How do you get feedback from people about the things that you create? The simple answer is that you just show them what you want feedback on, but while this can be simple in the offline world, the online world complicates matters just a little bit. Instead of presenting physical items, you’ll be using digital items. You might be tempted to e-mail the items in question to the intended recipients in order to get their feedback, however, this can result in a number of messages that are exchanged, and you should know that there is an easier method delivered by Backboard. 

Backboard offers a simple way for you to get feedback on text, documents, images, and even Web sites. You just select what you want to use, customize the presentation, and share it with your contacts. Your audience will be able to comment on what they see, and I can envision a number of different uses for a service like this. A selection of premium plans are also available for those who want more functionality than what the free version provides.

Engineering Windows 7 Open For Business

The folks over at Microsoft have a new blog that they call E7 for short, in which they will be providing information for the next version of  Windows 7. It is a welcome relief to know that a blog dedicated to Windows 7 is available and hopefully this may just keep the rumor mill to a controlled roar. In past Windows versions, there were more rumors than fact being disseminated prior to the official release. Over at the blog site it states:

Beginning with this post together we are going to start looking forward towards the “Windows 7” project. We know there are tons of questions about the specifics of the project and strong desire to know what’s in store for the next major release of Windows. Believe us, we are just as excited to start talking about the release. Over the past 18 months since Windows Vista’s broad availability, the team has been hard at work creating the next Windows product.

This one statement: ‘Over the past 18 months since Windows Vista’s broad availability, the team has been hard at work creating the next Windows product,’ says it all. It would seem that Microsoft is dead serious about coming out with a new operating system in a timely manner and not wait 5 years like they did with the XP to Vista transition.

Over the coming months I look forward to read what the team will be working on. The comments section is also interesting as well. There are already a host of new features that readers would like to see in the final release.

Than there is this:

Our intent is to post “regularly”. We’ll watch the comments and we will definitely participate both in comments and potentially in follow-up posts as required. We will make sure that members of the Windows 7 development team represent themselves as such as well. While we want to keep the dialog out in the open, please feel free to use email to [email protected] should you wish to. In particular, email is a good way to suggest topics we might have a chance to discuss on the blog.

When was the last time you saw Microsoft actually giving out an email address and asking for our suggestions? Is this a new, friendly Microsoft that will be open to the public while Windows 7 is developed? I certainly hope so.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.




Whenever you create something that is to be used and enjoyed by other people, it’s always important to get their input on what you’re doing. Although you may at least be partially doing something for yourself, you’re also doing it for your community, so it’s only right that they have a say in how your public project is developed. After all, they know what they want more that you or anyone else. A lot of companies and individuals encourage people to send them feedback on their projects, but as a member of their communities, sometimes you feel like your opinion is just not being heard. UserVoice is a service that enables both project providers to understand what their users want and community members to express themselves freely.

You’ll find that UserVoice brings organization to the feedback and suggestion process. Users can work together to suggest new ideas and support preexisting ideas by voting for them. These votes show you in plain numbers what your users really want, and you can discuss these ideas publicly instead of through e-mail with only one person. Progress is shown and achievements are recorded, and if you really care about your community, then you’ll do something like this.

Google Gmail 20% Time Evolution – New Toys To Play With!

Yesterday, June 5, 2008, Google began offering new features for Gmail users available with just a few mouse clicks. Some of the new features are:

* a module for quick links (saved searches, important messages)
* superstars (additional star icons)
* pictures in Gmail chat
* fixed width font
* custom keyboard shortcuts
* mouse gestures
* random signature
* signature tweaks (places the signature before the quoted text)
* custom date format
* muzzle (hide the status of your contacts in Gmail chat)
* play Snake inside Gmail
* email addict (blocks the screen for 15 minutes)
* hide unread count

What is the 20% that Google talks about?

“The 20 percent time is a well-known part of our philosophy here, enabling engineers to spend one day a week working on projects that aren’t necessarily in our job descriptions. You can use the time to develop something new, or if you see something that’s broken, you can use the time to fix it.”

