Sunday, September 12, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [September 11th]” plus 6 more “Cool Websites and Tools [September 11th]” plus 6 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [September 11th]

Posted: 11 Sep 2010 09:00 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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Google Sky Map – helps you explore the night sky by just pointing your Android phone to the sky. It uses the phone's GPS, built-in compass, accelerometer and clock to get your location and detect the motion of your phone as you move it around. Read more: Google Sky Map: Explore the Stars Through Your Android Phone


MailerLite – Even though Facebook and Twitter have introduced new and innovative ways of marketing, sending newsletters and marketing emails is still one of the most effective ways to reach out to your customers. MailerLite is a web based email marketing tool that gives you all of the resources to create, send and manage your email campaigns.Read more: MailerLite: A Web Based Email Marketing Service



SyncBay – SyncBay lets you create a really simple start page, giving you one click access to popular sites including YouTube, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes and even your email. You can also customize your start page by adding up to 12 different websites that will be accessible with a single click. It completely eliminates the need to open a new browser window and typing the URL Read more: Create a Personalized Homepage with SyncBay



SmartPointment – is a cool customer appointment scheduler that lets your customers view your availability so then can schedule an appointment. The tool also lets you ask important screening questions before an appointment is set up so you know more about the customer and what kind of appointment would best suit them. Read more: SmartPointment: Customer Appointment Scheduler Online



Lifextender – If you usually watch recorded TV shows on your Windows computer using the Windows Media Center application then you might want to check out Lifextender. It is a software (could be also used as a media center add-in) that can automatically remove ads from recorded TV shows/videos. Read more: Lifextender: Remove TV Commercials In Windows Media Center


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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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3 FireFox Plugins That Let You Easily Navigate from Page to Page

Posted: 11 Sep 2010 08:15 PM PDT

navigation addonPagination is one tricky thing in a website design — hardly any website can do without it but it clearly accounts for lots of usability issues.

Clicking from page to page is tedious and distracting. Not every website is like Google and allows you to set the number of results per page (and even if they do have such an option, we are either unaware of it or don’t have time to configure it for every site).

Luckily, browser (in this case, FireFox) navigation addons and plugins are here to help. Here are three FireFox addons that let you navigate from page to page almost painlessly.

1. NextPlease!

NextPlease! is a cool addon, the most useful feature of which is providing you with a way to jump between pages using configurable shortcuts.

NextPlease! doesn’t just work on search result pages: it analyzes the web page and tries to determine the links which will take you to the next/previous or first/last page. The way it analyzes the page is described here. Basically, it looks like it detects common words for pagination, for example “next link”, “next page” etc.

The default shortcuts for NextPlease! are listed below:

CommandDefault Shortcut
Next pageCtrl + Shift + Right Arrow
Previous pageCtrl + Shift + Left Arrow
First pageCtrl + Shift + Up Arrow
Last pageCtrl + Shift + Down Arrow

You can change the default shortcuts by selecting Tools->Extensions and going to the NextPlease! Options page:

navigation addon

2. AutoPager

AutoPager (mentioned previously in the MakeUseOf post on speedy browsing with FireFox) is a featured addon that automatically loads the subsequent page when you reach the end of a page.

AutoPager needs rules to make it work. AutoPager will not work on a site if there are no rules for it yet. You can see the pre-built rules here.

Immediately after installation, you will be prompted if you would like to use the default directory of rules:

navigation extension

By default, AutoPager works with plenty of sites, including Lifehacker, the New York Times, Google, etc. You can easily create your own rules to tell AutoPager how to load your pages. Here are some detailed tutorials on creating new rules.

The page break is enhanced with some great navigation aiding tools including “Page up/down”, quick jump to the window bottom, etc:

navigation extension

Other features that can be accessed through the toolbar button include:

  • The ability to pause or enable/disable the AutoPager;
  • Site wizard that lets you easily create rules for new sites;
  • The ability to immediately load 3/5/10 pages:

    navigation extension

3. PageZipper

PageZipper has got a bunch of MakeUseOf love some time ago but it is said to have been improved since then. It is best to be used for image galleries because it has a couple of options that make viewing images easier and more fun.

  • As you scroll down a page, PageZipper automatically adds the next page to the bottom of the page you’re on.
  • On image galleries, clicking the arrow in the toolbar will skip you directly to the next image in the gallery.
  • PageZipper automatically resizes images in photo galleries to fit your browser window.

Another thing that makes it different from the previously mentioned tool in this overview is that it is enabled manually — every time you want to use it, click the button in the toolbar. So it is pretty much the matter of the personal taste; many people prefer the addon to be enabled manually, others prefer automatic triggering.

