Thursday, October 21, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [October 20th]” plus 11 more “Cool Websites and Tools [October 20th]” plus 11 more

Link to

Cool Websites and Tools [October 20th]

Posted: 20 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!


MusicLink – You love a particular song in an album but you don't want to spend money on it just yet. There are sites that let you preview all the songs in an album for 20-30 seconds but thats hardly enough to make a buying decision. Meet MusicLink, a tool that lets you listen to complete albums before you make a decision to buy it. Read more: MusicLink: Listen To Complete Albums Before Buying


VisualizeTraffic – If you are interested in finding out how much traffic a particular website is getting, head to It a web service that estimates daily traffic and lets you visualize this data by comparing stats against the population of countries. This allows to easily understand just how much people are visiting that website. Read more: VisualizeTraffic: Estimates How Many Visitors Does a Website Get



Google Search Features – Have you ever tried to Google how many pounds equal a kilogram? If yes, then you will have noticed that Google presented the conversion factor right at the top of the results. Similarly there are other tricks that Google responds to in a direct way. To check out which keywords each of these tricks corresponds to, check out Google Search Features. Read more: Google Search Features: Get The Most Out Of Google Search



TalkMiner – If you are a college student you might find yourself YouTubing for lectures on a particular subject or topic. Even if you are not a student, you might search online for lectures to expand your knowledge about a particular area of interest. Through TalkMiner you can easily find those lectures you might otherwise spend hours looking for. Read more: TalkMiner: Web Resource For Quality & Free Video Lectures On Various Topics



SwoopThat – Are you searching online for a product nearby? There are not many online resources that will help you do that with every product. To search for the local availability of any product online, pay a visit to SwoopThat, a free to use website that helps you looks for stuff nearby in your area – or any area, for that matter. Read more: SwoopThat: Compare Prices Between Online & Local Stores


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.

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Share, Share, Share….Spread The Word!

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 07:31 PM PDT

With most of the MakeUseOf articles that we profile every day, our main goal is to give you something that you will find interesting and useful.

To show you a website or a software program you can make use of is our number one priority.

This time around, we would like something from you. Something really easy and simple. That is to share MakeUseOf articles you find useful with others. That’s really the best way for you to show your appreciation for our work.

It’s quick and super easy to do.

Simply click one of the sharing buttons at the bottom of the article and vote it up (or share).

As you can see, there are options to share the article with your friends on Facebook, Twitter (retweet), StumbleUpon and Digg. Also, there is a ‘ShareThis‘ button which lets you share the article on several other social networks as well as giving you an option to email the link to someone.

You might not realize it but this has a major impact on our daily workflow and the popularity of So if you’re an avid reader and like what we are doing, please make sure to always share the articles you find useful with friends.

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

5 Tutorials To Make Your Own Amazing Wallpapers In GIMP

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 06:30 PM PDT

how to make wallpapers with gimp\If you read the recently-published article on beginner-level video tutorials for GIMP, you might want to get your feet wet and get started creating your own art. Users all over the DeviantArt community, for example, for sure are showcasing their own artwork and wallpapers.

Why not create your own wallpapers instead of hunting for others‘ creations? You might even want to share your artwork so others that like to rotate their wallpapers will be able to appreciate your efforts. Here are some beautiful wallpaper tutorials you can follow even if you’re a beginner to intermediate user of the free image editor, GIMP, which is known for its batch-editing capabilities, being able to create an image map, etc.

Amazing Bokeh Effect

how to make wallpapers with gimp

Full tutorial: PA Blog

This started as a Photoshop tutorial, but as you can tell, you can achieve pretty awesome wallpapers as well in GIMP. The Puteraaladin blog was able to get this and was kind enough to post a step-by-step tutorial and even brushes!

Mac Tiger Wallpaper with a Touch of Ubuntu

gimp wallpaper tutorial

Full tutorial: Gimp-Tutorials

Featured in 5 Websites To Learn GIMP Online (don’t forget to check out the second part with more GIMP tutorial websites), is rich with user-submitted tutorials and goodies on effects, icons, etc. Here’s a tutorial written in 2007 for a beautiful combo wallpaper reminiscent of Ubuntu and Mac OS X Tiger.

