- Cool Websites and Tools [June 10th]
- Join MakeUseOf On Facebook!
- How To Have The Functionality Of A CMS On Any Old Website
- Quickly & Easily Add Safari’s Reader Feature To Chrome & Firefox
- The 4 Useful Features Of The New Safari 5 Browser
- Post Jobs On Your Website & Get Referral Payments With JobCoin
- 10 Cool Tips, Tricks & Clever Uses Of The Bing Search Engine
- 7 Fabulous Gmail Labs Extensions You Must Check Out
- NoVirusThanks Malware Remover – A Fast Alternative To MalwareBytes
Posted: 10 Jun 2010 08:31 PM PDT
These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.
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Posted: 10 Jun 2010 06:30 PM PDT
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Posted: 10 Jun 2010 04:31 PM PDT
A CMS gives a website designer the ability to design a site and then just show the customer (or department head or whomever) how to do the content updates himself. With a site built on a CMS, the less tech-savvy can more easily manage the content themselves. Hence the name “content management system.”
What if you could find one of those free website templates on the Internet and easily and quickly set up the content to be edited just like a CMS? Now, believe it or not, it is possible.
please note: this article is geared towards those who have prior knowledge about setting websites up. The idea is to be able to set up the site so you can hand it off to someone who doesn’t possess web design skills so they can handle the content management aspects of the site themselves.
For the purposes of this tutorial, I will be downloading any old free website template I can find on the Internet. Obviously if you are a designer and have designed a site already, you are a step ahead.
Step One: Downloading & Installing The Website Template
I googled for free website templates and choose this one for no particular reason.
If you are familiar with setting up websites then this step should be fairly easy. All I did was unzip the website files, changed the index.html file to a PHP file and uploaded everything to the web server via FileZilla.
I changed the file to a PHP file because the embed code we will be using later will be PHP. This way we shouldn’t have any issues.
Step Two: Decide The Pages To Be Controlled Via CMS & Create Them
Not being much of a coder or web designer myself, I cheated and grabbed the text from the index file instead of starting from scratch. You may want to decide what you will be calling each of the page files so you can set up the navigation links before grabbing the text from the index.php file.
Notice that I only set up the aboutus.php file for this test but you will want to set up all of your pages in the same way.
OK, so now I have both an index.php file and an aboutus.php file. I scrolled down and found the boxes of information that I either wanted to be controlled by the CMS or I wanted to delete all together. If you know enough about code, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. The box I want to be controlled, I just deleted the default information and made space for the embed code. You will soon see what we will be doing so hang on.
Step Three: Download The Software & Upload It To Your Server
The cool part about this step is that there is no installation needed and no tables are created. Mad cool, huh?
Head over to the Pulse CMS website and download the zip file.
Unzip the folder. Before uploading the folder to your server, you’ll want to edit the “includes/config.php” file and change the default password.
Once finished with that, upload the folder to the directory containing the website files. Now you should be able to log in by going to that directory (anysite.com/pulse).
Step Four: Set Up Blocks, Grab Embed Codes & Insert Them In Pages
A block is what they call an editable region on your website. Since I am setting up an About Us page to be modified via the CMS, that is the block I will be working on. In fact, when you first log into your pulse directory, you’ll notice that there is already a block set up called “About.html” which is why I chose the About Us page for this tutorial.
For the sake of ease, I will be leaving the block the way it is:
And just grabbing the embed code:
Then, since the files we created are PHP files now, you should have no problem with the code being read once you paste it in place.
Now, any block you have set up should contain content that can be modified simply by logging into the /pulse directory and making the appropriate changes.
Pulse CMS has an interface that, similar to Wordpress, is about as easy as using a word processor. As a web designer, you should be able to hand over the login details to the pulse directory to a less tech- or design-savvy person and quickly show them how to make updates themselves.
Do you know of any other, perhaps easier ways to set up a site for easy content management? Please share!
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Posted: 10 Jun 2010 02:31 PM PDT
I’m sure you’re wondering: how long will Chrome and Firefox users have to wait to get such a feature?
