Wondering what you’re senator or representative has been up to lately regarding voting on legislation? Interested in tracking a certain bill or all bills on a certain topic? Check out OpenCongress.org. Enter your zip code to find your federal legislators or search of a certain bill and then subscribe to the related feed. Then, when something happens in Congress, you’ll know about it. Beyond the RSS features, you can also personally vote on bills and participate in online conversations. The powers-that-be may not read the results but it’s an interesting way to get to know what others feel about the issues at hand.
Wish that PDF was a Word document? Been looking for something that will do the conversion but doesn’t cost an arm & a leg? Try the online tool PDFtoWord. Just browse for your file, choose to output to .DOC or .RTF and enter your e-mail address. Just a few minutes after you click Convert, you’ll receive your converted file via e-mail. All for free.
Got a PDF you need to make some changes to? Check out PDF Hammer:
Use PDF Hammer to quickly and easily edit your PDF files online without installing a thing! Simply upload PDF files to PDF Hammer via your web browser, perform your edits, and then save the files back to your computer. The online editor allows you to view the pages of your PDF files as you edit them. The free PDF editor lets you:
- Combine PDF. Create single polished PDF files by merging multiple files
- Edit PDF pages. Quickly rearrange, reorder and delete the pages from
existing PDF files.
- Secure PDF. Protect the contents of PDF files with password-based
- Update PDF metadata. Make PDF files more useful and usable by setting
the document information (metadata) fields, including author, title, subject
PDF Hammer is 100% free and brought to you by the team behind Nitro PDF Professional — the award-winning PDF editor and true Acrobat alternative.
I’ve tested it out and it works! You can’t edit the actual content but it’ll do most of the things you’ll need to do to someone else’s PDF. This is going into my permanent online tools arsenal.
How’d you like a way to set your phone to ring at a certain time to remind you of something or to get you out of that blind date that might not be going so well? Give wakeruppr a try. As with most Web tools I tell you about, just fill in the form, click the button and wait for it to work. At the time you chose your phone will ring and when answered will read back to you the message you entered into the form.
As for cost here’s the skinny:
“Calls placed from the Wakerupper homepage are free, however the premium service carries a charge of 5? per minute. Keep in mind also that your telephone company may apply regular charges for receiving a phone call.”
Those that run Web servers know about .htaccess files. These files allow the Web master to control many things about individual directories in their site including setting the default file, pointing to a custom 404 page, redirects to alternative files, and, maybe most importantly, password protect a directory. Trouble is, these files aren’t always the easiest to write exactly correct. One wrong character and you’ve got unexpected results. Thanks to Michael K. Pate, for pointing me to the online .htaccessEditor. Just fill in the form with the setting you want to set and your .htaccess file will be written for you. Once done, just copy the code into the text editor of your choice and save it in the appropriate directory on your Web site. Very simple, very easy.
For some, TinyURL just doesn’t create a short enough URL. Even SnipURL results aren’t short enough. For those that need the shortest URL possible check out tinyarro.ws.
If you’re not sure how this works, the site takes advantage of some of those characters that you typically only see in the Wingdings font in Word yet are completely legitimate characters useable in URLs. Chinese characters are also used to make the URL even shorter. Additionally you get to choose which arrow you’d like to use. So, for example I’ve created the following tinyarro.ws URL for this blog:
The site allows you to choose one of twelve different arrow/star-based domains and you can also specify your own short word to use after the slash.
If you’d like to automate this process I’ve created a crude bookmarklet which you can on to your bookmarks toolbar. Once installed, just get to a page with a long URL, click this bookmarklet and you’ll be presented with a tinyarr.ow URL for that page ready to be copied and pasted elsewhere.
Granted, you’re not exactly going to get anyone to to type these URLs in so they’re only appropriate for links in pages or in serices like Twitter. Don’t try printing one of these in a print newsletter.
“Have a file you don’t know how to open? Think you need an expensive piece of software to open it? Chances are there is a great free program that’s just as good as the expensive one, and you’ll find it here.
“OpenWith.org provides detailed information about most file extension and links to free programs that can open and create each type of file. All of us at OpenWith.org have found ourselves helping our parents and friends open obscure file types time and time again, and decided that this information was best shared with everybody. There are plenty of great programs out there that will cost you hundreds of dollars to do what you need. What you probably don’t know is that there is usually free software that it just as good. You just don’t know about it.”
Sometimes Web pages are just too busy. You’re trying to read the main content of the page and ads are moving, pictures get in the way, and the layout is just a mess anyway. There are many ways to “solve” this problem but I’ve just found one that makes most any page easy to read in just one click. Head on over to the Readabilty project from arc90.com and check it out.
First select your settings. Choose from four different styles, four sizes, and four margin widths. (A sample output based on your settings are shown further down on the page.) Next, drag the Readability button onto your browser’s toolbar and you’re all done.
Now when you get to a page that you’d like to make more readable; this one for example:
Just click your new Readability bookmarklet and turn it into something like this:
Heads up, it’s not always perfect. I’ve had a few blog pages miss the main content and only reformat the comments from the bottom of the page. Despite this I’m already using this too constantly after just a few days.
Admit it, the e-mail that Twitter sends you when you have a new follower pretty much sucks. To find out anything about your new follower you have to go off to Twitter itself before you make the follow-back decision. Instead, you can set up your Twitter account to use twimailer. Once you’ve signed up and changed the necessary settings, your new e-mails will contain the new follower’s avatar, the number of followers they have and the number they follow. Also, the e-mail will contain their last ten tweets and a simple follow back link. This is what Twitter e-mails always should have been.
These instructions were originally posted on Clay’s Blog. I’ve modified them a little and added screenshots.
- First turn on the Developer Tab on the Ribbon by clicking on the Microsoft logo at the top left of the window and selecting PowerPoint Options all the way at the bottom of the menu. Next put a check next to the unchecked item to show the Developer Tab
- Go to YouTube and select a video to embed
- Copy the URL
- Open Notepad and paste the URL
- In the URL delete “watch?” and change the = sign to a /
- Copy the new URL
- Back in PowerPoint, on the Developer menu choose “More Controls”
- Select Shockwave Flash Object
- Click and drag on the PowerPoint slide to draw a box in which the video will appear
- Right Click the box and select properties
- Paste the URL into the Movie Property field
- Adjust the options for Looping or AutoPlay if desired
- Close the Properties window
- You can now adjust the size of the video by dragging the corners as needed
Your YouTube video will now play directly in your presentation provided you are connected to the Internet.