Welcome to the first issue of the Digital Influential's Round Up for the New Year! 2009 promises to be an interesting year filled with change and also with challenges. With challenges come opportunity and the chance to try something new.
Speaking of something new, this week saw MacWorld and CES; two of the most buzzed about technology shows of the year and both at the same time (nice planning guys). MacWorld news was driven by what wasn't there just as much as what was. What wasn't there was Steve Jobs as he tries some succession planning. What was there was nothing really intriguing. Some new software and some new pricing models for iTunes. Not too exciting.
CES has so far seen a couple of cool new phones with the Palm Pre (http://www.palm.com/us/products/phones/pre/index.html) leading the bunch. We're also seeing lots of convergence between the Television and the Web as well as the future of both with flexible OLED displays (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcAm3KihFho). Just imagine when you can throw your laptop in your back pocket or fold it up for your carry-on.
Of course you didn't come to read the Round Up for technology gadgets. You came to read about new websites and services that might be of interest, so let's get on with it shall we?
With that buzz about TV and the Web, we decided to start out with something more old fashioned; books! Check out BOOKSWIM (http://www.bookswim.com/) which is a NetFlix for books. It's an online book rental service. Maybe your New Year's resolution was to read some more? Then this is the right place to get started. No risk, little cost, easy delivery of all the best sellers to your door. Sounds good to me!
Maybe your resolution was to try out Twitter (not necessarily a good idea for those of you with an addictive personality)? Maybe you should start with TWITHORITY (http://twithority.com/). The only real problem with Twitter is that it takes some doing to find people to follow. Scanning the general feed can be a bit monotonous and many of the other Twitter-centric sites are poorly produced, but this one is a searchable interface and very, very simple. I'm a fan and you should probably try to tweet Twithority too (I love alliteration).
Maybe your New Year's resolution is to watch less TV? If so, good thing the web isn't TV! With all that spare time you can watch FANCAST (http://www.fancast.com/). Hulu is getting all the juice these days, but FanCast should be in that consideration. I can't completely figure it out but it seems to come from Comcast and lots of the content is actually from Hulu, but why worry about the tangled web of video that it weaves and just watch some TV. Errr… I mean Internet Video! I just watched The A-Team. That can't be a bad thing.
If you don't have time to watch The A-Team, and if you can find it, maybe you should watch 5MIN.COM (http://www.5min.com/). If you got that reference, bravo! If you already watch 5Min, bravo as well! It is what it says it is (thank you Coach Dennis Green); lots and lots of short form how-to video content. Its fun, it's easy and it can pass the time until Lost goes back on the air.
As for the iPhone applications this week, I still can't stop playing SCRABBLE, from EA and Hasbro. I finally caved in and started to use SHAZAM to identify music that I'm hearing. FLUTTER allows you to put MMS on the iPhone (a silly oversight on their part). FLIGHTTRACK is what it says it is; tracking for flights on your fone, err… phone.
That's it for this week. Until next time… playoffs? Are you talking about playoffs?? (Sorry – I can't stop laughing at all the Coors Light commercials during Sunday football).