Sunday, February 13, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 5 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 5 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 12 Feb 2011 09:37 PM PST


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

  1. Hierarchy Of Geek Needs (Pic)
  2. Revolution Tools (Pic)
  3. Egypt after Internet was restored (Pic)
  4. How Does A Touch Screen Phone Work? (Pic)
  5. 4Chan Vs. Internet — High School (Pic)
  6. Tweeting On Facebook (Pic)
  7. Keyboard Flip Flops

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 12th]

Posted: 12 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!


Video School – If you have a video camera, a knack for filmmaking, and an interest in improving your video skills then the Internet is perhaps your best friend. There are countless online resources that guide beginner filmmakers in developing and improving their techniques. Out of these, perhaps the best one is Vimeo Video School. Read more: VideoSchool: Online Learning Resource For Beginner Filmmakers


GoldCalc – If you are going to sell a gold ring or chain, then the item's melt value will be a great help in deciding on a price. The melt value of your item is the value of the same amount of solid gold; this value can be easily calculated using GoldCalc. a free to use website that will help calculate the melt value of your gold items. All you need is the accurate weight of your item along with the day's gold rates. Read more: GoldCalc: Calculate Gold Value Online



Easymoza – Creating a mosaic of your photographs can be a wonderful way to add a personal effect to them. What would be even greater is that if you could create a mosaic of one of your pictures from pieces of your other pictures. This is what EasyMoza helps you do. Read more: Easymoza: Create image mosaics of your photos



Knoword – Having a rich vocabulary never fails to impress and is something to be proud of. Now thanks to Knoword, you can test how vast your vocabulary actually is and show off the results. Knoword is a fun vocabulary game. You need to guess words while their first letter and definition is provided to you. A timer counts down to zero as you play. Guessing a right word increases the time count. Read more: Knoword: Enrich Your Vocabulary Through A Fun Game – Want to know the weather forecast of your city without having to type anything? All you have to add a simple weather forecasting site “” to your bookmarks toolbar. is a free web service with a mobile friendly interface that automatically detects your location and displays the weather for today and the forecast for the next two days. Read more: Dead Simple Weather Forecasting Site


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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4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)

Posted: 12 Feb 2011 05:31 PM PST

make web pages easier to readThe Internet has long become a mainstream tool. You no longer need to be a programmer to sit for hours in front of the computer every day. People of all ages and professions work and spend days online.

This means that people with various visual disabilities (be it poor eyesight, color blindness, etc) as well as older people (who may have bad sight) use the Web on a daily basis – and not many website owners care about making the lives of those people easier.

This post aims to help those with bad eyesight to become independent of each individual website interface. Here are 4 tools that will help you make web pages that are easier to read for low-vision people.

1. LowBrowse

LowBrowse creates a new frame in the top part of the browser that, on hover over, presents the text in a single line with configurable text size, font, color contrast and letter spacing without having to zoom in and out.

The tool will let users:

  • See the white text on a black background (by default);
  • Read the text in a huge font hovering over the text on a web page.

make web pages easier to read

2. Readable

Readable (as well as this one that looks very similar) transforms text on any website using fonts, colors, and layouts that you choose.

To make it work, just select the part of the page you want to read and click the Readable icon in the status bar. The simplified, easier to read version of the selected text will load in a new pane in the foreground of the current page:

easy to read web pages

Right-clicking on the same icon lets the user customize the box and font size, color and contrast:

make web pages easier read

3. Nosquint

Nosquint (this addon has also been mentioned in a MUO article listing add-ons that improve Firefox’s page zoom feature) lets you adjust the font size and color as well as customize and “traditionalize” the overall page look and feel.

The addon allows you to:

  • Set your own foreground and background colors (to adjust the contrast and make the page text easier to read);
  • Hide all background images (to remove the clutter);
  • Enjoy your zoom levels and color settings from site to site;
  • Set the look of links (to stick to more standard and traditional patterns: for example, you can always underline links to easier recognize them).

