Friday, December 26, 2008

Web Page Analysis

My poor brother mentioned yesterday that it takes forever for my blog to load. He is still using dial-up. Who knew there were people still doing that?

Anyway, I thought I'd check to see how long it takes for the page to load. I found this free Web Page Analyzer, typed my url in and got these results:

Connection RateDownload Time
14.4K1118.46 seconds
28.8K568.23 seconds
33.6K489.62 seconds
56K300.97 seconds
ISDN 128K104.66 seconds
T1 1.44Mbps25.52 seconds

I'm hoping no one is actually still connecting to the Internet at 14.4K!

Anyway, besides giving me the overall download times, it also listed everything on my page and what size it was. Some of the scripts could supposedly be compressed to save bytes, but I really have no control over those, besides evaluating whether I really need them and perhaps removing them. For now, I'm keeping most of them. What I did notice was that images were the biggest source of the problem. I'm not going to stop adding pictures to my posts, but I did limit the posts on the main page, and I removed some images from the sidebar and some extra unnecessary stuff from the bottom of the page. Now my results look better:

Connection RateDownload Time
14.4K 517.48 seconds
28.8K 265.84 seconds
33.6K 229.89 seconds
56K 143.61 seconds
ISDN 128K 53.83 seconds
T1 1.44Mbps 17.64 seconds

Hopefully that will help a little. If you'd like to know how long your page takes to load, give the free Web Page Analyzer a try.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

More Free Blogger Templates

I've noticed that a lot of people who visit this blog are looking for new Blogger backgrounds and layouts. I'm always on the lookout, too - even when I find one I really like, you never know if an even better one is out there somewhere waiting for me.

I just recently found a new site full of great looking Blogger templates, so of course I had to share. It's called Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates, and I haven't looked at all of them, but the templates I've seen are really nice. There are also some nice tutorials to help you change your template, add and configure your widgets, and add custom text to your header.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Printing My Pages

I've been working on a new blog to share and organize my recipes - bcmom's kitchen. As I started posting recipes there, I realized that people might want to be able to print the recipes. I might even want to print some of these out. Sometimes I just open the recipe on my computer and then go back and forth between the kitchen and the computer - not very efficient. Or I'll scribble the ingredients on an old envelope or something. It works, but still not ideal.

Printing a recipe from a blog isn't very efficient either. For instance, I just did a print preview for my Cinnamon Roll recipe, and I ended up with 4 pages. Only one of them had the actual recipe, so I suppose someone who wanted to print the recipe could print just that page, but why should it be so complicated? I need a separate, simpler, printable page.

I decided to use Google Docs to create my printable recipe pages. It was really easy, too. I simply copied and pasted the recipe, with no extra text or pictures, into a new document in Google Docs, and then I published the page.

Once I published the page, I copied the link Google gave me and used it on my blog to add a link that says Print this recipe.

When someone clicks the link, they get a new page that contains only the recipe. It makes a clean, simple page that is perfect for printing.

I'm planning to create and publish one of these Google Docs for all the recipes I post on my blog. Hopefully that means more people will be trying my recipes, or at least printing them out with the intent to try them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm Cleaning Out My Inbox

This is something that I should have done ages ago, something I should do on a regular basis, but I don't. Now I have to. I've been using an email address from AOL that let me pick my own domain. I hadn't really thought about it until now, but they actually registered the domain I chose and allowed me to use it for my email. Well, now they're releasing those domains. They've given me until the end of the month to transfer the domain if I want to continue using it. Otherwise all my email goes away. At least it looks that way. I can't find any way to just convert that email address to a regular AOL or address.

I really don't need to keep that domain because I've really only given that email out to a couple people. I can easily notify them that it's going to change. The problem I have is that one of those people is a big time email forwarder. Since he's practically the only person who emails me there, I have practically every email he's ever forwarded sitting there in my inbox. Do I just leave it there, let it go, and figure I'll get plenty of forwards in the future? Some people could probably do that, but not me. Luckily, I just found out about a new service called ForwardOn, and I'm forwarding all the emails in my inbox there. At least, as many as I can get to before the end of the month.