Mac Leopard Wallpaper

gimp wallpaper tutorial

Full tutorial: Abduzeedo Blog

The Abduzeedo blog produce high-quality tutorials for Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. The wallpapers from the blog also are stunning so here’s the founder’s guide to creating an image similar to the Aurora wallpaper from Mac Leopard.

Cosmic Wallpaper

gimp wallpaper tutorial

Full tutorial: ScottPhotographics Blog

This is a more recent tutorial, published in August of this year, created by a site rich with photography, GIMP and Photoshop tips. This is what I was able to get after several attempts at following the good-for-beginners tutorial. The color in my final attempt still came out a little flat so do look at the original samples of the author’s tutorial as they were very rich in color.

Refresh Wallpaper

how to make wallpapers with gimp

Full tutorial: GIMPKnowHow‘s Youtube Channel

GIMPKnowHow is probably one of the most followed GIMP gurus on Youtube (another excellent channel is GIMPTricks) and with good reason. Tutorials from the channel are made with a very clear and helpful narrator and are often original tutorials, like this one.

Need more tips for high-quality wallpapers? Don’t miss out on Saikat’s How To Create Top-Quality Desktop Wallpapers. Need wallpaper ideas? Look through:

You don’t even have to use GIMP to create good wallpapers. Here’s a guide on using Microsoft Word to author a simple but nice-looking wallpaper with a message even!

Do you have any favorite GIMP tutorials you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments section! Also, do let us know of your artwork if you were able to create them from these tutorials! We’d love to see them!

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

5 Tools And Tips For A Sexier Ubuntu Interface

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 04:30 PM PDT

ubuntu tipsLinux is probably the most customizable of all mainstream operating systems. There’s an incredible amount of options, tools, themes and steps you can take to make the time you spend in the company of your PC more aesthetically pleasing.

If you’re on the pursuit of eye-candy, perhaps a Mac OS X flavour or even want to pretend you’re still in Windows-land then with enough tweaking and the right resources you can.

The following tools and resources are all free (as usual) and should hopefully transform your drab GNOME desktop into a pimped-out play area.

Compiz Settings Manager

Compiz is responsible for all those pretty animations, fades and window-wobbles that your Ubuntu install can already do. If you want to pick and choose, however, you’re going to need to install the Compiz Settings Manager.

ubuntu tips

Open up a new Terminal window (Applications, Accessories then Terminal) and type:

sudo apt-get install ccsm

Input your password when asked and once the download and installation is complete you will find a new entry in System, Preferences called CompizConfig Settings Manager. Open her up and behold at the treasure-trove of effects and eye-candy.

Then it’s up to you – but I’d recommend you enable Desktop Cube and Rotate Cube which provides 3D goodness when switching between desktops.

Emerald Window Decorator

Easily the best of all the window decorators, Emerald provides elegance and advanced behaviour customization all in one package. There’s a startling amount of themes available, most of which are beautifully put together, with lashings of transparency.

ubuntu tips and tricks

I personally didn’t like GNOME’s default (GTK) window decorator all that much, so when I found this I breathed a sigh of relief. To install Emerald (and everything it needs to work) simply open a new Terminal window and type:

sudo apt-get install compiz compiz-plugins compiz-gnome compiz-core emerald compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-fusion-plugins-extra fusion-icon compizconfig-settings-manager

This will also install the Compiz Fusion Icon, a useful system tray icon that allows you to switch window decorators, change themes and access configuration settings with ease. Once installed you’ll find it in Applications, System Tools then Compiz-Fusion Icon.

ubuntu tips and tricks


This package (despite being slightly outdated) attempts to bring the OS X interface to a variety of non-Mac platforms. This will work on Linux, FreeBSD, openSolaris and any OS that takes advantage of GTK.

