Wednesday, December 8, 2010 “Top 5 Resources To Keep Track Of All This Season’s College Bowl Games” plus 12 more “Top 5 Resources To Keep Track Of All This Season’s College Bowl Games” plus 12 more

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Top 5 Resources To Keep Track Of All This Season’s College Bowl Games

Posted: 08 Dec 2010 07:31 AM PST

college bowl gamesNow that December is upon us, it is officially College Bowl Season. The best teams in the country will be squaring off against one another in over 30 Bowl games between December 18th and the National Championship game on January 10th. That’s a lot of College Bowl games, and unless you’ve been following college football closely it may be hard to keep track of them all.

That’s where I come in. In this article, I’ve rounded up the top 5 resources you can utilize to follow all the football madness. Some are websites and others are apps that can be accessed via your mobile device. Now you’ll be able to enjoy all your favorite teams and see who they’re up against this holiday season.

1. ESPN Bowl Central

college bowl games

ESPN is the first place I recommend any sports fan to go, regardless of what you’re looking for. Their Bowl Central page, however, is a great place to view the current BCS standings, latest news, video footage, and more.

You can even view Bowl projections to see where your team is most likely to land this year. As the regular season comes to a close, you can take a look at the actual Bowl schedule.


college football bowl schedule is another great place to visit for all things college football. Headlines, the press wire, standings, statistics, schedules, and plenty more can be found here and it’s a great place to visit if you want to view what’s going on in the BCS world.

Check out Bowl background information, the results of past games, and future schedules.


college football bowl schedule

The Bowl Schedule page on offers a lot of great information about the upcoming College Bowl games. You can view the complete rundown of games, as well as their date, location, game time, and the TV network they’ll be aired on. You can even see the payouts for each game so you’ll know how much each school is being rewarded for making it to a prestigious Bowl.

4. ESPN Bowl Bound 2010 [Android/iTunes]

To compliment the great websites I’ve mentioned, you can also catch all the action on your smartphone. “As we march towards the end of the college football season, find out which Bowl game BCS expert Brad Edwards thinks will be the destination for your favorite team with Bowl Bound.” This app provides the latest news, updates, and analysis as each individual bowl matchup begins to take shape.

college football bowl schedule

The ESPN app features:

  • Video highlights, analysis from ESPN college football experts, and interviews from top players and coaches
  • Weekly comprehensive Bowl projections for all 35 bowl games from BCS expert Brad Edwards
  • All the latest Bowl relevant news, columns, and blogs
  • Weekly college football rankings including BCS and ESPN Power Rankings
  • Ability to talk trash with other fans regarding the rankings and projected matchups
  • An up-to-date weekly college football schedule

5. College Football Live! [Android/iTunes]

Plusmo's College Football Live! is also a great phone app for college football fans. Get comprehensive coverage of all the college football games, including news, schedules, standings, photos, live play-by-play action, and more.

college bowl games

The College Football Live! app features:

  • Live play-by-play action for all the top teams with updates pushed to your phone in near real-time
  • Ability to personalize the app for one-touch access to your favorite teams' live games and news
  • Access to team schedules, standings, poll rankings, in-game box scores, news, and photos
  • Social features including the ability to "boo" or "cheer " teams during gameplay
  • Facebook connect functionality allowing for chatting and "smack talk" with other fans and friends
  • Easy navigation with category icons on the bottom of the screen


Around the holidays, it’s always difficult to follow all of the news with who is playing in what College Bowl games and when. I always used to clip the Bowl schedule out of the local paper and put it up on the refrigerator to follow along, but now I have my trusty smartphone. With these 5 resources, you and I should be well prepared for all the holiday Bowl action this year.

Do you watch college football around the holidays? What websites do you use to follow along with the games?

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Would You Like To Guest Post For MakeUseOf?

Posted: 08 Dec 2010 02:34 AM PST

Over the past several years, we have received many requests from people looking to guest post on MakeUseOf, and frankly we don’t blame them one little bit. MakeUseOf is one of the best and most popular tech blogs on the internet! Who wouldn’t want to write for us? However, we have always turned down guest post requests, simply because we have always had more than enough submissions from our permanent staff.

However, we have now decided that perhaps we are going about things the wrong way here. Perhaps MakeUseOf would benefit from the wisdom of people who are too busy and too committed to work for us full time and long term. People who would perhaps appreciate the ability to get the occasional article in?

Therefore, starting from today, we are going to start looking at guest post submissions – and we will pay for them too if accepted. And link to your website. Seriously, what is there not to like?

However, we do have to impose a few rules. Therefore we have made a webpage which details what you need to do – and not do – in order for us to seriously look at your guest post submissions. Head on over to the MakeUseOf Guest Posting page to see what we are looking for – and not looking for. Then send us your submissions and if we like what we see, we’ll be in touch.

