Monday, December 6, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [December 5th]” plus 8 more “Cool Websites and Tools [December 5th]” plus 8 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [December 5th]

Posted: 05 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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Sundial-Damia – Before mechanical clocks were built, people relied on devices like sundials to tell the time using the sun's shadow. While we fortunately do not have to use that anymore, it still qualifies as a cool thing to do. has a great resource that lets you create your own vertical sundial based on your location. Read more: Sundial-Damia: Make Vertical Sundial In Seconds


Copy Fixer – The title might have some of you a bit confused. I mean, can't we already copy paste the URL of a webpage? It's just Ctrl+C on the address bar and then Ctrl+V wherever we want to paste, right? Well, Copy Fixer saves you the trouble of clicking on the address bar, and also copies the title of the page. Read more: Copy Fixer: Firefox Add-on To Copy Paste Webpage Title & URL



Natter – Facebook and Twitter are the biggest social networking giants currently online. Many people have accounts on both these networks and spend a considerable amount of time updating each. Natter helps by providing a way to synchronize these accounts. Natter is a simple and free to use online service that automatically synchronizes your Facebook and Twitter posts. Read more: Natter: Automatically Synchronize Facebook And Twitter Accounts – Is there an RSS feed you have subscribed to but read only parts of? If yes, then you need an RSS feed shortening tool. For this you cannot use the regular URL shortening services. Instead, you need to pay a visit to is a free to use web service that will shorten an RSS feed for you. Simply enter the feed's complete URL into the site. Read more: Shorten RSS Feeds & Summarize Web Articles



OnePagePerDay – If you are a writer, be it a big shot fiction novel author or an average web content writer like me, you must have heard of the term writer's block – a state of mind when you just can't write. I think One Page Per Day could be a perfect tool to cure that. It shows a blank page without any clutter every day and it wants you to write on it. Read more: OnePagePerDay: Write A Page Every Day


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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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 05 Dec 2010 05:12 PM PST


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

  1. The New Hollywood Sign (Pic)
  2. Social Media Hymn (Video)
  3. PEDOFAIL (Pic)
  4. Wait, someone killed me in Mafia Wars (Pic)
  5. Robin just checked in (Pic)
  6. Frienditute (Pic)
  7. Technology Can Get Freaky (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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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 05 Dec 2010 04:31 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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Where Do You Buy Your MP3s? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 05 Dec 2010 03:30 PM PST

Last week, we asked you all to tell us what you really think of Facebook: Specifically, do you actually like Facebook? Well, it turns out most of you readers don’t like Facebook much at all.

From the 674 votes counted, we’ve got the following breakdown: 34% people think Facebook is evil; 28% voters suffer Facebook’s evil because they enjoy the benefits; 14% aren’t entirely sure what they think of Facebook; 14% readers actually like Facebook; 7% think Facebook is great; while 2% voters claim to have never heard of Facebook before.

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

As the poll shows, a total of 62% of MakeUseOf voters think Facebook is evil, yet may or may not continue to use it anyway.

This week's poll question is: Where Do You Buy Your MP3s?

This poll question was devised by Tina Sieber. It will most likely result in a grand showdown between Amazon and iTunes, but it will also be interesting to see where else MakeUseOf readers buy MP3s. Bring it on!

All the big places are listed in the poll, but obviously not all independent or smaller stores could make the list. If you know of other great places to buy MP3s, please let us know in the comments!

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A First Look At The iOS 4.2 On The iPad

Posted: 05 Dec 2010 02:31 PM PST

ios 4.2Now that iOS 4.2 is finally available to iPad users, what new features does it bring to the table? Some of them are more than welcome like folders, Find My iPad and the Mail app’s revamp. A few of the other features, including the much lauded multitasking as well as AirPrint leave a little to be desired.

We’ve put together a rundown of the most important features, to give you an idea of what you’ll get with the update, although there are already rumours flying around that OS 4.3 will be out as soon as December. Of course, 4.2 took its sweet time to arrive, so we won’t be holding our breath.


If you have a hundred and one apps on your iPad, the appearance of folders is probably more than welcome. To create a folder, drag one app on top of the other, adding a maximum of  20 apps per folder.

ios 4.2

To make life easier, we would suggest organising your iPad when it’s hooked up to iTunes. It will be less time consuming as you can select multiple apps by clicking the CMD/CTRL button. When you download a new app on your computer, when syncing your iPad, you can add it to the desired folder straight away before it’s even on your iPad.

apple ios 4.2

Find My iPad

In the past, it required a paid MobileMe account to benefit from this feature but with 4.2, iPads and other iOS devices can be remotely located and controlled if lost.

