Web App Note – A NEW Online Sticky Notes Type Program

As I continue down the road of cloud computing I am finding myself more and more looking for (and finding) internet based apps that take the place of the software that I typically would have installed on my computer. The benefit to this is that I can access apps, such as these, from any PC that is connected to the internet. One such app, that is NEW, is called Web App Note.

Web App Note

Web App Note, is a very nicely done online sticky notes program that requires no installation and is run directly from your web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari). The only requirement for Web App Note is that you have a Google account in order to access and store your notes. The cool factor about Web App Note is that it is like a sticky notes program where you can store individual colored notes in tabbed categories. I currently use this program to post my reminders, to do lists and tasks.

With Web App Note You can:– drag & drop notes- change the note size- change the background color- change the font size- use advanced text formatting commands as bold, italic, underline, create lists, indent text…- copy / paste html- hyperlinks are clickable

With Web App Note You can also:– manage a todo list- upload / download files from your Dropbox- add reminders into your Google Calendar- send your notes by email- import emails as notes

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A FREE Desktop Reminder Utility for Google Calendar

As I continue to experiment with the various cloud based applications that are available through Google, I recently began using Google Calendar to schedule the events in my life. I have used (and tested) numerous personal information managers and must say if you are looking for a way to manage your life events, on the cheap, then consider Google Calendar as an option.

There are many ways to sync your Google Calendar with apps that are available, say for mobile phones, but there really is not much I could find that allows me to sync my Google Calendar straight away from my computer’s desktop. In other words I was looking for something, hopefully a portable app, that I could use offline to add or delete events; however, when I went back online, my events would automatically become synced with my Google Calendar. I also like the idea of having an offline app that would serve as a backup to my calendar in the event the Google service or my account suddenly went south.

One app that I found, that works very nicely and meets the criteria l had set forth of being FREE, PORTABLE, with SYNCHRONIZATION features is a small application called GMinder.

GMinder

GMinder is a reminder program that waits in your system tray and alerts you when you have an upcoming Google Calendar event. GMinder supports multiple calendars and allows you to configure how you want to be alerted. Since it downloads your events, it works offline and enables you to preview your agenda of events. New events can be added to your Google Calendars using a Quick Add feature.

I am still testing GMinder and found that it is really a nice utility that really serves a good purpose; however, my only concern at this point is whether the development cycle of GMinder is continuing or not. The last release was July 2009.  Irregardless, at the moment, it is working for me and serves a real purpose.

If you are aware of any FREE apps out there that will sync with Google Calendar, let us know by leaving a comment below.  As always, to my readers, thank you and comment often.  I love hearing from you!

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An Easy Way to Work With and Discover Google Apps

The more I dig into cloud based applications the more exciting I find it. Let’s face it, computing as we know is heading in that direction. For example, Google is a leader of online apps such as email, docs, calendars, pictures, etc… The problem is that there are so many Google Apps, and the list continues to grow, that you can find yourself getting lost. Now, if you are an everyday computer user at home, you are probably wondering what am I talking about.

I am sure you are all familiar with Google, as the search engine and most likely familiar with Google’s email service called Gmail. What you may not know about, is that Google has numerous other online apps that you can tap into that are very good and FREE. If you already have a Gmail account, then you are good to go and will be able to tap into these online apps with your current Gmail login; if not, you will have to establish an online Google account.

Of course you can visit, try and use these apps typically through your Gmail account (such as email, calendar, docs, YouTube, etc…). To make this really simple for you I found an online service called Gpanion that is specifically designed as a launcher for Google apps.

Gpanion
Gpanion

Simply visit the Gpanion website and click on the app you desire to launch. Pay special attention to the tab labelled “More”. Click on that and you will be surprised with the number of apps available. Also, by clicking on the “Search” tab you can perform a variety of different type of Google searches. Gpanion is a nice idea, simple, works and gives you a nice array of all of the Google apps currently available, in one convenient place.

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A FREE Online Video Editor

You cannot tell me any different. We are definitely moving forward toward cloud computing as a common computing platform. A great example of this progression is JayCut – a FREE Online Video Editor.

JayCut There are numerous online photo enhancement and photo editing sites currently available on the internet that allows you to perform magic with your photos right inside your web browser shell; however, JayCut is the first full scale video editor that gives you the ability to create movies and slideshows (for FREE) without installing software on your PC. You simply visit the JayCut website to create, manage and edit your movie.  JayCut, like many of the photo editing sites, gets it power from Adobe Flash. Another feature of JayCut, if you are a web site owner, is that you can integrate JayCut API into your website to make it available for all of your visitors. In order to use JayCut effectively, signing up for an online account is required.

[ SCREENSHOT ]

JayCut - Screenshot

The JayCut online video editor has all the features you would expect to find in a traditional desktop-based video editing tool. Still it is running directly in a web browser without any need for lengthy downloads or cumbersome installations.

Publisher’s Description of Features

In JayCut’s video editing tool you will find basic editing functionality and additional web-optimized features.

Remix/trim videos and images

Add music, transitions and effects

Add captions and subtitles

Automated transcoding

Use same account as webbased editor

1-Click export to YouTube and Facebook

Export videos for Iphone, Win and Mac

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Create Photo Collages Online for FREE

It is amazing the tools that are available online these days that allow you to perform various photo editing and design techniques right inside your web browser; and no software installation is required. Online applications, performed by simply visiting a web site, is an example of what is called cloud computing.

Photovisi Another FREE online application, that is absolutely in the category of awesome, is called Photovisi . What this online app does is walk you through some very simple steps toward creating a photo collage. The “cool factor” here is that you have option of picking from an array of templates and the ability to upload a batch of photos (more than one photo at a time). Below is an example of a collage I created, in less than 3 minutes, using this online app. The photos you are seeing are from my wallpaper collection.

