Tuesday, September 7, 2010

MakeUseOf.com: “The Four Google Chrome Extensions For Easier Online Reading” plus 10 more

MakeUseOf.com: “The Four Google Chrome Extensions For Easier Online Reading” plus 10 more

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The Four Google Chrome Extensions For Easier Online Reading

Posted: 07 Sep 2010 06:10 AM PDT

web readingWhile the Internet is a great source of information, the information sometimes isn’t displayed in the best fashion. Web content is usually supported by advertising, and that’s fine – except ads can sometimes be distracting. Font and style choices can also be a problem. A poor combination of background and text can make it impossible to read a website.

It would be great if web designers stopped making poor design choices, but that’s unlikely to happen. Not everyone is an experienced designer. However, there are a number of Chrome web reading extensions that can be used to combat hard-to-read websites and banish all hints of eye strain.

Reading Glasses

Many website distracts are placed outside of the site’s main text. These distractions – typically advertisements or introductions to other parts of the site – are fine by themselves, but they can become very annoying if they prevent you from concentrating on a long or complex article.

web reading

The Reading Glasses extension makes it possible to side-step this problem by fading out everything on a website except for the selection that you want to read with a single click. The rest of the website is still there, and you can still interact with it, but you’ll no longer be so distracted.

Reading Glasses is also smart enough to display an entire selection of text even if you select only a small part of it.


The ChromeVis extension, which is actually made by Google, is a quick-and-easy way to make obscure text readable. Once you’ve installed ChromeVis you can activate it at any time by pressing the “0″ (as in zero) key. Any text that you have selected will be displayed at the top of the browser in a high-contrast format. You can  select between different color schemes by pressing number keys 1 through 6.

internet reading software

ChromeVis also offers numerous keyboard control functions that make it easy to navigate through text. For example, pressing Shift+S will move the text forward by one sentence.

A full listening of available hotkeys can be found by right-clicking on the ChromeVis icon in the upper right of Chrome and clicking Options.


Web designers usually have to cater to the lowest common denominator. This means that webpages are usually no wider than 800 or 1024 pixels. Obviously, such a web page is going to look rather silly if you have the page maximized on your 1080 px monitor. Webpages can be hard to read on monitors with a high resolution as well.

internet reading software

Zoomy tackles this problem by automatically adjusting Chrome’s level of zoom when you have a web page maximized. If the page’s standard size is much smaller than your monitor the browser automatically zooms in until the page takes up the entire width of your display.

This isn’t for everyone – it may be annoying for experienced web users – but it is excellent for people with vision difficulties.

Plain Clothes

Today’s Internet looks a lot better than the Internet of a decade ago, but it isn’t necessarily easier to read. That’s because many of the style decisions made on today’s websites are optimized to grab visitors quickly with a slick, modern design.

Some functions of the Internet are obscured, as well. Hyperlinks, for example, can be difficult to detect become some designs do not make a clear distinction between normal text and text containing a link.

web reading

Plain Clothes solves this by “unstyling” the web. All of the fancy CSS work is torn away, leaving behind only the basics. The resulting bare-bones site isn’t pretty, but it is sometimes easier to read and navigate. I’ve also noticed that some websites seem to load more quickly with Plain Clothes on, although this could be my imagination (the extension’s authors makes no claim that the extension will improve load times).


It is very easy to dismiss a website or blog because it is hard to read even if the information on it is worthwhile. I’ve found that I don’t have to use these extensions constantly, but having them loaded can be extremely handy from time to time. Begone, headaches and eye strain! These goggles actually do something.

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Cool Websites and Tools [September 6th]

Posted: 06 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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Drag-and-Drop Ruler – Web developers often make use of installable rulers that reveal how tall or wide a design element is. But in case you find yourself using somebody else's computer that does not give you installation privileges, “Online Drag-and-Drop Ruler” is an option worth checking out. Read more: Drag-and-Drop Ruler: Web Based Ruler To Measure Web Design Elements


LeechPack – There are lots of free services that let users host and download large files. However, when trying to download files from these free services, there are size restrictions, many of the files are either corrupted or contain malware. LeechPack is an app that solves these problems by acting as a cloud-based intermediary. It gives you online storage where you can quickly download files from major file hosting services privately and securely. Read more: LeechPack: Private & secure downloading from popular file hosts.



