Monday, March 28, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [March 27th]” plus 6 more “Cool Websites and Tools [March 27th]” plus 6 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [March 27th]

Posted: 27 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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FollowYourWorld – If you take a keen interest in Google Maps, the first thing that you'd probably look for is your house. Many frequenters of Google Maps always ask when Google will update the street view of their neighborhood. But with FollowYourWorld, you can get a notification whenever Google updates the satellite or street view pictures on a map. Read more: FollowYourWorld: Get Alerts On Specific Google Map Changes


CorruptOffice2txt – Sudden power outages can damage the document files you have been working on. Redoing the work put into these document files is often very time-consuming. CorruptOffice2txt is here to save you time by recovering data from corrupt documents. The setup file is a ZIP archive sized at nearly 10MB. Read more: CorruptOffice2txt: Recover Corrupted Office Files



Snooze Your Email – When you postpone replying to emails and get occupied with other work on your computer, there is a good chance that you will forget responding to emails. Snooze Your Email is here to help remind you to send a reply. The Chrome extension lets you set a reminder to send responses to your Gmail emails. Read more: Snooze Your Emails & Get Reminders (Chrome)



LinkReduce – If you are one of those who only opens their Twitter stream to check the links posted by people you follow then you might as well use LinkReduce to do that. It lets you see all the tweets with links, and then sets filters accordingly. You could set a filter for someone, and their links would appear only in the "Filtered Links" page. Read more: LinkReduce: Filter Links In Your Twitter Stream



Google Art Project – If you are an art enthusiast and wish that you could attend all the major museums in the world, then you will love Google's new offering: Art Project. Google has collaborated with 17 art museums around the world to produce a cool site that lets you navigate through high resolution images of the artworks in these museums. Read more: Google Art Project: Virtually Browse Various Museum Art Collections Online


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

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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 27 Mar 2011 07:31 PM PDT

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

    [1] ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service

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


    [2] LapDawg “" Hands-free Laptop Stands

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

    [3] Walyou “" Cool Gadgets for Geeks

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


    [4] rade | eccles – iPhone Application Development

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


    [5] TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design

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


    [6] Mobify – Making the Web a mobile place

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


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

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


    [8] Sourcebits – Android Developement

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


Thank you, guys!

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How Many Operating Systems Do You Use? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 27 Mar 2011 06:30 PM PDT

Last week we tried to work out how many computers resided in the average MakeUseOf household. Most of us seem to have 3-5 computers per house, although there were nearly as many people with 5-10 computers.

Out of the 1067 votes collected, here’s the split: 46% have 3-5 computers in the house; 32% have 5-10 computers in their house; 11% have 2 computers; 6% have 10-20 computers; 4% have one computer and less than 1% has more than 20 computers. Just one voter had no computers in their house.

Full results and this week’s poll follows below.

If you have 3-10 computers in your house, you can consider yourself normal for a MakeUseOf reader.

This week’s poll question is: How Many Operating Systems Do You Use?

Consider all the different computers and smartphones you use at home and for work and let us know how many different operating systems you use in a normal week. Consider the various major versions to be different operating systems (eg. Windows 7 versus Windows NT or Linux versus FreeBSD) but leave out minor version differences like Windows NT Home versus Windows NT Professional.

Now that you’re thinking about it, let us know which operating systems you use. Are they mainly all Windows/Mac/UNIX or some combination of different tools for different purposes?

Need Assistance? Ask questions to MakeUseOf staff and thousands of other readers on MakeUseOf Answers!



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RockMelt: The Ultimate Social Media Browser Enters Public Beta

Posted: 27 Mar 2011 03:31 PM PDT

social web browserAfter having been available in private beta since November 2010, RockMelt, the social web browser, has finally launched its next phase of public beta testing. Available for both Mac and Windows users, you can now download the public beta without having to wait for a coveted invite from a friend.

