Friday, May 27, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [May 26th]” plus 11 more “Cool Websites and Tools [May 26th]” plus 11 more

Link to MakeUseOf

Cool Websites and Tools [May 26th]

Posted: 26 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!


Webkey – Your smartphone offers an array of features that can become difficult to handle on the phone's little screen. In certain situations, especially app testing, controlling the phone through your web browser would be more convenient. If you are looking for a tool that will help you to do this, check out Webkey. Read more: Webkey: Remotely Control Your Android Through Your Web Browser


Lightworks – Free high quality software does not come often, especially in technologies like video editing. Fortunately, the Lightworks project offers a lightweight, free and open source video editing software that offers the same feature set as what you get from programs that costs thousands of dollars. Read more: Lightworks: Lightweight Open Source Video Editing Software



Busy Me.Lite – It is quite embarrassing to have your phone ring at inappropriate times such as during meetings or in church. The vibrate option helps alert you of calls and messages without disturbing people nearby. To ensure that your phone enters the vibrate mode at special events, check out a tool called “Busy Me Lite”, a smartphone application for Android devices. Read more: Busy Me.Lite: Automatically Set Your Phone To Vibrate During Events On Google Calendar



TwtRoulette – People who follow you on Twitter can view your Tweets and see your latest Twitter activity. Now TwtRoulette presents a great way to view the timeline of random Twitter people and those who follow you to find great stuff spontaneously. You can see what people get to see on their Twitter. Read more: TwtRoulette: View Random Twitter Users' Timelines



Utopic – is a new service that lets you see the content – be it links, photos or videos – that's popular among your connections on the 3 main social sites: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It pulls in the data related to what's trending in your social circle. The activities of your friends are properly classified into various categories. Read more: Utopic: See What's Popular Among Your Friends 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.

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about:

Similar articles:

Create A Stunning Professional Photography Portfolio With 500px

Posted: 26 May 2011 06:31 PM PDT

create photography portfolioWhilst setting up a website is arguably easier than ever, for some people it’s still an ominous task. If you have little knowledge of web design, content management systems or how to upkeep your site then there may be better solutions out there.

500px is aimed directly at photographers who want a professional portfolio that’ll stand out in a crowd, without the headache of trying to organise a dedicated site. It’s certainly got the "professional" edge over Flickr, and provides some neat options for sharing, promoting and exhibiting your work on the web.

If you really love the service then you can upgrade your account for a yearly sum, though it’s the free option we’ll be exploring here.

Getting Started

First of all you’ll need to register, either by connecting your Facebook account or entering an email and username. Don’t worry too much about the username you choose, your real name is displayed in big, bold letters on 500px.

From this rather short initiation you’ll be taken to the dashboard where you’re given the option of uploading photos, exploring user content or finding photographers to follow. If you chose email registration then you’ll need to activate your account by clicking a link in the 500px welcome email. Once you’ve done this you can upload to the site, with the inviting Upload button.

create photography portfolio

With a free account you can upload a maximum of 20 photos per week, with a maximum filesize of 30MB. Unfortunately only JPEG images are accepted, so no PNGs, TIFFs or various RAW formats though you can upload 10 at a time using Flash.

Personally I found the fancy Flash uploader problematic as it wouldn’t recognise any JPEG files on my machine (and crashed the uploader whenever I cancelled the upload window). I’m guessing this was to do with Chrome on Linux and had no issues using the simple uploader.

how to create a photography portfolio

After choosing and uploading suitable material, 500px will take you back to your dashboard and hopefully your new photos will appear in front of you. Clicking on the image will take you to a large image view which contains some EXIF data (camera manufacturer and model, focal length, shutter speed, aperture and ISO) and a lot of share buttons.

how to create a photography portfolio

There is also a comments box afoot the image which allows others to praise and critique your work. The image view is particularly awesome in my opinion as it does away with distracting sidebar elements seen in other photo sharing services and gives full prominence to the image.

how to create a photography portfolio

Creating Your Portfolio

Before we proceed it might be worth filling in your basic information and uploading an image as this is automatically used on your portfolio. To do this simply click Settings next to your username in the top right and add as much detail as you like. As well as your social media accounts and personal websites, there’s an option to add your camera, lenses and other equipment.

In order to get your portfolio off the ground, click on the Portfolio link in the main menu bar. Creating your exhibition is a four stage process that involves choosing photos, a design, a biography and a few last tweaks. Before you can do anything, you must create a collection or two – essentially categories or albums.

photography portfolio tips

Once you’ve named and created a collection, click on its name to add or edit photos. Adding a photo is as simple as clicking it, and when you’re done hit Save changes. Next you’ll need to specify a design, of which there are 7 free and 4 premium choices. Add a biography on the About page, tweak options on the Settings page and if you’ve got your own URL you can set it up on the Domain page.

photography portfolio tips

After all that you’ll probably want to take a look at your portfolio. The quickest way to get there is, which is your public link. You’re inevitably going to need more content in order to make it the perfect place to exhibit your photography, but it’s not bad for 5 minutes work.

create photography portfolio


One of the great advantages to using 500px is the instant community that comes with it. Since you’ve got hordes of fellow photographers using the service, each as obsessed as you, you’re also party to the perfect platform for some great critique and commentary. You can blog (via the You link then Blog), add fellow 500px members as friends, send messages and comments, build up a decent collection of favourites and of course simply browse some of the awesome photos on offer.

