_archive for the ‘Web tools & resources’ category
Working all day on the computer, I am constantly looking for new shortcuts and improvements to my process. Here are two new tools I am and will be using for a while.
1. TabGroups+ - this Firefox extension adds another layer of organization to standard tabs, potentially allowing a single Firefox window to have hundreds of tabs, provided you have enough free system resources. Since whatever I work on usually takes a few tabs each, this means I can better organize all my browser instances into one window, for better or worse. Note that you can set Firefox to start with previously open tabs, preventing you from losing your tabs session after a crash. Also note this extension is experimental, so you’ll need to register for an account on Mozilla.
2. Dropbox - follows the current web trend and is a free online web service that stores your files on the cloud. You can download their cross-platform desktop app to as many computers as desired. When the app is running, it syncs whatever is in your special Dropbox folder on that computer with your Dropbox webspace. If you’re working on many computers throughout the week like I am, the few minutes of setup time is definitely worth it. Even more, Dropbox allows you to share folders with other users like your friends.
What really sold me with both tools is the easy of use and the general lack of configuration and feature creep. They do a couple things, but they do them really well, and it doesn’t take a tech wizard to use them.
I suspect a lot of developers will be using this. It is really the best programming faq site I’ve seen, a mix between blog, wiki, forum, and digg.
The headlines for this week will probably have “Google Chrome” somewhere. Google’s new browser, love it or hate it, is definitely going to change things. Initial likes? The comic, of course, which goes beyond a good marketing/advertising move to something more educational and fun, so you can read it to get caught up with the technical specs on Chrome. I read it and got amped up before installing the app itself. It’s very blue, and there’s no menu bar. Otherwise, it felt like any other, non-IE browser (although the interface at times felt very IE, especially the nav bar). A standout is the new start page, which shows thumbnails of visited sites and used search engines, something I thought smart and useful.
But after all this, one question. Why ‘Chrome’ and that logo?
Whilst researching some different video games and open-source communicating applications, I stumbled upon Google Lively. I remember checking it out once before and maybe reading a blog post or two about it.
Now, I like the concept. It’s kind of like a free, un-intimidating, easy to access Second Life. You don’t have to buy anything or spend a lot of time immersing yourself into the world to understand it. So, I thought I would try it out.
Building my avatar and learning how to move were easy. But, I found it unbelievable slow at times- as did many of the users I “spoke” with. It’s still in beta, so that’s to be expected.
To me, Lively appears to be a glorified chat system. I kept wondering, “Is this useful?” Interfacing beyond text can be much more immersive, true. But if I wanted some personal communication with family or friends, why wouldn’t I just use Skype? As for meeting and chatting with strangers, Lively was excellent. There are several active “rooms” and a seemingly huge community at all times.
So if you’re looking for a time-sponge that’s easy to use, try Lively.
I’m not naming names, but a couple of the ladies here at Fluidesign were joyfully discussing the effects of working late into the night. The caffeine highs/lows, buggy eyes and weird sense of humor- we’ve all been there. Even though the time is in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, it just slips away somehow.
It makes sense though. If you’re staring at a lit screen all day, your brain isn’t getting any natural clues to switch on it’s sleep cycle. Nocturne is an application for Mac created to combat this problem. As seen on MakeUseOf.com, it slowly dims your screen and turns it monochrome.
You can pre-set the time to correspond with the sun or, for nite owls like myself, set it as late as you like. I don’t know if I’ll be downloading this myself, but there are a couple computers I might just sneak it on.
And, you kinda feel like a poser with those dark-framed glasses and Chuck Taylors? Well, I don’t blame you. I do too sometimes. Everyone does.
I was speaking with a friend last night who wants to understand more about technology, the web-o-sphere, new media, and probably just be able to laugh at LolCat jokes. He said he wants to be knowledgeable and up-to-date on what’s out there, but doesn’t know where to begin. Checking out the right blogs & bookmarks only make him feel like it’s all some kind of secret language mixed with inside jokes.
Well, I was not prepared or qualified to give him a comprehensive history of the internet followed by a overview of the current trends… and I was about 3 glasses of pinot noir deep. So, I recommended a TWiT cocktail with a twist of Google:
TWiT stands for “This Week in Tech” and is a weekly podcast hosted by online media guru, Leo Laporte. It’s available for download on iTunes, directly on the site or press play on the site’s media player; it couldn’t be easier. And best of all, Leo is extremely entertaining as he and his with tech-savvy guests discuss the latest advances, news and speculation about all things webby.
But, how do you know what they’re talking about? Pause it and Google any names or words you don’t understand. You’ll surely be directed to wikipedia or a relevant search page. Yes, it’s a bit of a process, but after a few episodes you’ll probably be “pwning the newbs” with the rest of us.
I know how much you like to track your time. I also know how much you like to tweet every heartbeat and breath of your life. Now you can combine two of the world’s previously mutually exclusive activities into one bursting barrel of fun.
Track your time via Twitter in Tempo!
For me however, nothing beats the painstaking process of firing up Netsuite, wrestling with the counter intuitive form controls that disallow me from entering in any useful information, and logging my grief stricken hours of fixing Internet Explorer bugs and handling the desalinization of Fluid’s drinking water.
It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s simply got to do it.
Because Fluidesign it’s not only about design…
In current projects we working on, we’re using more and more modal windows to show data or login form.
But I experienced many problems regarding the customization and the debugging.
That’s why I developed a jQuery Plugin which provide many callbacks and the ability to redefine every animation functions.
Everything is documented and you can start use it in your own project.