Thursday, February 3, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [February 2nd]” plus 8 more “Cool Websites and Tools [February 2nd]” plus 8 more

Link to

Cool Websites and Tools [February 2nd]

Posted: 02 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.

Add Your Website Here!


Highlighter – The comments section on all websites is located at the bottom of the content. But with the help of Highlighter, your site's visitors will be able to leave comments right next to the content. Highlighter is a WordPress plug-in that will enable your site's visitors to highlight any text and leave comments on it. This will better engage you with your visitors and with each other. Read more: Highlighter: Let Your Site Visitors Highlight Portions Of Your Content & Comment On It


Fitango – Having a goal is one thing, and achieving it is completely separate. More than often the bridge between the two is a well-thought action plan. Fitango is a web service that helps you achieve your goals by providing you with expert-created free action plans. Categories range from nutritional and fitness to spirituality and savings. Read more: Fitango: Get Expert Created Free Action Plans



Ajax Animator – The Google Chrome Web Store may just be days old, but there are some gems that you can find already. Just check out Ajax Animator, a cool HTML5 web app that allows you to create and edit animations on-the-fly. This simple animation tool is also a great beginner's app for young animators. Once installed, start by drawing on the canvas and adding layers. You can add elements for every frame in each layer. Read more: Ajax Animator: Browser Based, Simple Animation Tool (Chrome)



GoMiles – People who fly a lot and use different airlines often find it hard to track flight miles for each airline. Consequently they are not able to take advantage of their free miles and end up paying for tickets they could have got for free. GoMiles is here to ensure that never happens again. GoMiles is a free to use website that will help you keep track of all your airline loyalty programs. Read more: GoMiles: Track Flight Miles, Hotel Rewards & Other Loyalty Programs



Resume Builder – is a free online service created by the LinkedIn Labs team that helps people turn their LinkedIn profiles into nice looking resumes which can then be easily downloaded and printed. This could turn out to be a pretty useful service for those who've built detailed LinkedIn profiles. Now they can have all of that transferred over to an offline paper resume in one click. Read more: Resume Builder: Create A Resume From Your LinkedIn Profile


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.

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

How To Restore Tabs In Chrome & Firefox Across Machines With TabCloud

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 05:31 PM PST

how to restore firefox tabsEver since I installed Ubuntu on my machine, I’ve needed more than ever to find ways to synchronize installations of programs I frequently use. Xmarks worked so incredibly well until it recently started giving me countless errors, as did Swimming Session, on Google Chrome. Then came TabCloud in my search and boy, was I relieved that someone had thought about tabs sessions in different machines and browsers, specifically Chrome (which means it works for Chromium as well) and Firefox.

TabCloud is an open-source extension that you can use to save sessions and restore them later on another installation of the supported browsers, even across machines and OS’s.

It’s been working unbelievably nicely when I use Chrome in Windows, and Chromium on Ubuntu. Now, with Quix solving the bookmark keywords issue, and TabCloud to share links, working in different OS’s isn’t such a pain.

how to restore firefox tabs

TabCloud for Chrome can be found here, while the experimental Firefox plugin can be downloaded here. You have to sign in with your Google account to get started.

restore tabs firefox

Saving Your Sessions

Once you’ve installed this extension and have signed in with your Google account, you can explore the two options available from right-clicking the icon.

restore tabs firefox

You can choose to restore sessions either in the current tab or in a new window. You can also choose whether or not to go through a confirmation dialog when you delete saved sessions or close a window.

restore tabs firefox

So when you’re ready to save a session, you have to first click on the TabCloud icon, and then on the disk icon, which then saves your tabs. You can easily confirm what you’re saving by looking at the available favicons. You can type a name for the particular session or leave the session name blank, which TabCloud autofills with the date and time of the saved session.

Managing Your Sessions

You can also drag and drop the favicons to reorder them, but this is only available on Google Chrome.

restore chrome tabs

Even if you don’t remember so well what site the favicon represents, you can just hover over the favicon to see a tooltip with the title of the site. You can also click on any one icon to jump directly to that website.

restore chrome tabs

After you start saving more and more sessions, you can of course delete any of them, but in Firefox you won’t be able to get a confirmation dialog, like you can in Google Chrome.

