Wednesday, August 4, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [August 3rd]” plus 10 more “Cool Websites and Tools [August 3rd]” plus 10 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [August 3rd]

Posted: 03 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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Excuse Generator – We all need a good excuse now and then to escape work, school or an awkward situation. Sometimes you just can't think of any good excuse and thats where the ExcuseGenerator comes in handy. It is an app for iPhone/iPod/iPad that just needs to know if the excuse is for work or for school. Read more: ExcuseGenerator: Generate Good Excuses For Being Absent (iPhone App). – When it comes to sharing text online, people usually prefer email. However, to share some random text, like a quote you came across online or a nice paragraph from an article, then composing a new email message and then including multiple recipients is not an efficient way. This is where you'd head to a simple text sharing site like Read more: Simple Text Sharing Site.



Spoken Twitter – is a nifty service for Twitter users that lets use voice to tweet. Here's how it works – you sign up with the service, give it access to your Twitter account, call your nearest country based access number, speak your tweet and it gets posted as a SpokenTwit link on your Twitter profile. Read more: SpokenTwitter: Use Your Voice To Tweet. – The URL shortening market is overcrowded with too many tools, but that doesn't mean there's no scope for innovation. That's what you feel when you see It's a really cool URL shortener that combines multiple URL's into a single link. Read more: Multiple URL Shortener.



AutoTempest – Are you looking for a used car online? No need to jump from one used car website to another – AutoTempest is the only site you will need to visit. AutoTempest is a free to use website which lets you search for used cars across many sites. The sites it searches for cars includes,,, and others. Read more: AutoTempest: Search For Used Cars Across Multiple Websites.


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These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

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The 10 Toughest Tech Questions [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 07:30 PM PDT

MakeUseOf Answers is the easy way to get quick help for your difficult tech questions.

Those of you who provide answers have the chance to win $50 in our Best Answer of the Week contest. All it takes is an answer and a valid way of contacting you (eMail address or Facebook account). Winners are announced every Friday.

So have a look at this week’s toughest questions, you never know what you’ll find:

  1. Should I purchase a TechNet subscription to have access to free Microsoft software?
  2. How can I load Windows 7 onto my Gateway desktop computer
  3. Can you recommend a good mobile anime site?
  4. How can I properly tag my music in Windows?
  5. Why is Safari slow in opening new pages?
  6. Can an iPod Touch or iPhone be synced & updated on Linux?
  7. What is wrong with my Sony Vaio web cam?
  8. Why can I not delete the AG searchHook Class addon in Internet Explorer?
  9. How can I access the error log of my BIOS in Ubuntu?
  10. Can you suggest Playstation 2 games that can be played using an emulator?

Hungry for more? You can endlessly browse MakeUseOf Answers by Latest Questions, Unanswered Questions or Most Popular Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

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5 Things You Must Check Before Disposing of Old Computers

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 06:31 PM PDT

disposing of old computersComputers are essential tools today. Software demands and hardware capability tend to grow exponentially. So if you want to stay on top of things, it’s a good idea to get a new computer every two to three years. Now what do you do when disposing of old computers?

Whatever you do, there are a few things you must check before giving away, trashing, or recycling a computer. Backing up information and securely deleting private data is one major concern. You may also be able to reuse parts or the entire computer. This article provides a quick overview of your options when it comes to disposing of old computers.

1. Backup Data

Obviously, you will want to keep a copy of your data. Here is a quick list of information you should not forget to backup:

