Geek Chic

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    You already know about Cincy Chic, Gmail, Facebook, Wikipedia and a million other reasons to praise the Internet for its impact on your life, but with the endless array of Web sites, it’s impossible to know all of the little tricks and tips the virtual world has to help you. So Cincy Chic has ventured into the online abyss to deliver a fresh list of go-to Web sites that are not only functional but also fun and helpful, so you can be truly geek chic.

     

    Time Savers

     

    slydial: If you’d rather avoid an awkward phone conversation or you simply don’t have the time right now to listen to a friend’s life saga on speaker phone, slydial might be for you. Slydial.com lets you work around some of life’s most uncomfortable moments by connecting you directly with a person’s voicemail.

     

    0208GIBBERMAN.gif Call 267-SLYDIAL, and after you enter the phone number at the prompt, you’ll be connected right to that person’s voicemail. Slydial allows you to sneak to voicemail for free, but as a catch, you will have to listen to ads before skipping your way to a message. For those suffering from ad-phobia, however, slydial offers three premium plans sans ads: 15 cents per sly dial or unlimited sly dials for $4.95 per month or $29.95 per year. Feel free to add this one to your speed dial for the next time you feel obligated to thank Aunt Edna for your plaid “I Love Lucy” sweatshirt, but don’t want to have an insincere conversation..

     

    Fetch: Who can remember every cab company’s number and who wants to have all of those numbers clog up their cell’s contacts? Only an interesting few. For the rest of us, FetchTaxi.com can help.

     

    This year’s Cincinnati Regional Chamber C-Change Class 3 concepted and launched Fetch. “When you need a ride, Fetch delivers one number that promises to route your call to the first available cab company in Cincinnati,” according to the company’s Web site. So you only have to remember one number: (513) 35-FETCH or (513) 353-3824.

     

    While it may seem like this service does not rely on the virtual realm, one of its most important features does. After using Fetch, you can contribute to the online forum by providing feedback on your experience. Fetch pledges to help improve cab service in Cincinnati by using this feedback to rank the cab companies in Cincinnati so that your call will go to a reputable company before it goes to a dissatisfying one. So no more crazy taxi rides!

     

    Virtual Organizers

     

    Hit Me Later: This is the ultimate tool for the busy bizwoman. If you find yourself constantly lamenting that you “read but didn’t answer” e-mail after e-mail because you’re too busy, try HitMeLater.com. The site will automatically resend e-mails to you at a specified, more convenient time. Simply forward e-mails that you want to answer but can’t at the moment to (any number from one to 24) @hitmelater.com. For instance, if you want it resent to you four hours later, e-mail 4@hitmelater.com. If you want to wait a whole day to answer, e-mail 24@hitmelater.com. The site also has instructions for how to set up e-mails to be resent on specific dates and times.

     

    Hit Me Later offers five free e-mails per day that you can have resent up to 24 hours later. Need more or more time? Hit Me Later also offers a paid service that lets you hit the snooze on unlimited e-mails for a month ($12 per year) or for those e-mails you actually never want to answer — a year ($30 per year).

     

    Remember the Milk: While you use Hit Me Later for future reminders, you can use RememberTheMilk.com as a memory aide for more short-term responsibilities. Remember the Milk acts as a twenty-first century to-do list. It syncs up with daily used tools — including Gmail, Twitter, and iPhone — to serve as a constant reminder of what jobs you’ve completed and what tasks have yet to be tackled.0708DEGROOT_FASHION.gif

     

    General Helpers

     

    Cincinnati Bell’s Xipto: Fair enough, not exactly a Web site, but it’s worth mentioning that Cincinnati Bell has made two great trend-tech applications available to their wireless subscribers. With Xipto, you can earn money by letting messages you choose play as ringback tones to whoever calls you. When your friends hear a message about a charity that matters to you — Cha-ching! You get paid! The best part is that you can turn around and donate the money earned back to one of your chosen charities.

     

    Umbrella Today?: After spending time to fix your hair and iron your clothes, getting stuck in the rain without an umbrella is the last thing you want to happen, and UmbrellaToday.com knows it. This Web site keeps it simple: Type in a ZIP code (where you are or where you will be), and you will receive a “YES” or “NO” answer for whether you should pack precipitation protection or not. The site also offers the option to receive text messages on days when you will need an umbrella. So don’t let Mother Nature rain on your parade!

     

    Found Cameras and Orphan Pictures: Losing a camera often means losing expensive equipment and priceless memories, so IFoundYourCamera.net and its partnered Facebook group work to reunite pictures and cameras with their owners. The site posts a couple pictures from lost memory sticks or film with a note describing where and when the camera was found and what other events have been captured by the camera.

