Sunday, June 29, 2008

Free Sign-up Sheets

Organizing a product launch? Throwing a birthday party for a friend or loved one? Whatever event you plan to hold, knowing the number of people who will show up is important. Instead of merely calling, why not provide your guests with an alternative way to confirm their attendance? You can count on for a manageable way of keeping tab of your guests' attendance by creating free customizable sign-up sheets. Plus, if most of your guests or target audience are web-savvy, might be a more convenient way for them to register to your event.

To get started, sign up by creating a free account. You will then receive a welcome e-mail from the website to confirm your e-mail address. Click on the link for confirmation and then log in. There are four steps in setting up your sheet. The first step is to input the general information of your event, such as the sheet title, description and maximum number of guests who will sign up. Whether your gig is only for 10 persons or for 1,000 guests, there's no limit as to the number of sign ups.

The next step is naming the sheet web address, which is how the users/invitees will access the sheet. The address should be in lowercase and contains no spaces. As advised on the website, try to make it simple and meaningful for your users to easily find the sheet.

The third step is setting up the time period. Click on a date on when you want the sheet posted or when you want to make it unavailable. Make sure you have the correct time zone when you were signing up to create an account.

The last step is customizing your sheet. The options include getting additional information from your users or sending them an e-mail confirmation about their attendance. It is also here where you may want to make your sheet private by creating a password. Or, you could also write a thank you message or add your own website address on the "Custom Thank You" feature. also provides icons to show your sheet's status. A plus sign means that the sheet is currently active and accepting sign ups. A sheet with a padlock icon means that it is private and requires a password to sign up. A red X on the sheet means that it is not currently posted and is not accepting sign ups. The website also has a waiting list capability and allows you to print and download the sheet onto your desktop.

Although the website's features are user friendly, very direct and with no annoying pop-up ads, I've noticed some "glitches" after I tried to register on the sample sheet I've set up. The site told me that it couldn't find the sheet, even if it has already been posted. But when I checked the sign ups, the attendance has been updated. I recommend that you enable the e-mail confirmation feature to let your guests know if their registration went through. The website also needs to be proofread as I've noticed a lot of typographical errors.

But even with these "minor errors", still is a useful tool for every event planner. As organizing an event requires a lot of attention to details, the website saves you from the stress of determining if only a few or too many guests will be showing up to your event, giving you time to solve an attendance problem. So for your next shindig, you can rely on for a hassle-free guest tracking.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Send video messages for free

"Eye can see you!" That's what Eyejot is about. It's an e-mail, a voice mail, and a video chat rolled into one.

Eyejot takes e-mail a notch higher by letting you send video messages for free and making Internet communication more personal. Using it is as easy as sending a regular e-mail, as shown from one of its sample videos of a grandmother using Eyejot to communicate with her daughter and grandson. There's nothing to install or download. All you need is a webcam, a microphone and a fast internet connection. You can then create a free account and start recording your video messages for your friends, family or business associates. Your free account allows you to send unlimited video messages with 60-second duration. But if you want additional seconds, you may sign up for a "Pro" account.

Even if you are camera shy, Eyejot is enjoyable (and can be addicting) to use. Using the site, my husband and I sent a video message to my father-in-law showing our new apartment. He was able to view it better, instead of us just sending pictures of our new home.

From Eyejot Website:
Eyejot is the first, comprehensive, client-free online video messaging platform ideal for both personal and business communications. It offers everyone the ability to create and receive free video messages in a self-contained, spam-free environment. With no client to install, you can start using Eyejot immediately with any browser, on any platform.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

100% Free Online Movies & TV Shows

Treat yourself for a good movie and save on gas by instead by watching your favorite movie or show online. Hulu is a website that allows you to watch movies and TV free online. It's a collaboration of movie/TV network bigwigs like NBC, Universal and News Corp.

TV Shows and movies are arranged alphabetically, by popularity, ratings or date added, and according to networks. So if you're a fan of Comedy Central like my husband, you can watch The Colbert Report or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart online.

Although its list is not as extensive as SurftheChannel, Hulu offers better quality resolution of videos. Videos are crisp and "studio-like." You can also clip a video, embed it on your social networking site and blog, or e-mail it to your friends.

Not all movies on Hulu are full-length, some are just clips. Also, expect 7 to 30-sec advertisements in between the programs, since I think this is how the website gets its revenues.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Free Fast Online Dictionary

Need to know a meaning of a word fast? You need Ninja Words, a fast free online dictionary.