ForwardOn is a free and easy alternative to all those email forwards. When you get an email, instead of forwarding it to all your friends, you know you've been guilty of this, simply forward it to ForwardOn. You can send all kinds of attachments, photos, video, Powerpoint, etc. ForwardOn will host the email and send you a link. Then, if you just have to share with all your friends, simply send them the ForwardOn link - like this one. No more cluttered inboxes or email messages that take forever to download. Your friends who still have dial-up will thank you! No more worry about viruses in email attachments.

You earn points when people view your emails, and points can be redeemed for rewards or donated to charity. I haven't really checked into the points and rewards yet. I'm more interested in cleaning out my inbox, and maybe convincing my email forwarding friends to start using ForwardOn so I can keep it cleaned out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Add a Favicon to Your Site

Are you tired of that bright orange B (if you're using a Blogger blog) in the address bar and on the tab? You can display your own icon on the browser address bar when visitors view or bookmark your web page instead. It's really simple, too.
  • Choose an image you like - ideally it will be very simple because a favicon (short for favorites icon) is pretty small, and complicated pictures don't translate well. It should be an image you want people to associate with your blog.
  • Upload your image to this Free Favicon Generator, and it will create your favicon for you.
  • Then you can either download it so you can upload it somewhere else, or just host it there. They even give you the code to copy.
  • Once you've copied the code simply go to your Blogger Dashboard, select Layout, and edit HTML. Paste the code into the head of your page, right before the < /head> tag and save it.
  • Now, you should have your very own, personal favicon.
I actually used this Favicons from Pics generator to make the favicon for this blog. If you use this one, you will have to download and unzip the file and then find somewhere to upload it so that you can link to it and use it. Since you can't directly upload the favicon to Blogger, and many photo hosting sites don't accept .ico files, it's a little more complicated.

Here's a great tutorial on adding a favicon to your Blogger blog.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Microsoft Keyboard Shortcuts

I use some keyboard shortcuts, but there are plenty I don't - some I didn't even know about. Here's a handy list of the keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Windows. I think some of these could save me some time, once I figure out which ones I need, and then remember them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

PhotoShop Actions

I'm going to be honest here and say that I don't really know what PhotoShop actions are, but I found this list of free actions today, along with an explanation for how to use them. I clicked on a few of the links just to get an idea, and it looks like you can come up with some really neat pictures using these PhotoShop actions - so now I really want to try some of them out. Which is why I'm saving this list.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All My Faves

I just learned about this website today in an email. It's called All My Faves, and I think it links to everything on the Internet. Email? They've got it. Travel sites? Those too. Video, music, dating, chat, and games. If it's not here, I don't think it's on the web.

The blog gives more information about a lot of the sites. It looks like a good place to find all kinds of fun and useful sites.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Comparing the Bills

I shared this video on my other blog, but just in case you missed it, here it is again:

Cory as Bill Sykes in his school production of Oliver.

Since I uploaded this, I've been watching other videos, of other schools performing this musical and other people playing this part. I may be a little prejudiced, but so far I think Cory's one of the better Bills.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Get a Free Photo Book

Inkubook wants to give you a free photo book. All you have to do is sign up by October 31, 2008. Yes, I know that's tomorrow, but I just found out about this. Tell your friends, and they can get a free book, too. Then, upload your pictures, get your friends to share some pictures, and create your photo book. I think the hardest part is deciding which pictures to use.
The 1-2-3 of your FREE BOOK
  1. Sign up with Inkubook by October 31, 2008 and start your book.
  2. Using the "Invite Friends" feature, invite someone to join Inkubook and submit a few photos to include in your book. We'll send your friend a promotion code to use for a free book.
  3. Finish your book then order it within 30 days of joining Inkubook. Use this code EJR372, which is good for any book up to 120 pages!

I found out about this on MomReviews. Thanks for mentioning it, Elizabeth!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It Only Works if You Use It

A Master Lock brand padlock.Image via WikipediaCory found a combination lock in his saxophone case this weekend. He hasn't used it for a while, and he forgot the combination. That's when I remembered Master Lock's Combo Locker.

