Tumbl.in Twitter And Discover The Goods

I am a fan of social web discovery app StumbleUpon. I have, in fact, found some incredibly interesting and useful stuff simply by hitting the “Stumble” button in my browser. That sort of serendipitous discovery is an enjoyable alternative to my full throttle, heavy-duty research-focused method of pulling information out of the Web.

I admit it. I struggle with using Twitter as an information source. Although I have to say the Smartr iPhone app has gotten me pretty far along on the path to being a Twitter -information-aggregator convert. But I will save my love for that tool for another post.

Another tool that has gotten my attention is one that combines the gushing firehose of Twitter with the serendipitous discovery of StumbleUpon. The tool is called Tumbl.in and works much like StumbleUpon does, but for links scattered through your favorite Twitter search topics and lists. StumbleUpon users will recognize the top menu bar with buttons for retweeting, rating, saving for later or the simple Tumbl.in button that will pull you to another link. If you prefer, you can browse links from a given sub-section of your available Twitter links. Like StumbleUpon, you can select categories of interest to affect the results of the Tumbl.in randomizing button.

Tumbl.in definitely has its own niche here. And I like where it is going. If people are seriously going to employ Twitter as an information repository, then apps like Tumbl.in and Smartr that cull all but the links are a great start. Slice and dice through your Twitter stream and find the gems in record time, and leave the Foursquare checkins for the chaff pile.

If you check it out, would love to hear what you think of the service in the comments.

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Design Orgy Smackdown: Ikea vs. Apple

I could NOT resist an infographic comparing the lives of the brains behind two of my favorite designer / retailers. Check out the comparisons between Ikea’s Ingvar Kamprad and Apple’s Steve Jobs. It really is a fascinating read. My corporate office is 10 minutes from both an Apple Store and an Ikea store. Swedish meatballs and lingonberries for lunch! My home office is littered with Apple and Ikea spoils. I am typing this post on my Apple Macbook Pro while sitting on an Erland chair. Can you say “product placement?” Even with the subtle anti-Jobs sentiment reflected in the facts and timelines, it is till Very Cool Indeed:

Hat tip to The Next Web and 9gag for the fun.

Extra Cool Extension for Business Research

What do you do when you want to find out everything you can about a particular company, business, or professional? Well, you can search Google for the business and then visit each site individually and cull the pertinent information. Chances are there will be hits at the top of the results list from Crunchbase, LinkedIn, and Quora.

But … what if you could visit a business web page, click a button, and instantly pull up information from all three of these top business information sources? Well, you can if you use Google Chrome as your browser. Brand new extension Polaris Insights will enable the magic. The CrunchBase column includes  funding information, the LinkedIn column includes your connections within the company, and the Quora column lists some of the Q&A conversations about the company.

Polaris Insights is Chrome only for now, but a Firefox extension appears to be in the works. Great tool for business research and blogging!

Grammarly: Your Robotic Writing Assistant

There are those out there claiming that good grammar is outdated. And then there are those out there looking to turn a buck helping you fix your grammar and proofread your opus (opuses? opera?). Should you choose to pay attention to your grammar, you can turn to the online service Grammarly to afford you that second set of eyes. Grammarly doesn’t beat around the bush: the site proudly proclaims it to be “The World’s Most Accurate Grammar Checker.” Grammarly offers both online checking and integration with your local software – Microsoft Office Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc.  Grammarly checks for spelling, punctuation, and simple grammar checking, as well as highlights potential plagiaristic moments in your missive.  Grammatical errors are indicated in red and clicking on the error will reveal a pop up card explaining the wrong and the “write” of it. You can choose to “see less” of the explanation in the cards, and there are up and down buttons to give feedback on the feedback that is given to you in the card.

Word from reviewers is that Grammarly is near the top of the class when it comes to online grammar support, but that it falls a bit short as a local add-on, with much better options out there in WhiteSmoke or Writer’s Workbench. The other downside for me was a monthly subscription cost. For on-line, I would prefer a one-off option for the occasional support, rather than be required to pump in $20 or so bucks a month for a slightly better editor and checker than my word processor provides.

That said, those who make their living writing, or students whose grades depend upon quality written product, might find the money well spent. It’s always nice to have another tool to fit in you writer’s tool belt.

More Internet Demographics Infographics

Want to know who is using your favorite social network? SocialTimes compiled the information and drew up this pretty chart with tiny boxes representing percentages by age, income level, educational level, and yes, gender. Each little box is a percentage point, so stippling is a given. Twitter and Facebook are predominantly female, while Digg and Reddit are predominantly male. What really makes this infograhic rock for me is the use of the Benjamin Franklin quote:

Be civil to all;

Sociable to many;

Familiar with few;

Friend to one;

Enemy to none.

Think this still holds true in the digital age?

Hit the jump here to socialtimes to get a bigger picture on the big picture.

Interesting Visual Data on Mobile Phone Usage

Another cool infographic, this one about mobile phone usage. The two takeaways for me were the huge disparity in usage between the very young and the very (well, getting less very to me) old populations and the huge increase in mobile phone spending and app downloads anticipated over the next few years. In a word: get your mobile on!