Friday, June 18, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [June 17th]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [June 17th]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [June 17th]

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 08:31 PM PDT

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. All listed websites are FREE (or come with a decent free account option). No trials or buy-to-use craplets. For more cool websites and web app reviews subscribe to MakeUseOf Directory.

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Gpanion – Many of us have set our homepage to Google. While the minimalist style of the Google homepage suits everybody at first, users of Google's other services require more. For example Google Calendar users will find it convenient if the Google homepage had a Calendar link on the side. Gpanion provides something similar. Read more: Gpanion: Sleek Homepage With All Google Services On One Page.


Openbook – Facebook is great to keep in touch with friends and family but what used to be a fairly private service is now becoming increasingly public. Openbook acts as a demonstration of this. This service allows you to search Facebook status updates published to the Internet every day. Read more: Openbook: Search Facebook Status Updates You Didn't Know Were Public.



Quizinator – Teachers lecture classes on the same subject that might range over different grades. Managing all the assignment questions and test papers can become quite hectic. Creating these papers in the first place is also difficult especially when the tests involve pictures and diagrams. To simplify the entire process for teachers, Quizinator was created. Read more: Quizinator: Create, Store & Print Worksheets, Studysheets, Exams And Quizzes Online.



ForumLogr – Dead simple search engine for forums. It crawls and gets content from over 650 forums on the web ranging from technology to shopping to health care. The neat interface lets you search or browse through forum threads quickly and without any hassle. Read more: ForumLogr: Search 650+ Leading Internet Forums at Once.



Chrometic – Since there are many types of colorblindness, color blind people are often unable to define which colors they are seeing. If you know a color blind person you might be curious as to how they see the world, which colors are visible to them and which are not. Chrometric can be employed to find all that out. Read more: Chrometric: Check How Colorblind People See Webpages.


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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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10 Free Android Apps A Busy Mom Will Love

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 06:31 PM PDT

free android appsMotherhood is hands down the toughest job this corner of the universe. Moms are the Chief Family Officers of the household and are literally on call 24/7 for oh lets see –18+ years?

The good news is that like others who hold “C” class titles, we moms can use our Androids and a few of its nifty little apps to make our homes more organized, time better managed and when it’s all said and done, our lives easier!

Here are 10 totally free and totally cool Android apps that are perfect for Mom:


free android appsIs the husband always forgetting to pick up the milk on his way home from work and everything else on that grocery list you stuffed into his lunchbox which he accidently threw away after eating? No more with the OurGroceries app.

Create multiple lists for different stores and send them directly to your husband’s Android. My favorite feature of this free Android app? Enter in a new recipe and OurGroceries will build a list for you based off the ingredients you’ll need.

free android apps


android apps freeFrugal moms rejoice! Snap a picture of an item’s barcode and then Shopsavvy identifies the item and searches every crevice of the web for price comparisons. How awesome is that?!

This is a fantastic app to take outlet mall shopping – think the outlet offers a rock bottom price for that Vera Bradley bag you’ve been eyeing? Well it happens to be on sale with free shipping somewhere else and now you know that thanks to Shopsavvy. It’s consumer empowerment at its best – this is truly one app I can no longer live without.

android apps free


android apps freeJorte is yet another personal organizer app for the Android. Jorte is getting rave reviews from tech bloggers and others in the Droid community, but even still there are plenty of solid personal organizer apps, so what’s so special about Jorte?

Put plainly and simply, it’s cute! For personal organizers it has an unexpectedly attractive interface with a pink, red and lavender-ish color scheme. Lets face it, organizing is just more fun when it’s pretty. Combined with the fact that Jorte offers top-notch functionality, this is a win-win app.

best android apps

Mom 2 Be

best android appsExpecting a bundle of joy? Then you’re going to love this app! Mom 2 Be will send you daily growth statistics and weekly tips, and will allow you to create journal entries that you can share with friends and family.

best android apps

Name Culture

Now that you’re expecting, you’re probably starting to wonder what you’re going to call your baby when he or she arrives. Naming a baby is a big job – and can feel like an overwhelming task at times.

