Top 20 TED Talks

I was chatting with some friends, and my friend Troy mentioned a TED talk he had recently seen, and someone else in the group had never heard of TED.  Well, always up to help a friend, we proceeded to compile a list of some of the best TED talks to initiate him.

I thought I’d share.  Here are 20 of the best TED talks we’ve seen, in no particular order.  Did we miss any?  Let me know in the comments!

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New Molson Canadian Ad

Molson’s just released a new Molson Canadian ad on Youtube, and at this time it already has gone viral with 1.1 Million views and it hasn’t yet aired on TV. What do you think of it?

New iPhones

Live at WWDC, Apple has announced the new iPhone 3G S along with the new iPhone OS3.0. This is finally enough to make the move from the Blackberry!

WordPress Scalability – Wordcamp Toronto 2009

Thanks to everyone who attended my talk this morning at Wordcamp Toronto! Here are the slides, although they are light on textual content. I’ve added some scalability resources and links for more information below.

Not many sites need an infrastructure like this, but it’s important to have a roadmap in mind and stay one step ahead of your growth.
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5 free tools for collaboration with remote teams

Technology has made it easier than ever to telecommute or work with remote teams. At b5media, we have people working from around the world, and have tried and used dozens of tools to make that work go smoother.

Everyday, there are new tools that show promise, but many are tried once and forgotten about. Some are clunky or get in the way of collaboration. Others are a solution in need of a problem. Here are some of the best ones that have gone past the trial, and turned into must-have tools that we use every day.

Skype
www.skype.com
Cost: free
Skype is best known as a telephone replacement. Sure, being able to make free skype calls anywhere in the world is nice, but that isn’t the real killer app from a collaboration perspective. The best kept secret about Skype is its use in Instant Messaging. Just like Messenger, AIM, or Google Talk, you can create a text chat bewteen people. You can even create a group chat within your team. The one feature you won’t find elsewhere though, is the ability to bookmark these conversations. This means that if someone is offline, when they return they will see the entire conversation they have missed and are able to catch up. With a team spread over multiple timezones, this is really useful, and you never have to worry about being left out of the conversation because you happen to be offline at the time.

Tokbox
www.tokbox.com
Cost: free
Video conference calls add that human touch to a remote team. If everyone has a webcam installed, Tokbox is a really elegant interface to show a “Brady Bunch” style display of your team during a meeting. We’ve used it with up to 6 people, but in theory, you could have many more. With folks scattered around the continent, being able to talk with them face-to-face makes a big difference! We don’t use this for every call, but from time to time it’s really nice to remind us all that we’re all people working as a team.

Teamspeak
www.teamspeak.com
Cost: free
Skype is great for a short, purpose driven call, but Teamspeak turns voice chat into more of a virtual office. It is client/server software, which means you need hosting, but most Internet companies already have access to servers with extra capacity. Load up the server and you can now have a “push-to-talk” style conversation with your whole team. Have the team hanging out in a Teamspeak channel, and hitting a button is the virtual equivalent to poking your head over the cubicle wall for a quick question. It allows those quick, informal, water-cooler conversations to happen despite the distance. Since it’s a push-to-talk setup, you won’t be burning up bandwidth having a skype call active all day with mostly silence.

Yugma
www.yugma.com
Cost: free
There are many desktop-sharing applications out there, but the good ones like WebEx or GoToMeeting cost a lot of money. Yugma is a free solution with all the features of the commercial solutions, including multiple viewers, and both Windows and Mac compatibility. A software download is only needed for the host, not for clients. Desktop sharing is useful for everything from viewing a powerpoint presentation to having several people doing a code review. One person hosts the meeting, and shares his screen, and everyone else can see, in real-time, what is on that screen. Combined with Teamspeak or a Skype call, and you can really see what we’re talking about.

Google docs
http://docs.google.com/
Cost: free
Google Docs are a great, free way of maintaining your documents or spreadsheets without using Microsoft Office, however there is also a huge advantage to having documents existing online in the cloud instead of within an application on one computer. Collaboration with Google Docs, specifically Google Spreadsheets, is as easy as inviting others to the document. If two (or 5.. or 50) people open a spreadsheet at the same time, they can all edit individual cells and others will see their changes immediately. If your team needs a common checklist, or you need to get information from many people, this is the easiest and most real-time way of setting this up. Google Documents can also have multiple people editing, but the experience isn’t as slick as the cell-locking based system in Spreadsheets.

These are the five that we use and have stuck with over time. There are many others that we have tried, and haven’t found as useful, but other organizations may. Which tools do you use within your work environment?

Canadian Politicians on Twitter

It seems that @BarackObama stopped using Twitter as of his inauguration, but really, he only has 2 tweets since the election back in November.  (Yes, I know he has taken over the @TheWhiteHouse account, but even that only has a couple of tweets since he has taken the reigns)

I’d love to say that Canadian politicians are making better use of the platform, but sadly, while many of the prominent ones have an account on Twitter, few are using them effectively.  It’s still pretty cool for a casual tweet from your Prime Minister, “Called Mexican President Calderon today”

Regardless, here are some of the big ones in the Twitterverse.

Federal Party Leaders:

Other Notable Federal Politicians and Groups:

Canadian Premiers:

Provincial Representatives:

Other Local Politicians:

Let me know if I’m missing anyone in the comments below, and I’ll add them to the list!

Toolbox – Twitter Apps

Twitter has become my primary way of getting news these days.  News sites require you to go and look for information.  With twitter, if the news is important, it will find me.

But what makes twitter so powerful is the cottage industry of tools that have popped up using the API to make your Tweeting life easier.  There is much debate about the best tools to use, but here’s my 5 tools I can’t live without.

twhirl1. Twhirl
Twhirl is a desktop client built on the Adobe Air platform so that you can tweet and monitor your friends tweets. Some would argue that Tweetdeck is better if you follow alot of people, but Twhirl gets my vote.

 

2. Twitterberrytwitterberry
Viewing and sending tweets on the Blackberry allows you to take Twitter on the road.  You could just go to twitter.com in your browser, but loading up Twitterberry makes life so much easier!

 

3. Twitterific for iPhone 
Iconfactory has released their Mac-based Twitterific for the iPhone, and, of course, it also works on the iPod Touch.  Definately the prettiest way to keep up with your tweets.

 

4. Twitterfeed
Twitterfeed monitors the RSS feed for your blog (or whatever) and posts to your twitter account every time there is a new post.

5. Tweetlater
Cool Twitter toolset which allows you to schedule items to tweet at a scheduled time, as well as other cool tools, like autofollowing, or sending follow thank-you DMs.

What’s in your toolbox?