Thursday, October 28, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [October 27th]” plus 10 more “Cool Websites and Tools [October 27th]” plus 10 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [October 27th]

Posted: 27 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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Mimvi – The world is moving to smaller devices and nothing proves it more than the fact that thousands of new mobile apps are introduced each month. However, with so many apps, it becomes hard to find what you are looking for. Mimvi is a all in one mobile app search engine that helps you search apps for several mobile platforms including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and more. Read more: Mimvi: All in One Mobile App Search Engine


Wex – Law has its own language. This language is made up of special terms that non-lawyers like you and me do not understand. For a quick reference to all these law-related terminology, check out a web tool called Wex, a project of Cornell University's Legal Information Institute. Read more: Wex: Get Law Terminology Definitions



Cloud Safe – If you're as careless with your data and important files as I am, you'll be really glad a service such as CloudSafe exists. CloudSafe is a service that provides you with an online storage safe that keeps your important data safely and securely and lets you access it using a web browser from almost anywhere, anytime you need to. Read more: CloudSafe: Secure Online Storage Safe for Your Data



Happy CV – You will find numerous online resources to create a CV. Normally however these resources require a number of complicated steps and fields and do not let you share your online CV over other websites. HappyCV is an easy to use online CV creation tool that plans to solve those problems with its simple interface. Read more: HappyCV: Simple Online CV Creation & Sharing



Chocomize – Imagine the perfect chocolate bar. Of course the “perfect chocolate bar” will vary from person to person because everybody has unique tastes. Recognizing this, a company set out on a deliciously brilliant mission; the result was a wonderful website entitled Chocomize. Read more: Chocomize: Create & Order Customized Chocolate Bar


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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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20 Stunning Illustrated Wallpapers: Halloween Edition

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 06:30 PM PDT

Seeing a lot of user-submitted artwork and animations via Blender, GIMP, and Inkscape enthusiasts (some of which you can see in 10+ Amazing Short Films Made With Free Software) has made me really appreciate images illustrated by hand, which includes wallpapers. Given the season, illustrated wallpapers shouldn’t be too difficult to find, and it might even get you excited for Halloween!

Here is a set of wallpapers that feature this exact illustrated-by-hand concept, though authors have not indicated that they used GIMP or other open-source image editing application. Also, some are from general wallpaper search sites, which I suspect don’t always link to the original author, but a number of these have a watermark (smart!) on them so they’re more traceable and attributable.

You can also find a few tutorials after the set of wallpapers, which may help guide you should you become inspired to create your own!

Wallpaper Collection

1. Halloween by Sandara

Download at: Deviant Art

2. Halloween

Download at: Zastavki

3. Halloween/Preparations For The Holiday

Download at: Zastavki

4. Halloween/All Saints Day

Download at: Zastavki

5. Untitled 2

Download at: Wallbase

6. Happy Halloween by Anthony Altamirano of ArtkasDesign

Download at: Slodive

7. Halloween

Download at: Wallbase

8. Halloween

Download at: Wallbase

9. Halloween/House Witches

Download at: Zastavki

10. Halloween by Hellen

Download at: Wallbase

11. Hallowmas

Download at: Zastavki

12. Untitled 3

Download at: Wallbase

13. Halloween Haunts

Download at: Wallcoo

14. Witchcraft Magic Night Cauldron

Download at: Halloween Web

15. Halloween Theme

Download at: Zastavki

16. Halloween/Holiday Decorations

Download at: Zastavki

17. Castle Witches

Download at: Zastavki

18. House At The Cemetery/Halloween

Download at: Zastavki

19. The Night In The Midst Of Halloween

Download at: Zastavki

20. Halloween Theme

Download at: Zastavki

Halloween Wallpaper Tutorial for GIMP Users

Now if your creative juices are ready to work their way to your next piece of artwork, there’s a tutorial by Xcftuts to produce a basic wallpaper in GIMP (you can also make yourself other stunning wallpapers). You may also want to read How To Create Top-Quality Desktop Wallpapers for tips on attaining the best quality possible for your wallpaper according to resolution and the like.

