Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [May 2nd]” plus 10 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [May 2nd]” plus 10 more

Link to MakeUseOf

Cool Websites and Tools [May 2nd]

Posted: 02 May 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!


Easy Bar Tricks – If you are ever short of tricks to impress your friends, Easy Bar Tricks will refill you with several amazing tricks. Each trick is in the form of a video and explains carefully how it works and how not to get caught. You can post comments on each trick or read the ones posted by other users. Read more: Easy Bar Tricks: Learn Cool Bar & Magic Tricks Through Videos


Kuhootz – It can take quite some time before you get a positive response to your online classified ad. A great way to cut that time short would be to ask your friends for help. Kuhootz is a site that lets you do that while you create your online listing. Read more: Kuhootz: Create & Share Classifieds Online & Offer A Referral Fee To Friends



Twitfooter – is a Twitter app that lets you display your latest tweet as your signature in the footer of your email. You can configure it to display your latest tweet, random tweet or simply your Twitter bio. It is easy to set up and requires no additional software installation. Read more: TwitFooter: Display Your Latest Tweets As Email Signature



Paypal Fee Calculator – PayPal is great for receiving online payments, but the fees it charges can be pretty hefty in some situations and comes as a surprise to many. PayPal Fee Calculator, as the name suggests, lets you calculate how much in fees you will be charged based on the amount being sent. Read more: PayPal Fee Calculator: Online Tool For Easily Calculating Paypal Fees



StickerMule – is a web based service that lets users place orders for custom stickers and skins. You can order custom skins and stickers for gadgets like the iPhone, iPad, your laptop, Kindle or stickers that could be used just about anywhere. The site boasts of their product quality. Read more: StickerMule: Create & Order Custom Stickers 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.



More articles about:

Similar articles:

3 Addons To Make The Firefox Findbar Even Smarter

Posted: 02 May 2011 06:30 PM PDT

firefox findbarThe ability to quickly scroll down to any word on a page is enormously helpful: I for one use FireFox Findbar almost every time I land on a page from search results to quickly find my search terms (something that also can be automated with term highlighting tools). And yes, I so miss the feature when I happen to read “real” books!

While the option in itself is awesome, there’s always some room for improvements. This post lists 3 tools that will let you have even more fun with FireFox CTRL+F command: (1) visualize search term occurrence in the scrollbar; (2) create the page summary and (3) find “similar” words while controlling the proximity). Enjoy!

1. Scrollbar Search Highlighter

Scrollbar Search Highlighter imitates default Google Chrome behavior: it visualizes all instances of the word you are searching on the current page. It works in conjunction with “Highlight All” feature that causes all the matches to be highlighted on the page – with this addon enabled, the matches are additionally highlighted in a small bar alongside the scrollbar:

firefox findbar

Unfortunately, unlike Chrome default feature, this addon doesn’t scroll down to the term occurrence if you click a tiny color mark in the scroll bar.

The options allow you to set the color and hide the highlights after you close the Findbar:

find bar addon

2. Find All

Find All is another addon to easier find the term instances on a page. In essence, it creates the summary of the page text containing all your search term together with its immediate context:

  • A new button “Find all” is added to your Findbar (it can optionally substitute “Highlight all” button)
  • When clicked, a new field appears with your search term occurrences and its context in plain text;
  • Clicking the rows will scroll the actual page up / down to the term occurrence on the page.

findbar basics

The addon options let you:

  • Change the font size of the results list;
  • Change the background color of rows in results list;
  • Select matches on the page instead of highlighting them.

You are also able to show the “Highlight all” button (which is hidden by default) together with “Find All” one:

findbar basics

3. Smart Find

Smart Find is a bit different addon. It lets you find a word occurrence even if you have slightly misspelled the word (or just can’t remember how to spell a complex word):

  • Just have it installed and notice a new “Similar” option added to your Findbar;
  • Whenever that option is checked, you’ll be able to find “Similar” term occurrences on the current page;
  • The misspelled word will first be marked as red (“un-found”), but clicking up / down arrows (or using CTRL+G or ENTER keyboard shortcuts), will switch between “similar” terms:

findbar basics

You can also set the similarity level in Edit -> Find Similar Level -> Low/Medium/High (which is supposed to set how similar the term should be to be found). However I haven’t noticed considerably different behavior when switching between similarity levels:

firefox findbar

Note: Smart Find is not compatible with “Find All” addon, so you’ll have to choose either.

