Best of the Web 2006
Our Favorite Website Discoveries

LifeHack.org 2006 roundup - 50 Best Hacks for your Life

I really like the lifehack.org site, they put out regular nice essays on living and working better.  It's very different from lifehacker.com in that they really focus on improving your habits and stuff, much more focused.

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Do you want to be as productive as many of us, but missed a lot of actions at lifehack.org during the year? Other than subscribing our feed now, I give you a way to catch up with us before 2007 begins. I’ve selected the best 50 life hacks of the year, based on their popularity and contents in different categories. Invest your time - read them. Bookmark this page and mark reading them as one of your new year resolutions.


Read article at lifehack.org..


(read 2 comments)


CyberNet Technology News

Cybernet is only a year old, and they've been producing some serious content at breakneck speed.  Let's hope for our sakes that they keep it up!

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CyberNet Technology News was started on December 4, 2005 with a goal of sharing the latest technology news with our readers who are just as passionate about technology as we are. You will find this weblog filled with a variety of information ranging from the coolest hardware to beta software. The world of technology and all that encompasses it is always changing and doing so very rapidly. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the latest. We publish articles daily and frequently about current relevant technology news. CyberNet News is written and edited by Ryan and Ashley Wagner.

http://tech.cybernetnews.com/

Read their latest article: The Best Bookmarklets for your Browser!

(leave a comment)


Betanews

There are several really good new software listing sites (www.snapfiles.com is one of my favorites), but I know of no other site which focuses so much on beta releases and goes to such steps to list new betas before they become official (in fact i have to be carefull even just making a post about a private beta of one of my programs on the forum because somehow the hive mind of betanews seems to discover and post about it!)

http://www.betanews.com

(read 6 comments)


VisualComplexity gallery collection - very cool

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...
VisualComplexity.com intends to be a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project's main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web. I truly hope this space can inspire, motivate and enlighten any person doing research on this field.
...

http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/

discovered on del.icio.us
(read 5 comments)


Website for people to arrange (legal) trading of stuff

You pay them 1 dollar per trade, and find people to trade your stuff with.

http://www.zunafish.com/

(read 4 comments)


instructables.com - cool multistep tutorial blog

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Welcome to Instructables: step-by-step collaboration
Instructables is a venue for showing what you make and how others can make it.
Making things is part of being human. Whether you make bikes, kites, food, clothing, protocols for biology research, or hack consumer electronics, good instructions are critical.
Instructables is a step-by-step collaboration system that helps you record and share your projects with a mixture of images, text, ingredient lists, CAD files, and more. We hope to make documentation simple and fast. Show your colleagues how to operate a machine, show your friends how to build a kayak, show the world how to make cool stuff.


http://www.instructables.com/

(leave a comment)


Gabbly!

Gabbly is a web chat thing that requires no download no plugin no nuttin' just put in your browser "http://gabbly.com/[your url here]" and you can chat with others who are 'gabbling' there.

http://gabbly.com

(read 14 comments)


SiteAdvisor - or do YOU like spam, spyware, & safety threats?

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SiteAdvisor is testing all Web sites for spam, spyware, & safety threats. You browse and search as normal and their empirical data (green=good, yellow=caution, red=bad) appears in an icon in IE or Firefox & next to results in Google, Yahoo, & MSN. Every site gets its own site details page w/ in-depth analysis. They launched a slick redesign today.

http://www.siteadvisor.com/

    Continue reading for other similar tools..

(read 21 comments)


ColorBlender: free online tool for color matching and palette design

I'm doing a complete overhaul of one of my personal websites and I need to choose a color scheme to use. I've been messing around the past few days with some online tools, but I found one that I really like.

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To get started, choose a preferred color using the color picker below, and a 6-color matching palette (a "blend") will be automatically calculated.
Using the radio buttons you may switch to Direct Edit mode to tweak or edit individual colors of your blend.
Blends can be saved for future use, and will be available whenever you return to this site from the same workstation, given that your browser accepts cookies.

http://colorblender.com/

Update: I stumbled upon a web page that lists the good ones and what they are used for. It is a good place to start exploring.

