Wednesday, July 14, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [July 13th]” plus 11 more “Cool Websites and Tools [July 13th]” plus 11 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [July 13th]

Posted: 13 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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Converter – The web's a pretty international place, so don't be surprised if you run into a unit of measurement you don't understand from time to time. With the Converter extension for Firefox, however, you'll be ready to convert almost any unit in two clicks. Read more: Converter: Converts Measurements You Highlight (Firefox Plugin).


Marklets – is a bookmarklet search engine where you can find different kinds of browser bookmarklets that make your online work easier. On the homepage of the site, you'll find various bookmarklets categorized under highest rated, newest, featured and top tags. Read more: Marklets: Bookmarklet Search Engine.



FontViewer – If you often download and use custom fonts, you will know that it becomes hard to keep track of what fonts you have on your computer. FontViewer is a dead simple solution to this problem. It is an online PC font viewer that takes all the fonts installed on your machine and displays them all on a single webpage. Read more: FontViewer: PC Font Viewer Online.



SnoopOn.Me – I'm a professional blogger, which has its perks. You can do most of your work from home, and on your own schedule. There are downsides too however: you can do most of your work from home, and on your own schedule. It's really easy, under those conditions, to let a five minute browsing session turn into two hours of browsing. SnoopOn.Me aims to offset this by allowing any of my friends to watch me work. Read more: SnoopOn.Me: Beat Procrastination By Letting Your Friends Snoop.



DivXOnly – Like many other internet users, you might have used Torrents and other file sharing networks to download movies. Mostly you get a decent video quality but if you want to watch movies without downloading and in good quality, pay DivXOnly a visit. DivXOnly is a free to use website which lets you watch Divx streaming movies online. Read more: DivXOnly: Watch DivX Streaming Movies Online For Free.


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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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The 10 Toughest Tech Questions [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 07:31 PM PDT

MakeUseOf AnswersThere is no shortage of tough questions at MakeUseOf Answers. And that is good news for those of you who are in for the Best Answer of the Week contest. The prize of $50 is rewarded every Friday and every answer is an entry. The only condition to qualify is that you use a valid email address or your Facebook account.

Are you up for the challenge? Here are 10 of the toughest questions that need your answers:

  1. Will I lose my contacts by syncing to Google?
  2. How can I connect Bluetooth stereo headphones to pick up sound of apps that are already running?
  3. Why does my computer no longer remember program user IDs and passwords?
  4. What is the difference between Jframe form and customizer in NetBeans?
  5. How can I enable ftp and ssh logins in Ubuntu?
  6. How can I stop the iPod playlist from automatically playing the next song on the iPad?
  7. How can I use my old tablet PC as a standalone tablet?
  8. Can you recommend a program that records typed text and audio and plays it back?
  9. How can I get my external Firewire drive to show up on Mac Power PC G5?
  10. Where can I get a full version of a good audio enhancer for my Acer laptop?

New questions are posted daily at MakeUseOf Answers. Browse them by Latest Questions, Unanswered Questions or Most Popular Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

If you ever need help, go ahead and Ask A Question at MakeUseOf Answers. No signup required.

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The Basic Parts Of A Computer & How To Upgrade Them [Technology Explained]

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 06:31 PM PDT

diagram of the basic parts of a computerDo you know how to use a computer? Of course you do. But how familiar are you with what’s inside that shiny metal box of yours? For as complicated as the inner workings of computers may seem, they are really only made up of a few key pieces. If you ever have a hardware problem or would simply like to upgrade one of those pieces, it helps to know what they do and where they are located.

Today we’re taking it back to the basics. In this article, I am going to name the basic parts of a computer, describe what they do, show you where they are usually located, and give you a few tips on how to upgrade them. So the next time your hard drive dies or your CD-Rom stops reading discs, you don’t have to pay for a house call from your neighborhood PC-repair man.

[Note]: This article is meant to be a basic diagram of the basic parts of a computer and is by no means a complete and accurate description of everything that is inside a computer. While replacing computer parts, there are various things to consider that I will not be able to cover here, like compatibility issues.

This article is not about how to build a computer. For that, I invite you to check out our guides, How to Build a Gaming PC and The Idiot’s Ultimate Guide to Building Your Own PC. You can find a lot of what will be here in our Basic Computer Terms You Should Know Before Buying A PC article.

