I Heart Buzzword: A Nifty Online Word Processor

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Even though I’m a big fan of Google Docs, I have to admit that Buzzword (an online word processor) is pretty slick. It doesn’t have all the cool Microsoft-esque features that Google Docs has, but it has enough to let you create and share your web documents with ease. The cool Web 2.0 interface is also a big plus.

Heres a screen shot:

The only disappointing part about Buzzword is that you need to have Adobe Flash Player 9 to play with the Beta version. This is a problem if you’re trying to access it from a school library. Most campus libraries that I’ve spent time in are really behind in technology. And they (obviously) won’t allow you to install anything.

Despite the technology issues of trying to use Buzzword on school computers, this is a very cool web application. Check out the video preview to see how it all works.

Top 20 RSS Feed Readers You Should Know About

Now that the school semester just ended, its time to catch up on some reading.

Im a big fan of Google Reader, but there are a bunch of other great RSS readers out there.

Heres a nifty collection of RSS readers you may not know about:

Alertbear
Desktop-based feed reader for Windows.

Alesti
An RSS reader based on Ajax. Very simple, clean interface.

Bloglines
Organize, save, and share all your favorite feeds and its completely free.

Fastladder
Fastladder claims to help you read the most amount of feeds in the shortest time-frame.

Fav.or.it
Allows you aggregate RSS feeds like a typical reader – and allows you to leave comments on blog posts without leaving the site.

FeedDemon
Get your RSS feeds sent directly to your Windows desktop. Requires Microsoft Windows.

Feedreader
A desktop-based feed reader. Its like a feed reader in Microsoft Outlook.

FeedShow
Free online feed reader that lets you save items locally and covert posts to PDF or print format.

GoogleReader
Organize your feeds into folders, share with friends, save your favorites, and add notes to any post you want. My favorite.

GreatNews
It automatically stores all your feeds locally, so you have access to the feeds even if the site is down. It also integrates nicely into Bloglines.com.

GritWire
Its a personal page like Netvibes that has a SpeedFeed Reader application.

MSN Start
A typical personalized page (a la iGoogle) where you can add feeds of your favorite sites.

My Yahoo
A personalized page that allows you to add your RSS feeds.

Netvibes
A clean-lookin personalized page that allows you subscribe to feeds. I have several friends who like using Netvibes because of the sweet interface.

NewsAlloy
A web-based feed reader that is Mobile/PDA enabled.

NewsGator
The site offers a free web-based RSS feed reader – and a desktop version that integrates into Microsoft Office.

Rojo
A simple RSS reader – similar to Google Reader.

Sage
A nice lightweight RSS feed reader extension for Firefox.

Shrook
A free RSS feed reader for your MAC desktop.

Voyage
Visually-appealing RSS feed reader that lets you scroll through feeds with your mouse wheel.

And if you dont know how RSS readers work, heres a great video that shows you the benefits of subscribing to your favorite web content:

Please let me know of any others that I missed.

Ill be glad to add them here.

Where to Buy Cheap College Textbooks – 29 Nifty Websites

Classes are starting up for me this week, so that means I need to start ordering my textbooks.

Buying textbooks is always a pain because of the inflated costs involved.

Last semester, I had to buy a 150-page textbook written by my professor that cost $97 used. And Im sure that cost doesnt surprise you.

Textbook prices are out of control – especially after reading on Digg.com that textbook prices have risen almost 186% since 1986.

However, there are plenty of places online to buy textbooks on the cheap.

Here are 29 places to buy cheap textbooks:

Abebooks.com
Free shipping and a way to shop 13,500 online booksellers at once.

Addall.com
Addall.com compares textbook prices across the web. It provides you with all the fine details – like taxes and shipping involved for each store.

Affordabook.com
Find discounted textbooks and novels.

Alibris.com
Alibris will connect you to independent booksellers across the United States. You can find some great deals here.

Allbookstores.com
Compare prices across hundreds of bookstores affiliated with Allbookstores.com – which looks a bit like Amazon.com.

Amazon.com
Ive bought and sold my textbooks through Amazon.com many times. You can get connected to some independent sellers who offer great rates on used textbooks.

BetterWorld.com
Fund literacy, care for the environment, and save money on textbooks with BetterWorld.com. They even offer free shipping. Check out their prices.

Bigwords.com
This website is a book search engine that aggregates prices of textbooks across the web.

Bookbyte.com
Another website that allows you to buy and sell used textbooks.

BookCloseouts.com
Cross your fingers and pray that you can find a discounted textbook here. You can find some amazing deals.

BookFinder.com
Lifehacker.com recommends this book search engine to find cheap textbooks.

