Friday, August 27, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [August 26th]” plus 10 more “Cool Websites and Tools [August 26th]” plus 10 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [August 26th]

Posted: 26 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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WhichLoadsFaster – One of the key elements of a good website design is loading speed. If you want to know how your website stacks up against the competition in terms of speed, then you should check out Whichloadsfaster. This tool lets you easily compare website loading speed against any other site online. Read more: WhichLoadsFaster: Test & Compare Website Loading Speed Online.


Block Your Ex – Do you get agitated when you see any trail of your former boyfriend or girlfriend online? If so, you should check out “Block Your Ex”. This multi-browser tool lets you block your ex's name in your search results while also blocking their Twitter username, Facebook profile and blog URL. Read more: Block Your Ex: Remove Online Social Footprints Of Your Ex Partner.



Touration – A great website depends on not only how useful it is, but also on its ease of use. There is always more room to optimize the usability of your website. One tool that can help you with that is Touration. This cool website tour creator lets you add step-by-step tours within your website interface. Read more: Touration: Visual Website Tour Creator.



RoutingNumbers – A bank's routing number is a 9 digit code that pinpoints to a specific bank. You can find your bank's routing number at the bottom of your checks. But if you want to lookup the routing number of some bank other than your own, you can use a bank routing number finder named “RoutingNumbers”. Read more: RoutingNumbers: Bank Routing Number Finder.



ExtensionFM – is an extension for Google Chrome. The extension monitors each webpage you visit for MP3 files. The number of files found is then shown in the extension's icon. You can click on the icon and a dropdown window will appear with the option to play the songs. Read more: ExtensionFM: Turn Google Chrome Into A Music Player.


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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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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 07:31 PM PDT


Check out the top picks from MakeUseOf Geeky Fun during the last week.

  1. Ctrl-V, Ctrl -Z, Ctrl-X (Pic)
  2. Why Working From Home is Both Awesome & Horrible (Pic)
  3. 1990 vs 2010 (Pic)
  4. How to Get Your Neighbor's Dog to Shut Up(Pic)
  5. Hi AT&T? Yeah, My Reception … (Pic)
  6. A Big Decision: Mac or PC? (Pic)

If you would like to keep up with all latest Geeky Fun additions, please subscribe to the Geeky Fun feed here. You can also subscribe and get the latest additions via email.

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3 Handy Sites To Check Out Before You Buy A Car

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 06:31 PM PDT

where can i research or buy a new carBuying a car can no doubt be a stressful experience. There are just plenty of things to worry about, from whether or not you've picked the right car, what the reviews are saying, if it’s going to be reliable, and if you're paying too much. Let's not forget about the unfortunate reality of having to deal with car salesmen either.

Yes, the car buying experience can be a little overwhelming sometimes, but it doesn't have to be. With the Web, it's easy to simplify everything to avoid some of the hassle and frustration altogether.

Here's 3 handy sites to check out before you buy a car.


First, perhaps the most important thing to do is to research a new car and figure out what kind of car is right for you. With so many makes and models out there to choose from, how do you make that process easier? That's where CarZen comes into play.

where can i research or buy a new car

The site allows you to quickly select a vehicle that fits your specific needs. All it takes is just a few simple steps. First, just pick any of the body styles you are interesting in along with your price range.

new car reviews

A list of possible cars for you is shown below and from there, you can go on and select your personal preferences, including your specific needs, wants, and style, to narrow down the list further. Once completed, just review your results to check out the cars that are perfect for you.

Displayed for every match in your results is the percent match based on your needs, along with basic information about the car, including MSRP, invoice, and MPG. Below that, you can review the report card of how the vehicle was scored followed by a helpful overview of the model, basic stats, styles, and features.

new car reviews


Next, now that you have an idea of exactly what car you want, head on over to MotorMouths. The Web is chock full of various car reviews and ratings from different providers, and that's where this website can come in handy.

new car reviews

Just type in the make or model of the car in the search box at the top. If you have yet to decide on a car, you can also browse for vehicles.

