Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [July 19th]” plus 8 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [July 19th]” plus 8 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [July 19th]

Posted: 19 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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Geocontext Profiler – Hikers, climbers and bicyclers often need to know the altitude and topography of the terrain they are going to visit. This information can better prepare them for what lays ahead. Thanks to Geocontext Profiler, it is now easy to pull up the topography statistics of any given location. Read more: Geocontext Profiler: Online Tool To See Topography Statistics Of Any Given Location.


Pick ‘n Zip – Facebook's a great place to put pictures you want your friends to see, but a terrible place for pictures you want your friends to download. Unless they know about Pick 'N Zip, that is. This web app connects to your Facebook account and allows you to bulk download photos from Facebook. You can grab entire albums or even every photo tagged by a particular person. Read more: Pick 'n Zip: Easily Download Entire Facebook Albums.



Xoki – The web can be a very distracting place. If you don't intentionally take time to slow down, your entire life can quickly become a series of work to do, links to click and people to contact. Xoki is a web app that's a bit of a non-app. Designed to offset information overload, Xoki displays a single-color page. Nothing else. Read more: Xoki.com: Take a Break and Relax With Favorite Colors on Screen.



ColorReminder – Choosing the right colors is one of the most important elements of design. If you ever feel yourself struggling with the color selection, ColorReminder has a huge collection of web colors for your design inspiration. Click on any of the 150 colors to see the Hex code or click on generate to see variations of that color. Read more: ColorReminder: Generate & Find The Right Color.



VideoSprout – Video Sprout is a web service that lets you share videos privately. This is a useful option for social networking users unhappy with the privacy settings they are offered. Your uploaded video will have a unique URL which you can copy and share; alternatively, you can send out email invitations to recipients through your Video Sprout account. Read more: VideoSprout: Upload & Share Videos Privately Online.


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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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Some Tips & Tricks While Using Google Earth Street View

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 06:31 PM PDT

google earth street viewGoogle Earth is a great tool to enhance our knowledge of Earth's geography and, with Google Earth Street View enabled, it is possible for anyone to have a virtual tour of the destinations they love or plan to visit.

Street View can be enabled in Google Earth by checking the layer of the same name under the Layers section. Once the Street View layer is turned on, geographical locations which have been photographed by the Google Street View vehicles show up in the map marked by little camera icons.

Even though USA and some other nations have been exhaustively covered, Street View is not available for all countries owing to various reasons including privacy and national security. But wherever Street View panoramas are available, you can apply the following tips to get the best out of Google Earth.


google earth street search

Left click on the camera icon of a location to bring up the Placemark with details like physical address of that location. You can launch Street View by clicking on the link in the placemark or by double clicking on the camera icon.

google earth street view

Some locations have multiple layers of Google Earth Street View embedded with each layer marking a significant landmark in or around the location. To find locations with layers, just hover the mouse over the location and if you see the Compass symbol, there is more to that place. For example, in the case of Springfield, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln's Presidential Library is also linked to the Street View icon and clicking on it takes us directly to the venue.

Accessing The Panorama

All the Street View images offer a 360 degree panoramic view of the location. Panoramas cannot be more awesome but it will be quite annoying to see a particular section of the image immediately. Like a puppy chasing its tail, we will have to move left or right to find the spot we are looking for. To avoid this in Google Earth, hover your mouse over the arrows on the top right corner of the Street View.

google earth street search

A rectangular thumbnail view of the Street View is displayed and you can just click on it to view the exact location you want to see without having to go round and round the panorama.

Finding The Distance

google earth street search

By using the Ruler tool, we can find the distance between two Street View locations. Once you select the ruler option, just connect the line between two Street View Icons to view the distance between the two.

Adding Other Layers

google earth street view

From the Layers section, we can add overlays to complement the street view. For example, adding the 3D buildings and weather layers adds 3D models of buildings & weather information to the location. These layers can be viewed by adjusting the transparency slider which sits just above the Layers section.

