Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [May 23rd]” plus 9 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [May 23rd]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [May 23rd]

Posted: 23 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.

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Cohuman – Online collaboration has evolved from simple e-mails and bulletin boards, to sleek, minimalist project management software like Basecamp. Cohuman is the latest dynamic project management tool to take a major step in remote working through intelligent tasking and prioritization – working in almost real-time. Read more: Cohuman: A Dynamic Project Management App

 

FellowUp – is a personal relationship and network management tool that helps you maintain contact with your friends and acquaintances spread across various social sites. To get started, you need to add your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google or Outlook contacts so that FellowUp can build its database. Read more: FellowUp: Organize & Manage Your Online Network

 

 

Views.FM – If you use Dropbox on a regular basis, you should check out Views.FM. It lets you share your Dropbox files through a better, more elegant interface than the default one that Dropbox provides on its website. It creates an optimized view for every different type of file. Read more: Views.FM: Share Dropbox Files With Others Through A More Elegant Interface

 

 

Clipik – Quality video editing that involves software like Final Cut Pro or Premiere is not easy and is done better by professionals, who usually charge a hefty amount. Clipik is a video editing marketplace that crowdsources the task of quality video and photo editing to make it affordable. Read more: Clipik: Get Your Videos Edited by Professionals

 

 

Yap Voicemail – is a new app for iPhone and Android that could make managing voice messages much easier. The tool is smooth to set up and lets you read your voice messages in text format. It transcribes voice messages into readable text messages automatically. Read more: Yap Voicemail: Convert Voicemail Messages To Readable Text

 

These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

 

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3 Tools To Create A Price Drop Email Alert

Posted: 23 May 2011 06:30 PM PDT

price alertShopping online is hardly a new habit for anyone. We have all quickly found how easy and exciting it is to spend money online. But what about saving?

Couponing can be a great and effective way to save a penny or two and there have been quite a few useful money-saving sites shared so far… But who has the time? Tracking coupons online requires a huge time investment which may never pay off: you need to first find reliable and effective coupon sources, then create various tracking and organizing systems, etc.

I have found that nothing works better than a relevant and timely price tracking email alert. Here are a few tools I am using to create one:

New Coupon Alert

There are a variety of coupon directories and aggregators out there. One’s choice is really based on personal preferences and trial and error experiences. The one I am currently using is Rather-be-Shopping which has (luckily) added the coupon alert feature with the latest update.

I like the tool because the coupons listed there seem to be hand-picked and more often than not prove to be reliable. One of the newest and most useful sections added as well is a free shipping one.

To add an email alert, you will need to create a free account, proceed to “Your Coupon Alert Settings” ad check what you want to be alerted of. You can receive alerts (1) by category or (2) by store (or both):

price alert

FreeShipping.org’s “Favorite Coupons” feature that I mentioned in another shopping-related post quite a while ago is another option to try here but it only allows you to add price alerts by merchant.

Price Drop Email Alert

Like with coupon aggregating, price tracking sites are quite a few. I’ve been using one of the most established and popular of them: PriceGrabber. To create a price drop alert you will need to use the search feature to locate your product (range), then create an account and use “Add Price Alert” link.

The alert settings will let you specify:

  • Quality preferences (New, Used, Import, Refurbished, etc);
  • Merchant range (you can include or exclude any merchants names);
  • Desired merchant rating:

email price alerts

The actual alert will look like this:

email price alerts

Any Email Price Alerts

Google Alerts which you can have plenty of fun with is another tool we need to mention here. The best thing about the tool is that you can actually create an alert about anything while using the flexibility of Google Advanced operators:

  • Get new product result within the specified price range: [laptop $500..$1200] – use two dots between the prices
  • Include several products in one alert: [laptop coupons OR mobile phone coupons]
  • Control the proximity to include various models: ["nokia * coupons"]

price alert

Almost with all those queries, scrolling down to “Web results” in your alert (like in the screenshot above) will give you most useful results.

With as much flexibility, why not use Google Alerts and that’s it? Unfortunately, the tool results are far from being perfect. In my experience, Google Alerts are most useful when applied for some type of research (for example, if you want to get daily updates on what people offer and which products exist based on your query). The tool won’t give you any actionable updates (unlike the two tools above).

