Sunday, October 3, 2010 “Crumpler’s Moderate Embarrassment Laptop Messenger Bag [Mini Giveaway]” plus 7 more “Crumpler’s Moderate Embarrassment Laptop Messenger Bag [Mini Giveaway]” plus 7 more

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Crumpler’s Moderate Embarrassment Laptop Messenger Bag [Mini Giveaway]

Posted: 03 Oct 2010 05:25 AM PDT

In this day and age, almost everyone has got a personal computing device. Just ask around. They will either have a laptop, some sort of tablet like the iPad, or a maybe a Kindle. Personally, I use MacBook and I thank God that Apple doesn’t provide that awful, black, faux-leather laptop carrying bag and almost every 1 in 3 people will undeniably have owned at some point in time. However, that poses another problem: a need for a proper laptop bag arises.

At MakeUseOf, we recognise the necessity for quality bags — we’ve given away a Crumpler Western Lawn messenger bag because it’s just so darn awesome. Today, we’ll be providing you with a chance to win a Crumpler Moderate Embarrassment laptop messenger bag worth $95; no strings attached!

The Moderate Embarrassment is Crumpler’s entry model for the Embarrassment line of laptop messenger bag. It fits a 13″ laptop or perhaps a netbook pretty snugly. Further up the line are the Considerable Embarrassment and Dreadful Embarrassment which houses 15″ and 17″ laptops respectively.

The Moderate Embarrassment’s outer and inner flaps are made out of ripstop nylon (which is the same kind of fabric used to make yacht sails) and provides excellent waterproof protection.

The outer flap folds over the bag and fastens with the help of velcro and compression straps on each side for added security. All Embarrassment laptop messenger bags feature a dedicated laptop compartment, which is lined with foam to protect your precious computer from bumps. In addition to that, there is also another velcro fastener to help keep it in place.

As advertised, the Moderate Embarrassment houses a 13″ laptop. Unfortunately — as hard as I tried – I couldn’t get my 13″ MacBook to fit. Maybe it’s because the MacBook is actually 13.3 inches? Nevertheless, if you’re planning to get one for your 13″ MacBook, I’d suggest the Considerable Embarrassment.

Pictured below is an iPad in the bag’s laptop compartment to give you an idea of small it is.

Of the many things I like about the Moderate Embarrassment is the fact that it has loads of other compartments and pockets to store random items like keys, chargers, USB drives, cablers, etc. There are about 2 large (one zipped, one velcro-protected) compartments at the front of the bag, 2 medium-sized pockets in the middle, and a couple more small cargo spaces which will be able to fit a mobile phone and music player.

Overall, I love the make and utilitarian design of the bag. Not to mention Crumpler’s strive for quality and their lifetime warranty against defective materials or workmanship. And lucky for you, we’re giving one away!

How do I enter?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.


Join our Facebook page by liking us. 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 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 LIKE the post. This step is optional but why not spread the love?

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;
Individuals who reside in a country embargoed by the United States; Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India are not permitted to enter.

This giveaway begins now and ends after 300 submissions. The winner will be selected at random and announced via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!


If you’re looking for the ultimate iPad carrying case, check out the Fug and Herbas combo.

The Fug is a quality neoprene sleeve that fits the iPad like a glove, and is made to slip neatly into the Herbas. Fashioned from one piece of material, the Herbas is a tidy bag, featuring one front pocket for cables and chargers, and another smaller coin pocket. A single oversized clip holds this clever one piece construction in place.

It’s a neat and simple package. Just what the iPad needs. The Fug & the Herbas will be available for your portable pleasure from Crumpler stores and its website. The Fug is priced at $45 while the Herbas is $65. Or get the two as a bundled pair for $100.

Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll probably give it away next.

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Cool Websites and Tools [October 2nd]

Posted: 02 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). No trials or buy-to-use craplets. For more cool websites and web app reviews subscribe to MakeUseOf Directory.

List Your Website Here!


Wraply – Do you want to surprise a friend or family member with a wonderful present? You could buy the gift yourself but if it carries a hefty price tag, it would be great to get other friends or family members to chip in. One superb way to let the others know about and contribute towards the gift is Wraply. Read more: Wraply: Group Gift Giving Made Easy


Font Converter – Have you downloaded that great font that you have been looking for but it's in the wrong format? FontConvertor is a font conversion tool that can help you convert it into the desired format. The formats supported include True Type, PostScript, FNT, OTF, OTB, TTC, ABF, AFM, BDF, DFONT and more. Read more: FontConverter: Free Font Conversion Tool



Freesound Project – Digital sound effects can help computer users in various ways. For example if you are creating a presentation, a slide show, or editing a scene in a movie, you could add a digital sound to fully achieve the desired effect. If you are in need of such sound effects, pay a visit to the Freesound Project. Read more: The Freesound Project: Thousands Of Free Sound Effect Downloads



Firesay – Thanks to speech recognition you can execute many computer tasks through your voice. One avenue that was perhaps uncovered by voice commands was web browsing. There are many actions involved in browsing especially and handling all of them through voice could be a difficult task. But the Firesay Firefox add-on accomplishes exactly that. Read more: Firesay: Voice Action for Firefox Browser (Add-on)



MyScriptFont – There is no shortage of fonts that you can use to compose a document or email. But these fonts are the designs of a developer you do not know. To make your documents, letters, and emails more personal, you can fill them out using your own handwriting via MyScriptFont. Read more: MyScriptFont: Easily Generate A Font From Handwriting


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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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Search For Similar Images Online Using Images Rather Than Keywords

Posted: 02 Oct 2010 06:31 PM PDT

advanced image searchThe ways we search for information online are constantly evolving. One of the most interesting (comparatively) new methods currently being developed by companies around the web revolves around the idea of using images as a basis for search queries.

Of course we already have a plethora of color-based image search engines as well as other fun search tools we have been reviewing from time to time, but most of them have one thing in common: the keyword comes first: we use words to search.

This post is about another type of search: where an image comes first.

By using images as a basis for queries the new advanced image search tools coming out of development are able to provide a totally different (beyond the advanced) type of experience.

As the technology is still in its infancy, various developers are working on specific kinds of practical applications for this type of search. The three services that I think currently put the concept to its best uses are:

1. BYO Image Search Lab

The BYO Image Search Lab was one of the earliest image-based search engines to appear online. Users can:

  1. either use a base image from their PC as a starting point for a search,
  2. or they can use a URL path from an online image instead.

The engine than produces a batch of relatively similar pictures based primarily on the color similarity, though it does have some success when it comes to prioritizing results that match or contain similar elements (form and theme similarity).

advanced image search

2. Gazopa

Following hot on the heels of BYO comes Gazopa (find the MUO Gazopa review here) which, like its rival, is a tool for matching images with similar ones. Like with BYO, user’s can either upload a picture or get one from the Internet to initiate the search.

However, it seems that by basing its results more on shape outlines than color, the results shown are a lot more like the original image searched for (as compared to the above tool):

advanced image search

3. TinEye

TinEye (find the MUO TinEye review here) is a tool being developed by the same company behind BYO (Idée). It is available as an addon for the four major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari), which, when installed, allows users to search for images on the web that exactly match the image used to start the search.

TinEye seems to be focused on exact matches (looking for images that look exactly the same).

TinEye can tell if pictures at a different resolution still match the initial query, which makes it a really great piece of software for keeping track of any copyrighted or personal (potentially embarrassing) images of yours that may be circulating around the web.

advanced image search

So how can you actually use these tools? The opportunities are plenty:

  • Use these tools to check who has stolen your copyright images;
  • Use these tools to track down people’s avatars and find more places to connect to them;
  • Use these tools to check where the competition is buying advertising space.
  • Use these tools for design inspiration when stuck (when you know how something may look like but can’t describe it in words)
  • What’s more?

Have you come across any image-based search tools that are more advanced than the ones I’ve mentioned here ? Let me know if you have.

Post image source: Flickr

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Awardspace Hosting Giveaway Winners

Posted: 02 Oct 2010 03:30 PM PDT

Looks like we have a couple of future webmasters among us. Here are the winners of the Awardspace giveaway!

Each of them will be receiving 12 months of free hosting and 2 free domain names for life!

Find out if you’re one of them after the jump.

