Tuesday, December 7, 2010

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [December 6th]” plus 10 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [December 6th]” plus 10 more

Link to MakeUseOf.com

Cool Websites and Tools [December 6th]

Posted: 06 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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Online Egg Timer – If you are looking for a web tool with multiple countdown timers, check out “Online Egg Timer”. It is a free and simple to use website. The site can provides you up to three different countdown watches, each of which you can start, pause, and restart. When the countdown of each watch is up, a bell sound is played. Read more: OnlineEggTimer: Provides Multiple Countdown Timers

 

Moniitor – If you are interested in tracking all kinds of rankings for your site, like Alexa, Pagerank, and so on, and also want to keep an eye on real time stats like Twitter mentions and other social buzz, then Moniitor is something you could make use of. It's a simple, online stats and ranking monitoring tool. Read more: Moniitor: Easily Track Website Rankings & Stats

 

 

ReversePhoneLookup – If you have received a call from unknown number and want to find out who the caller is, head to ReversePhoneLookUp.com. This online tool checks the owner of any phone number for you – useful for doing background checks or to know whether the anonymous number is a friend or a stranger. Read more: ReversePhoneLookup: Find Out Who Owns a Phone Numbers

 

 

w3who – Whether you are researching or you want to know more about your online competitors, it is useful to know which sites are being run by the same person. W3who is an online service that lets you find websites owned by someone, along with other related information. Read more: W3who: Find Websites Owned By Someone

 

 

DailyToDo – is a new entrant in the league of minimalistic, no-frills, to-do list apps that want you to focus on the main tasks for the day and tick them off as you get them done. This tool wants you to enter the tasks that are common during all days of the week and then track your progress over the week. The good thing – you just have to enter them once. Read more: DailyTodo: Track Daily Tasks & Weekly Progress

 

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 Greasemonkey Scripts to Permanently Highlight Websites in Google Search Results

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 05:30 PM PST

highlight search resultsGreasemonkey is a great FireFox addon that lets you add and manage various user scripts to improve your browsing experience.

We have already seen a few examples of how the addon can enhance your Google searching experience: there are a number of user scripts that let you remove redirects from Google search results; there are at least 9 scripts that make your Google searching more productive and there’s also a cool script that lets you highlight Google search results on the target page.


This post shares another useful Google search hack: two Greasemonkey scripts allowing you to highlight any specified website in Google search. With these tools, you can quickly find (and even switch between) your favorite websites you trust and want to find.

1. Highlight Multiple Domains

Locate Multiple Domains in Search Results is a Greasemonkey script based on this one that allows to highlight multiple domains in Google search engine results page.

You can set the domains to highlight as well as the colors by editing the script. To edit the script, go Greasemonkey -> Manage User Scripts, select this one and click “Edit” button. The script should open in your preferred editor where you need to scroll down to this lines to edit and add your domains and colors:

highlight search results

Note: For less clutter, consider setting same color for all your favorite domains if you don’t really need to differentiate between them.

I selected three different colors and here’s what I saw for my choices in Google search engine results:

highlight google search

Known issues:

  • From my experience, the script doesn’t work with Google Instant enabled. But since I have Google Instant disabled most of the time, it doesn’t matter too much to me.
  • URLs that have the domain name in them, but are not the primary domain of the site are also highlighted.

2. Tuned Google Results

Tunes Google Results is another very interesting script that, among other features, can highlight several domains in Google results. Besides that, the script also:

  • Numbers Google results
  • Adds a link to Google “Text-only” cache.

The most interesting feature of this script is that it allows to easily jump between your chosen domain in Google results using the navigation links to the right:

highlight google search

I found that it’s a very handy way to click among your favorite domains while navigating through Google’s results pages.

As mentioned above, to specify your favorite websites, you need to edit the script in your preferred HTML editor:

highlight search results

Also, the script adds new search operators, which you can use in queries:

  • co:us – set your location (good if you want to check your site positions for country different than your current
  • lang:en – set language of web pages in results
  • loc:uk – set physical location of websites in results
  • num:30 – set number of pages in results

Known issues:

  • The script doesn’t work with Google Instant enabled (though the developer says he is working on that);
  • The script doesn’t work with Google Anonymizer, so (as I loved both) I had to choose between the two;
  • URLs that have the domain name in them, but are not the primary domain of the site are also highlighted.