  • Personal Files
    Pictures, Music, Movies, anything entertaining you have on your computer, don’t lose it. Same goes for any documents or files you have downloaded.
    The Best FREE Backup Software for your PC
  • Browser Data
    This includes bookmarks, saved logins & passwords, extensions, and other personal settings. It’s much easier to transfer the data than to set it all up again, don’t you agree?
    Backup & Restore Your Internet Explorer Browser Settings
    Back up your Firefox Profile with MozBackup
  • Email
    If you’re using a desktop eMail program like Thunderbird or Outlook, do backup your profile and take your conversations and your address book with you.
    5 Easy Ways To Back Up Your Microsoft Outlook Data
    Archive Your Browser & Mail Settings With MailBrowserBackup
  • Program Data
    Did you create databases, make specific settings, or save other data with any of the programs you’re using? Think of calendars, bibliography tools, image editing software, games, or music playlists. Any of that information can be backed up and transferred to your new computer. Usually, these data are saved under documents & settings or in the respective program files folder. The easiest way would be to backup these two folders entirely.
  • Fonts
    Have you downloaded and installed any additional fonts? They are likely compatible with your new computer, so save you the time of tracking them down again and just backup the fonts folder. In Windows, it’s found under C:/Windows/Fonts.

Is your computer no longer booting or is the hard drive dead? Check out the following articles:

2. Serial Numbers & Registration Keys

This point deserves special attention because losing a serial number or registration keys can actually cost you money. If you’re not sure where you stored that information, retrieve it before it’s too late:

disposing of old computers

If you purchased software online and downloaded the installation file, rather than having it on a CD, be safe and back that up, too.

3. Wipe Private Data

If you seriously don’t want to keep your hard drive or can’t be bothered to remove it from your old computer, make sure all your private information is gone. Your data in the wrong hands could result in humiliation, financial loss, or worst of all: identity theft.

Neither deleting files, nor emptying the trash, or formatting your hard drive is enough! To be on the safe side, you must shred and overwrite your data. Follow the steps described in this article: How To Completely & Securely Erase Your Hard Drive [Windows]

disposing of old computers

Some great suggestions on how to delete, shred, and terminally wipe your private information are also given in the replies to this question on MakeUseOf Answers: How can I clean a laptop before donating it?

4. Strip Out Useful Parts

Basically, all parts of your computer, if still functional, may be useful for you or someone else. So think twice before you trash anything. If computer parts are alien to you, read this article first: The Basic Parts Of A Computer & How To Upgrade Them [Technology Explained]

  • Monitor
    Keep it as a backup, set up a dual screen if your graphics card supports it, or hook it up to your laptop for a better screen.
  • Cables and External Devices
    Keep one set of everything as a backup. Nobody wants a used mouse or keyboard anyways.
  • Hard Drive
    Put it into a USB case and use as an external hard drive, hook up internally to your new computer, or wipe it clean before you give it away.
  • RAM
    If your old RAM is compatible with your new computer’s motherboard, you may as well use it. However, never mix different RAM modules. Read the answers to this MakeUseOf Answers questions for some leads: How can I upgrade my RAM and hard drive?
  • Power Supply Unit
    An often searched for replacement part.
  • Motherboard & CPU
    You won’t need that with your new computer. But someone else may use it as a replacement.

disposing of computers

  • CD / DVD drive
  • Card Reader
  • Floppy drive
  • Graphics Card
  • Sound Card

Try to sell the parts you can’t use yourself on eBay, and give away leftovers via your local FreeCycle.

5. Re-Use Entire Computer

This may be the most important point! Maybe you can actually still use your old computer. So check out the possibilities before you submit it to the trash.

If your old computer is still running, it can serve many purposes. If it can connect to the internet, you could donate the CPU time. Your could also give it to someone who needs it or turn it into an entertainment center. These and many more ideas are summarized in my article Top 10 Cool Uses For Old Computers And Laptops. Finally, if your machine is really old, maybe the local tech museum is interested in it.

Can you think of any more uses of old computers or parts or alternatives for disposing of old computers? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Image credits: speedy2, forwardcom, drizzleVyolett

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4 Ways To Securely Configure A Wireless Router As A Public Access Point

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 04:31 PM PDT

how to make wireless router into access pointDo you have some reason to offer free wifi to others? Maybe you own a business and you want to share your Internet with the customer waiting room.  Perhaps Uncle Fred is over for a while and he needs WiFi but you don’t need him snooping around your home network.  Or you could just be benevolent and want to share your Internet with neighbors and wardrivers.  There may also be ways to actually make some money from sharing your WiFi but we’ll get into that.

