Friday, October 29, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [October 28th]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [October 28th]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [October 28th]

Posted: 28 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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YTTM – Watching videos from the past always brings back good memories. If you want to look up popular videos from those old days, there is a good chance you will not find many resources. This is precisely what makes YTTM such a wonderful website, which catalogues and organizes YouTube videos from the 60s, 70s, 80s, up to today. Read more: YTTM: View Popular Videos From the 60s, 70s, 80s…


Colordev – Are you a developer about to redo his website's color scheme but confused as to what colors should be used? If yes, then you could use something that randomly offers various color schemes and lets you see their impact on your site. In other words, you could use Colordev's Color Machine. Read more: Colordev's Color Machine: Try Random Color Schemes On Your Website



Metricly – If you are running an internet business that is popular across a number of online platforms, then tracking and managing it over all those platforms can become quite a hectic task. Keeping its traffic stats in check along with managing its Twitter and Facebook accounts separately cannot be an easy task. But thanks to Metricly you can perform those tasks using a single web metrics dashboard. Read more: Metricly: Cool Web Metrics Dashboard For All Your Online Stats



Live Matrix – A TV schedule lets you know of all the programs that will air and when. A similar tool is required for all live events that will occur online; these events not only include television programs, but all types of online events – from poker games and other sports tournaments to multiplayer games and video conferences. Live Matrix is that tool. Read more: Live Matrix: A Schedule For Live Events Online



Instantise – Google's recent introduction of instant search results has created quite a hype. Since then, developers have been trying to apply the feature to different services. Instantise is a simple app that implements this feature for various services including Google, YouTube, Twitter, PHP, Techmeme, Maps and more. Read more: Instantise: Brings Instant Search Results on YouTube, Twitter & More


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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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7 Reliable Sites To Do A Quick Free Anti-Virus Scan

Posted: 28 Oct 2010 06:31 PM PDT

free anti virus scanIt’s highly likely that you’ve had some sort of experience with a computer virus in the past. If not, then lucky you – but you can never be too safe, especially if you’re running Windows.

Online free anti virus scan apps have been around for a while, and whilst they’re no match for standalone software they certainly have their uses. Perhaps you’re on an unfamiliar PC that’s acting a little strange? Or maybe your existing software has been disabled, and you’ve frantically restarted in Safe Mode looking for a solution.

Below you will find 4 websites to check and verify that your PC is virus free, and 3 to upload and check individual files to help prevent an outbreak. Let the scanning begin!

Online PC Scanners

BitDefender QuickScan

free anti virus scan

This free scanner will work in all major browsers, and requires a quick addon to be installed before you can scan. Simply visit the site, click Scan Now, agree to the installation and accept the EULA.

Your PC will then be scanned in record time to let you know whether or not you’ve got any nasty viruses, trojans or other malware hiding in your PC’s memory. It won’t scan your whole hard drive, but if your PC is acting up and you suspect malicious software is to blame, QuickScan should find it.

Panda ActiveScan

free online virus scan

Unfortunately ActiveScan will only work with Internet Explorer or Firefox, although Panda recommends you install the IE Tab Classic extension for compatability if you’re running Chrome.

For a quick scan of running processes choose Quick Scan or if you’d prefer to delve a little deeper you can opt for a Full Scan. Once you’ve chosen click Scan now and you’ll be prompted to download either an extension (if you’re running Firefox) or an ActiveX control (if Internet Explorer’s your thing).

The scanner will update its definitions and then run the scan of your choice before delivering the good or bad news.

TrendMicro Housecall

free online virus scan

Housecall is completely browser independent, which means you can access it from any web browser. It achieves this by packaging the scanner into a small executable file which when run scans your PC for any signs of malware.

There are two versions to choose from – 32bit and 64bit – and you should make your choice based on your operating system. In case you’re wondering what version you’re running, open Control Panel in your Start menu and choose System. Once you’ve downloaded the file, run it and the definitions will be updated for you.

After you’ve accepted the EULA click Scan Now to see what’s lurking on your PC.

F-Secure Online Scanner

free online virus scan

Utilising the Java platform to check your PC for nasties, F-Secure should run in any browser provided you’ve got Java installed and JavaScript enabled. To launch the scanner you must accept the license terms by checking the box and then click Run Check.

