Friday, October 15, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [October 14th]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [October 14th]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [October 14th]

Posted: 14 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.

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GoogleBeat – Since it launched its web search, Google has ventured out into many other web-related avenues. With Buzz, Google entered social networking. But Buzz still has a long way to go before it successfully helps people stay in touch with the latest trends. For that, Google has now launched the YouTube channel, Beat. Read more: GoogleBeat: Keep Up To Date With The Week's Most Popular Google Searches


digSLR – Are you a photography enthusiast looking for a great camera online? If yes, then you will probably be having a hard time deciding which camera to go for. Thankfully you have digSLR to go to. Its main aim is to give visitors dslr camera reviews and ratings from experts. Read more: digSLR: Find DSLR Camera Reviews, Ratings & Tutorials From Experts



Similar Site Search – If you like a certain video hosting site or web comic, similar websites will also be of interest to you. But because of their number, finding similar sites manually is an almost impossible task. That is precisely why Similar Site Search is a wonderful tool. Read more: Similar Site Search: Find Similar Websites On The Web With Ease



MorseTweet – Do you want to send out a secret message to your friends via Twitter? Do it the old school way and tweet it in Morse Code! MorseTweet is a morse code Twitter app that allows you to translate a regular text into Morse Code and post it to your Twitter account. Read more: MorseTweet: Morse Code Twitter Tool



3D Tin – There are several things that don't make much sense in 2D, but the complexity of 3D drawing tools usually keep people away from them. 3DTin is a easy to use pixel drawing program that changes that by letting you draw 3D objects online without any hassle. Read more: 3DTin: 3D Pixe Drawing Program Online


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These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

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How To Remove Windows Genuine Advantage From Your PC

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 06:31 PM PDT

remove windows genuine advantageWindows Genuine Advantage (WGA for short) is a Windows Update component rolled out to XP users long after XP was released. It is intended to validate your Windows licence, allow updates to Microsoft wares and display a number of notifications if your product key isn't kosher.

There's nothing wrong with still using XP, a number of staff here at MakeUseOf have yet to budge in fact. If you've got an old PC that doesn't need the bells, whistles and expensive licence that comes with Windows 7 then XP is still a viable alternative.

In this guide I will show you how to remove the WGA notifications should you want to, after which you'll not be able to download non-critical updates but will still receive the critical fixes that really matter.

Why Remove WGA?

If you bought Windows XP and have been unlucky enough to fail the validation (which isn't uncommon) then you might just want to remove it altogether. If you're a raging software pirate then I'm going to have a tougher job convincing you to keep it.

WGA is a non-vital Windows component, which means that without it your copy of Windows XP will continue to work. If you're using something like VLC for your media needs and swear by Chrome or Firefox then you probably won't miss updates for Internet Explorer and Media Player all that much.

remove windows genuine advantage

Data is also collected about your system, this includes your BIOS checksum, MAC address, hard drive serial number, and even your PC's manufacturer and model. If you're tight on privacy, this might be another reason to ditch WGA.

I've provided two methods of removing WGA manually. I'd recommend you try the first set of instructions to begin with, the second set is provided in case you can't get the first working. There are also a few applications that will attempt to remove WGA for you (more on those later).

It is worth mentioning if you've re-installed XP lately and downloaded WGA in a recent update then a simple System Restore to the point before you downloaded the update will remove it. Just remember not to re-download it again afterwards.

how to remove windows genuine advantage notification

Assuming you've had WGA on your machine for a while, the instructions below should remove it.

Removing WGA Via The Command Line

Restart your PC and boot into Safe Mode, usually by pressing F8 whilst your computer boots. Once your PC has booted open a command prompt by clicking Start then Run and typing cmd into the box before clicking OK.