A free account with 500px gives you plenty to work with. If you were to upload 2 images a day then you’d still have 6 spare slots at the end of the week. As a rule you should only ever choose your absolute best shots for any portfolio so 20 a week is (in theory) more than enough to keep your followers hungry for more.

Of course if you love the service, take lots of keepers and would like to show your support it’s only $50 a year to remove the restrictions.

Have you signed up for 500px? What do you think? Do you prefer your own website or an all-in-one solution? Develop your comments in the dark room below.

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , , , , ,

Similar articles:

How To Recover Lost Files In Dropbox

Posted: 26 May 2011 04:31 PM PDT

recover lost filesDropbox is an online file storing, sync, and backup solution with features that make its competition look pale in comparison. The most ingenious thing about Dropbox is that you don’t have to remember to sync your files or make a backup. As long as you ‘drop’ your files into the Dropbox folder, they are automatically synced and hence backed up to the Dropbox server, provided you have an active Internet connection.

But what happens if you accidentally delete a file? Will it be gone forever once the changes are synced to Dropbox? Yes, the file will disappear from your Dropbox folder. However, it won’t be entirely gone just yet. So is there a way to recover lost files from Dropbox after it was deleted? This being the super smart Dropbox, there certainly is!

What Dropbox does behind the scenes is to keep a record of every saved change in your Dropbox folder for 30 days. This means that not only can you restore files that were removed from your Dropbox folder during the past 30 days, you can also go back to previous versions of documents. This recover and restore feature makes Dropbox a life saver and in this article I will show you how to use it.

Recovering Files Online

The way it works is straightforward. When you are logged into Dropbox online, you will notice a ‘Show deleted files‘ button in every folder.

recover lost files

Clicking this button will reveal all files that were deleted during the past 30 days. When you hover over a file with the mouse cursor, you will see a little arrow in the far right. By clicking the arrow of a deleted file, you can choose to undelete, permanently delete, or view previous versions of the file.

dropbox recover deleted files

When you hover over any other file and click the arrow, you can also access a list of previous versions, through which you can preview and restore any of the backed up versions.

dropbox recover deleted files

Recovering Files From Dropbox Installation On Windows

Likewise, you can open the above list of previous file versions via the Dropbox folder on your computer. The respective application is available for Windows, Linux, Mac, and Mobile.

dropbox recover deleted files

Generally, the restore feature only works if the files you’re working on were uploaded to the Dropbox server. For example if you move a file to your Dropbox folder and work on it while you’re offline, you will neither be able to restore the file if you delete it, nor will you be able to go back to a previous version. The reason is that the original file and/or its intermediate versions were never uploaded to the Dropbox server. Once a file hits the server however, a second copy of this file version will be available for 30 days after the initial file was first changed.

This said, there is another way to restore files from your computer in case the above method fails. Dropbox also keeps a hidden cache of files in a backup storage within the Dropbox settings. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 open a new Windows Explorer window or folder. Copy and paste the following line to the location bar at the top of the folder and press Enter:


recover lost files

This will open your Dropbox cache within the Application Data folder. To restore a file, drag it out of this cache folder into another folder or onto your desktop.

If you think 30 days are not enough, you should consider upgrading to Dropbox Pro and get the Pack-Rat add-on, which will save a history of your files forever.

Dropbox is an insanely useful tool just the way it is. But it gets even better when applying some tricks. Did you become interested in learning more about Dropbox? Check out the following MakeUseOf articles:

The above is only a small selection. Click here to view a chronological list of all our articles on Dropbox.

How do you make sure you never lose a file? Did you know about the Dropbox restore feature?

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , , , ,

Similar articles:

Try New Firefox Features Before Anyone Else With Firefox Nightly & Other Channels

Posted: 26 May 2011 03:31 PM PDT

firefox nightlyMozilla has recently been trying to up its game in the browser war, and step up the innovation. They realized they needed to get new features to end users more quickly, so to do this, they set up several new “channels”. If names like Firefox Nightly, Aurora and Beta seem confusing, hopefully this post will help set things right.

In brief, these are the channels:

  • Stable: For users who just need a stable browser that works.
  • Beta: This channel is “close to stable”, but not really stable yet. By using the Beta channel, you’re helping Mozilla test new features.
  • Aurora: The “less than stable” channel; you’re approaching cutting-edge territory here, and taking an active part in the development effort.
  • Nightly: Fresh from the oven, may unexpectedly break at any time. This is as bleeding-edge as it gets.

