Saturday, January 15, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 11 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 11 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 15 Jan 2011 06:02 AM PST


Check out the top picks from MakeUseOf Geeky Fun during the last week.

  1. Annoying Bluetooth Man (Video)
  2. Wikipeeks (Pic)
  3. If Movie Characters Had The Internet (Video)
  4. Batman Villains in The Operating Systems World (Pic)
  5. Just How Obsessed We Are With Facebook (Pic)
  6. So you found something cool on The Internet… (Pic)
  7. Think Different (Pic)

If you would like to keep up with all latest Geeky Fun additions, please subscribe to the Geeky Fun feed here. You can also subscribe and get the latest additions via email.


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Cool Websites and Tools [January 14th]

Posted: 14 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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Summify – Social networks have become one of our most used news source . The logic goes – if your friends care about a certain news, then you should care about it too. But too many news and updates will only give you lots of noise, which limits your ability to find the news that is the most important. Fortunately, Summify is a cool app that filters your social news and RSS feeds and provides you with the most important updates only. Read more: Summify: A Social Filter That Brings The News That Matters To You


Barcode Yourself – Every object has its value. But we associate monetary worth and value with objects only and not ourselves. One online tool that funnily tries to place a value on human beings is Barcode Yourself, a free and simple to use website that lets you have fun by finding out how much money a person would be worth. First you are asked a number of questions including your gender, age, nationality, and height. Read more: Barcode Yourself: Have Fun Finding Out Your 'Price' & How You Measure Up Against Others



LMPTFY – is a free to use website that lets you teach your friends how to search on The Pirate Bay. Suppose your friend asks you to find a particular song titled "X" and then send him the download URL. You search for X on LMPTFY and obtain the URL the site generates. Now send this URL to your friend. When he visits it, he will see a small animation of the search being conducted. Read more: LMPTFY: Teach Friends How To Search On The Pirate Bay



Visible Tweets – There are an increasing number of online tools that explore how the Twitter stream can be made more fun. Adding to this list of tools is VisibleTweets that creates an animated twitter stream, perfectly suited for large screen displays. Simply enter your search item in the space provided on the site's homepage. The site then gets relevant Tweets from the stream and displays them one by one. Read more: VisibleTweets: Animated Twitter Stream For Large Screens



WakeUp List – You wake up each morning looking forward to accomplishing your goals. But your long term goals are at times forgotten because of your hectic daily routine. Wake-up List is a neat goal reminder that helps to remind you of those long term goals. After creating an account on the site you can use it to create and store a bucket list i.e. a list of things you want to accomplish before you die. Read more: WakeUpList: Long Term Goal Reminder


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 9 Best Questions From You [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 14 Jan 2011 05:31 PM PST

best questionsMakeUseOf Answers has had a fantastic week! We have received some very challenging and many great questions from you. A selection of the best can be seen below.

At the same time I have screened more exceptionally smart answers than ever before and it was incredibly tough to select a contest winner this week. Ultimately, the Best Answer of the Week was given by Oron Joffe in reply to this question: Why does my PC take one hour to switch on? Congratulations Oron and many thanks for your continued support!

These are the best questions of the week:

MakeUseOf Answers is always a question ahead. Browse by Latest Questions, Most Popular Questions, or Unanswered Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

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7 Apps That Will Help You Use Your iPad For Writing Projects

Posted: 14 Jan 2011 03:31 PM PST

writing tool for ipadThere's little debate that Apple's iPad is not a valid replacement for a laptop computer. It doesn't have the multitasking features, nor the power of even the bottom line MacBook. But by the same token if you don't have a laptop or notebook, your iPad could certainly suffice for getting writing done. A set of free available apps, from notebooks to fully fledged text editors in the App Store, as well a few computer syncing setups, are all you need for writing on the device.

While each of us has our own particular needs, I'm sure one or more of these apps will serve your needs. So get ready to set up a folder on your tablet and download a useful collection of resources.

writing tool for ipad


At the top of the list, the popular Evernote app (iTunes Store Link) and web syncing service is an essential tool for writing on the iPad. You can throw in all kinds of text based files, as well as photos and audio notes, into Evernote which will automatically sync all your notes to your iPad, as well as your Mac or PC.

ipad best apps writing

Evernote includes a basic text writing tool that of course also syncs back to your computer or other devices.

