Tag Archive | "internet tools"

Adobe Releases Brackets 1.0 – Text Editor for Web Dev

Brackets is an Open Source  text editor for CSS and HTML. Get it here: http://brackets.io/

Looks like it currently supports Mac, Windows and Linux, but many users have said that it requires an internet connection to function (Adobe says they are working on this, but no ETA).


Adobe Brackets Live Preview

Brackets also supports added plugins – for instance the new Extract plugin is useful for extracting CSS code from PSD files.

The Extract for Brackets (Preview) extension lets you pull out design information from a PSD including colors, fonts, gradients, and measurement information as clean, minimal CSS via contextual code hints. You can also extract layers as images, use information from the PSD to define preprocessor variables, and easily get dimensions between objects.

Brackets is new, so only a few plugins are available, but it is worth looking at. It comes with a default light and dark themes, ability to split screens, and a live preview (works only with Chrome browser for now).

Posted in Development, Featured, Internet, Software ToolsComments (0)

19 Online Backup Tools for Protecting Your Data

Use this list to take your music, photos, videos, documents, and any other data online for backup protection. These services can save your bacon and have some cool features beyond just backup.   Make sure all your important files are backed up!



  • Supports PC and Mac
  • Free for up to 2 GB of storage – $4.99 a month for unlimited storage



  • Supports Pc and Mac
  • Prices start $54.95 for a one year subscription – unlimited storage

Jungle Disk


  • Supports PC, Mac and Linux
  • Software is $2 a month.  Uses Amazon S3 storage or Rackspace Cloud Storage – approx. 15 cents a GB per month – unlimited storage – no minimum



  • Supports PC and Linux
  • Software is free – uses Amazon S3 storage – approx. 15 cents a GB a month – unlimited storage – no minimum

Norton Online Backup


  • PC only
  • $49.99 for 25 GB of storage



  • Supports PC and Mac
  • Prices start at $4.95 a month for 150 GB of storage



  • Windows only
  • 2 GB account is free – $4.95/month for unlimited storage

My Other Drive


  • PC and Mac
  • 2 GB account is free – prices for 100GB of storage start at $4.99/month – max plan caps at 10 TB of storage



  • PC, Mac, Linux and Solaris
  • Plans start at $4.95/month



  • Windows and Mac
  • Unlimited backups start at $50/year



  • Windows, Mac and iPhone support
  • Prices start at $50/year for 150 GB of storage

SmugVault from SmugMug


  • Web based service
  • Prices start at $39.95/year for unlimited storage



  • Windows, Mac, Linux and iPhone support
  • 1 GB of storage is free, 10 GB and up start at $2.99/month



  • PC, Mac and iPhone support
  • 2 GB account is free, other pricing models start at $9.99/month for 50 GB of storage

Microsoft SkyDrive


  • Web based service
  • Free for up to 25 GB of storage

Online Photo Backup Resources

Use these sites if you have a huge photo collection and want to keep a backup online.



  • Web based service
  • Prices start at $49/year for unlimited storage
  • Online commerce, use your own Domain Name, and lots of sharing options to name a few.



  • Web  based service
  • Prices start at $39.95/year for unlimited storage
  • Choose themes for an online gallery and sell photos through an online store
  • Also comes with SmugVault – backup any file – unlimited storage.  Basically an interface to Amazon’s S3 cloud storage.



  • Web based service
  • Free account with 10MB of uploads a month – Pro account for $24 a year – unlimited photos up to 20 MB each



  • We based service with Windows, Mac, and Linux uploaders are available
  • Free, but current max is 1 GB of storage

Got more – give a shout out to your favorite in the comments.

Posted in Internet, Photography, Software ToolsComments (9)

Trade Stuff You Have for Stuff You Want

Online trading sites are attracting a lot of attention right now. People are starting to become more aware of what they are spending and are looking to trim their entertainment budgets by swapping their stuff.  Book, DVD, CD, etc… swapping services that allow you to trade what you already have, for something you don’t are becoming increasingly popular. Two major players in this space are Swaptree.com and Paperbackswap/SwapaDVD/SwapaCD.com.   These services are very similar in that they allow you to post the items you want to trade and also browse for items you would like to own.


swaptree_logo Swaptree.com is an all-in-one trading service for books, DVDs, music, and video games. The service allows you to post any of these items by simply entering the barcode or ISBN number (it it is a book) that is associated with the item. Swaptree attempts to look-up the item in its vast database and provide you with a photo and description of the item. Once you confirm the information is correct (and add a few details about the condition of the item), it will be posted to your “items i have” list.

