[Review] Mango Languages

Do you love learning new languages? Did you ever wish to become a polyglot? Well, here is your chance to learn almost a dozen new languages for free.

Mango Languages is an online language learning system that facilitates you to learn almost a dozen new languages through their interactive website. According to the Mango Languages site,

Mango beta is an online language learning system freely available to everyone. Learn at your own pace with a suite of features that make language learning more engaging and fun.

Each language is divided into 100 lessons with each lesson having almost a hundred slides. Mango Languages actively engages audio and visual cues to help you learn the new language. The language lessons includes audio from native speakers of the language and phonetic transcriptions, so that you can learn the language with the correct pronunciation. Mango Languages also include quizzes to test and improve your language learning. The interface is created in Adobe Flash and I felt very much comfortable with it.

Mango Languages currently supports the following language lessons

  • Brazilian Portuguese for English Speakers
  • English for Polish Speakers
  • English for Spanish Speakers
  • French for English Speakers
  • German for English Speakers
  • Greek for English Speakers
  • Italian for English Speakers
  • Japanese for English Speakers
  • Mandarin Chinese for English Speakers
  • Pig Latin for English Speakers
  • Russian for English Speakers
  • Spanish for English Speakers

By early 2008, Mango Language plan to launch an updated version of the site by polishing the existing languages and by adding new languages to the system. Newly planned languages include Hebrew, Arabic, Korean, Polish, Vietnamese, Thai, Cantonese Chinese, Irish Gaelic, Farsi, Hindi, Turkish and Ukrainian.

Mango Languages also allows offline learning using downloaded mp3 files, which can be burned into a CD or played using iPod. But, unlike the web learning, offline learning is not free and costs you $1.50 per lesson or $149.95 for an entire language.

If you are interested in Mango Languages, you might also be interested in the post How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour by Tim Ferris.

[Review] rssHugger

Today I would like to introduce you to a recently launched website – rssHugger. rssHugger is a website which allows bloggers to gain subscribers and subscribers to find new interesting blogs. rssHugger is the brain child of Collin LaHay. rssHugger will be the first ever quality, spam free, and viral rss directory strictly for bloggers.

When you submit your blog to rssHugger, you will be given a page on the site with your most recent posts. This will provide more exposure to your blog among subscribers. To know more about the advantages of joining rssHugger, visit the About section of rssHugger.

Initially you had to spend $20 or $10 and a review on your site to list your feed for 10 years on rssHugger. But now, you can add your feed for free by writing a review about the site. I advice you to write a review as early as possible, because they may revoke the offer when the number of reviews increases.

Cool Hotmail – A new MicroSoft initiative

Microsoft, one of the largest email service providers with their hotmail and live mail service, has introduced a new initiative called “CoolHotmail.com” to lure Indian internet users to use their hotmail service. The service, powered by their live mail service, presently offers users 193 unique domain names to choose from, in addition to their standard Live Mail features.

Microsoft believes that your email id truly reflects your personality. Hence they have classified the  into  5 groups namely Where I live, Who I like, Who am I, What I like and I Don’t fit. Some of the available domain names are MumbaiRocks.in, SalaamDelhi.in, ClubSachin.in, IAmMarried.in, ILoveSoccer.in and so on. You can also request for a particular domain, if it is not already on the list. Ofcourse, it is subject to the availability of the domain and they don’t guarantee that they will offer the domain even if it is available.

Other than for a few people who wish to try out new services, I am not sure how many people will be interested in this service. Most of the people will prefer to stick with their current email address. Also it is very unprofessional to use email addresses like these and to change email address every now and then. If you are really serious with your email address and use it for professional purposes, then I highly recommend you to get your own domain in your name or your company’s name. If you signup for a free Google Apps account with your domain, you and your friends/family/employees get a free 2 GB inbox with all standard Gmail features, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Personalized homepage too. Microsoft also provides a similar service named Windows Live Custom Domains. But personally, I think Google Apps is better than Windows Live Custom Domains.

Online Operating Systems – Moving towards Hard Disk free computers?

A few days back, while browsing the net, I came across an ZNet article on StartForce, an online operating system. Though I have heard of such online desktops before, this time I decided to make a post on it. A quick search on Google led me to several such venture including Open Source versions too. Below are some of the services that I liked the most. I also posting the demo login details so that you can also checkout these online desktops. I recommend you to view these services in full screen (Press F11).

Demo account details are provided with each  service. Since the details are public, please do not upload sensitive files and details. Also, since the accounts are accessed and customized by many people, I recommend you to create your own account and try out these program.

StartForce
This is the first online desktop that I visited. The service provides each user 1 GB space for storing your documents and files. The desktop and OS looked very much similar to Windows XP. There are web browser, web messenger, image viewer,  audio and video players, feed reader, text editor, office document editors, PDF viewer and games like chess available within your account. StartForce uses Zoho Office Suite for viewing and editing Office documents. There are many desktop themes and screensavers available in the desktop settings section. The interface, especially opening and dragging windows, was a little slow.
Read a more detailed review of StartForce at Arun’s blog.

