Saturday, September 18, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [September 17th]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [September 17th]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [September 17th]

Posted: 17 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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ZoomIt – Sharing an image is easy, but sharing an photo that is high resolution is not. ZoomIt is a tool that makes it easy by letting you create a zoomable image from an ordinary one. Simply enter the URL of any high-resolution image and ZoomIt will convert it. Read more: ZoomIt: Easily Embed & Share High Resolution Photos


MyHomePerformance – If you want to find out an energy usage of your website, pay visit to MyHomePerformance. It is an online calculator that asks for a website URL and then gives an estimate of the real energy, in terms of electricity, required to load up that particular website. Read more: MyHomePerformance: Website Energy Usage Calculator



iPhone Icon Generator – Favicons are an important part of a website although at times developers overlook this. If you are an iPad user, you can see your sites' favicons on the startpage. You might want to make the favicons better looking by modifying them. This can be done through iPhone Icon Generator. Read more: iPhone Icon Generator: Create iPhone Like Icons & A Custom iPad Startpage



FishMemory – To-do lists are a great help in remembering and organizing your tasks and chores. If you cannot recall what you need to do next, a quick glance at the list can remind you of the task and save your time. FishMemory is new easy to use tool that you can use to create such lists and make your days more productive. Read more: FishMemory: Easy To Use Todo List Creator



GetMetricMail – Analytics is one of Google's greatly useful services. Site owners can use Analytics to monitor and analyze the traffic their websites get. However for some novice site owners Analytics might take some time getting used to. Thankfully there are tools like Metric Mail that simplifies Analytics reports . Read more: GetMetricMail: Get A Simplified Google Analytics Reports via Email


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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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The 5 Best Questions From You [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 06:31 PM PDT

MakeUseOf AnswersWin with MakeUseOf Answers! Help us solve questions to automatically enter our weekly contest. No signup, no spam. However, you need to provide a valid email address or an existing Facebook, Yahoo, or Disqus account, so we can contact you in case you win. The prize is $50 via PayPal or Amazon voucher.

This week the Best Answer of the Week prize goes to ha14 for the answers to this question: How can I wake my Windows laptop from sleep or hibernation through the mouse or keyboard?. Thank you for your continued contribution, we appreciate it!

These are this week’s 5 Best Questions:

  1. How can I run PC programs and games on a Mac?
  2. Which is the best free Windows software for remixing songs?
  3. Would my Windows PC run faster if I only installed portable apps?
  4. How do I remove passwords and credit card info from my PC?
  5. What is the best free speech to text software for Windows?

Want to find other great questions? Browse MakeUseOf Answers by Latest Questions, Unanswered Questions or Most Popular Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

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How To Create An iPhoto Book Using Low-Res Phone Images [Mac]

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 04:31 PM PDT

iphoto bookThe portability of cell phone cameras makes it easy for all of us to take lots of photos nearly anywhere we like. Just because these cameras are small with less features than traditional point-and-shoot and professional digital SLR cameras doesn't mean you can't take great photos.

But what if you want to print small cell camera photos? If you're shooting with say a 2 megapixel low-res iPhone camera, you won't be able to print quality 4×6 prints. But if size is a not factor, you can still print these low-res photos using iPhoto.

This article explains how to create an iPhoto book of just low-res photos, and a similar book with both high and low-res images.

Creating A Low-Res Photo Album

Step 1: Select Photos

In iPhoto, select 20-25 low-res photos in your iPhoto library that you want to put into your photo album.

To determine the resolution size of an image, select it and then click the Info button at the bottom-left of iPhoto. A low-res image, taken with, for example, an iPhone 3G will be 1600 x 1200 or smaller in size. The file size itself my be less than 600KB.

iphoto book

Step 2: Select Book Type

Now select your album/folder of low-res images, and then select the Keepsakes>Book button in iPhoto's tools bar.

how to use iphoto book

In the drop-down palette, select one of the Book Types (Picture Book, for example), and select the 3½ x 2⅝ size book. The size of this book can accept low-resolution photos. You will get a warning sign if a photo for some reason is still too small for printing. More about that later.

how to use iphoto book

When the layout editor opens, select an image for the front cover, and then customize the title (click in the title area to change it.)

how to use iphoto book

Step 3: Layout Pages

Next, start adding photos to your pages. By default, the layout of the pages may be all set to either portrait or landscape. But you can change that by selecting the Layout button in the tools bar. With the small album, you're only allowed to use up to two photos per page. If you want two photos on a page, select Layout button>Two.

apple iphoto book

If you like, you can have iPhoto auto-fill your pages by selecting the arrow button and then Auto Fill in the toolbar.

apple iphoto book

After your album is laid out, click the Buy Book button to initiate the printing process of your album. If you have your own photo paper, you can print your layout on your own printer.

