Thursday, December 9, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [December 8th]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [December 8th]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [December 8th]

Posted: 08 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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MyInstants – At times an audio message is far more effective than a text message can ever be. If you are looking for a funny audio message online and a way to share it, check out MyInstants, a free to use website that will let you search many funny audio messages. These messages include sound effects or English and non-English phrases. Read more: MyInstants: Listen To, Save, Create & Share Funny Sound Effects Online


Unsubscribe – Do you want to get rid of those pesky e-mails that seem to creep back into your inbox even when you filter them out? It's maybe because you are doing it wrong. Each mailing list provides its own way for you to unsubscribe, but if you don't want to deal with any of that, then you should check out Unsubscribe. Read more: Unsubscribe: Unsubscribe From Mailing Lists With One Click



Travellers Point – Imagine trying to explain the recent trip you took to multiple countries. It can become very difficult to define all paths and details to your friends. In order to do this efficiently you can use a wonderful online source titled TravellersPoint Travel Community. It is an online service that lets you create a map of your trips. Read more: TravellersPoint Travel Community: Create A Map Of Your Trip & Share



Betterfly – If you are into self-improvement, you can easily go online to find tips and resources. However, you may not find the right information that will fit your goals and you'll probably need real people who you can talk to or who can coach you. Enter Betterfly, a website that helps you search for trainers and teachers from various self-improvement fields. Read more: BetterFly: Find Personal Trainers For Self-Improvement



Public.Perpetually – When it is time for elections, the public needs to know as much as possible about each candidate. A candidate's stands and involvements in the past can greatly help you achieve this. These are usually published on a candidate's official website but changed to match their current stand. “Perpetually Public Data Project” is an online tool that archives these websites. Read more: Public.Perpetually: Tracks Politician Promises By Archiving Their Websites


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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How To Use Google Reader As A Bookmarking Service

Posted: 08 Dec 2010 05:31 PM PST

google bookmarkingI’m constantly trying to discover better bookmarking services. Evernote and Diigo are two very capable and excellent tools I’ve learned to love over time. The respective iOS apps leave something to be desired however, as they won’t save all items for offline use on my iPod Touch. Thus, I was prompted to search for another bookmarking system, and found that RSS feeds may just be the next best thing.

I was highly tempted to try using Twitter Lists as my new RSS reader, but I’m not so fond of being able to only see the title and having to click on the links for the actual post that will load with distracting ads. If you’re looking for a service that just works and is minimalist without sacrificing features, Google Reader may just be the answer.

Using The ‘Note In Reader’ Bookmarklet

google bookmarking

When you’ve logged into Google Reader, head to the Notes section on the left sidebar. Just drag the bookmarklet to your bookmark bar. If you use Google Chrome, you can also copy the link to the bookmarklet, right-click on the address bar, select Edit Search Engines and add it as a new search engine to give this bookmarklet a keyword for faster access.

Now anytime you find some interesting article you want to save, highlight the interesting parts and use the bookmarklet to add notes and tag your findings.

For example, I use this method to bookmark images with great typography for inspiration, and the images are neatly stacked in the appropriate tag.

google bookmarking site

Since I use Zscreen, an open-source screencapture tool that uploads the image immediately to Imageshack, and then set it so that the HTML code for the full, uploaded image is copied to my clipboard automatically, I paste that into the box above the notes section.

google bookmarking tool

This method of uploading images to Imageshack ensures that even if the webpage isn’t accessible in the future, you will still be able to see it in your river of archived notes feed.

Why Use Google Reader?

You’re probably wondering why you’d want switch from, say Diigo or Evernote, to Google Reader as a bookmarking service. Here are a few benefits from using Google Reader:

  • Ability to search all your bookmarked items, in addition to searching your favorite parts of the web (your subscriptions).
  • google bookmarking tool

  • Ability to bookmark what you highlight, which is basically caching the post so you can retrieve even if the original website is down.
  • Ability to keep items unread.
  • Add notes when you’re bookmarking items to remind you why you liked it in the first place. If you’re looking to integrate these notes with your browser, Diigo might be your best bet as you can place sticky notes anywhere on a website and see your notes next time you visit the page with Diigo’s plugins.
  • Archive feature: Even if you’re actively looking at an article anymore, you won’t have to delete it. Archiving enables you to still be able to search the topic.
  • There’s no limit to how many items you bookmark: Since your noted items become a feed, you won’t have to worry about reaching certain limit for uploaded content every month. If you’re like me and save too much content that you’re constantly very close to reaching your Evernote monthly quota, you might appreciate this benefit.
  • Access all your feeds offline on the go with MobileRSS for iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. I’m pretty sure any mobile RSS reader could fit here.
  • google bookmarking tool

