Friday, November 26, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [November 25th]” plus 12 more “Cool Websites and Tools [November 25th]” plus 12 more

Link to

Cool Websites and Tools [November 25th]

Posted: 25 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.

Add Your Website Here!



HasWifi – Long flights can be very boring and unproductive because you are unable to do anything for a long time, and that is why in-flight Wi-Fi is one of the most demanded service from airlines. Unfortunately though, not all flights have Wi-Fi service. If you want to know which flights are Wi-Fi capable, check out HasWifi. Read more: HasWifi: Check in-Flight Wifi Availability



MarkUp – is a nice online tool that helps you quickly mark up a webpage and then share it with others. It offers a browser bookmarklet that you need to click when you want to use it. You can use it to annotate webpages using various shapes like arrows, boxes circles etc. It also lets you mark specific portions on the page and then add notes. Read more: MarkUp: A Quick Web Page Markup Tool




Simple Timer & Clocks – is a Firefox add-on that integrates a timer, a clock (includes all time zones) and calendar, all into one application. When you install this extension, you will get a small blue alarm clock icon in your status bar. But the real power of this tool is revealed when you check its preferences panel. Read more: Simple Timer + Clocks: Firefox Based Alarm Clock, Timer & Calendar




Theta Music Trainer – is an interesting online service that music lovers, especially the ones looking to start learning it, will find useful. It aims to teach basic music playing skills through online games. It's what they call "Ear training – skills that allow to play, improvise and compose music by ear." There are different kinds of games available. Read more: Theta Music Trainer: Site for Learning & Teaching Music with Games




Venmo – Have you ever been to a restaurant and discovered that you left your wallet at home? In such situations, your friends are the best ones to help. Venmo is a web tool that facilitates money between friends. Venmo is a web service with a wonderful concept behind: it lets friends SMS text money transfer each other. Read more: Venmo: Text Money Transfer Between Friends


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.

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

The 15 Most Incredible Questions Never Published [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 06:31 PM PST

We launched MakeUseOf Answers in late January this year. Since then we have received over 2,000 questions. More than 500 had to be rejected.

While some rejected questions were tests, duplicates, jokes, or spam, others lacked information or were simply impossible to understand. A few, however, were quite interesting or shall I say hilarious? I let you be the judge.

Here is my pick of the 15 most incredible questions received but never published on MakeUseOf Answers. Please note that all of these questions are real and were not edited!


Category: MakeUseOf

Subject: What is the phone number where I can ask about information??

Question: This website declares that you can send a question to it and it will send you the answers……….So where is the phone number????????? I’m really confused….HELP ME FRIENDS.

Best Questions

Category: Email

Subject: how to cover not to send unnecessary gmail’s address

Question: Hello, Good evening,
Let me tell about I never want someone to send unnecessary gmail’s address in my account. How can I do not to enter kind of needless account in my mail?.Please give me instruction how to make.

Best Questions

Category: Hardware

Category: Websites / Services

Subject: How can I read your answer

Question: May I know how to reply our question. I had sent what I want to know gmail about. How long take to reply in our mail? How will I read your answer?

Best Questions

Category: Software

Subject: Ubantu

Question: I have windows XP and lately I been seing this UBANTU all over.
Should I get it? ,and how do I get it?

Best Questions

Category: MakeUseOf

Subject: Virus on your Site

Question: I just went thru He-Dboule LL to get back to Ask a Question. Having a LOT of difficulty even getting to/thru pages on your site!!
UNREAL, I Copied the site/page with the virus problem but-DUH-before I could give it to you my PC totally Locked & I had to restart, so, Don’t have the freakin page/address to COPY. Anyway it was a Firefox page. My search was: What is Firefox? (How Embarrassing!! No, I didn’t quite understand FIREFOX.)
Anyway, I’m getting OFF your site b.c. I’m Scared to be on it.
TIP: a Large RED Button on every page to report an issue might be useful too. Later & Good Luck. (My PC also deletes History upon Exit, so, will be happy to help IF I can. You have my e-mail & be happy to give you a ph # if like.) & I’m TOTALLY LATE NOW.

Best Questions

Category: Mobile Devices

Subject: Help

Question: my phone is lost. Can I dial my number from here?

Best Questions

Category: Email

Subject: confusing

Question: why am i so confused ?

Best Questions

Wrong Forum

Category: Other



How To Get Answers

Category: MakeUseOf

Subject: pak-china nuclear agrrement

Question: what are the advantages of agreement sign between pakistan and china on nuclear power

How To Get Answers

Category: Other

Subject: exam paper

Question: pls provide me previous years set question papers and keys

How To Get Answers

Category: Other

Subject: Finance  ( examples of this )

Question: Please: Give me basic or simple examples of what is Finance? To know what is the real difference between Economy and Finance. Thank you.