As well as accepting guest posts for the first time, we also have a few other things up our sleeve for 2011 which will make MakeUseOf even better. To make sure you don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed or email updates.

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The 10 Toughest Tech Questions [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 10:31 PM PST

MakeUseOf Answers never sleeps! Your questions and comments are moderated and published several times a day, every day. People check in to answer questions 24/7. We don’t even take the Holidays off!

Despite all the work that goes into MakeUseOf Answers, it’s 100% free! Moreover, we reward the Best Answer of the Week with $50 each and every week. You can win by answering questions and providing a way of contact in case your answer is selected. Guest, Disqus, and Facebook login preferred. No luck required, just skill!

This is where we need your help today:

MakeUseOf Answers is free and awesome. See for yourself: Latest Questions, Most Popular Questions, or Unanswered Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

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Cool Websites and Tools [December 7th]

Posted: 07 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.

Add Your Website Here!


Online Dice Roller – Random numbers and their generation tools can help people in a number of ways. If you are looking for a simple random number generator that does so in a fun way, check out Online Dice Roller, a free to use website that provides the user with virtual dice. Read more: Online Dice Roller: Roll Virtual Dice & Get Random Results


MyMediStats – Keeping an online record of your medical stats is a wise move. Online records are easily accessible and do not require you to fumble through prescriptions and other paperwork. If you are looking for a basic, simple to use online medical stats recorder, check out MyMediStats. It lets you create an account and then records your vaccination dates and allergies. Read more: MyMediStats: Track Your Allergies & Vaccinations Records Online



Unit Connect – Real estate managers and property managers often have to deal with a lot of paperwork. For them, UnitConnect offers a greatly convenient solution, a wonderful web service that lets real estate managers and property managers organize an online account of their paperwork. Read more: UnitConnect: Manage Your Property & Real Estate Online



Likify – QR codes are small squares made up of tinier black squares. When a smartphone scans these codes it is redirected to a website. To make use of QR codes check out the online service Likify. Likify is an online service currently in public beta and free to use. Likify then generates a Facebook-like page and generates a QR code for it. Read more: Likify: Create QR Codes of Your Website's Facebook-Like Page



Wanderfly – Have you ever thought of going on vacation to a random place in the world? Wanderfly is a web app and online flight booking service that lets you do that easily. Wanderfly will suggest you a random place for vacation that suits your preference. Read more: Wanderfly: Get Vacation Suggestions Based on Your Preferences


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 Add YouTube Videos To Your Website With YouTube Custom Player

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 05:31 PM PST

custom youtube playerIf you have your own website or blog, and you’re looking for ways to offer even more interesting content to your visitors, there’s nothing like a high-quality embedded video that applies to the topic or theme of your site. If you impress your visitors and keep them coming back for more, then provide a video of the day, week or month that applies to the information that you’re covering at that moment in time. Videos make awesome supplements to any site.

A while back I offered you three ways to add video to your website. Ann introduced you to Embedly, an awesome tool that helps you embed anything on your website, including videos. However, YouTube is still the king when it comes to online video content, and they’re offering new tools for users all the time, such as the new YouTube Video Editor that Matt covered. I’d like to introduce you to another awesome YouTube tool that helps you embed YouTube videos on your website or blog with very little effort and without the need to mess around with embed codes and correctly sizing the video. That tool is called the YouTube Custom Player.

Embedding YouTube Videos

YouTube is an amazing resource, filled with content that covers just about any topic you could imagine. If you have a website that covers a certain product or service, the odds are pretty good there are countless YouTube videos about it. If you have a blog about a specific subject, you’re almost guaranteed to find YouTube videos covering that topic.

Wouldn’t it be nice to let your visitors watch that video content from the comfort of your website, without the need to visit YouTube? That’s where the custom player comes in. I used to embed new weekly videos into my blog using the standard YouTube embed code and carefully choosing the correctly sized video that fit into my sidebar, as shown here.

custom youtube player

As you can see, I could never get the size just right and placement is a nightmare, especially if the new video that I want to embed has slightly different size parameters from the last video. However, with the new custom player from YouTube, you can put all of that headache behind you. You can create custom players – and in my case I simply create a uniquely named player for every blog I own.

youtube player

You can choose a color scheme and layout that suits the design and structure of your particular site. The way I’m going to set it up here is so that you can change the video content on all of your websites on one page – your My Players page on YouTube. You do this by creating Playlists named the same as the website where you’ll embed the player. Then find the video you want to display on your website and add it to that playlist.

youtube player

On the lower part of the Custom Player setup page, you’ll see where you can use the content from that playlist for the source content of your new custom video player.

youtube player

Then click on the button to generate the code. Then you can insert that code to embed the player into your website. In my case, on my WordPress blog I embedded the player into the sidebar.php page. This places the player into your sidebar, and you can edit the width and height of the player to whatever works for your site.

youtube video player

If you’re using WordPress, you can just embed the player code into an HTML widget for a sidebar player.

youtube video player

Once you’re done, the content you loaded into that particular playlist will display on your website inside the customized video player that you configured above.

youtube video player

Your custom video players all show up on your My Players page. You can create a unique player for every site you own.

