Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [August 16th]” plus 10 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [August 16th]” plus 10 more

Link to MakeUseOf.com

Cool Websites and Tools [August 16th]

Posted: 16 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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CPU Benchmark – With different processors on the market today it's understandable to gloss over the processor model when you're buying a computer. Still, it is an important thing to know about. Enter CPU Benchmark. This site has indexed over 200,000 CPU's and their benchmark statistics. Read more: CPUBenchmark: Check CPU Performance Stats Before Buying A Computer.


BestCovery – Billions of dollars of revenue generation in the online retail space has encouraged more vendors to sell online. However, such a large variety of products does cause significant confusion for a buyer since it becomes hard to decide which product is better. BestCovery is a great resource that aims to solve that problem. It lets you find the best products in any category with a few simple clicks. Read more: BestCovery: Identify The Best Products In Any Category.



GoGoPlot – Simple graph plotting can be helpful in a number of ways. For instance you could plot the frequency of your gym visits, record your daily mood level or plot a particular body part's pain to show to your doctor. With all of this data plotted, its analysis becomes very easy. Enter GoGoPlot.com. Read more: GoGoPlot: Track Anything With Cool Graphical Plots.



EarthAid – It's not easy being green, or so said a wise frog. Earth Aid won't make it any easier but it will give you incentives. You give this service access to your electricity, gas and water bills. The site will track your consumption and reward you for decreasing it. Read more: EarthAid: Get Stuff For Being Green at Home [US Only].



YourTribute – Celebrating an important event takes a lot of effort. YourTribute is a web tool that lets you create a simple tribute page to plan, share and remember a special event or special person in your life. Creating the tribute page requires no coding or designing skills and is based on a WYSIWYG strategy. Read more: YourTribute: Create A Tribute Page For Important Events Or People.


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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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Try Out Google’s Android Mobile Platform On Your Computer With The Live CD

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 06:31 PM PDT

google android for pcHere at MakeUseOf, we've recently needed to test for the Android platform but we don’t all have the necessary Google-friendly smartphones. If you don't own a fancy new Android device, and would like to give Google's latest mobile OS a go then you’ll be delighted to know you're not completely out of luck.

We've previously covered the Android SDK, a handy tool for the Windows OS that allows you to emulate the Android environment on your desktop, but this is no good for Linux or Mac users with the same demands. Thanks to Google's ever-expanding forethought, the Android Live CD provides a bootable-version of the mobile OS for use on any computer.

For developers, emulating the Android environment will allow new software to be tested without parting with any hard-earned money for the latest and greatest cellular device. For the consumer, the ability to "try before you buy" is enticing to any cautious buyer. Provided you have a CD burner and the ability to boot from a CD then you can take Google’s latest offering for a test-drive.

Download & Burn The Android Live CD

Android's home on Google Code features several methods of acquiring the latest build. On the downloads page there is a torrent link for downloading the .ISO image, or if you'd prefer to download via the web then you'll need to grab two files: liveandroidv0.3.iso.001 and liveandroidv0.3.iso.002.

google android for pc

Note that if you grab the weblinks, you'll need to join the files once they've both completed downloading. Google recommends using a small freeware application called HJSplit, which you can download here. Simply download it, choose Join and select your two files. Those of you who download Android via the torrent will find a ready-to-burn .ISO file waiting for you.

google android for pc

Using your favourite image-burning software, write the .ISO file to a CD. As I'm a Windows user I'd recommend ImgBurn, as it's completely free and gets the job done without any hassle. Linux users will have to use Wine in order to get ImgBurn working, whereas Mac users will be able to burn the image using the OS X Disk Utility.

live cd android

If you do find that burning a CD is causing you hassle, then you can always write the image to a USB drive using an application called Universal Netboot Installer. It's available for both Windows and Linux and is designed to provide users with bootable versions of their favourite Linux distributions on USB.