The answer is about twenty seconds. The good folks over at OMG! Ubuntu! managed to find a Reader-like plugin, called Readability, that works for both Chrome and Firefox. They may be a Ubuntu blog, but don't worry: this guide brings the feature to Windows and Mac fans of Chrome and Firefox as well.
Getting started is dead-simple. Just head over the the download site – here for Chrome, and here for Firefox – and you’re good to go. Once the plugin is installed you can quickly convert any webpage into a readable article with the click of a button – on the right side of the statusbar at the bottom of the window for Firefox users and to the right of the address bar for Chrome users.
If you’re reading Wikipedia, for example, you can turn this:
As you can see everything is removed but the article itself. Combine this with your browser’s full-screen function and you can very quickly make your laptop or netbook feel like a full-blown ebook reader.
With some sites you’ll retain your pictures within the articles – this was true for me with Slate and MakeUseOf, for example. With other sites pictures will disappear completely – this was the case for me with The Economist and The New York Times.
There are very few options that need to be configured to use Readability, but there are a few. You can customize the look of the re-worked webpages within certain constraints. There are five main themes you can pick from, and you can also configure the size of the font and the width of the margins. To configure these options simply right-click the Readability icon to bring up the preferences.
Readability Is Not A Reader Clone
The article recognition technology these plugins use is powered by the webapp Readability. Hilariously enough, Safari’s “Reader” function is also based on Readability, which is an open source project under the Apache 2 license. That’s right: Apple lifted the code from the Readability project.
Readability isn’t just similar to Safari’s reader; it’s pretty much identical. And as it turns out the Readability team was never notified Apple was making use of it’s code. Totally legal under the terms of the Apache license, but kind of odd I think.
There is a similar tool to this we’ve featured previously at MakeUseOf: Instapaper. David wrote all about it in a piece called “Manage Your Bookmarks & Reading List with Instapaper”
Readability certainly makes the web more readable, but some content providers are worried it will cost them advertising revenue. Wired even wrote a piece accusing Apple of integrating the service into its browser specifically to scare online publications into creating iOS apps.
For me Readability isn’t cool for its ability to block ads, however; it’s cool for its ability to clean up a given page’s format and let me focus on the thing that matters: content. I’ll still look at the ads when I open the page, and will even click through if I find them relevant.
What do you think? Is Readability a good or a bad thing for sites like MakeUseOf? Are you less likely to look at ads if you use it? Or are you already a die-hard Adblock user who forgot the web ever had advertising to being with?
Additionally, do you think this is a useful tool, or mostly useless? Sharing in the comments below is awesome, so you should do that.
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Posted: 10 Jun 2010 12:31 PM PDT
While the new feature updates are not ground breaking, they are pretty good enhancements for browsing the net. Let’s take a look at them.
Probably one of the most useful new features is the Safari Reader. It appears as a button in the URL field, or you can access by selecting View> Enter Reader.
Basically when it's activated, it provides a clean read-only version of an article, stripping away ads and other perhaps distracting content of a selected webpage. It delivers up a PDF-like version of an article. It only works when a single article is downloaded on a page, not when there's a series of articles on a page.
In Reader view, you can print articles more easily as PDFs or email them as you did in the previous version of Safari. When you select Print from the File menu, the Reader version is ready for printing. Interestingly, however, you still have to use the old method of saving a webpage as a PDF. You can't save the Reader version without first converting the page to PDF.
Safari Reader is a very nice feature, but I wish Apple had included a way to annotate webpages in Reader view.
Bing Search Engine
Safari 5 also now includes Bing search, in addition to Google and Yahoo!, in the browser search field. You can select which search engine you want to use before or after you type a query into the Smart Search Field.
If you prefer to have Bing or Yahoo as your default search, simply open up Safari preferences and make that change.
Whenever you want to keep Safari from recording the websites you visit and the username and passwords you enter into a website, you probably know that you just select Safari> Private Browsing.
Well, now when you activate Private Browsing, a button appears in the URL field so that you can easily deactivate it when you no longer want to browse in Private mode. This is not a significant update, but if you need to access Private browsing throughout the day, say at work, it could be a very useful reminder.
Smarter Address Field
If you're constantly searching for websites that you recently visited, Safari 5's Smart Address field can assist you. When you type in the URL or search field a few related words for the site you looking for, Safari will make suggestions of possible related websites.
