Sunday, June 26, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [June 25th]” plus 4 more “Cool Websites and Tools [June 25th]” plus 4 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [June 25th]

Posted: 25 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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Citebite – Making a citation or attribution online is very important. It is a big part of recognizing the ideas and thoughts of other writers that helped shape your piece of writing. However, the Internet has not yet found a way to easily cite sources outside of linking back to the source URL. But with Citebite, it is now possible. Read more: Citebite: Easlily Highlight & Link To Quotes On Webpages


Staticloud – If you have already created your website on your computer and are looking for a site hosting service, then StatiCloud is just the tool you need. StatiCloud hosts your websites in a quick and easy manner. All you have to do is create an account on the site by providing an email address and clicking on the login URL. Read more: Staticloud: Easily Host Static HTML, CSS & Javascript Websites



Vayable – Nobody knows a place better than the locals. Vayable understands that and connect travelers with knowledgeable locals who can offer unique experiences that will truly let you see their city. Vayable is also a travel marketplace that allows you, as a local, to sell unique tours and experiences to travelers. Read more: Vayable: Buy & Sell Unique Travel Tours & Experiences



Browser Cleaner – If you often use multiple browsers for work then you might want to check out this tiny browser history clearing utility called Browser Cleaner. As the name suggests, it can clean up your cache, temporary files, cookies and other such data from all the browsers that you've got installed on your system. Read more: Browser Cleaner: All In One Browser History Clearing Tool



iEnviroWatch – is a free iPhone app that lets you stay up to date with the state of the environment in Europe. The environmental data includes information about protected areas, water quality in bathing areas, ozone stations, land cover, urban atlas and more. The data is sourced from the European Environment Agency (EEA) and is presented visually on maps and in other ways. Read more: iEnviroWatch: Environmental Status Reports For Locations In Europe [iPhone]


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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How To Find Travel Inspiration With Various Twitter Accounts

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 06:31 PM PDT

travel inspirationSummer is a high traveling season for many of our readers, so we try to share more travel tools and tips here. This post is about travel inspiration – how to discover more fun places when traveling.

We have already shared quite a few tools to broaden your travel outlook: here are some travel quizzes improve your travel IQ, here’s a fun smartphone app to discover and share journeys and don’t forget to check these sites for virtual sightseeing with travel videos. This post is about finding travel inspiration by planning your journey with Twitter!

Track Traveling Hashtags

Traveling is more about fun than anything else and if you need more ideas on how to enjoy your time here’s the list of popular Twitter hashtags to fill up your week:

Monday: #MexMonday

If you are going to Mexico or are just looking for a Mexican restaurant, this hashtag will get you inspired any time you check the latest search results.

travel inspiration

One more less popular, yet very interesting one I have found via this travel blog: #MountainMonday

This hashtag is a great way to really want to go on vacation: watch people share beautiful photos of the mountains they are climbing right now!

Tuesday: both #TravelTuesday and #TT

A very popular hashtag about all things-travel: find memes to follow here, travel-related news and scandals, trending destinations, etc:

travel twitter sites

Wednesday: #WineWednesday

Another one for food travelers: share your wine on Wednesday and get inspired by seeing what winery others recommend.

travel twitter sites

Thursday: #BeachThursday

A great one for the summer vacation. If you are still unsure which beach to spend your summer vacation at, monitor this hashtag for plenty of photos and ideas:

travel twitter sites

Friday: ##FriFotos

The theme is announced on Tuesday, then on Friday the participants are tweeting photos of the declared destination.

travel inspiration websites

Follow & Track the Right Twitter Accounts

Depending on your destination and aims, there may be various accounts you can try and follow such as official city Twitter accounts, local bloggers, tour operators and hotel managers. There is no way that all possible travel-related Twitter accounts can be listed in one article. Below are just a few useful and creative examples – you’ll need to find more using one or all of the following tips:

  • (Most obvious) Use Google: a simple search [City Name + Twitter] should normally get you the official Twitter account in the top 3 results;
  • Use Twitter bio search: in my previous post, I listed three tools for Twitter people search: now just try to search it for [official CITY NAME] or [HOTEL NAME] and you are likely to find the official accounts or a few representatives:

travel inspiration websites


Travel – State Dept is an official Twitter account for U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. If you a US citizen traveling abroad, be sure to follow this account and check it for some essential news and updates like worldwide hurricanes, embassy news, passport procedures, etc:

travel inspiration websites

Twitter Accounts For US Traveling

Most of the US cities are on Twitter, so if you are planning a trip to the United States, it’s a good idea to find the city officials on Twitter. We can’t obviously list all tweeting cities here, but here’s a large list of California cities on Twitter, for example.