Photovisi is a free and easy to use online tool to create photo collages. Select one of the many collage templates, add your photos and then customize by dragging items around. After the collage is finished, it’s available for download and print! Want to try it out?

Sample Collage

To use Photovisi, simply [ CLICK HERE ] to get started.

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Make Your Own Handwriting Fonts

This article is a follow-up to the popular article “Creating a personalized font from your own handwriting…” which used the online service called FontCapture .

Today I came across another site called Pilot Handwriting that also provides an online method to capture your handwriting (either via webcam, scanner or digital camera) to create your own personalized font.

Pilot Handwriting

When you get to the site [click here] , which is very attractive, simply click on the arrows and you will be guided through the entire process.

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NEW 3D Earth View Option Available in Google Maps

If you are familiar with Google Earth then you are familiar with the data-rich 3D imagery and terrain that Google Earth is capable of.

Preview before adding

Recently the Official Google Blog announced that there is now a view option available on Google Maps called Earth that uses the same 3D power of Google Earth.

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Once you visit Google Maps and select the Earth option you will be prompted to download a browser plugin. The browser plugin, once downloaded and installed, enables you to navigate and explore geographic data in a three-dimensional view; just like the standalone software version of Google Earth. The browser version is somewhat limited and does not have the additional functionality (other options) that the standalone version has; however, the ability to explore the earth in 3D detail in your web browser is nothing but sensational and is an excellent addon to Google Maps.

A TIP to using the Google Earth View option: When navigating the location you select, hold down the “Shift key and Left Mouse Button” to change the vertical field of view to a horizontal field of view (similar to what you would see in a flight simulator).

System Requirements

The Google Earth Plugin is currently available for the following operating systems and web browsers:

Microsoft Windows (2000, XP, Vista, and 7)

  • Google Chrome 1.0+
  • Internet Explorer 7+ (32-bit)
  • Firefox 2.0+
  • Flock 1.0+

Apple Mac OS X 10.4 and higher (Intel and PowerPC)

  • Safari 3.1+
  • Firefox 3.0+

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A Grab Bag Selection of GREAT Online Computer Games

I recently went on the hunt for some online (cloud based) computer games. As you well know, there are numerous online gaming sites; however, most are laden with numerous advertisements and questionable tactics to draw you in. What I was looking for were individualized and specialized games that you play in your web browser (in a full screen or near full screen mode), that would make you stand back in awe, and did not require an online account.

Windows 7 card game Icon

Reflected below are links to the sites for the games that I was able to locate. If you know of other online games, that meets the criteria I have indicated, by all means share them with us by commenting below. You will notice I have not provided any description for the games. This is like a grab bag; reach in, click on the links, and be surprised.

Get The Glass

3D Future Ops 4: First Strike

Gravity Master

Glassez

Matter: Online Tangram

Quest For The Rest

Space Shuttle: Online Flight Simulator

CDX

First Person Tetris

World of Solitaire

FlashChess III

Crystal Galaxy

Breakdown

Leadership

Cost Cutter

Free Crossword Puzzles

Jigsaw Online

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Yet Another FREE Online Storage Solution

Just recently I posted an article [HERE] about online storage which featured the likes of LiveMesh (5 GB), SkyDrive (25 GB), Gmail account (7GB) with a software client called Backup To Email; AND others recommended Dropbox (2 GB) and ADrive (50 GB).  Total of all of this is: 89 GB

Following the posting of that article, my delayed thought process kicked in and I remembered yet another FREE online storage solution called GoAruna.

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What is unique about GoAruna, and I don’t think it has totally caught on yet, is that they offer FREE “unlimited” online file storage.  Now, unlimited to me means infinity; however where the wall is with this, I do not know.

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I did find in the terms under Abuse and excessive use.

Each GoAruna free account is meant for normal personal use by one person. Accounts abusing the privilege and our service by trying to distribute content, (especially illegal and copyright protected content) to the masses, will be terminated or blocked without notice.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, the one main feature that I liked about GoAruna is their desktop client that you download, install and manage your file transactions right from your computer.  The client file management software allows you to manage batch transfers, setup shares to files, send to a mail recipients, delete, rename, move, copy, and create new folders.

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Overall, in my testing, the upload/download process, in terms of speed, was comparable to the other online file storage services and the desktop app is pretty easy to use and understand. You can also access your GoAruna account and files online, as well; which makes it easy to grab files you need when you are somewhere else.  So if you are looking for another online storage option, you may want to check out GoAruna.

Again, in closing, I want to emphasize, that when you store files online (in the cloud), you are putting your trust in the hands of the services which you are dealing with.  Encrypting your files is definitely a plus (and a must in my opinion).

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A Fantastic FREE 3D Online Chess Game

If you are an avid chess player, then you will appreciate SparkChess (flashChess III).

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The “cool factor” here is that you do not need to install any software to play this 3D online chess game. SparkChess (flashChess III) is a cloud application, meaning the game can be played straight from your web browser. This cloud app is Adobe Flash Player based, is very attractive in appearance and really serves one goal; AND, that is to make you a better chess player. Even if you do not play chess, I encourage you to visit SparkChess (flashChess III) to get a good look at how interactive applications, such as SparkChess, will look like as we continue to evolve in the direction of cloud based computing.

To play SparkChess (flashChess III), click [ HERE ] .

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To visit the main web site of SparkChess (flashChess III), click [HERE]. Please Note this upcoming change, as reflected on the web site:  Same game, new name – we’re rebranding: with the next release, flashCHESS will be known as SparkChess. You’ll still be able to play from either domain – SparkChess.com and flashCHESS3.com

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A Very Cool Web App to Search for Flickr Photos

One of the functions that I serve in my Church is that of the Multimedia Director, with the primary responsibility of preparing and building hymn and sermon slides that provide a visual experience to the congregation. The toughest part of the building process, which often consists of 50 or more slides, is locating resources for graphics, photos, and backgrounds that will coincide with a particular hymn or sermon message.

