Thursday, February 10, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 10 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 10 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 09:44 PM PST


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

  1. Installing Freedom (Pic)
  2. When chemists die, we Barium (Pic)
  3. Social Media High School Yearbook (Pic)
  4. iHand: The latest must-have gadget for Apple fanboys (Video)
  5. Time Spent With Adobe (Pic)
  6. What I Want From A Restaurant Website (Pic)
  7. 4-D TV

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


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Cool Websites and Tools [February 9th]

Posted: 09 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!


Voice Search – If you are too used to searching Google using your voice on your Android phone, you can now have this functionality on your PC with this cool Google Chrome extension. It is an experimental add-on that lets you search the web and various sites by speaking your keywords. The sites it can search include Google, Bing, Wikipedia, YouTube, Wolfram Alpha and DuckDuckGo. Read more: VoiceSearch: Voice Search In Google Chrome


Wirify – The wireframe is the basic visual guide displaying the structure of a website and the relationships between different pages. It is a very important aspect of web design and is usually one of the first elements to be created by a web designer. If you are ever curious about the wireframe of any website, Wirify can be a really helpful tool. Read more: Wirify: Quickly View Wireframe For Any Website



Tixik – If you are stuck with adding a map to your website, then you should check out Tixik. This simple Google Maps creator lets you generate embeddable maps in a few clicks. To start using Tixik, you first need to set your place name and address. Then just fill up the rest of the data such as the height and width of the of the map, type of map layer, and zoom level. Read more: Tixik: Create & Embed Google Maps In Seconds – With the chaos of sharing and tweeting going on around the web, online bookmark managers have lost their value as a personal online curation service. There are just too many tweets, retweets, and shared links for one tool to keep on top of them all. Fortunately, new services like take a different approach by curating all your shared links. Read more: Archives all your links shared on Facebook, Twitter & Delicious



DeliciousXML – Delicious is a Yahoo owned popular bookmarks website where you can store bookmarks and discover wonderful sites other people are bookmarking. Recent rumors about Yahoo's plan to end the Delicious got many people worried about their bookmarks. Thanks to a web service called Delicious XML Exporter, you can easily Export your Delicious bookmarks as a XML file. Read more: DeliciousXML: Easily Export Your Delicious Bookmarks As XML File


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 6 Best Websites To Track Current Top 40 Music Hits

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 05:31 PM PST

top 40 music hitsA lot of us shelter ourselves in our MP3s or iPods, a scene especially prominent in commutes. Listening to music is easy to do and entertains us so we all want to spend our time listening to the best songs we’re familiar with. However, if you want a dash of refreshing new tunes in your music collection, the weekly Sound Sunday post should be of interest as there are some hidden gems one click away.

For more weekly mainstream goodies, you can’t go wrong with top 40 music hit countdown charts. You may have your own top 10 songs, but charts like these may help you find that song you recently heard and liked on the radio, or just plain expose to new, catchy tunes. Hit the jump for some of the more popular sources to check the latest hits.

Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 Music Hits

top 40 music hits

The Billboard magazine tracks the top songs in terms of airplay and sales (according to the Nielsen SoundScan system, which tracks products and registers music sales from stores), and presents this information for people not only residing in the US, but also in Europe. The site is also loaded with other goodies, including charts to specific criteria, such as only airplay (Hot 100 chart), genre, album sales (Billboard 200 chart), etc.

The design of the website has improved a lot over the years, thus making navigation easier and more enjoyable, as the site now offers song preview, charts archives, and even statistics on how much time a specific song has been on a chart.

iTunes Store Top 10 Songs

listen to the top 40

You’ve perhaps noticed that almost all official celebrity music videos on YouTube are inundated with iTunes links so users can purchase the MP3s on Apple’s heavily trafficked digital media store. As users actually click on those and build the charts, the iTunes Charts get a pretty accurate picture as to which songs are doing extremely well in terms of sales. In order to keep up with the latest top 25 songs, grabbing the RSS feeds for the top 25 songs (instead of manually tracking the hits) can be a good idea.

American Top 40 [US]

listen to the top 40

This chart uses a different data provider (MediaBase) to determine the hottest and most played songs on radio stations. While this is actually a 4-hour-long countdown radio program, you can catch the summary of the songs on the official AT40 website. You can also grab the RSS feed here to simplify your life.