Demo Login :
Username – demo
Password – demo

YouOS
YouOS is another online desktop which won the seventh position in PC Magazine’s 20 most innovative products of 2007 award. The GUI of YouOS was very fast but was not as advanced or attractive as StartForce. YouOS is more or less similar to Linux. There is also a terminal shell application called YouShell. The number of applications available by default is also limited, compared to StartForce. But unlike StartForce, YouOS contains an Add / Remove apps option to install / uninstall programs. The client JavaScript code of YouOS is OpenSource and is available under a modified BSD license. YouOS is still is alpha stage.
Read a more detailed YouOS review at Pete’s blog.
Demo Login

Glide OS
Glide OS is a fully Adobe Flash based operating system and requires Flash 9 support, while YouOS and StartForce are Ajax based. Glide provides both free accounts (2 GB space & up to 4 Users) and premium accounts (10 GB space & up to 24 Users). The premium account costs $4.95 per month ($49.5 annually). In addition to the Desktop version, Glide also provides a mobile version of the account. Actually, GlideOs is very much different from a Desktop Operating System in look and feel. Glide allows opening and editing your Microsoft Office Word documents from your iPhone. GlideOS is Windows, Mac and Linux compatible.
Read more about Glide Os at TMCnet.

Demo Login :
Username – demouser
Password – demopass

Online Operating System
Online Operating System is also a Windows based operating system. Infact, when the Window XP theme was loaded, it was exactly similar to the Desktop OS. The number of applications available is less compared to Startforce. Some of the available programs are Web Browser, text editor, PDF Viewer, The first time loading of the different applications are very slow. But from the second time onwards, they load very quickly. OOS provides 10 MB space which is increased to 1 GB on verification of email address used. OOS also provides web publishing for your personal homepage and photo album at http://<username>.oos.cc. OOS made my browser crash twice.
Demo Login :
Username – demo
Password – demo

There are several others too. I will post about them later. Now document editing has also gone online with programs like Google Docs and Spreadsheets that allows online collaborative editing of documents. Recently Adobe created an application called Adobe Premiere Express for YouTube Remixer, an online application for editing and adding transitions and other effects to videos. The program is nearly identical to Photobucket’s Remix tool.  There are also several online PDF editors, image editors(1, 2, 3) and audio / video players available.

For developers, moving from desktop edition to online edition has an extra advantage that software piracy and illegal distribution of their products will be no longer possible. For end users, the advantage is that they no longer need systems with very large processing power since the actual processing will be done at the server.

Now the big question is, are we moving to a new era where computers require more RAM and less hard disk space and the only program required is a web browser for accessing the service? A new world where software licensing is replaced by subscription services?

Netfirms Advantage Hosting

Netfirms is offering the Netfirms Advantage Website Hosting for $10 for one whole year. The plan includes

  • $10 for one full year of Netfirms Advantage Hosting!
  • 2 FREE domain names
  • 20GB 250GB of disk space
  • 750GB 2,000GB data transfer per month
  • Host unlimited websites with a single account!
  • Support for PHP, Perl, and MySQL
  • 24-hour technical support

But before anyone joins the I just thought of warning against their bad history. I have never hosted any of my site with Netfirms, hence I don’t have any direct experience. But I thought this offer was great and made a small search about their history and other webmaster reviews. It looks like Netfirms has a very bad history of providing inqualified, incompetent and slow technical support for their customers. I chatted with their sales support team and it was indeed too slow. They also have frequent database downtimes and some people have even complained about their files getting deleted. Infact Netfirms is said to work fine, if not great, for static file serving. If your site doesn’t use any server side language and doesn’t need any database connectivity, then they are not that bad. So if you have any file download site or a high traffic website, then it will be ok to host your media and static files in your Netfirms hosting account. But for that you will need another domain or a dedicated ip.

Their domain service is not said to have any problem. Hence the offer is not that bad because you get two domains for one year with the offer. But you should read the terms of use well before joining because, they may charge you for moving the domain to another registrar after the one year period.

I recommend you to read the experience of someone who hosted their website with Netfirms. He recommends 1 and 1 against netfirms, but I personally had run into trouble with 1&1 support when a client of mine hosted his website with them.

Before you change your hosting to a new webhost, I strongly recommend searching Google with the search phrase <Your webhost name> sucks. Even if you don’t know the advantages of the new webhost, it is extremely important to know the disadvantage of hosting your site with them. Infact I do this before joining any online programme or service. But this is most important when changing your webhost, because an inappropriate decision not only causes monetary losses, but can make you lose your valuable visitors too.

