Thursday, November 18, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [November 17th]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [November 17th]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [November 17th]

Posted: 17 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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SnapShop Showroom – Are you about to buy new furniture for your home? If yes, then to save time on shopping you should at least have an idea of what furniture would look good in your home. For this purpose you could use SnapShop Showroom, a tool that helps you visualize different furniture in your house or apartment. Read more: SnapShop Showroom: Preview Furniture In Your Room Before Buying


ShelfLuv – Do you buy your books through Amazon? If yes then you know that finding a particular book or browsing to find one you like can take quite some time. To speed up Amazon's search for books, you could use the wonderful web service ShelfLuv, a free to use website that helps you search Amazon for books faster, with a cool visual interface. Read more: ShelfLuv: Search Amazon Books Faster



Dropbox App Directory – Dropbox is a wonderful web service that lets users upload their files and access them easily from their computer or via their phone. Because of its popularity an increasing number of apps that support dropbox are being devoloped. To see some of the best apps, check out Dropbox App Directory. Read more: Dropbox App Directory: Lists Apps That Support Dropbox



Laytr – If you get too many emails and often forget to follow up on them then you should consider giving Laytr a shot. It helps you schedule emails for a later day, date or time and reminds you on the time specified about that email you were supposed to follow up on. You can forward the email to where the keyword could be a day like “monday”. Read more: Laytr: Schedule Emails For Later & Set Reminders



IP Webcam – Do you need an ad-hoc wireless camera system? Why not use your Android phone as a web cam? IP Webcam is an Android app that lets you transform your phone into a network camera which will let you remotely view videos that are captured real-time. You can view the video via a browser or stream it over your phone. Read more: IP Webcam: Use Your Android Phone As A Web Cam


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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5 Fascinating & Unique Recipe Sites To Brush Up Your Culinary Skills

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 05:31 PM PST

recipe sitesGetting closer to the holidays, some people may dread the heavy foods that abound during these times. But as the season is a synonym for sharing good times and good food with loved ones, I’m sure we all enjoy the holiday season.

When it comes to enjoying food, there are loads of recipe sites that provide you with great food, some with more active communities than others. AllRecipes comes to mind, as well as Chow and Epicurious. Those sites may be really well-known but there are many more that you shouldn’t miss out on.

Whether you can’t resist a restaurant’s dish or want to try your hand at making your own version, or whether you really want to keep a budget for your meals, the next couple of sites may just be your cup of tea.

Restaurant Clone Recipe Sites

Top Secret Recipes

recipe sites

Top Secret Recipes contains a large collection of clone recipes for a variety of chain restaurants, from T.G.I. Friday’s, Outback Steakhouse to most fast food restaurants. The recipes are the food creations of Todd Wilbur, a self-proclaimed “food clone freak” who goes out of his way to uncover the recipes behind many popular dishes in chain restaurants in his lab kitchen.

Since he’s been doing this for a really long time, some of his recipes are now behind a pay wall ($0.99) or only found in his books, but you can also find some of his restaurant-inspired recipes on his official YouTube channel, where he features a mixture of semi-homemade techniques so users don’t have to spend forever attempting a recipe.

Here’s a video where he clones Chili’s Molten Chocolate Cake.

Wilbur has a passion for coming up with these recipes in a super easy-to-follow way so that you will lose all fear and try the recipes yourself pretty soon. In fact, they’re so easy, he even made a video of his Snickers clone recipe while blindfolded, where of course, hilarity ensues.

On his site, you can find ratings to some of his recipes, which are always helpful and aren’t available for clone recipes on other sites.


best recipe sites

This site offers an impressive number (1,500!) of articles and full recipes in written form, from monthly menus where she lays out many links to her own recipes to her versions of restaurant clone recipes, such as Olive Garden’s Pumpkin Cheesecake, (which only has original recipes on the official site) only available in the fall in the restaurant (but now you can try it any season!).

Check out the Copykat restaurant recipes category for more.  Copykat’s YouTube channel has some good videos that don’t rush into it. Here’s one where author, Stephanie Manley narrates over how to make KFC’s Buttermilk Biscuits.