Similar to Flock, RockMelt is a browser that targets the die-hard social media addict by integrating Twitter and Facebook directly into your browsing experience. It doesn’t end there as you can easily integrate other sites that you use on a daily basis including Tumblr, YouTube and Google Reader. Aside from it’s social media features, RockMelt also includes basic features found in other browsers, such as hitting the tab key to search from the address bar.


As far as Facebook integration is concerned, RockMelt automatically logs you into Facebook chat, with your contact list featured subtly on the left hand side of your browser. There you can see which contacts are online and which are idle. You can also selectively add Facebook friends to your favorites, and toggle the view of your contact list to show your favorite friends only.

social web browser

On the right hand side of the browser you can access all of the apps and feeds that you have added to the browser.

new social web browser

There are two separate Facebook tabs on the right hand side. In one, you can see your friends' latest posts and update your Facebook status. Interaction with your friends on Facebook include the ability to like and comment on their updates. When your feed is updated, or you have any new notifications, a small badge will appear over the Facebook icon with the number of updates. The second tab features all of your Facebook notifications, and new notifications are visible through a badge with a mouse over the icon.

new social web browser

When chatting with friends, a new window will open up. You are  notified of new chat messages with sound notifications as well as badges on the contact’s image in your contact list.


Like with Facebook, adding Twitter to RockMelt will allow you to keep up with your Twitter feed from a convenient window accessible from your apps and feeds list on the right hand side of the browser. With the Twitter feed, you can toggle a sidebar open and closed to reveal links to your replies, direct messages, tweets, retweets and lists.

new social web browser

You can tweet, reply to tweets and retweet them, using Twitter's native Retweet method.

best social web browser

You can even share a link from Twitter directly on your Facebook wall.

best social web browser

As far as content is concerned, photos and videos are displayed embedded within your feed.

best social web browser

If you want to add multiple Twitter accounts, you can do so by clicking on the settings button in your Twitter feed.

An interesting RockMelt Twitter feature is the ability to search your timeline for keywords, which is a nice novelty feature. The more significant and more useful feature of searching Twitter is, unfortunately, not a feature included in RockMelt's mini-client.

Some drawbacks we noticed to using Twitter on RockMelt is that to view a user's profile you have to open it on the website, and if you want to retweet and add your own text to the tweet, you'll have to copy and paste the original tweet.

Integrated Sharing

RockMelt takes things one step further, making it easy not only to access information directly from your favorite sites, but also making it easy to share content as well. The 'Share' button next to the address bar allows you to share links quickly as you are viewing them, directly to your added apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

social web browser

Have you downloaded RockMelt? Would you be willing to switch from your preferred browser to RockMelt? Let us know in the comments.

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Hot Tech Deals [Mar 27th]

Posted: 27 Mar 2011 01:30 PM PDT

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. Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB 7200RPM/32MB Internal SATA Hard Drive for $49.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKGHF22 (Exp 3/30)
  2. Vizio E320VP RazorLED 32in LED-Edgelit LCD HDTV (720p) $329.99 Free Ship
  3. Dell Vostro 3500 Intel Core i3 2.4GHz 15.6in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $489
  4. Dell Vostro 3400 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 14in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $499
  5. Dell Vostro 3300 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 13.3in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $469
  6. Dell Vostro 230 Mini Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93GHz Desktop (3GB/320GB) w/ Viewsonic 24in LCD $449
  7. Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i3-380M Dual-Core 2.53GHz 15.6in Laptop (2GB/250GB) w/ $50 Dell Gift Card $449.99
  8. Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i3-2310M Dual-Core Sandy Bridge 15.6in Laptop (4GB/500GB) $599
  9. Dell Inspiron 14R Intel Core i3-380M Dual-Core 2.53GHz 14in Laptop (2GB/250GB) $399.99

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 27 Mar 2011 12:30 PM PDT

It’s another Sound Sunday.

This week’s mix is full of soul, rhythm and blues, electronic and ambient elements, as well as some metal and jazz. It’s a killer edition with very little mainstream. I hope you are ready to open your ears to something new today; it’s a good workout for the brain.