Final Thoughts

Street View has been implemented in both Google Maps and Google Earth. However, the Google Earth Street View implementation offers a better 3D experience when viewing the surroundings. Users can also add their own placemarks and create paths between places for future reference & travel.

One gripe of mine is that the images are not of very high quality and often are fuzzy & look smudged. Considering the fact that Google Earth is a desktop application, high definition images can be handled without hogging system resources unlike a web browser. Hopefully Google will add images of higher resolutions in the near future.

Google Earth can be a fun application too. Check out how you can use Google Earth to play games, feel the speed of a flight simulator or investigate conspiracy theories.

Do you know of a better Google Earth tip? Please share it with us in the comments below.

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Basics of Photo Cropping That You Should Understand

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 04:30 PM PDT

photo croppingOften times when we shoot photos, we get so caught up in what we're shooting (as we should be) that we often don't think about how we're composing the shots we take. Or sometimes when taking candid shots, there's little time to think about composition because we're trying to capture the moment.

But thanks to post-processing techniques, we can crop photos in ways that make our images more appealing to the eye.

One of the basic and first elements that most photographers learn about in composing a shot is using what is called the imaginary Rule Of Thirds, which consists three sections and four quartiles of which you place your subject. The definition by itself doesn't makes much sense, so let's look at illustration.

In this original photo of my son, I composed this shot with his head almost dead center in the frame. Believe me, it looks like he stood still to take the photo, but not hardly. As usual, I had a few seconds before he was off and running.

photo cropping software

The composition is okay, but when I'm making use of the Rule Of Thirds, I can explore some other creative ways to crop (and thus re-compose the shot). Thanks to image editing programs like iPhoto, the cropping tool comes with a Rule of Thirds grid that can be used when cropping photos.

One of the basic rules for this technique is to place your subject's eyes in one of the four quartiles of the grid.

photo cropping software

The theory is that taking the subject out of the middle of the frame creates some tension. I like to think that in placing the subject off-center, it leads the viewer's eyes into the image, instead of the subject of the image coming straight at them.

photo cropping

When you click on the cropping tool in iPhoto and start to move the handles, the grid appears so that you can use it to crop your shot. With my son's eye placed in the top-right quartile (and the right-third of the grid), the photo seems more appealing, and it eases you into the image.

Some recent cameras also come with a Rule of Thirds grid that can be used while composing shots in-camera. But the idea is to keep the imaginary Rule of Thirds in your head as you shoot photos. While I typically zoom in and shoot close on my subjects, I try to also leave some space for creative cropping.

Another reason for cropping is simply to get rid of the dead or distracting space in an image.

photo cropping software

Say I really liked this photo, but as a candid shot I had two distracting subjects in it. Well, I can use the cropping tool to try to get rid of the distractions as much as possible.

how to crop photos

Again, the Rule of Thirds can be applied to help better compose the crop.

Cropping for Prints

When it comes to printing photos, many beginning photographers don't realize that they should crop images to fit the size of prints they plan to make.

If you don't make the crop, the printing process will do it for you, and it might crop off parts of the photo you didn't want cropped. Again, in many image editing applications, the cropping tool comes with pre-defined scales to help you accurately crop your images.

how to crop photos

So for instance, if I want to make a 4×6 print of this photo, I can constrain the crop to fit the dimensions I need. I do lose part of the photo, but if I didn't crop ahead of time, the printer might crop off some part of his head.

how to crop photos

Even when you're using an online or in-store printing service, you can use the editing tools to crop your photo before you send them off for printing. Cropping yourself provides you more control over the process.

Note, however, in the online editor in screen shot above, I am not able to freely crop as much as I can as in iPhoto. Thus, in this 4×6 crop I would lose a part of my son's head in the actual print. So using an off-line image editor is typically better and provides you more control.

Creative Cropping

The Straighten tool, found in all popular image editors, is another technique for cropping images. Though its purpose is to straighten crooked images, you can also have some fun with it and "un-straighten" a photo.