For more Halloween material, there’s also a video tutorial if you’re interested in creating a cute ghost like the following:

Deciding on whether or not to change your profile picture on Facebook or Twitter for the occasion? Here’s one way to do it with style.

Here’s the video tutorial to achieve the eyes-in-hands effect:

Tutorial for Photoshop Users

Since the previous text tutorial is actually based on a PSDTuts+ tutorial, anyone with Photoshop can follow the guide here. Note that any stock images (source files) and final products in PSD are available to premium members of the site only.

If you're like me, however, and just prefer to be amazed by others' masterpieces, check out additional Halloween wallpapers on

Do you have other great spooky wallpapers you wish to share? Let us know in the comments, and have a fun-filled Halloween weekend!

Photo credit: Zastavki

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How To Remove Windows Defender And Why You Might Want To

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 04:30 PM PDT

Windows Defender is Microsoft’s own anti-spyware application included, and integrated, with Windows Vista and 7. Unfortunately it is not possible to completely uninstall the program safely, but you can turn it off if you find you no longer want it.

It’s also probably worth leaving it installed but dormant, just in case you want to use it again at a later date. Once disabled, you’ll probably want to replace it with another good (and free) anti-spyware application such as Malwarebytes, LavaSoft’s AdAware or Spybot Search & Destroy.

If you’d rather use one of these and find that Windows Defender is active on your PC, then you only need to follow a few steps to never hear from it again.

Why Disable Windows Defender?

If you’ve got it enabled, chances are Windows Defender will start each time you boot your PC. If you’re short on resources, have your own methods of dealing with spyware or have simply come to the conclusion that Windows Defender is not for you then you might want to disable it.

I’ve read a number of blog posts, message board threads and tweets where users were experiencing conflicts between Defender and their antivirus application. I’ve also read a fair few experiences from users who are simply sick of constantly downloading new definitions every few days.

It seems a little odd that people might complain about regular updates for what is intended to be a safeguard for your PC, but as I’m sure Microsoft have found out – you can’t please all of the internet, all of the time.

Generally speaking, the program should disable itself (or at least notify you) when other similar software is detected, but this isn’t always the case. The steps below should put a stop to your Windows Defender woes.

Disabling Windows Defender

The easiest way of disabling Defender is through the program itself. Click Start, in the search box type "Windows Defender" and when you see it appear launch it. You’ll then need to click Tools followed by Options.

In the panel on the left, click Administrator and you should then see a checkbox which says Use this program. Simply uncheck it, and click Save.

If all goes well you should see a dialog pop-up notifying you that you must now use your own choice of software to monitor for spyware.

That should have done it, but just to be safe we’re going to disable the service itself as well.

Click Start and search for “run”, once it appears launch it and type "services.msc" in the box that appears. Scroll down until you find Windows Defender, right click and hit Properties.

In the box that appears Startup type should already be set to Manual but you’ll want to change it to Disabled, just to be sure.

Finally, I’d recommend you check and make sure Windows Defender isn’t starting up when your PC first boots, otherwise you’re likely to get a few nasty errors once you’ve knocked the service out.

In your Start menu type "run" (without quotation marks) into the search box, when it pops up click it and enter "msconfig" into the text field before hitting OK. This should launch the Microsoft Configuration Utility. Find Startup tab and have a look for Windows Defender and if you find it, uncheck it and click OK. If you get a prompt telling you that you have to restart, ignore it.

You should now have stopped the Windows Defender service and prevented it ever starting up again. I’d recommend you now go and have a look for a decent anti-spyware application with which to replace it.

Why did you want to remove Windows Defender? What did you replace it with? Does spyware drive you mad or have you got another solution? Let us know in the comments.

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Top 8 Websites With Cheats for Old PS1 Games

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 02:30 PM PDT

While the latest and greatest game consoles, like the Wii, PS3 or XBox 360 are certainly a blast to play, there’s just something nostalgic and awesome about firing up an older console like the classic Playstation 1. Experiencing all of those old adventures and nail-biting fight scenes brings back a lot of very cool memories.