Create an account and store your combinations online. Then, if you ever forget, you can just look them up again. So, I logged in to see if I could get the combination. I have two locks registered with their combinations, but not this one.

The Combo Locker is a great idea, but it only works if you use it. Register your locks while you know the combinations.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Print What You Like

Just read about this on Cariboo Ponderer - Vic Grace always finds the neatest things.

Print What You LikeIt's called Print What You Like, and it lets you do exactly that. Well, it's supposed to, only it's new and it's neat, and everyone is trying it, so right now it is ' temporarily over its serving quota'. That means I'll have to go back and try it later. It looks like it is going to be a really handy tool. All you have to do it enter the url of the page you wish to print, edit out anything you don't want to print - like ads, images, extra stuff you're not interested in, whatever. No more copying and pasting into Word or Open Office just so you can print the parts you want. You can even combine multiple pages and print them as one, save your changes so you can print again, and even use other people's changes.

I'm looking forward to trying this out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Share Just a Portion of a YouTube Video

A while back I wanted to share a portion of a YouTube video, but I didn't know of an easy way to do it. So I ended up not sharing the video at all. Today I found Splicd, and it does just that, easy as 1-2-3.
  1. Find the YouTube video you want to share.
  2. Enter the YouTube url and then the beginning and end points of the clip you want to share,
  3. Splicd generates it for you and gives you the link so you can share it with your friends.

Here's the portion of the Pretty Woman video that I wanted to share before. The only thing that would make it better is if you could embed it that way.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Unlimited Online Storage

After my post about Windows SkyDrive, I received a comment which led me to this list of the Best free online storage and backup services. It looks like there are quite a few options out there if you are looking for online storage.

I browsed through the list and ended up signing up for the unlimited file storage at I downloaded and installed their uploader, but it doesn't seem to work for me. However, the online flash uploader works really well, just browse to and select the files you want to upload. You can select multiple files at once, none of that browsing to and selecting one file at a time.

MyBloop claims that you can store as many files as you want for as long as you want. Your files will never be deleted unless you delete them. They ask that if you upload back-ups of copyrighted files, like music and movies, that you mark them as private and don't share them. You can create playlists with your music files and embed them on your website or blog, so people can listen, but they can't download.

like this:

You can upload any files, except the ones they consider a 'security risk'. For whatever reason, html files fall under that category, so I haven't been able to back up some web pages I wanted store - so I uploaded those to SkyDrive. It looks like I am going to have to use multiple sites to store my files. Back to the list!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bird Songs

Blue Jay ( Cyanocitta cristata ), Ontario, Canada.Image via Wikipedia In his Sky Watch Friday post today, Abe Lincoln posted a great photo of a Blue Jay. Along with his photo, he also posted a link to a site so we could hear a blue jay. What a great site! It's called Learn Bird Songs, and it has recordings of the sounds and songs of several common North American birds. You can find birds by habitat: city birds, countryside birds, forest birds, and wetlands birds, or, if you know what bird you want to hear, you can go directly to that bird. It looks like a very useful site for bird lovers, bird watchers, and people like me who don't know one bird from another. (I did recognize Abe's Blue Jay, though)

A side benefit of this site is that it's a good way to drive your cat crazy. I didn't mean to. I didn't even think of it, but I clicked the link to listen to the Blue Jay. As I was listening, our cat came down the hall with a very intent expression on her face. She heard a bird, and she was going to find that bird. It was too cute. I played another bird, and she eventually figured out it was coming from the computer, but she couldn't figure out exactly what was going on.

This could be really fun.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Added a Counter

I was visiting a blog today when I noticed a neat little counter at the bottom. It listed visits and pageviews, and what I thought was very cool - how many visitors online. So I clicked and found

It was really easy to sign up and register my blog. Then the hard part was choosing the style I wanted for my counter. They have tons.

It's not just the counter, though. Histats is about stats - referrals, visitor information, stats for different pages or sections, and more. You can even use an invisible counter to keep track of all these stats without sharing it with you visitors. And, it's all free, with no limits and no ads.

