MissTechie

Everything new and tech gets reviewed here

Google SearchWiki – how to use or how to get rid of

Google SearchWikiThis week Google launched SearchWiki – a new tool for editing and marking up Google search results. It’s an addition to user interface which allows promoting or removing search results. By clicking promote and remove buttons, you re-order search results to your liking. Also, you can add public notes to search results and even add web pages to search results for any query. Sounds great, but why many people are so critical of SearchWiki. Let’s see:

1. Your promoting or removing pages affects only your future searches for the current query or very similar queries. So, if you remove the page you don’t like and never want to see again from search results for one query, that doesn’t mean you won’t see it in results for other queries. Also, that means that even if a lot of users dislike certain page, it can still be in top for certain queries, the only thing changes is number of people who promoted or removed the page (it’s shown under the search result description).

2. If the results of voting don’t affect somebody else’s search, the comments can be public only. I’d like to have an opposite situation. I’d rather have a possibility to make private comments (for me only, or maybe for me and my Google friends), and see the search results based on people’s votes. But… we have what we have.

3. And the thing people hate most of all is that we’re unable to opt out SearchWiki. Actually, I want to search in the way I prefer, not in the way Google does. So I believe SearchWiki must be optional, not obligatory addition. And… hurrah! – there is a kind man who helps us to turn SearchWiki on/off when we need – Franz Enzenhofer coded Firefox Greasemonkey enhancement called SearchWiki on/off! Install it and enjoy search with or without SearchWiki – as you want.

Click to turn SearchWiki on/off

Click to turn SearchWiki on/off

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November 21, 2008 Posted by | Google, search engines, Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

GameSpy’s 2008 Holiday Buyer’s Guide

gamespyDo you like games? PC or console? Whatever platform you like the most, you’ll find a list of best games of the year in GameSpy’s 2008 Holiday Buyer’s Guide. PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, DS, PSP – click what you need and find the best of the best games of 2008, platform by platform, and GameSpy’s personal picks. It’s a best place to make up your holiday wish-list!

November 18, 2008 Posted by | games | , , , | Leave a comment

Top 7 tools to get organized

With huge amount of things to get done each day, it is really easy to forget important things that require your attention. How to stay focused on important task and remember everything. Here are 10 tools to help you get organized and manage your time effectively. I’ve listed both software and online tools – everything I tried and liked. They really help, so give them a try!

Backpack

Backpack

Backpack

Backpack is a web-based service that makes organizing your information incredibly easy. Backpack lets you make pages which can contain any combination of notes, to-dos, images, files, etc. You can keep these pages to yourself or share them with colleagues, co-workers, friends, or family. Also use Backpack Calendar and Reminders, email to-do lists, notes, files, and images to a Backpack page.

Pricing – from $7/month for Solo plan to $99/month for Pro, 30 days free trial, free plan with limitations.

Screen Calendar

Screen Calendar

Screen Calendar

Screen Calendar creates custom desktop wallpapers with built in active calendar. Screen Calendar has all functions of PIM. It allows scheduling your day hourly, set reminder, print notes or calendar itself etc. Version 7.4 supports iCalendar synchronization, so events can be imported to the desktop calendar directly from iCal files – both local and remote (e.g. Google Calendar). Also, calendar look and background can be customized to your liking. There is Outlook edition for those who used to schedule in Outlook Calendar.

Pricing – $24.95 for a single license, free trial version.

30 Boxes

30 Boxes

30 Boxes

30 Boxes is a web-based software application that allows an individual to keep calendar data online, to share their calendar data with an invited circle of friends and to aggregate public online information of friends. 30 Boxes is created for individuals looking for a robust, yet simple online calendaring solution that is easy to share with friends and family.

Pricing – free!

Daily Home Planner

Daily Home Planner

Daily Home Planner

Daily Home Planner is the software that will help you to schedule, plane meals, keep contacts, manage family finances, etc.  Handy scheduler let you view your entire family’s appointments and daily routine in one location. The Journal feature will store a daily record of the day’s events. Meals planner automatically add recipes ingredients to the shopping list. Goals and to-do lists help to keep track of plans and projects.

Pricing – $34.95 for a single license, 30 day free trial.

Toodledo

Toodledo

Toodledo

Toodledo is an easy to use, web-based to-do list.  Use Hotlist to remember the high priority tasks, add or edit tasks without page reload to save your time, organize tasks into folders or projects, set personal goals, use online calendar, track time spend for specified tasks, attach notes to any task,  share your to-do lists with coworkers, friends,family. Toodledo even have an iPhone app that you can use even when you don’t have an internet connection.

Pricing – free plan, Pro $14.95/year, Pro Plus $29.95/year

PlanPlus

PlanPlus

PlanPlus

PlanPlus is a powerful planning software. Task List Gadget allows to quickly view and manage the tasks set up in PlanPlus without opening the program. Prioritized Daily Task List, daily notes, appointment schedule, weekly planning tools, MS Outlook synchronization, Palm applications.

Pricing – $79.95 for a single license, free trial

Evernote

Evernote

Evernote

Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere. Everything you put into Evernote is always synchronized across all of your devices. That way, all your memories are available to you wherever you are.

Pricing – free account, Premium account – $5/month or $45/year

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Calendar, Online tools, Software | , , , , | 1 Comment

My top 4 flash charting tools

Flash charting software is a tool for easy creating and publishing charts in flash.

