Recently in Web Services Category

Read it LaterI do most of my Twitter browsing on my Android phone (which is currently a myTouch 4G). When I see a link to an interesting article, I will sometimes read it immediately. Most of the time I want to read it later. In the past I have used Evernote to store this stuff, but I find Evernote to be cumbersome for reading articles I've saved for later. I do like Evernote for storing my own notes on things.

Read It Later is meant to solve this exact problem. Read It Later works in most browsers and also has iOS and Android apps. In function, Read it Later does a great job of easily storing articles for later reading, with direct integration into your devices browser, so you can easily capture pages for later reading.

According to an email from US Bank titled Important Email Security Information, my email address (and presumably email addresses of other US Bank account holders) was compromised when Epsilon Interactive had an unauthorized entry into their computer system. Most of the rest of the world would say that Epsilon Interactive got hacked. US Bank Logins were not compromised in this attack, thankfully, as I'd hate to be worrying about the state of my bank account. If your email address was compromised, you might end up with a few more spam mailings in your inbox, and you might want to beware of targeted attacks trying to steal your US Bank login password, but the data compromise did not get your US Bank username and password.

BigDeal.com is an entertainment auction site. This is a reasonably new genre in the shopping space, where the act of participating in an auction is as much about the thrill of the hunt as it is about winning the bid for the product. Like any other new kid on the shopping block, a number of people instantly decide BigDeal.com is a scam because they don't understand how entertainment auctions work. After having looked at how BigDeal.com auctions work, I'm inclined to say BigDeal.com is not a scam, but merely a more engaging way to shop for products online.

How does an entertainment auction work? BigDeal.com promises up to 98% off the purchase price of a product, which sounds highly appealing to almost anyone. But BigDeal.com would go out of business if they really offered 98% discounts on products, right? So you're asking yourself if you are being tricked into a scam by thinking the auction price is low.

For all the gadgets and software I use, making notes is something I still do with pen and paper. When I think of something related to a project or an event, I scribble it down in a Moleskin notebook for later reference. That system works great until I either don't have my notebook handy or I need to look something up and can't remember when I wrote it down or how I filed it. As a result, I'm attempting to ween myself off of paper and into a digital notetaking solution. Evernote is one solution I tried the first time I attempted this, so it's the solution I'm returning to this time as well. It was me that failed the transition, not Evernote.

Evernote One reason I think I will succeed this time around is convenient access to my notes from either my computer or my Android phone (Evernote also has an iPhone app). Last time I tried Evernote, I didn't have a phone with apps. Beyond the Web interface, the phone apps are what really makes Evernote great. You can take a picture and send it to your Evernote account for future reference. You can upload files. You can simply jot down notes. All of the data becomes searchable for later retrieval. Using separate note categories and using tags to label your notes, finding the data later is a snap. While there is a pay version with more features, the free version of Evernote is excellent and will get you more organized more quickly.

800notes.com falls into the category of sites I wish I'd thought of. Like most people who live in the United States, I get a fair number of telemarketing calls. There's a particularly persistent time share company that calls because I made the mistake of talking to them once. While the do-not-call list is great in theory, it doesn't account for every annoying call you get because doing business with a company means they can call you unless you specifically take action to get them to stop. I prefer to simply investigate who called by way of a simple search. Input a telephone number on 800notes.com, see who called and all the feedback people have left regarding a specific number. If it looks like I'd want to take the call, I'll pick up when they call again, otherwise I can opt to take action or simply ignore the call and hope they eventually go away. Think of 800notes.com as a review service for phone numbers you can't easily find any other way.

Thanks to a tip from Brandon, I just noticed that GrandCentral.com becomes Google.com/Voice very soon. I'm hoping this means it becomes open to the general public soon, because I'd love to have a unified phone solution in my life again. I waited too long to sign up for GrandCentral before Google closed it to new accounts, although I did put myself in the queue to get a number should they ever get around to reopening. Looks like they are reopening, under the new Google Voice brand.

