Thursday, December 2, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [December 1st]” plus 10 more “Cool Websites and Tools [December 1st]” plus 10 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [December 1st]

Posted: 01 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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HtAccessTools – Since the .htaccess file on your web server is read on every request, you can get it to do a number of different things to match your needs. If you want to know what these things are and you want the .htaccess files that implement these functions, pay a visit to Htaccess Tools. Read more: HtaccessTools: Get Tools & Guides To Work With .Htaccess Files


Charge Your Glasses – Pulling off a successful toast requires orating skills and more importantly, a great toast text. If you are planning to make a toast at a wedding and need help in forming your speech, check out Charge Your Glasses. It is a free to use web service that helps you to come up with text for really good wedding speeches. Read more: Charge Your Glasses: Get Help Writing A Good Wedding Speech – What's the quickest way to find the weather conditions of a city? Well, checking weather websites isn't the quickest. Typing “weather in (city name)” on Google is one of the ways. is another. It lets you quickly find out if it is raining in a particular city – and it could be any city around the world. Read more: Check If It Is Raining Now In Your City



Cloudflare – Webmasters face a lot of worries when it comes to traffic. Good and bad traffic can often not be distinguished and because of heavy loads the site's loading speed is slowed down – something unappreciated by site visitors and search engines. A wonderfully innovative solution to this site loading speed situation is offered by Cloudflare. Read more: Cloudflare: A Web Service That Speeds Up A Website Loading Time



HTML Instant – Are you a beginning web developer trying to learn HTML? Or perhaps you want to make modifications to an HTML code and need the fastest way to see what effect your modifications are having? Either way, HTML Instant will prove to be an invaluable service to you. HTML Instant is a free to use website that helps you get real-time changes in the HTML code you are typing in. Read more: HTML Instant: Instant HTML Code Editor Online


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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2 Impressive Alternatives To Animoto That Will Help You Make Slick Home Videos

Posted: 01 Dec 2010 05:31 PM PST

I recently went to a wedding reception where guests were shown slideshows of the couple. For most people, slideshows suffice since they deliver results without costing a lot of time. However, there are simple applications like Animoto that let you create impressive and professional-looking slideshow-like videos that don’t require immense amounts of time either.

While Animoto is a stellar (and free!) service that simplifies the process of making professional-quality home videos from your pictures, it isn’t the only one. With these next products, you will soon be on your way to creating some stunning videos in a few clicks.


Flixtime is a slick video-making web app that will take your pictures and effectively creates a “flix in a flash”, as its motto says.

After you create an account, you can upload your pictures, video clips (in .AVI, .FLV, .WMV, .MP4, .MOV) and music, or select some from the Media Lounge, which is Flixtime’s library of stock images from Fotolia (which contains an enormous collection of royalty-free photos) and the Music Lounge, which features songs for use from the stock music community, AudioMicro. You can also add a cover image for your clip and text slides, which you can freely move around to fit whichever photo it’s for. You can choose to save your video in either 640 x 360 dimension, or iPod-friendly 320 x 180, and in either FLV, MP4, or DIVX formats.

What’s cool is that your videos will be 60 seconds long, as opposed to Animoto’s 30-second offering for free accounts. Like Animoto, however, you won’t be able to directly download your video, but you can post your new video on YouTube, which will require you to authorize Flixtime for access (although I had trouble getting this to work).

You’ll also be able to remix your video, which allows you to choose more pictures to add, or replace any elements, like the song or certain photos. Flixtime will also provide you with ways to share the link on your social media accounts, like Faceboo, Twitter, and a myriad of sites thanks to AddThis.

While Flixtime is pretty nice overall, there seems to not be any additional video styles. To get a glimpse of the effects Flixtime offers for the default video style, see this sample from YouTube.

Stupeflix Studio

Stupeflix is a suite of video products, including the interesting Stupeflix TV, which creates web TV channels from Flickr images to help illustrate the latest tweets on trending topics, and the Stupeflix API for web developers of video applications. The Studio is where the magic for consumers happens.

You can first choose a video style (there are currently 4 styles available) and then, upload your photos and videos (up to 40 MB) or import them from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa as there is no library of stock images. You can also add images by URL.