Note: if you can’t seem to find the button after you install it (like I did), go to View -> Toolbars -> Customize. Drag the zipper icon into your toolbar. FireFox will hide all new buttons like this by default, so no surprise here.

navigation addon

Do you think any of these navigation addons and tools are worth a try? Would they make you faster and more productive?

Post image by @sahxic

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Follow Your Favorite Sports Teams & Trash Talk With Friends On Fanvibe

Posted: 11 Sep 2010 04:30 PM PDT

sports teamsI don’t know about you, but this is one of my favorite times of the year. Why? Because I’m a sports fan, and while it’s disheartening to see summer leaving us, I’m happy to see football (NFL & NCAA) returning, hockey starting back up, and baseball getting into the playoffs. Following all the action however is going to be a little different for me this time around, due to Fanvibe.

Fanvibe is a website that allows you to check in to any sports game that is currently going on and interact with others in the same space. I use the term “interact” loosely, as you’ll see later on, but the site also has game-like features built right in, allowing you to accumulate points/awards for checking in, answering predictions, and making shout-outs.

In this article, I’ll show you everything you can do with Fanvibe, which should really improve your overall experience while watching your favorite sports teams on game day.

Getting Started With Fanvibe

sports teams

Personally, I think the idea of networking with other sports fans while watching games is great. It allows you to find other tech-savvy people to chat with, as well as provide a platform for your sports wisdom to be heard. And besides, I know you probably have your laptop in front of you checking your fantasy sports teams anyway.

follow sports

The easiest way to getting started with Fanvibe is to connect with your Facebook account. On the homepage, scroll down to the game or event you would like to check in to, click Check-in, and a box will pop up. Here, you can either login with Facebook or – if you don’t have a Facebook account – you can create a Fanvibe account to log in with.

Earning Awards

follow sports

After checking in with Facebook, I received my first “shiny new award” in the form of a Facebook Connect Award badge. I received another award just for connecting my Twitter account as well. Awards are added to your Trophy Case in your profile so they can be viewed later on.

follow sports

However, not all awards are this easy to earn. You can win awards by being a top 10 fan each week, climbing to number 1 on the leader-board, as well as reaching various other achievements and milestones while using the site. Fanvibe also claims that, in the near future, some awards will even come with prizes.

Scoring Rules

how to follow sports

On the leaderboard, you can view who’s leading everyone overall, out of your friends, or where you stand individually. You can get points various ways, including inviting friends, answering real-time prediction questions during games, sharing your shouts on Twitter/Facebook, picking the winner of a game, and how many ‘likes’ your shouts receive.

Following The Game

While the games within Fanvibe are nice from a social aspect, following along with the actual sports games is the real reason to visit the site. Fanvibe updates the page every time points are scored in the game and you can always view the current score off to the right.

sports teams

You can leave a shout on the wall (similar to tweeting) and view what others have left. You can also reply, like, or boo what others have said in the space. This can be especially fun if you’ve invited your friends into the same room as you.

If you check in to a game early, you can pick who you think will win. Making correct predictions helps you earn more points, which in turn helps you gain ground on the leaderboard. This feature closes some time after a game has started – for baseball it’s 2 hours.


While Fanvibe is still in its early stages with room to expand, its platform already can provide a fun experience for you and your friends. As of this writing, there are only baseball and college football games on the site, but next week you will be able to follow your favorite NFL team as the season kicks off, as well as the NHL in October. Invite your friends and let the trash talking begin!

How do you feel about a service like Fanvibe? Will you be using it to follow your favorite teams?

Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below, and share this article if you found it useful or helpful in any way.

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Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2010 Suite Giveaway Winners

Posted: 11 Sep 2010 03:30 PM PDT

No more painstaking partitioning. Easy backups and migrations. Breezy system restores.

Theses are all the things that the fortunate winners of this giveaway will be enjoying, thanks for Paragon’s Hard Disk Manager 2010 Suite. We’ve got 50 free licenses to dish out today. Are you hoping to be one of them?

Let’s find out.

