- Cool Websites and Tools [June 28th]
- The 14 Toughest Tech Questions [MakeUseOf Answers]
- Convert Videos & Export Them To iTunes Easily With Evom [Mac]
- 5 More Cool Things To Do With An Old Computer
- Velvet Brigade – Show Off Your Fashion Style With A Chance To Get Your Designs Made
- Hot Tech Deals – Samsung 24in LED-LCD Monitor w/ HDTV Tuner for $269.99 + more
- 7 Websites That Will Help Your Career With Company Information & Anonymous Job Reviews
- NoLED – Shows Notifications Even If Your Device Has No LED [Android 2.1+]
- Customize Your Browser’s Start Page To Look Like The Windows 8 Theme
- Test Your Computer For Security Misconfigurations With Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
- Does The Duracell myGrid Really Charge As Well As A Power Cord?
- BranchOut Business Networking Rivals LinkedIn [News]
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 08:31 PM PDT
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.cool web apps
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 06:31 PM PDT
Every Friday, the Best Answer of the Week is rewarded with $50 and two runners-up win $30 and $20, respectively. Every answer automatically enters the contest. Just make sure we can contact you in case you win.
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The 14 Toughest Tech Questions [MakeUseOf Answers] is a post from: MakeUseOfMore articles about: answers, Q&A websites, tech support, troubleshoot
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 04:31 PM PDT
Once you do find the right tool, you still have to face the task of getting your newly converted files over to iTunes and syncing them to your devices, which can be more difficult than it sounds.
With Evom for Mac, however, this whole process is extremely easy. Evom is a lightweight video converter and transfer tool that will export converted videos directly to iTunes for you. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy…it’s high speed!
What Is Evom?
Evom, a product of the Little App Factory, enables you to drag-and-drop and convert videos quickly and easily. It lets you enjoy online content without being tethered to the web and, like I stated in the introduction, it was built for speed. It is designed to convert movie files and Flash videos quickly, taking advantage of your Mac’s multi-core processor, allowing you to get content off of the web and onto your favorite devices.
With Evom, you can drag folders, individual files, or links into the program’s window to start, and your items will be converted for you and exported directly into iTunes or – optionally – saved to your desktop. Once converted, your videos will be compatible with your iPods, iPhones, iPads, and many other devices.
How Do I Use Evom?
Although I gave you a rough idea of how Evom works above, let’s take a closer look at the actual process from start to finish. The first thing you’ll need to do if you want to take advantage of Evom’s power is head over to the website and download the app.
Once you’re ready to go with Evom, just drag or specify the video folder you would like to convert video from. If you leave the iTunes option selected, your videos will go straight to your iTunes folder after conversion to be synced with your iOS devices.
When you drop video files that you want to convert, a configuration box will pop up asking you to specify the output format, as well as the output folder, title, and quality of video.
If you don't want Evom to convert videos for some specific device, you can always choose to convert video in a specific format. Evom supports the AVI, FLV, MP4, HTML5, MOV, MPG, and WMV formats. Also, you can extract audio out of a video file and convert it into OGG and MP3 format.
As a side note, Evom is also capable of converting selected videos directly to your Apple TV in a compatible format.
Once you’ve made all of your selections and set up Evom just the way you want it, you can go ahead and click Convert to transform your files into watchable ones.converter, iTunes, video converter, videos
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 03:31 PM PDT
That 5-year old computer may seem like a snail, but even a snail can get to the other side.
1. Turn It Into A Web Server
Many of us here probably own a website. Well, if you’re up to the challenge, you can set up your own server to serve your websites from. Having your own server gives you the advantage of controlling what software to use, as well as the freedom to upgrade flexibly. Running out of server space? Just add another hard drive! Are the pages loading too slowly? Just add more RAM!
2. Experiment With Viruses
If you can’t turn it into a web server, you can use it as your torture machine. Abuse it anyway you want, install anything and everything. If you ever saw some free app you like the look of, but aren’t sure whether it’s a virus or not, you now have a sandbox to test it in. This is a real sandbox, not those fancy software sandbox techniques that are so common nowadays.