Are you a Playstation fanatic? Do you play the games on your PC, iPhone, or anywhere else you can get the games to run? Now, it may be fun to fly through those old games, but if there are any that you’ve never played before and you get stuck, finding cheats or a walkthrough to get through that game isn’t as easy as it used to be.

So, I’ve decided to put together a collection of 8 awesome gaming websites that still offer cheats for old PS1 games.


The GameSpy website is also an invaluable sources of game information and resources, so it’s no surprise that it made this list of the top resources for PS1 cheats.

To find the game you’re playing, just click the link above, and then go to the letter that your game starts with. There are a lot of games listed in this archive, so you’re likely to find what you’re looking for here.

Games Cheat Directory (GCD)

Next up is Games Cheat Directory, or GCD. Unlike the other game sites, this one is devoted to cheats and only cheats. The archive here doesn’t seem quite as comprehensive as GameSpy, but if you can’t find your game anywhere else, this one is definitely worth a shot.

The design is a little bit odd when you start out at the main page, but once you start navigating through the alphabet it all starts making sense.

PlayStation Alley

The game site Playstation Alley isn’t only devoted to game codes and cheats, but it is also focused only on Playstation gaming consoles. So if Playstation is your thing, this definitely should be your first stop.

The only problem with this site is that it leaves a lot to be desired in design. I couldn’t get the game listings to display correctly, but they do display and the codes and cheats are there.  It may not be pretty, but it works.

Freeola Gaming

The overall purpose of the Freeola Gaming is clearly game cheats, reviews and walkthroughs. Like most other game sites, the classic Playstation format isn’t listed in the menu, but if you use the dropdown list in the center search area, you’ll find it (or just use the link above).

This site offers just over 900 game titles with listed cheats and codes. It’s one of the better-designed sites, so definitely mark this down as one site to check out when you need a quick cheat code.

Cheats Unlimited

The site Cheats Unlimited is one of the few sites that at least lists “PS One” in the navigation menu. After you click on PS One, you’ll need to click on “more” under the list of latest games to get to the archive of all titles.

The archive has 73 pages of game titles, but still nowhere near the number of games you’ll find at Freeola or Gamespy. Still, the site is very cool and also offers a lot of extra content like previews, walkthroughs and tips. It’s well worth checking out.

Games Tracker

Games Tracker is one of those sites that you would almost pass up because there are fewer listings than anywhere else, but when you start looking at the content, the real value of Games Tracker comes out.

Here, you’ll find not only cheat codes and walkthroughs, but many games also have lists of unlockable items, tips and hints for certain parts of the game, secrets in the game and even glitches that you can exploit.

PSX Extreme

When you visit PSX Extreme, you’ll find not only PS1 cheats, but also news, screenshots, user reviews, themes and a whole lot more for every generation of Playstation console. If you’re a PS gamers, this site should be at the top of your list.

Classic Playstation has its own area for news, reviews and cheats, so make sure to check it out.

Games Radar

Okay, I admit it, I picked Games Radar more for the quality of the site than for the listing of games, which only reaches into about two pages. PS1 cheats are on the site but you won’t find it in the menu. There are enough cheats here to earn a mention, and the site is pretty cool overall, but for PS1 cheats Games Radar should be a last resort if you can’t find the cheats at any of the sites listed above.

So now that you have a list of the top PS1 sites with cheats, why not get started replaying all of those old classics you loved so much? Now, when you can’t remember how you got past a certain level, all you have to do is come back here and find the cheat or walkthrough – and you’re golden!

Do you know of any other sites dedicated to the Playstation or  PS1 games and cheats? Share your own resources in the comments section below.

Image credit: Chris Chidsey

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Hot Tech Deals [Oct 27th]

Posted: 27 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. Newegg Coupon Code 10% off All Philips MP3/MP4 Accessories via code PHILIPS1026

  2. TODAY ONLY Philips 40PFL7705D/F7 40in LED-Backlit LCD HDTV (1080p) $699.99 Free Shipping

  3. TODAY ONLY Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB Internal SATA Notebook Hard Drive $104.99 Free Shipping