You’ll need to authorise the Java applet to run before the scanner will launch in a separate window. You’re then free to choose between Quick Scan, Full Scan and a customized My Scan (where you choose which bits of your hard drive to check).

Once you’ve chosen the scanner will update its definitions (it’ll take a few minutes, but stick with it) and your PC will be checked for problems.

Individual File Scanners


free virus scan

The VirScan service allows you to upload a file (up to 20MB) and check it against more than 30 other sets of definitions from the web’s finest anti-virus solutions.

You can upload .ZIP and .RAR files with a maximum of 20 compressed items, and even give the archive a password of “infected” or “virus”. Simply click Choose File followed by Upload and your file will be scanned, showing you the results in your browser.


free virus scan

With support for both file upload and URL checking VirusTotal is a popular online virus scanner (so check the server load before you submit). Not only can you upload via the web form on the homepage, but you can email your files (again, 20MB maximum filesize) to with "SCAN" in the subject field.

You will then receive your results via email once your scan has been complete. Much like VirScan, VirusTotal uses a database of definitions assembled from all over the web.


free anti virus scan

Operating much in the same way as the previous two engines, Jotti allows you to upload a file of 20MB or less for submission to a selection of the web’s anti-virus engines.

You should know the drill by now – click Choose File and then Submit file to receive your results.


Online solutions are a great way to protect your data but these services are still no match for installing a dedicated virus scanner on your machine. There’s plenty of completely free solutions out there, some of which have adverts and the odd pop-up and others that just sit there and do their job.

We’ve got a list of the 10 best right here, and it’s also worth watching out for spyware with programs like Malwarebytes and Spyware Terminator. No virus scanner is completely immune to attack, and the best thing to use whilst browsing the web is your common sense.

Have any of these services helped you out in the past? Ever tackled a particularly vicious virus? Got any security tips? Sound off in the comments.

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5 Facebook Search Tips To Find What You Are Looking For

Posted: 28 Oct 2010 04:31 PM PDT

facebook search Like no other social circle before, Facebook has managed to draw in the masses and keep people engaged. It’s almost a perversion that the one thing that makes users come back and convinces new ones to join, is the attention they give each other. It’s a genial system because it feeds its own growth, almost like a Perpetual Mobile.

Now, the sheer amount of people and data available on Facebook is something you can use to your advantage. You might be looking for a job or you are interested in trends. So how do you obtain the information you’re looking for and make the right connections? You (re)search.

This article will provide some ideas for searching Facebook and finding specific information.

1. Search Multiple Terms Simultaneously

You can search Facebook for two, three, four, or more things at once by adding the “|” sign (minus the quotation marks) between the terms. For example “MakeUseOf | Lifehacker” will give you the result pictured below. This way you can see results of terms you want to compare on a single page.

facebook search

2. Specify Your Search

This may seem pretty obvious, but wait ’till I get there. You can display different types of results by clicking the categories listed to the left. OK, that was kind of obvious. Now note that the list also features an option to only search for posts by your friends or from everyone, i.e. all over Facebook.

And that’s where it gets interesting, as you can now filter the results by language and post types. This is perfect if you’re looking to hook up with people from a certain area or just find local information.

facebook people search

3. Facebook App: Advanced Search 2.2 Beta

Using Facebook apps you can fill a specific niche. The Advanced Search app improves your search options within Facebook. It adds several new categories and search options. For example you can search for applications and have the results sorted by ‘most fans’ or ‘relevance’.

facebook people search

4. Website: FacePinch

FacePinch is a real-time Facebook search engine. So if you’re wondering what is being said right now about say Justin Bieber, this is where you would find out. The site also keeps an eye on trending topics and popular searches.

facebook people search

To use either Facepinch or the following website, Openbook, you do not need to own a Facebook account. They are open to the public.

5. Website: Openbook

At Openbook you can basically do the same as on FacePinch, with one little difference. You can discriminate between updates from guys, girls, or all genders. So if you were interested in female opinion only, that would be the place to check it out.

facebook search

The idea behind Openbook was to make people aware of what they put online and that there are consequences. Their tagline is “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. Whether you want to or not.” Next to it is a button that says “Learn why this is bad!” If this made you think, be sure to check out our security-related Facebook articles listed below.

We have previously shown you how to search and find people and pictures on Facebook:

Facebook is no longer a playground for only college kids. It has become an important marketing tool for businesses and private people alike. Now that you know what type of data is easily accessible, you should be even more careful about what information you release about yourself.