Do you think these scripts add something new to your Google searching experience? Can you think of the ways these tools might turn really useful? Let’s discuss!


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2 Free Applications You Can Use To Convert F4V Videos

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 03:30 PM PST

convert f4v videoIf you save videos to your hard drive for offline playback with flash video detection software on a somewhat regular basis, you might have surely noticed that the format for these videos can be in F4V. The F4V container file format is, in short, a higher-quality FLV file encoded with H.264 video standard (for more explanations, see the excellent Digital Video Formats Explained in plain English). Most powerhouse media players, such as VLC and Splayer, and Adobe Flash Player (which you should have as a plugin if you use Chrome, otherwise, get it at the official site) can read F4V files without much as a hiccup.

However, if you fancy editing this type of video, even simple edits like trimming, you might have a hard time finding compatible programs as not many any video-editing software available for free, can handle it. Most software that claim to do this are of the commercial variety, which you’ll find roaming the web and Google search results (try MakeUseof’s master list of search tips).


To remedy this, the most likely route to go will probably just be to re-encode into a common container file, such as AVI. Here are some converters that can convert these tricky-for-DVD-burning F4V files. Finally, those rare clips from Tudou and similar video-sharing sites won’t have to go to waste.

Avidemux [Cross-Platform]

I first expressed my satisfaction with the open-source Avidemux video editor, noting how it could embed subtitles in MP4 and FLV files, file types which the more commonly-used application for permanent subtitle “burning”, VirtualDub, doesn’t support (while it can do plenty of other tasks, like merging multiple videos). It actually can also read F4V files.

If you have some experience using VirtualDub, you probably won’t have much trouble using Avidemux. If you’ve never used it, here’s a quick rundown. After you open the video you want to use, Avidemux initially will ask you whether you want to use another non-crashing mode, but since it might also lead to changes applying to inaccurate frames, I usually choose ‘No’.

convert f4v video

You might also get a warning about rebuilding your frame index, which you can usually just click ‘Yes’ to.

convert f4v

Then you can apply filters to your video (using Xvid or Divx), which means you can trim it, or embed subtitles, as detailed here, and finally choose an output format.

convert f4v

Free Video To iPhone Converter by DVDVideoSoft [Windows]

The generic name of this application may not hint at specific file formats, but rest assured, it does handle the file type in question. There’s a collection of video-ripping and converting software from this software publisher so just perform a search on CNET’s download.com for your specific device. Make sure to opt out of the DVDVideoSoft toolbar, unless you desperately want your homepage and default search engines to be changed to DVDVideoSoft’s web search.

convert f4v

As the name suggests, you’ll be able to convert the video to an iPhone-friendly MP4. This converter is simple as simple gets. You can choose 3 quality presets that change settings for formats according to the device that the video destined to reside in. There are the standard options to mass convert and to turn off the computer once conversion is completed, but there are also some unique features — namely, the ability to add converted videos to a new iTunes playlist, change the theme, and the fact that it’s available in 12 languages.

convert f4v video

Now, I’ve only seen listed these two which worked great for me, but you might have luck with other video converters. I know I tried Hamster Video Converter and it couldn’t open this file, while I did have more luck with Daniusoft Video Converter Pro, which is paid. Surprisingly, I did get a few converters that don’t actually list F4V in their supported file formats to read it fine, so I’d recommend trying whatever converter you have first.

If you want to skip conversion altogether and own an iDevice; try these recently-featured free apps, VLC and OPlayer. If you know of an alternative for Android handsets or know of converters that support F4V, share it with us in the comments!


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UC Browser Provides a Feature-Packed Mobile Browsing Experience On Multiple Platforms

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 01:30 PM PST

mobile web browserThere’s no shortage of mobile browsers these days, each claiming to be the fastest, the most feature-rich and the one that’s most compatible with your thumbs. UC Browser is a cross-platform mobile web browser that much like the rest offers a feast of useful features, speed enhancements and quick-access to your favourites.