Today I hit a goldmine of a site (that will assist me with locating graphic content) that is not only visually appealing, but is (in my opinion) one of the coolest flash web sites out there.  It is called Tag Galaxy

Tag Galaxy is an Adobe Flash based (3D) – 3 Dimensional web site that allows you search Flickr (online photo management and sharing website) for graphic content.

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Here’s how it works…  Visit Tag Galaxy [ Here ] .  Enter the type of graphic you are looking for (where it says “enter initial tag”) and click on “Go”.  For example, I entered in the word “Praise”.  The site will magically evolve into a galaxy of other relevant tags (or planets).

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In my case I clicked on the “Praise” planet and the site again evolves into a sphere (or globe) that is composed of the photos it finds on Flickr.  You can rotate the sphere (or globe) by holding down your left mouse button and using your mouse pointer.  You can select individual photos on the sphere (or globe) by clicking on them with your mouse pointer or you can reload the sphere (or globe) with more photos by clicking on the arrows at the top of the page.  Using your scroll wheel on your mouse you can zoom in and out on the sphere.

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Use Your Computer to Put You to Sleep

image Here is a cloud app, called Rainy Mood,  that is unique in that it does only one thing; it is a mood enhancer that provides a 15 minute sound loop of a gentle rain (with some rumbling thunder in the background). You can also play your own music simultaneously with this online app to further enhance the mood.  I found that one of two things is going to happen while listening to Rainy Mood.  ONE, the sound of running water is going to promote a run to the bathroom; OR, TWO you are going to relax and hopefully go sleep (YAWN)…

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A FREE Full Screen Interactive Weather Map

Here in the United States the weather this winter has been anything but normal. As a result, tracking weather conditions has moved up on the priority list in our daily routines

To assist us with tracking the weather, Weather Underground has recently developed a new cloud app (with touch screen technology in mind) called FullScreenWeather.com that works in conjunction with Google Maps.

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To use this cloud app, simply visit FullScreenWeather.com (which is a redirect to the Weather Underground web site) and enter your zip code (or city, state, country, Latitude or Longitude).

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Once your zip code is entered and the map for your locale loads, simply bookmark the site in your browser (for future one click access).  Once the map loads you have option of displaying the following overlays: temperature, precipitation or cloud cover. Using Google Maps technology, in conjunction with the weather data overlays,  you have the control to interactively zoom in and out and change the maps appearance.

The map also displays widgets of sorts (with convenient links to the Weather Underground website) that displays current and forecasted conditions, as well as, weather alerts

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Easily Convert Web Pages to a PDF File

I have always been one where I try to find ways to avoid using the printer by electronically converting and storing my documents on my PC so that they can easily be retrieved later. As a result, I very, very seldom go to the printer to print anything.

imageOne example is when I need to print a web page, I will use PDFmyURL, a FREE cloud based service that lets you convert any web page to a PDF file (portable document format) that can be stored on your PC for later viewing, etc.

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PDFmyURL is a new tool that lets you convert any url / webpage to a .pdf and download it instantly. The online tool is free and easy to use – simply enter the url you want converted, click the button, and receive the .pdf on your desktop.

What you do is enter the web address of the web page you are interested in at the PDFmyURL site, then hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard.  PDFmyURL will go to work for you to make the conversion.  The “cool factor” is that following the conversion process to the PDF file format, the web page links are still hot and will continue to work from within the PDF document.

For example, I entered the web site address for the What’s On My PC Launchpad (http://sites.google.com/site/techlaunchpad/) at PDFmyURL and here is the final result [ LINK ] .  As a result, I found a neat way to carry my collection of tech sites with me on my portable flash drive.

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Search, Play and Bookmark Online Radio Stations with RadioTuna

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RadioTuna is a cloud app that brings internet radio to your desktop via their online presence and easy to understand interface.  In the past I normally installed software on my PC to search for and bookmark my online stations; however, RadioTuna eliminates the need to do that.

The “cool factors” to RadioTuna are:

  • Can bookmark your stations (for future reference) that can be accessed anywhere there is internet access.
  • Album art is displayed as the songs are playing to enhance, not only the listening experience, but the visual experience, as well.
  • Very powerful internet radio search engine.

RadioTuna is the first real-time search engine for online radio, giving up-to-the-minute results relating to the music being played across the globe right now. If you search for an artist that happens to be playing right now, we’ll tell you and you can connect straight to that station. If your choice isn’t playing right now, we’ll tell you which stations are most likely to play them next.

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FREE Online Cloud Based Diagram Software

If you find the need to create flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, technical drawings, and more; then check out Gliffy.

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Sometimes trying to get your point across about a process to others is best done by visually (and literally) connecting the dots.  This is where diagramming is very useful and Gliffy can help.

image Gliffy is an online web based application (that is Adobe Flash powered) similar to Microsoft Visio. Visio requires installation on your PC; whereas Gliffy is a web-based service that requires no installation and works right out of your web browser.

A web-based service provides software over the Internet. You get the performance and functionality of desktop software without having to install or maintain anything. You can access the latest version of the software every time you launch Gliffy in your web browser.

With Gliffy you can take complex information and effectively organize it to visually represent your thoughts to create flow charts, organization charts, floor plans, business processes, network drawings, wireframes (for websites), etc…

Gliffy is very easy to use and navigate.  Simply load Gliffy in your browser, select your diagram type from the library, and begin placing your thoughts on paper by simply dragging-and-dropping the shapes onto the work space provided.  Once your diagram is completed you can then print, save or share and collaborate your diagram on the internet.