Launch the program once it's downloaded, select Disk Image and locate your Android Live CD .ISO before choosing the USB device and clicking OK. Your image will be written to USB, and you will be prompted to restart once completed.

android for pc

I managed to get version 0.3 of the Android Live CD to boot via USB, although Google do not explicitly state that this version is compatible with USB booting. If you do have issues with booting from USB, head back to the downloads page and grab yourself liveandroidv0.2usb.iso.001 and liveandroidv0.2usb.iso.002. This will provide you with version 0.2 of Android Live, and you'll need to merge these with HJSplit before writing them to USB with the Universal Netboot Installer.

Once you've prepared your CD or USB stick – you're ready to go!

Booting Into Android Live

With your newly burned CD or USB stick still in the drive, restart your computer. You're going to need to set your primary boot device as the CD drive or Removable Device (depending on what you’re using), so that your computer looks for Android before it looks for your primary OS on the hard drive.

Enter setup as your PC boots, usually by pressing F2 or Del (but you'll see it flash up, "Press x to Enter Setup") and re-arrange your boot devices so that your chosen drive takes precedence. Save and exit (usually F10) so that your PC restarts again, and wait.

android for pc

If all goes to plan, your PC will detect the Android operating system and you will be prompted to choose either 800×600 or 1024×768 as your screen resolution. If you are unable to load the Android operating system then it is possible that your PC isn’t compatible, so don’t forget the Android SDK if you’re a Windows user with this problem!

You'll now be able to play around, test software and decide whether Google's "iPhone killer" really packs the punch you're after before you drop the cash on a new contract.

android for pc

Have you tried the Android Live CD? Did you burn a CD or use a spare USB stick? Did it help you decide on your next smartphone? Let us know in the comments!

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How to Put YouTube Videos On Your PSP

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 04:30 PM PDT

how do i put youtube videos on my pspOne of the many useful functions of the PlayStation Portable (PSP) is the ability to watch videos of course. When you need a break from playing games, listening to music, or browsing the Web, it's always nice to kick back and watch your favorite movies or videos on its generous screen anywhere you go.

As far as YouTube goes, without custom firmware, you won't be able to play videos from the site on the PSP's browser. Don't worry; you're not out of luck just yet, though.

It's very easy to get YouTube videos onto your PSP. With just a few simple steps, you will be watching your favorite YouTube clips in the palm of your hand in no time. Let's find out how to get it done.

Download the YouTube Video

First off, you'll need to download the video off of YouTube. There are a variety of ways to do so. Websites such as KeepVid allow you to just enter in the YouTube video's URL and download the FLV (Flash Video) file.

how do i put youtube videos on my psp

There's also a whole flurry of browser plugins and programs that you install to your computer that do the same job. We here at MakeUseOf have extensively covered the topic of how to download videos from YouTube or basically any other site on the Web. Feel free to check out the following articles to learn more.

Convert the FLV File to MPEG-4

Next, we'll need to convert the FLV file to the PSP's supported video fomats (MP4, H.264/AVC). Again, there's plenty of ways to do it. Perhaps the simplest and quickest method is using online FLV converters, like ModifyVideo, Movavi, and Vixy.

watch youtube on psp

There's no software to install here, as they're all W\web-based converters. You don't even need to download the YouTube video's FLV file either. Just type in the YouTube URL and select the PSP or MP4 option as the output format. Download that file and you're good to go.

A popular video conversion and management application for the PlayStation Portable is PSP Video 9. The software allows you to easily convert FLV files to the proper PSP formats.

watch youtube on psp

The app also comes with the YouTube Downloader, where you can browse YouTube, select the stream, download it, and choose the output format all in one place.

how do i put youtube videos on my psp

Save the MP4 to PSP Memory Stick

Finally, once the file has been converted to MP4 and downloaded, connect the PSP to your computer via a USB cable. On the PSP's main menu, make sure it's set to USB Connection (under Settings) so that you can browse the Memory Stick Duo.

Now, just save the MP4 file to the "VIDEO" folder of your PSP's Memory Stick and you're all set.