Change directory to your System32 folder with the following command:

cd \windows\system32

Next you're going to need to copy the following lines to the clipboard, in order to paste them into the command prompt quickly. This is necessary to kill the WgaTray.exe process and delete the file before Windows has a chance to launch it again:

taskkill -IM wgatray.exe
del wgatray.exe
del wgalogon.old

If all the commands executed correctly you should have killed and deleted WgaTray.exe as well as WgaLogon.dll. You might also want to have a look for any WGA-related files (WgaTray.exe, WgaLogon.dll, WgaSetup.exe etc…) in \Windows\System32\dllcache and delete them, just in case.

Restart your PC to see if the changes have taken effect, if the WGA notifications are still there then you'll want to continue reading this next bit, otherwise you're done.

Removing WGA With Registry Editor & Windows Explorer

If you're still reading then that probably didn't work. Boot normally and once Windows is back click Start, Run and type regedit before clicking OK.

Navigate your way to: My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify and delete the folder called WgaLogon and any content associated with it.

how to remove windows genuine advantage notification

Restart your PC and if all has gone well, your WGA notifications shouldn't be visible. These next steps will delete the files for good.

Navigate to your Windows\System32 folder and  at the top of the window click Tools, Folder Options and click on the View tab. Check Show hidden and protected Windows files so that you can see all of the offending items.

how to remove windows genuine advantage notification

Next you're going to need to locate all WGA-related files within your \Windows\System32 and \Windows\System32\dllcache folders. Running a simple search is the best way, so hit Start, Search and choose All files and folders.

Run a search for Wga*.*, and delete any WGA related results you find in these folders including WgaTray.exe, WgaLogon.dll and WgaSetup.exe. Restart your PC once you've done, and your copy of Windows should be “genuine” again.

windows genuine advantage

Removing WGA With Software

If you're still having trouble then there are a number of third-party tools that will attempt to do this for you. I personally prefer tinkering with my System32 folder myself rather than getting an application to do it, though there's plenty of people claiming these work just fine.

RemoveWGA is a simple run and reboot process, by the time you've restarted WGA notifications should be gone. MUBlinder is another solution, just make sure you have the Microsoft .NET Framework before running it or it won't work.

If one of these methods worked for you then you might want to change your preferences for Automatic Updates in Control Panel so that WGA doesn’t make its way back onto your system. I’d recommend allowing Windows to notify you when updates are available, but then manually selecting them yourself.

remove windows genuine advantage

Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with your critical updates, this is vital to keep your machine patched up and secure.

Have you removed Windows Genuine Advantage or did your copy of XP validate ok? Any reasons you're still using XP? Let us know in the comments.

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5 Cool Fashion Newsletters You Should Subscribe To If You’re A Geek

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 04:31 PM PDT

fashion newslettersA geek typically is an intelligent individual that knows everything about some kind of technology. Aside from this very friendly definition, there is also the notion that geeks are socially inept with a bad taste in fashion. However, during recent years technology and being a geek has become fashionable.

Along with this trend, geeky fashion has found its way into the limelight. One of the latest example is Jil Sander’s Fall 2010 campaign, which features pale male and female models with bare makeup, thick glasses, and geek-chic-style attire from Jil Sander’s current collection (image below). In other words, it’s hip to be smart and vice versa.

Do you feel like it’s time to break out of your outdated fashion habits and brush up on your geeky style? Gather some inspiration with these 5 cool fashion newsletters and a selection of style guides that also work for geeks.

fashion newsletters

For The Boys

The Chic Geek

The Chic Geek is “an independent online men’s style magazine for any man interested in his personal appearance.” Besides fashion and grooming news, the site also features helpful ‘how to’ articles, and Geekpedia, which reveals the meaning of common fashion terms.

cool fashion tips

Subscribe via monthly email newsletter (form on the far right).

The Fashionisto

Men’s fashion is far less complicated than the female equivalent. The rules are strict, the shoes tend to be comfy, and no major worrying about matching makeup or accessories. The Fashionisto is a simple website that features the latest in menswear and trends.

cool fashion tips

Subscribe via FeedBurner.

