Friday, April 22, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [April 21st]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [April 21st]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [April 21st]

Posted: 21 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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PDFcv – The process of creating a CV is often slowed down by decisions like which fields to enter, which themes to employ, which fonts to use, etc. What you need is a tool that takes care of all these things for you and gets right down to the business of forming a CV. PDFcv is this tool. Read more: PDFcv: Quickly Create CV's Online & Download In PDF Format


Buncha Maps – If you have used both Google Maps and Bing Maps then you'll know that both tools have their own specialties when it comes to finding directions online. Buncha Maps is a web based service that combines these two, as well as ESRI Maps and OSM in a single window. Read more: Buncha Maps: Search Google Maps, Bing Maps & More In One Interface



Photostyler – A Cool OSX app for editing photos that attempts to strike the balance between user-friendliness and usefulness of features, making it a promising photo editing app for most average users. This app allows you to easily add artistic touches to your photos in a breeze, thanks to the various presets for photo styling. Read more: Photostyler: Add Preset Filters & Effects To Photos Easily (OSX) [20 Free Licenses]



Emailerr – When you share your email address on websites and forums, it is prone to attacks by spambots. These bots look for text that looks like email addresses and then spams those addresses. Here to help you get protection against spam is a web service called Emailerr, that transforms your email address into an image. Read more: Emailerr: Turn Email Into An Image For Protection Against Spambots



Sorami – While most smartphones have enough storage, it would not hurt to have a couple more gigabytes to play with. How about 25 more gigabytes for your Android device from your Windows Skydrive? Sorami is an app that lets you download, view, and send files from Skydrive to your device. Read more: Sorami: Access Skydrive From Android Phone


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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Strip Generator – Create Free Highly Customizable Web Comics In Minutes

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 06:31 PM PDT

create web comicsIf you’re a fan of web comics then chances are you’ve had a few ideas for your own in the past. The only problem is you need some drawing skills, plenty of patience and a fondness for Photoshop, GIMP or other imaging software if you want to start from scratch.

We’ve had Strip Generator in our MakeUseOf Directory for a while now but the site has gone through a number of changes over the years with new features and the introduction of a cleaner, easier to use interface. It really couldn’t be simpler to drop in some characters, objects and text down before sharing it with your friends. No artistic skills required, simply let your ideas take shape!

Uses For Strip Generator

Artists and those blessed with the ability to draw will probably look down on Strip Generator for its drag-and-drop simplicity. This makes it perfect for those with an idea, a punchline or a joke between friends to bring their ideas to 2D life in minutes.

create web comics

Even those who draw their own strips from scratch may find uses for the website; as a storyboard or a plan for larger projects. If you’re interested in transferring your comics from pen-and-paper so you can design offline, check out our guide.

There are also more ambitious Strip Generator comics floating around the website, which show off some of the more off-beat community creations (like this Helicoptero strip). Using objects and tools in ways other than they were intended requires a bit of experimentation, but is testament to the adaptability of the sandbox you have in front of you.

You don’t need to register to use Strip Generator, so to get started simply visit the homepage and click Create New Strip. You’ll be asked once your strip is complete to register, so you can save your creations and re-edit ongoing projects.

The Workspace

When starting your strip, you are presented with the simple 3 frame comic format, which you can change by clicking on Frames at the top of the strip. Here you’re presented with lots of options, including 1 or 2 rows, full page designs and custom frames you define yourself.

create webcomic

You should always choose your frame first, and be sure of your decision. Changing the frame after beginning your strip will delete the lot, something you’ll be hoping to avoid. Once you’ve decided on a frame the rest is experimentation.

create webcomic

Characters and objects are handled by Strip Generator in the same way, and are highly transformable. Once you’ve chosen something from the appropriate tab, drag it into one of your frames. Clicking the item will highlight it, and display the scale and rotate controls – simply click and drag.

create webcomic

After selecting an object, the area to the right of your comic strip will display the various manipulations you can perform. These include sending the object forward and back (layers), adding blur and transparency and moving the object between frames, or detaching it altogether. If you’ve ever used photo manipulation software in the past then it should all be fairly familiar.

web comic generator

Text is handled similarly and whilst there’s no font options you can adjust size, placement, bold and italics and justification. Text can also be blurred, much like objects and the speech or thought bubble’s roundness can be user-defined too.

Sharing Your Creations

Once you’ve completed your strip hit Finish at the bottom. You will be taken to a page where you can define a thumbnail, add tags so your comic can be found and last of all give your strip a name. Hitting Publish will publish your work as an anonymous user, and on the next page you will be prompted to either log in or sign up to claim the credit.

web comic generator

You don’t have to register however, and you can remain anonymous if you please. If you do choose to register you will be given a Strip Generator blog, the URL of which will be

web comic generator

There are all manner of social buttons and sharing options afoot your new creation, you can even print it out or simply save the image in your browser as you would normally.

create web comics


Strip Generator is a lot of fun, partly because it’s so easy to use and partly for the near-instantaneous results. If you’ve not got the patience to draw a full strip, have a spare 5 minutes and a great one-liner then Strip Generator is calling for your contributions.

Have you tried Strip Generator to create web comics? Fancy linking your strips? Any other good comic generators you use? Let us know in the comments below!

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The 5 Best Firefox 4 Addons For Tabbed Browsing

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 04:31 PM PDT

firefox tab addonApart from addons, the single most influential browser development during the past decade was tabbed browsing, which started as an extension itself. Tabs enable you to easily switch back and forth between open sites, without cluttering the taskbar with multiple open windows. The problem is that you quickly end up with too many tabs and they become hard to navigate.

In this article I have profiled the 5 best Firefox 4 addons to organize tabs, work with them, and hibernate them. These addons can help you to group and manage your tabs, add more vertical or horizontal space to your browser window, and reduce the load Firefox puts on your system resources.

TabGroups Manager

TabGroups Manager is my favorite tab-related extension. As the name suggests, you can create groups for your tabs, accessible via the group tab bar.

firefox tab addon

When you find yourself with an excess amount of groups that slow you down, you can hibernate selected groups to save system resources. Right-click a group tab and select > Hibernate. You can continue to send (not move) tabs to hibernated groups or move them from one open group to another via the right-click menu. Moreover, you can re-organize groups via the > Group your tabs button.

customize firefox tabs

‘Group your tabs’ is an exciting new Firefox 4 feature, which becomes available with extensions such as TabGroups Manager. When you click the > Group your tabs button, Firefox switches to a separate view. White boxes indicate your open groups and thumbnails show the respective tabs. Among many other things, you can drag and drop the tabs from one group to another. To open a new group, drag a tab to the grey space and to see a group box, drag a second tab on top of it.

customize firefox tabs

A similar extension, TooManyTabs, was recently reviewed by Ann: TooManyTabs Turns Your Firefox Into A Task Management Powerhouse

New Tab King

New Tab King makes use of the empty space in new tabs by filling it with thumbnails of your most used websites and a search bar through which you can search your bookmarks. Much like in Google Chrome, you can pin selected thumbails and re-arrange them via drag & drop.

customize firefox tabs

That alone would be great. However, there is a lot more to discover in New Tab King. Not only can you customize the look of the new tab, via the extension’s options window you can access an incredible array of additional features. Click > [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + [A] to launch  the addons window, then find the > Options button for the New Tab King extension.

new window

Search Tabs / The Search Sidebar

Strictly speaking, this is not a tabs addon. However, it provides quick access to additional search results when performing a search on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. It thus saves you opening multiple tabs.

To the right of your search engine results you will see a bar with a favicon list of websites, e.g. Amazon, Wikipedia, and Facebook. When hovering over a favicon, results from that specific domain or account will be shown. For example if you are logged into your Google Mail account, it will show show results from your personal mails. The tool comes pre-equipped with a host of sites, but you can customize it and add any domain you frequently search.

firefox tab addon

For some unknown reason I could not get this extension to work on my Windows XP computer, even after disabling most other extensions and cross-checking compatibility of the rest in Firefox 4 installed under Windows 7. I would think that blocking flash disables this extension. However, that was not the culprit.

Vertical Tabs

Vertical Tabs moves your tabs into the vertical and also allows you to group them. I would recommend this extension for those of you with a high-resolution wide-screen monitor, which allows you to spare a few pixels of horizontal space to gain a better overview of your tabs. It’s great when you do research and open many tabs with identical favicons.

firefox tab addon

Like TabGroups Manager, Vertical Tabs supports > Group your tabs. Also note the > List all tabs button, which is another highlight of this extension as it provides a search feature.

firefox tab addon

Vertical Tabs is an experimental extension for Firefox 4 only.

Custom Tab Width

If you don’t have any vertical space to share, you might want to work on your tabs width. This minimalistic extension does only one thing, it allows you to customize the width of your tabs. To shrink tabs indefinitely, set the minimum width to 1.

firefox tab addon

A stylish alternative to Custom Tab Width is FaviconizeTab. It reduces selected tabs to the size of its Favicon. Note that Custom Tab Width overrides FaviconizeTab, thus you have to decide for one of them.

Need more ideas to manage your tab overload? Have a look at these articles:

How do you organize and manage your tabs?

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3 Apps For Perfect Flash Cards For Android That Teachers Can Use

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 02:31 PM PDT

flash cards for androidAnyone who has learned a foreign language knows just how useful flashcards can be. So it’s easy to see that having flashcards on your smartphone is a fantastic idea. If teachers were to set up flashcards and share them with their students to use on their smartphones, that would just be too useful for words.

Today we’ll take a look at some of the better applications with flash cards for Android, which teachers could recommend to students for studying flashcards in their classes. There’s a number of applications out there, so if none of these take your fancy, there’s still plenty more free options to choose from.

When trying to decide which application to write the flashcards for, there’s a number of things to consider :

  • How much information can you put on each card?
  • Does it allow pictures, videos and URLs?
  • How easy is it to write a new set of flashcards?
  • Is there a web interface?
  • How easy is it to backup your flashcards?
  • How easily can students transfer those flashcards to another format which suits them better?
  • Is there a client for iPhone, Android and Blackberry?
  • Does this flashcard application keep track of your progress and show you the flashcards in an intelligent manner?
  • How big is the application?
  • Overall, how easy is the application to use?


StudyDroid is an easy-to-use flashcard application. You can get started very quickly making your own flashcards by clicking “add“. You can also make your own flashcards on your computer or you can browse the public flashcards at Studydroid to find something you like. When making your cards, it’s easy to change the text size or colour of the cards to make them more memorable.

flash cards for android


GFlash+ is my personal favourite flashcard application for Android. I like that I can keep a Google document with the up-to-date flashcard information and occasionally re-sync the phone’s flashcards to the online version. All that’s required is to build (or import) a simple spreadsheet in Google Documents and share it with the email address, thus sharing it publicly to all gFlash+ users.

The free version won’t allow URLs or embedded media, but it’s still very useful to have control over the public version of your original flashcards, since you can add to them or fix minor errors.

android flash cards

Kaka Flashcards

Kaka Flashcards lets you import public flashcards from Studystack or Quizlet easily via their application, from your SD card, using a QR code and many other ways. You can also quickly export your cards as .csv for later use or for use with other flashcard programs. It’s got a great interface and looks very professional. Cards are shown to learners according to the Leitner system.

flash cards for android

More Android Education

If you’re into self-education and want some ideas for edutainment on your Android or online, here’s a few more articles you’ll probably appreciate:

Do you use flashcard apps on your phone? What’s your app with flash cards for Android? Why? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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Hot Tech Deals [Apr 21st]

Posted: 21 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. Acer S211HLbd 22in LED-Backlit LCD Monitor $129.99 Free Shipping
  2. Yamaha RX-V467 5.1ch 105W/ch 3D Home Theater Receiver $199.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKFHJ75 (Exp 4/24)
  3. Dell Vostro 3550 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 15.6in Laptop (Aluminum) $549
  4. Dell Vostro 3450 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 14in Laptop (Aluminum) $580
  5. Dell Vostro 3750 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 17.3in Laptop (Aluminum) $592
  6. Dell Vostro 3300 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 13.3in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $469
  7. HP ProBook 4520s Intel Core i3-380M 2.53GHz 15.6in Laptop (2GB/320GB/Win7 Pro) $449.99
  8. G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600MHz Desktop Memory $74.99 via code EMCKFHJ22 (Exp 4/24)
  9. TODAY ONLY Nikon Coolpix S70 12MP 5X Digital Camera w/ 3.5in OLED Touchscreen $139.99

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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Super Mario Brothers X: The Best Fan-Made Mario Game Ever [Windows]

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 12:31 PM PDT

mario brothersCheck out the ultimate in fan-created Mario goodness: Super Mario Brothers X. This game combines elements from every Mario game ever made into one, and the result is a lot of fun. While the level design is far from perfect you shouldn’t miss out on this free download for Windows.

Whether you know it or not, you want to play new 2D Mario levels. Nintendo takes its dear sweet time putting such levels out, so if you need something to hold you over until the inevitable release of New Super Mario Brothers Wii 2, I highly recommend you check out this unofficial fan-built game. It’s free, so you have nothing to lose by trying it out. You might even find things here you like better than Nintendo’s own projects.

The Game

I could tell you a lot about this game, but why don’t you see for yourself. Here’s a video with highlights :

Find that interesting? Then head on over the Super Mario Brothers X download page to get started. You’ll find the game there. Windows only; sorry Mac and Linux users.

The game itself combines elements from all the different Mario games in history. For example, there’s a world map reminiscent of Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo:

mario brothers

Other maps look more like they belong in Super Mario Three. Gameplay is similarly mixed. Some of the levels look like they belong in Super Mario 2, that odd Mario game famous for its throwable onions:

super mario brothers game

Other levels look more like Super Mario 3 or Super Mario World:

super mario brothers game

Even more levels mix and match elements from all of the different games in the series history. The result is kind of weird but a lot of fun. Heck, the occasional level looks nothing like a Mario level, instead borrowing from other video game series. You’ll have to play to find out what I mean.

There are a variety of powerups from throughout the series, and more than a few created just for this game. The music comes from a variety of eras too, but all of it will make you feel nostalgic.

The levels aren’t as consistent as ones put out by Nintendo; I’d be lying if I said they were. Some are really easy, some are frustratingly difficult, and they don’t always seem to be in any sort of logical order. Having said that, there’s a good blend here of challenge and progress. Mario fans will enjoy themselves.

Note that you can play as Mario or as a few other players. Most unusual is the inclusion of Link, from the Zelda series. This gives the game a bit of a Super Mario Crossover feel, which isn’t a bad thing.

Other Level Sets

Did you beat the default level sets too quickly? Don’t worry; there’s more. At the same download page as before you’ll find additional levels. Unzip these files and add them to the “worlds” folder wherever you installed Super Mario Brothers X and you can start playing these levels right away. There are four extra campaigns right now; presumably more will show up, so keep watching the download page.

Design Your Own Levels

Beat all of those levels too? Wow, you’ve got a lot of time on your hands. So much time in fact, that you should probably start building your own levels. There’s a built-in tool here for doing just that, and it requires no programming ability:

super mario brothers game

You won’t make a masterpiece overnight, but with a little work and a lot of time you’ll have a Mario game to call your own. Brilliant.


Is this game legal? Probably not, in the strictest sense. Whatever the case may be though, it’s clear the creators of Super Mario Brothers X love the company that made the original Mario games. This message shows up every time you launch the game:

mario brothers

A nice sentiment, to be sure. Shutting down this game is probably within Nintendo’s rights, but a message like this makes me wonder if it would be in their best interests.

This is probably the best fan-made Mario Brothers games I’ve ever seen, but it’s not the only one. Be sure to check out our list of the best free web Mario games and our writeup of Super Mario War, the ultimate multi-player Mario game.

Also feel free to share any other great Mario fan games in the comments below!

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CoolPreviews – Browse Through Search Results Faster With Interactive Site Previews

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 11:31 AM PDT

website previewSurfing the web comes down to performing search engine queries and then clicking on links to check if the site has the answers that you want. As far back as 2007, MUO has been covering the model of search “preview” panes, such as the short list of Firefox search preview plugins that Kaly covered. This field really took off when Google launched “Instant Preview” which Nancy covered. Ann also reviewed a few creative ways to open up a “preview panel” in Firefox to website preview links without having to click on them.

I’ve used the Google preview option before, but never really found the time to really dig into how much time the right website preview solution could save. Basically, I was too busy to discover how much time I could save – as ironic as that sounds. That is, until I discovered CoolPreview.

Using The CoolPreviews Firefox Plugin

Once you install the CoolPreviews plugin, the link preview feature is ready to go. Also, unlike Google Instant Preview, the CoolPreviews plugin will give you a link preview window everywhere you go on the Internet, regardless of what website you’re on. All you have to do is hover your mouse over any link at all, and you’ll see the CoolPreviews icon show up.

website preview

Hover your mouse over that icon, and the preview “window” pops up and shows you the webpage in a scrollable format. It’s actually like having an embedded browser window inside the existing browser window. You can explore the page, click on links and check out the site without ever leaving the current page that you’re on. If you like what you see, just click the button at the top of the window to open the site in a new tab. Don’t like it? Just close the window.

site previewer

If you don’t want to bother with opening and closing the preview window every time you want to see a link, just click on the pin icon at the upper right corner of the screen and the preview window will stay available.

site previewer

Just slide the preview window down to the corner of your browser window, and it’ll show you a quick preview of every link you hover your mouse over – a fast and easy way to browse the web from one browser window. Gone are the days of opening tab after tab just to check links.

site previewer

As you browse through the Internet in one tab, you just glide your mouse over each link, glance at the site in the website preview pane, move on the the next link, and keep on rolling until you see the page that has the information you want. Then you can click to open it in a new tab (or just navigate the page from the preview window itself!)

It’s also really easy to customize the behavior and appearance of the preview window by clicking on the settings button. Change when the preview window appears, where it shows up on the browser window, and even the theme of the preview window.

site preview

Additional Features

Another really useful feature of CoolPreviews is the Google Images feature. When you search Google Images and hover your mouse over an image, a preview of the picture in its actual size will show up in the CoolPreviews window. If you want to see all of the images from the Google Image results in a clean and convenient slideshow gallery, just click on the Play button.

site preview

A large slideshow window will open with the selected image in the center pane, and a navigation slider at the bottom. Just click the arrow to browse through all of the Google Image results.

site preview

Another really cool feature of CoolPreviews is the Temporary Bookmark Stack. If you find a cool site that you want to bookmark for future reading, just tap the “Stack” button, and the add-on will toss the URL into a virtual stack of webpages.

You’ll see a small tab attached to the right side of the browser window which you can tap on to explore your stack of bookmarks whenever you like.

website preview

What’s the point of “temporary” bookmarks? Well, have you ever been researching a particular subject, and you wanted to just fly through search results and save the URL’s for deeper reading later? Basicaly, CoolPreviews lets you do three steps in one. You do a Google Search, hover over the links to see a page preview, and when you see something useful, you can bookmark it to read later. You can do all three steps with a single click.

CoolPreviews converted me to the world of “link previews” – and I’ve already started cutting down a lot of time off my research efforts. I’m confident it’ll do the same for you. Give it a try and let us know how you liked it in the comments section below!

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Geany – A Great Lightweight Code Editor For Linux

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 10:31 AM PDT

simple code editorSurprisingly, Linux doesn’t offer that many good IDE’s (Integrated Development Environments). I believe this is because back in the day most Linux programmers took out good old Notepad (or gedit in this case), and started coding from that.

However, I’m glad to know that there are now two really good IDEs out there, and Geany is one of them. Compared to Eclipse, the other good IDE, it’s much more lightweight but just as capable.

Basic Features

simple code editor

Geany supports all of the major programming languages, and offers all the common features that you expect for an IDE, such as syntax highlighting and line numbering. When you open it up (which doesn’t take very long at all), you’ll be greeted with a clean interface and lots of white space to work with. All of the compiler’s messages will appear in the box at the bottom of the window, which is extremely important for debugging your code. From here, you can open a new file and select the default file type for the language you want to program with. It loads the basic configuration for that file, and away you go.

code editor

Light Is Right

Aside from being lightweight, Geany does a great job of staying out of the way while you code, and displaying certain features right where you need them. Line numbers, syntax highlighting, automatically closing braces, parenthesis, and more, all do what they need to do, and don’t alter your personal workflow style. For a programmer, it’s very good to develop a coding habit you’re comfortable with and use a code editor that doesn’t force you to do things differently.


code editor

Just like Xournal in my earlier review, Geany comes with plenty of options even though it’s lightweight. There’s many things you can configure, including some that I never knew could be configured. These options are an important part of Geany and its ability to stay out of your way and let you work the way you want to. It’s highly recommended that you at least look at the options that Geany offers so that you can configure them the way you want, and make Geany all the more pleasing.

Compiling Your Code

simple code editor

Compiling and running your code is very easy. Simply click one button to compile, and when that completes, click another button to run. What happens when you hit run depends on what you’ve programmed, but as an example, if you programmed a very basic program in Java and run it, the output will be displayed using your preferred terminal. Once the program runs to completion in the terminal, you just need to hit enter once to exit out. It keeps everything clean and simple, just like the rest of the program.


Geany is simply a great IDE for Linux, especially when Eclipse doesn’t appeal to your taste. However, even if Eclipse is alright in your opinion, you should still look at Geany for its ease of use and out-of-box, ready-to-use setup.

If you program on Linux, what IDE do you use? If you use Geany, how do you rate it and what other features do you think are important? Let us know in the comments!

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Get A Minimalist Look On Your Facebook Homepage With Minimalist For Facebook [Chrome]

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 09:31 AM PDT

minimalist facebook chromeJust like every web service, Facebook experiments and evolves. It continuously changes its web interface, tweaks a little bit here and there, adds and moves elements, and so on. The next thing you know, you are looking at a very crowded Facebook homepage.

If you can’t stand Facebook’s hectic interface, you are not the only one. Luckily, there’s somebody who has done something about it by creating a Chrome extension called Minimalist for Facebook. As the name suggests, this extension will help Chrome users to hide unwanted elements from the Facebook homepage.

As with every other browser-based interface hack, changes from this extension are local. That means that any changes will only be visible on your computer and will not alter the real interface on Facebook’s servers.


Installing Minimalist for Facebook on Chrome is as simple as installing other extensions: click the “Install” button, then Chrome will download and install it automatically.

minimalist facebook chrome

After the installation, the Minimalist for Facebook icon will appear in the address bar telling you that it’s ready. The icon will appear every time you are on a Facebook page.

minimalist facebook chrome extension

The extension will do nothing if you make no changes in the Options page. To modify the settings, open the Options page by clicking the address bar icon and choosing “Options“. To quickly activate/deactivate the extension click the “Toggle on/off” button. The “PANIC!” button will refresh the page to the latest applied settings.

minimalist facebook chrome extension

The Minimalist for Facebook options page consists of two panes: the menus on the left and the settings on the right.

minimalist for chrome

There are many elements of the Facebook page that you can modify. For example, the “General” page deals with things like icons, footers, and CSS.

minimalist for chrome

While the “Theme” page mainly deals with layout and colors.

minimalist for chromee

To get more information about what a menu will do, hover your mouse over the highest item on the page, and you will be shown an image of the modified item. For example, the “Toolbar” menu is the bar at the top of the page where the Facebook logo lies.

02e Hide Toolbar

Other than modifying the elements within the toolbar, this menu also allows users to make the toolbar float and always visible on top even when the page is being scrolled down.

The “Navigation” is the sidebar on the left of the page where your profile photo resides.

02g Hide Navigation

Don’t confuse the “Navigation” with “Sidebar” because the one that is called the sidebar is the bar on the right.

02h Hide Sidebar

Aside from modifying the menu, Minimalist for Facebook also gives you additional features such as the ability to “Show full timestamps” and to “Show photo zoom on hover“. The latter feature will pop up the full size image of the picture you are hovering your mouse pointer over.

02h MAin

Import, Export & Reset

I think one of the most important features of this extension is the ability to import and export your settings from one Chrome browser to another. So if you use more than one computer, you don’t have to go through the settings over and over again.

All that you have to do is:

  1. go to the “Import/Export” menu
  2. click the “Export” button
  3. copy the text from the settings field
  4. go to the “Import/Export” menu on the other Chrome browser
  5. paste the text into the setting field
  6. click “Import

03a Import  Export

To make your job easier, you could save the text in your Dropbox folder and it will be always available on another computer.

Another nice feature are the “Presets“. The buttons here will help you minimize your Facebook interface in one click, without having to go through all the settings. You could also save up to three custom settings that you’ve made.

03b Presets

If something goes wrong, or if you want to start afresh, you can press the “Reset All” button and everything will go back to the original settings.

03c Full Reset

To give you a clearer picture of what this extension can do, let’s do a comparison. Here is the Facebook interface without any tweaking.

minimalist facebook chrome extension

And here’s the interface after deactivating some elements.

minimalist facebook chrome

Even though you might not be one of those people who needs or wants to ‘minimalise’ your Facebook interface, you might still want to try the extension to get the additional features like the floating toolbar, full timestamps, and photo zoom. So try it out and tell us what you think. If you know and use any other Facebook enhancements, don’t forget to share your knowledge in the comments below.

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The 5 Best Gaming Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 08:31 AM PDT

gaming podcastsThere are few better ways to entertain or educate oneself while on the go than a podcast. All you need is an MP3 player or smartphone and a pair of earbuds. Personally, I love to listen to podcasts while walking my dog or exercising, but they're equally great for morning commutes and airplanes.

While there are a lot of podcasts, it's no surprise that most podcasts cover topics of particular interest to tech-savvy listeners. That includes gamers. The number of podcasts available about gaming is tremendous. Not all are worth your time however, so I've rounded up the five gaming podcasts that I turn to when looking for mobile entertainment.

Drunken Gamers Radio

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As the title implies, Drunken Gamers Radio is an all-out, rant-filled, drink-fueled gaming love and hate-fest. I will warn you; most gaming podcasts are fine with dropping a swear word here or there, but Drunken Gamer Radio is certainly not what you want to listen to if children are in range (unless you don't like their parents).

But in spite of the antics, Drunken Gamers Radio is exceptionally well produced. Mic quality is usually high – none of the static and hiss all too common among podcasting – and the commenters sound great, even when they're ranting aimlessly.

The gaming podcast doesn't seem to have any set schedule, or any specific topics. This is not the gaming podcast you should listen to if you want to get any level-headed information about new games, but it's awesome for entertainment.

Gamers With Jobs Conference Call

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One problem with the gaming community is that it seems to be targeted towards perpetual teenagers despite the fact that many gamers are now adults with jobs and responsibilities.

Gamers With Jobs is a blog that was founded in recognition of the fact that many gamers can't devote all of our time and energy towards gaming, even if we love them. The podcast cast and crew is a collection of Gamers With Jobs staff and freelance gaming writers who offer a mature perspective. Several have kids, and will talk about games that they've have fun playing with their children. There is plenty of talk about more mature games however, and Gamers With Jobs is one of the few podcasts that talks about indie games and mainstream games in equal measure.

The podcast usually comes out on Tuesday and devotes some time every week to new games the cast has been playing.

A Life Well Wasted

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This podcast is unlike any other gaming podcast available. Each episode takes a look at a specific theme and usually touches on several sub-topics related to the central theme.  It's essentially “This American Life” for gamers.

Unlike most podcasts, A Life Well Wasted features numerous interviews with a variety of people including shop owners, professors and game bloggers. While most podcasts feature a cast that's content to comment on a topic, A Life Well Wasted is the only gaming podcast that actually delves into issues more deeply by interviewing the people involved.

A Life Well Wasted is not frequently updated; there are only six episodes, and the last was posted in 2010. A new “season” of episodes is planned for 2011. Despite this, every gamer who wants to hear some wonderfully mature discussion of gaming and gaming culture should absolutely listen to A Life Well Wasted. There's no gaming podcast like it.

Three Moves Ahead

gaming podcast best

Founded by freelance game writer Troy Goodfellow, Three Moves Ahead is the only weekly podcast that focuses exclusively on strategy gaming. The general focus is on PC games, but the cast often talk about board games and console games as well.

Since its introduction the original founder and host, Troy Goodfellow, has taken a job in the games industry. The new host, Rob Zacny, has done a good job of keeping the show on its feet. Unlike many podcasts, the host of Three Moves Ahead isn't the ring-leader. The guests are given time to speak and lively debates often spring up without any particular person dominating the argument.

Three Moves Ahead can wander a bit at times, and it hasn't always had the best production quality. The strength of the podcast has always been the knowledge of the cast and staff, all of whom have forgotten more about strategy games than the average gamer knows.

Weekend Confirmed

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A brilliant weekly gaming podcast, Weekend Confirmed is a must-listen for gamers who want to know about the latest and greatest games. The production quality of Weekend Confirmed rivals the best radio shows, and while the podcast can run a bit long at times, it sums up most of the important events in gaming during the previous week. This includes big releases, big controversies, and excitement over upcoming titles.

Weekend Confirmed does have its flaws; the host, Garnett, sometimes uses phrases you've probably heard coming from kids trash-talking on Xbox Live. The discussion can be hit or miss as well, as certain cast members or guests seem to “win” arguments by force of will more than substance. Most of the big gaming podcasts have similar flaws, however. Weekend Confirmed is rather tame by gaming podcast standards, and it's certainly the most enjoyable way to learn about what's popular and controversial in gaming right now.


When formulating this list I considered over twenty-five gaming podcasts that I've listened to at least once and many more that I haven't had the chance to tune in on. If your favorite podcast isn't listed here, let us know about your favorite in the comments, and why you love it.

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