Tuesday, August 3, 2010

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Cools [August 2nd]” plus 9 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Cools [August 2nd]” plus 9 more

Link to MakeUseOf.com

Cool Websites and Cools [August 2nd]

Posted: 02 Aug 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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CSS Frame Generator – Web designers often spend countless hours trying to generate valid CSS frame code from corresponding XHTML. CSSFrameGenerator is a tool that makes life easy by automating this process. Simply copy and paste the XHTML code and click submit. The tool will then generate relevant CSS frame code that you can copy into your stylesheet. Read more: CSSFrameGenerator: Generate CSS Frame Code For XHTML.


SportMeets – is a user friendly free web service that makes organizing & managing a sports team easy. You can be a team manager or a simple team member. As a team member you can view stats of matches plus tournaments and get notifications sent by your manager and other teams. For team managers, Sport Meets provides the ability to schedule matches and organize the team. Read more: SportMeets: Organizing & Managing a Sports Team Online.



Onbile – While creating your website you probably targeted computer users, overlooking cellphone users. Today many people access the web through their smartphones and might not find your site's layout suitable to their device. To make your site mobile friendly free of charge, pay Onbile a visit. Read more: Onbile: Make Your Site Mobile Friendly in Minutes.



CSSTypeset – If you are looking for an easy way to create CSS code for text then I have a great CSS typography tool to share – CSSTypeset. Thanks to CSSTypeset, you no longer have to mess around with style sheets to obtain your desired font. CSS Typeset is a free and very simple to use web service. Read more: CSSTypeset: Quickly Generate The CSS Code For Your Texts.



CoupRecoup – I'm sure you are aware of the local coupon sites like Groupon and SocialBuy that provide the best deals on various product and services in your city. CoupRecoup aims to take advantage of the popularity of such sites. It brings together the people who've got a local coupon from the deal sites, and those who missed a nice deal on those sites. Read more: CoupRecoup: Marketplace for Local Discount Coupons.


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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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Join MakeUseOf On Twitter!

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 06:31 PM PDT

If you have discovered MakeUseOf just recently and are one of our 270,000+ subscribers, please consider following us on Twitter as well.

You’ll be notified everytime there is a new post on the MakeUseOf Blog, a web app review on the MakeUseOf Directory or something new on Geeky Fun.

Plus, we would love it if you would re-tweet the posts and discuss them, so more people get to know about us and join our community.

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The Top 5 Free Tools To Split Or Merge Music Files

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 04:31 PM PDT

merge music filesWe at MakeUseOf are determined to provide as much breadth in topics as possible so all of our readers’ interests can be addressed. We have explained a handful of ways to easily join and split videos, PDFs (on a Mac even), spreadsheets and other files. If you follow our Sound Sunday feature where our Answers editor lists free and legal MP3s, or just simply own an MP3 player, chances are you might be interested in how to merge music files and/or split audio files as well.

There has been an article on what to use to split and merge audio tracks, but it was more geared for the Windows user. This list will feature a few more programs that Mac and Linux users can use as well.

So whether you’re interested in removing the silent parts of an audio file, splitting audiobooks into more digestable parts, or you want to merge music files to create a long, no-skip playlist-like music file, the five time-saving tools we’ll feature up next might just help you achieve this task quickly.

Use The Command Line To Join MP3s

Using the simple code below, you’ll be able to join .mp3 files quickly and without additional programs.

(optional) cd C:\folder\with\mp3\files (press Enter)
copy /b file1.mp3 + file2.mp3 newfile.mp3

The new file will be created in the same folder (in this case, C:\folder\with\mp3\files) where the original file1 and file 2 are, unless you specify another directory. You could also use all the mp3s (using *.mp3) in one specific folder that you have switched to using the cd (i.e. change directory) command:

copy /b *.mp3 newfile.mp3

merge music files

You can replace *.mp3 with something like m*.mp3 to include only files that start with the letter m. You’ll notice that this method is incredibly fast but it loads the original audio data so the ID3 tags will be all over the place (e.g. the new file may list the artist data from file1, but different album information from file2).

For a workaround, download the open source Mp3Wrap (available for Windows and Linux) and Mp3Splt (which we discuss later in this article) which serve to join and separate files respectively, while retaining ID3 information.

