3 Time-Saving Web Tools

By Andrew Lock | Posted September 21, 2011


Andrew Lock

WindowShop

Have you had a chance to use, WindowShop.com yet? This nifty Web tool from Amazon.com is a bit difficult to describe, though appropriately named. WindowShop is a showcase for, and a quick way to find, Amazon’s latest and greatest products -- books, music, movies and anything else it wants to feature.

The cool part is that it’s a lot of fun to use.  You navigate the "shop windows" using your arrow keys on the keyboard, and as you move over a new item, it zooms in to feature it on your monitor.

For music products, you’ll hear samples from the album, which play automatically.  For books, you’ll hear a brief synopsis, again it plays automatically.  For DVDs, you’ll see the movie trailer play, and it’s nice and large too.

It’s a fast way to discover new products in an enjoyable interactive environment.  Of course, Amazon makes it quick and easy for you to buy anything you like, with a prominent "buy" button in the corner of each window ‑‑ very smart.  Try it out and see for yourself.  It’s what the Web is all about in this day and age.

PhoneTag

I absolutely love this Web tool.  PhoneTag is a service that, for $9.95 a month, intercepts up to 40 of your cell phone voicemail messages, converts them to text, and then instantly sends the messages to you as email or text messages (the unlimited-message plan costs $29.95 a month). 

Think about what this means.  If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like checking your messages, or is in a lot of meetings, you never need to check voicemail again -- all the messages come to your email or as a text message.  Have you ever had a message where the caller leaves a number or directions, but you’re not able to write it down?  With this service, that problem isn’t a problem anymore.

I’ve been using the service for a few weeks, and the quality of the transcription is amazing.  I had one message where it lost a few words, but even that wasn’t a problem because the original voicemail is always attached to the email as an mp3 file so I could listen to it.

There is even online account access, so you can check your messages anywhere you can get online.  I highly recommend this service. Take advantage of their 7-day free trial, and I’m sure you’ll love it too.

FoxIt Reader

The problem with Adobe Acrobat Reader is that it’s a huge, unwieldy, bloated piece of software that takes up a large chunk of memory, and it takes forever to load. It didn’t use to be like that, but each new version seems to cause it to run even slower.

Fortunately, some smart folks at Foxit Software have come up with a fantastic alternative called FoxIt Reader. It’s a tiny 2.5Mb download and it runs fast! You can open pdf documents of course, and there are other features that you may or may not be interested in, such as the commenting text tool, automatic scrolling and multi-tabbed browsing capability.

IMPORTANT: Don’t download FoxIt Reader from the main Foxit Software website. You’ll be forced to review some offers before you get to the download link. Instead, get Foxit Reader from Download.com, a reliable website where you can be sure it’s also been tested as virus free.
You'll find lots more small business marketing tips and resources from Andrew Lock in our Small Business In-Depth series, Lock in Your Marketing Resources.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical small business marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

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