Monday, March 7, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 7 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 7 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 06 Mar 2011 10:04 PM PST


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

  1. The Most Inaccurate Prediction About the Internet (1993) (Pic)
  2. Who Knows You Best? (Pic)
  3. Why marrying a good speller is important (Video)
  4. Looking For Funny Stuff (Pic)
  5. Camera Capture (Video)
  6. Online Package Tracking (Pic)
  7. Procrastination (Video)

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 [March 6th]

Posted: 06 Mar 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!


ePub2Go – Although PDF is the de facto file format for web documents and ebooks, reading PDF files on portable devices such as mobile phones is nothing but a pain. Therefore there's the EPUB format that takes care of this hassle, but again, the availability of EPUB files is an issue. Read more: ePub2Go: Convert A PDF To EPUB Online


Will It Freeze Tonight – Lots of weather websites such as will let you check your weather in detail. However, if all you are interested in is finding out if the temperature will fall below freezing in your city, you don't have to go through so much hassle. Simply type WillItFreezeTonight in your browser and type the name of the city you want to check. Read more: Will It Freeze Tonight: See If Your City Will Freeze Tonight



YouTube Disco – Numerous web tools let you watch YouTube videos in a fun way. Adding to these tools is YouTube Disco that lets you simultaneously play two YouTube videos. It is a free to use web service that lets you play two YouTube videos at the same time. You can search for YouTube videos with the provided search bar. Read more: YouTube Disco: Play Two YouTube Videos At The Same Time & Control Their Volume



How 90′s -, as the name suggests, lets webmasters check if their website is stuck in the 90s. This can include checking to see whether there are still features that were primarily a part of the site in the 90′s, which have now become obsolete. You just need to enter the URL of the site and it will check to see if it has features. Read more: How 90s: Check If Your Website Stuck in the 90s



Image Embellisher – There are lots of tools that let you manipulate images by adding effects but if you are looking for something really simple, ImageEmbellisher is worth checking out. It allows you to quickly apply photo effects online to any image that is in gif, jpeg or png format. Read more: Image Embellisher: Quickly Apply Cool Photo Effects To Images 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: 06 Mar 2011 06:31 PM PST

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] SuperTintin – Skype Video Call Recorder

    Skype Video Call Recorder
    If you need a tool to record your video conversation on Skype or MSN head over to Supertintin. It is a nice application that allows you to record all audio and video streams easily.

    [4] 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.


    [5] 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.


    [6] 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.


    [7] 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!


    [8] 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!


    [9] 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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Do You Hate It When Your Friends Use Smartphones When You Hang Out? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 06 Mar 2011 05:30 PM PST

Last week we asked readers to tell us what they’d do if OS X stopped allowing non-app-store programs. Out of those readers affected, Most are going to head to Linux and won’t look back at Apple.

We tallied 452 votes divided like this: 30% voters would jump to Linux; 30% don’t use OS X and therefore wouldn’t be affected; 20% would migrate to Windows; 13% would stick with OS X regardless; and 8% would find a way to jailbreak OS X.

Full results and this week's poll after the jump.

With only 13% people willing to stick with an un-jailbroken OS X if they only allow app-store programs, we’re hoping Apple never does this to its users.

This week's poll question is: Do You Hate It When Your friends Use Smartphones When You Hang Out?

James is keen to know whether smartphones use in public annoys you. When you’re out with your friends, does it annoy you when they pull out their phone to check in to the venue or to Tweet? Do they give the internet a running commentary of the jokes made? Do they Google stuff to find details no-one could remember in real life? Do they search for nearby restaurants and gigs worth visiting? Do they invite more friends? Do you find this annoying or useful? Does it interrupt your conversation or does it enhance it?

How do your friends use smartphones when you’re out? Do they find interesting places to go? Invite more people? Or just share the entire encounter with the internet? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Ways To Collect Information Using A Virtual Corkboard

Posted: 06 Mar 2011 02:30 PM PST

virtual corkboardThere is no limit to the way that you can collection information that you have found online, from bookmarking services like Delicious, to the more elaborate Evernote and it’s alternatives. Using a very visual and organized method to collect information and notes, especially when in a collaborate environment can prove to be a great way to share data and brainstorm at the same time.

There are several services that emulate a method that many people use to collect information away from their computers – the corkboard.

