Sunday, January 2, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [January 1st]” plus 4 more “Cool Websites and Tools [January 1st]” plus 4 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [January 1st]

Posted: 01 Jan 2011 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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Mougg – Music lovers want their favorite playlists to be accessible wherever they are. Your day would go a lot smoother if you were able to listen to the favorite songs in your music library while at work or on the subway. Using Mougg, you can do exactly that. Mougg is a free to use online music player. You can use this web service to create an online account and then upload MP3 songs totaling a size of 1GB. Read more: Mougg: Upload And Listen To Your Music From Anywhere


Xtracked – Even though your iPhone and Android phones may have a free GPS app, GPS is all they offer. Xtracked, on the other hand, is a professional GPS app that offers much more than just tracking your position. To start with, the software tracks all the trips you make during a given time and then lets you analyze them using charts and reports. Read more: Xtracked: Comprehensive GPS Mobile Phone Tracking For Your Road Trips



Travel Film Archive – Due to today's advances in technology we often forget what the world used to be like. Thankfully, a large collection of travel video clips exists from the past that documents the real world back then. You will find these videos on the Travel Film Archive, a simple and free to use website that archives videos from the period between 1900 and 1970. Read more: The Travel Film Archive: Lists Historic Travel Video Clips (1900-1970)



Siphon – Do you miss Chrome's extension synchronizing feature in Mozilla Firefox? If yes, then there is a great tool you can use to sync Firefox addons across different computers. This tool is Siphon, a free tool that comes as a browser add-on for Mozilla Firefox. The add-on lets you create a unique account and then sign into it using the add-on on every computer you use Firefox on. Read more: Siphon: Sync Firefox Addons Across Different Computers



TuneCrank – is a website that has actual humans engaged in the process of finding the best independent music in all corners of the world and bringing it to you as it is. You can quickly listen to any piece of music, rank it up or down, see the number of times it has been played or quickly share it with friends using a permanent link. Music can be sorted by ranking, recency or popularity. Read more: TuneCrank: Discover & Hear The Best Independent Music


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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3 Web-Based Tools that Generate Awesome Tag Clouds

Posted: 01 Jan 2011 05:30 PM PST

awesome tag cloudBuilding a beautiful tag cloud (based on the terms extracted from a web page) is not all about fun.

This post is meant not only to show you the tools that will build an awesome tag cloud for you but also to inspire you and share various creative ways to use those tools.

For example, you can create infographics to visualize your point and make your message easier to deliver. Besides, you should also check this post on how tag clouds may be useful.

1. Tagul: Create and Embed Interactive Tag Clouds

Tagul (view previous MUO review of Tagul) is a multi-feature tag cloud generator that requires registration and allows you to build beautiful clouds and embed them on your blogs.

Build and customize your awesome tag cloud

Core Options:

  • Name your cloud;
  • Copy and paste the source code (or let the tool grab the source code from the URL) and fetch the tags;
  • Choose the shape (cloud, heart, star, triangle, pentagram, circle, rectangle) and specify the form angle and aspect ratio;
  • Select the font

awesome tag cloud

View the generated tags in a separate tab; you can delete any of them if you wish:

free tag cloud

The result

After you build your tag cloud and are fully satisfied with what you see in the preview, save all the changes in the “Preview” tab and embed the tag cloud to your page.

You can view my tag cloud live here (Feel free to hover over any tag to see it dance):

free tag cloud

2. Wordle: Beautiful Tag Clouds as Downloadable Images

Wordle (see previous MUO review of Wordle) is another great tool for creating beautiful tag clouds. Here are some awesome ideas on how you can use the tool creatively:

Build and customize your tag cloud

The tool very fast and allows to set quite a few options:

  • Set the language preferences and filters;
  • Select the font;
  • Set the layout and color palette:

free tag cloud generator

Very similar tool: ABC Ya (actually, this one has almost the same functionality). Another more simplistic but still fun one: Word Mozaic – it allows to choose among the huge number of forms and symbols and creates very appealing tag clouds as downloadable .gif images:

free tag cloud generator

3. Tagxedo: Build Awesome Infographics

Tagxedo (see our previous review of TagXedo here) is the most powerful tools in terms of the look and feel of your tag cloud. It builds typography artworks. If you ever run out of ideas on how to use the tool, be sure to check out these 101 ways to have fun with it.

