Student club at the iSchool@UBC

cool tools day #2 recap

Date: November 9th, 2010
Time: 12:30 – 1:30pm
Location: SLAIS Terrace Lab

Presenters and their “cool tools” (also available as a PDF)

Will “Firebug & Firesheep”

  • Shows html, css for each element in a web page
  • Can test/see how styles were implemented to specific elements
  • Look at layout (ex. pixels in padding & layout)
  • Other features – will tell you what elements are causing issues if pages are having trouble loading
  • Can help identify errors/messy code (it’s nice to have clean code)

Firesheep Sidejacking

  • People can use cookies to steal your information
  • Dealing with cookies – install it in your firefox for when using wifi networks
  • Making sure you use secure wifi networks
  • Should see https if the wifi is secure instead of http

Alex “Yahoo Pipes

  • Interface is confusing, but should be aware of the tool
  • Can send RSS feed links to friends etc.
  • Can use for sending filtered (types of) images from flickr

Meghan “cIRcle

  • UBC Digital repository
  • SLAIS graduates’ work are not being heavily represented
  • Contribution to cIRcle helps increase visibility, helps students, helps for future job opportunities (ex. can send employers links to works)
  • Uses open source software
  • Think about submitting your papers for showcasing your work
  • In sending paper, student is not giving up copyright
  • Just need to 1) sign form to say cIRcle can showcase it on the site, and 2) have a professor email cIRcle saying “yes this is a good paper.”

Catie “blekko

  • Search engine uses slash tags in search box
  • ex. search query can be watchdog /Christian … Recipes /vegan … Recipes /vegan/ gluten-free … etc.
  • If a slash tag doesn’t exist in the list of slash tags, you can add it to the user index
  • The user generated libraries added to the index is makes this search engine different
  • So the user searches through the site’s original list of slash tags and users’ added slash tags

Tosha “GazoPa

  • Image search engine
  • Search by image (not by keywords – no words needed)
  • Upload, draw, or type in URL of image to search
  • For example, upload an image and get results of similar images and information on how similar retrieved results are to the searched image
  • Can change view of results
  • Good for finding information with an image that would be very difficult to describe using words
  • Has flickr option, so you can search through license types for images (fair use or copyright)
  • Can retrieve information about the subject in the image
  • Advanced search with colours, shapes etc. to find other related images
  • Cross-language
  • If you upload your photo, it doesn’t get added to the images searched – but it does stay on their server
  • You can add text to your image

Cynthia “Foxit

  • free for downloads
  • PDF reader tool if you want something different from Adobe
  • Can add annotations/notes to all pdf texts (not same restrictions as in Adobe)
  • Text recognition is a little wonky, but still okay
  • Add notes to highlighted sections of the text (icon put in the margin)
  • Write comments in the margins of the text (easy to add and delete)
  • All notes are visible and readible in the actual document

Alex “Mendeley

  • Mendeley is another type of reader that also allows for annotation in notes and also is good for creating bibliographies.
  • Foxit is good for editing pdf when done (ex. good for signing a pdf document etc.)
  • In January a PDF conference in california will be held for fixing the tool

Justin “ebook management”

  • Open source e-book management
  • Tag all books, metadata
  • Conversion tool – take a pdf and convert to other style of document
  • Features include ability to set it up to sync through wireless to your phone from your desktop at home
  • Built in e-reader (for epubs and other ebook formats)
  • Possibly useful for annotation – need to explore that option


  • didn’t want to be locked into the system from Amazon/Kindle
  • Good site for finding public domain ebooks with better interface than Project Gutenberg itself
  • Can browse through different categories – ex. creative commons
  • Get in different formats (html etc.)
  • Also check Baen who have a good good selection of older or advanced reader copies for sci-fi DRM free and for cheap.

Qinqin “Wink

  • Free download – capture screen shots for creating instructional videos etc.
  • Can set it to capture many screen shots/frames over a set period of time
  • Can use voice overs/audio track to accompany video
  • Create video project of frames taken, edit frames, copy and paste frames, set time duration for viewing of each frame
  • Set streaming medium in firefox
  • File size is very small
  • Can send to friends
  • Compatible for Mac and PC use
  • Limited features, but good for creating basic videos

Shannon “What I Learned Today

  • Blog by Nicole C. Engard (Director of Open Source Education for open source library systems)
  • Talks a lot about gadgets
  • Library based tech blog and other library related topics that might not be found elsewhere
  • Useful for keeping track of information related issues
  • For example, getting announcements about Facebook’s privacy setting changes etc.

Comments/suggestions from participants:

    In posting summary notes of tools presented, tools should be hyperlinked to their live web urls.
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