  1. Andres Rovira
  2. Hazel Escalona
  3. Adi Sucipta Pratama
  4. Jonathan Snyder
  5. Em Josefsberg
  6. Mae Castro
  7. John Babcock
  8. TerriLynn Carper
  9. Mithun John Jacob
  10. Jose Yong

Congratulations, winners! We’ve sent you an email to help you get set up. Please check your inboxes.

MakeUseOf would like to thank David from Awardspace for his generosity and sponsoring this contest. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

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Hot Tech Deals [Oct 2nd]

Posted: 02 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. Vizio RazorLED M190VA 19in LED-Edgelit LCD HDTV (720p) $169.99 Free Shipping via code B01M9$3$PW$JTB

  2. HP V5040u 1440×1080 HD High Definition Portable Video Camcorder $99.99 Free Shipping

  3. Today Only Rosewill RC-410LX 8-Port Gigabit Network Switch + Gigabit PCI Card $24.99 Free Shipping

  4. OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ750FTY 750WPower Supply (80Plus Bronze, Modular) $59.99AR Free Shipping

  5. OtterBox Cases Exclusive Coupon – 10% off + Free Shipping (iPhone 4 Defender Case $44.95) via code tb1010y

  6. Dell Small Business Coupon Code 38% off Latitude 5410/5510 Laptops $1099+ via code QQJV31R0FW$$DT

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Use Adblock To Block Online Ads and Malware

Posted: 02 Oct 2010 12:31 PM PDT

simple adblock reviewAdblock can do more than just block advertisements. It can block content from any website or any list of websites. Malware, being hosted on a finite number of sites around the web, is therefore blockable. Combine AdBlock with the list of known malware hosting sites at MalwareDomains for a first line of defence against malware that updates itself.

If you’ve never used AdBlock before don’t worry: it’s easy to use and currently available for Firefox, Chrome and even Safari.

If you use Internet Explorer, stop. Download Chrome or Firefox and you’ll be much happier. If you use Opera, odds are you don’t need to block malware. Your browser, being sentient and all-powerful, protects you in accordance with its divine will.

Getting Started

First things first: you need to install Adblock. Here’s where to find it:

AdBlock Plus for Firefox
AdBlock for Chrome
AdBlock for Safari

Installing extensions works the same here as with any browser extension, so you know what to do. Note that you may need to restart your browser for the installation to complete, particularly if you use Firefox.

By default, AdBlock blocks ads (makes sense). If you want to turn this extension into a security tool, then you’ll need to add the Malware Domains subscription. Head over to AdBlock’s official subscriptions page and scroll to the bottom. You’ll find the malware list at the bottom, under Miscellaneous:

simple adblock review

Click that and you’ll be subscribed to the new list. Confirm everything is working by heading to your Adblock configuration page, which you’ll find in your browser’s extensions menu. The “Filter List” tab is the one you’re looking for, and if the list was installed properly it should see it checked and ready:

If you want to see the list in its entirety, just click here. Just don’t visit any of the listed sites! It’s impressive just how many sites around the web are serving up malware, and it certainly feels good knowing they’re all blocked.

Bonus Block: Rickroll Blocking

simple adblock review

Here’s a fun hack: use AdBlock to protect yourself from RickRolls. All you need to do is subscribe to the RickRoll Database and you’ll never have to hear that stupid song ever again. Sure, this meme may be old but that doesn’t mean it’s not annoying. Check this out if you’ve been fooled too many times.


Why bother with such a list if you already have antivirus protection? Good question. The main thing to remember is that this can give you an additional layer of protection, and a preventive one at that. No security suite is perfect, so adding this shield to your defences can only help.

Naturally, this isn’t a replacement for anti-virus software. I highly recommend checking out our ten best free antivirus programs to make sure you’re completely protected. Or, of course, you can keep on using whatever protection you have and love. Tell us about it below!

I love finding alternative uses for software like this. Do you know of any other unique uses for AdBlock? Or do you know of another cool way to protect yourself from malware? Share that in the comments below too.

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Create Music Playlists For Every Situation With

Posted: 02 Oct 2010 10:31 AM PDT

create music playlistsThere is no shortage of ways to listen to music online, whether it's by creating your own playlists on popular websites like Grooveshark or listening to online radio stations. is a service with a new spin on how to choose what to listen to online.

Rather than listen to music based on your mood, or based on your favourite genre, is all about listening to music according to your situation.