To install the package simply download the .ZIP file from the downloads page and unzip it to a directory of your choice. You’ll then need to find the file, right click it and choose Properties then the Persmissions tab. Check Allow executing file as a program and then OK Double click it, choose Run in Terminal and you’ll then be guided through the installation.

ubuntu tips

Once complete you should notice some familiar Apple icons, be able to choose the Mac4Lin Aqua or Graphite themes, as well as OS X fonts and wallpapers. Ideal if you’re already running Ubuntu on your Mac and just can’t let go of that OS X look.

There’s also a file, which (you guessed it) removes the OS X look. Just remember to make it executable first.

Get The Windows Look

If you’re particularly fond of the way Windows dresses itself up then it is possible to imitate the environment with GNOME. For a Windows XP look then try XPGnome which does a startlingly good job and will fool most of your pals.

If you’ve recently come from Windows 7 and find yourself missing the interface then there’s also the W7 Theme to transform Ubuntu’s interface into that of Microsoft’s latest offering.

It is worth mentioning that there’s a chance something might go wrong, and neither author takes responsibility for this. But you probably knew that, so tweak away.


There’s a number of great resources for downloading Emerald (and other) themes, icons, wallpapers and dock skins, and you won’t have to spend a penny!

Gnome Look – An exhaustive collection of user-contributed themes for a huge variety of applications. Probably the best place to find that theme you’re after.

GNOME Art – The official repository for GNOME skins and customization. There’s a fair few themes and backgrounds, plus the chance to contribute and submit your own efforts. You can even add an awesome tool that connects to the site and allows you to peruse from the comfort of your desktop. – A nice blog with a decent collection of downloads for customizing your Linux install.

DevinantArt – You’ve probably heard of DeviantArt before and if you can get past the mounds of pretentious crap then there’s a wealth of skins and themes for pretty much any OS, window manager or application you happen to be using. Make sure you choose to view submissions from All Time when browsing for the best of the bunch.


There’s bound to be something here for everyone. I was going to mention Linux docks, but we’ve already got an excellent article all about them. If you’re sick of GNOME and fancy giving KDE a try (Kubuntu, essentially) then you can do that too. There’s also a few other desktop environments you might want to take a look at if you’re really bored.

Have you got any other tips and tricks to a sexier Ubuntu desktop? Perhaps you’d like to share your desktop with the rest of us and let us know how you achieved it – post away in the comments!

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Get More Hits On YouTube By Studying Your Audience With YouTube Insights

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 02:30 PM PDT

youtube insightsWhen you make videos for YouTube, it isn’t always easy to visualize exactly who you’re “talking” to. Who’s your audience? You may do things a bit differently if you know the interests of your viewers, so why not try to find out exactly who your viewers are?

Luckily, there’s now a very useful tool called YouTube Insights, which provides you with valuable information about select groups of the YouTube viewing audience. YouTube has many millions of members, and far more unregistered visitors accessing the popular video site every day. Wouldn’t it be interesting to get some insight into what sort of content individuals watch based on gender, geographic location, age and more? Now you can.

In this article, I’m going to show you how this one tool is actually useful in two very distinct ways. First, you can identify the characteristics of viewers based on content. Then, once you know who your viewers are, you can then determine what other video preferences they have using the same tool.

Identifying Your Own Viewers

The first thing to do is find out what type of person is most interested in the sort of videos that you produce. Let’s say that you offer video tutorials on photography. To learn about the the portion of the YouTube audience that’s most interested in what you offer, you can perform a YouTube Insights search across YouTube’s entire audience for your content type.

To do this, just select both male and female under Gender, keep the entire age group selected, and select every region of the world. Then, go through all of the interest areas and select every one that’s even remotely related to your area of interest.

youtube insights

For example, to sample the audience that’s interested in photography, I’ve included photography interests within Arts & Entertainment, Internet & Telecon, Online Communities and Shopping.

demographics of youtube users

Once you click “Apply” you’ll get the results. YouTube Insights demographics include age, gender, geographic regions and overall interests.

