Monday, July 5, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [July 4th]” plus 4 more “Cool Websites and Tools [July 4th]” plus 4 more

Link to

Cool Websites and Tools [July 4th]

Posted: 04 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.

List Your Website Here!


Destroy The Web – If you have been working long and are looking for a quick source of mental refreshment, then the internet serves beautifully. There are countless online entertaining tools which can provide you with the break you direly need. "Destroy the Web" is one such game. Read more: Destroy The Web: Have Fun Destroying Websites (Firefox Addon). – Who said learning and social networking cannot come together? is a fun website that combines education with social networks. The web app serves as an online academic assistant that offers courses to anyone who wants to learn about any topic. Read more: Helps To Learn Stuff Quickly & Remember Longer.



Email Scrambler – Almost everybody knows that posting email addresses online opens them up to spammers, but there are many times when you cannot prevent it. For situations like these, EmailScrambler is of great help. It simply scrambles email address and creates a MailTo link that you can post anywhere on the web. Read more: EmailScrambler: Scramble Email Address To Avoid Spammers.



Google Shortcuts – If you use Google services like Gmail, Google Reader, Google Analytics a lot, this add-on is definitely worth a try. Instead of bookmarking or typing in the URL every time you want to access a Google service, this Firefox add-on lets you place shortcuts anywhere on your browser for quick access. Read more: GoogleShortcuts: Quick Shortcut To Any Google Service You Need (Firefox Addon).



Amazon Wireless – In the market for a new cell phone? Shopping around can be frustrating, as each of the major carriers have similar phones with differing services. Shopping at Amazon's cell phone comparison shop reduces this difficulty by putting phones from three major carriers – AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon – in one place. Read more: Amazon Wireless: Cell Phone Comparison Shop From Amazon.


List Your Website Here!

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.

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!

Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 04 Jul 2010 07:31 PM PDT

It's time to say thanks to MakeUseOf’s friends who, once in a while, tip us great story ideas, help out on different projects and in some cases offer their services at discounted prices. Thank you, guys!

ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service

Ever wanted to add website screenshots to your website? In my professional opinion ShrinkTheWeb is one of the best services for that, both in terms of performance and pricing. The free account gets you a whopping 250,000 impressions with nearly no delay. See it in action in our daily Cool Websites and Tools series.


Walyou – Cool Gadgets for Geeks
new cool gadgets
Walyou is a fun blog covering all sorts of new cool gadgets and other stuff every geek is likely to find entertaining. Everything from world’s largest Gunny Bears to E-hookah gadgets. Make sure to check them out.

PXLEyes – Photoshop Contests and Tutorials
photoshop contests & tutorials
The place for graphical artists! An awesome community with one common interest: a big passion for computer graphics! There are contests, prizes, tutorials, forums and an active community!


Loon Design – Reliable Web Hosting
Loon Design
The guy who designed MakeUseOf theme. If you’re looking for a reliable web designer for an affordable rate make sure to check him out. We have been working with Kai Loon for over 1.5 years now and highly recommend him.


rade | eccles – iPhone Application Development

The perfect iPhone development team, rade | eccles managed to put our iPhone app together in record time yet exude professionalism and dedication every step of the way. Our collaboration wasn’t happenstance. We would make the same decision all over again. Our only recommendation for an iPhone developer – rade | eccles.

Thank you, guys!

NEW: Download MakeUseOf iPhone App. FREE!

Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Use Microsoft Office for Free with Microsoft Web Apps

Posted: 04 Jul 2010 03:30 PM PDT

Google Documents has its problems. Its features are not comprehensive enough for truly serious office work, and it can be a bit slow and finicky when compared to a traditional office program. Still, Google Documents has started a revolution. The ability to access a document from any computer and share it with co-workers is immensely useful.

Microsoft knows this. It has been flat-footed so far, as the company’s investments in the mighty Microsoft Office Suite can’t be turned on (or with) a dime. They are not blind to the situation and to respond, Microsoft has released Microsoft Web Apps, a set of free applications which emulate the functions of Google Documents.

There Is Some Office In My Firefox

Microsoft’s new Web Apps platform is accessed through Windows Live. If you have a Windows Live account you just need to log into it and you’re good to go. If you don’t have a Windows Live account you will need to create one before you gain access.

Once you log in, you will be greeted by what Microsoft calls Skydrive. The Skydrive is simply your online storage. It works a lot like a normal hard drive, although of course, you have to access it through your web browser. You can create new folders for storing and sharing documents and you can move documents from folder to folder. The interface is different from Google Documents, but not quite as robust in functionality. You can’t view documents as thumbnails, for example.

What Can You Buy For Free?

As you might expect, the functionality of Microsoft Web Apps is limited compared to the complete Microsoft Office suite. You will only be able to use web-based versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote. The functionality of each Web App is limited when compared to the full version, as well. The Word Web App, for example, is only really suitable for basic text editing. You an also add photos and links, but that is about it. You can’t add comments, create annotations or edit footers.

If you already own the Microsoft Office suite, however, you’ll be able to open any Web App document in the full version of Microsoft Office. The value of this feature can’t be overstated. While browser-based office suites are interesting, they are never as smooth or as functional as a office suite installed on your local machine. By integrating the ability to open a Web App document with just one click Microsoft gives Office users the best of both worlds.

The interface of Microsoft’s Web App’s will be immediately familiar if you use Microsoft Office. This means that is better than other popular free suites, like Google Documents and Zoho. Rather than relying on old-fashion drop-down menus, Microsoft Web Apps follows a more modern tabbed design aesthetics. Icons are large and intuitive, and the most frequently needed functions are represented by large buttons which are easy to find. I was able to start using Microsoft Web Apps in no time at all.

A Real Alternative to Google Documents?

It is easy to pigeon-hole Microsoft as the senile old curmudgeon of the tech world, slowly dying as it makes desperate attempts to keep with the times. This portrayal is common (those lovely “I’m a Mac” ads didn’t help) but it is starting to seem inaccurate.

Microsoft’s Web Apps is an extremely solid platform. Its interface is actually better than that of Google Documents in many respects. Microsoft’s Web Apps also feels even quicker than Google Documents, which is by no means a slouch when it comes to speed. I noticed this somewhat when I was using Word, but the biggest speed difference seemed to come in the presentation apps. Microsoft’s Powerpoint Web App felt a lot smoother than Google’s implementation.

It is the integration with the paid version of Office that is killer, however. As an dedicated OpenOffice user, I’m now considering actually purchasing Microsoft Office 2010 just to gain access one-click integration with Microsoft’s Web Apps. If any OpenOffice users out there know a way to enable similar functionality for OpenOffice I’d love to hear it.

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!

Similar MakeUseOf Articles

10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 04 Jul 2010 12:30 PM PDT

where can I download free mp3sSound Sunday is back with a fresh mix for your ears. This week. we go from Classical and Ambient to Rock, crossing Hip Hop, Pop, Jazz, and Electronica on the way. Happy Independence Day!

I am open for suggestions and would love to hear your feedback regarding the selection of musical styles and artists. Praise and criticism are equally welcomed. Comments and contact information can be found at the bottom of this article.

Enjoy this week’s selection and please support the artists wherever possible!

Aaron Copland – Copland Fanfare For The Common Man, Billy The Kid, El Salón México

Genre: classical, film music

where can I download free mp3s In celebration of US Independence Day on July 4th, features a free download from Aaron Copland. Copland, an American pianist and composer of concert and film music, was born in 1900 and lived to become 90 years old. Quite refreshingly, he maintains a MySpace profile with an unknown last login date.

Download the album from Login required.

Aaron Copland MySpace and Wikipedia.

Tangram – Micropolis

Genre: ambient, electronica, new wave

how to download music for free This group has previously made it into the Sound Sunday feature. In the meantime Péter Fabók, the man behind Tangram, has published a new album called Micropolis.

You can preview and download Micropolis from Bandcamp. It’s a “name your price” download. Please make it more than $0 if you can afford to!

Tangram MySpace and Homepage.

Bomarr – Scraps

Genre: electronica, hip hop

free music Bomarr’s new album Scraps contains previously unreleased material. It truly is a wild mix, containing remixes in collaboration with Restiform Bodies, an iPhone ringtone song, compilations, and collaborations. The result is a very diverse and stimulating album!

Download the album from Circle Into Square in exchange for your eMail address.

Bomarr MySpace and Homepage.

