Tag Archive | "productivity tools"

Don’t Forget It – Kwiry It


Update (June 1, 2009): The Kwiry Service has been saved.  Here is the latest from the Kwiry blog:

On April 13th we shared the unfortunate news about kwiry’s impending shutdown. Since then, Wabo, LLC has purchased the kwiry service and will continue to maintain and improve it.

We are happy to relay this news and hope you are as well. While the founding team/management will be moving on, we are glad the kwiry service will continue to grow.

The service is being transitioned and should be fully functional again very soon, even within a few days.

Thanks also for all your messages of support during the past few weeks,
-Ron, Steve & Nabil

Update: The Kwiry Service is now shutdown.

Here is the news from Kwiry:

Dear kwiry Community,

It’s with heavy hearts that we send this note. On April 23, 2009 (12AM PDT), we will be discontinuing the kwiry service. As of today, the service will no longer accept new sign-ups. We have very much enjoyed getting to know many of you and working to build features to help you get things done and simplify your lives. We appreciate all of your help, feedback and patience as the kwiry service evolved. Unfortunately, due to economic realities, we can no longer maintain the service.

As you can tell from some of my previous posts, I’m into productivity tools.  I recently found a site that helps solve a problem – keeping track of my stuff. Have you ever tried to remember something you heard, saw on the net, or viewed on television and didn’t have a place to jot it down?  Remember all those Google searches you were going to do once you got back to your computer?  Of course not, you forget them all.  Well, don’t fret.  If you do find yourself in that position again, you can use Kwiry to help you remember.

What is Kwiry

kwiry_site Kwiry is a web based service that you text or email just about anything you want to remember and have it queried (or kwiry’ed) by the site.  The free service allows you to use your text message/email enabled phone to send short messages to your Kwiry website account so you can recall them later.  Your “kwiry” is displayed on your account page at Kwiry.com with search results from YahooYahoo search is not all that’s available though. Tabs within the kwiry result include Local (with results for your zip code), Shopping, and Amazon (great for that book you want to remember to read) searches too.  Sending text to Kwiry is like doing an Internet search without visiting a browser.

Getting Started

You will need to setup a free account at Kwiry.com in order to start using the service.  Your valid email address (or your phone number, if you have setup the SMS integration) will be what Kwiry uses to determine what content to associate with your account.  For instance, if you register mike@example.com, anything you send to save@kwiry.com from mike@example.com will be associated with your account.  You can also associate more than one email address if you want to send things to Kwiry from say a work email account and a personal email account. Once you register, you have the option to configure SMS or MMS messaging from your phone.

How to Kwiry

If you heard a song you liked (Shake It by Metro Station) and wanted to be sure to remember it so you could buy it later, you would text or email  “Metro Station” to Kwiry.  The term you sent (Metro Station in this example) will be saved for you on the Kwiry site.  You can log in to your account at Kwiry.com anytime to view your results.

Organization

Kwiry also has some organization functionality as well.  You can create folders and move kwirys into these folders for further categorization.  If you’re a task minded person, the service allows you to turn any kwiry into a task with a due date that can then be tracked in a view task_view

If privacy is concern, you can designate any kwiry as private by either preceding the text you send to Kwiry with a “p” (for instance: “p call doctor about rash”).  This will designate the kwiry as a private — for your eyes only.  You can also log into your account set the kwiry as private after the fact.  Kwiry‘s default setting is to have all your kwirys set to view by “Anybody”, buy you can change this in the configuration.

Social

Kwiry is also social.  If you like, you can invite friends to Kwiry.  You can view kwirys from the public community and comment on public kwirys.  Your kwirys can also be designated as viewable by “Friends” only.  So far the three designations are for “Anybody”, “Friends” and “Private”. kwiry_types

Favorites

You can also designate a kwiry search result as a favorite.  A small star icon to the right of the search result can be clicked to add that result to that kwiry’s favorite tab.  The favorite tab is the collection of favorited results from the Amazon, Local, Web, and Shopping tabs.  If you favorited anything from these tabs, it will show up here.

sidebarExpanded Search

You also have the option to do an expanded search.  Links available in the sidebar will send you to pages by Google, Ask, Yelp, Wikipedia, iTunes, and more with your kwiry term in as the search filter.

Integration

Kwiry also does a good job at integrating with other sites and networks.  Here are some features you find quite useful.

  • Tasks can be integrated into your calendar program.
  • The ability to use Twitter to send updates to Kwiry (this is one of my favorites.  Just follow http://twitter.com/kwiry).
  • Show your kwirys on your Facebook page. You can also send kwirys from your Facebook page.
  • Subscribe to an RSS feed of your kwirys.

Conclusion

So far, Kwiry has been quite useful for me. The support forums are monitored by Kwiry personnel and seem to be quite responsive to questions or problems.  I had a small problem with my Twitter integration, submitted it to the support forums, and had it fixed in less than 24 hours.  The friends feature of Kwiry might be a bit more useful if there was a way to setup groups. Besides that, I think Kwiry is a very viable service.  If you decide to try it, add me as a friend.  My username is “michaelhayslip”.

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Adobe Buzzword – Your Browser Turned into a Word Processor


Adobe has released Buzzword; an online word processor with an intuitive user interface and some additional features that make it worth taking a look at.