Infinote Pinboard

For brainstorming and clustering your ideas, download Infinote Pinboard (iTunes Store Link). This easy-to-use app allows you to create unlimited sets of note cards in which you can change and re-size the font styles, as well as re-size the cards themselves. Notes can exported in PDF, PNG, and JPG format via email.

ipad best apps writing


The best free option for a fully fledged writing application on your iPad is SimpleNote (iTunes Store Link), which I reviewed here. All your writing in SimpleNote automatically syncs to your online SimpleNote account. The app will show you the word count of a document as well as allow you to recycle versions of text in previous drafts.

ipad best apps writing

SimpleNote is also supported by TextExpander (iTunes Store Link), which is not a free app, but is powerfully useful for writing because you can create a library of abbreviation shortcuts for snippets of text that you use frequently, such as your standard letter replies, phrases, long words, etc. When those abbreviations are typed, they get replaced with their assigned snippet. TextExpander does not have to be open in order to work with SimpleNote.

Private Journal

If you're a frequent journal writer, the application, Private Journal (iTunes Store Link) works very well for the iPad. You can not only write in it, but also add photos and connect with your iPad iTunes library right from within the application.

writing ipad applications

While this app doesn't have automatic syncing features, you can assign a passcode so no one else will have access to your most personal writings.


WordPress (iTunes Store Link) has also developed an application for its users. My own experience with the application is that it works best with simpler WordPress themes. It syncs and download all your recent WP hosted or self-hosted blog posts and allows you to edit and re-sync them back to your account.

writing ipad applications

It even allows you to add photos as you would with the web version of the text editor.


DraftPad (iTunes Store Link) is a super simple writing text editor. While it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, it does allow you to route your text to a variety of other apps or web services, including Mail, SMS, your Google account, Twitter, and Facebook.

writing ipad applications

Clockwork Notebook

Clockwork Notebook (iTunes Store Link) is a recently released app that allows you to type and write handwritten notes or doodles.

writing tool for ipad

The application has a notebook style changeable canvas, and it includes an Undo/Redo button, plus a feature for adding stickers. Notes can be exported in PDF format via email.

For a few more recommendations check out this MUO article about study aids for iPad users.

Finally in terms of typing on the iPad, check out my article about tips for faster typing on the device. The software keyboard included with the iPad is not the best option for extending pieces of writing, but you can learn to use it for writing notes, emails, and forum replies. Apple and a few other third party manufacturers have developed external keyboards for the iPad that will make typing even faster.

Let us know about other tools you use for writing on your iPad. What features is the iPad missing that keeps you from using it for writing projects?

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Hunch Gives You Personalized Recommendations Based On Your Interests

Posted: 14 Jan 2011 01:31 PM PST

personalized recommendationsIf you ask me, I’d say personalization is one of the next big steps towards a more semantic web. Everything we “like” on sites like Facebook or GetGlue gives others information about the things we’re interested in. If you get enough of that kind of data, as well as similar data from the people we’re connected to, you can effectively judge a person’s tastes and interests. Don’t believe me? How good is Netflix at picking out movies you’ll like?

Hunch is one such site that’s able to do this. Hunch personalizes the internet by getting to know you and then making smart recommendations about what you might like. In this article, I’ll show you how Hunch works, and why it offers the type of community that you just may want to be a part of.

What Is Hunch?

personalized recommendations

We last covered Hunch back in July of 2009, and originally in our directory back before we even put dates on posts in there. Back then we were calling Hunch a “decision making tool”. While that could still be considered a somewhat accurate way to describe Hunch, I’m going to call it what it is today: a personalized recommendations engine.

Here’s Hunch’s mission statement as depicted on their website:

Hunch’s ambitious mission is to build a ‘taste graph’ of the entire web, connecting every person on the web with their affinity for anything, from books to electronic gadgets to fashion or vacation spots. Hunch is at the forefront of combining algorithmic machine learning with user-curated content, with the goal of providing better recommendations for everyone.

Hunch provides personalized recommendations on tens of thousands of topics and is now partnering with other companies to power custom recommendations on 3rd-party sites and applications. It was started by “a bunch of MIT nerds” with backgrounds in computer science and math, who were exploring how machine learning could be used to provide smart, taste-driven recommendations.

