Free markup sharing site A.nnotate offers a simple tool for letting co-workers or friends comment and review a document or web page without installing specialty software or hosting a web conference. Upload a Word document, PDF, or other file, or just pass A.nnotate a web page address, and you can start highlighting text or choosing areas to leave notes, either in the margins or as floating boxes. Once a page is started, the creator can email links to as many people as they want to comment. A free account at the site gives one person about 25 pages per month to offer for markup with unlimited annotators, but advanced offerings are available starting at $10 per month. A.nnotate
Tagged With web application
Cubescape, a free design tool from code wizards The Man in Blue, is a refreshingly easy way to design a great-looking logo, send a memorable message, or just doodle with the simplicity of stacked blocks. The controls are super-simple, consisting of coloured and clear blocks you drop and arrange into patterns and a tool to destroy your errors. Hit "Save," and your design is locked away, and you can link to a time-lapse animation of how you built it. Feel free to send the URL to that discouraging high school art teacher. Cubescape
For certain projects, even the gargantuan list of pre-installed fonts on your system just won't do. When you want to create your own font but don't want to learn the archaic process for doing so, you want free font designer webapp FontStruct. FontStruct provides simple tools to colour in integrated blocks. You can fill out just one key letter or a whole font, distribute your creation freely or with rights reserved, and offer it up as an easy-to-install TrueType font. Using FontStruct's tools requires a free sign-up—or you could just browse FontStruct's library of original fonts for download. FontStruct
Looking for an easy way to stitch together a cluster of photos you took of that great vacation scene? MagToo, a free online panorma-sharing service, offers a free online tool to create 360-degree panoramas (or more simple wide-angle stitches) and share them from a flash applet on its site or embedded on another. As the Digital Inspiration blog points out, you have to use Internet Explorer 7 to create the panoramas in MagToo's ActiveX app, but the Flash-based viewers can be seen in any browser. For a guide to creating high-quality stitches yourself, check out our guide to panorama-stitching with free software. MagToo
Setting up a personal wiki is a great way to set up a digital notebook for your thoughts and tasks, but it also requires getting familiar with the Wikipedia editing system—asterisks, brackets, and all. Luminotes has you simply start typing, using familiar rich text buttons to add bullets and other styling, and a simple linking and tagging system for your notes. There's options to share and collaborate with others, as well as easy exporting and printing. Luminotes is available both as a package for hosted web space and as a somewhat-limited free account at Luminotes' servers.
Twiddla, a free whiteboarding service that doesn't require sign-ups to start using, turns any web site, photo or graphic file into a canvas for marking and discussion. Winner of this year's Technical Achievement award at the SXSW festival, Twiddla isn't the only whiteboard service, for sure, but its ease of use and quick setup and extra features—including live conference-call-style audio chat—make it a stand-out. You can check out Twiddla's features without even launching a "guest" account by trying out its live "sandbox" mode. For web workers, design types, and anyone needing to draw out or discuss an idea, it's a worthy tool to keep bookmarked. Twiddla
Microsoft offers a helpful little box to type your security phrases into that instantly grades them as "Weak," "Medium," and "Strong." Before the inevitable eye rolls and comments on the concepts of "Microsoft" and "security," see the Windows-maker's helpful suggestion on building a tough password:A strong password should appear to be a random string of characters to an attacker. It should be 14 characters or longer, (eight characters or longer at a minimum). It should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.I was kind of surprised to see that one of my standard passwords was rated "Weak," while my previously-thought super-strong password was just "Medium." Worth checking out, and maybe taking to heart if you've got more than a few weaklings in your web login list. Password checker
Instant messaging and email are great ways to quickly get ideas and notices across quickly to co-workers, but sometimes an actual, real-time chat session can save you time on replies and confusion. ChatMaker, a free web chat application, instantly creates online chat rooms after you type in the name for one. Inviting others into the chat is as simple as sending them a human-readable URL, and nobody has to sign up or answer an invitation email. The chat interface is simple and familiar, but you don't get as much flexibility and control as with more old-school solutions like Internet Relay Chat. ChatMaker is a free web service, no sign-up required. For more group chat options, check out Google Talk and the (very) similar ChatCreator.