Create A Larger Size Book

If you want to create a larger size book, you will need to include both low and high resolution photos. After making your selections, follow the steps above, and choose a larger size type book.

iPhoto will stamp each photo that is too small in resolution for the page layout.

apple iphoto book

To address the low-res limitations, choose a layout that will allow for a combination of your low and high resolution photos.

iphoto book

If you try this, let us know how it turned out for you. And if you're interested in other iPhoto book making ideas, check out this MUO article.

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Retro Light: A Multipurpose Light App For The iPhone/iTouch [Free For A Limited Time]

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 02:31 PM PDT

iphone lightOur good friends over at Rade | Eccles just released a new app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that we felt you all would like. It is called Retro Light, and is only free for a limited time (normally $0.99).

Retro Light 1.0 “joins vintage analog hip with a modern ultra-lounge vibe to create the best multipurpose light app on the market“. This iPhone light app truly is ‘multipurpose’ in every sense of the word, offering functionality as a flashlight, mood light, or whatever else you could think of in the way of using vibrant lighting.

In this article, I will go over the features included with Retro Light, focusing on its usefulness as a power utility on your phone or iPod. I will also show you where you can get this new app.

Where Can I Get Retro Light?

Rather than make you wait all the way until the end of this post to show you where to get this app, I figured I’d get right to the point. After all, I did say that it was only free for a limited time.

If you’ve already heard enough and want to test this app out for yourself, head on over to the iTunes page and download it. If on the other hand you are craving a little more detail, I can oblige you.

LED Flashlight

iphone light

The first thing that really stood out to me with this app is the LED flashlight capabilities. For iOS devices that have an LED, this feature produces an ultra-bright light to help you navigate in the dark. You can turn this feature on or off very easily from a single button on your screen. The button is well placed, so if you’re in a hurry you won’t have to spend much time searching for the flashlight feature.

This is a good feature to have if you have a compatible device. If your power goes out or you find yourself in a dark place you can just reach for your phone and use it as a flashlight. Chances are it will be close by anyway.

If you don’t have a compatible iOS device, don’t worry. You can use this next feature to light your way.

Bright White LCD Display

iphone light app

Devices without an LED will take advantage of the full LCD screen. Among other things, which I’ll get to, you can display a bright white background on your LCD screen, which also functions as a pretty useful flashlight. Most people use their phone’s screen as a makeshift flashlight anyway, but having a completely white screen makes it that much easier to light your path.

If you have an LED device, you can choose between the two options.

Mood Lighting

iphone light app

Retro Light is more than just a simple flashlight, and I did say it was multipurpose, so you’ll like this next feature. If you play around with the settings, you can effectively turn Retro Light into a relaxing ambient mood light as well. Whether you’re holding your device, have it docked in the cradle, or placed somewhere else in your room, it can provide a random oscillation of vibrant light.

You can have it cycle through color, intensity, and brightness through the settings and it will produce a stream of soothing colors to enhance your mood.

As it states in the description, you can enjoy “the euphoria of a mood light using a classic interface that evokes 70’s era Hi-Fi stereo systems to provide a blissful and groovy user experience”.


iphone light

Additional settings include an ‘always on’ option to prevent the device from sleeping, realistic sound effects for button presses and switch toggles, and hiding the surrounding frame and user interface for full-screen ambient light.

This iPhone light app really is one of the better flashlight applications out there and the ambient mood lighting definitely adds that retro feel. If you missed the download link at the top, you can get this app here.

You can also find more iPod/iPhone apps here, or by searching our site.

What will you be using this app for? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below!