Now let’s see how you can get each version, and learn a bit about switching channels.

Stable Builds

This is the build you can get right off Get Firefox. Simply press the big green button, and the safest version of Firefox will be downloaded to your computer. At the time of this writing, this is version 4.0.1:

firefox nightly

Beta & Aurora

To start using the Beta and Aurora builds, go to the Firefox Channels homepage and take your pick:

firefox nightly tester tools

Note where it says “Coming Soon!” under the Beta version — we’ll be revisiting this point. At this time, the only “testing” build you can get from this page is the Aurora build. But it turns out that from within Aurora, you can switch between the Stable, Beta and Aurora channels. Just click the menu button, go to Help > About Aurora, and click the Change link shown in the screenshot:

firefox nightly tester tools

You will then be taken to a channel selection screen with a dropdown and an explanation for each of the channels:

firefox nightly tester tools

I was able to join the Beta channel from this screen. I switched to “Beta” and clicked Apply and Update. Firefox then fetched a 17.2MB download and smoothly switched to the Beta channel:

firefox nightly update

This goes to show that even Mozilla might be slightly confused by its own release cycle. How come you can switch to Beta from within Aurora, but can’t download the Beta from the channels page, where it tells you it is “coming soon”?

Nightly Builds

If using Aurora feels a bit tame, you can kick things up a notch and start using the Nightly builds. To download the installer, go here and grab the installer for your platform. Note the decidedly less flashy interface here:

firefox nightly update

Once installed, the Firefox nightly build sets up a shortcut in your Start menu simply called “Nightly“. At the time of this writing, the nightly build was version 6.0a1:

firefox nightly

Note that even though this is a more advanced build than Aurora, it does not have a built-in channel switcher. It installs itself alongside Aurora/Beta and the stable version. This means you can be testing or using three different versions of Firefox at the same time, on the same computer.

Unlike Chrome, where you can have Canary and “regular” Chrome running at the same time, you can only have a single Firefox build running at any one time on your computer. So if you’ve got an open browsing session in Nightly and click the Aurora shortcut on your Start menu, you’ll simply get a new Firefox Nightly window. Confusing, I know.

A Word of Warning

For some strange reason, both the Nightly and Beta assume you want them to act as the default browser for your computer. That means that during the installation process, you’re going to have to consciously look for the “set as default” step and opt out of making an experimental, unstable browser your default browser. An interesting design choice by Mozilla, no doubt.

In Closing

Trying out new and experimental software builds isn’t always comfortable, and it sure can get confusing. But Mozilla is a true community effort, and if you believe in its core mission, this can be a nice way to participate and contribute towards making Firefox a faster, more stable browser.  Let us know in the comments if you use one of the test versions and how it works out for you.

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , , ,

Similar articles:

Time To Try A Slick, New Text Editor Called Tincta [Mac]

Posted: 26 May 2011 02:31 PM PDT

new text editor for macYou probably spend a fair bit of time at your computer. If you’re a regular sort of user, you’ve probably got a bit of use for a good text editor or word processor on a regular basis, too. While we at MakeUseOf and other geeky circles love to argue about which text editor is best, in the end it comes down to finding something sensible which just “gets it right”. That is, something that works for you personally.

While you may already think you’ve found the text editor love of your life, you could hardly stand by it honourably without giving the competition a go. So, today we’ll introduce you to a sleek new player in the Mac text editor game called Tincta. It’s feature-filled, yet is also a tiny, free download. We’re sure you’re going to love it.

Get Your Copy of Tincta

It’s free and available in beta here, so go grab your copy now while we tell you all about it.

new text editor for mac

Tincta is written by a German team of coders known as Mr Fridge Software. Mostly they’re into writing games and useful applications for Mac and iOS.

The Tincta software is free but comes with a social obligation to reduce your carbon footprint. This Green License is a novel way to try to help the world — hopefully more than a few users of Tincta will be inspired to help the world in whatever small (or large) way possible. They even offer some really simple suggestions you could put into practise immediately.

new text editor

Back To This Fast, Intuitive Text Editor

If you’re into coding, you’ll love Tincta’s syntax colouring. Tincta manages the syntax colouring using as little resources as possible, keeping the text editor running as fast as possible. You can also change the colours as you like. They claim to support colouring for most major programming and markup languages — give it a go!

new text editor

Tincta numbers your lines in an instant, without getting stuck on your line-wrapping. This makes life a lot easier when coding.

new text editor for mac

All the little things you need in a text editor are there: view invisible characters; swap space for tabs or vice versa; drag and drop support; tab indenting; search and replace; spellcheck; and much more. They basically designed this text editor to be their favourite editor ever — and it will hopefully cover all your needs too.

