Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

ScrubIT- enterprise type Internet filter for everyone

March 2, 2007

ScrubIT, which launched yesterday, wants to protect your home from porn sites. Implementation is pretty simple from the end user standpoint. Just point you machine to the ScrubIT DNS, specify which sites you want to block, and ScrubIT will make sure anyone from your network is not able to reach those sites. Even otherwise ScrubIT will maintain a list of potentially harmful and/or pornographic websites so that you don’t have to create the list from scratch. ScrubIT has more plans around its service like users being able to customize their DNS filter for a small fee. That is still to come.

One issue I see is that would you really trust a third party service to peek into your Internet traffic data. Do even know what all data they are collecting as part of this service. Also who is looking at the data? I think If someone wants, he/she can easily setup such a service and start looking into an unsuspecting users login/password information for most of the common web services which goes through in plain(except for Gmail and Yahoo mail which automatically use SSL). Consequences of someone leaking out this data can be very fatal for most of us. Another issue that can arise is that ScrubIT category filters getting overly aggressive and start blocking sites that you might actually find useful, just like some of the dumb enterprise filters work.

Anyhow, till now the company hasn’t disclosed who is behind the service. After they initially contacted me yesterday, all I could get from them was that ScrubIT has a “pretty diverse management group with experts in computer science, networking, statistics, and business development”. That doesn’t help much. “Anthony” at ScrubIT did add that they will have a blog up “later this week”. Well its is Friday today. Would watchout for who is behind the service. For now I would recommend people to hold back on this change.

OpenDNS has also been working in the similar domain but for phishing sites.

Links:
ScrubIT

Get StartupSquad’s Webaroo widget

January 14, 2007

Offline world helper keeps getting better by the day. Apart from the new site, Webaroo’s new release comes with compatibility for Windows Mobile devices. Get the webpacks on the mobile and you ready to research during your subway ride. Cingular Edge users can’t be more happier.

 

Besides that Webaroo has also launched widgets for blogs and sites which makes it easier to grep your favorite content. You can grab StartupSquad.com’s Webaroo webpack by clicking on the widget located on our site.

Related:
Get Wikipedia on Webaroo and Widsets

Links:
Webaroo

Protopage adds support for podcasts with Version 3

November 27, 2006

After a number of false starts, Protopage today finally launched the version 3 of their homepage product. With the update, Protopage has added number of new features that will help it to catch with the top homepage service providers like Netvibes and Google Personalized homepage. Protopage Widget showcase now has more than 270 widgets and you can quickly preview the widgets before adding them to your account. Protopage has added an internal RSS feed reader that supports keyboard shortcuts, and has multi-feed display, and provides quick viewing of news articles. Protopage  has also added support for cartoon feeds, video podcasts, and audio podcasts with an integrated podcast player. Users now also have the ability to create tabs and categories, make the tabs public or private, and password protect group of tabs. Users can create to-do lists which has support for multi-level format, edit-in place list items and drag-drop feed items within a list or to other to-do widgets. Even the sticky notes have been upgraded to enable click and edit of text inside the widget. Protopage now has an integrated search box with 750 preloaded search engines that enables easier searching across Wikipediaorg, Dictionary.com, IMDB.com among others. Protopage is also expanded it’s support for number of browsers which now includes IE 7/6, Firefox 2/1.5, Opera 9, Safari 2, and you can even view your Protopage Nintento Wii.

With the launch of this new release, and the support for audio/video podcast and the ability to customize page background with different color combinations+wallpapers makes Protopage one of the best homepage services available.

But from the new feature release perspective I will favor module based release instead of a major upgrade of site that was experienced by Protopage users. Most of the existing users tend to get lost among the number of new features offered and might result in users switching to some other service. Also the development team will have to work on fixing fewer bugs simultaneously instead of conducting sitewide bug-fighting operation.

Other competing services in homepage market include Netvibes, Webwag, Pageflakes, Yourminis, Google, and Windows Live.

