- Cool Websites and Tools [April 14th]
- OpenBVE – A Free Train Simulator For Windows, Mac & Linux
- 10 Ways To Not Get Your Question Published [MakeUseOf Answers]
- Get Your Foot In The Door Next Time You Need Work By Leveraging Your Facebook Connections
- Hot Tech Deals [Apr 14th]
- Creepy Shows Just How Much Geolocation Data You Broadcast Online
- Broadcast Tweets From Your Android Phone With Tweetcaster
- Xournal – A Great Note-Taking Application For Linux
- Clean Uninstall Unwanted Programs On Your Windows Machine With ZSoft Uninstaller
- How To Put Amazon’s Cloud Drive On Your Desktop
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 08:31 PM PDT
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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More articles about: cool web apps
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 06:31 PM PDT
Despite a few commercial efforts, fully-fledged train simulators are rather thin on the ground. Games like OpenTTD offer control over mass transit, but no option to take the drivers seat yourself. Step in OpenBVE!
If the thought of a fully 3D, drivers’-eye view train simulator appeals, you might want to read on.
There are a couple of ways to install OpenBVE, depending on your operating system. Despite not being the easiest installation procedure in the world, once it’s done you won’t have to worry about it again.
Windows users can head over to the Windows help page and grab relevant files from there. You will need a couple of extra tools to play: TAO, SDL, OpenAL and (for non Windows 7/Vista) the .NET Framework.
Linux users must either compile from source or use a pre-compiled binary/repository for their particular distribution. Hit the Linux/Mac OS X help page to grab source files and dependencies before compiling via command line. Mac install instructions are similar, and naturally feature on the same page.
If you’re an Ubuntu user you’ve got it easy, as there is already a (possibly slightly outdated) version of OpenBVE in the repositories (with a pre-installed rail route and train). Simply open a new Terminal window and type:
sudo apt-get install openbve
If you do get stuck during the (slightly complex) install procedure, try this tutorial.
Grab Some Track
Once you’ve installed OpenBVE, find and launch the game. You’ll first be presented with a window asking you to define a route and train. If you’ve downloaded a source version without any routes or trains, then don’t panic as there are vast quantities of free downloadable content available.
If it’s DLC you’re after then community-maintained BVE-Routes allows you to filter available downloads to find exactly what you need. Once you’ve found something that tickles your fancy launch OpenBVE and check the location of your routes and trains on your disk.
For example, on my Ubuntu installation I put my routes into /usr/share/games/bve/Railway/Route and my trains into /usr/share/games/bve/Train (but you could move it, provided you know where to put your downloads). You can then navigate to this folder and extract your download, making sure to maintain any folder structure.
These content downloads are very much the meat-and-gravy of OpenBVE. There is no “game” as such, after all this is a simulator. It’s all about speed limits, timelines, stopping accurately in stations and taking in the scenery, of course. You’re scored at the end on your performance, and trust me it’s practice-makes-perfect stuff.
Once you’ve got OpenBVE, some track and rolling stock make your selections in the main menu. Right next to Start is a Mode of Driving drop-down box, allowing you to choose between Arcade for complete newbies and the curious, Normal for your average simulator buff and Expert in case you drive a train for a living and simply can’t go the weekend without climbing aboard.
Arcade mode displays your score, information pertaining to speed limits and stopping indicators, Normal removes these but maintains driver aids and Expert essentially leaves you out in the cold, with no driving aids or reminders on your way. You’ll probably want to start with Arcade.
You’re not going to get very far without a map of keyboard inputs (though you’re able to remap to a joypad or other controller if you wish). Click here to see the full list of OpenBVE default controls, or if you’re interested in changing keyboard mappings or display settings then hit Options on the main menu to customize OpenBVE.
The rest is experimentation, and much of the fun comes from downloading your own favourite (familiar or not-so) routes and trains. You’ll certainly want to read a bit about driving and operating trains in the official documentation to help you get your bearings.
