Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [October 25th]” plus 10 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [October 25th]” plus 10 more

Link to MakeUseOf.com

Cool Websites and Tools [October 25th]

Posted: 25 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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TuneSpotting – is an ultimate resource to search for and identify tunes. You can search for tunes using keywords or use your keyboard as a piano and play a tune for TuneSpotting to identify. With thousands of tunes stored in the database, there is a good chance TuneSpotting will know the tune that has been haunting you. Read more: TuneSpotting: Identify Tunes Using Notes, Text or Playing


Ethercodes – There are quite a few collaborative text editing tools but they are not the most ideal solution if you want to work on code. EtherCodes however provides a really focused online collaborative code review and editing app for working on code with your peers in real time. No registration required, simply send the unique link of your session to your peers and let them write/edit code with you. Read more: EtherCodes: Collaborative Code Review & Editing Tool



ProCSSor – If you are a CSS developer, imagine getting through a long coding task. Now all you have to do is prettify the code. Going through it all will undoubtedly take a lot out of your schedule. A much better alternative to manual editing is ProCSSor. Read more: ProCSSor: Prettify CSS Code Online



Yoink – Suppose there is a person living in your block who wants to give away his old jeans for free but cannot find anybody to give them to. You would love those jeans but are not aware that they are being given away by somebody living near you. Yoink makes sure that the two of you get connected and the jeans transfer from that person to you. Read more: Yoink: Give & Receive Free Stuff Locally



GroupMe – is a mobile real-time group text messaging tool that helps you easily communicate with a group of people via text messages on your cellphone. You need to enter your phone number that'll register you for a free account. Once that's done, GroupMe sends you a phone number that can be assigned to a group and used for sending text messages. Read more: GroupMe: Mobile Group Text Messaging Tool


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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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TouchGraph: Visual Search for “Similar” Results

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 06:30 PM PDT

visual search enginesIf you search a lot (to collect information for blogging, research and inspiration), you may know that in many cases “words” are not enough to help you find what you need.Very often, you really don’t know what exactly you are looking for and you can’t describe it in words – in this case, you need other search tools apart from Google, Twitter and other word-based search engines.

We have already mentioned some tools and tricks to help you search without words: we have listed some Google search tricks that allow you to find something when you really don’t know what you are looking for. We have also seen some image search tools that search by color and / or similarity (instead of words).

Today we are looking at another alternative way to do a visual search – Touch Graph which is based on Google’s RELATED: search operator.

First, let’s make it clear how the RELATED: operator works

Google is a bit too general when it comes to explaining how things work. For this operator, all it says it that:

The query [related:] will list web pages that are “similar” to a specified web page. For instance, [related:www.google.com] will list web pages that are similar to the Google homepage. Note there can be no space between the “related:” and the web page URL.

How it really works is a mystery but the general (educated and proved by tests) theory is that it is based on two main factors:

  1. Co-citation: if two pages have similar backlinks, they are related. It means that if several pages all cite and link to pages A and B, the latter are considered to be “similar”.
  2. Thematic relevance: it seems like Google has also started to apply some thematic relevance when it comes to filtering pages with common backlinks.

You can see the RELATED: operator in action by clicking through “Similar” link next to each listing in Google search results page:

visual search engines

Now, back to the Touch Graph

TouchGraph Google Browser is an amazing free tool that lets people visualize the ways in which websites are connected through the use of Google’s RELATED: advanced operator.

So if you, for example, have stumbled upon a great tool (let’s say it’s “Xenu’s Link Sleuth” in our experiment) and want to find more similar apps, you can use TouchGraph to visualize your search.

We can do both ways: search by URL or by the tool name. Let’s start from the URL-based search to make things easier.

Search based on a URL

Searching for a URL will retrieve top 10 similar pages for that URL and then retrieve 10 more similar pages for each of those pages. So in the end we have a network of results – all of which are related (both directly and indirectly) to your initial one.

The graph is built of clusters represented by colors. Clusters are built of similar pages. Thus, in our case, we can see very similar tools to Xenu in red (and similar tools of those similar tools – are you still following me? – in blue and green):

visual search information

As you can see, the results are pretty exciting as the names we notice include “dead links”, “w3 validator” and other quite relevant tools. The app can then be also used for inspiration and research.