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Take the Hassle Out of Getting Your Documents Signed


If you have to sign documents or have others sign documents you create, then the folks over at EchoSign have the service for you.

echosign_logoEchoSign take the hassle out of document signatures. If you own a small business, create contracts or binding agreements, then EchoSign can save you tons of time and effort. The services is super-easy to use and signup only takes a couple of minutes.

echosign_tabs So by now you get that EchoSign can help you manage your document signatures, but how does it work. Say you have created an agreement between you and a client that you need to have the client sign. The first step is to signup for an account. You can try the service for free with up to 5 document signatures per month. Once you have an account you simply need to login and click the “Send” tab.

echoSignSendForm You’ll see a form that is pretty self-explanatory. Just enter the name of the recipient or recipients (you can have multiple people sign the same document) and upload a document for signature. That is as complicated as it needs to be. The recipients each get an email directing them to the EchoSign web site where they can review the document then choose to sign it (their is no signup required to be able to sign a document) by typing their name and initials.

Once all parties have signed, a final .pdf version of the document is emailed to all the parties with all the signatures visible at the bottom of the document.

EchoSign’s management of documents has some nice features as well. You can review the documents you have signed or sent for signature, check on which ones have not yet been signed, are waiting for your signature, or view any archived documents. You can share the documents, send reminders to people to sign, and view all your history too.

Another very nice feature is the ability for EchoSign to accept documents via fax. This is perfect if you don’t have a digital version of the document. Send it via fax to EchoSign and they will convert it to .pdf for you.

Check out EchoSign the next time you have a document that needs signing. I’m sure you will find it a very useful tool.

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Stikkit – These Notes Think for Themselves


stikkit- home In my search to become more productive I have come across a web site that offers a free service to help keep me organized. Stikkit.com lets you create Stikkits (like little post-it notes) that think.

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Easy, Free Online Meetings for Collaboration


In a previous reader poll, I asked folks whether or not they did online meetings. A few of you said yes, but most of you answered, “What is an online meeting?” I’ll try to clarify online meeting for you and introduce you to a tool that makes online meetings easy to do and at no cost.

An online meeting can be defined as a session where you and at least one other person are collaborating on a project in real time via your computers. Say Bob and Jay are in two different locations. Bob wants to have a discussion with Jay about a presentation that is vital to their business. Bob can email the document to Jay with some notes, wait for Jay to review the document, add his own notes, and email it back to Bob so that he can add his changes and finalize the presentation. This process can take a few iterations before the presentation is considered customer ready.

Why not have Bob and Jay work together on the presentation over the phone? While that can be more productive than emailing it back and for, you really don’t get the best collaboration until both of you can see the document together at the same time.

So how about if Bob and Jay sit in front of their respective computers, in whatever city they may be in at the time, and work on the document together. How you say? By starting an online meeting.

An online meeting has the benefits of a face-to-face meeting without having to be in the same place. As long as Bob and Jay have Internet access and a browser, they have the tools they need to start an online meeting. They get the real-time collaboration, the ability to view the document at the same time. Even share their desktops with each other.

zoho_meetingHere is a free tool from Zoho called Zoho Meeting that can help you get started with online meetings. Note: Zoho meeting is free while in beta. Take advantage of it now, before they start charging.

With Zoho Meeting, only the meeting host needs to sign up for an account. Others do not need an account in order to join an existing meeting. Once you sign up for a free account, you can begin hosting meetings. It is a very simple process and only takes a minute or two to get started.

Meeting presenters can be both MAC or PC based users while meeting participants can be on Windows, MAC, or Linux; and Safari, Firefox, and IE browsers are all supported. Once the meeting presenter starts the meeting, he or she sends invites to participants via email. A link in the email will direct them to Zoho’s meeting web page where they can click to join the meeting.

Meeting participants can choose to either view the meeting with an ActiveX control (Windows only), Java (all platforms), or through the browser using Flash (Flash must be installed). The ActiveX and Java options will allow for a better experience when asking to take control, or viewing full screen, but the Flash version is useful for simply displaying data without a lot of interactivity, but is not limited to that.

So now, if Bob starts a meeting on his computer he will, by default, be sharing his desktop to all the other meeting participants. They can see where he clicks and what text he types as if they were looking over his shoulder. There is even a chat feature that can be utilized if long distance phone charges are a concern. The Zoho team has also expressed interest in integrating Skype (the free online phone service) with Zoho Meeting for even more savings.

For now, the free version of Zoho Meeting is able to handle my meeting needs pretty well. Currently, there is no limit to the number of meetings you can hold or participate in, or the number of participants that can be in a single meeting. Zoho has not said yet whether this will change once the product is out of beta, or if there will be tiered pricing for more meeting participants. Zoho Meeting works well behind a firewall and uses SSL encryption for security.

webex_logoTo be fair, Zoho is not the only game in town. You can also try Adobe Acrobat Connect, which has a free 15-day trial and allows you to define your own URL for meetings. Also, Webex has a very nice product that starts out at $39/month.

I urge you to check out Zoho Meeting and see how easy it is to collaborate with others. Don’t forget to also check out their other online products (many of them free too) like Zoho Writer (for word processing), Zoho Sheet (for spreadsheets), Zoho Show (for presentations), and many others.

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