  • Ability to email and share items on Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, etc.
  • google bookmarking

  • You can usually just see the relevant post’s text in your subscriptions and not too many ads.
  • Being web-based, there’s no need to sync anything like you have to, with desktop RSS readers. You’ll be able to access your favorite articles on any computer or mobile device.

Which bookmarking service do you prefer? Share your bookmarking tips with us in the comments!

Image credit: Tempest, YellowIcon

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The 5 Best Torrent Clients For Linux

Posted: 08 Dec 2010 03:31 PM PST

best torrent clientBitTorrent is a fast, reliable and fairly straightforward way to download files large and small. We’ve got a guide right here. Whether you’re regularly downloading meaty Linux distributions or simply prefer to try-before-you-buy, you’ll be needing a decent torrent client to keep your downloads in check.

Windows users have the luxury of uTorrent, which (in my opinion, at least) is pretty much unbeatable if you’re using Bill’s operating system. Unfortunately there’s no uTorrent for Linux, but there are a few decent alternatives.

Here is MakeUseOf’s round-up of the five best Torrent clients for the Linux operating system.


As I’ve already mentioned there’s no official uTorrent client for Linux, but qBitTorrent attempts to fill the gap. The goal of the volunteer-led project is to provide a uTorrent-like client on the Linux platform.

best torrent client

Written in C++, qBitTorrent provides a familiar and speedy interface complete with an in-built search engine for those hard to find downloads. There’s a whole host of usual features including support for encryption, uPnP, IPv6 and RSS.

You can also remotely control qBitTorrent with the web UI. For anyone searching for that replacement for uTorrent on the Linux platform – look no further.

To install qBitTorrent on Ubuntu enter the following into the Terminal:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:hydr0g3n/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install qbittorrent

Transmission (GNOME)

For anyone using the Ubuntu distribution, Transmission will be a familiar client. This is the default bundled client, and for good reason too.

bit torrent client

Transmission (which is also written in C++) is a basic-yet-functional torrent solution that has a number of powerful features. The client can be configured to watch certain directories, useful in conjunction with Dropbox. Encryption is supported as well as the blacklisting of known “bad” IP addresses.

The lack of RSS support and a slightly cumbersome UI are the only real drawbacks to this more than capable torrent client, which is built for simplicity.


Formerly Azureus, Vuze is the only client in this list written in Java. Unfortunately, Java applications are notoriously resource-intensive and Vuze probably isn’t ideal for those of you using older computers.

bit torrent client

If you’ve got the resources to spare, then Vuze makes for a feature-loaded client declaring itself “the most powerful BitTorrent app on earth”.  The team have literally covered everything, with full web UI, encryption, RSS support, IPv6, a fantastic search engine, HD-video playback and more.

Vuze is more than a BitTorrent client, with support for transferring to mobile devices including support for Android, iOS and Blackberry devices as well as Xbox 360, PS3, TiVO and Apple TV.

To install Vuze on Ubuntu enter the following into the Terminal:

sudo apt-get install vuze

Deluge (GNOME)

Popular amongst Mac users, Deluge is a cross-platform torrent client that’s also compatible with Linux and Windows. It provides a lightweight interface written in Python and C++ for the GTK+ window manager that is reminiscent of Windows client uTorrent.

bit torrent client

Using libtorrent for its backend, and a choice of frontend interfaces including the GUI, web UI and console, Deluge is another client that packs in the features. There’s full support for encryption, magnet links, uPnP, IPv6 and support for plugins.

We’ve raved about it before, and that’s because Deluge is a powerful, clean and attractive choice for your download needs.

To install Deluge on Ubuntu enter the following into the Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:deluge-team/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install deluge

KTorrent (KDE)

Written for the KDE interface, KTorrent is the client of choice for Kubuntu and many other KDE-based distributions. Generally considered the most feature-rich KDE torrent solution, KTorrent has the usual bells and whistles that make for a top torrent client.

best torrent client

There’s encryption, RSS support, search, magnet links, uPnP, and remote torrent control via the usual web UI. If you like the look of Deluge, but prefer KDE to GNOME then KTorrent is probably the answer.

