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HubDub – Predict the News

This is an innovative idea for a website which is both entertaining and could be used by news networks for their research. HubDub encourages users to predict outcomes of real news stories, and to make it more fun this is done by betting virtual dollars. At the moment you can vote on such subjects as whether or not Obama will win the 2012 elections, how far Andy Murray will go in the Australia Open, whether the damaged Picasso painting will be repaired by April 27, and will there be an early spring or a longer winter?

You can choose the news category most of interest to you – and while sports, politics and finance are obvious leaders in having the most predictions, there are also items in science, entertainment, world, technology and general. These can also be sorted into those closing soon, the most active and those with the most predictions. You’ll also find which have recently been settled and which have new comments. With forums for discussion it’s a lively site, and the aggregation of predictions actually leads to a helpful indicator of how some news stories are likely to end. They also provide news networks with helpful data on public opinion, so sponsorship of the site is likely.

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TalentTrove – Share Your Talent on Video

Whatever your skill, if you can film it you can share it on this site to attract more viewers and perhaps even get talent-spotted. It could be comedy, music, writing, news reporting, acting, fashion, cooking or a variety of other talents typical of TV: TalentTrove lets you set up a free account to upload and share your videos in an organised way with an interested community.

The site is very neatly organised making it easy to set up your account and select the right categories from the toolbar and submenus so viewers can find your videos. It’s also quick and easy to find videos on the subjects that interest you. I went straight to comedy and watched the most popular videos, then set up my own account to upload my online interview shows so I gave it a good test.

The steps for uploading videos are straightforward if you’re uploading files from your own computer or selecting videos from your YouTube channel. I usually need to use embed code as my shows are on another website, and there wasn’t an easy option to do this – I’m sure it must be available on TalentTrove somewhere and it would be handy to have it on the main upload screen. With more and more people broadcasting their own talent and taking part in citizen journalism this site is an excellent idea and one that I’ll certainly use myself.

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SproutPitch – Entrepreneur Video Pitches

If you enjoy watching entrepreneurs pitching their ideas on television shows, or if you have a pioneering idea you’d like to pitch, you can make a video and post it on SproutPitch. I took a look at it wondering if the entrepreneurs with the best ideas would be hidden beneath the mass, but instead each pitch I looked at made me want to visit their website. The video doesn’t have to be highly professional so long as the idea is good and you put it across well in the short time allocated.

Pitches have to be for a product, service or project, and the designers call it an ‘elevatator pitch’ as it should take roughly the same amount of time as an elevator ride. They advise users to describe what the product service or product is; say what it offers the buyer, investor or sponsor in terms of benefits; and to conclude by saying who you are and why your idea will be successful

Take a look if you would like to put your idea across or to find some innovative projects worth considering. To submit a pitch you need to make your video, post it to YouTube and then tag it with SproutPitch. It should be no longer than 60 seconds, and it’s surprising how much you can say in that time, then fill in the form on the SproutPitch website with the YouTube link and they will see if it’s acceptable. This selection method does mean that the content is worth viewing and it’s a helpful place to be seen.

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Kideos – Like YouTube for Kids

Anyone with children will know how much they want to go on to YouTube, but much of the content is unsuitable so parents have to keep an eye on what they’re watching. Kideos gets around that problem by providing a children-only website for videos, with content for all ages from two up to ten-and-over. The content is checked for suitability and the videos do look tempting for younger viewers.

This site will mainly appeal to younger age groups, with children starting to grow out of the layout by the time they reach eleven and older. It has the bright colours very young children enjoy, and the videos are presented in a different way to YouTube, with clear menus and a good sized photo of each one. A teenage Kideos would also be appealing, and as children get older they would like to be able to upload their own videos and interact with the community.

Videos can be selected by age group and also from a range of categories including Most Popular as well as favourite TV and book characters, cats and dogs, cartoons and educational. It’s good to see some other languages, with Spanish and Portuguese included, and more languages would help older kids learning the basics. Parents can create playlists for their children, and all videos have been screened and approved by the Kideos panel.

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Bitly.TV – Most Watched Videos

Bitly TV aggregates the most watched videos for the present day, the last day and the last two days shared by members of the Bit.ly community. The home page shows an interesting assortment of screen shots you can click on to see what the world is watching and it’s very tempting to view them. It has grown out of the Bit.ly service which lets users post links, and analyses this data to highlight the most popular videos which are going viral. The designers say it’s ‘like the internet itself’ combining the highly serious with the trivial and humorous.

To identify the most viewed videos Bitly TV sorts them using an algorithm they describe as going beyond the number of clicks on the Bit.ly links. Instead it also includes retweets and other community actions such as the number of times Bit.ly users have shortened and shared a video. Bitly TV includes a spam filter to cut out material that could offend its viewers. Take a look at the website to see how you can take part in the Bit.ly community. The videos on the front page are mainly from YouTube.

