Monday, September 08, 2003

Googlebar 2.0 / IESpell - Great Stuff
I don't usually go in for browser add-ins, but I found a couple recently that are worth mentioning. First the Google toolbar or "Googlebar" as it is known:

Google Toolbar

This guy has been around for a while, but the 2.0 revision includes a really well implemented pop-up (including pop-under) blocker. I'm also warming up to the AutoFill feature.

The second add-in that I've really been enjoying is IESpell:

IE Spell

This nice little add-in allows you to right click in any HTML form field (like the one I'm blogging into right now) and spell check it! Until MS puts Word style "check as you type" style checking into IE, this is the next best thing. It works great.

The best thing about both these add-ins, they are both free! Enjoy.

Friday, September 05, 2003

I love the Scotts Corporation
I'm sure many people are familiar with the Scotts Corporation, the makers of the popular "Turf Builder" series of fertilizer. Not only are their products very good at what they do, they have one of the very best and practical uses of an email alert system I've ever seen.

When you register with their website, they take some key information from you about your lawn, the type of grass and your zip code. With that information, they select the appropriate lawn care plan for you. Now, when it is time to apply fertilizer to my lawn, I get a nice HTML formatted email telling me which of the diverse collection of Scotts products my lawn is currently hungering for. It also includes good tips. For example, they mentioned that if you have any bare spots in your lawn, now is a good time of year to attempt repairing them.

This is simply one of the most useful email newsletter systems I've used. And I can't sing its praises enough.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Save Classic Music
I'm becoming a classical music aficionado. The more I listen to it, the more I get out of it. My friend Aaron plays for the Fort Worth Symphony orchestra, so I've been fortunate enough to be able to attend concerts at a greatly reduced cost. This has served to fuel the fire.

The health of the classical music community appears to be in jeopardy. Concert attendance is down, music sales are slipping, ensembles and even orchestras are going bankrupt at record rates. This state of affairs has prompted budget record label, Naxos, to sponsor a contest:

Naxos - Saving Classical Music Contest

This contest challenged us, the classical music listeners, to come up with suggestions on how to fix the problems the industry is currently experiencing. I participated. I didn't win, but I will be featured in the "Divertimenti" section that is coming next week, if you really want to read my letter. But, the people who did win, deserve to. They had some really good suggestions. I particularly enjoyed the letter from Grand Prize Winner Joe Long. These are a good read. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.