Monday, October 25, 2010 “The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide [DOWNLOAD]” plus 8 more “The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide [DOWNLOAD]” plus 8 more

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The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide [DOWNLOAD]

Posted: 25 Oct 2010 04:50 AM PDT

Like Facebook, but wish your information wasn’t so public? Time to lock your settings down. Facebook doesn’t make this easy, however; features are constantly added and the default for each new one seems to favor transparency instead of privacy.

The result: there are hundreds of little changes you need to make to truly control where your information goes.

Enter “The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Manual”. This handy guide outlines everything you could ever want to know about locking down your privacy on Facebook, and a few things you probably didn’t even know you wanted to know.

If you use Facebook you should read this guide, if only to understand how public most of your information is.

Download: The (Very) Unofficial Privacy Guide


Read online at Scribd

This amazing guide outlines a variety of things regarding Facebook privacy, including:

  • Making sure a comment meant for your friends isn’t seen by co-workers
  • Understanding what it means to upload content to Facebook
  • Control whether others can check you in to certain locations
  • Keeping your Facebook page off Google’s search results
  • Blocking unwanted users from seeing your page
  • Deleting your Facebook page completely, if it’s all just too much.

This manual, like every manual provided by MakeUseOf, is completely free. Share it with your friends!

Download: The (Very) Unofficial Privacy Guide


Read online at Scribd


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Cool Websites and Tools [October 24th]

Posted: 24 Oct 2010 08:31 PM PDT

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. All listed websites are FREE or come with a decent free account option. You can make use of them without spending a dime. If you want to have similar cool websites round-ups delivered to your email daily email subscribe here.

List Your Website Here!


Read-Able – The Readability Test Tool is a web based service that lets you quickly test the readability of an entire webpage, a part of it or a sample of text. You can conduct the test by entering the URL of the page, inputting text directly or by linking to the tool from your webpage. It scores the text on various readability indicators. Read more: Read-Able: Check Readability Of Text Online


OpenWith – If you are a professional blogger or site designer, you may find yourself jumping from one browser to the other. This can become a tedious task when you have to copy URLs and then paste them in each browser. For Firefox users however, there is a tool that makes this browser-shifting much easier. This tool is called Open With. Read more: Open With: Quickly Jump Pages From Firefox To Other Web Browsers



LearnBoost – Teachers know that managing a class is no small task. They have to manage grades, rosters, and at times, even seating arrangements. LearnBoost is a website that tries to merge all these features into an online interface, with a focus on grading. If you are a teacher, all you need to do is create an account on the site and then set up your school. Read more: LearnBoost: Free Online Teacher Gradebook With Lots Of Features



OneExtraLap – So you think your geography knowledge is better than your friends? Why not take a quiz to find out? And you don't even have to use Facebook and its dubious quizzing applications anymore. Taking a quiz is fun only if you're competing with someone and OneExtraLap lets you do exactly that. Read more: OneExtraLap: Easy Social Quizzing Website



CellSea – Editing a video to fit into your portable media device can be a lengthy process particularly when the video is hosted online and not on your computer. You have to download the video, pass it through a video editor and converter, and then transfer is to your media device. But CellSea aims to make that task easier. Read more: CellSea: Instant Video Editor And Converter Online


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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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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 24 Oct 2010 07:31 PM PDT

It's time to say thanks to MakeUseOf’s friends who, once in a while, tip us great story ideas, help out on different projects and in some cases offer their services at discounted prices. Thank you, guys!

ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service
Ever wanted to add website screenshots to your website? In my professional opinion ShrinkTheWeb is one of the best services for that, both in terms of performance and pricing. The free account gets you a whopping 250,000 impressions with nearly no delay. See it in action in our daily Cool Websites and Tools series.


Walyou – Cool Gadgets for Geeks
new cool gadgets
Walyou is a fun blog covering all sorts of new cool gadgets and other stuff every geek is likely to find entertaining. Everything from world’s largest Gunny Bears to E-hookah gadgets. Make sure to check them out.