With no other fancy stuff, Ninja Words is simple, easy to use, and lives up to the meaning of its name. Like a ninja, the dictionary-website gives you really fast results on searching for word meanings. Type on the search box the word that you need to define, press the look up button, and almost instantly the online dictionary provides you with a list of definitions. You you even can look up more than one word at a time. Just type in all the words and separate them with a comma. They will not take a minute to load, perhaps because the website does not contain advertisements that can cause delays.

Ninja Words also displays a history of words you've looked up so that when you want to go back and check it's meaning, you can just click on that word instead of typing it again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Free Dance Lessons

Impress your friends on the dance floor and feel like a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance by learning all the right moves on DanceJam, a website created for anyone who loves to dance or just wants to learn how. MC Hammer, late '80s-early '90s rap icon, created this website, which has been called the YouTube of dance. People from all over the world post videos of themselves or their group dancing. There's a free registration if you want to upload a video or post comments, but you can access almost all the site's main features without signing in.

DanceJam contains a comprehensive list of different dance steps, from "Breakdancing" to the New York originated "Chicken Noodle Soup." Each dance step includes interesting information about the dance and video lessons on how to do it. I was surprised to know that Krumping came from the acronym KRUMP which means Kingdom of Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise. How's that for a dance move?! From the number of videos available, Popping seems to be the most popular with over a hundred dance videos uploaded.

As DanceJam also works as a social networking site, the website offers "Battles", which is a virtual dance showdown among its members. For instance, a dancer from Illinois, USA can compete against a dancer from Netherlands. Each one uploads a video showcasing his/her dance skills. Visitors then watch each video and vote for the best one.

So if "Running Man" is the only dance step you know, dig into DanceJam to learn a new strut.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Free Hotel Bedbug Reports

Traveling or staying at a hotel for a vacation can be fun and exciting! And what better way to cap off a day's trip than staying in a soft, comfy hotel bed without fear of being bitten by bedbugs? Yes, those pesky, annoying, wingless creatures that prey on us warm-bloodied creatures as we sleep. But how can you know if the hotel where you're planning on staying during your travel has been reported of bedbug infestation?

A website called Bedbug Registry was designed to help travelers check if a hotel has or hasn't been infested with bedbugs. View first-hand accounts of people who have experienced staying in a hotel with bedbugs! The website has a database of hotels' and buildings' reports from across the US and Canada. So far, I have not found any hotels that we've stayed in in the past, and that's a big relief.

Bedbug Registry guarantees anonymity to anyone who will report about a hotel with bedbug infestation. However, it also leaves a disclaimer that they cannot guarantee the veracity of bedbug reports submitted, and encourages people to contact them for any errors on the site.

More than a service to travelers, I think Bedbug Registry can also serve as a good warning to hotels in ensuring that their place is free of bedbugs, lest their hotel end up being listed on the website.

Now that summer's officially kicked in in this part of the planet, a Bedbug-free vacation could help travelers make the most out of the warm season.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Free Funky Avatar Creator

Want an original and personalized avatar?

BeFunky lets you create and customized a personalized avatar for free through its Cartoonizer, Uvatar and Video Cartoonizer. Creating an avatar is made simple as it provides an animated step-by-step use of the site's features.

The Cartoonizer instantly transforms your pictures into a sketch or a digital painting. Simply upload a favorite picture from your desktop, a webcam or any website, then click "sketch" and watch the picture instantly become cartoonized. You can adjust the level of sketch, add color, or warp the picture. You can also add "goodies" like frames, jewelry, or text.

The Uvatar is my favorite feature of the avatar-creating website because of the variety of options you can do with it. Choose a picture where the whole face is visible. Using the site's tracing tool, click the areas of the face that you'll be using for the avatar. Choose a gender of your avatar and adjust the size of the face on the avatar body selected. The fun part comes in choosing the avatar's clothes, costumes and background to go with your style. When you're finished creating your avatar, you can share your avatar with friends, or post it on your favorite social network.

If it's not too late and you're still thinking of a unique (or belated) gift for your dad for Father's Day, log on to BeFunky and create an uber-unique avatar for him. The avatar picture on this entry is actually a picture that my husband and I made out of our (his) dad's picture. To us, he is truly a Super Hero!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Free Picture Editor

For easy and instant adding of oomph to your pictures, Picnik is one site you could count on. It is a free online picture editor that makes picture editing as easy as, well, just going on a picnic.

Picnik is user-friendly and does not require much technical expertise. You don't have to download any software to start using it. Once you've signed up for a free account, the website lets you edit your picture that are stored on photo-sharing websites like Flickr, Facebook, or Photobucket. You may also upload your pictures directly from your computer, a webcam, or from results of a Yahoo search.

