- Cool Websites and Tools [March 7th]
- FeedPlayBack – Subscribe To Old Archives For Any Awesome Blog You Have Just Discovered
- 10+ Emulators To Play Old-School 16- And 32-bit Consoles On Your PC (1987-1993)
- Hot Tech Deals [Mar 7th]
- How to Turn Off the Photo Viewer in Facebook
- Awesome Free Digital Video Converter and Streaming Apps For Mac
- 8 Online Audio Pronunciation Guides That Help You Speak Words Correctly
- How to Scan a Reformatted Hard Drive to Recover Files
- Protect and Secure Your Mac With Intego VirusBarrier X6 [Giveaway]
- Bing Launches Mobile Deals Aggregator [News]
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 07:31 PM PST
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.
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 05:30 PM PST
But who has the time? And who is that organized?
Today’s tool will let you more efficiently organize your reading of old blog archives: it will create the new feed containing only old posts and let you subscribe to it.
The tool should turn out to be particularly handy when you need to systematically read through useful established blogs with lots of great tips that are still valid. Even pretty much news-related blogs like Google Operating System have some particular categories that are goldmine of useful information, great tools and geeky inspiration.
Play The Feed Back!
Feed Playback is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to subscribe to old posts in any feed and even set the frequency of updates (for you to better manage time for reading the old articles). The tool has been created by Google Reader developer Mihai Parparita who gives a few awesome examples as to where this tool might turn particularly handy: for instance, you can learn a new skill or language every day, or read a long-running comic from (nearly) the beginning
The developer also shares a couple of more interesting PlayBack tools to check out:
The setting-up process is as easy as it can only be:
One tiny note: The tool uses Google Reader’s feed archive to get the data, so you won’t be able to subscribe to really old posts that predate Google Reader (which means you aren’t going to be able to monitor posts which date back earlier than October 2005).
Warning: you will have to manually tweak the URL for some feeds to get it work. For example if you copy-paste MakeUseOf feed URL, it will look as follows:
… which is not going to work.
The tool will only process the URL if you use closing slash after it:
The first update in your RSS feed will contain your new feed information including the number of updates and how often you are going to receive them:
What do you think about this tool? Do you see yourself using it? Can you think of some great blogs you’d like to read back using the tool? Please share your thoughts!
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 01:30 PM PST
This week we’ll be looking at 16 bit and (some) 32 bit consoles of the late 80s and early 90s, many of which left a lasting impression on the video game world.
As ever, cross-platform video game console emulators are reported where possible. You should know by now that downloading ROMs you don’t legally own is against the law, shock horror.
A console that never really saw a full-scale PAL release but thrived in NTSC regions, the PC-Engine (as it was known in Japan) was launched in 1987 with its identical (in terms of hardware) North American release the "TurboGrafx-16" coming late 1989.
There were 94 game releases for the TurboGrafx-16 (system releases outside of Japan) and most of them should be playable on the cross-platform Hu-Go! emulator. There’s a Windows, Mac and Linux version. The homebrew and official forum should help out if you get stuck.
Windows users can also use the Japanese PC-Engine emulator Ootake. Just ignore the English on the homepage!
1988 – Sega Mega Drive/Genesis [Kega-Fusion][Gens/GS]
Following the success of the 8 bit Master System, Sega’s first 16 bit home consoles came in the form of the Mega Drive (as it was known in Europe and Asia) or Genesis (in North America).
The Mega Drive was backwards-compatible with the Sega Master System, a feature that surely helped the company rack-up an estimated 40 million plus console sales. The Mega Drive has never ceased production in Brazil, and there have even been recent officially licensed Genesis consoles produced in North America.
The company who brought us arcade classics like Fatal Fury, King of Fighters and Puzzle Bobble (pictured below) also delivered another very cutting edge present in 1990 – the Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System, manufactured by Japanese firm SNK.
The console was expensive, and marketed as a 24 bit machine as it had a standard 16 bit architecture with an additional 8 bit co-processor. Instead of using tiled bitmap backgrounds like other consoles at the time, the Neo Geo rendered 16 pixel wide sprites side-by-side to make up much of the on-screen visuals.
What better way to remember one of Japan’s greatest consoles and arcade line-up than with the NeoRAGEx emulator for Windows or GnGeo for Unix (Linux, BeOS, FreeBSD). NeoRAGEx has since been abandoned, though you can still find the last release mirrored at the above link.
