Wednesday, October 13, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [October 12th]” plus 11 more “Cool Websites and Tools [October 12th]” plus 11 more

Link to

Cool Websites and Tools [October 12th]

Posted: 12 Oct 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. You can make use of them without spending a dime. If you want to have similar cool websites round-ups delivered to your email daily email subscribe here.

List Your Website Here!


gb4less – This is free to use website that was created by MakeUseOf's tech guy Jorge Sierra. The idea behind the website is simple yet brilliant: the site calculates the cost per GB of each drive i.e. it lists drives based on their cost per GB. In addition to hard drives other memory devices are also listed including RAM modules and USB flash drives. Read more: gb4less: Find Out Which Hard Drive Will Cost You The Least Per GB


Search Tempest – Craigslist is a great website that lets you put up adverts and search for anything whether it be goods or services. A number of online tools exist that help you execute better Craigslist searches and help you find what you are looking for. Search Tempest is one such website. Read more: SearchTempest: Provides A Better Craigslist Search



10K Apart – When computers were new, programs were small in size because hard disks could not store a lot of data. As the storage capacity increased, so did the program sizes. As a result, today we see some programs that are very large to download and install. 10K Apart is a website that tries to recapture that small-size-programs era and the creativity it resulted in. Read more: 10K Apart: Try Out Brilliant Small Web Apps (Sized Under 10KB)



Aumio – If you are a restaurant owner, then special discounts and coupon deals could attract a lot of attention and customers to your business. But such deals are almost always risky. Unless a good number of people show up to take advantage of the deal, you might end up losing instead of gaining. The online service, Aumio, helps to make sure your deals do not end being counterproductive. Read more: Aumio: Handy Deal Promotion Tool



TheUglyDance – Are you bored and looking for a way to have fun online? What about creating a dancing characters with your pictures? A Swedish band has come up with a wonderful fun app that will help you do just that. The app is called “The Ugly Dance”. Read more: TheUglyDance: Create a Dancing Character for Fun



200 Pumpkin Carvings – Halloween is just around the corner and it is always exciting to see the new Costumes and Pumpkin Carvings. The Folks at have gathered the Ultimate Pumpkin collection that consists of 200 Pumpkin Carvings. It includes Star Wars characters, Video Game themes, Geeky Pumpkin Faces, Horror Movie tribute pumpkin collection and also a Mixture that is perfect for everyone. Read more: 200 Pumpkin Carvings: Ultimate Halloween Pumpkins Collection


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.

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

The 5 Toughest Tech Questions [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 07:30 PM PDT

If you are planning to submit a tech issue to MakeUseOf Answers, please follow these simple rules to get your question published:

  • Thoroughly describe your issue, including exact error message (if applicable) and anything you have changed or done that may have caused the problem.
  • Specify your operating system, involved software, and/or type of hardware.
  • Make an effort!

If you are able to solve tech issues for us, go ahead and answer today’s toughest questions for a chance to win $50 in our Best Answer of the Week contest!

  1. Where can I download games for vBag, a GameBoy Advance emulator for mobile phone?
  2. How do I best do backups for Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008 Server?
  3. How can I create a new category for an iPod app in iTunes?
  4. How can I download RealPlayer on a Sony Ericsson phone?
  5. How can I set up a virtual office in India?

New interesting questions are added to MakeUseOf Answers every single day. 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.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

How To Make YouTube Videos That Don’t Suck

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 06:31 PM PDT

how to make youtube videosHave you ever uploaded a video to YouTube? If you have, what was it of? Did it get a lot of views?

Getting a lot of views or “going viral” is one of the main reasons people put videos of themselves online, but the formula for creating a hit video is a tricky one. You never know when something you’ve done will garner a lot of attention online.

There are certain things that will always generate a lot of views, like videos that are funny or about things we wouldn’t see every day. Recently, I’ve written articles covering cool science experiments and top stand-up comedy videos, for example.

In this article, I’ll point out how to make YouTube videos to make sure your next video doesn’t suck. I can’t promise you that you will go viral, but I can promise an improvement in your view count.

The Content Side Of Things

Since content is king, I think that is where we should start. You can have the best equipment and technical knowledge in the world, but content doesn’t come standard.

If your videos are boring, no one is going to want to watch them, plain and simple. So let’s look at a couple things you can do to make your content better.

Be Different

The first and perhaps most obvious thing I can recommend is that you be different. We are supposed to all be unique, right? So why am I seeing a lot of the same videos online?

Coming up with an original idea isn’t easy, but it’s essential if you want to make a YouTube video that doesn’t suck. Rather than copy someone else’s idea, try being yourself. Originality tends to get noticed online.

Showcase Your Talents

There are a lot of talented people out there with hit videos on YouTube.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this one. Everyone is talented in something, so videotape those talents and get them out to the world!

