Monday, October 18, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [October 17th]” plus 7 more “Cool Websites and Tools [October 17th]” plus 7 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [October 17th]

Posted: 17 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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Drips – is a pretty cool online action painting tool that lets you use your webcam, microphone or mouse to spread random colors in an artistic way on the canvas and thus create a painting. The homepage lets you select either the webcam or the mouse option. With the mouse, it's simple. Read more: Drips: An Online Action Painting Application


NotesForLater – is a bookmarklet that allows you to remember what you find interesting about a particular website by letting you send an email. The email contains a link to the website you are viewing, the text that you have highlighted on the site, and the time you visited the site. Read more: NotesForLater: Email Links to Yourself With Notes for Later



Free Icon Editor – Everyday computer users can create custom icons to customize their computer experience. On the other hand software creators and web developers can use custom icons in their products to give them a unique touch. One tool through which you form wonderful custom icons is Free Icon Editor. Read more: Free-Icon-Editor: Easily Create Custom Icons



Endorse For A Cause – Donating to a cause through your online purchases can be a great way to help those in need of the donation. If you are looking for a web service that simplifies online donations, then look no further: your search ends at EndorseForACause. It is a web service that helps you donate to a particular cause through your online purchases. Read more: EndorseForACause: Donate To A Cause Through Online Purchases



UnhearIt – A bad yet catchy song is playing on the radio and you hear it; for the rest of the day and perhaps even later, the song and its music stuck in your head, and you cannot get rid of them. You have tried thinking of other things but no matter what you do, that catchy tune stays in your head. That is where Unhear It comes into play. Read more: UnhearIt: Get Rid Of A Catchy Song Or Music Stuck In Your Head


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.

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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 17 Oct 2010 07:31 PM PDT

It's time to say thanks to MakeUseOf’s friends who, once in a while, tip us great story ideas, help out on different projects and in some cases offer their services at discounted prices. Thank you, guys!

ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service
Ever wanted to add website screenshots to your website? In my professional opinion ShrinkTheWeb is one of the best services for that, both in terms of performance and pricing. The free account gets you a whopping 250,000 impressions with nearly no delay. See it in action in our daily Cool Websites and Tools series.


Walyou – Cool Gadgets for Geeks
new cool gadgets
Walyou is a fun blog covering all sorts of new cool gadgets and other stuff every geek is likely to find entertaining. Everything from world’s largest Gunny Bears to E-hookah gadgets. Make sure to check them out.

PXLEyes – Photoshop Contests and Tutorials
photoshop contests & tutorials
The place for graphical artists! An awesome community with one common interest: a big passion for computer graphics! There are contests, prizes, tutorials, forums and an active community!


rade | eccles – iPhone Application Development
The perfect iPhone development team, rade | eccles managed to put our iPhone app together in record time yet exude professionalism and dedication every step of the way. Our collaboration wasn’t happenstance. We would make the same decision all over again. Our only recommendation for an iPhone developer – rade | eccles.


TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design
If you’re looking for a cheap, original and quality logo or banner, make sure to check out TrueKolor. We often contact these guys when we need a logo or a banner made, some of the stuff they did for us listed on their portfolio page. Highly recommended.


Mobify – Making the Web a mobile place
More and more users access websites and read blogs using their mobile phone. Mobify lets you mobilize your blog or website by creating lightweight version of it, which loads much faster and looks great on a mobile screen. MakeUseOf’s mobile site was created by Mobify, and we’re proud of it!


Sendible – The easiest way to market your brand online
We’re strong believers of the service Sendible provides — we use it on a daily basis and it has never failed us! Sendible is an online marketing service to promote, grow and track brands through the use of social media, email and SMS messaging. It has the ability to post to multiple services at once, schedule social network updates and analyse their success. We love it!


Thank you, guys!

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 17 Oct 2010 07:00 PM PDT

where can I download free mp3sAs we venture further into the dark season, Sound Sunday keeps the beats rolling.

In this edition the focus once again is on rock, but not lacking ambient, electronic, folk, hip hop, and metal elements. To sway the mix into the direction of your taste you can make suggestions or requests in the comments.

In the meantime, please share your favorites from Sound Sunday with your friends.