The service, available when you download the free app, Find My iPhone, will allow you to locate your iPad on a map, display a message of your choice on the screen, set a passcode lock and even wipe all of your personal data from the device.   Bakari recently looked further into this really useful service here.

apple ios 4.2


Multitasking has been a thorn in the side of Apple fanboys, and while it’s now available on OS 4.2 it isn’t exactly perfect. First, not all apps support multitasking so don’t expect to listen to music using just any radio or music app and leave it running in the background.

For those apps that do support multitasking, click the home button twice in succession to bring up a menu of currently open apps. Closing an app uses a similar process as deleting an app from your screen, hold the icon down until the delete icon appears on each app, and close the apps that you don’t need. Don’t forget to do this on a regular basis otherwise you’ll be leaving apps open in the background left and right.

apple ios 4.2

It seems Apple can’t find a middle ground. Either no multitasking at all, or leave all of your apps open unless they are manually closed. For example, if you’re listening to a music app that supports multitasking, be sure to use the mulitasking menu to close it as hitting the home button alone will not stop the music.

Mail Revamp

The native Mail app has had a small but significant makeover. You can now view all of your email in a unified inbox, as well as read threaded conversations a la Gmail, making for a much more streamlined email experience.

ipad ios 4.2


Apple might want to make a big deal over the ability to print wirelessly from your iPad, but the truth of the matter is that it only works with specific HP printers.

ipad ios 4.2

It’s not clear whether the service will be available to use with other printers, but in the meantime other iPad users can give these options a try. If you’re on the go, check out Ryan’s tips on how to print no matter where you are, a few of which should work with the iPad.

Parental Controls

With newly added parental controls, you can stop your kids from buying half of the iTunes app store, whether inadvertently or on purpose. You can also disable access to YouTube, iTunes and even Safari as well as disabling in-app purchases.

ipad ios 4.2

Search Current Page

This feature is actually a little hard to find, but with 4.2 you can now search for specific text on any webpage. Using the Google search bar at the top of the browser, enter the text you want to search for, and it will tell you how many times the word appears on the page.


Other changes to the iOS include the ability to reply to calendar invitations, iTunes TV show rentals and access to the gaming platform already available on other iOS devices, Game Center. You can also now benefit from AirPlay, which allows you to stream digital media to your Apple TV or AirPlay enabled speakers from your iPad.

Another iOS native app to get a facelift is Notes. Apple are finally gives you a choice of 3 fonts, Chalkboard, Helvetica and Marker Felt, and it’s about time, because let’s face it, the original Marker Felt font was pretty juvenile.

ios 4.2

What feature are you happy to finally have on your iPad? Let us know in the comments.

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 05 Dec 2010 11:30 AM PST

Sound Sunday enters December. In the aftermath of Thanksgiving and the wake of Christmas, this is the time to get moving and what could be more stimulating than music? Add some rock, metal, punk, season with pop, hip hop, americana, and electronic, then mix gently and start your workout.

This is also the season of giving. If you discover an album you love, please donate a few dollars to reward the hard work that has gone into making the music available to you. It will be much appreciated!

Brett Detar – Bird In The Tangle

Genre: americana, roots music, country


Singer / songwriter Brett Detar is chronically under the influence of something, including coffee, sleep deprivation, bourbon, or music. It certainly doesn’t hurt his music. New York isn’t home, but it’s where he works as songwriter, producer, and lyricist for film and pop music. It’s a living, which funds his true passion: americana and roots music.

You can preview three songs from Bird In The Tangle above. Download the entire 11 track album from Brett’s Homepage.

Brett Detar MySpace and Homepage.

Girl Talk – All Day

Genre: pop

free albumIllegal Art is Girl Talk’s record label. However, Gregg Michael Gillis’ (the guy behind the pseudonym) album is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. All Day is an album that is intended to be listened as a whole. This is why Illegal Art offers one seamless file for download. For convenience you can also download the album with separated tracks.

All Day is a free download from Girl Talk’s label Illegal Art.

Girl Talk MySpace and Record Label.

The Animal Upstairs – Is Anybody Upstairs?