You can then choose to include songs (up to 10 MB) and text. The editor is pretty neat and fast, but some powerful features can be hidden unless you fully try it all out before publishing a video, which I had to do as I was a bit confused at first. One example is the grouping feature. You can drag pictures in and out of a group so that the same text or song (“soundtrack”) apply to all the pictures or videos in that group. Grouped pictures will also be displayed at the same time. You could also add text or a different soundtrack (but be careful as it might play along with the songs from each group which won’t sound too beautifully) to the whole movie, as opposed to the different groups.

When you want to preview your project, just save it and a video player will pop up and show you what you’ve got so far. When you’re ready to finish your project, you can then export it to a 480 x 270 video and choose to share it on Youtube and Facebook. A free video will be 1 minute-long, but you can buy the downloadable HD and full-length versions as well.

After a video is published, you can edit it as a new project, which allows you to add or edit media, but not change the video style (for that, you’ll need to make a new project).

These two applications will help you make short but stunning video slideshows in a few clicks. What do you use to whip up nicer-than-average home videos?

Photo credit: Alessandro Rei

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A Brief Overview of Internet Memes & How You Can Quickly Create Your Own

Posted: 01 Dec 2010 03:31 PM PST

Introducing one of the most outlandish, childish and plain silly aspects of online culture – the internet meme. For those of you not familiar with the term, a "meme" is much like an in-joke that gains popularity and establishes itself with a constant stream of derivatives.

There are an indeterminate amount of internet memes, and a considerable number of websites have sprung up over the years solely to preserve, propagate and generate more of what the online world considers comedy. A great deal of these often turn up in our own Geeky Fun section.

Some memes are much-loved characters amongst online communities worldwide, so what makes them so funny and why does the internet keep producing more and more?

Defining Internet Humour

An internet meme can be as simple as an image with a caption. Provided the concept stays the same between different versions, the fad is continued and the meme in turn grows in popularity and becomes a part of the internet’s culture.

Other examples include sole passages of text, websites (such as YTMND), photos, videos, poorly constructed homepages about ninjas….the list is endless.

The exact origin of the internet meme is a tough one to call, Many internet imageboards and messageboards act as the spawning ground for new memes, such as the infamous 4chan (you have been warned) British-based b3ta and the “goon army” of SomethingAwful.

One of the more recognisable fads of the last few years (that eventually went mainstream) has to have been LOLCats, which depicted cute fluffy cats and kittens accompanied by bad grammar and awful spelling. The meme originated years ago on 4chan, mainly on Saturdays which the community renamed to "Caturdays" and has pop-culture ties to the classic “Hang in there, Baby!” poster of the 1970′s.

There is also evidence of companies specifically targeting the internet meme as a way of viral marketing, much like the huge amount of internet gold that greeted the release of “Snakes on a Plane” in 2006. The film’s producers eventually re-shot 5 days worth of footage in the hope of living up to the internet hype that had been generated.

Many videos that have made it to cult status (and thus are now considered memes in their own right) have spawned a number of "internet celebrities" (and I use the term very loosely). Classic YouTube material like Tay Zonday’s Chocolate Rain (below) and Jay Maynard’s debut as The Tron Guy have seen them featured in the offline media, including a South Park episode that featured a collection of classic memes.

Cataloging Comedy

Now that the internet is older, there are an increasing amount of in-jokes to keep track of. Luckily, KnowYourMeme is the website to visit for a brief history on the subject. We’ve already got an article written by Justin dedicated to the site, and you can read that right here.

KnowYourMeme is an organised database of online funnies, which also keeps track of new memes and current trends online. Each meme that has been featured comes with a description and additional information surrounding the fad, as well as possible origins and a database of images attached.

If you’re taking a trip down memory lane then Wikipedia has a well-informed list of internet phenomena that is chock-full of memes, jokes and things that only really work online.

Making Your Own

If you want to join in the fun then you could always contribute to the web’s growing collection of memes. Most are created in image editing programs like Photoshop, The GIMP and even Paint (often intentionally Paint).

There are also a few websites that can help you on your way, and remove the need for any image editing on your part by creating them for you.


