offering.

CEO Ganguly said what makes Dimdim unique is its open source foundation. “We’re about democratizing collaboration,” Ganguly said.

The service integrates open source components, such as the Google Web toolkit for Ajax applications, the Red5 open source Flash server, and the Tomcat application server, with Dimdim’s open source software.

Additionally, it works on computers that run different operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.

There are three versions of Dimdim available: a free browser-based version, open source server-side software that can be downloaded from Sourceforge.net, and an enterprise version that can be purchased for a fee by small and medium-sized businesses.

The enterprise version is customizable and scalable. For example, it allows hundreds of participants to be on a Web conference at the same time, whereas the free version doesn’t. Dimdim also offers 24/7 support for the enterprise version.

Schools and universities can integrate Dimdim’s server-side software with e-learning apps, while companies can integrate it with customer-relationship management (CRM) apps for a better collaboration experience, said Ganguly.

Dimdim is supported by venture funding from firms that also have invested in Skype, Hotmail, and MySQL. The investors include Draper Richards, Index Ventures, and Nexus India Capital.


Web Travel Resources

November 16, 2007

By A. Martin

Practically every airline trip today begins on the Internet. But with so many travel-related Web sites, if you don’t know where to look, you can end up experiencing information overload, wasting time, and getting frustrated.

Travelocity.Travelocity Business promises 24-hour-a-day phone support for business travelers at no additional charge. Its FareWatcher Plus gives you automatic updates on fare changes and deals for up to ten destinations. Windows Vista users can install the Travelocity Desktop FareWatcher gadget to receive alerts.

Expedia. This popular site also offers tools and services for business travelers. In addition, it includes helpful tips and information on 65 airports worldwide, to help you figure out how to spend your time during layovers.

Orbitz. Orbitz’s Traveler Update provides a dashboard-style overview of current security wait times, local traffic, weather, flight status, parking rates, Wi-Fi network accessibility, and other information for U.S. airports. Traveler Update combines information generated by users as well as reports from the FAA, TSA, and other sources. You can use the service on your computer and on Web-enabled phones.

SideStep.This site searches over 200 travel booking and airline sites–including Expedia, Travelocity, and JetBlue–and displays results in its downloadable toolbar. When you research a trip on a travel booking site, SideStep’s toolbar automatically pops up to show you the itineraries it recommends so you can easily comparison shop. You can search for airfares, hotels, cars, vacation packages, cruises, and more.

Airfarewatchdog.com. The folks at Airfarewatchdog.com claim that “real people” compare airfares on airlines that booking Web sites don’t typically include, such as Southwest Airlines. The site also includes smaller airlines, such as Allegiant Air and international carriers, which don’t usually share their best fares with the big travel booking sites. The site is no-frills but includes useful features, such as Fare of the Day and Top 50 Fares.

LastMinuteTravel.com. The name pretty much sums it up.This siteis designed to help you find the best fares for airlines, hotels, cruises, rental cars, and vacation packages, particularly for those traveling with little advance notice.

Mobissimo. Unlike some travel booking sites,Mobissimo lets you search for international trips as well as domestic U.S. jaunts. The site is limited to airlines, hotels, and rental cars.

Flycheapo.com. This bare-bones site is useful for finding low-cost carriers within Europe.

WhichBudget. Going beyond Flycheapo.com,WhichBudget helps you find low-cost carriers in 124 countries. The site’s text-heavy interface will give you flashbacks to the mid-nineties, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless.

I wrote about the following sites in my July column.

Farecast. This site charts recent airfare history for the itineraries you enter and predicts what your trip is likely to cost in the immediate future.PC World named Farecastone of the 20 Most/ Innovative Products of 2006.

Kayak. Use Kayak to search multiple travel booking sites. The Buzz section reveals the best prices others have found using the site. Kayak was named one of PC World’s Top 100 Best Products of 2007.

ITA Software.This site is known for being objective (unlike some travel sites) and makes it easy to find itineraries that combine the lowest fares and convenient routing.

Yapta. You can use Yaptato get alerts whenever an airline itinerary you’ve booked drops in price. Armed with that knowledge, you may be able to receive a refund or credit for the difference between what you paid and the lower fare.

FlightStats. Head to FlightStats for on-time performance records for major airlines.

SeatGuru. Peruse seating diagrams for domestic and international planes at SeatGuru.

15 Essential Mobile Web Sites: Ever needed to make, shall we say, a pit stop when you’re on the go? The mobile browser version of MizPee may help you find the quick relief you need. Read about MizPee and 14 other great Web sites for mobile browsers in our roundup.