Interested in PSP homebrew? Don't forget to check out our free PDF manual: PSP Downgrading and Upgrading Guide.

How do you put videos from YouTube on your PSP? Do you do it this way or do you have another method? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: jlmaral

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Eyezmaze — Fun Flash Puzzle Games For Everyone

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 02:30 PM PDT

flash puzzle gamesWarning: I’m about to tell you about a flash puzzle game website that will probably eat up several hours of your time. Please consider whether you are willing to take this risk before you proceed.

Eyezmaze.com’s games are fun, unique, and free. All of the games are the work of just one person, and they have a consistently quirky art style that manages to be weird, cute, and awesome all at once. Just start playing one and you’ll quickly realize that they definitely aren’t your typical flash puzzle games.

As for the gameplay, it’s a nice challenge. The logical reasoning it’ll take to work out the solutions to puzzles is always enjoyable. And the first time you experience one of the remarkably satisfying endings that every game has, you’ll never want to give up partway through solving any of them.

When your productivity suffers, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

GROW games

The most popular games on Eyezmaze are the GROW games. These puzzle games require you to find out the order in which different objects (which you’ll find in the boxes on the sides of the screen) need to be dragged or clicked on to place them in the game world.

flash puzzle games

Placed objects build off of each other, “leveling up” and transforming (GROWing!) in different ways depending on the order in which you placed them. The trick is that there is only one order that will work to earn you the game’s best ending. It takes a bit of guessing at first, but working out the logic of how the different objects work together in order to make them level up the most is the real challenge and fun of the game.

Although all of the GROW games play by these rules, each one has unique placeable objects and worlds; the quirky and unique style of each game is a huge part of their appeal. You get to grow a whole society on a cube in GROW CUBE, and the objective of GROW TOWER is to build up a tower using objects like what appear to be simply a brick block and a flower pot (but are really much more). Then there’s GROW RPG, a parody of RPG games: placed objects—like a village, a tower, and a treasure chest—impact the game’s ongoing conflict between the hero and the dragon.

puzzle games

There are several other GROW games that you can find on the left sidebar on the site. There you’ll also find a bunch of “miniGROW” games, which have less objects and are thus easier to solve.

Other puzzle games

There are a bunch of other puzzle games on Eyezmaze besides the GROW games.

In Chronon, you have to manipulate the different objects in a room at different times throughout the day in order to help a little guy in a cage escape.

puzzle games

This is one of the toughest games on Eyezmaze. The logic of how your actions affect the state of the room at different time periods is not as straightforward as the logic in the GROW games, so working out the solution can be a real challenge.

TRANSFORM, on the other hand, is an easy game in which you have to help the antelope survive the lion’s attack by clicking on different parts of the antelope to transform it.

puzzle games

Time freezes when the lion attacks, and you have to transform the antelope in some ridiculous and hilarious ways to help it to survive. You can’t lose; you just have to click on the right places as fast as you can to get a good completion time and rank.

Vanilla is a stacking game where you have to balance trees on top of each other.

jigsaw puzzle games

The unique thing about the game is the elongated vertical playing field that will make you have to scroll up and down the page. Since growing a new tree requires clicking on each tree from bottom to top, things get more difficult the more you’ve grown; if you click on just one tree too far to the left or right, you could send all of the trees above it toppling to the side!

A few faster-paced games

Are the puzzle games I’ve described above too slow for you? Eyezmaze has a few games that require some hand-eye coordination and quick reaction time to win.

Tontie is a unique sort of Whac-A-Mole game played with your keyboard’s number pad.

jigsaw puzzle games

It really takes the concept of Whac-A-Mole and expands significantly upon it: there are a ton of different enemies and powerups, and there’s even a shop in the game where you can purchase powerups with the coins that you earn from Whac’d enemies. The game starts out easy, but just wait until the tougher enemies are introduced!