As with the above tools, this one lets you upload the text or generate it from the URL. However, Tagxedo has more powerful filtering options where you can:

  • Exclude numbers and common words;
  • Combine related and identical words;
  • Modify the list by frequency:

free tag cloud generator

Besides that, the tool offers a huge variety of fonts, themes, color palettes, etc. Its most powerful feature is the great range of cloud shapes to choose from:

Tagxedo shapes

The result can be embedded (using the iFrame) or saved in the gallery (with the link to the live tag cloud). Mine is here by the way.

awesome tag cloud

Can you think of other ways these fun web applications could come in really handy? Please share them in the comments!

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Hot Tech Deals [Jan 1st]

Posted: 01 Jan 2011 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. Dell Inspiron 17R Intel Core i5-460M 2.53GHz 17.3in Laptop (4GB/500GB/Win7) $649.99 via code LH6?VFXTKG73VJ

  2. Dell Inspiron 17R Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 17.3in Laptop (4GB/500GB/Win7) $549.99

  3. Dell Inspiron 15 Intel Core Dual-Core T4500 2.3GHz 15.6in Laptop (2GB/250GB/Win7) $399.99

  4. Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 15.6in Laptop (4GB/500GB/Win7) $549.99
  5. Klipsch RW-12d Subwoofer Each $349.99 Free Shipping

  6. Dell Streak 5in Touchscreen Smartphone (Now with Android 2.2 Froyo) $99.99 w/ Contract

  7. MSI GT660-003US Intel Core i7 Quad-Core 16in Laptop (6GB/500GB/Geforce GTX 285M) $849.99AR

  8. Sharp AQUOS LC-55LE620UT 55in LED-Edgelit LCD HDTV (1080p, 120Hz) $1199.99 Free Shipping

  9. Asus MS246H 24in Widescreen LCD Monitor (2ms, HDMI) $139.99AR Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Pinta – A Simple, Cross Platform Image Editing Program

Posted: 01 Jan 2011 11:30 AM PST

free image editing softwareGIMP lovers may disagree, but the world’s needed a GTK photo editor with an easy-to-understand interface for a while. Featuring layers, various effects and good old fashioned editing functions, Pinta is the photo editor missing on Linux systems, as well as Windows and OS X. Think, but cross-platform.

But even if you don’t use Linux, you just might find Pinta to be your new favorite free image editor. It’s fast, functional and gets the job done. If you’ve used, or even Photoshop before, you’ll probably not have any trouble finding anything. But if you haven’t, consider Pinta a fantastic introduction to what photo editing software can do that’s not too cofusing to use.


free image editing software

Fire up Pinta for the first time and the interface will largely look familar. It’s not that different, at first glace, from Microsoft Paint: toolkit on the left, layers and history on the right, image in the center.

The toolkit should be familar to you, even if the only photo editing tool you’ve ever used is Microsoft Paint. If not, don’t worry: hovering over a given tool will cause a helpful popup to appear:

The menu is also worth browsing; you’ll find many useful things there. Rotating the image, viewing options, and various effects all await you.

You can also adjust the curves and colors, which is very useful should you need to correct a photo in this regard:

image editing programs

I could go on, but it’s best to just fire up the program and explore yourself. I highly recommend playing with the various effects to get an idea of what’s possible. Whether you want to make your photo look like an oil painting or just remove red eye from a family portrait, there’s lots to explore there.


If you’ve ever really gotten into photo editing, you know that layers are essential. Whether you’re trying to add elements to photos or simply stylize, the concept of layers become crucial very quickly. Pinta supports this, putting it above the simplest image editing software.

image editing programs

Even with this seeming complexity, however, Pinta is a piece of software the average computer user should have no trouble at all using. Even the way layers is done is very easy to understand and use, if you experiment with it.


Another indispensable tool for image editing is your history. This allows you to see all the changes you’ve made while editing your image, and to roll them back at will.

free image editing software

This is self-explanatory, but very important if you like to experiment a great deal with your images. Note, however, that the current release of Pinta stores you entire history in the RAM, meaning this program will take up a lot of memory very quickly.

Installing Pinta

Want to get started? Head over the Pinta’s official web site. You’ll find installation files for Ubuntu, Mac and Windows, which is the best way to get started.

The currrent incarnation of Pinta is only the beginning, so if you’re not quite happy with what you see here be sure to check back again in a couple of months. Dynamic projects like this can be a lot of fun to watch, and really represent the power of open source at its best!

Oh, and if you’re a Linux user not quite dedicated to the idea of installation, I highly recommend you download the program over at It’s the place to find Linux downloads the work on every distro, and it couldn’t be easier to use.

