Wednesday, February 23, 2011 “Chat With Your Facebook Friends From Your Windows Live Account [News]” plus 10 more “Chat With Your Facebook Friends From Your Windows Live Account [News]” plus 10 more

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Chat With Your Facebook Friends From Your Windows Live Account [News]

Posted: 23 Feb 2011 05:01 AM PST

After initially launching this feature in just a few select countries, Hotmail now offers all users complete Facebook chat integration with their accounts. While a lot of people might already use third party messenger applications like Trillion or Adium, with this latest update, Hotmail makes it easy to chat with your MSN and Facebook friends from any computer in one place, without having to download additional software.

It’s clearly been a popular move, as they mention over on their blog, over 2.5 million more people have connected their Facebook accounts to their Windows Live accounts since the update.

If you want to take advantage of this feature, connecting your Facebook account is a simple process, and by so doing you’ll be able to chat with friends from Facebook, see their status updates and share your Windows Live status messages and updates with your Facebook friends. You will also be able to publish photos to Facebook and tag your friends using the Windows Live Photo Gallery.


Of course by so doing, you are granting Windows Live access to the basic information in your Facebook profile including your name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information you’ve shared with everyone, as well as your profile information, photos and videos, and even access your friends’ information, including birthdays, current cities, work history, websites, photos and videos of them.


If, in the future, you want to revoke permission, you can do so by going to services, under which your connected services are listed.


After you’ve connected your accounts, you may need to sign out and sign back in for it to take effect. Once it does, your Facebook friends will appear on your homepage and your Facebook contacts will be listed separately under your contacts, and you can begin to chat with your Facebook friends from your Hotmail account.


Are you going to connect your Windows Live and Facebook accounts? What do you think of this latest update? Let us know in the comments.



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Cool Websites and Tools [February 22nd]

Posted: 22 Feb 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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Flickr Wallpaper Rotator – Although Microsoft offers a lot of nice and cool images which one could use as their wallpaper, it cannot obviously match Flickr's collection. So what do you do if you are a Windows user and want to fetch images from Flickr as your desktop wallpaper? Flickr Wallpaper Rotator is the answer. Read more: Flickr Wallpaper Rotator: Use Flickr Photos As Wallpaper


Gift A Stranger – Has somebody ever been randomly kind to you? Remember how happy that made you feel? Now thanks to Gift A Stranger, you can share that same feeling with others. Gift A Stranger is a free to use website that helps you make a stranger happy by sending a gift to a random address that is selected from Google Maps. Read more: Gift A Stranger: Make A Stranger Happy By Sending A Gift



Makeup Alley – is a makeup social network dedicated to beauty consumers throughout the world. Not only can members interact with each other, they can also read thousands of reviews for beauty products and contribute their own. The site has a message board where you can ask questions or share tips, and a cool feature called “shopping diaries”. Read more: Makeup Alley: Beauty & Makeup Social Network



Look4leaks – As most of you will know, Wikileaks recently released a massive number of confidential documents that detailed communications between numerous countries. People are having trouble accessing these documents online because first, they are in English, and secondly some ISP's have made the Wikileaks site inaccessible. Read more: Look4leaks: Search & Read Wikileaks Documents Online



Planely – is a web app that operates around the idea of letting people on the same flights socialize. Start by adding your upcoming flights including your departure and arrival airport, and Planely will match you up with other people who are either on the same flight as you, or at the same airports at the same time. If you are interested in interacting with one of the matches, you can simply send them a message. Read more: Planely: Find & Socialize With People On The Same Flights


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 Toughest Tech Questions [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 22 Feb 2011 05:31 PM PST

MakeUseOf Answers receives some of the toughest questions and provides some of the best answers every week.

Check out what questions were not completely solved during the past week. Maybe you can help and contribute that last bit of wisdom we need. A great answer will enter you into the Best Answer of the Week contest which is worth $50.

