Author Archive

iPod Touch/iPhone Apps

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

For those of us with the iPhone or iPod Touch, the cost of applications can quickly add up. There are a variety of applications to try. Some are useful, some aren’t, and I always seem to want to try them all. A free way to, potentially, get a few apps is the website appgiveaway.com. This website is essentially a commericial for iPhone apps. It allows users to read about apps and, if they like them, enter to win. No purchase is necessary and the site is very straightforward.

A great site for learning about iPhone applications can be found here. This page, part of Webdesigner Depot, lists 40 of the most useful and fun iPhone applications. One of the biggest surprises for me was an application I’d never heard of before – the Classics application which offers a variety of classics books to read on the iPhone.

There is also a good deal of news about new iPhone/iPod apps as of late. At its annual conference Apple announced a new model of the iPhone, as well as a new operating system. This OS, iPhone 3.0, offers a variety of new features including the much desired landscape keyboard, multimedia messaging, and the ability to search your iPod contacts, mail, library, etc. Click here for more information courtesy of CNET.com.


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The Five Minute Vacation

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

In the keeping with the spirit of Craig’s great idea to post websites to help you laugh in tough times, I’ve compiled a list of websites that I use to relax and take my mind off things for a while. These websites are great for a “five minute vacation.”

Kongregate offers a variety of free flash games to keep you occupied. While not incredibly practical, this website is a lot of fun.

The National Security Agency website offers a great website called CryptoKids. This service offers a basic introduction about making secret codes, ciphers, and learning about cryptology. I’m sure adults wouldn’t be bored either!

The Daily Show’s website offers full episodes on demand, as well as the ability to watch embedded clips of specific segments.

Can’t make it to KDL? Guinness World Records also has a website. (Waste of time? Probably. Totally addicting? For sure.)

And, as has been blogged about before, Hulu.com offers a plethora of viewing options.

Even though things are stressful right now be sure to take 5 or 10 minutes a day to relax. You’ll feel better.


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Get Healthy Online!

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

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Most of us don’t eat as well as we should. Sometimes it’s too many empty calories or just too many calories or not enough of the right kind of calories. As with everything, there’s a website for that! Thedailyplate.com, now part of livestrong.com, offers a fast and convenient way to get healthier. Start by inputting your height and current weight, (the site keeps this information confidential) along with your age and level of activity, then input how much weight you wish to lose per week. Through some sort of mathematical algorithm, the site computes how many calories you should eat per day.

You can then track the foods you’ve eaten and see how you’re doing on your calorie goal for the day. You can see the calorie count, protein, fat, fiber, carbs, and even sodium and cholesterol. If you’re crazy about spreadsheets and numbers, you’ll love this program. In addition to being able to track the foods you’ve eaten for a day, you can also track what you’ve eaten in past weeks and months. This allows a comprehensive picture of your eating patterns — good and bad — to emerge.

The “My Plate” section tells you how many calories you have left to eat for the day but what if — oops — you accidently had that extra piece of cake? You can also input exercise activities (including reading — 100 calories per hour sitting, 138 standing) and then recalculate your calories left to eat for the day.

Overall, the site provides a powerful tool which allows a user to make intelligent and informed food decisions. Thedailyplate.com is also remarkably easy to use.


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KDL Helps Patrons Save Money

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Recently, the American Library Association found that more people have library cards right now than at any other time in history. Given the economic downturn, this is unsurprising. Borrowing materials instead of purchasing them offers library patrons a great way to save money. But KDL can also help its patrons make the most of their money.

Kent District Library offers a variety of online databases that provide a wealth of information on many topics. KDL is proud to offer the full archives of Consumer Reports magazine online in full-text searchable format from 1999 to the current issue. Just click on the “General Reference Center Gold” link on the Reference Databases page. After that do a publication search for “Consumer Reports” and you’re all set to go. You can search for a specific product or browse the current issue or past issues. The Consumer Reports Buying Guides are also available.

This offers KDL patrons a great way to make sure they are buying only the highest quality consumer goods without ever leaving home.


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Websites That Actually Save Time…No, Really!