These three services give you varied ways to create your own virtual corkboard, and offer an alternative way to collecting varied types of data online. is the simplest of options available. There is no need to register, simply by visiting the site, a personalized URL is generated for you, which you can share with anyone. The simplicity comes at a price of only being able to collect written notes – on yellow post it notes – and images. In order to add an image to your virtual corkboard, it has to be available somewhere online. Past the direct link to the image into a post-it note and it will be transformed into an image.

virtual corkboard

You can drag your notes and images around the corkboard, and there is a navigation tool allows you to move around the board and use more space.

virtual corkboard online


Sign up for a Spaaze account or use your OpenID to create a pretty elaborate corkboard.

virtual corkboard online

While Spaaze is a free service, adding certain kinds of information to your corkboard require ‘credits’ and to start off, Spaaze gives 1000 credits for free.

virtual corkboard online

Labels, Notes, Links and YouTube/Vimeo videos are added for free. Videos can be played from within Spaaze, and you can also visit links within your corkboard. Images and files will cost you 4 Spaaze credits per MB, and an HTML Snippet will cost you 5 Spaaze credits. Uploaded files can be a maximum of 50MB in size. With Spaaze you can also create more than one corkboard, but each additional board will set you back 50 Spaaze credits.

virtual cork board pictures

To remove an item, double-click it and hit the little X that appears in the top-left corner, or drag it to the trash can that appears when you drag an item around.

virtual cork board pictures

Like, you can expand your corkboard, using a navigation map, and in addition, you can also search for text in links, notes and labels.

virtual cork board pictures

Other features including selecting a sub-domain of your own choice, Google Analytics support and your own custom favicon, the last of which will cost you 50 Spaaze credits.


For a more elaborate collaborative experience, Stixy is one of the most feature rich free options available. Signing up for Stixy is as simple as providing an email address and password.

With Stixy you can create unlimited boards for free, add notes, images, documents and to-do items. While it lacks certain features available in Spaaze such as adding links and videos – technically they can be shared in notes, although they aren’t clickable.

There are two ways you can share your Stixy boards with other users. The first is to invite other Stixy members to view your board via email.

If you don’t want to force users to sign up to view or edit your board, you can enable guest access, which can also be password protected, if you’d rather not allow just anyone to access the board. Simply send them the guest link (and password if necessary) and they can view or edit the board depending on your settings.

virtual corkboard

Would you use a virtual corkboard to stay organized? What is your favorite free online corkboard service? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Hot Tech Deals [Mar 6th]

Posted: 06 Mar 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. TODAY ONLY iHome iP9SR Clock Radio & Audio System for Apple iPod/iPhone $49.99 Free Shipping
  2. Nokia N96 Black 16GB Smartphone (Unlocked, Quad Band GSM) $249.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKGKF52 (Exp 3/10)
  3. Olympus PEN E-PL1 12.3MP Digital Camera w/ 14-42mm Lens $399.99 Free Shipping via code 2K2CKJG7P2Z9FD (Exp 3/10)
  4. Dell Inspiron 17R Intel Core i3-380M 17.3″ Laptop for $529.99 Free Shipping after Coupon Code: 0CQ6F64K$ZCPV$ (Exp 3/14)
  5. Dell XPS 15 Intel Core i5-480M Dual-Core 2.66GHz 1920×1080 15.6in Laptop w/ Geforce GT420M $869.99
  6. Dell XPS 8300 Intel Core i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz Quad-Core Desktop PC w/ 22in LCD Monitor $849.99 via code LM?BF7P$FR9KCK (Exp 3/14)

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 06 Mar 2011 11:30 AM PST

Sound Sunday is a weekly series featuring legal and free mp3 album downloads. Please share the music you enjoy with your friends and consider donating a few dollars to the artist/s. Suggestions and feedback are very welcome. Feel free to post in the comments or send me an eMail [tina at makeuseof dot com].

Noah And The Whale are currently streaming their new concept album Last Night On Earth free from their homepage. Great record, check it out!

find free music

Mike Dignam – Live Acoustic Covers

Genre: acoustic, lyrical, pop

free mp3Mike Dignam recorded his debut album World Of Our Own at the age of 18. He writes about his Live Acoustic Covers: “I first had the idea to do this live acoustic covers album when I was busking and playing in bars around London last year. I’ve always wanted to capture the live aspect of what I do, because, for me, playing live is what being a musician is all about. I set up two mics, one for my guitar and the other for my vocals, and then hit record!

