Tagged With web utilities

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Baresite is a simple web-based application which strips images and formatting from a web site to display just the bare bones. The above image shows how Baresite displays Google News on the left, and how the site looks during normal browsing on the right. If there is a news feed available on the site Baresite defaults to that, otherwise it strips down the HTML to a simpler form. While not every site I tested worked like a charm with Baresite, it's worth using on a mobile device for faster and cleaner loading pages or when you'd like a distraction free interface. For another site stripper, check out Finch.

BareSite

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Free size-comparison site Pective scales product images for your LCD screen to full size, allowing you to make a side-by-side comparison of your current clunker to that hot new phone you've been eyeing. You'll first be prompted for your diagonal screen size, then you simply browse and click to pull up full-size pictures. You can vote an image larger or smaller if it looks a little off, and add your own product images. There are a few handy reference points already there—nickels, compact discs, and the like—but the site would seriously benefit from a search function (which is supposedly in the works). Pective is a free web site that requires no sign-up; for geekier, you-type-the-dimensions comparison, try Sizeasy.

Pective

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A thesaurus is a repetitive writer's best friend, but what happens when you're looking for a specific word, the one that starts with a certain letter, or means the same things as that other word? Free word search site Tip of My Tongue makes it easy to find that word that's just out of your fuzzy mind's reach. Type in parameters on the left—letters the word starts with or contains, definitions it matches, and others—and the word matches appears instantly on the right. It's worth a bookmark for anyone who's struggled at their keyboard, only to just type in, say, "useful."

Tip of My Tongue

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The universal, high-speed-everywhere web isn't quite a reality yet, as anyone who's used a relative's dial-up or a seriously weak airport connection can testify to. Web page re-formatting tool Finch gives you just the text, ma'am, from any site you plug into its address box, stripping Flash, JavaScript, stylesheets, and even images from the layout. Tools like this often crop up for mobile phones, such as Google's Mobilizer, but Finch is made for the desktop browser. Some sites will work better with their graphical navigators removed than others, of course, but for anyone stuck with a fist-poundingly slow connection, or paying for every megabyte, Finch is a great bookmarket to keep handy.

Finch

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Free font-matching service Identifont is a good bookmark for anyone who works in words, design, or just has to occasionally match up hard-to-pin-down fonts. While not as automatic as the previously mentioned upload-and-analyse app WhatTheFont, Identifont leads you through a series of questions about certain characters, like how the tail on the "Q" is shaped, the style of the "$" symbol, and so on. After a maximum of 15 questions, you'll likely get a match from Identifont's huge database, or at least a remarkably similar font. If you're in need of an exact match for a weird font, Identifont is a free spot to dig deep for it.

Identifont

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The Red Ferret Journal points out a slick, Japanese upload-and-convert tool for giving photos that browned-out, decades-old look. Select a photo or paste in a URL (both words are written in English, as luck would have it), and hit the bottom blue button. The photo results aren't returned at full resolution, but, depending on lighting, quality, and, of course, modernity of subject, you can get pretty authentic-looking results without any image editor filters or plug-ins. The site is free to use, and (it appears) doesn't restrict upload file sizes.

Wanokoto

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If you're one of those folks who handwrites HTML, you know how laborious it can be to type out all the tags and descriptors for a simple but highly-efficient table. Kotatsu, a free AJAX utility, generates clean code for however many rows and columns you need, with optional class options thrown on the cells. The code is blog, personal site, and start page-friendly, and that's all there is to it (thankfully).

Kotatsu

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Need a phone line to receive a one-time fax or voicemails on a particular project, auction, or job search? Free service K7 hands out 10-digit Seattle-area phone numbers that can answer calls with customised voicemail greetings or accept faxes. You can access both the audio files and fax documents through your sign-up account, and the only restrictions are a 20-message/fax limit (the site starts deleting the oldest after that) and an account wipe out after 30 days of inactivity. Other than that, you've got a free bin to keep your personal numbers private and still get at your messages.

K7

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You already love the one-stop convenience of shopping online at Amazon.com, but chances are you're not getting everything you can out of this feature-packed shopping engine. Did you know Amazon can email you suggestions from Mom's wish list two weeks before her birthday? Automatically ship you a new case of toilet paper every two months? Refund the difference on the price of an item you purchased that went on sale? Several advanced Amazon features and third party apps and add-ons can help you get the best deals and the stuff you want delivered to your door right on time. After the jump, add our favourite 10 Amazon power-shopper tools to your cart.

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Need pointers to further reading on a certain area you'll be staying or working? Google Maps has added a "Mapped web pages" view to its advanced search options choices, displaying only pegs related to relevant web pages. Google Maps has always offered direct web links for businesses and places found in a search, but this view lets you see non-directly-related sites and a wider range of thoughts on certain places. Seems like a good vacation planning helper, or at least a nifty way to peek around your neighborhood's web activity.

