I don’t write much on this blog about the gadgets and applications I use, but I’ve recently started using several things that I thought people might want to know about and try for themselves (if they don’t know about them already). I often assume that everyone already knows about the things I’ve discovered, but after giving a lot of talks where I talk about these things, I’m starting to realize that isn’t the case. We all can’t keep up with everything, so it’s inevitable that we’ll miss some great little gem out there that could revolutionize the way we do things online.
Here are a few of the things I’ve discovered over the past couple of months:
I know, I’m probably the last person to get on the FriendFeed bandwagon, but I figure maybe one of my readers hasn’t heard of it. FriendFeed is a tool that allows you to follow what your friends are doing in all of their social applications. So if you want to see what I’ve been doing on this blog, in del.icio.us, Flickr, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIN, Pandora and Slideshare, you can follow me on FriendFeed. It’s a nice place to keep up with what your friends are up to without having to visit all of their many sites and profiles. You can even subscribe to your feed of aggregated FriendFeeds in an aggregator, which means I don’t even have to add a new site to those I regularly visit.
Roku is my newest toy. Roku takes advantage of the Netflix Watch Instantly feature by allowing you to stream things from Netflix onto your television. Since most people don’t really want to watch movies on their computer, this is a fantastic little tool. It’s very simple: you just add movies and TV shows to your queue and then browse through the queue on Roku and choose what you want to watch. It only takes about 15 seconds to start playing on my connection. I wish Netflix had more stuff available for instant streaming, but I’ve got a pretty good-sized queue on there of movies and TV shows I want to watch, so that should keep me busy for a while.
I know Remember the Milk has been around forever and I actually had an account from a long time ago that I’ve never used and forgot the login for. But I’ve been skimming the book Getting Things Done and just recently read a post about how to incorporate GTD into Remember the Milk. I followed the instructions (well mostly — I’m not a total GTD convert, but I pick and choose what works for me) and now have a great system for keeping up with all of my projects and tasks. It’s fantastic. There’s also a Firefox extension that integrates RTM into gmail, so my tasks are always in my line of sight when I’m at my computer.
I’ve recently gotten very interested in widgets and since I’m a cut-and-paste techie, I need tools that will do all the hard work for me. I’ve been pretty happy with Widgetbox and noticed that a number of libraries are using it. I particularly like Penn State’s Research Jumpstart idea. I just discovered Sprout (thanks Infodoodads!) and can’t wait to start playing with it. Netvibes Universal Widget API certainly looks useful for developers, but not so much for me at this time.
280 Slides is awesome!!! I can’t believe someone went to the trouble to create what is essentially a web version of Apple Keynote. I played with it yesterday and was very impressed with its ease of use. So, for those of you who non-Mac users who fantasize about creating a presentation with Gradient and Gill Sans, here’s your chance! 😉
So, what cool things have you found recently? While you may think everyone and their cousin knows about it, chances are you’ll be giving someone a useful tip they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
I just discovered FriendFeed too! There are so many new things happening out there, I think it’s impossible for one person to keep up with them all, so I rely on my network to help me informed of the cool things they find. Right now I’m diggin’ Plurk.com (sort of like twitter, but more visual), I’ve also played with Twine, Zigtag, and BrightKite.
I had heard of some of these, but not all. The better part is that this was just the post I needed on just the right morning to get me to do something with these tools. Thanks for the nudge!
I’ve been meaning to mention Jott to more people, and your post inspired me! I’ve done a quick write up at http://dotlibrarian.blogspot.com/2008/06/nice-tech-toy.html.
Thanks for this post; 280 slides was a new one for me. Today I just read about a tool to find more resources based on a particular Del.icio.us account, called inSuggest. It’s really easy to use (kind of like Stumble-Upon but based on a Del.icio.us account.
I also like Blist, labeled as the world’s first online social database (I posted about it back in February). Plus, they keep adding features like the ability to import from Excel.
A few other tools that I’ve heard of recently but haven’t had too much time to play around with include: Drop.io (filesharing), iBreadcrumbs (records the Web pages visited, bookmarks them, and provides organization and collaboration tools), Snapcasa (easy screenshot tool), and, of course, there’s Acrobat.com.
I look forward to continuing to read everyone else’s suggestions!
I was probably deleting my FriendFeed around the time you were setting yours up. I’m not sure why exactly, just that it was something that I wasn’t paying much attention to that was at the same time making a quick and easy feed of virtually everything I did online. Nothing wrong with FriendFeed, it just wasn’t for me.
One “new to me” site is coComment which I tried again thanks to you and Greg Schwartz doing the comment challenge thing. I tried it when it first come out and found it too tricky to use. Now I quite like it.
I also got going on Tumblr recently. That site isn’t really new, but it seemed like a good place to park some stuff that catches my eye–things that I want to highlight more than just shoving them into del.icio.us, but that don’t fit my “real” blog.
Don’t know how I missed Remember the Milk, but thanks for sharing! I could be the last to discover Digsby (http://www.digsby.com), but that’s my latest find.
Most of these were new to me, so thanks for taking the time, Meredith. I thought Feed Informer was new, but then remembered it used to be known as feeddigest, which I have used before and liked. Drop.io is also on my “to explore” list. I’m all about keyboard shortcuts these days, exploring things like Quicksilver and Text Expander for the Mac, and a Text Expander clone on the office PC (can’t remember the name just now). Oh, and Launchy for the PC (somewhat similar to QS).
i hope you’ll post about Second Life if you get into it…we could really use a good explanation of the basics and you’re a prime candidate to provide that!
I find FriendFeed almost overwhelming… all the feeds from all my friends = information overload for me. Every now and then I glance at my friends’ friendfeeds, but that’s about it.
Thanks for this. Feed Informer was perfect for something I needed to do at work.