Questions, suggestions, feedback? There is room for comments at the bottom and you can always eMail me [tina at makeuseof dot com]. Enjoy the music!

Anoop Desai – Zero.0

Genre: pop, rhythm and blues, soul
DJ Trauma Presents Anoop Desai, “Zero.0″ by billboard

Anoop Desai is a former American Idol participant. In February he released his debut album All Is Fair. Zero.0 is the first of three EPs to be released this year. Anoop about the album: “The whole concept of ‘Zero’ is talking about the power of music to describe a moment in time, not necessarily a singular emotion.

Download Zero.0 one song at a time from SoundCloud.

Anoop Desai MySpace and Homepage.

The Weeknd – House Of Balloons

Genre: rhythm and blues, soul

The Weeknd – House Of Balloons by The_Weeknd

The Weeknd is a mysterious new band from Toronto, Canada. As MTV writes, tThey just signed a record deal with Drake’s label Young Money. The Guardian reveals that the men behind the project are Abel Tesfaye (vocals) and Jeremy Rose (production).

Download House Of Balloons from The Weeknd’s Homepage.

The Weeknd SoundCloud and Homepage.

Kollektiv Artists – Pioneri

Genre: electronic

06. Lump – Kind of Strange by

Kollketiv Artists is an online platform for electronic music artists. At anyone can discover electronic music. Pioneri, the Moscow Sampler, is an all Russian sampler from artists from Moscow and St. Petersburg. The above track, however, is from Kollektiv Artists’ previous free album, a sampler called Volume Four.

Download Pioneri from Kollektiv Artists’ Homepage.

Kollektiv Artists MySpace and Homepage.

Being – Naptime

Genre: electronic, distorto

Being, also known as The Wee DJs, The Buttmasters, Dave Parton, and many other names, is a band from the UK. On their Bandcamp page they write, the album Naptime was “recorded during the precious hours of naptime between 12pm and 3pm over a couple of weeks.”

Naptime is a name your price download from Bandcamp.

The Wee DJs SoundCloud and Homepage.

The Spectral Eye – Ghosts Of The City

Genre: avantgarde, ambient

From the artist’s profile: “With my songs I tell about the people who no-one normally sees: the forgotten, the outcast, the silenced ones: their feeling, their dreams and memories, their fears and hopes. Their eyes and souls are full of stories and feeling no-one seems to notice, or care for: they are like ghosts, lost into the darkness and light of the city.

Preview the full album and download Ghosts Of The City from

The Spectral Eye MySpace and Homepage.

Adveniat Hiems – Loki

Genre: metal, black metal, ambient

From their profile: “Adveniat Hiems formed in 2008 and are based in Milan, Italy. The band is dedicated to the production of short concept albums about northern mythology and themes from the North-European folklore.The basic lineup consists of three people and is integrated with session singers/musicians when needed.

Preview the full album and download Loki from

Adveniat Hiems MySpace and Homepage.

Día De Los  Muertos – Satánico-Dramáctico

Genre: metal, death metal, hardcore

free mp3Día De Los Muertos is a Los Angeles based metal band that offers ‘metal para las masas’, i.e. metal for the masses, 100% free. The band was founded from members of several other bands. As they say on their Facebook profile: “Bringing a latino tribal concept where brothers in metal come together to create uninhibited and uncompromising heavy music to the world.

Download Satánico-Dramático from Día De Los Muertos’ Homepage.

Día De Los Muertos MySpace and Homepage.

Jirí Vedral – Bueno

Genre: acoustic, folk, jazz

free mp3Jirí Vedral is a Czech musician, who even Indies Scope finds incredible to categorize. He started his musical career as a songster and moved on to playing jazz, traditional and ethnic music.  Bueno was recorded live in the Barrandov studio.

Download Bueno free from Indies Scope.

Jirí Vedral Facebook.

