Monday, June 27, 2011 “Cool Websites and Tools [June 26th]” plus 4 more “Cool Websites and Tools [June 26th]” plus 4 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [June 26th]

Posted: 26 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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CraftRoulette – If you are enthusiastic about creating nifty things with your hands, then the Internet has countless how-to guides available for creating a variety of things. But instead of finding these guides on Google, a better choice would be visiting a site called CraftRoulette, a website that lets you randomly search for crafty things you can create with your hands. Read more: CraftRoulette: Find Crafty Things To Do & Get Instructions On How To Create Them


MyGarden – The Internet has a wide variety of social networks on offer that focus on various interests. If your interest is gardening, then the best social network to join is MyGarden, a website that offers numerous valuable tools to gardeners and gardening enthusiasts. The site combines gardening tasks with interaction with other site members. Read more: MyGarden: Social Networking For Gardeners



ePubReader – ePub is a popular file format for e-books that are published online. Usually, you have to download these books to your computer before you can read them, ePubReader is a Firefox extension that makes reading ePub books easier by opening them right in your browser window. With ePubReader you don't have to download the e-book to your computer. Read more: ePubReader: Read ePub eBooks Right In Your Browser [Firefox]



Photocollect – If you have ever been on a trip, it would be handy to have all of your photos from your friends all in one album. Photocollect is a collaborative photo sharing service that lets you gather photos from the group. You only need to create an album, post the link, and wait for friends to upload photos to a private or public album. Read more: Photocollect: Collaborative Photo Sharing Service



Bobsled – Have you ever needed to voice chat with your Facebook contacts? If yes, then you probably called them over to Skype and talked to them there. But thanks to a new service called BobSled, you can start voice chatting with your Facebook friends without leaving your web browser. Read more: Bobsled: Voice Chat With Facebook Friends Or Leave Them Voice Messages


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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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 07:31 PM PDT

It’s time to say thanks to our friends who, once in a while, tip us great articles, help out on projects and in some cases offer their services at discounted prices. Thank you, guys!

    [1] ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service

    Ever wanted to add website screenshots to your website? ShrinkTheWeb is one of the best services for that, both in terms of performance and pricing. The free account gets you a whopping 250,000 impressions. See it in action in our daily Cool Websites and Tools series.


    [2] LapDawg “" Hands-free Laptop Stands

    Hands free laptop stand
    The hands free laptop stand holds your laptop or books in any position you want with it’s unique 360 degree rotating joints. Perfect for holding them in bed while lying down. Made from anodized aluminum with a beautiful black matte finish.

    [3] Walyou “" Cool Gadgets for Geeks

    new cool gadgets
    Walyou is a fun blog covering all sorts of new cool gadgets and other stuff every geek is likely to find entertaining. Everything from world’s largest Gunny Bears to E-hookah gadgets. Make sure to check them out.


    [4] TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design

    If you’re looking for a cheap, original and quality logo or banner, check out TrueKolor. We often contact these guys when we need a logo or a banner made, some of the stuff they did for us listed on their portfolio page. Highly recommended.


    [5] Sendible – The easiest way to market your brand online

    We’re strong believers of the service Sendible provides — we use it on a daily basis and it has never failed us! Sendible is an online marketing service to promote, grow and track brands through the use of social media, email and SMS messaging. It has the ability to post to multiple services at once, schedule social network updates and analyse their success. We love it!


Thank you, guys!

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Do You Use A Start Page Or Saved Sessions In Your Browser? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 03:30 PM PDT

Last week, our poll was a showdown between Facebook and Twitter. We tried to avoid getting bogged down in just how different they are and instead get you to focus on which one you like most. The outcome? Well, Facebook won. But only just…

With 498 votes taken, the division was this: 43% voted for Facebook; 40% voted for Twitter; and 17% just don’t really like either of them. And before you start thinking that this is definitive, note that the 3% difference is made up of 11 votes only and that it was neck and neck all week.

Full results and this week’s poll after the jump.

See just how close this is?

This week’s poll question is: Do You Use A Start Page Or Saved Sessions In Your Browser?

