Author Archives: Michelle Lentz

by Michelle Lentz

I spent a lot of Tuesday planning parties, including one graduation party and one birthday party. I’m also trying to plan a pre-concert tailgating party. In the midst of it all, I decided against using eVite and went on the look for some alternatives.

For the birthday party, I used Socializr. For the graduation party, I used MyPunchBowl, which is pretty, “ajax-y,” and I really liked it. But the winner in the eVite alternative was a little website called Center’d, formerly known as Fatdoor. Center’d is in beta (or as they call it, First Draft), but last week I had a nice conference call with the founders, Jennifer Dulski, who migrated from Yahoo!, and Chandu Thota, who came from Microsoft. Between the two of them, they have the experience to succeed (even if the Yahoo!/Microsoft talks continue to waffle).

Center’d serves as a nice eVite replacement. I was easily able to plan a party, pick a location, and date, and send invites. Center’d offers the nice feature, similar to MyPunchBowl, of voting on places and dates. You can also assign tasks to people, or allow them to volunteer. If you want to bring in an image for your event you can, or you can select from the Creative-Commons licensed set of images provided by Center’d. The real feature in Center’d, however, is its use of location.

Planning an Event on Centerd

Often, location-based networks focus on the West & East Coasts and skip over the middle of the nation. Not Center’d. They’re working on loading data from every place that they can. Cincinnati even had information loaded! Center’d pulls its location information from a variety of sources, including Google Maps and InfoUSA.

You can search for specific things. For instance, I searched for Pizza in Cincinnati and got a good list of results. You can also save your favorite places, as I did with Pomodori’s Pizza. You can use this search feature in two ways: to find something just for you or to help you when planning an event. When possible, they bring in ratings reviews as well, pulling from Yelp! and similar sites.

Exploring Pizza on Centerd

The information they’re accessing strikes me as about 1 year out of date, based on the restaurants that do – and don’t – display. I also question from where they are pulling the public event info. I’m thrilled that the information is available, but as of right now, the information [on Cincinnati events at least] is more odd than useful.

There is a social networking aspect to the site as well. You can “friend” other people and view their favorite places. If I know that Erica’s favorite place is Club Dv8, then I might be more inclined to try it myself. As in Facebook, you can view other people’s connections, as well as your shared connections, which is always interesting. Because you can add tags and a bio to your profile, you can also learn a little bit about other people, which is helpful for conversation starters.

Center’d nicely combines local search with a easy-to-use set of planning tools. Perhaps location-based everything is the future, whether in the new iPhone, in BrightKite, or in Center’d. It’s popping up a lot. Perhaps that means that while we all like the Web, we’d rather use it to meet in person.

Events, news, apps, and more – let me know at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, via
Twitter, or via Pownce.

25 Jun


by Michelle Lentz

I first read about Twellow on Mashable yesterday. Once I started using it, I was hooked.

The one thing Twitter has always lacked is a reliable and useful People Search tool. Now there is Twellow. Twellow was developed to help you “cut through the clutter.”


Twellow is a service of WebProNews and at this writing, it had indexed over 331,000 Twitter users and filed those users into categories based on their Twitter profiles. A lot of folks, myself included, make sure to use useful key words in their Twitter profiles, and now there is a reason other than SEO. You can be indexed in Twellow!

You can’t be indexed if you have a Twitter account without an entry, no Twitter account, or a private/locked Twitter account. Therefore my professional account is available and my personal account is not. For me, this is perfect.

A search on my name or my Twitter user name produces, well, me. A search on my company name does not produce me, so obviously I need to make some adjustments.

Much more fun is a search on topics – “Blogging” brings up names like Anil Dash and Six Apart. You can also search within pre-defined categories, many of which you can find on the front page of the site, and from there you can drill-down into sub-categories.

The oddest thing I found about Twellow is its seemingly random updating of your latest Twitter post. My latest is listed as several days old, when I have in fact Twittered since then, whereas other folks are listed as “8 minutes ago.”

Regardless, Twellow is a much-needed search tool that just adds to the power of Twitter. Twellow is currently in Alpha, but is open for public use.

