Thursday, April 21, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 11 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 11 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 21 Apr 2011 12:58 AM PDT


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

  1. Why People Check Voicemail (Pic)
  2. How Dual Monitors Are Actually Used (Pic)
  3. Troubleshooting Moms Computer Over The Phone (Pic)
  4. What Google Earth Is Used For (Pic)
  5. How To Fix Any Computer (Pic)
  6. The Future According to Google Search Results (Pic)
  7. Remote Control For Woman & Man (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 20th]

Posted: 20 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.

Add Your Website Here!


The Print Effect – Have you ever imagined how long your Twitter stream actually is? Imagine printing out all of it; how many pages do you think it would span? The Print Effect is here to help calculate that figure. The Print Effect is a free and simple website that helps find how many pages it would take to print out your entire Twitter stream. Read more: The Print Effect: Find Out the Number Of A4 Pages Required to Print Out Your Twitter Stream


CueThat – While browsing movie titles on a website, you may see ones you find interesting. Then you log into your Netflix account and add these titles to your movies queue. This 3-step process is shrunk and made a great deal faster by a tool called CueThat, a simple browser extension for Firefox and Google Chrome. Read more: CueThat: Easily Add Movies To Netflix Queue



Cloudberry Online Backup – Amazon S3 is a competent online storage service. Countless computer users have signed up for it to create backups of their data since you never know when data on your computer will be accidentally lost. To efficiently back up your data to S3, one of the best options is CloudBerry Online Backup. Read more: Cloudberry Online Backup: Efficiently Back Up Files To Amazon S3 (20 Free Licenses)



EmailMe – Everybody knows how it works, you publish your email address on a website or blog, the spam bots read it through their automated scripts and then fill your inbox with Viagra deals. EmailMe is a nice tool that lets you hide your email address behind a button so only humans can get to it. Read more: EmailMe: Create An Email Me Button To Save Yourself From Spam



Snapfinch – Tools that let you share photos socially are growing in popularity. Instagram and Snapr are a few amongst them that have shown tremendous growth. SnapFinch is to these tools what Google is to the web. Using SnapFinch you can search tools searched on social photo sharing sites like Instagram, Snapr and Steply. Read more: SnapFinch: A Social Image Search Tool


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 Things To Check When Your System Restore Is Not Working

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 06:31 PM PDT

system restore not workingWhen your computer works smoothly, don't you wish it would always stay this way? Even if you exercise caution with the programs you download, regularly perform defragmentation and do other things to ensure your system runs at its best, problems may still arise without warning.

System Restore may work wonders and save your behind in those cases. If however you find system restore not working, there might be a number of things to check before you reinstall Windows. If you're sure System Restore is turned on, but it's still not working properly, try the following.

Run System Restore From Safe Mode

If you get any problems while running System Restore, or System Restore did not complete successfully, try running System Restore in Safe Mode. To run Windows in Safe Mode, restart your computer and press F8 (if you have Windows installed only). If you have a dual-boot configuration, select Windows and press F8 before the Windows logo appears. You can also make the system go into Safe Mode by typing 'msconfig' in the Start search box and enabling Safe Boot in the Boot tab.

system restore not working

When you're on the desktop in Windows Safe Mode, type 'System' in the Start search box and press Enter when System Restore is highlighted. You should be able to run System Restore at this point. If System Restore works in Safe Mode, then perhaps your antivirus program or a corrupted file is preventing it from starting. You may need to adjust your antivirus program (like turn off Norton's Tamper Protection feature) or perform scans before attempting to run System Restore again.

Sometimes, your System Restore files may also have become corrupted. You may have to use an earlier restore point (especially if you've tried the more recent ones without success), but if that doesn't work, you may need to switch System Restore off (this will delete all your existing restore points), restart your computer and turn it on again.

Configure Disk Space Usage (300MB)

If you still can't get System Restore to run properly, try adjusting the disk space allocated for System Restore since you might have run out of it. Microsoft recommends at least 300MB of free hard disk space and since System Restore might actually use up to 15% of space, you might look into increasing the allocated space or deleting old restore points.

To adjust disk space for System Restore, type 'create restore' in the Start search box and press Enter when Create a restore point is highlighted.

system restore does not wor

Now click on the Configure button and move the slider in the next dialog.

system restore does not wor

system restore does not wor

To delete old restore points, you can use the option below the slider to delete all restore points and previous versions of files (which I would not recommend), or only delete older restore points while still keeping the last, most recent one. To do the latter, type Disk Cleanup in the Start search box, right-click on the first item and choose Run as Administrator.

system restore disabled

Now click on More Options, and then on Clean up.

system restore disabled

Try System Image Backup Programs

System Restore may have always worked for you, but if you've tried a lot of things and System Restore just doesn't work at all, try performing system image backups. These will create an image of your system when it's stable and performing smoothly so you can restore your machine to that state in case it runs into problems. Windows 7 already has a function for you to create system repair disks and images. Just type 'repair' or 'system repair' in the Start search box and follow the instructions to create a repair disk.

system restore disabled

To create system images, type 'back up' in the Start search box.

Click on Create a System Image on the left of the window.

You'll be prompted to choose somewhere to save your system image so you can start saving the backup. To restore image backups, read this.

You can also use Clonezilla, Paragon's Drive Backup Express or any of the excellent 5 tools in this list.

If you would rather reinstall Windows, read Jorge's guide for reinstalling without losing your data.

Additional Consideration: Make Sure Restore Points Are Being Created

Just to be on the safe side, check regularly that restore points are being created because the last thing you want is to find out your System Restore function doesn't work after your computer has gone awry. Type 'rstrui' in the Start search box. Click Next on the dialog and on the next screen, make sure there are recent restore points.

system restore not working

How do you deal when System Restore is not working? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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Bin Weevils – A Fun Free Browser-Based Kids Game With Plenty To Do

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 04:31 PM PDT

free online browser gameChildren’s games often try to both educate and entertain but sometimes can miss the mark completely. Console games aren’t exactly cheap, and you’re not always guaranteed a playable demo before you commit to purchase.

Bin Weevils is a free, somewhat massively multiplayer children’s game that uses Adobe Flash to run a virtual world in your web browser. The option to pay a subscription for extra perks exists, though there’s so much to do you might never need to. As with any online children’s service, online safety is paramount and the developers have provided a guide for parents, with frequently asked questions, subscription information and a safety page.

Concepts & Ideas

As with most children’s games, parents are often more interested in the game’s underlying concepts and ideas than gameplay and graphics. Bin Weevils seems to have got it right, encouraging all manner of green, healthy and social interactions.

In order to satiate the three demands of your Bin Weevil – hunger, fitness and happiness – you must explore the world, meet new people, visit specific areas and expand your influence. In addition to this Sims-like chart of demands, there is a levelling system and currency called "Mulch".

free online browser game

XP is earned with everything you do, from harvesting plants in the garden to beating other Weevils at multiplayer games. The levelling system is essentially there to maintain the game’s steady pace, with higher levels enabling the purchase of other seeds and goods.

As your Weevil levels up he will learn new special moves, which you can show off to other inhabitants. These special moves are used to build up fitness, and essentially count as exercise.

As a Bin Weevil you must keep fit, socialise and eat whilst developing your character and ultimately a circle of friends. Child friendly? Check.

Home Sweet Home

Being a kids game, Bin Weevils doesn’t require an email address to sign up and get started. You are given the option once you’ve customized your Weevil to register a parent’s email address which credits the account with 2000 mulch (in addition to the 1000 you start with). Creating your first character is as easy as clicking Play then Get Started, entering a username and password then clicking Play Now.

browser based game

Your character will appear before you in a small area known as your nest. From here you can access your initial room (on the left) exit to your garden (through the tube) or using the Map button visit anywhere you please.

browser based game

The garden is a fairly standard affair and you’re given one “speedy” seed to begin with. This seed will grow in 15 minutes, after which you’re able to harvest the goods for money and XP. Seeds can take days to grow (Bin Weevil days, not real-time), and once the player has reached a high enough level a watering can is available to keep certain plants alive indefinitely.

browser based game

From the garden screen you can click Buy Seeds and choose from a selection of seeds, bulbs and other items. As well as the aforementioned watering can, items such as fencing and solar panelling can be purchased once your Bin Weevil has reached the required level. The nest itself consumes power, and additional fuel can be purchased by clicking on the generator in the main room.

The main room also allows access to your room. This is a room that you can decorate and use any way you’d like, with furniture and other items available for sale throughout the Weevil world. To start you off you’re given a shelf and a birthday egg, which marks the date your created your character.

online browser game

Beyond The Nest

Clicking on Map will give you a brief view of the activities available to you, including shopping, word puzzles and a meet and greet area known as Ink’s Orange Peel. Here players can chat using the text area at the bottom of the screen and leave messages on the message board.

online browser game

You can start customizing and then activate your Bin Weevil by clicking Change Your Bin Weevil on this screen. There are plenty of options to choose from to make your character unique, and when you’re done you can exit through the door on the right to activate your Weevil.

online browser game

One of the more interestingly implemented features is streaming video. The game itself is based on a series of Nickelodeon shorts, and these are viewable from the cinema. As a free member you’ll only get one screen but this struck me as a novel way to present streaming video; especially given the target audience.

free online browser game

Games like Weevil Racing, a fully 3D online multiplayer kart racer, allow you to compete against other Bin Weevils for money and XP. Other games include crosswords and wordsearches, brain teasers, whack-a-Weevil and a variant of pool. This is only the tip of the iceberg, there are plenty of other areas including a park, mall, a club and the subscribers-only Tycoon Island.

Subscribing provides access to extra features including pets, access to new areas, additional screens in the cinema and a big deposit of mulch (20,000). The free option here is certainly substantial enough to encourage repeat playings, however.


I’m 24 and I enjoyed playing around with Bin Weevils, trust me – your kids are going to love it. The brightly coloured characters, worlds and 3D elements are a treat to look at and there’s loads to do, even without paying.

Mixing elements from games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing with instant online gaming results in a feature-packed timewaster that might even teach your little sprogs a thing or two.

Have you or your children tried Bin Weevils? Any other similar games out there? Let us know in the comments below.

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Organize & Create Your Short Stories & Novels With StoryBook

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 02:31 PM PDT

create short stories softwareHave you ever had the idea to finally sit down and write that great novel you’ve always wanted to create, but you kept putting it off because the whole process just felt too complicated?  If you’ve ever read a Tom Clancy novel, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Some novels have dozens of main characters and several threads of storyline all going on at the same time. How does the author keep it all straight?

Here at MUO, we love writing and have always tried to bring you tools that will help with your writing, such as Nancy’s guide to inspiring apps for writers, Jeffry’s list of Firefox addons for writers, and Karl’s review of VocabGrabber. Today I’d like to offer an impressive open source application called Storybook, which can automate the entire writing process for you. This way, you can focus on what you do best – writing stories.

Writing A Novel With Storybook

What impressed me the most about this organizational tool is that it is capable of helping you sort out and organize even the most complicated novel with multiple storylines. The software comes loaded with tools to create, sort and connect the chapters of your book with individual scenes, your list of developed characters, and you can even “strand” together your scenes into a sequence that forms individual storylines that you can link together.

create short stories software

To get started, just click on New and name the novel or story that you’re working on. The main screen is divided into a left panel for the development of your strands, and the right panel where you can explore your entire story by individual elements like characters, locations and more.

short story software

To create a new scene (strand), just click the green plus icon, assign a date and title to the scene, and then write a quick summary of what you want that scene to entail. Don’t worry about the strand you’ve assigned the scene to – you can change it at any point, and you can also link it to other strands later.

short story software

You can create new characters and locations from the main screen, or from the individual strand creation window. Name your character and note all of the characteristics. The software will keep track of everything for you, so any time you need to remember how old your character is or what they do for a living, you can just go back to your explorer and click on the character.

short story software

For each scene, you’ll link together characters and fictional locations that are involved in the scene. This builds the storyline database that will help you keep everything organized. This way, later when you’re trying to remember if a certain character ever interacted with another character or visited a certain location – you’ll have a way to double check.

short story software free download

As you build story strands and link them together, you’re essentially building the outline of your larger story or novel. As the plot gets larger, this becomes an amazing tool that keeps everything organized for you so that you don’t have to rack your brain trying to keep everything straight. No more risk of inadvertently creating an impossible plot – for example, like having a character accidentally meet another character for the “first time”, multiple times in your story.

short story software free download

Of course, Storybook does provide the basics. You can form a general outline of each chapter by clicking on “New Chapter” from the menu and quickly describing what the chapter is going to be about. This is a good first step before you start digging into the plot and building your individual strands.

short story software free download

My favorite part of this software is the “Novel Explorer” bar where you can see every element of your entire story at a quick glance. Characters, locations, strands, chapters and even subsections of your chapters are all available from this one spot. This makes it a total breeze to research your planned storyline while you’re in the midst of writing your current chapter.

Another of my favorite parts of this software is the “idea” feature. Click on the lightbulb at the top of the main window and the “Ideas” tool will pop up. Here you can jot down a quick idea that you don’t really know what to do with yet. You’ll never forget a great idea again, and you can just come back later to figure out where you want to work it into your plot, and track the status of each of your ideas by moving them into the started, completed or abandoned categories.

You can really see the power of the software when you check out the charts and tools section. The software lets you see every aspect of your story in a chart format that connects characters and strands by date or scene. It’s an amazing thing. There’s even a Gantt chart for your characters!

create short stories software

If you’ve ever thought writing your own novel but were afraid the process would be far too complicated – you no longer have that excuse. Storybook takes all of the complexity out of character profiling, plot layout and creating your story outline. It’s the easiest way to manage the technical aspect of writing while you focus more of your time on the more creative act of actually writing the story itself.

Give Storybook a try and let us know if it simplified your writing process. How did you make use of Storybook for your project? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Image Credit : Churl

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Hot Tech Deals [Apr 20th]

Posted: 20 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. HP dv6tqe Intel Core i7-2630QM Quad-Core Sandy Bridge 15.6in Laptop $770.49 via code NB8095 (Exp after 1350 uses)
  2. HP dv7tqe Intel Core i7-2630QM Quad-Core Sandy Bridge 17.3in Laptop w/ Blu-Ray $874.99 via code NB6973 (Exp Soon)
  3. HP Pavilion Elite 590T Intel Core i7-970 Hexacore (6-Core) 3.2GHz Desktop $1349 via code DT1988 (Exp Soon)
  4. TODAY ONLY G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3-1600MHz PC3-12800 Desktop Memory $139.99
  5. Sony SMPN100 Wireless 1080p High Definition Media Player (Netflix Streaming) $89.99
  6. Seagate Expansion 3TB External Hard Drive $129.99 Free Shipping
  7. Dell Vostro 3750 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 17.3in Laptop (Aluminum) $592
  8. Dell Vostro 3450 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 14in Laptop (Aluminum) $580

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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How To Use Your Dedicated Virtual Server As An Internet Proxy Using SSH Tunneling

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 12:31 PM PDT

internet proxy serverI explained some of the benefits of having your own virtual private server hosting account a while ago – not only are they faster and able to host many more of your sites, you can also configure W3 Total Cache for optimum performance by installing special Apache caching extensions. Today I’m going to show you how you can also use it as a private Internet proxy server for secure Internet browsing.

This is particularly beneficial in countries such as China, where most commercial proxy solutions have stopped working altogether. Read on for a full explanation of how you can go about using your own VPS hosting account as a private proxy.

First up, a few points to clear up:

Can I Use This Method With My Shared Hosting, Or Does It Need To Be A VPS Or Dedicated Server?

This method uses SSH (secure shell, or “command line” access), so generally that means you can only use it with your dedicated or virtual dedicated hosting account. Some shared hosts do allow SSH access, so search your shared host’s support documents first.

Can I Use This To Download Torrents Or Other Nefarious Illegal Activites?

No. Remember the traffic is being routed through your website / server IP address, so anything you do can be traced back to that. You will also be using part of the bandwidth allocation of your hosting account, so downloading torrents would quickly push up the monthly hosting cost.

So Why Would I Want To Do This?

Sometimes you just want another IP address when you visit a website. This can be especially useful when faced with location-specific sites that block other countries. In other cases, your country may already be blocking access to various well known proxy providers, as is the case in China. The method described here will allow you to tunnel out of the offending country and go about your daily business without having every packet you send being inspected by the great firewall.

Setting Up SSH On Windows

I’ll start with Windows as the process is a little more complicated than on Mac OsX or Linux. In order to use SSH, you’ll need to download a special client software – in this tutorial I’ll use Putty. Go ahead and download the basic putty.exe file.

When you first open Putty, there’s a few settings to fill in. First is your server domain. If you have lots of domains set up on your private hosting account then go ahead and use any of them, but they’ll need to be SSH-enabled and remember that your login/password will be unique to each domain. I don’t suggest using the root account to log in under any circumstances, even if you have enabled it.

  1. Enter the server domain on the first screen.
  2. internet proxy server

  3. Click on the SSH label on the left sidebar. Make sure compression is enabled.
  4. ssh proxy tunnel

  5. Expand the SSH label to reveal additional settings. On the Tunnels screen, enter 9090 as the Source Port and change the destination to Dynamic.
  6. ssh proxy tunnel

  7. Head back up to the sessions screen where you first entered the domain. Enter a name for your settings in the text box below saved sessions, then hit save. You can now click on this saved session in future to reload all your settings.
  8. Finally, hit Open. There is no way to save your password and username, so you’ll need to re-enter these each time you open a connection. I also had problems pasting my password in, so if you do too then try typing it one character at a time. The first time you open the connection, you may get a warning error about authenticity of certificates and such. If so, ignore it and continue.

That’s it for Windows, leave the putty connection open and move onto configuring your browser.

ssh proxy tunnel

Setting Up SSH On Linux / OsX

Open up a terminal, and type the following command,

ssh -C2qTnN -D 9090

After you’ve typed in your password, that’s it. Leave the terminal open while you go on to configure your browser.

setting up ssh tunnel

Configuring The Browser

I’ll explain a couple of browsers here but basically you just need to change the settings for Connection -> Proxy to be a SOCKS5 proxy, with the url localhost and port 9090.

On Internet Explorer

Click the Tools -> Internet Options -> Connections tab. Tick Use a Proxy server and click Advanced. Fill in ONLY the SOCKS proxy as address localhost and port 9090

setting up ssh tunnel

On Firefox

Open up Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Settings -> Proxies. Select Manual proxy configuration. Fill out SOCKS Host and port.

setting up ssh tunnel

Alternatively, if you’re running a decent operating system like OsX, you can change the settings for system wide network access which will affect all browsers apps (this will also be opened for you if you attempt to change Chrome OsX proxy settings). From System Preferences, select your appropriate network interface (in my case, Ethernet). Under the proxies tab, tick to enable SOCKS proxy, then type in the details on the right.

internet proxy server

That’s wasn’t too hard was it? Of course, you could set this up with any remote linux computer really, but I wanted to demonstrate another of the many benefits to having your own private host over slow shared hosting, and just how powerful a few simple linux commands can be.

Remember, don’t do anything illegal with this method, as it can be traced back to your hosting account and is not designed to provide 100% anonymity.

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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Promote Your Blog Or Business Via Facebook With The Help Of The Wildfire iFrame App

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 11:31 AM PDT

promote your blog for freeNobody would argue that the perfect place to promote and market any product is the place where the biggest crowd gathers, and everybody knows that Facebook is one of the most crowded places in the online world. The official Facebook statistics page says that they currently have more than 500 million active users. While that figure is staggering, rumor has it that the actual number has now passed the 600 million mark. So it’s only logical that Facebook is one of the best places on the net to promote your product, business or blog.

Facebook is fully aware of this fact and has already provided users with Pages – a Facebook tool to do some promotions. Users can build and expand Pages on their own, but the result would be much better with help from professionals – which usually comes with a steep price.

If you are one of those who could use some help building your promotional pages but can’t spare any extra cash for it, today might be your lucky day. Wildfire – a social media marketing professional – has just launched an iFrame App for Facebook Pages. This is a tool to help you optimize your Facebook Page as a promotional tool, and it’s available for free (for a limited time).

Let’s Prepare The Pages

The concept behind the iFrame App is simple but ingenious. This app will display two different pages, one for fans, and one for non-fans. You could show an invitation to click the “Like” button on the non-fans page with a promise to access incentives, bonuses, or simply more information on the fan page. Basically, you can “bribe” your visitor to click the “Like” button.

To use the app, just click on the big “Install this app” button.

promote your blog for free

However, you need a Facebook Page to install the app.  I won’t go into details on building a Facebook Page. For more information on setting up your own Page, you can read our comprehensive guide : Promote Your Blog Using Facebook Pages.

Installing & Customizing The iFrame App

After you have built yourself a page, you can then continue to install the iFrame App. Click on the “Install this app” button on the iFrame website and the app will ask for permission to access your basic information.

promote blog on facebook

The app will also ask whether you want to add iFrame for Pages.

promote blog on facebook

After the installation, you need to register your app by filling in your personal information and clicking “Submit“.

promote blog on facebook

Now you are ready to set up your iFrame. Turn on the “Fan Gate” if you want to display different information for those who have clicked the “Like” button (fans) and those who haven’t (non-fans).

facebook blog promote

For the content of the page, both in the “Fans view” and “Non-Fans view“, you can upload custom images or a custom HTML page. While images are easier to create, HTML pages will give you more flexibility. If you know your way around HTML, you could put almost anything there.

Here’s an example of the non-fans page, encouraging visitors to click the “Like” button before they can access the content of the fans page.

promote your blog for free

When used correctly, iFrame can really help you boost the popularity of your blog, products or business by improving the probability of getting a “Like” from visitors. Even though you still have to bring traffic to the Page, you have already won half the battle.

The tool is available to promote your blog for free until around June (three months after the March launching date), and the developer has promised that those who grab the tool in the free period will be able to enjoy it forever for free. So go and get iFrame App, try it, and let us know what you think about it in the comments below.

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Introducing SlideRocket Upgrades: The Power Of PowerPoint Online

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 10:31 AM PDT

powerpoint onlineBack in 2008, we briefly reviewed the online multimedia application, SlideRocket. But in the last few years, the program has expanded, making for a powerful alternative – or dare we might say, a true replacement – to Microsoft's PowerPoint platform. I've tried a few online presentation programs before, and each of them seemed lacking in features or too clumsy to use. This is not case with SlideRocket.

Its beautifully designed and easily accessible features enable you to create, publish, and share your presentations without the hassle of uploading and downloading them to the Internet for updates and online collaboration. In addition, if you're using SlideRocket for business purposes it's a perfect interactive tool for your clients.

Stunning Features

If you have experience with PowerPoint or Apple's Keynote, SlideRocket won't be a stranger to you. Many of its features are similar to the former programs, but without the extra panels that sometime get in the way of creating presentations.

powerpoint online

SlideRocket includes about a dozen well designed themed master slides that can be customized for your particular needs. What makes SlideRocket a more practical platform is that all of your presentations and resources can be stored in one place, making it easy for you to access them on any computer with Internet access.

powerpoint online maker

As SlideRocket is an online program, you can easily share and collaborate with others to create slide projects. SlideRocket won’t automatically save your presentations, but if for some reason you lose your Wi-Fi connection it will attempt to recover unsaved changes to your presentation.

Multimedia Support

Some of the newer features of SlideRocket include the ability to pull media resources such as photos from sites like the photo sharing site, Flickr, the stock media site, Fotolia, Google Spreadsheets, as well as your own computer.

powerpoint online maker

Audio files included in SlideRocket must be purchased, but you can also import royalty-free music from programs like Apple's GarageBand and these online music sites.

Layout Features

SlideRocket includes a surprising number of layout and design tools that are comparable to what you would find in PowerPoint and say Photoshop Elements.

powerpoint online maker

Beyond the ability to insert photos, movie files, charts, and audio files, SlideRocket enables you to do advance text formatting, layering and alignment of elements you add to slides. As you might expect, the program also includes a good variety of transition effects. They all may not be as dynamic as what you would find in PowerPoint and Keynote, but let's be honest, how many presentations have you seen that were marred by the misuse of slide effects and animations?

online presentation builder

The free version of SlideRocket includes 250MB of storage and 15MB file size; up to 5 multi-seat accounts, shared folders/items, shared libraries, public presentations, Google indexing of Presentations, PowerPoint import and printing and exporting to PDF format. The Pro version includes a lot more, but if you're not creating presentations on a regular basis, the free version should suffice.

Presentation Formats

SlideRocket includes HTML 5 platform support, which means the presentations can be easily viewed in mobile applications like the iPhone and the iPad.

powerpoint online

You can also download the SlideRocket Desktop Presenter which lets you synchronize presentations from your online account to your desktop. This is useful for occasions when don't have a Wi-Fi connection. SlideRocket is also accessible as a Google Chrome application, providing a one-click process to your account.

Let us know what you think of SlideRocket. Do you find it easy to use? Also, check out these other alternatives to PowerPoint.

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Help CCleaner Remove All Your Excess Files With CCEnhancer

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 09:31 AM PDT

ccenhancer reviewsAdd 450 extra programs to the already extensive CCleaner. An unofficial program makes Piriform’s famous system maintenance tool even more useful, by vastly increasing the amount of software it supports.

When it comes to freeing up hard drive space by removing excess crap, it’s hard to top CCleaner. This application scans your computer for unnecessary files and gets rid of them. It’s nothing you should run every week, but if you need to free up some space it’s worth checking out.

CCEnhancer makes CCleaner even better at its job. A collection of userscripts from around the Internet, mostly the Piriform Forums, CCEnhancer can add support for 450 programs CCleaner doesn’t support out of the box. You probably don’t run all of these programs, but you surely run a few; that makes CCEnhancer worth checking out.

As with any free software the cleans up your system use this at your own risk. Know what you’re doing before your installation and use this. If you’re okay with that, though, let’s take a look at CCEnhancer and what it can do.

Getting Started

The first thing you’re going to want to do is download CCEnhancer. The application is portable. Run it and you’ll see a pretty basic interface:

ccenhancer reviews

I’m not sure why the fonts aren’t aligned in my screenshot, but looks aren’t the purpose of this application anyway. Downloading and installing the extra scripts is as simple as clicking the “Download” button. Everything will be downloaded and put in place.

Wondering what applications are supported? I couldn’t find a list anywhere, but if you take a look at the file CCEnhancer installs you can use CTRL and F to search for programs you care about.  What’s even easier is to just install the scripts and take a look at what’s new in CCleaner after you do. All of the new scripts will have a star (*) beside them, making it easy to see what CCEnhancer added. It’s doubtful you’ll find 450 new items of course, because only applications you have installed will show up. Still, you’ll probably see more than a few new options.

CCEnhancer In Action

So what kind of additional space can this program free up for a typical user? I wanted to find out, so I decided to clean out my Windows 7 media center. To begin, I ran the typical CCleaner, without CCEnhancer’s improvements.

ccenhancer free

As usual I was surprised with the results: 8GB were freed from my “C” drive. Not bad at all. I then ran CCEnhancer to see what kind of a difference the additional scripts could make. As I had already removed 8GB worth of data, I wasn’t expecting much.

ccenhancer free

You didn’t read that wrong: 5GB more after running CCEnhancer. Remember: that’s in addition to the 8GB I’ve already removed. The lesson, perhaps, is that I should clean out my media center more often. But another lesson here is that CCEnhancer can make a pretty big difference. The highlights for me included the Dropbox cache, Chrome‘s temporary files, WinRAR, WMP art cache and VirtualClone, but there was more freed up than that.

Don’t believe my experiment? Try it yourself; it’s the only way to see if this will work for you.

Support For Portable CCleaner

Do you use CCleaner as a portable tool? Don’t worry; these enhancements are available to you as well. You can point the tool toward your portable file:

ccenhancer reviews

This is very useful if you plan on cleaning a collection of computers using CCleaner from your thumb drive.


CCEnhancer is a great collection of fan-made scripts that make CCleaner even more useful. Let us know how much space it saved you in the comments below. Also feel free to recommend other programs that can clean up your Windows system, because sharing is what makes the comments so awesome. Thanks!

Image credit: carl ballou via Shuttershock

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7 Websites For Pixel Art Tutorials And Creative Inspiration

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 08:30 AM PDT

pixel artIf you stare at a computer screen, then you know what pixels are all about. On the computer screen or even on mobile ones, you would have come across pixel art. Think icons and you will get what pixel art is all about. It was what we saw in the video games of old.

Now, graphics have evolved and a lot of it is 3D and more realistic. But pixel art lives on in the digital world as icons, in the real world as advertisement graphics, for hobbyists as a way to go retro and connect with the past.

The popularity of this form of art is also well illustrated by the range of online pixel art creators that help you create some cool pixel art drawings. We have covered some of them. What we haven't yet are some free tutorials and websites that show the joy one gets from these not-so-simple little graphics.

Pixel Joint

pixel art

It's a pixel art community, an online gallery, resources, and as the site itself says – the world’s most disreputable source for pixel art! The Hall of Fame and Weekly Showcases are where you should go to for the best examples. If you fancy your skills on a graphic editor, check out the Weekly Challenges. The site gives you a large dose of pixel art learning resources through tutorials and videos. Other links worth noting are those for news, games, free downloads, and of course, the large community of fans of this form of art.

Mark's Pixel Art Tutorial

computer pixel art

A very simple site, but one that gives you the first instructions you are expecting on pixel art. If you are starting out, then the simple instructions on this site could be worth a look. The advantage is that you can go through the site in one sitting and then move ahead with more advanced tutorials elsewhere. The sore point is that the links section of the site contains a lot of dead ones, so you cannot jump to other sites from here.

computer pixel art

If you want to learn how to paint pixel by pixel, then the brief resources listed here could be of help. The guide also includes links to other sites on pixel art, some of the ones we are covering here. The Microsoft Paint tutorials and the ones on editing icons and cursors are great help for beginners.


computer pixel art

The pixel art forum and discussion board has quite a permanent presence in the community. You can ask for tips, post your work for feedback, and also search for jobs.

Pixel Museum

The pop-ups are the only things that will bother you, but once you enter the virtual museum of pixel art, expect to be wowed by the work of nearly 150 international top artists not only in pixel art, but also in digital art and photography. Wannabe pixel artists can visit the 'two floors' of the museum and check out the art works on display.


The work of three German pixel artists – Steffen Sauerteig, Svend Smital and Kai Vermehr, the site is a must visit if you are a pixel artist on the move. The landing page itself is colorful designed and is a showcase of their work and collection of reusable objects, posters, sketches, and toys. Some items though are for sale only.


pixel art

This is a pixel art website that showcases the works of Totto Renna who is an artist, illustrator, graphic designer, and also a teacher. His work is detailed and colorful and all of them seem to be created on Photoshop. Some of his famous clients include Adidas, MTV, Rolling Stone, and Coca Cola.

This is definitely not the end of the list of great pixel art websites, but it is a fair sampling of the resources you can expect to find with a search. From basic tutorials to personal portfolio sites, there is no shortage of inspiration.

Some of the other must visits include:

Army of Trolls


Flickr – The Pixel Artists Pool

Are you inspired? Tell us if you have ever tried your hand at drawing with pixels.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Browser Add-On Adds a +Like Feature To Google Results [News]

Posted: 20 Apr 2011 07:31 AM PDT

Makers of the +Like browser extension have brought together Google search results with Facebook likes. When using this extension, users searching Google can easily see which links their friends have previously “liked” on Facebook. This powerful add-on therefore does everything Google’s +1 functionality hoped to achieve, without having to wait for users to catch on and provide the social data.

Users of Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers can download the +Like extension here. Search results will show a small button showing how many people have liked this page overall, and which of your friends have done so. Here’s a video detailing how +Like works.

The +Like extension was inspired by the recently introduced Google +1 functionality and built in just a couple of hours, according to developers. They used their own Crossrider framework to build the application. The +Like extension has an immediate advantage over Google’s +1, since it only requires the user to have a Facebook account. To use Google +1 a user needs to create or upgrade their Google Profile, begin marking sites as +1 and wait for their friends to do the same. Here’s a video of how Google +1 works.

What do you think of the +Like button and the Google +1? Which will you be using?

Source: TechCrunch, Image Credit: ShutterStock

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