Monday, January 10, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [January 9th]” plus 6 more “Cool Websites and Tools [January 9th]” plus 6 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [January 9th]

Posted: 09 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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What Browser? – You may find it hard to believe that an extraordinary number of internet users don't understand what a browser is and don't know how to utilize its features. Next time you come across such a person, just direct him to the What Browser? site. It's a simple website created by Google to help people check the browser they are on and also learn more about it. Read more: What Browser?: Check The Browser You Are Using (& Learn More)


YaRooms – Even if you belong to a mid-sized company, you will have surely experienced the hassles of booking and using the meeting rooms. With a number of people wanting to use the rooms, there are bound to be overlaps and “oh we didn't know it was occupied” moments. YaRooms is a meeting room planner that can take care of that by letting you manage all your meetings rooms online. Read more: YaRooms: Meeting Room Planner Online



SellMyOldMobilePhone – Mobile phones get old so easily as the once-recent models get replaced by phones with better specs within months. If you have to upgrade a new phone without breaking the bank, you need to be able to sell your old phone at the highest price it can fetch. Sell My Old Mobile Phone does just that. This UK-based priced comparison tool allows you to dispose your phone to recycling sites and get the best deals. Read more: SellMyOldMobilePhone: Recycle your old phones & get cash (UK only)



Metronome Online – A metronome is a tool usually used by musicians. It produces a beat with a variable tempo. The tool is very helpful in maintaining a particular tempo while practicing new songs. Now thanks to Metronome Online, musicians will no longer need a physical metronome beat counter to get that metronome beat. As its name suggests, the tool acts as an online metronome. Read more: Metronome Online: Metronome Beat Counter Online



Snowtrax – Are you looking for a ski destination to vacation at? If yes, then the chances are that regular vacation-spot-finding websites will be of little help. What you need is a location searching tool that focuses on mountains and ski resorts. SnowTrax is exactly that website. You can use the site's simple controls to find locations according to factors. Read more: Snowtrax: Find & Compare Ski Resorts


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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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 09 Jan 2011 06:31 PM PST

It's time to say thanks to our friends who, once in a while, tip us great articles, help out on projects and in some cases offer their services at discounted prices. Thank you, guys!

    [1] ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service

    Ever wanted to add website screenshots to your website? In my professional opinion ShrinkTheWeb is one of the best services for that, both in terms of performance and pricing. The free account gets you a whopping 250,000 impressions with nearly no delay. See it in action in our daily Cool Websites and Tools series.


    [2] Walyou – Cool Gadgets for Geeks

    new cool gadgets
    Walyou is a fun blog covering all sorts of new cool gadgets and other stuff every geek is likely to find entertaining. Everything from world’s largest Gunny Bears to E-hookah gadgets. Make sure to check them out.

    [3] rade | eccles – iPhone Application Development

    The perfect iPhone development team, rade | eccles managed to put our iPhone app together in record time yet exude professionalism and dedication every step of the way. Our collaboration wasn’t happenstance. We would make the same decision all over again. Our only recommendation for an iPhone developer – rade | eccles.


    [4] TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design

    If you’re looking for a cheap, original and quality logo or banner, check out TrueKolor. We often contact these guys when we need a logo or a banner made, some of the stuff they did for us listed on their portfolio page. Highly recommended.


    [5] Mobify – Making the Web a mobile place

    More and more users access websites and read blogs using their mobile phone. Mobify lets you mobilize your blog or website by creating lightweight version of it, which loads much faster and looks great on a mobile screen. MakeUseOf’s mobile site was created by Mobify, and we’re proud of it!


    [6] Sendible – The easiest way to market your brand online

    We’re strong believers of the service Sendible provides — we use it on a daily basis and it has never failed us! Sendible is an online marketing service to promote, grow and track brands through the use of social media, email and SMS messaging. It has the ability to post to multiple services at once, schedule social network updates and analyse their success. We love it!


    [7] Sourcebits – Android Developement

    Sourcebits did a bang up job of helping us put together our long-awaited Android app. For that, we are eternally grateful!


Thank you, guys!

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Where Do You Go To Find What’s Hot Online Today? [Poll]

Posted: 09 Jan 2011 05:30 PM PST

Last week, we asked you if you live in the cloud. The results show that most of you keep your data on your own machine and may back it up to the cloud on occasion.

We gathered a total of 213 votes and these are the results: 54% of you keep your data on your computer and possibly back up to the cloud; 25% keep most of their data in the cloud and possibly back it up to their computers; 17% keep data strictly on their own computer; and 4% live entirely in the cloud.

Full results and this week's poll after the jump.

It seems most MakeUseOf readers like to keep their data to themselves.

