Best of the Web 2007
Our Favorite Website Discoveries

bladedthoth.com 15 minute software reviews

Very nice site with good small mini reviews of software.  Seems like most of the programs are ones the author finds on giveawayoftheday site, but his critiques seem straightforward and he doesn't always recommend the programs.  thumbs up

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15-Minute Reviews are quick reviews of applications, games, hardware and other items... As most people know, first impressions can make or break much in the world of success; Whether or not it is a great product or not, if it is irritating in the first 15-minutes of usage, likely it is going to be overall a less-than-stellar experience over the long term.

http://www.bladedthoth.com/reviews/15mrs/

(leave a comment)


The Canonical LCD Thread at AnandTech.com

Ed Bott says if you are planning on buying an LCD monitor, you need to check out this thread at the AnandTech forum, and i can see why.  Looks like a ton of up-to-date details, information about what to look for, and a nice concise recommendation section for people who don't have 300 hours to analyze charts.  Good stuff.

http://forums.anandtech.c...catid=31&threadid=2049206

discovered on http://www.edbott.com
(read 5 comments)


Techlife Blog

I came across techlife for the first time today, while browsing the website for the very cool screensaver "electric sheep".

Looks like a really nice small blog focusing on computers, and discoveries in software and on the web. Looks like a new regular read for me.

(read 2 comments)


Color Theory

Found a fascinating color theory tutorial, including links to additional resources and a bibliography:

http://www.worqx.com/color/

This is general stuff, easy to read and organized so that it's amenable to topic hopping.  It's applicable to paper documents, application & web design, or simply making sure your chosen Windows color palette won't give you a siezure.

Simply reading the section about Perceptual Opposites led me to an "aha!" moment, when I finally understood why some colors just look nasty together, like they want to vibrate each other off the screen.  I'd subconciously recognized the phenomenon, but now I know why that happens.

Unfortunately none of this will not stop Mrs. Maximus from painting the kitchen green.

(read 6 comments)


Good websites/blogs/programs for managing money?

This is not really a topic for the software forum, but in my short time here I've seen this site has a lot of members who are very knowledgeable, so I'm sure I'll get some help.

I'm a software geek who's clueless about money  I can spend days and weeks on tweaking programs and searching for the perfect utility, but not so when it comes to money. Even though I make a decent living, my savings do not reflect this because they don't grow like they should. I lost a lot of my savings a few years ago in the stock market and since then have been very hesitant. Currently I've put most of it in online banks such as ING which give me higher APR but thats pretty much it.

What are some good resources you recommend? There are way too many blogs out there, I don't know where to start. I also need some software to track my money and spending - I was going to get either Money or Quicken, but there are also some free web based alternatives like Wesabe, Mint etc which look very compelling (apart from having to trust a website with my account passwords). I'd also appreciate links to some good forums for personal finance.

    Read about the blogs and websites recommended by members..

(read 15 comments)


PhotoshopRoadmap.com - Very cool blog for photoshop resources

Veign wrote on his blog today about a super cool roundup of 100 photoshop brushes, as listed on a site called PhotoshopRoadmap.com.

When i went and checked out the site I found a bunch of great tutorials and resource collections.. Even as someone who doesn't use photoshop I was impressed.

http://www.photoshoproadmap.com/Photoshop-blog/

discovered on http://www.veign.com/blog/
(read 3 comments)


Print Your Own Graph Paper - Resource Roundup

The Free Download A Day Site (http://www.freedownloadaday.com) highlighted a site that i think we have mentioned before on DC but it's worth a repeat mention as it seems to be improving.

On the site you can download pdf files for all kinds of graph paper, as well as check out a ton of online graph paper creator tools that will create custom graph paper to your specifications.

You'll also find online tools for creating simple calendars or labels.  Nice.

http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/

ps. Donations to the site are requested (and deserved!)

discovered on http://www.freedownloadaday.com
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MakeUseOf.com - Nice Blog

This site has been mentioned in passing a few times on the forum but i think it deserves a post of it's own.  Nice blog-type site which is quite active and has some nice roundups..