The tool settings can be accessed by right-clicking on its icon in the status bar and clicking “Site Settings”:


The above dialog screen also lets you set the “Global Settings” for all the websites you visit (as well as add the exceptions):

make web pages easier read

The current settings for each site can be seen on hover-over on the status bar icon:

make web pages easier read

4. Theme Font & Size Changer

If you spend much time using Firefox and its menus, you’ll find this addon invaluable. It changes the global font size and font family in all windows, menus, toolbars, etc within Firefox itself.

The tool settings can be accessed from the toolbar or status bar options.

make web pages easier to read

There ia a “Normal” value so that you can reset to the default Firefox values.

There are also compatibility issues with some FireFox themes, but if you are using the default theme, there’s nothing to worry about.

Are you aware of any other Firefox addons that would allow easier browsing and reading for people with poor eyesight? Please let us know in the comments!



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Hot Tech Deals [Feb 12th]

Posted: 12 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. T-Mobile G2 4G Cell Phone $9.99 w/ Contract + Free Activation
  2. Dell Inspiron 17R Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 17.3in Laptop (3GB/320GB/Win7) $579.99
  3. Dell Inspiron 15 Intel Core Dual-Core T4500 2.3GHz 15.6in Laptop (2GB/250GB/Win7) $399.99
  4. Sony Handycam HDR-CX110 High Definition Flash Memory Digital Camcorder (Refurb) $229.99
  5. Panasonic VIERA TC-L32U22 32in LCD HDTV (1080p, IPS Panel) $363.84 Free Shipping
  6. Paragon Partition Manager 11 Personal Edition and novaPDF Professional Desktop Edition for $15 (digital download, instant delivery)
  7. EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard v.5.0.1 and Altaro Oops!Backup for only $20 (digital download, instant delivery)
  8. Divvy for Windows and Pixo Image Effects Editor for $15 (digital download, instant delivery)

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Linux Live USB Creator: Easily Boot Linux From Your Flash Drive

Posted: 12 Feb 2011 11:31 AM PST

linux boot from usbTrying out Linux should be easy; with the help of Linux Live USB Creator it is. Quickly get any Linux distribution to boot from your USB key, complete with a persistent mode for keeping applications and documents in place. You can even install a portable version of Virtualbox to your USB key so you can run Linux comfortably from within Windows.

With support for a shockingly high number of Linux distributions and an easy-to-use Windows interface, Linux Live USB Creator makes the creation of USB boot disks effortless. From downloading the ISO to formatting your drive, there’s not much about USB booting this application doesn’t make easier than similar software.

Feel free to download Linux Live USB right now, and keep reading for an overview of the program.

5 Simple Steps

First things first: fire up the program. You’ll see 5 sub-windows, representing the five steps to making a Live USB key. The first is simple enough:

linux boot from usb

That’s right: you need to pick which key you want to boot Linux from. Once you’ve done this, pick the version of Linux you want to boot. If you’ve got an ISO or a CD handy you can use that, or you can pick from many downloadable distros:

linux boot disk

If you select a distro from this list the program will take care of downloading the ISO for you:

linux boot disk

So far, so good. If you want your key to keep downloaded programs and documents in place, you’re going to want persistence mode. This is step 3; simply scroll to leave room:

linux boot disk

Step four is optional, but includes some handy tools:

usb linux boot jump drive

Here you can choose to hide the created files on your key from being seen by Windows, useful if you plan to use your key for more than just booting Linux. You can optionally format the drive you’re writing to, and choose whether or not you want your Linux distro to be loadable in Windows.

Once you’re done you can click the lightning bolt in the fifth box to start the creation of your live CD. Congratulations; you’ve got yourself a bootable USB key.

Live Virtual Machine

The options include a step for launching your key in Windows. What is that about? Well, once your disk is created, open it up in Windows Explorer. You’ll find a new file that looks like this:

linux boot from usb

You can click this to boot your Linux distro without rebooting Windows, which is handy from time to time. Naturally you’re going to want a pretty powerful computer to try this out, but it’s a nice added touch.

