Thursday, April 14, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 9 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 9 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 14 Apr 2011 01:57 AM PDT


Check out the top picks from MakeUseOf Geeky Fun during the last week.

  1. Google Search Results Explained (Pic)
  2. Facebook please I'm trying to study
  3. Webcam Smoke Break Fail (Video)
  4. This Is What You Look Like Right Now (Pic)
  5. If Moses Had The Internet (Video)
  6. Who Is the Angry One While Playing Angry Birds? (Pic)
  7. If I had a third arm this would be its primary use (Pic)
  8. A Printer Named Bob Marley (Pic)

If you would like to keep up with all latest Geeky Fun additions, please subscribe to the Geeky Fun feed here. You can also subscribe and get the latest additions via email.

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Cool Websites and Tools [April 13th]

Posted: 13 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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Crocodoc – Usually to modify PDF documents you need to go for paid software. Freeware PDF readers often do not let you draw on the PDF file, type text on it, and annotate it. But thanks to CrocoDoc, there is now a free tool that helps us perform all of those tasks. CrocoDoc is an HTML5-based web tool that lets you read PDF files and modify them. Read more: CrocoDoc: Read Share & Modify PDF Files Online


Zip Lock – While password-protected zip files is a common practice, there are several tools online that can easily crack the password and unzip the file. If you are obsessed about protecting your compressed files, then you should try Zip Lock. This free and portable app allows you to double-protect your zip files. Read more: Zip Lock: Double Protect Compressed Files



Tradeshift – This simple, yet powerful web-based invoicing tool aimed at companies, both large and small. It lets any company easily send and receive invoices electronically without the need to print out on paper. It is totally free, regardless of the company's size or transaction volume. Read more: Tradeshift: Free Online Invoicing Tool & Business Social Network



Megaskipper – While Megaskipper hosts entertaining and interesting videos, it does have a down-side. People watching MegaVideos for free cannot continuously watch more than 72 minutes of videos without waiting a long time. Bypassing this waiting time is made possible by a web service called MegaSkipper. Read more: MegaSkipper: Avoid MegaVideo Time Limit



Google Public Data Explorer – Have you done lots of research to gather data but don't think your charts and diagrams are powerful enough to convey the message? Google Public Data Explorer helps you with that by letting you upload that data and create powerful visualizations. The data you upload needs to be in the DSPL format. Read more: Google Public Data Explorer: Visualize & Share Your Data Online


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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4 Great Online Sources Of Mobile Phone Reviews & News

Posted: 13 Apr 2011 06:31 PM PDT

mobile phone reviewsAs development of mobile platforms and apps soars, it's hard enough to keep track of Android news and iOS apps, but at least we've got you covered with our list of best Android-related websites and iPhone app review sites. As these new updates always get released in newer smartphones and tablets, all of which seem to promise to out-do even the more recent models, it's also hard to keep track of all these portable devices.

There are a few mobile phone review sites which not only help you keep track of the latest news and devices, but also do a very thorough job of examining the pros and cons of each device so you know what to expect when you'll acquire your new mobile phone. You may already know CNET and Engadget as gadget review providers, so in this list, we'll see other, perhaps lesser-known but very complete sites that cover a great deal of mobile phones and tablets.

Mobile Tech Review

This YouTube channel offers more than 200 video reviews mostly of smartphones, but occasionally also laptops and tablets. Most reviews are about 10 minutes long or less, some running more than 20 minutes, such as this review on the Motorola Atrix 4G mobile phone.

Lisa, the host of the videos does a really good job at explaining features and going over hardware, design and software in a very soothing voice that makes the reviews more professional sounding and easy to enjoy these videos for the viewers as well.

Here is the latest smartphone review as of this writing, which covers the the new Nokia E7, a QWERTY keyboard version of the N8. You can also check out the website for text-based reviews.

