Tuesday, May 31, 2011

MakeUseOf.com: “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 8 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 8 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 30 May 2011 11:05 PM PDT

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

  1. How Android Plans To Beat iPhone (Pic)
  2. Gas Powered Everything (Video)
  3. Interesting Stats About Facebook Profile Photos (Pic)
  4. Typing Position (Pic)
  5. The Roast Of Facebook (Video)
  6. Facebook Birthdays (Pic)
  7. Angry Birds Join Arab Rebels (Pic)
  8. Insistence Pays Off (Pic)

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 30th]

Posted: 30 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!


TweetWhen – Recently an increasing number of tools have been developed that provide you with important information regarding trends of your social networking accounts. Adding to this list of tools is TweetWhen, a tool that shows you when you get the most retweets per tweet. The last 1,000 tweets are analyzed and the retweets are shown graphically. Read more: TweetWhen: Check When Is The Best Time To Tweet


Evisors – Advice from experts is invaluable, particularly when it comes to admissions and careers. However finding the right experts is not easy. Here to solve this problem is a site called Evisors, an expert and consultant marketplace, that provides professional advice on college admissions, related tests, careers, and various other fields. Read more: Evisors: Expert & Consultant Marketplace For All Kinds Of Advise



FullyFollow – There are so many social networks out there and connecting with somebody on multiple networks is a time consuming and arduous task. FullyFollow makes it tremendously easier by letting people follow you on various networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with a single click. Once you sign up for a free account you are provided with a custom URL like FullyFollow.me/abc. Read more: FullyFollow: Let People Follow You On Multiple Networks With A Single Click



SchoolSparks – This website covers a wide variety of topics that can help you help your kids. It includes hundreds of free printable worksheets that you can use to help your child develop basic things like motor skills, recognizing language, letter/word awareness, math awareness and emotional and social development. Read more: SchoolSparks: Preschool & Kindergarten Resources For Parents



Parkopedia – Going to that fancy theater in a new city but not sure where to park and how big of a dent it will make on your wallet? Parkopedia can help by letting you search for parking spaces in approximately 6,000 cities and 20 different countries. Simply enter a location and Parkopedia will list parking spaces near that location, along with the operating hours and parking rates. Read more: Parkopedia: Easily Find Parking Spots In Thousands Of Cities


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 Useful Tools To See & Compare Search Results Side By Side

Posted: 30 May 2011 06:30 PM PDT

search results side by sideSearching multiple search databases simultaneously is nothing new: we have already seen 10 tools that allow to search Google and Bing and see results side by side.

We also have reviewed a number of tools that run multiple searches at a time: Search Opener is a good example.

Today’s little collection includes best multi-feature web-based tools to search at least two search engines and see results side by side (either to compare  them or just to be able to see more search results at a time):

Search in Two Languages Side-by-Side

2Lingual is a web-based tool that works surprisingly fast and lets you search in two languages with one click.

The app uses Google translate to automatically recognize and translate your query into the second language (this feature can be turned off).

search results side by side

Where the fun is:..

Since this app was reviewed by MUO 2 years ago, there have been 2 important improvements:

  • The tool now supports 45 languages;
  • The tool now offers smooth “Instant” experience (it starts searching before you enter the full query. I wish it had Google Suggest support as well).

There is also Twitter Bilingual (also reviewed by MUO previously) search that works pretty much the same but sourcing results from Twitter real time results. It currently supports 21 languages.

Search Two Search Engines Side-by-Side

There are quite a few tools that let you compare two sets of results side by side. Not all of them offer a quick way to switch between the available search engines though.

The one app that does this job comparatively well is Googawho: just type your query, get the initial columns of results and click through search engines in the header to switch between the engines.

Supported search engines: Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, InfoSpace, AltaVista, Lycos, Dogpile.

compare search engine results

Where the fun is:..

  • Open results in new tabs / windows by holding SHIFT while clicking the link;
  • Click “Tabulizer!” button to open all supported search engine results in new tabs;
  • Install Googawho search plugin to easily search from your browser.

