Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [June 13th]” plus 8 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Cool Websites and Tools [June 13th]” plus 8 more

Link to MakeUseOf

Cool Websites and Tools [June 13th]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 08:31 PM PDT

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

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Feedmom – Many of us share our latest photographs with friends and family through Facebook. But not everybody we know is on Facebook. To help share our Facebook photos with friends and family not on Facebook, Feed Mom was created, a free to use web service that emails your Facebook photos to your friends and family members. Read more: FeedMom: Automatically Send Your Facebook Photos To Friends & Family Not On Facebook


Kindlebility – Kindle owners often find the layout of most websites to not be user-friendly when visited from their Kindle device. Kindlebility is a service that helps transform websites into a more Kindle-friendly version. To get it working you need to provide it with your Kindle email address and then add “kindle@darkhelmetlive.com” to your Kindle whitelist settings. Read more: Kindlebility: Make Websites Kindle Friendly & Send To Your Kindle



Iaza – There are thousands of tools on the web that let you do a resize, convert to PNG or some other specific function. Iaza does them all. Iaza is one of the most feature-rich web apps to convert, edit, mix and create images online. You can convert images to 5 different formats, enhance or adjust the image, or tweak contrast, brightness, sharpness and more. Read more: Iaza: 100+ Features To Convert & Edit Images Online



Mealsnap – If you are on a diet, counting calories of every food you eat every single time is a very inconvenient and frustrating experience. Now there is an app for that, called Meal Snap, which does it for you. You simply take a snapshot of the food, send it to them and they will then give you a rough calorie count of the food. The process is not instant though. Read more: MealSnap: Get Calorie Count Of Any Food By Taking Its Picture [iOS]



Bistrosquare – For all businesses, having a website is an important factor that will affect their business. This is particularly true for restaurants. Restaurants can use websites to market what they offer and attract customers from near and far. If you are a restaurant owner and want an easy tool to create a website, check out BistroSquare. Read more: BistroSquare: Create A Website For Your Restaurant


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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Make The Most Of Your Browser Real Estate With Buttonizer (FireFox)

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 06:30 PM PDT

browser real estateWith so many various addons, bookmarks and open tabs we want to have at our fingertips, it is obvious that we are constantly in search for ways to save on space and make the most of what we have.

We have shared quite a few tips on how to save browser screen space: there’s a cool addon that lets you get rid of open tabs while still having them in front of your eyes, there’s also an awesome tip on how to have more space by merging your toolbars and here’s a thorough guide on maximizing Firefox viewing area.

Today’s post shares another great tool that would work well in combination with previously shared tips.

I always feel skeptical about the addons forcing you to install and use a new toolbar and usually these addons never stick – but sometimes you can’t do without a toolbar. Some toolbars I am constantly using include: Menu toolbar, Toolbar Bookmarks, Stumbleupon Toolbar. Today’s tool allows you to hide any of your favorite toolbars while still being able to easily access it.

Buttonizer is a fun experimental addon that lets you minimize any of your toolbars to a little button.

Let’s see how it works…

Once you have it installed, notice a tiny button next to the Awesome bar in the Address panel:

browser real estate

Right-click on it to select which of your currently running toolbars you want to access using the button:

browser real estate tools

Once you select any toolbar, it will be hidden from your browser screen and will be accessible via the button:

browser real estate tools

Now, you can do anything using the button: search, access your toolbar bookmarks, vote on Stumbleupon, use any of your additional toolbars.

Here’s a Stumbleupon toolbar using the Buttonizer:

browser real estate tools

You can run it for those toolbars you don’t use too often but still need occasionally and don’t want to get rid of. It is also usable enough to hide your most frequent and necessary tabs (like the menus toolbar, for example). Besides, is is very flexible: it easy to switch toolbars to be used through the button, so you can experiment a lot to find the best solution that suits you.

To restore any hidden toolbar, you just need to select another one. If you don’t want the button to use any toolbar and need all toolbars in the normal mode again, right-click on the button and select “Reset”:

buttonizer freeware


Some little issues I have noticed while running the tool (and I am still am, by the way):

  • Sometimes the button won’t open some deeper levels of the menu which forced me to click twice (but that may be a specific issue for my computer);
  • I had bad time controlling my toolbars after I reset the button options.
  • The button doesn’t seem to work in the full-screen mode (it shows nothing when you hover over or click):

browser real estate

What do you think about the addon? Since this is an experimental extension, I am sure the developer is looking for feedback. Can you suggest any improvements (like keyboard shortcuts, for example)?