This week's poll question is: Where Do You Go To Find What’s Hot Online Today?

There’s a huge amount of great places to find the best links of the day. Today’s poll is about working out which is the best and what else is out there. Make sure you add your favourites to the comments so we can build a great collection!

Don’t forget to mention your favourite go-to place for popular links in the comments!

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Top 10 YouTube Songs Created Using iPads and iPhones

Posted: 09 Jan 2011 02:30 PM PST

iphone songs youtubeThe Gorillaz recently released their latest album, The Fall, accompanied by the announcement that the album was produced almost entirely using an iPad. While The Gorillaz did let a few traditional instruments in on the album, there have been a whole slew of artists, professional and amateur that have been showing just how far you can push the limits of the iPad, and in the process create great music.

We’ve put together a list of the most impressive videos on YouTube that have been created using iPads, and in some cases, iPhones, and other gadgets, to create both original and cover songs. Traditionalists might prefer real instruments, but there is definitely something to be said for innovation and creativity. If you want to try your hand at using your iPad to create music, be sure to check out Bakari’s post on a few free apps that will let you do just that.

Eye of the Tiger

Using three iPad apps, and a couple of Canon SLR cameras, it’s amazing what you can put together. Eye of the Tiger, the iconic theme song from Rocky is one option, and if you close your eyes, it’s hard to believe that no real instruments were used. Watching the music video, you get to see the apps in action.

Sweet Dreams

The iPad Orchestra is composed of four musicians and their iPads. They use four instrumental selections from the paid app, Seline HD [iTunes link] – the cello, violin, clarinet and flute. Watch them perform their original composition, Sweet Dreams.

Take Me Out

It’s not just iPad users that can make the most of the music apps available in the iTunes store. New York based band Atomic Tom took their performance to the subway, for a live performance. Performing their original song, Take Me Out, the sound isn’t great but considering that they’re using their phones as instruments, it’s pretty impressive.


Not only did the so-called iPad DJ Rana Sobhany create this entire song on her iPad, the music video was shot using an iPhone 4. It’s pretty much an independent advertisement for Apple.

iPad Band

If you can’t afford to buy several iPads, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make some pretty impressive music. Simply record each instrument individually, and then put them all together. And then you’ll end up with something a little like this.


The music video itself might not be to everyone’s taste, but with the sheer variety of tech gadgets used to create the music in this song, it had to be included. With an iPad, iPhone, Nintendo DS and PSP, who needs real instruments?

Just the Way You Are (Cover)

A cover of Bruno Mars’ Just the Way You Are is played out entirely using 7 iPad instruments – namely, Drum Meistro, Pocket Piano, My Guitar, iBass, Jam Pad and Piano Pro and ProKeys.

Chinese iPad Band

Even if you can’t understand what they’re saying you won’t be able to help tapping your foot to this Chinese song composed using iPads. The awesome vocals certainly help but the instruments are pretty cool themselves.

Sweet Dream (Cover)

In another impressive song, with the music coming courtesy of a series of iPad and iPhones, the aptly named iBand, covers Beyonce’s Sweet Dream. Along with Eye of the Tiger, it is one of the more impressively made music videos.

North Point’s iBand

Christmas has come and gone, and at North Point Community Church they were bringing in the Christmas spirit using iPads and iPhones for a live performance. Performing a medley of classic Christmas carols, including Carol of the Bells and God Rest You Merry Gentleman, the results are beautiful.

Have you heard, or better yet, recorded any music using your iPad, iPhone or other gadgets? Let us know all about them in the comments.

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Hot Tech Deals [Jan 9th]

Posted: 09 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.

  1. TODAY ONLY Panasonic VIERA TC-P42G25 42in Plasma HDTV (1080p) $777.56 Free Shipping via code AFL4COUPON (Ongoing)
  2. G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3-12800) RAM Memory $89.99 Free Ship via code EMCKJKD29 (exp 1/12)
  3. TODAY ONLY TomTom XL 340S Portable GPS Navigation (Refurb, 4.3in, Text To Speech) $69.99
  4. EXPIRING Motorola S9-HD Stereo Bluetooth Headphone (Retail) $39.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKJKC66 (Exp 1/9)
  5. OtterBox Cases Exclusive Coupon Code 10% off + Free Shipping via code tb0111m (Exp 3/31)
  6. TODAY ONLY Braun 390CC Series 3 Mens Shaver $79.99 Free Shipping
  7. SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 4GB MP3 Player w/ FM Tuner, Voice Recorder $29.99 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 09 Jan 2011 11:30 AM PST

Sound Sunday is your weekly source of free music downloads.

