Saturday, January 1, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [December 31st]” plus 6 more “Cool Websites and Tools [December 31st]” plus 6 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [December 31st]

Posted: 31 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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Houzz – Are you an interior design photography fanatic? If yes then countless interior design magazines publish photographs just for you. However keeping up with all the magazines is tough. A better alternative is Houzz – a rich online source for many high quality interior design photographs. You can browse designs by style: Asian, Contemporary, Eclectic, Mediterranean, Modern, Traditional, and Tropical. Read more: Houzz: A Great Website For Interior Design Photography


Ashot – If you are a tech blogger who writes about smartphones, then you already know how important smartphone screencasts can be. The ability to show your cell's screen on a computer can not only help you explain an app's function but it can also help people deliver presentations in meetings. Thankfully there is a program that lets us easily do this for Android smartphones: Ashot. Read more: Ashot: View Android Phone's Screen On Windows Computer, Take Screenshots & Record Screencasts



GlitterBoo – A number of apps let you add effects to your photos online. GlitterBoo, however, is an app focused on decorative effects such as stars, sparkles, snowflakes and smileys. Start by uploading a picture from your computer or the web. Then choose a brush type and brush size to select the area you want to add effects to. Choose your desired effects and simply click apply. Read more: GlitterBoo: Add Decorative Effects To Your Photos



BannerHive – Do you want to make an eye-catching web ad banners to put up on a website? If yes then you will need to familiarize yourself with HTML and learn how to code up a banner. But that will obviously require a lot of time. For a quicker, better way, check out Banner Hive, a brilliant website that is completely free to use. Using it you can create banners that span 4 pictures. Read more: BannerHive: Generate Web Ad Banners & Obtain Their HTML Codes



Image Print Wizard – Thanks to the Internet you can now get numerous poster images on various websites. However because of a poster's large size you cannot appropriately print it out from a regular printer. This problem is effectively solved by Image Print Wizard, a freeware program compatible with Windows operating systems. Read more: Image Print Wizard: Spread & Print Posters on Multiple Pages


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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The 10 Most Popular MakeUseOf Posts Of 2010 [New Year Roundup]

Posted: 31 Dec 2010 06:31 PM PST

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2010 and usher in 2011, we here at MakeUseOf are in a reflective mood. Much has happened here during the past 12 months. We started MUO Answers back in February, Sound Sunday in Aprilthe T-shirt store in July, the iPhone app in April and the Android app in October.

We jumped more than 200,000 in subscribers, we brought out new PDF manuals, our Facebook group is going extremely strong, and thanks to Jackson, we are able to offer you several free giveaways every week.  As we head into the New Year, things will only get better here at

We also published over 3,000 articles during 2010. Here are the 10 most popular ones. Happy New Year everyone!

10 Search Engines To Explore The Invisible Web

The Invisible Web refers to the part of the WWW that's not indexed by the search engines. Most of us think that that search engines see everything. Unfortunately, they can't because they are just web spiders who index pages by following one hyperlink after the other.

But there are some places where a spider cannot enter. Saikat shows you ten search engines that help you explore that “invisible web”.

Top 10 Free Ways To Discover New Music Online

Bored with your music and want to discover some new bands or singers? There are two main ways you can do that online. You can use services which create music maps, or you can use music blogs and websites that showcase independent or up-and-coming artists.

Nancy provides you with a list of 10 free sites to discover new music.

How to Install Mac OS X on a PC (Without Using a Mac)

There are many great tutorials on the web for using a Mac to install Mac OS X Snow Leopard on a PC. Unfortunately, you may be unable to follow such tutorials if you do not readily have access to a Mac to perform the preparation necessary for the installation.

Great progress has been made in hacking PCs to run OS X, and it is now possible to install Mac OS X without a Mac. Here, Jorge shows you how.

The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs

Whenever you log onto the Internet, there’s a risk that a virus will make its way onto your computer.  That’s why you need an anti-virus program to protect your machine.

There are many free anti-virus programs on the market, and you want to sort the wheat from the chaff.  Documented here by Justin are the 10 best ones on the market.

Top 6 Underground Search Engines You Never Knew About

Google, Bing and Yahoo are great but sometimes you really want to dig down into a particular subject. In order to do that, you really need access to those underground search engines that may not be quite as well known, but they dig much more deeply into specialized areas of the Internet than the general search engines are capable of.

Ryan shows you 6 of those search engines that can help you out.

