Thursday, April 7, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [April 6th]” plus 7 more “Cool Websites and Tools [April 6th]” plus 7 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [April 6th]

Posted: 06 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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Tunetag – When you attend a party, selecting the songs to get you in the groove is not up to you. You can request a change in music, but who knows if other people will like your choices too? Enter Tunetug, a cool app for party lovers that lets select and vote for songs to be played. With this system, you can create your own party playlist. Read more: Tunetug: Vote Up Or Vote Down Songs For Your Party



UploadingIt – File hosting websites are very helpful when you want to store or share large files online. Most file hosts are the same and do not offer a unique set of features. But UploadingIt sets itself apart from the crowd by offering a large 20GB of free storage space along with numerous other cool functions. Read more: UploadingIt: File Host With Cool Features & 20GB Of Free Storage Online



OpenAttribute – An open approach to the web and content publishing in general involves a standard system of attribution. If you get image and content that are both under Creative Commons, then it is a must to properly cite them. Open Attribute is a nifty browser add-on that finds and formats license information in one click. Read more: OpenAttribute: Properly Attribute Creative Commons Content In A Click – is a cool WordPress plugin that lets you create an custom Android app for your blog. This is very useful for bloggers who want to reach a growing mobile audience. You only need to install this tool like any normal WordPress plugin and have the app configured for your blog within minutes. Read more: Create An Android App For Your Website Feed



Yahoo Safely – The number of online threats to Internet users increases daily. This is precisely why it is important for you to familiarize yourself with the latest online safety tips. You can get these tips from numerous reliable online sources, one of them being Yahoo Safely. It is the official security tips website of Yahoo. Read more: Yahoo Safely: Valuable Internet Safety Tips For Teenagers & Parents


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 Great Tools For Editing RAW Photos In Linux

Posted: 06 Apr 2011 04:31 PM PDT

editing raw photos linuxThese days most digital SLR cameras include the ability to shoot in RAW, an uncompressed image format that gives you great control over a number of photographic variables. This can vary from the basics like white balance and exposure; to curve adjustment, lens vignetting and more.

As a semi-serious photographer and Linux user, you’ll be forgiven for feeling a bit left out when it comes to post-processing. Whilst Adobe Photoshop (and fantastic Camera RAW module) happily chugs along in Windows or Mac OS, unless you’re prepared to put up with WINE you’ll be looking for something a little more native.

Here are 4 free solutions for getting the most out of your photography on a Linux machine.

A Quick Word About RAW

If you’ve bought a digital SLR camera in the last 5 years or so, there’s a good chance it can capture photos in the RAW image format. Depending on the size of your camera’s sensor, these files can be roughly two to three times the size of your average high quality JPEG.

editing raw photos linux

Whilst it is possible to open JPEG files in some RAW editors, the compression and lack of data stored within a JPEG simply does not compare it to RAW. If your camera does shoot RAW and you haven’t experimented yet then I’d urge you to give it a go.

Once you’ve transferred your RAWs to your computer, you’ll need an editor. With an editor you can change (within reason) most aspects of your photographs in a way JPEG doesn’t allow. Speaking from experience, it’s amazing how well some of your worst shots scrub up after a 10 minute edit!

Note: Where possible, Ubuntu instructions for installing via repositories have been provided.


editing photos linux

An incredibly powerful RAW editor, Photivo handles nearly every RAW format and BMP files with startling ease. The interface could do with some work, but with literally hundreds of processing techniques at your disposal it’s clear that the open-source project is being taken in the right direction.

If you’re a fan of GIMP for your photo editing (and let’s face it, using Linux you don’t exactly have a choice) then you’ll also like the way Photivo is able to send modified photos directly to GIMP for retouching, with correct EXIF data and colour profiles.

The developers claim that Photivo uses the most advanced image manipulation algorithms available, though this powerful and complex tool is geared more towards power users and those with prior RAW experience, rather than complete newbies.

Ubuntu install, in Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dhor/myway
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install photivo

Raw Therapee

editing photos linux

Not the most intuitive program to use at first, Raw Therapee is a fairly feature rich and comprehensive RAW editor that’s compatible with Linux. At the time of writing, the team are working on a stable release of version 3.0, which is a major release for the project.