Obviously, you can play with the results to your heart’s content:

  • Click any of the results to see the details in top-left corner (“Info” tab)
  • You can expand any of the graph and load similar pages for the one you chose;
  • Use “Filter” tab to navigate the graph with table-like format:

visual search information

Besides that, individual web-bubbles can be moved around to make the representation clearer to the person working with the TouchGraph. Furthermore, users have the option of selecting specific clusters and removing all the other clusters from the graph by choosing the "Keep Selected" option, which can prove to be extremely useful when trying to perform pinpointed research without getting distracted.

Search based on a name / keyword

If you want to base your search on the name (instead of URL), the tool will first retrieve 10 regular results from Google and then 10 similar pages for each. In our example, we get lots of Xenu reviews and similar articles – which could also work well to expand your web research:

visual search engines

In either case, the tool is really a great idea and it can be very helpful:

  • When used for inspiration;
  • As an alternative source to expand your research.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel like giving the tool a try?

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Take Notes & Annotate PDFs The Easy Way With Jarnal [Cross-Platform]

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 04:30 PM PDT

annotate pdfI thought that college students get heavy discounts on commercial software but I just recently found out that students can get commercial software completely free (including Visual Studio, Expression Encoder, etc), which is a nice perk. However, the perks of being a student don’t end there as there are actually quite a few student-friendly applications, which may even be useful to wider audiences and not just students.

You can use Delicious to organize your student life, Evernote to help you reduce your paper clutter and more! Evernote, in particular, can definitely be considered a giant when it comes to the many platforms it has apps for and how versatile it is.

Jarnal is also a great note-taking application that can run in Windows, Mac and Linux and deserves a mention, without a doubt, for its extensive features.

Getting Jarnal

Jarnal is an open-source note-taking and sketching application that you can run without installing it (as the program is bundled in a zipped file), but there are also installable versions for Windows and Mac on the official wiki and SourceForge page. Debian users will also be able to download a .deb package, while users from other Linux distros can make use of the ZIP file.

Comparing It To Windows Journal

annotate pdf

Windows Journal, which comes bundled in certain editions of Windows XP, Vista, and 7, is actually a very neat and handy application for taking notes on your tablet PC, whether they are handwritten or typed notes. There were certain drawbacks to Windows Journal though, namely, the lack of additional importable files (you could only insert pictures), and the inability to export to PDF or something other than the .jnt Journal file type and .tiff image format. The .jnt file makes it pretty hard to view on say, a library computer, or even share them with classmates, because you’re pretty much out of luck unless you can run Windows Journal Viewer.

I used Windows Journal for a while, enjoying how I was able to insert and remove space for new notes, which I could select and move around to my liking. What bugged me a tad bit was the fact that I had to batch convert PDF slides for my classes to image files before I could insert them in Journal. I eventually found that PDF X-Change Viewer provided annotation features that SumatraPDF didn’t have. Still, with the free edition of the X-Change Viewer, you can’t add PDF slides, which comes in handy when you annotate the heck out of the slides and run out of space.

This is where Jarnal shines. Since it’s for note-taking and sketching, you can add more space, annotate and export the whole thing to PDF. You first unzip the file, run jarnal.cm and head to File > Open Background (New On Background also works but it’s to open another instance of Jarnal) to choose your PDF file (or Word document) as your background.

annotate pdf documents

Editing The PDF File: Annotating & Merging With Other PDF Files

After you’ve imported your PDF file as your background to annotate on, you can use the text tool to insert typed notes, or the pen tool to draw freehand shapes. You can also basically create new PDF slides by inserting pages (and making diagram copies of whatever’s being illustrated by the professor on the board on these new slides which you will export later to PDF) and merging with other PDF files by inserting additional backgrounds.

annotate pdf documents

Other cool things you can do include inserting links, arrows (Ctrl + D), rectangles, etc. smoothing out your hand-drawn diagrams (by checking Smooth Strokes under Tools), and customizing what actions the middle or right mouse buttons perform (e.g. act as eraser, show context menu, etc).

annotate pdf documents

When you’re ready to save your annotated document, complete with your hand-drawn diagrams and notes, head to File > Export to PDF. You can also save the current page as an image or save it as a Jarnal file (.jaj).

annotate pdf

Though it doesn’t have lots of keyboard shortcuts, overall, Jarnal makes it easy for students who prefer to digitize notes (and save trees!) without having different programs to juggle while taking notes. In fact, I remember one of my classmates from a few years back who took notes on her laptop would type her notes in Word and painstakingly copy the diagrams from the white board in MS Paint. I imagine keeping these separate document and image files would make it harder to consolidate the study material so Jarnal is definitely a nice program worth trying for students.

