FeedDemon Available at a Discount

FeedDemonI use FeedDemon as my default Feed Reader. It is a great reader and has some great features. I noticed that the good folks over at NewsGator have made available their entire line at a discount as a holiday special.

As of today take advantage of the special by putting the promo code NGHoliday in the shopping cart. That would make a copy of FeedDemon $19.95 US, bargain! There are also products for Mac. I can not speak for how good the Mac products are as I am not a Mac user. Please comment if you are aware of how the Mac products perform. Twenty bucks is a great deal for such great software. Definitely worth a look if you are after a great standalone (as opposed to online) RSS reader at a good price. Also check out their other products, you might find something you like.

Please note this is not an advertisment, I do not work for nor am I paid by NewsGator. I do however genuinely highly recommend their software and service.NewsGator Holiday Penguin


Helipad: Think Notepad but Better

Helipad LogoThis new on-line note taking service looks good. Although “note taking” seems a very bland way to describe a service that looks and feels as good as this does.

Helipad is a note service, however there are few things that make it so much better than the standard Windows notepad. I use notepad a lot, it is great for stripping HTML and a quick way to jot a note. But then you end up with all these .txt files that have really weird file names that you thought made sense at the time. They don’t now. Helipad makes creating, editing and finding those notes very easy and fun.

It has a “widget-like” look to the main page with the Ajax type interface. Obviously you can create a new note or document very easily. However, the one feature that sets this apart from others and especially notepad is the ability to tag your notes. The tags create a “tag cloud” at the top of the page which makes finding related notes easy. Other features include an auto save, live searching, different themes and plug-ins, sharing of documents and changing fonts in preparation for printing. There is a plan for the ability to export documents as a PDF as well as a drop and drop interface.
The site also makes available the API for developers and a separate one to write add-ons for the service. It will be interesting to see what applications can be generated and the “inventions” that people come up with.

So you are nowhere near your PC or laptop and get a surge of inspiration. No problem, whip out the mobile or something like a Treo™ and access Helipad from the mobile friendly web-page. Very cool. If you can access the Internet you can access your documents.
If you don’t like the look of the default theme or others you can also customise the colour and add functionality to it. But I must admit I am a fan of the K.I.S.S ideology; Keep It Simple Stupid. Notepad is simple and that is what makes it good. Helipad does this but does it better.

Mac users keep an eye out for the downloadable version that is coming soon, enables you to work offline.

No word on the site or their blog exactly how they are going to make money from the service. It would be great to see it stick around, it deserves to. All this costs someone something, so I hope that they either have heaps of cash or someone else that has heaps of cash and that they are doing it for the love of it. Great ideas and originality seem to be able to stick around, especially with the API made available. Perhaps some bright spark will come up with some way to implement it into MySpace or something like that.

Good luck to them though as it looks like a good idea and one that has huge potential for lots of applications and uses.

Helipad Homepage Screenshot

Skype 2.5 Installed: I am Over my Hissy Fit

Skype2.5Well I was a "tad" peeved off that this release of Skype did not include a record function and I had decided that I wasn't downloading it until I got over that. But after some encouragement from Sebastian I decided to install it.

I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The "new" Skype is not all that new, rather more functional. The install is all the same and that had no problems. The first really noticeable thing was that the audio quality is better and there is greater emphasis on that with the inclusion of a "quality monitor". Not sure how that works as I do not have that many issues related to audio quality because I have a pretty quick connection. The problems that do occur are usually related to lag or resources pressure on the other person or person's local machine. And that I am afraid is unavoidable.

I said that I did not think I would use the SMS function. But I have actually found myself using it a lot. Like today I have come online, I got a message that someone wanted to talk to me, they are online but not answering. So I have SMS'ed him and now he knows I am here: he is yet to turn up though. But I think that it is cool that I can do that. The reason that I hate SMS is the fact that it is a pain in the butt when I am used to a keyboard. Having the ability to SMS from Skype actually makes SMS more accessible to me. By the way any reply that is sent to an SMS that I send from Skype goes to my personal mobile, the recipient is none the wiser about where the SMS was sent from. Seamless; an in usual Skype fashion; "It just works".

By the way the cost of an SMS in Australia via Skype is 0.12 AUD and to send an SMS to the UK is 0.13 AUD. I was told today by a colleague that the cost to the UK is normally 0.35 AUD. Definatly a saving there.

I am yet to try the mass call function which can apparently support up to 100 people. I am also yet to investigate Skypecasts, not sure what that's all about but I think it has something to do with this new feature. The thing that bothers me a bit is the fact that when you want to join a Skypecast it says that it says Skype is making a SkypeOut call. Apparently, at this point in time they are not charging you for this service as reported by Andy Bramson. Andy also reports as to the origin of the SkypeOut call, interesting stuff. But I suppose that means they will have that option in the future, we will see what happens. Skypecasts are, as far as I can tell are community chats and conferencing. The scope of this is massive. Imaging a Podcast with 20 others listening, contributing and live! Awesome. Aparently there is a "virtual" microphone that can be handed out by the moderator. I am going to have to explore this as it looks exciting.

Topping up your Skype credit is much easier with 2.5. Which as I have said before is in the interest of Skype. That said it is much easier and it is secure.

There are some other minor additions like the fact that the modern ring-tone has changed yet again to something yet more nauseating! But they have included the "classic" ring-tone that we all love. That is my take on Skype 2.5.
Maybe in the final release they will just drop a record button in there…

GoDaddy Brings Home the Bacon

I am posting today because I wanted to give GoDaddy a bit of a wrap.

I got sick of corresponding via email and decided to ring GoDaddy with a few issues and queries about my domains. So I decided to ring Tech Support. I fired up Skype and after struggling with the right number I rang GoDaddy with Skype. Just as a note the Dialing Wizard Skype have is excellent to get the right numbers to cal landlines with Skypeout.

I expected to be on hold for ages, but I was told via automated voice that the wait was two minutes. Thirty seconds later my call was answered; how good is that! So good on them for that. My call was answered by a polite guy in the U.S. I told him that I was new to all this and the following ten minute call had all my questions answered. They did not treat me like an idiot either, very patient and helpful.
The customer support at GoDaddy is by experience excellent, and I would encourage anyone that is considering purchasing a domain to go with GoDaddy. So two thumbs up, I was so impresed I’ve blogged it.

By the way the ten minute and thirty second phone call to a United Sates land-line cost me thirty six cents Australian, Telstra should be worried. And the call quality was excellent as well.