Friday, July 2, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [July 1st]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [July 1st]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [July 1st]

Posted: 01 Jul 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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Cryogenic FileSplitter – When it comes to very large files, mostly all online file transfer solutions fail. You could use a file hosting website but even they do not always accommodate the file size of very big files. Transferring large files online is indeed a problem. And Cryogenic FileSplitter is the solution. Read more: Cryogenic FileSplitter: Desktop Utility To Split Big Files.


RhymeBrain – Finding rhymes for words can be quite tricky. If you are writing a poem or song and have already used up all the rhymes you could think of, it is best consult other rhyming sources for new ideas. One such source is RhymeBrain. Read more: RhymeBrain: Site For Finding Rhymes For Words & Phrases.



TinyFluidGrid – Grids have been an important part of paintings and designing since centuries. Today they play an important role in website design. The more recent types of grids are fluid grids. These can mould themselves into the user's screen resolution. One tool to easily create fluid grids is Tiny Fluid Grid. Read more: TinyFluidGrid: Easily Create Fluid Layout Online.



Sciyo – is an interesting portal that brings together scientists and science students from all over the world. The platform offers tons of books and articles related to science and also allows you to publish yours without any hassle. Over 200 scientific books are already available to download in a PDF format. Read more: Sciyo: Read and Publish Scientific Journals and Books Online.



Resonancers – Dying to know the most popular tweet posts in the Twitter world? Check out Resonancers and find out the tweets that made it to the top. This website features tweets that came up with the most resonance – which means that were retweeted, liked, and followed. Read more: Resonancers: Ranks The Most Popular Tweets.


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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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5 Best Computer Games for Toddlers

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 06:30 PM PDT

computer games for toddlersNo doubt about it, toddlers can be a handful sometimes. They’re amazingly active and simply demand your time and attention. So, what do you do when you need just a little break from it all but also keep your child busy and entertained?

Playing some computer games with your toddler online is a good quiet and stationary activity for both of you to enjoy. It’s an excellent way to teach and introduce your toddler to some basic computer skills. At the same time, your child can learn and have fun with a variety of engaging games out there to choose from.

Best of all, these computer games for toddlers are all available for free online and anytime for you to enjoy and spend some quality time with your child. Here’s the 5 best computer games for toddlers.

The Musical Instruments Game

Join the jam with the Musical Instruments Game from Fisher-Price. This fun and interactive music mixer game allows your toddler to learn about instruments and songs. Start out by choosing a song you’d like to play along with by clicking on one of the animals.

computer games for toddlers

Now, turn up your speakers, watch, and listen as the animals start playing the song you picked with their instruments. You can now stop and start each individual instrument by clicking on a musician in the band.

toddlers computer games

Feel free to mix it up a bit by changing the song to take control over different instruments.

Super Duper Dolphin

Let your toddler watch a dolphin perform tricks when you feed him. This entertaining Nick Jr. game demonstrates cause and effect and helps introduce your child to the mouse.

online games for toddlers

Just click on the bucket of fish to feed the dolphin and he’ll do a different trick for every fish thrown. It’s recommended that you and your toddler try to count the fish or come up with names for the dolphin’s tricks to bolster creativity and language skills.

Coloring Book

Coloring Book is just one of many games to play on the Sesame Street website. With the help of Elmo, just have your toddler move the mouse around the image to color it.

toddlers computer games

Once completed, the picture will come alive with a bit of animation, music, and another image will come up for more coloring.

Party Costumes

Recommended for age 1 year and over, Party Costumes and Presents for Kwala is a popular computer game for toddlers at UpToTen. The website says that this activity will help your child develop skills in observation, understanding, decision making, orientation, and using the mouse.

toddlers computer games

The game is pretty simple. You have to try to find who the costume pictured in the large circle belongs to by following the line to the correct character. You can keep at it until you get it right and once you do, a new game will come up for you to try again until all the characters are in their costumes.


