Tuesday, April 26, 2011

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [April 25th]” plus 10 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [April 25th]” plus 10 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [April 25th]

Posted: 25 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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Faveous – If you consume content on the web, you are probably bogged down with the many interesting articles that you want to read. Fortunately, Faveous is a content aggregator and curating tool that combines all content coming from your favorite readers and social networks. Read more: Faveous: Aggregate Content From Social Media In One Place


Jog.fm – The only thing better than good exercise is good exercise with compatible music. Most people are often stuck with their normal playlists while working out and don't realize how inappropriate music can de-motivate you. Jog.fm lets you solve this problem. Read more: Jog.fm: Find Good Music For Workouts (Running, Walking….)



Diagramly – The Internet is filled with drawing applications. But if you are looking for a tool that lets you create diagrams, flowcharts, and similar drawings in XML format, then you will probably not find much. Thankfully Diagramly will be there to help, a free online drawing application with numerous features. Read more: Diagramly: A Web App To Create XML, PNG, JPG & SVG Diagrams & Flowcharts



Face eCards – eCards are probably still the easiest way to send a creative holiday greeting to a loved one. You can simply select a holiday, then a template, do some tweaking to customize it, and you have a card ready to e-mail within seconds. GotFreeCards, an eCard service that we are well familiar with, added a new fun feature called Face eCards. This lets you upload your face and place it on a pre-designed animated eCard to make it more personal. There's nothing cooler than your own face in a cartoon eCard. Read more: Face eCards: Add Your Face To An Animated E-card



Famous Objects From Classic Movies – Are you a movie buff? Do you think you can identify objects that were shown in famous movies? If yes, then you can test your abilities on a site called Famous Objects From Classic Movies, a simple and fun website that does exactly what its name says: it shows you an object from a famous movie and then asks you to name the movie. Read more: Famous Objects From Classic Movies: Guess Famous Objects From Movies


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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3 Awesome Addons To Preview Image Thumbnails In FireFox

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 06:30 PM PDT

preview image thumbnailBrowsing image search engines has been the major source of inspiration to me. It is amazing how much creative work is stored and searched online.

This post will hopefully make your web image searching and browsing even more fun: the three addons listed will let you easily zoom the image thumbnails in to quicker choose one from search results.

Let’s see how we can quickly preview thumbnails in search results, download any image in its original size and preview your contacts’ Facebook photos right from your dashboard:

Thumbnail Zoom

Thumbnail Zoom is a fun addon that lets preview thumbnail pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Google Picasa, DeviantART, PhotoBucket, Flickr, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, YouTube, Google Images and a few other popular services Any supported site can be enabled or disabled using the toolbar menu and the addon settings dialog.

preview image thumbnail

The addon also adds an extra context right-click menu item that allows to download the enlarged image without ever opening it.

The options panel lets you disable any of the supported services as well as set the delay before displaying the image and its opacity:

firefox preview images

Cool Previews

CoolPreviews is the multi-feature FireFox addon that lets you preview any linked content including images. The image preview panel enables you to:

  • Zoom the image in or out;
  • Open the linked image in the separate tab;
  • Email the current link;
  • Play all the images on the page in the slideshow (works especially well for popular image search services like Flickr, Google Images, etc)

firefox preview images

You can also turn previews on/off on specific sites anytime by clicking the icon on the status bar (or for those who have no status bar in FireFox 4, the same settings can be accessed in Tools -> Addons). CoolPreviews will memorize your settings.

The “Settings” dialog lets you customize your image previewing experience in many ways:

  • Set when you want the preview panel to appear: on mouse-over, on clicking the CoolPreviews icon, on mouse-over + CTRL key;
  • Set the location of the preview panel (relative to the cursor or the link);
  • Control the speed (how fast you want the preview panel to appear)
  • Set the theme (dark or ice);

firefox preview images

Additional fun features:

  • Temporarily bookmark images to the right column with “stacks” feature;
  • Scroll Google Image search results on an “infinite 3D Wall” (Cooliris addon required).
  • Preview multiple thumbnails simultaneously without (mouse over subsequent images on a page while the preview window is open or pinned).

Obviously, there’s no point in using the above two addons simultaneously, so you should pick one.