How To Get Answers


Category: Social Media

Subject: How can i get out of my problem fast ?and what should i do ? plz answer fast and wisely

Question: My father, married a woman , who later got pregnant and gave birth to a girl. my father didnt tell us that he got married and when he knew that we knew that he got married , he stopped giving us money…..

Funny Questions

Category: Other

Subject: Tracking

Question: How can i track my unfaithful spouse’s cpu details without actually installing a program on her pc or how can i trace her mobile calls or her sms messaging without all these over priced software..desparate pls

Funny Questions

Category: Websites / Services

Subject: Can’t A GIRL GET A LOAN???

Question: i am in desperate need of a bad credit, unsecured loan. i have went to over 100 sites and filled in over 300 apps only to be juggled back n forth. i am employed. Brand new job, and if I dont find funding I will be homeless. after 2 weeks of trying I am just nuts. state aid wont help because I will be making too much money. I need a lifepresearver qu like so many others.

Funny Questions


Category: Windows

Subject: Freezing

Question: How can I stop my Computer from freezing all the time

Answer: Turn up the heat. Not!

stupid questions

So which one cracked you up? Or was one of these your own funny question? Let’s hear!

In the meantime you can browse all published inquiries by Latest Questions, Unanswered Questions or Most Popular Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

Need help? Ask us at MakeUseOf Answers!

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

The Top 5 Current Facebook Scams To Watch Out For

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 05:31 PM PST

facebook scamsThere’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Facebook here at MUO recently. We’ve only just published our very unofficial guide to Facebook privacy, there’s the recent article about the new Facebook data downloader and I blew a fuse in a recent rant.

Even if you’re happy-as-Larry with the service, spend all your spare time poking your friends and uploading photos then you might be aware that a number of Facebook scams exist, some being more obvious to spot than others.

A simple lapse in concentration or placing trust in the recommendation of a friend could compromise your account, and any websites that share your Facebook login information. I’m not saying everyone’s out to get you – but you might want to look over your virtual shoulder every now and again.

Help – I’m Stuck In Nigeria!

This kind of scam is the perfect example of how your account can be misused should your details somehow get stolen. Picture the scene – one of your good friends has gone away, backpacking through some enchanting yet fairly dangerous places.

Suddenly you get a message. Oh no! Your friend has lost her wallet in Lagos and now needs a quick Western Union money transfer or else she’ll surely be stuck. Or is she? Has she simply forgotten to log out at an internet café and had her account compromised?

facebook scams

Did she actually go anywhere in the first place?

These kinds of scams prey on those who make use of public access points, but you don’t necessarily need to be travelling to have your details stolen. If you do get any messages from friends asking for sums of money (whatever the reason), you should immediately become suspicious.

If you can get to an internet café you can get to a phone – never send money without overwhelming proof of who you are sending it to.

Join This Group – AMAZING Things Will Happen!

Any group that attests to having some fantastic feature appear on your account upon joining is a scam. That’s right folks, there is no "profile tracker" or "dislike button" to be had, only links to ad-farms and registration forms that spam your email address.

facebook scams and dangers

The golden rule here is if it looks too good to be true – then it’s definitely not genuine. You won’t be getting a free iPod by filling out that survey, simply providing someone else with your data that can then be used for unsolicited contact.

It could be a grammatical nightmare constructed by a 15 year old girl or a well thought out attempt to get some clicks; either way – don’t join.

Fakebook Connect

Facebook’s useful cross-site login feature called Connect is also a fond target for scammers. Personally I always register separate accounts for this very reason – but I’m probably just paranoid.

Fake “Connect with Facebook” windows are likely to catch a considerable amount of users out – and once you’ve entered that oh-so-important email and password combination then there’s not much you can do.

facebook scams and dangers

If you think you’ve fallen foul to a Facebook Connect scam then you should immediately change your password.

Reel Big Phishing

Phishing is the name given to the act of gaining a user’s login information by deceit, such as imitating a commonly used service. Facebook is the web’s favourite timewaster, and despite browser advancements that now warn of known dishonest websites, phishing is still used to reel in unsuspecting victims.

facebook scams and dangers

Many who use this technique are turning to URL shortening services to mask the fake web address. You can avoid all phishing scams by taking extra care to check the web address you are visiting in your browser’s address bar. Also avoid any “totally shocking” videos that direct you to applications in order to deliver some unmissable content.

Don’t forget if you see something like or then you know you’re being scammed.

Off-Site Malware

I touched on this in my rant about Facebook – there are an increasing amount of websites establishing themselves as aggregated “Like” lists.

