Friday, December 31, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [December 30th]” plus 11 more “Cool Websites and Tools [December 30th]” plus 11 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [December 30th]

Posted: 30 Dec 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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Feed Wind – You can easily keep in touch with a site through its RSS feed. But what if you want another site's updates to appear on your own blogs or websites? In that, you will need to make use of “Feed Wind”, a very simple online tool that is completely free to use. Through Feed Wind you can convert any RSS feed into a ‘blog roll’ widget that can be easily placed on your site via embeddable code. Read more: Feed Wind: Generate An Embeddable Widget From RSS Feeds


Durocast – Listening to radio stations online can be a great way to discover new music or listen to the ones you already love. While many sites let you browse and listen to online radio, to save your favorite radio stations and share them you will have to head on over to Durocast, a free to use website that lets you search online radio stations and listen to them. You can browse stations via frequency, name, or music genre. Read more: Durocast: Find, Save & Share Your Favorite Radio Stations



BrushLovers – Photoshop is great for creating terrific designs but you don't always have to reinvent the wheel. Many patterns and strokes that you may want to incorporate into your design have already been created by other users and are available as brushes. BrushLovers is one of the largest collection of high-quality Photoshop brushes that you can download for your personal or commercial use. Read more: BrushLovers: Download Hundreds Of High Quality Photoshop Brushes



F1 – In the past couple of years, websites have become even more interconnected with share, like, and integrated logins. Well this trend is here to stay, and Firefox is embracing it with F1. This social sharing plugin allows you to share content using your favorite social networking and e-mail clients right from within your browser. Read more: F1: Official Firefox Social Sharing Plugin



Fixr – Do you need to get your house repainted? Or perhaps you want your terrace extended? Whichever house improvement or maintenance task you have, you may spend a good deal of time deciding which contractor to hire. Since it is an important decision, you visit different contractors, gather their reviews, and then select the one you feel is best. Thanks to Fixr, you can now do all of that online. Read more: Fixr: Find The Best Contractors For Home Improvement & Repairs


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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6 Free Linux-Friendly Office Suites For Getting The Job Done

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 05:31 PM PST

linux office suiteMany people install Linux on their machines for its simplicity, believe it or not. Distributions like Ubuntu and Mint target the curious inexperienced user and provide a complete suite of free software to tackle most PC-related tasks.

If you’re regularly tapping away on a word processor, balancing the books with a spreadsheet or knocking your boss’ socks off with a killer presentation then you’ll appreciate the importance of a decent office suite.

Here’s a selection of completely free work-related tools that you may or may not have heard about.

linux office suite

Chances are you have heard of this one. It comes pre-installed on a myriad of Linux distributions, including the massively popular and newbie-friendly Ubuntu.

Now at version 3.2 this freeware powerhouse provides a complete solution for any discerning Microsoft Office convert. Modules include:

  • Writer – a word processor that natively exports PDF files.
  • Calc – a spreadsheet application also with PDF support.
  • Impress – a presentation program which can export to SWF & PDF and handle PowerPoint files.
  • Base – a database program similar to Access.
  • Draw – a vector image editor.
  • Math – a tool for calculating mathematical formulae.

It also works on Windows and Mac, so if you’re thinking of making the switch you can try it out on your existing OS first.

Calligra Suite (formerly KOffice)

linux office

This year the KOffice team decided to rename their product Calligra Suite, with the aim of promoting the suite’s creative applications (as well as the boring office stuff you’d expect to find). This makes Calligra Suite a rich package, with 12 years of development behind it and a cracking line-up.

Some highlights from the package include:

  • Words (formerly KWord) – a word processor incorporating style sheets.
  • Tables (formerly KSpread) – a spreadsheet application with templates.
  • Stage (formerly KPresenter) – a presentation application.
  • Karbon – a new vector image package.
  • Krita (formerly KImageshop) – a bitmap graphics package.

There’s plenty more in the suite, which requires KDE and its libraries to function. This package also works on Windows and Mac.

GNOME Office

linux office

Comprising of several applications designed for the GNOME platform, GNOME Office provides a competent solution for your office needs.

Whilst not as feature-rich as the previous two, there’s still a tool for every job:

  • AbiWord – a word processor with support for the (.ODT) format.
  • Evince – included with your normal GNOME installation for viewing documents, including PDFs.
  • Evolution – an email client, also included as part of GNOME.
  • GNUMeric – a basic spreadsheet application.
  • Ease – for creating presentations, still in development.
  • Inkscape – a popular vector image editor and presentation tool.

You’ll need to download each individually, though if you’re using a distribution that uses GNOME you’ll notice a few of them on your machine already.

