Ramblings, meanderings, rants and discoveries.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Utilities, Tools and Widgets

Let me start this out by saying I am an advocate for doing things the easy way. As I have said in the past I am lazy. Now that doe not mean I avoid doing work, it does mean I will spend hours even days setting something up so that I can perform a repetitious action in minimal time.

Actions like updating links, calculating and checking statistics, and most of all updating. So the idea of widgets, (called by some toolkits or utilities) has always appealed to me. Yes, those little apps or programs that make life easier. Here is a list of some I have tripped across, used and my opinions of them - so far.

Headline Animators - Like the one to the left for the OTHER blog. I like these little widgets. It is a slick fast way to promote a feed. They can be customized to fit in any website's theme.

RSS feeds - Kind of nice, but once you subscribe you get everything. If I post 20 things in one day about how the aliens are beaming messages to my crowns, and you are subscribed to me, you get them. But then, perhaps you read Andromedian and are interested in those intergalactic missives?

RSS Readers - Something about these remind me of the old echomail (now called usenet mainly) readers. I miss Blue Wave and kill files. I have just started playing with these. A kill file would be nice so I can filter out those blogs about the messages and pay attention to the ones about how to hack the starship that is approaching.

Trillian (and Miranda) - I love these types of apps. I hated having clients on different IM's and needing to load or unload one or another because the engines all fought with each other for supremacy. The only draw back to these is that they rarely get warning of changes in the messenger services. The last Yahoo change caused me to lose messages from people, the app would crash and I had a few system slowdowns. But you know these are worth sending the coders a donation or buying the commercial version. They are extremely useful.

Mihov image resizer - A perfect utility. It does just what the title says and little more. It resizes graphics. That means I do not have to load up Photoshop, load the graphic then play with it. I just load the resizer, enter the file name, it gives me the attributes and I tell it what I want and it resizes. It will also run some conversions like gif to jpg etc.

ID Serve - A quick DNS lookup tool from Gibson Research. I enter the URL or the IP and it goes out pings the machine and tells me what it can about the server. It defaults to port 80, but you can configure or request any port.

I continue to seek out new Widgets and will post here when I find them. I have yet to find a site builder that passes W3 compliance. (Yes that is my current quest) I like building websites, but it would be so much nicer if I could find a site builder that I like. One that gives me flexibility and lets me control what elements I wish and is W3 compliant.

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