Due to this, the team are keen to hear from anyone who uses the software and encounters bugs and such. The forum is a great place to start, you can report bugs, learn about current and upcoming features and find detailed discussions about compiling Raw Therapee from source.

There are also versions of the application for Windows and Mac OS X, for those interested.


editing photos linux

Rawstudio offers a decent amount of control over your RAW photographs and supports a wide number of filetypes. Using the sliders it is easy to alter exposure, curves and so on, as well as colour management thanks to Little CMS.

You can convert your RAWs to JPEG, PNG and TIFF image formats, and what’s more you can batch process a whole collection of images in one go. Rawstudio can be compiled from source, or download pre-compiled OpenSUSE or Ubuntu packages.

Ubuntu install, in Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rawstudio/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rawstudio


editing raw photos linux

Unidentified Flying RAW (or UFRaw for short) is a dedicated RAW image editor based on GTK+. It can be used as an application on its own or as a plugin for GIMP (simply open a RAW image in GIMP to be presented with the UFRaw editor window).

The software is especially beneficial to Nikon users as it can easily read the camera’s tone curves (Canon and other users can still apply a Nikon curve to their image if desired). Unfortunately sharpening and the ability to embed EXIF data into images from certain (more obscure) camera brands is still not present.

UFRaw is available in ready-to-install packages for a plethora of Linux distributions and other operating systems, along with detailed install instructions.

Ubuntu install, in Terminal:

sudo apt-get install ufraw


Whilst these applications don’t offer you the immense amount of customization and sheer tweak-ability of Photoshop’s in-built Camera RAW editor, they should at least make post-processing on Linux a bit easier.

If you yourself favour any particular RAW editing program we’ve not featured here, let us know.

Do you shoot in RAW? Do you edit RAW photos in Linux? Let us know in the comments below.

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5 Tips To Get Your Blog Updates Published On Google News

Posted: 06 Apr 2011 02:31 PM PDT

google newsThere is nothing I love more than sitting at my desk in the morning, sipping my cup of coffee and browsing through the daily updates on Google News. Not only is it a nice way to kick off the day getting up to speed with what’s going on in the world, but the news stories give me ideas about things to write about.

One day when I was browsing news stories, I noticed that one particular story was published not by CNN, Associated Press or the Washington Post, but instead by a small time blogger who had landed a pretty cool exclusive story. Front page Google News.

For a moment I thought about the traffic that must have offered her site, not to mention some nice points in search engine land for authority and legitimacy. It didn’t take me long to realize that I could do the exact same thing. So I set out to learn exactly what it takes to become an authorized Google News publisher.

Submit Your Site – But Be Flexible

The first time I submitted my blog URL to be considered as an authorized Google News publisher, I was flat out rejected. I was pretty disappointed but I was also impressed with how Google handled the rejection. They provided very solid points about my blog that disqualified it for consideration. Most notably, I was a sole author and I had no contact information listed on my blog. So for the next couple of months, I set out to correct these two points and then try again.

google news

The first thing I started doing was hiring authors for the site. One basic requirement for Google News is that you need a team of writers. Then I created an “About Us” page to list all of the bios for each writer.

With that task out of the way, I moved on to my next task, creating a professional contact page. I didn’t want to put my home phone number on the Internet, so I established a Google Voice phone number, and created a contact form with all the contact details on the same page.

google news publishers help

Two months later, with a solid writing team and a page with contact details, I re-submitted my URL for consideration on Google News. Within a few weeks, I received an email from the folks at Google telling me that I’d been approved.

However, with that monumental task out of the way, reality sunk in. Getting accepted was one thing, but getting listed on the main news site was quite another. Even if you finally get accepted as a Google News publisher, there are a few more things you need to do so that the crawler will pick up on your latest updates.