  1. Calvin Longe
  2. Ciriaco T. Daluddung
  3. George Rix
  4. Goran Tirnanic
  5. Albert Wang

  1. Rigoberto García
  2. Pravinkumar
  3. marcelo queiroz
  4. Mac Riddel
  5. Barbara Dilbao
  6. fsr
  7. Ronald Fenske
  8. Ayman Rizk
  9. William Turgeon
  10. vinnie
  11. Herb Hernandez
  12. Pedro Oliva
  13. Steve Lemmon
  14. Billy Engelman
  15. Terri Hawkins
  16. Steve Warner
  17. saikrishna
  18. Srivatsan Venkatesh
  19. rajanaveen
  20. Donnie Pruitt
  21. Ahmad
  22. Ellen Johnson-Iowa
  23. P.F. Bruns
  24. Daniel Perez
  25. Dan Stann
  26. Zbignew Brzezinski
  27. Allen W. Baker
  28. Matthew Hanser
  29. Chris Gates
  30. paris gardner
  31. Habeen Chang
  32. Sam Jones
  33. Cesar Ponce
  34. Lisa Bogart
  35. colin fox
  36. Mudit Dhagat
  38. steve
  39. Peter O. Olesen
  40. John
  41. Berkman Dufrene
  42. Marc Puleo
  43. Cynthia Sebring
  44. myimmortalize
  45. Vorfeed

Congratulations! Your details have been sent over to Paragon Software and they will be sending your licenses via email. Please keep an eye on your spam folder in case it gets stuck.

MakeUseOf would like to thank the Paragon Software team 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.

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Hot Tech Deals [Sep 11th]

Posted: 11 Sep 2010 01:15 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. Klipsch Quintet Home Theater 5-Speaker Set + Synergy Sub-12 300W Subwoofer $549 Free Shipping via code FREEGFT910A
  2. Yamaha RX-V1900BL 7.1ch 910W AV Receiver w/ HDMI Upscaling + iPod/iPhone Dock $584.99 Free Shipping via code EMCYTZT137
  3. Klipsch HD 500 5.1 Home Theater Speakers + Onkyo TX-SR508 AV Receiver $599.99 Free Shipping via code FREEGFT99A
  4. LiteOn iHBS112 12X Blu-Ray Writer w/ 3D Playback + Gigabyte HD 4550 512MB Video Card $129.99 Free Shipping
  5. eVGA GeForce GTX 460 768MB DDR5 Video Card + StarCraft 2 Trial & Just Case 2 $159.99AR Free Shipping
  6. Hanns-G HL231HPB 23in LED-Backlit LCD Monitor $159.99 Free Shipping via code EMCYTZT135
  7. Creative Zen Aurvana Headphones $19.99 Free Shipping
  8. OCZ Agility 2 40GB Internal SSD (SandForce Controller, TRIM) $90AR Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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5 Linux Twitter Clients You Probably Don’t Know About

Posted: 11 Sep 2010 12:31 PM PDT

linux twitter clientUbuntu 10.04 was supposed to be “social from the start,” but anyone who gave Gwibber an honest try is probably a little disappointed. Facebook integration is buggy and Twitter – while generally good – will periodically simply not update.

If you’re anything like me you love the idea of Gwibber, but wish it worked better. As such, you may be looking for an alternative Linux Twitter client to use until they work out their issues. Maybe though, you’re simply ready to find a new program to be loyal to – regardless of what’s installed by default on your system.

With this in mind I’ve decided to profile a few of the many Twitter clients available for Ubuntu.

Adobe Air apps, such as TweetDeck, aren’t mentioned here although we’re aware that Tweetdeck works in Linux. This list is for native Twitter clients. Everything here loads quickly and does what you’d expect, so let’s take a look.


linux twitter client

This one, as you can see, sports a really simple interface. It also starts up quickly, which is certainly a contrast from Gwibber. Sure, these’s only one column viewable at a time, but you can quickly choose between your friend’s feeds, the public and messages directly to you. There’s no function, the program doesn’t show many tweets, and there’s no way to scroll back further that I could see.

Ubuntu users can simply click here to install Twitux; users of other distributions should check their package manager for “twitux” or check out the Twitux page at Gnome Live for downloads.


twitter client for linux

This one sports a really short list of recent tweets, shown in a simple interface. It’s a really quick way to update Twitter, if that’s all you’re looking for, but there’s no search function and no way to view more tweets even if you want to.

You can find gTwitter in your repositories, or Ubuntu users can click here to install.


linux twitter app

I like this one. Based on KDE’s QT4, as the name implies, Qwit is quite feature filled. It supports multiple accounts, and you’ll always see various tabs on the left allowing you to check out your feed, your messages and more. You’ll also notice a “more” button, very useful if you want to keep reading Tweet.

The program does a good job of tracking your API usage, meaning if it stops working you’ll know why. The interface can be customized, and the program even inclues URL shortener integration.

I highly recommend this one, if you’re looking for a good KDE Twitter client. Even if you use Gnome, this one’s awesome enough to use anyway.

Ubuntu users can click here to install Qwit, users of other Linux distributions need to only check their distro’s package manager for the program or download Qwit from the project’s Google Code page.

