Tag: useful

Seven places I find interesting, relevant and useful stuff in 2015

I started using a new web service yesterday and something dawned on me:  half of the bookmarks in the toolbar of my browser seem to be devoted to similar kinds of sites. I’ve come to see these as a series of ‘sieves’. It’s important to use more than one and experimenting with new ones to prevent rust setting in!

Some of these services may be useful to you, so I thought I’d share them along with a couple of reasons why I find them handy. They’re listed in alphabetical order. If you have questions about them, I’ll try and answer in the comments section below.


hckr news - Hacker News sorted by time 2015-01-20 19-57-03

Hacker News

http://news.ycombinator.com

Possibly a little technical for the average web user, but the front page usually contains some gems. It’s basically a site where anyone can submit a link and it gets up-and-down voted by the community. Because of its focus, there’s often some really insightful comments in the threads. I tend to use an alternative interface (shown above) called hckrnews.com


Know About It

Know About It

http://knwbt.it

Again, this is a tech-focused site, but can be useful for surfacing some important or interesting discussions happening in various forums around the web.


Nuzzel

Nuzzel

http://nuzzel.com

This is my most recent find and is for everyone! You sign in with Twitter and/or Facebook and it curates the links that most of your contacts are talking about. Good for quickly catching up with stuff without having to endlessly scroll through your streams.


Panda

Panda

https://usepanda.com

This is a dashboard with three versions: one each for designers, developers and entrepreneurs. My work kind of spans all three. Or at least it does in my head. 😉


Product Hunt

Product Hunt

http://producthunt.com

This is perhaps the site I most look forward to visiting. It’s like other sites in that items can be posted and voted up and down. However, these tend to be niche startups (extremely niche in some cases!) that you otherwise might not hear about.


reddit

Reddit

https://reddit.com

If you haven’t heard of Reddit then you’re either technically dead, have a moist under-rock home, or haven’t been online long enough. It’s the self-styled ‘front page of the internet’ and there’s always a ‘subreddit’ to find interesting. Can be a time-suck. A couple of my favourites are /r/todayilearned/ and /r/explainlikeimfive/.


Zite

Zite

http://zite.com

This is probably the service I currently use least, mainly because it’s mobile-only. There was a time when I’d check this every day. It does surface some really interesting stuff. I’m not sure of its future since the Flipboard acquisition…

Conclusion

As you can probably see even from the screenshots above, some stuff appears in more than one place. If this happens, I take it as being an indication that this is important to pay attention to. Weak signals!

It’s probably worth pointing out that the above is a marked shift from my online reading habits before the demise of Google Reader. These services are either algorithmically-curated or curated by popular vote rather than  manually curated by me. Our information environments are important – as I pointed out in this DMLcentral post last year!


Oh and a bonus. As emojis are so 2014 here’s a huge list of Kaomojis. I use the one below in my Mozilla email signature and you may have spotted a few in my Twitter timeline…

(=^・ω・^)y=

Header image CC BY Karl Herler

5 genuinely useful Twitter tools.

There’s eleventy-billion Twitter apps, tools and services all vying for your attention. Some of them are pretty, some tell you some type of score (as if Twitter was some kind of competition) and some, well, some just seem to be side-projects for bored programmers… :-p

But the following five Twitter tools are those that I find genuinely useful. They add value to my little social networking world. 🙂

1. Mr Tweet

(http://mrtweet.com)

There’s plenty of services that will help you find people to follow, but I find Mr Tweet usually gets things spot on. It’s also really easy to follow people directly from the website.

2. Packrati.us

(http://packrati.us)

You can configure Packrati.us in many ways, but I’ve got it set up so that anything I ‘favorite’ on Twitter automatically gets added to my Delicious links. This makes composing my Things I Learned This Week posts a whole lot easier! 🙂

3. Trick.ly

(http://www.trick.ly)

You don’t always need industrial-strength encryption to share something. There are definitely times when a shortened link coupled with a password (you can provide a clue!) does the job.

4. Screenr

(http://screenr.com)

If a picture paints a thousand words, a short video must paint a million! Screenr allows you to create quick screencasts and share them via Twitter. Great for everything from remote support to e-learning opportunities.

5. TwapperKeeper

(http://twapperkeeper.com)

If you create a hashtag (for example #movemeon that I helped make into a book) then it’s good to have an archive of tweets for future reference. TwapperKeeper does just that.

Which Twitter tools do YOU find useful? Share them below! 😀

Using del.icio.us to synchronise bookmarks & find new, exciting stuff

This week’s elearning staff session is on del.icio.us, the ‘social bookmarking’ site. As I mention in the guide below, I find it useful for 3 reasons:

  1. Storing links to useful websites and web applications to access wherever I am.
  2. Discovering new resources that other educators have recommended.
  3. Creating a repository of useful links for a particular purpose (e.g. a department or for pupils on a certain course)

There are many more features of del.icio.us than I’ve had chance to explore in this session. For information about some of these, check out this slideshow from Jon Hoff:

Firefox Extension: Tab Groups

Tab Groups

I’ve just come across an excellent Firefox add-on called Tab Groups. If, like me, you tend to have a lot of tabs open at the same time when you browse, this extension is fabulous. As its name suggests, you can organize your tabs by ‘group’, even giving them a name. It also works well with Firefox’s Session Manager, so all your tab groups will be saved if you close Firefox and re-open it!

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