Monday, November 29, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [November 28th]” plus 7 more “Cool Websites and Tools [November 28th]” plus 7 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [November 28th]

Posted: 28 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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Friendly Bracelets – Friendship bands and bracelets are a wonderful way to express your feelings for a loved one. They can also serve as constant reminders of the people who are important in your life. “FriendlyBracelets” is one online source where you can get create your own friendship bracelets online and then buy. Read more: FriendlyBracelets: Create Your Own Friendship Bracelets Online


BeGreen Carbon Calculator – Are you interested to know just how much your personal carbon emissions are? Then you should check out BeGreen Carbon Calculator. This simple tools allows you to see your carbon footprint annually based from their comprehensive database of emission quantity which include vehicles, electricity, flight travel. and natural gas. Read more: BeGreen Carbon Calculator: Calculate Your Personal Carbon Footprint Online



My Hurricane – Did the news just report a hurricane or storm around your area? If yes, then it will definitely concern you and make you want to know more about the hurricane's track. For this you will find MyHurricane highly useful. MyHurricane is a great hurricane and storm tracking web tool that is free to use. Read more: MyHurricane: Hurricane And Storm Tracking Online



PsykoTube – YouTube is a brilliant video site that entertains countless users every day. Normally when you execute a search on YouTube, the results are displayed and each one needs to be opened in a new page before the video is played. A much faster YouTube video searching technique is offered by PsykoTube. Read more: PsykoTube: Fast YouTube Search Site



DropItTo – is a great utility for saving and transferring files and DropItTo makes it even better. Using DropItTo, you can create your personal web-based utility that anybody can use to send you a file. Once you register, you get a unique URL like Anybody who needs to send you a file can then go to the URL and upload the file. The file will be directly uploaded to your Dropbox account and be easily accessible. Read more: DropItTo: Let People Send Files To Your Dropbox


These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.



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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 28 Nov 2010 06:31 PM PST

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

    [1] ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service

    Ever wanted to add website screenshots to your website? In my professional opinion ShrinkTheWeb is one of the best services for that, both in terms of performance and pricing. The free account gets you a whopping 250,000 impressions with nearly no delay. See it in action in our daily Cool Websites and Tools series.


    [2] LapDawg – Hands-free Laptop Stands

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

    [3] Walyou – Cool Gadgets for Geeks

    new cool gadgets
    Walyou is a fun blog covering all sorts of new cool gadgets and other stuff every geek is likely to find entertaining. Everything from world’s largest Gunny Bears to E-hookah gadgets. Make sure to check them out.


    [4] rade | eccles – iPhone Application Development

    The perfect iPhone development team, rade | eccles managed to put our iPhone app together in record time yet exude professionalism and dedication every step of the way. Our collaboration wasn’t happenstance. We would make the same decision all over again. Our only recommendation for an iPhone developer – rade | eccles.


    [5] TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design

    If you’re looking for a cheap, original and quality logo or banner, check out TrueKolor. We often contact these guys when we need a logo or a banner made, some of the stuff they did for us listed on their portfolio page. Highly recommended.


    [6] Mobify – Making the Web a mobile place

    More and more users access websites and read blogs using their mobile phone. Mobify lets you mobilize your blog or website by creating lightweight version of it, which loads much faster and looks great on a mobile screen. MakeUseOf’s mobile site was created by Mobify, and we’re proud of it!


    [7] Sendible – The easiest way to market your brand online

    We’re strong believers of the service Sendible provides — we use it on a daily basis and it has never failed us! Sendible is an online marketing service to promote, grow and track brands through the use of social media, email and SMS messaging. It has the ability to post to multiple services at once, schedule social network updates and analyse their success. We love it!


    [8] Sourcebits – Android Developement

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


Thank you, guys!

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Do You Actually Like Facebook? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 28 Nov 2010 05:30 PM PST

Last week, our reader poll asked about favourite Twitter clients. It turns out Hootsuite is the MakeUseOf readership’s favourite Twitter client.