Atomic Skunk – Sampler

Genre: ambient, chillout, electronica, psychedelic

where to download mp3 music free Atomic Skunk’s music is matchless material for a lazy day. This two piece (17 minutes) Sampler provides a taste of their music, which is rich in sounds, yet woven together skillfully to form a quiet and peaceful flow. Put the song Forest for the Trees on repeat to fall asleep with ease.

Download the free sampler from Bandcamp. No questions asked.

Atomic Skunk MySpace and Homepage.

Brave No Sleep – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

Genre: indie, rock

free album download Brave No Sleep from Dallas, Texas, USA have released their EP Everything’s Gonna Be Alright in hopes they will win your hearts over. They have picked three very strong pieces, which demonstrate their talent and skill. No doubt their strength is touching hearts. Are you sold?

Download the EP from NoiseTrade in exchange for your eMail address and postal code.

Brave No Sleep MySpace and Facebook.

GM X Vinylcologist – 4 Your BBQ Vol.1 (BBQ Sauced)

Genre: hardcore, hip hop, rap

download free album Here we have a record from the future. The official release date on Bandcamp is November 24th, 2010. The album is truly unusual. It comes in two tracks – Side A (19:34) and Side B (25:19). Uncut flow and spice for your Sunday BBQ.

Download the album from Bandcamp. No strings attached.

GM X Vinylcologist MySpace and Twitter.

Tianastácia – No País das Maravilhas

Genre: pop, rock

free mp3 album Tianastácia are from Brazil and they have been around since the mid 90s. They sing in their native language Portuguese. The sound is wild South American rock.

Download No País das Maravilhas from Tianastácia’s Homepage. Click on “Baixar o disco completo” in the bottom left to start the download. No input required.

Tianastácia MySpace and Homepage.

Laura Stevenson and the Cans – Laura Stevenson: A Record

Genre: pop, acoustic

free mp3 download Laura Stevenson and the Cans managed to spread their music without a record release for quite some time. Finally, in 2008 Laura broke free from the trend she had set and released Laura Stevenson: A Record. The band hasn’t released a record since, but they are happily touring Europe at the moment.

Download Laura Stevenson: A Record from Quote Unquote Records. Direct and unchallenged.

Laura Stevenson and the Cans MySpace and Homepage.

Freddie Joachim – Dust

Genre: jazz, soul, hip hop, experimental

where can I find free music This album is cleverly set between musical styles. The hip hop rules the beat and mix, the jazz is in the music, and the soul lives in the voice. Taken together, it’s definitely experimental and a rewarding challenge for your ears.

Download the album Dust from Bandcamp. No information required.

Freddie Joachim MySpace and Homepage.

Stomacher – Sentimental Education

Genre: rock, pop

where can I download free mp3s Stomacher is a band based in California and was previously known as Reverent Fear. The debut album of the new band comes with a slightly dark sound, which is quite a refreshing one compared to the old mainstream pop/rock.

Download the album Sentimental Education from Stomacher’s Homepage, eMail address required.

Stomacher MySpace and Homepage.

Suggestions, questions, criticism? The comments are ready to receive your input. If you would like to see your own music featured on Sound Sunday, please get in touch with me: tina at makeuseof dot com.

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.

Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Access Your Personalised Thunderbird Client On Any Computer WorldWide

Posted: 04 Jul 2010 10:30 AM PDT

One of the main disadvantages to using a desktop email client such as Mozilla Thunderbird is that you can only access it on one computer. Although you can access your emails through a web-based interface from your email provider, it is not the same.

But now, this is no longer an issue with this simple hack. You can use one Thunderbird profile on many computers around the world. So say goodbye to logging into Gmail to read your emails when you are away from your main computer and say hello to the new power of desktop computing.

The Idea

To be able to do this, the idea is to setup Portable Thunderbird and run it in yourDropBox folder. If you have no idea what I am talking about, Thunderbird is desktop email client to access your emails and DropBox synchronizes your files and folders across multiple computers. Portable Thunderbird is a version of ThunderBird which you don’t have to install to work thus allowing it to work almost anywhere.

To get this to work, first you have to install DropBox on the computers you want to access your emails on and have the Portable Thunderbird files inside your DropBox folder. If you are not sure about how to install these programs, scroll to the bottom of this post.