Below are your challenges:

MakeUseOf Answers offers three alternative views: 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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Reminder: bundlelytic Charity App Bundle Ends In 5 Days

Posted: 22 Feb 2011 03:30 PM PST

For those who have just joined us, MakeUseOf has its hand in a humanitarian effort to help recent disaster victims in Queensland, Australia. Until the 28th of February, you may purchase 9 great and very useful apps for a low price of $39.99. Half of the proceeds from your purchase will be donated to the Queensland Disaster Relief. The purchase is instant and as soon as payment is complete, you’ll receive an email with download links and your licensing information. Buy now from bundlelytic.

Among the apps included in the bundle are Paragon Partition Manger 11 Personal, novaPDF Professional Desktop Edition, SafeWallet for Windows, Divvy for Windows, EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard, Pixo, Returnil System Safe 2011, 360Amigo System Speedup and Altaro Oops!Backup. In total, you’re getting $299 worth of applications for just $39.99

If you don’t feel like spending any money (although it’s for a good cause), join the giveaway for a chance to win one of 25 free bundles.

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TwtRoulette: Randomly View Twitter Through Other People’s Eyes

Posted: 22 Feb 2011 01:31 PM PST

twtrouletteDo you ever wonder if other people on Twitter are getting more out of it than you? When you see people who only follow a small amount of people, do you wonder what makes these few people so great?  Or do you just wish you could find more people worth following?

It turns out there’s a really easy way to take a good look at the people another user is following. By using TwtRoulette, you can view another person’s full Twitter timeline exactly as they see it. Obviously, most people use Twitter lists and clients to cut down on the noise once they’re following a certain amount of people. If you’re keen to see just a specific list of theirs, you can always do that from their Twitter profile. But to see everything they see in Twitter, TwtRoulette is the tool for the job.


Using TwtRoulette

When you first see TwtRoulette, you will notice there’s a few selected users displayed whose Twitter timelines you might like to view. If you want a little more choice, at the bottom of the page there’s a link to the full directory.

tweet roulette

It’s also possible to search for someone specific, using the search field at the top.

Join The TwtRoulette Directory

If you think you’re following a great bunch of people, feel free to add yourself to the TwtRoulette directory. It will authenticate using oAuth and future TwtRoulette users will be able to see your name in the list of potential TwtRouletters. It’s not required, so you can choose whether it’s for you or not.

tweet roulette

If it’s not for you, get back to the browsing.

tweet roulette

Random Twitter Timeline

The fun bit is when you try the random user gamble. Up in the top-right, there’s a “Random” link to pick a new TwtRouletter Twitter timeline to view. If you’re already viewing a profile, you’ll see a “Next” button too.

roulette tweet

Social Sharing

If you like a list you’re viewing, you can share it to Twitter easily. Plus, if you want more information on a person there’s a link to their profile and the Tweet’s permalink from TwtRoulette. If you have added yourself to the directory by authenticating, you’re logged in to the system. This means you’ll also be able to reply, favourite and retweet from within TwtRoulette.

roulette tweet

Has TwtRoulette Got Any Serious Uses?

So, this Twitter toy could keep you entertained for hours browsing other people’s Twitter timelines. But what else could it be good for? Well, I can think of a number of things.

For starters, you may want to look at the timeline of someone you admire either as a role model or a leader in your field. If you’re going for a new job, maybe you could spend some time taking note of the sorts of people which the employer respects and admires. Or if you’ve noticed someone always retweeting interesting Tweets, maybe it would be worth following their timeline to see where their news comes from.

TwtRoulette could also be a great way to find new people to follow. As most people on Twitter well know, the bio and follower count doesn’t really tell us much about a person. What if they’re slightly famous, but never Tweet? What if they’re new to Twitter, but quirky and interesting all day long? These are things you won’t see unless you follow the person yourself, thoroughly check each profile or use a tool like TwtRoulette to find them serendipitously via someone else’s timeline.


Competition for TwtRoulette

A potential threat to TwtRoulette would most obviously be Twitter itself implementing a tool like this. But Twitter seem to be focusing on monetising and keeping things simple so I don’t think that will be a problem for some time yet.

The next most obvious worry with TwtRoulette would be spam and offensive Twitter accounts. Since accounts added to their system are managed by oAuth, spam accounts will be deleted from their system as they are deleted from Twitter. But there doesn’t seem to be an in-house reporting system for offensive accounts. Surely this will need to be addressed later by TwtRoulette, since Twitter doesn’t delete these accounts automatically.

More Reading

You’re obviously a fan of Twitter, so you might also like these tools:

If you’ve thought of another great use for TwtRoulette or found an excellent timeline to check out, let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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Hot Tech Deals [Feb 22nd]

Posted: 22 Feb 2011 12:30 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. PNY Optima 4GB (1x4GB) DDR3-1066GHz PC3-8500 Notebook Memory $27.39AR Free Shipping via code LM15FB11US (Exp 2/24 or Sooner)
  2. Acer Aspire AS5552-5898 AMD Phenom II Triple-Core N830 2.1Ghz 15.6in Laptop (4GB/500GB/Win7) $399.99
  3. Fallout New Vegas Game (PS3, Xbox 360) $29.99, PC $19.99 Free Shipping via code SAVER
  4. Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1600MHz Desktop Memory $19.99AR Free Ship via code EMCKHHH42 (exp 2/28)
  5. TODAY ONLY Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS 14MP 4X Digital Camera $159.99 Free Shipping
  6. TODAY ONLY Intel Pentium E6500 Barebones Computer SuperCombo $299AR.99 Free Shipping
  7. Toshiba 32SL400U 32in LED-Backlit LCD HDTV (720p) $399.99 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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7 Websites For Those Who Want To Solve The Rubik’s Cube With A Bit Of Online Help

Posted: 22 Feb 2011 11:31 AM PST

rubiks cube solutionIt's a toy puzzle whose solution is defined by a mammoth number – forty-three quintillion. If you have ever tried to solve the Rubik's Cube and succeeded, you got one out of those quintillion combination’s right.

The Rubik's cube is said to be the world's most popular toy; but like no other toy, it can drive you up the wall, reveal the shortcomings of your intelligence, or give you a pumped up chest in case you manage to crack it. There's small chance of the latter because Rubik's Cube does not give away its secrets that easily.

The number of websites that show the Rubik's Cube solution attests to the last fact. It also shows the popularity of the toy across the world and in our popular culture. The puzzle created by the scrambled twenty-six miniature colored cubes has led to many records and competitions.

In case you are unable to solve the Rubik's cube, here are seven websites that can help you cheat your way to the solution.


rubiks cube solution

The official website of the Rubik's Cube is a one stop resource for everything and anything that has to do with the toy. You have the store where you can buy products designed around the puzzle. But if you are looking for hints to solve the Rubik's Cube, head for Rubik's Solving Center. You have video help for solving everything from 2×2 cubes to the 5×5 ones. A very colorful step-by-step guide is also provided that takes you to your goal. If you are really into the Rubik's mindbenders, head for the Forum where you can discuss solutions and tips.

Rubik's Cube Solution

solving rubiks cube

This is a 'fansite' by Ryan Heise who takes you through many animated instructions that show how to solve the Rubik's Cube. The solutions stress on doing it without memorization. Beginners or those stumped by the cube can start with the Beginner’s Rubik’s Cube Solution. The site also goes into the theory behind the cube that helps you to understand the method in the solutions. You can also go against the score of others in the three virtual Rubik's Cube games (like the Rubik's Cube Simulator) on the site.

Rubik's Cube Solver

how to solve a rubiks cube

Using the six colored 'cubelets', you have to enter the configuration of your cube in the grids provided. A click on Solve gives you the sequence of moves needed to solve the scrambled Rubik's Cube. You also get a visual step-by-step guide of the moves. A previous post goes into the details of the cheat methodology used by this solver.