The Technical Side Of How to Make YouTube Video

If you can do the two things mentioned above, you should be fine. However, a bit of technical knowledge can go a long way to help you in your video authoring efforts. Here are a few things you can improve to inflate your view count a bit.

Use Proper Equipment

When shooting videos, it helps if you have the right equipment. Out of all the things you can have, the 3 most important ones are below.

Video Camera

how to make youtube videos

We’re making videos, so having a good video camera kind of makes sense. You don’t want to make your YouTube video with your laptop’s webcam because chances are your videos will be choppy and low quality.

Digital cameras and smart phones now have pretty decent cameras on them for video, but if you’re looking for a cheap alternative to an expensive handycam I would recommend looking into a flip cam. It doesn’t cost much to shoot HD video nowadays.


make youtube videos

Having good lighting often goes overlooked in the online video world. You don’t have to go crazy with your lighting situation, but put some time into making it better, especially if you’ll be shooting your videos indoors.

Placement is also key when considering lighting, because you don’t want to create distracting shadows for your viewers.


how to make youtube videos

If you’re going to be speaking in your videos, you might want to invest in a microphone. A lot of the microphones on cameras are pretty low quality, and you don’t want anything impeding your progress in regard to getting your message across to your viewers.

Get Better At Editing

If you don’t want to waste your time with expensive video editing software, you should at least familiarize yourself with YouTube’s video editor during the upload process.

Matt recently wrote a nice article on How to Use the New YouTube Video Editor back in July.

Work On Your Headlines

When it finally comes time to post your video, make sure you have a good headline. This step is very underrated. No one will watch – or be able to find – your video if it has a bad title.

You can search for headline writing tips on Google, but with YouTube I would make sure your headline properly conveys what your video is about. Think about the top keywords you would use to describe your video to someone and make sure you put those words in your headline.


Can you make a popular video without all the stuff I just mentioned? Yes. This is the Internet, after all. Overnight sensations happen all the time without rhyme or reason, but you can’t control that. You can control the things I just mentioned above, and they should help improve your chances of making a popular YouTube video.

For more articles about YouTube, check out our YouTube category.

Do you have any tips to add? Leave your thoughts, ideas and comments below!

Image Credit: leocub, Cindy Shebley, Serggod, Macs Peter

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Insert a Template Into Every Wordpress Post With In-Post Template

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 04:31 PM PDT

wordpress templatesAs many bloggers out there probably know, it can be very annoying to try and create updates on your blog that are perfectly formatted or that include certain elements (like pictures or ads) into every post. Sometimes, when you’re tired and trying to get something written to your blog as quickly as possible, it’s very easy to forget those formatting issues.

I started my quest for a solution because in all of my blogs I always insert a Google Ad and a picture immediately following the “more” marker. This is a technique that a lot of bloggers use in order to break up the text of any blog entry. Some people insert their own banner image that might promote another part of the website, while others place ads or just imagery to spruce up the post.

The problem is that once you find a perfect format for formatting each post, you’d have to remember to type in that code or insert the picture every time you write a new entry. Not long ago, I wrote about pre-formatting blog posts using the Firefox plugin Scribefire – but sometimes I like to edit directly in Wordpress. Thankfully, I discovered an awesome Wordpress template plugin called In-Post Template, which will automatically inserts template information into the post for you.

Setting Up The In-Post Template Plug-In

There’s nothing complicated about setting up the In-Post template. Like most other Wordpress plugins, all you have to do is FTP the plug-in folder into your Wordpress “plugins” folder. Next, go into the plugins area in your Wordpress admin panel and activate the In-Post Template plugin.

wordpress templates

Under settings, click on “In-Post Template,” and you’ll see a very simple form to fill out. There are just two text fields and one drop-down box.

wordpress page template

Before we get into the template configuration, I’d like to show you what sort of thing you have to do if you don’t have a template in order to incorporate ads, pictures or anything else into every post you write. Here, I add an image on the right and an ad on the left directly after the “more” marker. With ads, you have to do it after so that your main blog page isn’t filled with 10 or more Google Ads (Google has a limit on the number of in-page ads).

wordpress page template

Instead of typing this code into every single post, you can place it into the “In-post Content” inside the In-Post Template settings. If you don’t use the “more” marker on your blog, the In-Post template still lets you add formatting at the beginning or end of your post.

wordpress page template

For example, if you want to append a bio to every post, just change “Ignore” to “After Post” and type in the information that you’d like appended to every blog post. Now that I’m using the In-Post template, I don’t have to worry about copying and pasting all of that code. I just place the “more” marker and it all gets inserted automatically.

wordpress template

Here’s the final post with the content automatically inserted. You can do this for your own banners, a preface for every post, a bio at the end of every post – or any other content you are sick of pasting into your blog entries to keep things formatted and consistent.

wordpress templates

The pros of this Wordpress template plugin is that it’s one of the easiest I’ve ever seen. There’s virtually no setup – you just add your content and tell the plugin where to place it. The cons of the plugin are that you can’t do all three at once – you can either use the more marker to insert content in the middle of your post, or insert content at the beginning or end. You can’t do all three.

