SAN FRANCISCO--Max Levchin made a name for himself as the co-founder of transaction system PayPal, one of the Web's foremost utilitarian services. Then he made a name for himself again at the helm of Slide, which isn't exactly in the same space. Its flagship product, "SuperPoke," has become the poster child--er, poster sheep--for criticism of social-networking developer applications as a silly fad.
SAN FRANCISCO--In his keynote address Wednesday at the Web 2.0 Expo here, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin said his current company, social-network application developer Slide, will prevent social sites from becoming fads.
Pretty ambitious for a start-up that made a name for itself by letting you throw virtual sheep at your friends on Facebook. (That'd be SuperPoke, a delightfully pointless Slide application.)
Levchin, interviewed onstage by Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li, was recently crowned Web 2.0's poster boy--as bestowed upon him by Portfolio magazine, which put him on the cover with the caption "Brilliant!" and … Read more
I spent some of this weekend using SlideRocket, a new service that's aiming to replace your presentation software with its flashy (actually Flexy) Web-based tools. Is it a real PowerPoint or Apple Keynote killer in its current iteration? Not yet, but I think it's off to a great start.
The service has all the flash and fervor of some other Adobe Flex-based apps we've seen like BuzzWord, Scrapblog, and Picnik. The transitions and stock slide templates are enough to distract you from how potentially boring your presenter is and thought has been put into making things look good from the get-go, no matter your design prowess. In many ways, the final results are indistinguishable from Apple's well-known presentation software Keynote, which has been a part of the company's iWork suite for Macs for the last three years.
Let's start by talking about what makes SlideRocket different from presentation software you might be used to. For one thing it's very Web-friendly. As I mentioned last week in our coverage of the company's demo at the Under the Radar conference (coverage), it's been designed to integrate media and information services you're already using. Big names on the list include Yahoo maps, Flickr, and Google Docs; I foresee others being added in the future--as long as the service has a data API.
Linking up to each of these services is handled with some grace, although I found performance to take a hit when adding several Flickr photos to a single slide since the service will check in with Flickr each time you load up the slide. It can be set to do the same thing for Google Documents, but this is actually a good thing in case the source data changes. I've been told local copies of the files will be able to be stored on SlideRocket's servers in the future to speed things up.
Speaking of local storage, SlideRocket has the beginnings of a very smart way to handle shared media. Similar to Keynote, all your files are put together in one place and can be sorted via keywords simply by name. The more time you spend categorizing it, the faster you'll be able to parse it, but the built-in search is instantaneous--which is very helpful. Users get up to 3GB of storage to share photos, music, and videos. These asset libraries are shared in the business editions.
So, how does it stack up against other Web-based presentation tools?… Read more
My final Under the Radar session today focuses on tools for business collaboration. In the past year, Webware.com has covered each of these four applications, but now they're each back with something new to bring to the virtual table.
Blist, an easy, engaging online database, will be releasing a premium version for small and midsized businesses. The easy, rich database environment can be used for business needs such as data storage and applicant-tracking, and features 3D graphs, drag-and-drop query-building, and document storage inside a database.
Next week Blist will add the capability to use others' data structures as … Read more
Flashy presentation tool SlideRocket is easily one of the best-looking services I've seen.
CEO Mitch Grasso's presentation at this afternoon's Under the Radar session about the virtual worker (using SlideRocket to present) got several oohs and ahhs. In many ways it takes a cue from Apple's Keynote product with great use of fonts, reflections, transparencies, and transitions to put together presentations that use hardware acceleration and cutting-edge design templates to impress clients, co-workers, and potentially your boss.
The app uses Adobe's Flex technology and has an offline client meaning users can create and edit presentations … Read more
Who needs those boring family photos anyway? The bona fide geek will find a way to highlight true objects of affection on a digital frame--such as CPU and RAM usage.
Those are just a couple of options apparently available for this handy USB device, which has a small LCD that can display your beloved computer's vitals and other information to maintain optimum desktop health, according to Everything USB. Its estimated 2-inch screen isn't exactly up to control-room standards, but it's a lot easier to read than those tiny taskbar icons. Depending on "inventory" of slides, … Read more
Did you know photo slide show service Slide.com is used to create over a million slide show widgets a day? With those slide shows comes serious business, pulling in a monster load of traffic. Taking a cue from that, photo host Photobucket has stepped up its in-house solution with a new slide show tool that's been significantly enhanced from the previous version.
Using some design elements from Flektor, which parent company Fox Interactive Media picked up alongside Photobucket in mid-2007, Photobucket users can now skin and theme their slide shows in various fashions to match the theme of the shots. As an added incentive to step up to the service's $25-a-year pro membership, paid users get an extra 20 shots on top of the 30 that everyone else gets.
Despite these new changes, I found the new slide show creation tool to be a little short on features. It's easy to skin the thing with one of the 20 new themes, but many of the themes don't offer control over transitions or skipping ahead through the photos. This might not be a big deal with a few shots, but once the number gets up to 50, it would be nice to have some form of navigation, regardless of what theme the creator has chosen.
I've embedded one of the new slide shows after the break. To check it out, click the pink "read more" link below.
This summer, Nielsen Net Ratings released a study of the fastest-growing instant-messaging clients from August 2006 to June 2007. The big winner was Meebo--the Web-based cross-platform chat app that lets AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, MSN, and Meebo's own users talk amongst themselves anywhere they've got a Web browser and an Internet connection.
The second-fastest growing chat client was more of a surprise. IMVU--which gained 154 percent more users over the year studied--is a 3D chat client that allows you to create your own avatar (covered previously) and interact with other users in a proprietary "metaverse.&… Read more
It's lights out for the T-Mobile Sidekick Slide--well, temporarily anyway. T-Mobile and Motorola pulled the new Sidekick from the carrier's lineup last Friday after confirming that some devices are powering off after opening and closing the phone. Motorola says it's currently working to identify the cause of the problem, but geez, that's no way to make a first impression. If you'll remember, the Slide is the first Sidekick not to be made by Sharp. We should note that the Sharp devices, including the T-Mobile Sidekick LX and Sidekick iD, do not suffer from this … Read more