OK, so here’s the situation.  You want to share the Internet but not your personal stuff.  There are actually several different ways of doing this.

Get A Router That Supports Guest Browsing

how to make wireless router into access pointWhat’s that?  They actually make routers with this ability already built in?  Yes they do and some of them are really easy to use.  You may think that it would have to be one of those extremely expensive routers but you’d be wrong.  For instance there is Cisco’s Valet which costs about $100 and is supposed to be quite easy to set up and use.

Finding a router with the ability for guest browsing is the easiest way how to make a wireless router into an access point and keep your own network secure.  However, money is involved and we all know how we feel about that around here.

Use One Non-Wireless Router & Two Wireless Routers

You may be asking why I would suggest such an answer when the previous tip fits the bill with only one router.  What if you have some extra  hardware sitting around and you don’t want to go out and buy one of those new-fangled routers that support guest browsing?

OK, so the idea here is to run the Internet connection through the non-wireless router and then connect the two wireless routers from their WAN ports to LAN ports on the non-wireless router.

wireless access point router

As long as you don’t add any static routes to the non-wireless router, you will actually be running two wireless networks that can’t “see” one another.  Use one as your own secure wireless network and the other can be the public access point.

Install Firmware On Your Wireless Router That Supports Guest Browsing

wireless access point routerFirmware is basically the program that runs on your router that allows it to do what it does.  There is an open source firmware that is compatible with many routers called dd-wrt.

In Jorge’s article about how to turn an old router into a wireless bridge, he is kind enough to explain the process of installing the firmware on your router.  I will caution you the same way he did and say that you really need to follow the instructions for your router type very carefully because it is possible to render the router useless.

There are tutorials out there to show you how to configure the public access point feature (this one is quite easy to follow).  Once finished, you should have a public access point similar to those coffee shop connections with a splash screen and all.

Get Fonera 2.0 & Make Some Money With Your Public Access Point

wireless router access pointVisit and get an idea of what they are trying to do with their router offerings.  Built in is the ability to make a a few bucks by sharing your wifi signal.  The idea is that when a non-Fon user logs on, they have to pay and this is when you get paid.

Fon spots (what they call their public access points) are free to other Fonera owners so just purchasing one gives you access to any of the one million other Fon spots in the world.

Check out the video introduction.

Now you have no excuse to leave your wifi open and insecure for the world to use.  I gave you four methods how to securely make a wireless router into an access point and I even included one way to possibly make some money doing so.  So tell me, how will you securely share your wifi?

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Teach & Learn On The Nuvvo Online Learning Community

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 02:31 PM PDT

online learningMany people have a real knack for teaching even the most complicated concepts to people. Other people are avid learners who are always looking for new information to read about, or new skills to acquire.

Here at MakeUseOf, we’ve covered a variety of choices for when you want to find resources for online learning, like Einztein online study courses, Justin’s review of free online college courseware, and of course there’s FreeVideoLectures, where you can watch videos on over 700 course topics.

However, there is one online learning resource that goes beyond all of those sites, by providing not only online course materials – such as lessons and tests – but you’ll also find an entire community of like-minded students with a thirst for knowledge. Nuvvo is an online learning community that offers all of those things and more. Whether you’re a student or a teacher, you’ll want to check out this creative learning resource.

Creating Your Account & Profile

Signing up at Nuvvo is free and easy to set up – all you need is a valid email address. Nuvvo combines online learning tools with the look and feel of a social network, however it is primarily for creating online learning areas where students can read lessons, take tests, and participate in discussions about the subject with other students.

online learning

You can judge the credibility of an instructor, or the activity level of a student, by their “authority” level. Authority is broken down into both teaching activity and student activity. To improve your curriculum and teaching authority, simply get active in the many areas of Nuvvo.

free online learning

Finding Topics To Learn About

Just about everyone has a subject that they are very interested in learning more about. For me, those include blogging and web design, computer programming and investigative journalism. Brainstorm the subjects that you’d love to learn more about, and start typing in keywords into the search bar on Nuvvo’s “Learning Communities” page.