Beyond that, I’ve found the plug-in invaluable for my own needs, and for anyone that needs to insert one section of content into every blog post, this little tool will really save a lot of time.

Have you ever tried the In-Post Template and do you like it? Do you know of any other helpful Wordpress template plugins? Share your insight in the comments section below.

Image credit: Svilen Milev

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Paragon NTFS 8 for Mac Giveaway Winners

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 03:30 PM PDT

Who knew that accessing NTFS drives with a Mac would turn out to be so important? Snow Leopard has NTFS read capacity but Paragon NTFS 8 will allow you to write on any NTFS-formatted partition using a Mac.

Here are 50 lucky winners who have each received a free license for this ridiculously useful application.

MakeUseOf will send the licenses to the email address provided in the giveaway form. Please note that licenses will not be reissued if an incorrect email address was submitted.

  1. Bryan Carbonnell
  2. Doug Allen,III
  3. Dennis Lai
  4. Frankowski
  5. Bing Hau
  6. Greg leleu
  7. Jeff Kinart
  8. Marcus Marcuson
  9. Gaston Serralta
  10. Ang Qianling
  11. Jun Yan
  12. andrew marmion
  13. tiago sousa
  14. Joseph Lebo
  15. Miguel Angel Frias Bonfil
  16. Robert Ragland
  17. Jeff Noxon
  18. Chintan Patel
  19. Steve Leatherby
  20. D. Stann
  21. Aleks Bunin
  22. AmjadQ
  23. Carmelo Di Giorgio
  24. Forrest Houghton
  25. pradeep
  26. Brian Hogaboom
  27. Dean
  28. Raghuveer Ausoori
  29. Carlos Rodriguez
  30. Jerry Ireland
  31. Su En
  32. Keith Morgan
  33. Elizabeth Deerinwater
  34. Jonathan Cui
  35. leesui
  36. James Rodgers
  37. Gordon
  38. Joe LaGreca
  39. Brian Getz
  40. Gabriel Drach
  41. Lesley Oswin
  42. Joe Bergen
  43. Seth Weeks
  44. Michael Potts
  45. Gabriel Tam
  46. Peter Fibæk
  47. Leszek Kniaziewicz
  48. Gene Crucean
  49. Shirelle Thomas
  50. Alexander Vargo

Congratulations! An email has been sent to your inbox. Your license will be issued by Paragon, please allow several working days for processing.

MakeUseOf would like to thank Paragon Software for their generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

How To Inspire Yourself To Write At Least 750 Words Per Day

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 02:31 PM PDT

750 wordsIf you’re a writer, you’ll know that finding a distraction-free zone for working is essential to getting those thoughts written down in some sort of coherent form. This is true not just of your physical location, but of your aural and visual distractions on your computer too. 750 words is a writing tool which can give you that peace, despite not being its original intention.

750 words was originally designed to help writer creativity, by encouraging writers to write 750 words on any topic first thing in the morning.

The theory is that once you start writing and getting the ideas on paper you have both begun your writing and have formed more coherent thought processes about what you will write.

Why Write 750 Words?

Writing without a plan is an ideal method to overcome writer’s block, since you relieve the pressure of writing formally, yet encourage the flow of ideas. By teaming this concept with a beautiful, distraction-free interface for writing, 750 words is a great way for writers to begin their morning.

Writing is deliberately kept private – there is no way to make this writing public using the 750 words site. If you decide you want to use them elsewhere, you simply copy and paste. This also means 750 words is an ideal backup for your writing if you write it on 750 words first. However, many writers find that if you write it, then re-write it without looking at the original draft you actually write better the second time.

How To Begin With 750 Words

Sign up is simple using Facebook, Google, Yahoo or OpenID for access. Remember which one you use!

750 words

If you wish, 750 words will email you a daily reminder to write 750 words. This is a very useful way to get your day started creatively.

To use, simply write. The site will automatically save your text regularly, or you can CTRL-S/CMD-S to force a save.

writing exercises

The page is clean and simple. Down the bottom there is a pale grey indicator of how many words you have written so far. It keeps you focused on your goal, without being too distracting.

The site keeps track of which days you attempted writing and which days you achieved your 750 words. One mark means you started writing, but didn’t finish 750 words. Two marks (a cross) means you achieved your 750 words.

writing exercises

Motivation Through Challenges

If competing against yourself is not enough to make you write, you can join the challenge of the month. By joining the challenge, your efforts to write 750 words daily will be calculated in points and compared against other challengers.