1990 – Super Nintendo Entertainment System [ZSNES]
Building on the success of the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Super Nintendo sold just short of 50 million units worldwide. The graphical and audio capabilities of the SNES matched other consoles available at the time, whilst many SNES releases had enhanced chips built into the game cartridges to really push the system to its limits.
There were 784 games in total released for the SNES (including US, European and Japanese releases) not including the many homebrew creations available.
In order to play the SNES classics, try ZSNES, one of the best SNES emulators around for Windows, Mac and Linux. I’ve never had an issue running a single ROM under ZSNES, plus the extra graphical, control and ‘save state’ options don’t get much better.
1993 – 3DO Interactive Multiplayer [FreeDO]
Time Magazine’s product of the year in 1994, the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer was a console originally produced by Panasonic and later Sanyo and Goldstar. Whilst it enjoyed a high-profile marketing campaign, the dizzying $699.95 asking price at launch was too much for most and Panasonic never enjoyed the success like Nintendo or Sega did.
1993 – Atari Jaguar [Virtual Jaguar]
The Atari Jaguar doesn’t technically belong on this list, so before the comments come flooding in – I apologize. For those of you sat there scratching your heads, the Atari Jaguar was a high-performance games console utilizing Atari’s 64 bit "Jaguar" chip.
It didn’t make much difference, the Jaguar’s reception was enough to put Atari off home consoles altogether. It is thought that less than 250,000 Jaguars were sold in total, with a poor software library and needlessly complicated 15-button controller probably to blame.
Virtual Jaguar is an emulator which completely removes the need for you to ever touch an Atari Jaguar. There are Windows, Mac, Linux and BeOS versions available and compatibility is (on the whole) good.
The CD32 was the world’s first 32 bit console that solely utilised CD-ROM media and was released worldwide in 1993 before being discontinued in 1994. The CD32 was technically very similar to Commodore’s Amiga 1200 home computer, and sold especially well in the UK quickly swallowing 50% of the CD-ROM market share.
The CD32 only shifted around 100,000 units in total before manufacturers Commodore went bankrupt in 1994, putting an end to an era of computer hardware, software and video games for the Amiga brand.
You can emulate the CD32 on Windows with Akiko. It is a specially adapted port of UAE, the Ubiquitous Amiga Emulator designed for Linux (which does not support the CD32 on its own). Experienced Amiga and Linux users might want to check out UAE anyway, as many of the CD32 games were simple ports of A1200, A600 and A500 classics.
WinUAE is another Windows port with ever improving support for Amiga CD32 games.
There are two systems missing from this list, the Amiga CDTV (which flopped – badly) and the CD-i, a system known for having some of the worst titles imaginable (despite the odd appearance from Nintendo favourite Zelda).
Next time things get serious – 1995 to 2001; systems, emulators and a little history lesson. Be sure to join me!
Any favorite video game console emulators from this list? Did you own a Jaguar or CD32? Everyone had a SNES, right? Sound off in the comments.
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 12:30 PM PST
For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.
Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 11:30 AM PST
The latest of these changes that hasn’t gone down very well is the new Facebook photo viewer, in which photos are displayed in a somewhat clunky lightbox. There’s no way any change made to a site like Facebook is going to please every single one of its millions of members, and most of the time, there’s an add-on to get things back exactly the way they were.
The Manual Solution
If you would rather not install anything at all, and grant an extension access to your Facebook profile, there are two ways to manually remove the lightbox. First, refreshing the page will display the image the good old fashioned way minus the annoying lightbox. The second way is to remove ‘&theatre’ at the end of any URL of an image on Facebook. Removing that text will remove the lightbox.
The disadvantage to either of these methods is that you have to do it manually for every single album you open, which can become a bit tedious.
Revert Facebook Photo Viewer (Chrome)
Chrome users can install the extension, Revert Facebook Photo Viewer which will automatically display images without the lightbox. The extension runs silently in the background and doesn’t need to be set up. Simply install and refresh.
Of course, installing this extension will grant it access to your Facebook data.
Facebook Photo Fix (Chrome)
Another option for Chrome users is Facebook Photo Fix which alters the appearance of the lightbox rather than remove it. Facebook Photo Fix moves the image down 40 pixels, and changes the background color from black to grey.
If you’re not averse the idea of a lightbox, this extension definitely makes it a lot more visually appealing, and of course, installing this extension will grant it access to your Facebook data.
Facebook Lightbox Killer (Chrome, Firefox & Greasemonkey)
Chrome, Firefox and Greasemonkey users can use the add-on Facebook Lightbox Killer to disable the lightbox preview. After installing the add-on, there’s nothing to configure. Just refresh Facebook and the changes will take effect.
The way that Facebook Lightbox Killer works is that it automatically refreshes the page the minute you load a picture, so it isn’t the smoothest way to deal with the issue, but is at least an automated alternative to manually refreshing the page.
Better Facebook (Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome & Greasemonkey)
Better Facebook is an add-on which does more than just remove the annoying lightbox. In fact, some might argue that it does far too much.
Better Facebook adds themes, tabs, allows you to mark items in your news feed as read, mute notifications from follow up comments, remove recent activity displayed in your profile, and much much more. When you first install the add-on, it will take you through a setup wizard determining and introducing you to some of the more prominent features.
You can always access the complete settings at any time from the options button on your Facebook page, which is where you can toggle the lightbox feature on and off.
Facebook Lightbox Killer is actually derived from Better Facebook, so like the previous add-on, it works in the same way, automatically refreshing the page once you open an image.
What do you think of the Facebook’s new photo viewer? Do you like it? Is it annoying enough to have to install an add-on to get rid of it? Let us know in the comments.
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 10:30 AM PST
In addition to the awesome Mac features, a few of these applications also work with Windows PC. So let's see which are the better free video conversion and streaming apps out there.
Video and music files can take up lots of space on any computer or mobile device, but thanks to Wi-Fi networking programs, you can access video, photo, music content stored say on external drive of your main computer, and view that content on most recent Macs, Windows PCs or mobile devices. This is exactly what the recently released application, StreamToMe does. It's similar to the mobile application Air Video for streaming video to your iPhone and iPod touch.
After downloading StreamToMe on say your main Mac computer, as well as the required ServeToMe program, you can access all your non DRM-protected audio, video, and photo content in your Finder and iTunes library . StreamToMe works with wide variety of media files, including MP4, FLV, AAC, M4A, JPG, and TIFF. I found the application setup and WiFi streaming nearly automatic.
If you have non-DRM protected or ripped DVDs that you want to convert for playing on other devices like your iPhone or iPad, it doesn't seem to get any easier than with a program called iVI.
After you launch the program, the instructions for using iVI are written in large bold letters, “Drop Video Here”. Just drag your video(s) from your Finder and drop it into the application.
iVI will convert it for play on your Apple mobile devices, Apple TV, or original resolution for iMovie editing. Depending on the size of video, it may not be a microwave fast process, but it will get the job done.
Miro Digital Video Converter for Mac has the same drag-and-drop simplicity of iVI but with a larger set of conversion formats.
Miro can convert almost any video for playback on Android and Apple mobile devices, as well as WebM and Ogg Theora formats. The only draw-back to the Miro is that you can only convert one video at a time. This is small limitation for an awesome free program.
In the world of hit and run YouTube videos, Apple's long established iMovie program may actually slow down some video producers, so this where the now free Moso video studio comes in.
With Moso you can quickly record and edit web-cam video or import existing video and photos on your computer. The programs includes built-in background music and titles effects. Though the 50 motion effects may be dorky for some, many web-cam producers will surely have fun with them. When your video productions are ready, they can be shared on your Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter (via Twitvide) account.
While the basic features of Moso are pretty intuitive, a step-by-step instructional guide for the program would be helpful. Moso doesn't have the advanced features of iMovie, but for quick, fun video and web-cam productions it shouldn't be overlooked.
Let's us know what you think of these programs and the other video converters we've reviewed.
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 09:30 AM PST
But wait: is English any different? In fact, we may not be paying attention because to most of us speaking and pronouncing English comes naturally.
There are many though, for whom English is a second or a third language and it takes some effort on their part to understand the way the words are spelled and spoken. This is where pronunciation guides become useful.
Forvo.com is one of the most broad based audio pronunciation guides available on the web today. The figures sum it up – 903,848 words; 909,460 pronunciations in 267 languages. Forvo in its aim to index all the words spoken worldwide also allows "bad words" as long as they are politely pronounced and appear in well-known dictionaries. You can also find short idioms and a few known titles in the index. Everyone can record pronunciations, thus contributing to the index. The most covered languages are English, Portuguese, and Russian. The audio pronunciations are also organized in various categories like sports, science, politics etc.