FunnyTranslator – There are several tools that translate your text from one language to another. Many times, when a translator can get the essence of the statement, the translation goes out of text and gets funny. FunnyTranslator is a tool that does exactly by that by taking your text and translating it back and forth between English and other languages. Read more: FunnyTranslator: Make Any Text Funny Via Multiple Translations



Trasir – Simple and straight to the point is probably the best way to describe Trasir. Start this little webpage up and you'll see as much identifiable information about your computer as can be found. This includes your IP address, your host name, your country, your city and much more. Read more: Trasir: Quickly Look-up Any IP Address Including Your Own



Whereables – A big part of your air-traveling experience is going through the airport and booking a flight with an airline. Whereables is a new Google Maps-based tool that plots all the world's airports, airlanes and routes. With this map, you can check each airport, its flight routes and see ratings. Read more: Wherables: Maps All The World's Airports, Airlines, & Routes


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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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Top 5 Sites For Video Game Deals & Bargains

Posted: 06 Sep 2010 06:31 PM PDT

video game dealsGaming just doesn't come cheap these days. Titles can run upwards of $60 each for new releases. Add in the cost of monthly subscription fees, various accessories, plus those pricey consoles to actually play the games of course, and you're looking at a pretty serious hit to your wallet.

No doubt about it, playing video games as a hobby can be downright expensive. That's why it's always a good idea to keep tabs on any of the latest video game deals, discounts, or bargains out there.

You don't have to scour newspaper ads looking for a sale. Lucky for you and all penny-pinching gamers everywhere, there are plenty of great websites that do all the heavy lifting for you.

Here's the top 5 sites for video game deals and bargains.


GamerDeals is one of the best places to find all of latest video game deals available. The site is updated daily with deals for Nintendo, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and everything in between.

video game deals

If there's a good price for anything gaming related or items that tech enthusiasts or gamers may be interested in, you'll find it on GamerDeals. The website keeps it simple. Each of the postings display the item and its price, savings, and a link to the deal.

video game deals

Just check back on the homepage often for the latest posts.


The popular bargain hunting website FatWallet has an excellent Best Deals page with deals they've found from all over the Web. To display only the gaming deals, just head over to the Video Games category.

best game deals

The page is again updated frequently with just the best video game deals out there. Before they're all displayed, FatWallet's experts and community of bargain hunters check to make sure that every deal is spam-free and that you're getting the best price.

best game deals

Each of the deal's pages features a nifty "Why we like it" note, explaining why the deal is worth mentioning. If you like what you see, just hit the "Get It!" button for the link to the store.

Game Deal Daily

As the name suggests, Gamer Deal Daily posts its own deal everyday. The site features a video game or accessory on the homepage at a special price.

best game deals

You have to hurry, though. The deal only last 24 hours or until the product is sold out. A new deal is posted the next day, but if you can't wait, check out the website's store for more good deals on any available titles.


By no means does SlickDeals cover just video games. However, if there's a deal that gamers need to know about, you can bet that it'll be on SD.

The site's huge community of savvy shoppers knows their stuff. Only the best of the best deals get featured on the front page, including the gaming bargains that are probably too good to pass up on. Deals expire fast though, so check back often.

Cheap Ass Gamer

The community at Cheap Ass Gamer (CAG) specifically focuses on video game sales, discounts, and promotions. All the deals, including the helpful Sunday Ads posts, are posted on the site's forums.

We here at MakeUseOf have got your back, too! Don't forget to check out our Hot Tech Deals page, which is updated daily.

What sites do you go to for video game deals and bargains? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit : NintendoPassion

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The Best TED Talks To Make Use Of Social Media

Posted: 06 Sep 2010 04:31 PM PDT

ted talksIf you’re reading this article it means you’re probably a regular internet user, you’re probably at least a little bit geeky and you’re looking to find the best ways to make use of stuff on the internet. Normally, you’re looking for tool x to solve problem y, but sometimes you want to think bigger. How can we make use of the Internet itself and our online communities? If I’ve picked you right, here’s some brain fodder you’re going to love.

TED has been regaling us for years now with inspirational speeches about just about every important topic there is to talk about. And throughout that time, more than a few TED speakers have chosen to talk about the internet, social media and how this will shape our future.

So, here we are, everyday citizens of the world with an itch to do something amazing with the internet we’ve created. Let’s see what TED can inspire us to do to with it.

