CSS cheat sheets as Android apps: stop taping printouts on your cubicle walls

I need to work with CSS/XHTML often enough that I’d need a reference but rarely enough to make me memorize the damned properties, selectors and syntax. I used to print out CSS/XHTML cheat sheets and tape these on my cubicle wall for easy reference whenever I was working on a website.

Just as I was about to print new cheat sheets to replace the torn and smudged copies that I had, I found handy and infinitely better references—two free Android apps.

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New screencast on using a TiddlyWiki

I’ve recreated my earlier video guide on using a TiddlyWiki, a single-page wiki you can use for your notes and task lists. Instead of Wink, I used CamStudio to capture screen activities this time.

Wink is an easy to use free software to capture videos of your screen activities and it’s great for creating tutorials. My only problem with it is that it doesn’t offer an option to capture screen activities in video format (i.e. mpeg or avi) so that it can easily be uploaded in video sharing sites like YouTube, Metacafe, and Revver. Wink outputs the screen activities in .swf and .exe formats.

My previous screencasts– one is on how to turn any web template into a WordPress theme–are in .swf format and hosted in the Internet Archive. I’ve had complaints on its playback quality and how it can be slow at times so I decided to try hosting it other video services. These services, however, do not accept .swf files so I spent days trying one application after another to convert the files into .mpg or .avi formats to no avail.

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Manage songs in your phone, mp3 player with MediaMonkey

I have long stayed away from using music players such as iTunes to manage songs in my Sony Ericsson k750i because of the way these software organize the files in the mobile phone’s memory stick.

mediamonkey MEDIAMONKEY is probably the best software to use to manage your phone’s audio library from your PC. Click on photo to enlarge.

I find it more efficient to just use my favorite Windows file manager, Total Commander, to transfer the music files from my PC to the phone. I’ve tried using third-party software to make iTunes manage my phone playlist and they work but not to the extent that they’ve become the primary way I manage my songs. I hate the way synchronization with iTunes breaks apart files in compilation albums into artist sub-folders. You’d have to recreate your playlist by repeatedly clicking on album folders. I’m sure there’s a way to configure this but I’m just too lazy to find out how.

But the first time I tried MediaMonkey, I immediately knew it was a piece of software I could rely on to manage songs and podcasts in my phone. The free (but sadly not open source) music library software is easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of fuzz, hacking or third party applications and plugins to connect to the K750i.

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Use activeCollab to manage your projects online for free

I have long wanted to install a project management system in my web server. I have gone through a couple of open source project management scripts, from eGroupWare, more.Groupware to dotProject and yet somehow I never found a PHP/MySQL script that was easy to install and use but at the same time fit my needs.

I had wanted to manage my tasks using groupware applications hosted on my server. I don’t do a lot of projects and the bulk of my time is spent on newsroom tasks. But often, I have to deal with different groups of people or even a separate department for some of my personal and work-related projects. I wanted to simplify and centralize all these tasks in an online task manager.

I gave up on installing a script in my own server and instead used Basecamp’s free account and even PBWiki for projects that required me to work with other people.

In July, however, I read a post in TechCrunch about a Basecamp “clone” that was released as an open source project. I immediately checked the site out and fount that activeCollab required a PHP 5 server. Since I was on a web host that only had PHP 4, I just bookmarked activeCollab and made a note to try it in a local server.

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From Google Video, YouTube to your phone in 3 steps

When I saw Matt Cutts’ video series in Google Video, I immediately wanted to convert the clips to play in my phone, a Sony Ericsson K750i, for viewing and listening in times when I have nothing to do and I’m away from the computer.

Google Video allows you to download MP4 videos and I downloaded a bunch of Matt Cutts videos in MP4 format, thinking it would play in my phone. Wrong. I could hear the sound of the clips but I couldn’t see anything. This suited me just fine as you can understand what Matt Cutts is saying without visual cues.

And then I saw Bob Dylan. I found a bunch of Dylan music videos in Google Video and I was spurred into finding a way to convert the files to play in my phone. I tried converting the MP4 videos using ImTOO MP4 Video Converter to no avail.

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Back up your mobile phone data online

Most people today rely on cell phones for the storage of contacts and appointments. This reliance on a single device can be risky and devastating when your phone gets lost or stolen.