Music-Maker is another simple and fun activity for your toddler to enjoy. This game is from KneeBouncers, which offers a variety of quality and full-screen games to choose from.

free online games for toddlers

On the right-hand side, you can select either the drums, piano, or guitar to play. Song selection is on the left, and from there, just start pressing any key to play the instrument to the tune you picked. For the piano, you can also move your cursor over the keys to play them.

computer games for toddlers

Be sure to check out the sites all these games come from for more activities for your toddler to play.

What are some of your favorite computer games for toddlers? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Tom Carmony

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7 Great Completely Free eBooks on Social Media You Have to Read

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 04:30 PM PDT

completely free ebooksLove social networking? Want to learn more? Don’t you just wish you could go to all the great seminars around the world? Listen to all the great minds in social media. Well, if that’s not possible then you’re about to meet the next best thing.

Do you love books? Love getting free stuff? Yeah, me too. That’s why I’ve decided to share with you all a selection of excellent books on social media that are all available to read for free. Here’s a selection of completely free ebooks which come highly recommended by social media professionals. They’re yours to read for free whenever you like. So, quit your random surfing for a while and get stuck in to reading something worthwhile.


completely free ebooks

Cory Doctorow’s “Content” is possibly one of the most important books in social media right now. If you really want to get a grip on copyright law as it stands right now, then this book is for you. If you want to do better than that and try to see what should be done about copyright law, then you absolutely must read this book. See where I’m getting at? Read this completely free ebook now.

Get “Content” for free here.

The Cluetrain Manifesto

free ebooks

“The Cluetrain Manifesto” by Levine, Locke, Searles and Weinberger is still a guiding light for businesses online. Written in 2000, these pioneers hit the nail on the head, claiming that consumers would have a greater voice online and that marketing spin would be less effective on the internet. They aim to reminder businesses that they are talking to human beings, not just a market demographic.

Get “The Cluetrain Manifesto” for free here.

The Future of Reputation

free ebooks

“The Future of Reputation” by Daniel Solove is a must-read insight in to how we perceive privacy and how this is evolving. It discusses how the internet has changed the shelf-life of rumour and how a person’s reputation can be ruined forever by a single event that was shared online.

Get “The Future of Reputation” for free here.

The Wealth of Networks

free ebooks

Yochai Benkler’s “The Wealth of Networks” is considered a vital book in social media research. Readers, however tend to take on a love-hate relationship with it. It’s a dense read, filled with academic prose. But, if you can enjoy that sort of writing you will uncover many great ideas about social networks and how they interact. It will change the way you view the internet.

Get “The Wealth of Networks” free here.

The Art of Community

free ebooks online

“The Art of Community” by Jono Bacon is a newcomer to the must-read social networking book list. It’s the perfect book for any online community manager who wants to ensure they work with their community towards the best possible outcome for their group.

Get “The Art of Community” free here.

The Future of Ideas

free ebooks online

Lawrence Lessig’s “The Future of Ideas” is a timely exploration in to how the internet has fostered a wide array of creativity and how big business from ages past is endeavouring to stifle that creativity. It’s a lesson I hope we all learn in time.

Get “The Future of Ideas” free here.

For good measure, there are many more social media books by Lessig available free to download. Check out “Free Culture” and “Code Version 2.0″ for some extra free reading.

Get “Free Culture” free here.
Get “Code Version 2.0″ free here.

What Matters Now

completely free ebooks

The last book we have for you today is “What Matters Now” by Seth Godin and a great number of others. This book is basically a compilation of essays written by over seventy smart professionals about how best to start thinking about the future. It’s not entirely about social media, but with thoughts from many of the minds big in social media, there’s plenty of good ideas for social media professionals.

Get “What Matters Now” free here.

If you’re keen for more free ebooks, check out this post on free ebooks to learn Linux. Also read up on how to use Google to co-ordinate your lifelong learning, how to use Goodreads to keep track of all the books you want to read and four great websites to get free eBooks.