This list of TED speeches features quite a few of the leading thinkers in social media, some of whom have also written free ebooks on social networking.

Lalitesh Katragadda: Making Maps To Fight Disaster, Build Economies

Before looking to the future, lets look at a success of the past. Lalitesh Katragadda spoke to TED about how Google Maps and crowdsourcing have quite suddenly changed the way humanitarian aid can efficiently get to the needy.

Ethan Zuckerman: Listening To Global Voices

Ethan Zuckerman describes how, despite social media opening up information channels worldwide, humans tend to flock with people who are similar to themselves. He urges us to think globally and listen to voices from far off places.

James Surowiecki: When Social Media Became News

The turning point for social media, the 2005 tsunami, is discussed by James Surowiecki in detail. He notes that the disorganised blogging and video updates that emerged from the tsunami actually built a better picture of the news behind the tsunami than traditional news media ever could. Essentially, there is some intelligence in the wisdom of crowds. He also warns against getting stuck in the pattern of following your own small network.

Matt Ridley: When Ideas Have Sex

In a nutshell, people have ideas: good ones, great ones and average ideas. The magic really starts when those ideas begin to mingle and gain momentum. So get out there and share your ideas!

Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History

A great speech from Clay Shirky, focusing on how social media is changing the way we live fundamentally, by allowing people to (at least temporarily) bypass censors and share information.

Seth Godin : On The Tribes We Lead

Seth Godin focuses on his concept of tribes as a means for communication and collaboration in the modern age. He theorises that most of us are trying to make a change in this world, to fix something that needs fixing. In previous years, advertising and institutions would mobilise people towards change. These days, we can make these changes simply by leading a group of people willing to help make the change.

Howard Rheingold On Collaboration

Howard Rheingold believes we naturally gravitate towards participation and collaborative efforts. After taking us on a quick history of communication methods and how they have co-evolved with community management, he notes that many communities and companies on the internet these days thrive because it is possible for us to co-operate with people we don’t know.

We have the ability to share our wealth and knowledge with strangers, knowing that in the long run it will generate more for everyone. He wants us to explore different ways of co-operating in order to develop new solutions, wealth and well-being for all.

Hector Ruiz On Connecting The World

Hector Ruiz explains his strategy to connect 50% of the world to the internet by 2015. Not only will this have a great impact on the people who will suddenly gain access to the internet, but it will diversify the global online conversation.

Hector is also a living example of someone who has passionately acted upon solving a problem. He has taken a lofty idea for the good of the world, built a tribe of people willing to help and is now able to put the idea into action.

Yochai Benkler On The New Open-Source Economics

Yochai Benkler and Howard Rheingold are on exactly the same page with regards to communities and online collaboration. He reminds us of some of the most ambitious crowdsourcing ideas to date and makes us wonder what else we could achieve by crowdsourcing and decentralising collaborations if we tried.

Gordon Brown: Wiring A Web For Global Good

Gordon Brown suggests we use our connectedness to share ideals regarding global issues such as poverty, the global economy and climate change. He reminds us that we instinctively sympathise with sufferers of poverty and war, however distant. Most of us do have a global ethic and we now have the communication facilities and collaboration tools at hand to mobilise people in to action to solve world problems.

He suggests we create global institutions to reflect our ideas of fairness and responsibility, to look after the environment, to build relationships between rich and poor countries and enable the poor to support themselves.

What’s your favourite video about making use of social media?

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Create, Survive & Fight In The Online Game Minecraft

Posted: 06 Sep 2010 02:31 PM PDT

minecraftMinecraft is a unique game that can’t easily fit into one genre. It’s sort of a first-person creation game — the main draw is that you can shape the world by building and destroying blocks. But the game also includes a survival mode and a multiplayer mode, and there are plans to include still more types of gameplay in the future.

Minecraft is unique in other ways, too. Its graphics are simple but have a cute blocky look, and a huge world is randomly generated each time you start a new game. It’s a refreshingly original game that’s just fun to play around with.

All of the game modes described below can be played for free, but they are also old versions of the game. To play the latest versions, you will have to purchase the game. It’s pretty cheap as long as you buy it before the game enters into beta, but you might as well try out the free older versions first to see if you like it.


Minecraft has very simple controls. As in most first-person games, you control your movement with the WASD keys and you look and aim with your mouse. Left-click destroys blocks that you aim at and right-click builds new blocks.