In this photo, I first used the Straighten tool to tilt (un-straighten) my son's head.

And then I used the crop tool and the Rule of Thirds to further compose the shot.

Sure, I chopped off some of his head, but the crop gives a fun look to the subject of the photo.

Cropping photos in an image editor does take some time. There's no real automation process that will fit all images. It requires you to make some artistic judgements.

Also, as with any rule, the Rule of Thirds is just a guide, and can be effectively broken. But I think for beginning photographers, it's a technique that will guide you in composing shots during and after the photo taking process.

photo cropping

This is just a short introduction to photo composition and cropping. If you're looking for a drop-dead easy way to crop, check out our MUO articles, EasyCropper: Upload and Crop Pictures Online and OnlinePhotoTool.  And for other post processing techniques, check out 10 Must-Know Introductory Photoshop Skills for Beginner Photographers.

Let us know about your strategies for dealing with this subject. If you have a link or two to an interesting crop, let us know about it.

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Go Down & Across To Solve Crossword Puzzles With Across Lite

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 02:31 PM PDT

solve crossword puzzlesThe heights of egotism is said to be found in a person who does the New York Times crossword with a pen. Well, that's a humorous take on one of the most popular mind sports that goes on around the world every morning.

Even a diehard faultfinder won't find fault with the fact that when you solve crossword puzzles, it’s both fun and educational. I certainly went for these two great qualities of crossword puzzles when I looked at a method on designing our own crossword puzzles.

We talked about the crossword software called Eclipse Crossword in that post. The comments supported the value of crosswords as easy and fun educational tools. It was only later that I came across what is considered to be one of the most popular crossword software going around.

Across Lite is a little free software that you can use to create, publish, and solve crossword puzzles on your PC.  Let's take a look at why this 996KB download is favored by the likes of The New York Times, Washington Post, and others for their downloadable puzzles.

Across Lite to Solve Crossword Puzzles

Across Lite may be a digital tool but the first look retains some of the black and white appeal from the newspaper. The crossword software opens up with a few choices of sample crosswords. Open one up and see how it looks:

solve crossword puzzle

Just for a bout of egotism, you can switch on the timer.  To bring more of the old newspaper appeal, you can toggle the Pencil icon (again, if you aren't sure of the answer). Entering letters is easy as selecting a square and pressing a key. You can navigate the Across or Down squares with the mouse or the Tab key. You can also keep score if you fancy yourself across and down the squares.

solve crossword puzzles

If your ego starts taking a beating, you can check your answers or choose to take a few hints, or completely reveal the answers with a button press.

solve crossword puzzle

Across Lite is user friendly for the crossword buff as it comes quite close to digitally replicating the newspaper feel (notice the hand cursor). Inserting, erasing, and viewing answers are easier than on a newspaper.

Am I Limited To The Sample Puzzles?

Across Lite's puzzle format (.puz) is one of the most widely used on the web. That makes Across Lite ideal software for downloading and using .puz files from a myriad of sources. NY Times asks for a premium membership to access their database of puzzles. But they do regularly release a few sample puzzles for download with Across Lite.

solve crossword puzzle

Community forums like Cruciverb have a puzzle database that's worth a tap. Papers like Boston Globe make their crossword puzzles available for download a few weeks after they appear in print. I got all this information from a simple but informative page maintained by Will Johnston.

Another great resource is Crossword Puzzles by Ray Hamel. Check out the Software page for a great list of crossword tools.

But Now I Want To Create Crosswords Of My Own

A true blue cruciverbalist will not be happy with mere solving. He needs to create too. Crossword constructors send their puzzles to newspapers for publication. Then there is the value of crosswords as a teaching tool. Like promoting some ESL learning on your personal blog or website, or even as a downloadable .puz file.

