Software & Technology

3 New or Noteworthy Things with Freecycle.org: Growth, Mobile Access, and Browser Plug-ins

Posted on June 7, 2009. Filed under: Home & Garden, San Francisco Bay Area, Software & Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

freecycle_logo

Freecycle.org is a “globally local”  online network helping millions of people to recycle and keep stuff out of landfills. This nonprofit gifting movement enables individuals to gift items in their local communities rather than to throw them away.  If you’re not already familiar with Freecycle™,  I wrote an article back in July, 2008 about how Freecycle works.  Here is a very cute Flash slide show about using Freecycle (click on a slide to advance it)

So what’s new and noteworthy with Freecycle.org?

1. The Growth of Freecycle

According to Freecycle.org, it has now  expanded to more than  6.5 million members and over 10,000 volunteers who devote their time and energy to this worthy cause.  Freecycle creates a circle of giving in each of its local communities around the world.  Members are gifting over 20,000 items every day.

The Freecycle Network™ is currently growing at the rate of over 45,000 new members each and every week.  In 2007, Yahoo first noted that Freecycle became the third most searched environmental term on the planet just behind “global warming” and “recycling” and ahead of “earth.”

2.  Freecycle.org Has Gone Mobile – “No Computer Required”

In May,  2009 Freecycle announced it is now available to use on mobile devices following an agreement with Nokia, the world’s largest mobile device company.  The move expands the global gifting network beyond the constraints of the computer to
people’s mobile phones in over 85 countries around the world.

Founder, Deron Beal states that, “The goal is to make it easier to give an item away than to throw the item away, thus keeping good stuff out of landfills and helping Mother Nature. Nokia’s design and support of our new mobile phone functionality makes it easier than ever – no computer required!”

You can access Freecycle’s mobile website simply by typing mobile.freecycle.org into your mobile phone’s browser.

3.  Freecycle Now Has Support for Browser Plug-ins

These plugins are free software which make it easier to use Freecycle groups and get your messages right the first time. There are two versions of this plugin for the two most common browsers: Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. You can find out more and download the plug-ins on the wiki page here.

The project is a collaboration between Edward and Nigel Mundy,
moderator on Eastbourne Freecycle.

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Meetup.com – Connect with Like-minded People

Posted on June 3, 2009. Filed under: Entertainment, Low Money Fun, San Francisco Bay Area, Software & Technology, Travel & Leisure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Meetup.com is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face.  Meetup leverages online technology to allow like-minded people to self-organize to get together offline.

Meetup groups exist in over 4000 cities and 100 countries, making it a truly local and global phenomenon.  Other key statistics as of this posting:

  • Monthly visitors: 5 million
  • Members: 4.7 million
  • Monthly RSVPs: 1.7 million
  • Monthly Meetups: 102,000
  • Local groups: 46,315
  • Meetup Topics: 4,916

Meetup members are creating impact in their communities via activism, volunteerism, social interaction and just good clean fun.  Meetup is free to join and if you don’t see a group focused on what you’re interested in near where you live,  you can start one or join a waiting list.  Categories and example types of groups include:

  • Arts & Entertainment (Book Club, Dance, Movie Fans)
  • Business & Career (Networking, Entrepreneur, Small Business)
  • Community & Lifestyles (Personal Growth, Vegetarian)
  • Culture & Languages (Law  of Attraction, Spanish Language)
  • Health & Support (Meditation, Fitness)
  • Hobbies (Travel, Dining Out, Scrapbooking)
  • Internet  & Technology (Web Design, Digital Photography)
  • Parenting & Family (Stay at Home Moms, Play Groups)
  • Pets & Animals (Dog Rescue, Small Dog Breeds)
  • Religion & Beliefs  (Spirituality, Metaphysics)
  • Science (Alternative Energy, Consciousness)
  • Sports & Recreation (Adverturers, Hiking, Mountain Biking)

Depending on the nature or location, some group get togethers and activities might cost money, some are free.  For example, if you join a movie buff group, and the group is meeting to see a new film, you would be expected to pay your own admission at a theater.  If you join a Board Gamers group,  they may meet at a local restaurant (so there may be a minimum dollar order required for use of the space) or meet in a host’s livingroom  (where snacks or refreshments may or may not be served, BYO or something to share).  If you joined a local women’s clothing, shoe and accessories swap group, you’d have to bring gently used items or that NWT outfit, two sizes too small that you never wore to swap.  Gotta love that closet shopping.

