Dial M for Meeting Attend a browser-based web conference via iPhone or Blackberry with Fuze Box

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 25, 2009

fuze box logoWe’ve reviewed a couple of web conferencing tools on feed growth!  The sell has always been the ability to meet with anyone, anywhere – anywhere in front of a computer, that is.

All that’s about to change with Fuze Box.  Fuze Box is the first virtual meeting software that is mobile accessible.   iPhone and Blackberry users can download apps from their respective app stores and attend conferences directly from their hand-held device.  But that’s not the only trick Fuze Box has up its sleeve.

Fuze Box’s core product (Fuze Meeting) offers an impressive list of features, including:

  • Desktop sharing
  • High definition content sharing (stream HD video, graphics, and documents)
  • Annotation and whiteboard tools (mark-up video, audio, and images)
  • Participant fetch (lets you dial in missing attendees with one-click)
  • IM chat integration (supports Yahoo!, AIM, Google Talk, & IBM Lotus Sametime)
  • Easy-to-navigate interface

Fuze Box is browser-based, which means it works with both Mac and PC, and there’s no software or pesky plug-ins to install.   Simply sign up, load content, invite meeting attendees, and you are good to go.  Fuze Meeting costs $29/month, which gets you 2 GB storage space, up to 15 meeting attendees, and a toll-free conference bridge with 2 hours free talk time (additional minutes cost $.06/minute).   Currently, Fuze Box is offering a 30-day free trial.

From what we’ve seen, Fuze Box is a pretty slick application.   The intuitive interface and seamless integration of high-def content makes it a real contender with GotoMeeting and WebEx.   Of course, we’re anxious to see the iPhone application in action.

fuze box mobile

All Fuze Meetings are SSL encrypted so all your business-sensitive data remains safe.

Chances are, you probably need a virtual meeting provider. They are great for sales presentations, product demos, staff or customer training, and the management of remote teams.

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  Feed me, Seymour! Feedly feed reader offers magazine-style layout and improved user experience

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 24, 2009

Feed readers make it easy to get your daily web digest, but they’re pretty bare bones.  You sacrifice the on-site experience for the convenience of having all your news in one place.

That’s were Feedly comes in.  It’s a Firefox add-on that displays all your news feeds in a very readable magazine-style layout.   Instead of a never-ending feed stream, Feedly articles are grouped by source and ranked by the number or subscribers.  Articles are further enhanced by thumbnail images, comments, and retweets, so you get many of the benefits of being on the actual site.

Top articles are featured prominently at the top of the page, while a column on the right explores the world beyond your personal reading list and offers up top recommendations from other users, YouTube, and Twitter.  It might be easier to just show you Feedly in action:

feedly feed reader magazine google reader

Feedly doesn’t stop at just an improved user experience.  It has some pretty nifty features of its own – particularly the search functionality.  You can drill down within the current page or all your sources – or – explore the most recent results from other blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Amazon, and more.   It’s a great way to incorporate new sites in your diet and if you’re like me, a great source for further news on a topic of interest.  When you find something you like, you can subscribe with a single click and add to your Feedly reader.

I’m neglecting the best part too.   Feedly automatically syncs with your Google Reader.  There’s no need to populate feeds by hand or import a file.  After installing the Firefox plug-in, Feedly had all my old favorites ready and waiting.

You can easily toggle between different Feedly views. If you prefer the old feed reader style, there is a view for that. You can also view articles from you friend's shared list. Feedly also integrates with your personal Twitter, FriendFeed, Delicious, and YouTube accounts.

Feedly is definitely on to something here. As both a daily feed reader user and feed publisher, I've been vexed by the poor user experience - articles are often choppy, images appear out of place, and you have to click over to the real site to access all the content.

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  Two Birds, One Stone Enable viral distribution of your widget through Adobe’s new Distribution Manager

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 21, 2009

adobe logoThe goal with any widget is viral distribution.   The more sites that feature your widget, the better.

Until now, Adobe hasn’t had a hand in the spread of the applications it helps create (the majority of widgets are built in Adobe Flash).   But all that is about to change with their new widget monetization platform – Adobe Distribution. This platform offers free and paid channels for distributing your application across social networks, mobile devices, desktops, and personal sites.  And it does it in a pretty unique way.

adobe distribution manager

When a publisher elects to share a widget in the Adobe network, Adobe offers up your widget as a suggestion (i.e. a promotional widget). The publisher then has the option of sharing one or both.  You only pay when the widget is successfully installed on another site.  For example, the publisher embeds your widget on his Facebook page.  And unlike other ad networks where developers and publishers are expected to meet in the middle, Adobe handles the introductions.

