Tuesday, April 5, 2011

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [April 4th]” plus 9 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [April 4th]” plus 9 more

Link to MakeUseOf

Cool Websites and Tools [April 4th]

Posted: 04 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.

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Weblivewallpaper – Picking up your smartphone and finding the same wallpaper every time can be quite boring. To get a fresh view of your mobile phone each time you look at it, you will need an actively changing background image. Such dynamic background image can be obtained with the help of WebLiveWallpaper, a free smartphone application, sized at 99KB. Using the app you can set up any website as the background image of your phone. Read more: Weblivewallpaper: Dynamic Background Pictures For Your Android Phone


Wheretogetit – It is not always easy to find the clothes that you are looking for. But the task could be made much more easier if you had a picture of what you are looking for. By sharing the picture on "Where to Get It" you can ask others for help and see where to buy what you are looking for. The site lets people upload pictures of clothes and clothing accessories. Read more: Wheretogetit: Find Out Where To Buy Clothes You Like By Uploading Their Pictures



CronSync – There are plenty of time tracking tools on the web but most of them do only that. CronSync as a tool makes a point that time tracking and invoice management are two integrated issues and offers capabilities to manage both from a single web app. The tool has a multi-user system that allows you to grant different levels of access to users based on your business requirements Read more: CronSync: Time Tracking & Invoice Management Software Online



Airport Dining – If your job takes you around the world, then you have probably been dining a lot in airports. Finding good food in airports is usually a hit-or-miss. Fortunately, Airport Dining helps you sort out the best restaurants from all major airports around the world with restaurants sorted by top rated, most popular, and most reviewed. Read more: AirportDining: Get Airport Restaurant Reviews & Ratings



Invisible Hand – We all love paying the lowest price possible for something but searching through lots of websites to do that is hard work. InvisibleHand is a tool that can help you find lower prices without clicking a single button. Once you install this extension on your favorite browser, start shopping for your desired product. Read more: InvisibleHand: Automatically Finds Lower Prices For Items 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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4 Useful Cross-Browser Web Form Helpers

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 06:30 PM PDT

web form helperWe have to deal with web forms and check boxes daily: to comment on any article, to subscribe to an email alerts, to fill in the contact form, etc. It is always worth looking for more and more possible ways to optimize the process.

I have already shared a few FireFox addons to recover forms. However times have changed. Nowadays more and more people use several browsers randomly and we need some cross-browser-compatible tools to cover everyone’s needs.

The browser-based tools listed in this post have only some basic functionality but they are able to make your forms more usable and friendly! Besides, these web form helpers are all very easy to install, so you can test any and decide if that’s something that could turn useful to you. Let us know!

Save and Recover Forms

1. Simple Form Fixer (Userscript)

Tested on: FireFox and Google Chrome

Simple Form Fixer is a nice little userscript with huge functionality: it can save and recover almost any form. The script places a red dot in the top-left corner of any page that lets you record any form:

  • The icon is a red dot for web pages where there are sufficient form items to be useful for saving (If you can’t see an icon, there are no forms on the current page);
  • The icon is a red square with a hole on web pages where you have already saved the form information earlier.

web form helper

You can also hover over the icon to see the current status:

web forms builder

You can actually easily get used to how it works. The icon stays within the window frame even when the page has been scrolled down.

Once you click the red dot, the script saves everything it can find: checkboxes, radio buttons, text inputs, drop down selections and text areas.

The script also changes all the checkboxes making them a bit larger and thus easier to notice (especially for elderly people or people with poor eyesight). If you don’t like that, you can disable this behavior in about:config by setting value “greasemonkey.scriptvals.userscripts.org/Simple Form Saver.fixed_sizes” to boolean true.

Save and Recover Forms (Bookmarklets)

Tested on: FireFox, Google Chrome, Opera

Install the bookmarklet from here (forms should be max ~3KB)

Once you fill in all the forms on the current page, click the bookmarklet and give each form a name. Next time you are on page and want to recover any form, click the other bookmarklet, specify the form name and it will fill it in within a second.

web forms builder

Check / Uncheck Multiple Checkboxes

1. Checkbox Mate

Tested on: FireFox, Google Chrome

Checkbox Mate (based on this addon which is no longer supported) is a great userscript that allows you to select multiple checkboxes by drawing a box around them. To start drawing the box, hover over the top checkbox and drag down (the same logic works for un-checking boxes):

web forms builder

2. Check Boxes

Tested on: FireFox, Google Chrome

This is a very simple userscript that adds a menu on top of your screen allowing you to easily check / uncheck all the boxes located on the page:

web form helper

3. Tick All / Untick All / (Un) Tick All (Bookmarklets)

Tested on: FireFox, Google Chrome, Opera

Three bookmarklets from the same author as the above two – can be installed from here

As the name suggests the three bookmarklets can be used to check / uncheck multiple boxes with one click of a mouse.

