Okay. I don’t when this came out, but I just saw it on twitter recently. Time has what it thinks to be the 50 best websites of 2010. Given that the year is not over yet and it is Time, I’m still posting the link to it. You will probably hear me talk about a couple of these soon, actually. Have at it.
I defy you to look at this stream for more than a minute and not be moved. If you can, then you are a truly heartless bastard indeed & there is no hope for your soul. A little strong, maybe? Not strong enough!
Anyway, go check them out here or check the embed below. We now return you to your irregularly scheduled brand of meh….in a minute.
And as if on cue, it came to me like a sign from the Web 2.0 Deities (or like a song I wrote. You don’t know). Tinysong.com is the site. Let’s say you’re looking for “Sex God” by the Brand New Heavies…Ok, not your cup of tea. How about “Erotic City” by Prince….(*SIGH*) Fine, “3 is the magic number” from Schoolhouse Rock…Prude! Anyway, you have your song, you go to the site, Tinysong.com and put it in the box, and hit the little search icon next to it. If the song is there, it will list it underneath the box or give you what it thinks you meant. You can then click on the song and it will give you a web address AND will copy it to the clipboard for you. Handy, huh? You could also click on the name of the track under that and it will take you to Groovshark.com where it will start streaming. It goes there because that is where it’s searching from. Hence the “Powered by Grooveshark” link near the bottom of the page. Grooveshark is another site for music discovery, streaming, and playlist making. I’ve had a 90% success rate given the search terms i’ve used, so far, so they seem to have a good range of music that I can tell. But hey, give it a try for yourself.
I’ve been going silly with Tinysong links on Twitter because I like it so much. Sometimes, they don’t have the song I’m looking for and that sucks, but it’s not that often. You’ll be seeing more of this from me for a while. Until then, go try it.
So after much hemming and hawing, I’ve decided to kick around Muxtape. You see, i’ve come across some old tapes and playlists that i’ve done in times past (I guess you can call them mixtapes, but there was no real mixing involved). I wanted to find a place or two where I could put them up and link them to the blog for any number of reasons. Not saying that there might be any additional segments to the site, but you never know what may come. Anyway, I’ve found other such websites, but they either need the song to be already on the net or you need to have your music on a site or space you’re in control of. Well, I can’t always find songs on the net using sites like Seeqpod, Skreemr, Mixwit, or Grooveshark lite (though Grooveshark has been having a better average so far), and I don’t have a spot of that I can just store stuff in the cloud…yet. I’m looking into something, but that’s for later. Right about now….
Muxtape is a website wherein one can put up a quick, and I use the word quick loosely (you’ll see), playlist for the world to share in…Well at least your friends or whoever you send the link to or sees it. There are other site that probably do this better and will let you embed something on your own site, but this is a quick dirty job, with a fairly clean interface.
After you sign up, (its free), you can start uploading MP3 tracks or do what little customizing of your page that you are given. This means you can title, caption or change the password and color of the page. Simple. But let’s get to the meat of it. Muxtape is cool for it’s simplicity, but some annoyances at the same time. You’ve got a 12 song limit and you can only load MP3s for now. No problem there, but you can only upload them one at a time. This is not such a bad thing if it wasn’t for the fact that some times you get an error in the midst of uploading a song and have to start again. There is a 24MB limit per track but I don’t know too many MP3s that will exceed this. Once you get your songs in there, you can rearrange them, rename the track, or delete the track if you don’t think it fits, which you probably would have done before uploading songs. And once you delete a track, it’s gone unless you upload it again. By the way, the speed of the upload depends on the speed of your internet connection. Don’t think you’ll be trying this on Dial up. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Rearranging songs is easy, just drag and drop the track where you want it. Doesn’t really get easier. Once done, sit back and enjoy the mix (or mux). Once you get to your playlist page, you can click on a track and listen away. You get the names of the track which, I believe, comes off of the ID3 tags of the MP3 unless you change the name after uploading. This reminds me of a pet peeve with MP3 tagging, but that’s for another post. Anyway, let’s get to controls. You can click a track start/stop a track and/or click on in another track. That’s about it. No rewind, no fast forward. No wire hangers. If you start a track and let it play on through, it’ll go to the next one automatically. You can see how much time the song is under the name and a counter to the right of the song. Also, if you were listening to someone elses Mux and like the song that’s playing, you can buy it by clicking the ‘buy this MP3’ link under the title.
If you know of someone else with a muxtape, you can favorite there mux at the top right. They can do likewise and you can see the ones you’ve favorited when you log in. One thing I’ve noticed is that in the terms of service, they say that once you you upload a track, they can use it. I have little problem with this, but I’ve not seen what they do with the track and/or whether it stays with them should you delete the track.