Are you aware of any other cool FireFox Findbar trick? Please share them in the comments!

Image Credit: Endless Origami



More articles about: , , , ,

Similar articles:

How To Isolate & Test Unsafe Applications On Your PC

Posted: 02 May 2011 04:30 PM PDT

how to test applicationsWhen you're pretty addicted to trying new applications like we are around this part of the web, our machines quickly become victims of heavy digital battery. To safeguard our computers, it's always a good idea to use portable applications whenever possible. The application in question cannot store program settings or make changes in the Windows Registry so it poses little to no danger to our systems. However, the selection of portable applications may not always include a lesser-known or new application that we desperately want to test out, so the next best thing is to test drive them in isolated environments.

You might think it's extra work to isolate these applications because you always keep your antivirus software updated and won't ever think of downloading obscure software anyway. Yet practicing this type of caution by using special isolating software will likely be more beneficial in the long run. Having a computer overrun by viruses will not only be hair-splitting, but may also lead you to spend money to replace a machine that could have perfectly lived longer.

Let's see then how you can protect your machine by isolating potentially unsafe applications.

Running Programs In Isolated Sandboxes

how to test applicationsWe first took a good, long look at Sandboxie here, where we discussed how this Windows-only program creates virtual layers upon which programs can operate normally, that is, can perform read and write operations without permanently affecting your hard drive. Sandboxie basically runs your applications in isolated instances, namely sandboxes, so you can safely test drive even new or little-known programs that could potentially be unsafe.

After you install Sandboxie and its system-level drivers, you'll see a yellow icon on the system tray and you'll also be offered an online tutorial, which should open up in a web-browser that you can run sandboxed or not. Aside from letting you run a sandboxed web browser, Sandboxie lets you run sandboxed email programs, programs from the Start menu, executable programs or even from Windows Explorer.

unsafe application

Sandboxie might be useful in many cases where you simply aren't sure of how safe a program is, but you're still curious to try it. Since it isolates that program from the rest of your system, you're pretty much safe to install it and dispose of it if you don't like it or encounter a problem. Destroying that sandbox is a matter of either closing the running programs in that instance or removing the specific sandbox.
unsafe applicationEven if you have many programs in that sandbox, the entire session is cleaned up with a one click.

Additional uses for Sandboxie could be loading up a program that you don't really need to have installed but might need to use it once in a blue moon, like ImgBurn or uTorrent. You could also use Sandboxie to load up additional instances of a running program, like a second instance of, say, Firefox so you can log on to your secondary Google Account and what not. It's a pretty nice way to use programs safely since they fully work without limitations or incompatibilities. In fact, it's pretty hard to tell apart from a regular, non-sandboxed running application. The only way to distinguish the sandboxed program is by looking at the title bar of the window.
unsafe application

Sandboxie is free for personal use, but the free version allows not more than one sandbox running at a time. While Sandboxie is pretty popular, there are similar applications that can provide a sandboxed environment for a program. Among these are Evalaze, GeSWaLL, BufferZone Pro, iCore Virtual Accounts, and the former Altiris Software Virtualization Solution (SVS), for which I've found no way of obtaining a personal license.

Undoing System Changes After Installing A Program

isolate applicationsReturnil System Safe Free is a program for Windows that basically lets your machine revert back to its original system status after a reboot. Download it here. What Returnil does is it clones your operating system, creating a virtual environment, which will be loaded in lieu of your original OS when you restart your system after installing Returnil. This will allow you to run or install even the most obscure programs without getting your computer infected since it will undo everything and return to its original state on the next system restart. Though it uninstalls any program you might have installed in your virtual environment, you can still save documents and files to a flash drive so you'll have those even after a restart. Returnil might be one of the easiest ways on this list to roll back the system after you've tested out potentially unsafe applications, as all you need to do is restart the system, but a drawback is that you cannot install programs that require you to reboot after installation, which will promptly revert back to the original, unadulterated state.

Forget Installing – Just Run Windows Applications From Your Browser

how to test applicationsIf you don't want to install another program to help you isolate applications, you might want to check Spoon, a website that runs a type of revolutionary virtualization software to stream desktop applications to your Windows machine. We have covered it in detail before. With Spoon, you can run any of the supported Windows desktop applications using just your browser and the downloadable Spoon plugin. Supported applications include popular web browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox, even productivity apps and games. The selection of supported apps consists of mostly popularly-used applications on Windows, for which you won't notice the differences compared to a natively-running Windows application.