Provided with Kubuntu, to install on Ubuntu type the following into Terminal:

sudo apt-get install ktorrent

Other Clients

These clients didn’t quite make the list, but if you’re still searching then maybe you could try:


A console-based BitTorrent client for Linux, useful if you spend much of your time slaving over a hot command line.

BitStorm Lite

A lightweight BitTorrent client that lacks many of the features mentioned in this article. Reminiscent of the original classic BitTorrent client, written for GNOME.

Do you have a favourite BitTorrent client for the Linux platform? Perhaps you miss uTorrent a little too much? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Hot Tech Deals [Dec 8th]

Posted: 08 Dec 2010 02:29 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. Whistler XTR-580 Laser-Radar Detector $59.99 Free Shipping

  2. Corsair Dominator 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3-1600MHz PC3-12800 Memory $129.99 Free Shipping

  3. Panasonic TCP50GT25 50in 3D Plasma HDTV THX w/ 3D Blu-Ray Player, 2 Glasses, Avatar 3D Movie $1499

  4. Dell Inspiron 17R Intel Core i5-460M 2.53GHz 17.3in Laptop (4GB/500GB/Win7) $649.99

  5. Creative Fatal1ty Gaming Headset w/ Noise Cancelling Mic $29.99 Free Shipping

  6. EXPIRING Dell Professional P2411H 24in Widescreen LED-Backlit LCD Monitor $206.10 Free Shipping

  7. Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB Internal SATA Hard Drive $89.99 Free Shipping

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Watch Your Favorite TV Shows Online With the iTVMediaPlayer

Posted: 08 Dec 2010 01:31 PM PST

watch tv shows onlineFor a long time now, I’ve been dying to finally cut the cord with my cable company. We’ve subscribed to Netflix, I have my Hulu account configured and ready to go, but it’s really hard to take the plunge. My kids love watching live Nick programming. I can’t get enough of Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State. The fact is, we’re hooked on live programming and watching recorded shows just isn’t the same.

There are plenty of sites where you can watch live television, and we’ve covered a whole lot of them here at MakeUseOf. A while back, Aibek posted a list of 7 sites where you could find TV shows and Mark covered the popular desktop app Livestation, where you can find just about any news channel you’d want. More recently, I reviewed a few more tools you can use to watch TV on your computer, and then of course there’s the popular Boxee option that Justin recently wrote about.

Now with all of those options to choose from, you would think that letting go of cable would be easy. The problem is that it’s hard to find a place to offers live programming from the most popular channels like MTV, HBO, Disney or SyFy. With all of that said, I think that our cable connection has finally come to an end, because I’ve finally discovered iTVMediaPlayer.

Live Television Streams Of Popular Networks

The first thing you’ll notice when you install the iTVMediaPlayer desktop app is the list of available Live TV channels. I really thought that there had to be some catch because up until now I’ve never been able to find an online resource that provides instant access to high-quality channels that you’d actually want to watch.

watch tv shows online

The top 300 or so channels on this guide include all of those that were holding me back from canceling my cable subscription. While I could probably access each of these by going straight to the source website or ordering a device like Boxee that does it for you – I really wanted something simpler and cheaper. An app I could install on my PC or laptop and just play those popular channels on the PC screen or on the TV via HDMI. That’s exactly what the iTV Media Player does.

where can i watch tv shows online

There are ads throughout, both when you first launch the app as well as when you launch a channel. However, since programming is entirely free, I’m not complaining!

where can i watch tv shows online

I did notice that the ads are especially annoying in the small screen mode. For example, here I’m testing out the Disney channel to make sure it really offers real, live Disney programming. You’ll notice the banner across the bottom.

Testing the MTV channel, I noticed the same ad in small-screen mode, but when I switched to full screen mode all ads disappear and you’re watching 100% clear and free cable television. I was honestly blown away.

watch tv shows full length online

I love the idea that without ordering any hardware or buying any subscriptions, I can watch all of my favorite premium network channels that the cable company usually charges me a premium to watch.