Easily the best source for quickly adding your own text to an already established meme, MemeGenerator breaks down currently active memes into tiers for your perusal.

The site is pretty straight-forward, find yourself a meme that you like and then add text as required via the form on the right hand side of the page. There’s hundreds of thousands of other examples already online, so it’s pretty easy to get side-tracked whilst browsing.


Long before the internet started having its fun, motivational posters adorned many office, study and garage walls for all to take inspiration from. Now they’re one of the longest-standing internet jokes, and their use transcends many different memes.

These are great even just for sharing with friends, and Motivator is the quickest way to make your own parody. Simply choose a picture from your hard drive, Flickr or from your Facebook account (requires Connect), add your message and fine-tune before clicking Create.

Instant motivational goodness.


Cultural fads pop up in every walk of life, but some only work on the internet. A startling amount of work and man hours have been collectively put into a plethora of concepts, jokes and characters that are now considered the bread and butter of internet comedy.

Be aware that the jokes are daring, some potentially offensive and others make little to no sense at all. Still, you might get a chuckle or two out of trying it for yourself.

Any favourite memes from years gone by? Are you willing to admit ownership to any? Culture or spam? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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4 Cool Android Phone Solutions To Everyday Problems

Posted: 01 Dec 2010 01:31 PM PST

During your typical day, you put up with annoyances or difficulties and probably just accept them as part of life. Things like forgetting where your car is or forgetting your grocery shopping list at home.  The whole point of technology is to make life easier, so I’m here to offer up four Android solutions to a few of those daily annoyances and problems.

Each of these Android apps are offered for free on the Android Market, but you’ll also find the download scan code for your convenience. If any of these issues are the sort of thing you find yourself dealing with every day, go ahead and give them a try.

Carr Matey Will Find Your Car

So you took your family to the mall, and everyone was excited about a fun-filled day of shopping. You all enjoy a great day – forgetting all about the fact that you’ll eventually need to remember where you parked the car. With some parking lots stretching for acres, it’s not always an easy feat. However, with Carr Matey you’ll never lose track of your car again.

With GPS enabled, the software recognizes where you are. All you have to do is click on “Drop Anchor” and it notes where your car is parked. The pirate theme is kind of cheesy, but it’s also one of the best car locator apps on the Android market.

If you’re using a parking meter and you want to make sure you don’t go over the time limit, just use the built-in timer to alert yourself that it’s time to get back to your car. When it’s time to go back, you can spot your car on the map by the icon of a ship.

You can either walk to your car by following your location on the map until you reach the ship, or click on “Find Vessel” and use the built-in compass.

You can download Carr Matey using this code:

Live360 Offers Family Safety

Another area of major concern, and a source of a lot of stress for many parents, is the safety of children and teens when they’re away from home. An amazing app that can help parents let go a little bit is Life360.

Life360 is like a window to the location of all family members, and the dangers in the area. When you first launch the app, it shows local hospitals, fire departments, police departments and even the registered addresses of local sex offenders.

So, if your preteen wants to go to a party that’s located in a neighborhood where there are 2 or 3 convicted sex offenders living next door, at least you’re better informed to make your decision.

The best feature of Life360 is that it helps you keep tabs on the entire family. Just install the app on their mobile device, and they can check in using the app to let you know that they’re okay.

Install the app using this code:

GTracker Solves Your Grocery Shopping Confusion

Who has time to keep an inventory of the food in your pantry, add those to a grocery list, and then remember to take that list with you? Most of us end up standing in the aisles without any list, because we forgot it at home. Well now there’s a mobile app that can help.

The cool thing about the app is that it turns several steps into one. You go through your kitchen, take inventory of your food, and then you’re done. Taking inventory involves either typing in the details of each item, or just scanning the barcode on each package.

When you see that items in your inventory are down to zero, just click to add the item to your shopping list.

While you’re going through the grocery store, just click off the items as you buy them. The app keeps track of everything.

The application is full of a lot of features, so there’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you get use to it, it’s an amazing time saver.

Download GTracker with this code:

Get Some Rest With Relax and Sleep

I think this is one of my favorite Android apps. There are a lot of people that really struggle to get a good night’s rest, and realistic background noise is the one thing that can do the trick. A cool app called Relax and Sleep provides over thirty amazingly realistic sounds that are sure to lull you to sleep in no time.