This naming app stands out above other Android naming apps that simply provide a laundry list of the 5,000 most popular girls and boys names. Name Culture provides name meanings and origins and allows users to search for names by these criteria. However, like some of the less helpful naming apps, Name Culture is free.

White Noise Lite

Do you have a baby? Do you sometimes leave the vacuum cleaner running by their crib to get them to sleep – then you know that trick often works! Well you don't have to do it anymore, since White Noise, a popular iPhone app is now available for the Android.

This awesome and free app lets you choose from 10 different sounds; Airplane, Beach Waves, Chimes, Clock, Crickets, Fan, Rain, Thunder, Train, and White Noise. Just place your Android somewhere near the baby and play one of these 10 perfectly looped ambient sounds and your baby will be sleeping peacefully in no time!


Do you have young children? Are there times when you just need 5 minutes of silence to make a phone call without your toddler wailing in the background or to focus on replying to an important email without your terrific two year old banging on the keyboard as you type? Then Shapes is sure to be a lifesaver!

Shapes is designed to entertain, interact with and most importantly teach young children their shapes and animals. Simple and free, moms report this basic app keeps most little ones engaged for quite a while. My two year old played (and learned!) with Shapes for almost 9 minutes – 9 minutes!!! That’s a record for someone who normally can’t even stand still for all of 30 seconds.

Doodle Kids

Another awesome app for kids – Doodle Kids will bring out your little one’s creative side. Kids can draw with their fingertip on a black screen or on a photo – they can also choose from many different colors, backgrounds and brush sizes. You can also easily save and print your child’s creation.

This app is great entertainment for all ages (even some of us adults like to fiddle with this app now and then) and is an excellent addition to any lengthy car ride.

My Days

This is one free Android app truly just for women. My Days lets women record the dates of their menstrual cycle and then estimates when a woman’s upcoming fertile days will be and when their next period will occur. This is extremely useful information for both women trying to conceive and women trying to avoid pregnancy.

Women in the Droid community love this app – although many of us wish that it auto synced with Google Calendar. Still, for the free price tag and easy to use interface with a full month calendar view, it’s one app you’ll most definitely want on your Droid at all times.


This mobile mom community is growing and well liked by many moms. It’s a great place to ask questions and get opinions about how to deal with just about any parenting issue under the sun.

It’s also just a fun place to chitchat and make friends while waiting for soccer practice to finish or after a hard long day of mommying.

If you are a busy mom, what free Android apps do you rely on to make your job a little bit easier? Let us know about them in the comments.

Image Credit: Raul A

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Similar MakeUseOf Articles – A Safe Online Space For Kids To Be Read To By Other Kids

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 04:31 PM PDT

kids reading booksKids love to be read to (check out StoryLine Online).  In fact, it is good for kids to be read to.  If a child is brought up being read to, they tend to develop a good imagination and even a desire to read themselves.

Something interesting about children is that they seem to enjoy being read to by other children.  I remember being in grade school and having times when I was allowed to read to the kindergarten class.  For some reason children love it when other children take that kind of time.

kids reading books

The creators of Smories had an idea.  What if children had a place where they could watch other children reading stories without the inherent dangers of social video sites like YouTube?  What they are doing with is using the Internet to bring together story writers, child readers, and the children who love being read to.  Now children can have carefully “vetted” (the word they use) stories read to them by other children without fear of danger.

Without the rest of the details, you can go straight to Smories right now and begin to watch the videos of the stories being read.  It’s easy because the front page contains thumbnails of a bunch of videos.  As you hover your cursor over each thumbnail, you’ll see the information about each video, including the age-appropriate label.

kids reading books

Clicking the thumbnail will bring you straight to the video page for watching.

kids reading books to kids

You might notice that right now most of the children have an English accent.  That is because the site was created in the UK.  They are going to be having American readers soon also so keep an ear out for them.

You’ll notice that the videos aren’t professionally done.  I think they were actually recorded using flip-style video cameras.  They are trying to keep the atmosphere relaxed to keep the style of children reading to other children in the home.