The 10 Top Free Apps For The iPad

Have you bought your first iPad? Are you wondering what useful and productive apps you should put on it?

If you need some help, then Bakari takes a look at the ten best free apps you should be thinking about.

The 5 Best Free iPhone Apps I Can't Live Without

For some people, their iPhone is an indispensable part of their life and they can’t let go of it. Elmer is one such person and he shows us in this article the 5 best free apps which he has on his iPhone.

Do you have them too?

iPod Touch : 10 Cool Productivity Apps For Offline Use

With 100,000+ apps in the App Store, we can find apps for a variety of uses, yet productivity apps that integrate with Google services, which are free and which we can use without Wi-Fi are harder to find. Not every place you are in will have Wi-Fi. That’s when apps with offline capabilities come in handy.

Productivity, however, encompasses more than just using the e-mail and calendar functions. Check these apps to help you stay productive on the road!

The Truth About the Stalker Tracker on Facebook

Scams and viruses abound on the Internet and one which appeared on Facebook during 2010 was called the Stalker Tracker. Ryan takes a close look at the Stalker Tracker, explains what it is, and also looks to see if there are any safer apps that allow you to monitor who is looking at your Facebook profile.

A must-read for anyone who uses Facebook.

10 Applications You Must Install On Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

On April 29th, Ubuntu 10.04 came out. With some great UI and design changes, Varun recommends 10 applications that you should install on your new version of Ubuntu.

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The 7 Best Questions From You [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 31 Dec 2010 05:31 PM PST

MakeUseOf Answers concludes this year with 2,500 questions published and almost 10,000 comments posted! Thank you all of you for the wonderful, interesting, and challenging questions, as well as your many, many smart and insightful answers. Happy New Year!

The winner of the final Best Answer of the Week contest in 2010 is Mike for his answer to the following question: Why can I not install Windows XP on my new Sata hard drive in a dual boot with Windows 7? Congratulations and way to go for making the hat-trick Mike, and thank you for your continued support!

After the jump you will find the best questions of the past week:

MakeUseOf Answers won’t let you down. Want to see the challenges we are facing every day? Browse by Latest Questions, Most Popular Questions, or Unanswered Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

Need help? Ask A Question at MakeUseOf Answers.

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18 Fun Interesting Facts You Never Knew About The Internet

Posted: 31 Dec 2010 02:31 PM PST

internet facts and statisticsWell, it’s official. Pretty much everyone now has broadband and the majority us of use the Internet more than we watch TV. Everyone and their grandmother is on Facebook, and many of us have some kind of embarrassing moment enshrined on YouTube. But how much do you really know about the Internet revolution?

Let’s take a look at how it all began, with this list of fun facts about the Internet that you probably didn’t know already.

  1. The technology behind the Internet began back in the 1960′s at MIT. The first message ever to be transmitted was LOG.. why? The user had attempted to type LOGIN, but the network crashed after the enormous load of data of the letter G. It was to be a while before Facebook would be developed…
  2. The Internet began as a single page at the URL, which contained information about this new-fangled “WorldWideWeb” project, and how you too could make a hypertext page full of wonderful hyperlinks. Sadly, the original page was never saved, but you can view it after 2 years of revisions here.
  3. internet facts and statistics

  4. The first emoticon is commonly credited to Kevin Mackenzie in 1979, but was a rather simple -) and didn’t really look like a face. 3 years later, :-) was proposed by Scott Fahlman and has become the norm.
  5. Did you know – the Japanese also use emoticons, but theirs are the correct way up instead of on the side, and a lot cuter!


  6. The first webcam was deployed at Cambridge University computer lab – its sole purpose to monitor a particular coffee maker and hence avoid wasted trips to an empty pot.
  7. internet facts

  8. Although the MP3 standard was invented in 1991, it wouldn’t be until 1998 that the first music file-sharing service Napster, would go live, and change the way the Internet was used forever.
  9. internet facts

