Thursday, June 25, 2009

Web Secret #57: TinyChat

Today I was stuck for blogging inspiration so I start clicking the Stumble button on my toolbar. Three clicks later, I stumbled upon a not untypical blogpost: 26 New And Awesome Web Apps You Probably Don’t Know About. Usually my response to this type of blogpost is "if I don't know about them, I don't need them."

Well there's a first time for everything, and the first app listed was TinyChat - and I fell in love - immediately.

TinyChat allows you to create your own chatroom and invite people through one simple link. You can upload documents into your personal chatroom and share them with your TinyChat guests. You can also embed your chatroom on your blog, your Facebook, or other sites. You can even invite people to join you through email and Twitter. Chat can be via text or video.

It's completely private and only those who know the link can enter your video chat room. The app won't save the video conversation unless you decide to save it for future access. The app can handle up to 12 people per video chat room.

The possibilities are endless...
  • Have a therapy session
  • Host a webinar
  • Hold a meeting
So simple, so quick, your 5 year old could use it.

And then when your finished, you close it up - POOF!

Love it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Web Secret #56: Hushmail

Recently, DeeAnna Nagel mentioned during Ethical Implications Online: Working and Socializing in Cyberspace, a free webinar previewing an all day presentation on the same subject, to be held October 20th at the 2009 World EAP Conference.

I perked up because DeeAnna is one of the world's experts on issues related to delivering online counseling. Anyway, she was talking about the importance of encrypted e-mail to maintain confidentiality, and until that moment, I thought you only needed encrypted mail if you worked for the CIA, or your name was Obama, or you lived inside "The Matrix".

But I soon learned that according to the people at Hush, a typical clear text e-mail message is no more secure than a holiday postcard sent through the public postal system. Actually less - it seems any number of people can hijack your e-mail account.

Hushmail, the virtual Alcatraz of e-mail, is a Web-based service that lets you send and receive email in security. Hushmail messages, and their attachments, are encrypted using Open PGP standard algorithms. (Whatever that means.) These algorithms, combined with Hushmail's unique key management system, offer users powerful email security.

Hushmail's encryption works automatically, requiring no specialized computer skills or knowledge (whew!). Encrypting a message is as simple as clicking a mouse. And it's FREE!

Need to keep secrets? Need Hushmail.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Web Secret #55: Alltop

There are a number of milestones every social media fanatic aspires to:

* Having a 1,000 followers on Twitter
* Getting sent free stuff to blog about
* Making enough money on AdSense to actually get a check
* Getting paid to present your social media expertise

and...drum roll please...

* Getting your blog on Alltop®

Alltop collects and displays all the top stories on the web, aggregated on subject-category pages, and it’s fast growing into a digital magazine rack that includes all topics. Aggregation without the aggravation, for people who don’t read blogs in an RSS feed reader, but want to browse popular topics of interest on easy-to-read pages where the best of the best are available all the time.

Alltop aggregates RSS feeds from key blogs around the web. It categorizes them by topic and each topic gets its own page. There are around 30 topics varying from Design to Celebrities and Gaming to Mac. My blog is listed under "Blogging." Guy Kawasaki chooses which blogs to publish as well as the ordering of the blogs. There's basically no user input involved in the hierarchy and choices of the blogs.

What's great about Alltop? (Thank you Shiv Singh.)

1. It points me to some useful blogs. While I know which are the important blogs in my primary areas of interest like Social Media, I don't know which blogs to scan in other areas. In that sense, Alltop serves as a starting point especially if I am doing some research.

2. It's clean, uncluttered and kind on the eyes.

3. Less is more. I know exactly what to expect from Alltop and every page meets those expectations. There aren't any surprises - nor do I need to watch a video to understand what's going on. There isn't anything complex about this.

4. When you place your cursor over a headline, you get to see the first paragraph or so of the story. This allows you to decide whether it's worth actually clicking on that specific link.

No time for modesty. Alltop - I kick ass.