BBC’s Official Top 40 [UK]

listen to the top 40

This neat-looking BBC Top 40 chart with the UK’s hottest mainstream songs contains useful song preview functions, as well as information on each’s song duration on the chart. Like Billboard’s site, it also has handy links to top-selling albums, but unlike it, it has fewer genre charts.

Last.FM’s Weekly Top Tracks (By User Count) & Amazon’s Best-selling MP3 (Updated Hourly)

top 40 music hits

If you’re interested in checking out more songs, do find the Sound Sunday article with links to free and legal MP3 albums every Sunday. You may definitely find something you like, and you don’t have to hunt for free songs. Where do you usually go to find songs, free or paid?

There’s bound to be plenty of regional countdown websites we missed, but are there any that you feel strongly about? If so, please share them in the comments!

Photo credit: vagawi

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mflow – Stream Music In Your Browser For Free, Without Adverts Or Interruption

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 03:31 PM PST

stream music browserThere’s a growing number of websites and apps that allow you to conveniently stream music for free, whilst still staying on the right side of the law.  Grooveshark, Spotify and Mougg are just three such examples. More often than not however, you’ve got to put up with interruptive audio and banner adverts for products or releases you have little interest in.

Enter mflow, the music streaming service that puts the music before the marketing. At the moment it’s still in beta and sometimes acts accordingly. Still, that’s never put us off before!

Beta Beware

Despite the lure of free music without adverts, you should probably be aware that whilst using the beta I encountered a few issues. I first found out about mflow via the Chrome Web Store, where I saw it promoted as a free Web App.

stream music browser

I clicked install, loaded the rather fancy looking interface and… waited. And waited. Not only did I get no adverts, but no music. I then tried it in Firefox and everything worked a treat. For the record I used the latest stable Chromium and Firefox builds for Ubuntu 10.10 x64.

Using mflow

The development team have done a worthwhile job of designing an easy to use, clean and fairly well-behaved interface from which to do your streaming.

You don’t need to sign up for an account, although if you want to take advantage of the full set of features then you can choose to link your Facebook, Google or OpenID accounts for a quick sign up. You can also just register an mflow account with an email address and username, if that’s your style.

browser music player

If you already know what you’re looking for then you can jump right in and search. You can filter search results by tracks, artists, albums, people (profiles that directly relate to your search) and tags.

If mflow has it in the database then it won’t take long to find, and once found you can simply click on the small play icon next to the track of your choosing. Once your song has finished mflow will simply move on to the next track in line, be it from search results, an album or an individual’s recommendations.

browser music player

Once you’ve clicked play, your song will open in the mflow player. The player is always visible on your screen and remembers what you’re listening to regardless of what else you’re doing on the site. Despite the issues I encountered in Chromium, I was really impressed with the player and the approach taken by the mflow team.

browser music player

Unfortunately there is no way at present to use mflow to create a playlist, or indeed queue a track from a different artist/collection/search without ending the one you’re currently listening to. I’m going to put this down to the early development stage, and cross my fingers, arms and toes that the feature will be added at a later date.

At the time of writing (and hopefully for a good while yet) there are literally no adverts to interrupt your listening experience. Whilst users of Grooveshark and Spotify will probably find the interface (and lack of playlists) a little lacklustre, there’s no arguing that listening for free without interruption is hard to beat.

Instead of adverts you’ll find a quick-and-easy way to buy any tracks you especially like via a “Buy” button next to the song. Downloads generally range from 256-320kbps MP3 files that are completely DRM-free, allowing you to do what you like with the music you’ve bought.

play music in browser

Next to the “Buy” button there’s another button, labeled “Flow“.

What Is A Flow?

A flow is essentially a musical tweet, that is shared across the mflow network. You can use the flow button to recommend a track to your profile, social networks (Twitter, Facebook and Buzz) or via email.

play music in browser

You’ll need to connect any services you wish to announce to, and once done you can turn them on or off in the flow box. Hashtags are used to add a genre, so users who enjoy similar music can find your recommendations easily.

play music in browser

This is all part of mflow’s plan to marry social networking and music. What makes it really special is that unlike Spotify (for example), your Facebook or Twitter friends won’t need to register or download a client to listen.