Click here for the Mike Dignam music player, which will let you preview the album. Live Acoustic Covers can be downloaded for free from Mike Dignam’s Homepage along with his debut album and an Acoustic EP.

Mike Dignam MySpace and Homepage.

Tocarra Hamilton and DJ Gutta – Slow Seduction

Genre: rhythm & blues, hip hop, pop, mixtape

Download Mixtape | Free Mixtapes Provided by

From her homepage: “Tocarra Hamilton's sweet and sexy voice is ushering in the next generation of soulful R&B with a touch of hip-hop influence. Her songs are both new and familiar all at once. Tocarra pours her heart and soul into her music. Laced with relevant lyrics, she has a style of her own.

Slow Seduction and many free songs are available from Tocarra’s Homepage.

Tocarra Hamilton MySpace and Homepage.

Mayon – So High / So Low

Genre: pop, rock

With the exception of three songs Mayon wrote the music for this album with Yayas from Yaya Herman Dune. She also covered One Too Many Mornings and It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue from Bob Dylan. The Fall was written by Lisa Li Lund. Little else is known about Mayon.

So High / So Low is available for free from Bandcamp.

Yaya Herman Dune Twitter.

Exploding In Sound – Battery Acid Audio

Genre: alternative, grunge, post-hardcore, post-punk, rock

Exploding In Sound is a web project managed by Daniel Goldin. They present album reviews, interviews, news, videos, mp3 downloads, and a free compilation series of which Battery Acid Audio is the latest one. The ninth installation of the series contains 26 tracks and features songs from Crystal Antlers, Hawk Eyes, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, and many more.

Battery Acid Audio is a free download from Bandcamp. Should Bandcamp surpass the magic number, you can also download the album from File Dropper.

Exploding In Sound MySpace and Homepage.

Titus Jones – Culture Shock

Genre: pop, rock, dance, electro, mashup

Titus Jones: Culture Shock by titusjones

Culture Shock is a massive 50 minutes mashup of popular music from the 80s to today.

Culture Shock is available free from Nashville, Tennessee artist Titus Jones’ homepage.

Titus Jones SoundCloud and Homepage.

Loser’s Way Home – Can I Let You Just Go?

Genre: alternative, indie, folk, rock

Loser’s Way Home originally formed by Randall Downs and Matt Cureton in 2008. The band from Memphis, Tennessee quickly grew to five members. Recordings for Can I Let You Just Go? began in late 2009.

Can I Let You Just Go? is a free download from NoiseTrade.

Loser’s Way Home MySpace and Facebook.

Marksmen – Sister of Mine

Genre: indie, alternative, folk, rock

Tampa, Florida indie rockers Marksmen have this sound that instantly catches the ear. Their ReverbNation Bio perfectly captures in words the impression the songs left with me: “If the world is a place longing for love, Marksmen strike the perfect note at the perfect time, letting the listener believe that maybe our grand aspirations and hopes can overcome all of life’s burdens, if just for a moment, if just until the end of this song…

Download Sister of Mine free from NoiseTrade.

Marksmen MySpace and Facebook.

Chris Allure – RadioActive

Genre: electro, pop, rhythm & blues

From his TweetMySong profile: “Christian “Chris Allure” Batista (…) began writing music at the age of 19 creating a fusion between different genres. With the ability to write music in both english and spanish he’s been able to cross between cultures to write music for a larger audience.

The RadioActive EP is a free download from TweetMySong.

Chris Allure MySpace and Facebook.

Mind Petrol – Bet Your Soul

Genre: rock, metal

Mind Petrol is a ‘Stand Out Rock’ band from Louisville, Kentucky and they believe they are different from other rock music out there. The recipe is revealed on their homepage: “4 cups Nickelback, 3 cups Staind, 5 cups Shinedown, 51/2 cups Alter Bridge, 1 cup Led Zepplin. Mix lightly in studio. Add determination, practice, and love of music. Bake under pressure and stage lights for years. Distribute widely.

Bet Your Soul is a free download from TweetMySong.

Mind  Petrol MySpace and Homepage.

