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Google Docs gains context menus

Working with your documents and spreadsheets at Google Docs just got a whole lot easier, thanks to the introduction of contextual menus. Now, right clicking a doc provides most of the popular options that you typically need to use the navigation toolbar for. Google Operating System has some good ideas for where this feature can go next, such as searching the web for selected text and even exporting documents as MP3s using a text-to-speech engine.

This feature works of course in Firefox and we assume Internet Explorer as well, and while Google Docs doesn't work in the current v2.0 of Safari on Mac OS X, Safari 3 beta handles Google Docs and this new contextual menu like a champ.

iPhoto 7.0.2 with bug fixes available



Fire up Software Update, Mac OS X users, for iPhoto 7.0.2 has just been released. This update addresses "issues associated with publishing to .Mac Web Gallery, rebuilding thumbnails, and editing books. It also addresses a number of other minor issues." Thanks for clearing up those 'other minor issues', Apple.

All we know is: this better fix the renegade Spotlight "mds" process that peaks our CPUs for a few minutes every time we start iPhoto '08. There's nothin' like shiny new software draining our batteries dry to get us out of bed in the morning.

Motion Portrait: Talking heads on a creepy new level

Someone apparently thought there was plenty of room for innovation in the "Flash-driven creepy talking head ad" space, and Motion Portrait has certainly picked up the reigns. Since our screencap really can't do the video justice, check out the real deal at Motion Portrait's site, and be sure to move your mouse over her and ring the bell.

The obvious advantage here is a stunning aesthetic boost; this digital secretary moves in a way no other talking head presentation has, even while talking. Still, we hope to see this far more advanced tool used with restraint when it comes to advertising on the web (and let's face it: it will come to that). No matter how real or natural presentations like this may seem, they can still be a thorn in a site's experience and drive visitors away if they start blabbing immediately or simply won't shut up.

Motion Portrait, we tip our hat to the impressive work you've done in the creepy talking head space. Let's just hope you can recommend some equally impressive advice on restraining the use of these to the marketers who come a'knockin'.

Twitter gains Gmail lookup feature



Twitter and Gmail - some would say they're two great tastes that could taste great together. While these two services haven't quite melded into a cutting-edge new way to communicate and micro-blog at the same time, Twitter has just made it a little easier to find your Gmail friends who also have Twitter accounts. Like so many other services (Plaxo, Facebook, etc.), Twitter now has a twitter.com/invitations/gmail page that allows you to securely enter your Gmail credentials to see if any of your friends' and coworkers cross paths between the two services. After a brief waiting period (depending on how large your Gmail address book is; ours is around 500 or so), you'll be presented with a grid layout of boxes containing the names and images of Gmail friends who are also on Twitter. You can click each box to immediately begin following these friends, and you can specify whether you receive their updates via SMS as well. Links to each member's Twitter profile are also provided in case you need to double check just to be sure who you're following. All in all, we're pretty impressed with this integrated lookup between the two services, especially since Twitter can't seem to stop blazin' up the social popularity charts. This was a great idea, and it'll be nice to see Twitter hook into more email, contact and social services to help users tweet with even more of their friends and coworkers.

Highrise introduces tags tab, multi-tag filtering



Highrise, the popular web-based contact and correspondence app from 37signals, has a new dedicated Tags tab in the dashboard. This will help users filter and sift through their contacts and notes much more quickly, especially since the company built in the slick ability to select multiple tags with which to filter. Clicking one tag in the cloud begins the process, while clicking another will switch to filtering by just that tag. After clicking a tag, however, the upper right of the tag cloud (pictured) will offer a 'Multiple tags' option. Once clicked, each subsequent tag you select will add to the filter, not replace it. This is a very smart way to offer the best of both worlds for everyone, no matter how they work and use tags to sort their correspondence.

Need a WordPress Job?

Love WordPress? Know how to set up, hack or write plug-ins for it? Then perhaps you might be interested in finding a WordPress Job. Hosted at jobs.wordpress.net (but apparently run by Automattic, developers of the now default WordPress widgets plug-in), WordPress Jobs is a pretty straightforward site hosting job offers for those who need WordPress ninjas of every order. Heck, there are even a few blogging jobs up there, and one (as of this writing) is paying $5/post for a web 2.0 blogger. The two most populated categories right now are General Positions and Programmer Positions, but each of the categories offer RSS feeds to help you stay on top of that next killer WordPress gig.

Mint web stats package updated, new outbound clicks plug-in



Shaun Inman's Mint quickly rose to the top of our list of web stats tracking tools as it offers a powerful, customizable interface and a rich plug-in architecture that has quite a following. After launching Mint v2 back in January of this year, Inman has been releasing minor .x version updates to address the usual bugs and other quirks, but a new Mint v2.12 release brings some minor new features and one big new pepper (that's Mint-speak for 'plug-in'): the Outbound Pepper. As its name suggests, Inman's new pepper tracks outbound links from your site, helping you to see where exactly your visitors surf next.

Other changes in this new version include some updates to the display and handling of Mint's advanced preferences, as well as a new 'Ignore IPs' advanced preference to help you keep track of just the traffic you want. There is also a new 'Found' tab in the Searches pepper that lists pages at your site and the keywords used to find those pages.