The beauty of this app is that once you set it up one time, all you have to do to update the content on all of your websites is to log into your YouTube account and change the video in your unique playlists to a different video. That new video will automatically display on your website. Now, there’s no more need to waste all of that time going around to all of your sites to update the video with fresh content – just do it all from your YouTube account and all of your sites are updated.

custom youtube player

Try out the YouTube custom video player on your own website and see what you think. As far as I know there’s simply no easier way to stream custom content to your own site with such little effort. No more copy and pasting embed codes – just add videos to your playlists and you’re done.

Do you use YouTube’s custom video player? What do you think of it? Do you know of any other useful tools to quickly embed YouTube videos on your site? Share your own insight and resources in the comments section below.

Image credit: Manu Mohan

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The Top 10 Free Shopping Applications For iOS Devices

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 03:31 PM PST

shopping appsNow that it’s December, it’s time to begin shopping for the holidays. This can prove difficult at times, especially if you haven’t made an attempt to stay up with current trends. Browsing stores isn’t easy this time of year either, as they are often overrun by the holiday crowd, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for you could miss out.

In this article, I am going to show you the best free shopping apps you can utilize this holiday season. Having the ability to browse a store virtually from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch should cut your shopping time significantly, leaving you more time to spend with your family.

To get started, check out our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide.

1. Amazon Mobile

shopping apps

With the Amazon Mobile app installed on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, you can quickly search, shop, compare prices, read reviews, and make purchases on using a simple interface. Access your existing cart, wish lists, payment and shipping options, order history, and more right from the app, and all purchases made on Amazon Mobile are routed through Amazon's secure servers just as they are on the web.

For the iPhone and the iPod Touch, the app also includes the experimental feature “Amazon Remembers” that allows you to use the camera on your device to create a visual list of things you want to remember while out-and-about. Amazon Remembers will even try to match your photo to products on the web, emailing you the results if there are any.

2. Best Buy

best shopping apps free

With the Best Buy app, you can gain access to the same weekly ads you’re used to looking at from the store. This app also lets you scan mobile codes and UPCs to get more information about Best Buy products. View product descriptions, detailed specs, ratings, reviews, related items, enlarged views, and compare items. Find the store closest to you or buy products through the app.

3. eBay Mobile

best shopping apps free

If you’re looking for some bargains, let’s not forget about eBay. With the eBay app, members can search, bid, and check their activity on the go. Place that last minute bid on a great gift or sell some of your junk to get extra money to go shopping elsewhere with.

4. Toys “R” Us

best shopping apps free

Toys “R” Us was always one of my favorite stores as a kid. As a parent though I would imagine it could be rather hard picking out the right gift there. This app makes it easier, allowing you to browse/purchase products online, get detailed item views, check out special offers, and read helpful reviews. Or you could just let your kid play around with it and tell you what they want.

Another good app you should look into is ToyHopper (free for a limited time).

5. Macy’s iShop

iphone shopping apps

I never expected Macy’s to have an iPhone app, but they do! Macy's iShop puts their entire online store right on your iOS device, so you can shop from anywhere. Use it to find stores near you, get calendars of in-store events, and locate the best deals.

The app even uses your device’s built-in GPS capabilities to provide directions to the Macy's store nearest you. Download in-store savings passes and head to the store already prepared.


iphone shopping apps

The mobile shopping app houses millions of products. Use it to watch thousands of BuyTV video product reviews, shop hundreds of new deals each day, and browse tons of customer reviews. All activity and orders are routed through's secure servers just as they are on the web.

Some interesting features include voice search, price compare, video reviews including top 10 countdowns and product trailers, and weekly specials listings.

7. CardStar

iphone shopping apps

As a change of pace, CardStar is a good tool to use while shopping. This app lets you easily store and quickly retrieve loyalty, reward, and club membership cards, where they can be scanned directly from your screen at many merchant’s. Use CardStar to enter card information for numerous national and regional merchants, like CVS, Best Buy, Blockbuster, and PetSmart, as well as other stores. Add custom cards too.

Some other cool features include SyncScan for compatibility with many models of scanning guns, backup/syncing of your cards, automatic card launch based on your location, and the ability to check into Foursquare right from the app.

[Note]: If a barcode ever doesn’t scan, CardStar displays your membership number so that you or the cashier can enter the number by hand.

8. Target

We can’t leave out Target! The Target App makes shopping easier for you by giving you products to browse and search, ability to check item availability and aisle location, view the weekly ad, manage your lists and registries, and discover daily deals.

It also includes a barcode scanner so you can check reviews while you’re at the store.