Like Top Secret Recipes and CDKitchen’s Copycat & Restaurant Recipes, Copykat offers recipes without process photos, which may not always help newbies so that is why the sites in the next section are such gifts to humanity. But recipes without photos aren’t always a bad thing, because at least in written format, they may be more accommodating than cooking videos which are sometimes too fast-paced.

Recipe Sites Featuring With Step-By-Step Photos

Budget Bytes

best recipe sites

A true gem, Budget Bytes is a hard-not-to-love recipe blog that provides not only step-by-step photos (something I really wish Allrecipes would implement as it seems to hold the largest recipe collection), but it also provides recipe costs, serving costs as well as cooking time  in an extremely thorough way, which is more win for readers!

The site was initially featured on the MakeUseOf Directory for being a handy site with inexpensive recipes, but the scope of the recipes on here are far and beyond budget meals.

recipe web sites

As the motto of the site says (“On a mission to save money and eat well!), the number-crunching author also gives a variety of recipes for the health-conscious and/or vegetarian. There is no rating system as this is a blog, but the response is very positive as you see in the comments, so this site is definitely worth a look or even a spot in your bookmarks.

Visual Recipes

recipe web sites

I guess I’m not the only that thinks that AllRecipes should allow step-by-step photos because another incredibly handy recipe website called Visual Recipes has emerged, focusing on providing stunning photo slideshows in user-submitted recipes for the visual learner.

recipe web sites

Like AllRecipes, it has a video section and ratings, as well as cooking time and serving sizes.

MovieRecipe – Tells You What Dish Was In A Movie & Gives You The Recipe

recipe sites

Did you see Ratatouille and know what kind of food it is? MovieRecipe will let you know what was eaten in your favorite movie and even provide you with the recipe! The selection of movies isn’t very large, and some contain obvious items, but it’s an entertaining website for recipe ideas.

There a myriad of recipe sites on the net today. Share your favorite sites on the comments below!

Photo credit: Allrecipes’s Favorite Photos 11/9/2010

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What EXIF Photo Data Is, How To Find It & How To Understand It

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 03:31 PM PST

exif dataSince cameras went digital we’ve had a few more perks to enjoy alongside our usual photography habits. No longer do we need to pause and think “shall I take that shot?” with expensive film and processing costs giving way to re-usable memory cards.

Pretty much every digital camera available today (give or take the dodgy cheap Chinese ones found on eBay) records EXIF data within each image you take. This data is then useful for improving your photography plus can be quite interesting especially if you’re a bit of a geek.

So if you’re interested in learning from your mistakes, discovering a bit more about your photos and love technical details then it’s probably about time you learned to read your EXIF data.

The EXIF Format

EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File, and the data provided can be stored to JPEG, RAW and TIFF image file formats. If you’re a digital SLR owner and you use the RAW image format, you’ll probably notice your manufacturer has their own file extension (for Nikon it’s .NEF, Canon have .CRW etc…) – these files all store EXIF data along with the exposure.

The data itself can reveal some pretty interesting stuff about your photos. As well as the exact time and date you pressed the shutter (provided your camera time and date was correct, of course), a lot of technical information regarding the photograph is captured as well.

exif data

This includes focal length, shutter speed, white balance settings, whether the flash fired and in-depth information about your camera and the exposure.

Newer mobile phones and cameras with geotagging ability (using GPS to record the exact location of the image) now store this information within a file’s EXIF data. Web services such as Flickr can then create a map of photographs tagged in this manner.

How To Find It

In Windows you can use Explorer itself to reveal the data to you. Simply find your image, right click and choose Properties then the Summary tab. You might also be interested in either using your existing image editor (Adobe’s Photoshop and The GIMP both have support for EXIF data).

exif photo data

There are also a number of free EXIF data viewers, such as IrfanView with the EXIF plugin, XnView and KUSO Exif Viewer which are all designed just for Windows.

Linux users can access the data straight from the desktop too. GNOME users (Ubuntu et al) will be able to right click a file, choose Properties and then the Image tab to display the data. If you’re using KDE then right click, Properties and Meta Info should help you find what you’re after.

exif photo data

You’ll probably want to get UFRaw if you’re a Linux user who shoots in RAW format, as you’ll find you’ve got limited support for your uncompressed images otherwise.

