Your Own Edition

Create digital journals with Living Junction

The problem: too much news. Not enough time. Some people do, and share it via Twitter, Facebook, etc. But it’s nowhere near the pleasure to read a magazine or a book, even on an iPad. And going through your entire Twitter timeline is painful.

The solution: a simple newspaper creation tool for anyone to build its own magazine, and share it with its followers. Aggregate content from social networks or create your own, add pictures and a bit of editing, and you’ve got a great magazine you can distribute to anyone accepting to read it (the traffic is not included…).

Who is this for?: hard to tell yet! But curating news is a big trend, and doing it in a more regular and pleasant way than a twitter feed or a Pinterest account, with also more different possibilities, should attract users. Amateurs and pros.

Visit Living Junction

Integrating medias, such as YouTube videos or your own FB pictures is really easy, Tumblr way.
It makes the creation of graphic and well designed pages much more simple!

There is too much you can do. No need to have all the possibilities a real editor offers : the font, the color, the size, for each element of the magazine…
Creating a magazine takes time, and we’d love to see templates and pre-designed pages to do it a lot faster. Sometimes, constraints are good, they enable creativity!

U.S.E.’s take on it

Self edition, or curation, are growing markets, and completely automated technologies like Flipboard or Paper.li are not fullfilling all the needs.

Individuals and pros might very well need for a tool mixing social curation and self edition. And Living Junction may be one of them, especially if they improve the possibility to integrate contents and links from social networks, maybe in a semi-automatic way. Like selecting a few links from your timeline, and sharing them in your LJ magazine.

Out final take :

  • No way this will work
  • Not betting on it, but the start is interesting
  • Need a bit fixing, but the path is clearly good
  • Where do we sign to invest ?

Our grade

7/12

First published in the newsletter #24, on July, the 12th, 2012

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Wow your Audience

Forget Powerpoint. Lead the show with Prezi

The problem: Powerpoint presentations are lethal weapons.
Not only are they boring when mis-used, but they’re increasingly painful to create. Hard to include media in it, hard to export or to embed. What was good in 1995 is not in 2012 anymore.

The solution: a cloud-based tool where you can design your whole point or argument, and zoom in on the different parts of it during your oral presentation, as it were usual slides.
And what’s the best way to hit your audience and make it remember you? A great design, with smooth effects but an astounding view. It’s all in Prezi.

 

Why we talk about it: Powerpoint presentations are increasingly common, but evenly boring for the most part. Creating a completely different tool involving new habits is probably the best way to break into the MS monopoly.

Plus, even if they already got praises and funding in the US, Prezi is European-born. With a great potential to become a worldwide reference in their field, it had to be duly noted here.

Visit Prezi

 

A recently launched iPad app lets you present your Prezi on it!
It’s an excellent way to make a big impression when you’re presenting your product or new service to a partner, a VC or your mom!

 

Starting using Prezi is a bit like learning a new language. It’s hard, painful, and you do not enjoy it until you speak good enough to sustain a small talk.
Too bad an improved presentation tool, half way between Prezi (which is great) and Powerpoint (which is efficient) does not exist yet.

Spread the Number

Make stunning infographics in a snap with Infogr.am

The context: infographics exploded on the web recently: company growth and metrics, sociological analysis, preposterous but funny figures… It spreads faster, better, and stronger, and its good for the brand and for the one who designed it.

The toolinfogr.am offers you the possibility to make your own infographic, without any design or photoshop expertise.

A few templates, in which you can include datas, pictures and words, a bit of imagination, and you have a perfect, slick and complete graphic.

Where it’s headed: the tool itself and its interface are great. And new templates (some of them probably premium) are on the way.
But you’ll never get the level of detail and cohesion with your brand that a pro designer can bring, althought it’s great for a quick but efficient presentation limited to a quite small circle.

What if infographics become out of fashion, though?

Visit Infogr.am

Interactive and animated graphics!
Unlike usual infographics, most of them static, Infogr.ams are made for sharing. Interactivity (zoom on a figure for example) and animation are great additions to infographics.

The possibilities of different types of graphics and/or integration of your owns are still very limited. Meaning you won’t beat professionnal designers at their own game. Yet…

Hire an assistant

Get everything you need to blog, when you blog, with Zemanta

The problem : writing a blog post is not the hard part! But exploring sources, getting the links, finding the right picture, that’s what takes most of the time of bloggers.

The solution : integrated through a browser plug-in into most famous blogging platforms (wordpress, tumblr, etc.), Zemanta brings your own sources and content ready to copy/paste into your next post. No more need for 12 open tabs, or loosing half an hour getting the source of this picture right.

It also gives you suggestions of links (related contents) and pictures, and it can create automatic links to Wikipedia or other trusted sources to improve your post.

What’s their business : It looks like Zemanta plans to offer better tools to bloggers, so that they can sollicit them for advertising or brand-related contents. Not a bad strategy, althought it requires a sales network as wide as their plugin is used.

Visit Zemanta

Connect your Instagram and Flickr accounts to Zemanta, and you’ve got your pictures right here, next to your blogging interface!
It’s a huge productivity bump for every blogger.

The sources and features are limited to Zemanta’s partners.
It’s probably the right business approach, but bloggers could ask for more, and try to find a better assisting tool.

The Culture Currency

Micro-pay for web contents with Flattr

The problem: as an artist (real or wanna be), you do not want to make you audience pay anything, but a bit of support (meaning, money) wouldn’t hurt and help you develop new projects. On the other side you’d like to help bloggers, musicians, video makers – in one word, web contents creators – but don’t exactly know how.

The solution: the monthly contribution you set up on Flattr is given to all the creators you like. All your clicks on an embedded button defining what part of your gift each of the authors gets (call it a Spotify model without the fat major record companies).

Why we talk about it: already featured as #14 best idea of 2011 by Wired (UK), and praised by many others, they probably don’t need more attention. But the fact their model is beautiful and slowly expanding, and that they’re Europeans where enough for us.

Visit Flattr

The idea of setting up a contribution and sharing it between all your clicks is just brilliant.
In that kind of business (supporting “cultures”), being painless is key!

For a few bucks a month, will content creators make the effort to install it? At least, they should try it, for sure!

Publish in one snap

Create a page and just share it.
That’s it with Checkthis.

The problem: you have a question or a post, but you don’t have a blog (or you lost your password), you don’t want to put it on Facebook, and a tweet is too short. How can you easily set up a page to share it with the world?

The solution: they call it “between nothing and a blog”, and poetry aside, that’s not far from reality. On Checkthis, you can publish your content in 2 clicks and get a unique link to spread the word, like this one.
It’s all about publishing content with Efficiency and Rapidity. So easy to use, self-evident and with such a great UI (User Interface) that you wonder why this did not exist before.

The bonus: basic templates let you choose if you want to publish a text, a product, a question or an invite. Basic needs. Basic solution.

How far can it go: pretty far if Checkthis becomes an habit for publishing perishable content. But how often do individual publishers (who already have blogs, highly followed twitter accounts, a tumblr and so on) will need this kind of page?

Visit Checkthis

You can set up a “due date” to your post. After one week or one month, it will entirely disappear from the web (theorically, at least).
It’s definitely like posting a poster in the street or handing out fliers for your party: who keeps that?.

With only four basic types of content available, you could feel frustrated if you want to publish a few pictures of your party, or anything else not fitting in one of them.
Fans of personnalised backgrounds or account parameters configuration might feel disappointed.