Once on the car's page, you'll find the unique overall score, which is based on the scores critics awarded the vehicle in published online reviews. The site also displays the individual scores and the gist of the review, along with who reviewed the car, the critic's credibility, and the style reviewed. Simply hit the link for the full review or the video review if there is one.

new car buying tips


If the reviews check out and you're all set, be sure to check out TrueCar before you take the plunge. The site features the real prices of new cars and trucks so that you can be certain you're not overpaying.

new car buying tips

Once you find your vehicle's price report page, the interactive chart pretty much says it all. The comprehensive curve includes the dealer cost, sticker price, and factory invoice. What we're really interesting in though is the average paid, which gives you at least an idea of what a good price for the car is.

where can i research or buy a new car

Karl has also shown you three websites that can help you buy a car and when you finally have a vehicle, you will want to keep a perfect car maintenance schedule won’t you?

What websites do you visit before you buy a car? Have any of these helped you? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit : emilio labrador

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Awesome Desktop Backgrounds For A Movie Fan

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 04:31 PM PDT

awesome desktop backgroundsWhy is it that so many wallpaper sites are such a pain to visit? How about making all of them less cluttered, easy to navigate, and pleasing to the eye? Am I asking too much?

Anyways, if you love movies and are in the market for some new wallpapers, look no further. To save you the hassle, I went out to find a selection of awesome desktop backgrounds from the movies for you. You can navigate directly to the source and download the wallpaper or browse the respective page for more. Enjoy!

Up In The Air @ Movie Wallpapers

Let’s start with something pretty. Movie Wallpapers is one of the few pages that has a very pleasing design and is also easy to navigate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature the latest movies. Can’t have it all, right?

awesome desktop backgrounds

Left: 1600 x 12001280 x 9601152 x 8641024 x 768800 x 600

Middle: 1600 x 12001280 x 9601152 x 8641024 x 768800 x 600

Right: 1600 x 12001280 x 9601152 x 8641024 x 768800 x 600

The Expendables @ FM-TW

Great selection of genres, but sadly only ‘one size fits all’ wallpapers. Please adjust to your screen size if required. You will find five more desktop backgrounds for The Expendables and many more for recently released and older movies.

how to download desktop background

1600 x 1200

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D @ Celebrity Wonder

Celebrity Wonder has a good selection of wallpapers from the latest movies, including Piranha 3D, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, or Predators. You’ll also find several other options for Resident Evil, via the link above.

So have a look if you dare.

free wallpaper

1280 x 10241024 x 768800 x 600

Kites @ Now Running (Hindi)

Few sites feature foreign movies. Hasn’t Bollywood gone mainstream, yet? At Now Running you can select from Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, or Kannada movies. These are all languages spoken in India by the way. There is an English section, too, but it’s empty.


1024 x 768800 x 600

Twilight @ Twilight Guide

Vampires will never go out of fashion. So I guess we will have to put up with Twilight for a little longer. This site has some stunning wallpapers from the series and the movies. Please forgive me if I didn’t pick the most recent one.

how to change desktop background

1024 x 768

Avatar @ deviantART

deviantART is always a great resources for fantastic images. This collage was created by the artist PixelAngel and is available in a high resolution. Please scale it down to your screen resolution before making it your desktop background.

set as wallpaper

1920 x 1200

The Other Guy @

This site has a pretty neat feature on its start page. It lists movies in three different categories: ‘Box Office’, ‘In Theaters’, and ‘Coming Soon’. This way you always know what’s hot without a lot of guessing. The site offers 12 more wallpapers of The Other Guy.

download wallpaper

1280 x 10241024 x 768800 x 600

Inception @ Joblo’s Movie Wallpapers

Joblo’s Movie Wallpapers has a good selection of up to date movies. There are usually several wallpapers for each movie. You will find 12 more for Inception, available through the link above.

Also visit the site if you’re looking for material from Cats & Dogs, Grown Ups, or Toy Story 3.

incredible wallpaper

1900 x 12001600 x 1200

Joan Crawford @ Classic Movie Favorites

Are you looking for something more timeless? Classic Movie Favorites has dozens of wallpapers from those movie legends of the past century. Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, Katherine Hepburn, Clark Gable, and Marlene Dietrich are just a few of them.

awesome desktop backgrounds

1024 x 768800 x 600

TRON: Legacy @

This site features wallpapers of movies that won’t be released for quite some time. It also provides some great Vintage and James Bond desktop background that are worth reviewing. In addition to offering a nice variety, also serves the best selection of formats, including widescreen, fullscreen, HDTV, and formats for various devices. Please visit the page for a full list of options.

upcoming movie releases

Widescreen (16:10): 1680 x 10501440 x 9001280 x 800

Widescreen (16:9): 1600 x 900

Fullscreen (4:3): 1400 x 10501280 x 9601024 x 768800 x 600

Fullscreen (5:4): 1280 x 1024

HDTV (16:9): 720p

Also check out the following articles on MakeUseOf:

What is your favorite wallpaper ever and where can we download it?