The Digital Digest

The Digital Digest offers about 38 reviews as of this writing, and mainly covers tablets, but also has video reviews on cell phones, such as this demonstration of the Motorola Droid X.

The video reviews are fast-paced but also very thorough as most videos run close to 10 minutes long. Not only does Ed, the host of the videos explain features thoroughly, he also does it very eloquently, barely pausing because he does go through all pros and cons of the devices.

Since he mostly focuses on tablets, there are many reviews of devices from a variety of prices that he showcases so if you're not interested in the iPad or are looking for smaller alternatives, you should definitely check out this channel.


A favorite channel of mine, PhoneDog has a variety of tablet, mobile phone, and unboxing videos (try 1,100+ videos) but what makes it stand out is the addition of reviews covering feature or messaging phones (for anyone that just wants a working phone without the extra data fees), as well as 101-type videos explaining what 4G is, and comparisons of similar phones, which they call "dogfights".

What's also cool is that the website contains mobile-related news and updates on the latest and upcoming phones, and it also constantly offers sweepstakes, where the prizes may be iPod Shuffles, smartphones or tablets.


With over 1,300 videos, PhoneArena has reviews of mostly smartphones and tablets, usually over 5 minutes long, but it has also many video reviews of phone accessories, as well as sample videos shot with the smartphones so viewers can appreciate the quality of the phones' video-recording capabilities.

The website is also a blog with the latest mobile news but a distinguishing feature is the excellent phone finder tool, which has lots of very specific search fields, perhaps the most thorough ones I've seen.

Honorary mentions go to PhoneScoop, which offers short video tours on the latest and upcoming phones. All of these channels definitely give you detailed mobile phone reviews so you actually learn lots. Which sites are your favorite?

Image credit: TAKA@PPRS

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6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About

Posted: 13 Apr 2011 04:31 PM PDT

vlc tips and tricksVideoLan’s VLC media player is a real box of tricks. We’ve already established that it pretty much plays everything, requires little in the way of system resources and is just as effective on a Windows operating system as it is on Mac or Linux.

If you’ve not used VLC in the past (and are desperate for a decent media solution) then I’d urge you to download it and give it a go. Those of you who are already using VLC might be surprised to know there’s a few features that don’t really get the recognition they deserve.

Here are a few VLC tips and tricks that will hopefully help you get more use and enjoyment from VLC.

Streaming Capabilities

One use for VLC that not many users are too familiar with is its capacity as a network streaming workhorse. As you can see from the diagram below, using VLC as a streaming solution for your media gives you one of the best cross-compatible media sharing setups around, especially useful if you have a variety of PCs and operating systems in your household.

vlc tips and tricks

If you’re looking to stream video from your home PC whilst you’re away then you can also set VLC to stream to the Internet. Dont forget to sort out your DNS settings beforehand for a pain-free connection!

If you’re wondering how to get the most out of VLC’s streaming abilities, check out Angela’s detailed article.

Rip & Transcode Videos

Whilst there are a number of good, free video converters, why download even more software when you can already do it with VLC? Not only can VLC be used to convert video from one format to another, but it can also be used to rip disc-based media (video or music), live streams (television, cable, satellite) or network streams to file.

vlc tips tricks

To get started open VLC and click Media then Convert/Save. You’ll be presented with a dialogue which allows you to choose between converting, ripping and saving to file. Once you’ve added source media (to record from) click Convert/Save.

vlc tips tricks

The next window allows you to choose encoding settings such as codecs and output location. Don’t forget to have patience, transcoding video is resource-intensive and can take a while (regardless of how much the software costs).

Internet Radio & Podcast Management

Reaffirming its role as a multi-use media player, VLC also contains in-built Internet radio listings and a podcast aid to boot. Simply open your Playlist and select Internet on the left. You should then see a number of services pop up including Icecast Radio and Jamendo Selections. It’s all free, and there’s full albums available if that’s your thing.

vlc tips tricks

If you’d like VLC to keep a track of podcasts then hover Podcasts in the Playlist and click on the plus symbol "+" that appears. Enter the podcast’s URL to add it to your database.

