Wednesday, May 18, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 12 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 12 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 17 May 2011 11:25 PM PDT

Check out the top picks from MakeUseOf Geeky Fun during the last couple of days.

  1. Facebookanol: Cure For Facebook Addiction (Pic)
  2. Meanwhile At Starbucks (Pic)
  3. Daily Routine (Pic)
  4. If Fonts Were Dogs (Pic)
  5. Skype + Microsoft (Pic)
  6. Life Lessons (Pic)
  7. X-Ray TV Prank (Video)
  8. One Megabite

If you would like to keep up with all latest Geeky Fun additions, please subscribe to the Geeky Fun feed here. You can also subscribe and get the latest additions via email.


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Cool Websites and Tools [May 17th]

Posted: 17 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!


Shush Ringer Restorer – Many of us turn our phones to the ‘Silent’ profile and then forget to change it back. As a result, we miss important calls and not read urgent messages quickly. A solution to this is presented by a tool called Shush Ringer Restorer, a smartphone application for Android devices running version 2.0 or later. Read more: Shush Ringer Restorer: Restores Android Ringer Volume After Predefined Time


Scrumblr – a task management website that provides you with a virtual notice board. The virtual board assists not only with individual task management but also with group jobs. The board you create can be divided into columns that you label – the maximum number of columns allowed is 8. Read more: Scrumblr: Virtual Notice Board For Managing Tasks Online



Web Colorizer – Website owners and graphics designers often think about how their websites would look with a different color theme. If you are wondering the same thing, then a tool called Web Colorizer can help you easily visualize different color themes on your website. Read more: Web Colorizer: Try Different Colors On Any Website



Frenzy – If you are a regular user of Dropbox, then you will love Frenzy. It is a neat tool for Mac that turns your Dropbox storage into a social network. You can share media like photos, videos and links and everything gets stored on a specific folder in your Dropbox. Frenzy then allows you to view that specific folder as a social feed. Read more: Frenzy: A Dropbox Based Social Network [Mac]



Terrible Movie Night – A movie purist will watch any movie from the greatest to the most terrible. Watching bad movies can actually be fun and entertaining especially if you watch them with friends. Terrible Movie Night is an awesome website that allows you to discuss terrible movies with other people online. Read more: TerribleMovieNight: Discuss Bad Movies 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.

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Summer Is Near! Check Out The MakeUseOf T-Shirt Store!

Posted: 17 May 2011 07:31 PM PDT

Summer is fast approaching! The birds are tweeting, the flowers are blooming, and you may be considering overhauling your wardrobe, in anticipation of the warm weather to come. If that’s the case, can we interest you in a cool geeky MakeUseOf T-shirt?

Our selection has steadily grown since our T-shirt store first got started last year. From an initial selection of 6 designs, we now have 10 designs, including some in baby tee size. Some Mac OSX-related designs are currently being developed and we’ll be sure to let you know about them as soon as they become available!

The price for each T-shirt is $16.95 and shipping to anywhere in the world. Each shirt is made of very high quality material and is well worth the money! Why not buy in bulk and save on shipping costs? Just head on over to the store and see if anything strikes your fancy.

If you have already bought a MakeUseOf T-shirt, what did you think of it? Are you happy with your purchase?

Why not send us a photo of you wearing it and we may post it here on the site for all to see!

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


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The 15 Toughest Tech Questions [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 17 May 2011 06:31 PM PDT

tough questionThis week, many of the toughest questions on MakeUseOf Answers concern Ubuntu. Can you help us solve those questions? Even if you cannot, each question is a chance to learn something new!

The Best Answer of the Week is rewarded with $50 and two runners-up win $30 and $20, respectively. Every comment automatically enters the contest. Just make sure we can contact you in case you win.

Please help us out with these questions:

For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

Need help? Ask A Question at MakeUseOf Answers.

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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TaskForce – The Easiest Way To Convert Gmail Emails Into Tasks

Posted: 17 May 2011 04:31 PM PDT

delegate gmail tasksHow has your inbox been treating you? If you’re like me, the answer is, “Not good.” I get lots of email throughout a given day, and a lot of it is fairly important because they contain action items and things I will need to follow up on.

