Saturday, September 25, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [September 24th]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [September 24th]” plus 9 more

Link to

Cool Websites and Tools [September 24th]

Posted: 24 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.

List Your Website Here!


Autonito – Google Chrome’s Incognito mode lets you privately browse websites without leaving a trail in your browser via cookies. To start chrome incognito mode with a website, you need to open a new tab in Incognito. People who find entering Incognito manually hard can use Autonito. Read more: Autonito: Automatically Start Chrome Incognito Mode for Certain Websites


CSS3 Playground – A sub-technology of the Internet is CSS3 that is an important tool through which you can create wonderful designs to display on websites. Since CSS3 is an emerging technology, new features are still being added and worked upon. If you are a developer wanting to experiment with CSS3's features, pay a visit to CSS3 Playground. Read more: CSS3 Playground: Test CSS3's Capabilities & Their Browser Compatibility



ReadEasy – There are a number of things that keep people from enjoying reading a piece of text. Suppose you are reading a passage and a word pops up of which you don't know the meaning of. Or the canvas / background of the text is not reader-friendly for you. These and other problems are solved by ReadEasy. Read more: ReadEasy: Make Your Reading Experience & Comprehension Better



TypingTest – If you think you are good at typing, put your skills to the test with this tool. TypingTest gives you a small piece of text from a popular movie or book and asks you to type it. As you type, the text you have typed accurately turns green but if you make any mistake, the text turns red and the tool gives out a loud beep. Read more: TypingTest: Test & Enhance Typing Skills Online



GestureSearch – The iPhone may be one of the coolest gadgets around but when it comes to search nobody innovates like Google. The most recent example of this is the GestureSearch app for the Android phone. GestureSearch allows you to search android phone by simply drawing the letters on your screen using your finger. Read more: GestureSearch: Search Android Phone By Drawing Letters


List Your Website Here!

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.

NEW: Download MakeUseOf iPhone App. FREE!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

The 5 Best Questions From You [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 24 Sep 2010 06:31 PM PDT

MakeUseOf Answers rewards great answers from readers with $50 in the Best Answer of the Week contest.

This week the winner is Mike for his answer to this question: “Would my Windows PC run faster if I only installed portable apps?” Thank you for your contribution and congratulations!

And these are the best questions of the week:

  1. How can I add Makeuseof guides to the iBook or Kindle?
  2. Can you recommend a Yahoo! Mail notifier extension for Chrome?
  3. How can I prevent someone from opening porn sites on my PC or browser?
  4. Why did I drop from page 1 to 5 on Google when I switched domain names and how can I get my old ranking back?
  5. How can I pair iPhone and iPad?

MakeUseOf Answers has the answers to many interesting questions. Browse by Latest Questions, Unanswered Questions or Most Popular Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

Need help? Ask A Question at MakeUseOf Answers.

Why did I drop from page 1 to 5 on Google when I switched domain names and how can I get my old ranking back?

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

How To Create An HTML Announcement Using Mail Or iWeb [Mac]

Posted: 24 Sep 2010 04:31 PM PDT

html announcementA previous MUO article explains how to use Apple's iWeb to Build A Quick, Easy & Beautiful Website. But if an entire website is not what you need, you can still make use of the easy drag-and -drop tools of iWeb and Apple's mail to create a custom HTML email announcement for say an upcoming wedding, house party, or business product and service.

This article will explain first how to use Apple's free Mail Stationery to send out an HTML announcement on the fly. Next, it will explain how to customize a single iWeb page and embed it in an email.

Apple Stationery

Apple's free Stationery templates are a great way to send out graphic emails on the fly.

After you select File>New Message, select the Show Stationery button on the right side of the email toolbar. 

html announcement

The drop-down box will reveal well over a hundred graphic email templates from which you can select from. Clicking on one of them will fill the content of your email message. If you don't like what you chose, you can simply click another one to replace it.

html announcement

Click on the Photo Browser in the toolbar to access photos from your iPhoto library or you can drag a photo from your Finder into the image holder of a Stationery template.

iWeb Method

To create a similar HTML email, familiarize yourself with the basics of using iWeb, by reading this MUO how-to article.

iWeb offers several dozen templates for website creation, but for our purposes we're only going to use a single page for our email announcement.