Beyond just going and watching the videos, there is also information about how to submit your own stories.  They used to run contests with cash prizes for stories submitted but they recently stopped doing that.  If there is no cash rendered for accepted stories, why submit them?  The exposure, of course.

For instance, they are now doing detailed author biography pages containing information you’d probably like to have spread around.

kids reading books to kids

Don’t worry because authors still retain the copyright (copyright information).  You are only giving permission to narrate, record, and publish the recording on their site.  Check out the FAQ page for more information about submitting a story, the Submit a Story page to actually submit a story, and the Tips for Writers page for some tips on writing for children.

Now as for where they get the child readers, I haven’t figured that part out yet.

kids reading books to kids

Smories is a safe and fun online destination for children to be read to.  That and being a new place for authors to test out unpublished work and gain some exposure, I think it’s a good find.  Oh, and did I mention they have an iPhone version?

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Redshift Keeps Your Eyes Sharp & Helps You Sleep [Linux]

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 02:31 PM PDT

redshift linuxIf you spend a lot of time looking at your computer – and if you read this blog I’m betting you do – you might notice that after a while your eyes start to hurt, and that you have trouble going to sleep at night. There’s a good reason for this: your computer screen is essentially a lightbulb, and you’re looking straight into it for hours at a time.

It’s for this reason that devices like the Kindle and the Nook are fast gaining popularity. Rather than utilizing the backlit screens we know from computers and cell phones, these devices mimic paper. The result is easier to read in the sun, and is in general easier on the eyes than a screen.

It’s not practical to give up traditional screens on conventional computers, however. Windows and Mac users have the option of using F.lux to offset this, and Varun wrote about last year in an article called Get Better Monitor Lighting That Feels Good To Your Eyes and Jackson followed up with an article called Use F.lux To Sleep Better After Late-Night Computer Activities.

Linux users, it seems, were left out of the fun: F.lux does not work on Linux. That’s where Redshift comes in. The program is currently in development, and currently requires the user to have no fear of the command line, but don’t worry: it’s not too hard to use.

What It Does

If you’re not familiar with F.lux you probably don’t know what Redshift does. Essentially this application will, as it gets darker outside, alter your computer’s display and give everything a red tinge. There’s a reason for that. The type of lighting that is around you changes as it gets darker outside. Sunlight is very white, but artificial lighting tends to be more red. As such, if you read something on a piece of paper it will look white to your eyes during the day and reddish at night.

You don’t notice this because your brain automatically balances the difference. Your computer monitor, being backlit, is constantly white. Because of this, looking at your computer at night can hurt your eyes and cause you to lose sleep. Redshift helps offset this.


You’ll find really simple instructions for installing this amazing software over at Ubuntu blog OMG Ubuntu, which recently featured Redshift.

If you’re not a Ubuntu user you can find generic instructions over at the official Redshift page. Heck, you’ll even find instructions for installing Redshift in Windows (but I’d advise Windows users to stick with F.lux for now).

Set Up Your Gnome Clock

redshift linux

Once you’ve got Redshift installed you’re going to want to set up your Gnome clock so it knows your location. Why? Because it might simplify using Redshift for you.

Click the clock in your tray and you’ll see your calendar. You’ll also see your “Locations” at the bottom of this pop-up. If you’ve already configured your location this way congratulations: you can skip this step. If not go ahead and add your location. The dialogue is simple enough, as you can see.

Once you’ve done this you can launch Redshift.

Using Redshift

The first time you use Redshift, it’s a good idea to do so in a terminal – this will tell you about any errors the program may encounter. Open your terminal and type “gtk-redshift“. Assuming all is well, you should find this new notification applet in your system tray:

redshift linux

If not, you’ll probably see a request for you to manually input your latitude and longitude. Yeah, this program has a few bugs still, but don’t worry too much: doing this is easy. Go back to the configuration screen you used to set your location above and write down your latitude and longitude. Then type a new command that consists of “gtk-redshift” followed by “-l” followed by your latitude and longitude separated only by a colon.