Search Two Verticals Side-by-Side

Like the above tool, SearchBoth gives access to several search engines but there’s no easy way to switch between them. What the tool offers though is a handy option to click through vertical search sections, like:

  • Images;
  • Videos;
  • Shopping results;
  • News Search
  • Blog search.

Note: Googawho does have links for “News”, “Images” and “Videos” as well but they didn’t always work for me.

The ability to search images in two engines simultaneously can really come in handy!

search results side by side

Where the fun is:..

  • Hover over any part to enlarge it (or click the “lock” icon to fix the width);
  • Navigate through various local tool versions to combine and compare search engines from your country.

Don’t forget to check out related search-productivity tools and tips:

Have you ever played with any of the tools above? Do you have your own favorites? Please share your thoughts!

Image Credit: seosmarty

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Frame X Frame – A Free Photography App For iOS With Stop-Motion, Anti-Shake & More

Posted: 30 May 2011 02:30 PM PDT

free photography appsHow do you promote a physical iPhone accessory when most people wouldn’t think of buying much beyond a bluetooth headset and maybe a case? According to Joby, you release a free app that fully demonstrates what you’re missing out on – an iPhone tripod.

Joby are manufacturers of the Gorillapod, a one-of-a-kind bendy tripod that attaches to pretty much anything, allowing you to make full use of your surroundings for the best shot. The company has now released the Gorillamobile for iPhone 4, which is simply a sturdy case that secures the phone and a Gorillapod that’s perfectly designed to support the latest Apple smartphone.

Frame X Frame is free and a Gorillamobile is not but this isn’t to say that Frame X Frame is useless without one. If you’re handy and able you could probably fashion a tripod out of a Google search and common household items.

The Feature List

There’s no shortage of App Store offerings that promise to reinvent the way you take pictures on your mobile device. Joby’s Frame X Frame makes some pretty bold claims in its app description, suggesting that "this will soon be your go-to iPhone camera".

The list of features is impressive enough and sure to make anyone who’s been wanting a little bit more from their iPhone camera tempted. As well as much-needed image stabilization, Frame X Frame adds some exciting modes such as time lapse photography and stop-motion to your iPhone’s capabilities.
free photography apps
There are also a couple of other enhancements designed to take the pain out of blurry and hard to get shots. Level mode is designed to line up a perfectly straight shot, 3-shot Burst offers a chance to review and pick your favourite and Press Anywhere allows you to take a shot by simply touching an area to focus on.

On top this you’ve got geotagging, which adds location data to the EXIF data stored in your image and accessible documentation and tips for getting the best pictures out of your iPhone. Not bad for free, but how does it handle?

Basic Photography

To get the most out of simple pictures, anti-shake will help reduce the likelihood of blurring and is probably the most useful of all the standard features. Unfortunately this mode cannot be used with three shot burst on, and the potentially useful spirit level is rendered completely useless whenever you’re shooting in landscape mode as it only works portrait.

In addition to this, the other on-screen display icons do not detect the change either. Whilst it doesn’t make that much difference, it is a standard feature on pretty much any photo app these days (including Apple’s own built-in effort).
iphone photography apps
Press Anywhere was a surprisingly useful feature, with absolutely no lag on the camera’s display when taking a shot. Enable it, touch anywhere on screen and all you get is a shutter noise while the app quietly saves your image to the camera roll.

Zoom is accessed via the small (and quite hard to press) magnifying glass icon on the right. At all times the modes you are currently using will be indicated via icons on the viewfinder. Much like the default iPhone camera your camera roll is easily accessible from the bottom left and you can choose to use both front and back facing cameras.

Time Lapse & Stop-Motion

These two are arguably the most enticing features, though unfortunately there are some issues.