The browser is available for Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices as well as the iPhone. There is also a lightweight Java version available in case you’ve not got the latest in mobile technology. Oh yeah, and it’s free – of course!


The version I’m testing is UC Browser 7.4 for the Symbian S60v5 operating system on a Sony Ericsson Satio.

Features

Much like the popular Opera Mini mobile browser, UC Browser doesn’t handle each destination within the application. Each request is handled by a server, compressed and sent to the phone. This essentially provides you with a fast, thin client perfect for use with mobile data plans.

mobile web browser

As you’d (probably) expect by now, there’s multiple tab support and unlike Bolt Browser, you can have a whopping 12 open at a time. There’s also direct in-built support for searches too using your choice of Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask.com as an engine.

mobile browser

The mobile web browser’s home screen is an attractive and responsive hub with fast access to some oft-used services. You can pin 4 bookmarks to your home screen, and access to the rest of your favourites are only a click away.

The rest of the home screen is essentially made up of recommendations, and despite the odd dead link is functional with services like Orkut, GetJar and Zedge a few taps away.

mobile browser

There’s a couple of what seem to be sponsored links at the bottom, but they’re pretty easy to ignore and it’s free after all.

UC Browser 7.4 is able to tackle full web-pages, as well as the mobile web. You would probably be disappointed if it didn’t, considering most of the latest built-in mobile browsers do it by now. With this feature you’ve got the choice of multiple view modes for full web pages, to facilitate viewing on a tiny mobile screen.

mobile browser

Zoom mode (above) is much like Opera Mobile’s handling of web pages, providing vertical and horizontal scrolling and with text formatted so that it can be read easily. Adaptive mode (which is UC Browser’s default setting) removes the need for horizontal scrolling and works by stacking web content into one vertical stream.

I personally really liked this feature, as I find myself constantly moving the screen left and right whilst browsing with Opera Mobile – and the option of turning it on and off allows you to make your own mind up.

This isn’t all – the browser is absolutely jam-packed with other features. There’s even a file browser for sending files via Bluetooth (which I barely looked at, as most phones have that one covered), a night theme for dimming the screen in the dark (many phones also do that), quick sharing via SMS, and a powerful download manager that has a handy resume feature.

Performance

Starting UC Browser takes only a few seconds, and it’s generally very responsive. The home screen is easy to understand and provides for a nice clean interface and supports multiple themes.

mobile internet browsers

Navigation is handled using the bar at the bottom of the screen, which acts as a context menu with different options appearing depending on what you’re doing. Whilst browsing a website you’ll have five options available – back, forward, menu, open tabs and home.

The menu button brings up an overlay menu with three separate tabs – Common, Settings and Tools. This is essentially the inner workings of the browser, and where you can make changes to the way the browser works.

mobile internet browsers

Rendering is very fast on mobile sites and still quite speedy for full websites. I’ve not got my stopwatch out, but UC Browser is pretty much on a par with Opera Mobile (which makes both valid, speedy solutions).

There’s flash support (at least on the Symbian version I tested) for sites like YouTube, though I found I sometimes had to refresh the page in order to get videos working. Flash is not immediately loaded with the page, and you must select the object to load it.

mobile web browser

Support is there, if a little flaky.

Download UC Browser

There’s a total of five different versions of UC Browser available for download, depending on your phone’s operating system:

  • iPhone – download it from the App Store [iTunes link]
  • Android – you can download the Android version by clicking here.
  • Symbian – there are a few different Symbian versions available, choose yours on this pageNote: the S60v5 version is apparently compatible with Nokia’s latest Symbian^3 phones (like the N8).
  • Windows Mobile – touch and non-touch versions of the browser are available here.
  • Java – signed and unsigned Java versions are available, including low memory versions for older mobiles on this page.

Conclusion

UC Browser provides a well rounded mobile browsing experience that handles nearly everything you throw at it. Video support could use some work, but that’s my only real complaint. The attractive interface, speedy rendering and sheer number of features makes this mobile web browser stand out as a real contender.

The added bonus of compatibility with older mobiles means you can enjoy this one even if you’ve not got the latest smartphone. Let us know what you make of it and how it compares to your current favourite in the comments.