Do you know of any other student-friendly applications or do you currently have a unique and genius note-taking method you’d like to share? Enlighten us in the comments!

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8 Awesome Free Open-Source Games You Can Enjoy On Windows, Mac and Linux

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 02:30 PM PDT

open source gamesWe don’t only bring you great free applications and tools here at MakeUseOf. We also understand that you like your downtime too, and what better way to waste some time than with some free open source games?

Maybe you’re a fan of cutesy 2D platformers? Or do you prefer staring down the barrel of a shotgun and shouting "pwned" after every kill? What about strategy games that require careful planning and a tendency to start wars?

Whatever your thing you’re bound to find something you like amongst this lot. All the games featured here have received updates within the last year, are cross-compatible on all 3 major platforms (and some even go beyond that) and won’t cost you a penny. Forget work, let’s have some fun!

Cube 2: Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten (meaning “pot roast” in German) is a manic, fast-paced first person shooter which evolved from the original Cube. The designers have set-out not to achieve the most eye-candy, but to bring a very interesting concept to the table: in-game map editing.

This means you and your buddies can collaborate together, creating, tweaking and building a map that suits you, without having to render it afterwards.

The gameplay is split into single player episodic campaigns and a variety of multiplayer modes including classics such as free for all, capture the flag and instagib (one shot kills). You can also play the multiplayer modes offline, with bots.

The video above demonstrates the frantic nature of the game, so if you’re a fan of old-school Quake 3 style gameplay you’ll probably want to check it out.

0 A.D.

Originally established as a modification for Microsoft’s Age of Empires II, 0 A.D. is a real-time strategy game focusing on the years 500 BC to 500 AD. The first part deals solely with 500 BC to 0AD, with the second part still in development.

open source games

Not only are the graphics impressive but the game attempts to be as historically accurate as possible, filling you in on ancient history as you go. There are 6 civilizations to choose from (including Celts, Romans, Persians, Hellenes, Iberians and Carthanigians) each of which have their own attributes, building models and of course units.

The game places a fair bit of emphasis on the military element, so if you’re a war-mongering cyber tyrant there should be enough here to keep you gripped for a while. Currently in Alpha, the game is buggy and incomplete, but a project certainly worth keeping a close eye on.

Frogatto & Friends

Recently released for the iPhone and iPod Touch (for a small fee, I might add) Frogatto & Friends is a jump-and-run 2D side scrolling platformer and free to play on your PC. You control a delightfully pixellated amphibian named Frogatto, guiding him through colourful levels riddled with monsters.

best open source games

Interestingly, the team recently announced a multiplayer mode, which despite not being finished yet suggests a few modes including races, deathmatch and co-operative gameplay.

The single player game is finished and fully playable, and has received plenty of praise from reviewers (many of which were reviewing the paid version from the AppStore).


Development originally began in 1996, and the FlightGear project reached its landmark version 2.0 in early 2010. I’m not sure if flight simulators are still "in" (they just seemed to drop off the radar, so to speak) but this one packs a decent punch without the price tag.

best open source games

There are over 350 aircrafts to play with, and over 300 liveries based on real designs. You can take to the skies in everything from a Boeing 737 commercial jet to an early 1903 Wright Flyer. There are three Flight Dynamics Models to choose from, over 20,000 real airports, dynamic lighting and highly accurate terrain that spans the globe.

You can even have a multi-monitor set-up and fly around with your friends in network mode. Yes, and it’s free!


For anyone who spent a decent portion of their childhood (or college days) playing Worms comes Hedgewars, only the worms are now pink hedgehogs and the game is completely free.

This one does a very good job of cloning the popular Team 17 turn-based classic, specifically Worms Armageddon. The game includes many of the same weapons, including the bazooka, dynamite and fire punch as well as others masquerading under different names.

Much like the original you can customize your team, changing their names, voices, gravestones, forts and hats. The game includes randomly generated maps, and if you want to create your own you can do so with .PNG files.

Game modes include single player versus the computer, tutorial modes, local multiplayer and online multiplayer. The whole package makes a worthy replacement for your favourite invertebrate-blasting classic.

Warzone 2100

Many of you may remember this one from long ago, when it was originally released as a commercial game for the PC and PlayStation in April 1999. It’s now free, open-source and has reached version 2.3.5.

The earth has been ravaged by nuclear war and all but a few humans are left. You must use your units to co-ordinate attacks and defeat your enemies within the time limit.

open source games

What makes Warzone 2100 a bit different from your usual real time strategy game is the unit design system, which allows you to pick chassis, drive systems and mounted objects for each unit. There are also over 400 different technologies to research, each adding more customization options.

