Bookmarklets In iOS Safari? Sign Me Up!

bookmark_icon

 

I browse A TON on my iPhone and iPad and have gnashed my teeth in the past about how mobile Safari does not offer a very easy way to add bookmarklets to make the browser and your applications more compatible. I have used kludgy workarounds in the past to deal with some of the issues. Newer versions make it somewhat easier. As I am usually wont to do, I find myself once against smiling and thanking Amit Agarwal over at the Digital Inspiration blog for a great means of adding bookmarklets to your current version iOS Safari browse so that you can, say, send a page to Readability, Instapaper, Kindle or Evernote, translate to English, shorten with Goog.le, download as PDF, share on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ or more generally to other sites with a universal bookmarklet, subscribe in Google Reader, and much, much more. So freaking cool!

 

It is a simple as navigating to Amit’s blog post at the link above, selecting the desired bookmarklet from a dropdown menu in the post, bookmarking the page in Safari, editing the saved bookmark by removing everything from the URL that’s before the # symbol and clicking “done.” That is it. He also offers a handy video for the visually inclined learners. Couldn’t be easier.

 

Chrome for iOS, which I really really like, offers bookmarklet support as well. Get the goods on how to work with them over at iDownload Blog.

 

Make your mobile browsing a LOT more effective with these awesome bookmarklets. And don’t thank me, thank Amit! And go subscribe to his awesome blog, so you can get his fantastic tips straight from the “horse’s mouth.”

WiseStamp and Outlook.com – So Cool

Do you like the new Outlook.com? Do you love your WiseStamp plug-in? Very soon, you will be able to use the WiseStamp Chrome extension for Outlook.com email! WiseStamp is one of my favorite extensions – it allows me to create interactive, constantly updating app-centric email signatures for my various Gmail accounts. I have a business email signature with my logo, latest blog post and twitter updates, as well as a personal email signature with corresponding personal, art-based content. Add QR cards, Pinterest boards, your blog, your Facebook Page, even charities you believe in. It is a fantastic application. And, with the addition of Outlook.com as a supported provider, you will be able to get that same awesome signature block on your Outlook.com email. Check out how here.

 

WiseStamp is free for the basic service, and offers three other tiers of service offering more signatures, less WiseStamp branding, and more / better support.  It’s a great app, made better with Outlook! Sign up at the link above to be notified when Outlook integration becomes available.

Transcribe Does Just What It Says for Audio Recordings

 

 

The other day I found myself neck deep in research on an arcane topic and, in order to immerse myself, I had cued up a podcast of a news interview on the subject while I was searching and reading material on the Web. I pulled some valuable information out of that podcast, but I wasn’t able to get everything because I was doing too many things at once and I really didn’t have the time to take notes while listening.

 

 

Enter Transcribe. This handy Chrome extension will transcribe audio recordings so that you have a written record and don’t miss a word. You can also navigate to their free tool page here. Pick a local file and the transcribed text will be auto-saved in your browser’s local storage. An audio player bar at the top of the screen is controlled by key strokes – ESC for pause / resume, F! for slow down, F2 for speed up, F3 for rewind two seconds and F4 for fast-forward 2 seconds. You will see the text in the window below the player. So simple and easy to use! Another cool feature? You don’t even need an internet connection to use it – just click on the transcribe extension button in an open browser window and Transcribe will get to work. Everything works locally.

 

There is a paid Pro version as well, with more detail at this link. The only difference I can obviously see is that the Pro version can handle multiple recordings at once.

 

Nice tool there, particularly if you work with audio recordings a lot or need to get interviews or other speeches from audible to written form.

What's New, Google? Drive & Chrome for iOS

 

Earlier today, a couple of colleagues and I were talking about what’s new in tech this week. I didn’t even hesitate – for me, the big news is Google Chrome and Google Drive for iOS. Not surprisingly, the news is full of Google right now with the Google I/O in full swing. While Chrome for Android is now officially out of beta as well, which is very cool, Apple device users have had to wait to leverage Chrome on their mobile devices.

 

So, what can you expect from the free apps? Chrome is, of course, Google’s agile browser. Drive is Google’s answer to Dropbox. Chrome for iOS, while slower than Safari because of some technical advantages offered to Apple’s own browser, Safari, still syncs bookmarks, passwords and your history pages, has unlimited tabs, offers incognito mode, it comes with Omnibox and Google Voice Search. In short, you can access your saved stuff – bookmarks and pages – from you desktop to your mobile. If you are a diehard Chrome fan, you will love it. If not, then it might not sway you from Safari, with the superior speed and native integration.

 

Like the Chrome for iOS, which is missing some of the features of the Android counterpart (what do you want? Android is a Google property), the Drive app is also less full figured than the Android version. You can’t edit documents or upload. You do get a much better interface than the web, and you can leverage the awesome image search Drive offers via Google Goggles. And, you can access files,  share with others, preview or open files with other applications and download the files for offline availability.

 

While there are some features left desired, hopefully we are dealing with Version 1.0 here and Version 2.0 will pick up the slack. In the meantime, it is far better to have them than to want them, so I see these infant apps as a good first step. And, just to throw something else in there, Google Docs is now offering offline editing of Google’s own docs – long awaited and highly anticipated. Thanks Google.

