Saturday, November 13, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [November 12th]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [November 12th]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [November 12th]

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 07:31 PM PST

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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Fast Society – Group texting is one of the common ways of using SMS. However, it can be very difficult to organize quick SMS groups and get away from it with different carriers and phones. Fast Society is a fun group texting app for the iPhone that sets up temporary groups for group SMS, instant conference, and location sharing. Read more: FastSociety: Create Temporary SMS Groups (iPhone)


Print Edit – Some site developers are considerate enough to provide printer friendly versions of their webpages. Others however overlook this step and have websites that might take up a lot of your printer's ink if printed as is, with unnecessary images and advertisements. Thankfully, for Firefox users, there is a great tool for this problem. Read more: Print Edit: Make Web Pages Printer Friendly



DeClutter – What if you are not a baseball fan and you don't want to see any baseball related tweets in your timeline? Unfollowing the people who post such tweets is always an option but might not be always desirable. This is where DeClutter helps you out, a simple bookmarklet that instantly removes all those tweets. Read more: DeClutter: Remove Tweets That Contain Blacklisted Keywords



Apps Uninstall – All smartphone owners know that finding a great app is a matter of trial and error; you need to try an app to see if it is any good. When you discover that an installed app is not serving you well, you need to access your phone's settings to uninstall it. Read more: Apps Uninstall: Easily Batch Uninstall Apps On Android Phone



Vye Music – is an online music player that lets you listen to all kinds of music from various artists, create playlists, save tracks you like and share them with friends on social networks.
What differentiates this tool from other such services is the ability to host your entire iTunes library on the cloud. Read more: Vye Music: Listen To Your iTunes Library & Other Music Anywhere


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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Hot Tech Deals [Nov 12th]

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 05:46 PM PST

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. TODAY ONLY Patriot Signature 8GB MicroSDHC Flash Card (class 4) w/ Adapter $9.99AR Free Shipping

  2. Pioneer VSX-1120-K 7.1ch 120W/ch AV Receiver w/ Networking, iPhone Control w/ App (THX, 3D-Ready) $479-$20 via code RECVER1112A

  3. Nikon D5000 12.3MP SLR Digital Camera w/ 18-55mm VR Lens (Refurb) $549.95 Free Shipping

  4. $50 off Select Amazon Digital Cameras (S95 $339.99; Fuji 3D Digital Cam $378.99)

  5. ioSafe Solo 1.5TB Fireproof & Waterproof External Hard Drive $215.99 Free Shipping

  6. Zalman HTC HD160XT-S ATX Media Center/HTPC Case w/ 7in Touchscreen Barebones Computer $696AR

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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The 5 Best Questions From You [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 05:31 PM PST

MakeUseOf Answers wouldn’t work without your contributions! Your questions and your answers keep us going. And we do take note!

This week we are rewarding one of our best and most diligent problem solvers:  ha14 is the first person to win the Best Answer of the Week contest for the third time. And it’s a well deserved win since he continuously provides thorough solutions and follow-up answers. Today we reward him for the answer to this question: “How can I open mmap and libzip files from several downloader courses?

Are you up for competition? Any great answer can win! Be sure to select a login method that allows us to contact you in case you win. A valid email address (guest login), Disqus or Facebook account works best.

Here are the best questions for this week:

MakeUseOf Answers doesn’t have all the questions, but nearly all the answers. Go ahead and see what you can learn: Latest Questions, Most Popular Questions, or Unanswered Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

Need help? Ask A Question at MakeUseOf Answers.

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The Top Three Places To Buy Refurbished Mac Laptops [Mac]

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 03:31 PM PST

refurbished mac laptopMac computers are generally regarded as stable machines that will last a long time if properly used and maintained. I have owned eight different Macs over the last twenty years. One was a refurbished eMac and another one, a PowerBook G4, was a used model. Only the PowerBook ended up needing significant repairs after four years of use. So in my view, Macs are pretty stable.

When I need to get another laptop, I will definitely look into a refurbished mac laptop. There are several reasons why I would do this.

Namely, of course, to save money. The 10-30% savings from purchasing a refurbished Mac could be applied to one or two computer peripherals that most of us computer users end up buying.

Thus, the following are suggestions for buying a used or refurbished Mac laptop.

Do Some Research

Before you go looking for a refurbished or used Mac, find out about the latest hardware models on the market. Apple seems to release new models of desktops and laptops every six months or so, and sometimes the upgrades to those models are significant enough to make a real difference in the speed and performance of the computer.

So I would suggest visiting a nearby retail Apple Store and checking out the latest models on display. Ask important questions about the speed, RAM and internal storage space. A large size screen may also be an important factor for how you plan to use the machine. And of course make a note of and compare prices. A visit to the online Apple Store also gives you a side-by-side comparisons of the latest models.

After you have narrowed down the type of Mac you're looking for (MacBook Pro, MacBook, iMac, MacBook Air, etc), most definitely read several reviews for the type of Mac you're interested in. The more you know about the latest models, the better you can evaluate what is missing in a similar used or refurbished Mac.

Apple Store: Refurbished Macs

The first and best place to look for refurbished Macs is the mothership – the Apple Refurbished Store. Most of the refurbished Macs listed on Apple's site are recently returned or canceled orders – Macs that have hardly been used. Apple says all of its refurbished hardware is tested and certified with a standard 1-year warranty. With the money you save, you also have the option of purchasing a AppleCare Protection Plan.

refurbished mac laptop

So far example this 21.5" iMac, 3.06GHz Intel Core i3 cost at the time of this writing, $1,199.00 (excluding taxes). A refurbished model with the same processing speed cost $1,019.00. The $180 difference is about the amount of sales tax you would pay on the non-refurbished model.

refurbished macs

Refurbished Macs in the Apple Store tend to run 10-25% of the original price. I have been told you can hardly tell the difference between a brand new and refurbished model when ordered from Apple. However, if you're looking for a specific refurbished or used model with specific specs that is not found in Apple's refurbished store, the following are a few good retailers to check out.


PowerMax, an authorized Apple dealer, has received high ratings (PriceGrabber source and reviews) for its used and refurbished Macs. It provides a 90-day used Mac warranty and some conditional return options. It also has a trade-in program for all models of Macs.

At the time of this writing, PowerMax didn't carry the same model described above. However, upon checking and comparing a few of their used models with Apple's refurbished offerings, I found for example that PowerMax listed a used MacBook Air/1.6 GHz for $849.00.

refurbished mac computers

But Apple listed a similar refurbished MacBook Air at the same price as PowerMax's used model. Apple's refurbished model also included an additional 40 gigs of internal memory. So it's important to do price comparisons and read the fine print. No doubt, PowerMax would be willing to lower the price of their used models to match Apple's prices.

refurbished macs

Mac Of All Trades

Mac Of All Trades also has a pretty wide selection of used and refurbished Mac laptops and computers, with many of them including AppleCare Warranty for a specified expiration date. Though I found the prices of some models sold on Mac of All Trades to be higher than similar models in Apple's refurbished store, All Trades is worth checking for specific models that Apple may not be selling at the time you're looking to buy.

refurbished macs

This company claims that all its Macs are in excellent cosmetic condition based on their age.

Other Sellers also seems to be a good place to look for used Macs. When you do a search on the site for a particular Mac model, individual sellers of used models will be listed. Some used Mac sellers are consumer users, while others are retail stores with used items to sell.

refurbished mac laptop

And finally, GainSaver also sells used Macs, but mainly older, pre-owned models. If you're needing to save more than half the price for a new Mac, seems to be a pretty good option.

Have you ever purchased a used or refurbished Mac? Let us know about it.

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Create Specialty Search Engines For Any Topic With Blekko

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 01:31 PM PST

specialty search enginesWhat’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words ‘search engine’? That’s right, Google. Lets face it, Google has such a stranglehold on the search world that you probably forgot that other search engines even existed. That being said, Google is very good at what they do, mainly because their search algorithm is good at what it does.

Enter Blekko, a highly anticipated specialty search engine that was built with the intention of letting us do the kinds of searches that simply can’t be done anywhere else.

They’ve integrated a feature called slashtags, which basically lets you “slash-in” the sites you want in your searches and “slash-out” the ones you don’t. If you’re looking for a specific set of websites, this is your search engine.

In this article, I’ll show you around Blekko a little bit, discuss how the search engine works, what its features are and how it can be useful to you. If you’re at least a little skeptical about the idea of using a new specialty search engine, I don’t blame you, but rest assured when I tell you…Blekko’s legit.

Blekko: How To Slash The Web

specialty search engines

Before I get into how Blekko works I think its best that you watch this video. Below I’ll be using some terminology that you might not fully understand at first (I know I didn’t) if you’re new to Blekko, so viewing this should fill you in on how this all works.

To get a better idea of the thought process that went into creating Blekko, take a look at the “web search bill of rights” as displayed on their website:

  1. Search shall be open.
  2. Search results shall involve people.
  3. Ranking data shall not be kept secret.
  4. Web data shall be readily available.
  5. There is no one-size-fits-all for search.
  6. Advanced search shall be accessible.
  7. Search engine tools shall be open to all.
  8. Search & community go hand-in-hand.
  9. Spam does not belong in search results.
  10. Privacy of searchers shall not be violated.

What Exactly Is a Slashtag?

Now that you have a high-level view of how Blekko works, lets get into some of the specifics.

specialty searches

As you may have gathered from the video, Blekko allows you to search the web using slashtags. A slashtag is a tool to filter search results. Rather than searching the entire web, you can use a slashtag to filter the results just the way you want them. In Blekko, there are different types of slashtags, including:

User Slashtags

These are the slashtags that are made by you and every other user of Blekko. They are your own personal tags for what you believe to be the best sites on the web for various topics.

Built-In Slashtags

These are slashtags that tell Blekko to search a specific type of site, like blogs, news, specific people, etc.

Topic Slashtags

Topic slashtags are created by Blekko to search only the top sites for specific topics. Examples of this would be things like health, conservative, liberal, tech, VC, etc.

What You Can Do With Slashtags

Once you start searching with Blekko,  you can make your own slashtags. You can make a slashtag as narrow (e.g. /scuba) or as broad (e.g. /favorites) as you like and they can include all of your favorite sites.

specialty searches

You can also find a friend’s slashtag to get an idea of how they use Blekko. While Blekko has hundreds of topic slashtags already created, they say you can tweet them (@blekko) if “you think any are missing sites or if you have ideas for other topics.”

Main Search Bar & User Profile

Blekko search results return the title of the site, the associated URL and a snippet from the site that contains the relevant keyword(s) you searched. You can sort search results by relevance (/relevance) or date (/date) to get the most relevant or recent results.

specialty search engines

As Blekko crawls the web, it gathers a variety of data about specific sites. You can access all of this information from various buttons, like links, RSS, IP, cache, etc.

If you create a user profile (you should if you want to create your own slashtags), you can view a list of the slashtags you’ve created, as well as a list of other users’ slashtags you’re following and the edits you’ve made to your slashtags.


There is a lot more you can do with Blekko but perhaps it’s best that you get out there and try it for yourself. You can find some examples of quality slashtag searches on their About page, along with other various information and Help with anything you are curious about.

What do you think of this new search engine? Do you see a use for it?

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Create Embeddable Maps Of Your Flickr Photos With TripperMap

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 11:31 AM PST

flickr map embedHere’s a little something for Flickr fans who want just a bit more out of that data they’re putting into Flickr. TripperMap (once known as FlickrMap) is a mashup of Google Earth and your own Flickr account.

What this means for you is that by tagging your photos in Flickr you can create a map which you can put on your blog, allowing your friends to browse your photos according to where they were taken. What better way to showcase your holiday?

The premise is unbelievably simple: Sign up, connect your Flickr account and make sure you tag your photos. Get a widget code from TripperMap to put on your blog and – voila! Instant personalised Flickr map.

Why Use TripperMap?

By creating a TripperMap of all your photos, you can display a map on your website or blog. If you travel a lot, this is useful to visually show your friends where you’ve been. Plus, they can easily click on the photos in the locations they’re most interested in and get a feel for what your trip was like. It’s essentially your ongoing, visual travel record.

This could be a fun way for families to stay connected, for instance when someone travels a lot for work or when someone moves overseas.

But Let’s Go Through The Steps

What’s a little confusing at first is that the TripperMap website shows off some great tagging tricks and features you can use. But never fear, those are merely options available to dedicated users. It’s not required, so ignore it for now. Click on “Make Your Own Map Now!“.

flickr map embed

There’s an option for a paid account, which gives you the ability to add route lines for holidays you’ve taken. However, the free account is perfectly usable and more than flexible enough for most users.

The email address entering works beautifully once you get the right one, but it’s a bit of a trick question since I don’t use an email address to sign into Flickr, and no they don’t mean You actually have to remember which email address is buried in the settings for that account. When you’ve plugged in the right email address for the account you want, TripperMap will show you some public photos from the account.

flickr map mashup

Next, you set up an account. It auto-fills your email address, but you don’t have to stick to it. I’m a little worried about this, since it hasn’t used any authentication to Flickr and isn’t forcing me to verify the account is mine by sending an email to the Flickr address I chose. Essentially, anyone could make a map out of anyone’s photos (but you won’t, will you?)

After you’ve logged in you still need to wait for your photos to be added to your map. If you’re very keen, you can search for individual photos and check their location in Flickr.

flickr map mashup

While you’re waiting, click on “Get Your Map” and grab the code you want for your site – Javascript or Flash. The width can be adjusted if you want.

From here on in, everything you need to do to make this map better can be done on Flickr. So, the only time you really need to come back to TripperMap is if you want to get the code again or want to recall the best way to tag photos.

Tagging Photos

Now, any photo of yours that has already been tagged correctly, geotagged in Flickr or has GPS EXIF data will automatically add itself to the map. Any future Flickr changes will be reflected in your TripperMap, too.

If you want to tag your photos using text, add a tag in Flickr of the full name of the town and country (in quotes if it’s more than one word). For example, “New Zealand” would need to be in quotes.

Advanced Tagging Tools

TripperMap have made a great Google Earth Tool to geotag your photos.

flickr map mashup

It is fairly straightforward to use, but TripperMap have made a great video you can watch if you’re not sure. The TripperMap Geotagger authenticates with Flickr to update the location in Flickr and that data is then available for other Flickr tools to use, too.

Thoughts About TripperMap

I love the idea and the map created by TripperMap. I think it’s a great tool and that more people should give it a go.

flickr map embed

It would be wise, I think, for TripperMap to promote itself as a set-and-forget tool. The maps themselves are quite good advertising for future clients. Plus, the TripperMap Geotagger could easily be promoted as a service to all Flickr users – I’m sure it would attract new users to TripperMap.

I would certainly like to see TripperMap using Flickr authentication during sign-up. And crazy as it may seem, I think TripperMap could benefit from having an even less cluttered Web 2.0 style “this is a simple as it gets” sign-up process that doesn’t cloud you with features until you’ve already realised it’s easy to set up.

Love Flickr Mashups? Here’s Some More

Show off your TripperMaps and let us know what you think in the comments.

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10 Sites To Watch The Very Best Of Funny & Creative Advertisements

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 10:31 AM PST

funny advertisementsMany of us would say that advertisements, or ads for short, are a necessary evil. I would agree. But in the glut of ads we get bombarded with in our waking life, we miss one simple truth. Ads can also be as jaw droppingly awe inspiring as any other creative art. What we often dismiss with a flick of a remote switch or the turn of a page sometimes does manage to capture our eyeballs.

This is how the best of creative ads serve their primary purpose of passing on a message in the 'blink of the eye' moment they get. Some of the best ads you will ever get to see don't shout “discount!” or have a sexy smile. They are subtle, with a punchline that sticks to our memory even as we move on to the next one. Ads coerce us to buy, to eat, to drink, to laugh…and the best of them make us ponder.

So for a change, deliberately go and look up some of the best creative and funny advertisements out there. Here are ten websites that give ads their own space and respect.

Ads of The World

funny advertisements

What catches the eye is the nice layout of the ad site. The website is an online archive of ads from print, outdoor, TV and other media. You can select ads you want to watch using the four dropdowns that give you the options of media type, region, country, and industry. The site also has a thriving community of users who discuss anything related to advertising and promotions. The site also covers ad-industry news, jobs, awards, and events.

Best Ads on TV

funny tv advertisements

Though the same says so, this website also features ads from print, outdoor campaigns, radio, and interactive ads (which ask for responses). Ads from around the world get ranked and judged. You can browse through these collections or go over the categories mentioned on the top.

With the different ad-ranking charts and a database on the Who's Who of the ad industry, this is one of the better rounded sites out there. Oh, there is a free iPhone app too in case you want to catch the Top 6 best ads for the week.

Very Funny Advertisements

very funny ads

You can watch and vote for the ads you think tickle your funny bone to the extreme. The funny ad collection comes from all over the world. There's a small link on the side which you can click and watch the ones that were too sexy to be aired in the United States (if that's possible!). Voting is still open for the funniest ads of 2010.


very funny ads

This online archive of ads has a collection of ad-clips that's 77,000 strong. You can search through them by brand or a keyword. The clips are also tagged as cool, funny, sexy, weird, classic, and viral. Downloading and iPod transfers are chargeable, but online viewing of the ad clips is free. Paid members get added benefits like HQ viewing and other saving options.


very funny ads

Clipland hosts music videos, movie trailers, short films, and commercials. The site also has an active forum. The TV commercials section is around 3300+ clips rich. A lot of the ad clips I went through were hosted on YouTube including one of my favorites – The Honda “Cog”.


funny ads

The site is a showcase for the creativity that drives the ad industry. It is a serious website that focuses on trends, news, discussions, and what's happening around the creation of ads. The site is subscriber based but you can still catch some of the happening ad videos in sections like Hotshots. Videos older than seven days are only viewable by paid subscribers.

Creativity Online

funny ads

Be sure to click once on the Pick of The Day when you land on this site. It represents some of the best and latest ads you might get to see from around the world. For instance, for me it was Scrabble: The Block Project where a complete apartment building becomes a living Scrabble game. Sections like Top 5 Most Creative Ads and CAT: Creativity and Technology will surely make you spend half a day marveling at the creative brains who dream these all up.


funny ads

Though it is not explicitly advertized as such, most of the short films on this site are ads. What is advertized however is that all of them are high up on the laugh scale. The videos are updated daily. You can even download the streaming videos.


With posts like – The 10 Freakiest Ads From Election 2010 this ad related blog presents a more opinionated viewpoint on the ads we are bombarded with. You might have to do a bit of reading but the ads picked out are cool enough to look. Also check out the blogroll on the sidebar for a further deep dive into other sites that cover creative and funny advertisements of all kinds.

I Believe in Advertising

funny advertisements

While researching this post I bumped into this little blog on advertising, both TV and print. Though it seems to be an individual blog effort, the collection has been well put together by a guy who knows a great ad when he sees one. Check out the cool collection compiled from 2006 onwards.

For the casual ad watcher, even YouTube is a good enough place to watch cool ads. It's just that you have to do a bit of searching. These websites though trot out some of the best from across the globe.

Do you like watching creative ads or are you suffering from absolute ad fatigue? If it's the former, tell us about your favorite ones.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Spoon Runs Windows Desktop Applications From Your Browser

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 09:31 AM PST

run desktop application in browserVirtualization applications create a virtual environment for you to run your applications in. This means you’ve got a playground on top of your usual playground, which can be fitted to your needs and is pretty safe to mess with. It’s often used by businesses and developers.

Even a regular PC user can find a need for virtualization software. Most specifically, when certain software won’t run. The biggest problem is that these virtualization suites usually install an entire operation system. This makes it heavy on system resources and often rather unpractical for most users. But there is another type of virtualization software, which handles matters wholly differently.


Spoon is a website that runs a certain type of virtualization software. It uses that virtual environment to stream desktop applications to your PC. That’s right; using Spoon, you can run regular desktop applications from your browser, without even having to install them. Calling Spoon revolutionary wouldn’t do it justice. It’s a whole new way of experiencing software.

run desktop application in browser

Rather than emulating hardware, and thus requiring an entire operating system to create a virtualization environment, Spoon only emulates those software components the applications need to function. In essence, it uses elements that are already present in the ‘real’ operating system and uses it to remotely stream applications into existence.

Spoon currently only works on Windows. We’ll certainly be keeping our fingers crossed for future Mac or Linux adaptations.

Getting Started

To get started with using Spoon, you only have to install one light-weight browser plug-in. Point your web browser to the website; You’ll see a yellow ribbon on the top with an install button. Click it to download the installation file.

run programs in browserWith the plug-in installed, select sign in at the top right of the website and create a new account. You’ll also encounter this step if your try to run your first application. Signing up is as easy as entering your email and creating a password for your Spoon account; email confirmation isn’t even required.

run programs in browser

With the plug-in installed and your Spoon account created, you’re all set to go.

Virtualize Desktop Applications

The Apps button will take you to the Spoon App Library. Here you’ll find all the available applications. You’ll notice that a lot of popular and free software is readily available, including other browsers, Microsoft Office document viewers and other practical applications. I was surprised to find video conversion and media player tools in the Spoon App Library as well.

run programs in browser

Selecting one of the applications gives you an extended description, also including the application version, size and buffer size. Comparing these last two gives you the ratio of what you’ll have to download. Often, the actual applications are several times larger than the Spoon buffer sizes. In short, it takes many times longer to even download an installation file than it takes to stream the application from your browser!

If your operation system is compatible, you’ll be able to press the Launch button here. A floating pop-up will appear in the down right corner, showing you the buffer status. Once, the application has been buffered, it can run.

I expected an awkward browser pop-up version of these applications to appear; I was greatly mistaken. Often, you won’t even notice the difference between the real application and the virtualization.

Feeling a little creative, I tried to run a real install and browser virtualization side by side (CDBurnerXP). The results were amazing. There was no visual distortion and they performed on par. Besides, it took me a lot longer to actually install the application.

Virtualize Games

Spoon can also stream and virtualize games from your browser. After all, games are simply another kind of application. Side by side with the Spoon App Library, Spoon offers their Game Center.

run desktop application in browser

By and large, it is filled with simple, lightweight games, but you’ll find some real gems in this library as well, including a Half Life Uplink and demos of Halo and World of Goo.

These browser virtualizations are not just a fancy show of technology, they might actually be able to replace some desktop software bundles; at least for me. What do you think of the idea of streaming applications to your desktop? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Provide Remote PC Support For Friends & Family With Netviewer

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 08:31 AM PST

remote pc supportWhen you’re as involved in the computer field as deeply as folks here at MUO are, you inevitably get asked by family and friends to help out with computer problems.

One of my favorites has always been Instant Housecall, which Joel wrote about. The problem there is that the free version doesn’t offer unlimited remote pc support. You can only use it with a limited number of remote contacts. The full version is quite expensive.

Crossloop, which Mark covered, is also a great solution, but both people need to download and fully install the software for it to work.

Recently, I was tasked with helping a family member troubleshoot a virus-infected computer. The family member lives in a town three hours away, so it isn’t an easy task to go down and help him out. I wanted a solution that I could install on my laptop, but he wouldn’t have to install – at least not beyond simply visiting a website and accepting certain plug-in installations. I finally found the perfect, free remote PC support solution in Netviewer Support.

Setting Up & Connecting

The first thing you’ll want to do if you want the ability to help out anyone with their computer, anywhere in the world, is install the “support” version of Netviewer. I say the support version, because Netviewer actually comes with a free “meet” version as well, which is mostly for providing online presentations. The “support” version has the remote pc support feature that you need, so make sure to install that one.

Once you run the install and re-launch the application, the login screen lets you choose between basic or expert. As far as I can tell, in the free version either choice is the same (advanced options aren’t enabled).

remote pc support

Once you launch the app, you’ll see the control bar on the right. This is where all text chat takes place, and where you’ll enable or disable control of the remote computer. To initiate a connection with your family or friend that’s asking for computer help, just click on the “invite” button.

remote pc

The software opens up your default email client with a pre-written message. All you have to do is type in the email address of your friend and press send. The message is already embedded with with session ID.

remote pc

Once they receive the email, all they have to do is click on the link. It will take them to a special area of the Netviewer domain that automatically installs the required Java app. They’ll need to accept several warning messages along the way, such as this first one that informs them that the session may be recorded.

remote pc

Entering Remote Control Mode

Once your friend enters the session, the support person (you) can see their desktop. At the beginning, you don’t have any control of their desktop until you click the “ON” button next to the “Remote Control” text at the upper right corner of your Netviewer control panel. When you do, your friend will see the following pop-up box.

remote pc access

Once they accept, you have full control of their computer through the Netviewer interface. The window view on your screen is encapsulated by the Netviewer window, which you can maximize or minimize if you need to get to your own screen. You can access your friend’s entire system, and you can even send the computer a reboot request.

remote pc access

A few useful add-ons that make the support session more interactive is the chat area, where you can chat realtime with the person at the same time that you’re troubleshooting the PC.  The Netviewer website touted integration with Skype VoIP, but I could not get that part working, and suspect that it’s only enabled in the paid version.