Just to make sure you don’t leave it running all night, you can set up the sounds with a timer so that it’ll shut off automatically.

Download Relax and Sleep with this code:

These four Android solutions for some of those simple life problems can really reduce the stress in your life and help you enjoy the things that you really love to do, rather than worry about those little things that you don’t.

Have you ever tried out any of these apps? Do you know of any other cool Android apps that solve some of those annoying everyday problems? Share your own resources in the comments section below.

Image credit: Gary Mcinnes

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Hot Tech Deals [Dec 1st]

Posted: 01 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 Trendnet TEW-652BRP 802.11n Wireless N Router $24.99 Free Shipping

  2. Sunbeam PSU-COM680-BK-US 680W Power Supply (Modular, ActivePFC) $34.99AR via code EMCYTZT237

  3. OCZ Agility Series OCZSSD2 60GB 2.5in Internal Solid State Hard Drive (SSD, TRIM) $89.99AR Free Shipping

  4. Kingston DataTraveler 102 8GB USB Flash Drive $9.99 Free Shipping via code EMCYTZT236

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Online Geography Games That Help Kids Know More About The World

Posted: 01 Dec 2010 11:31 AM PST

Geography games take me back to my school years when we would play a Hangman's version on a world map. The guessing of places and locations not only served as a study break, but it helped me score a few A plusses on the geography paper.

I also developed an abiding interest in geography and maps. Cut to the present, an app like Google Earth and Google Maps have almost revolutionized how we look at the world. The games we played on an atlas can now be played just as easily (and more interactively) in a browser.

As we found out with real maps as kids, todays’s online games based on maps are not only fun but they are very cool educational tools. Kids of today have it so much better with all the edutainment stuff they can call up with a mouse click.

Help your kids learn more about the world with these ten online geography games. You too can jump in.


Geosense is an online geography game we have covered in detail before. You can play alone or go multiplayer. The fact that you can play and chat with someone across the world makes this game truly 'geographical'. The idea is to get a fix on locations on the map within a time limit. You get to score over a few rounds. The game has five modes that are based on different choices of map, from an advanced world map to one that's scrambled.


This map based game is as you might have guessed, based on Google Maps. So you will have a bit of zooming in and out to do as you try to match the image on top to a location on the Google Map below it. Some hints are provided without which I can assure you that it would be practically impossible to solve. You can also create your own map puzzles and send it to your friends.

The site's More page says that the success rate is 11%. The game is also available on Facebook and as an iPhone app.

Geo Challenge

Speaking of Facebook, Playfish is doing its bit for the geography IQ of kids and adults alike. Being on the social networking site, it's also where you get to show off your scores as you pit your knowledge of countries, cities, flags, and landmarks against your friends. You have games like Suitcase Shuffle, Map Mayhem, City Blitz, and Landmark Loco to waste time on.

The Traveler IQ Challenge

This neat game is courtesy of TravelPod, the travel blog. You can play it on the other social networks too. Guess the locations within the time limit and move up the rounds. There's a whole list of challenges for you to conquer. I really like the Photos of the World round.


I missed including this game when I wrote about 5 Cool Edutainment Games You Can Play and Also Donate to Charitable Causes, because the bighearted idea is the same. So is the gameplay. The rewards are that correct answers from you go towards donating cups of drinking water and lessening world thirst. The site is looking for sponsors right now.

Virtual Game

A bit of promo and a whole lot more fun from Lufthansa, the German airline. You get to 'pilot' a jumbo jet and land it at destinations as directed. Three destinations and five destinations per round gives you a lot of chances to tote up points and feel good about travelling around the world.

My Wonderful World

NatGeo says that half of young Americans can’t locate world powers like Japan and India. National Geographic has a host of games including a lot of map based games in its section for kids. But I like this game because of its intent to give kids the power of global knowledge. So promote geography by taking part in the many geography games and quizzes that it has lined up. Crank up your global I.Q.


The homepage gives you two geography games to pick from. Cluesify is a clue based travel game that takes you around the world. Placefy Classic asks you to identify cities by giving you landmarks as a hint. The former is the more difficult and more fun in my opinion.


I don't know whether this site gets updated anymore, but the collection of cool Flash based games are variety enough to play a few rounds. The list of games tests your general knowledge as well as that of geography with games like Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Ecosystems, Tourism etc. Plus, you can explore countries like Brazil, Britain, and France.

World Map

I will end the list with one of the simplest geographical games you can use to start of your child with lessons on the map. 20 questions on cities and countries which you have to locate on a black and white map with your map, that's all there is to it. Oh, it's not easy as it sounds if you don't know your geography.

An already globalized world necessitates that every child knows about his neighbors and those across the oceans (and adults too). After all you wouldn't want them to grow up, become a U.S Vice-Presidential hopeful and not know the difference between a country and a continent.

Do you or your kids play geography games online? Let us know the ones you like.

Image: Shutterstock

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SE-Explorer: A Portable Full-Featured Windows Explorer Alternative

Posted: 01 Dec 2010 10:41 AM PST

00 Files And Folders.jpgI think we can safely say that one of the most used applications in any computer OS is the file manager. Since these kinds of applications are always in the front line and expected to run all the time, not only should they be very durable but they should also be very user friendly.

The default file manager under Windows is of course Windows Explorer. While most users can get along just fine with this application, there are quite a few areas where it could be improved for the better. That’s why there are Windows Explorer alternatives out there. One of them is SE-Explorer, which gives users much more than just the ability to manage files and folders.

SE-Explorer is a free application which is also available as a portable app. Let’s take a peek at what this application can do, and whether you could use it to replace Windows Explorer.

It Comes With Tabs

If you’d like to try this application, you can download either the installer or the compressed portable version (or both). I personally prefer the portable version, as it’s more mobile and gives users similar features. Moreover, I can place it in my Dropbox folder so it will always be ready at every computer that I use. The file size is very small, less than 2.5 MB, so the download should be done quickly.

The first thing that you will notice about the app is the tabs. SE-Explorer will begin the sessions with three basic tabs: file manager, file search, and size scanner. The file manager will show you the content of your drive with all the basic managerial functions (like copy and move) and quick access to all of the mounted drives on your computer.

01a File Manager.png

File search is exactly what the name says. It allows you to do basic and advanced searching of everything inside your hard drive. I don’t have the tools and expertise to do a comparison, but I personally feel that SE-Explorer’s search function is much speedier than the default Windows search feature.

01b Search Function.png

Size Scanner comes with several scan options, but the most useful one for me is the “Top largest files” as it allows me to find which files consume the largest portion of my storage.

01c Size Scanner.png

After you have the results of the file search or size scan, you can save the list as text files for future reference. This is another useful feature that you won’t find on Windows Explorer.

01d Save Result.png

More Useful Features

Aside from the features mentioned above, SE-Explorer also comes with several other more useful features. One of them is the ability to compare files and folders.

02a Compare files.png

Even though most normal users might never need to compare files, it would be very handy for programmers, web designers, or those who have lines of codes for breakfast.

02b Compare files result.png

On the other hand, every computer user could use the folder comparing feature once in a while, especially if they keep several copies of a folder in different places as backups and do a lot of folder synchronizing.

02c Compare Folder.png

SE-Explorer gives you quick access to the command line via the address field on the location bar under the file manager tab. Just write down the command, hit enter, and the action will be performed inside the open command line window.

03a Command Line.png

More customizations are available via the “Options” window.

04a Options.png

As a nice bonus, SE-Explorer comes with a media player. The player will open in a new tab and will play pretty much everything that you throw at it. The player managed my collection of common multimedia files with no problem.

06a Media Player.png

To know more about other things that SE-Explorer can do, there’s a features list on the app’s homepage.

To sum things up, I think SE-Explorer is a solid files And folder manager with many useful features. If you are looking for a viable alternative to Windows Explorer, this app could serve you well.

If you have your own personal alternative(s) to Windows Explorer, please feel free to share them using the comments section below.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Best Windows Software Page

Posted: 01 Dec 2010 10:01 AM PST

We enjoy making things easier and simplifying the web for our readers — that’s you.

