This site seems unusual at first -- until you think about how time it can save. Essentially, it’s a vending machine for the Internet. For $24 including free shipping, you can order 24 snacks for your office. More importantly, you can also save “snackpacks” so you receive them automatically every month. There are several candy bars, fruit snacks, and healthy foods. And, the site is very easy to use.
Looking for a short-term place to work is an unattainable objectives these days -- it’s not like Caribou Coffee lets you know whether there’s a free table. LooseCubes lets you know where you can work, and it's a work in progress. Today, you can pay a fee to use a cubicle or desk at a shared workspace, many in large cities. Eventually, the site plans to arrange free workspaces.
The best part of using this custom chocolate bar site is how easy it is to use. In a few minutes, you can choose the basic chocolate ingredient (e.g., dark), add extra candies or nuts, and enter your address. In a few days, your custom bar arrives. The interface is so slick we hope they start offering other candy besides the basic bar -- or even expand into cookies or other snacks.
This community-aid site helps you mobilize friends and family to bring meals to anyone in need. You enter their “meal train” at the site, including any food allergies or special needs, then let everyone know about the link on Facebook, Twitter, and through e-mail. Anyone who signs up can see which days are available to bring meals. You can lock the meal train so only those with a code can see that the family needs a meal, and you can also be a participant -- cook meals for those in your area.
So-called “single purpose” sites allow you to do one thing, but they remove all the clutter from getting it done. Other sites offer gift-wrapping services; GiftSkin.com just does custom wrapping. You can choose the style and mix and match themes, or upload your own photo. When you make the gift wrap, you can type in a custom message and the name of the gift recipient.
The name of this site is a little awkward -- it sounds too much like cowtip -- but its purpose is interesting. Once you register, you fill out some simple polls to gain points. After attaining higher levels, you can request products to test and host parties for specific companies like Old Navy. You provide the market research; in exchange, you earn reward cards and can donate some of your winnings to a charity of your own choosing.
7. Let's Lunch
Let’s Lunch is another unusual service that does something new -- in this case, it’s arranging a business lunch with people in your area (only a few select cities are involved now, such as San Francisco). You can then exchange ideas or even develop a partnership. The service borrows a few cues from Foursquare.com in that you can build up a better reputation by holding the best lunches.
AOL snapped up About.me just four days after launch late last year. The site allows you to show all of your relevant info -- your Twitter and Facebook accounts, a bio, and a few images. It’s essentially a small amount of info to introduce yourself before someone tries to connect as a friend.
Booking an appointment with your optometrist or internist is often a laborious process -- call the office, wait on hold, chat with a receptionist, find out whether the doctor is even around. ZocDoc.com shows you the exact schedule for the doctor you want to visit. You can book the appointment online and even send in your insurance credentials to speed up registration at the office.
A music discovery site, Hitlantis uses a unique interface with interlocking bubbles. When you click a bubble, you can explore other similar bands, zoom out and see related music genres, and play songs form that band. The service only includes indie bands, but (like Digg Labs) the interface provides a way to do freeform exploration and find bands you may not know about. Expanded to commercial bands, it could be a better paradigm than Pandora.