Thursday, September 16, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [September 15th]” plus 10 more “Cool Websites and Tools [September 15th]” plus 10 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [September 15th]

Posted: 15 Sep 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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SaveOfficeData – Do you get bummed out when you work for hours on a document only to find out that your file is corrupt? When this happens, your best best is to redo the document which is a big time-waster. Fortunately, SaveOfficeData lets you upload your damaged office file and extract the text. Read more: SaveOfficeData: Recover Text From Damaged Office Document


Triptico – If you are an elementary school teacher you will know that the wrong seating arrangement can lead to trouble in the classroom. The best solution is a seating plan that you choose after observing the children's behavior. You can create that seating plan using Triptico Seating Plan Creator. Read more: Triptico Seating Plan Creator



ManageWP – If you are a heavy Wordpress user, you will find ManageWP very useful. This web app allows anyone to add their Wordpress setup from different hosting accounts and manage them remotely from one dashboard. By integrating all the critical admin features of your Wordpress sites, your workflow will become much simpler. Read more: ManageWP: Set Up & Manage Multiple Wordpress Blogs on One Page



Fflick – Just because a movie was critically acclaimed does not necessarily mean that you will like it. Thanks to Twitter, you can follow people and see what movies they have rated as good.
Whilst in Twitter you might have to manually filter feeds and hunt for movie-related Tweets, the entire process becomes much simpler when you are using fflick. Read more: fflick: Twitter Based Movie Critics



Kukunu – Suppose you are about to visit a new country for your vacation. You will want to visit as many cities and important places as possible but because of time constraints, you have to plan out a schedule that you can follow. Through Kukunu you can create such plans. Read more: Kukunu: Smartly Plan Your Vacations


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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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MakeUseOf Team Spotlight [September 15th 2010]

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 07:31 PM PDT

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

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

TweetedRanks: Track Your Google Keyword Positions via Twitter and Gtalk

by Ann Smarty

TweetedRanks is a free tool that tracks Google positions and updates you regularly via Google Talk or Twitter Private message. After a quick registration, you just need to provide your domain and the search term to track. From now on your daily keyword rankings will arrive to your Twitter inbox (via DM) or Google Talk message or either (depending on your settings).

The Best 2 Mass or Bulk Twitter Unfollow Tools

Posted on TheDailyBuggle by Jackson

Mass/bulk blocking (or unfollowing) isn't something Twitter takes lightly and most of the tools available won't let you unfollow users outright. They suggest unfollowing those who aren't following you back, or those who don't tweet as much (or haven't done so lately). In a nutshell, a lot of the options you’d come across will be downright pathetic. They will either involve manually checking the users to unfollow or could only block about 100 users at a time.

After a lot of searching, Jackson managed to find 2 great web apps that really help. Finally.

How I pay only $20 a month in phone bills

Posted on JustinPot by Justin

You pay too much for your phone if you pay more than $20 a month. Or, at least, you pay more than Justin. That's all he pays, and has a cell phone and unlimited long distance. And no, he didn't hack the phone system.

It's quite simple, actually. By combing Skype, a pay-as-you-go cell phone (Net10) and Google Voice you can have a single phone number with unlimited long distance that you can use anywhere in the US…for $20 a month.

The FBI Vs Wikipedia

Posted on Top Secret Writers by Ryan

On TopSecretWriters, Ryan takes a stand against the FBI’s move to threaten Wikipedia into taking down the FBI insignia from their site.

In this latest article, Ryan details the latest news about the legal threat facing Wikipedia, exposes the Bureau’s poor logic, and then in an act of defiance, publishes the FBI insignia on TopSecretWriters as well.

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

Image Credit: Visualogist

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SpiderOak – An Online Data Backup & Sharing Solution [Cross-Platform]

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 06:31 PM PDT

online data backupThere are many applications that abound for users concerned with online storage and local backup. You might be comfortable using something like Dropbox, but when you have important files outside of your Dropbox, or simply crave a little more than the simple options you get with Dropbox, you can’t go wrong with SpiderOak.

The beauty of the latter, which has been featured before in our directory, is that it puts you in complete control over which data gets backed up, synced, and shared. It also offers many options to choose or exclude files to back up by type, size or age.

