Lisa Awards 2007

Here are the winners and losers of my online technology use for 2007:

Winners

Best Way to Read Feeds: Feedraider
This is my first stop to check out blogs, since it lets me create pages and add feeds very easily. I can see the top headlines quickly, for many blogs on one page. Since I can subscribe to any feeds this way, Feedraider has replaced many of my other services.

Best Web-Based E-mail: Gmail
The best mail program for POPing difficult accounts (like mine at work) so I can see email on my cell phone. It does cause me privacy concerns, though (see Docs, below).

Best Course Management System: Moodle
Despite some development issues that are worked out “by committee”, Moodle is still the most nimble and pedagogically adaptable CMS.

Best “Micro-Blogging”: Twitter
With access by cell phone and many third-party add-ons, Twitter is the easiest way to “follow” mini-posts.

Best Instant Messaging for Mac: Adium
The unique thing about Adium is that you can open more than one account from the same service. So if you have two accounts in Yahoo, one for friends and one for work, you can have both open simultaneously. Other programs only let you open one from each service.

Best Videos: YouTube
Because it’s the biggest, it is the best place to find what you’re looking for, even now that Google owns it.

Best Conference Streaming Video Service: UStream TV
Outstanding quality and ease of use for streaming video from a conference. I just wish it didn’t start a video automatically when you go to the site.

Best Image Annotation: Flickr
Clever and simple annotation of any image.

Best Synchronous EdTech Conference: Women of Web 2.0
Every Tuesday night, WOW leads discussion on issues of online teaching, particularly for K-12. Attendee log-in is quick and easy, and attendees can listen to audio stream and participate in back-channel chat during the show.

Best Phone Service: Skype
The most common and the most used. I like it because you can txt if you cannot talk on the phone.

Best Online Office Suite: Zoho
A wide variety of services (planner, word processing, spreadsheet, presentation) and very easy to use.

Best social bookmarking: del.icio.us
Simple but effective, it lets you bookmark from inside Firefox. Recently groups have begun creating their own tag schemes to organize information.

Best slideshow and share: VoiceThread
Has various uses, but my favorite is the quicky slideshow with voice narration. Lets you phone in the narration and doodle on the images.

Runners-Up (Lacking Convergence)

Could Be Better Browser: Firefox
Though still the best of the bunch, on a Mac there are difficulties with changing the Print format (for which I have to use Print Preview in Explorer), printing a full screen, and turning off the annoying password pop-up, which doesn’t seem to really save passwords anyway.

Could Be Better Social Networking: Ning
Each Ning is created separately, and although it’s possible to have one access point, users must log in to and participate in each Ning and its feeds individually. So if you’re in many separate Nings, you cannot use on profile or see everything in one place.

Could Be Better Learning Object Repositories: all of them
As with Ning, the problem is that the many LORs still don’t connect well with each other.

Could Be Better Document Collaboration: Google Docs
Still has a lot of limitations for a program striving to replace word processing and collaboration, plus gives a big corporation access to your projects.

Could Be Better Audio Handling: iTunes
It used to be wonderful, but each update brings in more proprietary stuff that makes it hard to share audio. The store is still struggling with the issue of encoding so you can’t share, and pricing to compete with others. iTunes U seems an unnecessary way to dominate educational podcasts. It can change audio to MP3, though, which is great.

Could Be Better Universal Password: OpenID
A great idea, but not enough services are using it for it to be useful.

Could Be Better Social Bookmarking: Del.icio.us
In addition to having a name is hard to recall how to type, the buttons and features that tie it to the browser never seem to do quite what one wants. Bookmarks are not as easy to sort, tag or share as they could be, though it’s getting better.

Losers

Just Not as Useful: Pageflakes
Really, it’s a good idea. And it beat Netvibes and Protopage in a lot of ways. But Feedraider has replaced it, because the only thing it has that Feedraider doesn’t is video previews, and I just don’t collect that many video feeds.

May Be Hazardous: Facebook
I opened an account, then closed it (they don’t actually delete it, because it is now reactivated) because my server was almost immediately attacked by spammers after almost two years with no problems. Coincidence? I think not. And apparently they farm your data. Ick.

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