Monday, April 25, 2011 “Win A Free MacBook Air by Joining Our Facebook Fan Page!” plus 8 more “Win A Free MacBook Air by Joining Our Facebook Fan Page!” plus 8 more

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Win A Free MacBook Air by Joining Our Facebook Fan Page!

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 06:30 AM PDT

We’re closing in on gathering 100,000 fans on Facebook and to celebrate the achievement, we’ll be giving away a free MacBook Air! It’s really simple to be in the running to win one. All you need to do is join our Facebook page.

It can’t be that simple, can it?

Of course it can. Besides liking our Facebook page, there are no further requirements to be in the running to win a free $999 MacBook Air. Naturally, the faster we get 100,000 fans, the faster a winner is chosen. So it wouldn’t hurt to spread the word to your friends and family about the giveaway by suggesting that they should join our page as well.

Send out a status update on Facebook, send them an email, tweet this post — you can do just about anything to spread the word and help us reach the 100K mark.

Let’s see what we’re giving away.

Up for grabs is a $999 eleven inch MacBook Air with a 1.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of memory, 64 GB of flash storage and a NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics card. The MacBook Air also comes with a 5-hour battery which can stay on standby for up to 30 days on a single charge. By sporting Flash storage, it turns on and off instantly. The 11″ MacBook Air is also equipped with a multi-touch glass trackpad, 2 USB 2.0 ports, one MiniDisplay port, AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless networking which is IEEE 802.11 a/b/g compatible; and it weighs just 2.3 pounds.

So, to be in the running to win this fantastic prize, just head over to our Facebook page and join us.

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 25 Apr 2011 12:55 AM PDT


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

  1. Social Media Marketing Madness (Pic)
  2. Male Vs. Female: Not Using Facebook For A Week (Pic)
  3. How My Grandmother Operates Her Mouse (Pic)
  4. Socialising (Pic)
  5. How To Get A Gob (Pic)
  6. Humans can reach almost anything except… (Pic)
  7. Portal Kombat: Portal2 + Mortal Kombat (Video)

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 24th]

Posted: 24 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. If you want to have similar cool websites round-ups delivered to your email daily email subscribe here.

Add Your Website Here!


5 Facts About Me – How well do your friends really know you? You can never be sure unless you distribute a questionnaire testing your friends knowledge of you. 5 Facts About Me lets you do this in a very simple way, a free to use website that presents your friends with 5 facts about you. Read more: 5 Facts About Me: Find Out How Well Your Friends Know You


Divvr – is a web app that lets you create online drawings based on a variety of brushes ranging from sketchy and fur to diamonds and ribbons. It is geared more towards creating beautiful pieces of art works that require a specific kind of styles brush rather than raw art drawings. Read more: Divvr: Draw Online With Stylish Brushes



StaticHTML – Facebook pages is one of the most relevant social media marketing channels today especially when you want to promote a business, an organization, a website, and the like. Unfortunately though, the default interface lacks customization options for the page. StaticHTML is Facebook app that will allow you to add customized tab with either an image, a static HTML code, or a custom SML which is the Static Markup Language for your Facebook page. Read more: StaticHTML: Create Facebook Page Tabs With Custom HTML



Little Ipsum – is a lightweight lorem ipsum generator for mac Mac. This app makes pasting dummy texts much easier since you do not have to go a window interface to generate text. Instead, you only need to click the icon in the bar to copy it to the clipboard where you can paste it anywhere. Read more: Little Ipsum: Lightweight Lorem Ipsum Generator For Mac



Gridvvall – You have uploaded thousands of photos on Facebook and Twitter but they don't let you go back in time to see what you uploaded and when. GRIDvvall is a tool that lets you rekindle your memories by grabbing photos from your social networks and displaying them by week. Read more: GRIDvvall: Displays Your Social Network Photos By Week


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.

Need Assistance? Ask questions to MakeUseOf staff and thousands of other readers on MakeUseOf Answers!



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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 07:31 PM PDT

It’s time to say thanks to our friends who, once in a while, tip us great articles, help out on projects and in some cases offer their services at discounted prices. Thank you, guys!

    [1] ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service

    Ever wanted to add website screenshots to your website? ShrinkTheWeb is one of the best services for that, both in terms of performance and pricing. The free account gets you a whopping 250,000 impressions. See it in action in our daily Cool Websites and Tools series.


