Tuesday, September 23, 2008

#64 One hit wonders

#64, the return Thing after the summer break is all about one-hit wonders. Some of them might be useful but others: well...

Site: CopyPasteCharacter.com Yep this one could be useful. If you want a £ sign like this, or an accented letter like this ä, or joy of joys a fraction like this ½. Yes, I could use this!

Site: Kuku Klok This online alarm clock might be useful I suppose if you happened to have pc or laptop around and no phone or clock. Of course, it might force bad risers to get up and go to the pc. The only sound I liked was the Cockerel which set a rooster crowing to herald the dawn but I don't think I would hear it in the bedroom. The Slayer guitar I would hear but it would drive me bonkers and get me up in a very bad mood. I am going to stick to the alarm on my phone and Classic FM on the radio.

Site: Stormpulse This site is for hurricane watching and I am sure that it would be very useful to track the progress of a hurricane. There were no hurricanes active when I looked at it but I tracked a couple of recent ones like Gustav and Ike. As far as I could see it covered only North America and particularly the East coast, so it is of limited local use in Australia. but it is a site that is good to know about.

Site: Pixdaus I had difficulty yesterday loading this social ranking for pictures site as the link always returned an error message. Tonight it is ok. The photos on the front page were fabulous. I didn't do any ranking but I did a subject search on Athens and came up with a few great photographs. You can get rss feeds so I subscribed through Bloglines.

Site: FakeNameGenerator I am not sure what I would use this for, though the Learning 2.1 blog suggests a use when wanting multiple email addresses or signing up for lots of things online. Well, Learning 2.0 and Learning 2.1 certainly lead to this need. Following on from my Athens search in Pixdaus, I wanted to be Greek but the closest was to be English based in the Greek part of Cyprus. I came out with the following:

Alicia L. Doherty
Πατησίων 27

Website: Blogndu.com
It looks like Blogndu.com is available! Click here to register it!

Email Address: AliciaLDoherty@missiongossip.com
This is a real email address. Click here to use it!

Phone: 2165139
Mother's maiden name: Fraser
Birthday: April 17, 1962

Visa: 4716 5595 3080 1051
Expires: 8/2011

UPS Tracking Number: 1Z 42A 73A 60 7301 811 1

Site: PicApp Creative or news related photographs can be found here under a variety of topics and they are all available for use in your blog or elsewhere. I found a couple of photos of the Acropolis under snow a few years ago and some historical ones of the Parthenon. You can email these photos or share them with a large number of places such as Facebook. The photo above is an example of an historic photo from PicApp. I emailed one to me and attempted to post one to Facebook. You could also get rss feeds from this site, so I signed up for that.

Site: Regator This site was offered as a place to find some more useful sites that could be investigated. Regator calls itself "a bite of the blogosphere's best" and has bites from blogs ordered in subject categories. I found a couple of sites randomly but there were lots of others to explore.

Site: PrintWhatYouLike.com is a simple point-and-click element removal tool to make printing sites and pages without printer-friendly links much easier, and without any software. Lifehacker was my source for this and much of the description in this paragraph comes from that blog. You paste in the URL of a site, and you'll get a left-hand sidebar that lets you click and and remove pictures, headlines, and other page elements. You can pull out the background image, isolate selected parts of the page, and even resize individual elements, change fonts, add and remove and put back elements, all in the name of reducing ink usage and improving readability. Better still, you can copy a link to the page you've just hacked to bits, giving web site owners with popular pages a free resource for printer-friendly versions. It seemed pretty easy and use-friendly for me.

Site: Crawlanime Downloadsquad drew attention to Crawlanime, a sort of Youtube that specializes in free Anime online. There seemed to be quite range of titles, and I looked at one with English sub-titles and another with Spanish sub-titles. I don't really like anime much, but can see that this is a useful source for those who like it. It is also a useful source of Japanese language material if your library has Japanese users, or Spanish for that matter if you go for the sub-titles.

I have been feeling rather jaded with Learning 2.1, maybe because of the break, or maybe because of the topics recently. However, I found this Thing great fun.

Monday, September 22, 2008

#63 PDF Form-Topia: PDF Form Filler Freeware

I found the Foxit Reader very confusing to load and to use. I went to the site and seemed always to be getting to places where I was being asked to pay or to use Trialpay to get Pro edition for a year. When I finally loaded a free version I didn't find it very easy to use. Yes, I know the instructions said to look at a video but I only realized that later. I opened a PDF and tried to edit it. When I clicked to Tools, Typewriter etc I got a message saying that this function was a Pro function and if I used it I would get marks. I persevered but really couldn't work out how to get it to type properly.

I don't think I'll be using it, though maybe I haven't tried hard enough as it is the end of a long and tiring day. The critical thing for me, however, is if we had this installed on public PCs how would the public work out how to use it? I don't think it is very intuitive and people would be put off by the messages about needing to pay for Pro to get the proper use. It's also easier to use a tool that doesn't require loading. I've tried de-install this from my PC and still seem to have the toolbar in Firefox. So I suppose now I need to play around with Firefox plugins....

#62 PDF Form-Topia: PDFEscape.com

After my challenges with PDF conversion last week, I was keen to look at some other options. So this was stimulus enough to get me back to Learning 2.1. I have been very slack and stuck at #61 for a couple of months. Of course, the US crowd have been on summer vacation so why shouldn't I take a winter one as well?

PDFEscape.com is a free online PDF reader, editor, form-filler and designer we are told. You can open PDF documents from a URL or open a saved PDF. I opened the PDFEscape.com url and decided not to register, though it said it was free, contrary to what I had thought. I immediately browsed my PC and selected a PDF version of the enduring power of attorney document that caused me grief on Friday. It loaded pretty quickly and then once I had worked out how to write and install the text it was all pretty easy. I then saved it as a PDF to my PC. I didn't get a message warning me that there would be a logo or anything and there wasn't. I opened the PDF to print and again no logo or anything. Have they changed it since #62 was posted?

Anyway, I found it a very useful tool and could imagine that I could use it with PDF forms. Conversion tools like Zamzar convert into another format and always lose something along the way. They have their place, of course. But this tool does what it says: it allows you to fill in and save a PDF in its own format.


Michelle over at Connecting Librarian has been posting about Wordle.net which creates lovely clouds from words. And now it can do whole blogs! I thought I would give it a whirl for a couple of my blogs and see what words I obsess about. This is the result for this blog Hecuba's story. The big featured words are not surprising given my addiction to Facebook and Boroondara and library.

My food blog, the Librarian and the Kitchen, came out thus. Yes, I understand most of the words. Greek food is something I am very interested in. And so fetta etc.
This was fun to do. You can change the colours and layout. I did find trying to load them into the blog a bit frustrating. You had to save to the Gallery to get the code and then it pasted strangely so that you had to edit it to get the HTML to work.
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