FlyNumber: An International Phone Number

International phone calls have historically been amongst the most expensive telecommunication connections available. The most remote nations would cost more than a dollar per minute to call, not to mention a series of surcharges for the privilege of the connection. Anyone who’s traveled knows the hazards of calling people internationally. The phone calls have typically been short check-ins focusing only on the most important details and summaries of one’s well being.

With the advent of the internet this of course has changed. What used to put a huge dent in your monthly budget has become free. With Skype and other utilities people just need a computer and internet connection and they can talk to anyone in the world. This has greatly alleviated the stress with making long distance calls. All you need to do is schedule a time to talk and then you can talk all you want.

FlyNumber Home

Sometimes it’s not feasible to have people contact you with an internet call. If you’re in a country where internet access isn’t as common then it’s harder to schedule for. Or maybe you’re trying to establish a business. They almost invariably need a local number so people can call to place their orders. Although the internet has progressed quite a bit, there are some instances where only an old fashion phone call will do.

Now there’s a way to get local phone numbers in countries throughout the world, with FlyNumber. It’s a service that let’s you secure a phone number and then forward the calls to a variety of options on your end. With it people can maintain a professional international image without running up huge phone bills.

Setting up FlyNumber is easy. First you select which country you’d like the number to be in. This is straightforward enough, with numbers starting in the $3 per month range. Once you pick the country then you can select the service you’d like it to be forwarded to. As reflected in the graphic below these include Skype, Google Talk, landlines, mobile phones, or VoIP solutions. Landlines and mobile phones cost additional per minute rates, all the other options are free. The rates vary per country and with many in the 25 cent per minute range. Given the convenience of being able to talk with someone across the world this is very reasonable.

So let’s say you run a tourism service and would like to offer packages for visitors in Cyprus. You can register for a number there which happens to cost just over $6 per month. Once the number is set up you can put it on your website and other marketing materials so people can contact you. Then, when you’re lounging beachside in the Caribbean, you can field the calls. These can come straight to your computer or whatever phone service you choose.

How FlyNumber Works

FlyNumber is a dynamic solution for businesses, friends, and family alike. It’s ideal for close friends or relatives living abroad. You can use it to set up a direct line so it’s easy to call them. That way you can communicate with them directly instead of having to schedule all your calls.

Having an international number is not only a useful convenience but also a sign of prestige. It tells people that you have connections in another part of the world. Whatever the purpose, FlyNumber is a cost effective and easy way to set up local numbers throughout the world.


LifeKraze: A place for the adventurous

In a ritual I follow almost unconsciously I always pack my bags hours ahead of time. If I’m leaving the country the suitcase will be ready to go a couple days in advance. If I’m going to the gym in the morning I’ll get my things all ready the night before. When I have a trip on my mind there’s nothing like packing my bags that helps me feel ready for it. Once everything’s set I relax and look forward to the journey. And right now, my bags are packed.

In the morning I’ll be getting on my bike and heading across the Golden Gate Bridge en route to my finding my favorite bouldering spot. The plan is to arrive before the masses get there. No matter if they are though, it will be a glorious sunny day for all. Some will take pictures of themselves hanging from a rock with a panoramic view of the bay in the background. Despite my many trips I still take the camera along too. There’s nothing like the San Francisco bay on a sunny day.

These events sometimes can be shared with friends on Facebook or other social networks. But then sometimes I think twice about posting my excursions on there. My broader network of friends don’t always want to look at the active lifestyles of those that love pushing themselves to the limit. One friend of mine is from a different part of the country, out in the Midwest. He relayed how in his town the gym served as a support group for fit people. Those who prefer a hamburger over the treadmill, a couch over a mountain, or a computer over a cliff, tend to resent to the other half. Outgoing people need a place to go to share and fuel their endeavors. It’s for this reason LifeKraze was built. It’s a haven for those of us looking to connect with others who are always out and about.

LifeKraze is a new social network, and it’s a good one. Your connections are based upon the same thing real friendships are- common interests. In this case your common interests are any sporting activity that causes you to break a sweat. So when I return from my ride and climb tomorrow I can update my newly registered LifeKraze account with a tribute to the event. There are no egos to bruise here or folks who will be put out by being out done. No, when they see new updates they’ll be inspired. In turn, they might just pack their own backpacks for a similar excursion. The synergy is contagious.