We also discussed a different type of application virtualization with Cameyo, VMLite VirtualApps Studio, and Enigma Virtual Box, all of which are free programs that let you create portable applications from programs you already have installed. On a related not, see also our homebrewed workaround to create a portable version from Skype, and also see how to build your own portable OS with Slax.

Do you tend to download lots of applications on your primary machine? If so, do you use any of these programs?

Image Credit: Returnil, Everaldo Coelho



More articles about: , , , ,

Similar articles:

Jailbreaking & iOS: The Pros And Cons Of Voiding Your Warranty

Posted: 02 May 2011 02:30 PM PDT

jailbreaking an iphoneHave you been feeling the need to jailbreak lately? The latest Redsn0w and Pwnage Tool jailbreaking apps cover Apple’s 4.3.2 firmware update, so freeing your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad (not iPad 2) is as easy and accessible as it’s likely to get.

Despite being easy, free and completely legal; jailbreaking your iOS device will void your warranty. If you’re worried about the consequences should it go wrong and whether the advantages outweigh the risks then don’t do a thing till you’ve read this.

There are plenty of reasons for and against jailbreaking. Here are just a few to get you thinking.

The Argument For:

It’s Easy

With the latest tools, jailbreaking your iPhone or similar really couldn’t be easier. Redmond Pie have a 4.3.1 and 4.3.2 untethered jailbreak guide using Pwnage Tool on a Mac and Sn0wbreeze on Windows. These guides are very in-depth and should hold your hand for the complete process.

You’ll be surprised that all it takes is the above mentioned jailbreak software, iTunes and a few clicks in your chosen tool to free your device.

The Other App Store

Cydia is an unofficial app store for jailbroken iOS devices which deals in banned or non-approved software. Not only are there free downloads available on Cydia but also paid ones. VLC is one such banned app available (for free) on Cydia. It allows users to play DivX video instead of Apple-approved MP4s – something Apple weren’t pleased about, hence the ban.
jailbreaking an iphone
The potential for so-called "bedroom development" of apps has been given a new lease of life with recent successful jailbreaking techniques. Developers certainly won’t hit the dizzying number of downloads seen on the official Apple repository, but for many it will be a chance to get their work on iOS without having to worry about Apple’s approval.

The fact that such a resource exists is arguably one of the main reasons to jailbreak your device.

Unparalleled Customization

Jailbroken devices are immeasurably more customizable than those that haven’t been hacked. Not only can you change the physical appearance of your home screen, lock screen, keyboard, icons and so on but also add useful software tweaks to the UI too.

With the BackBoard theme installer available on Cydia, transforming your iPhone into a very convincing Windows Phone 7 clone or applying that big beautiful HTC-esque clock to your homescreen is a painless experience.

If you really want to turbo-charge your UI, install SBSettings to add all kinds of one-touch access to useful features such as toggling 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi or changing your brightness simply by swiping across the top of your screen. Try Lockinfo if you’re bored of a dull lock screen to cover your device’s idle screen in useful information.

Make Some Serious Changes

Jailbreaking your iOS device also enables you to change your phone’s behavior and even add some nifty extra features. One such feature that Apple prohibited was FaceTime (or any demanding data tasks) over 3G. With the My3G application ($3.99 with a free trial, from Cydia) you can trick your iPhone into believing it is on a speedy Wi-Fi connection anywhere you have regular data signal.
jailbreaking an ipad
This means you can finally make video calls, watch YouTube in HD or download apps in excess of 20MB using your standard 3G connection. Apple did remove this functionality in order to prevent the mother of all phone bills, so be careful if you’re not on an unlimited data plan.

If you’re sick of the default SMS handler then why not ditch it in favour of biteSMS, a popular third party effort? If you’re sick of not being able to have more than 12 apps in a folder then try Infinifolders and never worry about it again. Want to access your device’s most sensitive data? Looks like iFile is the app for you.

There’s no argument that jailbreaking an iPhone unleashes some unexplored potential, but is it worth it?

The Argument Against:

What If It Goes Wrong?

