Wednesday, March 23, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [March 22nd]” plus 6 more “Cool Websites and Tools [March 22nd]” plus 6 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [March 22nd]

Posted: 22 Mar 2011 08:31 PM PDT

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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Internet Buttons – Explaining the Internet to a web illiterate or somebody who is new to computers is not easy. Teaching them how to reach their email, online photos, or social networking account can be quite difficult. To simplify and ease the process, you can get help from a site called Internet Buttons. Read more: Internet Buttons: Set up A Startpage For Web Illiterates


Qwiki – Wikipedia, the mother of all knowledge wikis, is unmatched in the breadth and depth of articles that it has published. However, if you want to have an awesome experience with knowledge-based wikis, then you should check out Qwiki. This a new website provides an interactive wiki experience with the help of a slick interface and audio-visual presentations for all its entries. Read more: Qwiki: An Interactive Knowledge Wiki For Students & Teachers



Gift Genome – Buying a gift can often become confusing because the options are limitless. Here to help you buy the perfect gift by narrowing down the options and offering suggestions is Gift Genome, a free to use web service that helps you buy the perfect gift. You start by specifying whether the gift is for a male or female person. Read more: Gift Genome: Get Help In Finding The Perfect Gift



Tilt View – Many of us do not have the time to regularly watch television. The only reason we have television and a cable subscription is to catch an informative news report every now and then. But thanks to Tilt View, watching the latest news broadcast no longer requires a television. The service monitors news websites in real-time. Read more: Tilt View: Watch The Latest News Video Streams Online



Blnkr – Uploading their songs online and then sharing the streaming link across all social networking accounts must be time consuming for bands. Jumping from one site to another to do the same job is never convenient. Here to help upload your tracks, and interact with your fans at the same time is Blnkr, a wonderful web service that lets you upload music. Read more: Blnkr: Upload Your Tracks, Share & Interact With Fans


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 7 Toughest Tech Questions [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 22 Mar 2011 06:31 PM PDT

tough questionMakeUseOf Answers has some more nuts to crack this week. If you enjoy challenges, you should give our toughest questions a try. A great solution could even earn you some cash!

In our weekly contest the Best Answer of the Week is rewarded with $50 and two runners-up win $30 and $20, respectively. Every comment automatically enters the contest, valid login information is required, and only skillful answers are eligible to win.

Whether or not you care about winning, please have a look at the following questions:

For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

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How To Link Your Employer’s Facebook Details To Your Facebook Page

Posted: 22 Mar 2011 02:31 PM PDT

facebook employer link to pageHas your employer got a Facebook page? Have you listed your employer in your profile only to see a link appear to a community page with the same name? Do you want to know how to get it to link to your employer’s Facebook page instead? This happens to a lot of people “" it’s one of Facebook’s special annoyances. Luckily, it’s able to be fixed. It’s a little hacky, but it works.

For many of us, that little link in our Facebook profiles is the only information our Facebook contacts see about our employment. It’s quite important that the link goes to the right page “" for entrepreneurs especially. So, today we’ll take you through a step-by-step process for getting that link right.

1. Get The Web Developer Firefox Add-on

This process will involve both Firefox and the Web Developer add-on. My apologies to non-Firefox users, but this plug-in isn’t available for other browsers as far as I know. Grab the add-on and restart Firefox. A new toolbar will appear, which you’ll need to use later.

2. Go To Your Employer’s Page & Get Their ID Number

You’ll need to visit your employer’s Facebook page to get the ID number of the page. For some, this will be visible in the URL of the page. For others, the page will have a custom URL and you won’t see it there. Instead, simply hover over the page’s user picture and you’ll see the ID number appear in the URL at the bottom left of the Firefox window. See for yourself with the MakeUseOf Facebook Page.

facebook employer link to page

3. Remove Current Employer Details

You might have already entered your employer details, but often this process doesn’t work when employment details are entered. Go to your profile, click Edit Profile and then Education and Work. Edit the entry and save the information in a text file for now, then delete the entry from Facebook.

4. Enter Employer Details (Again)

Next, you’ll need to add the employer. With the new Facebook profiles, this page-linking trick only works if you’ve already entered the name and then you edit it. Type the name in and click on the highlighted entry Facebook presents you.

employer facebook page

In the next screen, don’t save the employer by clicking Add Job. This is where you’ll need to use the Web Developer add-on.

employer facebook page

5. Using The Web Developer Add-on

When you installed the Web Developer add-on, a toolbar will have appeared in Firefox. While you’re adding your employer details, you’ll need to find “Forms” on that toolbar and choose Display Form Details. This will turn your page into a nice mess, but it’s essential to get this working.

employer facebook page

Look for fields marked with input name=”employer_id. There should be two of them visible: one for the field where you would normally add a new employer and one within the details section of the employer you just added. It’s this second one you’re looking for.

facebook employer link to page

Enter the ID number from your employer’s Facebook page into this field (replacing the old number there), then click Add Job. This creates the employer entry with the correct page link. Don’t add any employment details, like your position until later or it won’t save. Just click Add Job and go back to it later and fill in the details.

You may now go to “Web Developer Toolbar” > “Forms” > “Display Form Detail” and uncheck it to go back to the normal view. It’s also now possible to edit the employer details as normal to add position details and length of service.


You should now be able to view your profile and click on the employer link to the correct Facebook Page. If you want some more Facebook reading, check out our Facebook Privacy Manual or some geeky Facebook hacks.

Has this guide been useful to you? What other uses can you see for this add-on in Facebook? Let us know in the comments!

Image Source: ShutterStock

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5 Podcast Directories You Can Visit To Subscribe & Download Free Podcasts

Posted: 22 Mar 2011 12:31 PM PDT

free podcastTraffic jams and long queues have become easier to bear. It’s all thanks to the ubiquitous MP3 player (or the multimedia cell phone) and freely downloadable podcasts. I bet life on the road is also that much better for the travelling salesman. I should know; I used to be one.

For the uninitiated, and I think there are very few, podcast is a blend of the words “pod”"" an acronym for “Playable On Demand”""and “broadcasting”. That’s how Wikipedia defines it. Yes, the word in itself has nothing to do with the success of the iPod, though the iconic player had a lot of hand in its success.

Beyond the word, podcasts have a lot of usefulness”¦from mobile education to personal development; from daily digest of news to tutorials. Websites offer it as another form of social communication via feed subscriptions. Then there are the more single window sources, like podcast directories. Here are five where you can download podcasts for free:

Podcast Alley

free podcast

Podcast Alley usually comes up tops in a Google podcast search. It is a large podcast directory with nearly 90,000 podcasts and 6,000,000 episodes. Access genres with a dropdown which cover everything from arts to TV & Film. You can subscribe to podcasts directly from here or go to the individual websites. You can click to even listen to the podcasts online if you don’t want to clutter your podcatcher. Podcast Alley also gives you some select feeds you can subscribe to like Podcast Alley Top 10 Podcasts or Podcast Alley Podcast Interviews.


free audio podcasts

Looking at the domain name, these guys probably had first dibs at setting up a directory and they have done a nice job of it with nearly 85,000 podcasts. You can go by Channels on the site (Strangely, the search bar on top does a general search). I prefer trying out what’s recommended first and usually discover something really worth listening to. Then there are the video podcasts too across a range of categories. Some content is explicit. To each his own, but for me it’s usually the news podcasts or the stand-up comedy routines if it’s a black day. You can subscribe or play them online. You can create a free account and create playlists of your favorite episodes.


free audio podcasts

This is a cool collection of serialized audiobooks which you can subscribe to using with RSS. You can choose to subscribe, listen online, or download the episodes. The site is completely free, but you can voluntarily send in some donations to help keep the site running. Unlike a lot of other sites, the audiobooks are all legal downloads because they come with author permissions and fall under the Creative Commons license (though sharing is a no-no). You have 9558 episodes in 496 titles to choose from. Some books may be incomplete, but you can filter them out with an option in the search. You can also customize the feed to receive chapters at specific intervals like once a month, or once a day if you need to. Some books are also tagged as “Family Friendly” or “For Kids”.


Podfeed is a podcast directory with a relatively small collection of 16000+ podcasts and 2783515 episodes. With a sign-up, you can also submit your own podcasts. To listen to and share podcasts, you can create and customize the site’s podcast feed (myPODFEED) to your liking. There’s a lot of variety in the categories the directory covers. The Education category for instance, is helpful if you want to learn a language like Spanish or even English. Another category that’s worth a look is that of Storytelling with its collection of nearly 500 podcasts. You can download the podcasts as MP3 files or subscribe to them via RSS.

Tech Podcasts

free podcast

Tech Podcasts is all about technology and geeky topics with the help of free podcasts. You have shows like TheSocialGeeks (on social media), Dr. Bill: The Computer Curmudgeon (tech tips and news), MacMost (about Mac), and more. Sprinkled in between these audio presentations are videocasts like Dr. Bill.TV which looks at the wacky world of computers.

If you like all that’s tech, do visit the cool podcasts mentioned here “"

15+ Podcasts Every Geek Should Listen To
The 10 Best HighDef Video Podcasts For Geeks
7 More Fantastic Podcasts for Geeks

The ease with which one can make and spread a podcast makes this a powerful medium for the listener as well as the maker. That also perhaps explains the sheer variety of podcasts that we find at our fingertips. If you are looking for more resources, also check our previous look at the Top 5 Podcast Directories you Should See. From that list, some have fallen by the wayside, but more have taken their place.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Join, Create & Manage Group Chat With Convore

Posted: 22 Mar 2011 10:31 AM PDT

convore chatEverybody loves to chat. It’s our way to interact with others and even though modern technology has given a more global definition to society, it has also given us a new way to converse – through the Internet.

Based on the number of members in the group, there are two major types of chat applications: the ones that focus more on individual chat and the ones that emphasize group chat. Those who follow news and stories about web technology will notice that the latest trends shift towards group chat.

If you agree to the statement “the more the merrier”, and prefer multi-party conversation to individual chat, you might want to try Convore – one of the easiest web-based group chat applications.

Join The Conversation!

As with most web apps these days, you can easily sign up with Convore using your Facebook or Twitter account. There’s the option to sign up manually, but signing up with one of the two social giants will give you an additional benefit: the ability to automatically find your friends’ Convore group.

convore chat

After signing up, you will see your account’s main page. This is where you will see your Facebook and/or Twitter friends’ groups. In my case, it’s still blank. I guess it’s because none of my Facebook friends have joined Convore. From this main page you can create new groups, connect Convore with your social account(s), and find groups to join.

convore client

If you want to start a chat party, you can easily create a new group. Give a name, a short description and a category to your group. You can also set the privacy level to be either private or public.

convore client

After clicking the “Create Group” button, you’ll have the option to invite your friends to the group and to share your group on Facebook and Twitter.

convore client

But you don’t have to create your own group to be able to chat with others. Another way to have a nice conversation or two is by joining groups created by other Convore members. Click the “Discover” tab and go to the “Discover groups” pane. The easiest way to find groups that you might like is by browsing the categories of the available open groups.

convore review

Clicking on one of the categories will give you a list of the groups within that category along with the number of topics currently discussed in each group and how many members have joined the group. To join a group, click the “Join this group” button.

convore review

After joining a group, you can view the online members and browse all the topics.

convore review

Click on one of the topics to view the conversation.

04d Inside Conversation

Similar to other chat clients, participating in a discussion is simple. Just write your thoughts in the field below and click “Submit“.

04f Replying

Starting a new topic within the group is also easy. There’s a small link below the post field to submit your ramblings as a new topic. There’s also the “Create new topic” button at the top right corner of the pane.

Mentions & Notifications

There’s a small tab next to “Discover” that caught my attention called “Mentions“. It turns out that this feature will show you how many times your name has been mentioned by others. Since I’ve just joined Convore, nobody has mentioned my name just yet.

05a Mentions

Another thing you can do with your account is set up the notifications. You can set the notification system to send you emails every time a specific thing happens. To access the settings area, hover your mouse over your account name and click “Settings“.

convore chat

Whether you want to start a team discussion or do a group chat, Convore is a great tool to do it. It’s simple to set up, so you can begin a conversation in no time. But Convore is not the only group chat service available. You might already use another one that’s more suitable to your needs. If you do, tell us your favorite in the comments below.

And don’t forget to check out our other articles about chat tools such as, Beluga, ChatRoulette, Notapipe, and Envolve.

Image credit: mikecogh

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How To Protect Yourself When Doing the Chatroulette Shuffle

Posted: 22 Mar 2011 09:31 AM PDT

chatroulette shuffleChatroulette is a website where you can anonymously meet people of virtually any age from around the world to chat with. You can communicate using text-based chat, voice, and most importantly your webcam. All you need to do is visit the website, click Scan and the system will match you with a random chat partner.

Chatroulette is super minimalistic. No sign up, no age verification, no user information collected, nothing. The simplicity is great because it’s straightforward, quick, and easy. On the other hand, the randomness and anonymity increases the potential of running into a weirdo. The site is NSFW and definitely 18+. This article will show you how you can protect yourself from strange encounters while you do the Chatroulette shuffle with multiple chat partners.

Know How It Works

As mentioned above, Chatroulette is a simplified web-based chat service. The layout is reduced to the absolute basics. From top to bottom you will see: your chat partner’s webcam broadcast, your own webcam image, Chatroulette controls, and the text-based chat box. In the bottom left you can change the theme.

Before you start, familiarize yourself with the controls. The buttons with which you can control Chatroulette sit on top of the chat box. Depending on your current status, the left button is either Scan, Next, or Again and the right button reads Stop. To start you click Scan, to jump to the next random chat partner click Next, Stop is obvious, and to proceed after stopping simply click Again.

chatroulette shuffle

As you can see in the screenshot above, you can also control your camera and microphone input. These controls only appear when you hover your mouse over the area below your own webcam image. Be sure everything is connected the way you want it.

Position Your Webcam

An unwritten rule on Chatroulette is that you should broadcast your webcam image. Otherwise you will likely be pushed away by everyone you’re matched with. To protect yourself, however, you might want to keep the camera angle neutral. Instead of showing your full self, point the camera into the room, only show a part of yourself, or be creative and dress up in a costume. Once you start shuffling people, you will see what I mean with ‘creative’.

chatroulette screenshots

Also note that per default your microphone is set to broadcast sound. Use the volume controls shown above to adjust the sound. The control on the left side is for your microphone and the one on right controls what you hear of your chat partner.

Don’t Be Offended

Chatroulette is not a place for the faint of heart. You will see people of all ages, you will meet very few girls and a lot of men, but most of all you will see nudity and the occasional weirdo. Expect to be surprised and possibly offended and don’t approach Chatroulette if this is a problem! The best thing you can do to protect yourself from these encounters, apart from not using Chatroulette, is to keep the mouse pointer very close to the Next and Stop buttons.

chatroulette review

Don’t Take It Personally

Most people are fun and nice and even if they seem weird, they actually don’t mean to offend you. Some folks, however, are extremely rude and take pleasure from shocking or hurting others. Never take it personally! After all they don’t know you and they are just as alone as you are. Hit Stop if you need a break or click Next to hopefully meet a nice person.

chatroulette review

Set Your Alarm

Chatroulette is very addictive. Time literally flies by as you shuffle people, chat, laugh, and hit the Next button over and over again. If you just want to try it and don’t have hours to waste, set an alarm or watch the clock.

chatroulette review

Seriously, you can trust me regarding the advice to set an alarm, I speak from experience. This article could have been finished in a matter of minutes, but obviously the research and hunt for good screenshots took a very long time.


Chatroulette is an entertaining way to meet people from all walks of life, although it can also be shocking and intimidating. People use Chatroulette for all sorts of activities and their objectives don’t necessarily coincide with what you are looking for. Unfortunately, there is no way to be matched with people based on age, gender, location, or interests. Hence you have to be prepared to see and hear things you didn’t care for. However, if you approach Chatroulette with an open mind, it will be a great way to pass the time.

chatroulette shuffle

Check out the articles below for alternatives to the Chatroulette shuffle:

What was the most hilarious person you ran into on Chatroulette and did you ever have a good conversation with anyone on there?

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5 Used Things You Can Feel Safe About Buying On Craigslist

Posted: 22 Mar 2011 08:31 AM PDT

buying on craigslistCraigslist is one of the web’s oldest established websites. It’s been around since 1995, and while its services have changed over the years, it’s always been an open, (usually) free to use classifieds website. Unsurprisingly, this makes it a great place to buy and sell stuff, and I’m sure many of MakeUseOf’s readers have bought or sold something on the site at some point.

Still, Craigslist is considered by some to be a bit shady, and perhaps with good reason. There are few rules, and the items people advertise rarely come with any guarantee. Buying some items on Craigslist can be a bit risky, but there are some relatively safe deals to be found on the site.

Video Games

buying on craigslist

Used games are always a great deal because they don’t lose any value as they’re used. With the exception of nicks or scratches to the game disc, which you can inspect for before handing over your cash, a game that is ten years old is in the same condition as it was the day it was released. Indeed, it may be better if there have been patches released for the game.

Not everyone on Craigslist offers fair prices for games, but you can usually find deals that are better than what you’ll receive from your local Gamestop and about on par with what you’d find in the used section of online retailers like Amazon. You don’t have to pay shipping costs, however, nor do you have to wait for the game to arrive, so you usually end up ahead.

Old Computers

safe buying on craigslist

Buying new second-hand computers on Craigslist is a bit risky for my blood. The price tag associated with them is always high, and if you have a problem you may not be able to return the item to the store but rather go through the manufacturer’s warranty process, which can take some time.

Older PCs, however, are often sold on Craigslist. It’s not hard to find a two or three year old PC with a dual-core processor and two to four gigabytes of RAM for $200 or less. If you’re willing – or want to – go for even older hardware, it’s not hard to pick up a full system for under $100.  While you can find comparably priced systems elsewhere, Craigslist tends to be advantageous because of shipping costs, particularly if you want to buy a desktop. It’s also reassuring to be able to actually see the system and at least confirm that it boots before buying it.

Audio Equipment

safe buying on craigslist

There is a lot of home theater equipment available on Craigslist, but I hesitate recommending the purchase of items liked used HDTVs because they can have hidden problems. A HDTV with aging capacitors, for example, may start to show the signs in subtle ways, like a slow power-on cycle or slight graphics errors. Six months later, the HDTV is dead.

Audio equipment, however, is usually straightforward. Speakers have few complex electronics and are generally quite durable. If there is a problem with a speaker, subwoofer or other piece of audio equipment, you can usually detect it by listening to the playback of the equipment for a few minutes.

Digital Cameras

safe buying on craigslist

Digital cameras are a great item to buy used on Craiglist, particularly if you’re looking for a Digital SLR or similar high-end camera equipment. They have two things going for them as a used item. The first is durability; cameras are built to be used frequently and need to be tough enough to jostle about in a camera bag regularly without damage. The second is passion; high-end cameras are expensive, and generally only usable by people with enough passion to learn some basics about photography. There’s a decent chance that the previous owner of the camera had some love for it, and since you’re going to meet that owner you should be able sniff out how well the camera was taken care of.

In addition to the cameras themselves, Craigslist is a great place to find accessories for the same reasons above. A well treated camera lens can literally last decades, so buying one second-hand from someone who squeaked a few years use out of it shouldn’t decrease the quality of the lens one bit.

Jailbroken Smartphones

buying on craigslist

Normally, I would’t recommend buying smartphones from Craigslist. Smartphones are another category of item that can easily have hidden problems, and they’re almost completely impossible for most geeks to work on, so even a tiny issue can turn into costly repairs. In addition, smartphones are sold used with their original battery, which is probably going to be in need of replacement in the near future. Finally, new smartphones are being released at an incredible rate, so buying a used smartphone will really put you behind the curve.

Jailbroken smartphones are different, however. They’re not immune to any of the above complaints, but jailbreaking voids your warranty anyway, so potential problems with the phone aren’t as big of an issue. In addition, jailbreaking is a task that not everyone will be comfortable doing, so in a sense you’re gaining a service when you buy a jailbroken phone. You don’t have to go through the hassle of doing it yourself.


Obviously, there are lots of things for sale on Craigslist. You can never be 100% certain that a used item is going to be everything as promised, but that’s simply the risk you take when buying used – and the reason why used items are less expensive. Have you bought something on Craigslist that was great, or were you burned? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Looking to get more out of Craigslist? Check out our blog post about 5 tools that make Craigslist even more useful.

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