free online learning

I’ve always wanted to learn more about the Java programming language, so I decided to searching for Java learning communities, and discovered several. The “Java/J2EE Development” learning community had 70 other students participating and looked pretty interesting.

free online learning

Joining a learning community, you’ll discover lessons, tests, trivia, discussions and more. These communities are created and run by experts who love the topic so much that they offer free lessons and other learning tools, so you’ll discover that there’s a lot of very useful information embedded into each of the lessons. For example, the lesson on basic Java concepts was detailed and provided a decent background on Java basics.

online learning courses

Once you’re done studying the lessons, you can take the tests that instructors created for the material, try your hand at answering some of the trivia questions, or discuss specific questions you have with the instructor and students in the discussion areas.

Becoming A Nuvvo Instructor

Now, if you have an area of expertise that you’d love to share with interested students, you can create your own learning community. I decided that I would create a learning community about how to blog, so clicking on “Start a Community” in your workspace takes you to the area where you can set up your learning area and associated subdomain.

online learning courses

Creating your first lesson is as simple as using any WYSIWYG web page editor or blogging platform. You can format headers, add bullet lists, include pictures and more.

online learning courses

When you create a lesson, you have the option to offer it as part of your overall learning community, or you can attach it to a “course” as part of specific courseware. You can do this in the right menu bar by selecting to publish the lesson privately in your courses.

Creating a course is an excellent way to offer a targeted lesson plan following a structured outline of lessons. If you plan to put a lot of effort in creating high-value courseware with instruction videos, lessons and more – you can opt to charge students for the course. Students pay (and you receive payment) through Paypal. Or, if you simply want to include free courses as part of your Nuvvo learning community, then leave the cost at $0 and select the community you want to attach it to under “Course Material.”

In the course area that students gain access to, they will see you as the instructor, as well as the curriculum you’ve created and a discussion area for students to ask you (or eachother) questions. Courses are similar to learning communities, except they are more focused on a particular sub-topic, and they include an outlined curriculum students can follow to learn new skills.

online learning

Whether you decide that you want to be a teacher or a student, Nuvvo is a very cool online community devoted to people with an interest in education and a thirst for information and new skills.

Have you ever tried taking lessons on Nuvvo? Do you know of similar online learning communities? Share your insight in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Harrison Keely

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Hot Tech Deals [Aug 3rd]

Posted: 03 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. LG Infinia 50PK750 50 inch Plasma HDTV (1080p, THX, Netflix Streaming, 1inch thin!) $926 via code AFLLGE926
  2. LG 55LE5400 55in LED-Backlit LCD HDTV (1080p, 120Hz) w/ LG BD550 Blu-Ray Player $1699.99
  3. Vizio SV472XVT 47in LED-Backlit LCD HDTV (1080p, 240Hz, Netflix Streaming) $1099 via code W6DZT2$$ZFJL2Z
  4. Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB Cell Phone REFURB at AT&T $99, 32GB $149
  5. Onkyo SKS-HT750B 7.1 Channel Speaker System with 230W Subwoofer $239 via code GEICO10
  6. Creative Labs Markdowns on Creative 16GB MP3 Players Starting at $69.99 FOR NEW!
  7. Wacom Bamboo Fun Small Graphics Tablet (3.7in x 5.8in) REFURB w/ Mouse & Pen $34.99
  8. Dell Inspiron 14z Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 ULV 14in Laptop (4GB/500GB/2yr Warranty) $700.79 cia code 6KWMM0JFLZK0W?
  9. LG HBM-210 Over-The-Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headset $3.99AR
  10. TODAY ONLY Vizio E320VL 32 inch LCD HDTV (720p) $329.99
  11. New Nashbar Coupon: 20% Off 1 Item
  12. Panasonic SC-BT230 5.1ch 1000W Home Theater w/ Blu-Ray Player $249.99

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Speed Up & Troubleshoot MS Office 2007 By Managing Your Add-Ins

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 12:31 PM PDT

office add-insYes, MS Office has a quite a few add-ins (plugins) of its own. They do a lot to enhance work productivity when it comes to extending the way we work with documents and presentations.

