Friday, 31 July 2009

31. The future of computer - Web 3.0

Today is the 366th entry, marking the completion of the first full year of this blog, with not a day missed! Tomorrow I shall do the monthly review for July, and after that start an annual review which will look at a difference category every day of August. This means newcomers do not have to read some 366 entries.

So I thought I would take this last day before the review as a chance to look forward, and attempt to share a number of people's idea of what the future, with Web 3.0, will be. Make no mistake, I do not think there are clear difference between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. We had half of what people call Web 2.0 functionality before that name was coined. And we are well into what some people refer to as Web 3.0 technology already. But I found this presentation (or set of presentations) that may help you wade through the quagmire that tries to call itself useful. One day I am sure it will be. But at the moment, the horse is tamed but nobody is thinking clearly about the cart, its contents or how we shall use it.

Web 3.0 explained

Thursday, 30 July 2009

30. Statistics in pictures - with Cyberwit

I happen to like statistics, and believe that if you have the right presentation of the results, you can transmit the ideas held within a data set very easily. Much easier than trying to interpret all those confusing rows and columns. I am still looking for a good package that makes it all very simple. (I have seen a beta version of a subscription service, but to date it lacks some of the essentials, such as data export and print!). However, this one appears to offer the user a lot of alternative presentations, and allow data to be shown in a dyslexia-friendly way. And just to help, it is free.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

29. Concept mapping made simple with iKon maps

I admit that I am not a lover of concept maps as I have never found one that is user friendly. That is until now. iKon maps is a concept mapping tool that is so quick, simple and easy to use that for once I have started using one. This is an early version, and I am sure there are other components on their way. But for a quick and simple concept map, I cannot recall one to beat this one. But maybe I am biased as I had a (small) hand in its development.

iKon Maps

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

28. Collaborative documents with Etherpad

I have been using Etherpad in a beta form all year. But it recently had a makeover, and it more widely avalable. Yes, there are other online programs for sharing and developing documents collaboratively, but I have yet to see one that can rival Etherpad. Simple, clean and easy to use.


Monday, 27 July 2009

27. Recording Skype video with Pamela

I have highlighted before the free sound recording of 15 minutes of Skype through Pamela. However, with more and more people using the webcam as a means of providing support you may also need to think about recording for later reviews. The Pro version of Pamela also record the video as well as offering other features. It is just €25 ($20) for the professional no-restrictions version.


Sunday, 26 July 2009

26. The colour of money - from Google

I am sure you can see the difference in the colour of the text up to this comma, and the colour after the comma. Well is seems that this subtle change, from the first to the second, has been made by Google for its links within email, to encourage you to make more click onto adverts. Why? Probably because people are more used to seeing this richer blue for adverts.

If Google can consider the impact of such subtle colour changes on the ability to perceive information, it is not such a leap to understand how using the preferred colours could help the dyslexic learner.

Google colours (Its about half way down!)

Saturday, 25 July 2009

25. Making educational games with Sharendipity

Do you ever feel the need to make a game based learning activity, but don't know how? That is where this site could help you. It has lots of game templates to make all kinds of activities. Then you can share it with the learning community. In the words of the website "Sharendipity is the fun and easy way to create fun, social games without programming that can be shared with your friends or embedded on your website. Or simply browse and play the creations of others, challenging your friends to beat your high score! Create a game in four easy steps or try the advanced game creator!"


Friday, 24 July 2009

24. Dual screens - from EVGA's InterView

Do you ever feel like there is not enough space on your screen to see all your document? You thought you had one open, and it says there are 16 Excels stacked up, and so it must be somewhere? Well, EVGA's Interview Dual Monitor System Review could come to the rescue. Personally I hook my small laptop (with a 12 inch screen) up to a 22 inch monitor and turn the small one off. But the though of a second 22 inch screen does sound tempting. (Actually I would probably need three screens so I can still sit in front of one, but that is being greedy!)

Dual monitor

Thursday, 23 July 2009

23. Shut down your computer remotely

Do you ever leave the office or leave home and forget to shut down the computer? Here is a brief article about a tool that will enable you to lock out others or shut down the computer, using an email or even an SMS.

Remote shutdown

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

22. Business drawing program - SmartDraw

Do you ever go into a drawing package to draw the diagrams for a report or essay, and then draw a blank as to what to do next? This commercial package has over 100 templates to select from for (what they call) all occasions. See the video for a demonstrate of how a picture could replace 1000 words. From what I have seen it beats my usual method of using Powerpoint to create graphics.