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Gygan – Share Large Files

Many of us need to share large files and they can’t be sent easily by email so it’s necessary to use special services. One of the latest is Gygan, a site that lets you download free software to let you share large files in a way they claim is easy and fast. There’s no cost for uploading and downloading files and they state there is no limit on transfer speeds.

This is the Beta version of Gygan, and along with the downloadable software there’s a website with forums for discussion. I’ve tried the software and it’s easy to use and to organise files for upload and download. Free downloads up to 2GB are available, and this system is ideal for large files such as videos, high res photos, and audio. It could also be used for distributing software to clients. Files can be kept private for security reasons, and there’s no limit to the number of files you can store on the system. Although it’s still at Beta testing stage it’s worth a try if you need to work with large files or share video, audio and photos with family and friends.

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VideoLobby – Easy Online TV Broadcasting

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The designers say this website makes broadcasting your online TV shows as easy as blogging, and it certainly is easy to set up a channel. In minutes you can have set up your own channel, your show names and logos, and have scheduled your first episode. Video tutorials take you through the necessary steps so that even a first-time broadcaster could manage. After that the service is designed mainly for people wanting to broadcast by streaming live and then archive a show to broadcast as a repeat later on the channel.

Your channel will show an ‘Off Air’ screen while you aren’t streaming, and once your episode is being broadcast you can add members to the team to work on it and even allow viewers to comment during the broadcast, with or without moderation. All of this is very like Livestream, the benefit being that VideoLobby feels easier to set up and use with all the video tutorials and links to a Wiki page for extra tips. In fact the Wiki pages are invaluable for anybody interested in broadcasting because they’re so full of information.

It’s not quite so easy to see how to broadcast shows users might already have in their own archives. Other services allow shows to be easily imported from other places including YouTube. All of this might be possible on VideoLobby to make it a complete service for people wanting to set up and run a channel, but an extra video tutorial is needed to explain how to do it, plus easier step-by-step guidance on the menus.

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YouMicro – Like YouTube for Music

youmicro-comYouMicro aims to do for music and audio what YouTube has done for video. There should be great interest in this as many people want to share their music without having to film their performance or set their audio track to video. Another good thing about YouMicro is that it isn’t limited to music but could be used for any audio file. This will appeal to comedians and other performers, including writers performing their work and sharing fiction and poetry. It could also work as citizen journalism, which is really catching on at the moment, to let people tell their own news stories or voice their opinions.

YouMicro describes itself as a community so it should work as a social network, very like the YouTube approach. Members can upload their files, promote albums and events, and create playlists. A Help Centre and video tutorials help members get started, while the MicroForum encourages the community to get chatting. For ideas on what to listen to the most popular audio broadcasts are listed. It’s a site designed and run by a young team, and the vitality comes across. I’ll be using this one myself for broadcasts as I use video at the moment but sometimes sound alone is more effective.

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Webotify – Share Spotify Tracks with Video

Now and again I find a website that gives real pleasure and this is one of them. Webotify lets you share your favourite tracks from Spotify with friends, or on Twitter, and adds a video from YouTube. Whether or not you want to share the track it’s also a joy to choose favourite artists from Spotify then use Webotify to enjoy them with a surprise video automatically selected. It could be the singer performing, the words to let you sing along, or a set of images that go with the track – something fitting will be chosen.

The website consists of just one page where you enter the link to the Spotify track, and this is where the design could be improved. There are no instructions, just a picture of the Spotify screen with the menu choice highlighted that you would use to copy the URL. There’s a brief description of what Webotify does and space to enter the URL of the track on Spotify, so it really lacks a simple instruction to guide users. The process is straightforward: select tracks on Spotify then right click on them and click on the menu to either Copy Http Link or Copy Spotify URI. Paste this on the Webotify website and enjoy the track and video.

Webotify provides a URL you can copy and paste to share the track and video with friends whether or not they have Spotify. There’s also a one-click button to let you post it to Twitter and Webotify generates a message to show what you’re listening to. This is a website I’ll be using regularly and I hope to see some brief instructions as Spotify isn’t the most instinctive website to use either – and it’s another good one.

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Newsy.com – Video News from Multiple Sources

Newsy.com is an impressive approach to online news broadcasting, presenting professional video reporting based on a variety of major sources for each story. A team at Newsy.com researches the stories every day using footage from broadcasters including the BBC , Al Jazeera and CNN, and publications including national newspapers. The researchers synthesize news from various perspectives and from different countries so that the viewer is able to see the story from various sides and form an independent opinion.

The presenters are professional, dynamic, and make the news interesting to watch. Rotating research teams monitor blogs, newspapers, magazines and the internet, and the stories are then edited to a high standard for broadcast. Viewers are invited to post comments to have their opinions heard about each news story, and links are provided to the sources used. This is an excellent news service, so it’s no surprise to see level of experience in the management team, headed up by president and founder Jim Spencer who was VP of Content and Answers at Ask Jeeves, and has also helped lead other startup and established online companies. Newsy.com provides an enjoyable and time-saving way to get a multiperspective and multinational view of the news without having to spend hours scanning the media.

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