This article also appears on Windows IT Pro.
Everybody has their favorite tools. The trouble with the net is that now there are dozens and dozens of tools that can help you out in both business and at home that you might not even know about. With that in mind, here are a few tools we’ve recently discovered and found to be very useful, in no particular order.
Record movies on your desktop and send straight to YouTube
We’ve talked in the past about how IT pros or solution providers can educate employees or clients , and one way is to create videos and post them online. Screenr makes it really easy to create short videos and automatically upload them to Youtube, which can save you a lot of time if all you need is a simple, quick video that gets straight to the point.
Create network diagrams and sitemaps
Whether you’re just trying to get a feel for a new client or creating a full-on disaster recovery plan, it’s useful to create diagrams of their networks. Lovelycharts lets you create everything from sitemaps to flowcharts to network diagrams and it’s relatively inexpensive, especially if you purchase the mobile edition for iPad. According to Lifehacker, it even lives up to the promise of its name.
Find a font
Anybody creating text-based content—especially web content—knows how tricky fonts can be. Sometimes it’s tough to match a font you saw and liked, or to find a font that you like that’s also totally free for you to use. Visiting Myfonts.com will let you upload an image containing a font you like, then tell you what it is so you can find and use it yourself. If you’re trying to find fonts to use, Google also has loads open-sourced fonts you can download and use totally free.
Take free online classes from MIT
Have you ever thought it would be cool to go to MIT? Well you can do it online for free, right now. MIT’s Open Courseware allows you to look through notes, watch video lectures, and more on huge variety of topics, all completely free. If there’s something you’re curious about learning, you might have some luck finding the information you’re looking for free from MIT.
Shorten URLs and track clicks
Any business that’s using social media to promote their website, their articles, services, webinars, videos, or whatever, probably wants to know how many people actually click on the links they share. Plus, when you use micro-blogs like Twitter, you’ve got a character limit. Luckily, there are a handful of sites that let you shorten your links and show you exactly how many people have clicked the links you shared. Try Bitly.com, or if you’re already a Google user, visit Goo.gl—it will already be linked to your account.
Reveal what’s behind a shortened URL
When you’re on the web, you never know what types of crazy things can be hidden behind a link, and it becomes particularly tricky to find out when the link is shortened into a random string of characters—you might have no idea where you’ll end up, even if the link seems friendly enough. Luckily, there’s Unfurlr, which shows you what’s hidden behind any short link you paste on the site.