Image credits: Auroqueiro

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The Easiest Way To Send Secret Messages Within Images

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 02:30 PM PDT

secret messages in picturesHave you ever heard of Steganography? Wikipedia defines it as “the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message…” This method of hiding secret messages in pictures has been around for many years but these days with computers and all that, the methods have become more attainable for the every day person.

One method of putting this art to use is to hide a message within an image. You can send messages to anyone you’d like to without anyone else being the wiser. This could also be used to put together games and puzzles for website visitors or blog readers by hiding messages in specific images allowing people to hunt for the messages. This isn’t the first time the art of steganography has debuted on MakeUseOf – Tina showcased a desktop client for Windows and Jackson wrote about iSteg for Mac; both of these apps can be used for the exact same purpose.

Whatever your reason for hiding secret messages in pictures, you can now do so regardless of your operating system — thanks to a web-based tool offered to us by mozaiq.

secret messages in pictures

While being a site dedicating to helping people turn images into mosaics, if you head to a subdirectory on the site you will see they offer the ability to encrypt messages in images also.

The process is simple: upload an image, type a message, enter a password, click a button and download the image with the message encrypted in it. Sounds easy enough but let’s take a closer look.

Go to When you do, you are immediately given the fields to begin the process. Off to the left there is an introduction to the art/science of steganography and mozaiq’s encrypting tool. To the left is where all of the action takes.

secret messages in photos

Choose a picture to upload.  Make sure it us under 128KB or it won’t work. Once you have chosen the image, enter the message you would like to share.

secret messages in photos

Before you go and hit the “Hide Your Message!” button, you can enter a password to further protect the privacy of the message.  This is optional and totally up to you.

secret messages in photos

Once you hit the magic button, you are able to download the image file. Notice that the image will only be available for download for 5 minutes making it imperative that you download it immediately.

embed message in image

Also realize that you can’t change the file in any way other than renaming it. This includes cropping, resizing or even converting it to another file extension.  Once you download it, you are able to send it or post it anywhere you please.  When you do, make sure the recipient knows to go to in order to see the message.

embed message in image

Try out this image for size:

secret messages in pictures

Right-click and save the image of the cell phone and go to the decryption page. I gave it the password “hello” so you can see how it works. See if you can find out the encrypted message. I think you will find it to be both incredibly enlightening and not that surprising (seeing as though it’s also in one of the screenshots above).

So now that we have a way to hide secret messages in pictures, in a way that will not provoke attention, what ways can you think of to put it to use?



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Hot Tech Deals [Aug 26th]

Posted: 26 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. Creative Vado Pocket Video Camera (REFURB) $29.99 Free Shipping
  2. Viewsonic VX2250WM-LED 22 inch LED-Backlit LCD Monitor (1080p) $164 Free Shipping
  3. Kodak ESP 3250 Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer $69.99 Free Shipping
  4. Sanyo DP32746 32in LCD HDTV (REFURB, 720p) $297.23
  5. Nokia 7020 Cell Phone (Unlocked, Quad-Band GSM) $69.99 Free Shipping via code NOKIA824
  6. Acer S231HLbid 23in LED-Backlit LCD Monitor $189.99 Free Shipping via code LCD825A
  7. Nintendo DSi Portable Gaming Console + BrainAge Game $149.99 Free Shipping via code 4HDMVW6G$408ST
  8. nMEDIAPC 6000B MicroATX HTPC Media Center Computer Case $69.99 Free Shipping via code HTPC0820A
  9. Flip UltraHD 8GB Digital Video Camcorder (720p) $139.99 Free Shipping via code GRLV3K996Q4TCX
  10. Iomega Prestige 500GB Portable External Hard Drive $54.99 Free Shipping via code L9G5NHWFKP7L3F
  11. Dell Ultrasharp U2311H 23 inch IPS LCD Monitor $239 Free Shipping via code VB5XX0VCT3S037
  12. LG E2250T-PN 22in LED-Backlit Widescreen LCD Monitor $152.99 via code LCDBTSPROMO
  13. Canon PowerShot D10 12.1 MP 3X Digital Camera (Waterproof/Shockproof/Cold Resistant) $215.99 via code 2KVH967BFCQVC4
  14. Panasonic VIERA TC-P42C2 42in Plasma HDTV (720p) $501 Free Shipping via code AFLPAN501
  15. Hand Held Items Coupon Code: 20% off Apple iPad Cases + 70% discount via code ipadcases20
  16. Apple iBook G4 1.33GHz 12.1in Laptop (REFURB/1GB/40GB) $269.99 via code APPLE
  17. HHI iPad Flip Leather Case with Magnetic Kick Stand + Screen Protector $12.99 via code ipadflipkstand
  18. Dell Inspiron 14z Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 ULV 14in Laptop (4GB/500GB/2yr Warranty) $700.79 via codes 6KWMM0JFLZK0W? and ?8CN$RJ?W5TQ0C