Links:
Protopage

 

Get Wikipedia on Webaroo and Widsets

November 3, 2006

Wikipedia researchers now have couple of interesting new ways to stay close Wikipedia data.

Today Widsets introduced a new widget to enable easier Wikipedia search from mobile. Widsets is Nokia’s mobile widget platform for Java MIDP 2.0 based phones. You can install the widget onto your mobile for easier searching on Wikipedia content. Users can also disable loading of images for faster page loads and low bandwidth usage.

Webaroo demonstrated the best use case of its offline search with Web Packs technology recently. Webaroo introduced Wikipedia Web Pack that compresses the Wikipedia database dump to 6GB. Wikipedia’s typical database dump size from last year was 75 GB, which typically is neither feasible to download nor store on PCs for most of the users. Webaroo Web Pack provides you with all the Wikipedia text and strips out all images contained. So using Webaroo’s Wikipedia web pack you can easily search through more than 645,000 articles when you are offline. If you are interested in particular topics available at Wikipedia, Webaroo provides individual Web Packs for them. Soon Webaroo will also be available on Sandisk USB drives, which will provide a truly mobile offline Wikipedia.

Even otherwise if you haven’t given Webaroo a try till now, you should definitely give it a trial run by downloading it from here. Can prove to be pretty useful tool sometimes.

Links:
Widsets Wikipedia widget
Webaroo Wikipedia Web Packs

Qipit offers a competing service to scanR

November 3, 2006

Qipit, a service from Realeyes3D, enables users to convert images of their documents into PDF format. Users can take images from their camera phones and send them to Qipit through MMS or email. When you email images to Qipit service,  you also have option to send a copy of the PDF generated to other email addresses and fax numbers. On the Qipit server side, it’s service quickly converts the images to documents and uploads to your account at Qipit. The service also emails the document to you and send a confirmation message on your mobile for successful delivery of the message. Besides being able to send images from mobile, users can also upload images directly from their pc. 

Users are free to try out all the features at Qipit before it launches its new services plans on November 15th. Qipit’s basic service plan will offer space for 25 pages on the online Qipit account. Qipit will also be launching their Premium plan which will offer mobile upload of pictures for Qipit processing, space for storing 1000 pages, and unlimited emailing and faxing of Qipit digital copies.

Earlier this year scanR had introduced the concept of being able to upload and convert images to PDF from mobile. If you compare the scanR and Qipit features, scanR does seem to offer a better platform right now. scanR service can converts images of whiteboards, documents, and business cards to PDF. scanR already has an application that can be installed on Symbian, PlamOS, and Windows Mobile based devices. Besides this, you can easily add the scanR gadget to your Google personalized homepage. scanR has also added integration Salesforce, Jigsaw, and Plaxo to enable you to easily send contact information from your scanned business cards to any of these services.

I think if you are not a heavy user of image->mobile->PDF type of services, either of these services is good enough. For heavy usage, scanR definitely has an edge over Qipit in terms of the features offered. But this can change soon since a new release from Qipit seems imminent.

Links:
Qipit
scanR

Yourminis – Flash based Netvibes competitor

October 27, 2006

Goowy media recently launched Yourminis, a personal Flash based home page service similar to Netvibes or Google Personalized home page. Goowy had been providing minis as desktop application , which were available since last year, and is now moving them over to a stand alone start page to attract a wider user base.

Youminis team has developed a great interface for the service having similar features as most of the competing services have. Yourminis provides the ability to add, remove content modules, modify background color of modules, and add tabs to your personal page, and resize modules. Yourminis tabs can be viewed in Quick Tabs format similar to what we have in Internet Explorer 7.

Yourminis modules library might not be as versatile as compared to Netvibes, but still does provide number of modules needed by most of the users. Users can add their del.icio.us, Gmail, Hotmail, .mac mail, Yahoo Mail, and pop3 accounts. Other available modules enable users to add RSS feeds, Yahoo Traffic, Youtube videos, AOL videos, Flickr photos, calendar, and todo list. Goowy team has also been working with Wallop’s Modder Network to provide minis, from yourminis.com, to the Wallop community.

