There’s something to be said for the thrill of spontaneity, but sometimes it’s nice to have something to look forward to. Making plans may not be the most glamorous of tasks, but it at least ensures that your time — whether it be used for work or pleasure — is maximized to the limits only imposed by hours in the day and months in the year. Not making plans might leave you at home alone on a Saturday night, twiddling your thumbs and wishing you’d figured out something to fill in the space on your calendar. (Not that there’s anything wrong with staying home on a Saturday night — especially if you specifically planned to do so!) In any case, you want to keep track of your options, and usually the only way to do this is to find a way to organize your time properly in a way that’s quick and as painless as possible.
Right now, many of the popular services and applications focus on enabling people to tell others what they’re doing at any given moment. Through these creations, you can sometimes find out a lot more about someone than you would ever care to know. Living in the moment is one thing, but the process of planning something hasn’t gone away. Plancast is a service that enables you to spread the word about what you’re planning to do so that other people can possibly join you.
A lot of planning tools are overly complicated and formal, but Plancast keeps things simple. By posting some quick details about what you’re planning to do, your friends and other users can see this information and let you know if they want you to count them in. It’s easy to see who’s going to be involved, and plans can be shared on Facebook and Twitter for greater visibility. If used, Plancast could prevent you from spending so much precious time making and sharing plans. So, what are you planning?
We’re less then 24 hours away from Google I/O 2011, the annual developer conference in San Francisco for all things Google and Android. This year’s I/O will be bigger than ever, with over 5 thousand participants from 60 countries, 110 sessions and 261 speakers. While a majority of the action won’t be interesting to the casual Android fan, there will be announcements aplenty during the two keynote presentations and you’ll be able to watch right from your couch.
What To Expect
The rumors have been flying fast over the last couple of weeks around what Google is going to release or announce at I/O. Here are some of the rumblings:
- Revamped Google TV It’s no secret that the Google TV was a flop. It was overpriced, under-marketed, and didn’t provide people with the revolutionary TV watching experience it claimed to. An “industry source” claims that Google is releasing an updated version of Google TV with better performance, an improved UI, and the ability to run Android apps.
- Android Ice Cream Sandwich Right now there are two distinct “latest” versions of Android — 3.0 Honeycomb for tablets like the Motorola XOOM, and 2.3 Gingerbread for phones. Google has announced that the next version of Android will be called Ice Cream Sandwich and will reconcile the differences between 2.3 and 3.0 into a single version that will morph based on the form factor of the device it’s running on. Not much else is known about Ice Cream Sandwich at this point, but look for an introduction and feature announcements to be a major part of the I/O keynotes.
- Chrome Netbooks Aplenty Commercial Chrome netbooks are set to hit the market this summer, so it would make sense that Google will announce a few of the models at some point during the conference.
- Android Music Service? Another hot rumor is that Google will be releasing their streaming music service for Android, allowing you to store your MP3s in the cloud and stream them to your phone over 3G or Wi-Fi. Beta versions of the streaming player have been floating around the Android scene, but there’s yet to be an official announcement. Some media are saying that Google is headed back to the drawing board for this one, but we won’t know for sure until the keynotes. Hold your breath on this one, music fans.
How to Follow and Watch I/O 2011
While the usual blogs will be covering the event (including us here at LockerGnome), Google is also providing a free stream of the keynotes and presentations throughout both days of the conference. Head over to the I/O 2011 Site for a YouTube stream. The opening keynote starts at 9AM Pacific / 12AM Eastern tomorrow, and the second keynote will be Wednesday at the same time. Google will also be streaming a variety of the sessions throughout the day — coverage goes from 9-6 Pacific both days.
Facebook’s latest release of its iPhone application gives users the ability to check in to events from the iPhone natively. The latest version 3.4 also gives users a map view when looking at Places, another added benefit lets users also defriend people on Facebook in-app.
Those two major additions are in company with other small news feed improvements and a user interface refresh when looking at notifications. Inside the application only the defriend button is new; the extended option is called out with a huge red button marking that you wish to defriend them.
To find the new event check-in features, go under the events section inside the app and within will be all the features to check-in properly. While checking in a user is able to check-in to nearby and upcoming event with the added option to tag their Facebook friends if they choose to do so.
Map view can be found under Places with a new section for it. Users here can toggle between “Map” and “Activity” which allows users to see near by check-in points on a map or a list that lets users see a list of points nearby.