    [2] LapDawg “" Hands-free Laptop Stands

    Hands free laptop stand
    The hands free laptop stand holds your laptop or books in any position you want with it’s unique 360 degree rotating joints. Perfect for holding them in bed while lying down. Made from anodized aluminum with a beautiful black matte finish.

    [3] Walyou “" Cool Gadgets for Geeks

    new cool gadgets
    Walyou is a fun blog covering all sorts of new cool gadgets and other stuff every geek is likely to find entertaining. Everything from world’s largest Gunny Bears to E-hookah gadgets. Make sure to check them out.


    [4] rade | eccles – iPhone Application Development

    The perfect iPhone development team, rade | eccles managed to put our iPhone app together in record time yet exude professionalism and dedication every step of the way. Our collaboration wasn’t happenstance. We would make the same decision all over again. Our only recommendation for an iPhone developer – rade | eccles.


    [5] TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design

    If you’re looking for a cheap, original and quality logo or banner, check out TrueKolor. We often contact these guys when we need a logo or a banner made, some of the stuff they did for us listed on their portfolio page. Highly recommended.


    [6] Sendible – The easiest way to market your brand online

    We’re strong believers of the service Sendible provides — we use it on a daily basis and it has never failed us! Sendible is an online marketing service to promote, grow and track brands through the use of social media, email and SMS messaging. It has the ability to post to multiple services at once, schedule social network updates and analyse their success. We love it!


    [7] Sourcebits – Android Developement

    Sourcebits did a bang up job of helping us put together our long-awaited Android app. For that, we are eternally grateful!


Thank you, guys!

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Will Bing Search Ever Catch Up With Google? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 06:30 PM PDT

The poll question last week asked you to tell us which browser you thought had most improved in their last major update. Most readers voted for Firefox 4 – you can see their reasoning in the comments.

With 504 votes collected, the results were: 49% voted for Firefox 4; 26% think Internet Explorer 9 was the most improved; 15% believe Chrome 10 is the most improved; 8% voted for Opera 11; while only 3% think Safari 5 was the most improved browser.

Full results and this week’s poll after the jump.

Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 9 are considered the most improved browsers by MakeUseOf readers.

And now for a poll question from Ryan Dube asking for your opinion on the search giants.

This week’s poll question is: Will Bing Search Ever Catch Up With Google?

Google has the market right now, but some people are a little disgruntled with search results. Will Google’s purely algorithm-based search stay ahead of the emerging alternatives? Will Bing ever come out on top? What do you think?

Please feel free to elaborate on your answer in the comments! Which search engine do you use? Why will Bing/Google win in the end? What are the major factors at play? How long do you think it will take to find out?

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Take Notes On Your iOS Device Using The Official Moleskine App

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 03:30 PM PDT

ios note appMoleskine is probably one of the most popular and most famous brand of notebooks available in the market today, and was the notebook of choice of great artists and writers including Oscar Wilde, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and Vincent Van Gogh. While some argue that nothing compares to the feel of the leather-bound notebook in your hands, and being able to jot down your thoughts, ideas and sketches by hand, Moleskine have launched a free iOS based note-taking app for both iPhone and iPad users.

Available for download for free from the iTunes App Store, the app allows you to take notes, sketch drawings, add photos and labels, and share your notes on Facebook and Twitter and more. The app is customizable to suit your personal taste, changing the paper type, font size and more.

When you first launch the app, a short guide on how to use the app is displayed, and you'll find that sample notes have already been created, showing you the full potential of the app.

ios note app

The first choice you'll want to make when you create a new note, after giving the note a name, is the type of paper you're going to use. There are three choices – plain, squared and ruled.

take notes on ipad

You can also categorize your notes, creating your own custom categories. Each category is accompanied by a color and icon of your choice. These symbols are visible in the list of notes on your home page, an easy way to differentiate between your various notes.

take notes on ipad

When it comes to taking notes, while you cannot change the font itself, you can choose between four font sizes from extra small to large.

take notes on ipad
You also have a selection of 15 font colors, including all the basic colors you might want to use.

When it comes to sketching, you can also choose the thickness of your brush stroke, from extra small to large. And like with the text, you have the same selection of 15 colors.

In addition to text and sketches, you can add images to your note from your photo albums.

And you can also add from a variety icons, or labels, that come with the app.

take notes on iphone

Once you've completed your notes or sketches, there are two things you can do with them. You can share them with other users via email, Facebook or Twitter.

take notes on iphone

The sharing capabilities of the app are, however, somewhat limited. When sharing via email, the text of the note is automatically pasted into the body of the email and without images, while sketches can't be emailed at all.  Sharing via Twitter, the first 140 characters of the note will be be automatically pasted for sharing on the site. If you need an app to save drafts of your tweets, the Moleskine app could potentially serve the purpose. Sharing via Facebook was unsuccessful after several attempts, despite successfully connecting the app to a Facebook account.

Aside from the sharing options, you can also geotag your notes, making the app a very useful journal tool for someone who travels a lot.

take notes on iphone

There is no limit to the number of free note-taking and sketching apps available in the iTunes App Store, so why use the Moleskine app? The interface is sleek and simple, and leaves the focus on what really matters – your writing or drawings. If you're a die-hard Moleskine fan, the app will definitely appeal to you, and the geotagging feature adds an interesting dimension to the note-taking app.

ios note app

If we had a wishlist for the iOS note app, it would be for the sharing features to be improved, as well as including a syncing feature for backing up your notes with an online account, or to your computer.

Which free app do you use to take notes on your iPhone or iPad? Let us know in the comments.

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Hot Tech Deals [Apr 24th]

Posted: 24 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. Nippon Labs Delux Internal All In One Card Reader w/ USB, eSATA $19.99 Free Shipping
  2. Corsair XMS3 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3-1600MHz PC3-12800 Triple Channel Memory $49.99AR via rebate
  3. Patriot Xporter XT Boost 16GB USB Flash Drive $16.99AR Free Shipping via rebate
  4. Klipsch HD 300 5.1ch High Definition Home Theater Speakers $199.99 Free Ship via code KP421200 (Exp Soon, discount will appear at checkout)
  5. TODAY ONLY Sharp AQUOS LC32D47U 32 inch LCD HDTV (720p) $299.99 Free Ship
  6. HP dv7tqe Intel Core i7-2630QM Quad-Core Sandy Bridge 17.3in Laptop w/ Blu-Ray $874.99 via code NB6973 (Exp Soon)
  7. HP dv6tqe Intel Core i7-2630QM Quad-Core Sandy Bridge 15.6in Laptop $770.49 via code NB8095 (Exp after 1350 uses)
  8. Sony VAIO VPCF1390X Intel Core i7-740QM Quad-Core 16.4in Laptop $769 via code VAIOF1390X (Exp 4/30)

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10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 12:30 PM PDT

Happy Easter Sound Sunday!

Today I would like to say something about ‘name your price’ downloads on Bandcamp. Apparently, the name gives the impression that these albums are not free. Well, they are since you can decide to pay zero! And zero equals free in my book.

While I do encourage that you donate for music you enjoy, I want you to know that I will never try to lure you into paying for any of the music featured in Sound Sunday. However, it does happen that albums hosted on Bandcamp surpass the number of free downloads (200) and go from free to pay. I don’t have any control over this and neither do the artists. So, to avoid frustration, make sure you check into the latest edition each Sunday and download your favorites right away.

As always you are very welcome to post your feedback in the comments or shoot me an Email [tina at makeuseof dot com]. Also don’t forget to make your opinion count in the ongoing Sound Sunday Survey.

East Island City – East Island City

Genre: pop, rock, punk

East Island City is a pop/rock band from Dublin, Ireland. Their selftitled debut EP was recorded at Manor Park recording studios by Neal Calderwood and released in summer last year. Great music, but too little press material out there!

East Island City is a free download from Bandcamp.

I Heart Noise – Boston Not LA

Genre: indie, ambient, pop, rock, post rock

I have previously featured a compilation from I Heart Noise on Sound Sunday. The above compilation features a collection of artists from in and around Boston. Per its Facebook profile I Heart Noise is an online encyclopedia of independent rock bands and labels.

Boston Not LA is a free download from Bandcamp.

The Running – Running For Your Live

Genre: alternative, blues, grunge, reggae, rock

From their MySpace Bio: The Running's funky mix of rock, reggae, and blues has been pleasing fans and moving bodies from New York City to Nashville to the Virgin Islands since their inception in 2006. (…) The name itself, The Running, refers to their attitude toward musical conformity. "It's idiotic to conform to current standards because they are constantly changing," says Andy, the drummer. Instead, The Running values musical freedom, choosing to carve out their own niche in the industry by focusing on what feels right to them. "We don't write songs for hooks," says Mike, on vocals and guitar. "We write songs about the situations that we're dealing with in our lives at that moment in a way that people can identify with. It's also a healing process for ourselves."

Running For Your Live is a name your price download from Bandcamp.

Proof and Proving – Humility In The First Person

Genre: americana, folk, punk, hardcore

Proof and Proving is the solo project of Brian Dougherty, who also plays the guitar for the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based band Giving Chase. If you enjoy the above album, note that you can also download the 2008 selftitled and instrumental debut album of Proof and Proving from Bandcamp.

Humility In The First Person is a name your price download from Bandcamp.


Genre: experimental, beats, hip hop

From their Bandcamp profile: “The Stones Throw Message Board compilations are a series of beats by some of Stones Throw Underground’s finest producers. These artists bring music to a whole new level with their talent and creativity. Although they make it sound easy, they work hard at what they do and deserve your full attention. with that being said: headphones up, speakers on, kick back, spark a few, and enjoy the ride….

Compilation Vol. 1 is a free download from Bandcamp.

Robot Science – Good Luck

Genre: indie, experimental, electronic, chiptunes, dance

From the MySpace Bio: “Robot Science is relatively unknown and hails from California. He incorporates a lot of interesting sounds into his music but don't worry, it's nothing that will aggravate you. Rather the music is extremely melodic in a twisted sense, because the tempo's throughout each piece remain rather upbeat with all the tweets and effects. Watch out for Robot Science throughout 2010.

Good Luck is a name your price download from Bandcamp.

Apple & Stone – Affirmative Dismay

Genre: ambient, electronica

Apple & Stone is the ambient / electronic project of Robert and Jura from the Slovak Republic. Originally founded in 1994, they made their first studio recordings in DAT format and on cassette. Affirmative Dismay is only their second album, released earlier this month.

Affirmative Dismay is a free preview and download from the Apple & Stone Homepage.

Mara Hruby – From Her Eyes

Genre: acoustic, soul, jazz, rhythm and blues

From her Bandcamp page: “This album introduces a new twenty-two year old artist named Mara Hruby from Oakland, CA. She arrived on the scene at the start of 2010, playing shows throughout the Bay Area, and is releasing her debut EP, From Her Eyes. Mara has worked on this album for the past nine months; she has applied her multi-talented dedication to recording, arranging, and engineering her own work. She has performed on stage, dancing and backing other artists in the Bay Area; unconsciously preparing herself for this path. She has chosen to speak through music in order to connect with those of us who love music.

From Her Eyes is a free download from LIMELINX.

Beau & Regan – Ready or Not

Genre: alternative, acoustic

Beau & Regan Walsh are siblings from Minneapolis, Minnesota. As it says on their Twitter profile, they are “just making some music.” You can easily replace ‘some’ with ‘beautiful’.

Ready or Not is a free download from NoiseTrade.

Matt Moberg – Bravery Songs

Genre: acoustic, folk

From Matt’s Facebook Biography:”I love music. I love the power of something so simplistic that somehow finds a way to completely sweep you off your feet. Music is a rare breed in this way. It is infinitely evolving and yet consistently intimate. The beauty of music is that no matter how good a song may be, the best is always yet to come. I love that. As you listen to my songs and the art that I’ve worked hard to piece together for you, know that I do not take your time for granted. Your willingness to sit in these lyrics and decide whether or not you like the taste is incredible and I thank you with my whole being for that.

Bravery Songs is a free download from NoiseTrade.

New to Sound Sunday? Past editions of Sound Sunday are available here.

Feel free to get in touch with me [tina at makeuseof dot com] to share free material, suggestions, and feedback or simply add your comments below.