Mac OS X 10.4 users will be able to use the Finder to Get Info and expand the More Info section. There’s also the Graphic Converter to be found in the Applications folder (as well as Photoshop, of course).

Making Sense Of It

exif data

Many photographers use EXIF data to help improve technique and to compare images that work, with images that don’t. If you’re perplexed as to why one shot looks better than the other then the EXIF data can reveal why.

If you’re new to the technical aspects of photography EXIF data can also teach you a lot, such as the relationship between aperture and depth of field and how badly your camera’s high ISO settings affect image grain.

As well as your technique you can also critique your gear and optics. The recorded data can help you determine your next purchase, and whether you’ve got the spare cash for more kit.

The time and date information stored in each photo can also help you piece together a collection, providing an almost diary-like representation of your shooting habits.

If you’re a fan of Flickr it’s also nice to be able to browse other users EXIF data, so you can get an understanding of the way other people approach situations. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to view the data (some choose to make it private) but if it’s there you’ll find it under an image’s Actions button.


Regardless of how you use it, there’s no arguing that EXIF data makes up one of the many benefits digital photography has over 35mm film and other formats. It’s an educational tool that can help you visualize your cameras settings against a photo you’ve already taken.

With GPS becoming commonplace within many of today’s photo-capturing devices, EXIF data is becoming more widely used. There’s plenty of ways it can help you, from beginner to pro.  If you have any questions about it, let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Shutterstock



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Attach Sticky Notes To Any Website Or Document With GumNotes

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 01:31 PM PST

sticky notes softwareI’ve never been much of a “notes” type. Every time I try out a new notes management system, I usually give up using it within just a few weeks. I found Mark’s article on Evernote’s integration with Android pretty compelling, so I had to give it a shot for a short time. We’ve also covered a lot of other note-taking apps including Firefox plugins and all sorts of other tools.

After testing out five or six different apps, I eventually gave up on the whole online note-taking thing. Maybe it just wasn’t my style, and I found it very hard to remember to go back and check my notes.

This is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover GumNotes.

GumNotes is a new desktop application that goes beyond note-taking and actually reminds you about your notes when you need it most. The name reveals the purpose of the app. It’s like taking a note, slapping gum on the back of it, and attaching that note to your document, website, application or anywhere else you need to jot down a quick note.

Attaching Notes To Any Document

The concept is pretty simple. Whether you’re using email, Microsoft Word, Excel or even just about any other application on your PC, you can instantly open up a note box, jot down some ideas or reminders for later, and then save the note. The note gets “attached” to the document or email that you were working on.

sticky notes software

You can do the same thing if you’re typing up a Word document and you come up with an idea for future research efforts. Instead of letting the idea slip away – open up GumNotes and jot down your ideas before they disappear.

The beauty of this app is that you don’t ever have to remember where you stored the note, and you don’t have to remind yourself to go back and review your notes. Whenever you come back to the document, email, spreadsheet or whatever else you were working on – the GumNote app that’s running in your system tray issues a pop-up with your attached note, as a gentle reminder.

There is really no configuration or work involved in getting GumNotes to work. Once it’s running in the task tray, all you have to do is right click on the GumNotes icon to save a note, or attach one to whatever you’re working on.

background notes website

More Than Just Email & Documents

I thought that the ability to “attach” notes to MS Office documents or spreadsheets is pretty cool, but just how flexible is this software? What if I’m working on something a little more obscure? As a test, I decided to open up an audio file of a guitar song I’ve been working on using Audacity. Hypothetically, let’s say that I wanted to remind myself of some of the edits I wanted to make the next time I open up the file.

sticky notes

The GumNotes app appeared to recognize the file that I had open (see “workingclasshero” at the bottom of the note?), and let me type up and save a quick message to myself.  I exited Audacity, then opened it back up and was pleased to see that the note didn’t pop-up (if it did, it would be attached to the application, not the file). But when I opened up that specific audio file, sure enough my note appeared.

background notes website

If you right click on the icon and select “Manage Annotations,” you’ll see all of the notes you’ve saved to the system.