With all of these completely free ebooks, please be generous and give back to the writers. They’ve made their work free because they want people to read it. So, share these links with people. If you love the book then consider buying a copy for yourself or a friend. And please, let us know in the comments which of these books you’ve enjoyed most!

Image Credit: Lawrence Lessig by Robert Scoble

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Unleash Your Über-Nerdiness by Using Google Apps via Command Line

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 02:30 PM PDT

google command lineIf you use YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Google Docs, Google Contacts, or Google Calendar, some recent news from the Open Source at Google blog might pique your interest: you can now use all of these Google services from the command line.

Yes, the command line – that sexy, monochrome, text-based terminal where hackers do their dirty work in movies – and now you can show your friends just how hardcore you are by uploading your photos to Picasa with it.

GoogleCL is an Google command line application written in Python that allows you to make Google Data API calls from the command line, and all jokes aside, can actually be very useful if you're writing scripts to interact with the aforementioned Google services.  In this guide, I'll give you a tour of GoogleCL with some examples to get you started.

Getting Started

Note: This guide is going to be very technical. If you are not familiar with working in a command line environment, editing system path variables, or creating batch scripts, you should not proceed.

First, the tough part. GoogleCL can be used in Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems, but there are a few prerequisites before you can get started.  If you have any problems with this guide, make sure to check out GoogleCL's system requirements page for more information.

Google Command Line for Windows Users

Windows users have to follow a few extra steps to make this work. The following information is based off instructions from public int's instructions (but hopefully a little easier to follow).

  1. Download and install Python – I'm using version 2.6.5 in this guide and selected the default settings when I installed it. You'll need at least Python 2.5 installed, and if you already have Python you can use the python –V command to see what version you're using.
  2. Add the directory where you installed Python to your Windows PATH.
    • Windows 7/Vista: Right click My Computer, select Properties, and click Advanced system settings. Click Environment Variables, select Path under System Variables and click the Edit button. Separate the new entry by adding a semicolon (;) then type the location to your Python location.  In my case, I added ;C:/Python26 to my Path variable.
      google command line
    • Windows XP: Right click My Computer, select Properties, and click the Advanced tab. Click the Environment Variables button, select Path under System Variables and click the Edit button. Separate the new entry by adding a semicolon (;) then type the location of your Python directory.
  3. Download the gdata-python-client library and the GoogleCL application.  Extract the contents of both of these files and note their location. (Note: gdata-python-client is available as a .zip but GoogleCL is only in .tar.gz format – 7-zip is a great free application to extract these).  I extracted these files right in my Downloads folder.
  4. Open the Windows Command Line tool by clicking Start –> Run and typing cmd. You can also access this by pressing the WIN key + R and then typing cmd.
  5. Navigate (using the cd command) to the folder where you extracted the gdata-python-client and GoogleCL files from Step 3 and issue the following commands (make sure to change the folder names as necessary):

cd gdtata-2.0.10 install

cd ..

cd googlecl-0.9.7 install

Finally, you can make a "google" command line script to easily launch GoogleCL. Create a blank text file, enter the following information (making sure to change the bolded part to the location where you saved the GoogelCL files in Step 2), and save the file as google.cmd in the folder where you installed Python (mine being C:/Python26).

@echo off

set googlecl_home=D:\Downloads\googlecl-0.9.7\src

python %googlecl_home%\google %*

Now you can type a command like google docs list in your command line to bring up a prompt for your username.

After you type your username, you'll be taken to a browser page where you need to grant access for GoogleCL to access your information. You will only need to authenticate each service once.

Finally, go back to the command line and press Enter. You did it! GoogleCL should now be working, so give yourself a high five. If you have problems, refer to public int's guide or check out PCWorld's guide for alternate instructions using Cygwin.