Books-A-Million.com
A site similar to half.com – which allows you to buy discounted textbooks and novels.

BuyUsedTextbooks.com
Buy and sell used textbooks

CampusBooks.com
CampusBooks.com claims to save students 58% on average on textbooks. Prices include tax, shipping and coupons.

CampusBooks4Less.com
Another bookstore search engine to find cheap books.

Campusi.com
This search engine compares textbook prices on over 200 online bookstores.

CollegeSwapShop.com
This nifty website allows you to buy, sell, or swap used textbooks.

CompareTextbooks.com
A cool spot to get price comparisons on your textbooks at different websites.

Chegg.com
Chegg.com allows students to rent college textbooks – instead of paying the high cost of buying them at your campus bookstore.

DirectTextBook.com
This websites compares textbook prices across a bunch of popular online stores like Ebay.com, Half.com, and Amazon.com.

Ebay.com
You might be surprised to find your textbooks on sale at Ebay.

eCampus.com
eCampus.com provides a place to buy and sell discounted textbooks. Youve probably seen their ads in your campus newspaper.

FreeloadPress.com
Ive never used this service, but they offer free textbooks in return for completed surveys. These textbooks have ads in them – which help pay the cost. Leave a comment if this service is legit or not.

Half.com
Ive found some great discounted textbooks here.

Halfvalue.com
This is a typical buy & sell used textbook website.

iChapters.com
Save the environment and your money by purchasing only the book chapters you need to read as an eBook.

Textbookrevolution.org
A website thats beginning to archive links to free textbooks across the web. A very cool project!

TextbookX.com
You may have heard of TextBookX.com because they have a handy Facebook app that allows students to buy and sell directly through your profile. Ive never used this service, but leave a comment if you have. Im curious if it worked for you.

ValoreBooks.com
ValoreBooks.com promises cheap textbooks for students.

And dont forget about these free online textbook resources:

Any other websites you recommend should get added to this list?

6 Cool Online Office Applications You Should Know About

Here are 6 web-based text documents that you can use to store and share your documents online:

ThinkFree
ThinkFree provides you with a web-based document that looks almost exactly like Microsoft Word. These online documents can be shared with your friends and edited by anyone you give access to. You can also publish your document directly on your blog if you want.

Writeboard
Writeboard is another free web-based document application that allows you to share your documents with friends—and it will even track everyone’s changes. What’s nice about this application is that you can subscribe to these docs via RSS, so you’ll immediately know after someone’s finished editing the text.

GOffice
GOffice is an online word processing application that gives you unlimited text storage space. Yeah, unlimited! And this site also allows you to fax your online document anywhere in the United States for free. There’s also a nifty PDF converter (in case you want to download a PDF version of your doc).

ajaxWrite
ajaxWrite is one of our favorite online word processing programs because it allows you to read and edit Microsoft Word and Excel documents. You can work on your file and then immediately download it to your computer when you’re done. The only problem is that you need to have the Firefox web browser to use this program.

Zoho Writer
Zoho Writer is another online processor that allows you to import documents in a variety of formatsincluding Microsoft Word and HTML. Multiple users can edit the same document at the same time.

Google Docs and Spreadsheets
We can’t write an article about web-based office applications without mentioning Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Google’s online docs is a great way to write, store, edit, and share documents with anyone. Anyone who has an email account can gain access to this free application.

5 Online Libraries You Should Know About

Here are five great online resources that can help you research prior to writing your next paper. These online resources can help you save time, and can really help if you don’t have time to visit a library.

Google Scholar
The advanced features on Google Scholar can help you quickly narrow down and research your topic of interest. Google scholar provides you a rich database of research material available on the web. Though much of the content requires passwords to view full journal articles, you can still view abstracts for free.

E-Research – Harvard University
This research site will provide you with a list of journal articles and online references for whatever topic you’re interested in. Though this site was built for Harvard students, you can still access and use the site without a student ID. Simply click on the “show unrestricted” button to get access to free content.

LibrarySpot.com
Library Spot can provide you with online encyclopedias, dictionaries, journal articles, and other important reference materials. The website can seem overwhelming at first because of the amount of information available, but it’s definitely a great place to start for general research.

WorldCat.org
WorldCat.org can provide you with a laundry list of books and articles to reference for whatever topic you’re interested in. It’s sort of like going to the largest library you could imagine. It’s all there for you to sort through to find the books that might help you for your paper. The only problem is that it doesn’t provide any abstracts for the books you want to know more about.

Encyclopedia.com
This site is valuable because it provides links to tons of great online encyclopedias. Just type in a term and you’ll find dozens of definitions and information about that topic–with links going to the various online encyclopedias. The only problem with this site is that it’s cluttered with ads.

