How to convert anything to anything online, for free (e.g. metrics, units of measurement, icons, etc.)

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The internet offers the modern human a multitude of options that previous generations didn’t have. According to a friend of mine, one of those things is the ability to immediately convert almost anything to anything, online, at one site or using one program or another.

While this is probably most useful to people who need it on a daily basis, like students, engineers, scientists and computer programmers, there’s also a lot of conversions that the average computer owner can find useful.

I took a ‘walk’ on the info super highway and while I got a lot of odd looks from drivers for walking on it, I also found some pretty interesting conversion tools I thought I would share.

 

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The first place I stumbled on was to convert kilobytes to megabytes. It has always been a wonder that the computer still occasionally shows me how big something is in kilobytes. This doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense because so much of what we manipulate on our systems now is in much larger sizes. I do have a decent idea of how many kilobytes are in a megabyte and how many megabytes are in a gigabyte, but sometimes I want to know a bit more accurately, and since I am not a genius I don’t have a conversion calculator in my head. That’s where the site Unitconversion.orgcomes in handy. You can input a specific number of kilobytes and see how many gigabytes it is, or vice versa. Simple, quick, easy. This type of utility page is the heart of the free and useful internet, in my opinion, and it’s always nice to discover another one to add to my internal database of bookmarks.

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After leaving that page I wandered around looking for something more whimsical and interesting on a lighter side. That’s when I almost surfed right passed Converticon.com before noticing it and stopping. While I have reviewed other conversion software for video and audio, one of the things I haven’t done much with is my playlists. I have a lot of them, normally somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty or so which means that my desktop is often a blur of the same VLC orange road cone over and over again. While this can be mesmerizing while I’m awake at 4am trying to finish a project, it’s not as pleasing to the eye as having separate and distinct icons for each of my playlists. This idea had occurred to me a while ago, but I hadn’t done much about it until I saw this page, which allows me to take nearly any standard image file, and convert it to a multi-size icon file, which I can then use as the custom icon for a shortcut to the playlist. It seems a complex way to do things, perhaps, but it winds up having a customized picture for each of the playlists, and when using medium or large icons on the Windows 7 desktop, gives a nice tiled feel to the workspace. I moved on, happy with the new look to my desktop.

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One of the nice things about the third site, Onlineconversion.com, is that the only ads I noticed were ones for the site itself in one way or another, mostly mentions of donations. I know that some people frown on this but some people frown on drinking coffee too. Personally, I feel that a site that avoids selling ad space in favor of asking for donations is brave and filling a specific niche in the software and online worlds. I guess it’s sort of like only eating locally grown organic foods. It just feels more … satisfying, traditional. While that kind of thing won’t work for just any website, it’s nice to see it being done when the site does have that option. The site itself is chock-full of different conversion options, from things like electric current measurements to ASCII engine conversions. Almost anything you can imagine is available to be converted on this site. This is a site that I don’t see myself visiting all the time but it’s like that one special phone number in your cell, that you’re always glad you know it when you do need it.

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So the conclusion of my little jaunt into free conversion (sounds like a new age religious movement) on the Internet showed me that you really can convert pretty much anything to anything else on there. It’s just a matter of how much time you’re willing to put into looking. As I said before, I think that sites like these, devoted to a very specific use, are an important but often overlooked part  of the Internet, beneath the slick veneer of e-commerce and advertising that we see more regularly. One could not exist without the other, but it’s nice to know your way around both ends of the street, so to speak.

Until next time, my friends.