Friday Tech Time

12 May

Making online reading easier and more portable:

Read It Later: This web and mobile app lets you save web pages for later reading. If you wish, you can sync your online, computer-based list to your mobile device, where you can use an app to access your saved sites for reading offline. Read It Later also has an “optimized text-only” view (i.e., no clutter). This is the view you’ll get on your mobile device (unless you have the “Pro” version, which lets you see pictures and videos embedded in an article). You can log in to your Read It Later account from any computer to access your list of unread pages.

Try It Out:
Download the free browser plug in and save some sites for reading later. View a site as “text only.”

Readability: “a web and mobile app that zaps online clutter and saves web articles in a comfortable reading view.” The free browser add-on cleans ads and other “clutter” off of a website for immediate reading. The subscription version ($5/month) lets you save webpages for reading later and access webpages on a mobile device.

Try It Out:
Download the free browser plug in and read articles from your favorite websites.

Instapaper: Another web (free) and mobile app ($4.99) that lets you save websites for reading later and makes them less cluttered, too.

Working with Online Reading: Annotating, Highlighting, etc.

Diigo: This may be my new favorite web tool, and I think it could be really useful for students. (From a work perspective, it could also be really handy for annotating online manuals, instructions, etc.) Available in both free and premium versions, Diigo lets you highlight and take notes on a web page. You can also “capture” (take a screenshot of) a website or portion of a website and annotate the image. You can also bookmark pages and save pages for reading later. Your account gets you a “library,” where all of your bookmarks and annotations are saved. There’s also a social component, where you can send links, annotations, captures, etc. to Twitter or Facebook.

One potential annoyance factor: when you’re logged in, you can see any “public” notes that other Diigo users have made on a website. For example, when I was logged in to Diigo, I went to the Project Gutenberg home page and found a Diigo “sticky note” there with four comments. If this annoys you, too, you can open the sticky note and choose “hide public sticky notes.”

Try It Out:
I’ve created an account for us to play with. Log in (see me for the username and password). If you need some text to annotate, try a text from Project Gutenberg.

Things to Try:

  • Highlight some selections.
  • Capture a whole screen or a portion of a screen. Add an arrow to point to something on the page. Add some text notes. Save the capture. (Note: I noticed that some sites don’t allow capturing.)
  • Create a comment.
  • Go to the Diigo “library” and see what the results of your annotations look like.

Secure Log Ins to Google and Facebook

Worried about your Google and Facebook accounts getting hacked? Recently, both Google and Facebook have introduced a “two-factor authentication” process. If you sign up for this kind of authentication (you don’t have to use it), you would enter your normal log in information, then you would receive a code on your mobile phone to enter on a second log-in screen.

Some Tech News of Interest

The Chromebook will go on sale in June. What is Chromebook? It’s a laptop that runs Chrome OS (OS = operating system; Windows is an OS, for example), Google’s invention. All of the Chromebook’s software is in the cloud – no Microsoft Office on these machines. The Chromebook will come in both WiFi and 3G models (so, with a data plan, you could connect to the Internet using mobile infrastructure). Chromebooks will be manufactured by two different companies, Samsung and Acer, and will be sold at Amazon and Best Buy. The pricing starts at a relatively low figure: $349. Most interestingly perhaps, students will be able to rent a Chromebook for $20/month.

COCC hasn’t been the only institution with web-hacker woes this week. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Stanford, Syracuse, Northeastern University, and NASA were hacked this week (though apparently not as thoroughly as COCC).

Delicious, my favorite web bookmarking service (it has a social part, which I ignore; I love the organizational aspect of it), was in danger of going away when Yahoo recently threatened to shut it down. Now, it’s been purchased by the founders of YouTube (they have a new company called AVOS) and will be sticking around. If you don’t already use Delicious, I highly recommend it.



One Response to “Friday Tech Time”


  1. Tech Time, July 13 « Tech Time - July 13, 2011

    […] notice the red arrow is pointing to a little yellow icon. That’s a Read It Later icon. I also covered Read It Later in an earlier tech time. Google Reader is integrated with Read It Later so that you could send articles that you wanted to […]

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