Android smartphone owners will be happy to know that there’s an official TabCloud app, so you can continue exploring the same topics you had on your desktop browser, just on a tinier screen. Meanwhile, iOS users can bookmark the iPhone-friendly page.

how to restore firefox tabs

The main selling point of this amazing extension is that you can very easily save your most current tabs. Xmarks, and even Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera natively can sync your whole bookmark collection but when you’re using different browsers and want to continue browsing the last set of tabs you had on your work computer or a library machine (with your portable installation of Chrome or Firefox) at home. TabCloud is a remarkable plugin that helps ease the pain that is working across different operating systems and browsers. Its interface is so simple and easy-to-use that you’ll definitely want to tell your friends about it so they too, can have a more enjoyable time working on different machines.

What apps do you use to share links across computers? Let us know in the comments!

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Convert Your Spotify, iTunes & Playlists To Grooveshark With Groovylists

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 03:31 PM PST

groovesharkWe’re somewhat spoilt for choice these days when it comes to music on the Internet. Piracy aside, it’s now easier than ever to discover, enjoy and share completely legal music over the phone line.

There’s a few well-known services to choose from these days, although Grooveshark is a favourite of mine. Grooveshark provides truly mobile cloud-based music streaming from any PC with compatible web browser.

If you’ve allied with Spotify, iTunes or and need some help making the switch then read on!

Why Would I Do This?

Maybe you were once a Windows user who relied on Spotify for musical accompaniment during your darkest hours. Upon switching to Linux you found out the hard way that Spotify’s Linux preview build is only compatible with premium accounts.

Only you don’t want to pay for a premium account – enter Grooveshark. The main difference I have personally noticed between Grooveshark and Spotify (at least in my locale, the UK) is that whilst Spotify plays a “yo, we’re Spotify – keeping the music free” advert every 5-10 songs, Grooveshark is oddly devoid of these.


What you do get instead is an advert bar running down the side of the screen (although if you install the wonderful AdBlock extension for Chrome and Firefox, even this takes a bow).

Other reasons might include practicality – Grooveshark only requires a compatible web browser, as opposed to a software download. If you’re after your tunes then all you’ll need to do is log in via the web interface and click My Music.

If you fancy giving Grooveshark a go but can’t face losing your carefully planned playlists then Groovylists can probably help you out.

Converting Playlists

As mentioned, there are three services you can use with this service – Spotify, and iTunes. It is of course possible that Grooveshark does not have every track in your playlist, and Groovylists may also make the odd mistake.

Note: There is an upper limit of 200 songs per playlist, so it’s best to split up any huge collections you’ve got and process them in smaller chunks.

Spotify To Grooveshark

In order to convert your Spotify playlists you’re going to need to log in using the Spotify client. This can be an issue if the whole reason you’re switching is lack of access (e.g. a Linux user).

what is grooveshark

I did have some joy with Wine and Spotify on my Ubuntu 10.10 install, and although I was unable to stream any music I could still access my playlists.

grooveshark music

Open up Spotify, log in and wait for everything to load. Once you can see your playlists on the left, highlight the one you’d like to convert. In the main Spotify panel, select all of that playlist’s tracks (Ctrl+A is a quick shortcut), right click and choose Copy HTTP Link.

grooveshark music

Open the Groovylists Spotify converter and paste your URLs into the box. Hit Groovyfy it! Wait for the process to run its course and enjoy. Once your playlist is ready Groovylists will give you a Grooveshark playlist. Click on it, make sure you’re signed in and hit Add All and then Add To My Music to add your collections. To Grooveshark

If you’ve got a username then enter it into the Groovylists converter and hit Next. On the next page you’ll be able to choose any of your playlists and hit the Groovyfy it! button.

grooveshark music

Once complete your playlist will be available in Grooveshark format, and you can click Add All once logged in to add the songs to your collection.

iTunes To Grooveshark

For the iTunes conversion process you’re going to need your .XML source playlist file. Upload it to the Groovylists iTunes converter and click Groovyfy it! – your playlist will then be available so you can easily add it to your collection with the Add All button.



