Monday, November 8, 2010 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 7 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 7 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 07 Nov 2010 07:21 PM PST


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

  1. How Dudes Talk About Women On The Internet (Pic)
  2. Writing a Research Paper: 1990 Vs. 2010 (Pic)
  3. I am hungary (Pic)
  4. How Web Browser Works? (Pic)
  5. How Fanboys See Smartphones (Pic)
  6. Best CAPTCHA Ever (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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Cool Websites and Tools [November 7th]

Posted: 07 Nov 2010 06:31 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!


Google New – Google has a massive blog network that spans over 100 unique blogs. These blogs cover a number of different fields, from company news to latest web technologies. Due to their number and content, these blogs can easily become hard to follow for most people. Recognizing this, Google has now launched Google New. Read more: Google New: The Best Way To Stay In Touch With Latest Google Updates


Creditable – Having a hard time managing credit card debt problems? Try using Creditable, a web app that can help you tackle your debt head-on by tracking your progress, generating suggested achievable goals based on your situation, and by allowing you to interact with other people that can help you. Read more: Creditable: Track & Manage Credit To Get Out Of Debt



0Boxer – Many internet users sort their emails into separate folders and are punctual in replying to them. A well managed email inbox is a necessity for them. By awarding points for your organization, 0Boxer makes this prompt sorting and replying process fun for Gmail users. 0Boxer is a free web service that monitors your Gmail account activity. Read more: 0Boxer: Make Organizing Your Gmail Inbox Fun



SiftLinks – We can now find people sharing all kinds of links on Twitter, most of which is useful stuff. In case you want to make sure that you don't miss any of them in your stream, you could use a nifty service called Siftlinks to create an RSS feed for them, and then subscribe to it in your favorite RSS reader. Read more: SiftLinks: Create An RSS Feed For Links In Your Twitter Stream



Simple Diagrams – Online you will find many programs that help you create flowcharts and diagrams. But most of them come with a hefty price tag and are not suitable for people who want to make only basic diagrams. For those simple diagrams, give Simple Diagrams a try. Since it is based on Adobe Air, it is cross platform and can be used on any OS that can run Adobe Air. Read more: SimpleDiagrams: Cool Diagram Drawing Software


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: 07 Nov 2010 05:31 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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Which Is The Best Budget Web Host? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 07 Nov 2010 04:30 PM PST

Last week, our poll asked you all how long you have been a MakeUseOf Reader. We’re happy to find that most of you consider yourselves permanent fixtures, while many more of you are well on the way to becoming one. Thanks!

We tallied a total of 378 votes for the poll: 37% have read MakeUseOf for 1-2 years; 18% have read MUO 6mths-1 year; 16% have been MUO readers 3-6mths; 12% have been here 2-3 years; 10% are new MUO readers of less than 3mths; 4% are long term readers of 3-4 years; 2% of readers have been here since the blog launched; while a handful (.8%) of people thought they’d fill out the poll after visiting MUO for the first time.

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

As you can see, most people reading MakeUseOf have been reading the blog for a while.

This week's poll question is: Which Is The Best Budget Web Host?

We know there’s some great web hosts out there. However, most everyday people are looking to find the best host they can within a modest budget. Let’s find out which of these are the best!

Please feel free to add your favourite hosts to the comments, as well as sharing your horror stories and praise for the ones we’ve mentioned!

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2 Online Alternatives to Standard RSS Readers

Posted: 07 Nov 2010 02:30 PM PST

online rss readersThere are many robust online RSS readers packed with social media features like Google Reader and FeedLooks, and even the more simplified readers like GoodNoows. If the traditional RSS reader approach doesn’t work for you, there are a couple of interesting alternatives for following your favourite sites or topics.

Newswall allows you to create your own personalised magazine, hosted on your own webserver no less, consisting of the RSS feeds of your favourite sites. If you’d rather follow interesting topics as opposed to sites, Skeedy will come in handy.


