Sunday, August 1, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [July 31st]” plus 5 more “Cool Websites and Tools [July 31st]” plus 5 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [July 31st]

Posted: 31 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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BlipSnips – Sharing a video is super easy nowadays but what if you really want focus on just a couple of specific scenes in a long video? Traditionally, users have to skip the video to get to that part to that part, but BlipSnips is a tool that provides an alternative. BlipSnips lets you tag specific scenes in the video so the viewer can directly jump to that part. Read more: BlipSnips: Tag & Share Specific Parts of Video.


LocationBookmark – QR Code or Quick Response code is an easy way for smart phones (Android, iPhone) to decode information quickly. A lot of content can be downloaded easily from the web to the mobile phones using QR codes. LocationBookmark makes use of this to let users generate a QR code for any location. Read more: LocationBookmark: Generate QR Code For Any Location.



CriticialPast – is an interesting site that has a collection of more than 57,000 historic video clips and 7 million photos that are royalty-free, available to watch for free online and can be downloaded at an affordable price. You'll find video clips of the first steam engine, World War II, the Vietnam War and many more. Read more: CriticalPast: Watch Historic Video Clips Online.



Zoho Challenge – Zoho Challenge is a new tool that was added recently to Zoho's impressive suite of online office tools. It is a web based test creation software that can help teachers, private tutors, schools, coaching centers and other similar organizations to easily create a comprehensive online test for students, interview candidates and employees. Read more: Zoho Challenge: Free Web Based Test Creation Software.



GlobeTrooper – For the travel enthusiast, Globe Trooper is a must-bookmark website. Basically the site is an online social network for tourism and travel enthusiasts. Globe Trooper lets you explain your planned trip details to other members of the site. Then people who want to join you can tag along. While enjoying your travels, this procedure will help you make new friends along the way. Read more: GlobeTrooper: Easily Organize Group Travel & Make New Friends.


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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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Hack Your Symbian Mobile Phone With HelloOx2

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 03:31 PM PDT

symbian hack appsNow why you'd want to do this is entirely your own business, but listen up. HelloOx2 is Symbian hack app that will install a root certificate to your Symbian mobile phone and enable the installation of unsigned software. It’s a bit like jailbreaking the iPhone. You probably know what I'm going to say next.

I'm not condoning anything that may violate copyright or terms of usage, but these include regular apps, manufacturer-locked apps and third-party modified software. The installation also includes another Symbian hack app called RomPatcher+ which is used to patch-in your phone’s new features, allowing you to install applications that were never intended for your phone and tinker with system files. If you're sick of being limited by Nokia's flagship OS, then HelloOx2 is probably the hack for you.

What Does It Do?

The application first maps a virtual drive and unpacks the hacking files required. Once the file system has been activated, the drive is unmapped and a root certificate is installed. This is the all-important bit will allow you to install what you want. Lastly RomPatcher+ is installed, and your phone is hacked.

The hack is completely reversible by running the application a further time, meaning if you're concerned you can hack, install your software and unhack your phone to its original state. The software you installed whilst your phone was hacked will continue to function, even after the root certificate has been removed.

HelloOx2 installs a version of RomPatcher+ with two patches ready to go. Running these will temporarily patch your phone, although you will need to re-patch once you reboot. The software contains an auto-patch mode, which will apply patches for you when you boot up if you choose. Handy!

As with all hacking adventures, the software is provided with no guarantees. This means if it all goes wrong (and it really shouldn't, this is very different to flashing/debranding) it's your problem, and not the manufacturers. If you were to send your phone back for repair, there's a good chance you'll be told to hop, skip and jump.

So How Do I Hack?

Head over to the HelloOx2 website and first check if your phone is supported. There's a gargantuan list of S60 3rd and 5th generation phones that will hack, including some of the newest on the shelf today. Once you've found your phone, check to see if your current firmware is supported.  Once you've got those two green lights, you're pretty much ready to go.

Now for the ironic bit. In order to install the root certificate to an unhacked phone, the HelloOx2 application must be signed first. I know, right? You have two options – you can make a small donation to the application manufacturer and receive your HelloOx2 via email, or you can download an unsigned version and sign it yourself.

The already-signed version comes with email support (albeit in broken English, bless) and costs as little as US$5. It'll be with you in less than a day, so if you don't mind paying enter all required details here before making your donation on this page. I can vouch for the site, as I used this method on my Sony Ericsson Satio.

symbian hack apps

If you're unwilling to pay (and I can see why, given what you're doing) then the unsigned version can be downloaded completely free here. You'll then need to use a signing service such as Symbian Signed or OPDA to use the application.

