Yahoo Games: Pool
Wed Jan 05 17:21:13 +0000 2011
Given the festive season has now passed us for another year, we must all put away our toys and return to grown-up pursuits once again. Well you can most of the time. But all work and no play makes for a terrible work/life balance. So, as part of your New Year's resolutions, perhaps you should resolve to spend just a little time in non-work pursuits. And what better way to let off a little work-related stress than a few quick rounds of the very old, in web terms, Yahoo Pool. Part of Yahoo Games, which itself came into being around 1997, this java game is a classic 2D two-player affair and you can challenge anyone else on the network. Better still, if your window of opportunity is tight, you can determine the length of time for each player to take their turn. It's undoubtedly retro when compared to more modern online gaming fare, but it's no less fun for the lack of all the latest gaming bells and whistles.
eBay Sidebar for Firefox
Wed Dec 22 15:04:34 +0000 2010
It's hard to recall a time when there was no Amazon, no online flight booking or auction sites like eBay. So much of our daily commerce has moved to a self-service model where we find what we want and buy it direct over the web. If you're buying then and there it works a treat. But it's not quite so simple if you're taking part in an eBay auction, as it's very easy to miss auction deadlines and that vital item you wanted to get for Sean's Xmas stocking. This is where eBay has a solution. The company offers a range of free tools for Internet Explorer and Google's toolbar. There's also a plug-in for Yahoo Messenger users. But the really compelling option is the eBay Sidebar for Firefox. It adds an eBay logo to the top of the browser which, when clicked, opens a sidebar window showing you all your tracked auctions in your preferred country service, the current bid value and how much time is left. One click and you can be placing your bid. So if you find yourself buying more with eBay, this is a must-have add-on to Firefox which will make winning those auctions just that little bit easier.
Thu Dec 16 11:30:07 +0000 2010
One of the challenges for anyone with multiple layers of presence on the web is how to pull all these strands together as one cohesive package. Imagine the scenario... you have a blog, a company website, a Facebook page and a twitter account. Each caters to different audiences but what you want to do is pull together all your main site's updates on one platform so that they can appear on your various social media locations. To date that's been challenging but now one company may have an answer. dlvr.it allows bloggers, publishers, brands or anyone with a web presence to take any website's published content as RSS (most websites and blogs do this automatically) and port it into services like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. It's literally a five minute job to get dlvr.it to start taking your selected RSS content and drop it onto your Facebook wall, LinkedIn company page or Twitter ID. So now you can publish just once and, thanks to RSS, allow dlvr.it to do the rest.
Wed Dec 08 17:45:12 +0000 2010
Perhaps the oldest of the 'social' sites on the web, the photo sharing service Flickr was originally launched at the start of 2004 and acquired by Yahoo in early 2005. Today there are loads of image sharing services but Flickr remains one of the most polished. Better still, if you want to try the service, which recently went through some UI improvements, you can sign up for free and get a pretty generous 300MB per month for photo uploads, plus two videos. Video uploads were introduced in April 2008, though remain limited to 90 seconds per movie. With great image management and sharing tools plus the ability to geocode and tag your photos, Flickr remains the gold standard for anyone who is serious about their photography.
The Last Word
Wed Dec 01 15:24:15 +0000 2010
If you're a bit of a geek at heart then this week's site will be right up your street. Based on the New Scientist magazine's long-running section of the same name, The Last Word is literally a place where you can ask that niggling question that's always bugged you. Examples include, "What causes the loud noise produced by an electric kettle while it is heating up the water before it boils?" or, "What is the theoretical maximum sprint speed that a human can run for 100m sprint and why?". It's not the sort of site you'll find yourself spending much time at, but it's perfect lunch-break fodder and ideal for stocking up on interesting, though mostly useless, facts to bore your colleagues with down at the pub. The one dowside is the seeming lack of any RSS feed, which is a bit of a faux pas for a service that's really made for it.