IBM Lotus Symphony

linux office

Symphony is a refreshing change from the usual approach to office software. Instead of providing several different applications to perform each task, Symphony uses a single application in several different ways.

The program can handle word documents, spreadsheets and presentations and even has a built-in web browser (useful for checking links in documents without losing track of your work).

You’ll need to supply IBM with a little bit of information before downloading, but if you’re after a lightweight single program for office duties then you might be impressed with Symphony’s fairly unique approach.

Google Docs & Microsoft Office Web Apps

linux office suite

My wildcard! The two forerunners in cloud-based office and publishing solutions, both Google and Microsoft’s products will work on any PC with an internet connection and compatible browser.

They’re not strictly Linux applications, but they do function just as well on the Linux platform as they do on other operating systems.

If you’re torn between the two I’d recommend Google Docs as it allows you to download your work in a variety of formats, rather than Microsoft’s limited proprietary Office file types. Both allow you to print directly from the application and support collaborative editing.

If you’re really after that “application feel” try using Chrome and creating Web Shortcuts. You’ll might even forget they’re running on the cloud!


There should be at least one or two offerings here that take your fancy if you’re looking for that perfect-fit office solution. Considering they’re free, you might as well try them all till you find the one that fits. With selections like this, it’s a wonder why you’d ever pay for an office suite again really.

Do you have a favourite office suite? Do you prefer cloud-based or locally installed software? Any on the list that don’t cut the mustard? Let us know in the comments.

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The 3 Most Common Solutions To Fix A Windows Computer That Is Always Freezing Up

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 03:31 PM PST

fix computer freezingDoes your computer freeze randomly? Do you face the Blue Screen Of Death almost every day? Don’t let your computer terrify you!

Take action, track down what causes your computer to lock up on you and how you can stop it from happening. We have previously introduced 7 Common Reasons Why Windows Can Get Unresponsive. This article examines how you can troubleshoot the causes for a freezing computer and what you can do to fix it.

If you’re struggling with a slow and unresponsive system, we will shortly be publishing a PDF manual called Windows on Speed which will help you learn what makes your system become sluggish and how you can regain a top Windows performance.  Make sure you subscribe to MakeUseOf so you don’t miss the manual when it comes out!

Prelude: Make a Backup

The very first thing you need to do when your computer starts acting up is to create a backup of your personal data. Don’t waste time trying to troubleshoot or fix anything. Just make a backup. Right NOW!

You should consider logging into Safe Mode to perform the backup. You may find that it makes your system a lot more stable! That would also be a first step in troubleshooting.

Now that you have your personal data backed up, let’s start troubleshooting and resolving the issues.

1. Troubleshoot Software Issues

A freezing operating system may have a lot of underlying issues. To verify whether or not your freezes are software-induced, boot your system into Safe Mode.

Safe Mode is a boot option that launches your computer in a very limited state. Only the most basic files and drivers absolutely necessary to run the operating system are loaded. If your system appears stable in Safe Mode, it is very likely that you have software issues, like driver conflicts or malware.

fix computer freezing

The article below explains how to boot into Safe Mode:

If you do not see an improvement in Safe Mode, proceed to point 2.

If you do see an improvement, try the following:

  • uninstall recently installed devices and their drivers.
  • make sure you only have one antivirus program installed.
  • perform a Windows upgrade.
  • update any programs you are using regularly and all hardware drivers.
  • if running a specific program causes the freezes, try to update, uninstall, and reinstall the program.
  • in Safe Mode, scan your system for malware and remove anything you find.
  • perform general system maintenance.

Here are some useful resources for the above steps:

2. Troubleshoot Hardware Issues

The Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) is a strong sign for a hardware incompatibility. The displayed error code provides a clue for what caused the computer to crash. Subsequently, you should analyze the error reports that Windows stores in response to a BSOD crash.

computer freezing

The following resources will help:

If updating or removing hardware drivers didn’t work and in case you don’t get a BSOD, you need to examine potential physical causes. Your computer could be overheating, a device could be damaged and dying, or a cable could be loose. Before you touch your hardware, however, make sure your computer is properly turned off to protect yourself. You must also ground yourself to avoid a discharge of static electricity, which could (further) damage your hardware.

The best way to troubleshoot hardware issues is to…

  • physically clean your hardware, i.e. free fans and power supply from dust.
  • check all cables for damage or loose connections.
  • check whether hardware components like the graphics card are properly plugged into the motherboard.
  • remove or replace single components like RAM modules and boot the computer without them.

The last point will reveal whether one of these components is broken.