How It All Works

For those who are unsure of how this works, let me briefly explain it. DropBox synchronises any files you have in your DropBox folder with the DropBox servers. Every time you make a change in the folder, your computer will automatically synchronise the changed files with the DropBox servers. If you setup a DropBox account on another computer, the DropBox servers will synchronise the files with that computer and ensure that every file and folder is up-to-date on every computer.

The portable version of Thunderbird has all the settings contained in one folder so you can basically move that folder around anywhere you want and it will still work. Since it is in the DropBox folder, it will be synchronised with all your computers that your DropBox account is assigned to. Therefore, if you download new emails on one computer, DropBox will automatically synchronise the new emails to all other computers, so when you open Portable Thunderbird, your emails will be there, no matter which computer you access it on.

Haven’t Used Portable ThunderBird Before?

Once you have your Portable ThunderBird inside your DropBox folder, all you have to do is to set up your email service provider and create a ThunderBird Profile.

If you use Gmail, this tutorial will help you set up POP/IMAP access.

Once you are set up, download all your emails and you are good to go. The only thing left is to install DropBox on other computers so you will be able to access your them in other locations. It’s as simple as that.

Used ThunderBird Before?

If you are currently using the regular desktop version of ThunderBird, you can easily move to the Portable version of Thunderbird in a few easy steps.

  1. Create a profile for all the different email accounts that you use in Thunderbird
  2. Find the location of your ThunderBird profile on your computer by going to Tools –> Account Settings –> Server and Settings which is underneath your email account’s name, and go to the location that you see under Local Directory

  3. Once you open that location, you will see the files for each of your folders in your ThunderBird Profile.
  4. All you have to do to move them to Portable ThunderBird is to copy them to the path where Portable Thunderbird is installed. For me, the location will be E:\Jack\Documents\My Dropbox\ThunderbirdPortable\Data\profile\Mail\Local Folders. Your link will be somewhat different at the start and different at the end depending on your setup.
  5. Open up Portable Thunderbird and all your emails should appear.

The Pro’s Of Doing This

By using DropBox and Portable ThunderBird, the are a few benefits. These are:

  • All your emails are automatically backed up
  • You do not have to carry a USB flash drive around with you
  • You have the ability to share your email with others easily
  • If you access your emails on a number of devices, this method can merge them all to one location, meaning no duplicates
  • Great way to manage your emails if you are a light user
  • You can access your email on any DropBox-enabled computer
  • You do not need to use your email provider’s web-based interface

The Downsides

As always, I better make a mention of the possible downsides with this method:

  • You only get 2GB of space or whatever your DropBox limit is
  • You risk having multiple inboxes and files if you have several instances of Portable Thunderbird open simultaneously
  • You need to ensure DropBox is completely synced before opening Portable Thunderbird
  • If DropBox isn’t installed, you can’t access your email on ThunderBird and have to use the web-based version, or install Dropbox first
  • Remember to unlink your DropBox account on computers that you do not need to use anymore, otherwise people can read your emails
  • I have also heard that using System Restore may remove Portable Thunderbird from your DropBox folder.

For Those Who Want Installation Instructions

First of all, download Portable Thunderbird from Portable Apps. It is a small 32MB file. Then download and install DropBox. If you havn’t heard about DropBox in the past until now, MakeUseOf has covered a number of articles on what you can do with DropBox.

To install DropBox, simple go to the DropBox website and hit the big blue Download DropBox button and follow the instructions. During the DropBox installation, you will be prompted to login with your existing DropBox account if you have one or create to create a new one. When asked for your DropBox directory, you can select any file location you wish.

Now that you have your DropBox folder set up on your computer, it is now time to download and install Portable Thunderbird. Head over to Portable Apps, and download the program.

Once downloaded, run the .paf file and install it. However, when it asks for your installation location, don't select your Flash Drive or your desktop; choose a folder inside your DropBox folder.

You have now set up and installed all of the required software.

Other Ways Of Doing This

If you don't think this method will suit your needs, Tina as wrote an article of 3 ways to sync your Thunderbird emails across multiple computers which you may find interesting.

What do you think of this “hack”?

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!

Similar MakeUseOf Articles

No comments:

Post a Comment