Step 1

First, go to File>New Site. Next, choose a template you would like for your announcement.

web announcements

Before you click the Choose button, select one of the pages for your announcement in the main window. For our purposes you will want to choose either the Welcome, About page, or Blank template.

Step 2

Now, open the iWeb Inspector (View>Show Inspector) and click on the Page icon. Deselect the two boxes, because you don't need the navigation menus for your page.

web announcements

Customize the content of the template. Include information and images that you want to send out in your email message.

web announcements

If you’d rather not give Apple free advertising, you can click on the Apple icon at the button of the page and delete it.

create an announcement

After you save your page, publish it to your MobileMe or other web server account.

Step 3

To embed your announcement into an email, download the page where the announcement is posted, and select in Safari, File>Mail Contents of This Page. This will open your announcement in a new Mail message, which you can then send to one or more recipients.

create an announcement

Note: I found a few iWeb templates where the photos did not download when the webpage content was embedded in the mail message. So be ready to change your template if you run into this problem.

Let us know if using Mail and iWorks this way works for you. Also, let us know if there has been times when Mail Stationery did not download properly in an email client. I have found that works fine in most popular mail clients.

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Discover New Favorites In Entertainment With GetGlue

Posted: 24 Sep 2010 02:31 PM PDT

entertainment social networkHow do you discover new things based on your current interests? Word of mouth works in that whenever someone you know recommends something, you’re more likely to check it out. We all watch television, listen to music, go to movies, read books, and surf the web, so how do we keep track of everything that entertains us?

GetGlue is a social network for entertainment. It’s a platform for you to check in and rate things, discover new favorites, see what your friends are into, and receive recommendations based on your interests. Check in to your favorite books, movies, and music and you can earn stickers and even win free stuff.

In this article, I am going to better explain what exactly GetGlue is, how it works, and what features make it worth your time.

What Is GetGlue?

Before I get into GetGlue’s features, I wanted to showcase what the site is used for. Rather than try to explain it any further, it’s probably best if you just watch this short video from GetGlue’s website. This should at least give you a visual representation of what I am talking about.

Looks pretty cool, right? If you’re interested in learning more about GetGlue’s features, let’s continue.

Getting Started With GetGlue

Head over to GetGlue’s homepage and you can create an account or, as I prefer to do, connect with Facebook. Once you’ve got an account, you can fill in information on your profile page, alter your settings (including privacy), and find friends via your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

entertainment social network

Once GetGlue draws in your friends, you can begin subscribing to them to see their books, movies, music, and more in your stream.

Rating Your Interests

what people like

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to start rating your interests. Ratings are pretty simple, you either like something or you don’t. You can launch the Quick Rate app to get started. A box will pop up asking you to pick a category.

Then you can choose from various lists. For instance, if you pick Movies, you can then pick from the Action Hero Movies list, Super Hero Movies list, etc.

what people like

Cycle through the different lists and rate what you like. You’ll start earning stickers for participating and your personal feed will begin populating with recommendations.

[Note]: There isn’t much you can’t rate with GetGlue. Topics include everything from the usual movies and music to athletes, beer, and famous scientists.

Get Relevant Suggestions

what people like

Return to your Suggestions page to see all of the recommended items in your stream. Suggestions are made based on what you’ve rated and you can rate or dismiss items at your discretion. The more you rate, the better GetGlue gets at recommending new or relevant material.

On your Streams page, you will see all of the latest activity from yourself and those you are subscribed to. You can ‘Like’ anything you see on the stream as well.

GetGlue Follows You Around The Web

If you install GetGlue’s Chrome extension, which I recommend, GetGlue will follow you around the web.

entertainment social networking

What does this mean? Say you’re browsing a Wikipedia page of a new movie or your favorite TV show, or any site for that matter. A bar will pop-up at the bottom of the screen showing others’ reviews, suggestions and related shows or content.

entertainment social networking

Then when you’re done surfing the web, return to your profile page on GetGlue and your recent activity will be listed.

You Get Stickers!

entertainment social networking

Visit a page enough times and you’ll get the Fan sticker. There are lots of stickers on GetGlue, and they’re pretty creative at times. Stickers both showcase achievements and help you alter your behavior on the site.