HATCH is a fun little game where you have to move an egg on the bottom of the screen around with your mouse to catch the food falling from the sky.

jigsaw puzzle games

The difficult part is that you have to change the color of your egg to match the color of the food, which is done by pressing a key on your keyboard. Because a new color is introduced in each stage, the game gradually challenges you to get quicker at switching colors as you try desperately to catch all of the food.

In Isora & Muku, you control one character with your mouse and protect the other from enemies in the air and stones and holes in the ground.

flash puzzle games

The character you’re controlling will automatically attack enemies and stones if you move her toward them. Like the other games, this one also starts out easy, but it gets a bit tougher when there are more enemies.


Eyezmaze has a lot more games where those came from if you explore the site’s left sidebar. Under “miniGAMEs” you’ll find a bunch of simpler games that I didn’t mention above. And be sure to keep checking back to the site, because the creator is frequently updating it with new games.

What is your favorite game on Eyezmaze?



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Hot Tech Deals [Aug 16th]

Posted: 16 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. AVG Internet Security 9.0 Software (1 Year License) FREE After Rebate
  2. TODAY ONLY Nintendo DSi Hardware Bundle $169.99 Free Shipping
  3. Miccus BluBridge for iPod Bluetooth Music Transmitter $19.99
  4. Logitech M305 1000dpi Wireless Optical Mouse w/ Nano Receiver $14.99
  5. Linksys WRT160N Ultra RangePlus 802.11n Wireless N Router $39.99
  6. Antec Six Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case (200mm Top Fan & 3x 120mm Fans) $57.95AR via code HARDOCP811C
  7. Lenovo Coupon Code up to 15% off Lenovo ThinkPad Laptops via code USPTHINKDEALS
  8. Sharp LC-60E88UN 60 inch LCD HDTV (1080p, 240Hz) $1599 via code QDFL8GW9D?SLMZ
  9. Vizio M320NV 32in Razor LED-Edgelit LCD HDTV (1080p) $469.99 via code B3M5FSN$8NCFTW
  10. New ShoeMall Coupon Code 20% Off + Free Shipping via code BK2SCHOOL
  11. Sony SA-VS350H 5.1/7.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker System $399.99 via code SONYSAVS350H

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Get Notified About Everything with Growl [Mac]

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 12:30 PM PDT

growl for macI recently noticed that several MakeUseOf articles referred to Growl, a notification program that has been around for quite a while. However, Growl may be unfamiliar to many new Mac users and switchers. It is a program I highly recommend for Mac users who spend a considerable amount of time at their computer.

What is Growl? It's a System Preferences program that displays notifications when certain things happen on your computer. Once you install Growl for Mac, you can select and configure applications that it supports to determine which notifications you want to receive. Growl supports notifications for web browsers, email, feed readers, games, file sharing, Twitter clients, Apple Mail, iTunes, and much more.

growl for mac

Growl is a free program, so if you're curious about it, download it and install it on your computer. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Configuring Programs

After Growl is installed, open System Preferences on your Mac and then click on Growl which should be in the “Other” section of Preferences.

growl mac

First, you will probably want to have Growl start when you login to your computer, so check that box. You can also select which corner of your desktop you want notifications to appear.

growl mac

To get a better sense of how notifications will appear, click on the Applications button to see which applications already on your Mac that Growl supports. Growl seems to primarily support third-party Mac programs. Sometimes when you download and install programs on your Mac, you will be asked if you want Growl support for that application.

growl mac

Now let's look at an example of a Growl-supported application. Take for instance, the free ad-supported Twitter client, Tweetie. If you're a frequent Tweetie user, you can use Growl to notify you when you receive new direct messages, mentions, or all new tweets.

For Growl-supported applications for which you want notifications, select the app and then click on the Configure button to configure settings. Most application settings will be the same for each Growl-supported program.

mac notifications

First you can select which notification style you want for a particular program. The default style looks like this:

mac notifications

Growl comes installed with 15 different styles. You can preview each style by simply clicking on it.

mac notifications

By default, notifications will appear in the upper-left corner of your desktop, but you can customize that position by selecting another corner of your desktop.