I’m certainly no train buff, despite wanting one I never had a train set as a child (sob) and I’ve never felt inclined to buy a train simulator. However, OpenBVE really is quite fun. Especially for free, and especially with the incredible amount of DLC available from the community. If you’ve even a passing interest in simulations, train sets or locomotives then don’t hesitate in downloading OpenBVE right now.
Have you tried OpenBVE? Any other simulation games you enjoy? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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More articles about: cross platform, fun, offbeat, simulator
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 04:31 PM PDT
You wouldn’t believe how interesting things can be behind the scenes. Today I will provide you a little glimpse into my world. I will show you some of the most funny, shocking, and ridiculous questions I have received and derive the 10 principles of how a question will definitely not be published.
Beware! None of the examples are edited. Be puzzled and have a laugh.
1. Submit Your Question In An Exotic Language
While I’m happy to help with questions written in German, French, and Spanish, many other languages are out of luck, especially if I cannot read the characters.
Although Google Translate could make some sense of it (“What’s new? Want to know the latest thing in different applications“), I couldn’t.
2. Submit A Question That Is Off Topic
I appreciate that you trust we can help you with your love life, finding your dad to sue him for alimony, or prove that your partner is cheating on you. Unfortunately, MakeUseOf Answers simply is the wrong forum for these kinds of questions.
About to make a will My ex- husband and I are back together after an on and off 8 years. For 2 of those (07-08) he lived with another woman. After finding her e mail and lacation address on his NEW used phone, I am questioning his truthfullness. Stupid as I may sound, who is a reputable site to SPY on his cell while he is at work. I don’t like doing this and apologize asking such fine folks as yourselves a dirty question as this. There are many many assets at risks if I marry him because of our state laws. Thank you. Deltadawn
How can i find my husband online? when he uses his cell phone? I have his full name,number, an birthday
love why when i ask dylan platon out he says no?
who is she? what is her phone#?
recording snoring can u please record snoring i love it when males snore and sometimes i just need a good snore but no one will so will u?
Can someone volunteer to help the person with the snore fetish?
3. Submit Something That Is Not A Question
Apart from silly jokes and spam, people also want to share things with us and choose to submit it via Answers. While I may forward interesting things to the team, submissions that are not questions will definitely be rejected. However, while your ‘question’ may not be published, I still appreciate the notion!
If you think you found a super cool tool, please submit it to our Directory!
4. Be Unspecific &/Or Do Not Provide Any Details
Every so often, people submit a question that makes me wonder whether they think I know them and can thus fill in the information blanks. For example, we typically need to know what desktop email client or webmail provider you are using when you’re having an issue with it. Same with browsers, operating systems, hardware etc. Although I do assume one thing or the other, depending on the question.
For some reason I’m unable to connect to the wireless network. Is there any possible reasons this could be happening and possible solutions to resolve it?
How can I make Facebook stop crashing? I have a browser crash every day! What can I do to fix this problem?
unknown caller how view the unknown callers number
FAVORITE WHAT IS MY FAVORITE COLOR
Sorry, I can not read your mind. And I also think you’re rude…
5. Submit A Question That Makes No Sense
Some questions are so confusing, they make me dizzy. You may as well divide by zero.
tracing mobile phones What can you be thinking with and not see big brother as plain as day right in frount of youyr face. What is more you are by promoting this rubbish tec part of the problem.You should think before you write.
9479099899 Disturb me
6. Ask Us Your Homework
We will not solve your homework questions. Sorry!
7. Ask Us For Software Or Windows Keys
Obviously, no one wants to give you their legal license key for free. And there are other reasons why I’m reluctant to publish these type of questions.
8. Be Rude
Typing in CAPSLOCK, i.e. all upper case, is rude! In the online world, typing in capitals is considered screaming or yelling. While I’m not happy with text written in all lower case, it’s much better than having to re-write everything. Other fail save ways of having your question rejected include not using spaces or rude content in general. Fortunately, there are very few rude questions.
