Saturday, January 26, 2008

Free Web Tools from iWebTool

If you've got a website or a blog, chances are you can use some of these free web tools. You can check the PageRank of your site or sites, check the Alexa rank, check backlinks, and see how fast your site loads - and that's just the beginning. There are also tools to encrypt and optimize your html, shorten links, and clean and remove duplicates from lists.

It's nice having these tools all in one place. If there's one you plan to use on a regular basis or want to let your visitors use, they also provide the code so you can add the tool to your own site.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Adobe Photoshop Basics

Someone was asking for Photoshop help the other day. I know a little bit about Photoshop. Not much, I admit, but I have fun playing with it. I had it on my computer for a while, and I had no idea what to do with it. I didn't even know where to start. That's when I found a free online course to teach me Photoshop Basics. I think it was just called Beginning Photoshop, and it really did start me at the beginning and help me know where to start and how to do some very basic things in Photoshop. Now whenever I check, I usually see intermediate or advanced Photoshop courses, and one of these days I am going to sign up and take one of them.

I usually don't see the Beginning class offered, so tonight I went looking for one and found this Adobe Photoshop Basics course that looks very helpful.
Adobe Photoshop Basics is a free online class consisting of eight self-paced lessons that will give get you up and running with a good start. It won't teach you all there is to know about Photoshop--that can take years--but it will give you a solid foundation that you can build on though online tutorials, third-party books, or other training.

The lessons are intended to be worked through in the order presented, and at your own pace. You can also sign up to have them emailed to you and have one lesson sent a week.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Quote web pages with kwout

I've been having a lot of fun with kwout. It lets you quote part of a web page as an image. If there are links in the part of the web page you quote, kwout automatically creates an image map, and all those links will still work! For instance, I used kwout to cut out the list of blogs I have linked from my other blog. Just try it - you can click on any of those links and they will work.

Kwout is easy to use. Simply drag the bookmarklet to your toolbar. Then, when you find a web page you want to quote, click on the kwout bookmarklet to get a screenshot of the page. You can either have it open in the same window or in a new window. Drag the mouse to select the area you want to cut out. Click on the "Cut Out" button, and the area you selected will be cut out as an image, with an image map if it included hyperlinks. You can set some different options, like whether or not the image has a border or a shadow, and the background color. Then kwout gives you an embed code to paste the image into your blog or website and share it with everyone. You don't even have to save the image to your computer or anywhere else. Just link it from kwout.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I use Firefox. Sometimes I use Netscape. I never, never, never use Internet Explorer. I just don't like that browser. One of the main reasons is that it just doesn't play nice with normal web design and web elements that the other browsers have no problem with. What I tend to forget is that other people still use IE. Yes, I'm always asking "Why?" - and I really don't think, "Because it came on my computer" is a good enough reason.

Whatever. They use it. When I put together a web page or change my blog templates I need to remember to check what it looks like in IE. I usually forget to do that until someone complains that they can't load my page properly. Tonight I found out about a web page that will make screenshots of any web page using multiple browsers. So, even if I don't have every browser available on my computer, I can see how my page will look to someone who has a different browser than I do. There are browsers listed here that I've never even heard of. All the screenshots show up on the page, and then you can click on each one to see it better and find out more information. You can even download them all to your computer.

If you're wondering what your web pages look like in different browsers, visit Browsershots and test it out. It is a free open-source online service created by Johann C. Rocholl, and I think it will come in very handy.

I noticed that IE does not like my blog Beth & Cory's Mom. I knew that. I did my best to fix it, and it looks fine on my IE browser (I do have it - under protest), but these screenshots say different. What I don't know, is how to fix it!

Saturday, January 5, 2008


I literally Stumbled Upon this site tonight, and I'm having so much fun playing with it. It's called Musicovery - which I'm taking to be a cross between Music and Discovery.

It took me a little while to figure out how it worked once I registered for a Free account. Once I figured it out, I started loving it. First, you can choose the Genre(s) of music you want to listen to. You can also choose a decade or move the sliders to select a period of time, and choose to hear Hits, Non Hits, or Discovery - or all three. Then decide what type of mood you'd like - Energetic or Calm, Dark or Positive. A web of matching songs appears, color coded by genre. My songs are all in the pink/purple range because I chose Jazz, Blues, and R & B.

