All posts by Tehseen Baweja

Tehseen likes to write about Internet tools that make life easier. Check out his blog at Ijaar.com for more good stuff or follow him on Twitter @tehseenbaweja

Why Multwiple is The Best Web-Based Twitter Client Available

I love TweetDeck and I wish they had a web-based version with as many features as the desktop one, but unfortunately they don’t. However, after months of looking for a feature-rich web-based Twitter client, I came across Multwiple.

Multwiple has every thing a Twitter user could ever need. Let’s start with multiple accounts support where you can add as many Twitter accounts as you want and that too without any hassle. Unlike some other clients, Mutwiple doesn’t require you to switch from one account to another as each account get its own tab.

When it comes to user interface, Multwiple is very similar to TweetDeck, having a separate column for every thing. By default, it displays 3 main columns but you can constantly view the list of available columns on the left hand side and add any of them to your view with a single click. Similarly, you can also click the little x on any column to remove it from your view. Moreover, Multwiple has some columns that many other clients including TweetDeck doesn’t offer such as ReTweeted By Me, ReTweeted To me and Your Followers.

As soon as you launch Multwiple, you immediately see your stats including number of friends, number of followers, number of tweets and number of favorites. But the best part is yet to come: when you click on a shared link tweeted by one of your friends, in addition to opening that web page in a separate browser window, Multwiple adds a small box on the top so you can constantly see the original tweet that led you to the web page.  Each tweet displays short icons that allow you to quickly ReTweet, ReTweet with comments, reply, send a DM or simply mark the tweet as a favorite. Among other things, you can drag columns to reposition them, search Twitter right from the dashboard and even see Twitter trends with a single click.

Over all, what I love about Mulwiple is the feature-rich interface without the complexity or clutter that the other apps have.

NuCaptcha: A Motion Based Captcha That Is More Human

I can’t even remember how many times a website has refused to accept me as human because I could not read the screwed up words in their fancy Captcha. This is probably one of the main things that aggravates users and forces websites to lose tons of traffic. Even if you think you made out the words right, the website doesn’t accept them and there is nothing you can do about it.

Well, if you are a web publisher, NuCaptcha is a nice alternative. It is a Captcha as well but no twisting, tilting, overlapping, dashing, flying of words to by pass bots. Rather, NuCaptcha has a small video in the background and a couple of words flying in the front. As a test to prove that you are human, you are required to enter only the letters that appear in red which seems to be an easy task since the text is straight and clear.

NuCaptcha can be used with PHP, .NET, Java and comes in many themes such as sports, environment and abstract. The API for your website can be downloaded here. If you need to use NuCaptcha with your WordPress blog, there is already a plugin for that.  Even though its not a game-changing technology, NuCaptcha can help tremendously in improving user experience and traffic while still making sure that your website is safe from bots.

DemandMedia, the Company Behind eHow Files For an IPO

They say “Content is King” and truly so. DemandMedia is one of the largest content producers that provide supplemental income to thousands of freelance writers every month. The company that owns popular reference site “eHow” today filed for an IPO.

The California based content creator is represented by GoldmanSachs and Morgan Staneley in this effort to raise appropriate capital. There is no information yet on how much they expect to raise, but the filing discloses that DemandMeda had revenues of $198 Million in the first 6 months of 2010 mainly generated through advertising sales and domain registrations. The complete text of the filing can be viewed here.

Besides eHow, other properties owned by DemandMedia includes Cracked.com, LiveStrong.com, Trails.com, GolfLink and AnswerBag. Over the last few years, the importance of structured content, such as that offered by DemandMedia properties, has increased exponentially with the increase in number of web users. In addition to accumulating content regarding a specific topic at a single platform, these properties also portray as more authentic to users compared to thousands of put-together web pages by individuals.

The response to DemandMedia’s IPO would be a good indication of the Silicon Valley’s economic health in general and a good example for many tech companies that are ready to go public. It is also interesting to note here that another content company AssociatedContent was recently acquired by Yahoo! for a little over $100 Million. Similar companies, same time frame, different exit strategies, let see which one proves to be better.

Twitter Launching a “ShoutOut” Feature Soon

Twitter has just created an official @TwitterShoutOut account that seems to be a way to write endorsements or testimonials for your Twitter friends in 140 characters or less. The official description of the account reads “Contribute your shoutouts to peeps.”

There is no word from Twitter yet about this, but consensus is that it will let friends, or friends of friends vouch for you in the Twitterverse. This could be a very relevant feature in assessing credibility of a user and get  succinct  reviews about them from people who actually know them. Traditionally, a lot of people gauged somebody’s credibility by the number of followers they have, but with launch of so many services that allow you to buy followers, that has gone down the drain.

All this, however, is still a theory since there hasn’t been an official word from Twitter yet. The account was created in the last few hours and has not made nay public tweets yet. Do you think such a feature would work well with Twitter users? What are some other features Twitter should launch to improve the online social scene?

Gmail Introduces Drag-and-Drop To Save Attachments

What makes Gmail so powerful is the simplicity and usability of features, no matter how small they are. Recently added to the list is the drag-and-drop feature to save attachments from your Gmail to your desktop. Instead of clicking on Download, each time you want to save an attachment, just drag and drop it to its destination folder.

Gmail already allows users to drag-and-drop files in to their Gmail to add as attachments, a feature that saves a lot of time when you have to attach multiple files to an email. While the feature is not a game changing one, it definitely is a re-assurance that Gmail is working hard to give more power and  efficiency  to the users.

On the other hand, Hotmail has been trying to hard to win over some hearts by rolling out a set of new features and new looks to its 350 Million users world wide. There are definitely some features that make Hotmail slightly better now bur are they good enough to make Hotmail stand up against Gmail, what do you think?

