Friday, July 9, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [July 8th]” plus 7 more “Cool Websites and Tools [July 8th]” plus 7 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [July 8th]

Posted: 08 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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ZeroDayScan – is an online website security scanner that lets you know if your website is secure or not. It is useful for webmasters and IT personnel to test the security features of a website. To use ZeroDayScan, you need to provide your site's URL plus your email address. Read more: ZeroDayScan: Check Website Security Online.


AcceptPay – is a great new solution from American Express that lets you send free electronic invoices and accept payments online The free version called AcceptPayLite lets you send an 10 electronic invoices each month to as many customers as you want for free. You can even set up recurring invoices and manage your receivables online. Read more: AcceptPay: Send Free Electronic Invoices & Accept Payments Online.



HomePipe – Synchronization of data between different devices we use has always been a problem. HomePipe is a web service that solves this by letting you access files on your home computer from anywhere and using any device such as a web browser or a smart phone. Read more: HomePipe: Connect To Home Computer From Anywhere. – Finding the cheapest air fare option can be very tedious. You check up the rates of the ticket on each airline's website and then compare your options. But thanks to, you can now do this in a far easier fashion. Read more: Find Lowest Air Fare Rates.



Naview – Design and navigation tools aim to make a web designer's job easier. Although many such tools are available online, Naview sets itself apart from its competition. Naview, currently in beta, is a partially free service by Volkside. The service aims to help web designers design, visualize, test and revise navigational structures quickly and efficiently. Read more: Naview: Build Easy Website Navigation Throug Testing & Prototyping.


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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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3 Steps To Efficiently Work With Multiple Browsers

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 06:31 PM PDT

multiple browsersEver since the legendary battle between Netscape and Internet Explorer, the browser market has shaped up to become a lot more exciting. Netscape has vanished, but its successors give Internet Explorer a run for its market share.

There is Firefox, which stepped into Netscape’s pioneer position. Opera, the fastest. Safari, the Mac browser. Flock, the social browser. And of course there is Google Chrome, the new simplicity. Among these and all the other browsers out there, which one is your favorite?

Browsers are not like antivirus programs. You don’t have to choose because they don’t interfere with each other. Rather it’s advisable to have multiple browsers installed. Some websites work properly only in one browser, you will find another browser easier to customize and work with, and a third may come in handy because it’s fast.

So how do you work efficiently with multiple browsers?

1. Sync Bookmarks

This is a basic necessity. If you really want to use various browsers, you should always have instant access to your bookmarks. One of the best tools to sync your bookmarks across multiple browsers is Transmute.

It will sync bookmarks between all major browsers, including IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Avant, Flock, Konqueror, Chromium, and even social bookmarking sites like Delicious. In addition it is available for Android.

multiple browsers

Saikat has thoroughly reviewed Transmute in this article: Migrate Bookmarks Between Your Browsers. An alternative is AM-DeadLink, which Saikat covered in this post: Clean Up Your Bookmarks by Removing Dead Links And Duplicates.

2. Open Windows Side By Side

These days mostly everyone has a widescreen monitor with a high resolution and a graphics card to support it. If you use your computer a lot and still sit in front of a 1024 x 768 pixel monitor, you should consider upgrading your hardware to work more comfortably.

If you do enjoy the comfort of a high screen resolution, you do not need to maximize your windows. This appears to be a no-brainer, but apparently not. I have found that people maximize browser windows whether or not it’s needed.

So here is a “new idea”: open two windows next to each other to make the most of your screen. It could be your default browser on the left and your fast alternative on the right or any other combination of windows.

efficiently use wide screen space

The usefulness of working with two windows side by side is also reflected in the respective Windows 7 feature called Snap. If you would like to simulate this windows behavior in Windows XP, try AeroSnap.

3. Automatically Open URLs In Secondary Browser

You may want to open certain links in a browser that is not your default. You could open that browser, use your synced bookmarks or paste the link. Tedious. You don’t have to take that detour. Instead, create a shortcut that will open the URL where you want it to open.

Right-click onto your desktop, then click > New > Shortcut and browse for the .exe file of the preferred browser. The link that appears in the shortcut field will look something like this: “C:\Programs\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe

multiple browsers

What you need to do now is enter the URL to the path, and it should look like this: “C:\Programs\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe” “

You can now use this shortcut to instantly open this link in a specific browser. If Firefox is your default browser, you can use an addon called Open With. It lets you open current pages in any browser of your choice.

How do you use multiple browsers?

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3 Popular Image Licenses You Need To Be Familiar With Before Using Someone’s Photos

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 02:31 PM PDT

royalty free photosYou can’t just use any image you find online on your blog, and doing so can lead to a legal mess. This is because most of the photos on the Internet are subject to copyright, meaning the photographer who took the photo has the exclusive legal right to use the image.

