Monday, February 14, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [February 13th]” plus 6 more “Cool Websites and Tools [February 13th]” plus 6 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [February 13th]

Posted: 13 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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CoSketch – You can find a lot of multi-user whiteboard collaboration tools online today but most of them offer the same functionality. These types of web apps allow you to easily share your ideas by using drawing tools. CoSketch is a similar tool but it has a couple of nice features that you cannot easily find anywhere else. Read more: CoSketch: A Simple Collaborative Online Whiteboard


GalleryHosted – It is quite difficult to find a free decent photo hosting and gallery service online as you will almost always find something that does not quite fit your needs. GalleryHosted is a free image hosting and photo sharing website that provides what most people would need in an image hosting service plus a couple of other nifty features. Read more: GalleryHosted: A Full Featured Photo Gallery Generator



Wigglehop – is a movie search tool that somebody has finally put some thought into. Unlike regular tools that let you search for movies, Wigglehop is smart in displaying only what you may be interested in. For example, while displaying movie timings for the current day, Wigglehops only displays shows that you can make it to in time. Read more: Wigglehop: Search For Movie Timings In An Intelligent Way



Twittercamp – If you have an option to operate a large display in a conference room, then displaying enlarged Twitter messages can be a great way to catch the attention of your audience. With the help of TwitterCamp you can choose which tweets to capture from the public stream and then enlarge them to be displayed. Read more: Twittercamp: Display Tweets On Big Screen – Every online shopper can testify that item prices greatly vary from one online retailer to the other. This is why experienced online shoppers usually find themselves jumping from one site to the other, trying to find the lowest price for an item. Now thanks to, finding the lowest online price has become easier. is a browser extension that has versions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Read more: Quickly Compare Webstore Prices While Shopping Online


These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 13 Feb 2011 06:31 PM PST

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

    [1] ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service

    Ever wanted to add website screenshots to your website? ShrinkTheWeb is one of the best services for that, both in terms of performance and pricing. The free account gets you a whopping 250,000 impressions. See it in action in our daily Cool Websites and Tools series.


    [2] LapDawg – Hands-free Laptop Stands

    Hands free laptop stand
    The hands free laptop stand holds your laptop or books in any position you want with it’s unique 360 degree rotating joints. Perfect for holding them in bed while lying down. Made from anodized aluminum with a beautiful black matte finish.


    [3] SuperTintin – Skype Video Call Recorder

    Skype Video Call Recorder
    If you need a tool to record your video conversation on Skype or MSN head over to Supertintin. It is a nice application that allows you to record all audio and video streams easily.

    [4] Walyou – Cool Gadgets for Geeks

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


    [5] rade | eccles – iPhone Application Development

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


    [6] TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design

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


    [7] Mobify – Making the Web a mobile place

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


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

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


    [9] Sourcebits – Android Developement

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


Thank you, guys!

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How Do You Keep Track Of Your Passwords? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 13 Feb 2011 05:30 PM PST

Last week, inspired by a US court case, we asked you all if you would read your partner’s email. It turns out most of you would consider doing so for a good reason.

We collected 243 votes and the division was incredibly close: 38% might read their partner’s email; 34% would never read their partner’s email; while 28% would definitely read their partner’s email.

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

As you can see, there’s almost an equal amount of votes on each option. Incredibly close!

This week's poll question is: How Do You Keep Track Of Your Passwords?

There are so many different password managers out there. Often people new to the concept have no idea which one to trust. So, let’s help them decide. Which password manager do you use?

No doubt you tried a few password managers before you settled on your favourite. Let us know why your choice is the best in the comments!

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The 5 Best Sites To Download Music From Commercials You Liked

Posted: 13 Feb 2011 02:31 PM PST

music from commercialsYou’d be probably be surprised to know that popular music was not used in commercials until the mid 80′s. Until then jingles were pretty much all viewers got to hear, until in 1985, Burger King used one of Aretha Franklin’s songs in a TV advertisement. Since then, the use of pop music in advertising has been elevated to an art, and often serves as an ad in itself for the artist.

If you hear a song in an ad that you like, there are several ways to go about finding out what it is, and downloading it. The easiest way nowadays is to use an app like Shazam or Soundhound, but that’s not to say there aren’t other ways. Before Shazam hit the app stores, googling lyrics was the easiest way to go. That said, where advertising in particular is concerned, there are a few other resources you can turn to, especially if the song doesn’t contain any lyrics.