To view challenges, look at “This Month” and the appropriate month’s challenge.

writing exercises

Motivation Through Statistical Comparison

For interesting monthly statistics, go to “This Month” and click on the appropriate link for writers, eg. “October’s writers”. This will show you who has been writing this month and other interesting statistics about your writing compared to that of other people.

writing inspiration

If you dig deeper from the monthly view by clicking on “Stats” next to your writing for today, you’ll see a fascinating overview of today’s writing. This view shows when you wrote your 750 words – over how long and how fast you typed.

writing inspiration

It also shows you when you were distracted from your writing, your mood while writing, word usage clouds and more. It’s a very interesting insight.

writing inspiration

For daily statistics, go to “Today” and “Today’s writers“, where you can see who is currently writing, comparative statistics and any badges people have earned.

Badges For Motivation

Badges are earned for various worthy milestones, such as 100,000 words total, or 100 days in a row or becoming a patron of the site.

Extra Fascinating Statistics

If you want to see the cumulative statistics of the site, including analysis of overall mood and other fascinating things, take a look at the Explore page.

To view overall stats about your writing habits and mood, click on Eternity. Some of these statistics are quite unexpected, but nonetheless interesting.

750 words

Get Writing

In the end, it’s all about writing. It’s a daily prompt to write 750 words, a beautiful, distraction-free environment to write them in, plus a few challenges to stick to your writing goals.

I personally find 750 words a great way to begin my articles, by writing the essence of the article before I get bogged down adding pictures to it. On other days, I simply write and see where my thoughts take me.

If you’re a writer, you might also like to read these articles:

Have you tried using 750 words? Do daily reminders help you to focus on your goals? Does a little competition help you to stay motivated? Does writing 750 words in the morning help you to write more for the rest of the day? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: ShutterStock

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Hot Tech Deals [Oct 12th]

Posted: 12 Oct 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. Medal of Honor Limited Edition Video Game (PC, Xbox 360, PS3) $49.99 Free Shipping via code EMCZYZN77

  2. TODAY ONLY eMachines E233Hbd 23in Widescreen LCD Monitor $139.99 Free Shipping

  3. TODAY ONLY Sharp AQUOS LC32D47U 32 inch LCD HDTV (720p) $319.99 Free Shipping

  4. OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX60G 2.5in 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive $94.99AR Free Shipping

  5. TODAY ONLY Microburst MB8000 5.1ch Home Theater Speakers $279.99 Free Shipping

  6. Patriot G Series ‘Sector 5′ Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) PC3 12800 Desktop Memory $62.99AR Free Shipping via code EMCZYZN23

  7. TODAY ONLY Nikon Coolpix S3000 12MP 4X Digital Camera w/ VR Image Stabilization (Refurb) $89.99 Free Shipping

  8. Nikon Coolpix S1000PJ 12MP 5X Digital Camera w/ Built-In Projector $159.99 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

NEW: Download MakeUseOf iPhone App. FREE!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

10 Online Slang Dictionaries To Learn Jargon & Street Language

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 12:31 PM PDT

slang dictionaryEven Shakespeare used slang. A simple internet search reveals that. It's a different story that his lingo influenced most of the English language.

That's the story with a lot of street-speak and jargon. Slang words don't mind that they are not a part of Webster’s or Roget's. It is just a matter of time before they get hauled up from the streets and into the pages of a regular dictionary. But for every word that becomes a part of the dictionary, there are many more that stay behind.

There are some we know and say each day. Then there are some which leave us befuddled. For vernacular language is also about generations. Each age has its own. Today, even the online world of chat and Twitter has its own unique set of jargons. Maybe you will ask someone the meaning directly. Maybe you will just nod in presumed understanding. Maybe you will take the help of the web.

In the last case at least, let these ten slang dictionary websites help you to look up slangs and jargons that are the order of the day.

Urban Dictionary

slang dictionary

'Defenestrate' is a word Microsoft won't include in its dictionary. I found out these days it means to uninstall software from a Microsoft operating system, usually in frustration. Actually, it's a proper English word; Urban Dictionary just gave it a funny turn. Well, that's what it does – in an accurate though humorous way. But it also takes a practical look at the words that gets bandied about in mainstream media and the streets. Urban Dictionary is a user generated online word resource.


ghetto slang dictionary

Wiktionary, just like its mother publication Wikipedia, is a completely user contributed and user editable online dictionary. It is also multilingual. It also has other tools like a thesaurus, a rhyme guide, phrase books, language stats and across-the-board appendices. It is running over 2 million entries right now. So expect to find usage notes and translations of all kinds here.

Check out the in-depth look Steven took when pitched the The Wikipedia Dictionary (Wiktionary) vs.  Urban Dictionary.