Out of 438 votes, Hootsuite topped the results with 39%. Tweetdeck came a close second with 28%, while the Twitter web interface scored 13% of votes. Seesmic gained 7% of the vote, Tweetie had 5%, Twitterfon/Echofon got 3% and Twitterific got 2% of the vote. All other services got less than 1% of the vote.

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

Hootsuite and Tweetdeck clearly have MakeUseOf’s Twitter usage in hand.

This week's poll question is: Do You Actually Like Facebook?

We need to give thanks to a opinionated Australian MakeUseOf reader for this week’s poll idea. Worldwide, internet users have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. So, where do MakeUseOf readers stand?

Tell us both your horror stories and successes with Facebook in the comments!

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7 Free Useful eBooks That Every Blogger Should Read

Posted: 28 Nov 2010 02:30 PM PST

blogging ebooksI have never been one to read books or PDFs on my computer screen. Give me a paperback book, or a printed page, and I can get through it quickly, but sit me in front of a screen and I just can’t make myself read it. Now with the advent of eReaders like the Kindle, and tablets like the iPad, reading a book off a screen isn’t as hard as it used to be.

There is no end to the wealth of free eBooks available online today, from literature to books on social media, to teaching yourself how to use Linux. There is one topic, blogging, with countless eBooks available, both paid and free, and it just takes a little bit of digging to find some of the best ones out there. This list of 7 books is a good place to start, with advice for both beginners and advanced bloggers alike.

Deep Secrets of Successful Blogging

blogging ebooks

It may be a few years old, but the wealth of information contained in Chitika’s Deep Secrets of Successful Blogging makes it just as relevant a book today as when it was first posted on their site.

Featuring the words of wisdom of 30 prominent bloggers including Chris Pirillo and Darren Rowse amongst others, the free eBook contains encouragement, advice and guidelines for the aspiring blogger.

Get the free eBook here.

279 Days to Overnight Success

free blogging ebook

279 Days to Overnight Success by Chris Guillebeau is available for free download in PDF format from his website. Not only useful for bloggers, the free eBook is a must-read for any writer, artist or modern entrepreuner who wants to create an online presence for themselves.

Guillebeau uses his own journey to becoming a full-time writer as a guideline for others to follow.

The free PDF is available for download here.

If his style appeals to you, be sure to check out his earlier tile, A Brief Guide to World Domination available for download here.

Viral Copy

free blogging ebook

Viral Copy by Brian Clark of Copyblogger takes on a very straightforward approach and can truly be seen as an essential guidebook for any blogger to read.

From the art of writing headlines to link baiting to how to use humour in your writing, Clark leaves no stone unturned, on how to drive traffic to your blog. In fact, you can see him put his own advice to good use with the links used in the eBook, making it hard to read the book offline.

Viral Copy is available for downlaod here.

Make Money Online With John Chow dot Com

free blogging ebook

At first glance, Make Money Online by John Chow book probably sounds like one of those get-rich-quick scams but don’t be fooled. There is no hidden secret that will make you reach instantaneously. Instead, John Chow gives you an outline on how to drive traffic to your site, as well as giving specific recommendations on ad networks, and most importantly, how to monetize your blog. The book is best suited for beginners who are just getting started and don’t know much about how to make money in the blogging world.

While the book is available in paperback from Amazon, John Chow offers it as a free download on his site here.

Traffic Roots

blogging ebook

You’ll find that a lot eBooks about blogging focus on one specific topic – traffic. And rightly so, because without an audience to read what you’re writing – it all starts to feel futile. Traffic Roots by Jens Berget covers important topics like Search Engine Optimization, Email Marketing, Keyword Search and much more in over 130 pages of advice, tips and tricks.

Traffic roots is another ideal title for beginners, and may also contain some interesting tips for the slightly more advanced blogger. Download the PDF here.

Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization

blogging ebook

If your focus is to learn more about Search Engine Optimization, and need an introductory explanation, the Beginners Guide to Search Engine Optimization is a great place to start.

