Monday, August 16, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [August 15th]” plus 7 more “Cool Websites and Tools [August 15th]” plus 7 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [August 15th]

Posted: 15 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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MegaVideoNoTimeLimit – MegaVideo is a highly popular video hosting service brought to you by the team behind the file hosting site MegaUpload. People who use MegaVideo for free have to face a watch-time restriction of 72 minutes. One site that bypasses this restriction is “MegaVideo No Time Limit”. Read more: MegaVideoNoTimeLimit: Bypass MegaVideo 72 Minute Play-Time Restriction.


ChinaChannel – China's government is notorious for internet censorship. You might have heard about the Google versus China war which resulted from China banning search results from Google. To experience internet access in China, you can use China Channel. Read more: ChinaChannel: Acess Internet As If You Were In China.



HostLogr – Whether you are trying to know more about your competition or simply trying to find out more about the infrastructure of a popular website, the first basic thing to know is the hosting information. There are a number of ways to find out who is hosting a website, but the simplest one is a tool called HostLogr. Read more: HostLogr: Find Out Who Is Hosting Any Website.



RecordedFuture – Statistical analysis of data can help predicting future trends and give us insight into what will most probably happen. Through analyzing past events and their frequency we can determine if and when they will reoccur. One site that provides such predictions is Recorded Future. Read more: RecordedFuture: Service For Traking & Predicting Future Trends.



EasyRoomIn – Living in a shared housing system with other people can be very difficult without organization. You need to sort out things, bill, and chores – you need everything clear and organized. Otherwise there will be problematic confusions and misunderstandings. This is exactly why Easyroomin is an immensely helpful service. Read more: EasyRoomIn: Easily Manage Shared Living Expenses & Chores.


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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: 15 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.

PXLEyes – Photoshop Contests and Tutorials

photoshop contests & tutorials The place for graphical artists! An awesome community with one common interest: a big passion for computer graphics! There are contests, prizes, tutorials, forums and an active community!

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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When Was The Last Time You Printed Something? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 15 Aug 2010 06:31 PM PDT

In last week’s poll, we asked you which eBook reader you use. Since we know MakeUseOf readers love their gadgets, we were dying to find out which of the many types of eBook readers are the most popular with all of you well-informed shoppers.

It seems most people (30%) still use a multi-purpose handheld device (eg: iPad, iPhone or Android phone) or a computer (29%) to read eBooks, despite the popularity of handheld eBook reader devices, leaving just 41% of readers using a dedicated eBook device.

Full results and this week's poll after the jump.

Here’s the full results from last week’s poll.

This week, we’d like to find out how green our readers’ offices and homes are. The poll question is: When was the last time you printed something?

When was it? 5 minutes ago? Earlier today? This week? Months ago? How paperless are you really?

Out of curiosity, what did you print? Was it work stuff? Papers for bureaucracy? Something for home? For your kids? Let us know in the comments!

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MakeUseOf Team Spotlight [August 15th 2010]

Posted: 15 Aug 2010 04:30 PM PDT

MakeUseOf Team Spotlight is our occasional feature where we profile the work of our writers outside of MakeUseOf. We have some very talented employees who like to spread their talents all around the web and it’s only right that we should recognise and showcase those talents.

In this edition of Spotlight, we will be profiling the work of Steve, Angela, Jack and Ryan. But don’t forget, our team loves feedback and conversation from the readers. If you would like to take part in that conversation, subscribe to their Twitter streams today.

How To Be A Better Blogger [Part I]

Posted on Social Branding Blog by Steve

In this article, Steve gives some simple tips and tricks to help make you into a better blogger. He covers all the basics, including titles, content, images, links and conclusions in part one of an ongoing series of blog posts.

Drop by and review the tips, and don’t be afraid to leave some tips of your own in the comment section!

Great Resources For Learning French

Posted on Vegemite Croissant by Angela

Since moving to France, Ange has been scouring the internet for the best resources and ideas for learning French.

Here’s a post dedicated to highlighting the very best of what she’s collated, pointing the way to some excellent tools and advice.

Collections include the best Twitter accounts to follow, Delicious links for French learning, free eBooks to help you learn French and more.

How To Stop Telemarketers From Calling You

Posted on by Jack

Do you often get telemarketers calling you almost every night when you in the middle of watching TV or eating dinner? It’s extremely frustrating. So how do you stop them from calling you?

Jack has a simple rule and he guarantees that within a couple months, you won’t get any more calls.