BrainStorm Operations – mixed

Genre: ambient, chillout, downtempo, electronica

From their Facebook profile: “BSO is (…) an unconventional company that plans on leaving a lasting impression on those who choose to involve them in a cooperative project. We produce ambient, chillout, lounge, deep trance, sound design and house. The goal is not only to deliver quality music but qualitative surroundings well. We here at BSO continue to live by the simple Tantra: Chill The Planet…”

Preview and download dozens of BSO’s songs free from

BrainStorm Operations and Facebook.

Dwayne Patrick – Heart What I See

Genre: hip hop, rhythm and blues, soul

Hear everything Dwayne has to say about Hear What I See in the album trailer above.

Download Heart What I See from Dwayne’s Homepage.

Dwayne Patrick MySpace and Homepage.

New to Sound Sunday? Past editions of Sound Sunday are available here.

Feel free to get in touch with me [tina at makeuseof dot com] to share free material, suggestions, and feedback or simply add your comments below.



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SplashTop – A Free Operating System For Quick Internet Browsing

Posted: 27 Mar 2011 10:31 AM PDT

free netbook operating systemSplashTop, the company behind the instant-on operating system features of many current netbooks has recently released their Chromium-based complementary netbook OS for anyone to install. It’s lightweight, with Chrome built-in, and is pretty darned fast.

If you’re already running Windows, perhaps it’s worth taking a look as it’s designed to run alongside and get you booted into an Internet-ready session in seconds. You’ll also get the power of Chrome web apps.

Download & Install

free netbook operating system

Head over to SplashTop and down the latest SplashTop OS. It’s a small 2MB installation file, but once you launch the application it’ll download a further 312MB over your Internet connection.

netbook operating systems

When THAT installation has finished, you’ll be given the option to import either IE or Firefox favourites as well as your Wi-fi settings, which is a nice touch. Restart the machine, and your boot menu will now show you a SplashTop OS option too. The boot-up is hardly instant, but it’s certainly faster than Windows.

free netbook operating system

Features At A Glance

  • The Internet, with Google Chrome.
  • Chrome Apps.
  • A sandboxed environment.

That’s it, basically. It’s not designed to replace Windows. It’s a simple no-frills approach to using the Internet. So why would you use it then?

Faster Boot Time

So you don’t have to wait for the bulk of Windows to load. It’s not just the time taken to show you a desktop either – once you’ve loaded the desktop, you often still have to wait for various drivers, anti-virus software, automatic update checks – all of which prevents you from doing your simple 2 second Internet search. If 90% of your netbook use is using a browser, then you really don’t need all the bloat of Windows. SplashTop provides a simple alternative.

Snappier Response

If you are running lots of background apps in Windows when you really just need the Internet, it’s a pain to close them all after a Windows restart just to get a quick speed up. On limited netbook machines, every ounce of computing power that you can squeeze out is important.

Sandboxes Security

You can’t download files to your hard drive, only to USB drives. While this might be annoying, it does provide a great deal of security by preventing browser based attacks – of which there are none for Chrome anyway.

Easy Reset

For security reasons or anonymity, there is a Restore Defaults option under the Enviromental Settings -> General screen. It will wipe everything, and restore the initial OS image.

Making Use Of An Old Computer

Okay, so you need to install Windows first, but then you can install the lightweight SplashTop OS for daily use as a basic Internet station.

Although I wasn’t able to make screenshots within the OS, here’s a short video from SplashTop to tempt you.

If you’re worried about trying this out on your main machine then bear in mind it unfortunately won’t work on a virtual machine (at least it wouldn’t for me). Don’t worry though, an uninstall option is added to your Windows installed programs list so it’s easy to get rid of if you don’t like it.


Despite apparently being powered by Bing, all my test searches using the browser bar defaulted to Google, so don’t let the Bing branding scare you off. It’s simple, lightweight, perfect for a quick browsing session on a netbook. It’s not going to replace your main Windows installation, and it’s not supposed to – it’s complementary. If you’re living in the cloud though, it’s a great way to simplify your computing experience.

Let us know in the comments what you think of it.

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