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On makeuseof we don’t write about any new web applications that comes around but only about ones that are COOL, FREE and USEFUL. It may be a subjective judgement but that’s how it is. We also try to keep it simple and all accessible, so that even newbies who never used such sites like Digg and Delicious or ones who think AJAX is famous washing powder brand can easily find their way around.

http://www.makeuseof.com/

(read 4 comments)


What are your Top Tech/Software Newsletters?

Ok following hot on the heels of our threads on:

It's time for a thread on Top Tech/Software Newsletters!

I'll start out with a few I like:


What have i left out?

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What are Your Top Tech/Software Podcasts?

What tech/software podcasts do you listen to?

I'm running out of podcasts for my commute and need more. In no particular order... Right now I listen to:

.NET Rocks!
 - Great podcast! This is one of the best out there. Sometimes the quality of audio for the guest can be low, which sucks, but this is one show I keep listening to because it delivers.

Software Engineering Radio
 - Again, a great podcast. They go on about enterprise systems mostly, and do get into some great technical stuff.

TWiT
 - Less intense... A fun listen. Lots of good news in it.

Security Now
 - It's ok. A lot of it is nothing more than an ad for SpinRite, which is annoying. A lot of things are pretty Mickey Mouse simple, but sometimes there is some really good stuff. (Admittedly, I have a bad attitude towards computer 'security' because so much of it just seems trivial and I hate being treated like a moron.)

The MicroISV Show
 - Infrequent, but always very good.

Venture Voice
 - Extremely infrequent (every few months), but perhaps one of the best podcasts on the Internet. Amazing guests with a lot of great stuff to say.

Polymorphic Podcast
 - Again, sporadic, but a good listen. Very techy.

The Project Studio Network
 - Audio show. Fantastic! This show has THE best production quality of any podcast I've ever heard. It beats everything else out there. The show is for recording and music production. Not really tech, but they do a lot of software reviews for audio software.

Windows Weekly
 - A decent show. A bit too much talk about games, but whatever. It's worth listening to.

Diggnation
 - I just added this out of desperation for more podcasts. It's a fun listen, but for real information, it's a bit lacking. TWiT is better. They swear a lot and joke a lot. Not the first podcast I turn to, but when I'm out of other things, at least it's tech, kind of...

Extreme Tech
 - Mostly hardware talk, but interesting. High quality too - not a bunch of nitwits with their opinions. These guys have a lot of experience in their field.

Hanselminutes
 - Good show. Sometimes there's a bit too much about the XBox and games for me, but there are a LOT of really good shows too with real meaty information.

The Dot Net Preacher Show
 - This one I only listen to when I'm out of other podcasts, and only because I like the sound of my own voice. smiley Just kidding. I just listen to it to see if there's something I could do better in it. (It's my own podcast.)

There are some others as well that I'm subscribed to, but they are either few and infrequent, or I'm sick of them due to poor quality content without enough substance. (I think I'm getting sick of Diggnation already - we'll see though.)

So... If you know more good software and tech podcast, PLEASE SHARE THEM!  

    Post your suggestions..

(read 12 comments)


What are your top 10 Tech/Software Blogs?

Martin from ghacks.net (which was awarded our best site of the month in May 2007) has started a little experiment asking his favorite blog-type sites (DC is one) to list their 10 favorite tech/software blogs.

So I thought I would start out with my personal 10, and then we can have a thread here where people can add their own recommendations as well.

My 10, in no particular order:

  • Cybernetnews - one of the absolute best bang for the buck in terms of quality content at an increasingly impressive pace of updates.  right now i'd say this is one of the very top (if not *the* top) software site for Windows users to visit every day.
  • ghacks - similar to cybernetnews in content and spirit.
  • Freeware World Team - one of the lesser appreciated sites that reports on a volume of new small indie freeware tools that other sites should be envious of.  i wake up each morning hoping that they are still doing what they are doing - they actively go out and find new small freeware tools you won't hear about anywhere else.
  • Freeware Genius - very nice short reviews of cool freeware.
  • DownloadSquad - downloadsquad has been slacking a bit lately but they are a first class top-of-the-line software blog, no doubt about it.
  • Shell Extension City - a few freeware tools featured each day.  again this is pushing the edge of what would be considered a blog, but it's one of the longest-running most consistent source of finding out about cool freeware for windows.
  • JayIsGames.com - for my daily fix of casual flash games.  i don't really have time to play games but i love visiting jay's site once a day to see if there is something new and fun to spent 10 minutes on.  and i like how they bring attention and offer a platform for indie coders.
  • Wired Blogs - there are quite a few blogs here and they are all occasionally original in ways that most other blogs aren't.
  • Coding Horror - my favorite programming-related blog.  Jeff Attwood is one of my favorite writers in this genre and most of what he writes is for a general audience and easy to read and entertainingly opinionated.
  • Gadgetopia - nice original essays and reporting on software / web services / technology.