Andy Klise's Rubik's Cube Guides

how to solve a rubiks cube

The site hosts a few printable guides which you can download and use to solve Rubik's Cube. The visually rich guides are single page PDF sheets which can be easily printed out and used to memorize the algorithms necessary to solve the various formats of the puzzle.


how to solve a rubiks cube

The discussion board's chatter revolves around speed solving puzzles with special focus on the Rubik's Cube. The threads and posts are on the latest puzzles, speedcubing techniques, and competitions that are held around the year. There are sub-forums on blindfold cubing and various how-to guides that discuss various methods of cracking the cubes. The Wiki is also a useful place to start out with its well organized index of information.

You Can Do the Cube

rubiks cube solution

This beautifully colored side reflects the fun you can have unlocking the secrets of the cube. The site is the online face of a campaign to inspire the young to take up the toy and solve its puzzles. It seeks to promote the educational objectives and the benefits that can be had by learning the Rubik's Cube solution. The useful tool is a colorful infographic that helps to Unlock the Secret of the cube. The solution guide in PDF can also be downloaded in English or Spanish.


For a bit of video instructions, we land on How to Solve a Rubik's Cube – a Seven Step Tutorial after a search. YouTube has loads of videos which demonstrate the methods and techniques involved. You can use the suggestions given on the right or click on the tags to get many more videos on the cube. Expect funny results like the Rubik’s Cube Rap.

Solving the Rubik's Cube may take days or with the help of these online resources it can be cut to seconds. Either way, you can loads of fun in the process. If you have never taken up the 'Magic Cube' ever, it's not too late. But if you have, then do let us know if you are among the few who manage to get to the solution (without cheating).

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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How To Share Any Internet Connection With Any WiFi Device Using Virtual Router [Windows]

Posted: 22 Feb 2011 10:31 AM PST

share your wifi connectionHow many WiFi devices do you own? I own three myself – my iPad, iPod, and Android smartphone – but only my smartphone is capable of reaching the Internet without a WiFi connection. If I didn’t own a wireless router or I was someplace that only offered a plug-in connection, I would be out of luck with these devices.

That’s not the case with Virtual Router. Virtual Router essentially turns any Windows 7 (or Windows 2008 R2) computer into a WiFi hotspot using Windows 7′s Wireless Hosted Network (Virtual WiFi) technology. It’s really simple to set up and it works well, so if you’re looking for a way to create a secure wireless hotspot using your laptop, you’re in luck.

What Is Virtual Router?

Virtual Router is a free, open source software based router for PCs running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

Using Virtual Router, you will be able to wirelessly share any Internet connection, whether it’s WiFi, LAN, cable modem, cellular, or even dial-up, with any WiFi-enabled device, like laptops, smartphones, netbooks, iPods, iPads, wireless printers, etc. These devices will connect to Virtual Router just like any other access point, and the connection will be secured using WPA2 encryption, which is considered the most secure type of wireless security.

Virtual Router can be used anywhere. It’s completely free, has no ads, and it does not track your web traffic. As I just mentioned, the wireless network created or shared with the program uses WPA2 encryption, which cannot be turned off. This feature is actually built into Windows 7 and 2008 R2′s wireless hosted network API to ensure maximum security.

How Does It Work?

As I mentioned earlier, Virtual Router “makes use of” Windows 7′s Wireless Hosted Network aka Virtual WiFi technology”. Okay, so what’s that?

Since 2002, Microsoft has been looking for a way to virtualize the WiFi adapter, turning a single piece of hardware and radio into virtually unlimited adapters. Years later, all that research worked its way into Windows 7′s networking capabilities.

In essence, Virtual WiFi works very similarly to how virtualization works for operating systems. There is a transparent sharing of limited hardware resources to many operating systems. Virtual WiFi, therefore, is a software layer that abstracts the wireless LAN card hardware into multiple virtual adapters. The result is an operating system that acts like you have multiple WLAN adapters working independently, even though you only have one.

