Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [May 16th]” plus 10 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [May 16th]” plus 10 more

Link to MakeUseOf

Cool Websites and Tools [May 16th]

Posted: 16 May 2011 08:31 PM PDT

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. Most of the listed websites are FREE or come with a decent free account option. If you want to have similar cool website round-ups delivered to your daily email, subscribe here.

Add Your Website Here!


TomTom Live Traffic – Staying in touch with traffic conditions can be a great help when you need to reach a destination fast. Here to offer live traffic conditions from streets around the world is a wonderful web service called TomTom Live Traffic, a free to use web service that lets you view live traffic conditions from around the world. Read more: Tomtom LiveTraffic: Check Live Traffic Conditions Online


CheapFiller – Did you buy something on Amazon but could not make the $25 mark for free shipping? If so, then you can use CheapFiller to find items to fill the gap and reach the $25 mark. You start by entering the amount of money required to reach the $25 mark. You can then optionally specify item categories to search in. Read more: CheapFiller: Find Filler Items On Amazon To Reach $25 Free Shipping



LinkedLeaks – Getting appropriately paid for your job is a major factor in job satisfaction. The best way to know if you are well paid is by comparing your salary with others in the same professional field. Here to help perform such a comparison is a tool called LinkedLeaks. Read more: LinkedLeaks: A Useful Tool To Find Out If You Are Being Appropriately Paid



mfile – If you want to easily share files (pictures, MP3s, documents etc) between mobile devices, one way to go is using QR codes with a help of a mobile app called mfile.You simply visit their website (http://mfile.linkstore.ru), upload a file from your smartphone and get the generated QR code. Read more: mfile: Share Files On Mobile With QR-Codes



UsrJoy – To improve the websites you own, you need to have a proper feedback system where you can collect the criticism of your site visitors. UsrJoy is one helpful website that offers this visitor feedback system. The service works through its own feedback form that you can customize and embed into your own website. Read more: UsrJoy: Feedback Form & Button For Your Website


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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Come & Work at MakeUseOf for Fame, Money & Glory

Posted: 16 May 2011 07:31 PM PDT

MakeUseOf is always on the hunt for fresh new talent who have the skills, experience and energy to take the site to the next level.

Yes, that’s right, we’re recruiting for great members of staff again and if you have what it takes, you could become our next star writer who sees their work go viral to over 400,000 subscribers and 100,000 Facebook fans.

To maintain our high standards and ensure that our readers get only the very best, we will be very choosy in who we eventually take on. But if you think you have the qualifications, if you can write articles that will knock everyone’s socks off, then we definitely want to hear from you.

Who We’re After

  • Someone who is naturally friendly, helpful, communicative and has a team spirit.
  • Someone with a sense of humour.
  • Someone who submits their work well before deadline and shows immense enthusiasm for the job and for the site.
  • Someone who instinctively knows the goals and aspirations of MakeUseOf so they choose knockout subjects everytime
  • Someone who speaks and writes perfect English, and needs minimal editorial guidance.

If this sounds like you, then you need to do the following:

  • Send in an application to post4usATmakeuseof.com.
  • Enter “MakeUseOf writer application” in the subject field of the email.
  • Emails must be text only. Do not send any attachments or resumes.
  • If you have a blog showing your work, please link to it.
  • If you’ve previously written for another blog, please link to your articles.
  • Include 5 new and unique story ideas that you would write for us if we decided to take you on.
  • Do not apply again if you’ve previously been rejected.

As well as online fame, we also offer a salary and bonuses, as well as the chance to be part of a great online writing team.

We look forward to receiving your application and will respond as quickly as possible, if we feel that you have the potential.

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2 Awesome Firefox Awesome Bar Search Shortcuts To Remember

Posted: 16 May 2011 06:31 PM PDT

google search bar firefoxFirefox’s “Awesome Bar” is known to save you time on typing the URL: just start typing any part of the domain, URL path or page title and Firefox will “guess” where you are heading. Someone may find the feature “too smart” but it’s been working wonders for me for ages. I barely open my bookmarks now to find my saved pages or search Google to remember the page I once visited and forgot to save the URL.