For example, the results here tell us that when it comes to photography, YouTube viewers seeking out such content are mostly aged 18 to 24 and from pretty much all major regions of the world. Interestingly, there are far more women interested in photography than most other content areas of YouTube (the average is 23 to 25 percent female).

demographics of youtube users

Looking closely at the Interests area, you’ll discover that those interested in photography are extremely interested in Online Communities in general. This means that if you are offering photography video tutorials, you should really concentrate on targeting the online community genre – aiming your videos at bloggers and forum users and related topics that they may be interested in.

demographics of youtube users

When you scroll down to the bottom of the YouTube results screen, you’ll learn even more about your target audience through the display of the top videos that these viewers are currently interested in. If you generate videos of the same quality or style as these, then you’re more likely to land your video in front of the eyes of your target audience.

youtube video viewers

Video Preferences Based on Viewer Characteristics

Now that you know how to discover details about your potential viewership, what if you want to go after niche areas within that audience? For example, to learn what other video preferences women like, you can use YouTube Insights to search for women in the age group and top geographic areas that you discovered earlier.

youtube video viewers

In this case, you won’t select any content areas at all, because you want YouTube insights to tell you what content areas this group is interested in.  Once the results come back, you’ll see interest areas that women in this age group like the most – beauty, books and online communities.

youtube video viewers

Also, don’t forget to look closely at the keyword list to the right of the top videos. These show you what keywords your niche audience members use most often.

Video Preferences and Geography

Another very valuable use for YouTube Insights is learning what people in certain areas of the world are interested in. This is especially useful if you’re using YouTube videos to go after a certain geographic audience. In this case, keep all genders and age groups selected, and then select the region of the world (or single countries) that your interested in. In this example I’m going to check out what all folks from the Asia Pacific are interested in.

In the results, you will learn that an older age group is using YouTube from the Asia Pacific. In fact, more people aged 25 to 34 than people aged 18 to 24 use YouTube. On average, less women from this region of the world use YouTube. Finally, you can see that one of the most popular topic areas for folks from the Asia Pacific is “Internet & Telecom”.

youtube insights

As you can see, YouTube Insights is a search tool that looks fairly simple on the surface, but depending how you use it, you can learn a great deal about what type of videos you should create in order to reach the people that you really want to reach.

Have you ever tried YouTube Insights? Do you know of any other useful tools that can offer the same sort of insights? Share your own thoughts in the comments section below.

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Hot Tech Deals [Oct 20th]

Posted: 20 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. TODAY ONLY Sharp LC-60E88UN 60 inch LCD HDTV (1080p, 240Hz) $1549.99 Free Shipping

  2. TODAY ONLY Kodak Slice 14MP 5X Digital Camera (3.5in Touchscreen LCD) $169.99 Free Shipping

  3. Dell Off Lease Coupon Codes 20% off Laptops & Desktops via codes 20Laptop$339up for laptops and 20Desktop$239up for desktops

  4. EXPIRING Zotac Geforce GTX460 768MB HDCP PCI-E Video Card (DirectX 11, 3D Ready) $130AR Free Shipping via code HARDOCP113C

  5. EXPIRING ASUS MS228H 21.5 inch LED-Backlit LCD Monitor (1920×1080, HDMI, 2ms) $129.99AR Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

5 Cool Edutainment Games You Can Play and Also Donate To Charitable Causes

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 12:30 PM PDT

educational games siteThe wallet is a bit bare but the heart is in its right place. Enter the online games which are proving to be a novel way to show your social side by giving to charitable causes. Games are being redefined. They are no longer about fun and entertainment. Now, it's about online simulation, distance education, and training for a vocation. So, why shouldn't philanthropic causes pick up the idea and run with it.

Most of the web runs on the wagon train of advertising which in turn is based on page hits and click-throughs. Charitable websites that host games tap into the same stream of revenue; but instead of putting it on the profit sheet they donate it to the causes they support.

For you and me with a social conscience but tight purse strings, these five educational games sites are a win-win game. We get to have some fun (or learn something) and waste time, all the while contributing a little to charity.

Free Rice

educational games site

I was wrong about just having fun. As Freerice shows, it can also be about improving your knowledge every day. A series of multiple choice quizzes on English, Art, Chemistry, Geography, Math, and other languages are thrown at you. You can pick the subject of your liking. Each correct answer helps to donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. The difficulty level of the questions goes up progressively.