Once you've got a signed version ready to go, simply transfer the file to your phone and install. HelloOx2 will install like any other application, and once complete all you need to do is run it. All steps are automatic, and once the process is complete you're done with HelloOx2. If you wish to reapply or remove the hack, then leaving the application on your phone is recommended.

symbian hack software

You'll now be able to patch your phone with RomPatcher+. You're nearly done, but you'll want to enable Installservice_FP2 in order to install unsigned applications and Open4All_RP+ if you want to gain access to your phone's full system files with a third party file browser. In order to auto-patch your phone, highlight the selected patch(es) and hit Options and then Add to Auto.

symbian hack apps

Congratulations, enjoy your hacked phone. You are now free to install what you want, when you want and with a third party file browser you’ll be able to access your phone’s deepest recesses. Good luck, and don’t break anything!

Have you tried this hack? Would you recommend it to anyone else? Spread the word in the comments below.

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Hot Tech Deals [July 31st]

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 01:30 PM PDT

If you’re in the market for a new computer, laptop, mobile phone, games and other accessories; don’t waste your time searching online. We’ve taken the liberty of locating the best tech deals and unifying them into a single post for your convenience.

For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.

  1. Dell Studio XPS 7100 AMD 6-Core Hexacore 2.6GHz Desktop (4GB/1TB/Radeon HD5450) $699via code ?8CN$RJ?W5TQ0C
  2. HP Personal Media Drive 1TB External Portable Hard Drive (Compatible with HP) $99.99
  3. ASUS RT-N12 802.11n 300Mbps Wireless N Router (DD-WRT) $29.99 Free Shipping via code EMCYVNV42
  4. Sony SRS-ZX1 40W Mobius Duct Stereo Speaker System $99.99 Free Shipping via code SONYZX1725
  5. Kingston DataTraveler 102 32GB USB Flash Drive $49.99
  6. Dell Studio One 19 Intel Dual-Core E5400 2.7GHz All-in-One Desktop w/ 19in Multi-Touch Display $584.24 via codes ?$QNC1?HSKNR9F and ?8CN$RJ?W5TQ0C
  7. Sunpak PicturesPlus 6060XL Tripod $14.99
  8. LG KF900 PRADA II GSM Cellular Phone (Unlocked) $207.99
  9. Case Logic Sale: Up to 61% off
  10. Dell Optiplex 380 Mini Tower w/ 20in LCD Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93GHz (2GB/320GB/Win 7) $499

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Weather Underground – The Best Weather Site On The Web

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 12:31 PM PDT

weather web sitesTV weather is for old people who don’t know how to use the Internet. In a world where you can get the weather with a quick Google search there’s really no need to wait for your local television station to get around to talking about the weather.

But what if you want more detail than that simple Google search can provide? Simple; just check out the Weather Undergroundweb site. This site gives you far more information than you could ever actually need, and provides it in any number of ways depending on your preference. Best of all, you can get to it’s page quickly via the Google search demonstrated above; for most regions there’s a link to Wunderground right below it.

Wunderground, as it’s sometimes called, has been around for a while but is still worth taking a look at because it’s very net friendly and, unlike many similar services, not tied to some massive media conglomerate.

The Main Page

weather web sites

Loading up Wunderground’s page reveals not just the weather but any weather-related information you could possibly desire. There’s the standard five-day forecast, an hour-by-hour breakdown of what the weather will do, a wide choice of satellite images to take a look at and even various webcams from around your region. There are many more tidbits to check out, so be sure to take a look around.

personal weather web sites

But Wunderground goes beyond just being a weather web site with a dump of useful information; it’s also a source for information you can use in interesting ways. For example, every location Wunderground provides weather for also comes with an iCal link. This is an easy way to add weather to your calendar application of choice, whatever that might be.

personal weather web sites

There’s also a really nice RSS feed, seen above. This can plug into Google Reader or whatever your RSS reader of choice may be. Neat, right?

Fullscreen Weather

personal weather web sites

If you don’t like the data dump that is the main Wunderground page, I highly recommend you check out their alternative service Full Screen Weather. This web site provides weather from Wunderground mashed up with Google Maps. Every local weather station’s temperature is revealed, as is a simple five-day forcast. You can also enable live radar, clouds and precipitation here. This is a great overview of the weather without any clutter, so check it out.

Plugins & Apps

Because of Wunderground’s very open API there are some great Wunderground-based plugins and apps out there. For example, see this great extension for Google Chrome:

interactive weather web sites

Find this extension here.

There’s also a pretty awesome Wunderground app for Boxee, called Boxee Weather. Here’s what it looks like:

weather web sites

Find more information about Boxee Weather.

There are more, of course. Here’s a quick list featuring just a few:

Know any more good plugins, apps or mashups featuring Wunderground? Share in the comments below!


