Five products for your work, a thought-provoking travel blog, and an app that's just for fun
As summer winds down, there are plenty of cool tech tools around to help you be more productive. So let's get right to it: I know you're doing more with less these days.
Do The Wave — No, not that 1980s thing they did in baseball parks, but the GoogleWave. Keep an eye out for this tool, which is intended to help with collaborative communications. E-mail, chat, videos, and maps will all be combined on a single screen. Check out the “Take a Sneak Peek” link from the Wave page to learn more. (If you're really daring, watch the one-hour video of its release to programmers — OK, that's only for geeks like me.)
Spilled Milk? Don't Cry — For a number of years, one of the best Web-based task managers has been Remember the Milk. A free tool, with apps and gadgets for various mobile devices (such as the iPhone), it provides everyone with the ability to manage tasks without requiring Microsoft Outlook or any software.
This Is Your Brain on Evernote — Sometimes, a basic task list just isn't enough. You might be at aand want to capture the business card of a colleague. Instead of taking the card, take a picture of it and upload it to Evernote. Then you can organize the information whatever way you want it. There's a free service and premium-level service. Check out the videos on the home page to better understand how to make it work for you.
That's Bing, Not Bling — Microsoft's latest foray into the search world is the rebranded Bing. Formerly known as Windows Live, Bing has received a number of accolades in its first month of existence as a search engine that has a better visual design than Google. One of its features is organizing information into categories. (Google does this as well, but uses a different layout.)
So, Google Counters With … of all things, a new operating system, scheduled for release early next year, to compete with Windows. It appears that the new OS will be targeted for the highly popular Netbook computers. It will be interesting to see how Google and Microsoft duke it out in both the search and OS areas. If you want more info on the Google OS announcement, check out this post from the Official Google Blog.
Blog of the Month — Recently, I've enjoyed reading Elliott. Elliott (actually Christopher Elliott) is a travel journalist, and his blog often includes the information that travel organizations don't want you to hear. Recent blogs have discussed which airlines charge the most in ticket cancellation fees (his research indicates United), as well as why some of the reviews on TripAdvisor may not be legit. It's well written, and always gets you thinking.
Shazam Can Name that Tune — This app is just for fun, available for both the iPhone and the Google Android phone. The premise is simple: You hear a song on the radio, but you don't know who the artist is, or the song's title. Open up Shazam and let it “hear” the song for 20 seconds. It'll tell you the artist, the song title, and where you can buy it. Pretty neat.
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 meetings-industry conferences. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.