Inside my SecondBrain

So, you’ve heard of Second Life, but what about SecondBrain? Don’t get the two confused – they are completely different social networking mediums.

SecondBrain is a place for you to manage all of your social media, such as bookmarks, blogs (WordPress, Blogger, etc.), and other social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and StumbleUpon, and then turn around and share them with your SecondBrain friends.

Here’s a quick run-down of some SecondBrain features:

· Bookmark any page on the Internet and then tag it in a collection for easy finding and viewing later.

· Import your social media or content from your favorite bookmarking sites, blogs, photo sharing sites, document sharing applications, micro blogging or conversation sites (Twitter, FriendFeed, or Facebook), and other miscellaneous sites. SecondBrain conveniently synchronizes your social media accounts.

· Upload files directly from your desktop to be stored in your Library. These files can be accessed from anywhere by logging into your SecondBrain account, and can be kept private or made public.

Explore OSCPA’s SecondBrain, and sign-up today (don’t forget to add us as a friend!). For help on getting started on SecondBrain, check out these featured SecondBrain help videos.

Organize your Twitter followers with Tweepler

If you’re a regular TechieBytes follower, you’re probably well aware of our (well, my) obsession with Twitter (See BigTweet; Near.ly; Twitter: The be all and end all of social media; and Diggin’ Digsby).

In keeping up with the Twitter trend, there is a brand new Twitter application on the market. Tweepler conveniently organizes hundreds of followers by letting you sift through your newest followers and deciding whether or not to follow them or to simply ignore them.

You can manage your followers directly from your Twitter account, but Tweepler makes this process easier by showcasing your followers into three “buckets.”

The first bucket contains Unprocessed Followers, or your newest followers. To help you make the all-important decision on following them back or ignoring them, Tweepler supplies you with their one-line bio, average number of Tweets per day, total Tweets, their number of followers and the number of those they’re following, and the ratio between the two. Along with each user’s stats, Tweepler displays the three most-recent Tweets to help you make an informed decision.

The remaining two screens allow you to view your followers and those that you have chosen to ignore (should you change your mind about the decisions you initially made about any of them).

If you have a Twitter account, getting started on Tweepler is easy. Go to www.tweepler.com and enter your Twitter name and password. Tweepler will import all of your followers and who you’re following so that you can easily get started on organizing your lists right away.

Feedscrub tackles information overload

For those of us out there who receive our news through RSS feeds rather than spend time scouring news sites know just how fast news feeds can pile-up if left untouched for even a day.

Feedscrub actually “trains” your feeds to show you the stories that you’re interested in, and filters out the content that you’d rather not spend time reading about.

To get started on Feedscrub, you need to first request an Invite Code (mine arrived in my inbox a short time later). After you receive your code, all you need to do is to tell Feedscrub which feeds to filter.

For those stories that you’re not interested in, you can scrub that story away (and those similar to it) by clicking on the “scrub” button in your RSS reader. For any stories that you do find interesting, simply click on the “save” button within that feed. Your “save” and “scrub” preferences can also be managed through the Train Filter tab once logged into Feedscrub.

For more information on how Feedscrub works, visit http://www.feedscrub.com/pages/about.

Share multiple links with Sharetabs

Do you often have several websites that you want to share with family, friends or coworkers? How about several websites that you want to share on Twitter or other social networking sites, but don’t want to hassle with multiple updates?

Sharetabs.com provides a free service that lets you share multiple websites as tabs. Simply add a list of website addresses (and as far as I know, there is no limit on the number of websites you can list), and Sharetabs will provide you with a special link to all of your sites conveniently displayed as tabs.

The first tab that is displayed is a preview tab, showing all of your chosen websites as thumbnails (similar to opening a new tab in Google Chrome). You can choose to then view your sites in the tabs that appear next to the preview tab, or click on the “Open all links” link at the top of the preview page to view each website in a new window.

Another neat feature of Sharetabs is tracking the number of times the special Sharetabs link is viewed after you’ve sent it out to others.

View an example of Sharetabs, and check out all of the Society’s social networking websites by viewing our Sharetabs link: http://www.sharetabs.com/?OSCPA.