Create A Googe News Sitemap

Just because you’re a publisher doesn’t mean that your site is optimized for the news crawler. Google News recommends that all publishers establish a news sitemap. Specifically they want to know the name of your “publication”, the language, access time (whether you require registration) and the Genre. There is a great Google News Sitemap plugin that will dynamically create this sitemap for you.  It lets you define the default settings when you first activate it.

google news publishers

Each time you write a post, the footer will also have a section where you can tell Google News exactly what the post is all about. If it’s not a breaking news item, change the Genre to “Blog“, and click “Non-News Item“. This is where you also add keywords.

google news publishers

Identify The Originating Source

Another new technique Google is using to track down the source that originally scooped a story is by trusting publishers to tell Google who the originating source was.

The rule is pretty simple. If you are sharing a blog update about a news story you’ve read, Google News requests that you add a meta tag named “syndication-source” and assign it the URL of the original story you got it from. If you’re the the originator – if you wrote an exclusively researched news story – then use a meta tag named “original-source” and assign it the URL of your news story.

Of course, as those of you with WordPress blogs know – adding custom meta tags is easier said than done. Well, I have a solution for you.

Just place the following code in the header.php file inside the <head> section:

<?php if ( get_post_meta($post->ID, ‘original-source’, true) ) : ?>
<meta name=”original-source” content=”<?php echo get_post_meta($post->ID, ‘original-source’, true) ?>”/>
<?php endif; ?>

<?php if ( get_post_meta($post->ID, ‘syndication-source’, true) ) : ?>
<meta name=”original-source” content=”<?php echo get_post_meta($post->ID, ‘syndication-source’, true) ?>”/>
<?php endif; ?>

What this does is checks whether you’ve created a custom field named either “original-source” or “syndication-source” and if you have, it will tag the page with the appropriate meta information with the page URL.

google news publishers

Adding the custom tag on the post is fast and easy for you, and you make Google happy because they get a better idea of where the news story first broke.

Accurate Title & Keywords

Google News is almost entirely automated, and it relies heavily upon the accuracy and honesty of publishers to tell Google News what the story is about. The best way to do this is through accurate title and keyword information. I suggest installing the SEO All-in-One pack.

google news

Make sure to use the most accurate title and keywords with every post. The cool thing about doing all of this fine-tuning for Google News is that you’re also improving your site for general Google searches as well. So you get a double bonus for your efforts.

If you have a blog and you’ve tried to get approved as a Google News publisher, share your experiences with us in the comments section below. Have you had any failures or major successes? We want to know!

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Hot Tech Deals [Apr 6th]

Posted: 06 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. EXPIRING Dell ST2310 23in LCD Monitor $139.99 Free Shipping (24in $159.99) via code 2L?7QT756GD333 (Exp 4/7)
  2. G.Skill Ripjaws F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1333MHz PC3-10666 Desktop Memory (CAS 9) for $69.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKGGJ26 (Exp 4/6)
  3. HP ENVY 17 Intel Core i7-2620M 2.7GHz Sandy Bridge 17.3in Laptop (6GB/750GB) $1199 via code NB1977 (Exp Soon)
  4. TODAY ONLY G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600MHz PC3-12800 Desktop Memory $84.99 Free Shipping
  5. TODAY ONLY Dell M109s On-the-Go DLP Projector (858×600, Portable) $259 Free Shipping
  6. Dell ST2310B 23in Widescreen LCD Monitor (1920×1080) $139.99 Free Shipping via code 7TXZX6WF05BXWC (exp 4/7)
  7. HP Pavilion Elite HPE570T Intel Core i7-2600 Quad-Core (New SandyBridge) 3.4GHz Desktop (8GB/1.5TB) $749.99 via code DT1314 (Exp Soon)
  8. Dell Vostro 3300 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 13.3in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $469
  9. Dell Vostro 3450 Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz [Sandy Bridge] 14in Laptop (Aluminum) $609
  10. Dell Vostro 3550 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 15.6in Laptop (Aluminum) $559
  11. Dell Vostro 3750 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 17.3in Laptop (Aluminum) $599
  12. Yamaha RX-V467 5.1ch 105W/ch 3D Home Theater Receiver $214.99 Free Shipping via code YAMAHA4515 (Exp 4/8)

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Take & Restore Quick Snapshots Of Your System State With SmartClose [Windows]

Posted: 06 Apr 2011 11:31 AM PDT

take system snapshotSometimes I wish life has a rewind button that will let us go back to the past and undo all the damage that we’ve done – to restore everything to the ‘previous working state’.  Events in our life might be irreversible, but things are different in the computer world. You can restore your system to any previous state you want, as long as you have the necessary backups.