FireFox’s Awesome Bar “Frecency” (“frequency” + “recency”) algorithm has worked very well for quickly finding what I need and where I want to go:

Frecency is a score given to each unique URI in Places, encompassing bookmarks, history and tags. This score is determined by the amount of revisitation, the type of those visits, how recent they were, and whether the URI was bookmarked or tagged.

But even using it for ages, I wasn’t aware of the following Firefox Awesome Bar tips which make it even more awesome!

1. Three Awesome Awesome Bar Search Tips

Typing what you remember about the required URL is almost always enough to instantly find what you need but did you know that you can filter Awesome Bar suggestions by type?

Only Search Within Your Bookmarks

Type a single * and then your search term. Only bookmarked pages will be searched and, what’s more, the associated tags will be displayed and the tag names will also match your search (when possible):

google search bar firefox

Quick tip! Do you want to see the list of your most frequent and recent bookmarks? Just type a single * in the awesome bar and see the list!

google search bar

Only Search Within Your History

Use ^ to filter search to your browser history (and exclude pages that have been given a star).

google search bar

Quick tip! Use ^ ( without additional search terms) to find pages that you have visited frequently and recently to consider bookmarking and tagging them:

google search bar

Only Search Within Your Tagged Pages

Use + that restricts the search to tagged pages (and search within tags as well).

firefox search bar

2. Quickly Find Any Open Tab

If you are a fan of FireFox 4 “Switch to Tab” functionality that lets you quickly jump to a currently open tab (instead of loading the same page again in a new tab), you will love this tip.

To see the list of all currently open tabs in your browser, just type % in your Awesome bar and you’ll see the list and, what’s more, will get an option to jump to any of those:

firefox search bar

Quick Tip! If you have too many tabs open, you can quickly find the one you have in mind: just start typing a related word after the %:

firefox search bar

In case you are looking forward to more FireFox URL bar tips, here’s an old post we did on how to enhance productivity with FireFox's Address bar that lists some handy keyboard shortcuts to activate and browse the Awesome Bar as well as some other tips and addons.

Are you aware of any other awesome Awesome Bar search tips and shortcuts? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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2 Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private & Secure

Posted: 16 May 2011 04:30 PM PDT

anonymous web browsersAs LastPass recently faced a possible security issue, and other top-notch companies keep falling prey to security breaches, some of us, users, may want to think twice before trusting our personal information. But since it's usually after some database has been hacked that we realize this, it doesn't hurt to start effecting changes in our often overlooked surfing habits. Not all our habits are dangerous but some could potentially cost us our credit card information or worse.

A good way to protect our information on the web is to surf the web anonymously, like using Google Chrome's Incognito mode. To go incognito full-time though, you may want to take a look at the following anonymous web browsers.

Tor Browser Bundle [Cross-Platform]

anonymous web browsers

Tor or The Onion Router is, according to its own site, "free software and an open network" that basically defends you against network surveillance or traffic analysis. To allow anonymous surfing, this open-source tool re-routes network traffic through Tor nodes, which are Tor-running computers owned by volunteers from all over the world. Not only does Tor bring anonymous internet surfing to your browser, it can also hide your country of origin for any application, prevent websites from tracking users (and their physical location) and help users bypass websites blocked by their Internet service providers (ISPs) or government.

free anonymous web browsersThe Tor Browser Bundle includes Mozilla Firefox, which is usually fairly fast, but with Tor, it will be a little slow as all traffic needs to pass through different Tor nodes before being displayed on your browser. Other than Tor being a bit slow, which is inevitable, Tor also blocks websites with flash content and that require browser plugins, like Java and ActiveX, since these can be manipulated into revealing a user's IP address. The rewards can totally outweigh these drawbacks though.

If you're ready to try Tor, like our former WordPress guy, Jorge, said, you should probably use the Tor button to switch Tor on when you actually need to access a website anonymously. Also, note that while the network traffic between you and the Tor network is anonymous, the connection between the last Tor node and your final destination cannot be encrypted by Tor so always proceed with care when communicating sensitive information.

SRWare Iron (Cross-Platform)
free anonymous web browsers

If you regularly use Google Chrome, but aren't so comfortable with Google knowing your every move on the Internet, you might want to try SRWare's Iron web browser. Both Google Chrome and SRWare Iron are based on the open source Chromium project, so you'll notice few differences. On the internal side, Iron, of course, has disabled Chrome's information-collecting features, such as URL-tracker, error reporting, etc. which Google needs to improve our favorite search engine. Aside from internal differences, Iron works pretty much the way you're used to in Chrome. Chrome extensions and themes will also work on Iron. To check it out in Windows (portable version available), head to the website. If you're on a Mac, you can download Iron here. Linux users can go to this thread.

Abandoned Web Browsers: Ghostzilla & OperaTor

free anonymous web browsers Ghostzilla is a dated web browser program for Windows that doesn't exactly hide your typed addresses but it does make your web browsing session very inconspicuous as it stations itself inside an active program window. As you type web addresses on Ghostzilla (which uses the Mozilla browsing engine, hence the name), it loads websites in a transparent layer, and shows single images in black and white. Additional images will only surface if you hover your mouse over. Please note that even if you use Ghostzilla, your school or company will still be able to log websites you accessed.
anonymous web browsers

OperaTor (v. 3.5) is a software bundle that combines the acclaimed and portable Opera browser, and Tor. OperaTor is actually no longer maintained, but you can still try it by following the directions in this post to replace OperaTor's old Opera 10 browser with the new version.

In addition to these somewhat older browsers, there are also other types of software that can help you attain anonymity online: Proxy software. We have discussed a few of these applications, such as Toonel, JAP/JonDo, and UltraSurf, which can help you reach sites like Hulu outside of the US.

If you would rather not download anything, you can make use of websites that facilitate camouflaged web surfing (like Vanishd), anonymous search engines that do not record your IP address, such as Yauba and Startpage, and web-based proxy services, like AnonyMouse.

What anonymous web browsers do you use to stay hidden on the Internet?

Image Credit: Shutterstock, archetwist, SRWare

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Snapbucket – A Fun Mobile Photo Styling & Sharing App From Photobucket For iOS & Android Smartphones

Posted: 16 May 2011 02:30 PM PDT

camera mobile phone photo sharingAccording to my iPhone’s logs, I’ve spent just short of 15 minutes actually phoning people since it came into my possession. Then again, charging is a daily ritual as I consistently manage to drain the battery by about midnight.

Much of my battery is spent either browsing the web from the comfort of my palm, sifting through email or trying out a selection of the thousands of apps available for the platform. In particular, I find many photo sharing and styling apps fun to play with, and great for quickly uploading something interesting.

One of the finest tools for the job is the much-loved Instagram, which allows you to turn a dull and boring camera phone image into stylised retro art. Snapbucket is Photobucket‘s answer to fun, mobile photo sharing – and (unlike Instagram) it’s available for both iOS and Android devices.

Snapping, Styling & Sharing

Snapbucket is laid out in an almost identical manner to Instagram, with quick access to the shutter, images already on your device, settings and tips along the bottom of the screen. Once you’ve launched the app it’s good to go – simply touch that big, inviting camera button to capture the scene.
camera mobile phone photo sharing
Next you’ll be able to customize your image, with whole style sets as well as individual filters and personal touches to choose from (more on this later). Again, at this stage (iOS users) you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re still in Instagram – it all looks pretty familiar.
mobile photo sharing
Once you’ve completed your work of art then it’s a simple case of signing up (or logging in, should you already have an account), labelling and sharing it amongst your friends. You can add a description of where you took the photo, though Snapbucket also supports geo-tagging, and will ask you to allow location detection on first boot.
mobile photo sharing
If you’d like to share your images with your friends then try connecting your Twitter or Facebook accounts (you can toggle sharing from the upload screen) to instantly notify your online cohorts. You can also embrace the past and choose to email your picture to whoever you want, if that’s your style.

Just Another Instagram?

No, actually.

Snapbucket distances itself from being just another Instagram with a couple of unique touches, including greater control over your end result.

Instagram only lets you choose one style, chopped to a square crop. Snapbucket provides multiple filters, effects, vignettes and frames which can be stacked on top of each other for some fairly original results. You can also choose from a collection of predefined sets, which are cleverly selected individual effects designed to recreate classic, retro looks.
mobile photo sharing
Once you’ve found a couple of combinations you like, you can save custom sets for quick access later. Snapbucket does not feature a square crop mode, though you can of course use images already on your device (regardless of orientation or size).

Tilt-shifting (artificial depth of field) has not made it into this version of Snapbucket, though it would be nice to see it in a future update.

mobile photo sharing apps

The more you use Snapbucket, the more effects you’ll have access to. Even after just uploading one image, I managed to unlock the "Sky" set, a blue filter, and both the sunlight and purple light leak effects.
mobile photo sharing apps
It’s certainly not a bad way of encouraging users to take lots of pictures, and who can complain when both the app and image hosting are free?


Android and iOS users can make use of Snapbucket, with versions available on both the App Store and Android Market:


For Android users who haven’t had chance to play around with the wonderful Instagram, then Snapbucket is a worthy alternative. For iOS users who are slightly bored of the same old effects, Snapbucket offers great customization and rewards prolonged use with even more styles to choose from.

Just for fun I’ve processed the same image in both Instagram and Snapbucket, and though I didn’t spend ages tweaking either result, the following pictures provide a decent comparison of the two:


mobile photo sharing apps


camera mobile phone photo sharing

If you like taking photos on the go, like to go faux-retro chic and want the ability to share your creations; Snapbucket is definitely worth the download, and the price is spot-on.

Have you tried Snapbucket? Do you prefer Instagram? Any other photo styling and sharing apps you love? Share your thoughts and images in the comments below!


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Hot Tech Deals – Seagate FreeAgent Go 1TB Portable Ext. HD $74.99 + more

Posted: 16 May 2011 01:30 PM PDT

We’ve got a storage feast going on today with deals for Seagate, HP and Western Digital external hard drives. The Seagate FreeAgent Go 1TB portable external hard drive is going for $74.99, the HP SimpleSave 2TB is going for $89.99 and the Western Digital 2TB is $79.99. Decisions!

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

  1. TODAY ONLY Seagate FreeAgent Go 1TB Portable External Hard Drive $74.99 Free Shipping
  2. OCZ Vertex 2 60GB Internal MLC Solid State Drive (TRIM, Sandforce Controller) $89.99AR Free Shipping via rebate
  3. HP SimpleSave 2TB External USB Hard Drive $89.99 Free Shipping
  4. TODAY ONLY APC S15 900W UPS Power Conditioner $249.88
  5. TODAY ONLY Dell ST2220MB 22in LED-Backlit LCD Monitor (1920×1080) $129.99 Free Ship
  6. Sony NSZ-GT1 Blu-Ray Player w/ Google TV (REFURB) $259.99 Free Shipping
  7. Western Digital My Book Essential 2TB External Hard Drive $79.99 Free Ship
  8. TODAY ONLY Tomtom GO 730 GPS (4.3in, Lane Guidance, Bluetooth) $99.99 Free Ship

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


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5 Ways To Share Music, Documents, Files & More On Twitter

Posted: 16 May 2011 12:30 PM PDT

share on twitterWhile it couldn’t be easier to share images or links on Twitter, if you want to share actual files, music or documents, you have to make a little bit more of an effort to find services that make it easy to do so. If you already use a file sharing or backup service like Dropbox, it’s very easy to generate a shareable link and post it on Twitter.

But if you’d rather keep things as secure as possible, there are several free services which make it easy to share all kinds of files on Twitter without having to sign up for a new service or having to grant access to your own computer. While you’re at it, be sure to check out our previous post listing four free sites to share music on Twitter.


Crunch.fm is the latest in free web apps that make it easy to share music on Twitter. After authorizing access to your Twitter account, search for the song or artist you want to listen to, and edit the text of your tweet.
share on twitter
The actual tweet is appended with the hashtag, #nowplaying.
share music on twitter
Crunch.fm’s search method is a bit odd. If you search for an artist, the site will come back with just one song, so you have to make your search very specific. The site also forces you to follow their Twitter account when you use it.


After signing up for a free account, Swift.fm allows you to share mp3 files on Twitter by uploading them from your own computer.
share music on twitter
After uploading the file from your computer, you can edit the text of the tweet and update your status.
share music on twitter
While the text of the tweet is editable, you are forced to append the tweet with a mention of their Twitter account.
share files on twitter
When users click on the link, the song will automatically begin playing.


TinySong harnesses the power of Grooveshark, allowing users to easily share music on Twitter, without having to sign up for an account. After searching for the song you want to share, you should be able to preview it directly on TinySong but the feature is hit and miss.
share files on twitter
Hitting the share button will generate a shortened URL which you can copy to your clipboard.

