Five Web Services You've Got to Try

By  |  Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

Steve Bass's TechBiteJunk and clutter: It’s the blaring banner ads and annoying boxes that slide across the screen that are ruining the Web. I avoid it all with a smart ad blocker–Ad Muncher, a miraculous tool.

But there’s still a problem.

Web pages aren’t designed for reading, and that’s one of my pleasures: Reading product and movie reviews, for instance, or devouring John McPhee’s lengthy pieces in The New Yorker, or James Fallows (read his old, but still valuable What Was I Thinking? in The Atlantic).

Up until now, I’d click the Print button if the site offered one. Then I discovered Readability, a site that reformats any page of text to conform to your reading style. Set up Readability by choosing a style, font size, and margin width, and then drag the Readability bookmarklet to your browser’s toolbar. The next time you’re on a Web page you want to read, click the Readability link and the transformation happens immediately. (You can get a better idea by watching the video.)

Arc90 calls Readability an experiment. I say it’s a keeper. Get more details at the Readability blog.

Atlantic article before using Readability.

Atlantic article after using Readability.

Reminder Me to Remind You

In a recent newsletter, I wrote about a Web site that calls you with a reminder. Elliot Soloway wrote and said, “Rminder is good, but I don’t want a voice reminder–  want a text message reminder. Anything for me?”

There must be hundreds of text reminding services. They all send text to your cell phone by way of SMS.

Here are some of the reminder services I like. The first three are no-brainers; the last one, ReQall, is a fancier, ersatz secretarial service and demands your cerebral wherewithal.

* TextMemos is quick and easy, but isn’t fancy. Stick in your text reminder, the cell provider, date and time, and away you go.

* BitBomb is similar to TextMemos, but has neater features, such as a calendar to choose the date and time to send a message and a way to set up group messages.

* Call Dial2Do and ask it to send a text message or an e-mail, or post a tweet. Read the FAQ or watch the video for more.

* Get ReQall on the horn to add a To-Do to Outlook or Google’s calendar, get reminders by e-mail or text, or share a reminder with a friend. There are lots more things you can do.

Tool of the Week: Bounce Bully

You say you’re still getting spam? (LOL — dopey question, I know.)

The truth is that bouncing spam back to the creeps who sent it just isn’t worth the trouble. Too often the spammer’s address is bogus–and my guess is they wouldn’t take the time to remove you from their list. (“Oh, my, Steve Bass’s address isn’t working any more. I’ll just spend my time removing it for the dear boy.”)

But what if you have a bozo or two constantly sending you dumber-than-dirt jokes? You know, the kind you didn’t find funny even when you were in the fifth grade.

You could politely ask to be removed from their list. I usually say I use my computer primarily for work; my boss (hey, that’s me!) snoops in my e-mail, and I don’t want to get into trouble.

More fun, though, is to use a program that bounces e-mail back to the putz, showing that your e-mail address no longer exists. And guess what: You can do it with BounceBully. It’s a freebie that takes the e-mail you receive and fires it back with all the right language — saying, essentially, that your e-mail address is no more.

Try it out by sending yourself a test e-mail — copy and paste the mail into BounceBully, hit Send , and see what happens. [Thanks to Brian D.]

Paste the entire message in BounceBully and send it back.

[This post is excerpted from Steve’s TechBite newsletter. If you liked it, head here to sign up–it’s delivered on Wednesdays to your inbox, and it’s free.]


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. TidyRead Says:

    Hi Steve, you may be interested in testing TidyRead too. It also has a Firefox add-on.

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