At present mflow are offering your first 5 flows as free MP3 downloads, although you have to use them within your first week.

If you find any users who regularly share the kind of music you’re interested in then you can choose to follow them and any subsequent shares. Simply visit your profile page to check up on the latest flows, who you’re following, your followers and stats.

stream music browser

Similarly you can also follow tags, which will aggregate all relevant flows featuring that tag.


Despite the obvious problems with the beta, despite the lack of playlists and despite the fact that I already use Grooveshark (and Spotify when I’m near a Windows PC) I was very impressed with mflow. So impressed that I’ll be using it again. Whilst it may need some tweaks and fixes before it’s completely ready, I’d still recommend mflow to anyone looking for a quick way to discover, share and listen to music. Did I mention there’s no adverts?

What do you think of mflow? How does it stack up against Spotify, Pandora, Grooveshark and others? Any bugs or problems? Let us know in the comments.

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Zimbra – A Faster & Easier Way To Download Email To Your Desktop

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 01:31 PM PST

zimbra desktopFor a long time, I’ve been searching for a good desktop email client to install on my laptop that is able to integrate all of the various email accounts I have. Gmail accounts are actually pretty easy to connect to, but other email accounts not so much. Matt touched on three good choices, Thunderbird, Opera and Postbox Express. Tina also covered three of the top clients in the business – Thunderbird, Gmail and Zimbra.

What exactly is Zimbra, you ask? Let’s just say that Zimbra is one of the few email clients that can comfortably claim that it connects to any email account.

The problem I’ve had for years is that I’ve tried desktop clients that are excellent at connecting with any POP mail accounts or Gmail accounts, but not my Yahoo email account. I’ve found web-based clients that can connect to Gmail and Yahoo without a problem, but struggle to properly pull in some of my POP or IMAP accounts. I eventually resorted to using Thunderbird, checking Yahoo mail via a web browser.

Recently, I gave the Zimbra desktop a test drive and finally discovered an email client that can do it all – Gmail, POP and Yahoo mail all from one central spot. I’m in love.

The Zimbra Desktop Email Client

I believe the reason Zimbra is one of the few desktop email clients that can easily integrate with a free Yahoo account is because Yahoo bought Zimbra in 2007.  So now it’s the client of choice if you have a Yahoo account that you’d like to access from your desktop. When you first download and launch Zimbra, the first step is adding your email accounts. As you can see, Zimbra has the bases covered with Yahoo, Gmail, IMAP and POP accounts.

zimbra desktop

As you can see below, I’ve got five email accounts configured to pull all new email down into Zimbra – one Yahoo account, three Google accounts, and one POP email account.

zimbra email

You can click on any one account to see all of the emails for that account alone, and you can click on any individual email to view the contents of the email in the right panel. You can also reconfigure the display so the preview panel is at the bottom rather than at the side.

zimbra email

I love the way Zimbra organizes each email account in the left navigational panel, and you can dropdown each account to view all of the folders. Zimbra is able to bring in all of your folders/labels from both your Yahoo accounts and your Gmail accounts. It really is remarkable how easily Zimbra plugs in.

zimbra email

Additionally, even though you’re doing everything from a central client, Zimbra gives you the flexibility to customize certain elements for each account. For example, if you’re responding to someone using one of your work Gmail accounts, you may want one signature appended at the end of the email. If you’re responding to someone with your home Yahoo email account, you may want a different signature. Zimbra lets you customize distinct signatures, personas and filters for each individual account.

yahoo zimbra

Going Beyond Mail With Zimbra

I only really need Zimbra desktop as an email client, but if you want one desktop app where you can plug into your other online accounts like Facebook or Twitter, Zimbra will do that too. However, it’s only good for checking basic updates and quickly updating your own status.

yahoo zimbra

I find the friend feeds to be not quite as versatile as other desktop social networking clients, but the social tab is there if you want to use it. It does make it fairly quick and easy to view Facebook and Twitter updates at the same time you’re checking your mail.