Do you use any of the 3 Microsoft Word Plugins to Boost Your MS Word Experience? Then there was the one Office add-in called UBitMenu that made MS Office 2007 look like its 2003 predecessor or even give it Firefox like tabs.

But add-ins are not only what you install yourself, many add-ins are, by default, part of the MS Office suite. It doesn't take long to figure out the advantages of using add-ins. But just like anything extra that piggybacks on a default installation, there are some disadvantages to the use and abuse of Office add-ins.  Two of the more clear ones are slowdown of the MS Office program, and program crashes.

A bunch of add-ins can cause a startup delay. As an example, MS Outlook probably has the largest number of add-ins and a startup delay is especially irksome in a program which you use often. A malfunctioning add-in can also cause program crashes. Troubleshooting the cause of a crash involves disabling an add-in to check if it's the culprit.

It's during times like these that you need to tackle add-ins and manage them effortlessly. Thankfully, it is.

Going To MS Office Options To View & Manage Add-Ins

MS Office has an in-built add-in manager that is accessible from the Options of each program. Let's take a look at MS Word and its installed add-ins as an example.

Click the Microsoft Office Button – then click Word Options, and then click Add-Ins. The add-ins are listed in the box and arranged according to Type (COM Add-ins, Word Add-ins, Templates etc) and status like Active Application Add-ins, Inactive Application Add-ins, Document Related Add-ins, and Disabled Add-ins.

office add-ins

Just below the box, you can note some extra information like Publisher and a Description on the add-ins function.

office add-ins

To manage your add-ins specific to the MS Office program, select the add-in Type in the Manage box and then click Go.

office add-ons

Select or deselect the check box for the Add-in that you want to enable or disable and then click OK. From the same view, you can choose to remove the add-in or install a new one.

Going To Third Party Free Software For Help

Managing your add-ins from within each program is adequate in itself. Third party free software exist though, that can tell you all the add-ins installed across the MS Office suite. Think of these two programs as a centralized console for your add-in management tasks.

OfficeIns (v1.05)

office add-ons

OfficeIns is a simple 49KB sized Office Add-ins manager that lists all installed Microsoft Office add-ins on your computer, and allows you to disable or enable them. The free software does not need an installation and the add-in information gets saved in the program folder itself. You can select an add-in and opt for any of the four options available – Disabled, Load at Startup, Load on Demand, and Load at First Time.

EnableDisable (v1.1)

office add-ons

EnableDisable is another free download for managing your installed Microsoft Office add-ins. The software is a 567KB download and presents a simple tabbed interface for each of the installed Microsoft Office products. Enabling or disabling add-ins is a simple matter of selecting or unselecting the checkbox next to the add-in.

Add-ins as external programs also represents a loophole for malicious attacks. Therefore it is important that you install add-ins from trusted sources. As a safeguard you can set permissions in the MS Office Trust Center that Require Application Add-ins to be signed by Trusted Publisher. All unsigned and unverified add-ins will stand disabled.

troubleshooting office

A message bar alerts you when you restart the application with a security warning if there is an unsafe Office add-in. Clicking on Options on the message bar gives you the choice of re-enabling the add-on. MS Office has a Help page where these features are explained in detail for all of the programs under the suite.

Check in and tell us about your add-in problems and how you manage them.



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5 Great Tips To Manage Your Google (& Android) Contacts

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 11:31 AM PDT

google contactsGoogle Contacts expand far beyond their use in Gmail. They return in Google Docs and can even be synchronized with an Android handset.

When you first start using it though, your contact list will be unorganized and mighty confusing, with missing, superfluous and duplicate contacts.

If you want a tidy address book, be it in Gmail or on your Android phone, you’ve got some work ahead. Below are five great tips to fight off this insurmountable mountain of contacts. Armed with these, managing your comments will be a walk in the park.

1. Standalone Contacts URL

Especially amongst newfound Android users, some people might have a Google account, but no Google mail. Although it’s the technical convention to access your contacts through Gmail, it’s not mandatory. Other users can point their browser to to manage their Google contacts as well.

