Sunday, November 21, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [November 20th]” plus 7 more “Cool Websites and Tools [November 20th]” plus 7 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [November 20th]

Posted: 20 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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Ultratorrent – There are several reasons why people loves torrents. They are very fast, flexible in the many ways you can download torrents, and mostly free. On the flip side, the biggest annoyance with torrent clients is how you have to go to different sites to download the torrent file that you need since there is no built-in search. Enter Ultratorrent, a torrent program that integrates a search engine within its interface to show the best torrents available online. Read more: Ultratorrent: A Torrent Client With Integrated Multisite Search


PDFaid – If you need to work with PDF files but do not have the privileges to install your favorite PDF application, the internet is where you look for help. There are web apps for everything, including creating and modifying PDF files. PDFaid is a website that lets you do both of these things. Read more: PDFaid: Create, Convert & Modify PDF Files Online – Muslims have to pray facing the Holy Site located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This direction is called the Qibla and is not always easy to figure out. One tool that can be used to quickly determine where is the Qibla is the site, a free to use website that will be highly useful for Muslims. Read more: Quickly Determine Where The Qibla Is



LockItTight – is a free web service that can serve as a sort of insurance for your laptop. This tool can help you recover your laptop if you ever lose it, by constantly keeping track of its location. It can also do screen and even webcam captures, which will give you or the authorities an idea of where your laptop is. Read more: LockitTight: Helps to Locate Your Stolen Laptop



WhatColor – Hex color charts on the web are sometimes too small for the eyes so you cannot see the colors properly. One way to test them out is by using Whatcolor, a web utility that displays the color of a certain hex code in your browser by just inputting the code in the address bar. The site will then display a webpage that consists only of the color code(s) that you have entered. Read more: WhatColor: Convert Hex Numbers To HTML Colors


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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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 06:15 PM PST


Check out the top picks from MakeUseOf Geeky Fun during the last week.

  1. Facebook Mail Changes Everything (Pic)
  2. Tabloid newspaper fails at Internets (Pic)
  3. Clean The Fan (Hilarious Song)
  4. How Windows Works (Pic)
  5. The Manslater: Must Have Gadget For Dudes (Video)
  6. Welcome to the real world (Pic)

If you would like to keep up with all latest Geeky Fun additions, please subscribe to the Geeky Fun feed here. You can also subscribe and get the latest additions via email.

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Share, Share, Share…..Spread The Word!

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 05:31 PM PST

With most of the MakeUseOf articles that we profile every day, our main goal is to give you something that you will find interesting and useful.

To show you a website or a software program you can make use of is our number one priority.

This time around, we would like something from you. Something really easy and simple. That is to share MakeUseOf articles you find useful with others. That’s really the best way for you to show your appreciation for our work.

It’s quick and super easy to do.

Simply click one of the sharing buttons at the bottom of the article and vote it up (or share).

As you can see, there are options to share the article with your friends on Facebook, Twitter (retweet), StumbleUpon and Digg. Also, there is a ‘ShareThis‘ button which lets you share the article on several other social networks as well as giving you an option to email the link to someone.

You might not realize it but this has a major impact on our daily workflow and the popularity of So if you’re an avid reader and like what we are doing, please make sure to always share the articles you find useful with friends.

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Embedly WordPress Plugin: Embedding Content On Your Blog Has Never Been Easier!

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 04:31 PM PST

embedded contentAnyone who has a blog on WordPress knows that embedding content normally goes pretty much smoothly there – unless you have to deal with different types of content and codes.

WordPress Editor is awful when it comes to embedding an iFrame – besides, in some cases, it chooses to strip the embed code once you click from “HTML” tab to “Visual” editor.

Embedly is a new promising start-up that is said to help you “embed anything” to your blog post. It works via the Embedly oEmbed API that currently supports about 100 huge content sources that can be embedded to your blog with one click.

The problems that the plugin is aiming to solve:

  • Different content providers have different embed codes – with the plugin you no more need to worry about that. Just use one unified way to embed anything.
  • Some huge content sources do not provide for a clear way to share their content without hosting it – the plugin expands your possibilities by letting you embed what you have never tried to.

Installing Embedly

The Embedly WordPress plugin is installed just like any regular plugin: choose your preferred way (either manually or with the help of the WordPress admin area plugin installer) and activate the plugin.

Immediately after that you should see a new menu section called “Embedly”. That new section lists all your services that you can from now on “effortlessly” embed to your blog.

There’s an option to disable any of the services (I couldn’t find a reason to disable any of them – even if I am not going to use it in the near future, who knows, maybe I’ll need it at some point).

embedded content

Besides obvious sources like YouTube, SlideShare and Scribd, you’ll be surprised to see a few popular sites you’d never think to embed content from, such as:

  • Twitter;
  • Craiglist;
  • CNN;
  • Amazon;
  • Digg, etc

Give It A Try

So how exactly does Embedly make it easier to embed content? You are going to love it!

From now on you don’t need an embed code to embed anything. All you need is your content source URL – just paste it in your editor and it will be converted into a rich embed!

Now let’s give it a try. Create a new post, add some short introduction and try embedding, say, your Tweet.

