WhatTheFont Forum – typography geeks rejoice!

Back in my “document creation specialist” days, when my job was to design digital menus and business cards that exactly matched paper prototypes, I could identify hundreds of fonts by sight. I could have told you the fonts used in any movie’s credits, any billboard, any packaging, anything.

Sadly, font knowledge is one of those “you don’t use it, you lose it” kind of skills, so I’m not nearly as good at it now. But I still love typography, and I’m not yet hopeless – I knew 24 out of the 34 type faces in The Rather Difficult Font Game!

Still, there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to match a font when you don’t know its name. Back in the day, all a designer could do was flip through enormous font books trying to compare serifs and slants and – my old standby – lower case “g”s.

It’s too bad my font skillz atrophied years before the social web revolution … now there’s the WhatTheFont Forum, a community of font geeks that tries to identify the fonts used in uploaded images, like the 7-11 logo. Typography geeks unite!

Check it out: http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/forum/


FireShot – screenshot editor for Firefox

Screen shots are a huge part of my workflow, especially for library instruction handouts. Mac OS has always featured an elegant keyboard shortcut + diagonal drag method for grabbing screen shots, while the Windows routine has been the print screen button + paste + cropping every single shot.

Clearly cropping is a big time waster. I was a fan of Snapper, a Firefox extension that used a Mac-like diagonal drag. Sadly, Snapper hasn’t been updated to work with the new versions of Firefox. Happily, I just found FireShot !

FireShot has the added coolness of a text editor and drawing tools, so you can embed captions & pointers in your graphic. It even makes the camera clicky noise I like so much on my Mac. Yay!

Check it out: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5648

  • Free: Yes
  • Sign up: No

artViper’s Text Tag Cloud Generator

Here’s a super easy way to generate your own tag clouds from any block of text.

Check it out: http://www.artviper.net/texttagcloud/

  • Free: Yes

Gapminder World – visualize changing trends worldwide

I first heard about Gapminder and its Trendalyzer software from the TED talks by Hans Rosling. Gapminder offers a striking representation of worldwide (or national) trends in population, health, economy, and other indicators.

Check it out: http://www.gapminder.org/downloads/applications/

  • Free: Yes

VisualLiteracy.org – “A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods”

The folks at VisualLiteracy.org have designed a great primer for anyone who wonders what the heck data visualization is and why anyone gets excited about it.

Check it out: http://www.visual-literacy.org/periodic_table/periodic_table.html

Amaztype – words made from book covers

This is a fun one. Type any word and watch as amaztype renders your word from relevant book covers pulled from Amazon. It’s the relevance that makes this truly cool – try “dog” for a good example.

Check it out: http://amaztype.tha.jp/

  • Free: Yes
  • Sign up: No

Google reader – blogs, news, even photos all in one place

I was a late adopter to RSS but I’m now a true believer in putting it all in one place. Feed readers abound, but I’m using Google Reader since I was already a big fan of Gmail and Google Calendar. My favorite use of Google Reader is to add feeds to the latest Flickr pictures from my friends (here’s how).

Check it out: http://www.google.com/reader/

  • Free: Yes
  • Sign up: Yes

More info at: http://googlereader.blogspot.com/