Remember the Alamo Integrate project management into your site with ActiveCollab

Posted by tom klein August 5, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Online project management systems work when everyone is on board. Most are lonely places because team members avoid using them. There’s always a foreign URL to remember and a fear of sensitive data floating around cyberspace.

Allay those fears by using the ActiveCollab project management system. ActiveCollab can be integrated with your current website and styled to blend seamlessly with your company’s visual identity. You retain full control of your data because the platform and files are hosted on your server. You can even integrate plugins to introduce additional functionality and tailor the look and feel of the system to your needs.

ActiveCollab comes with the standard project management fare- file management, project templates, discussions, milestones, and checklists. The Small Business package runs $199/year (with a a free year of support), while the Corporate package runs $399 and includes time-tracking tools and calendars. Both packages allow you full access over permission levels and the ability to assign tasks to individual team members and set urgency levels.

A limited demo is available for free on the ActiveCollab website (a more advanced, hosted trial will set you back $10). Give it a test drive. You may find that managing your project management system is easier when it’s on home turf.

ActiveCollab is a modular system, meaning it can be easily altered. Developers are free to create and sell modules that integrate with the ActiveCollab API. Check out the downloads section to see what is currently available.

Accessibility is ActiveCollab's main selling point. If you can get to your website, you can get to your projects. And for the true road warrior, ActiveCollab just released a mobile-friendly interface, with iPhone support.

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  Hot pockets! Source new brand names with namethis

Posted by tom klein July 24, 2008 at 7:00 am

What’s the most important marketing decision you’ll ever make? Your brand name. And for that reason, naming is one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever have. Good thing that crowd-sourcing is now available to make it a little bit easier.

You can just turn to namethis, an online naming and decision-making platform from a company called Kluster. Namethis helps companies find 3 market-ready names for their product or service. Each competition costs $99 dollars (mostly compensation for the winners) and lasts 48 hours.

To enter, simply create an account with Kluster and post a short blurb about your product and business. Kluster then invites its community members to submit a name or invest “watts” in names that are or have already been thrown in the hat. Upon sign-up, all Kluster members earn 1000 free watts, which can be distributed over several competitions or (if you are feeling lucky) invested in a single idea.

This model is very similar to logo and web design service, 99Designs, which we discussed in Take that- luftballoons. Both crowd-sourcing platforms offer ideas and inspiration in a pinch and won’t eat into your marketing budget. You may be surprised by what the crowd has in store for your new product.

How much does the winner get? $40 dollars goes to the namer of the first place entry; $10 is shared among the influencers. Second and third place entries earn slightly less.

Some things you should remember when it comes to names. You should try to pick something that's short, easy to spell, easy to say, easy to remember, and, don't forget, for which the web domain is available.

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  Here come the Jin Create and share web-based presentations with 280Slides

Posted by tom klein July 3, 2008 at 7:04 am

If you’re selling, you realize that you spend much of your time creating and reviewing presentations. So why are we all still wrestling with creating things on the desktop and then moving them to the web?

Now you can create and sell online, with 280Slides – a web-based presentation solution from 280North. It combines the look and functionality of Apple’s Keynote with the accessibility and price tag of Google Docs (free!). Now, anyone can create and share professional-grade presentations directly in their web browser- even PowerPoint amateurs and Keynote-phobes.

280Slides features a user-friendly toolbar, that lets you add text, shapes, images, and movies to your document. That’s right, movies. Users have the ability to add images and video directly from the web. And it’s ridiculously easy to do. Click on the pictures icon in the toolbar and a small, media browser pops up. From here, you can search the Google image directory and top Flickr hits or type the url in directly. Peruse movie results from YouTube and Vimeo, or upload your own media to the library.

Once your document is finished and saved, you can share it with the world. Email it to a friend or embed in a website. Go public and publish on SlideShare (another online presentation resource) or take it all offline and download your presentation in a PowerPoint format.

280Slides was written entirely in JavaScript (a feat in and of itself), allowing the application to harmoniously run in any browser, with no downloads or plug-in installation required.

It was important for the designers of 280Slides to produce a web application that looked and functioned like its desktop cousins. Even the smallest details, like the ability to copy and paste, and shortcut keys for both Mac and PC users were included.

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  Viva Espana Get full visibility on project management with WhoDoes

Posted by tom klein June 30, 2008 at 7:00 am

As with so many web-based applications, we wonder how we ever got things done before their existence. Trying to manage and juggle multiple projects without a tool like Liquid Planner or 37 Signal’s Basecamp at our disposal would be a nightmare. But, face it, we are all greedy and want more- more functionality, better interfaces, and the ability to prioritize.

So who does all this? Well, actually, WhoDoes does. WhoDoes2.0 is the latest version of of the collaborative project management system from GotThingsDone.com. Like its peers, WhoDoes lets you organize and manage the myriad of activities, dates, and people connected to a project. But WhoDoes has a few more tricks up its sleeve:

  • My Workspace is the ultimate to-do list, providing a daily overview of your tasks and deliverables, with a distributional activities calendar that gives you long-term project visibility.
  • The Fast Planning feature will help you keep your project on track. This simple drag-and-drop assignment system lets you assign due dates and priority levels to each individual task.
  • No more runaway budgets! WhoDoes lets you put billable time restraints on the whole project or specific tasks, so you know exactly where your budget stands as team members enter time against it.

With reasonable monthly fees and a free 30-day trial, WhoDoes offers plan levels and packages for everyone. If you are looking for a project solution, try it on for size.

For all you Mac users, another reason to consider WhoDoes- it can interface and sync with your iCal app, letting you integrate project activities with your personal agendas.

Most project management systems don't give you the ability to prioritize tasks and directly tie them to deliverables. With WhoDoes, projects have clear objectives and due dates, so there's no guesswork involved or *gulp* self-prioritizing.

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  Free beer! Jump-start your forum with content from ForumsFirst

Posted by tom klein June 17, 2008 at 7:00 am

The saddest place on the web? The beautifully styled but totally empty forum. It’s the stark reminder that so often, if you build it, they won’t come.

Now you have an option – try kick-starting your site discussion forum with a paid posting service like ForumsFirst. Their stable of professional writers produce blog commentary and discussion threads on-demand and tailor-made to your website or blog. ForumsFirst offers a variety of reasonable content packages. For those who want to dip their toes in water, a trial blog package only costs $5. You get 12 comments, a minimum of 40 words each, from two registered users. Ready to dive in? The Jumbo package will set you back $225 for 750 comments, from 10-12 registered users, over the course of 15 weeks.

ForumsFirst also offers bookmarking services. For $20, they will add your website or blog to del.ic.ious and other top bookmarking sites. Search engines like Google and Yahoo rely on social bookmarking sites for their vast catalog of user-approved urls. In other words, the more links your site has on del.ic.ious, the better your site will rank in organic search.

If your visitors currently hear crickets when they visit your forum, here’s how to get the party started.

There's no technical secret when it comes to using writers to jump-start a forum. However, you might consider other options, such as prizes or contests or just plain old provocation to get people to visit your forum.

While services like this one can help you generate some content, don't forget that you can always just use your own employees, friends, mother-in-law, or even people that you run into. The rule remains the same - the best restaurants are the ones with people in them.

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