Supported Distros

Wow. Just, wow. This program supports the automatic downloading and installation of many different Linux distributions. Highlights include:

There’s more; check out Live Linux USB’s official list of Linux distros for a complete list.


Linux Live USB isn’t the first program to help users make live USB keys; uNetBootin does the same job. What Linux Live USB does better than this program is make the process painless. It’s worth checking out just for that, but according to blog OMG Ubuntu, this program works more consistently than others. So it’s easier and better.

Do you like this tool? Let us know in the comments below. Also feel free to share other tools for the job, and to discuss your favorite Linux distributions.

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2 Free VPN Services For Secure Browsing On Your iOS Device

Posted: 12 Feb 2011 09:31 AM PST

vpn servicesWe recently published an article explaining what a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is, along with a list of free VPN services that allow you to anonymise the Internet browsing experience on your computers. If you want to do the same on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touches, there are a couple of free options that are worth looking into.

The reason for using a free VPN service on your phone is exactly the same as using them on your computer. For example, you may want to access websites or apps that have been blocked by your ISP or are not available in your country, or you may want to encrypt all inbound and outbound data. It has to be said that, as with any free service, there are certain concessions you may have to accept such as limited bandwidth, while also bearing in mind the risk involved in using a free service when accessing sensitive information.

VPN Express

VPN Express [iTunes link] is a free iPhone/iPad app that gives you 100MB of free, encrypted browsing on your iOS device.

After installing the app on your device, the first thing you will need to do is register for a free account within the app, which requires only your email address and a password. If a VPN Express member referred you, you can also enter their email address, resulting in each of you earning additional free bandwidth.

vpn services iphone

After confirming your email address you can then manually configure your iOS device’s VPN setting. To do so, go to Settings > General > Network > VPN > Add New VPN Configuration.

vpn services reviewed

From there you can enter the settings by selecting the L2TP or PPTP tab and filling in the fields as follows:

Description: VPNVIP
Server: OR
Account: Enter the email address you used when registering with VPN Express
RSA SecurID: Off
Password: Enter your password
Encryption Level: Auto
Secret: vpnvip
Send all Traffic: On
Proxy: Off

vpn services reviewed

Once you’re settings are all in place, a new VPN selection will appear in the settings menu, where you can easily toggle the VPN service on and off.

vpn services reviewed mobile

When turned on, a small VPN icon will appear in the status bar.

free vpn services

The advantage of using an app like VPN Express on your iOS device is that the app displays all of your usage statistics, as well as displaying your remaining bandwidth on the account tab, so that you can keep track of it while you’re on the go.

free vpn services

If 100MB isn’t enough, VPN Express offers extremely competitive subscriptions and quotas, starting at $0.99 for 30 days and a quota of 2GB data transfer, or $.0.99 for a 1GB data plan.

free vpn services

Hotspot Shield

It is also possible to use Hotspot Shield, one of the 7 free services recommended on MakeUseOf before, on your iOS device.

Unlike VPN Express, you don’t have to install anything on your iPhone or iPad. First, in order to generate an account ID and password, go to the HotSpot Shield website and click on Get Account ID.


Make sure that your WiFi connection is turned off, and once again, navigate to Settings > General > Network > VPN > Add New VPN Configuration.

Select the IPSec tab and fill in the fields as follows:

Description: Hotspot Shield
Account: Enter the account ID generated in the previous step
Password: Enter the password generated in the previous step
Use Certificate: Off
Group Name: hss
Password: hss
Proxy: Off

vpn services

Turn your WiFi connection back on, and as with VPN Express, turn on the VPN and when the icon appears in the status bar, you can browse the Internet safely and securely.

If you have more than one VPN configuration on your iOS device, the VPN button in the settings menu will navigate to the VPN settings page allowing you to choose which configuration you wish to use.

If you want to be absolutely sure that everything is working as it should be, look up your IP address in Safari and make sure that your location has been changed.

Which VPN service do you use on your iOS device? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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