9. FastMall

FastMall is a really cool app that lets you navigate any mall map without the need for GPS of Wifi. Once you download a mall map you can get interactive navigation even without an Internet signal.

Use it to help remember where you parked your car, add a text, photo, or video review of anything you find, and share things with others. Check-in at the mall or stores you love and shake your iPhone to locate and then be taken to the nearest restroom!

FastMall has over 50 features and is a super fast way to navigate any of the malls you visit to go shopping.

10. Apple Store

shopping apps

And last but certainly not least, the Apple Store app. I figured if you’re reading this you probably have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, so maybe you could consider shopping at the Apple Store for gifts this holiday season. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, enjoy!


With these shopping apps, there’s really no reason to set foot outside of your house for shopping during these winter months. You can browse your favorite stores, find the best deals, and even make purchases right from your iOS devices.

Are you using any apps during the holiday shopping season?

Image Credit: Andresr

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10 Of The Best Free Audiobooks From BooksShouldBeFree That You Should Listen To

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 01:31 PM PST

free audiobooksSo you’re a busy person. You work hard, look after a family and never seem to have time to read all those books you really want to read. What are you to do? Listen to free audiobooks while you commute, that’s what. The internet is full of free audiobooks – all you need to do is find them.

Audiobooks are great for people who find themselves with moments where they’re awake, but have other things they need to do with their hands. Driving, cooking, nursing or knitting are all things people can normally do at the same time as listening to something. Listening to audiobooks is a great way to multitask during those times of day and add a little culture.

Thanks to public domain archives like Project Gutenberg and LibriVox, there’s plenty of great audiobooks available free to download. I’m personally a big fan of browsing for free audiobooks using BooksShouldBeFree because I like the interface, extra links, genre search, top 100 list and related book suggestions.

free audiobooks

A quick look at the main page will show you all the obvious popular classics like Beowulf, The Iliad, Alice in Wonderland, Doctor Dolittle, Grimm’s Fairytales, King Lear and works by authors such as Tolstoy, Jane Austen and Jules Verne. This is a good start.

Are you not sure which free audiobooks to listen to? Well that’s where this list comes in. Here’s a selection of not-so-obvious audiobooks which are widely regarded as great books and are available free via BooksShouldBeFree.

1. War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells

There’s a good reason this classic science fiction work was worked into music, film and popular culture — because it’s great! Get back to roots by listening to the original, unaltered 1890′s story. Also see the Invisible Man.

download free audiobooks

2. Night And Day – Virginia Woolf

Slip into the start of the 20th century with Night and Day. This is a book for Jane Austen lovers who need a little twist. Covering many similar themes to Austen, Woolf provides social commentary with a little humour.

download free audiobooks

3. Walden, or Life In The Woods – Henry David Thoreau

Ostensibly, this is a book about survival, adventure and self-reliance. Ultimately though, Walden is also about finding your own path and breaking free from expectations. Great listening for the commuter with big dreams!

download free audiobooks

4. Something Fresh: A Blandings Story – P.G. Wodehouse

Wodehouse is a comic genius who was loved by Douglas Adams, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and many more. “Something Fresh” is one of Wodehouse’s most popular texts, so it is likely to be appreciated by all comedy lovers.

free online audiobooks

5. The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If you’re getting into the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes series, now is the time to re-visit the original. Get a feel for the original Sherlock Holmes character in order to fully appreciate the re-make.

free online audiobooks

6. Erewhon – Samuel Butler

Here’s a taste of Victorian fantasy with a touch of dystopia. The book uses this front to showcase hypocrisy in Victorian ideals.

free online audiobooks

7. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

The character of Emma Bovary will resonate well with all the house-bound parents, people living in rural areas, travel-hungry nomads and people who run up a little too much credit at times. Live vicariously through her mistakes instead of making your own.

8. Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude To A Philosophy of the Future – Friedrich Nietzsche

Get stuck into some classic philosophy with Beyond Good and Evil. Nietzsche used this novel to enlighten readers about their moral complacency and to guide them away from the herd mentality. This could be just the book to read for someone stuck in the rat race. If you’re into philosophy, see also Descartes’ Discourse on Method and Pascal’s Pensées.

9. Candide – Voltaire

Voltaire’s Candide is the perfect book for people sick of cheery optimism. Voltaire wanted to get rid of the idea that we live in the best of all possible worlds: sometimes life is pretty bleak. The message is delivered amidst a story of human resilience and dark humour.

10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer’s story is a joy to all who love the little things in life and want to live every moment to the fullest. Mark Twain wrote about kids in an attempt to capture that spirit and remind adults of those times and adventures. Also see Huckleberry Finn.

free audiobooks

Need more eBooks and Audiobooks?

If you love audiobooks or books generally, here’s some more articles you’ll love.

Let us know the best audiobooks you’ve found legally online for free in the comments!