Do you have any other screen-space-saving tips to share?


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3 Tips To Help You Create Photo Collages The Easy Way

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 04:31 PM PDT

creating a photo collageCreating collages can be a bit time-consuming if you do it yourself in MS Paint or Photoshop. If you don't feel exactly creative, your work may not even bring you the results you want. I know I've been there. I might spend a few hours trying to create collages, without any fancy effects, just lining up images in rows and columns, and the whole thing just doesn't look as glorious as I imagine it to be.

There are many solutions that will save you the headache, and will instead, produce aesthetically pleasing results with just a few clicks. Read on to see more about these very-easy-to-use tools!

Creating Collages Online

creating a photo collage


ShapeCollage is a great cross-platform application that helps you create beautiful collages in the shapes that you choose with only a few clicks. ShapeCollage even provides a simplified, web-based version that can produce collages shaped in different forms. All you have to do is paste the URLs of the images you're interested in (though you can use URLs of Flickr tagged search, Youtube, Google Image Search, and more), choose a shape, type in some text to adorn the whole collage (or leave it blank if you don't need text), and press the Create button.


Fotonea is a relatively simple-looking web app that creates eye-catching collages. You can upload up to 6 pictures of 2 MB or smaller, select a background, a frame, and then create a beautiful collage.

photo collage ideas

The cool thing about Fotonea is that you can manually rearrange the size and layout of each photo, and you can also add extra items on your collage, such as text, sticky notes, speech bubbles, etc.


Big Huge Labs' Hockneyizer is another interesting collage maker of sorts that creates a cool polaroid effect out of a single image that you upload, or get from your Facebook or Flickr account. You can choose how many polaroids will show up on your collage (you can have anywhere from 1 to 20). The resulting effect adds a refreshing twist to regular photos. Here's one I made with 10 polaroids. If you like this kind of effect, you should also check out iPiccy, which is surprisingly powerful and offers a lot more options in effects after you complete this look.

photo collage ideas

Creating Collages With Desktop Software

Instead of loading up Photoshop, GIMP, Picasa to spend a while creating a collage, you can use the open-source and cross-platform Fotowall to easily create photo collections.

photo collage ideas

It hasn't been updated for about a year, but it still allows you to create nice collages with a few clicks, and customize effects for individual pictures, as well as manipulate sizes, layouts and frames. What's cool is that you can pull graphics from online image searches (Flickr and Google Image Search). With Fotowall, you don't have to be enormously creative to come up with nice-looking collages!

Creating Collages With Software You Already Have

You can use a variety of specific collage-making software like ShapeCollage and AndreaMosaic (which creates those stunning photo mosaics you see in commercials with hundreds of tiny pictures that make up a larger photograph), or you can also use programs you already may have like Microsoft Word and Windows Live Writer to make cool image galleries. In Windows Live Writer, for example, you can create galleries of many forms when you add several pictures to a blog post.

make a photo collage

After you select at least 3 images and choose photo album instead of inline pictures, you'll be presented with a few collage-friendly layouts.

make a photo collage

I've personally made at least a couple of introductory images from Windows Live Writer for the No Photoshop: 15 Open-Source Generated Logos & Portraits article and the 15 Dual-Monitor Wallpapers post.

creating a photo collage

Let's hear from you now. What do you use to create collages? Let us know in the comments!

Image credit: Shutterstock – Zurijeta


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Trover – Share & Explore Local Discoveries With Just A Picture [iOS]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 02:30 PM PDT

local discoveriesGeo-tagging is a wonderful thing, and has many valid uses. Exploring the world around you with pictures just happens to be one of them, thanks to an army of apps that make use of location-based photography.

Trover happens to be another of those apps and is available free for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, running iOS 4.0 or later. The app is built to use Facebook by default, so you’ll need an account if you want to post your own images.

You don’t need to register to see everyone else’s contributions so if you’re not a Facebook user, Trover might still be useful. Read on to find out more about this handy little photo app.