yahoo zimbra

In addition to social networking features, Yahoo is clearly attempting to compete with Google when it comes to the Briefcase tab. Here, you’ll find  a section that’ll remind you of Google Docs. You can create a document, spreadsheet or even a slideshow presentation all from within the application.

zimbra mail

You can create simple slideshows that include text and images, and you can play the slideshow from inside Zimbra, but you can’t save it as an external file. The closest to getting files out of Zimbra is the ability to print the documents that you create. Otherwise, all documents, spreadsheets or slideshows are contained within the app.

zimbra mail

Another area where Zimbra desktop falls slightly short (at least with the free version) is the Calendar. The calendar and task feature within Zimbra is well done and useful, however if you’re like me and you’re already an active Google Calendar user, it would be really nice to be able to sync up the two calendar systems. As far as I can tell, Yahoo is trying to avoid syncing anything from Google to Zimbra. While I can understand the competition, Zimbra would be much more useful to Google users if that syncing was possible.

zimbra desktop

Another nice feature about the free version of Zimbra is that there is a nice collection of add-ons available at the Zimbra gallery. I discovered and downloaded an add-on called Inbox Zero that completely helped me manage my many inboxes and finally empty them out.

If you’ve struggled for a long time, bouncing from one desktop email client to another because they couldn’t access all of your email accounts, you’ll want to give Zimbra desktop a try. It’s flexible, functional, and it’ll finally let you view and manage every last email account you have from one, well-organized interface.

Give Zimbra a try and let us know what you think. What’s your favorite feature? Do you like other desktop clients better? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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Hot Tech Deals [Feb 9th]

Posted: 09 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. 20% off any refurbished Dell Laptop priced $350+ Coupon Code: Lap$350up20P (Exp 2/15)
  2. 30% off any refurbished Dell Monitor priced $149+ Coupon Code: 30PMonitor$149up (Exp 2/15)
  3. $50 on any refurbished Dell Desktop priced $225+ Coupon Code: $50Desk$225up (Exp 2/15)
  4. EXPIRING Canon ImageClass MF4370dn Network Laser Multifunction Printer w/ Duplexing $114.99 via code EMCKHKG63 (Exp 2/9)
  5. EXPIRING Asus VE248H Black 24in Full HD LED Backlit LCD Monitor $189.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKHKG49 (Exp 2/9)
  6. Samsung BD-C8000 10.3 inch Portable 3D Blu-Ray Player w/ Netflix Streaming & Wireless LAN $267.99 Free Shipping
  7. Lexar 16GB 200x Platinum II High Speed Series Compact Flash Card $29.99 Free Ship
  8. XFX Radeon HD 4850 1GB DDR3 PCI Express Video Card + 650W 80 Plus Bronze Modular Power Supply $108.98AR

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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7 Sites To Find Great Valentine Poems For Your Date

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 11:31 AM PST

valentine poemsWhen it comes to a special date with the one you love, you have to wear your heart on your sleeve, be it on Valentine's Day or any other. Valentine's Day just makes everything seem rosier. It is the day when you not only have to carry your overflowing heart on your sleeve, but also make it speak up with ardor.

Thanks to marketing blitzkriegs and numerous card companies, there's no shortage of ways to do it on Valentine's Day. Though a platinum ring may take you a long way; going for the simple touch could just blind side your date. One of the simplest approaches since love was born has been through love poems.

You can find them on the web any time of the year, but come Valentine's Day, you can bet that there will be some fresh pickings of poems. So head for these lovely websites to borrow and steal some Valentine poems for your date.

The Poetry Foundation

valentine poems

The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization that aims to promote poetry. They are also the publishers of Poetry magazine. The site is beautifully organized and finding the right poem for Valentine's Day is a breeze with the site's Poetry Tool. Use the dropdown for filtering by occasion and choose Valentine's Day. The Poetry Tool gives you 142 Valentine poems from a host of known, unknown, and contemporary poets. You can also use the big red graphic on the right side that says – Find The Perfect Poem for Valentine's Day.

free valentine poems

The Academy of American Poets' flagship site is beautifully done. If you appreciate fine contemporary poetry, then this site demands a bookmark. There are many ways to get to the Valentine poems on the site. Use the Advanced Search and filter with options like keywords and theme (Love, Lust, Friendship, Romance etc). You can also use the Celebrate the Season with Poetry link on the homepage and choose Love.