How Do I Use Virtual Router?

share your wifi connection

Using the application is extremely simple. Just head over to Virtual Router’s homepage and click the Download button off to the right. Download, install, and run the application to start using it.

When you open Virtual Router up, you’ll see the first and only window you’ll need to start broadcasting a wireless signal.

share your internet connection

You can change the network’s SSID to whatever you’d like it to read when users locate the connection on their devices, and you can set the password to anything you like, as long as it’s at least 8 digits.

share your internet connection

Then all you have to do is select which connection you would like to share from the drop-down menu (Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection) and click the Start Virtual Router button to start your connection.

share your wifi connection

Now you should be able to see your newly created connection on your WiFi devices. Just type in the password you set and you will officially be connected to the Internet.

For such a simple program, Virtual Router really comes in handy at times. I was very impressed with how easy it was to use and how well it worked. What do you think of this application?

Image Credit: Macs Peter

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Track Your Hours Spent Doing Stuff With The Help Of Cuckoo [iOS]

Posted: 22 Feb 2011 09:31 AM PST

track your hoursIt’s very easy to lose track of time, especially when you are absorbed in doing something that you really love. As an extreme example, I know someone who had to be hospitalized after playing a strategy computer game non-stop for three whole days – without sleeping and supported only by light snacks. He managed to finish the game earlier than his buddies, but he had to pay a hefty price for the win.

Even though most of us won’t go that far, it’s nice to have something to nudge us along every once in a while, just to remind us that we’ve been doing something for a certain number of hours and it might be a good time to have a break. If you have an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) user, you might want to try Cuckoo.

Say Cuckoo!

Cuckoo is a simple application that will chime every hour just like a grandfather clock. The app will help you to keep track of the hours that have passed by. But unlike a grandfather clock, you can customize the sound that will be played. You can also choose the working hours of the app so you won’t be bothered during your good night’s sleep (or any other settings that you choose).

After installing the app, you can easily turn the app on and off, and have a quick preview of what kind of sound the app will play. If there’s something that you want to change, you can access the settings from the bottom of the screen.

track your hours

The settings mainly consist of “General” and “Sound” settings. There’s also the option to follow Cuckoo on Twitter and Facebook.

track time

General Settings” is the place where you can change the start and stop hour. You can set the range to cover the hours when you do your work or any other arrangements that suit you best. To adjust the range, tap the “Start Hour” or “Stop Hour” and tap the time.

track time

Hear More Sounds

In the “Sounds” settings, you can choose one of the many available sounds. However, there’s only two activated sounds when you first start using Cuckoo. To activate the others, you need to “Join The Game“.

track time

Joining the game means connecting Cuckoo with your Facebook and/or Twitter account. This action will put a post on your Facebook wall, or a tweet on your Twitter account, promoting Cuckoo. If you feel uncomfortable allowing Cuckoo to access your account but you want to activate all the sounds, you could create a new Facebook/Twitter account and link Cuckoo to it.

track your time

After the linking process is successful, other sounds will be unlocked and ready to use. There’s also the option to “Get More Sounds“.

track your time

There are options to get Animal Sounds, Funny Sounds, and human sounds that will Announce The Time. However, these additional sounds packages are not free. You can buy them for $1 each.

track your hours

After finishing the settings, you can close the app. You don’t have to keep Cuckoo running to make the chime sounds.

Simple But Useful

Cuckoo might not be for everybody, because it does only one thing: chime the hours (even though it does it very well). Some people might also think that Cuckoo is too simple. But I think it’s the simplicity that makes Cuckoo great, and you should try it to get the experience. Even though it’s possible to use iOS’s “Clock” to set off an alarm every hour, setting up those alarms might be troublesome. If you need to hear 12 alarms for the next 12 hours, you’ll need to set 12 different alarms. Cuckoo makes everything easier. The best combination would be using the Clock for a daily alarm, and Cuckoo to fill the gaps between alarms.