(read 2 comments)


Something Awefull and Worth1000 - Photoshop Contest Sites

for those who have never heard about what is commonly known as "photoshopping contests" be preprepared to enter a different world..

there are some very big sites with some very talented computer graphic artists which regularly hold contests centering around some theme where people manipulate images or make new satirical images using photoshop (or similar program), often playing off of iconic cultural images.

some of the results are sublime and brilliant, and the creativity can sometimes set you back on your heels.

definitely a good way to waste a day browsing..

anyway, here's a recent one, "Anachronistic images photoshopping contest":
http://www.worth1000.com/...display=photoshop#entries

and two of the most popular collections (warning - be prepared to spend a full day there)
http://www.somethingawful.com/photoshop/
http://www.worth1000.com/

(leave a comment)


Cynical-C Blog

Great site for esoterica.. A lot like BoingBoing..

http://www.cynical-c.com/

(leave a comment)


Stumbleupon - better pass your time on the web

StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. As you click  Stumble!, you'll get high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended (rated I like it) by friends and other SU members with similar interests. Rating these sites shares them with your friends and peers – you will automatically 'stumble upon' each others favorites sites.

Stumbleupon.com.

(read 16 comments)


FreewareWorldTeam

As I am preparing the 2006 end-of-year wrap up, I realized we don't have a standalone post celebrating one of the best freeware discovery sites, FreewareWorld Team..

http://www.all4you.dk/FreewareWorld

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Instant Domain Search as you Type

It doesn't get any easier than this -> Instant checking of domain name availability as you type!

http://instantdomainsearch.com/

discovered on http://insignificantthoughts.com
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Freewaregenius.com site - freeware reviews

One of our programs (Process Tamer) was mentioned on a site today that i don't remember hearing about before.  But it is quite nice.  Reviews the authors favorite freeware discoveries.  His mission statement sounds nice and the site has a nice blog feel to it, along with nice big pictures and commentary.

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My mission: To replace as many retail/shareware software as I can with first rate FREEWARE alternatives, such that one day every installed program that I use will be FREE.

But this site will not list every single free program on the planet. Sometimes less is more!

I assume that for every category there are one or two programs that anybody would want to use. This site will present you with these handful of options, filtered and picked out.

If you have better things to do than scour the web for cracks, serials, and hacked copies of the software you use, then this site is for you, because the free software that is presented here is in most cases BETTER than anything you could pay for.

I created this site because I enjoy finding, downloading and testing new software. I hope you will enjoy these programs too.

http://freewaregenius.com/

    Continue reading the rest of the entry and discuss..

(read 14 comments)


Wikia, Inc. gives free software, computing, storage and network access

The founder of Wikipedia says that his company, Wikia, Inc., is going to give away all the software, computing, storage and network access free for people to create community-based collaboration sites.

An important aspect of this is that users are to receive 100% of any ad revenue from their site (read the article on Yahoo!/Reuters).

Visit: http://www.wikia.com/wiki/Wikia

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ShowMeDo - Video Tutorials

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This site is dedicated to showing demonstrative videos produced by our community. For many subjects seeing something done is the most effective way to learn, whether it's peering over an expert's shoulder while they explain how to program or watching while someone grinds beans and makes coffee. Please watch, learn and perhaps share your knowledge back.

It is a community site where community members can request howto/tutorial videos and other community members make them and put them up on ShowMeDo. They have areas for Python, Java, Linux, Ruby, Blender, and Screencasting. There is also an "Others" section.

Community members can vote on a video's worth and they have a forum for discussion. They also have a blog and a wiki.

http://showmedo.com/

(read 1 comment)


Zamzar - Free online file conversion (up to 100 MB)

You can convert files to images, documents, music, and videos at...
http://www.zamzar.com/

List of files they can convert:
http://www.zamzar.com/conversionTypes.php

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Podiobooks.com - Free (Serialized) Audio Books - Donations Shared with Authors

I'm not sure I really get the point of serializing these books (means you get a new chapter each week), but they are free and I really like the idea that they run on donations and share donations with authors..

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Podiobooks is a term coined by Evo Terra of The Dragon Page and Slice of Scifi to describe serialized audio books which are made available in podcast format. Subscribers to the podcast feed for each book will receive a new chapter each and every week. Some listeners keep it on their computers, some transfer the book to CD, but most (hopefully) transfer the file on to their mp3 player so they can listen no matter where they are.

