Friday, December 10, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [December 9th]” plus 11 more “Cool Websites and Tools [December 9th]” plus 11 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [December 9th]

Posted: 09 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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StockTwits – Twitter users and stock traders have one thing in common – they are glued to their respective screens all the time. Monitoring latest stock updates and finding the latest tweets are almost the same activities. However, what if you can get instant tweets on your stock? Enter StockTwits. Read more: StockTwits: Check Latest Stock Updates & Advice In Real Time


GoogleDemoSlam – Creating a demo is one of the most effective ways to tell your audience what your tool can do. However, if your demo is boring and mundane, it can have a negative effect. If you want to learn how to create awesome demos, check out some really cool ones at GoogleDemoSlam. It is a collection of demos for services and tools based on Google technologies. Read more: GoogleDemoSlam: View & Rate Cool Demos For Various Tools



Zazu – Android phone owners have a number of free applications that can make their life easier. For example many people like to stay in touch with the news and weather. Zazu is one Android app that can read the news and weather out to you whenever you want. The app's main function is to gather information on the local weather and global news. Read more: Zazu: Wake Up To Weather Reports, News or RSS Feeds (Android)



TestiPhone – Considering the huge popularity of the iPhone around the world, and its amazing web browsing capabilities, it becomes important for webmasters to make sure that their site displays correctly on the iPhone's interface. is a nice web based tool that acts as an iPhone simulator, showing how a site looks on an iPhone. Read more: Check How A Site Looks On iPhone



MapThatPad – Accommodation hunting can be a crazy feat, especially if you are new to the city and do not want to waste time checking out a dead end. That is why we turn to Craigslist – but then we run into the problem of sorting our listings properly to make the right call. Enter MapThatPad, a cool app based on Craigslist that you use to collaborate on apartment listings. Read more: MapThatPad: Hunting For Accommodation In An Easy & Organized Way


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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Join MakeUseOf On Facebook!

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 06:31 PM PST

If you like reading MakeUseOf and have a Facebook account, join MakeUseOf on Facebook and enjoy reading our greatest posts! Simply click on the “Like” button below to get started!

You’ll be rewarded with exclusive previews of future publications, what we refer to as “Sneak Peeks”; and the best posts from the day before, “Yesterday’s Best”.

We also use our fan page to inform you about premium software giveaways and discounts that are not announced on the website. We get a lot of those from software developers and distribute them mainly on Facebook.

So grab some friends and join us on Facebook today!

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Google Chrome 8: Introducing The Chrome Web Store

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 05:31 PM PST

google chrome 8Cloud computing is all the rage these days. Google’s “everything’s a web app” outlook has finally taken a hold over the Chrome browser this week with the release of the much-anticipated Chrome Web Store (see our news story by Steve on it).

Comparable to Apple’s App Store and Google’s own Android Marketplace, the Chrome Web Store allows you to install and run Chrome-specific applications within tabs. If you want to try it out for yourself, you’re going to need the latest version of the recently updated Chrome browser for Windows, Linux or Mac.

Web Apps Explained

We love internet-based applications here at MakeUseOf. If you’re an avid reader you’ll probably notice we produce a couple of articles related to these per week, and for good reason. Services like Google Docs and Microsoft Web Apps are web applications that provide functionality on a par with locally installed software. Thanks to browser advancements, these applications are becoming more powerful, varied and genuinely useful.

google chrome 8

The Chrome Web Store installs web apps that are specific to the Chrome browser. This doesn’t mean that Chrome is the only browser to support web apps, as I’m sure you’re aware. Google Docs and other similar services function just as well on other browsers.

One advantages of using Chrome is the ability to create shortcuts to these web apps, so they will function and appear much like software you have to install. If you discover an app that you like at any point, simply launch it, click Chrome’s options button, Tools and then Create Application Shortcuts.

What’s Included?

The store itself not only allows you to download fabled web apps, but also Chrome Extensions and Themes for the browser. Developers are also able to charge a fee, so don’t be surprised to learn that it’s not all free.