One feature that I hope will be added in a future version is the ability to set the chimes for customizable intervals – like 30 minutes, 15 minutes, or 10 minutes. There are choices for 15 and 30 minutes chimes, but they are limited to only “Grandfather” sounds.

I found Cuckoo to be very useful, but different people might have different opinions. What about you? Have you tried Cuckoo? Do you have your favorite free alarm application? Share your opinions using the comments section below.

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Famundo – An Alternative To Google Calendar For Families

Posted: 22 Feb 2011 08:31 AM PST

alternative to google calendarFamilies today face challenges that are very different from say a hundred years ago. Today’s world is dominated by technology, information overflow, and appointments. For parents, i.e. the managers of the social enterprise known as family, there is no way around thorough planning. A calendar is not an option, but a necessity!

Famundo is an online calendar solution designed for families of up to four adults and two kids. While its central feature is the calendar, it offers additional perks, such as lists, to-dos, vaults for private notes or files, and a lot more. It makes a great alternative to Google Calendar for families because it was designed to be used with different levels of access in mind, e.g. family, parents, adults, and friend.

The membership for families is free. It comes with up to 250MB file storage. The ad-free PLUS membership plan currently offers SSL Security and up to 2GB of file storage. Outlook sync support, a Facebook and an iGoogle app are being planned and will be available to PLUS members in the future.

Before you start I should mention that Famundo has some issues with Google Chrome. Firefox or Internet Explorer are recommended.

1. Family Homepage

This is the first place you are taken to after signing up. It’s the Dashboard and it provides an overview of your connections, upcoming events, and latest news from your network, i.e. recent changes. Unfortunately, you cannot edit this page.

alternative to google calendar

2. Calendar Setup

What convinced me that Famundo was a great solution for families is its ease of use.

First of all, it is very simple to set up multiple calendars in custom categories via the Options menu in the top right of the calendar. Each calendar is color-coded, so that different calendar items are easily identified. To see the color codes, make sure you’re in single person rather than family view; the selection can be made in the top left corner of the Calendar page.

Secondly, adding new events to the calendar is very intuitive. You simply move to the respective calendar view (day, week, month) and drag the mouse across the hours or days to block off time for the new event. Next, you fill in the details under Quick Add in the sidebar to the left. To edit, copy, or delete an item, you can click on it and select the respective action.

best alternative to google calendar

3. Friends

Up to 6 people can administer a page on Famundo. However, you can share your page with the public or an indefinite number of friends or other families that also have pages on Famundo. This feature is great if you frequently plan activities with a network of people, for example car-pools, day trips, or other group activities.

4. Address Book, Photos, Blogs, Messages & Files

If your entire network is on Famundo and if you’re extremely social, these features may be valuable. Personally, I find that they are just too much. It’s easier to use dedicated services, such as email or Facebook for collecting addresses and sending messages, Flickr for sharing photos, WordPress for blogs, and Dropbox for file sharing. However, I must say that the Photos section is very well designed.

best alternative to google calendar

5. Lists and To-Dos

These sections are handy to remind everyone of their duties and collectively create lists, for example for the weekly meals or shopping. To-Do items come with due dates and reminders, and can be set to repeat daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Items on a list can be checked off separately and when the list has been completed, it moves to the respective category.

best alternative to google calendar

6. Vaults

A vault is a private area, where you can share files or lists and provide access to the different levels of people in your Famundo network. This is a great place to store gift lists.

alternative to google calendar

If you’re not yet convinced, you can test the calendar and all of its features by using one of the dummy logins, for example as Mike Doe.

What do you think, does this calendar do families and their network justice? Which other features would you like to see if any?

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Midnight Inbox Classic – An Inbox For Life [Mac]

Posted: 22 Feb 2011 07:31 AM PST

mac email clientWhen you hear the word “inbox” you most likely think of email or perhaps, if you’re old-school, a more old-fashioned mailbox. The word has always been connected to mail of different types, but when you think about it, the word also implies more general subjects. Organizing, prioritizing, discarding and saving are all actions taken when you view an inbox – or at least they’re actions we should take, although we don’t always feel like it.