For example, if you live in Copenhagen, Denmark, type this command:

gtk-redshift -l 55.7:12.6

Redshift will now launch Redshift, forcing your location onto it.

Do you want an indicator applet to run in the background without the indicator applet? Easy. Just use the command “redshift” instead of “gtk-redshift” and voila: trayless redshift.

At Boot

redshift program

Want Redshift to start when your computer does? Easy enough. Just copy whatever command you managed to type to get Redshift working, then click “System,” then “Preferences,” then “Startup Programs.” Add a new program, using your command in the “Command” box and whatever you like for the rest.


redshift program

I love reading articles from The Economist before going to bed. I do this using Readability, the service I described last week as being Safari’s “Reader” for Chrome and Firefox. I do find that I sleep better after this using Redshift than I do without, so try it out for yourself.

And if you do try it out for yourself please do share with us how it worked out for you. Also share any tips you might have for using Redshift, because it’s always great to learn.

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Moderate Wordpress Comments On Your Desktop With Comments Notifier

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 01:31 PM PDT

how to moderate wordpress commentsDo you have a Wordpress blog? Do you want to be able to check your blog's comments from your desktop?

It doesn't matter if you are using the free setup or if you have your own self hosted blog. There is a free application called Wordpress Comments Notifier which I was able to download from the authors homepage.

After downloading the application you will need to install it. You will see a screen that looks like the one below. Simply hit next leaving both options selected as seen in the image below. It will use 6.6 MB of hard drive space.

how to moderate wordpress comments

Upon the first launch of the application we will need to set up where we want to pull our comments from. You will need your blog's full web address as well as your username and password. Fill in all the fields and then hit the next button.

how to moderate wordpress comments

Wordpress Comment Notifier will then go out and grab your recent comments from your blog as well as your comment statistics. You will see notifications as it performs each step quickly.

wordpress moderate comments

When Wordpress Comment Notifier is complete you will see a message stating that your blog has been set up. You can then assign the blog a nickname. I set up my personal blog called AskTheAdmin.

wordpress moderate comments

Now you can left click on the Wordpress icon in your system tray to bring the console to the front. When you do this you will see a window with three tabs. The first tab is all comments and it will display the total number of comments on your blog. The second tab is for pending comments that are awaiting your moderation and the last column is the spam column. This is for messages that have been marked as spam.

wordpress moderate comments

Now lets see what the application can actually do. I clicked on the reply button directly under the top comment. I was then able to type a reply to the comment at the bottom of the window. Upon hitting the enter button your comment will be submitted to your blog and be posted as the user which you used the username and password of in the setup step.

wordpress moderation

We can also unapprove, edit, spam and delete any comments that have been left on your blog.

wordpress moderation

For our spammed comments we will be able to edit them, choose not spam or delete them. The same options that appear for approved comments will also appear for pending comments.

By right clicking on the Wordpress system tray icon you will be able to set the following settings:

wordpress moderation

You will see that you can change the interval which the application checks for new comments as well as if the application starts up with Windows. You can make changes to the data that you initially entered during setup as well.

Do you check your Wordpress comments with another desktop app?   If so, we would love to hear about it in the comments.  Or do you check your comments using your Android phone?

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3 Cool Apps For Secretly Answering Your Windows Mobile Phone In A Meeting

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 12:31 PM PDT

answering a cell phone in a meetingIt cannot be stressed enough that answering a cell phone in a meeting is an absolute no go. However, there may be occasions in which you expect an important call, maybe even relevant to the present meeting. Announce this before the meeting starts and eventually apologize in advance.

The truth is, there is no way covertly and personally answering a cell phone in a meeting will work. Even if you leave the room to talk to the person calling you, you will briefly disrupt the meeting. However, there are ways of dealing with incoming calls automatically, which will not disturb the meeting or yourself.

The following apps are designed for Windows Mobile phones.