The site with an 'unpronounceable' name defines itself as a free online talking dictionary of English pronunciation. You have to simply type in the word and mouseover the result to hear it spoken as it should be spoken. Words are pre-recorded in human voice. Pronunciation is in Standard British English, with World English alternatives like American English also provided. (See Directory mention)
When it's the Queen's Language, the BBC's World Service has to be an important educational resource. The pronunciation tips are less of a straightforward guide and more of a how-to on the methods one can employ to understand how a word is spoken. The spelling of a word is not always an accurate guide to how it is pronounced, and that's why BBC helps out with the sounds behind the English language.
The English pronunciation guide covers names of – people, places, and sundry other subjects like sports, religion, food, drink, and many more. For instance, if you don't know how "Lager" is said out aloud in a bar, check out the site. Both phonetic and audio pronunciations are available. The pronunciations are in American English spoken in the general American accent. If you are still having trouble, check out the link to the pronunciation key that's on each page. (See Directory mention)
Every culture has its own dialect and its own diction. Getting names right in the correct accent can save you from a red face when you visits a foreign country (or even in one's own). This site helps out by giving you a name pronunciation guide across different languages. The names are spoken by native speakers. Some languages have few entries, but the collection is good because it attempts to cover languages which we might consider uncommon. (See Directory mention)
We had listed this website when we had gone over 10 Online Slang Dictionaries To Learn Jargon & Street Language. The site makes this list again, because it's a handy guide to British slang pronunciations with audio. A few words don't have audio files associated with them but they are in the minority. This guide should be a great help for those trying to fit into the street culture in an around Britain.
Learning pronunciation can be fun as the series of videos on this website set out to prove. The videos are well made and each goes into the nuances of American English. Videos explain how different sounds come together to form a word. Each sound has two videos. The first is a very short video, simply the sound and an example word. The second video is a how-to video which goes deeper how the tongue vocalizes the sound. Each video also has a video text with the transcript.
SayIt takes the SMS route to help you out with word pronunciations. When you hit a difficult word, just send a SMS to the service's number and the app will call you back with the exact pronunciation. You can also choose to hear the complete definition of the word. It is a U.S only service, though. Carrier charges may apply. The pronunciation by SMS service uses Forvo.com's pronunciation guide at the backend. (See Directory mention)
Correct pronunciation also helps in spelling a word correctly. The reverse is also true to a certain extent. If you carefully examine your speech, you will see a lot of common errors we make every day when it comes to pronouncing words correctly. These useful online guides help to nip those faults in the bud.
Tell us about your struggle with pronunciations and any resource that you used to crack it.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 08:30 AM PST
Let’s assume for a moment that you threw caution to the wind and have already reformatted the hard drive of your computer. Then, you suddenly realize that no backups are available.
What course of action can you take to save yourself and your entire saved data on your computer from completely drowning due to the split-second mistake? There’s still a few lifebuoys out there. Read on to find out.
The first absolute rule you need to know is – do not write to the hard drive if you are planning on recovering data off it. When you write to a hard drive the system drivers randomly write data to the disk. So, when you write to a drive there is a good chance you are overwriting any data on it that you could have possibly restored.
This means do not try to boot from the drive, or if it is an external USB drive do not store any new files on it. Next, you can start thinking of recovery by picking one of the below mentioned options.
Pick Your Recovery OS
Once you install the hard drive in a system and boot to an operating system such as Windows or Mac it will automatically try to access data on the drive. If you have already created a new partition on the drive, this means that it could be writing to the drive without you even knowing about it.
The best solution is to boot using a recovery disk that runs its own OS. This will leave all of the drives on your computer alone until the recovery process is started.
If you are uncomfortable running one of the custom tools, then some of the software listed below can still run right on top of your operating system, and it will still work to scan a reformatted hard drive to recover files.
Best Free Recovery Tools
The best utility for restoring deleted files from a formatted hard drive is Paragon’s Rescue Kit. There is a free version and a paid version. For basic tasks, the free version will do.
First you will need to register for a serial number on the site, and download the installer. The installer can either save an ISO file or burn a boot CD directly.
After you boot your system into the Rescue Kit, it will ask you which function you wish to perform.
Select File Transfer Wizard if you want to transfer deleted files off of the drive. This will then open a menu that lets you browse the disk for deleted and non-deleted files and add them to a clipboard. Click Next and then specify where you would like to save them to.
Select Boot Corrector if you are just having problems booting from your hard drive. It will then try a few things to correct the Master Boot Record and booting process on the drive.
