Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Three Great Services

I had the thought that one of these soon-to-be-mentioned services would be the subject of my next blog entry but then it occurred to me --- combine them. I think you will see why shortly.

Great Service #1: Give Away of the Day

Every so often, my favorite daily must-read website, lifehacker, will showcase an article about a specific utility or program that is available for free. The catch - it is a current version but (1) must be downloaded and activated quickly, (2) it will not be supported formerly and (3) it will not be able to incorporate future updates.

So, I can get a working professional program to address my needs but I can't ask for support or expect updates? -- Sign me up! Lack of formal support or updates is not an issue for me - usually. With special interest forums and groups available on the Net, I am not too worried about getting a question answered. Also, if it works for my purposes - at no cost - then I won't miss the updates.

So where does one find such value on a daily basis? http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/

They provide a service to software vendors that helps them showcase and build some interest in new or existing software applications. For those of you interested in gaming, these nice folks also provide a similar give away for games - http://game.giveawayoftheday.com/

OK, so now you know where one of the best sources for value is on the web and you will visit it everyday to check, right? No need - they have an RSS feed that will tell you what the give away of the day is so you can decide if it warrants your time to check it out.

And that is a wonderful segue to my second essential service - RSS forwarding...

Great Service #2: http://www.rssfwd.com/

Let's assume we all know about RSS feeds. If you don't, go here to read about the topic - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rss

Many websites today present its visitors with RSS feed URLs that they can employ with RSS readers or RSS friendly browsers like FireFox. However, for those of us that would like to automate things a bit, there is a great service available from the folks at http://www.rssfwd.com/.

Just visit the website, supply the RSS feed URL (address) that you are interested in, and give the email address that should receive the feed. What happens is that you will now receive emails containing the RSS feed information. If you are interested, you can then navigate to the full article or website of the feed for further activity. It couldn't be simpler.

If you don't want to provide your regular email address, that is no problem, just give them an address that can forward to you automatically. You may want to setup an address (think GMAIL !) just for this purpose.

BTW, even this blog has an RSS feed and email notification service - just scroll to the end to try it.

Great Service #3: lifehacker

What can I say about lifehacker - that site was my inspiration for this blog and it continues to be my favorite daily read. It's much easier to have you visit the website rather than explain it. But here goes anyway --------.

The lifehacker website by Gina Trapani, is a repository of useful and valuable information about many things in life. You can find tips on the best study habits, the latest FireFox plug-ins, the best way to interview for a job, or the best available software. Gina, and her editors, select the very best from the net and create their own articles too.

The website has a search feature that works very well. If I want to restore a drive, check on available webcam utilities, or maybe find some DVD authoring tips, searching lifehacker is my first step and I am usually rewarded with great articles or at least some links to follow.

Oh yes, I find the reader comments to be great as well. It seems that good articles spawn good comments.

That's a hint folks. Let's see some comments from all of you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Searching for People on the Internet

When looking for a person on the Internet, Google is fine but there are a few services that are made to perform people searches better.

Here are three sites that can be valuable when looking for an online presence:
The more you know about someone, the more your search will be productive. Think about these items when planning a search:
  1. Does this person belong to any clubs or associations?
  2. Do they have a hobby that may result in some Internet presence?
  3. Can you focus on a location?
  4. Do you know their approximate age?
  5. Would this person be using job search or job networking sites like LinkedIn?
If any of these sites turn up an address, you could always then try YAHOO People Search, a telephone search site, etc. to get a valid phone number.

Give them a try. Start by using yourself as your first search target. That should help you to understand what each of these sites is capable of - and not capable of - when planning future searches.

Good luck!

30 Essential Pieces Of Free (and Open) Software for Windows

From December of '06 by the folks at SimpleDollar.com:

This is a pretty good list. It has everything from word processor to money management to email clients to photo editing. Many of the listed 30 software apps are still going strong today.

At least this is a good starting point if you are interested in free software for Windows.

Please share with our readers your experience, if any, with any of these listed apps. Or, share with us some alternatives if possible.

Regards, Joe