How Does Hunch Work?

personal recommendations engine

To get started using Hunch, head over to the homepage and sign in with your Facebook or Twitter account. Then you are asked a series of random (and I mean random) questions, which you can choose to skip or answer. After you answer each question, you will be able to see the percentage of people who answered the same as you. Answer as many as you like to better build your taste profile. It’s actually pretty fun, I must admit.

personal recommendations engine

Hunch gets smarter/more accurate in two ways. First, since Hunch is powered by collective user knowledge, topics mature over time. Newly submitted topics often won’t be very smart at first, but as more and more people train and refine them, the topics will get much smarter.

personal recommendations engine

Second, the more Hunch gets to know you, the more your recommendations will become customized. Every question you answer and topic you try helps this process.

When Hunch makes a recommendation, it’ll also show you why it proposed what it did. If you disagree with the reasoning, think it missed a crucial question or result, you can add all of that information yourself.

recommendation engine

When others give one of your pros/cons a thumbs up, you get what are called Flecks. Flecks are like pats on the back, and people can “fleck you” for a question, result, or topic that you’ve contributed. You can give them to other people from their profile pages, or inline in a topic play. Written flecks must be approved by the person receiving the fleck before they are visible from their profile page.

Cred, Badges & Banjos

Sticking with the theme of getting/giving out props to people, you also can build Cred in the Hunch community. Cred stands for credibility, which is a summary of your Hunch contributions.

personalized recommendations

You also receive badges while using Hunch. Badges represent all the different ways you’ve contributed. Banjos (that’s right, Banjos) are one type of badge, which represent a numerical summary of your total contributions. Other badges represent the type of content you’ve contributed.

You can learn all about the types of badges and banjos inside of Hunch on this page.


Also make sure you check out Hunch’s other stuff – like Twitter, iPhone apps and a Facebook game – over on their Goodies page.

I think Hunch is a really interesting community. After answering just a few questions it recommended some of my favorite movies and TV shows. Once you use it for a little while and it learns more about you it can be a really useful tool for you.

What do you think of personalized recommendation engines? Are you going to check out Hunch?

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Hot Tech Deals [Jan 14th]

Posted: 14 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. Dell Outlet Coupon Codes 15% off Dell Vostro, Precision or Latitude Laptops via code ?3N0XV627$FDCS (Exp 1/17)
  2. Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX $34.99 Free Shipping via code D77M85NC$D2298 (Exp 1/21)
  3. TODAY ONLY Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Computer Case w/ 4 x 120-140mm LED Fans $54.99
  4. Star Ocean: Last Hope International Video Game (PS3) $15.99 Free Shipping
  5. TODAY ONLY Western Digital Elements 2TB External Hard Drive $89.99 Free Shipping
  6. TODAY ONLY Fuji AX230 12MP 5X Digital Camera w/ 4GB SD Card + Fitted Case $49.99 Free Shipping
  7. The Boxee Box by D-Link $179 Free Shipping via code EMCKJJF27 (Exp 1/20)

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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What Was Hot Online? What Have You Missed? Find Out With Rrrewind!

Posted: 14 Jan 2011 11:31 AM PST

popular stories on the webYou probably have a life. You probably have things to do offline. It’s likely that you often see awesome stuff online, but due to all that real-life stuff you do, occasionally you miss something great. But do you ever catch up? Not really. There’s always the next big thing.

Next time you find yourself with an evening up your sleeve, refreshing Reddit and PopURLs with some vague hope something new will happen, you can instead catch up on all the memes you missed using Rrrewind. This will quickly become one of your favourite haunts because it is just so good at letting you browse all the popular stories on the web.

What’s Rrrewind?

popular stories on the webRrrewind lets you see all the popular stories on the best services on any given day. Although that sounds a lot like the PopURLs archive, it’s not exactly that. The PopURLs archive is a snapshot of the day, showing you exactly what PopURLs looked like that day. Rrrewind is more focused on the content you like best, and is far more browsable for exploring just your favourites.

The services Rrrewind covers include Delicious, Digg, Hacker News, Reddit, Hulu, Yahoo Videos, YouTube, Dribbble, Flickr, Amazon and Yahoo Buzz.

Rrrewind goes back as far as 2009, so there’s plenty of link goodness for you to peruse. Videos and pictures are shown as embedded media, so they’re compelling and interesting to view.

most popular articles on the web

How Do I Use Rrrewind?