Another tip to mention here is that you probably want to create a separate email account for these types of price alerts so that they do not clutter your main inbox.

Do you save money using your email? Please share your most successful money saving tricks!

 

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4 Ways To Quickly Identify Your Favorite Web Page Fonts

Posted: 23 May 2011 04:31 PM PDT

web page fontsWe have gone over some elegant looking free fonts here ready to be used in any of your projects, but many new fonts are born every so often thanks to talented artists. You can spot them in new web app logos, magazines, food packages, etc.

How do you find out what font these texts are so you can use them? Here are a few services that can help you identify the particular web page font you're looking at and make the process more automated than anything and less painful.

For Web Designers/Developers: Firebug

web page fonts

Firebug started as a Firefox addon that bundles many web development tools and lets you debug and edit CSS, HTML, and JavaScript in any webpage. Back in March of 2009, it was still a Firefox-exclusive tool. We had published an article on how to install Firebug on IE, Safari, Chrome and Opera, but with the rave reviews Firebug received, this great tool is now available for other browsers as a bookmarklet called Firebug Lite and also a Chrome extension.

While not a complete substitute for the Firefox addon, this Lite bookmarklet has replicated many of the functionalities available on the addon. Even the physical appearance bears resemblances that you almost can't tell you're not using Firefox. But since Firebug Lite isn't exactly the same thing, the author's website does recommend to use the bookmarklet in conjunction with Chrome Developer Tools if you're using Google Chrome.

Anyhow, once you have the bookmarklet or the Chrome extension and you see text with an unknown font you love, you can highlight the words, press on the bookmarklet link, head to the HTML tab on the main left pane, and then the Computed tab on the right column to see the font name, family, size, weight, etc.

While Firebug is nice and dandy for web developers, if you're not a web designer, there's a simpler way to quickly find the font family of some text.

Quick & Neat Way For Any Typography Enthusiast: WhatFont

WhatFont consists of a neat bookmarklet that, once activated, you can hover over any text and immediately get a very nice-looking overlay which pops up with the name of the font. Once you click it, you'll see additional details about the font. To go back to regular surfing mode without the overlays, just click on the top right corner that says Exit WhatFont.

Just like Firebug Lite, WhatFont understandably cannot make out the font from images, but at least it notifies you when it might be inaccurate.

web fonts

If you're not a web developer or designer, but just a casual typography enthusiast, WhatFont is a perfect, neat and quick way to get font details.

Identifying Fonts In Images: WhatTheFont & WhatFontIs

web fonts

You can always ask in typography expert forums for help identifying a web page font, but you should only try that if you've used WhatTheFont as it's really easy to use. Just get a PNG screenshot of some text in the font you adore with the least white space possible and upload the image or paste the image URL. Now just type or correct the letters that WhatTheFont highlights in the next screen, leaving any incomplete characters' text boxes blank, and that's it.

You may not always get the same exact font, but usually there are many closely related fonts that WhatTheFont will present for you. In my tests, the one font that WhatTheFont couldn't exactly find, an expert in the very helpful forum identified it in less than 24 hours.

WhatFontIs, formerly known as IdentifyFonts, is similar to WhatTheFont in that you it helps you identify fonts from an image. On this site, you also upload an image, identify highlighted characters, and get a list of fonts resembling the ones in your image. One difference is that during the character selection step, you can choose to see all results, only commercial fonts or just free ones. You also get the license detail in the results list to save you time.

web page fonts

Web Designer Depot has a list of font-identifying tools, but the ones on here require the least manual work. You can always learn typography altogether, or also train your eyes to identify properties of fonts with FontTrainer to not have to rely on these tools.

Instead of identifying web page fonts made by other people, you can also make your very own fonts with these free tools.

Did we miss any super easy ways to identify fonts? Let us know in the comments!

