Thursday, September 23, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [September 22nd]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [September 22nd]” plus 9 more

Link to

Cool Websites and Tools [September 22nd]

Posted: 22 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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GoodTyping – Anybody whose work involves computers and meeting deadlines needs to have an above-average typing speed. There are many factors contributing to a fast typing speed. Learning all these things yourself can be quite difficult; instead, you should pay a visit to
free typing program GoodTyping. Read more: GoodTyping: Free Typing Program Online


FacePinch – If you want to find out what Facebook users are currently talking about, all you need to do is pay a visit to Facepinch. It displays the public status messages of Facebook. Right away you can browse public status messages, search for them through keywords, check out hot trending topics, and view popular and recent searches. Read more: FacePinch: A Real Time Facebook Search Engine



Webinpaint – While some online image editing tools are quite capable in carrying out some advanced image editing tasks, when it comes to flawlessly removing objects or certain portions of an image, offline tools are your best bet. However, if you can't afford the likes of Photoshop or Snagit, then Webinpaint is something you should try. Read more: Webinpaint: Easily Remove Objects From Images Online – is a site by the maker of, a cool music torrents indexer we talked about more than a year ago. It is evident from the significant similarities in the user interfaces of both sites that has been modeled on and aims to be a directory for quality movie torrents like the former is for music. Read more: An Online Movie Torrents Indexer



Noteboxapp – There are instances where web designers can't complete a project because clients do not give proper feedback. Often, clients find the feedback process too cumbersome and web designers cannot understand what exactly the client wants changed. Fortunately, Notebox is a professional web tool that help designers get feedback in a simple and client-friendly way. Read more: Noteboxapp: Easily Get Feedback On Design


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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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How To Make Your Own Flash Animated Presentations With Powerbullet Presenter

Posted: 22 Sep 2010 06:31 PM PDT

flash presentationsMakeUseOf had a recent giveaway for a very handy flash conversion tool that’s usually pretty hard to find for free (such as converting flash videos to animated GIF files and screensavers).

You’ve also seen how to convert PDF files to a flash movie, create flash websites, download and play SWF and FLV files, and make your own flash galleries. Now you can create flash animations and presentations using the very user-friendly application, Powerbullet Presenter.

Powerbullet is a small download (2.6MB; 7.41MB once installed) that allows anyone to create, according to the website,

multi-page presentations that are commonly used in electronic sales brochures and catalogues, splash screens, tutorials, slide-shows and student projects.

It really shines in that you don’t need a lot of technical expertise to be able to create slick animations.

Adding & Creating Page Elements

You can drag-and-drop any PNG, GIF or JPEG images (or press Ctrl + Shift + I to insert images) and MP3 or WAV sounds or voice recordings (or head to Insert > Page sound or SWF overlay) onto the Powerbullet work area, which consists of a page (similar to a Powerpoint slide).

flash presentations

Your product can have several pages, which enables you to create continuous animations if you so choose. If you do include more than one page, you have the options to add arrows between pages that you can click on to transition to the next page, or you can also choose to automatically go on to the following page.

flash presentations software

You can also insert text (or press Ctrl + Shift + T), shapes (press Ctrl + Shift + O for ovals, and Ctrl + Shift + R for rectangles which can become colored backgrounds for your page), lines (or press Ctrl + Shift + N), bullet list (or Ctrl + Shift + L), and tables (Ctrl + Shift + B) and you can even paste an image from your clipboard (by pressing Ctrl + Shift + P). By default, you’ll have the Insert bar buttons for faster access to any elements you may want to add.

flash presentations software

To create a background with a nice gradient, follow the steps in this tutorial by YouTube tech extraordinaire, Tinkernut:

Animating Page Elements

Right-click on any image or text you’ve added to your page and select Item effects (alternatively, press Ctrl +\ or select an element, head to Selection > Animation and effects).

flash presentations software

There’s more than 20 different effects that you can use to spice up an otherwise boring presentation.

creating flash presentations

You also have the options to loop the animation and set a delay so that your elements appear animated at different times.

creating flash presentations

To preview these effects on the current page, press F2 or go to Page in the menu bar and select Preview.

creating flash presentations

This will open your default web browser and play the flash presentation. To see the whole presentation (and not just the current page which is what you get with Preview), you’ll have to save your work and use the Export feature (Ctrl + E).