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Hot Tech Deals [Dec 6th]

Posted: 06 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. Toshiba Satellite A665D-S6051 AMD P920 Quad-Core 16in Laptop (4GB/500GB/Win7) $599.99

  2. TODAY ONLY Aeropostale Coupon Code $20 Off $100 + Free Shipping $100+ via code TODAY20

  3. Sony PlayStation 3 Quad Port Drop-in USB Charging Dock $7.99 Free Shipping

  4. Samsung PN42C450 42in Plasma HDTV (720p) $489.99 Free Shipping

  5. Toshiba Canvio 640GB Portable External Hard Drive $59.99 Free Shipping via code HARDOCP12X1D

  6. TODAY ONLY Gigabyte Intel P55 LGA1156 ATX Motherboard + G.SKILL 4GB Memory $139.98 Free Shipping

  7. TODAY ONLY Dell ST2210 22in Widescreen LCD Monitor $129 Free Shipping

  8. LG 37LD450 37in LCD HDTV (1080p) $469 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set


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Let Your Reading Experience On The iPad Go Social with Copia

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 11:30 AM PST

ipad for reading booksWhile the free Kindle app and iBooks pretty much have the market cornered on eReaders, Copia is a new contender available for download for free from the iTunes App Store, that sets itself apart with a few key elements. Most significantly, Copia is more than just an eReader. It is part eReader, part social network, part virtual bookshelf.

Available as a free iPad app [iTunes link], as well as a free desktop app, Copia is accessible at home, on the go, and gives you a way not only to download and read eBooks, but allows you to also catalog your actual library of books. While Copia’s library is significantly smaller than its competitors, its social network features make it an interesting option to keep in mind as its virtual library grows.


Signing up for a free account will get you 7 free books to get started reading books on the iPad. The 7 free titles include E.M Forster’s A Passage to India, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. To download a book, Copia will redirect you to their website where you can choose from their selection of books and get reading. In order to read books purchased from Copia, you have to sign up for a free Adobe account to access the content, which can easily be done from here.

Your library can be displayed either as a mosaic, as a list:

ipad for reading books

Or as a grid:

Even if books are not available to download as eBooks for Copia, you will find that titles are catalogued anyway, allowing you to add it to your library as books that you have already read or want to read.

reading books on ipad

In this sense, Copia becomes a little bit more like GoodReads, where you can still add books to your library, and show off just how well-read you are. It is also accompanied by a community rating and value, which we assume is determined by the number of users who have catalogued and rated the title.

To rate a book, you can only do so from the website itself, rather than on the iPad app or desktop application. From there you can also share the title through Facebook, add a review, start a discussion or even check out the Google Books preview, if available.

You can start or join groups, with existing groups including Books For Geeks, Armchair Journeys and groups for fans of specific authors from Douglas Adams to Shakespeare.

reading books on ipad

You can use these groups to share thoughts and start discussions about the books you are reading, and it can also serve as the motivation that you need to finish the book that you’ve started. Copia introduces a unique opportunity to start a reading club, whether locally with your friends, or even with a group of people from all over the world.

When it comes to reading the book itself, rather than using the same page flipping method as Kindle and iBooks, you have to scroll the page up and down to navigate. The app supports landscape and portrait mode.

reading books on ipad

You can create notes for specific pages, that will be visible on the Copia website, by clicking the pushpin icon.

ipad reading

This can also be done for specific passages, by highlighting the passage and clicking the highlight icon. That said, to highlighted the desired passage is anything but user-friendly, particularly in landscape mode. When in portrait mode it’s a bit easier to get the exact passage you’re going for.

ipad reading

All of your notes can be accessed from the Notebook tab, regardless of which eReader you are using.

ipad reading

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As would be expected, Copia remembers the page you were last reading so that when you relaunch the app and navigate to your book, you can get back to the exact spot where you stopped.

