Do you need to show your wedding pictures to someone – or everyone – on the other side of the world? The Internet has always been an exhibitionist’s dream, but new photo-album sites let users share without setting up their own Web page. Dozens of companies have opened their shutters to the home photo business, with sites that let you display photos online – plus edit them, print them, and turn them into T-shirts (really). One will even hold your home videos – either for public viewing or VIP screenings.
Public-access cable for the Net set, Spotlife.com lets anyone with a Webcam show video online. “Channels” include Haven (to watch someone’s Aunt Sally and her parakeets), Voice (soapbox rants), and Blister (featuring “life aboard a carrier” by a user named leatherman33). Half-owned by Webcam-maker Logitech, Spotlife also broadcasts its own reality-based program about seven strangers in a San Francisco Victorian.
This photo-sharing and -storage site lets you organize a lifetime’s worth of snapshots, e-mail them to Grandma, and preserve them forever at no charge (though prints and “photo gifts” can be purchased). Zing’s selling point is its folksy design, which lends it a homey construction-paper-and-Crayolas vibe.
If Zing is the Fresh Samantha of online photo sites, this digital shoebox – the Web child of real-world chain Seattle FilmWorks – is Snapple. More established and formal in feel, it offers infinite free storage and posts your prints online (password-protected, of course) each time you develop a roll of film.
For those who feel uneasy turning their remembrances into RAM, Fuji trades on its brand name to provide assurance – for a price ($20 for a hundred pictures a year; convoluted payment scale thereafter).
Kodak’s foray onto the Web (the company also has an AOL site, You’ve Got Pictures) also charges for storage. But it makes creating a home page for your pet as easy as clicking a button.
Before Amazon was a spectacular e-commerce model, it was a spectacular rain forest; now you can use the Web to help save it. Following in the grassroots footsteps of the Hunger Site (www.thehungersite.com), which lets users donate food to the hungry by clicking a button and viewing an ad, EcologyFund.com gives money (from e-commerce sponsors like CharityMall.com) to organizations that buy wilderness land. Click to add twenty square feet to a Patagonian reserve for penguins, elephant seals, and sea lions. Click to help preserve 31 acres of Washington State forest. And click to rescue the offline Amazon.
Buying groceries online is quicker than navigating gridlock at Gristedes, but it’s hard to remember what you need in the dizzying e-aisles. What if you could just wave a magic wand over the contents of your refrigerator and make fresh food appear at the door? A new device called the Grocer-eScan gives the handheld Handspring Visor computer that power. The scanner reads the bar codes on your old products, and the software that comes with it uploads your shopping list directly to a participating supermarket or Web delivery service. A trial run is set for May in parts of Westchester; by summer, Grocer-eScan may be helping New Yorkers eliminate the trip to the store plus the extra step of lifting products into a Website’s electronic shopping cart.