Video Effects

Partly useful, partly there for fun; there’s plenty you can do to your video files with VLC to spice things up a bit. Whilst playing a video (this works in real time) click Tools and then Effects and Filters to open the adjustments window.

vlc tips

Choose Video Effects from the first tab, and have a play around. You can adjust useful settings like gamma, brightness and hue should you have a poor-quality (too dark, bad white balance) video file. The other tabs are mostly reserved for fun, with crazy psychedelic and water effects to choose from as well as video rotation, text and logo overlay options.


If you’ve ever wanted, needed or tried to take a still image of a video then you may have had issues using the usual "print screen" methods. Luckily VLC features the ability to take a snapshot and save to .PNG format in a location of your choice.

vlc tips

You can either pause, jog and find the exact scene you want or take your shot during playback. With a video open in VLC, choose Video then Snapshot (or right click on the video and use the context menu). VLC will then show a brief overlay of the snapshot in the top left, and the snapshot will be saved to the location defined in Preferences then Video under Snapshot.

Play Video as ASCII Output

Last on the list as it has absolutely no real use, but will probably bring a grin to your face nonetheless. In VLC choose Tools then Preferences and click on Video. Under Output choose ASCII -art video output and click Save.

vlc tips and tricks

Now play a video and enjoy the amazing spectacle that is moving ASCII art. Useless, but fun!

Do you use VLC? Maybe you prefer SMPlayer or UMPlayer? Any of these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below.

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How To Disable Your Windows Screensaver With Motion Detection

Posted: 13 Apr 2011 02:31 PM PDT

disable screen saverWhile password-locked screensavers are a security necessity at many businesses, in most homes the screensaver’s only real purpose is to…well…save the screen. It can become a little bit of an annoyance to have to tap the keyboard or move the mouse whenever you walk up to the computer to see what’s going on. It’s especially annoying if you have scans running or some other activity that you just want to monitor over a long period of time. The screensaver will kick in, and you have to tap the keyboard or move the mouse to remove it.

Wouldn’t it be cool if your computer acted a little bit more like one of those advanced computers you read about in science fiction novels, where you can simply walk up to it and it can sense that you are there and respond accordingly? I mean, these days almost every computer comes with a webcam of some sort, often embedded right above the monitor, so the potential for smarter, more automated computers is there.

There may be some newer computer systems that already do this, but for the most part people are still stuck with tapping the keyboard to disable the screen saver. I started thinking about this the other day and decided to try to put together a combination of applications and scripts that would accomplish this simple automation task (yes, these are the sorts of things automation engineers do for fun).

The Motion-Detection Screensaver Solution

What I came up with was an application-script combination that would constantly monitor the webcam for motion, and then instantly run a script that would remove the screensaver. Deciding on the webcam software was easy. I was tempted to use the Active Webcam software that I previously wrote about, but then I realized that YawCam, which Mark covered before, is much simpler and more effective for this sort of task.

Once you install and run YawCam (and give them a nice donation for offering us this free software), you’ll see the following screen over the webcam video.

disable screen saver

Click on “Window” and then choose Motion detection from the dropdown list. On the next screen, you’ll see a page where the motion detection software logs each time a motion event takes place (when the detection is activated). Click on the “Actions” tab to set up the file that you’ll have YawCam run whenever motion is detected.

automate screen saver

On this screen, you’ll see a “Settings…” button next to Run.exe. Select the checkbox next to “Run.exe” and then click on the settings button.

automate screen saver

Click on the Activate check box for flood control (you don’t want the script launching 50 times a second), and put some delay (I put 10 seconds, but you can use up to 60 or more). The next step would be to click on the browse button and choose your script file that you want to run. Alas, you don’t have one yet. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

You’ll notice that the default filter looks for .bat or .exe files, but you can also choose a Windows Script file (.wsf). For this article, I hunted for a whole list of ways to kill the screensaver via script. I searched for programs that already exist, or batch job methods that disable the screen saver. In each of those cases the screensaver stays disabled – not good. So then I turned to methods to send keyboard keys or mouse clicks to Windows – and sure enough, that was the solution.

After digging around Microsoft help files, I found the SendKeys code that simulates pressing the “Enter” button on the keyboard.

The following is the script.

<script language=”VBScript”>
set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)

Save this script to a .wsf file and point the Action event in YawCam to that file. Now, every time there’s motion in the webcam, it’ll kick off your script, which simulates pressing the keyboard enter key – which will disable the screen saver.

If you find that your script isn’t getting launched or the motion detection doesn’t seem to be working (or it’s too sensitive), make sure to check out the “Settings” tab in YawCam. Make sure that the tolerance is high enough so it’s not too sensitive, and make sure the sensitivity is high enough so that it picks up when you sit down in front of the computer.

disable screen saver

As with most automated solutions, this one isn’t perfect yet because you have to turn it off when you actually want to use the computer or it’ll keep sending the “Enter” key whenever there’s motion. I’m sure there are other creative ways you can probably perfect this automated screensaver trick. The solution above will work best for situations where you have something running for hours (like a virus scan) and you want to just walk up to the screen and have it automatically show you what’s going on, but then the screensaver will reactivate after you walk away.

Did you install this automated screensaver setup? How well did it work for you? Did you find a way to perfect the system even more? Share your insights in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Vivek Chugh

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Hot Tech Deals [Apr 13th]

Posted: 13 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 3550 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 15.6in Laptop (Aluminum) $549
  2. Dell Vostro 3450 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 14in Laptop (Aluminum) $580
  3. Dell Vostro 3750 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 17.3in Laptop (Aluminum) $592
  4. Dell Vostro 3300 Intel Core i3-370M 2.4GHz 13.3in Laptop (Aluminum, 2GB/250GB) $469
  5. TODAY ONLY Men’s Invicta II Chronograph Diamond Watch $99 Free Shipping
  6. TODAY ONLY Dell M109s On-the-Go DLP Projector (858×600, 0.8 lbs) $259 Free Shipping
  7. iLuv iMM28 Stereo Speaker Dock for iPhone and iPod $39.99 Free Shipping
  8. HP 2311x 23in LED-Backlit LCD Monitor (1920×1080, HDMI/DVI) $179.99 Free Shipping via code TECHBARG30 (Exp Soon)
  9. XFX HD5830 1GB DDR5 HDCP PCI-E Video Card (DX11, Eyefinity) + SHogun Total War 2 Game $119.99AR via rebate

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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CodySafe: An Application Launcher & Powerful Companion For Your Portable Apps [Windows]

Posted: 13 Apr 2011 11:31 AM PDT

application launcherIn the last several years, portable apps have really gained huge popularity among Windows users. As the name suggests, the concept of portable apps enables us to use our favorite software without having to install it first. It means that we can carry the applications on our USB drive or store them somewhere in the cloud and use them from any compatible computer.

But if you have a huge collection of portable applications on your thumb drive, you will know that keeping the apps and actually using them are two different things. Going back and forth from/to the portable app folder to open the apps could end up becoming annoying over time.  Therefore we need the help of a portable application launcher, and CodySafe is one of the most recommended names.

An Application Launcher & More

One of the biggest problems of portable applications is their absence from the local hard disk and Start Menu. So the only way to open them is by navigating Windows Explorer to the app’s location and selecting the items manually. That’s why the main function of most portable application managers is an application launcher. CodySafe is no different. If you want to, you can install the app in the hard drive and use it as an application launcher.