If you are totally lost in the world of fashion, you will appreciate the Newbie Fashion Tips for Grown-Up Men.


Eco Fashion World

Eco Fashion World aims to inspire its readers with new ideas, ideals, and information. Although the fashion they promote is green, it is no less fashionable. It’s fashion for people who think forward and embrace new developments. How could a geek not fit this description?

cool fashion tips

Subscribe via email newsletter.


The Swedish clothing company Hennes & Mauritz, better known as H&M, is known for its ‘fast fashion’, i.e. a fast transfer of catwalk trends into affordable store collections. They have fashion and accessories for men, women, teenagers, and children. If you need to shop style in all sizes on a budget, H&M is one of the best choices.

cool fashion tips

While you can subscribe to the store newsletter, my actual recommendation would be to check out their style guide for girls and guys.

Subscribe via email newsletter.

For The Girls

Fashion Magazine

While the latest fashion trends can be quite intimidating for women, they can be much more creative than men. Fortunately, designers accommodate this freedom with a host of different styles and items to go along with them. Fashion Magazine covers all aspects of fashion, including fragrances, jewelry, and gadgets.

fashion newsletters

Subscribe via email newsletter or other FeedBurner options.

Fashion remains a  sensible and difficult terrain for both men and women. However, once you found your style and know how to keep it going, it can become a fun way to express yourself. What is unique about your own style and do you care about the latest fashion at all?

Image credit: davdibiase

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The 6 Best Blogs For Architectural & Interior Design Ideas

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 02:31 PM PDT

interior design ideasDo you find yourself staring idly at your house wondering how in the world you’re going to make it beautiful? Or do you just love to peek into other people’s homes to see what they use to decorate?

Are you just fascinated by beautiful photos of great architecture? Do you love ingenious furniture design? Are you fascinated by people who make small spaces habitable? Thinking of renovating?

Whatever draws you to the world of architecture and interior design, there are plenty of great blogs out there ready to provide you with your daily dose. Here is a list of five of the best blogs around to show you beautiful interior design ideas and architectural designs.

1. Dezeen

Dezeen — short for Design Magazine — has an architectural focus, covering new trends in architecture. However, it also often features furniture, lighting and transport. There’s a clear environmentally-friendly slant, with a whole section dedicated to green design. The pictures on this blog are bright and beautiful, leaving readers drawn to the fascinating structures it shows.

interior design ideas

2. Desire To Inspire

If you’re after just interior design ideas, Desire to Inspire is a fabulous place to start. This blog is run by two girls who have never met, each with an eye for the perfect room. Whether it be rustic, modern, formal or casual, these girls will find it and feature it. The beautiful photography and interior design featured in this blog will fill you with the urge to redecorate.

give me some ideas on interior designs

3. Decor8

Decor8 is very focused on interior design ideas, featuring plenty of neat household decorations and entire rooms decorated to a theme. There are also plenty of photographs of simple stylistic things you could do to brighten up a section of your house. Decor8 also create great collages of photos when there are too many to choose from!

give me some ideas on interior designs

4. Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy is about how to design the interior of your entire house, how to live in small spaces and great ways to brighten up your house. The beautiful photography features complete rooms, sets of pillows, DIY furniture and crafty ideas you can imitate easily. When they find a house worth displaying in its entirety, they write a full feature article on the home and offer a gallery tour, showing many more photos of the house.

give me some ideas on interior designs

5. Freshome

Freshome — a combination of the words Fresh + Home — is a blog focused entirely on architectural and interior design ideas. The blog’s beautiful pictures will captivate your imagination and fire up your home planning ideas. There are also plenty of great how-to guides to help you make the most of your space.

room interior design

Architecture Blog Tumblr

The Architecture Blog Tumblr is quite addictive for architecture-lovers. There’s no formal articles written, and they merely re-publish photos of great architecture, but that’s what makes it great. As always on Tumblr, readers can click through to the original articles and see more. So this makes it a great way to quickly browse some great photos and dig deeper if you’re really interested.