Registration presents you with an initial offering of people you can follow as friends. Each of their updates will appear on your feed view. You can comment on it or give them a high five. It’s similar to Facebook in that you can write thing to your own feed or others, but it doesn’t include a private messaging system. LifeKraze is about inspiring people to get off the computer and get out there. To live like it counts.

LifeKraze Feed

As you make posting, include updates, and add friends you acquire Kraze points. This is somewhat satisfying by itself, but ultimately they’ll be worth something tangible. What exactly that is hasn’t been made clear yet. LifeKraze was recently launched and is still adding features. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s an extremely well designed site put together by people that know what they’re doing.

As for me, I know what I’m doing. I’m going bike riding tomorrow and then climbing. Last time I went I looked off to the right and considered adding a paltry 2000′ ascent to the ride home. It was tempting. We’ll see how it goes. One thing’s for sure though- the new friends on LifeKraze will be hearing about it.


Logaway: The Five Star Hotel of Password Managers

The internet has opened up a whole new world for people. They can check email, buy things, pay their bills, and much more. There are gaming sites, forums, clubs, social networks, and any number of other outlets available to those that browse the web. These sites though diverse, have one thing in common. In order for users to register they need a username and password. And so an entire new system of short blips of text have become the keys to the online world we enjoy.

These key have become so prolific that they’re cumbersome. With every new site we join it requires yet another username and password. Some sites have taken action to alleviate the increasingly lengthy list of secret codes we must track. Somewhere along the way someone realized that making people select a username wasn’t necessary. You can have people register with their email address instead. It’s both easier for users to remember and is guaranteed to be unique. Another thing sites use is what’s called OpenID authentication. This is where you register for an account with your Facebook or Twitter account. But it still leaves a lot of keys in your key chain for websites. Which brings us to Logaway. It’s a site that let’s you safely store all your website usernames and passwords throughout the entire web. It’s free to use and can readily track every username/password combination you need.

Logaway Home

In a world where most websites are like self service cafeterias, Logaway is a five star hotel with concierge at your beck and call. Just a few moments after you arrive at the home page you’re greeted by a chat box with an agent available for any questions. Registration was simple enough, with the notable exception that it includes a Logaway key on top of a regular password. This is an added security measure as the two keys are verified separately to log in. In an impressive demonstration of going all out they also have a clickable keyboard you can use to enter your passwords. This prevents keyloggers from being able to track what you’re typing. These security measures may seem a little like entering a federal courthouse, but they’re necessary. Logaway is designed to store access to all your bank accounts, email addresses, and everything else that’s valuable to you. It’s important that it doesn’t get compromised. To further ensure the security of the connection they utilize NSA standard encryption.

Once registered and logged in you’re taken to a set up wizard that guides you through the configuration. Here it shows you the process of adding sites to your dashboard so that you can access them later. Say for instance you do your banking with You can add this along with a username and password and henceforth not need to remember them anymore. From then on all you need to do is log into Logaway and all your accounts are just one click away. Once set up, any embezzlement or nefarious activity won’t have originated from Logaway’s connection. It’s the most robust and secure system the web can offer.

Logaway Dashboard

Logaway is more than just a password manager. It’s a bit like iGoogle in that you can add gadgets to it. These can be anything from sports news, stocks, to entertainment. It’s fully customizable and can be updated at any time.

Managing a bevy of passwords is cumbersome. Using just one is a huge security risk. The recommended method is to use a different password every time which is a lot of work to maintain. Logaway takes that work away from you so that you only need to track one- your Logaway login info. It’s a highly robust, customizable, secure way to access all your accounts online.

We just received a notice that Logaway is for sale! All potential buyers should contact the owner. This also means its future may be in jeopardy, but we hope for the best. Update- Logaway is going down 2 Feb 2012. I blame an error in the Aztec calendar.


CampaignCog: Taking the email marketing world by storm

It’s amazing how sending emails has revolutionized business. In my latest real job we received so much email it was dizzying. Five minutes would go by and twenty emails would pop into your box, many of which demanded immediate and thought out attention. Meetings were flush with people pounding away on their Blackberries sifting through the deluge of information. It was a truly heroic effort to withstand the onslaught of requests and queries, of which only a few were able to.