Ramuk69 – Monster Pyjama Party

Genre: compilation, rock, pop

where can I download free mp3sThe album kinda is the soundtrack for the 2010 Barnstaple Carnival. This event is held every year at the end of September. Various artists have donated a track to the 2010 album.

Download the 22 track album from Ramuk69 Films.

Ramuk69 Blog.

Sibling – Not Looking for Paradise

Genre: indie, rock

where can I download free mp3sThe brain behind the band Sibling is Phill Edmundson. At the age of 6 he and his best mate wrote their first song. Before Sibling, Phill and another friend formed the band Enellen. Sibling was born in 1999 and the lineup has seen several changes since.

Download their latest free album Not Looking for Paradise from Bandcamp.

Sibling MySpace and Homepage.

[adult swim] – Ghostly Swim

Genre: compilation, indie, electronic

where can I download free mp3sThe adult-oriented cable television nework [adult swim] provides several free albums on their website. Ghostly Swim is an electronic compilation created in cooperation with the independent record label Ghostly International.

Download Ghostly Swim from the [adult swim] Homepage. Navigate to the music page to view all available albums.

[adult swim] Facebook and Homepage.

Debmaster – Grossmutter

Genre: electro, hip hop, punk

where can I download free mp3sCRD’s description: “The Parisian Debmaster disseminates his crips yet warped sid-chipped music like a responsible Crunk scientist. Full of humor as well as mean-beats, this 17 track album, Grossmutter (grandmother), is like a PHD in musical chemistry.

You can download the album from Cock Rock Disco.

Debmaster MySpace and Facebook.

Alan Black – Cripple Crab Crutch

Genre: mash-up, electronic, spoken

where can I download free mp3sThis album is a spooky mash-up of electronic and spoken sound clips. Every song of this 30+ track compilation tells a story. An album that is not for the faint-hearted, but  a work of art nevertheless.

Download Cripple Crab Crutch from Alan’s Homepage. Check out the music page for more free albums.

Alan Black Facebook and Homepage.

John Vanderslice – Green Grow The Rushes

Genre: alternative, indie, rock, pop

where can I download free mp3sJohn Vanderslice, former member of Mk Ultra, is a musician from Gainesville, Florida. Green Grow The Rushes is his 10th solo album since his debut Mass Suicide Occult Figurines in 2000.

Download the album from John’s Homepage.

John Vanderslice MySpace and Homepage.

Girlfriend Records – Memory Chord

Genre: electro, new wave

where can I download free mp3sThe remarkable album intro: “Shortly after midnight on September 18th, 1975, a group of Italian scientists stationed in a remote location on the Arctic tundra received a mysterious series of encrypted messages from a source that identified itself as (HR). For the next ten years, the group received similarly strange messages on this date annually. Puzzled, the researchers attempted to triangulate the source of the (HR) code. They could only deduce its origins to somewhere along the outer edge of the Andromeda Galaxy. In 1985, the transmissions suddenly ceased. The contents of the code remained indecipherable.

Download Memory Chord from Girlfriend Records.

Girlfriend Records MySpace and Homepage.

Paper Tiger – Everyone Here

Genre: indie, folk, rock

where can I download free mp3sPaper Tiger is a band from the Netherlands. Although the group was formed not too long ago, the members have been making music together since their childhood. Now in their late twenties, Chris (Regtop) and Témy (Phem) have finally put together a debut album.

Everyone Here is a free download from Bandcamp.

Paper Tiger MySpace and Homepage.

Ford Corl – Green Eyes

Genre: acoustic, pop, rock, psychedelic, electronic

where can I download free mp3sFord Corl suggests you listen to the album in one sitting as each song introduces the next. The album offers a mix of pop, rock, and psychedelia. Green Eyes is a musical journey happening between your ears.

Download the album from Bandcamp.

Ford Corl MySpace and ReverbNation.

Cloudkicker – Beacons

Genre: ambient, metal, progressive, rock, shoegaze, instrumental

where can I download free mp3sCloudkicker is a one man music project from Columbus, Ohio. Ben Sharp composes instrumental pieces that range from ambient to progressive rock and incorporate elements from metal and shoegaze.

Beacons is a name your price download hosted by Bandcamp. Also check out Cloudkicker’s other free albums: The Discovery, The Map is Not the Territory, Portmanteu, and ]][[[.

Cloudkicker MySpace and Facebook.