Image credit: JoanaCroft at Stock.Xchng


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5 Uses For Google Latitude You Might Not Have Considered

Posted: 23 May 2011 02:30 PM PDT

google latitudeGoogle Latitude is a location-tracking app from the king of search engines that keeps track of your whereabouts, with the option of sharing with certain people. Whilst there are obvious considerations to make before sharing your exact whereabouts with friends, Latitude also has some fairly valid uses.

A word of advice – the current version is a bit of a drain on battery, and there are a number of bugs within the iPhone version at least which could do with an update. Of course this doesn’t render it useless, and an update from Google would probably make this list a little more viable.

If you’ve got Google Latitude, are thinking of trying it or simply can’t see the point then here’s a few ways you can make use of this handy little app.

A Phone Tracker

google latitude
Think about it – you should always have a passcode on your smartphone. Should you lose your device without a passcode then your entire life (well, your email, messages and other sensitive information) are at the behest of whoever finds it.

Using Google Latitude isn’t going to stop your phone from being stolen, and nor is it going to get it back should you lose it. If you do however happen to be using Latitude and your phone should get stolen, Latitude will go some way in helping you find it.

Should a thief pull a number on you, turn your phone off and take it back to his den of thieves, when the phone is switched back on Google Latitude should do its thing, find out where you are (GPS co-ordinates maybe, general whereabouts from cell phone signal definitely) and upload that data to the server. Your phone will then show up on Latitude when you login from a PC or check on a friend’s device.

The Ultimate Road Trip Tool

google latitude uses
If you’ve ever taken several cars on a road trip then you’ll know about the perils of losing each other. Unexpected detours, random "let’s stop here" moments and terrible navigation skills are bound to cause confusion.

Latitude can quite obviously be used here to keep the two (or however many are in your convoy) at a comfortable distance. Should someone stop for fuel or coffee, a simple glance at Latitude will pinpoint their location. You could then even route the location straight from Google Maps, or keep driving till you catch up.

On a serious note please don’t go fiddling with your smartphones whilst driving, get one of your passengers to do it!

Beating The Crowds

google latitude uses
If you’ve ever been to a music festival then you’ll appreciate how difficult it is meeting friends "in purple campsite, by tower 2 next to the big tree". With Latitude you can check exactly where your friends are camped and walk directly there.

This doesn’t just apply to music festivals – shopping centres, showgrounds, airports and other busy public places could all benefit from the Latitude treatment.

A Hiking & Outdoor Pursuit Tool

google latitude uses
The argument that if you’re really that into hiking then you’d buy a dedicated GPS unit somewhat nullifies this, but then not everyone has the money for an expensive weatherproof navigation tool. Smartphones are on the up however, and now more and more of us have them (so let’s get some serious use out of them).

So say you’re not that into hiking, but you enjoy a good walk and some fresh air. Why not use Latitude to record your hike? You could even add any pictures you took along the way to a map and share it with other walkers and friends.

If nothing else it serves as log of your route, and you could choose to follow it again, alter it slightly next time or simply mark it off your list. This also applies to cycling!

Finding Fido & Tracing Teenagers

google latitude
In the same spirit as our uses for an old smartphone article, many of us have last year’s tech sitting around the house. By "last year’s tech" I’m referring to old cell phones, and an increasing number of older smartphones with decent, usable features.

If you’re a particularly paranoid dog owner or own a notoriously adventurous pooch, sticking an old smartphone running Latitude onto the collar isn’t a bad idea – just make sure you find a decent waterproof, resilient and dog-friendly housing.

You could also use it to keep tabs on your kids, but then that depends on whether you view this as going a little too far or not. I’d also hazard a guess that they’d figure out a way of switching it off, I know I would.

Conclusion

The other reason to use Latitude is simply because it’s fun tracking your journeys, building up a map of exactly where you’ve been. The few other uses listed here will hopefully give you a few fresh ideas for making the most out of Google Latitude.

As for Latitude’s privacy and other concerns? Well I’ll be exploring them in my next article, so stay tuned.

Have those of you who are using Google Latitude come up with any other uses? Would you ever use Google Latitude or a service like it? Have your say in the comments below.