Now that most of the professionals and hardcore geeks have left, onto the basics!

diagram of the basic parts of a computer


Your motherboard is where all of the components I’m going to talk about will inevitably plug into. It has slots for most removable components like RAM, IDE/SATA drives, and video cards. If you are a beginner, I wouldn’t advise you to upgrade your motherboard yourself, but a lot of the other components I will cover require you to unplug things from the motherboard.

To view system specs, try Speccy.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

See: What Is A CPU and What Does It Do? [Technology Explained]

If a computer was a human, the CPU would be the brain. It is the single most important piece of a computer because it does all the processing of data, calculations, and it controls most of the other components. The CPU is usually located directly underneath a cooling unit on the motherboard.

Once again, I would not advise you to upgrade your CPU yourself if you are a beginner. In most cases, upgrading your CPU will require a new motherboard, along with a heat sink and perhaps other components. While I won’t go into it here, you can find a very informative and detailed walk-through on How to Upgrade a Processor here.

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

name the parts of a computer

The PSU provides power to your whole PC and is usually located in the top-back of your computer. PSUs are rated by the amount of power they give out (e.g. 600 watts). It is important that your computer is powered properly so that it does not fail on you.

To upgrade your PSU, you should research the specifications of the other components in your system, most importantly the video card and CPU. You also want to make sure you get the proper connectors for your system.

Calculate your PC power supply with eXtreme PSU Engine.

Hard Drive

name the parts of a computer

Your hard drive is what stores all your data long-term. Hard drives are generally kept in the bottom-front of most PCs, and are usually connected to the motherboard via SATA cables (IDE for older PCs). Also, there will be a power cable.

If yours dies on you or you simply want to upgrade to a bigger one (storage wise), you just need to purchase one with the proper connections. Hard drives are usually screwed into place.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

name the parts of a computer

RAM is temporary (or short-term) memory and helps out with overall system performance and speed. RAM consists of long sticks that are plugged directly into your motherboard. Consult your owner’s manual or system information to determine the maximum amount of RAM that’s supported by your system.

Upgrading RAM depends on how many slots you have and the maximum size each slot supports. Some computers require that you have the same amount of RAM in each slot. This would be listed in your manual as well.

Disk Drive (CD-ROM or DVD-ROM)

parts of a computer system

Your disk drive(s) is/are generally located at the top-front of your machine. They allow you to play and burn (copy) CDs and DVDs. Since discs spin in these drives, they occasionally break on you. Also, the speed at which these drives can read and write data is constantly increasing.

To upgrade a CD or DVD-ROM, simply unplug and unscrew the existing drive and plug the cables (power, SATA/IDE) into the new drive. If you are upgrading from one drive to multiple drives, you can learn about setting the drives to master/slave configuration here.

Video Card

diagram of the basic parts of a computer

Your video card is what allows you to view anything on your monitor (makes sense). If you’re into gaming, you either left already to learn how to build a gaming PC or you stuck around to see what I had to say about video cards.

Modern games require better video cards. Your video card is usually located in the bottom-back portion of your computer case. Aside from size specifications, slot placement, motherboard type, processor speed, and power intake – which are all compatibility issues – upgrading your video card is as simple as unplugging the stock card and plugging the new video card in its place.

How did I do? Leave a comment below and please be gentle!

Image Credit: William Hook, BBC News, William Hook,, mattk1979, Renee V, mattjb

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How To Identify Keywords For Your Blog Posts Using Analytics

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 04:31 PM PDT

how to identify keywordsSometimes, one of the hardest things about blogging is coming up with new topics. Maybe you feel like you’ve covered every topic under the sun, or you’re just having writers block. Well, if you’re wondering how to identify keywords for new article ideas, one excellent method you can use is to thoroughly analyze your best performing existing titles.

If you’ve written five hundred articles and the only three articles you wrote on “mobile gaming” are all receiving the most traffic at your blog, then you know it’s a topic your visitors are hungry for.

One way that you can easily identify these sort of trends, especially when you have hundreds and hundreds of articles on your site, is to go through your top performing 50 to 200 article titles and identify certain patterns.

These patterns will be groups of two to five words that repeat with a certain frequency. In this article, I’m going to do an analysis of the keywords on one of my private blogs to show how you can come up with cool article topic ideas that you know your visitors will be interested in.