And speaking of deleting, This brings up the thing that peeves me out about the site. Suppose you are tired of the mux that you’ve made and want to another one. No problem, just delete it and start fresh with a new one….oookay, and what does one do if one wants to recall an old mux. Guess what, you’re SOL unless you delete and reload it! You can’t have more than one muxtape ever (Unless you have multiple logins). That’s bunk! I would really like to see the ability to keep at least 5 muxes around, but maybe the internet music license strikes again. Who knows.
Now you may be asking yourself, I wonder how can I find a particular artist or song in someone’s muxtape. Well, look no further than Muxtape Stumbler. I don’t think it has anything to do with the folks at muxtape, but it doesn’t matter. Muxtape Stumbler, as you would expect, is a music search engine using muxtape as the playground. this way, you can find songs and there by finding new muxtapes to discover, as opposed to the ones you see on the front page of the site. Now if there was an alternate way to get the mp3’s this would be a dangerous combination. it’s just as well there isn’t. you should really support the artists and but the songs anyway. What would also be cool is if they had support for Last.FM, which I hear is coming.(EDIT: as of the day after I originally posted this (probably the day of) Muxtape now has Last.FM integration. You first have to logon and link it to your Last.FM account. Then while you’re logged in to Muxtape, you can scrobble any songs you listen to.
Came across an app that let’s you have Muxtape up without going to the site in a browser. It’s called Muxtape on AIR. It’s made with Adobe’s AIR platform, so if you don’t already have it, you will have to download it and install it before installing MoA. This is cool if you don’t feel like having a browser open or don’t want to have Muxtape in a browser while surfing. haven’t checked this out yet, but I will.
Well, that’s about it except for one thing from the ‘You should have saw this coming’ file: If you care to check out MY muxtape, you can go here. What’s there now may not be new to a couple of you, but if it is, enjoy it. It was something I put together a few months ago, just for giggles. Plus, if you should happen to see this post sometime from now and the content has changed, hopefully, it’ll still be good. And while this defeats the purpose of sending you there, you can download the mix (if you liked it) from here:
So this post has been long in coming because…While I’ve known about it since it started in 2006, I really didn’t check it out until ’07 and even then, I didn’t think it would last. Boy, was I wrong, or just short in being right.
Anyway, let’s get to it. We are here to talk about the phenomenon known as Twitter. I think I’ve decided to do a couple of things with this post: 1) Break it up into two posts, and 2) concentrate on Twitter more than it’s closest competitor, Pownce(Which I also like). Why, because I’ve spent more time on Twitter than Pownce and the fact that I will probably use Pownce in a slightly different way than I do Twitter. The reason why I’m even mentioning Pownce is for contrast. Both are good services with great potential and should be looked into that the first chance. Wait until you finish the post first though, eh?
The thing to answer is what are Twitter and Pownce. Before I answer that, I’d like you to take a peep at this great short video from Commoncraft.com on what Twitter is. It can tell you better than I ever could.
Twitter in Plain English
Finished? Cool. Now that you’ve seen that, you have an idea on what Twitter is. What you don’t know is that it can be so much more than that. It can be a teaching aid, a news reader, meeting arranger, book starter, blog promotion, news gathering, poll taking device, search engine, Public IM chat, mini blog, movie reviews, and many other uses I’m sure. For my people on the ED board, think of it as any of the random thoughts threads all in one. Basically what I’m saying is that it can be just about anything you’d want it to be. For me, I listen to and read a lot of podcasts and blogs. A lot of people I read or listen to are on Twitter so it’s a lurk into what they are thinking and doing at the moment. Plus, there is a chance to get in on some good conversation or see who’s eating a cheese sandwich. 🙂 Next post, I’ll list off some Twitter tools to help get more out the service. For now, let’s get a couple of basics out of the way.
First off, Twitter is free to sign up for. Once you do, you fill out your particulars and start twittering(the act of posting) from the site. Before you do that though, you may want to hit the settings button. You may want to make some changes if you hadn’t done so when signing up. Barring any changes you might want to make to your account page or password, you may want to hit the picture tab and add a picture of yourself or what have you. I don’t know about how they feel about anything of an obscene nature, but even if they are cool with it, others might not be. Even still, the picture will represent you so that’s on you as to how you want to do that. There is also the design tab to mess around with. You can use Twitter’s default style or you can change the text and background picture and colors. You know, make it more homey. Just PLEASE don’t go Myspace with it. (*BLECCCHH!!*) By the way, you have the option to make your tweets private by checking the “protect my updates” box on the account tab. Then, only those you choose to see your tweets (those that are following you) can see them.