3. Restore Windows

Windows can create restore points that allow you to roll back your entire system to a previous stable state. Make use of this feature and go back to a restore point where your system did not freeze or crash. The best thing is that you won’t lose your personal files.

fix computer freezing

This articles explains how it’s done:

Last Resort: Repair Or Reinstall Windows

The easiest way to resolve issues with a Windows operating system that constantly freezes is a fresh installation. It is normal to reinstall Windows every 6 months to 2 years. If you’re running an older installation, it’s about time that you give it a fresh start!

Did this article help you to fix your computer from freezing? Please report your experiences!

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How To Use VirtualTourist For Planning Your Next Trip

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 02:31 PM PST

planning a road tripMUO has published several articles about using Google Maps for planning a fun road trip. Anyone who has used the features of Google Maps knows that it provides a wealth of information for road travel, but if you’re seeking more personal guided advice for your next tourist destination, you might want to check out VirtualTourist, a worldwide travel community where real travels and locals share tips, reviews, and photos of destinations, ranging from Sydney to New York and everywhere else in between.

Started in 1999, VirtualTourist lists 1 million members in 220 countries, and it claims 7 million unique website visits per month. It is very well organized and easy to navigate, offering information on over 2 million destinations. Many of the members on the site seem to be frequent travelers who share reviews, photos, videos, and tips about the places they have visited.

Membership & Travel Guide

Signing up for the absolutely free membership on VirtualTourist enables you to create a Home Page where you can add travel maps, videos and photos, and a network of travelers. To explore a destination, simply type the location.

planning a road trip

Travel guide pages include 13 categories of information about hotels, popular spots to visits, transportation, nightlife, shopping, local customs, sports, tourist traps, etc.

planning fun road trips

Explore Reviews

Each broad destination guide includes several reviews written by VirtualTourist members about various tourist sites. So for example, if you’re planning a road trip to California, your search might begin with San Diego, CA as your destination, and then you might narrow your search to a particular tourist spot or simply explore what tourist sites have been written about.

road trip planning

VirtualTourist keeps member reviews separate from business sponsorship information. So reviews are personal, often providing a candid assessment of various destination spots, hotels, and travel conditions.

Hotels & Vacation Packages

As you might expect, VirtualTourist includes links to sponsored listings of hotel, travel, car rentals, and vacation packages. While this information can be accessed independently through any Google search, it’s useful to access it in a single place.

Packing Lists

One great category in the destination guides is the Packing Lists, which includes site member recommendations in the form of reviews and photos of things (e.g., clothing, technical equipment, food) you might consider bringing for your trip.

road trip planning

Warnings & Dangers

Similar to Packing Lists, there’s also an important category called Warnings and Dangers. It also includes tips and photos about driving and traffic, local laws and rules, weather, fires, etc.

road trip planning

Post Questions

If you’re not finding the information you need, you can also post a question to other members on the destination guide page.

planning a road trip

Meet Members

With such a large and growing membership, VirtualTourist provides what you can’t easily get using Google Maps – the ability to network with other people who have either visited your destination or who may actually live there.

planning a road trip

As a VirtualTourist member you’re not even required to pay a fee to contact members on the site.

As you might expect, VirtualTourist is supported by lots of advertising, but in visiting the site I don’t feel as though ads are obtrusive. As with nearly all social networking sites, VirtualTourist can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. However, as of yet, there is not a mobile app for VirtualTourist. Hopefully one is in the works. For possible travel apps, check Steve’s 10 of the Coolest Map Apps for Use on Bing Maps.

The mapping features of VirtualTourist are of course not as advanced as Google Maps, but nearly all its other offerings could possibly help you to get the most out of your next travel destination.

Let us know other sites and resources you use to plan your road trips.

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Try Signal & Learn How To REALLY Use LinkedIn

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 01:31 PM PST

linkedin signalHave you been thinking ahead and building a LinkedIn network so that someday in the future you can help yourself or your friends to get the perfect job? Do you sometimes wonder if it’s worth the effort? Have you even really used LinkedIn yet? Well, that’s all about to change.

LinkedIn has recently opened a beta service to everyone called Signal, which amounts to an entirely new social network based on your LinkedIn network and Twitter. So, even if you have never used any of the previously available LinkedIn features, now there’s a brand new way to use LinkedIn which might just pique your interest.

How To Get Started With Signal

Anyone can join the Signal LinkedIn Beta – just head over to Signal and log into LinkedIn.

To get your tweets to appear in Signal, you’ll need to add Twitter to your LinkedIn profile. If your Twitter account isn’t professional enough, maybe consider starting a new one to add to your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t want your tweets showing up in Signal then disconnect your Twitter account from LinkedIn entirely. You can still view other people’s updates even if you’re not sharing yours.