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Hot Tech Deals [Dec 7th]

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 12:15 PM PST

If you’re in the market for a new computer, laptop, mobile phone, games and other accessories; don’t waste your time searching online. We’ve taken the liberty of locating the best tech deals and unifying them into a single post for your convenience.

For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.

Keep reading to find out today’s Hot Tech Deals.

  1. TODAY ONLY Nikon Coolpix S70 12MP 5X Digital Camera w/ 3.5in OLED Touchscreen $149.99

  2. Lenovo M220 2.0ch Mini Multimedia Speakers $9.99 Free Shipping via code USPC10D22033

  3. TODAY ONLY Sharp AQUOS LC-55LE620UT 55in LED-Edgelit LCD HDTV (1080p, 120Hz) $1189.99 Free Shipping

  4. Seasonic X650 Gold 650W ATX Power Supply (80PLUS GOLD = 92% Efficiency) $95.99

  5. Apple iTunes $60 in Gift Cards for $50 Free Shipping (No Tax)

  6. Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 3TB USB 2.0/3.0 External Hard Drive $179.99 Free Ship

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Google Maps For Mobile 5 Debuts On A Prototype Motorola Android “Honeycomb” Tablet [News]

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 12:01 PM PST

Google’s vice president of engineering Andy Rubin today showed off  the new Google Maps Android app, on a prototype Motorola tablet running the next version of the Android operating system, “Honeycomb”.

Speaking live on stage at the D: Dive Intro Mobile conference, Rubin revealed the new version will feature revolutionary new vector-based 3D rendering, which uses less data than the 2D images the application currently uses.

Here he is showing what the new Google Maps app can do :

Rubin also announced that Maps for Mobile 5 will feature an offline mode, meaning areas can be pre-cached and won’t require an active internet connection. Navigation can be re-routed in offline mode, though you will need the web to change your destination altogether.

The new Motorola tablet featured at the conference also demonstrated the new ability to use a two-finger touch to tilt the 3D view. The update, which is out in the “coming days” should work on most Android phones, depending on hardware capabilities.

At least 8 of the latest Android devices will be 100% compatible with everything Maps for Mobile 5 has to offer according to Google. These are: Droid, Droid X, Droid Incredible, Droid 2, Galaxy S, Evo, Nexus-S and G2.

Rubin explained that the update is initially Android-only, but other versions were “natural extensions”.

Andy Rubin co-founded Android before it was acquired by Google and is currently in charge of overseeing its development.

Let us know what you think about the new Google Maps. Just meaningless eye candy or are you excited right now?



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The 10 Best Sites To Go On A Star Trek & Become A Trekkie

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 11:31 AM PST

star trek onlineWhy are we talking about an entertainment series here?

Well, if you like sci-fi and love anything that has to do with space exploration, there's a fair chance the seeds of it were sown by this icon of pop culture. Then, if you like gadgets, you might have heard about Star Trek and the technology ideas it spawned which we take for granted today: from the cell phone to the iPad.

Star Trek is a cultural phenomenon. Its impact on interstellar exploration can be compared with the moon landings. NASA named its first Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise, after the starship in the show. Among Star Trek fans or Trekkies you can count astronauts, astronomers, inventors, and of course dreamers like you and me who still hope of going where man has never gone before.

Outer space is still far away. Let's live the dream within the other universe we know – the World Wide Web and see what it offers the Trekkie and their love for Star Trek.

Star Trek Official Site

star trek online

If it's official Starfleet business, then you know that you have to head here. The official website covers everything on Star Trek’s six television series and eleven movies. The site encourages participation and you can go from an ‘Ensign’ to a ‘Fleet Admiral’ depending on your level. You can take part in the message boards, upload images, or comment on various posts.

The video section has lots of exclusives on behind the scenes work as well as scenes that never got to the screens. You can also watch full episodes in HD. The site is really a fan's delight and did I forget to mention that it's designed on the lines of the touch screen interface (PADD) from Star Trek.

Memory Alpha

star trek online

Memory Alpha is a seriously authored and moderated wiki on everything and anything that's Star Trek. Think of it as a collaborative encyclopedia (32,427 pages) on Star Trek. The name is taken from the Federation's library of knowledge. You can browse the different portals that cover people, technology, arts…the entire Star Trek universe.

Memory Alpha also publishes breaking news and if you aren't careful, you may be hit with a spoiler or two.


star trek online

Going back to 1996, it is one of the oldest Star Trek fansites on the web. The site has episode information, galleries, biographies, polls, breaking news, merchandise information, reviews of all kinds, and one of the largest gatherings of Trekkies you can find in one place.

Being one of the oldest sites, it also has one of the largest collections of original interview features with the famous Trek personalities, the Mission Logs. You can also chat with other Trekkies.

Ex Astris Scientia

online star trek games

The phrase stands for – From the stars, knowledge. The site's main focus is on the technology that propels Star Trek (Treknology) as well as the other creative aspects of the franchise. So, you get to go through a Starship Database, Starship Articles, Fleet Charts, Treknology Encyclopedia and the treatises on Time Travel and Investigations.