Plus, this Tumblr is curated by someone with great taste in both architecture and photography. It’s bound to give you some great architectural ideas! There’s no need to be a Tumblr user — just follow the RSS feed or browse away.

interior design ideas

Tell us your favourite blogs

If your favourite architecture or interior design blog isn’t listed, then please let us know in the comments. There can never be enough!



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Hot Tech Deals [Oct 14th]

Posted: 14 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. EXPIRING Infinity TSS-1200 5.1ch Home Theater Speaker System $499.99 Free Shippingvia code EMCZYYW25

  2. EXPIRING LG 42LD450 42in LCD HDTV (1080p) for $250 off $749.99

  3. HP Mini 110 Intel Atom N450 Pinetrail 10.1in Netbook (1GB/160GB/Win 7/6-Cell) $289.99

  4. Intel Core i5-760 2.8GHz Quad-Core LGA1156 Desktop Processor (RETAIL) $179.99 Free Shipping via code COLUMBUS15

  5. Yamaha RX-A1000 7.1ch HDMI 1.4 (8in, 2out) Receiver + Yamaha NS-SP7800PN 5.1ch Speakers $999 via code FREEGFT1013A

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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ClipGrab Makes it Simple to Download Videos Off Websites

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 12:31 PM PDT

download videos off websitesCopy the link, paste it into a single program and download a video. That simplicity is what makes ClipGrab, a cross-platform program for downloading web videos to your computer, a pleasure to use. But it’s the support for multiple video sites, including Vimeo, CollegeHumor and – of course – YouTube, that makes this versatile tool an essential part of your kit.

We’ve featured ways to download YouTube videos before, including my personal favorite took for the job, the simplest YouTube downloading tool ever.

ClipGrab is different because it works on almost every computer – Linux, Mac and Windows – and you can download videos off a wide variety of web sites. If this sounds useful to you let’s take a look at what it can do.

Using ClipGrab

Using this program couldn’t be easier. Simply copy the URL of any video you want to download and you’ll see a notification:

download videos off websites

This pop-up means you can download the video. Go ahead and open your ClipGrab window and paste your video link in the main window. Click the “grab” button and you’ve started the process.

download you tube videos

Just like that your download is started; you’ll even be able to save the file wherever you please. Naturally, there are a few things you can configure. Click the “Settings” tab to explore the options. You can set a default download location, of course, and configure whether downloaded MP3s retain ID3 tags. Of real interest to me, however, is this tab:

download videos off websites

Change that option and the video URL you copy will be automatically downloaded – assuming ClipGrab is open, of course. This can be very useful if you have a number of videos you want to download quickly and without fuss, so try it out.

Supported Sites

The sites officially supported by ClipGrab include:

  • YouTube
  • Clipfish
  • Collegehumor
  • Dailymotion
  • MyVideo
  • MySpass
  • Sevenload
  • Tudou
  • Vimeo

Remember, though: other sites may work in theory. Try copying a given link and ClipGrab will let you know whether it can download that video with the previously mentioned pop-up. Also remember that the list of supported sites may change, so consult the ClibGrab info page if you’re wondering about a particular site.

Supported Output Formats

ClipGrab supports outputting to a number of formats:

  • MPEG4 (video)
  • WMV (video)
  • OGG Theora (video)
  • MP3 (audio only)
  • OGG Vorbis (audio only)

As with supported sites, supported formats may change. Keep up using the ClibGrab info page.

Get ClipGrab

Getting ClipGrab couldn’t be much easier; just head over to the ClipGrab download page. Windows users will find the standard executable for installation, while Mac users are required to do the drag-and-drop dance native to that operating system.