Whilst a complete "brick" is unlikely (and many have reported that it is quite easy to recover your device should something go wrong) it’s not guaranteed. If you’re not the type who is fond of fiddling to the point of breaking something, and then spending all night trying to fix it again (you should know by now) then jailbreaking might not be for you.
jailbreaking an ipad
If you do somehow "brick" your phone (to the point of no return) then Apple won’t bat an eyelid as you’ve voided your warranty by trying to jailbreak in the first place. If your device is recoverable it will need to be wiped and you’ll have to start all over again.

Annoying? Probably. Devastating? Not really, and nowhere near as bad as a completely dud device.

Note: If you jailbreak, then restore to Apple’s firmware there’s little Apple can do to detect your past sins meaning your warranty will still stand. Just don’t let Apple know you’ve fiddled with it, obviously. If it breaks in a jailbroken state and Apple find out, they won’t fix it.

Firmware Updates

Apple often roll out firmware updates soon after a successful jailbreak release. There’s plenty of reasons why you should update (as seen in the Security section below), but any official updates are 100% guaranteed to break your jailbreak. You’ll need to do it all over again once the update is jailbreak-compatible to restore your phone’s untapped potential.
jailbreaking an iphone
Then again you might start to enjoy the cat-and-mouse game played by the hackers and Apple, eagerly awaiting news of the latest successful jailbreak…

Security: The Big One

The risks in installing modified firmware on any device should never be overlooked. Potential security holes, bugs, or even third-party applications could render your device worse-off than a pre-jailbreak model. Security updates (or lack of them) are another hazard.

Every iOS device utilizing firmware with a serious security hole (once discovered) should be updated as soon as possible to protect against the flaw. The only issue here is that many users may be tempted to keep their jailbreak in favor of Apple’s update to retain jailbroken privileges (and leave the security hole wide open).

Whilst this is entirely subjective, and that fixing a big security hole is more important than installing a couple of banned apps; it’s an example of how delaying an update due to a jailbreak can make for an unwise decision.


The most important reasons for and against a jailbreak though, needn’t really be mentioned. If you’re already considering it, then chances are you’ll love your new jailbroken device and all the things you can do without Apple’s approval.

If you’re happy with your standard iPhone or iPad, love the App Store and don’t need half of the features I’ve glossed over – leave it out.

Have you jailbroken your iPhone? Will you? Why? Why not? Persuade us all in the comments below.

Image Credit: Intro image by Patrick H. Lauke, FaceTime by Miles, Broken iPhone by Dschulian



More articles about: , , , , , ,

Similar articles:

Hot Tech Deals – Dell IN2020M 20in Widescreen LED LCD Monitor + more

Posted: 02 May 2011 01:30 PM PDT

We have several one-day deals for you today. Let’s start with the Apevia X-Master-AL/500 HTPC ATX Computer Case with power supply for $25 after rebate, Dell IN2020M 20in Widescreen LED LCD Monitor for $120 and a refurbished Cisco Linksys E1000 802.11n Wireless N 300Mbps Router for $20. Plus, we’ve got more Dell laptop deals for you to get your hands on a new Sandy Bridge laptop on the cheap.

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

  1. TODAY ONLY Apevia X-Master-AL/500 HTPC ATX Computer Case w/ 500W PSU $24.99AR via rebate
  2. TODAY ONLY Dell IN2020M 20in Widescreen LED LCD Monitor $119.99
  3. TODAY ONLY Cisco Linksys E1000 802.11n Wireless N 300Mbps Router (REFURB) $19.99
  4. Barnes & Noble Nook 3G + Wi-Fi 6in Digital E-Book Reader (REFURB) $99.99 Free Shipping
  5. DeDell Inspiron 15R 15.6in or 14R 14in Intel Core i3-380M Dual-Core 2.53GHz Laptop $449 via code HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  6. Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz Sandy Bridge 15.6in Laptop $674 via code 0CQ6F64K$ZCPV$ and HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  7. Dell Inspiron 17R Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz Sandy Bridge 17.3in Laptop $674.99 via codes 0CQ6F64K$ZCPV$ and HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  8. Dell Inspiron 14R Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz Sandy Bridge 14in Laptop $674.99 via codes 0CQ6F64K$ZCPV$ and HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  9. Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB 3.5in Internal SATA Hard Drive $71.99 Free Shipping via code MLCSALEUS0502NL1 (Exp Soon)

NEW: Download MakeUseOf iPhone App. FREE!