The guide covers the basic terms, explains how it all works, and tells you what you need to do to make use of these concepts on your own website.

There is no direct link to download the book, but rather can have it emailed to you by submitting your email here.

Viral Marketing

blogging ebooks

Getting people to your blog is not just about SEO and link building. You also have to know how to market yourself. Viral Marketing by David Meerman Scott has been available for a couple of years but is a good place to start to understand what viral marketing is and what it takes to get in on the game.

The title is available for download here, along with a few other interesting titles by Scott.

What eBooks for bloggers are on your virtual shelf? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Hot Tech Deals [Nov 28th]

Posted: 28 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. HP Cyber Monday Coupon Code $300 off HP ENVY 14 Laptop $1299+ via code NBJ549154

  2. Hitachi SimpleDrive Mini 500GB Portable External Hard Drive (Carbon Fiber) $49.99 Free Shipping via code 145DRS56FMB0VZ

  3. Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 (charges under lamp light) + M705 Wireless Mouse (3yr battery) $99.99

  4. Kodak Zi8 Pocket 1080p High Definition Video Camcorder $99.99 Free Shipping

  5. Dell Home Coupon Code 10% off Electronics & Accessories; 20% off Desktop & Laptop Accessories via code FMQLSTFF34SVV5

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 28 Nov 2010 11:30 AM PST

where can I download free mp3sSound Sunday is a weekly appreciation of new artists and free music.

This edition concludes the month of November with an emotional ride through genres. Peaceful ambient, soul, pop, folk, and gospel is mixed up by funk, rock, and metal. I hope you enjoyed the widgets introduced last week because they’re back. However, music from sources that don’t provide a stream will not be excluded, so this week I included both.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the first item in the list. Herbst (autumn) is not an album, but a free song. It’s a bonus for the first Advent weekend. Enjoy!

Dada – Herbst

Genre: pop, soul

free album downloadFola Dada is a German vocal coach, dance teacher, and singer/songwriter. Since 2005 she has been coaching young talents in the German Idol show ‘Deutschland sucht den Superstar’. Her band Dada is completed by Mathias, Martin, and Daniel.

To download the song Herbst (autumn) from Dada’s Homepage, click on “Dada laden”. You can also preview the selftitled debut album Dada on their homepage (player in top left).

Dada MySpace and Homepage.

brk – a chronicle of our exploration

Genre: drum n bass, electronic, space, glitch hop

brk is an artist from Los Angeles, California. He doesn’t reveal a lot about himself.  His album a chronicle of our exploration has been out for a year. Hence, the free download credits on Bandcamp may be coming to an end. It’s an album worth having, so get it for as long as it lasts!

The album is a name your price download from Bandcamp.

brk MySpace and Facebook.

Machinae Supremacy – Fury

Genre: alternative,  metal, rock, sid metal, game music, soundtrack

mp3 album downloadMachinae Supremacy is a band founded in Sweden in the year 2000. After conquering the underground music scene and building a solid fanbase, they were finally offered a record deal with Pinefarm Records (Nightwish) in 2006.

Download the 2004 – 2006 compilation Fury one song at a time from their Homepage. The songs are available as .mp3 and .flac files.

Machinae Supremacy MySpace and Homepage.

Modern Science – selftitled

Genre: alternative, indie, funk, pop, rock

Best friends Kane Churko and Mike McHugh have made music together for several years. Modern Science is their band and their 2009 debut album. Warm up to this funky music as they are getting ready to release their second album.

Modern Science is a free download from Bandcamp. Alternatively, you can buy a physical copy for 10 bucks and get the band’s autograph on it!

Modern Science MySpace and Homepage.

RockMastersBand – Taking Liberties

Genre: rock, psychedelic, blues

how to download music freeYou’re looking at the debut album from Finnish RockMastersBand. While the band is currently returning to the studio to work on the follow-up album, you can enjoy unpretentious Scandinavian rock. Great music doesn’t require bells and whistles.