NewsWall, a free PHP script, allows you to host an RSS reader on your webserver, and is very easy to set up.  Download the zip file, and upload its contents to the root folder of your webserver. Once you’ve uploaded the files, direct your browser to the URL (http://yoursite/foldername) and configure Newswall to display the RSS feeds of your choice. You won’t have to fiddle with database settings, which makes it very easy for anyone who knows how to access an FTP server to install Newswall.

The first time you launch it, you will be prompted to add RSS feeds, and from there you can also add IMAP or POP email accounts, and adjust your settings. If you’re going to use Newswall to keep up with your email, be sure to include a login password so not just anyone can find their way to your email messages.

online rss readers

To access this control panel after the initial setup, simply click on the Newswall logo at the top of the page.

best rss readers

From here you can continue to add new RSS feeds to your wall.

Other settings you can control are the number of items from each feed, how often feed is refreshed and you can also choose from several themes to suit your taste.

best rss readers

Newswall displays the latest items from the sites you follow in a magazine-like grid.

best rss readers

Once you open up an item, you can read it directly on Newswall or you can also click the button at the bottom of the screen to see the article on the original website.

free rss readers

When reading the article on Newswall, go back to the grid of articles by clicking the power button.

If you choose not to use Newswall to keep up with your email, it could serve to be a convenient and original way for a group of people to follow the same websites and blogs.

If you already subscribe to a lot of feeds and are looking for a quick way to import them into a new service – Newswall is not for you. Adding your favourite sites one by one will be a tedious task and so the service is better suited to someone who doesn’t already have an RSS reader set up.

Another disadvantage to using Newswall as your RSS reader is that once you read any given item, it does not disappear from the grid. On the other hand, if you’re looking to put together a personalised online magazine of sorts, Newswall could be the perfect solution for you.


With Skeedy, rather than follow the sites or blogs themselves, you can follow your favourite topics.

Sign up for a new account by either creating one, or connecting to your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Once you’re following your favourite topics, opening up any given news item from your Skeedy page will actually open up the original blog or site, with a Skeedy frame at the top of the page.

free rss readers

The advantage to using Skeedy, and Newswalls, as opposed to a traditional RSS reader, is that you are able to see the blog’s original layout. For bloggers who go to great lengths to create an attractive website, this is definitely a plus.

There are three choices with how much information you want to receive on any given topic. The first category, Geek, is a little reminiscent of Google Alerts, where you will receive every piece of news about the subjects you are following. With the second category, Fan, you will receive only the relevant news on the subjects you are following. And with the third category, Calm, you will receive only the important news about the subjects you are following.

free rss readers

Not only can you can read the news on the Skeedy website, you will also receive an email notification with the latest updates on your topics. With the Geek and Fan categories, you will receive one email per day, whereas with the Calm category you will receive only one email per week.

Skeedy doesn’t only scan websites and blogs for the latest news, but also pulls in videos from YouTube, photos from Flickr, and books from Google books. Rather than use a frame, the photos and videos are displayed directly on the Skeedy website.

online rss readers

How do you keep up with the news that’s of interest to you? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Marius Auzelis

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Hot Tech Deals [Nov 7th]

Posted: 07 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. TODAY ONLY Auria 22in LCD Monitor & HDTV Combo (1080p, HDMI, HD Tuner) $149.99 Free Shipping

  2. Last Day! Onecall Weekend Sale on Electronics

  3. Sony BDX-S500U 6x Slim Blu-Ray Burner $209.99 Free Shipping

  4. ASUS VE276Q 27in LCD Monitor (2ms, DisplayPort & HDMI) $299.99 Free Shipping

  5. Garmin nuvi 1490LMT GPS (Ultra-Slim, 5in, Text-to-Speech, Bluetooth, Lifetime Traffic & Maps) $259.99 Free Shipping

  6. Sapphire ATI Radeon 5970 2GB DDR5 Dual-GPU Video Card (Eyefinity w/ 3 Outputs) $419.99AR via code EMCZZYR24

  7. TODAY ONLY 5dot Connect Sleeve (fits screen sizes up to 10in) $4.99 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 07 Nov 2010 11:30 AM PST

where can I download free mp3sVariety is a good ingredient for most anything. In this edition of Sound Sunday you can get a taste of big beat electronic music, soul, blues, hip hop, indie pop, alternative rock, neoclassical metal, electronic dance and techno, psychedelic rock, and more. Several samplers, a compilation, and a mixtape, among five regular albums provide you with a variety Sound Sunday has never seen before. Dig in!