After this, you’ll have a Powerbullet folder in the location you chose (in my case, my Dropbox) and several files you can now share with others: a Windows executable, the flash file (in SWF format) and the .htm file.

You can copy the flash and .htm files to your FTP server, like Tinkernut does for a quick introductory banner that users can click on and get to a website (if you previously set a hyperlink, which is easily achieved by going to Insert > Page link).

flash presentations

With that .htm page, you should be able to see it in your web browser, but you could also try the SWF and FLV player.

Here’s a short flash presentation made in Powerbullet:

If you know of similar free programs, please let us know in the comments!

Image credit: Scott Copeland

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How To Fix A Corrupted Windows NTFS Filesystem With Ubuntu

Posted: 22 Sep 2010 04:31 PM PDT

ubuntu fixing ntfs filesystemHow many of you have had that sinking feeling as your PC boots up? You know, a slight niggle in the back of your mind that says “this is taking longer than usual” before Windows drops dead in front of you, and refuses to play ball.

Me too, and much of the time the original Windows CD/DVD/USB you used in your original install can’t fix the problem. You need something else. Something like a whole operating system, either installed on a separate partition or in Live CD/USB format. Enter Ubuntu!

There’s a good few reasons to have Ubuntu on a CD or USB stick somewhere in a draw. It’s free, to start with. You don’t need to install it to use it, and it’s great for accessing a butchered Windows partition – even if it’s just to get your precious documents back before a format.

When it comes to fixing your broken Windows install then Ubuntu has its uses there too. If you happen to break your registry or master boot record, then fear not – all is not lost. This technique should work on any Ubuntu-based Linux distributions.

Download, Install & Boot Ubuntu

Those of you who already have a dual-boot Ubuntu and Windows machine can skip this step.

If you’ve not got a Live USB stick then you’re going to need to get hold of one. UNetbootin is a useful tool which enables you to create a USB stick with a bootable version of your favourite open source operating system preloaded. If you’d prefer to use a CD, download an Ubuntu disk image and burn it with ImgBurn.

ubuntu fixing ntfs filesystem

If you’re dual-booting, then this is a simple step of choosing Ubuntu over Windows at boot. For Live USB sticks and CDs you’re going to need to enter the BIOS setup as your PC boots (usually by pressing F2 or Del) and arrange your boot devices to prioritize your USB device or CD drive to boot before your main hard drive.

If you’ve done everything correctly you’ll see the UNetbootin bootloader appear. From here you’ll want to boot directly into the operating system. After a minute or two you’ll see the desktop appear, and we’re ready to begin.

Fixing A Corrupted Windows NTFS Partition

Luckily you can schedule an NTFS consistency check within Ubuntu to attempt to repair your tattered Windows partition, but you’re going to need to install a couple of things. It is worth mentioning that this should work with any NTFS drive that refuses to mount in Ubuntu too. Open a Terminal window by clicking Applications, Accessories and then Terminal.

First install NTFS-3G by typing this command:

sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g

Enter your password and hit Enter on your keyboard. Next install NTFSProgs in the same way:

sudo apt-get install ntfsprogs
ubuntu fixing ntfs filesystem

Now with both of those tools at your disposal, you can set about fixing Windows. First locate your Windows partition. In the Terminal type:

sudo fdisk -l
rescue ntfs filesystem from linux

You’re looking for an entry that looks like this:

/dev/sda2   *         638       12312    93773824    7  HPFS/NTFS

The important bit is the /dev/sda2 which tells us where the Windows partition is mounted. HPFS/NTFS lets us know that the partition is a Microsoft Windows formatted device, and that little star denotes that this is a bootable partition.

So in my case /dev/sda2 means that Windows is on sda (my internal hard drive) and that it’s partition 2 that I want to play around with.

Armed with this information you want to use NTFSProgs to attempt to fix the partition. In your Terminal window type:

sudo ntfsfix /dev/<device name>
rescue ntfs filesystem from linux

Replace <device name> with your Windows partition (e.g. /dev/sda2) and enter your password followed by Enter. Your drive will now be mounted, checked for consistency and any errors found should be fixed. Restart your PC to assess the situation, if all goes well you’ll see Windows.