For those interested, the installation is pretty straightforward, without any third-party toolbar offerings of any kind. The program does require about a little over 18 MB of hard drive space. Note that you’ll need to create an account so that you can log onto SpiderOak’s website and access your backed-up files.

Backing Up Your Data

SpiderOak lets you choose which folders you wish to backup in the Backup tab of the desktop client – either Music, Movies, Pictures in the default Basic view. If you have specific folders in mind that you want to backup, simply click on the Advanced button at the top right. You’ll be able to select any folders in your main drive here, as well as external and network drives. On the right, you can still pick pre-selected folders, such as Desktop, Documents, etc.

online data backup

Since SpiderOak comes with 2GB of free storage, you can preview how much space each folder will take by looking at the bottom storage bar (which becomes red if your folder selection exceeds 2GB), making it easier for you to pick your folders accordingly.

Whenever you finish your selection, click on the Save button to start the backup. SpiderOaks saves any changes in existing files as well as new files. You can modify the backup schedule by clicking on Preferences and heading to the Schedule tab.

Over in the Backup tab to the left, you have more options to maintain control of what files get backed up. You can choose to exclude files that exceed a certain size or age.

Archiving Your Data

If you deselect folders in the Backup tab, future changes in those folders will not be backed up.

However, those folders will remain archived in your SpiderOak account. This also means that those folders will occupy part of your 2GB of storage unless you remove them on the View tab. This can helpful for users that need to archive currently-unused-but-important folders.

Syncing Folders Across Devices

remote data backup

Unlike syncing applications like Dropbox, SpiderOak lets you sync any folders in your computer (which must also be any currently backed-up folder in SpiderOak). You can be very specific about which folders get synced across, say, your external drive and your computer’s internal hard drive. Just create a new Sync on the Sync tab, give it a name, choose the folders to sync, and voila!

remote data backup

Sharing Folders Via Password-Protected ShareRooms

remote data backup

You can create ShareRooms to share specific folders for different audiences. First, you’ll need to create a public login ID, which is known as ShareID in SpiderOak. Then select a name for the ShareRoom, a RoomKey (the password), the folders to share, and you’re done!

backup data storage

Any changes you make to the folders will be instantly reflected on the ShareRooms (and to your guests via RSS feeds). Your guests can access the ShareRoom if you provide them with the URL, but they can also log in on the SpiderOak website, under Share Login.

backup data storage

Viewing Your Backed Up Data

Over in the View tab, you’ll be able to verify which folders are backed-up and shared. You can also view the previous versions of files, which are indicated by the numbers in parentheses in the filenames.

In this tab, you can also remove archived or backed up folders on your SpiderOak account to get back space, without having to worry about getting those same folders deleted from your computer.

backup data storage

Downloading Your Files

online data backup

You can either download your files in the SpiderOak website, once you’re logged in, or in the desktop client, under the View tab, by highlighting a folder and clicking on the Download button. SpiderOak also comes with a handy Merge option (view a demo here) that you can use when you don’t want to delete any folders.

There may be a bit of a learning curve for this application as it offers so many options, so I highly recommend watching SpiderOak’s video demos, which are short and sweet, but also explain visually what I’ve detailed here.

If you’ve tried SpiderOak, feel free to tell us in the comments whether you find it useful and better than other applications or not!

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The Top 10 Online Sources For Funny Mobile Phone Sound Clips

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 04:31 PM PDT

funny sound clipsHumor is the best ice-breaker there is. Have you ever seen how heads turn when your mobile phone starts buzzing with a funny sound? Dressing up your mobile phone with cool wallpapers, and cooler applications is fine of course. But to take the banner of the 'coolest', think of funny sound clips.

You can use sound clips as ringtones, message tones, or just keep them around to spread some cheer. I cast my line in and tried to fetch some of the funniest sound clips you can download and use on your mobile.

The disclaimer with such an effort says that we all have different tastes of what's funny and what's crass. I tried to avoid the latter and reach for the former. Even if the funny sound clips fail on the humor scale, you can browse the sources and pick up the ones that make you smile.