Local Programming

Another concern a lot of people have with switching to either satellite or Internet TV watching is that you lose access to local news and weather stations. With iTV, that’s not the case. If you click on the link at the bottom of the guide that reads “Over 2,600 other channels…” you’ll discover content from all around the world.

I dug through to my region of the United States and found several local TV stations, both recorded and live.

watch tv shows full length online

Other Features

This content is fed in through wwiTV and features a lot more than just TV stations. If you get sick of watching plain vanilla cable programming, in this section you can check out things like educational or religious broadcasts, shopping networks and even live webcams from all across the world.

watch tv shows full length online

You can also do Internet searches from right inside the iTV Media Player and use the built-in browser to search the web. This comes in handy when you’re viewing the player over HDMI on your TV set because you can switch between television watching and Internet browsing at the click of a button.

Then, if you’re tired of watching TV and you’re in the mood for some music, just click on the “Radio & Music” tab at the left side of the iTV home page and you’ll see the iHeartRadio player that’s embedded into iTV. This embedded player lets you choose from hundreds of radio stations. To search for local ones, just type in your zip code. You can also find music videos by artist or song and watch full-length music videos for free.

watch tv shows online

iTV Media Player came along at just the right time, because I didn’t think I’d ever get up the nerve to call my cable company and cut the cord. But now, I’m finally taking the plunge and entering into the world of Internet TV programming, spoon-fed by the ease and convenience of iTV.

Have you ever used iTV? What do you think? Are there other resources where you like to watch TV online? Share your insight in the comments section below.

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Watch 5 Cool Fan Films Online & Keep Track Of Other Upcoming Fan Productions

Posted: 08 Dec 2010 11:31 AM PST

fan filmsThanks to mediums like YouTube and other free video hosting sites like Daily Motion and Vimeo, it's easy to showcase a fan film. The making of a fan film is another story however. A casual YouTube search will reveal a lot which border on the ridiculous and some which go over even that edge.

But for every dark side, there's the good one as well. When you take a look at few of the better ones below, you can fault them only for not having the length of a full feature, the sci-fi slickness, or the starry razzmatazz.

If you go in with low expectations, you will be pleasantly surprised by the passion and the creativity. Heck, scratch that. Go in with high ones, you will be surprised anyway.

The Hunt for Gollum

The original Lord of The Rings trilogy's production costs and grosses could have paid off the debt of a couple of nations. Then we come to this ‘prequel’ of LOTR that cost probably what it took to make Gandalf's beard in the original. At $5,000, the ode to LOTR is unofficial and unauthorized. But with 5.5 million views on YouTube, you can't argue with the appeal of this 40 minute long fan film shot in high definition.

Check out the trailers and the film's website. You will be fooled into thinking of this as a major Hollywood release.

Star Wars

Picking the best Star Wars fan film from the hundreds that dot the Star Wars galaxy is best left to George Lucas himself. Lucas Films has an official Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge where they hand out awards to the best fan film that goes over to the Star Wars side. So, to be on the safe side I have just picked one from the hat. You can check out the other really good ones under the link on the line above. This one got the Audience Choice Award this year. But the one which is usually considered the best Star Wars fan film is Troops.

Star Trek Hidden Frontier

If Star Wars is there then the fans of Star Trek will not be far behind. The number of Star Trek fan shot films (88) are not as numerous as Star Wars (317) but unlike it, many of them are made in the format of episodes just like the original series. So, let's start with the one that almost got its own cult status in the fan film genre. The videos on the main site seem to be down for now, so head over to Vimeo to catch the 50 episodes on the crew of USS Excelsior and their deep space adventures. Hidden Frontier also has a channel on YouTube.

The Star Trek Universe expands with another fans series, Star Trek: Phase II. The creators aim to release one episode every year and five episodes have been uploaded so far. You can choose to watch them online or download them to your computer.

Batman Dead End

For interest value I would go with Batman Dead End. How would The Caped Crusader fare against the Joker, Predator, and the Alien? It would take two Hollywood studios lots of dollars to tell us. But Sandy Collora says it with $30,000 and in eight minutes. Batman is a bit stocky, but the dark alley and hoarse voice gives the whole fan film the Christopher Nolan treatment. But of course, Nolan's take came two years down the line to this one.

If you want more of Batman, don't miss City of Scars (also uploaded on YouTube in two parts). It runs for nearly half an hour and is in HD with crisp production values. This short film explores the dark psyche of Batman/Bruce Wayne.