Google’s engineers may work on many side-projects related to Gmail and this could be an opportunity for users to try them, send feedback or influence which features should be further developed and added to Gmail. It’s not clear if that’s the right interpretation for Google’s intentionally-ambiguous text, but we’ll find out next Thursday.

So how does one access these new features? Simple. On your Google Gmail account site, just click on  Settings and at the next screen click on Tabs. You can enable or disable the new features as you like. Give them a try and see what you think.



Although it may sometimes be easier to create documents and other content all by yourself, that doesn’t mean that that’s always going to happen. I’ve had to work with people on a variety of projects, and while this can be difficult when you’re all in an office together, it’s even more difficult when you’re not in the same location as the other collaborators. There are many online services that aim to shrink this geographic divide and make it seem like you’re in the same room with other people while you’re working on something together, and whichever option you choose is up to you. With that said, ReviewBasics is an interesting solution that simplifies content review.

Whether you’re working on documents, images, or videos, you can use ReviewBasics to upload your content and invite people to check it out and offer their comments. A number of tools are available in the editor to help reviewers make notes of their thoughts and point out items of interest. Offering feedback on documents and images in this way may not seem like a big deal, but being able to make comments directly on videos is very cool, and I’m sure a lot of people will appreciate this multifaceted tool.

Free Microsoft Software – Needs Your Feedback

Microsoft has started a new program which is being offered to the public, in which for your feedback you will be provided with free software products. Some of the products include Windows Vista, Office 2007 and others Microsoft products. The program itself is fully explained on the Microsoft feedback site but some of  the highlights are:

You can use this website to sign up for one or both parts of the program, but note the following restrictions:

  • Participation is currently limited to US residents of 18 years and older.
  • You are the owner of the computer you use for this program.
  • The automated feedback program is offered to Windows Vista and Windows XP customers only.
  • The survey feedback program applies to all versions of Windows.
  • Microsoft, comScore, and MarketTools employees are not eligible to participate.

The FAQ also describes what may be expected of you:

 How do I enroll for the Program?
When you decide to participate, you will:

  1. Read and agree to the Agreement for joining the Windows Feedback Program.
  2. Enter your personal information.
  3. Complete a 15-minute survey that helps us understand your user preferences and interests. This is important for us because it helps us to target specific research activities to the right audience. For example, if you never play games on your computer, we would not invite you to participate in a survey about games. To register for the program, you have to complete the survey.
  4. Download and install the software if you are joining the automated feedback program.

I would highly recommend that you read all of the requirements and also the FAQ’s so that you fully understand what may be expected of you.

If you are interested in joining the feedback program, you can enroll in the program here.

Comments welcome.

[tags]microsoft, feedback, program, faq, requirements, free, software,  [/tags]


Millions and millions of people are openly distributing their content on the Internet, and whether you’re into blogs, video, audio podcasts, or anything else, you’re going to find people tirelessly creating new things for you to enjoy. As a creator, it’s fun to release new stuff that you’ve been working hard on, but if no one responds to your work, it can be extremely disappointing. Sometimes even just one comment can make the effort completely worth it. Most of us always want to know what people think about what we publicly release, and MochiMention is going to help us figure all of that out.

This service essentially allows you to add a rating and comment system for any piece of content that is distributed online. Your MochiMention module can have ratings, comments, or both. All you have to do is copy and paste the code to where it needs to be on your page, and then your feedback system will instantly go live. The free version allows you to create five modules, but you’ll have to upgrade to a premium account if you want unlimited access and no ads. So, how would you rate MochiMention?