Finally select Undelete Partition if you accidentally deleted a whole partition, but haven’t overwritten it yet with a new one.
You can search any partition-free space on your hard drive for deleted partitions.
Paragon Rescue Kit is a must-have tool for anyone dealing with PC tech support and can be a real life (and data) saver.
If you are already booted in Windows, or if you have a flash drive that needs to have some files restored from it, check out Recuva. It has been reviewed on MakeUseOf before, and is still in active development and a great choice if you are wanting to restore specific files that have been deleted.
Parted Magic is a great tool in general, and it does include a few tools for helping to restore a deleted partition. First, if you want to make a mirror of the drive for data recovery purposes, you can certainly do that as it is a part of Parted Magic’s bread and butter functions.
If your computer was running Ubuntu before formatting, it also includes a program called Extundelete. This works to restore deleted ext3 and ext4 files ystems, which Ubuntu uses by default.
Finally there are a lot of tools that are paid or “Shareware”. DiskInternals is one of the best, but the free version will basically show you what it could restore, if you buy the rest of the software. If the options above fail, then it might be a good idea to check it out.
As a last resort, you can send your hard drive to a recovery specialist. Ontrack is one of the best known and most reliable of these service companies, but they are also very expensive. If you really need your data back, this is probably your last resort. If it is possible to restore the data from your formatted hard drive, these guys will be able to do it.
For Further Help
If you have already formatted your hard drive and are not able to get the above tools to restore your data, head over to MakeUseOf Answers to get some help. If you have any tips or tricks for restoring files off of a formatted hard drive, or any other programs you would recommend, make sure to let us know below!
Title photo courtesy Rev Dan Catt
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 07:30 AM PST
This week, we will be giving away 25 standard licenses for Intego VirusBarrier X6 for Mac worth over $1200, and each standard license includes protection for up to 2 Macs. So stick around if you want to win but first, let’s take a look at that it has to offer. For those interested in purchasing the more complete security suite, Internet Security Barrier X6, we have an exclusive discount for you after the jump.
VirusBarrier X6 provides two kinds of scanning services: on-demand scanning and real-time scanning. On-demand scanning allows you to run a full scan of your computer to make sure that all is in order, it is recommended that you run a full scan upon installation. Real-time scanning, which can be toggled on and off, allows you to run constant background scans of all files that are downloaded from the internet. Basic scan settings also include choosing what to do when malware is found and whether or not to remove quarantine markers after scanning uninfected files.
Advance scan settings include what items to scan, and which threats VirusBarrier X6 should look out for, including Mac OS, Windows and Linux threats. When connected via USB, VirusBarrier X6 can also scan for malware on the iPad, iPhone and the iPod Touch.
You can also set up a scheduled scan on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, as well as automatically scan external drives when they are hooked up to your computer.
VirusBarrier X6 also includes anti-spyware features, found under the Privacy tab, which can be turned on and off, and can be configured to deny or allow out-going connections.
Virus Barrier X6′s works as a typical two way firewall, keeping an eye on all incoming and outgoing traffic, allowing you to block traffic coming in from outside your network. It also protects your computer from Trojan Horses.
Other features in VirusBarrier X6′s packed arsenal include anti-phishing, anti-spyware and blocking incoming and outgoing traffic from specific IP addresses, while the Overview tab gives you an idea of all of your main settings and scan results.
For a full list of features, check out the VirusBarrier X6 page on Intego’s website.
How do I win a copy?
It’s simple, just follow the instructions.
Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form
Please fill in the form with your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.
The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from Friday’s newsletter or on our Facebook page.
Step 2: Share!
You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!
This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, March 11th at 2100hrs PST. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.
Spread the word to your friends and have fun!
Posted: 07 Mar 2011 06:49 AM PST
With offers in over 14,000 cities and towns throughout the US, Bing has created an aggregator that pulls in deals from Groupon, Living Social and more. There’s no denying the power of a good aggregator, and who wouldn’t want a service that collects the best deals from all over the net and hands them over to you in a tiny package?
Special deals on Bing’s aggregator include offers at local restaurants, spas, stores and more. Just type in a keyword for what you want to save money on, and the site will let you know about all of the latest deals in your area. Once you’ve found a deal you’re interested in, you can either save it, share it via email, or if you don’t want to waste any time, head over to the site it came from and claim your coupon.
Find out more about Bing Deals from their video below:
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