But the app is more than just a launcher. CodySafe also has other features specifically designed to run from a thumb drive to help us manage portable apps. To benefit from the features, be sure to choose your portable drive as the destination during installation.

application launcher

After installation, the app will reside in the system tray. Clicking on the tray icon will open CodySafe’s main window. The interface looks similar to Windows’ own Start Menu with quick access to Documents, Pictures, Music, Video, Windows Explorer and Options.

windows 7 application launcher

When you first use it, the Portable Applications pane will still be empty. You can download portable apps and add them to your collection by clicking the white blank pane. You will be taken to Codyssey’s download page where you can search and download a number of portable apps.

windows 7 application launcher

You can find more portable apps by looking at our previous article 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win), or you can also create your own with PAC.

The Goodies

If you click on “Options” in the main window, the application will display its Control Panel. This is the place where you can access and customize CodySafe’s features.

windows 7 application launcher

One of the cool features bundled with CodySafe is the “Drive Doctor“. This tool will help you scan your disk, prevent virus infections (with ViruSense), and fix disk errors. You can also automate the scanning process if you want to.

open source application launcher

Another interesting feature is “Find-If-Lost“. CodySafe will help you create a text file with your contact details inside the public area of your USB drive. These details will help kind-hearted people to return the drive to you if they happen to stumble onto your lost drive.

Even though creating a text file with your contact information is simple enough, only a few people have ever thought about it. Besides, creating one using CodySafe tool is faster and more fun.

open source application launcher

This is what the text looks like.

open source application launcher

If you are a keyboard person and prefer shortcut keys to the mouse, you can work with portable applications faster by defining your own “Hot Keys”. You can assign a hot key to an action by clicking on the field in the “Hot Keys” column.

05a HotKeys

It’s also possible to add more actions and more hotkeys by clicking the “Add Hot Key” button.

Last but not least, I think “Applications Manager” is the most important feature of all. It’s the place to add portable applications to be managed by CodyFree. Just browse to the location of the portable app that you want to add and click “Apply“. Repeat the process for other portable apps.

06a Add Applications

If you want your portable applications to run automatically every time you plug in your thumb drive to a computer, go to the “Autorun Management” tab and add the portable apps to the list.

06c Autorun Management

Advanced users can add scripts to the environment. The scripts will help you to make something happens before and/or after CodySafe runs.

application launcher

Armed with CodySafe, using portable applications will be a walk in the park. Just plug your thumb drive into a computer, and all of your favorites apps will just be a click/shortcut key away,

Have you tried CodySafe? Dow you use other applications to manage your portable apps? Share your opinions and secrets in the comments below.

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How To Create Direct Links To Dropbox Content & Automate The Process

Posted: 13 Apr 2011 10:31 AM PDT

automate dropboxMost of us know how popular and useful Dropbox is for sharing files with it being quick and accessible from any computer. We have already described 4 Unique and Cool Ways to Use Dropbox, and if you're new to the service, you should download Matt’s free Unofficial Guide to Dropbox. As a frequent Dropbox user myself, I'm always looking for ways to make use of Dropbox in my day-to-day workflow.

One of the best uses of Dropbox is file sharing. With your Dropbox account, you can use your Public folder to share files with others. In this article I will show you the quick and easy steps to share single files in your Public folder, and how to share a folder of files (a zip folder) via a direct URL link. This way, recipients don’t have to go to the Dropbox website to download your zip folder of files. Lastly, for Mac users, I will show you how to automate Dropbox using Automator.

Create A Public Link

I assume you already have Dropbox installed on your computer. If not, click here to download Dropbox to your computer. There's also information in Matt's guide.

automate dropbox

Sharing Single Files

If you have Dropbox set up on your computer, you can right- or Control-click on a single file in your Dropbox Public folder, select Dropbox, and then select “Copy Public Link” from the drop-down menu to create a link (see the following screenshot). You can send the link to a recipient for download purposes. That's easy enough.

dropbox auto update

But notice, Dropbox will not allow you to send a direct link to a regular folder of files in your Public folder (see screenshot below).

dropbox auto update

In this case, Dropbox gives you the option to “Share This Folder“, but that is only if the folder is NOT in the Public folder. If you select the “Share This Folder” option in your Public folder, you will get the following message after you add an email address:

dropbox auto update

So the next step shows you how to remedy this.