Why is this all nerd talk? I can’t understand what all you nerds are blabbing about
9. Submit Something You Could Have Easily Found On Google
OK, I usually publish these questions, at least if they are well written and not totally off topic. But sometimes, I just reject them with the answer or a link to Google.
Shortcut I need shortcut to open new excel file
Opera5.1 I wont 2 download opera5.1
Were can I buy minecraft I’m sad I want da game
Although my name is not Google I usually provide the answer in my rejection message.
10. Ask For The Free Recharge Trick For Tata Docomo
Apparently, this is a hot topic, at least over in India. I published this question once and I will not publish it again. Please exchange information in the existing comment thread and do report back if you come to the conclusion that it’s all a scam.
What do you think? Should I let more of these through or have you seen questions published that should never have seen the light of day? Let it all out in the comments!
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More articles about: answers, fun, offbeat
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 02:31 PM PDT
Can there ever be too many good ways to look for new jobs? I don’t think so – and I think most job seekers would agree that if it leads to work it’s worth a try. In the Door has created a new, innovative way of searching for work by using your Facebook contacts as leads for jobs that are already advertised. In The Door revolves around the adage that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. It’s true – what you know merely gets your resumé on the pile along with that of every other talented jobseeker, whereas the people you know can tell the person doing the hiring that you’re the one for the job. In The Door seeks to make it easy to match who you know with the jobs out there. The process is simple. You sign up to In The Door with your Facebook login and a list of contacts is automatically generated for you. The contact list features any of your contacts who have entered employer or location information – it’s not limited to people who have already signed up with In The Door. This makes it easy to get started, since you don’t have to wait for a critical mass of friends signing up to In The Door. You may wish some more of them would add relevant information and make it shareable to applications, but if you have enough friends on Facebook it won’t matter that not all of them share this information. Using the site, you will realise that you can browse by location, search for specific keywords or location, or browse the companies represented by your friends. This gives you a wide variety of ways to find work using In The Door. When you find a job you’re interested in, you can always view your contact at the company, allowing you to arrange an introduction. Currently, In The Door is still quite new and most of the jobs are USA only. But this will expand quickly and doesn’t completely stop non-USA users from making use of the site. Browsing the companies your friends work for still has advantages, since you could use that information to chat to the friends you know who work (or previously worked) at the company of your choice. It’s easy to see at a glance where your friends work using In The Door. It’s certainly much easier than browsing your friends’ Facebook profiles individually or searching all the companies that sound appropriate. Once you find a company you like, the jobs available there are clear to see. Searching by keyword means you can narrow down the exact role you’re interested in, or you can search by role as well as location. Handy if you’re not willing to move! The location search page works on the assumption that you’re most likely to want to live in cities with your friends – that and that most of the jobs available via your friends will be in those cities. The cities best represented by your friends will be easy to spot, then you can quickly click a link to see the jobs available in that city. In The Door has plenty of competition in LinkedIn, the Facebook marketplace and a number of similar jobseeking sites with much the same idea, such as Jibe. But with job searching being such an important process, there can never be enough options, really. Unlike Jibe, In The Door is able to be used instantly and permanently without any need to sign up your friends. How did you find your last job? Through advertising or friends? Do you think In The Door would be useful to you next time you need to search for work? Let us know in the comments! Image Credit: ShutterStock
Can there ever be too many good ways to look for new jobs? I don’t think so – and I think most job seekers would agree that if it leads to work it’s worth a try. In the Door has created a new, innovative way of searching for work by using your Facebook contacts as leads for jobs that are already advertised.
In The Door revolves around the adage that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. It’s true – what you know merely gets your resumé on the pile along with that of every other talented jobseeker, whereas the people you know can tell the person doing the hiring that you’re the one for the job. In The Door seeks to make it easy to match who you know with the jobs out there.
The process is simple. You sign up to In The Door with your Facebook login and a list of contacts is automatically generated for you. The contact list features any of your contacts who have entered employer or location information – it’s not limited to people who have already signed up with In The Door. This makes it easy to get started, since you don’t have to wait for a critical mass of friends signing up to In The Door. You may wish some more of them would add relevant information and make it shareable to applications, but if you have enough friends on Facebook it won’t matter that not all of them share this information.