There’s also a multiplayer mode, though seeing as there’s no real server browser you’re going to need to trawl the official IRC channel (#warzone2100-games on irc.freenode.net) for worthy opponents.


You’ve probably heard of World of Warcraft, the most popular massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) that exists today – but you’re also probably aware that it’s not free.

Once you’ve purchased the game and a couple of add-ons you’ve also got to pay a subscription to enter Blizzard’s crack-like virtual world. Enter PlaneShift, the completely free-for-life MMORPG.

Ok, so it’s not quite got the graphics and 12 million players that make up the WoW community, but it’s enough to give you a sample of the world of massively multiplayer games. You’ve got the usual player verses environment and player versus player (PvP) as well as a quick character creation mode and the more advanced custom mode which includes family ties, backstory and skills which all affect your character’s outcome.

There are several types of currency with which to trade, much of which can be earned on the many quests and tasks the game has laid out for you. If you’re new to MMORPGs and don’t fancy sacrificing your credit card details to the big bad Blizzard, PlaneShift isn’t a bad option.

Steel Storm: Episode I

Straight from the top-down arcade shooter school of video games, Steel Storm is a frantic single and multiplayer shoot ‘em up coming in two parts. Part I is completely free, and will remain so whilst Part II will require a small fee once it has been released.

Set in an alternate universe, you’ve got control of a futuristic hovertank with all the latest in fictional military hardware. It is then up to you to use your firepower to destroy hordes of extra-terrestrial invaders. You know, the usual stuff.

The game takes advantage of the free DarkPlaces 3D engine and the models, world and visual effects marry well with the game’s fast pace. There’s even an in-game mission editor included, to create your own campaigns from scratch.

Further Free Gaming

There’s plenty of other great free projects out there, and we’ve highlighted a couple in the past. Simon picked 5 of the best first person shooters, whilst if you’re a Transport Tycoon veteran there’s a couple of freeware alternatives you can choose from.

There’s also a decent selection of free games that make up part of a retail series to occupy your time, and if you’re after some more MMO action then maybe you should try one of these three. There’s even a decent selection of Mario clones.

Last of all if you fancy giving it a go yourself, there’s a decent selection of free tools to help you on your way.

Did any of these games take your fancy? Any other free games you know of that rock? Fill us in with the details in the comments!

Image Credit : Joystick 0 A.D. Frogatto & Friends Warzone 2100

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Hot Tech Deals [Oct 25th]

Posted: 25 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. Schumacher SpeedCharge Battery Maintainer and Charger $18 (97 Cent Shipping)

  2. Cooler Master HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $59.99 Free Shipping

  3. Hand Held Items 3 Pack Screen Protectors iPhone 4 Front/Back $2.65 or Front Only $1.45

  4. Sony BDV-IT1000ES 5.1ch Blu-ray Home Theater System w/ Blu-Ray Player $774.77 Free Shipping via code TECHBARGAINS

  5. Extra 30% or 20% off Select Green Feature Items (Solar Panels from $159.99) via codes Green20 or Green30

  6. Yamaha HTR-5063 Receiver (REFURB) + Yamaha NS-SP1800 5.1ch Speakers $344.95 Free Shipping via code FREEGFT1025A

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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The 10 Most Controversial Facebook Fan Pages

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 12:30 PM PDT

facebook fan pagesFacebook is certainly no stranger to controversy. With millions of members from all over the world, it would be hard to avoid it. Setting aside Facebook’s own privacy and Terms of Service controversies, we’re taking a look at some of the controversy created by its members.

Facebook fan pages have been created for just about everything you could imagine, and so it’s no surprise that quite a few of those pages have been at the root of worldwide controversy, while some other potentially controversial pages have quietly slipped under the radar.

