Every job requires the right tools. For getting things done on the web, sometimes you need the internet equivalent of a Swiss army knife– that’s when you go to Google apps or a fancy interactive tool (or call the help desk.) And sometimes you just need a toothpick or a pair of tweezers–a little tool designed for just one thing.
I just saw a request pop up on Twitter that I see all the time, there and on LM_Net and other group sites. Someone will ask about a particular website, “Is this site down? Or is it just me? Or my browser?” I’ve actually e-mailed sites to report a problem, only to discover I needed to clear my cache or update my browser. That’s when “Down for everyone or just me” comes in handy. Go to the site, enter the URL you’re wondering about, et voilà! “Down for everyone” will check on your URL, and report back on the status of the site in question. Now you know if it’s you, or if the site is really down.
Another handy little site is TinyURL.com. Everybody needs a good URL shortener–my e-mail program is always garbling web addresses, and it’ll save characters in Twitter messages. The best feature of TinyURL is their little bookmarklet. When you’re on a webpage with a long URL you need to shorten, just click on the bookmarklet in your browser bar, and you’ll automatically jump to a page with the now-shortened URL.
One last useful little site is FileInfo.com. I come across file types I’m not familiar with all the time, largely because I hover wistfully at the edge of the true ocean of geekiness, but don’t jump in. .flv? .odt? .csv? .notebook? If you have no clue whether your brother just sent you a movie or a spreadsheet, FileInfo will be able to tell you what kind of file it is.