How to Identify Keywords From Top Performing Articles

The first step in doing this analysis is to extract your articles that are attracting the most organic traffic. Organic traffic is the incoming traffic that you’re collecting from search engine queries.

First, log into your Google Analytics account and under “Content” click on “Content by Title.”

how to identify keywords for searching

This sorts all of your pages with the most traffic from the most visited page down to the least.  Now, this information itself is valuable, because often just by glancing down through titles you may recognize an obvious trend and see a topic that your readers seem particularly interested in.

The genre of this particular website, a conspiracy theory site about top secret projects and spying, is such a fringe topic that article titles run the gamut. With such a site, I really need a good way to dig more deeply and identify word trends that indicate a common topic that my readers like. First, scroll to the bottom of the list and change the display from 10 to 50 titles.

how to identify keywords for searching

Once this page lists all of your top 50 titles, all you have to do is export the list to Excel so that you can easily pluck out the titles for analysis. You can do this export by scrolling back up to the top of the screen and clicking on “Export” and “CSV for Excel.

how to identify keywords for searching

This exports all 50 titles, as well as their statistics, directly into an Excel spreadsheet. Once the sheet is open, you can scroll down to the titles, highlight all 50 and copy the entire list to your clipboard (either right-click and copy or use the Excel copy function).

how to identify keywords

Paste this list into your favorite text editor. For me, it’s Notepad – but make sure to choose one that has a good “search/replace” feature so that you can clean up the titles for better analysis.

Clean Up The Titles

Once you’ve got the list of titles in text format in your text editor, it’s in the perfect format for identifying word frequencies. However, before you can do a good analysis, you need to clean up the titles. Google Analytics usually appends the name of the website to each title, so you’re going to have to clean this up. You can do this in any standard text editor using the Search and Replace feature.

identify keywords

In this case, I’ve copied the bit of text at the end of one of my titles that contains the unique text “| Top Secret Writers” and using the Replace feature in Notepad, I’m replacing that text with nothing. When you click “Replace All” it’ll clean up your entire list. Since the text includes the symbol “|” at the beginning, your titles that simply feature your website name won’t be modified.

Now that you have a nice, clean list of your top 50 titles. By the way, if you have hundreds or thousands of articles on your site, you may actually want to select 100 to 200 of the top titles, rather than just the top 50. In my case, my site is so small and new that the top 50 should provide a good enough snapshot.

Conduct The Word Frequency Analysis

Highlight your list of cleaned-up titles, and then head on over to the free online text analysis tool at Online-Utility. I’ve found that while there are a lot of “text analysis” tools available online, this one is one of the best because it breaks down keyword patterns into phrases that are one to five words in length. Just paste your list of titles into the large text field in the tool.

Click on “Process text” and within less than thirty seconds, you’ll receive a full report of word and phrase patterns recognized throughout your list of titles.

identify keywords

Unless you have a lot of titles on your site, the longer phrases don’t always identify clear standout leaders in terms of occurrences, but often even on smaller sites the single word analysis section will reveal some hidden gems.

how to identify keywords

As you can see, the list above tells me that aside from the common words “and”, “of” and “the” – the titles where I use the words “ufo”, “secret”, “alien” and “cia” are by far the most popular of all of my titles. Focusing on those particular topics, I will be catering to what my readers clearly enjoy reading about on my blog.

Did you try this analysis on your own blog, and if so, what did you learn? Do you know any other cool keyword analysis tools? Share your insight in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Text by LittleMan

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Hot Tech Deals [July 13th]

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 04:15 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. Microsoft Store: 50% off select printers, laptops, more
  2. Dell Outlet coupons: 15% off all refurbished desktops and laptops, more
  3. Jailbreaker for iPhone / iPod touch downloads for free
  4. iHandy Level for iPhone / iPod touch downloads for free
  5. Unlocked Nokia Nuron Cell Phone for $130 + free shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Sipgate – 3 Reasons To Move Your Phone Service To The Cloud

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 02:31 PM PDT

cloud phone systemToday it is not unheard of to have your telephone service on the Internet.  With today’s broadband offerings and the Internet companies getting into the telephony business, unlimited calling is almost the norm.  In fact, I find it funny that back in the day (and still today) the telephone companies were the ones who got into the Internet game.  Now the cable and Internet companies are in the telephony game.  Hmm.

