Make Full Use of YouTube With These Great Tools

October 30, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · 306 Comments 

Once upon a time, YouTube was just a speck in the vastness of cyberspace. Seemingly overnight, however, YouTube has become a phenomenon; a place for people to learn, vent, laugh, cry and think, YouTube has become the world’s playground for video posting. When Google bought YouTube in 2006, it became even more popular and now, counting on millions of users from all over the world, it has become the foremost video uploading site on the Internet today.

The only drawback to YouTube? Its limited useability. Upload, watch, link or embed — those are the only four choices for YouTube videos. Or are they? I have scrambled and scrambled all through the web looking for some cool applications and tools that can maximize my YouTube experience and I’ve found a few excellent ones that I’d love to share with you.

Video Downloader is my favorite YouTube tool because it integrates right into my Mozilla Firefox web browser. Video Downloader allows you to download videos onto your computer so you can do whatever you want with them, whether it’s watching them on your own time without having to go to YouTube and search for them again, or extracting audio for various other uses, whatever your need is, Video Downloader helps you get it all done. The Firefox extension gives you immediate access to it by providing icons to add to your browser and its user-friendly interface makes it a breeze to use.


Have you ever seen a video on YouTube and wished that you could watch it at any time, from any device? You don’t have to wish anymore; this application, TubeSock, makes it possible for you to do so. TubeSock allows you to rip videos from YouTube and format them so that you can play them on your iPod, or your PSP, or your Mac. There are some particularly awesome things about this application that I love. For one, it’s supported on both Mac OS and Windows XP. It can also download videos from other video sites, not just YouTube. My favorite thing about TubeSock though is that if you’re like me and you only have an audio-only portable device, TubeSock will rip the audio for you and convert it to an audio file. Very cool application, indeed. And so easy to use!

Splicd is a neat little website that is pretty self-explanatory. For those of you that are easily annoyed by extremely long YouTube videos that only have a snippet of useful information that you want to share with friends and family, Splicd gives you the opportunity to take that little snippet and create a link for that specific spot on the video, so you can send friends that link instead of having them agonize over an extremely long video clip. When you go to the Splicd website, you paste the link to the video in question, then you plug in the start time and the end time of the clip you want to extract from the video. When you hit the submit button, it gives you a Splicd link to share. It also shows the video that you’re sending so you can make sure it’s the right clip. It’s pretty easy to use, very fast and very convenient, I have found, especially for educational videos.

What kind of cyberworld would it be if we couldn’t have a WordPress plugin to help us improve our blogs? TubePress comes to the rescue with a plugin that creates beautiful and crisp video galleries for your WordPress blog. It is simple to use and integrates nicely with WordPress. I really love it because video can add so much variety to a blog, and TubePress makes it so easy to achieve that. I love anything that can enhance my WordPress experience; WP is one of the most user-friendly blog hosting sites on the Internet, and plugins like this make it so much more fun to use! No longer do I have to go through posting videos on my blog the old way. TubePress makes it easy and fun to add videos to my site.

Using these and many other applications, widgets and plugins will enhance your YouTube experience in spades and help you make the most out of the most popular video site on the planet.

Web Icons – Cute, Useful…and Free?!?!

October 20, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized · 1,072 Comments 

It used to be that finding a nice set of professional looking icons was difficult to do unless you were either a web designer or someone who was willing to fork out some cash for them. No longer; in fact, it’s not uncommon to find beautiful, interesting web icons that you can use personally and professionally at absolutely no cost. Why is that, you ask? Well, icons are pretty cool to make…if you have the time and patience — and the ability — to make them, that is. Most people don’t, but there are graphic artists out there who create icons regularly and put the sets out there for public use as a way of being recognized and having their work out there. Almost like putting out a resume, but with really cute drawings.

Icons are more than just cute drawings, though. They’re extremely important in web design, so much so that many times it is the quality of your icons that can make the difference between dull and interesting. Here, I’ve listed a couple of my favorite free icon sets and some places where you can find many more.

These are just two of the many styles included in the RSS Icons Campaign designed by Design Freak. Their RSS feed icons are ideal for those of you who are looking for a cool-looking, very different take on the boring little feed box that sits on the corners of the websites that we are used to visiting. These little guys can make your design look fresh and modern, with a hint of wit and tons of charm. I am in love with these icons!


This sharp, dynamic YouTube icon is part of an incredibly stylish and sleek group of icons created by Lucas (pho3nix) in Poland. As part of this impressive collection, you will find gorgeous, clean versions of icons for some of your favorite online sites such as Wikipedia and Facebook, making this the perfect set for yourweb page. This set is especially useful if you have pretty good traffic going to some of these sites through your own page. It’s the perfect set for the social media hounds, as well as those who want crisp design and simplicity but don’t want to compromise style. Definitely one of my favorites.

Now, here’s  a pretty cool one. Courtesy of the folks at Icon Lab, the “Build Your Own Box” icon set allows you to place whatever items you want inside the boxes, essentially creating your icons in whichever ways you’d like. What I love about this is that it’s gives you, the designer, the creative flexibility to decide what to include in your own icon set. You should be warned, however, that this particular set, however cool it is, is not for the novice user. It requires graphic imaging software so that you can make your icons. When you click on the Icon Lab link above, you’ll be able to download everything you need to enjoy this versatile set, including a how-to video and some friendly instructions.

You can find links and reviews of many other awesome –and free– icon sets here and here. You’ll be guaranteed hours of icon searching fun.