- Cool Websites and Tools [April 17th]
- Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!
- Which Browser Do You Think Improved Most In The Last Version? [MakeUseOf Poll]
- Keep Up With Trending News On Your iPad With Hitpad
- Hot Tech Deals [Apr 17th]
- 10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]
- Another 6 Free iPad & iPhone Games You Should Be Playing
Posted: 17 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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Posted: 17 Apr 2011 07:31 PM PDT
Thank you, guys!
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Posted: 17 Apr 2011 06:30 PM PDT
After collecting 865 votes, the answer was very clear to see: 71% voted for Linux; 29% voted for Mac. Linux is clearly well-loved in the MakeUseOf crowd.
Full results and this week’s poll after the jump.
As you can see, Mac fans are somewhat outnumbered by Linux fans in the MakeUseOf readership.
This week’s poll question is: Which Browser Do You Think Improved Most In The Last Version?
There have been major version releases of all the big browsers lately (see news on Chrome 10 and Firefox 4). Most have improved the interface, design, add-on handling and hardware acceleration. Aibek wants to know which of these upgrades you think has been the best. Please honestly vote for the browser you believe is most improved, not just the one you wound up using the most!
So, what decided your vote? Was it design upgrades or speed? Usability or extra features? What ultimately made you decide that the browser you voted for was lightyears ahead of its predecessor? Let us know in the comments!
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Posted: 17 Apr 2011 03:31 PM PDT
Hitpad takes a different approach to its already popular rivals like Flipboard and Pulse, which depend more on user-generated or personalised content. Instead, Hitpad instantly provides you with content based on what is currently making headlines, aggregating that content from various sources and in different formats. Is this enough to make Hitpad your main news source? Probably not, but it definitely deserves a place in your arsenal of free news apps, to be used alongside other apps.
When you first launch the app, it will prompt you to turn push notifications on if you so choose.
The app takes a cue from Twitter, offering trending topics in each of the available categories. You can even refresh these topics using the pull down to refresh method. The information available itself is divided into several formats – News, Tweets, Videos, Web and Photos.
Categories included in the app include Top Stories, Entertainment, Technology, US news, Sports and Business. And of course you can search for any given keyword or topic of your choice.
Under the settings, you can connect your Facebook, Twitter or Instapaper accounts.
After doing so, with each item, regardless of category, you can easily share the links on Twitter and Facebook, after connecting your accounts in the app's settings. You can also save them to Instapaper.
Other ways in which you can interact with the content include copying the link to your clipboard, emailing the item, or opening it in Safari.
When it comes to videos, you can play YouTube videos directly within the app.
Functionality was clearly high on the developer's list. Not only do they offer the pull to refresh option, you can also swipe images to scroll back and forth between the search results.
With news stories and web results, each item is accompanied by a short introduction. If you want to read the full item or post, you can click read more and the full story will open up in the app's in-built browser.
Hitpad is bound to be popular with people who don't necessarily have the time to keep up with the latest news and stories making the rounds. Instead, they can depend on the app to deliver the most popular stories, so you'll never feel left out of the loop.
As an app that focused on topical news, there are a few features that could be integrated to widen its scope of users. For example, while you can search for news and keep up with trending topics, you can't save searches or keywords to come back to them on a regular basis. For someone who might need to keep track of their brand online, the addition of this small feature would make Hitpad an invaluable app to take with them on the go wherever they are.
What's your favourite free iPad news app? Let us know in the comments.
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More articles about: feedreader, ipad, ipad apps, news, reading, RSS, social media
Posted: 17 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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Posted: 17 Apr 2011 12:30 PM PDT
What I have learned so far from the ongoing Sound Sunday Survey is that most of you are interested in rock. Most also download albums they like and click through to the artist homepage. In the coming weeks I will try to incorporate a little more country and classical, and a little less hip hop. Well, thank you everyone for your feedback and keep it coming while I’m continuously adjusting!
Please post your feedback in the comments or shoot me an Email [tina at makeuseof dot com].
Broken Cities – Flux
Genre: instrumental, rock, post-rock
From their Bandcamp profile: “Broken Cities is driven 100% by donations. Our release strategy is like a pledge drive. There are 7 tracks in total. The first song is free. We have 6 total goals to reach in order for the full album to be released. Once the goals are met, Flux is free for all.”
The album has been released under a Creative Commons license and meanwhile all 7 tracks are available for free.
Flux is a name your price download from Bandcamp.
deubner – ep
Genre: acoustic, rock
During the past month, deubner released two albums via Bandcamp in parallel. One is simply called ep, the other is simply called 8am . Both feature songs written by DJ Pollert, with vocals from his wife Andria Barberi Pollert and Nick telman. The band of three from Grand Rapids, Michigan is very private.
8am is a free download from Bandcamp.
Wind and Willow – Roots EP
Genre: americana, folk, roots
From their Facebook Bio: “Wind and Willow is an eclectic, invoking and heart telling deuo. Mark hails from Raleigh, NC and Sarah was raised in the heart of Toronto, Ontario. They have both come together to create a musical experience through the use of different sounds, styles and influences from there various upbringings. They have now made a home in Raleigh and are in the beginnings of a songwriting journey.”
The Roots EP is a free download from Bandcamp.
The Lance – The Massacre On Watergate Street
Genre: indie, pop, rock
From the Bio on their Homepage: “We formed in 2007 and started playing rock n roll music with a small fellow we found in a basement. That small fellow turned out to be a bloody lunatic but a very good drummer to say the least. As the time passed by we developed our sound which came to be simply because of poverty. We simply couldn´t afford big amplifiers and fancy equipment so we had to settle for our little ugly black boxes that atleast made some kind of sound. That bloody junkyard sound turned out to be quite a flower in the hat and we have been sticking to it ever since.”
The Massacre On Watergate Street is a free download from Bandcamp.
The Maxies – Greenland is Melting
Genre: power pop, garage pop, punk
From their Last.fm profile: “This is the most crazy punk be-costumed band ever to rock from Greenland! Their live shows are a mix of old school up-beat punk and interactive comedy by frontman Maximum Maxie. In between jests about killing whales and having one's way with Manatees they really bring the crowd to life.”
Greenland is Melting is a free download from Bandcamp.
Overhead, The Albatross – Lads with Sticks
Genre: instrumental, pop, post rock
From their ElevenEleven profile: “We got together to write music together and that’s what we’ve been doing. We record everything ourselves and do our best to have fun writing, recording and playing live. We have played with some great bands from home (Ireland) and abroad and plan to tour next year. It’s been a good year for us in that we didn’t break up, we’re writing music and we’re still having the utmost fun while we’re doing it. We sound the way we do because that’s what came out when we started jamming. A more rigid and clinical way of writing may be needed, so might many a thing, like a cessation of typation, in this typation nation, see you lation.”
Lads with Sticks is a free download from Bandcamp.
Alfonso Velez – selftitled
Genre: alternative, pop, rock
Description from his fan Lesley: “His name throws a lot of people off, as they are expecting latin infused music, but while you can hear latin influence, it’s definitely not the only soundscape permeating this disc. Alfonso had the opportunity to travel all over the world at a young age, which you can hear bits and pieces of.”
The selftitled album Alfonso Velez is a free download from Bandcamp.
Bad Credit No Credit – Hey, Rube!
Genre: punk, jazzpunk
In their Facebook Bio the band from Brooklyn, New York writes: “Bad Credit No Credit settled in New Amsterdam after being persecuted all over the globe for witcherycraft.”
Hey, Rube! is a free download from Bandcamp.
Datahowler – Live
Genre: indie, electronic, chillwave, dance, down tempo
From is Homepage About page: “Datahowler, born Ross Edman, is a musician, producer and graphic designer from Dallas, TX. At a young age Ross started training classically in percussive arts and drums eventually moving on to guitar, bass, keys, vocals, ethnic percussion, sequencers, DJing, etc. His history traverses many genres from touring in Hardcore outfits to Motown revival acts, to creating indie mash ups and making tripped out space beats. He is an original member of the Midwest hardcore act Decades (State Of Mind Records) and was the drummer for The Secret Handshake (Triple Crown) in 2010. He also was known as Objektiv One for many years.”
Live is a free download from Bandcamp.
Denise Powell – Free To Flow
Genre: christian, gospel, soul
From her Twitter profile: “I’m a wife and mommy who sings and loves to worship!”
Free To Flow is a free download from Bandcamp.
Free single stream: Incubus – Adolescents
Genre: alternative, indie, rock
Alternative indie rockers Incubus have made their first single of the upcoming album If Not Now, When? available on SoundCloud. The single will be in stores on April 19th. Their first album since the 2006 Light Grenades is set to be released on July 12th.
New to Sound Sunday? Past editions of Sound Sunday are available here.
Feel free to get in touch with me [tina at makeuseof dot com] to share free material, suggestions, and feedback or simply add your comments below.
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More articles about: downloads, freebies, indie music, music, music albums, songs, soundsunday
Posted: 17 Apr 2011 10:31 AM PDT
A deceptively addictive puzzle-bobble clone where you simply shoot bubbles into clusters, then they explode and fall down. Get them all before the bar at the top of the screen pushes them down to the bottom.
OK, so it’s hardly original, but it’s well presented and it distracted me for a good 10 minutes. Easy to pick up and play, and playable by all ages with a good selection of levels. The game is ad-supported, but you’ll be so focused on playing you honestly don’t notice them.
Invented by Robert A Kraus, this game was sent to me by bedroom coder Doug Sartori for inclusion in the iPad Board Games database, but I’m shocked to say I haven’t got around to a full review of it yet. The game is a 100% free implementation of the original Neutron game.
The game itself reminds me of an ancient British game called Fox And Geese, but it’s quite easy to pick up and play, and the iPad really lends itself well to these kinds of games. Basically, you have two players attempting to capture the central Neutron piece by moving it into their own zone, or surrounding it so the opponent can’t move it into theirs. Each turn, you move both the neutron piece, and one of your own pieces. The pieces move in any one direction, sliding along until they hit an obstacle. Here’s a screenshot of me about to win.
Neutron Capture is a free game for the thinking-man, a must-have for any strategic board game enthusiast. Includes an AI player for those of us with no friends.
“Nothing lasts forever” is the motto of this game, as you send your legions into battle in this fantasy take on Tower Defense / Plants and Zombies. Mine the gems, build your army, crush your opponents. Like all good games, the concept is simple.
The makers of Legendary Wars have tried hard to differentiate their game from the rest of these PvZ clones, and to do this they have given you more strategic control over your troops and a longer battlefield that you can scroll across. The free version is optimized only for the iPhone, but it still looks great running at 2x on my iPad. Perhaps a little shallow, and certainly not as addictive as some games out there but definitely worth a free download, I think.
Yet another Risk clone, European War 2 Lite suffers from a slightly fiddly interface. In this fresh take on the classic, the idea of collecting taxes from your regions is introduced, along with building up regions and purchasing troops and support rather simply getting them each turn. It certainly offers a unique Risk-like experience.
Although I own the full version of this game too, the developers recently chose to release a lite version in the hopes of attracting new fans and I’d love you to check out too, as it’s a real star on the iOS platform.
Helsing’s Fire is a puzzler at heart, but it’s such a unique theme that there are no comparisons I can make with other games.
Dr Helsing and his assistant Raffton are on a mission to rid the land of things that go bump in the night. To this end, they employ the powerful Victorian force of a torch light and coloured potions. Simply touch to place the torch light and expose the beasties, and apply the correct coloured potion. It may sound ridiculous, but the execution and presentation is just so perfect. This is definitely my pick of the month.
With incredible HD graphics on the iPad, Shadow Era is a card-battling game in the style of Magic The Gathering. I must admit, I could never really get my head around Magic and this game certainly doesn’t make anything more accessible to those new to the genre. Still, if you’re willing to put the time in to learn the cards or enjoy this style of gaming, then I’m sure you’ll appreciate the free online multiplayer mode and GameCenter integration.
That’s it for this month, be sure to check out the previous article in this series and stayed tuned for more next time. If you have some suggestions for the next article or would like your free iPad or iPhone game featured, let us know in the comments. Thanks!
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More articles about: fun, ipad, ipad apps, ipad games, iphone, iPhone games, mobile gaming
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