Past editions of Sound Sunday are listed here. Feel free to send me links to (your) free music downloads. Mail: tina at makeuseof dot com

How can we improve future editions of Sound Sunday?

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How often do you shop online? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 17 Oct 2010 06:30 PM PDT

Last week, our poll asked you which of the major online retailers was your favourite. It seems MakeUseOf readers tend to favour Amazon, followed by eBay and Walmart.

A total of 433 votes were counted for the poll: Amazon received 58% of the votes; eBay followed with 20% votes; Walmart had 8% of the votes; Target received 5% of votes; both and Borders received 2% votes; the rest of the options made up the remaining 5% votes.

Full results and this week's poll after the jump.

Commenters also added that they love Newegg, Tiger Direct, Threadless and w00t.

This week's poll question is: How often do you shop online?

If you have any strong opinions for or against shopping online, let us know why in the comments!



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WinX DVD Ripper Platinum Giveaway Winners

Posted: 17 Oct 2010 04:30 PM PDT

We all love giveaways, don’t we? At MakeUseOf, we are constantly striving to get the best giveaways to you. Don’t forget that we’ve just launched the Speck PixelSleeve giveaway and the Otterbox iPhone 4 case giveaway is still ongoing. Both of them are set to close after a certain number of entries is reached so hurry and join in now!

Here are the 10 lucky winners who will each be receiving a free license for WinX DVD Ripper Platinum.

  1. Jesse Kieffer
  2. Jonathan Cui
  3. Vincent Chong
  4. Robert Phillips
  5. Bob Graham
  6. Maxine Bilney
  7. Jon Richardson
  8. Don Howell
  9. Te Bogan
  10. Sid Craven

Congratulations! The license has been sent to the email address used when participating. Please note that in case you didn’t enter the email address correctly, we will not be able to issue a replacement license.


MakeUseOf would like to thank the team at Digiarty 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.

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Sprred – Easy Blogging Platform For Technologically Challenged

Posted: 17 Oct 2010 03:30 PM PDT

Sprred is the latest Tumblr clone to appear on the Web 2.0 scene, giving you yet another way to share your content online. Sprred doesn't necessarily set itself apart in any large way in how things are done, and no one really expects them to reinvent the wheel.

What Sprred offers is another option to share your thoughts, photos, videos and links. It could be used as a great accompaniment to your main blog, or could be another blogging platform for major online services and products to get messages out to their users. And because of its very simple, easy-to-use interface, it's the ideal option for the more technologically challenged users amongst us.

To sign up to create a free blog on Sprred, enter your email address, password and username, which will also serve as part of your URL. After you've logged in, you'll be taken to your dashboard, where you can choose a blog title.

create a free blog

Sprred takes a similar approach to Tumblr. Posts are divided into Text, Photos, Videos and Links, but are displayed in a slightly different way. On your home page, all the posts appear in one single feed, but they are separated on the page by category.

create a free blog

Your blog is also tabbed, with each category appearing under it's own individual tab, allowing visitors to browse each category individually if they so wish. Photos and videos are displayed in a grid, while blog posts and links appear in a list.

free blog hosting sites

When writing new posts, you can publish them immediately, save them as drafts, or publish them privately. Each post can be accompanied by any tags of your choice. When writing new text posts, enter a title for your post, and the text. Text formatting is available for these entries.

free blog hosting sites

When adding new photos, they are uploaded directly from your hard drive and posted on your blog. There is currently no way to link photos that are saved elsewhere on the web, a feature which would probably come in handy.

free blog hosting sites

When adding new videos, the process is exactly the same as photos – uploaded directly from your hard drive. And like photos, you cannot link to videos that are saved elsewhere, which would not only be handy but is pretty much necessary. With both photos and videos, you can’t add captions; so if that’s a dealbreaker, Sprred won’t suit your needs, but the name of the file serves as the title. There doesn’t seem to be any limit on file size that we can tell.

free web blogs

Adding new links is exactly the same as Tumblr – adding the actual link, while the title is automatically generated from the website. You can, of course, change it if you choose to.

free web blogs

Using the Sprred web interface is not the only way you can update your blog. According to the site, you can also update your blog by emailing from the email you used to sign up, but the emailed post hasn't showed up on our Sprred blog so it looks like there are still a few kinks to work out.