Linux users will find packages for Ubuntu, Suse and Arch, as well as source code and a pre-compiled version which may or may not work on your system. There’s also a portable version over at PortableLinuxApps, a site offering portable software that works on every Linux distro. This is a great way to try the program out: it will even work on a live CD.


There are a lot of video downloading tools out there, but most focus on a few sites. ClipGrab works on a number of different ones, and as such is worth having around. Sure, it can’t download from protected sites such as Hulu, but support for that may be coming. This being an open source project, of course, anything could happen.

Got a better tool for downloading web videos? Share it in the comments below. Also feel free to share what kinds of videos you’ve been downloading to your computer.

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How To Modify Your Private Facebook Account For Fans

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 11:31 AM PDT

facebook fansOne of the things that I love about Facebook is that it’s just so easy to keep in touch with people. One of the things that I dislike about Facebook is that it consumes so much time. This is even more true when you’re very active online and you start developing a Facebook fan base. Whether you’re a frequent forum poster, blogger, or just a social network guru, eventually there are a lot of people that are going to want to follow you – and most of those people are not family and friends.

A lot of people start a separate Facebook “Fan Page” which needs to be maintained and updated just like your private Facebook account. The problem with this is that it takes double the time because now you’re maintaining two or more Facebook accounts. I barely have time to keep one Facebook account updated, I can’t imagine trying to maintain two or more.

There is a solution if you want to use your private Facebook account to welcome your fans. We’ve covered a number of Facebook privacy issues, such as Mahendra’s guide on Facebook privacy and Brett’s 6 simple tips to protect your Facebook Privacy, but we haven’t really touched on some of the unique ways you can customize privacy with a friends list.

By utilizing the Facebook “friend list” feature, you can define a unique class of friends that only see post updates that you allow them to see, while your friends and family are able to see everything.

Setting Up A Unique Fan List

Even if you’ve been using your Facebook account primarily for only family and friends, you can still welcome new acquaintances and fans by creating a new Friend List and defining your privacy settings in a way so that you can control how each individual status update gets displayed.

To get started, click on “Account” and then click on “Create a List“.

facebook fans

The “Create New List” window is where you define the name of your unique list name. This is the list that will have extremely limited access to your wall posts, so name it something that you’ll easily recognize. This way it’ll be quick to enable on those posts that you want to let everyone see.

facebook fans vs friends

Setting Up Default Privacy Settings For Posts

Now that you’ve created the name for the limited list (in my case I named it “Writing Fans”), you can control the visibility of each post. The easiest way to do it so that you can just post as normal for family and friends, and only have to manually add visibility for your special friends list, is to set it up that way as default.

Just go into “Account” then “Privacy Settings” and finally click on the “Customize Settings” list.

facebook fans vs friends

As you can see, I’ve set up information that I consider very private as “Friends Only; Except:” and everything else I leave open to all friends, regardless. What this does is blocks all of your posts and other private content unless you manually provide Facebook permission to show those friends the content. Each of the privacy settings above looks like this:

facebook fans vs friends

So now, I can continue posting as normal to friends and family.

Custom Privacy Settings For Individual Status Updates

Whenever you want to publish a link to one of my articles, or anything that I don’t consider too private for non-family and friends, all you have to do is click the dropdown button that has a little lock on it, and select “Custom Edit”

adding fans to facebook page

Then, you’ll see the same privacy configuration that you saw in your privacy settings above. Just delete the name of the list under “Hide this from” and then click “Save Setting.” Make sure “Make this my default setting” is not selected.

This will essentially allow you to customize the privacy settings of each individual post so that your “public” fans or acquaintances will only see what you allow them to see. Your friends and family will be able to see everything else.

facebook fans

This is a very cool way to have the bonus of offering your fans or acquaintances with a Facebook “friendship” without actually opening up all of the details of your entire life to them. By defining a “limited access” list, these unique friends will see your page updates that are tailored specifically for them, and they won’t see any of your private and personal updates that you make along the way. It’s the best of both worlds.

