By now, you've surely checked out Mark Soper's excellent guide for creating PDFs by using a multitude of applications, editing steps, and detail settings. If not, you owe it to yourself to give the article a scan so you're as well-versed as he when it comes to transforming ordinary files into these kinds of feature-packed super-documents.
As he correctly puts it, Adobe ain't the only game in town when you're trying to turn the contents of something you're looking at into this trusty, cross-platform format. Let's go one step further. Installed programs aren't the only way to create a PDF, period.
If you're on a new computer (or, for that matter, your boss's computer), you might not want to fire up the ol' Adobe installer just to be able to gain the right to transform your screen into a PDF. And sure, there are plenty of freeware opportunities out there that will allow you to print to a PDF. But that's still too many steps in the process. It's 4:59 on a Friday: You want to make a PDF, hit the power button on your PC, and be able to drink one-third of your "it's the weekend" celebratory iced tea before your monitor goes black. What are you going to do?
If the answer is "cry," then you have failed this exercise. But let it not be said that my heart is two sizes too small. For a little Web app exists--conveniently called PDFmyURL--that does exactly that. Provided the subject of your affection is a Web page of any size, shape, or extension... you will be able to transform it into a downloadable PDF as fast as you'll be able to finish reading the rest of this sentence.
It's important that everyone be made aware of an extremely useful Web site that delivers malware and antivirus scanning right to the door of your... er. Web browser. I not only use it at Maximum PC to check the freeware files and such that I link to on a weekly basis, but I also turn to it as the first resort whenever I'm on a system that, for whatever reason, lacks a comprehensive virus-scanning setup.
Simply put, it's hard to envision a world without Virustotal. Although there have been reports and/or instances of false positives arising from some of the lesser-known third-party antivirus tools that Virustotal uses, it's pretty safe to say that your file is safe should it come up with "0 issues found" when running the gauntlet of the site's 41 different antivirus and malware scanning applications.
With so much going on behind the hood, using Virustotal to check your downloads must be a real nightmare, eh? Spoiler alert: It's super-easy. Click the jump and see how!
How many YouTube videos do you watch on a daily basis? Worse, how many YouTube videos do you send to your friends on a daily basis? If the answer is anywhere near "one or more," and I bet it is, then I've found the perfect Web app for you. Because one of the tough things about forwarding along a funny YouTube video is that you're forced to watch said person enjoy the experience at their leisure. You can't force them to click play, nor can you really appreciate their laughter and enjoyment as it happens in real-time: You don't know how far along they are in the video, after all.
To address this grave concern, some enterprising folk have come up with a Web App that's one part chat-room, two-parts edit bay. It's called Synchtube, and I bet you can guess exactly what it does by the name alone. Don't let that dissuade you from clicking the jump, however. I'll explore Synchtube's many (two) features and tell you exactly why this little Web app is the future of multi-person video viewing and hilarity preservation.
This week's Web App of the Week isn't so much for you, but your friends, family, and users. If you ever tried your hand at Web development--doesn't have to be professional, even amateur Web creation will do--you'll know that the strangest of problems can pop up in the strangest of places. A little CSS misstep here, a little HTML coding boo-boo there, and your perfectly constructed three-column layout has somehow crafted itself into a Tumblr page. And it's blinking. And it's hacking off your grandmother who just wants to see pictures of your recent family vacation.
But that's okay. Like that one insurance advertisement featuring the guy with the soothing voice, your grandmother, user, friend, or angry forum commenter will be in good hands with the Web App Support Details.
It was with a bit of apprehension that I clicked on the link in my email box to check out the personal site that Posterous, an online archive of notes both yellow and multimedia, had automatically created for me. First off, they got the name all wrong. I won't tell you what it is, for fear that an unsavory party might sign me up for all sorts of interesting email lists, but just know that I hadn't exactly intended for random letters to be a part of my brand-new domain.
But that's Posterous. To its credit, this microblogger's dream might not get the name right the first time around, but the customized blogging platform it creates for you--based on a photo, note, MP3, or other file you email into the service--isn't set in stone. And I far prefer this method to the opposite: Signing up for multiple accounts just to be able to quickly host and share files with others.
That last scenario is really the best-case usage scenario for Posterous. For while you can "claim" a site that the service creates on your behalf by signing up for an official Posterous account (which grants you, among other features, the ability to redo the name of the site's xxx.posterous.com subdomain), Posterous is the perfect platform for quick-and-dirty multimedia hits.
Of course, that's not all Posterous offers--not by a mile! Click the jump to find out more!