Some images aren’t subject to copyright, however, and there are three potential reasons for this. The first potential reason is the image is so old copyright no longer applies. The second reason is the photo was taken by a government branch, and as such belongs to the public. The third, and perhaps most common reason on the web, is that the original artist gave up his or her copyright.

There can be many reasons for giving up copyright. Some people do it for ideological reasons: believing that information should be free means standing behind that idea with your own work. Others do it as a means of self-promotion, knowing that allowing others to use their work could help build their personal brand. Others do it because they simply don’t care to make money off their work.

This does not mean that all images on the Internet are free for you to use, however. You need to be familiar with the various licenses before you can start using other people’s pictures on your website. So let’s go over the basics!

Creative Commons

free public domain photos

The most common free license in use on the Internet is the Creative Commons set of licenses. People wanting to use this license can choose from a number of conditions, including that a given photo cannot by used commercially. As such, finding a photo licensed by Creative Commons does not necessarily mean you have the right to use the photo.

The good news is that anything licensed by Creative Commons is clearly labeled, with a link to the terms of the license for those looking to use the photo. Read more about Creative Commons licenses, and make sure you understand what it means before you use any such photos.  Also take a read of Sandra’s article on the subject.

GNU Public License

royalty free photos

Typically a software license, the GNU Public License (GPL) is frequently used to license photographs on the web – particularly at Wikipedia. This license is long – read it here – but for the most part what it means is easy to understand: you can use and even alter this picture as you see fit, provided you release your work under the same terms and include mention of its license.

This means most GPL pictures aren’t useful for larger corporate blogs but just might work perfectly for some. As always, make sure you have a clear understanding of the license’s implications before you use a photo licensed using it.

Public Domain

royalty free photos

Public domain is a free-for-all, meaning you can do with the photo as you will. This is true of pretty much every photo older than one hundred years old, depending on where you are in the world. It’s also true of any photo produced by the US (and other) governments. This means any picture produced by NASA, for example, can be used without any concern for copyright at all.

Royalty free photos in the public domain are clearly labeled as such, but may not be public in your country even if it is listed as such. Be sure to read up on your country’s copyright laws before making use of public domain photos.

Where To Find Files

Finding free photos on the web is something we’ve discussed here at MakeUseOf quite a bit, but it’s still worth mentioning a few of the larger sites.

My personal favorite is Wikimedia Commons. This site stores all the photos used in the various Wikimedia projects on the web, including the world-famous Wikipedia. Here you can search for free images and find many, a lot of them spectacular.

free public domain photos

  • Flickr is the largest image sharing site in the world, and is also a great place to find photos you can just for your blog. Just do a Creative Commons search under Advanced Search and you’ll have access to millions of photos licensed for you to use. Just be sure to review the terms of the license before you use them.
  • OpenClipArt is a collection of pictures you can use freely, so be sure to check that out.

Don’t have enough sources yet? Check out John’s article 5 Free Websites for Copyright Free Photographs or Tina’s article Add Some Glamour With Royalty Free Images for more.


For generating traffic on your page nothing matches original content. Making your own images is usually worth the time. Still, it’s nice having a massive database of free images to pick from. Familiarize yourself with copyright law and you’ll quickly find there are millions of usable photos on the web.

Did I miss any good ones, you guys? Share in the comments below. I’d also like to hear about any licenses I neglected to mention, because there are hundreds out there.

P.S. Having images isn’t always enough; sometimes you need to edit them. I myself enjoy and use The Gimp, but if you’re looking for a comparison of the free options out there I recommend Tina’s article 10 Free Image Editing Programs for Your PC.

Image Credit : ŇÄĵŵÅ – Free Photographer

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Hot Tech Deals [July 8th]

Posted: 08 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. coupon: 15% off no minimum
  2. HP Home coupon: $400 off Pavilion laptops over $1,299
  3. Lenovo coupons: Up to $200 off ThinkPad laptops
  4. HP ENVY 13 Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz 13″ Laptop for $900 + free shipping via coupon code “NBG351962″
  5. USB Power Adapter for Apple iPad / iPhone 4 for $4 + free shipping, more
  6. iPad App Store Freebies: Dilbert Mobile, Moon Globe, Traffica, more
  7. OtterBox Impact Case for iPhone 3G / 3GS for $9 + free shipping
  8. The Woman’s Day Cookvook for iPhone / iPod touch downloads for free
  9. Sony Fontopia Stereo Earphones with Microphone for $10 + free shipping
  10. Samsung DualView TL205 12MP Digital Camera for $99 + free shipping via coupon code “S9900990″

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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View Google Adsense In Analytics & Why You’d Want To

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 11:31 AM PDT

One of the things that I love about Google’s assortment of webmaster tools, like Analytics and Adsense, is that they give you better insight into your site’s performance than just about any other app that you can find. And there are some easy ways you can use those statistics, like Tim’s article on the Analytics Wordpress plugin, or the desktop app called TrakkBoard where you can monitor multiple Analytics accounts at once.