Do you maintain your own Facebook fan page? Would you consider using this approach instead? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Inveni – A Personalized Social Discovery Engine For Movies & TV

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 10:31 AM PDT

social discovery platform“What to watch?” is a commonly heard phrase around my house. After a long day’s work, we start up Netflix and start looking through their many choices. With so many options it is hard to find something that you know you will like. Netflix has a recommendations engine which looks at what you’ve watched and makes recommendations based on that – but for me it seems hit or miss. Is there a better way?

Inveni claims that robot “recommendation algorithms” are dead. Where an algorithm can take certain categories of a film and make recommendations based on your past history, ratings and viewing patterns it is their assertion that old-fashioned ‘friend’ recommendations are best. Officially launched at TechCrunch Disrupt this year, Inveni aims to solve this problem.

social discovery platform

When you sign up for Inveni – using a normal username/password or via Facebook Connect, you will first import any past ‘ratings’ you’ve made on other sites including Netflix, Blockbuster, IMDB and others. These ratings form a basis for future recommendations.

social engine

You then proceed to let the service know what some of your favorite movies and categories are. Starting from this point Inveni begins to recommend movies and television shows based on your interest.

social engine

social engine

To further personalize your movies recommendations Inveni encourages you to invite your friends to the service or to find friends already using it.

social search

The ‘find friends’ feature seemed to need some work to me. How it is currently set up is not only a security problem (since it will search the list of all users, not just people you already know, you can harvest lists of names off of the service) but it seems like there should be a better way to find friends, either via Twitter or Google Contacts import or some other method.

social search

social search

Integration with Netflix is a dream. It works with Netflix’s API to import your existing recommendations as well as display what is currently in your Netflix DVD and Instant Streaming queue. You can effectively switch out of the Netflix recommendation engine and start using Inveni to find movies on the Netflix platform.

social discovery platform

Also of note is the Firefox toolbar integration. After you install the Plugin it will pop up (as a bottom bar) on dozens of sites which list movies such as Amazon, Netflix, Best Buy and others. This gives you an integrated way to find out what movies have been rated by the Inveni community and also continue to add your ratings to movies – therefore making it more accurate in its own recommendations.

All of that being said, I think Inventi is on to something. Although in its current setup, with most ratings pulled in from Netflix or other services, I’m not sure how it differs from any other “robot algorithm” services but they are making the claim that once you have a network set up the recommendation engine is more heavily influenced by friends than algorithms.

Only once you add in the social factor does the service start to differentiate itself, and with the lack of a wide-base of users at the moment, it is hard to argue that it does any better than Netflix itself. If I were to make a recommendation to the company, it would be to get better integration with Twitter and other social networks to ‘widen the net’ so to speak and get as many of your friends onto the service as possible. Until then, services like Fflick are simply easier to use.

Do you use Inveni? How do you find the recommendations versus what you would find in a “traditional” recommendation engine?

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UltraCopier – An Alternative Multi-Platform Batch File Copier

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 09:31 AM PDT

batch file copierI copy and move lots of documents and files between computers and gadgets that I use. While emails and/or Dropbox would be sufficient for small documents, larger files require extra treatment.

Everybody knows that copying (or moving) large files takes time (especially those beyond the realm of hundreds of megabytes).  There are also “(un)expected troubles” that occasionally occur in the middle of big file transfers. Any help on speeding up the process and managing those transfers would be accepted with open arms.

That’s the reason why TeraCopy is at the top of my list of Windows applications that I (and most Mac users that I know) wish to be available for Mac. Even though TeraCopy is still Windows-only at the moment, I was lucky to find one multi-platform alternative called UltraCopier.

Good Things Come In Batches

UltraCopier is a multi-speed batch file copier which is available for Windows (32, 64 and portable), Linux, and also Mac. This range should cover most common users’ needs. Even though the project is still in early Beta (v.0.2), the app already has some nice promising features.