Selecting Time Lapse mode from the Frame X Frame menu first prompts you for the number of shots you’d like the movie to comprise of (with a maximum of 5000) and the interval at which these shots should be taken. Once you’ve chosen your settings, prop your camera in the position you’d like it to stay for the duration of the film, hit the shutter and sit back.

iphone photography apps
Now this is where I’d love to go on about how easy it is to turn these images into a movie, much like the app description: “Stitch together your Time Lapse images into a Stop Motion video with the simple touch of a button”. Except on image 130 (of 150) Frame X Frame crashed. When I resumed the app it had forgotten entirely what I was doing and reverted everything back to defaults.

So I tried it again with a smaller timelapse, this time no crash. I was left with a number of JPEGs and simply could not find the option to turn images into a movie. Not entirely what the description promised! The images aren’t useless of course, but it’s manual work on a PC that you might not fancy.
free photography apps
Luckily stop-motion does work, with the option of manual and automatic frame advance (auto is timed, for those with little patience). This is actually really quite fun, and somewhat saves Frame X Frame from the pits of App Store hell. You can also use this for time lapse movies, though it will destroy your battery.


It is a shame about the problems as Frame X Frame has so much promise but is ultimately flawed in its execution (at least in this version, 1.0.1). No photography app should feature a spirit level that only works in portrait mode, that’s dumb. Better implementation of timelapse mode is needed, as are bug fixes and a good polish. Saying that, with everything working properly it could one day be the best free iPhone photography app out there.

Then again stop-motion is really good, and you’ll probably have tons of fun coming up with random animations and videos. Think about it Joby – you’re far more likely to shift a few tripods if your app worked as advertised, so how about an update?

Have you tried Frame X Frame? Have you bought a Gorillamobile? Let us know in the comments below.

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Hot Tech Deals – Seagate Expansion 1.5TB USB Portable External Hard Drive for $109.95 + more

Posted: 30 May 2011 01:30 PM PDT

Today’s featured deal is the Seagate Expansion 1.5TB USB Portable External Hard Drive for $109.95. Extra hard disk space is always welcomed and with this deal, it works out to about $0.07 per gigabyte.

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

  1. TODAY ONLY Corsair Nova Series 32GB Internal SATA Solid State Drive $69.99 Free Ship via code EMCYTZT502 (exp 5/30)
  2. TODAY ONLY ABS Majesty 1100W ATX Power Supply (80PLUS Gold) $149.99 Free Ship via code EMCYTZT501 (Exp 5/30
  3. TODAY ONLY TP-Link TL-WR841ND 802.11n 300Mbps Wireless N Router $26.99 Free Ship
  4. TODAY ONLY LG 42LV3500 42in LED LCD HDTV (1080p) $699 Free Shipping via code EMCYTZT504 (Exp 5/30)
  5. Philips 32PFL6704D/F7 32in LCD HDTV (1080p, 120Hz) $399.99 Free Shipping
  6. Logitech EX100 Desktop Wireless Keyboard and Mouse $19 + $0.97 Shipping
  7. Verbatim 97564 Wireless Nano Touch 2.4GHz Ergonomic Mouse $24.99 Free Ship
  8. Seagate Expansion 1.5TB USB Portable External Hard Drive $109.95 Free Shipping

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How To Use Webdoc As A Lifestream Service

Posted: 30 May 2011 12:30 PM PDT

lifestreaming toolsWebdoc is a new social platform that is something of a chameleon. It can be seen as a simplified blogging platform, in the vein of Tumblr, a media rich social network, or it can even be used as a journaling or lifestreaming service.

With most lifestreaming services like Friendfeed, you simply plug in all of your social and online accounts, and any online activity is automatically saved in your account. Webdoc brings a new more hands-on approach of saving photos, text, videos, audio files, apps or even sketches.