What I'm going to do with all these stats I'm not sure, but it'll be fun tracking them.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Free Online Storage

20px|Windows Live Logo Windows Live SkyDriveImage via Wikipedia I received an email this week inviting me to check out the new Windows Live site and see how my Windows Live ID can make my life easier. I already use their Messenger and Windows Live Writer, and even have my own Windows Live Space - not that I use it much. So, I was interested to see what else they had to offer.

I was really excited to learn about Windows Live Skydrive. It's a virtual hard drive you can use to store up to 5GB of files, documents, etc. - for FREE. You can use it to backup your files, to make those files accessible from any internet connected computer, and to share files with other people. Everything is password protected, and you decide what is shared and what is private. 5GB sounds like quite a bit of storage, but what if you need more?

Tonight I found this hint:
If the 5GB storage limit on SkyDrive isn't enough for you simply sign-up for multiple Windows Live IDs and set your primary Windows Live ID up as an Editor to those other SkyDrives. Voila. Effectively infinite storage, just make sure that all your accounts stay active.
Source: 10 hidden secrets of Windows Live

You can apparently have multiple Windows Live IDs, and you can even link all your IDs and switch between them easily, so that ought to work, if I ever need more room.

I uploaded some files, but having to browse to each file and select them individually, and only being able to upload 5 files at a time is a little bit of a pain. I checked the help menu and read that there is supposed to be an upload tool I can download and use, and hopefully that will be better. However, I could not find a link to download the tool, no matter how hard I looked - until I opened the page in an IE tab (I do not, will not, use IE) just to see, and there the link was. How exactly and why exactly they hide a link if you do not use their browser is beyond me, but if you want to get the upload tool, you have to use IE, or the IE tab in Firefox. I haven't downloaded it yet, but I do hope it will make uploading files easier. I have quite a few files on my computer that I'd like to upload and store online. That way I can get to them whenever I want, no matter where I am, and share if I want.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

How'd They Do That?

I haven't checked out this entire list of 50 Amazing Blogger Tricks and Hacks, but it looks like there are some very useful links here. If you've ever seen something on a blog and wondered, "How'd they do that?" you just might find the answer somewhere on this list. I love it when people know how to do something, and they share with the rest of us.

So far I started with #51 (on a list of 50, I know) - make your blog dofollow.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Free Blogger Templates

Once again I am talking about free blog templates. I can't help myself - when I see a blog layout I like, I want to know who designed it, where they found that layout. So, I click. This time I found Our Blogger Templates. They have over 100 free templates available and the instructions for installing them on your blog and adding your own header image. There is even a tutorial for designing your own template. With all these great, easy to customize templates available, I don't know that I will ever need to design my own, but I would love to learn how.

I installed one of the free templates from Our Blogger Templates, created and added my own header image, and customized all my colors. I actually found another template I thought would go with my new header better than the one I originally installed, but I was having some troubles getting Blogger to cooperate with me, so I just changed the colors of the one I had already installed. I wasn't sure I was going to like the 'New' Blogger, but it does make changing colors easy. Most of these free templates say that 99% of the colors can easily be changed, and I have to believe them, because I changed an awful lot of the colors.

I grabbed my header image from Pixdaus. I hadn't heard of it before, but Our Blogger Templates used some images from there for their blog headers, so I clicked and found all kinds of interesting images. I liked the frogs, 1) because I like frogs, and 2) because they look like they're so excited about something that they just can't keep their mouths shut and they 'just gotta share this' - or am I stretching things a bit? Anyway, lots of images on Pixdaus.

When you click template installation guides and instructions on the Our Blogger Templates site, there's a link to more sources for header images. I figure, with enough sources, you're bound to find the right image or template, right?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More Free Blog Designs

Finding that perfect design for your blog is important. After all, you want your blog to represent you, and you don't want it to look like anyone else's blog. That's why I'm always on the lookout for blog designs and layouts, and especially FREE designs.