Once the songs load, one will start playing. Like it? Listen, add it to your favorites, or if you don't like that one, click on another one. It will move to the center and start playing. You can also ban songs that you don't like and don't want to hear again.

I think the idea is that, when you find a song you like, there will be another one, or more, linked to it that you will probably like, too. There isn't a whole lot of information on the site about how it works or why, so that's just my guess. Mostly I think you're supposed to play around with it and hopefully discover some music you'll enjoy and that you can play while surfing the Web.

They also offer a premium account if you want better quality sound and no ads.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

How to Forward E-Mail Appropriately

I just got this from friend, and thought I'd pass it along. Please don't assume I don't think you know how to do any of the things listed here - I just thought there might be some useful information, so I'm passing it along.

A friend who is a computer expert received the following directly from a system administrator for a corporate system. It is an excellent message that ABSOLUTELY applies to ALL of us who send e-mails.

Please read the short letter below, even if you're sure you already follow proper procedures.

Share it with your friends... you know the ones who don't know!

Do you really know how to forward e-mails? Most of us DO NOT know how.

Do you wonder why you get viruses or junk mail? Do you hate it?

Every time you forward an e-mail there is information left over from the people who got the message before you, namely their e-mail addresses & names. As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds, and builds, and builds, and all it takes is for some poor sap to get a virus, and his or her computer can send that virus to every email address that has come across his computer. Or, someone can take all of those addresses and sell them or send junk mail to them in the hopes that you will go to the site and he will make five cents for each hit. That's right, all of that inconvenience over a nickel!

How do you stop it? Well, there are several easy steps:
  1. When you forward an e-mail, DELETE all of the other addresses that appear in the body of the message (at the top). That's right, DELETE them. Highlight them and delete them, backspace them, cut them, whatever you know how to to. It only takes a second. You MUST click the 'Forward' button first and then you will have full editing capabilities against the body and headers of the message. If you don't hit the forward button first you won't have full editing functions. I particularly dislike having to scroll through 200 Email addresses before I get to the email.
  2. Whenever you send an e-mail to more than one person, do NOT use the To: or Cc: fields for adding e-mail addresses. Always use the BCC: (blind carbon copy) field for listing the e-mail addresses. This is the way the people you send to will only see their own e-mail address. If you don't see your BCC: option click on where it says To: and your address list will appear. Highlight the address and choose BCC: and that's it, it's that easy. When you send to BCC: your message will automatically say 'Undisclosed Recipients' in the 'TO:' field of the people who receive it. That way you aren't sharing all those addresses with every Tom, Dick and Harry.
  3. Remove any 'FW:' in the subject line. You can re-name the subject if you wish or even fix spelling.
  4. This one is very important please read and heed. ALWAYS hit your Forward button from the actual e-mail you are reading. Ever get those e-mails that you have to open 10 pages to read the one page with the information on it? By Forwarding from the actual page you wish someone to view, you stop them from having to open many e-mails just to see what you sent. These are the ones that often end up having picked up a virus from somebody. This is really important!
  5. Have you ever gotten an email that is a petition? It states a position and asks you to add your name and address and to forward it to 10 or 15 people or your entire address book. The email can be forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and email addresses. A FACT: The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and email add resses contained therein. If you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient. Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry list of names and email address on a petition. (Actually, if you think about it, who's supposed to send the petition in to whatever cause it supports? And don 't believe the ones that say that the email is being traced, it just aint so!)
  6. One of the main ones I hate is the ones that say that something like, 'Send this email to 10 people and you'll see something great run across your screen.' Or, sometimes they'll just tease you by saying something really cute will happen - IT AINT GONNA HAPPEN!!!!! (Trust me, I'm still seeing some of the same ones that I waited on 10 years ago!) I don't let the bad luck ones scare me either, they get trashed. (Could be why I haven't won the lottery??)
  7. Before you forward an Amber Alert, or a Virus Alert, or some of the other ones floating around nowadays, check them out before you forward them. Most of them are junk mail that's been circling the net for Years! Just about everything you receive in an email that is in question can be checked out at Snopes. It's really easy to find out if it's real or not. If it's not, please don't pass it on.
  8. Consider downloading and using a free program like E-mail Stripper. It removes all of those annoying >>> symbols from forwarded messages.
So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses.

Finally, here's an idea!!! Let's send this to everyone we know (but strip my address off first, please). This is something that SHOULD be forwarded.