Along with their iPad app, Copia is currently available as a desktop app available as a free download for Mac and PC users, giving you the added feature of importing PDF files from your computer to read on the go, once you sync your device. Windows 7 and Android apps are in the making. Using your free Copia account makes it easy to sync all of your titles on your devices, so that not only will you have access to the same titles, but you will also be able to access your bookmarks and annotations.

ipad for reading books

Copia is not without its kinks. The interface can sometimes be less than user-friendly, and the swiping method used to get from page to page is not very intuitive, especially if you have become accustomed to the Kindle or iBooks apps. However, if they continue to add more titles to their library, it could easily become an ideal way to take book clubs into the virtual world.

What is your favourite way to read eBooks? Let us know in the comments.


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Make Free Calls from Your iPhone With The Official Google Voice App

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 10:30 AM PST

If you’re a long-time Gmail user, you no doubt know about and/or use Google Voice — a free web-based platform that provides users with an online phone number for making calls online via an Android, BlackBerry, and now the iPhone. If you don’t have a Google Voice number set up, you’re missing out on a very useful contact tool. Check out Ryan Dube’s 5 Cool Things You Can Do With Google Voice for more details.

I’ve been using my Google Voice (GV) number primarily as a second contact number for which family and friends can reach me when I’m a way from my phone and working on my computer. I also post the number on trusted website forums and registrations.


For a few months in 2009, a third-party Google Voice app was available for the iPhone, but Apple decided to remove it along with the official Google Voice app that was released a few months later. But now, the official app is back and available for free in the App Store.

google voice app

How It Works

In order to use GV on your iPhone, you need of course to have a Google Voice account. Once you're set up, you will be able to use your provided number to make online phone calls, receive online voicemail, and make free calls and text messages to the U.S. and Canada, as well as make low-rate calls everywhere else.

After your account is set up, you can download the free app for your iPhone [iTunes Store link].

The app interface works similarly to the web platform. When you make a phone call using Google Voice, it first rings back the designated number of your iPhone and then it makes a call to the contact you're trying to reach. You're not charged by your carrier—in this case, AT&T.

Similarly, when someone wants to contact you using your Google Voice number, your regular iPhone number is called by Google, which in turn reconnects you to the caller if you accept the call. Your GV number is displayed as the caller ID when making calls, so the contact never sees or knows your regular iPhone number.

You can make phone calls from contacts in your iPhone address book or simply enter numbers on the dial pad.

google voice app

Forwarding Calls

I mostly don’t answer my Google Voice calls immediately. Instead, I have numbers forwarded to me via email. These emails will include not only the voice message, but also a written transcription of the message. The transcriptions are not always accurate, but they're great for seeing phone numbers spoken in the message.

There are other call forwarding features you can do with Google Voice, but unfortunately you can't do them on the mobile platform. See Mike Fagan's article on how to set up call forwarding with Google Voice.

Notifications

If you want to be instantly notified when voicemail messages arrive in your Google Voice inbox, you will want to allow the app to send you push notifications, which means the app doesn't have to be opened in order for you to receive notifications.

google voice app

Otherwise, you will have to open the app to find out what new messages were received.

Other Features

While the Google Voice app doesn't provide you the ability to set your custom voice answer message or filter phone incoming numbers; it does allow you to star important messages, set up quick dialing for specified contacts, and view the history of your phone calls and messages — both received and initiated by you.

Google Voice is pretty easy to use and as long as the service is free, there's little reason not to set up an account and use it. Hopefully, in future updates, Google Voice will be available for use on the iPod touch and iPad, just as Skype is. It shouldn't be too difficult to set up the app as a VoIP/SIP dialer.

Also, note, there is a third-party app called GV Mobile+ [App Store link] that sells for $2.99. I have not used that app, nor do the features seem that different.

Let us know how Google Voice works for you, both on the web and via your iPhone or other mobile device.

 

 

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10 Spelling Bee Game Websites That Helps Your Child Spell Words Right

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 09:30 AM PST

spelling bee gamesUnfortunately, we don't have an in-built spell checker. The brain has to stand in and it only manages to do that after long hours of reading, study and practice.

You would think that getting the right spelling wouldn't be important enough to warrant competitions that are fought tooth and nail. In fact, Spelling Bee contests are not only keenly fought in many English speaking countries but also broadcasted live in some just like a regular sports event.