Facebook PhotoZoom

Facebook PhotoZoom only works for Facebook, but I am sure most of the readers frequent the site, so they’ll find the addon very useful. The tool works as a magnifier for Facebook thumbnails (both profile pictures and album photos): when you hover over a thumbnail, a tooltip will appear with the bigger image in it.

preview image thumbnail

They have a few reported issues (some people experience problems making it work on Windows), but I’ve had no such issues.

Do you have any more tips for better thumbnail preview in FireFox? Are you aware of any similar tools for other browsers?

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6 Charities That You Can Just Text To Donate

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 04:30 PM PDT

text to donateBack in early 2010, when Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake, text-to-donate campaigns helped raise the amazing amount of $10 million pretty quickly. Though that campaign is no longer active (you can still mail cash donations), other donation-by-SMS campaigns now exist to provide disaster relief to Japan and the tsunami-hit Pacific. There are many additional non-profit organizations that make use of these text-to-donate campaigns.

Why not? The donation process is fast and easy: Once you text the appropriate number, in most cases, you'll need to confirm your donation with another text message. Finally, you'll see the charge on your next cell phone bill. That’s it. Read on to see the major charities that you can help with a simple text message (SMS fees still apply).

Red Cross

Most people have probably heard about this campaign, so as a reminder, US residents can text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross. During the donation process, you'll be presented with the option to specify whether your gift should go to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific, or to support the Red Cross efforts. Participating carriers include all four major US carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and other regional carriers, like Virgin Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Cricket. Most wireless carriers allow you to donate up to $30 per month to a specific keyword, like REDCROSS.

Susan G. Komen For The Cure

text to donate

Formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, this organization is the largest and most widely known breast cancer organization that invests in breast cancer research, education, advocacy, health services and social support programs in the US. It's well-known for holding large fundraising events, like the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure, which take place worldwide. To donate $10 to this organization, text "KOMEN" to 90999. You can donate up to 5 times per monthly billing cycle.


donation textingText "POOPIN" (yes, you read right) to 27722 to give $10 to Water.org, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide aid to regions in developing countries that have no access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The organization, co-founded by Matt Damon, aims to bring adequate, safe drinking water worldwide.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation

donation textingFounded in 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation aims to give hope and joy to children who have life-threatening, degenerative or malignant medical conditions by granting them wishes, like meeting a celebrity, or getting a princess bedroom. To donate $5 to this organization, text "WISH" to 90999.

Keep A Child Alive

donation texting

You can text "ALIVE" to 90999 to donate $5 to Keep A Child Alive, a non-profit organization that aims to provide medicine to families with HIV and AIDS in Africa and India. It's partly founded by R&B singer, Alicia Keys, who was involved in the Digital Death campaign, along with Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest and other celebrities, where they signed off Twitter and Facebook (digitally dead) so fans could donate to this charity in honor of World AIDS Day and in order to reach a $1 million fundraiser goal.

Operation Smile

text to donateFormed in 1982, Operation Smile is a not-for-profit medical service organization aiming to provide cleft lip and palate surgeries to children and adolescents across the globe. $240 can fund a surgery and change the life of a child with cleft palate forever. That's way less than an iPad. Text the keyword “SMILE” to the short code 90999 to donate $5.

To see additional charities and even universities that accept text message donations, see this page.

Do you know of other charities that allow donations by SMS? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Susan G. Komen For The Cure, Water.org, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Keep A Child Alive, Operation Smile, Shutterstock

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5+ Impressive Free HTML5 Games You Can Play In Your Browser

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 02:30 PM PDT

html5 gamesHTML5 signifies the evolution of markup language as we know it. Adding a range of new tags, multimedia capabilities and removing the need for many proprietary plugins, it is easy to understand how HTML5 is seen as a big step forward in web development.

Flash games were once the norm when it came to browser-based entertainment, but now thanks to the powerful nature of HTML5 many web applications, streaming services and games are taking advantage of the new bells and whistles.

You’ll need a HTML5 compliant browser to join in, all of these HTML5 games have been tested with the latest stable Google Chrome on Ubuntu 10.10. Other HTML5 compliant browsers include Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer 9.

Canvas Rider

Blatantly inspired by the classic Line Rider, Canvas Rider allows users to create, share and ride user-generated tracks. If you’ve ever played a physics-based bike game (think Trials, or the more recent Trials HD) then the concept will be very familiar.

html5 games

As a biker you must reach the end of the level, which is considerably easier said than done. Careful use of throttle and lean controls will help maintain your rider’s position on the bike, and when you’re sick of being thrown off all the time you can have a go at creating your own level.