So what are yours?

note that i read TONS and TONS of blogs, and it wasn't easy picking just 10, so if i left you out it doesn't mean i don't love your blog!

    Add your comments now..

(read 31 comments)


TweakGuides.com - Firefox Tweak Guide

I just found this site while looking for a particular configuration setting for Firefox. I haven't read through the site yet, but it looks very good.

http://www.tweakguides.com/Firefox_1.html

Has anybody seen any reviews/critiques of this guide? Often the information on sites like this is less than accurate. I have no experience with the website, so I do not know their reputation for accuracy. Can anybody enlighten me?

(read 11 comments)


Nerdarts.com - When nerds become cool, do jocks become nerds?

Nice blog/website suggested by one of the members on our forum (pacman3030).  I love the sentiments and focus on individuals not companies.

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As Douglas Rushkoff points out in his latest lecture “Why johnny Can’t Program” if these nerds posed any threat to the status quo, then they would never let them free.

This is one reason that here at Nerdarts.com I have always strove to highlight the individual, rather than the company. I’m more interested in a guy who made a garden which you can control via a robotic arm through the internet than a new game for the Wii (even though I think it’s a great console:). Nintendo is going to be ok without an extra shout out from my little blog. As nerdcore soaks farther and farther into mainstream culture, us early adopters and visionaries have to make sure that we highlight the culture and not the company, highlight insight and reflection of our own personal stories instead of doing the bidding of major corporations who want that extra free link to make their product go viral. It’s only a matter of time before we see space invader motifs on sweaters at Abercrombie and Fitch, and just as studded belts and punk has now become safe enough for christian fundies to use to promote Christ, Nerdcore will be used to sell seemingly iniquous products to make the same people rich. The beast has been unleashed and its only a matter of time before the popular girl from the rich suburbs starts talking about how she was a “total nerd”.

Let’s tell our own stories, and if those personal stories involve Atari Games and Dungeons and Dragons dice then they are ours to use! They are as much a part of us as the air we have breathed throughout the years. These corporation have rammed advertising down our throats for years, and then they are going to sue people for using imagery, or songs which they collectively tried to get us to remember? Fuck em. Fair Use has a Posse. Nerdcore is Dead - Long Live Nerdcore! From this point on I will never again publicize a company, or a movie, only individual artists who are reinterpreting the world around them and telling their own stories. If those stories involve nintendo games or star wars characters then these artists have the right to use these images.

http://nerdarts.com/

(read 3 comments)


FreeForYourSite.com - fun blog about website developer tools

This is a new blog from the guy who does FreeDownloadADay.com which i posted about recently.  Looks like a nice site to bookmark and check for new discoveries and recommendations.

http://www.freeforyoursite.com/

(read 1 comment)


Wikipedia Scanner: Finding Who Games Wikipedia and a Service Tracking Them

Cool article and a digg-like site highlighting new interesting edits..

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See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign
By John Borland Email 08.14.07 | 2:00 AM
CalTech graduate student Virgil Griffith built a search tool that traces IP addresses of those who make Wikipedia changes.
Photo: Jake Appelbaum

On November 17th, 2005, an anonymous Wikipedia user deleted 15 paragraphs from an article on e-voting machine-vendor Diebold, excising an entire section critical of the company's machines. While anonymous, such changes typically leave behind digital fingerprints offering hints about the contributor, such as the location of the computer used to make the edits.

In this case, the changes came from an IP address reserved for the corporate offices of Diebold itself. And it is far from an isolated case. A new data-mining service launched Monday traces millions of Wikipedia entries to their corporate sources, and for the first time puts comprehensive data behind longstanding suspicions of manipulation, which until now have surfaced only piecemeal in investigations of specific allegations.

...

Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of Cal Tech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith -- offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses.

