Besides obvious, everyday web tools — Wikipedia, the All Music Guide, the Internet Movie Database, Flickr, and such — I’ve come across a few other handy useful digital devices and information sources. Some are more utilitarian than others. There’s a lot of bullshit on the web, this blog fully included, and I have a certain fondness for pages that exist with genuine purpose.
o YouSendIt — A simple way to temporarily share files among groups of people without emailing them to everybody. Perfect for mp3s.
o BugMeNot.com — Shared logins for websites that require both free and paid registration, like the New York Times and MediaBistro. BugMeNot doesn’t always work but — when it does — it’s frickin’ sweet.
o PodWorks — This is one of the only pieces of downloaded software I have ever paid for. For a whopping $8, I can now copy music from my iPod back onto my computer, which is awesome, since my harddrive just isn’t big enough to hold all the music on my pod. By allowing me to copy songs, playlists, and albums, it converts my iPod from a play-only memory box into a functional harddrive.
o iWannaSleep — I like to listen to a really long shuffled playlist of quiet, purdy tunes while I’m falling asleep. This cute-as-a-button app is a sleep function for iTunes. Simple.
o Oblique Strategies widget — I have an old HyperCard edition of Brian Eno’s wondrous Oblique Strategies deck, though it clumsily opens OS 9 whenever I fire it up. I haven’t yet upgraded to OS 10.4 but, when I do, this Oblique widget will be my first download.
o Find A Human — If I call a customer support line, it’s generally because I can’t find the information I need online and would really like to speak to a person. I hate, hate, hate the hierarchy of menus I often have to go through to get there. Enter the IVR cheat sheet, which has come through with flying colors both times I’ve used it. Like the washing machine in the basement of my building that secretly only requires one quarter in the middle slot (shhhh!), these are video game codes for real life.
o The Hidden In-n-Out Burger — As a lifelong right-coaster, I admittedly have no practical use for the complete secret menu of In-n-Out Burger (those are good burgers, Walter), but some you westerly weirdoes might.