Monday, November 15, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [November 14th]” plus 7 more “Cool Websites and Tools [November 14th]” plus 7 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [November 14th]

Posted: 14 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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WhereMyMoneyGoes – Living in the USA means paying lots of taxes. While this is all well and good, you should know where your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent. Where My Money Goes is a simple website that breaks down your annual tax bill and shows where your money is being spent across different government projects. This allows you to clearly see if your money is wisely spent or not. Read more: WhereMyMoneyGoes: Know Where Your Taxes Go


Kindle For The Web – is a new tool launched by Amazon that helps people read book samples from Amazon online, share them with friends, and based on what they've read in the first few pages, make a decision whether to buy the full Kindle edition (or the hard copy) of the book from Amazon. Read more: Kindle For The Web: Read & Share Chapters From PDF Books Online



ListAndPlay – Ever since Google launched the Google Instant search functionality, there have been a spate of similar mashups created by users across the world. ListAndPlay is one such YouTube mashup that brings together YouTube instant search and playlist creation. As soon as you start typing a search term, ListAndPlay starts searching YouTube. Read more: ListAndPlay: Neat Youtube Video Playlist Manager With Instant Searching



Plain Text – There are a number of note taking applications for iOS devices. But most of them offer very basic functionality without note organization. If you are looking for a plain text editor and organizer, check out Plain Text, a free application for iOS devices. Read more: Plain Text: Note Organizer & Text Editor for iPhone & iPad



Wozaik – Have you ever thought "why did I bookmark this website?" You might not be able to remember what it was about the site you found interesting enough to bookmark. A great and simple solution to this is presented by Wozaik, a free user-friendly web service that lets you bookmark specific portions of a website. Read more: Wozaik: Bookmark Only The Most Interesting Parts Of A Page


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: 14 Nov 2010 07:00 PM PST

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

    [1] 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.


    [2] LapDawg – Hands-free Laptop Stands

    Hands free laptop stand
    The dream gadget designed for Laptop & Book owners. LapDawg X4 Hands free laptop stand. Holds your laptop or books in any position you want with it’s unique 360 degree rotating joints. Perfect for holding them in bed while lying down or adjust for your living room couch at eye level. Made from anodized aluminum with a beautiful black matte finish.

    [3] 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.


    [4] 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.


    [5] 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.


    [6] 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!


    [7] 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!


    [8] Sourcebits – Android Developement

    Sourcebits did a bang up job of helping us put together our long-awaited Android app. For that, we are eternally grateful!


Thank you, guys!

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 14 Nov 2010 06:30 PM PST

Sound Sunday is a challenge.

Each edition provides a musical flavor for the following week; a delicate mix of styles and genres. A single bad piece gives the entire composition a funny taste. Or does it?

Do you download the entire Sound Sunday collection each week or do you prefer to pick your favorites? What do you base your selection on? Do you go by genre or do you preview the songs? Please post your feedback in the comments. Thank you!

As We Draw – Lines Breaking Circles

Genre: metal, post-hardcore

free mp3 downloadLines Breaking Circles is the debut album of the French post-hardcore metal trio As We Draw. The album is self-recorded and was released via French netlabel Throatruiner Records.

Draw the album directly from their Homepage.

As We Draw MySpace and Homepage.

Red Letter – selftitled

Genre: christian, rock

free albumRed Letter is the band of Pastor Joel Brown. “Red Letter joins lyrics born out of profound gospel reflection with aggressive music that matches the depth and weight of the text.

Red Letter offers an interesting bonus for musicians among you: you can also download the chort charts for the album.

Download the album from NoiseTrade.

Red Letter Homepage.

Bannerman – The Dusty Dream Hole

Genre: folk rock, progressive

mp3 album downloadBannerman is the solo project of New Zealand musician Richard Setford. His friend from the soul-jazz collective One Million Dollors describes The Dusty Dream Hole as “broadly cinematic” and says “the album encompasses lilting ballads and sharp-edged, distorted dreamscapes that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

The Dusty Dream Hole is a free download from Bandcamp.

Bannerman MySpace.

World Versus Me – Duel

Genre: alternative, rock, electronic, industrial

free musicWorld Versus Me was formerly known as Shaolin Temple of BooM. The man behind the music, David Alvarez, says that the name change reflects where and who he is at this point in his life. Duel is a powerful rock album.

Get this album from Bandcamp.

World Versus Me Facebook. Shaolin Temple of BooM MySpace.

