Archive for March, 2007

Callwave and dirty secret of missed calls

March 31, 2007

I had been planning a rant on the hopeless quality of voice networks in US, but Om Malik got to that in a good way. Personally paying more than $2160($90*24months) since I moved to my new place and being able to talk for less than 500 minutes from here all along can’t make me more mad. Still one thing Om didn’t write about are the “missed calls” that showup on your phone. Now I am not talking about missed calls when we don’t pick up the phone. It’s about those phone calls that never reach your phone. Those for which the phone never rings. Personally I have come across situations when the person you are calling is standing next to you but his phone never chimes. If it’s your wife you can easily get out of trouble by showing her the call log. But what will a caller located 3000 miles away think about you?

Just like everyone I am also a victim of this arrangement between mobile carriers that makes your calls end up on a server somewhere instead of your phone. Now advantage in blogging about technology and new products is that you get to play with each of them and eventually find some of them really useful. So few weeks back I started using Callwave to handle my voicemail service that delivers all my voicemails to me via email and a Yahoo widget. Besides the voicemail piece, Callwave also catches your missed calls. This is where the magic happened with me few days back. Callwave not only catches the missed calls for the people you ignored but also those calls for which your phone never rings. Since I use Blackberry and get my emails pushed to my mobile, suddenly I found myself getting emailed about few missed calls. I looked at my call log and there was no trace of those calls. You can very well guess what was happening out there. These are calls that were supposed to reach my phone, but get routed midway to a Cingular server. Strange but true.

So, now I longer miss my calls. As soon as the call is missed, I just open my email to highlight the phone number, and click connect to start talking. But this does speaks loudly about the pathetic voice networks in US.

Links:
Callwave gets all widgety

Advertisements

Snaptell – Comparison shopping goes mobile

March 30, 2007

snaptell_logo.jpg

I never love the last minute doubt about whether I got the right deal on my gadget or not. Well, Palo Alto, CA based Snaptell is going to get rid of this hitch with its new mobile based comparisons shopping service. All you need to do is take a picture of the product label and send it to Snaptell to get more pricing options via SMS message. Not an entirely original idea but definitely smarter one as compared to 4Info price check that can sometimes take 2 rounds trips to get the product pricing. To me it seems more like a mashup of QuipIt/ScanR and 4Info. Anyway, if you don’t have camera phone, you would be able to go the 4Info route, which is texting, to get the price.

Snaptell promises data from major internet retailers – Shopping.com and Amazon. Not the most price competitive sites to get quotes from, but still way better than BestBuy. To start with, Snaptell service will work with Verizon, Sprint, and Cingular cameraphones(2MP+) including the likes of SCH-A970, SCH-A990, XV6700, 8525, and more. What all can you get quotes for? Consumer electronics, software, computer equipment, kitchen products, and home and garden products. Would be worth trying out Snaptell for sure as it goes into public beta.

Links:
Snaptell

Get your coach at ActiveVibe

March 30, 2007

ActivVibe

Another networking startup with a twist, ActiveVibe wants to bring together coaches and rest of us. ActiveVibe, which is under private beta, is aiming to get certified and licensed professionals onboard where they can be reached by the community. Calendar and client management systems are part of the play that can make life easier for coaches. As for users, we will be able to search for coaches from over 28 different sport categories. From there on you can contact the coach and move forward.

The idea is definitely interesting as compared to all the sports related networking sites launched till now that bring together the players but can soon hit the wall when the same users can’t see the path ahead. Making a clear distinction between who is who would drive more users to ActiveVibe. Still just like any other networking startup, ActiveVibe will have to play the balancing game of getting enough coaches and players onboard. Tying up with few select schools to start with might be the strategy for ActiveVibe.

Links:
ActiveVibe

iUpload – more money for wiki solutions

March 30, 2007

Collaboration is the name of the game thesedays and as a result we have just too many startups doing that. Wetpaint, pbWiki, Confluence, CentralDesktop, MindTouch, SocialText, Google, Blogtronix, Clearspace, Serebrum, Intel Suite Two, Near-Time ………And now another well funded startup to compete with for everyone – iUpload. According to PEHub, iUpload has raised $7 million in it’s Series A round of funding from Greylock Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners. iUpload service gets you Wikis, Discussions forums, blogs, forms, ACL, workflows, API….. iUpload seems to be strong in sales, which can win the game in this scenario. Besides the above, Microsoft bundling Wiki+Forum+Workflows+IM with Sharepoint can make life difficult for everyone.

Links:
iUpload

Basil – More web stats for your blog

March 30, 2007

Basil is yet another startup offering web stats. Only difference this time around is that you can host the tracking software on your server. Stats from your Basil install are delivered in real-time, which can get your prepared for a server crash when your site gets onto Slashdot or Digg and thousands of people hit your site within a hour(of course Basil also goes down if you have it installed on the same server). Stats provided by Basil are similar to what you will get from any other service- visitors, referrers, searches, environments, locations, content performance, browsers, and trends. All this comes for one-time fee of $25 .