Windows users have “System Restore” that they can count on. But that feature isn’t the quickest way to do it. Meet SmartClose, a really tiny application that will help you to quickly take and restore snapshots of your system state.

Take This Tiny Tool

Other than long-term safety precautions, taking system snapshots is also advisable prior to software installations, especially for those who install and uninstall lots of software regularly. With a snapshot ready, one can cleanly erase the presence of a newly installed software. This method is better than traditional uninstallers which always litter the system with unwanted leftovers.

Looking at various system maintenance applications with DVD-size files, I never thought that SmartClose would measure less than 700KB. It’s small enough that you could put it in your Dropbox folder and install it on your other computers. The interface is also simple; just one small window with five menus. So everything is accessible from here.

take system snapshot

With the program installed, we are ready to begin.

Snap Some System Shots

The first time you use the app, you will be guided by a wizard. Check the “Don’t show this introduction page again” box to skip it the next time you take other shots.

restore system snapshot

The first step of the wizard is to choose tasks to be performed before taking the snapshot. In general, these tasks are mainly about stopping every unnecessary computer activity before taking the system snapshot.

restore system snapshot

The wizard will also let you add applications to the “Protected Programs” list. The list contains critical applications that will not be closed due to their importance to the system.

restore system snapshot

The next step will let you choose the location to save the snapshot.

system snapshot tool

Before starting the process, you will see a window with a list of all the tasks. Click “Start” to begin.

system snapshot tool

Restore From A Recorded Shot

To restore your system using one of the snapshots, choose the second menu under “Create a system snapshot …“. You will have a similar wizard guiding you, but the steps go the opposite way from the first one.

The wizard starts by letting you choose which system snapshot you want to restore from. The default choice is the last saved snapshot.

system snapshot tool

Then it will relaunch all the closed applications. If there are some applications you’ve opened before running the restore wizard, click the “Uncheck Running Programs” button before clicking “Next“.

03c Launch Programs

The wizard continues by asking you which components you want to restore.

03d Sys Snap Options

Then you’ll see the list of tasks. Click “Start” to begin the restoration process.

take system snapshot

To see how SmartClose performed, I took a snapshot of my system, installed several new applications, then restored my system using the latest snapshot. I found no trace of the applications I had just installed. So we can conclude that SmartClose would be a great companion for people who love to try out new applications.

Do you think SmartClose would be useful for you? Do you prefer to use Windows’ System Restore instead? Or do you use another better alternative? Please share your thoughts using the comments below.

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How To Enable the Firewall In Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Posted: 06 Apr 2011 10:31 AM PDT

enable firewall leopardWe all know the Internet is the next best thing since man walked on the moon. But depending how we travel in cyberspace, our computers can be vulnerable to unwanted traffic from other computers. Since we rarely hear about security problems with Apple hardware, we Mac users often ignore some of Apple’s basic security applications and features.

Even though, in the twenty years I've been a Mac user, I have never experienced any known security issues, I will at least use the Firewall application installed by default in Mac OS X. It's easy to set up, but there are a few considerations you should know about if you have not yet activated the firewall on your Mac.

The Purpose Of The Firewall

Without getting too technical, the purpose of a firewall, as the name implies, is to keep out malicious traffic from invading your computer through various networks and protocols. As you will know, when you're using the Internet, all kinds of data traffic comes through different ports of your computer via email (typically port 25), your web browsers (port 80), chat and webcam applications, and mobile remote applications requiring access in order to perform certain functions. Each program wanting to communicate with a device does so through a special sort of file called a socket, “which specifies the protocol being used, the local IP address and port, and, in some cases, also the remote IP address and port.” (Mac Security, by Joe Kissell).

The job of the firewall is to determine which data and networks can have traffic access to your computer or mobile device. If you leave the firewall off, then you're saying to the computer world, “please, scan my computer for open ports and come right in”.