This way, Freerice is trying to meet its two important goals – provide education and also end world hunger. is also the most popular website in this niche and thus gets a lot of visitors. So, you can appreciate that even 10 grains of rice does add up. (See our Directory mention)


free online educational games

Charitii is a crossword-style word puzzle. You have the question on top and four possible answers. Pick the right clue and start racking up the points. As you play on, you also go up the levels. The points are added up and help to support a cause. Charitii allows you to pick that cause via the CharitiiChooser – it could be clean drinking water, food, protecting the rainforests, or even education.

Charitii has a database of 10,000 such puzzles so you won't run out of points to contribute in a hurry. Check out their achievements and the FAQ to read in detail how the site works and the causes it supports.

Aid to Children

free online educational games

This online charitable website hosts a simple, no frills vocabulary game that takes you through 26 questions (difficulty levels). Your progress and contributions get listed in a box on the right. Every correct answer puts 25 cents in the kitty. The focus of the organization is on children, especially those that are victims of war, disease and disaster. As the site says, it only takes 25 cents to feed a child a single meal.

I am a bit skeptical if the site is still active as the donation totals are only reflected till March 2009. In any case, you don't lose anything but instead walk away with a better vocabulary.

Free Flour

free online educational games

World hunger gets more support. And so does your effort to improve your knowledge. The site is searching for a sponsor, so right now it's on fun mode only. Answer a series of general knowledge questions on geography; each correct answer (would have) donated 1 spoon of flour to the needy. Let's hope the site finds a sponsor, because it adds to the list of philanthropic games.

Help Thirst

educational games site helps to focus your attention on the world's shortage of drinkable water and also work on your own focus along the way. It is basically a memory training exercise. The game is really easy to begin with. A numeric data is displayed for a short while and you have to memorize the number. Next, you have to enter the correct number using the on-screen keypad or your computer's. Each correct answer donates a cup of water (100ml) that goes to those in need in the developing world and disaster areas. The numbers get progressively larger with each level, so it's a great way to improve your number memory.

These educational game sites have helped to spread awareness about the game of philanthropy. Games are again proving that with a bit of tweak here and there, they can be real powerful tools. The ease with which you can play them, makes the suitable for all age groups.

Do you know of any other game that spreads the message of charity and social giving? Let us know.

Image credit: Shutterstock

NEW: Download MakeUseOf iPhone App. FREE!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Get Instant Desktop Notifications From Your Web Apps With

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 11:30 AM PDT

desktop notificationsMaybe it’s in our blood, maybe it’s the influence of the technology, but it’s very clear that modern people like us just love anything instant. We want everything to get done right here and right now. Information is on the top of our list. We wanted to be notified instantly of everything that happens around us.

We’ve discussed about getting notifications from things that happen in our devices using Growl. But our lives also revolve around things in the virtual world. To get notified about the web side of your existence, your Growl need a little help from a service called

Grows Under Google is a desktop notification system that utilizes Google accounts as the thread that links everything. All other services that support rely on Google accounts information to know which notification will be sent where.

To start, you can visit its front page and view a short video that will give you a general picture of what this service is all about. Then you can continue by clicking the orange “Get Started with” button.

desktop notifications

The first thing that they will ask you to do is to login with your Google Account.

desktop notifier

Click the link and fill in you data. If you happen to have one of Google’s services opened (Mail, Documents, etc.) you’ll only have to fill in the password and click “Sign In“.

desktop notifier

There’s a Mac client called “Desktop Notifier” for that you can download. It will reside in the menubar and do its job quietly in the background – accepting all the notifications and forwarding them to Growl.

desktop notifier

To link the client with your account, you have to download a “.ListenURL” file and open it using the client.

desktop notification software

If you are a Windows user, you won’t find the client for your machine, but you can connect to your account using Growl for Windows.

desktop notification software

Setting Up The System

There are four main menus that you can access after you log-in: History, Sources, Outlets and Settings.

desktop notification software

The first thing that you should visit is the “Outlets“. Here is the place to add the methods that you want to use to “listen to” your notifications.