For example, when I went through rating things I didn’t like, I received the Debbie Downer sticker, letting me know what a buzz-kill I was being.

entertainment social network

After you accumulate 7 stickers, GetGlue will offer to send you your stickers in real life, for free. How cool is that?


Facebook already seems to have the ‘Like’ industry on lockdown, but for music, movies, and entertainment in general GetGlue is much better a community.

The Chrome extension is a great feature because you can effectively use GetGlue even when you’re not on the site. So if you’re all social networked out you can still enjoy the benefits of using GetGlue, like getting suggestions when you need them.

I’ve been using GetGlue for a few months now and it still feels relevant, which isn’t necessarily the case with other social networks.

What do you think of GetGlue? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below!

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Hot Tech Deals [Sep 24th]

Posted: 24 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. LG WH10LS30K 10X Internal SATA Blu-Ray Writer + 11 BD-R Discs + 3D Software + Glasses $114.99 Free Shipping

  2. Philips 3000 Series 40PFL3705D/F7 40in LCD HDTV (1080p, 120Hz) $529.99 Free Shipping

  3. TODAY ONLY Saitek Cyborg R.A.T. 3 USB Wired Laser Mouse (3200 dpi) $37.99 Free Shipping

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

  5. TODAY ONLY Harman Kardon BDP-1 Blu-Ray Player $199.99 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

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

How To Use MuseScore To Make Beautiful Scores & Midis

Posted: 24 Sep 2010 12:31 PM PDT

midi editorHere’s a post for the music geeks. Have you ever wanted to make a MIDI file of a score so you can learn the music easily? Did you struggle to find a free, usable music notation program? A free midi editor that can create decent MIDI files from a score? MuseScore can do this and more – all for free!

MuseScore is very easy to use. It has a simple graphical interface which is very easy to understand and get started with. Once you get going though, you can use keyboard shortcuts to do just about everything – then you’re really moving. When you’re done it’s simple to save as PDF or play with volume and instrument sounds for each staff and export as a MIDI.

The beauty of this midi editor really lies in the open source mentality behind it. There’s a great handbook and forum for suggestions, help, tricks and bug notifications. Plus there’s a whole community of geek musicians building and supporting this application.

The app is available for multiple platforms and supports lots of different import and export options, making it easy to use with other programs like Lilypond. This is great news if you want to write out the music easily using MuseScore and print it using the beautiful musical typography of Lilypond.

Create A New Score

When creating a new score, MuseScore’s wizard does all the hard work for you. Fill in the details, pick your instruments, time signature and key and you’re ready to go.

midi editor

Entering Basic Notes

midi softwareClick on the measure you want to start writing on, choose a note duration from the toolbar and click the N to the left of the note durations to indicate you want to start entering notes. Then click on the note’s line (or space) to put the note there. Keep going until you’re done, then click ESC to stop entering notes.

This is even quicker with keyboard shortcuts: Click on your measure; type N to enter notes; durations of notes are chosen using numbers (5 = crotchet / quarter note); use a full stop (period) to indicate a dotted note; type the letter of the notes to enter them or SPACE to enter a rest; type N again to stop entering notes. Be aware that the DEL button means UNDO – it’s not like typing text.

midi software

If you have one, you can also use a MIDI keyboard to enter the score. I’m sure that makes things even quicker!


Chords are made by either clicking where you want to place the note or using shortcuts. Holding shift will add notes to the chord (some Mac users need to hold the FUNCTION key down too).

midi software

Multiple Voices On Same Line

Sometimes you need to add a second voice to a staff or to add a piano part with a different rhythm to other notes already in the measure. To do this, enter your first line as normal. Then click on the first note where the line splits and type N. From the toolbar, choose the second voice from the four coloured numbers. Then enter as normal.

midi files

Copy & Paste

Highlight your selection by clicking on the first, pressing SHIFT and then clicking the last note. Use the edit menu or CTRL-C and CTRL-V (CMD for Mac) to do the cutting and pasting. Paste by clicking on a note exactly where the first note of your copied selection should go. This might mean you need to enter a note there just for the pasting point.


