Archive for Tech for the masses

Mozilla’s Ubiquity is a great concept

// November 18th, 2009 // No Comments » // Collaboration, Cool Tech, Featured, Tech for the masses, Web 2.0

If you don’t use Firefox for web browsing, this probably won’t be of much use to you. On the other hand, if you don’t use Firefox for browsing… why not try it. OK, enough on that…. here’s the real intent of this article.

It may be old news to some, but I recently discovered the Ubiquity Project from Mozilla. What is it? Well the best way to understand that is to view the introductory video below:

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

If you didn’t watch the video… Ubiquity is a natural language based command interface that allows techies and non-techies alike, to create instant mashups as they browse and work on the web.

Although it’s integration with other web sites and web apps is still limited, it is conceptually a great idea, and the list of commands is growing everyday. I find my self using the easy twitter update and weather update constantly. I use the translate command daily as well. It also makes for quick short cuts to almost every web based utility out there, be it Google, Wikipedia or Youtube, etc…

If you use Gmail, you can really do some cool mashup, quite easily, but I wouldn’t make that a reason to switch to Gmail if you are happy with what you are using for Email. Now, if someone smarter than I builds an interface to Google Wave, then the possibilities will be endless.

Let’s get together and feel alright!

// May 15th, 2009 // No Comments » // Collaboration, Featured, Tech for the masses, Web 2.0

OK, so this post has nothing at all to do with IT or technology….. or does it? The video below is powerful on a multitude of levels….

  1. Powerful message — One Love… unite the world !
  2. Powerful music — Who doesn’t like Bob Marley?
  3. Powerful demonstration of collaboration — People from all over the world, singing and playing in unison. But you know to make it look as seamless as it does, there were a lot of people collaborating for many hours to produce those few minutes.
  4. Powerful demonstration of Technology — Something like this would not have been possible just a few years ago, unless you had millions of dollars to spend.

Glimpse the future and the power of collaboration. It’s going to change the world, and this video encapsulates the how and the why!

Business Meeting coordination made simple

// June 30th, 2008 // No Comments » // Collaboration, Email, Office 2.0, Tech for the masses

One of the things that has consistently annoyed me about trying to set up a mutually agreeable time for a meeting, is the amount of back and forth emails and/or calendar counter proposals that are required. OK, it may be trifling to you, but it bugs the heck out of me.

So… to the rescue comes a simple new web app called When is Good. I like this app for two simple reasons, one is it solves a problem that has annoyed be for some time, and two is does one simple job, simply and very well.

So what’s the problem? We let’s say I want to meet with Larry, Curly and Moe, and they all work in different places. I send out a meeting invitation at a time that works for me and I invite all three. Larry and Curly accept the invite, so they can make it at that time. Great! However, Moe responds that he can’t make it and sends back a counter proposal for a different time on a different day. I check my calendar and that works for me, so I accept Moe’s counter proposal and and new invite goes back out to all three for the new time. Great so far. Unfortunately, now Curly can’t make that new time, but instead of responding back, he calls and leaves me a voice mail, without letting me know when he is actually available. Arrghh! It shouldn’t be this difficult, and now, thanks to WhenIsGood. it isn’t.

Same scenario, but now using WhenIsGood. I goto the website and click on the get started button. I am presented with a simple screen that has days listed across the top, and time’s listed down. I simply click on ALL the times that are good for me, enter a name for my meeting/event, and click on the create button. I get a unique code for my event, which they ask you to write down. I then get a link that I post into an email to Larry, Curly and Moe.

Larry, Curly and Moe, individually click on the link they get and are presented with all the times I say I am available. They click on all the times that would work for them. I can optionally get an email telling when they have responded, or I can go back and check the site using my unique code.

When I go back to check, all the times I specified, where Larry, Curly and Moe have all indicated they can make it are highlighted in green. Now I know when I schedule the meeting and be assured that they all can make it.

So let’s review

  1. I create the Event on WhenIsGood and indicate my available times
  2. I check back to the website to see when a mutually agreeable time is
  3. Send out a meeting notice for one of those mutually agreeable times.

I like it when simple, good and useful all come together. Go ahead and give it a try. Organizing family dinners just got easier too.

Email by Pony Express?

// June 11th, 2008 // No Comments » // Email, Tech for the masses, The Future of IT

I was stumbing around the Net and I found this article on the Popular Mechanics web site of all places. It talks about an initiative to bring the information age to remote villages in 3rd world countries by using store and forward technology. Each village has a local server which store cached web pages and email, and then this company has buses, scooters and oxen decked out with wireless equipment that picks up the date from the local servers as they drive thru the village. They then drive into or near by a bigger city that has wireless access to the Internet and automatically forwards the email on, and picks up any emails destined for the local village.

See article here.

This brings things into perspective a couple of things for me. One is how much we take for granted our instant and high speed access to the Net, and the other is how creative people can get to solve real world problems.

One of the disturbing aspects to the explosion in use of the web and wireless technology in the developed nations, is the widening divide between the information haves have and have nots. This article shows that although that divide is real, it may not be quite as dire as I thought it was.

I’d be interested in hearing of other unique and creative methods being used to give people access to the web. Maybe a google search for another day!