All the books you'll find on podiobooks.com are provided by the authors to you for free. Many authors do this to get exposure for their work, others do it in the hopes you'll buy their next work in development. Still others simply do it for the sheer joy of writing. And while it's not required, you have the option to donate money to the author of your choice. When you consider that audio books run usually 50% more than their hardcover counterparts... we hope you'll be generous. Authors receive 75% of all the proceeds from the donations from listeners. The smaller portion goes to the maintenance and upkeep of podiobooks.com.

http://www.podiobooks.com/

discovered on www.boingboing.com
(read 1 comment)


Corante: Many-2-Many - A Group Weblog on Social Software

You won't really need coffee as the author suggests, the discussion is fairly interesting

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I want to offer a less telegraphic account of the relationship between expertise, credentials, and authority than I did in Larry Sanger, Citizendium, and the Problem of Expertise, and then say why I think the cost of coordination in the age of social software favors Wikipedia over Citizendium, and over traditionally authoritative efforts such as Britannica.

Make a pot of coffee; this is going to be long, and boring.

Those of us who write about Wikipedia, both pro and con, often mix two different views: descriptive — Wikipedia is/is not succeeding — and judgmental — Wikipedia is/is not good. (For the record, my view is that Wikipedia is a success, and that society is better off with Wikipedia than it would be without it.) What I love about the Citizendium proposal is that, by proposing a fusion of collaborative construction and expert authority, it presses people who dislike or mistrust Wikipedia to say whether they think that the wiki form of communal production can be improved, or is per se bad...

http://many.corante.com/

discovered on www.3form.com
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Ed Bott's Microsoft Report - Great Site for Windows Vista Info

Ed Bott has been talking in detail about MS Windows Vista issues for a while now, and has established himself as one of the best sources for vista info.

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Recent Entries
  • Vista Mailbag: How does the performance rating work?
  • Vista Mythbusters #8: That license isn’t so bad, after all
  • Will Windows Vista be worth the wait?
  • Microsoft and Novell in Windows-Linux deal?
  • Microsoft changes Vista license terms
  • 10 tips and tweaks for Vista experts


http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/

discovered on zaine ridling
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Ghacks.net - Top XP Freeware Every User Needs

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Using Windows XP without those nifty little freeware programs is not a good idea. When you run it out of the box it is slow, offers many features no one needs, lacks many that everyone needs and raises privacy concerns that can only be fixed using third party tools. This is basically a listing of programs that I install everytime I setup Windows XP on a computer, the must have freeware utilities in my opinion.


Top XP Freeware that every user needs - Part 1


Top XP Freeware that every user needs - Part 2


Top Xp Freeware that every user needs - Part 3


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Wikimapia

This is the first in a series of weekly posts introducing you to smaller lesser known wikis on the web.

The goal will be to introduce you to new sources of information on specific topics, and hopefully those of us with knowledge in these topic areas may want to contribute to the wikis and improve them.

Our first stop: Wikimapia - Let's Describe the Whole World

At first it seems like just a giant Google map.

But when you click an area, you are zoomed in for closer inspection and given a chance to describe a place you are familar with, or read a description someone else has given.

    Continue reading and join the discussion...

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OneLook Reverse Dictionary - Enter concepts and get related words

Do you just love dictionaries but Mobysaurus isn't enough? Well, then this site might be just what you're looking for. Instead of getting definitions of words, you enter ideas and it tell you related words.

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How do I use OneLook's reverse dictionary feature?
OneLook's reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word. Just type it into the box above and hit the "Find words" button. (Keep it short to get the best results.) In most cases you'll get back a list of related terms with the best matches shown first...

http://onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml

discovered on http://www.kk.org
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Caedes, the Desktop Wallpaper and Artist Community

Here's a site filled with high quality super high-res images suitable for computer wallpapers.  Very nice organization of images and ability to filter by desired image size.  If you're looking for free wallpaper backgrounds for your desktop, this site is one of the best.