Black Cat Poems

free valentine poems

If you aren't too superstitious about cats, dive straight into the site and browse through their collection of love poems. A scroll down the webpage reveals over 300 love poems…a lot of them by legends of verse like Yeats and Tennyson. Some also have been submitted by enthusiastic poets and you can also submit your own. Not all love poems will be apt for a cheery Valentine Day, but you can pick one to send across to your beloved.

Poetry America

free valentine poems

The site features a lot of poems from amateur poets. There's a whole series of Love Poems and one of the lists within it collates Valentine poems. The 100 Best Love Poems could be a list worth going through to find some hidden gems. If you are feeling poetic, why not contribute your own?

Poem Lovers

valentine love poems

The site's tagline puts it best as a site for those who love poetry and love poems. There is no separate section on Valentine's Day poetry but you can pick the love poems from the general listing and pass it off on the day.

The Love Quotes Encyclopedia

valentine love poems

You get a fresh dose of romance a day thanks to the site's daily stream of love quotes, Tucked away amidst the quotes is a small collection of love poems penned by soma famous names. You are sure to impress your date if you play it right.

Loving You

valentine poems

The site comes packed with a collection of love, romance and relationships resources including advice, poetry, quotes, dedications, chat, horoscopes, romantic ideas, and message boards. If you are interested to pick a love poem for Valentine's Day, head to the Love Poems page and browse through the categories or narrow it down by occasion or season.

The fourteenth of February is significant not only for lovers but also for potential lovers. If you belong to either species and are looking to embellish your feelings with a touch of love poetry, then the web is an ally. A Valentine's Day poem is only the message. You have to pick the medium, the place, and the time to deliver it to your date. Have a great day, spread the love, and also tell us about your favorite web resource when it comes to this occasion.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Similar MakeUseOf Articles – Quite Possibly The Multi-Network Instant Messenger Of Your Dreams

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 10:31 AM PST

multi network instant messengerTo be honest, I’m not much of a chatter. I don’t have chat buddies from all chatting platforms. The only IM client that I’ve tried on my computer is Yahoo! Messenger (because it offers free text messages to mobile phones). So if you asked me what the best IM client is out there, I wouldn’t be able to give you an unbiased opinion. Even so, I could tell at first sight that the relatively unheard of is quite possibly one of the best IM services out there.

How can a great service be unheard of? Even though there have been a few mentions about the service on MakeUseOf here and here, the developer has kept a low profile and quietly put the project below the radar for the past two years. After three years in alpha stage, this solid app has finally shown itself (with a new look) to the public.

Currently, is available as a web-based chat client (using flash), an iOS app, and an Android app.

Connect To Multi-Network

When you visit for the first time, you’ll notice how clean the interface is: a lot of white space and the login window in the middle. If the look reminds you of Google, it’s because one of the co-founders is also one of Google’s first ten employees – Georges Harik.

To start using, just log in with one of your IM accounts. You can add (and link) more accounts to later.

multi network instant messenger

After logging in, you’ll see another vast white space with small columns of menus on the left and right of the page. Use “Add Account” from the “Accounts” menu on the left to link your other IM accounts. Basic information about an account will pop out if you hover your mouse over that account.

multi network im

You can quickly change your status by using the drop down menu at the top of the page.

multi network im

You can also add/change your profile photo by clicking on the profile box above the “Accounts” menu.

multi network im

On the right side of the screen, there’s the “Buddies” menu. Similar to the “Account” menu, you can view more information about one of your buddies by hovering your mouse above his/her profile box.

multi network im client

Your buddies are automatically grouped based on groups that you have on your IM accounts. But you can easily create a new group by clicking on the “Create a new group” button. Adding a new buddy is also that simple.

multi network im client

You can move your buddies between groups by dragging and dropping them.