Web apps are separated into 9 different categories, and there is already a decent selection populating each category with plenty of free apps to get you started.

google chrome 8 features

Interestingly if you do decide to download a paid app then you have 30 minutes after purchase to cancel your payment. You can do this once per app, and it offers a nice "try before you buy" element to the store.

Chrome’s ability to synchronize bookmarks to your Google Account has also received an update. Settings, extensions, themes and web apps can now all be kept up to date with your account. This means you can then log in from a different Chrome browser on any platform (Chrome OS included) to see your own familiar setup.

Installing and Removing

Once you’ve found an app, extension or theme that takes your fancy (like the totally awesome TweetDeck, for example) you’ll be able to install it quickly via the Install button on the item’s page. New applications that have been installed can then be launched from any new tab (Ctrl+T).

google chrome 8 features

On the same page you will find some information about what you are installing, including version number, date of the latest update and what (if any) services or local data the application or extension accesses.

google chrome 8 features

Any paid apps that you happen to purchase are handled via Google Checkout, and as previously mentioned have a 30-minute "cooling off" period in case you’re not happy.

To remove an app simply open a new tab and right click the app you wish to remove. Choose Uninstall and it’s gone. You may also have noticed that on this menu you can choose to open web apps as regular tabs, pinned tabs or even full screen.

google chrome 8


The Chrome Web Store is an exciting addition to Google’s cloud movement, and a great way to boost productivity online. There’s a decent selection of applications available already, and this number is only set to grow.

If you’re wondering which apps are worth checking out, then keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming article. If you’ve found any web apps that you already can’t live without then why not tell us all about it in the comments.

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15 Cool Facebook Wallpaper Themes For Windows/Mac/Linux

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 03:31 PM PST

facebook wallpapersFacebook is without a doubt the most popular social network on the planet. In a recent poll we asked you whether you actually like Facebook. A surprising majority of 34.9% voted ‘No way! Facebook is evil.’, closely followed by 28.8% who admitted ‘I suffer Facebook’s evil because I enjoy its benefits.’ So what is it that makes Facebook both loved and hated alike?

Whether or not you support Facebook, it’s a great resource for entertainment. This article features 15 cool desktop Facebook wallpapers for both lovers and haters of Facebook.

If you’re from the anti-Facebook fraction, you may like some of the wallpapers, but you will definitely love these Anti Facebook Logos.

facebook wallpapers

Various Resolutions

Talking to a Wall via deviantART

Available in a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixel and 1920 x 1200 pixel.

facebook wallpaper themes

Look for the ‘Download File‘ button on the right to obtain the Facebook wallpaper. The ZIP file contains both resolutions resolutions in JPG format.

Facebook Junkie via Subcoolture’s blog

Available in a resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixel.

facebook wallpaper themes

Floral Facebook via deviantART

Available in a resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixel.

facebook wallpaper themes

Look for the ‘Download Image‘ button in the lower right to download the high resolution JPG.

Facebook 3D via deviantART

Available in a resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixel.

cool wallpapers

Look for the ‘Download Image‘ button in the lower right to download the high resolution JPG.

Forgiven via Wordtrace Wallpapers

Available in a resolution of 1900 x 1200 pixel.

cool wallpapers

Futuristic Facebook via deviantART

Available in a resolution of 1920 x 1080

cool wallpapers

Look for the ‘Download Image‘ button in the lower right to download the high resolution PNG.

Facebook Shadows via deviantART

Available in a resolution of 1920 x 1200

facebook shadows

Look for the ‘Download Image‘ button in the lower right to download the high resolution JPG.

Facebook World via HDWeweb4

Available in a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixel.

Facebook World

Domo Facebook Wallpaper via deviantART

Available in a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixel.

domo facebook wallpaper

Look for the ‘Download Image‘ button in the lower right to download the high resolution JPG.

Automatic Resolution Detection

The wallpapers in this section will automatically be displayed in the right resolution for your screen. Results may vary.

