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Podcast-topia for short attention spans
You don’t need much to start your own podcast. In fact, a PC, a mic, and a free Odeo account will do the trick. After about 30 seconds of setup, you can start recording your own podcasts—up to one hour each—to host on Odeo’s website. Along with your content and thousands of other podcasts, Odeo hosts some 3.6 million MP3s that you can play online or download to your hard drive, and the site also offers a music player that you can stick on your blog, your MySpace page, or wherever else you’re able to paste widgets.
Like a Vulcan mind meld, only without the creepy touching
No matter how well you work with others, collaborating on big projects can be a logistical nightmare. Mindmeister helps you get your groupthink on with a simple mind-mapping interface that makes it easy to organize your thoughts—or help your buddies organize theirs. The shared workspace is a basic grid on which you and your colleagues can map out ideas. Just start with a central concept, and you can both add to it and edit the idea flow simultaneously while chatting over Skype, which you can launch from within the Mindmeister interface.
Free for basic service/$4 per month for
premium service, www.mindmeister.com
Don't be just another tourist sucker
There was a time when it was simple to find the best possible price for airline tickets online, but those days are long gone. Now every website on the planet claims to have the best fares—and they can’t possibly all be right. Once you download the Yapta tagger, it sits in your system tray waiting for you to go shopping. When you do, it adds a “Tag It with Yapta” link to the site you’re shopping on—be it Orbitz, Expedia, United, or a number of other sites. Once you’ve tagged a fare, go to www.yapta.com and tell Yapta to alert you when the price drops.
Watch what you want, when you want
Thanks to Joost, PC TV tuners might soon be obsolete. With a fast broadband connection, this free service brings you hundreds of full-screen shows from major broadcasters (and a few lesser-known ones, too). But instead of waiting around for your show to start, you just click the channel you want to watch and then browse for the show you’re interested in. Click it, and it starts. Plus, Joost adds social networking features, so you can chat with others and get user ratings while you watch. We wish all TV worked this way.
Express yourself freely, one tiny tweet at a time.
Loved by some, reviled by others, Twitter’s bite-size blogettes can be relentlessly addictive. The site’s insanely simple interface streamlines microposts of no more than 140 characters (called tweets), so you can tell the world you’re “Shopping for biscuits at Trader Joe’s!!1!” while you’re standing in line at the checkout counter. Post updates via the web and SMS, and get your friends’ updates slung at you on your mobile phone so you’ll never have to wonder what they’re up to. Twitter’s tweets make an interesting addition to your regular blog, so you can keep your site updated even when you don’t have time for a full-length post. See the sidebar on this page for Twitter tweaks.
Two easy tweaks to your Twitter tweets
Play Tunes on Twitter
A simple little tool called Play Twitter turns Twitter into a music-sharing machine. Go to http://gonze.com/playtwitter/ and drag the Play Twitter link to your bookmarks toolbar. Then you can use the bookmark to enter a URL for any MP3 file, and Play Twitter will convert the link into a bookmarklet you can tweet about.
Feed Your Blog to Twitter
Twitter was made for tiny posts, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it that way. To serve up your regular blog posts via Twitter, use Twitterfeed. Once you’ve signed in to Twitterfeed.com with your OpenID, you simply enter your Twitter username and password, paste in the URL for your blog’s feed, and choose the update frequency. You can create as many feeds as you like, and there’s no law that says it has to be your own blog that you feed.