Mac and Linux users can use the following in the Terminal:

cat file1.mp3 file2.mp3 > newfile.mp3

Merge Audio Tracks Easily With Shuang’s Audio Joiner (Windows)

If you are more comfortable with GUI programs, there’s Shuang’s Audio Joiner which is a very intuitive mp3 file merger. Its small install file at 1.22MB (2.56MB once installed) makes it an attractive program to try on your Windows computer. You can join files with different extensions (.mp3, .wav and .wma) and export the joined file in any of these formats. You can also reorder the list of files effortlessly.

split music files

Should you be interested in other downloads, be sure to check out MergeMP3 and Meda MP3 Joiner.

Split Large MP3 Files With Mp3splt (Cross-Platform),

split music files

Available as a portable application, Mp3splt is an open source and cross-platform command line (but we’ll use the GUI version) utility that offers advanced features. Once you download the Mp3splt-gtk version that comes with a GUI, you’ll be able to set splitpoints at specific time frames, split the original file into equal parts, extract the original tracks from an entire MP3Wrap-joined album track, and even play the file to visualize areas to trim.

Use The Simple MP3-Trimming Tool, MP3Cut (Web-Based)

split music files

Trimming a single mp3 file couldn’t be easier with Mp3cut. Just upload your file, select the portion of the song you want to save, hit the Download button and off you go!

The site comes with an eye-catching mp3 player and sliders across it so you can quickly choose an interval within the file to trim, which is useful if you don’t know the exact splitpoints.

DIY: Split & Join MP3 Files To Your Liking With Windows Movie Maker

merge music files

With Windows Movie Maker, you can import common audio files (such as .mp3, .wav, .wma), drag them to the timeline and use the Split/Trim functions. To join files, just place them right after the other in the Audio/Music timeline. Whatever’s left on this timeline will be saved as a new .wma file after you hit Publish Movie.

If you don’t mind the .wma file extension, you’re all set; otherwise, use an mp3 converter, such as MediaConverter or another great alternative. This method doesn’t restrict you in number of files you can join, and the timeline makes it very easy to use.

If you don’t want this two-step process that involves converting to mp3, and aren’t too keen on downloading too many applications, try Aviary’s Myna, which is a web-based audio editor.

What do you use to edit your music tracks? Feel free to mention other ways to trim or merge music files!

Image credit: iTweek

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Instantly Find Out Your Credit Score Free Of Charge With Credit Karma

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 02:31 PM PDT

free credit scoreAt first I was a bit skeptical about another site offering free credit scores and reports. Credit Karma was recommended to me via Reddit a few months ago, and several users had indicated that it was a good website with helpful information and that they took your privacy seriously. Armed with the Gmail + tip in hand (to detect if they sold my email address to outside companies), I signed up for the service.

After you sign up with Credit Karma the first thing that they request is your Social Security number (SSN). I almost never give this out online, but because of their reputation and the fact that they only use it once and do not store it, I felt more comfortable handing it over. They promise to use your SSN once and then they say they do not use it or store it in their databases at all.

After a few moments, the site returns with your credit score.

free credit score

A quick word about credit scores to reduce some confusion. There is no single source for credit scores. The most famous one in the United States is called the FICO score. Many agencies evaluate this score for your credit worthiness and an indicator of how likely you are to pay off a potential debt. This score changes depending on who provides the number.

What you get with Credit Karma is their own proprietary score, which from what I have seen is fairly accurate to my FICO score. There is no one-to-one correlation, because the algorithm FICO uses to calculate your score is a secret. Best guesses as to how they figure your score is your past payment history, your revolving credit balances, the types of debt on your credit, and the number of accounts you have.

Credit Score History

One of the features I like the best about Credit Karma is that it keeps track of your credit score over time. It also analyzes the core components of your score and makes suggestions on how to improve your score. If your credit score is important to you, this information is invaluable. It also ranks your credit based on other users in your geographical area, age range and email domain. This is an interesting comparison, not really useful for anything but to see how you rank next to others who have signed up to the service.

free credit score

Now let’s go over how they make their revenue, as I think that is important in determining how legitimate a site is and how they can give you a free credit score when every other site charges for the same service. Once you input your SSN and they look up your credit report, they analyze your credit and determine how you can receive savings in lower interest rates or using one of their advertisers for a new line of credit.