Choose a basic tempo for the entire piece by going to Display > Play Panel. Test it out by playing the piece and work out exactly what speed you’d like.

midi files

If you prefer, you can mark the tempo for each section differently in the score. Add tempo markings by clicking on the first note and choosing Create > Text > Tempo. Then choose the appropriate tempo from the list and adjust the BPM if required. This will affect playback and can be very useful.

Time/Key Signatures, Dynamics & Embellishments

Dynamics, key changes, tempo changes, bar lines, repeats and other markings can be placed in the score and some will affect the playback. Go to Display > Pallette and you’ll see all the options. Mostly, you need to drag the item into the score and let it hook itself to a note or a bar line already in the score.

Mixing & Making MIDI Files

Before saving your file as a MIDI (which really is as simple as File > Save As), you can do a little mixing to highlight individual parts or change the sound of each instrument. Go to Display > Mixer to get a mixing panel where you can change the volume of individual parts and change sounds.

There are mute/solo checkboxes which are great for playback within MuseScore, but for making MIDI files you’ll need to use volume control to make sure (well, you do on a Mac anyway). To further highlight an individual line, try it with a louder instrument, such as the piano.

midi editor

Using Alternate Sound Fonts

If you’re a total music geek, then you might like your MIDI to sound a little better. MuseScore lets you use different sound fonts, which can be added easily enough using these instructions (It’s the GM file you want). I can whole-heartedly recommend the Fluid sound font, but there’s plenty of others around to try out.

Get MuseScore Free!

MuseScore is a fantastic, easy-to-use free music notation program with the ability to export as MIDI, PDF or other format. It’s available for multiple operating systems, so go get it!   Then come back here and let us know what you think of the program.

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

10 Websites For Playing Free Jigsaw Puzzles Online

Posted: 24 Sep 2010 11:31 AM PDT

jigsaw puzzles onlineTake a break and play around with jigsaw puzzles online. Jigsaw puzzles need no introduction. A few scattered pieces which combine together to form a complete picture. The puzzle is in combining each scattered tile with each other.

John Spilsbury, a London engraver and mapmaker, is said to be the first person who created a jigsaw puzzle by cutting a hardwood map with a marquetry saw. That was far back in 1766. The rest as they say is puzzle history.

If you are starting to get the first tinges of enthusiasm for puzzles and jigsaws, you can get an overview about it on Wikipedia.

As you start putting the pieces together, you will see that there's a lot of frenzy over this humble game. From varieties of home board games to clubs and societies that passionately follow the game. There are championships held around the world too with cash prizes galore.

You might ask what the fuss is all about? Well, try out your endurance and perception skills on these ten websites that let you play free jigsaw puzzles online.


jigsaw puzzles online

We have covered this site before: you can create your own jigsaws from searchable Flickr and Google images. Or do a random jigsaw. The challenge is to solve an N x N jigsaw in N2 moves. If a jigsaw has 5×5 tiles, you have to complete it in 25 moves or less.


jigsaw puzzles

JigZone is an online jigsaw puzzle site where you choose from any of the jigsaw puzzles on display. Next, you can choose the level of difficulty from the 6-piece classic to the monumentally arduous 247-piece triangle. There's a daily puzzle, a huge puzzle gallery with categorized jigsaws to pick from, and also upload your own photos and turn them into cool jigsaws to send to friends.

Jigsaw Planet

jigsaw puzzles

A very simple site but it gives you all the online jigsaw puzzles you want to play without the clutter. If that's too much to think about, you can create your own jigsaw puzzles by uploading a photo, setting the number of tiles and their shape. Plus set the rotation to make it more difficult.

National Geographic

jigsaw puzzles

What's the connection between National Geographic and jigsaws? It's the rich images, which get turned into cool jigsaws with the Jigsaw Puzzle Generator. Lots of categories and 545 pages worth of puzzles to choose from. Choose one, then click and time yourself as you try to beat the clock. You can tweak a few settings in the Options to make the puzzles more difficult or easier.