Taking Liberties is a free download from the band’s Homepage. You can download individual songs as .mp3s or the entire album in a .zip file.

RockMastersBand MySpace and Homepage.

Kudos Fiasco – Changer

Genre: lyrical, rock, soul

Changer is the debut EP of the Australian band Kudos Fiasco. Formerly the Brothers Juengling, Benny and Dan are nor joined by Matt Milns and Tim Mac. For this album they transformed a spare room at their house into a studio. They are currently hoping to be elected as support act for Bon Jovi.

Changer is a free download from Bandcamp.

Kudos Fiasco MySpace and Homepage.

Artillerie – Eradefiled

Genre: metal, metalcore, thrash

legal downloadFrom their ReverbNation page: “Armed with an extreme edge of brutality and musicianship, in a very short span of time Artillerie has established a reputation for its relentless live performances and intensely aggressive and technical songwriting. Artillerie is a 5 member metal mayhem squad from Delhi, and have been playing together for almost 3 years. They are currently considered to be one of the country’s premier upcoming extreme metal acts.

The album is a free download from the band’s Homepage.

Artillerie MySpace and Homepage.

The Max – I Need A Friend

Genre: indie, pop, rock

Born out of several other bands from in and around Nashville, Tennessee, The Max unites well experienced  musicians that have great fun making music. Professional recording engineers Adam Deane and Matt Coles have worked on “numerous hit records with the best Nashville has to offer“, so they know how to make records.

Download I Need A Friend from NoiseTrade or preview and download from the NoiseTrade box on the lefthand side below.

The Max MySpace and Homepage.

Love is Like Pancakes – Earth

Genre: ambient, electronic, game music, open source

Love is Like Pancakes is the solo project of Kole, a tech journalist and SEO expert. A former composer of music for video games and a die hard fan of the open source movement, he decided to combine both skills and produce open source music. You may download and use his work free of charge. More information here.

Download the album from their Homepage or preview and download it through the NoiseTrade box on the lefthand side above.

Love is Like Pancakes Twitter and Homepage.

Jane Lui – Goodnight Company

Genre: pop, indie, folk

Classically trained in voice and piano, Jane Lui’s singing is skillfully tender, soulful, and vulnerable. “The third record, Goodnight Company, was co-produced with Aaron Bowen (San Diego). Bursts of electronica, funk, old-timey, & folk give away her eclectic influences with uses of melotron, dixieland jazz, field recordings, gospel choirs, and music boxes.

Download Jane’s album from NoiseTrade or preview and download from the righthand NoiseTrade box below.

Jane Lui MySpace and Homepage.

Sara Groves – O Holy Night Tour Live: The Prison Show

Genre: alternative, christian, pop, gospel

Christmas will soon be upon us. Hence we close this edition of Sound Sunday with something for the season. The album was recorded at a women’s prison in Illinois. The talented singer/songwriter Sara Groves says:

We are giving this recording away for free so that you can enjoy the rawness of this night of music, and hear the fellowship we experienced.

This album is a free download from Noise Trade. You can also preview and download the album from the lefthand NoiseTrade box above.

Sara Groves MySpace and Homepage.

Browse past editions of Sound Sunday here. Feel free to get in touch with me [tina at makeuseof dot com] to share free material or suggestions and feedback you don't want to post in the comments below.

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MacKeeper and Kingston SSDNow V+ Drive Giveaway Winners

Posted: 28 Nov 2010 10:00 AM PST

Last week was pretty interesting, wasn’t it? We offered a 256GB Kingston SSDNow V+ Drive up for grabs and it was pretty popular. Not forgetting, we also featured MacKeeper and 10 licenses to MakeUseOf’s very own Mac community.

Now it’s time to give them all away and announce the winners.


  1. Ari Arsyadi
  2. Joao Marcelo Donadel de Moraes
  3. Dan Sitter
  4. Osama
  5. Louis M Castrello
  6. Agnes Stauber
  7. Richie Estacio
  8. Boet Waldbjorn
  9. Brian Hogaboom
  10. Jacqueline Pearl

Kingston SSDNow V+ Drive

  1. Taylor Rapids

Congratulations! An email has been sent with your registration information and Taylor, your drive is in the mail!

