Tuesday’s Highly Useful Links for Web People

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Image by Gideon Burton

Lately I’ve come across many interesting and helpful applications and services in the web. Thanks to all who have gathered and shared these! Here, I’ll pass them on:

  1. The Open Source Toolbox For WebDesigners
    A large list of everything a web designer may need.
  2. 7 website mockup tools
    Thanks to Matthew for collecting these. I’m currently trying out the Balsamiq which I was introduced by a friend of mine, and I got to tell you that it’s so sweet that I’m even considering getting the full version. Try it out at www.balsamiq.com. Available as web and desktop versions.
  3. 30+ Apps for Doing Business on Facebook
    Not all of them are that good or useful, but for example there’s even one light, but good CRM application that can be used in Facebook. So if you’re using it for doing business with people, you may want to check it out.
  4. 50+ Really Cool Twitter Mashups
    I guess the name already says it all.
  5. 14 Applications for Project Management and Collaboration (+ one more)
    Thanks to Webdesigners Depot for this one, and to a friend passing it on to me.  Here’s also one more I’m currently trying out called Doit.im. Usage for more like light task management program than to manage large projects.
  6. 25+ Ways to Manage Your Online Identity
    Thanks to Mashable.com
  7. 40+ Ways To Access Your Computer Remotely
    Thanks to Mashable.com, again. 😉
  8. KnowEm
    If there’s no other use for this service, you can at least find many social media networks which you probably didn’t know even existed.

Hopefully these are useful to you.

ManageMe 2.0 of the information flood era

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Image by Taiger808 (Licence)

I wanted to share my thoughts on how to manage your time and presence with what the web x.0 can offer in this era of huge information flood; we are at the same time trying to read the news of the world [hopefully people still care about these], our professional news, news of our hobbies [there can be many different branches here], updates from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, new videos from services like YouTube, the list is as endless as one’s imagination and need to feed. So how to manage all this and get the best out of it in a way that you can have a life too?

If you are like me; always searching new interesting things and also sometimes finding them even without searching, you most likely are facing this same problem, the feel of spilling a glass too full.

For the start, I can say this: there’s no way to get them all. You will miss information and sometimes you will miss your friends ‘My dog is sick’ status updates but hey, who cares? The circle of web is continuous and tomorrow you have new things again. This is the first thing you have to comprehend.

Another thing is what really makes the difference to you. What’s really important and what you enjoy? You can subscribe to a hundred blogs, but is it really necessary to fill your RSS Reader too much if the things these people write aren’t that useful to you. So learn to separate what is useful information and what is just echoing. Today there was listed 208,559 bloggers only in the WordPress’ frontpage. It’s not odd if you can loose yourself in this.

But what are the tools to manage the rest of it, e.g. the social services so that you can access them more rapidly? It’s all about management. iGoogle and Netvibes are good examples for this. I used to use iGoogle but two weeks ago just happened to try out Netvibes and am now hooked – and that’s why I’m using it here as an example.

In Netvibes you can group things for example like Gmail, Twitter feed and your most interesting feeds under different tabs which you can name, let’s say as ‘News’ or ‘My Social Sites’. This already saves you some time when you don’t necessarily have to browse and access to each of your accounts one by one.

Same applies to news – this I find as one of the most relaxing things. I want to keep myself updated about things that happen in the world and in the web. I have to and need to do this if I want to be better at my work, have more perspective on things that happen in the world and have overall something to say to other people. But I don’t have the time to read every printed newspaper or even visit their sites. So what to do?

Let’s say you’re interested in economics and business. In my Netvibes I have a tab called ‘Business’ where I have a couple of feeds from business-related blogs that I have found useful. In this same tab I also have a couple of Netvibes widgets and feeds for news sites like Kauppalehti, Financial Times and Newsweek.

I used to have, okay, still have, my Google Reader filled with RSS feeds from too many sites that I can’t possibly read because it would take too much time. This kind of management helps me to glance today’s interesting topics [e.g. news] more easily and maybe catch up some cool and interesting thoughts from bloggers, all this in the same page. And grouping things like this help you concentrate on the same topics more efficiently.

This same way-of-effectiveness applies to microblogging. Although I have to say that most of the time I use Twitter through Tweetdeck, but at the same time I have a tab in Netvibes where I have my Twitter feed, a couple of Twitter search widgets with different search terms and a Tweetmeme widget. This way I believe I maximize the power of using Twitter.

There is of course a lot more that you can do with services like these, and I don’t want to list here everything that I have in my Netvibes. The message of this post was more like ‘There is hope to tame the flood to your advantage AND have a life too’.

Hopefully this post is going to be helpful to people and if you have your own way of interesting web management that you want to share, please do. I’m always eager to hear other experiences.

Twitter – about targeted advertising and blocking

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Today I got a message to my mail from Twitter “Finnmatkat is now following your updates on Twitter”. When thinking through, at least for now, Twitter seems like a nice way to target ads through corporate profiles, and the greatness comes from the fact that people also have the power to block them if they want to.

Finnmatkat is a traveling agency in Finland. I myself don’t often use these kinds of agencies because I like to plan trips together with my girlfriend, because it’s much more fun that way than to buy a ready made package.

What I began to think with this announcement was that this kind of advertising in Twitter can be a good way to target ads if done properly. Doing it properly means beginning it with searching who are your true target groups [this can be done for example using Twitter search with right keywords – more useful Twitter tools here] and providing them with practical and interesting information and not just ads.

I began to follow Finnmatkat. I don’t usually use their services but here’s my motives: I like to travel and am interested about different cultures and feel that following their updates could provide me some kind of interesting offers and information that may benefit me in the future.

The greatness that lies in this kind of advertising is that, if I feel their updates are useless and not interesting at all, and the same offer to Fuengirola is all they got, I can hit the ‘Unfollow’ button or even block them.

This is something I cannot do with advertising if I want to while watching TV [unless i shut it down or save my programs without ads to my digital hard drive etc.], in the city streets [of course closing my eyes or looking my shoes while walking does the trick] or elsewhere in the web [of course there are applications like Ad block, but overall web advertising is just noisy].

But inside Twitter I can do it, at least currently. Time will tell if the future stays the same or will the ‘Twitterboard’ come greedy and try to force advertising to profiles somehow. Hopefully not, because I believe that’s the day when Twitter is starting to dry up. At least I’m going to quit using it.