More articles about:

Similar articles:

7+ Sites To Help You Decide Which Book To Read Next

Posted: 02 May 2011 12:30 PM PDT

good books to readWhether you’re trying to find good books to read during your commute or planning out your summer reading early, there is nothing more daunting than going to a bookstore without a prepared list with at least a few titles or authors to look up. If you want to be sure that you’re next read is going to be a good one, there’s a variety of sites you can use to look up books based on your personal taste, your favorite authors, favorite titles, or even based on a specific plot summary or character.

Whether user generated, based on recommendations or based on customer purchases, there’s a variety of ways that these sites are able to provide some pretty accurate results, while others are still working out a few kinks and growing pains.


With YourNextRead, you can look up specific titles to get recommendations on similar books. In some cases, the list consists only of titles by the very same author, which completely defeats the purpose, but in other cases it actually does generate an interesting list. Recommendations are also accompanied by Amazon blurbs, reviews and price information, making it easy to purchase a recommended book online.
good books to read


With BookYap, the more you use the site, the more in tune it will become with your taste. Sign up for a free account and start out by filling in a list of your favourite authors and titles:

best books to read

Filling in some basic information about your reading habits:

best books to read

And then filling in some information about your personality:

best books to read

BookYap will then make recommendations on the information you provided.

books to read

In some cases the recommendations for good books to read were a bit absurd, where one favorite author, simply led to another favorite author already on my list and so forth. Where BookYap really sets itself apart from other similar sites is how it combines the answers to your reading habits with the answers to your personality to come up with reading suggestions. Although these results weren't free from quirks either, with the Official Nintendo Super Paper Mario Player’s Guide making it onto the list of Quick Reads for ‘Smarty Pants.’ BookYap is a site to keep an eye on, and with time, the search results may become more accurate and relevant.


Gnooks is probably the simplest of any of the sites of this kind, with absolutely no bells and whistles. Search for an author's name and you will be presented with a visual map of similar authors. The closer the suggestions are to the search word, the more similar they are. Clicking on a name in the map will lead you to another visualization of similar authors.

books to read


Goodreads needs no introduction. The popular bookshelf social network also provides user-generated recommendations of sorts. Users can create lists of books, so for example, searching for The Alexandria Quartet is featured on a variety of lists such as best post World War II fiction, alongside other greats such as Catch 22. But then it also does wind up on a list of best books ever alongside Twilight. If you're going to benefit from Goodreads' lists, you'll obviously have to rely on a bit of common sense as well. The Goodreads community itself can also serve as a great way to discover new books, simply by interacting with other users.

books to read


AllReaders is another no-frills, awful UI website, but not only does it provide a small list of titles that are similar to any given book, you can also search for books based on plot, setting or even details about the protagonists. Titles are also accompanied by a plot summary, as well as setting and character information.


Amazon is an obvious but often overlooked option for getting reading recommendations. When looking up any given book, you can find similar titles since the search result is accompanied by a 'Customers who bought this also bought' list.

In addition, you can also find similar authors using their 'Customers also bought items by' list.


TasteKid is a great site for both book and author recommendations. Just enter the title of your favorite book, or your favorite author, and TasteKid will generate some of the most relevant and accurate results out of all the sites listed here. TasteKid also provides more than just book recommendations and can also be used for music, movies and TV shows.

good books to read

Other great ways to get recommendations on good books to read are with other sites similar to Good Reads, where you can catalog your book collection and also benefit from the community's wisdom on what to read next. Shelfari and Library Thing are two such examples that have been reviewed alongside Good Reads in the post, 4 Great Ways To Keep Track Of Your Expanding Book Collection. Other great sites worth checking out that have already been reviewed at MakeUseOf, include What Should I Read Next, WhichBook.net and The Book Seer.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

4 Great Sites to do a Book Search by Plot or Subject
Recommendations on Movies, Music, Books from Glue

What sites do you use to decide what your next read is going to be? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Shutterstock



More articles about: , , , , ,

Similar articles:

3 More Ways To Manage Your Dropbox Files You May Not Know About

Posted: 02 May 2011 11:30 AM PDT

lost dropbox file
Our favorite, all-time file sharing service, Dropbox, generously provides up to 2 gigs of file space for free. For many users this might be enough, but now that Dropbox is becoming the central cloud syncing service for shuffling and sharing stuff between computers and mobile devices, the allotted free space may fill up rather quickly if it’s not probably managed and organized.

If you’re finding yourself using Dropbox on a regular basis, you might want to check out of some of the following tips for both locating and managing lost Dropbox files on your account.  If you’re new to Dropbox, download our free PDF Unofficial Guide to Dropbox

lost dropbox file

Locating File Activity

If you upload, download, and share files to your Dropbox account on a regular basis, you may sometimes forget where you saved pieces of content. You can launch your Dropbox account and use what is called the Events tab to see all the latest activity related to your account.

missing dropbox file

Clicking on the Events tab, you can quickly locate recently added, deleted, or shared files to your account. Surprisingly, you can jump back and view several months of file activity on your account.

Permanently Deleting Files

I didn't realize this until recently, but Dropbox has sort of an Apple Time Machine feature, in that keeps a copy of your deleted files for 30 days before they are permanently deleted. So if you need to retrieve a trashed file, just click on the "Show deleted files" tab, and all your deleted files will show up as grayed out.

missing dropbox file

Click on the file/folder and then click on the little triangle which will reveal two buttons, one for restoring the lost Dropbox file or folder to its original folder, and the other for permanently deleting it. If your computer is shared with other users you will want to make sure sensitive files are permanently deleted from your account.

Automatically Move Files

One of the best ways to ensure that you don't fill your allotted free space on Dropbox to the brim is to, well, clean it up sometimes. Yes, that can be hassle to do manually. Who among us is looking for more house chores? If you're a Mac user, let's quickly learn how you can use Automator, installed by default in OS X, to build a folder action to automatically move files added to your Dropbox account to another place on your computer. This is especially useful if you're uploading lots of photos to your Dropbox account and you want to move them to preserve space in your account.

Here's how you set up a folder action for Dropbox. I assume that you have Dropbox installed on your Mac.

  1. Open Automator in your Application's folder. Choose Folder Action in the drop-down template window, and then click, Choose.missing dropbox file
  2. At the top of the workflow area, where it says, "Folder Action receives files and folders added to," click the drop-down button and locate the local folder in your Dropbox account in which you want the content of added files automatically moved or copied to this selected folder.dropbox files disappeared
  3. In the Automator search field, type "Move Finder Items," to locate that workflow action. Drag that action into the main workflow area.dropbox files disappeared
  4. In the action, click the drop-down button next "To" and locate or create a folder where you want your designated files automatically moved to.dropbox files disappeared
  5. Save the workflow. Now when new files are added to your designated Dropbox folder (say by using a mobile app that syncs to your account) they will be moved to the selected folder on your computer.lost dropbox file

    If you no longer want to use the folder action, you can simply delete the folder from your Dropbox account, or locate the Automator workflow action in your Home Library > Workflows > Applications > Folder Actions. In there, you can delete the workflow action.

Let us know if you find these tips useful for managing your Dropbox. Also let us know about other ways you use to keep your Dropbox account well managed and under the free space limit.



More articles about: , , , , , , , ,

Similar articles:

Make Your Text Editing Jobs Better With Dolphin Text Editor [Windows]

Posted: 02 May 2011 10:30 AM PDT

free text editorThe purpose of software is to make our life easier; even when it comes to a function like sprucing up plain text. Plain text is the basic building block of the writing we do on our editors. But plain text lacks functional extras that we wish could give us some control over the text we type.

Dolphin Text Editor v1.6 is a lightweight Windows app that adds some functional extras to any Windows program that handles text. Sitting in the System Tray, it can be brought up with a hotkey and the text formatting commands applied on the selected text. Dolphin Text Editor is a free text editor (for personal use) and it runs on all Windows versions and all Windows software (Notepad, MS Office, code editors, and even browsers, and online chat apps like Facebook Chat etc).

Just how useful is this utility when all you are typing is vanilla plain text? Let's take this productivity app and run a few laps around to see how we can make use of it.

A Lightweight Utility

Coming in at 884KB, Dolphin Text Editor is a small bundle. You can even install it as a portable app with an approximate size of 1.52MB. It sits quietly in the background and doesn't cut in too much into your memory space. Set the option to load it at startup or click to open it on the System Tray where it sits and awaits your next command.

free text editor

Dolphin Text Menu as the name indicates has a menu of text functions which you can simply call up with a hotkey. The default hotkey is CTRL + 0 (Numpad). You can change the hotkey from the Options settings.