First, we provided you with our customized Ninite pack for Windows, that automates the entire process of finding, downloading and installing selected applications for your Windows PC.

Still, we weren’t completely satisfied and went the extra mile to figure out the apps that you need/want/should download. We took that information and stuffed it all on one page so that you can use it as a reference on a regular basis.

Try not to be awed by the extensiveness of this amazing page. We’ve taken the effort to categorize the apps and picked the ones which will most likely be useful to you.


Make sure to bookmark and share the page with friends!

And like everything else on MakeUseOf, we appreciate your candor. If you think that we’ve left out your favourite app, let us know using the comment section below.

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10 Automator Hacks You Can Create & Use Today [Mac]

Posted: 01 Dec 2010 09:10 AM PST

automator-icon.pngSince I started writing for MakeUseOf, I've made it a goal to write about Mac automation every chance I get. You see, I think skilled developers (whom we all owe so much gratitude to) shouldn't be the only ones who can boss around their computers with automation hacks and programs. The rest of us deserve to get things done faster and more efficiently on our Macs, and Apple has made that possible with its smart folders, albums, and playlists, and a program called Automator.

We have posted several articles about Automator in the past because we know it's a program that can be learned and used by any Mac user. This article is a bonus feature for my upcoming MUO Guide to Mac Automation. The last chapter of that guide explains how to use Automator. This article includes ten more little known Automator hacks, not included in the guide, that you can create in a few easy steps.

The following instructions assume you know how to use Automator. I have included screenshots of workflows, and you can do a search in Automator using the names of actions in the tutorials; they're not hard to find. So fire up Automator and spend an hour or so creating new automations for your Mac.

Start Playing iTunes

This workflow enables you to play iTunes from within any application using an assigned F-key or any keyboard shortcut of your choosing.

  • Open Automator and select the Services template.


  • Select "no input" and "any application" from the pop-up menus.


  • In the iTunes library, find the "Start iTunes Playing" action and drag it into the workflow editor.


  • Save it as a Services menu action.


  • Open System Preferences > Keyboard > Services, locate the action you just saved and assign it a keyboard shortcut.

This is the basic process for all the rest of the following workflows. Remember, you can create workflows and save them as applications, folder actions, iCal alarms or even printer plug-ins. Refer to my Mac Automation Guide or other MUO articles about Automator for more details.

Pause iTunes


You can do the exact same workflow as above to pause iTunes with a keyboard shortcut.

Remove Empty Playlists


Do you have several empty playlists in your iTunes player? Create this single action workflow, run it from within Automator and it will remove all your empty playlists. Save it as an application if you ever need to run it again.

Download Pictures To A Specified Folder


You might not always want to import your photos to iPhoto, use this single action workflow to import photos to any designated folder. Save it as an application and run it when you connect your camera to your Mac.

Single Click Outgoing Email


Do you email someone on a regular basis with an update of a project or some other similar notice? Create a New Mail Message in Automator, fill in all the default information, save it as an application or Services menu item, and run it when needed. If you think you will need to include additional information before the email is sent, click the "Show this action when the workflow runs." Otherwise, you can leave it unchecked and have the workflow automatically send the default message.

Change Image Type


Do you regularly need to convert images from one type of image format to another? Save this workflow as an application, drop a set of files on it and it will automatically convert images to the designated format.

Use "Show this action when the workflow runs" if you need to choose a different format before the action executes.

iTunes Media Library


Create this single action workflow which will enable you to open a mini iTunes browser from within any application. Save it as an application or Services menu item.

Video Converter


This two-action workflow will convert or re-format a video file to play on the iPhone, iPod, Apple TV or QuickTime. Save it as an application.

Create To-do Items


With this single action workflow, you can save it as an application or Services menu and create an iCal To Do item from within any application. A similar action can be created for new iCal date reminders.

Quit Apps Every Night


Do you have a set of applications that you would like to have automatically quit every day, or designated days at a specific time?

Create an iCal alarm workflow and it will quit the designated applications you include in the workflow. You will need an individual "Quit Application" action for each application.


Automatically Duplicate Files

Create a Folder action that automatically duplicates all new files saved or moved to a designated action folder.