My motivation point for moving to Basil or any other real-time web stats service for the fact can be if it sends me alerts in case of higher than normal users start hitting my blog. Last time StartupSquad got dugg, I didn’t realize it for 2-3 hours ’cause of delayed reporting from Google Analytics. Services like Pingdom can also help, but in that case you will know only after your site goes down or slows down appreciably in which case even you will have trouble reaching the server and instead go for a hard restart.

Related:
GetClicky & Reinvigorate: more web analytics web20 style

Links:
Basil

Jangl on Tagged, Six Apart soon

March 30, 2007

Jangl is on the roll. The anonymous calling service provider that had launched an upgraded widget couple of days back is now partnering with one of the bigger social networking sites Tagged.com and also with blogging tools provider Six Apart. Both the partnerships are supposed to go live with 2-4 weeks timeframe. What this means to users is the ability to easily embed Jangl widget onto their profile page at Tagged or on their blog at Vox/LiveJournal/.. Jangl had already done the big partnership with Match.com, which was right around the time it received $7 million in Series B round of funding.

One thing that I missed the other day while reviewing the new widget was that signing up for he Jangl service doesn’t result in another voicemail box for you to check, which is the case with Jaxtr Okay even Jaxtr has that set to optional. Guess i never saw that. Anyway, in case you don’t choose to take the call, the calling party can leave a message that ends up on your regular voicemail box. To complete the privacy loop, all the while your personal greeting is never delivered to the caller. Personally I just hate checking another mailbox or voicemail, and this feature from Jangl doesn’t want me do that either. In fact Jangl with voice-text widget from Callwave is the best widget-based calling combination you can get. I am already done with the change! Check StartupSquad.com right column for the widget.

Links:
Jangl

WiPeer – serverless p2p

March 29, 2007

Yesterday I came across WiPeer that enables peer-to-peer wireless networking without the server piece. Interesting idea, but something that is not new. IBM Thinkpads already come pre-installed with such a tool that lets Thinkpad users join p2p communities. However WiPeer goes a step further in the automation of such p2p capabilities. You can create or join p2p networks from any windows machines while choosing between wireless (WiFi) and Ethernet. Just download the app, and join the p2p session. Overall good is that you have privacy while sharing files or collaborating since nothing passes through a central server. Or at the very minimum you can share files easily between your machines without the need to route them through 3rd party servers.

Links:
WiPeer

Yourminis API is live

March 29, 2007

Yourminis has finally gone live the launch of its API about which I had written earlier this month. You can get started quickly through the Developers tab at Yourminis.com. Once finished, developers will be able to promote their widgets onto “labs” area where Yourminis uses can try them out.

Yourminis also jumping onto the widget analytics scene by enabling developers to analyze usage. Metrics provided will be similar to what most of us have got used to now – number of impressions/views, comparison of new vs. return viewers, average number of views per viewer, number of views per domain and the number of views per country. Google had added support for widget analytics via Google Analytics sometime back, while widget syndication platforms Clearspring, Musestorm, and Widgetbox also have analytics support. Rest of the homepage services – Netvibes, Pageflakes, Protopage, and Webwag are missing out on the important functionality that developers very well need.

Links:
Yourminis API
StartupSquad.com widget at Yourminis


Image from Yourminis.com

Live Earth takes on Google Maps. Real serious this time around

March 29, 2007

Microsoft’s Live Earth team went through a major feature upgrade today with the addition of 3.8 terabytes worth imagery data. And the end result is just amazing. Switching to bird’s eye view almost takes you live to the location. Live Earth team will be making the official announcement soon about which all cities are covered as part of the upgrade. NYC, Chicago, Seattle all seem to there.Chicago, Ventura County California, Broomfield Colorodo, Pinellas Florida, Charleston South Carolina¬† are the places covered in¬† US.

Does this explain for Google’s rumored buyout of Vutool?

Links:
Live Earth’s enhanced bird’s eye view

Breaking: Yandex acquires Russian professional networking site Moikrug

March 29, 2007

StartupSquad has learned from a recent tipoff that Yandex, the leading search engine in Russia with some 5m daily visitors, acquired Moikrug or MyCircle, the largest social networking site for Russian-speaking professionals in other words LinkedIn for Russia. The rumored acquisition price is up to US$ 5m including cash and Yandex stock options. Moikrug is said to have some 100k registered users. Yandex recently reported revenues of $ 72m in 2006 (of which 80% is from search ads).

The above acquisition seems to be in reaction to Xing’s recent acquisition of eConozco that I had written just couple of days back.