Tincta’s Competitors

Well, it’s a text editor, isn’t it? There are decent competitors to Tincta in every direction you look, such as Smultron, FocusWriter and Mac OSX’s own TextEdit. You may even consider the online text editors as competition for Tincta, such as Write Space, Google Docs and 750 Words. All of these great editors bring something a little different to the table, it’s true. So, it’s all about what you happen to like best, and we think you’ll like Tincta. Give it a try!

So, what do you think of Tincta? Remember that it’s still in beta, so please stay nice and constructive. Let us know in the comments!

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , , ,

Similar articles:

Hot Tech Deals – Seagate Expansion 3TB External Hard Drive for $119.99 + more

Posted: 26 May 2011 01:30 PM PDT

Who couldn’t use more disk space? Today’s featured deal is a 3 TB external hard drive by Seagate for a low $119.99 with free shipping. If that’s not enough for you, get a 10-pack 25 GB Blu-Ray disc roll for less than $10.

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

  1. Seagate Expansion 3TB External Hard Drive $119.99 Free Shipping via code EMCKEHD25 (Exp 6/1)
  2. 10Pk Rosewill 25GB 4x BD-R Blu-Ray Blank Media $9.99 Free Shipping via code MCKEHD35 (Exp 6/1)
  3. Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB Internal SATA Hard Drive $69.99 Free Ship via code EMCKEHD24 (Exp 6/1)
  4. Samsung SMX-F50BN Flash Memory Camcorder w/ Kit $129.99 Free Shipping
  5. Viewsonic ViewPad 7 7in Tablet w/ 3G (Android, Dual Cameras, GPS) $279.99 Free Ship
  6. Intel 510 Elm Crest 120GB Internal SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive + Game $249.99AR via rebate
  7. Dell Vostro 3750 Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz [Sandy Bridge] 17.3in Laptop (Aluminum) $599
  8. Dell Vostro 3450 Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz Sandy Bridge 14in Laptop (Win7 Pro) $599
  9. Dell Vostro 3450 Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz [Sandy Bridge] 14in Laptop (Aluminum) $499

SuperTinTin – Skype Video Call Recorder
Record and save your audio and video conversations on Skype or MSN. Easy to use.


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about:

Similar articles:

The Minimalist Suite: Your Favorite Web Apps, Simplified

Posted: 26 May 2011 12:31 PM PDT

minimalist suiteRemove the clutter from Gmail, Facebook, Google Calendar and Google Reader. The Minimalist Suite is a series of extensions for Google Chrome that simplifies the interface of these major web apps.

You live in webapps,” says the homepage of the Minimalist Suite, “Make them yours.” These extensions live up that ideal, allowing you control of what does and doesn’t show up, while also allowing you to change the color schemes and more of these sites. This is perfect for netbook users, who are always looking to save space on their tiny screens, but even desktop users will appreciate reduced clutter in their lives. There are a plethora of Chrome extensions out there that aim to reduce clutter online, and Greasemonkey scripts offer even more ways to strip elements from webpages.

What makes the Minimalist Suite different? Well, first of all, it’s really easy to use. A configuration page allows you to pick what you want to see and what you don’t, and you don’t need a degree in computer science to understand the options. Additionally, unlike other such extensions, you have full control. Which elements of a web app this extension removes is entirely in your hands, so you won’t lose access to the features you love while removing the interface elements that annoy you. Developer Ansel Santosa clearly knows what he’s doing.

Clean up the websites you spend the most time looking at, quickly and easily. All Google plugins work with both the consumer versions and the Google Apps versions, or at least did in my tests.


Head over to the Minimalist Suite and install the plugins you’re interested in. When you do, you’ll notice a grey icon in Chrome’s address bar; this will only show up when you’re on a site Minimalist Suite can edit.

Click this button to bring up your configuration options. Explore the checklists and you’ll see all the custom options explained clearly. If you’re unsure what element a particular checkbox will modify, hover your mouse over it:

minimalist suite

A picture will show you what part of the page is being talked about. Obviously the elements that can be removed depend on which service you’re editing.

There is an experimental sync feature for all settings, which makes clever use of Chrome’s built-in bookmark sync to surpass Chrome’s lack of support of extension setting syncing. Very cool if you use more than one computer regularly and want these settings to follow you.

Minimalist For Gmail

If you’re a Gmail user, it’s likely the thing you spend the most time looking at. For good or for ill, email is the central hub of the modern workflow.

chrome minimalist

Minimalist for Gmail allows quite a bit of control over the Gmail interface. Highlights include:

  • Hiding the entire header, including the Gmail logo and search. Click the top of the window to bring it back, so you don’t lose any features.
  • Add attachment icons to emails.
  • Hide the annoying “Mail/Contacts/Tasks” menu.
  • Hide Chat completely.
  • Hide Gmail’s footer.
  • Much more; browse all options here.