For example, you could actually use this folder action workflow to automatically duplicate any file saved to your desktop; it would be like an instant backup for the work you're doing.


Another idea is to have files automatically copied to your Dropbox account. See Matt’s recently published guide about Dropbox if you're not familiar with this must-have cloud and  file sharing service.

If you run into problems with any of your saved folder actions, you can find them in your Home Library > Workflows > Applications > Folder Actions.

More Workflows

I hope you found at least one or two of the above Automator hacks useful. Any time you play around in Automator, you will discover additional actions and workflows for your own particular needs. Let us know what actions you came up with.

And be sure to download the MUO Guide to Mac Automation when it comes out, so you can start saving time on your computer by automating tasks and tedious steps.

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4 Online Places To Find International Statistics Quickly

Posted: 01 Dec 2010 08:31 AM PST

We live in an amazing world that is changing quickly. Numbers are one way to grasp what it all means, and the web is full of them. Whether you’re writing a paper for school, putting together a post for your blog or just trying to win an argument with a friend, knowing where to find the right numbers can make all the difference. Population, GDP, Internet usage and fertility rates are all part of the larger story of where humanity is heading.

There’s no end of out-of-context information on blogs and websites, so it’s important to find raw sources of information. You know, information from a primary source instead of an aggregate source. This information empowers you to draw your own conclusions, instead of leading you to them. I’ve highlighted a few such sources below, so let’s check them out.


The various branches of the United Nations create staggering amounts of information on a regular basis. gives the people of earth access to this information. Check out UNdata and you’ll see a simple search engine database, as well as a selection of the newest information.

Run a search and you’ll quickly notice there’s a lot of information here. The search engine interface makes finding the information you’re looking for quick, though the amount of information there can be overwhelming. Check this site out if you’ve got a particular statistic in mind.

The CIA World Factbook

If you’re looking for an overview of a certain country you should really check the CIA World Factbook. This site provides the basic numbers of every country and territory on Earth, including a brief history and more stats than you probably need.

Go ahead and check out the World Factbook right now. You an even browse the world’s countries by flag.

If you’re anything like me you’ll even stumble upon territories you didn’t know existed (like this tiny French territory south of Newfoundland). You will then spend far too much time reading about them.

Internet World Stats

This one’s a great collection of Internet usage stats from around the world. The digital divide is a well-publicized phenomenon; these numbers can give you a fantastic amount of context for it. All the information they have is cited, offering a look at where the world’s Internet users reside.

Information is broken down by continent, so be sure to explore a bit to find out how your country ranks. Go ahead and check out Internet World Stats.


Anything can be found on Wikipedia, so its inclusion on this list should surprise no one. Pull up an article about any country or territory and you’ll find a handy sidebar:

This overview is a great way to quickly find stats such as population or GDP.

Not sure if you can trust Wikipedia? Any article worth its word count is heavily cited, so check the article’s source to find out where it’s coming from.


Numbers, like quotations, can be taken out of context. That’s the point Mark Twain was trying to make when he mis-attributed “Lies, damned lies and statistics” to the 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. This doesn’t mean numbers are useless, though; just that you should fact check them.

These sources give you the chance to do just that, but there must be more sources out there. Feel free to share any you know of in the comments below, or to share any interesting numbers you might stumble upon.

Oh, and by the way: the chart at the top of this article represents the top ten countries in a certain category. Feel free to offer guesses below!

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MakeUseOf Photography Month and Mega-Giveaway

Posted: 01 Dec 2010 08:00 AM PST


The magic never ceases here at MakeUseOf. To celebrate the month of festivities, we’ve got some really exciting new giveaways lined up for December. Here’s a special mega-giveaway for photography lovers. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Here are the giveaways that we’ll slowly be bringing out; proudly sponsored by Lomography, FourCornerStore, Photojojo, Plustek and Eye-Fi. Each giveaway will be published as a separate article and review, with this post serving as central station. So if you wish to let you friends know about what we have planned for December, simply share this post with them.

When a new giveaway is ready to be published, the corresponding link will be active on this page as well.






Have you ever seen so much stuff given away? What are you waiting for? Share this post with your friends and let’s get this party started!

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



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