Double-Tongued Dictionary

ghetto slang dictionary

The journey from jargon to a recognized word may be a long one. This online resource gives jargon a place to stay until they enter the slang dictionary. The site lists lesser known or under-documented words from the periphery of English, with a focus on slang, jargon, and new words.

Unsuck It

ghetto slang dictionary

I thought that 'rainmaker' referred to the Red Indian who could appease the rain gods. In corporate jargon though, it's the guy who makes the company a lot of money. Unsuck It is a searchable database of words spoken around water coolers, cubicles, and boardrooms.

Word Spy

online slang dictionary

If iPod oblivion doesn't get you, qwerty tummy will. Scratching your head? Look them up here on this website which records words and phrases which we have just started kicking around. Word Spy describes its job as 'lexpionage' – the sleuthing of new words and phrases.

Online Slang Dictionary

online slang dictionary

You can subscribe to their newsletter and get an American, English or urban word of the day in your inbox. The site has tabs which cover new words, random words, alphabetical word lists, and a Thesaurus. Interactivity is encouraged with vote tools which measure vulgarity and usage. The SlangMap is an interesting feature as it lets you see where in the world the word gets used the most.

Septic's Companion

online slang dictionary

If someone calls you a 'sod' in London, you just might mistake it for abuse, which it is not. British English is the original Queen's tongue and it ain't always so prim 'n proper. This resource is an 'A-to-Zed' English-to-American Dictionary with audio pronunciations. After all, it's all in the accent. You can browse by letter or category.

Another enjoyable guide for just the right English words is The Very Best of British list. If you still cannot find that Cockney slang give A Dictionary of Slang a gander.

The Rap Dictionary

The music is enjoyable but sometimes the language is hard to interpret especially when it delivered in that staccato style. So, the Rap Dictionary is a useful resource to look up slangs and words from this genre. The Wiki has a dictionary filled with rap lingo. You can also browse it according to nouns, verbs, adjectives, interjections, gangs or geography.

Internet Slang

This small website is a compilation of slang words, acronyms and abbreviations (5,428 strong) as used on websites, ICQ chat rooms, blogs, SMS, and Internet forums. Contribute your own online lingo via the Suggestions page.


slang dictionary

Quite simply, a Twitter dictionary for finding Twitter related words. We are speaking in 140 characters or less, but still chalking up new words and abbreviations.

Twittords is another resource for understanding how Twedi Masters tweet.

Thankfully, the web has a tremendous list of slang dictionary resources for brushing up your vocabulary or your language. I have probably missed out on a few here. So, let us know about them so we can understand each other better when all of us don’t speak plain English.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Create A Webshop Without Databases With SimpleCart(js)

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 11:31 AM PDT

web site shopping cartShopping systems are often slow, bulky systems that can be quite demanding. The exceptions are blog (i.e. Wordpress) plug-ins, but even these require advanced control over your webserver and database installs.

In short, a lot of work, files and really tough to use with free (limited) webspace.

Today, we’ll discuss an alternative. It’s free, super lightweight, and just needs a little different approach. That’s to say, there’s no graphical user interface for adding shop items with this web site shopping cart. Instead, you need to insert simple tags in your HTML code. Don’t worry, we’ll tell you how.


The end-user interface is slick, simple and direct. Products are aligned in this web site shopping cart in a grid, with relatively large icons, product explanation and price. The webmaster can optionally add different options for a product, i.e. small, medium and large T-shirts. Because of the build-up, simpleCart is best used for displaying a smaller and relatively static product arrangement, perfectly suited for amateur sellers.

web site shopping cart

The cart is usually shown at the bottom of the page, but you can pretty much put it wherever you want. Here the buyer can review the products already selected, change the quantity, or empty the card.

web site shopping cart

When satisfied, pressing the Checkout button will take the buyer to Paypal or Google Checkout, starting a money transfer to your account. You’ll receive a notification when you get the money, where after you can ship the products. As simple as that.

Setting Up SimpleCart On Your Website

First, make sure you’ve got a basic website capable of executing JavaScript (which most can) and some little web space for the rest of the files. You can download simpleCart(js) from the website. It’s donation ware, so you can choose for yourself if you like it and how much you think it’s worth.

Unzip the file and upload simpleCart.js to your site directory. The set-up is completed by inserting some little code into your website’s HTML files. Wherever those snippets of code are inserted, that’s where the specific simpleCart components will show up.

<script type="text/javascript" src="simpleCart.js"></script>

Add this to every page, between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags, wherever you want to use simpleCart.

<script type="text/javascript">
simpleCart.checkoutTo = PayPal; = "";

Add the above to make simpleCart check out using Paypal. You also need to specify your Paypal mail address. Change the elements in green, and paste the entire snippet between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags, wherever you want to use the checkout.

