Thursday, June 16, 2011 “How To Watch The Lunar Eclipse If You Missed It [News]” plus 11 more “How To Watch The Lunar Eclipse If You Missed It [News]” plus 11 more

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How To Watch The Lunar Eclipse If You Missed It [News]

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 05:59 AM PDT

Last night, people all over the world watched the longest lunar eclipse in 100 years. The view was quite different depending on where you were. Some had a perfect view, some areas had the view obscured by clouds or daylight, while in Asia viewers saw an extra red ash glow from the volcanoes in Chile. For those who didn’t get the best view last night, there’s plenty of great footage and photos online today.

A live feed with extra information from astronomers was provided last night by Slooh. Information remains on the site, but there’s no recorded footage. Google also featured an extremely popular live YouTube eclipse event, but there is no sign of an official full-length recorded replay from Google yet. Google however decided to commemorate the event with a Google Doodle featuring a brief interactive video of the eclipse.

The Doodle is now off the Google front page but eventually it will be added to the Google Doodle Archive.

Here’s a professional 15 minute video by user xRaisen of the lunar eclipse saved for later viewing on YouTube.

The same YouTube user has created a shortened version of the eclipse which can be watched in under 30 seconds.

Everyday moongazers are beginning to put up their own recordings of the eclipse, which can be found on YouTube here or on Flickr here.

Did you see the eclipse? How was the view where you were? Isn’t it great to be able to watch it online after the event?

Source: Mashable

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Cool Websites and Tools [June 15th]

Posted: 15 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.

Add Your Website Here!


VendASnack – If you wish you had a vending machine in your apartment, now you can almost have it, with Vendasnack. It is a web-based virtual vending machine, which lets you buy different snacks online and get them delivered to your door with a single click. Simply go to their homepage and browse snacks sorted by categories Read more: VendASnack: An Online Vending Machine To Order Your Favorite Snacks


RootMetrics – Cellphone operators around the world are notorious for providing grossly inaccurate facts to consumers when it comes to network coverage. An app like RootMetrics Cellphone Coverage Map is what consumers need to verify the network coverage by an operator in a particular area. It rates the signal strength of various carriers and shows it on a map. Read more: RootMetrics Cellphone Coverage Map: Check The Actual Coverage Of Carriers



ProfileDefenders – Competitors and disgruntled former employees can easily tarnish the reputation of your business by posting dissatisfied reviews and false reports of misbehavior. Since information rapidly spreads online, if left unmonitored, your company could suffer irreparable damage to its reputation. Here to prevent this from happening is a web service called Profile Defenders. Read more: ProfileDefenders: Get Help In Protecting Your Company's Online Reputation



Social Searching – Twitter and Facebook are rapidly becoming a huge repository of information and one of the biggest search portals. However, these networks have certain restrictions. For example, Twitter only allows you to search for tweets within the last two weeks at the most. SocialSearching is a tool that makes this easier by letting you search beyond that. Read more: Social Searching: Search Facebook And Twitter For Old Posts



FlickSourcer – There are numerous websites that fetch filler images for your site and web designs. But if you are looking for great filler custom sized images, you should check out FlickSourcer, a free to use website that fetches Creative Commons images from Flickr. All you have to do is enter your desired pixel size of the images and optionally restrict the image types by entering in search keywords. Read more: FlickSourcer: Search For Custom Sized Images On Flickr


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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14+ YouTube Playlists To Watch & Learn Computer Programming Quickly

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 06:31 PM PDT

learn computer programmingFor a lot of students, summer vacation has arrived and it's an ideal time to stretch out and relax, or alternatively, catch up in your favorite hobbies and perfect your skills. With the advent and growth of YouTube and plenty of other high-quality video-sharing websites and tools like flashcard software, learning new things visually by yourself has never been easier. Even though YouTube is used regularly to share comedic clips, it's without a doubt, a rich pool of educational videos . You've seen many articles on our site listing some amazing YouTube channels to become more educated in a variety of general topics, to learn cool dance moves, even some channels for non-native speakers to learn and perfect their English, and dedicated channels for Linux enthusiasts that learn about Linux news and issues.

Since it never hurts to learn something new, especially a skill set like computer programming in different languages, we will go over some of the best channels that will introduce you to the world of programming. Let's look at which channels made the cut.


thenewboston is a truly great channel with an immense collection of programming tutorials. The official website contains a list of all the tutorials made so far, which are well into the thousands (about 1500 videos as of this writing). Not only does it have tutorials for various programming languages, but it also has videos on building computers, tutorials for software like Dreamweaver and After Effects, as well as 3D-modeling software. The website now also has plans to present tutorials for a variety of other topics, like Math and Biology. Since all these tutorials are free, thenewboston is probably the greatest source of video tutorials for people interested in beginning programming languages. Bucky, the instructor behind most of the videos, explains concepts like a peer, so his tutorials are definitely very easy to follow and catch up to.

