Conceptboard is an online working space to collaborate with colleagues. It gives me the impression of a mood board (frequently used by designers) that could be accessed realtime by multiple users.
Conceptboard – Online Working Space for Multi-users
Conceptboard has a free option that you can use to create up to 25 boards. You can register for a free account, or you can use your social network account.
Simply type in the board’s name to create it. At this point you can also enter the email addresses of your co-workers to invite them to join.
Just like the online whiteboard I introduced last week, you can freely draw on the conceptboard. But there’s more. You can paste images onto the board by uploading form your computer. You can also capture screenshot and upload instantly. Users can leave comments and read other’s comments.
What really impressed me is the ability to upload documents. The files uploaded could be downloaded in their original form (for paid users only). And the board could be exported as PDF or image file.
How to use Conceptboard? For example, web designers could use it as a mood board to share sample images and discuss different combinations. Programmers can exchange ideas and review user interface design with co-workers.
Recently I’m starting to work with people in other countries in my fulltime job. There are many different tools I tried, Conceptboard is in general an easy-to-use tool. If you need to work with other people online, you should give it a try.
Today’s featured productivity web app is A Web Whiteboard, a virtual whiteboard for drawing sketches and sharing to people on the internet. It is basically a digital whiteboard, but it is touch-optimized for use on computers, tablets and smartphones. It supports all modern browsers. You don’t have to register for an account or install any application, just open the web browser to start drawing.
Virtual Whiteboard For Touch Devices
Just click “Start drawing”, the web app will take you to a drawing board. The drawing board of AWW is pretty simple. There are not many settings to make. You can use small, medium and large pencils to draw in 7 colors. There is no zooming so the size of the browser is the size of the virtual whiteboard.
The web whiteboard is built on HTML technology, no Flash is required. I could run it on my iPhone easily. The speed is also impressive. There is no lagging or excessive loading time.
Sharing The Virtual Whiteboard
Now about sharing. At the time of testing I could not find the sharing button on my desktop computer, but the same button was there when I tested the web app on my iPhone. Probably real time sharing is not enabled for desktop computer. But I could post my drawing on Facebook, twitter and Reddit. I can also save the drawing as PNG file and download.
There is a nice feature of AWW that is quite useful to webmasters. You can embed this virtual whiteboard in your web site! Just copy and paste the coed to your web site. The free version does not allow sharing so it is basically a drawing board for your guests to have fun. If you pay for it, the embedded virtual keyboard would have sharing enabled. You could even put your own logo on the virtual keyboard. This could be a useful tool for corporate intranet.
Is this web whiteboard great? Well, it is a simple tool that can meet basic requirements for sketching and sending to friends online. The fact that it works in the browsers of tablets and smartphones is good if you want to quickly draw sketches but have no drawing app on the device. However, it is not a comprehensive option because you cannot paste images and there is no way to share the screen. For these advanced features you may need to consider Google+ Hangouts with extra function added in September for web collaboration.
Last week I wrote a post about using ifttt to boost personal productivity. What ifttt does is automating information gathering and processing to ease your life. Today I want to introduce another web automation tool, Yahoo Pipes, which is another powerful tool I use daily.
Yahoo! Pipes – Automate Your Online Life
Yahoo! Pipes is an online tool that helps users to compose their own recipes of automated process. You do this by linking different standard modules to create a complete process. There are many different types of modules available in Yahoo! Pipes. They are grouped under the following types:
It is not difficult to understand what these modules do. Obviously Sources modules help to pull data from web sites. Location and URL modules collect location and web site address information, Date gets the date and time, etc. Some modules are interactive that they obtains input from the pipe creator or user.
Yahoo! Pipes – Create Your First Pipe
Using Yahoo! Pipes is not as easy as using ifttt, but it is not difficult at all. I found this video that you may want to watch:
Let me show you the whole process by screenshots. Let’s say, tech geek Tom subscribed to a number of RSS feeds of different tech blogs (including Cloud High Club of course!). He wants to combine these RSS feeds into one feed so that he does not need to subscribe to the same list of feeds in all his feed readers on the computer, tablet and smartphone. So he goes to Yahoo! Pipes.
Tom clicked Fetch Site Feed on the left sidebar, copied the RSS feeds and paste into the URL fields. Then he linked the “Fetch Site Feed” box to the “Pipe Output” box by dragging one node to another. He then clicked Save and “Run Pipe…” to generate the pipe.
Bang! It’s done. A new feed containing the contents of all feeds Tom inputted is created. He can enter this feed URL into any feed reader.
Yahoo! Pipes is certainly more than this. Instead of demonstrating all its features to you one by one, let’s just show you some pipes created by other users.
Twitter for Tumblr – Grab a twitter feed, clean it up to a suitable form and publish to Tumblr
eBay Price Watch – Checks for items fitting your specified price range and keyword
Google Translate Sample Pipe – Takes a RSS feed and translate the content into the language you want and generate another feed. This is a great tool for people who want to follow stories in non-English web sites.
Social Media Firehose – Monitors the appearance of a specified keyword in a wide variety of social networks. This is a handy tool to keep track of your online reputation
…and much more. There are many pipes that other users created and made public that you can use. Once you found a great one, you can copy it and make it yours by clicking “Clone”.
Yahoo! Pipes ia a very useful tool to save people’s time spent on finding and processing information. It just lacks a nice-looking user interface. Try it for a few times and you would gradually pick up and enjoy using this intelligent system.