sticky notes

Now, you’re probably thinking, what good is it to have all of these notes stored only on the PC where you have GumNotes installed? This would have been the clincher for me. Luckily, if you explore the Options settings in GumNotes you’ll see that you can enter the credentials for your Simplenote account, and then sync up your desktop notes with that online system.

sticky notes

Additional Features

GumNotes actually has features that extend beyond just attaching simple notes to documents. If you right-click on the pushpin at the bottom of the note, you have the option to set a Timer for the note. This works like a reminder pop-up.

background notes website

Another cool feature is if you add a new, unattached note, you can click on the link at the bottom of the note and enter keywords into the following window.

sticky notes software

Those keywords will serve as a “filter” – and any document, web page or email that you open that features those keywords will trigger your note to open. This is a very cool way to remind yourself about information that’s important to you and that you’ll want to save or otherwise respond to with a specific action.

In other words, GumNotes isn’t just an annotation tool. It’s a way for you to create a customized system of reminders so that no matter how busy you get, you’ll never forget anything again.

Give GumNotes a try and report back how well it worked for you. Do you like it better than other systems you’ve tried? Share your feedback and thoughts in the comments section below.

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Hot Tech Deals [Nov 17th]

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 12:15 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. D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit 802.11n Wireless Router $70.54 Free Shipping

  2. Kodak EasyShare Z981 14MP 26X Optical Zoom Digital Camera (Image Stabilized) $199.99 Free Shipping

  3. Shuttle SX58J3 Intel X58 LGA1366 Miniature Barebones Desktop w/ 500W 80PLUS Bronze PSU $379.99 Free Shipping

  4. Sennheiser IE6 Over The Ear In-Ear Headphones $79.99 Free Shipping

  5. Gateway Intel i3-530 2.93GHz All-In-One Desktop (REFURB) w/ 23in Touchscreen LCD & Blu-Ray $699.99

  6. Nikon Coolpix P100 10.3MP 26X Digital Cameraw/ VR Image Stabilization $329.95 Free Shipping

  7. Klipsch HD 500 5.1 Home Theater Speakers + Onkyo TX-SR508 AV Receiver $599.99 Free Shipping via code FREEGFT1116A

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Websites For The Latest Game Reviews & Gaming News

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 11:31 AM PST

video game reviewsThe latest buzz seems to be around the Kinect for Xbox 360 from Microsoft. It is yet to be released in my part of the world, so I can see gaming buffs scanning the headlines for news tidbits.

Kinect is the flavor right now, but what about the rest of the gaming world? What's breaking there even as you read this piece? Gaming fans don't just rely on the grapevine anymore.

Current news sources on the web have made the legion of gamers more proactive when it comes to being in the know. And helping out in this cause are the throng of gaming news sites.

On gaming news sites you don't only catch the latest game news but also views, reviews and previews. You can catch the latest buzz and spread it around thanks to Twitter and sites like Facebook.

So, let's catch the latest gaming news first with the help of these ten websites:


video game reviews

Kotaku is a top tier and pretty focused blog on gaming news, hints, previews and tips that cover all gaming platforms. It belongs to the same network as Lifehacker and Gizmodo (Gawker Media). If you miss visiting it daily, you can check out K Monthly which looks back at the month gone by.


computer game reviews

With a vibrant community behind it, N4G is a social game news site. As a new member of the community, you can post comments, submit news tips, and participate in other site activities. Past the first stage, you can go on to contribute (ad also approve) news stories to the site. The hot stories are rated by a temperature score that turns red as its 'hotness' shoots up. N4G covers games of all genres and platforms.


computer game reviews

This gaming news site is one we have covered briefly before. The site is one of the best around when it comes to video reviews of video game titles and features anything that's got to do with the video gaming industry. The site has large Features sections which are video blogs from the regular contributors.

The site also hosts a lot of trailers of games, so you can take a dekko at the graphics. If you would rather listen than watch, the site also has an episodic radio show on the gaming industry.


xbox game reviews

ShackNews found a mention when we did an earlier article on The Best Sites for Game Previews and Reviews. Catch the top stories on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC games, iPhone, iPad etc. You can catch it all via the tags on the side. The site has a large community of dedicated gamers behind it and that is reflected in the news, views, and the discussions on the site.