Smashing Pumpkins – Teargarden By Kaleidyscope 2: The Solstice Bare

Genre: rock, alternative

Back in 2009 Billy Corgan, the only remaining founding member of the Smashing Pumpkins, announced that the band’s upcoming album would be available for free and one song at a time from the band’s homepage. Fast forward into 2011 and eight tracks of the anticipated 44 track album have been released. The Solstice Bare represents the second installation of the Teargarden By Kaleidyscope epos.

You can download The Solstice Bare and all other songs from the Teargarden By Kaleidyscope project free from the Smashing Pumpkins Homepage.

The Smashing Pumpkins 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.

Got Questions? Ask Them Now FREE on MakeUseOf Answers!



What Semantic Markup Is & How It Will Change The Internet Forever [Technology Explained]

Posted: 06 Mar 2011 09:30 AM PST

what is semantic markupLast week, Google helped to advance the internet in another giant leap forward as they announced that they would now be making use of semantic meta-data in their search results – specifically in the form of a new kind of search category for recipes.

Recipes?! Yes – users of the US-based Google will now notice a new Recipe button in the usual sidebar search buttons, alongside News, Books, Places, Images etc. Clicking on that will give you a special view of search results, which have a small preview image, show user reviews and ingredients too.

What’s so amazingly cool about this? Why should you care?How will this one step change the internet forever? Read on to find out exactly why this matters.

What is Semantic Markup, or Meta-Data?

Meta-data is a difficult concept to grasp, but let me try to explain it simply. Meta-data is that which describes other data. So for example, here is some regular data:

(+44)208 234 5678

Of course, most of us will recognize this as a telephone number, but computer systems have no way of knowing that. They see it as a string of numbers – it could be anything! So that’s where meta-data comes in. For example, how about if I wrote it like this:

<span class=”telephone”>(+44)208 234 5678</span>

Now I’ve surrounded this in meta-data – semantic markup. Any system that knows what the “telephone” tag is can now correctly interpret that the number is indeed a telephone number, and can do with it whatever it wishes.

So…what? What does that have to do with recipes?

Well, as I mentioned – Google now uses pages with semantic markup (or what they like to call Rich Snippets) for the new Recipe view. What this means to you and I is that we can narrow down the search for a perfect recipe much more specifically and accurately by making use of this meta-data. For instance, searching for “thai food” will initially give you a huge list of random Thai recipes, which is nice but you don’t really know much about the recipe until you click through.

what is semantic markup

Now suppose we really want to make something with Tofu in it. You might add Tofu into the search term, but it’s not ideal. Instead we can simply check off Tofu – Yes from the ingredients list, which will narrow the search to all recipes that include Tofu in their meta-list of ingredients. You can also check off any ingredients you don’t want, like so:

what is semantic markup

You can also drill the list down by using the “less than preparation time” meta-info. There would simply be no way to do this with regular search, as putting “15 min” in the search would only find pages with that in the text.

In short, having web information marked up with semantic meta-data gives meaning to the information, and allows us to make use of it in new and exciting ways, as well as allowing us to find relevant information more efficiently than simply text matching.

Google IS Good Sometimes:

I’ve been a little harsh on the quality of Google results lately, but this single step is going to change the way internet pages are made forever, and I applaud them for it. In a nutshell, Google has single-handedly forced internet publishers – at least recipes publishers – to use meta-data in their internet documents if they want to be listed in the search results. Sure, it’s only for recipes at the moment, but eventually Google will roll this out to many kinds of search. In fact, they’ve already published guidelines for how to mark up:

  • Reviews
  • People
  • Events

Everyone, meet the Internet v.3 – now there is meaning to all that random data!

Further Reading:

There’s tons to read from Google about Rich Snippets, and they’ve also released a useful little tool to see how your webpage is doing right now in terms of Rich Snippets that will be used in the results. Next week, I hope to be starting a series of WordPress How-To’s where we’ll delve a little into the code behind WordPress themes, and I’ll you specifically how to add some of this rich snippet data into your blog.

You can also read about all the different “microformats” standards that are being developed as you read this over at MicroFormats.Org. Though all of these are not implemented yet, you can be sure that if you make efforts to add them now then you’ll be in good standing when Google does roll out the next changes.

Now might also be a good time to brush up on your search skills by learning special operands that you can put in your searches, or discover 10 more Google services you probably didn’t know about before. Or you could just forget about it all and play some Google games instead.

Have you tried the new recipe search yet? Got any awesome ideas on others ways we can make use of all this information? Share your views in the comments, please!

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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