Monday, August 2, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [August 1st]” plus 7 more “Cool Websites and Tools [August 1st]” plus 7 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [August 1st]

Posted: 01 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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Pullfolio – Many aspiring and professional photographers use Flickr to showcase their talents. While Flickr is a great photo hosting site, it does not offer the desired portfolio creation features which would suit photographers to showcase their work. Fortunately there is a new service available, Pullfolio, which serves these photographer's portfolio creation needs. Read more: Pullfolio: Create A Photography Portfolio Online Using Your Flickr Pictures.


Image Spider – Learning about the properties of an image hosted online or on any webpage can be of great use to a webmaster. For instance knowing the exact dimensions of an image can help you determine whether or not that particular image is useful for them. Firefox add-on “Image Spider” helps users easily determine all these attributes. Read more: Image Spider: Easily View All Attributes Of Any Images.



Alyalist – With the evolving social aspect of the web, everything is becoming more interactive. AlyaList is a tool that gives shopping lists a social aspect by letting you create and share shopping lists with friends. You can create multiple shopping lists, add items to the lists and share them with groups of friends. Read more: AlyaList: Create & Share Shopping Lists With Friends.



Libox – is a new web service that lets you access your media files such as photos, songs and HD videos from any web browser or device. Once you download the Libox software and add your media files to your Libox library, they are instantly available on any synchronized device. Read more: Libox: Access Your Media Files Anywhere.



InternetCongaLine – is a tool where users can participate in group video conference with random people. Unlike the popular tool Chatroulette where you can only talk to one person at a time, InternetCongaLine lets people participate in group chats. You can post a public message, give somebody a cocktail or block and report them as an inappropriate user. Read more: InternetCongaLine: Have a Group Video Conference With Strangers.


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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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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 01 Aug 2010 07:31 PM PDT

It's time to say thanks to MakeUseOf’s friends who, once in a while, tip us great story ideas, help out on different projects and in some cases offer their services at discounted prices. Thank you, guys!

    ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service

    Ever wanted to add website screenshots to your website? In my professional opinion ShrinkTheWeb is one of the best services for that, both in terms of performance and pricing. The free account gets you a whopping 250,000 impressions with nearly no delay. See it in action in our daily Cool Websites and Tools series.


    Walyou – Cool Gadgets for Geeks
    new cool gadgets
    Walyou is a fun blog covering all sorts of new cool gadgets and other stuff every geek is likely to find entertaining. Everything from world’s largest Gunny Bears to E-hookah gadgets. Make sure to check them out.

    TwitHawk – Real-Time Keyword & Location Based Marketing On Twitter
    marketing on twitter
    There is no doubt about the fact that Twitter has proven to be a successful marketing medium for many companies. If you have millions of dollars to spend then you can hire social media marketing experts to take care of everything, but what if you want to market a small or mid-size business on Twitter? TwitHawk is a great service that lets you do exactly that.


    rade | eccles – iPhone Application Development

    The perfect iPhone development team, rade | eccles managed to put our iPhone app together in record time yet exude professionalism and dedication every step of the way. Our collaboration wasn’t happenstance. We would make the same decision all over again. Our only recommendation for an iPhone developer – rade | eccles.


    TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design

    If you’re looking for a cheap, original and quality logo or banner, check out TrueKolor. We often contact these guys when we need a logo or a banner made, some of the stuff they did for us listed on their portfolio page. Highly recommended.


Thank you, guys!

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What’s Your Favourite Text Editor? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 01 Aug 2010 06:30 PM PDT

Last week, our MakeUseOf poll asked you if you share passwords with your spouse. I was quite surprised to note that most of you do share passwords of some sort. I had thought that with so many geeks as readers we would have had far tighter security – even when committed partners are concerned. But, apparently that’s not the case. We’re generally quite a trusting bunch!

Results after the jump.

Not everyone was quite so trusting though – 29% of voters don’t share passwords at all. But this was definitely the minority, with most voters sharing at least some of their passwords with their partner. A staggering 33% of voters share all of their passwords: banking, social networks, email – everything. 26% of you are quite happy to share passwords for household stuff like banking. Overall, out of a total of 414 voters, a whopping 71% of MakeUseOf readers are happy to share some of their passwords with their spouse. Very trusting!

To all of you out there sharing passwords with your spouse, I truly hope that your trust isn’t misplaced and that your spouse is both careful and trustworthy. Also, for those of you sharing online banking details, I can honestly say from the bank’s point of view that you really shouldn’t be doing this. If it’s a joint account, it’s recommended that you both get your own online banking login.