Why do I want Google Voice? Several reasons:

Whether you're one of those people who stash your receipts in a shoebox and wait until April 14 to sort out your taxes, or you simply get inundated with business cards when you go to a tradeshow, Shoeboxed can help organize receipts and convert the paper in your life into searchable online data. I wrote about a similar company called Pixily back in November, but Shoeboxed has much better pricing for a very similar collection of organized receipts. Shoeboxed is like having your own personal assistant for as little as $10/month. They won't get you coffee and answer your phone, but Shoeboxed also won't be surfing YouTube on your dime either. You mail them your receipts and business cards, they do all the tedious work of scanning papers in and making them useful.

If you made a new year's resolution to get smarter about managing your money, or if you just need a simple online checkbook solution, Quicken Online has a ton of great features in a free package. I watched a demo at CES 2009 and was impressed with how they are making it easier to understand the impact of your spending on available cash flow. Quicken Online works just like any other checkbook application. You enter income from your paycheck and other sources. You enter expenses from your debit card or checkbook. If you use Quicken Online consistently, you get a highly accurate picture of how much money you have available to spend between the time you deposit your current paycheck and the time the next paycheck rolls around, which helps prevent overspending or making an impulse purchase that puts you dangerously close to overdrawing.

If you have an iPhone, Quicken will be releasing an iPhone version of the online service that makes it simple to add the purchase you just made right at the point of sale, instantly updating your financial picture. Another handy feature is the ability to get a text message to your cell phone with your balance information, instantly answering the "can I afford it?" question without needing to make a phone call or go to the nearest ATM for a balance lookup. If you're looking for a way to get smarter about finances this year, use free Quicken Online to manage your finances, the price certainly won't hurt your wallet and the access to better data will help prevent financial mistakes.

free personal finance software

YouTube seems to be the unstoppable force of online video. Everyone I know who makes online video realizes they have to post a version of their videos to YouTube if they expect to get a meaningful number of viewers. One thing YouTube hasn't got is a convenient mechanism for editing your uploads. This is where services like Yahoo's Jumpcut show some potential. Jumpcut supports editing photos and video together. You can add titles and audio. A limited set of effects and transitions are available. For most basic edits, you can get a pretty decent looking video with Jumpcut. Would I trade my desktop video editor for Jumpcut? No. But if I had a video I wanted to post online Jumpcut could definitely get the job done. Now if only Yahoo would implement a publish to YouTube button from Jumpcut...

Editor's note: Pixily changed their name to OfficeDrop in 2010.

At the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Start-up Challenge finale tonight YieldEx was the big winner, providing a service that claims to help online publishers make more money. The service I thought looked most interesting is more mundane, a way to get rid of all the paper clutter in your office forever. Pixily is the new paperless service, which provides you envelopes to send them papers, scans the papers, and makes them searchable on a data infrastructure powered by AWS. I like the idea of the service. I know I have stacks of paper, organized into folders with some semblance of order, that still require time to sift through. I could scan them all in to my computer myself, but then I'd also have to make sure they are backed up somewhere. Pixily handles the backup, they handle the scanning, the only thing you have to do is send them a stack in one of their brightly colored envelopes. If some of your documents are already digital, you can upload them to your Pixily account as part of the overall pool of files you might need to search.

The only downside to the service is that it seems expensive. You can store up to 200 pages for free, with the first pay account starting at $4.95/month for up to 1000 pages. I say this is expensive because my average bank statement is 6 pages long, so a year's worth of bank records is at least 72 pages. My cell phone bill is typically another 8 pages on average, putting me at another 96 pages per year. Anything else and I'm into the money category. Thankfully those don't need to be scanned because they are available for electronic download, but they count against the cumulative total. At the high end, you could be spending $720 per year to store up to 20,000 documents. Pricey for the average consumer, but potentially a convenient alternative to someone wasting time digging through a file drawer if you have a business that relies on referring to old files frequently. Regardless of the cost, the service has merit, it remains to be seen whether someone can offer a more DIY version of Pixily where most of the scanning is done by the customer and the service is really about providing access to the data.

Subscribe for Free!

Your E-mail Address: