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You know to be perfectly honest, before I tested out this application, I never really knew what Silverlight was.  All I knew is that it helped me play videos on my Mac that were made for Windows.  That was the extent of it.  So when I saw a twitter post the other day about a Silverlight Client for Facebook, I was intrigued.  My initial thought was “what is that?”  So I went to the site and downloaded the application and read up more on Silverlight.  Well, for those of you that don’t know Silverlight, to put it in simple terms, is a plugin that provides similar functionalities to Adobe Flash.  It helps integrate graphics and animation into a user client.  Silverlight is made by Microsoft and the nice thing about it is that it is made to run on any operating system.

Ok, enough about all this Silverlight buggaboo, you just want to know more about the app, right?  Well, the application itself was pretty slick.  It keeps all of the major features of Facebook (commenting, like button, updating status, looking at pics and movies) and puts it in a pretty sweet looking UI.

As you can see from the picture above, this app looks like a souped up version of Facebook.  You have your standard News Feed in the middle and the options to choose other links to the left and in the top, but one thing that I thought was nice was the different feed viewing options.  If you look on the top right you see “full feed”, “grid”, and “photos feed.”  I really like that they put this option in.  It gives the user more options.  Also, on the right there, Silverlight puts a collage of recent pics from your friends in the right hand column, which is a nice touch as well.  The major plus about this app is that like I said before, you can do everything you need to for Facebook right from the app, there is no need to go into Facebook online, unless you want to play a Facebook game.

(Grid View)

The only gripe I have about the app is that, I can’t use my scroll wheel to scroll up and down through my News Feed.  I have to click and drag my mouse or click on the up or down arrow.  I know, not a big deal, but for me, I am so used to using my Magic Mouse to scroll up and down it is kind of a bummer I can’t do this.  The other thing that I don’t like about the dragging or clicking, the flow is kind of choppy as you drag or click up and down.  There is no other way for me to explain this, you have to see it for yourself.

Other than that I really like the app itself.  It is a great addition to Facebook and best of all it is free.  All you need to do is download Sliverlight first.  Once you download it from the link, you need to refresh the page and then the Facebook app will automatically download.  If it doesn’t, then just close your browser and go back to the site again and it should start to automatically download.  If you need the link to the site, here it is http://bit.ly/91y6TG

Hit the video below to give you a better idea of how the app works.  Any questions, feel free to leave comments or Twitter me @shaun_27.

HootSuite last night came out with it’s anticipated iphone app.  If you don’t know what HootSuite is, go check out my review of it.  HootSuite took the main ideas of the web app and put it into the iphone app.  You can have multiple Twitter accounts on the app.  HootSuite also has their own url shortener as well, which you can put a url into and they will automatically shorten it for you.  One of the nice things about this is that HootSuite keeps stats on these url’s so that you can see who is clicking your urls.  They only keep stats for the ones that HootSuite shortens, not any other service.  Other than that you can search and see trends within Twitter.  That is basically about it.

Right now it is on sale in the app store for $1.99 till Dec. 17th, http://bit.ly/7USCNJ.  I don’t know if I would pay full price for it, but so far it is a good app.  I think it will get better if it can integrate Facebook and Linked In into the iphone app, similar to how they do that for the web app.  Below are some screenshots of the app itself.  Feel free to leave comments.

I am always looking out for a great Twitter and Facebook Client. There are a handful out there with Tweetdeck being the most famous of them all. For me, there is something about being able to look at my Twitter accounts as well as look at Facebook within the same application. It is just nice not having to switch between apps to update and check tweets and Facebook statuses. So in my quest for this Twitter and Facebook integration application, I came across Hoot Suite.

Features

1.  Twitter and Facebook Integration

Hoot Suite does a great job of integrating both Twitter and Facebook into their app.  You can have multiple Twitter accounts as well as multiple Facebook accounts as well as Facebook pages.  It is so nice that I can integrate everything from both Twitter and Facebook into the app.  Hoot Suite also doesn’t skimp on features of Twitter and Facebook within their app as well.  For Twitter I can do the main functions (mentions, dm, retweet, favorite/unfavorite) as well as groups, searches, and lists.  For Facebook, I can see my news feeds as well as comment and “like” comments as well.  Hoot Suite has really done a good job of making the transition seamless from using both Twitter and Facebook separately into one client with all of its features.

2.  Message Area

This to me is one of the nicest features of Hoot Suite.  When you are ready to tweet or update your status on Facebook, all you do is type in your message and click on the accounts or Facebook pages you would like the message to show up on.  This is a feature that is also on TweetDeck, if you are familiar with their interface.  Hoot Suite also provides its own URL shrinker.  So, if you have a url you would like to insert it will shrink it for you.  But it doesn’t stop there, if you have a file or image you would like to upload, you can upload the image or file to Hoot Suite and they will automatically upload the file and create a url for it.  This is very handy if I want to send a file or image to someone and it is too big to email.  The other nice feature of the Hoot Suite url shrinker is that Hoot Suite keeps stats on the url.  So you can see how many people clicked the link, where they are from and from what site they clicked it on.  This is a really nice feature to have if you are wanting to keep track of traffic to your site.  The last thing about the message area is that there is a button called “Send Later”.  So you can type a message and schedule a time when you want that message to go out and Hoot Suite will make sure the message gets sent out when you want it to.

3.  Miscellaneous features

Hoot Suite also connects to LinkdIn, as well as Ping.fm.  I have not tried to connect to these services as I don’t use them so I cannot speak to how well Hoot Suite does with them. You can also have multiple editors for a single Twitter account if you so choose.  HootSuite is also working on an Iphone app, which I am definitely looking forward to.

Overall HootSuite is a great web app.  It does just about everything I want it to do for Twitter and Facebook, with the exception of being able to play Facebook games 😉  I love it so much that I have even made it a Fluid app.  If you don’t know what Fluid is, go check out my previous review on it.  I would even contend to say that Hoot Suite is better than TweetDeck.  Yes, TweetDeck can do most or all of the things Hoot Suite can do, but Hoot Suite just seems to work well and gets the job done.  TweetDeck, seems too flashy for me and doesn’t always work correctly.

So there you have it.  My review of Hoot Suite.  For you visual people, I have set up a video to give you a visual tour of Hoot Suite.  Hit the link for the video.  http://cld.ly/4bp88 As always, please leave your comments and feedback.  Hit me up on Twitter (@theeasymac) or on Facebook (The Easy Mac).  Would love to hear from you!

Brizzly has now been out a few weeks out of its private beta. I stumbled upon it when I saw that someone looked at the blog from a post I put up on Twitter and they were using Brizzly. I had never heard of it before then. I thought it was a interesting app, so I gave it a whirl.

Brizzly is basically a web application that can house your Twitter and Facebook feeds. You can do most of the core functions of Twitter and Facebook within Brizzly.

Pros: It is nice you can have a web app that does both Twitter and Facebook and like I mentioned it does do a lot of the functions that you are looking for when it comes to both Twitter and Facebook. The other good thing is that you can have multiple Twitter accounts as well.

Cons: Because it is so new, Brizzly doesn’t necessarily update consistently all the time. I wish there was a way to discard previous tweets and facebook posts, just so I only see the newest ones. But that is something more for me personally.

Overall, this is a good web application and one that you will find useful. As far as I know this is one of the only web apps that combine Facebook and Twitter. I personally have used Brizzly as a Fluid app, which is kind of nice. Brizzly is free to use, so go and check it out www.brizzly.com.

Leave your comments. Feel free to follow me @theeasymac on Twitter and become a Fan of “The Easy mac” on Facebook.

As a husband, middle school teacher, and Jr. High Youth Pastor (hoping to add father to this list some day), there are a lot of things that I need to remember from the bits and pieces that people or students tell me or things that I need to remember to do.  Over the past couple of years I have been searching for the “perfect” solution to remember tasks, jot down notes, and to keep me productive.  There are two lessons that I have found in this journey.  One, I realized that there is no “perfect” app for my productivity woes, even though Jott was just about there.  Two, whatever I choose, I need a productivity app, period; my old way of thinking I can remember everything in my head, just wasn’t going to work any more.   So, my two year journey has come and gone, and I believe I have found something that I can finally settle down with and use for a long time and not have to feel like I need to find something better.

There are a ton of productivity apps out there.  Just search the web and you will find a variety of them.  When it came to keeping me productive, I created a list of features that I needed in an application.  

  • Web and desktop based: I use a different computer at home and at work.  So having something web based that would easily sync with a desktop app is essential.
  • Ability to set reminders for me and alert me when something is about to be due: I have found that if I just write stuff down to do, I sometimes forget about it because of the craziness that we call life.  So reminders to my email, SMS or voicemail was going to be a must for me.
  • An Iphone app: When I am on the go and I can’t write things down it seems that is when things seem to pop into my head the most, why does that always happen?  Because of this, I needed an app that I could also use on my Iphone for those random times that I needed to remember something.

After searching high and low, going from one app to another, and even the case of going back to apps to give them another chance, I finally have settled into something that I have used for a while and will continue to use for the foreseeable future.   This app has given my productivity a whole new meaning!  Ok, enough babbling about me, I give to you Jott!

Jott, in a nutshell is a task management app.  However, it does so much more than just tasks.  For the sake of this review, I will focus on the task management aspect of Jott and make a brief mention of the other parts that make up Jott.

Features of Jott Assistant

Jott Assistant, as they call it can do a myriad of things to help you become more productive in your busy life.  I will try to cover them as best as possible, but as you will see there is a lot that the application does.  First of all, Jott is a great app to help capture notes and make to-do’s with reminders.  Like I mentioned earlier, I am always overloaded with things to do and minor details about things and so I use this aspect of Jott frequently.  I can take notes or set tasks in a few ways.  I can use the web app, the desktop app, my Iphone or any smartphone, and even a regular cell phone in general to get my tasks and thoughts down so that I can actually remember them or be reminded of them later.

The Web and the Desktop App:

Both the web and desktop app are very similar. I can set up lists for different aspects of my life, reminders, notes, tasks, and read voicemail (will explain the voicemail feature later). It is very handy and does everything I need it to do for me.  The other great aspect of this application is that Jott has partnered with about 50 other companies or applications to integrate Jott into their website or application.  For example, I can integrate Twitter or Facebook with Jott and I can update my status for both Twitter and Facebook through Jott.  I can also assign a task to a specific Google Calendar that I use.  Here is a link to all of the mash-ups, as they call it that can be integrated with Jott (http://jott.com/jott/tools-and-mash-ups.html).   Also, both the desktop and the web app sync with each other, which is a nice feature.  They both are great to use and it is handy to have, especially if you use different computers.  The other neat feature is that the desktop app is built on Adobe Air.  In simple terms, this means that I can download this app for not only Mac, but Windows and Linux as well.

(Screen shot of the Web App)


(Screen Shot of the Desktop App)

The Iphone App:

The cool thing about the Iphone app is that it does what the desktop and web app do, but adds on more features to the Jott experience as well.  One of the featur

es that I really like is the voice recording.  It is so convenient for that quick note or reminder that you need to get down, but cannot write it down at the moment. Another great feature is you can send voice or text messages to other contacts in your address book as well.  So, if I wanted to remind someone about coffee that afternoon, I could send them a voice or text message reminding them of it.  I can also use the Jott Mashups on the Iphone as well.  The nice part about this is I can choose to update services by voice or by writing it in Jott.   I can also listen to certain updates that I choose.  For example, if I want my Facebook News Feed read back to me, I can do that as well.   Refer to the link above on all the mashups you can use on the iphone.

(Screen shots from the Iphone App)

Using a Cell Phone:

Those of you that don’t have an iphone or a smart phone, you are also in luck here.  Jott takes the voice aspect of the iphone app and lets cell phone users have some of the same features.  Jott has a central phone number that you can call into and a voice recording will ask you “Who do you want to Jott?” and you just speak the command.  It can be a person,  Twitter, Facebook, your Google Calendar, a quick task, reminding someone about an appointment, etc.  You just tell Jott what you want to do within Jott and it will let you do it over your cell phone using your voice.  How cool is that!!!