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One point to make is that to effectively use Gliffy, you will need to sign up for an account.  For the first 30 days you will be given access to the premium service; and after 30 days if you fail to subscribe to the premium service your account reverts to the basic FREE service.  To compare the (2)-two service [ CLICK HERE ] .  If you are like me, the basic FREE service will meet the needs of the everyday computer user.

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Creating a personalized font from your own handwriting…

FontCapture is a web based (cloud app) that walks you through a (4)-four step process of creating a font style in your very own handwriting. You will need a fine point marker, printer, scanner, an internet connection and a little computer know-how to make this work.

The FontCapture web site indicates it is a (4)-four step process; however, I found it is actually to be a (6)-six step process from the point of completing the template to actually getting the font style on your PC.

Personally, if you follow all of the steps and take your time completing the template, the end result is very good.  Below is a sample of the results I managed to get.

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Step 1: Download and print the the template

Step 2: Complete the template in your own handwriting

Step 3: Scan the template ( >200 dpi) – Save as a PNG file

Step 4: Upload the saved PNG file to FontCapture

Step 5: Preview and Download the converted font file

Step 6: Locate and Copy the downloaded font to your Windows font directory.

Note: If you experience any problems copying the font file to your Windows font directory, I encourage you to follow these “easy” step-by-step instructions on:

“How To Add A Custom Font To Your PC” [ at Tech-for Everyone ]

Update (7 – 1 – 2010): Also see the article “Make Your Own Handwriting Font” using the service Pilot Handwriting.


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Learn About FREE Online Backup Strategies

image Backing up your data to the cloud… What are your options?  Is it costly? Is it hard to do? Should I do it?

If you have a desire to get answers to these questions, I encourage you to visit Scoroncocolo to learn more about FREE On-Line Backup Strategies AND how you can take advantage of them. The article is very well written for us everyday folks to understand.  Be sure to check out the nice listing of online storage services that offer “FREE” storage space.

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A “What’s On My PC…” Web Clip!

imageSeptember 27, 2009
[Source: Scoroncocolo]

Cloud Computing is a buzz phrase we hear a lot these days. All Cloud Computing means is using your Web browser instead of your hard drive to run applications to do the work you do everyday. It won’t be long until this is the norm rather than the exception.

SkyDrive and Syncplicity are not the only cloud backup I use. I also have music, photos and files backed-up on Adrive and Box.net.

One thing you might want to keep in mind about using cloud storage providers is that they could go belly-up at any time. You may recall that this happened to AOL-owned Xdrive in or around August 0f 2008. With this in mind, you may not want to consider using backing-up in the cloud as your only method of securing your data.

Once you have music, pictures and documents stored on Google Docs, SkyDrive, ADrive, Box.net or Amazon, you can download and install Gladinet Cloud Desktop to keep track of everything. Gladinet Cloud Desktop allows you to access files stored in the cloud as if they were in a local folder.

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[Source: Scoroncocolo]

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Windows4All – An Online Virtual Operating System

cloudos

Windows4All is a Microsoft Silverlight (web) based online virtual operating system that emulates the feel and appearance of Windows Vista. No installation or account sign-up is required; and applications can be launched right away by simply going to Windows4all.com . If the application does not load, then you do not have Microsoft Silverlight installed.

What is Silverlight?

Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform and cross-device browser plug-in that helps companies design, develop and deliver applications and experiences on the Web.

The desktop to Windows4all interface emulates the Windows Vista desktop with a taskbar, Start Menu, and Sidebar.  Also  included at this point of development is:

File Explorer
Internet Explorer
Video Player
Rich Text Editor
RSS Reader
Notepad
Paint
Calculator
Games (Chess, Spider, Solitaire, Tic-Tac-Toe)

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Windows4all.com advantages:

  • Convenience and freedom – A personalized desktop is available and accessible from any computer in the world.
  • No more administration – No more software installation, software update, worry about anti-virus.
  • Security –  Less prone to typical attacks, viruses, worms, vulnerabilities, spyware and disk crashes.
  • Hardware – Performance doesn’t depend much on the speed of your computer.
  • Entertainment – Being online, windows4all.com offers more opportunities for communicating and entertainment.
  • Cost – It is free.

Windows4All is currently in the early stage of development; however, the current stage of development will give you an idea what a familiar online operating system (Vista) looks like inside your web browser.

Recently Windows4All was updated to include a Virtual PC application. It is now possible to run other webOS like G.ho.st, Startforce, Cloudo, and Lucid-Desktop inside windows4all.com.

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A FREE Reminder Service In The Cloud

If you are like me, you can be told to remember something and it will eventually, like smoke, vaporize in a short matter of time.  My attention span is here, there, and a little bit of everywhere and the focus is soon lost (and very quickly).

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To help me with my deficit I have been using an online cloud app called “ReSnooze”. I have featured ReSnooze on the blog in the past and feel it is worth a second post. ReSnooze is a really neat “reminder” service that helps you remember things; not only one time, but over and over, if necessary. ReSnooze will email the reminders to you…

Let’s face it, we are bombarded with information at a phenomenal rate and you better be organized to keep up or you will experience information overload and forget the really important things that could result in injury (like your anniversary).

What is ReSnooze good for?

Resnooze is a great to-do list tool. Low-priority items won’t bug you too much, but will not be forgotten.

Resnooze is a new approach for bookmarking. It guarantees that you actually remember to visit the URLs you’ve bookmarked; It naturally prevents bookmark clutter.

More specifically, Resnooze is good for remembering to:

  • Re-visit websites (by simply typing the URL)
  • Make a phone call
  • Pay a bill
  • Make a doctor appointment
  • Ask a friend to return your book
  • Buy a gift
  • Follow-up on something

Have you ever emailed yourself something just to keep it in mind?