You might also got to the device tab and set twittering from a mobile phone or IM client. No only can you tweet (that’s what they call your posts) from the website, you can tweet from your cellphone via text or by an IM client. We’ll talk about other ways next post. For the phone, you just put in your number and save it. You will probably want to set up a contact for Twitter in your phone. For IM, you put in your Gtalk, Livejournal, or any other Jabber client’s ID and go to town. You can also turn on/off device updates and set a “sleep” time from here. Ok, here’s the deal on this. With device updates on, tweet’s from anyone you follow will be sent to your phone via text, provided you chose to have that person’s tweet sent there. This is cool if you have an unlimited texting plan or like vibration. I still don’t think that if you follow a lot of people (or people who tweet nonstop) and send their tweets to your phone, you’d want to have this to be a factor. But if you do set up for phone updates, you can set up a time that you won’t get the texts. This is handy if say you are in a meeting or, I don’t know, maybe want to sleep.
Now that you have all of that ironed that out, you may want to start twittering. If you are on the website, you will see a text box at the top of the screen where you can make the magic happen. There is a character countdown on the right hand side the goes down as you type. Even though you have a 140 character limit on tweets you can keep typing past that. Once you hit the update button, it’s only going to post 140 characters though. If you have more than that to say, you might want to split the tweet or just blog about it elsewhere. 🙂 If you are on your cellphone, you already know that you have a cap of between 140-160 characters depending on phone. If you went over 140, your tweet gets split after the 140 mark. Got it, good. All you need now is some commands.
Let’s get some lingo going. Basically there are two things necessary to get around Twitter. Learning how to tweet and replying to tweets. I think the first part is covered, so let’s get to replying. Replys are handled in this manner:
(At the start of a tweet)
@username [whatever you want to say minus the brackets] = @ mean the reply will be publicly seen but directed to the username given.
d username [whatever you want to say minus the brackets] = d means a direct message to username given. I don’t think you can direct message people who are not following you. Haven’t tried it yet though.
These can be done from wherever way you tweet from. There are other commands that might be useful if you are checking things out from a phone. You can find a list of the lingo here.
Below is an example of how the page will look when you sign on from the web.
You have a picture of a person’s tweet(s), their name, the tweet, where they twittered from and a star and an arrow pointing back to the tweet. The star is for when you really like the tweet and want to favorite it. Just click it and go. I’ve yet to really use this even though I’ve come across some great tweets. The arrow is for when you want to reply to the tweet. You just click that and you will see an @username in the box at the top where you update. just start typing your reply and update(leaving a space in between the @username and the start of your reply.
That should just about cover everything you need to get started except for one thing. The whole following thing I’ve been alluding to. On Twitter, you’re either being followed by or following people. Think friending in Myspace, Facebook, etc. and you’re pretty much there. Say you are signed in to Twitter and you come across someone (or you already know someone there) that you find interesting and want to keep up with their updates. On the top of their page under their pictures, you will see a box that says “Follow”(example above). Click that and you start following their updates. If you’ve set it up, you can get an email anytime that someone follows you. So when you start to follow someone, that person might get an email saying that you are following them. If they choose to, they can follow you back, but it’s not mandatory that they do. The same goes for you when someone follows you. You can also block or remove people should they prove to get besides themselves as people on the ‘Net are want to do sometimes. On the same token, you can be blocked at the discretion or the person you are following, so take that as it is.
I should also point out that there potentially could be spam on the service. Using a site called Tweetscan, where companies and others can search through Twitter for keywords of choice. Think Google Alerts but for Twitter. This can be used to find out who’s talking about what (IE: about them) so that they can follow their updates if necessary. While I can see good uses for the site, I’m not so keen (or sure) on how it can be used. After all, the people following you can see and reply to your tweets, but unless you follow them back, that’s about where it stops. Not sure what exactly is gained outside of the fact that you may have mentioned them once. There are those people who somehow seem to follow everybody for rather suspious reasons. If you should happen to check out who’s following you and all they ever post about are links going to something on their site, you should weigh it out. If you like it, cool, if not, do what you must. All of this may sound a bit contradictory when I speak on another site next post, but I think you can handle it.
That’s enough for now. Get to Twittering. Me talking about it doesn’t give it enough justice. And if you care to, send me a message when you get on there.
