Sunday, April 10, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [April 9th]” plus 4 more “Cool Websites and Tools [April 9th]” plus 4 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [April 9th]

Posted: 09 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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Textlang – Translating text on the go is not a problem when you have a smartphone. Install one application and you will be set. But for people who own regular phones with no support for applications, TextLang will prove to be an invaluable translation tool. TextLang is a greatly useful service that lets you translate text and listen to how it is pronounced. Read more: TextLang: Get Text Translations On Your Cell Phone


Recipefy – Recipefy is an online cookbook and food recipe social network. It lets you submit, share and manage your favorite food recipes online and discover new recipes submitted by users from countries all over the world. You can browse recipes from different countries, filter them by type (appetizers, starters, main courses etc) and by popularity. Read more: Recipefy: Food Recipes Social Network & Online Cookbook



Prostopleer – Online music sites usually promise to offer a unique set of features. But most end up being similar and not very user-friendly. If you are looking for a great music site that offers a simple interface along with music playing capabilities, then check out ProstoPleer, a free online media player service that lets you look for music. Read more: Prostopleer: A Great Music Site That Lets You Find & Play Music



Facebook Spectrum – If, like many others, you feel you are getting lost in details and missing the big picture of your life on Facebook, this new tool can help. FacebookSpectrum gives you a comprehensive yet succinct overview of your Facebook account. Once you log in using your Facebook account, the first tab displays the list of your friends in a fancy moving ball. Read more: FacebookSpectrum: Get A General Overview Of Your Facebook Account



Minimalist Google Calendar – Many of us use Google Calendar to record and plan our events. But the service's interface does tend to look a bit untidy and distracting. To get a custom look for your Google Calendar interface, you can use a tool called Minimalist Google Calendar, a browser extension for Google Chrome. The extension lets you remove elements from the Google Calendar interface. Read more: Minimalist Google Calendar: Clean Up Your Google Calendar


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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Discover More Relevant Content As You Browse With Kikin [Firefox]

Posted: 09 Apr 2011 06:31 PM PDT

kikin search engineQuite some time ago we reviewed a little Firefox-based search helper called Kikin. I tried it but I haven’t had it installed since then. Now checking the tool beta re-launch announcement, I was very much surprised by how the little addon has turned into an awesome multi-feature tool with lots of functionality.

Kikin is a Firefox addon that “makes the web more enjoyable, bringing all of your favorite social networks, search providers, websites and services to you, no matter where you are.”

When you have it installed you will see tiny buttons to the right of your browser screen. The buttons are broken up into two sections: permanent and dynamic.

1. Permanent Buttons

These buttons allow you to easily access the chosen websites at any time (view it as your browser bookmarks on steroids). While you can’t add as many buttons as you want (you are limited by the screen size), you can add your most favorite pages here.

kikin search engine

You can also connect it to your Google Reader, Facebook and Twitter accounts to easily access your social media timelines and post updates.

kikin firefox plugin

The + icon allows you to easily add buttons by choosing one from the available sources or providing your own URL:

kikin firefox plugin

2. Dynamic (Search Helpers)

These buttons will dynamically change based on searches you perform, webpages you visit, etc.

Page-Relevant Results

The addon will try and find more relevant pages similar to the one you are currently viewing. For example, for the “Hold It Against Me” song Wikipedia page the built-in search algorithm suggested that I:

  • Google for “Hold It Against Me”;
  • Watch the video clip on YouTube;
  • Buy the album on Amazon;
  • Get the song lyrics on MetroLyrics;
  • Read about the song on Idolator:

kikin firefox plugin

Any result will open in a handy pop-up in a foreground, where you can view video, browse through related products or copy-paste the lyrics without ever leaving the current page.

kikin search

Search-Relevant Results

For searches you perform on any site, the addon will suggest top results:

kikin search

It is unclear which sources exactly the addon is using but my guess is that it might be using its built-in index of domains per category as well as your connected social media and Google Reader accounts.