PXLEyes – Photoshop Contests and Tutorials
photoshop contests & tutorials
The place for graphical artists! An awesome community with one common interest: a big passion for computer graphics! There are contests, prizes, tutorials, forums and an active community!


rade | eccles – iPhone Application Development
The perfect iPhone development team, rade | eccles managed to put our iPhone app together in record time yet exude professionalism and dedication every step of the way. Our collaboration wasn’t happenstance. We would make the same decision all over again. Our only recommendation for an iPhone developer – rade | eccles.


TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design
If you’re looking for a cheap, original and quality logo or banner, check out TrueKolor. We often contact these guys when we need a logo or a banner made, some of the stuff they did for us listed on their portfolio page. Highly recommended.


Mobify – Making the Web a mobile place
More and more users access websites and read blogs using their mobile phone. Mobify lets you mobilize your blog or website by creating lightweight version of it, which loads much faster and looks great on a mobile screen. MakeUseOf’s mobile site was created by Mobify, and we’re proud of it!


Sendible – The easiest way to market your brand online
We’re strong believers of the service Sendible provides — we use it on a daily basis and it has never failed us! Sendible is an online marketing service to promote, grow and track brands through the use of social media, email and SMS messaging. It has the ability to post to multiple services at once, schedule social network updates and analyse their success. We love it!


Thank you, guys!

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Which Is The Best Browser? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 24 Oct 2010 06:30 PM PDT

Last week we asked about how often you shopped online. Surprisingly, it seems almost all of us shop online at least once per month!

We collected 149 votes: The most popular response, on 28%, was for shopping once every two weeks; 25% voters shop online once per month; 19% shop online more than once per week; 12% shopping once every three months; 7% voters never shop online; 5% shop once every six months; and 5% shop only once per year.

Full results and this week's poll after the jump.

As you can see, MakeUseOf readers are clearly regular online shoppers.

This week's poll question is: Which Is The Best Browser?

We’re not going to ask about the smaller browsers — this is simply a showdown for the five most popular browsers.

Feel free to let us know why you chose your favourite browser — Speed? Security? Features? Did you choose something different for your mobile? Let us know!

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20 Great Resources to Download Free Patterns

Posted: 24 Oct 2010 03:30 PM PDT

background patternsIf you’re designing a new website or looking for a cool twitter background, coming up with an interesting pattern is essential for adding some eyecandy to your page. If you can’t create that pattern yourself, there are lots of great resources available online for downloading patterns for free that you can use for commercial or non-commercial use.

We’ve compiled a list of websites where you can find pretty much any kind of pattern, search by colour, by theme, or simply browse through the images until you find what you want.


DinPattern is updated every few days with new patterns. Images are available in .gif format, and are free to use in commercial or non-commercial websites, but permission is required to use the patterns in any printed materials.

background patterns


SquidFingers has a small collection of patterns available in .gif format. They are free to download and use, but a credit link back to the site is always appreciated.

free background patterns


K10K has almost 1000 pixellated patterns available for download. Browse the patterns by the most recent patterns, by popularity or randomly. If you design your own patterns, you can also submit them to be featured on the site.

free background patterns

BG Patterns

BG Patterns is a popular resource for designing your own pattern. Choose the background colour, the image and its placement, and download it as a .jpg. BG Patterns sets itself apart because you have more control over the pattern’s appearance, rather than download a ready made pattern.

free background patterns

Tile Machine

The Tile Machine gallery is powered by its users, and has thousands of pixellated patterns available for download. Browse through the huge collection or search by artist.

patterns for web sites


Brusheezy has hundreds of free Photoshop patterns available for download. You can browse patterns by compatibility with your version of Photoshop, and sort by date, popularity or rating.

patterns for web sites


Ava7patterns can be browsed by colour or the shapes used. Alternatively, you can also browse the most downloaded, most commented or top rated patterns. The patterns are free to use, and a credit link is not required but appreciated.

patterns for web sites

The Design Inspiration

The Design Inspiration aggregates hundreds of patterns from other websites, available for free download. There is no easy way to search of browse the patterns, but the quality of the patterns more than makes up for this.


Pattern8 has a small but gorgeous collection of patterns available for free download. Browse the collection by colour, search for a specific term, or by the highest rated patterns.


