July 14, 2010
Scratch is a great way to introduce kids (or anyone) to how programming works. There is a stage in which you put characters (“sprites”) and a box off to the side where you can drag and drop “blocks” of code that fit together and run in a sequence. Scratch is fairly simple, but if you need help, check out learnscratch.org. Download Scratch here.
This may sound like a childish waste of time, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. For educators specifically, Scratch helps foster problem solving and also some collaboration. Recently, Google released a service called App Inventor. App Inventor is a site where you can make Android apps without having prior experience in coding. Similar to Scratch, it uses blocks of code along with a visual box to show how your code will work when activated. App Inventor has the potential to become a very successful platform.
Don’t ever dismiss Scratch as a kid’s toy. It’s an educational resource. Now only if Apple would make one…
June 30, 2010
Whether you have it or not, you can’t be a loyal Apple fan without knowing what MobileMe is. You knew you wanted it, but maybe the $99/yr price tag was too steep. Even if that isn’t too much for you, this could still save you some cash.
First, if you are a new customer, take advantage of their 60-day free trial @ me.com before you pay.
Then, go to eBay and search for “mobileme” or “mobileme family”- whichever best suits your needs. You can easily get the box for $69, or so- you could probably get it for less if you’re into the bidding. All that the box contains is a special online activation code- if you don’t want to wait/bother on shipping,
many sellers will gladly open the box and email the code to you.
MobileMe code I found on eBay
You can buy a new code every year this same way to keep your account running, according to what I’ve read.
If you like this/find it useful, please click the button below to share it!
June 29, 2010
LucyPhone is a website similar to Jajah or Jaxtr, only with a special adaptation to help you deal with customer service people. First, go to lucyphone.com. Type in the number of the company you need to call (or search for it; they have a database). Then, type in your phone number. LucyPhone calls your number and then the customer service number- just like Jajah. But here’s what makes it special: when they put you on hold, just press asterisk twice. It will hang up and call your phone back immediately when the customer service department is back on the line. Even if you don’t mind listening to the lousy on hold music, having LucyPhone patch you through could save you cell phone time if you pay by the minute with free incoming.
June 27, 2010
Google Docs is a simple solution for replacing Microsoft Office. The presentation section gives the user an interface where they can place simple objects, text and images onto a slide. When you are finished with it, you can play the slideshow right from your web-browser, print it, download it as a PowerPoint, or download as PDF. The word processor is very similar, as is the spreadsheet.
What makes it unique is Forms. Google Docs is the ideal platform for creating submit forms. You can create several types of questions such as checkbox, radio button selection, single-line response, paragraph response, etc. Then, send out the URL or use the embed code to put the form on your webpage. Then, view the responses in a summary with graphs and statistics, or in a spreadsheet with more detailed data- all for free @ docs.google.com.
June 26, 2010
In the next few days, I will review some of the best alternatives to the Microsoft Office suite. You might want one of the alternatives for…
…your kid’s computer
…your home computer
…your small business
or any time you’d use Office.
I will review some of the best free titles and web app Office alternatives including:
- Google Docs
- NeoOffice/OpenOffice (they are very much the same thing)
- Zoho Office
Some other alternatives include Docs.com, but docs.com requires a Facebook account to login, which I don’t have.
June 25, 2010
Have you ever been annoyed that some place you were at blocked Twitter? You can use Kabutr to receive the tweets in your inbox. Just reply to the email and your response will automatically be posted on Twitter. To organize all the Kabutr emails, you can create a filter in your email client to put all emails from @kabutr.com in the Twitter folder that you create. Learn how to create a filter here. You could also Google “how to create filters in [your email client here]” if you are not sure.
Try it out @ Kabutr.com
Remember: Understand the policy of the network you are using, and the risks of violating it before you use Kabutr.
Related: Wikipedia at Work
June 24, 2010
Have you ever hesitated before giving your email address to a company to finish a sign-up in the fear that you might be spammed? A temporary, anonymous email service can avert this problem for you. I will profile two of the best services for this below.
Mailinator– gives you a public email address that you can use for receiving confirmation emails. Anyone can see what comes to this address, so don’t use it for anything secure or confidential.
TempAlias– Sets up an alias for your existing email address: put in the tempalias address in a web form and when tempalias gets the email, they will forward it to your regular address to protect your identity. You can set the duration that the alias is valid for- a certain number of days or a certain number of messages.