05 - Outlets-1.jpg

The “Sources” is where you add sources that you want to listen to. This could be anything from newsfeeds to Facebook notifications.

06a - Notification Sources-1.jpg

Some Friendly Sources

There are list of few sources available from the right-hand link. Let’s see some of them.

06b - Available Sources.jpg

1. Feed Notifier is a web-based news client that will help you forward notifications from your favorite feeds to

07a Feed Notifier.png

All you have to do is login with your Google Account and enter PubSubHubbub-enabled feed URL.

07b Feed Notifier - Add URL.png

2. Remindify is a web service that you can use to send schedules and reminders to your account.

08 Remindify - Quick reminder scheduler.jpg

All you have to do is to login using your Google Account and start sending reminders.

3. Facebook Says will help you receive notifications from Facebook via To set up this system, you need to add new email address in your Facebook account. The complete steps is explained in Facebook Says site.

09a Facebook - Add email.png

There are two things that you have to do after registering the new address: approve Facebook to be one of your sources, and confirm the email address.

09b Confirm Facebook.png

This all could be done from the “Sources” menu.

10 - Pending Approval.png

4. Over The Air is not mentioned in the available sources, but mentioned in the video. I did a little searching and found the service. This service relies on GMail’s filtering feature to “cacth” certain messages and forward them to a specific address in order to appear via your account.

12 Over the Air.jpg

The nature of this service allows us to go beyond web apps. You could set the filter to catch messages from certain people and have the notifications appear on your desktop every time this person (or organization) send you messages. Very handy.

Everything that happens in your account will appear in the “History” menu. One of the cool things that I found from this service is the ability to “repeat” each and every event by clicking the small green round arrow.

desktop notifications is still in alpha stage. This means that even though there are still bugs here and there in this desktop notification system, you could expect lots of great things coming in the future.

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Pester – A Quick and Easy Alarm App for Mac Users

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 10:30 AM PDT

mac alarm clockWhile Apple's iCal is a very useful alarm and to-do application, it can be somewhat tedious to launch it and set new alarms, especially for minor tasks and reminders.  Setting iCal reminders works best when setting up alarms from within Apple's Mail application, but not from within other applications. This is where a little third-party Mac alarm clock app, developed by Nicholas Riley, called Pester might be very useful to Mac users.

Pester is great for setting alarms on the fly. You set the time and the type of alert you want, and you're done.

Pester is a free application, and it's an easy to use; however, there a few little quirks and hidden and missing features that I discovered in using it.

Set Up

mac alarm clock

First off, as with any application, you want to open Pester's Preferences and set a keyboard shortcut so that it can be launched from within any application.

Note: my keyboard shortcut would not show up in the screen shot.

If you work at your computer throughout the day, you might check the "Wait for idle to display alerts," box so that the alarm notice doesn't pop up when you're typing or performing some other task. This happens a lot with iCal alarms. I can be typing away and all of a sudden an alarm pops up to distract me from what I'm doing.

Setting Alarms

Setting your first alarm is easy, but setting additional alarms is not as obvious as it could be. When you set your first alarm, be sure to click the Set button to lock the alarm into place.

After you set your first alarm, you select File > Set Alarm (Command+N). You might expect a new clean interface to pop up, but it doesn’t. What you have to do is set an alarm over the existing one, which is already logged into the application. To set a new one, you delete the existing alarm message and change the other settings. Again, choose the Set button to log in the alarm.

Viewing and Editing Alarms

Choose Alarms > All Alarms (Command + L) to view all your set alarms. In this interface, you can remove alarms; however, you can't click on one and edit it.

If you want to edit an alarm, click the Alarm > New Alarm and then select an existing alarm from the drop-down selection in the Message field.

Next, click the View button and change it to Edit. After making changes to the settings, click the Set button again to lock in the changes.

Notice that Pester will show data for exactly when the alarm will execute.

Setting Times and Alert Types

Setting alert time and days is pretty similar to what you get in any calendar program; however, Pester of course is not as robust in features when compared to iCal. Pester is more useful for setting quick daily alarms, or alarms that you don’t want in your iCal program.

