Category Archives for "Cool Sites"

My sister, Robin, writes for a blog that is aptly named “Robin’s Resources“. It’s a sweet gig. She basically shops and then writes about her experiences in the shop. Let me give it a try:


Highland Park, IL

Sort of stinky, not well merchandised, dusty candy, very convenient.

Mike’s note: Not a big fan of Slurpees, I can do without the blue lips

Who you’ll see shopping here: Random people who don’t appear to be from the area

Their specialty: Snacks, beer and porn– what else is there?

What you should buy: A hot dog from the all-day hot dog roller

What you may not know but should:

  1. The 7-Eleven franchise is the largest i chain store in the US with almost 37,000 outlets
  2. July 11th is “7-11” day in the US, but in Australia 7-11 day is November 7th
  3. Smoking appears to be permitted

Well, I’m not sure I captured the essence of Robin’s Resources, you’ll have to visit there to make your own judgement…

Simple Web Applications Make Buisness Easier

There is a trend towards software simplification out there on the Internet. The key elements are simple and useful. I remember in the early days of the internet the applications were all created from scratch. People had to concentrate on the killer app and could only include core technology. Those with a good UI caught on. was a great financial site, for instance (it’s morphed into a personal financial site now, not too bad.) Over time these applications fell victim to “feature creep” and the programs got really eleaborate and complex.

Competition was kept out of the market because development costs were high. Now, thanks to cool development tools like Ruby on Rails and AJAX, development is faster and cheaper. Simple versions of complex applications can be produced to capture a segment of the market that only needs core functionality. was no doubt a pioneer in the space with Basecamp, Writeboard, Tada Lists and Highrise. I never really took to their applications because they always missed some essentials, but I keep coming back to them to see if I can make them work. is a simple charting program

Many of these sites are great for entrepreneurs because they are cheap and easy to use. I’m a big fan of, but it’s not cheap and it is getting complicated to configure. Feature creep killed a lot of the good online apps for me., for example. Can’t use it, don’t have time. Too much stuff.

 Here are a few others that I’ve noticed in my travels along the information superhighway (remember that silly term?):

  • has a cool site designed to simplify expense reports.
  • is a good alternative to
  • is a new site that does fundamental charting. Very cool. I used to run a financial site (, is way better.
  • I use this for to-do lists all the time

There are many others, but I can’t remember them right now…more later.

Google Sidewiki- Aaaaaargh!

Several years ago I came up with an idea to allow anyone to add comments to any site (I was pretty proud of myself). It would be a sidebar plugin that users could annoymously post comments to when they were on a particular site. When others, who had the plugin, looked at the same page the comments would appear.

I joined forces with a programmer named Marc Van Houwelingen (also wrote to develop the site. It’s called and it’s cool.guy

Today I noticed that Google has come out with the same concept. It’s called Google Sidewiki and it does the same thing as The interface is a cooler, but it’s the same general idea. Too bad Google didn’t give us one of those big Google checks that they hand out to innovative companies to buy their technology. It would have been nice to be another or I guess I got in the wrong line.

Anywhoo. I can at least claim that one of my ideas was good enough for Google before Google even knew it!

Landing Page Software

I’ve been looking for landing page software. I had a demo of Ion Interactive’s LiveBall today. It’s awesome, just what I’ve always wanted. Alas, it’s over $15K per year. Same with Marketo, it is even more comprehensive that Ion, but also more expensive. It’s about $2500 per month at the low end or $1500 per month for a scaled back version of their program. They appear to be a little more comprehensive offering lead scoring and some follow-up tools that seem pretty slick.

I also looked at It is sort of confusing, but less expensive. It’s $6,000 a year plus a $1,500 set-up.

I also checked out Very basic, but very cheap- $1,200 a year. This could be a good way to give it a try.

Let me know if you know of another alternative. I’ll keep looking.

Woot : One Day, One Deal SM is an interesting site. Everyday it has a different item for sale, usually at a pretty reasonable price. I’ve bought quite a few things from them over the years including a couple of those toy remote-control helicopters for my son for $9.99.

I recently bought a Netbook for my wife. We’ll see how it goes. She only uses email and the internet so it should be okay for a 2nd computer.