Across Lite can create crossword puzzles, but it's not a one button process. The detailed steps are explained in the downloadable PDF file and also the program's Help. The gist of it is that you create your crossword clues in a text file following strict syntax rules. The text file is then opened and saved using Across Lite in the default .puz format. You can also print it out.

solve crossword puzzles

Using the syntax route is a bit time consuming, especially when you have quicker online and offline crossword applications available.

Across Lite is available as a download for both Windows and Mac OS X. A Windows Mobile version is available for purchase.

Across Lite is a nice and free solution to ditch my Sunday newspaper crossword and curl up with the laptop and a teapot. What do you think?

Image Credit: duna12

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Upload, Display & Share Your Flickr Photos The Easy Way

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 12:31 PM PDT

share flickr photosWhen it comes to sharing photos online, Flickr monopolises the playing field, and with good reason. With any popular website comes many third party apps aiming to make your experience all that much better.

There are all sorts of applications created especially for uploading, displaying and sharing your photographs, as well as a whole raft of ways to sift through the countless photos uploaded every day.

Below is a list of a few of the easiest cross-platform applications that you can use with your Flickr account allowing you to upload, display and share your photos.

Upload Your photos

The official FlickrUploadr is the best option available for uploading images to Flickr, without having to use the website. It gives you all the options available on Flickr, from adding titles, a description and tags, as well as adding photos to sets, and choosing privacy settings.

After authorizing your account, click the ‘Add photos‘ button, and you will be able to navigate to your photos, and select as many as you want at one time. Alternatively, you can use the drag and drop method to select your photos. Adding information to each photo is done by clicking on the image, and entering all the information you want to accompany your photo.

Flickr Uploadr is compatible with Mac and Windows.

upload flickr photos

Change The Way Your Flickr Photos Are Displayed

You can generate a link from On Black that will display your image without any clutter around it, and best of all, with a black background. Generating the link is easy – get the URL of the photo you want to display, and enter it on the On Black page.

upload flickr photos

You can also authorize your Flickr account to work directly with On Black, allowing you to browse through thumbnails of your latest photos.

share flickr photos

After you have selected your photo, preview your picture, copy the HTML text found above the photo, and paste it into your Flickr description. This will create a link to the page, giving your viewers a quick and easy way to view your photos as you want them to.

upload flickr photos

You can also add the On Black bookmarklet to your browser, for another easy and fast way to generate links. If you’re looking for a more elaborate option on how to display your Flickr photos, you might want to consider creating a portfolio using Pullfolio.

Share Your Flickr Photos

If you want display the latest photos from your Flickr account on your Wordpress blog, an easy-to-use plugin is FlickrRSS. Add the plugin from the Wordpress Plugin Directory. Choose how many photos you want displayed on your site, and enter your Flickr user ID.

If you would rather not display all of your latest Flickr photos, you can choose to display photos only from a specific set, group, community or even your favourites.

display flickr photos

You can also choose to store the images on your server to lighten the load on Flickr. Be sure to add the FlickrRSS widget to your sidebar displaying your latest photos.

display flickr photos

If you’re not a Wordpress user, you can always create a slideshow to embed on any website using FlickrSlidr.

Flickr has taken all the hard work out of sending notifications to major social media sites. If you want your friends on Facebook to be notified each time you upload new photos, go into your Account settings, and click on Sharing & Extending. From there you will be able to connect your Facebook account to your Flickr account.

display flickr photos

If you want your Twitter followers to be notified, SnapTweet is a good option. SnapTweet allows you to share only the photos you choose to send to your Twitter stream, which comes in handy especially if you upload a lot of photographs to Flickr.

Any photo that is tagged with the predetermined word that you have chosen will be updated on Twitter.

share flickr photos

SnapTweet offers an alternative way to update your Twitter stream on a case by case basis by sending a DM to the SnapTweet account with the word 'latest' in it – and your stream will be updated with the link and title of your latest photo.