You can set times in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, days, and weeks. There are also different types of alerts to choose from, including sound and bouncing dock icons. You can't set the same alarm for different days of the week or month. If you want the same alarm for say Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of a week, you need set up a new alarm for each day. In iCal, you can just copy and paste alarms to the various days you want.

Alert Notifications

When alarm notifications are displayed (if you choose that option) you can conveniently set a snooze time or dismiss the alarm all together.

mac alarm clock

If you choose to have Pester alarms to play a sound, you have the option in the application's Preferences of setting which sound output you want to use. Pester also supports Growl notifications.

All and all, for a free application, Pester is pretty nifty. For more examples of alternative alarms, check out this MakeUseOf article. For a web-based option, check out this short review.

Let us know what mac alarm program you use and why.

Image credit:

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

UberStudent: Custom Operating System For Students [Linux]

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 09:30 AM PDT

custom operating systemBringing together the best the open source world has to offer to students, Linux distribution UberStudent is a great starting point for the college-attending geek wanting to give Linux a try. It may not be as straight-forward as Ubuntu, but it does aim to bring together a number of needs students have: links to cheap textbooks, simple citation and various media editing tools.

A lot of open source software is written by students, so it stands to reason that there must be a lot of really great software out there for students if you only knew where to look. UberStudent, a Linux distro that aims to be a “learning platform,” brings much of this software into one place. If you’re wondering what kind of student-centric software is out there you might as well give this one a try!

What It Is

UberStudent is a Debian-based Linux distribution with an emphasis on educational apps, though there’s a lot more here than that. Because the distribution takes up an entire DVD, you’ll find a wide variety of packages ranging from video editing to gaming to image manipulation to good old-fashioned academic writing. For a quick overview, check out the official UberStudent presentation.

At the core of the project, it seems, is Firefox plugin Zotero. This tool, which collects citations, also plugs into UberStudent’s version of Open Office in order to make citations easy. Simply collect the pieces you want to cite in Firefox using Zotero, then use the handy tool to quickly reference your collection.

custom operating system

An Open Office plugin allows you to quickly insert in-paper citations, and also to automatically generate a bibliography whenever you’re ready. You can even pick which style of citation you’re going for.

Included Software

This alone could save a student a great deal of time, so check it out. But there’s a lot more here.

customize linux

There’s no official list of software that I could find, so the best way to find out is to simply boot the Live CD and explore the programs yourself. The highlights include:

I could go on but the list would be longer than the article, so you should really explore the selection yourself and find what’s useful. Download UberStudent yourself to get started. You can choose what software you do and don’t want during the installation process, but I’d recommend just giving the Live CD a spin before you get started.


My biggest complaint with this distribution? There’s so much included software here it can get downright confusing. If this sounds overwhelming to you I suggest you check out Ubuntu instead, and install the programs you think you need.

But if the idea of trying a bunch of student-related programs out is appealing for you, and you’ve got some time to play around with something new, I highly recommend you try this distribution out.

Keep in mind that it seems this distribution is aiming to pay for itself with affiliate links. You’ll find an eMusic link on the desktop, a browser filled with bookmarks, and even a few bookmarks in your applications are aiming to sell you stuff.

custom operating system

Still, it’s worth wading through all of that to find the gems that are here. If you want to see a good sample of what open source has to offer students I highly suggest you check this out.

Did you find anything cool in Uberstudent, or know of some high-quality open source software for students? Don’t be shy; share in the comments below!

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Introducing The (Highly-Anticipated) MakeUseOf Android App

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 09:00 AM PDT

A little over 6 months ago, we released the MakeUseOf iPhone app [App Store link], marking our first foray into mobile browsing. Ever since then, we’ve been constantly reminded to release an Android app by our very dedicated fans. Yes, we heard you. It took quite a while but we’ve finally managed to produce an Android app that we’re happy to release.

Meet the MakeUseOf app for Android. It’s free. And it’s here now.