Now at this stage Signal seems to be limited to Twitter and LinkedIn status updates. However, the main bulk of LinkedIn currently offers an “Activity Stream”. What appears in the LinkedIn activity stream is based on your LinkedIn activity, including your LinkedIn connections and your applications, such as your imported tweets, Amazon books and your imported blog posts. It’s quite probable that the next step for Signal is to incorporate all of your activity stream and allow people to filter exactly what they want to see.

I would therefore advise you to update your LinkedIn activity feed visibility to whatever you’re comfortable with. Keep in mind, this is probably going to get quite public.

linkedin signal

Using Signal Filters

linkedin signal betaThe beauty of Signal over using Twitter directly is the many filters it offers, especially those based on the people you know already in LinkedIn. It allows you to expand your business network with one click, rather than searching for people one by one.

Signal also shows a preview of some URLs in-stream, and a summary of popular URLs from your chosen collection of people on the right, in a similar style to the Twitter newspaper services. You can also click on these and see who shared them.

To begin with, you’re given a Signal stream made up from all of your direct LinkedIn connections. That is, ONLY your LinkedIn connections. This is likely to be a collection of people you have actually met or worked with in some way, so that’s already filtered your network’s updates into something manageable and professional compared to viewing Twitter normally.

linkedin signal beta

If you want to network a little, you can click on the “2nd Connections” option and see all your LinkedIn “Friends of Friends“. It’s a lot of people, but it could quickly open your eyes to people you want to be introduced to — in one click!

linkedin signal beta

linkedin signal api

For narrowing down the Signal stream, try out the other checkboxes. There’s plenty of choices, including company, school, industry, location, hashtag topics and how recent the update was. If you filter by a sub-category, Signal will let you add your 3rd-level connections too. You can also add a search term in, filtering results by whatever checkboxes you like. The icing on the cake is that you can save your searches for later!

linkedin signal api

Just think how useful your favourite Twitter hashtags will be when they’re filtered down to just the people you and your friends trust! Or simply filtering by the general industry people have listed themselves in on LinkedIn. Not every tweet will be on topic, but a general picture will emerge which could be good for news-gathering or networking.

Pros & Cons

Signal has opened up the possibilities for Twitter, so if another Twitter client, Twitter itself or Facebook were to do the same thing there’d be a little bit of competition. However, LinkedIn’s Signal has a few things going for it that most other Twitter clients can’t get just yet. The LinkedIn network provides regularly updated industry, education and location information, plus a tiered network of people built on two-way authenticated connections. So the only downside I can see is that not everyone has linked their Twitter accounts and blogs to their LinkedIn account yet. Time to spread the word!

LinkedIn’s Signal is an incredibly powerful way to access Twitter and LinkedIn statuses, plus has the potential for much more. With just a few clicks I had filtered to one industry-filtered corner of a wide network and could see updates I was interested in and people offering relevant jobs to their network. Signal is very powerful, simple and well worth a look.

linkedin signal

If you’re looking for work or just looking to make Twitter more organised, you might like these articles:

If you’ve decided to give Signal a go, let us know your best tips and tricks for filtering your network. Have you used it to find work? Let us know in the comments!

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Hot Tech Deals [Dec 30th]

Posted: 30 Dec 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 Sharp AQUOS LC-26DV28UT 26in LCD HDTV w/ Built-In DVD Player $299.99 Free Shipping

  2. TODAY ONLY Logitech K350 Wireless Keyboard $29.99 Free Shipping

  3. Borders Coupon Code 50% Off Select CD & DVD Box Sets via code BRK2258U (Exp 12/31)

  4. New Shoebuy Coupon Codes $15 Off $50 + Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Quickly Find Anything With Search & Launcher App Synapse [Ubuntu]

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 11:31 AM PST

synapse searchQuickly find what you’re looking for so you can get to work quickly. That’s the purpose of the new Ubuntu search and launcher app Synapse. which you can instantly launch with a keyboard shortcut. Whether you’re looking for a program, a folder, a document or even a dictionary definition, Synapse gives you quick access to exactly what you’re looking for.

There was a time when GnomeDo was the best tool for this job, and for many people it’s still great. But the Do’s not been actively developed for a while, and many find it a little bloated for quick searching. Enter Synapse, a new launcher app written from the ground up. Sure, there’s not a lot of plugins yet, but you can’t beat this launcher on Linux for giving you quick access to what you’re looking for.

Using Synapse Search App

So you sit down at your computer and you want to see your current projects, which you store entirely in one folder. No problem; just fire up Synapse and type your folder’s name:

synapse search

Regardless of where that folder may be located, you now have quick access to it. Nice. This simple concept can also be used to launch programs, such as your favorite web browser:

synapse search

There are a couple of other little tricks, of course, including quickly shutting down your computer:

synapse searching

You get the idea: you can quickly find what you’re looking for. Right now the functions are limited, but there’s more than enough here to be useful. Most importantly, it’s fast. It’s also slick looking, which probably isn’t important but is kind of nice.