Smitten Blog Designs has an entire gallery of free blog designs, easy to understand instructions for downloading and installing them, and a very helpful tutorial on saving your sidebar elements when changing your template. I really need that, because I just switched to the 'New' Blogger, and I thought the point was that you could easily switch things up without losing everything. Not true. I changed my template, and it wanted to delete my widgets. Huh? Then I had to rebuild them and add them back. If I don't have to do that next time, I'll be very happy.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Free Photo Browser

I was dropping Entrecards and reading blogs this morning when I noticed this great photo browser in a post. Instead of a bunch of pictures you have to scroll down the page to read, the pictures were all contained in one spot, and I could just click through them. Of course I had to figure out how to get one of my own, so I clicked and found PictoBrowser. It's a fast and easy way to display your Flickr photos on your site. Like this one using my Clouds set:

You can create your own from any PictoBrowser - just click the logo, enter your Flickr user name, select the photos you want to share by choosing Set, Keyword, or Group, and paste the html code into your blog or website. It couldn't be easier! Need specific photos for a post? Either create a new set, or if you're like me and can only have three sets, give them a unique tag just for that post.

There are also some options to customize the appearance of your PictoBrowser. You can customize height and width, image size to use, turn titles on or off, change background colors, and more. I'm loving this. Why haven't I seen it before?

Friday, July 25, 2008

DVD Backup

Underside of a DVD-R disc, modified to have tr...Image via WikipediaI have way too many photos on my computer, and I really need to delete some of them. I have most of them backed up on CDs and DVDs, but I still have trouble deleting them off the computer. My hard drive is getting full, so I really need to.

I opened my Corel Photo Album program this morning to see how long it had been since the last backup, and how much room the files take up. It says - 1759 MB, 8 months. So how much room will that take up on my DVD? I always forget so I looked it up:

How much information can I put on a DVD disc?
DVD-5 = 4.5 GB
DVD-9 = 8.5 GB

Also, I had to look it up to see how many MB in a GB:

1024 MB = 1 GB

If the program would back my photos up to the DVD without finalizing it so I could add more later, I wouldn't worry about it so much, but I hate to waste room on a DVD by burning one before I have enough to fill it. It looks like I'm not ready to back-up to DVD, so I'm going to have to figure out which photos are already on DVD and get some of those off this computer.
Zemanta Pixie

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cute Blog Backgrounds

I found this site today - The Cutest Blog on the Block. There are lots of really cute free blog backgrounds as well as some tutorials on creating your own backgrounds and headers.

I followed the instructions and installed one of the backgrounds on a blog I hope to get going soon. It's not really something new. I just want to update my recipe website and blog, and I think I can use this new blog for that. The background was easy to install following instructions on the site. I'm thinking I might look for something new for this blog - either use one already there or follow the instructions to make my own.

Either way, I want to be able to find this site again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Counting Words

Since I write paid posts on a couple of my blogs, I like being able to count the number of words in my posts. If I have to write a minimum of 200 words, I need to know when I get to 200 words. I usually end up rambling on and writing more, but that's beside the point.

I did have a tool in Firefox that counted the words for me, but since I installed Firefox 3, I haven't been able to use it. Probably I should look for a new extension that will do it for me, but until then, this Word Count Tool works really well. Just paste the post into the box and hit 'Submit' to find out how many words you have. It also explains what is counted and what isn't, and it's free.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

All These Airline Fees...

I don't do a whole lot of traveling. I'm perfectly content to stay home most of the time. With all the added security and now with the airlines tacking on extra fees for everything from checked baggage to bottled water, I'm really hoping that I don't have to fly anywhere anytime soon. One of the things that bothers me most is the fact that I cannot take my bottle of water through security. I drink a lot of water. I take my water everywhere. Someone telling me I can't have it just makes me want it more.

Now, with the airlines planning to charge for checked bags, they've kind of got people over a barrel. You can't take your toiletries in your carry-on, unless they're under a certain size and all fit in a ziploc bag. So you have to check a bag. Or buy toiletries when you get wherever you're going. Either way, someone is making some extra money.

Seriously, charging to check a bag? Who can actually go somewhere without needing luggage? Wouldn't it make more sense to charge whatever for the airline ticket and then offer a discount for those people who don't check a bag? It would be more like incentive not to check a bag, instead of punishment for doing so. Also, it would make it less confusing when you're trying to figure out how much the flight is actually going to cost. I want to book my tickets and see my total, and I want to know that that is what I am going to be paying - not have to do a whole lot of math to figure it out.