It happens to everybody. You're in charge of a big project at work (or school, if you're a younger Maximum PC fan). A group of people all email you their changes to a specific document at once, and it's your job to merge everyone's thoughts into one coherent final project. That sounds like an arduous task even if you're equipped with a program like Microsoft Word. If you're just relying on your eyeballs and good ol' Wordpad, however, you're in for quite a battle.
So stop. Don't try to go through these many, many documents and the many, many headaches that they'll deliver over the course of hours. There's a handy site that will make your editing life much easier, and it's as easy to operate as your standard word processor. In fact, I dare say it's even easier than a standard Microsoft Word or OpenOffice.org interface. The site's called CompareMyDocs and, as its name implies, it's an awesome tool for quickly tracking the changes between up to seven documents at once.
Hear that? Seven documents. How many can you you compare in Word? Two. If that's still not enticing enough to get you to check out this Web App, just wait until you see how it works! ...after the jump, of course.
One of the most common questions of PC building is, "How much power do I need?" And while I realize that most Maximum PC enthusiasts might very well just answer the question thusly--"As much as I can buy"--that's not always the best recommendation for two key reasons: You don't need a kilowatt power supply if you're rocking a newb rig, and you might not have the budget to afford more juice than what your computer ultimately requires.
But how, then, do you figure out the exact size of power supply your system requires for perfect performance? It's no easy task. I highly doubt you want to arm yourself with a clipboard and surf over to the manufacturers' Web sites to figure out the power draw for all the components in your rig. And even then, you're not going to have an easy time doing so. You'll probably just go off the recommendation of someone from an online message board--"oh, so and so rig usually needs... 700 watts at least. You'll be fine then. Word."
That, or you could hit up this week's Web App pick: the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator. This super-helpful online tool gives you a comprehensive list of components to pick from. Select what's in your PC and you'll get an read-out of how much power your system will likely draw in the form of a recommendation for the specific-sized power supply you should pick up. It's as easy as that.
But just how comprehensive is this tool? Click the jump to find out!
Anyone can master the art of an RSS feed. But what do you do when you're a connoisseur of a ton of different topics? You might very well have check a list of RSS feeds that numbers in the tens, if not hundreds of items--and those are just the direct links you pull down from sites you've already frequented. Aside from running through Google News items based on a bunch of topics, or adding yourself to a site like popurls, there's no picture-perfect way to get an up-to-date, scrolling list of news for a ton of different categories at once.
At least, not until now.
This week's top Web App choice combines the usefulness of a site like popurls with the constantly updated environment of a Web app like Twitterfall. It's an excellent way to quickly customize and scan as many news categories as your screen can fit, featuring constant updates so you don't miss a second of any breaking news on your multitude of beats. In short, the site Lazyfeed is the perfect reason why you should look into getting a second monitor this holiday season--if you're a news junkie, that is.
Being on Twitter is tough. If you post with a decent amount of frequency and do your best to jump into the crowd discussions when possible, then you'll often find yourself facing down a sea of "so and so has followed you!" messages in your Inbox. Deciding whether or not you want to follow said Twitter users back becomes a huge process in itself. You have to open the email, check out their Twitter handle, click on the link to their account, read the last few Tweets, make a decision, and repeat this process for every person that wants to be your online buddy. Unless, of course, you adopt the firehose approach to Twitter and just befriend everyone regardless of who they are--shame on you.
A web app called Topify attempts to ease this process by delivering you as much information as possible whenever someone new follows your Twitter stream. You'll be able to check out a quick bio of said follower, as well as their personal stats (followers / following / updates), how long they've been on twitter, a link to their Web site of choice, and a few their last updates as an example of what it is they write about. Better still, if you like what you see, you can just reply to said email to make them your Twitter pal -- no need to log into the actual Twitter service whatsoever.
Ever have one of those moments? You know the one: When it's so difficult to teach someone how to accomplish an everyday task in a particular application that you up and grab the keyboard and mouse yourself and just get 'er done, as it were. Isn't that frustrating? Doesn't your passionate rage for simplifying the art of attaching files to email terrify your coworkers, friends, and loved ones? Wouldn't you like a better way to show someone how to accomplish desktop tasks, one that doesn't actually require you to get up from your chair or, better yet, even pick up a phone?
In a move that's sure to sooth the savage beast that's been identified as a computer expert by his or her flock of advice-seeking peers, the Web app ScreenToaster is a perfectly packaged solution for showing people how to get stuff done on a PC. It does this by taking a live video (complete with audio, if you so choose) of whatever it is you're doing on your desktop, straight out of your Web browser--no additional software installation is necessary, save for a requisite click on the "accept" button for a piece of Java.
But surely the app can't be just that easy? There has to be another catch!