XBLOCKR isn’t exactly automatic, as it does require your attention briefly. When you receive a call, you can choose from four different actions:

  • Duck: The call will be disconnected and the caller may hear a default busy message provided by your service operator or be diverted to your default voice mail.
  • Duck & SMS: In addition to disconnecting the call, an SMS (Busy, call later) will be sent to the caller.
  • Drop: The call will be answered for a second and disconnected, which may sound like a network error to the caller.
  • Divert: The call will be diverted to a third party number of your choice. This function requires the conference feature to be enabled with your operator.

answering a cell phone in a meeting

An advanced version of XBLOCKER is available through its website. The download through Freeware Pocket PC (link above) is unlimited, while the XBLOCKER homepage only offers a 40 call trial version.

Mobile Secretary

Now Mobile Secretary will take care of your calls without you noticing it, unless you want to. What you do is set up groups and assign your contacts to the groups. For each group you can create a custom ringtone and text message. So when you miss a call while in a meeting, the caller will receive your custom text message.

For example you could ask them to call again later or let them know that you will call them back as soon as you can. You can also forward incoming text messages to another phone number.

answering a cell phone in a meeting

I also tested a very similar tool called iSecretary. It’s supposed to work as an answering machine that lets you set rules and record custom voice messages for different groups of contacts. Sadly, it proved to be a failure as callers never get to hear your custom messages. On my HTC Touch Pro the message was played through the phone rather than to the caller, regardless of settings.

Call Firewall

The Call Firewall finally offers more options than the previous tools, but it’s also more difficult to set up. It provides the following features:

  • accept all calls.
  • accept calls from contact list only.
  • reject all calls.
  • accept only calls from numbers on white list.
  • reject all calls from numbers on black list.
  • reject all calls from a black listed number pattern, e.g. all calls with same area code.
  • reply with SMS.
  • call barring, i.e. restrict selected outgoing calls.
  • add calls as appointment.

how to answer your mobile phone during a meeting

Are you still wondering whether answering a cell phone in a meeting is OK? Check out this article on Groundswell for guidelines. If  you’re not expecting an emergency call, you should simply turn off the ringtone and vibration before you head into a meeting and forget about your phone until you have time to return calls.

Also, check out other articles covering mobile apps on MakeUseOf.

What apps and tactics do you use for mobile phone calls when you are in a meeting?

Image Credit : mrceviz

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Job Search With Your Mobile Phone With Hire-A-Droid [Android]

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 11:31 AM PDT

android job searchLately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the future, the job market, and what opportunities exist today given all of the economic, social and business changes throughout the world. Old powerhouse industries of “industrialized” countries of the Western World all seem to be gravitating to countries with a lower cost workforce and fewer regulations.

At the same time, the globalization of almost every major industry, combined with the overwhelming adoption and integration of the Internet throughout almost all markets, is creating more and more unique opportunities that never existed even a decade ago. In other words, the world is changing around you, and unless you’re proactive and take the bull by the horns – the opportunities this “new world” presents will pass you by. One of the easiest ways to identify and capture new opportunities is by staying on top of the job market for your skills and professional experience.

Here at MUO, we’ve covered some of the most popular online resources for job hunting. Charnita listed 8 great job search tools, and I wote a review of the 10 best job search websites. The problem with using the Internet for job hunting is that you’re usually blocked (or discouraged) from doing this kind of activity from where you work during the day, and you may not have the time to job search when you’re home. One solution is to take advantage of mobile job search tools so that you can hunt for new job opportunities while you’re riding the subway or the bus, or you’re sitting in the waiting room.

Conduct an Android Job Search

After numerous unpaid furloughs and forced “vacation management,” I started exploring the job market to see how much things have changed over the past decade or so. Not only did I discover new exciting opportunities, but thanks to the explosion of the Internet, but I also discovered an awesome mobile tool on the Android Market for job hunting called Hire A Droid.

