August 2007

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Google Spreadsheets now with charts and graphs - Pie, Bar, Scatter and more

This year I happen to be a in few fantasy football leagues (not into fantasy sports, these same tools are used by my company everyday too, so keep reading.) These days most fantasy football leagues are managed online with any number of large and small websites doing the player tracking and record keeping. It makes drafting, managing and setting your lineup each week pretty easy. Last year my team won our league, no small thanks to LaDanian Tomlinson, as he smashed NFL records. Thanks LT.

Last year and again this year we used another often talked about tool, Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Most people in fantasy football prepare for the draft using a spreadsheet application like Excel. It helps sort their rankings of players based on their league’s specific scoring system, but doing it online has a few added benefits. All of which helped the 2006 Fantasy Football Champions prepare in their championship season and in this year’s title defense.

  • Auto-saving – While a seemingly small feature, since the document is saved every few seconds remotely, even when we lost power (which happened) we didn’t lose a single minute when power was restored as our data was safe and up-to-date
  • Revisions – A few times we realized in our prep that we had made a mistake copying and pasting a formula or row of formulas. Google Docs offers the chance to go back in time to review different saved versions of the documents along the way. This makes it easy to find the place the error was made and correct it.
  • Collaboration – No longer did we have to email big files and have a check in/out process. We just both started working even on the same sheet at the same time. This made all the difference when we had conference calls and needed to show different scenarios live to each other.

Will you win your fantasy league if you use Google Docs? No. Will it help? Yes. During the course of working another added benefit was when I was out of town, I was able to access my spreadsheets with ease. Fantasy Football is constantly changing and becoming more and more competitive with more players, more time is spent working on your “lists”. Make it easier on yourself, give Google Docs a try.

Do you have a winning story about using Google Docs and Spreadsheets? Share it with us.

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Multi-player Desktop Tower  Defense game play

Techlife has invites to the private Casual Collective, the casual gaming multi-player site we have been beta testing for a little while now.  To get one, comment and we will invite you.  This will get you a free invite to the Multi-player Desktop Tower Defense.

We even set up a Techlife Collective, that we would love if you join. (It is our little mini-group.)  You get to compete against all the other readers and still against everyone else too.  Paul and Dave have really thought of everything.  If you like Stick Arena or many of the other flash games we have covered, this is a must have invite.

I know I am addicted.  Who wants in? If you want a free invite just leave a comment and I will invite people first come first served.

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Reading by Christine RondeauWe live in a world of instants.  Instant Oatmeal.  Instant Publishing. Instant Messaging.  The latter is a simple form of communication that allows two or more users to chat in a real-time manner using their keyboard. The big instant messaging tools are AIM, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger.

Techlife interviewed Bill Herred who recently released two new instant messaging tools called IM Bots for AIM users.  If you haven’t given an IM bot a try yet, you just might after reading the column.

Are you reading this in print?  Please try out the online version of Techlife to see all the great posts from this past month covering subjects such as, addictive casual games, Wired’s new How To site, and even Techlife’s write up from the nice folks over atPopular Photography” magazine.
(the lead-in for the September column)

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STOP!  You know you need to make time for your website, get that brochure created and get your business ready to make a real splash.  It’s time to get professional help, your cousin’s spare time just won’t cut it anymore. Sit down with the marketing and technology vision of a proven “venture strategist”. Dave Kaufman wants to meet your business and organization, all it takes is an invitation. Did you know that Dave provides email and web hosting to customers of all sizes? Ask him about it. Contact Dave, it’s easy: techlife [at] dkworldwide [dot] com.

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)

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Business Notepad 2 by Steve WoodsReady to take your business on an increased profits trip? Connect with your customers? Upgrade and Update your website? Talk to us, we can help. Hit me via email at: techlife [ at ] dkworldwide [dot] com. The last few months we have had twenty plus links per column. We are cutting it down in the print edition to just a few. To see all the links, and not re-type them make it easy on yourself, visit the TechLife weblog where all you need to do is point and click.