Lala May Offer Streaming Videos Instead Of Music

When Apple bought Lala late last year, the  consensus  was that Apple will launch a web version of iTunes that will allow users to stream music from the cloud and access it from any internet-enabled device. However, it seems like everybody thought of that but Apple. According to many music labels, Apple still hasn’t secured rights to do that and Apple has been debriefing that if a cloud-based version of iTunes is indeed launched it would be very “modest in scope”.

On the other hand,  rumors  are floating around that Apple has a team working on video streaming services for quite a while now and plans to offer streaming of TV shows and movies from Lala. While nothing is certain yet, the fact that Apple is building a $1 Billion data center in North Carolina supports the fact that Apple is gearing up its infrastructure to offer some serious streaming services.

However, it is also important to note that Apple cannot let go of such a huge market in which Google is almost ready to enter. It is strongly believed that Google will launch its music streaming service pretty soon and without the stringent requirement of a native app like iTunes, Google’s music service can do very well specially with the given growth of Android users.

So, even though there is a lot of speculation around iTunes or Apple’s video streaming service, like every other Apple product, there is nothing conclusive yet and probably won’t be till the actual day of launch.

Twitter Hits The 20 Billion Tweets Milestone

While Twitter may not have as many users as Facebook, the growth it is experiencing is nothing short of phenomenal. As GigaTweet reports, 20 Billion tweets have been sent since Twitter launched in 2006. This is amazing given the fact that only 5 months ago this number was 10 Billion.  With an increasing global outreach, Twitter is still experiencing an astounding growth rate. The number of tweets per day has also reached to 50 Million and it is constantly growing.

GigaTweet is an unofficial web service that keep tracks of Twitter activity and forecast future milestones based on historical data. For example, GigaTweet predicts that it will take Twitter just 11 days to hit the 21 Billion mark and 126 more days to hit 30 Billion.

However, despite the tremendous growth Twitter has been struggling to properly monetize the massive traffic. They have introduced a number of strategies recently to help them make money which include sponsored tweets, sponsored trends and the @EarlyBird account that provides shopping deals.

If you are still not a believer in the miracles of Twitter, check out our post on some extra ordinary and amazing things that have been done using Twitter.

TwtImage Lets You Search Images Shared On Twitter

With more than 100 millions users and billions of tweets every month, Twitter is an excellent platform to share information. In fact, millions of users use Twitter just to share photos and videos with their friends but after a few hours these get buried deep down.

TwtImage is a new web service that lets you search images shared on Twitter. Just head over to TwtImage.com and enter the keyword you want to look for. The first set of results display 25 images but you can click on “load more” to display many more. Alternatively, you can use the cloud tag of popular keywords to see what people have been searching for. Clicking on any thumbnail takes you to the original source of the image.

Currently, TwtImage indexes Twitter images from several sites including TwitPic, TweetPhoto, img.ly and yfrog.com. The tool can be very useful if you are looking for images on Twitter but don’t want to burn yourself carrying out complex queries on Twitter.com. With an easy-to-use interface and dead simple functionality, TwtImage is one of the more useful tools when it comes to images on Twitter.

BlackBerry May Be Launching a Tablet This November

Blackberry’s plan to launch a tablet computer to rival the iPad has been speculated for quite some time now, but the speculations got affirmed when earlier this week Blackberry bought the domain BlackPad.com Many think that this will be the name for BlackBerry’s iPad rival.

Bloomberg cites some specific details of the device and claim that the launch is set for this fall. According to the report, the device would sport a 9.7 inch display and will offer WiFi and Bluetooth as connectivity options. No 3G connectivity has been plan for the device so the customers don’t have to way for an extra data plan. The device will also be able to tether with the Blackberry smartphones using the  Bluetooth  and use its data connectivity.

There are no further details or images out yet but it will be exciting to see if Blackberry can any unique features to steal iPad’s market share. There is specially some discussion around the type of keyboard BlackBerry would offer on its tablets. The brand doesn’t have a good track record with touch screen keypad on its phones, but on the other hand, a physical keyboard would probably kill the whole charm of a tablet. The device will also have front and back facing cameras to  accommodate  video conferencing features and will be priced  around $499, the same as Apple’s iPad.

Should Facebook Really Wait Till 2012 For An IPO?

Based on conversation with some insiders, BusinessWeek reports that Facebook will probably not do an initial public offering in 2011, something that has been speculated pretty often. The company would instead focus on growth for the next year or two and acquire more users before it eventually goes public.  While no one really knows, it is totally in the hands of 26 year old Mark Zuckerberg who controls the board.

However, should Facebook really wait till 2012 for cashing in on the massive success it has already received? Right now the company is valued at around $25 Billion, but that may change very quickly if the rumors about a competing social network from Google have any truth to them. Whatever Google launches will definitely not shut down Facebook but if it is a successful enough product like AdWords or Gmail, it will have a significant affect on Facebook’s value.

Secondly, with one privacy Fiasco after another, Facebook can get a massive class action lawsuit anytime and if a large financial penalty comes there way, it would directly affect Zuckerberg and the handful of investors. Plus, once Facebook goes public, the added scrutiny would insert pressure for greater transparency which can be a really good thing in terms of public image.

Last, but not the least, a lot of people who aren’t happy with Facebook are just waiting for a suitable alternative to switch, they are waiting for the next Facebook to launch so they can go to a more evolved social network. It doesn’t necessarily has to come from a giant like Google, Apple or Aol; it can be from anybody and as long as it addresses the privacy concerns that Facebook so often chooses to ignore, people will switch.

Any of these factors can hurt Facebook’s valuation significantly and may not prove waiting through 2012 to be the best of ideas.