If you’re worried about people finding out stuff about you through Facebook, make sure you look over your privacy settings. These articles will shed some light on the matter:

What is your experience with finding things on Facebook? Has it changed your life?

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Volunteer Professional Skills To Charity In 5 Minutes With Sparked

Posted: 28 Oct 2010 02:31 PM PDT

volunteer opportunitiesYou’re a busy professional trying to get on with your life and career. You haven’t really got enough spare time to dedicate hours of your valuable free time to volunteer, but you still want to be able to help charity on occasion. What do you do?

Join Sparked! Sparked enables busy professionals to help charities by micro-volunteering. Basically, if you have 5 minutes to spare, you can help a charity anywhere in the world.

Sparked is the connector between the volunteer organisations and the people who can help. All you need to do is join!

Why Volunteer With Sparked?

Sparked enables you to help charities:

  • whenever you have 5 minutes spare.
  • by quickly utilising your most valuable skills.
  • without committing to future work.
  • which you choose to be most important.

Volunteering With Sparked

Signing up for Sparked takes very little time and you can begin your volunteering in a matter of minutes. During the sign-up, you’ll be asked to list your professional skills and the charity types that you care for the most. This way, the tasks you are shown will be matched to both your abilities and tastes.

Sparked also allows you to nominate languages which you know, so you can assist as many charities as possible.

volunteer opportunities

Registering A Volunteer Organisation

To help attract more volunteer organisations, I’ll make this point clear: Your organisation is worth registering. Register and see what other organisations are setting as challenges. Get ideas from others and run with them. No doubt other groups are getting help with things you never would have dreamed of asking about. Take a look around! If it can be done on a computer, it can be done by Sparked volunteers.

volunteer work

Do you have lots of volunteers ready, but don’t know how to find the right person for the job? Ask your regular volunteers to join Sparked — you never know who might be able to help you with a task. Link Sparked to Twitter and Facebook in order to let your followers know there’s work you need done.

volunteer work

Social Good For Business

If you run a business and you want to donate some of your talent to charity, this is an ideal way to do it. Register your business with Sparked and encourage your staff members to participate in idle moments. Time is automatically tallied, so you can see how many hours your business has donated overall.

volunteer work

Sparked also recommends that for exposure you ask your employees to link their activities to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, meaning that every time they do volunteer work your business is rewarded by some publicity about your charity work.

volunteer programs


As a means for getting charity work completed by professionals, Sparked is a fantastic tool for the job. It’s so easy to drop in when you have a spare 5-10 minutes and do something that will really help a charity, indirectly helping the environment or the needy. It’s this sort of simple management tool which will enable these charities to really thrive.

For professionals, it’s a way of being able to quickly make use of your skills to directly benefit charity, which is far more useful than sacrificing your time to help with fundraising drives.

Sparked’s only potential weakness lies in attracting more non-profit organisations and allowing people to more finely-tune the organisations they wish to work for. It would be nice to be able to filter tasks for high-profile non-profits or for specific countries or cities. At this stage that’s not so relevant, as the available non-profits are still limited.

volunteer opportunities

I’m very excited about Sparked as a tool for social good and I encourage all non-profits, businesses and professionals to register now. Let us know what you think of Sparked in the comments!

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Hot Tech Deals [Oct 28th]

Posted: 28 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. Corsair Flash Voyager 16GB USB Flash Drive $24.99 Free Shipping

  2. Canon PowerShot SD790 IS 10M 3X Digital Camera $234.99 Free Shipping

  3. Left 4 Dead + Left 4 Dead 2 Video Games (PC) $14.99

  4. Kingston 16GB SDHC Flash Card (Class 10) $34.95 Free Shipping

  5. Iomega 2TB Home Media Network NAS External Hard Drive $151.99 Free Shipping

  6. Nokia N8 Unlocked 3.5in AMOLED 16GB Smartphone (Pre-Order; 12MP Camera; 720p HD Video; 802.11n WiFi; GPS) $449

  7. Sharp AQUOS LC-40LE700UN 40in LCD HDTV (1080p) $695 Free Shipping

  8. TODAY ONLY WD Caviar Green 800GB Internal Hard Drive + Rosewill USB HDD Dock $49.99 Free Ship

  9. Biostar A880G+ AMD 880G HDMI AM3 Micro ATX Motherboard $44.99 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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6 Fun Ways To Explore Ubuntu 10.10 [Linux]

Posted: 28 Oct 2010 12:31 PM PDT

explore ubuntuLearning a new operating system can be difficult, but is also really fun. If you’ve recently installed Ubuntu 10.10 on your computer and want to explore what this operating system is capable of, don’t panic: you’ll enjoy it.