There are numerous other upgrades in Safari 5, including, according to Apple, a significant performance boost of the browser, greater support for HTML5, and the inclusion of what is called Extension Builder, which makes it easier for extension developers to package and distribute its extensions for installation.
So, MUO readers, how significant are these updates to you as a Safari user? Is there a particular new feature that you will use on a regular basis? Let us know.
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Posted: 10 Jun 2010 11:31 AM PDT
This new approach requires very little work on your part, but it does require that you have a website or blog with a fair number of readers interested in a particular topic. You’ll find this opportunity at JobCoin, a very cool service that acts as a “middleman” for both businesses and companies looking for wide exposure for their job ads, and online publishers like you who have both web space and a readership interested in applying for those jobs.
Signing Up For Your Customized Job Board
In this example, I’m going to use JobCoin to generate a custom website geared specifically for my readers at FreeWritingCenter. My readers there are typically online writers and bloggers who are interested in SEO tips and earning money online.
When you first visit JobCoin and click to sign up, you immediately start out by defining the look and feel of your job board widget. You can make it a larger full-page listing, or a sidebar menu listing. In my case I want to fit the job listings into the right menu, so I chose the vertical widget listing 4 jobs.
Then, it’s just a matter of filling out your personal details to create your account, and your default widget is pretty much set to go.
If you leave your widget as it is, it’ll show up on your site completely blank, with a link for employers to click on to post ads on your site. If you’d like to populate your widget with existing jobs from the JobCoin job network, the next step in the setup process lets you do that. Target the job listings toward what your readers are interested in by searching on the keywords that apply to your blog or website.
Select the jobs that apply to your site content, and then click to preview the job listings. On the preview page you have the option to include each (or all) job listings on your particular widget. When you are in your JobCoin account, you can click on the “Manage Jobs” tab to see all of the jobs you’ve allowed on your job board.
As you can see, you have full control over what ads are listed on your site. It isn’t like Google Adsense where the ads that show up are pretty random, and from a list that someone else puts together based on your content. You get to choose the specific job ads that really apply to the jobs that you believe your readers are looking for.
When you’re done configuring your widget you can just highlight the embed code and paste it in your site. In the case of Wordpress, if you’re pasting it into the sidebar, you can simply add a text/HTML widget and paste in the code.
Once you copy and past the embed code into your website, the job listings will show up immediately. Here is what the job ads look like in the sidebar of my blog.
If you don’t want to apply any free job ads to your site, then you can leave the selected jobs unselected and just wait for employers to purchase job ad space on your site. If you do this, your widget will start out looking like this.
When a potential employer clicks on your link, showing a desire to purchase job ad space on your website, they are whisked off to a personalized job posting form that applies exclusively to your website and your website alone.
Currently, the revenue sharing system that JobCoin offers is very fair considering that they do all of the hosting and management of all job ads. Once an employer purchases ad space on your site, JobCoin processes the submitted and ad and payment and lists the ad on your site. You receive 70 percent of the revenue for offering up your web space, while JobCoin takes 30 percent for their efforts.
All-in-all, it’s a very fair and hands off approach where you can make some decent cash simply by offering your readers a useful job hunting resource.
The cool thing about this setup is that you’re completely in control of everything. You can alter the pricing (anything over a minimum of $99), as well as the period that the job posting will apply. If you have lower traffic, you should maintain appropriately low pricing, but if you have significant traffic – obviously employers will understand that they need to pay more for the wider audience. You can even offer occasional discounts to entice potential employers to post ads on your job board.
In your JobCoin account, when you click on the “Status” tab, you’ll see your earnings from month to month, so you can see how well your job board is doing and whether it’s generating any income for you.
Hosting a job board on your blog or website doesn’t have to be a complicated programming job. By taking advantage of JobCoin’s job board hosting offer, you can have a valuable job hunting resource for your readers, and you can also enjoy a tidy stream of income from all of the employers who post their ads on your board. It’s a perfect match and a great use of your web space.
Have you ever used JobCoin? Do you know of any other job board hosting services like it? Share your experiences and opinions in the comments section below.