Dr. Who – Time and Again

The British sc-fi series has a huge following around the world and its popularity is assured when you know that the central character of Dr. Who has appeared on stage, TV, film, comics, novels, and everything in between. Fan films are one of the things that falls in between all the regular channels. There are a whopping 145 of them as listed by The advantage Dr. Who has over the others is that you don't need to spend a dime on special effects or detailed getups. It's difficult to pick out one, but I will go with Time and Again.

Is that all there is to it? You bet not. Here are a few links where you can follow your favorites and keep track of fan productions when they release:

  • Comic Book Bin (Fan Films)
  • The Raider
  • Making your own fan film is the ultimate height to reach for in all of fandom. Do you give fan films a second glance? Tell us about your favorites fan made movies.

    Image: Shutterstock

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    Create & Edit Your Music Online In A Fun & Addictive Way With Roc

    Posted: 08 Dec 2010 10:31 AM PST

    free program to edit musicI personally believe that there’s no better music creation software for non-musicians than Apple’s Garageband. Sadly, that great tool is only available for Mac users. So far, I haven’t been able to find similar tools under other operating systems that can compete evenly with Garageband. Almost all good music maker apps out there belong to the complicated and expensive group, while the cheap/free tools stay on the lower end of the quality spectrum.

    I recently found an online music creator from Aviary called Roc which can be a good alternative for amateurs who want to create some quick music but don’t have access to Garageband. The tool has limitations and can’t be compared to Garageband, but it’s free and easy to use.

    Preparing The Stage

    The first time you visit the Roc page, you will be greeted by the option to open a project using an instrument as the base, or to open a sample project.

    free program to edit music

    If you choose the first option, there are lots of instruments on the list that you can choose to start your project. Pick one and click the “Open” button.

    free software that lets you edit music

    Roc will load the instruments from its server, and the process could take some time depending on the speed of the internet connection and the processing power of your machine.

    free software that lets you edit music

    As everything is saved in the cloud, it’s very important for you to continuously save your work. Even a seemingly harmless action like refreshing the page could cost you your creation. That’s why Roc comes with pop-up reminders to make sure users remember to save their work.

    edit music

    Let’s Rock!

    There are several important areas in Roc’s environment. First is the “Control” area on the top left area of the window. This is the place to play/stop the loop as well as setting the BPM (Beats per Measure) of the project.

    edit music

    The number of BPM is reflected directly on the “Beats” area. For example, 4 BPM will divide the area into groups of four dots. On the very left you have sound slots – the place to put sounds that you want to play later on.

    edit music

    The next one is the “Instruments” area where you can choose what instruments to play.

    03c Instruments.jpg

    And under Instruments is “Sounds“. This one will list down the available sounds for each instrument.

    03d Sounds.jpg

    After knowing the general functions of those areas, creating music with Roc is as easy as drag and drop. Here are the steps:

    1. First, choose an instrument to play from the “Instruments” list.
    2. Then pick one sound from that instrument and drag and drop it to one of the (empty) slots on the “Beat” area. You can click the small “Play” button next to each item to hear the sound sample.
    3. With sounds lined up in their slots, click on the dots next to each sound to set the timing – when the sound should then play. Blue dots represent “play” while empty dots represent “not play“. Clicking on an empty dot will turn it on, and clicking on a blue dot will turn it off.
    4. Click on the “Play” button on the control area to start the loop.
    5. You can listen to the result while the loop plays, and edit the beats along the way.
    6. The circle on each slot is the volume (green) and pan (blue) controls. You can click and drag them to adjust individual sounds.

    The description might sounds a little bit confusing if you haven’t tried to use the tool yet. But the process is actually fun and addictive once you try it yourself. You can easily lose track of time while trying different combinations of sounds and beats.

    The image below is an example of how a complete project might look like.

    04a Ready Product.png

    And after you have finished your project, you can save it by clicking on the “Save” button on the upper right of the interface.

    06a Save.png

    Since the music project is a creative endeavour, Roc will ask you to set the licence for your work. The default is “Creative Commons Attribution” where people can use your work freely as long as they give you credit for your work and link back to it.

    free program to edit music

    You also need to log into your Aviary account (or register first if you don’t have an account) in order to save your work.