Overall, Credit Karma is a useful site and I would recommend signing up if you are interested in knowing your credit score. If you want your full free credit score, you may obtain them once a year from AnnualCreditReport. This is also important if you think there might be a mistake in your credit record, for example if you have a good payment history and think you have a high credit score, but find out your credit score is actually very low.

If you have any questions about their service, they answer many questions in their FAQ, and also have a good number of articles on their site concerning credit and credit scores in general which are a good read if you are unfamiliar with the topic. I haven’t yet received any emails from any of their ‘partners’. If you are alright with the advertising on their site, then Credit Karma is a great site for getting your credit score.

Image Credit : TheTruthAbout…

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Hot Tech Deals [Aug 2nd]

Posted: 02 Aug 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. HOT! 20% Off Any Dell Item w/ Coupon Code: 20Anyitem$199&up
  2. Onkyo SKS-HT750B 7.1 Channel Speaker System with 230W Subwoofer $239 via code GEICO10
  3. LG Infinia 50PK750 50 inch Plasma HDTV (1080p, THX, Netflix Streaming, 1inch thin!) $926 via code AFLLGE926
  4. Yamaha RX-V567BL 7.1ch 90W/ch AV Receiver + Klipsch Synergy B-2 Bookshelf Speakers PAIR $429.95
  5. Sony CyberShot DSC-W370 14MP 7X Digital Camera (Image Stabilized) $179.99 via code CAM82A

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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5 Useful Apps for Learning Spanish with iTunes

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 12:30 PM PDT

learn to speak spanishHola, amigos y vecinos. As with any language, if you want to learn to speak Spanish, it can be very challenging. But there are several useful resources that can help you get started, or are useful if you're taking a Spanish course or need a refresher. These resources are a mix of websites and Apple mobile apps that are very accessible, especially if you're planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country.

Apple's iTunes Store has more than a few resources for free that can help you learn to speak Spanish.

24/7 Tutor

The 24/7 Tutor site provides two free language learning applications for Apple's iPhone and iPad. These apps teach the language using a variety of methods, including games, multiple choice quizzes, and flash cards. The interactive lessons include audio pronunciations of selected Spanish words. While the app itself is not very appealing in its design, the lessons are direct and easy to follow. The included lesson categories—Food and Dining, Town and Country, Opposites, Basic Phrases, Questions—are great for tourists and as a refresher course.

learn to speak spanish

Learn to Speak Spanish Podcasts

For a little more extensive resource than 24/7 Tutor, Learn to Speak Spanish with Discover Spanish [iTunes link] has posted over 25 ten minute podcast lessons which are a mixture of tutoring, conversational Spanish, and games. The pace of the recordings is good and clear, and the lessons cover various topics, from greetings and the names of family members, to what do you do for a living. These lessons, which are broken up in units, are great for tourists and beginners.

learn to speak spanish

Spanish A+ and Spanish Pod

Edufone's Spanish A+ [iTunes link] podcasts feature over 30 recorded lessons on varied topics such as directions to the dentist office, discussing your favorite drink, holiday, and when to use certain verbs. I would say these podcasts will be more useful for those wanting a refresher course. The lessons are basically set up as listen, learn, and repeat. They are a little fast paced, but you are instructed to pause your device and repeat what you hear. 

SpanishPod [iTunes link] is similar Spanish language podcast, featuring about 20 lessons. The presenters and teachers use a conversational style in both English and Spanish, with a mixture of direct lessons. It sounds great for beginners.

learn spanish online


StudySpanish.com has hundreds of traditional lessons for learning Spanish words, phrases, and parts of speech. The interactive lessons consist of speak and repeat, but you can jump around and focus on topics that you want to practice. This site is great for self-learners or for students taking a course in Spanish. The site includes free and paid membership, but the former has plenty of useful tools including quiz generators, grammar tutorials, and verb drills. The site is also set up so that lessons can be printed directly or emailed. Signing up for a free account enables you to take tests and record grades, as well as receive the site's newsletter.

learn spanish online

If you want to practice the Spanish you're learning with a Spanish speaker, check out this MUO article about the website, MyIntercambio.