There are hundreds of other users’ creations which can be easily filtered by popularity to reveal some beautifully-crafted levels. Chrome users can install an extension for quick access to Canvas Rider.


VII transforms your whole browser window into a monochrome platform world, with smooth animations, physics and responsive controls. Using both the mouse and keyboard you must navigate, manipulate and clear each screen before progressing.
free html5 games

Your telekinesis can be used to move or surf objects and solve thought-provoking puzzles and predicaments. The quirky art style and character (who vaguely resembles Roger from American Dad) plods along at a sombre pace, allowing you to take in all the HTML5 goodness along the way.

Technically brilliant, graphically pleasing and completely free; VII is a great little introduction to the world of browser-borne platform games.


Whilst VII takes on a more relaxed pace, BoredBoredBored employs a different approach – frantic, death-defying arcade action. Using the arrow keys and your space bar, you (quite literally a dot) must avoid incoming enemy fire whilst propelling yourself into waves of oncoming enemies.

free html5 games

Your only method of attack is accessed via the space bar, the longer you charge your shot; the greater your area of effect.

At the end of the game you will be given a breakdown of how terrible you are, that is unless you make it to the final wave. BoredBoredBored is a fine example of how HTML5 can be used to create an incredibly fast-paced arcade game that can run natively in a browser window.

Sand Trap

Instead of taking advantage of one of the many physics engines for the Flash or Java platform, Sand Trap uses its own built-from-scratch HTML5 effort in this addictive puzzler. Each level contains a maze, and within that maze is a small amount of sand. By rotating the maze, it is your task to syphon the sand into the bucket.

free html5 games

Playing on its simple nature, Sand Trap soon becomes complex and very addictive; especially if you have a soft spot for physics games. This game would probably be even better with a touch interface, if you’re lucky enough to have a tablet PC or similar.


Civilization in your browser – need I say more? For those of you who do remember the original Civ, FreeCiv is a faithful representation of the Sid Meyer classic that stole so much sleep from those who played it.

html5 gaming

Those that don’t are in for a treat! Don’t let the flat, dated graphics distract you, in Civ the whole world is your oyster. You must explore, settle, trade, mine and generally build a turn-based empire from the comfort of your browser. There’s a tutorial to get you up to speed, and scenarios to play through if you wish.

The option to play against AI or other human players is yours, and you can fully customize your games beforehand. Bye-bye spare time!

The Rest

There were a few games that didn’t quite make the main list but distracted me long enough to warrant a mention, and these were:


html5 gaming
A nifty take on Tetris, replacing the usual 2D interface with a fully 3D hollow sphere.

Pirates Love Daisies

A delightful HTML5 tower defence game that gives some of the premium efforts out there a run for their money.


html5 games

A faithful Lunar Lander clone coded in HTML5 and JavaScript.

Hint: you’ll need a Y velocity below 6 not to crash and below 3 for the perfect landing.

World’s Biggest Pac-Man

An awesome selection of custom Pac-Man levels, all linked together. Bored of your current maze? Exit and seamlessly join the next!


If you’ve not upgraded to a HTML5 compliant browser yet, you’re probably missing out on the web’s hottest new tricks. As a Linux user, constant Adobe Flash crashes, glitches and sluggish behaviour is to be expected on my system. Not once whilst testing any of the games in this article did my PC flinch.

There are some things online that only Flash can do… for everything else there’s HTML5.

Any HTML5 games that tickle your fancy? Which browser do you use? Have your say in the comments below.

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Hot Tech Deals [Apr 25]

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 01:30 PM PDT

If you’re in the market for a new computer, laptop, mobile phone, games and other accessories; don’t waste your time searching online. We’ve taken the liberty of locating the best tech deals and unifying them into a single post for your convenience.

For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.