Anyhow, if you have a good Internet connection, you actually have some free or cheap options.  One of those options that has been popular is Skype.  I’m here to tell you that you ought to try out a service called Sipgate and I have a few reasons.

1.  Make Calls From Your Computer (Even Via Google Voice)

With Sipgate, you can make calls from your computer.  They give you a phone number (hopefully a local one) and you go from there.  Incoming calls are free and that’s a clincher.

cloud phone service

Outgoing calls are not free but very reasonable.  Don’t worry though because apparently you can attach your Google Voice number and call out for free that way.

cloud phone system

Check out this article walking you through the process but the idea is simple.  Once you figure out how to attach the numbers, dial out from Google Voice which will ring your free Sipgate number, answer the call using your Sipgate number, and the phone will ring the person you are calling.  It works the other way too (receive calls to your Google Voice number via your Sipgate phone).  Such a cloud phone service is truly a marvel of free telephony.

2.  Send & Receive Free Faxes

Working from home is good but since I don’t have a landline phone number, I have never invested in a fax machine.  With Sipgate, that issue is done away with.  I can send and receive free faxes all from my computer.  In fact, having this ability also cuts down on the paper waste of junk faxes.

There are several options as to how to put together your faxes.  You can design it like a cloud phone service or upload a PDF to fax.  Oh, and you can also set faxes to be sent at whatever time you like.

cloud phone service

It’s a win-win situation, if you ask me.  And it’s free to boot.

3.  Make It Work With Any Phone (Standard, VoIP, Or Computer)

Who wants to give up the old school landline phone they’ve been using all these years?  Sipgate will work with that phone so don’t worry.  In fact, Sipgate offers some flexibility in this area.  You can use your old phone (with the appropriate converter), you can use a SIP phone, VoIP, or a soft phone.  Or you can use your computer.

Sipgate doesn’t sell any of these soft, VoIP, or SIP phones but they do have a list of suggested phones for you.  Aren’t they nice to do that?

cloud phone system

Not only can you make and receive calls for free (if done right and you have an Internet connection), but you can also make and receive faxes for free and even help save the trees by cutting down on printed junk faxes.

What online cloud phone services do you use in order to save money on telephony?  Do you have another service for sending and receiving free faxes?  Please share in the comments.

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Inspire Your Child To Become An Astronaut With NASA’s Fun Tools For Kids

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 12:31 PM PDT

nasa for kidsMost of us as children dreamt of flight. Space is just the next step. If you ask an astronaut today, I am sure they will have a definite memory of when and why they decided to fall in love with space. At least mine was when I first saw Star Trek and Star Wars.

Just like my generation, the kids of today don't need to be prodded to look to the heavens. It's there all around us, from space based shooter games to sci-fi movies. It's all quite natural now.

That's entertainment, so why not put in a mix of education and inspiration into it with the space based fun tools from NASA for kids?  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is taking us to the final frontier. It is also doing a lot to inspire the next generation to make that great crossing.

Adults (and even children) can read the superb post on 10 Cool Online Apps and Interactive Features Offered by NASA. Those who are younger can be rocketed towards NASA's own dedicated space themed kiddie websites.

Here are six:

NASA Kids Club

NASA Kids Club is a collection of fact based games. You can choose any five of the skill levels. The education games range from memory games to space puzzles and everything in between. Whichever of the five levels you choose; the games give you some amount of knowledge of space, the solar system, or of space flight itself.

Here's a quick walkthrough through the list of NASA games for kids.

nasa kids

Four other games are grouped on the homepage. They require a slightly higher skill level. The STS Memory game and Let's Fly Away are the simplest. If you prefer something more challenging, try out the mission based Buzz Lightyear Returns From Space. The game has six modules based around the building of the International Space Station.

Space Place

The Space Place is meant for elementary school kids. The site has hands-on projects, animations illustration complex facts simply, interactive games, and puzzles. It is also a great resource for educators who can take the help of the Projects section for homework assignments and the Teacher's Corner for assorted space themed printouts.

nasa kids

From word scrambles to time based activity games, the 30 odd games on the site are very simple and apt for elementary school kids.

Earth Science

NASA's Earth imagery technologies continue to teach us more about our own planet. The games section on this sub-site of NASA helps to notch up your child's knowledge about Earth with a few simple but challenging games. For instance, the Droplet and the Water Cycle game is all about navigating a water molecule through the entire chain of precipitation to evaporation!

nasa kids

The little games can also be downloaded to your computer (Windows and Mac) for offline play.