You can use your mouse wheel to scroll through a partial inventory, and you can press B to access your whole inventory. In survival mode, pressing tab fires arrows, and in multiplayer mode, pressing T lets you type a message to other players.

Single-Player Creation Mode

In single-player creation mode, you can spend hours building up whatever your heart desires. Build yourself a quaint little home, an entire city, or Mario.


You have an infinite number of blocks to build with and no enemies to worry about, so just let your creativity flow.

Single-Player Survival Mode

Single-player survival mode more closely resembles a traditional video game because it has enemies and you can shoot arrows at them. But what makes this more unique than your typical first-person shooter is that you still have the block-building and destroying abilities from creation mode, which can be used strategically to create strongholds and defend yourself.


A major difference, however, is that you don’t start with an infinite number of blocks to build with; you have to add blocks to your inventory by destroying other blocks. You also have to hold down your left mouse button for a bit in order to destroy blocks. All of this goes toward making survival mode a more methodical game that requires strategic thinking when choosing to spend time destroying or building blocks.

Note that this is an old version of survival mode and that you will encounter many glitches. For one, when you die you’ll just receive an error message, and you’ll have to refresh the page to start a new game. To play the latest version of survival mode, which fixes a lot of the glitches and includes many additional features, you will have to purchase Minecraft.

Multiplayer Creation Mode

Register an account for free and join a multiplayer mode server for a whole new kind of fun. It’s amazing to see how quickly a world changes as everyone works on their own creations; you can come back to a server just hours later and marvel at how different it is, or you can actively make your own changes and work around others’ creations.


The possibilities here are endless. Working on creations together for several hours can result in truly monumental and unbelievable buildings. On the other hand, things can also get pretty chaotic, especially if griefers join the server and just start destroying things at random. In either case, the interactive multiplayer component adds a whole new and exciting layer to the game.

The Future Of Minecraft

Minecraft is still very much in development; the free version isn’t even considered alpha. If you purchase the alpha version now, you will receive all future updates — including the beta version and the completed game — for free.

The developer plans to eventually include, among many other updates, a multiplayer survival mode, a capture the flag mode, and a zombie siege mode in which you must build up your defenses during the day and fight off the enemy during the night (or maybe hide in a corner and hold on for dear life).

Share some of your own Minecraft creations in the comments!

Image Credit : Dennis from Atlanta

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Hot Tech Deals [Sep 6th]

Posted: 06 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. EXPIRING Dell Off Lease Coupon Codes: 20% on items below $398, 25% off $399+
  2. 20% off any item priced up to $398 via code DFS20#Labor$398
  3. 25% off any item priced $399+ via code DFS25#Labor$399
  4. Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home DVD 11.0 with Noise Cancelling Headset $66.99 Free Shipping
  5. Seagate BlackArmor NAS 110 2TB USB & Ethernet External Hard Drive $139.99 Free Shipping
  6. Buffalo Nfinity 802.11n Wireless N High Power Router (Gigabit, DD-WRT, Superior Range) $69.99 Free Shipping via code EMCYWPZ53
  7. Corsair XMS3 4GB (2×2GB) DDR3-1600MHz (PC3-12800) Desktop Memory $74.99AR Free Shipping via code EMCYXYN43


  1. 25% off All Dell Laptops & Desktops on this landing pagevia code ?$QNC1?HSKNR9F
  2. 20% off all Dell Desktops & Laptops in this link via code 5TK?LC9VJ5F$33
  3. STACKABLE $50 off HP Orders $1000+ via code TECHBAR50

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15 Of The Coolest Stop Motion Videos On YouTube

Posted: 06 Sep 2010 12:31 PM PDT

stop motionOren Lavie's music video for Her Morning Elegance has over 14 million views and rightfully so. It is one of the best examples of how beautifully the stop motion technique can be used to create a video. Originally used as a means of bringing clay animation to the screen, photographers and artists have taken the technique to a whole new level.

While it was hard to narrow it down, this is a list, in no particular order, of some of our favourite stop motion videos, combining the most popular and the lesser known stop motion videos on YouTube.

Yellow Sticky Notes

Yellow Sticky Notes has to be the most elegant and creative way to put together a to-do list. Using nothing more than post-it-notes and a pen, this 6 minute video takes you through a 9 year period of the animator’s life. But it’s not just an introspective video – it also highlights major events throughout the world as he saw them happen.