The screenshots below are taken from within Gmail, but will correspond to the standalone contacts page as well.

2. Import, Export & Print

If you’re a longtime Gmail user, you won’t have a shortage of contacts. Otherwise, you can use the import feature to automatically add them from a CSV file – as used in Outlook (Express), Yahoo!, Hotmail and the like – or a vCard.

google contacts

Likewise, Gmail will also export contacts in CSV, as a vCard, or even print them. This last option allows you to choose the (for you) relevant information and contacts group that needs to be printed.

3. My Contacts Vs All Contacts

The contacts interface is trifold; on the far left you’ve got the contact groups, in the middle the contents of the selected group, and on the right is a detailed overview of the selected contact(s). Most important is the difference between My Contacts and All Contacts.

My Contacts are all those people you’ve consciously chosen to add. This group is contained in the larger All Contacts group – basically all the people you’ve been in contact with.

android contacts

If you’re taking out the proverbial trash, you’ll want to add a number of people to your My Contacts. Apart from manually skimming the list, it’s advised to check out the Most Contacted people, as well as the View Suggestions feature when you have My Contacts selected.

4. Grouping Contacts

With a bigger address book, you’ll want to create additional contact groups. Friends, Family and Coworkers are added by default, or you can create custom groups by clicking the second icon in the top left corner.

android contacts

Once you’ve selected all relevant contacts in the middle column, you can add (or remove) them to groups in the top right corner. Selecting all contacts ‘per group’ works faster than reallocating them one by one, but increases the chance likelihood of overseeing some individual contacts.

5. Find & Merge Duplicates

Especially if you’ve imported contacts from multiple sources – or recently decided to mix your phonebook in with your email addresses, you’re bound to have a few duplicates.

android contacts

Again in the My Contacts overview, you’ll be able to ‘Find duplicates’. This will spot contacts with a common name and allow you to merge them automatically. Note that duplicates with different names or terms will remain and different contacts with insufficient information (i.e. missing surname) might be merged, so be wary.

google contacts

The bulk of contacts will have to be merged manually, either because they use different names, or because they’re listed by email address. To merge, select two or more contacts from the list and press Merge these x contacts. View and edit the new, merged contact and press Save.

What’s your favorite tip to manage your contacts in Google? Share with us in the comments below!

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Download & Install Wikipedia To Your iPod With Encyclopodia

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 10:31 AM PDT

lpod wikiWikipedia is one of the most useful sites in existence when it comes to finding out information. It is easy to read, constantly updated, and increasingly impressive in its efficiency. One of the things that makes Wikipedia enjoyable is its portability.

As Nancy pointed out in her article The 7 Coolest Wikipedia Plugins for Your Browser, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer users can benefit from the handiness of Wikipedia’s portability. You can also find Wikipedia on newer phones and the iPod Touch, but what about older generations of the iPod? Well, there’s an easy solution for that as well.

In this article, I am going to show you how to install Wikipedia on your iPod using an open source program called Encyclopodia. While I am only going to cover the Windows installation, you can do this on Mac and Linux as well.

Encyclopodia – The Encyclopedia On Your iPod

Encyclopodia is a free software project that brings Wikipedia to the Apple iPod. Encyclopodia can be installed on iPod genarations one to four, as well as on iPod Minis and Photo iPods.

lpod wiki

Taking Wikipedia offline is nothing new here. We covered 4 Free Tools to Download and Take Wikipedia Offline back in 2008. Encyclopedia was made possible by the developers of the iPodLinux Project, which Mark originally covered way back in December of 2007.

Now that you know what we’re dealing with, let’s get to the fun part.

Installation [Windows]

For Windows users, the first step is to download the installation wizard. Once downloaded, connect your iPod to your PC via USB cable and start iTunes. At the bottom of your iTunes window, you will want to click on the player options button, as seen here:

lpod wiki

In the options panel, you want to make sure Enable disk use is checked. Once you’ve done that, close iTunes.

ipod wiki

Then, unpack the Encyclopodia installation wizard you downloaded and run the “encyclopodia-setup.exe” file.

