The best of the web (Part 4) - Storify, WorldWide Science, Kickstarter, Pinterest, Hipmunk, Deezer & Rapportive

4/28/2012 11:58:34 AM


Currently in beta, Storify is here to let you tell stories using social media. You can create a story from any content that us online and publicity available, be it posts, photos or videos, the ideas being to make a story that lasts and won’t be lost in the constant stream of updates. Storify’s search interface enables you to drag and drop media and text to your story, keeping their metadata in the process so you don’t need to quote sources.

You just order the elements and add text to give context to the reader. You can also edit and add to a story after it’s been published. The results can be quite compelling.

How often have you tried to explained how a website works to somebody over the phone, only to find that they are lost, two pages behind, or looking at the wrong menu? Wouldn’t it be great if they could see what you were doing on your desktop? Before came along, the best way to do this was to take your laptop to them or send a series of screenshots by email. Now you can let up to 250 people share your desktop from anywhere in the world. It’s ideal for training, product demos and PC support, as you can let others see your desktop from any web-connected device.

WorldWide Science

Developed by the US Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), WorldWideScience makes sharing scientific knowledge as easy as possible by combining national and international scientific databases and portals into a one-stop shop. It also allows for real-time searching and translation of material from all around the globe. This means that any researcher, scientist or curious member of the public can search the site and read it in their native language.


Pinterest is a way to keep an online pinboard of the beautiful things you find on the web. It also lets you browse and draw inspiration from the collections of others. If you see something in somebody else’s collection that you admire, you can pin it to your own collection, or just comment on it. It’s oddly addictive, but has some real world uses too. People have used it for design inspirations when palnning to refurnish a room, or to collect ideas for a wedding. With millions of people giving it a try, Pinterest is already proving a compelling way to share ideas.


Got an idea that you think would work, but don’t know how to get the world out and start raising funds? If so, Kickstarter may be a good place to start. Whether you’re an artist, designer or filmmaker, Kickstarter can provide you with a no-risk way of seeing if your idea is good enough to get patronage from a variety of interested parties. Simply say what you want to do, how much you want to raise and by when, and if you hit your target by the deadline you have set, you get the money to fund it.


If you’ve ever tried to compare flights, you’ll know it’s a confusing business. Different airlines have different costs, flight lengths and changes, and trying to keep track of it all to work out which option is the best for you is nigh on impossible. That’s the problem Hipmunk was created to solve. Enter where you want to go and when into its search engine, and Hipmunk will organise all the available flights in a simple timeline showing you prices, airlines, journey times, departure times and the number of stops.


Deezer is another music site well worth turning into. It’s been around in the US for a while and already has over 20- million users, but it plans to open its 13 million licensed tracks up to 130 more countries, including the UK. Deezer is determined to be a legitimate, licensed music site, supporting musicians and others who earn a living from music. It’s easy to dismiss as just another streaming service, but it has big plan. Deezer’s founders feel that MP3s have robbed people of the feeling of browsing your shelves and listening to entire albums, and want to restore the lost art of music curation to the masses.


Like Xobni for Microsoft Outlook, Rapportive helps make sense of the people you interact with on Gmail. Once installed, it adds this information to the side of email messages where the ads would normally appear. It can pull information from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype among others, so if they use the same email on all these services you can get a lot of information about your email contact all displayed in the Gmail window. Now you never need to admit forgetting a business contract again!


Openleaks is an offshoot  of Wikileaks set up by defectors from the original site, but without any political leanings that may colour how the whistle-blowing information is seen by the general media. It’s also not interested in publishing the material itself – it just wants to be a mechanism that lets users upload documents safely and anonymously so they can be shared by the Openleaks community. Once a document is uploaded, it’s added to a database so it can be shared with organisations like local support groups, newspapers, NGOs and labour unions, who can publish it themselves.

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