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Hot Tech Deals [Sep 17th]

Posted: 17 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. TODAY ONLY Sharp AQUOS LC32D47U 32 inch LCD HDTV (720p) $329.99 Free Shipping

  2. TODAY ONLY Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W310 12.1MP 4X Digital Camera w/ 2GB SDHC Card $94.99 Free Shipping via code 8W0K8S740?ZQS0

  3. TODAY ONLY Harman Kardon BDP-1 Blu-Ray Player $199.99 Free Shipping

  4. TODAY ONLY Sapphire Radeon HD5770 1GB DDR5 HDCP PCI-E Video Card $114.99AR Free Shipping via code VGA577873

  5. WD Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB 3.5in Internal Hard Drive + WD Elements 120GB Portable HDD $99.99 via code EMCYXZV25

  6. TODAY ONLY Garmin Nuvi 255W (4.3in, Text-to-Speech) $109.99 Free Shipping

  7. Foxconn R20-D2 Intel Atom D510 Dual-Core Nettop Barebones (Super Energy Efficient) $116.99 via code EMCYXZV23

  8. LG E2050T-SN 20 inch LED Backlit LCD Monitor $143.99 Free Shipping via code EMCYXZV24


  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

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Some Awesome Google Calendar Features That You Should Try Out

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 12:31 PM PDT

google calendar featuresGoogle Calendar is something many of us use every day. It’s a perfectly good calendar application packed with just enough Google calendar features features to make it more useful than any of the alternatives and we don’t generally think much more of it.

But there’s good reason to think more of it: Google is slowly adding in features that make it an incredibly powerful organising tool. Recent updates to Google’s Gmail and Calendar integration mean that you can now add calendar events directly from Gmail, while Calendar itself can now help you to plan events according to attendee schedules.

Calendar Labs are also up to new tricks. It’s a new world of innovation just waiting to be explored.

Gmail To Calendar Event Add

The easiest new tool to get started with would have to be the Gmail-to-Calendar event add function. When you can use it, you’ll see it right beside your email on the right. All it does is look for sentences in the email which looks like a future appointment, then suggests you add it to your calendar straight away. Click on “Add” and you’re instantly in Google Calendar, the event is largely pre-filled and all you have to do is adjust and save. Neat!

new google calendar features

Find A Time

Google Calendar’s Find a Time is available whenever you’re adding an event to Calendar and in theory is very straightforward to use. However for it to work correctly, your attendees need to be sharing their calendar with you – and their primary Google Calendar needs to have all of their “busy” time noted on it.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m spread out over quite a few calendars and I don’t generally share my calendar with friends. But, a quick re-arranging of calendars could make this feature very useable indeed.

new google calendar features

New Google Calendar Labs Features

Labs for Calendar have bumped out some great new features since I last checked, some of which are incredibly useful.  Things like Add Gadget by URL which is a neat way to add third party extensions. Smart Rescheduler, which has been around since March 2010, was so good it essentially has just been retired by “Find A Time”.

Event Flair

This is a quick and easy way to differentiate your events from one another. Enable the app, click on any event in calendar view and choose an icon to represent it. It automatically applies the icon to repeats of the task if you check the box.

google calendar tips

Auto-Decline Events

This is a very easy way to deflect all those office meeting requests without necessarily having to detail why you’re busy on a work calendar. Good for maintaining a little privacy.

Dim Future Repeating Events

This will make your calendar a teensy bit easier to look at once you’ve filled it up with every weekly event imaginable. It won’t dim full-day events or the next event in a repeating series, but if you look to the weeks ahead you’ll see repeat events are dimmed.

new google calendar features

Year View

This is a simple, handy way to view your whole year at once. Of course, you can’t see your events, but it is very good for viewing potential availability in the far future and being able to click straight through to a date in order to schedule the event.

Event Attachments

This is such a simple idea that I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. No more cutting and pasting details into the description – simply attach the appropriate Google document.

google calendar tips

Gentle Reminders

These are for anyone who has set up pop-up reminders for events, but can’t stand the way Google Calendar steals focus in the browser. This way, it pops up, but you won’t see it until you return to your Google Calendar tab. Much less annoying!

google calendar tips


This is a simple way to give some context to your calendar entries, filling in brief, vague titles with details of the other attendee. This stops you having to click through to see who your “meeting” is with.

google calendar features

If you’re into Labs extensions, there are plenty more to explore that we’ve already featured on MakeUseOf. In fact, MakeUseOf have featured plenty of great articles on how you can use Google Calendar generally. Try these for some further reading:

If you’ve found out any other neat Google Calendar extensions or hacks, let us know in the comments!

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10 YouTube Channels To Learn How To Invest Money

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 11:31 AM PDT

learn to invest moneyHow to invest, where and when to invest, are as beguiling as the investment options we have today. This kitchen soup of investment options needs a sprinkling of sound financial advice. In the spirit of things, to save some money, it should be free too.

It would be difficult to dial Warren Buffett (although his books are fonts of wisdom). If the phone isn't a solution, the browser can be. The World Wide Web, like other things, is choc-a-bloc with money pundits. A lot of them are streaming via video on sites like YouTube. And thanks to YouTube, sometimes it's better to sit back and listen when you want to learn to invest money.

Bear in mind that I am no financial guru myself. Also, the nitty gritty of investment differs with each country and its economic climate. These sites lean towards the U.S., although some of the basics behind 'smart money' are the same everywhere.

So, if you have a vested interest in saving up a nest egg, click on these ten YouTube channels and learn to invest money.

eHow Finance

learn to invest money

eHow spells simple knowhow. The finance channel is a part of their network that dishes out practical money advice. You can check out playlists like Personal Finance Tips, Investment Facts, Beginner Investing etc which should put you on the learning path along with the nearly 90 playlists on view. That means lots of videos and lots of free financial coaching.

Sound Investing TV

ways to invest money

The financial channel on YouTube is courtesy of an investment advisory firm called Merriman. You can get an overview of the web resources they provide for investment education. All videos are collated on the YouTube channel. You can let Paul Merriman tell you about fine tuning your asset allocation or if it's OK to pay off your student loans and start investing right away.

Saving and Investing

ways to invest money

This channel is actually a video counterpart of the book 'Saving and Investing' by Michael Fischer. The videos are an introduction to the concepts in the book. The book is well rated on Amazon, so the advice seems to be on the right key. Get the list of topics covered by the videos on the book's website. For instance, understanding the time value of money is extremely important for sound investing.


can you teach me how to invest money

Smart investment advice from money wise experts. You have 296 videos for financial guidance on your savings, investing, career, real estate, and retirement. You can save with a 20 year mortgage or learn how to beat big bank fees. The channel is a joint effort of the CBS news network and


can you teach me how to invest money

If you are looking for low cost ways to live your life and save money in the bargain, look at the video advice dished out at MoneyTalkNews. Self learn personal finance and money strategies by watching videos like how to create a budget or investing versus paying off credit card debt. You also strike gold from videos like – 'Are Used Police Cars a Steal' or 'Who do You Tip and How Much'.

The videos are not only about money but also about the simple things that help to add up the pennies into major dollars.

Morning Star

can you teach me how to invest money

Morning Star's YouTube financial channel is more for the intermediate user who knows the basics of investing. You can go in-depth with video advice on stocks, mutual funds, estate planning, ETFs etc. Morning Star brings market data and financial analysis from nearly 20 countries.

Zacks Investment News

ways to invest money

If you know your bulls from your bears, then this video channel is another good financial aid. The videos give you insight into the stock markets with news picks from the trading markets. Behind it all is the Wall Street investment firm – Zacks Investment Research.


ways to invest money

The nearly 200 YouTube videos on this personal finance video channel are brought to you by the personal finance magazine based in Washington, D.C. Learn the five steps to marriage and money bliss or the financial checklist if you are in your 20's. The videos are not updated that frequently, but as a collection it's worth a go through.


ways to invest money

Bloomberg makes up one third of the $16 billion global financial data market. So says Wikipedia. So their YouTube news channel is serious stuff indeed. One thing is for sure – the videos are on top of the current market happenings. And if you don't get Bloomberg broadcasts in your region, the YouTube videos are a make-do.

For personal finance, check out the Bloomberg: Your Money playlist. You get the full range: from buying a home to greening it and saving money to tips on buying a foreclosed property.

Cambridge Credit

learn to invest money

Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp does a lot of vlogging on debt, managing debt, and getting out of debt. Since debt and savings are companions, you can check out their series of nearly 200 videos on everything from how to save money around the house to finding out if your car is worth less than you owe.