[Note]: If you get an error saying that a device is not ready, click on “Retry”. The wizard tries to access some ports while searching for the iPod.

ipod wiki

Follow the instructions on the installation wizard until it says that the installation is complete. Eject and disconnect your iPod.

Did it work?

lpod wiki

You can test the Encyclopodia system by following these steps:

If you have a 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation iPod:

  • Switch on your iPod
  • Hold down the menu and the play button for 5 seconds

If you have a 4th generation iPod or an iPod mini:

  • Switch on your iPod
  • Hold down the menu and the select button for 5 seconds

In either case, holding down the buttons will cause the iPod to reboot. While the iPod boots, hold down the rewind button (unless you have told the installation wizard to make Encyclopodia the default system).

If everything appears to be working, go to the ebook library, download some .epodia-Files, and copy the files into the following directory on the harddrive of your iPod: “G:\data\encyclopodia\library\” (where “G:” is the harddrive of your iPod; it might have a different letter on your computer).

[Note]: Installing Encyclopodia on Mac or Linux is a little more difficult, but it is doable. The problem is the absence of a setup wizard, but you can find installation instructions here.


In conclusion, you don’t need to feel left out if you don’t have a fancy new-gen iPod because you can still access Wikipedia from it. Will you be installing Wikipedia on your old iPod? Are there any other cool iPod tricks or hacks you would like to share?

Please leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below.

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Do Much More With Your Photos Using PhotoScape [Windows]

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 09:31 AM PDT

what to do with photosWhat can you do with your photo collections? The most common actions are saving them in your hard drive, sharing them with friends and family, or printing them in a picture book.  For those who want to go a little bit further, you can geotag the photos, organize the photos by faces and places, and modify the picture quality a little bit.

It turns out that there are still many things that you can do with your photos and PhotoScape can help you with that. This is a Windows-only application that provides its users with many photo editing possibilities.

Standard Features & More

PhotoScape might not be as famous as Picasa, IrfanView, or iPhoto (Mac) but it has many unique features that even the giants don’t have.

The app’s first page shows random Flickr images on the left and also gives you access to all of its features; from the common ones like an image editor to the uncommon ones like an animated GIF maker.

what to do with photos

These menus are also available through tabs on the upper left of the window.

The most basic feature is the image viewer. You can browse to the location of your image using the Windows Explorer-like left pane while having the image thumbnails on the right.


Next to the Viewer is the Editor tab. There are so many editing options available that discussing them one by one would require more room than this one article has. I suggest you explore the editing tools by yourself and experience a few nice surprises here and there.


One unique editing feature that I found and like is “Mosaic” under the “Tools” tab.


You can select an area within an image, adjust the smoothness of the mosaic effect that you want to apply, and you’ve got something like this.


Almost everything that you do to a single image within the Editor can also be applied to several images at once using the “Batch Editor“.


Drag and drop images to the Batch Editor pane and choose what kind of effects you want to apply to them, including adding a frame and resizing.


Other Unique Features

The “Page” tab gives you the ability to create a layout of images and save them as one ‘page’. The list of available layouts are on the right pane, along with other options like the size of the page, background color, choices of frames and the ability to make round corners.


Another picture combining tool is located inside the “Combine” tab. The difference between this feature and the “Page” feature is that this one has no pre-configured layouts, it retains the full image, and is slightly simpler than the other one.


I personally think that the Animated GIF is a unique feature that I don’t find in many image editors. The feature allows you to combine several images into one animated GIF image. You can adjust several things about the result; including the change time, canvas size, resize ratio, image alignment, etc.

things to do with photos

You can combine several different images to create a slideshow, or you can use slightly different images to create a simple animation. Another animated GIF usage idea that crossed my mind is as an alternative to static post images in your blog.

Photoscape doesn’t forget one of the most common uses of digital images: printing. It makes the photo printing process quick and easy, starting from choosing the photo paper size, setting printing orientation, to the number of photos per page.