So, what do you think of Pinta? Please share in the comments below. Also feel free to represent other free image editing programs, because I and our readers always love to learn about new software!

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20+ Free Printable Calendars & Planners For 2011

Posted: 01 Jan 2011 09:31 AM PST

free printable calendarsWith 2011 upon us, if you haven’t already bought yourself a planner or wall calendar, you might want to look at a few of these DIY free printable calendars. Some of them will require a little bit of effort on your part, but the final product will definitely be worth it. If you don’t have the time for paper crafts, just print one of the ready-made calendars or planners.

If you don’t have a colour printer, or are looking for something as simple as it gets, take a look at these 10 suggestions on where you can get printable calendars online.

12 Page Calendars

Noise To Signal

Cartoonist Rob Cottingham is sharing a 2011 wall calendar that can be downloaded from SlideShare or his website. Social media addicts will appreciate the humour taken from Rob’s cartoon strip, Noise to Signal.

free printable calendars

My Owl Barn

My Owl Barn has released a gorgeous 12 page calendar filled with owl related images from various artists. With 30 images to choose from, you can also determine the exact order they’ll appear in, or download their ready-made calendar.

printable calendars

Doodle Calendar

Creative Mamma has put out a free printable Doodle Calendar for 2011.

printable calendars

Big Huge Labs

If you’d rather use your own images, Big Huge Labs make it easy to use your own pictures from Flickr, Facebook, or your computer.

printable calendars

Alice Cantrell

Another beautifully artistic calendar can be downloaded from Alice Cantrell’s website. The calendar includes lunar phases, and comes with a cover and band, making it possible to gift the calendar.

printable download calendars

Blog Guide Book

Blog Guide Book have an illustrated calendar available for download for free. It’s a huge 243MB file but definitely worth the download.

printable download calendars

Blue Ant Studio

Blue Ant Studio have made it a tradition to release a free 12 page calendar every year, and 2011 is no exception. The 2011 Calendar is available on Flickr.

printable download calendars

One Page Calendars

Compact Calendar

See the entire year at a glance with David Sheah’s Compact Calendar. If you want to keep yourself particularly organised, glue the calendar to a lined sheet of paper to neatly jot down your notes.


Grafish Design

Possibly the smallest calendar you’ll ever find, Grafish Design’s aptly named Small Calendar is a wallet sized 4.4×7.6 cm.


Yasmina Moya

Available in Spanish on Flickr, Yasmina Moya is offering a set of 4 interesting one page calendars with black and white photography.


If you’d like to put together your own one page calendar with a personalised photo try Yearly Calendar Maker.

Monitor Strip

Craft Meister’s 2011 Monitor Strip Calendars are perfect for sticking above your computer monitor. They are available in a variety of colours and sizes.


Bunny Calendar

A great option for kids, the printable Bunny Colouring Calendar will give your children the opportunity to colour in their own calendar.


Bookmark Calendar

These free printable bookmark calendars measure just 1/2×7 inches and are available in English and Spanish. The text on the bookmarks and the title are editable.


3D & DIY Calendars


For the more artistically inclined, Clovered is offering three free printable calendars. The first, a pop-up calendar will take a bit of effort on your part but the end result is perfect for parents who want a cute calendar their kids will appreciate.


For something a little simpler, you could also try the P The Reindeer Boy calendar.


And lastly, their printable Pocket Calendar is the easiest option available.


Dodecahedron Cube Calendar

Put your paper folding skills to the test with Craft Meister’s Dodecahedron Cube Calendar. The calendar is available in a variety of colours.


Accordion Calendar

Paper Foldable’s Accordion Calendar is available for download here. The PDF doesn’t come with any instructions so you’re pretty much on your own figuring out how to put it together.


Mini Laundry Calendar

Using a combination of wire, miniature clothes pegs and linen paper, you can put together one of the cutest DIY calendars for 2011, the Mini Laundry Calendar.


Journals & Diaries

Wisdom Journal

The Wisdom Journal is a planner and calendar rolled into one. With one page for each month, you will find a space to fill out a mission statement, a 3 to 5 year plan, a 6 month plan, and a one month plan, along with a calendar. It also features a two sheet weekly planner, and detailed task list.

Wisdom .jpg

2011 Diary

If you’d rather have a diary for the entire year, there is an A5 diary available for download as a Word document here. With the cost and paper involved in printing out this kind of diary, it may just be easier to purchase a planner or diary from any stationery store.

free printable calendars

Have you already downloaded your free printable calendar for 2011? Let us know where you got it in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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