Monday, June 27, 2011

Flickr is Excellent.

I recently restarted using online photo sharing website, Flickr. This time around, instead of just occasionally using the site to casually share a few pics, I've been exploring more of what Flickr has to offer with a view to using the site much more seriously. And I must say I'm pretty impressed.

One of Flickr's great advantages is that it is very easy to use, even if you are not a computer guru. Uploading and organizing your images is very simple and intuitive. You can store your images in "Sets" or "Collections" and you can even have "Collections" of "Sets".  Your front page features your "Photostream" which displays your most recent uploads, and, depending on the layout you choose, your sets or collections as well.

Flickr makes it easy to share photos via email and via Twitter and Facebook. For many blogging platforms, you can also send your Flickr images direct to your blog if you wish. Or you can embed a slideshow into your blog posts or web pages, as I've done below.

Flickr also allows you a lot of control over who sees your images and what license you want to apply to them. There are a variety of ways of controlling who sees what, ranging from full public access to completely private.  And, if you want to keep your images private, but would still like to share them with certain people, you can create Guest Passes that achieve just that.

Flickr doubles as a powerful and lively image orientated social network that allows you to participate as much or as little as you please. You can join or create Groups that focus on a great many different subjects as well as "Favorite" and comment on images and create Galleries featuring the work of other users.

Flickr offers a free account that should be more than adequate for a lot of users. And, if you want more storage and other extras you can upgrade to a Pro account for a nominal yearly fee.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Please don't Play Music at Me Without Asking!

There seems to be quite a lot of website creators who think it is cool to have music automatically play when you visit their site. Personally, I find that irritating. I often listen to music while I'm browsing, so having another unexpected music track suddenly assault my eardrums on top of what I'm already listening to can be quite jarring.

If you must have music play automatically on your website, at the very least provide a prominent "off" switch so that your visitors can choose to listen or not to listen according to their preference.

Frankly, if I visit a site that plays music without me requesting it to do so, I'm app to hit the "back" button and never return.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Google Moderator

I've recently been experimenting with one of Google's less well known tools, Google Moderator.  Google Moderator allows you to easily create an online discussion page were you can ask for and receive feedback from other web users about just about any subject you like.  The site's help files explain:

What does Google Moderator do?
  • Google Moderator allows you to create a series about anything that you are interested in discussing and open it up for people to submit questions, ideas, or suggestions. These are called submissions. 
  • Anyone can come to the site and submit a question, idea, or vote, and anyone can vote. Google Moderator shows you a question in the box with the blue background. This is called the Featured Question.
  • A topic is a way to break up your series into smaller, more manageable topics of discussion. You can have one topic, or multiple topics. For example, if you create a series of 'Book clubs' for your organization, topics could be 'Fiction,' 'Non-fiction,' or 'Auto-biographies.'

You can create your series right on the Google Moderator website. There is also an option to embed Moderator in an IFRAME on your own website if you wish.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


Some software applications become such a normal part of your daily computing routine that you almost forget they are there. For me, once such software is Clavier+. This little freeware program lets you create and configure universal keyboard shortcuts that will work in just about any program you are using on your computer.

I mainly use Clavier+ for quickly adding snippets of text to various documents such as email, Word files, HTML documents, Evernote notes and more. To set up a shortcut, you input your desired text into the software's simple interface, choose a key combination and save your settings. Then, whenever you key your chosen combination, the text will appear magically in the document you are working on. If, like me, you often have a need to enter the same snippets of text over and over again, this can be a real time saver.

You can also create shortcuts to open specific programs, files or websites.

The software can be configured to start with Windows which means it is always available.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Exploring iPad

Well, my much anticipated new toy is here at last and, of course, I'm in geek heaven - at least until the next cool gadget comes out! Right now, I'm still exploring the device and installing essential apps like Evernote for iPad. It's certainly well worth the wait. It's just the right size for both portability and ease of use. For example, tying to blog from an iPhone is a little fiddly, but blogging from an iPad (as I'm doing now)is easy and fun and I can do it from my lounge room or where ever else I may be!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Xmarks Bookmark Sync

I've just downloaded and installed Xmarks for Firefox. Xmarks is a browser tool that allows you to easily sync all of your bookmarks across computers. The "Features" page on the Xmarks website notes:
Install Xmarks on each computer you use, and it seamlessly integrates with your web browser and keeps your bookmarks safely backed up and in sync.

