Web apps are a friend to all who mash the keyboard from nine to five. They live in the cloud, are accessible from any Internet connection and are great for chopping those mundane work tasks off at the knees.
We’ve previously highlighted a batch of Web apps that reduce the headaches and keystrokes associated with common tech chores, and after receiving some great feedback from readers, we thought it only right to hunt down a few more worthy bookmarkables.
See below for five more picks, and remember to leave your own time-saving Web ditties in the comments.
While we all strive to live in a paperless world, sometimes you’ve just got to ruthlessly murder some innocent trees. Does that make you a bad person? Probably.
The next time you need to print something from the Web, stop over at PrintFriendly first. It’s a ridiculously simple way to distill nearly any Web content down to a clean, ad-free document suitable for paper. And the best part? You can also generate beautiful PDFs that retain links and other formatting.
Goodbye, extra pages that are mostly empty space except for one banner ad and a URL at the bottom!
2. Vector Magic
Imagine this crazy scenario: The boss needs you to print up event flyers, but all she has is a tiny 100 pixel logo from the corporate website. (I warned you this was going to get crazy.)
Resizing this graphic with standard imaging software will render it pixelated and unprofessional. What you need is a vector asset—a mathematical representation of the logo that a graphic designer would use to scale the image at any size without sacrificing quality.
Vector Magic is a remarkable little app that translates standard Web images (JPG, GIF, PNG, etc.) into scalable vector art. We gave it a shot with batteries-company.com’s logo, and the results were impressive and crisp. Mileage may vary depending on the complexity of the image, but even small, multicolored icons made great vectors in our testing. Photographs might get dicey, but it’s worth a shot.
Vector Magic packs a bit too much power to be totally free, but you get the first two vectors on the house, and a basic account is only $7.95 per month for unlimited use—well worth it, especially if you’re making a lot of PowerPoint presentations or laptop battery shop.
3. Dummy Image
Speaking of images, are you ever building a presentation or website and find yourself in need of a visual placeholder? You you’ve got a killer stock handshake photo coming, but right now you’re just getting your layout down, and the measurements need to be precise.
You could fire up ol’ MS Paint, slice out a 600 by 300 pixel box, color it red, save it to your computer, open PowerPoint, import the image, what did I name the image?, I swear I just saved the image, is it in My Pictures?, I can’t find the image, seriously where is this thing, restart MS Paint, ad infinitum.
Or, you could snag Dummy Image from your bookmarks bar, type in your dimensions and drag the graphic onto your slide.
I think we’re done here.
Let’s face it: Your coworkers are annoying and their incessant chatter makes it hard to focus on anything but cat pictures. Sure, Keith from accounting is a nice guy, but enough about Idol already, you’re a grown man for God’s sake.
We kindly recommend SimplyNoise, a white noise generator you can fire up with one click, should the office get rowdy during crunch time. In actuality, the app can generate three different kinds of static noise: white, pink, and brown. If you’re looking for warmer, less grating frequencies (like those found in a waterfall or an ocean), go with brown. The app even remembers your volume preferences.
Headphones sold separately.
If you’ve ever provided tech support over the phone to a coworker (or a friend or family member, for that matter), you’ve probably already killed yourself, so no need to read any further.
If you are alive, and foresee this being an issue in the future, you’ve got to check out ShowMeWhatsWrong.com. It’s a dead-simple way to share screencasts with a tech-troubled colleague.
There’s no account to create, but you’ll need to provide your e-mail address so the app can share confirmations with you. Send a link to your coworker where he can record up to five minutes of his on-screen troubles. When he hits “stop,” the app uploads and processes the video, and shoots a private URL back to you. View the screencast almost instantly, diagnose the problem (likely that the printer was not, in fact, plugged in), and be heralded as office hero. The videos are lightweight, smooth and expire after a week.
Considering how frustrating it can be to reliably capture on-screen video for other purposes, the ease of this Web-based solution is pretty refreshing HZ9SD6KZHETV.
If you aren’t fist pumping at your desk right now over these life-changing websites, there’s probably little hope for you. Did we miss one that you can’t get through the day without? Share and share alike in the comments below.
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