Thursday, July 8, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [July 7th]” plus 6 more “Cool Websites and Tools [July 7th]” plus 6 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [July 7th]

Posted: 07 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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Scribbly – While the web offers numerous note-taking tools, Scribbly stands out from the crowd. Scribbly is an addon for Mozilla Firefox. The objective of the addon is to help users take notes. But Scribbly is a lot more than a mere note-taking app. Read more: Scribbly: Take Notes While Surfing The Web (Firefox Addon).


CrowdRise – Somewhere in all of us exists a hero who wants to push advocacies and help those in need. That is why Crowdrise was created to help people who want to help other people. It is a charity social networking website that lets users send donations online for various fund-raising activities and advocacies. Read more: Crowdrise: Social Networking Site For FundRaising & Advocacy. – Online movie streaming service that stands out from the rest because of its super smooth user experience. While doesn't host any movies, it crawl the best sites for high-quality movies and bring them to you for a better viewing experience. If the movie at the original source is in 6 different parts, will combine them for you so you don't see a lag. Most of the movies are DivX based so the quality is much better than the FLV counterparts. Read more: The Simplest Way To View Full Length Movies For Free Online.



Flojuggler – Men are often clueless about their girlfriend's menstrual cycles. This leads them to guess why their girl has wild mood swings during these days. If you are one of these clueless men, then you should check out Flojuggler. This website is a fun application designed to track and notify you when your girl has her period coming up. Read more: Flojuggler: Tracks & Notifies When Your Girlfriend Gets Her Period.



Einztein – The internet is one big learning source extensively used by students. Whether your professor is not teaching well or you simply need further information on a particular subject, online study courses offered by various reputable universities are a great help. To save you from the trouble of jumping from website to website looking for courses, Einztein is another good option. Read more: Einztein: Find Online Study Courses From Reputable Sources.


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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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How to Maintain a Universally-Accessible Clipboard

Posted: 07 Jul 2010 04:30 PM PDT

clipboard accessI’m willing to bet you spend entirely too much time composing email replies. You may have the need to write the same response to different people throughout the day. This takes up more time than it should – especially if you’re mobile. There’s no need to keep banging out identical answers (even if you’re responding to someone’s identical twin).

You may have already used the “signature” feature of your favorite email client to keep these types of responses a click away, but what about when you’re on the road – limited to just one email signature on your iPad or iPhone, specifically?

Create a new folder named “Clipboard” in your email account of choice. Save individual messages (as drafts or sent items) there. You shouldn’t need to enter a specific respondent in the “To” field – you’re not actually sending anything. Choose a few words for the subject line that will remind you later which response this is, such as “Thanks for Interest.” Use the “Body” to compose a standard response.

clipboard access

Save it as a draft and copy/move it to your “Clipboard” folder.

clipboard folder

Now your predefined messages will be easy to get to, should sit at the top of an alphabetical folder hiercarchy, and… it’s a free solution. Now when you’re accessing it from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad; it’s simple to open up a message, Select All, and Copy its contents to the system’s clipboard to be pasted in a response.

clipboard access

Why not use a separate Notes app for something like this? Because… well, if you’re replying to email on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you won’t have to switch apps to get to the information – it’ll just be in a separate folder.

After you do this for each one of your common responses, you’ll have a customized collection to help you cut down on the amount of time spent typing (or waiting for when you’re no longer mobile). It’s a great hack to send quick replies when you’re on the go.

This was guest post by Chris Pirillo. Chris is a geek. He’s on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook – not to mention the first result for “Chris” when you search on Google.

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3 Extensions To Recover Forms & Text Area Data In Firefox

Posted: 07 Jul 2010 02:31 PM PDT

firefox recover form dataHave you ever spent 10 minutes writing something and then pushed the “Submit” button only to find out that you have lost your Internet connection and your information has all been lost? Or that you have lost your form due to a Firefox crash or your own stupid mistake (such as clicking the “cancel” instead of “submit” button? I sometimes do that!)

Have you ever felt desperate because of the need to type the text all over again?

If “yes” is your answer (and if you use Firefox), read further and try these tools (they won’t save your life in any situation that may occur but they will recover the form data in most cases!).