 

Google Chrome vid:

Gmelius Makes Gmail Better

Hardcore Gmail users will love this – Gmelius is a cross-browser extension that offers lots of options for customizing and  improving your Gmail experience. First and foremost: Gmelius will allow you to excise the ads that show at the top of your inbox! Right now, it appears Gmelius has extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera – hopefully they will come to the aid of some  of those other browsers  soon.

 

Some of the other great features that are selectable within the extension include the ability to make the header auto-expandable, remove the People Widget, customize the navigation icons, add a row highlight, clear formatting from incoming emails to make them look-alike, add attachment icons for different types of docs such as Word or Powerpoint, disable the “consider including” box if you don’t want Gmail to suggest recipients to you, make the Google logo clickable (but watch out when you have multiple sign in’s activated), auto scroll to the top of your inbox when you click the black bar, and move email labels to the right in the inbox. In total, Gmelius is all about creating more space in the interface so that it becomes easier to work with your Gmail, definitely a good thing.

 

 

 

Gmelius insists that it will never access, read, store, alter or transmit your personal data. Gmelius code meets the latest Content Security Policy (CSP) recommendations, making sure its users can keep browsing the Web safely.

 

Gmelius is constantly updating the extension, with new features in settings shown with a “new” tag. Plus they appear committed to cleaning up bugs as quickly as possible.

 

 

The extension is free, but the developers ask for a donation. With the advent of Google Drive and an increase in storage size in your Gmail from 7 to 10 GB to celebrate, Gmelius offers yet another good reason to move your emailing activity to the Gmail cloud. Hope you enjoy this great new extension as much as I do.

Announcify Reads Your Websites To You

Too busy to read? Need to multitask your on-line browsing with other tasks? Check out Announcify, a very cool browser extension that will read a web page to you. It is a very sweet open source Google Chrome extension that you can pick up here. Once installed, click the little red Bird icon on the top right side of your browser bar. The extension will then read to you, first the title of the page / article and then the body. The web page is blurred, with only the portion currently being read in focus. Very clever indeed. There are customizable settings to adjust speed, pitch and volume. Tweak the voice, and you’re off to audio-book-ify the Web!

Announcify is an Android app too, in case you wanted to let your phone / tablet do the work for you.

I love this app – thanks MakeUseOf for the tip.

Highlight The Web!

Chrome users (and note takers) rejoice! Yellow Highlighter Pen extension for Chrome allows you to mark up your web from the comfort of your own browser. Load up the extension, click the button, highlight the text, and send a link to it to someone else for review. Highlight multiple clips, use different colors, and share. Recipients don’t need the extension to see your handiwork. Nice way to easily mark and share snippets with others (or keep them for yourself).

Syncing with Simplenote

One of the benefits of online research is the ability to organize results in ways that vastly improve upon the old fashioned version of collecting scraps of paper, writing notes in the margins of books and using sticky pads. Most people have at least heard of Evernote, the universal notetaking application, and many have heard of the equally cool Springpad. These apps are undoubtedly very useful, but sometimes I don’t need all the bells and whistles they offer. Sometimes, I prefer using an app called Simplenote for my basic notetaking and information-bit-saving — it offers a simple text editor for notes accessible on the web at Simplenote or via mobile app. You can tag notes and search them by keyword. It is my go-to application for basic, text-based notetaking.

You can turn Simplenote into a web clipping and saving service with the use of a couple of Chrome extensions.  Syncpad for Simplenote allows you to create notes while browsing the web, and append URLs to the note. Syncpad Webnotes (Beta) allows you to create a visual “sticky note” on a desired web page that persistently appears when you revisit the page. Using both extensions, you can write a standard note related to a certain web page and attach a sticky note on the page at the place where your target information is located, with a bit more explanation about why you saved the site in the first place while on your desktop. And then you can access the note on your Android or iOS mobile device when you are out and about.

Kind of brilliant and simple – a set of tools for saving content without the complexity that comes with Evernote’s notebook system. I am not the only one who loves Simplenote – check out the other great add ons, downloads and tools created by developers who also love the bare-bones service. Start clipping and saving virtually with Simplenote!

Google Related

Have you heard about this new Chrome extension, Google Related? I think it is pretty cool indeed. Related works on your Google search page, adding related content in real time via a bottom bar. Search your topic, glance at the bar and see other information that pertains to your search. Peruse that related content without losing your original search result. For example, check out the image below – if you search for a restaurant, Related may show you maps and directions, reviews, other similar places or other nearby places.

There is also a built-in +1 button so that you can approve of your results. As you may know, those +1’s will show up on a tab on your Google Profile for later review. Check out this version of the page on a research topic.

You can hit this link here and get the extension yourself. You can also check out the video below for even more information. Nice add, Google!

Nice Gmail Add – Copy / Paste Images

I love Gmail. And it just got even better, in a small but oh-so-convenient way. You can now copy web images - or any other images for that matter – to your clipboard and paste them into your Gmail messages. This works in the latest version of Google Chrome (my browser of choice). So cool! No more saving the image to the desktop or some other folder. And, while it only works in Chrome right now, Google is indicating that it hopes to extend this ability to other browsers in the near future.

Go Gmail!