Mac and Linux Users:

  1. Download and install Python. You'll need at least Python 2.5 installed, and if you already have Python you can use the python –V command to see what version you're using.
  2. Download the gdata-python-client library and the GoogleCL application. Extract the contents of both of these files and note their location.
  3. In a Terminal window, navigate to the folder where you extracted the files from Step 2 and issue the following commands (make sure to change the folder names as necessary):

cd gdata-2.0.10

sudo python install

cd ..

cd googlecl-0.9.7

sudo python install

Using GoogleCL

Now that we've gotten through the bad stuff, it's time to have some fun with GoogleCL!

Creating a Blogger post

Your blog will gain an infinite amount of nerd-cred if you post to it via command line.  Use the following command to post directly to your blogger account:

google blogger post –title "Your Title" "Your content"

Press enter when you're finished, and you'll have this:

Using your Google Calendar

To view events on your Google Calendar, use the following command and specify a date range, separated by commas, after –date.  In the example below, I'll list events for the month of May.

google calendar list –date 2010-05-01,2010-05-31

You can easily add events to Google Calendar with the following command:

google calendar add "Collapse after writing article about GoogleCL today at 11pm"

Create a text document in Google Docs

You can easily create and edit Google Docs from the Google command line with the following command. You'll have to specify a text editor in this command – Linux users can use Vim (which keeps you in the command line) and Windows users can use Notepad. Save the document when you're finished and it will be uploaded to Google Docs!

google docs edit –title "Your Title" –editor Notepad

google command line

And much more…

There are many more functions available in GoogleCL – check out some of Google's example scripts to learn the basic syntax and start experimenting.  GoogleCL's functionality will only be increasing as more APIs are available, so keep an eye out for good things to come.

Now that you've gotten a crash course in GoogleCL, I hope to see you sharing some creative code in the comments!

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Hot Tech Deals [July 1st]

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 01:30 PM PDT

If you’re in the market for a new computer, laptop, mobile phone, games and other accessories; don’t waste your time searching online. We’ve taken the liberty of locating the best tech deals and unifying them into a single post for your convenience.

For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.

  1. Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3 Atom 1.66GHz 10″ Netbook for $275
  2. $770 to $1,470 off Samsung 3D HDTV + Blu-ray Player + Xbox 360 Elite bundles
  3. Bluetooth Rear View Mirror Kit for $65
  4. Crystal Jelly Skin Case for iPhone 4 for $3 via coupon code “Z4IEAZ”
  5. Refurbished VuPoint 5MP Waterproof Digital Camera for $20 + $5 s&h
  6. MSI Radeon HD 5450 512MB PCIe Video Card $10 after rebate
  7. Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger $8
  8. Smith Micro Digital TV for PC 2 for $11 + free shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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How to Make a Visual Resume with PowerPoint in 3 Steps & Stand Out from the Crowd

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 12:30 PM PDT

powerpoint resumeAlmost every employer requires traditional CVs, but visual resumes are increasing in popularity and can make you stand out of the crowd and land the job. After looking at hundreds of visual resumes (there are thousands on YouTube), I can say that these types of resumes can either be ingenious masterpieces or flops (or at the worst case, something that’s just painful to watch).

Why make a visual resume? With the job market in a vice, the competition is fierce. Visual resumes are becoming more and more popular, but not everyone and their mom are submitting a visual resume along with their traditional one (yet) – so at the moment they can really help you stand out.

More and more employers are seeking to get to know a potential employee on a personal level and visual resumes can give employers this insight. Visual resumes tell a story and this can give potential employers an interesting snapshot of who you are – making them want to learn more and visit your website or blog, read your traditional resume or better yet, give you a call.

Job search engine sites are getting hip to the idea of visual resumes; allows users to upload visual resumes right onto their site, while has a place for a link to a visual resume on a user’s profile.

What Not To Do: Don’t be an Elle Woods or an Aleksey Vayner

In the feature film “Legally Blonde,” bubbly and blonde protagonist Elle Woods gets accepted into Harvard Law School because of her visual resume, which shows her flouncing around in a pink bikini. Sex appeal is something you definitely do not want to show off in your visual resume.