You can also use a simple form on the site to submit some of your own news. They also host FileShack for gaming related downloads like mods, patches, demos etc.


xbox game reviews

The site advertises itself as 'the world's largest editable video game database'. What I like though about the site is the Bombcast – the weekly podcast on video games which you can download with iTunes or as MP3. If reading all the news and views gets boring, take the Trivia quiz. The gaming news section is neatly arranged around PS3, XBOX 360, PC, PSP, Wii, and DS.


xbox game reviews

DTOID has a YouTube channel of its own and you can also catch it via iTunes. Then there's the News section which gives you instant access to all the top news from a dropdown. The site publishes nearly 40-60 pieces of video game industry news apart from the ones submitted by its large community. Free weekly podcasts and daily videos keep the gaming industry well in its sights.


game reviews

Controversies or breaking news, this website tries to cover all the rants and raves related to the gaming industry. The site also takes in a lot of news from some of the sites already on this list. Plus, it publishes its own unique take.

Features like TheRumorKILL try to net the gossip that's going around. Behind the Screams goes behind the scenes of the video gaming industry. Then there are the featured YouTube show and podcasts like the Daily Slice and EpicBattleCry which focus on the buzz.


game reviews

Screenshots, reviews, previews, and news brought to with the help of a nice uncluttered interface. The weekly podcast is for those who hate reading. You can get it on iTunes, Zune, and as a MP3. There's also one on the Xbox 360 (the Xbox 360 Fancast). The Joystiq network also includes Massively (daily news on MMOs), WoW Insider (covers World of Warcraft), and Big Download (downloads + gaming news).


game reviews

Games are fun, but the makers know it's a huge business too. Gamesutra covers all gaming news that has anything to do with the profit-loss statements and the balance sheets. It also looks at other aspects of game development like design and programming. The site also has a job board. Also check out the sites under its Gama Network.

The Escapist

video game reviews

This gaming news site got the Webby Award and the People’s Voice Award in 2008. It also hosts a weekly game review series on video (Zero Punctuation). The miniclips takes a slapstick look at the latest from the gaming industry. The news section brings you more than a dozen articles each day.

The web seems to be filled with gaming news sites. Pick a couple of your favorite ones for a read every day. Because with so much happening, you need some time left over to play too. Tell us about your favorite games and gaming related news site.

Image: Shutterstock

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Edumodo: A Social Network For Teachers & Students

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 10:31 AM PST

social network for teachers and studentsWith all of its features, the virtual world should be the perfect medium to enhance real-life classroom education. Strangely, that is not really the case. Finding online teaching and learning tools is not that easy.

Fortunately, the situation has slowly shifted for the better. There are several great educational tools popping up here and there, and Edmodo is one of them. Let’s take a look to see how it can help.

The Teachers’s Perspective

If I have to explain Edmodo in one short phrase, it would be: “Facebook for Education” (and you’ll see why shortly). Edmodo describes itself as “Secure social learning network for teachers and students“. They prove it by providing two types of buttons that you can choose: “I’m a Student” and “I’m a Teacher“.

social network for teachers and students

For experimental purpose, let’s look at the service from both perspectives. I started my experiment on the teacher side.

The sign up window looks ordinary with all the usual fields to fill. But later you will see that the student’s version has a distinctive difference.

01b Edmodo - Teacher Sign Up.jpg

After signing up, you’ll land in your Edmodo home page. It’s eerily similar to Facebook – with some modifications here and there to make it fit for educational purposes.

02a Edmodo - Home - Similar To Facebook.jpg

The update area is “adjusted” as a tool to send Notes, Alerts, Assignments, and Polls to fellow students or other teachers.

02b Edmodo - Create Note.jpg

If you are a teacher, you’ll appreciate the ability to easily send assignments. Just write down the title, description, due date and you are ready to go. You can add files, links, or refer some materials from the library. Choose the recipients before clicking the “Send” button. They could be other teachers in your network, or students from your study group.