(part of the syndicated print column’s writing process exposed to online readers)

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Prof GilzotMost Techlife readers know I use Trillian for instant messaging because we have covered them before. I have also mentioned AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) bots when I wrote about FeedCrier. An AIM bot is a buddy you add to your buddy list but instead of a real person the bot is a computer that can answer questions, usually with a tight focus. AIM Bots are available wherever you can IM including the iPhone.

A great example of this is AOLYellowPages, a bot that lets you pull up nationwide (USA) listings with a few quick pecks to the keyboard. People love this bot, which was recently in retirement refinement and not-delivering any results. I am happy to report it is back.

We recently caught up with Bill Herred who is the guy-behind-the-guy of Prof Gilzot, a new AIM bot for SAT Prep, targeted towards high school students. He is also behind IM Street a stock focused AIM Bot.

Im Street

Techlife meets Bill Herred


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Wired How To Wiki logoTechlife has clicked an online ad! Ok admit it, you have too, sometime in the not so distant past. Sure there are millions of them, but this one got my attention, nice job Wired How To’s. No, I am not republishing the advertisement, instead they are getting a full post. I think that is more than they hoped for when running their ad campaign.

I often have clients ask, “How do I get my website get traffic? Can you help me?” My answer is simple think multi-pronged. By this I mean no one single way is the best, but a combination of methods certainly works wonders. In this case, I have read many DIY websites, but Wired How To’s is today’s flavor – and it is wiki flavor, mmm tasty.

iPhone image courtesy of WiredEach week they highlight one of the How To’s, this one How To hack your iPhone is very interesting. They rate each project with a skill level, so you get a feel for how easy or difficult something will be for you to accomplish. Let us know if you try a How To and your results. Or if you post one, I always like to check out what our readers can do.

The site debuted in July 2007 but has already quite a few articles. It helps that their staff is working hard on this too. This site is culled by staff members but certainly has a fair share of user input.

Note: Need assistance making your site more clickable? Want to increase the visitors? Want your own custom multi-pronged approach? Contact Dave at helpme [at] dkworldwide [dot] com.

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For those unfamiliar with Desktop Tower Defense, it is a simple concept stop the circles from traversing across the playing field. As with most great games, its simplicity is compelling while its mastery is more than a challenge.

Since version 1.5 has been released, as seen on the Prepare to meet your next challenge in casual multi-player gaming, Multi-Player Desktop Tower Defense (MDTD) from Casual Collective. Casual Collective Logo

I have just taken a break finished playing one of the most addictive multi-player Flash games since Stick Arena in order to write about the new, invite only beta trial.

The game is a bunch of mini-races that culminate in an overall winner based on score. The new angle is now your “Defense” is not just against circles but also against your live opponents who can in one game mode use Super Powers, special powers including Lights Out (blacks out your board for a few seconds) or Gold-lock (which stops the spending of gold for a few seconds.) I played in arcade mode which speeds up the gameplay and leaves little time for in-game chat or taunting.


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Beet.TV LogoLook out! Beet.TV has a long tail! “You mean like a monkey?” No, silly. The long tail* of getting attention and now with an avalanche of new content on Techlife TV it looks like they will sustain it. We welcome Beet.TV to our channel with an amazing 50+ new videos for our viewers. It took me by surprise, but I started watching and couldn’t get enough.

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Beet.TV interviews Google’s Hunter Walk about the Diet Coke and Mentos videos.

Andy Plesser, (a Jerry Springer look-alike?) is one of the rare “don’t look at me” journalists. It almost appears he doesn’t want to be a star. But his amateur-style trick to stay mostly off-camera and off-microphone compels the viewer to want a bit more Andy. I really like the way he edits himself out of asking the question, since he knows it is not about him. Sure sometimes he appears on camera, and his excitement is like my own. He fumbles for words or even can’t get out his question, but his interviewee connects with him. I saw quite a few people understand his intention and just run with it.

I really like what Beet.TV is doing and hope to see more of their show on Techlife TV.

Note: What I think happened is Beet.TV’s catalog of video was indexed all at once as some of the video is a little older.

* The Long Tail Effect started as an article by Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine and is now a very popular book.

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