Friday, November 27, 2009

The Things You Should Be Doing

It’s been a long time coming, so I guess I should just go ahead and get on with it. I’ve stockpiled a collection of recommendations, most of which are to be used with the interweb. Some of these I’ve probably mentioned before, but I don’t think that I’ve gone in to depth on any.

1. Google Reader. GR is a feed collector that is perfect for managing subscriptions to practically anything you can subscribe to online. Instead of using the Blogger tool for checking updated blogs, Reader will tell you exactly how many updates there are without you looking for them. Instead of going to check and see if XKCD has a new comic up, let Reader manage it for you. A beautiful thing about Reader is that it’s very easy to navigate and use and requires less time than other methods of searching and reading.

I can’t stress to you how much I love my Google Reader. (I pretty much love everything Google does. Chrome. Gmail. Reader. Picasa. The list goes on.) The biggest benefit is the time it saves and the simplicity of reading a feed. If you don’t use Reader and you spend a fair amount of time reading blogs, newspapers, comics, etc., you should consider checking this out. To use Reader, you only need a Google account.

2. Goodreads. I’ve had a Goodreads account for two years, but I didn’t start using it often until earlier this year. Goodreads is kind of like a social networking site for books and a way to manage your own library. Basically you catalog books as Read, To-Read, or Currently Reading. You can create custom shelves to further organize your books, too. Goodreads offers a ranking system for books that you’ve read, and also a place to put your review. You can read numerous reviews and opinions on all kinds of books, as well as get ideas for what to read next. You can find my Goodreads account here.

3. Swaptree. Swaptree is a pretty cool idea and has worked perfectly for me every time I’ve traded. Basically, it’s a website for trading books, dvds, cds, and video games. It reduces your environmental impact by “reusing” other goods that are no longer used. For me, I’ve traded DVDs and books that I no longer cared to own and received books, DVDs, and video games that I wanted. The system is designed to make trades fairly, so you’re not trading a $50 video game for a $2 book (unless you just want to do that). Swaptree is a free service, and the only thing you pay for is shipping your item out. I’ve not had any bad experiences with any of my trades, and I really like this site. You can check it out here. (You are required to register a home address and a credit card, but both are secure. The card is in case you choose to purchase shipping online and print your own shipping labels, which I don’t do.)

4. Fark. Other than NPR, Fark is usually where I find out my news. The site it simple. Users put up links to actual news articles, from reputable sources like CNN to the obscure newspapers in New Zealand. Each link is tagged with a label, such as HERO, WEIRD, STRANGE, ASININE, SPIFFY, etc. And then the users create a Fark Headline, which is the best part of the website. I have at times been rolling on the floor from laughing at a Farkers creativity. There’s no real way to explain it. The humor is there, and the fun-factor at reading the Fark Headline is a daily highlight I enjoy. Some of the content is NSFW, but it’s all tagged accordingly. I highly recommend this site, just to get a giggle.

5. Windows Live Writer. I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but I’ll do it again. I like the interface it offers for blogging and writing, especially when it comes to images. There are a few problems with it (the line spacing issue is annoying), but on the whole it’s a great program.

6. This. You really should watch this. It’s nothing but pure wonderful.

7. Google Wave. There's not much to write about it, but it's coming. And if it's as good as it's supposed to be, it'll be revolutionary and awesome. I have a few invites left if you want one.

Well, that’s really it for now. Sorry this is going out late (for anyone who’s been chomping at their fingernails waiting). I didn’t check my Reader yesterday and had 49 things to read this morning. Yikes.

We got a few flakes of snow yesterday, and it’s finally cold. Stay warm. Keep the homefires burning, folks, like Ronnie Milsap did. And Happy Weekend (whenever I leave work today).


Bilski said...

Haha, 49 items in Reader probably is a lot because I'm sure you're probably on a lot more dense blogs than me. I get about 130-150 items a day, but most of them are from humor sites like Fark (although I did unsubscribe from them, too many too fast!) or tech sites like Lifehacker (highly recommended).

I'm going to give your swaptree a try because I know I have a bunch of DVDs and books I really don't use any more. It's definitely a good idea, and sounds like they have the execution down. Do you use your facebook account to login?

logankstewart said...

Yeah, I definitely don't subscribe to Fark or things like that. Too many updates. No, I don't use the Facebook application for Swaptree, just a regular log-on. FB would probably help get local trades, though.

Crystal said...

The video is pure wonderful. My favorite part was Animal (momma!). The whole time I was anxiously awaiting Kermits appearance. Was slightly disappointed because he's my favorite :)

Google Reader is awesome, as is Goodreads and Windows Live Writer. Haven't tried Swaptree or Fark yet, will have to check those out.

logankstewart said...

@Crystal: Yeah, I really liked the Animal part, too. And I was wondering where Kermit was throughout the video.