Learning a new operating system is rarely simple, because you’re not just learning how to do things: you’re unlearning your previous ways of doing things. The best way to learn, then, is to simply explore. And, as any true geek knows, exploring is fun!

If you’re ready to explore Ubuntu, but not sure where to start, here are the things I usually do after setting up Ubuntu.

Try what sounds interesting, ignore what doesn’t and suggest other things to try in the comments below.

Explore The Software Center

explore ubuntu

The best place to start exploring is probably the software center. You’ll find it by clicking “Applications,” right at the bottom of the menu.

Fire it up and you’ll be presented with categories to explore Ubuntu. I recommend you look at the games to begin with, because you’ll find fun ones (Frozen Bubble is highly recommended), but browse any category that interests you.

This will give you a good feel for how software installation works on a Linux-based system. It’s best to find the software you’re looking for here, rather than searching for a given program online and downloading it.

Tens of thousands of free programs await you, so have fun! Let me know of any really good ones in the comments below.

The MakeUseOf Ninite Pack

learn about ubuntu

You might notice, though, that not every program on the web can be found in the software center, including Google Chrome, Dropbox and Skype. There are legal reasons for this, but if you want to install those programs quickly and easily you should really check out the MakeUseOf Linux Pack from Ninite.

It's a relatively recent change to my ritual, but ever since it came out I've been using it pretty much as soon as I get Ubuntu up and running. You can pick which of these programs to install and let Ninite do the work for you.

Set Up Your Accounts

learn about ubuntu

Since Ubuntu 10.04, Ubuntu’s tray has included an amazing applet that integrates all of your inboxes. The sooner you click this applet and fill in your email, instant messaging and social networking credentials, the sooner you can take advantage of Ubuntu’s amazing integration with these services. Try it out; you’ll probably like it!


Don’t like the default look of Ubuntu? You’re not alone. Happily, there are thousands of themes, icon sets and wallpapers for you to download on the web. Check out Gnome-Look for the best collection of them.

Installing themes is easy: just click “System” followed by “Preferences,” then click “Appearance.” Drag any theme you’ve downloaded to this window and it should install (if not, check the page where you downloaded the theme for instructions).

Wine, AIR & more

Ubuntu is extremely powerful, and can run a wide variety of software. If you’re interested in using Adobe Air, Java, DOS and even some Windows software from within Ubuntu you can do so. Get started by reading this article on ways to make Linux compatible with more software.

Switch Desktops

explore ubuntu

By default Ubuntu uses what’s called the Gnome environment, but that’s not the only interface you can use. Check out Tim’s excellent article on switching between Gnome and KDE to find out how you can explore the KDE desktop, learning a great deal about what makes Linux special in the process (hint: it’s choice).

Other Things Worth Checking Out

There’s a lot more to explore out there, of course. You could try f.lux’s cool new Linux GUI to help you sleep better after late night computer sessions, or give Hotot, the ultimate Ubuntu Twitter client a spin. The opportunities are endless.

The goal: to explore this amazing operating system and find out what it has to offer. As it turns out, the answer is quite a bit. Can you recommend Ubuntu newbies any cool things to try out? Do you have any questions about any of these processes? As always, comment away.

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4 Ways How Facebook Is Already Integrated With Your Yahoo Account

Posted: 28 Oct 2010 11:31 AM PDT

facebook on yahooWhether or not you’ve heard the news, if you have a Yahoo account then you’ve probably noticed subtle differences in many of the screens where your contacts and your status updates are managed.

In December 2009, Yahoo Mail was integrated with Facebook. These days, if you’re a Yahoo user, you’ll discover connections to Facebook all throughout Yahoo. This goes beyond simple share buttons. You can now import all of your Facebook contact information and birthdays into your Yahoo contacts list, you can update your status from your Yahoo status box, and you can even import your profile picture from Facebook.

