LucyPhone: Never again wait “just a minute” for customer service to get back to you

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.

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Google Docs: A free Alternative to Microsoft Office

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.

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Kabutr: Twitter in your inbox

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

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RetailMeNot: Save Money when shopping online

June 22, 2010

If you read my blog, you probably shop online too. If the majority of your shopping is online, you could save hundreds of dollars just by using coupon codes. RetailMeNot.com is a simple resource that you can use to find coupons for your specific store: just type the name or URL of the website in its search box and it will retrieve all of the recent coupon codes posted for that store, the success rates, and what they do.

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EveryStockPhoto.com: Royalty-free photos

June 21, 2010

If you do a lot of web design or print publication design, you probably need a lot of graphics to put on them. A major problem, however, is that these often come with royalties and copyright restrictions. There are many royalty-free photos out there, but the problem is finding them in a timely manner.

Enter, EveryStockPhoto.com. ESP makes searching for Creative Commons photos easy. (Creative Commons is a special system designed to promote organized free sharing of digital material.) Just go to the website, type in a search query and select the license you want the results to be under and it retrieves a matrix of images for you in a similar way to Google Images. Click on an image to see its license and download link. Most images have an attribution license, which means that you can share, remix, and use the photo in your project, as long as you credit the source- usually a URL will do.

Try it out.

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VividBurn: Host images and SWF for free

June 18, 2010

VividBurn is a very simple solution to hosting images and SWF videos. You can upload files up to 10mb without even signing up. This could be useful for quick Jing uploads. Check it out @ vividburn.com. I have used this for a few of my tutorials before and it works great.

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How to make free banner ads for your business

June 16, 2010

At some time or another, you have probably considered buying ad space online to promote your business. Besides the obvious problem of paying for the ad to be shown, there is the design. Today I would like to eliminate the latter.

Bannersnack.com is a great tool for designing animated, interactive, and attractive flash banners. It uses a web-based interface that allows you to easily design the banners- just sign in with your id for Google, Facebook, etc. Its interface allows you to easily add interactive buttons that link to your website or another slide in the ad. It does this all for free, but leaves a small watermark upon publishing that you can pay to remove. With the watermark removed, the banners will look like a pro made it.

The main drawback is that Bannersnack’s AS3 format is not allowed by Google AdWords and some other networks. There are plenty of networks that accept AS3 though, so don’t let it stop you.

This same company (Snacktools)also has several other products:

  • Podsnack.com: put a flash audio player on your website
  • Photosnack.com: lets you create photo slideshows and even download them as EXE files
  • In the future, they might introduce QuizSnack, so you might want to watch for it.

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