Using the site, you will realise that you can browse by location, search for specific keywords or location, or browse the companies represented by your friends. This gives you a wide variety of ways to find work using In The Door. When you find a job you’re interested in, you can always view your contact at the company, allowing you to arrange an introduction.
Currently, In The Door is still quite new and most of the jobs are USA only. But this will expand quickly and doesn’t completely stop non-USA users from making use of the site. Browsing the companies your friends work for still has advantages, since you could use that information to chat to the friends you know who work (or previously worked) at the company of your choice. It’s easy to see at a glance where your friends work using In The Door. It’s certainly much easier than browsing your friends’ Facebook profiles individually or searching all the companies that sound appropriate.
Once you find a company you like, the jobs available there are clear to see.
Searching by keyword means you can narrow down the exact role you’re interested in, or you can search by role as well as location. Handy if you’re not willing to move!
The location search page works on the assumption that you’re most likely to want to live in cities with your friends – that and that most of the jobs available via your friends will be in those cities. The cities best represented by your friends will be easy to spot, then you can quickly click a link to see the jobs available in that city.
In The Door has plenty of competition in LinkedIn, the Facebook marketplace and a number of similar jobseeking sites with much the same idea, such as Jibe. But with job searching being such an important process, there can never be enough options, really. Unlike Jibe, In The Door is able to be used instantly and permanently without any need to sign up your friends.
How did you find your last job? Through advertising or friends? Do you think In The Door would be useful to you next time you need to search for work? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: ShutterStock
More articles about: Facebook, job search, job tips, social media
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:30 PM PDT
For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.
Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set
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More articles about: deals
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 12:31 PM PDT
Ever wonder how much information geolocation leaves behind? As it turns out, quite a lot. The Creepy geolocation tool is a program for Ubuntu and Windows made primarily made to demonstrate just how much information that is, and how easily it could be used for nefarious purposes.
Whether you regularly check in at a certain coffee shop or just occasionally take pictures at favorite park and post them to Flickr, you’re leaving behind a tremendous amount of information. There are patterns, and any patterns can be analyzed. Creepy makes this easy, and the results are…well…creepy. A fairly complete picture of where you spend your time emerges, encouraging you to reconsider providing this much information to the open Internet.
Launch the Creepy geolocation tool and you’ll be able to add Twitter and Flickr usernames. If you’re unsure of someone’s exact username, don’t worry; there’s a search feature (though using this with Twitter will require authentication). Find the information you need, then provide the usernames.
Once you’ve entered the people you’d like to look up, you may end up waiting a while. How long depends on the number of tweets or pictures that need to be analyzed, so be patient. A lot of information is being gathered.
Creepy scans the user’s tweets for geolocation information, and also scans the meta information in any pictures to supplement this. Once some results do come in, you’ll be able to see all of the geographic information that exists, arranged complete with times and a map:
Of course, not everyone leaves behind some sort of useful trail. Maybe you do, however; use this program to find out.
What This Is About
This program isn’t intended to aid stalkers; at least, presumably not. No, the purpose of this application, like Please Rob Me, a similar program, is to teach people the consequences of leaving too much information about themselves on the web. Far from being concerned about privacy, many people are today broadcasting their every thought and action. This can be fun and exciting, but it can also be used for nefarious purposes.
Whether someone wants to rob your house or “accidentally” bump into you at a coffee shop, you could be inadvertently handing them the tools to do so. Everyone knows this in the abstract; a tool like Creepy makes this uncomfortably concrete.
To quote Yiannis Kakavas, the program’s creator: “Well, I don’t think that the fact that your geolocation information can be gathered and aggregated is disturbing. The fact that you were publishing it in the first place , is , on the other hand.”
What do you think? Does the Creepy geolocation tool make its point well? Are you the sort of person who leaves such a trail behind, and if so were you surprised to see it aggregated? Start a conversation below, because I’d love to be part of it.
