TheDogFiles blog, Balsamiq mockups (prototype and design tool), TeamViewer (Free desktop sharing), IdeaMason (Idea management).

thedogfiles Great video blog about dogs – a well laid out wordpress theme for quality video using Viddler video. Refreshing to see a good use of the WordPress blog and well laid out themes to provide an excellent blog about dogs.

The video production is excellent and recently featured on Leo Laportes TWIT network (Net@Night). He was right when he said that the site is clean and extremely well laid out. This guy is obviously passionate about his dogs and his photography/video.

All the key information for the blog is located in the top part of the screen making this a very user friendly site. Full of technical photography and video tips – well work a visit!

(tags: wordpress webdesign video social reference podcasts podcast player dogs)

Balsamiq Studios LLC is a fresh little software company, focused on adding flavor to your Web Office suite.

The “Mockups” application is an Adobe Air application that allows you to create really wonderful, free format mockups and layouts. The layouts have an earthy feel as they are all based on hand drawn controls (buttons, containers, tab controls, scroll bars, etc.).

These layouts can be saved as either XML format (for inclusion in other programs) or as PNG files (graphic images).

Overall the program is a joy to use and fully covered by numerous YouTube video tutorials on Balsamiq.

The interface is easy to use and slick; I could easily move things around and create impressive layouts very quickly. The software is free to bloggers and charitable organisations plus those who are willing to spread the word (seminars or exhibitions, etc.). I only put links to products on my blog that are worthy and this product certainly falls into that category. The software comes with an impressive array of pre-built graphics that are all scaleable; so any layout can be quickly created and discussed.

I see the product as a great prototyping tool that is ‘fun’ to use and fast (Adobe Air). The complete layout can be exported in XML format and easily reformatted into other formats, for example XAML code within Microsoft WPF or C# programming.

Finally the software integrates well with some opensource wiki’s enabling you to create layouts for the customer and then even let the customer use the tool online and change the layouts – brilliant!

Life’s too short for bad software. Most applications have too many buttons, are ugly and boring. We focus on small problems, so that we can solve them really well.

(tags: wireframes wireframe webdev webdesign web2.0 web ux usability jpcweb)

teamviewer Desktop Sharing – Remote Control – SupportTeamViewer establishes connections to any PC all around the world within just a few seconds. You can remote control your partner’s PC as if you were sitting right in front of it. Find out why more than 15.000.000 users trust TeamViewer!

Simple – fast – secure.

The one-stop solution for remote access

TeamViewer is the fast, simple and friendly solution for remote access over the Internet – all applications in one single, very affordable module

(tags: teams remoteaccess remotesupport vnc utilities teamviewer support windows jpcutils)

IdeaMason is software for the way you think and write!

ideamason IdeaMason brings together the database elements of both a bibliographical and information management tool in combination with a virtual writing platform. Store and categorize ideas and research in one comprehensive portfolio. Collect and manage sources in a virtual library.

Then use IdeaMason’s revolutionary Composition tool to organize your ideas and manage referenced sources in a single efficient step. When you are ready IdeaMason exports your work into a fully-formatted document complete with footnotes and citations.

IdeaMason automatically generates a complete bibliography (including annotations) in your choice of the following major styles APA, MLA, Harvard Citations (UK & Austrialian variations supported), Chicago Notes-Bibliography, & Chicago Author-Date.

(tags: tool software research ideas thoughts capture writing thinking jpctutils)

MindMeister – a brilliant free online mindmapping application

I’ve just started using MindMeister; a free online mindmapping solution. Mindmeister lets you create up to 6 mindmaps absolutely free. You can share the mindmaps or keep them totally private.

You can share any of the maps by making them either ‘public’ (everyone can see them) or you can ‘invite’ people to collaborate with you and edit the maps. This makes this online application very powerful. The application also allows you to add task information (priorities, resources, dates) and icons to branches on your mindmap. You can also add url links, formatted text and attachments.

Overall mindmeister is a very useful GTD (getting things done) tool and great at collaborating/brainstorming with friends. Multiple people can edit the map at the same time; the application shows all changes to the map over time with a very easy to use slider date control.

I have created several maps; some I share with friends and some are public. “Top things that are interesting” is a map I created recently; I use it as a repository for articles I find on the web where the title says something like: “Top 10 things xxxxx”. This map is easy to share, you can see it here.

The applications sharing abilities allow you add a password so that people have to enter a password to view the map. You can also ‘embed’ the map into your web page or blog – again that code to do this is included under properties for the map.

BigThink.Com – A web 2.0 website with video interviews

bigthink.com Bigthink.com is a video based website showing interviews from prominent people in the industry explaining their ideas and concepts.  This covers many areas. Two main category areas are split between Meta data and physical data.  The Meta data shows different categories such as identity, inspiration, outlook and the future and other Meta data information.  The physical area covers topics such as business and economics, science and technology, and history.

They don’t have over 6,499 ‘ideas’ online at the moment, and have plenty of comments against the videos that are there so far.  The advanced search option allows you to search within different date ranges and time periods; plus you can select which categories you want to search within.  Interestingly, you can also select the type of idea; which can be; “all” the options; a question; or a statement.  And what type of media you’re looking for, which include audio, video and slideshows.

For example clicking on the experts link under science and technology; the top three videos that I saw were: “everyday environmentalism” by Graham hill, the founder of treehugger.com and “writing about science” by Steven Pinker, environmental psychologist and professor at Harvard university.

Big thinker seems to rely on 10 key questions.  They state that their goal is to get at something deeper, to draw out a guests personality and interests, to get them thinking beyond the usual fare of nearsighted punditry we’ve become used to.  With that in mind, the 10 questions were designed to be the backbone of every big think interview.

How social media is changing our children

I came across some interesting videos about web2.0 and social media. One caught my eye relating to how the web was transforming the lives of children and teaching them tools and social skills that will affect their future.

For example it’s often quoted that children cannot read or write to the perceived standard, but as this video points out the average child has probably sent 1000′s of emails by the time they get to senior school, let alone all the video interaction, sms texts and blog entries. The language and grammer used may not be traditional, but maybe this is the way of the future. The web is changing the way all people and business communicate with each other. Everyone now holds against their head the power of a computer, send text messages to each other, upload video from their mobile phones to news agencies, blog about their thoughts and ideas/aspirations and contribute to many other ‘open’ community based systems on a WorldWide basis.

Kids these days really do have a rich collection of tools available to them so that they can interact and contribute to society. If Google hosts over 2.7 billion queries each month pehaps we should ask ourselves what happened to these ‘questions’ before google (BG)? They say that the average child only gets to ask one question every 10 hours at school, now they ask WikiPedia, Google, Ask and Yahoo 1000′s of questions. Children get to form their own opinions as to whether the answer is right or wrong – they can even contribute to the answer (Wiki’s, blog’s, etc.) and help others. All this was unheard of just a few years ago.

Children are now creating their own videos, podcasts and websites. They write code, use mashups and generally interact with the computer and technology on a constant basis. Hence the reason for the huge marketing budgets being put into this market place.

The Machine is Us/ing Us – What is this Web2.0 thing?

I’ve been looking at the finished web2.0 video on YouTube titled: “Web 2.0 in just under 5 minutes“. This title caught my eye, and I was not disappointed when I saw the video. Very neat and hits home very quickly what web2.0 and social engineering and interaction is all about.

It has some really good video techniques and shows details very quickly cramming in a lot of information in a very short time frame. Well worth a look if your interested in what’s happening in the web space at the moment.