In this article, I’m going to show you the four areas of Yahoo where you’ll notice the clearest integration with Facebook and how you can make use of those connections.

Accessing Facebook From Yahoo Mail

Yahoo Mail was the very first area of Yahoo that become integrated with your Facebook account. You can be certain the purpose for doing this was so that Yahoo users could import all of their Facebook contacts into their Yahoo contact list.

The first thing you’ll notice once you’ve signed into your Facebook account from Yahoo, is that when you access your Ymail main page, the center pane shows all of the latest status updates from both Yahoo and Facebook.

facebook on yahoo

The display defaults to use both, but if you want, you can click on the Facebook tab and only see all of your friends Facebook status updates. By default, your Yahoo and Facebook contact lists are separate. Yahoo apparently respects your privacy enough not to automatically import all of your Facebook contact details into your Yahoo contact list. However, you can do this by clicking on “Contacts” inside Yahoo Mail.

yahoo facebook

Clicking on “Get Started” will walk you through the process of bringing in all of the data from your Facebook contacts and integrating them into your Yahoo contact list. Once you’ve “plugged in” your Facebook account, your contact information on Yahoo will remain updated with all of the latest contact information.

Another cool integration between Facebook and Yahoo Mail is that whenever you receive an email message from a contact that Yahoo recognizes as one of your Facebook friends, you’ll see a little “F” Facebook icon on the corner of their profile image.

yahoo facebook

If you click that icon, it’ll whisk you immediately to that person’s Facebook page.

Other Yahoo Integration With Facebook

Since December 2009, Yahoo has been hard at work integrating Facebook features into the rest of the website as well. So long as you’ve enabled the Facebook connection with your Yahoo account, you’ll discover Facebook access almost anywhere.

One very convenient integration I noticed was from the main Yahoo page. So long as you’re logged in, under “My Favorites” you’ll find “Facebook” listed. If you click on the “Quickview” link, a minimized view of Facebook pops up within your main Yahoo page.

yahoo facebook

The coolest thing about this is that you can immediately check out your Facebook page straight from your Yahoo main page, without going to a different website or opening a new window. The quickview screen works just as though you’re at the Facebook site itself. Click on any of the tabs at the top and the content will change within the quickview screen.

instant messenger yahoo facebook

Now, if you’ve ever used any of the social network desktop or online apps that integrate all of your social networks like Seesmic or Digsby, you’ll see that Yahoo is actually attempting to accomplish the same goal. If you click on the “Have something to share?” link on your main Yahoo page, you’ll see that under the dropdown box, you can choose to distribute your status update to your Facebook account by selecting the box.

instant messenger yahoo facebook

You’ll see this especially when you visit Yahoo Pulse. Here, it’s pretty obvious that Yahoo is really trying to become the central hub where Yahoo users access all of their social networks. In fact the Yahoo Pulse page mirrors the Facebook layout in a lot of ways, with the status update at the top, friend updates from your various networks in the center, and even friend connections and “applications” on the right, just like in Facebook.

instant messenger yahoo facebook

As you can see from the screenshot above, Yahoo also offers the ability to plug into your Twitter account so you can send and receive updates from your Yahoo account as well.

facebook on yahoo

Yahoo Pulse is also where you’ll go into your profile to extract your Facebook photo for use as your Yahoo avatar. Finally – no more silly cartoon character for a profile!

Are you a Yahoo user, and if so, do you know of any other ways that Facebook is integrated into Yahoo? What do you think about the integration? Share your insight and thoughts in the comments section below.

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Plan, Attach & Share Your Travels With Tripline

Posted: 28 Oct 2010 10:31 AM PDT

share travelEver plan a trip by spreading maps out over the kitchen table, pouring over every minor detail until you finally get your itinerary set up?  Tripline is a new product from a small Los Angeles based startup which aims to both simplify this process as well as make it a fun experience for you and a process you can share with family and friends.

Tripline follows the mantra “Planning is a creative process” and really takes it to the next level. Read on for an in depth review and how Tripline can help you plan and share your travels.

The first thing that impressed me with Tripline is their clean, simple interface. The main component that you will be focused on while viewing or planning a trip is the map. They use Google Maps extensively on their site and in its very essence Tripline is a very neat way to share “places on a map.” However Tripline is so much more than that.