Facebook addicted via HDWeweb4

Click on the ‘Download in…‘ link to access the wallpaper converter, which lets you pick other available resolutions. You can also select between JPG or PNG file format.

facebook addicted

Butterfly via DesktopNexus

facebook theme

The Real Facebook via DesktopNexus

the real facebook

Facebook Tag via DesktopNexus

facebook tag

Wasting Peoples Lives Since 2004 via DesktopNexus

facebook wallpaper

Facebook Buttons via DesktopNexus

facebook wallpapers

Not sure how to change your desktop wallpaper? Here is how:

More Wallpaper Resources:

More Facebook Articles:

Browse all our Facebook-related articles here.

So what group do you belong to? The lovers or the haters? And which of the above wallpapers did you like best?

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How To Make The Most Out Of DailyBooth

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 01:31 PM PST

what is dailyboothYou’ve probably heard of DailyBooth, but if you’re over 20 it’s likely it’s never occurred to you to take a closer look and see what it’s all about. Well, DailyBooth is a fun idea – it’s a neat way to update your friends on your mood or how your day is going by the use of photos.

It doesn’t really matter if you know other people who use DailyBooth already. The community there is fun and outgoing, plus we’ll go through a neat hack to get your Boothing back out to the rest of the world.

Get Started

Signing up on DailyBooth is straightforward and quick, as is posting photos and short blurbs (just remember to save!). Once you’re in, you can use Facebook to search for your friends or you can browse to find other users to follow.

what is dailybooth

Getting Involved

To get a feel for the site, community and how people use DailyBooth, check out the Live Feed (it’s on the People tab). You’ll see all sorts of different people who are updating for myriad reasons: Some are like iJustine who is just everywhere; some are teens who update primarily to share with friends, but don’t mind sharing further; some are looking to meet new people; some are trying to document their days by capturing the little moments.

It’s easy to follow people from the Live Feed, but if you don’t see anyone you want to follow there, you can take a look at the Suggested Users (also on the People tab).

about dailybooth

For a geographical take on the Live Feed, try out the DailyBooth Map. It moves fast, but it’s pretty interesting to watch.

about dailybooth

Take note of the user profile page too – on each profile, you can see who is following that person and who else that person follows. It’s an easy way to browse for new fun people to follow.

about dailybooth

If you want to get involved in something big, offer to do a photo for the DailyBooth Calendar.

what is dailybooth for

DailyBooth Apps

what is dailybooth for

Update DailyBooth on the go with the iPhone or Android App. Great for when you’re catching up with friends, commuting or waiting around for something.

what is dailybooth for

Why Not Use TwitPic?

There’s a million different ways to share photos online, and for anyone who’s already a Twitter user I expect you’re wondering why you shouldnt just use TwitPic. And you could, easily. Your wordcount is shorter, as is your ability to add relevant links to the post, but in essence it’s much the same.

On the flip side, you can auto-Tweet your DailyBooth pictures to Twitter followers, so why not be a part of both? Also, it’s true for most people that having a community of people working on similar projects will inspire and nurture you into doing better things with your own project. So, your random pictures of yourself will be far more interesting if you join the DailyBooth community and get some cool ideas for your next pictures.

Get Your DailyBooth Feed

I’m personally big on getting an RSS feed of my activities from all my social networks, so I was a little disappointed that DailyBooth don’t offer one. However, it’s still possible to get one if you know the trick.

Start with this feed URL (with your username in the middle):

This is the URL for all of your activities and the activities of the people you follow. The feed looks like it should be just your activities, but it isn’t. It will need cleaning up.

Go to Yahoo Pipes and create a new pipe (you’ll need a Yahoo login to do this). Add your RSS feed in a feed module (Sources > Fetch Feed). Then add a filter module (Operators > Filter) and only permit items where the description or title contains your username. The resulting pipe RSS feed will be able to be used in your Lifestream (Friendfeed, Soup or personal lifestream).

More Great Photo Sharing Ideas

what is dailybooth

Let us know your creative photo ideas – tell us how you use DailyBooth and other photo sharing apps!