Office Web Applications

clip_image002Once you’ve created your Office Live workspace you may be invited to join the Office Web Application Beta project. These lightweight web versions of Office applications have been rumored for years. Now it seems like they are quickly becoming a reality. Images of the applications are available at http://workspace.officelive.com/FAQ/thumbnails and rumor has it, Office Live Workspace members will be the first invited to demo them.

Who says there is no free lunch?

When the weather gets bad I like to hibernate in my "bat cave" and self-train on newer technology products. I have to give the boys in Redmond credit – they’ve made it easy to learn new technology tricks. The number of free resources to learn and explore MS technology solutions is amazing!

Visual Studio Express Editions offer aspiring developers access to compartmentalized versions of MS Visual Studio. Products include Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++. Visual Web Developer, and SQL Server Express. If you need training to get you started don’t fret, they have samples and resources on the site or you can pop over to http://msdn.microsoft.com/ to access additional training materials.

Virtual Labs are a great way to get hands on experience with new products without the headache of downloads or installations. These web based labs give you access to instances of MS software running on remote servers so you can self-train at your own pace for free.

Another solution is to download Virtual Hard Disks of products you’re interested in. These disks can be run utilizing free MS virtualization software without any additional installation or configuration steps.

These are just a few of the free resources available from Microsoft. With the economy down, knowledge is key and Microsoft is making it affordable to invest in yourself.

Other links to consider:

Office Live Small Business

Another flavor of Office Live hosting is Office Live Small Business. This tool was designed to offer small businesses some common benefits of MS Server applications without the cost and headaches associated with network management.

Office Live Small Business offers a free version that includes:

  • A professional website hosting solution with 500MB of storage
  • An intuitive website design and management system
  • Website traffic reporting with statistics, page views, top referrers, and more
  • Contact Manager (Limited CRM) that tracks sales opportunities, contact information, and customer interactions
  • Business Applications including Document Manager, Project Manager, and Workspaces

Paid upgrades include:

  • E-mail hosting solutions with 100 company branded addresses
  • E-mail marketing including newsletters, promotions, and updates to customers and prospects
  • An e-commerce engine to promote and sell goods
  • Keyword advertising

Office Live Small Business offers a good solution for companies or individuals who are familiar with MS Server solutions. They offer deep integration with both MS Windows and MS Office and require very little staff training. I’d still advise looking at one or more competitors like Google Apps for Business before making your final decision.

Office Live Workspace Add-In

clip_image002A while back I wrote a piece about Office Live Workspace that explained that any MS Office user had access to online file storage and sharing capabilities. Office Live Workspace gives each MS Office user 500 MB of storage (about 1000 average sized documents) free. It sweetens the pot by allowing files to be shared with up-to 100 different people. Unlike most of the MS products we’re accustomed to, Office Live workspace is cross browser and OS compatible.

If 500 MB of free storage isn’t enough, and collaboration with clients and co-workers doesn’t impress you, Microsoft also offers the Office Live Add-In. This add-in toolbar enables MS Office products to seamlessly save and retrieve documents from Office Live Workspaces.

The Office Live Workspace is a great solution if you’ve already invested in MS Office products. Utilizing the solution requires no additional effort on users or staff and extends the value of your software by enabling new storage and collaboration options.

Windows Live Sync

Microsoft finally got around to doing something with the FolderShare product they acquired. Yep, you guessed it they replaced it with Windows Live Sync, a product with a slightly enhanced feature set and a whole new look.

Windows Live Sync is a way to synchronize files and folders across multiple PCs. Unlike products like BeInSync, Live Sync requires all machines to be on and actively connected to the Internet simultaneously to synchronize. Also unlike other products, Live Sync is free.

Some of the base features of Live Sync include:

  • Sync files up-to 4GB on size with support for 20 Folders with 20,000 files each
  • Integration with the Windows Recycle Bin
  • Clients for both MAC and PC
  • Live ID integration
  • And remote viewing of files on a host PC
  • Collaboration by sharing folders with others

Overall, my experience with the product has been positive. The only real hiccup was the transition from FolderShare to Live Sync. Upon upgrade the FolderShare libraries are not retained and you have to reset all of your synced files and folders.

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