Hitting the Twitter button automatically populates your tweet for you.
share files on twitter
The TinySong link will take users to Grooveshark.


If you want to share documents with other Twitter users, TwitDoc allows you to upload files to your TwitDoc account, and when uploading, you can chose whether or not to tweet the link straight away.
share files on twitter
If you do choose to tweet through TwitDoc, they do not append anything to your tweet.

The document can be then be accessed through Scribd.


With Twi.tt you can share almost any kind of file through Twitter, whether an audio or video file, a document, or even a poll.

After you’ve authorized the website, select the kind of file you want to share, enter the text to your tweet and send it to your followers. Photos can be uploaded from your computer, shared from a URL or captured using your webcam.

Videos can be uploaded, shared using a URL, or recorded using your webcam.

Documents can be uploaded or shared using a URL.

And lastly, polls can be created using the form on the site.

The poll then be available from a link posted on your Twitter account.
share on twitter
Sharing audio files is a feature that is yet to be activated on Twi.tt.

How do you share files or music with your followers on Twitter? Let us know in the comments.

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Using Your F-Keys For Launching Applications & Finder Items [Mac]

Posted: 16 May 2011 11:30 AM PDT

f-keys on mac

If the sixteen function keys (typically called F-keys) on your Mac keyboard are not being clicked regularly, you might be missing out on their time-saving uses.

If you rarely use these keys, launch System Preferences on your Mac and click Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts. In the resulting open window, click on Display in the left column and you will see by default that keys F14 and F15 are assigned to decrease and increase brightness of your computer screen. Under Exposé & Spaces the F9, F10, and F11 keys are assigned to "All windows", "Application windows", "Desktop," respectively. If you have never used these keys, just click them and you'll see what they do.

The F-keys on your Mac keyboard can be a powerful set of application and Finder item launchers, saving you the trouble of burrowing through the Finder and bookmarks to launch say iCal, Address Book, your favorite websites, and other items. So why use the F-keys when you can simply launch items from the Dock? Well, sometimes the Dock may get overcrowded with applications. At the same time, it can be much faster to click say F5 to quickly launch iCal, your Dropbox folder, or your bank account website.

Empowering F-keys

If your F-keys are not being used, there are two ways you can assign functions to them. You can download a paid app called Function Keys Mapper, and/or you can use Automator in your Applications folder to build workflows that you can be activated by your F-keys. There are several articles on MUO that explain how to use Automator. You can also download my MUO Awesome Automation Guide for Mac Users to learn more. But I'll briefly take you through an exercise that shows you how to set up an Automator workflow for launching a website (in this case, MakeUseOf.com) that in turn can be activated by an assigned F-Key.

Star off by launching Automator. Select the Services template and click, "Choose."
f-keys on mac
Change the "Service receives selected," drop-down button to "URLs" in "any application." This simply means that the action you are building will appear in the Internet section of the Keyboard Shortcuts, in System Preferences. It also indicates that this workflow will work in any application.
mac function keys
Now click on the Internet actions in the Automator Library.

mac function keys

Slide the following two action in the main workflow window: "Get Specified URLs", followed by "Display Webpages."

Change the default Apple URL in the first action to the ”http://makeuseof.com” URL or any site you wish. Notice that you can add a series of URLs if you like, and you will be able to open them all in one single click.
mac function keys
Click the Run button on the top-right side of the Automator toolbar to make sure the workflow is set correctly.

Click on File > Save, and give the workflow a name, such as "Open MUO."

Assign a Function Key

Now open System Preferences and click on Keyboard. Select Keyboard Shortcuts, and then Services. You should find your Automator workflow under the Internet section.
launching apps on mac

Select the workflow and click inside it. In the blank space, click and assign an F-key that will activate your workflow—i.e. launch your designated website(s). If your selected F-key is not accepted it means that it's being used for another application or Finder item. After your F-key is applied, it's ready to use. While it took a few minutes to put together this workflow, you'll gain back that time and more when you can simply open your chosen website with a click of a button.

F-keys and Modifier Keys

You are not limited to using single F-keys as hotkeys. You can add one or more modifier keys to create a hotkey.

launching apps on mac
For example, your hotkey could be Command+Option+F4, or any combination you can remember best.