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Hot Tech Deals [Dec 9th]

Posted: 09 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. Wacom Intuos4 Graphics Tablet Medium (5.5inx8.8in) $284.99 Free Shipping

  2. Dell PowerEdge T610 Server Desktop Intel Xeon Quad-Core 2.13GHz $1029 Free Shipping

  3. HP ProBook 4520s Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 15.6in Laptop (3GB/250GB/Win7 Pro/Radeon HD 530v) $499.99

  4. TODAY ONLY EVGA GeForce 210 1GB DDR3 PCI-E x16 Video Card $24.99AR Free Shipping

  5. Verizon HTC Droid Incredible Cell Phone now FREE with 2yr Contract

  6. TODAY ONLY Vizio E421VA 42 inch LCD HDTV (1080p) $529.99 Free Shipping

  7. TODAY ONLY Sony VPL-BW7 LCD Home Theater Projector (720p, 2000 Lumens) $429.99 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Find Beautiful Free eBooks In Google’s New Shop [US Only]

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 11:31 AM PST

google ebooksWith access to millions of books and compatibility with a wide variety of devices, Google’s new book store is certainly going to be a powerful force in the publishing industry. Even better, it provides easy access to beautifully rendered public domain books free of charge. Get yourself a quality collection of classic literature free from Google.

Google’s entry into the ebook store business will undoubtedly be controversial, but one thing is clear: their collection of public domain ebooks is without rival in terms of volume and quality. Best of all, with the help of Calibre, you can read these books on practically any device – even the seemingly unsupported Amazon Kindle.

Sadly, it seems that right now none of these offerings work outside of the United States. You could try using a proxy to bypass this with various proxy services, if you want, but the sad truth is that Google isn’t officially opening this service up to everyone quite yet.

Finding Free Books

google ebooks

For those of us in America, though, Google’s book store appears to be just another book store at first glance. There’s the usual collection of New York Times Bestsellers, and many books for sale.

Keep scrolling down, however, and you’ll see this section:

google free ebooks

This is the paydirt. Here you can get access to Google’s 3 million public domain titles. You can browse by simply going through the free titles here, or you can search for any work that is in the public domain. Any book without a price beneath it, you can assume, is free.

Once you find a book you like you can read the book online. Google offers a simple but very useful web-based ebook reader:

google free ebooks

This elegant interface gives you a great way to read these public domain books, particularly if you set your browser for full-screen. The arrow keys behave as you’d expect them to, turning the pages, and you can quickly access the table on contents or search the text. Best of all, it’s tied to your Google account, meaning you can switch computers and keep reading from where you left off, without having to install anything.

Supported Devices

But for those of us with access to a dedicated ebook reader this has no appeal at all. We want to read these books on our readers, of course. This isn’t a problem. Users of the iPad, iPhone and Android devices will be happy to know that dedicated apps for reading these books exist. There’s also official instructions for the Nook and Sony Readers.

Beyond this, Google is offering support to any device that can work with Adobe Digital Editions, including my beloved Kobo. If you’re wondering whether your device can access these books, check out this handy list from Adobe and see if your device is there.

Note that you only need to use Adobe’s software for purchased books, however. All of Google’s ebooks are completely free of DRM, meaning you can easily put them onto any ebook reader supported by Calire, the best ebook management software. This includes all of the above-mentioned devices, and the Kindle (which is specifically not supported by Google).

Using Google EPUBS With Calibre

So how do we download these unprotected books, so we can transfer them to Calibre? Easily. On any book’s summary page, you’ll see this blue box:

google free ebooks

Instead of clicking “Read Now,” click “Read on your device“. This will bring you to a page of various options. Scroll down until you see these options:

google ebooks

I highly recommend you select “EPUB”, as this format is custom-made to work well with almost every ebook reader on the market (except the Kindle, which doesn’t support it, though you can use Calibre to convert it). Once you’ve downloaded the EPUB all you need to do is add the book to your Calibre library and then use Calibre to send it to your device.


You’ll be glad you did. Google’s EPUB files are wonderfully rendered, and far less cumbersome to read than the ones provided by Project Gutenburg–at least, that’s the case in my experience. I’m going to be using Google for all my public domain EPUB downloads from now on.

What do you think about Google ebooks? Do you enjoy this free service from Google, or do you prefer to use other sites to get free ebooks? Let me know in the comments below.