Genre: experimental, rock, acoustic, crunk

Is Anybody Upstairs? is a debut for Andy Mrotek, who started with four songs and soon became addicted to creating his own music. In his ANI-MAL-NIFESTO he writes that free music, real music, gets paid in goosebumps, not in dollars. As long as it’s worth it…

Get the album free from Bandcamp.

The Animal Upstairs MySpace and Homepage.

Cubic Zirconia – The Remixes

Genre: disco house, emotronic, tropical, hip hop

free musicCubic Zirconia are part of LuckyMe, “an extended family of musicians and artists founded in Scotland, UK” (…) “as a pipe dream to make hip hop in a place that was not on the map for hip hop.” Interestingly, Cubic Zirconia are from New York, USA. In celebration of their debut appearance in London and the release of their album Follow Your Heart next year, LuckyMe have released a remix album for and of the band.

Download The Remixes as .zip file from FactMag.

Cubic Zirconia MySpace and Homepage.

ETCETRA – Trog•lo•dyte

Genre: indie, electronic, experimental, dark gaze, hip hop

Solpics – One Of A Hundred is a group of underground hip hop and rap artists from Los Angeles, California. ETCETRA is one of many, but the music is all unique.

Trog•lo•dyte is a free download from Bandcamp.

Solpics MySpace and Homepage.

Rock Now! – Underground United

Genre: rock, heavy metal, thrash metal

music downloadsThe Brazilian record label Rock Now! has released a sampler featuring 12 different bands: Blackadder, Slasher, Souls For Sale, Branding, Thriven, Kamala, Kliav, Medofobia, Meant to Suffer, Prototype X, Bloodown, Los Baldes, and Renato Albanez.

The compilation is available from the Rock Now! Homepage. The downloads are powered by Mediafire and MegaUpload.

Rock Now! MySpace and Homepage.

BRONZE – selftitled

Genre: indie, rock, punk rock, post rock

Blood brothers Charlie H. Davis III and Ian Menard founded BRONZE after the breakup of their previous band Detachment Kit. Jess Birch and Ian MacDermut complete the Brooklyn quartet. Their music is described as “boisterous rock anthems with spot on percussion and heavy hip-shaking beats.” Agreed!

Download the selftitled album free from Bandcamp.

BRONZE MySpace and Facebook.

Severed Fifth – Nightmares By Design

Genre: heavy metal, thrash metal, death metal

cool free musicAs announced in a previous edition of Sound Sunday, Severed Fifth have meanwhile released their second album. The 11 track album was self-produced and self-released by Bay Area artist Jono Bacon. Like the debut album it is released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license.

Nightmares By Design is available from their Homepage. You can download .mp3 or .ogg files one song at a time or in a .zip archive.

Severed Fifth MySpace and Homepage.

GARDEN – Golden Sails

Genre: indie, experimental, shoegaze

GARDEN is an independent shoegaze collective from Dayton, Ohio. Stephen from Indie Vision Music reviews the album as follows: “Golden Sails is a fictional side-narrative to the Exodus of the Israelites from captivity. The music flows from one track to another similar to a concept album. (…) There is a tremendous amount of talent with the solos, vocals, instrumentals and heartfelt lyrics. If you are into experimental indie grunge music and are looking for a new type of listening experience check out GARDEN.

Preview and download the album from Noise Trade below.


Jonathan Class – Connect The Dots

Genre: electronic, instrumental

Jonathan Class from Indianapolis, Indiana runs no MySpace profile or Homepage to promote his music. On his Facebook profile he writes that he makes music mostly for himself, with no intent of making money. The world needs more idealistic and highly talented people like this!

Preview and download Connect The Dots from Noise Trade above.

Jonathan Class on Facebook.

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

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OCZ Vertez 2 SSD and TranslateIt! Giveaway Winners

Posted: 05 Dec 2010 10:30 AM PST

We’ve just concluded a series of two SSD reviews and giveaways here at MakeUseOf and would like to know if you’ll be interested in reading more posts like that. If you are, then let us know in the comments.

For now, let’s take a look at the giveaway winners.

The 10 lucky MakeUseOf readers who will each be receiving a free one-year license for TranslateIt! are:

  1. Richard Dekker
  2. Jaryre
  3. Webgalpat
  4. Jernara Bussey
  5. Rachel Ohana-levy
  6. Stéphane Marrocq
  7. Martha Kirkinezi
  8. Gorbaski
  9. Jeong, Ye Won
  10. Allen Hill

And the winner of the OCZ Vertex 2 SSD 120GB is George M. Smith. We’ve sent you an email, please respond to it as soon as possible.