The way it works is quite simple. You click on the service you want to look at, then you browse through that service’s popular items of the day as you wish. When you’re finished, click on the big arrow on your right and it will go back a day. Repeat ad infinitum.

most popular articles on the web

If you want to go back further, just click on the “Archives” link in the top right. There you can choose the day you want to start on, then continue browsing normally.

most popular articles on the web

As you can see, this can get quite addictive. Hours of your life might get sucked into this void. But it is a great way to browse the best content so you can’t really knock it for doing that well.

popular stories on the web

Thoughts On Rrrewind

I’m sure there’s more that can be done with Rrrewind. More services could be added easily. I would also appreciate it if you had the ability to stay on the day you reached when you change services. But neither of these are necessary ideas and they would both detract from the simplicity of the website.

The direct competitor here is PopURLs. PopURLs have a great number of services covered, going back as far as 2008. If PopURLs were to offer left/right archive navigation arrows such as the Rrrewind arrow it would be just as easy to navigate as Rrrewind. So if PopURLs were to add these arrows, Rrrewind might well fade into obscurity. In the meantime though, we can enjoy its simplicity and handy browse features.

More Internet!

If you’re mad keen to find new and interesting stuff online, try reading these articles:

What’s your favourite way to find interesting content online? Let us know in the comments!  Bonus points to the first person that says “MakeUseOf”.

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5 RSS Feed Search Engines You Should Try Out For Fresh Content

Posted: 14 Jan 2011 10:31 AM PST

feed search engineRSS (Rich Site Summary) as we know is the most common way to publish content that's regularly updated on the web. Using your feed reader, you can have all the fresh pickings without needing to visit each site individually. Today, any website or blog worth its salt syndicates its content via RSS feeds. It is the easiest forms of 'social communication'. Just like any part of a website, RSS feeds are also optimized for search engines. The RSS meta-data i.e. the data that defines the feed includes the publishing date and any other useful information that might be included in its XML code.

That's why you can think of feed search engines as one of the easiest ways to search for the latest feeds en masse. A feed search engine also links to the RSS feed link and a preview of the content if you choose to subscribe without browsing through the site.

Here are five you can try out and see if they give you more convenient results than a general search engine.

Search 4 RSS

feed search engine helps you discover feeds by using a keyword. An auto-complete dropdown helps you with possible keywords. You can click on the URL of the website in the search results or directly click on the RSS feed link and subscribe to it. A grey link lets you preview the feed content from the site. is actually a motley of search engines available through one search box.


rss feed search engine

The name comes from the Dutch language and it means something that's close to 'a place to search'. Plazoo is an RSS search engine that looks for news and information in thousands of RSS-Feeds. You can search across categories like blogs, company news, job market, news and media, and more. Results can be sorted by relevance or date. A set of advanced filters also fine tunes the search results. For instance, you can set which date should the oldest result have. You can limit searches by languages and media type too. You can use a ClipBox to save any of the search results.


rss feed search engine

Quite obviously, the name of the feed search engine comes from RSS and Google. You can use it like a general purpose search engine or use it to search for RSS feeds with a click on either of its two buttons. also extracts the date of the feed, so you can go for the ones which are current. If you like to add the search tool to your list of search engines in the browser; click on the link given at the top.


rss feed search engine is a feed specific search tool that taps into 12,000 indexed news sources. The service also uses its own proprietary feed ranking technology to improve the quality of the search results. Along with the feed search, you can do a web search, videos, and images. Before subscribing to the feed you can look into the inline preview and other included posts. After trying out the service, I am still a bit fuzzy about the co-relation between the site's own Feedrank and the real timeliness of the search results.


feed search engine

Jamesoo presents the searched out latest news in a newspaper-styled layout with a summary and a link to the main content. The search engine takes all the news from the latest RSS feeds published. You can also use the crawler in a choice of 15 languages.  It is not perfect though, as some old posts make their way into the results page.

Feed search engines may not be your preferred method, but RSS feed search engines are another category of search tools you can keep in your research toolbox. Feeds are coded in specific ways that make it easy to digest by search tools like these. Usual search engines commonly index a site as a whole. That's why even as search engines improve, you can use these feed specific search engines and broaden the scope of your results.

Also be sure to check out these posts on some great search engines:

The 5 Most Advanced Search Engines On The Web
13 Alternative Search Engines That Find What Google Can't
Top 7 Semantic Search Engines As An Alternative To Google

Can you recommend any more?

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Setting Up An Amahi Home Server – Adding a Drive To Your Server [Linux]

Posted: 14 Jan 2011 09:31 AM PST

Last week, I introduced you to the Amahi home server and talked about why you might want to set up a home server at all and all the great things it could do on your network. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go into some of the advanced setup and additional features, so let’s take a look at those today.