Not everybody lives in an email-tropolis, but it affects most people throughout their day to day work. Unless you’re one of those people that work away from a computer email is likely a major form of communication on a daily basis. Many of us use it to stay in contact with customers. As such, it’s immensely helpful to know if clients have received, opened, and read your emails. This can give you an indication of when to follow up with them and if they valued what you had to say. Most people never attempt to track these things and let the chips fall where they do.

CampaignCog Home

CampaignCog is a tool that gives you insight into your email campaigns. By embedding a small piece of code into your HTMLized emails you can track a number of stats and email analytics from your customers. It will tell you anything from whether your emails have been read to where in the world your recipients happened to read it.

Working with CampaignCog is easy. First you register for a free account. From there you can create trackers for each separate email campaign you’re running. You can name the campaign, indicate the number of subscribers, and give it a start date. It also has the option to integrate with popular mail programs such as MailChimp or the unforgettable Mad Mimi. Once the tracker is configured it provides you a snippet of code and a few instructions on where to place it (in the body section of your HTML code).

Once it’s set up you can begin your campaign and start tracking the results. These results include how often your emails were opened, forwarded, or deleted and whether people read, skimmed, or glanced at them. You can also gather information about what email client they’re using, where they are, and what browser they’re using. All the information appears readily in your results page in graphical and numeric form. You’re able to adjust the distinction between read, skimmed, and glanced at based upon how many seconds the email has been opened.

Campaign Cog Results

CampaignCog is currently free while it’s in beta mode. Users can currently track as many emails as they like with as many campaigns as they like. Intriguingly, they have a few developments coming down that pipeline that sound interesting. First is their API which is due out any day now. This will allow people to programmatically integrate with CampaignCog and their results. Some time after that will be enhanced tracking reports for better data visualization and filtering. And then even broader on the horizon is an email marketing app so you can send emails from within their framework. It’s clear that CampaignCog is intent on taking the email marketing world by storm.

Sending emails to clients is a task many of us partake in. The more information you can glean from your customer’s response the better. With CampaignCog you can gauge the effectiveness of your email campaigns quickly and easily. And with the upcoming fully featured email marketing tool, I do believe we have a new player in the email marketing sector. Given the well designed nature of their beta offering I expect they’ll take a noticeable chunk of the market.


SpiderScribe: Into the market of the mind

By now most people have figured out that I’m a bit of a dreamer- head in the clouds, always thinking about the next big thing. I tire of the mundane as quickly as it arrives. It’s this winning trait that’s led my career on a fairly circuitous path. Jobs come and go like water and wind. No matter. There’s another one out there, up there, somewhere. I’ll be breeding horses by the time it’s all over.

Part of my draw to start-ups is that they begin as dream. When I stumbled into the world of tech start-ups it was a big aha moment for me- “Hey, here’s something I know about! Constant change!” And so has been the trek of companies throughout the internet. As the web has changed so has the technology behind it. What used to be built with HTML and CSS is now accompanied with Javascript, Ajax, jQuery, databases, and a variety of connecting technologies. As a long time computer game junkie I made this observation: As the new pizzazz of graphics and interaction capabilities increased the quality and story lines of games decreased. What once were truly endearing puzzles and narratives has been replaced with spiffy graphics and whizzbang. So when I come across a site that uses all the dazzling constructs afforded to web developers these days I automatically question its utility. Those doubts were instantly and pleasantly quashed when I came across SpiderScribe. It’s a site that takes the best of what the web has to offer and integrates it both simply and brilliantly. They built an online brainstorming and mind mapping tool.

SpiderScribe Home

As someone who’s sketched out a hundred ideas for every one that approached fruition, mind mapping tools are kind of my territory. And up until now I’ve navigated the lands of new ideas a trusty pen and paper. A successful session would consist of a series of scribbles of a hardly legible nature, and a garbage bin half full of crumpled up ideas. I like this primitive approach for these initial brainstorming sessions since the simplicity doesn’t encumber your creative flow. So I have to concede that I’m a bit leery of the idea of using an online application for such a purpose. How can one keep their head in the clouds if you’re trying to figure out a complex program?