<script type="text/javascript">
simpleCart.checkoutTo = GoogleCheckout;
simpleCart.merchantId = "111111111111111";

If you instead want to use Google Checkout, paste the above snippet between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags, wherever you want to use the checkout. Instead of your email address, swap the green element with your Google Checkout Merchant ID.

<div class="simpleCart_shelfItem">
<h2 class="item_name"> Product Name </h2>
<select class="item_size">
<option value="Small"> Small </option>
<option value="Medium"> Medium </option>
<option value="Large"> Large </option>

<span class="item_price">$35.99</span>
<input value="1" type="text">
<a href="javascript:;" class="item_add"> Add to Cart </a>

The code snippet above is used to add an item to your shelf. Change the item name and price, show in green. The select class, shown in blue, is entirely optional. If there are no subclasses in your product, you can leave it out. Paste it between the <BODY> and </BODY> tags, wherever you want to show it on your page.

<div class="simpleCart_items"></div>

Paste this between the <BODY> and </BODY> tags, where you want to display the entire web site shopping cart.

You have <span class="simpleCart_quantity"></span> items in your Cart.
Cart total: <div class="simpleCart_total"></div>

<a href="javascript:;" class="simpleCart_checkout">Checkout</a>
<a href="javascript:;" class="simpleCart_empty">Empty</a>

The above elements will respectively display the amount of items in your cart, the cart total, a checkout link and an empty cart link. Each element can exist independently.

Take a look at the documentation for more advanced settings, including currency options, tax rates, shipping, and changing the cart formatting.

What do you think about simpleCart(js)? Have you ever sold anything online on your own site, and how did it go? Let us know in the comments!

Image credit: Shutterstock

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 Make Your Wordpress Blog Mobile-Friendly With WPtouch

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 10:31 AM PDT

wordpress mobileDon’t underestimate the power of mobile devices. Even though mobile internet access used to be lame, recent statistics say that there are more than 47 million people who access the internet from their mobile phones every day in the US alone. And that number is growing by leaps and bounds.

That data might mean nothing to most of us, especially if we are on the passive side of information. But if you are a blogger or web publisher, you should already realize that the urgency of making your site mobile friendly is also growing along with that number.

The extra labor of re-designing the interface and re-adjusting the lines of codes to fit mobile viewing needs might make most web owners moan in frustration. Luckily, if you use self-hosted Wordpress for your blog, the problems can be solved easily – and in style – by WPtouch.

Seek And Install

WPtouch is a Wordpress plugin that will convert your blog interface to fit the (touch) screen interface of your visitors’ mobile phone. It was originally developed for the iPhone interface only and we’ve covered the old version of this plugin back in 2008. But it has grown so much since then, and now it’s already compatible with many other kinds of phones, that I think it deserves another look.

Let’s start at the very beginning: the installation. Installing Wordpress plugins is not as troublesome as it used to be. All you need to do is search for the plugins that you want from within the Wordpress plugin menu. No need to mess with FTP anymore.

wordpress mobile

After the results appear, click “Install Now“, wait for the process to finish, and activate the plugin.

wptouch plugin

WPtouch comes with a bunch of adjustable settings, but let’s see how it looks on a mobile screen before the tweak.

Touch The Blog

The following example was done on the iPhone. I don’t have access to other devices to experiment on, so if you can try it on other types of mobile phones, please share your experiences in the comments below.

The front page consists of boxes of available articles with dates, titles and some information about those articles. You can tap on the small arrow at the top right hand corner of one of the boxes to reveal a short opening passage from the article and the option to read more.

wptouch plugin

Each post is formatted with a readable-size font, scaled-down images, and screen-wide borders. At the top right of the screen, there’s a drop down menu with the RSS feed, email button, tags, categories, and login.

Visitors can turn off the mobile theme by going to the bottom of the page and sliding the switch off. A confirmation pop-up window will appear, making sure that the request is not accidental. To turn the view back to mobile mode, go to the bottom of the regular view screen and slide the switch on.

wptouch plugin

Clicking the log in button will reveal the username and password fields. You can log in and access all the menus that will only normally appear from within the Wordpress admin area.


Adjusting The Settings

The options are located under the “Settings – WPtouch” menu. The first one is “General Settings” which deals with everything from “Regionalization” to “Footer Message“.


The “Advanced Options” also deals with many things, but the most notable one is the ability to add user-agents for unsupported phones.


WPtouch has the ability to send push notifications to your iDevices and Growl-enabled Mac or PC with the help of Prowl, but you are required to generate a Prowl API before the feature can be activated. We’ll discuss more about Prowl in a future article.

02c Push Notification.jpg

Style & Color” Options deals with font styles and colors of WPtouch elements. You can also choose one of the available background styles from here.