FBrushes is a resource for more than just patterns, with sections featuring brushes and textures as well. The collection is small and are downloaded in sets ranging from 7 to 54 patterns.

Background Labs

Background Labs’ patterns can be browsed by colour, category or by tags. They also have a section of interesting twitter backgrounds.

Fractured Sanity

Fractured Sanity is a good resource for patterns, fonts, textures and brushes. The patterns are free to use and alter, but cannot be used commercially without prior permission. The collection can only be browsed by colour.


Portfelia has a small but impressive collection of patterns available for download. Use of the patterns must be credited, and they can only be used for non-commercial projects.

Adobe Photoshop Patterns

The Adobe website has over 200 sets of patterns and textures to choose from. You can browse them by most recent, most popular or highest rated.

Pixel Decor

Pixel Decor has a fabulous collection of retro patterns available for free download. The patterns can only be used in non commercial websites. Browse the patterns by style and log in with the provided username and password to download the files.

Patterns of Change

Patterns of Change allows you to use their patterns for free provided that you include a credit link, and if they are used in any commercial websites, you have to make donations to the charity, Action Against Hunger. The high quality patterns can be browsed by colour or shape.

Pattern Head

Pattern Head is set up as a blog, offering free pattern sets for download. The patterns are varied from geometric to grunge to floral. Browse by tag, or search for the patterns of your choice.


DeviantArt is another great resource for patterns, but you have to check each contributors conditions for their free use. The patterns can be browsed most recent or most popular.

background patterns

If you’re just looking for a quick and easy way to create a Twitter background, you could also use the free service provided by Themeleon.

Where do you get your free patterns? Let us know in the comments.

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Hot Tech Deals [Oct 24th]

Posted: 24 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. Kingston SSDNow V-Series 64GB Internal SSD Drive (2nd Gen w/ Trim Support) $99.99 Free Shipping

  2. Onkyo TX-SR608 7.2ch 100W/ch Home Theater Receiver (3D Ready, THX) $378

  3. SAPPHIRE Radeon HD5870 1GB HDCP PCI-E Video Card (Eyefinity, DX11) $299.99AR

  4. Hitachi SimpleDrive Mini 500GB Portable External Hard Drive (Carbon Fiber) $49.99 Free Shipping

  5. LG 42LD450 42in LCD HDTV (1080p) $509 Free Shipping via code AFLLGE509

  6. Gigabyte Radeon HD5850 1GB HDCP PCI-E Video Card $174.99AR (2 for $359.98AR)

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 24 Oct 2010 12:30 PM PDT

where can I download free mp3sFor Sound Sunday, I try to maintain a broad spectrum when selecting albums that make it to the list each week.

However, I can not deny that my personal taste determines the details. The only way this can be changed is if you give specific and constructive feedback. Name the music genres you enjoy, suggest bands or free albums you love, and I promise you will meet open ears.

In the meantime, please share what you love with your cherished circle and support the artists where you can.

Devi – Get Free

Genre: rock, alternative

where can I download free mp3sIsn’t it a shame that there not a lot of successful female voices in the rock / alternative music scene? If you feel that way, check out Devi. This New Jersey based rock band features female lead singer Debra, who JamBase described as “a supersonic fret-burner with a deep feel for the blues.

Download Devi’s free album Get Free from Bandcamp.

Devi MySpace and Homepage.

Cloud City Classic – Brand New Kicks

Genre: hip hop

where can I download free mp3sFrom their Bandcamp profile: “The Vancouver based group is comprised of two grizzly mountain dwellers known by the names of Inkspill & Sadler. The pair has been working together since 2005 but ultimately decided on a partnership while stuffing their faces with local favorites Foundation nachos and Numero Uno pizza. Cloud City Classic's debut album, Brand New Kicks, is a throwback to mid 90's hip hop with nicotine beats and Palm Bay flows.

Download the album free from Bandcamp.

Cloud City Classic Facebook.

Andrea Lewis – 5-4-3-2-1

Genre: rhythm & blues, soul

where can I download free mp3sAndrea Lewis is a multi talented invididual. She starred in several movies and TV series, e.g. along Diahann Carroll in the Natalie Cole Story. She is also a singer and has recently released her free album 5-4-3-2-1.