If you care to read a little more on it, try these places:
Newbie’s guide to Twitter – Webware.com
But that’s not what this is about, sort of. You see Wu-tang member, the RZA, is widely known to “take the Queen with the Rook”. Alright, filthy minds, I meant that he like to play Chess. Geez! Anyway, it can also be said the he, along with the rest of the Clan, has all but cemented their place in the Hip Hop Hall of Fame. So why not marry the two? How about throwing a bit of social networking in for good measure? If you are curious about the mixing, head on over to Wuchess.com.
The partnership of Rza and online Chess community, Chesspark. Chesspark itself, is a site that let’s chess players from around the world share the love of the game by letting them play each other online. Casual and experienced players can pit their skills against each other. Wuchess is basically Chesspark for lovers of Hip Hop. Here, you will a community of chess players and Hip Hop heads coming together to form a more…”unique” union. Apparently, in addition to playing and socializing with other like minded folks in chess, you can make you own chess clans, compete in tournaments, practice against the computer, and get tips from pros. Also, members of the site can get access to exclusive videos and mp3 from Hip Hop artists (assumably from those associated with site, but…). Now, here comes the rub. It’s $48 a year to join (Chesspark is $40 a year). Chesspark has a free service, I believe. Honestly, I hadn’t tried either way. Here is a tour of the site, if you are interested. And here’s some tutorials, also. And you gotta love the chess pieces.
(screenshot from Crunchbase)
Admittedly, it’s an interesting idea. Rza has been trying to get more Hip Hop minded folks into chess. And this is not the first time such a combination has been tried, either. Before this even, there was a Hip Hop Chess Federation (of which part of the funds from Wuchess is going towards) formed to get the youth active in chess. Chess is a thinking man’s game. Hip Hop is SUPPOSED to make you think, I believe. Anything that can bring one to the other can’t be a bad thing. I can’t totally be mad at it. Every now and then I get the itch to learn to play. I remember hearing about an Black Grandmaster named Maurice Ashley who put his likeness and skills behind a PC CD-rom title named Maurice Ashley Teaches Chess. I still have the game, too. He also wrote a book called Chess for Success.
How about I end this with a couple of links stories about Wuchess, eh?
The Rza launches Wuchess.com – BlackWeb 2.0
Estelle – Shine: Why don’t you already have this?
Portishead – Third: Still need to spin this one some more, but get it anyway. Maybe they’ll get their asses into the studio more. (If any member of Portishead happens to see this, I say this with love. And where the Hell is Keybored 299 03??)
Iron Man movie: Hadn’t seen it. Shut up! I usually wait until they get to DVD anyway.
Grand Theft Auto IV: It apparently is the shit. I’ve only cracked it open and started it before getting busy with other crap. Lemme lone. If I finish it before Soul Calibur IV, that’ll be saying something.
That’s all I can think of right now. If this wasn’t enough for you. Allow me to point you to a time passer.
It’s called Typeracer. Sounds self explanatory? It is. You’re a car, you’re in a race with other cars. First one to type their way to the finish line with the given lines of text, wins. Mistakes have to be dealt with before moving on. I personally, suck, but their seems to be some jokers who can type 160 words a second (that’s insane!). There is a leaderboard, if you some choose to participate. You can also practice, which let’s you know how bad you really are. It’s pretty fun…if you like typing games.
Pando.com is a way to send and/or share large files (up to 1GB) to people via email, IM, or the web (more on this later). Given the file size limitations of most email clients, you can see where this can be a cool deal. Let’s say you are working on some music project and the person or people you are working with are scattered around the country. You want to send the latest version of a track to everyone in the group easily. You just find the file on your PC, right-click on it, choose send with Pando, choose to send via email, IM, or web, address it and hit send. You could also go though a similar process from Pando itself, but it just as easy. The file gets uploaded in what the company calls a package (get it?). The people sent to get a small (.Pando) file that will open up in Pando and start downloading instantly, provided they have it installed on their PC. It works with Outlook, Gmail, and pretty much any other web based email client.
I mentioned that in addition to sending by email, you could could send files through IM and the web. Pando works with all of the major IM clients along with Trillian, ICQ(anybody still using this?), and the VoIP darling, Skype. I’m guessing that Pidgin, the new kid Digsby(still playing around with it), and the web based Meebo won’t have any issues with it either. For anyone wanting to, you can also publish to the web. Pando can be used to publish video, audio or whatever else on websites, blogs, forums, and by RSS. Once posted, the file can be shared with others just as easily with no real cost to you. Pando even gives you the code to copy and paste onto your site for distribution.