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

One of the controversial pages to get the most attention by far, and led to Facebook being banned temporarily in Pakistan was the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day page. The Muslim world expressed its outrage, and dozens of pages and groups popped up demanding that the controversial be taken down, and even one page calling for the boycott of Facebook itself, and led to the temporary banning of the social network site in Pakistan, before the original page was removed.

facebook fan pages

RIP Raoul Moat

Before it was taken down by its creator, the Facebook fan page RIP Raoul Moat You Legend, attracted 38,000 fans showing their appreciation for the killer who had taken his own life earlier this year after killing his ex-girlfriend, her boyfriend and seriously wounding a police officer. The original creator took her page down, but other smaller clones still exist, with far less fans on Facebook.

facebook page

Dear Facebook

Barack Obama has probably been one of the most targeted personalities on Facebook’s pages. The page that caused the most controversy was one which attracted over one million members, praying for the American president’s death. The page subtly stated that since Patrick Swayze, Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett had all died, they were hoping that the same would befall Barack Obama. Other pages that have targeted the President have compared him to Adolf Hitler.

facebook page

If 10,000,000 People Join

Religion seems to be the easiest way to create controversy on Facebook. A page with over 1,000 fans is far from its goal of 10,000,000 members. What happens once they reach their goal? According to them, “the Jews have to say sorry for killing Jesus.”

facebook page

Evesham Township Police (NJ)

The Evesham Township Police Department put itself on the map when it started the controversial practice of putting mug shots of the people they arrest on their Facebook fan page. They do have a little disclaimer on their page saying that all people on the page are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but the practice calls into question privacy rights on the internet. The Police Department is far from apologetic, and believes that the page is their way of keeping up with technology.

facebook group page

Everybody Draw Holocaust

In response to the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day page, a few clones of sorts popped up, under the name of Everybody Draw Holocaust Day. Holocaust, and its denial has been another hot topic causing controversy on Facebook. For some time, the social network site stubbornly refused to delete these groups at all, citing freedom of speech as its reason, until it was proven that holocaust denial is in fact illegal in several countries. Despite that, there are some pages that still exist denying the horrors of World War II, although they haven’t succeeded in attracting very many fans.

facebook group page

Pope Benedict

As always, religion manages to make an appearance wherever there is controversy on Facebook. The Catholic Pope Benedict has been no exception. Pages calling for his arrest, as well as those that aim to make fun of the religious leader, by stating that a condom can get more fans than the Pope are in full force on Facebook, and clearly aren’t going anywhere.

facebook group page

Everybody Burn

If you do a search for the two words, “Everybody Burn” on Facebook – you’ll be surprised at what you’ll come up with. Most of the pages are protesting the now deleted page calling for an International Burn the Koran Day. In fact, collectively they probably have more fans than the culprit page ever did. That said, there are still a couple of Everybody Burn the Bible, and Everybody Burn Israel’s Flag that still exist. They don’t have many fans but they can still be found on the social network.

The Linesman

For some, football is as serious as religion or politics, especially where the World Cup is involved. A Facebook page which attracted almost 5,000 fans is comparing the linesman who disallowed one of England’s goals in a pivotal match against Germany, to Hitler. The comparison alone is reason enough for its inclusion on this list.

We Support James Jones

One of the latest controversies that has led to the creation of a Facebook page involves a parent who got onto his daughter’s school bus to yell at kids who were bullying her. The Facebook page, We Support James Jones has attracted over 4,000 members, but not all of them have messages of support, but rather are criticising the father who is now facing charges for his actions.

facebook fan pages

What do you think of the controversy that can be found in Facebook’s pages? Let us know in the comments.

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Info-Mac: An International Forum for Mac Users [iPhone/iPad App]

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 11:30 AM PDT

mac forumsIf you’re a new or dedicated Mac user, you will want to bookmark and access at least a few useful Mac community forums that can address questions you have about Apple computers, software, and mobile devices. Websites like MacRumors and several troubleshooting resources sites have been around for years.

But one Mac community site, Info-Mac, is the only site of its kind to have an iOS app for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It’s called iForum [iTunes Store link].

mac forums

The Info-Mac.org site itself started back in 1984, and it released its app back in June of this year. Info-Mac claims to be one of the “oldest communities on the entire Internet.” More detail about its history can be found on its Wikipedia page.

The website and app pretty much mirror one another. The are both totally ad-free and straightforward. Their features include, of course, a community forum, Mac-related headlines, a blog section, and a Classifieds and Buyer’s Guide section.

Forum Section

The forum section includes a hierarchy of topical discussions, including Mac and mobile hardware software, third-party hardware and software, web design, and Mac newbie questions. User-posted topics are varied, from beginner to expert questions and feedback. Each forum includes an RSS feed, making it an easy way to stay updated on selected topics.

apple mac support forum


The headlines section includes snippets of news from Info-Mac itself and links to other sites such as AppleInsider, Macworld, Ars Technica, Computerworld, etc. There doesn't seem to be a lot discussion activity by Info-Mac members to posted Headlines, but if you're visiting the site on a regular basis, it's a useful way of staying abreast of industry updates.