Most of us rely on our browsers for just about all our internet activities: work, play and all the rest. How do you like to start your browsing? With a customised start page so you can see everything at a glance? Or with saved sessions of tabs that you used last time? Does your browser “home” page have several tabs you use all the time? Or maybe you use some combination of these? Let us know!

If you have some other ingenious solution or you use a particularly effective combination of these tools, let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear it!

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10 Free Albums From The Free Music Archive [Sound Sunday June 26th]

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 12:30 PM PDT

Relax with Sound Sunday!

The Free Music Archive (FMA) is a library of legal audio downloads directed by WFMU, a freeform radio station in North America. Every track offered on the FMA is licensed under Creative Commons or other licenses, allowing various uses. In this edition of Sound Sunday I provide a little overview of albums that can be found on the FMA.

Would you like to request a genre or suggest an album for an upcoming edition of Sound Sunday? Please leave a comment below or send me an email [tina at makeuseof dot com]. Thank you!

The Agrarians – Another Kind of Blues

Genre: lo-fi, blues, psych-folk, psych-rock

Jason Sigal writes about The Agrarians: “The Agrarians is Matt Perzinski of Baltimore, MD. His lo-fi four-track recordings incorporate sparsely layered drum machines, Casio keyboards, acoustic guitars, and meandering yet thoughtful lyrics.Another Kind of Blues was written and recorded on 4-track in 2010.

Another Kind of Blues is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

Les Loustics – Les Squelettes

Genre: experimental, free-jazz

This album was recorded by a band of children. 7 year old Artense sings, plays the piano and keyboard, and makes other noises. 9 year old Lucie plays the violin, lends are voice, and contributes various noises, 12 year old Clément plays the saxophone and adds noise. Taken together they have composed an extraordinary album.

Les Squelettes is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

Gosprom – 20

Genre: electronica, synth-pop, trip-hop

Gosprom is a three piece band from Kharkov, Ukraine. After releasing two EPs (Broadway and Lazy) in 2008 and 2008, 20 is their first full-length album. It’s a playful mix of classic instruments like clarinet and bass, mixed with pop sounds, the soothing vocals of Mariana Diakova, and jazzy melodies.

20 is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

Violet – Let the Sunshine In

Genre: experimental, electroacoustic

Violet is a music project of Jeff Surak, a veteran sound experimentalist from Washington, DC. He is also the proprietor of the Zeromoon record label and since 2005 the director of the Circuits Festival held in Washington, DC. His sound sources are exotic, including various devices and occasionally dry ice.

Let the Sunshine In is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

Philadelphia – Dis-adelphia

Genre: compilation, indie, experimental, folk, pop, rock, hardcore

Dis-adelphia is a compilation of the Philadelphia-based label Badmaster Records. It was released in early 2009 to showcase some of Philadelphia’s emerging ‘underground’ talents at the time.

Dis-adelphia is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

Evgeny Grinko – Winter Sunshine

Genre: classical, electronica, minimalist

Evgeny Grinko is a Russian musician, who plays the drums for several Moscow-based underground bands. He also creates magical classic-electronic music. In his Winter Sunshine EP, the jazzy piano takes the center stage.

Winter Sunshine is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

Deano Waco – Deano Meats the Purveyors

Genre: country, americana, bluegrass

From FMA: “Deano Waco is a songwriter, singer and guitarist in the Waco Brothers (along with Jon Langford), Dollar Store and Wreck. [The present album is] a new collection of originals from Deano backed by Austin’s Meat Purveyors. The Purveyors’ hyper-Bluegrass styling meets Deano’s sensitive song stylings and cave man electric guitar!

Deano Meats the Purveyors is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

Zühn – selftitled

Genre: experimental, psychedelic, instrumental

Zühn is an artist from Paris, France. The selftitled album was recorded for a movie about god and released with the independent label Los Emes Del Oso.

Zühn is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

Goodbye The Band – What We Were On To/ Pop Oblivious

Genre: indie, experimental, pop, lo-fi

From their FMA page: “Goodbye The Band makes music like most people grow hair. With song titles like “Dennis Is Unique Part X” John has recorded a song about almost everything. With more than 1000 original tunes on his hard-drive before the age of 20, GTB, self-proclaimed the Allen Ginsberg of New Jersey, does for pop music what Evel Knievel does for motorbike safety.