  10. Ever since the birth of the Internet, file sharing was a problem for the authorities that managed it. In 1989, McGill University shut down their FTP indexing site after finding out that it was responsible for half of the Internet traffic from America into Canada. Fortunately, a number of similar file indexing sites had already been made.
  11. Sound familiar? Even today file sharing dominates Internet traffic with torrent files accounting for over 50% of upstream bandwidth. However, a larger proportion of download bandwidth is taken up by streaming media services such as Netflix.
  12. Google estimates that the Internet today contains about 5 million terabytes of data (1TB = 1,000GB), and claims it has only indexed a paltry 0.04% of it all! You could fit the whole Internet on just 200 million Blu-Ray disks.
  13. Speaking of search – One THIRD of all Internet searches are specifically for pornography. It is estimated that 80% of all images on the Internet are of naked women.
  14. According to legend, Amazon became the number one shopping site because in the days before the invention of the search giant Google, Yahoo would list the sites in their directory alphabetically!
  15. The first ever banner ad invaded the Internet in 1994, and it was just as bad as today. The ad was part of AT&Ts “you will” campaign, and was placed on the HotWired homepage.
  16. internet facts and statistics

  17. Of the 247 BILLION email messages sent every day, 81% are pure spam.
  18. The very first spam email was sent in 1978, when DEC released a new computer and operating system, and an innovative DEC marketeer decided to send a mass email to 600 users and administrators of the ARPANET (the precursor of the Internet). The poor sap who had typed it all in didn’t quite understand the system, and ended up typing the addresses first into the SUBJECT:, which then overflowed into the TO: field, the CC: field, and finally the email body too! The reaction of the recipients was much the same fury as users today. It wasn’t until later though that the term “spam” would be born.
  19. So where does the word spam come from? One urban legend traces it back to the Multi User Dungeons of the 1980′s – primitive multiplayer adventure games where players explored and performed actions using text only. One new user felt the MUD community and experience was particularly boring, and programmed a keyboard macro to type the words SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM repeatedly every few seconds, presumably imitating the famous Monty Python sketch about spam-loving Vikings.
  20. Twenty hours of video from around the world are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The first ever YouTube video was uploaded on April 23rd 2005,by Jawed Karim (one of the founders of the site) and was 18 seconds long, entitled “Me at the zoo”. It was quite boring, as is 99% of the content on YouTube today.
  21. Internet terrorism is very much a real threat. In February 2008, 5 deep-sea cables that provided Internet connectivity to the Middle East were cut. Curiously, US-occupied Iraq and Israel were unaffected.
  22. The most common form of “cyber terrorism” is a DDOS, or Distributed Denial of Service attack, whereby hundreds if not thousands of systems around the world simultaneously and repeatedly connect to a website or network in order to tie up the server resources, often sending it crashing offline. Anonymous released a tool this year that users could download and set on autopilot to receive attack commands from a remote command source. Similar DDOS attacks are often performed by the use of malware installed on users computers without their knowledge.

Do you know of any other fun and interesting facts about the Internet?  If so, let us know about them in the comments!   Happy New Year.

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Hot Tech Deals [Dec 31st]

Posted: 31 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. Sharp LC-42SB48UT 42in LCD HDTV (1080p) $469.99 Free Shipping

  2. Sony BDVE370 5.1ch 850W 3D Blu-Ray Home Theater System $239 Free Shipping

  3. Garmin nuvi 265T GPS (3.5in, Bluetooth, Lifetime Traffic Updates) $94.99 Free Shipping

  4. Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB Internal SATA Hard Drive $69.99AR Free Shipping

  5. TODAY ONLY ASUS M4A89GTD PRO;USB3 AMD AM3 Motherboard + Mushkin 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 Memory $149.95AR

  6. EXPIRING ASUS EeeKeyboard Intel Atom Computer in a Keyboard w/ Built-in 5in OLED $249.99AR Free Shipping

  7. EA Sports Active 2 Game w/ Heart Rate Monitor (PS3) $59.96 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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6 Virtual Tours Of The Human Body For Free Interactive Anatomy Lessons

Posted: 31 Dec 2010 11:31 AM PST

interactive anatomyYou can put your money on virtual reality and virtual worlds becoming part of our daily lives. One of its greatest impacts will be felt on education and health. You can already get hints of the value educators (and others) placed on 3D virtual tools from the success of virtual globes like Google Earth. Virtual worlds are now commonplace on things like flight simulators and massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs).

When it comes to interactive virtual views, we have gone to space and around the globe. So, it's not surprising that we are also going within ourselves on a virtual journey of the human body. One of the finest tools available online is Visible Body. Unfortunately, it's not free anymore. But you can see the beauty of it thanks to the free demo that allows you to explore the head and neck.