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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How To Use Apple’s AirTunes in Ubuntu/Linux

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 12:30 PM PDT

airtunesI’m a Ubuntu guy at heart, but the team over at bicycle-based IT company iSupportU, my home away from MakeUseOf, includes a couple of real Mac types. As such, a recent company memo stated that music can now reach our stereo over something called “AirTunes.”

First, I grumbled about the typical Apple naming scheme, then I wondered if it was possible to use such a thing from Ubuntu, then I heard my fellow Linux user ask the same question out loud.

Then, and only then, did I begin Googling for more information. What I found was useful, and with typical, super-helpful Ubuntu-forumites to boot, but I think there’s a gap in the Internet here that needs to be filled. Let’s fill it then, shall we? This guide is written using Ubuntu 10.04, but may apply to other Linux distributions as well.

Step 1: Install Necessary Software

To begin, you need to install two packages: “pulseaudio-module-raop paprefs” and “paprefs”. The first package allows Ubuntu to use the remote audio output protocol (raop); the second, configure Ubuntu to enable it. To install the packages, simply open the command line and type this command:

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio-module-raop paprefs

If the command line scares you simply click here to install the packages.

Non-Ubuntu people, your mileage may vary here in terms of the package names. Sorry about that!

Step 2: Enable AirTunes Detection

Now that you’ve installed what needs installing, you need to open the program “paprefs”. Do this from the command line, or click “Alt” and “F2″ and type “paprefs” there. Don’t worry; you’re most of the way, and everything will be GUI-full from here on out. Here’s what the window should look like:


Simply click the “Make Discoverable Apple AirTunes sound devices available locally” checkbox and you’ve enabled it.

Step 3: Switch to AirTunes

Now that AirTunes detection is enabled all you need to do is switch your speakers from your local computer to your remote one. Click the “Volume” icon in your tray, then click “Preferences”, as seen here:


Click the “Output” tab and you should see your Apple AirTunes device listed here, like this:

apple airtunes

If you don’t see such an option, don’t panic. Simply restart Pulseaudio (if you know how) or reboot your computer. It should show up for sure now.


Of course, this entire process being a little bit of a hack, there are a few quirks to be noted. For example, I noticed a six-second delay. This isn’t a big deal if you’re listening to music, but don’t plan on using this from watching movies.

The second problem I’ve noted is that, while switching back to my computer’s speakers is as easy as re-opening the output selection, this apparently doesn’t log me off on the server-side. This means that, if one of my Apple-using collegues decides to reconnect to AirTunes after I’m done using it, they see a message about someone already being logged onto the device. This is frustrating, but nothing that a reboot of the Airport Express can’t fix.

If I find a fix to either of these problems you can expect to find it in the comments below, but please also feel free to share if you have any of your own.


I was happy to find a way to stream my music to the AirTunes device at work, and hope this guide is useful to at least a few other people. If it does, please leave me a note in the comments below. Also leave me a note if you’ve found a way to decrease lag or log off without restarting the AirPort.

Finally, as I cannot use every Linux distribution simultaniously, please let me know how these steps work on other systems such as Fedora or SUSE. It’s always good to know!

Photo credit: Jared C. Benedict

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Sonogram Visible Voice – Powerful Voice Spectrogram Software

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 11:30 AM PDT

sound spectrogram programsRecently, I was working on a story involving a person that made a phone call, which was recorded. That person later refused to admit that they’d ever made the call at all.

With the recorded voice from the phone call and a clip of the person denying the accusation, I set to work trying to find a way to prove that the voices were one and the same.