Inspiré/Seattle Ski Stop-Motion

Over 1,700 photographs were used to create this 2 minute skiing adventure through downtown Seattle. You have to admire the guy who’s willing to wander around downtown Seattle with skis strapped to his feet.

Game Over

PES has an unbelievable amount of stop motion videos uploaded on YouTube. Some serve as ads, and some were made just for fun. One of  the best is Game Over with all of it’s geeky creativity. The video recreates popular retro games like Space Invaders and Pacman, sound effects and all.


The plot here is very simple – if something or someone is annoying you – play dead. That's all there is to it. The animation is anything but simple. Controversy is a wonderful example of how claymation can be used to achieve just about anything.

Pancakes II

You'd be surprised how funny and entertaining a stop motion video of making and eating pancakes can be, but Pancakes II has over 3 million views to prove just how true that is. This video also proves that there is no limit to the illusions you can create using the stop motion technique. The first Pancakes video is just as popular, but the sequel definitely outdoes its predecessor.


With everything from a watermelon, to legos, to party hats, this video brings every inaminate object you could possibly think of to life.


The use of whiteboards is extremely popular with stop motion film creators because of the flexibility it offers. Minilogue is a great example of how the whiteboard can be used to create any story you want. While there isn’t any plot to the video, it will keep you glued to your screen just to see how the shapes and creatures continuously transform before your eyes.

The Whiteboard

The Whiteboard, as the title shows, is another example of using a whiteboard to create a stop motion video. Combining both photographs and drawings, these guys take the concept to another level.

Rymdreglage  - 8-bit trip

There's a reason this video has over 6 million views. Moving and stacking lego bricks and taking photos in the process, it ended up taking 1,500 hours to complete. And the final product is absolutely worth it.

Lost Things

Lost Things is possibly one of the most beautiful stop motion videos on YouTube. The music video was created for, and stars, Alison Sudol, better known to fans as A Fine Frenzy.

iPhone 4 Disassembly

Another video that will undoubtedly be popular with geeks, as well as iPhone fans is TechRestore's unboxing and disassembly of the iPhone 4. Over 1,700 photos were used to create this video. And they do it on a regular basis, with other videos feature the iPad and the PSP Go, amongst other gadgets.

Unusual Stop Motion

This stop motion video sets itself apart with a very unique method. All of the action takes place in drawings on little flaps of paper, quickly opened and closed to create movement.

Sweet Dreams

With almost a million views and a SXSW Jury Award, Sweet Dreams is a cute stop motion animation featuring cupcakes as the main character. And you really can't go wrong with cupcakes.


Deadline is another stop motion video that uses post-it-notes, but in a very different way. Created as a college student’s final project, we can’t imagine how many post-its were used in the making, but the end result is pretty cool.

The Original Human Tetris Performance

With over 11 million views, there was no way we could exclude this video from our list. The classic game of Tetris is recreated using humans and rows of seats in an auditorium. The planning alone must have been monumental, let alone the actual execution.

What are your favourite stop motion videos on YouTube? Let us know in the comments.



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5 Websites To Buy Strange & Unique Tech Gifts For A Student

Posted: 06 Sep 2010 11:31 AM PDT

strange unique giftsDo you know a geeky college student for whom some regular old dorm furniture or school supplies just won’t suffice as gifts? Would this geeky college student instead appreciate a strange and unique tech gift like a walking robot pencil sharpener?

Look no further. There are plenty of sites where you can find the perfect gift for a tech-obsessed college student who just won’t settle for something typical.


strange unique giftsCheck out ThinkGeek.com’s Back to School page for a huge range of original gift possibilities. To give you an idea of the kinds of strange and unique gifts you can find on ThinkGeek, let’s imagine a hypothetical morning in the life of a hypothetical college student who owns many of ThinkGeek’s products. You’ll notice how these things make his morning so much more exciting.

First, his super-loud alarm clock that doubles as a bed-shaker wakes him up for his morning classes. When he heads off to shower behind his shower curtain that has the periodic table printed on it, he uses some bacon soap or caffeinated soap to get clean. After showering, he throws on his shirt that has a constantly updated WiFi signal indicator on the front.

strange unique gifts

Next he pours some coffee into his mug that looks like a laboratory beaker, and then he staples the pages of last night’s homework together without actually using any staples. Finally he hurries off to class, but not before grabbing his pen that folds out like a butterfly knife, his notepad with sheets that look like the front of an iPod, and, because it’s raining outside, his light-up umbrella straight from Blade Runner.

