News Column

Prime Internet Picks: Three Sites to Keep Your Eyes On

Oct. 16, 2008


gdgt, fonolo, zipclip, tech review, internet sites, web sites

Here's an understatement for you: the World Wide Web is a huge place, full of information, services, and tools. Many of the best-known, most-used sites have been around almost as long as the Internet itself, or at least since the dot-com era. But what about some of the cool up-and-comers? With the oversaturation of options, you have to be extremely plugged in, or very adept at finding needles within the proverbial haystack.

Here are three of the potentially hottest up-and-coming Web sites. All three are in "beta" mode, which indicates there could be room for improvement or that access is limited. However, may want to keep these sites on your radar, as to take advantage once they are up and running full-steam.


You can pronounce gdgt by the letter ("gee-dee-gee-tee") or as "gadget." Founders Peter Rojas and Ryan Block don't seem to care. What they do care about is technology, specifically consumer electronics.

Rojas and Block are the same folks that made Gizmodo and Engadget into the powerhouse technology blogs they are today. The founders have not yet announced exactly what gdgt will ultimately be, but Mr. Rojas told that, "Gdgt won't be another gadget blog, but it will be a site that I myself want to use."

So why should you visit the not-yet-launched site? Simple: while gdgt remains in the planning stages, Rojas and Block have treated fans to a weekly podcast, where they've been discussing in phenomenal detail things like Google's Android phone, netbooks, X-Box developments, cameras, and more.

The weekly podcast is a welcome treat for those who are looking for gadget news from the true aficionado's perspective, and is a great reason to visit the site at least weekly until Rojas and Block reveal gdgt's final form.

It's a fact: everyone spends time on the phone jawing with customer service reps about a mistake in their bills or upgrading services or similar. It's time we'd rather not waste negotiating automated menus, especially those with the highly ineffective voice-recognition functionality. Sometimes time is of the essence . . . like if it's the day of the Superbowl and your cable went out just before game time. Or if you're at the airport picking up your spouse and you've forgotten the flight number.

What to do?

Fonolo ultimately aims to help you with this. The crux of the company's service allows you to manage your customer service/phone bank experience. It enables you to to skip many steps within automated phone menus and go straight to where you need to be.

On any Internet-enabled device, you access Fonolo's directory of companies, select "view menu," then click on the point of the automated conversation map that you'd like to access. For instance, in the "forgotten flight number" scenario, you would click on "Today's Flight by Departure City." Next thing you know, your phone rings -- and when you pick it up, you'll be in the airline's phone system, but at the very point of the automated conversation that you selected. A deflation in frustration if ever there was one.

As Fonolo is in beta, only invitees and media currently can access it. But keep it in mind -- once Fonolo works the bugs out and greatly expands its selection of companies, it should be extremely useful to just about anyone.


With ZipClip, anyone with Internet access to can send the media they enjoy on the Web straight to their mobile device. The service is an easy, clever, and fun way to send Web-based video, pictures, and more to mobile phones.

Once you sign up for the service you must install the necessary plug-in to your Web browser, as well as a program to your mobile device. After that, though, let the ZipClip rip. A simple right click will now summon a menu that has ZipClip options allowing you to send that YouTube video or almost any image to your own mobile device or that of a friend who's signed up with ZipClip. I tested it with some of the older family videos I have on YouTube; perhaps they didn't quite maintain their resolution, but the sound and the sentiment are all there. It's quite neat and amusing as it is; it will be very interesting to keep tabs on the site and see what is improved post-beta.

These are only three of the potentially hundreds of neat Web sites out there, just waiting to be uncovered. Do you have any suggestions? Feel free to leave urls of sites you'd like to check out in the comments below, or send an email to .

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Source: (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

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