Enjoy! Check back tomorrow. We’ll be giving away another SSD. How awesome is that?

MakeUseOf would like to thank Kingston Technology and ZeoBIT for their generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

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3 Ways To Bypass The MegaVideo Time Limit

Posted: 28 Nov 2010 09:30 AM PST

bypass megavideo time limitIf there was ever a great website to stream series and documentaries, it isn’t YouTube. No offense. MegaVideo, from the same minds of file-sharing website MegaUpload, gets a slightly better shot.

It’s fun and easy to browse, has an incredible array of videos and sports one of the best web players I’ve ever seen. The whole shebang is integrated by default; dimming the lights, different aspect ratios and even downloading those videos to your computer.

Here’s the catch; it isn’t free. Not that it should come as a surprise to those of you who are already familiar with MegaUpload. Everything works fine at the start, but after exactly 72 minutes of viewing pleasure, the dreaded pop-up appears.

The 72 Minute Lock

The 72 minute mark seems to be a crucial point in many documentaries and TV series. It might be me, but the MegaVideo time limit seems to appear when it’s least wanted. You have watched 72 minutes of video today. It means you’re not about to finish that show.

bypass megavideo time limit

You can finish your prescribed dose of waiting and enjoy your next 72 minute batch, or upgrade to a premium account at $9.99 per month to enjoy unlimited use of MegaVideo.

Below are three workarounds to bypass the MegaVideo time limit. All of these will work regardless of your operating system.

1. Using CacaoWeb or Illimitux

CacaoWeb is a free, cross-platform application that removes so-called cyberlocker limits, as used by RapidShare and a batch of other file sharing websites. It also effectively removes the 72 minute time lock of MegaVideo.

bypass limit megavideo

CacaoWeb uses peer to peer (P2P) technology to make this work. Instead of downloading your video from the server to your client computer, you’re downloading small parts of the video via other users. That way, no one user should reach the time limit. Using CacaoWeb from Rapidshare works the same way.

bypass limit megavideo

Illimitux is from the same minds, and based on the same technology as Cacaoweb, but instead of installing a full-fledged application, it works by installing a Firefox add-on or Chrome extension.

2. Work Offline

This second workaround requires no third-party software except your web browser. On the flip side, it’s harder and less forward to use.

First, you buffer part of the video. This means you’re letting it load without actually playing it. When you’ve buffered the entire video, or a good enough part, switch your browser to Work Offline mode. While you’re still in Work Offline mode, you’ll be able to watch the video without adding to the time limit. Keep in mind that you have to disable Work Offline mode to continue browsing or buffering the video.

bypass megavideo time

In Firefox, this is done by navigating to File -> Work Offline. In Internet Explorer, to Tools -> Work Offline. There currently appears to be no Work Offline alternative embedded in Google Chrome.

3. Watch Video on MegaStreaming or EzyWatch

Last but not least, you can use MegaVideo embedded sites to surpass the time limit, by using a variety of techniques.

If you copy your MegaVideo URL to MegaStreaming, you’ll be redirected to a page with said video embedded. Here you can watch the video like normal or, depending on the video, even in HD.

bypass megavideo time

Once you reach the limit, press the button at the top right, shown below. This will redirect you to a different page with the same video embedded and you’ll be able to continue watching.

bypass megavideo time

So how does this work? Apparently, different players all have different time limits. By using two different embedded players, you can watch up to 134 minutes (72+31+31) instead of just 72 minutes.

An alternative website that also allows you to bypass MegaVideo’s time limit is EzyWatch. It does not share how it circumvents said limit.

bypass megavideo time limit

EzyWatch looks more professional, but has regular performance issues; slow buffer times, videos that won’t load, and similar problems.

Do you know any other tools or websites that allow you to eliminate the MegaVideo limit? Have you used the ones above? Let us know in the comments!

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