Any friend request from one of your IM accounts will pop out on, and you can choose to Deny, Block, or Add the person.

multi network im client

Clicking on any of your friends in the list will open up an individual chat window, which – if you are really fussy – could quickly fill up the entire screen. You can make your screen tidier by choosing the tab view from the button on the left of the “Buddies” menu.

multiple network instant messenger

Notifications pop up in a small yellow window inside the environment.

multiple network instant messenger

You can choose to enable desktop notifications if your browser supports the feature.

multiple network instant messenger

To Go Beyond The Text

The ability to easily connect to multiple chat platforms is not the only thing that has to offer. The small microphone icon in the text field of a chat window tells us that also support voice messages. This feature allows users to send up to 30 second voice messages to their chat partners.

To enable this feature, you have to give permission to to access your computer’s camera and microphone.

02a Detecting Mic.jpg

Then to send a voice message, all you have to do is hold the green “Hold to talk” button while you speak with the microphone. The voice messages will automatically be sent every time you release the green button.

02b Send Voice Message.jpg

Sending voice messages might mean nothing if you use the browser-based chat client from your computer. But if you use the phone version, the feature means free calls. You can use your phone as a long distance walkie-talkie (sort of) over an Internet connection and do voice chat with your friends without the phone charges.

On a good and stable Internet connection, you can also call your buddies and have continuous audio and/or video chat between computers and phones.

04b Voice Chatting.jpg

If you have a file or two to share with your chat buddy, click on the “Send File” tab, choose the file, and click the “Send file” button. You can only send one file at a time, though.

03a Send file.jpg

The Footnotes

There are some things that you might not notice at the bottom of the screen. The first one is the “Sessions” link. Clicking on it will open the “Active Sessions” window with information on devices that you currently use to open

05a Active Sessions.jpg

The next one is the “Preferences“. You can enable desktop notifications from here (if your browser supports it). You can also prevent individuals who are not in your buddy list from contacting you.

multi network instant messenger

In my opinion, is a great chat service. Maybe the greatest advantage that this service has over its competitors is its seamless integration between the web, iOS, and Android clients. Along with its support for multiple chat networks, and the combination of all the features, might be the instant messenger of your dreams.

What do you think of Share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.

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4 Interactive Ways To Compare Your Country With Others

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 08:31 AM PST

compare your countryNumbers are fun; interactive charts are better. Find useful and fascinating information to compare your country to others online.

We live in a large, increasingly interdependent world. For example: MakeUseOf is brought to you by a team that spreads from Europe to Australia to North America to North Africa. It’s never been more important than right now to grasp what’s going on around the world. The Internet means you’re more connected to other countries than ever before.

Numbers give you a great way to get an overview of a country, so it’s nice to be able to find international statistics quickly. But interactive charts can make finding such numbers a lot of fun.

Whether you’re an American looking to get some context on global issues or a proud citizen of the developing world wanting a basis of comparison, the Internet is full of information that’s fun to browse. Let’s highlight some!

If It Were My Home

Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you lived in another country? If It Were My Home might not answer all of your questions, but it gives a nice overview:

compare your country

These stats are supplemented by a collection of reading about the given country as well as a map, comparing the size of your country to any other one:

compare two countries

If you want a quick way to compare life in your country with another, this is a fantastic place to start.

Economist Daily Chart

Every day British news magazine “The Economist” shares a fascinating chart with the planet. Some are interactive, some are graphical but all help to shed light on the way our planet works. Check out their Daily Chart blog here.

Recently they featured an interactive map comparing the population and GDP of individual American states to countries around the world:

compare two countries

Who would have thought Texas’ GDP matches that of the entire nation of Russia, or New Jersey that of Switzerland? Explore the above chart here.

Carbon Footprint Of Nations

Carbon usage is an increasingly hot-button issue, particularly once you start crossing international borders. Most governments acknowledge the need to reduce output but few are taking concrete steps toward doing so. If you want to see how your country compares to other nations when it comes to carbon output check out Carbon Footprint Of Nations. This site, provided by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, gives an overview of any nation’s carbon output:

compare two countries

Explore this site to learn all about where carbon is coming from on a global scale.

Wolfram Alpha

Have a specific question in mind? Ask Wolfram Alpha. This knowledge engine can calculate almost anything if you ask it correctly. For example, you could compare the population of China with the population of America:

compare your country

This is a great way to quickly compare one country with another when it comes to a variety of issues, from land mass to GDP.

Know of More?