Just Jigsaw Puzzles

free online jigsaw puzzles

This puzzle website is simple in its looks, but it sure has a large number of jigsaw puzzles (1,800+). The Flash jigsaw puzzles are made from licensed royalty-free images. You can make your one time puzzles too by uploading an image or putting it online on Flickr. While playing, you can set the level of play with a slider along with a couple of other options.


free online jigsaw puzzles

From simple 9 piece puzzles to ones that have 100 pieces, take your pick of tiles. The tiles come as straight rectangle pieces without the interlocking shapes. The site has a lot of categories (there's one on the military). Each day you can play a puzzle with a different theme, just to keep things interesting. You can also compare your solving times with average times and the best time.


free online jigsaw puzzles

Sign in and create a profile to play jigsaw puzzles in an interactive interface. You can play a variety of puzzles by moving the tessellated pieces on the full span of the browser. The larger jigsaw puzzles go up to 240+ pieces. There is a simpler 'For Kids' category too among the others. You can also create your own puzzle.


free jigsaw puzzles

Apart from the regular fare of jigsaw puzzles and jigsaw puzzle galleries, the site also hosts a jigsaw puzzle contest. Solve jigsaws and earn puzzle points, which can be redeemed for raffle tickets monthly. The next one is a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. The puzzles are free but the site also has a paid premium plan which gives more benefits to the user like full screen puzzles etc. The free membership limits the player to fewer jigsaw playing options like selected puzzle cuts.


free jigsaw puzzles

The site gives you 3,033 assorted jigsaw puzzles to choose from. You don't need to log in but only provide a player nickname before you start playing. The puzzles open in a full screen browser. You can go as high as 1,200 pieces with some puzzles. Toggle the sound effects and play with the clock in mind.


jigsaw puzzles online

132 jigsaw puzzles and counting for kids should be enough to get them started off. The puzzles are really simple, and even then they are ranked with options of Easy, Medium, and Hard. Pre-school and juniors can enjoy the colorful cartoon images of the puzzles.

Jigsaw puzzles like all puzzles are brain exercises. They rank right alongside the ones we have covered before. Jigsaw puzzles can be a useful educational tool too that stimulates lateral thinking in kids. The most valuable lesson it teaches is one on patience. Do you like playing jigsaw puzzles online and getting the whole picture? Let us know.

Image Credit : Horia Varlan

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

The Best Tools To Adjust Subtitle Files For Every Platform

Posted: 24 Sep 2010 10:31 AM PDT

how to create subtitlesAudiovisual entertainment, both music and video, show an obvious migration from the living room to the computer room. An ever growing number of people download and watch movies and TV series on their computer, overlaid with community-prepped subtitles.

Sadly, these subtitle releases (have to) differ as much as their video release counterparts. If the encoder decides to cut off an obnoxiously long theme song, the subtitles need to reflect that.

If you’re lucky, they will. If either your native language or the film you’re trying to view is a tad less popular, your chances for success drop drastically. Time to improvise with the tools at hand.

Below are some of the best and most complete subtitle toolsets, one for every platform.

Windows – Subtitle Workshop

In all my years, I have yet to come across a subtitle application that trumps Subtitle Workshop for Windows. It’s an advanced, easy to use application, and the very definition of ‘complete’. When working with subtitles, and if it finds a similarly named movie file, the video is showed above the subtitles. You can jump to any point in the timecode double-clicking a line of text, and check if it’s running on time.

how to create subtitles

All default subtitle tools – a.o. positive/negative delay, duration limits, subtitle splitting, joining and conversion between file formats – can be found in the Edit or Tools menu. One of the available timing features allows you to ‘read times’ from another subtitle file, perhaps in a different language, but with a correct timecode to match your video.

Mac OS X – Subs Factory

Mac OS X doesn’t offer as many subtitle toolsets as Windows. From these applications, Subs Factory is the most advanced. In many ways, it resembles the aforementioned Subtitle Workshop, although it sometimes feels less ergonomic, perhaps even cluttered.

Having said that, Subs Factory is actually quite easy to work and will help you with most, if not all, of your subtitle needs.

subtitle software

Subs Factory works through a series of independently floating ‘palettes’. These palettes can be enabled or disabled as per your desire, and are named accordingly; finding the right palette is the least of your worries. For basic subtitle tweaking the right tools are always at your fingertips.

Linux – Subtitle Editor

There are a number of subtitle editing applications available and, as can be expected of Linux applications, they all boast an impressive array of features. The appropriately named Subtitle Editor is one of the most popular ones (an alternative application for the Gnome desktop is Gnome Subtitles).

subtitle software

Subtitle Editor shows the corresponding video in the top left corner, and the audio in the top right, overlaid with subtitle keyframes. The latter are mostly useful when creating or editing subtitles, rather than simply splitting or delaying them.