But, since they didn't ask me before instituting extras fees for this, that, and the other thing, this table of airlines fees will probably come in very, very handy. When planning a trip, it will be a matter of finding ticket costs, and then comparing to see how the additional fees, or the lack thereof affect the bottom line. That 'cheap' airfare you found may actually end up costing you more in the long run.

I do think I'll just stay home.

Zemanta Pixie

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Expand the Capabilities of Your Camera

Shot the camera by itself in front of a mirror.Image via WikipediaI was writing something on my other blog about downloading pictures from my digital camera, and Zemanta suggested an article that sounded interesting. While I admit that mostly I put my camera in 'Auto' mode and point and shoot, I like the idea that it can do more. If only I can figure out how to use all those extra options... I really need to review the lessons from my online Sony class.

From this Zemanta-suggested article, I found out that there is a free, open source project called CHDK that can turn your point-and-shoot Canon camera into a super camera. From what I can tell, you copy some files to your camera's SD card, and CHDK expands the capabilities of your camera way beyond what it can do now. You can get features like RAW shooting mode, live RGB histograms, motion-detection, time-lapse, and even games on your existing camera. It's non-permanent, so you can try it out and easily remove it whenever you want.

I don't really have time to play with it now, but I wanted to save the article and the links so I can read more about it and try it later. Do let me know if you've tried this or if you think this is helpful.

Zemanta suggested some additional articles that may be helpful:

Zemanta Pixie

Friday, May 16, 2008

Music and Lyrics

Bryan Adams live in La Plaza de Yoros Nuevo Progreso in Guadalajara, Jalisco, MexicoImage via WikipediaFrigga over at Any Apples plays a little game on Fridays called 'Rockin' With Frigga' - she posts some song lyrics, and the first person to name the song and artist gets a point. It's fun to play, though I admit I don't know most of the songs she posts. Once in a while she'll use a song I know, and sometimes I go hunting down the lyrics just to figure it out. Once I find the song lyrics, I like to go find the song and listen to at least a little bit of it.

Usually that means searching for it on YouTube or something like that. Today, though, I found a site that combines the lyrics and the song on one page - TSRocks. From what I can see, there are tons of songs on this site. You can go immediately to some of the popular artists on the site, or you can search through the artists to find the one you're looking for. They're arranged alphabetically, so it's pretty easy, except it's alphabetically by first name and not last name, as I learned when I started searching for Bryan Adams under the A's, for Adams. He wasn't there. He was under the B's, for Bryan.

I was searching because he was on Regis and Kelly this morning, started performing one of my favorite songs, and they cut him off. How rude! So I looked him up on this site and played the song there. They even give you the code to embed the song:

Read Run To You lyrics

I love being able to listen to the song and read the lyrics at the same time because I'm very visual and usually can't understand the lyrics just from listening to the song, without having a chance to read them. This site isn't going to help me with Frigga's game, because I can't search for lyrics there, but it is going to make it easy for me to listen to the songs once I know what they are.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Looking for Fonts?

Somehow in the switch from my old computer to my new one, I lost some fonts. The old computer had a lot of fonts. I copied the font folder, which is a good thing, because the old computer died, and all those fonts would have been lost forever! Still, some of the fonts are missing, and I have no idea what happened to them. Today I was looking for one in particular - Bazooka. I didn't find it, but I did find, a whole site full of fonts. They're all either freeware, shareware, demo versions or public domain.

If you're looking for new fonts or the perfect font for a particular project, you just might find it at If you know where I can find my Bazooka font, please let me know!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Windows Live Writer

I recently downloaded Windows Live Writer and have been using it to post to my blogs.  So far I have set up three of my blogs, counting this one, and can easily post to any of them.  It works with most major blog services including WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, and TypePad, and it automatically detects your blog's theme.  As you write, you can see just how it will look on your blog, before you publish.

Windows Live Writer makes it easy to insert graphics, hyperlinks, tables, maps, and more.  Also, if you can't be connected to the Internet, you can still write your posts, and they'll be ready to publish when you get back online.  I used this feature last week, and it was so nice.