There will be tracks that Groovylists won’t find, tracks that Grooveshark simply does not have available yet. Hopefully as the service improves more and more music will be added to fill in the gaps.

You can repeat the import process as many times as you like without adding the same songs twice (once you’ve added a song it should have a green tick next to it). Groovylists is a handy little tool only really held back by Grooveshark’s catalogue of music.

What do you think of Grooveshark? Converted any playlists? Are you a stung Spotify Linux user? Give us your opinions in the comments below.

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

The Top 10 Science Fiction WordPress Themes

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 01:31 PM PST

science fiction themesWhen it comes to free WordPress themes, there are thousands of choices available among many different themes. It seems like even when you find the perfect theme with just the right imagery and formatting, there’s some technical glitch that you have to fix. If you don’t know how to alter the background code of the theme, then you’re out of luck.

Here at MakeUseOf, we’ve covered a lot of WordPress theme resources. Nancy wrote a great listing of 10 major directories for professional WordPress themes, Tim offered a bunch of themes that can make your blog look like a regular website and he also offered 5 useful porfolio WordPress themes as well.

10 Awesome Science Fiction WordPress Themes

To add to our collection of WordPress themes, I’ve decided to share a list of 10 of the coolest WordPress themes for science fiction fans.

The Matrix

The luxury you have with science fiction themes is that your readers will expect you to have a WordPress theme for your blog that’s a little bit “out there”.  One of the coolest themes I’d like to mention is also based on one of the coolest “out there” sci-fi movies – the Matrix.

science fiction themes

It isn’t the most advanced WordPress blog that you’ll find, but the imagery at the top, the color scheme of the background and the font color and style really give it an atmosphere of high tech weirdness. If that’s what you’re going for, give this theme a shot.

The Outer

I admit that this is probably my favorite science fiction WordPress theme of all. I really like themes with intriguing imagery, and the odd embedded machinery on the side of this alien landscape is about as intriguing as you can get.

science fiction wordpress theme

This theme is designed well enough so that it really does seem to work as advertised right out of the box without any tweaking required.


If you’re looking for something that isn’t so dark and has a bit more color to it, then you might want to give the Seven WordPress theme a shot. Again, the hi-tech clockwork machinery image at the top creates the right tone for a science fiction page.

science fiction wordpress theme

I found that the post width seems a little too narrow for my taste, but those things can be changed by editing style.css if you want. Overall, as a base for your sci-fi blog, it’s a very cool design with a good layout.


Leia is a sci-fi WordPress theme that isn’t quite as dark as the others. It’s a perfect blog if your focus is more on the paranormal aspect of the sci-fi genre.

science fiction wordpress theme

Overall, I think Leia is one of the best formatted themes of all. The sidebar is well spaced and everything fits together well. If you’re looking for a dark, intelligent style, this is the theme for you.

Dark Planet

Going back to the dark “space” sci-fi theme, Dark Planet is another one that is well worth a mention. It’s a bold theme, with bright text on a dark background, with dark planets and a bursting light coming from the far side.

The theme works well right out of the box and shouldn’t require any tweaks to get it working the way you want. The black page background on the gray frame works well together.


This theme is similar to Dark Planet as far as the background coloring scheme, but this one is actually better designed in that the title, search bar and the header seems to float above the background.

The side navigation bars aren’t anything advanced – there’s no social widgets or RSS feed functionality built in, but the clean layout gets good marks overall.

Modern Marvels

Another theme that throws a bit of color into the mix is Modern Marvels. It has a high-technology look with cool imagery and a clean two-column layout.

list of science fiction themes

Again – the sidebar isn’t pre-configured as ad-enabled or with social networking widgets, but those are all things you can add once you’ve got the theme installed.


When I saw this particular theme I almost passed it by until I realized it would be one of the coolest “alien” sci-fi themes because of the Men-In-Black appeal.

list of science fiction themes

The color scheme works well, with white text on a black background, and sidebar titles that match the color of the header image.