To start using Webdoc, you can create a new account or sign in using your Twitter or Facebook credentials.
lifestreaming tools
After signing up for an account you can find out which of your Facebook or Twitter friends are already using the service.
how to lifestream
To create your first entry or webdoc, click the start a new webdoc and you will be presented with a dashboard of sorts where you can add the various types of content.
how to lifestream
There are a variety of items which you can add to each of your entries, or your webdocs. As far as text is concerned, you can add a text bubble, rich text or html.
how to lifestream
Text bubbles are fully customizable with a variety of choices for shape, orientation, color. You also have a variety of choices for the font type and size, color and justification.
lifestream help
You can also add entire paragraphs, with full text formatting and live links.
lifestream help
You can include basic sketches in your Webdocs, with the ability to adjust the brush size and colour.
lifestream help
When it comes to images, there are a variety of ways you can get them onto your Webdoc. You can upload them from your computer, search for images on Google or Flickr or import them from Facebook. You can also take a picture using your webcam, a great feature if you want to take a picture of yourself everyday in the vein of services like Dailybooth.

You can search for videos on YouTube and Vimeo, paste any link from a variety of video services including Hulu, Joost, DailyMotion and Viddler, amongst others. You cannot, however, upload videos from your own computer.

For the time being, audio files can only be added from SoundCloud which may be a little limiting, but since you can upload your own recordings to SoundCloud, there’s no limit to the kind of user-generated audio content you can share.

Lastly you can add Apps, little widgets that provide various types of content. Some of the available widgets include Twitter search and profiles, a countdown timer, a photo slideshow, a poll and more, allowing you to make your entries extremely interactive.

With each entry, you can choose whether to make it a public or private webdoc.

When posted, other users can post comments on your webdoc and add images, text and all other types of content available when creating an entry.
lifestreaming tools
There are certain features that are lacking that, if added, would make Webdoc a real force to be reckoned with amongst lifestreaming services. Firstly, a mobile version of the site or a mobile app would make easy to capture images and more on the go. Secondly, the apps could be better used in a lifestreaming capacity if, for example, you could add your own tweets, Flickr images, and other content you share throughout the web, but limit it to the specific time period of that day.

Even if you aren’t planning to use it as a lifestreaming service, the sheer versatility of Webdoc makes it whatever you want it to be.

There are other flexible ways you can create your own lifestream which we’ve covered in the past, which include using WordPress, Twitter or Flavors.

What do you think of Webdoc? How do you think you’d use the service? And what is your preferred lifestream service? Let us know in the comments.

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iChromy vs Safari For The iPad – Which One Is Better?

Posted: 30 May 2011 11:30 AM PDT

browsers for ipadThere are a handful of free web browsers for the iPad, each with features that outshine the default Safari browser for the mobile device. No doubt one of the most useful purposes of the iPad is for browsing the web, so trying out other browsing options is worth the time to get the best over user experience. The newest addition to this app category is iChromy, a Google Chrome-like web browser developed by the makers of the popular bookmarking and annotation website, Diigo.com.

Diigo sent me an advance preview of iChromy (iTunes Store link) and though there are features I find sorely missing, I am totally impressed by the speed and minimalist user interface of iChromy—so much so that it’s on my iPad Homepage dock alongside Safari. Sadly, Apple still doesn’t allow users to define the default browser for iOS as they do in OS X. Why should you replace Safari with iChromy? Well, let’s compare some of the important features, keeping in mind that this is only the first version of iChromy.

browsers for ipad


First off, the tab feature of Safari iPad simply is not that user friendly. Any app that saves me a tap or two in the process automatically gets a plus-star in my review. With Safari you have to tap the Tab button to get a view of your open pages, and then tap again to bring one of them to the front.
ipad browsers
With iChromy, all open tabs sit at the top of the browser, like in the OS X version of Safari—or really like the desktop version of Chrome, which iChromy most resembles.

ipad browsers

It would be nice if you could customize the colors of the tabs in iChromy as you can in Chrome, but that’s just a minor issue for now.