    The Footnote

    As an online music creation tool, Roc is very capable. Even though there are limitations on the number of sounds that you can add and the length of the loop on every project, this music maker is easy, fun and addictive to use. If you love music, Roc could be a nice alternative if you are looking for a free program to edit music.

    Since experience is the best teacher there is, I suggest you get your hands dirty and try the tool yourself. Then you can share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.

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    The Top Three Sites To Debate Topics With Others

    Posted: 08 Dec 2010 09:31 AM PST

    debate topicsOn most popular news and opinion websites, such as the Huffington Post or the Washington Post, articles are typically followed by often vigorous comments in which readers and writers debate topics and important issues of today. Healthy debates are one way we attempt to voice our opinions about policies and laws governing our society. However, there are a handful of great websites which are exclusively devoted to presenting claims and arguments on both sides of controversial issues.

    You might want to participate in a constructive formal or informal debate just because you like voicing your opinion, but you might also find the content of debates sites useful for researching and writing blog posts, articles, and research papers.

    The following sites are highlighted because they are well organized, fairly intuitive to use, and are focused on presenting both sides of controversial issues. No doubt there are other similar sites not listed in this article, so please share the ones you favor.

    CreateDebate is in my view the most clearly organized and easiest debate site to participate in. After registering an account and setting up your profile, you can both create debates and participate in existing ones.

    debate topics

    As you might expect the topic and issues on the site run the gamut, from "Is it right for parents to beat their kids?" to "Is Earth the product of creation or evolution?" Hot button issues include abortion, animal rights, drugs, George Bush, marijuana, oil, and terrorism.


    Popular debates are listed on the homepage, but you can browse and search debates in various categories, including politics, technology, religion, science, sports, and entertainment. You can also create debate communities, which are especially useful for classroom environments.


    Starting a debate is very simple. You choose one of two types of debates: Sided Debates, which are "designed for issues that can be broken down into two distinct sides," such as, "Should violent video games be banned?", and Popularity Contests, in which there are number of different potential responses and winners, e.g. "What is best video game on the market today?"

    CreateDebate is pretty much like a social networking site in which you can create and manage your debates, add "allies" and "enemies" to your profile, as well participate in ongoing conversations. The site is clean, well, organized, with no obtrusive ads.

    CreateDebate is another well organized and focused debate site covering a very wide range of topics, from the arts, beauty and fashion, to politics, and travel.


    Current popular debates include, "God Does Not Exist," "Abortion Should Be Banned," "Gay Marriage Should Be Legal," and "School Uniforms Are Definitely a Good Thing."

    Similar to CreateDebate, ForandAgainst makes it very easy to create a debate using a three-part form. Members of the site can vote for or against an issue, as well, of course, state their own opinion in the comment section. There's also a section for members to write and post articles about any issue of importance.

    debate topics

    Site members receive points for creating and participating in debates. And the site provides guidelines for debate etiquette, as well as safety tips for participating in online activities. has a slightly different format than the above sites. Debates are initiated by one site member challenging another to argue an issue. According to the site, "Each debate is made up of 1-5 rounds in which each member can post their arguments and rebut the arguments made by their opponent. Once both sides have posted their arguments, the members of the community vote for the winner."

    debate topics

    Categories and topics are also varied, including religion, news, sports, technology, and education. Currently running debates include the marijuana issue, theism vs. atheism, gun control rights, and the question of whether or not "The TSA needs to be abolished," that is, should the Transportation Security Administration be able to conduct body scans in U.S airports?

    The formal, back and forth, written arguments presented by site members seem to provide a way to more deeply explore issues rather than simply writing one or two-sentence comments or sound bytes like you often get in mainstream media. looks to be a great place to develop debating skills in a safe and constructive platform. Consisting of 22,741 members, with over ten thousand posted debates, might very well be a great community to join and build relationships in.

    A healthy democracy requires that people be able to debate topics and express their opinions and carefully consider various sides of important issues; these sites are useful in that regard.

    Let us know about other active debate sites you recommend.

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    Google Unveils The Chrome Web Store [News]

    Posted: 08 Dec 2010 09:15 AM PST

    Back in May, Google announced the idea of a Chrome Web Store. The idea behind it was to create an open marketplace for web apps where it would be easier for users to discover apps and for developers to reach a large audience.