In my quest to provide a balanced and exciting collection of artists and genres each week, I use Twitter as my main research tool. However, I also rely on several newsletters, blogs, websites, and eMails from you, the readers and artists. I give priority to material that was suggested to me, so if you have something to share, please get in touch me [tina at makeuseof dot com].

This week’s edition is based exclusively on Twitter results. What do you think of this mix?

Dynamik – Buffet Libre Premier Service

Genre: electronic, pop, rock

The French collective Dynamik was founded by brothers Lionel and Julien Guiral in the year 2006. Inspired by Kitsuné, they have taken an eclectic mix of young artists under their wings. This compilation album provides an overview of the talents united within Dynamik.

Download Buffet Libre Premier Service from Bandcamp.

Dynamik MySpace and Homepage.

M. Roosevelt – Powerline

Genre: alternative, experimental, rock, psychedelic,

The man behind the project M. Roosevelt is Mike Rasimas. On his MySpace page he lists his influences as Britney Spears, Ke$ha, Taylor Swift and generally anyone on the iTunes Top 10. I kinda don’t think so. Apart from making his own music and bad jokes, Mike is a drummer for Offramp and Kingfisher.

Mike Rasimas aka M. Roosevelt MySpace and Twitter.

That Fucking Tank – The Day Of Death By Bono Adrenalin Shock

Genre: indie, progressive, rock, big beat

That Fucking Tank is a band from the UK. Music is what they do for fun and so they organize everything on their own, including booking gigs, recording albums, and generally making music. In a world where the music industry is crumbling, they show that good music does not have to be done professionally. Formed in 2004, the band has  a live EP, two compilations, and two full length albums among others.

The Day Of Death By Bono Adrenalin Shock is a free download from Bandcamp.

That Fucking Tank MySpace and Homepage.

Andy Mitchell – The Well Travelled Road

Genre: alternative, indie, acoustic, rock

From his LastFM profile: “Andy Mitchell is a home-recorded one man project currently based in Middlesbrough, UK. Beginning in 2008 the songs are crafted and recorded in his living room and he has quickly progressed in scope and quality in a short amount of time. His sound is often described as alternative rock, with a very full rock sound for one man. His music features various layers of instrumentation and inspiration.

The Well Travelled Road is a name your price download from Bandcamp.

Andy Mitchell MySpace and LastFM.

A Fight You Can’t Win – selftitled

Genre: alternative, grunge, punk, rock, new wave

The Edinburgh-based four piece rock band a Fight You Can’t Win “take punk, grunge and pop hostage, then give them a beating until they agree to contribute to the band's powerful and aggressively dynamic sound. Matthew, Paul, Sander and new recruit Lesley take this raw material and use it to fashion short, sharp shocks of songs which deliver unblockable roundhouse blows to the senses.

Get A Fight You Can’t Win free from Bandcamp.

A Fight You Can’t Win MySpace and Facebook.

Windy City Gentleman – China White

Genre: alternative, indie, experimental, rock, grunge, shoegaze

Windy City Gentleman is a descendant of America’s first serial killer Herman Webster Mudgett, aka Dr. H. H. Holmes, who terrorized the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. For his album China White, which was produced by Brian West, WCG draws inspiration from his family’s infamous history.

You can download China White free from Bandcamp.

Windy City Gentleman MySpace and Homepage.

Id Obelus – the Jabberbox

Genre: experimental, electronic, lyrical, hip hop

From his Audiorecon profile: “Id Obelus is an MC from a rural community in the middle of nowhere north central Indiana. He's an obsessed rap nerd who has been mastering his craft since the mid 80′s. Equipped with nasal voice, Id delivers well annunciated, carefully crafted rhymes over beats he deems suitable for the like.

Download the Jabberbox free from Bandcamp.

Id Obelus MySpace and Homepage.

Galaxy of Tar – Pneuma

Genre: rock

From their bio: “Your ancestors are being awoken by dark merchants.They are crawling out from inside your chest because they have heard and cannot ignore the drum. They are being pelted and baptized by a voice of metal rain. They are being called out by the restless natives of a dark future. They are being initiated into a Galaxy of Tar.

Pneuma is a free download from Bandcamp.

Galaxy of Tar MySpace and Homepage.

Ralphy Boy – Hear Me, Feel Me

Genre: alternative, emo, hip hop

Despite growing up in the East Flathbush area of Brooklyn, Ralphy Boy was able to pick up artistic skills, including sketching and photography. His father was a professional painter and upon his death in 2008, Ralphy decided to take his skill of drawing a picture with words more seriously. Hear Me, Feel Me is his audio memoir.

Hear Me, Feel Me is a free download from Bandcamp.

Ralphy Boy MySpace and Homepage.