The good thing is that for many queries, the addon will suggest alternative results. For example, if you search Google for [amazon], Google will only find anything related to “Amazon” whereas Kikin will suggest checking out “eBay” as well.

kikin search engine

The above feature makes me think Kikin would work well for finding inspiration as well as a discovery tool.

My Personal Issues With The Tool

  • More Control Over Search Sources: As much as I love smart tools that “know better” what I really want, I still prefer to have at least some control over what I am looking for and where I am looking. There’s a way to add multiple sources to the “bookmarks” panel but for the search result panel, you can only remove sources – you can’t tell the machine where you prefer it to search. For example, I’d like to see more Twitter search results there (maybe trending links for any keyword I search). Someone would probably like to see more media results (videos and images), etc.
  • Major Distraction: This may be my own personal take but I find myself being distracted by the tool while I am working. I just clicked the “Quora” icon in my Kikin sidebar and spent at least 40 minutes browsing topics and questions. Then I remembered I was writing a post. However, I assume that’s the problem with any tool that is aimed at giving you more information as you browse.

All in all, it’s a very interesting tool that definitely deserves a test drive. Let me know what you think!

Note: I have just found that they are running a charity initiative to help Japan, so you may want to check that out as well: Support Japan With Kikin.

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Hot Tech Deals [Apr 9th]

Posted: 09 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. Dell Inspiron 15R 15.6in or 14R 14in Intel Core i3-380M Dual-Core 2.53GHz Laptop $449 via code HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  2. Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz Sandy Bridge 15.6in Laptop $549.99 via code HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  3. Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz Sandy Bridge 15.6in Laptop w/ Blu-Ray, 2yr McAfee $699 via code HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  4. Dell Inspiron 17R Intel Core i5-2410M 2.4GHz Sandy Bridge 17.3in Laptop $699.99 via code HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  5. Dell Inspiron 560 Intel Dual-Core E5800 3.2GHz Desktop (4GB/500GB) w/ 19in LCD $399 via code HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  6. Dell Vostro 3750 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 17.3in Laptop (Aluminum) $592
  7. Dell Vostro 3300 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 13.3in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $469
  8. Dell Vostro 3450 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 14in Laptop (Aluminum) $529
  9. Dell Vostro 460 Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge Quad-Core Desktop w/ 19in LCD, Win7 Pro $619
  10. Dell Vostro 230 Mini Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93GHz Desktop w/ Viewsonic 24in LCD $449
  11. Dell Vostro 230 Slim Intel Dual-Core E5800 3.2GHz Mini Tower Desktop w/ 22in LCD $399

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Reddit TV – The Web’s Best Videos All In One Place

Posted: 09 Apr 2011 12:31 PM PDT

reddit tvWatch the newest, coolest videos the web has to offer in one place. The name really says it all: Reddit TV.

If there’s been one clear winner from the decline of Digg, it’s Reddit. This aggregator is probably the web’s premier place to discover what’s hot on the web, because its users vote up the best content quickly. Sure, it’s got the quirks you’ll find in any such site, but for now it’s among the best aggregators out there for finding out what’s cool, including the videos your friends will be talking about next week.

It’s perfectly possible to simply head over to the Reddit site and find videos, but if you want to see nothing but videos you’re also in luck. There’s a handy web interface for doing just that, and it works beautifully. You’ll be entertained quite quickly, but beware: browsing videos with this tool can be extremely habit forming. Do not proceed if you’ve a deadline to meet.

On The Web

Head over to to get started. By default a video will start up on its own:

reddit tv

There are a number of categories you can choose to view from, as well as currently trending topics. Browse to your heart’s content. Thumbnails at the bottom of the screen give you access to lots of content.

You’ll also notice, at the top of the screen, a few controls:

reddit videos

If you want to sit back and watch the web’s hottest videos in succession, this is how to do it. It won’t take long to figure everything out, so get experimenting.