Let us know if you find any of these resources helpful, or tell us about websites and tools that help you learn to speak Spanish.

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10 Video Websites for Kids That Are Safe and Fun

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 11:30 AM PDT

websites for kidsKids represent a large slice of the demographic pie. That's quite obvious from the large number of web services that cater exclusively to kids. And why not; kids of today take to the mouse or the joystick as earlier generations used to take to plastic bats and balls.

We, at MakeUseOf.com haven't shortchanged them at all. From apps for kids to specific posts that cover fun sites, search engines, games, or inspiration, we try to do our bit. Because, more than the child, it's also the parent who is searching for a safe corner on the web for unadulterated kiddie fun.

Video websites for kids is a popular search term on the web. Just as adults have the best of television and the online world when it comes to video, so should our kids. It's just that there content needs to be more strictly moderated and should blend in subjects that are for kids-eyes-only.

So here are ten online video streaming websites for kids that are closest to a responsible parent's heart, and of course the kid's.


websites for kids

Kideos.com and its collection of videos for kids cover their entertainment till age 10. In fact, you or your child can select videos by age. Then there are the child friendly channels like Harry Potter, Farm Animals, Space, Cute Animals, etc. to pick a video to watch from. Most of the videos are hosted on YouTube. Each video gets screened for appropriateness before it features on the online video site. If you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or an iPad, then there's a free app available for download too.

Kideo Player

fun websites for kids

Kideo Player is YouTube website for kids. It is also probably has the most kid friendly way to view videos. It's similar to a playlist of selected videos which the kids can go through with a press of the spacebar. The most popular ones are those which have the least spacebar skips. You can press 'F' for full screen view of the videos. The idea is to keep things super simple for the youngest among your kids.


fun websites for kids

Kid Mango is a popular online destination for children's videos – from preschool up to the age of 12. The site is run by GenMouse Inc. who host a bunch of kid-safe websites. Unfortunately, the videos are not available for my country (India). The KidMango Library has popular shows from some of the world’s best producers of animation and live action. It showcases over two thousand videos covering everything from Einstein to aliens and vampires to Leonardo da Vinci.

Kids Tube

fun websites for kids

KidsTube.com aims to join the lineup of child-friendly and family friendly video sites. Here, kids can also upload their own videos and socially network with other members. Children can also start their own micro-blogs. The arrangement of videos is like most video portals. The unique thing is that Kids Tube also runs a lot of contests around user uploaded videos. For instance, weekly contests around a theme. It's a great outlet for perking up your child's imagination.

Kidz Bop

interactive educational websites for kids

Kidz Bop is a carefully moderated, child-friendly website for kids where they can make and upload their own webshows and videos, play games and get creative with music and art. On the free children's website, you can create a series of episodes into your own webshow. If not a complete webshow, you can upload short videos. Your uploaded videos can also be turned into a contest for others to vote and enjoy.

National Geographic

National Geographic has a whole channel website dedicated to kids. From funny animal videos to videos that take you to wondrous places, the videos are excellent for education and fun. The free children's website comes with the quality that's the hallmark of National Geographic.

Discovery Kids – Beyond

interactive educational websites for kids

Just like National Geographic's offering for kids, Discovery Channel also has one of its own. A mix of education and fun, the lineup of videos is a reflection of what Discovery Kids shows on TV. The clips are kept short enough for attention spans of the little ones.


interactive educational websites for kids

ZuiTube is brought to you by the guys who developed KidZui, the free browser for kids. ZuiTube is a children's website filled to the brim with videos that are approved by parents and teachers. Most of the videos are sourced from YouTube. It also advertises itself as the largest online collection of children's videos.


Covering fun activities like videos, games, and music, Kidyos is worth a look if you have a child who is between 1 and 6 years of age. The site screens its collection from YouTube but also provides a few language options like German, French, Spanish, and Hebrew apart from English.

PBS Kids

websites for kids

PBS Kids is the online children's website of the Public Broadcasting Service (U.S). What you get are lots of little videos on the characters from the shows that the channel broadcasts. You can Clifford the Big Red Dog, Dot's Story Factory, Sesame Street, Curious George, and other shows on the children's website.