I love finding fun and fascinating charts like this, so please share any you know of. We have comments below for just this reason.

Also feel free to discuss any interesting stats you stumbled upon with the above tools, or rant about how carbon output monitoring is a global conspiracy against whatever country you happen to be from.

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Support Queensland, Get SafeWallet and novaPDF Professional Desktop v7 for $17

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 07:52 AM PST

For the next 48 hours only, SafeWallet and novaPDF Professional Desktop will be available as a bundle for $17 from bundlelytic. We’ve covered SafeWallet on MakeUseOf before and we’re huge fans of novaPDF — their software makes PDF creation effortless.

Buy now from bundlelytic: fire sale.

This mini bundle, along with the bundlelytic charity bundle was initiated by MakeUseOf in an effort to raise funds and awareness towards the victims of the recent natural disasters in Queensland, Australia. 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Queensland Disaster Relief fund.

Although no longer featured, you may still purchase previous fire sale bundles:
Paragon Partition Manager 11 Personal and novaPDF Professional Edition for $15
EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard v.5.0.1 and Altaro Oops!Backup for $20
360Amigo System Speedup PRO and Returnil System Safe 2011 for $20
Divvy for Windows and Pixo for $15

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HighNote – Send Group Messages With Rich Multimedia On Your Phone

Posted: 09 Feb 2011 07:31 AM PST

group messaging appSending text messages is still the most popular thing you can do with your phone, which is leading app developers to figure out new and creative ways to capitalize on that behavior. Back in November, I introduced you to 3 Fun & Simple Phone Apps That Will Change The Way You Text Message. In that article, I talked about Kik, GroupMe, and Fast Society, which are all apps that offer a fun way to send group messages with your phone.

I recently came across another group messaging app, HighNote, that takes this concept and adds one key component to it – multimedia. HighNote is a unique service currently available for the iPhone/iTouch, iPad, and Android devices that allows you to share music, video, pictures, voice recordings, and whatever else you can find on your phone.

What Is HighNote?

HighNote aspires to bring people closer together by providing them a new, more social way to message with each other.

HighNote seeks to fix the problem with SMS, which is that even though it’s extremely popular, it’s not really flexible when it comes to social interactions. Social networks, on the other hand, lack some of the immediacy desired when connecting with friends, which could only be accomplished with a tool like SMS.

group messaging app

HighNote was created to fill that gap. It is designed for social communications among your close circles of friends, like the ones you might find on your phone’s contact list. You would ideally use HighNote when you require more richness than SMS can offer without foregoing the immediacy and intimacy that social networks struggle with.

group messaging iphone

What do the social communications you have with your close friends revolve around? The ability to share and rate music, videos, and pictures, organize meetups, send greeting cards, and share locations. HighNote’s goal is to make your social life easier to manage.

Here’s a video demo that further illustrates what HighNote is and who it’s for:

What Are Some Of HighNote’s features?

HighNote lets you send free media-enhanced messages to other HighNote users around the world. You can add personality to your messages with video, music, audio, pics, maps, custom buttons, and iTunes.

group messaging iphone

HighNotes can be sent to any of your friends, even if they don’t have the app installed. They will simply receive an SMS or email with a web link to view your message.

group messaging app

There are over 20 customizable greetings like "Check this out" or "Congrats", and you have the ability to change the alignment, color, style, and size of your text. And don’t worry, there are lots of emoticons for you to make use of, too.

The app also has a comprehensive Quick Reply section and a feature called Pulse, that lets users opt into quizzes and such.


As of now, HighNote is available on iOS and Android devices, with plans to support Symbian, BlackBerry, and Windows 7 phones in the near future. If you’re looking to get HighNote for your iPhone, iTouch, or iPad, you can pick it up at the App Store. Android device users can go to HighNote’s homepage to download the app.

From looking at this group messaging app, it is clearly geared at the teen audience, but the capabilities it has are quite amazing. I’m really interested in seeing how companies like this will continue to try to increase the capabilities of messaging on our phones, as well as what will become popular and what won’t. It’s pretty difficult to break the texting habits of a young adult, which I’m sure is partially why HighNote is trying to get in the hands of the young crowd who are just learning the joys of SMS.

What do you think of HighNote?

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