These five online libraries will help you with your research.

How to Deal with Exam Stress

We love The Student Room (the United Kingdom’s largest online student community) website.

They have a cool wiki project with students posting tips and advice on a variety of subjects—everything from anthropology to veterinary medicine. The wiki project just launched, and were excited to already see students submitting helpful content.

Anyway, they have a great collection of tips on how to deal with test stress.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • If your mind goes blank, don’t panic. If you worry and panic, it will make it harder to recall the information. Focus on some deep breathing for a few minutes. The information is there, you just have to get to it. If after relaxing for a few minutes, you still can’t remember the answer, move onto the next question and come back to this one later.
  • Don’t try to be perfect. We all want the best possible grades that we can get, but sometimes it just doesn’t work like that. If you think that ‘anything less than an A means I’ve failed’, then you are just creating unnecessary mountains of stress for yourself. Try to do your best, but remember that we can’t be perfect all the time.
  • The night before your exam, make sure you have a relaxing evening, doing as little revision as possible. Get a good night’s sleep, and try your best not to worry; you have already done all your revision anyway! On the day, make sure you have plenty of time to get ready, have a good breakfast and arrive at college or school in plenty of time.

Check out the rest of the test taking strategies to reduce stress.

The Nuts and Bolts of Time Management

If youve been reading productivity blogs for a while, you probably already know the basics of time management:

  • Making your “To Do” list
  • Focusing on one task/goal at a time
  • Creating deadlines for yourself
  • Rewarding yourself for accomplishing your goals
  • Avoiding procrastination
  • Making time to relax

Its easy to understand these basics, but its another to actually apply them in real-world situations.

As you know, its very easy to lose focus on our daily goals – especially with email, Digg.com, Google Reader, yada, yada, yada.

So thats why Ive found these online resources on time management very practical:

Managing Your Time
Dartmouth developed a nifty list of online resources for time management. The article includes links to a time management video, planning documents, and free calendars to download in both Word and Excel.

Beating Procrastination
The best way to defeat procrastination is to identify it the moment its happening. This article provides 3 practical steps to overcome this weakness in all of us.

10 Tips for Time Management in a Multitasking World
Even though this article is focused on todays office environment, it definitely fits with the life of a busy student.

12 Hours to Better Time Management
Lifehack.org developed a great article on time management. Pay close attention to the first section that discusses how to set up your calendars.

61 Time Saving Tips
This article starts by saying that You DO have enough time for everything and then gives you a laundry list of ways to help you accomplish all your goals.

8 Ways to Avoid Managing Your Time Effectively
Sometimes it helps to read the opposite advice to think clearly about what were doing to waste time.

Time Management Principles for Students
The University of Minnesota Duluth compiled this list of time management strategies for students. Simple and practical.

TimeTracker
TimeTracker is an online tool to help you track the time you spend on each of your tasks. It can help keep you on focused – which is helpful when you need to write a lengthy paper.

Time Management [Video] – Randy Pausch
This lecture was recorded at the University of Virginia – and runs over an hour. Its both informative and entertaining.

Free Math Help

Hotmath.com is a website that provides free math help for a variety of homework problems from over 150 math textbooks. The site also offers free online math calculators and math workbooks and games. The site currently serves over a million students, and can provide you free help in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus and calculus. There are also free video lessons and practice tests to help you sharpen your math skills. This site looks very helpful, so check it out if you need some math help. Let us know what you think.

Download the Free Version of StarOffice with Google

I bought my laptop last year for very little money during one of those “after Thanksgiving” sales.

Yeah, I was one of those guys who waited in line at freakin’ Office Depot to get this deal, but it was worth it.

Anyway, the computer didn’t have any software with it, except some pretty standard applications that I couldn’t do much with. And there’s only so much Minesweeper I can possibly play.

Since I didn’t have money to buy Microsoft Office, I had to rely on some open source applications that didn’t really work very well. They were all buggy and slow.

So anyway, Google released a FREE version of StarOffice several months ago, and I’m very happy with it. You get everything that Microsoft Office has, except you don’t pay a dime. And the software actually works really well. Another bonus is that you can easily import/export Microsoft Word docs.

So anyway, if you’re running short on cash, you should definitely check out StarOffice.

UC Berkeley Offers Free Classes Online

We just found out that UC Berkeley launched webcasts of hundreds of class lectures.

Yep, that means you can watch video courses in a variety of different subjects. Some of their free online classes include: astronomy, biology, physics, psychology, quantum mechanics, and philosophy. Check out Berkeleys full online webcast library when you get a chance.