Yourminis worked fine on Maxthon, Firefox, and Flock. However I experienced an issue with Yourminis on IE7. When switching between IE tabs or windows, Yourminis page suddenly becomes blank and you need to refresh the page to get back to your content.

Links:
Yourminis

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Launch: Access your PC from mobile phone using SoonR

September 13, 2006

SoonR and Opera Software today announced introduction of mobile AJAX application that will enable users to have instant remote access to their PCs from mobile phones running Opera Mobile browser.

“Opera’s mobile AJAX-capable browser enables a second wave of mobile applications and brings SoonR’s core architecture to the forefront of simple mobile access,” said Martin Frid-Nielsen, CEO of SoonR. “AJAX-based applications are fast, easy to use and work on a wide range of mobile handsets.”

SoonR’s mobile AJAX application will be available for mobile phones running Opera Mobile browser version 8.6 and above. SoonR’s new functionality includes Remote access to PC, ability to retrieve documents and pictures that have been optimized for your handset, desktop search from your phone, and ability to convert file formats. To use the application you will have to install the SoonR client on your PC, set the folders you want to share, and keep your PC running while you’re out. SoonR client will automatically detect and enable these search tools and allow you to search from your mobile phone. Best part is that no software needs to be installed on your phone.

You can also search for files on you PC, using search tool from Google/Yahoo/X1/MSN desktop which are installed on your PC. Opera Mobile supports wide array of mobile which you can checkout here. Only downside is that Opera Mobile cost USD 29 which I think will be roadblock for viral user adoption of a great piece of software.

Using SoonR users can also connect to Outlook on their desktop without synchronization where they can check and respond to emails, get access to contacts, and check/share their schedule remotely. SoonR had already announced the feature where users can Skype call their buddies from their mobile phone.

According to Opera Mobile page, Nokia 770 is one of the supported devices. I will try getting the app running on my Nokia 770 later today and update with results.

Update: Yesterday i did get a chance to access my PC from Nokia 770, which comes preinstalled with the Opera Mobile browser. Soonr worked perfectly and i was able to share and view documents on the handheld. You can view and zoom images, view data from documents, ……..You can even search for files on your pc from the handheld if Google Desktop Search is running on your pc.
Links:
Soonr
Opera Mobile

Soonr on Opera Mobile

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Microsoft Max disappoints

September 9, 2006

Microsoft has announced that Max will support RSS and ATOM feeds. Earlier Max had inbuilt News module which was powered by MSN Search and Reuters. Max also has Photo organizer where users can create list of photos, arrange them using Microsoft’s 3D Mantle View, and also share those photos. Users can also annotate by drawing on the photographs without altering the originals.

I installed Max and found it quite disappointing. Max RSS reader has the least number of features I have ever come across in a RSS Feed reader. All you can do is Add, Delete, and View a feed. The reader does not tell which feeds have new posts, cannot rearrange feeds, cannot create folders, cannot import OPML of your feeds, cannot create watch lists, don’t have any mobile support, ……………You ask for it and Max does NOT have it. The last release for Max was in March and after 7 months all they could add was a worthless RSS reader. However the only good feature I found with Max reader was a new, but nice way of displaying news in a 2-page layout, as compared to any other feed reader.

The Photo organizer part was present in Microsoft Max before the new release. I don’t really know if any new features are added to it this time. But if you compare Max Photo organizer with Picasa from Google, Microsoft again looses by a big margin. With the addition of Picasa Web Albums, Picasa is one of the best desktop and online photo organizing tools. Coming back to Max, it does not support any upload of photographs to web, ordering of photo prints, image editing, geotagging,………It feels that Max is just an advanced version of Windows image viewer with the addition of list creation, emailing of list, annotation, and 3D Mantle View generation, as the new features.