Article in Wired: http://www.wired.com/poli...news/2007/08/wiki_tracker
WikiScanner Page: http://wikiscanner.virgil.gr/
Cool list of up-to-date discoveries: http://wired.reddit.com/wikidgame

(leave a comment)


Smashing Magazine

Here's a Best of July list you won't find just anywhere by Smashing Magazine, centered primarily around graphics, web design, and cool web stuff. This article alone on Data Visualization Approaches is enough to get you started.

blogimage

(read 9 comments)


Four Cool Online Chore Tracking/Motivating Websites

There's been some posting recently on the web about some cool web services designed to help motivate and organize family chores.  My mother had her own complicated systems for this in the old days, but i can see there is some real innovation in the area these days..

HandiPoints - http://www.handipoints.com/
Read good review here: http://www.makeyougohmm.com/20070117/4152/

ChoreWars - http://www.chorewars.com
Review here: http://www.makeyougohmm.com/20070725/4654

ChoreBuster - http://www.chorebuster.net/
Review: http://www.webware.com/83...9-9742634-2.html?tag=more

Cozi - http://www.cozi.com/
Review: http://www.downloadsquad....zi-family-ready-software/

    Continue reading the rest of the entry and discuss..

(read 1 comment)


Member Site Spotlight: Becoming a Writer Seriously - Tools and Trade Secrets

Becoming a Writer Seriously: Tools and Trade Secrets for Aspiring Writers

We're going to try to do more spotlighting of member websites.  This is a great one for writers, and has a special section on software for writing.  If you are interested in the business end of writing, this is a must visit site.

http://becoming-a-writer-seriously.com

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Emphasis will be on detailed descriptions of HOW writers can utilize available TOOLS to best advantage. Over time, the blog will also provide an overview of the various pieces comprising the BUSINESS side of writing. Our aim is to become an indispensible resource & reference on the web for writers.

(read 3 comments)


Portable Freeware Collection - Check out their new forum

This site is all about freeware that runs on a USB drive.  Check out their new forum.

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Submit portable freeware that you find here. It helps if you include information like description, extraction instruction, Unicode support, whether it writes to the registry, and so on...
Submit updates of portable freeware that are already listed in the database...

http://portablefreeware.com/forums/index.php

(leave a comment)


Online Dictionary that visually shows relationships among words.

Here's a very cool graphical dictionary which shows word relationships in a node-link type chart.

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Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary — Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.

http://www.visuwords.com/?word=tragedy

discovered on alex3f
(read 11 comments)


Woodbin.com - Woodworking Software Central

Woodbin.com - Woodworking Software Central

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Welcome to WoodBin. This is the place to learn about woodworking software and locate woodworking reference information. Make sure you check out our online woodworking utilities and the woodworking software listings.
..
Wood Finish Selector - An online tool that helps you select the best wood finish for your projects. Finishes are ranked according to the properties that you select using a ranking scale from 0 (worst) to 5 (best).
..
GNCutter32
Panel cutting optimization library with innovative features specifically for wood panel cutting. For example, layout minimization allows cutting several panels at once in order to reduce cutting time by placing the panels into a pile. You can use the library's API to create custom cutting operations that can can be integrated into existing CAD/CAM software or embedded directly to cutting machines running MS Windows (XP, CE or Mobile).  Optimalon Software.

http://www.woodbin.com/

discovered on cranioscopical post
(read 2 comments)


Saving Electricity and Power Consumption

Here is everything you've always wanted to know, but were afraid to ask about power use.

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Later on we'll cover how to measure the exact amount of electricity something uses. But the shortcut is to just look at the label! Nearly everything you can plug into the wall has a label that says how much electricity it uses. (It may be printed directly into the plastic or metal.) You may have to hunt for the label. It's often located on the bottom or side of the device, or possibly where the power cord enters the unit. If the device is powered with an AC/DC adapter, the electrical rating is usually listed on the adapter itself.

If the label only gives the number of amps and not the number of watts, then just multiply the amps by 120 to get the number of watts. (Amps x Volts = Watts, and most U.S. electricity is 120 volts. So a hot plate that uses 6 amps uses 6 x 120 = 720 watts...

http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/howmuch.html

discovered on www.donationcoder.com/Forums/bb/index.php?topic=7211 via lanux128
(read 1 comment)


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