Category Archives: Interesting links

smArtist Tools – Dropbox Automator!

Just ran across an awesome new tool: Dropbox Automator!

This is a pretty wild one. Essentially, you can create rules (or “automations”) for Dropbox via this web tool that triggers certain actions based on filetypes. I’ll quote TechCrunch‘s linked article:

Not only are they trigged by file type (e.g. a photo, a .doc, a PDF, etc.), they’re also triggered based on which Dropbox folder the file has been placed into.

For documents, you can choose from actions like convert to PDF, convert PDF to text, summarize, translate, upload to Google Docs, upload to Slideshare and more. Photos can be uploaded to Facebook, Flickr, rotated, annotated with text, a map or a logo, have effects applied, and downscaled.

Any file can be emailed, zipped, renamed, FTP’d, encrypted or decrypted, saved to another Dropbox, tweeted, or set as a Facebook status.

I use Google Docs extensively, but almost everyone else on earth uses Word \ Excel \ etc. I use OpenOffice for dealing with my non-Docs clients directly, but always manually import and sort them into Docs when I’m done. One use I thought of for Dropbox Automator is saving whatever Word documents I’m working with into a special shared Dropbox folder that I use with my crew, so that those files will automatically be uploaded into Google Docs without my having to manually import\save\sort it. Timesaver!

Another example is having a secure offsite FTP to automatically back up anything my clients\contractors post into Dropbox, optionally with encryption for security. :)

This is incredibly cool, and I can’t wait to dig into this. Automation tools for the win!

Do you guys have any other cool ideas on how this could work? Would love to hear!

Article: Extrasensory, Extravagant, Exhausting – E3!

Last year I wrote an article for GameSauce Magazine on E3, with the intent of essentially nutshelling what it is and what it means to the un- or partially-initiated.

Well, I didn’t realize it had been published online until now! You can check it out here:

Extrasensory, Extravagant, Exhausting by Jon Jones (pages 68 through 71)

Enjoy!

Productivity Tip #16: VisiPics for duplicate image search!

I’d like to introduce my readers to a wonderful tool I was introduced to some time back — VisiPics!

Ever wanted to clear out your reference folder of duplicate images? Or clean out duplicate photographs you’ve downloaded to your PC? Or simply to clean up your project directories of dupes? If so, then VisiPics is what you need. Here’s the blurb from their site:

If you get too many pictures on your harddrive, downloaded or photographied, from several different sources, it may happen that you have many duplicates. In that case you need a quick and easy to use program that finds and deletes all your duplicates.
VisiPics does more than just look for identical files, it goes beyond checksums to look for similar pictures and does it all with a simple user interface. First, you select the root folder or folders to find and catalogue all of your pictures. It then applies five image comparison filters in order to measure how close pairs of images on the hard drive are.

It’s incredibly fast, the settings are easy to customize, and it can even discover different images from the same set based on how strict you set it to be. It’s able to detect the same images that have been resized or cropped, which is awesome. It’s surprisingly powerful, and free! I strongly recommend it for keeping everything tidy.

Here’s a link to the VisiPics website: http://www.visipics.info/index.php?title=Main_Page

Do any of you use VisiPics, or apps similar to it? I’m always on the lookout for good dupe checkers \ filesystem cleanup tools. Cheers!

Productivity Tip #15: StrokeIt!

Here’s another life-enhancing tool I love: StrokeIt!

It adds the ability to create global or application-specific mouse gestures in Windows. Incredibly customizable, very simple to use, small memory footprint.

Example usage case: Navigating in Windows Explorer. When I need to go Back, I hold the right mouse button, drag the mouse left and release and it goes back. Forward, click-drag-right-release, forward. When I want to go up a directory, click-drag-up and it goes to the parent directory. You can set it to normal windows commands (maximize, minimize, close, etc) or even a series of hotkeys. It makes navigating through folders in Explorer MUCH quicker and more efficient. I’ve had few of people here at Vigil watch me work with it and install it after a few moments’ watching it in action.

Best of all: FREE!

50 tips, tweaks and hacks for Google Calendar!

Hi guys! I’m coming out of a post-Germany haze of sickness to link you to some handy tweaks for Google Calendar. I’m a total nut for Google Calendar and basically run my entire life through it now. Here’s the link:

50 tips, tweaks and hacks for Google Calendar!

My two favorites from the list are as follows:

16) Facebook Integration: If you’re a fan of the social networking program Facebook you’ll love this script. It allows you to easily transfer your Facebook events to your Google Calendar so you’ll never miss a get together.
25) Better GCal: This script combines several helpful scripts including skins, collapsed headers, secure connections, text wrap and more.

Enjoy!

Google Browser Size – Great tool for portfolio design testing

This is extremely cool! Check out Google Browser Size.

Essentially, this web tool will draw an overlay map of your website marking the different resolution boundaries and showing you how likely people at different resolutions are to be able to see different parts of your website. Some people with low resolutions won’t scroll down to view the site. Here’s a quote from that page showing why this is important:

Using this visualization, Bruno confirmed that about 10% of users couldn’t see the download button without scrolling, and thus never noticed it. 10% may not sound like a lot, but in this context it turns out to mean a significant number of people weren’t downloading Google Earth. Using this data, the team was able to redesign the page to good effect.

This would be a great tool for artists to check the usability of their website at different resolutions and to get ideas on how to tweak the design for better results. What if potential employers simply don’t see all of your art or scroll to view all the content? Google Browser Size could be a great tool for analyzing that. Go check it out!

Productivity tip #14: Lookout – hyperfast indexed search in Outlook

Here is my FAVORITE Outlook tool. It’s lightning fast indexed search that beats the pants off anything Microsoft has. Microsoft liked it so much, in fact, that they purchased the company, then killed the project completely. This paved the way for their horrible and criminally useless Desktop Search without any pesky competition to get in the way. Hooray!

Anyway, Lookout is the best email search tool ever devised. You can download Lookout here:

http://majorgeeks.com/Lookout_d4808.html

And if you’re using Outlook 2007, follow these VERY simple instructions to make it work:

http://www.belshe.com/2007/12/06/how-to-install-lookout-on-outlook-2007/

Once you have tons of email, you’ll see why this rules so much. :) The flexibility, speed and ease of use is astounding. To give you a brief comparison, I spent about an hour trying to figure out how to make Microsoft Desktop Search manually index my email. After I figured that out, it took 30 hours to index fully. Within 30 minutes of installing Lookout, everything was set up and fully indexed. Lookout’s search is also ridiculously faster and easier to use. It’s the first thing I install with any new Outlook installation. Enjoy!

Anyone have any other handy Outlook plugins? I’ve been meaning to do a post on Xobni as well…