NASA Science For Kids

nasa for kids

This is another place to learn about the scientific theories of nature and space with easy to grasp interactive simulations and games. Your child can learn about the Earth, the sun, the solar system, and the universe with games and activities explaining the processes.

For instance, check out the PDF files that help to make cool paper models of spacecrafts or the cooler Become a Martian Citizen program.

Brain Bites

nasa kids club

Brain Bites is the NASA simple take on how things work in space and in the space program. Brain Bites is a neat collection of how and why questions that answered via a small Flash player on the site.

Space Your Face

nasa for kids

Wonder what your child would look like wearing a space suit? Space Your Face tells you as it lets you upload a photo or use a random one (the cat in the screenshot!). You get to choose the site of your moon landing from the three choices given. In the end you have the cool dancing astronaut jigging to a background score on the moon.

It's all explained with a factoid of what NASA is planning for its moon mission. Budget cuts might curtail NASA's mission to go back to the moon, but there's nothing stopping your child from dreaming about it on the browser.

Using The NASA Search Engine

NASA is as huge on the web as it is in real. Get a bit of search help from NASA and their search engine. You can also power up the Advanced Search to go deeper. Searching with keywords like 'games' or 'games for kids' will yield quite a list of results.

Fun and games are all right. But if you are really serious about pursuing your interest in space, NASA has a full fledged educational resource that contains all the links we have visited previously.

Why should kids have all the fun? I am waiting for the release of Moonbase Alpha. By the time you read this post, this Massively Multiplayer Online game will probably have been released.

What do you think about NASA's educational games for kids?

Image Credit: loomingy1

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The Essential Guide To Digital Photography [PDF]

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 12:00 PM PDT

You may think that picking up a digital camera, turning it on, and taking the photo is all that you need to know about digital photography. Think again, as there is a whole heap more to learn that you might not even realise.

To add to MakeUseOf's latest PDF collection, Bakari Chavanu from Mac Photography Tips has combined his knowledge to produce an 8000+ word, 59 page PDF eBook.


It's jammed packed full of useful information for all type of photographers – from beginners photographers to advance photographers.

Inside, you will find information about:

  • The different types of digital cameras to choose from
  • What digital camera is right for you
  • What to look for when buying your digital camera
  • Accessories that you should have for your digital camera
  • Features that you should know about your camera

But wait, there's more. There are also 5 beginner exercises for you to complete to help you become a professional photographer, and helpful instructions and information about editing your photo's to make them even more magical.


If you have a digital camera, want to become a professional photographer, or you are already a professional photographer, then you do not want miss out on downloading The Essential Guide To Digital Photography.

You do not want to miss out on this great eBook, so download it now for free, or read it online at Scribd.

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Big City Racer – A Free Multiplayer Racing Game

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 11:31 AM PDT

online multiplayer racing gamesYou cast a tense look behind while the other drivers come to a stop around you. The air is filled with the powerful roar of engines. You twist your key and feel the car come to life below your feet. The whole world seems to focus on a couple of signal lights. The race is on.

There are few games as exciting as online racing. It’s already an aspect of our everyday life, albeit the goody-goody alternative. Online racing allows you to shed all those rules and restrictions, and finally rip the asphalt.

Big City Racer

Vanilla Live Games, the guys who previously brought us BetandRace, just recently released a new online multiplayer racing game. It’s been available for free download since June 26th of this year. It’s an enticing and free racing game, that allows you to measure yourself against other gamers worldwide. A MMORG; Massive Multiplayer Online Racing Game, so to speak.

Big City Racer isn’t just an online racer though. It’s a street racer, with tracks leading past all the great European landmarks. In that same climate, the game allows you to purchase new cars and parts – ensuring a thrilling, and ever so customizable ride.

Game Modes

There are basically only two game modes; training and multiplayer mode.

Training mode is an offline mode. You don’t race against computerized players, but against yourself. This mode allows you to better your time runs on all of those tracks. To give this mode a competitive edge, or just plainly see where you went wrong, you can also turn on a ghost version of your previously best run.