Once this program’s launched for the first time, you can bring it up whenever you like simply by pressing “Ctl” and “Space.” Want to change that keyboard shortcut? Check the preferences and you can set it to whatever you want:

synapse search

Be sure to also set Synapse to launch at boot, assuming you find it useful. It’s also worth noting that you can enable/disable plugins in these preferences, by clicking the other tab, but there aren’t really any third-party ones to add yet. Hopefully that will come later.


Installing Synapse on Ubuntu is easy; you just need to add a PPA and then install the right package. Fire up your Terminal (click Applications, then Accessories, then Terminal) and launch the following commands, in this order:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install synapse

Once you’ve done all this you’re finished. Fire up; it’s under “Accessories” in the applications menu.

I’m not really sure how to install this app on non-Ubuntu distributions, so feel free to contribute in the comments below if you know anything about that.


Developer Michal Hruby did a good job with this launcher, and I cannot wait to see what it grows into. Even if it doesn’t change, however, I’ll be using it for a while. It’s fast, slick and useful.

Do you like this app, or are you going to stick with the likes of Gnome Do for a while? Let me know in the comments below. Also feel free to ask me any questions you might have about using the app.

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Sendible Launches New iPhone App, Available For Free Until January 31st [News]

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 10:38 AM PST

logo.pngSendible, the social media management application, have just released an iPhone app [iTunes link], making it easy to manage your social networks on the go using your phone. The iPhone app is available for free until January 31st, after which it will only be available to Sendible members with a paid plan.

Sendible makes it easy to update all of your social networks and blogs from the comfort of one screen, share links and bookmarks, keep up with your customer service, and monitor what is being said about your brand online. It’s one of the most comprehensive social marketing tools available to small businesses today.

So what do you get when you download the iPhone app? You can update all of your social networks and blogs on the go, using the one app. If you’ve got a spare moment and start creating a post, and find yourself being interrupted, you can save your post for later. The Sendible iPhone app allows you to share photos from your phone directly to your social networks or blogs. You can also use your phone to schedule posts, keep up to date with your Sendible statistics and feedback, and access your Sendible contacts.


To celebrate the launch of the app, Sendible are generously giving away not one but three 4th Generation iPod Touches. All you have to do to put yourself in the running for one of the slickest iPods yet, is post a message to Twitter or Facebook about the new app, using your Sendible account of course.

Sendible’s pricing plans start at $9.99 or can be tailored to meet your needs using their pay-as-you-go system.

What do you think of Sendible’s new app? Let us know in the comments.

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5 Fun Roadtrip Games For Networked Mobile Devices [Android]

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 10:31 AM PST

fun roadtrip gamesWhether you’re a kid or an adult, there are few activities more boring than sitting as a passenger on a long trip. Whether you’re in a car, a bus or an airplane, it’s important to have things to do to keep your mind occupied.

So to help you add a bit of enjoyment to your traveling, I’d like to share five very cool mobile multiplayer, fun roadtrip games that I recently discovered. We’ve offered a few Android games before at MUO – make sure to check out Mark’s list of 5 games, Simon’s 3 brain teaser games, and Paul’s list of 5 multiplayer games.

Along the lines of Paul’s list, the following games are some that you can either play privately with your friends, or you can play them against other strangers across the world. With these cool multiplayer mobile games, you’ll never be left without someone to play a game with. There are almost always players online just waiting to go head-to-head with you.

Head To Head Racing

There are few games that are quite as blood-pumping as head-to-head racing. Cruising around curves and trying to cut off your opponent so that you can get out in front. Head to Head Racing is the game that you want loaded on your Android phone when you’re on the road with a friend.

fun roadtrip games

You can pick vehicles from motorcycles to a sweet-looking sports car. The cool thing about racing in this game is that when you turn too sharp and for too long, you’ll start to peel out – the physics in the game are decent.

roadtrip games

Win the race and rub it in your friend’s face! Download the game with this code:

roadtrip games


Another game well worth a mention is a very addictive one called Wordfeud. If you like Scrabble, you’re going to absolutely love this multiplayer mobile game. When you launch a new game, you have the choice to either invite a friend to play via email (or username if they have a Droid). If you don’t have a friend to play with, then select “Play with random opponent.”

free mobile games

Once you start playing this game, you’ll be hooked – consider yourself warned. Like Scrabble, certain squares offer some major points if you land on them, like DL is double-letter, DW is double word and TL is triple letter.

free mobile games

Aim for those hot-spots and outscore your opponent with your brilliant manipulation of the alphabet! You get just about 80 to 90 tiles to play on the board, and whoever has the most points once the tiles runs out wins. Download the game with the code below and have fun!

free mobile games

Sci-Fi Battleship

This mobile multiplayer game is a level-oriented game where the more you play, the more points you accumulate and increase in rank. You start out as Cadet, but the goal is to work your way up to Space Admiral.