Specifically, we’ll be adding a drive or two into the server, and changing the horrible default theme. Warning: There is a tiny bit of command line work involved, but I’ve simplified things and found a GUI alternative wherever possible.

Changing Your Home Server Theme With The App Gallery

Let’s face it – the basic theme built into your Amahi install is pretty ugly. Like all great things (read: the iPhone) – there’s an app for that. Take a look at the app gallery by opening up your HDA through the web interface (http://hda), or by clicking the Amahi dashboard icon on your server desktop. Click on the Apps link in the top right, and you’ll be taken straight to the app tab of the setup page. Unless you’ve already explored the app directory and had a go yourself, you’ll probably be greeted by this message:

You can either click on the Available link or the blue + icon to browse the apps. For now, let’s choose the Agedashi Theme, click to expand it, and click on the big install button:

After installing, a large link to Manage Themes should appear – click that to take you directly to the appropriate setup tab. You should see two thumbnails now, so click on the second one for Agedashi and your dashboard will instantly transform into something a little nicer, like so:

I’ll show you some of the more interesting apps in a future article, but let’s move on to more important things.

Adding An Additional Hard Drive

The first thing I wanted to do was to add some of the mountains of spare drives I have into the server and make them useful. Unfortunately, the process is far from plug-and-play level of easy. Take note Amahi developers – you really need to sort this out. The average user might have made it this far, but given how important the simple function of managing drives is in a server, you would really hope it was easier. Anyway, here’s how I managed it:

  • Shut down and physically install the drive into your system. Getting it correctly plugged in is beyond the scope of this article, so I’m going to assume you know how to do this.
  • Turn your system back on, make sure the drive is recognized, then log into your Amahi server (not remotely – use the keyboard and monitor actually attached to the server). On the desktop, click on Applications -> System Tools -> Disk Utility.
  • On the left hand side, you should see all the drives in your system. Click on the drive you will be adding, and as the screenshot shows, the small erase icon on the right end of the toolbar. You’ll need to authenticate with your root password.
  • Next, click on the xxGB Unrecognized smaller drive icon beneath the main drive that now reads Unknown or Unused. You should see the following screen:
  • At the bottom, where it says Create Partition Table, select the type Master Boot Record and click the Create button directly beneath.
  • The main drive icon should now indicate “MBR Partition Table“, but beneath it will say xxGB Free. Click on the smaller icon beneath again, and the Create Partition screen should appear as the screenshot below shows. Label it whatever you want, select the Type to be Linux Ext4, make sure Take ownership of filesystem is ticked, then click Create
  • At this point, it might look like nothing happened, but it’s currently working. If you click on that small partition icon again, you will see it is in the process of formatting your drive as you requested. Leave it to do its work.
  • Next we will need to get our hands dirty in the terminal. Launch it from the Applications -> System Tools -> Terminal menu.
  • Type su - (s u space dash), Enter, and type in your password. Next, type hda-diskmount (hda dash diskmount, no spaces), and hit Enter again. You will see something similar to the following:
  • Don’t close the window, as we need to edit a little file first. Copy the line I highlighted above, the one beginning with UUID. (Right click -> copy). Don’t forget the line continues onto the next line and ends with “defaults 1 2“. You must copy the whole thing.
  • From the terminal, type gedit and hit Enter. This will bring up a standard gedit window, which is basically a text editor. Use the Open button, select Filesystem from the left hand side, then open the folder “etc“, and the file named “fstab“.
  • Paste the line you copied onto the last line of the file. You can see in the screenshot below I already did one earlier, so now I have two.
  • Save the file, close gedit, and restart your system from System -> Shutdown -> Restart.

That’s it – if you go to the storage tab of the Amahi Setup page, you should see your total storage has now increased.

In my next article, I’ll show you how to set up file duplication using the Greyhole storage pool, which allows you to duplicate certain sets of files across 2 or more drives for the ultimate in redundancy – if one drive fails, you’ll still have copies of the file on other drives. Stay tuned, and remember to ask if the comments if you’re having issues and I’ll my best to help.

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Google Translate Brings Star Trek’s Universal Translator One Step Closer [News]

Posted: 14 Jan 2011 09:06 AM PST

Translations used to be hard. Whenever someone talked to you in another language when, say, you traveled to another country, you were pretty much out of luck if you didn’t spend time learning it prior to going or if you didn’t have a translator on hand.