Below are some more cities :

TravelPortland is an official Portland account that tweets all local events and also answers related questions (asked with #inpdx in the tweet)

Twisney is an interesting example of a creative Twitter bot – it automatically tweets and retweets all updates that are geotagged from Walt Disney World Resort.

NewYorkology tweets many times a day sharing interesting events in New York which are taking place right now.

travel inspiration websites

UK Traveling

GoodPubGuide tweets a pub of the day: follow the account to discover new places to spend a fun evening at!

Londonist publishes frequent updates with fun ideas about what you can do right now in London, from community festivals to great sales – you won’t find these events anywhere else!

travel inspiration

More examples? Here’s a great list of the most popular hotels on Twitter and here’s a huge collection of the most active tweeting airlines. Next time you travel, use a Twitter-friendly service as they seem to care more.

Any other fun tips on how Twitter can help you traveling? Please share them in the comments!

Image Credit: gettyicons

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Google Music Puts All Your Tunes Online [Currently US Only]

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 12:31 PM PDT

google music betaUpload your music to Google’s servers and stream it from anywhere. It’s called Google Music Beta, and it just might change the way you listen to music.

Cloud-based music is nothing new; we’ve discussed alternative cloud-based music in the past. But Google being known for their massive data centers and, well Google being Google, means there is considerable excitement around their music project. It’s warranted. Uploading your music to Google is a bit of pain, but Google Music is useful as soon as your songs are there. Even the uploading process is relatively painless thanks to a well thought out uploading tool. But the real highlight here is the web-based interface.

Web Based Playback

First of all, this service is invite-only right now. You can sign up at Google Music but the invite took a couple of weeks to get to me. It seems to be US only right now, but I’m sure this will change.

Open Google Music for the first time and you’ll be offered a bit of free music. There are some cool songs here. If you’re the sort of person who like entire albums, not individual songs, I’d suggest you say no. After that you’ll have access to the music player. The first thing you’ll see is the latest songs you’ve added to the service:

google music beta

This can be fun during the uploading process; you’ll see which of your albums made it up most recently. If you want an overview of your entire collection however, I suggest browsing by artist:

google music

As you can see, covers from every album you have from a particular artist show up. This makes visual browsing easy. Click on an artist and you’ll see the albums, as a playlist:

google music

Click a song to start playing. It’s worth pointing out that you can also browse your entire library in one list if you like, and you can create custom playlists. Everything runs so smoothly you’ll forget the service is in a browser.

Another highlight is the Android app for the service:

As you can see, it’s well integrated. Sadly there’s no iOS app yet, but hopefully this is coming.

Uploading Tool

Okay, so the service is good once your songs are uploaded. How is uploading the songs? Relatively painless. You simply install a piece of software, and tell Google how you want your music synced. Users of iTunes and Windows Media Player can sync with those programs. Alternatively, Google can scan a particular folder.

I’m getting a lot of songs that fail to upload however, most of which seem to be OGG files. This is odd, because Google Music does support OGG files in theory, but there you have it. I’m sure more of these bugs will be worked out as the service continues to grow.

One nice feature – any new music you add to your library or folder will automatically go to Google as well. This means your music collection stays up to date when you make new purchases.

Pros & Cons

google music beta

The cloud is getting bigger every day, and Google’s at the forefront. When the search company offered a gigabyte of storage with Gmail for free in 2004, it was unheard of. Now they’re letting people upload 20,000 songs to their server and stream them from anywhere.

But Gmail didn’t just change email forever because of the storage offered. They made a few changes to how email works, and consequently made email better. Quick search for all messages and labels are just a few early innovations.

Google Music doesn’t offer anything revolutionary from an interface perspective. It’s very clean and lets you find what you’re looking for quickly. Music on the web hasn’t been done better, but Google Music can also compete head-on with any music player.

I’ll say this – Google Music is better than any of the alternatives I’ve looked into, but only time will tell if people like it better than Apple or Amazon’s offerings in the same realm.

Have you tried Google Music yet? Let us know in the comments below. Also feel free to discuss whether the future of music will be in the cloud or not.

