Here’s a quick post that reveals some of the web tools that I use on a reasonably regular basis, all in the name of making the life of a Digital Media professional that much easier. Suggestion: don’t reveal these to your boss. Just wave your hand vaguely and blame your amazing skills on internet magic.
1. downforeveryoneorjustme.com: Is this website down or is it just me?
Ever wondered if the social media service you’re using is down or if it’s just a new set of restrictive rules that your IT department has set for more ‘regular’ employees?
One way to check is to jump on another social media profile and ask (the classic “Twitter is down so everyone jump on Facebook” effect). But another, more effective, way is to visit www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com (or shorter but less obvious version: www.isup.me).
As the URL suggests, this service checks to see whether a website is down for everyone or just you. It does this by trying to access the website from outside your network, therefore making your internet settings irrelevant.
Pro tip: once you’ve tried it on one website, you’ll notice that the service adds the website’s domain to the end of its own URL, such as “http://www.isup.me/twitter.com” for Twitter. Knowing this, you can now add the full version as a bookmarked item in your browser, thereby allowing you one-click access to see if a website is down or not.
2. SupportDetails.com: What browser settings is this guy using?
By definition, we web people work with a lot of online services. Many of which are constantly evolving with frequent updates. These services can sometimes be a little buggy – and sometimes this is even complicated by the fact that we’re in New Zealand. True story: I basically ‘fixed’ Bitly’s (further down) click graphs for the whole of New Zealand as their developers hadn’t allowed for our time zone. You’re welcome, New Zealand.
Luckily the support teams at many of the bigger services are pretty awesome (shout out to MailChimp here). But one way that we can help prevent a lot of to-ing and fro-ing is by providing our browser’s configuration when we submit a support ticket. One great way to do this is simply to visit www.supportdetails.com.
This can of course work the other way – if we develop a new page for a website or some kind of web-based app, and a user is having difficultly with it, by asking them to visit this website and then email the results to us we can get to the heart of the problem a lot faster (often even before we get to the “WTF is this guy clicking on” stage).
3. Bitly (get stats on any Bitly link)
OK anyone in social media knows Bitly. It’s a link shortening service that allows you to track how many people have clicked on that link.
But here’s a quick tip that not as many people are aware of (and, for the more sensitive industries, this actually may make you want to stop using the service). Simply add a ‘+’ to the end of any Bitly link and you can view the stats for that link. Simple.
As an example, You can see that Justin Bieber Tweeted this on May 8th …
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) May 7, 2014
… and by adding a plus to the end of the Bitly URL you can see that over 17,000 girly teenage fans clicked the link.
4. IFTTT.com: If this happens, make this happen.
IFTTT makes the most of a huge amount of various API’s in order to fulfil a simple task. If this thing happens, then do this thing. It’s a really cool little service, and one made all the more funky by the fact that its “learn more” page is at https://ifttt.com/wtf.
They can explain it better than I can, so check that page out and then get back here. Done? Sweet. A smiple example of it in Social Media could be to ensure consistency of your profile photo across multiple accounts without the hassle of logging into each one separately. “If I change my Facebook profile, change my Twitter profile to the same image.” And so on.
5. Pushbullet: Send stuff between devices.
Pushbullet is a fairly new service, having launched on 20th January this year, and it’s sent to us by the Internet Gods to make our lives easier. Reddit users saw the value in this new service and helped take the service from 0 to 15,000 users in just two weeks.
If you’ve ever visited a website on your desktop and then quickly wanted to get to that same website from your smart phone, or you’ve taken a photo or a screenshot on your smart phone and now want to edit that on your tablet, or you want to copy text from a message in your tablet and paste that text into something on your desktop… then Pushbullet is the answer.
Sure there are plenty of other ways to sync your devices, but Pushbullet does everything in one place and makes it super easy. You can send to your Firefox or Chrome browser, desktop app, Android, iPhone, iPad (no dedicated iPad app yet – just download the iPhone app), or even to a friend, as well as access your push history. The Chrome extension adds a nice shortcut to your right-click menu. This allows you to do stuff like right-click on an image of a cat in your browser and send it straight to your phone. And then there’s the desktop app that lets you right-click on any file and do the same.
It’s really quick as well (in the below example, @marklincoln is my iPhone’s name).
You can also use Pushbullet as a channel within IFTTT (mentioned above). Find out about that on the Pushbullet blog.
Pushbullet’s creator, Ryan Oldenburg, explains why he developed this nifty service:
I built Pushbullet because it should be easier to send things to your phone from your computers.
Before Pushbullet, if I wanted a file on my phone from my desktop or laptop, I could either hook my phone up and transfer it, put the file in Dropbox and download it on my phone through the Dropbox app, or, as I often did, add it as an attachment to a draft email in Gmail and download it from the Gmail app. All of these ways suck.
With Pushbullet, I can push the file right from my computer to my phone and, importantly, into my phone’s notifications. This means when I pick my phone up, I can get to that file instantly with a click on the notification. So much better.
He’s also put together this vid to show how easy it is to get started.
Do you have any other web tools you use on a regular basis? Feel free to give them a shout out in the comments.