The poll also uncovered many people who share passwords simply to ensure things ran smoothly after death. MUO has written about what happens to accounts after you die, and about Legacy Locker. If this was your reasoning for sharing passwords, then have a read!

But, I’m not here to lecture. I’m here to start a war between text editors!

This week's poll question is: What’s your favourite text editor?


So, which are you? Stoic plain text? Word processor type who adamantly sticks to their preferred editor? Or a unix geek with a clear preference for Vi or Emacs? Speak up!

Obviously, not all text editors have made it in to the poll. But, please feel free to rant and rave about why your favourite text editor should not only be on the list, but should win this poll and then be installed on every computer in the world. Seriously, tell us!

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Make Google Chrome Your IM Hub With

Posted: 01 Aug 2010 03:30 PM PDT

google chrome instant messengerWhat with the web getting more and more social by the day, people are using instant messaging a lot to keep in touch with each other. Not only do people use it for the everyday hello, sometimes entire meetings may be conducted over chat.

Therefore, it becomes really important for a user to be up and about and have his preferred chat clients handy. However, since a user may be active on multiple messaging networks, sometimes it gets really, really tough to juggle Skype, Google Talk, MSN, and the many others available as each may require a user to download and install their individual clients.

This is where steps in. If you are a Google Chrome user, you can use to seamlessly stay connected to all your chat networks at once. No more unnecessary installation of software required. No more irritating configuration dialog boxes, and more importantly peace of mind for the user.

Setting Up

The first thing you will need to do is get hold of Google Chrome. Do that by clicking this link. Next, head over to the Chrome Extensions Gallery and install the Google Chrome Extension.

google chrome instant messenger

Once installed, you will see the following icon next to the address bar (or omnibar) in Chrome.

google chrome instant messenger

Click on the icon shown to continue setting up your networks. You will be greeted with the screen below. Click either of the two links in the text to head over to the website.

chrome messenger review

What occurs next is the beauty of using At the website, you are not required to go through any complex signup procedures in order to get yourself up and running. What you can do instead, is use your existing login credentials for various networks to sign in. Click one of the many networks supported and login using your credentials for that network.

chrome messenger review

You will then be taken to a dashboard, from where you can setup additional networks so that you can use all of them simultaneously. This you can do under the Accounts panel on the left hand side of the screen. Once you have additional accounts configured, you have the option of linking them together so that you can sign in using any of your configured accounts and get access to all of your accounts.

chrome messenger review

The right hand side displays your unified buddy list. Use this to get chatting with all your friends. However, thanks to the Chrome extension you just installed, you will find that you rarely ever have to use this page again apart for account configuration.


Now comes the easy part. Whenever you need to chat with a buddy, all you have to do is click on that icon we showed you above. This will bring up the screen below, which will allow you to change your status as well as chat with all your friends, without ever having to leave the page you are browsing currently.

To chat with someone, simply enter their name in the search box and if they are online, select their name to start chatting. Whenever you click on your current page, the box will disappear, and remind you of a new message using a very short, unobtrusive sound, as well as a notification window at the bottom right of the screen (which you can get to by clicking the same button as before). In case you are busy with multiple buddies, each of them will show up in their own tabs in this same window. Below you can see me chatting with a friend using

Advanced Settings

There are a few settings that you can change using the Preferences link found at the top of your dashboard when you first sign in. This includes settings for saving a chat history, disabling emoticons, selecting one of thirteen color schemes, etc.

Before I started using, my life was a mess of installing numerous chat clients, or finding one universal client that (such as this and these) would let me access all my contacts easily. However, with the goodness of Google Chrome and this extension, I can now spend more time doing what I want to do as well as stay in touch with my friends.

The best part of this is that the whole process is very unobtrusive. One click outside the chat window and the window fades out. One click on the extension icon again and I have all my chats ready to go (and they remain consistent across all Chrome tabs, so there’s no back-and-forth switching of tabs). All this without the need of any additional software. Let us know about your experience below.

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Hot Tech Deals [Aug 1st]

Posted: 01 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. Sennheiser RS120 Wireless Stereo Headphone $56.24
  2. Onkyo TX-SR608 7.2ch 100W/ch Home Theater Receiver (3D Ready, THX) $394
  3. Logitech MK700 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse $49.99
  4. Koss KEB/70 Aluminum Isolation Earbuds Earphones $19.99
  5. Electronics Expo Audio Gear Round-Up (Infinity, JBL, & Energy Speakers)
  6. Buffalo WHR-G300N 802.11n Wireless N Router (DD-WRT Compatible) $34.99
  7. Cooler Master HAF 932 ATX Computer Case w/ 1×140mm + 3×230mm Fans $99.99
  8. Western Digital Elements 2TB External Hard Drive $109.99
  9. Seagate Momentus 500GB 7200RPM Internal SATA Laptop Hard Drive $59.99
  10. Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB 64MB Cache Internal SATA Hard Drive $74.99

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 01 Aug 2010 12:31 PM PDT

where can I download free mp3sYet again a week has passed. If your ears are demanding a fresh sound you have come to the right place.  Choose your favorites from rock, pop, electronica, dance, hip hop, breakbeat, rhythm & blues, or just mix it all up.