The multiplayer games are available from 2 up to 8 online players. Although players can build out and customize their cars, that’s only for appearance’s sake. To give all players an equal chance to victory, the cars all drive the same. Instead, you can adjust the top speed and maneuverability of your car at the start of each race – depending on the track.

online multiplayer racing games

Luckily, all players are classified by skill level. Depending on your racing skill, you’ll either be named a Rookie, Amateur, or Master. The game assures that you will only end up racing against players of the same skill level. This keeps the game fun for rookies, and exciting for masters.

Credits System

Like most free multiplayer games, Big City Racer employs a system of micro-transactions. These credits need to be spent in order to participate in the online multiplayer championship racing games, and can be bought online in small quantities.

However, gamers start out with a fixed number of participation chips. By performing well in races, and landing in the top three, you can earn back your share, and more. Free gamers never need to buy chips, if they are willing to spend enough time in training, and better their skill. And once you’re off, you can raise the bets and win ever more chips.

System Requirements

The game isn’t exactly system-intensive, and can be played by most computers, albeit in a lesser resolution.

Minimal configuration Recommended configuration
Processor: 1.5 GHz 2.0 GHz
Graphics card: Geforce 6200 and Radeon 9800 or higher with 128MB RAM Geforce 7800 and Radeon X1800 or higher with 256MB RAM
Hard disk: 512 MB 1024 MB
Operating system: Windows XP or higher Windows XP or higher
Internet connection: ISDN DSL

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How To Set Up An iPhone DUN Internet Connection

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 10:31 AM PDT

iphone DUNWith the dawn of the internet, computers and modern telecommunication technology, the term “working” has shifted from what it was several years ago. Nowadays, working is not always identical with sitting in a physical office from 9 to 5. Any place can serve as a virtual office. All you need is a mobile computer and a good internet connection.

WiFi hotspots have become common hang out places and we can find these spots almost everywhere, from the big international airports to your friendly neighborhood coffee shops. But they are not really everywhere and they can’t follow you anywhere you go.

There are times when you are on the road and nowhere near WiFi spots but you still need an internet connection. These are ideal times to use the internet connection provided by your mobile phone provider using your phone as a modem.

The process is known as wireless DUN (Dial Up Networking) – or tethering, utilizing Bluetooth to connect the gadgets. And if you use an iPhone, the iPhone DUN set up process is very easy.

On The iPhone Side

There are two steps needed to set up an iPhone DUN internet connection: on the iPhone side and on the computer side. Let’s start with the first one.

  • Open your iPhone “Settings” and go to the “Internet Tethering” option. It’s buried a little deep inside “Settings – General – Network – Internet Tethering“. This setting is off by default.

iphone bluetooth dun enable

  • If you switch the tethering on, your iPhone will ask you to turn on your phone’s Bluetooth connection (if it isn’t already on). If you choose not to turn it on, the tethering will only be available if you connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.

iphone DUN

And that’s all that you need to do on the iPhone side. Now let’s move onto the next step.

On The Mac Side

If you use a Mac, here are the steps that you need to take to use your iPhone as a modem.  Windows users, don’t worry.  We will come onto the Windows method shortly.

  • Click on the Bluetooth service icon on the menubar and choose “Set Up Bluetooth Device“.

iphone bluetooth dun enable

  • Bluetooth Setup Assistant window will now open. Choose your iPhone from the list of available devices and click “Continue“.

iphone bluetooth dun enable

  • Then the pairing process will start. Your computer will create a set of random numbers for the passkey. Enter the exact number on your iPhone to pair the two devices.

iphone bluetooth dun protocal

  • After they are paired, your iPhone will appear on the list of available devices. To start the internet connection via your iPhone, click on it and choose “Connect to Network

iphone bluetooth dun protocal

On The Windows Side

For Windows users, here are the steps needed.

  • Open Control Panel, search for Bluetooth, then click “Add Bluetooth device“.

iphone bluetooth dun protocal

  • Windows will try to search for available Bluetooth devices. Choose your iPhone from the list and click “Next“.


  • The process will continue with the device pairing. Similar to the one on Mac computers, you will also get some random generated passkey number that you need to input on your iPhone.


  • After both devices are paired, go back to Control Panel and choose “View devices and printer” to open the devices window. Find your iPhone there, right click on it and choose “Connect using – Access point“.


  • Your Windows computer is now connected to the net. You can see the indicator which appears on the system tray.