Webmails and Web Messengers – The web 2.0 style

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that it is has increased the webmail box storage size to 5GB for free users and 10GB for premium users. But still, it is behind Yahoo! Mail. Yahoo! mail and Rediff mail still leads with both providing unlimited mail storage space. Presently Gmail, the webmail service provided by Google, lags in the race with less than 3 GB space, though it was the first webmail service to provide a GB sized mailbox for free. It was the entry of Google into the Webmail service that revolutionized the free webmail services. Before the entry of Gmail, Hotmail was providing just 2MB space while Yahoo! Mail provided 6MB. Gmail still continues to add great features to its webmail service. Gmail has integrated Chat, Calendar, Docs & Spreadsheet support and so on.

Microsoft has also promised to improve the performance of Hotmail by identifying and fixing the slowest parts. The slow reponse was the primary reason I moved from Hotmail to Yahoo! Mail and finally to Gmail. Of the three main webmail providers, I like the look and feel of Hotmail the most. It is really cool. The new Yahoo! Mail is more or less like my email client. I like the new interface very much. Unfortunately, it doesn’t load in my browser (Opera). Also, the time taken for it to load is also large. Had they provided some ActiveX components, that made the loading fast, then I would have considered going back to Yahoo! Mail. Gmail is my favorite webmail provider. There are many reasons for that. First and foremost, its integrated chat feature. Recently, Yahoo! also started providing a similar service. The second reason for me loving Gmail is the ability to send emails from multiple email addresses from a single email address. I have configured my different Google Apps accounts and Gmails accounts to forward received mails to my primary Gmail account. When replying to a received mail, google automatically sends the mail from the original email address. This is a great help to me, as I have to manage a number of email addresses. Another feature I like in Gmail is its filter system. It helps me to organize my mails better. The filter system along with labels is much more powerful than the folders provided by Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. BTW, I forgot to mention the best feature of Gmail. Its ability to group together messages of a conversation and notification of updates to conversation while we are composing a message.

Don’t you think it will be cool, if you can chat with your Google Talk, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger contacts with a single email address? Now you can do that if you have a Gmail account. Gmail has built in support for GTalk. For using your Gmail ID with MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger, signup for a Windows Live ID with your Gmail address. Now login to your MSN Messenger and GTalk. You can’t have GTalk to MSN / Yahoo chatting. But now your contacts doesn’t have to remember your different messenger IDs.

[Review] Publisher Spot

Publisher Spot

Today I am going to introduce you to the site Publisher Spot. Publisher Spot is an Ad Network Review site for helping out publishers select and rate the popular and major Ad Networks. One of the major mistake made by webmasters in monetizing their sites and the main reason for low earning from sites is the improper selection of the Ad Network. Some networks are known to work well with certain types of site/niche. For an established publishers, their extensive experience will help them select the best network. But for new publishers there is no way to know which is better, other than by testing out each ad network. If you plan to begin web development and marketing business seriously, then I advice you to try out each ad service to find out the pros and cons of each service. If all you want to do is to monetize your existing blog or site, then the best thing to do is to learn from the experience of others. Thats when Publisher Spot can be a great help to you.

Ad Network Reviews

At present there is extensive review and rating of about 15 most popular Adnetworks including Adsense, Kontera etc. Each review provides indepth details about

  • Main features
  • Publisher control over the ads
  • Available ad types and formats
  • Stats / Reports
  • Getting started with the new network
  • Payment (The most important part)
  • Referral programs

and much more.

Design / Navigation

The design of the site looks really good to me. It is simple and have easy navigability. I have always loved simple websites. The site also allow viewing the entries by rating/date. Also there is an advanced search feature which allows us to search for networks with features we want. With just 15 reviews, these features may not be that important. Lets hope that more and more ad networks will be reviewed and added to the list.

What I didn’t like

So far I have discussed why I liked the site. But there were some things that I didn’t like.

First and foremost, the usage of referral links in the reviews of Text Link Ads and Agloco. I think that is very unprofessional, because it gives the impression that the site is favoring certain networks. It would have been ok, if it was used only in “Visit Ad Network” link at the end of the review. But referral links, that stands out from the rest of the content, throughout some reviews looks very bad.

Also, there are two test entries in the reviews. Since the site is live, I think those reviews should also be removed. It shows lack of responsibility and concern.

Conclusion

A site like Publisher Spot looks really promising, but the success of such sites depends on its users. It is only when people rate the different ad networks from their own experience, the best network can be found out. Hence I strongly recommend everyone to rate the ad networks you have tried out, so that we can find out the best ad networks out there.

This entry was posted because Tyler Cruz, an internet entrepreneur and owner of Publisher Spot, was giving out a free link from his blog which is ranked 8,549 on Technorati. But the views posted in the review is of the author’s own opinion and is purely unbiased.