Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Baker's Half Dozen

I enjoy trying out the toys in Gmail Labs ("a testing ground for experimental features that aren't quite ready for prime time"). Just go to settings in Gmail and click the labs tab and a long list of options appears. One very useful gadget is the "undo feature", a setting which allows for up to 20 seconds of pause time after you hit the send button. I've clicked the "undo" more than a few times, and the way I see it, no email is likely to suffer from the delay of an extra few seconds.

Recently I was participated in a conference call involving dozens of educators. This was scheduled using Doodle. Check it out-- It is a splendidly simple piece of software that can be used for whipping up a poll. If you are setting up a meeting poll your members with Doodle and it will produce a matrix showing you the optimal meetings times. Pretty cool.

Have you been bewildered by Ning's announcement to eliminate its free social media sites, followed by a the mysterious statement that "A major educational company has offered to sponsor Ning Mini Networks for educators"? If your confidence has been shaken in Ning, perhaps you would like to try Spruz, which seems to offer similar functionality.

I've only been playing around with Voila for a few days, but I am already hooked. It is an inexpensive screen capture software made for Macs by Global Delight. Voila allows you to "capture and record anything on your screen." It also comes with an easy to use annotation tool kit. which I find very helpful for creating presentations and classroom resources.

Speaking of free accounts, some of the bloggers that I read have referred to Instapaper. If like me, you hopscotch all over the place when you read online, this might be a handy tool. It's simple to register for an account. Then drag a bookmarklet to your toolbar. This will create a "read me" button. When you are scanning an article and want to save it, click the "read me" button and Instapaper will save it for you.

My last recommendation is for pop music lovers. Downplayer offers ten free downloads a day, Monday through Friday. It's easy and fun to preview the songs. If you feel as though your playlist is stale, spend a few weeks sampling from this site and you will discover some new music. The free feature has hooked me into spending some cash on albums, just the way it's designed to do.

"Six" Flickr Creative Commons Photo by duncan

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