Free music submissions from artists or fans are most welcome. Please eMail me [tina at makeuseof dot com] your legal download links or genre requests.

Signal Path – Imaginary Lines

Genre: electronica, big beat, instrumental

free mp3 downloadFrom their Facebook: “Signal Path bends musical genres and deep melodic ideas around a core of unrelenting rhythm and massive low-end. They create a depth and intricacy of sound that become more commanding every time it's heard, and by blending live instrumentation into their production they create a live experience that is as beautiful as it is intense.”

The band is touring the US East Coast throughout November. Check them out if you get a chance.

The free download is served by Bandcamp.

Signal Path MySpace and Homepage.

Jaekim – Green Grits

Genre: soul, blues, hip hop

free albumGrits Apparel was built on collaboration. For the most part and quite obviously, Grits Apparel releases clothes. Occasionally, other things will come into play, such as a project with Jaekim that results in a 14 track sampler, paying homage to the legendary Reverend Al Green.

Download Green Grits from the Grits Apparel Homepage.

Grits Homepage. Jaekim Homepage.

Audio Recon – The Courage To Be An Absolute Nobody

Genre: experimental, electronic

mp3 album downloadFrom Bandcamp: “Audio Recon’s 1st in a series of compilation albums. This one is dedicated to the late author Jerome David Salinger who is best known for his 1951 novel, “the Catcher in the Rye” and for his reclusive nature. The title of this album is an excerpt from “Franny and Zooey” a short story written by Salinger and published in 1961.

This compilation is a name your price download from Bandcamp.

Audio Recon MySpace and Homepage.

My Brother Woody – It’s a long way from that sort of thing you were raised

Genre: indie, pop

free musicA creation of Irish songwriter Michael Cleare, My Brother Woody has toured extensively and received regular radio airtime in Ireland. As Michael writes on Facebook, “My Brother Woody songs are hook-laden and harmony-driven, full of warm, infectious melodies.

It’s a long way from that sort of thing you were raised is a free download from Bandcamp.

My Brother Woody MySpace and Facebook.

The Boots – This Is Not A Test

Genre: alternative rock

how to download music freeThe Boots is an Italian band from South Tyrol. Formed in 2006, they recorded their debut album This Is Not A Test in 2008 and finally released it under a Creative Commons License with Airbagpromo Records in 2009.

Download the album from Airbagpromo Records.

The Boots Band MySpace and Homepage.

Progresión – Encrucijada

Genre: instrumental, guitar, neoclassical metal

music downloadsProgresión is the solo project of Gerson Antezana, a neoclassical metal guitarist and independent musician from Bolivia. The artists that have influenced him include classical composers like Bach and Wagner, but also contemporary bands as Pantera and Destruction. Gerson’s third album Encrucijada is released today, so get it hot and fresh.

Download the album from Progresión’s Homepage. Click the ‘Descargar Encrucijada’ button. You can also download his 2009 album Limite and the selftitled 2008 album.

Progresión MySpace and Homepage.

Arthur Dellea – Exclusives

Genre: alternative, electronica, dance, techno, rock instrumental

legal downloadArthur Dellea produces instrumental music crossing a broad collection of genres. His hope is that some day his music will be included in video games or movie soundtracks.

You can download over 40 tunes from ReverbNation. You must first join the mailing list.

Arthur Dellea MySpace and Homepage.

Tax the Wolf – Hold the Sun

Genre: experimental, rock, psychedelic, instrumental

cool free musicFrom their MySpace: “Tax the Wolf brings a soundscape of surreal melodies and thick vocal structures with their own form of Prog-Rock. Forming in late 2007 and all hailing from Houston,TX,Tax the Wolf has been forming a sound of their own using latin roots and modern rock structures.”