You can read about all the features of Windows Live Writer here.  I also downloaded some Plug-ins to extend the features.  One of them is this Polaroid Picture Plug-in I haven't tried until now.

That's kind of cool, but the Plug-in I have high hopes for is one that is supposed to let me easily blog a page or selection of a page right from my browser.  That will be particularly helpful for this blog.  When I see something I want to share, I just have to select the "Blog This" button at the top of my browser, and it will open a new or existing post in Windows Live Writer.  Then, I can easily share what I just found. 

Because, even though I'm always running across things I get really excited about, I still find myself forgetting to bookmark, forgetting to share, and losing them.  That is not good.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Free Blogger Templates

I'm always looking for cute Blogger templates, because I just might see one I just have to use. So, when I see a blog design I like, I look for the little link telling me who designed it or where the design came from. Tonight I clicked a link for suck my lolly and found some really cute ones. There's quite an extensive design gallery, templates for both the New Blogger XML and Classic Blogger, as well as information on how to use the templates

Friday, April 11, 2008

It Seems Like Cheating

Yesterday I found this Scrabble word finder. I think it looks like it could be very handy, but it does almost seem like cheating. You can input all the letters in your Scrabble rack as well as the optional word pattern using letters and spaces already on the board. The word finder returns a list of all possible words sorted by score, length or alphabetically.

I was playing Scrabulous on Facebook recently and tried and tried to find a word that would use all my letters. I had the perfect place to put it, but I just couldn't figure anything out. I wonder if this would have helped me? Still, I'm not sure how I would feel about actually playing whatever word it found for me. That doesn't stop me from saving the link, just in case.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cash for Used Books

I tend to think that there's no such thing as having too many books. I would love to have an entire room lined with filled bookshelves, organized of course. But I don't have such a room, and my books are far from organized. They are on shelves, in boxes, under the bed, wherever I can find to stash them, and truthfully, I don't really read my own books. There are too many great books at the local library, so I end up bringing home stacks of those. Of course, those are the ones I have to read because they have to be returned after a certain amount of time.

Still, what to do with all the books I own? I know there are several I must keep no matter what, like my collection of hardcover Stephen King books, but what about the rest of them? Usually, if we're going to get rid of some books, we just donate them to Goodwill. At least then, hopefully, someone will get to read them. I could never throw a book away. That would just be wrong.

Today I found Cash4Books. You enter the ISBNs of the books you want to get rid of, or can live without, and they tell you how much they will pay for that book. Go through the checkout, supply all the necessary information, ship the books to them, and get cash for your used books! They'll even pay the shipping. Now I'm really curious to see how much some of the books around here are worth.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Download and Save YouTube Videos

If you've ever wanted to save YouTube videos to your computer or be able to use them on your iPod, MP3 player, or iPhone, now you can. Tubetilla is FREE software that lets you do just that. No spyware, no adware, no registration - just free.

I haven't tried it yet, but I think this software could come in handy one of these days. There are some video tutorials showing how to use it, too.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Watch Your Favorites Anytime

Do you like television shows and movies? How about watching them any time you want and any way you want? For FREE? It sounds good to me. There are quite a few television series I've heard great things about but never watch. Here's my chance to get caught up. brings together more than 50 content providers including FOX, NBC, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and more to deliver premium programming across all genres and formats, television shows, feature films, and clips. They also offer full-length feature films. It's free and ad-supported. Available any time in the U.S.

You can also share videos by embedding them into your blog or sending them in an email, and what I think is really neat is that you can choose to share the entire video or just a portion you select. For instance, if you really love a particular scene from a movie, you can share just that scene. Use the hulu sliders to select the exact start and end times of the clip you want to share.

Learn more:

I'll definitely be signing up - for free - and checking into this further.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The End of Slideshows?

