It seems like there has been an influx of software and services that makes it easier (or at least possible) for the average Internet user to host live events like public video conferences. You could host regular video broadcasts on services like Google+ Hangouts or Ustream.tv, or use more activity-specific services like the game streaming community Twitch.tv. Regardless of your service of choice, the core idea of hosting such an event is to interact with your audience.

Today we’re going to take a look at Typecast, a free web service built by Shark SEO, designed to take your live audience interaction to the next level. Typecast lets you take questions from your audience in real-time, which creates a more organic feeling of communication between you and your viewers. Hit the jump to find out more about how Typecast works. (more…)

The Internet has continued to make it easier for us to keep in touch with friends, hold virtual meetings, and even telecommute to work. It’s almost as if, for the tech savvy, at least, distance is no object when it comes to accomplishing tasks and getting work done. There are a multitude of tools to assist with the aforementioned tasks: Skype gives you the power to have audio and/or video conversations with people some distance away. iChat even supports screen sharing for when you need to get your point across that way.

But what if you want to share your screen, but your target partner doesn’t use iChat, or whatever other solution you use? What if your partner isn’t even on the same platform as you? Today, I’m going to take a look at Screenleap, a web app designed to let you share your screen with essentially anyone, in no more than one single step. How does it work? Hit the jump to read on.
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Centuries ago, you might have traded a load of wood for some grain you needed. Paper money and coins solved that hassle, and for years, receiving payments was as simple as exchanging money. Then, credit cards came, and messed it all up again. Now it was expensive and difficult to get started accepting payments for your business.

Square has been working to make credit card payments even simpler than paying with cash. I recently had a chance to play with Square’s new iPad app Square Register, which promised to provide a more POS-like experience on the iPad than the original app had. I even wrote a review of the app, within which I mentioned the new and improved web interface. But since writing that review, I’ve spent more time playing around with the web app, and I’ve realized that it’s a fully featured beast of it’s own.

If you’re not familiar with Square, check out our sister site iPad.AppStorm’s in-depth review of it. Basically, signing up for a free account gets you a free card reader that will interface with your iPhone or iPad (or even Android device) via the headphone jack. It lets you take credit card payments through these devices and have the funds processed and deposited into a bank account, which is especially handy for small businesses as well as on-site contractors, booth vendors, or other similar enterprises.

Today, though, I’ve decided to walk you through the new Square web app, and talk about how the Square service is now more viable than ever as a financial solution for your small business. So run and get some coffee, and that “more” button will be waiting for you when you get back.

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It’s no secret that I’m somewhat of a productivity junkie, and I’m often looking for the latest and greatest way to keep track of my to-do’s and deadlines. In the more recent months of working with these apps, a particularly explosive niche that I’ve noticed has been web apps and services dedicated to organizing a team. Collaborative to-do lists, group calendars, and even direct communication platforms are examples of core features that are finding their way into these apps.

Today I’m going to take a look at the web service Orchestra, one of the more lightweight solutions to collaborative productivity. Orchestra has both a web app interface as well as a companion iPhone app that was just reviewed earlier today on iPhone.AppStorm. Hit the jump to find out more about how this web app can coordinate efforts between you and your coworkers.

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Every once in a while, a tool is developed that is stunning in it’s simplicity. It’s utility is such that the tool itself fades away, and you wonder how you went so long without it. No, I’m not talking about an Apple product–but if you know Johnny Ive, see if he needs a speech writer.

Today, I’m going to try out A Web Whiteboard: a browser-based, collaborative brainstorming tool created by Senko Rašić, a programmer from Croatia. If you have a whiteboard in your office, or have ever used a whiteboard with colleagues, you are likely aware of the benefits. Personally, I’m a big fan of whiteboards because they’re an easy way to organize your thoughts, even when your thoughts and ideas change on a whim.

A Web Whiteboard takes this process and moves it to your computer, and more importantly, to the web, making easy and efficient collaboration possible, even when you’re miles away.

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Most people who spend any time at all reading blogs on the Internet are familiar with the concept of the tag cloud. It’s an often amorphous pile of post tags where words that occur more often are displayed with more prominence. Wordle is a web-based Java applet that generates similar clouds based on text that you input.

It’d take forever to get your text looking perfect for a Word Cloud in Photoshop or another graphics tool. Wordle does the heavy lifting for you, so you can get the word cloud you want quickly. So how do you create your own Wordle?

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There are a few things that you have to get used to when becoming a Apple user. You get used to paying a premium for a family of products that are more fun and less frustrating. You get used to seamless integration between all of your devices. You get used to looking forward to updates, even if it’s just a minor OS update. But if you’re like me, with a limited gadget budget, you also get used to predicting Apple’s release cycle so you can make smart decisions about buying a product or waiting for the new one.

Decide.com is a site that does this — not only for Apple products but for all kinds of gadgets from laptops to cameras, TVs, and phones. This web app aims to eliminate buyer’s remorse by making sure that you know how to get the best deal on updated or price-reduced gadgetry.

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There’s been a lot of hype lately over Spotify (and less recently, similar services) and the way that it socializes music. Collaborative playlists are a really fun way to share music, to discover music, and to see what your friends like to listen to. But what about engaging in a social music experience with complete strangers?

Turntable.fm is a web service that focuses on turning web-based social music into a performance activity. Harkening back to the days when music enthusiasts would congregate in record stores and discover music together, this service emulates the real world experience of listening and interacting with complete strangers.

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If you do a lot of traveling, you’re no doubt familiar with services like Kayak and Hipmunk that let you quickly and painlessly book flights on the cheap. This past Tuesday, Google threw it’s hat into yet another ring with a relatively quiet launch of Google Flight Search.

Built right into the search engine (as many Google apps are), Flight Search lets you search using standard terms like “flights from Cincinnati to San Francisco” to access a customizable list of flight results. But how does it stack up to the tried and true competitors in the realm of flight search engines?

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Anyone who’s anyone in the social media game these days is familiar with Klout. It’s a service that measures your social media influence across multiple platforms by determining who you engage with and how effectively you engage with them. It’s a great metric for determining who you influence, how much you influence them, and what you’re influential about. But what if you want to take it a step further, and make your social media engagement more effective? Crowdbooster is a (relatively) new service designed to do just that.

Crowdbooster gives you “tweet-level” metrics on how your message fares on its journey toward reaching as many people as possible. Then, it gives you actionable suggestions of how to utilize that information to increase your influence. Crowdbooster is presently in closed beta, and while anyone can sign up for an invite, you can never be sure of how long the waiting list is. I was fortunate enough to score an invite through Klout, and here is what I’ve found.

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