02c Edmodo - Create Assignment.jpg

Teachers also have the privilege to create groups. Aside from “Grade” (e.g.: Kindergarten, 9th, 12th, Higher Education) and “Subject Area” (e.g.: Mathematics, Creative Arts, Computer Technology), the groups can also be based on the classes that you teach, the difference of interest among students, levels of comprehension of a topic, etc.

03a Edmodo - Create A Group.jpg

Then your status will be updated with the group that you’ve just created. One important thing that you should pay attention to is the access code of the group. You should inform your students about the code, because they won’t be able to join the group without it.

03b Edmodo - Status Update - Create Group.jpg

At the lower part of the home screen, you will find a few basic things that you should complete to make your account “fully functional”.

03c Edmodo - Other things to do as teacher.jpg

The Students’ Perspective

If you are a student, the registration process is a little bit different. Other than your basic personal information, you’ll also need the group code that you are about to join. This is the code that your teacher will get when they create the group.

educational social network sites

After logging in, you’ll find a list of groups that you’ve joined right under your avatar. If you want to join other groups, have the access code ready and click the “Join” button.

educational social network sites

There are links to “Calendar“, “Grades” and “Library” on the top of the page. While you could easily guess what you would find inside the first two, the third one is a bit unique. Library is the place where you can find all the files and links sent to you or any of your groups.

educational social network sites

You could also add files to your library. This is a good place to store all of the materials related to your study.

social network for teachers

Another place that you might want to visit is the “Settings“. Here’s the place to complete your personal information, and change your picture. You can choose one of the available images as your picture or you can upload your own.

social network for teachers

You could also set what kind of notification that you want to receive and what kind of event that you should be notified about. The choices are email and text message. Unfortunately, not everybody can choose text messages as their option as it is only available for users of several major phone providers.

social network for teachers

The Social Side

Above all of the features, the strongest point of Edmodo should be its social side. Just like Facebook, Edmodo makes it easy to search and add friends – whether they are teachers or students. If you are a teacher and you’ve defined your school, you might find other teachers from the same institution.

social network for teachers and students

But Edmodo also finds a way to keep users’ privacy. The group concept will limit everything that happens in a group within the group members. And since it’s impossible to join any group without the access code, teachers can keep “unwanted parties” out of the group.

Even at first glance, I found Edmodo fits most of my requirements for a great teaching-learning tool. But you should not just take my word for it. Try the service yourself and share your opinions in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out our other education-related articles like: 10+ Web Tools To Save Your Butt In School, 8 Awesome Websites to Take Free College Courses Online, and The Five Best Educational YouTube Channels.

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Sync Your To-Do Lists Across Windows PC and Mac With Wunderlist

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 09:31 AM PST

sync todo macThere are several task management tools, apps, and websites in existence, but it's great when can download one that is well designed, easy-to-use and offers Wi-Fi synchronization. The application I’m speaking of is called Wunderlist, recently released by Wunderkinder—a team of developers in Germany.

Wunderlist, a cross-platform (Windows and Mac) tool, may not have all the heavy duty bells and whistles, and features for the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology and associated programs, but if you're looking for something less complicated and straightforward, Wunderlist might well serve your needs.

sync todo mac

Out of the box, Wunderlist is fairly intuitive to use. Upon launching the application, you can set up a quick account for syncing your list of tasks between computers and your iPhone—i.e. when the app is released in a few weeks. Wunderlist starts off with pretty much all the instructions you need for using the application in the form of listed items.

sync to do list

Because Wunderlist doesn't have a tagging/keyword feature, you'll probably want to set up folders or categories for the various topical items you will create, e.g. home, office, shopping, recreation.

sync to do list

Features and How-tos

sync windows mac

  • New items you create automatically get saved, but you do need to press the return key order to commit a new item to your list.
  • To set a date for an item, click the tiny clock icon in the task field to access a pop-up calendar.

    sync windows mac

  • You can drag and re-order items and as well copy them from one folder/category to another.
  • And you might not realize it at first, but you click the box on the left side of an item for when it's done. Also, you simply double-click on an item to edit it.