Fixing A Corrupt Master Boot Record

If you’ve got a problem with Windows’ oh-so-important boot record then you can also fix that from within Ubuntu too. Assuming you’ve already booted into Ubuntu, open up Terminal and install ms-sys by typing:

sudo apt-get install ms-sys

You might need a password, input it and hit Enter.

If you followed the first part of this tutorial you’ll know which partition Windows is installed on, if you missed it type:

sudo fdisk -l

Find the HPFS/NTFS partition that relates to your Windows install, and type:

sudo ms-sys -m /dev/<device name>

Replace <device name> with your Windows partition (e.g. /dev/sda2) and hit Enter. Ubuntu will attempt to restore your master boot record. You’ll probably want to restart your machine now, just make sure you take any Live CD/USB devices out as you do.


If you’re still having problems with a Windows install, and you’ve tried everything then don’t forget you can mount the partition and rescue as much data as you think you’ll need. Using the terminal, enter:

sudo mkdir /media/windows
sudo ntfs-3g -o force,rw /dev/<device name> /media/windows

Replace <device name> with your Windows partition location and the drive should pop-up on your desktop.

rescue ntfs filesystem from linux

Has Ubuntu saved your bacon recently? Do you dual-boot with Windows? Thinking about making a Live CD just in case? Let us know below.



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Take Part In Multiplayer War Games With Free FPS AssaultCube

Posted: 22 Sep 2010 02:31 PM PDT

multiplayer war gamesWhat many people don’t know about me is that I used to be a die-hard gamer. I would play team-match Medal of Honor with guys and girls around the globe until three in the morning, then I’d get up the next morning and hit the game even before I had breakfast. Yes, I was not always the pillar of the community that you see here before you.

It goes without saying that, like most of the FPS gamers out there, I started and became immediately addicted to Doom and the whole concept of the First-Person-Shooter game. With a set of earphones and a good video card, you can really feel like you’re battling alien monsters, or waging battle with your buddies in World War II. I love free FPS games, such as the list of the five online shooters Simon mentioned earlier.

Since I’ve played almost every FPS game that has hit the market since the 1980’s, I’m kind of picky about quality. So, when I decided to do a review of the most popular open-source first-person shooter game on SourceForge called AssaultCube, I expected to play for five minutes and then move on.

AssaultCube Offers Realism & Smooth Gameplay

AssaultCube is available for Windows, Linux or Mac. The moment I installed and launched AssaultCube, I knew that I was in for a treat. Type in your nickname, set the screen resolution and you’re off and running. You’ll see yourself and your teammates in the map at the upper left of the screen. Obviously, you won’t see your opponents – you have to hunt them down!

multiplayer war games

Right off the bat I noticed the graphics were impeccable, and the game creators took all of the best parts of the most popular FPS games and incorporated them into this one. All controls are available that gamers expect – crouch, jump, stealth, quick weapon select, and everything else.

Movement is smooth and fast – and on a standard Windows 7 laptop I experienced absolutely no lag or skipping of the video. I noticed that the AI works well. Based on the difficulty settings, your team and your opponents will either fight hard, or run around in circles like idiots – in Single Player mode it’s up to you!

free multiplayer war game

I also noticed that absolutely everything in this game is easily customizable. All video, sound, head-up display settings – everything. Whatever sort of FPS game experience that you’re used to with your other games, you can likely customize this one to suit your tastes.

The same goes for all of the keyboard mapping controls. You could completely remap all of the keys if you like, and bind any key to the commands. I found that the default follows the standard control setup for most games, so I pretty much left everything as is.

free multiplayer war game

During game play, I noticed that the programmers really took every little detail into account. You’ll see muzzle flashes not only out of the guns, but also reflected on the walls. You’ll see your reflection when you stand and look at water, and you’ll see your bullets striking the walls or objects – although objects don’t react quite as realistically as they could (if at all).

free multiplayer war game

The real beauty of this game is the environment. There are a whole selection of game maps to choose from that offer an entirely different look and feel – different places to hide, to climb up onto, or to dive down into. Every map will require different tactical maneuvers, so the fun really never stops – and I haven’t even got to multi-player mode yet!