Let's start the count of funny sound clips and ringtones by revisiting a few of the 10 Websites For Free Mobile Phone Ringtones & Other Mobile Downloads.


funny sound clips

Zedge has a very large collection of free ringtones created and uploaded by its community of users. Nearly 25,000 funny ringtones find a place among its 5 million strong database of mobile downloads. If baby sounds make you smile, try out the Baby Rap. Or hear the impersonation of Mr. Bean.


funny sound bites

Soundboard as the name says is a collection of audio clips in various categories. Each category has specific folders called 'soundboards' which are like entire MP3 albums. For instance, click on the Comedians category and see the soundboards listed. Make sure you are browsing the public soundboards which are free. I particularly like Jim Carrey and the collection of sound clips from “The Mask”.


funny sounds

Sound bites are put in collections. So you have one called 'Funny'. Check out their About page where the people behind the website have embedded their favorite sound bites below their profiles. My favorite one is the Math Homework 911 call. But if you are a Trekkie, the Kirk-Spock love mashup on Love Trek might crack you up.


funny sounds also has a large category of funny mobile tones. Selected ones are also marked with a Popular or Featured badges. If you are not a teetotaler, the Beer Beer ringtone should be to your taste. Also try out Answer Me Quick.


funny sounds

How do you think a drunk phone talks? Check it out with a free download from this site. The site covers a lot of models and brands. Select the one for your make and drill down to the Funny ringtone category.


funny mobile clips

Free Audio Clips has a section devoted to comedy sound clips in the wav format. You can further choose from Answering Machine, Cartoons, Comedians, and Parody-spoofs. I wish I could recommend a few, but it's better if you browse and pick yourself. The Answering Machine clips stir the funny bone though.


funny mobile clips

If you are crazy for Borat, the fictional character from Kazakhstan and his comic utterances, check out the 42 strong collection of free mocking MP3 ringtones. You have to register (free) to download the ringtones to your PC.


If pigs could swear they would curse like Porky Pig. Catch him in the act with the collection of Porky Pig ringtones here. How about Porky Pig – Son-of-a-B****!


funny sound clips

I bumped into this website while searching for Michael Caine (Michael Caine Blows Your Head Off) impersonations for ringtones. The site has a neat collection of MP3 audio files in its Funny MP3 section.

Simpson's Sounds

funny mobile clips

Then if you are a fan of the Simpson's TV show, check out this little collection of sound clips from the series. I liked the short but funnily insulting – Bitch, bitch, bitch. Sound files are in MP3 and Wav formats.

These ten websites give you ample choices to pick up and decorate your mobile phone with funny ringtones and sound clips. The examples given are just that – examples. When you sift through the websites, you will pick up your personal favorites. Let us know about them in the comments.

Image Credit: Geek And Poke

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Build Your Own Virtual Colony With Unknown Horizons

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 02:31 PM PDT

colony simulation gameLast month, I took my family to Plymouth, Massachusetts to visit the Plimouth Plantation, where there is a reproduction of the original settlement built by the pilgrims when they landed the Mayflower there in 1620. The amazing thing about these early settlements on the Eastern shores of the “New Land” is that they serve as a historic example of what it takes to build and maintain a colony of people in the middle of a rough and wild land.

A while back, I reviewed a colony simulation game called Nemexia, where you could start a new colony on an alien planet. Now, wouldn’t it be interesting to see if you could survive while building and growing a colony of your own on Earth? Unknown Horizons is a free colony simulation game that lets you experience what it would have been like to start a colony – to strike out in search of unknown horizons.

Game Start & Settings

What impressed me about this game is that even though it is free and open source (available for either Windows or Linux) – you get the impression that it’s a commercial game. The graphics and the soundtrack are enthralling, and will immediately draw you in. From the main menu, you’ll see a ship steering wheel with options to configure the settings, view the help menu or start playing a game session.

colony simulation game

Keep in mind that while this game is a fully functioning colony simulation, you’ll come across a few premium features, like multiplayer mode, that aren’t implemented. With that said, the core of the game offers an awesome game playing experience. The settings menu lets you define the resolution, colors and rendering engine that works best on your machine.

simulation games

When you start a new game, you can define whether you want a defined “campaign” or just free play. Random map isn’t active yet. In Campaign mode, you have certain goals to reach before moving on to the next map. In Free Play mode, you simply land on a massive island and work indefinitely toward building a strong and thriving colony.

simulation games

Landing & Founding A New Settlement

Once you launch the colony simulation game, you’ll find yourself just approaching new land. The control system to the right displays a world map, all ships, and all of the controls.

simulation games

Once you locate a good area that looks like it has plenty of trees and wildlife (you’ll actually see animals walking around and grazing), go ahead and press the little “anchor” button on the control menu under the picture of your ship. You’ve just founded your first settlement!

free simulation games

Remember to unload the supplies (food, lumber and tools) off your ship, or life won’t be easy for you! Also, even after your settlement has started, your ship is still useful for trade.

free simulation games

You’ll immediately want to start building the basic structures for survival. Specifically, you’ll set up a lumberjack to start creating lumber so you can build structures, and you’ll want a central village area where members of the colony can come to exchange supplies. Toss up a few tents and you’ve got yourself the early beginnings of a colony.

free simulation games

Once you get rolling, you’ll quickly discover that the real trick of this game is to master the balance between supply and demand. Your colonists will produce lumber, food, tools, textiles and bricks (in time), but they’ll also consume as well. If anything gets off balance, you’ll watch your funds sink faster than a brick in a pond. All of these balances are displayed at the top of the screen.

At each stage in the game, you’ll have available structures you can build, which add to the productivity or serve the needs of the colony. These show up under the build menu on your control panel. Every level opens up a new build menu (labeled with I, II, II, etc..) which allows for new and more advanced structures.

Part of the balancing act also comes from making efficient use of the land. Each structure you build will show you the area of land that it can manage. Here, you can see that the farm can manage about one square of land all the way around it. If you build farmland or sheep grazing anywhere outside of this range, it will go untended. Build other structures on available farmland (as I’ve done here), and you’ve just wasted precious farmland.

colony simulation game

Unknown Horizons is one of those few games that I could see spending many hours playing some Sunday afternoon, just to pass the time and relax. It’s fun to watch your colonists toil away, and to watch the colony goods multiply. Make the wrong decision, and you could watch the entire enterprise fall apart before your eyes.

Do you have what it takes to found a new colony? Give this colony simulation game a test drive and report back with your own thoughts and feedback in the comments section below!

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Hot Tech Deals [Sep 15th]

Posted: 15 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. Logitech MX518 Wired Optical Gaming Mouse $21.99AR Free Shipping

  2. TODAY ONLY Dell ST2010 20in Widescreen LCD Monitor $109.99 Free Shipping

  3. Dell Vostro 3300 Intel Core i3-350M 2.26GHz 13.3in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $599

  4. Dell Vostro 3500 Intel Core i3-350M 2.26GHz 15.6in Laptop (Aluminum) $549 Free Overnight Shipping

  5. Dell Vostro 3400 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 14in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $549

  6. TODAY ONLY Vizio E370VL 37in LCD HDTV (1080p) $429.99 Free Shipping


  1. Dell Home: Free Shipping on Computers $599+ Coupon Code: ZQQZSGW6HFDG3K

  2. Dell Coupon: 25% off All Laptops & Desktops on this landing page Coupon Code: ?$QNC1?HSKNR9F

  3. Dell Coupon: 20% off all Dell Desktops & Laptops in this link with Coupon Code: 5TK?LC9VJ5F$33

  4. Dell coupon: Free Shipping on Dell Studio/Studop XPS Laptops $699+ Coupon Code: ?8CN$RJ?W5TQ0C

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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5 Reasons A Disgruntled Windows User Should Consider Using Ubuntu

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 12:50 PM PDT

ubuntu reviewSince I decided to dual-boot my main laptop with Ubuntu, I’ve found myself spending considerably longer in a Linux environment than a Microsoft one. The extra speed I’ve reclaimed from my ageing Asus has made it feel like a brand new machine again, and it didn’t cost me a thing.

Linux has a reputation for being somewhat difficult, and casting my mind back to the days when I first tried it I’d have been the first one to admit it. In case you hadn’t heard, Ubuntu (and it’s associated derivatives) has earned notoriety for being as easy-as-pie to install, maintain and work with.