Lazarus (already reviewed by Saikat here) is the most popular text-saving tool out here. It works really smoothly, saves text automatically and is there only if you need it.

According to their own words:

Lazarus works on ordinary web forms, WYSIWYG editors, and even AJAXified comment boxes, and will save you from pretty much any given server, browser, or connection problems that might otherwise cause you to lose your work, or that really pithy blog comment you struggled on for over an hour.

It Has Two Options:

  • Recover Text – which recovers text in one (current) field. It also lets you preview the text on hover-over:

remember form data firefox

  • Recover Form – recovers the whole form completing all the fields you previously completed:

firefox recover form data

The options menus allows to:

  • Let the tool save the passwords;
  • Remove the saved forms after the set period of time;
  • Require passwords to restore forms:

remember form data firefox

Does the tool remember text after the Firefox restart? Yes.

Note: The tool saves data after you click “submit” – it is unlikely to save your life if you pushed “cancel” instead of “submit”

Textarea Cache

Textarea Cache is a similar tool, but it does provide a bit different functionality that makes me a fan. The tool is rather simplistic, it can’t remember the whole form but it is nice to use for saving the text area contents.

What I like about the tool is that it isn’t tied to a form. Instead, you can access the tool (via the status bar icon) any time to see the whole history of what you have typed and where:

  • Time;
  • The form page title;
  • (after you select one) The exact text you submitted:

remember form data firefox

The options allow you to:

  • Show the status bar icon when text is saved in the cache;
  • Don’t save text in private browsing mode;
  • Maintain the list of domains you don’t want to save text from:

Text area cache options

Does the tool remember text after the Firefox restart? Yes.

Text Saver

Text Saver (not reviewed by Mozilla and still in experimental mode) – while being the least usable of all, this one also seems useful in some cases.

What makes it stand out is that it doesn’t saves text automatically – it only saves something if you ask it to.

To save the text, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Type something in a text area;
  • Right-click on the text-are and choose “Add this text to text Saver”
  • Give this extract a name (to easier identify it):

Text Saver

Next time you need it, open the tool sidebar (via the icon in the status bar) and notice it there:

firefox recover form data

Note: The addon works not only with text areas. You can add pretty much any text there. You can also use the drag-and-drop functionality to drag any parts of text directly to the tool sidebar.

From the sidebar, you can:

  • Delete any text;
  • Edit any note;
  • Search within your notes

Does the tool remember text after the Firefox restart? Yes.

Do you use any text-recovery tools in FireFox? Please share them in the comments!

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How To Get Your Very Own Free SSL Certificate

Posted: 07 Jul 2010 11:31 AM PDT

free ssl certificatesA Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate helps us to encrypt the data being transmitted via the Internet. It will come in handy if you are running a blog or a personal webpage and logging into them from an unsecured public access WiFi Hotspot (such as coffee shops, airports etc).

Transmission of your login information over an unsecured connection can be intercepted and hacked. Internet security is a topic of interest for MUO authors and our readers alike.

SSL certificates encrypt the login data before transmitting them to your ISP/server making it harder for eavesdroppers to break in. That's exactly why banks, financial institutions, ecommerce sites etc. use SSL for securing login information, user identity information and credit card data.

SSL certificates cost a lot if bought from providers like Verisign, GoDaddy etc. For those us who don’t run mission critical portals, that is not an option. Let us see how to get free SSL certificates from StartSSL.

Obtaining The Free SSL Certificate

A simple signup form kickstarts the process of getting the free SSL certificate. All the details, including home/company address to phone number are mandatory requirements. Once the signup is done, an email with the verification code is sent to the email address you specified.

free ssl

After entering the verification code, the application is sent to the second stage of verification by the StartSSL team and we are advised to wait for about six hours before being contacted by their team.

However, I got a confirmation mail in less than 5 minutes with a link to the account. Remember, this email is good for only 24 hours from the time it has been received, so act fast.