Fri Nov 26 13:31:29 +0000 2010
Apart from the phonetic spelling of this service's name, it's pretty clear what it's here to offer. You can sign up for a free account that lets you record voice messages through your browser or from your phone, edit them and then share your pearls of wisdom as a podcast. There are paid for options that let you also add features -- such as matching slides to go with the audio -- but the essential services are free. It's a little bit like AudioBoo but, as yet, lacks any apps for the iPhone or Android platforms. The site is well designed, easy to navigate and suprisingly simple to master. Care to podcast with pictures anyone?
Wed Nov 17 15:39:17 +0000 2010
Gmote, as you might guess from the name, is something to do with remote control and Google… Google Android to be precise. Gmote is an app which allows you to get funky with your office or home’s networked PCs. We've mentioned it before, but since version 2.0, after putting Gmote server on any PC you want to access (also works on Macs and Linux), you can either stream audio or video to your Android phone over your Wi-Fi connection, or you can use the phone to control the pointer on the PC, opening applications and even typing in web addresses or other text from your phone’s screen. It literally turns your handset into a glorified remote control for the PC. Obviously in a home context this can be very handy. In testing this app we used an old laptop connected to a flat screen TV and were able to control everything on the PC/TV combo whilst lying prone on a couch (purely for testing purposes). That’s progress!
Wed Nov 10 19:07:47 +0000 2010
If there was one thing I knew I was going to miss when moving to an Android based phone, it was going to be the very handy, and free MyPhoneExplorer from FJ Software. The Austrian developer created a PC based software package which would communicate with your symbian powered Sony Ericsson phone, syncing your calendars, contacts and text messages. It also allowed you to sync with Outlook and Google Calendar, thus keeping you up-to-date on your phone, your PC and the cloud. You could even use your keyboard to send texts directly. It was simply a great tool; so good I donated some cash to support its development. So it's fantastic news to discover that it's now back for Android. As of version 1.8 Android is now supported and, connecting via USB or WiFi, any Android user can use it. So if you're not so keen on the proprietary tools for syncing from phone manufacturers, check out MyPhoneExplorer. It's one of a kind.
Wed Nov 03 21:04:23 +0000 2010
I've always been a fan of those computer screensavers which try to decode the SETi project's data looking for alien transmissions, to others which try to unravel complex DNA protein structures. They all work on the basis of relying on when your computer's not in use. However, the human eye and brain are yet to be matched by our PCs, so scientists have now turned to their flesh and blood owners to help decipher masses of the UK's Royal Navy weather observations, taken by many ships since the time of WWI. The problem is all this useful data is locked up in paper books. Already some 8pc of the scanned ship's logs (107,257 pages) have been read and transcribed by volunteers all over the web, turning this dusty old data into immensely useful records of what the weather was like 100 years ago. This all helps to improve predictive models of what's happening and is going to likely happen to our weather as we pump yet more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. So, if you want to do your bit to help scientists make the right predictions, point your browser to this site and fill in some of the blanks. It's one job that needs you, rather than your PC, to make it a success.
Wed Oct 27 18:42:57 +0000 2010
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to dash off a quick picture or graphic for a blog and you just happen to be nowhere near your own PC? It’s on these occasions, which can occur more often than you might imagine, that tools like GIMP Portable, a popular Windows image editor packaged as a portable app, so you can take your images with you and do your editing on the go. However, on occasion you still might be caught short. That’s where the online image editor Pixlr is a real gem of a service, worthy of a spot on anyone’s favourites list. It loads very quickly presenting you with a layout which will immediately look familiar to anyone used to using tools like Photoshop. In a matter of moments this allows you to upload or access an online image and perform a range of typical tasks, such as re-sizing, re-touching or cropping. Requiring a browser running flash, it’s an excellent companion for those times when you just need to knock out a quick image resize and time’s not your friend. Can 42 thousand Facebook fans be wrong?