Other Useful Flickr Apps

There is no limit to the third party applications built around Flickr and no limit to what you can do with them. If you want a comprehensive Flickr experience without visiting the website, give Flickroom a try. Or you might be looking for a way to automate set management on Flickr. If you want to backup your Flickr photos check out Downloadr, FlickrDown and a few others. If you want to search Flickr there are many different ways to do so, including searching by camera model, and many others. And Flickr even has a whole bunch of games built around it.

What are your favourite Flickr apps? Let us know in the comments.

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The 3 Easiest Ways To Share A Printer Over A Network

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 11:31 AM PDT

how to share a printerHaving the ability to print something you have typed or read is one of the most underrated things you can do with your computer. In some ways, in fact, your printer is a vital piece of your home or business network.

In the past, we have taught you How to Build a Local Area Network Without a Router, How To Set Up a Wireless Home Network With Just a Mobile, How To Set Up A Network Domain, and I have personally explained How to Set Up a Small Business Computer Network. Setting up your network is the first step, but being able to print across it is another matter.

In this article, I am going to cover some of the easiest ways how to share a printer over a network, as well as some of the pros and cons of using each method. This way, you will be able to print from any machine in your network, no matter how many computers you have or how they are connected.

How To Share A Printer

Back in February, Karl explained How To Make A Printer Wireless. While we’re on the subject, he also covered How To Share A Printer Over The Internet the year prior. So, as you can see, printers can be shared in a lot of different ways. Allow me to go over a few of the easy methods.

[Note]: For the purposes of this article, I will be using Windows XP. You can certainly achieve the same results using Windows Vista/7, but the terminology and menu navigation may be slightly different.

1. USB-Connected Sharing

This is probably the most widely used method for printer sharing on small networks and home offices. If you have an older printer that doesn’t have an ethernet port or support wireless printing, this may be your method of choice.

how to share a printer

All printers generally come with a USB cable. If you attach the printer to a computer on the network via USB, you should automatically be able to print on that computer.

To share the connected printer, navigate to the Printers and Faxes settings in your Control Panel. Once there, right-click the printer you would like to share and click Sharing… .

how to share a printer on a network

On the Sharing tab, select the button that says Share this printer. Then, type in a name for the printer and hit Apply or OK.

Now, provided your computer is connected to the network, other computers should be able to see and access the printer. Just go to the printers settings page and click Add a printer. Search for your newly networked printer and you’re all set.

how to share a printer on a network

The only con to using this method is that the computer you have the printer connected to must be turned on in order to print. For additional methods, keep reading.

[Note]: If any of the printers on your network can’t use the printer, you may just have a problem with the installation drivers. Take the CD that came with your printer and run it on the machine you are unable to print from.

2. Wireless Sharing

If your printer supports wireless printing, you’re in luck. Methods will differ between printer brands, but generally you will have to connect the printer to a computer via USB (to install the drivers) and enter printer setup. Insert the disc that came with the printer to install all of the necessary software.

how to share a printer on a network

You can usually enable wireless sharing by pushing a button on the machine or navigating to it through the menus. Your printer’s manual should have steps to do this written right in it or you can find them online. You will need to type in your network’s credentials (password, etc.) for it to connect. It may be able to find your network on its own.

[Note]: You will need to have a wireless router in order for this method to work. Without a wireless router broadcasting your access signal, the printer will not be able to find your network, and you will have to have it physically connected via USB to print.

3. Using A Network Hub

how to share a printer

If you do not like the USB method (I wouldn’t blame you) and your printer is not wirelessly capable, you can opt to use a network hub. A network hub (or print server) is a little box that allows you to plug your printer into it via USB. It has an ethernet port on it so that you can connect your printer to a router or switch, allowing your printer to be shared on the network.

You may still need to install printer drivers on your machines, but if you attempt to find the printer on the network by going to Add a printer (see 1st method), it should be able to locate the device.

[Note]: As you may imagine, network printer hubs are not free. You can, however, pick one up for relatively cheap. I would advise searching around on sites like Amazon or eBay, or going to your local computer store.