Resnooze makes the process or “emailing yourself” easier. By default, Resnooze reminders are periodical so you won’t forget them even if you ignore one.

With Resnooze, you can adjust the reminder frequency in a single click, from within the email message.

Recently added to ReSnooze is the convenient “Hot Reminders List” that is a listing things that you can add to your reminders.

To use ReSnooze in its’ fullest, I suggest you visit the site and sign up for a FREE account.  You will find ReSnooze one of the most useful cloud apps out there!

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A FREE cloud based version of Microsoft Office is coming…

Microsoft is finally seeing the light (or cloud I should say) and will be making available (for FREE) a browser based (light weight) version of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and One Note to members of its free Windows Live online service. It is my understanding that if you have a Windows Live account (i.e. Hotmail account) you will be able to access these applications for FREE in your web browser (including Firefox). It is anticipated to be available sometime next year (2010) as Microsoft Office 2010 is rolled out.  It is currently unknown if these cloud apps will be ad supported or not.

This is a major step for Microsoft in an effort to compete with the likes of other cloud based services that already offer similar functionality, such as Google Docs. This may be an excellent solution for many people out there, such as the “Moms and Pops” who only need a “light weight” version of these apps to perform lightweight tasks (such as drafting a letter or simply as a means to open an Office document).

According to Microsoft, you will be able to
“View documents across PCs, mobile phones, and the Web without compromising document fidelity. Create new documents and do basic editing using the familiar Office interface”.

You can learn more about the upcoming web based version of Microsoft Office 2010 [ HERE ] and by watching the video below.

Office2010_video

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Virtualize Your Floor Plans with Project Dragonfly

Project Dragonfly is an online DIY (do it yourself) tool that you use in a real-time environment; to create, envision, furnish and ultimately virtualize floor plans (in 2D or 3D). Project Dragonfly was launched in March 2009 by Autodesk, which is world renown for 2D and 3D design software (e.g. Autocad) that is used in architecture, engineering and building construction. If you are familiar with CAD software then you know the complexity that is involved in learning the software. With Project Dragonfly the learning curve is minimal and there is no software installation involved. Simply visit the site and start designing. Project Dragonfly is another great example of a “flash based” cloud application that you run straight from your web browser.

Project Dragonfly

I encourage you to preview the video below as an introduction to Project Dragonfly (to get you started).  If you cannot wait to try it out, visit Project Dragonfly [ HERE ] .

Pimp Your Profile with Photofunia

My friends over at Technize.com recently posted an article (see web clip below) about a cloud application, called Photofunia, that I had not yet experienced. What caught my eye in the article, was a pic of a baby. It’s not everyday you see a a baby on a tech blog, unless it is about the animated “Dancing Baby” (Ooga Chaka Ooga Ooga! …) from several years ago.

[ CLICK HERE TO REMINISCENCE ]

Technize did a great job explaining how Photofunia works, using the baby as the example. I encourage you to visit Technize.com to see how the baby was transitioned into works of art using the online Photofunia photo effects service.

Photofunia

PhotoFunia is an online photo editing tool that gives you a fun filled experience. You upload any photo and just wait to see the magic. Their proprietary technology automatically identifies the face in the photo and let’s you add cool photo effects and create funny face photo montages. PhotoFunia is free and very easy to use. Just select an effect you like from over 100 different effects, upload your photo, and PhotoFunia will handle the rest for you.

1clipsm“What’s On My PC…” Web  Clip!

Make Your Photographs Artistic

Chiranjib on June 10th, 2009

Have you ever dreamed, your photo in a big banner in street or building. If yes then you can create it by using Adobe Photoshop.

It is a difficult job and takes a long time. But you can do it online in few seconds.

Just click on the link below and choose an effect. Next browse for your photograph.

It will create your photograph in the selected effect. Then click on save to disk. That you have done.

I created the following photographs from the original one:

Original one is:

Make Your Photographs Artistic

Visit “Technize.com” to see the end results!

[ Source: Technize.com ]

technize

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Playing Solitaire in the Clouds…

As long as there has been Microsoft Windows, there has been the card game Solitaire. I always heard that Microsoft provided the game of Solitaire (aka: Klondike) with the operating system, not only a means to provide entertainment, but also as a means to teach people how to use the mouse.

If you are Solitaire gamer, then you will be interested in the Cloud based version of Solitaire called “World of Solitaire”. World of Solitaire is a 100% JavaScript Based application that you play in your internet web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, etc…). As a matter of fact, there are over 40 different versions of solitaire that is available in World of Solitaire; and, if you register, your statistics are saved online.

worldofsolitaire.com

World of Solitaire

World of Solitaire started out as an experiment by author Robert Schultz and has grown into over 350,000 players per month. I have found World of Solitaire to be at the same level or better than any of the Solitaire game software that you would install on your PC. Again, World of Solitaire is played in your web browser and requires no installation. Just visit World of Solitaire [ HERE ] to select and start your game. As a tip, after arriving at the World of Solitaire site and starting your game, hit “F11” on your keyboard to toggle to full screen mode. You can turn full screen “off”, by hitting “F11” again.

If you find yourself becoming addicted to the World of Solitaire, I encourage you to also visit Robert Schultz’s – Blog about “World of Solitaire” to keep abreast of any updates.

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FREE Cloud Based Unit Converter

Converticious

If you need a quick (and attractive) way to determine conversion factors between different units of measurement for the same quantity (e.g. 1 Mile = 5280 Feet; 90 Fahrenheit = 32.222 Celsius), then visit Converticious.

Coverticious is an attractive cloud application that you can launch and use, simply by visiting the website (no software to install).  Another great example of using software as a service across the internet.