Just a quick note from Microsoft Max existing users: You will lose any lists you might have created or received in previous versions of Max.

I think this product is bound to go down. Max is not even worth downloading and trying it out.

[via Niall Kennedy]

Links:
Microsoft Max
Picasa

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Live-Documents brings collaboration to Microsoft Office

September 8, 2006

090806_live_documents_logo.gif

Instacoll has released a powerful app Live-Documents that brings secure collaboration within Microsoft Applications. Instacoll is a Bangalore, India, based startup co-founded by Sabeer Bhatia of Hotmail fame.

Live-Documents has a pretty straight forward concept. Multiple users across different machines can share documents, make changes, and track those changes. Live-Documents supports Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You need to install Live-Documents app on each of your machine to enable sharing and viewing of documents created using Live-Documents. Live-Document secures each document using a unique encryption key, the policy server records each key for the document, and an encrypted version of the document is saved on the disk that can be shared with other users. For each of the documents you can set up read, edit, print, and offline access rights per user basis. When a user finishes editing a document other users are notified about the changes. Live-Documents also provides real-time status of operations performed on a document like opening and printing. Live-Documents also provides a nifty front-end where you can change settings, view and edit contacts, view and assign tasks, and have discussions around documents.

Live-Documents is competing in an area dominated by Groove Networks, Google Writely (Word processing), and EditGrid (Spreadsheets). While Groove Networks also provides real time multi-user editing and sync capabilities of Microsoft Office documents, it is geared towards corporate clients, where Groove Server has to be part of infrastructure. But Groove networks app will be more tightly integrated with the release of Microsoft Office 2007, which will make life difficult for Live-Documents in corporate sector which seems to be the final aim.

For word editing, if you guys were thinking that Live-Documents will be a Google Writely killer app, you will be disappointed. What Live-Documents doesn’t have is multiple users editing the same document at the same time, which was perfected by Writely.com. In Live-Documents you hit the problem where documents get locked after one of the users starts editing it. Same is the case with Spreadsheets, where EditGrid allows multiple people to edit same spreadsheet at the same time, which you can do with Live-Documents. Both Writely and EditGrid also automatically maintain versions of documents for user convenience. Another advantage is that Writely and EditGrid are free apps and you don’t need worry about taking data backups(off course there are privacy concerns), or upgrading to new versions.

So where does Live-Documents stand in the grand Office 2.0 plan? For individual users, I think the preference will be: Writely+Editgrid=>Live-Documents=>Groove Networks. For corporate users preference will be in the order: Groove Networks=> Writely+Editgrid=> Live-Documents, provided Writely and EditGrid come out with Enterprise plans quickly that they have been talking about lately.

Links:
Live-Documents
Groove Networks
Writely
Editgrid

Live-Documents

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Picaboo get $1.95 million funding

September 3, 2006


Picaboo, provider of photo book creating software, has received $1.95 million funding from CampVentures and Odyssey Capital. Picaboo was founded in September 2002 by Howard Field and Kevin McCurdy and is based in downtown Palo Alto, CA.

Picaboo is a downloadable application that runs only on Windows XP machines. You can import yours photos into Picaboo, create albums, and order prints of those albums from Picaboo website. Picaboo provide number of different themes for albums like – Baby, Collage, Catalog, Cotemporary Portfolio, Travel, and more. While editing photo books, you can modify picture background and layout, add soundtrack, zoom in-out, and rotate. These photo books can also be shared among your pals where they get a link to your book which can than be viewed in a browser. Picaboo’s user interface is well laid out and easy to understand. On the negative side, Picaboo does not connect to external websites and import images for you.

You can order softcover or hardcover (linen, leather, suede, metallic) photo books from the desktop client itself. Softcover medium book costs $9.99 and Hardcover Large book costs $29.99, both of which include 20 pages. You can have 160 pages at most in a book with additional page being $1.99 each.

As of now Picaboo is running a promotion where if you order a Large book, you get a Medium book for free.

Links:
Picaboo