Click on the Notifications button and you will get more important settings that you want to pay attention to. In the case of Tweetie (and other applications), you can select one of three notifications. You will probably not want to select Timeline because it will deliver up all the new tweets you receive every five or so minutes.

You will probably want to select Direct Message or Mentions.

As you can see, other options include selecting a unique display style for an application, as well as selecting how long you want to the notification to appear. If you select Always, you will have to click off each notification to get rid of them.

You can select if you want a sound played when you get notifications. And you can also select the priority for how and what order notifications appear for each application. Under the Display Options button there are numerous other display settings that you can choose from. Feel free to experiment.

Some applications may also require you to configure preference settings in the application itself, in order for Growl notifications to work. This is the case for Tweetie — its preferences include Growl settings for each account you have set up in the client.

growl for mac

It's quite easy to get carried away with Growl. So make sure you are judicious in selecting the number of notifications you get popping up on your desktop.

There are also other Growl applications like GrowMail and GrowlTunes that work similarly to the instructions above.

If you are a Growl user, let us know how you like it, and which favorite applications you like to receive Growl notifications for. If you are a Windows users, try Growl for Windows or Snarl.

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8 Google Contests to Keep an Eye On and Win a Prize

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 11:05 AM PDT

google contestsWho doesn't love a contest? Contests, sweepstakes, challenges, usually come with the lure of a free prize; and the word 'free' is the ultimate sweetener. Open contests are really popular and we don't need our very own GIVEAWAYS to tell us that.

If you regularly trawl the net for online contests, then you must have bumped into a few hosted by Google itself. Google is quite a hand at playing games too but the online Google contests are not about turning up and walking away with a door prize.

Some are built around special events, some are annual. Some events have already passed us by and we can only wait for the turn of the dates when it comes back. This post is about keeping an eye on when the next cool Google contest comes along; and spreading the word so we don't arrive late at the party. Here are some of the Google contests to keep a watch for.


google contests

Doodle4Google is perhaps the most well known (and loved) of all the Google contests. We as adults can't participate because it is meant for K-12 students of U.S schools. If you have one in your family, prod him towards this drawing competition. All he needs is a bit of creative flair to design the Google homepage logo – The Google Doodle.

This year's theme was “If I Could Do Anything, I Would …". The year's winner walked away with a $15,000 college scholarship to be used at the school of her choice, a trip to New York City for an event that was on May 26, 2010, a laptop computer, a Wacom digital design tablet, and a t-shirt printed with her doodle on it. The contest is closed for the year, but you can be sure that the next one will come along.

Google Code Jam

google contest rules

Google Code Jam is an annual programming competition hosted by Google. It is open to coding professionals and student programmers who are asked to solve complex algorithmic challenges in a limited amount of time. What's more open about this Google contest is that they can use the programming language of their choice. This year's contest is over and Code Jam Champion was richer by $5000. The next year's Code Jam finals will be held in Tokyo, Japan. If you like sushi, watch out for the dates early next year.

The site gives you a Quick Start Guide and also access to all codes and solutions which can be used as educational tools.

Google Model Your Town Competition

google contest rules

This Google contest is based on Google SketchUp. It is open to all. Showcase your design skills by 3D modeling structures you think are necessary to show the planet what’s special about your town. You can 'recruit' your own team of up to six members. The models can be placed on Google Earth to make them more geographically relevant. This year's winning town was Barranco, Lima, Peru. The prize among other things was USD$10,000 for the town’s public school district.

Online Marketing Challenge

google contest rules

This one is for the students who have a yen for marketing. You have to manage and update a Google AdWords campaign using sound marketing principles. The 2010 Google Online Marketing Challenge saw 3,000 students from 70 countries taking part in the global online marketing competition. Pre-register for the 2011 contest now and pit your brain for the chance to take a free trip to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California to meet with the team that developed AdWords.

Android Developer Challenge

google contest best idea

Build a mobile app for the Android platform and walk away with cash prizes like $100,000 for the top podium finisher. ADC 2 got over recently, but you can keep your eyes peeled for the next one. All you have to do is develop an Android app and submit it to one of 10 specially-designated ADC 2 categories. Sounds easy.