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10 Awesome Safe For Work Websites To Overcome Lunchtime Boredom

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 10:31 AM PST

safe for work websitesIf there’s anything that annoys me about being at work for eight to nine hours every day, it’s the strict lockdown on the Internet. While I certainly don’t envy the job of the network administrators tasked with the job of filtering and policing Internet use, it seems that the level of filtering varies significantly from company to company.

One thing that should be said is that the network security team at any company has a pretty tough job – they have to protect internal IT resources from a myriad of external and internal threats. However, some security groups clamp down everything so tight that you’re lucky if you can get through the Internet firewall at all.

While this is perfectly fine during the workday, during your lunch break when you’re taking a moment to relax, it would be nice have a few places to visit that are interesting and fun. You could follow Ben’s tips and try to bypass the filter.  That might get you in trouble, so maybe finding appropriate sites for work is a better alternative.

10 Safe For Work Websites

The following ten websites are some of the coolest places I found to just unwind for half an hour while eating lunch. Aibek offered a list of cool websites to procrastinate at work. While reading tech sites and news is awesome – it can get old after a while. Sometimes you just just need a good laugh to unwind.

The first website is one of those places you’d want to visit if you’ve just suffered through a meeting run by those types of people that are insufferably “inspirational.” They talk about passion, drive and perseverance like an Army drill sergeant talks about duty and honor. When you’re through with the meeting, visit

safe for work websites

One of my favorites is the one for “Customer Care” that reads, “If we really cared for the customer we’d send them somewhere better.”

Another website that an MUO reader mentioned in the comments area of my Bizarre Websites article was People of Walmart. This website has been gaining in popularity quite a bit in the past few years.

safe for work

Mostly all content here is PG and accepted by most corporate filters. So enjoy a grin or two at the expense of others!

Now, for those of you that feel the workday can get you stressed out and down – a useful site to visit during your break is Things are Good. Here, you can read about positive news and things that are, quite simply, good.

safe for work

Read about kind things people have done in the world. Things that will just make you feel good about the world, even in the midst of a really hard day at work.

Don’t feel like reading – but would rather play games? Check out Free Rice, a highly addictive English vocabulary game where you need to answer various questions that increase in difficulty in each level.

safe work websites

For each correct answer, Free Rice will donate 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme. Have fun and help the world at the same time during your 30 minute lunch. How cool is that?

If you’re the type of person that loves to travel, and you feel confined to your office – try visiting EarthCam.

safe work websites

Earthcam is an impressive collection of webcams around the world that let you travel from the comfort of your desk. Check out Times Square, Aquariums, Monuments and much more.

Next up is Passive Aggressive notes. This is a blog with frequent updates featuring…well…passive aggressive notes. I visit this one often. Being rather passive aggressive myself, I think I get a little too much enjoyment out of these posts!

safe work websites

Another great safe-for-work site that is well suited to read in an office environment is a website called Overheard in the Office.

This is an absolutely hilarious site where visitors submit real-world conversations they’ve either had or overheard where they work. Trust me, some of these will have you doubled over in pain from laughing.

Another one for those of you that enjoy traveling or exploring different places is Walk Score.

This is a really interesting online resource that lets you type in any address and find out how appealing that city or town is to people that prefer walking. Any score over 90 is a place you could live without really owning a car.

One of my favorite sites to visit on those days where I just want to let my mind wander is Magnetic Poetry.

safe for work

You can play an online version of the real-world magnetic poetry kit. This is a great “zen” like activity for those days when you’re feeling particularly harried at work.

Finally, I’ve saved one of my favorites for last. It isn’t always easy to find funny photo gallery sites through the company firewall, but no need to worry, Awkward Family Photos will give you some of the biggest laughs you’ve ever had.

safe for work websites

Hopefully, these ten websites provide you with plenty of material that you can bookmark for a little bit of lunchtime relaxation and fun. Work can be stressful sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break every now and then to sit back and enjoy a laugh or two.

Do you have any other fun safe-for-work websites that would make it through pretty much any firewall? Share your own suggestions in the comments section below!

