Mergely – Browser-Based Text Merge Tool

Simple, but GOOD! Mergely offers a great little tool for comparing / merging two sets of text within your browser. Like the merge function in Word, but a LOT easier to manage. Head over to their site and you will be greeted with two side by side text editor windows. There aren’t a lot of buttons to mess with. Differences in text between the two panes are shown in red with a line through on the left and in blue on the right. Left is the original document and right is the “changed” document. Paste two different sets of text into each window, or type up text right into the boxes. No username or password required. Save your files, and send the link to the page to others for their input. The few buttons at the top allow you to replace left / right, swap left / right, clear text box, download file or search. The text is removed immediately after use, unless you save it.

Clearly this is directed at developers and can compare different sets of HTML coding for variations easily in the browser. It’s free, but requires and HTML5 friendly browser. It appears the creators have more plans for it, including multiple file, drag and drop, and cross browser file uploading, font and style settings and three way merging. Sweet!

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Making Google + and +1 Better Together

Combining Google+ and +1 has always seemed like a no-brainer to me. They both have a + in their name, for Pete’s sake! But us Google+ users have seen little use for the previously released +1 button (that little box that lets you “recommend” a page to friends much like Facebook’s “like” button). Up until now.

Today, Google announced a new feature of the +1 button that directly affects, in a positive way, Google+ users – you can share directly to Google+ via the box that opens when you click on a web page’s +1 button. When you click on the “share to Google+” link in the box, you will get a link, a bit of text describing the link and an image, which will appear in your Google+ stream when you “ok” the share. No more grabbing URLs, navigating to Google+ and manually adding the link into your status box. Now there really is a reason to click on that +1 button – easy Google+ sharing.

Google is also releasing to publishers and designers the ability to edit the shared “snippet” via code for each page of a site. This gives control to the owner of the site over the content that ultimately is shared to Google+. Nice for both the user and the publisher.

Check out the announcement below. The feature will roll out over the next few days / week, but you can get an early view if you head over and sign up for the Google+ Platform Preview. Now they just need to figure out a way to catalog +1’s within Google+, so we can all keep a record of what we like.

Set & Forget A Text-Based Web Page with Pen.io

Have you ever needed to publish on-line a page of text and wished you could do it without having to add it to your web site or without enduring the aggravation of setting up yet another blog? Pen.io seeks to solve the problem of the “down and dirty” quick web publication problem with its simple, free, effective publishing tool. The site uses simple “PenUp” language to allow for rudimentary manipulation of the page, but it also supports HTML. You can drag and drop images into the editor for simple graphics. Pen.io offers the following information about its service:

How Do I Edit a Page?
Go to yourpagename.pen.io/edit – put “/edit” on the end of any Pen.io page to view the editing interface. In edit mode, just click the body of text to bring up input boxes

Can I create Multipage Sites?
Yes! The “:page” tag (without quotation marks), can be placed where you want to add a page break. Pagination will automatically get added.

Does Pen.io Support HTML?
Absolutely! Some HTML elements have been disabled but common HTML is accepted.

How Long Will Pages Remain Online?
There is no expire date on Pen.io pages. You can set and forget

What About my Privacy?
We don’t collect any personal information. Pen.io pages are public and expect other people to see them. We don’t recommend placing any personal information on a Pen.io page that you don’t want Google to see.

The resulting page is a beautifully elegant, simple layout of text – great, per Pen.io, for  publishing essays or ebooks, creating pages for upcoming events, sharing code snippets, sharing recipes or quick advertising. It couldn’t be easier – use Pen.io to expand your message with yet another publishing outpost on the Web.

Speakertext Does Just What It Sounds Like

There is a tool for everything, including a tool for extracting text from video and reaping the benefits of it. Need a transcript of that YouTube video or a way to improve your video search SEO? Check out Speakertext.  Speakertext recognizes that, while multi-media draws people to the Web, the Web was designed with text in mind. When we search, we can only access the text associated with that media. Fine for tags and descriptions, but not so good for the actual content of a video presentation. Speakertext converts that video into easily-searched text-based content, all gussied up for the search engines. To add to the fun, when you convert a video to Speakertext and quote a portion of that text, the embeddable link will then bring you right back to the place in the video where the text occurred. From the searcher’s standpoint, Speakertext is a real boon as it will allow you to find the precise place in a video where your desired information may reside. Clicking back and forth between text and video creates more links, more hits and greater visibility. And, Speakertext allows you to “watch” videos without sound – with scrolling text running alongside the images for those times when reading is better than listening. They have a lot to offer for the video-heavy content publisher:

Videotext

Video-to-Text

SpeakerText combines artificial and human intelligence to offer low-cost, high-quality video transcription. Once you connect SpeakerText to a video hosting platform––we currently support BrightcoveYouTube and Blip.tv––SpeakerText automatically downloads your videos, turns them into text and loads the text onto your website.
Meta

Video Metadata
and XML Sitemaps

SpeakerText analyzes each video transcript to create descriptive metadata. These meta-tags are placed on your website and used to create XML sitemaps so that your videos are indexed by video-specific search engines.
Autoupdate

Automatic Updating

SpeakerText automatically updates the text on your webpage and loads it into the SpeakerBar as soon as the transcript is ready.

Speakerbar

The SpeakerBar

Once a video has been transcribed, SpeakerText loads an interactive transcript player beneath each video. Dubbed the SpeakerBar, this player allows visitors to use the text as an interactive controller for the video. Visitors can use the SpeakerBar to search and navigate within the video as well as share video quotes on Facebook and Twitter that link back to the video.
Plugin

Transcript Hosting

SpeakerText stores your video transcripts in the cloud using the über reliable Amazon Web Services where they can be accessed server-side via API, ready-made scripts or our nifty WordPress plugin. This text is indexed by Google and other search engines for SEO.

Good for Speakertext, offering a free service to get someone started. There are relatively reasonable per month plans that add features and scope. Check out their pricing here. Right now, it works with at least YouTube, Blip.TV and Brightcove. I can think of all sorts of uses for this tool – particularly if you are someone who embeds or creates a lot of video content to support your on-line marketing efforts. If you don’t, Speakertext might convince you that it could be well worth your effort to add this dimension to your arsenal. Cool tool!

Quick Free OCR? Check out OCR Online

Need your scanned docs rendered search-friendly? Check out OCR Online (link here), a service that converts your scanned documents into text files for searching and editing. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and OCR Online does it for free. There are limitations – OCR Online only permits uploading 100 documents per day, so it probably won’t do for that big class action lawsuit with massive discovery requests. But, it does allow you to load multiple images at once.

Simply set your language, choose your output (MS Word, PDF, Rich Text format or Text), attach and upload. And, as an added bonus, OCR Online gives links to other cool free sites:

Convert Files – a free online file converter that can convert between most of the common file types.

Video Toolbox – a free online video editor beats the feature set of many desktop commercial products.

Audio Expert – a free and simple online audio editor, file converter and sound recorder.

Text To Links – a tool to turn text into links that you easily follow.

Go get it done!

Adding Statute Links Where There Were None

Great tip from RIPS Law Librarian blog  on a tool for pulling the text of statutes from a web page that fails to include the hypertext link (link here). The tool is called LII Citer (link here) and it is offered by the Cornell Legal Information Institute. The tool works by adding the Citer to your favorites (in any browser). Simply highlight the law on the web page, then go to the Citer link in your Favorites and you will see the text of the highlighted statute. It currently accesses federal law only, see the list below:

  • U.S. Code, e.g. 12 U.S.C. 1749bbb-10c, or 7 U.S.C. 136a(c)(3), which links to the paragraph level, using the LII internal USC resolver.
  • United States Supreme Court, e.g. 457 U.S. 800, using the LII resolver that tries to find an LII-local copy, and failing that, gives the user the option of choosing another source.
  • Federal Circuit Court System, e.g. 875 F.2d 1059, “resolved” by constructing a direct link to the resource.org data set as hosted by lawlibrary.rutgers.edu
  • Code of Federal Regulations, e.g. 40 C.F.R. Part 164 Subpart D, tries to resolve section references with the get-cfr.cgi file at frwebgate.access.gpo.gov; if no section number is cited, then a resolver at ecfr.gpoaccess.gov is used.
  • US Statutes at Large, e.g. 118 Stat. 919, resolution currently very speculative, using get-cfr.cgi at frwebgate.access.gpo.gov
  • US Public Law, e.g. Pub. L. 110-116, fairly stable, using get-cfr.cgi at frwebgate.access.gpo.gov
  • Federal Register, e.g. 72 Fed. Reg. 37771, uses the getpage.cgi at frwebgate.access.gpo.gov

Even without state statutes, it is still a handy tool for speeding up your web-based research process. Thanks Cornell and RIPS!

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