It’s a chance for the masses to congregate and decide that "Justin Bieber is a legend!" and rejoice at the 25,000 Likes and counting. I’ve noticed a lot of these sites can throw up a malware warning in Chrome, which isn’t exactly surprising.

facebook scams

Some (but not all) of these sites are simply cashing in on the popularity of Facebook, and preying on a target audience that is often more interested in Saturday morning television than online privacy and data protection.

If you’ve got a bad case of children and Internet Explorer syndrome then make sure you run regular virus scans and educate your sprogs about the virtues of personal data and computer welfare.


Facebook is another of those things that can be exploited for some sort of personal gain. Keep your eyes peeled when you’re sharing your data with other services, and don’t be hasty when there’s money involved.

Oh, and if you notice one of your friends’ accounts looks compromised – maybe pick up that phone, like in the good ole’ days, and let them know.

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

The VLC Media Player – Does it Really Play Everything?

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 03:31 PM PST

vlc media playerThe VLC media player is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia program, developed by the VideoLAN project. It’s available for all common operating systems, plus a few more. The website boldly states that “It plays everything!” and suggests you don’t need additional codecs. Well, is that so?

Sure enough, testing the most common file types, you will find that VLC leaves Windows Media Player in the dust. But what about rare formats? Is it capable of playing any audio and video file format out there?

This article will shed some light on the true capabilities of the VLC media player. I will reveal which file types it really supports and highlight some interesting features that, due to its simplistic interface, you may never have discovered.

How Come VLC Media Player Needs No Codecs?

Well, it does need codecs! However, it comes with nearly every codec built in. The developers did all the work, so you don’t have to worry about it. The question is, why don’t more developers follow this brilliant strategy of making life easier for the user?

vlc media player

Does It Really Play Everything?

VLC does handle an impressive amount of media and input formats. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that not every codec is included and hence not every file format supported. The list of supported formats reveals, for example, that it lacks support for some Indeo Video codecs. You can check out all supported input media, input formats, video formats, audio formats, and more on the VLC Playback Features page.

free vlc player

To be fair, it should be said that the Indeo codecs are proprietary, meaning they are not freely available. Besides, Indeo has become almost meaningless since the late 90′s. Intel essentially stopped developing and marketing it a decade ago. Subsequently, the codecs still come with several security vulnerabilities that likely will never be fixed. Taken together, it’s no wonder that there is only limited support for the corresponding files.

Ok, spill the means, what else does it not play?

There really isn’t a lot that VLC does not play. However, there are some exceptions. Let’s have a look at the facts for the three most popular operating systems: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Input media

VLC supports all  standard input media, including audio CDs, video CDs and DVDs, even DVB. Yet, it doesn’t play everything. The limits are as follows:

  • DCCP / RTP Unicast: supported only in Linux
  • SVCD: partial support only
  • DVB: plugin required for EyeTV on the Mac
  • MPEG encoder: not supported on the Mac
  • Video acquisition (webcam): only partial support for iSight on the Mac
  • HD-DVD and BluRay: not supported (details)

Input formats

Whether you want to play mpeg, avi, ogg, wav, or flv files, VLC rules them all, with a single excpetion: Real media files are only partially supported across all operating systems.

Video formats

All popular and a lot of mediocre and rare formats are supported. As mentioned and explained above, the only exception are files requiring the Indeo Video 4/5 codec.

Audio formats

Again, all popular formats are supported. And as indicated above, the only party pooper is Real Audio. It’s listed as only partially supported because the Sipr codec playback is not supported. Also Midi files have not been tested on the Mac.

For even more information, head over to the VLC Playback Features page.

What Else Should I Know About VLC?

Ok, so it only plays almost everything, but that definitely puts it light years ahead of any other free media player currently on the market. If that isn’t enough to convince you, have a look at the all of the additional perks that come with VLC. You probably had no idea they were there. Here is a list that will make your jaw drop:

  • playlist support.
  • subtitles support.
  • increase or decrease playback speed.
  • support for screencasting (recording the desktop).
  • streaming of live, unencrypted content to a monitor or HDTV.

vlc media player

  • in file audio and video bookmarks.
  • enhanced audio and video effects.
  • playback of damaged, incomplete, or unfinished video files.
  • access media files within .iso disk images.
  • DirectX Wallpaper and Direct 3D Desktop modes for video playback.
  • playback DVD’s regardless of region coding (RPC-1 firmware drives only).
  • portable version available.
  • free and open source.

Does that sound like a deal?


The VLC media player undeniably is the most versatile free media player out there. Not only does it support almost any file format, it also comes with an impressive collection of useful and entertaining extra features. Nevertheless, it’s a compact little program with a very uncluttered and easy to use interface. Best of all, it’s free and open source. What else could you possibly ask for?