  • To disconnect your computer from the net, right click again on your iPhone icon in the device list and choose “Disconnect from device network“.

iphone DUN

To Tether Or Not To Tether, That’s The Question

I have to apologize to Linux users for not including the OS here. The reason is I currently don’t have access to a Linux machine. But the basic process should be the same: pair your iPhone with your machine, and connect to the net using your iPhone as a modem.  If the process differs in any way, please do let us know in the comments.

But please note that due to financial reasons, tethering (using an iPhone or any other mobile phone) is not for everybody. You have to check whether your cell network subscription includes internet data, and if it does, how much is it? Some cellular networks impose crazy price tags for their internet connection. Make sure that your wallet won’t burn at the end of the month before you try this method.

Another thing that I have to point out is even though I’ve tried the method successfully (using the iPhone 3GS under iOS4, Mac with Snow Leopard and a Windows machine under Windows 7), the steps might be slightly different and the results might vary if you use different combinations of hardwares and softwares.

If everything goes smoothly, you don’t have to worry about an internet connection anymore. Between your home connection, the hot spots and your office’s internet connection, you will have your iPhone’s DUN Internet connection to cover you when you are on the road.

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Use Sense-Lang To Learn Touch Typing & Improve Typing Skills

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 09:31 AM PDT

sense langIn this digital age we spend an incredible amount of time in front of our computers. How many hours per week do you spend typing emails, status updates, reports, blog posts, and whatnot? Imagine you could improve your typing skills and jot down those routine messages in just seconds rather than minutes. It would save you a lot of time that could be spent with more important or even nice things.

Slow typing is a major time killer and it is wasted time because typing properly and thus fast is surprisingly easy. Learning or practicing a skill does require a time investment at first, but in this case you will get it all back.

In this article I will be reviewing Sense-Lang, a website that helps you learn how to touch type and improve your overall typing speed and skill.

learn to touch type

Before you start pecking away again, you need to learn the technique – properly! If you’ve been “sort of” touch typing up until now, it’s time to start over. Go back to beginner’s level and get your fingers in order.

Sense-Lang Typing Tutorials

Sense-Lang provides interactive typing tutorials, which are suited both for beginners and advanced typers. You can use the site and access all lessons without registering. Sense-Lang supports over a dozen different languages and matching keyboards. In addition, you can pick between different types of keyboards, for example the Dvorak or (regular) QWERTY keyboard. You can also go from one lesson to the next easily.

learn to touch typeBut before we go there, you should have a look at the Instruction page. It demonstrates the positions of your fingers on the keyboard, shows which keys each finger covers, and explains the general procedure.

Your next stop is the Typing Tutorials page. Be sure to select your language from the top menu, then select the matching keyboard, and finally start the first lesson.

When you launch a lesson (flash required), a desk will load. Click Start when you’re ready and simply try to type what is displayed in the white row on top. If you tend to work with a minimized browser window, maximize it for this exercise, as you might otherwise not get a centered view of the scrolling text you’re supposed to copy.

Your results are displayed on the right. When you make a mistake a sound is played, the respective key is highlighted on the keyboard, and a visual hint indicating the correct hand and finger for this key appears at the bottom.

learn to touch type

When you start with the first lesson, you won’t type more than two letters at once. You will start practicing the letters of the home row and slowly expand to other keys on your keyboard. It can be tiring to type the same keys over and over again, but it’s necessary practice. You will slowly stop looking at your fingers and type it blindly. That’s a challenge and the goal!

The key to success for beginners is frequent practice. A minimum of 10 minutes per day gives you routine in moving the fingers within the right patterns. Better even would be several 5 to 10 minutes practice intervals spread throughout the day. Try to always touch type as soon as you have learned all the letters. From there it is tedious practicing at every opportunity until you become more accurate and faster.

It took me less than two weeks of medium effort to stop looking at the keyboard for good, yet hit all the right keys and type much faster than ever before. 10 years later I don’t even want to imagine how much time “slow typing” would have cost me.

At Sense-Lang you can expand your skills with the Keypad Tutorials and Test your skills.

sense lang

Advanced typers, who find themselves misspelling certain words or key combinations over and over again, should focus on training these very weaknesses. You could create a custom text and use it with Sense-Lang. Start typing the difficult combinations very slowly and gradually increase the speed. This procedure will retrain your finger’s muscle memory and help you hit the key sequences with more accuracy.