Secondly, don't lie in your visual resume like Aleksey Vayner, a Yale graduate who was pursuing a career as an investment banker. Vayner’s resume, which he uploaded to YouTube in 2006, was full of outlandish lies and hilarious. The visual resume showed Vayner, who had a thin and lanky build, supposedly bench pressing a 495lb weight and hitting a tennis ball at 140 mph. The resume went viral – the entire blogosphere got a great laugh. MSN and several other national news organizations even picked up and broadcast the story. Bottom line; you don’t want anything even remotely like this happening to you. Showing your sense of humor in a toned down way is a good thing – looking ridiculous will just give everyone in human resources something to talk about around the water cooler.

Video vs. PowerPoint

This tutorial is about how to make a visual resume using PowerPoint, not with a video camera. There are a couple reasons why I think this the PowerPoint resume method is superior.

First, videotaping takes a lot of time. You have to get a haircut, dress up, find someone to film you, think long and hard about what you’re going to say (and more importantly – how you’re going to say it), re-record the whole thing since you’ll inevitably mess up at least ten times and then edit the entire piece. PowerPoint is simple, quick and easy.

Secondly, after viewing hundreds of video resumes, I came to the conclusion that most people just end up looking slightly cheesy, silly, camera-shy or dorky. A few people looked great, and they were mostly in the fields of journalism, public relations or marketing. However, the rest of us who are not in these fields just aren’t movie stars – that’s totally OK and nothing to be ashamed about. However, I think a visual resume made via PowerPoint will serve this group of people (myself included) much better.

Thirdly, a visual PowerPoint resume can really showcase someone’s creative side and personality, while being quite entertaining without being too far out there. Video resumes typically start out the same way; “Hi my name is so and so – I am looking for a job as a xx.” This can start to get rather drab. If you do decide to do something outside the box with a video resume, there is a greater chance of you missing boat completely.

How to Make a Visual Powerpoint Resume

This is such an easy how-to, a six year old could probably do it!

  1. Open up PowerPoint and make a slide show as you would any other. You can stop here if you’d like and save it as a PowerPoint file and upload to, if you’d like to feature your resume entirely as a slide show presentation.
  2. If you’d like to make it a movie then once you’ve made the show, simply click the “Slide Show” tab and then click “rehearse timings.” Carefully give yourself enough time to read each slide before clicking the next button. You can then view a preview and your show will automatically move from slide to slide at the intervals you set earlier.
  3. Save the show as movie and upload to YouTube, Jobster, your website or blog and wherever else!

And that’s all it takes! The harder part is deciding what to include in your visual resume. In general, you’ll want to include what’s on your traditional resume in a very concise format – while showing off a glimpse (keyword here is glimpse) of your personality. Now how you do this is completely up to you – but here are some standout examples of slide show visual resumes for you to use as inspiration.

powerpoint resume

Visual resume

Reproduced with permission

Has anyone else created a visual PowerPoint resume? If so, let us know in the comments what kind of response you received from potential employers and if you thought it helped you at all in the job application process.

Image Credit: Devo In Regress

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How To Manage Your Life Completely Online Using Netvibes

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 11:30 AM PDT

netvibes reviewAre you driven crazy by your wish list of projects and goals? Have you got a pile of things up your sleeve to be done someday that you never seem to find time for in the midst of all your everyday thoughts? Do you wish that there was a way to isolate just the relevant pieces of information and focus on one aspect of your life at a time?

Most of us need to mix up our organising with a little creativity to keep ourselves motivated. We need to be able to see not just the tasks at hand, but reminders of our goals and all the useful things we found along the way. What we need is a way to bring it all together visually and memorably. To have all your pictures, links, tasks relevant to this aspect of your life together and ready for action. This is where Netvibes becomes an amazing asset.

It doesn’t really have to be Netvibes. iGoogle or maybe another similar RSS/portal/start page would do the trick just as well. The goal here is to create a place online where you can easily access a selection of your favourite life focus points, projects or whatever. One online destination, many tabs for your goals.