Okay, there probably isn’t anyone geeky enough to want to do all of that, and you’re probably not going to buy him all of those gifts, but you get the idea: ThinkGeek has tons of unique gift choices for a college student.

Although ThinkGeek probably has the most extensive selection of strange and unique tech products, there are other sites out there worth checking out before you buy your college student a gift.


Firebox has a nice selection of products. Some of its most popular gifts that are sure to please a tech-obsessed college student include a portable charger with enough juice to charge an iPhone four times over and USB drives that look like Star Wars characters.

If ThinkGeek’s bed-shaking alarm clock wasn’t enough, Firebox’s alarm clock that sends a propeller flying off of its top should do the trick.

unique gifts

It’s the perfect gift for any college student who has trouble waking up early (i.e., all college students).  Since the student has to replace the propeller in order to shut the alarm off, they’ll be forced to get out of bed. Maybe it’s not exactly the most pleasant of gifts, but it’s certainly useful!

Perpetual Kid

unique giftsPerpetual Kid is another great source for unique little gifts. Be sure to check out their desk & office section to find plenty of products that will help to liven up any student’s desk. You’ll find speakers shaped like high heels, plunger phone stands, voodoo pen holders, and much more.

If your student is in need of a wireless mouse for her laptop, consider Perpetual Kid’s novelty Lego mouse or ice cream sandwich mouse.

unique gifts

Combine either of those with a mousepad made up of sheets that she can write on, and you’ve got a great gift.


Gizmine brings you wacky USB devices, watches, and more straight from Japan, making it the go-to source if you’re buying gifts for an otaku.

Among Gizmine’s selection of strange products are some odd USB drives attached to rubber men and sushi.

strange unique gifts

You’ll also find high-tech watches with displays that look like heart monitors and Japanese train platform signs. It’s weird stuff to be sure, but perhaps you know a college student who would love them.

I Want One Of Those

If you live in the UK or are willing to pay a little extra for shipping, I Want One of Those is definitely a site worth taking a look at.

Some of the odd products worth considering as gifts on I Want One of Those include these pillows that play music and these lenses and tripods (if your student happens to have an iPhone but not a camera).

strange unique gifts

And if Gizmine’s watches are too expensive or look too high-tech, consider one of these watches that makes you do a little math to figure out the time.


If you need some more shopping help, be sure to check out MakeUseOf’s shopping guide.

What strange and unique gift did you decide to buy for your college student?

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10 Websites To See What HTML5 Is All About

Posted: 06 Sep 2010 10:31 AM PDT

HTML5HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the most widely used markup language today. Tags, elements and angle bracket with a bit of help from CSS forms the building block of all that you see around on the World Wide Web.

It has been nearly 20 years since HTML started defining how we ’see’ the web. Now, it's on the verge of its fifth major revision – HTML5. From its first avatar to its fifth, the web itself has been transformed. HTML5 is an attempt to meet current needs which is heavily based around dynamic and multimedia rich content. But how will it change the way we look and work with the web?

The web of today is increasingly interactive and media rich. Applications are moving online. HTML5 covers all of these needs by introducing ways to embed videos and audio, draw simple graphics, work with apps offline; do all these without plugins, and of course, do it all faster than before.

It is after all a standard. Thus, it's nigh impossible to sweat the details in a few lines. So here are ten resources that give you an insight on HTML5. Let's get to know it, because we all might be using it soon.



Research group Focus breaks down the latest specification and gives it straight up as a simple to understand infographic. Within ten minutes, you will get a helicopter view of what HTML5 is all about and why we should care.

Dive Into HTML5


Written by Mark Pilgrim, it's a hand-picked look at select features of HTML5. It's put together in the conversational style of the 'For Dummies' series. If you want to grasp the basics, this is a must read.

And there's 'Professor Markup' to guide you along with answers to common queries. Each chapter is supported by demos and examples. But do check the mentioned supported browser(s) before trying them out.


free html5 website

At HTML5Doctor.com, you have articles that are meant to help you hit the ground running. For example, using the very first article, you can set your webpage to be recognized as HTML5 by browsers. The fourth post helps out with designing a blog with HTML5.