That proves something as simple as getting the spelling right has enough of crowd pulling power. Though children form the main focus group, a lot of the competitions are open for adults too. Think of spelling tests as a necessary requirement to get the language right. Or think of them as brain exercises. Either way, they are an important part of our vocabulary training.


The next Scripps National Spelling Bee is still a few months away in the United States. Other countries also will begin their own. Let these ten spelling bee game sites help to hone your child's spelling skills.

Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee

spelling bee games

The well known online word app throws two challenges – a Tournament Spelling Bee and the Community Spelling Bees. In the former, your goal is to get as many right spellings you can to move up the leaderboard. It is challenging because the words also adapt to your performance. You will hear the recording of the word and see its definition before you guess the right spelling. As the test is adaptive, it is suitable for all age groups and skill levels. In the Community Spelling Bee challenge, you can do the same thing but on word lists created by subscribed members.

The Times Spelling Bee

spelling bee quizzes

You can have a feel of a real world Spelling Bee competition on this U.K. based site. The Times also hosts the U.K. edition of Spelling Bee (The Times Spelling Bee). The Spelling Bee Training Area is a bit unforgiving as one mistake gets you the boot. If you do well here, try out the Spelling Challenge and any of its three levels. Then in Head to Head you can invite a friend and have a face-off. Round it off with more word workouts available on the website.

Tumble Bees

spelling bee

The Pogo.com word game takes your help to build a honeycomb for the bees with the rightly spelled words. Each word you make correctly will fill the honey pot with honey.  You can sign up for free or play it as a guest. As a reward you get tokens.

BigIQKids

spelling bee words

The free spelling game gives your child a bit of spelling practice. The Spelling Program uses word lists to simulate a live word test and to help the child practice. You can also create your own word lists. Then for a spot of fun, you and the whole family can take part in the Spelling Game Contests on the site which is playable by grade level (with one for adults).

Catch the Spelling

spelling bee

Hone your spelling and vocabulary skills on the lineup of word tests. It is fun too as you have to catch the letters to spell the word given on top of the screen. Other catching exercises like Voice of America (VOA) Special English Nouns or the ones that cover other word categories.

Spin and Spell

spelling bee

This is a simple enough Flash game where a word has to be spelt correctly by looking at a picture. You have to spell it out by 'dialing' a wheel and selecting the right letter. This game can be played alone or with a friend. The simplicity of this game makes it just right for the very early graders.

Spelling Bee Games (TVO Kids)

spelling bee words

The bee makes a return and claps along as you go through 25 words. It's just 'buzzerific' if you manage to get them right. For a few pointers on how to play the game with your child, read the instructions for parents.

YouTube Interactive Spelling Bee

We have covered this unique interactive spelling bee challenge in Angela's excellent post on The Top 10 Interactive YouTube Games. Christy Carlson Romano gives you 100 words from 20 different categories and you get to help the contestants by clicking one among three choices on the screen. The interactive spelling bee game is really fun as it is laced with humor.

Miss Spell's Class

spelling bee words

You can go for the $0.99 iPhone app or be a Scrooge and play it online for free. Either way it's a boost for your spelling prowess. The 20 word challenge tests both your speed and accuracy as you have to decide which of the words in the list are misspelt. The word practice is pretty handy for a Spelling Bee contest as the lists generally have the more commonly misspelled words on Dictionary.com.

Merriam Webster's Spell It

spelling bee games

This site could be your authoritative practice area as it is a collaboration with the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The study site gives you 1150 words, divided into sections by language of origin. The site says that – studying language of origin will enable you to learn and remember several important rules, tips, and guidelines for successfully spelling words in English. The site is not actually a game but a study course for acing the Spelling Bee competitions.

The seriousness with which these websites approach spellings makes one realize that spellings are not only for textbooks and school graders. The importance of language and words can be gauged from the numerous word apps on the web. In fact, check out these two Android apps too if you have a fetish for getting your spellings right. And if things get too wordy, learn a bit more and laugh with this Spelling Bee YouTube compilation via ESPN.