Converticious

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Prism – Bringing Cloud Apps To Your Desktop

I recently posted an article which provided (3)-three options available, geared toward cloud apps, that will allow you to split web applications out of the browser. The article “Turn your cloud apps into desktop apps with SSB” explored the emerging technology of site specific browsers which allows you take an online site (or cloud app) and convert it into a desktop application. The advantage to this is that when the cloud app is launched, it will open into a full screen window minus all of the distractions of a typical browser and will run in its’ own separate process. One of the options that I presented was called “Prism” by Mozilla Labs (the Firefox people).

Prism

Work is now starting to progress with Prism, after what I saw was very little activity. First sign of activity was the Yahoo! Zimbra Desktop [click here] (which is Prism based); the second sign of activity is an actual Prism web site  [click here] ; and the third sign of activity is the beta release of Prism (V1.0 b1) [click here] .

There are numerous web based apps being developed daily, and what we are seeing is next generation computing.  I have been using Prism for approximately 3 months to launch my favorite cloud apps in their own separate processes or applications. Prism can be run either as a Firefox extension or you can download the Prism software. I preferred the actual Prism software download so that I could see how Prism performed at the PC level. If you are someone who is into cloud computing, you definitely need to give Prism a try.

How does Prism Work?

What you are seeing below is the “Prism” software application which is very easy to use. Enter the desired URL of your cloud app (or web site), give it a name, check “off” the location where you want Prism create the shortcut (e.g. Desktop, Start Menu, Quick Launch Bar), click “OK” and you are done…  Prism does all of the work for you and even extracts an icon from the cloud app site to identify the cloud app shortcut.  If you want to get rid of the cloud app that Prism installed, you simply delete the shortcut.

Prism

How To Video


A cloud based weather app with a social appeal…

This time of year at my location, the weather is normally in the low to mid 70’s and very pleasant; however, the past 2-(two) weeks we have experienced conditions from unseasonably hot weather (above 90 degrees) to very rainy weather. During unusual weather changes, such as this, I have come to rely on internet based weather services to monitor the conditions for severe weather. I have always had a fascination with computer software applications that have the ability to provide weather stats (and alerts) and give that feeling that you have your very own weather station.

iMapWeather.com

iMap Weather

A recent search for new weather applications on the internet led me to a FREE “cloud based” application called iMapWeather. This application is a Flash based application integrated with Google Maps API that uses radar; and reportedly some of the most sophisticated forecasting available. This weather application is the first I have experienced where weather information and user-generated (social) media features are wrapped in the same package. For example; after setting up an account with iMapWeather, you can share photos, videos, posts and events with other iMapWeather users.

[ click for screenshot ]

imap_sm11

This app features enhanced mapping, with a realtime doppler radar data overlay, that is precisely localized down to the latitude and longitude with roadmap, satellite and terrain views. You can also zoom in (to house and street level) and zoom out (for a broader view); AND, go full screen to precisely track current conditions.  You can toggle “on and off”, the radar, current conditions, global lightning, and buoy ship data.

[ click for screenshot ]

iMap Screenshot

Other facts about iMapWeather:

  • iMapWeather’s “Hurricane” tab gives users the ability to track tropical systems, follow their projected paths and view footage and commentary from bystanders who are witnessing a storm’s development.
  • With iMapWeather’s “Winter” tab, users can get snow and ice reports and fInd out current conditions at ski resorts across the United States.
  • iMapWeather’s ClickCast® provides weather information from all over the world in real time. Click on any location, from Paris to Beijing, for current weather conditions and forecasts.
  • Users can share content via e-mail from a computer or mobile device.
  • Social media content is displayed on an algorithm that includes newness, popularity (views) and ranking.
  • iMap Weather is in beta and you are required to sign-up for an account to take full advantage of the social media features.

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Panda Cloud Antivirus – Is it netbook ready?

Bill Mullins’ at Tech Thoughts scooped us all on a new “exciting” and FREE antivirus product called “Panda Cloud Antivirus”. I encourage you to visit Bill’s site [ CLICK HERE ] to preview his article, “Panda Cloud Antivirus – Free Cloud Protection”. My reading of Bill’s article prompted me to get the word out about this new security product and to test it on my netbook.

Panda Cloud Antivirus

Many of you may not have heard of Panda.
Panda Security is an European based company…

Panda Cloud Antivirus

Founded by Mikel Urizarbarrena in 1990 in Bilbao, Spain, the company operated under the name Panda Software for the first 17 years. By 1995, it was the antivirus market leader in Spain and the following year saw the start of its international expansion effort. It currently has a direct sales presence in 56 countries, operating through an extensive network of subsidiaries and franchises.

“Panda Cloud Antivirus” compared
to the other FREE antivirus software…

Panda Cloud Antivirus is a “thin client” service that you install on your PC that is dependent on the Panda’s internet (cloud) based services for its’ processing activities (aka: cloud computing). As result of the processing services being managed at the cloud (internet) level; maintenance, updates, configuration changes and system resources are minimized to the point that it becomes a maintenance free product. Panda is claiming that by using this model, which is the first that I am aware for any security software, their system will scan and quarantine malware with a 50 per cent less performance load on your PC than other traditional signature based antivirus systems. The detection component of “Panda Cloud Antivirus” is installed on your computer, but the analytic component is managed at the cloud level. One important thing to point out is that Panda Cloud Antivirus is in beta (released to the public for testing) and has not been made final. [added 05/01/2009 – Panda Cloud Antivirus” – Instructions & Help]

“Panda Cloud Antivirus” installed and running on a netbook…

Acer AspireOne Netbook

Following my review of Bill Mullins’ article I downloaded and installed “Panda Cloud Antivirus” on my Acer AspireOne Mini-Netbook over a wireless connection (Intel Atom processor, 1.60 Ghz, 1Gig of RAM, 120 GB SATA, Windows XP). Netbooks are basically low-end PCs’ that primarily rely on the Internet for remote access to web-based (cloud) applications.  I use my netbook to test software; and in theory, if it will run on the “netbook” it will run on just about anything.