Installing The SSL Certificate

StartSSL offers free certificates with no holds barred and with absolutely no hidden charges. You can choose either a 128 bit or 256 bit key for encryption.

free ssl certificates

We have the option to choose between a high grade or medium grade private key. Once the type of key is selected, it is generated and we are taken to the installation page.

free ssl

Once the install button is clicked, the certificate is installed. There is also an option to download and store the certificate to an external disk and I strongly advise you to do it.

free ssl

Now that the certificate is installed in the browser, we can just click on the Authenticate option to enter the control panel. No need for an username and password. We are identified by way of the unique private key and hence it is very important to back it up securely.

free ssl cert

Validating The Domain Name

After authentication, we can start the process of validating the domain name & the email address with the help of the Validations Wizard. From the dropdown, you can choose the appropriate option. Let us go ahead and validate a domain name.

Once we enter the domain name, an email address has to be associated with it to confirm domain ownership.

free ssl cert

Once the email address is verified, the domain is validated. However, this being a free SSL certificate, StartSSL requires the renewal of this validation every 30 days, which involves the same process.

free ssl cert

Certificate Wizard

I chose the Webserver certificate since I am planning to use it for my Wordpress installation. We need to enter a password to create a private key and then we have to enter the subdomain where the certificate will be used. Subdomain is a mandatory requirement.

The certificate created will support the domain and the sub domain. As the final step, we now have the text box displaying the encoded certificate information. Copy the content, paste it in a notepad file and rename the file as ssl.crt

The same page also has links to download the intermediate and root certificates. Download them to the same folder.

Uploading Files To Server

Navigate to the How to Install section in the FAQ section. Choose your server setup, for example Apache and you will have the code to modify the http.conf or ssl.conf file. Copy it and update the file in the root folder of the domain in your webserver.

From the same page download the ca.pem & files. Upload all the files to the root folder and now we have the SSL enabled connection at the website.

free ssl certificates

Final Thoughts

Please exercise caution with the last step and ensure that all the directories (marked by arrows in the image above) follow the same naming convention of your ISP or location in your webserver. And do remember to validate the domain every 30 days to enjoy the security provided by the free SSL certificate.

Are there any other services offering free SSL certificates? If you know of any, do share them with us.

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6 Best Profiles For Listing Your Social Networks

Posted: 07 Jul 2010 10:31 AM PDT

social network profilesIf you’re reading this post it’s probably because you’re a pretty heavy internet user and you’ve realised that you’ve got a few social networking profiles up your sleeve. You might be starting to realise that having a nice-looking profile page which points your friends to your other profiles is a good idea.

But there are so many questions to answer. Which profile page do you choose? What if you use niche social networks? Should you use more than one profile page? Should you set the profile up for professional use or for friends? Where should you direct people? All of these are important questions, and they’re all best answered by looking at what’s available.

Google Profiles

Google profiles are becoming increasingly popular. They’re easy to set up, because Google will suggest links it already thinks are associated with you. Besides being a little creepy, this feature does help to make things quick to set up. Google profiles are also linked to Google Buzz, so make sure you check all your privacy settings there if you set this up.

Hint: For professional profiles, ensure you set up a Flickr set just for professional-friendly photos and link to that from your professional profile. Much as your kid’s birthday party pictures are cute, it’s probably worth keeping them separate from your business networking. If need be, read more on maintaining a professional profile.

manage social networking accounts


This is a great way to keep track of everything. Load in all your important profiles, blogs and other related links, then categorise and explain them for your visitors. ClaimID lets you declare whether the link points to something “About you” or “By you” amongst other things. This way, you can showcase your own websites, plus any glowing reviews you’ve had from other people.

It’s an easy way to create an online resume of sorts. ClaimID also lets you use widgets in the sidebar, so you can link to other networks there and add a little colour.


manage social networking accountsThis service is really easy to use, because it shows you the profile URLs and lets you fill in your username, ID number or whatever. It then really quickly checks to see if that profile URL worked or if you’ve made a typo.

There’s a lot of networks on the list, so most social networks will be found there. It falls down when it comes to niche networks though, because there’s no way of adding something not on the list. There’s also no way of adding multiple IDs for any network, so if you have more than one Tumblr or Twitter profile, you have to choose just one to display.

Cardly is fantastic for many reasons. Firstly, it allows you to choose from a good number of social networks. Secondly, it limits you to choosing just eight of them for your profile, preventing you from going overboard. Don’t worry, there’s another slot for a website, so you can point them somewhere else for more information. Thirdly, it has many great skins to choose from.

