Right or wrong I fell off the WebInno wagon. I haven’t been to an event in a while and it’s been even longer since I’ve written up a preview. Bad me, bad bad me. Such is life. Things get busy, distractions crop up, such is life. As it happens though, I’m planning to be in Kendall Square next Monday so I’ll be at WebInno41. And since I’m attending, why no go the extra mile and write up what I expect to see?
Here we go.
Main Dish Companies
Chimani, Enhancing the Outdoors – Long before I started in PR, I was a PR – as in park ranger. My first park was the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site in Brookline. From there I made my way west and spent a summer as a wildland fire fighter (though I didn’t get to go to any big fires) based in the Marin Headlands and then out to Alcatraz. The Park Service was great and I’ve always loved our parks. I’ve seen plenty of resources for finding and exploring National Parks and some have been pretty good.
Chimani is a great new tool for learning about and getting the most out of the National Parks experience. You’re probably not going to spend a lot of time on the site since it’s the app (or apps) that you want. Chimani offers one app that gives a general view of all 400+ National Parks. There are multiple ways to search – by Park type, via a map or by activity; and there are basic details on each site: a brief description, statistic (which are kind of light – just the area and when the Park was established) and a link to the Park’s website. The content is light but it’s well presented and of some utility.
What’s really cool are Chimani’s Park-specific apps. Right now there are 14 that cover some of the most popular Parks – from Acadia to Zion. The apps include detailed maps of the park, news, information on ranger programs, photos and more. For the Cape Cod National Seashore the app includes tide information and details on the lighthouses. These apps are clean, comprehensive and cool. If you’re into exploring the National Parks Chimani is definitely an app you’re going to want on your phone or tablet. Love it.
CO Everywhere, Be Anywhere – At the moment, CO Everywhere is iOS only so I wasn’t able to check it out. Here’s what I got from the Web site. You circle an area on a map – can be small or it can be large – and CO Everywhere pulls social content from that area for you: photos, tweets, etc. It seems like a cool idea if you want to stay connected to a place (as opposed to people or events). I can imagine using CO Everywhere to keep up with what’s going in places that matter to me and I’m looking forward to the launch of their Android app soon so I can check it out. Seems solid.
Happier, What Makes You Happier? – Who doesn’t want to be happier? I suppose there are some cynics and misanthropes that don’t want to but for most of us the pursuit of happiness is pretty important. Happier is all about sharing and celebrating happiness and they have all kinds of ways to help make that happen. On the site itself you can dive into a stream of happiness as people share tweet-like posts about what makes them happy. There’s also an iPhone app that I assume allows you to post happy thoughts on the go. And there is a 21 course on feeling happier and living a more grateful life. (The course is $25.)
I think this is a great idea. When I look at Facebook and Twitter – or the comments on YouTube videos or news stories – I see a lot of anger and negativity. Sure, the world isn’t all sunshine and ponies but it can’t be all bad. Happier is a modest attempt and reminding us that there are things in life that are awesome – and encouraging us to share those things with others. Will it make you happier? I don’t know but trying it certainly isn’t going to do you any harm. Check it out.
Side Dish Companies
BoardProspects, Join the Online Boardroom Community – Well it certainly doesn’t have the same existential zing of Happier or the back-to-nature promise of Chimani, that’s for sure; but BoardProspects it is still a cool idea. Basically, BoardProspects is an online community for board members to connect, share news and ideas and stay in touch. The company has some great people and organizations engaged with what they are doing. It’s a bit off my path to be able to say much about the value they offer but I can imagine for many this could be really useful.
EZCater, Feed a Meeting – Ever have to plan and feed a bunch of people? Me neither. But I have been in a meeting where someone should have planned to feed me but didn’t and I can tell you it sucked. Dealing with feeding people in a meeting must be a pain in the butt. EZCater is trying to fix it by making it easier to find potential caterers. Not only find them, but also see reviews of others that have used them in the past. The company has almost 40,000 caterers around the country (2,461 here in Massachusetts alone). You can search by geography and filter by all kinds of things – delivery, order size, cuisine, etc. I have to imagine that there will be office managers all across America who will come to love EZCater.
Pictual, Picture your Words – Before I get into Pictual, it struck me how many sites take the infinite scroll approach these days. I really loved the first 50,000 of them but I’m starting to get kind of tired of them. Anyone else feel the same way? But I digress. Pictual appears to instantly convert dull text messages into very snazzy graphics. Instantly. I’d like to try it but it’s only on iOS. Meh. They have a showcase on their site that shows some examples of what their messages look like and it is pretty cool. In trying to find out more about the company I clicked on the “press kit” link on the site. That resulted in my downloading an 8MB zip file. Really? For a company that’s all about design (and some of the stuff on the site is terrific) this seems like a pretty kludgy way to share information.
Prep4GMAT, It’s a Full Course in an App – There are lots of things that I imagine doing, but taking the GMAT isn’t one of them (but who knows maybe I will, dum spiro spero). For the moment, it’s not in the cards so it’s tough for me to evaluate the utility of Prep4GMAT. I’m sure there are plenty of people for whom this is a godsend and if you’re one of them I’m happy for you. Enjoy.
Quick Key Mobile – Wow. So here we have another of those scrolling sites but we also have a way to convert a smartphone (iOS only at the moment but Android and Windows coming soon) into an optical scanner that can read those “fill in the bubble” tests we all took in school. Let me repeat that now that you’ve had a chance to catch your breath. Quick Key Mobile convers your smartphone into an optical scanner that can read standardized tests. I’m going to lay down now.
Rednote, Add Emotion to your Texts – Here’s what the about page says: 1) Choose a mood, 2) find a song clip, 3) listen and send. That’s it. What does choose a mood mean? Where do these songs come from? To whom might I send them? To answer these questions I decided to download the app. (By the way, one of the things I love about Android is the ability to install apps to my phone from the Web.) Here’s my experience:
I launched the app and it suggested I find my Rednote (but what is a Rednote?). My only option is to click “More” so I do. Nothing happens. I click it again. Still nothing. Again. Nothing. As I continue pressing “More” my mood becomes one of frustration. Repeated clicks do nothing to improve the situation.
Maybe I should go back to Happier to make myself feel better?
Well, there, in a nutshell, are the nine companies that will be on hand for WebInno41. If you’re going to be in Kendall Square on Monday you should come and check it out. You can register here and I hope you will.