Text Formatting In Action

windows text editor

The software page and the screenshot above describe the menu functions. So, I won't go into each one, but instead show some of the more important ones with the help of a few screenshots and examples of how I use it.

Quickly arranging names in alphabetical order:

windows text editor

This simple utility is really helpful if you are working in Notepad or even a simple text box and quickly want to arrange names or numbers in a particular order.

Quickly arrange text in blocks by removing extra space:

text editor freeware

Paragraphs of text with trailing lines can be quickly arranged in blocks of text by removing blank lines, leading spaces, trailing spaces etc.

Quickly format sentences into titles (or change case):

text editor freeware

This is especially useful if you do a lot of writing on the web and need to format your titles, headings, and sub-headings with a click. Word does have a similar feature but if you are using an editor which doesn't then this is handy.

Quickly clean text:

text editor freeware

Word does help to strip text of any formatting if you working with it. But think of a forwarded email message or replies to your comments on discussion boards: if you want to spruce them up, then Dolphin Text Editor can help you clean text by converting everything to plain text, removing HTML tags and also stripping any BBCode tags.

Quickly get word count:

free text editor

Minimalist text editors like Notepad lack a word count feature. Dolphin Text Editor meets the gap with functions like word count which breaks up the figures in detail (as in screenshot). You can also copy it straight to the clipboard.

These five uses are pretty much the common ones you can expect to encounter each day. Which other free text editor can you think of that tackles theses simple things from the system tray?Take a look at Dolphin Text Editor and let us know if you can put it to any other use unique to your requirements.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

NEW: Download MakeUseOf App for Android. FREE!



More articles about: , , , ,

Similar articles:

Leafpad – An Ultra-Lightweight Text Editor [Linux]

Posted: 02 May 2011 09:30 AM PDT

linux text editorI know that a handful of people value lightweight programs, especially after I read some comments on my previous articles. I must admit, it’s a great thing when a program is light on resources and does the job right every time. In today’s feature I’ve found another very lightweight program for your personal enjoyment called Leafpad. Leafpad will more than likely remind you of other programs, but we’ll get into that in just a bit.

Why Care About Program Resource Usage?

Looking after how much resources a program uses is a great skill to have in order to maintain a cleanly running, stable system. The more resources it uses (compared to other programs that achieve the same thing), the more inefficient the program will run, causing your system to become laggy. Over time you might accumulate a number of resource-hogging applications, and you’ll feel your system become slower and slower. Linux is still vulnerable to this problem, although it doesn’t suffer performance decay like Windows does after a while. Trust me, I haven’t yet mastered this skill. My laptop’s setup is currently more about customization rather than running at tip-top speed, and it shows in my boot time.

About Leafpad

linux text editor

Just look at the screenshot, and you’ll know exactly what program this Linux text editor looks similar to. If you answered with Window’s Notepad, then you’re correct! However, don’t think that I’m actually running Notepad through Wine; this is indeed a Linux-native program.

The program, you could say, is as simple as it gets. There are no buttons anywhere to be found, and the menus don’t offer a lot of options, aside from the basics like printing. The “Options” menu only has four items: Font Options, Word Wrap, Line Numbers, and Auto Indent. However, for an extremely lightweight application, those are probably the four great features that you could want from it. They definitely help you for whatever you want to do with it.

linux text editor

Speaking of how lightweight it is, you’ll probably want to have some numbers as proof. If the minimal UI doesn’t say much to you, try this: when you first run the program, it uses a measly 2.8MB. gedit, arguably the most popular text editor for Linux users, uses about 5.6MB at start. Both numbers are very small, but for those with weak computers, every megabyte counts.

Things to be Aware Of

With most lightweight applications, and especially ultra-lightweight ones, you have to take into consideration that the program might not offer some features that you’d be comfortable with. Therefore, when using Leafpad remember that it is very much like Notepad, and doesn’t offer much more than that. For people who want plenty of features, this may not be the best Linux text editor for you. However, for those who want a program that just lets you type what you want without doing anything fancy with it, this is definitely for you.


Of all the text editors I’ve seen so far, Leafpad has probably been the most lightweight option I’ve seen. It has extreme simplicity, and it stays out of your way to let you do what you want without any gimmicks.

What text editor do you use? Do you think Leafpad is a good option or is it too lightweight for your use? Tell us in the comments!