The HTML5 blog also has a Q&A section, where you can upload your questions. Some of the answers come on the homepage as 'Your Questions Answered' posts.



This HTML5 web resource asks that you be well versed in coding. If you are, there are a few tutorials that help you understand how HTML5 features can be coded. You can experiment with HTML5 at the Playground and even reuse some of the code samples in your own project.

The tutorials are few but comprehensive. Each is also tagged with the icon of the browsers that meet the HTML5 feature requirements.


free html5 website

HTML5 is giving Adobe a few headaches because it promises to do away with Flash (at least for some apps). Will HTML5 prove as effective as online games as the Flash based games we have become used to? Check it out for yourself by playing the HTML5 games that are hosted on this site.

You can also read a brief mention of this HTML5 games resource in our directory.

HTML5 Readiness

free html5 website

All browsers are readying themselves for HTML5. The half wheel on this site is a visual indicator of each browser's groundwork so far for HTML5 and CSS3. You can mouseover the 28 features and gauge the stage from the color coded spokes.

From the looks of it, Safari and Chrome are more down the path than the others.

HTML5 Element Reference Table

free html5 website

Periodic Table of the Elements, a project by Josh Duck is a quirky look at the 104 HTML5 elements (and 2 proposed elements) using the layout of a periodic table. Clicking on each cell brings up a brief description with additional references.

You can also read a brief mention of this resource in our directory.

HTML5 Test

At a glance you can tell your (browser's) score when matched up against HTML5 ready features. As soon as the website loads up, the score from a maximum of 300 gets displayed. You get bonus points if the support extends beyond what the HTML5 specification might lay down.

The scores are also color coded which indicate anything between what's great and what's not available on your browser.

HTML5 Gallery

HTML5gallery.com parades other websites that are using HTML5 in some form or the other. You can click on the thumbnail and reach the websites on view. It is also a learning platform to see how web developers are implementing HTML5.

Each website profiled has a small note that explains how an HTML5 element has been used to design the website.

YouTube HTML5 Beta


The 'Video' element is touted as one of the bestselling points of HTML5. You can test it out on YouTube by opting to use the HTML5 player instead of the Flash player for most videos. Your tryouts will also tell you how your current browser is coping with HTML5 videos. Do read the Notes section to note the finer points on the beta effort from YouTube.

Everything says its exciting days ahead. These ten websites on HTML5 are just the early starters of a breed that's going to explode soon. Hopefully, they will help to put you in the right element to work with HTML5.

Image: justinsonmia

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Free One Time Password Generators For iPhone, Android & Other Devices

Posted: 06 Sep 2010 09:31 AM PDT

password generatorsOne Time Password (OTP) tokens are typically considered the ultimate in useful consumer login security. They are a key part to using a Two-Factor Authentication system which drastically increases the security of a login from a typical username/password single factor system.

The username/password security scheme is considered very insecure for a number of reasons including ease of packet or keystroke sniffing, phishing attacks and other social engineering problems. Two factor authentication schemes add in another layer of security by having a user retrieve another password from an out of band source such as a password generating device (such as an OTP token) or SMS text.

Since this password constantly changes at timed intervals – it is nearly impossible for a would-be hacker to steal your username and password and log in without having this token.

These tokens are usually for-pay since they are a physical device, but with the recent increase in apps available for mobile devices many OTP providers are now offering free apps which take the place of a physical device.

Below are some of the more popular password generators that I have come across and sample screenshots of them in action:

VeriSign Identity Protection (VIP) Access For Mobile

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One of the biggest providers of physical One Time Password tokens is Verisign. Their hardware tokens are low cost to the end user and are usable in a number of popular online sites including eBay, SalesForce, Box.net, Paypal and more. You can order a low cost ($5) key from Paypal, or as I have recently discovered, download a free mobile device app.

Verisign offers software for a wide variety of mobile devices, including iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and more. Simply download the software and run the password generator program – on its first run a unique signature is generated and registered with VeriSign’s servers. Your device has a unique ID which you then register with your login on an external site.

After that whenever you open the program it will show you the current password to use during two-factor authentication. Easy.

RSA SecureID

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Another big player in the Two-Factor Authentication field is RSA. RSA actually pioneer in the security field, originally patenting a method to encrypt communication channel data back in 1983 and releasing it open source in 2000.