Now comes the inner workings part. Pando works on a P2P type protocol similar to Bittorent, if you’ve ever heard of it.The more people with the file and have Pando running, the faster that someone downloading said file will be able to get it. The person’s connection still plays the part in this, mind you. Basically, you have the file on your PC. As soon as you send it to wherever, a copy goes to Pando’s servers and a small file, if sending by email or IM, goes to the recipient. The recipient opens the file in Pando and starts downloading just like that. The cool part is that once you are finished uploading the file, the recipient can still get it because, as I’ve said, it’s on Pando’s servers and will stay there depending on how it was sent. If sent by email or IM, it lasts for 7 days after the last time it was shared or downloaded. If by web, 30 days from the last download. If someone downloaded the file within 30 days, the count starts over. I could have saved you so much trouble by pointing you here.
Oh, I forgot, they also have a service where you can subscribe to and download HD quality videocasts. They already have channels that you can subscribe to from the likes of ESPN, CNN, Geekbrief.tv, Epic-Fu, and others. You can also use Pando to download Bittorent files, but I haven’t used that option much. I believe that I have just heard that they are partnering with NBC for a direct download service for their shows (for pay, no doubt). That might be pretty neat, if it works.
By now, you have either clicked away from this post or are wondering how much this is. If you’ve stuck it out, here’s the answer: For the low, low price of free you can have all of this functionality. There is also a paid version that boasts a bigger file size limit, no ads, more hosting time, etc. That’s about it. I’m guessing that’s enough, though. If you were interested, you’d be downloading it by now. If you care for a sample of the goods, try this little offering out.
Something funny. I was going to do screen capture on how to send a a package, but I realized the irony of it. Hope you enjoy what I did send and I hope the people who made what I sent won’t be upset.
Anyway, this brings us, finally, to the point of this shindig: TryPhone.com
I saw this on MSN earlier. Here, you can try out the features of certain phones and check out reviews, buy, and in cases, look at a demo of features on the phones right from the site. It’s pretty neat. It’s in Beta, so it’s not fully baked yet, but you can go check it out. They don’t have but a handful of phones on there either, but if you were in the market for what they do have, go right on in. Some phone manufacturers like HTC (T-Mobile Dash, AT&T’s 8925, Verizon’s XV6800, etc) sometimes have little demos of there phones features on their site. This one rolls on that notion for different brands of phones. I like it even though the phone I want, the aforementioned XV6800, is not on here. But hopefully, they will at least get to all of the newer phones.
Try it out. It’s cool.
Twas the week of Thanksgiving and all over the place,everybody’s waiting for Friday, like it was a damn race!
Yep, the day that people all over the U.S. braces for in anticipation. The one Holiday to rule them all, for retail stores. Yes, I’m talking about the first official shopping day of Christmas. Forget the day before and the turkey that is eaten on that day. that day is to give thanks for the two days off and the the shopping therein. Sounds snarky? Maybe a bit, but let’s get to the reason of the post. Black Friday is the day in question, and though I don’t know why it’s called that and don’t put much stock in it, but there is a purpose for those who do. The purpose, there are deals to be had and here is where to do a couple of them. The sales are usually out before the actually day and here are a couple of places to find them.
Mild mannered deal and (online) coupon site by day, early Black Friday sales poster by Thanksgiving. I’ve not used this site before, but I may come here more often for coupons to online stores and such.
The original (well, at least the first one that I’ve come across) site for Black Friday deals. Just like Dealnews, they have the ads the week or more before the day. They also have coupons and apparently a shopping list that you can access should you sign up with them (that’s at your discretion).
One note: Walmart has been having sales for the last few Fridays to try to siphon off the madness that is Black Friday. One of these said sale was a $99 HD DVD player from Toshiba. I missed out on that, but it doesn’t matter because I’m not trying to get into this HD Format war. That’s another story. Wally world had also banned sites such as these from posting their ads before this week for reasons of selfishness and sales, I’m sure.
Anyway, I’m sure there are more sites with other stuff, but really, I have a feeling they will be repeating the same ads. So, you have your ammo, go give ’em hell. I’m not trying to be out in that mess. That’s what the internet is for. And Cyber Monday, as stupid as that sounds.
I almost forgot, there is also one of my favorite sites out there, Woot.com. They have one thing on sale every day. Mostly something electronic in nature, but worth a look. Sometimes, they have side deals that are ironically on the top of the page and you get a song if nothing else. There is also there sister sites, wine.woot and shirt.woot for…those items.
And I TOTALLY forgot about Fatwallet.com. They’ve been doing their thing for a while now. possibly longer than Dealnews. I don’t know. Check them out also. OUT!
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