Voicemail:

A feature that I don’t use too often, but still should be noted is Jott Voicemail.  Jott gives you the opportunity to get your voicemails sent to you as a text message or an email.  It transcribes the voicemail then sends it to you.  Since the voice mails come in text format you can choose to reply to them in text format as well as a text message or email.   You can also set reminders on certain voicemails so that you don’t forget to call that person back later.

So as you can see there are a lot of features that Jott has to offer here.  Jott is continually doing this with other companies as well, so don’t be surprised in the future to see Jott apps that are integrated into other apps.  I could see Jott being integrated into Facebook some day where you can write a reminder or log an event straight from the Facebook website.  With all of these amazing features does come a decently high price.  For the basic Jott package, which gives you all of the features I have described above, excluding the Voicemail, and 15 sec. recording time for voice jotts, you can get it for $3.95/month or $40/year.  Which, when you look at productivity applications that are similar to Jott, it is actually a very reasonable price.  From there the packages get bigger as well as the price.  I have found that this basic package works just fine for me.  Jott Voicemail is a separate cost, where the basic package is free but you only get to see a small part of your voicemail turned into text.  The next package up you get 40 voicemails transcribed to text for $9.95/month.  Like, I said, this is not a big feature that I would use that often, so I have not utilized this feature.  But, I can see how for some people, maybe small businesses would find this useful.

Jott is a great product.  I have been using it for the past year now and even though I have gone out and tried other applications to help with my productivity, I have found that I always come back to Jott for its simplicity of use and the variety of features.  The last thing I will say about  Jott  is that they  did a good job of making this applications so that  anyone with a computer and a phone can use it.  Whether you are a Mac or Windows user, a smart phone, cellphone or just a plain old phone user, you can still use this app to help you stay productive and not forget those important dates in your life. If you plan to sign up, please use me as a referral by clicking the following link http://jott.com/?tag=Takenouchi3761

Thank you for reading.  This was quite a long review, but there was a lot to cover and I hope I got it all, or at least most of it to give you a better idea of Jott.  Please leave feedback and comments as that is one of the best ways for me to get better as a blogger.  Thanks again for taking the time to read, I sincerely appreciate it!!

So I have thought long and hard about what is the first thing I should review as I start on this wild adventure of tech blogging!  As I thought about it, I wanted to review something that hasn’t be out there in the mainstream for that long, something that will catch fire as it becomes more exposed to others, and something that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money.  I guess these are the qualities that I hope my blog can strive for 🙂

So, without further fanfare, I give you………..   TINY GRAB!!!

tinygrab-logo

So what is Tiny Grab you ask??  Well, like their website says “Simple. Screenshot. Sharing.”  I couldn’t have put it any more easily.  Have you ever been in those situations where you need to send a picture or a screenshot but either the file is too big or you can’t just copy and paste the screenshot into an email without losing the formatting?  Well this is the app for you.  Basically, what it does is it takes a picture of whatever you want that is on your screen and assigns a url for it.  Then you can copy and paste this url in an email or on a website so that people can see exactly what you are wanting to show them.  The cool thing about this app is now, gone are the days of having to worry about sending pictures that are too big.  Just use Tiny Grab to take a screenshot of the picture then email the link to your hearts content!!!  Here is an example

Screen shot 2009-11-11 at 5.34.58 PM

So here is a screenshot of my logo.  I wanted to email it to my wife to see what she thinks of it.  It is a decently big file.  So instead of trying to email it, I used Tiny Grab to take a screenshot of it and I was given a url http://grab.by/tVb.  Now I can email her the url and she can open it up and see the logo.  No having to wait for it to load in an email attachment or worry if the size was too big to email.  And that is it, simple app that has and will definitely come in handy!!

The other cool thing about this is that for the next 24 hrs Tiny Grab is FREE at MacHeist.com along with 5 other apps.  If you don’t get it free, then don’t worry they have both free and premium versions of it.  They are slowly getting big and better well known thanks to MacHeist, but now that it is out, I think it will grow with huge success on its own.  It is available for both Mac and Windows.

Feel free to leave comments and feedback!!!

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