It can seem like almost everything you look at on the web has an RSS feed to subscribe to—until you find the web site that's both vitally important and entirely feed-less. Enter Dapper, a free, advanced web app that walks users through a process of creating a feed for sites, or even just portions of sites, that lack one. We've previously mentioned tools like FeedYes that promise a similar function, but Dapper offers a lot more customisation, letting you choose which sections of a site should be delivered to your reader, a custom iCalendar or iGoogle page, and many more options. Combine Dapper with a tool like Yahoo Pipes, and you've got a direct line to any update on the web.
As the last few days of 2007 slip away, make a New Year's resolution to get your finances in order with Wesabe. A few months ago Adam kicked Mint's tires. After giving Mint a whirl, I knew it wasn't for me. With Wesabe's plethora of features, open source mindset, and strong community backing, it's the perfect money management app for my needs.
Unless your friend happens to carry the exact mobile phone you're looking to buy, getting a hands-on demonstration isn't always easy. Provider stores are often stocked with non-functioning dummies, or lack the exact model you're eyeing. New web site TryPhone aims to help phone buyers go beyond looks and see how a phone operates when you, say, pull up recent calls or start typing a new text message. The site only carries four popular models at the moment—the iPhone, BlackBerry Pearl, Verizon Juke and Sprint Muziq—but claims it will be adding phones weekly. If you're wavering between two phones, TryPhone's interface preview could help make the decision.
Gently remind yourself and others of upcoming tasks via email with web app HassleMe. HassleMe is similar to FutureMail but is more appropriate for tasks that you know you should be doing but just keep forgetting to actually do. You can setup recurring reminders to get a haircut, go to the gym, eat your vegetables, etc. Conveniently, HassleMe wraps the registration process into your first reminder. What reminders do you need? Share in the comments.
HassleMe [via Life of an Internet Entrepreneur]
Send outgoing email messages from a different email address using Acebird.com. Acebird is a web app that seems to do the impossible. You can send email that appears to come from any email address (even those that you don't own). At first blush, Acebird seems like a very controversial application. While Acebird certainly has many practical applications, it can also be used to do heavy damage. Nevertheless, if you ever have a legitimate need to send email from someone else's account, Acebird is a good way to go about doing so. There are two ways that I've been able to identify email coming from Acebird: the mailed-by server is "gator344.hostgator.co" (when it should be something more recognisable like "gmail.com"), and there is no way to customise the name of the sender. Other than that, the email sent by Acebird appears totally legit. Anyone else freaked out?
Free email web site Lockbin offers a software-free, no-sign-up method of keeping outsiders from reading your messages. The process is fairly simple—after clicking through an agreement and CAPTCHA page, you write your message and choose a secret word. After you tell the recipient the de-coding word (hopefully any way but email), they can read the message once on Lockbin's site before it's deleted forever. As the site itself notes, it's not perfect encryption, but it's a pretty easy way to keep email snoopers away from your message. One footnote: Two test emails I sent yesterday were delayed for more than four hours, but another message went through instantly this morning. If speed is a necessity, try encrypting your own email or using Greasemonkey to encrypt Gmail.
We've previously highlighted unnecessary meetings as a workplace practice that should be over, but not all of us call the shots. For those brave enough to point out the cost of unnecessary meetings, or look at the cost of their own time, salary comparison website PayScale offers the free webapp Meeting Miser. The in-browser timer uses actual or estimated salaries of everyone in the room to tally up the cost of a meeting by the second, the minute, or in total. There are lots of personal timers with more functionality out there, but Meeting Miser's narrow time = money focus makes for a persuasive argument. Meeting Miser is free to use, but requires a PayScale registration to save meetings for later reference.