Web – SubsEdit

When you’re at a friend’s, or using a public terminal, downloading and installing a complete subtitle toolset isn’t always a luxury you can afford. Luckily there are some great online alternatives you can use, certainly for the less technical subtitle manipulations.

how to create subtitles

The SubsEdit suite offers a number of different online tools, including subtitle translation, SUB-SRT conversion, synchronization, simple and progressive delay. There are also a number of more inspired tools, like a YouTube-based subtitle creator and subtitle combination tool to learn languages ’side by side’.

Do you know any alternatives to the aforementioned applications, or have you come across an interesting tip on the subtitle creation process?  If so, please drop a comment below!

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Organize Your PDF Files and Collaboratively Research With Mendeley

Posted: 24 Sep 2010 09:30 AM PDT

collaborative researchIf there is one thing that I do online more than anything else, that is research. Whether you do online research for school, as a hobby or for any other reason, one of the most difficult task is organizing PDF documents, articles, web pages and even books.

Collecting, organizing and keeping track of those references is not always easy, especially when there is a long list and multiple research projects. I usually have two or three research projects going on, and always lose track of some really interesting document or article I read. A while back, I wrote about three useful research tools. Unfortunately, while those solutions cited sources, they don’t deal very well with organizing or sharing files, especially during collaborative research. Jeffry covered some cool techniques to share research files, but that approach is a little difficult to track and manage citations for those files.

Luckily, after quite a bit of digging and trying out a few applications, I’ve discovered a free application and research social network called Mendeley which does it all. With Mendeley, you have a desktop application linked with an online account. Together, they archive and organize your PDF documents, web pages, videos – anything at all that you want to use in your research, complete with full citations. As if that weren’t enough, Mendeley lets you create research groups which you can share your research with. It’s like a researcher’s dream come true.

Archiving Your Own PDF Library With Mendeley

In a lot of my own research, I dig through hundreds of old declassified government documents. When you come across a real gem, it isn’t always easy to store it and find it again later. However, once you download and install the Mendeley desktop app, you can install the optional web tool which gets added as a bookmark into your browser, called “Import to Mendeley.”

collaborative research

The process of saving PDF documents is surprisingly automated. Once you come across a PDF document that you want to make a copy of, just click Import to Mendeley. The first thing that will come up is the import tool. Keep in mind that initially the application only saves the citation, including the URL where you  can download the file later if you want to.

academic research software

Within the Mendeley Desktop app, your new cited source shows up in the center pane. I’ve created a special collection of resources for the Glomar Submarine research project by clicking on the “Create Collection” button. If you click on the “download” button next to the citation you just created, the software will download the PDF and archive it away on your hard drive so you can easily access it later. Some files are very large, so make sure you have the space if you plan to download a lot of PDF documents.

academic research software

If you do plan to use Mendeley for organizing your PDF library of research, you can have the software automatically organize those downloads into a file structure based on year, title, journal name or author of the document. Additionally, the software can also automatically rename files to something you’ll remember. In my case I have all downloaded PDF files renamed to the year and title of the document.

academic research software

You can share out any of the research projects you create to the entire Mendeley community. All you have to do is click on the research folder and then click on the “Settings” button. Then, change the setting for “Other people’s access” to “Public.”

research software

Also note that if you Synchronize attached files, all of the PDFs will get uploaded to your online Mendeley account – and with 500 MB of storage, you could end up maxing out your profile pretty fast.

Additionally, you can share out specific research collections to only select contacts when you edit the settings of a shared collection. All you have to do is invite your colleagues via email. Once they join Mendeley (for free), they can collaborate with you on your research project.

research software

It is also worth mentioning that Mendeley has a massive library of resources to begin with. Just browsing the existing collections will provide you with volumes of valuable information.

research software

It’s also worth noting that Mendeley is also a thriving social network filled with researchers – many of whom are interested in the same research topics you are. Collaborating with other researchers – especially good researchers – can really go a long way toward achieving your own successful research project.

collaborative research

Mendeley can really boost your research into high gear by collecting references at the moment you discover them on the web, and providing you with a quick and easy way to go back and read those documents later. The software lets you “copy the citation” of any reference so you can use it in a Word document, email or anywhere else. You’ll never again forget the amazing information that you uncover. With Mendeley, your research, no matter how massive, really is right at your fingertips.