Almost if by fate, or much more likely, design, SpiderScribe fits the mold of your mind perfectly. Utilizing the tool is simple and easy, allowing for the free flow of thoughts to stream onto the page. Once registered you’re presented with a fresh dashboard of maps waiting to be created. There’s a demo to get you started. It’s just as well that you create a new map and start brain storming. There’s zero learning curve here. After entering a name and description you’re presented with a clean slate. The tools available to you are text edit boxes, files to upload, pictures, embeddable Google Maps, and calendar entries. Each of these can be dragged and dropped into the map area and then edited as you like. Once you’ve added the ones you like to the display you can move them around, resize them, and select a few decorative options if you wish. At the bottom of each widget is a connector button which will allow you to create arrows connecting one to the next. These can be attached to any of the other widgets on the screen.

SpiderScribe Demo Map

After a bit of adding pictures, connecting arrows, and a few edit boxes I was quickly able to see how this would be useful. Let’s say you’re going on vacation and want to plan out the schedule. You can drag and drop pictures, locations, dates, and notes to organize the flow of your trip. Nothing’s set in stone; it’s easy to make updates things as the mind map progresses. There’s also undo and redo buttons to get back to previous versions.

Maps can be private, public with a unique and somewhat undiscoverable URL, and then public public, where search engines and anyone else can find it. Other people can be invited as viewers or editors to participate in the brain storming session.

Oftentimes people take the best technology available and build things of relatively mild import. Other times they make a tool that’s useful and don’t bother upgrading to the latest and greatest. SpiderScribe has the best of both worlds and enters into one of the hardest markets out there- the market of the mind. With it, dreamers like me, planners, and anyone else, can create shared brain storms and mind maps online.


Office Genie: Finding the Office Buzz in the UK

Being a freelancer is a noble endeavor. You leave the safety of an office along with the steady paycheck and paid holidays. In its place is an open frontier of opportunity. Vast amounts of work that can be done. There are clients that need cultivating, profits to be made, and time off during the weekdays that can be enjoyed. It’s the dream for many.

Like all things in life sometimes the reality is different than the ideal. One aspect of freelancing that most people aren’t prepared for is the difficulty in working alone. Just like bees operate as a hive, so must most people. They need that buzz of activity around them to progress forward. It took me years to overcome the dearth of social interaction that accompanies freelance work. My secret? Total disregard for everybody! That’s also the secret to happiness according to an old joke that circulates on Unix quote of the day programs. In reality I’m able to stay productive at home because I live in the city and the buzz that I too need, is all around me.

Office Genie Home

In most cases people don’t have an ever revolving migration of people right outside their door. Their houses are quiet- separated with walls, fences, and space from the nearest neighbors. In their well set up home offices they find themselves playing video games or dilly dallying. It’s easy to let a whole day slip by when you’re away from the office buzz. Now there’s a quick and easy way to change that, with Office Genie. It’s the largest collection of office and desk offerings in the UK. They offer classified listings for shared offices, serviced offices, offices to rent, and sublet offices. It’s geared towards both freelancers and small businesses alike.

Office Genie is easy to search and navigate. Most likely you’ll begin by searching based upon your location, the type of office space you’re looking for, price range, distance you’re willing to travel, and number of people to accommodate. This brings back a summary list of results of which you can browse through and click on for more information. A sample page is pictured below.

The categories of offices deserve a bit more explanation. Shared Offices are where a business has extra desk space and would like to rent it out. Here the ‘deskers’ can come and go to the office just like they normally might if they worked there. The only difference is they do their own thing once they’re there.

Next are Serviced Offices. These are where instead of renting from a business, you’re renting from an office management company that sets up an office to rent. They provide such services as a receptionist, IT, décor, and all the other basic facilities associated with office maintenance. As opposed to a shared office where you’re entering into another company’s space, serviced offices put everyone on the same plane.

Offices to Rent are for the truly ambitious. They’re for those that would like their own empty building that they can decorate, supply, furnish, and network. These are almost invariably geared towards businesses that plan on being around awhile.