The overall effect of this combination is to build a stylish landing page which won’t overwhelm the reader.

social network profiles


Retaggr let you plug in your networks and create a nice-looking business card widget for you. It’s basically designed for you to have a virtual business card for social networks. The free version of Retaggr is limited, but not so much that a normal user will have any problems.

A person with many blogs might run out of free website slots, but that’s about it. Besides which, Retaggr are offering free upgrades at the moment and they promise the paid version is pretty cheap anyway.


If you write or comment on blogs, a Gravatar account is almost essential. Gravatar’s main purpose is to make life easy for you by linking a profile photo with an email address. This way, when you comment on blogs, your picture shows up automatically.

But then Gravatar went a step further and allowed you to list verified social network profiles. These are really simple to set up – all you do is click on the service and it takes you to the authentication page on that social network.

social network profiles

Other Possibilities

An honourable mention needs to go to Friendfeed. It’s really a lifestream, rather than a profile page, but it does allow you to create a neat badge which does everything a profile page should do – it points your friends on to your other profiles.

Another site with potential, which didn’t quite make the list is This is a great concept, but sadly at this stage it’s limited to just a small handful of networks. I’m not convinced anyone will be happy with such a small choice.

Other social network profile pages previously covered at MakeUseOf include:

My Recommendations

Because it’s so easy to set up a Google profile and a Gravatar, these would be the first I would recommend you create. I’d also suggest using different profiles for personal and professional use (with sensible email addresses linked), using your real name for the professional profile. Yes really do this – if someone Googles your real name, which profile would you prefer they find? or Retaggr would be my next suggestion, since they’re both such simple, uncluttered landing pages. If you still have a bit of time up your sleeve, get to work on a holistic profile at DandyID or ClaimID.

With this much information on how easy it is to set up a great profile to link your social networks, you may as well get one set up right now. Which one will you set up first? Why?

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Why Google Won’t Show You What You Want & How To Fix That

Posted: 07 Jul 2010 09:31 AM PDT

google won't show search resultsGoogle has been working hard to fit various people’s searching needs and find what they need even they don’t know what they are looking for.

The set of features developed by Google aiming at making it easier to search and find should be helpful for most people. But according to Google’s official guide, “sometimes Google helps out a little too much” and you need to know how to fix that.

Let me first clarify in which cases you may have trouble getting Google to search for what you exactly want:

What To Fix:

1. Google’s Spell-Checking Feature

Google treats spell-checking errors in two ways:

  • You may be suggested the proper spelling (but you will be lucky enough to see the search results for the original (misspelled) keyword you entered). This happens when too many people misspell the word, so Google starts thinking the spelling might still be valid;
  • You may be suggested the proper spelling (and you will see the search results for that “correct” spelling no matter what you have typed in the search box).

Google error fix

2. Google’s Phrase Versus “Oneword” Search

It is somehow related to the above one (as Google should be considering it an error) and I fight with it almost on a daily basis. Whenever you type the phrase as one word (when, for example, you are searching for a service name), Google would search for the phrase instead.

For example, I was recently trying to search for the articles related to OneLook (which is a direct and reverse definition search). Yes, I got a few results related to the service but most were dedicated to the phrase:

google won't show search results

3. Google Synonym Search

Some time ago Google started quietly showing and bolding synonyms in its search results:

Most of the time, you probably don’t notice when your search involves synonyms, because it happens behind the scenes. However, our measurements show that synonyms affect 70 percent of user searches across the more than 100 languages Google supports.

They do confirm that their synonym search algorithm isn’t perfect and there are “bad” synonyms returned. The reason is easy to understand: it is too hard to teach the machine to understand the natural language.

While Google does its best to refine the system and the underlying algorithm, some irritating cases still happen. The example is [google ads] search that exclusively focuses on “Google Adwords” in search results (which are similar but still different concepts: Adsense is the system while ads are the actual advertisements served):

Synonym search

So How Do I Fix That?