Beats Antique – Contraption

Genre: experimental, electronic, blues, gypsy

From the band’s Bio: “Growing like wildfire under the canopy of live electonica and world roots music comes a masterful merge of modern technology, live instrumentation and seductive performance, built of brass bands and glitch, string quartets and dubstep: the musical trio Beats Antique.

Contraption is served free from Bandcamp.

Beats Antique MySpace and Homepage.

More great free music downloads can be discovered in past editions of Sound Sunday. To share material, suggestions, and feedback, feel free to get in touch with me [tina at makeuseof dot com] or post a comment below.

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How to Delete Recent Searches Without Accidentally Leaving a Trace

Posted: 09 Jan 2011 09:30 AM PST

With increasing concerns about web security and online identities, hiding your presence has become a concern for many. Luckily, modern browsers are aware of this, so today I’d like to show you how to delete your history (including searches, cookies, cache, etc.) from 3 major browsers, as well as from your Google account.

We’ve covered this topic a number of times already — Steve taught us how to securely delete our Internet Explorer history and Bakari went through the basic steps to clear previous Google searches. Since technology and browsers are constantly changing, it’s worth mentioning again.

First up, if you are using Internet Explorer, then all bets are off. You’re using the most vulnerable browser in history, and are potentially leaving your entire computer open to malicious software, let alone just your browser history. There is no excuse — go and download Firefox or Chrome now.

Why should I care?

There’s a variety of ways in which your personal search data is stored in the browser, and your internet history is just one. While someone may not purposefully sit at your PC directly searching through your history files and cookies, they might inadvertently hit on something you’d rather was kept private. Like in the following example, where a relative is using my computer to search for information on the “dodgers”, only to find some questionable suggestions being pulled from my personal search form history as they begin to type.

You might also be shocked to learn that if you have a Google account, your entire Google search history may be recorded. Since I’ve been using Gmail since July 2006, every single search I’ve ever performed is stored in my Google account. Here’s a sneak peek at the first things Google ever recorded me searching for!

To be honest, I couldn’t care less about my personal search history being stored at Google – but I know some of you might be quite terrified at this point, so I’ll show you how to delete all of that, too.


From the Firefox Tools menu, you can easily select the “Clear Recent History” option. Select the time frame, and if you need to delete absolutely everything, I’d suggest ticking the “Site Preferences” option too.

A better option is to use the Private Browsing feature, which will put your browser into a special private mode and simply not save any data or searches. That’s also a single click away from Tools -> Start Private Browsing. We’ve covered a bunch of Firefox Privacy add-ons before, too.


If you only wish to delete a single item from your browsing history, Chrome has a special “Edit Items” option on its history page that you can access from the wrench icon (top right) -> History.

If you’d rather delete everything else too, you can do so from the wrench icon -> Tools -> Clear Browsing Data, which will bring up a dialog as follows.

A far better solution is to browse particular sites using Chrome’s special Incognito mode, accessed by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N (Mac users: Cmd+Shift+N), or through the wrench menu. In this mode, which looks like the screenshot below – none of your personal data is stored, nor any history recorded on the browser side.


Safari’s options are a little more limited than both Firefox and Chrome, in that instead of carefully carving a particular period of time from your browsing history, you simply get the option to “Reset Everything”. It’s ugly, and you’re going to lose every bit of data stored, but if you have to do it then you can get to it from the Safari menu.

Notice that Safari also has a private browsing mode, so if you don’t want to have to delete all your browsing data in future, you should use private browsing instead.

Google Account Data

You can tell if you logged into a Google account by visiting the usual search page. If your Google sign-in email address is show in the top right, you are signed in. To check out all the data they store on you, click on Settings -> Google Account settings.

At the top of the page, under the Personal Settings column, you’ll see an option for Dashboard – View data store with this account. Click that.

Depending on what services you have ever used, the page you will be presented with will be different. I’ve always experimented with whatever Google has thrown into the wild, so my stored is too long a list to show here. Scroll down to the section labelled “Web History”, then click on the “Remove items or clear Web History” option in the highlighted blue box to the right. At this point, you might also notice the option to Turn Off Google Goggles Search History if you are so inclined.

You will then be presented with your entire search history, which you can browse through if you are curious, or just click “Remove items” from the left sidebar, or “Clear entire Web History” for a more nuclear approach to the matter.

Well, I hope that’s been useful to some of you. Remember that using private browsing features in every browser mentioned is always easier and safer that trying to delete traces after the fact.

Were you shocked to find out how much information Google was actually storing about you? Personally, I keep my searches in there in the hope that my Google search experience will be more personalized, and perhaps help to keep my own personal bit of the internet a little more free from spam. It’s also quite voyeuristically fascinating to go back over my own personal search history!

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