More articles about: , ,

Similar articles:

Facebook Adds “Send” Button [News]

Posted: 02 May 2011 09:00 AM PDT

Social networking giant Facebook isn’t usually associated with sharing privately, but that’s exactly what the new “Send” button is for. In addition to being able to “Like” much of the indexed web, users can now specifically target friends privately (and not for the first time ever, remember email?).

The button is designed to be used alongside the familiar “Like” button on existing websites, giving users the option of sharing publicly by “Liking” the item or bringing it to the attention of a few specific people (or both).

When clicked the new button opens a small window within the page with fields for body text and recipients; much like a Facebook message. Web items can be sent to individuals who are already on Facebook, Groups and non-Facebook users via an email address. 

Abe Parvand announced the feature in a post on the Facebook Developers Blog, last week:

“The Send button drives traffic by letting users send a link and a short message to the people that would be most interested. They don’t need to leave the web page they’re on or fill out a long, annoying form. Compared to the alternatives, the Send button has fewer required steps, and it removes the need to look up email addresses by auto-suggesting friends and Groups.”

Webmasters and developers interested in introducing a “Send” button can either use the web form or code in the Facebook development documentation.

Will you “Like” and “Send”? Email for the lazy? A breakthrough in quick sharing? Let us know what you think!

Hey Facebookers, make sure to join MakeUseOf on Facebook and get access to some exclusve stuff. Over 70,000 fans already!



More articles about: , ,

Similar articles:

Ensoul: Your iPhone Wallpaper Editor and Manager for Mac [Giveaway]

Posted: 02 May 2011 08:30 AM PDT

While it’s certainly easy to add wallpaper, home screen images, and contact photos to your iPhone, a new 3rd Mac application, Ensoul, provides some advance features that extends what you can do with image stylizing for your favorite, sleek mobile device.

Ensoul is a handy app for iPhone users who like to have a wide variety of wallpaper to choose from. It’s way to add, manage, and edit wallpaper images and contact photos without using iPhoto or some other image editing application.


How to Use Ensoul

Ensoul works similarly to iPhoto and other self-contained image editors. First off, it includes a media pane that accesses your iPhoto  and/or Aperture libraries, as well as your Pictures Folder on your Mac. If you happen to have more than one iPhoto or Aperture library, Ensoul will access them all at once, which is something that can’t be done in iTunes.


Ensoul also comes installed with a set of stylish wallpapers to get you started. On left side of Ensoul, you can quickly add wallpaper images from anywhere in Mac’s Finder or from image downloads from the Internet, such as the website, iPhone Themes, which has a large collection of wallpaper and wallpaper themes.

Dragphoto 1

What’s even more useful about Ensoul is that you can preview — using the included iPhone emulator — how your selected wallpaper images will look on both the Lock Screen and Home Screen of the iPhone. While some images work great for the Lock Screen, they may get obscured by the display app icons on your Home Screen.


Built-in Image Editor

Ensoul also includes a built-in image editor for cropping, rotating, fixing and enhancing your images. This means you don’t have to open iPhoto or some other image editor to make image adjustments.


Exporting Wallpaper to Your iPhone

If you’re a wallpaper aficionado, you will no doubt want to keep a significant collection of images on your iPhone. If you want to add wallpaper images stored and edited in Ensoul, alongside existing photos from your iPhoto or other libraries on your iPhone, then you need to select wallpapers in Ensoul and choose Share > iPhoto in the Ensoul menu bar. Your selected wallpaper will be copied and inserted into an iPhoto album titled, "Ensoul."


When your iPhone is connected to your iTunes, you simply check the Ensoul folder along the other iPhoto albums you want include in your iPhone library.


If you want your iPhone library to consist solely of wallpaper and contact images from Ensoul, you need to choose the "Sync Photos from" button in iTunes when your iPhone is connected to your Mac. In the drop-down button, select “Pictures” and then click the box for the Ensoul Library folder in your Pictures Folder.

Other Features

Ensoul also includes other sharing features for exporting your wallpaper to your Twitter and Facebook account, as well to any part of your computer. You can also create more than one Ensoul library which is useful if you’re sharing your Mac with another iPhone users, or if you want so simply change up a set of wallpapers.

How do I win a copy?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form

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

The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from our Facebook page.

Step 2: Share!

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

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

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

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, May 6th at 2100hrs PDT. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

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



More articles about: , , , ,

Similar articles:

No comments:

Post a Comment