The Best Mobile Browsers: You might not be surprised to learn that Apple’s Safari Mobile, for the iPhone, earned our thumbs up among mobile browsers. We also reviewed Palm’s Blazer, the RIM BlackBerry browser, and others. Which browser came in last price? You might be surprised.

Mobile Broadband Explained: Quick–what’s the difference between EvDO and EDGE? If you’re not sure, read our “Business Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Broadband.”

Stuck in an unfamiliar town? These sites help you get the most out of your business trip.

Menu Pages.This guide to over 25,000 restaurants in eight metro areas provides user reviews and downloadable menus.

OpenTable.com. Want to book a table for four people tomorrow night at 8 o’clock?OpenTable.com lets you quickly discover which restaurants in a given city (20 in the U.S., a few internationally) have availability at a particular time, then book a table. Members earn points that can be redeemed for discounts at participating eateries. OpenTable.com includes links to reviews in Zagat.com and other sites.

Zagat. The famed guide to restaurants, featuring consumer reviews and ratings, is available digitally in several forms. You can get restaurant details for freeon your laptop(but no ratings or reviews) or cell phone Web browser. For $5 (for 30 days) or $25 (for 12 months), you can access Zagat’s reviews and ratings on a laptop or cell phone browser. Other options: Download the Zagat application and database ($30) onto your Palm, BlackBerry, or Pocket PC handheld; or buy a CD-ROM for your computer ($30). Go to the Zagat Survey Shop for
info on these service.

Chowhound. Thisfoodie sitefeatures reviews and tips from diners around the world, plus interviews with experts; forums; videos; and blogs

TripAdvisor. Here’s where hotel junkies trade secrets, reviews, tips, and photos. Users rate hotels on such things as service, value, and cleanliness.The site features forums, in which travelers pose questions to other travelers. You can also book hotel and airline reservations.

USAToday.com. The newspaper’s Hotel Hot sheet blog is ideal for keeping up with the latest hotel trends and news.

HotelChatter.This blog has tons of hotel news, gossip, and reviews, as well as annually updated lists of the best and worst hotels with Wi-Fi.

Google Maps. I’ve had mixed success with all the mapping/direction sites. But I use Google Maps most often, because I love the satellite and street view features and the real-time traffic updates. I also use Google Maps on my Treo for on-the-go driving directions without a GPS.

Weather.com. For thousands of cities worldwide,Weather.com lets see how local weather will affect outdoor activities; allergies; skin
conditions; even weddings.

YouTube. There are thousands of user-posted videos in the Travel & Places categories.

Travelistic.com. This is probably the most travel-focused video sharing sit, with over 5000 videos shot by and for travelers.

USAToday.com. The newspaper’s Travel site aggregates tons of tools and information for travelers, including MileTracker, a downloadable application for tracking frequent flier miles and MileMarker, a calculator that helps you determine how many miles you’ll need to fly from points A to B.

Town and Country Travel. The high-end travel magazine’s Web site features a useful directory of linked travel resources. Ask the
Concierge, an online feature in which concierges at renowned hotels aregrilled about what to do and see in their city, is worth a read. The
site recently launched, however, so you’re likely to find only a few Ask the Concierge entries.

Concierge.com. The Web site for Conde Nast Traveler features helpful tools, including a database of travel agents, destination video clips, and Suitcase, an interactive travel planning tool.

Have I missed your favorite Web travel-related sites? If so, share them with me at james_martin@pcworld.com. Please be sure to include your full name and location.

Fall’s Sleek Cell Phones: Our pictorial guide to this fall’s Apple iPhone competitors includes the Sprint Touch, manufactured by HTC. As its name implies, the Windows Mobile 6 Touch uses a touch screen to speed navigation. Though you can’t pinch or squeeze with the Touch interface, as you can with the iPhone, it does offer some cool

More $200-ish Laptops: Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child initiative isn’t the only inexpensive portable in the news. Intel’s Classmate PC will cost about $200 to manufacture and will be aimed at least initially at school kids in Brazil, Nigeria, and some Asian countries (it won’t be sold to consumers). Asus’s Eee PC, now available for preorder, costs $260 to $400.

How to Remove Craplets: Craplets are those unwanted programs and utilities that come preinstalled on many consumer PCs. They hog hard drive space and can slow your system. Among the 20 (mostly free)downloads you can’t live without isPC De-Crapifier, which will remove most if not all of those unwanted programs.