Are you crazy about the VLC media player now? Check out our other resources:

Looking for alternatives? Another player that comes with native support for popular audio and video files is KMPLayer. It is also discussed in the article  Top 5 Free Media Players For Windows. However, it is only available for Windows. For some more comments, have a look at this question on MakeUseOf Answers: Which media player is the best?

Did you ever encounter issues with VLC Media Player? If it’s not your favorite media player, then what is?

NEW: Download MakeUseOf iPhone App. FREE!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

MakeUseOf Team Spotlight [November 25th 2010]

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 02:30 PM PST

MakeUseOf Team Spotlight is our occasional feature where we profile the work of our writers outside of MakeUseOf. We have some very talented employees who like to spread their talents all around the web and it’s only right that we should recognise and showcase those talents.

In this edition of Spotlight, we will be profiling the work of soon-to-be staff writer James Bruce and Jackson. We’ve got some very interesting posts including 2 giveaways this week so check it out!

How to use Facetime on the Mac

Posted on TokyoBit by James Bruce

Facetime for Mac OS X was released but it’s far from intuitive to use, especially if you want to call yourself from your own PC (the most common use-case, I’m guessing).

Here’s a quick guide to calling different devices, like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and OS X from each other. Hopefully, this will clear it all up and have you calling yourself in no time!

Giveaway: 5 x Daniusoft DRM Converter [Windows]

Posted on TheDailyBuggle by Jackson Chung

As a consumer, do you really see the point in being strangled by DRM? Neither does Jackson. This week, he’s be offering up to 5 FREE licenses for Daniusoft DRM Converter, a simple Windows application that’s able to strip DRM from any audio and video file. Just click on this link to get to the giveaway page.

That’s not all. He’s also giving away ONE free license for Nero’s Multimedia Suite Platinum HD worth $129.99. Head over to the giveaway page now. Hurry, both of these giveaways end on Friday!

If you would like to follow the MUO staff yourself on Twitter, check out this Twitter list, which is updated on a regular basis, as staff are hired or fired. From there, you can click through to each writer’s Twitter profile where you can subscribe to them for all their latest updates.

Image Credit: Visualogist

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

10 Awesome Free Documentaries That You Can Watch Online

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 01:31 PM PST

free documentariesDo you love documentaries? Do you love watching them for free? Well, you’re in the right place.

Free documentaries come in a number of different styles and are made for a variety of reasons. Most of them aim to educate the viewer on a particular topic: war; environment; health. Documentaries can also be used to enlighten viewers and give them a new point of view. Mostly they serve to highlight our previous mistakes so they don’t happen again — which is why it’s important to watch them. Many documentaries these days also try to incorporate stunning visuals and sound to keep the viewer’s attention as they’re watching.

Here’s ten of the best free feature-length documentaries available to watch online.


Michael Moore might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Sicko is a timely insight into the world’s medical systems. If you’re not a fan of Michael Moore, rest assured that in this film he mostly holds off on his trademark angry interviews (not entirely, though). Instead, it’s a qualitative look at various medical systems around the world made largely by interviewing everyday people about their experiences with their own system. I found the insights quite revealing and would recommend this for anyone who wants to learn more about how health care works around the world.

If you’re into Michael Moore, check out Bowling for Columbine too.

free documentaries


Religulous is a documentary about the ridiculousness of organised religion. Bill Maher doesn’t just single out one religion — he talks to people at many places of worship, including many smaller places like Truckers’ chapels. But, by pointing out the flaws and weirder practices, he essentially gets on the wrong side of just about every religion he discusses. He engages all manner of people in religious debate, including one guy who plays the part of Jesus for a religious theme park.

Keep your eye out for a notable interview with a senator which led to one incredibly stupid remark.

online documentaries


Earthlings is about how humans treat the other living creatures on this planet. Primarily it focuses on day-to-day business practices which profit from animals. As you might guess, looking at it from this perspective doesn’t paint us humans in such a great light.

The film features some gorgeous footage of nature, Joaquin Phoenix on the voice-overs and music by Moby.

free online documentaries

Invisible Children

The film Invisible Children was made by three teenagers in 2003, who visited Africa in search of something worthy of attention. They eventually reached Northern Uganda and found the children suffering the effects of a 20 year war using child soldiers.


Home is a great documentary about the earth and the delicate balance which sustains life on it. Even if you think you know all the movie will tell you, it still serves as a compelling reminder. The film was directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, produced by Luc Besson and features a voice-over from Glenn Close. Throughout the film, you can’t help but notice the amazing cinematography feature. It’s both beautiful and intriguing.

free online documentaries

After The Fall

After The Fall is a film about the physical and emotional memory of the Berlin Wall 10 years after the fall of the Berlin wall. While interviewing people who lived in Berlin at the time, the film features beautiful visuals of Berlin to keep you watching.