Office Genie Sample Listing

Last are Sublet Offices. This is where one company is in a lease and finds they aren’t using all the space. Rather than renting out a series of desks to individuals as with shared offices, they rent an entire section of their facility. Like offices to rent, this is a solution for businesses. The benefits are that part of the building management is being handled by the host company but you still have control over your area of the building.

Having one’s own office space is important. Be it for individuals or small businesses there’s something about going to an office that can help increase productivity. Individuals need it to be around office buzz as well as maintain a separation of work and home. Businesses need it to keep the team on track, motivated, and profitable. Office Genie is the number one provider of office space listings in the UK so that people can find the solution that’s right for them.


Picuous: Embeddable, Sharable, Metricable, Pictures

Sharing pictures online is nothing new. Here’s a link to the first picture ever posted on the web. It’s famously about an all female parody pop band, Les Horribles Cernettes. Most of us haven’t had the pleasure of listening to their music, but we have all followed in their 1992 wake of posting pictures online. There’s no data for how many graphic files have found their way to the internet and then propagated out through the web. If someone can hazard a modestly accurate estimation of the cumulative size of the graphic files on the web since it’s inception we’ll give them ten points! If they can come up with a ball park figure for the data transferred that’s an extra five. That’s actually a Google-esque interview question for those wanting to work for the famed search engine. Likely, someone in their halls could determine a such a figure.

For the rest of us we aren’t really interested in things like data transfer and the mildly intriguing history of pictures online. We care about the here and now. How can I best share pictures online?

Not surprisingly, there are many ways to share pictures on the web. From social networks to sites set up strictly for that purpose, there are hundreds of ways to upload and share images. Well, now there’s one more, and this one’s a good one. Picuous. Picuous is a site that allows you to upload your pictures and embed them anywhere on the web. This sounds like a familiar story, but it doesn’t end there. Once embedded it provides a full set of metrics for the picture. It also has sharing features so people can easily let their friends know about it. It’s like the Vimeo of picture sharers.

Working with Picuous is easy. First you register for a free account. From there you can upload pictures and then embed them on any web page. There are actually two ways to upload them. First is the old way. You click on the Add a Picture link which brings up a dialogue box to select the picture from your hard drive. Next is the new way to upload pictures. You drag and drop it from your computer right into the browser, placing it on the same Add a Picture button. Once you have a fair sampling of images uploaded the fun can begin. You can click on the publish button which brings up the embed code. This isn’t an HTML tag from 1992. This is the iFrame tag which puts a small snippet of Picuous’ website right into the page it’s embedded on. What this means is the pictures will load really fast, and it brings over all the sharing options within the picture ‘frame.’ Just like Vimeo or YouTube, when you move your mouse over the picture sharing options appear.

For the curious, an example is posted below. You can click the Like button or share it. Sharing sends it out to the social network of your choosing, or you can get the embed code and place it into any web page. Included in the code is a link back to your website so as to give credit where credit is due. All stats including likes, embeds, views, and shares will appear in your picture profile page.

Sample Picuous

Picuous is in their beta phase right now rolling out new products as quickly as their crack team of developers can. They hail from Paris, a city that based upon my own personal observations, has more cameras than lovers. It’s quite fitting that whence comes the first easy to share picture viewing network on the web.

Many picture sites are designed to try to stop the spread of pictures online. One person uploads it and others aren’t encouraged or allowed to share it anywhere else on the web. They get so fussy about copyright and place humongous watermarks across their otherwise nice pictures. Picuous is for those of us who realize we aren’t Ansel Adams and want to share our pictures online. As noted in their FAQ, to share videos you have YouTube and Vimeo, for audio there’s SoundCloud, and for writers there’s Scribd- all platforms that allow others to embed their content. For pictures there’s no clear and easy way to do so that contains all the stats and sharing options. Well, now there is. With Picuous.

Unfortunately the good people at Picuous decided to remove their service as of 18 Nov 2011. It’s a great service- looks like there’s not a huge demand for YAPSS. (My newly formed acronym for Yet Another Picture Sharing Service.)


Evly: The Power of the Crowd

People working together can be a powerful thing. What can take one person a week to accomplish, a group of people can finish in an afternoon. One of the clearest examples of this is when someone moves. A group of ten people, armed only with pizza and beer, can quickly clean out an apartment and relocate it across town in a matter of hours. If someone’s stuck doing it alone they’d be moving for weeks. Or then there are clubs that get together for a common goal. Say a group of bikers are looking for places to go on the weekends. They will have a series of issues that need to be collectively discussed and decided. Where should they go? What will they eat? Who’s in charge of bike repair? These questions and more, will come up as your group prepares their weekly trips.

The current method for resolving such issues is to send emails or call them on the phone. Decisions are often made by a select few, if nothing else for simplicity’s sake. There’s got to be a better way to accomplish this. Well, there is. And it comes to us as Evly. Evly is a free crowdsourcing tool that allows you to harness the power of groups to do just about anything.

Now, first a little background on crowdsourcing. It’s the new way to accomplish tasks online. Companies both large and small are figuring out that they can break down large tasks and distribute the smaller pieces to larger groups. In so doing they can get work done quicker, faster, and in many cases, better. Most of the time companies work with consultant style crowdsourcing firms who design custom solutions for their problem. Now back to Evly, they take a different tactic to crowdsourcing. They allow anyone to set up their task, (called challenges), and then people can join to participate.

Since Evly is a flexible tool it can be used in a number of ways. To create your crowdsourcing site all you must do is pick a name, theme, template, make a few customizations, and then you’re done. From there you can share the page with your network of friends or promote it to the general masses on Evly’s network. You can create any number of challenges. Amongst these are simple questionnaires, requests to upload photos or video, or surveys. There’s an easy to use wizard to assist in the creation of the challenges.

One example is the site set up for the Crowdsortium Symposium held at Google’s Global headquarters. Once you get to the site you have to join it in order to participate. It’s as simple as clicking the Join button. Here you can find a number of challenges including a list of all the speakers with associated rankings. When you click on them you’ll find the option to engage the speaker by asking them a question. This challenge was designed to take place before the actual event so that the speaker could respond to it. Since those challenges were completed new challenges were added, including general comments and submit your photos from the conferences. And so the lifecycle of Evly’s crowdsourcing tool continues, adding new challenges as you go.

Crowdsortium Symposium Challenge

Part of the nature of crowdsourcing is the offering of payment. This is entirely left up to the discretion of the person who sets ups of the specific site. Offers may include discounts, merchandise, or money. Many of the challenges are simple and fun and people will be happy to participate on their own.

Evly is a recently launched still in beta mode start-up. In the future they plan premium services for white label sites so clients can conduct their crowdsourcing programs with their own branding. Whatever the problem, groups of people can often handle it much better than individuals. Evly opens up the crowdsourcing market to the rest of us so we can begin to enjoy the power of the crowd.


Bugrocket: A simple bug tracking system

A lesser known story about computer history is where the term software bug came from. As it turns out it has its roots in none other than an actual bug that flew its way into an old computer system. Once the operator identified and removed it, the term debugging was born.

Since then computer scientists have gone on to create reams of software chalk full of errors that causes it not to work. From logic errors, syntax errors, to the ultimate faux pas- the infinite loop- almost all software has bugs in it at some point. One twist in the software bug coding paradigm was pointed out by a previous coworker of mine. He observed that back in the old days syntax errors were bad and would cause the computer to beep fiercely at you and the entire program to come crashing to a halt. But in today’s software world they’re good. If you get a syntax error now you can almost always pin point the problem and quickly correct it. Other errors you might encounter in modern software projects can be difficult to track. For instance, data being corrupted somewhere along a lengthy process leaving little trace of how it happened. Ah, the joys of coding.

Bugrocket Home

To aid and assist the software coders an industry of bug tracking software has evolved. These systems are full of features and options to help you log, track, and close the bugs found in your program. The competition in the bug tracking sector has driven people to add an increasingly large number of never to be used features. These have led to projects that can be considered feature bloat, which tend to slow developers down, and sometimes introduce bugs of their own!

Now there’s a simple offering for bug tracking, with Bugrocket. It’s a new online application that provides everything development teams need to track bugs without any unnecessary features. It’s dubbed, “A simple bug tracking system for small teams.”

The first thing to do with Bugrocket is to spend a few minutes taking the tour. I don’t say this to try to steer anyone towards their product unnecessarily- it’s actually rather entertaining. There’s a ‘bug rocket’ that flies from one slide to the next guiding you through the process. In the background the clouds move accordingly. It’s adds a nice touch.

Once registered you can create user accounts for the team and start logging bugs. This requires a minor amount of setup. First you create a project, such as, “Disco Web Site.” Each project consists of a series of lists. The first can be Alpha release, for instance. Each list represents a milestone within the project. Once the lists are created you can log bugs under each list. It’s really rather simple. Just like the rocket tour said it would be.

Bugrocket Bug!

The bugs themselves have all the requisite features including title, who it’s assigned to, a bug number, comments section, and the ability to attach files. It starts in the triage phase, (also known as the denial phase). Then assigned, QA, and Closed. When closed it’s assigned a reason ranging from verified, duplicate, to works as expected. Far be it from QA to submit a bad bug report!

They say the difference between hardware and software is hardware you can hit with a hammer, software you can only cuss at. Although it doesn’t say so explicitly on their website, Bugrocket will reduce the amount of profanity expunged by a development team. It gives you the tools to effectively keep track of your software’s bugs without a dizzying array of features. With it teams can quickly and easily log, monitor, and close bugs. No hammers, or insecticide, are included.


Pikimal: Personalized Top Ten Lists

Buying things online has revolutionized commerce. In the olden days people would get in their car, drive to the store, shop for what they wanted, and then leave. As we all know this has dramatically changed now that we have the internet. With the click of a button we can have items sent to our door without even leaving the house. It’s easier, cheaper, and almost always better. Almost.

The reality is that now that we are able to buy merchandise online we have an exorbitant amount of options. If you’re looking for watches you can get a thousand different styles from a hundred different brands. If you’re looking for TVs you’ll find the same thing, or dare we mention cameras, bicycles- the list goes on and on.

To help consumer sift through the mass of product offerings many sites offer reviews. With them you can get a better idea of how an item works and if people were happy with it. These reviews also offer you the opportunity to spend hours reading to try to get a feel for a product. They are helpful to be sure but don’t take advantage of the power of the internet and the information that’s readily available about products. Let’s go back to the camera example. There’s a dizzying array of features of which each camera has a subset. If you start reading reviews on the various options one of two things will happen. You’ll either make a selection by your 81st birthday or you’ll give up. Most people give up and then look for a top ten recommended list and buy one of those. If it’s on a top ten list it’s probably a safe bet, right? Maybe.

Now there’s a way to quickly and easily research a product online so you can sort the criteria that’s of most interest to you. It comes to us as Pikimal, which is a site full of Pikis.

A Piki is a product profile page that has a wealth of information that you can readily sift through. The way it works is first you pick your category. I found myself drawn to Deep Fryers for some strange reason. By clicking on it I landed on the Find the Best Deep Fryer Piki, which we can only surmise was created by their happy set of interns. Each Piki is adorned with a set of templates which are editable filters that allow you to view the best fryers for that category. So you can select the best deep fryers for performance, cleaning, programmable cooking, capacity, safety features, low price, and a few other options. Naturally, I selected capacity which returned a- you guessed it- a top ten list of the best fryers based upon capacity. And there you have it. Almost.

Pikimal Sliders

As mentioned the templates are editable. By clicking on the edit link I was presented with the brains behind Pikimal, the wizard behind the curtain, the secret in their sauce. Before me was a series of sliders. For each criteria whereby deep fryers are measured the sliders can be adjusted according to your personal preference. This allows you to customize your view of the aforementioned top ten list of fryers. The sliders included size, safety, and convenience amongst other options. Many of them had sub filters that you could further indicate how important various aspects of deep fryers are to you. And finally, in a display of expected brilliance, as soon as you adjust any of the slides you’re given a new and updated top ten list.

I actually misspoke a bit earlier for simplicity. The world of Pikimal isn’t limited to just products. You can research just about anything there. It’s a place to help you find anything you’d like to discover, “the best of.” This includes schools, dinosaurs, or NFL quarterbacks, along with products for online purchase. We even found a planet Piki on there. Beyond the Piki tool they also include a rating and review system to augment your research. They’re currently in beta launch with an ever growing list of items to be cataloged. With Pikimal people can create their own top ten lists of anything they’re researching so they can find what’s best for them.