This is quite the little powerhouse, because it hunts through multiple job search engines and returns all of the results to you to review and apply for. The search screen is very intuitive and even offers operator buttons like “AND”, “OR” and “NOT” to aid you in stringing together effective search queries.  You can choose from any one of 18 countries to perform your search.

android job search

Best of all, this job search app lets you save your previous search queries so that if you search for the same keywords every day (as most people do), this feature will let you conduct the same search with a single click.

android job search

The search listings that Hire A Droid turns up is pretty comprehensive, coming from major job search resources like LinkUp, SimplyHired, Indeed and CareerBuilder. When you want to save time by hunting for jobs across a wide range of sources, this is the app that you’ll want. Where other mobile job search apps turn up no results, Hire A Droid will often turn up listings.

mobile job search

Almost every search I tried turned up at least some listings, and a lot depends on the area that you’re searching as well. Within each listing you’ll see the job title, date posted, the company name and the location. If you want some more details, just click once 0n any of the job ads and it’ll drop down with more information.

mobile job search

When you click on any of the extended details, you’ll end up on the application page for that employer. This page may look different for every job listing. You’ll typically always see a detailed review of the position. Additionally you’ll usually have several application options available. For example, in one case I found an ad that lets you email the listing to yourself or to a friend, or you have the opportunity to instantly submit your resume for the job.

mobile job search

In another listing, I was whisked to a page that looked pretty much like the employer website, but contained within the Hire-A-Droid app. Even in this case, there was the option to either apply immediately while online, or email the listing. In most cases you will probably want to just email the listing to yourself so that you can apply once you’re home and back at your computer.

Obviously, Hire A Droid is easily the best choice of any available mobile job search app in the Android market because it covers so many job search engines at once. Many people swear by their favorite job search engine, but if you use Hire-A-Droid where you can search them all, you’ve got all of your bases covered.

Do you know of any other useful mobile job search apps? If you use any, do you apply straight from the phone or wait until you’re home and on your computer? Share your insight and experiences in the comments section below.

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Easily Share Files & Folders On A Domain With Easy Share

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 10:31 AM PDT

easy way to share your filesYou may often need an easy way to share your files and folders with other users or computers on the same network.  This may not be so much of a task on your home network where you have only a few computers and you might only need to share a folder or two every once in a while. But it quickly becomes quite cumbersome when you are on an office network where you might be required to share files with other users frequently.

Configuring the shares and then permissions for each, the Windows way, might not be the quickest and easiest way as you shall see. You can do it a lot better and easier with Easy Share.

As is the case with most Codeplex downloads, a license agreement pops up just before you download the application. Go through it and you will be able to download Easy Share, if you choose to accept the agreement. The download is relatively small (under 1MB). Once downloaded, install the application and you should be good to go. The only difficulty that can crop up might be due to the unavailability of the .NET framework on your computer, which is required to install and run Easy Share.

Once installed, go ahead and fire it up. You are greeted with a minimalistic UI, which looks like the one below:

easy way to share your files

The application presents two sections “Share details” and “Permissions“. The former lets you configure the folder and sharing details on the network, whereas the latter can be used to configure who has access to the shared folder on the network. Let’s just share a sample folder and see how easy the entire process is.

  • Click on the browse button next to Local Path and browse to the location of the folder you want to share.
  • Give it a share name and share description that will help others identify the contents of the folder.

That is all the folder configuration you need to do. Next up is configuring who you want to share the folder with and what permissions they can have.

easy way to share your files

Contact management and easy permissions is what really makes Easy Share worth the install and bypassing the Windows Sharing and Security configuration. You can easily add contacts with whom you want to share files and folders with simply by using their usernames.

  • Click on the manage link to add users to your list.
  • Click on the Add button and specify an alias that will help you remember the contact.
  • Next you need to provide the domain name followed by the username of the contact on the domain. You can hit the “Check” link to see if the user exists on that domain.

Once you have added the users you want to share with, you will see them listed in the main window. You can then check or uncheck the users you want to share the files with. If you scroll to the right you will also be able to edit the permissions that each of these users have for that folder.

That is all you need to do. The next time you would be able to use the already added contacts, making your job that much easier. You can of course, remove or edit details for the contacts as and when required.