In summary, you can share your printer a variety of different ways and you don’t have to make it difficult. These were the three easiest methods I could think of, but how do you have your printer shared? Is there an easy method I may have missed? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!

Image Credit: manci, liewcf, Tiago A. Pereira

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3 Free Interactive Movies On The Web Where You Are In Control

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 10:31 AM PDT

interactive internet moviesYour mom told you to never play with your food, but no one ever told you that you shouldn’t play with your fiction. You may know of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books and text adventures, but those things are practically relics.

Their more modern manifestation is the interactive movie, and recent years have brought us several high-quality interactive movies available for free right on the web.

Interactive Internet movies, although perhaps a bit gimmicky, are in some ways pushing the envelope with what can be done with a story once you introduce viewer participation. Some have game elements, and some are multimedia experiences that aren’t restricted to just video. All of them give you some control over the experience.

The Outbreak

interactive internet movies

The Outbreak is the creation of a company called SilkTricky. It’s a pretty straightforward zombie movie except for the fact that you are, of course, in charge of the protagonist’s survival. If you’re the sort of person who yells “look behind you!” or “run faster, you idiot!” during horror movies, this is probably exactly what you need.

It’s pretty simple: you watch a scene and then choose between a couple of options, like whether to go in the basement or the backyard, and whether to attempt to save others or leave them behind.

interactive movies

It’s a lot like a Choose Your Own Adventure book in that there are right choices and wrong choices, and if you make a series of wrong choices you’ll eventually be led to your death. Unlike a Choose Your Own Adventure book, though, you don’t have to use a ton of bookmarks or stick your fingers in a bunch of different pages in order to backtrack and make different choices. The Outbreak includes an easy-to-navigate chapter selection that lets you go back and try out any of the choices that you didn’t make the first time.

interactive movies

The Outbreak isn’t very long or complex, but it’s a pretty neat interactive zombie movie.

Bank Run

Bank Run is another interactive Internet movie, also made by SilkTricky. The story this time around is that our protagonist becomes unwittingly involved in a conspiracy and the bank that he works for is out to get him.

interactive movies

Like with The Outbreak, at the ends of scenes you have to choose between two options about how to proceed. The choices are a bit more limited this time around, though, because one is always right and the other will always get you killed. After getting killed, you can rewind to choose the other option. This means that there’s really only one path through the movie.

But what Bank Run has that The Outbreak doesn’t is some more game-like elements. From time to time, you have to press a key on your keyboard to dodge and survive.

interactive clips

Part 2 of Bank Run is available on the iPhone from the App Store for $2. It continues the story and becomes a full-fledged shooting game in some scenes where you’re in complete control of the protagonist’s fate as you fight your way past enemies.

interactive clips

HBO Imagine

This is one of the most unique interactive movies out there. Its story is difficult to explain because it stretches across so many characters and subplots, but that ends up making it a lot more unique than a simple zombie outbreak or a bank conspiracy. It includes an affair, an art heist, teddy bears stuffed with money, and even a funeral for a murdered mime (killed, fittingly enough, for “not keeping his mouth shut”).

interactive clips

Although you’re not allowed to make any choices that influence the direction of the plot, you do have control over the order that you view the narrative in and, for certain key scenes, you also have control over your camera perspective. The scenes with multiple camera perspectives are truly the highlights of the experience.

In these scenes, you can rotate a cube to view the ongoing action from four different angles, each revealing the things that different characters are (in most cases secretly) up to. It’s up to you to piece together these different activities to figure out whether the affair and the art heist are really just an affair and an art heist… or a decoy for something bigger that’s going on.

A lot of the scenes that don’t have multiple camera views are still filmed in unique ways that manipulate your perspective. In one scene, for example, a mime appears to be miming being stuck in a box. When the camera zooms out, however, it is revealed that he is actually in a truck sinking to the bottom of a lake, and his apparent miming is expressing a very real desire to escape.

interactive internet movies

HBO Imagine’s originality with the way it tells its story isn’t only restricted to presenting many of its filmed scenes with unique perspectives. In fact, HBO Imagine branches out beyond film entirely: there are also audio clips, newspaper clips, and other pieces of text. You choose the order in which you watch/listen to/read all of these different elements of the story and attempt to piece it together. HBO Imagine is a true interactive multimedia experience.