Note: the following example was done using the Mac version of the app, but other versions should be more or less similar.

After you open it, UltraCopier will reside in the Menubar (or System Tray in Windows). Using it is a simple matter of clicking the icon and choosing either “Add copy” or “Add move“.

batch file copier

A progress window will open. Click the “More” button to reveal more options. You can manage your copy/move files using the tool buttons and view the list on the pane.

batch files

The “Open (+)” button gives you the option to open file(s) or folders, while other buttons allow you to re-arrange the order of the files (move up/down, move to top/bottom) and to delete one or more items.

batch files

After clicking open, UltraCopier will ask you to find the source that you want to copy/move.

batch files

Then you also have to decide the destination where you want to save the file.

batch file copy files

After you are done with the file arrangement, you just click the “Play” button to start the transfer process, and minimize the display by clicking the “More” button again should you want to.

batch file copy files

You will get a notification window if the files that you want to move already exist in the destination folder. Should this situation occur, you can choose to overwrite the files in the destination folder, rename the file that you are moving, skip the item(s), or cancel the entire process.

batch file copy files

There are several choices that you can choose from the “Overwrite” option. Click the little arrow next to the button to view the options list.

01be ultracopier - Overwrite options.jpg

Some Other Options & Personal Opinions

You might notice that “Copy List” is only one of the available tabs from UltraCopier’s interface. There are other tabs that will allow you to customize the working of this app even more.

The “Options” tab lets you decide what to do at the end of every copy process, limit the copy speed (if you want to reserve the processing power for other activities), and what to do should file collisions and copy errors happen.

02a Ultracopier - Copy Options.jpg

You can enable/disable the autostart feature from the “Copy Management” tab. You will want to enable this feature if you want the copy/move process to start automatically right after you choose the files.

I honestly don’t really understand the functions of the other options except for “Reduce to systray“.

02b Ultracopier - Copy Management.jpg

As for the “Advanced” tab, this is the place where you can pre-set the priority of all the copy/move processes. There’s also the option to adjust the block size and whether you want to enable “Preallocate the file’s size“. Unless you really know what you are doing, I suggest you leave those two as it is.

batch file copier

After playing with the app for a while, I can tell you that even though the developer should allocate more time and resources on re-designing the user interface, the app itself works just fine. All the items I moved arrived at their destination safe and sound.

I’m not qualified to give any professional opinion on transfer speed, but the process did feel faster on my Mac. I also tried to compare UltraCopier with TeraCopy on my Windows machine by using both apps to move the same file from the same location to the same destination, and as far as the precision of my stopwatch goes, the difference is insignificant with TeraCopy heading by a hairline.

If any of you can share a professional perspective on this matter, you are welcome to use the comments below. Meanwhile, appearances aside, UltraCopy is already a must have tool on my utility belt. I keep one copy of the Mac version and one copy of the portable Windows version inside my thumb drive so that I will always have access to faster file transfers.

What do you prefer?

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The Top Performing Laptop Video Cards For Gaming & HD Video [Technology Explained]

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 08:31 AM PDT

laptop video cardsLaptops are great, but most are not known for performance when it comes to playing games and, in some cases, HD video (either streaming or Blu-Ray discs). If your attempts to enjoy a game on your laptop have been thwarted by low frame-rates or ugly graphics the problem is almost certainly your laptop video card – or, more accurately, the GPU (the graphics processor on a laptop usually placed on a separate card).

The solution to this problem is to buy a laptop with an awesome GPU the next time you go shopping.

As with most computer hardware, however, that may be easier said than done. Intel still swears up and down that their integrated graphics are fine, and there are a number of ATI Radeon integrated graphics processors that, while fine from a power savings standpoint, aren’t good enough for a gaming laptop. However, we’re not looking for laptop video cards that are fine or okay – we’re looking for the top performers. Let’s find them.