Google Map Maker Competition

google contest best idea

You get to improve the maps of your local area via Google Map Maker and do some social good in the process. Adding geographical features helps organizations in their work. The competition winner can help UNICEF net $50,000 for a local area project on empowering youngsters. The last competition ran for a year from December 15, 2009 to January 31, 2010.


google contests

Though this project started in 2008 and is now closed for voting, it's an example of what can be done for social change. In simple terms, this contest was about a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible. Participants could submit their innovative ideas for social change in categories like community, energy, environment, health etc. Google's part is to select the winning ideas and help them come to life by investing $10 million. The winning ideas haven't been announced yet, but you can check out the Final 16 that made the cut.

Google Lunar X Prize


Okay, you aren't going to win this one easily. The Google Lunar X Prize is the Big Daddy of all the contests that Google supports. With its avowed intention of sending a robot to the moon (also travel 500 meters and transmit video, images and data back to the Earth), you can be sure that this contest is going to there for some time to come. The winner's jackpot – a cool $30 million.

These contests are definitely not all. Some more like the mind-tickling Da Vinci Code Quest or the Street View Trike competition come along once in a while. It's just that you have to keep Google on your radar 24×7 to take part in them. When you come across a cool Google contest, give us a shout.

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The 12 Of The Best Escape The Room Games

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 10:30 AM PDT

escape the room gamesThe Japanese-inspired Escape the Room games are among the most elaborate, time consuming and challenging games you can find online. The games combine all sorts of puzzles and riddles with the detective work of looking for hidden objects and clues. Some of them are elaborate with plots and stories, and others are as simple as breaking out of a sealed telephone booth.

This are 12 of the best Escape the Room games out there – and it's ideal place to start if you've never played these games before.

1. Submachine Series

The series of 9 Submachine escape games will definitely keep you on your toes. You won’t find yourself trapped in just one room, but rather in a labyrinth of rooms that you have to navigate.

In Submachine 0 you’re trapped outside for a change, and are trying to find your way into a dark, ancient chamber.

free escape the room games

In Submachine 1 you’re trapped in an underground labyrinth.

free escape the room games

In Submachine 2 you’re trying to find your way out of an abandoned lighthouse.

free escape the room games

In Submachine 3 they’ve really turned the labyrinth aspect of the game up a few notches.

escape the room free

In Submachine 4 you start out on the roof of an old house, and start the game by finding your way in.

escape the room free

In Submachine 5 you’re trapped in another underground labyrinth.

escape the room free

In Submachine FLF you start out trapped in a white padded cell.

And in the newest game, Submachine 32 Chambers, you guessed it, you're in the mother of all labyrinths, trying to find your way out.

2. The Crimson & Viridian Rooms

The Crimson Room is a classic Escape the Room game, and if you’re a fan of the genre, you’re bound to have given it a try. Look for clues to eventually get the bedroom door open.

The sequel to the Crimson Room, the Viridian Room is just as challenging. You’ve broken out of the bedroom, and now you have to use the same tactics to escape a slightly creepier room.

3. Neutral Escape Games

Neutral has a great series of Escape the Room games, with some of the most impressive graphics you’re going to find in this genre, and they are by no means easy. Save your game and come back to it later, so you can still attempt to lead a semi-normal life while trying to crack these games.

The Neutral games going from easiest to hardest are Switch, Sphere, RGB, Lights and Vision, and there’s a new one in the works.

4. Mystery of Time and Space

The Mystery of Time and Space is the great granddaddy of Escape the Room games with 20 levels to solve. Like the Neutral games, you’ll be happy to know that you can save your progress and come back to the game later.

5. The Doors

The Doors is another labyrinth of an escape game, with rooms and doors that seem to go on forever.

6. The Haunted

The Haunted begins with you standing out in the rain in front of a dark house. You have to find your way into the house and figure out your next step from there in a game that can get pretty creepy, music and all.