What do you think of interactive Internet movies? Are they just gimmicks, or are they the biggest innovation for narratives since the invention of the novel? Do you know of any other awesome interactive movies?

Image Credit: jaylopez

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5 Effective Ways To Workout At Home With Online Videos

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 09:31 AM PDT

ways to workout at homeEverybody wants to be fit and healthy. Working out in a gym and taking the help of a fitness coach can be a very relaxing experience. But going to a gym to work out is not everyone’s cup of tea. Gyms with personal trainers tend to be expensive and if you are anything like me, driving to a gym is such a chore.

The quasi lazy person’s alternative is workout videos. Online workout videos offer the best of both worlds – staying in the comfort of your own home and also getting professional fitness advice. After the advent of broadband, delivering professionally produced videos for free while upselling full length DVDs and fitness products has become one of the most common ways to workout at home.

There are a lot of sites and blogs out there that help us tone our body with free workout videos. We have covered quite a few of them in the past and have come up with five more for our beloved readers.


at home workouts

Diet.com has a dedicated videos section featuring hundreds of video workouts and exercises. All the videos are neatly categorized and are updated pretty regularly. Even though there are paid plans available, the videos are not chopped off in the middle and can be viewed by unregistered users free of charge.

Video with tips to reduce weight, reduce fat etc. are an added bonus. Diet’s workout video archive is quiet fun to watch with videos like celebrity workouts, workouts without the need for gym equipments and the like. The Diet Investigates section features videos that probes a lot of health related topics and is a must watch.


ways to workout at home

On top of the great workout and exercise videos, Workoutz.com also has a dedicated section for specialty training videos. Video workouts of Yoga positions, kettle ball, speed & agility, stretching etc. are covered in the speciality training section.

These workout videos are of varying length and are available in their complete form on the site. All the workout videos can be downloaded for free to your desktop or for watching in your iPod and offer one of the most convenient ways to workout at home. Video links can be emailed to friends and the same can be embedded in your blog or website.


Freeworkoutvideos.org is a workout blog that features selectively aggregated workout videos from YouTube. A variety of workouts on abs, weight loss, Yoga, abdominal exercises etc. are available here. All the workout videos are in their entirety and the duration ranges from 2 to 15 minutes.


at home workouts

FitnessFly.com has an exhaustive collection of workout videos in its YouTube channel. A little more than 200 videos are listed in three different playlists – FitnessFly collection, Gilad workouts and the studio series with Ellen Barrett. The production values of the videos are very impressive and the instructions by fitness coaches are easy to follow.


ways to workout at home

Apart from the fitness and workout videos, PhysicalFitnet.com has a section where the visitors can ask questions to experts on various health related topics. Workouts are broken into step by step smaller videos to enable us to master exercises one by one.

In addition to the voice overs, every workout video has a brief description and specific instructions published for users to read and follow.

Final Thoughts

All the sites have a brilliant collection of workout videos and the videos load pretty fast too. However, one huge let down is the lack of visual appeal and poor website navigation. The design of these fitness sites are pretty rudimentary with a stale Web 1.0 look. The video players only support basic playback options. The production values of the videos are great with professionals, background music, proper equipments but the video quality is above average, which I guess is intentional to keep bandwidth charges at bay.

Are videos one of the more effective ways to workout at home? Is there a great workout video site that we have missed? Do share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Share Anything, Anytime, Anywhere with Sendible [MakeUseOf Giveaway]

Posted: 19 Jul 2010 08:30 AM PDT

At MakeUseOf, we’re large supporters of social networking and its perks. It’s definitely something that we can’t get enough of. It allows us a chance to be closer to our readers — that’s you! And one of the best web services that allows us to do just that is Sendible.

