Links to Other Resources
Below is a varied list of links to various resources I find useful, but did not fit into any other resources topic.
- PrimoPDF - A free PDF creator. “Free PDF Converter - create high-quality PDF from any printable file type”.
- Skype - Talk and Videoconference over the internet for free. The people at both ends need a computer, broadband internet (dialup will work, but not perfectly) and a headset microphone (also a webcam if you want video). It works like an instant messenger, so you can see your personal contacts, and know when they are online. I often start with a text chat, and if they are available, continue into a voice or video call. If you are willing to pay (about $0.01 euro per minute) you can ‘SkypeOut’ to any landline, which is still very cheap by toll-call standards.
- Opera - Free web browser that is fast, secure, stable and has some great features. I personally can’t do without its tabbed browsing and the fact that it saves all the windows (and their histories) when you quit, so they automatically re-load when you re-load Opera. A perfect of example of “its so simple, why didn’t anyone else think of it?”. I was using Firefox, but I have found it uses far too much memory (typically well over 100mb) and has less features (though many other features are available as free plugins).
Free Internet Services
- Gmail - As far as web based email, its hard to beat. Its fast, powerful and not restricted up the wazoo. Some really innovative features like over 2.5 gigabytes of storage space, auto-sorting, and replacing folders with tags and the ability to search all emails in a snap (that may sound strange, but you get used to it very quickly). Other less innovative features, but still invaluable features that other companies are too precious to offer, like checking gmail email from any non-web email client (POP, SMTP etc) like Outlook or Thunderbird. You can also send gmail email as if it is from another email address.
So put all this togeather, and I now have a great solution where I auto-forward all my emaill to my gmail account as a backup (where it is auto-sorted with a tag for each email account) and while I’m travelling I can check all my email from a single web-mail account and even send email from gmail as if it were from my business or personal accounts. I can even use my gmail space as a personal, online file store so that I can access important documents from anywhere in the world.
Hats off to Google for comprehending that by relinquishing power to the user (that other providers cling to or charge for) that I will reqard them with loyal and frequent use of their services.
- Wikipedia - A free, open encyclopedia. Open in the sense that anyone can add, revise and comment on articles. There are now over 1 million articles available. And on a related note, the same team has created Uncyclopedia - dedicated to entries that are completely untrue and generally ridiculous. The latter link should not really be here, but it does tend to be extemely funny.
- Project Gutenberg - 17,000+ free eBooks, most of which are classic texts that are past copyright protection.
- The Internet Archive - an incredible, facinating, free public archive. Often includes rare and hard to find items and many using Creative Commons licenses. Includes 30,000+ videos, 30,000+ live music concerts, 70,000+ other audio recordings, 25,000+ texts, 34,000+ software and 55,000,000,000+ web pages in the WayBack Machine, described below.
- The WayBack Machine - literally an archive of the internet from 1996. Or 55 billion web pages of it anyway, which is a pretty respectable start. At first glance, this may seem a little unnecessary, but many web sites and web pages are constantly getting removed or revised, so an ‘internet museum’ will become increasingly valuable in the future. I have already used it many times to find pages that no longer exist.
- Creative Commons - “A nonprofit organization that offers flexible copyright licenses for creative works”. In many countries, anything you create is now covered by copyright automatically, which can unnecessarily restrict the ways that others can benefit from your work. For example, I am sure many of you have wanted to include an image in a presentation you are giving, but were unsure if you were allowed to. If you would like your work to benefit a wider audience, you can attribute a Creative Commons licence to it, specifying if it can be used for profit or not, if it can be modified or not, and if you would like to be credited. An example of this is at the bottom of this page.
- ChangeDetection - set up a watch on any webpage and ChangeDetection will let you know (email you etc) when it changes in any way. Great for web admins who want the peace of mind their pages are always displaying as they should be, and great if you can’t be bothered checking pages manually while waiting for a change.
- ELGG - The 'Educational Learning Landscape'. Its a free web-server, content mangagement system that creates a deep online community for education. You can set up different community areas, each of which can have a blog, wiki, forums, file repositories etc. Each user has their own account, and can have their own blog etc. Users join communities and automatically link to other like-minded users via 'tagging'. An example of tagging would be if I had an interest of 'drumming' - as soon as I enter that work as an interest, it is automatically converted to a tag - so if it is clicked, it lists all other users that are interested in 'drumming'. Its a broad concept that takes some comprehending of the full implications, but the site has a great walkthrough introduction. Also discussed in a number of episodes of the EdTechTalk podcast.