New Age Earth

Another space-theme is New Age Earth. Overall, this one is a light brighter than the other space themes, but if you prefer light backgrounds to dark ones, then this one will work well.

list of science fiction themes

As you can see, it’s a 3 column layout with the RSS feed feature built into the right bar.

Blue Jean Cop

The last theme I wanted to offer up is a pretty unique design. It runs the risk of being so weird that  it doesn’t quite work – but overall I think it actually does work.

science fiction themes

The floating menu bar, the planet imagery with a splatter of blue paint and the title and logo – all of these elements really play together to create a bold theme that’s in-your-face.

Science fiction themes really aren’t easy to come by, and good ones are even harder to find. The choice really depends on the look and feel that you’re going for with your own blog, so give one or two of these a try and let us know which one you like the best. Do you have your own favorite theme not listed here? Share it in the comments section below.

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Hot Tech Deals [Feb 2nd]

Posted: 02 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. Dell ST2420L 24in LED-Backlit LCD Monitor (HDMI) $189.99 Free Shipping
  2. EXPIRING Samsung 2333T 23in cPVA LCD Monitor (4000:1 Contrast Ratio) $159.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKJHC47 (Exp 2/2)
  3. TODAY ONLY Sharp LC-42SB48UT 42in LCD HDTV (1080p) $459 Free Shipping
  4. Lenovo IdeaPad Y560 Intel Core i5-460M 2.3GHz 15.6in 3D Laptop (6GB/500GB) $649
  5. HP S2231 22in Widescreen LCD Monitor (1920×1080) $119.99 Free Shipping
  6. Bundle: Paragon Partition Manager 11 Personal, EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard, novaPDF Professional Desktop v7 and 6 more apps for $49.99 (Digital download, instant delivery)
  7. EXPIRING Western Digital WDTV Live PLUS Network HD Media Player (Netflix Steaming) $89.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKJHC52 (Exp 2/2)
  8. Logitech G700 Cordless Laser Gaming Mouse $53.99 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

10 Different Types Of Online Timers For Everyday Stuff

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 11:31 AM PST

free online timersThe reason for this list of free online timers lies in my hunt for an exercise timer. A Google search netted me quite a few, along with a mixed bag of online timers and clocks for all sorts of purposes. If the PDA and the mobile phone wasn't enough, these online timers are threatening to turn the watch (or clock) into just a fashion accessory or a wall decoration. Most of us won't shed too many tears as an URL can save us quite a few bucks as online timers are commonly free and accessible via the browser.

Online timers have many uses. It can not only be used to track time and keep to deadlines but also be used for play and tests. It can also be used to do everyday stuff like cook eggs and workouts.

Here are ten free online timers that may help you use time more wisely.

Tabata Timer

free online timers

Tabata is a high-intensity cardio workout with alternating cycles of different exercises and short rest intervals. This free online Tabata Timer mirrors the iPhone app but is free unlike the app. Of course, unlike the iPhone app you cannot carry it around. But if you are exercising in front of your computer, the vocal prompts and the configurable exercise options should do the trick.

You can find two more Tabata clocks at Online Tabata Clock and SpeedBagForum.

Chess Clock

online countdown timers

Each player gets the default of 20 minutes in a game but you can click on the clock to change the time. Hit Start and the game is on. Clicking Switch or hitting the spacebar shifts to the other players' chess clock. You also get five time control options. If you aren't sure of your Internet connection, the file can also be downloaded and used offline. also has a cool collection of nearly dozen stopwatch and timer apps which can be run online or downloaded to the desktop.


online countdown timers

If you think that you can best the Rubik's Cube in the quickest time possible, log all your solve times on this online timer app. Using the dropdown, you can keep time for different variations of the Rubik's cube.The timer uses a cookie to store your solve times and computes your average time from the total. Added usability includes clearing the solve times individually, or all at once.