    Fast forward to today and the Chrome Web Store is open for business. Developers have already started uploading apps, and Google expects the number to grow over time. Let’s take a look.

    Chrome Web Store Overview

    Essentially, the Chrome Web Store is an online marketplace where you can discover thousands of apps, extensions, and themes for Google Chrome. It is featured prominently in Chrome (no surprise there), helping people discover great apps and developers reach millions of users around the world.

    Once you're in the store, you can find things by using the search box or by browsing through different categories. Every item in the store has its own page, where you can read and contribute reviews and ratings.

    Here’s what you can find in the store:

    • Web apps – advanced interactive websites. They may provide a wide-ranging set of features or focus on a single task like photo-editing or shopping.
    • Extensions – let you add new features to your browser (e.g. an email notifier extension for email alerts).
    • Themes – allow you to customize the look and feel of your browser (includes themes from leading artists/designers around the world).

    If you use multiple computers, you can synchronize your apps, extensions, and theme across all your computers with browser sync.

    What’s A Web App?

    To get a feel for what the web app store is for in general, watch this short video by Google:

    What do you think of the new Chrome Store? Tim and Justin will shortly be looking at the store in more depth.

    Image Credit : Official Google Blog

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    How To Use Your PlayStation 2 Devices With Your Computer

    Posted: 08 Dec 2010 08:30 AM PST

    using playstation controller on pcWhat do PlayStation 2 controllers, Rock Band guitars, the EyeToy and the PlayStation 2 DVD remote all have in common? They’ve all been in your closet since you bought the latest and greatest console. Put those devices to use by connecting them to your computer.

    It’s understandable that you don’t play with your PlayStation 2 all that much anymore. The system, as great as it was, is well on its way to becoming retro. But just because you don’t use your PlayStation anymore doesn’t mean you can’t make use of all the great peripherals you purchased for it. Connect them to your Windows, Mac or Linux machine and give them a new life.


    Yes, you can use your PlayStation controllers on your PC. No, it’s not free.

    You’re going to need to purchase a PlayStation to USB dongle. Don’t panic, though; these are affordable. Google Shopping lists many such devices for under $10, much cheaper than buying a USB joystick for your computer.

    Once you have the device you’ve got one of the best PC joysticks money can buy. I love my PlayStation controllers, and am glad they found new life connected to my media center. They work perfectly for playing old-school console games on your computer, or with any game that supports the joystick natively.

    If you want something a little more recent, however, you’re still in luck. We’ve got guides for playing PlayStation 1 games on your PC. Still not recent enough? Try playing PlayStation 2 games on your computer. You’ll be able to insert your old PlayStation games into your computer and play them, complete with an authentic controller!


    using playstation controller on pc

    The EyeToy was an early, clunky version of Microsoft’s new Kinect; one that never really took off. Gameplay was clumsy, even if amusing in a party environment. I bet you didn’t use this with USB camera and your PlayStation much.

    No worries: you can use it with your computer now. We’ve got directions for using the Playstation 2 EyeToy with Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Pull this camera out of the closet and start using it for video chat over Skype. It even works as a microphone, meaning you can have a complete Skype setup in no time. Nice.

    DVD Remote

    playstation 2 device

    If you’ve got the PS2/USB dongle mentioned above, and you have one of the PS2 DVD remotes, good news: you’ve got a remote you can use with your computer. Just plug the wireless dongle into your computer and it will function like any other joystick. Combine this with software that can make any USB joystick mimic your keyboard. I use this exact setup to control Boxee.

    Guitar Hero/Rock Band guitars

    Love Guitar Hero, and want a working PlayStation so you can rock out again? Your computer can take care of that for you. Frets on Fire is a very good Guitar Hero clone for PC, Mac and Linux. Best of all: this game can rip your Guitar Hero on one and two DVDs, giving you access to your favorite tunes on your computer. Sweet.

    using playstation controller on pc

    Combine this great game with the USB dongle and your Guitar Hero or Rock Band controller, and you’ve got a great way to keep on rocking.

    If you’re the hacking type, know that there are many mods out there capable of making Frets on Fire even better. Check them out!


    There’s a certain thrill to giving new life to old hardware. If you can think of a reuse for another old console peripheral, leave it in the comments below. Also feel free to let me know if any of these ideas work out for you (or not).

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