Local Landmarks & Hidden Gems

Trover is hands-down one of the easiest ways to find local places of interest you may have missed, heard about or even visited yourself. The idea is simple – once you start Trover and grant it access to use your location, the app automatically searches for nearby "discoveries".
local discoveries
Discoveries are essentially geo-tagged pictures and a small description, which Trover lists by distance (closest items first) under the Nearby tab. This allows you to gauge how far the discovery is from your current position, using the distance reading at the top of the search results.
location photo
Tapping on a thumbnail will load its full-sized counterpart, description and exact location on a map – perfect if you fancy visiting the area yourself. A further tap on the map brings up a full map view, for even easier navigation.
location photo
If you’re the traveling type then you’ve probably already realized the potential that this app has on the road – be it a trip to the beach or a two week holiday abroad.

Once you’ve checked out what’s nearby, you can also see what the rest of the community is contributing from every corner of the globe. Trover allows you to go a bit off-piste and search for locations, again listing results by distance.
location photo
For a slightly random selection of discoveries, the Feed tab lists all of Trover’s latest submissions by default. If you connect with Facebook, you can follow individual users and their finds will appear here. It’s pretty standard stuff, but we’ve come to expect it and Trover executes it well.

For all that’s hot at the moment the Featured tab includes the most viewed, commented and popular recent submissions. Both the Me tab and that big, bold center share button rely on a Facebook account, so you’ll be needing one of those to proceed.

Sharing Discoveries

Once you’ve authorized Trover to use your Facebook account, tap the share button in the center of the screen. You’ll have two ways to share your discoveries – through the lens or from your camera roll.

The ability to add pictures that are already on your device is a nice touch, and requires nothing more than a quick square crop (much like Instagram) to share. If your photo was geo-tagged at the time then Trover pulls this information from the EXIF data (and shows you a map, allowing you to tweak the location).
location photography
On the next screen you’ll be required to tag the area where your photo was taken (Trover takes suggestions from the map, so you’ll rarely need to type) and then add a few details to your shot. The final screen before uploading allows you to review your discovery and choose whether or not to share on Facebook.
location photography
You’ll need to configure posting to Facebook by allowing Trover additional access to post to your wall, and until you have done this your discoveries won’t be automatically shared with your Facebook friends.
local discoveries
With a final tap of Done your photo is uploaded to Trover and the Me tab starts to look a bit more personal, listing your discovery count and distance between discoveries (once you’ve started to rack ‘em up). That’s pretty much all there is to it!


I’m struggling to find faults with Trover, the app performs flawlessly in everything it tries to do. The only problem I do have is the requirement to use a Facebook account, as not everyone who will be interested in Trover is necessarily a Facebook user.

Still, even a five minute flick through the Featured photos can turn into a half-hour long gawp at far-off discoveries. The ability to share your existing camera roll pictures means you can catch-up on all those places you’ve already found and snapped on your phone.

Throw an Android version into the equation and the discoveries and community would be bigger and better – fingers crossed!


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Hot Tech Deals – Seagate Expansion 2TB External Hard Drive $79.99 + more

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 01:30 PM PDT

Today’s featured deal is the Seagate Expansion 2TB external 3.5″ hard drive which is going for $79.99. Save a good $40 with this deal!

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

  1. Seagate Expansion 2TB External Hard Drive $79.99 Free Shipping via code EMCYTZT534 (Exp 6/14)
  2. Dell Inspiron 14R Intel Core i3-380M 2.53GHz 14in Laptop $399 (15in Model $449 via code HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  3. Dell Inspiron 15R Intel Core i3-2310M 2.1GHz Sandy Bridge 15.6in Laptop $499.99 via code HLSKSR06S9ZG0F (Exp Soon)
  4. Samsung SMX-F50BN Flash Memory Card Camcorder $117 Free Shipping
  5. Toshiba 55G310U 55in LCD HDTV (1080p, 120Hz) $899.99 Free Shipping
  6. Lenovo G570 Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz Sandy Bridge 15.6in Laptop (4GB/500GB) $569 via code USPG52K609 (Exp 6/16)
  7. Tomtom XL 350TM GPS (4.3in, Lifetime Traffic & Map Updates) $123.99 Free Shipping

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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Mixtab vs Google Reader: The Emergence Of Visual-Based RSS Feeds [Mac]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 11:30 AM PDT

visual rss feed

Like most MUO readers, I’m an avid user of RSS feed readers and have probably tried over a dozen in the last year alone. Many tech savvy users favor Google Reader as their feed aggregator, but with the advent of the iPad and other mobile devices, how we browse and read web content is changing. The move seems to be from the traditional headline-based readers to more of visual and topic-based readers, in which lead images of articles guide our attention.