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Caedes is a close community of artists, designers, and photographers who share their work through the medium of computer desktop wallpaper. Feel free to browse the galleries, comment on other's work, and even submit your own art when you're ready. Sign up for a free username to access all features.

http://www.caedes.net/

(read 1 comment)


Daily Rotation - from Shell Extension City

Shell Extension City is one of my favorite sites, and was one of the very very first sites that ever mentioned DonationCoder.com.  And many of the very first members of DonationCoder.com came here after hearing about us there. It's long been one of the best places to find out about new freeware tools.

Anyway, Bob at Shell Extension City has been working on the latest revision of Daily Rotation, their tech headlines page, and it's now in Beta here: http://www.dailyrotation.com.

Like Shell Extension City, the emphasis is on a super clean and clear interfect.  I'm not sure what the differences are between the new beta and the v1 of Daily Rotation, which i visit.. well.. daily, but it looks like it might be more customizable and have the ability to add your own feeds.

(read 2 comments)


100-downloads.com: Top freeware for Windows XP and Vista

Here's a great site of malware-free, freeware for XP and Vista for your perusal, nicely organized by category. Enjoy!

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What started as the freeware Top-100 for Windows XP, currently contains over 300 excellent free programs for both XP and Vista. Since we don't want to change our name everytime the list gets longer, we keep calling it 100-downloads.com. You won't find trial versions, spyware or malware, only the best freeware available. Because the best things in life are for free!

http://100-downloads.com/

discovered on www.stumbleupon.com
(leave a comment)


DownloadSquad: A Great Daily Software Blog

Download squad is one of our favorite daily visits for new software discoveries:

http://www.downloadsquad.com

discovered on http://www.downloadsquad.com
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Gizmo's Tech Support Alert Newsletter

Gizmo's Tech Support Alert Newsletter and Website is a must visit site for any software lover.

Here's a recent review of security sandboxes:
http://www.techsupportale...curity_virtualization.htm

And here's his famous list of freeware utilities:
http://www.techsupportale...est_46_free_utilities.htm

    Continue reading the rest of the entry and discuss..

(read 4 comments)


Music services: Pandroa, Last.fm, and Yahoo Music

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Finding free music on the internet is a difficult process. Between the commercials, quality, selection, and features, it may seem that nothing will suit your needs. This article will review three of the most popular internet music providers: Pandora, Last.fm, and Yahoo! Music.
...
While Yahoo! ranked the highest in overall features, the commercials and song limit were enough to make me switch to another music provider. Pandora has become the provider I use most for my internet radio. Last.fm has great features on their site and a community building around it, but that has not been a significant enough draw to pull me away from Pandora.


read aritcle


Os, read thread about Pandora: http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1880.0

(read 15 comments)


Citizendium - Wikipedia with More Expert/Editor Control

For those of you who haven't heard about it, Citizendium is a "fork" of the original Wikipedia encyclopedia project that is designed to overcome some of the (perceived) weaknesses of Wikipedia, mainly having to do with lack of expert oversight.

From official announcement (http://citizendium.org/):
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We believe a fork is necessary, and justified, both to allow regular people a place to work under the direction of experts, and in which personal accountability--including the use of real names--is expected.  In short, we want to create a responsible community and a good global citizen.

And a good long thoughtfull recent essay on it:
http://moderndragons.blog.../2006/10/citizendium.html

I've been on record for a long time that the lack of domain-experts is a real weakness of these social network content sites like digg and wikipedia, and i think it's shocking that wiki implementations have such poor ganularity in editing role permissions.  See for my essay on democratic-style expert selection.

discovered on http://www.nedbatchelder.com
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gliffy - collaborative diagramming on the web

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Gliffy is easy, free, and fun!
Diagramming in your web browser without downloading additional software
Desktop application feel in a web-based diagramming solution
Add collaborators to your work and watch it grow
Link to published Gliffy drawings from your blog or wiki
Create many types of diagrams:
Flowcharts, UI wireframes, Floor plans, Network diagrams, UML diagrams, Any simple drawing or diagram

http://www.gliffy.com/

discovered on http://webtoys.blogspot.com
(read 1 comment)


Neave.tv - clever use of online videos

This is clever use of the available online videos (youtube, etc).  like tv channel surfing but all through your browser - you can even watch it full screen.

just start on the main screen http://www.neave.tv/

    Continue reading the rest of the entry and discuss..

