This past weekend I was looking for a custom icon for a desktop shortcut to a Web site. I found a great PNG image but need and ICO file. Instead of pulling up a graphic program I just headed over to Convertico.com, uploaded the PNG and got back my ICO in seconds.
Think about it, attaching a multi-megabyte file to an e-mail isn’t exactly the best way to send a file to someone. E-mail just wasn’t designed to handle files of that size. Instead there are plenty of different services today that will allow someone to upload that file to a temporary, or permanent, location, thereby giving the file a URL that others can use to retrieve it. But, which of these services to use? Box,net? Drop.io? Yousendit? Each has unique features that may, or may not, make it appropriate for your situation. If you’re looking for the right one for you, check out TechCrunch’s article 16 Apps That Make Sharing Large Files A Snap. Each of 16 services are briefly described but the best part is their comparison matrix which displays which features are covered by which service.
Microsoft has opened up a new service named Hohm (a combination of “H” for home and “ohm” the electrical unit of measurement, all pronounced “home”) designed to help you track what you spend on energy in your home.
Once you’ve signed up and have been accepted into the system, you’ll be asked to fill out a very detailed profile of you home including questions ranging from square footage, type of heating and cooling, whether you have a programmable thermostat to how many of what kind of light blubs you have installed. (In fact, it took me several sittings over a few days to get it mostly filled out and I’m still missing some information.)
In return, Hohm will give you recommendations on how you can reduce your energy expenses including estimated costs and benefits for each recommendation. (So far I’ve worked on changing out many of our old light bulbs and started insulating the water pipes in our basement.) The more questions in the profile you’re able to answer, the better your recommendations will be. As you add to or update your profile, the recommendations will automatically adjust.
Additionally, if your gas and electric supplier participate, you can authorize Home to automatically download your billing details into your Hohm account. In my case, neither of my suppliers participate in this new program, but I was able to do two things. First, I filled in the name of my providers with which Microsoft will send them requests for participation. Second, I was able to enter my payment data manually for the year so far. (I’ll also be entering the information as my new bills arrive.)
With all of this information Hohm will then provide you with a detailed report (mine is shown right) about your home and how much you’re spending on energy. If nothing else, this information has made me hyper-aware of how we’re using energy in our home. I’m hoping that this will show me a reduction in our energy costs in the long run.
Especially with the events relating to the attempted change to the OCLC terms-of-services over the past several months, librarians are sensitive to TOS changes. For those interested in what’s going on with TOSs for online services such as Amazon.com and Apple, and other technology companies such as Verizon and Comcast, the EFF now has TOSBack, the terms-of-service tracker. Every time one of more than 50 services changes their TOS, the changes are posted and highlighted on the site. Additionally, an RSS feed is available for easy notification.
Yep, Twitter’s down again. Oh, and so is Google. Want to know when they’re back up without re-checking yourself every few minutes? Just head on over to Notify Mee, enter the URL of the site and your e-mail address. When the site is back up, you’ll receive an e-mail. Patience, not included. You’re on your own there.
When was the last time you checked for broken links on your library’s Web site? If you can’t remember, or it’s been more than a month or two, head on over to the W3C Link Checker today and enter your site’s URL. Feel free to play around with the options, most importantly “Hide redirects” but there’s no need on a first run if you’re just wondering how much work you have ahead of you as a result.
Do you find yourself visiting particular Web sites a little too often? Sure, checking Facebook while at work is generally considered ok these days but 10 times in a hour may be just a smidge too often. If you find yourself in such a situation try keepmeout.com. Just enter the URL of the site in question, set a time period in which you shouldn’t be visiting that site more than once and click submit. Lastly, replace your bookmark to the site with the new URL you’ve been given. Now, if you use that bookmark a little to often, you’ll be warned that you’re doing so.
I’ve played with several different online services for sharing files (not p2p) and here’s another one. Dropbox gives you 2GB to start with and you have the option to buy more. There’s a complete online interface but it also has a downloadable client that allow you to put files into a specific folder on your computer which will automatically synced to your online account. Interestingly enough, it seems to be catching the eye of many tech librarians as I’ve already used it three times to share files with others in the last week.
(In the interest of full disclosure, each use of the link in this post which results in a new account will get me an additional 250MB of storage space.)
PostRank tracks your blog posts to see how “popular” they are in the larger world of the blogosphere. For example, post about your breakfast, you’ll probably get a low score. Post about something that a large number of blogs are talking about, Susan Boyle for example, and that post will get a much higher score. I’m not saying you should be specifically gunning for higher scores, but at least you can get an idea how your posts score against the larger blogosphere.