Enabling The Firewall

To enable the Firewall on your Mac, open System Preferences and select Security.  Please note that these instructions are based Mac OS X Snow Leopard. They should also apply to Leopard, with a few slight differences. If you are already running a third-party firewall application like Little Snitch, then there shouldn't be a need to run Apple's default firewall).

enable firewall leopard

Next, choose Firewall. To make changes you will need to click the padlock and enter your administrative password. Click the Start button to turn on the firewall.

enable firewall mac

The Firewall application will ask you to approve any applications or programs already installed on your computer.

enable firewall mac

Many of these requests may come from iOS mobile related applications. If you are aware of these applications and you don't see any risk in allowing them access, then click Allow.

enable firewall leopard

  • If you have File Sharing and Printer Sharing turned on, Firewall will automatically give network access to these features. You can review the lists of applications that have been approved for network access.
  • The + button means that you can manually add applications which you want the firewall to allow. However, based on my experience and research, you shouldn't have to manually add applications. You simply approve the ones that ask for connections.
  • Checking the “Enable stealth mode” is optional, but it is recommended. Stealth mode means that when an outside computer is trying to get access to your computer network and you deny it, that remote application will not be notified that traffic was denied. This way, the accessing computer will assume there's nothing there to access.
  • Unless you have some particular reason to do so, leave the “Block all incoming connections ” unchecked, and check the “Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections“.

Enabling the Firewall on your computer shouldn't be a problem, especially if you are a home or small-office user. Some Internet routers also offer firewall-like protection to Internet traffic, so that if you link to a website which the router find suspicious, a warning will pop up and ask how you want to proceed.

Let us know if you have enabled the Firewall on your Mac and how well it has worked for you. For Windows users, check out Matt's article about three free applications, and Steve's 7 Top Firewall Programs To Consider For Your Computer's Security.

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5 Alternatives To The New York Times That Are Still Free

Posted: 06 Apr 2011 09:31 AM PDT

better than new york timesThe New York Times is now behind a paywall, but it’s not the only newspaper on the Internet. If you’re looking for a free alternative to the Grey Lady there are more than a few that offer quality, well-written reporting.

Consider yourself a regular New York Times reader, but can’t afford to pay for a subscription? You’re not alone, but sadly you’ll only be able to read 20 articles a month. There are certain exceptions of course, but for the most part you’ll need some sort of subscription to read regularly.

Not just any paper offers an alternative to the Times, of course; that publication’s readers will expect a certain level of quality. The list below attempts to include only the best alternatives the web has to offer, so keep reading to see if you can’t find a new homepage.

The Washington Post

better than new york times

This is an obvious place to start. The Washington Post has long been the New York Times’ main domestic rival in the United States, competition that’s made both papers better. The two newspapers have long competed for scoops, but with the Time’s new paywall, the Post will probably pick up a lot of web traffic. We’ll see whether that’s actually the case or not, but for now it’s worth taking a look at this paper’s homepage and finding out if it fits your regular reading needs.

The Guardian

alternative newspapers

World famous following their recent collaboration with WikiLeaks, UK paper The Guardian has slowly been building up readers around the world with their in-depth international reporting. Expect to find well-written reporting over a wide range of subjects. As a newspaper that seems dedicated to building up its brand internationally via the Internet, it’s unlikely The Guardian will be behind a paywall anytime soon. Probably not an alternative to the Times for domestic politics in America, but it’s still worth checking out.

The Christian Science Monitor

alternative newspapers

It’s hard to explain why this paper isn’t better known. Consistently engaging and comprehensive, the Christian Science Monitor is perhaps best known for its feature articles but also manages to keep its readers up-to-date. This paper is consistently excellent, and great for those who like longer reads. Don’t let the name confuse you; this is a secular newspaper with a commitment to objectivity and fairness.

The Economist

alternative newspapers

Read by some of the most powerful decision makers on the planet, The Economist is well known for its international reporting and analysis. Though decidedly a publication that sees the world through a liberal, pro-capitalism and pro-globalization lense, The Economist is also an excellent source for hard news from around the world. Of particular interest are their in-depth reports on important stories, and (for our readers) their quarterly reports on current trends in technology.