I admit that I’m a bit obsessed with voice technologies. This is why I’ve been waiting for Google Voice to become more advanced with its voice recognition technology, and it’s why I love PC voice control apps like Tazti. However, when it comes to digitally comparing voices, I was at a loss. You’ve probably seen those spy movies where the computer can automatically identify the voice of a known criminal with the voice print alone.

To be honest, once I discovered Sonogram Visible Speech, I realized that spectrogram voice technology actually is currently a viable way to solidly identify a person by their voice alone.

Understanding Spectrogram

If you know about chemical isotopes, then you know that with isotopes, chemists can identify the chemical makeup of compounds by isolating the basic elements and using the breakdown to identify the individual components of any mixture. In much the same way, an audio spectrogram breaks down audio sound into basic frequencies. The interesting thing about the human voice is that no one speaks in one frequency. Your mouth, nasal passages and the structure of your voice box determines the mixture of frequencies that make up your somewhat unique voice.

Sonogram Visible Speech is a free spectrogram software application that will take video or audio files and break down the audio track into the entire spectrum – all of its frequencies throughout the entire time frame of the track. A completed spectrogram looks like the image below.

sound spectrogram programs

As you can see, the bottom track looks like the basic sound wave that you’d see in a program like Audacity, however the center pane displays each segment of the sound file in its entire frequency layout. The amazing thing about this software is that there are many other waveforms you can use to examine your sound file. These are especially for advanced users.

sound spectrogram programs

You can configure how each of those wave forms displays by going into the the “Options” menu, and selecting “General Adjustment.” Here you can define how the logarithmic graphs calculate output and the general display setup of all available charts.

digital sound spectrogram

If the sound is fairly quiet, or the voice you’re analyzing is a whisper, you may want to consider using the logarithmic frequency display. You enable it from the “Options” menu and select “Logarithmic Frequency.” This will somewhat “magnify” the significant areas of frequency in the spectrogram.

digital sound spectrogram

This can really help to identify clear frequency patterns that identify someone from the sound of their voice. If you’re completely lost, and you don’t know where to start, clicking on “Help” and going to “Online Help” will open up the very well written Sonogram Online Help manual. This is a great place to start if you’re new to spectrogram audio analysis.

digital sound spectrogram

An Experiment With Spectrograms Using Ghost Hunting

The beauty of this software is that it is good for many different uses. One of the artifacts that comes up often in ghost hunting, a personal interest of mine, is “electronic voice phenomenon” – where the voice of an apparition or ghost allegedly shows up on audio recordings. These recordings are scattered throughout the web, so I decided to pull a few off of the ghost hunter websites and do a spectrogram analysis.

The spectrogram shows that the frequencies of the voice are generally low, but to get a better picture of the voices in the recording, you need to open up the additional waveforms. The Autocorrelation View calculates “pitch” in the time frame where you hover the mouse.

The “ghost” has an average pitch frequency of about 129.0 hz. Scrolling to the end of the recording where you hear the investigator’s voice, the calculated pitch frequency is about 208.0 hz (which makes sense because it’s a female voice and the ghost recording sounds male.)

Opening up the Fast Fourier display reveals even more detail about the voices. This chart quickly breaks down the primary frequencies and displays them in a color code.

In this case, the breakdown of frequencies is spread apart, with some high, but a good number of low frequencies in the mix as well. However, the investigator in the room is clearly speaking in a voice that is clustered in frequency more toward the high end of the range, as shown here.

This quick analysis proved that the two voices are quite different, but this is only a basic example of the capabilities of this powerful software. Basically, any situation where a breakdown of frequencies of a sound wave can help – this is the software for you. It’s easy to learn, quick to set up and configure, and it performs as well or better than any paid spectrogram software on the market.

Do you have any projects that could use a spectrogram? Have you ever tried Sonogram Visible Speech? Share your insight in the comments section below.

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How To Appear Offline (Invisible Mode) In Facebook Chat

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 10:30 AM PDT

how to be invisible on facebookAs you might be aware of, Facebook offers a variety of communication options to its users. You can send someone a message, write on their wall or chat with them. You can access chat via the chat interface in the lower right corner.

Once you are online, you can view which of your friends are online and they will be able to see you online as well. Generally, Facebook only provides the options to go offline or online. Apart from this, the only other status available is ‘Idle’ which appears next to your name after a prolonged period of inactivity.

But how can you be invisible on Facebook to certain users? This is how.

You can also create lists to group your friends in Facebook. The lists appear in the chat interface as well. In addition, you can also create new lists to group your friends from the chat window. This is the functionality that we would be using to appear offline. For completeness, here is how you create a list from the chat interface.