Dedicated children's video websites are not overflowing on the web unlike their adult counterparts. YouTube of course, hosts a lot of videos but YouTube is a soup of all kinds of videos, most of which might be inappropriate for young eyes. Drop a comment if you have a video website for children that you would like the kiddie world to know about.

Image credit: Wayan Vota

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Top 3 Creative Writing Social Networks To Get Feedback On Your Work

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 10:30 AM PDT

creative writing social networkIt’s easy to sit down at your computer, or with a notepad and pen, and write. Whether you’re writing short stories, poetry, or even working on a novel, the hard part is knowing if you’re on the right track. And the even harder part is finding an audience to read what you’ve written.

Below is a list of social networks where you can share your creative writing, whether you’re looking for a friendly community to interact with, or you’re looking for a serious critique. What stands out with all of these sites is their sense of community – once you have put in a little bit of effort and interacted with the people on the site – it will become a very rewarding experience.


writing social network

On ABCTales, signing up for a free account gives you a profile page which lists all of the pieces that you have posted on the site.

writing social network

After you have posted your writing, you can receive comments from other users, and if you want an in-depth critique, you can always post to their forums requesting one.

creative writing social network

A group of anonymous editors read all of the work submitted to ABCTales and they “cherrypick” the very best, highlighting it for others to see.

Other features of ACBTales include a story and poem of the week selected by the editors and is featured on the front page, as well as a weekly inspiration point to help you out if you’re suffering from a case of writer’s block.

writing social network

Pick ABCTales if you’re looking for a simple portfolio, and are more likely to interact with people on forums.

The Heel Press

writing websites

The Heel Press used to be open only to people who had university email accounts, but has long since abandoned that idea, and has opened up its doors to anyone who wants to join. Like ABCTales, you get a profile page featuring your latest work, but the page itself is more elaborate featuring more information such as your favourite authors, books, music and websites.

writing websites

Another significant difference is that The Heel Press also accepts photography and art submissions to be added to your portfolio.

Other members can comment on your work. rate it, and add it to their favourites. The Heel Press is more of a social network than ABCTales, making it easy to follow other members work by adding them as your friends.

The front page features art and writing by members, that has gone through a critique panel, as well as a list of the most popular content – as judged by user ratings.

writing websites

There are two ways you can submit your writing. You can submit it straight to your profile or portfolio, which means it will not appear on the front page, or you can submit it to the critique panel, where it will be judged by other users, according to the kind of critique you request.

If it receives a high enough rating, it will be displayed on the front page. The anonymity of the critique panel allows other users to give an honest opinion on your work.

Other features on The Heel Press include a forum, groups, and you’ll often find competitions to enter on the site.

Pick The Heel Press if you’re looking for a more elaborate critique, and a social network experience.


creative writing social network

DeviantArt is well known as a place for photographers and artists to share their work, but it also has a significant writing community. Despite the fact that paid subscribers can ask for an in-depth critique of their work, in our experience, we’ve found that DeviantArt is not the best place to go if that’s what you’re really looking for.

Signing up for a free account gives you a profile page on which all of your submitted work will be displayed.

Like The Heel Press, your profile page on DeviantArt is much more elaborate, allowing you to share more information about yourself, and you also get a space to update your own DeviantArt journal.

creative writing social network

Like The Heel Press, DeviantArt has a strong social network aspect to it, where you can add other users work to your favourites, as well as add them as friends on the site.

The front page features the latest work, as well as Daily Deviations – works which are selected by the site moderators on a daily basis, singled out as the best on the site, one of which is always a literature piece.

Pick DeviantArt if you’re looking for an elaborate profile page and a social network experience.

If you’re suffering from writer’s block, be sure to check out our Writer’s Guide to Free Apps for Organization and Inspiration, and if you’re a Mac user, we’d highly recommend using OmmWriter to get all your creative writing done before posting it to these sites.