Hold the Sun is a free download from Bandcamp.

Tax the Wolf MySpace and Homepage.

Egress (label) – Way Out

Genre: mixed, sampler

best free mp3This is a free sampler of the UK based online record label Egress. It’s your chance to get a taste of the label’s catalog. Genres include ambient, chill out, electronica, lounge, rock, and post rock.

Download the sampler from Bandcamp.

Egress Twitter and Homepage.

Spin – November Mixtape

Genre: mixed, mixtape

sound sundayEvery month, the online music magazine Spin offers a free mixtape. This month’s edition features 15 different Editors’ picks including Doug Paisley, Sharon Van Etten, The Concretes, and dozen more.

Download the mixtape from iTunes with the download code  LT37K669YKAR. The code expires on November 30th 2010.

Spin Homepage.

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

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SoMud – A Remarkable Cross-Platform Download Application

Posted: 07 Nov 2010 09:30 AM PST

free download managerA large majority of people still use their web browsers to download files from the internet ditching their download managers when internet speeds started increasing. Is that a wise move?

Let’s face the facts. Any internet browser slows down dramatically when downloading a large batch of files. In addition to that, these web browsers often use but a single connection to the download server – not even using your internet connection to its fullest potential – and support only some internet protocols.

Even with the most ridiculous add-ons to date, an internet browser just doesn’t make it a ‘real’ download manager, whether through lack of functionality, or because it’s being held back by its main feature; surfing the web. If you regularly have to work with large files, a download manager can work wonders. Meet SoMud.


Actually, calling SoMud a download manager would be an injustice. SoMud is at home in many areas and we’ll try to cover the most prominent features in this article, but you can expect some pleasant surprise features if you start using the application. Nevertheless, downloading files is SoMud’s bread and butter and the context in which we’ll review the application.

free download manager

SoMud is a cross-platform application, which means it’ll run on both Windows and Mac OS X. It is currently not available for Linux, although that might change in the future. You can use the application to download via HTTP/FTP and BitTorrent.

Torrent Search and Download

BitTorrent, one of the most famous (and notorious) examples of P2P, connects to a large swarm of fellow downloaders and puts available small parts of the file that has already been downloaded. This allows the download to happen without the interference of a file server, but also forces people to upload while they download.

free download manager

Like all torrent applications, SoMud can start downloading when you open a .torrent file. Far less time consuming, you can use SoMud to search and download without leaving the application window, much like Vuze. The application automatically searches some of the more popular Torrent sites and aggregates the results. Using SoMud, people don’t have to jump to and fro between three applications, or even know much about P2P.

Using SoMud’s integrated search didn’t always produce the best results – you get those when you really know where to look, it was a feature I particularly enjoyed.

HTTP Download Manager

As mentioned, SoMud also sports HTTP (and FTP) download functionality. This works pretty much like you’d expect. SoMud breaks the file into a set number of pieces and requests server access for each one (shown below). Although this won’t improve your internet connection, it will add to the server-allocated speed, which is usually lower than your actual internet connection. You can also add multiple mirror URLs (different links to the same file) to improve download speeds.

free download manager

Especially interesting when downloading audio and video, SoMud allows you to preview the file before it’s finished downloading. This option can be accessed from the download details, also shown above. If you’re worried about anonymity, you can even configure SoMud to download via proxy. All in all, an impressive array of features.

Online Video Download

Although not exactly aesthetically pleasing, SoMud can search different online video websites (e.g. YouTube) at once and syst the results. You can preview the video inside the application and add it as a download with the click of the button.

free download manager

Personally, I think we’ve seen our fair share of YouTube downloaders, but it’s a good feature to top the list. With streaming video becoming ever popular, it won’t do to keep our focus completely on relatively old-fashioned file servers.

Do you use a download manager? Tell us why, and which application you prefer in the comments!

Image credit: Shutterstock

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