Translation books and even phone applications can only carry you so far, as it has become tedious work trying to use them to navigate exactly what you’re looking for. However, Google has just released an epic update to their Translate for Android app on its one year anniversary. What’s epic about it? Conversation Mode.

What’s New With Google Translate?

As reported by Tech Crunch, most of the updates to that app pertain to the user interface, but Converstion Mode, while only in alpha, is very impressive.

It works exactly how you’d think it would, in a perfect world. You speak in one language into your phone, the app translates it for you, and it outputs the translation through your phone’s speaker. The person also has the opportunity to respond back into the phone, repeating the process from the other end.

To see this in action, here is a YouTube video of Google demoing the app on stage, taken from a conference in Berlin back in September. The demo starts roughly 26 mins & 24 seconds in:

More information about the update can be found on Google’s Mobile Blog. You can download the app on your Android device by using the bar scanner app to scan this QR Code:


The fact that this exists is amazing. As Google notes, the app is still in the very early stages, as they’ve experienced a few issues with background noise, accents, and other things you might expect, but all in all it looks like very good progress. I’m curious to see how this will wind up.

What do you think of the new Google Translate?

[Note]: Currently, the app only works in English and Spanish (sorry, rest of the world!)

Source: Tech Crunch



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Automatically Log Your Work & Invoice Clients With PC Fare Meter

Posted: 14 Jan 2011 08:31 AM PST

daily work logTime tracking software has always intrigued me. I never actually got myself to use one because I never really had so much work with so many clients that I couldn’t keep track of things.

Well, recently things changed. My client list expanded and my available time to work shrunk. I realized that a lot of my online time was wasted with constantly checking and responding to email or checking and responding to Facebook posts. What I needed was a way – some sort of daily work log – to track and quantify just how much time I could gain in productivity by cutting those areas where I waste time.

I took a look at some of the apps covered here at MakeUseOf, like the online trackers Shankar covered, the web-based time tracker called Yast, and the desktop trackers Damien covered. The problem was, the online trackers weren’t quite as versatile as the desktop ones, and the desktop ones listed above were either too complicated, or not detailed enough for my needs. So, searching on the web, I finally discovered the perfect daily work log on SourceForge called PC Fare Meter.

Getting Started With Monitoring Your Work

You see just how easy it is to use the Fare Meter when you start it up and see the helpful list of 4 steps to get started.

daily work log

The software is called PC Fare Meter for a very simple reason. The PC Fare Mater essentially logs the time you spend on specific tasks just like a taxi cab driver logs the time spent driving particular customers around. This software will also help you figure out how to show that time in terms of real money.

work log

On the main screen you’ll see the list of clients (or projects). You can add a new one at the bottom of the screen. If you are in a business like web design where you charge hourly rates, you can enter your hourly rates. You can also further organize these clients into “groups”. This helps you keep track of how much time you spend on different “types” of work.

The software is also configurable enough so that you can tell it how much of your computer activity to log, and you can even allow the software to monitor more than one project at a time. Multiple project tracking works by assigning certain window text to specific projects (as you’ll later see in this article).

Once you have your project list ready, monitoring your work time is as simple as clicking one of the stop watches and starting work. So, for example, before I start working on my next MakeUseOf article I click the little stopwatch. At that point, the software logs all of my activity and how much time I spend in each window.

work log

This gives a much more accurate representation of how much you actually worked on what you wanted to work on. When you open the project, you’ll see a breakdown of the individual windows or apps you used, and how long you spent in each one. The software will also break it down by browser window, so I can see how much time I actually worked on the article and how much time I spent Facebooking.

work log

Sometimes, you might remember something you had to do for a different project, so you’ll open up a new window, finish that task, and then get back to your original project. You can go into the PC Fare Meter and reassign that activity time to the correct project by simply clicking on the activity and clicking the “Move Windows” button. You can select the correct project for that activity in the pop-up box.

computer activity tracker

As another useful organization feature, you can also name the task grouping based on what you were working on. This means that within a project like “MakeUseOf”, I might start the timer at the beginning of writing an article, and I’d call that “Writing”. Then I’ll start the timer again and call that grouping of tasks “Editing.” This lets you break down your work, especially for clients that like to see a detailed breakdown of work on an invoice.

computer activity tracker

Don’t feel like going in and “fixing” those little tasks that you perform? Let PC Fare Meter automate the process with the “Auto Move” feature. Here you can tell the software that if you’re using a window or browser tab with certain text in it – always log the time in a particular project bucket.

computer activity tracker

Of course, the software wouldn’t be complete or even very useful if you couldn’t export all of your time logs. With this app, you can export your information to a CSV file. You can also archive logs (a good idea when they get very large), or just save individual files locally.

daily work log

For the most part, PC Fare Meter not only tracks your time, but it helps you to automatically organize that time into buckets that later allow you to get a better picture of how much time you actually spend working on what you think you’re working on, and also accurate charge for the time you’ve spent on different jobs.