I hope these little form helpers will increase your productivity. Please share any other form productivity tips you use to easier fill in multiple web forms we have to deal with nowadays!

Image Credit: cc licensed flickr photo shared by axbom

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Speck Fitted Case for iPod touch Giveaway Winners

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 04:30 PM PDT

Our latest Speck giveaway featuring a Fitted Case for the iPod touch just recently ended. Here are the winners.

  1. Amy Cordova
  2. Moira Lasserre
  3. Samantha Warden
  4. Stéphane Marrocq
  5. Ashley Rosener

Congratulations! We’ve sent you an email to request for shipping information. Please reply that email within 48 hours or your prize will be forfeit.

MakeUseOf would like to thank Speck for their generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

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Introducing Facebook Questions – A New Way To Quiz Your Friends

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 02:30 PM PDT

facebook questionsWith all the bad press Facebook gets these days, it’s nice to be able to preview one of the social behemoth’s newest features without worrying too much about the usual privacy and data protection implications. Facebook Questions is the company’s attempt at a service that somewhat resembles Yahoo! Answers, only it works a bit more socially between you and your friends.

Whilst Yahoo Answers focuses on genuine, helpful answers to every day predicaments; Facebook Questions is more likely to teach you something new about your online associates than do your homework for you.

At the time of writing the service hasn’t been rolled out in its entirety yet, read on to find out how to enable it on your account before everyone else.

Enabling Facebook Questions

In order to enable Questions on your account before everyone else (which somewhat defeats the purpose, if you think about it) simply visit facebook.com/questions and click the Get Questions Now button. You’ll receive a notification that the feature has been enabled on your account.
facebook questions
You should then be taken to the main Facebook Questions page. In future you can get here using an option in the menu on the left of the main Facebook home page, underneath your picture and name.

The Questions Page

Depending on whether any of your friends have used the service yet, the main Questions page is where you’ll find a summary of your contacts’ recent activity. Questions answered are displayed as social actions, much like checking in to Places, updating relationship info and clicking Like.
facebook questions app
Along with the question your friend answered, Questions also displays the options (if the question is multiple choice), other possible/popular answers and who has answered with which response.

You can also take part yourself in other people’s questions, as anyone on Facebook can answer any question. In theory if you pose a particularly popular teaser which is shared by lots of people, you’ll see your question snowball and receive lots of answers.
facebook questions app
Answering a question is as simple as you’d expect, simply click on an answer and your choice will be tallied. Really, that’s it.

The Follow button beneath a question will keep track of that particular friend’s Questions activity in future, whilst the Ask Friends option allows you to target a specific question to a group of friends of your choosing. Once again, there’s no private, closed questions (at least not yet) so these can in fact be answered by anyone.

Asking A Question

You can ask a question directly from your news feed, as if you were going to update your status. Click Question and input your query into the text box. You can either ask a question that your friends must answer themselves, or you can click Add Poll Options to add pre-defined responses.
facebook questions app
You can choose to allow others to add responses to this list, or close it off completely. Responses can be anything you choose, but Facebook will check whether there’s a page that suits your potential answer. This is not the case for personal profiles, however.
facebook questions
Once you’ve submitted your question it will appear in the news feed and on your profile where you can click the Ask Friends button to direct your question to specific friends. As your friends begin answering your question the results will be shown via a horizontal graph, and you will be notified via your usual notifications area.


Facebook Questions seems to be directed more at fun than the quest for knowledge, and that’s just fine. Zuckerberg’s social network is rarely a hotbed of productive behaviour anyway, with employees and students alike known to waste endless hours simply browsing, messaging and liking everything in sight.

It is for this reason that Questions is another welcome addition to the service. Now, instead of your friends asking what they should wear tonight via a status update – they can use a Question. Yep, real groundbreaking stuff!

Saying that, it should cut down on those ever-so-annoying quiz applications your friends keep inviting you to…

What do you think of the new Questions service? Have you used it yet? Makes sense? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Hot Tech Deals [Apr 4th]

Posted: 04 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. HP ENVY 17 Intel Core 7-2620M 2.7GHz Sandy Bridge 17.3in Laptop (6GB/750GB/Radeon 6850) $1199 via code NB1977 (Exp Soon)
  2. HP dv7tqe Intel Core i7-2630QM Quad-Core Sandy Bridge 17.3in Laptop (8GB/750GB/Blu-Ray/Radeon 6770) $874 via code NB2688 (Exp Soon)
  3. HP dv6tqe Intel Core i7-2630QM Quad-Core Sandy Bridge 15.6in Laptop (6GB/750GB/Radeon HD6770) $799.99 via code NB2688 (Exp after 900 uses)
  4. MSI Radeon HD4350 512MB HDCP PCI-E Low-Profile Video Card $9.99AR Free Shipping
  5. Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5 1080p High Definition Flip Camcorder (REFURB) $49.99 via code OUTLETPM5W
  6. TODAY ONLY Dell ST2310B 23in Widescreen LCD Monitor (1920×1080) $149.99 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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3 Minimalist Twitter Clients For Mac Users

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 12:30 PM PDT

minimalist twitter clientTwitter’s latest move stopping developers from creating new Twitter clients wasn’t met with much warmth, and we’re not surprised. Part of Twitter’s success was based on the fact that so many applications, clients and third party sites were able to build themselves around Twitter’s resounding success. And there is certainly no limit to the number of clients available to access the site, leaving a lot of us constantly on the look out for the perfect client.

While Twitter for Mac seems to have cornered the Mac market, there is something to be said for having options to choose from. If you’re looking for a simpler, barebones, minimalist Twitter client, there are a few options available for Mac users. Whether you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use client like Itsy, the slightly more elaborate HelTweetica, or even the unique Ambientweet, there is no limit to the way that you can choose to access Twitter with these clients.


Itsy stays very true to its name, with tiny buttons to access your home feed, replies, messages and a search window. When any given feed is updated, a small white dot will appear on the icon, and growl notifications to let you know when you’ve received a new message or reply.

minimalist twitter client

While you can perform searches, Itsy prides itself on ignoring Twitter’s trending topics, so if you’re the kind of person who gets annoyed by them, this is the minimalist Twitter client for you.

minimalist twitter

To create a new tweet, click the little button on the right hand side of the window, the compose window will drop down allowing you to type your tweet. When you aren't replying to tweets, or sending new updates, it disappears. While Itsy has a native url shortener, if you want to share images with your followers, you’ll have to use another client.

minimalist twitter

From your home feed you can reply to, retweet or favorite tweets. Unfortunately, the only retweet method available is the native Twitter retweet, so if you want to retweet and add your two cents, you'll have to rely on copy and paste.

Images shared on twitter through Twitpic and Yfrog amongst others are visible in your timeline.

minimalist twitter

In addition to some of the more standard features, Itsy also adds themes to its arsenal. There aren't too many to choose from but it's nice to have the choice between a light or dark theme to suit your own taste.

simple twitter client

Itsy is great to use to follow your feed and interact with the people you already follow but it does lack some basic features. You can't access tweeps profiles. Clicking on a username redirects you to their web profile in your browser. That also means you can't follow or unfollow users, can't add them to your lists, or access your lists at all.

Itsy is available for Mac OS X 10.6 in the Mac App Store, and for Mac OS X 10.5 as a direct download from the developer’s website.


HelTweetica is another barebones Mac Twitter client, but it has a few extra features that aren’t found in Itsy. You can access your home feed, replies, messages and favourites from the menu. In addition, you should also be able to access your lists, although in our experience, they didn’t load. When you’ve received a new reply or message, the relevant feed will be marked with a red dot.

simple twitter client

Images from various services including Instagram and Twitpic can be viewed in-line in your home feed.

simple twitter client

To create a new tweet, click the compose button and a new window will open in which you can add an image, shorten your URL, and geotag your tweet. When sharing images you can choose to do through a variety of services including Twitpic, YFrog and Posterous. URL Shortening can be done using is.gd, TinyUrl or Linky.

You can interact with other tweeps by replying and retweeting, as well as adding tweets to your favourites. A nice touch they’ve added is giving users the choice between using the “Old” retweet method where you can add your thoughts to a tweet, or the “New” retweet method which retweets the entire message to your timeline as is.

Another way in which HelTweetica offers more options than Itsy is the ability to view a users profile within the app. Clicking on a username will open a window with the user’s bio, location, number of friends and followers, Twitter join date and their latest tweets. From here you can also follow or unfollow users.

HelTweetica supports multiple accounts, but lacks basic growl notifications. Other features include threaded conversations, which also open in a separate window, and the ability to delete your tweets. HelTweetica requires Mac OS X 10.6, and is also available as a free iPad app.


Ambientweet takes a very different approach to other Twitter clients and is not in any means meant to replace your main Twitter client. If you prefer to access Twitter using your browser, Ambientweet may serve as an interesting accompaniment. With Ambientweet you can’t really follow your timeline. Instead, the window floats on top of all other windows displaying only one tweet at a time as your feed refreshes itself. At any given time, you can glance over and see what the latest tweet in your feed is. From there you can also reply, retweet or add it to your favorites.

Ambientweet also gives you a quick and easy way to update your status without any extra bells and whistles.

minimalist twitter client

Ambientweet is not without it’s glitches. If you keep a close eye on the app you might see several tweets are sometimes repeated. That said, you can control the speed at which the app refreshes, anywhere from between 1 to 600 seconds.

What is your favorite minimalist Twitter client? Let us know in the comments

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5 More Tax Refund Related iPhone Apps

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 11:30 AM PDT

tax refund iphone appThe deadline for filing tax returns in the U.S. is right around the corner (April 15th). If you have already filed it or if you still need to get your W-2 forms completed, a few tax refund iPhone apps can come to your aid. A few of these apps help you get an estimate of your refund or what you might owe, while others simply give you a status of your return. All of them have an accessible user interface, and you don't have to register with a service to use them.

Note: link headings will take you to the iTunes App Store.


Simply put, MyTaxRefund tracks your e-filed tax return so can find out when you're getting your well deserved return.
tax refund iphone app
This app doesn't include features for calculating or preparing your tax return with the IRS, but it has got a lot of favorable reviews for what it says it does. There is also an optimized iPad version of this application.


TurboTaxSnapTax is a free tax preparation application that you can use to get an estimate of your return or of what you owe. But it costs $14.99 to e-file your forms using the service. This app is for people filing a 1040-EZ form, and for those who meet the following criteria: Income of $80,000 or less ($100K if married), income only from W-2s, or unemployment, no dependents, and no home or real estate ownership.

tax refund iphone
This app also requires that you're running iOS version 4.1 or above on your iPhone. If your taxes are simple and you still haven't filed, this is a quick and easy to way to do so. You simply snap a photo of your W-2, fill out the information, review it, and e-file securely. Most reviews of this app are favorable.


TaxCaster is another tax preparation application for with simple tax needs. TaxCaster is not a file claim application. In the words of the developers, it helps "you get a ballpark estimate of your tax forecast," so that you know what you will owe or what you might get in return.

tax refund iphone

The user interface of TaxCaster is visually oriented and it provides a simple way to enter income and deduction information. Most reviews of this app are favorable, and users claim the estimates are pretty accurate. If you haven't filed your return yet, TaxCaster might be a handy resource.


The Internal Revenue Service has put out its own tax return application, so you can check the status of your refund from the official source. This app is not for e-filing forms.

tax refund iphone

You can also get the same refund status by visiting IRS's Refund Status page. And if you're a Twitter user, do a Twitter search for "IRSnews" to get the latest updates on tax related information.

Tax Central

One of the leading tax preparation companies, H&R Block, has updated its mobile application. You can use this app to check the status of your Federal refund. The app also includes a checklist of items you need to file your taxes, as well as a database of frequently asked questions about tax preparation.

tax refund iphone app

Even if you don't use H&R Block's services, you can use this app for tax estimates, to stay informed of things that could impact your tax situation. Tax Central also has a glossary of tax related terms.

If you're looking for an online tax preparation and filing service, check out Jorge's article about TaxACT.

Please share other free and useful online tax related resources you know about.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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6 Internet Safety Games To Help Kids Become Cyber Smart

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 10:30 AM PDT

internet safety games for kidsOne of my erstwhile colleagues had pointed out the importance of keeping kids safe when they are online.  Digital education is not only about learning how to program or use a software; it's also a lot about knowing the who the villain among the bits and bytes could be. As we run to catch up with the torrent of data, others are looking to grab some of our own. Spam is just a small part…there are more evil in the form of phishing and password theft.

With the age of cyber savvy kids on the rise, internet safety is just as important a part of education. Parents can play a prime role as educators.

But then, there are loads of resources which can play the role of motivators. A class on internet safety need not be dull and drag when you have interactive games like these six to take you through the concepts.

Webonauts Internet Academy

internet safety games for kids

This cool online game teaches kids all about the rules of web safety and digital citizenship. Taking on the role of 'webonauts', children have to complete a series of missions in order to graduate from the Webonauts Internet Academy. The lessons follow the motto – Observe, Respect, and Contribute. Right from picking up a uniform to the planetary excursions, the online game is interactive but it requires a fair bit of patience. The game teaches child must-dos like keeping passwords secure or how to build web profiles. The PBS Kids website is a must stop for both children and also parents as educators.

Safety Land

internet safety games

The game is courtesy AT&T. It's all about battling a villain who is spamming people with messages. The goal is to rid the town of this evil character and make it safe again. As Captain Broadband, you can seek out the villain from a few locations around town, answer a few quiz questions, garner points, and banish the bad guy forever. If you succeed, you become a certifiable hero. Press play.

Internet Safety Hangman

internet safety games

This is a case of the classic Hangman game reincarnated as an internet safety educational game. The game follow the same rules, except now the clues all relate to cyber rules you should remember rand follow. You have to guess the answers to the questions and feed it in to complete the game.

Iggey and Rasper's Internet Safety Game

internet safety games

The Kids.com Jr. internet safety game for kids is a series of questions on net etiquette for kids. The questions are like an instructional quiz that serves to teach the main points on internet safety.

Anti-Phishing Phil

safety games

This game is a limited version game of the actual one but the game play is enough to educate someone about phishing on the internet. It is also a game that's meant for older kids and even adults. As Phil, a young fish living in the bay, you have to earn points by eating the good worms (good URLs) and refusing the bad worms (phishing URLs). Your mentor is the PhishGuru who helps you identify the good from the bad. It's a cool site that can help anyone avoid online phishing scams. The actual full game has four rounds while this limited version has only one, but it gives you a general idea on phishing scams.

OnGuard Online

internet safety games for kids

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States uses this site to impart education on internet safety. A lineup of 13 quiz games will allow you to test yourself on everything from spyware detection to wireless security. Not all games are on security as some also test your awareness on online investing and auctions. But it's definitely about cyber-smartness.

If you are looking for a free downloadable game to learn about cyber-safety, Carnegie Mellon's Carnegie Cadets: The MySecureCyberspace Game teaches you all about cyber defense and how to protect yourself with four missions on how to spot spam, how to keep personal information safe, and how to identify Web threats. It's a 173 MB download (available for both PC and Mac).

When it comes to parental controls and keeping your kids safe, education is the first course. Have you tried to educate your children on the manners for safe browsing and internet safety? Which course have you followed?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Some Great Linux Alternatives For 4 Tasks Normally Requiring Windows

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 09:31 AM PDT

linux alternatives for windowsAll across the geek communities there’s always been an adage about Linux, saying that it’s an operating system more for fun, and less for work. However, Linux has been receiving plenty of attention lately, and you can now do things with Linux that you might’ve thought would only work in Windows.  Let’s take a look at some of those things.

Money Management: GnuCash & kMyMoney

People have usually resorted to using Microsoft Money or Quicken for their money managing needs. However, we don’t need to use either of them when there are a couple of worthy programs that are Linux-native!

linux alternatives for windows

GnuCash is an excellent money management application that does everything a home user needs. It’s stable, allows multiple currencies, supports popular formats for bank statement downloads, and generates many graphical and text reports. As long as you remember that the expense accounts are like the expense categories you’re used to, GnuCash is capable of doing everything you please.

using linux instead of windows

Another noteworthy program that you can try out is kMyMoney, something which is more suited for KDE desktops, of which there are numerous articles available on MakeUseOf. kMyMoney offers support for tracking your accounts, budgets, and investments, as well as reports.

Video Editing: kdenlive, Pitivi & OpenShot

Movie editing has been a virtually impossible task under Linux for quite some time, but recently a couple of movie editors have popped up, and they’re getting better and better by the day. Each editor has its own advantages over the other.

using linux instead of windows

Kdenlive is a great overall video editor that can handle anything you throw at it. It contains many transitions and effects, such as blue screen which can be adjusted for green screens. Aside from all those features, kdenlive runs on all Unix and Unix-like systems and is great to try out.

linux alternatives for windows applications

Pitivi is a much simpler, lightweight video editor that (so far) doesn’t have any transitions and effects. This editor is useful when you simply need to cut some parts out of a video that you recorded. It also requires less dependencies to be installed, which is a plus for some people.

linux alternatives for windows applications

Openshot is another video editor that is capable of more. It can handle most file types and add flashy effects and transitions. A unique feature that Openshot has, compared to other Linux video editors, is that it has the ability to create 3D effects using Blender as a backend technology, the same software used to create the open source movies Big Buck Bunny and Sintel.

Photo Editing & Graphics: GIMP & Inkscape

You have most likely heard about GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, so it shouldn’t be something new. However, GIMP has important ties to Linux that you might not know about. The great Photoshop alternative was first on Linux before it was ported to Windows due to its popularity. Even more, there are some very nice plug-ins for GIMP that can easily be installed in some distributions (more about that in a future article).

linux alternatives for windows applications

Inkscape is also a handy graphics program that most graphic designers use. It is different from GIMP in that it deals with vectors, which is perfect for maintaining clear and crisp images even after massive scaling. Like GIMP, it provides all the tools you could need to get the job done, and it performs as expected. No wonder it’s among the most used programs for Linux graphic designers!

Home Server: Amahi

Windows Home Server was decent, but quickly became outdated, with certain technologies being discontinued. Time to put Linux to good use as our alternative option!

linux alternatives for windows

Why buy a system when you can build your own for free? What we need  is Amahi. Using Fedora as its base, Amahi takes care of most of the things people commonly want in a home server. Combine that with CrashPlan to make backups and you’ll have a server that does everything you need it to. We have previously covered this subject with an article by James.


Overall, Linux is an extremely capable platform. In addition to its reliability and security, it is now ready to help you do all of your work. The programs above are great alternatives for Linux to help you ditch Windows.

What other alternatives do you use or recommend for tasks that historically required Windows? Do these alternatives make you consider trying out Linux?

Image Credit: Openshot

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Wipe Your Mac of Sensitive Information with Washing Machine [Giveaway]

Posted: 04 Apr 2011 08:30 AM PDT

Washing Machine is a simple, single purpose app that keeps your Mac clean of personal information in this increasingly security conscious age. Over time, your browser collects an awful lot of sensitive information about you and the websites you visit, all of which are an absolute goldmine for any hacker who compromises your system.

We’ve got 25 standard licenses for Washing Machine 2 — each license protects up to 2 Macs.

So, what exactly does Washing Machine clean up for you?

  • Bookmarks
  • Browsing Histories – all the websites you’ve visited.
  • Caches – copies of files stored for faster browsing experience.
  • Cookies – used by websites to record information.
  • Download histories – a list of your recent downloads.

On my Mac with three browsers installed, it found 811 MB worth of potentially sensitive files and information that could be cleaned up, so you might be shocked to find out much space it could potentially save you. And all that data isn’t exactly easy to find, which is why we are constantly writing security-focussed how to’s on cleaning this or that browser. Well, Washing Machine does them all – simply and easily. And it can automate the tasks too, by letting you schedule them to occur whenever you want.

The main interface of Washing Machine is as simple as it could get, yet offers an incredible degree of control over what you want to clean up. While the default option is to clean everything, you might not want to delete your bookmarks, so you could easily narrow down the “wash cycle” to what you want. You can also SHIFT-click or CMD-click individual items in the lower selection screen. In this case, I’ve decided to nuke everything from Safari, since it isn’t the most secure browser at the best of times:

To be extra safe, you can hold down the OPTION key when clicking Clean. The button will turn to Secure Clean, and the app will not only delete, but also overwrite those sections of the hard disk with random data to prevent any specialist software from attempting to recover your deleted data. Alhhough the default is to overwrite once, you can change it to a higher security level, at which point it will overwrite the bits a whopping 35 times.

Since cleaning Safari is something I want to do regularly, I can go ahead and set up a group for those tasks. Then I drag the group of associated tasks to the schedule, and adjust the options to occur everyday.

Another option is to create a helpful Smart Cleaning list, using the same familiar logic as an iTunes smart playlist.

In short, Washing Machine is a comprehensive cleaning app for your Mac that you can set and forget, and personalise with a high fidelity of control. The interface is familiar and built around solid Apple design principles, so you’ll have no trouble getting to grips with it. If only cleaning the kitchen was this simple, too!

So, how can you get your hands on a copy of this useful little app?

How do I win a copy?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form

Please fill in the form with your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.

The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from our Facebook page.

Step 2: Share!

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

Giveaway eligibility
In accordance with Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines 2.4.2 and 2.4.3:
Individuals who are over the age of 18. If you are under 18, get your parents to participate on your behalf;
Individuals who reside in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, India or any country embargoed by the United States are not permitted to enter.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, April 8th at 2100hrs PDT. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

MakeUseOf would like to thank ioSafe for their generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

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



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