Image credit: Stephen Davies



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Quotista – A Social Network to Share Book Quotes

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 09:31 AM PST

book quotessQuotista is a “social networking” site that focuses on sharing book quotes that you have read. The main philosophy of the site is highlighted right there on every page, in a quote from Alice In Wonderland: “What is the use of a book“, said Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” Basically, if you have read a book and enjoyed it, the best way to remember it and to share that experience is to pick out and store book quotes from it.

A project of Garage48 out of Estonia, Quotista is the result of a “boot-camp style initiative” which went from initial concept to delivery in a single weekend. This is a great way to start up a website as it focuses on delivery rather than endlessly planning a site which never gets born into fruition.

Log in is through Facebook Connect only, and I think this was a good decision because the site does have tight integration and allows you to share your selected quotes and books primarily through Facebook but also on the site itself.

Adding A Quote

book quotes

Adding a quote is easy. Type in (or paste) the quote from the book that you would like to share. After typing in the name of the book the site will look for that title on Amazon and pull in the cover and other information to attach it to your book quote.

book quotations

If you should choose to, you can also share your quote on your Facebook profile page. Any comments on your quotes are added via Facebook Connect – the site has very tight Facebook integration and is built on that connectivity.

What’s Good

What I like about this site is that it isn’t just a “Book sharing” website – there are plenty of those, LivingSocial Visual Bookshelf and LibraryThing being two great examples that let you catalog and share books. The thing that sets Quotista apart is that you share by quoting, effectively sharing not just that you “like” the book but why you think it is a good read with an example taken from the pages of the book.

book quotations

Could Use Improvement

The site is still in beta and there are definitely some areas that could use improvement. One of them is that it would be great to be able to “tag” your quote, making retrieval easier than digging through a list of book quotes. I also think the text that is posted to Facebook could be a bit “cleaner” with the Quotista branding taken out. Twitter integration is notably missing – adding this as a venue to share quotes to would also be very popular with users.

Finally the typical Most popular and Newest quotes are available for viewing on the site. You can also Follow other users on the site, so that their quotes will show up on your homepage when you log in.

book quotes

These round out the features and give users a base of content to discover and share with friends (should they so please).


The overall goal of the site is to both share books and to discover new ones. Quotista is a simple way to do this – they do not overload you with features which are the bane of many other sites. The design is aesthetically pleasing as well and is nice on the eyes. If anyone is a heavy reader and would like to share books and/or quotes with friends, Quotista would be my go to site. Feel free to follow me on Quotista and share any book quotes you enjoy!

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Two Plugins To Publish Quick Posts On WordPress

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 08:30 AM PST

quick posting wordpressCall me a fanboy, but I think WordPress is the best blogging platform available today. The biggest selling points would be the customizable look and functionality. But it also has its share of disadvantages. One of them is the fact that you need to go through several steps just to post a single blog entry.

WordPress developers came with a solution to this problem by providing users with Press This” bookmarklet. This tool is great to help WordPress users do a quick blogging, but lacks the full functionalities of WordPress editor.

I’m currently in the process of finding a way to blog on the fly, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this quest. So far, I’ve found two plugins which will allow us to do quick posting on WordPress.

Press This Reloaded

For those who have already fallen in love with the WordPress “Press This” bookmarklet, you might not need to look for another alternative. All you need to do is to tweak the bookmarklet to perfection using “Press This Reloaded” plugin. As the name suggested, this plugins gives users the best of both world: the ability to post quick post and the full functionalities of WordPress editor.

You can get the plugin via “Install Plugins” menu at your WordPress’ side menu. Perform a quick search and click the “Install Now” link.

quick posting wordpress

After activating the plugin, you’ll have to add the bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmark bar. Go to the “Tools” menu from the sidebar and you will see the “Press This” link.

post wordpress quick

Click and drag the link to your bookmark bar.

post wordpress quick

And your browser will ask you to name the bookmarklet. Even though you can name it anything you want, it’s advisable to make it similar to your blog’s name (especially if you use more than one bookmarklet for several different blogs).

post wordpress quick

If you’ve already used the Press This” bookmarklet prior to activating the plugin, you have to discard the old one and use this new revitalized version instead.