There are lots of other finance tips that are scattered around on YouTube. They may not be part of a specific channel but they are noteworthy. But don't always take the videos word as godly. Cross check if the advice is a fit for the current economic climate. All financial advices on YouTube may not be from licensed financial advisors (but they may be knowledgeable).

For instance, the Bremner, Bird and Fortune guys: check out the video below if you still don't get how markets work.

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How To Run Windows 7 In XP Mode & When You Need This

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 10:31 AM PDT

windows 7 xp modeAs far as backwards compatibility goes, Windows 7’s own compatibility mode doesn’t work wonders. It plays dress up, with a fake nose and beard, and bridges some of the most common software issues.

Generally, that is enough. All but a few troublemakers are whining about an operating system they simply don’t recognize and are otherwise quickly updated to keep track of the OS revolution. If they don’t, people will find alternatives, and the application’s userbase will soon be as dead as the development branch.

There are two big exceptions to this rule; bespoke line-of-business applications and rather old, incompatible hardware. These are applications wildly favored by the (bigger) corporate world, handcrafted for an essential step in the workings of the business, probably more than a decade ago. They’ve become irreplaceable, haven’t been maintained in ages, and are the reason your company still wants you to use Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 (oh, the horror).

Windows XP Mode

With Windows 7, Microsoft has abandoned the hope of maintaining direct compatibility for these applications, as they should. This allows them to advance their operating systems, and close security leaks, without being restricted by line-of-business applications that were haphazardly custom tailored in a time gone by. Instead, they offer Windows 7 XP Mode.

Windows XP Mode comes the closest to an OS virtualization, albeit without OpenGL and other 3D components. It takes care of those other stubborn XP (or IE6) application problems that can’t be solved with the ‘regular’ compatibility mode. But most of all, it frees volume-licensing companies from the XP-restriction and drives a flock of new customers to Microsoft’s new operating systems.

windows xp mode

Since Windows 7 XP Mode is mainly focused on corporate use, it isn’t offered readily to users of all distributions. Only Windows 7 Professional, Corporate and Ultimate are eligible for the free download, including Windows XP Mode (a pre-activated Windows XP SP3 Professional image) and Windows Virtual PC (the virtualization machine).

However, all Windows 7 distributions can download the Windows Virtual PC application. This just means you’ll have to cough up your own copy of Windows XP SP3 Professional. To download, select a different distribution (e.g. Professional) from the dropdown menu.

windows xp mode

Installation isn’t too complicated, just read all dialogs and follow the instructions on the screen. Windows XP Mode will install independently for each user, and share many of your hardware components, like hard drive, disk drive, USB sockets, and it’ll even redirect your My Documents for optimal integration.

Using XP Mode – Within & Without Windows

Starting up, Windows 7 XP Mode mostly feels like a regular virtual machine. That is, not terribly fast, because the entire operating system must be (virtually) booted. Once past that, the interaction is pretty fast and well-integrated. Windows XP applications appear in Windows 7’s start menu and task bar. The only thing not integrated all that well is the installation, but more on that below.

There are two major display modes available; windowed and integrated. The windowed mode is what you see when you first launch the application, a desktop in a windows. This is also how applications are to be installed. Luckily, that’s not what everyday usage looks like. Much like Parallel’s Coherence, or VirtualBox’s Seamless mode, Windows XP windows will blend in with your Windows 7 desktop.

windows xp mode

The biggest issue is the aforementioned installing of new applications. Windows XP Mode can only run in one display mode at a time. Since applications need to be installed in windowed mode, this means that all running applications must first be closed. It’s not even possible to right-click an installer on your Windows 7 desktop and choose to install it in Windows XP Mode.

Aside from that, using Windows 7 XP Mode has been an interesting experience. It integrates well, and completely takes care of those stubborn XP applications. You also shouldn’t forget that you’re getting a free Windows XP SP3 Pro installation with Windows 7 Professional, Corporate and Ultimate.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!

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How To Use Four Desktops At Once & Boost Productivity [Windows]

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 09:31 AM PDT

multiple desktopsOne thing that I’ve always had a difficult time dealing with is desktop real estate. For those of you that remember Windows 3.1, I used to square off as many windows as small as I could get them so that I could stuff as many applications as possible onto the screen. With Windows 95 and beyond, that whole concept of stuffing as much onto the screen as possible disappeared.

While it’s nice that you can ALT-tab your way through as many open applications as you like, it would still be nice to have areas of the desktop set aside for specific display tasks – like the clock, weather, mail and so on.

Well, there is a power tool from Windows SysInternals called Desktops, which lets you create three additional “virtual desktops” where you can spread out your applications as much as you like. You no longer have to pile one application on top of the other in one screen – with Desktops, you can just flow through your four desktops as if you have four computers running at once.

Setting Up Sysinternals Desktops

Once you download and set up the app, the first thing it’ll ask you to do is to configure the hotkey sequence you’ll use to switch between your four desktops. Personally, I like using Alt and numbers because it has the same sort of feel as using alt-tab, except instead of switching apps you’re moving across entire desktops. You can choose any key sequence using the combination shown in this window.

multiple desktops

That’s pretty much all there is to it – you now have four virtual desktops! Just to show you how effective such a setup can be, I’m going to show you how I laid out my four desktops so that you can see just how much more productive this app can be.

As with just about everything that adds so much functionality, there are a few caveats. One is that some applications do not like running in multiple desktops. Windows 7 widgets are one of them, and so are a number of taskbar apps.

The best way to get around this is to make use of common apps on each desktop. For example, on my first desktop I’ve created an entire desktop full of news, weather and informational Windows 7 widgets. Whenever I want a break from work, I just flip over to Desktop 1, sit back and scan each of the scrolling headlines. If one strikes your interest, click the link and a browser will open with the full news story.

multiple desktops windows

On Desktop #2, I wanted a combination of different apps to open, all related to my various communication portals, such as Facebook, Twitter, email and of course the blog feeds of my friends. To accomplish opening all of these apps quickly, I needed an effective launcher that could launch a group of apps at once.

Shankar previously covered Launchy and Jimmy covered Executor, but to really accomplish launching a whole group of apps, I had to go with a small unknown launcher called Stock Startup.  This app runs in the taskbar and lets you create a “package” of apps that you can launch at once.

multiple desktops windows

All you have to do is name a new package, and then add “profiles,” which are basically launch instructions for each application. Here, I’ve configured Facebook Desktop, Seesmic (Twitter), RSS Bandit and a few more apps to all launch at the same time.

multiple desktops windows 7

Finally, after saving this package as “screen2″, all I have to do is click on the icon in the task tray, click on “Screen2″ and all of the apps that I want on Screen2 will launch.

multiple desktops windows 7

Here is my second desktop configured to display all of my communications – email, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, everything. When I want to communicate or socialize, now I just go to desktop 2 and it’s all there.

multiple desktops windows 7

Next, I added shortcuts to the administrator areas for my multiple blogs on Desktop #3. This desktop has now become my blogging workstation. When I first open the desktop, I just click these three shortcuts and I’m ready to start blogging. In between blog updates, I can switch over to desktop 1 to check out the latest news, or desktop 2 to check emails and Facebook updates.

multiple desktops

Finally, I saved Desktop #4 just for web browsing. The nice thing about having tasks that you need to concentrate or focus on apart from the desktops where your communications take place is that you aren’t distracted by new incoming emails or update alerts. You can stay on that desktop and only switch back to the others when you have the time.

It really does start to feel like you have four computers in front of you, and you can swivel your office chair over to whatever computer you need at any given moment. I really like this powertool a lot and intend to put it to even better use in the future.

Have you ever used multiple desktops on one computer? What setup do you prefer? Share your own ideas in the comments section below.

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The 5 Best Gaming Laptops To Buy Now [Gadget Corner]

Posted: 17 Sep 2010 08:31 AM PDT

best gaming laptopsGaming laptops are arguably the most heavily engineered portable electronic devices made today. The very concept is a contradiction. The best gaming laptops need to have powerful hardware, but they also need to be portable enough to at least take to a friend’s house occasionally.  It isn’t to cram so much computing power into a small space and keep it cool enough to function.

The best gaming laptops available today manage this issue and do much more. They also offer high-resolution displays (at least relative to the display size), attractive design and processor powerful enough to handle a variety of tasks beyond gaming.