Image Credit: Campsite, Navigation, GPS Dog

 

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6 Easy Ways To Tweak Your Mac Desktop’s Appearance

Posted: 23 May 2011 12:30 PM PDT

tweak mac desktopWe’ve already given you a few tips and tricks on how to spice up your Mac desktop with apps like Pic-a-POD, Vladstudio Companion, Desktoptopia and DeskLickr. There are a few other ways you can adjust your desktop’s appearance depending on your needs.

From any easy way to change sidebar icons to automatically changing your wallpaper image, these apps make it more than easy to get it just the way you want, practically at the click of a button. Also be sure to check out the in-depth review of the popular, cross-platform wallpaper rotation app, Wally.

Refinery

Refinery gives you instant access to tons of tiny little tweaks and changes to your Mac’s appearance.

You can tweak the dock’s appearance or positioning and control window minimization.
tweak mac desktop
You can also easily change your dock by drag and drop icons, dividers, indicators and more to get your dock just the way you want.
changing mac desktop
You can also download ready made docks to import from Leopard Docks.
changing mac desktop
With Refinery you can also easily tweak the Desktop icons size, font size, window title style, show hidden files, and more.
changing mac desktop
Other Finder options include changing the Sidebar icons and Toolbar icons, by dragging and dropping them onto the app.
mac desktop changes
You can also change the login window background, and system alert icons, also using the drag and drop method.
mac desktop changes
Any changes that you make can be easily reverted with the click of a button. Refinery is donationware, meaning you can use it for free for as long as you like, but if you find the app handy, you can also show your appreciation with a small donation to the developer.

Wallpaper Wizard Lite

Wallpaper Wizard Lite [App Store link] is available as a free download from the Mac App Store. The free version of the app does come with its limitations – namely you only have access to 100 of the available images. That said, the sets that are available are pretty impressive, divided into the four categories, animals, exotic, cars and nature.
mac desktop changes
There are several ways you can change your wallpaper using Wallpaper Wizard Lite. There is a mini-wizard where you can randomly shuffle between the available wallpapers, or even automatically change your wallpaper at specific intervals.

Alternatively, you can open up the main window of the program to select the wallpaper yourself.

Upgrading to the paid version gives you the ability to upload your own images, turning Wallpaper Wizard into the ultimate wallpaper manager.

Loginox

Loginox is a great little free app which makes it extremely easy to change the image you see when you’re logging in to your Mac. If you’re bored with the default Leopard Aurora image, you can choose any photo of your liking by dragging onto the Loginox app and hitting Set new login image. If you decide you want to go back to default image, simply select, Reset to default image.

Desktop Calendar

Desktop Calendar isn’t so much a wallpaper manager, as much as it gives you a quick and easy way to place a calendar over your wallpaper. The app is far from feature rich, but it gets the job done.

After downloading and launching the app, it displays a calendar on your desktop.

To move or alter the size of the calendar, hit the Desktop Calendar menu in the status bar and select Enter Layout Mode or use the shortcut Command-M.

Wlppr

Wlppr harnesses the power of Wlppr.com, a wallpaper repository updated on a daily basis. Sitting quietly in your status bar, upon launching, you can set the app to launch at startup and automatically change your wallpaper for you on a daily basis.

Desktopple Basic

While not as robust as the pro version of the app, Desktopple Basic is definitely a useful app if you want a quick and easy way to clear your desktop. Unlike Desktoday, rather than physically move the icons into an folder, Desktopple Basic temporarily hides them much like Camouflage.

tweak mac desktop

 

One drawback we noticed to using Desktopple is that if you use a gesture shortcut to show the desktop, Desktopple has no effect. Desktopple Basic is donationware, meaning like Refinery, you can show your appreciation with a small donation.

Do you have any tips or tricks on how to tweak your Mac’s desktop appearance for free? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Viddy – Micro Video Blogging For iPhone Users

Posted: 23 May 2011 11:31 AM PDT

micro video bloggingMany of you may remember the Twitter-style micro-video blogging site 12seconds.tv in which members posted 12-second videos of about whatever was going on in their life. For some reason however, the site closed last October. Well, if you're an iPhone user, a new and similar mobile version of the 12seconds micro video blogging has started up, and it's called Viddy [iTunes Store link].