Classifieds and Buyer's Guide

Info-Mac seems to be one of the few Mac user community forums to include a Craigslist-like Classifieds section in which members can sell or request to purchase Apple related hardware. There's no description of how sales transactions take place.

apple mac support forum

There's also a simple Buyer's Guide section that includes comparative charts for Apple hardware. It might be useful if these charts included links to member reviews of selected hardware.

Other Features

Both the content of the Info-Mac website and the iForum app are searchable and topics can be subscribed to and saved for later review.

The free iForum app is well streamlined and easy to use. It includes in-app registration and a home page for all its major features. You can also of course create, reply and track topics.

mac forums

The only big drawback is that external links to news items must be opened in Safari. There's no built-in browser to quickly read linked pages. Also, unlike its companion website, the iForum app doesn't include Facebook, nor Twitter integration.

Statistics-wise, according to its homepage, Info-Mac has 3278 members. Membership activity is not active as compared to the more popular MacRumors.com forum, but perhaps the new iForum app may bring some much deserved traffic and participation.

Info-Mac seems to be a friendly and useful way to share Mac related information and opinions. Let us know what you think about it. Also, let us know about other Mac community forums you frequently visit.



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Is Kitchen Monki The Complete Recipe Management Website You Were Looking For?

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 10:30 AM PDT

recipe managementToo many cooks can spoil the broth, but not when it comes to cookery and recipe websites. There are so many dishes to go around. To the soup of websites which are helping us become better cooks each day, let's welcome Kitchen Monki.

Kitchen Monki is a recipe management website which tries to answer the question – how different can a recipe management website be from the similar ones in its stock? After all, aren't they all about uploading and sharing recipes.

Yes, a recipe website’s main wealth is the number of dishes it can help you serve up. But as some of the successful cooking websites covered earlier show, it's also in the tools that make the job of cooking fun and easy.

What does Kitchen Monki bring to the table? Bring your pots and pans. Let's see what's cooking at Kitchen Monki.

A Productive Hand for the Kitchen

recipe management

Cooking is fun for some, while a chore for others. Kitchen Monki as a web app helps to organize your cooking tasks by providing a place to hold all your recipes. Cataloging all your recipes in one place also allows you to take Kitchen Monki's help in preparing a shopping list from the ingredients. Finally as a social site for foodies, you can tap into all the public recipes as well as those shared by your friends.

Let's Start With Some Recipes

recipe websites

If you have just logged into a fresh account, you can start by decking up your profile page. Me…I headed straight to the Recipe Explorer. The Recipe Explorer looks quite similar to iTunes. It's not mere window-dressing as the iTunes-like interface lends a lot of user-friendliness to the task of searching through the lot of recipes.

Think of the recipes as individual MP3 arranged in your music library. Recipes are listed and can be sorted by Meal, Course, Cuisine, and Time.  The Categories and Filters on the left-hand column help to further drill down to the numerous recipes that are in Kitchen Monki's catalog. For instance, a harassed single parent shouldn't miss the Time to Cook and Mood categories for preparing some quick bites.

recipe websites

The Quick Filter box is where you can type in an ingredient and drill down to the recipes. Then there's the mandatory large search box if everything else fails (but it shouldn't).

Got The Recipe…What Next!

recipe websites

Don't miss the little grey arrow next to each recipe. Here's the timesaver. Clicking on the arrow expands your recipe selection and you can see some info at a glance and also in detail (The View Recipe button). Now, you can perform a lot of actions –

Queue /De-Queue – This tells Kitchen Monki that you are thinking of preparing the dish. The ingredients required go into the Kitchen Monki Grocery List Manager which prepares your shopping list.

Add to Plan – If you cook a dish at regular intervals, you can add it to a calendar and plan out your meals. The Meal Planner tool is built around the calendar.

Add to List – This is your automated grocery list…a single click adds the ingredients with the proper quantities.

If you like to print out your recipe and stick it on the kitchen wall, click on Print. Sharing is another way to spread the good word around. You can also embed a recipe in your own blog.

Start the Burners…View a Recipe in Detail

best recipe websites

There are two things I really liked about the detailed view (apart from the banana ratings). The steps are neatly demarcated with each step's ingredients placed alongside. The serving size can be adjusted and the ingredients changed accordingly. The automated grocery list though takes the original ingredients before adjustments.

For The Busy Mom…The Quick Meal Planner

You can select meals by preparation time from the Recipe Explorer itself or take the help of this tool. Select from the dropdowns and you have a quick fire recipe in your hands.