There are inevitably going to be a lot of concerns if you’re thinking of making the jump. I’m going to try and put some of those to bed and demonstrate some of my favourite things about the operating system.

Install Ubuntu Within Windows

It’s even easier to install Linux than it has ever been. Not only have you got the choice of using excellent tools such as UNetbootin to create bootable Live USB sticks, but also the option of installing Ubuntu from within Windows.

ubuntu review

By far the easiest and most-straightforward option available to you if you’re already a Windows user, simply head over to Ubuntu’s home page and download the Windows installer. Run it, choose your particular flavour, nominate a spare partition and you’re done. Then all you have to do is reboot into your shiny new OS. Simple.

Re-Install Your Favourite Software

Those of you who use primarily free software on Windows will be pleased to see most of your favourites are still available, but in Linux flavour. A prime example is Google’s Chrome web browser (which trades under the open-source name “Chromium” on Ubuntu) which runs noticeably faster on my Linux install than it does on Windows 7.

ubuntu software

Vital bits and bobs like VLC, 7Zip and Skype all have compatible Ubuntu variants. Granted, you’re not going to find Linux versions of all your favourites, but that brings us nicely onto….


Derived from the acronym “Wine Is Not an Emulator” the popular Microsoft Windows compatibility layer means you don’t have to leave all of your Windows-specific programs behind. Popular Windows applications that work well in Ubuntu include Adobe Photoshop, Spotify (standard Windows version, not the subscriber-only experimental Linux version) and even games like World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike: Source.

ubuntu software

My main issue as a wannabe Ubuntu user was the lack of Photoshop. Now I’ve solved that, and I’ve got my beloved Spotify playlists back too! Of course not everything will work, but then you’ll also be able to….

Ditch Your Least-Favourite Software

As grateful as I am to have an antivirus program for Windows, I secretly despise it. For years I didn’t even use one, favouring the common sense approach of not clicking dodgy executables. We all know this isn’t enough though, and if you truly want to secure your Microsoft box then it’s a necessity.

Not with Linux. Permissions play a huge part of any UNIX operating system, meaning it’s nearly impossible for something to execute on your PC unless you explicitly tell it to. Even then you’re going to need administrator access and a password.

I’m not saying Ubuntu is impervious to attacks, and there are a number of antivirus programs aimed at Linux. Many users simply install protection to prevent spreading viruses to users running Windows.

If you’re concerned check out Wikipedia’s known list of Linux infections. I don’t run an antivirus with Ubuntu and for me this is one of the most liberating aspects of the OS. I’ve got some precious RAM back, my CPU usage doesn’t spike when my antivirus deems it necessary to and my machine boots faster than ever.


Many Mac users harp on about how pretty their OS is, and a lot of Windows users can’t really argue with that. The default GNOME skin isn’t exactly beautiful, but you can quite easily change that (and everything else to boot).

ubuntu review

From your taskbars and window interfaces, to adding fancy effects and OS X-style docks that actually work – you have an immense amount of options available to you. Ubuntu users who want the most eye candy possible should check out the Emerald window decorator which makes your title bars look sexier than ever and Avant Window Manager, a dock that’s functional and beautiful.


I’m not trying to convince you to ditch Windows. I don’t plan on getting rid of my Windows partition completely either, but variety is the spice of life. Ubuntu won’t cost you a penny and it comes with everything you need to get going straight away.

With a bit of time, extra reading and effort on your part you can create a beautiful OS that is as smooth as it is beautiful. Did I mention everything was free?

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Use Customized Fonts In Your Wordpress Blog With Google Font Directory

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 11:31 AM PDT

free fonts googleIf you’ve ever peeked into your font directory, you might have noticed that there’s a small group of fonts called “Web-safe”. As the name suggests, these are the saved fonts that can be safely used as web elements. But looking at this group, we can’t help but wonder about the other side of the coin – the “Web-unsafe” groups which all the other fonts belong to.

We can also conclude from the font-usage perspective, the world of web design is really a small isolated box.  This is because most of the thousands of fonts that exist today are useless when it comes to web design.