As I often need to create dynamic flash charts and publish them to Web, I’ve tried almost every flash chart maker I’ve come across. And now I want to offer you reviews of four of my favorite softwares for creating animated flash graphs.

I won’t grade their features. Also, I won’t say what charting program is better or worse. I just want you to know what I like or don’t like about each of  these programs for flash graphing so that you can make your choice easier.

# 1 is Animated Chart

A powerful tool for creating static or dynamic flash charts.

What’s great:

· Every chart element can be modified directly from the main program window: there are menus for choosing element, customizing it, editing data source. These menus are always active but they aren’t interfering with the perception of chart preview. If it’s easier for you to modify chart using toolbar, you can close the menus to see only the chart preview stretched to the size of the program window

· Chart type can be changed easily on every stage of chart making

· Each item is fully customizable

· Intuitive GUI

· The value of each column appears when the user moves the mouse over the column

· Source data can be imported directly from text or data files or entered manually

· Chart can be saved as image, SWF, HTML or Projector file

· Data can be exported to CLV or XML

What’s especial:

· Radar chart type

What can be better:

· When choosing preset color scheme to load, you can’t see its preview and can only guess what scheme it is

#2 is rChart

Tool for easy and rapid creation of nice-looking flash graphs and charts.

What’s great:

· Plenty of ready-to-use chart styles and ability to customize these styles to your liking

· Chart type can be changed on every stage of chart making

· Data can be imported from any ODBC data source, from a text file, from Windows clipboard, and from .fcd files

· Chart properties sheet allows to adjust any chart item directly in the main program window

· Chart can be saved as an image file, SWF, HTML

· Chart can be added to PowerPoint slide directly from the program

What’s especial:

· You can import audio to add background sound of voice explanations

· You can assign URL to your chart elements to generate web content easily

What can be better:

· In horizontal bar charts, 3D effect makes bars look as if they begin at -1 point instead of 0 point

#3 is AmiChart

User friendly and easy to use charting software.

What’s great:

· Wizard-based interface are the friendliest for novices in chart making

· Each chart style is fully customizable

· Source data can be imported from text or data files, copy-pasted from spreadsheets or entered by hand

· The value of each column appears when the user moves the mouse over the column

· Chart can be saved as SWF and HTML

What’s especial:

· You can preview your chart in a browser

What can be better:

· The number of available chart types is miserable in comparison with other graphing programs – line, bar and pie charts

· Chart can’t be saved as an image file

#4 is Swiff Chart

Smart design tool for creating charts in flash.

What’s great:

· A huge collection of available chart styles which are easy customizable

· Chart type can be changed on every stage of chart making

· Intuitive and friendly GUI

· Source data can be imported from text or Excel files or typed manually

· Chart can be saved as a Flash movie or as an image

What’s especial:

· A nifty combination of step-by-step chart making and handy menus on the main window’s size

· Chart can be previewed in a browser on every stage of chart creation

What can be better:

· Chart can’t be saved as a HTML file

So, choose what you like the most, visualize your data with one of these great flash charting softwares and publish your swf chart to make your website more attractive and eye catching.

Happy chart making! 🙂

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Charts and Graphs, Flash, Software, web design | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tips for choosing flash mp3 player for a website

Need to embed audio into a web page? Before you start looking for flash sound player, it’s a good idea to read some tips. After reading this blog post you will know for sure what music player to choose for your website or blog.

First of all, it is very important to know that there are different types of sound sources in players and, therefore, the types of web music players differ too.

All sound sources used for flash music players can be divided into:

  • External files
  • Embedded sound
  • Audio streaming

External sound files or embedded sound?

Players for both external files and embedded sound can have a preloader to provide a complete download before starting playback. They can also provide real-time playing mode which means that playback starts as soon as a user triggers it without waiting for a complete download. So, choose what is more important for you – to let your visitors hear sound as soon as it’s possible (in real-time mode) or to be sure they’ll hear all you need without interruptions (with a preloader). Also, take into account that embedded sound means only one sound file included with swf (file containing the player). Player with an embedded sound is easier to publish so it’s the perfect choice when you need to embed only one song, sound or voice message into your web page. And if you want to use more than one sound files, create player using external files. Such players usually have Next, Previous, Play, Pause buttons, voice control and seeking bar, so they allow your visitors to control playback and enjoy the music while staying at your web page.

Audio streaming sounds

Audio streaming sounds like a real-time mode because it also means playing sound without a complete download. Nevertheless, this method differs from real-time very much. The main difference is that in case of streaming audio, no data is saved on your computer – it’s just buffered for a few seconds before you can hear it. This means you can’t rewind, repeat listening, etc. You just hear sound arriving (or streaming) at your computer. The best example for audio streaming is online radio. Live broadcast can never be downloaded completely so the only way to listen to it from your computer is audio streaming. Of course, flash sound players with audio streaming support are mainly used for radio streaming.

Tool for creation of flash mp3 player I recommend:

I use software for creating flash audio players which allow making any type of web music player. It is Fun SoundPlayer Maker. Program has extensive templates library – small buttons with embedded sound, full-functional players with multi tracks support or flash radio for audio streaming etc. Also, pay your attention to Flash WAmp – this program allows converting any original Winamp skin into both flash mp3 player and flash radio player for a website.

November 3, 2008 Posted by | Flash, flash audio players, Software, web design | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments