Monday, April 4, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [April 3rd]” plus 6 more “Cool Websites and Tools [April 3rd]” plus 6 more

Link to MakeUseOf

Cool Websites and Tools [April 3rd]

Posted: 03 Apr 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.

Add Your Website Here!


F*** Lorem – If you are looking for dummy text for your website, you'll probably start looking at some Lorem Ipsum generators. However, while their seeming randomness and uniformity is nice to have, they can be pretty boring. If you're looking for something different, F*** Lorem Ipsum is a nice dummy generator. Read more: F*** Lorem: Generate Meaningful Placeholder Text For Your Site


WhatGFX – PC gaming hobbyists will be the first to tell you that video graphic cards are developing at a very fast pace. If you want to choose a new graphics card and do not know where to start, head to WhatGFX. It is a cool website that gives up-to-date information on the prices and performance of old, current, new, and cutting-edge graphic cards. Read more: WhatGFX: Easy & Convenient Way To Choose A New Graphics Card



Apptank – Hiring freelancers is often a difficult experience. Here to simplify the process and save your time is a site called AppTank, a wonderful website that helps you find freelance developers for hire. Having received information of developers who are interested in your work, you can then screen them and contact the ones you want to hire. Read more: Apptank: Find Freelance Developers For Specific Projects



12Vid – The Internet is a great source of entertainment. Countless websites share entertaining videos and their links with you. Digg, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, the list is long. You cannot visit all of these websites every day to get your daily dose of entertainment. That purpose is served remarkably well by a site called 12Vid. Read more: 12Vid: Watch The Day's Top 12 Videos



uTorrent Remote – uTorrent is the favorite Torrent client for many Internet users. If you are one of those people with an Android smartphone, you can now remotely monitor and control uTorrent downloads through a smartphone app called uTorrent Remote, an application for smartphones running Android 2.1 or later. The app installs on your Android phone and lets you add, remove, start, and stop torrents from your phone. Read more: Utorrent Remote: Remotely Control uTorrent Downloads From Your Android


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.



More articles about:

Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 03 Apr 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!

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



More articles about: ,

How Many Backups of Your Important Data Do You Have? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 03 Apr 2011 06:30 PM PDT

Last week we asked you how many operating systems you use regularly. Most MakeUseOf readers answered that they use two operating systems in the average week.

Within the 783 votes, we got this breakdown: 32% used two operating systems; 27% used three operating systems; 13% used four operating systems; 12% used one operating system; 7% use 6-9 operating systems; 7% use five operating systems; and 2% use more than 10 operating systems.

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

So, most people reading MakeUseOf use two to three operating systems per week.

This week’s poll question is: How Many Backups of Your Important Data Do You Have?

Think about those files of yours you care most about and tell us how many places you’ve backed them up. Is it across multiple computers in your house? At work? Several USB sticks? Emailed to yourself? On a DVD at a friend’s house? In the cloud?

So, tell us about your backup solution. What mix of cloud/offsite/local backup do you consider safe for your important files? How does that compare to what you actually do? Let us know in the comments!

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



More articles about: ,

5 Free Methods To Schedule Facebook Updates

Posted: 03 Apr 2011 03:30 PM PDT

schedule facebook updatesAt MakeUseOf, we’ve already covered several ways you can schedule Twitter updates, so that even if you’re not at your computer, you can continue to send information, links and thoughts to your followers. The same can be done using your Facebook account, and in many cases actually using the same applications or websites. While most applications are limited to updating your Facebook status and little else, if you’re running a Facebook page, or use your Facebook account to advertise a service, being able to schedule updates will be invaluable.

Unfortunately these methods do have their restrictions. For example, if you want to share a link with your friends, with all of these services, but one, you will be forced to include the link in your status update, rather than as a separate link as you can do directly within Facebook. Below is a list of a few of the free methods you can use to schedule your Facebook updates.


With LaterBro you can schedule Facebook status updates, while simultaneously updating Twitter. The service is as bare bones as it gets, simply allowing you to schedule updates. The disadvantage to using LaterBro is that status updates are limited to 140 characters, even though Facebook status updates do allow you 420 characters per update. While you can’t add images to your updates, you can include links, and LaterBro has a native url shortener. Updates can be scheduled every fifteen minutes, and you can also schedule certain updates to be repeated on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis.

schedule facebook updates

All scheduled updates are visible in your account, and you can delete them before hand individually or in bulk.

The status updates on Facebook will feature a link to LaterBro.


TweetDeck allows you to schedule updates to its supported social networks, including Facebook. When updating your Facebook status on TweetDeck, click the clock icon next to the button marked Send.

You can then enter the exact time and date when the update will be sent.

schedule facebook posts free

The update on Facebook will feature a link to TweetDeck.