So have a read of his simple rule, and make sure you have fun while you do it. He did!

Avoid Burnout as an Online Writer

Posted on Free Writing Center by Ryan

In this article, Ryan discusses how many opportunities are available on the net, and how easy it is to suffer from burnout as an online writer.

Ryan offers some helpful tips to avoid burnout, by learning how and when to say no, and how to pick and choose the opportunities that are really worth your time.

If you would like to follow the MUO staff yourself on Twitter, check out this Twitter list, which is updated on a regular basis, as staff are hired or fired. From there, you can click through to each writer’s Twitter profile where you can subscribe to them for all their latest updates.

Image Credit: Visualogist

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Bolt Browser – Yet Another Cross-Platform Mobile Browser with Video Support

Posted: 15 Aug 2010 03:30 PM PDT

mobile web browserSo you've all heard of Opera Mobile and Skyfire. Opera tends to be the "most reliable" of the third-party mobile web browsers available for most smartphones today, whereas Skyfire comes with coveted Flash support for silky smooth YouTube playback.

If you've had no joy with either of those, or simply love to have your phone loaded with every possible browser available then you may want to try Bolt, yet another mobile web browser for your Blackberry, Symbian or other Java-friendly handset.

Delivering a familiar dose of "real web on your phone" much like Opera and Skyfire, Bolt has been developed with speed in mind. The developers have strived to reduce loading and rendering times, whilst at the same time managing to include video support and a decent home screen.

mobile web browser

If you already want it, then head over to on your mobile device now. You will be able to download a one-for-all Java archive as well as a dedicated Blackberry version of the application.

If you're still not convinced, then take a look at what Bolt offers. Utilising Flash and HTML5, YouTube is fully useable, despite a slightly small video window to peer at. You are given the option to run Bolt's in-built video configuration the first time you try and watch anything, meaning there's no fiddly set-up. As an aside, if you’ve recently configured Bolt for video and are having issues then restarting the browser should sort it out.

Video quality is lacking, especially compared to Skyfire (which fully implements Flash) but it beats Opera Mobile which can't do video at all. It's not the richest of YouTube experiences, but if you have an older and less-fancy Blackberry it might be as good as it gets.

Then there's the speed. On my Sony Ericsson Satio running the Symbian S60v5 OS, I noticed it was considerably faster to render pages than Skyfire, with a nicer UI to boot. The start page is quick and responsive, and beneath the address bar and search field the page is split into three sections covering History, Favourites and Feeds.

History is grouped by day, making it that little bit easier to find what you're looking for. Bundled favourites include YouTube, MySpace and CNN which should give you a pretty good idea of what the developers think their creation is capable of. You can add favourites and feeds using the context menu, though on a touch-screen device this can be fiddly.

Bolt also includes the ability to save webpages for offline viewing when your Wi-Fi or mobile signal disappears, which is nice.

One feature that makes Bolt slightly different to other mobile web browsers is the ability to install what it simply describes as "web-apps". The browser attempts to integrate services such as YouTube into a separate tab, specifically engineered to provide you with a cut-down mobile version of the web-page.

mobile web browser

At the moment it feels like somewhat of an after-thought, with YouTube's main site working better than the dedicated web-app. There is certainly potential here however, as the developers are already keen to advertise Bolt's compatibility with intensive services like Google Documents and the (oh-so-essential) Mafia Wars Facebook application. Web apps are installed via an online gallery so you won't need to update the browser itself to add new apps.

Those of you glued to Opera Mobile, Safari or Skyfire might not raise an eyebrow, but Bolt is the five-years-in-the-making application that may just breathe life into your older Blackberry or basic Java phone. It's not as pretty as Opera, and not as video-friendly as Skyfire but Bolt gets the job done and provides yet another fully-usable alternative to those horrendous in-built browsers.

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Hot Tech Deals [Aug 15th]

Posted: 15 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.

Keep reading to find out today’s Hot Tech Deals.

  1. Dell Inspiron 14R Intel Core i3-350M 2.26GHz 14in Laptop (4GB/320GB/Win7) $549.99 via code ?8CN$RJ?W5TQ0C
  2. Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i3-330M 2.26GHz 15.6in Laptop (4GB/320GB/Win7) $549.99 via code ?8CN$RJ?W5TQ0C
  3. Vizio M320NV 32in Razor LED-Edgelit LCD HDTV (1080p) $469.99 via code B3M5FSN$8NCFTW
  4. New ShoeMall Coupon Code 20% Off + Free Shipping via code BK2SCHOOL
  5. Lenovo Coupon Code up to 15% off Lenovo ThinkPad Laptops via code USPTHINKDEALS
  6. Sony SA-VS350H 5.1/7.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker System $399.99 via code SONYSAVS350H
  7. Antec Six Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case (200mm Top Fan & 3x 120mm Fans) $57.95AR via code HARDOCP811C
  8. Sharp LC-60E88UN 60 inch LCD HDTV (1080p, 240Hz) $1599 via code QDFL8GW9D?SLMZ

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 15 Aug 2010 12:31 PM PDT

where can I download free mp3sWhen I started this column I thought it would certainly be tough to find enough material to keep Sound Sunday going week after week. Meanwhile, I have a backlog and could probably produce two or three Sound Sunday posts each week.  Yes, I am struggling to fit in everything I find!

Today, one of the most effective ways for a musician to gain some attention and eventually make a living from their passion, is to offer their work for free. Think about this for a second. Imagine you had to work for free to be noticed by an employer and eventually get a paid job. How much would you value every little bit of support?

Vanguard Villains – selftitled

Genre: alternative, indie, rock, hard rock

where can I download free mp3sThe members of Vanguard Villains have performed in various New York bands before joining together in this independent combo. They release their music through their own record label. Otherwise, they would probably not put out their album for free.

You can download their selftitled album for free from Bandcamp until September 10th! No strings attached.

Vanguard Villains MySpace and Homepage.

Zed – The Invitation

Genre: rock, hard rock, metal, punk

where can I download free mp3sZed is an old school rock and roll band from the US Bay Area. Rock ‘the way it should be’ per Zed’s definition includes loud guitars, a dose of whiskey, and a middle finger. And no parental advisory tag on their album? You be the judge!

Download The Invitation from Bandcamp.

Zed MySpace and Facebook.

The Alpha Theory – RAW

Genre: rock, soul, hip hop, funk, reggae

where can I download free mp3sThe Alpha Theory was founded in North Carolina in 2008. They quickly were invited to open shows for big names, including Grammy-Winner 9th Wonder. In the wake of their first full-length studio album, they have released tunes recorded live in April 2010. RAW includes their hit single Sell Me a Cloud, as well as two cover songs.

The RAW album is available from Bandcamp. Data input required.

The Alpha Theory MySpace and Homepage.

Jairo Mendez – Puta Rumba

Genre: house, mash up, rave, urban

where can I download free mp3sJairo ‘Campesino’ Mendez is a DJ from Venezuela. Had it not been for a local DJ, who used his equipment as bail after being arrested by the police, Jairo might not have gotten into music mixing. He acquired the gear from a local pawnshop and has since been remixing popular songs, giving them his own touch. He is also this year’s winner of the “Miss Tanga Afterparty Contest”.

Get the album from Generation Bass, no questions asked.

Jairo Mendez on Generation Bass and Soundcloud.

Standing Small – Asleep at the Oars, Dreaming of Freedom

Genre: rock, indie, christian

where can I download free mp3sStanding Small is an indie rock band, preaching the ‘Gospel of Jesus Christ’. Asleep at the Oars, Dreaming of Freedom is their second album. Look beyond Jesus, appreciate the divine message, and enjoy the music. After all this life is all about experiences.

The album is available freely from Indie Vision Music.

Standing Small MySpace and Homepage.

Bei Maejor – ǝpısdn uʍop

Genre: rhythm and soul, hip hop,

where can I download free mp3sBei Maejor acquired a long list of production credits before being signed with Jive Records. His activities made him a famous figure on the University of Michigan campus. He graduated in 2008. His next album is expected to be released at the end of 2010.

You can download ǝpısdn uʍop from Bei’s homepage.

Bei Maejor MySpace and Homepage.

Cult of Zir with Ogo Eion – Shortwave Ministry For Theatre Noir

Genre: experimental, electronica, ambient

where can I download free mp3sCult of Zir, also known as Nolan Ashley, is an artist from Portland, Oregon. Ogo Eion produced the “impeccable shortwave radio squelches” used in this four song album, which explores the four directions South, Eash, North, and West.

Shortwave Ministry for Theatre Noir is a ‘name your price’ download from Bandcamp.

Cult of Zir MySpace and Homepage.

Feed The Feeble – 2009 EP

Genre: indie, pop, jazz, rock

where can I download free mp3sA college band formed by Vanessa Acosta and Menchie Caliboso in 2006, Feed The Feeble has come a long way during the past four years. Meanwhile accompanied by drummer Chris Walker, they have played a show with Daedulus and made an appearance at the Long Beach Festival.

This may be your last chance to download the album, which will be taken offline by the end of August. Get the EP from Bandcamp with no strings attached.

Feed The Feeble MySpace and Facebook.

Ill Mondo – Be Bad

Genre: experimental, classical, instrumental

where can I download free mp3sIll Mondo is a two man hip hop production team from the San Francisco Bay Area. Be Bad is a two song concept mix completely free of old school hip hop. The first piece is crafted around funky beats and clips, while the second piece focuses on oriental sounds.

Download the two track masterpiece from Circle Into Square. An eMail address is required.

Ill Mondo MySpace and Homepage.

A Common Year – Between Cities

Genre: alternative, indie, rock

where can I download free mp3sA Common Year is a young indie rock band from Indianapolis, Indiana. Their debut album was recorded in bedrooms and basements in three different cities across Indiana. Hence the name Between Cities.

The album is available from Bandcamp in exchange for your eMail address.

A Common Year MySpace and Homepage.

Past editions of Sound Sunday are available here. To have your free download featured in an upcoming article, please get in touch with 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!

What is your favorite album this Sunday?



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Epic – An Indian Mozilla Browser, Ready for the World

Posted: 15 Aug 2010 10:30 AM PDT

download mozilla browserA considerable amount of internet users are of Indian origin, almost half as much as the ever-present U.S. of A. On Twitter, India is effectively one of the largest demographics. Although we’re only talking about a minority of the total Indian population, they’re an internet force to be reckoned with.

While the other major players are now finishing up their next browser release, a new player has entered the field. A new browser from Indian soil.

Epic Browser

The Epic Browser – never shy in their nomenclature – is based off the Mozilla codebase. This doesn’t mean that it’s made by the Firefox guys, but rather shares the same open-source back-end; the same foundation. As such, it’s an incredibly powerful browser by default, but made into an even more versatile tool by the Epic team – as will be seen below.

download mozilla browser

The title and the next paragraph highlight an important aspect of the browser; it’s made by and for Indians users. That means that some of the features will be rather useless to the rest of us, but Epic is far from useless to the rest of the world. Ignoring these specific features, it’s a strong candidate on the international browser market as well.

Fitted to Indian Users

If you’re Indian, as we know many of our readers (and actually a fair share of our in-house writers) to be, the Epic Browser will sound even more enticing to you, as it comes packed with a number of India-specific features.

On the left hand side of the screen, you’ll find the India sidebar. This is constantly updated with the latest local news from a number of online sources, but also allows you to view flight information, stocks, and much more.

The standard theme of Epic isn’t all that, but you can choose from over 1500 alternative themes and wallpapers, all based on India. You can expect themes of nature, architecture, and even famous cricket players.

Last but not least is an Indian usability improvement. The browser recognizes romanized Indian, on any given website, and converts in to Indian.

Sidebar Applications and Add-ons

We already told you that Epic was a powerhouse browser. Most of the extra functionality will be found in the left sidebar. This comes packed with over 1500 different applications. Think Gmail, Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, but also Google Maps, To-do lists, Snippets and Write, an actual word processor.

A couple of applications, like Write, also work in compliance with your Windows desktop. Most prominently are the Explorer-alternative and full-fledged back-up solution.

Because it’s based on the Mozilla codebase, you can install any existing Firefox add-ons as well. Separate from the versatile and numerous sidebar applications, that’s over 10.000 additional extensions!

Privacy and Security

The Epic team is heavyset on your computer’s and personal security. Amongst the sidebar apps, the browser includes a free antivirus application powered by ESET. This allows you to not only scan your downloads, but your entire system as well. With new threats rising every day, you can’t be too safe.

download mozilla browser

With a single click, you can delete personal browsing information, similar to Firefox. It’s one of the first browser able to kill the worrisome Flash cookies. Similar to Google Chrome, there’s also a private browsing mode, where all history, cookies and cached pages are disabled. Finally, Epic has vowed to never store your browsing or search data. Ever.

Although the design sometimes tends to look premature, the Epic Browser has shown it a strong contestant in the everlasting browser battle. This browser is deemed ready for not just India, but the whole world. Have you had a chance to download this new Mozilla browser and try it yet? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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