Alternative Uses

Of course, you don’t have to use this from your desk. Your game consoles, assuming they have browsers, should work wonderfully for this. So should any device with Google TV, if you have one. If not, but you’ve got a console hooked up to your computer, install Kylo. Bookmark Reddit TV and you’ve got yourself a pretty great way to browse videos from your couch.


Already have a Boxee setup? You don’t need to use the web app. There’s a fantastic Boxee app waiting for you in the repos:

reddit tv

As before, everything is broken down into categories for easy browsing. Headlines provide hilarious context, so be sure to read them before watching. The controls are a little different than most apps, but work quite well once you get used to them. Hint: “Up” makes a video full screen.

This is one of the best apps you can get for Boxee, so install it now.


The web is fast becoming an alternative to television for me, and Reddit’s TV service is a big part of that. I can find funny, cute or political videos very quickly. The speed at which new content is added to these services means you’ll usually find something good to watch.

Do you have another source for finding videos? Twitter, perhaps, or our very own Geeky fun? Share your sources below, and also feel free to comment on the quality of Reddit’s TV service.

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Verbally Turns the iPad Into A Useful Speech Impediment Aid For The Disabled

Posted: 09 Apr 2011 10:31 AM PDT

ipad speech aidThe iPad has earned itself a new useful function with the launch of the free app, Verbally. Placed in the medical category, Verbally is an assisted speech solution that turns the iPad into a communication aid. Verbally is listed as a potential communication aid for people with apraxia, ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.

The iPad speech aid software is easy to use and while there are certainly some features that we would love to see added to its small but already strong arsenal of features, it has made an impressive start. Not only can it be used as a speech impediment aid, the app can also prove useful for those who are learning English and can use the app as a pronunciation guide.

On first launching the app, a small guide on how to use it will be displayed. There isn't much to using the application itself, and there is definitely something to be said for its simplicity and ease of use. There are also several ways in which it can be used.

ipad speech aid

There are two tabs in the app, one for words and one for phrases. On the words tab, you'll find a grid of over 50 commonly used words which you can tap to add to the sentence or phrase you wish to hear.

ipad speech apps

On the phrases tab, you'll find a grid of 16 commonly used phrases which, like the words, you can tap to speak immediately.

ipad speech apps

One main gripe with the app so far is the fact that you cannot add or delete words or phrases from the grid, which would really make the app even more useful when it comes to using it as a speech impediment aid. Each person may have personal phrases or words that they use more commonly than others, and personalising the application will make it even more useful.

After you've chosen your words, phrase or typed out the sentence yourself, hit the green speak button to hear the phrase. You have a choice between two different voices which you can change in the app's settings – Dave or Rosie. Of course the robotic voice does leave something to be desired, but is a limitation to be expected with an app like this.

ipad speech apps

As you're typing or entering words in the text box, you can clear it by hitting the 'x' button and delete one word at a time using the backspace button.

ipad speech program

Other settings you can change are choosing between a horizontal and vertical keyboard, with the latter having two options for right and left handed users. The horizontal keyboard does seem like the more comfortable option to use, particularly if you are accustomed to using the iPad's native keyboard.

ipad speech program

You can also import your contacts to the app. The benefit of doing this is to improve the app's prediction settings. As you are typing, four buttons above the keyboard will feature words that the app predicts you may need next in your sentence, a feature which should improve the more you use the app.

ipad speech program

In addition to the regular buttons found on the iPad's native keyboard, there are three additional buttons. The repeat button allows you to repeat the last phrase or word that was spoken.

When the 'speak each word' button is toggled on, any phrases or words that are typed into the app will be automatically spoken without having to hit the 'Speak' button first.

The bell button plays a chime sound which can prove useful in getting people's attention.

ipad speech aid

Verbally is available as a free download from the iTunes app store. Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

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