Sponsored post – Lunchster helps you organize your lunch dates

The following is a sponsored post, commissioned by Lunchster, via Izea. Though this is a paid post, the words and ideas below are mine.

Hooking up with friends for lunch has always been a bit of a challenge for me, and I’ve always been looking for a way to make it easier. I don’t often write sponsored posts on my blog, but this opportunity came up and it looks like an application I’ll use, so of course I wanted to share ūüėČ

Lunchster launched (sorry) in beta today at DEMO fall ’09, a conference / tradeshow where, in the words of the conference organizers:

Each company is given just six minutes on the DEMO stage to truly demonstrate how their product will change the world. No PowerPoint or flashy corporate presentations allowed. Just the founders and the technologies many are staking their careers on… it doesn’t get any more straightforward and fast paced than that.

Time for Lunchster
Basically, Lunchster acts as virtual assistant that coordinates lunch dates between me and my friends using email, online calendaring programs (Google Calendar, etc) and even Facebook.

The process works like this:

  1. Sign up and log into Lunchster
  2. Either let Lunchster import your contact list, or manually enter email addresses of your lunch-mates
  3. Select a time, date and place for your lunch
  4. Confirm and send out the invitations

Lunchster does the rest. All your contacts will receive email invitations to your lunch, and can reply accordingly. If a date doesn’t work out, all contacts can tweak the lunch date or decline. Lunchster does all the work and you don’t have to coordinate email, IM, tweets, etc. It’s all in Lunchster.

My Take-away
Lunchster is cool. The interface is a little rough around the edges, but I really liked the way I could set up a lunch appointment — the application uses Yelp! to aid with restaurant choice, and works with my existing calendaring tools (Google Calendar and Outlook).

I’m not a big fan of allowing applications free access to my contact list (though Lunchster does say in multiple places that they don’t save my password, etc). Big points to Lunchster for allowing me to manually enter my lunch-buddies email addresses.

I guess the hard part for me is to get into the habit of using another application. As long as I remember to use it, I’ll use Lunchster the next time I need to coordinate a lunch.

You can join the Lunchster beta (it seems open) or follow @lunchster on Twitter, to keep up to date.

The preceding was a sponsored post for Lunchster.
Support My Sponsor

Code Of Ethics

Me? A Professional Blogger? Yep, somewhat.

Today I became a professional blogger for Future Shop, the Canadian technology retailer. Professional as in ‘compensated’ for my writing. No, I’ll not be leaving my most excellent day job, I’d need a bunch more of these to make blogging my sole source of income ūüôā and I’m not that prolific ūüôā

You’ll find me (and a bunch of other very smart / cool Canadian bloggers) writing for the Future Shop Tech Blog. Here’s the rest of the team:

Mathew Kumar
Paul Hunter
Buzz Bishop
Tris Hussey
Klaus Boedker

We’ve been given pretty-much free reign to write about whatever we want. So, in my case, I’ll be writing about things I’m passionate about; Technology, How-Tos, Reviews, Entertainment, etc.

To give you a bit more background into the Future Shop Community and the new Tech Blog, I thought I’d pose a few questions to Laura Buchanan, Future Shop’s Social Community Specialist and the Tech Blog manager. You can also read Laura’s kind introduction to the blog team here.

BG: Tell us a bit about yourself and the role you have at Future Shop. Social Community Specialist is a very ‘open’ job title ūüôā

LH: My job title is pretty unique – when I tell people that I’m the Social Community Specialist for Future Shop, at first, they nod politely, but this nod usually turns into a sideways shake of the head, their¬†eyes darting slightly as they say “uh huuuuhh…??”¬† So I follow this statement up with a more long-winded one: I manage the Future Shop Community –¬†an online tech enthusiast community for Canadians.¬† No, I don’t answer every question that gets asked.¬†¬†I’m responsible for the overall health and strategy for everything that touches the Community, including the forum, blogs, how-to videos and lots of other fun projects.¬† I joined Future Shop in this role¬†in November 2007 a¬†few months after the Community was launched.¬†¬†Future Shop was really one of the first companies in Canada to launch this sort of forum, so it’s been a pretty steep learning curve for everyone here – there was definitely wasn’t a manual!¬†¬†It’s a pretty fun job – you’ll never hear me say I’m bored!

BG: Can you give us a bit of background as to how the Future Shop Community came about?

LH: The motivation was simple: create a space where Canadians could connect with their peers, Product Experts and manufacturers on everything related to technology.¬†¬†The idea was¬†to help our customers make informed decisions that were right for them whether they were looking to purchase a new printer or needed some help figuring out how to connect with laptop to their tv.¬† To date, the community has over 125,000 posts, that’s a lot of techno stress relieved!

BG: How does the Tech Blog fit into this strategy?

LH: In order to keep our community healthy, we need to continue to evolve it and to give our users a reason to come back and a reason for new members to join.  The Tech Blog has always been part of the plan.  We want to provide our Community with as many resources as we can to help them make informed decisions.  We also want to spark discussion and debate about technology & consumer electronics, and see the tech blog as a great way to do that.

As a Tech Blog writer, I find myself in some awesome company. Generally speaking, how did you select the blogging team?

LH: When I started looking for bloggers, the criteria that I set up was that they were knowledgeable,¬†already blogging,¬†good writers and above all else, passionate about technology.¬† I had a few bloggers in mind already, but spent a lot of time googling, clicking through blogrolls and “asking around”.¬† I looked at dozens and dozens of blogs before shortlisting, then finalizing the team.¬† There’s definitely a diverse pool of expertise amongst the bloggers and we’re all very excited to see what sort of articles are going to come from them!

BG: Any other plans for the Future Shop Community you’d like to share?

LH: The Community is going to be a very dynamic space over the next couple months Рactually over the next couple of years.  I think the potential that it holds is only just now starting to be realized.

As you can tell, I’m a bit excited about this. Over the next little while, I’ll be looking into Linux, Netbooks, my Windows 7 beta experiences, and maybe even some casual gaming.

So do check it out. My fellow Future Shop Tech Blogs are awesome (and funny) writers and well worth the read. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.

The Future Shop Tech blog will be live on Friday May 15th. I’m looking forward to your feedback on it.