I ran across this today and thought it looked interesting. Animoto takes your pictures and your music, and automatically creates videos. It's free to create short 30-second videos, and they have premium services for longer ones. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I signed up. When I create a video, I'll have to post it so you can see how it turns out. In the meantime, you can view some examples on the site.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Going Mobile

I read about this on Lady Banana today. She recently got a new Internet enabled mobile phone, but so many sites are not mobile friendly. In a search to see how she could make her own site mobile friendly, she came across MoFuse. It's an easy, free way to create a mobile version of your site. I signed up and set up a mobile site for this blog and also for one of my other blogs. MoFuse uses the RSS of your blog to update the content, so once you've got it set up, you don't have to do anything else - just keep blogging. You can customize colors, create additional pages - like a contact page or an about me page, enable comments, and more. MoFuse also has site analytics so you can track your visitors.

I added a Mobile button to the top of the sidebar so hopefully, if someone browses through on their mobile, they will be able to get to the button and click through to the mobile friendly site. Ideally, I think, once visitors find mobile friendly sites, they will bookmark that url and bypass the 'real' computer site altogether. I was interested in the Automatic Redirect, but that won't work with my blog. If you have a Wordpress blog and can paste the code into your header.php file, you can use that. Then, if someone browses by your blog on their mobile device, they will be automatically redirected to the mobile friendly site.

View the mobile phone simulation for this blog if you'd like to get an idea what it will look like. Remember, the colors are fully customizable - header, text, links. If there are images in a post, they are resized to fit, too.

It's good to be aware that more and more people are browsing the Internet on their mobile phones. MoFuse makes it easy for you to make sure they can view your site. I'm sure I would appreciate it if I was trying to read my favorite blogs with a mobile phone.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

More Games

I found another game site today. It's called TheWeather.TK and they have games in all kinds of different categories.

I'm going to have to visit again to check some more of them out, because right now it's bedtime.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

For Wasting Time

I found this site for Flash games today. I thought it was just for playing games, but then I realized they give you the code so you can put games you like on your own site or blog. This was the first game I tried playing, so I thought I'd go ahead and try putting it on my blog, too. Everybody needs to waste a little time sometimes, right?

3D Logic 2 - The best free flash games

Monday, February 11, 2008

Portable Apps

If you're away from your own computer but still want access to all your favorite computer programs and information, you'll want to check out Portable Apps. Here's how they explain it:
A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer. When your USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod or other portable device is plugged in, you have access to your software and personal data just as you would on your own PC. And when you unplug the device, none of your personal data is left behind.

  • No Special Hardware - Use any USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod/MP3 player, etc
  • No Additional Software - Just download the portable app, extract it and go
  • No Kidding - It's that easy
I just found this today. There are a bunch of applications that can be downloaded and installed onto your USB flash drive, iPod, or portable hard drive. You can carry your favorite computer programs with you wherever you go, along with all of your bookmarks, settings, and email. It works with any Windows computer, works with any hardware, and it's free.

I'm usually at home on my own computer, but I like the idea of being able to carry all the important stuff with me if I'm away from home. I browsed through the list of available programs, and I'm really impressed. I can get Firefox to browse the Internet, Thunderbird to check my email, Nvu for editing webpages, OpenOffice portable for word processing and spread sheets, and so much more. You just have to check out this list of Applications.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

File Your Taxes Online - FREE

I saw this on someone's blog today. I'm sorry, I don't remember where it was because I visited so many blogs today.

H&R Block TaxCut offers simple, free online tax filing for qualified people. We don't qualify, and we did already buy our tax preparation software, but we now have teenagers who work and have to file taxes. Being able to file their taxes online for free ought to be easier than filling out those paper forms. E-file is included, too - all FREE.

This is only for the federal return. If you want to file your state return, you will have to pay for that.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Add Lyrics to Your Blog

Today I noticed this fun little lyrics widget on the sidebar of one of my friend's blogs. Of course, I have to click on everything to check it out and see how it works. It's from a site called You can search for music, get the lyrics, and add a cool widget to your blog or webpage. I like music, but I usually have a hard time understanding what they are saying, so I appreciate being able to read the lyrics.

You can either choose a specific song for your widget, or get random lyrics from the top 100 charts.

Duran Duran on

The site says it also has music and MP3 downloads, but I'm having trouble finding them. If you find them first, leave me a comment and let me know.

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.