Create A Zip File

If you compress a set of files or a folder of files, which creates a Zip file, you can add that Zip file to your Dropbox Public folder. All computers can download and open a ordinary Zip file. The Zip file decompresses and opens like a regular folder with the content in it.

dropbox auto sync

For both Mac and Windows users, you can quickly create a Zip file by right- or Control-clicking a set of files or a folder of files and choosing “Compress…” This process will create a Zip file on your desktop.

dropbox auto sync

After you move your created Zip file to your Dropbox Public folder, you can right- or Control-click on it, and it will give you the option to create a public link to that Zip file (see screenshot above). When someone clicks that link, the Zip file should automatically download. This only works for Zip files that you place in the Public folder of your Dropbox account.

Automate The Process With Automator

Mac users can automate this process using Automator, a free application that comes installed in Mac OS X. This automation will compress a set of selected files or a folder files, create a Zip file, and automatically send that file to your Dropbox Public folder. I'm assuming you have some background with Automator. If not, the instructions should be pretty easy to follow.

  • Open Automator, in your Applications folder.
    dropbox auto sync
  • Select Service workflow and click Choose, as shown above.
  • Change the setting in the drop-down menu, as in the screenshot below.
  • Now do the following – select Library in Automator and do a search for "Create Archive".
  • Drag the Create Archive workflow into the Workflow pane. Change the Where to your Dropbox Public folder. Check “Show this action when workflow runs” box.
  • Save the workflow, with something SaveAsZipFile.

Now, when you want to compress a set of files or a folder of files, select them and run your Automator workflow from the Services menu, by selecting Finder > SaveAsZipFile.

automate dropbox

Let me know how this tutorial works for you. Also, if you have other ways to automate Dropbox, or other tips and how-tos, please share them with us.

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Elementary ‘Jupiter’ – A Slick, Easy-To-Use Operating System [Linux]

Posted: 13 Apr 2011 09:31 AM PDT

jupiter osLooking for a beautiful, functional operating system? Check out the first Elementary Jupiter OS. This Linux-based operating system is designed from the ground up to stay out of your way so you can simply use your computer. Whether you’re a long-time Linux user or a complete beginner to open source operating systems, Elementary’s elegance is impressive and more than worth checking out.

The desktop wars are back. Ubuntu’s new Unity desktop will make its premier later this month, and Gnome 3 is well under way. If you’re not so sure about the direction these new interfaces are taking, you might well prefer Elementary’s approach. Built on top of the classic Gnome interface with an additional dock, Elementary does all it can not to bother the user with excess information. The result is an operating system, and a series of new programs, with really clean interfaces.

You’ll find a free bittorrent download of Elementary over at, or you can order a disk for $10. Whatever you decide to do, keep reading to see what you’ll soon have.

Main Interface

The main user interface will be familiar to most long time Linux users; it’s basically Gnome. The top panel and menu, for example, are fairly standard:

jupiter os

The difference in this distro to most can be subtle. Check out the file browser, for example:

jupiter operating system

If you’ve ever installed Nautilus Elementary this will be immediately familar to you. It’s basically the same program as Nautilus, just refined for the sack of simplicity. Most of the core apps that make up Elementary are altered in this way. A couple were created specifically for this project.


The default email program, for example, is Postler. Based on the same core as Evolution, the usual default email program for Gnome, Postler “aims to be easy, simple, clean, beautiful, and automagic” according to its creators.

The initial setup screen certainly delivers at that:

jupiter operating system

Setting up my Gmail account couldn’t have been simpler, and once I did the user interface for checking my mail was beautiful:

jupiter operating system

I hope the core Evolution team takes a few pages out of Postler’s paybook, because this is really nice. Want to learn more about Postler, or download it for your current Linux distro? Find more about Postler here.