Today, I’d like to cover a change that took place over the past year or so where Google integrated Adsense information into Google Analytics. You use Adsense in your websites and your feeds, so wouldn’t it be nice to get a glimpse of what sort of performance your Google Ads are doing each time you monitor your Google Analytics account? If you didn’t know that you could do this, I’m going to show you how to integrate Adsense with Analytics, and what some of those reports look like.

How To Integrate Adsense Into Analytics

Before you can take a look at your Google Ad performance alongside your traffic data, you need to enable the feed between Adsense and Analytics. You can do so with a single click. When you’re logged into Adsense and viewing your report overview, just click the link to integrate Adsense with your Analytics account.

The next step is to tell Adsense which data you’d like to “marry” into Analytics. If you’ve only used one Adsense account for all of your websites, this is easy because there won’t be any choice. However, if you’ve organized your Adsense into “channels” for each domain, as I’ve done, this is where you can tell Adsense to only integrate the Adsense numbers for one channel into the Analytics account that you have set up for that domain.

In this example, I’m telling Adsense to use the ad information for and feed it into my Analytics account set up for Once you go through this simple 3 step “wizard,” you’re good to go. It may take a little while for the data feed to start flowing, but you’ll see the Adsense option in your Google Analytics account immediately.

Adsense Data You Can View In Google Analytics

Once you’ve enabled this feature, the information you can use to compare to your overall site traffic is pretty cool. You can see Adsense data within Analytics when you click on the Content section. The menu option shows up simply as “AdSense.”

Once you dropdown the Adsense item, you can see how much information your account feeds into Analytics.

Now that you know where to view Adsense information within Analytics, let’s take a look at what that information means to you. The first overview will show you your overall Adsense income for the domain. You can see your daily revenue over time – which offers some pretty cool insight into how certain events affected your income on that day.

Did you do certain work on a certain day? Did you cover a particular topic or publish a very popular article on that day? You can monitor your daily revenue to keep track of how your ad income was affected by those events. If a certain topic consistently seems to draw better clickthrough rates for your ads and generates higher income, doesn’t it make sense to focus more of your efforts on that topic? It will sure affect your bottom line if you do.

While the graphical display shows you the trend, if you click on “Top Adsense Content” you can actual see the details – exactly which of your pages are producing the most income for you?

You can see not only revenue, but how many ads were clicked, click-through rates and more. If you really want to beef up the monetization of your website through Google Ads, this is the place where you can get the best optimization data.

This information doesn’t stop with articles, you can also click on Top AdSense Referrers to see which incoming links you receive that seems to generate a better ad clickthrough rate.

Obviously, it would make sense to establish stronger ties with those partner websites that are sending you traffic which results in your strongest ad revenue. Often this simply represents the “type” of visitor that site is sending you. Folks coming in from Google may not be the type of visitors that are as likely to click on your particular ads as people coming from StumbleUpon. If you want to improve your bottom line, focus on those things that are revealed by the AdSense data as working for you.

Finally, another very cool piece of information is when you click on AdSense Trending. This display shows you how much specific Adsense variables have changed on a particular day.

For example, it will show you that on Saturday, your AdSense revenue increased by 3.74 percent. Or, you can change the variable to AdSense CTR and learn that on Monday your clickthrough rate shot through the roof. This is a great way to test certain changes to your site and then review how that change affected your user behaviors. I saw this just recently on one of my websites, where changing my entire site them increased clickthrough rates by almost 50%.

Since Google added this feature, have you been using it? Share what you like or dislike about the AdSense integration with Analytics in the comments section below.

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How To Create An Image Map Using GIMP

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 10:31 AM PDT

create an image mapHave you ever wanted to add an image map to your web site?  An image map is a graphic that contains hotspots that link to URLs.  They are used as a means to give a web designer greater design flexibility in that they can insert links almost in any place they desire.  Yes, image maps can help that much.

There are several pieces of design software that can help a designer to create an image map, but many of them are very expensive.  I have chosen to learn how to use GIMP because it is free.  Follow these simple steps to create your own image map using GIMP.