Nvidia Geforce GTX 400M Series

laptop video cards

The brand-spanking new GTX 400 series is Nvidia’s latest line of laptop video cards and boy, do they kick butt. The GTX 480M is currently the top performing laptop video card on the market. It boasts a 3DMark 06 score of about 15,500, which is 2,500 more than the quickest card from ATI. The slightly slower GTX 460M manages a score of about 12,400 as well. There is also supposed to be a middle-of-the-road GTX 470M, but I haven’t noticed it in any laptops yet.

Being brand new, all of the 400M series cards support the latest DirectX 11 graphics. Clearly, all of the 400M series cards are very quick, but the power will absolutely come at the price of performance and heat generation. Any laptop with an Nvidia 400 series laptop video card can be expected to be large, run a little hot, and absolutely demolish battery life. The GTX 480M powered Clevo D901F, for example, drew a maximum of 318 watts of power.

That would be a lot for a desktop computer!

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5800 Series

best video cards

The top performing laptop video cards from ATI at the moment are the Radeon HD 5800 series (the same is true for desktop video cards, as well). This includes the Radeon HD 5870, 5850 and 5830.

All of these cards are among the best laptop video cards on the market today and have shown truly outstanding performance in benchmarks. The Radeon HD 5870 achieves a 3DMark 06 score of around 13,000, while the 5850 and 5830 receive scores of about 10,000 and 7,800 respectively.

The Radeon HD 5800 series video cards have also received high marks for their complete DirectX 11 support and their relatively cool operation. But make no mistake – a laptop video card of this caliber is going to suck down even a large battery like a peanut butter milkshake (Mmmm…good).

Nvidia Geforce GT 335M/330M

best video cards

Further down the video card performance charts you’ll find the Nvidia Geforce GT 335M and 330M. These older cousins in the Geforce lineup don’t support DirectX 11 and are have much lower 3DMark 06 scores than the big, beefy GTX 400M series. The GT 335M scores around 6,500 and the 300M manages about 6,100. That’s not bad performance, but it’s obviously less than the take-no-prisoners GTX 480M.

What makes these laptop video cards stand out, however, is the inclusion of Nvidia Optimus on some laptops. Optimus is a graphics switching technology that turns off the laptop video card when it isn’t really needed (an Intel IGP takes over when the Nvidia solution is off). This feature can be found in laptops like the Alienware M11x, Sony Vaio Z and ASUS N82Jv-X1.

Optimus makes it possible for these laptops to squeeze out one to two hours of extra battery life that laptops with similarly powerful, non-Optimus video cards can’t manage.

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650

laptop video cards

Last, but not least, we have the AT Mobility Radeon HD 5650. This little video card that could isn’t going make you dislocate your jaw, but it does provide surprisingly good performance considering its typical price. It usually scores around 6,500 in 3DMark 06 benchmarks, which means it on par with the Nvidia Geforce GT 335M.

Yet Radeon HD 5650 laptops are usually far less expensive than models equipped with the GT 335M. Both Toshiba and Acer offer multiple models online that have this laptop video card and also cost less than $800. Laptops with the GT 335M are usually closer to $1,000.

The HD 5650 fully supports DirectX 11. ATI does have a switchable graphics technology that competes with Optimus, but it isn’t widely used – as of the time of this writing, I could only find one laptop (an Acer TimelineX) being sold with it.


Obviously, I did skip some other top performing video cards in this article. Options like the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 or Nvidia Geforce GTS 360M are perfectly fine, but are somewhat redundant. If you’d like a full list of ALL the options available I suggest having a gander at Notebook Check’s mobile graphics card list. The 3DMark 06 figures listed here are approximate. Your performance will be different – faster or slower – depending on the speed of a laptop’s processor and other components.

Also, you do not have to worry about HD video with any of these graphics cards. All of these video cards include GPU acceleration features that can easily handle any HD video you throw at them including both HD video falls and Blu-Ray disks. For more information check out our post What You Need to Play Video Smoothly On Your PC.

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