Easy Share is a nice little utility that makes sharing files and folders on the domain a whole lot easier and faster. Once you have your contacts configured, you can easily share folders in a snap with just a few clicks. If your computer is a member of a domain then Easy Share is a useful little application to have.

How do you share your files and folders on the network? Any special tools with similar functionalities that you use for this purpose?

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Design A Quick Personal Name Card Using Your Photo & Drawberry [Mac]

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 09:31 AM PDT

personal name cardsBeing a person who spends most of the day around computers, the internet and electronic gadgets, I have always thought that I won’t need a physical personal name cards (or business card) anymore to trade personal data. The most usual routines are, “Here’s my number, call me so I can save yours” or “What’s your YM/GTalk/(other chat service) ID?” And if I decide to go a little bit more personal, I’ll say, “Add me to your Facebook.”

But apparently I was wrong. I stumbled across my friend from high school a few days ago. He runs his own printing company and I guess he’s the old school type, because after the usual, “Hi! How are you doing?” He gave me his card and waited. It took me a while – quite a long while – before I realized that he expected me to give him mine in return.

A little awkwardly I explained that I don’t have a business/name card. He replied with a long explanation of the importance of having a personal name card and tried to convince me to use his company service to print a few sets.

Starting A Quick Design

I finally managed to lose him with a promise to send a card design as soon as possible. Even though I still don’t know whether or not I will send the design to my friend, I decided to go through the design process anyway while trying Drawberry – a free image editor for Mac that has been collecting dust inside my hard drive for a long time.

But let’s set something straight before we begin: Drawberry is no Illustrator or Photoshop. But it can be a decent alternative for those who need a simple but powerful enough drawing application.

Let’s start by defining the drawing area. Click “Create” to start drawing.

personal name cards

Don’t be too afraid in determining the drawing area because you can easily change it in the “Page Setting” floating bar. Look for the “Canvas” option.

personal name cards

To add an image as the basis of your card, go to the “File – Import” menu.

name cards

And browse to the location of your photo.

name cards

If you need to change the settings of the image, go to the “Forme” floating toolbar on the right.

name cards

Resize the image and drag it to the correct position on the canvas.

06 Drag n Resize Image.jpg

If your image is not fully covering the background, you could insert a rectangle to fill in the blank spot.

Now let’s go to the next step.

Adding Some Text

Go to the “Layers” floating toolbar and create a new layer by clicking on the little “Plus” button below. Then you can rename the layer by double clicking it on the main pane of the toolbar and retyping the name.

07a Layers - Add New.jpg

There are two small icons next to the name. If you want one (or more) of your layer(s) to be non-editable, use the “Lock” icon. Click the icon one more time to unlock those layers. The “Eye” icon is to make the layer(s) visible/invisible.

After creating a layer, go to the tiny “Tool” floating toolbar and click Rectangle.

07b Tools - Draw.jpg

Draw the rectangle in your canvas.

08 Draw Rectangle.jpg

And edit the color fill using the “Fill” tab in the “Forme” floating toolbar. You can use Gradient or Solid Color as the filling.

08b Forme - Filling Gradient.jpg

Whichever option you choose, click on the color box to choose the color(s) for the filling.

08c Choose Gradient Color.jpg

If you don’t want an outline at the edge of your rectangle, go to the “Stroke” tab on the “Forme” floating toolbar, and choose “None“.

09 Forme - Stroke None.jpg

Then create a new layer for the text, choose “Text” from the tiny “Tool” floating toolbar, and draw the writing area on the canvas.

10a Add Text.jpg

You can write your name or any other text that you like, select the text, click on the “Text Format” icon at the toolbar, and edit the Font Type and Size and other Font attributes.

10b Fonts - Edit.jpg

Drag the text to the position that you want and you have your final product. A quick and simple personal name card.

11 Final Result.jpg

Of course you can create a business card instead of a personal name card. You can also add more personal information such as an address and phone number. Just be sure to choose an appropriate image to go along with the type of card.