remote pc access

What is enabled in the free version is also this useful File Transfer area. This basically uses Netviewer sort of like an instant FTP or peer-to-peer file transfer using this drag & drop area in the control panel. This makes it very easy to download files from the computer you’re supporting, edit or otherwise work on them on your local PC, and then upload them back to your friend’s computer.

remote pc support

All of the tools included in this free “support” version of the Netviewer application make this the best remote pc support app that I’ve used yet. You can only use it for free for non-commercial purposes, so don’t try to start up your own computer support business with it – or you need to buy a business license. However, to help out with the occasional request from a friend or family member, Netviewer is perfect.

So, give it a try and let us know what you think. Do you know of any other similar apps that do the same thing just as well or better? Share your own experiences in the comments section below.

Image Credit: ramasamy chidambaram



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The Best Google Chrome Extensions For Sports Fanatics

Posted: 12 Nov 2010 07:31 AM PST

google chrome extensionsGeeks and sports don’t often go hand-in-hand, which is probably why there are relatively few sports-oriented extensions on any browser platform you take a look at. Indeed, the featured sports extensions section of the official Google Chrome extensions site is the smallest of all.

But worry not, sports fans – there may not be as many cool extensions available, but there are certainly some good ones out there. I’ve gone through and picked out a handful of Google Chrome extensions every sports maniac needs to have.


google chrome extensionsIf you are part of a fantasy sports league you’ll love PickEmFirst. This extension makes finding and adding players to your fantasy easier by highlighting the names of players when you view them online.

Let’s say, for example, you’re reading an article about a rookie football player who is proving to be a killer. By clicking the P icon by his name you’ll be able to find out more information about him and add him to your team.

PickEmFirst supports NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and NCAAF fantasy leagues across a wide range of league hosts such as ESPN, Yahoo and many, many more.

The extension will highlight the names of players by one sport at a time, so be sure to switch to the right sport by clocking the PickEmFirst icon that appears in the upper right hand portion of Chrome.

Sports ScoreBoard

extensions for chrome

This super-simple extension does just one thing – list sports scores. Each score is accompanied by a link to the game’s ESPN Gamecast page, but that’s about the only spice you’ll find in this extension. That’s fine, however, because the extensions simplicity makes it speedy and easy to understand.

The extension provides scores from NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAAF and NCAAB. You can view today’s scores, or you can go back in time and view scores from the past – just in case you forgot.

Ultimate Football Results

extensions for chrome

No, this isn’t redundant with Sports Scoreboard. This extension tracks something many extensions (presumably coded by American developers) forget – soccer. Er, Football!

The layout of Ultimate Football Results isn’t as nice as that of Sports ScoreBoard, but it is still functional. Information is presented in a grid layout, and the menu bar at the top lets you select between displays. By default the major leagues are presented, but you can view results from a number of smaller leagues by checking out the Peek section. The extension is also hooked up to a basic message board and has a baked-in Tweet button.

Baseball Player Search

extensions for chrome

The name says it all. This Google Chrome extension exists to help you search for information about baseball players. Once installed, it places an icon in the upper right hand side of Chrome (like most Chrome extensions). Click on this and you’ll presented with a search field.

Baseball Player Search doesn’t just search one site at a time, though – or at least, you don’t have to search through one site at a time. The extension is hooked up to a total of seven sites that keep tabs on the career of every player in major league baseball. If you want to know as much as possible about a player this is the easiest, quickest way to gather information.

Are You Watching This?!

google chrome extensions

If you’re looking for the single, must-have Chrome extension for sports fans this is the extension that has my vote. Are You Watching This?! is a service that literally watches various sports games and then reports on just how good the game is to watch. If the game is just alright it will be rated as OK. The rating can rise to Good, Hot or Epic. Epic games are matches that the folks at Are You Watching This?! think you should tune in to immediately.

There is some degree of subjectivity when it comes to good and bad games, so you may not be instantly blown away by every game this extension lists as Good or better. However, they’re usually accurate enough to steer you away from awful games and towards ones that deliver serious action.


These are the best Google Chrome sports extensions that are currently available – that I found. Be sure to leave a comment if you have a favorite that I missed!

Image Credit Bruce Ely

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