The editing tools of Picnik are very direct and properly arranged. You will not get confused or overwhelmed by what tools to use. Although most of them are standard such as cropping, sharpening, auto-fixing and rotating, there are many effects to choose from which are easy and so much fun to use. You can posterize, pixelate, add tint or even gooify your pictures. Just click on the effect you want and adjust it according to how you much effect you like. And if you're not satisfied, you can always undo the effects you've made.

My favorite part on the digital editor website is the polariod frame effect. Again, using my husband's picture when he was a child (I totally adore his child pics!), here's a sample picture I edited on the website:
Like most free online picture editors, Picnik does not have the advanced features of Photoshop. But it surely is one useful website you will want to bookmark.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Free Educational Games for Kids

Welcome Tutpup, a new website for children that offers free educational online games. It's a good venue for your child to improve on his/her math and spelling skills, as the website features four types of games: Math, Spelling, Math-Mix, and Times Tables. Each game, which lasts for a minute, has several levels of difficulty ranging from "Easy Peasy" to "Smarty Pants."

Tutpup works by letting your child compete with children from other countries. Each is represented by an animal and a color of their choice. Your child can be a pink cat, a golden koala or a blue crab. This definitely can spark some imagination and creativity!

Although Tuptup allows quick games, it is still best to sign up for a free account so your child may build his/her own "Win-Wall", where the games won are displayed. The site also has a graduation feature which lets you track your child's progress on the different levels of the games.

Since Tutpup is an educational games website for kids, it is proper and very protective of its users. Your child will need to get your approval before he/she can play these educational games on the website. Once your child signs up, you will receive an e-mail from Tutpup asking for your confirmation on letting your child play their online games on their site. Also, the website does not allow its users to communicate with the other players. For example, there is no area for players to chat or send messages. I think this is good since you can never really tell if your child is up against another child or an adult.

Overall, Tutpup is a welcome addition to the few good learning online educational sites dedicated to children as it offers purely free educational games without any disturbing ads and pop ups.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Free Plagiarism Protection

I put a lot of effort into my writing. Before I feature a website on this blog, I try it out first and/or sign up for it so I could write well about it. Sadly, there are some who just copy other people's writings and ideas without acknowledging the source. My best friend, who runs a website on Freebie Trading, was a victim of this. Several people copied her website verbatim! Just an example of how plagiarism has truly become a rampant problem on the Internet.

Therefore, I'm thankful that there's a service like Copyscape. It's really a laudable project, and a very useful tool for writers and bloggers. Copyscape is a website that helps you discover if your content has been copied without your permission. It works like a search engine. Just type in your URL and Copyscape searches for websites that have copied your content, including those that have the same sentences as yours. Pretty neat, huh?

One cool thing about Copyscape is that it provides free plagiarism warning banners that you could post on your website. Of course, you should only post such banner if the content is originally yours. The banner may not totally protect you from "copycats", but hopefully it decreases the chances of your content being copied without your permission.

Copyscape's free service allows you up to 10 searches a month, while a premium account provides you with thousands of searches and an unlimited number of results.

So plagiarists, beware. The next time you attempt to plagiarize someone else's work, there's Copyscape to track you down and expose you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Free Jigsaw Puzzles

My high school best friend got me hooked into this: Jigzone, a free online jigsaw puzzle website where you can solve puzzles ranging from the easy 6-piece to the difficult and dizzying 247-piece triangle-shaped puzzle.

As mentioned on its website, Jigzone is truly a jigsaw paradise as it has got thousands of puzzles to choose from. Every day, the jigsaw website features a puzzle of the day. If you don't like the day's featured puzzle, you can view the puzzles from their gallery, which are categorized according to their theme.

Registration to the jigsaw puzzle site is not required, as you can just play instantly. However, it's still best to sign up for a free account so you can compete with your friends and share your "solve times" with them. But the best part of having a account is on this jigsaw website is that you can upload your pictures, and turn them into your own jigsaw puzzles, which you can post on your website, or send as a puzzle postcard to your loved ones. Here's a picture jigsaw puzzle I made with my husband's baby picture:

Click to Mix and Solve

Like real jigsaw puzzles, Jigzone can be truly addicting. I'll bet once you've tried a jigsaw, you'll never be content with solving just one puzzle.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Free Online File Storage

Join 4Shared Now! It often bothered me that in order to open some of my files from another computer, I had to save them on to a USB disk drive or e-mail them to myself. It took up so much time. Well, 4Shared freed me from doing that whole process.