As usual with Mint updates, this new version is available free to all registered users. You can find out a lot more about Mint from Haveamint.com, with a demo installation for your to tinker with before buying. Licenses for Mint cost a mere $30/domain.

[via Peppermint Tea]

WordPress plug-in: Create an iCal feed from your posts

Most blogging tools and web-based dashboards don't offer much in the way of graphically viewing your post schedule. You typically get a list of your posts that you can search and order by date, but that's about it. If you're blogging on WordPress and would like a more graphical view of your posts that should play well with just about any calendar app you're using, this iCal-Posts plug-in by Gary King might be just the thing you're looking for. Offering a zero-config setup, you simply upload King's plug-in to your WordPress plug-in directory and activate, then add '?ical' to the end of your URL (i.e. - downloadsquad.com/?ical). In our tests, this causes most browsers to download a .ICS file which was immediately opened by iCal on Mac OS X. Adding the URL to web calendars like Google Calendar also worked perfectly. If you would prefer to follow only a specific category in your calendar, you can tweak the URL by adding '&category=' (i.e. - downloadsquad.com/?ical&category=blogging).

Gary King provides his iCal-Posts plug-in for free from his site.

Litepost: Streamlined web 2.0 webmail quietly open for registration



Webmail is a hot industry these days, with Gmail, Yahoo! and nearly every provider in between vying for users by adding as many features as they can dream up. Fortunately, a small provider named Litepost is taking a different approach, offering a streamlined webmail interface with just a dash of web 2.0 to help bring your email into the 21st century web. We found Litepost back in June when they announced very limited private beta testing of their product, and it seems as though they have quietly lifted the veil so the public can sign up. While there is no official announcement on the company's blog, the Litepost registration page is live and working, and we were able to sign up for an address just fine.

Litepost stands out with a number of unique features, including email tagging and rating, as well as interesting 'Who, What, When, Why' sorting methods with which, for example, you can sort by date first, then sender (or vice versa). You can also arbitrarily group messages together for any reason, solving one of the complaints of the message threading or conversation view that Gmail made popular. Another strong appeal of Litepost is the fact that it is open source, and a Litepost Webmail Server is in the works, which will allow individuals, organizations and businesses to download and install the Litepost software on their own server for domain and security goodness.

If all this has sparked your attention, take Litepost for a spin. In our testing we found its features and unique UI to be quite compelling, and its open source, portable nature will likely give it some legs with which to grow.

Thanks Alex

Mashable compares MovableType 4 and WordPress 2.2 so you don't have to

For bloggers both old and new, a choice of blogging tool (or a switch) is a crucial step to make while building the empire. There are of course a boatload of choices, from Drupal, to Blogger and even the lightweight Textpattern, but for the serious blogger that needs every ounce of power and customizability from their platform of choice, WordPress and Movable Type are the reigning kings across the web. They're both very mature products, and while WordPress has been open source from the start, Movable Type recently joined that party as well with a vastly updated UI and a strong set of features straight out the gate. But how can you decide which one to chose without having to muck around with their respective PHP and MySQL configurations just to get started?

Fortunately, Mashable has published a general comparison of both platforms, ranking them in categories like ease of installation, usability and the all-important user community. We won't spoil the outcome though, because there are some great thoughts and tidbits about both platforms that can make or break the decision for some folks. You'll just have to head over and check out Mashable's comparison for yourself.

smplr: A start page for search

Start pages and portals have become all the rage these days, with everyone from Netvibes, AOL (our parent company) and Facebook getting in on the action. Word on the street is that search is a pretty hot market as well, and we can understand if Google and Yahoo!'s tried and true approach doesn't quite cut it for those who demand more out of search. Offering an unassuming, slick and simple UI,... Read more »

Take a peek at Firefox 3's new download manager

Mozilla Links has posted details and a few screenshots of how Firefox 3's new download manager will look and function. In general, users will gain more control over their downloads, actions such as opening a file have been changed from text links to icons to comply with the rest of Firefox's design paradigm of buttons for actions, words for website links. Users will also be able to click an (i)... Read more »

Mahalo introduces Follow: Continuous search

At Gnomedex this afternoon, Mahalo, the human-filtered search engine, introduced an intriguing new feature called Follow. Combining Mahalo's clever use of topical experts to build search result pages with website keywords and search technology, Mahalo Follow offers two key features: First, operating as a Firefox add-on (support is on the way for more browsers), Follow will piggyback on queries you... Read more »

DLS Tip: Flickr can moblog your photos for you

We've noticed various bloggers kicking around options for moblogging pictures. Some use Blogger, which has its own built-in moblogging options, while most others use something like WordPress, which doesn't have the most straightforward process for setting up a blog-by-email conduit. The one common thread among everyone one of these bloggers, however, seems to be that nearly every one of them... Read more »

Flickr releases a new web upload tool

Well color us surprised, because Flickr just might have become one of the first web properties bought by Yahoo! in recent history to actually receive a major new feature post-purchase. On the Flickr blog, the company has announced a revamp to the photo upload and management tool, bringing a new batch upload UI and batch tagging system to help you finish the chore faster than ever via the web. In... Read more »