1. Create Or Find The Image You Want To Use

Any image will do and a lot of it depends on what you are trying to accomplish as a designer.  I have seen image maps where faces are clickable which bring you to the bios on each person.  For this example, I will be adding several graphical logos that I will later make clickable.

how to make image map

2. Open The Image Map Editor In GIMP & Start Mapping

Once you have the image where you want it, find the menu Tools –>Web –>Image Map.  This should bring up the image map editor where you are offered several tools. You can use different shapes to accomplish the effect you desire.

create an image map

There are also two workspaces: the image map and the list of links you have mapped.

how to make image map

Using the editor should prove to be self explanatory.  Basically you use the shape tool most conducive to covering the area you want to be linked to the URL.  You will notice that as you finish each shape, a pop up appears for you to fill in.  The most basic settings to fill in are on the first tab.  Fill in the address and the ALT text and you should be fine.

how to make image map

3. Get The Code

It’s good to know that after all of the designing is done, what you need in the end is the code.  You see, image maps are actually written in HTML and in order for you to actually get the image map up and running on your site, you will need to grab the code.  With GIMP, this is easy to do.  Just go to View–>Source to view the source code.

You’ll notice that I highlighted a part of the code.  This is the address where the image being mapped is located.  If the file containing the code and the image file are not in the same directory, you’ll want to put the correct location of the image there.

4. Test The Image Map

If you save the file, you will notice that it is nothing but a file containing the code but with a file extension of map.  Change the file extension to HTML, make sure there is no period in the front of the file name, and make sure the image is in the same folder as the HTML file and you should be able to test it.  Double clicking the HTML file should open it in your default web browser.

create an image map

There you have it, a free and easy way to create an image map for your website using GIMP.  Do you create image maps?  If so, what tools do you use to do it?

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6 Quick iBooks Tips For Better Reading Experience On iPhone

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 09:31 AM PDT

ibooks for iphoneI always thought that reading electronic books on a small screen would be a daunting experience. That’s why I had my doubts when I first heard that Apple had released the iPhone version of iBooks – which was originally made for the bigger screen of the iPad.

Nevertheless I would never turn down the possibility of carrying a library of books in my pocket. So after downloading and installing iBooks for iPhone and loading a bunch of digital books to it (as discussed in a previous article), I opened the first page of one of the books – the free complimentary classic “Winnie The Pooh” by “A. A. Milne”.

iBooks for iPhone

It felt strange holding and reading a book the size of your palm. It’s smaller than ordinary printed pocketbooks and I have to admit that the reading experience was indeed different from reading a real book. But it’s anything but inconvenient.

Here are a few things I can share after playing with iBooks for a short time.

Jumping Around Pages

One of the advantages of digital books is its ability to jump around pages easily, and the first place to do that is the table of contents. You can tap one of the chapters to go directly there or you can resume reading the page you were previously on.

iphone ibooks

You can also go to one of the bookmarks you created while you were reading. We’ll discuss more about bookmarks later.

iphone ibooks

Modifying The Looks

When you tap the page, the tools will appear. You can modify the look of the pages using these tools. For example, you can change the brightness by moving the slider.

iphone ibooks

You can also change the size and type of font used. The “Sepia” switch is to alternate the temperature of the page between warm and warmer for the eye.

iBooks for iPhone

At the top right of the page is the bookmark tool. Tap on it to place a bookmark, tap again to lift it. Bookmarked pages are accessible from the tab next to the table of contents.

ibooks on iphone

Search & Define

You’ll notice a magnifying glass among the tools. This is the search tool. Tap to activate the search function (you can also do a search on highlighted text).

ibooks on iphone

Type in the search string and you’ll have the search results. Clicking on one of the results will bring you to the page where it’s located.

10f Search.jpg

But that’s not all. You also have the option to get results from Google and Wikipedia.

10e Definition in Wikipedia.jpg

Adding Notes & Highlights

One of the things that I like (and hate) about buying used books is the amount of notes that I might find between the pages. Some people reading while making notes. You can do similar things – digitally – in iBooks.

Tap and hold a word to select it. You can expand the selection by moving the marker. From the pop-up menu you can add “Highlight” and/or “Note” to the selected text. Then the highlighted texts will appear on the bookmark list so you can access them easily anytime.

07a Highlight Text.jpg

If you choose “Note“, a notepad and keyboard will appear. Just type in your thought or comment there.

07b Adding Notes.jpg

After that, a tiny marker will appear next to the highlighted text, and your note will appear everytime you tap the marker.

07c The Notes.jpg

Tap on the highlighted text and a new menu will appear. You can remove the note or you can change the color.

07d Remove Note.jpg

There are five colors that you can choose.