Events, news, apps, and more – let me know at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, via
Twitter, or via Pownce.

by Michelle Lentz

Today, Twitter announced a third round of funding from Spark Capital and Bezos Expeditions. With the funding came new investment team members, Bijan Sabet and Jeff Bezos (yes, the guy).

On Twitter’s blog, they called the new round of funding the runway they need:

Twitter will become a sustainable business supported by a revenue model. However, our biggest opportunities will be worth pursuing only when we achieve our vision of Twitter as a global communication utility. To reach our goal, Twitter must be reliable and robust. Private funding gives us the runway we need to stay focused on the infrastructure that will help our business take flight. We will continue hiring systems engineers, operators, and architects, as well as consultants, scientists, and other professionals to help us realize our vision.

The new investors are very excited about Twitter. Perhaps they have the ideas for the new revenue model and I can’t wait to find out what that is. Aren’t we all curious about how Twitter plans on making money?

To me, Twitter has become a requisite part of my overall Internet experience and a normal part of my daily commications. I’m glad to see a third round of funding coming through.

Events, news, apps, and more – let me know at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, via Twitter, or via Pownce.

by Michelle Lentz

I occasionally worry that backing up my world – particularly the world of my business – onto a 2-1TB drives is not smart. Sure it removes the files from the local machines, but if there is a fire or some other catastrophe, I doubt I’ll remember to grab my external hard drives as I run for safety. So I sometimes ponder whether or not to invest in some sort of off-site storage. I use, on a limited basis, GSpace. GSpace is a Firefox plug-in that turns your Gmail accounts into off-site storage. This works for current client files, but certainly not for everything I routinely back up.

SmugVaultEnter SmugMug. Yesterday they announced that they are offering SmugVault. Using Amazon’s network of datacenters, you can now store more than just your photos at SmugMug. You can store all of your files. They suggest you do this because of what? Natural disaster. They’re preying on my own worries, so they must also be the worries of others.

To the best of my knowledge, SmugVault requires a SmugMug account. With your SmugMug account (one of three different pricing tiers), storage of image files is included. You can store other files, such as DOCs, PDFs, and more. Amazon will bill you for storing those file types.

- Storage costs 22 cents per gigabyte per month.  2GB = 44 cents/month
- There is a $1/month recurring charge.
- Data transfer in is 30 cents per gigabyte. Data transfer out is 51 cents per gigabyte.

    For many folks, this gives the opportunity to back up RAW image files or the full video, pre-edited, without the web resolution. This is just pure data.

    So, is the price right? Would you use a service like this? Let us know!

    Events, news, apps, and more – let me know at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, via Twitter, or via Pownce.

    by Michelle Lentz

    A Cincinnati company called metaphor, and their affiliate editspot, did some research on a domain name. The name they wanted was available, but they didn’t purchase it right away. A few days later they did try to purchase it, but it was gone. A company in the Bahamas had purchased the name and offered to sell it to metaphor for $30,000 instead of the $30 they would have paid to their registrar.

    Personally, I spend a lot of time frustrated because most of the domain names I’d like to have – more common iterations of write technology or wine girl – have been parked somewhere and aren’t used. But I could buy them for a large amount …

    According to today’s Cincinnati Enquirer:

    More than 162 million new “domains” – the name under which a Web site and e-mail server operate – were created in the first quarter of this year alone, up 26 percent from the same period last year, according to a report by Verisign, a major player in the domain industry. And growing by 40 percent were instances of “cybersquatting” - the practice of buying a domain name that is a registered trademark for someone else – according to a MarkMonitor survey.

    metaphor is suspicious of how the Bahamas-based company learned of their chosen domain name. metaphor had originally searched through Network Solutions. I know I usually search through PairNic. Whether or not those searches “leak,” metaphor wanted to make sure that it didn’t happen again. They created a desktop tool that directly searches the domain name database without having to go through a provider. You still have to purchase the domain through a provider, but you can research your chosen name without leaving the comfort of your desktop.

    You can download their free desktop tool for Mac, Mac Dashboard, and PC at

    Events, news, apps, and more – let me know at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, via
    Twitter, or via Pownce.