Safari 5 and Reader

Apple just released the latest version of Safari. If you want to give it a shot you can grab a copy here. However you can still get at least one of the nifty new features: ”Reader” in your current browser. Reader lets you click a button and convert a webpage from its normal ad and picture filled self to a stripped down version with just the article you want to read. That means you can go from a busy page like lifehacker.com to a nice non-distracting page in just a click.
The trick to doing this is pretty simple. Just head over to: http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/ they have a created a bookmark that tells your browser just how to do this. Once you have the bookmark you navigate to a page you want to read click the bookmark and enjoy your article distraction free.

PDFMyURL.com

PDFmyURL is a great little website. As the name suggests it turns any website into a PDF. Simply browse to the site enter the address of the page you would like to turn into a PDF and press the orange P shaped button. The site will work its magic and in a couple seconds your web browser will ask you if you want to save a file. In the example below it would ask to save ‘www.uua.org.pdf’

Edit: We also have a post explaining how to turn a document like a PDF into a website.

Tinychat: Free Online Video Conferencing

The other day I was reading Lifehacker’s list of 10 Under-hyped Webapps (http://lifehacker.com/5361979/ ) and came across Tinychat (http://tinychat.com/ ). After a couple tests I’m a fan.

What it’s good for:

Quickly creating a video conference

Pros:

Easy to use.
No sign up required
No install required
IM, video and audio chat
Screen sharing
Did I mention it’s easy to use?

Cons:

Not as many options as Persony or Skype
You have to create the conference each time

How to use it:

Got to http://tinychat.com/
Enter a name for your conference and click on the l large green button titled: Create you room
Type in your name and press Login
Let other folks know what the URL is so they can join
(It’ll be: http://tinychat.com/what you named your conference)
If you want to enable your webcam or mic Click on the large blue button titled Start Broadcasting
If you want to share your screen find the gear icon above the list of people in your chatroom mouse over it and select Start desktop sharing. After running a java program a red box will appear on your desktop. Drag the box so that it is around what you’d like to share with folks and click on the Start Capture button.
When you are through with your meeting simply send your browser to a different page.

Creating a PDF

That is the trick, isn’t it? The solution we have here at the UUA is called PDF Creator and works something like this: it is a piece of software that pretends to be a printer. Suppose you have an Excel document open and would like a copy as a PDF. Good old PDF Creator is standing around shouting: Pick me! Pick me! I’m the coolest printer! Pick me! If you do choose to print to PDF Creator it will ask you to save a file (this is the part where you pick where you want the new PDF to end up). Then still fooling the other program into thinking it is a printer, PDF Creator will get all the data that would normally be headed off to the printer and instead turn it into a PDF.

If you don’t have PDF Creator installed you can get it here. PDF Creator is the only PDF method officially supported by ITS, but here are some other ones I’ve found handy:

  • Open Office: An Office Suite that can do many of the things Microsoft Office can (does some things better, does some much worse or not at all) and it can create PDFs. Just install it fire it up and open the document you want then look for a little PDF icon on the toolbar. Click on that and presto it asks you where you want the PDF to end up. If you want to give it a whirl you can get open office here.
  • Free PDF Convert.com: The way this works is you upload the document you want converted and they email you a PDF. The downside is they have your email and might spam it. You can find it here.