7. Ant Hill Trap

If The Haunted proves to be too scary for you, you could always try something completely different with Ant Hill Trap. With some of the cutest graphics ever in an Escape the Room game, this one is suitable for adults and kids alike.

8. Afro-Ninja Escape Series

Afro-Ninja has a series of 5 mini-games that are challenging, but less elaborate than the others listed here, if you want a quick fix for your Escape the Room addiction.

In Series 1, you have to make your way out of a locked car.

In Series 2, you find yourself locked in a closet.

In Series 3, you’re stuck in a phone booth. (It doesn’t get much tighter than this!)

In Series 4, you’re trapped in the bathroom.

And in the latest Series 5, you’re stuck in a freezer, with a new added twist not often found in Escape the Room Games. You’re racing against the clock to avoid dying of hypothermia.

9. Railway to Heaven

Railway to Heaven is another mini-escape game where you’re racing against the clock. You’re trapped in a cage on a railroad track and you don’t have too long to figure out how to get out before it’s too late.

10. Guest House

Guest House is a challenging game filled with riddles, puzzles, and quite a few Macgyver tactics that have to be used to find your way out.

11. Murder Escape

In Murder Escape, you’re stuck in a room with a disconcerting pool of blood seeping in from under the door. Find the clues to get out.

12. No Exit

No Exit is a challenging Escape the Room game which really tests your powers of observation.

free escape the room games

What are your favourite Escape the Room games? Let us know in the comments.

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Get Easy Access Control and Security Features with WinGuard Pro

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 09:30 AM PDT

computer security softwareWindows has been constantly improving the access control and parental control functionality. Windows 7 for instance, does a lot of these very well. The problem however is that most of the features are not available in every edition of Windows 7 and even if they are available, they would be buried deep down inside Control Panel — which as some of you would attest to, is unchartered territory!

WinGuard Pro offers to simplify a lot of these tasks by providing a number of such functions bundled together in a tiny little utility.

You can download the WinGuard Pro computer security and access control software here. The download size is under 1 MB and the software installs in a snap. It does however require you to restart your computer. Once you log back in, you can access WinGuard Pro and its features.

The main user interface for WinGuard Pro is the configuration tool. The tool is locked on first run and the default password is “LETMEIN“. Key it in to get access to WinGuard Pro’s feature set. Let’s review some of the features and have a look at what WinGuard Pro offers.

Once you log into the Configuration tool, you are presented with a tabbed interface that gives you access to WinGuard Pro’s features.

Lock down programs or tasks

WinGuard Pro lets you lock down specific programs, folders or tasks via the Tasks tab. Just place a check against the application/feature or folder that you want to lock down and WinGuard Pro will prevent the standard user from accessing the program/feature or the folder.

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Now whenever Notepad is accessed, the user will have to enter a password before he/she can use it. There are a number of options available that you can lock via a simple check within this tab. The options range from the command prompt, System Restore, etc. with security in mind; to Windows Media Player, Messenger with parental controls in mind.

File and Folder Encryption

WinGuard Pro also lets you encrypt and decrypt files and folders according to your choice. Be warned that this might not be the solution you are looking for if you want to encrypt an entire partition or a USB drive. Truecrypt is your best bet in that case. However, if you want to encrypt a folder or two without getting obsessed with encryption and all the plethora of options that accompany any decent encryption software, WinGuard Pro lets you do that.

Just browse for the folder you want to encrypt, choose a folder and you are done. To read files, click the Decrypt button, browse to the folder and key in your password!

Prevent selected actions on the computer

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Next up, lets have a look at the More tab. In here, you can lock down actions like file download and software installation along with certain Windows features like Task Manager and Windows Explorer. You can also go a step beyond and lock down all browsers if you so please.

In addition, there are other options that can help you streamline how WinGuard Pro functions and behaves. You can for instance, exclude the Administrator account from all the access control features. That is you will be able to log in as the administrator and do all your chores as if WinGuard Pro never existed. All other accounts except the Administrator account are treated as the Standard user accounts. You can also deploy the same configuration to different computers by using the Import/Export functionality.