  4. TODAY ONLY Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Go USB Sound Card $19.99AR Free Shipping

  5. TODAY ONLY Belkin 6ft 7-Outlet 2320-Joule Home/Office Surge Protector $12.99 Free Shipping

  6. TODAY ONLY Infinity TSS-1200 5.1ch Home Theater Speaker System $499.99 Free Shipping via code 24HRSALE1027E

  7. TODAY ONLY Corsair Force 60GB Internal Solid State Drive (Sandforce SF-1200 Controller) $114.99AR Free Shipping via code 24HRSALE1027D

  8. TODAY ONLY Kodak M590 14MP 5X Digital Camera w/ Optical Image Stabilization $149.59 Free Shipping via code 24HRSALE1027A

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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TwInbox – Tweet Directly From Within Microsoft Outlook

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 12:30 PM PDT

There are a lot of us who still use desktop email clients. If it's Windows, there's a high chance that it's Outlook. Now, Outlook users have a peculiarity. They hate to leave Outlook and go elsewhere for their other communication needs. And sometimes, Twitter begs you to tweet. The damn thing is so addictive.

I may be atypical, but sometimes I hate to leave Outlook and switch on something like the excellent TweetDeck or any other dedicated Twitter clients. I have nothing against these excellent Twitter clients but maybe it's just my laziness rearing its ugly head. For me, the idea is to keep every communication in a central place as far as possible.

A Twitter add-in that allows us to tweet from within Outlook is the need of the day. OutTwit answered that need and then it changed its name to TwInbox. The free TwInbox comes with better features and usability. From the looks of it, TwInbox is a perfect marriage of Twitter and Outlook. But is it harmonious enough? That's what we aim to find out with a few test tweets.

TwInbox (ver. at just under 1MB is a small enough install for Outlook 2003 and 2007. It takes its place on the Outlook toolbar. Now, you can update your Twitter status directly from Outlook.

Getting to Know TwInbox

TwInbox has a configuration wizard that helps you take the first steps with this Twitter client for Outlook. You have to give it your Twitter account information of course. Select a folder where your tweets will be kept.

After you have given TwInbox the basic info (TwInbox supports multiple accounts), here's how the Options box looks:

You might want to personalize the tweet update frequency (Automatic Updates) and a setting like – Preview Shortened URL. The other setting which really helps me is assigning a shortcut key via the UI tab. That allows me to speedily bring up a new tweet window and retweets too.

TwiInbox Calls On the Power of Outlook

TwInbox creates folders to store the tweets. You can specify how the folders are to be created. For example, you can create separate folders for different types of tweets (direct messages, mentions, etc) or you can put it all in one folder. With TwInbox you can also create individual folders for each sender.

Just like Outlook, you can create Search Folders to filter and display tweets from specific senders, or only tweets that contain a particular word, or match any other criteria using Outlook filters.

The Search/Track/Group feature of TwInbox is a tool to get familiar with if you want to organize all your tweets. The powerful feature can be used to direct incoming tweets to specific folders. Also, if you want to keep a record of your sent or received tweet then the feature can be used thanks to the search operators that are used by Twitter. See the Twitter list of search operators.

Work Your Tweets Just Like Outlook Messages

Just like Outlook messages, you can click on the column header and rearrange your tweets alphabetically. Just like email messages, you can sort tweets according to various criteria.

You can search through your entire sea of tweets with the same Outlook search or any other Inbox search you use.

You can go in for Outlook's Mailbox Cleanup and Auto-archive items which are older than a set number of days. (Right click on the TwInbox folder – Properties – Auto Archive).

Just Tweeting

TwInbox supports all the usual Twitter commands like d username, @username, follow username, and leave username. You can also use Outlook's Reply or Reply All buttons to send forth your tweets. It's much faster if you use the shortcut keys.

When it comes to picture attachments, you need to just highlight any email in Outlook and upload the picture that's attached to the highlighted email. You can also browse your computer and pick up a picture from there. The attached picture is tweeted via TwitPic, Posterous, or Twitgoo.

TinyURL support comes with Twinbox. Paste any URL into a Tweet, click a button, and it's shortened. You can use your own account by giving the log-in details in the Preferences dialog.

If you are the statistician, or just want to see who the top Tweeter in your inbox is, use the Stats button to display the column graph. You get it for the day and the month.