What We Were On To/ Pop Oblivious is a … download from Free Music Archive.

The New Mystikal Troubadours – Second Spring

Genre: experimental, improv, blues, folk

The New Mystikal Troubadours are Dave Gibson and Matt Perzinski from Baltimore, Maryland. Matt also plays with The Agrarians and Dave is also a solo artist. Second Spring was recorded at The Skylab in Baltimore.

Second Spring is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

New to Sound Sunday? Past editions of Sound Sunday are available here.

Feel free to get in touch with me [tina at makeuseof dot com] to share free material, suggestions, and feedback or simply add your comments below.

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

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How To Find And Watch YouTube 3D content

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 10:30 AM PDT

youtube 3d contentLove it or hate it, 3D is here to stay. It's a natural progression of visual displays, and I'm kind of bored of hearing it's a fad. So let's take this opportunity to look at something which is in fact, quite clearly a fad – yes, YouTube in 3D. Grab those red/blue specs, switch your TV to 3D mode, charge your active shutter glasses, or just go all crossed eyed while I introduce you to the world in 3D, via YouTube.

One the main arguments against 3D is that there simply isn't enough content. In fact, half of the movies I've watched in the last 6 months have been in glorious 3D 1080p HD, so I'd hazard a guess that you're just not looking the right places. There's even a dedicated 3D torrent site now (registrations are currently open, by the way). And then we have YouTube – the ultimate media liberator of the people, a place where idiots can be become famous and nothing is kept secret – and right now the best place to find amateur 3D content.

The Technical Stuff:

Head over to YouTube dedicated 3D viewing options page to choose first how you'd like to view 3D content. There's actually quite a few options available.

youtube 3d content

Various colored filters for that old-school comic book 3D: This is pretty much the worst kind of 3D you can get and results in horrendous discoloration, but it's good of them to allow all the combinations and not just traditional red/blue. You also buy an official set of YouTube 3D glasses if you like.

youtube 3d videos

Interleaved, for some 3DTVs and Zalman passive filter viewing methods.

Side-by-Side, for Samsung TVs and people who like to go cross-eyed.

Any 3D video you view will have a little 3D menu in the bottom right where you can quickly access the 3D viewing method page, as well as switch the left/right if it's reversed, and change the video to full/half width (if you regularly view 3DSBS BlueRay movies, those are run at half-width)
youtube 3d videos

How to Find 3D videos:

There's three main ways to find 3D content on YouTube. Firstly, when the service was original launched, a special tag of "yt3D:enable=true" had to be applied to get the 3D button and functionality to appear. That's not true anymore, but there's an archive of stuff in there and some people are still tagging their videos like that, so it's worth a look.

youtube 3d videos

Secondly, YouTube has official 3D channel to highlight some of the better videos.

youtube 3d content

Thirdly, there's a number of professional and affiliated channels producing fantastic 3D content, so here's some of the best ones:

ExploreMediaGroup: a good collection of quality content from various sources, mostly trailers and travel videos.

S3D Gamer Zone: My personal favourite, I could watch these game videos and walkthroughs all day. The great thing about game content in 3D is that it’s generally done well and high-res, with none of the bad camera movement and poor video quality that accompanies user-shot content.

iWatch3D: Just a regular guy based in London and into 3D, he films various events and locations.

Of course, just like the regular YouTube 2D the majority of 3D content is so bad I wouldn’t want to waste even a single minute of my life watching it – and those ads at the bottom of the video window are even *more* obnoxious when you’re trying to go cross-eyed. Okay, so maybe you’re not going to find anything to write home about – but it’s innovative, and I like that.

If you’re interested in YouTube, then be sure to check our full range of YouTube tagged articles, as well as these all time favourites:

And for those into 3D, I wrote about how to play games in 3D on your PC on a tight budget.

Do you know of any other online sources for great 3D video? I for one would love to hear about it, so let us know in the comment.

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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