Xmarks will sync across browsers too. Today we support Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari (Mac OS).
You can also simply login to your Xmarks account from any computer and access all of your bookmarks very easily. When using another computer, you can even remotely load tabs (including Firefox App Tabs) that are open on the computer that has Xmarks installed.

Xmarks has quite a lot of other features that I've yet to explore properly. But even as just a quick and easy way to access your bookmarks when away from your primary computer, it looks to be a very useful application.

New Facebook Page

I've now set up a companion Facebook Page for the Nibbles and Bytes blog. The page is a great place to discuss and recommend cool software and websites and a lot of other stuff. When I post a new article here on the blog, I'll also post a link to it on the Nibbles and Bytes Facebook page. So, "liking" the page is a good way to stay notified of new blog posts as well as participate in what I hope will grow into a lively and interesting little community.

Of Rice and iPhones

Not too long after I got my much loved iPhone, I managed to drop the bloody thing in a toilet bowl while doing my husbandly cleaning duties!  It fell right out of my shirt pocket and plummeted helplessly down into the water, with me screaming in horror all the while. I fished it out within seconds, but I thought the poor thing would be well and truly deceased.

But around the same time, with my Hoax-Slayer hat on, I was checking into a circulating tip that claimed that you could save the life of a wet mobile phone by covering it in uncooked rice overnight.   So I thought I'd give it a go.
Well, the good news is that the phone dried out! I left it in the rice for around 24 hours, cranked it up, and it worked perfectly and has been going ever since.

So did the rice actually save the phone? In truth, there is no way of knowing for sure. It is quite possible that even if I'd left the phone, forlorn and riceless on the bench, it may well have dried out and fully recovered anyway.

Unless you were to take two identical phones in precisely the same condition, immerse them in water for precisely the same length of time and then place one in rice and the other on the bench, there is no real proof that the rice method is effective or not. Even if you did conduct such a controlled experiment, other uncontrolled factors such as the relative robustness of components inside the phones might affect the results. To be really sure, you'd probably have to conduct the same experiment a number of times and correlate the overall results.

The theory is that the rice helps to draw out and absorb the liquid caught in the phone.  That may well be the case. Anyway, regardless of whether the rice saved the day or not, I was just glad to have my iPhone back!

Monday, June 06, 2011

iPad Anticipation!

I ordered an iPad 2 via the Apple Store a couple of weeks ago and I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on it! I already love my iPhone and have installed a lot of useful (and not so useful but fun - think "Fruit Ninja") apps on it.  So, I can't wait to get hold of the iPad and start installing :) Hopefully, it will arrive by the end of the week. It's the 64 GB model, so it should have plenty of room for lots of stuff.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I'm Back!

Well, how time flies!  I added a couple of items to this blog earlier this evening and then realized that it was the first time I'd posted here since June 2007. But, I'll certainly try to make up for my callous and shameful neglect by posting a lot more from now on. Promise! Really! :)

Hell, I even changed the blog template and fiddled with the settings a bit.

Here's a picture of a camel I snapped in Tasmania a while back. Why am I including it here? No reason really. I just like camels:

An old man, a boy & a donkey

This story has moved to it new home here. :)


Some software applications or web services become such an important part of your everyday working life that you'd wonder how you'd manage to get anything done without them. For me, one such tool is Evernote.  Evernote allows you to capture and store thoughts, ideas, information from websites, images, scanned documents, files and just about anything else you can think of with ease.

The great thing about Evernote is that you can add notes in multiple ways, including via the Evernote website, its desktop software and its smartphone application. And, best of all, your notes are automatically synched between these various devices! What this means in practice is that I'm never very far from a device that  allows me to add a note to my Evernote account, so I can record thoughts and ideas on the fly. For example, if I'm out shopping, and get an idea I'd like to record, I can whip out my iPhone and jot down the outline of my idea in just a few seconds. Later, at home, I can look at the idea on my Evernote desktop software, expand on it as necessary and file it for future attention. 

Evernote is a very powerful and versatile application that really does help me stay organized, increase productivity and remember things.