02d Style n Color.jpg

The “Icon Pool” collects icons that can be used later to customize the look of the mobile version of your blog, There are already many available icons on the list, but you can add your own icons to the pool.

02e Icon Pool.jpg

And if you are an Adsense publisher, you can add your Google AdSense ID so that advertisements can be displayed via the mobile interface.

wordpress mobile

So, it doesn’t matter whether your Wordpress blogs are at an amateur or professional level, WPtouch can help you to easily transfer the interface to be more mobile friendly to cater to those mobile visitors.

Have you tried WPtouch for your blogs? How was the result in your mobile devices? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

7 Important Things To Know When Buying An LCD Monitor

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 09:31 AM PDT

lcd computer monitorsAre you tired of your old computer monitor and in dire need of a new one? Maybe you should make yourself familiar with LCD computer monitors. LCD stands for liquid crystal display and are also known as flatscreens.

LCDs have been used for a while, for example in digital clocks and laptops. In recent years they have become a standard for desktop monitors. During the same time, LCDs have also conquered the TV market.

Flatscreen monitors are much thinner and lighter than CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors. They also require less energy, emit no electromagnetic radiation, and the technology enables clearer images, higher resolutions, and a flicker-free display, which is easier on the eyes.

These are only a few key arguments to finally replace the old CRT monitor. This article explains the various features of monitors in general and flatscreens in specific. It will help you understand what you should watch out for when buying a new LCD computer monitor.

Screen Size

The screen size is measured in inches, diagonally from the bottom left to the upper right corner of the display. Available sizes range from 15″ to 30″. The most common size for a desktop monitor today is 19″ to 22″, but it is not uncommon to buy larger sizes.

Bigger sizes usually means you will have more room on your desktop. You might finally be able to view multiple open windows in parallel. However, bigger monitors also take up more space on your desk and they tend to be more expensive.

lcd computer monitors

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio describes the relative number of horizontal to vertical pixels in a display. Standard CRT monitors were almost square with an aspect ratio of 4:3. Today, you will find widescreen monitors that have aspect ratios like movie theater screens, i.e. 16:9 or 16:10. 16:9 is also called HD (high definition).

If you’re watching DVDs on your computer, you can avoid the black bars across your screen with a widescreen display. Wide ratios are also the most convenient solution for viewing multiple windows in parallel. The only reasons to go with 4:3 is that you either prefer it for some reason or you don’t have sufficient space on your desk for a wider monitor.


Resolution is the number of pixels displayed horizontally and vertically. Due to the nature of LCD technology, flatscreens have only one optimized or native resolution. Hence, their native resolution describes the absolute number of pixels present horizontally and vertically.

Unlike CRT monitors, using a lower than native resolution on a flatscreen, leads to fuzzy images. Hence it is important to choose the right native resolution from the start as you can not change it, unless you accept a loss of image quality.

Higher resolutions mean sharper images, higher clarity, and more desktop space. This is perfect if you multitask or enjoy to watch movies on your computer. On the other hand, text become much smaller and harder to read. Thus a high resolution is to be avoided if your eyesight is less than perfect.

Crunch Gear has produced a great comparison chart of aspect ratios and available resolutions. Click the respective links for the article or the full size image.

how to buy computer monitor

Contrast Ratio

Contrast ratio describes the difference between the brightest white and the darkest black the LCD computer monitor can display. Higher contrast ratios equal whiter whites and blacker blacks, as well as a greater degree of gray values in between. The best contrast ratio you can get is 1,000 : 1.

Contrast ratio is a difficult topic. You cannot really compare the values between different manufacturers. Also, sometimes you will find the term dynamic contrast, which is not the same as contrast ratio and can be deceiving.


LCD monitors are illuminated by several backlights. Brightness is measured in candelas per square meter (cd/m2). A higher rating of at least 300 cd/m2, i.e. higher brightness, is to be desired if you want to watch movies or play games on your computer. For office work and browsing a lower rating of 200 – 250 cd/m2 is fine.

Viewing Angle

The higher the viewing angle, the better people who look at the monitor from the side will be able to see its display. Compared to CRTs, LCDs have a limited viewing angle. However, this feature is only interesting if you expect yourself or guests to look at your monitor with an angle. You can ignore it if you’re always going to sit straight in front of your monitor.

how to buy computer monitor


All this time I’ve only been talking about the display and the LCD technology. But a monitor is more than just a display. It needs to be connected to a computer and possibly other devices. Hence, you need to know what type of port you will need and then make sure the monitor has it. Most importantly, check which connector your video card supports.