Click on “Duel” to fight a friend via any local Wi-Fi network, or you can click “Battle” to compete with players on the larger multiplayer network via your mobile Internet connection. There’s pretty much no learning curve if you’ve ever played Battleship before.

Just take turns taking potshots within the grid and hope that you make direct hits against your opponent’s ships before they wipe out all of yours! Download this game using the following code.

Cestos 2 Party Time

Cestos 2 is a mobile social network where you can play games with other people that are online. Most of the games involve some form of playing marbles. Beyond the games, you can also visit the chat room or challenge from 1 to 3 other players in the game area.

In just about every game, you aim your marbles in the direction you want them to go, and try to hit certain spots on the game board. It’s a lot of fun, and the more people that are playing the more chaotic it can get.

roadtrip games

Download the game using this code:

Sketch Online

Speaking of parties – have you ever been to one of those parties where everyone played a really fun game of Pictionary and everyone spends most of the time laughing because no one can draw? Well, if you love party games like that, you’re going to love Sketch Online for Android.

Considering this is a mobile app, it’s pretty impressive. There’s an area where one person draws, and then a chat area where everyone else tries to guess the answer before the time is up. You get points for how fast you answer correctly.

fun roadtrip games

I have to say, some of the folks on here were pretty good. You really get the sense like you’re at a big online party, and everyone has a blast.

You can download Sketch Online using this code:

So, the next time you find yourself sitting somewhere with friends and bored out of your mind, pull out your Android phones and fire up these fun multiplayer roadtrip games for a load of fun. Let us know what you think of these games, or share some of your own multiplayer game discoveries in the comments section below!

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IPv6 & The Coming ARPAgeddon [Technology Explained]

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 09:31 AM PST

what is ipv6When you type in a website URL in your web browser, such as, a number of technologies are at work behind the scenes to bring the webpage up on your screen. For a general overview of what happens when you visit a website, check out this infographic on how the Internet works.

But today, I want to delve into a topic that you will see more about in the coming months and that is the exhaustion of ALL IP addresses, to help diffuse some of the fear and explain what exactly is the big to-do.

To further clarify on that infographic, since 1981 the internet has used TCP/IP, the IP portion standing for Internet Protocol. It is actually IPv4, or Internet Protocol version 4. As defined in the original protocol, that gave internet users roughly 4.3 billion IP addresses to use, which sounded like a lot at the time. However with the past and current growth of the Internet, these addresses are quickly running out, meaning that new devices cannot be “addressed” on the Internet except via some technical wizardry such as Network Address Translation (NAT) which will put multiple devices behind the same IP address.

So to clarify, once these addresses “run out” we will still be able to access the internet, but new connections will have to come from sub-allocations of these ranges; meaning that it will be harder and harder to locate a free IP address to connect to the Internet.

IPv6: The Solution

IPv6 or Internet Protocol version 6 is the solution to this problem. Instead of using a 32-bit addressing scheme that IPv4 used, it instead uses a 128-bit address, giving Internet users worldwide a maximum of 2^128 available addresses. This very large number will be enough to hold the internet users for the foreseeable future, but as with all things of this nature sometimes growth happens much faster than anticipated and you end up running out of addresses again. According to all the sources that I’ve read at least, this won’t be a problem in our lifetime.

what is ipv6

IPv6 look significantly different than IPv4 as there is a lot more data to convey in each address. It uses hexadecimal numbers for addressing so you will see both letters and numbers in the address. Colons separate each 16-bit field and leading zeros can be left out of each field. In addition, a double colon (::) can be used once in an address to replace multiple fields of zeros

IPv4 vs IPv6

Let’s do a quick comparison of IPv4 vs IPv6 :

Number of Addresses2^322^128
Appearance of IP address10.10.0.243ffe:1900:4545:3:200:f8dd:fe21:67cf
Localhost127.0.0.1::1 or 0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1
Sample Websites

As you can see the numbers look quite a bit different but the websites are accessed in roughly the same manner using a human readable hostname. There are a number of technical difficulties that make the actual switchover complicated (and are beyond the scope of this article). You will likely receive special information from your Internet Service Provider once they switch over to IPv6.

Am I On IPv6?