You can download the album free from Andrea’s Homepage. On Bandcamp you have to donate $1. It’s worth that and more!

Andrew Lewis MySpace and Homepage.

Here Come The Birds – Young People Never Die

Genre: rock, indie, alternative

where can I download free mp3sHere Come The Birds is an Australian band formed in 2005. In their home country they have performed as headliners in sold out shows and major venues. After releasing independent demos in 2005 and 2006, they recorded their self-titled debut EP in 2008, followed by their album Young People Never Die in 2010.

Share their message on Twitter or Facebook (selection in top right) and get their album and EP for free from their Homepage.

Here Come The Birds MySpace and Homepage.

Third Place Victory – Kiss

Genre: alternative, pop, punk, rock

where can I download free mp3sThird Place Victory is an unsigned five man pop punk band from the UK. Anyone lucky enough to live in Kent, go see them at The Oranges in Ashford on November 19th. From the sound of this EP they could be a great live act.

The free two track EP is available from Bandcamp.

Third Place Victory MySpace and Facebook.

Muhr – Her Fall Themes

Genre: instrumental, ambient, experimental

where can I download free mp3sHer Fall Themes is a very calming instrumental ambient music album, perfect for this time of your. Sadly, this is the final Muhr album. Muhr’s music is released by the netlabel Camomille from Montréal, Canada.

With Maps&Transit we just recently featured a free download from this netlabel on Sound Sunday.

Download Her Fall Themes from Bandcamp.

Muhr MySpace.

Bentley and Groves – An Audible Jocularity

Genre: stew jazz

where can I download free mp3sBill Bentley and Norman Groves are the pioneers of the UK’s Stew Jazz scene. This is a recording of the first live performance of the two after 25 years. The event took place at the Bentley Village Hall.

Download the album from Charming Yet III Records.

Bentley and Groves Facebook.

Co.exist – Project Pos

Genre: hip hop

where can I download free mp3sCo.exist is a Los Angeles Hip Hop duo consisting of Destruct and Isaid. Project Pos draws melancholic atmosphere from conversational TV / movie sound clips and the occasional use of classic instruments in the background. The album was produced by Pos-Tone.

The band has released the album for free through Bandcamp.

Co.exist MySpace and Facebook. Destruct MySpace.

Helado Negro – Pasajero

Genre: covers, latin, experimental

where can I download free mp3sFrom Bandcamp: “This mini album from Helado Negro can be best understood as an empanada. On the outside are two original songs, t 2º Dia and Paz a Ti, wrapping what is inside. In between those are covers songs, making up the meat and filling.

Download this very interesting free mix from Bandcamp.

Helado Negro MySpace and Homepage.

Mortiis – Perfectly Defect

Genre: alternative, industrial, rock, gothic, black metal

where can I download free mp3sThe Norwegian rock band Mortiis started as a solo project of lead singer Håvard Ellefsen in 1993. Over time it developed into a band. Mortiis has released their 12th album Perfectly Defect earlier this month.

The free album Perfectly Defect is available through what looks like Bandcamp, but is it?

Mortiis MySpace and Homepage.

Past editions of Sound Sunday are listed here. Feel free to mail links to (your) free music downloads to [tina at makeuseof dot com]. Feel free to post your comments below.



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4 Mobile Versions of Popular Social Media Platforms

Posted: 24 Oct 2010 10:30 AM PDT

mobile social mediaSocial media, although the ideal match for smartphones and tablets (read: the iPad), still doesn’t venture too much from it’s traditional home; the desktop PC.

Nevertheless, these websites all have mobile counterparts, be it mobile websites tailored to look like mobile apps, or actual applications. StumbleUpon, a latecomer, only recently added mobile support.

This inspired an article. Exactly how decent are these mobile social media counterparts? That’s what we decided to find out.