I’m personally a fan of Netvibes as a start page for many reasons. It’s not my main feed reader, but there are good reasons for duplicating a few RSS feeds in to Netvibes. You’ll see why soon as I outline how you can use Netvibes.

The Set Up

It’s surprisingly easy to set up, too. Head over to Netvibes and get an account. Create a new tab for your goal. For instance, I’ve chosen to make a “Holidays” tab. A project you might have in mind could be your online job search.

You can choose how you want the column layout of the tab to be by choosing “edit”.

netvibes review

Now, you want to add a module for your tasks. If you’re using Remember The Milk, there’s a great ready-made module. If you can’t find a widget for your usual task manager, see if you can get an RSS feed for your tasks. Then you can simply add the RSS feed as a module.

using netvibes

You can find modules on Netvibes for most of the popular online to-do lists. Remember The Milk is my to-do list of choice, but each to their own.

using netvibes

Set up your task module so that it only shows the relevant tasks for this part of your life. In RTM, it’s easy to pick a pre-made smartlist (the picture above shows how to save a search as a smartlist in RTM). For others, you might be able to filter by tag or something.

using netvibes

using netvibes

Now, make a module for your links. If you’re using Delicious or some other link manager with RSS, you can use an RSS widget to bring in your relevant links. For instance, links tagged with “Holiday” would be brought in to mine.

Also grab a few pictures that remind you of your goals. There’s a Flickr module which brings in a grid of pictures using RSS. I love this module particularly because the feed doesn’t have to come from Flickr – it can be any picture RSS feed. Bring in relevant picture RSS feeds from your albums on Flickr or ideas on Tumblr. Bring in Flickr group photos that remind you of your goals.

Take a look at the sorts of RSS feeds you can get from Delicious bookmarks. Mix that with a little strategy for organising your studies using Delicious and you can see that we’re able to get some extremely useful information by RSS.

Then add a few inspiring RSS feeds of blogs relevant to your goal. For instance, in my “Holidays” tab I’ve added travel advisories, French travel blogs and French learning blogs. If you want to mix and match your RSS feeds before importing, use something like Yahoo pipes to tweak them first.

netvibes review

As you can see, with everything together like this, it’s hard not to feel motivation towards your goal. Also, when you focus the page on the tasks you really want to work on, then you’re not going to wind up feeling like you should be doing everyday tasks instead of focusing on your goals.

Do you use a system like this? Which apps do you use? What priorities have you dedicated a tab to and why? Let us know your great ideas!

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The 5+ Best Sources To Download Freeware Programs

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 10:30 AM PDT

freeware programsWith our lives revolving more and more around the computer and mobile devices, our expenses with technology also seem to be increasing. One can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on software every year, even if you are only purchasing the bare minimum you need for certain tasks. So what is the solution?

The good news is that there are thousands of software developed everyday that do most of what commercial software does, but for free! Some of the best places to download freeware programs can be found here.


CNET has a huge selection of freeware programs for all platforms and almost 100,000 of them are free. The site also has an active community which comments on the software and editors that review and rate them. The users’ reviews are a major contribution, since you can see what other users' experience has been with the software.

freeware programs

2. ZDNet downloads

ZDNet also has a huge number of downloads, and selecting "free" as one of the search options will list all of the freeware programs. ZDNet lacks CNET's interactivity and user feedback, but it advertises itself as being the Web’s largest library of software downloads.

freeware downloads

3. Tucow's Butterscotch

Butterscotch proposes itself to "…turn you on to the latest and greatest in language everyone can understand…", and for the most part it succeeds at making the site user friendly and warm looking. Starting from the sweet Butterscotch name to the list of "delicious downloads", it's a good site for those who don't want to experiment much with their freeware, but prefer to follow what most people seem to be using for those particular tasks.

freeware downloads

4. Brothersoft

Brothersoft also has a very large selection of free downloads. Not much differentiates it from the sites above, except for the Editor's Blog, which can be informative and a good source of news about lesser known software.

