Wed Oct 14 21:55:53 +0000 2009
Bit of a Facebook fanatic? Like to tweet in your spare moments? If the answer to either of those questions is yes then you ought to point your browser at mashable.com. Mashable, around since 2005, describes itself as a social media and Web 2.0 news blog. So, for example, if you want to keep track of all the news there is to know about the blogging software Wordpress, this site is probably one of the best resources of breaking news about it. That's repeated across a range of dedicated channels, from Facebook to Flickr and much more. It perhaps stretches the remit a bit including similar information on browsers and all sorts of other software which might not be thought of as strictly 'social', but still manages to provide lots of detail for even the most hardened news junkie. Being about social media, there are loads of options for keeping on top of breaking news with RSS, twitter, etcetera.
John's Background Switcher
Wed Oct 07 21:37:36 +0000 2009
Just a few years ago we were all using film based cameras. The up and downside was that most of us had far fewer pictures to deal with. Jump forward to the present and you'd be hard pushed to find anyone with a film camera. We've all gone digital and that means we need new ways to enjoy all these snaps. Sites like Flickr help but to feed your image library to your PC there's nothing to match John's Background Switcher. It was already the best background image manager around but it's been totally reworked in version 4 to allow you access to a wide range of image sites, piping your preferred shots to your desktop in any number of engaging layouts. If you like your pictures you'll love John's Background Switcher.
Wed Sep 30 21:50:18 +0000 2009
If you've just about got your head around the concept of micro-blogging you'll know it's a huge number of people saying stuff in 140 characters or less. Of course you needn't say anything at all, instead letting the pictures do all the talking. A great service for seeing in near real time what pictures people are posting via Twitter is PingWire. It uses three of the most popular Twitter friendly picture services (twitpic, yfrog and twitgoo) to populate a rolling screen of images which updates roughly once per second, so there's always something new to distract you. Now all we need to do is have someone make it into dynamically updating wallpaper and we'll be all set. Smile for the camera!
Wed Sep 23 11:43:13 +0000 2009
If you're a bit of a happy snapper there's not much better on offer than the free Picasa V3 for both PC and Mac. But something new has arrived to usurp this stalwart of the picture world... Picasa 3.5! It's been twiddled, it's been tweaked and now we have better picture import, easier name tagging, simpler geotagging from inside the application (using Google Maps) and, perhaps best of all, face-recognition. If you already use Picasa this is a worthy upgrade. If you don't it's time to check it out.
Opera Mini Beta 5
Wed Sep 16 19:22:58 +0000 2009
For the blessed needing their mobile interwebs there's the iPhone (or maybe the HTC Hero) but for the rest of us there's our sad little brain-damaged Nokias and Sony Ericssons. However, thanks to the valiant efforts of those Nordic types at Opera we at least can enjoy the illusion of connectedness using their really rather good Opera Mini 4.2. Mind you, it's getting pretty long in the tooth, so it's great news that a fairly stable new beta (for the brave) of mini is available to anyone with a java enabled handset. Is it worth installing? Absolutely... beta or otherwise. Best thing, the ability to remember site passwords. Worst, still having to enter login details using a phone keypad!
ipadio - you talk they listen
Wed Sep 09 16:44:06 +0000 2009
Not long ago we sang the praises of startup AudioBoo. It's currently only available as an iPhone client, so we've found an alternative that will work with any phone anywhere - land or mobile. Called ipadio, the founders wondered why it wasn't a simple task to stream audio from a telephone through a website in realtime. A year of development and a patent later ipadio arrived. You can also use it online, either via their Facebook application or on iPhone or Android based handsets. It's not quite as slick as AudioBoo but it works across old and new platforms. Better still, it's free to private non-commercial users... other than your call costs of course.
Wed Sep 02 16:02:18 +0000 2009
Here's a handy tool that will save you time and perhaps the cost of getting in a graphics designer to optimise your website's images. Problem is, you can have two images that look identical on screen yet can be totally different in file size. Big image files are bad for business as they slow down page load times, especially if you have lots of them on a page. This is where Smush.it can help. It uses optimisation techniques specific to the file format to remove unnecessary bytes from images. It's a "lossless" tool, which means it optimises the images without changing the apparent image quality. You can try it on up to five images at a time located on the web, or download the tool as part of the Yahoo Developer Network which has created a Firefox add-on to analyse sites and recommend improvements to performance.
Thu Aug 27 09:14:48 +0000 2009
Microsoft has released a new application for non-windows mobiles (what it euphemistically calls 'feature phones' but really means 'dumb') which pulls together a range of tools you might want to access on the move. Called OneApp it's just 150K in size and presents a simplified interface to access favourite services such as Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, contacts and more. It only launches the bits you want to use with less need to store all your mobile apps on the phone. It tries to make your less-than-smart phone slightly smarter. Just make sure your dum-dum handset is one of those it currently works with.
Wed Aug 19 18:16:47 +0000 2009
We've looked at popular online games before on Web picks, featuring Quake Live as a superb example of what's now possible. But games don't have to be first-person shoot-em-ups to grip your imagination. Some may recall the rather fun and all too addictive games like Duke Nukem which provided hours of 2D entertainment. With today's better connections and much improved browsers it's now possible to play online games that are any bit as good as those early efforts. Our current favourite is Scarygirl by Aussie artist Nathan Jurevicius. It's a beautifully imagined game using flash to bring you something that evokes a Tim Burton type experience akin to his films Corpse Bride or The Nightmare Before Christmas. If you enjoy games and have some idle time to fill this is well worth a visit, if only for the beautifully imagined game visuals.
Mighty Optical Illusions
Thu Aug 13 12:34:39 +0000 2009
Most of us enjoy the distraction offered by optical illusions. You know the sort of thing... objects hidden within pictures or shapes which distort your vision to fool your sense of space. Well Mighty Optical Illusions, on the net since 2006, is crammed full of them. Regularly updated, this Croation site also offers a wide array of means to be updated -- from humble RSS to a range of Widgets to bring each new illusion to your desktop. And for those on the move you can now download an iPhone app to do likewise.