Image credit: Shutterstock


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Break Free From Cables With The Eye-Fi Geo X2

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 08:00 AM PST

 

eyefi.jpg

It’s a tedious rigmarole — after snapping your photos, you’ve got to get home, whip out the sync cable, copy your images over to the desktop, and organise it before you get to enjoy the wonderful images that you shot. But with the Eye-Fi card, most of the work is done for you automagically.

The Eye-Fi product that we’re looking at this month is the Geo X2 — a 4GB SD card that has Wi-Fi and a GPS module built-in. It goes for around $70 but guess what? We’re giving some away.


The Eye-Fi Geo X2 is an amazing piece of kit. It is able to automatically sync your photos over your wireless network to the desktop, share images on Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and MobileMe automatically, and geotag your photos so that you know exactly where you took them.

eyefi1.JPG

In addition to all that, it also has a feature called endless memory — without having to manually delete any photos from the Eye-Fi Geo X2, it very cleverly frees up space after successfully delivering the photos to your desktop.

eyefi2.JPG

And over on the desktop side, your photos are intelligently organised into folders chronologically. And might I impress that all this is done automatically while the Eye-Fi Geo X2 card is still in the camera. No cables are required.

eyefi3.JPG

The Eye-Fi Geo X2 will work with any camera and any wireless network. Although, a little setting up is in order upon initial use. This entails using the provided SD card reader to connect the Eye-Fi Geo X2 to your desktop and configuring the network connection settings to allow the card to properly connect to your home wireless network.

eyefi4.JPG

However, the Geo X2 does have a few drawbacks i.e. it doesn’t allow transfers of RAW images nor does it transfer photos over an ad-hoc connection. But both of these requirements are usually demanded by professionals, who should get the Pro X2 anyway. So a casual photographer who doesn’t deal with RAW images or ad-hoc networks doesn’t have anything to worry about.

Screen shot 2010-09-29 at 5.02.54 PM.png

The Eye-Fi Geo X2 card does come with a desktop client which handles the synchronisation process and image sharing features. The setup file for the client is on the Eye-Fi Geo X2 itself so you won’t need to download anything, unless there’s an update. The instructions that come along are quite clear about what you need to do to get things moving along.

Screen shot 2010-09-29 at 5.03.40 PM.png

Once the desktop client is installed, it is always on and awaiting any possible transfers. As long as a new photo is taken with your camera (and the Eye-Fi Geo X2 card) and is powered on within the range of your home Wi-Fi network, the desktop client will retrieve and save the images to your computer.

Screen shot 2010-09-29 at 5.04.07 PM.png

We’re giving three of the Eye-Fi Geo X2 cards away. Would you like to get one?

How do I win one?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.


STEP 1
Join our Facebook page by clicking the Like button or you can follow us on Twitter, if you prefer. If you’re already following us, you may skip this step.

If you can’t see the fanbox, click on this link.

STEP 2
Here’s our giveaway form. Please fill it in accurately. Be sure to enter your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.


STEP 3
You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

And that’s it! You’re done!
Giveaway eligibility
You must be a fan of our Facebook page to enter;
Individuals who are over the age of 18. If you are under 18, get your parents to participate on your behalf;
Individuals who reside in a country embargoed by the United States; Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India are not permitted to enter.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, December 31st at 2100hrs PST. The winners will be selected at random and announced via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

MakeUseOf would like to thank Eye-Fi 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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Store Confidential Details on your Phone with SafeWallet [MakeUseOf Giveaway]

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 07:30 AM PST

Are you one of the many people who keeps bank account details or your PIN in your phone thinly disguised as a phone number? Unsurprisingly, thieves know people do this so it’s just not safe. If you need to keep important details on your phone, make sure you keep them secure. SafeWallet is precisely the application you need.

When it comes to keeping track of your secure details, SafeWallet has you covered across multiple platforms — including your smartphone! So, you can enter in bank details, passport numbers and even more trivial details like clothing sizes. These are all kept safe from prying eyes, yet convenient for you to access when you’re out and about.

This week, MakeUseOf is giving away 25 combination copies of SafeWallet for both your desktop and mobile so you can benefit from this incredibly useful phone and desktop application. Give it a go!

Features

Multi-Device

SafeWallet is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, Symbian and Blackberry. This makes it incredibly versatile, so you can easily add information to SafeWallet using your PC and access it later on your phone.