Have you ever tried PC Fare Meter? Did it help you organize your computer time better? Do you use another activity logging app to develop a daily work log? Share your insight in the comments section below!

Image credit: A Syed

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How To Organize Your Clothes With Your PC

Posted: 14 Jan 2011 07:31 AM PST

how to organize clothesComputers are excellent organization tools, frequently used to manage taxes, bank accounts, shopping lists, letters and emails, addresses and much, much more. In general, computers are used to organize information rather than physical things – but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Your wardrobe, for example, can easily be managed on your PC.

If you’re a fairly fashion-dumb person (like me) the need for this may not be immediately obvious. But even those who don’t care much for fashion can benefit from this. I don’t care a lot about clothes, so I often find myself forgetting what I own. If you have a similar problem, or you have a massive array of clothing to catalog and you don’t know where to start when it comes to how to organize clothes, there are some wardrobe managers that can help.

HomyFads Wardrobe Manager

how to organize clothes

This beautifully simple wardrobe management software is a free download and does not require any online registration. Once you’ve installed HomyFads, you can create a wardrobe, which appears in a three-column layout. The left column contains the categories of clothing you’ve created, the middle category contains thumbnail photographs of your clothing, and the right column lets you view and add details about the clothing you own.

Like all of the wardrobe management methods listed here, this is a photo-based program. You will need to take photos of your clothing in order to add them (although I suppose you could fudge it by using placeholder photos, if you feel this won’t cause confusion). There is no apparent limit on the number of items you can add, and because this program is entirely local, you can browse through your wardrobe quickly even if you’ve taken high-resolution photos.

There is no social media or online functionality built into HomyFads, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want to share your wardrobe or browse stores for new clothing. This drawback has its advantages however, as HomyFads is by far the easiest and quickest wardrobe manager listed here.


how to organize your clothes

The clearly female-centric Shmotter is a busy online wardrobe management tool that puts an emphasis on social media. It can, if you’d like, be used as a basic utility for storing photos of your clothing and arranging them to keep them organized.

However, Shmotter puts a heavy focus on outfits. You can drag any items – either those you own or those available from the site’s partners – into the outfit feature, mixing and matching as you please.  Once you’ve put together something you like you can share it with friends using Twitter or Facebook. Outfits are also shared automatically over the Shmotter network, which means that everyone will be able to see  an outfit that you put together and rate it. Top-rated outfits are automatically shown on the front page, presumably so you can borrow from them if you’d like.

I do wish the Shmotter website was more organized, as it is a bit of a mess compared to something like HomyFads, the perfect picture of user-friendly simplicity. Still, it does its job and will probably appeal to the fashion-conscious more readily than HomyFads.


how to organize clothes

ClosetBank is another online wardrobe management tool, and it has many similarities and differences when compared to Shmotter. When it comes to basic wardrobe management, ClosetBank is the better of the two, as it has a more robust wardrobe overview and lets you add more information about your clothing. The interface of the website is a bit better overall, as well, although still far from the brilliance of HomyFads.

On the other hand, the outfit creation part of ClosetBank (called “dress up”) is clearly inferior to Shmotter. The menu-based method of adding clothing is obtuse and the execution proved buggy in Google Chrome. And while ClosetBank does link to a number of websites on its front page, it doesn’t let you automatically add clothing sold by its partners into your outfits. You must find an image of the clothing you want to add online, download it to your computer, and then upload it to the site.


Personally, I find HomyFads to be the best of the wardrobe management tools here, but that’s probably because I’m not much for fashion and I don’t care about making or sharing outfits. If that’s something that appeals to you, I suggest trying out both Shmotter and ClosetBank – both have their advantages and disadvantages.

If you know of any better ways how to organize clothes with your PC, let us know in the comments.

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