  1. Dell Vostro 230 Mini Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93GHz Desktop w/ Viewsonic 24in LCD $449
  2. Dell Vostro 230 Mini Intel Dual-Core E5800 3.2GHz Mini Tower Desktop w/ 22in LCD $399
  3. TODAY ONLY Gran Turismo 5 Video Game (PS3) $44.99 Free Shipping
  4. TODAY ONLY Dell ST2220MB 22in LED-Backlit LCD Monitor (1920×1080) $129.99 Free Ship
  5. Viewsonic VA2431wm 24in LCD Monitor (1920×1080) $145.99 Free Shipping
  6. Tritton AX 180 Universal Gaming Headset w/ 2-Way Talk Microphone $49.99 Free Shipping
  7. Cisco Valet Plus M20 802.11n Wireless N Router w/ Gigabit Ethernet (REFURB) $36.99 via code MLC216403042520NL1 (Exp 4/27)

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7 Online Music Streaming Services With No Restrictions

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 12:30 PM PDT

free streaming musicThere are lots of free online streaming music services, but as you come to use them, you'll find that the services do come at some sort of price. One common, and annoying restriction is loading the page only to find that you can't access the site from your corner of the world, due to copyright restrictions. And that's not the only kind of restriction you'll find on these sites – there's a limit to how many songs you can listen to, or the selection of music for free accounts is very small. We've put together a list of online services that offer premium quality music for absolutely no price whatsoever, without any compromises.

These sites all serve as decent and, in some cases even superior, alternatives to Spotify, the latest in a long line of sites that have restricted their services even further, along with Last.fm, Pandora and other popular music sites you might not be able to access.


With FineTune, choose one of your favourite artists and listen to a radio station that plays their music, and similar artists, or add all of your favourite artists to your list, and listen to a radio station that caters to your personal taste in music. If you're looking for something a little more varied you can also listen to popular radio stations on FineTune stations that play pop, rock, easy listening and more.

free streaming music

A great way to take advantage of FineTune's great music selection is to use the simplified Wii version of their website. The Wii interface is actually a lot more appealing, easier to use, and you can still benefit from the main features of the site.

free online music streaming


Create your own playlists on 8Tracks, and listen to those created by others. To create your own playlists, you have to upload your own mp3s and mp4s meaning you can put pretty much add any song you want to your playlists.

free online music streaming

Mac users can benefit from the uploader, dragging songs directly from iTunes to the desktop app to upload mp3s. Each playlist must consist of at least 8 tracks, a throwback to mixed tapes.


Grooveshark needs no introduction, and is possibly one of the best services currently available with unlimited playback and playlist creation capabilities. Best used when creating your own playlist, Grooveshark also provides a few playlists of their own, with the most popular music of the moment.

free online music streaming

If you really want to take Grooveshark to the next level, be sure to check out this list of ways to enhance your Grooveshark listening experience. Grooveshark is, however, somewhat controversial as the way that they collect their music is in fact a copyright infringement in the US.


TheSixtyOne is another unique option as far as how it presents the music to you. You have very little control over the playback, limited to listening to music according to popularity, mood or after you've used the site for a while, according to your own personal taste.

free music streaming

We Are Hunted

We Are Hunted is the ideal streaming music service for people want to stay on top of the latest trends. The constantly updated 100 song playlist consists of the most popular songs at any given time on the net.

free music streaming


Aupeo lets you stream music by genre, mood, artist, personalised stations and much more. While they do have premium accounts, the main differences are higher quality music files, and playback intermittently interrupted with short adverts. Aupeo has similar features to Last.fm, with the ability to love, ban and add songs to your favourites.

free music streaming


Musicuo's interface may not be in English, but when it comes to listening to music, it's easy to get past any language barrier – and if your Spanish isn’t any good, you can always use an online translator to access the site in English. The Spanish site's interface is reminiscent of iTunes, cover flow and all. Listen to music by genre, search for specific artists, and create playlists. Create a playlist using the Add Playlist button at the bottom of the menu, and drag songs from your search results to the playlist.

free streaming music

If none of these appeal to you, be sure to check out the following posts, with more options on how to stream music online for free:

5 Ways to Turn YouTube into Your Personal DJ

The 14+ Hottest Music Streaming & Discovery Sites

Create Music Playlists For Every Situation Using Playlistnow.fm

What are your favorite free sites for listening to free streaming music online? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Mactracker: For Everything You Need To Know About Apple Products

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 11:30 AM PDT

apple product information

Mactracker, a classic application for Mac users, has recently made its appearance in the Mac Store. If you ever need information about any piece of Mac hardware, from the Macintosh XL released in 1983, to the latest MacBook Pro models released early this year, you can quickly find it in Mactracker.

This encyclopedia program contains information about nearly everything Apple has ever produced, including its devices, such as Apple TV, every model of iPods and iPhones; all its operating system software releases (from System Software 2.0.1, released in 1987, to Mac OS X 10.6, released in August 2009.)

