Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Web Secret #20 - SharedBook.com

Many mental health and other professionals have accumulated wonderful articles, lists of resources and other material on their websites or even in a series of word documents.

Bottom line: There's a huge amount of content on the web that users would like to keep in a more permanent form.

Enter SharedBook.com. SharedBook's "reverse publishing" capability allows users to select content and assemble it in book form. With a few clicks, a book is formatted and displayed; it can be purchased as is, or photos and text can be added for further personalization. Better yet, you can sell your book on line and SharedBook handles the entire transaction. You don't put any money up front, but everytime you sell a book, you share in the proceeds with SharedBook.com.

Perhaps even more amazing is their Blog2Print platform - aka "Got a blog? Make a book!".

Next time you feel like selling a printed version of your blog - how about "My Best Blog Entries of 2008", go to Blog2Print, where they you can print your blog and turn it into a professionally-published book.

With just a couple of clicks, you choose a cover, the posts you'd like to include, and you're on your way.

Wanna try? Go to Got a blog? Make a book! Type your blog URL in the space provided, and click "Print my blog". Wow! Talk about instant gratification! You can even SELL copies of your Blog! No cost to you, and you get 20% of each copy sold.

Passive income - that's the Web 2.0 way.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Web Secret #19 - ChaCha

Ever have the fantasy that you could ask any question in the world and a human being would answer?

Your dream is a reality: enter ChaCha http://answers.chacha.com/

ChaCha is like having a smart friend you can call or text for answers on your cell phone anytime for free! ChaCha allows people with any mobile phone device - from basic flip phones to advanced smart phones - to ask any
question in conversational English and receive an accurate answer as a text message in just a few minutes. ChaCha is free for the consumer.

Have a question?

Simply text your question to 242242 (spells ‘ChaCha’) or call 1-800-2ChaCha (800-224-2242) from your mobile phone to ask any question. To respond to user queries, ChaCha enlists about 15,000 independent contractors, or guides, throughout the United States, often segmented by geographic expertise and paid based on accurate answers. An algorithm is also employed, so questions that have previously been asked and accurately answered can be recycled.

ChaCha is much more helpful to mobile phone users than typical computer-driven search engines. Simply ask your question like you are talking to a smart friend and ChaCha’s advanced technology instantly routes it to the most knowledgeable person on that topic in their Guide community. Your answer is then returned to your phone as a text message within a few minutes.

What types of questions can you ask?

Just about anything under the sun. The ChaCha website lists numerous examples http://answers.chacha.com/?page_id=21 across a number of categories including health, technology, travel, lifestyle, and more.

Question: What is the current commute time on Interstate 90 from O’Hare airport to downtown Chicago?
Answer: It is slow (20-30 mph) until the Edens Kennedy junction, then it is a parking lot. Take Rand to Northwest HWY, to Elston Ave.

Question: What is the average salary of a personal assistant?
Answer: It depends on the industry, an assistant for the CEO or top corporate is over 60K on average while a typical salary is under 40K.

In addition to informational requests and queries about the weather and directory assistance, about 15-20 percent of the questions are transactional in nature, such as finding a restaurant or information about purchasing something.

One of ChaCha’s biggest assets is that you don’t need to open a browser on your phone and navigate the Web. Also, because it’s accessible via text or voice, there is nothing to download and it works on virtually every phone, regardless of carrier.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Web Secret #18 - Peek

Non-geeks like simple, easy to use technology that does not require reading a 300 page manual to use. So if the thought of understanding a Blackberry fills you with horror but you've always wanted to access your e-mail 24/7, the Peek is for you.

All the Peek does is send and receive e-mail. You will be able to buy it at Target stores and getpeek.com. Each Peek costs $100. You pay $20 a month for unlimited e-mail service.

The Peek is a very thin plastic slab that weighs only a few ounces, comes in three designer colors (dark gray, aqua or dark red) and has a screen and thumb keyboard on the face. On the right edge is a thumbwheel, which scrolls through lists and menus (you click inward on that wheel to select a menu command). Below the wheel is a Back/Cancel button. On top is the power button.

When it comes to hardware, that, my friends, is it.

The color screen is bright and clear, even in sunlight. The keys are brightly illuminated. Each charge of the removable battery lasts two to five days, depending on how much e-mail you get.

The first time you turn on the Peek, you’re asked for your e-mail address and password. The Peek automatically checks for new messages every 5 to 15 minutes, and notifies you with a little chime, a little vibrating buzz and a blinking blue light in the corner. (You can also check on demand.) The Peek handles up to three e-mail accounts.

Simple. Easy. How refreshing!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Web Secret #17 - Healthy Batteries

You've owned your laptop for a year or two, and you notice that the battery does not hold a charge the way it used to. Now what?

Laptop batteries can hold only a limited number of charge cycles before they begin to wear out. If the laptop is still under warranty, check with the manufacturer to see if the battery is covered. Then order a replacement.

Many companies suggest another possible fix - recalibrating the battery. This involves exhausting it and charging it back up again to reset its internal processor. Apple has its battery care tips online, and so does Hewlett-Packard. Just visit the online technical support section for your brand and you can find similar instructions.

Bonus Tip: However tempting, do not purchase a replacement from a third-party vendor. This is not where you want to save money.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Web Secret #16 - Stumble Around

When I want to find out what the latest and greatest websites are in my area of interest, I Stumble.


StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests. Whether it's a web page, photo or video, the personalized recommendation engine learns what you like, and brings you more.

How does this work? Easy. And it's FREE!

Step One: You download a very simple mini toolbar. This takes seconds. (StumbleUpon lets you demo the tool bar.) The toolbar consiststs of 3 elements: a Stumble! button, a thumbs up button, and a thumbs down button.

Step Two: You specify your interests. Mine, for example, include topics like cyberculture, web development, and computer hardware. Yours might be mental health, psychiatry, and self improvement.

Step Three: Click your Stumble! button. StumbleUpon takes you to a website that relates to your interests.

In my case, doing this takes me to "Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design". Excellent! This might be the inspiration for a future blog entry. I click on the thumbs up button. Not only does this automatically save the website into my favorites, but clicking the thumbs up button tells StumbleUpon that I like this type of website.

I click Stumble again. This time it takes me to a website selling a book "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" Whoa! Way too technical for me. I give it the thumbs down.

Over a very brief span of time, the StumbleUpon algorithm will do a better and better job of learning what types of websites I am interested in, and those that I dislike.

There are countless ways to creatively use the power of StumbleUpon, from keeping tabs on your competition, to keeping abreast of the latest developments in your field, to boosting your creativity.

Have fun!