The answer this this question is “probably not.” Most websites on the Internet, including this one, are available only on IPv4 so if you are reading this article you are using IPv4. There are a number of ways you can test. The easiest way is to attempt to browse a website using the IPv6 protocol.

You can test out if you have IPv6 connectivity in one way or another by connecting directly to Google’s IPv6 address, which is http://[2a00:1450:8006::63].

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

If you are an end user, don’t worry about the IPv6 address transition, it will come to you sooner or later. However if you are a network administrator or other decision maker in an organization, it would be well advised to start planning out a move since there are so many factors involved. According to the latest count we have under 60 days until all IPv4 addresses have been assigned and you will probably see some media reporting on this issue then. Eventually we will all be on IPv6, it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when.’ In the meantime, relax and enjoy the web as much as you always have.

Have a question about IPv6 or the transition? Ask in the comments and I will respond with an answer (if I know it!)

Image credit: Shutterstock 1, 2

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Orbs: An Online Tool To Quickly Create Beautiful Websites – No Web Design Skill Needed

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 08:31 AM PST

orbs websiteThe Internet has already become an inseparable part of our life, so I guess by now everybody understands the importance of a web presence. You can’t call yourself a netizen without a net property: your own website. But even though website building is getting easier by the day and there are more and more web builders available, internet newbies are still reluctant to try to build their own websites.

One of the major hindrances that stops these newbies from progressing is the lack of confidence. They feel that web building requires a high level of skill, and they don’t have what it takes. To prove them wrong, we previously published Some Free Methods To Build A Web Page In Less Than 5 Minutes. If you are still hungry for more, here is one alternative tool to quickly create beautiful personal websites without any web design skill – Orbs.

Just Click & Edit

Orbs is a web tool that will allow anybody to build and modify their own Orbs websites just by clicking and editing. The process is like creating a new document using a ready-made template: click on an area, edit the text, and save.

You don’t need to sign up to try the web tool, just click on the “Try Demo” button to start. However, you need to sign up and sign in to save your work later.

orbs website

The first step of designing your website is literally “click to edit”.

free online websites

An editing tool bar will appear on the upper area of the page to assist you with the editing process: type, replace, delete, and other basic editing processes.

free online websites

The editing tools range from the basic ones like Bold, Italic, Bullets and Numbers; to the more advanced ones like Link Insert, Tables and HTML Codes.

free online websites

Don’t forget to save any changes that you made to your page by clicking the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page.

02e Save Changes.jpg

On the right side of the screen, there is the tool to add a Page and SubPage.

03a Add Page.jpg

There’s also the “Page Setting” tool under “Add“.

03b Edit Page.jpg

Adding pictures is also easy. The “Adding picture” button is located on the editing toolbar on the right. Click on that button and you can add pictures from your hard drive to be uploaded to your site.

04a Adding Image.jpg

Similar to other pages, you can also edit the text on this photo page. Again, don’t forget to save the changes.

04b Example Photo.jpg

Saving Your Work

So far, we were playing on the demo website, all your work is still located in the temporary location and will be removed within 24 hours. To really save your website, you need to click on the big “Keep Site, It’s FREE” button at the top right corner of the page above the editing toolbar.

A small warning window will pop up notifying you that you will lose any unsaved changes if you leave the page. Since we are going to save the website anyway, just ignore the warning and click on the “OK” button.

05a Leave Page - Warning.jpg

Give your site a name and click “Next“. This name will be appended to “” and will be the address of your site.

05b Give name.jpg

Fill in the fields on the “Signup” form and click the “I Accept” button at the bottom. If you already have an account on Orb, you can just sign in.

05c Sign Up.jpg

Modifying Site Design

We’ve seen the editing process and we know that modifying site content in Orbs is easy. But what about the design? Orbs gives us an easy way to customize the site design. Click the “Design” tab and continue with the “Customize Current Design” button.

06a Design.jpg

Click on the element that you want to edit and the option pane will show up. For example, I wanted to edit the header image, so I clicked on the header and the “Header” option pane showed up at the bottom of the page. There are lots of header images that users can choose, grouped into several categories.

06b Custom Header.jpg

Users can also add text to their images by clicking on the “Add Text” button above.

06d Add Text.jpg

The header’s text can be customized by changing the font type, color, layout and size using the options pane at the bottom of the screen.

free online website builder

The last item that we should look at is the “Settings“.

free online website builder

The “Site Privacy” menu is the place to determine who can access your site. You can set it to either public or private.

free online website builder

The “Users” menu is the place to give access to the people that will collaborate with you in building the site. Unfortunately, this feature is only available for paid users.

orbs website

After playing with Orbs for a while, I can say that it’s a great tool for people without web design skills who want to build their own websites quickly and easily. Advanced users can use their expertise to customize their site even further. If you ever need a quick website, Orbs can be an alternative that you can try.