Man With A Camera

The Man With A Camera is both a documentary and experimental art, so it’s come to be one of the first movies film studies students are told to watch. The idea behind Dziga Vertov’s film is multi-layered and intriguing: Ostensibly it’s a documentary about life in the Soviet Union; it’s a documentary of the filming of that documentary; and it’s a documentary of the audience response to the documentary. However, none of the original film is in this documentary. Very meta.

The Fog Of War: Eleven Lessons From The Life Of Robert S. McNamara

The Fog of War is a fascinating insight into the US government’s decisions regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam policy. Robert McNamara gives viewers 11 lessons we all need to learn from those decisions in order to avoid making the same mistakes. To enhance the haunting visuals, the film score was written by Philip Glass and it beautifully matches the powerful imagery.

Super Size Me

Super Size Me is an experiment in food and health. Morgan Spurlock won a Sundance award with this horrifying insight into the way junk food affects your body. He also takes time to explore how junk food is marketed to children and how our choices are influenced by junk food marketing.

free online documentaries

The Corporation

The Corporation explores the concept of a corporation, the role of a corporation and how corporations came to have the powers they do. The movie also psychoanalyses corporations: if corporations have the same rights as “a person”, what sort of a person would they be?

free documentaries

Need More?

As an added bonus, you might like these free documentaries too.

Let us know what your favourite documentary is in the comments!

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Hot Tech Deals [Nov 25th]

Posted: 25 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. TomTom XL 340TM GPS Navigation (4.3in, Lifetime Traffic & Map Updates) $99.99 Free Ship

  2. eMachines E233Hbd 23in Widescreen LCD Monitor $119.99 Free Shipping

  3. AOC F22 22in Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ DVI $99.99 Free Shipping

  4. Acer V203HV 20in Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ DVI $79.99 Free Shipping

  5. Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5 High Definition Flip Camcorder $99.99 Free Shipping

  6. Dell Vostro 1014 Intel Core 2 Duo T6570 2.1GHz 14in Laptop (2GB/250GB/Win7) $379

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Turn Any Computer Into A Music Server With Firefly [Cross Platform]

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 11:31 AM PST

digital music serverIf you’ve got a dedicated media center computer it probably contains all your music. Stop running iTunes in the background just to share your music: stream your music from your netbook, laptop or any computer in the house using Firefly.

Based on the DAAP protocol, Firefly can share your music easily with software including iTunes, Rhythmbox, Songbird, Amarok and more. It even transcodes file formats iTunes can’t play, such as .ogg, on-the-fly, meaning you can listen to any song with limited software. Firefly does all of this without leaving a bloated playback application running on your media center. This program does one thing – share music with the rest of your network – and that’s it.

Sure, you could just set up a shared network folder, but if all you want is music, you’ll quickly find Firefly to be a faster approach. If you want to share music between your computers, but don’t want to mess around with setting up shared folders, Firefly Media Server is what you’re looking for. It’s a free download for Windows Mac and Linux.

So What Is DAAP?

So, what is the DAAP protocol? As with all questions, Wikipedia has the answer. Basically, DAAP (Digital Audio Access Protocol) is the protocol iTunes uses to share music with other computers on the network. This protocol, first bundled with iTunes 4, was quickly reverse-engineered to allow users of music players other than iTunes to access shared libraries. This is why Linux users, for example, can quickly and easily see iTunes shares on their network.

Firefly isn’t a music player. It’s a program that enables any computer to share its music with software like iTunes. This means iTunes is a media “server.” You can access this “server” with appropriate “client” software, such as iTunes. Keep reading for a list of compatible clients!

Setting Up Firefly

First things first: you need to download Firefly. Ubuntu Linux users need only click here to install Firefly. Windows, Mac and other Linux users can find what they’re looking for on Firefly’s download page. Mac and Windows users will have to download a “nightly” version, because the stable version does not support those platforms easily as of November 2010.

Linux users will need some command line prowess to get everything set up. I could explain that here, but you might as well check out this helpful blog post because it’s really easy to follow.

Windows users don’t need to work so hard. After installation they will find the following tray icon, with a configuration window:

digital music server

Everything you need to configure is there, including the location of your music folder and your network settings.

Mac users will find a configuration panel in their System Preferences:

music server

Nothing to explain here. Hopefully Linux configuration will be as easy as Windows and Linux soon enough, but it’s good to be able to run this program on all three so no real complaints.

iTunes Not Working?

Can’t get Firefly working with iTunes? There was a brief hiccup with compatibility with iTunes 10, but everything is working again with 10.1. Upgrade iTunes now and everything should be awesome. It is for me:

music server

I have to say, rarely does Apple fix compatibility with third party products. I’m happy with this.