Swaptree also allows you browse for items that you want and add them to your “items i want” list. Depending on what you have added to your have list, and what is currently available, you may already be able to swap something you have for an item in your want list.

Since the Swaptree system relies on its users to post items for trade, the more in your “items i have” list, the more options you have for trading. Swaptree looks at the items you posted and finds other users who want those items. Swaptree has a useful feature that shows you to see all the items you can get “right now”. These are items not necessarily on your want list, but are available to you if you swap one of your items with another user. The reason the number of things you can get right now is so high is because of Swaptree’s three-way trading system.


Three-way trading works like this. Say Mike has a CD that he is willing to swap. Joe has a DVD that Mike wants, but Joe doesn’t want the CD that Mike is willing to trade. Joe  instead wants a book. Swaptree introduces Jane into the mix. Jane wants Mike’s CD and is willing to send Joe the book he wants (because she is offering it for trade). I send Jane the CD, Jane sends Joe the book, and Joe sends me the DVD. All this happens in tandem – so I don’t have to wait for Joe to get his book before he sends me the DVD I want. It may sound confusing, but you will see how easy it is once you start using the service.

Who pays for it all?

You have to pay shipping on anything you send. If you use the postage center on the site, Swaptree only charges you a small fee to print postage for each item you are sending. When you sign up for the service, your credit card is used to print postage only when needed. If that doesn’t suite you, then just simply pay for your own postage somewhere else, and drop it in the mail. Since they have an extensive database of sizes and weights for each item, it makes it really simple to just print postage through the Swaptree site and drop the item in the mailbox.

Swaptree also has a comments and feedback section where you can see other users ratings and decide on whether to swap with them or not. Most have a good reputation and are genuinely fast to ship and accurate on their items’ wear and tear descriptions.


paperbackswap swapacd swapadvd

These three sites, Paperbackswap.com, SwapaCD.com and SwapaDVD.com all have the same look and feel work slightly different from Swaptree. The difference here is that you can only swap a book for a book, a DVD for a DVD, or a CD for a CD, and each site is run independently (meaning you have to create a user account on each site in order to use the service). Also, each site is run on a “credits” based system.

Paperbackswap/SwapaCD/SwapaDVD are each run the same way, so for ease of typing, I’ll just use Paperbackswap for illustration purposes from here on out.

Paperbackswap requires you to post 10 books online to receive your first two credits. Credits are gained by posting 10 books, sending a book to another user, or buying them outright from the site (credits are $3.35 each as of this writing).  Most people have at least 10 books they are willing to part with, so this doesn’t seem to be an issue for the most part.

One of the big differences with this Paper/DVD/CD swapping service is that you don’t have to spend any out of pocket dollars to get a book. If you have earned credits, you can request a book.  On, the other hand, if someone requests a book from you, you will have to front the dollars in order to ship the item to the requestor.  Similar to Swaptree, you can print your postage online through the site.

Paperbackswap.com Wrapper Paperbackswap’s postage feature is similar to Swaptree’s in that you can print postage directly from within the site, but also includes something called a wrapper. It is the postage printed on a larger sheet of paper that you can wrap the book in and drop in the mail. No need to find a large envelope or box. Simply use the printed wrapper the book, tape it up.  and off to the mailbox you go.

Both Swaptree.com and Paperbackswap/SwapaDVD/SwapaCD.com have an extensive database of available media to from which to browse. There will be no shortage of items from which to choose.

I like the convenience of having DVDs, CDs, Books and video games available to swap in one place. Swaptree has Paperbackswap beaten in this arena whereas Paperbackswap offers a nice wrapper feature to make mailing more efficient.

If your looking for a cheap way to consume more music, movies, books or video games – these two services have you covered.

Posted in Internet, Web BrowsingComments (3)

How Good Is Your Password?

