Dapper makes it easy to extract and use information from Web sites. If you’re familiar with Web services, you might recognize Dapper as an API maker. We discovered Dapper through GridLab, where a clever Italian blogger applied Dapper to WhatIs.com. Put even more simply, Dapper creates an RSS feed for any Web site, which then can be manipulated in a number of ways. Dapper will only work on HTML-based sites, so if you’re trying to create a feed from a Flash or AJAX-heavy site, you’re likely out of luck. It’s possible to make your widget private, too, if that’s of interest.
Even if you aren’t ready to dig into serious coding, this widget is worth a look. Dapper is still in beta, free to all.
Dennis, one of our most dependable sources for interesting links, submitted “Videopedia” today. It’s quite interesting — think of it as a sort of Wikipedia, where the content is not just text, hyperlinks and Creative Commons images but instead user-submitted videos.
The vision is quite straightforward: Everyone is an expert in something. Knowledge of that something can be visually explained in less than 5 minutes. Users can easily upload their shorts, using a visual storyboard to annotate videos and add outbound hyperlinks. While the Web site is still relatively new, there’s already some useful content in the tech section including Running ScanDisk in XP and How to do a Google Search.
If you’re looking for buzzwords, you’d be hard pressed to find one more over-used than “Web 2.0.” The hype and marketing, unfortunately, obscure the rapid growth of social media and the associated technologies. Fortunately, a brilliant little video popped up online last week and was immediately hailed as a much-need breath of sanity and clarity by BoingBoing, Kottke and many others.
We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. Watch the “Web2.0 Explained” video here.
One of our colleagues over at SearchWinIT, senior news writer Christina Torode, reports that the Microsoft and Novell partnership is starting to bear fruit. The OpenXML Translator, which lets users open and save documents in both OpenXML and ODF, has moved out of beta and can now be downloaded from SourceForge.net.
Artifact Software has released a new tool that they’re calling “Lighthouse.” Lighthouse is a free, on-demand software development management (SDM) system built specifically for the software development industry.
Lighthouse features a personalized real-time dashboard that displays reports from project management tools, allowing developers and project managers alike to properly manage internal and external expectations of timelines for deliverables, measure productivity and provide greater transparency into the development process, identifying potential roadblocks in the process.
Are you always struggling with multiple todo lists and trying to be more productive? Are you comfortable with the command line? If so, try out ToDo.txt. It’s a simple, elegant way to combine scripting and text files. Gina Trapani, Lifehacker and blogger extraordinaire, is the lead developer of the the code for this particular discovery.
Jimmy Ruska has created an outstanding index of free online educational resources, which he’s called the Massive Resource List for All Autodidacts.
An autodidact, in case you’re wondering, is a self-directed learner. Wikipedia has an index of different different autodidacts in different countries.
Jimmy’s selections, which include courses, educational podcasts and much more, make it easier for all of the autodidacts out there to excel in self-directed learning.
Buzzfeed helps you “find movies, music, fashion, ideas, and technology that are on the rise and worth your time,” combining buzz detection with short, pithy posts about whatever the idea happens to be.
Jason Kottke, one of our favorite technology bloggers, was involved in the creation of Buzzfeed — so you can bet the design is worth a look.
Even with the wonders of smartphones, VoIP software, satellite broadband and transoceanic fiber optic cables, finding the correct phone number for a business or individual can be a huge bottleneck in communication.
For wired folks, entering “phonebook: name, city, state” in Google’s search field answers this need, but, in our experience, dialing “411” from a phone has long been the most dependable means of getting directory assistance, albeit a costly one.
Just dial 1-800-FREE411 (1-800-373-3411) or visit the Web site and follow the computer-assisted directions.
How does it work? In our experience, pretty well. While Jingle Networks (the company that owns and operates the service) indicates that in the future advertising will preface the service, for now many calls go ad-free while the company signs up advertisers. Of course, if the number isn’t listed, you’ll need to look beyond 411 services entirely.
You can hear more about Free411 in this podcast at TalkCrunch, where Michael Arrington speaks to CEO George Garrick and early investor Josh Kopelman about Jingle Network’s financing and the Free-411 business in general.
Do you use Google‘s Gmail for freemail? Did you know that you can use those 2 GB of free storage space as an online hard disk, similar to Apple’s iDisk? You can enable this functionality in a number of ways.
Have no fear! Gmail Drive offers similar functionality for Windows users.