System Requirements for Panda Cloud Antivirus

Operating system: Windows Vista 32
(also compatible with Windows Vista SP1 32-bit), Windows XP (32-bit with SP 2 or 3).

RAM: 64 MB.

Hard disk free space: 100 MB.

Browser: Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.

Netbook Install Experience

In summary, the install file was approximately 18.5 MBs and occupied a footprint of approximately 56 MBs following the installation. The installation was very, very quick. The Windows XP Security Center immediately recognized the product as a Security product. The GUI (graphical user interface) is very attractive and simplistic (one of the easiest GUI’s I have experienced). I performed a system scan and found the scan time was comparable in speed and duration to the  previous antivirus software I had installed. I plan to continue using “Panda Cloud Antivirus” on the netbook, as my primary level of antivirus protection, for further review and testing. So far this cloud app is running smoothly on my netbook, but time will tell.

To Bill Mullin’s at Tech Thoughts; Thank you for bringing this product to our attention.  As Bill stated in communication with me “This is an important improvement to our overall security status..”

THE WORD IS OUT

Official Blog – Panda Cloud Antivirus

Panda Cloud Antivirus hits Internet for free – USA Today

Panda Cloud Antivirus is a Lightweight,
Always-Updated Virus Killer – Lifehacker

Panda Launches New Free Cloud-based Antivirus – PCWorld

Panda debuts first cloud-based anti-virus system – VNUNet

Panda Security debuts cloud-based anti-virus – itWorldCanada

Panda Security launches free cloud-based antivirus – Geek.com

Addendum (05/01/2009) The Tennessee Technology Center at Shelbyville (aka: TTC Shelbyville) has posted the  article “Panda Cloud Antivirus Free”. The TTC Shelbyville article provides additional information about their installation experience(s), screenshots and findings; that is a great supplement to this article. They also threw some actual viral content at “Panda Cloud Antivirus”… I encourage you to visit TTC Shelbyville [ CLICK HERE ] to see the results of their review.

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G.ho.st (“Ghost”) – Your online virtual computer…

When we first sit down at our computer the first thing we see is our desktop which serves as the visual gateway and the initial launching point for files, programs, settings, menus, icons, etc… We have become accustomed to seeing a certain desktop model  that consists of a start menu, a task bar, a wallpaper background, icons, etc. This model is consistent across the various operating system platforms; from Windows, to Mac, to the many flavors of Linux. Take us away from that desktop model and our comfort level suddenly drops.

Currently there are numerous online services being introduced (called cloud apps) that allow you to access those services through your browser (such as Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox & Chrome). There are even web-based operating system environments being introduced that attempt to replicate the desktop model. How would you like to go to any computer that is connected to the internet and be able to log into your own personal desktop; a desktop that looks familiar and allows you to do virtually the same functions you are now performing on your computer’s desktop at home? It is possible with these types of web based operating systems.

http://www.g.ho.st/G.ho.st

Today, I came across a service called “Global Hosted Operating System” or “Ghost” (actually G.ho.st) that is the closest resemblance to the desktop model that I have experienced to date. If you are on broadband (high-speed G.ho.stinternet), you have to at least try the “Ghost” virtual computer.  It will not harm your computer in anyway and it is absolutely free. The first thing to make clear is that Ghost is currently in the “alpha” stage of “public” testing. It is stable and usable, but it is not yet fully complete.  During “alpha testing”, you can expect some bugs, but they will not bite. You can test Ghost by visiting the web site [ click here ] and clicking on the “Guest Account”. Once you have accessed the “Guest Account and have loaded the Ghost desktop, go full screen…  Don’t be surprised that you feel as if you are on another computer…  If you find Ghost to be something you may be interested in following you can setup an account to create your own personalized desktop in the clouds.  You are initally provided with a 5 GB account (for file storage) and an additional 3 GB account for the email account.  Additional space can be acquired by referring your friends to Ghost.

What is Ghost?

G.ho.st® provides every person in the world with a free Virtual Computer (VC). Like a Windows PC, or Mac, the VC is a personal computing environment which includes your desktop, your personal settings, your files and your choice of software applications. But unlike a PC, your VC is not installed on one physical computer – instead it is stored in professional data centers across the Internet cloud, and is accessed from any Internet browser in the world. From any computer, open the browser to G.ho.st , enter your username and password, and continue using your VC from exactly the state you last left it in.

[ Click here to enlarge screenshot in a new window ]

G.ho.st

What are the advantages of G.ho.st?

Available from any browser in the world instead of being installed on one physical machine.

The operating system, many apps, and the first 5GB of data storage and 3GB of email storage are absolutely free.

Software (namely Web-based software) can be run without installation.

The computer is always up-to-date, secure and backed up with no action or cost on your part.

The G.ho.st® VC manages all your Web logins and all your web ‘stuff’ (e.g. files on different web services).

Because it is online, the G.ho.st® VC provides new possibilities for fun and collaboration, beyond what is available on a PC.

Examples of how to use G.ho.st

You can use the G.ho.st® file upload/download facility to permanently move your files (documents, music, photos, etc.) to G.ho.st®. You can use G.ho.st® Mail as your e-mail service and use the POP aggregation to receive e-mails from your other e-mail services (as well as your new @G.ho.st email). You can also use G.ho.st® My Items to manage your Web stuff (links to Flickr photos, Google Docs, YouTube videos, etc.) and use the G.ho.st® Browser to make sure that your bookmarks and cookies are available everywhere.