  • Wunderlist has a handy menu bar at the bottom for filtering items. While you can't create sub-folders or tag items with keywords, the filtering features are probably all that most users will need to track items for by date—e.g. today, tomorrow, next 7 days and undefined due dates.
  • Wunderlist can be customized with one of nine different backgrounds from Plane Jane black to a festive purple look.

    sync windows mac

  • Lastly, you can easily synchronize your list between devices and the soon-to-be released iPhone app. There's no indication as of this writing if the app will also be free.

sync todo mac


Wunderlist is a beta application, so no doubt other features will be added in future updates. It would be great for example if items could be added to Wunderlist from within any application, as well as from the menu bar of your desktop. It would also be useful for example when a task involves a particular application, file, or website, that files could be linked to and launched from within the application. In addition, being able to color code tasks would be another useful organizing feature. Wunderlist certainly doesn't need to be weighted down with lots more buttons and panels, but I'm sure the developers are open to suggestions for what would make the application useful from different types of users.

If you're not already using a task management tool, Wunderlist is certainly worth trying. Its design and simplicity might very well cause you to switch from a more complicated program you're currently using.

For other task management tools and applications, see our list of MUO articles.

Also, if you have a favorite task management application, let us know about it.

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How To Easily Install Microsoft Office 2007 On Linux

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 08:31 AM PST

install office 2007 on linux“Play On Linux” may sound like a toy, but if you want Microsoft Office working on your Linux machine it’s a seriously useful program to have around. User generated scripts make light work of the usually complicated process of installing Office in Linux: there’s no manually installing DLLs, no figuring out which version of Wine will work and no manually installing Internet Explorer to get everything working.

Love it or hate it, the fact is that Microsoft’s suite of office software is a necessary part of many people’s workflow. Some need total document compatibility with Office file formats; others rely on features not yet implemented by Open Office.

Last week we explored how PlayOnLinux makes it easy to install Windows games on Linux, mentioning briefly that the software also works with some serious software as well as games. As it turns out, among this serious software is Microsoft Office 2000, 2003 and 2007. Whether you’re looking to install Microsoft Office 2007 in Ubuntu or any other major Linux distribution, PlayOnLinux has you covered.

Get Play On Linux

The first thing you’re going to need to do is install PlayOnLinux. As we outlined in our recent PlayOnLinux writeup, it’s best to forgo your repositories completely and follow the installation instructions outlined on PlayOnLinux’s download page. Follow the directions there and you can’t go wrong.

Run the software for the first time and everything will be brought up to date, making it easy for you to install Microsoft Office. Click the “Install” button, then click the “Office” category:

install office 2007 on linux

Don’t do anything yet, though; you need your copy of Micrsoft Office ready. Find our CD and your product key.

Insert Your CD

Insert your Microsoft Office CD, if you have one. You need to figure out the CD’s mount point, so that you can correctly point PlayOnLinux toward it. Open your file browser of choice and browse to your CD. Press “Ctl” and “L”, and you should see the location of your CD within your computer’s file structure. Copy this and you’ll be ready to paste it during the installation process.

If you’re a netbook user, or if you’re a student who downloaded an Office ISO through your school’s partnership with Microsoft, it’s simplest to simply extract all files from the Office CD and then copy the path to the folder you’ve extracted everything into. This worked perfectly on my netbook.

The Installation Process

install office on linux

Now the fun begins. Go back to your PlayOnLinux window and double-click the version of Office you want to install. This will begin the installation procedure. One of the first things you’ll be asked for is the location of your Microsoft Office CD:

install office on linux

If you see your CD here, great: just click it. If not, click “Other” and paste the location you found in the above step. From here on out everything should be smooth sailing: the program will install everything Microsoft Office needs to run, including Internet Explorer and the Microsoft fonts.

All you need to do is click “Next” a few times, and enter your Office product key. At the end you’ll be asked whether you want menu or desktop shortcuts for various Office elements. Choose where you want what and you should be good to go.

If you’re not asked about shortcuts it’s safe to assume the process didn’t finish for some reason. Don’t panic; just try again. On one of the systems I tested this process on I needed to repeat all steps, but everything worked perfectly after I did.


install office 2007 on linux

Getting software from one platform working on another is, by nature, complicated. PlayOnLinux takes a lot of this complication away, and it’s completely free. All I know is that I can now use Microsoft Word to edit manuals from my Mac and Windows friends using only my netbook, and that’s a blessing.