We have covered iPad RSS readers, including Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite—all three of which take a visual, topic-based magazine style approach to presenting feeds. These readers are a natural fit for the iPad, but what about visual-feed readers for the Mac and the PC? Well yes, they are available. Paid apps like NewsRack and Pulp are both visually based, but one free option is Mixtab, which can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.

Mixtab feels like a mixture of traditional newspaper and magazine browsing and reading, with a touch of StumbleUpon web browsing in which you discover sites other than the ones you subscribe to. So what do I mean by visual-based vs. headline-based readers? Well, tell me, which grabs your attention more,  the headline-based user interface of Google Reader,
visual rss feed
or the visual-based interface of Mixtab?
visual rss reader
Mixtab is a fast, smooth RSS feed reader built for browsing topics as well specific feeds. It has the feel of a magazine on your Mac. The Home page presents you with Tabs which are collections of feeds based on broad topics, e.g., Fashion, Cooking, Tech News, Travel, Popular Science. According to the developers, Mixtab “analyzes all the content for each Tab in real-time and displays the most popular words of the past 24 hours in the navigation bar. Top Words makes it easy to see what the big stories of the day are.”
visual rss reader
So when you select a tab you are presented with headline news from various sources, with many many introduced by a lead image. In the navigation bar of each page, you get the  trending topics of the day. So all the stories under the “Finance” tab include keywords like “Jobs,” “Market Stalls,” “Money”, “Data” and “Phone.” Each of these keywords present you additional set of headline stories.

So basically with Mixtab, you “stumble upon” articles, feeds, and websites that you might not otherwise know about.

More and More Tabs

Click the Tab Gallery button in the toolbar of Mixtab, and you are presented with hundreds of other tabs on all kinds of subjects. You can of course add your own topics, but you may need to try different keywords to get the results you want. When I searched for “personal finance”, nothing came up; instead, I had to go with “finance.”
visual rss reader
You can also create a Tab of specific feeds, by selecting the “Create Tab” button and adding your feeds based on topics, specific feed URLs, your Google Reader or other RSS feed aggregator using your reader’s OPML file.
rss visualizer
I got mixed results when I tried adding specific feed addresses. Some popular feeds I tried to add resulted in an error messages. Importing the OPML file for my GoogleReader account did however work very well. Also the name you give your tab cannot be the same as one that already exists in the gallery.

When you launch the app, you must register an account, which is used to archive your feeds. It also looks as if user generated tabs are also shared with other users of Mixtab.

In addition, Mixtab includes a little eye candy in which you can change the theme of the application’s skin.
visual rss feed

What’s Missing

While it’s not fair to compare the first version of Mixtab to the long established Google Reader, the latter’s aggregator can be useful for pointing out what Mixtab needs in it’s future versions. First off, this application is begging for keyboard shortcuts, which will allow users to more quickly navigate the browser interface. As I browsed the site, I kept wanting to navigate pages with my Magic Trackpad. If Mixtab included keyboard shortcuts, I could easily assign them in BetterTouchTool and navigate much of the browser without having to use the cursor.

No doubt, developers already have this on their to-do list along with features for bookmarking or starring individual stories, as well linking and saving stories to social networking sites, and read-later bookmarking sites like Instapaper.

So what do you think of Mixtab? Does it have visual appeal for you? Let us know if you try it out.


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7 Websites With Energy Calculators That Can Help You Save Energy This Summer And Live A Greener Life

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 10:30 AM PDT

energy savings calculatorWhen you think about it, the color 'green' should be our favorite color. We strive for it with every earning day of our lives; going green could also give us and our planet a healthier future. There's a more direct correlation between the two when it comes to energy savings. Come peak summer, energy use goes up and power bills could make you see more of red than green. Saving energy could keep you on a greener track as well as translate into money saved with decreased light bills.

Energy efficiency if followed, could return handsome savings all-round the year. Some benchmarks have it pegged at around an average of 30 percent. Anything less than that is also welcome. Let's check out ten informative web resources that can help you save energy (summers and winters) and keep that 'green' smile.

Energy Savers

energy savings calculator

The US Department of Energy website is a one-stop comprehensive website if you want to start off with small energy saving habits or go big with alternate energy. Go with the Tip section and the scour the site for tools that can give you information on approved energy efficient appliance rebate programs and other things. The blog is also a good read with a large categorized list of energy related posts.