Embedding A Tweet

All you need is to grab your Tweet direct URL and copy-paste it into your WordPress Editor. When you are saving the draft or publishing the draft, this URL will be turned into the embedded Tweet:

embedded content

(Much easier than even BlackBird, isn’t it?).

Now let’s try to embed other types of content:

Embedding YouTube Video

Just grab the video URL and copy-paste it into the editor. I was curious to see which dimensions the embed video was going to be. The choice turned out to be a bit unexpected: looks like the plugin used the small size (see the actual output on my test post):

content in blog

So we tested it with a Tweet and with a video. Now let’s try something different for a change: How has the start-up been doing in terms of traffic? All we need is to copy-paste this URL – – right into the editor:

content in blog

Looks like a great tool! What are your thoughts about it?  Let us know in the comments.

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Hot Tech Deals [Nov 20th]

Posted: 20 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. Dell Vostro 3700 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 17.3in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB/Win7) $599

  2. Dell Vostro 3500 Intel Core i3 2.4GHz 15.6in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB/Win7) $539 Free Overnight Shipping

  3. Dell Vostro 3400 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 14in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $539

  4. Dell Vostro 3300 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 13.3in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $599

  5. ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU GTX 460 768MB 192-Bit DDR5 Video Card $114.99AR Free Shipping via code BTEZZZS32

  6. The Boxee Box by D-Link $179.99 Free Shipping via code V69?N67T203R2H

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Gloobus Preview Opens Almost Anything, Quickly [Linux]

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 11:31 AM PST

gloobus previewHit space, see a quick preview of almost any file. Gloobus Preview bills itself as “the holy grail of preview” which may be an overstatement – but not by much. Being able to, in one keystroke, quickly open documents, movies, pictures and music makes it easy to figure out if you’ve found the file you’re looking for.

Plugging into Nautilus, the default file browser in Gnome, Gloobus’ preview tool can open just about anything. Be it a PDF, an AVI, a Word Document or an MP3, Gloobus Preview can open it quickly and easily.

Not intending to be a universal editor, Gloobus only shows you the contents of a file; you cannot edit files with it. A button built into the interface allows you to quickly open a given file with the default program for the job.

I managed to install Gloobus Preview on Ubuntu, but it should in theory work on any distro. Installing Nautilus Elementary helps with the experience, but isn’t necessary.

See Your Files Quickly

Gloobus Preview can quickly open just about everything. Using it is simple: just open your file browser and hit “Space” when you want to preview a file. This will quickly open a slick window with a quick preview:

gloobus preview

As you can see, this is perfect for pictures: you’re given a quick look at the photo that’s larger than Nautilus’ tiny thumbnail. But the program doesn’t only support photos. This gives you a fast way to browse your photos.

But it doesn’t stop there. Word documents and PDFs are also supported, really useful if (for example) you’re looking for a certain document but can’t remember it’s name.

gloobus ubuntu

Not enough? Your media can also be quickly previewed, including videos and music. Click space to quickly identify your videos:

gloobus preview

Music works just as well, which could come in handy when you’re looking for a specific tune. I could go on, but you get the general idea: all of your files, quickly previewed.

The biggest shortcoming here, for me, is the inability to preview docx and xlsx files – Microsoft’s new(ish) file formats for Word and Excel. I assume this will come soon enough, though.

Installing Gloobus Preview

Ready to check it out? Time to install Gloobus Preview, then. Sadly this is not yet a straight-forward process, but don’t panic: we’ll get through it together.

If you’re a Ubuntu user, open your Terminal. I know, you hate the Terminal, but it’s the easiest way. You’re going to want to run this command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gloobus-dev/gloobus-preview

This will automatically install and autheticate the Gloobus PPA. Now all you need to do is update your package manager and install the “gloobus-preview” package. Do this with the GUI tools, if you like, or with the following two commands:

sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install gloobus-preview

Just like that you’re done, but if you want to preview word Documents you’ll also want to ensure you have the “unoconv” package installed. Check the software center for it.

A note: I wasn’t able to get this working on 10.10 until I installed Nautilus Elementary, so be sure to give that a try if you’re having trouble. It’s pretty great to have on your system anyway.

Non-Ubuntu users: sorry. There’s not a lot of directions for getting Gloobus Preview installed out there, but Gloobus Preview’s download page is probably the best place to start looking. You’ll find the source code there, as well as a package for Arch Linux.

Supported File Types

  • Images: jpeg, png, icns, bmp, svg, gif, psd, xcf
  • Documents: pdf, cbr, cbz, doc, xls, odf, ods, odp, ppt
  • Source: c++ , c#, java, javascript, php, xml, log, sh, python
  • Audio: mp3, ogg, midi, 3gp, wav
  • Video: mpg, avi, ogg, 3gp, mkv, flv
  • Other: folders, ttf, srt, plain-text


This program’s already saved me a lot of time, and I’ve only been using it for a week. What about you: do you think it’s useful? Or is it just more bloat? Let me know, and also let me know if you know of any better tools for doing this!