Now, you may think a program like this is basically for geeky Mac computer addicts, but it’s not. Let’s explore what you can learn about your own Mac hardware and other products, and how it could be useful in purchasing new or used Macs.



apple product information

This Mac

After you download and launch Mactracker, the first category you probably want to check out is – This Mac, which presents all the available information about your Mac computer in which you launched Mactracker.

learning about apple products

For each Apple product, Mactracker provides general information, including when the product was released and—if applicable—discontinued; the initial price of the product, the processor speed, the default storage and media for the model hardware, and the peripherals for Mac and mobile products. You also get information about software, memory and graphics, and the type of connections and expansions included for Mac computers.


learning about apple products

This is the kind of information you find on those thin slips of paper you toss out or misplace when unpack your new Mac. Well, no problem, you can now find all that information, plus a lot more, in Mactracker. Also, when you click on the icon of the Mac model, you can hear the startup chime for that product. Holding down the option key when you click the on the model’s icon will play the death chime, if it has one.

My Models

If you took the time to register your Apple product, Mactracker will help you keep track of the type of technical and warranty support you have for your product(s). At the bottom-left of Mactracker, click on the My Models category. Next, click the + button. In the pop-up window, click the Change button. You can instead manually type the name of the product you’re adding to Mactracker, but it’s better to check to see if it’s already listed.

learning about apple products

If you want add information about the current Mac your working on, click the This Mac button and select the product you want to input into Mactracker.


apple product facts

You can also type in the name of a product in the search box and select the correct model. If you’re adding a fairly recent Mac computer or device, type in the serial number for your product. For Mac computers, you can locate the serial number by clicking the Apple icon in the upper-left of your desktop. Then click, About This Mac. (For your iPhone or other iOS device, simply click on the Settings app > General > Serial Number.)

apple product facts

Click twice on where it says – Version; and the serial number for the product will appear.  If you know your purchase date and warranty information, add that as well. The information for the next column, Network, can be found by clicking the System Preferences on your Mac, and then clicking on Network. Your IP address, server host, and Ethernet information will be listed there.

Back under the General category, click the Check Coverage button. If you provided the correct serial number for your Apple product, you will be taken to a page that provides information about the support services for your product.


apple product facts


Researching Products

Mactracker could be useful tool for researching Apple products you’re considering for purchase. In the Categories column, Macs are sorted by Desktop, Notebooks, Servers and Devices. They are further broken down by models.

apple product information


Say for example you’re thinking about buying a MacBook Air. You can click on that folder and open the information for the latest models and compare performance, memory, storage, and other specifications.

Mactracker may not be an application you use on a regular basis, but it’s certainly a resource you should have in your in Applications folder for when you needed. And though it’s free, it’s well a donation for all the useful and accessible information it provides.

Let us know what you think of Mactracker and what other similar resources you use to learn about your Apple products. And for information about other free and useful applications in the Mac Store, check out my articles, here and here.

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5 Websites For Self Improvement With Some Anonymous Feedback From Friends

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 10:30 AM PDT

anonymous feedback websiteThe web lends itself quite well to anonymity. Visit a blog and you can rant or rave without disclosing your identity. Anonymous feedback (or any feedback) if constructive is a great tool for betterment of a service, or as we will see – an individual.

Getting feedback from your social circle is a cinch thanks to services like Facebook and Twitter. But personal feedback as we all have experienced is great when it's good but poisonous when bad. For true personal development, we need to hear the bad news as well as the good ones. Anonymous feedback helps us keep our relationships intact, as well as look deeply within ourselves for the faults others see in us.

So, drop your ego, climb on the personal development bandwagon, and see what your family and friends have to say fearlessly about you with the help of these five free web services.



anonymous feedback website

Want to see what your friends really think of you? Use this neat anonymous feedback website to collect reactions from your friends without them having to fear your own. The process as illustrated on the landing page is dead simple: register to get your own feedback link. Post this on Facebook (as a status message) or Twitter, or even add it to your email footer. The posted URL helps your friends to link to your feedback page and send in their two bits worth on why you are a horrible person or the nicest thing since Santa. Feedback is supported with multiple languages. (See Directory mention)