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Plenty of websites are interesting. It would be easy to blog about ten websites which are supremely entertaining and ten more which are useful. But what about saving time? We don’t usually associate the web with saving time, but below are three websites that can actually save time. Still skeptical? Keep reading… 

Mozy.comMozy

Let’s say your computer stopped working right now and you couldn’t get to any of the information you have saved on it. Is there anything you would miss? Chances are there is. We’ve all heard stories of people who lose their computers or have them stolen. It seems like even more people experience some sort of computer meltdown, after which they are left shaking their head and wondering what went wrong. An entire childhood of digital photographs or an entire undergraduate career of papers can disappear in a second if you, like me, happen to dump a 20 oz. Coke into your laptop.

That’s where Mozy.com comes in. It will automatically backup files off your computer to an online server and store them there should the unthinkable happen to your computer. If you do happen to treat your laptop as a drip tray, you can just log into Mozy and download your files to a new computer. Simple as that. This will save hours over trying to retrieve files after an incident or performing a manual backup onto CDs or an external hard drive.

While the first backup may take a few hours, the desktop software will recognize when you’re not using the computer and update your backup at that time. This keeps slowdowns to a minimum and insures that your backup is always up to date.

Best of all, you can back up 2GB worth of files for free or purchase unlimited backup service for only $4.95 per month. 

GrandCentral.com

An increasing number of people have more than one phone number. There’s a home number, a cell phone, and a work number. This can mean three voicemail boxes to check. It can also mean regretting giving out a cell phone number instead of a work phone number, or missing an important call because it went to one number and not the others. GrandCentral.com, a recent aquisition by Google, solves all these problems. It assigns you one master number which can ring all your phones. It allows you to set up forwarding rules to screen your calls for each number, allows you to listen as someone is recording a voicemail, allows you to record your calls, block unwanted callers, and switch phones in the middle of a call.

In short, GrandCentral takes the headache out of having more than one phone number. GrandCentral is currently in beta testing but will open for public use soon.

OhDontForget.com

We all forget things. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a website that could remind you about something you have to do tomorrow or next month?

OhDontForget.com allows you to enter a text message and delay delivery. This means you can send yourself a text message tomorrow as a reminder to pick up milk or a text message next month to remember your anniversary. You don’t even have to create a user account to use the service; just enter the date of delivery, the phone number, and a short message. The uses are endless! You can even use this to send out free congratulations text messages for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and queue them months in advance.

These are just a few examples of the ways in which you can simplify your life and save time on the web. There are a lot more websites that save time and money.

Special thanks to Time magazine for the annual list of the Best Websites.


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The Next Generation of the Internet

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

iPhone WebCan you keep a secret? Promise? OK, good.

There is a new world forming under the internet as it exists today. Not everyone knows about it yet, but they will eventually. What is this secret world? Don’t worry — it’s nothing like the Matrix.  It’s the world of websites made to work on mobile computing devices.

Recently, many popular websites have begun adapting their websites to work better on mobile computing devices such as the iPod Touch, iPhone or Blackberry. I’ll use this post to highlight some of the best websites for iPod users. With the number of new iPod and iPhone users growing quickly, it is clear that mobile computing will only increase exponentially.

Below is my list for favorite iPod Touch/iPhone websites.

1)      Need to do some shopping? Can’t get to a computer? Amazon.com offers an iPod Touch compatible website that allows users to shop for virtually anything with comfort and ease.  The website looks great and, more importantly, is incredibly easy to use on the small iPhone screen.

2)      Want to chat? Use a calendar? Check your email? Read the news? Almost any Google service you can use on a PC, you can use on an iPhone. The best iPhone email application might just be Google’s webmail application. Just point your iPhone’s browser to http://www.gmail.com/.

3)      There’s a comprehensive list of mobile friendly websites available at http://cantoni.mobi/. This website is text but not picture heavy, which iPhone users will appreciate, and offers a list of the best websites in several categories.

4)      We’ve all been sitting around with friends and gotten into a disagreement about some basic fact. How big is the planet Saturn? Who was the 15th President of the United States? Answers.com provides an incredibly useful mobile site that allows users to answer life’s odd questions without having to run to their computers.

5)      Starbucks.com provides a great tool for finding a store when you’re away from home. Just type in the ZIP code or city where you are and a list of Starbucks stores comes up. Mmmmm… coffee…

There are a great many other websites that have Mobile compatablity. This list is just my favorites. Keep surfing on the small screen and find cool new websites.


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