freeware downloads

5. FreewareFiles

The main advantage this site has is that it takes the guesswork and the need to sort through paid software to find the freeware out of the equation, since all of the software featured on FreewareFiles is free.

freeware software

6. Get Jar – Mobile Downloads Only

Get Jar is one of the best websites for freeware programs for your mobile device and you can access it directly from your phone, even if it's not a smartphone, using any phone browser. It currently has over 70,000 applications and games, many of which are completely free. One of the features from Get Jar that make it a very appealing mobile option is the fact that if you access it from your phone, it will automatically detect what phone you are using and display software that would work on your particular phone model.

freeware programs

When choosing freeware, there are a few things to pay attention to, such as whether the software you are downloading really is free of charge.
Even when using one of the sites above, make sure you are looking at the ones clearly labeled, "Free" or "Freeware". Some software will be labeled "Free to Try", which basically means that it's a trial version (which usually lasts 15 to 90 days) of the paid software and it is bound to expire right when you get comfortable with it, and have spent enough time with it to care whether or not you can use it.

At that point, the software will stop working unless you pay for the "full version". It is also very important to download, freeware in particular, from reliable sources, to ensure that it doesn't come infected with viruses. Checking reviews for potential spyware or hidden ads is also a good idea.

Most of the freeware programs you will find are created by dedicated people who are willing to share their work with you for free. Be generous in return. If you really love certain software, and have been using it as a way of helping you make some income, go to their website and check if you can donate a few bucks. It would help ensure that those who create good programs continue to produce them for free.

What is your favorite freeware? And where do you usually download it from? Post a comment and let us know.

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Have Fun Polarizing Your Images with Poladroid For Windows

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 09:30 AM PDT

polaroid imagesI was recently looking for a good, easy, and fun way to add impact to some images for a presentation, and I stumbled across what just might be the cutest photo application for creating Polaroid-style images. It's called Poladroid, and the emphasis is on fun!

A couple of years back, Jackson wrote about the Mac version of the application, but I'm really pleased to have discovered a Windows version since then. It's not the most frequently updated program, but it works just fine. Jump in any time and have a go.

Getting a copy

Easy. Visit the website, download in the usual fashion, choosing the platform you need. For Windows, unzip the download, and run the installer.

Click on Poladroid in your Start menu, and the rather weird application will drop a camera on your desktop.

First use

polaroid images

It doesn't get much easier than this. Find a file, and drag it to the camera.

A rather dark-looking image will start to develop. Wait. Give it a shake. Wait some more.

polaroid images

Drag another one while you wait. It's not a digital technology, guys.

polaroid pictures

Poladroid will eventually complete the processing of your image, and will drop the result in your default photo location (usually My Pictures), along with a little cross on the developing Polaroid image to show it's finished. Enjoy.

polaroid pictures

The resulting Polaroid image comes out at 1392 x 1692 pixels, including the classic Polaroid-style frame, and if necessary, some borders are added to the original image. Don't use too small an original, or you might think it's time to visit your optometrist when you look at the result.

polaroid pictures

You should also expect some cropping on non-square images, like this, but actually I rather like the effect.

polaroid techniques

polaroid techniques

Having a little more fun

If you're anything like me, you just might be interested in the partially-processed images that you're watching on-screen. If you right-click an image, a sample of it at the current state can be saved.

Those images show up in the same place as the final copies, and at the same resolution. The just have less contrast, with the amount depending on your trigger finger.

Changing the way things work

As great as this is at its defaults, there are still a number of settings which can be tweaked.

polaroid techniques

Click on the small blue circle above the camera, and you'll be presented with a menu. Most of it is pretty self-explanatory, but go ahead and click Settings… There are three tabs which allow you to modify things to work better with your mind:

Not a whole lot here, but you can set the resulting Polaroid images to be put back in the folder the originals come from, or in some other specified folder.

Important settings here is: Auto-rotate. If your camera knows when you're taking a portrait, then Poladroid can pick up on the information and get things the right way around in here.