For me, TwInbox is a productivity tool more than a simple Twitter app. It nearly makes Outlook a single window console for all net chatter. What's great is that TwInbox design is in sync with the way we use Outlook, so old habits don't have to die hard. It might lack some advanced features like scheduling for future tweets or manage Twitter lists, but for day to day uses it just suffices.

What's your impression? Comment or tweet to let us know.

Also, don’t miss our free guide: Twitter: Best Practices and Tips .

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Create A Beautiful Web Store Quickly & Easily With Goodsie [500 Invites!]

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 11:31 AM PDT

With millions of potential buyers from all over the world, the Internet has become the new goldmine for people with products to sell. There are many examples of online store success stories selling all kinds of goods such as books, digital songs, to rare items found in Grandma’s attic.

To be successful selling online, you don’t have to acquire resources and/or have the power to compete with the giants like Amazon or iTunes. It’s possible for independent sellers to play in the same field as the titans and still make a very decent living. All you need are products to sell and the determination to market them.

Today’s technology allows anybody to build their own web store for pennies, or even free. There are many methods that you can use to build your own online store, such as tweaking a WordPress blog or using one of the web store builders like Goodsie.

Special Invitation

Currently, Goodsie is in closed private beta. You can try to apply by yourself and wait for the invitation to arrive in your inbox. But you may not need to go through the waiting game because the founder of Goodsie has personally given us 500 invites to give out to lucky MakeUseOf readers.

01a Goodsie - Front Page.jpg

All you need to do is head over to Goodsie, click the “Try The Beta” button, and type the invitation code “makeuseof” (sans quote) in the “Beta email or invitation code:” field. Click the “Sign up” button and you’re good to go (provided that the 500 invites haven’t already been used up).

01b Goodsie - Beta Code.jpg

At The Construction Site

The process of building the store itself is quite easy and straightforward. users will quickly see the similarities between the tools. That’s because these two services come from the same developer.

We won’t go too far into the details of tweaking the look of the store. Basically, there are two elements on the design panel: the “Store” – where you can customize your store’s details, contact form, shipping details and adding pages;

02a Store Settings.jpg

And the “Design” which allows you to customize the artistic appearance of your store, such as the page layout, alignment, image size, border and corner, colors combination, and fonts.

03a Design Layout Up.jpg

Adding Products & Payment Methods

While the design side might give some people a nightmare, the most difficult and time consuming part of building an online store is the technical side of adding multiple products (and all of its data) and multiple secure payment methods. Fortunately, Goodsie has done the hard work for you. Everything is as easy as clicking a few buttons.

Click on the “Admin” link at the top right corner of the page and choose the “Products” tab to add your products. Click on the “Add a product” button to start.

04a Goodsie - Products.jpg

Write down everything there is to know about your product, such as: Name, Price, Description, etc; in the fields provided.

04b Goodsie - Add Product Description.jpg

You are allowed to upload several thumbnails of your product using the “Upload” button. If you find tools that you don’t understand, the help button: “(?)“, is just a click away.

04c Goodsie - Add Product Description 2-1.jpg

Repeat the process for other products that you want to add.

The “Settings” tab is where you can complete your data – as the seller, customize the Goodsie address of your store, and of course set the payment methods that you prefer. There are three methods available at this moment: Paypal, Google Checkout and Amazon.

05c Goodsie - Settings - Payment.jpg

No coding necessary. Just click the activate button, write down a few details and you’re ready to go.

11c Paypal Email.jpg

You may activate all three, but your store will be disabled for customers without activating at least one.

11b Payment Method Required.jpg

The Shopping Experience

So will your customers get a nice shopping experience? I changed my role into a customer and tried the store myself to find the answer.

This is what a quick setup of my “dummy” store looks like. The interface is clean and the product images are arranged neatly according to the store layout design I chose.

The magic began at the time I hovered the mouse pointer over a product: the product image changes into the product description, complete with “Add to Cart” and the “Details” button.

06 Store front.jpg

After adding several products to the cart, I clicked on the “Cart” button on the top right corner of the page, and the shopping cart appeared. The cart interface allowed me to change the quantity of each product, or delete the items that I don’t want. When I’m ready to pay, I just click on one of the payment buttons below (since I only activated Paypal, other buttons were unavailable).