It doesn’t even have to be a virus. If you’re experimenting with dangerous software, you can do all your damage here. Just make sure to keep a Windows install disc handy.
3. Modify It
The next thing to try is to turn it into art. At least you can appreciate the supple curves of your computer as it sits there collecting dust. There are many mods on the Internet, such as these ones here. Some mods also serve a purpose. For example, you can turn the computer into a photo frame. If it’s new enough to have a built-in WiFi card, you can also connect it to your Flickr feed, or something similar.
4. Destroy It
Failing any useful task that the computer can handle, you can enjoy watching it die. Why just throw it away? How about destroying it?
If you haven’t got a new computer yet, your old computer may help you raise the cost of the new one. It may not be worth the new one, but the amusement of blowing it up certainly is, as this YouTube user has proven.
5. Recycle it
For the more environmentally-conscious, there’s always the option to recycle it. First, make sure all the useful and surviving parts are out. This could be used later. You never know, your new computer’s RAM may fail and 2GB of working RAM is better than 8GB of non-working RAM. Before you attempt that though, make sure your new computer can take your older one’s RAM. Also make sure that any personal sensitive information has been securely wiped from the hard drive.
There are many computer recycling programs around. You can go to a manufacturer or to your region’s local recycling program. Here’s Apple’s recycling page, which also holds a list for some US states. Saikat wrote a great post last year detailing 10 websites that help you recycle or reuse old stuff.
So do you know of any other possible uses for an old computer that we haven’t listed here? Or have you tried one of the above? If so, how did it go?geeks, hardware, hobby, Interesting, offbeat, recycling
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 02:31 PM PDT
Well, here’s a way you can be in with a chance to get your designs made professionally and sold online. Velvet Brigade lets anyone submit their designs, then users vote on which designs are best and after 30 days Velvet Brigade will choose a winner for each week.
Even if you’ve merely been looking for a new way to find stylish new outfits, The Velvet Brigade is for you. Create an account and start voting on your favourite designs, then when the time comes you can buy the winning designs straight from the store.
The voters are the fashionistas which make all the big decisions around Velvet Design. Create an account using Facebook or your own details and you can get straight into it. All your votes are collected on your profile so you can browse them whenever you like and show off your fantastic fashion sense to your friends.
Designers are the life blood of Velvet Brigade. Without new designs there’d be nothing to vote on and no clothes to make. Anyone can become a designer – it simply requires you to submit a decent sketch of your garment. Winning designs are created for sale and the designer receives 5% of the sales proceeds via cheque or PayPal. Anyone worldwide can be a designer, so what are you waiting for?
To become a designer, take a read of the designer guide and create your sketch, then submit to Velvet Design for approval. When your design is approved (within 3 days) you can promote it to your friends and networks. You’ll have 30 days to collect as many votes as you can for your design before the voting phase expires. Every week, Velvet Design explores the designs which have just finished their voting phase, then chooses a winner according to votes and self-promotion of the garment. If your design wins, they’ll make your design and sell it through the Velvet Design site.
Ideas For The Future
Velvet Design is still in beta, so there’s plenty of room to play with ideas at this stage. My personal opinion is that Velvet Design should help users to promote their favourite designs a little more, by offering RSS feeds for each user. It would also be great for Velvet Design to suggest a more visual way of sharing designs with other social networks – at the moment they suggest sharing a simple link, whereas an option to share the picture on something like Tumblr would do more to share each design.
If you love your clothes, you’ll love these articles too:
So, will you be submitting a design to Velvet Brigade soon?clothes, fashion, lifestyle
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 01:30 PM PDT
For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 12:31 PM PDT
But thanks to the information age, the web is the best career tool you can have at your disposal. Type in a company name and you are sure to get more than a few hits which will give you a peek into what a company is about. After all, there are people talking on the web: both disgruntled ex-employees and the contented ones. Take LinkedIn for example; it's a great tool to find out the raves and the rants.
Going beyond LinkedIn, let's check out seven more career websites that collect company information and job reviews.
