LocateTV Redesigns Embeddable Widgets

LocateTV.com Logo

LocateTV, the internet version of TV Guide which was covered here LocateTV – TV Guide On Steroids, have redesigned their embeddable widgets based on user feedback. The new widgets now come in three flavors. Vanilla, Branded and Custom.

The Vanilla design is a plain and simple graphic with no bells or whistles attached. The Branded design is their standard widget design which features the colors of their website. Probably the most useful out of the bunch is the custom design. The custom widget contains adjustable color and sizing options so that blending it in with the design of your site is a piece of cake.

LocateTV is currently asking for feedback on these new widget designs. Please visit New embed designs: go on then and let them know what you think.

On a related note, LocateTV is showing one of the most powerful resources in an online companies arsenal, two-way communication. The end users provide valuable feedback, and within a moments notice, companies can fulfill the needs of users. I hope other companies are taking notes because this is the way it should be.

Migratr – Backup And Migrate Your Online Photos

Migratr.com LogoI discovered this application via The Global Geek Podcast Episode 59 It’s called Migratr. Migratr was originally developed to allow you to download all of your photos from one web service, then import them into another. But, as Dave mentioned on the show, this tool has a dual purpose.

It can also be used to download all of your photos from a supported online photo hosting service such as Flickr and allows you to create a manual backup. In this how-to article, I will be illustrating how to use this application.

The first thing you need to do is download and then install the Migratr application. Migratr uses the .NET framework which makes it compatible with Windows only. The latest version of the .NET framework which is 3.0 can be downloaded here

Step 1. is the authentication process. As it stands, Migratr supports the following photo services: Flickr, Zooomr, 23HQ, SmugMug and Picasa Web. Since I use Flickr, thats the option I’ll choose. After clicking the Authentication button, the Flickr homepage will load letting me know that Migratr wants to link directly into my Flickr account. At this point, your going to want to click on the blue OK, I’LL ALLOW IT button. Now that Migratr is authorized, it’s time for step 2.

Step One Of The Migration Process

Step 2. Click on the Finish Authentication Button

Finish The Authentication Steps

Step 3. Now that the Flickr account is authenticated, I can begin the Import process, which will download all of my photos that are currently within my Flickr account. After clicking the Import button, you’ll be given the opportunity to select where the photos will be stored. For simplicity, I’m going to select a newly created folder on my desktop. Since I have over 700 images, this ought to be interesting.

It took nearly 20 minutes for migratr to download 783 Flickr photos. The amount of time it takes for your Import will vary depending upon your Internet connection speed and the number of photos in your account.

Beginning The Import Process

Along with all of my photos, Migratr also produced an XML file. This XML file is the important asset that allows for the importing and exporting to different services. The XML file contains all of your tags, album titles, individual image titles, and image descriptions. Essentially, all of the meta data that is associated with your account.

At this time, you can either continue with the program to import your photos into a different service, or you can close the program, with confidence that you now have a full backup of your photos that you can store on an external hard drive or DVD. You never know, some insane virus or technical failure could wipe out Flickr. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

For the sake of this article, I’m going to create a brand new account on 23HQ and see how the exporting process goes.

Step 4. After your import is finished, click on the CONTINUE TO EXPORTING button. Since I created a new account on 23HQ, thats the one I am going to select. Click on the authenticate button to begin the authentication process.

Time To Export The Photos Into 23HQ

Step 5. Click on the Finish Authentication button.

Finish authenticating then begin the export process

Step 6. Click on the Export button and select the folder where your imported photos are located. That is precisely what I did and it took an insanely large amount of time to upload photos. My upstream connection is only 512K. The lesson here, if your going to import photos into a another service, make it an overnight affair.

The photos that uploaded into my 23HQ account looked as though they retained all of the information that was attributed to them on Flickr. Migratr seems to have done it’s job and it did the job fairly well. Before I let you go, there are a few more things that you should know or at least consider before making any hasty moves.

Albumns Were Transferred Successfully Tags Were Also Transferred Successfully A number of photos were succesfully exported

The first is that I use a Flickr Pro account. This means I have the ability to upload an unlimited amount of photos. Unless you have a pro account for any of the services that are supported by Migratr, you won’t be able to move your entire account over to a new service in one try. Secondly, Zooomr appears to be supported even though their API has yet to be released. As it stands, Zooomr does not support mass uploads. If you try to export your photos to Zooomr through Migratr, you will be presented with an error, telling you that the authentication failed, try again later.

Even though the program works now, it’s been awhile since Alex has posted anything on his Migratr site. I really hope he continues to support and improve upon this product as it’s BACKUP functions are enough for me. Alex, if your out there, let us know what’s going on and thank you for producing this awesome application.

BlogWorthy – Tech In Demand

TechInDemand.com Logo

A good friend of mine, James Mowery has started up his own blog, Tech In Demand, which deals with Technology, a sprinkling of Web 2.0 and buzz worthy insight. James was at one time a contributing editor to Mashable.com and was responsible for this post, Online Productivity Toolbox: 30+ Resources to Get Things Done which received quite a number of Diggs. James certainly knows what he’s talking about and I highly encourage you to check out his project. He’s made it into my FeedReader, who’s next?

Ask Me A Question Via Qwizzy

Qwizzy.com LogoWhile browsing Steven Hodsons blog, I noticed an interesting widget on his site that displayed questions he had been asked, followed up with his answers. I thought this was a novel idea and a way for me to communicate directly with my readers.

Qwizzy.com was created by Adam Ostrow, Contributing editor for Mashable.com and Peter Franza, a distinguished computer engineer. Both founders currently reside in Virginia.

Qwizzys founding principle, is that you should question everything. In effect, thats exactly what the service allows you to do. After registering an account, you’ll be able to ask any other member a question. Those members then have an oppurtunity to answer your question and the entire experience gives you the sense of a one-on-one personal communication. An excellent way of sharing knowledge without needing to use email.

After joining the service, I took the opportunity to ask Adam, “What is it like writing and working for Mashable.com?” It didn’t take him long to respond.

Adam Ostrow: answered: “It’s pretty cool. I actually studied journalism in college so it’s nice to be able to write and get paid for it. The one thing that is hard for me is coming up with topic ideas, and occasionally I’ll get assigned one that isn’t so fun for me.”

Qwizzy provides seperate RSS feeds for Questions and Answers. I wouldn’t mind seeing an RSS feed which combines the two. If you have a question that you’ve been wanting to ask me, join Qwizzy and be sure to add me as a fan http://www.qwizzy.com/jeffro2pt0 All questions and answers will be displayed on the Qwizzy flash based widget, which is now displayed on the left sidebar on this blog.

Qwizzy RSS Feeds

Yappd Finally Getting Somewhere

Yappd.com LogoYappd, the service that was awarded my first negative review which can be read here, has released a few updates which finally make the service worth using. These updates include uploading photos, public API and TinyURL Support.

Yappd members can now upload photos via their web site. Yappd has also added in support so that you’ll be notified if friends on your watchlist have posted any Yappd messages. If your a developer, and for some reason would like to integrate Yappd into your application or website, you can now visit http://yappd.com/api to tap into their Beta API.

Yappd claims they are focusing on the capabilities of their platform by allowing member’s of other microblogging websites, to have their other “messages” posted as Yapps automatically. Another item on their to do list includes, expanding their mobile carrier support for picture messaging and international support.

With these updates in mind, I may have to go back to the Yappd site and give it another try.

LocateTV – TV Guide On Steroids

Locate TV.com LogoThe idea behind LocateTV is simple – to let you find TV shows available where you live in the world, be they on broadcast TV, online or on recorded media (DVD, HD-DVD etc). In addition we provide tools to assist you, so that your readers can find where they can watch the TV content that you are talking about.

If I had to review this site in one sentence or less, I’d say it was your TV Guide on roids. LocateTV is a search engine that provides you with up to date results on when a particular actor, TV show or movie will appear on TV, DVD or WebTV. For instance, I used the search terms “Back To The Future“. The first result lets me know that Back To The Future, was a movie released in 1985. The result page gives you a brief description of the movie letting you know which actors appeared as well as the movie credits.

Search Results Page On LocateTV

Below all of the information related to the movie itself are three tabs. One for Upcoming TV showings, another for DVD and another for WebTV. WebTV… Does anyone still use WebTV? At any rate, at the time of this writing, BTTF will be showing three seperate times on Sunday September 2nd on Cinemax. Each showing includes an embed link which allows you to embed the show time information into your blog or any other form that allows embeddable html. Let’s give it a shot.

Click to see LocateTV results for Back to the Future. Always up to date, always relevant to you.

I don’t think you’ll be able to place this in a blogs sidebar because of the size of this thing but, it’s a cool way to be able to tell your visitors when the next showing of your favorite show will be on.

Clicking on the DVD tab shows retailers who are currently selling the specific DVD or a DVD set containing the movie in question. Some of the retailers I’ve seen include Amazon, Deep Discount.com, Movies Unlimited and Barnes&Noble.com. LocateTV earns a small percentage of the DVD sale if you purchase the DVD through the LocateTV site. While I browsed around, I didn’t notice any ADs, so this could be the way they plan on monetizing the service.

One of the features I almost forgot to mention, is the ability to personalize your search results. In the top right corner of the LocateTV website, there is a button that you can press that gives you the ability to choose which country you live in (At the moment there are only three countries supported) type in your address, and then select your programming provider. In my case, it was Time Warner Cable. I recommend going through this process before you begin searching the site so the results are as accurate as possible.

Personalize Your Search Results

While performing a search for Deadliest Catch, my favorite reality based TV show, I came across a 2007 entry that did not contain a synopsis. This struck me as odd but it gave me the oppurtunity to send LocateTV a feature request. I requested that users be able to submit a synopsis of a particular show for review by the LocateTV staff members or, that they configure the synopsis part of the search results as a wiki that can be edited only by registered members.

Final Thoughts:

If your blogging about a particular television show that you watched or you have seen something worth recommending, chances are, other folks would also like to see it. You owe it to yourself and others to use the embed feature of LocateTV to tell others when the show will be appearing next. LocateTV is trying to solve a huge problem:

The problem we are continuously striving to solve is that legitimate TV content is available from an ever changing list of different places depending upon where you live – be that different TV channels, different online sources, or on different recorded media. The big challenge for us is to collate this information together, so that people from different geographic locations can find the same content. We are launching with coverage of the UK and US. We aim to broaden this coverage over time.

It’s my opinion that these guys are doing a good job thus far. They are actively fixing glitches in their search system as their change log points out and now, I don’t have to remember which channel the program was on, nor do I have to remember dates or times. I can do a quick search on LocateTV and then publish that information.

Special Offer For Readers Of This Site

LocateTV is still in private beta. They have let me know that, they are aiming to have a public beta within the next few weeks, then they will go public. LocateTV was kind enough to provide me with three invitations to their service that I could give away to you, the readers. So if your interested in giving this service a test spin and think you can add some valuable feedback to the LocateTV team, let me know in the comments section and I’ll set you up with an invite. Be sure to use a real email address when leaving a comment since thats the address the invite will be sent to.

SHOULDdoTHIS – The Internet Suggestion Box

Should Do This LogoHere is an interesting site I came across the other day. It’s quickly being referred to as the internet suggestion box. SHOULDdoTHIS resembles Twitter with unique spin on the micro-blogging idea.

This is one of the few services I have come across that supports logging in by using my OpenID user account, which made creating a registered account a breeze. I wish more sites would include this type of login access. In my opinion, OpenID will play a big role in creating a unified login across multiple sites. So the more sites that support OpenID, the better.

ShouldDoThis Text Box

While Twitter provides an avenue for you to tell the world ‘What Are You Doing?‘ SHOULDdoTHIS allows you to give your opinion as to what should be done, and who it should be done by. For example, in the ‘Someone Field‘ I typed in EA. In the ‘do something great field‘ I typed in ‘Should release one last major patch to Battlefield 2‘. Unlike the 140 character limit found on other micro-blogging services, there doesn’t appear to be any limit to the amount of text that can be placed within the ‘Do Something Great‘ field. After I clicked the submit button, my suggestion was published to my account where users can do a number of different things.

On the right hand side of the site, users can choose whether or not the suggestion is likely or unlikely to happen. Underneath of that, users can guesstimate when the suggestion will take place. Suggestions can be tagged but as I was browsing around, the tags feature didn’t appear to be used by quite a few people. Just like Twitter, each user has an RSS feed attached to their account. After adding a suggestion, there is a text area which appears at the bottom of the post which lets users give a detailed explanation as to their suggestion. I believe this is a nice touch as quite a few suggestions can not be explained in a short amount of detail.

My suggestions so far

Final Thoughts:

Everyone has an opinion, and this service let’s you get your opinion out in the open. If Robotcoop releases a public API for SHOULDdoTHIS, I see no reason as to why sites and services, especially those with actual products wouldn’t use something like this as a suggestion box. SHOULDdoTHIS is not a Twitter clone as I feel the service has taken the micro-blogging idea and put a very nice twist to it. Considering there are sponsored ads that appear on user account pages, this site already has a monetization model, but if they charged a price to use their service for commercial use, I think they would do very well.

If you sign up and give the service a try, let me know what YOU think.

Protect Or Sell Your Content Via QuickInsert

QuickInsert.com Logo

Kick Adsense to the curb and use QuickInsert.com to sell content directly to those who want it. Or, use QuickInsert to protect your goodies from prying eyes.

QuickInsert History:

QuickInsert.com is founded by Alex Schliker, who is also the founder of Coderam.com, and Fantasticscripts.com. Alex is a bootstrapped entrepreneur which is interesting considering most of the other startups have venture capitalists backing them.

Synopsis:

QuickInsert harnesses the power of widgets, allowing webmasters or content authors alike to easily plug the service into their site. Copy the content you want to protect and place it into your QuickInsert account. QuickInsert will then provide a line of javascript code which needs to be placed onto your site. One of the nice features of QuickInsert is the lack of having to browse the actual QS site itself, to access protected content.

The Nitty Gritty:

How does it work? QuickInsert acts as a third party content protection service. Once you create an account, any of the content you place into that account becomes known as ‘protected content‘ and is unavailable to non-users. When a user registers on your site, they are presented with a Google Checkout/Paypal page, or their accounts are activated immediately. Once this is complete, users can then access your protected content.

QuickInsert touts the following features:

  • Quick and easy content protection!
  • Hosted content storage
  • One line of code to protect your website
  • Secure storage of your site’s content via SSL
  • Management tools for you and your users
  • Payment gateway support for Paypal and Google Checkout
  • Membership Is Free

Registered QS members will be able to access a fairly decent control panel which gives you all of the options you need to protect your content. From within the control panel, you have the ability to edit gateways, edit sites, edit users, edit content, edit your own account, suggest features and last but not least, pricing options.

How They Say It Works

Adding protected content to QS is like writing a blog post. QS provides a fully accessorized text editor to ensure your content can be properly formatted. I gave the text editor a try by pasting this review as it was formatted in OpenOffice Writer, and the editor did a pretty good job in maintaining the formatting. If you have a document or PDF file that needs to be protected, you can add a download link which will also be protected along with the article. Once your content is copied into QuickInsert, simply click on the javascript button which will provide you the appropriate JS code to add to your site.

My Thoughts:

I think Alex’s idea is a good one but it comes at a time where everyone on the web is expecting everything to be free. Your content also has to be pretty unique for anyone to consider buying it. If you feel your content has what it takes to pay your bills, give QuickInsert.com a try as it may be the easiest way to manage your protected content.

Site Scrutiny – Scrutinizing In Style

SiteScrutiny.com LogoSiteScrutiny.com is a brand new blog dedicated to reviewing and sharing some of the coolest, most useful sites on the net. Some of his latest reviews include Preezo, Open Source Web Design, and Agatra.

SiteScrutiny is maintained by John Kolbert, the webmaster of Simply-Basic.com which on an unrelated note, has a very nice looking design. As I provide you with a ton of crap in my reviews, John writes about the goods and discards the crap. His articles are to the point and contain insightful opinions, not to mention the design surrounding the content is easy on the eyes.

This blog is in it’s infancy, but it’s already looking good. Remember John, if you blog it, they will come. So SiteScrutiny, welcome to my Up and Coming section in my FeedReader.

Yappd Support Question Answered

Yappd.comYappd, the non Twitter Killer has responded to my support email. In my email, I asked them how to add images to Yappd postings. Here is what they replied to me with.

The way you add pictures right now is only by cell phone through picture message. Early next week we will add photos upload from the website.

You read it here first folks. Next week, Yappd will allow users to send images along with their posts. I don’t want to bag on Yappd anymore than I already have, (see my review Yappd Reviewed – Non Twitter Killer ) But this feature should of been released with the service on day 1. However, I’d say thanks to Yappd for responding to my email.