If you are disappointed that there aren't any free interactive anatomy tools, worry not. Here are six:

Google Body

interactive anatomy

You can trust Google to take you everywhere. Google Body is as cool as any of their other visualization apps. On Google Body, you can view the underlying anatomical layers one by one using a slider, switch on labels to identity each body part, use the search box as a search engine for any body part (muscles, organs, bones etc), and what's more, you can also share the exact scene you are viewing by copying and pasting the URL.

The Google Body browser is a Google Labs project that renders on Google Chrome and any other browser that supports WebGL (like Firefox 4 Beta). As a Lab project, it might be a bit error prone at times when rendering the views (see Directory mention).


interactive human anatomy

The interactive website aims to educate entertain both kids and adult on bodily health; understanding the human anatomical structure is just part of the process. The Virtual Body takes you on four tours – The Human Brain, Skeleton, Human Heart, and Digestive Tract. Then there are some cool standalone tours within each.

For instance, check out the narrated tours on Virtual Body. There's a game on the skeleton thrown in too that's sure to make you rote up on the facts as you 'build' your skeleton. Also, don't miss the animated heart section.


interactive human anatomy

eSkeletons isn't only about understanding human anatomy. It is an interactive comparative tool that enables a student to view the bones of both human and non-human primates and to learn more about them from the site's anatomical database. The views are powered by QuickTime and JavaScript. Selecting the human skeleton on the homepage starts the anatomical study. A mouseover on the skeleton selects a specific bone for a closer look. You can look into things like morphology and articulations. A QuickTime movie gives a 3D view of the specific skeletal part. eSkeletons is an University of Texas initiative.


interactive human anatomy comes with an interactive interface that comes with four angles of view allowing you to browse through more than 1,200 annotated anatomy images. A clickable menu on the left displays the specific body part on the right. The human body tour also gives you an insight into the physiological and pathological makeup of our bodies.

BBC Human Body and Mind

free interactive anatomy

The BBC's webpage is a resource rich place to discover and play interactive games while learning all about the human body. The games include – Senses challenge, Organs Game, Skeleton Game, Muscle Game, and Nervous System Game. The games are superbly designed and mostly involve dropping a body part onto a human figure.

Artificial Anatomy

interactive anatomy

This one is not a fully fledged anatomical course, but a cool and short 10 question quiz on different body parts. It is a Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History resource. With a mouse rollover you have to match the thumbnail with its location on the skeletal structure named 'Jerome'. You can also turn Jerome around for another view. 'Jerome' is actually a papier-mâché anatomical model preserved in the institute.

There's no doubt that the visualization provided by these virtual tours are the quickest way to explore and learn. These browser based virtual tools aren't just for fun's sake but they do put the fun back into education. Let us know your take on this.

Image: Shutterstock

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Discover Places With Socially-Driven Localscope for iPhone [Giveaway]

Posted: 31 Dec 2010 08:00 AM PST

Do you use your phone to locate things or places around you? Food? Parking? How about gas stations? Geolocation services have come a long way, and while some vary depending on what you’re looking for, each of them has something unique to offer.

Localscope is a “social data”-powered GPS tool unlike any other. It allows you to search for and discover places around your location by gathering information from multiple geo search engines and social networks. This enables you to always know where you are and what’s around you.

We will be giving away 25 copies of the Localscope iPhone app, which normally costs $0.99. Find out how you can get your hands on this great app!

Allow me to walk you through some of Localscope's features. First things first, you can find the app here [App Store Link].

What can I do with Localscope?

As I alluded to in the intro, Localscope works with existing geo-search engines and social networks, like Google, Bing, Foursquare, Twitter, and Wikimapia (with more coming). You can utilize these services side-by-side without even retyping your query on this app.

Consume search results in 3 uniquely useful views: ListMap and Augmented Reality. You can browse your search results in an intuitive list view that features real-time direction pointers and distance meters. Lay them out on the map or look through the state of the art augmented reality view to spot the results in the real world.

The 3D compass engine gives real-time location updates with distance/direction meters that always point to the right directions no matter how you hold your phone.

Map and get directions to your results, call them directly, or store them to your address book. And, because the app is social, you can share your findings with your friends using SMS, email, Facebook, or Twitter.

After you’ve used the app for a while, lookup your recent and favorite search phrases or browse everything that’s currently nearby with a tap. You can discover places around an address in your contacts or any other place you could think to search.

Localscope works worldwide because it’s driven by users of social networks and major search engines, which really makes this app global. You can use it to explore your location no matter where you’re at. Call or open maps for directions or create contacts from the results in a tap.

How do I win a copy?

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, January 7th 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 Cynapse 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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