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

21. Picture editing program (better than GIMP?) - Aviary

To be honest, I do not know if this is better than GIMP which is often described as the free alternative to Photoshop, since I could never get GIMP to work properly on my computer. However, this one, calling itself a free online alternative to Photoshop, does work, and has some stunning capabilities. It has an image editor, effects editor, image markup, colour editor, vector editor and screen capture. I continue to be amazed how these website can offer so much for free (there are no adverts). But then that is not my problem.


Monday, 20 July 2009

20. Desktop shortcuts and automate tasks - from Winautomation

For simple desktop and repetition tasks I use AutoHotKey. But that requires a little programming knowledge. Winautomation takes away that need, and provides a full user interface to repeat those repetitive tasks. It saves having to remember all those little steps that may be the difference between success and failure.


Sunday, 19 July 2009

19. Apple netbook coming soon? With touchscreen!

If you are looking to buy a computer in the near future and are considering an Apple Mac, then you may want to listen to the rumours on the web. Apparently Apple are (maybe?) planning to launch a netbook with a 9.7 inch screen, plus touchscreen, and looking for the high end of the market. (That means it is expensive.) Latest dates suggest late October.

Source of Apple touchscreen netbook story

Saturday, 18 July 2009

18. Definitions and translations from Answertips

I have now enabled this website with AnswerTips (see the right hand panel at the top), which means all you have to do is double click on a word for a definition will appear. You can set Preferences to provide a translation in a number of languages. You may also enable your own website with this free service.


Friday, 17 July 2009

17. Birthday reminder with iGoogle

I am not the greatest person when it comes to remembering birthdays. But I accept it. However, I now have this gadget on my iGoogle page to remind me!

Birthday Reminder

Thursday, 16 July 2009

16. Mobile speech to text - Voice on the Go

I admit that this is cool and I think I will try to find out more details, and who knows, maybe even try it. However, I am not sure I would use it the same way the video shows. Basically a woman is driving and dictating her email over the phone at the same time. I am not so sure I (or most other people) could maintain driving concentration while doing these activities. But if I had the chance to do it while sitting on a park bench .....

Voice on the Go

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

15. Scheduling meetings - with Doodle

I was introduced to this website when we were trying to schedule a dyslexia-related meeting. It is sometimes hard to coordinate the dates for a meeting. So this one simply allows the "administrator" to set out the possible dates, and others can visit the site and say when they can make it. Simple, neat and clear.


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

14. Multilingual support - ClaroLingo

ClaroLingo is an excellent tool for those who do not have English as their first language. As well as reading the text out loud, if you hover over a word and hold down Control, it provides a definition and a translation into your target language.


Monday, 13 July 2009

13. Concept maps - with Wonder Wheel in Google

Did you know that within Google there is a type of instant concept map maker? In the example, I typed in the word "dyslexia". Once you have done a search, the words "Show options" appear just above the list of entries. Click that, and towards the botton of the list appears the words "Wonder wheel". Click it and the information sorts itself into a type of concept map. Click on one of the spokes and it will expand further.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

12. Browser update - Firefox 3.5

The Firefox 3.5 has now been out for a week, with some good reports. According to all the countless reviews there are many improvements. I think my favourite will be to restore browser windows I accidently closed! Or restore when the brower managed to crash. (You can restore without incuding what you think caused the crash if necessary.) Also "word prediction" and Geo location (coming up with suggestions based on where I am) may be useful.

Mozilla Firefox

Lifehack list of new features

Saturday, 11 July 2009

11. Video conference and shared environments - with Elluminate

There are a number of collaborative environments now available. However, the quality, particularly of the video connection, will be dependent on a number of factors. Basically, you get what you pay for. Elluminate has one of the best video qualities I have seen. But it comes at a price. However, if you are working for a company looking to support people, including dyslexic individuals, this could be a good solution. It also provides a viable solution to remote tuition for dyslexic students.


Friday, 10 July 2009

10. Timeline and Gantt charts - Timeglider

This is a wonderful piece of free online software - think of concept mapping with a timeline. In this case it is First World War that is shown, with each even shown on the timeline. This could be a good way to map out an idea, or revise.


Thursday, 9 July 2009

09. Search pad - from Yahoo

Yesterday Yahoo launched their Search Pad, a tool that combines note-taking with research of all types, not just academic. To quote their own words "Search Pad is a note taking application built into Yahoo! Search that automatically assists you in saving websites you visit and taking notes as you search. Search Pad helps you collect, edit, organize, save, print, and email your notes for immediate or future use."

Yahoo Search Pad Video

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

08. Picture editing program with screen grab - with PicPick

As screen grabs and picture editors go, this is one of the best I have seen. And it is even portable. (That means it does not get "installed", and can be run from a USB memory stick.) To give you a clue, once I opened this software, all I had to do was hold down Alt and click Prt Sc. The image went straight into the software edit area, and I could do anything from resize to edit (crudely), add markups etc. And then save as a jpg. But I could also save a window of any size, capture a fixed region or use freehand for capture. To add to that, there is also one of the best magnifiers I have seen, as well as a ruler, protractor, whiteboard and a few other things that I have yet to understand.