Maybe I’ll see you at one of the Meetups!

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Coupon code for 5 FREE games, books, and activities from KidThing!

Posted on May 28, 2009. Filed under: Babies & Children, Education, Entertainment, For Parents, Low Money Fun, No Money Fun, Software & Technology | Tags: , , , , |

kidthing is a secure internet-based global learning platform for children, parents, teachers, family and friends. This is an awesome program to keep kids busy over the summer.  kidthing is kind of like iTunes for kids.  You download the free digital player onto your desktop from www.kidthing.com and then once you start it, you just go to the store and add the products you want.

If you put the code ktpromo-summerfun into the search field of the store,  it’ll bring up 5 free products – just add them to your cart, and then go through the checkout process – you won’t be charged for them.  If you check back every week through the summer, they’re going to have new products each week.

One Mom I know says, “My son loves kidthing – he asks to go on it all the time – and I think we’re going to be able to build up a really good stock of games and activities for him this summer – all for free!”

kidthing’s proprietary distribution, publishing, and social networking platform provides a safe, ad-free, environment that insulates young children from the Internet. kidthing’s free, downloadable, digital media player integrates purchased content from the kidthing online store with personal media in custom mixes that can be shared. Parents can preview and purchase learning and entertainment content, create custom mixes of kidthing and personal content and make their children the “star” with content that can be personalized. Children can play kidthing content offline. Personalized content and custom play mixes can be shared among friends and family through private sharing communities in the kidthing environment.

“Today’s children are growing up in a high-tech, connected world, and are exposed to the Internet at younger ages than ever. The Internet is a part of everyday life, but it isn’t a safe place for young kids.” stated Larry Hitchcock, kidthing’s CEO. “kidthing is Internet technology, but it isn’t browser based, nor a white-list tool. It’s a secure, safe environment for kids to explore, learn and share; and parents can be confident that their children aren’t one click away from the open Internet.” kidthing’s professional open publishing platform enables content owners, authors and publishers to offer their digital content for sale throughout the world at the kidthing store, allowing kidthing to offer a wide variety of learning content available in multiple languages including digital books, games, videos, and music. kidthing content is inexpensive, starting as low as $0.99, making kidthing accessible to a broad international audience.

About kidthing:

kidthing delivers the next generation Internet-based learning environment through its proprietary distribution, publishing and social networking platform. kidthing provides a safe, ad-free, global learning environment that insulates children from the World Wide Web. Parents and teachers can purchase, customize and personalize content for kids and can share this in private sharing groups. Publishers and content creators around the world can make their works available in the kidthing store in an enhanced electronic format.

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Senate passes bill to delay digital TV switch

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: Entertainment, Software & Technology, Utilities | Tags: , , , , |

Senate passes bill to delay digital TV switch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate passed a bill on Monday to delay the nationwide switch to digital TV signals, giving consumers nearly four more months to prepare.

The transition date would move to June 12 from February 17 under the bill that was fueled by worries that viewers are not technically ready for the congressionally-mandated switch-over.

It also would allow consumers with expired coupons, available from the government to offset the cost of a $40 converter box, to request new coupons. The government ran out of coupons earlier this month, and about 2.5 million Americans are on a waiting list for them.

Click here for full article

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Earth911.com – how and where to recycle almost everything

Posted on January 7, 2009. Filed under: San Francisco Bay Area, Software & Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Earth911.com is your one-stop shop for all you need to know about reducing your impact, reusing what you’ve got and recycling your trash, including:

  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Hazardous
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Electronics
  • Automotive
  • Household
  • Garden
  • Construction

They’ve Got the Hookup

In their recycling database, they can help you find over 100,000 recycling locations across the country. With information provided by local governments, industry insiders, organizations and everyday consumers, you can recycle hundreds of products from packing peanuts to computers. They know where you need to go to get things done.