Other Activations

Now that you have created your fist Automator action and assigned an F-key to it, go back to Automator and check out many of the other types of workflows you can create to assign F-keys to.
launching apps on mac
In similar fashion, you could create a workflow to open a designated folder, e.g. your Downloads folder, or a similar action for creating a new mail message to someone or a company that you write to on a regular basis.
f-keys on mac

For you Mac laptop users who want to customize the function keys on your portable Mac, check out Jackson's article about how to Switch Your Mac Function Keys with FunctionFlip.

For more about Mac keyboard shortcuts, check out How to Master the Power of Mac Shortcut Keys.

Let me know how this is tutorial works for you, and feel free to share other tips you know for using the F-keys on your Mac.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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6 Chrome Extensions For Catching The Latest News Headlines

Posted: 16 May 2011 10:30 AM PDT

news chrome extensionThese days' getting to news isn't a problem. Managing it all when it hits you is the tough part. But when it comes to news, we all know that more is also never enough. The web also indulges us with the glut of news websites and web apps on smartphones and mobile devices like iPads and ereaders.

So, it would seem like a step back to use Google Chrome news extensions to access and read news. But Chrome extensions or search enablers that help to serve news in the browser have one important purpose. They are shortcuts and save you the bother of looking up the news websites individually or searching through it. As these Google Chrome extensions show, some of them are quite cool too. News junkies like to keep a close watch on news and these news Chrome extensions lend a hand along with feeds and other forms of instant updates.

So, let's trawl through the Chrome Web Store and locate a few news related browser extensions that keep us in touch with the world outside.

Huffington Post – News Glide (Beta)

news chrome extension

The Huffington Post has its share of detractors, but if you aren't one of them, you can try out the official Chrome extension (Huffington Post News Glide) from the well known news website and blog. The Chrome extension lets you flip through the latest on Huffington Post. The single click menu bar on top puts you into the different segments of the site. The HuffPo app is customizable with different themes, viewing options, and news filters. The app gives you quick access and quick sharing options.


chrome news app

A cool HTML5 application that mimics a clutter free reading environment; The NYTimes Chrome app is a must if you follow one of the world's leading broadsheets. You can customize the look and feel and use shortcuts to browse through the different sections of the online version of the newspaper.

BBC News Alarm

chrome extensions news

This is not a full fledged news site, but if you keep your computer on overnight you can setup this small app to wake you with a podcast from BBC. The podcast from BBC World News Service and presents highlights from news around the world. Just make sure, you have your computer's speakers turned on.


chrome extensions news

TiltView brings news from some of the best known news sites around the world. It monitors news in real time and presents it in video. It's like watching news on TV with the added option of forwarding to different news channels. The sources covered by TiltView are – 60 Minutes, Al Jazeera English, CBS News, Economist, France 24, PBS News, New York Times, Washington Post, and more.


chrome extensions news

National Public Radio is as much about hard news as it is about art and pop culture. It is a network of 900 independent stations (US based) who cover politics, life, art, and music. The Chrome extension brings the latest news from these networks in a clutter free, easy-to-read magazine style layout. You can scroll horizontally through the sliding tape layout and uncover more news and events. Features include playlists, hourly newscasts, a station finder, and sharing controls.



news chrome extension

Reuters has several variants for US, UK, Canada, and India. Choose to install one and get access to the top headlines in a neat pop-out. This extension is simple, but gives you quick access to news breaking across the news agency.


Similar to the simple extension from Reuters, you can also check out the following extensions from other leading news organizations from around the world –

Times Online

The Independent

The Wall Street Journal

The Guardian


We are living in interesting times. News is breaking all across the globe. Would you like to add these Chrome extensions to the quiver of news apps you might already have? Let us know if you use Chrome extensions to follow the news in your browser.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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4 YouTube Channels Linux Enthusiasts Should Follow

Posted: 16 May 2011 09:30 AM PDT

linux youtubeEver since YouTube became a big hit, finding great videos on the topics that you are most interested about was easier than ever.

However, now that YouTube has been the standard for widespread video streaming for quite some time now, it’s hard to filter through the millions of channels that exist on YouTube to find the right ones that you want to subscribe to.

This is also the case if you are a Linux enthusiast who wants to find good channels for information and news discussions. So here are some of my picks of which Linux YouTube channels to follow.