Energy Star

energy cost calculator

We stay with the US Department of Energy and its well-regarded international standard for energy efficiency. The standard and the practices that lie behind it enable consumers to make energy efficient choices for their homes and the planet. You can take advantage of tools like Store Locator, Rebate Finder, Energy Star Builder Locator, and more. Listen to the podcasts and other home improvement tips to build your energy efficient lifestyle. Give your kids an early start with the section that's devoted to them.

Low Impact Living

energy cost calculator

The focal point of this well designed site is its Impact Calculator. The quiz-styles calculator helps you get a fix on your energy goals and design it around your lifestyle with the aim of reducing your total environmental impact. The calculator uses regional default values and gives you a customized profile that reflects the specifics of your home. The other resources on the site are on recommendations on green products and services. One of my favorite sections is Lowdown which tells us how people are living in green homes around the world.


energy cost calculator

This energy conservation site works for both consumers and service providers. Consumers get valuable tips and free personalized energy recommendations depending on the address. You can edit the default values and fill in your details to get the good word on how to go about saving energy and money. You can fine-tune the data to get better recommendations and breakdowns. Each idea is accompanied by text and videos to better educate you about them.

Home Energy Saver

energy calculator

Another US Department of Energy website works similarly to the other energy savings calculator by using your location to setup an energy profile. With your location, you get an estimate of what a typical and what an energy efficient home spend on energy. Comparison estimates are detailed and show where (and how) you can redesign your home to start saving on energy costs. Even if you don't upgrade, it's a great learning tool to see how you can make a difference.

Earth Aid

energy calculator

Earth Aid (Beta) tracks your energy usage by linking to your online utility accounts (gas, power, and water). Ideas on how to save are offered on the site as well as the community on it. Tracking your usage could help you visualize your energy spends and what more you need to do to lower the graph. The tips on ways you can save is neatly arranged and described with icons. You can check out incentives available, environmental benefits, and costs. Earth Aid takes a community approach as you can share your spends and savings with other members.

Microsoft Hohm

energy savings calculator

Microsoft and energy savings? That's what I thought of this unusual pairing but Hohm (beta) does exactly what it advertises. Quite similarly to the other sites above, it starts with your energy profile and then offers ideas on how you can save. It also has a support community that can give you further insights into real world examples.

All the energy savings calculator here are US specific. But the tips alone could lead to small savings or at least some major dollops of awareness that infinitesimal steps can lead to energy savings. Do you think about your home energy use? Why not head over to the web or check our directory for some more apps and see how you can save energy, the Earth, and money all year round.

Image Credit: Shutterstock


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Learn How To Write Programs In Java With Greenfoot

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 09:30 AM PDT

how to write computer programsIf you use your computer at a higher level, you may have wondered exactly how to write computer programs and what happens while you write certain code. However, to get a good base with quick visual results after only a little fiddling around is very hard if you start from scratch. Even if you do start from scratch, some programming languages make it harder to start getting visual results than others (aside from the very downright basics).

However, Greenfoot takes care of this problem by providing a developing platform, meant for educational purposes, where users can quickly get started and get visual results back in the form of graphics.

Greenfoot runs and uses Java for its programming language, which runs on virtually every operating system without having to re-compile for each operating system.

As I said, Greenfoot is meant to be used in educational environments, though anyone can use it to learn about the language at their own pace. I myself got introduced to the program in my Computer Science course, and so far I’ve learned a lot by using Greenfoot. Note that this program does not actually teach you Java, but instead allows you to easily change the code yourself and see what happens when you do so. Documentation is, of course, provided.

Download and Install

To get started, head to their website and download a copy for your operating system. For the first three options, you should be able to install it as you would install any other program. If you had to choose the “other systems” option, you’ll have to install it by launching the .jar file as an executable. If you run Linux, make sure it has executable rights, then put java -jar /path/to/file into your terminal and hit enter. If you use a form of BSD-UNIX, such as FreeBSD, the previous command may not work, so please check what command works for you. Once the installer launches, install to wherever you like, and then launch the executable file in the new folder to run Greenfoot.