The full table of contents for the print edition is behind a paywall, but it seems that all the content is free to access from the website. An interesting strategy, to be sure.


better than new york times

OK, so NPR may not be an alternative to the New York Times in many respects. Primarily a broadcasting outlet, NPR is sometimes better known for its shows about fictional small-town Minnesota and car repair than it is for its journalism. Don’t let that fool you; NPR does a lot of quality reporting, making its website a great place to look to keep up with world events.

Even better, there’s the NPR Web App for reading and listening to all of the day’s top stories. It’s the closest rival to the amazing NY Times app I’ve found so far. Or if standard websites are more your thing, click here to read NPR.


There are plenty of hacks for reading the New York Times for free; following them on Twitter, for example. But as The Onion recently pointed out, there’s nothing inherently absurd about a newspaper trying to charge for content. Producing quality content isn’t cheap, after all.

But for now, lots of publications are giving the content away for free. Let me know what alternatives you like best in the comments below, or just discuss what you think the Times new paywall means for the industry.

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5 Ways To See Your Facebook Friends On A World Map

Posted: 06 Apr 2011 08:31 AM PDT

see facebook friendsMy Facebook friends are all over the map. But if you ask me offhand to spell out their locations around the world, I admit I will be befuddled about some of them whom I know virtually. Facebook is now the world's largest social network with more than 500 million users worldwide. Even if you have a fraction of that geographical spread in your friend list, it really helps to locate them visually on a map.

It's not just a fun visual fun tool but has some practical uses too. For instance, if you are travelling, you can tell at a glance if anyone you know is located nearby. You can also effectively work out the time zones your friends are located in.

Something like Facebook Places lets you broadcast your own location to the world. But these maps help you to 'pin' others down. So for the sake of friendship let these five little Facebook and map mashups help you work out how near or far your friends are to you.

Social Map

see facebook friends

This geographic service (also called Placebook) displays useful information even if you haven't logged in yet. Hover over an area and see the distribution of Facebook users for that region (e.g. U.S has 42 percent of Facebook members). Logging into the application via Facebook loads the location information from your friends' profiles if it's mentioned. You location if absent, is mapped out with your I.P number. All data is neatly mapped out by numbers for specific countries, distance from your location, and a beautiful interlinking display of how your friends are related. You can zoom to a location and directly jump to any friends' profile. Some calculations like distance or the precise location may be off the mark, but it is a fair representation nonetheless.

My Friend Map

see facebook map

This is a mashup which is beautifully rendered in cool blue. The map connects via Facebook's API to your profile and gives you a view of your network's location according to the current city information in their profiles. Hovering over the location dots brings up the profile photo and the location information. From the blue map, you can switch over to the regular Google Map with a click.

Where My Friends Be

see facebook map

Where My Friends Be is a much simpler network display on a Google Map. The app grabs your profile picture and geolocates you on the Google Map. Google place markers and straight red lines plot out the location relationship with your friends on Facebook. The mapping is quite fast and in a matter of seconds you can visualize your entire network of friends on a map. If you select the option, your friends map gets posted on your profile.

Friends Density

see facebook map

The third-party application presents the relative concentration of your friends as a fullscreen heatmap. Using the Google Maps mashup, you can tell at a glance where they are located around the world. You can click through to your friends' profile and privacy protection ensures your friends’ data stays protected. The heatmap control panel allows you to set colors as well as choose between 'spectrum' or 'thermal' views.


see facebook friends

Give this app permission to pull in data from Facebook and in a few seconds, the map displays a heatmap where your friends are concentrated. Bright reds are for regions where they are in greater numbers. Lesser concentrations are shown by yellow and blue. You can zoom in to more precise spots on the map. Mouse over the heat map to see the names pop up; these are clickable to their individual profiles. The map does not seem to be absolutely accurate because it missed my network of friends in Australia.

Placing your friends on a map can give surprising results. In fact, just last year there was a project where Facebook intern Paul Butler plotted out 'human relationships' using Facebook's data on 10 million pairs of friends. The result came out in the form of a detailed world map. You can read about the project and agree with me that virtual or not, we are all connected somehow.

Try out these Facebook map mashups and let us know what you think of them.

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