The Linux Action Show

linux youtube

The Linux Action Show is a weekly show produced by Jupiter Broadcasting, who also offers a number of other shows on their channel. Some of them are tech-related, others are not. During each episode of The Linux Action Show, or LAS for short, the hosts go through a ritual of showing a cool system that runs Linux (think outside the box), top Android picks, Linux news and discussion, and then a feature review. Their feature review changes between distribution reviews, “cool app” reviews, and dedicated discussion on major news items. In my experience, I have found that some of their discussions are a little opinionated, especially when talking about distributions. However, even if you don’t exactly agree with what they say, I still recommend that you check them out. Even if they say something I don’t agree with, I still keep watching for the entertainment value.

This Week In Linux

linux youtube channel

This Week In Linux is another great channel for those who want to stay up to date with the Linux community. What started out as weekly episodes that covered a week’s-worth of news turned into an expanded channel that did news, distribution reviews, and other occasional specialties. Over time a nice community has formed around the channel, which is always a great thing to see in the open source world. I recommend the channel because of the good coverage of Linux news, plus the high quality of the videos that are produced. A lot of care is taken into making those videos, so props should be given for that. You can also check out his website by clicking here.


linux youtube channel

If you haven’t heard of NixiePixel and are an Ubuntu user, then you have definitely been missing out for quite some time. NixiePixel is another Linux enthusiast who specifically uses Ubuntu. She regularly produces videos that are short but effective tips that make your time with Ubuntu much more pleasurable. In case you have any doubts about her credibility, don’t. She is also a writer at the popular OMG! Ubuntu! website who publish multiple posts over Ubuntu daily. Overall, her channel is definitely worth checking out. Just don’t forget to say hi to her keyboard cat.


linux youtube

My last recommendation does not actually have regular Linux-related YouTube videos, but the ones that do get published are definitely worth checking out. Chris Pirillo (lockergnome) has a fairly successful technology channel in which most of the videos he publishes are very detailed discussions over whatever the topic happens to be. Every now and then he talks about a Linux-related topic, and most of them help spur your thinking about what you really want out of your Linux box. Although he does talk about individual distributions, they are not reviews but instead a great discussion in which he does his “reviewing”. His words of wisdom are pretty interesting, so do check him out when you can.


There are even more worthy channels in addition to the ones that I listed that didn’t make the cut but should be worth your viewing time. Therefore, don’t limit yourself to this list, but use it as a guide to find the channels you are looking for. With this list you should be able to make good use of YouTube to follow the Linux YouTube channels you like the most.

What channels can you recommend for this list? Is there anything major that I missed? Let us know in the comments!

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Dropbox Accused Of Lying To Users Over Data Security [News]

Posted: 16 May 2011 08:31 AM PDT

Dropbox has recently revised its claims on how securely they maintain user data, prompting a lawsuit claiming that Dropbox has misled its customers about its privacy policy and encryption processes.

The crux of the matter is that Dropbox previously claimed to encrypt all user files and that no employees would have access to these files. As of April 13th, Dropbox privacy policies have been changed and it’s clear that Dropbox employees do have access to user files. However, Dropbox have not contacted its customers to advise of this change in user data privacy, prompting the accusations that Dropbox has been misleading their customers.

Before April 13th, the website clearly stated that: “Dropbox employees aren't able to access user files, and when troubleshooting an account, they only have access to file metadata (filenames, file sizes, etc. not the file contents).”

After April 13th, the claim changed to: “Dropbox employees are prohibited from viewing the content of files you store in your Dropbox account, and are only permitted to view file metadata (e.g., file names and locations).”

Dropbox’s response was as follows: “That statement didn't say anything about who holds encryption keys or what mechanisms prevent access to the data. We updated our help article and security overview to be explicit about this. Also, to clarify we've never stated we don't have access to encryption keys. We've made quite a few posts in our public forums over the years about this very fact and we are quite open with our community.”

Other privacy claims also changed on April 13th, such as a previous claim that “All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted (AES256) and are inaccessible without your account password” now simply reads “All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted”.

The complaint revolves around the fact that these security claims were confusing and misleading to users.

Here at MakeUseOf we love making use of cloud storage and finding unique ways for students and others to use tools such as Dropbox.

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