Getting Started

how to write computer programs

When you start Greenfoot, you’ll be greeted by a welcome dialog. If you’ve never used Greenfoot before, I suggest you choose the tutorial scenario. Your browser will then open the tutorial and Greenfoot will launch the tutorial scenario, named “Wombats”.

how to write programs


From there, you can left click on the classes in the right pane and choose whether to add them to the world (by selecting the option and then selecting the cell to put the object into), or whether to open and edit the source code. The code editor carries a couple nice features, including “go to line number”, a location finder on the right side, and background colors to determine which chunks of code go together.

how to write programs

When you feel ready to try it out, add some objects to the world and hit “Run”. You’ll see how your objects behave and learn from the code that makes those objects behave in that way. Note that the tutorial scenario will work out-of-the-box, and adjustments to the provided code are not necessary to get it working.

how to write computer programs

Getting Help

You can also get help from the community or look at other scenarios at the Greenfoot Gallery. If you try out Greenfoot, I highly advise that you visit the website as well to get a better understanding of what Greenfoot is capable of.


That’s all there is! The rest is up to your imagination, and what you wish to do with it. Remember that you can get help at the Greenfoot Gallery, and definitely check out the documentation for what methods (a series of commands in code that can be called with a simple statement) in the tutorial scenario do and what the provided Greenfoot methods can add. If you need inspiration, check out the Gallery. Some of the projects on there have the source code ready for you to download and study, which is another great technique for learning Java.

How interested are you in learning to write programs? Do you think Greenfoot is a great way to get started? Will you use it to get introduced to Java? Let us know in the comments!


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LapDawg X4 and Pug Giveaway

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 08:30 AM PDT

The previous LapDawg giveaway was so popular that we decided to bring it back! What are LapDawgs? They just really cool laptop tables to help you work on your bed. They can also be used as breakfast tables or book holders, seriously!

Today, we’ll be taking a look at two of the most innovative laptop tables available on the market — the LapDawg Pug and the newer LapDawg X4. We’ll be giving 3 PUG’s and 2 X4′s this week worth $355 in total!

We’ll start with the LapDawg Pug. It retails at $59 and is a foldaway laptop desk that’s suited to be used almost anywhere. At first glance, it looked slightly on the large side but after a while, I got used to the size. It’s actually pretty spacious with a large laptop area in the middle and 2 felt-lined work areas on each side that doubles as mouse pads; and a grooved cup holder.


The middle laptop work area is height-adjustable for better viewing angles, and has a built-in USB-powered fan to keep your laptop cool. At the bottom of that panel, you’ll find 2 foldaway clips that can be used to hold your laptop in place. In addition to that, the clips also serve as a great book holder if you choose to read in bed.


The LapDawg Pug has 3 height setting. The first is obviously 0″ when its legs are folded inwards. It can also extend to 13″ and 19″. At both heights, the LapDawg Pug remains steady, assisted by it’s solid construction and weight (4.5 bls). The LapDawg Pug stretches 24″ in width, so you’ll have a fair amount of space to work with and is made of hardened plastic.


Next up is the $89 LapDawg X4 and this is where it gets interesting. The X4 is dubbed the “Swiss Army Knife of Portable Trays” and it certainly lives up to its name. Made out of aluminium, this tray features a wide 17″ work area connected to 2 folding leg extensions with interconnecting joints. Let’s take a look.

Unlike most laptop trays where you’ll only get 1 upright surface to work with, the LapDawg X4 allows you to utilise both its upper and lower surfaces. On one side, you’ll find a rubberised wrist stopper for typing, etc. On the other side, there’s a curled bottom edge, which is perfect for holding books and magazines.


The legs are what makes the X4 so unique. It has 3 auto-locking, adjustable joints that rotate around 360 degrees, so you can customise it to be whatever you’d like. It’s up to your imagination, really. But if you need some inspiration, you might want to check out LapDawg’s gallery with a couple of usage examples and images.


The X4 is able to hold 25 lbs of weight, so it’ll have no problem supporting your laptop and a couple of books. Fully extended to its maximum height of 20″, the X4 can also be used as a standing laptop desk. Impressive.


Overall, the LapDawg X4 is great and so is the Pug. Even though they’re both laptop tables, they are actually really distinct products catered for different needs. Both feature LapDawg’s lifetime guarantee against defects. You may purchase these laptop tables from their online store.

We’re giving these review units away. So here’s how you can get one for yourself.

How do I win a one?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form

Please fill in the form with your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.

The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from Friday’s newsletter or on our Facebook page.

Step 2: Share!

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, June 17th at 2100hrs PDT. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

MakeUseOf would like to thank LapDawg for their generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

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