(Not So) Long Ago In A Virtual World (Not So) Far Away

In the beginning of web-time, internet users had to accept whatever font was dictated by the browser. Then Netscape introduced the <font> tag in 1995, which basically allows web owners and web designers to play a little bit with typography.

Unfortunately, this breakthrough seems to have been a pseudo freedom as the fonts used in a web design should already be installed on the user’s computer.  But how would you know what fonts your visitors have?  To be safe, web designers just use the most common ones. Thus the term “Web-safe fonts” was coined – the fonts that every web user has in their computer.

free fonts google

The possible solution to this problem is to install the fonts that we want to use somewhere in the cloud and point the design there. While this might be the best alternative today, the method still poses some problems. Mainly about the access speed and endurance of the server, and also about the copyright issues.

There are already solutions to these problems, for professionals who don’t mind paying for good service, coming from companies like Typekit, Kernest and Typotheque. For everybody else, we have Google. The web giant is kind enough to provide us with Google Font Directory.

A Blog With An Attitude

If you have a blog and you don’t want it to be just another face in the crowd, you can easily give it a font-lift with the help of Google Font Directory. And if you use the self-hosted Wordpress for your blog, everything is so much easier because of a Wordpress plugin called “WP Google Fonts”.

Go to the Wordpress plugin menu and click “Add New“. Do a search for the Google Font plugin and WP Google Fonts will be at the top of the list. Click “Install Now” and click “OK” on the pop-up confirmation window.

using google fonts with wordpress

The plugin will be installed in seconds. Click “Activate Plugin” to start using it.

using google fonts with wordpress

WP Google Fonts “Control Panel” is located under “Settings – Google Fonts” on the Wordpress sidebar menu.

Using and managing Google Fonts Directory with this plugin is very easy. The basic usage doesn’t require you to mess around with codes, HTML or CSS. All you need to do is select the font that you want to use and determine which web elements you want to assign the font to.

using google fonts with wordpress

If you know your way around CSS, you can further customize the look and feel of your font by writing the codes in the “Custom CSS” box.

google font width=

And don’t forget to click “Save” after making changes.

There are a total of 6 “Font Options”. This means that you can use up to 6 fonts from Google Font Directory and assign them to different combinations of web elements. There’s a list of all available fonts that you can find at the bottom of the page.

google font

To test drive the whole process of applying customized fonts to a Wordpress blog, I did some experiments using my personal blog.

So let’s compare the results. Here’s my blog before applying customized fonts using the WP Google Fonts plugin.

google font

And here’s what it looks like after changing the Header h1 font to “Reenie Beanie” and the body font to “Molengo”. Can you spot the difference?

free fonts google

I have only practically scratched the surface here. You can do so much more customization with CSS codes. If you are really into typography, you might consider investing more time in learning CSS.

What do you think about font customization? Do you know any other easy ways to achieve this?  If so, why not share your knowledge using the comments section below?

Image credit: Typekit

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Use iTunes iMixes To Discover New Music & Create Great Playlists

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 10:31 AM PDT

new music albumsIt's easy to overlook many of the features in the iTunes Store. Over the last ten years, Apple's media store is almost bloated with millions of songs, movies, podcasts, TV Shows, and audiobooks.

One feature that might not be familiar to new visitors to the Store is iMix, a collection of user created playlists published in the iTunes Store. iMixes were first introduced in version 4.5 of iTunes.

Discover iMix Playlists

Although iMixes are popular on iTunes, the link to them doesn't appear on the homepage of iTunes. To locate it, click the Music section of the iTunes Store.

new music albums

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click iMix under More To Explore, on the right side of the page.

hot new music

The iMix homepage consists of the top rated, most recent, and featured iMixes.

hot new music

You can also search for iMixes based on topics such as wedding and birthday party playlists, graduation playlists, ambient and chill music, 70’s disco party playlists, and all genres in between.

hot new music

There's also a special Sports mixes section for workouts and other fun. You can access Nike Sports Music on the Music homepage as well.

itunes playlist

You can search iMixes by artist, album, songs, and specifically named iMixes.

itunes playlist

All mixes consist of songs sold in the iTunes Store. But even if you don't purchase songs in the Store, the mixes can be useful for helping you discover new music and putting together your own playlists. You can also rate mixes and see what other mixes a user has published.

itunes playlist

Publish Your Own iMix Playlists

Today, the iTunes Store consists of close to two million iMixes uploaded by iTunes users. You can easily post your own iMix list in less than ten minutes. Here's how:

1. Select A Playlist

Select a favorite playlist in your iTunes library. It might be a list of songs of your favorite artist or group, or a list of songs played at your high school graduation. It might even be a list of love lost songs you play when your girlfriend or boyfriend has just broken up with you. The possibilities are endless.