Alternatively, users of any Linux distribution can use the portable version of Qwit found over at PortableLinuxApps. This is particularly useful if you’re a Gnome guy, like me, and would prefer to not install any QT dependencies on your system.


linux twitter app

No nonsense here. Mitter comes equiped with a simple, two-tab interface: messages and replies are quickly accessible. Sure, the configuration is basic, and the Gnome-ish interface isn’t anything you haven’t seen before. But Mitter stands out because it can be used from the command line, which is awesome.

linux twitter app

You can download Mitter from Google Code; you’ll even find a Debian package. Users of other distros may have to resort to compiling, sadly.


linux twitter client

Looks nice, doesn’t it? Pino supports multple accounts, sports a simple interface and even comes with support for Ubuntu 10.04’s message notification indicator. You’ll see simple buttons for different screens, which is really nice. You’ll find URL shortening and perhaps some other things that can make you happy.

Find out more about Pino, including downloads, at Pino’s web site.


This is by no means an exhaustive list; I’m sure our readers can point out many more fine examples of Linux Twitter clients. Please feel free to highlight the best things I’ve missed below. Also feel free to ask any questions that need answering, because I want my readers to be happy. Let me make you happy.

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7 Helpful Online Resources For The Beginner Cook

Posted: 11 Sep 2010 10:31 AM PDT

cooking resourcesIf you’re anything like me, your capabilities in the kitchen end with boiling an egg. But, just like with any other skill, everything you need to learn about how to be a great cook can be found online.

The best place to start is with quick and easy recipes which won’t overwhelm you and put you off the idea of ever setting foot in the kitchen again. The following list contains sites that aggregate easy-to-do recipes, some include video tutorials, and introductions to cooking basis. And quite a few of them will help you stay organised while learning all about the art of cooking.


One of the most popular websites for recipes, Epicurious, has an entire section dedicated to Quick & Easy Recipes. You can browse recipes by meal type including kid-friendly, salads and desserts, amongst others.

Signing up for an account allows you to make notes, review and save the recipe to your list, and even print shopping lists for the recipes you want to make.

One of Epicurious' best features by far, which will come in very handy for the beginner cook, is their Menus feature. Rather than try to figure out which dishes to put together for a full meal, let Epicurious do it for you.

cooking resources


Plumello, a great recipe site with a twist, has a long list of easy recipes for the beginner cook to dive right into. And if you're feeling a little bit adventurous, or happen to have a specific ingredient handy, let Plumello tell you what dishes you can make with it.

Plumello has a few other useful and interesting features. It has a wide variety of recipes from various international cuisines, which you can browse by geographical location, and the site allows you to aggregate recipes from all over the web, so it gives you a great way to stay organised.

cooking recipes


Cooklet takes yet another approach. Unlike the other sites listed, it doesn't have an obvious 'Easy recipes' section to click on, but it has something even better. Using the advanced search feature, you can specify the level of difficulty, the amount of time the cooking should take, and an ingredient or two.

The site also has some tips and tricks that will be useful for the novice, including how to easily peel tomatoes and how to cook corn, and it seems that there is more to come in that section. Like Plumello, the site helps you get organised by saving recipes and preparing shopping lists.

cooking recipes


If you're the kind of person who needs to see a picture of how the food should look when you're cooking, why not take it a step further and use online cooking videos?  Cooking TV shows are usually way too fast to follow, but having a video you can pause and rewind is a great way to learn new recipes.

YouTube is actually a great resource for short cooking videos. Just search for what you want. There are also some great channels worth subscribing to that give you step by step instructions for each recipe like Asian Cooking Made Easy.

cooking recipes

Food Pair

Another great resource for the novice cook is FoodPair. Take a look at what's in your kitchen, and FoodPair will tell you what you can cook with it. The site also gives suggestions on what ingredients would go well, and based on that, you can find a recipe to get started on.

It also has an entire section for recipes made with 5 ingredients or less. Signing up for a free account allows you to save your favourite recipes, as the recipes listed are aggregated from different sites.

Reluctant Gourmet

The Reluctant Gourmet has a great section with a few introductory recipes, that are a great place for a beginner to start. The list is short, but will come in handy when making many other recipes, with an easy to follow outline on how to make tomato sauce, a vinaigrette, and even basic Risotto.

cooking tips


AllRecipes needs no introduction. The mammoth cooking site is a great place for any beginner to start with its how-to articles, and its quick and easy recipes. Registering for a free account allows you to save your favourite recipes, and to vote for the recipes that you liked the best. AllRecipes also has a special video section.

cooking resources

Where do you go to get your quick and easy recipes? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Ccharmon

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