To prevent a disaster such as losing important contact details, you need to regularly back up your phone data. Most phones today come with PC suites that allow you to easily manage and back up these data. If you’re using a SonyEricsson phone, use Float’s Mobile Agent, it’s the best PC software for your unit.

The problem with using PC software to back up your data is that you need to regularly connect your phone to your PC in order to get an up-to-date version of your data. I don’t have problems with this as my phone is always connected to my PC when I’m in the office because I exclusively use Float’s Mobile Agent to manage it.

But for those who don’t regularly do this, there’s an easier backup option: use the free zyb.com service. Zyb.com allows you to store your address book and calendar online and then synchronize the data between your account and your phone (or phones since you can use multiple handsets with one account.) (See screenshots below.)

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Make your Windows PC look, act like OS X

Refresh your boring Windows desktop by transforming it to resemble the sleek Mac OS X with the FlyakiteOSX transformation pack. The free software package automates the installation of tweaks, third-party programs, desktop themes and menus to make your Windows PC look and act like OS X (see screenshots below).

I tried the software and found the installation easy. I did not encounter errors when I installed it into my Windows XP with Service Pack 2 office computer. You need to restart your computer after the installation.

I was concerned that the transformation would be such a resource hog and would slow my system to the point that it becomes unusable. It did not. I was surprised that I did not notice any noticeable speed difference after I installed FlyakiteOSX.

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Work on blog post ideas with Wridea

I seldom finish a blog post in one session in front of the computer. My typical blogging day starts with reading news feeds to check on updates on topics that interest me. Sometimes I get a blog post idea while reading RSS feed items and I’d write a note in my personal wiki about the topic.

I’d then work on the post in the office, right before the newsroom goes into overdrive chasing page deadlines and after I’ve finished my pages and while waiting for pages assigned to me for line-reading. I’d then publish the post at home, after my early morning meal–that’s dinner for all you morning people.

Most of the time, however, I’m working on several projects that can generate several blog posts. These projects are experiments on content management systems, blogging, wikis and anything that might be of use in a newsroom environment, particularly that of a small community newspaper.

I keep my technical notes on these experiments and my to-do lists in various personal wikis, including a txt file in my K750i. But for blog post ideas, I may have found the best notes repository, for me, in Wridea. (Click on photo to view larger image)

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Denial of service attack delays Zooomr 2.0 launch

Flickr competitor Zooomr was set to launch version 2.0 of its service last week and it created such a loud buzz with its free pro account offer for bloggers. That launch has been delayed by a denial of service attack.

Zooomr said in its blog that the attack has been dealt with and they’re just fine-tuning the system to make sure such an attack will not happen again. Zooomr also says that when the new version finally launches, users will “see a huge speed increase along with the new design and new features.”

You might say it is still premature to describe Zooomr as a Flickr “competitor” because of the disparity in their user base but I really like what Zooomr is offering, especially with its free accounts. Both sites offer unlimited storage but Flickr restricts the display of your photos to the last 200 images. Zooomr also offers a bigger upload quota for free accounts at 50MB monthly, more than double Flickr’s 20MB quota for free accounts.

Zooomr offers free pro accounts for bloggers

Flickr competitor Zooomr is offering a free professional account for bloggers. All you have to do is open an account with their site, upload a photo to your account, use it in your blog post and then notify them.

Zooomr is an interesting Flickr alternative. I’ve just registered for it and after going through its features, it looks to me to be a better photo host for bloggers. Its free beta account gives you unlimited storage and a 50MB monthly uploading limit. Flickr, on the other hand, limits its free accounts to 20MB of monthly uploads and its photo streams to 200 images. ubuntu

Zooomr also resizes photos and gives you the links to the different image sizes. Zooomr’s pro account, which gives you a 2GB monthly upload limit, is $5 cheaper than Flickr’s at $20. TechCrunch describes Zooomr as “Flickr on steroids” in a blog article last March.

If you want to get a free pro account, here’s the instruction from the Zooomr blog:

“All we ask is that you host at least one of your images from Zooomr at your blog. This is easy. Sign up for an account. Upload an image. And then simply cut and paste the html code with the magnifying glass above your image and you’re all set. Once you’ve blogged one of your images paste the url into the comment section of this post and we’ll upgrade you to Pro.”