Fancy Yourself As a Cook? Add Your Own Recipes

best recipe websites

Got grandma's secret recipe for a delicious sauce? Add (and share) it with the help of the Recipe Creator. There are quite a few fields to fill out but when it comes to cooking the beauty lies in the details. The other reason is that at Kitchen Monki, the recipe helps drive your shopping list tool, the USP of the web service.

A Shopping Aid with Smarts…The Grocery List Manager

best recipe websites

This page is like a simple itemized shopping list. But the automated and quick add features make this Kitchen Monki's most powerful tool. The ingredients in your recipe find a place here. Common ingredients from multiple recipes find a place in the combined ingredient list. The Quick Add feature is for adding extra items that don't come from the recipes. You can always edit the list.

Kitchen Monki keeps track of all the stores at which you shop and can print separate shopping lists aisle by aisle for each store. You can search for a store using Kitchen Monki's Select a Store search feature.

recipe management

With the list finalized, you can also send the specially-formatted list via SMS to any mobile phone in the U.S. Items can be ticked off in the mobile list with each item bought. Your shopping just got a lot more intelligent.

A Community of Foodies

On Kitchen Monki you can seriously 'break bread' thanks to the large social circle around food. Kitchen Monki is well connected with Facebook's API. If you love anything that's a food, check out the blog and the Cooking News section.

I have rambled on for quite a while, and still have had to leave out a few tiny details. Do a bit of your own recipe exploring and let us know if you think that Kitchen Monki is the complete recipe management website you were looking for.

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5 Web Galleries To View The World’s Best Historical Art

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 10:00 AM PDT

free online art galleriesYou don’t need to get dressed up to visit an art gallery. Some (most?) of the world’s best artwork has been imaged and is available at your fingertips!

Although sometimes a visit in person is necessary to get the full impact of a piece, many art galleries have scanned their pieces for the wider viewing public and general art education via the web. If you are looking to find some great classical artworks online, look no further than these free online art galleries.

The Web Gallery of Art

free online art galleries

The Web Gallery of Art is an absolutely tremendous collection of art featuring European paintings and sculpture from 11th to mid-19th centuries. You can browse art in several ways: by artist, search or a ‘gallery’ mode which groups paintings by time period and styles. This is a great gallery for anyone looking for Renaissance artwork from the masters, but specifically from Italy and surrounding areas.

Olga’s Gallery

online art gallery

Don’t be put off by the simplistic design of this site. Olga’s Gallery includes over 10,000 images of art arranged by artist and movement. Olga focuses on European and Russian art but does have resources from other countries. Their newsletters are also a good learning resource as it educates the reader about a certain aspect or movement along with examples of that type of artwork. A good example is Michelangelo whose artwork is well represented on this site.


online art gallery

The Artchive is another site that has dated design but awesome resources. You can view by style or artist or search the entire archive. The Artchive offers paintings from a wide range of time periods all over the globe. One of the things I like the best about this site is how each artist and image is indexed by style, and also the galleries which are laid out much like a physical one. Paintings have detailed explanations which go far in describing the history behind the art and artist.

Orazio Centaro’s Art Images On The Web

online art gallery

Orazio has a comprehensive collection of fine art available from his website. The website is split into 2 parts – the first is an index to other sites around the internet surrounding information on an artist. The second is a gallery where the image is hosted in high quality on the website. I found the links to be rather spammy (opened up to a sponsor website most of the time) however the galleries seemed to be of high quality.


free online art galleries

The Artcyclopedia, true to its name, is a compendium of resources for art. Artists are listed by name and you can also search by title or browse by style. One thing that I really like about this website is that it is less euro-centric than many of the other sites, featuring art from other areas of Asia – specifically Japan.

Art is Everywhere!

Without sounding too corny, art is simply everywhere. Art is by definition subjective and what is artwork to someone might seem like trash to someone else. These galleries are a great way to view the ‘great classics’ but you can find art everywhere if you keep your eyes open.

Let us know if you have any other great online resources for free online art galleries. There are tons of art galleries around the world that offer exhibitions online – too numerous to mention in an article such as this. “Art Gallery Online” brings about 104 million hits from Google – that is a great place to start!

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Mobilise Your Life! Win a 4G Rover Puck and Stay Connected [Giveaway]

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 09:00 AM PDT

The Rover Puck is an ultra-portable Wi-Fi hotspot that can bring lots of joy to any web user on the go. You can get mobile internet for this 4G device and skip contracts using Rover’s pay-as-you-go service, which comes in 3 different flavors: pay by day, week or month.