Have you every used Mendeley? How do you keep track of PDF documents and references to your other research? Do you know of any other tools that help with organizing? Share your insight in the comments section below.

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Monitor Your Computer Better With Process Hacker

Posted: 24 Sep 2010 08:31 AM PDT

monitor your computerWindows Task Manager has evolved into a reasonably good utility. It offers a lot of information about what your computer is doing at any particular moment; the programs running, the load on the processor, and network activity are displayed.

There are limits to what Windows Task Manager can do for you however. If you’re interested in the real nitty-gritty details of your computer’s inner workings you’ll need something better, stronger, faster – something like Process Hacker.

Monitoring Processes

When you install and open Process Hacker you’ll be presented with a window that has three tabs. They are – from left to right – Processes, Services and Network.

Processes is the tab that will be open first by default. Like the Windows Task Manager, this tab of Process Hacker shows all of the programs and applications that are currently running on your computer. This includes programs that are running in the foreground and those that are running in the background.

monitor your computer

There are a couple of features here that make Process Hacker more useful than Windows Task Manager. The information that appears in Process Hacker is organized into trees (you have to enable Show All Processes for this to display) that show which currently open processes rely on each other.

For example, closing explorer.exe in Windows typically causes a number of other programs to also shut down and restart. These programs are listed under explorer.exe in Process Hacker, so you know at a glance that shutting down explorer.exe would probably cause these programs to terminate.

Process Hacker also color-codes processes. The color-code chart can be found by going to Hacker –> Options –> Highlighting. This lets you quickly determine if a program is a system process, a prioritized program, etc. That information can be useful when hunting down background programs that aren’t essential.

Good Service

computer processes

The Service tab in Process Hacker shows you all of the different Windows services (most of them are drivers) that are on your computer. It is extremely detailed and picks up on information that Windows Task Manager will not show. Process Hacker also provides useful information about the current state of the service. The information to the right details the type of service (driver or process) current state of the service (running or stopped) and how the service is set to start (boot, demand or automatic).

There is so much service information in Process Hacker that, to be frank, it can be bewildering even for a generally tech-savvy computer user. I suggest sorting the Service tab by Running/Stopped before delving into it deeply, as the services that are running are usually the most important.

Networking Details

Perhaps the clearest advantage Process Hacker has over Windows Task Manager can be found in the Network tab. Windows Task Manager has a Network tab as well, of course, but it only shows overall network utilization.

computer processes

Process Hacker goes far deeper. Instead of showing overall network utilization it provides in-depth information about the network connections your computer currently has opened, the IP addresses involved, and the protocol being used. The tab – like all tabs – updates in real-time, and Process Hacker highlights connections that are brand new or recently terminated.

The functionality here is advanced, but can be useful for troubleshooting network problems or searching for a program that you suspect is accessing the Internet without your permission.

Other Useful Features

One of my favorite features in Process Hacker is the ability to search for a process by its name. Let’s say, for example, that for some reason I want to find eveything on my computer related to running Dropbox. I can do this by going to Hacker –> Find Handles and DLLs and then typing in Dropbox. All the processes related to it will pop up!

monitor your computer

Process Hacker can also find and terminate processes that are trying to hide on your computer, such as Trojans or Rootkit software. You can access this utility by clickng on Tools –> Hidden Processes. Any hidden processes active are highlighted in red, and you can then select them and attempt to terminate them. This isn’t exactly a security suite, and I don’t recommend it as your sole means of combating malware, but it can be handy.

Finally, Process Hacker includes graphs like Windows Task Manager. They can be accessed by clicking on View —> System Information. This is one area where Windows Task Manager is actually better, because the graphs are larger and clearer.


Process Hacker is a great program, and far more capable than Windows Task Manager. It can be confusing to use because of the level of detail it provides, so be prepared to deal with a learning curve if you’re not already well versed on what “processes” and “services” do. Once you get the hang of things however, you’ll find that Process Hacker is better than Windows Task Manager in almost every way.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

No comments:

Post a Comment