Safari iPad includes the traditional Bookmarks Bar and folders for organizing bookmarks. iChromy doesn’t include folders for bookmarks yet, but you can add bookmarks by simply tapping the Star button in the URL field.

ipad browsers

You will have to do an extra tap to edit the name of the bookmark if you want it to be shorter, but the process sure is faster than the three-tap process required for Safari iPad.


iChromy also includes a feature for downloading and saving pages for later reading, even offline. If you’re looking for this feature in Safari iPad, forget about it. The default browser requires you to be Wi-Fi connected in order to read pages.
ipad web browsers

Sharing Features

Perhaps the best feature in iChromy that is partially missing from Safari is the ability to share or export URLs in other programs and services. With Safari, you can add bookmarks, post them on your iPad Home Screen, email them, or print them out. These features are great, but iChromy offers more.

ipad web browsers

In addition to the above features in Safari, in iChromy you can send and share bookmarks on your Facebook, Twitter, Diigo, Evernote, Google Reader, Instapaper, Read It Later, and Tumblr accounts. And if you need to, you can send an open page to Safari from iChromy.
ipad web browsers

Contextual Menu

When you tab and hold on a link in Safari, you get the options to open the link, Open in New Page, or Copy. In iChromy, you get two additional options: Open in Background Tab and Add to Reading List. Both options are very practical when you find yourself opening several links on a page.

If you don’t see downloaded pages, scroll the opened tabs to the left to see the others hidden tabs beyond the screen.
browsers for ipad
In addition, when you tap and hold your finger on a word in iChromy, you get the option to Copy or Search that selection. In Safari, you can only copy the word.

So far, I find iChromy a great alternative to Safari iPad. The speed of both browsers feels about the same, but the navigation features of iChromy are a little more advanced. There are several features that could be added to iChromy—including hand gestures for navigation, tapping at the top of a web page to fast scroll to the top, and most definitely a bookmarks bar. However, I would only want these extra features if they didn’t slow down iChromy. What it offers for now will probably help make it as an alternative browser on my iPad, though I use the paid app, Atomic Web, for more advanced web browsing.

Future releases of iChromy will include (they will be welcomed) annotation features for highlighting and marking pages, which of course are the unique core services of Diigo.com.

Give iChromy a try and let us know what you think.


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3 Chrome Extensions For Gmail That Help You Use Email Quickly

Posted: 30 May 2011 10:30 AM PDT

chrome gmail extensionCall it sheer laziness. Lately, with the amount of emailing I have to do, I find it a chore to open up Gmail and compose an email. What I needed was a productivity hack that could short circuit the process for me by a few seconds (even that infinitesimal amount helps!).

In my meandering through the Chrome Web Store, I found three Chrome extensions designed for Gmail that looked like a perfect productivity hack to defeat my inertia. Of course, to complement my Gmail user experience, I was also armed with the recommendations given by Matt when he talked about 6 Cool Google Chrome Extensions for Gmail Users.

If you are as conscious about your 'laze times' as me, I am sure you will like these three Chrome extensions for the Gmail user.


chrome gmail extension

This is the simplest extension of the trio. All it does is make mailto: links open in a new Gmail compose window. By default, if you click on a mailto: link, your default email client will get triggered. The Chrome extension circumvents that by opening the link in a new window with the Gmail sign-in. The subject and body will be populated by the text defined in the HTML tag by the website. If you are signed-in, then of course, you don't have to enter your log-in details again and again. The extension requires a Chrome restart to work.

Send From Gmail

chrome email extension

We have talked about this Chrome extension for Gmail in the 4 Ways to Set Gmail as Your Default Email in Your Browser. It's a step forward from our last extension as it opens up a Gmail compose window for you and also provides the extra button that will create a Gmail message when clicked. It opens up your signed-in Gmail account in a new window, uses the webpage title you are on as the subject of the email and the URL as the body of the email. It's a quick way to share webpage links using your Gmail. Clicking a mailto: link opens up a compose window without any of those contents. You might need to restart your browser for the extension to take effect.