Let’s begin by viewing a sample trip set up by the site - Lewis and Clark’s Journey.

share travel

A trip is entered onto the map in any number of ways. Each destination is mapped out by a dot and, you guessed it, a line. On each leg of the journey you have the ability to add a description of that location. This is where Tripline veers from other travel sites. You can also add photos, video and other media to the location – either keeping notes for an upcoming trip or chronicling a trip you have already been on.

Creating Your Own Travel Map

Creating your own travel map couldn’t be easier. The manual way is to enter places on the map by clicking on them or entering addresses. Then you have the easy way – importing them from any number of services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Tripit or even Twitter!

share travel experience

Tripline will take your geo-encoded data and plot it out on the map.

share travel experience

The process to do this is very easy and is actually quite fun to do. After entering your trip, you can get some other really cool visualizations, such as elevation:

share travel experience

On each place, you can edit just about any details you want. To add some flare you can add your photos to the trip and arrange them however you would like others to see them.

For example, here is a photo I took at Ted Drews on Route 66:

share your travels

After setting up your trip, you can share it any number of ways – via the URL or by the built in Facebook buttons. The founders of Tripline envision the site as a way to share your trips with family and friends, reducing the occasions you have to explain what you did to multiple members of your family. Since they are shared in one location, you have one place to send anyone curious about your trip. On the other hand, if you want to keep your trip private that is an option as well.

Once your trip is published you can “play” it back like a slideshow. The map will transition to each location and show a box along with any description you typed in or media you attached to that location. Music is included with the slideshow (which is optional).

share travel

Tripline is currently in beta and new features are being rolled out weekly. I did find some minor bugs (mainly in Facebook integration, but Facebook is also acting funny to me right now so it could be on their end) but it was nothing that was a show stopper. I found the site easy to use and the variety of sites they have connections with make it easy to both enter trip waypoints and also to add media. Facebook, Flickr and Picasa photo album integration make importing images a snap.

If you like to travel, check out Tripline! I think you will be pleasantly suprised how much fun it is to share your trips in this interesting and unique manner.

Have a trip you want to share with readers? Make sure to post it in the comments below. Let us know what you think of Tripline or if you have used any alternatives to this site.

Image Credit : Claudio Vaccaro

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How To Use An iPhone & Other iDevices As An External Drive

Posted: 28 Oct 2010 09:31 AM PDT

iphone as external driveThe future is in flash storage. At least that’s what I think Apple tried to say when it introduced the latest generation of MacBook Air in the morning of October 20th 2010.

Apple has very solid reasons to make the move, as flash storage is faster, more energy efficient, more shock-proof, and much smaller in size that its rival. While it’s still more expensive and limited in storage size, those disadvantages will move out of the way in no time along with the growth in demand.

But until that time comes, we will still have to live with all the flash limitations. One of those limits is the inability to use flash-based iPods as external storage.

If you own both an iPod Classic and either an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, you’ll quickly see that iTunes shows the “Enable Disk Mode” only for the classic lines. I think it’s because those touch based iDevices have only a fraction of the storage of the classic version so they wouldn’t make a significant difference as an external device.

iphone as external drive

But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to set up an iPod or iPhone as an external drive. There are several applications that will allow users to easily browse the contents of our finger friendly iGadgets from Finder/Explorer and use them as spare storage space. One of the free options is the combo of Phone Disk and iPhone Explorer from Macroplant.

The Two Options

The two apps come in two flavors: Mac and PC. Both have similar functions – enable disk use for iDevices so users can browse their files and use standard file commands like copy, cut and paste. The following examples are done using the Mac version, but both versions should have more or less similar interfaces and options.

The first one is iPhone Explorer. This one is an explorer-like application built specifically to explore the content of iDevices. You just open the application and it’s ready to use.

iphone as external hard drive

The Preferences menu is also simple. You can set the app to open every time your computer starts, allow access to real root (for jailbroken iDevices) and determine the maximum preview size. You will want to keep the preview size small as, according to my experiment, the speed of the app slows down with the increase of the preview size.

iphone as external hard drive

The second application is a little bit more advanced as it’s not a standalone app like iPhone Explorer, but it will give Finder or Windows Explorer the ability to view and modify the contents of an iDevice’s flash storage. This is actually not a free application, but the developer has made it free until December 1st 2010. The unlock code is available on their website.