Let’s take a look at the 5 best gaming laptops that you can buy today.

Toshiba Qosmio X505

best gaming laptops

Toshiba’s Qosmio X505 is a 18.4″ desktop replacement. Yes, that’s right – it has an 18.4″ display and a body of similar bulk. This obviously results in low points when it comes to overall portability (it weighs over 10 pounds) but it also gives the laptop room to pack a display with full 1080p resolution. The laptop is otherwise well constructed, although the keyboard is a bit flat and has a semi-gloss finish that wears quickly.

A variety of variations of the X505 are available. The most basic models contain Core i5 processor, while high-end versions contain Core i7 quad cores. All models in the X505 line contain Nvidia’s powerful 360M graphics processor. This provides plenty umph for playing games, yet the X505 is generally not expensive.

The base Core i5 models are usually under $1,200, while the more powerful Core i7 models are $1,600 or less.

Origin EON18

top 10 gaming laptops

Do you consider yourself a hardcore gamer? If so, you’ll probably want to check out the Origin EON18. This 18.4″ gaming laptop is built by gamers, for gamers, with very little concern for such trivial ideas as “value” or “budget.” Even the most basic EON18 comes with Radeon HD 5870 mobile graphics, a Core i7 quad-core processor and a full 1080p display.The EON 18’s massive chassis has room for up to three hard drives and a second graphics processor. Vanity options, such as custom colors and lid graphics, are available as well.

A laptop this powerful isn’t cheap. The base EON18 is just over $2000, and customizing the laptop can easily run the price into the $4,000 range. Still, the power offered in the EON18 can be matched by few laptops, so true hardcore gamers will want to check it out.


top 10 gaming laptops

Inspired by stealth fighters, the ASUS G73 is a sleek black gaming laptop with styling that is at once meancing and subtle. While most gaming laptops rely on bright trim or other flashy design features, the ASUS G73 follows the Henry Ford approach – you can have it in any color you want so long as it’s matte black.

Design aside, the G73 is ASUS’s showcase. It packs Core i7 power and Radeon HD 5870 graphics into a chassis with a 17.3 full 1080p display. This makes it more than capable of going toe-to-toe with more expensive laptops from boutique brands like Origin and even Alienware, but the mass production of the G73 keeps the price low – you’ll pay around $1,600 from most retailers.

Lenovo Ideapad Y560

top 10 gaming laptops

Most gaming laptops are, uh, gaming laptops. In other words they’re built with gamers as their target audience. That makes sense, of course, but it excludes casual gamers who need decent gaming performance but also need a laptop that doesn’t serve as a flashing “I’M A HUGE NERD!” sign.

The Y560 is the best solution to this problem. From the outside it is a perfectly mundane 15.6″ mainstream laptop. It weighs around 6 pounds, has a 1366×768 display, and is clad in a chassis that screams mundane. Inside, however, you’ll find that even base models include a Core i3 processor and Radeon HD 5730 graphics.

The base price is just $900 on Lenovo’s website, and you can step up to a Core i5 for just $50 more. This makes the Lenovo Y560 good value and the perfect choice for fathers who fire up Starcraft 2 after putting the kids to bed.


best gaming laptops

The venerable ASUS G51 is a 15.6″ gaming laptop that has been available in various incarnations for years. Although it has been updated numerous times, the concept has remained the same. It is a relatively portable, powerful gaming laptop that spans a wide range of prices.

All current G51 models use the Nvidia GTS360M processor, but a variety of models with Core i5 and i7 processors are available. The least expensive models run around $1,000 and, although entry-level, provides more than enough power for the average gamer. The more extreme models go a bit crazy and offer features such a Nvidia 3D Vision and Blu-Ray drives.


These aren’t the only good gaming laptops on the market today, and that’s good news. There are a wide variety of manufacturers that make solid gaming laptops that aren’t mentioned here – it would be difficult to round up all the worthwhile laptops even in a top 20 list. When push comes to shove however, some laptops really stand out from the crowd.

Do you have a favorite gaming laptop that isn’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments.

If you’re looking for a more standard laptop, check out our article on the 10 best laptops available today.  Or check out two of our manuals, the 2009 Laptop Buying Guide and how to build a gaming PC.

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