Instantly Check Your Password Strength and Complexity

Online passwords are now just a part of our daily life. Many of us don’t really consider how important it is to have a strong password or what it takes to make a strong password. Most of our online activities require us to provide a password in order to use them. A weak password can really cause a lot of trouble if it gets cracked or guessed. The weaker the password, the easier it is for automated programs to crack your password with a “brute force attack”.  Here is a easy, visual way to check your password strength.

The Password Meter offers a password tester. You can quickly see if your password’s complexity is too low and what you can do to make it stronger.


Enter your password in the password field and immediately get feedback as you type every letter, number or symbol. As you progress to a more complex password, the items in the Additions Pane will start to turn colors and you’ll see the symbols start to change as well.


The Password Meter calculates your password score by adding points from the Additions items and Subtracting points from the Deductions items. It is pretty hard to get all of the deductions to zero, but it’s fun trying. I was able to get a perfect score with the following xBc1$3Dy4=.


Give it a try at http://www.thepasswordmeter.com.

Posted in Internet, Quick Tips, Software Tools, Web BrowsingComments (4)

Google Announces a New Web Browser – Chrome

Google officially announced the release of a their new web browser on Monday, 9/1.  The new browser – which Google is calling Chrome utilizes the Webkit technology, the same open source technology used by Apple’s Safari browser.

The new browser is in beta and is available for download from Google at http://ww.google.com/chrome.  Sorry Linux and OS X- Windows only right now.

First Impressions of Chrome

  • Installation was easy, and only took a few moments before I was browsing with Chrome.  Chrome is fast. The application loads much faster than either IE or Firefox.  Fast enough to make a noticeable difference.  Web pages load faster too.
  • The application shortcuts are nice.  Lets you create an icon for your Start Menu or Desktop that will launch a website without the menu, tabs, or bookmark toolbar in your way.
  • Seems to need support for Java Applets.  No plugin was found, and no link to go get the plugin is provided.
  • No support (for now) of Delicious bookmarks (or other extensions).  You can drag a “Bookmark this on Delicious” or a “My Delicious” bookmarklet which can get you to Delicious quickly, but is still not as nice as having the Firefox extension.
  • Importing of bookmarks and password data from Firefox is a nice feature.

It will be interesting to see if the developer community will begin to embrace this new browser and develop some useful gears, etc… to add functionality.  If you are a Firefox extension lover, then Chrome is probably not going to serve you well right now.  If you can live without the extensions then give Chrome try and enjoy the speed boost.

More on the Google Chrome can be found on the Features page at http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/features.html.

Posted in Internet, Web BrowsingComments (7)

Don’t Forget It – Kwiry It

Update (June 1, 2009): The Kwiry Service has been saved.  Here is the latest from the Kwiry blog:

On April 13th we shared the unfortunate news about kwiry’s impending shutdown. Since then, Wabo, LLC has purchased the kwiry service and will continue to maintain and improve it.

We are happy to relay this news and hope you are as well. While the founding team/management will be moving on, we are glad the kwiry service will continue to grow.

The service is being transitioned and should be fully functional again very soon, even within a few days.

Thanks also for all your messages of support during the past few weeks,
-Ron, Steve & Nabil

Update: The Kwiry Service is now shutdown.

Here is the news from Kwiry:

Dear kwiry Community,

It’s with heavy hearts that we send this note. On April 23, 2009 (12AM PDT), we will be discontinuing the kwiry service. As of today, the service will no longer accept new sign-ups. We have very much enjoyed getting to know many of you and working to build features to help you get things done and simplify your lives. We appreciate all of your help, feedback and patience as the kwiry service evolved. Unfortunately, due to economic realities, we can no longer maintain the service.

As you can tell from some of my previous posts, I’m into productivity tools.  I recently found a site that helps solve a problem – keeping track of my stuff. Have you ever tried to remember something you heard, saw on the net, or viewed on television and didn’t have a place to jot it down?  Remember all those Google searches you were going to do once you got back to your computer?  Of course not, you forget them all.  Well, don’t fret.  If you do find yourself in that position again, you can use Kwiry to help you remember.