Here is a brief overview of the most common ones:

  • DisplayPort
    The latest digital display interface, produced since 2008.
  • HDMI
    High-Definition Multimedia Interface, a digital audio/video interface produced since 2003.
  • DVI
    Digital Video Interface, the first digital video interface. Produced to replace VGA since 1999.
  • VGA
    Video Graphics Array, the old analog connector, first produced in 1987.

The image below shows the ports mentioned above. From left to right: DisplayPort (blue), HDMI (black), VGA (white), and DVI (white).

buy computer monitor

In addition to these you may find component video, S-video, and composite video connectors.

I didn’t go into response time, which can be neglected, and panel technology, which basically doesn’t matter if you make up your mind about the above features.

To summarize, you should first pick a desired size, aspect ratio, and resolution. These characteristics should meet your needs. In the next step you can compare all available models for further features, most importantly contrast ratio, brightness, and available ports. Finally, the price will decide which model you can afford.

What is the most important factor for you when buying an LCD computer monitor?

Image Credits: miamiamia, hugama, Crunch Gear, somadjinn

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Seven Cool OS X Modifications You Can Make With Deeper [Mac]

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 08:31 AM PDT

os x modificationsEase of use is an obvious reason why many people buy Apple computers. Macs have clearer, more intuitive options menus and even make the installation of programs simpler.  However, options available for any given function on a Mac are often slimmer than the options available on a Windows machine. Windows, after all, has no qualms about openings its guts to its user – even when they don't want to see them.

But what if you want to dive into the guts of your Mac? You should download Deeper, a program that lays bare a variety of settings on your Mac and lets you make OS X modifications with them in a relatively controlled environment. Let's take a look at ten very cool things you can do with this program.

Animate Your Desktop Background

os x modifications

Turning on this option will display an animated desktop background that is constantly changing. Deeper comes with 13 animated background options including an RSS reader and a background that uses your iTunes album artwork.

You'll need a relatively powerful Mac to use the feature without reducing performance noticeably, but this is a fun feature to use if you have a newer machine.

Alter Crashreporter

OS X includes a default crash reporter that displays whenever a program crashes and gives you the chance to re-launch the application. This function is considered the “Basic” Crash reporter.

Deeper lets you switch to using the Developer or Server modes. Developer mode shows a more detailed debug message that can aid in tracking down the reason why a crash occurred. Server, on the other hand, simply logs the crash report so that Crash reporter doesn't interfere with whatever the system is doing.

Change Arrows In Scroll Bar

This may seem a little OCD, but the default locations of the arrow buttons in OS X bug me. I use a Windows machine as well, so the fact that OS X and Windows machines put the scroll arrows at different locations throws me off. With Deeper this is no longer problem. You can choose to put arrows at the top and bottom of the scroll bar like on a Windows machine, plus you can choose to put the Mac double-arrow at both the top and bottom of a scroll bar.

Fuss About Finder

Deeper offers a huge variety of options that let you change how Finder works. There are a few too many to discuss in detail in this article, but some of the more important ones include the ability to display hidden files and folders, show the item path in the window title, and show folder content previews.

You can also turn off some features, like the animated snap-to-grid and info effects that are used by Finder.

Limit Your Mac's Functionality

Throughout Deeper there are a number of settings available that turn off critical parts of your Mac. You can disable the ability to shut down or restart a system using the Apple menu or Login window. You can disable the iTunes store. You can even limit the ability to make any OS X modifications to the dock.

The ability to limit these functions means that Deeper can be extremely useful if, for whatever reason, you're worried that someone who doesn't know what they're doing might use your computer. Maybe a child wants to use your computer for a few minutes on a machine without a second user account set up, or maybe you want to safeguard your Mac against mischievous roommates while you leave the room. Either way, Deeper's ability to limit functionality could be a lifesaver.

Modify Screen Capture Format & Location

mac os x modifications

Capturing screenshots is way easier in OS X than in Windows thanks to the extra snapshot features available, but the default settings dumps the files to your desktop in .PNG format. This may not be the best place for them, or the best format, depending on what you want to do with the screenshots.

Now Deeper can come to your rescue. The General panel includes the option to change the format (10 additional formats are available including .BMP, .GIF and .PDF) and the option to change where the shots will be sent. Now you can take a lot of screenshots without cluttering up your desktop!

Modify The OS X Dock

os x modifications

By default the OS X Dock is located at the bottom of your display and has a number of animated graphics effects. These effects look good, but may drain performance from older systems. Deeper will let you turn off 3D dock effects and the 3D dock itself. Instead, you can switch to a 2D version with a transparent background.

You can add things, as well – for example, you can add a mouse-over effect when you're viewing a stack of items displayed as a grid.


Deeper is a great program that make its very easy to change your Mac’s settings. There is a lot of flexibility in it, and the fact that it lets you change not only critical Mac functions but also Safari, iTunes and Quicktime really makes it stand out.

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

No comments:

Post a Comment