Some of the pictures and scans are exclusively available on this website. You can also take a detailed look at all the classes of starships in the fleet.

Star Trek Minutiae

online star trek games

The Star Trek fan site is a compilation of little known nuggets of Star Trek information along with regular doses of articles. Check out The Humor Archive which looks at the funny stuff inspired by the series.


This Star Trek website is the ultimate resource for HD screencaps (300,000+), sounds, and other multimedia tidbits. Check out the Specials section for offbeat and rare photos related to Star Trek. TrekCore also has a YouTube channel with loads of episode trailers.


star trek websites

With an AOL or AIM account you can join The United Space Federation, a Star Trek based role playing and SIM group. You basically play by 'simulating' yourself as a Starfleet officer on a ship and live the experiences. The SIM game has 20+ separate Star Trek simulations that you can take part in. The SIM guide takes you through all the role playing requirements.

Star Trek Freedom

star trek websites

Like the earlier chat based role playing game, this one uses email for the role-play. Five ships with ten people each interact in the role of characters from the Federation. Initially, each new user is assigned to the Star Fleet Academy were grammar skills are checked.

Hailing Frequency

star trek websites

The podcast site covers all industry related news on Star Trek gaming. Catch the trailers and sneak previews covering the Star Trek MMORPG happenings. The podcasts are released every two weeks. But every day you can catch news and interviews with personalities from the Star Trek universe.

Star Trek Animated

star trek online

The animated series has a fan following among the younger Trekkies. This site is worth a look for the free Star Trek greeting cards you can send and the five little Star Trek games you can play online.

The Star Trek universe is a gigantic federation of likeminded souls. We have two Trekkies amongst us who brought out Star Trek themed posts a while back. Check them out too –

Watch Full Star Trek Episodes Online on YouTube
Get Yourself Star Trek Computer Sounds

Also, if just one social network is a measure, Facebook alone has nearly 600,000 Trekkies.  Are you one of them?  Make it so!

Image: andrewrennie

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Feather: A Light, Simple But Powerful HTML5-Based Online Photo Editor

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 09:31 AM PST

online photo editorI think many people would agree that one of the most controversial turning points in the tech world is Apple’s decision not to support Flash technology in its iDevices and go with HTML5 instead.

Despite the pros and cons that surround the decision, the real question is whether this new technology has what it takes to at least stand on the same ground with Flash. For the time being, the answer might still be “not yet”. However, a new online photo editor from Aviary called Feather shows us that we can definitely expect great things from HTML5.

The Photo Editor

Aviary is the maker of the online photo editor suite. Feather, its latest creation, is the simplified version (with HTML5 twist) of Phoenix, Aviary’s Flash-based online photo editor. But being the simplified version doesn’t mean that Feather is less powerful than Phoenix. Feather collects the most popular tools of Phoenix, and packs them into one light and simple tool. Feather is perfect for everyday users who will never use advanced image editing tools to re-touch their images – and who could use extra system resources while doing so.

Anybody can use the tool without any obligation. Just visit the site and click on the “See it in Action” tab.

online photo editor

Then you can upload your image to edit.

01aa HTML5 Editor - Upload Image.jpg

Or you could also point Feather to an online image location by providing the image’s URL. Feather will download the image to its server.

01ab HTML5 Editor - Image URL.jpg

The image will be opened along with a bunch of image editing tools such as Rotate, Flip, Resize and Crop. There are also quick effect tools that you can use, like: Instant!, Toy Camera, Old Photo and Retro.

01ac HTML5 Editor - Edit.jpg

More options of a specific tool will be available after you select that tool. There’s also Undo and Redo buttons.

01ax HTML5 Editor - Crop.jpg

Feather allows you to add text to your images, but the options are very limited. You can’t change the font type nor add effects. All you can do is change the color and size of the font.

01ay1 Test Text.jpg

To delete a text group, select the text and click on the “X” button on the top right corner of the text box.

01ay2 Test Text.jpg

To get fun effects quickly and effortlessly, use the quick effect tools. Below is the result of “Instant!” tool.

01az Quick Effect.jpg

After you are done, click the save button and wait. You will be given a URL and a download button to download the image.

01ad Download Edited Image.jpg

On The Mobile Side

Out of curiosity, I tried to open Feather using iPhone’s Safari. Even though the site could be opened just fine, I couldn’t upload any image from the phone to the editor. The only option left was to use an image URL.

01ba Opening Editor In iPhone.jpg

So I opened my blog, then tapped and held on an image. I chose “Copy” from the pop up buttons to copy the image.