Wunderground’s been my favorite source of weather since my wife introduced me to it many years back. I hope you appreciate it too, because it’s not always easy finding the best sites on the web for a particular task.

If you, on the other hand, know a better site for finding weather you should probably share. Unless you work for that site, because I think it’s really lame when people do that. Also, could you please share your thoughts on this site, and what you’ve used it for? Thanks.

Finally, if you guys want to discuss how the weather is where you are this is as good a place as any. As for me: today here in Boulder it’s much cooler than days past but I still can’t wait for fall. I love cold weather.

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Become A Singing Star With Online Karaoke

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 10:31 AM PDT

free karaoke onlineThanks to the Internet, you don’t have to buy a Karaoke Machine, or go to a public bar or restaurant and sing in front of everyone to get your share of Karaoke fun.

Whether you’re practicing for American Idol or you just want to have some fun with your friends, all you need to find free Karaoke online and get a party started is your computer, an internet connection, a microphone, and a set of decent speakers.

In some cases, if you’re looking for your 15 minutes of online fame, a webcam will also come in handy on some community karaoke websites. Use the tips listed below for hours of fun, or if you’re serious about singing, to hone your skills.

Cantanding & YouTube

Cantanding takes the hard work out of finding good Karaoke videos. The front page features a list of the latest songs that have been sung, and the top 10 Karaoke ‘requests’ on the site. If you have a specific song in mind that you want to sing, use Cantanding’s search feature to see if you can belt it out to the song of your choice.

free karaoke online

The only limitation to the site is a direct result of some of YouTube’s settings. Some YouTube uploaders prefer that their videos cannot be embedded, which means not all Karaoke videos can be played directly within their site.

free karaoke singing online

The simple solution to this would be to just search YouTube for free karaoke videos online and it couldn’t be easier. There are even specific YouTube channels dedicated specifically to this purpose such as The Karaoke Channel and Music Factory Karaoke.

free karaoke singing online

There are also a few YouTubers known for putting up Karaoke videos for you to sing duets with them such as SinginDork888. Just search his channel for a few duets that you can sing along to.

If you want to record your songs – there is no end to audio recorders that can get the job done. Audacity is a perfect example, and it’s multiplatform, so whether you’re a Windows, Mac or Linux user, there’s a version for you.

free karaoke singing online

Audacity will pick up the sound from your speakers as well as any sound coming through your microphone.


If you’re looking for a more elaborate free Karaoke experience online, SingSnap has a few extra features that come with signing up for a free account. With SingSnap, you can record your greatest Karaoke moments, and if you’re so inclined, share them with the site’s community members.

An interesting feature that SingSnap offers is the ability to create duets using other member videos. Of course, only specific songs are available for duet, so not just any of your videos can be used. If you don’t want other people using your videos at all – be sure to switch off that option in your settings. The free accounts do have their limitations, the most significant of which is a limitation on the choice of available songs.

free online karaoke

SingSnap also has a webcam feature, meaning you can not only be heard, but also be seen by anyone who listens to your recordings. Luckily, for the camera-shy, this can easily be disabled.

Another online karaoke community that deserves a mention is Karaoke Party.

The Karaoke Channel

As mentioned before, songs are available on YouTube through The Karaoke Channel, but they also have their own website with free and paid accounts. Like SingSnap, there is a limitation on songs available to free accounts, but there are still enough to have a fun Karaoke party with your friends.

free online karaoke

The Karaoke Channel also has quite the community built around it, and allows you to record and share your songs with other members. Like SingSnap, you can choose whether or not you want to keep your webcam on for your performances. Members can comment on and rate each others songs, as well as nominate them for categories in the Hall of Fame such as Best Performance, Most Touching and Best Impersonation.

free karaoke online

Each member has a user page with a detailed profile, listing all of their recordings. As far as backing vocals and music quality, The Karaoke Channel  has some of the best songs out there.

Do you have any tips or tricks on where to get your free online Karaoke fix? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Chris Metcalf

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NotifyMe2 and Bills Giveaway Winners

Posted: 31 Jul 2010 10:00 AM PDT

In the last week, we’ve held and completed a double-whammy giveaway; featuring 2 iPhone applications which can help you manage and remember to-do’s in your busy lives — all in the spirit of productivity.

Now, we only have to find out which of you lucky MakeUseOf readers managed to grab themselves a copy. Here they are:

NotifyMe 2

  1. Ana Paula Borbolla
  2. Jose Navarro
  3. Andrew McClellan
  4. Bill Goodman
  5. Roger Gardner


  1. Pierre Dennert
  2. Ray Barr
  3. Audrey Nay
  4. Nicle Tramain
  5. Diego Espinosa

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

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!



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