11 Shopping Cart-1.jpg

What’s Next?

Now that your store is up and running, what is your next step? Promote it like crazy! It’s useless to have a beautiful and fully functional store if nobody visits it.

And what will happen to your store after the beta period is over? This is what the developer said:

Post beta, we will offer a revenue share only version of the service – that’s not exactly free, but pretty close.

If you are really serious about setting up and running an online store, Goodsie might be your tool to do it. And when the profits come pouring in, I’m sure a real entrepreneur would not mind sharing part of the profit to keep your store system up and running.

I personally think that Goodsie is user friendly to both the store owner and the customer. So why don’t you use the invite code and try the service yourself? Then share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.

Image credit: Auswandern Malaysia



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Why Apple’s iBooks Is The Best E-Reader For Making Annotations

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 10:31 AM PDT

While I haven't used every e-reader application on the market, when I can compare four of the major ones, eReader, Nook, Kindle, Stanza, Kobo, and iBooks, I found the latter to be the best software e-reader for navigating and annotating e-books.

For students, writers, and scholars, good annotation tools in an e-reader is essential. The e-book format can be very advantageous for annotating e-books.

For annotating e-books, I now primarily use iBooks for these following reasons.


First off, the pagination of the iBook is the closest you will get to the paper format. While the page numbering is not exactly the same as the paper format of the book, a slider at the bottom of the page tells you what page you're on.

It also tells you how many pages are left in a chapter. This bit of information helps me to to determine if I'll have enough time to finish a chapter before I need to stop and do something else.

When you drag your finger across the dotted slider, you get to see the chapter number, chapter title, and pages of the book. This is seriously great for navigating pages. I'll go into this more later.

Now compare the pagination of the iBooks e-reader to that of the Kindle app (the screenshot below).

For some odd reason, the page numbers of a Kindle e-book can run into the thousands, although the actual length of a book may be only a few hundred pages. Its menu slider doesn't include the pertinent information included in an iBook e-reader.

The Kindle app only tells you the percentage of pages you have read. A percentage number is not very useful especially if you're reading an e-book for study purposes or for book group discussions.

Navigating Pages

One of the most frustrating aspects of e-readers is getting back to a designated page. All e-readers I've used do open back to the last page you were on before closing the application. That's great. But when you're reading an e-book and decide to "flip" back and forth between pages, it's often very difficult to get back to a designated page if you don’t make a note of the page number.

You can bookmark the page, but that means you have to open the bookmark menu and then tap on it to get back to a particular page. When you read an e-book for study purposes, you often compare information in different parts of the book. You might also frequently check references as you read. Having a way to quickly return to a designated page can a huge time saver.

Navigating pages is even more frustrating in the Kindle app because if you leave a page, the number of that page may actually change for some reason when navigating away from it.

In both the iBooks and Kindle app, there is a Resume button that when tapped takes you back to the last page you were on, but not necessarily the last page you were reading, or a specific page you want to return to. I would like to be able to stamp any page and then tap a single visible button to take me back to that page.


I believe the iBooks app is the only one that provides multiple color markers for highlighting. iAnnotate, an e-reader app for PDFs, also includes this feature.

The default highlight color is yellow, but it can be changed to green, blue, pink, or purple. I assigned a definition to each color to make them more useful.

One big drawback to changing colors, however, is that it takes three taps to change the color, and then you have to make another three taps to return to say the default yellow marker.


All e-reader apps include a bookmarking feature, but the iBooks app includes a separate section for bookmarks. I really like this, but compared to the iAnnotation's app, this feature is seriously underdeveloped.

First off when you bookmark a page, there's no way to customize the title of the bookmark. So you end up with a list of bookmarks but no indication of why you bookmarked a particular page. The only information that differentiates the bookmarks is the chapter headings and a stamped date for when you added the bookmark.

In the iAnnotate app, you can type a label for your books and pull them up in a separate viewer from your other annotations.