The last step is exporting the card to the format that you need. To do that, go to the “File – Export” menu.

11b File - Export.jpg

As a footnote, I noticed several misspellings in the app interface and a few glitches in the workflow. It’s to be expected from an app below version 1 (I was using the latest version 0.81 at the time of writing). Hopefully the developer will address these issues in future releases.

And if you’d like to have more references on creating a name/business card, you can read our other related articles: Design Your Cool Web 2.0-ish Namecard using DrawIt Lite [Mac] and 5 Ways To Create Your Business Card 2.0.

Image credit: Lucid-Dreams

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How To Record Skype Video Calls For Free With Vodburner

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 08:31 AM PDT

how to record skype video callsSkype is one of the easiest ways to video chat with others across the globe for free. Using Skype is easy, and most video calls provide solid quality and connection stability. So many use Skype video calls for business, while others might use them to keep in touch with friends and family across the globe.

While Skype is great for video chat, it lacks any ability to record calls. This can be a problem if you for some reason need to keep a video call on record for later use or if you want to create a home video out of your video chat.

There is, however, a way to record Skype video calls for free.

Introducing Vodburner

If you want to record Skype video calls and you don’t mind paying, you have many options. If you don’t want to pay, however, there is one program which jumps out as the leader – Vodburner.

Vodburner will let you record Skype video calls for free, but there are two simple conditions. If both you and the person you’re on the video call with have Vodburner installed you can record the call for free without restriction. If you have Vodburner, but the other person doesn’t, you can still record for free but the call with have a Vodburner watermark placed on it. You will need to pay if you don’t want the watermark on all calls.

Using Vodburner To Record Video Calls

Installing Vodburner is simple . The installer is no different than the installer for any other program. Once you have installed Vodburner, however, you’ll need to authorize the use of Vodburner with Skype. Skype will display a notification stating that Vodburner is trying to gain access to Skype, and this must be approved by clicking the Allow Access button before Vodburner will function.

Once Vodburner has been granted access to Skype, Vodburner will begin to record automatically as soon as you make a Skype video call. A Vodburner toolbar will become visible. This toolbar will let you know that the call is currently recording. You can choose to halt recording at any time by pressing the Pause or Stop button. The Pause button will halt the recording, but will continue recording to the same file once you resume. Stop will discard the recording and begin recording to a new file if you press the record button again.

how to record skype video calls

If you don’t need to record all of your video calls you may want to disable the automatic call recording feature in Vodburner. To do this click on the Options tab. Click on Configure and then Recording. Un-check the automatic recording checkbox.

Editing Video Calls

Once you hang up a call you will be prompted with a View and Edit notification. By default, Vodburner records to a proprietary format which won’t be readable by media players. Vodburner will need a moment to convert the file into usable video, and this can take several minutes on older computers. Once this process is complete you’ll be greeted by the Post Production Console.

how to record skype video calls

The Post Production has two tabs. The Compose tab is where you do any editing which you might desire. For example, if you were discussing a few topics with a business partner, but there were some tangents in between, you can add transitions and edit out the parts of the call which were less important in order to create a professional presentation which can be shown to others. The options here are limited overall – if you need to seriously edit the video you’ll want to use a standalone video editing application like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie – but they’ll get the job done for quick edits.

The second tab is called the Enhance tab. This is where you’ll find more advanced editing features, which include the ability to add text, photos and audio to your movie. Again, there are better ways to do this with standalone video editing programs, but if you don’t have one available you can make use of these features.

The third tab is called the Finish tab. This is where you complete the video and convert it into a commonly usable video format. Vodburner only supports the .ASF format, so you’ll have to output video to save the video to that format. The .ASF format is fairly common, and you can always convert it with a standalone video editing application if you require that your video be in a specific format.

Record Away!

Overall, Vodburner is very easy to use. It doesn’t have a ton of options or advanced features, but it provides basic functionality for a very attractive price – free! Remember that calls with other Vodburner users have no watermark, so make sure your friends and family install Vodburner as well if you’re on video calls with them frequently.

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