on Friday, January 28, 2011

I've worked with a handful of anti-malware tools before, but the only one that consistently identifies and removes malicious software is Malwarebytes (

It's free, though there are paid versions available. You can choose a fast scan (takes about a half an hour) or a full scan (which takes well over an hour).

It has saved my laptop from malicious software several times now (including once this week), and caught malware that other anti-malware programs didn't.

So if your browser has recently began performing slowly, or your home page has mysteriously changed, or your computer has been crashing more often than usual, or you begin seeing excessive pop-up ads (my symptoms this week included pop-up messages NOT from my anti-virus program telling me I'd been infected by malware), give Malwarebytes a try.

A more complete list of symptoms that you've been infected by malware is available at and

Issuu Digital Publishing

on Thursday, January 20, 2011

Issuu ( is a free, fast and easy way to publish documents digitally. You sign up for Issuu, log in, add a few keywords and give it a category, upload the document, and Issue automatically converts the document to a Flash format that can easily be read online. You can then send out the link directly, or use the embed code to embed your publication in a blog or website (as I've done below with a .pdf about Adobe Connect). The end user uses the navigation arrows to read your document, and have the option of displaying it full-screen by clicking the View Full Screen option that appears on rollover (see below). The end user can also, if you allow it, download and print the document, or simply read it online.

Document formats Issuu accepts include PDF, DOC, PPT, RTF, WPD, and more. You can customize the layout, add audio, add an autoflip option (automatically turns the page every 6 seconds), which page you'd like to start on, and many more options. Finally, it plays well with many social networking sites, particularly Facebook.

5 Web-Based Alternatives to PowerPoint

on Friday, January 14, 2011

The site ReadWriteBiz has a great article this month on 5 web-based alternatives to PowerPoint.

Included is Prezi (we'll be having a Connect session on using Prezi next week on January 19), a free Flash-based alternative to PowerPoint that allows a much more non-linear approach to your presentation. A particularly creative example is embedded below. Click the forward arrow to move the presentation along.

Also mentioned in the article are Sliderocket (, a collaborative, Web-based application that allows users to comment and answer polls in real time, 280 Slides (, a web-based presentation tool that has the look and feel of Apple's Keynote, Google Docs (, which allows you to create, store and present presentations online, and Zoho Show (, which allows live audio chat with presentees.

All are free (or have free versions), all are web-based. Give them a try!

Thanks to Loretta Lohman and Erin Pheil for the tip.

Google Books Ngram Viewer

on Friday, January 7, 2011

The Google Books Ngram Viewer, which Google created with the Encyclopedia Britannica and scientists from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, takes 500 billion words from 5.2 million digitized books and allows you to track their usage over time. The result is a database that shows when certain phrases, people, ideas and trends faded in and out of fashion, and gives the results in an easy to interpret graph. Best of all, the database has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license, meaning the results are free for you to use, as long as you include an attribution to Google. The datasets Google uses can also be downloaded and used under the same CC license.

The ngram viewer is here:

Here's how it works: you type in one or more words or phrases, separating them with commas, hit Enter, and the viewer returns a color-keyed graph of the number of mentions of those words or phrases from Google Books entire database of text.

Here's a screenshot of the number of occurrences of two words - "religion" in blue, and "television" in red - over the Google books database of all English text works between 1800 and 2010. The results are not scientific, in that you have little control over which books Google has or hasn't indexed. But they're pretty interesting.

More information about the ngram viewer is available at