In the Kindle app all your highlights, bookmarks, and notes are combined into one section. However, unlike the iBooks app, the viewer for annotations in the Kindle app can be accessed from any page. The bookmarks are differentiated by their page location and the first few lines of the page you bookmarked. This is a little helpful, but not much, because it's not specific enough about why certain pages were bookmarked.

It shouldn't be difficult for both the iBooks and Kindle apps to include customized bookmarking.


Any reader studying the content of e-books will often want write notes, comments, and even simply copy and paste particular passages from the pages of e-books. The iBooks app provides a yellow style sticky notes feature.

Notes can also be color-coded, and they get affixed to the right margin of the page.

You can also tap and pull up your notes in the Bookmarks section of iBooks, which means you don't have to navigate to a particular page to read your notes.

As with its bookmarks, the Notes you create in the Kindle app get mixed in with all the other annotations, and you have to tap and navigate to the page to review and read an entire note.

As you can see, there are some very good pros and cons for annotation tools in e-readers, but I think if we communicate to developers what we want to see in future updates, the annotation features can greatly improve.

Let us know if you use annotation tools when reading e-books, and what limitations you would like to see addressed.

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Banish Social Network Buttons Forever With Adblock

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 09:30 AM PDT

Encouraging you to "Like," "Tweet", "Digg", and "Stumble" content, buttons for social networks spill on to almost every page on the modern Internet. If you prefer to copy URLs yourself, AdBlock can keep social networks where they belong: their own pages.

Recently, we taught you how to use Adblock to keep you safe from malware, proving everyone's favorite ad-blocking tool does more than just block ads. This week, thanks to a tip from a reader, we highlight yet another use for Adblock.

Whether it's at the bottom of an article or a collection hovering on the side of a page, buttons for social networks are everywhere. Some sites, like Facebook, go even further — filling sites with random pictures of a given blog's fans or an assortment of headlines recently shared on Facebook (as though those headlines are any different than the headlines on the page itself).

Obviously we at MakeUseOf understand the appeal of such things; there are a few buttons around this very article. By putting these here we make it easy for you, our reader, to share our content with others. This means your friends read our content, and may become regular readers, thus bringing our goal of global domination that much closer to fruition.

But just because we have our reasons for adding the buttons doesn't mean you, our readers, want to see them. We're all about empowering people, and if you'd rather copy and paste a URL into your social network of choice than see buttons on every page you visit…well, that's up to you. Here’s how.

Installing Adblock

First things first: you have to install Adblock. You probably know how to do this, but if not here is the quick rundown of installation links for your browser:

Install these plugins the way you normally would and you're ready to get started!

Two Filters

There are two main filters on the web for blocking social networking craplets on the web: Fanboy's Web Annoyances filter and Montza's social media blocker. These lists are both comparable, so feel free to try out both on your favorite sites to see what works for you.

Not sure how to install new filters? Check out your AdBlock extension's preferences; the option to do so is there.

The Results

So, how well does it work? Let's take a look. As you know, at the bottom of every MakeUseOf article is a series of buttons. It looks like this:

Well, subscribed to either of the filters linked to above, the bottom of every article looks a little more like this:

Not the most interesting screenshot I've ever uploaded, but that's the point: there's no longer anything there. And lest you think this only works for tech blogs, on the front page of American news magazine there's a box that looks like this:

Again, this method blocks that box completely (and several other pointless widgets that litter all of Slate's pages).

A Cleaner Web

The web was probably at its cleanest five years ago, after advertisers stopped being so irritating but before social network buttons became ubiquitous. Use AdBlock Plus and you can relive those glory days of Internet tidiness! The best part is, you don't even need to block ads: you can turn those filters off in the preferences, if you want to support your favorite sites.

Social networks are cool, but I prefer copy/pasting links on my own. Having a way to block all of those annoying social networking buttons is fantastic to me, because I'm always looking for a way to reduce the clutter in my life.

What about you: is using Adblock to filter out social networking boxes a good idea, or do you like the convenience of those buttons? Can you think of any other cool uses for Adblock? Let's talk; the comments are below.