iphone as external hard drive

The app will reside in the menubar (Mac) or System Tray (Windows). You can enter the code from the start screen or from the pop up menu.

ipod as external drive

This menu is also the place to access Preferences, which contains more options than iPhone Explorer.

ipod as external drive

Using the app is very simple: open the app and connect your iDevices to your computer. Then the device(s) will show up as external disks on the Finder/Explorer and you just do what you would normally do with external storages.

ipod as external drive

Should you want to unmount the device(s), go to the menubar/systray icon, navigate to your device and choose “Unmount Device“. It’s advisable to always unmount any devices before you disconnect them.

iphone as external drive


After using both apps for a while, I can say that they work well but sometimes can be a little bit slow when you move a large amount of files. In general, I found out that Phone Disk worked better than its sibling (maybe because Phone Disk is supposed to be a paid app).

So I guess you should grab Phone Disk while you can, but if you happen to miss the opportunity, iPhone Explorer is also a capable alternative.

Have you tried the apps? What do you think of them? Do you know other alternatives? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 Awesome Online Destinations to Play Old Atari Games

Posted: 28 Oct 2010 08:31 AM PDT

old atari gamesThe Atari was, in its day, an amazing piece of hardware as cool and relevant as the Xbox 360 is today. Young people like myself often forget that there was a period of gaming excitement in the late 70s and 80s that was reflected in pop-culture by movies like War Games and Tron.

Those days died with debacles like the ET game, and there was a gaming downturn that didn’t resolve itself until many years later. The games of that bygone era are true classics, however – titles like PacMan, Centipede and Asteroid. Although simple by today’s standards, these old Atari games had a purity of design that makes them fun even today.

Let’s take a look at a few sites that let you play free Atari games on your PC.

Play Atari

old atari games

The folks over at Atari aren’t dumb. The company’s best years may have passed it by, but the Atari name still holds weight, and there are plenty of people who still want to play the company’s classics. Rather than being stupid and holding their games back, Atari has put up a website that lets you play their classic games.

The Play Atari website is flash-based, so you’ll probably have best results with the site if you’re playing on a PC. All you need to do if you’d like to play is click on the big red play button (there are lots of such buttons on this site) and that’s it. You’re now playing a modern update of Atari’s classic. You can find all of these older games under the Arcade Classics category on the website. If you’re feeling adventurous you can also check out some of the new games that Atari has put up, as well.

Of course, Atari is a business, and they didn’t put these games up as a charity service. You’ll have to sit through advertisements when the games load and there are plenty of advertisements, mostly for new Atari games, plastered across the website. Still, that’s a small price to pay for official recreations of old Atari game classics.

Triplets and Us Classic 80′s Games

classic atari games

Okay, now here’s a blast from the past. This website appears to have been made in the late 90s and never updated since. It is put together by a couple who apparently loved the 80′s very much. They also like to document the lives of their children online.

Put that aside for now, however, because these folks have collected a ton of Atari game recreations (and games from other systems) and broken the games up into categories based on the platform you used to play them (Java, Flash, .exe or even Shockwave). This is some real old-school stuff – I remember playing some of the Atari classic renditions on this website years ago.

The coolest thing about this website, though, is the fact that you are given the chance to choose between multiple versions of many games. For example, the site has four different versions of Missile Command. Don’t like one version? Fine! Try another.

Stella Emulator and Atari Age ROMs

old atari games

One of the best ways to experience any older console is through the use of an emulator, a piece of software that re-creates the console experience on a modern PC. The Atari, being as old as it is, isn’t at all difficult to emulate on a modern PC. There are many Atari emulators as a result, but one of the best is Stella.

Stella is relatively easy to use thanks to an simple directory interface for finding your ROM files, and it is also fully compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows. That’s a big deal, because a lot of Atari emulators are old and only work with 32-bit Windows. Stella can be a bit difficult to learn, however, so I recommend reading the documentation before diving in.

Of course, no emulator is worthwhile without ROMs, the actual game files that are loaded into the Emulator. However, there is a large database of such files available at the Atari enthusiast website Atari Age. This is not the only place you can find ROMs, but is probably the most complete and trustworthy source.


I found a lot of other online destinations that made games available, but most of them had a relatively low number of games and were cluttered with advertisements. Still, there may be some gems that were missed. Be sure to leave a comment if you know a great online destination for old Atari games.

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