What’s That Tune?

The UK based site, What’s That Tune?, is the go-to site for music from commercials seen on UK and Irish television. With over 3,000 ads in their database, you can search for specific ads, browse an A to Z list of the ads, or browse those most recently added to the database.

music from commercials

Search results are accompanied by the company name, product, artist, year of release, and links to purchase the MP3 from Amazon or watch the video on YouTube. Surprisingly, the song titles are often left out, but can be found through the Amazon links.

music used in tv commercials

Find That Song

Find That Song is a site similar to What’s That Tune? but instead is not limited to UK/Irish ads. Search for specific ads, or browse their database. Advertisements are accompanied by a YouTube video of the ad, along with the artist and song title, and an iTunes link to purchase the MP3.

music used in tv commercials


Some of the ads on Find That Song are actually not directly available on the site, but rather redirect to the advertisement database, SplendAd, another great resource for information and links. SplendAd features YouTube videos of the ads, and links to download the MP3s from Amazon.

music used in tv commercials


Squidoo is a site that is sitting on a wealth of information, so why wouldn’t music used in TV commercials be included in their list?  The Squidoo Lens dedicated to the topic is divided into three sections – the most recent ads, ads displayed by product categories, and lastly classic ads, all accessible from the menu at the top of the page.

music in commercials

Not only do you get to find out the name of the song, in some cases you can also watch the ad itself on YouTube, and in all cases, download the MP3 from iTunes.

The Squidoo format is not entirely user friendly and can feel a little clunky. In the case of products with more than one ad, you will have to do a bit of digging yourself , beyond the Squidoo Lens, to find out if that’s the song you’re looking for.


It goes without saying that you could always go straight to the source, YouTube to discover the song you’re looking for.

music in commercials

Search for the ad by the product, and often in the description or comments you’ll be able to discover the name of the song and artist. If you want to download the audio directly from YouTube, take a look at some of the suggestions listed here.


On the other hand, if you’re curious about the opposite, and want to know if one of your favourite songs has ever been used in a commercial, a good place to look is Wikipedia. Looking up the song or artist that you’re curious about, under the “In Popular Culture” section, you can find out what ads the song has appeared in.

music from commercials

How do you discover and download music from commercials? Let us know in the comments.

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Hot Tech Deals [Feb 13th]

Posted: 13 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. EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard v.5.0.1 and Altaro Oops!Backup for only $20 (digital download, instant delivery)
  2. Divvy for Windows and Pixo Image Effects Editor for $15 (digital download, instant delivery)
  3. iRobot Roomba 536 Vacuuming Robot $249 Free Shipping via code C70926 (Exp 3/31)
  4. Nikon Coolpix L110 12.1 Megapixel Digital Camera $179.95 Free Shipping via code S7899999 (Exp 2/20)
  5. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX5V/B 10.2MP 10X Digital Camera (720p HD Video, IS) $239.04 Free Shipping via code AFL4Coupon (Ongoing)
  6. JVC Picsio GC-FM1 1080p High Definition Portable Video Camcorder $65.28 Free Shipping via code AFL4Coupon (Ongoing)
  7. Paragon Partition Manager 11 Personal Edition and novaPDF Professional Desktop Edition for $15 (digital download, instant delivery)

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 13 Feb 2011 11:30 AM PST

Sound Sunday is your project as much as it is mine.

Whether you’re a loyal reader, a passer-by, or a musician, I’m all ears for your opinions and suggestions. I rely heavily on what I find and fortunately, there is no shortage of great free music out there. However, I’m thankful for being approached with new material that you enjoy and would like to see featured.

Questions, suggestions, feedback? Leave a comment or eMail me [tina at makeuseof dot com].

If you happen to be in the US, be sure to get the free Oh My Heart mp3 single from R.E.M. via Amazon.

Tinoras – Selftitled

Genre: electronica, ambient, breakcore, chiptune

Irish lad Anto McCarthy, also known as Tinoras, Reece, Placid, or Anto, is a musician and founding member of Placid Recordings. The label is dedicated to producing ‘interesting and original electronic music’. Tinoras’ work itself fits this description perfectly. The selftitled album is a rich and original mix of sounds.