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More articles about: Flickr, GPS, location, privacy, protection, security, Twitter
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 11:31 AM PDT
For a long time I was using the official app provided by Twitter because it's the first one I ever installed, and for a long time, I never looked back. Since it's been so long, I decided to take another look in the Android Market to see what new and improved Twitter apps were available. Now that I have more than one Twitter account to manage, I really needed a Twitter Android client that could deal with multiple accounts.
After sifting through the many Twitter apps available, I finally settled on one called Tweetcaster. The reason for choosing this one (aside from the four and a half star rating), is due to the clean design, ease of use, and the fact that it can easily handle multiple Twitter accounts.
Setting Up Multiple Accounts On Tweetcaster
The main reason I wanted to try this app was because the main screen made it appear as though it could handle as many Twitter accounts as you want. From the main page when you first launch the app, you can see the big plus sign next to "Add Account". Go ahead and start adding your accounts!
Once you log into each account, you're ready to roll. The goofy bird icon is where you can view all of the tweets for the people you're following. I really like how fast and easy it is to switch between tweets, mentions, messages, and other areas of your profile with just a single tap of the finger. Navigating through Twitter with this app is a breeze.
While you're viewing any of these lists, just do a long-click on any one of the tweets and a pop-up window will appear where you can go directly to that person's profile, send them a direct message, block the user or report them for spam.
Also, you can click on the menu option for more options like navigating the list, manually refreshing, reviewing followers and followees, modifying your settings or lastly enabling a tweet filter.
A tweet filter was a valiant attempt by Handmark to help people filter out those annoying users that seem to post updates every five minutes, flooding your entire view. Unfortunately, the filter doesn't work quite as you'd expect. For example, when I tried typing "MakeUseOf" (not that I ever would, mind you), it filtered out all but one of the day's tweets, even those that didn't even have that word in it. Strange.
Just like the other areas of the app, the Followers and Following page is designed for fast navigation. Flip back and forth between the two with a single tap, then long-click on a user to visit their profile or send them a message.
When you do visit someone else's account, you can navigate through their information just as easily as your own. See their Tweets, messages they've sent you, lists they're following and more. Use the menu button to follow the user (if you're not already), add a mention, or block them.
Aside from the different things you can do with the app, the thing I like about Tweetcaster is how easy it is to customize it. You can see this just from taking a look at the settings menu. Not only that, it's integrated with popular outside services people usually use with Twitter like bit.ly, plixi and Twitvid.
In the customize menu, you'll see all the ways you can tweak the appearance of the app. Change from a light to a dark theme, alter colors, font sizes, and the behavior when you click on URLs, or how notifications work.
When you click on the pen icon at the top of the main page, you'll go directly to the tweet page where you'll probably be spending most of your time in this app. It's also the coolest area of this app because of all the things integrated into this one page. Click on the eye icon to see current tweets in the upper part of the screen (nice if you're responding to someone). Click the menu button and you'll see the integrated features like adding pictures, videos and shortening URLs.
By the way, even Instapaper, an app David wrote about before that lets you save webpages to read later, is also integrated into Tweetcaster.
Of course, a pleasant surprise – because I wasn't even expecting it – is the fact that the creators of this app were thoughtful enough to include integrating Facebook into Tweetcaster. This means that in one fell swoop, you can post to both Twitter and Facebook with just a single, quick text message. A pretty convenient tool when you're on the go and just want to let everyone on both social networks know what's up.
Have you ever given Tweetcaster a try? What do you think? How does it compare to other Twitter Android clients that are on the Market? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.
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More articles about: mobile client, social networks, Twitter, twitter client
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 10:31 AM PDT
Xournal is an amazing little program that has many great purposes, including the situation mentioned above. If you can develop a simple and easy-to-follow organization structure with your notes, this program can easily become one of your must-haves. Best of all, it runs great on Linux!
What Is It?