In this era of user-generated content, there is as much of an emphasis on the creator of the content as there is on the participants. Some people may just be content with posting random bits for their own good, but there’s even more of us that want to develop an audience for what we put out there. We distribute new content with the expectation that people will comment on our offerings, and when they don’t, it almost feels like you’re talking to yourself. However, when the comments pour in, you want to stay on top of what people are saying. Commentful keeps track of comments and follow-ups on blog posts, Digg submissions, Flickr pictures, and other types of content, and when there’s an update, they’ll notify you immediately.

Commentful notifies you of updates by a Firefox/Flock extension, the watchlist page that is a part of your account, or a handy dandy RSS feed. You can track up to fifty items at a time, which means that, depending on the popularity, there will probably never be a shortage of feedback to keep up with. This service won’t make people comment on your content, but it’ll let you know when they do.

[tags]rss,firefox,flock,content,updates,comments,audience,feedback,commentful,user-generated content,follow-ups,watchlist[/tags]

Become a Pioneer – Test New Linux Distro

Over at Scots Newsletter Forum I stumbled on a request from biolertech AKA Mike, who posted a request looking for people to beta test a new Linux distro called Pioneer. I looked at the TaFusion website which if offering the distro for testing and they stated the following:

Cedaredge, CO, August 3, 2007: Technalign, Inc. announced today the release of Pioneer Explorer 1.0 Release Candidate 1. RC1 has a new look and feel over previous Technalign versions, a new live kernel, improved wireless support, and the additions of Intel WinModems added to the kernel. Pioneer Explorer is nearing the completion of the fork from Canonical and brings changes to the repositories that are completely Technalign maintained. Pioneer Explorer has a 12 month lifecycle and will continue to improve. KPPP has also been changed and is now faster than previous versions providing dialup users a better Internet experience.

Pioneer Explorer is Technalign’s community version meant solely for the community. Pioneer represents Technalign’s best release in 5 years and provides a simple to use “Programs” folder for the most requested applications by Linux users today. Automatix is still a choice if users want to use the application instead of the Programs folder on the desktop. NVIDIA and ATI drivers have also been included in the Programs folder for ease of installation. The Programs folder is near completion and is expected that the final release of Explorer will contain all the required tools.

So for those of you who like to test Linux distributions, here is your chance. Please make sure you provide feedback to the developers so that they can continue to make improvements to their software.

Pioneer Linux website here.

Comments welcome.

[tags]pioneer, linux, distro, test, feedback, [/tags]


If you’ve ever browsed through eBay, then you know that both buyers and sellers have ratings and reviews that let you know ahead of time whether or not that individual is a good person to do business with. In a marketplace like eBay, this type of evaluation system is very important, but even then, it’s not always the most reliable way to make a judgment call. In addition to that, this is eBay’s system, so unless you’re buying from them, the information probably isn’t going to be that useful to you. RapLeaf has helped to solve this problem by building a portable ratings system that applies to a buyer or seller no matter where they may do business.

To search for someone, all you have to do is enter in their e-mail address, which is the identifier for the person. To start building your own reputation, just create an account with RapLeaf, enter in any other accounts and contact information that you use, and then encourage anyone who’s ever done business with you to rate you objectively. In order to widen the net of collected feedback, RapLeaf even allows your friends to comment on you. Statistics are easily digested, and ratings can be filtered to show a visitor to your profile the feedback that they want to see. Now all that’s left to do is to embed your reputation score on the Web pages under your control in order to show what you’re really like.

[tags]RapLeaf, eBay, Buyers, Sellers, Ratings, Reviews, Marketplace, E-mail, Reputation, Friends, Feedback, Profile[/tags]


Even though blogging is traditionally an interactive communication method, it can still be difficult to really understand what your readers are thinking about what you’re writing. For example, on your personal blog, how many of your total visitors actually take the time to comment on your posts? More than likely, your comment to traffic ratio is probably unbelievably low. Even a relatively small blog may have thousands of people who observe what’s going on with interest, but don’t say anything about it. How are you going to encourage these ones to give you their feedback about something in particular? QuestionForm.