If you find something you like, support the artist and share their music with your friends or simply donate a bit of cash. A lot of work has gone into making this music available to you. Please honor it with respect.

SPIN – Lollapalooza

Genre: mixed

where can I download free mp3s This mixtape from SPIN is a teaser for the Lollapalooza festival held annually in Chicago’s Grant Park. This mix features 14 different artists including Social Distortion, Jamie Lidell, and Cypress Hill. This year’s festival is held from August 6th to 8th.

You can download Lollapalooza for free from SPIN.

Suuns – Zeroes

Genre: rock, indie

where can I download free mp3s After signing a record deal with Secretly Canadian, the Montréal quartet Suuns has recently released their EP Zeroes for free. Interestingly, the band had to change their name from Zeroes to Suuns for legal reasons.

Download the EP for a limited time from Secretly Canadian. An email address is required.

Suuns MySpace and Homepage.

Blithe Field – Beautiful Wave ‘74

Genre: pop, electronica, experimental

where can I download free mp3s Blithe Field of Athens, Ohio has put together an incredibly creative record. He works with various sounds, sound clips, and instruments to construct a musical safari he calls Beautiful Wave ‘74. Not surprisingly, the first press of the album has already sold out. Fortunately, the download is not limited in numbers.

Beautiful Wave ‘74 is a name your price download from Bandcamp. No input required.

Blithe Field MySpace and Facebook.

The Privately Public – Utopia the Dystopia

Genre: pop, indie, acoustic

where can I download free mp3s This EP was recommended by a long time reader, whose best friend is the man behind The Privately Public. With roots in Canada and a presence in Norway and France, the band has many resources to draw from. The multiple cultures are reflected in their sound, which ranges from french pop (Merry Meeting) to something close to grunge rock (Heroine).

Utopia the Dystopia is distributed via You can also download a sampler of all recorded singles. All links are available through the band’s homepage.

The Privately Public MySpace and Homepage.

Rollerskates – Rekkid

Genre: electronica, dance, indie, hip hop, rock, funk

where can I download free mp3s Rollerskates  is a band from Perth, Australia. Their work incorporates numerous musical styles, including dance, rock, and funk. There is now way you’ll get bored while listening to their tracks. Doubt it? Listen to some songs before you download the album.

The album Rekkid can be previewed at and downloaded from Bandcamp. Some loose strings attached.

Rollerskates MySpace and Facebook.

Bugseed – Bohemian Beatnik LP

Genre: breakbeat, jazz, instrumental

where can I download free mp3s Based in Tokyo, Japan, Bugseed doesn’t reveal many details about himself. His tweets are hieroglyphs to me, but his music I understand well. It is very low key, perfectly suited for a chic cocktail lounge.

The Bohemian Beatnik LP is a name your price download from Bandcamp. No questions asked.

Bugseed MySpace and Twitter.

Closet38 – A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

Genre: rock, pop, punk

where can I download free mp3s Closet38 is a band from Indonesia. When listening to the first song, my feeling was that they would sound much better if they chose to sing in their native language. Songs like Optimis or Potret Masa Depan quickly confirmed my notion. Closet38’s music almost sounds like good old Italo Rock, given you can be oblivious to the language.

This direct download is provided by MediaFire. The link is nested in the sidebar of their Facebook profile.

Closet38 MySpace and Facebook.

Fleet Street – So

Genre: pop, rock, alternative, blues

where can I download free mp3s The sound of Fleet Street is very raw. The singer remotely sounds like Everlast, Adam Green, or just himself, depending on whichever mood swings him. You certainly won’t find sanity in this record, but it’s full of entertainment.

So is a free CDBaby download. Registration required. On the artist’s page you will also find the record Flower Gardens available for free.

Fleet Street MySpace.

Vaios Soriano – Listen Up…

Genre: pop, rhythm & blues, gospel

where can I download free mp3s Vaio Soriano was raised in Florida, where he gained experience as a vocalist. He made his way to New York City to go through artist development at BLADE Dance Entertainment. While he is now teaching dance, the music never left him.  On his record he presents his own tunes mixed with covers of Rhianna, Alicia Keys, and Robin Thicke.