01bb Copy Image URL-1.jpg

I went back to the editor, tapped on the URL field and chose “Paste“. The image URL was pasted inside the URL field, I clicked “Go” and the image was opened along with the editor and I could edit the image as if it was done on an ordinary browser.

online photo editor

This little experiment showed us that this free, light and powerful image editing tool is also accessible from iDevices (and other smart phones) as long as they can connect to the internet. The best method is to edit images that are already on the web, something like Flickr photos or pre-uploaded personal photos.

Embedding The Tool To Your Site?

The developer mentions that you can also embed the online photo editor to your site. After a few failed attempts to use the embedded tool as a personal online image editor, I contacted the developer asking whether I made mistakes in the process. It turned out that the current version of the embeddable image editor doesn’t support image uploading and will only add an Edit button below specific images on the page where the code is embedded.

The developer also said that an image uploading feature might be added in the future. But until then, we’ll have to stick to the online editor on the Aviary site.

In conclusion, I think Feather is a very useful light, simple and powerful image editor. The tool could be a good alternative to heavier online (and offline) image editors.

Have you tried Feather? What do you think of the tool? Share your opinions using the comments below.

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Convert Google Video To AVI Format With Gvi2Avi

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 08:31 AM PST

convert google videoGoogle acquired YouTube in 2006 and subsequently retired its own video upload service in 2009. Google Videos now serves as a sub-search engine for videos. However, material previously uploaded to what used to be Google Video, will continue to be hosted.

Not long after incorporating YouTube, Google discontinued development of the Google Video Player in 2007. It also removed the option to download its hosted videos. As a consequence, the GVI format will slowly die out.

Do you still have videos in GVI format sticking around and wondering what to do with them? Would you like to know how you can download the remaining Google Video files? If you answered yes, continue reading as this article holds the answers to these questions.

What Are Google Video Files Anyways?

Essentially, Google Video (.gvi) files are RIFF (Resource Interchange File Format) files of the subtype AVI (Audio Video Interleave). Compared to regular .avi files, they contain an extra list with the FourCC “goog” right after the header. FourCC is short for ‘four character code’ and identifies the video codec, compression format, color or pixel format used in the media file. In plain English, this means that a simple manual modification of the Google Video file will yield a standard .avi file.

Note that most media players will actually playback Google Video files, including VLC Player, KM Player, and Windows Media Player. Isn’t it interesting though, that Google actually introduced its own file type and hence branded its videos?

So Can I Manually Convert A Google Video To AVI?

Yes. As Wikipedia points out, Google Videos are encoded in MPEG-4. Hence, for DRM-free videos, it’s possible to simply change the file extension from .gvi to .avi. However, that’s a very messy way of converting a file.

If you want to be safe, get a Hex editor and remove the list that makes the difference between the .gvi and .avi file. I used Freeware Hex Editor XVI32. It doesn’t require an installation, just unzip, run the .exe and browse for your .giv video.

The image below shows the sample file before (top) and after (bottom) editing. I removed the first LIST up until LIST2.

convert to avi

Simply click the first item you wish to delete and then click the [DEL] key until you have deleted the last item. When you’re done, go to > File > Save As… and enter a name. You will have to add the .avi file extension manually.

How Can I Automatically Convert A Google Video To AVI?

If you agree that renaming the file extension is amateurish and if you don’t want to mess with a Hex editor, a conversion tool is in order. There are several shareware and trial programs out there that promise to convert GVI to AVI. However, the free ones I tested are huge and not intuitive to use. By far the most effective and simple tool is described below.


This tiny tool does a perfect job of converting .gvi files to .avi. It’s a 96 KB .exe file that does not need to be installed. However, it does require .NET Framework 2. The only real drawback is that you cannot mass-convert multiple files, the tool only handles one at a time.

google video

How Can I Download Google Videos?

Google has removed the option to download its videos directly from the video page. However, there are tools available that can do the job for you. They will download in FLV or MP4 video format, so you won’t have to be worried about the GVI format.


For your future Google Video download needs, try the PwnYouTube Bookmarklet. Yes, it does say YouTube, but it actually works with Google Video and other video sources. And this is how it works…

1. Drag the PWNYOUTUBE Bookmarklet button to your browser bookmarks toolbar.

google video download

2. Visit a page with a YouTube or Google Video and click the Bookmarklet in your browser toolbar.

3. On the page you were re-directed to, find links to pages that allow you to download the file as FLV or MP4 files.

google video

Basically, PwnYouTube is a hub for various online download services. For my Google Video source, SaveVid was the easiest option, while the others were rather disappointing. However, your results may vary depending on the source.

And this concludes our little excursion on Google Video and .gvi file conversion. You may now return to YouTube. If you are generally interested in video downloads or video file conversion, however, also have a look at these article:

What did you think about Google Video while it was still around and do you have a collection of GVI files?

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5 Things To AVOID When Shopping For A Laptop

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 07:31 AM PST

shopping for a laptopYou’re ready. You’ve read, researched, poked, prodded, and are now armed to the teeth with technical information. It is time to set foot onto the field of battle and claim a great laptop deal for your own. You will buy, you will save, and you will be victorious.