When you choose multi-player mode, you can set up a LAN game on your network, or you can choose from the available game servers around the world. I checked it around midnight my time and found that the top 10 or so servers had plenty of active players.

free multiplayer war game

I found that multi-player mode also ran smoothly, even during chaotic and active moments in the game. The only time I saw a few skips was when there was about seven players on each team battling it out in a courtyard. But even then, it barely lasted a second.  Playing this game in multi-player mode brought back a whole lot of fun memories from my earlier days of FPS gaming. In fact, I think I blew about forty minutes just playing while I should have been writing this article!

I know my priorities though, so as the enemy shot my buddy who I was supposed to be providing cover-fire for, I took my last screenshot and got back to the article. John445, wherever you are – sorry, buddy!

multiplayer war games

Overall, I can see why this game has had almost 30,000 downloads on SourceForge. It is addictive, very fun, and if you have any leaning toward easily getting addicted to multiplayer FPS wargames – I would advise you to avoid it at all cost, or kiss your free time goodbye.

Give AssaultCube a run and let us know what you think. Do you know of any other FPS games out there that are as good or better? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Hot Tech Deals [Sep 22nd]

Posted: 22 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. Western Digital Elements 120GB Portable External Hard Drive $24.99 Free Shipping via code WDE5OFF

  2. Lacie Designed by Neil Poulton 1TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive $59.99 Free Shipping via code WX0T04BKM2T3CC

  3. MSI Twin Frozr II Radeon HD5850 Video Card (DirectX11, Eyefinity) $214.99AR

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

  5. Dell Vostro 3500 Intel Core i3-350M 2.26GHz 15.6in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $549

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

  7. Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB 5400RPM/32MB 3.5in Internal Hard Drive (667GB Platters) $94.99 Free Shipping

  8. Gran Turismo 5 Game Preorder (PS3) $47.99 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

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3 Small Windows Freewares To Delay Program Launch On Startup

Posted: 22 Sep 2010 12:31 PM PDT

software launcherThe issue of delaying application launches on startup, for me, directly relates to the security and safety of my computer. On startup, my computer connects to the Internet before the firewall can kick in. That small delay in the startup of my protection software gives a small window to viruses and malware.

The solution is a registry hack or software launcher software that can delay the startup of my broadband network connection.

Delaying a service has many uses – from improving boot efficiency to troubleshooting. Windows has several manual options for specifying the sequence of startup programs and a delay between them. You can use a batch file and place it in the startup folder or get into the registry and add entries under a registry key.

But for absolute ease of use there are a few software launcher options too. Let's look into three of them.

Startup Delayer

software launcher

Startup Delayer (v2.5.138) is a 980KB free download. The latest version is more than a year old, but it works just fine on Windows 2000/XP/XP64/Vista systems. The app lists all the applications that load with Windows. You can double click on each application and edit its Launch Type and set the Delay.

Alternatively, you can drag 'n drop the application onto the Time Chart that's below the application list. Then, you can then drag and drop it around the Time Chart to rearrange the apps and change the delay. You can delete selected programs from the list and in case you change your mind, simply start over. The delay information is displayed on the status bar.


app launcher

LaunchLater (v1.3) Beta does the same job of delaying the startup time of applications. The 1.145MB freeware does require that you have .NET Framework (ver.4.0) installed.

LaunchLater is very simple: you add the applications you want to delay and specify the delay in seconds. But the simplicity also entails a bit of work, because you have to manually browse to the executable of the application you want to delay the launch for.


Startup program delay is just one of the roles of this well rounded security app, WinPatrol (ver.18.1). WinPatrol's overall role is to monitor your computer for any changes and issue alerts. Scotty, the system watchdog, sits on the taskbar and watches out for threats. Malicious software, harmful ActiveX controls, suspected key loggers, spyware etc can be kept at bay using WinPatrol. WinPatrol does not scan but takes a system snapshot as the basis for its heuristic monitoring of the system.

WinPatrol has a startup monitor that lists all the programs that load with Windows. You can simply right click on the program(s) and move it to the Delayed Start list.

app launcher

Next, on the Delayed Start list, you can right click on the program and set the delay time for the program.

software launcher

WinPatrol (Free) is a 1MB download and is supported on all Windows OS including Windows 7.

If you are looking for a startup delayer with some extra functionality to boot, WinPatrol is well reviewed and a good choice.  Mark reviewed it back in 2007 as well as taking a look at its portable version in 2009.

You can also go and checkout how to use Soluto to improve your Windows boot up time. Soluto also has an option that lets you delay programs and improve Windows responsiveness.

You can create your own free delay device using a simple batch file and placing it in the startup folder. Googling for it throws up quite a few samples. Windows Vista and 7 (also Windows Server 2008) have an Automatic (Delayed Start) option that ensures that selected services start shortly after a boot. You can access it from the Services Control Panel applet under Administrative Tools.

Do you use a manual option or a software to delay startup programs? Let us know.

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How To Create Groups Of Portable Applications Using Cameyo [Windows]

Posted: 22 Sep 2010 11:31 AM PDT

portable applications creatorWe all have favorite applications that we use all the time. The question is, what should we do when we use another computer where those applications are not installed?

The choices are to either use the available alternatives, install our favorite apps (if possible), or wait until we can use our own computer at home. Plus what about the times when we have to re-install our favourite OS? What will happen to our favorite apps then? We have to re-install them one by one.

It would be nice if we could pack everything up in one portable app, so those apps will always be available whenever we need them – in any possible scenario. Mac users don’t have any problem with this particular issue because basically all Mac apps are portable. But things work differently in the Windows world. Luckily, there’s a portable applications creator called Cameyo.

Application Virtualization

Cameyo calls itself “Application Virtualization” and what it does is turn ordinary Windows applications (or groups of applications) into one independent executable package that can be run from any Windows machine.  In other words, a portable application.

To be able to do that, Cameyo requires you, the user, to go through the real installation process of the application that you want to transform into a portable app. Cameyo will gather data from the installation to know the required components to build the portable app.

But before you install other apps, you have to install Cameyo first.

portable applications creator

Then open Cameyo, and you will see two options: “Capture Installation” and “Edit Existing Package“. Choose the first one to create a portable app. If you’ve done this before, you’ll have the list of your portable apps on the right pane and you can use “Edit existing package” to modify them.

portable applications

Cameyo will take a snapshot of your system prior to the installation of the soon-to-be portable app. This process could take a while depending on how “messy” your system is and how powerful the hardware is.

portable applications

After the preliminary snapshot, Cameyo will give you the safe signal to proceed with the installation of the app.

portable applications

Install the application(s) that you want to turn into a portable app. As an example, I used one of my favorite games: Crayon Physics.

make applications portable

Then after the installation, go back to the small “Proceed with installation” window and click the “Install done” button. But if you want to build a package that consist of several applications, you should go and install other apps before clicking that button.

Cameyo will take another snapshot of your system. Please be warned though that this one will be longer than the first one – a lot longer. During my experiment, it took so long that I thought the process was a failure. I restarted everything just to find out that this “speedy snapshot process” was normal.

make applications portable

This so-called “Post Installation Snapshot” will be compared with the first snapshot taken before installation and the comparison will be analyzed to find the differences in the system. As the logic goes, these differences are the required components needed to run the application. Cameyo will put them together along with the “real” executable of the app and build a standalone portable app.

That’s why it’s advisable that you quit any running applications and stop all other activities on your computer before going through with the process of building portable apps so that the detected changes in the snapshots are purely from the installation process of the apps.

Building The Portable

After the long wait, Cameyo will continue with the building process. The “Main executable” window will appear. You’ll have to edit/confirm several things before clicking the “OK” button: the name of the (portable) app, the location to save the app, and which executable is the main exe to run every time this package is opened.

From the example below, the one that we should choose as the main exe is “launcher.exe“.

make applications portable

Click “OK” and Cameyo will start building your portable app.


You’ll have the “Success” window afterward, along with the summary of the saved location.

portable applications creator

Congratulations! You’ve just built your portable app. Back up the folder to be used later and/or copy it onto a USB drive if you want to run the app on another Windows system.

After playing around with the Cameyo portable applications creator for a short while, I can say that there’s still large room for improvement – especially in the snapshot department. My experiment was a success but some of my friends reported that there are some applications that don’t go along well with Cameyo.

Why not take Cameyo for a ride and tell us the results using the comments section below?

