Cool Tools - Blisk and Word Flow

Published Sep 9, 2016 (7 years ago)
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The last modifications of this post were around 7 years ago, some information may be outdated!

I'm always on the lookout for some cool tools that help me work that much smarter or sometimes are just fun. There are two that I've been warming up to more and more lately: Blisk (Windows, Mac) and Word Flow (iOS)

Blisk - Develop and test websites that look great and work fine on any device

Nowadays, nearly every web site or app I work on is designed to be responsive. Mobile is taking over at a blistering pace and have a responsive site seems like a no brainer, especially with frameworks like Zurb Foundation to help make thing happen quick and easy. Testing your site on mobile can be a huge pain. Yes, you can simply drag your browser window to make it skinny to simulate mobile, and the developer tools provide settings, but it can be a bit of a hassle and all of the mobile platforms have their own sizing idosyncracies.

Enter Blisk. It provides fully emulated phones and tables within the web browser that sits right next to you. A picture is worth a thousand words (and devices):


You can instantly see what your site looks like on mobile AND on the desktop at the same time. There are tons of device options to emulate, both phone and tablet based. You can also have actions/scrolling sync so you can track the same actions/functionality without having to click in both places. Blisk is using the Google Chrome browser as a shell for all of this, so you instantly have access to all of their dev tool goodness to tweak on stylesheets, debug javascript, and everything else. I just might have to retire Firefox Developer Edition for this.

Microsoft Word Flow Keyboard

The thing I love about my Nexus tablet, and old Android phone, was the "swipe" method of typing. It took a small amount of adjustment, but once I was used to it things went so much faster with my typing. The word predictability was pretty strong as well, so there weren't many corrections to be made. Once I switched, I was stuck with the old two finger typing, or rather slow single thumb typing.

Interestingly enough, as I was following up on my blog post earlier this week about Microsoft Apps on Apple platforms, I stumbled across Word Flow. It's a free keyboard that enhances your typing productivity. It has the swipe mechanics in place, and even does some rather crazy things like providing easy access to an animated gif library (since we like to send our giffies nowadays), your contacts, and more. But the thing that REALLY caught my eye was this:


Yep, you can "bend" the keyboard to the let or the right to provide easier access to that single thumb typing you do so often. Swipe function works just fine in this mode, and you can easily "straighten" the keyboard with a swipe of the thumb if you need to go into traditional mode. Admittedly I've only been using this for a couple of days, but I picked it up immediately and have been swiping away with fury! Kudos Microsoft!

So there's a couple of things to help you through your day to day life. What other cool tools are you using? I'd like to know!