Other Clients

Rhythmbox, the default music player on Ubuntu and other Gnome-based Linux distributions, supports Firefly out of the box:

digital music server

But there a lot more DAAP-compatible clients out there. Wikipedia has a great list of software that supports DAAP, so use that to find your ideal music player.You might even notice your favorite program already supports it!

Feel free to name any other clients you know of in the comments below, and to let me know how the software works for you.

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Print Anything Wherever You Are With PrinterOn

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 10:31 AM PST

print anywhereWith all of the mobility and digital gadgetry that we have these days, it’s a wonder we haven’t completely done away with using paper printouts for anything anymore. The technology fanatic’s dream is a world where everything is automated and all information is not only digitized, but also accessible from anywhere in the world.

This is a cool idea for a technological utopia of the future, but today the world is no closer to a truly paperless society. People still like the reality and authority that paper provides. When it’s “on paper,” it really means something. So there are times when you’re conducting business or collaborating on a project with your classmates that you’ll need to quickly print something out. It might be an important diagram, a photo or a paper that you forgot to print on your race to get out the door to class.

Here at MUO, we’ve brought you lots of apps meant to make such a fast-paced mobile life a lot easier. Aibek described how you could get your postal mail in PDF format right in your email inbox. Simon described how you can use Printershare installed on your home PC to print anything you want to print from your mobile phone.

If you need a solution that lets you print anywhere you are, then you’ll love PrinterOn. Once you see the flexibility of the PrinterOn global printing system, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been using it all along.

The Mobile Printing Solution

The cool thing about PrinterOn is that it’s named such because it’s like having a printer that’s “always on”. No matter where you are in the world, you can point your Internet ready phone to and find a local printer near you. The system is set up especially for travelers that are constantly on the road and without any immediate means to print documents. And printer locations, like cafes, libraries or hotels, are willing to provide the service because it gets customers in the door.

print anywhere

When you search by keyword, you can type in your location, such as city and state, and you’ll see a list of the printer locations nearest you. Once you have the list, the magic key is that special email address.

print to any printer

Just compose an email to that email address and attach the file that you want to print. Once you arrive at your destination, it will be there waiting for you.

print to any printer

Once you send the email, you’ll receive a response back with a secret code. Keep it handy because you won’t be able to pick up your printout unless you have that code.

Printing From A Browser

Another option is the browser approach to using PrinterOn. This is perfect if you’re at a public computer, such as at a mall or an Internet cafe, and there’s no printer available. In that case, all you have to do is point the browser over to, and you’ll find yourself at the location directory page.

print to any printer

All you have to do is drill down starting from country to your local area, and you’ll see a list of the nearest locations that you can print to. In my case, I discovered a convenient Hilton Inn in Portland where I could send over my printout.  Once you click on a location, it’s a three step process to send over your document.

printing anywhere

Just select which printer you’d like to use (if there are multiple ones), type in the email address where you want to receive the secret “release code” to obtain your printout, and then browse to the file that you want to print.

Printing From Home To Anywhere In The World

My favorite option is definitely the Windows Printer Driver solution. All you have to do is download and install an application called PrintWhere, which basically installs the remote printer of your choice as one of your installed printers. When you run PrintWhere, you’ll have the same option to browse all printers in your local area as you do when you use the browser based or mobile phone solution.

printing anywhere

Just select the remote printer and click OK. That printer gets added to your list of installed printers. So, the next time you go to print from any application, you’ll see the PrintWhere printer available.

print anywhere

When you print to that printer, your printout will go to the remote location and you’ll receive the release code via email. This is a very cool solution if you’re traveling with your laptop and need to quickly print something out. Just find a local printer using PrintWhere, add it to your list of installed printers, and you’re good to go.

PrinterOn is a pretty innovative service in that it offers businesses a unique opportunity to pull in new customers, and it provides the public with easy access to a printer nearly anywhere in the world.

Have you ever tried this service? What do you think? Are there similar or better services out there? Share your insight in the comments section below.

Image credit: Kriss Szkurlatowski



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Control Your Computer Remotely Using HTML5 With ThinVNC

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 09:31 AM PST

connect remotely to my computerWe’ve covered numerous remote desktop applications before, and they each do a great job of sharing your desktop at work, home or on the go. For Windows, built in remote desktop works great but you need a client to connect, and if you use a VNC (RealVNC, UltraVNC, etc) you also need a client – either standalone or a java-based one built into a webpage. Every remote desktop application I’ve seen requires some sort of browser plugin – until now.

ThinVNC takes remote desktop to a whole other level. The “VNC” part of its name is a huge misnomer – it does not use the VNC protocol at all. What they have done is written their own remote desktop software from scratch that implements HTML5 as a front end – meaning that any web browser that supports HTML version 5, such as Chrome, IE, and Firefox; can display and interact with the remote computer.