I really like these sound effects.

If you have some time… tinker. In here you can determine whether or not any blurring happens, whether to put stripes on the image or the frame, and how much vignetting (that's darkening of the outlying areas of the image) should occur.

Go on. You know you want to.


I have uploaded the 'Poladroided' images to my Flickr collection just here if you want to take a closer look.

If you like the idea, but would like to try some other options, take a look at Pixisnap and Instantizer.

That's about it. Have any problems? Got some samples to link to? Anything Mac folks might need to know that's different to the Windows version? Let me know in the comments.

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Get 10GB of Free Storage & Share Files on the Go with quanp

Posted: 01 Jul 2010 08:30 AM PDT

free web storage spaceWe recently told you about the 4 best sites to get 10GB worth of free storage, so why not add another service to the mix. quanp is a brand new file sharing solution, open to US residents only for the time being, not only gives you 10GB of free web storage space, it also places no limits on your bandwidth. You can share up to 30 files of up to 500MB in size with anyone you want in one go simply by sharing a URL with them.

There are many different ways you can use the service – either through the site itself, through the free iPhone app, or with the Windows-compatible client. All users can  benefit from the Adobe Air desktop widgets for uploading new files to your quanp account, and for viewing slideshows of your photos.

Logging in for the first time will take you to your home page which displays your latest uploaded files. From here you can create new folders or ‘places,’ upload, copy, move, tag and delete files.

free web storage space

You can also share specific files or places with other users. Once invited to view them, users can leave comments on your files. The web interface is searchable, and also displays the percentage that you have used of your 10GB free web storage space limit. There are several layout options, consisting of various sized thumbnails, and accompanying text or captions with each file.

free online file storage

When you invite other quanp users to access a Place, you can limit the extent of their permissions – allowing them to either view and/or edit the files. Of course, in order to access these files, they have to sign up for a free account.

free online file storage

If you need to share files with someone who doesn’t have a quanp account, you can send a link to them, by selecting the file, clicking on ‘Send file’, and filling in their email address and a message. The link will expire after 7 days of sending the email, and each file can be downloaded a maximum of 5 times by each user.

free online file storage

Using the desktop client, compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7, you are able to do everything you would from the website, and more. The Windows client requires Microsoft.NET Framework 3.5 SP1.

free online storage space

You can upload files one by one to specific places, add tags, and a description.

Or you can configure auto-uploading from specific folders on your computer, making it easy to keep certain files or folders constantly backed up.

free online storage space

You can view your files either in a 3D format, as thumbnails or as a detailed list.

free online storage space

You can create new places, drag and drop files to share with other users, search your files, and keep track of your file sending history.

One of quanp’s best features has to be the Adobe Air drag and drop widget. After installing and launching the widget, you can choose to keep it on top of all other windows. To upload a file, simply navigate to the file of your choice and drag and drop it onto the widget.

The first time, you will be prompted to enter your log-in details, after which you will be prompted to choose the location to upload the file to, and you can choose to add tags and a description. You can cancel the upload by right-clicking the widget, and can upload multiple files simultaneously either by selecting several files, or even just dragging an entire folder onto the widget.

There are also several themes for you to choose from, to suit your taste.

A second Adobe Air application that quanp offers is the slideshow app. Using this app, you can display slideshow of all your photos, or just the latest photos, uploaded to your account.

Lastly, the recently launched iPhone/iPad app [iTunes link] allows you to view and share all the files saved in your quanp account.

An interesting addition to the quanp app is the ability to send files to other iPhone or iPod touch users using bluetooth. Using the app, you can upload photos from your iPhone directly to your quanp account, choosing the location. You can also record and upload voice memos.

free web storage space

And as if all of that wasn’t incentive enough, in celebration of the launch of their iPhone app, check out quanp’s Twitter account for details on how to win an iPad and a couple of iPhone cases in their sweepstakes.

Have you tried out quanp for your own free web storage space? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

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