Minimalist For Facebook

Remember when Facebook was clean and utilitarian? Me too, but those days are long gone. Luckily there’s Minimalist for Facebook, which cuts through the crap and presents you with the information you’re looking for. Be warned: this is a beta extension, so use at your own risk.

chrome minimalist

There are a lot of things you can control here. Highlights include:

  • Change the color of Facebook’s top bar.
  • Block updates from applications and pages.
  • Remove the (largely useless) right bar from Facebook.
  • Hide the Facebook logo.
  • Show large photos when you hover your mouse over a thumbnail.
  • Much more; explore all options here.

Minimalist For Google Calendar

A calendar should, ideally, just show you what’s coming up and stay out of your way. With Minimalist for Google Calendar, that’s possible.

minimalist suite

Highlights include:

  • Hide the top bar; bring it back by clicking the top of the window.
  • Hide any navigation buttons you never use.
  • Hide left sidebar; perfect if you only use one calendar.
  • Much more; explore all options here.

Minimalist For Google Reader

Can’t live with your RSS feeds? You might well be a Google Reader user, then. Strip down unused Reader interface elements with Google Reader. Highlighted potential changes include:

  • Remove or hide the header to save vertical space.
  • Hide the navigation so you can focus on just reading.
  • Hide all icons, or dim them.
  • Hide right toolbar.
  • Much more; Explore all options here.

More Coming?

I’m a netbook user, so these extensions are perfect for me. What about you? Do you like being able to remove elements from webapps, or do you prefer not to mess with things? Fill us in below, in the comments.

Want your favorite program to be made minimal? As it turns out you can vote for your favorite candidate. Highlights include Google Voice, Wikipedia and Remember The Milk, so fans of any of these sites should vote now.

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , , , , , ,

Similar articles:

The 4 Best Recipe Apps For Android Phones

Posted: 26 May 2011 11:31 AM PDT

recipe apps for androidMobile devices are really handy for a lot of things these days. You might use your phone to take quick notes, listen to music and podcasts, or as your alarm clock to wake up in the morning.

One of the most common reasons people head out to the Android Marketplace for a new app is because they need yet another convenience. So many apps make life easier by providing quick access to information and an immediate solution to problems that you face in your daily schedule. One of the problems many families have today is that no one really has time to make dinner. It’s hard to plan out the meals – so when dinner comes, it’s hard to cook when you don’t even know what to cook.

Luckily, I’ve found four recipe apps for Android that completely eliminate the time required to think up good meals, and they are also there when it’s time to cook – with easy step-by-step instructions and pictures to guide you on your way.

The 4 Best Android Recipe Apps


In my quite biased opinion, the very best app out there comes from none other than AllRecipes. AllRecipes was actually the first website that I started using religiously to come up with new and interesting meals, whenever it was my turn to cook for the family.

I discovered AllRecipes years ago, created an account, and over the past 5 or 6 years it has been the primary source of recipes in our house. So, I was quite pleased to learn that they offer a cool, convenient Android app called DinnerSpinner.

recipe apps for android

In DinnerSpinner, you literally spin each wheel on the screen to decide the type of food you want to make (main dish, salad, drink, etc…), the ingredients that you want to use, and how long you’re willing to devote to preparation.  I don’t think I’ve ever selected anything beyond 20 minutes or less!

You’ll see a wide variety of dishes to choose from, and you can sort by rating and popularity, which saves a lot of time in finding the best dishes.

android recipe app

The best thing about AllRecipes is that it probably has one of the largest recipe databases on the Internet, so you’ll always find something new. The recipe displays are quick to read and well-formatted. Just prop your phone up on the counter and start cooking!

android recipe app

Mobile Rush-Hour Recipes

When I’m really strapped for time, I turn to Mobile Rush-Hour Recipes. I think this app is, by far, one of the most convenient and fast recipe search apps that I’ve ever found for Android.

From the main page, you have several different search options to choose from. Surprise Me! is the fastest – it just gives you a random recipe to make (great if you love surprises). Gallery is just a random list of the top available recipes. Courses is a slightly more structured search.

android recipe app

However, my favorite option is definitely PrestoFind. With PrestoFind, you can pluck recipes out of the database based on specific categories that are important to you. For example, Percentage of calories from fat will display recipes marked with what percentage of calories is from the fat. Sodium milligram count will show how much salt is in the recipe.

best android recipe app

All of these choices are perfect for someone that is on a strict diet and needs to carefully monitor their intake of certain types of food.

Digital Recipe Sidekick

One of the more innovative recipe apps for Android is definitely the Digital Recipe Sidekick.  Like Mobile Rush Hour, this app offers a quick, random selection of recipes to choose from if you’re really short on time. Or you can use the search engine to sift through the recipe database.

best android recipe app

The feature that really sets this app apart from the rest is the fact that it is integrated with voice features. You no longer need to worry about splashing food or liquids on your phone as you’re cooking – just set your phone on the counter on the other side of the kitchen, crank up the volume, and the Recipe Reader feature of this app will read the recipe steps to you out loud.

best android recipe app

You can even control the app (going forward or reverse in the recipes) using voice commands or by clapping. Very cool!

My CookBook

The final recipe app that I want to share is called My CookBook. This app is unique from the others in that it doesn’t have its own central database of recipes. Basically, you start with an empty database, and then through your search queries, you build your own local recipe database.

You start out clicking on “Search and Import“. The search screen lets you search other recipe sites on the Internet for recipes. When you find one you like, you can import it into My CookBook. If you already know the URL of a recipe, feed it into the URL field and My CookBook will try to import the recipe automatically.

You can also manually input your own recipes using the fast and simple “Add a New Recipe” form. There’s even the option to take a photo of the dish when you’re done making it.

recipe apps for android

For some people, cooking is a stress-relieving and enjoyable experience. For others, it’s just an inconvenience and a waste of time. No matter which camp you fall into, these Android recipe apps will help you find the ideal recipe – either gourmet or fast and easy.

Have you tried any of these recipe apps for Android before? What do you think? Do you have a different Android recipe app that you like best? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Image credits: Konrad Mostert

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , , , ,

Similar articles:

Google Introduces Wallet & Offers, Puts Your Credit Card In Your Smartphone [News]

Posted: 26 May 2011 11:09 AM PDT

Google today announced two new services that seek to change the way consumers make purchases: Google Wallet and Google Offers. Wallet, which begins field tests today and should be available publicly this summer, gives Android phones the ability to store your credit card information (although support has so far been confirmed only for the Sprint Nexus S 4G). Once enabled, the service can be used to pay at participating retail stores using a "tap-to-pay" feature. A digital receipt will be sent to the phone to confirm payment.

A number of partners, including Subway, Macy's, Walgreens and Toys R' Us, will support Wallet at launch. Support for Citibank Mastercards will be included at launch, but users can also pay with a Google Prepaid Card, which itself can be loaded from any credit or debit card. Google emphasized that it is promoting Wallet as an open platform, which should make it easy for new partners to come on board.

Google Offers is essentially a location-based promotion service that will provide users with an "offer of the day" and additional discounts based on user location and preferences. This is similar what is already provided by companies like Groupon, but Offers is of course tied in with Wallet, which means discounts can be redeemed via the “tap-to-pay” feature without showing a coupon. Offers will be launching this summer in Portland, San Francisco and New York, with other cities to follow.

Obviously, security is a concern whenever credit card information is being stored on a smartphone or transmitted via wireless. The Sprint Nexus S 4G shown at the press conference contained a security chip built to encrypt and protect data, such as credit card information. In addition to this, the app will require users to input a PIN before use.

However, in a hilarious security lapse during the press conference, one of the presenters had his full Citibank Mastercard number shown on camera. Not exactly comforting, is it?

Source: Google Wallet and Google Offers Press Conference Livestream

Download videos from the sites like YouTube, etc. Convert videos to almost any format.


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , , , ,

Similar articles:

Fedora 15 – Bringing You The Latest In Linux

Posted: 26 May 2011 10:31 AM PDT

fedora linux reviewIt’s another great day in the world of Linux. Fedora 15 was finally released two days ago, and this new release brings a massive amount of changes compared to Fedora 14. In fact, there’s so many changes that a lot of them can’t fit into this article.  However, the major features that have changed are too important to leave out, that impact users in a very obvious way.

Fedora 15, like every other distribution, starts with a new kernel version. The latest version, 2.6.38, brings more stability, hardware support, and speed. It includes the wondrous “200 line patch” that increases system responsiveness under heavy loads. Most distributions that have recently released a new version will more than likely have the same kernel version, which is good for the user.

The most notable change, out of the entire list, will be very visible to users. GNOME 3 is the default desktop environment for the Fedora 15 Linux distribution, which brings all the new polish and “ease-of-use” to your Linux desktop. My own testing has shown that it is very stable and clean, so I am definitely considering adopting it as my new desktop environment.

fedora linux review

GNOME 3′s main component is GNOME Shell, which is the entire interface that you’ll interact with. All of the programs are hidden away in the “Activities” button in the top-left corner. From the “Windows” section you can scroll through the nicely arranged list of programs, either in its entirety or in each category, as listed on the right side.

fedora linux distro

All of the default GNOME applications, such as Nautilus, gedit, and much more have all been updated along with GNOME 3 to take advantage of its new technologies and the new GTK 3 toolkit. They also fit tightly with the default theme in GNOME, as one should expect. In fact, application management has a new twist with GNOME 3. Virtual desktops are endless and are created and removed automatically so that there is only always one empty virtual desktop ready for you. Controversially, the developers of GNOME also removed the minimize and maximize buttons, though there are already tools that can change those settings.

fedora linux distro

Notification icons in the top-right corner are also newly designed, following the monochromatic idea of recent icon sets. Additionally, the drop-down menus of each icon follows the new theme in GNOME 3, with nice effects and On/Off buttons. You can learn more about GNOME 3 from this article.

fedora linux distro

Fedora 15 contains a handful of other important new features. Finally included is the systemd as the system and session manager, which should also increase stability and speed. A new network device naming scheme has been implemented to avoid confusion by giving network devices a permanent name that will not randomly change after a reboot. Firefox 4 has also been included, and works very well in GNOME 3.

fedora linux review

Fedora 15 also comes with newer versions of the KDE, XFCE, and LXDE desktop environments.

Overall, Fedora 15 is a great release of the popular Linux distribution. It contains so many new features that it is more than worthy of an update or a fresh install in case you don’t have Fedora on your system yet. Your computer will thank you, and you’ll stop hitting your computer every time it screws up.

Since Fedora 15 has been released, will you be trying it out? Are you trying Fedora in general or just because it is one of the most prominent distributions which uses GNOME 3? Let us know in the comments.

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , ,

Similar articles:

Anvil Studio: A Free & Powerful Song Builder [Windows]

Posted: 26 May 2011 09:31 AM PDT

song creatorAs a self proclaimed amateur musician who uses GarageBand, the most common question I get asked all the time from my fellow musicians is what’s the GarageBand alternative for Windows? When I answer that there’s none, most of them just can’t believe it.

That’s why, as happy as I am using GarageBand, I’m always on the quest to find free, easy to use, user friendly, beautiful, and yet powerful music creation software that runs under Windows. So far, I still haven’t found any that can match all of the requirements. Still there are alternatives worth mentioning. One of them is Anvil Studio. While it’s not as user-friendly (and not nearly as beautiful) as GarageBand, it’s free and it gets the job done.

A Full Featured Studio In A Small Package

One thing that I found amazing from this application was the installer size. It seems impossible that anybody could pack a full featured music creation software into a 2MB file. I even thought that I still had to download additional elements during the installation process.

The app promises users the ability to build songs from scratch, note by note, in MIDI, record external sound sources, and do multi-track recording. You can use MIDI instruments that you have as the input as long as you can connect the instrument to your computer. There’s also the “practice” feature to help users polish their musical ability.

I installed the app out of curiosity. The first thing that I got after installation was suggestions to get better performances. It turned out that my sound card setting was different from the app. So I followed the instructions to adjust the settings. You might get the same message if your audio setting is different too.

song creator

Let The Music Start

At first glance, I found the application interface to be crowded, unintuitive, and unpolished. Coming from GarageBand, I felt frustrated in trying to navigate around the app. But after some getting used to, it’s actually not that bad. The developer tries to help users by providing help text under every interface.

song editor

The best place to start exploring is the “View – Mixer” menu where you can see the grand scheme of everything.

song editor

To start writing down your song, pick a track and go to “View – Composer” menu. You’ll get some blank notation lines. Creating your music is as easy as choosing the notes value (4th, 8th, 16th etc) and placing the notes on the bars, either by pointing to them using your mouse or by pressing the virtual keyboard.

song editor

Similar to GarageBand, you can also build the song using piano roll (“View – Piano Roll Editor” menu). Click to place the note in the location that you want, then drag the edge to determine how long the note should last.

song editor free

Guitar players can switch to tablature view. Unfortunately, you can’t edit the notes in this view.

02d tablature view only

Taming The Tracks

Even though you could create a song with only one instrument, modern compositions are usually the combination of several instruments. This is where the ability to add tracks will really help. You can combine pianos, drums, vocals, guitars, etc., in your song by placing each instrument in its own track.

To add a new track, go to the “Track – Create” menu and choose one of the track types. For MIDI instruments, choose “Instrument Track“. To record real instruments or vocals, choose “Audio Track“.

song editor free

The list of tracks is visible in the Mixer mode. You can edit elements of the track just by double clicking on the element.

song editor free

For example, to change the instrument on Track 2, click the instrument column on track 2 and choose one of the available musical instruments.

02i choose instrument

Never forget to save your song. Go to the “File” menu to do so.

03b save song

Playing & Practicing

If you want to, you can play external MIDI files using Anvil Studio. Go to the “File – Open Song” menu.

03a open song

The best thing about playing MIDI files using Anvil Studio instead of an ordinary media player is the ability to view the MIDI in piano roll.

03d play midi

Or if you prefer, in the musical notes.

03f play midi in composer

Another unannounced feature is the “Practice“. You can polish your musical ability by going to the “Practice – Notes” menu.

04a practice menu

You can test your ability to read musical notes by clicking on the guitar at the right place or by writing down the note’s name using your computer keyboard.

