Archive for the ‘Services’ Category

The Best Web Services Nobody Talks About

For some reason, there are lots of great web services that people just don’t seem to talk about. There is more to the net than just FeedBurner or Technorati. And while TechCrunch does a good job profiling new and exciting sites, even they miss out on a lot.

FeedDigest
FeedDigest is loved by those who use it, as can be seen by the front page statistics of 18,00 users and 43,000 digests. What FeedDigest does is allow you to combine feeds (RSS or Atom) into one feed, and manage it from there. You can organize the contents in different ways and such, but the main purpose is to output a digest, as they call it, onto a website. They allow output in HTML, JavaScript, WAP or PHP. All around good stuff.

Pingoat
From the Pingoat site: “Pingoat is a service that pings or notifies a number of services that keep track of weblogs and publish them. By pinging, you let the services know that your blog has been updated and hence, they crawl and index your site, publishing your blog contents, thus increasing your blog’s popularity.” That’s a pretty perfect explanation. Pingoat also has an XML-RPC server for auto pinging from your favorite blogging package. (It’s too bad that WordPress.com doesn’t allow us to do that. It’s in the stand alone version from WordPress.org, but not enabled here. Luckily, I use FeedBurner for RSS feed tracking, and it has a similar service called PingShot.) Pingoat also has a companion project: SplogSpot. An obvious play on BlogSpot, the free blog and splog epicenter of the world, SplogSpot is a database of splogs. It gathers its data from Pingoat when sploggers attempt to use the service in order to spread their vile fluff. It has an open API so that any developer may use the information, and is searchable through the website. Both Pingoat and SplogSpot are excellent services that definitely need to see more publicity.

TalkDigger
TalkDigger allows you to follow or track a URL around the web. It’s fairly simple. You enter the url to a blog post, new article, or whatever, and hit “Dig it!” TalkDigger then searches nine difference blog search engines and to show you who is linking to that URL. You would assume that the posts that are linking to what you entered are talking about the content of the link. You then have to hope that what they have to say is meaningful enough for you to care. Honestly, a lot of the time, it isn’t. But that’s besides the point. TalkDigger is great in that it allows you to track your own blog posts to see if your message is getting out there. There is also the ability to track the search results using an RSS feed you can subscribe to, located here. Try linking to this post and we will show the results later. TalkDigger is almost as useful as Pingoat, just in a different way. One allows you to get your content out there, while the other lets you track it once it is.

That wraps up this post. There will probably be a part two on this subject in the coming days/weeks. If you have any suggestions for extremely useful web services that you think others may not know about, please comment and let us know.

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Free Web Icon Resources!

All webmasters want to make a functional and friendly website. Much of the time, good icons can help in this. These are some of the best free icons we found from around the web. Feel free to comment and add your suggestions.

Created by Mark James, the icons available at FamFamFam are incredible. The Silk set contains more than 700 of the things. And… he takes requests!

The Tango Project is a bit different, but just as useful. “The Tango Desktop Project exists to create a consistent user experience for free and Open Source software with graphical user interfaces.” While it is focused mostly on desktop software, the icons created thus far as spectacular. Available as PNGs or in SVG form, the icons can be found in the Icon Gallery.

Next up are thirty-one pixel icons by ExplodingBoy. The download includes four different color sets. The icons are perfect for navigation and posting elements in blogs and forums, and could easily be made the perfect color with a simple hue tweak in Photoshop.

“The Drunkey Love iconset consists of over 100 16×16 icons in both GIF and PNG format.” A constantly updated set, these are mostly pixel icons. Well, they kind of have to be at 16×16, but that is besides the point. They match the Drunkey Love WordPress Theme to a T, which is always nice. Check back there every once and a while for updates.

GraphicPUSH has several great icon sets available, such as a set of RSS/XML icons, and a very good set for blogs and content management systems. There haven’t been any new sets posted in awhile, but what is there is great.

That wraps up this list of free web icon resources. Once again, please comment and add your suggestions.

LibriVox – Free Audiobooks

LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then we release the audio files back onto the net (podcast and catalog). Our objective is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet. We are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.”

Seriously, this is cool. The sudden influx of out-of-copyright material ( Public Domain Torrents )is great. I just hope people continue to devote their time and energy towards causes like these.

LibriVox has a very good about page. I wish other projects or services explained themselves this well.

Enjoy your free content.