2. Publish To iTunes

With your playlist selected, choose Store>Create an iMix in the iTunes menu bar. Follow the steps of logging into your iTunes Store account. If all the songs on your list don't appear when you post them to the iTunes Store, it means those songs are not in the Store.


3. Title & Description

You must give your iMix a title, but it's also important to give it a description so that others will know why you posted it.


Publish Your iMix To The Web

Typically, in less than an hour, your iMix list will be published and added to iMix. From there, you can select to publish your mix or any other iMix to your blog, social networking profile, or Flash-enabled web profile.


Just click on the mix you want to publish, and select Publish to the Web on the top-right side of the mix's page.

new music albums

iMixes are another way you can discover and share music via the web. Let us know how you like this feature. For other iTunes tips and features, check out our iTunes articles.

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3 Hilarious Sites Every Freelancer Should Check Out

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 09:31 AM PDT

freelancing onlineThe freelance lifestyle has its perks. You can eat ice cream whenever you want, and you get to set your own hours.

There are downsides, however. You only get paid when you do work, and finding work is completely up to you. You also need to be a keen businessman in addition to being talented in your field, because there’s no department to take care of the finances for you.

But perhaps the hardest part of freelancing is the lack of people to talk to: you get no real “water cooler” conversation.

Such conversation not only keeps you human, it also allows you to vent about clients and co-workers who are particularly annoying – not to mention commiserating with others who are experiencing crazy situations with clients.

If you find yourself missing such conversation, particularly the so-bad-it’s-funny situations, keep reading for a couple of great freelancing online spots to read during your ever-so-rare downtime.

Clients From Hell

A lot of people don’t understand the concept of freelancers. For example, some people think paying a freelancer is optional. Others make so many demands that it would almost be better if they did the job themselves.

Clients From Hell documents situations like these; conversations so frustrating it’s funny. If you’re having a particularly stressful day dealing with your clients this is the stress relief you’re looking for. It features golden tidbits like this:

freelancing online

Not Always Right

We’ve all heard the adage: the customer is always right. It’s supposed to promote an agreeable customer service mindset that allows you to always make the client happy. Sometimes that’s hard, however.

Not Always Right documents such difficult situations, and they’re almost all hilarious. For example:

freelance writer websites

The site is less specifically focused on freelancers than Clients From Hell, obviously, but it fills the “insane stories heard at work” niche quite nicely. Expect a wide variety of crazy stories from a variety of different industries.

Passive Aggressive Notes

This freelancing online destination is not directly work related, but very much in the same spirit as Clients From Hell and Not Always Right. Focusing on the crazy little notes people leave each other, Passive Aggressive Notes includes gems from work and home alike. Check out this masterpiece, for example:

freelancing online

Bonus Sites

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Check out this list of great lunchbreak websites for onlines freelancers for more sites worth checking out. And, of course, our own Geeky Fun page is always good for a laugh or two.


Months ago I had a phone conversation with a tech-support client, and it went like this:

Client: You fixed my computer, but my Internet still isn’t working all that well.

Me: Okay, how do you connect?

Client: I connect to the Linksys.

Me: And that’s not working anymore?

Client: No. I can connect to it, but the Internet doesn’t work.

Me: Check the router and make sure it’s plugged into your modem.

Client: I don’t have either of those. I just use the Linksys.

Me: Okay, so you’ve been stealing wireless from your neighbor…

Client: No. I’m using the Linksys.

Me: Linksys is just the default name for a router. It’s your neighbor’s Internet, and you’ve been stealing it.


Reading sites like those linked to above makes me feel sane: I’m not the only person who deals with situations like this.