07e Choose Color.jpg

Define In Dictionary

Still using the tap and hold action, you can zoom in the text for better selection. A magnifying glass will help you select the text, and it will move along with your finger.

10a Zoom to Select.jpg

Another action that you can do with selected text is to find the definition in Dictionary. This feature will be a great help for students who read their textbooks in iBooks.

10b Find Definition.jpg

The first time you use it, iBooks has to download the dictionary first. tap on the “Download” button.

10c Download Dictionary.jpg

After the download has finished, you’ll have an elegant dictionary in the palm of your hand.

10d Definition in Dictionary.jpg

Flipping & Orienting Pages

So iBooks can give you a page-flipping like animation. So what? There are many applications that can do the same, right?  This feature must be just eye candy.

Wrong. Even if it is just eye candy, it’s a beautiful and well-thought out one. It’s not just a boring flipping page which always goes in the same repetitive manner, but you can actually interact with the way the pages flip.

08a Flipping The Page a.jpg

Try to tap and hold your finger at the edge of the page and slide a little bit to the left. Without releasing your finger, try to move around the page – left and right, also up and down.

08b Flipping The Page b.jpg

Now what about changing the reading orientation of your iPhone from Portrait to Landscape? Will the book be turned into two smaller pages like an iPad? It turns out that the iPhone version of iBooks will still keep the one page view, and also maintain the size of the font. The changes happen to the page numbers.

09a Different Page Number a.jpg

The app adjusts the page number to keep up with the constant size of the font. This method will ensure that the book is still readable even if you change the orientation.

09b Different Page Number b.jpg

I guess this is one of the advantages of digital books in ePub format compared to PDF. Reading proportionally fixed PDF pages requires you to constantly adjust the zoom to compromise between page view and readable text.

So have you tried iBooks for iPhone? What’s your opinion about it? Please share your thoughts using the comments below. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s someone that I have to meet at the Pooh corner.

12 End.jpg

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How To Block Annoying Ads When Using The Opera Browser

Posted: 08 Jul 2010 08:31 AM PDT

block advertisementsAs with any web browser, users of Opera may want to block annoying advertisements from appearing. For some users this functionality is so important that they will only use a web browser that has a good ad blocker available (usually this means Firefox,or perhaps Chrome).

Opera does not have as wide of a user base as other web browsers, so a casual observer might notice a lack of an add-on to block advertisements and be dismayed. How could a modern web browser become even mildly popular and not have an ad blocker present?

The answer is that Opera does have a way to block advertisements, but it is actually built into the browser and is called a content blocker. This tool works like any ad blocker, but unlike an ad blocker add-on it does not come pre-configured.

So, let's take a look at how to make it work.

Blocking Selected Ads

To block ads you first need to access the content blocker tool. You can do this by right-clicking on any blank area of a webpage and then clicking Block Content from the drop-down menu that appears.  The page that you are viewing will fade out, and Opera will ask you to select the content that you do not want to view.  Just click on the offending advertisement and then click the Done button at the top of the web browser. Presto! The ad is gone and will be whenever you visit the website.

how to block ads on opera

If for some reason you want to make the ad re-appear you can reverse the process. The blocked content will appear in the faded view of the website with a big red BLOCKED CONTENT banner. Select the blocked content and then click Done to make it reappear.

Blocking All (Or Almost All) Ads

The above process works well for blocking selected advertisements, but obviously it would be annoying to do it for every single website you ever visit. It works best if you only find a few particular ads annoying.

But what do you do if you find all ads annoying? Opera has you covered there, as well.  Right-click on an any portion of a webpage (any page) and then click Block Content. Once the page has faded out, click the Details button at the top of the web browser.

This will open up a window that lets you enter in the advertisements that you would like to block. Note that although this filter does say "Blocked on current page" at the top, the modifications that you make here do apply to all webpages.  You can also reach this window by clicking on the Opera icon in the upper left and then navigating to Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Blocked Content.

block advertisements

You will need to add the information about ads that you want to have blocked manually. Below are some of the most common ad servers.


This makes a big difference in how a website looks.


how to block ads on opera


block advertisements

Adding these ad servers to blocked content will block many of the ads that you'll encounter, but this won't block every ad. For a more complete list, check out Fanboy's Adblock List for Opera. This list includes literally thousands of entries. It is a bit overkill, but if you really want to block everything, it is the most complete list you'll find.

How Do You Like Opera Now?

Blocking ads in Opera is easy. In fact, I think that Opera's method to block advertisements is superior to the methods used by other browsers, as they mainly rely on add-ons to do the dirty work for them. Opera may be a niche browser, but it has some very cool features, and the way it handles blocking content is one of them.

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