Tinoras is a free download from Bandcamp.

Tinoras MySpace and Homepage.

Mike Flowerz – Perception The Mixtape

Genre: christian, gospel, pop, soul, mixtape

Mike Flowerz is a singer and performer from New York. He affectionately calls his sound Gospop, for it is a cross between Pop and Gospel. In the past Mike has toured with the Harlem Gospel Choir.

Perception The Mixtape is a free download from Bandcamp.

Mike Flowerz MySpace and Homepage.

Jamaal Jones – One Beat At A Time

Genre: experimental, beats, instrumental, hip hop

This 36-track instrumental album was inspired by Jay Dee’s Another Beach beat CD. Jamaal Jones relies on his friend Hypedog to promote his music. Hence, he doesn’t seem to have his own homepage or social network representation.

Download One Beat At A Time free from Bandcamp.

Hypedog Homepage.

E-Fluent – A Trip Upstate Vol. 2

Genre: hip hop

E-Fluent started releasing albums in 2010. A Trip Upstate Vol. 2 already is his fourth full length album. It “finds him at a crossroads with both his music and his soul, making the album his deepest and most personal reflection to date.” It’s hip hop with a smooth sound and groovy melodies.

A Trip Upstate Vol. 2 is a free download from Bandcamp.

E-Fluent MySpace.

she’s themorning and thenight – i speak the truth : part one

Genre: indie, acoustic, folk, rock

This album promises to be the first of a four part album. The band that appears to be obsessed with lower case spelling writes: “the idea is to create something that flows into each new part, while constantly evolving and changing at a pace that is recognizable, but not overwhelming.” The first part is promising enough. Let’s see what it evolves into.

Download i speak the truth : part one free from Bandcamp.

she’s themorning and thenight MySpace and Homepage.

Anthony Ruptak – Selftitled

Genre: alternative, independent, folk

Anthony writes: “I am a writer and a musician and really nothing more.” I will leave it at that and add that his selftitled album shows. Anthony composes folk melodies with a cheerful melancholy and a happy ending.

Download the album Anthony Ruptak free of charge from Bandcamp.

Anthony Ruptak MySpace and Facebook.

Take No Glory – Wake Me Up

Genre: alternative, pop, rock, christian

free mp3Take No Glory is a Christian band from California. They call themselves a non-profit musicianary band. It’s their mission to address various issues, including child slavery, addiction, suicide, and abortion in their songs. Being a non-profit band, all of their music is free. However, they are asking for your help and donations to keep the project going.

Wake Me Up can be downloaded free and one song at a time from Take No Glory’s Homepage.

Take No Glory MySpace and Homepage.

Nate Fowler – Wherever You Go

Genre: christian, rock, pop

Self-taught musician Nate Fowler started his musical career with a blast. At age 17 he went on an eight week music tour of South America, playing drums and percussion for a band affiliated with Youth With A Mission. With the same band he also toured West India before he began writing his own songs and recording his sophomore EP.

Wherever You Go is a free download from NoiseTrade.

Nate Fowler MySpace and Homepage.

Courrier – A Violent Flame Sampler

Genre: christian, alternative, rock

From their Facebook page: “Like a new wind in an often dry and monotonous music "business," Courrier's music is refreshing indeed. With a penchant for melody in the likes of alternative-rock bands like Coldplay, Death Cab for Cutie, and Radiohead, Courrier writes songs as soothing as they are sincere. It is in this duality that Courrier finds their message. In the beauty of existence and the pain of experience, lead singer Austin Jones' voice even reflects the honeyed grit of reality, while the ascending harmonies and radiant guitars anthem the intimate.”

The A Violent Flame Sampler can be downloaded for free from NoiseTrade.

Courrier MySpace and Homepage.

Tangram – Mos Quataer

Genre: ambient, electronica, new wave, downtempo, instrumental

Over the months, Tangram has become an institution here on Sound Sunday. Péter Fabók's latest album Mos Quataer, released on February 11th, is nothing short of brilliant! If you like Daft Punk and their recent TRON Legacy soundtrack (epic!), you will definitely appreciate Tangram!

Mos Quataer is a name your price download from Bandcamp. Please donate generously. Previous Tangram albums shared on Sound Sunday include Tepidarium, Micropolis, Flow, and Docosanoid.

