Tools Grab Bag

Here are a few cool tools that have caught my attention lately…

Mind mapping: See what you’re thinking
, by Dave Pollard, How to Save the World, Jan. 5. Lately I’ve grown to adore mind mapping tools. This article is perhaps the best introduction to the topic, with no hype.

Excerpt: “Recently I’ve started playing with mind maps as a personal thinking out loud tool, to organize my thoughts and think creatively all by myself. I’ve always learned best by writing, synthesizing and distilling books and other voluminous materials down to their essence: the message, the meaning, and the necessary actions. So perhaps this learning by writing down style is the reason I find mind maps useful.”

YES!!!! That’s exactly why I love mind mapping tools, too.

Read the rest of this list…

  1. Furl instead of blog, by George Siemens, elearnspace, Dec. 15, 2004. Yet another cool way to use Furl. Excerpt: “Imagine a group of 25 students subscribing to each others online topics of interest (Furl folders can be public or private)…gaining insight into what other classmates found interesting enough to keep.” Obviously, that’s something that any group of people could find useful. Oh, and if you’re interested, here’s my Furl archive. (Thanks to Weblogg-ed for this link.)
  2. Best and Worst of Social Media 2004, by Scott Allen, Online Business Networks Blogs, Jan. 4. A great rundown of some popular tools to help people connect and collaborate online. Best part: “The truth is simply people don’t know how to use social networking sites. Pundits can say all they want to that they should be intuitive, but the issue is not the use of the site – it’s the social practices online. The typical 40-something professional has around 200,000 hours of experience interacting with people face-to-face, and less than 5,000 hours interacting online. As the human race, we have tens of thousands of years of face-to-face interaction, and barely 30 online – 20, really. What do you expect? It’s we who need to learn how to interact online effectively – the social networking sites can’t do that for us. They’re a tool – nothing more, nothing less. And most of us can even learn to use a hammer more effectively.” (Thanks to Jack Vinson for this link.)
  3. The Humble FAQ, by Denham Grey, Knowledge-at-Work, Jan. 3. Great insight on how FAQs can be used and what they can achieve. Also, I didn’t know until I read this article that there are specific FAQ-generation tools. Cool!
  4. Google Search: Sponsored Links. From ResearchBuzz, Dec. 28, 2004: “Wondering what ads Google has for a particular keyword? [Search here and] you’ll get JUST sponsored results. For interesting search results, try a keyword that’s heavily in the news at the moment, like, say, Celebrex. You’ll get interesting results that reflect the news stories about Celebrex in different ways.”
  5. Charting the tags of users. is a very popular social bookmarking tool. The charting tool delivers an interactive graphic which communicates at a glance which topics are of most and least interest to a particular user. Check out this result for the username entropy. (Thanks to Random Bytes for this link.)
  6. Search Looks at the Big Picture, by John Gartner, Wired News, Jan. 6. Excerpt: “Searching the internet for images or videos often leads down a blind alley or worse – to deceitful advertisers or unsuitable content. Researchers are developing visualization technologies that can “see” inside images, reducing search engines’ reliance on text-based image tags that are easily manipulated.”
  7. RSS Zeitgeist: Charts trends in search queries for Feedster – one of the most popular search engines for webfeeds. (Thanks to Nicole Simon for this link.)
  8. GigaDial. This free web-based service appears to be a kind of Bloglines for podcasting (online audio shows delivered by feed). I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but it looks interesting. (Thanks again to Nicole Simon for this link.)
  9. Traffic on Yahoo! Maps: “Get real-time traffic, driving directions, incident reports and more.” This is a neat idea, but so far I’ve found it rather spotty. Still, I’m mentioning it because maybe it’s more useful for drivers in other areas.

3 thoughts on Tools Grab Bag

Comments are closed.

  1. Unless if the writer is very good, I find it hard to read a book about a subject that has been learnt only “recently.” Anyway, your choice is not my choice 🙂

    Tony Buzan is the inventor of MindMaps and has a series of self-tutoring books called “Use your head” with the siblings having titles such as “Use your memory”, “Speed reading”, etc. The overall book, if I may call it so, is “Use your head” and covers all the facets of improving one’s mind, including speed reading and mind maps. That is the best book I’ve read for all-round improvement in the way one thinks. Not that one cannot think, but a little help to improve the process is always welcome.