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Protect And Speed Up Your Website With Free CloudFlare Service

Posted: 24 Apr 2011 10:30 AM PDT

free website speed softwareIt’s not just your home computer that needs protection. CloudFlare is an intriguing start-up from the creators of Project Honey Pot that claims to protect your website from spammers, bots and other evil web monsters – as well as speed up your site somewhat by caching certain page requests.

Essentially, it acts as a proxy between your site, and any remote requests – screening them for known threats and only letting through the good ones. It’s free, setup is relatively painless, and who can say no to free security protection?

Wait – what it is exactly, and how does it work?

All domains have a name-server (or two, actually) associated with them, and the purpose of the name-server is to redirect the domain to the IP address on which your website is held. So every request made to your site must pass through the name-server in order to reach your site. CloudFlare works by replacing your current name-servers with their own, and then filtering the requests made, thereby offering a layer of security which otherwise wouldn’t exist. You’d be forgiven for this would slow down your website, but that’s not the case. Unlike your regular name-servers that perhaps only exist in one physical location (where your site is stored), CloudFlare has a number of them situated globally, which has the added benefit of speeding up your initial site load time.

For a quick idea of what it does, let’s look at the stats for my site in one day alone:

free website speed software

You can see that out of around 1,500 recorded page views, 47 of those were from known security threats (such as attempts to perform an SQL injection on standard search forms, or scanning for known web server vulnerabilities).

In terms of a speed boost, CloudFlare also “saved” about 2/3rds of the requests made on my server, and prevented 130mb of unnecessary bandwidth waste. Clearly, these are not numbers to be laughed at and I can attest to the fact that my site is now noticeably faster. Even without the speed boost though, the security it adds is a great piece of mind.

I’m convinced, how do I get it?

In order to make use of CloudFlare, you’ll need to be able to edit the name-server settings for your domain. Even if you’re on shared hosting, you should be able to do this. I’ll show you quickly how this can be done on my favorite domain buying site, Go Daddy – but obviously you’ll need to check yourself if your domain was purchased elsewhere. Ask your hosting support if your domain and site hosting were purchased together, otherwise you’ll need to find out who has control of your domain (not your hosting).

After logging in through the main Go Daddy site, navigate from any of the top menu items to Go To -> Domain Management:

speed up your website

Next, choose your domain from the list, and the detailed view such as this should appear:

speed up your website

Notice the section labelled Nameservers. We won’t change anything now, but leave that tab open while you sign up for CloudFlare as you’ll need to change it soon.

Sign Up For CloudFlare:

Head on over to and use the easy sign up form to create an account. Once you’ve logged in, you should be able to add a domain. Just type in your domain.

While CloudFlare investigates your current website automatically, you’ll see a 1 minute video explaining things. The setup really couldn’t be easier. On the next screen, you’ll be asked to check the DNS settings. To be honest, the defaults will work fine unless you have something weird like Google Apps installed on your domain, or already have a CDN setup. If you have no idea what I just said, the defaults are probably good!

speed up your website

The next screen is important, but I’ll summarize so you can skip through it. Basically, any requests to your main domain will be routed through CloudFlare. However, in order to allow you to continue to use FTP or SSH on your domain as normal, CloudFlare will automatically create a kind of “bypass” subdomain, which is by default. Once you’ve made the CloudFlare changes, just remember that from now on if you want to access your site through FTP, you’ll need to affix “direct” to start of the connection address.

improve website speed

Finally, you’ll be told exactly what to update your name server settings too. Go back to your domain control panel, edit the name servers, and be sure to copy and paste these replacement ones in exactly.

free website speed software

That’s it – not so difficult is it? I really must commend CloudFlare for explaining everything so well and making set up easy, because changing name servers and messing with CNAME DNS records is not something the average user would do. The fact that it auto-detects your existing settings quite well just makes the whole process painless.


On the free account, you’ll need to wait 24 hours for stats to be updated. After that, log in to your account, click on domain stats, and be prepared to see how vulnerable your site was before!

Anyone who hosts their own domain should sign up with CloudFlare now – and I can honestly say that the speed boost has had a pronounced effect on my site, and with the added bonus of bandwidth saved my hosting bill should be cheaper this month too. Let us know in the comments if you’ve tried out CloudFlare for your site. For even more of a speed boost, be sure to check out my tips on the most comprehensive WordPress caching plugin around W3 Total Cache and how to configure the basic settings.

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