There are two common fixes to the three aforementioned issues. Here’s how:

1. + (used before the keyword) operator forces Google to stick to the exact match in search results: no error fixing or synonyms:

Google employs synonyms automatically, so that it finds pages that mention, for example, childcare for the query [ child care ] (with a space), or California history for the query [ ca history ]. But sometimes Google helps out a little too much and gives you a synonym when you don’t really want it. By attaching a + immediately before a word (remember, don’t add a space after the +), you are telling Google to match that word precisely as you typed it. Putting double quotes around a single word will do the same thing.

Google search operator: +

2. “” (used for “phrase search”) works like the above one but should be used when you want Google to search for the exact phrase (stick to each word in the phrase and their exact sequence):

By putting double quotes around a set of words, you are telling Google to consider the exact words in that exact order without any change.

google won't show search results

(note: in this case, the + operator would also help: [dr +robon]

Do you ever have trouble finding something in Google? Please let us know in the comments and we will try to find the fix together!

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Free Media Players that Support GPU Acceleration in Windows

Posted: 07 Jul 2010 08:30 AM PDT

gpu accelerationGPU acceleration is a big deal when it comes to playing video. The GPU, or graphics processing unit, is much better equipped to render video than a CPU. Older, single core processors, and even (in rare cases) some dual core processors, can choke on video. Even if you have a new CPU, video playback can be an issue if you want to watch video and accomplish some other task in the background.

By taking most of the load of rendering video, GPU acceleration makes it possible to play video on computers that would other be incapable of doing so. However, GPU acceleration doesn’t work automatically. You have to be watching video with a player media player that supports GPU acceleration, such as the media players listed below.

Windows Media Player 12

gpu acceleration

It probably goes without saying that Windows Media Player isn’t every enthusiast’s dream player, if for no other reason than the fact that it is made by Microsoft. Windows Media Player was one of the first media players out of the gate with video acceleration, however – and this is really no surprise, considering that Microsoft’s DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration) API is the only reason that GPU acceleration of video is possible at all. Windows Media Player 12 also squeezes in support for GPU accleration of WMV video files along with H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 video files.

Windows Media Player 12 is also, to be honest, the only media player here that is really deserving of the name “media player.” Media player – as opposed to video player – implies that a program is centered around playing all media. While all of the programs listed here are capable of playing various video and audio files, Windows Media Player 12 is the only one that offers anything resembling an enjoyable interface for playing audio files. If you want an all-in-one solution for video and audio, Windows Media Player 12 is the way to go.

VLC Media Player

gpu acceleration

Long a favorite of those who just want to play video files with a simple, easy interface, VLC Media Player was just recently updated to include support for GPU acceleration of video. VLC Media Player’s support for GPU acceleration includes the ability to accelerate the H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 formats. Notably, VLC Media Player also offers the same GPU acceleration in Linux. The downside to VLC Media Player is that this support is relatively new, and according to the VLC website it is only fully functional on Nvidia video cards at this time. They are still working on support for ATI and Intel graphics.

Support for GPU acceleration of video aside, VLC Media Player remains a very straight-forward and versatile program capable of playing just about any video file that you throw at it. The interface is simple, but also has all of the features you’d expect from a media player. Once VLC Media Player is updated to support ATI and Intel graphics it will become an easy recommendation for best free video player.

Media Player Classic HomeCinema

media player gpu acceleration

The philosophy of Media Player Classic has always been simplicity. The interface is a replica of the old-fashioned Windows Media Player and includes only the most basic controls. Like VLC Media Player, it can open audio files, but the interface is really geared towards playing video.

Despite being basic, Media Player Classic HomeCinema quickly implemented GPU acceleration of video when DVXA became available. However, as with VLC Media Player, that support is limited. If you have an Nvidia video card only the H.264 is support. If you have an ATI video card the H.264 and VC-1 formats are supported. You also will have to make sure that you use certain render settings in the player – more details can be found at player’s website.


Overall, Windows Media Player is probably the easiest to use and has the best support of GPU accelerated video by far. However, it is still Windows Media Player, and it can be a bit annoying to use for some people. Both VLC Media Player and Media Player Classic HomeCinema are competent entries with refreshingly simple interfaces, but their support for GPU acceleration of video is limited. This is a situation where you’ll probably only be able to find out your favorite player by giving them all a whirl.

Did you know about GPU accelerated video players? Are you using one at the moment?

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