With SocialTomorrow, after granting the site access to your Facebook account, with a free account, you can then schedule Facebook (or Twitter) updates, but the free accounts do have their limits. With SocialTomorrow you are limited to 10 free updates per month. In comparison to the other services listed here, SocialTomorrow does also suffer as far as it’s interface is concerned. The design of the site feels very outdated, and there is nothing slick about it. That said, if you need a simple way to schedule a limited number of Facebook updates per month, the service will do the trick.

schedule facebook posts free

Another drawback to using SocialTomorrow is that all updates are appended with the hashtag, #socialtomorrow, which, while understandable if not a bit annoying on Twitter, it’s of course entirely pointless on Facebook.

schedule facebook posts free


Using the Twitter and Facebook client, HooteSuite, you can easily schedule Facebook updates. While free accounts cannot schedule updates in bulk, you can still schedule as many updates as you like individually. When creating a new update, click the calendar button, and you can select the exact date and time you want the update to appear, and click OK.

schedule facebook posts

Updates scheduled through HooteSuite will feature a direct link to the app.

Greeting Scheduler

The Facebook app Greeting Scheduler takes a different approach to scheduling updates, that isn’t available in the other services listed here. Rather than schedule only your own Facebook status updates, it allows you to schedule updates to be posted on friend’s walls. So if you’re a forgetful person, or don’t log into Facebook on a daily basis, but don’t want to miss the opportunity to wish a friend a happy birthday, for example, this is the ideal app to use. And of course, you can also use it to schedule your own status updates.

The first step is to determine which friends’ walls you want the message posted on, or if you want to post it to your own wall. After scheduling the date and time, you can then enter the message or status update before going onto the next step.

schedule facebook posts

You then have the choice between entering a more elaborate message, with text formatting, or you can choose to share a link instead.

schedule facebook posts

Unlike the other options listed here, when sharing a link using Greeting Scheduler, when it is posted on your profile, it will appear like other links shared through Facebook itself.

schedule facebook updates

What free methods do you use to schedule your Facebook updates? Let us know in the comments.

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



More articles about: , , , ,

Hot Tech Deals [Apr 3rd]

Posted: 03 Apr 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. Lenovo IdeaPad U460 Intel Core i3-380M 2.53GHz 14in Laptop (4lbs/4GB/500GB/8-Cell Battery) $549 via code BUZZERBEATER (Exp 4/4)
  2. Lenovo G460 Intel Core i5-480M Dual-Core 2.66GHz 14in Laptop (4GB/500GB/Win7) $549 via code FREETHROW (Exp 4/4)
  3. EXPIRING Toshiba Satellite C650D-BT2N15 AMD E-240 [FUSION] 15.6in Laptop $299 [upgrade to E-350 Dual-Core $364] via code COUPON30 (Exp 4/4)
  4. Sharp AQUOS LC-40D78UN 40 inch LCD HDTV (1080p, 120Hz) $499.99 Free Shipping via code 27T495KNZB7MF? (Exp 4/7)
  5. Dell P513W Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer w/ Wireless Networking $79.99 Free Shipping via code 1?M3M34MM6D1VZ (Exp 4/28)
  6. MSI NVIDIA Geforce GTX570 1.2GB DDR5 HDCP PCi-E Video Card $274.99 Free Shipping via code MSI334 (Exp 4/6)
  7. Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 PA03586-B005 CCD Sheet-Fed Duplex Scanner $399.99 Free Shipping via code SCAN32B (Exp 4/7)

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



More articles about:

10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 03 Apr 2011 12:30 PM PDT

Sound Sunday finally!

Almost every album in this edition could be a soundtrack. In fact, you can make this entire edition your soundtrack for the upcoming week, with one rich and intensive piece leading to the next.

Today I’m asking for your help! Sound Sunday needs a re-design and for that I would love to hear your feedback. What are you looking for when you open an edition of Sound Sunday? What type of music do you enjoy most? Do you follow through to the artist’s MySpace or Facebook links? What information is missing? If you have a minute, please fill in this brief survey. Thank you!

As always, feel free to post feedback and suggestions in the comments or shoot me an Email [tina at makeuseof dot com].

Two Cent Revival – The Devil’s In This Whiskey

Genre: americana, folk, rock, roots

It’s just a song, but it’s a great one, so I had to share it with you. Watch out for the album due to be released soon.

Download the song The Devil’s In This Whiskey from Bandcamp.

Tangram – Turris Eburnea

Genre: ambient, classical, instrumental, soundtrack

With his latest album explores classical elements. He takes us on a journey through different musical tempi from largo to vivace. Some elements are reminiscent of the late TRON Legacy soundtrack, especially the second half of Movement 2 (Allegretto) and Movement 3 (Adagio).

Download Turris Eburnea from Bandcamp.

Beats Antique – Collide

Genre: experimental, electronic, big beat, blues, dubstep

Beats Antique describe their style as live electro-acoustic, heavy bass, belly dancing and roots music. This past week they made their 2008 album Collide available for free on Bandcamp. It’s a mix of oriental sounds with the above mentioned elements.

Download Collide from Bandcamp.

Bent Self – Double Edge Sword

Genre: alternative, electro, experimental, trip hop, industrial rock

From his MySpace profile: “Bent Self music is the mind of Dustyn Marsing. Created through the love of music, and a microphone there are no boundaries in producing this Experimental, Trip Hop, Alternative music. Utilizing a strong stage performance, audiences cannot help but be captivated by this unique blend of melodic aggression.

Download Double Edge Sword from Bandcamp.

::MADE::IN::HEIGHTS:: – Winter Pigeons

Genre: mythical, pop, electronica

::MADE::IN::HEIGHTS:: is a side project of Alexei Saba, aka Sabzi, producer of Blue Scholars. Sabzi hooked up with Kelsey Bulkin, who contributes mesmerizing vocals to the project. Winter Pigeon is the band’s debut EP.

Download Winter Pigeons from Bandcamp.

The Frozen Ocean – In Exile

Genre: acoustic, ambient,  folk, celtic rock

From their MySpace Profile: "We live in a crazy world" says David Swanson, singer and primary songwriter for the Frozen Ocean. "I'm constantly amazed by the extremes I see in our culture. One second you see acts of great kindness and love then the next, acts of unspeakable greed and evil." In response to those polar opposites, the songs on In Exile tell stories about desperation, greed, hope and the mystery of love.

The Bandcamp download is not free! Download In Exile for free from Come&Live.

Falcorps – You Send Me | I’m What You Send

Genre: fantasy, pop, rock

An automated voice prologue introduces the listeners to the album, explaining that the band had promised a Christmas album to the audience of their final show many, many years ago. Decades later (so it says) the debut and final album of the Falcorps has been released.

Download You Send Me | I’m What You Send from Bandcamp.

City Rain – Running Man

Genre: pop, electronica, new wave

From their SoundCloud profile: “City Rain is comprised of Philadelphia natives Ben Runyan and Jarrett Zerrer. Combining the New Wave sounds of the 80s with alt rock sounds of the late 70's and today's dancefloor electro, City Rain wears two guises. In club/venue setting City Rain performs as an Indie Rock/Electronica act with catchy vocals and funky guitar. Paired with that, City Rain performs at festivals, lounges, and bars as an ambient experimental techno group with live guitar and keys.

Download Running Man from Bandcamp.

From Autumn Until Winter – Worlds

Genre: instrumental, piano, new age, orchestral, violin

free music downloadIntroduction by the artist: “From my new project comes new age piano and violin along with various instruments to come together as an audio experience. It will surely leave you feeling relaxed and wanting more.

Preview the album on Last.FM and download Worlds from ClearBits.

Wacky Southern Current – Like The Wind Within The Hollow Tree

Genre: acoustic, instrumental, post rock, down tempo

free mp3From “Wacky Southern Current’s “Like The Wind Within The Hollow Tree” is neither wacky nor southern. Marco Cervellin of Italy plays most of the instruments himself creating a hushed, minimal, peaceful landscape of down tempo, acoustic music. From the electronic tinged opening track, “I Took a Journey” to the ambient feel of “Unterkircher”, this album sways without ever straying too far. It is very much a cohesive unit. “Like The Wind Within The Hollow Tree” harkens similarities to Explosions In The Sky’s quieter material, Album Leaf’s early work, as well as netlabel musicians such as Cantaloup and Nic Bommarito. This is truly a beautiful suite of music for a quiet Sunday soundtrack.

Preview the entire album and download Like The Wind Within The Hollow Tree from the Internet Archive.

Prehistöricos – Orquesta Ocúlta

Genre: pop, orchestral, ambient

free mp3Los Prehistöricos is a duo from Chile. Orquesta Ocúlta was named one of the best albums in 2010 by Sounds and Colors: “Grandiose pop music, paring falsetto vocals with an orchestra of instruments, in the vein of Sigur Rós. What makes this style of music work is melody and here Prehistöricos have it in bags, on the mid-paced No Tenemos Remedio, the mysterious Balada Sin Nombre or the ridiculously good Distintos.
Sigur Rós was indeed the first band that came to mind when the vocals set in. And like the iconic band from Iceland, Prehistöricos have a way of adding layer after layer of depth to their songs, slowly unfolding them and immersing the listener.

Preview the entire album and download Orquesta Ocúlta from the Internet Archive.

New to Sound Sunday? Past editions 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.

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.



More articles about: , , , , , ,

How To Diagnose Hardware Problems When Your Computer Won’t Turn On

Posted: 03 Apr 2011 10:30 AM PDT

computer wont turn onLast week I showed you some of the simplest DIY repairs and upgrades that you can do yourself, but one reader asked how to diagnose which component was the problem. Today I’d like to walk you through the process of diagnosing a faulty PC that won’t turn on, then next week I’ll show you some more in-depth tools to pinpoint problem hardware in a situation where the computer will turn on, but is acting strangely.

Obviously, if the power won’t start on your PC then no amount of software tools is going to help you, so it’s time to open the case and start the hardware diagnosis process.

Strip Non-Essentials:

The first thing I do if the computer won’t turn on is to disconnect or even physically remove any non-essential system components. This includes:

  • PCI / ISA / PCI Express Cards – Anything apart from your video card (and your video card too if you have an onboard port you can use instead) should be removed, such as sound cards, networks cards, modems, additional interface cards. You may think these are unlikely to cause issues, but one of my old machines refused to boot last week because the network card had developed a fault. Removed it, and all was fine.
  • Hard disks – You need only remove the power to these.
  • CD-ROM – Again, only take out the power cable.

Having that done, try the power again. Are you seeing any activity at all? Is there a power light on your motherboard?

computer wont turn on

If you get a slight burst of power but ultimately the system won’t boot, it’s possible that either your motherboard or power supply itself is faulty. It’s quite common in old PCs to find capacitors on the board itself that have literally exploded, flooding out liquid inside and causing this kind of behavior. Check around your motherboard quickly to see if you can find any traces of the dreaded “bulging capacitor” – the tops may have opened, you may see brown liquid on the  board, or it may just be bulging slightly:

why wont my computer turn on

If you can’t see any obvious capacitor problems, then move on to diagnosing the power supply.

Diagnosing a Faulty Power Supply:

A power supply is the most common component to fail along with hard drives and fans, usually down to either the moving fan inside the power supply itself or again, capacitors. However, you should under no circumstances ever try to repair a faulty power supply – the only option is to replace it. Even if it appears to be broken, there’s a very high chance that some high voltages are still stored inside. I DON’T suggest you pull out a multimeter and start trying to test various bits of it.

There are two way to diagnose a faulty power supply, one is with a spare, and the other is with a second computer. If you have a spare, trying swapping the faulty one out and the spare in. If you have a spare computer, grab the power supply out of that and try swapping it in instead. Obviously, this is going to show you straight away that the power supply is at fault. To avoid jumping to wrong conclusions though, be sure you are plugging in ALL the leads you need to. Modern motherboards need not only the large 20-pin power plug, but often additional 4 or 8 pin plugs for additional processor or video driving power. Check your motherboard manual, or look closely around the CPU fan for connectors like this. If it looks like you ought to plugging something in there, download and read through our free guide to your PC inside and out, especially the page on power connectors.

computer wont turn on

The final option is to try your suspected faulty one with another computer, but given that there is a chance it will harm the components I don’t suggest you try this with hardware you really value.

Unplugging X made it work again:

If, having unplugged everything non-essential you find your computer now boots fine, you can start the laborious process of testing each component individually. Start with the video card, then move on to additional cards and components until you find the one that’s blocking system boot.


Computers are actually remarkably good at diagnosing themselves, and will often produce their own error codes in the form of a series of beeps. Though the beep codes vary by manufacturer, you can be sure that they have something to do with either your CPU, your memory, or the video card. Check the manual or manufacturers site for codes specific to your motherboard, or you try looking at this table of generic beep codes for older BIOSes. The most common beep code I come across is a continuous series of beeps, which indicated a memory error. It could be as simple as not seating the memory in the slot correctly (and will often come out during a move).

If your computer will turn on and function correctly, but you sometimes still hear a series of beeps during use, it means your CPU is overheating, most probably due to a fan this is starting to fail. You can try to clear the gunk and dust away from the heat-sink and fan as a short term fix, but look to replacing the whole thing. I didn’t feature this in the list of easy DIY repairs for a reason and I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner, but if you’re serious about becoming PC hardware proficient then it’s a good process to learn.

This pretty much covers diagnosing a PC that won’t turn on, so next time I’ll be showing you how to pinpoint hardware problems even if your PC is functioning somewhat, or at least getting to the boot phase.

If you have any stories of hardware woes, do let us know about it in the comments. You can also feel free to post with any hardware help you might need, but you’ll get a wider range of responses if you ask in our special Question and Answer site.

Image Credit: ShutterStock 1, ShutterStock 2

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



More articles about: , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment