I've spent the past few months looking at some cool products now on the market — and some still out on the horizon — that you may want to check out.
Pocket Size Projector — The buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show this year was the Pico Projector, a handheld LCD projector the size of your cell phone. A number of companies have been lining up to manufacture versions of it. 3M is one of them. See what it's all about at www.3m.com/mpro/. While it won't replace the LCD/DLP projector in a meeting room for hundreds of attendees, it's a great backup strategy to have connected to your mobile phone, providing an instant presentation anywhere.
Sandbox, Google-style — Did you know that Google has set up a place to test its “faster” approach to searching? In response to the competition from Bing and others, you can test drive Google's speedier engine whenever you want at www2.sandbox.google.com. You'll probably notice two things. First, the results come up faster than ever (and clearly, that's what Google is counting on). Second, no pay-per-click results are presented in this beta app. Faster? Yes. Better? I'm not sure yet.
Psyched About Tweeting — Many folks are tweeting on Twitter these days, but have you used Tweet Psyche (www.tweetpsyche.com) yet? This beta Web service analyzes your tweets to create a psychological profile (of sorts) based on what you tweet about. It works best on those who have tweeted most, but clearly it is another of the ever-building list of tools and services supporting Twitter.
Meet the Tweet Elite in Our Industry — Development Counsellors International has completed a study of tweeting and convention and visitor bureaus, named the Tweet Elite. The purpose of the study is to compare how CVBs are using Twitter effectively. The results are interesting, with data about number of followers and number of tweets per month (please, everyone, don't think the more tweets the better). You can download a copy of the report from this page: tinyurl.com/m3c8ze.
Have You Upgraded to Office 2007 yet? Don't worry, many folks haven't. And they may never, as Microsoft is in the process of releasing its latest Office version, Office 2010. While it's not as much of a revolutionary visual change as some of the previous versions, Office 2010 has Microsoft focusing on better Web-based applications (and fighting off a challenge from Google Docs) in this latest version. One new feature is a “cloud” (browser-based) version of the software. It offers fewer features, but it's online and free. In the full-featured version, it seems that PowerPoint is getting some cool video-editing capabilities, too. If you want to see and read more, check out this blog from Tech Crunch (tinyurl.com/lkokn5), or if you're a movie lover, watch this trailer-style promotion: tinyurl.com/ls4zn3. Now if I can only get over the demise of Clippy in the Microsoft movie…
How far from …? While there are plenty of Web sites that can give you that info, wouldn't an interactive mashup be more fun? Natch, there is one, called Distance From To (www.distancefromto.net). Plug in city names, or plot points on a Google map, and get the information immediately.
James Spellos, CMP, is founder and president of Meeting U., a New York-based company that provides training and consulting to meeting professionals. He also is a frequent speaker on technology at meeting industry conferences. Contact him at email@example.com.