Congratulations, everyone!

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



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Print Files From Your Mobile Phone Using DropBox [Windows & Mac]

Posted: 05 Dec 2010 09:30 AM PST

print from dropboxMobile printing is something that still needs to be worked on. We’ve got a small computer in our pockets, but the files are practically locked in. With mobile office suites on the rise, printing is something that can be no longer ignored.

We’ve covered a number of mobile printing solutions in the past, but they were often less than ideal.

Today, with the use of some simple, free tools we often use and love, we’ll show you to create an automated mobile printing queue. Best of all? It costs nothing, except for your your carrier’s internet costs.

1. Install Dropbox on your Computer

You’ve probably heard all about Dropbox by now. If you haven’t, it’s about time. Dropbox can be best described as a folder in the cloud. This means you can access this same folder on your desktop computer, your laptop and your cellphone. It’s a great way to share documents and photos across computers.

If you want to learn more about Dropbox, MakeUseOf recently published The First Unofficial Guide to Dropbox, by Matt Smith.

print from dropbox

Dropbox plays a central part in this mobile printing tutorial. Make sure to install it on a computer that’s connected to your printer.

If you’re using Mac OS X, create a folder called Print in your Dropbox folder, with two sub-folders PrintQueue and Log. Folders like these will be created automatically using the Windows routine.

2a. Set Up a Printing Queue on Windows

This is not nearly as difficult as it sounds. You can download this zip file containing a VBA script from Digital Inspiration. Double-clicking this file will put the aforementioned PrintQueue and Log files directly in your Dropbox folder and set up a printing queue. You can skip ahead to step three.

2b. Set Up a Printing Queue on Mac OS X

If you’re using Mac OS X, it takes a bit more effort on your side. We have Bbedell to thank for this workaround, which was originally posted in the comment section at Lifehacker.

Fire up the Automator application and choose to create a Folder Action. Type “printer” in the search field and drag “Print Finder Items” to the main window pane. Type “Trash” in the search field and drag the “Move Finder Items to Trash” to the main window pane.

Alternatively, if you want to keep the files after they’re printed, use the “Move Finder Items” workflow, to Dropbox -> Print -> Logs.

Finally, make sure to set Folder Action receives files and folders added to the PrintQueue folder you created earlier on. Save the workflow and give it a name. That’s all!

3. Move Mobile Files to Dropbox

To print a file, all you need to do is move a file on your phone to the PrintQueue folder. If your computer is turned on and connected to a printer, it’ll finish the job. On newer smartphone models, you can use the native Dropbox application, available for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Palm.

print from dropbox

Even on older phones, you can print a file via email by using a mail-to-Dropbox service like Habilis. And if your phone doesn’t have email functionality, you probably don’t have anything that needs printing.

What do you think of mobile printing? How do you do it? Let us know in the comments!



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Google Releases Chrome 8 With 800+ Improvements Including Native PDF Support [News]

Posted: 05 Dec 2010 08:00 AM PST

Google’s much-revered web browser Chrome received an update yesterday, with version 8 of the browser bringing in hundreds of improvements over the previous version.

Only a few weeks after Adobe’s announcement of Acrobat Reader X (which added a sandbox mode, for safer PDF viewing) Google have announced their own support for PDF documents within the browser. Chrome 8 (build 8.0.552.215) supports the viewing of PDFs natively, without the need for plugins or additional software.

The development team announced that much like Adobe’s latest offering, PDF support in Chrome would run within a sandbox environment for added security. This latest release also adds support for the Chrome Web Store, Google’s answer to the distribution of web-based applications.

Only 13 of the changes made to the browser are directly related to security issues. Windows, Mac and Linux users can get their hands on the browser now at the Chrome homepage.

Google’s next release (version 9) is already available for preview on the Chrome developer channel, with in-built support for Flash (running in a sandbox) for the Windows version.

Google are currently striving to provide a secure solution, stating in a blog post: ”This initial Flash Player sandbox is an important milestone in making Chrome even safer. In particular, users of Windows XP will see a major security benefit, as Chrome is currently the only browser on the XP platform that runs Flash Player in a sandbox.”

The team are still improving support before rolling out Mac and Linux versions: “We're working to improve protection against additional attack vectors, and will be using this initial effort to provide fully sandboxed implementations of the Flash Player on all platforms.”

Anyone interested in accessing the latest developer builds can follow Google’s full instructions.

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