It is one of the preeminent career websites on the web but unfortunately it is not totally free. The free Basic membership gives you company and job overviews; access to discussions and newsletters; and job listings. The topic specific blog is a nice place to do some career related reading especially the Career Advice blog. The discussion boards are a mine of information and you can pick up some valuable pointers thanks to the comprehensive filters the site provides to sift through the messages. Even the Basic account gives you enough hints with its overviews and company rankings.
The career related website's 'disclaimer' reveals its true purpose (as you can see on the screenshot). Just a scroll down the comments gives you an idea of the companies that are doing well in the employee's eyes and the ones that aren't. As a 'Pinger' you do not need to get registered and can contribute anonymously your feedback on the company you are working for or never want to work for. Green colored comments show approvals and the red ones augur disapprovals. It's also a forum for companies to respond to the issues raised by the community.
It was difficult for me to gauge the popularity of the site, but at least it's pretty much updated with rants against the guy who is above you on the job ladder. This site does not require a log-in and you can browse or read comments on quite a few jobs and bosses. Of course, the comments are bound to be majorly subjective.
You can use the alphabetical listing or the search bar to dive into the index of companies and learn about their work cultures. Each company gets a salary rating along with an organizational one on this plain Jane website.
Wovox says it in photos and pictures. It is an assemblage of workplace photos and reviews that enables you to get a good idea of the workplace you might be employed in. Snoop around the site and look at pictures, watch videos, and read reviews. Discover a company and its culture.
This website lets you research employers, job description, and companies. Find out salary information, and get interview tips. The job reviews and salary information are first person accounts by people who are (or were) employed in the companies.
Glassdoor is a salary comparison website but alongside all that anonymous sharing you also get an idea of the job and company. You can trawl through the job listings or narrow down to the company of your choice. The site has a U.S. focus for now, but it could start covering international workplaces soon. The number of reviews stacked up for the popular names is quite impressive and that really makes for accurate ratings on the site.
Job aspirants can also look through JobVent to see if anyone is blowing steam over their prospective employers there. Then there are the good 'old fashioned' social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn that you can use for some serious company research. We have covered quite a few job and career tools in the past. From job search to job tips, the web gives more power to the guy who is beating a path through the corporate hallways. Have you ever researched a company on the web before signing on the dotted line?
Image Credit: Shutterstockinformation, job search, job tips, research tools
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 11:31 AM PDT
For such a simple app, NoLED’s configuration interface is surprisingly rich. But before we delve into the configuration, let me show you what the notifications look like:
The icons are self-explanatory. What the screenshot doesn’t show, though, is that they keep moving around all over the screen, to prevent screen burn. So it looks more like a colorful screen saver than a bunch of static notification icons. Still, since each icon is colored so differently, it’s easy to spot if you’ve received a new email or GTalk message.
If the icons seem a bit large, don’t worry – you can also have NoLED look like this:
And even like this:
Yup, just a black screen with a bunch of tiny colored squares, each taking up just a few pixels. In this mode, the pixels still move around but only in the top-left corner of the device (or top-right, configurable). It does require a very good memory for colors, though, so it’s a good thing you can configure each color to your liking:
This brings us to the configuration interface. So let’s do a whirlwind tour of some of its features, starting with the main screen:
That first setting isn’t the only thing you need to do to switch NoLED on. You also need to put a widget on your homescreen and activate it, or reboot your phone (NoLED launches on startup by default).
The two main issues with NoLED, for me, are that I usually don’t use a lock screen (I don’t need it on my device), and that using the LCD for notifications can drain the battery quite quickly. While there’s not much to be done about the first issue (NoLED does require a lock screen), let’s see what battery saving features we can use:
This is one clever app! It can cycle power to the screen in user-defined intervals (for example, 500ms on, then 8 seconds off), and use your phone’s proximity sensor to figure out when it’s in your pocket or face-down on the table, where you’re not likely to see the screen.
Another battery-saving feature is Sleep mode:
You can set NoLED to stop working during the night, and switch itself back on in the morning. That means that during the night it won’t turn on your phone’s screen and won’t waste your battery.
I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you with a laundry list of everything NoLED lets you configure. Suffice it to say this app lets you configure everything — even its interface language, which has been localized to over a dozen different languages.