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On the whole, WinGuard Pro is a feature-rich, no fuss and functional software for access control. On the down side, it’s not free from issues. The UI could be improved a lot. As an example, consider this – what do you expect to see when you want to browse for a folder that you want to encrypt? A browse button perhaps? In here, you would have to click on the label to get the browse dialog. Everything detailed above is available in the free version of the software. You can also purchase a premium version of the software that gives you finer control over application lock down and folder encryption. The premium version is also available as a 60-day trial.

What are you favorite access control software for Windows? Let us hear about them in comments.

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Buy A MakeUseOf T-Shirt & Save 15% – For One Week Only!

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 09:01 AM PDT

Sales are brisk in the MakeUseOf T-shirt store but everyone loves a bargain, so we have decided to offer a 15% discount for one week only, starting today.

Maybe you want a T-shirt professing your love for geeks?  Or perhaps you want people to show you their tweets?  Whichever T-shirt you would like, now is a good time to get it.

So head on over to the MakeUseOf T-Shirt store and stock up on our high quality T-shirts, made from the finest material and adorned with the finest one-liners that will get anybody talking.

If you would like an in-depth Home Shopping-style introduction to the T-shirts we have on sale, look no further than our introductory post.

And to show you how one of them looks, here is Miss August – your one and only editor of MakeUseOf.

We will shortly be bringing out a new T-shirt design which is guaranteed to get those cash registers going crazy.   When it is ready for prime-time, we will let you know.

So what are you waiting for?   You only have one week to buy your discounted T-shirt.   Just enter the code MAKEUSEOF into the order form when paying to get your money off.

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



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Supercharge Your iPhone’s Camera with Camera Genius [Giveaway]

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 08:30 AM PDT

Camera Genius is one of the best iPhone camera apps available, and it simply blows the native camera app out of the water. With its basic and advanced features, you’ll find yourself using Camera Genius for all your mobile photo needs without ever looking back. Not only does it have all the photo-taking features you could possibly ask for, you can also use Camera Genius to film videos.

This week, we will be giving away 10 promo codes for this awesome iPhone application. But first let’s see what Camera Genius can do.


The most basic of functions that you would expect with a camera phone is zoom, and Camera Genius sees to it that you can zoom in using a slider on the touchscreen.

Sound Capture

Can’t get to the button and want to take a picture? Camera Genius allows you to take the photo by making a sound.

Anti Shake

Sometimes iPhone pictures can come out a little bit blurry if you don’t keep your hand still. Use the anti-shake stabilization feature to take clearer photos.


Use guidelines on your screen to align your photos perfectly.


Setting the timer to take a photo allows you wait anywhere from 2 to 300 seconds. Just tap the button with the number to select your preference. You can also set the timer to repeat until you disable it.


Want to take several photos in succession? Activating the burst feature allows you to take up to 3 successive shots, but If you’re using the iPhone 3g or 1st Gen iPhone it will only take up to 2 successive shots.

Big Button

Activating the Big Button feature allows you to use the entire screen as a button to take your photos.


Camera settings include geotagging your photos, displaying a time stamp on the photo and confirming before saving the photo to your photo library. Video settings are limited to toggling long video recording on and off. The app also comes with a camera manual chock full with tips on how to take better photos with your iPhone.

How do I win a copy?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Join our Facebook page by clicking the Like button or you can follow us on Twitter, if you prefer. If you’re already following us, you may skip this step.

If you can’t see the fanbox, click on this link.

Here’s our giveaway form. Please fill it in accurately. Be sure to enter your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Please fill out my form.Click here if you can’t view the form.

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Share it on Facebook

Or on Twitter

And that’s it! You’re done!

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, 21st August at 2100hrs PST. The winners will be selected at random and announced via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

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

NEW: Download MakeUseOf iPhone App. FREE!



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