OmniMail for Gmail is just about the best Chrome extension if you want rapid-fire email productivity from the address bar. Or at least it's the best of this trio until a better one comes along. Here's how it works: Start typing mail in the Chrome address bar and the OmniMail for Gmail activates. When it does so for the first time, it asks permission to access your Gmail address book.

chrome email extension

Once granted, an input of mail <email address> and hitting Enter will open up the Gmail compose window within Gmail itself in a new tab.

chrome gmail extension

Typing mail and pressing Tab also gives you one touch access to OmniMail commands like de-authorizing it from accessing your contacts or sending an email to the contact.

OmniMail auto-suggests email contacts in the dropdown just like Gmail. You can enter multiple email addresses by separating them with a comma. OmniMail is an Open Source project.

These three extensions are browser specific and bypass your default email client like Thunderbird or Outlook as long as you are on Chrome. Let us know if you think that these Chrome extensions help you hack your email productivity.

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Configure Your Gnome 3 Desktop With Gnome Tweak Tool

Posted: 30 May 2011 09:30 AM PDT

gnome tweak toolAs more and more Linux distributions start to adopt GNOME 3 as their new default desktop environment (or not), people will quickly find that it doesn’t take long before you’ve seen everything there is to GNOME Shell. In other words, there aren’t exactly a bazillion different customization options for just about anything, as GNOME 3/Shell is still relatively new. Hopefully in later releases it’ll start expanding the customization options of its feature-set, but for now we have to live with the shortened list.

For some people that’s fine, while for others it’s a pain in the neck, as they’ve been spoiled by a worthy selection of options in the past (and why not?). If you’re one of those people who can’t stand GNOME 3 as long as you cannot change a few more things than are allowed by default, I have something that will make you think twice.


Sometime before GNOME 3′s official release did the Gnome Tweak Tool appear in order to solve some of the early customization problems that GNOME Shell has. The purpose of the Gnome Tweak Tool is to simply provide some extra options that cannot be found anywhere elsee in GNOME Shell. In distributions that offer GNOME 3 (this excludes Ubuntu for now), you should be able to find it under the gnome-tweak-tool package name. If not, play around with the wording or leave off some parts to widen the search until you do find it. Once you do, install it and you’re ready to launch it.


The window that greets you is fairly simple. You have categories in the left pane, and options appear on the right, where you can choose from On/Off switches or drop-down menus. The five categories that are currently included are Windows, Interface, File Manager, Fonts, and Shell.

gnome tweak tool

In the Windows category, you can choose from a number of window themes, as well as choose what actions occur when you double-click, middle-click, and right-click the title bar. The last three are handy options for those who favor different actions from their title bar.

gnome tweak tool ubuntu

The Interface category lets you choose whether icons should be included in menus and buttons, as well as the GTK+, Icon, and Cursor themes. For those who like to trick out their desktops before doing anything else, these options will help the most.

gnome tweak tool ubuntu

The File Manager category only has one option, which is to let the file manager handle the desktop. In other words, this option should let you put files on your desktop again, though I haven’t tried this out myself.

gnome tweak tool ubuntu

The Fonts category, compared to the File Manager category, has plenty more options for you to indulge in. In here, you can choose the text-scaling factor, the default, document, monospace, and window title fonts, the amount of hinting, and the type of anti-aliasing.

gnome tweak tool

The Shell category, which is last, offers some options for the Shell itself and anything else that did not fit into another category. Shell options include whether to show the date in the clock, whether to show the week date in the calendar, the arrangement of window buttons (as well as which ones should be included), and a choice of shell themes, if available. Most importantly, this category includes two options that have long been asked to be included in the default power options: what to do when the laptop lid is closed.


If you’re going to be using GNOME 3, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by installing this little program. It does nothing more than increase the amount of settings that you can configure, which rarely appear in GNOME 3. You never know when you might want to change something that the Gnome Tweak Tool can do.

Will you be using Gnome Tweak Tool if you’re on a GNOME 3 desktop? If you’re not on a GNOME 3 desktop, will this tool change your decision? Let us know in the comments!

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