Review of PicPick

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

07. Making stories - with Storybook

Although this blog entry appears to be aimed at those attempting to write long novel, and therefore not the sort of entry you would expect on a dyslexia related blog, it could also be adapted to much simpler efforts, to help structure a short story. It may help teach explicity how to organise thoughts and build the overall structure in a formal way.


Monday, 6 July 2009

06. Remember the milk - with iGoogle

Remember the milk (RtM) has been mentioned before, but here is the iGoogle gadget. It provides a quick and easy way to access your RtM reminders.

Remember the Milk iGoogle Gadget

Sunday, 5 July 2009

05. Translation - making choices

I have been doing a lot of multilingualism work recently, including having to deal with documents in diverse languages. I have reviewed free online software, but I needed something more substantial. I found this website as a useful source of reviews.

Top ten translation softwares

Saturday, 4 July 2009

04. Driving test - icandrive on iPhones

When a website describes their product succinctly, I do not need to add more! Here is how they describe it:

"Use iCanDrive to simulate your European Driving License A and B testing!"

"iCanDrive allows to train on all official 664 tests on your iPhone™/iPod™ and shows the results immediately, the number of errors and every possible answer for every question."

Available in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and Arabian.

icandrive for iPhones

Friday, 3 July 2009

03. Plagiarism - from Turnitin

Turnitin is one of the biggest commercial plagiarism detection companies, with powerful databases to check what they claim to be billions of pages. They are used extensively by colleges and universities to check students work. However, there is also an individual version called WriteCheck. This is not a free service, but presumably it is more effective than the freebies. Certainly there is some advantage in paying for the same service that ones institution is using.

As stated on previous plagiarism entries, those who knowingly plagiarise should be suitably punished. However, those who commit accidental plagiarism, should be supported appropriately.


Thursday, 2 July 2009

02. Multilingual translation - Foxlingo

In my work, I frequently need to do some sort of translation, either because a website is in a different language, or maybe a document needs translation. It appears the FoxLingo will now solve (almost) all of my translation problems.

This free Firefox add-on will instantly translate any page for me, or just a few words. It support over 50 languages and over 1500 combinations for translation. So if you want English to Italian, it will offer eleven different engines to choose from, and then instantly provides the translation.

Languages listed are:
* Afrikaans
* Arabic
* Aranese
* Bulgarian
* Catalan
* Chinese Simplified
* Chinese Traditional
* Croatian
* Czech
* Danish
* Dutch
* English
* Esperanto
* Filipino
* Finnish
* French
* Galician
* German
* Greek
* Hebrew
* Hindi
* Hungarian
* Icelandic
* Indonesian
* Italian
* Japanese
* Korean
* Latin
* Latvian
* Lithuanian
* Malay
* Norwegian
* Occitan
* Polish
* Portuguese
* Portuguese Brazilian
* Romanian
* Russian
* Serbian
* Slovak
* Slovenian
* Spanish
* Spanish Latin American
* Swedish
* Thai
* Turkish
* Ukrainian
* Urdu
* Vietnamese
* Welsh


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

01. June Reviews

It is not every month that I find two good entries that I want to implement and use continuously. But last month I found three that I really like and strongly recommend them. These are:
11. Remember simply - with Superminder
22. Move and resize - KDE Resize and Move
24. New desktop - from YODM

08. New search - from Bing
10. Saving the efforts - imacros in Firefox
17. Quick links for web pages - Transferr
27. Picture browsing - Cooliris updated

Concept maps
05. Concept mapping shared - with webspiration
16. Buzan mind maps update - iMindMap

03. Big memory - 64G from OCZ
09. Touch screen - Asus Eee PC T91
20. Child friendly computers - from Asus and Disney

14. Tutoring with Tutrme
25. Storybooks from Scotland

02. When is it due - isdueon
04. Highlighting webpage -Wizlite
11. Remember simply - with Superminder
19. Event management - with Marxio Timer
23. Stickies in iGoogle
29. How many days since?- Days since iGoogle gadget

06. Translation - from Babelfish
07. Download videos - Keepvid
12. Plagiarism checker from Plagium
13. Learning to type well - Goodtyping
15. New wave of communication tools - Google Wave
18. Speech-to-text - Dragon 10
21. Window 7 speech-to-text - a review
22. Move and resize - KDE Resize and Move
24. New desktop - from YODM
26. Managing pictures with Microsoft Office Picture Manager
28. An award - for this blog
30. Twitter - a brief guide