  • Click on the Friend Lists label in the chat window. A dialog will pop up asking you for list name.

    how to be invisible on facebook

  • Key in a name for the list and hit Enter. This will create a list in your chat window.
  • When the list is empty, Facebook displays a message letting you know that you can drag and drop friends’ names to make them a part of the list. Go ahead, choose the ones that you want to put in a list and they will be added.

    facebook chat invisible

  • Lists, as you might expect, are persistent; meaning that they will be there just as you left them the last time you logged out of Facebook. You can create as many lists as you want to group your friends; and as I will show you, to appear offline to them.

For this purpose, we need at least one list in your chat window. Follow the steps detailed above to create a list, you can name your list anything that you want. I have named one of my lists as "invisible". As soon as the list is created, you will notice a "toggle button" next to the list name in your chat window.

facebook chat invisible

This button lets you appear online or offline to a list of friends depending upon its state. Coupled with the fact that you can easily drag and drop contacts in and out of a list, this is a good trick to appear online to a select list of friends and appear offline to others. Just drag the contacts you want to appear offline to into the "invisible" list and then click on the toggle button/switch next to "invisible" so that it switches to gray. You will now appear offline to contacts in the "invisible" list, while everyone else can see you online.

facebook chat invisible

Caveats You Should Be Aware Of

  • The entire method works well, as I mention above. However, those with a keen eye would have noticed that once you go offline to a list of contacts, you seize to see them online in your list as well. This means you cannot tell if they are still logged in or if they have logged out. This is not much of a hindrance if you want to stay away from certain contacts, but it is not the true “invisible” behavior either. Just so you know.
  • The would also not work if you decide to use third party applications for Facebook chat.

    how to be invisible on facebook

  • Due to the way Facebook chat lists work, you cannot add contacts to the list once you have toggled it to offline. If you want to move another contact into the list or move any out of the "invisible" list you have to toggle it to online, then edit it and go offline again. Hardly elegant, for my liking at least

Other than these minor caveats, you can edit the lists to your liking and delete them altogether if you don’t feel the need to use them anymore. The lists you create in chat are also visible in the Account > Edit Friends section, just like any other lists you create.

Go ahead, give this a try and let us know it works for you. Do you use the invisible functionality on other IM networks? Would you like Facebook to provide this functionality directly?

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3 Free Ways To Download YouTube Movies To Your iPhone (And Other Mobile Phones)

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 09:30 AM PDT

download youtube moviesTelevision is not as hot as it used to be. Even though people still watch their favorite series on TV (sometimes), they don’t spend as much time in front of glass tube anymore. There’s another kind of tube today, with tons of entertaining clips to watch and without region restriction. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

Despite the delivery method – glass tube or YouTube, movie lovers are always trying to find a way to make the movies available “off tube”. There’s the VCR in the old days, and there are countless way to download YouTube videos.

Because there are more and more modern mobile phones – like the iPhone – that play a role as entertainment gadgets, it’s only logical that this video downloading movement finds its way to the mobile world. Here are three free ways to download YouTube movies to your iPhone (and other mobile phones).

Prologue: Mobile YouTube (On Most Mobile Phones)

But before we go further, please note that YouTube has a mobile version of their service. Even though this “M” version will not allow you to download the content, it is a good alternative for mobile users who don’t mind watching streaming videos.

download youtube movies

So if you think that you are not geeky enough to go through the trouble of downloading videos to your mobile phone, just point your browser to Mobile YouTube.

Chapter One: The Good Old-Fashioned Way (On Most OSes To Most Mobile Phones)

This method is the standard procedure that you can find in every internet user manual (if one exists). It involves a online file converting service like Zamzar to help us download YouTube movies (and convert them to a format compatible with your mobile phone).

The steps require for Zamzar are: type in the video URL, choose what format you want the video to be converted into, provide your email address and click “Convert“. You will then receive an email with the link to download the converted video. Send the downloaded video to your mobile phone.

free movies download

There are many other online services that can help you download YouTube videos. And because all you need is a browser and internet connection, you can do the method from any computer under any OS and transfer the resulting videos to any mobile phone.

You can also try this method entirely on your mobile phone without using computer. I tried using Mobile Safari but failed to access the download link. But this might work using other mobile browsers and/or different online YouTube downloader services.