Key Features

  • Access your desktop, files, apps and settings from any Internet browser
  • Desktop and apps run without the need for installation or updating
  • Customize your desktop and choose from 20+ available languages
  • G.ho.st® has chosen the very best available storage service for your precious data – Amazon Web Services
  • 5GB professionally hosted and backed-up disk space
  • Many file types can be viewed or edited online with a simple double-click
  • Upload and sync your documents, photos and music easily using the G.ho.st® Upload Download Utility, Sync program or FTP
  • Manage smart shortcuts called Tagged Things to Web resources – webmarks (URLs), files, photos, videos, music, products
  • Single sign-on to other services such as Google Docs using My Logins
  • Manage smart shortcuts called Tagged Things to Web resources – webmarks (URLs), files, photos, videos, music, products
  • Share or publish your files directly from the G.ho.st® Drive
  • Read, write and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations using G.ho.st® integrations with Zoho, directly from your G.ho.st® Storage
  • Edit Google Docs, sheets and presentations stored at Google from within G.ho.st®
  • Manage your e-mails, calendar and contacts with the Web’s leading collaboratoin suite
  • You will receive a yourGhostID @G.ho.st email and can retrieve other emails as well (using “POP3”)
  • Yes G.ho.st® runs within the browser but also contains a browser of it’s own! Whichever computer you are on, the G.ho.st® Browser will have your history, your webmarks, and your “cookies” so that other sites will recognize you

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“Thumbtack” – A FREE Cloud App from Microsoft Live Labs

Just when I think I’m ahead of the game, I learn something new. I did not know Microsoft currently maintains a site called “Microsoft Live Labs”.  Live Labs, established by Microsoft in January 2006,  is a test bed for Windows Live projects that are developed through the collaberation of engineers, scientists, researchers and the online community.

During my visit to the site, I was introduced to what I think is a jewel of a cloud application, called “Thumbtack”.  Thumbtack, currently in development, is an online application that serves as your personal collecting point for notes, web clippings, pictures, web sites, etc… Thumbtack allows you to publish and share your collections with others. Thumbtack is an AJAX application, has no OS dependencies and currently supports the  Internet Explorer and Firefox 3 browsers. Using a bookmarklet feature associated with thumbtack, you can quickly (and easily) grab content from the web and have it automatically delivered to your Thumbtack account for future reference. As an avid blogger, I can see where this cloud app will serve as a great research tool. If you currently have a “Hotmail or Windows Live” account you can easily give “Thumbtack” a try.

Thumbtack

If you do not have an account, you can [ click here ] to get started.

To learn more about “Thumbtack” I encourage you to visit the “Thumbtack Site”.

Reflected below are (2)-two video which explains the features of “Thumbtack”.

Video: Thumbtack Introduction

Thumbtack - Intro

Video: Thumbtack collections

Thumbtack - Collections

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Turn your cloud apps into desktop apps with SSB

To enhance and separately launch my cloud computing applications, I have been exploring an emerging technology called “Site-Specific Browsers” or SSB that has enabled me to open my web based (cloud) applications in the same manner as any other standard desktop application.

Typically, when we use an online service, such as our email, we use our web browser (e.g. IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome) to navigate to the site. The browsers we use are congested with toolbars, menus, sidebars, an address bar, a search bar, etc… With SSB, you open your web based (cloud) application via an icon shortcut into a full screen window (very quickly) without all of the congestion or distractions. This allows you to get in, do your thing, and get out using a very clean and effective browser interface. Typically, a true SSB compliant browser can open each web based (cloud) app in a separate process from each other.  If one fails, the whole house doesn’t come down.  I have been using the SSB concept with several of my cloud apps and I love it.  For example, with SSB, I can click on an icon on my desktop that will directly open my online email account (in a full screen window) faster than I can open my local email software on my computer or open the app via a browser shortcut.

OK, so how do you make these SSB application shortcuts?

I actually found (4)-four different ways to accomplish this:

Chrome - Create App Shortcuts
The Google Chrome browser has a feature built into it called “create application shortcuts” which can be accessed via the “Page Menu” located in the top right corner of the browser.  Even if you do not use Google Chrome, this feature alone may be worth the install.  You can learn how to create your own application shortcuts, using Google Chrome, by [ clicking here ] .  I have found this option in Chrome to work very well.

Prism
Mozilla Labs, the developers of Firefox, currently has in beta a SSB called Prism. Prism is an application that lets users split web applications out of their browser and run them directly from the desktop. There is a standalone (prototype) version of Prism which you can download to easily create your web app shortcuts or you can use the  browser extension option. I personally prefer to use the standalone version of Prism at this point.  I have found Prism, which works off of the Firefox browser engine,  to work very well.  You can read about and download Prism by [ clicking here ].

Bubbles
Bubbles is a standalone “Free” application that you download to generate (create) your SSB application shortcuts. It detaches Web Applications from the classic Browser and offers them with the familiar accessibility, capabilities and always-on nature of Desktop applications. Bubble appears to be running off of the Internet Explorer browser engine.  You can read more and download Bubbles by [ clicking here ]

Mango
Mango SSB is another standalone “Free” application that you can use to create your SSB application shortcuts.  What is unique about Mango is that it is customizable (e.g. menus, splash screens, kiosk mode, etc.).  It even has an option where you can compile your customized web app shortcut into an actual “exe” (executable) program.  Mango appears to be tapping into the Internet Explorer browser engine.  Mango is a good example of what can take place with the SSB technology.  You can read about and download Mango by [ clicking here ]

I hope that you have found this article beneficial. As I have mentioned in previous posts, cloud computing is the wave. More and more online applications and services are being developed daily. Using a SSB – Site -Specific Browser to launch those services only makes sense. If you know of any other site specific browsers out there, drop me a comment.  I am always for exploring something new.

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