Monday, February 17, 2014

Improving Your Writing

If you write English language content intended for someone else to read (blogs, web articles, reports, novels, etc.), then there are some very useful and free, online tools available…

Hemingway - A free, online application that helps make your writing bold and clear by:
  • highlighting long, complex sentences and common errors 
  • highlighting adverbs - pick verbs with force instead
  • showing you where a shorter word will do
  • Highlighting phrases in the passive voice
Expresso - A little tool to edit texts and improve your writing style. It will teach you to express yourself through writing more efficiently and help make your texts more readable, precise, and engaging. - An online app that can check text or URLs for readability, based on the Flesch-Kincaid tests. Also shows text stats and readbility scores based on the Gunning-Fog Index, Coleman-Liau Index, SMOG Index and the Automated Readability Index (ARI). A premium account will let you do batch runs and upload documents for checking.

WordsCount - A free, online readability checker that handles up about 15,000 words and uses the CLEAR method as well as the SMOG, Gunning-Fog and ARI tests.

Slick Write - a free online tool that checks your writing for potential stylistic mistakes and other features of interest. It also has extensions for LibreOffice, Open Office, Chrome, Firefox and WordPress.

The Readability Test Tool - An online app that can check text or URLs against the Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning-Fog, Coleman-Liau and ARI tests.

Some other useful resources are:
NB: Microsoft Office now has built-in readability statistics for Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level but these have to be enabled in the Proofing preferences.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Stroll Round Balgray Reservoir

​Despite the weather forecast predicting a miserable day, we woke up to a sunny and seriously cold morning, all blue skied and bright, so after lunch we drove over the slightly scary road from Neilston to Balgray Reservoir in the Dams to Darnley Country Park.

Balgray ReservoirBalgray Reservoir

So, far from being drenched with rain, we had a decent stroll across the dam to Aurs Road and back again, around the edge of the reservoir up as far as Aurs Road on the other side. Not a huge walk by any standards but a decent taster as our first foray into the park.
There was a smattering of snow on the ground and wildlife sitings include a flock of lapwings, a pair of mute swans and a great crested grebe.

Mute SwansMute Swans

Great Crested GrebeGreat Crested Grebe

All images of the day are here -

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Jumbled Box Bookmark Roundup, 4/9/2011

A couple of very useful tools for the photographers this time and a few other interesting finds… 



A free, online image editing utility boasting that it can reduce the file size of your photos by up to 5x, while keeping their original quality and JPEG format! Useful for e-mailing photos and reducing your storage requirements.

tags: web utility free photo photography


A free, open-source, RAW image converter and digital photo processing application. It's also cross-platform, with versions for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux, and almost all dSLRs and even some medium format bodies are supported.

tags:software windows freeware photography application macintosh Linux

The rest…

My Council Services

An online incident reporting service so you can let your local UK authority or council know about stuff like abandoned cars, road or pavement damage, uncollected rubbish, fly-tipping, broken street-lights, etc. You can track the progress of your submission and there's also an iPhone app version too.

tags: uk government ios application software freeware web service


A large, searchable and catagorized, directory of free-to-watch online documentaries. All media is embedded from other websites such as YouTube, Dailymotion, Guba, Tudou, MegaVideo, Veoh, Youku, etc.

tags: free video reference tv


A free Firefox and Chrome browser add-on that seamlessly organizes all the articles you want to read into text, removing all the annoying ads and popups, and then converts it to PDF format and e-mails you the magazine at the end of the day.

tags: free web pdf utility conversion


Need help tracking down an old or lost bank or building society account? This is a free service that brings together the three main account tracing schemes of the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments into a single website. 

Together, they represent most of the firms that offer savings and current accounts in the UK so ,if you need to trace a lost account, then this is the place to start.

tags: web service free banking finance saving

Hunch FM

Yet another free streaming music service. This time from web recommendation service Hunch - just pick a genre and get listening.

tags: web service music streaming free

An open database, editable by anyone, of television shows. Includes series and episode guides.

tags: tv database directory

The Glaswegian

A local, weekly, free Glasgow newspaper for keeping up with news, entertainment and sport in and around Glasgow.

tags: newspaper media free glasgow scotland

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Jumbled Box Bookmark Roundup, 28/08/2011

Not a great deal of new sites this week. A music streamer, some aeroplane seating guides and an esoteric, arty colour tool.


A free social  media discovery too that lets you play music and watch videos with your friends in real time. Create listening rooms with an international audience where you can chat about what's playing and vote up or down.