Now you are ready to write a quick blog post. Whenever you find something worth blogging, you can just select the content and then click on the bookmarklet (or use the shortcut key if you are using Safari). And you will have all the goodies that you would normally have only from within the WordPress platform.

fast post wordpress

If you want to compare the Reloaded version and the original version to see the differences, here’s how the “Press This” interface will look without the plugin. The most obvious difference is the absence of other plugins.

fast post wordpress

Quick Press Widget

The second plugin that I found will allow its users to write quick posts directly from the pages of their blog. Some might say that the process is similar to tweeting from the web interface of their Twitter page. So this method is perfect for writing quick, text-only thoughts and not suitable for long posts with images (and videos).

One caveat, though: since this plugin will add a quick post widget to your blog, you have to use widget-friendly WordPress theme. But since almost all of the latest generation themes support widgets, this should not be a problem.

After going through the installation routine, go to the “Widgets” menu from the sidebar.

fast post wordpress

You should see the “Quick Press” widget among other available widgets. Drag and drop it to one of the “Widget Areas” that you want on the right side of the page. Please note that different themes might have different number of widget areas.

04b Widgets - Quick Press.jpg

With the Quick Press widget in place, go to your blog’s front page. You should see Quick Press in the widget area that you chose earlier.

quick posting wordpress

Write something, click “Post It” button, and hit refresh on your browser. That short thought will appear as your latest post.

The Quick Press area will disappear once you log out of your blog. So you don’t have to worry about security issues as the only one who is able to compose quick post from your blog pages is you. Your visitors won’t see any traces of it.

Other Alternatives To Quick Post

Plugins are not the only way to enable quick post. Any decent blogging client will also give you the same privilege and more. And for the times when you are away from your computer, you can utilize your smartphone to blog. WordPress has released blogging clients for iOS and Android.

Do you quick blog? What methods do you employ? Do you know other alternatives to the two plugins mentioned above? Share your stories using the comment below.

Image credit: Nathan Eal Photography

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OpticFilm 7400 Film Scanner Giveaway by Plustek

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 08:00 AM PST



In this modern day, I find it hard to get great prints out of film cameras. As much fun as they are, I don’t really want to waste money printing out all of the photos which were snapped with a film camera — they may or may not actually be great pictures that I’d want to remember. With a film scanner, all you need to do is get the roll of film developed and scan them leisurely at home. Plus, it’s a painless way of digitising your old film negatives.

This month, we’re giving away a Plustek OpticFilm 7400 to a very, very lucky MakeUseOf reader.

The OpticFilm 7400 is a USB 35mm film and slides scanner that is able to scan negatives at a detailed resolution of 7200dpi. And by using the scanning software provided (SilverFast SE) for Windows and Mac, it can be set up on almost any computer.


Conveniently, it comes with a padded storage bag that’s able to hold the scanner, the pair of negative and slide holders, the USB cable and power adapter, making it very portable. It also isn’t very heavy — only 3.5 lbs or 1.6 kgs.


The process of film scanning may sound daunting but it actually isn’t. Say you have a roll of undeveloped film. All you need to do is go to your local photo lab and tell them that you want to get the film developed but not printed. Tell them to cut and sleeve the film for you.

When it’s done and you’re home, whip out the 35mm film holders and place the film the correct side up and lock the holder into place. Slide the holder into the scanner (make sure to turn it on first) and you’re good to go.


Then the included software does all the work. Once installed, launch it and you’re ready to scan your film. To be brutally honest, the program isn’t very easy to navigate. In fact, it was quite unfriendly to use.

However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll come to realise that it’s actually pretty powerful. For instance, it is able to automatically take multiple scans of a negative, does some calculation and provide you with an output image that’s smoother and more refined. That feature is called Multi-Sampling. You’ll find that you’re able to “sample” an image from 2 to 16 times just to make sure that the final image is as perfect as can be.

The software also has great grain and noise elimination that further decreases artefacts, noise and film grain.


It has over 120 film profiles that is able to adjust the output image to ensure that it does justice to the type of film used whether it was Kodak Royal Gold or a roll of Agfa film.


And the result? Well, here are a couple of shots from my latest trip to Sydney. These were taken with the SuperHeadz Slim Angel and scanned with the Plustek OpticFilm 7400.