Image credit: bfishadow

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The Best Websites For Free High Quality Newsletter Templates

Posted: 22 Sep 2010 10:31 AM PDT

free newsletter templatesNewsletters in all their forms (paper, email, website) are effective marketing tools for businesses and organizations to communicate their products, services, and activities. Using principles of graphic design, some basic knowledge of HTML, and software like Word, Apple's Pages or Adobe InDesign, you can produce a quality newsletter based on one of many high quality newsletter templates available free for download.

The following are among the best sites for free newsletter templates. You can customize these templates with your own logo, images, and other content. A few of these sites may require a free registration but all them offer 100% free downloads.

Carbon Graffiti

One of the more basic and straightforward sets of HTML templates can be found on Carbon Graffiti. Click on the preview of each layout to get a better view. The templates on this site include basic, advanced, and custom formats for traditional, RSS, and promotional newsletters. These free newsletter templates are a direct download, requiring no site registration.

free newsletter templates

Campaign Monitor

Compaign Monitor, an email distribution service, has a wide selection of HTML newsletter email templates. It offers several dozen templates that the company says have been tested for all major email clients, including Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo! Mail. Most of the newsletters are of the two-column format.

newsletter templates


Buytemplates sells premium HTML templates, but it also offers a handful of free very high quality newsletter templates. The designs go well beyond the traditional two-column format and are great for professional email marketing campaigns. You have to provide a valid email address to get the download link for templates.

newsletter templates


FreshTemplates offers a free set of straight forward newsletter templates that consist of two-three column layouts.  These templates can be edited in Microsoft Word or in the free Online-HTML-Editor.

newsletter templates


Stocklayouts of course sells professional high quality layouts, but it also offers a great set of free newspaper templates that include matching business cards, posters, brochures, and postcard layouts.  The files are fully editable, so you can replace the fonts, images, and of course the filler text with your own copy. You can either print out the finished layout or downsize it for email distribution or web posting. You have to create a free account to download the templates.

free email newsletter templates

Microsoft Word Templates

Wordtemplates includes sets of free newsletter templates and links to other sources. These HTML templates are a direct download, and don’t require sign-up. For similar Word templates, check out  Top 5 Sites to Download Microsoft Word Templates.

free email newsletter templates


Aweber is another email distribution service that features some easy to customize free templates that you can download without being a paid customer. The following are a few of their free options.


free email newsletter templates


free newsletter templates

For tips on how to use newsletter templates in Microsoft Word and Apple's Pages, check out our two MUO articles, here and here. If you want to incorporate a newsletter for say your blog site, check out our article, SendBlaster— An Offline Newsletter Manger For Your Small Website.

If you know of other great sources of free newsletter templates, please share them with us.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

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Access Your Media Collection From Any Browser With Zumocast

Posted: 22 Sep 2010 09:31 AM PDT

browser mediaThis is an application you don’t want to miss. Seriously.

Let’s say you have a media center computer. Maybe it’s running Boxee, maybe it’s running a different media center program; the point is, you’ve filled it with tons of goodies. You’ve ripped all your DVDs, and have a massive media collection. You love watching it when you’re home, but your netbook or iPhone can’t store it all. What to do?

Check out Zumocast, that’s what. This program, for Mac and Windows, can be installed on your media center (sorry, Linux users). It will index all of your videos and your music. Then, thanks to the magic of the web, you can go to Zumocast to access your media from anywhere on any device. There’s even a special app for your iDevices.


First thing you need to do is install it. Head over to Zumocast and download the program. You’ll do the standard installation dances – clicking “Next” a bunch of times in Windows and dragging icons around on a Mac – before you’ll have your application installed and ready. You’ll also need to create an account with a password, which you’ll need to remember later.

browser media

Tell the program where to find your media and you’re done. Zumocast will begin indexing your media, which may take a long time depending on how large your collection is. Don’t worry, though; you can start browsing your folders manually on the web right away.


browser media

Head back to Zumocast and sign in. Presto! Your media is waiting for you. By default you’ll be able to browse your photos, but if you click the “video” or “music” tabs you’ll be able to check out your indexed collections as well. The video library is largely organized by folders, but gives you a great way to browse shows and movies:

media apps

Click a video and it will start playing. How well it does so, of course, depends on both your Internet speed at home and the place you’re trying to watch your videos from.