Viddy is a “life-streaming movie studio” iPhone app that allows you to create 15-second videos, complete with background music and special effect filters. Videos can be uploaded, shared, and watched, via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, similar to how photos are shared using the photo blogging app, Instagram. One major thing Viddy has in its favor is the video camera of the iPhone 4. The app's front-facing camera makes it ideal for personal micro-video blogging. Viddy integrates well with the video app and with leading social networking sites.

Main Features

The main features of Viddy include the ability to shoot video from within the app itself or select from existing videos in your iPhone Camera Roll. If you record a video from within the app, the iPhone's timer pops up to help you monitor the 15-second time limit. On the other hand, if your existing video in your iPhone is too long, you can trim it from within the app, but unfortunately no timer pops up to help scale to the maximum time.

micro video blogging

Next, you can apply one of a collection of filters to a video – black-and-white, hued, vintage, junked and 3D. You get to preview your applied video effect before sharing it; however, it does take several seconds for the applied effect and the music track to process.

video blogging

Also, you must apply video effects if you want to use the default music track in the video. Viddy provides only one background audio track (a cool jazzy selection), and for some reason you can't select a sound track from your iTunes library. If you're in a hurry, you may want to skip the effects and video process, or use Apple's iMovie to add music and transitions before uploading via Viddy.

The last step in the process is to label your video and select the sites where you want to share it.

video blogging

Other Features

Viddy has a similar interface and social community features found in the photo sharing app, Instagram, and popular online social networking sites.

You create your “Following” list from contacts you have in your Address Book, Twitter and Facebook feed, or by searching Viddy's current list of users.

micro video blogging

Viddy also includes “Popular” videos based on the number of liked votes. You can of course select videos as favorites.

App Wishes

Overall, Viddy is a nice clean app, with a bit of style. It should pick up attraction when it can be used in other popular mobile devices. Optimization for the Android, iPad 2, Windows 7 and BlackBerry are in the works.

However, I wish for a few other important features. First off, it would be great if users could create a playlist of selected videos instead of having to tap the Done button and go back to the feed each time to view another video.

Next, if this app and service becomes popular enough, please allow users to browse videos by tags or channels, and encourage users to do video captures beyond the personal blogging type. It would be great to have separate channels for say short videos of concerts, restaurants, presentations, tourist sites, product reviews, news snippets, birthday celebrations, etc. Some videos in the feed are too personal to care about.

It's too early to tell how popular Viddy will become. But it certainly has the potential to enhance mobile videography similar to other new apps like the video production and editing app, Videolicious and the video sharing program, Showyou.

Let us know what you think of Viddy. Will you be posting videos to share?

 

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MailStore Home – One Of the Easiest Free Email Backup Tools Available [Windows]

Posted: 23 May 2011 10:30 AM PDT

email backupsEmails operate on a 'fire and forget' principle. We fire it out and forget about it. From there on they contribute to the clutter and chaos that's our inbox. Far sighted email management calls for two things – a systematic backup plan and an efficient search system to find the email that's lost like the needle in the archived haystack.

Do you have one? Combing for email has improved vastly with improved search in both offline and online email services. For email backup, we still have to fall back on third party tools. So, why not look at MailStore Home, a free solution for email archiving and backup.

MailStore Home (ver.4.2) is a Windows only freeware that is a single stop backup and archiving solution for all your email accounts scattered across the digital world. In brief, MailStore allows you to create a central storehouse of all your emails from all your accounts and makes it searchable so that you always have ready access to a buried but important email.

The Scope & Reach of MailStore Home

email backups

Take a look at the MailStore interface; the email backup tool works effortlessly with the following accounts – online mail services like Gmail and Yahoo; Microsoft Outlook 2000, XP, 2003, 2007, 2010; Microsoft Outlook Express and Windows Mail; Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey; any POP3 and IMAP mailboxes; hosted Exchange mailboxes; email files like EML, MSG, PST, and MBOX files. Some specific features like exporting to PST files are available only in the commercial server version.

Oh! That’s not me in the profile pic. You can change the pic and introduce your own.