(read 5 comments)


Doodle - super easy web service for scheduling/polling participants

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Doodle helps scheduling meetings – it's simple, quick, and free.
How does it work?
1. Create a new poll with a title, description, your name, and possible dates and times.
2. You get a link to your new poll. Send this link to all participants.
3. The participants use the link to visit the poll and select suitable dates.
4. You use the same link to watch the poll's progress and the result.

http://www.doodle.ch/

Merlin at 43 folders reblogs about a web service he really likes, and it's easy to see why.  Nice clean useful idea.

discovered on www.43folders.com
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CreatingMinds.org - Great Website With Excercises for Creativity

CreatingMinds.org seems to be mainly targeted at artists and writers, but I don't see why the principles, techniques, and methods couldn't be applied to other things like software development...or even business.

There is a lot of good articles & tools on this site for unleashing your creative side...get you really thinking in new directions....both as an individual...or as a group.

If you are participating in the GTD experiment here at the site, after you get the clutter out of your mind by writing it all down, you might want to use some of that free mental space to do some really creative stuff.

http://creatingminds.org

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Slashfood: Cool Website for Food Lovers

Slashfood.com is a daily updated blog on food which focuses on sexy new discoveries and products.  Definitely worth a regular visit.

http://www.slashfood.com

(read 1 comment)


Best Places to Get The Real Scoop on Web Hosts

There are sooooo many different web hosting companies, whether you are looking for a $2/month throwaway account or a $2000/month dedicated super server.  How's a person to choose between companies and get some good information?

There are a huge number of fake pay-per-promotion "top hosting company" websites to watch out for - so it's a particularly hard problem lately.

One of the best sites on the web for finding out about companies and dishing the dirt on them is the WebHostingTalk Forums:

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/

(read 2 comments)


Looking for a wiki or forum? Compare, compare in the matrix!

I found this nifty online Wiki chooser/comparator/advisor yesterday while researching a wiki for a couple projects I'm working on. It's has detailed feature breakdowns and matrices for 61 wikis, with a wide range of features, platforms, requirements, and licenses. I thought it surely must be useful to someon else!

http://www.wikimatrix.org

NOTE:
For a similar collection of forum comparisons, make sure you also check out: http://www.forummatrix.org



(read 6 comments)


For you visual learners with existential issues, VideoJug Explains Life on Film

Here's a novel approach to explaining the difficulties and complexities of life...with video clips on a website.

    Continue reading the rest of the entry and discuss..

(read 1 comment)


The Great Software List Site Gets a Big Update

From zaine ridling (one of our favorite members!) who runs the Great Software List:

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...
But after sinking time into almost 150 apps over the past five months, the Great Software List is now updated with some kickass apps! I added a new Usenet, P2P/File Sharing Tools section, found/updated 40 fantastic new programs, and managed to ditch 65 old ones for various reasons — unaddressed security issues, lack of development, overpriced in latest version, somehow it got shitty, and so on. I’m excited and completely exhausted.
...

The Great Software List Website: http://www.anova.org/software/

(read 11 comments)


Jay Is Games: A Great Source for Your Daily Dose of Flash Games

JayIsGames.com is *the* site for discovering flash games and reading reviews of them..

Quote from: JayIsGames.com
Our reputation for highlighting some of the best, innovative, and most unusual casual games available has reached far and wide. In fact, I believe our success in this area is one of the reasons for our growth tapering off. It may not come as a surprise to you, but this site is visited and watched by a great number of other sites that also feature games for you to play. Once we post something here it will often appear on many, many other sites simply because they saw it here and therefore know it must be good.

http://jayisgames.com/

(read 1 comment)


Processing 1.0: hobbyist scripting code for art

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Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and sound. It is used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is developed by artists and designers as an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.
...

http://processing.org/

discovered on www.stumbleupon.com
(read 2 comments)


Longbets... very cool idea - get your prediction on the record

Longbets... very cool idea

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...as an arena for competitive, accountable predictions (Long Bets).   How Betting Works »
...as a forum for focussed discussion and debate about prediction.
...as an attractive tool for philanthropic giving.
...as a way to foster better long-term thinking.
...

http://www.longbets.org/predictions

discovered on www.stumbleupon.com
(read 2 comments)


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