Avalanche City – Our New Life Above The Ground

Genre: folk, pop

how to download music freeFrom the website: “The story of Avalanche City begins in a house, alone, for hours and hours each day for months, slowly learning how to sing by process of scales, recording, and self critique.
(…) One year after beginning the process of teaching himself how to sing, the first tracks were laid for Avalanche City’s debut album Our New Life Above The Ground.

This is a no strings attached download from Avalanche City’s Homepage.

Avalanche City MySpace and Homepage.

Anyô – Breathe

Genre: alternative, rock, power pop

music downloads Anyô is Filipino for ‘figure’ or ‘appearance’. It’s also a music trio from Manila, formed in 2005. The three members are professional musicians, who have been playing live and working in the studio for several years. The album Breathe is licensed under Creative Commons License.

Download Breathe from Anyô’s Homepage.

Anyô Homepage and Facebook.

The Scaramanga Six – An Introduction To The Scaramanga Six

Genre: alternative, rock, pop

legal downloadThe Scaramanga Six is a British band that has been around since 1995. They describe themselves as “a flaming ball of fury. A tight-knitorganisation, every one of these desperate individuals is hell-bent on assaulting the ears of the unsuspecting with intensive rock and roll music.” An Introduction To The Scaramanga Six is a collection of tracks released between 1995 and 2010.

This compilation is a name your price download from Bandcamp.

The Scaramanga Six MySpace and Homepage.

Liminal – Unhinged

Genre: soundtrack

cool free musicUnhinged is the soundtrack for a fictitious movie, in other word, a movie that only exists in the imagination. Robert Stevenson writes: “Knowing well this genre of film and this genre of music, listeners can put together the pieces and imagine the film that it could be.

Download Unhinged from SoundCloud. Watch for the full album link in the sidebar on the left.

Liminal MySpace and SoundCloud.

Michal Menert – Dreaming of a Bigger Life

Genre: electronica, ambient, instrumental, down-tempo

best free mp3Draming of a Bigger Life is the debut album of solo artist Michal Menert. He had previously co-produced music with childhood friend Derek Vincent Smith of Pretty Lights. Michal’s “sound combines obscure vintage samples from both Eastern European and Western vinyl with rich analog synthesis and organic hard hitting beats. It is a fusion of yesterday's elements and tomorrow's ideas.

The album is available from Pretty Lights Music.

Michal Menert MySpace and Homepage.

Rocom – Nights Like This

Genre: indie, rap, hip hop

sound sundayRocom wirtes: “'l’ll always have music. I just wrote a grip of lyrics because I had to. Its been some time since I'd needed to record a song so that I could have a normal night's rest. In 2005, when I started recording songs for the first time, I experienced a world of hurt, confusion and depression. Putting all of those fucked up feelings into a song freed me from them.

You can download Nights Like This from Rocom’s Blog.

Rocom MySpace and Homepage.


Past editions of Sound Sunday are available here. Feel free to get in touch with me [] to share material, suggestions, and feedback that you don't want to post in the comments below.

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Three Amazing Apps From Rails Rumble Contest 2010

Posted: 14 Nov 2010 06:00 PM PST

rails rumbleTeams from all over the world go all-out against each other in Rails Rumble, an annual web development competition that took place last month.

The objective is to create the best online tool in under 48 hours using Ruby and Rails. This sounds like an insane objective, and it is, but it begets some amazing gems every year.

The winners have been made known, but we compiled our own list of three extremely useful tools that we would advise to every MakeUseOf reader.


Using a smartphone, there’s little more frustrating than receiving a ZIP archive of files. Given third-party archiving software, it’s altogether possible, but you’re left with an almost inconceivable mess to clean up.

rails rumble

Luckily, it’s not the only way. Unpack is a very straightforward online service that’ll take care of these archives. Forward the mail with the attachment, to, and you’ll receive the unarchived files back in your inbox! Unpack works with RAR, ZIP, tar.gz, tar.bz2, CAB, ACE, 7zip, dep, rpm, lha, lzop, rzip, and more!


Scrappler is an online tool that allows you to easily scrape any part of any web page. This can be the current top 10 movies on IMDb, the airplanes flying to and from Washington, or even the latest article here, on MakeUseOf. Scrappler makes the process of scraping a page accessible to anyone without prior technical knowledge, and it hardly takes a minute.

rails rumble

First, enter a URL on the Scrappler homepage. This is the URL you want to scrape, e.g. the top 100 movies on IMDb. After you click Scrape!, you’ll be shown the page in question and are able to select parts of its content, e.g. the top 10 movies. Scrappler will then eliminate all the extra, superfluous information from the webpage and give you clean, simple results.

rails rumble

You’ll be able to view the static results of your query in HTML, XML and JSON. On that same page, you’ll also find a Scrappler URL, which will always give you a fresh result of the scrape. Scrolling down to the bottom of the page, you can optionally enter your email address and subscribe to an hourly, daily, or weekly scrape result.


I’ve often been scared away by the all-or-nothing requirement of RSS readers. When I tried to check on these sites manually, I often forgot; not to mention the time it took. RSS readers gave me a constant stream of all those interesting articles – never to miss one again. The sheer flood of content however, made that I scarcely even dared to open the application.

rails rumble prizes

Newspaperly is designed to take care of your RSS subscriptions, and only show the news that actually matters. We’ve seen services like this before, but they usually aren’t free. Newspaperly gives you one comprehensive stream and trims it down so only the important news remains. Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

Have you checked out the contestants of the Rails Rumble contest? There are some real gems there. Let us know your personal favorites in the comments!

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Which Is The Best Free Hosted Blog Service? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 14 Nov 2010 05:30 PM PST

Last week, our poll asked readers to vote on their favourite budget web host. Basically, the results gave us a showdown between GoDaddy and Blue Host.

GoDaddy won by a very small margin on 23%; Blue Host got 22% of the votes; HostGator was third on 15%; iPage 6%; Web Hosting Pad 6%; Just Host 5%; IX Web Hosting 4%. The rest received under 4% each.

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

There were also some great suggestions in the comments, such as Dreamhost and

This week's poll question is: Blogger Vs WordPress — Which Is The Best Free Hosted Blog Service?

So, Blogger or WordPress — which do you prefer? Tell us in the comments!

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6 Free Simulation Games for the iPad

Posted: 14 Nov 2010 02:30 PM PST

simulation ipadIt seems, with the advent of the Farmville craze, that simulation games are all the rage and the iPad provides a great platform for the truly addicted to play these types of games on the go. Achieve goals, move up from one level to the next in a seemingly endless game, where your goals and achievements just keep getting bigger. Many of these games require an internet connection to work.

Whether you’re interested in breeding frogs, starting your own ancient kingdom, or even just creating a modern city, there’s bound to be a game that appeals to you. And if nothing else, you could always just stick to playing Farmville on your iPad.

Godfinger for iPad

Godfinger [iTunes link] is a simulation game with a twist. Rather than build your own city, you are starting from scratch and get to play God, building your own world.

simulation ipad

Turn people into believers, give them sun, rain, and set them to work in your new world building farms, and as the game progresses you can cause floods, move mountains and more. As you achieve your goals, you unlock more features and move up from one level to the next.

Godfinger is part of the Plus+ network which makes it easy to connect with friends through Facebook, Yahoo, Google, or even the contacts on your iPad or iPhone. You can also invite friend’s directly from the app. While the game is iPhone compatible, it just isn’t the same as playing it on the large iPad screen.

We City for iPad

For those of you who don’t have a God complex, We City [iTunes link] allows you to create your own city. Build homes, factories, put your citizens to work manufacturing all sorts of goods from video games to boats, and collect rent.

simulation games for ipad

Aside from expanding your city, you can also go to college, starting out with some business classes. A cool feature that We City has incorporated is the ability to redesign your city even after you’ve constructed buildings, and sell buildings, roads and more, incase you’re not happy with your initial layout.

We City is another game that is part of the Plus+ network, bringing more social features to the game with your friends.

Pocket Frogs

Pocket Frogs [iTunes link] is a great iPad game for kids and adults alike. The pet simulation game will have you breeding and selling frogs, expanding your habitats and trying to level up and accumulate as many awards as possible.

Buy flowers, leaves and backgrounds from the Supply Shop to decorate your habitats, and increase your frogs’ happiness. Take your frogs to the pond to tame them, and find extra gifts, coins and other frogs to breed with.

simulation games for ipad

Like all of the other games listed here, Pocket Frogs is compatible with the iPhone as well, but it just doesn’t come to life unless it’s played on the iPad. If you’re online, make use of the social aspect of the game through the Plus+ network, trading frogs with your friends and more.