Another good site that provides typing courses for the US QWERTY keyboard is Peter’s Online Typing Course.

We have previously covered typing on MakeUseOf:

Finally, now that you use both hands to touch type and rest your hands on your computer, you may want to turn off the touchpad, in case you’re using a laptop. Varun wrote a tutorial on How To Disable The Touchpad While You Are Typing.

How well do you type?

Image Credits: CELALTEBER, arinas74

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Powerline Networking: What It Is & Why It Is Awesome [Technology Explained]

Posted: 13 Jul 2010 08:31 AM PDT

powerline networkingIf you have a home network, or you are thinking of setting up a home network, you’ve probably considered two solutions – wired and wireless. And unless you desperately want the fastest download speeds possible, or you don’t trust wireless security, you probably have settled on wireless as the solution. Wireless networking, with its encryption keys and signal strength issues, isn’t as easy as making toast. But it certainly beats having to route expensive Ethernet cables through your house.

There is, however, a third way. Known as powerline networking, this rarely considered option has many appealing strengths. It is even easier to set up than wireless, but provided network performance similar to wired network. Let’s take a look at the wonderful world of powerline networking.

What Is A Powerline Network?

Your home already has a network of wires in it that connect every room in the house. These are the wires that provide each room with electricity. Normally, these wires are used for only that task, but it is possible to turn them into a way of conveying data like any other wire.

This is exactly what a powerline network does. By using network adapters that are plugged into power outlets throughout your home it is possible to use your existing electrical wires as a sort of substitute Ethernet cord. Doing this has no effect on the normal function of the electrical wires, either – all your power outlets will continue to work normally.

Why Is Powerline Networking Awesome?

powerline computer networking

Powerline networks operate like standard wired networks in terms of security and performance. Since the entire network is routed through wires there is no chance of your home network being hijacked or used by an unauthorized person (short of someone breaking into your home). Performance is not quite as fast as Ethernet, but real-world usage is typically between 40 and 80 Mbps depending on the adapters you use. You don’t have to worry about reception issues, either.

However, because you don’t have to lay any new cable, setting up a powerline network is much easier than setting up a home network with Ethernet cord. Connecting a computer via powerline networking requires only that you plug a powerline network adapter into a power outlet and then run an Ethernet cable from the powerline adapter to your computer’s Ethernet port. You can use multiple powerline network adapters on the same network, and they don’t have to be the same brand or model.

What Is The Cost Of Powerline Networking?

powerline networking

The primary cost of setting up a powerline network is the adapters themselves. Most major network hardware companies, like Netgear and Belkin, offer powerline adapters. These adapters are mostly sold in pairs of two and cost around $100 a pair. Adapters that offer less performance may cost only $60 to $80 a pair, while the fastest adapters are closer to $150. My personal recommendation is to buy the least expensive pair of 85Mbps adapters you can find.

Besides the adapters, you also may have to buy some Ethernet cord if the cord you currently have is not enough to reach from the powerline adapter to the computer(s) you need to connect. This can add $10 or $20 to your budget.

Overall, a powerline network with two computers will cost around $100 if you buy online. You’ll usually spend more if you purchase at a brick-and-mortar store.

What Are The Limitations Of Powerline Networking?

Although powerline networking is a great alternative to more popular networking methods, it does have a few limitations that are important to note.

First, powerline network adapters cannot be plugged into a surge protector unless the surge protector that you own specifically states otherwise. This can be a bit of an issue if you already have a power outlet crisis in your home, which isn’t unheard of these days.

powerline networking

Second, powerline network adapters are usually on the larger side. The ones that I use are approximately five inches long, an inch and a half thick, and three inches wide. There are some smaller models, but none are tiny. This can be an issue if your power outlets are behind a piece of furniture or otherwise in a confined space.

Finally, powerline adapters still have to connect to your computer with an Ethernet cord. If your computer is not already near a power outlet with a free socket you may need to re-arrange your furniture or simply deal with having an Ethernet cord visible.


Those minor problems aside, powerline networking is an incredible solution. I personally use it for all the desktop computers in my home, and I would never go back to wireless. Powerline networking combines the flexibility and simplicity of wireless with the performance of wired. You must check it out if you’re unhappy with wireless performance in your home.

For more information check out the MakeUseOf PDF Guide To Computer Networks.

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