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MSNBC.com Article: Converter-box program running out of money As many as 8 million households still unprepared for digital TV transition

Posted on January 4, 2009. Filed under: Entertainment, Software & Technology | Tags: , , , |

By Joelle Tessler

updated 2:38 p.m. PT, Fri., Jan. 2, 2009

WASHINGTON – The Feb. 17 transition from analog to digital television broadcasts looms and as many as 8 million households are still unprepared, but the government program that subsidizes crucial TV converter boxes is about to run out of money.

To subsidize the converter boxes, most of which cost between $40 and $80 and can be purchased without coupons, the government has been letting consumers request up to two $40 coupons per home. But any day now, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the arm of the Commerce Department in charge of administering the coupon program, expects to hit a $1.34 billion funding ceiling set by Congress.

At this point, Congress has two options: it could raise the $1.34 billion cap by waiving the accounting rules that require the NTIA to wait for unredeemed coupons to expire before issuing new ones. The NTIA estimates it could distribute up to 56.5 million coupons if those rules are waived.

Or Congress could approve more money for the program. The NTIA estimates it could distribute up to 56.5 million coupons with an additional $250 million in funding, or up to 60 million coupons with another $330 million in funding.

For the complete article click here

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Free Software – PDF converters

Posted on October 31, 2008. Filed under: Business, Career & Work, Software & Technology | Tags: , , , |

Portable Document Format (PDF) is the standard for secure and reliable distribution and exchange of electronic documents and forms worldwide.  There are plenty of free pdf converters out there. You can create a document (e.g., an ebook, contract, datasheet, or report) in a text file (Word, WordPerfect, etc) and then convert it into PDF format.

Two worth checking out are:

CutePDFWriter

PDF995

Once thing to look out for when you convert it into PDF format is to make sure that the links that you include in your document are still clickable after you convert the document into PDF format.

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Save money and reduce carbon emissions – Free software helps you manage your PC power consumption

Posted on October 26, 2008. Filed under: Home & Garden, Software & Technology, Utilities | Tags: , , , , |

Edison was developed by Verdiem, a company that has helped enterprises the world over reduce energy waste from IT devices. Now Verdiem is bringing Edison into your home—at no cost whatsoever.

Edison is a free PC energy management tool for everyone. It is an easy-to-use, consumer-friendly application that allows users to set energy savings controls on PCs.  Verdiem’s new version of Edison allows you to choose the level of energy savings you want, set a “sleep” schedule, and see estimated savings. Set it and forget it.

Save money and reduce carbon emissions

According to their blog, at product launch in August, 2008, Verdiem challenged consumers to help support the Climate Savers Computing Initiative’s goal of reducing PC-related carbon emissions by 54 million tons by 2010. If just 1% of the world’s PCs – or 10 million – used Edison, we could reduce PC-related carbon emissions by 7 billion pounds, which is equivalent to taking 500,000 cars off the road (source).

Click here to download Edison and you can start saving energy and fight climate change.

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Free online classes: software, business, marketing and IT

Posted on August 4, 2008. Filed under: Business, Career & Work, Education, Software & Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Need to brush up on your Powerpoint or learn how ERP can streamline your business? Hewlett-Packard’s online HP Learning Center offers free online software, business, marketing, and IT classes for small to medium businesses (any individual can take them too). You can choose from:

Software & Technology (29 classes): Microsoft Office, web skills, operating systems and technology updates

Business/Marketing (9 classes): Real estate marketing, creating marketing collateral or direct mail, and a new course on learning how your business can implement ways to save energy with energy-efficient technologies in order to save money and conserve resources.

IT (14 classes): Best practices for IT: networking, data management, infrastructure and more.

Classes are free and available 24/7, but sometimes you need to purchase materials. For example, a while back I took an online class on organization based on the book, Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern (she’s had programs on PBS). Fortunately, a friend had a copy of the book, so I just borrowed it from her and didn’t need to purchase it.

More new classes coming in September:
– Business logos
– Firewall basics
– Microsoft® Excel 2007: introduction
– NAS basics
– Business writing
– Wireless NW solutions
– Microsoft® Windows Vista®: advanced customization
– Introduction to Linux system administration
– Blade servers
– Printing marketing materials
– Mobile internet
– Virtualization
– deployment
– First web page
– MS Project intro
– Security threats

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