We Rule Quests for iPad

Prefer an ancient take on simulation games? Give We Rule Quests [iTunes link] a try. Create your own kingdom in an ancient world, building cottages, starting farms, and harvesting crops such as corn, wheat and onions.

simulation games for ipad

As your kingdom expands, you collect taxes from the peasants, and achieve goals to get to the next level.

simulation games ipad

Like We City, if you don’t like the layout you’ve initially chosen for your city, you can always redesign it whenever you want to.

MiniTycoon Casino

If you’re not into the building a city or kingdom scene, why not run a business instead with MiniTycoon Casino [iTunes link]. Running your own casino involves adding new slot machines, blackjack and roulette tables, adding to the decor of the casino, all to bring in more gamblers in through your doors.

simulation games ipad

As you progress in the levels, unlock more options, games and new ways to spruce up your casino, to make sure those chips keep rolling in.

simulation games ipad


As mentioned, there is a dedicated app for the Zynga game that needs no introduction, Farmville [iTunes link]. The iPad app syncs directly with your Facebook account, allowing you to keep up with your Farmville addiction on the go if need be. Of course the game on the iPad is no different from playing on your computer, allowing you to maintain your farm and interact with your friends in exactly the same manner.

simulation ipad

The iPad Farmville app includes neighbour, harvest and gift push notifications.

What is your favourite simulation game on the iPad? Let us know in the comments.

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Introducing Our New Staff Writer, James Bruce

Posted: 14 Nov 2010 08:31 AM PST

James BruceAt the beginning of the month, I announced the departure of Simon Slangen, who is heading off to a new job at AppStorm. As soon as he confirmed he was leaving, Jackson and I swung into action, looking for his replacement. After looking through 40 applications, we finally found our man.

Beginning from December, Simon’s replacement will be James Bruce, a university graduate in Artificial Intelligence, a former English teacher in Japan, former data-centre engineer, and who is now working in his own web development company in England.

I asked James to introduce himself and here is some of what he said:

About a year ago I realised my true calling in life was IT, so I took a few qualifications and did a part time job as data-centre engineer, as well as being a technical assistant at Kyoto university. I got a budget to play with anything 3D related, which was quite fun, as well as prototyping some giant multitouch displays. Figured it was time to move back to England eventually though. That was 2 months ago. At the same time my best friend moved to China and started his own web development company, for whom I now work full time on WordPress and SEO stuff.

As for my official geek chosen subject areas… I’m a PC/Playstation/Xbox 360 gaming, Apple, board game, DnD geek. I have an unhealthy relationship with my iPad, iPhone and iMac – but I wouldn’t say I’m a fanboy. They take pride of place next to my Windows gaming machine. I also love motorbikes, and the awesome English countryside that I had totally forgotten about.

Since MakeUseOf schedules a week in advance, expect to see James’ articles hit the MakeUseOf front page from the second week in December onwards.  In the meantime, why not check out his tech tutorial website and his iPad Games review website, as well as welcoming him to the MakeUseOf family?   I for one am really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with for us.

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Wibiya Adds New and Improved Like Button and Design Features [News]

Posted: 14 Nov 2010 08:00 AM PST

“Wibiya provides an interactive and user-friendly web toolbar that allows you to integrate a host of web applications directly onto your website.” The Wibiya toolbar enables you to add features that promote your website’s content, like web apps such as live notifications, photo galleries, Facebook and Twitter integration, and sharing capabilities.

If you’ve been around for a while you will know that we used to use the Wibiya bar on MakeUseOf. Well, Wibiya has come a long way since then and has been continually adding new features to their toolbar. Let’s take a look at the recent happenings as described on the company’s blog.

New Facebook Like Button

With Wibiya, you can now choose to connect the Like button on your toolbar to your Facebook fan page. Essentially, this will give your fan page a major boost, as you are basically linking the traffic on your blog directory to your fan page. According to Wibiya, many have asked for this feature and they will not be disappointed.

Until now, the Facebook Like button application was attached solely to the content page. Whenever a visitor clicked Like they were 'liking' the content on that page, not the page itself. Get it?

You can still keep the regular settings if you like (pun intended), but now you can choose how you want to promote your site on Facebook. This short video shows you how you can install this new feature:

You can see the added benefits of using this new Like button in a follow-up article on Wibiya’s blog.

In Other News…

Wibiya has also added dozens of new icon designs for each of its apps, allowing you to choose the image and size you want alongside your application. You can upload icons and even combine them if you so choose.

Lastly, they’ve added a new Style Editor, but that will only be available to premium users.

What do you think of these additions by Wibiya? Will you be installing this on your site?

Source: Wibiya Blog

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