How about you? Do you find such sites entertaining, or just in bad taste? Discuss below, or just share some more funny sites for freelancers!

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The Top 10 Stand-Up Comedy Videos On YouTube

Posted: 15 Sep 2010 08:31 AM PDT

comedy videosDo you like to laugh? Of course you do. That’s like asking somebody if they enjoy breathing. There are lots of things on the interweb that exist just for that very purpose – to make us laugh. You can find hilarious images, videos, cartoons, shows, sketches, stories, anything you can imagine, and some stuff you can’t. Here at MUO, we even have an entire section of our website devoted to Geeky Fun.

You know what else exists for our amusement?  YouTube. That’s right, the third most visited site on the Internet is a laugh factory, but I don’t have to tell you that. Out of all the most popular content on YouTube, it is the funniest stuff that usually goes viral.

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun researching this article. Stand-up comedy is entertainment in its truest form, and I am a big fan. So without further ado, here are the top 10 stand-up comedy videos on YouTube.

Criteria For The List

This is not just a list of the 10 most-viewed stand-up comedy videos on YouTube. I don’t think that’s fair, especially if some videos were uploaded years before others or cleverly marketed in some way. I also won’t be featuring multiple videos by the same comedian.

Like I said, I did research. Everybody’s sense of humor is different of course, but I feel like I’ve picked 10 individuals who are pretty funny and I invite you to check out their other videos. This list includes some of the best comedians of all-time, as well as some you may have never heard of.

Some of the content contains some harsh language, but let’s be honest, you probably expected that. If you didn’t, my apologies.

Now that we’ve got the technicalities out of the way, onto the laughter.

10. Demetri Martin – Large Pad

Demetri Martin is famous for his large pad. He has an interesting take on the world around us (as do the others on this list) and is a good starting point if you’re looking for a laugh.

9. Jim Gaffigan – Holiday Traditions

Jim Gaffigan is a solid stand-up comedian. Here’s a clip from one of his specials in which he talks about our holiday traditions that don’t necessarily make much sense logically.

8. Steven Wright – The Complete Works

Steven Wright is one of the most underrated comedians out there. This is an old video of him, but the content is still hilarious.

7. Chris Rock – Crazy Kids

I felt like I had to fit Chris into my list of top videos, so here is a short clip from one of his stand-up specials, in which he talks about the crazy kids who made the news back when this special took place.

6. Mitch Hedberg Stand-up

When he was alive, Mitch Hedberg was one cool cat. This video is from a short performance he did on the Late Show. There aren’t many high-quality videos of Mitch left on YouTube, but this is one of the ones that has received the most attention.

5. Jim Carrey – Canada

I bet you didn’t know Jim Carrey did stand-up. Well as you can imagine, he was pretty great at it. Here’s a video clip from his special where he talks about growing up in Canada, something else you may not have known about him.

4. Lewis Black on Nuclear Holocaust

Lewis Black is another comedian who is beginning to become hugely popular. In this video, he talks about how ridiculous school was as a kid, especially the preparation for bomb and fire drills.

3. Louis CK – Children and Their Secrets

Louis CK is well on his way to being the next George Carlin in my book. In this video, he talks about children and the not-so-important things they try to tell you. Just a small glimpse of the comedic genius of Louis CK.

2. Dave Chappelle – Sesame Street

Dave is one of the funniest people walking the planet. In this video, he talks about how watching the shows we used to watch as kids can be very different as an adult. His example, Sesame Street. A similar video has nearly 7.5 million views on YouTube, but it features a picture slideshow instead of video.

1. George Carlin on Our Similarities

And at number 1, the best comedian of all-time as far as I’m concerned, Mr. George Carlin. I was lucky enough to see George in person before he “passed away” and he did not disappoint. In this video, he talks about those little things that we all have in common. Pure genius.


I’ll be honest. I’ve always wanted to make a list like this, and now I’ve got the opportunity to do so. Like I said, I’m a big fan of stand-up comedy, so I know I’ve left a lot of great comedians off of this list. If you’d like to see more, continue searching YouTube. It’s a goldmine.

Did you laugh? If so, share this with your friends/followers! Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Image Credit: mindelei

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