Facebook’s updates to this latest release enhance the overall quality of the application and boost the experience that a user has when inside the application. The Facebook application pushes users to use the check-in feature on events nearby and makes it even easier to get rid of users they no longer want to be connected with.
With 250 million people using Facebook in a mobile environment on a monthly basis, the company continues to make mobile devices its important focus.
If you have developed a Web site or a Web application, then you likely appreciate how important it is to keep track of the analytics so that you can see where your users are coming from and what they’re looking at. If you’re already doing this, then you’re doing a good job, but if you want to do a great job, then you need to kick things up a notch. You certainly want to measure where people are coming from, but you should also measure and track their specific actions so that you can see how you can potentially improve your creation. Mixpanel will give you the details that you’ll need.
There are some very recognizable companies that use Mixpanel, so if you decide to use their solution, then you’ll be in good company. You’ll get real-time analytics, which means that you’ll know what’s happening as soon as it’s happening, and since the data is so effective, you’ll be able to make decisions right away. You’ll see what people are using the most and where they’re getting lost along the way. No more guessing is a good thing.
I spotted this graph over at graph jam [linked below] and though it is meant to be a joke, in reality I believe it is true. I would seriously doubt that there is anyone on the planet who actually reads every term of services for every product they buy. I know that I usually just glance over the terms and move on. If we actually read the terms we would never buy anything. LOL
What about you? Do you read any of the terms of service?
Source – Graph Jam
While it can be a lot of fun to attend large events and conferences, I have to say that I’m thankful that I haven’t had to organize one. The event may only last a day or two, but the planning and coordination takes months and requires a lot of money. The simple fact is that you can’t do absolutely everything by yourself. There are so many things to think about that you just have to think about the most essential elements and find support for the rest. A company called amiando knows that this is the case and provides a service that handles all of the administrative issues.
The variety of things that amiando provides assistance with is really quite amazing. It does event registration and ticketing like other services, but it provides more options in these areas and others. For example, not only will you have full visibility into your attendee list and where people are from, but you can also create special discount codes, build a community, use e-mail communication tools, have your event appear on other event sites, sell tickets from your own site, and much more. The service is free for free events and a small fee is charged per ticket if you sell tickets.
I’ve never had to organize an event like a conference before and I’m happy that that’s the case. Not only do you have to get the overall structure in place for the actual conference, but you also have to handle event registration and ticketing challenges. The most important part of conference planning is the conference itself, but administrative issues like registration can take up a lot of time if you’re not careful. With Eventbrite, you’ll know that the service is taking care of the registration issues so that people will be ready to line up when the event starts.
The event pages created through Eventbrite are very professional and can be customized to match the branding of your event. Built-in promotion tools help you and your attendees to get the word out, and you’ll be able to track how things are going in a visual way using charts and graphs. Free events are free to manage through Eventbrite, but if you choose to charge money for tickets, the service collects a small fee from the cost of each ticket that’s sold. That’s a small price to pay for help with this process.
We’re more connected now than we’ve ever been before. If we’re not connected with a friend on one social network, then we’re probably connected with them on another one. Social networks like Facebook enable users to see what their friends are doing and saying, but improvements can always be made in the way that this information is displayed. If you’re a big user of Facebook, then you’ll want to check out The Hotlist because it helps you to quickly find out what’s going on with your friends in your area.
Not only will you see what your Facebook friends are planning on doing, but the information will also be displayed on a map to give you a geographical idea of what’s going on. When looking at events and venues, The Hotlist provides even more details like how big the crowd will be and what the guy to girl ratio is. All of this information in combination with real-time tweets from people at the venues will help you to discover new places and get social away from the computer.
With online video continuing to take over the Internet, some of us may forget that there’s also this thing called picture sharing that happens online. For quite some time, picture sharing services were all the rage, but you can’t help but notice that some of the buzz has died down and been directed at other services. We may feel like we’ve seen it all when it comes to picture sharing online, and even though that may partially be true in some ways, there are always other alternatives to look into. If you’ve been using Flickr or a similar tool for a long time and want to try something else, take a look at Divvyshot.
While some services try to offer a lot of features that get in the way of your pictures, Divvyshot tries to keep the focus on your pictures. Pictures are grouped into collections called events, and the nice thing about these groups is that multiple people can add their pictures to them. This is helpful if you’ve taken a trip or gone to an event with a group of people because everything can end up in one place. As you take a look around the site, you’ll see that simplicity rules, which is the way it should be.