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Tempo isn't the first or only web-based project tracker, but it conforms pretty well to whatever methods you prefer for entering and receiving data—email, Twitter and SMS messages, mobile or desktop browsers, or even RSS feeds. The site is geared toward those tracking personal or group time spent on particular clients, with a tag-based tracking system and all the graph and chart-y goodness you'd expect out of a data-rich site. Tempo is free to use in its "Adagio" version for one worker and one client, $5-$49 per month for incremental versions after that.

Tempo

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Want to share a presentation with friends, co-workers, or the web at large without worrying about who does or doesn't have PowerPoint installed? authorStream, a free presentation sharing site, offers the same kind of embed-anywhere utility as previously-posted SlideShare, but also provides options to download presentations as MP4 video files, putting slideshows with or without audio one step away from YouTube, iPods, DVDs, or whatever format comes in handy. To work as video, presentations must have either recorded narration or rehearsed timings added in PowerPoint, which the Digital Inspiration blog explains in detail at the via link below.

AuthorStream

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Running a home web server and need to lock it up? Want to set up standard hosting for multiple sub-domains? Don't worry about tinkering with Apache server's arcane .htaccess file, just tell the .htaccess Editor webapp what you're looking for. The site's interface is a good deal better than many of its ilk, meaning you can usually guess what it's asking for and why. For budding web tinkerers and those with their own storage space, .htaccess Editor is a time-saving tool worth checking out.

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Find out how to say a word you're unfamiliar with at web site Forvo. Aiming to one day have "all the words in the world pronounced"—including words in 23 languages—Forvo relies on users to generate both words in demand and the proper pronunciations of those words. So you could, for example, check out the pronunciation of different cities, and if you can't find the city whose pronunciation you're uncertain of, just head to the add a word page and put in a request for the word you want. Alternately, you can head to the pronounce page to record pronunciations of words you know. Forvo has a simple aim, but it's a great idea for harnessing a bit of social web power.

Forvo

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You've just read about a cool new web app or informative article on Digg, Slashdot, or some other link-heavy site, so you hit the link and ... minutes later, you're still hitting refresh and seeing 404 errors. Just before you give up, try loading the site in Coral Cache, a free service that uses a distributed server network to keep content from being overwhelmed—i.e. "Slashdotted" or, as is sometimes the case, suffering from the "Lifehacker effect." No software or bookmarklet necessary, just add ".nyud.net" to the end of any URL. You may get a slower load and occasional formatting wonkiness, but it's often more up-to-date than the Google Cache version, and a helpful work-around.

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Internet start page PageOnce aims to integrate all of your online accounts in one central location. Currently PageOnce can handle and display widgets monitoring everything from your social tools, like Gmail and Facebook, to financial tools, like your phone bill and your bank account. If handing banking passwords over to a start page startup makes your security-side wince, you're not really alone, but whether or not you're comfortable with that, the social aspects are still worthwhile. Any way you slice it you'll have to put some trust in PageOnce when you hand over any login credentials. That said, there's no question that the idea behind PageOnce—that you can access all of your online accounts from one central location—is a useful one. The site is currently in private beta, but if you're ready to give it a try you can start an account through a link on the TechCrunch post.

PageOnce

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Moonk, a free Flash conversion application, serves as a one-stop shop to turn your photos, videos, or music into slick-looking embeddable boxes. Sure, YouTube and a wealth of other hosting sites can do much the same, but for those who don't want to add their videos or other media to a search-able site or mess with privacy settings, Moonk lets simply make your media files web-playable. New users get 500 MB of storage—pretty generous, considering the small size of the Flash output. I also like the uncluttered interface and straight-forward conversion tools, compared to similar tools of its kind. Moonk is a free service, but requires a sign-up to use.

Moonk

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Web site ShortcutGuide is an illustrated, interactive keyboard shortcut guide for discovering and learning shortcuts in anything from Windows to Gmail. The guide highlights all keys that have shortcut significance, and when you hover your mouse over a shortcut key, it displays what the shortcut does. If you're rocking a Dvorak keyboard layout, ShortcutGuide even rearranges the keyboard layout appropriately. If you're not into traditional shortcut cheatsheets, this interactive guide is certainly worth a bookmark.

ShortcutGuide

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US-centric: Free web site TrackThePack offers an interface to simultaneously keep tabs on FedEx, DHL, and UPS packages. It sounds similar to previously mentioned PackTrack, but TrackThePack keeps your packages on its own page rather than moving you to the shipping companies' web sites. It currently tracks only the three major private package firms, and can save your all-in-one screen through a free account or by your IP address. For corporate workers and serious online gift shoppers, it could serve as a handy toollbar link.

TrackThePack