This week, we will be offering 5 Rover Pucks (not including 4G subscriptions) worth $750 in total to five lucky MakeUseOf readers! Offer valid for US residents only. Read on to find out how you can win one.


The Puck is small, about the size of an iPhone or iPod Touch as you can see in the picture. To be exact, it’s only 4.26″ in width and weighs 1.6 pounds. This makes it easy to take around and not have to worry about searching for a coffee shop, for example. As it is conveniently portable, you can bring it with you at all times, whether you’re home or out and about. You can charge the Puck anywhere you can find an outlet as it comes with a wall and a car charger.

Once you obtain the Puck and it’s fully charged, you can connect to the network (the password will be on the bottom of your Puck) and use your web browser to create your account on Rover.com. You then can get two days of free Wi-Fi credited to your new account so you can experience 4G surfing if you’re still deciding between the 3 pay-as-you-go services.

When you’re ready to surf, whether you’re trying the Rover experience for 2 days or on, say, the monthly “plan”, you can share the network with up to 8 other Wi-Fi devices, such as laptops, MP3 players, e-book readers, etc. Any Wi-Fi device can now connect to the network whether it’s yours, your roommate’s or your friends’, provided all of you are within 150 feet from the Puck and you’re all in a Rover 4G network area. At 4G speeds, you can all stream media together, watch videos, etc. Of course, your main Rover network will be password-protected, but the Puck also offers a guest network, for which you can set up a password if you so wish.

If you’re constantly on the go and perhaps don’t own a smartphone, a Rover Puck may be a smart choice. To check if your area is covered by Rover 4G, go to Rover’s website. They’re constantly adding new coverage zones and quickly spreading to LA and NYC. In an area of good coverage, you’ll typically see transfer rates of between 3-6Mbps when downloading and up to 1 Mbps when uploading.

Personally, I don’t own a smartphone (I use SMS for almost everything) so what excites me about the Puck being so conveniently portable is that I can bring it with me to class and use my iPod Touch as my planner, wirelessly syncing my tasks with the unofficial Remember The Milk app, Milpon. I help save trees and don’t have to rely on my school’s hit-or-miss wireless network.

So let’s give 5 of these puppies away! Remember, you only qualify if you’re a US resident or if you are currently located in the US.

How do I win one?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Join our Facebook page by clicking the Like button or you can follow us on Twitter, if you prefer. If you’re already following us, you may skip this step.

If you can’t see the fanbox, click on this link.

Here’s our giveaway form. Please fill it in accurately. Be sure to enter your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. >Click here if you can’t view the form.

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

And that’s it! You’re done!
Giveaway eligibility
You must be a fan of our Facebook page to enter;
Individuals who are over the age of 18. If you are under 18, get your parents to participate on your behalf;
You must be located in the US.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, October 29th at 2100hrs PST. The winners will be selected at random and announced via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

MakeUseOf would like to thank Rover 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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Post Text, Photos & Video with the New Posterous iPhone App [News]

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 08:30 AM PDT

One of the things that makes Posterous so attractive to users is its simplicity. As we’ve detailed in the past, you can use it to Start Your Own Personal Photo Blog The Dead Simple Way. It works with a lot of other apps and posting things to your account is really easy. With your phone, you can post simply by emailing content or via text message.

If you have an iPhone, sharing and posting just got even easier. The new Posterous app [App Store link] helps you upload photos, video and text and post it to your social profiles. You don’t even need to have an account to use it.

What Can I Do With This App?

The Posterous mobile app gives you power over everything in your account. Here’s what you can do with this app:

  • Your posts can include any mix of text, photos and videos. You can also add geolocation and category tags.
  • Share posts automatically with over 25 of your social profiles, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Tumblr and Flickr.
  • Use your other iPhone apps while your uploads to Posterous work in the background.
  • Image galleries and videos are automatically resized for mobile viewing.

All of this can be done without taking the time to create a Posterous account. If you opt to go ahead and register for one, you can:

  • Manage multiple sites, including private sites.
  • Create group sites on the fly so anyone around you can contribute.
  • Post to your online site via email or with the Posterous web editor.
  • Update existing posts and manage comments.

Posterous’ future plans for their iPhone app include direct post editing, landscape post viewing, multiple photo selection and displaying attachments as thumbnails. You can find out more about this app on Posterous’ mobile page.

You can view a tour of the Posterous iPhone application by watching this video:

Source: Tech Crunch

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