- Cool Websites and Tools [April 22nd]
- The 7 Best Questions From You [MakeUseOf Answers]
- Share Traditional Style Photo Albums Online With Albm [Mac]
- Watch The Videos Your Friends Are Sharing With Showyou [iPad/iPhone]
- Hot Tech Deals [Apr 23rd]
- Add An OS X-Like Dock To Your Android Phone Screen With Dock4Droid
- Learn How to Make Paper Airplanes With These Five Paper Craft Websites
- 3 Useful Things You Can Do With Amazon Video On Demand
- MyFitnessPal – A Cross-Platform Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker
- [READ THIS] Your iPhone Is Tracking You – How To View That Data & Turn It OFF
Posted: 22 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: 22 Apr 2011 06:31 PM PDT
This week the prizes go to:
Best Answer of the Week – ha14
1st Runner Up – Roy
2nd Runner Up – Brent Adonis
Congratulations to the winners!
Picking the winners is always a tough call. So in case you participated, but didn’t win this week, it doesn’t mean I didn’t recognize and appreciate your excellent answer/s. Every answer counts, so keep them coming!
These are the best question this week:
Need help? Ask A Question at MakeUseOf Answers.
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More articles about: answers, Q&A websites, tech support, troubleshoot 2011/04/15
Posted: 22 Apr 2011 04:31 PM PDT
But there’s something about the old school album style that still makes photos stand out. That’s why you might want to check out albm.com. It’s a stylish, simple way to share your photos online using its straightforward album editor that you can download for free from the Mac App Store.
Along with Mac OS X, albm.com supports mobile devices, including the iPhone and other iOS devices, Windows phones and mobile devices using Android such as the HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy S, and others.
How To Use The Photo Album Editor
The Photo Album editor starts you off with a half dozen stylish album themes to choose from. No doubt more themes will be eventually added, but there’s enough variety for almost any type of photos. You need to give your album a name and then click to start your layout.
Like all advanced photo applications for Mac users, Photo Album integrates with your iPhoto and Aperture libraries, so you don’t have to open those applications to get at your photos.
Photo Album also integrates with Picasa and Flickr, allowing you to pull photos directly from those sites. To access your own Flickr or Picasa accounts, you will need to confirm and allow Albm to have access to your accounts. The integration with Flickr is easy, but in my testing, Photo Album doesn’t download your photos as sets, and its search tool didn’t do a good job of helping me locate specific photos in my Flickr account. So it seems best to simply drag selected photos from your account onto your desktop, and then drag them into the album pages of Photo Album. If you need to get photos uploaded and presented a hurry, Photo Album even allows you to pull photos directly from your camera.
Photo Album starts you off with a set of ten pages, but you can easily add as many pages as you like. You can also edit your photos in Photo Album, but the tools for doing so are very limited.
After you drop a photos into an album page, you simply select it to bring up the editing toolbar.
The tool on the far left allows you to rotate your photos, and the slider in the middle allows you to zoom in on the content of your selected image. This re-size feature will be the most useful to you. Clicking the fuzzy little button on the top-right side of the image toolbar presents three very basic photo conversion tools.
Except for perhaps the Sepia conversion filter, I don’t find these filters very useful. It would be much better to do all your photo enhancements and editing in iPhoto or some other image program before adding them to Photo Album.
The existing templates in Photo Album include pages for text that you can customize, but as it stands now, there doesn’t seem to be a way to add your own text boxes to pages.
When you’re done with your layout, it’s a simple process of clicking File > Publish to ALBM.com. From there you can create your account.
Your albums are presented in a simple, minimalist layout where viewers can click from page-to-page using the thumbnail pages, or they can use their mouse cursor to “flip” pages one at a time.
As you might expect, your albums can be embedded and shared on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, amongst others. You can also use straightforward links to your albums and viewers can add comments to your album pages.
There are plenty of desirable tools and features that could be included in Photo Album, but for now the application and service is a quick and elegant way to share your photos in your own free online photo album.
Let us know what you think of Albm.com, and also what other photo sharing sites you have found to be useful.
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More articles about: image editors, photo albums, photo effects, photo sharing, photos, social media, social networks
Posted: 22 Apr 2011 02:31 PM PDT
Flipboard is one popular app that makes use of the iPad’s big screen. For those of you who don’t know, Flipboard is an iPad app that takes your Facebook and Twitter streams and displays them in a magazine style.
Why am I talking about Flipboard? Because Showyou is like the Flipboard of video and is one of the coolest iPad apps I’ve come across in a while.
What Is Showyou?
Showyou is a fun, social video app that enables you to watch the videos your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or Vodpod, all in one place, using the Showyou Grid.
When you first start using Showyou, it will ask you to integrate your Facebook, Twitter, and Vodpod (if you have one) accounts. Once you do, it will automatically populate the grid with videos that were posted in your network along with how long ago they were posted.
The Showyou Grid is pretty awesome. Essentially it’s a customizable 2D grid of nearly 1,000 videos, and it includes a feed where you can watch and talk about videos with your friends on Showyou. You can find and follow your friends on Showyou too, and if they aren’t using the app you can invite them.
When you see a video you really love, you can share it on Showyou or your other connected social networks with a simple tap of your finger. Another social feature is the ability to let friends know you like their videos by “thanking” them.
You can also share videos you see while browsing the web just by sending an email to email@example.com.
Lastly, you can watch videos being shared by your friends on your television using Airplay and an Apple TV (you'll need version 2.0) with Showyou, which might just be the best feature of all.
If you’d like to see Showyou in action, I recommend you check out this quick video:
While I primarily focused on the iPad app here, Showyou is also available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. You can download the app from iTunes here.
Showyou puts a nice social twist on the video viewing experience, which made me want to watch more videos. Also, because it pulled from videos my friends were sharing, I noticed a higher level of quality videos on my grid as well. It makes sense, because videos that are worth sharing are much more likely to keep my interest than sifting through a lot of uninteresting ones on giant sites like YouTube.
The screenshots don’t really do this video sharing app justice, as you have to play around with it yourself to see how fluid everything is. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Showyou and I think it’s one of the better free iPad apps out there.
What do you think of Showyou? Will you be using it to watch the videos your friends have been sharing?
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More articles about: friends, ipad, ipad apps, iphone, iPhone Apps, online videos, social media, social networks, video sharing, videos
Posted: 22 Apr 2011 01:30 PM PDT
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Posted: 22 Apr 2011 12:31 PM PDT
Dock4Droid is an easy way to add a dock similar to the Mac OS X dock to your Android phone. It’s easy to choose which apps feature in the dock and to customise where the dock is placed. Then you’re set to switch between applications using your dock instead of exiting each application in order to navigate to a new one. Easy!
Get your copy of Dock4Droid for free here. As well as the free trial version, there’s also a paid version of the application available for a tiny fee, which unlocks a few neat features such as colours and advanced features. The trial version also limits you to two dock items you can choose to lock. Other dock items will be chosen from recent applications you’ve used.
Setting Up The Dock
Open up the Dock4Droid application to access a menu of options. This allows you to choose whether to have your dock at the bottom or some other area of your screen. You can customise the response time, which apps you want to appear in the dock as well as many appearance options. Many of these options are unavailable in the free trial, but there’s still plenty of customisation available to the free application user.
You may also wish to view a brief tutorial on how to use the dock, which is accessible at the top of this menu.
Using The Dock
You’ll see a red line appear in your chosen section of the screen, indicating that the dock is available there. It will be red to start with if you chose the free application, since colour changes aren’t available to the free app users.
Simply touch that area, swipe to the app you wish to use and release your finger while resting on that application. It’s a natural movement which is easy to get used to.
Dock4Droid Is Tiny
The Dock4Droid application is a tiny 84KB, which is a nice surprise for those of us with space issues on our Android phones.
Problems With Dock4Droid
Dock4Droid doesn’t yet support an auto-hide feature to get it out of the way of the stock keyboard when in use. The work-around is that you can change the settings to hide the dock when in landscape mode. Specifically, this means if you’re trying to use the keyboard then you only have to swing it into landscape mode to get rid of the Android dock app. Since many people do this habitually anyway, it’s a decent fix for the interim.
Other Dock Options
There are a few other options available to Android users looking for a dock or launcher application. Very few of them are available for free or even with a free trial.
More Android Hacks
If you like tweaking your Android to make it just right, you might like these articles:
How have you found Dock4Droid? How does it compare to other Android dock apps and launchers you’ve tried? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: ShutterStock
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More articles about: dock, google android, os x, smartphones, tweaks
Posted: 22 Apr 2011 11:30 AM PDT
Making paper airplanes may also be about wasting time and having fun, but a general browse through the web shows that making paper planes is also a serious education. In fact, NASA uses it to teach kids all about aeronautics. Many other sites apart from NASA also have downloadable paper plane activities for kids. You also know that paper planes are right up there as a hobby when you have an iPad app called the Paper Plane Project on it.
Not all of us have an iPad. So, these five craft websites have to do for learning how to make paper planes.
This is a great step-by-step guide on how to craft paper airplanes, paper helicopters and gliders. The paper planes are categorized as – easy to make, medium difficulty, and hard to make. The 25 varieties on view should keep you folding and flying away for ages. The site also contains a lot of YouTube video instructions on how to properly make the flyable models. Alex Schultz also has put up a page of other sites on paper planes; not all the links are on paper planes though. Some links are also broken.
If you want your child to start off building some paper planes on his own, then this colorful site for kids could be the destination. The step-by-step instructions with clear illustrations are kid-friendly. Some of the paper plane instructions are accompanied with video demos. Start of from the simpler models like Vortexes (or even a simple paper helicopter) and graduate upwards to a barracuda. There's also an interesting section on Flight Simulators which are a collection of free online games.
The ten designs on view on this paper airplane site are copyrighted original designs. You will not come across names like Tumbler, Canada Goose, Duck etc on any other paper plane website. What I like about this site are the clean-cut instructions which take me from a simple origami design like the Zump to a complicated one like the Katydid.
The OmniWing is one of the first airplane designs I was drawn to. It is a basic airplane but a high performance one that can fly for a length of time in a straight line rather than a loop. It's also a perfect office stress buster because it can be crafted from a single sheet of standard typing paper, and a little transparent tape. The site contains all the construction details on the plane along with videos. Later, feel free to graduate to the more advanced versions of this cool paper plane.
This site is more like a directory which you can dive into for more links. It's not only about paper craft but also about the complete universe of airplane modeling. The site lists free airplane collectible items on the web such as free airplane photos, free paper model kits and free online flight simulators. The paper plane design page has links and available PDF downloads (World Record Breaking Paper Airplane designs originally folded by Ken Blackburn). You might want to check out resources like the one on How to Make your Paper Airplane Fly Better that grounds you on the basics.
The five craft websites websites on view may not be visually appealing to those of us attuned to slick Web 2.0 interfaces, but when it comes to following a hobby, it's the content that appeals. Are these some of the best on the web, or can you provide me and other paper airplane enthusiasts a few more?
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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More articles about: education, fun, hobby, modelling
Posted: 22 Apr 2011 09:31 AM PDT
One example is Amazon S3, which James covered previously, where you can get 5GB storage space absolutely free. Another service that Amazon offers, and many people use, is the ability to download music and movies. There’s so much demand for video content that can be instantly streamed that Amazon renamed the entire streaming section “Amazon Instant Video,” commonly referred to by many fans as “Amazon Video On Demand”.
While it’s not obvious when you get to the main Instant Video page, where you’ll see lots of TV shows and movies that you can download for a fee, there’s actually an decent-sized library of free video on demand files as well. To find them, all you have to do is click on the “Getting Started” link at the top of the main page, and then click on the “Free Videos” link just under the header image.
Watching Free Videos On Demand
In the free area, you can start browsing all of the videos that you can immediately watch right now at no cost. There are a few different ways that you can watch these videos, and I’m going to cover each of them. The simplest method is just to click on the video you want to watch and click on the “1-Click Free” button.
You can watch the free movie or TV show in the embedded player right on Amazon. You can maximize the video and watch it full-screen if you want. If you’re a fan of sites like Hulu and you get most of your TV and movie programming on the Internet, then this is a really cool resource to add to your list for free video content.
If you want to stay up to speed on the latest new videos that become available at Amazon Video on Demand, you can sign up with the official Amazon Video Twitter page where you’ll get a steady stream of the latest discounted and free videos to watch.
Downloading & Saving Amazon Video Files
Aside from the online approach to watching these free videos, you can also download Amazon’s free app called Amazon Unbox. Amazon Unbox is a desktop application you can use to access and play videos from your Amazon video library. What not everyone realizes is that you can also use Amazon Unbox to download the actual video file to your hard drive and use it however you like.
After installing Amazon Unbox, click on the “My Videos” tab and you’ll see your collection of videos from your online Amazon video library. The videos don’t actually download to the player until you click on the video and then click on the Download button.
Once you click on the download button, the video file will download to your PC, and on the “My Videos” screen, you’ll see that the status of the video now allows you to play the video. Most people just click to play, and then watch the video in the Amazon Unbox video player. Except – you don’t have to. Once Unbox downloads the video file, it’s actually available for you to use however you wish.
To find out where the actual video file is on your PC, click on “Settings” from the top menu and then choose “Preferences.” On this window you’ll see a field for “Video Folder Location.” This is where you can go to the actual video files for everything you’ve downloaded using Amazon Unload.
For example, here you can see my download of the House video. There’s one icon file for each video, and then a Windows Media File for the actual video itself. There’s no reason you need to use Amazon’s video player to watch this video, just copy and paste it wherever you like.
Better yet, upload the file to your own web server (using any upload utility that doesn’t block large uploads), and you can embed these full length, free videos right on your own website.
Not sure how to embed Windows media files on your website? Just use the following code:
<OBJECT ID=”MediaPlayer” WIDTH=”350″ height=”250″ CLASSID=”CLSID:22D6F312-B0F6-11D0-94AB-0080C74C7E95″
Replace the image link with the location where you uploaded your video file, and now you can watch the free full-length videos right from your page. Doing this is a unique way to keep your collection of your favorite free videos in a spot where you can watch them any time you like and from anywhere in the world (if you have the server space to store them).
Unlike other video streaming websites where it’s nearly impossible to download and store the actual video files, Amazon is really flexible. Whether you want to quickly watch a video right at the Amazon website, download the video and watch it on Amazon Unload, or just open the video file in any player of your choice – with Amazon Video on Demand, the choice is yours.
Did you know you could get so many free videos at Amazon? What’s your favorite method of watching Amazon videos? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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More articles about: Amazon, online videos, streaming video, videos
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Posted: 22 Apr 2011 08:31 AM PDT
One of the most effective ways to combat weight gain is to count the calories and keep track of your intake, as well as your exercise, in a diet diary. The only problem is that you can't take a diary everywhere – and so you might forget a meal here, or a snack there. MyFitnessPal solves the problem by having a presence everywhere – on your phone, your tablet or your PC.
Calorie Tracking Where You Are
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the MyFitnessPal free diet tracker, beyond the features we'll talk about soon, is the number of platforms on which you can use it. There are MyFitnessPal apps for iPhone/iPad, Android and Blackberry. Windows Phone 7 is the only major mobile platform left out.
In addition to this, the MyFitnessPal website can be accessed online from anything with a web browser. Your account ties information between all of these platforms together, so you can count your calories during lunch at work on your smartphone, then finish up the day by counting dinner on your PC.
Massive Calorie Database
MyFitnessPal has been around for several years now, and since the introduction of the service it has constantly added new information to its food database. The database is easy to search and now includes over 750,000 items. The only food that isn't commonly found on the database is food from local independent restaurants. If the restaurant is a chain, or if you're eating something from the grocery store, you'll find an entry for it in the MyFitnessPal database.
Once you've found what you're looking for you can add it to your meal. MyFitnessPal is very flexible when it comes to adding food; you don't have to pick one particular type of serving. You can also add servings in any multiplier of the base serving size. If you eat half a bagel, for example, no problem! Just search for the type of bagel you ate, and then enter .5 as the serving size.
If the food isn't in the database, that's also not a problem. You can always “quick-add” a given number of calories.
Tracking Your Progress
One problem that often trips up dieters is long-term calorie intake. Going crazy at a favorite restaurant can defeat an entire week's work of careful, healthy eating – but without a clear way to track calories over time, a dieter may be prone to think “I met my goal six out of seven days, but I'm still not losing weight! What's wrong?” That's understandably frustrating.
MyFitnessPal keeps track of your daily calorie intake and provides information showing how you're doing over time. It also provides information about how your current eating habits should impact your weight in the future.
When you start your MyFitnessPal account you are given a target calorie intake based on your current weight, your height, and the amount of weight you wish to lose each week. This information can be reviewed in the goals section, and helps you keep on track by reminding you that every calorie counts. Exercise is factored in as well, so you can see how your exercise program is impacting your weight loss.
Perhaps the coolest feature, and the most likely to keep you on track, is the social networking functionality. If you like, you can hook up MyFitnessPal to your Facebook or Twitter account. MyFitnessPal will automatically let friends know when you've met a goal. Being put on the spot like this can feel embarrassing at first, but if you can become comfortable with it, the additional motivation is great.
There is also an active forum community on the site, and the site provides "badges" and "tickers" that can be added to a forum post or a blog post. The badges can be used to show off an accomplishment, while the ticker actually updates over time to show how much you've lost.
MyFitnessPal is an excellent free calorie counter and diet tracker. You can input your calories from anywhere with your phone, you can track your progress and calculate your estimated weight loss, and even get your friends in on it! It really doesn't get any easier than this.
What effective online methods do you use to lose weight? Let us know in the comments.
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More articles about: Blackberry, cross platform, diet, fitness, food, google android, health, ipad, iphone, weight
Posted: 22 Apr 2011 07:40 AM PDT
How To View The Data
The duo who widely publicised (originally discovered here) this shocking data embedded within iPhone backups have also released a very user friendly app called iPhoneTracker (Mac only) which visualises all of the data points. Download, and upon launching the app, you’ll instantly see all your data points plotted on a map. If you don’t move around a lot like me, you may have to zoom in to see the full extent!
You can also view a video playback of your movements over time with the play button, or skip around through various dates with the slider. Here’s a fascinating video of my movements since September.
There is no simple app I’m afraid, and you’ll need to have a jailbroken device to get at the file containing the data.
Update: Commenter Ray has pointed out that there is in fact a similar iPhoneTracker app for Windows available here. The following guide is about how to extract that data manually from a jailbroken iPhone, but isn’t necessary if you use the app.
Possible Uses For This Data & A Reality Check
I’m sure some of you are fuming right now, screaming all manner of civil liberties abuses and what have you. While your feelings are quite valid, here’s a few reasons why you should calm down:
The question still remains though of how Apple is using the data, if at all. One guess is that because the data appears to track location through tower triangulation rather than GPS, that it may be used to show areas where reception needs to be improved.
Here’s a discussion/ interview from the guys who discovered it.
How To Turn It Off
On a standard untouched iPhone or iPad there is currently no way to turn this location tracking off. Simply disabling location tagging or location services in settings does NOT work, because the tracking is performed at a much deeper level. You can however prevent simple local access to the data (and stop the iPhoneTracker app from working) by simply encrypting iPhone backups from iTunes.
The good news is that if you’re running a jailbroken device, the free app untrackerd available from cydia will run in the background and prevent tracking. According to the makers:
Scary stuff, or nothing to be afraid of? Let us know what you think in the comments. Do you have any wacky ideas of how Apple could be using this information, or do you think the whole thing is being blown out of all proportion?
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