Chapter Two: The Tooble Way (On Mac and Windows To iPhone)

You can also download YouTube videos with the help of desktop softwares like MacTubes. One of the free and complete alternatives to do that is Tooble. This is an application that was built to help users download YouTube videos, then convert and transfer them to iPod, iPad and/or iPhone.

The interface is very simple. You can browse around for videos using the categories on the left pane, or you can use the search feature. To download video(s), just check the box(es) next to the item(s) that you want and click “Download“.

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Then the video will be downloaded to your hard drive and automatically imported to iTunes. You can set the synchronization process between iTunes and your iDevices to add these converted videos.

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Just make sure that you choose the right video format in the Preferences.

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Tooble is freeware and available for Windows and Mac.

Chapter Three: The MxTube Way (on Jailbroken iPhone)

Looking at the two previous methods, I began to wonder: Are there any free and practical ways to download YouTube videos directly on the phone?

Well, maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough (or didn’t know where to look), but I could only find one way to achieve that: using MxTube on a jailbroken iPhone.

MxTube is a simple YouTube downloader app that you can find in the Cydia repository. Just perform a search and you will find it (there was an official AppStore version called MiTube, but the app lasted less than a week on the store before it was pulled out).

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Downloading YouTube movies using MxTube is very easy: you search for videos, tap on it to access the information page, then tap on one of the download options.

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Close the search feature to monitor the download process. And after it finishes, tap on the video to play it.

Tapping on the “Edit” button will allow you to delete the video(s).

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Epilogue: Looking For More Ways

I have only one mobile phone. It’s possible that my mind focused only on that phone when I did the research. I’m sure there are many other free methods to download YouTube videos directly on mobile phones.

So if you know any, why not share the knowledge with others using the comment below?

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TimeComX – Runs Selected Actions or Programs on Set Time [Windows]

Posted: 26 Aug 2010 08:30 AM PDT

timed program launcherComputers usually do what you tell them (or try to). That is the deal, of course, when you’re actually using a computer. However, you may sometimes want to your computer to do something when you are not using it. Obviously, this presents a bit of a challenge.

Enter TimeComX. This nifty, light-weight piece of software lets you set up timers which count down to certain tasks.

Let’s take a look at the things this program will let you do.

Let’s Make a Date

timed program launcher

There are only two tabs in the small TimeComX window. One is the Event tab and the other is the Task tab. Let’s talk about the Event tab first, as it is what controls the activation of tasks.

There are four “modes” available. The first two, simple counter and advanced counter, are simply countdown timers. Simple counter users a slider to adjust time, while advanced counter lets you make precise changes to number of hours, minutes and seconds you’d like to have before a task executes.

Time of day, as you’d expect, lets you pick a specific time and date at which the task will execute. The most interesting event, however, is usage/activity. This allows TimeComX to execute a task based on processor usage, network usage, or idle time. It can serve as a more precise substitute for Windows power manager, or manage your computer after a large file has just been downloaded.

timed program starter

Once you have decided on the proper event you must activate it by clicking the play button. The countdown will commence. One interesting touch I noticed is that the progress bar will appear on the Windows 7 Taskbar icon so you know at-a-glance how much time you have left.

Picking a Task

timed program launcher

Of course, an event is no good without giving your computer something to do.

The first few selections are fairly obvious and are shared other programs that are similar, such as Shutdown Timer. These tasks include restart, shutdown, sleep, hibernate , lock computer and log off. All of these tasks are pretty self explanatory, but that isn’t to say they’re not interesting or useful.

The final two task selections are more unique. The first is Run File. As the name suggests, this task will run any file that you’d like. There are a lot of interesting ways this can be used. If absolutely must be reminded of something, for example, you can write it in a text file and then make an event that runs the file at a certain time. If you want to begin downloading a torrent at a certain time you can tell TimeComX to run the torrent file or program. Your own creativity is the only real limit here.

The second task selection is Play Audio File. This is most useful as an alarm clock feature. You can play a certain song at a specified time to make you wake up from whatever task you’re concentrated on. Or, if you keep your laptop in your bedroom (college students, I’m looking at you) this can simply be used as an alarm clock, period.


TimeComX is a basic but very good automation program. In addition to be very functional, it is very user-friendly. The program takes up very few system resources and can be minimized into the Windows task tray so that the program is no longer in your face. But if you want it to be in your face it can do that too, as you can set it to always appear on top of other windows.

Do you automate tasks? What programs do you use?

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