Installation & Setup Is Easy

backup email

The 10.7MB freeware can be setup and configured in a few easy steps. Basically, you have to select your email account(s) and enter your sign-in credentials.

backup email

Advanced settings allow you to specify the date range filter for the archival process. You can choose to skip and include specific mail folders to streamline the process.

backup email

After that, MailStore Home goes to work scanning your folders and creating the archives for single or multiple email accounts. The first run takes a bit of time depending on the quantity of emails of course.

how to backup email

Features That Make MailStore Home A Great Backup Tool

how to backup email

MailStore Home behaves like an email client. You can search for that long buried email and read it just like you would in any email program.

MailStore also searches all types of file attachments. The Search E-mail feature has advanced features like reusing saved search queries.

One of the features that I really dig is that I can select an email from the archive of one email account and compose a reply using any of my installed email clients.

how to backup email

I can also choose to just export any email to my installed email client. But a more serious backup move would be moving it to an external storage medium like a CD, DVD, or USB as EML (readable by any email application) or MSG files (readable by MS Outlook).

But perhaps the killer feature could be the ease with which MailStore Home allows you to export and transfer POP/IMAP emails from one email service provider to another. Setup the email server access from MailStore and transfer your archived folders to an online email account like Gmail or Yahoo. The following screens show the successful transfer of emails from MailStore Home to an online account like Gmail.

email backups

MailStore Home also has a portable version which can come really handy for setting up an email archive on any USB flash. You can store all your emails on an USB drive and use the portable app to open and browse your email archive on any computer within seconds.

MailStore Home does not lock all your archived emails in a proprietary format. Old email can be easily restored and read with a click. From its email client-like reading pane to archive management features, MailStore Home is a well rounded solution for backing up all your old emails.

We had taken a brief look at this email archiver along with four others in the early days with 5 Ways to Backup your Email.  We have revisited the latest version again. What do you think of MailStore Home as a backup tool?

 

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WordPress For iOS Gets A Big Update [News]

Posted: 23 May 2011 10:09 AM PDT

The WordPress app for iOS devices (that’s your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) has received its first update in two months, with the some new features finally making an appearance in version 2.8. In a bid to capture the spirit of mobile blogging, a “Quick Photo” button has been added, allowing you to take a shot and quickly blog it up.

This is the first feature to be dubbed (by the WordPress iOS guys) as “action-centric”, meaning that instead of starting up WordPress for iOS, choosing a blog, actioning a new post and adding a photo you now take your photo first and decide where to publish it and how to go about doing so afterwards.

In a blog post, Isaac Keyet revealed that progress is coming along: “Previously we've been 100% focused on improving stability, error messages, and help. While these efforts will continue indefinitely, we now feel like the app is stable enough to start adding some long-awaited features.

In addition to “Quick Photo” mode it is now possible to view your site’s stats from within the app. This works out of the box if your blog is hosted at WordPress.com, though you’ll need Jetpack or the stand-alone Stats plugin for it to work on your own install.

Finally the app has been translated into 10 further languages: Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Hebrew, German, Dutch, French, and Croatian. If your language still isn’t supported, the guys over at WordPress for iOS would love to hear from you.

Do you use the WordPress iOS app? Ever blogged from your iPad, iPhone or iTouch? Test out your autocorrect in the comments below.


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Replace Gnome On-Screen Keyboard With Florence Virtual Keyboard [Linux]

Posted: 23 May 2011 09:30 AM PDT

florence on-screen keyboardAs far as I know myself, there have been plenty of times where a virtual keyboard would have been extremely helpful. For example, it is sometimes recommended to use a virtual keyboard when typing in a password for an important website like a bank or Lastpass in order to eliminate the chances of keylogging software to catch your password. Whatever the cause may be where one needs a virtual, or on-screen, keyboard, when you need it, you need it. Period.

For GNOME users, there’s a nice little application that should do the job called Gnome On-Screen Keyboard, or GOK for short. However, when I tried to get my virtual keyboard to load, I got stuck at a different window, with no clue how to continue. The great, wide web couldn’t help me much either, so I knew that I had to get something else instead. And I found something that does exactly what I need it to do.