Then all of the images that you’ve chosen to be printed will be adjusted accordingly to your customized configuration. For example, a landscape-oriented image will be rotated to photo-oriented to fit the chosen paper. No more manual rotations needed.

things to do with photos

This one feature is totally the opposite of Combine. If you have one large image that you want to split into smaller images, use the “Splitter” feature. You can choose to break the image into several parts equally (under “Col, Row” tab) or into a fixed width and height pixel size.

things to do with photos

Another feature worth mentioning is “Color Picker“. This one will be useful if you need to do graphic designing and need to add text with matching color to a background image.

what to do with photos

These features; along with “Raw Converter” and “Screen Capture“; make Photoscape one of the most powerful alternatives to free photo viewing/editing applications on Windows.

Have you tried Photoscape?  What do you think about it?  Or maybe you think something else is much better? Share your opinions using the comment below.

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Keep Track Of Your Billable Time With Time Clock MTS

Posted: 03 Aug 2010 08:31 AM PDT

time tracking softwareIf you are self-employed, or you operate a small business with only a few employees, keeping track of time worked can be an issue. There are many task tracking gadgets available, but they are often simple and meant for amateur using. They often don’t provide a record of the time you have spent, and they usually can only keep track of one person at a time.

Time Clock MTS is time tracking software targeted towards businesses, so it does provide these advanced features. Larger businesses will have to pay for Time Clock MTS after the trial period (30 days) expires, but any individual user or business that only needs to track three employee records can use it for free indefinitely.

Creating Records

When you first start Time Clock MTS you need to set up the administrative account. The admin account is responsible for creating and maintaining all of the employee records in the Time Clock MTS database. In a larger business it would be very important to keep this account protected, but for our purposes it is generally not as important. Still, the program requires that you set an admin account when you start it for the first time.

Once you’ve handled that you’ll want to enter yourself into the database. By default you are not logged in to the admin account, so click on File and then click Log In As Administrator.

time tracking software

Now click on Employee Maintenance and then click on Add An Employee. The detail with which you need to fill out this next section will depend on your usage. If you are self employed and you only need to keep track of your own hours it is less important. If you are filling out information for an employee, however, you’ll need to use more detail.

By default, the Employee Information part of the record will appear first. The other sections are Payroll, Contact and Tax information. The titles of these sections explains what each handles.

Tracking Jobs

Once you have entered at least one employee record, clocking in and out is done by selecting the employee record and then clicking Clock In or Clock Out.

time tracking app

But what if you want to keep track of the hours you are spent doing a specific task? Time Clock MTS lets you accomplish this, as well, but to do so you need to set up a Job Code.

Go to Tools and then click on Options. This will bring up an option interface with numerous sections. Scroll down until you see the Job Tracking section and click on it. Now click on the icon furthest to the left (it looks like a clean sheet of paper) to create a new code. You will be asked to assign a code and name the job.

time tracking software

Now go back to Employee Maintenance and click Edit Selected Employee. You’ll see a job tracking drop-down menu. Click on it and select either optional (to make job tracking something you can do, but don’t have to) or compulsory (to force job tracking whenever someone clocks in). If you do enable job tracking you will have to enter the appropriate job code when you clock in.

If you want to know how much time you or an employee has spent working on specific tasks you can do so by generating a Payroll Report. You can do this by selecting the employee record and then clicking on View Employee Information in the main window. A drop-down menu item will display the option to generate a payroll report. A new window will appear that included a Report Options section with a drop-down menu. Click on it and then select Job Time Report. This will display the amount of time spent on a specific job code you entered.


Time Clock MTS is great time tracking software to keep track of your time and the time of others working for you, in a professional manner. It has a large number of in-depth options, including the ability to export payroll reports to Excel. Compared to some, more mobile options – such as Toggl – Time Clock MTS feels clunky. However, Time Clock MTS lets you use all of its features for free so long as you don’t exceed three employee records. Toggl, and other services, require that you pay in order to use all of the features available.

What time tracking software do you rely on to keep track of your billable hours?

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