Egg Watchers

online countdown timers

The concept is about having some idle fun while an egg gets cooked. The egg timer takes your choice of egg preparation and calculates the time to cook it and accordingly shows you a YouTube video. The video is random, so there's a chance that you will get a blank black screen if the YouTube video has been removed due to any reason. But yes, you will need a computer in the kitchen to watch the egg timer counting up (see also Directory mention).

Kitchen Timer

online timers

If you are still there on the stove, the Kitchen Timer does double duty as a recipe search engine and as an egg timer. Search for your favorite recipe using the integrated Google Search and set your timer according to the recipe. You can also add multiple timers and run them simultaneously.

online timers

This timer does for tea what the above two do for eggs and other recipes. You can follow the times listed for different types of tea or just type in the time as shown in the address bar. The timer announces the countdown with a ring.

Focus Booster

online timers

If you haven't heard about the Pomodoro Technique, it's not a problem. It is a time management method that breaks down any task into chunks of 25-minutes with short rest intervals and is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve focus. The online app works on the principal by counting down the 25 minutes (and also recording the sessions) and helping you boost your focus in the process. You can also download the free desktop app (see also Directory mention).

Here's another way to stop wasting time by idle web browsing. Use the field box to enter the URL of any site with the time you plan to spend there. The online timer lets you know when the time's up. uses frames to display the countdown. I really wanted to use it on my Gmail account, but one has to open Gmail in a separate window as Gmail does not play nice with frames. Facebook doesn't do too. But the timer still functions in the adjoin tab and pops up a alert when the clock runs down (see also Directory mention).

The Poker Clock

A fancy online poker clock helps you do away with a physical one. The online clock has a really loud bell when the countdown to a round ends. You can choose the blinds and set the time for the rounds before clicking on Start (see also Directory mention).

Do Nothing For 2 Minutes

free online timers

Reading this post must have been a strain on the eyes. Click on the above link and seek a bit of relaxation. Just don't touch the mouse or the keys.

At the end of 2 minutes, do let us know about any cool or unusual free online timers that got left out of this list. Also, let us know about any favorite timer or clock app that you regularly use for time management or productivity.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Five Tips To Create A Cool Looking Personal Landing Page

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 10:31 AM PST

free landing pageHow do you keep track of everything that you do on the web? Or a better question is how do you let others know what you’ve been doing in the virtual world?  The best way is to try to summarize all the scattered – but relevant – information on a personal landing page.

While it’s possible to manually build a landing page using one of the available general web builders, or maybe modify a page of your existing blog to fit the purpose; the quickest and easiest way to build a personal landing page is to use one of the available web services specializing in that genre such as and These services provide you with the tools needed to build a nice looking, free landing page. You just need to add a little mixture of personalization and creativity to the ingredients to make it look cooler.

Choosing The Creator

Both and offer similar services and tools, but I chose for my landing page project, because the free account is more limited.  But feel free to choose the service that you like for your project.

We briefly discussed in the article about a virtual business card. Back then, it was still in the private beta stage, and only a handful of people were lucky enough to experiment with it. Now it’s on more stable ground, and everybody can sign up for the service. I think deserves another look from a different perspective.

Before we begin building (or editing) the landing page, it’s a good idea to browse through the directories (on both and to steal some ideas and to get a general picture of how far can you go with your personal landing page.

This is a sample of landing pages from the “Inspirational” directory:

free landing page

This one is from the “Featured” directory:

free landing page creator

After browsing around the directories, I noticed several design patterns that we can apply to our project. Here they are in no particular order.

1. Preparing The Picture

The first (and I think the most important) step of building your personal landing page is preparing the picture. Whether you take the picture yourself or ask a pro photographer to do it for you, having a great picture is essential to building a great landing page.

With some exceptions, a good landing page photo always put the owner as the main focus. You can achieve similar results by taking the picture with a non-distracting background – one that will make you stand out. You could also try to eliminate the background by taking a real close-up photo. Another trick that you can use is to put the subject at the side of the frame instead of in the center.

While you can use an image of up to 1680 x 1050 pixels, it’s best to set the main focus of the image to be within the 960 x 620 pixels area.

