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4 Fabulous Online Tools

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When you're working online 10 hours a day as I do, you appreciate all the help you can get. Here are four great tools I've discovered over the last six months that make my job a lot easier. Have one of your own I probably don't know about yet? Feel free to enlighten all of us in the comments below.

1. Sliderocket

As freemium slideshow tools go, this is the best I've found. Long before my 30-day free trial expired, I was hooked and ponied up for a monthly membership. It's always better to show rather than tell, so here's just a small sample of what you can do with Sliderocket:

They've also got superb customer service and have called me on my cell whenever I've needed them.

2. Dropbox

My pal Alexis Ohanian, founder of reddit.com, turned me onto Dropbox. It's another brilliant freemium model that gives you 2GB of free cloud storage. Best part is: once you install the Dropbox folder on all your computers, whatever you place in that folder is automatically synced on all devices, even on your phone. No more emailing files to yourself or plugging in flash drives to transfer stuff! I use it often throughout the day.

3. Search Free Fonts

Picture 8Just as the name implies, this great site let's you not only search, but test free fonts before you download them. Once you find a font that looks interesting, you can type on the page and voila! they're transposed in real time. Check out how I did this sample here.

4. iPhone iCon Maker

Picture 10This one is just plain fun... You know how sometimes you get a lame icon when you "bookmark" a Safari page into your phone's app collection? Well this nifty site lets you upload any old image you want and turn it into an iPhone app icon. Try it out and have fun with it!

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Live Smarter
Make Spreadsheets a Whole Lot Easier With This Excel Trick
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While data nerds may love a good spreadsheet, many office workers open Microsoft Excel with a certain amount of resistance. Inputting data can be a monotonous task. But a few tricks can make it a whole lot easier. Business Insider has a new video highlighting one of those shortcuts—a way to create a range that changes with the data you input.

Dynamic named ranges change and grow with your data, so, for instance, if one column is time and another is, say, dollar value, the value can change automatically as time goes on. If you do this, it's relatively easy to create a chart using this data, by simply inserting your named ranges as your X and Y values. The chart will automatically update as your range expands.

It's easier to see in the program itself, so watch the full video on Business Insider. Microsoft also has its own instructions here, or you can check out this video from the YouTube channel Excel Tip, which also has dozens of other useful tutorials for making Microsoft Excel your hardworking assistant.

[h/t Business Insider]

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History
Marshall McLuhan, the Man Who Predicted the Internet in 1962

Futurists of the 20th century were prone to some highly optimistic predictions. Theorists thought we might be extending our life spans to 150, working fewer hours, and operating private aircrafts from our homes. No one seemed to imagine we’d be communicating with smiley faces and poop emojis in place of words.

Marshall McLuhan didn’t call that either, but he did come closer than most to imagining our current technology-led environment. In 1962, the author and media theorist (who is the subject of today's Google Doodle) predicted we’d have an internet.

That was the year McLuhan, a professor of English born in Edmonton, Canada on this day in 1911, wrote a book called The Gutenberg Galaxy. In it, he observed that human history could be partitioned into four distinct chapters: The acoustic age, the literary age, the print age, and the then-emerging electronic age. McLuhan believed this new frontier would be home to what he dubbed a “global village”—a space where technology spread information to anyone and everyone.

Computers, McLuhan said, “could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization,” and offer “speedily tailored data.”

McLuhan elaborated on the idea in his 1962 book, Understanding Media, writing:

"Since the inception of the telegraph and radio, the globe has contracted, spatially, into a single large village. Tribalism is our only resource since the electro-magnetic discovery. Moving from print to electronic media we have given up an eye for an ear."

But McLuhan didn’t concern himself solely with the advantages of a network. He cautioned that a surrender to “private manipulation” would limit the scope of our information based on what advertisers and others choose for users to see.

Marshall McLuhan died on December 31, 1980, several years before he was able to witness first-hand how his predictions were coming to fruition.

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