4Shared is an online file storage hosting site that lets you store files online, and share them too. Upload documents, pictures, music, or even videos, and access them anywhere without having to worry about using a different computer.

4Shared is easy to use file storage. You don't need to download or install any software, just register to sign in. It's like creating a folder in a "My Documents" folder since the layout is similar. It also doesn't take too long to upload your files, even if you select the "multi-upload." This online file storage website also provides a link for each folder or file to share to your friends or colleagues.

The maximum online storage space for a free account is 5GB! Not bad considering that the storage website can serve as an online data backup for your important files. You may upgrade to a paid account if you want more space.

From the 4Shared website:
"4shared provides its users with high-quality free online file hosting and sharing services. Our staff is a team of highly qualified specialists in the sphere of programming, web-design, and marketing."

Friday, June 6, 2008

Free Snapshots Of Your Website

Forget about pressing the "Print Screen" when taking a picture of your website. Instead, try SnapCasa, a web application that takes a free snapshot and thumbnail of any web page without much delay.

I like how SnapCasa encourages its visitors to try their service. You don't feel pressured to sign up just to know how the website works. Just input the website's URL and SnapCasa gives you a screenshot of the website in four sizes. Here are the thumbnails of this blog when I tried the website's service:

Signing up for an account is free. Once you've signed up, you need to post a special IMG code into your website to link it to SnapCasa so that the screenshots can be updated regularly.

From SnapCasa website:

"Snapshots appear with no delay if they have been captured before. Depending on server load new snapshots may be processed in realtime or are placed in a queue. Snapshots are updated periodically depending on how often the site being captured is updated and the demand for the particular snapshot."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Free Money Management for Kids (and Parents)

Who says money management is just for adults? Through Zefty, children learn to manage their money for free, using a virtual money and a virtual bank account. Zefty is a website where parents can help their children learn how to spend their money wisely, and responsibly.

Zefty lets the parents set up a virtual bank account for their children by depositing an a virtual amount of "money" as their allowance. Parents may add more, or withdraw some money from it as desired. A "ZeftyCalc" assists in calculating an estimate allowance for the kids by basing it on the household income, child's age, difficulty of the chore, and frequency of giving the money.

Once the virtual bank account has been set up, the parents may then sign in their children to the site and guide them on how to spend their money. The kids may add or subtract money depending on how much they want to spend. For example, if a child wants to spend some money on a video game, the ZeftyCalc can estimate the number of days (or months) the child needs to save so he/she can have the money to buy that game.

The website also has a cool feature on teaching children how to sign a check. Through its "ZeftyCheck," children can generate a check with the amount of money that they want, download it, and print it for free.

Zefty may not involve real money, but it does serve as a great Internet-bonding-moment between parents and their children, as well as teach children how to manage their money (now and in the future) wisely. Definitely something invaluable, and cannot be measured by real money.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Build your own online library for free

I love reading books, and I've always dreamed of having my own library. But because limited, I've decided to build my library online for free at Shelfari.

Shelfari is a website where you can build lists of books that you've read, and rate them as well. I like the visuals on Shelfari. They provide the cover page of the books, and are literally displayed on a shelf. You can also add more information about a book, write a review, or include the date that you read it. You can put as many books as you want for free. And you don't have to own the book to add it to your shelf, but if you do, whether you read it or not, you can add it. My husband added every book he owns to his Shelfari book shelf.

Since Shelfari is also a social network, you can make friends with other book lovers worldwide and exchange notes on books that you like or dislike. Let others know if you're reading the book now or if you already have read it, or if you would like to read a certain book. There are also book interest groups that you may join, as well as receive updates from your favorite artists who have Shelfari book shelves (and many do!).
On a not-so-good side of Shelfari though, I’ve read some articles about the site using all your contacts to invite them to sign up without your knowledge, so please be careful.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Free Online Freelancer Portfolio

Being a freelancer can be a challenge, for you constantly need to look for clients and ensure that they keep you. But what's more challenging is marketing your freelance service and being discovered by organizations that need your service.

Created by Brian Konradt, a freelancer-turned-Internet-entrepreneur, FreelancePortfolios lets freelancers create free portfolios online so that they can advertise their freelancing services and get clients locally and internationally. On the homepage, you can view the featured freelancers, as well as the newest and most popular freelancers on the site. A typical portfolio on the website shows a person's specialty, his/her e-mail address, location, summary of qualifications and sometimes, the rate for the services.

Since the website also has a section on Writing Jobs, most of the members are writers. But it does also cater to freelancers of many disciplines such as, photography, graphic designing, and marketing.

FreelancePortfolios' website is maintained by webmasters of