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Posted: 10 Jun 2010 10:31 AM PDT
As for the quality of search, the results are comparable if not better than Google’s results in most cases. In any case, you can certainly expect Bing to stay around for quite some time unlike other search engines that have tried to challenge Google.
Turn Off The Background Image
If for any reason you want to turn off the background image, you can do so by visiting www.bing.com/?rb=0. For convenience you can also bookmark this page so that you are taken to it automatically the next time you want to search on Bing.
Generate An RSS Feed For Search Results
You can easily create an RSS feed for search results of any query by simply appending ‘&format=rss‘ at the end of the search query in the address bar of the browser.
Get A Weather Forecast
You can get weather forecasts from the Bing search box by typing the name of the city followed by weather or forecast. For example, New Delhi forecast would give you the weather forecast for New Delhi.
Additionally you can suffix units of measurement to get the results according to your preference. New Delhi weather celsius for example would give you the same result but in Celsius this time.
Calculations, Units & Currency Conversion
Google does it and now Bing does it as well. Nothing fancy about conversions. You key in the value or equation and the units and the Bing search engine will give you the solution as the result of the search query. 220 km in miles would return 137.76. Similarly currency conversions and mathematical equations work just as well.
Add Your Preference For A Particular Result Type
You can use the prefer:<keyword> option to give additional weightage to results that contain the keyword. Say you are looking for content management systems, but you are interested in PHP CMS(es) all the more. In such a case you can search for content management system prefer:php to refine your search and give more weightage or importance to PHP CMS(es).
Using Bing you can also track flights easily. All that is required is the airline name and the flight number. Enter ‘flight status‘ in the search box and Bing will prompt you for the airline and flight number. Key them in and click on get status to get the status of a flight.
Search Sites With A Specific Filetype
You can add contains:<fileExtension> to any search query to return results only from the sites that contain a file of the said extension. For example, mercurial guide contains:pdf would return results from sites which have a PDF file hosted on them.
Limit Search Results To A Specific Country
Search engines by default provide you with an option to search only pages from your country. Using the local version of Bing, I for example get the option to search only pages from India. But what if you want to search webpages from other countries?
You can use the ‘loc‘ operator to achieve this. archaeology loc:US for example will return pages containing archeology, but limit the results to pages from the US only.
Get Live Stock Quotes
You can enter the ticker symbol along with the word stock to get the stock quotes. AAPL stock for example would return the stock quote for Apple.
See If Your Site Is Indexed & How Many Pages
You can quickly check to see if your site has been indexed by Bing by using the “url” keyword. url:yoursite.com will let you see if your site has been indexed by Bing or not. On the other hand if you want to see how many pages of your site have been indexed you can use the “site” keyword along with your site name. site:yoursite.com would return all the pages from your site that are present in Bing’s index.
Its your turn now. You might have discovered little tricks of your own with the Bing search engine that have not been mentioned in the article. Feel free to share them with us in the comments. We would love to hear about them.
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Posted: 10 Jun 2010 09:31 AM PDT
These extensions are Gmail features that may not yet be ready for mass adoption or may entice only the power users. Nevertheless, almost all of the extensions tend to be downright amazing and we at MakeUseOf have covered the best among the lot at regular intervals.
Google Docs Previews In Mail
Google Docs is gaining a lot of fans because of its collaboration features, cloud sync and being free for all. However, the Google Docs URL loads a bit slower than the rest of the Google services. This extension solves the problem for you.
If you receive an email with links of Google documents, spreadsheets and presentations, you can preview them right from the Gmail window without going through the hassle of opening Google Docs in a separate window.
The labels feature is awesome. We can have a label named “Buck” and archive all our financial correspondence in it. But wouldn’t it be nice to have sub folders (child labels) for credit card bills, bank account statements and so on?
Well that’s precisely what the nested labels Gmail extension does. To add a child label use the following syntax – Label/child label. For example, to create a child label named CC under the label named Buck, you will have to type “Buck/CC“, without quotes and voila! we now have a shiny new sub folder.
Default Text Styling
The default font and color of Gmail not hip enough for you? Well now you can spice up your email with a bunch of fonts, colors and sizes with this extension. After enabling this extension from the Labs section, head over to the General section and you can go nuts and create your very own text style.