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Giver – Still The Best Way to Send Files Across A Network [Linux]

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 10:31 AM PDT

send files for freeYou know that, no matter what operating system you use, sharing files across a network can sometimes be a pain. Sadly, Linux isn’t always an exception in this category either, although for basic folder sharing some distributions make it easier. Having to set up a shared folder is even more painful when all you really want to do is send a file to a different computer, without having to use Dropbox or another outside service.

Giver, which has already been reviewed back in early 2009, still belongs to the list of top-notch programs. This is even more surprising considering that the last release came out in 2007. Although the program itself hasn’t changed, the distributions themselves have changed dramatically, and yet the program still works.

Giver does file sharing a little differently. Instead of sharing a folder to the network, you can simply choose a file or folder to send to a certain computer. In other words, this is a one-time transaction, like sending an email with an attachment.  That’s all Giver does while barely having any options to configure in order to keep the experience as simple and flawless as possible.


In my own experience all distributions simply name the package “giver”, but if you use a distribution with a small user base, you may want to double check.


send files for free

As soon as Giver is installed on the two computers you would like to send files to and from, open up Giver on each computer. It magically detects the instances of Giver running on your own computer and any other computer on the network. From there, you can either left click, choose the option you want, and choose the file/folder to send, or you can drag and drop a file or folder onto a computer in the list to do the same.

how to send files

A notification should then appear on the computer that is receiving the file or folder, where you must click Accept in order to start the process. It should go relatively quickly (it’s using your full LAN or WiFi speed, after all), and it will be stored in whatever folder you have set.


send files for free

Speaking of options, I’m going to mention them really quick. Like I said, there aren’t very many at all, as you can probably determine from the screenshot. Again, this was meant for easy and flawless operation with no configuration needed out-of-the-box. There are only three possible things you can configure. You can change your name if you would like (which it originally takes from whatever you have set for your system account for “Full Name”), what kind of icon appears whenever people see your computer on their list, and where to save files that were given to you.


Linux distributions have changed quite a bit, considering the arrival of GNOME 3 and the general advancement of software stacks. No worries though, Giver runs perfectly fine alongside newer software stacks, and doesn’t give you any problems. However, it would be helpful to note that Giver directly uses ports. Therefore, if a port is not open thanks to your system firewall, nothing will get through, even if your computer appears on the other person’s list.

Normally, setting a port exception would do the trick (the list even says what port it’s using!), but because Giver randomizes the port each time you start it up, that may not be a viable solution for you. I would think that the developers were fine with it being this way because it is meant to be used over a network anyway, which should be appropriately configured and protected. Therefore, for easy operation you should disable your firewall, but to protect yourself, make sure that your network has a firewall itself and that it works well.

Also, if you’re using this on a mobile computer, I highly recommend that you immediately turn on your firewall again before leaving your protected network. Linux may not be affected by any viruses (at least there’s nothing common out there), but direct attacks from hackers are still a possibility.


For networks, Giver is almost a must, especially in larger environments such as workplaces. Despite its age, it is very stable and works as great as it should. Maybe someday a group can come back and enhance Giver even more by adding new features, such as GTK3 support. However, as long as it runs, everything is in order.

How often do you share files and folders? Do you often find yourself only doing this for some individual files? Would you use Giver, and how would you maybe improve it? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Tales Of Monkey Island Comes To iPad, First Episode Is Free! [News]

Posted: 25 Jun 2011 09:31 AM PDT

Looking for a great free adventure game on your iPad? You're in luck, because Telltale Games' first installment, Launch of the Screaming Narwhal, is available for free on the iPad until July 22. This first installment pits the heroic Guybrush Threepwood against a mysterious illness spread by the evil pirate LeChuck.

Tales of Monkey Island is a remake of the incredibly popular Monkey Island adventure games, a series that debuted in 1990 with the release of The Secret of Monkey Island. Developed by LucasArts, the original titles were loved by critics and fans for their humorous storytelling, securing them cult-classic status in gaming culture. The new series replicates the original’s wit but adds a modern 3D game engine.

The remake, which is broken up into 5 episodes, was originally released for the PC in 2009 and received much praise from critics and fans, with most of the episodes receiving a score of 80 or higher on Metacritic.

Although Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is the only episode available for free, all five episodes have been released simultaneously for $6.99 each, bringing the total cost of the series to $27.96. That's rather expensive by iPad standards, but it’s good compared to other platforms. The collection is currently priced at $34.99 on Steam, for example.

Source: GamePro

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