It is open source and free for non-commercial use, and is available currently for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and Server 2003 / 2008. ThinVNC also has some unique features that I will go over below.

Downloading and installing ThinVNC is simple – just download the file and install. The service will launch itself into your toolbar and the basics are complete.

After setting it up, you will want to go into the settings as soon as possible and update at least one thing – the username and password to log in. Shut down the service in the File menu in order to change your settings. By default the login is set to ‘admin’ and ‘admin’ and this would be easy to guess by any attacker. Use something a little more secure that only you know about.

connect remotely to my computer

If you look at the “HTTP” configuration tab, you can also change the ports the service lists on as well as the presentation server settings. I will go over the presentation features below.

The final result is your local computer available in any modern web browser, sans plugin. It is presented to the browser as shown below.

how to access computer remotely

Finally, in order to access your PC on anything other than the local network, you will need to “Port Forward” from your router to your local PC. Make sure to log in and forward to port 8080 on your local machine (the default port ThinVNC uses) or you won’t be able to access it from the outside. Do this only once you changed the default password.

The presentation server allows external users to “view” your screen only. When they connect they will see your screen in their web browser, and again as above no plugin is needed. This is pretty awesome when you consider that before with a WebEx or other desktop presentation engine the end user needed to install a special plugin and this is a roadblock for many, especially the technically challenged. The simplicity of this setup makes it easy for external viewers to see your screen (if they have the password).

connect remotely to my computer

To add a remote user, right click on the service and click “Manage Presentation“. This allows you to enter the remote viewer’s email address which creates a temporary username and password for them, and can generate the email with the “Invite” code.

I think ThinVNC is an excellent program if you need simple desktop access remotely without a plugin. The major feature it is lacking that something like the free LogMeIn or a true “VNC” solution has is file transfer. Also I did notice that the screen refresh rate isn’t as fast a LogMeIn, but it isn’t slow either. The bottom line is that if you need quick emergency access to your machine without installing a special client, ThinVNC is a great solution for you.

Let us know in the comments what you think about it and whether you think there is an easier alternative out there we should know about.

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

3 Web Tools To Create, Consume & Share Bundles Of Interesting Links

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 08:31 AM PST

share linksIn my opinion, living in the era of social networking mostly means sharing interesting things that we found to the people within our networking circle(s). Likewise, information overload has taught us to strengthen our receptive filters so that most of our sources of information will likely come from our social networking buddies.

We are also living in the era of short mobile messages. We share things using short texts, utilizing mobile gadgets and quick and easy broadcasting services like Twitter and Facebook. That’s why URL shortening services are blooming like mushrooms in the rainy season; simply because modern net users think that writing long URLs takes up too much time and effort (and those links would eat up Twitter’s character limit).

But shortening URLs only solves one problem. We still have to use lots of shortened URLs to share lots of interesting web addresses. That’s why we need services that can bundles several URLs and pack them into one short URL for us to share.

Here are three alternatives of such services that you can try. For Your Own URLs

Before you share every interesting URL that you discover, you should start with your own links. One of the tools that fits to do the job is is a web tool that will bundle all of your personal links into one interesting package: a personalized landing page with all of your social information, and more. Sign up at and you’ll get your own mini-blog with a short address. Customize the blog by adding all of your links and then save it.

share links

The final result might not be as beautiful as – another similar landing page service; but this one is quick, easy, free, and serves its purpose well.

share links

You can use your new short address as your email signature to replace a bunch of your social networking links that you used before. Everytime somebody clicks on your email signature, he/she will be brought to your page. For Other URLs has been around for some time. What makes this one different from other URL shortening services is its latest ability to bundle several links into one short URL.

But to do that, you will need to sign up with the service and log in. You will get a slightly different version of a URL shortening field. Paste in several site addresses into the field divided by a space and they will automatically be shortened.

link share

Below the field is the list of all the shortened URLs and the “Bundle” button.

link share

After clicking the button, you will get a “summary” page of all the links that you used. You still can edit the result by changing the bundle’s name, re-arranging the order, and adding more links to it.

link share

There’s the “Bundle stats” pane on the right where you can see quick information and statistics for your bundle, copy the short URL, plus the buttons to “Preview” and “Share“.

sharing links

RSSMix For Feeds

This link bundling tool is a little bit different. Instead of combining web addresses, RSSMix will merge the content of several RSS feeds into one and create a new RSS address.

All that you have to do is put some RSS feeds into the mixing field and click the “Create” button.