Ah, but not so fast! You may have read a great deal about what to look for when buying a laptop computer, but you may not know what to avoid. This is at least as important, as there are a surprisingly large number of landmines throw in the path of consumers.

Just Say No To Single Core Processors

shopping for a laptop

You opened up the Wal-Mart advertisement and – my God! They have a laptop for just $200. You rush out the door, buy it, and bring it home. All is well until you open Windows Task Manager and see just one graph bobbing along, spiking violently whenever you open a web browser.

Multi-core processors are so common that Intel dropped the “Duo” and “Quad” names from the company’s new processors entirely. Some single-core processors do still exist, however, and they’re built almost exclusively for the $200 and $300 doorbuster deal laptops. Although a single-core processor is adequate for some basic tasks, it will choke on processor intensive tasks like HD video playback. Even flash-heavy webpages could prove challenging.

Laptops with AMD processors almost always boast the number of cores the processor contains with a “X2″ or “X4″ label. This label is only forgotten when the laptop has a single-core processor. Intel no longer has a quick-and-easy label, but the majority of single-core Intel laptops sold use a processor called the Intel Celeron 900.

Note that netbooks are an exception to this – it’s OK for them to have single core processors. The performance will be poor, but speed isn’t a netbook’s niche.

Watch Out For Big Terrible Displays

buying a laptop computer

Laptops are great, but they have disadvantages compared to desktop computers. For example, you cannot upgrade components that are easily switched out on a desktop. The display, for example, can’t be changed. This means it is important to check a laptop’s display quality before buying.

Open a text document or all-white web page and take a close look at the display. Can you see small lines that appears to cross the display both vertically or horizontally? This is known as the “screen door effect.” It’s surprisingly common on modern laptops, and can be annoying.

Also take a look at the display resolution and compare that to the display size. Most 15.6″ laptops sold today have a resolution of 1366×768. That’s not great, but it’s acceptable. However, there are some laptops now sold with 16″+ displays that have this same  resolution. This often results in large pixels and sub-par image quality.

Don’t Believe Manufacturer Battery Life Claims

buying a laptop computer

If you walk into your local Best Buy you’ll be hard pressed to find laptops that offer less than three hours of battery life. The only ones that are labeled with two hours or less are gaming laptops. The same is true if you search laptops online. You’ll even run into some laptops that offer ten hours of battery. Sounds great, right?

There’s just one small problem – those claims are exaggerated. There is no agreed-upon industry standard for testing battery life, so laptop manufacturers can advertise anything they manage to obtain, no matter how (un)realistic the conditions were.

My advice? Simply assume that laptops will be able to obtain 75% of the battery life claimed. That’s in light usage – if you’re intending to watch video or run any processor intensive application you can expect battery life to be half the claimed amount.

Leave Extended Warranties On The Sales Floor

buying a laptop computer

The extended warranty plays upon the fear that occurs whenever a person shells out a lot of money for a product. Even a $500 laptop is nothing to sneeze at, and a $1000 laptop may be a substantial portion of a person’s yearly income. It’s easy to succumb to the pressure of the salesperson pitching the warranty to you. “Hey,” they’ll say, “this will protect you if something goes wrong. What if you spill a drink on your laptop?”

It’s true – disasters occur. However, the statistical rate of disasters isn’t high. Warranty company Squaretrade has found that the three-year failure rate of a laptop (including both accidents and hardware failure) was just over 30%. And remember – in three years your laptop will be woefully outdated. You may be wanting a new one anyway.

Extended warranty service isn’t prompt, either. Although some companies are better than others, most companies try very hard to find a reason not to honor an extended warranty. Even if the warranty is honored, your laptop may need to be sent away for repairs, a process that can take weeks. Does that sound like it’s worth $150 to $300 to you?

No, You Don’t Need That Accessory

shopping for a laptop

Another common sales tactic that trips up laptop buyers is the bundled accessory. It’s incredibly common for a store to offer extras as part of a laptop deal. These can include everything from USB and HDMI cables to printers and external hard drives. The store makes these offers attractive buy listing huge discounts of 50% or more.

What the stores don’t tell you, of course, is that the original price of the item was absurd. HDMI cables are the most famous example, and one relevant to laptops now that most come with HDMI-out. Stores often sell HDMI cables for $50 to $100, nevermind the fact that great cables can be purchased online for $5 or less. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that 50% off a $100 HDMI cable is still a terrible deal.


Buying a laptop computer can be a great experience, but you always need to be careful. It would be nice if manufacturers didn’t exaggerate claims, and it’d be great if sales representatives always directed customers to laptops that are truly the best. This is not the case, however – you need to stay informed to obtain the best deal.

Did we miss anything out?   Is there something else we should bear in mind when buying a laptop computer?   If so, let us know in the comments.

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