This is one of the most powerful free Android apps I reviewed in recent memory, and it took me by surprise. Its basic function is so simple, I did not realize how customizable it can be made until I dug in. I expected the configuration interface to consist of a couple of basic settings, and was blown away by all of the options. If your device doesn’t have notification LEDs, this looks like the definitive solution.google android, Mobile Apps, notifications, smartphones
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 10:31 AM PDT
If you like Windows’ new user interface design, you can implement that look on your browser’s start page with the help of Eight. It’s a Windows 8 start page theme which will give you more than just eye candy. Eight allows you to customize its elements to suit your needs. The last update of Eight is compatible with Firefox 4.0.1, Chrome 12, Opera 11.11, and Internet Explorer 8.
The concept of the start page has become popular for the past several years in the browser world. Every time a user opens a new tab, they will see a graphical list of the sites they visited the most. So instead of repeatedly typing in the URLs of those favorite sites, users can just click on the sites on the start page.
For the following walkthrough, I used Firefox. But the steps should be more or less the same under any other compatible browser.
Now, every time you open your browser, Eight will show up. You can click on one of the links to open the URL destination.
Eight comes with twelve default pre-set links: YouTube, Yahoo!, Facebook, BBC News, CNN, Grooveshark, Last.fm, DeviantArt, Twitter, Wikipedia, iTunes, and Google. Users can quickly go to those sites by clicking on the visual links. But everybody has their own preferences, and luckily Eight is fully customizable. You can change the destination links, logos, and even the background color of each visual link according to your preferences.
If you want to customize Eight, you can find a very short explanation in the Readme.txt file inside Eight’s folder. But let’s now replace one of the visual links (thumbnails) with MakeUseOf’s link, so we can fully understand how the process works.
Customizing thumbnails in Eight is not difficult, but the setting up could take up to a couple of hours, especially the image editing process. However, once everything is set up, all of your favorite sites will be on the tip of your mouse.
Do you use a start page? Would you try Eight? Do you know any other similar tools? Tell us what you think and share your opinions using the comments below.browsers, customize, start pages, themes, windows 8
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 09:31 AM PDT
You can download MBSA 2.2 from the Microsoft Download Center. It is available for 64-bit (x64) and 32-bit (x86) Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2. Moreover, it comes in four different languages: German (DE), English (EN), French (FR), and Japanese (JA).
The startup interface of MBSA is very simple and basically offers only three options: scan a computer, scan multiple computers, or view existing security scan reports. The sidebar also offers links to the program documentation and the Microsoft security website.
Note that you require Administrator rights for all machines that you wish to scan. You can scan a single or multiple systems based on the computer name or IP address. If you select to scan multiple computers, you need to enter a domain name or a range of IP addresses.
For this demonstration I went with scanning a single computer.
The scanning options are straightforward, although not necessarily clear for the inexperienced user. If you don’t understand what some of the options mean, click the > Scanning Options link at the bottom for detailed explanations. The information will load in a separate Internet Explorer window.
The scan merely takes a few seconds and returns an overview of issues found in different categories. Each item is scored and a summary of the result is provided, along with links to further information material.
Checks that were passed receive a green score, items that could not be checked are marked with a grey minus, room for improvements is highlighted by a blue score, a yellow score indicates a non-critical vulnerability and a red score alerts the user to a failed check and thus a critical security issue. Follow the respective links for detailed information about what was scanned or instructions on how an issue can be corrected.
All reports are saved and can be accessed at a later time for reference. You can also print or copy your report to the clipboard.
Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer is a very good tool to quickly get an overview of security-related settings on your Windows machine. Instructions for correcting detected security misconfigurations are very clear and should therefore be easy to follow for the average user. Overall, the documentation is surprisingly detailed and well done, almost as if Microsoft expected non-IT folks to use this tool.
It must be said though that fixing most configurations does require some basic understanding of how Windows works. For example an issue with the file system is not necessarily security relevant and the instructions do not provide information on how to find the drive that doesn’t run NTFS. Moreover, some issues require advanced knowledge and should be left to the experts to be fixed, for example setting a password expiration.
For more information, also have a look at this article from Microsoft Patterns & Practices: How To Use the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer.
What is your opinion? Do you think this is a useful tool? Please share your thoughts!
Image credits: beboyadministration, analyzer, Microsoft, network, scanner, security, security tips, troubleshoot
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 08:31 AM PDT
One potential solution is Duracell's myGrid, a wireless charging solution for mobile phones. But does this product really work, or is it not quite ready for prime time?
How It Works
The Duracell myGrid's concept is simple. Rather than plugging in your mobile phone to charge it, the myGrid lets you charge the device by placing it on the pad's surface. Your phone will then begin to charge automatically.
It's like magic, right? Well, not quite. Although the convenience is the driving force behind this concept, you can't just plop any old phone on the pad. That's because you need to have a connection between the myGrid and your phone, and that can only be provided by an appropriate adapter.
These adapters plug in via the phone's mini-USB port and extend around the rear of the phone. Alternatively, you can use what Duracell calls a “power sleeve”. This is simply a phone case with contacts on the rear side which negate the need for the adapter.
Does It Work?
Yes, usually. The technology here isn't complex or unheard of. Some brands of electric toothbrushes, for example, have used it for some time in order to charge the built-in batteries via a stand.
However, you'll may notice that your phone doesn't charge as quickly with the myGrid as it does with a normal power adapter if you're charging multiple phones at once. Some reviews also noted that bumping the pad or touching it with a metal object would interrupt charging, which could be a real problem if you wanted to put it on a busy desktop.
Far From Perfect
The Duracell myGrid can handle charging up to four phones at once, so it could ideally let you toss aside four separate power adapters. That's an impressive reduction in clutter, but there's a catch – several, actually.
Convenience is supposed to be the greatest advantage of this device, but the adapters themselves can be a pain. Since they take up the phone's mini-USB port, which in most cases is also used to transfer data between PCs and the device, you'll have to remove it frequently. In fact, its general bulk and unattractive appearance makes it unlikely you'll want to leave the house with the adapter attached.
Some phones, like the iPhone, have the “power sleeve” case available – but it is also bulky and unattractive.
These problems are due to the fact that the myGrid uses conductive, rather than inductive, charging. With conductive charging, an actual connection between metal contacts is required to charge a device, which is why the adapters are required.
Oh, and about those four phones at once. While the technology may be capable of pushing power to all of those devices, the mat itself will have trouble fitting them if they’re large. The mat is about 9 inches by 9 inches, so you'll realistically fit two or three smartphones on there depending on their sizes.
So does the Duracell myGrid charge as well as a power cord? Yes, it does. It will charge your phone just like a power cord. Only you don't need the cord, which is nice.
But the problem is the price. Duracell's myGrid costs around fifty dollars, which isn't a huge sum, but still worth some thought before parting ways. And that's just for the starter kit. If you want to use the pad with numerous phones you'll need to buy more adapters or sleeves.
Is gaining the ability to place your phone on a charging pad rather than connecting it to a cord worth the price? Perhaps in a few limited cases, but for most people that's a lot of money to spend for a different way to charge their phone.
What do you think? Worth the money or just a passing fad? Would you seriously consider buying one?battery, mobile phones, technology explained, wireless
Posted: 28 Jun 2011 07:31 AM PDT
Users of BranchOut can sign up through Facebook in an instant, then link their LinkedIn profiles immediately. This gives BranchOut readily accessible work history information within seconds, allowing the users to get headhunted and start looking for jobs straight away.
BranchOut’s social capabilities revolve around making it easy to post job openings via their system. The BranchOut home page asks all users “Is Your Company Hiring?” and making it easy for any user to post basic details of job openings in their workplace. BranchOut even fills out most of the details for you from your Facebook information, meaning you can tell your friends about the position in seconds.
Businesses can also use BranchOut to advertise job openings, by using the BranchOut application on their Facebook page. Jobs will be displayed both on the Facebook page and in the BranchOut system.
Jobs are also incorporated into the system via the Indeed network, ensuring there are many open positions ready to consider.
Viewing a job opening will also display to you friends who have connections with that workplace, making it easy for you to arrange an interview via your social network.
BranchOut Business Networking Rivals LinkedIn [News] is a post from: MakeUseOfMore articles about: business, LinkedIn, network, news
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