Do you have a favourite social network where you share your creative writing? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Derya



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How To Get Your Really Important Information Out Of Facebook

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 09:31 AM PDT

facebook informationHave you ever missed a party because the invites went out only through Facebook? Don’t you just wish that all that useful information in Facebook could be out in the real world where you can see it? Well, it can. Not all of it, but certainly some of the more useful parts.

Facebook do seem to try their hardest to keep some of the information within their walled garden and make themselves the go-to place for all users. In the end this just further separates the people who use Facebook from the people who don’t.

But Facebook actually makes it very easy to get hold of some of the best information and it seems that there are many people who have signed up to Facebook, but consider the process of checking it to be hard work.

So we’ll summarise for you all of the best ways to get information out of Facebook.

Event Invitations

To start with, I’d like to apologise on behalf of the people who plan things on Facebook. We’d love to be vigilant enough to always invite people off Facebook too, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Facebook have made event invitations so easy, that inviting people some other way is like walking around to your house to invite you because you don’t have a phone. It can be done, but it’s also likely to get forgotten.

That said, if you’re on Facebook at all (even in a non-committal way) you can still get your party invites out of Facebook. Go to your Events App (from the home page, it’s on the left) then scroll all the way to the bottom. Click on “Export Events” and what you see is an iCal URL for all your future events.

can facebook give you information

You can use this to import into iCal, Outlook, Google Calendar or numerous other calendars. Right-click and copy the link and (in your preferred calendar) choose the option to “add a calendar“. Paste in the URL and… voila! This calendar will show you anything you’ve been invited to which has an RSVP status for you of “not sure” or “attending”.

As an added bonus, in Google Calendar you can also set up email or SMS reminders for the calendar, meaning you can choose to have an email remind you a week before events and a text sent to your phone two hours before any events. So you don’t even need to check Google Calendar! Too easy!

Facebook Birthdays

Use the FBcal application to get birthdays out of Facebook and into an iCal calendar. MakeUseOf have already explained the nuts and bolts of using FBcal, so read that for more information. FBcal can also be used to get events out of Facebook, so if Facebook ever remove their native iCal feed then you can try to do it this way. Personally, I like to keep these calendars separate.

Address Book

facebook informationMost Facebook applications don’t have full access to your friends contact details, however there is a very quick trick you can use to get this information from Facebook and into a useable format (if you have a Yahoo login, which most people do).

Go to address.yahoo.com and click on “Import your contacts from other accounts to Yahoo“. Facebook is one of the primary options, and it imports in no time.

You can then easily export these contacts from Yahoo in all the normal contact formats and import it in to whatever you use. If you have any trouble, go into your application settings and remove “Yahoo! Contact Importer” and try again.

If you use a Mac, you can also get current Facebook profile pictures into Address Book, then use iSync to get those pictures into your phone.

Backing Up YOUR Information From Facebook

If you’re worried about possible deletion of your account, there’s an experimental Firefox extension called Archive Facebook which will allow you to back up all the data you’ve put in to Facebook.

Facebook Chat

Get your Facebook chat contacts and use them elsewhere. Use a third-party chat client to log in to Facebook Chat: Try Adium, Trillian, Pidgin, Digsby or Meebo (or plenty of others).

Chat History

For those of us that do use Facebook a lot, sometimes we want to back up Facebook information like chat records. Fortunately, this is possible using browser extensions (available for Chrome and Firefox).

Your Notifications

can facebook give you informationUsing the notification settings found under account settings, you can choose which notifications you want to get by email or SMS. If you’ll be away from Facebook for a while, I’d suggest getting most notifications sent to you and setting up some kick-ass filters for your email (Hint: all Facebook third-party apps send notifications from facebookappmail.com).

You can also subscribe to your notifications’ RSS feed by going to http://www.facebook.com/notifications.php and getting the RSS feed from the link on the right.

Your Updates

Until quite recently, there was a hack to get an RSS feed of your updates, but it doesn’t seem to generate a feed anymore. To do it, you get the RSS feed for your notifications (as above), then paste the URL into a text document and change the word “notifications” to “status”. This should work!

I have a feed generated this way which still works perfectly, however I tried to do it again and the new key generated doesn’t work. Maybe it will work for some of you – or maybe one of you smarties can suss out the new hack? This RSS feed is great for using in your lifestream.