Download Listen Up… through Bandcamp in exchange for your email address.

Vaios Soriano MySpace and Facebook.

All Smiles – Oh For The Getting And Not Letting Go

Genre: rock, minimalist

where can I download free mp3s Jim Fairchild is a former guitarist of Grandaddy and current guitarist of Modest Mouse. All Smiles is his side project, where he sings and plays his own music together with friends.

Download the album from All Smiles’ Homepage if you dare to share your email address.

All Smiles MySpace and Homepage.

Past editions of Sound Sunday are available here. To have your free download featured in an upcoming article, please eMail me (tina at makeuseof dot com). Feel free to use the comments to make requests or share your opinion. Your feedback is very much appreciated!

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Posted: 01 Aug 2010 11:30 AM PDT

Almost everyone nowadays uses the Internet. Stuff like Facebook, email, chat, Twitter and YouTube wouldn’t be there without the Internet.  But while the web is so useful and easy to use these days only a few understand how it functions.

If you have ever wondered about it, it’s time to find out. We have made a nice infographic showing exactly how the Internet works.

How The Internet Works

Via: Online Schools


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Tab Candy – A Firefox Tabs Addon You HAVE TO Get

Posted: 01 Aug 2010 10:30 AM PDT

browser tabsTab structures might be a relatively new concept, they’re always linear, and even in tree-style heavily restricted for you, the end user. Already, behind the screens, Firefox developers are trying to redefine the browser interface.

Tab Candy is a new way of organizing your browser tabs. The project is headed by Aza Raskin, the Creative Lead for Firefox and the same guy who has been working on Mozilla’s Ubiquity and Firefox Mobile.

As can be expected, Tab Candy is beautiful, innovating, yet simple to use. Sadly, as of yet, you can only download it as part of a separate Firefox test version.

Tab Candy (Download)

Although Tab Candy doesn’t do away with the well-known linear tab structure, the concept is moved up a spot on the interface ladder and the root level is completely reinvented. As we all know, the human mind isn’t linear, but rather likes to group and work with association.

browser tabs

Tab Candy allows you to reorganize your browser tabs on a flat pane – like BumpTop, but without the 3D – by grouping them under a common denominator. Each of these groups can actually be viewed as a separate Firefox window, filled with tabs.

Tab Groups

The Tab Candy overview can be studied above, but what makes up such a tab group? Below is an excerpt; these are all websites that promote research and overall productivity – regular clients when I’m writing an article. Nomenclature, in the top left corner, can be freely changed to reflect the content. You can also add new browser tabs from the bottom left corner, or even close all tabs at once in the top right.

browser tab order

More importantly is the ability to resize a tab pane by click-and-dragging the bottom right corner. The content is dynamically fitted to fill up the screen real estate. By adjusting the size and placement of a tab group, you can control the alignment and prominence of your tab icons. If you further shrink the pane, and all of your browser tabs will no longer fit, Tab Candy automatically creates a stack from those websites, with only a single displayed icon. This can be seen in the first screenshot, for the ‘Uploading Tools’ group.

Browsing and Switching Between Tab Groups

In the tab overview, selecting an icon will open the tab group as a seemingly isolated Firefox window, with said website selected. These will then only show the tabs relevant to that group, with the other tab groups kept hidden in the overview. Below you can see the Research and Productivity group unfolded. To return to the Tab Candy overview and access your other websites, you can press the icon on the top right or (on Windows) use Ctrl+space.

browser tab order

A minimized tabs pane or stack can be unfolded like the regular tab groups. In the topmost screenshot, you’ll notice an additional button at the bottom. This allows you to select the individual websites in a tab overlay, as pictured below.

browser tab order

You’re able, but not limited to create new browser tabs in an unfolded group. The ribbon at the bottom allows you to create new pages that do not yet belong to a group.

These will remain in the ribbon, until you drag them to the main overview, or into an existing group. Two separated pages can be merged into a new group by dragging one on top of the other. This dynamical interface, although greatly unfamiliar, is extremely intuitive and can be mastered in mere seconds. Switching between tab groups, and rearranging them, is done fluently and with just a few clicks of the mouse.

See it all in the video:

Not (Yet) an Add-On

Tab Candy is still in alpha. This means that it’s still being tested and improved, and cannot be considered a finished product. Yet, even with a few minor bugs, it has already proven usable.

browser tabs

This would be less of an issue if it could be installed as an add-on in an existing Firefox installation. Currently, Tab Candy can only be downloaded readily integrated into an early Firefox test version. This test version, called Minefield, can be downloaded for Windows, Mac and Linux.

What do you think of Tab Candy? Are we seeing another revolution in the way we manage our browsers? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!



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