03a RSS Mix.jpg

You will get the new feed that you can put into your default RSS reader and/or share with your friends.

sharing links

You can also modify your mix, add or remove feeds to create a new one, by clicking the “create a new mix from this mix” link.

sharing links

Other than sharing the mixed feed(s) to your friends, you could also use RSSMix for your personal use to create several combinations of your favorite feeds based on the “genre”, for example: news, gadget, entertainment, sport, etc (or even combine them all into one giant collection). This will reduce your headaches in the future when you want to change your default RSS reader. Instead of copying lots of RSS feeds between clients, you’ll only need to copy one.

Hopefully the three tools above can also help you lighten the loads of dealing with links. If you have your own favorite tools to solve the problem, share them using the comments section below.

Image credit: uteart

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Two Unique Ways To Log Into Your Windows Computer Without Typing A Password

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 07:31 AM PST

log onto computer without passwordMost people log into a computer the same way. They sit down, they select their account, and they type in their password. This method of logging in isn’t fancy, but it continues to be the most popular because it works well. It’s quick, secure and doesn’t require any special effort on the part of the user.

Still, there is always room for improvement, and new technologies have opened up new ways to log in to your computer. Let’s take a look at two login methods that bypass normal password protection and instead use parts of your body for identification.

Facial Recognition: Luxand Blink

log onto computer without password

The easiest and most convenient alternative to using a password to log into your computer is facial recognition. This method of log in requires that you have a webcam mounted on top of your monitor and requires that you have facial recognition software installed on your computer.

It’s possible that your webcam might come with such software bundled, but the webcam I have did not come with this included. In order to enable facial recognition I downloaded the free version of Luxand Blink.

log into computer without password

Luxand Blink is simple software (at least, the free version is). When you install it and boot the program, it will automatically begin the process of remembering your face. This only takes a few moments. Once your face has been stored (this is called a face template by the software) you will be able to log in simply by sitting down at your computer and pointing your face in the direction of your webcam. You will still have the option of logging in with your password, however.

I found that Blink was reliable even when I changed the lighting in my office. However, keep in mind that extreme differences in lighting and the quality of your webcam can cause issues. It’s best to record your face template during a lighting condition that most accurately represents the lighting of the room when you’d normally log in.

Fingerprint Readers

log onto computer without passwordAnother alternative to the traditional password login is a fingerprint reader. This feature, which is often included on high-end business laptops and workstations, is both convenient and secure.

Obviously, you’ll need to own or buy a fingerprint reader if you want to log in using this method. There are many fingerprint readers on the market including the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader and options from less well known companies like Eikon.

Unlike webcams, which don’t always come with facial recognition software packaged in, fingerprint readers ship with everything you should need to use them. Once you’ve unpackaged and installed the software you simply need to register your fingerprint with the detection software. Tada! You’ll now be able to log in to your computer simply by pressing your finger to the fingerprint reader.

Fingerprint readers are reliable because accuracy isn’t dependent on environmental factors such as lighting. These readers can also be used to as a log in method for a lot more than just your PC. Fingerprint identification can be used to log into websites, sign on to wireless networks, and more (provided that the drivers and software shipped with your fingerprint reader supports these features, of course).


These alternatives to logging in with a password do require more setup and, ultimately, more cash than logging in with a password. Even if you can obtain the software for free, you still need the hardware. Still, prices aren’t too prohibitive – around $20 to $50 for a decent webcam and $50 for a fingerprint reader. If you know of a neat alternative log in method that isn’t mentioned here let us know in the comments.

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Digsby Receives Major Update, New Features, Enhanced Stability [News]

Posted: 25 Nov 2010 06:31 AM PST

The popular all-in-one instant messaging client Digsby has received an update today and added several key new features to the application.

As well as the usual IM protocols (MSN, GTalk, AIM etc…) Digsby now supports a plethora of social networking platforms. Users are now able to monitor Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace via dedicated panels and add accounts via the reworked Accounts section of Digsby’s preferences.

External services like Facebook and Gmail now have better integration, meaning you no longer need to add a Facebook news feed and Facebook Chat separately, and the same for Gmail and GTalk.

The team have also added email functionality, so checking POP3 and IMAP accounts is only a click away.

Updates to the application will be handled in future using a new auto-updater, which downloads updates once you have logged in and applies them when Digsby is restarted. The team designed the new update system much like Google’s Chrome updater so that “downloading updates never gets in your way”.

As you’d expect from any regular update there are also numerous fixes and the promise of a more stable client, with less memory leaks and disconnections.

Other features added include more intuitive sorting of buddy lists, an ICQ spam blocker which blocks all incoming friend requests with URLs in them and right-to-left (RTL) text support in case you happen to type that way.

Digsby provides an instant messaging solution for Windows users, with Mac and Linux versions coming soon. You can download the latest build right here. Let us know what you think about it.

Hey Facebookers, make sure to check out MakeUseOf page on Facebook. Over 24,000 fans already!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

No comments:

Post a Comment