The music browser takes a more iTunes-like approach to management. This means your entire music collection is on hand. You can browse your music by artist, album or just pull up a list of all your songs.

Want to listen to that album or watch your movie offline, later? You can download any video and any music to your computer directly from your browser.

iPhone/iPad App

Wish your iPhone worked the same way? It does now:

media apps

You’ll find Zumocast in the app store, so download it after you’ve set up your Windows computer or Mac with the program. You’ll need a network connection to access your media, of course. Still, it’s a great way to have quick access to the videos and music you cannot fit on your iDevice.

Creative Uses

  • Stream media from your console! The browser client work on your XBox, Playstation or even Wii, so try out the web interface and let us know how it works.
  • Watch TV shows at work without filling your work computer’s hard drive with evidence.
  • Turn any computer with an internet connection into your own jukebox.
  • Use the iPhone App to load your device with music and videos and never deal with iTunes again.


I intend to make use of this program quite a bit in the weeks to come, and am pretty excited about the prospect. Let me know how it works for you guys, okay? Also feel free to let me know any alternative ways of achieving this same thing, or any other cools uses you find for Zumocast. Thanks!

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5 Cool Science Experiments You Should Check Out On YouTube

Posted: 22 Sep 2010 08:31 AM PDT

cool science experimentsScience was always one of my favorite subjects in school; not just because I learned a lot of cool facts about the world around me, but because I got to see things that I wouldn’t otherwise come in contact with in my everyday life. Experimenting can be a lot of fun, especially if you have no idea what the outcome will be.

Lots of people like science, and thanks to sites like YouTube, we have more access now than ever before. You can find videos on outer space, chemical explosions, lasers, micro-organisms, and stuff I don’t even know about. Never mind what goes on inside a high school classroom, YouTube has a lot more to offer.

In this article, I have pulled together 5 videos of some pretty cool science experiments.

1. Liquid Nitrogen Explosion

If you search for ‘cool science experiment’ on YouTube, Steve Spangler will absolutely dominate your search results. He’s a celebrity teacher of sorts, as well as a speaker, author, and television personality.

Some of the experiments he does are pretty low-tech in my opinion, but every once in a while he brings out the big stuff. This is a really cool video in which Steve went on a news program and demonstrated his liquid nitrogen explosion.

2. Alka-Seltzer Added To Water Drop In Micro-Gravity

Here’s something most of us would never get to see without YouTube. This video of a cool science experiment takes place on a space shuttle in micro-gravity. An Alka-Seltzer is added to a spherical water droplet and it goes absolutely insane. I really like how it just dissolves instantly and comes to an equilibrium gradually. I guess that’s how it settles your stomach.

3. Dry Ice Bubble

Dry ice is always fun to play around with. In this video, this guy shows you how to make a giant dry ice bubble with just a bowl, soapy wash rag, and of course, dry ice. It actually puffs up pretty big before finally popping and clouding up the room, which in turn makes it pretty cool.

4. Liquid Light

Remember those glow sticks everybody used to run around with during Halloween? Everybody always wanted to know how they work. Well in this video, you can discover how they work, as well what you would need to do to recreate the experience yourself and make “liquid light”.

They also experiment with mixing the different colors together to see if the end result is a white liquid as predicted.

5. Lemon Battery

Last but not least, the cool lemon battery science experiment. Did you know that you could turn a bunch of lemons into a powerful enough battery to light an LED bulb? In this video, you’ll get to see just that, as this guy hooks lemons together to form a battery. He even powers a calculator. Think of it as a last resort if you’re out of batteries and in an emergency of some kind.


And there you have it. Now you probably have a conversation starter or two for your friends. You can ask, “Did you know you could use lemons as batteries?” or “Do you know what happens to Alka-Seltzer in space?” You can find videos on these topics, and everything in between, on YouTube. Just type in what interests you most to pull up related videos.

To find some cool science experiments you can try at home, check out the articles we’ve previously written here and here.

What’s your favorite science experiment online? Are you into homemade volcanoes or are you more of a giant explosion type of person? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below, and if you liked this article share it with your friends/followers!

Image Credit: 123dan321

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