Three Words

anonymous feedback tool

You will be surprised what even three words can say about you. After all, it's the adjectives that define us. This is more of a fun site but can be used to solicit quick responses from your friends anonymously if need be. The process follows the general flow of sign-up – a customized URL which is your feedback form – the three words from your friends who visit the page. You can set an avatar and also post some pictures. You can post replies to Facebook and Tumblr. If you set your page to Public, everyone can see the feedback. (See Directory mention)


anonymous feedback tool

As feedback websites for self improvements go, this one also has got a perfect name. This anonymous feedback website again gives you a personal URL which you can tweet, share on Facebook, embed on your blog, or mail it across. But this site also goes beyond the simplicity by letting you categorize the feedbacks, and by providing a comment space for your friends for more sentiments. You can section the observations under – I knew this about me, I had no idea, and I totally disagree. Then, you can go to work on the parts you didn't know about. (See Directory mention)

Have a Say at Me

anonymous feedback tool

Collecting anonymous feedback is easy enough with this site. The sign-up is just a matter of 20 seconds as advertized. You will get alerted when a feedback comes in. You can blast your custom URL across the social networks, blogs, and IMs. The person with the account can also respond privately to address the feedback. (See Directory mention)


anonymous feedback website

Criticize Me is a well rounded service for anonymous feedback from friends. It's also very neatly designed. Register and start your own critic's page. You can ask for an opinion on anything – a text question or even an image. You can set a rating scale as a response or set a choice of three tags, or ask a direct question as a feedback. Set the visibility permissions for your critics page and you are done.

We all have our blind sides. Anonymous feedback services like these can be used as powerful tool for self improvement and development with the help of your family and friends. Let us know the value of these five services or another one called BetterMe which I had covered in detail earlier.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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How To Find Creative Commons Content With Google

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 09:30 AM PDT

creative commons contentCreative Commons content isn’t always as easy to find as you think. In fact, most things that you find and copy are copyrighted in a way that makes it illegal to copy it without asking the owner for permission. However, the Creative Commons license can help you with that and make you feel better as a person by being a good citizen of the internet.

Why Creative Commons?

If you’ve ever looked into open source (or any of my posts for that matter), you’ll know that it’s free software. This means both free as in beer and free as in the freedom of speech. Most commonly, open source programs are licensed under the GPL, or GNU Public License. What this license does is let anyone legally read the source code, change it to fit their needs, and distribute it to anyone whom they wish. This is great because it fosters innovation, sharing, and true security. Instead of hiding the source code in hopes that hackers won’t find a hole in the code when they can’t see the code, open source programs do the opposite. They offer their code freely and let anyone study it for security flaws, which can then be fixed. Once a hole is found, the open source nature will force the developers to fix the hole, since as soon as it’s found anyone can take advantage of it. This also reduces the amount of wait time for a patch to be released.

However, you can’t “open source” content such as pictures, music/sounds, videos, and written content. Instead, the Creative Commons license was made to be similar to the GPL, but applicable to content instead of software. There are different variations of the Creative Commons license which have different permissions. It can let you use and share the content freely. Another variation lets you do the same plus modify it freely. Then there are also variations that do the same, but with allowance for commercial use.

How to Find It

Finding Creative Commons content is easy if you know what you’re doing, but Google makes it hard to find the settings. So it’s maybe a good idea if you follow these directions once and then make a bookmark.

creative commons content

Whenever you go search for something, you’ll wind up with a URL in your address bar like this:


Now what you simply need to do is add this part to the end of it:


So when you copied it to the end, your URL should look like this:


What that extra snippet of information does is tells Google to search for Creative Commons licensed content that you can freely use or share. There are other combinations of snippets that search for different variations of the license, but this one should be good enough for most people.

If you want an easier way to do all of this, as well as have a menu to search for a specific variation of the license, I suggest you use the search field on the Fedora Project’s start page.

Searching for CC Images

What if you want to look for images with the Creative Commons license? For this you must use the method I described earlier, else nothing is going to work for you. There may be a different search engine that could do the same, but then you wouldn’t be using Google anymore.

Once you go ahead, search for an image, add the snippet to the end, and hit enter, you’ll be looking for the images you want. Contrary to regular web search for Creative Commons content, if you go all the down in the left side panel, you’ll find a few new search options, one for each variation of the Creative Commons license!

creative commons content

I’ve also tried doing the same with video results, and although Google doesn’t barf when you add the snippet to the end, you won’t be returned any results, and it’ll suggest results that aren’t under a Creative Commons license. Maybe Google can fix that someday.