Gmail makes the whole process easier, of course, with its browser integration, smart labels, attachment search, and ability to print from my mobile device, but in the end it’s all on me to stay on top of the mound of incoming emails I receive, and I, unlike Google, am merely human, after all. If only I had a task force to back me up….

What Is TaskForce?

Simply put, TaskForce is an extension available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that turns emails into tasks for you. With TaskForce, you can organize tasks into simple lists that you create yourself. It integrates with Gmail, but exists as an independent frame in the interface that can be dragged around and rearranged to suit your needs.

TaskForce’s mission is simple:

“Our mission is to increase your productivity, make your work life easier, and ultimately save you time and money. We strongly believe in building things that are incredibly useful, and we’re out to disrupt apps that aren’t.”

How Do I Start Using TaskForce?

delegate gmail tasks

To add TaskForce to your Gmail experience, just head over to their homepage and click the Add to Gmail button. If you use an email platform other than Gmail, you can opt to select that option instead.

gmail tasks

Once you click the button, a prompt will appear asking for your email address. Enter it in the box and click the Signup to be taken to the download page. If you’re a Chrome user (like I am), you will be redirected to the Chrome Web Store to download the extension.

Once installed, TaskForce will appear when you next log into your Gmail account.

gmail tasks

Now you can convert any of the emails in your inbox into tasks simply by clicking the Convert to New Task button directly under the email subject. You can set a date for the task and add it to an existing list of tasks if you like, or create a new list.

In addition to converting emails you open, you can also add tasks by clicking the plus sign on the TaskForce app. All of your tasks will be added to the “Current Task List” by default, but you can opt to add them to one of your other created lists. You can also add a description to your tasks to provide context. TaskForce will separate tasks by Active, Completed, and Delayed automatically.

delegate gmail tasks

Another interesting feature of TaskForce is the ability to notify the sender that you’ve converted their email into a task. Once a task is completed, a notification is sent to the sender including a link so that the sender can add a comment to the task if they please. You can also invite people to collaborate on the task.


TaskForce has been a lifesaver for me. No longer to I have to star or label emails and try to remember them later. I can just refer to my task list for all of my action items and then work through them one by one. It’s also a good way to view everything that’s on your plate all at once, so you can maintain your focus.

If you’re into Gmail extensions I also recommend you check out 0boxer. It brings a level of competition to getting through your email load, especially if you get your other friends/coworkers involved to compete against. A little competition never hurt anybody.

Will you be giving TaskForce a try? What other Gmail productivity extensions can’t you live without?

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Meet Local People For Real-Life Offline Activities With Zenergo

Posted: 17 May 2011 02:31 PM PDT

meet local people for freeIt seems there’s always a new take on social networks and everyone who starts a new one has a completely different idea of how to make it great. My personal take on any new social network is that it has potential only if it facilitates meetings of like-minded people or if it helps people to stay in touch with friends they already know. If it can do both it’s on the right track.

Zenergo is a new social network on the path to becoming something really worthwhile. They’ve taken the approach that real offline social interaction with acquaintances usually revolves around activities. With this in mind, Zenergo have made it as simple as possible to meet local people for free, including groups and individuals who might want to do the same activities as you. It’s a simple, yet very promising approach.

Sign Up With Zenergo

All it takes is a minute or so to sign up, and if you wish you can use a Facebook or Google login to make it even quicker.

meet local people for free

Finding Friends On Zenergo

You can easily invite your real-life friends from your email contacts or other social networks. Or you can just nose your way around and try to meet people already on Zenergo. With Zenergo, meeting people revolves around the activities you participate in. Once you’ve found people you like, you can stay connected via groups or friend them directly.

ideas to meet new people in neighborhood

Your Activities, Groups & Events

As part of your profile building, general browsing and friend search, you’ll see options for adding activities. If you search, you might find activities to match your interests, but I found it easier to browse the full list and add my favourite activities. Activities are the key to Zynergo — start by adding your favourites.

After you’ve added some activities, your homepage will fill up with questionnaires related to each activity you chose. There’s no need to fill these out, but it will help potential friends to decide if you’re the right sort of person for them to meet.

ideas to meet new people in neighborhood

If you click on an activity you’ll see an activity profile. You can update your status with something activity-related or you can easily see which of your friends are interested in this activity — very handy if you’re thinking of organising an event. You can also browse or create activity-related groups, browse local users who also like this activity, or start an activity-related event.

ideas to meet new people in neighborhood

For instance, if I click on the Geocaching activity I’ll easily spot which of my friends are into Geocaching. I can search for or create a Geocaching group for my area and make plans for a big Geocaching expedition on the weekend. Zenergo isn’t about chatting — it’s about doing.

Things Zenergo Could Improve

Searching for activities should connect similar things, for instance a search for “Reading” should bring up their preferred activity listing for “Books” as a search result. This is especially necessary since their suggested activities are all verbs — I doubt anyone will search for “Books” when given the prompt “What do you like to do?“.

meet local people for free

More Facebook integration would help users to automatically connect with real-life friends and easily promote Zenergo events to Facebook. Sadly these days, if a new social network makes this step too difficult it will fall into obscurity before too long.

The calendar is great, but without a continuous sync with the user’s regular calendar it’s not going to be of much use. Zenergo offers a static .ics file export, but not an iCal URL, which could be viewed any time in Google Calendar, Apple’s iCal or Outlook without ever having to be exported from Zenergo again.

Competition For Zenergo

There are plenty of social networks to compete with Zenergo. None of them quite have the same focus, yet many of them could copy Zenergo and beat them at their game. Most obviously, if Facebook were to actively facilitate the meeting of acquaintances via activities and interests Zenergo wouldn’t stand a chance. Facebook has such a high number of users and regular visitors to the site that it would easily surpass Zenergo.

What do you think of the activity-based social network concept to meet local people for free? Do you think it will take off? Let us know in the comments!

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Hot Tech Deals – Sony RDP-X50iP Speaker Dock for iPod And iPhone $99.99 + more

Posted: 17 May 2011 01:30 PM PDT

Our featured deal for today is the Sony RDP-X50iP speaker dock for iPod and iPhone. Get it at just $99.99, which is a hundred bucks off the list price. The dock manages a total output of 40W, is able to charge the iPod or iPhone while docked and comes with a wireless remote control.

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

  1. HP ENVY 14 Intel Core i5-480M 2.66GHz 14.5in Laptop (4GB/500GB/Radeon HD5650) $799 via code NB4692 (Exp Soon)
  2. HP Pavilion p6770t Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz Desktop $469.99 via code TECHBARG30 (Exp Soon)
  3. HP Pavilion p6780t Intel Core i5-2300 Quad-Core Sandy Bridge Desktop $549.99 via code TECHBARG30 (Exp Soon)
  4. Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1TB Portable External Hard Drive $89.99 Free Shipping
  5. Lenovo Multimedia Remote w/ Keyboard & Mouse (Trackball) $27 Free Shipping via code USPC11MY36336 (Exp 5/20)
  6. TODAY ONLY MSI 880G HDMI AMD Phenom II X4 925 Quad-Core 2.8GHz SuperCombo $284.99
  7. Sony RDP-X50iP Speaker Dock for iPod And iPhone $99.99 Free Shipping

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.


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7 Firefox Add-ons That Improve Web Page Readability Level

Posted: 17 May 2011 12:31 PM PDT

readability levelReading a webpage is very different (and difficult) than reading a book. In a book, there's nothing between your eyes and the words on the page. On a webpage, you have to traipse and trip over ads and other assorted clutter.

When it comes to improving readability on the web, the browser hasn't been of much help. It gives us a full screen view and zoom but nothing else. For that we have to fall back on the little pals we call add-ons or extensions. We have already seen how they come to the aid of people who use Chrome as their browser of choice.

Taking a leaf out of The Four Google Chrome Extensions For Easier Online Reading let's see if we can give some help to our eyes on Firefox.


readability level

We have covered the Readability add-on as recently as a couple of months back when we saw how the new Readability add-on converts pages to a read-friendly format. But it's worth mentioning again as this excellent add-on is worthy of leading the rest of the pack. I won't talk about it much; the screenshot shows the Firefox add-on in action as it converts one of our regular pages into a more reader-friendly one. What I would recommend is that you should get familiar with the keyboard shortcut (CTRL+ALT+R) to toggle Readability and the Auto scroll function (CTRL + SHIFT + A).


readability checklist

iReader is an experimental add-on that also creates a clutter-free scrollable reading page overlaid on the original one. There is also a version for Chrome. The Firefox add-on recognizes an article and displays its icon in the address bar after the page loads. An iReader page opens up with all clutter removed. The add-on supports multi-page articles and you can set the background opacity in the options panel. You can use the iReader panel to disable images, change zoom, and share the page. We have covered this add-on previously in iReader – Instant Clutter-free Reading on Chrome & Firefox.


what is readability

Readable is an add-on developed by the same guy who gave us Readability:  Baris Derin. It tackles the problem by giving you options to change the layout of a webpage by altering the fonts and colors. On some sites the implementation is not that great, but customizing things like font size and page color gets this add-on a positive point. We have reviewed this in more detail before.

Enjoy Reading

what is readability

This experimental add-on installs itself just next to the address bar. The add-on looks, feels, and is 'heavily based' on the old Open Source Readability bookmarklet. This add-on too is Open Source.

Easy Read

what is readability

Easy Read is an experimental add-on the deals with excessive links on web pages by automatically hiding them when a page loads. You can toggle the page links by clicking the icon on the Add-on Bar of the browser. Avoiding links is a great aid for trigger happy fingers when a click on a link takes you away from the source page without finishing reading it. As the description page mentions, Wikipedia is a prime example of a link rich page which could with the use of this add-on.

No Color

readability level

A lot of web pages especially the older ones, have eye-jarring colors and backgrounds. You can choose to remove them and increase the white space with the help of this simple Firefox add-on. It may not improve readability by a large degree but removal of excessive color from web pages is sometimes soothing. Though it doesn't look that great when it renders our MUO Facebook page, all white!

Blank Your Monitor + Easy Reading

The add-on was designed for changing the color combinations on web pages viewed on CRT screens for the purpose of saving energy. I am not sure whether it 'scientifically' works out that way but the add-on's Options allows you to play with colors and customize text and background colors as per your requirements. For instance, reading a web page against a black background sometimes helps me to focus better especially if the room is dark.

Readability is a concern on webpages especially when we have shunned books and newspapers and gone over to the internet. Maybe, these posts will give you a few more pointers:

5 Services That De-Clutter The Web For Readers
4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)
2 Useful Bookmarklets To Make Your Web Reading Easier

Do you deliberately use tools like browser extensions and Firefox add-ons to enhance your reading experience? Tell us about your default ones.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Four Neat Tricks You Can Do With The Windows 7 Taskbar

Posted: 17 May 2011 11:31 AM PDT

windows 7 taskbarThe Windows 7 taskbar is quite swanky looking, but it also packs a wallop in terms of functionality. Sure, anyone can activate an application by clicking its icon. But do you know what happens when you middle-click? Did you know there’s a way to run an application as an Administrator right from its taskbar icon? Read on to see how!

The Magic Of Middle-Click

Middle-clicking actually does two reverse actions. It can either be used to close an instance of an application, or open a new instance. How so, you ask? Check out this screenshot to understand:

windows 7 taskbar

In other words, if you middle-click the icon, you get a new instance of the application. If you middle-click the Aero Peek thumbnail, the current window is closed.

Run As Administrator

To run an application from the Windows 7 taskbar as an administrator, left-click its icon while holding down the Shift and Ctrl keys. Windows will pop-up a UAC prompt asking for Administrator privileges, and once you confirm, the application will run with elevated rights. Note: if the application is already running, Windows will simply open a new instance of it, not elevate the existing instance (this cannot be done, technically).

Change The Size Of Aero Peek Thumbnails

This next trick does require a download, but it’s free, tiny, and you have to run it just once. It’s an application called Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnail Customizer, and it lets you set a slew of parameters affecting the taskbar thumbnails:

windows 7 taskbar

For my own system, I simply opted for larger thumbnails. I find them very handy, especially when I’m a bit farther than usual from my monitor. Windows Taskbar Thumbnail Customizer doesn’t require administrative privileges, is mobile and free, and once you run it and set the parameters to your liking, you can even remove it from your system.

Disable Aero Peek For The Desktop

A few days ago, a friend of mine (who is a Windows 7 novice) made an interesting complaint. While working on her laptop, all windows would disappear every now and then. She would just be merrily typing away, and all of a sudden, poof go the windows, and it all vanishes. Needless to say, she was frustrated. I then looked at her setup, and the mystery was solved. She was using an external mouse, and every now and then she would nudge it with her wrist while typing.

The cursor was close to the bottom-right area of the screen, where the Aero Peek hotspot for the desktop can be found. Whenever the mouse hovered over this hotspot, all windows would indeed “disappear” (become transparent), and the desktop would show through. It wasn’t obvious to her where the cursor is, because it was virtually off-screen.

When something like this happens, you can simply disable Aero peek for the desktop, like so:

windows 7 taskbar

This is the bottom-right area of the taskbar (which is vertical in my case). Simply right-click the Aero Peek hotspot for the desktop, and a menu pops up, letting you disable it. Simply uncheck “Peek at desktop“, and you’re good to go. The windows will now stop “disappearing”.

Your Turn Now

What crucial Windows 7 taskbar tricks did I miss? What’s the first thing you show your novice friends when they start using Windows 7? Let us know in the comments!

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How To Create A US iTunes Account (& Access US-Only Contents) Without A Credit Card

Posted: 17 May 2011 10:31 AM PDT

create itunes account without credit cardDue to copyright issues, the iTunes Store ‘discriminates’ against users based on their geographical location. While the US and a few other selected iTunes stores have all the goodies – including music, movies and TV shows – other countries can only access the App Store, Podcasts and iTunesU. This arrangement also limits non-US customers from getting US-only content.

To be able to access those goodies, non-US users could try to register for a US account. The problem is, the set up process requires a US credit card. Fortunately, there’s a way around that obstacle.

Setting Up The Stage

If you don’t have any iTunes account, you can skip this part and go on to the next section. But if you already have a non-US iTunes account, there are a few steps that you need to do before creating another one.

First, you need to log into your iTunes Store account to change the country. The reason we need to do this is because we need to pick up US-only freebies in the next part of the process. If we don’t change country before we sign out then we will be stuck with non-US content.

  • Open iTunes, click on the Apple ID on the upper right corner of the window, and choose “Account“.

create itunes account without credit card

  • Fill in your Apple ID and password, then hit “Enter“.

itunes account without credit card

  • Scroll down to the lower part of your Account Information and click the “Change Country or Region“.

itunes account without credit card

  • Choose US from the drop down list and click “Continue“.

itunes account without credit card

You can see that this change will give you broader content options. Do not click continue to set up the new account yet.

no credit card itunes

Instead sign out from your account. Now you are ready to start the Sign Up process for your US account.

no credit card itunes

Creating The Account

The key to creating a US iTunes account without a credit card is by not going through the official sign up process. We should start by downloading a free item from the iTunes Store. It can be anything like a song, a movie, or an app.

no credit card itunes

  • Pick a free item and download it by clicking on the “Free” button. If we download an item when we are not signed in, iTunes will ask us to sign in first.

02b download free app

  • Do not sign in using your existing Apple ID, but choose “Create New Account“.

03a create new

  • Fill in the fields with your chosen email and password, and continue.

03d ID detail

  • You will see that there’s the option to choose “None” in the credit card list. This option will not appear if you choose to sign up without picking a free item to download first.

03f payment none

  • This method should be applicable for registering for an iTunes account for any country and you can continue without any problems from here. But there’s another requirement that you still have to fulfill if you are registering for a US account: a US address.

03g US address

  • You could try to fill in the fields with a bogus address, but why would you do that if getting a free US address is free and easy? One way to acquire an address is by registering for a account. This is a company that will help non-US citizens to shop on US-only online stores. However, a PayPal account is required.

04a US address

There are other ways to get a free US address, just use a search engine to search for “free US address” or other similar strings.

  • The last step is to verify your Apple ID. Just follow the link in your confirmation email, click “Verify Address“, and you are ready to go.

05c verify address 2

  • Now that your US iTunes account is set up, you can enjoy all the free items which are available only to US account holders, without the need to own a US credit card.

create itunes account without credit card

From my experiments, I concluded that you can keep more than one iTunes account on one computer, and all of your downloads from all the accounts can be synced with your iDevice(s) without any problem. But please note that if you download apps using different accounts, you will need to use the same account to update the apps.

The method worked like magic in my country, and I assume that it will also work from any other countries. Please try to do the process from your part of the world and share your experience using the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out other iTunes related articles like: The Easiest Way To Move Your iTunes Library To An External Drive, Two Simple Ways To Disable Ping In iTunes [Mac & Windows], and download The Big Book of iTunes.

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How To Change & Fix Broken File Type Associations In Windows 7

Posted: 17 May 2011 09:31 AM PDT

file associations windows 7There is one question that is asked over and over again on MakeUseOf Answers and the published copy draws in lots of visitors and new comments every week. The question is How can I change or fix .lnk file associations on Windows 7?

This article will not only share the solution to the above question, it will also discuss what file type associations are, how you can change them in general, and why so many people have issues with .lnk file associations in Windows. If you have been running into this issue again and again, it’s time to examine its cause and find out how to deal with it or better yet, avoid it altogether.

What Are File Associations?

A file association connects a file type with an application that can open this type of file. For example, you can associate .mp3 music files with either Windows Media Player (default) or with a media player of your choice, such as VLC or Winamp. You can also associate other file types with the same program. However, there are file types that these programs cannot open. For example Windows Media Player cannot open document file types. You will need to associate these files with a different program and hence make a different connection.

file associations windows 7A special case are .lnk file associations. In Windows, files carrying the .lnk (LNK) file extension are shortcut files that often link to an executable, i.e. an .exe file. This way you can have many small sized shortcuts in different locations to a single, potentially large sized file. Shortcut files are typically found on the desktop and in the start menu, but you can create and use them almost anywhere on your computer.

How Can I Change Or Fix A Bad File Association?

Fixing or changing a file association is very simple. For example, if you accidentally associated .pdf files with a program that cannot open them, you can change the association back to Adobe Reader (or another PDF reader that can open them). Simply follow this procedure:

  • Right-click the respective file, for example a PDF file.
  • Select > Open With from the right-click menu.

windows 7 change file association

  • The > Open with window will open and now you can either pick a program from the list of > Other Programs or click the > Browse… button and find the application you want to open this file type with.

windows 7 change file association

  • If you want to make the change permanent, check the box next to > Always use the selected program to open this kind of file.

windows 7 change file association

  • Finally, click > OK and, given you checked the respective box, all your PDF files should now open with the program of your choice.

If you want to get an overview of all file associations on your computer or change several at once, you can go to > Start > Control Panel > Programs > Default Programs > Associate a file type or protocol with a specific program. Here you can browse all file types. Click on > Change program… to pick a new tool to open the respective file type.

file associations windows 7

Note that .lnk files should not be associated with a specific program (unknown application) and hence you cannot fix a broken .lnk file association this way!

How Can I Fix A Broken .lnk File Association?

This file type association usually attracts little attention, unless it stops working. It can stop working for two major reasons: either the file association is broken or the registry got corrupted.

The easiest way to fix it in Windows Vista and Windows 7 is to download and run the lnk file association fix from this website (direct download). To run the fix, you need to have Administrator rights. Unzip the file to the desktop, right-click the > lnkfix_vista.reg file and click > Merge. The file will make the necessary changes to the registry to fix the file association. After it is done, reboot your computer and the problems should be gone.

The website also features fixes for other bad file associations, including .exe, .zip, and .com file association fixes.

Why Do So Many People Have Issues With .lnk File Associations?

As mentioned before, .lnk files are not typically associated with a specific program and what corrupts them is doing just that. This annoyance can be achieved by malware. However, it probably happens more by accident, when people go through the > Open with dialog and accidentally associate the shortcut with an application. The only way to avoid the latter is to pay attention. The former can be avoided by using a firewall and antivirus program, running malware scanners, and generally not visiting dubious websites or downloading and opening files from questionable sources.

If you have suddenly developed an interest for file type associations, you should also have a look at these two articles:

Did you ever have to fight with bad .lnk file associations or other file types suddenly opening in the wrong program? What caused the issue in your case?

Image credits: lucadp

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4 Great Craigslist Search Engines To Make Your Searches On The Site Easier

Posted: 17 May 2011 08:31 AM PDT

craigslist search enginesOne of the defining characteristics of Craigslist is simplicity. In a web 2.0 era, Craigslist has refused to make major alterations to its site. It started as a list of stuff made possible by a dude named Craig, and that's what it more or less remains as.

This has advantages, but one disadvantage is the lack of a great search function. It can be hard to find specific items on Craigslist, particularly if you'd like to search multiple locations at once. Let's take a look at some Craigslist search engines that solve that problem.

Search Tempest

craigslist search engines

Search Tempest separates itself from most Craigslist search engines right off the bat by providing an interface that actually looks professional instead of like something a teenager might have coded ten years ago.

Once you start using it, Search Tempest proves to be slick and handy. The front page interface lets you type in what you're looking for, where you're looking for it, and also define the specific Craigslist category you want to look in (if any). The search results are then provided per-city listed on Craigslist within your search radius.

I suspect that this search engine might run slow on older computers, because it seems to have a lot going on in the background. Otherwise, it's an excellent search engine.


craigslist search

The idea behind Crazedlist is that some Craigslist search engine results might be blocked because of information already stored in your browser. When you visit Crazedlist, the site actually provides instructions that will help you achieve the best search results. It's very handy if you've been having issues with other search engines.

Crazedlist also features a prominent Worldwide Search feature that works essentially the same as the United States search, but of course lets you search in countries across the globe. This site could probably use some interface improvements – it makes excessive use of checkboxes – but it's still one of the better options available.

Search All Craig’s

craigslist search

As Craigslist itself proves, sometimes the most basic option is the best option. Search All Craig's takes advantage of this theme by presenting little more than a plain white page with a search field attached. Put whatever you want in it, and search all of Craigslist!

OK, so there is just a little more to it than that. Once you search you can narrow down your results further by region. But really, that's all the features there are to be found. While this may make specific searches more difficult, the benefit is a site that returns results almost instantly.


craigslist search engines

Another fairly basic site, CraigZoom is quick and has a “search all Craigslist” function, but also offers more options that Search All Craig's.

These options are off to the left and they include things such as location (by state) category and price (when applicable). You can choose to search only titles and only posts with images, as well.

Basically, this is just a redesign of the Craigslist site that makes it possible to embark on a new search in an entirely different location without hitting your browser's back button.


I tried to cover all of my bases here, but I didn't cover Craigslist search applications. These are not search engines you open in your browser but instead programs you download. An example discussed here on MakeUseOf is CraigsList Reader. Although downloading an application to search a website might seem a bit odd, you should give it a shot, because it's quite effective.

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The Evolution Of Email [Infographic]

Posted: 17 May 2011 07:31 AM PDT

Email. We all use it.  Whether you use it on a daily basis or only occasionally, it can’t be denied that electronic mail has transformed the way we live our lives.  Businesses have been transformed, families have been brought closer together, and the lowly snail mail letter, which can take days to reach its destination, is no longer preferred when an email can reach its sender in seconds.

But email, like everything else in life, has constantly evolved since the first email was sent over ARPANET in 1971.  No longer are we restricted to what Microsoft offers.   Today we have a wide variety of choices including the ever popular Gmail.  Instead of only having the paid Outlook for desktop emails, you can also choose from free and open source alternatives such as Thunderbird.  But email is perhaps now under threat from the rise of other forms of popular communication such as social networks and SMS text messaging.

Below is an infographic, produced by Microsoft, which shows the Evolution Of Email.   Let us know what you think of it and if there is another email fact not shown below.   Where do you see email heading in the future?   Can it fight off the likes of Facebook and Twitter?   Or is its days numbered?

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