     

    You can look through the pictures for fun or to see if you know somebody in any of them. If you recognize someone or have information that might help locate the owner, you can e-mail the site to help you, your friends or a complete stranger be reunited with their pictures. If you have lost a camera or memory stick, you can search the site based on location to see if anybody has found your orphaned pictures. If you find a camera or memory stick, you can send in a couple pictures with the what, when and where to help somebody else regain their photographed experiences. Check back regularly because founder Matt Prepost posts new sets of photos each Thursday.

     

    ChummyChums.com: Moving to a new city? Have you lost touch with all your old gal pals from high school or college? ChummyChums.com helps to connect you to girlfriends both old and new by matching your profile likes and dislikes with those of other girlfriends on the site. Even if you think you’ve got all the friends you need, try it out — you never know who you might meet!

     

    Up-to-Date Informers

     

    PimpMyNews: PimpMyNews.com is the perfect compliment to a busy fashionista’s go-go life. PimpMyNews collects the news and blogs you wish you had time to read and converts them to MP3s that you can listen to on your iPod, iPhone, MP3 player or computer. Brilliant! Create a profile on the site, click through the categories and select your favorite newscasts, fashion blogs and entertainment sites. Save the list, and then log in anytime to listen to your favorite topics. Or take the MP3 with you to the gym, the grocery store, the car — Ah, the joys of multi-tasking.

     

    Cincinnati Bell’s SpinVox: SpinVox, the other new Cincinnati Bell techy application, is a paid service that converts your voicemails to texts for a mere $5.99 per month. Who hasn’t been in an uber-important business meeting and wanted to know what her BFF had to say about that boy? SpinVox lets you check your voicemail on the sly.

     

    Mashable: If you want to be in the know about all the developments online, Mashable.com is for you. Don’t worry that you need to know your PHP from your MySql — Mashable is an easy-to-understand read for both tech and non-tech chicas. From reviewing Twitter and Facebook apps to cool sites that are thoroughly covered in the daily e-mail or RSS feed, you can know about sites like Umbrella Today? long before your friends do.1108SENSIBLE.gif

     

    Snopes: While e-mail alerts can provide sound advice, other warnings can be downright false, but it can be hard to tell the difference. Snopes does the dirty work for you. Search for e-mail rumors on the site and Snopes will tell you the status of each claim (true, partly true or false) and the history behind the rumor. So before you forward an e-mail chain to all of your contacts, make sure the information is legit.

     

    Travel Planners

     

    TripIt: With multiple flights, various hotels and a handful of car rentals, keeping your travel plans organized can be a headache, but TripIt makes it easy. E-mail all of your travel plans to TripIt and the site will compile all of your plans into an organized itinerary. You can also get information for your trip, including local restaurants, maps and weather forecasts. If you share your itineraries with your friends, you can see if any of your travel plans overlap so instead of getting coffee in Fountain Square, you could be meeting at the Eiffel Tower for a quick photo-op.

     

    MyGallons: Gas is pricey, but how awesome would it be to have control over how much you pay at the pump? MyGallons.com might be able to help in the future. Currently, this site is still in the works, but the idea is that you can stockpile gallons at a low price on a MyGallons Card and use those pre-paid gallons to fill up at participating locations when the prices rise. The MyGallons Card will work like a debit or credit card at participating locations. Those behind this brainchild are actively negotiating with payment networks that will allow your MyGallons Card to be accepted at most gas stations in the U.S. that accept credit cards.

     

    Right now, you can pre-register for a 50 percent discount off the annual membership ($29.95 for auto re-fills or $39.95 for manual re-fills). Pre-registration only secures your 50 percent discount and does not require any payment or commitment to the program. So before this site takes off and leaves you paying out the wazoo, you might want to sign up. Bookmark this site and watch for updates.

     

    Whether you’re sneaking through to voicemail or identifying lost pictures, these sites can help you Web surf your way to being the ultimate geek chic lady in this technosphere we call life.

     

    Honorable Mentions

     

    These sites are also worth your time to check out.

     

    • Mufin.com: music matching engine.
    • StumbleUpon.com: helps you discover Web sites you’ll like based on personal preferences.
    • Mint.com: personal financial planner.
    • HappyMedian.com: find a true halfway point.
    • TopTipsForChics.com: tips for just about everything clothing and life related.
    • AirlineMeals.net: Find out what you’re going to eat on your next flight.
    • SecretSanta.com: ‘Tis the season for Secret Santas!
    • Jott.com: Create to-dos and calendar items for yourself via your phone.
    • Oddee.com: the best collection of web oddities.
    • CalorieLab.com: Find out how many calories are in all your fave foods.
    • DailyLit.com: Read books in small e-mailed installments.
    • SomethingStore.com: Pay $10 and you will receive something from the store. (free shipping)
    • Pikaba.com: social networking shopping — You want an item, you post it and then you pick the best offer from retail merchants.


     

    PHOTO CREDITS
    Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography

    Location: The McAlpin

    Model: Kate Donnelly
    Makeup Artistry: Trina Paul

    Hair Styling: Liz Carter of Rustic Pear Hair Designs

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