For the time being, there are only 3 themes to choose from, the Default baby blue theme, a minimalist white theme, and brown and yellow theme.

free web blogs

Like Tumblr, when it originally launched, there is no way to integrate or accept comments on your blog. Opening up any given post, regardless of category, visitors will have a quick and easy way to share your content through Facebook and Twitter. That, however, is the only form of interaction available on Sprred at the moment.

If you're also active on Facebook and Twitter, you'll be happy to know that you can auto-post from your Sprred blog and broadcast all of your latest updates to your followers and friends.

create a free blog

Your Sprred profile is divided into two separate pages. The first page consists of your personal information, your interests, birthday, gender, and an 'about' section, amongst other things. The second page consists of your 'professional' information, namely your education and work.

Sprred is definitely a step in the right direction, but with a few minor tweaks here and there, it looks like it will be a real contender for bloggers looking for an alternative to Posterous or Tumblr.

Have you given Sprred a try? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

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Hot Tech Deals [Oct 17th]

Posted: 17 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. HP LaserJet P1102W Monochrome Laser Printer w/ Wireless Networking $99.99

  2. iomega Prestige 1TB Portable External Hard Drive $99.99 Free Shipping

  3. EXPIRING Toshiba Satellite A665-S6057 Intel Core i5-450M 2.4GHz 16in Laptop (4GB/500GB/Geforce GT330M) $699.99

  4. TODAY ONLY Black & Decker Brushed Stainless Steel Wireless Kettle $24.99 Free Ship

  5. HP dv7tse Intel Core i5-460M 2.53GHz 17.3in Laptop (6GB/640GB/Radeon HD5470) $749

  6. HP Coupon Code $200 off HP Laptops $1099+ (Combines w/ Instant Discounts!) via code NBG683166

  7. Microsoft Xbox 360 4GB Gaming Console w/ Extra Controller, 1yr Xbox Live Gold & 4000pts $249.99

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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3 Sites to Make Funny Video Greeting Cards

Posted: 17 Oct 2010 10:30 AM PDT

Postage stamps and letters made out of dead trees are getting out of fashion, but (holiday) greeting cards aren't. If you're going to make the switch to digitalism, you'd better do it in style. A picture is said to convey a thousand words; a video all the more. Welcome to the future.

A recorded video card will bring a more personal message and show the subject that you're willing to put effort into the occasion; more than a doodle on a store-bought card. On the practical side, you'll even be able to save the money from purchasing the card and postage stamps.

Below are some of the best sites to record your own video greeting card. You don't need anything besides an internet connection and a webcam connected to your computer.


BubbleJoy is my personal favorite to send video greeting cards. The service is easy to use, and hosts some of the most impressive card designs. In general, your video will be embedded in a cutout holiday-themed background. Because the BubbleJoy website can grab the video straight from your webcam, the process of making a card requires no messing around and no additional uploading.

video greeting cards

Only recently, BubbleJoy added a Twitter sync feature. This allows you to log in with your Twitter credentials and easily share your greeting card. If you wanted to send out an original holiday greeting to your Twitter followers, this is a great way to do it.

Sharenik video cards look a lot like the traditional holiday cards, but juiced up with much technology goodness. You pick a basic card theme and template; then personalize it with pictures, a greeting text, and of course, videos. Yes, plural; you can embed up to 12 different photos or videos on a card.

video greeting cards

The website itself does not record webcam input, but you can easily record a video on your computer using Windows Movie Maker or Photo Booth (on Mac OS X) and upload it to the website. Once you've changed the card fit to your liking, you can send it to its destination. Good news if you're a particularly social being, Sharenik allows you to share your greeting with up to 500 friends!

eVCards is a very plain service to create video cards, missing some of the more fancy graphics featured above. Depending on the occasion and the subject, this can actually be a good thing. The cutout holiday designs are fun and relate more to the original holiday greetings, with bright colors and simple graphics. Young children, especially, will love these cards.

electronic greeting cards

One of the most impressing features of eVCards is the ability to choose between uploading a file from your computer like Sharenik does, or recording it on the spot like BubbleJoy does. Once finished, you can not only send, but also embed the video on your own website.

When did you last record or send a video greeting card to your friends and family? Let us know what you think about these websites in the comments below!

Picture Credit: Shutterstock

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