Your Friends’ Links & Notes

Luckily, you can easily get an RSS feed of your friends’ Facebook information like notes and links.

For links, visit http://www.facebook.com/posted.php and you’ll see an RSS link on the right hand side. You can even use a drop-down menu to filter it to just one person (sadly, not a friends’ list yet).

can facebook give you information

For notes, the place to go is: http://www.facebook.com/notes.php and the RSS link is sitting over the right hand side too.

facebook information

You can still get an RSS feed of your friend’s status updates using a similar method as above, but Facebook doesn’t seem to want these feeds to work so it will probably be removed in time. So, get it quickly!!

Go back and get the feed for your friends’ notes. Paste it into a text document and change the word “notes” to be “status”. That’s all! This feed should now work. I just tried one and it works perfectly. It should look like this:
Some people say you can also filter this by the ID of a friend list, but I tried that with no luck whatsoever, sorry!

Are You Stuck Behind A Firewall?

If you’re reading this article because you can’t access Facebook at work or school, you might be keen to know of some good proxies and tricks for accessing Facebook behind a firewall. Try them with all of the above methods and you won’t miss too much!

So, with all of these neat ways of getting information out of Facebook, you won’t be left completely in the cold if you don’t log in every day. However, I still recommend logging in occasionally so that you can add new friends that have found you in the meantime.

And please, if you have any other neat hacks to add, tell us in the comments.

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



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Get Your Drives Under Control With Paragon Partition Manager [Giveaway]

Posted: 02 Aug 2010 08:30 AM PDT

Hard drives are huge nowadays, not just in popularity, but also in data storage size.  Now that you can easily pick up a terabyte hard drive for a reasonable price, you have a new problem: how do you split up that space? Partitioning is a method of dividing storage space inside a hard drive and lets you avoid having one big disk in My Computer.

I like to keep my operating system in its own partition, separate from my personal data like My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, and My Videos. This means that if I ever have a problem with my OS (or want to wipe it, install a different version, or a different OS altogether), I can easily interact with that specific partition and my personal data will be left alone. Partitions are also great for installing multiple operating systems on a disk – I currently have an NTFS partition for Windows 7, an NTFS partition for Windows XP, as well as ext4 and swap partitions for Linux.

Now that you know how useful partitioning your disk can be, you need some good software to do it. In this giveaway, we're offering 50 copies of Paragon Partition Manager 11 Personal Edition to MakeUseOf readers!

Paragon Partition Manager 11 Personal Edition is great for advanced users and basic users alike. Sporting two interfaces, you can enable as much control as you need when partitioning your hard drive. Power users can reveal advanced controls with the click of a button.

With Partition Manager 11 Personal Edition, you can easily create, delete, resize, and merge partitions. If you have a new hard drive, you can use Create Partition to divvy up your space and select different file systems. If you're working with an existing hard drive, you can use Delete Partition or Merge Partitions to remove unnecessary partitions and make room for new ones. Finally, you can use Resize Partitions to resize your current partitions to free up more space for data or other operating systems.

You will also have access to sophisticated features like migrating your current hard drive to an entirely different disk (of the same or different size), and also making an identical copy of a current partition.

Before working with partitions, you should always note that any activity that messes with the structure of your hard drive can result in loss of data. This is one of the worrisome parts of disk partitioning, but Paragon Partition Manager 11 Personal Edition mitigates this risk by providing backup functionality to provide a data loss free operation. This feature is worth its weight in gold – you can make changes to your disk without having to worry so much about your data surviving the transition.

You'll even be reminded to create a recovery CD before you start making changes to your partitions, which I strongly recommend you do.

If you really like tinkering with your system, this software includes a few extra features that I've found to be very useful. The Boot Management feature allows you to customize the boot parameters of your system (stuff that anybody who is familiar with the Linux application Gparted would recognize) and also helps you prep your disk for the installation of a new operating system.

Finally, Partition Manager 11 Personal Edition includes a great partition manager with full access to all of the features I previously described – except this time you can easily view partitions across all your disks.  Since I've always used Gparted for disk partitioning, I felt very comfortable working in the Partition Manager mode.

How do I win a copy?

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, 6th August 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 the Paragon Software team for their generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



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