Tangram MySpace and Homepage.

If this wasn’t enough, browse past editions of Sound Sunday. If you have suggestions, questions, or feedback, feel free to get in touch with me [tina at makeuseof dot com]. You can also use the comments below.

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How To Check If Someone Is Stealing Your WiFi – And What You Can Do About It

Posted: 13 Feb 2011 09:30 AM PST

wifi stealingWiFi running a bit slow lately? If your router is still using old security methods such as WEP, then there’s a very real possibility that someone has hacked in to steal your WiFi. In my article on Cool WiFi Devices You’ve Probably Never Heard Of, I showed you a $100 commercially available router that would automatically hack your WEP-protected WiFi network in less than half an hour. Apart from the obvious fact that your internet will be slower, the hacker might be using your internet to do nefarious evil things – all of which could easily be traced back to you. So how you can find out if someone is using your WiFi, and perhaps more importantly – what exactly can you do about it?

Check the devices associated with your router

This method is 100% guaranteed to see any devices registered on your network, but not every router contains this valuable info. Log in to your router by typing it’s IP address directly into the browser address bar. In most setups, either or should work, or it may be written on the router itself, along with the username and password you need to log in with. If you can’t find a password anywhere, and don’t remember changing it, then check the database of default passwords here, or phone your ISP (assuming they gave you the device).

Once logged in, look around a section called Attached Devices or Device List. On DD-WRT flashed routers, this is under the Status -> Wireless screen. You will find a list of all the IP addresses currently being used.

wifi stealing

On my standard Virgin Media router, I found a list under the IP filtering section.

monitor wifi network use

Of course, not all your devices will have helpful names, so you’ll need to figure out the IP address of each computer and WiFi device you own in order to cross-check them against the list. I covered how to find your IP address a few days ago when I showed you how to control your torrent client from your mobile. Don’t forget that an iPhone or Android phone will also have it’s own IP address if it’s using your WiFi, so you’ll need to account for those too.

Track Them Down Physically

This may be taking it a little far, but running the MoocherHunter live CD tracking suite will enable you physically hunt them down by triangulating network signals. Scary stuff, indeed. You’ll a directional antenna for this to work best.

What to do about it

Basic Security – Stop using WEP

Any router purchased in the last 5 years or so should be able to support a more secure authentication protocol, so log in to your router again and find the Wireless Settings screen.

Change the security options to either WPA or WPA2. WPA2 is more secure, but I find it’s incompatible with some of the devices on my network so I chose the option that allows for both. Don’t choose the Enterprise option as it is designed for companies with authentication servers. When choosing your password, make sure it is at least 15 characters long, includes upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation.

monitor wifi network use

There are some other methods that people will typically advise you to take, but put simply – they don’t work:

Hiding your SSID: You can hide your network name so it won’t be seen, but freely available hacking tools such as Backtrack will reveal them instantly.

IP filtering: This blocks out a specific IP, but changing IP is as simple as refreshing the connection.

MAC filtering: More secure since it blocks a device via the unique hardware address that is given out when it’s manufactured, but again, anyone trying to steal your WiFi can easily “spoof” their MAC address.

Funny – Turn their internet upside down

For anyone with a spare PC or who doesn’t mind messing with the command line, you could create an open WiFi network specifically for these freeloaders, and run everything through a Linux proxy. The proxy can setup to cut directly into their internet stream, and one interesting outcome is that you can turn all their images upside down.

monitor wifi network use

Profit – Run a paid WiFi portal

If you install the open source DD-WRT, you can run a paid WiFi Hotspot portal. Set your own rates, never worry about payment processing (they handle everything), then just collect your check if someone has used your hotspot – you’ll get 75% of the money paid. Remember, you’ll need to live in a big city for this to be viable with lots of potential customers. I’ll look at this option more at a later date to show you exactly how you can set one up if you’re interested.

wifi stealing


So your WiFi is feeling a little sluggish? The truth is that someone probably isn’t stealing your WiFi. More likely your computer is running slowly, or your router needs rebooting. You could also try boosting the WiFi signal.

Oh, and let us know in the comments if you’ve found people stealing your WiFi before, or have any amusing WiFi stories to tell.

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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