Custom Date Format
The only thing I find difficult with the default US Language settings of Gmail is the MM/DD/YY date format. If you are from a different hemisphere and you have got used to the DD/MM/YY format, this extension helps you change the date and time formats just the way you like it. No more confusion as to whether 5/3/10 refers to March 5, 2010 or May 3, 2010.
Google Voice Player
When you receive a voice mail in your Google Voice service, you will get an immediate email notification. With this extension enabled, you can play the voice mail right from the notification email without having to leave the Gmail window.
Filters help us bring control to email overload. Do you think emails from eBay auctions are not mission critical? You can create a filter for that email ID and archive it in a label. Now whenever you get an email from that mail ID it will be automatically archived in the label, leaving the inbox only for mails from your boss and family members.
Do you have a lot of productive filters like this and want to use them in a new Gmail address you are setting up? Or do you want to share them with friends & family? Enable this extension and head over to the filters section to export them in a XML file. Filters can also be imported from this page.
Hide Read Labels
Over a period of time, we end up creating a number of labels in our Gmail inbox and at times we might feel that they are getting in our way during a busy day. The Hide Read Labels extension moves Labels without any unread emails out of sight, in the More Labels drop down. When a new email comes in, the respective label will pop back in the visible labels list.
All of these Gmail extensions are also available at Google Apps too. Enabling or disabling these extensions are as simple as selecting the respective radio button.
Which one of the Gmail Labs extensions is your favorite? If you are using a great extension that we have not yet featured, you can share it with us in the comments section.
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Posted: 10 Jun 2010 08:31 AM PDT
The only disadvantage of Malwarebytes is that it takes a long time to run a full scan. I have started using NoVirusThanks before running Malwarebytes and it is pretty quick and catches a lot of infections.
Let's take a look at it. You start by downloading the free malware remover from here. It is 1.2MB and downloads pretty quickly.
The authors describe the free malware remover as follows:
Next you will see this screen:
We see a standard antivirus-like scanning interface. Before we start the scan we will take a look at how to configure and update the application. Click on the settings tab near the top left of the window. That will take you to the settings page where you will see the following:
In the general tab we have three options. The first one that reduces the applications memory usage will indeed use less resources but your scan will take longer. This is better on slower (older) machines. Work in background will minimize the application to a system tray icon and the final option I feel is a must after installation. Auto update database before scan will automatically download the newest update before it starts scanning. This is a no-brainer.
The next tab is the scan tab which contains options about your scan. The scan type I would leave on quick scan unless you will be leaving the machine for a long period of time. The full scan takes much longer to run but is much more intensive. The limits of scanning files less than 5MB and only scanning well known file extensions will speed up your scan but they can be unchecked when your scan is run.
At the bottom of the settings we have four options. The only one that is not selected by default is to use their Paranoid scan. This will scan EVERYTHING and takes a very long time. Again if you will be leaving the machine for 12+ hours to return the next day then it can't hurt. If you want a quick scan then do not check this option.
The report option only has one tab which is enabled by default to save the report when the scan is finished. The backup tab allows for two options. They are to backup files before deleting them and to alert the user if a backup fails. These options are checked by default and should be left alone.
Under the last settings tab entitled delete there are two options that are disabled by default. Use aggressive deletion. This will kill files even if they are in use or somehow protected. This is a good option to use when infected files were not able to be removed after the first scan. The second option is to create a system restore point before deleting files. This option I check before running the application.
If you did not check the check box to automatically update the database before scanning you will need to go to the update tab and manually update the definitions like so:
If you need to change your interface's language you can do so via the language tab.
Now we are ready to run our scan. Click back over to the scan tab and press the scan button show below:
The status of the scan will update at the bottom of the interface. If you have the update database before scan option selected it will do that first:
And then it will start scanning. As it finds suspicious files it will list them in the grid:
When it is complete hopefully you are all clean like I was but if not simply hit the remove button to start the removal procedure. My scan on a 200GB SATA drive took about 27 minutes. Not too shabby! I have tested it on some heavily infected machines and it really did its job.
What do you think of NoVirusThanks? Do you have another free malware remover that you use? Let us know in the comments.
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