Reading about the way to do something could never be compared to the actual process of doing it. So, why don’t you try Orbs and then share your stories using the comments below?



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The Top 5 Unusual PC Gaming Peripherals

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 07:31 AM PST

gaming accessoriesAnyone who has ever played a game is likely to be familiar with the most basic gaming peripherals, such as gamepads, joysticks and wheels. Although most games use a keyboard and mousing, common peripherals such as these are preferable in certain types of games.

These are not the only options, however. There are a number of strange PC gaming accessories that offer far more than what you expected. Let’s take a look at some of the most unusual peripherals around today including a customizable mouse, a head-tracking sensor, and a controller that lets you play games with the power of your mind!

Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Gaming Mouse

gaming accessories

The formula for a gaming mouse is simple. Take a large contoured case, slap in a high-resolution sensor, add a buffet of buttons and presto! You have yourself a gaming mouse. This formula is common because it’s usually successful, as has been demonstrated by companies like Logitech, Razer and even Microsoft.

Mad Catz has taken a new approach, however. Like most gaming mice, it includes numerous buttons and a great sensor, but unlike any other mouse available, the Cyborg R.A.T 7′s physical dimensions can be customized. The thumb guard, palm rest, and height can be adjusted to provide your hand with the perfect fit. The mouse also ships with optional components that can be switched out to provide the mouse with a dramatically different feel.

The R.A.T. 7 is an ugly thing, but in this case function has clearly triumphed over form. The wired R.A.T. 7 has an MSRP of $99, and the wireless R.A.T. 9 sells for $120.


pc gaming accessories

Games designed for the PC are usually meant for use with a keyboard mouse. While this works well enough in most situations,keyboards are not always the best tool for gaming. Certain games, like MMOs and some strategy games, require a user to remember a lot of different keys scattered across the keyboard surface. This can force gamers into the nasty habit of hunting-and-pecking.

The solution is the gameboard, a PC gaming accessory that emulates a keyboard but places the keys closer together and provides a more comfortable surface for furious gaming. Gameboards usually have between 20 and 30 programmable keys, a thumb-stock, and support for macros. The Logitech G13, Razer Nostromo and Belkin N52TE are the three best examples currently available. The Logitech G13 is arguably the best of the three, and it can be purchased only for just under $70.

TrackIR 5 Head Tracker

pc gaming accessories

Using your body as a controller is a familiar idea among consoles now, as all three now provide motion control options. The technology is less common in PC gaming, but that doesn’t mean it is non-existent, as the TrackIR 5 proves.

The TrackIR 5 is nothing more than a sensor that tracks your head movement and uses it to provide input for games. That may sound rather boring, if you just want to play Left4Dead, it is. As the device’s website indicates, the TrackIR 5 is built with hardcore flight sim players in mind. Some flight sim games provide full support for technology such as this, making it possible to look around the cockpit of a virtual fighter or spot an enemy fighter trying to sneak in around your flanks.

You’ll have to pay $150 to score a TrackIR 5. That’s a bit steep, but there aren’t any comparable products available elsewhere.

Peregrine Gaming Glove

pc gaming accessories

Gamers have been wanting to control games with their hands for decades. The concept suggests a degree of realism that borders on virtual reality. Attempts to make the dream real, however, have usually failed. Remember the Nintendo Power Glove?

The latest product to put gaming at your fingertips in the Peregrine Gaming Glove, which came to market this fall. The gaming glove has a number of wires inside along with conductive pads on the fingerprints and other parts of the hand. When two pads come in contact, a certain command is triggered. For example, you could bind an attack in your favorite MMO to the connection made when your thumb and index finger touch.

Personally, I think the practicality of this concept has yet to be proven, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t cool. The $140 price tag may cause many gamers to scoff, however.

OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, we come to the main event. The ability to place games with your mind!

No, this isn’t a joke. The OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA for short) actually fits around your head. Once you fit it, you must go through a calibration process that tailors the device to your head and also teaches you to use it. After calibration, you’ll be able to use the NIA to control games using subtle face movements. It’s not exactly reading your mind, but instead reacting to the subtle electrical impulses used to control your muscles.

To be clear, the NIA is very much a gadget. It takes a lot of practice to use properly, and even after a few weeks it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to play games with the precision of a keyboard and mouse combo.The NIA is only $99, however. The question is this; are you nerd enough to play games with a neural interface actuator strapped to your head?


I scoured the Internet to find the most unusual gaming PC accessories possible, but I’m sure I missed a few. Please leave a comment if you know of a strange peripheral that isn’t listed here!

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