With a library of over 325 million songs and videos and filters for the most popular, most watched, and most discussed videos and playlists, you can easily search for videos, playlists and new users to follow.

tags: free web service sharing music social video facebook twitter

Next, while overlooking a workmates attempts to book some flights, I hooked onto a flurry of aeroplane seating sites like SeatGuru, SeatExpert, Best Plane Seat and Seatmaestro

These sites cover such things as seating plans for almost all of the world's airlines and aircraft, tips to have the best possible travel experience when you fly. You can find out which is the best row or side on just about any aircraft, how much room you'll get, what the inflight service is like, etc.

tags: travel transportation flight information airline

the color of

This is an attempt to find out the colour of anything by querying and aggregating image data from Flickr. It's an attempt at answering a potentially complex and abstract question in an objective manner, by using simple algorithms on data originating from subjective human perceptions.

All you need to do is enter a word, phrase, idea or concept and it'll return with its idea of a matching colour artwork for that, which you can actually buy if you want to.

tags: photo design art web free utility image

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my collected links are here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Jumbled Box Bookmark Roundup, 21/8/11

Quite a few online writing aids this week, a price comparison site, a web photo slideshow and a book recommendation engine.


A free, online spelling and grammar checker for English configured to give results aimed at those learning English as a second language although you can turn that feature off. There are also sister sites for French and Spanish learners/speakers - BonPatron and SpanishChecker

tags: free web utility writing

Ginger Software

A publisher of grammar and spell checking software with free, online grammar checker, spelling checker and proofreading services.

tags: free web utility writing

Another free, online spelling, grammar and thesaurus checker. It even handles handles all four variations of English (Australian, British, Canadian and American) as well as over 20 other languages.

tags: free web utility writing

Paper Rater

Designed to help students improve their writing, this excellent free, online grammar and spelling checker, proofreader and plagiarism detector is well worth checking out.

tags: free web utility writing

After the Deadline

A free, open-source, online spelling, writing style and grammar checker with implementations as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, plug-ins for WordPress and JQuery and as an extension for OpenOffice. You can even download and run the server software on your own installation if desired.

tags: freeware software web service writing


A UK online shopping deals and price comparison site covering most consumer goods. Has French, German, Australian and US sites too. Other, similar sites worth checking out are listed here.

tags: UK pricecomparison electrical electronic hardware accessory audio computing video home clothing photography usa germany france australia


A free web photo slideshow service to let you share your pictures more elegantly. Create your own viewing experience with custom themed backgrounds and music. You can also join your photo albums with your friends and produce social slide-shows.

It currently supports importing photos directly from your Facebook account and will soon include PicasaWeb, Flickr and Photobucket. The developers are also looking into enhancements like 3D imaging, de-blurring and sharpening, images comparison and more.

tags: photography free web service sharing gallery photo


A question and answer service where you are presented with a book or list of books that are deemed best able to answer your question. In effect, it's a book recommendation service that connects questions with books that answer them. It also defines books with questions they answer well.

tags: book literature search web utility

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jumbled Box Bookmark Roundup - 14/8/2011

This week, we have a few useful book/e-book oriented sites, a utility to find lost or stolen cameras and a general information site.
tags: book pricecomparison uk

A useful book price-comparison service that searches the UK's online book stores to allow you to find the cheapest supplier.

Click here for over 20 similar sites.

GadgetTrak Camera Serial Search
tags: web service free photography hardware security

Lost your digital camera or had it stolen? Every picture taken by a digital camera has the serial number embedded in its EXIF data and this free web utility will help you by searching the web for photos taken by a specific camera.

You could also try similar site stolencamerafinder.

Kindle Cloud Reader
tags: web application kindle ipad ebook
Amazon's web application to let you read your Kindle books online - no need for an application or even a Kindle. Browser support is limited to Google Chrome and Apple Safari at the moment though, which is a bit of a pity. On the plus side, you can continue reading offline and it's optimized for the iPad.

tags: web utility kindle free
A simple web utility to instantly send any web page to your Amazon Kindle. It's a bookmarklet that works with most modern browsers including: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera with a version for Internet Explorer coming soon.
It also offers enhanced text readability as every page you send to your Kindle is processed to make it easier to read, removing all unnecessary content including ads, polls and banners, while leaving the main content and images intact.
There's also SENDtoREADER Periodicals, which aggregates any RSS feeds you want to get on your Kindle, composes all those feeds' content into a single, easy-to-navigate document and, at a time set by you, sends it to your Kindle.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Weekly Bookmark Roundup - 7/8/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.