Sure, the images have their imperfections but that’s the beauty of film photography.

We’re giving a Plustek OpticFilm 7400 away. Would you like to digitise your film photos and share them with your friends and family?

How do I win one?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

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.

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.

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 Plustek 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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Do You Need An Antivirus On An Android Phone? [Geeks Weigh In]

Posted: 09 Dec 2010 07:31 AM PST

android antivirusMany mobile phones are no longer really just mobile phones. They’ve instead become pocket PCs, running custom operating systems that manage to provide an incredible range of functionality despite the tiny, power-starved processors (relative to a normal PC, at least) that phones have to use in order to maintain a slim profile and long battery life.

There are, of course, two major smartphone platforms available today. One is the buttoned-down iPhone, which is aggressively kept under control by Apple. The other is Android, Google’s free-for-all operating system that is used by numerous phones with relatively little oversight from the big Google in the sky. Android’s open-ended nature is great for tech-heads who want to muck about with their phones, but if you’re in this group you may also be wondering if the open-ended nature of Android puts it at risk for a virus.

Android Influenza? Yes, It Exists!

android antivirus

“No,” you may be thinking. “Android can’t get a virus. The applications are screened before they’re put up on the Android market, right?”

Eh..well, not really. Remember openness? Google means it, and as a result Android apps do not go through an approval process. Any third party developer can upload whatever they want so long as the app conforms to some loose pre-defined guidelines set down by Google. There is no official barrier that can stop malware, and indeed, malware for Android already exists.

First Tech Credit Union issued a warning in January 2010 about an Android app that was posing as an online banking interface, but was in fact malware designed to steal usernames and passwords. More recently, an app on the Russian Android app market was found to contain a virus that spammed SMS messages to specific phone numbers, resulting in huge phone bills for those infected.

The argument about the existence of Android malware is already over. It has already been invented, which should hardly be a surprise  - why wouldn’t seedy characters use an unrestricted app store to spread malware?

Android Antivirus Protection

android phone antivirus

Where there are viruses, there is fear. This is true in the digital world as it is the real world. Now that the first few pieces of Android malware have been confirmed, antivirus companies have sprung into action, offering a wide range of antivirus programs. These apps are often have a free version available that displays advertisements, making it rather easy to download protection for your Android phone.

Unfortunately, the mere existence of these Android antivirus apps is no reason to relax, as there are a number of problems, perhaps the largest of which is the lack of research about viruses on mobile phones. There is no mobile-oriented version of AV-Comparatives doing detailed research into the effectiveness of antivirus solutions. Even sites like CNET have yet to provide useful information about these apps. It’s possible that these antivirus apps are completely ineffective – no one has done enough research to know otherwise.

And, of course, the openness of the Android app store can be abused. Windows has long been plagued by malware disguising itself as free antivirus software. Unsuspecting users download it, infect their PCs, and then do nothing more to monitor their security because they believe the fake antivirus program has it covered. Android is also open to this abuse.

android antivirus

So if antivirus apps aren’t known to be effective, what can you do? Monitor your permissions very closely. This seems to be Google’s official line in regards to malware, and they do have a point. When installing an app you can see what the app wants to access. If a media player app wants to send SMS messages, for example, that should set off alarm bells. However, the idea that such protection is sufficient is rather arrogant – eventually someone will find a flaw in Android’s code that lets an app bypass the permission process.


The truth of Android is this – it’s a jungle out there. This goes for all other smartphones as well. These devices are obviously juicy targets for malware, and there is not yet sufficient security in place to protect them. The good news is that these devices are relatively young, and it takes some time for malware to be programmed. The bad news is that those seeking to spread malware usually figure out how to do so – it just takes time.

This is not unlike the state of personal computers in the late 80s and early 90s, when viruses were becoming common but antivirus protection was rare and its effectiveness often difficult to judge. Users had little recourse against malware – avoiding it was simply a matter of avoiding suspicious programs and crossing your fingers. Users of all smartphones should beware – these clever pocket PCs are not immune. Don’t do anything with your smartphone that you wouldn’t do with your home computer.

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