Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Two Faces of Facebook

When you Don't Want to be Facebook Friends:
Social networking sites such as Facebook have experienced phenomenal growth in the past year, according to market researcher comScore. Facebook is now the No. 1 social networking site, with more than 120 million active users, and its fastest growing demographic is those 25 and older.

But with so many opportunities these days to connect with people online, some are confronting a question they thought they had left behind during their awkward adolescent years: What if I don’t want to be your friend? “It’s really odd when suddenly your past comes out and finds you,” said Troy Sandal, 38, of San Francisco, who says he’s been contacted recently by former high school classmates. His 20-year high school reunion was held over the summer, although he did not attend. “To be honest, I had two friends in high school and I kept in touch with one.”

Monday, November 17, 2008

Trendy Time Savers

We are bombarded with e-mails, IMs and phone calls every second of the day. And the information deluge is just going to keep on coming. Happily, there are a few approaches that will deliver on technology's promise to improve your life. Here are seven technologies that can help us cut through the clutter to save time and maybe make our lives a little saner.

Text Message
Too busy--or lazy--to call your friends? Just send them a message from your phone. This way you can skip the "Hi, how are you?" pleasantries and cut to the chase of what you really want to say. Texting also works especially well for confirming meet-up times and locations.

This service is Twitter for the corporate world. Los Angeles-based Yammer lets employees stay in constant contact on projects via text messages. Yammer's software application works on desktop computers, BlackBerrys and iPhones. Notice that this is a paid system and your company needs to own a network in it.

For those of us with a couple of personal e-mail addresses, a work e-mail and Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn memberships, Fuser can help. The Boulder, Colo.-based company lets you access all your online communications from one site. No more going to each site and wracking your brain to remember your log-in name and password.

Too busy to find music to fill your iPhone? San Diego-based Slacker can help. It looks like a smart phone but acts like a radio station that plays only the music you want to hear. You plug in your preferences and Slacker searches out the music for you.

You need to break up with your boyfriend, but you don't want to have the awkward breakup conversation. No worries. Just use Slydial to say buh-bye in a voice message instead. Slydial's technology lets you bypass a live person and call straight into voice mail. Slydial, a service from Boston-based MobileSphere, works only on mobile devices.

This software available on BlackBerrys helps users remember and keep track of appointments and reminder notes. ReQall's algorithms automatically sort notes into categories like "shopping" and "to-dos." Those on the go can call in reminders to an 800 number--transcription software converts the message into an e-mail or text message usually within five to 10 minutes. Moffett Field, Calif.-based QTech created ReQall.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Boarding With Your Blackberry

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Continental expand paperless boarding pass program to La Guardia. Continental Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration announced today that the "paperless boarding pass" pilot program is being rolled out to La Guardia Airport in New York City. The program already is in use in Houston.

It allows passengers to receive boarding passes electronically on their cell phones or PDAs, which will then be scanned by TSA security officers at the checkpoint. That eliminates the need for a paper boarding pass.