What is Kwiry

kwiry_site Kwiry is a web based service that you text or email just about anything you want to remember and have it queried (or kwiry’ed) by the site.  The free service allows you to use your text message/email enabled phone to send short messages to your Kwiry website account so you can recall them later.  Your “kwiry” is displayed on your account page at Kwiry.com with search results from YahooYahoo search is not all that’s available though. Tabs within the kwiry result include Local (with results for your zip code), Shopping, and Amazon (great for that book you want to remember to read) searches too.  Sending text to Kwiry is like doing an Internet search without visiting a browser.

Getting Started

You will need to setup a free account at Kwiry.com in order to start using the service.  Your valid email address (or your phone number, if you have setup the SMS integration) will be what Kwiry uses to determine what content to associate with your account.  For instance, if you register mike@example.com, anything you send to save@kwiry.com from mike@example.com will be associated with your account.  You can also associate more than one email address if you want to send things to Kwiry from say a work email account and a personal email account. Once you register, you have the option to configure SMS or MMS messaging from your phone.

How to Kwiry

If you heard a song you liked (Shake It by Metro Station) and wanted to be sure to remember it so you could buy it later, you would text or email  “Metro Station” to Kwiry.  The term you sent (Metro Station in this example) will be saved for you on the Kwiry site.  You can log in to your account at Kwiry.com anytime to view your results.


Kwiry also has some organization functionality as well.  You can create folders and move kwirys into these folders for further categorization.  If you’re a task minded person, the service allows you to turn any kwiry into a task with a due date that can then be tracked in a view task_view

If privacy is concern, you can designate any kwiry as private by either preceding the text you send to Kwiry with a “p” (for instance: “p call doctor about rash”).  This will designate the kwiry as a private — for your eyes only.  You can also log into your account set the kwiry as private after the fact.  Kwiry‘s default setting is to have all your kwirys set to view by “Anybody”, buy you can change this in the configuration.


Kwiry is also social.  If you like, you can invite friends to Kwiry.  You can view kwirys from the public community and comment on public kwirys.  Your kwirys can also be designated as viewable by “Friends” only.  So far the three designations are for “Anybody”, “Friends” and “Private”. kwiry_types


You can also designate a kwiry search result as a favorite.  A small star icon to the right of the search result can be clicked to add that result to that kwiry’s favorite tab.  The favorite tab is the collection of favorited results from the Amazon, Local, Web, and Shopping tabs.  If you favorited anything from these tabs, it will show up here.

sidebarExpanded Search

You also have the option to do an expanded search.  Links available in the sidebar will send you to pages by Google, Ask, Yelp, Wikipedia, iTunes, and more with your kwiry term in as the search filter.


Kwiry also does a good job at integrating with other sites and networks.  Here are some features you find quite useful.

  • Tasks can be integrated into your calendar program.
  • The ability to use Twitter to send updates to Kwiry (this is one of my favorites.  Just follow http://twitter.com/kwiry).
  • Show your kwirys on your Facebook page. You can also send kwirys from your Facebook page.
  • Subscribe to an RSS feed of your kwirys.


So far, Kwiry has been quite useful for me. The support forums are monitored by Kwiry personnel and seem to be quite responsive to questions or problems.  I had a small problem with my Twitter integration, submitted it to the support forums, and had it fixed in less than 24 hours.  The friends feature of Kwiry might be a bit more useful if there was a way to setup groups. Besides that, I think Kwiry is a very viable service.  If you decide to try it, add me as a friend.  My username is “michaelhayslip”.

Posted in Internet, Web BrowsingComments (0)

Killer Free Service That You’re Probably Not Using

Update: July 2008 –  OpenDNS is not vulnerable to a DNS cache poisoning attack that was recently discovered.  OpenDNS has written about the multi-vendor vulnerability on the OpenDNS blog. Please read on for the original post about OpenDNS.

We all want to be safe when we surf the web. The problem is that there are lots of malicious, unscrupulous web sites that we can potentially stumble upon. The more tools we install on our computers to protect us, the slower they potentially become. Instead of installing additional SW on your computer, you may think about using the free service available from OpenDNS.
Read the full story

Posted in Internet, Networking, Web BrowsingComments (31)

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