Much like the VeriSign app, RSA has released its SecureID app free to iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and a few other platforms. Unfortunately, they have not released an app to the Android platform as of this publication date. You also much have an RSA solution in place to use the mobile OTP generator, this would come from your workplace, bank or any other login which may need to be secured.

RSA solutions are in widespread use across the world.


online password generators

FireID is a startup in the two-factor authentication space. While new to the field, they have a really nice iPhone app. Their website states that they also support Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian devices, but I could not find any information on these products and I am not sure if they have been released yet.

They are definitely a company to keep your eye on.


online password generators

ArcotOTP is another one time password generator. While being lesser known than the others, Arcot is an ‘up and coming’ company in this field, and counts the venerable Bruce Schneier as an advisor to the company. ArcotOTP is a proprietary technology where you will need use software which is tied into a ArcotOTP solution.

SafeNet MobilePASS

password generators

SafeNet provides a suite of different security and authentication solutions, and also have a nice range of OTP applications for multiple platforms including iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and SMS. Notably Android is missing from this list.

While not a comprehensive list of free mobile OTP generators the above does give you a good idea as to some of the major players in the field and the more popular solutions which do offer a mobile client rather than a hardware based token. There are many OTP providers out there, each with its own platform to secure logins.

VeriSign is probably the one that you will be most familiar with and has the most ecommerce adoption, since Paypal/eBay, Salesforce and other popular web apps use them. Which free app you would use is likely dictated by the websites you need to login to and which two-factor scheme they use.

Whichever your preferred method for implementing two factor authentication, these free apps point you towards some providers which have been progressive on the ‘convergence of the mobile device’ mindset, allowing you to forgo a separate token and use one device to increase your login security.

Let us know how easy you find these password generators to use, or what other security schemes you use to help secure your passwords.

[ As a postscript, I just wanted to point out that two-factor authentication has a gaping hole in it - a Man in the Middle attack is still able to defeat this authentication scheme. Basically, an attacker sits in between you (logging in) and the server, passing along your information to the legitimate server including the one time password. This is a fairly obscure security issue for the general consumer, so adding two factor authentication to your login processes does afford much greater security than a regular one factor scheme. ]

Image Credit : mikebaird.

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Effortless Disk Partition Management with Paragon Hard Disk Manager

Posted: 06 Sep 2010 08:30 AM PDT

With its easy to follow step by step wizards, Paragon Hard Disk Manager makes it a cinch to address all of your hard drive maintenance needs – from partitioning, to back up and restore, migration, system recovery and much more. Paragon is the ideal option for advanced users, and with its easy to follow instructions and wizards, will not overwhelm the novice user.

That’s why we’re offering 50 licenses for Paragon Software’s top-rated Hard Disk Manager 2010 Suite worth over $2000 in total! Find out how you can win a copy for yourself.


Partitioning your hard drive can be an intimidating experience if you don’t know what you’re doing. Paragon takes all the difficulty out of the process, allowing you to create partitions, which is particularly useful if you want to run several operating systems on your computer. Paragon also allows you to easily format, delete, resize and merge partitions.

Backup & Recovery

Backing up all of the data on your hard disk couldn’t be easier using Paragon Hard Disk Manager. Select which partitions of your hard drive you want to backup to three possible locations. Your data can be stored on a local or network drive, can be saved to an FTP location, or you can burn it to a CD or DVD. Restoring data that has been backed up using Paragon is a piece of cake. Simply navigate to the backup that you had created using the software, and follow the steps in the wizard to restore your data.

Copying and Migration

Paragon’s migration feature makes it easy to migrate an entire drive or partition to a new one. Copying a partition is as simple as selecting the partition you want to clone, and selecting the target location for the clone to be stored. The same is true for the hard disk migration feature, allowing you to migrate your entire hard disk to a new location, which makes upgrading to a new machine as easy as can be, restoring your entire system setup.

Security and Optimization

Fine tuning your computer with Paragon’s optimization features will keep your machine feeling brand new. Additionally, if you have confidential documents on your computer, use Paragon’s secure method of wiping entire partitions or disks to ensure that your personal information can never be retrieved.

Boot Management

If one OS simply isn’t enough for you, Paragon makes it easy to both manage several operating systems on one computer and allows you to prepare your computer for a new OS install.

How do I win a copy?

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