To get started, you will need to sign in with your Adobe ID and install the Distribution Manager application.  This is the main hub for managing your widget campaign and where you grab analytics and reporting (e.g. widget views, unique users, social metrics, and revenue).  When creating a new campaign, you will need to provide your widget’s embed code, the ActionScript version, and a thumbnail preview. You’ll also need to create a campaign budget and identify target markets.

Again, you only pay a flat fee (from $1 and up) when the widget is installed, which means the actual sharing of your application is free.  Publishers are paid based on a CPM model, so they’re given a cut of the action too.

Developers will need to add a sharing menu to the application (supported extensions for Flash Professional, Flex Builder 3, and Dreamweaver) to enable viral distribution across the network.

Distribution Manager comes hot off the heels of Adobe acquiring Omniture. They stand to gain from both subscription services for the tools used to create widgets, and advertising revenue from their distribution.

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  Avast ye scurvy readers! Take a cue from the Pirate Talk iPhone app and target users by their favorite holiday

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 18, 2009

talk like pirate logo

We regularly cover iPhone apps for business and marketing, but we’re not oblivious to the lighter side of the platform.  We’re actually pretty amazed at how a simple – and often trivial – app can be the hottest commodity on iTunes with the right angle.

Take for example the Pirate Talk iPhone app.  This application translates your words and phrases into pirate speak.   It comes preloaded with 180 pirate one-liners (”a doubloon to the man who brings me his head!”) and offers definitions for common pirate terms.  The best part?  This is an audio app.  Just tap on the iPhone’s screen to launch a pirate translator.

Pirate Talk is as mindless and as fun as any application out there, but it has something extra going for it.  Tomorrow, September 19th, is International Talk like a Pirate Day. It’s no coincidence that the latest version of the application was released a week before the holiday.

The idea here is to target a special day, perhaps even an event, when creating an iPhone app.  It doesn’t need a flashy interface or a bunch of moving parts and pieces – just a good theme to help promote it.  For all the scalawags and geeks out there, $.99 is a small price to pay for a bit of amusement.

Unfortunately, I can’t pull the audio from my iPhone, so you can’t hear my “Read Feed Growth or Die! Yaar!” battle cry, but you can watch the app in action below.

Pirate Talk is developed by Bizmosis, Inc. creators of a number of language translator applications (German, French, Italian, Spanish, etc) and other quippy one-liner apps.

You'd be surprised by the amount traffic this obscure holiday receives (60,500/month globally for "Talk Like a Pirate"). People enjoy pirate lore and trivia - and those Disney movies probably didn't hurt, either.

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  Nosey, but in a good way Crowdsource recommendations while you’re on the go with the Aardvark iPhone App

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 17, 2009

AardvarkYou may recall Aardvark from the Long Nose of Search.   Aardvark is a social search engine that taps into your Facebook account to round up subject-matter experts.

The service has gained a nice following, due in part to a quick turnaround time (questions are typically answered in 5 minutes or less) and the convenience of email and IM chat integration.  The latter has made Aardvark a permanent fixture on my chat.

Keeping with a formula that is obviously working, Aardvark recently rolled out an iPhone application.   The app offers the same question and answer functionality, while taking advantage of the iPhone’s push notification system (users get an alert when their question is answered).  Given that I’m an Aardvark IM user, the app interface is a welcome change of pace.   It’s nice to see (via Facebook profile images) who is asking and answering the questions.  Plus, the app offers a degree of control over when and how you interact with Aardvark.  The IM version has a tendency to pester you with incoming questions if you don’t tell it you’re busy.

So here’s the rundown with Aardvark for iPhone:

  • Ask Tab – Type a question or see your Aardvark question-and-answer history.
  • Answers – Browse open questions from other Aardvark users.  Answer only those you want.
  • Friends – Send out Aardvark invites or see who among your friends has already signed-up.

Aardvark has become my go-to resource for sourcing restaurants and shopping venues.   Having a mobile version is just another layer of convenience.   The ability to ask real people for recommendations when I’m out and about – and to get a response back within 5 minutes – is worth more than the free pricetag for this app.

photo photo1

When you fire up the Aardvark app, it asks if you would like to use your current location (via the iPhone's built-in GPS), so it can source Aardvark answerers in your area. This is a very handy feature if you're in a new city and trying to get the lay of the land.

Aardvark works like a modern phone tree. It starts out by looking at your Facebook network, then it looks at your network's network, and so on until it amasses a list of people who are qualified to answer your question, based on the information found in their user profile.

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