Use Aardvark to Get Answers You Trust

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

iStock_000005911836XSmallI think I can safely say that most of us, when we have a question these days, do the same thing: we Google it. Everything from “when was Abraham Lincoln born?” to “how much cheese do I have to eat to set the world record?” can all be answered with a simple Google search, and it’s become the knowledge source of choice for many of us today.

But there’s a problem with those answers: why should you believe them? Just because the Internet says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. We’d rather get answers from people we know and trust, and to know the source of the answer, rather than just read it on some 13-year-old’s old Geocities page.

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Find The Answers to All Life's Questions

This is a guest post by Squealer from Squealing Rat.

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Getting answers to your questions is becoming an increasingly popular service to offer on the internet. Now there are several services that are different takes on this concept.

(David’s note: there are a couple of services here that are currently in an invite-only beta. We’ve gotten a few invites for each one to give to you, our wonderful readers. See the end of this post for how to score an invite – make sure to stay tuned, we’ll let you know when they go public!)

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Get IM Goodness Everywhere with Nimbuzz

nimbuzz-pc-client-final-300x300It’s official: I am now online 24 hours a day. My name is David, and I’m an IM addict.

It’s all Nimbuzz’s fault, really. If it weren’t such a great application that’s totally cross-platform and available on every device you’ve got, I wouldn’t have my current issues. But here we are.

Nimbuzz offers instant messaging, Internet calling (a la Skype), and even file-sending, all using its simple interface and your existing contact lists.

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Sunday Tips: Facebook

1824234195_e6b913c563Facebook is now (I think) the most popular social network in the United States, and is growing rapidly elsewhere. It’s connecting people of seemingly all ages, and yet somehow has managed not to be terribly creepy.

For many people, Facebook’s usefulness comes from the fact that just about everyone they know is a user. It’s an easy way to contact or check up on someone, and is a hub for a lot of people’s social lives, both on and offline.

I’m an avid Facebook user, and over the last couple of years have figured out a number of things that Facebook can do, and that you can do with Facebook, that most people don’t know about.

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5 Things That Put Digsby Ahead of the Pack

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Instant Messaging, whether it was AIM or Yahoo Messenger, was for a while the biggest tool of communication in my life, as well the lives of just about everyone else I knew. IM has taken a backseat to social networks, texting, etc. recently, but is still very much alive and kicking.

New on the scene is Digsby (here), a brand new IM client that in reality is so much more. It has a bunch of different features, but there are 5 that, to me, make it worth the download. Here they are (in addition to the obviously adorable logo):

1. Total integration of IM Networks

I, personally, have used about every IM client there is- AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, ICQ, etc. I have different friends, different profiles, and, until now, different applications for each one. Digsby integrates all of these into the experience, and lets you sign on to a number of different IM networks at once. It’s truly an aggregator, and does it really well.

2. Social Networking

I don’t care what anyone says, I think Facebook Chat is awesome. For anyone with a Facebook account, regardless of your feelings about Chat, Digsby is a must-have. It allows you to use Facebook Chat, as well as notifying you of any and all updates on your Facebook account. It works with a number of other social networks as well, but Facebook is really the only one I use. It updates you of messages, wall posts, requests, invites, etc. and keeps you updated as if you were sitting on your home page, and also lets you set your status right from the window.

3. Email
It’s funny how quickly email went from being the fastest method of communication to paling in comparison to things like Twitter, texting, and social networks. Even still, everyone and their dog has an email address that they use all the time, and Digsby gets that. Digsby lets you manage a number of different POP3 and IMAP email clients from the Digsby window. The email bit works much the same as the social networking, where you get notified within the window when you have a new email, and can send email from any of the accounts Digsby is checking right within the window.

4. Total Personalization
For me, personally, I need applications to look and feel exactly like I want them to before I can really use them. Digsby does a bang-up job of this, allowing you to customize everything from the color of the buddy list to the style of the IM window to setting aliases for your buddies. You customize what you get alerts about, what you do, and how you do it. Plus, it just looks cool, which is actually more important than I realized.

5. Constant Evolution

Digsby is perpetually in a state of dreaming up useful ways to use their software. You can use it on the Web and on your desktop, you can embed it into a site to talk with others on it, you can synchronize between computers, all kinds of things. They have 30 builds of the application so far, each one with cooler stuff than the last. It updates for you, and always keeps you on tops of what’s going on.

Honorable Mention- Computer Sync

Many people use multiple computers (3 for me, at the moment). The people at Digsby make your life easy, and sync all your information across computers. Just log in to Digsby on the new machine, and it syncs your settings, lists, appearance, etc. etc. It’s a huge time-saver, and really helpful.

The world is converging, at least on the Internet, and Digsby does a great job of making itself a one-stop communications tool. Definitely worth the download and exploration.

Let me know, in the comments: are there better applications for these things? Is there anything Digsby isn’t doing well enough? Is there anything it does that I missed?