We all have tons of data taking up space in our brains, but when you start to combine dates and events, confusion is sure to set in. It can be difficult for many of us to visualize timelines in our heads, and that’s why it’s good to organize everything on paper or on your computer so that you can see the whole story in a single spot. There can be a variety of reasons why you would want to create a timeline, but no matter what your reason is, you’ll have the tools you need with Preceden.
Take a look at the examples on the site to get a feel for how these timelines work. You’ll see that events can be organized in layers so that you can see how they overlap, and when you hover over an event, you’ll see the approximate length of that event. Your created timelines can be shared or kept private, but if you do decide to share them, people will surely appreciate this presentation over the alternative of sending a bunch of text.
In a way, I like buying tickets for events because that means that I’m going to get to go to something, but at the same time, I usually feel like I’m getting ripped off, and that’s probably because I am. Ticket prices constantly change, and with so many different ways in which you can buy event tickets, there’s almost always a way to get tickets for less money than what you spent. A site called SeatGeek brings math to the ticket buying equation with good results.
Whenever you’re thinking about buying tickets to a sporting event or concert, you can just search for what you’re looking for on the site to get your price forecast. The price forecast is developed by taking into account historic and current pieces of data to let you know if you can expect the price to go up or if it’s likely to go down. By looking at the chart, you’ll know if you should buy the tickets now or not, and if you do decide to buy them, some of the best available ticket deals are displayed for you. Take that, Ticketmaster.
Twitter is the hot thing right now, so it only makes sense that other companies are going to imitate it to some extent. This really isn’t such a bad thing because it’s nice to have some competition out there. One of the things that we’ve been seeing a lot of lately are companies building specialized versions of the Twitter concept. For example, a service called Sprouter has made their own Twitter for entrepreneurs.
The convergence makes sense because entrepreneurs are always looking to network with other entrepreneurs, and Sprouter enables them to do that. When you take a look at what Sprouter is doing, you realize how much it was influenced by Twitter. While Twitter asks you what’s happening, Sprouter asks you about what you’re working on, and you can also follow other people and track topic discussions. I do like the way that events are featured and included in the service, but with so many entrepreneurs already using Twitter, I’m not quite sure about what the value of them starting from scratch with Sprouter is.
Are you hangoutable? In a way, what I mean by that is, are you the type of person who makes yourself available to spend time with other people? Are you regularly doing stuff with friends and family or are you primarily sitting at home on the computer all the time? Many of us have been guilty of not spending enough real social time with other people, and despite the fact that we’re in the middle of the social networking revolution, we’re actually becoming less social in many ways. There are a bunch of services that try to get people to come together and plan events out in extensive detail, but sometimes less is more. Sponty just wants you to be hangoutable.
There’s not much to this service because there doesn’t need to be. It’s all about creating and discovering social activity feeds. Event postings are simple and broadcasted so that your friends and the community will know where you’re planning to be. From there, people can indicate that they’re down with what’s going on and they’ll be included so that others will know who will be there. Instead of planning an event, sometimes you just need to plan a simple hang out session, and that’s what Sponty is for.
There are so many things that go into hosting and organizing an event that the last thing you want to worry about is dealing with registration, ticketing, etc. These administrative headaches prevent you from focusing on the event itself, and sure enough, they seem to cause more trouble than many other parts of the actual event. It shouldn’t be this way, and that’s why it’s important to use tools that prevent more headaches than they cause. Event Wax is an event organization tool that takes care of a lot of the details that you don’t want to think about.
Once you enter the details about your event, Event Wax produces a hosted Web site that you can point people to, and as the creator, you’re free to customize it in the way that you want. This service really comes in handy when you’re distributing tickets to attendees because it doesn’t just offer free and paid tickets but also offers a host of other ticketing options. PayPal integration is available, and your attendee database can be used and searched through in interesting ways.
If you don’t have a lot going on in your life, then you probably don’t need to use a calendar to keep track of things very regularly, but if each day of your life is busy and filled with activities, then using a calendar becomes critical. I still tend to write things down, but there are plenty of applications and services that can help you organize your life through a digital calendar. Some of them are even designed to be shared online, which makes connecting with others very easy. Dingbee bills itself as a social calendar, and that makes sense because it’s kind of a combination of Google Calendar and Twitter.
It doesn’t get much more social than that, huh? As a user, you add events and follow your friends accounts to see what events they’re planning on being involved with. You can become a part of those events or even search Dingbee in general to see what’s going on. When you think about it, Twitter would make a lot of sense as a calendar, and I’m glad Dingbee took the concept and made it a reality through their own service.