Surveys can be very effective for blogs and Web sites in general, and QuestionForm gives you the tools that you need to create these interactive forms. The survey editor itself is very easy to use because all you need to do is drag-and-drop the elements that you want on your custom survey, and then you edit them as you see fit. Publishing is just as easy in the sense that QuestionForm can give your survey a custom Web address, or you can just embed it directly on the appropriate Web page or blog post. You have the option of being notified in a variety of ways when someone responds to your survey, and with this compiled data, analysis can be done, and reports can be created.

[tags]QuestionForm, Surveys, Comments, Feedback, Readers[/tags]


When you’re in the very first steps of the buying process, it’s important to do your research and look for reviews from people who have purchased and used what you intend to buy. After all, you definitely don’t want to get stuck with a lame product. The problem with many review Web sites is that they accept reviews from almost anyone. If you just want to go off on some product that you’ve never used, then you can do so because there’s no real editorial control over who’s actually used something and who hasn’t. This standard system may be easy to implement, but it’s definitely not the best way to receive and publish accurate reviews. In an effort to fix this, Reevoo is attempting to make reviews more legitimate.

On Reevoo, you’ll find reviews for products ranging from technology devices all the way to washers and dryers. The difference with this service, however, is that they work closely with online retailers. For example, when a user purchases an item from a retailer that supports Reevoo, they’ll be e-mailed a questionnaire that is used to get their feedback on what they think of the product. When the reviews are approved, they’ll then be posted for everyone else to see. It doesn’t matter if the review is good or bad because it’s coming from an actual user, and that makes a difference. In addition, if you post a review on your blog, you may also be able to get Reevoo to publish it.

[tags]Reevoo, Products, Reviews, Product Reviews, Research, Retailers, Feedback[/tags]


Being able to watch video online has helped to change the way that I receive information. In the past, I may have opted to read an article that detailed a certain development, but these days, if I have the option to sit back and enjoy a quick video report, then I’ll probably take it, because it’s nice to enjoy some visual and audible stimulus from time to time. Despite what text tells us, everything doesn’t have to be black and white. We’ve become accustomed to delivering our feedback and creative input about these videos in comments that can be contained on the page where the video resides or on outside Web sites, such as a personal blog. BubblePLY decided that instead of keeping viewer feedback as a separate experience from the original video, the two should be merged together in order to create a converged visual delight.

What does all of this mean? Well, the whole point of BubblePLY is that you can take a video from a site such as YouTube or Google Video, add comments (or bubbles) onto the video, and then share it with others. The content that you add isn’t actually saved to the real video, but instead, it’s placed on a transparent layer over the video so as not to disturb the original content. BubblePLY will then host these changes and allow you to link to and embed your video revision wherever you please. Anyone who’s been itching to publicly deface some perfectly good content will love what this service has to offer.

[tags]BubblePLY, Video, Comments, Feedback, Creative Input, YouTube, Google Video[/tags]


If you expect people to trust what you say and do on the Internet, then you’re going to have to build up a good reputation. This oftentimes takes years to do, and it’s definitely no small task. The Internet remembers everything thanks to Google, so both your good and bad moments are sure to archived for many years to come. Exciting, huh? More than ever before, your reputation can be more important to clients or employers than anything else about you. These days, it doesn’t matter if you’re the best at what you do, because if your reputation is despicable, then you’ll be viewed as such. Therefore, it’s important to take the proper steps to build up your reputation in a positive and trusted way, and iKarma is here to help.

This third-party service is great for collecting, managing, and promoting your reputation to whomever is interested, and once you’ve signed up, go ahead and invite current and past individuals and businesses who know what type of person you are to contribute some comments to your iKarma page. In return, you can also post ratings and comments about those who have spoken up for you. This impartial source for ratings and overall feedback will help you to make a name for yourself, and it’ll hopefully assist you in convincing interested parties that you’re the real deal.

[tags]iKarma, Trust, Reputation, Google, Clients, Employers, Ratings, Comments, Feedback[/tags]