Skimzee’s Web Tool, Bookmarklet & Chrome Extension Summarize the Web

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Skimzee is another free tool to help you combat information overload on the Internet. Via web site, bookmarklet or Chrome Extension, you can summarize most news stories, content from YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, Wikipedia, and control the size of the summary with an adjustable slider. The site also incorporates an RSS finder/reader function in that it allows you to search for feeds, add them and create groups of them from the Settings page accessible at the little gear icon at the upper right on their site. You can get the summaries from your home page – hover over the results and click to expand the “view summary” link. Some will not show that link – particularly if the site is behind a paywall, or uses Javascript, or is password protected.

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A Latest Stories drop down on the Feeds tab lets you browse by subject. You can also click on trending or latest videos, or Facebook feed or wall, if you set up your Skimzee to access such content. Search tab allows you to enter search terms or a specific URL for summary treatment. A drop down arrow next to the search box allows you to select / deselect your target content. Skimzee also prompts you with popular page links at the top.  The settings page from the gear button allows you to customize your Skimzee experience, including what page is summarized when you navigate to Home, what feeds to show at startup, what Summary Bookmarks to include along the top, what and how to summarize via the bookmarklet or extension as you browse the Web, what RSS feeds to include and how to show them, and more.

Skimzee

There are other tools out there that help you make sense of the Web by personalizing your experience and showing you news deemed of interest to you. Skimzee takes a different approach by giving you access to all the news, albeit in shortened, summarized form. If that is your preferred method of parsing, then Skimzee might be of interest. Check it out – and check back in. Would love to hear what you think.

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.

Evernote Clearly Improves Reading Experience Across Platforms, Devices

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Reading web content is an adventure, to say the least. Ads, flashy banners and irrelevant links everywhere. If you already have bought into the joys of Instapaper, Readability or Read it Later, and you use Evernote, then you have the means to dramatically improve your reading experience across any device that support an Evernote App.

Evernote Clearly is a browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that will allow you to clip full web pages online and automatically rid them of bling for easier off line digestion. Much like Instapaper and it’s competitors. But I like Clearly for a couple of reasons. You can keep your content organized in one location – the much more robust Evernote ecosystem. You can set font size and typestyle for maximum ease. And if you are like me and rock both iOS and Android, Evernote offers the best option for cross-platform collection and viewing.

The only downside is the lack of a mobile extension to similarly collect and clean up web pages on the go – mobile Safari’s built in Reader button can help you in that context. But if you collect on your full Chrome or Firefox browser, you can consolidate your clipping and reading in one convenient application no matter where you happen to be.

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).

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!

Free, Online Grammar Tool – After The Deadline

I have mentioned a few of these automated editing solutions in the Studio before, but this one is worth a mention if for no other reason than it is FREE. It also works by bookmarklet, which I think is pretty cool. After The Deadline .   Hit the jump and access the Demo tool on the web. Paste your text in the box and hit the “check” button. You will see underlines where potential errors may lie and a click on the underlined term(s) shows the reason for the flag. The tool checks spelling, style and grammar, with color coded underlines for each change. If the quick explanation isn’t enough, you can get more from the “explain” link. There is also a bookmarklet and an extension for Chrome, and an extension for Firefox, a plug-in for Windows Live Writer, and a downloadable plug in for OpenOffice’s word processor. Very nice indeed.

If you have Jetpack installed on your WordPress blog, you are probably familiar with this tool – it is the dedicated grammar checker included with the plug in.

Check it out – it’s free, after all.

Putting the Social in Search with Wajam

Big news last week when Google further integrated social connections into search results. The trend to merge social with search hinges on the perception that personalization will improve relevance. While my sense of this is that it fully depends upon what you are searching (i.e., personalization may help a great deal when searching a restaurant, but might not be so helpful when searching facts and figures), there is little doubt that social savvy, personalization, and relevance are the direction in which the Web is inexorably moving.

That said, you can one-up Google’s social by integrating a nifty little extension into your browser called Wajam (link here). This social extension meshes your friend’s content with your search results within the browser itself, and not just in Google. As a result, you can get that social-personal-relevance goodness in Google, Yahoo and Bing while using Chrome, Firefox, Safari and even IE.

Once installed, simply search in the engines and the most relevant Wajam results show at the top. The result includes information about the sharer, their comments and whether any other friends shared the same content. Implicit in this latter stat is the concept that 10,000 people can’t be wrong – the more trusted sources sharing an item, the more relevant, important and useful that item must be.

Image from Wajam FAQ.


There are further stats along the very top of the results. Additionally, starred or shared items of your own will also show at the top. View more results from friends  will show the top 11 results. If you click a friend’s name, their specific shared items will show. 

Image from Wajam FAQ


There are even more stats – see how many people shared a particular result and click the number showing to see all comments. Sort results by newest or oldest and by sources.

Image from Wajam FAQ.


There are search terms listed under the top result and clicking on them will further refine the results.

You can link your Twitter, Facebook and Delicious accounts to serve as social sources for your Wajam results, and you can even import bookmarks from your browser. This enables you to leverage your own saved and shared content as well as the content saved and shared by your Twitter and Facebook friends.

I have commented in the Studio on the ability to search and leverage your social content before in connection with my review of Greplin (link here). Wajam offers another take on that task, this one residing in your browser and happening as naturally as a Google search. Whether you buy into the whole social/personal/relevance formula or not, Wajam is a heavyweight contender and deserves a spot in your Web search tool box.

Wajam is in private beta right now, unfortunately, but you can attempt to jockey for a spot by “liking” their Facebook page or following them on Twitter. Can’t hurt to cut the line, so to speak.

REALLY, REALLY Supercharge Twitter with my6sense for Chrome

It’s all about Twitter today. My last post discussed Smartr on your iPhone as a means for soaring through the links in your Twitter streams and lists in order to fully realize the value of real-time news.

But just as exciting (if not more so since Chrome is accessible to anyone with a computer) is the advent of the my6sense Chrome Web / Twitter extension.

my6sense has been a mobile application that uses an AI engine to find the most relevant information from your various social streams and present them to you in reverse relevance order. I have been using the app for ages on my phone and rely heavily on it when I need a surgeon’s instrument to cut through the huge masses of information flowing through my raw data sources. my6sense gets better as you use it – it “learns” your reading and sharing behavior and presents even more relevant information as a result. They call it “digital intuition.” I call it a massive time saver.

But what if you don’t have an Android phone or iPhone. Well, now you can still get some my6sense goodness with their new Chrome extension and Twitter. From their site:

my6sense for Twitter.com displays the most important updates from your Twitter stream, for you, in a dedicated, new, tab. We use ‘Digital Intuition’, based on your input, to rank your tweets, so you can be sure you won’t miss out on critical updates from your friends or top news sources. Skip the noise and stop sifting – my6sense surfaces the best of the web for you, right in Twitter!

It merges beautifully with your Web-based Twitter page, showing you the most relevant tweets at the top, regardless of when they may have been posted, although you can filter from the past 6, 12, 24, or 48 hours of tweets. Your my6sense ranking is accessible via a menu tab at the top of your stream. It focuses on the links, not the raw updates, so you get a cleaner news-heavy stream. Click “my top tweets” or “refresh” to get a different view of the most relevant information.

The my6sense treatment works great for getting top news and should be used in conjunction with your regular view to ensure you are getting your top conversations as well – as noted above, the extension tends to filter our link-free tweets. But, that said, giving a quick glance at your my6sense stream gets you the goods faster than Web alone. And, the more you use it, the better it gets.

Thanks my6sense for bringing relevance to the masses!