Xournal, simply put, is a note-taking Linux application. However, instead of getting a blank box to enter information into, you get a blank piece of “paper” every time you open it up. And that’s all it does, aside from giving you all the tools you could possibly need to pour your heart out on that virtual piece of paper.
If you go ahead and try making a mark on your paper as you would in an image manipulation program, you’ll immediately know what’s going on. Xournal lets you mark on your paper with any lines or handwriting you want. It also has tools for writing text in case you don’t want to write everything out on your trackpad. It also lets you highlight anywhere on the paper, giving you the flexibility as well as the feel of actually writing notes and annotating.
Starting with a blank piece of paper to take very customized notes is a great thing, but being able to annotate PDF files is even better. Just fire up Xournal and choose “Annotate PDF” under the File menu to open any PDF that you have access to, and it quickly loads into the program and you’re ready to start annotating. It’s definitely a handy feature, especially if you want to write some notes while reading one of MakeUseOf’s many PDF guides!
If you look around some more, you’ll find that the menus are packed with plenty of options at your disposal. Honestly, there are more options that I can even wrap my head around, so you’re more than likely to be covered in case you have a special need. And surprisingly, Xournal is a lightweight application, even with the large range of options. With a barely marked page open, Xournal takes less than 5MB from your RAM!
Tablet owners will have even more pleasure while using Xournal. With the right hardware, it can literally become your virtual paper that you can write on without any issues. Xournal even goes down to subpixels instead of just pixels to create the cleanest, smoothest, and most accurate lines that, when using a tablet, will make up your legible handwriting.
Xournal is an amazing piece of software that holds only a small amount of attention from the community. It deserves much more, and considering that the last version of Xournal came out in 2009, it could definitely use some attention once again. Although my imagination can’t think of what else Xournal could possibly include, I’m sure there are enough people to make it even more valuable.
Do you use Xournal? If so, what was your best experience while using it? Whether you currently use it or not, how do you think it would increase your productivity and level of organization?
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More articles about: note taking, notepad, notes, text editors
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 09:31 AM PDT
But what do you do with installed software that you don’t need? You uninstall them, and move on to the next candidates. But the problem is, uninstallation under Windows often equals litter, small and non-functional files that will only hog and slow down your system. Completely uninstalling an unwanted application from Windows is not as easy as it sounds. Most of the time, you’ll need help from third-party uninstallers such as ZSoft Uninstaller.
Uninstalling & More
From the first time you open the application, you can tell that ZSoft Uninstaller is more than just a simple uninstaller. This app also offers other features like an “Analyze installation” and “Temp File Finder“. The main interface provides you with a search box and a list of installed applications.
To do a standard uninstallation, just pick one installed software from the list (or do a search), then click the “Uninstall” button.
ZSoft Uninstaller will analyze the application that you want to uninstall.
It will open the official uninstaller, or directly uninstall the app if the official uninstaller does not exist.
Then, ZSoft Uninstaller will display the list of uninstalled apps and ask you whether you want to search for leftovers from those programs.
Double-click one of the applications in the leftovers list, click next, and ZSoft will search your hard drive for the litter – usually in the form of registry and/or file system files. Check the ones that you want to eliminate and click the “Remove” button.
Please note that messing with the registry and file system is not recommended unless you really know what you are doing. Always do a backup before changing anything.
Maybe the safest method to do a clean uninstallation of any application is to use data from a monitored installation process. Assuming that nothing else happens during the installation, the differences in the hard drive before and after the process would be all of the installed components. Then, uninstalling would be as simple as removing these chunks of differences.
ZSoft Uninstaller provides users with an installation monitoring feature called “Analyze Installation“.
You should run this feature before installing anything. Choose the drive(s) where you want to install the application, and click “Before Installation“.
“Analyze Installation” will do a quick scan of your drive and log the result.
Before you click “After Installation” button, you should install the applications that you want to monitor.
After the installation is finished, press the “After Installation” button and “Analyze Installation” will re-scan the hard drive and store the result.
Give your recent installation a name. A recommended name is the application name.
Then the process is finished.
Should you want to uninstall the app later, all that you have to do is to double click the app from the list.
Check all the three boxes to confirm the terms and click “Uninstall“.
Then all traces of the uninstalled application are gone.
Other than the uninstallation feature, ZSoft Uninstaller also comes with other tools such as “TMP File Searcher“.
This tool will search your hard drive for temporary files and let you decide what to do with the junk.
More tools can be found under the “Tools” menu.
There’s the “Empty Folders Finder“. I think the name explains what this feature does.
There’s also the “Startup Manager” which will help you to either “Disable” or “Delete” items from the start up list so they won’t boot up with your system.
If you install and uninstall applications a lot, you will find ZSoft Uninstaller to be very useful in keeping your system clean.
Have you tried ZSoft Uninstaller? Do you use a third-party uninstaller or do you prefer the standard Windows uninstaller? Do you know other alternative uninstallers? Share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.
Image credit: Bonguri
More articles about: cleaning, pc maintenance, remove, uninstaller
Posted: 14 Apr 2011 08:31 AM PDT
That's not the only feature worth noting, however. Cloud Drive offers 5GB of free space by default, and that can be raised to 20GB (for one year) if you purchase an MP3 album from Amazon. The space can be accessed on any PC, but only via a web browser – that is, until now.
Hey! You Got Some Dropbox In My Amazon!
Cloud Drive is a new service, but it's not a new idea. Dropbox, a favorite utility of the MakeUseOf staff, has been in the cloud storage game for quite some time. Even Microsoft offers a cloud storage solution called Windows Live SkyDrive.
Amazon's Cloud Drive is at a bit of a disadvantage because Amazon has only released a web interface. That's fine for many tasks, but it's not the sort of seamless integration that can be found with Dropbox and other solutions. But there is a way to make Cloud Drive act very much like Dropbox, and it's called Gladinet Cloud Desktop.
Gladinet Cloud Desktop is a cloud storage access platform that has been available since 2009. The utility makes it possible to access cloud storage directly from your computer by mounting the cloud storage as a drive. Once mounted, it will show up in My Computer as a Network Location.
The free edition can be downloaded from Gladinet's site. It offers limited functionality compared to the full version of the software – for example, you can't transfer more than 1,000 files in a single action, and you can't access the backup features – but the limitations aren't likely to be a concern for most users and won’t impact what we’re trying to accomplish.
Setting up Gladinet for use with Cloud Drive is simple. During installation, you will prompted to set up any accounts you may have. The list is alphabetical, so Amazon Cloud Drive will be at the top. Select it, and then enter your Amazon credentials. Installation will complete and Amazon Cloud Drive will be mounted as a Network Location.
Creating The Cloud Desktop
Installing Gladinet will give you access to Cloud Drive, but it does not place it on your desktop. To do that, you simply need to open My Computer and then open My Gladinet Drive. Right-click the Amazon Cloud Drive folder and then click Create Shortcut. Place the shortcut on your desktop, and that's it. You now have access to Cloud Drive directly from your desktop.
Of course, you can move that shortcut around just like any other shortcut. So if you'd like to place it in My Documents or another folder, feel free to do so.
Beyond Cloud Drive
While Gladinet's extremely quick support of Amazon Cloud Drive is the program's newest feature, it's far from the only one available. Gladinet offers access to a huge variety of cloud storage providers. This includes Google Docs, Picasa, and Windows Live SkyDrive. Dropbox is, I'm sorry to report, is not an option.
You can mount those alongside Cloud Drive by opening the Gladinet Cloud Desktop and then navigating to Manage My Cloud Storage Accounts. Once there, click on the folder icon in the upper left hand corner. You'll be prompted to select a storage provider and enter your password, just as when you set up Cloud Drive.
For even more information about Gladinet Cloud Desktop, check out our post dedicated to the software.
Gladinet is a great solution for cloud storage, and so far appears to be the only cloud desktop software offering support for Amazon Cloud Drive. If you know of any other Cloud Drive tricks, however, please leave a comment!
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