Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Tools For The Holidays

I've been subscribing to PC Magazine for about two years now, on and off. One of my favorite issues each year [and I've had the good luck to get them both, despite my less-than-perfect subscription record] is the "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites/ Top 100 Classic Web Sites". The Classics, as you'd assume, are the Usual Suspects [in fact, PC Magazine considered them so standard, they didn't even bother printing them in the magazine; they are available for quick-n-easy download at the web site], but the undiscovered sites included a few useful apps in the rough. In no particular order, here's what I liked:

Jott - Free speech-to-text service that allows you to update your blog, Twitter feed, or to-do list, from any phone. PC Mag said the conversions were "surprisingly accurate".

Oddee - Ya know those weird photos some bloggers seem to be able to lay their hands on? They probably found them here.

Damn Interesting - Slow day for posts? You may just find a launching-pad in this collection of, well, damn interesting factoids.
NationMaster - A storehouse for world data, set up to allow multi-national comparison based on customizable criteria. Who leads the world in chocolate consumption? NationMaster knows...
Searchme and Viewzi - two new ways to search. Searchme uses Apple's Cover Flow interface to present search pages as a series of horizontally-presented previews. You can also create "stacks" for later research. Viewzi combines visual search results from the standard sources, then lets you decide how to present them.
WhatTheFont - See a font you like on someone else's blog or web site? Upload a scan [or submit the site's URL], and WhatTheFont will e-mail you the font's name.
PicApp - A free stock - image service. Type in a topic or name [yes, they do celebrities, too], and it'll provide images for your blog [suggestion: be specific in your topic. I used "tools", and got several shots of a little girl at the beach, with a toy shovel [yes, it's a tool, but...] before coming up with some hand tools. Also, I had difficulties with downloading the photos [that could be some Blogger issue, or the network this computer is connected to. Just be aware of it].
Of course, there are many more sites included in the November '08 issue. Go and do research...
-Mike Riley

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