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of Sendible; we’ve featured them twice on MakeUseOf and gladly announce it every Sunday on Twitter and Facebook.

We’d very much like to share the opportunity with you to get to know and utilise Sendible. So this week, we will be giving away 5 one-year subscription for Sendible’s Marketeer account. Find out how you can win one after the jump.

For those who are unfamiliar with Sendible, please allow Jonathan Bennett to take you on a short guided tour. Here we go.

With Sendible, you can manage and use all of your social networking accounts from one central location. It’s much nicer to only load one web site instead of five or ten tabs. This will save you a lot of time, because you can read and send all of your messages at one time and place.

Sendible Networks Supported

It couldn’t be much easier to add all of your accounts to your Sendible profile. All you need to do is click on the "Add/Edit Services" tab at the top and a page full of services will load for you to add to your account. Sendible supports all of the major networks.

how to share links on facebook

The networks are listed in different categories, like "Status Updates and Microblogging", "Photo Sharing" (think Flickr or Facebook photo albums) and "Link Sharing" (Facebook, Typepad, Wordpress, Blogger, and more).

how to share links on facebook

Sendible also adds nice little features that aren’t built-in to the native web applications. For example, Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters, but Sendible’s message box is able to split them up into multiple tweets. For those times when you can’t just keep it short, this feature comes to the rescue. Just type your full message as normal and Sendible takes care of the rest.

How to Share Links with Live Automatic Preview on Facebook

One feature I particularly like about Sendible that is useful for me is the ability to post links that automatically grab a text preview of an article and post it on Facebook. This is a feature that many other services don’t provide or they do it in a limited fashion.

Using Sendible’s message box to compose is intuitive and fast. You can quickly type up your message, create short links and schedule your posts all from the same page.

how to share links on facebook

I can’t stress enough how being able to do it all from one box saves a lot of time. You could write an article for your blog (including images), post it, make a short link for it, then quickly mention it to your friends on Facebook and Twitter with ease, all from the same message box. And as I said before, when you post your link on Facebook, Sendible knows to grab the data from the link too:

how to share links

Your Own Blog

Besides being able to post to your own blog if you have one, you could also create a blog using Sendible’s own internal blog service. Your blog will be available at http://your-name.sendible.com. Although the styling choices are limited for free users, it does come with a nice minimalistic theme.

You are given many settings to customize your blog, like the standard fields of blog name, blog tagline, author name, bio, and an image of yourself.

how to share links

Writing a post is as easy as typing in any other blogging software. You can even schedule blog posts, just like you can schedule your status updates. Once your blog has been posted, you and everyone else can view what you write and leave comments.

how to share links

Reminding & Scheduling

I’m the type of guy who likes a clear mind. If I can write down something and have a machine remind me of it later, then that’s perfect. My brain needs all of the free space and energy it can get. So this is why I’m glad Sendible has a nice scheduling service built-in. It’s good to be able to jot down something in the moment, schedule a time and let it fly.

Not only can you use it to schedule status updates or blog posts at a certain time, you could even use it as a personal reminder service. You can also setup recurring reminders. Another popular idea is to schedule blog posts while you’re on vacation so your readers are not left without you for the whole time.

how to share links in facebook

If you haven’t looked at Sendible in a while, give it another try. It’s a fast and useful all-in-one service that is definitely worth your time. For power users, they offer even more features at a monthly price.

How do I win a subscription?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Join our Facebook page by clicking the Like button or you can follow us on Twitter, if you prefer. If you’re already following us, you may skip this step.

If you can’t see the fanbox, click on this link.

Here’s our giveaway form. Please fill it in accurately. Be sure to enter your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Share it on Facebook

Or on Twitter

And that’s it! You’re done!

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, 23rd July at 2100hrs PST. The winners will be selected at random and announced via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

MakeUseOf would like to thank Gavin Hammar from Sendible for her generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

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

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