Midnight Inbox is a program for Mac that takes those broader concepts and turns them into a rather unique program that is part email inbox, part document organizer, part to-do list and part task manager. If this sounds a bit confusing, it is. But it’s also very helpful.

Work Flow

When I first opened Midnight Inbox I was a bit confused. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into, but I expected something more like a traditional inbox. You configure your email and settings, things come in, and you view them. Doing this marks them as read, so you don’t have to deal with them anymore. That’s basically how your typical inbox works.

Midnight Inbox, however, is a bit different. It’s not just focused on collecting things and putting them in a box. It’s also designed to help you sort through things and do so consistently. As such, it is broken up into different areas which flow together.

  • Collect – It all begins here. Once you install Midnight Inbox it will automatically detect new emails (as long as you’re using Mac’s email feature), new files and even new bookmarks.
  • Process – New items collected are dumped into this area. When you process an item, a menu appears that lets you determine where to put the item. You can also create new actions or projects based on the item.

mac email client

  • Organize – This is where you can create projects. A project is simply something you need to do – it could be writing an important email or reviewing a document. You can set the importance of a project and how much effort (in minutes) is likely to be required.
  • Review – New projects are set up for review, which lets you designate items that need to be revisited later or on a daily/weekly basis. Your items for reviewed are listed here.
  • Work – This view lets you see your currently active projects and tick them off when completed. You can also organize work into categories, such as home, office, errands, and categories you create yourself.

mac email

  • Reference – When you have an item that you need later, like an email with company information or a research document you need for school, you can stick it into reference. Reference is broken up into various categories to make it easier to recall information.
  • Archive – This is where things that are done go initially.
  • Trash – This is where archived items are sent when you are sure you don’t need them anymore.

Not all items will go through all of these steps, but this flow of work is the basic framework around which Midnight Inbox is organized. It is confusing at first, and I think the program could do with some sort of tutorial. I couldn’t find much in the way of help at the Midnight Inbox website, but that’s not terribly surprising. Midnight Inbox was once a paid program; its freeware release seems to have occurred because the developer, Midnight Beep Softworks, is focusing on the release of Midnight Inbox 2.0 instead of this older version.

Task Management

mac email

Even if you’re not interested in Midnight Inbox’s ability to collect various files and emails and make them into actionable items, you can still use Midnight Inbox for managing your time. At its heart, Midnight Inbox is really a to-do program that also is capable of collecting your documents and emails.

When used for pure task management, you simply need to skip pass the Collect and Process steps and start at Organize. You can create a new project here, rate it for effort and importance, and set it up with a review schedule. When creating new projects it is important to remember that the Review section can be customized as well. You can set how frequently, in terms of days, weeks or even years, you want to see a project come up for review. You can also add individual actions to a project, which means a project can have multiple steps. Alternatively, you can create a new action on the fly using the Quick Action button, for those times when something unexpected occurs!

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Once you create a project, you can embark on it by selecting it, opening its menu and selecting Activate Selected Action. The timer at the top of Midnight Inbox will begin to count down based on the amount of effort you thought would be required for the task. If you run out of time you’ll be hit with the “Are you shaving a Yak?” message – a funny reminder that you’re out of time. When you’re done, you can check the project off in your organizer.


Midnight Inbox is different. The biggest problem I think most users will have with it is that in its almost too anal about organization. The workflow is pretty intense, and it isn’t for someone who just wants to lump stuff into a few categories and be done with it. Of course, you can already do that with a normal email inbox, so you’d be barking up the wrong tree anyway.

But whenever a program is a bit different from the norm, it opens new possibilities. If you feel like your daily schedule is a bit out of hand and you have emails and documents constantly piling up, give Midnight Inbox a try. It might just be your savior.

To download Midnight Inbox Classic, simple head over to Midnight Beep and click on the “Yes, it’s free” link corresponding to Inbox Classic 1.5.

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