Another change in Postler, and all core Elementary programs: there’s no top menu bar. Elementary instead tries to make use of a Chrome-style “AppMenu” in its core programs:

elementary os jupiter

Whether you like this is a matter of opinion, of course, but I think it’s an improvement.


Complimenting Postler is Dexter, a very simple address book application. There’s not much else to say about this; you can import contacts from elsewhere or create your own:

elementary os jupiter

This program integrates really well with Postler, so check it out in Elementary or find out more about Dexter here.

Other Applications

There are a few other programs added to the user experience, including a dictionary called Lingo and the Midori web browser. There’s also a dock built into the interface by default: Docky.

jupiter os

This Mac-style dock makes managing your programs easier, but it’s not for everyone. Opinion will be divided on this one.

More Resources

It’s worth noting that you’re not limited in terms of your choice of applications; you have access to the Ubuntu Software Center and all the software it offers.

Want to customize how Elementary looks? Check out the Jupiter Customization guide to get the low down. For other support, join the Elementary chat room. You’ll learn all kinds of great things!

Also feel free to read the comments below, because our readers post great tips and questions. Come to think of it, feel free to post great tips and questions!

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How To Find Similar Images Using Google’s Image Search

Posted: 13 Apr 2011 08:31 AM PDT

google image searchMy job as an editor and writer for MakeUseOf requires a constant search for images. Needless to say, I have quite a few links stashed away in my bookmarks folder. But it is often that I turn to Google Image Search to track down that elusive graphic.

Like all Google products, Google Image Search has continuously been tweaked and improved. The latest change comes to the Google Similar Images option. Google has put in a feature that now you can use to search for similar images across a single site. This is basically an improvement of Google's site: operator which limits your searches to a particular domain.

But how does it help us exactly and what are the uses you can put this small improvement too? Let's find out.

Google Similar Images: The Usual Run

Most of us are familiar with the process that goes into searching for similar images. Go to Google Image Search and type in a keyword for the image you are searching for. Next, it's just a matter of mouse-over a specific image (for which you want similar images) and clicking on the Similar link.

google image search

Here's what you get – a whole gallery of similar images to pick and choose from. Once you get the similar images, you can go for More Sizes and check out the other dimensions that are available.

google advanced image search

Similar Images: Do a Google Image Search

To come back to the search update, you can use the similar search function as a combination with the site: operator. Use the operator as normally would. Let's say: linux. As you can see from the screenshot below, the gallery of images now are closer (or similar) to the base image.

google advanced image search

The Advanced Search options also allow you to specify a domain and limit your search to a single site. But using it from the address bar saves you a few clicks and is definitely the easiest way to get that perfect image. But definitely dive into it if you need the other options available there.

google advanced image search

Some Uses You Can Put It Too…

Taking a cue from Digital Inspiration's article on the same subject, you can use the new feature to search for magazine covers across a domain like I am using it to look for a variety of images which I can use as 'album covers' for my personal MP3 collection.

Google has also updated the index of similar images, so now you'll find more recent results. That's great if you are searching for images from newsworthy events. Especially, searching for a familiar celebrity (Of course, you will have a wider sweep if you remove the site: operator). The Official Google Blog demonstrates with Lady Gaga.

google image search

If you have any interest in gardening, the visual search by similarity is a great time saver when it comes to searching for a particular type of flower that you know only by color. It's not perfect, but it helps to narrow down your options. The same logic applies to any other search distinguished by small differences.

Google Image Search represents one of the easiest ways to search for something visually. It can also be an exercise in creativity and fun. That's what our two previous posts hinted at –

5 Creative Google Image Search Visualizations
10 Tips to Have Fun Using Advanced Google Search for Images

Apart from these top-of-the-head ideas, do you have more creative ideas that we run through Google Image Search? Share them with us.

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