After you are ready with the image, upload it to the server using the upload tool.

free landing page creator

2. Boasting With Biography

For some people, a personal landing page serves as an online curriculum vitae (CV) to help them seek out employment. They treat their landing page as the “boasting box”. While this is totally OK, it’s advisable to keep the bio short and sweet.

Instead of filling out the landing page with your ramblings, use the “link” feature in the text editor to connect your landing page to your other pages.

free landing page creator

3. Customizing The Colors

You can set any element of your free landing page to any color you want using the provided color palettes. But sometimes this freedom can be overwhelming. So even though the color combination possibilities are virtually unlimited, it’s advisable to use colors that similar to or complement your photos.

For example, a black and white photo would go along well with black, white, and shades of grey.

free landing page generator

4. Fiddling With The Fonts gives the user access to a handful of premium fonts provided by Typekit. You can play around with the fonts for a while to find the different combinations. The basic combination for most people is “flashy” fonts for the headlines and “easy to read” ones for the content.

Another element of fonts that you can play with is the size. To make your page look neat, try to adjust the “name” and “headline” lines to be of the same width.

free landing page generator

5. Summarizing The Services

Even though doesn’t limit users to four services (like the free account), you can only add one service once. To overcome this limitation, you can use the “add direct link” feature by clicking the “Add a URL or RSS” button, or by inserting the links within the body of your bio. Please note that clicking a direct link will open the link in a different tab/window and redirect people away from your landing page.

free landing page generator

You can easily delete the services (should you want to) using the “Services” menu.

02e Service.jpg

Using the pointers above, I built my own free landing page on and here’s the result.

05 About Me Page.jpg

I also tried to replicate the process in and got more or less a similar result.

free landing page

What about you? Do you own and use a landing page? What service do you use? Please share your own tips on building your landing page using the comments below.

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

The 7 Best Book Review Podcasts & Shows To Discover New Books

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 09:31 AM PST

online book review sitesAs an avid reader, I rarely purchase or read books without checking out the reviews of what other readers have said. Great reviews can not only help you determine if particular books are worth your time to read, they can also help you get more out your reading. Great book reviews can be like a mini book club between you and the reviewers.

There are many online social networking online book review sites, but there are equally useful podcasts that include formal presentations and discussions. Nearly all of these podcasts and television shows include a wide variety of authors and genres of books. Plus if your reading time is limited, these shows are great resources to keep up with the latest book releases and literary news.


I like to check out the weekly schedule of C-SPAN2′s Booktv because you can watch shows live or download recordings from the site's archive later.

online book review sites

Booktv focuses only on non-fiction books, not novels or poetry. It features authors from across the political spectrum and it regularly covers book fairs, such as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

New York Times Book Review Podcasts

Perhaps the longest established book reviewing resource in the US is a weekly Book Review magazine insert of the New York Times. There's now also a podcast version, entitled Book Review, hosted by the magazine editor, Sam Tanenhaus.

online book reviews

The podcast features fiction and non-fiction authors, and recent shows have included discussions about the recently released Mark Twain autobiography, interviews with authors Jennifer Egan and Siddhartha Mukherjee, and best selling author Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom.

Fireside Book Chat

Fireside Book Chat is a well done podcast program featuring books chosen and reviewed by teens.

online book reviews

The podcast is a classroom project that includes discussions of mystery, non-fiction, poetry, sports, and fantasy books. Fireside Chat is aptly named because the show is based on an on-mic chat students have with their teacher about the books they're reading. Students summarize and evaluate their selected books and share passages that interest them. Recent books reviewed include Jose Canseco's Juiced: Wild Times, Micheal Lewis's The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, and Richard Preston's The Hot Zone.

Science Fiction Book Review Podcast

For lovers of science fiction, check out Luke Burrage's podcast, Science Fiction Book Review.

online book reviews

Luke's current reviews include both contemporary and classic science fiction books such George Orwell's 1984, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Luke primarily provides his personal views and insight of the books he reads. His connected blog site goes back to early 2008.