Digg Mobile

You can reach the mobile Digg website by surfing to on your internet-enabled phone. If you just want to give it a spin, you can also open it in your local web browser. The website works pretty much like you’d expect. If you aren’t logged in, you can view the Top News and upcoming stories. Clicking on an article’s Digg count will open the comments page. You’ll need to be logged in to comment.

mobile social media

Contrary to the full site, Digg items work like regular links and open without the Digg frame to save on screen real-estate. It should be noted that the mobile website is already fitted to the ‘new’ Digg. Logging in allows you to view the My News tab, which are essentially site subscriptions.

StumbleUpon Mobile (App)

StumbleUpon has recently released applications for the iPhone, iPad and Android systems. It doesn’t offer a mobile web-interface. Those of you who’ve been using StumbleUpon’s desktop web interface knows that’s the right course of action. Even on my aged v1.6 Android phone, using StumbleUpon was a remarkably fluent experience. If you’ve got a decent carrier plan, you should definitely give the application a go.

mobile social networking

Once you’re logged in, the five-buttoned interface shown above is almost everything you’ll need. Clicking the StumbleUpon logo will show you random, interesting pages. Just like its desktop counterpart, you can stumble through single categories or websites. You can rate a page, and influence future suggestions by pressing the thumbs-up or thumbs-down button. The info-icon will show you the overall web-page info, people who’ve liked the page, and reviews/comments.

Delicious Mobile

Like Digg and Reddit, Delicious offers a mobile version that’s on par with most site-based mobile applications. But even though the Delicious interface felt good and no features were lacking, this mobile counterpart of Delicious felt more like a bookmarks browser than a complete tool set.

mobile social networking

You can use the tabs at the top of the page to explore newly popular links, or browse through your own bookmarks. New links can be copied from your browser’s address bar and pasted in the save tab. Here you can add a title, note and relevant tags.

Reddit Mobile

Reddit is the biggest competitor of Digg, and has become even more popular when people turned up their noses at the new Digg. No matter your personal preference, Reddit is generally recognized as one of the great social media websites, with an especially vigorous comments section – it’s where half the fun happens.

mobile social media

The mobile Reddit website sports an iPhone app-like interface. Between these mobile web-competitors, Reddit comes out best; with great screen real-estate and every feature easily at hand. It was very satisfying to use. Clicking on the comment count will get you to the comments, as shown in the right screenshot. The options button allows you to mail, tweet, or report the article with just two taps.

Do social media sites like Digg and StumbleUpon belong on a smartphone? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Amazon Web Services Offers Free S3 Cloud Access for 1 Year [News]

Posted: 24 Oct 2010 09:30 AM PDT

A few weeks ago, we showed you how to speed up your WordPress blog by using W3 Total Cache with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for super cheap. Amazon’s service has become very popular and has made many fans along the way. This is mostly due to the fact that their S3 storage offers an extremely inexpensive way to store files online. You can use it for your websites, backing up files and whatever else you can dream up.

However, Amazon just announced the addition of a free tier to their pricing plan. For the next year, users can get 5 GB of free S3 storage space, as well as a lot of other free AWS features.

Free Services For A Year

The year of free service starts on November 1st, but you can sign up right now if you so please. New AWS users will be awarded the following services free of charge for one year:

  • 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux Micro Instance usage (613 MB of memory and 32-bit and 64-bit platform support) – enough hours to run continuously each month
  • 750 hours of an Elastic Load Balancer plus 15 GB data processing
  • 10 GB of Amazon Elastic Block Storage, plus 1 million I/Os, 1 GB of snapshot storage, 10,000 snapshot Get Requests and 1,000 snapshot Put Requests
  • 5 GB of Amazon S3 storage, 20,000 Get Requests, and 2,000 Put Requests
  • 30 GB per of internet data transfer (15 GB of data transfer "in" and 15 GB of data transfer "out" across all services except Amazon CloudFront)
  • 25 Amazon SimpleDB Machine Hours and 1 GB of Storage
  • 100,000 Requests of Amazon Simple Queue Service
  • 100,000 Requests, 100,000 HTTP notifications and 1,000 email notifications for Amazon Simple Notification Service

If you’d like to see more or sign up for the service, I suggest you head on over to Amazon’s AWS Free Usage Tier page.

What do you think of Amazon Web Services? Will you be taking advantage of the free storage space?

Source: Mashable

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