the internet ideas blog

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chris' Favorite Web-Based Tools

I missed last week's blog post, sorry guys!I figured to make up for it I'd do a blog post that may actually have some residual impact on your lives by offering you some of my favorite websites & solutions to daily problems you may not already know about.

To be clear, I am in no way affiliated with or benefit from any of these recommendations. Just things I use in my day-to-day that you may find useful. If you've got something you think does the job better, post it in the comments!

Buy Me a Pie ( is a "cloud-based" shopping list. You can use your android or iOS based mobile device, or alternatively use your computer's web browser to update a shopping list. One of the great things about this is you can have a group (i.e. household) of individuals able to edit a single list. My roommate and I have used it for several months now, and it's been incredibly helpful in keeping track of things we run out of and every time I stop by the store I can just whip out my phone, look at the list and have an up to date list of things we've run out of. I use the web-based editor (found at the website after logging in) to create my lists, then I can access the list from my cellphone at the grocery store, but you can figure out a system that works for you. 

Mint ( is an absolutely fantastic piece of budgeting software that connects to most bank accounts with online banking. It displays your purchases, categorizes them, and allows you to review your spending habits. This has sincerely changed the way I handle my money, and given me a new sense of control I hadn't had before. If you've already got a system for keeping your spending in check, I applaud you, if not, check out Mint to see if it can help.

Tubalr ( so when I said I wasn't affiliated with anyone on this list, I guess I lied, because I have been very good friends with the owner/developer of this website for the better part of a decade. What Cody has done is created a program that will instantly create a playlist of YouTube videos based off of your search queries. He's also developed the ability to "stream" the videos you're watching through a "DJ" mode. I use this quite a bit for new music searches. Since there are so many playlists based off of music communities where individuals are sharing "rare gems" (mostly reddit) there's always a lot of underground music you'd NEVER hear otherwise. Worth checking out if you're tired of Pandora playing the same 30 songs over and over.

MyFitnessPal ( if you're one of the seemingly millions of people who make the weight-loss commitment every new years, but just can't seem to keep it together long enough to achieve results, this website may be able to help. It allows you to log all of your caloric activity, both intake and expenditure. There are apps for your phone as well, but since I spend so much time in front of a computer, I just use the browser based application. If you're serious about your resolution but feel a little overwhelmed, this application can make it so much easier to stay organized & diligent.

My Fridge Food ( this allows you to select items currently in your cupboard/fridge/pantry and then gives you a list of recipes that you can prepare with the things you have, or with minimal purchasing of new food stuffs. If you're as unimaginative in the kitchen as I am this website may make it onto your favorites list, as it has mine.

So there you go. Five web-based products that really can change the way you live your day-to-day life. If you start using them and have any questions about how to use them, don't hesitate to ask. I'm always happy to help.

If you've got a great idea of your own and want help bringing it to life, I can help with that too. Feel free to call Teajai or I and we'd be happy to discuss your ideas and see if we can't turn your idea into one of my favorite web-based tools. Hope everyone's having a good year so far, let's see how much we can get accomplished together.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Goals for 2013

2013 is here! 

Hi! Chris here.... Just so you know.

Hard to believe it's already the third morning of 2013. I'm getting a late start on setting goals.. I'm sure there's some sort of irony in that.

Most of these goals are going to be professionally motivated, but I'll try to slip in a couple personal ones so the read isn't too dry.

1) First I think I'd like to make it a goal of mine for 2013 to review this list of goals & check on my progress on the 3rd day of every month. Hey look at that, 12 free blog posts this year that I don't even have to ponder about. Success!

2) Learn a new programming language. I'll probably go with something like Ruby on Rails. This will expand our programming horizons here in the office in the sense that we'll be more capable of creating small lightweight "web-apps" very quickly & with a robust security and feature suite. So yeah.. New programming language. I'd like to have a test application up by my March that I'll provide a link for, that way you guys can help me keep track of that and call me out if I don't deliver. If on March the 3rd I'm not posting up a link for you guys to play around with, call me out on it.

3) To expand on my very limited design capabilities. As most of you reading this know, Teajai is our creative mind. She's also the marketing director, the company's finance manager & client liaison to several of our most involved clients. She's a busy lady! I think it would be in the interest of the company if I developed the ability to start creating web templates. I'll start uploading some samples of work for you guys here soon.. No deadline on this one. I'll definitely create the layout for the Ruby on Rails web app discussed above in #2 so we can all laugh at how rudimentary my design abilities are.

4) Read a book a month. Fiction book. I don't typically do fiction books, I like reading then applying my new knowledge. Couldn't tell you why I've never been a big fiction reader. I think this will be a good exercise for me though. If you have any recommendations then feel free to share them with me in the comments.

5) Create an updated suite of web content systems for our clients. First and most importantly to me is I'd like to redevelop our shopping cart solution. I think we need more sales report functionality so I'd like to expand on that. Second is a full featured content management system, but secretly I've already made quite a bit of progress on this. (queue evil laugh)

6) Actually do all of these things.

Most of these you guys are more than capable of helping keep me honest on. So don't hesitate to check in on me and shoot an email asking how progress on any number of these are coming. I'm tempted to create some sort of application that will send an email (or maybe a text?) randomly throughout the year reminding you of your convictions.. Sort of funny that we need reminders of our convictions, but that's another blog post.

I hope all is well for you & yours, and AS ALWAYS, if there's anything you need help with as we're all ramping up for the new year, let Teajai or I know. We're happy to help & excited to grab this year by the horns.
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