Slate’s Audio Book Club

The popular online news magazine site, Slate, hosts a regular book discussion podcast, Slate Audio Book Club. It's based on books selected by Slate's book critics.

book review site

Listeners can read the book club selection and then listen to the discussions. All the podcast episodes are archived and recent selections include Lydia Davis's translation of Madame Bovary, Remainder, by Tom McCarthy, and The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman. The critics are very honest and upfront in their views. If you're a serious reader, you'll really like this podcast.

Barnes & Noble Meet the Writers

The nationwide bookseller, Barnes & Noble, hosts a regular podcast featuring interviews of contemporary authors, including the 2010 Newbery medal winner Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me, bestselling author Steve Bertrand, author of The Imperial Cruise, and Sarah Vowell, author of numerous best sellers, including Assassination Vacation.

book review site

Book Lust

The world-renowned Seattle librarian, Nancy Pearl hosts monthly conversations with authors, as well as discussions about the craft of writing. Her show is entitled Book Lust.

online book review sites

Her recent guests have included National Book Award winner, Professor Charles Johnson, about his latest novel, The Surrendered, and children's books illustrator, Paul O. Zelinsky.

While most of us serious book readers would rather spend our time reading books than reading online book reviews, these shows are useful for keeping up to date on the latest published books and gaining some useful literary insight. If you know of any other useful book podcasts, please share them with us and our readers.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

Combine Dropbox & Calibre For Universal Access To All Your E-Books

Posted: 02 Feb 2011 08:31 AM PST

ebooks library freeYour eBook library, synced across all of your computers, regardless of what operating system you use. That’s what you get when you mix Calibre, the ultimate in ebook management with Dropbox, the ultimate file syncing application. Since Calibre and Dropbox both work on Linux, Mac and Windows you can read your books anywhere. All of your books will be synced across all of your devices, including your bookmarks (if you use Calibre’s built-in reader app).

Electronic books are great, particularly if you know where to find free eBooks. But if you own multiple computers that you like to read on, running multiple operating systems, reading electronically can be a touch annoying.

Combining Dropbox and Calibre automatically puts all of your ebooks on all of your computers. Sit down at any machine and find all of your books. Books don’t take up as much room as movies or music, so your Dropbox won’t fill up too quickly. Heck, you can even open your books on your iPhone or iPad if you want.

Step 1: Get Dropbox

The first thing you need to do is set up Dropbox, assuming you haven’t already. Don’t worry; it’s painless. Just head over to Dropbox and sign up for an account. Once you do you’ll be given a program to download. Set this up on your computer and you’re pretty much good to go.

ebooks library free

Dropbox can do a lot of things, and you can learn all about it in the unofficial Dropbox guide. For now, all you need to know is that files in your Dropbox are synced to all of your computers.

Step 2: Move Your Library

Do you already use Calibre? If not, go ahead and download Calibre. During the installation process you’ll see a window like this:

ebooks library

Be sure to set the library to be a folder in your Dropbox, named however you like. If you already use Calibre you’re going to need to move your library. The simplest way to do this is run the welcome wizard, which you’ll find under preferences:

ebooks library free

This will give you the option to re-define where your library is; point it toward a folder in your Dropbox. You may need to move your books to the new location after doing this, but it’s worth it!

Step 3: Repeat As Necessary

Done? Fantastic! Now repeat the process on every computer you own. Once you install Dropbox on a second computer you’ll find that your library is automatically synced to it. Simply tell Calibre where it can find your library. As Calibre stores the database and your books in the same folder, your library will automatically sync across all of your computers.

Optional: iPad/iPhone Support

Is syncing across your computers not enough for you? Well, you can access your Dropbox’d ebooks on your iPhone or iPad as well. Just follow the directions over at teleread to find out how. This won’t give you the ability to sync your bookmarks, but it’s a cool way to get access to your ebook collection on the go.


We’ve certainly talked about unique and cool ways to use Dropbox before, but find myself thinking of new ones all the time.

Could you use this to sync your library, or is your personal library too massive? Do you have any other cool Dropbox ideas? As always, feel free to share in the comments below!

Do you like MakeUseOf articles? Don’t forget to share our articles with others! It’s really important to us.



Similar MakeUseOf Articles

No comments:

Post a Comment