With the Android app (as with the iPhone app), we wanted to keep things simple. All we wanted to achieve was a basic app that would perform well as a mobile browser, allowing our Android-equipped readers to view all aspects of MakeUseOf quickly and easily while on the go. The app may seem a little bare-bone but we think that it’s all you need to get your daily dose of MakeUseOf.

As you can see, the navigation bar is located at the top of the app, permitting you to quickly switch between the main site, Geeky Fun and Answers. By default, you’ll be viewing the main MakeUseOf feed but if you wish, you can select to only browse certain categories.

Geeky Fun and Answers work as you would expect. The Answers section will also allow you to submit your tech questions for our boffins to answer.

At the end of each post, we’ve integrated a Disqus comment system. Simple log in to your account and you’ll be commenting as though you’re on your desktop. As usual, we’re huge fans of social networking and with the Android app, you can share your favourite MakeUseOf posts via Twitter and Facebook effortlessly.

The MakeUseOf Android app is supported on Android OS 1.5 and above. Download it by scanning the QR code below or by visiting AppBrain.

Naturally, we would love to know what you think about our new app. Comments, suggestions and criticism are all welcomed. Enjoy!

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

2 Great News Resources You Can Access via Facebook

Posted: 20 Oct 2010 08:30 AM PDT

facebook newsWhere do you get your news from? Less and less of you are thinking ‘newspaper‘ every day. This is generally due to the fact that newspapers aren’t fast enough. For breaking news, most of us flock to our television to find out what’s going on. For even faster results, we turn to the Internet.

It’s where we go on the Internet that interests me. Not everyone frequents news sites to find out what’s going on. In a lot of cases, we’re looking to the places we already spend the most time at–Google, Twitter and Facebook. Facebook, as it turns out, is a great place to get our news, especially since it’s where we spend the most time online.

In this article, I’ll show you 2 great places that you can get all the top news headlines from using Facebook.

Why Not Traditional News Sites?

What makes Facebook so great is the sheer amount of power it holds in its 500+ million user base. The size of Facebook has basically made it a necessity for businesses to get in the game and create a Facebook page, and this includes news organizations.

Let me paint a picture for you. You’re at your desk viewing your computer. You open your web browser up and start typing an address. Your destination? Facebook, of course. Now, let’s say you come across some buzz in your news feed about something newsworthy that just took place. What do you do?

I’ll tell you what you don’t do–leave Facebook to head to a news site. These sites already have a presence on Facebook, so there really is no need to leave. You can simply click through to their page to get the information you need, as well as other users’ reactions to it.

Facebook Headline News

facebook news

Let’s say you like the idea of getting your news on Facebook, but you don’t know what source to use. Facebook Headline News is an amazingly simple site that pulls in all of the top headlines from the news sources on Facebook.

While it is a standalone website, all of the content is taken from Facebook pages. Headlines are separated by news outlet, and you have the option of clicking the header to be taken to that organizations Facebook page, or if you see a story of interest you can click the link to be taken directly to the article.

news on facebook

Facebook Headline News is great because it allows you to view all of the industry news of a particular topic without having to follow all of the news sites associated with it. This prevents you from overloading your news feed in Facebook with, well, news.

There are over 20 topics, including business, gadgets, gaming, technology, movies, music, TV, videos and sports.

News on Facebook

In contrast, if you would like less news and more headlines, you should investigate the News on Facebook page.

facebook news

Run by employees at Facebook, the news page ( is used to highlight news and media companies, giving you the “inside scoop” on what news sites are posting on Facebook.

Comprised primarily of headlines from major news outlets like the BBC, CNN, and ABC News, you can check in daily to see what’s going on or ‘Like’ the page to get updates in your feed. If you’re not that into news but still want to know what’s going throughout the week this is a pretty good resource for you.


With these two resources, you can get all the news you’re looking for right from Facebook. Add these pages into your daily routine and you will know everything that’s going on in the world.

If you’re looking for news about Facebook, I suggest you revisit Saikat’s article on the Top 10 Resources and Articles To Follow All About Facebook, as well as Facebook on Alltop.

What do you think about getting your news from Facebook? I’d love to read your thoughts, ideas and comments below!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

No comments:

Post a Comment