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Our Caps Lock T-Shirt Is The MakeUseOf Staff’s Favourite

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 09:01 AM PDT

When the MakeUseOf staff were asked if they would like a free T-shirt from the T-shirt store, they all naturally said yes.   And to our surprise, a lot of them immediately went for the Caps Lock T-shirt.  It seems to be the overwhelming favourite among the staff, and one of our bestsellers in general.

In fact Angela loved it so much that she asked SplitReason for a custom-made baby tee version.  Check it out after the jump.

Angela Alcorn

Would you like your own Caps Lock T-shirt?   Then head on over to the store and place your order before stocks run out.  Shirts can be ordered in any size from small to extra large and only cost $16.95 and shipping.

Or if the Caps Lock shirt doesn’t strike your fancy, then check out the MakeUseOf T-shirt store today, to see our other bestselling designs.

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Easily Manage Multiple Twitter Accounts and Monitor Your Brand With Splitweet

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 08:30 AM PDT

How many Twitter accounts do you have? More than one? With more and more people starting blogs and creating profiles for their online brands, it is not uncommon to have multiple Twitter accounts. It’s a great way, in fact, to keep your personal tweets separated from those having to do with your brand or business.

There are a lot of apps out there for managing multiple Twitter accounts. Here at MakeUseOf, we’ve covered Multwiple, Twitvance, Cotweet and Seesmic Desktop, to name a few. We’ve also shown you an easy way to manage multiple users on one account with TweetFunnel, as well as compare the new Twitter to desktop clients.

Now there’s Splitweet. Splitweet offers a super simple way to manage and monitor multiple Twitter accounts. In this article, I’ll show you what you can do with this easy-to-use web app.

What’s the Concept Behind Splitweet?

Here is what’s stated at the top of Splitweet’s About page:

Splitweet is not a company, it’s a personal project lead by three colleagues who spend weekends and spare time to offer a free and a handy service to Twitter users. … We are the Splitweet developers.

Knowing this information gives you a better understanding of the concept behind Splitweet, and that is to give people an easy, useful application that they can use to manage multiple brands on Twitter.

Splitweet is a free alternative to more sophisticated software being paid for by companies, which enables it to be utilized by the general public. Heavy and corporate Twitter users can still make use of this application, which I will get into a little bit below.

All Your Accounts in One Place

The first and perhaps most obvious feature Splitweet offers that I would like to cover is the ability to have all your accounts in one place.

As soon as you create an account, you can add Twitter accounts to Splitweet using Twitter’s OAuth. You just have to sign into your accounts on Twitter per usual to grant Splitweet access.

Then, from the input screen on your dashboard, you can compose a tweet and select your desired accounts. In essence, Splitweet allows you to compose a list of accounts and distribute your tweets, choosing which accounts they go out to.

Easily Follow All of Your Latest Tweets

You can also follow your contacts’ tweets from all of your managed accounts in Splitweet. Splitweet shows you which tweets are to which accounts in your Tweets you follow section, which can be configured to auto-update.

In other words, tweets are shown in a chronologically ordered list. They are displayed with different colored squares next to them so you can distinguish which Twitter accounts they correspond with.

From your dashboard, you can view tweets, replies, direct messages, favorites, and more. You can seamlessly choose to hide or display tweets for different accounts as you see fit.

Monitor Your Brand & Reply Within the App

The brand mentions section is very interesting to me because it allows you to input a brand name to monitor and get all the relevant tweets. This is not unlike Twitter search. Brands or keywords will be displayed in a similar way to the other sections of tweets on your dashboard.

Brand monitoring is a nice feature because, let’s face it, the various brands you represent are probably what would lead you to use an application like Splitweet to begin with. You can now effectively monitor all of your tweets in a very simple way, as well as monitor for brand mentions throughout Twitter.

Splitweet also allows you to reply to tweets within the app, regardless of which account they were originally sent to.


As you can see, Splitweet is simple enough both in concept and design for most anyone to use. If you’re looking for a sleek, minimalistic dashboard from which to monitor multiple Twitter accounts, you should check out this app.

Also, if you’re looking at trying out some similar apps to see which one you like the best, feel free to investigate some of the other applications I mentioned in the very beginning of this article.

What program do you use to manage multiple Twitter accounts?

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