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4 Simple Steps To Achieving & Maintaining Inbox Zero In Gmail

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 09:31 AM PST

email inboxWith three email accounts, one for work, one personal and one for MakeUseOf, I find myself spending more time checking my email and trying to keep all the messages under control than actually getting much work done. Luckily, all three email accounts are Gmail or Google Apps accounts, and so in an attempt to organise one account, I followed several steps that can be applied to all three. Gmail provides several tools that will help you declutter your inbox and, more importantly, keep it that way.

Achieving Inbox Zero is actually a pretty simple task, and maintaining it can be done with minimal effort on your part, as long as you have a decent system in place.

These are a few simple steps that can help you put that system into motion and, in addition, keep your archive free of large attachments that take up space, which even with Gmail’s huge capacity, after a few years, it can begin to run out.

Set up filters

The first step when decluttering your inbox is to create filters. This is useful because the filters can be applied to all of the messages that are already clogging your inbox. While Gmail filters make it easy to create these filters, Syphir takes it all one step further, effectively putting your filters on steroids.

With Syphir you can filter out mass forwards, archive emails once they’ve been in your inbox for a certain amount of time, push back personal, Facebook or Twitter related emails during your work day so you don’t get distracted and keep your inbox clean and tidy.

email inbox

A key way in which you can use Syphir to keep your email tidy and organised is to create a label system that will suit your own personal needs, jobs and projects. That way finding older emails will be a snap. Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable giving a third party access to your email, you can make do with Gmail’s native filter system.

Creating filters is very important when it comes to decluttering your inbox because once you have all of your filters in place, your inbox will stay organised.

Convert Emails Into Tasks

After setting up your filters, the next step is to address the emails that are still in your inbox.

organize email inbox

I tend to keep emails in my inbox until I’ve handled the related issue or task. More often than not, the task can be forgotten, and as you receive more emails, you run the risk of completely forgetting all about it. Before you know it, your inbox is once again full of emails you have read, but have not dealt with.

To stay on top of things, convert your emails into tasks immediately using Gmail Tasks.

manage email inbox

Each task will be accompanied by a link to the related email, so you don’t spend time looking for it if you need to refer to or reply to it.

Reply To Routine Emails Using Canned Responses

Replying to routine emails using Canned Responses makes it easy to clear out those emails that have you typing the same response over and over again.

manage email inbox

Using features like Gmail’s canned responses makes it easier and faster to get to your final goal of Inbox Zero.

Use Priority Inbox To Reply To The Rest Of Your Emails

Now that your Gmail inbox is organised, and you’ve replied to your routine emails using Canned Responses, all that’s left to do is prioritise the rest of your emails.

Use Gmail’s Priority Inbox to figure out what order you’ll be addressing or replying to the emails you receive.

Clean Out The Archive

As a bonus step, if you find yourself running out of space in your Gmail account, you might need a quick and easy to get rid of the emails that are taking up too much space. There are several ways you can search for the largest emails in your Gmail archive.

The simples and and most direct method is to run the search has:attachment. If you would like to specify the kind of attachment, since a word document doesn’t take up as much space as an audio or video file, search for specific files using filename:mp3filename:avifilename: mov and so forth.

If you want to hand over the task to a third party service, authorise Find Big Mail and it will automatically root out all the large emails in your Gmail account.

manage email inbox

FindBigMail will perform a search and categorise your emails by size using labels in your inbox, which you can can then sift through.

email inbox

What do you do to keep your Gmail inbox empty? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Get $130 Worth of Software for $30, All For a Good Cause [News]

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 08:30 AM PST

At MakeUseOf, we love a good deal, and it’s even better when it’s all in the name of a good cause. Head over to Twinkel for an amazing 5 app pack worth $130 for just $30. From time management software, to physics based games, to secure backup, the Twinkel-Qumi Homes package has a little something for everyone.

And the best part is that it’s all part of a fundraising initiative for the South Africa based charity Qumi Homes, a home for the intellectually handicapped. As we get closer to the holidays, why not give yourself a gift of great software, knowing that you’ll make a difference in someone’s life.


Worth $15.99, Klok Desktop Application is the perfect companion to freelancers for whom time always means money. Visually keep track of where your time goes in the easy-to-use calendar format. Klok is an Adobe Air application.

Genie Timeline Home 2.1

Priced at $39.95, Genie Timeline Home makes it a snap to backup all your data. From disaster recovery to mobile access and monitoring, you know your data is secure. Genie Timeline Home is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7.

And Yet It Moves

And Yet It Moves brings a bit of fun to the bundle. The award winning physics-based game worth $9.99 is a DRM free puzzle that will keep gamers busy with endless challenges. And Yet It Moves is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

All My Notes

All My Notes is a personal information manager that can be used in a variety of ways. From storing sensitive information like passwords and pin numbers, to simply giving you a way to keep a private diary away from prying eyes. All My Notes is compatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7.

Display Fusion

Do you have to focus on several monitors at once? If you do, Display Fusion streamlines the task of getting all your work done on more than one monitor. From wallpaper management to a multi-monitor taskbar, Display Fusion is compatible with all versions of Windows, from 2000 to 7.

Head over to Twinkel and get the bundle while you can!

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