Easy to use

SafeWallet is very easy to use. Once installed on your phone, Mac or Windows device it is fairly straightforward to create a new wallet, some sub-folders and enter some new cards. Start with just one wallet on one device, as you can sync them later very easily. A new card is made for each secure item you wish to document, eg. social security number, credit card, frequent flyer number, etc.

There are also numerous templates for cards ready for you to use, which also serves as a reminder for important numbers you might want on hand. You may also create templates for cards — those made on your computer will be available on your phone for future use.

To copy data from a card, try clicking in the field. For other useful tools related to that data, look to the right of the information and you will see device-specific icons to send email, browse addresses or make a phonecall.

Wi-fi Sync

To sync your devices, there are two main options. The basic sync is to sync via your local wi-fi network. When your computer and smartphone share the same wi-fi network, you can navigate to the sync screen on both devices and it will share the wallet with the other device (For Android use Menu > Sync; For Windows use File > Settings > Sync or Tools > Sync Manager). Whenever you want to re-sync, simply follow the same process.

Cloud Sync with Dropbox

A more automated sync process is to use Dropbox. However, don’t sync with Dropbox as well as the wi-fi sync as you will end up with multiple copies of your wallet. To sync with Dropbox, visit the settings/preferences menu on each device and check the “Store Wallets in Dropbox” option (For Android use Menu > Settings > Dropbox; For Windows use File > Settings > Library). On a computer where you already use Dropbox, there’s no need to enter more details. The application simply finds your Dropbox folder and uses it. On the phone, you will need to log in to Dropbox via the SafeWallet application.

Once this Dropbox setup is complete, changes on any device automatically reflect in the others quite soon after the change is made. So, it’s effectively a multi-device automated sync.

Try SafeWallet

This handy application definitely worthy trying, as is such a simple and painless answer to the problem of storing your important confidential data on your phone.

If you miss out on the giveaway, SafeWallet is available with a free trial for your computer and a modest fee on Android and iPhone.

How do I win a copy?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.


STEP 1
Join our Facebook page by clicking the Like button or you can follow us on Twitter, if you prefer. If you’re already following us, you may skip this step.

If you can’t see the fanbox, click on this link.

STEP 2
Here’s our giveaway form. Please fill it in accurately. Be sure to enter your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.


STEP 3
You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

And that’s it! You’re done!
Giveaway eligibility
You must be a fan of our Facebook page to enter;
Individuals who are over the age of 18. If you are under 18, get your parents to participate on your behalf;
Individuals who reside in a country embargoed by the United States; Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India are not permitted to enter.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, December 10th at 2100hrs PST. The winners will be selected at random and announced via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

MakeUseOf would like to thank SBSH Software LTD 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.


Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!

 

 

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Facebook Launches New Profile Pages [News]

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 07:00 AM PST

Doesn’t it feel like it was just yesterday that Facebook was revamping their look? It seems that the social networking giant waits long enough for people to get comfortable with the new look, before making a few more major changes just for the heck of it.

A few hours before Mark Zuckerberg was scheduled to appear on 60 Minutes, the blogosphere was buzzing with the news of major changes coming to Facebook profile pages, with the news program touting the fact that the first exclusive look would be on their show. We didn’t have to wait long to get a first-hand look, with Facebook officially launching the latest changes before Zuckerberg’s appearance.


The changes, which will effect both profile pages and fan pages, involve a completely new layout, and a much cleaner look. Tabs on your profile have disappeared, replaced instead with a small menu on the left hand-side of the page. New additions on the home page include your tagged photos appearing at the top of your profile, as well as your basic information – relationship status, education, work, date of birth and location.

You can also highlight specific relationships, whether with family, friends or coworkers.

Another interesting addition is seeing how you connect with each of your friends, including pages and people you have in common, photos you’ve been tagged in together, events you’ve both attended, and wall posts and comments on each other’s profiles. Basically any interaction between you and each of your friends is documented on a single page.

If you want to learn more about the changes before going ahead and taking the plunge, check out Facebook’s announcement, or their official video below.

Are you for or against Facebook’s latest look? Let us know in the comments.


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