Using the power of Google to find content that you can legally use is a lifesaver in a world where lawsuits are popping up ever more often. Although it is more than likely that there are other sites that do the same, Google is still one heck of a search engine and it’s wise to use its power when you have access to it.

Now that you know how to find Creative Commons content, are you more likely to do so now? Are there any activities that you do where using Creative Commons content would be helpful? Let us know in the comments!

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Facebook Three-Part Scam Targets Twilight Fans [News]

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 09:00 AM PDT

Twilight fans on Facebook are the latest victims of a three-part viral online scam, which uses click-jacking and a Facebook application to propagate itself, then an online survey to create income for the scammers.

Users of Facebook may see updates in their friend’s feeds about a new Twilight game for Facebook. The link opens a believable splash page for a Twilight game. However, when the user clicks the “Play Now” button, the click-jack occurs and the user has inadvertently “Liked” the original link and spread the click-jacking link to their friends.

The second part of the scam involves getting access to your account. After clicking “Play now” the supposed game asks for permission to access basic information and to post to the user’s wall. Since this is standard practise for most Facebook games, many people are allowing the application to have access to their account. The scammers can now post many updates to the user’s friends via their Facebook wall.

The third part of the scam is intended to make money for the scammers. After allowing the application to have access to your account, the application asks you to verify yourself by completing an online survey.

Due to the three-part nature of the scam, there are several steps required to remove it from your Facebook account:

  • Remove the scam’s Facebook page from your “Liked” pages.
  • Remove the application from your approved applications.
  • Remove all of the posts from your wall.

Online survey scams are frequently seen on Facebook these days, since it’s a quick way for the scammers to make money from the virality of the scam. They’re usually coupled with a Facebook application which makes the scam look more legitimate.

Security threats via click-jacking are also becoming more frequent on Facebook as many people don’t protect themselves against script-based hacks and any users who have been affected accidentally spread the click-jacking link very quickly throughout their network of friends on Facebook.

Users can protect themselves from click-jacking attacks by running add-ons such as NoScript for Firefox.

Source: CNET

Image Credit:ShutterStock

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Speck SeeThru SATIN Case for MacBook Air Review and Giveaway

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 08:30 AM PDT

Now that we’re giving away a MacBook Air, it’s only appropriate that we offer a nice case to accompany it, right? This week, we’ll be giving away five beautiful SeeThru SATIN cases by Speck for the 11″ MacBook Air. We’ll take a look at the case and you’ll have the chance to be in the running to win one by joining our giveaway after the review.

Available from Speck’s website, the SeeThru SATIN case retails at $49.95 and comes in five other colours: clear, cobalt, black, raspberry and clementine. You can also get it for the 13″ MacBook Air at the same price point.

The SeeThru SATIN case is a simple two-piece, plastic hard-shell ensemble that easily snaps on to the MacBook Air. It boasts a silky, rubbery outer finish and as its name implies, the case is transparent and slightly frosted. Measuring at 1.2 mm thick, the case weighs next to nothing — which is ideal for the MacBook Air because portability is key here.

After snapping on the case, I instantly noticed that it provides a grippier surface which makes allows for a more secure hold onto the MacBook Air while maintaining a very low profile. I have to point out that even though the MacBook Air is innately very sexy, the SeeThru SATIN case adds more character and a “fun” element. As you can clearly see, access to every port is unobstructed, which is nice.

At the bottom, the SeeThru SATIN case clips into place and covers the entire surface of the MacBook Air. It even comes with its own rubberised pads that are placed over the MacBook Air’s.

The Speck SeeThru SATIN case for MacBook Air comes in very subtle colours and are quite appropriate for everyday use. It helps to protect the MacBook Air without compromising on weight or portability. The case snaps on and off without any hassle and even assists in providing a better grip support.

We’re giving five SeeThru SATIN cases for the 11″ MacBook Air this week. Here’s what you need to do to be in the running to win one.

How do I win one?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form

Please fill in the form with your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.

The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from Friday’s newsletter or on our Facebook page.

Step 2: Share!

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

Giveaway eligibility
In accordance with Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines 2.4.2 and 2.4.3:
Individuals who are over the age of 18. If you are under 18, get your parents to participate on your behalf;
Individuals who reside in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, India or any country embargoed by the United States are not permitted to enter.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, April 29th at 2100hrs PDT. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

MakeUseOf would like to thank Speck for their generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

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