Getting Started

Florence Virtual Keyboard is a great little replacement for GOK that is easy to configure and, most importantly, easy to use. Installation, like any other Linux program, is as easy as going into your package manager and choosing the right package. Simply searching for “Florence” should be enough to lead you straight to the correct package. Install it, and away you go.

When you first launch the Florence virtual on-screen keyboard, you’ll be asked to click “OK” in order to enable the GNOME accessibility features. Once you do that, it’ll ask that you log out and log back in. Afterwards, you can launch Florence again and you’ll have your virtual keyboard ready for you.

florence on-screen keyboard

Functionality

In terms of basic functionality, Florence does exactly what you need it to: provide an on-screen keyboard that works. The keyboard itself is easy to use and intuitive. If you’ve rarely used virtual keyboards, it will work exactly how you might expect it would. Therefore there is absolutely no learning curve.
For those who would like to see a few more features than the basic functionality, don’t worry! Florence comes with a nice amount of options for your liking. You get numerous style, window, behavior, and layout options. Under the style options you can choose what kind of buttons the keys should have, and various color properties. In the you can choose things such as its opacity, whether it has window decoration, if it should be resizable, and whether it should be always on top. In the behavior tab you can set auto-click and auto-hide options. Finally, in the layout tab, you can choose what kind of keyboard layout should be displayed and whether the keyboard should include Florence keys (like the options button), Function keys (F1, F2, F3, etc.), and a number pad.
florence keyboard

Style Options

florence on-screen keyboard

Window Options

Conclusion

That’s all there really is to it. It’s easy to use, it works well, and it doesn’t confuse the crap out of you like GOK did to me. I bet I just missed something, but that still doesn’t take away the fact that I couldn’t find any way to launch the keyboard after half an hour. I recommend Florence Virtual on-screen Keyboard to anyone on a GNOME desktop who needs an on-screen keyboard, as KDE‘s default virtual keyboard is probably better. Just don’t expect to get 50 words per minute on Florence like you usually do.

Do you use a virtual keyboard regularly? What for do you usually use it? Do you use a different virtual keyboard on Linux? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

 

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Speck CandyShell Flip for iPhone 4 Review and Giveaway

Posted: 23 May 2011 08:30 AM PDT

We’ve reviewed several cool iPhone cases here. Some were highly-protective like the Otterbox cases, others were environmentally-friendly. Interestingly, iPhone cases by Speck claims to be neither. They prefer to be simply iPhone cases and they’re doing a heck of a great job.

This week, we’ll be looking at the Speck CandyShell Flip case for iPhone 4 (AT&T model) and if you’re lucky, you might be able to win one of the 5 that we’ll be giving out. Read on for more details.

The Speck CandyShell Flip iPhone 4 case was designed to tackle one of the most irritating pet peeves that ever arose in the iPhone world; that’s the fact that the dock was made to hold just the iPhone. If you use a third party case, it won’t fit into the dock. So the pundits at Speck designed a case which could flip open to allow you to dock your iPhone while the case was still attached.

Consider this a “flip” version of the CandyShell because other than the flippy bottom end of the case, everything else is exactly the same as the regular CandyShell case. It’s made out of polycarbonate and light as a feather, is lined with silicon on the interior surface and allows access to all of the buttons and switches.

The iPhone fits into the case snugly and even easier than the regular CandyShell. The additional flippy portion helps the iPhone slip in without any drama. Clip the flippy end into place and there you have it.

The rear aspect of the case does tend to scratch easily as you can see from the image below. Apart from that, there are no other significant complaints. As per Speck tradition, this case is well-insulated, looks good, feels great in my hand and is very functional.

The Speck CandyShell Flip for iPhone 4 is available from Speck for just $34.95 and comes in black, pink, white and grey. We’re giving 5 of them away this week and this is your chance to grab one of these lovelies for free!

How do I win a one?

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

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, May 27th 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 Speck 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.


Hey Facebookers, make sure to join MakeUseOf on Facebook and get access to some exclusve stuff. Over 105,000 fans already!


 

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