Instead of being a time-saver, technology can often be a huge time-suck. Here are some tools that may make your Web life more efficient:
1. Hyperwords: A right click on steroids.
Simply highlight text and right-click for a multitude of commands:
- Search: Wikipedia, Google, Bing, images and video, maps, news sources like Reuters and LinkedIn, and many more. You can customize to add other sites to the list, too.
- Shop: Amazon, Craigslist. eBay, etc.
- Social media: Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Share: e-mail, Twitter, Facebook.
In my opinion, Hyperwords is the best Firefox add-on, bar none. It will soon be available on Windows and your smartphone. Hyperwords is free to use.
2. Cooliris: Link peep show and 3-D Wall.
Have you ever clicked a link and been disappointed? Cursed the linkster who took you down a blind alley? Cooliris lets you preview a link on the page simply by hovering your mouse on it. The link destination will open up before your eyes and you can decide if it’s worth a visit.
Cooliris also lets you view images and video in a unique way: on a 3-D wall. Since I regularly use Google Images, I use Cooliris to surf images very quickly. Cooliris is very cool. And free.
Those of you who are a bit more tech savvy can use Cooliris to display your listing photos on a 3-D wall and blow away your competition.
Check out the tutorial videos here: http://www.cooliris.com/product/how-to-launch-and-use.
3. MyDropcard: Send your business card by phone.
If you ever find yourself out of business cards, Dropcard can come to the rescue. Simply text the person’s e-mail address to Dropcard (at 41411) and Dropcard will forward your profile, with contact information, Web site links, etc., to them via e-mail. They can then add you to their address book. You also have a contact e-mail address so be nice to it.
Since MyDropcard has been overwhelmed with account requests, you may want to try Card.ly, an interactive social media business card you can add to your e-mail signature, blog, Web site, etc. Cardly also provides your feeds.
4. SlyDial: Voice-mail ninja.
You know the chatty client you have to call but wish you could escape by leaving a message on their voice mail? SlyDial will take you directly to their cell phone voice-messaging system. Leave your message and escape slyly. SlyDial has a mobile application. Free.
5. FastStoneCapture.org: Simple screen-capture and recording.
FastStoneCapture is one of the best screen-capture and recording tools out there, and perhaps the easiest to use. Besides taking a screenshot of all or part of the Web page with one click, you can resize the image, annotate it, even watermark it.
You can also record your screen activities for demos and instructional videos. I like having the FastStoneCapture tool floating on my desktop or in the taskbar, available to whip out at a moment’s notice.
6. Add to Search Bar: Search any Web site from one search box on your browser.
Add to Search Bar is a Firefox add-on that turns a single search box on your browser into a multi-search box that can search any Web site simply by choosing it from a drop-down list. Add as many search engines as you like by clicking "Manage Search Engines."
You can also make any Web site’s search functionality available in the search box by going to it and right clicking it to add the site to your drop-down list. …CONTINUED
For example, I went to Craigslist.org, right clicked at the search box there and then clicked "Add to Search Bar."
Once you add a Web site to the drop-down menu you don’t need to visit the site to search. If you want to search Wikipedia, Google Images or YouTube, as examples, you simply type the search term in the search box and choose the site from the drop-down list, click, and bingo: you’re searching there. What’s neat about this tool is that you can add any Web site that has a search box — Zillow, Roost, Cyberhomes, Craigslist, and more.
Take a look at my Search Bar choices:
7. Vlingo: Voice-powered Web surfing.
Vlingo is a mobile application. It converts your voice to text. I have Vlingo on my BlackBerry. I simply press a button on my phone and speak a command. Vlingo will let my voice:
- Search the Web and Google maps.
- Send a text-message to a fellow Vlingo user.
- Update Facebook.
- Send a tweet to Twitter.
- Make a phone call to anyone in my address book.
- Send a note/reminder/task to myself.
- Open an application.
- Send an e-mail (with the pro plan).
The software is remarkably accurate. Correcting text is also easy. Most of Vlingo’s features are free.
That’s it, folks. I will be writing about more tools and apps in the coming weeks, so come back for your next tech fix. Heck, bookmark them to your Delicious page or Instapaper (wait, that’s another tool …).
What technology tools do you use to save time? Do you have any favorites? (Please share them in the comments section below.)
Joseph Ferrara is publisher of the Sellsius Real Estate Blog and a partner in TheClozing.com, a real estate news aggregator site. He is an attorney with 25 years of experience in New York, and he also coaches agents on the use of blogging and social networking.
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