04b practice notes

Or you can also give your answer by clicking on the virtual piano in the right location. It’s not GarageBand’s Artist Lesson, but it’s a start.

song creator

After playing with the application for a while, I think that Anvil Studio is a very capable music builder. If you are an electronic musician looking for Window’s GarageBand, Anvil Studio could serve as an alternative. There are lots of features that we haven’t explored here due to the article limitation. I’ll leave them for you to discover.

Try the application and let us know what do you think of it. If you know of any other worthy alternatives to GarageBand, please share them using the comments below. Plus don’t forget to download our Recording Your Next Hit With GarageBand PDF guide.

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , , , , , ,

Similar articles:

The 5 Best Games On Steam For 5 Bucks Each

Posted: 26 May 2011 08:31 AM PDT

steam gamesGaming can be an expensive hobby. A new, high-profile PC game is $50 or $60, and although it might provide countless hours of enjoyment, there's also the chance you'll beat the single player in 6 hours and then never touch it again.

For those on a budget, that isn't a reasonable deal. Thankfully, Steam offers a huge library of games that are just 5 bucks (okay – $4.99) and provide hours of entertainment.  These games do not have the gee-whiz graphics of a new $60 title, but they're still plenty of fun.

Arx Fatalis

steam games

This RPG from 2002 started life with the dream of becoming Ultima Underworld III. The developer could not obtain that license, however, so the game instead released under the name Arx Fatalis, then faded into obscurity.

Over time, however, many players have come to enjoy the game, resulting in a cult following. The greatest strength of the game is its unique spellcasting system, which responds to the player's mouse gestures. This results in sometimes frantic gameplay – as long as you focus heavily on spells.

The narrative of Arx Fatalis isn't particularly compelling, but the gameplay will likely strike a chord with fans of the Elder Scrolls series. Better yet, the developer recently released the game's source code under General Public License, which should make mod fans happy.

Freedom Force

free steam games

At its core, this game is a squad-based real time strategy game, and there are plenty of those to be found. What makes Freedom Force stand out, however, is the love with which the developers embraced comic book culture. Although this is not a licensed game (that means no Batman or Spiderman), everything from the graphics to the dialogue is modeled after the early days of comics, making it easy to recognize the archetypes each hero and villain represents.

The gameplay also sets Freedom Force apart from your average strategy title. This is not an easy game, and players will have to be creative with their use of the powers each hero has available. Grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat will make you feel as heroic as the characters you're commanding.

The sequel, Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich, is also available for 5 bucks.

Railroad Tycoon II Platinum

free steam games

The oldest game on this list by far, Railroad Tycoon II was released all the way back in 1998 (yes, they had computers back then). Obviously this means the graphics aren't going to be much, but the outstanding gameplay makes up for any visual shortcomings.

At its core, Railroad Tycoon II is a management game. Building railroads and watching trains roll back and forth is easy, but figuring out how to make those trains profitable is hard. Success will mean carefully planning your routes, buying the right trains for a given route, and managing your cash flow through economic booms and busts.

If you're the kind of gamer who is into finding the best strategy and maximum efficiency, Railroad Tycoon II Platinum will keep you entertained for months. This game is arguably the best value on the entire Steam service if the amount of play time you receive for your money is a priority.

Ben There, Dan That! / Time Gentlemen, Please!

free steam games

Digital distribution's impact on indie gaming has been overwhelmingly positive. Many games that would have struggled to exist in a world of physical discs have been successful on Steam. Adventure games are one example of a genre that flat-lined, but have now been revived thanks to the lower cost of distributing niche titles.

Ben There, Dan That! and its sequel, Time Gentlemen, Please! are traditional adventure games in the same vein as the Monkey Island series. The gameplay follows a humorous plot about the adventures of Ben and Dan, two dim-witted anti-heroes who predictably find themselves fighting the world. The writing is hilarious, the artwork unique, and the gameplay excellent (if you're into adventure games). The best news? This is a combo pack, which means you will receive both games for just 5 bucks!


steam games

While we're talking about resurrected genres, we should definitely talk about VVVVVV. This game is an old-school platformer, and like many new games in this style (Braid, Super Meat Boy, Give Up Robot), VVVVVV will probably make you put your head through your monitor in a fit of rage. It's all in good fun though, and the pay-off to beating an absurdly difficult level is the satisfaction of conquering what seemed impossible.

There's more to VVVVVV than challenging levels, however. The retro-style graphics are faithful to the source material, and the game even has a reasonably engaging plot. It's not Shakespeare, but you will likely find yourself sincerely concerned about the characters you interact with, even if they are nothing more than simple 2D sprites.


Obviously, this selection of games is based off my personal opinion. Some other great titles that I didn't particularly enjoy, but others will probably like, include Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, Geometry Wars, and Overlord. Only games normally priced under $5 (i.e. those not on sale) were eligible to be a part of this list.

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


Read comments: Loved it? Hated it? Join discussion here ...



More articles about: , , ,

Similar articles:

No comments:

Post a Comment