Whether you're at the office, relaxing, or partying – there's a playlist for just about every situation you could imagine on the site. is part social network, part online radio. Create your own playlists or listen to other people's playlists. is not only a great way to listen to music depending on your situation, it also offers a way of discovering songs and artists similar to those you already like. does not have a registration page, but rather allows you to connect either your Facebook, Twitter or Google account to access the site. It is worth mentioning though, that while they provide a method to revoke permission for access to your account – it doesn't work. If you change your mind about using – you will have to revoke permission directly through the account you connected to the site.

create music playlists

Once you've signed in, you will be prompted to fill in your name, email address and location. If any of your friends from the service you connected are on, you can follow them, and if you want, follow some suggested members including staff members and popular users. focuses heavily on the social network side of things, with collaborative playlists, allowing you to add songs to other people’s playlists. Another social network feature is a feed of your and your friends' recent activities on the site. Other users can comment on and 'like' each other's activity on the site.

make playlist

There are two ways to search for songs on the site. If you use the search bar at the top of the page, the search results are accompanied by a wealth of information.

create playlists

Song search results are accompanied by the audio track, similar songs, and a list of the playlists the song has been added to. You can 'like' the song, comment on it, or add it to your playlist. Artist search results are similar, accompanied by similar artists, a bio, and the available songs from that artist on If the song you want isn't on the list, you can expand the search results to include YouTube songs.

You can also preview a song before adding it to your list, share the song via email, Facebook or Twitter. If you don't feel like creating a situation-related playlist you can add the song to your 'tiny playlist,' a public list of your favourite songs, by clicking the heart icon.

create playlists

To create a playlist, click on the 'Create a playlist' button at the top of the page and fill in the fields – the situation, tags, and the category.

make playlist

On the playlist page, you can then search for songs to add to your playlist.  These search results are not accompanied by the information included using the first search method, allowing you only to preview and add songs to the playlist.

create playlists

If you'd rather browse other people's playlists, there are several ways to do so. You can browse playlists by tag, by categories, or even through the entire list until you find something that appeals to you.

create music playlists

Playback is controlled by a player at the bottom of the browser screen. Through the player, you can skip and pause songs, set the playlist to play on shuffle or repeat, or share what you're listening to on Twitter or Facebook, watch the video, or add the song to your tiny playlist.

create music playlists

If there is one major criticism to be made of, it's that you won't always find the song or singer that you're looking for. If your taste in music is less than mainstream, you will struggle to find songs to create your music playlists, despite the fact that the music is partly powered by YouTube videos. If the artist does not have a page on, their YouTube songs won't show up in search results.

Have you tried out Let us know what you thought of it in the comments.



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Introducing Google’s WebP, A Faster Web Alternative To JPEG [News]

Posted: 02 Oct 2010 07:13 AM PDT

alternative to jpegGoogle has taken it upon themselves to make the Web faster. In a recent post on their Chromium Blog, Google pointed out that through their efforts they have noticed that one component of web pages is consistently slowing them down across the web – images.

Most of the common image formats on the web today were established over a decade ago and are based on technology from around that time“, stated the article. It was this that caused some of the engineers at Google to try to come up with a way to further compress lossy images (like an alternative to JPEG) without losing quality of resolution.

With that came the release of a developer preview of a new image format called WebP. WebP promises to significantly reduce the byte size of photos on the web, allowing websites to load much faster.

What Is WebP & How Does It Work?

WebP (pronounced “weppy”) is a method of lossy compression that can be used on images. “A WebP file consists of VP8 image data, and a container based on RIFF.

It uses predictive coding to encode your images, meaning that it uses the values in neighboring blocks of pixels to predict values in a block, and then encodes only the difference between the prediction and actual values. Since residuals contain a lot of zero values, this allows for much more effective compression.

The degree of compression is adjustable so a user can choose the trade-off between file size and image quality.

Does It Really Work?

To showcase and compare WebP’s performance with other image formats, Google has shared some open-source images (along with file size) so you can see for yourself.

alternative to jpeg

Google is also releasing a conversion tool that you can use to convert images to the WebP format. Native support for WebP is also expected in an upcoming release of the Google Chrome browser.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Will WebP be good for the Web?

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