Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Web Secret #77:

A long, long time ago, in what seemed to be another galaxy, I attended a transformative Tech Boot Camp in Santa Fe, New Mexico conducted by Bill O'Hanlon. Bill is one of these maverick individuals who has a lot to say (29 books so far) about a whole lot of things. Credit is due - Bill introduced me to the potential and power of social media and inspired this blog.

Periodically I need an infusion of Bill, so when his newsletter doesn't do the trick, I sign up for one of his webinars. And that is where - to make a long story short - I learned about

Catchy name, huh?

Dimdim bills itself (pardon the pun, Bill) as the world's easiest web conference system. It lets anyone deliver synchronized live presentations, whiteboards and web pages and share their voice and video over the Internet - with no download required.

They made it their mission to create a web conferencing system as easy to use as the iPod. A single click is all it takes to meet. Dimdim features two products:

Dimdim Free allows you to meet freely with up to 20 people, absolutely FREE.

Dimdim Pro gives you unlimited meetings and pro features with 50 people for only $19 per month. And you can try it for FREE.

I think I am going to Dimdim real soon...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Web Secret #76: Powermat

At the end of a long day of blogging and other geekery, it's time to charge my iPhone.

I head over to the kitchen, my family's version of NASA mission control. I am not alone.

Other 21st century paraphernalia is already plugged into the Matrix, including:
  • a Blackberry Curve
  • a Nintendo DS
  • a Motorola Rival
  • and two ancient LG phones of dubious provenance.
There are power cords and chargers everywhere.

I have a dream, a dream of a wireless world where I can just drop my iPhone onto a table, and it will charge itself...

Wake up babe! My dream is a reality. All I have to do is shell out some cash and buy a Powermat!!!

WTF is a Powermat?

Watch the 30 second video, "What the Bleep?", and you too will know the answer.

Still don't get it? Here are the Cliff notes:

Powermat allows you to charge just about any device without being directly plugged into a power socket. For example, if you have an iPhone, a Nintendo DS or a Blackberry device, all you have to do to charge them is… well nothing, you just put them on the table.

The Powermat is a sleek mat that sits quietly on a table waiting for something, or more accurately up to four somethings (if you include the built-in USB port), to charge. To use the mat, you simply take a device that is “wearing” a receiver and place it on the Powermat. That’s it! Sound and light indicate that a connection has been made and that the device is charging. A second sound indicates when the device is removed from the mat. Once on the mat the device will charge as fast or faster than the stock power adaptor.

The Powermat supplies universal, international power (100-240V).

The Powermat is green. Communication between the Powermat and receivers allows the mat to give exactly enough power for exactly the right time. When a device is fully charged, power is shut off to that device, so no energy is wasted.

The good news: it's cool, it's well built, it works!
The bad news: it's $100 for the base unit and then if you want to just throw your device on the mat, you also need a receiver which can cost from $29.99 to $39.99.

You and I both know the price will come down...

And the cool factor? Priceless.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Web Secret #75: Ning

What is Ning?

No, it's not a 14th century Chinese dynasty, or a tai chi move, or a take out dish featuring tofu and bok choy.

Ning is a FREE online platform (aka website) that enables people to create their own social networks.

So what?

Well if you have very specific interests and want to connect with a very specific group of people, you might want to create your own very specific social network. If Facebook is a Ford factory, Ning is a custom car kit.

Still don't get it? Well I didn't until I was invited to join the Online Therapy Institute Social Network (OTI)created on the Ning platform.
  • When you create a social network on Ning, (which is quick and easyy) you get a Ning URL, so OTI's is
  • You can then get really specific about the purposes and goals of your Ning. For example, the OTI Social Network is for people interested in sharing knowledge about online therapy, cyberpsychology and the impact of technology on mental health.
  • Joining the network allows for the creation of a profile with links to websites and blogs. All member pages are accessible to the public so your listing serves as both a networking tool with other professionals but also as a directory listing for potential clients.
  • If you are interested in creating a blog, your Ning listing comes with a blog feature that can be publicized and optimized.
And that's just the beginning... Spend 5 minutes on the OTI Social Network and you will develop a rapid appreciation of what Ning can do for you.

Now I Ning it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Web Secret #74: StopBADware

"Bad, bad, bad, bad software, you make me feel so mad..."

With a nod to the 1985 Gloria Estefan hit - there is nothing that makes me angrier than downloading a program and being subjected to "BADware".

What is BADware?

BADware is software that fundamentally disregards a user’s choice regarding how his or her computer will be used. Common examples of badware include free screensavers that surreptitiously generate advertisements, malicious web browser toolbars that take your browser to different pages than the ones you expect, or keylogger programs that can transmit your personal data to malicious parties.

Thank God for They are looking out for my computer, your computer, EVERYONE's computer. is a partnership between top academic institutions, technology industry leaders, and volunteers committed to protecting Internet and computer users from threats to their privacy and security caused by bad software.

What's in it for you?

Well for starters, when you go to StopBADware's Alerts & Reports page, you will find a list of applications that are potentially exhibiting badware behaviors. So, for example, I find out I should NOT download:

Aldi Photo Manager
AntiVirProtect & AntiSpywareShield
the Jessica Simpson Screensaver (damn, I wanted that.)

...among many others.

I can also look up a site in the Search Badware Website Clearinghouse BEFORE I download any software. - THANK YOU.