Do you think this process works well? Share your experience in the comments below. Alternatively, feel free to flame me for suggesting Linux users may occasionally want to use Microsoft Office instead of the ideologically pure alternatives.

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5 Great Apps That Let You Send, Track, Manage & Do More With Your Money

Posted: 17 Nov 2010 07:31 AM PST

how to manage your moneyIn the digital age, nobody likes carrying a lot of cash around – I know I don’t, anyway. This can be especially frustrating when you go to keep track of your expenses, who you owe money to, who you lent some to and just where it all goes over the month.

As always, there are a lot of apps out there to help you do various things with your money. There are apps to figure out how to manage your money, oversee expenses, send money to people, keep track of who owes you, and more.

In this article, I’ll show you some of the applications you can take advantage of to do everything I’ve mentioned here, leaving you free to pick and choose the apps that will make your life easier.

How to Manage Your Money

I’m beginning to learn just how difficult managing your expenses can be. For the most part, I use my debit card tied to my checking account to make purchases. I use it at the grocery store, when I go out to lunch with my coworkers and on the weekend when I’m out exploring the city.

At the end of the month, my bank statement looks pretty ridiculous. All of these small transactions make it difficult to sift through. I still know what everything is, but if I wanted to see where I could be saving some money I wouldn’t know the first place to look.

Sounds like you? Even if it doesn’t, you could still reap the benefits of visually being able to manage your money. These apps make the process a lot easier.


how to manage your money

Mint has been on our radar since back in 2007 when Karl wrote about it. Plain and simple, if there is one app I want you to keep in mind it’s this one.

Mint is a free personal finance application that can help you compare your bank accounts, credit cards, CDs, brokerage and 401(k) to the best products out there. It offers a visual representation of your finances and is very easy to set up. Use it to manage your budget, get credit card advice and understand investing.

Here’s a great video showcasing an overview of Mint’s features:

For some helpful tips on how to use Mint, check out Bakari’s article on How To Use Mint To Manage Your Budget & Spendings Online.


Thrive (directory app) is also a great application if you’re looking for a simple way to keep track of your spending. With Thrive, you get an overall Financial Health score, which is one number that shows you how financially fit you are. It also shows you scores in other areas and offers you advice on how to make improvements.

manage your money

Thrive breaks down your spending for you and shows you where you can save. Compare your current budget to last month’s, as well as view a six month average and target budgets to follow.


Looking for an even simpler way to track expenses? Texthog (directory app) lets you easily store, organize and access your receipts, expense reports and more via text message, the web, your email, iPhone and even Twitter.

manage your money

A Texthog free account gives one user the ability to track expenses, view unlimited reports and get budget/bill reminders. Take a photo of your receipts and utilize tags and categories to keep track of everything.

To check out Texthog on your iPhone, you can find the application on iTunes.


Speaking of text messages, have you heard of Venmo? Venmo (directory app) is a nice little app that lets you pay and charge friends with your phone. Send and receive secure payments by linking your card to your account. This allows you to settle small loans you give/get by eliminating paper transactions for small amounts of money.

manage your money

To use Venmo, all you do is create an account. You can then send and receive money to other accounts simply by using text commands in SMS. Accept a “trust” request from your friends and make transactions without having to authorize them by texting a 3 digit code.

This is a pretty solid application that I have been using a lot lately with my friends/coworkers. It’s great for when a bunch of you are out to lunch and not everyone has cash on them. “I’ll just put it on my card and Venmo you all afterwards.”

Owe Me Cash

how to manage your money

Owe Me Cash is a nice app I found recently that is also very easy to use. If someone owes you money, you just sign into Owe Me Cash with your Twitter, Facebook, OpenID, or regular account and tell the app about the debt. The app will send automatic reminders to those that owe you money by phone, text and email, so you can get paid!

This app is more fun than serious, but it doubles as an easy way to keep track of who owes you what. Let the app bug your friends to pay you so you don’t have to do it yourself – it’s a win-win.


With these applications, your finances will never look better. Say goodbye to paper money and change.

What do you think of these money-managing applications? Will you be using any of them?

Image Credit: marema

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