To jump into thenewboston's tutorials for different computer programming languages, check out:

So you can get a taste of thenewboston's teaching style, here's a video from this Java series where Bucky explains polymorphism:

thenewboston also has a number of tutorials for different Adobe Products:

There's a an impressive number of additional topics that thenewboston has covered already. You can check out all his videos sorted by series at the official website's Tutorials page here.

Xoaxdotnet (For C++ Tutorials)

Xoaxdotnet has a variety of tutorials (almost 200 videos) on literature, Algebra, and even neural networks and more general Computer Science concepts (such as sorting and searching algorithms, as well as big O notation), but for the most part, this channel has focused on and produced lots of C++ tutorials:

Here's the first video of this series:

Those are probably the most distinctive ones, but be sure to check out the complete list of videos he has produced, sorted by topic here.

phpacademy (For PHP Tutorials)

Like the channel name suggests, phpacademy focuses on teaching PHP, and some MySQL. With over 200 videos, phpacademy is one of the most subscribed guru channels of the United Kingdom so it's definitely worth a look if you're interested in creating more dynamic websites.

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Canopy Camera Tools – Create Time-Lapse Movies & Take Better Pictures On The Go [iOS]

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 04:31 PM PDT

time lapse moviesQuality, free and above all useful camera apps are often hard to come by on the iOS platform. Both Instagram and Snapbucket are great for quickly sharing stylised snaps, but they don’t add any genuinely useful features for everyday shots or video.

Canopy Camera Tools is an app designed to help you get the most out of your mobile photography, and much like Joby’s Frame X Frame it has been created with a specific attachment in mind – the Kapok Canopy Case, with tripod mount. You don’t need a tripod to benefit from this one, as there are plenty of features you can use in your hand. You could always fashion something to hold your device steady (I find Blu-Tack works well without leaving a mess) if you fancy creating a time-lapse sequence.

Getting The Basics Right

The iPhone (or any iOS device) camera isn’t the be-all and end-all of mobile photography. Whilst the iPhone is the most popular and oft-used “camera phone” solution; Apple’s in-built app leaves you wanting a bit more control and a few extra features.

Without being overly complicated, Canopy places 6 main buttons on your viewfinder, which can be toggled on and off with a tap. These are persistent in both Camera and Video modes, which are selected at the bottom of the screen, along with quick access to existing photos and app settings.

time lapse movies

The left hand side of the screen allows you to choose between front and rear facing cameras, toggle time-lapse mode and the camera timer which is perfect for group shots and also works with video. On the right hand side of the screen there are buttons for controlling flash behaviour, toggling exposure lock and white balance lock.

The lock buttons are especially useful, and add some genuinely useful functionality to your phone. For example, whilst taking a video by default the camera will adjust exposure as light changes. Should you want to maintain exposure throughout the video, exposure lock allows you to do this and your camera won’t re-balance every time you move.

iphone camera apps

This also goes for white balance, and if you’re really serious you could use a piece of white or grey card to take a perfect white balance reading and lock this for the duration of your video or photo session.

Advanced Features, Better Results

Of course Canopy also includes the aforementioned time-lapse mode, which automatically stitches your photos into a video. It works, though as the handy notification I received pointed out – phone calls will interrupt any sequences you’re working on. The best way around this is to activate Airplane Mode from your device’s Settings.

iphone camera apps

Time-lapse photography takes up a decent wedge of battery (I’ve yet to use an app which is “light” on power for this task) so make sure you’ve got enough battery to complete the sequence and find your way home afterwards. It works well, and doesn’t fill your camera roll with hundreds of images – great news.

The Settings menu afoot the viewfinder is also full of goodies. Much like Frame X Frame there is a spirit level (for that perfectly straight horizon) which – unlike Frame X Frame – does work in landscape mode. There’s also a grid that can be activated for aiding composition.

iphone camera apps

Saving the best till last, it is also possible to use touch gestures to control the camera and this can be customized in the Settings area. As you can see from the screenshot below, the default configuration is pretty intuitive.

time lapse movies


Canopy Camera Tools is probably the best free camera app I have used on the iOS platform. Features like time-lapse, exposure and white balance lock along with well-implemented touch gestures make it a joy to use, and provide some excellent results. You really don’t need a tripod, Kapok case or Gorillamobile to enjoy Canopy. Grab it now and start taking better pictures!

Have you found any similar great tools we’ve yet to feature? Do you like Canopy Camera Tools? Do you own a tripod/mount for your device? Let us know how you shoot on the go in the comments below.

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3 Ways To Speed Up The Windows 7 Shutdown Process

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 03:31 PM PDT

windows 7 slow shutdownOne of the key improvements of Windows 7 is its lightning fast start-up. Aaron Dietrich of the Windows Client Performance team received a lot of praise for this achievement. However, what the developers apparently failed to optimize and speed up was the shutdown process.

Ever since I switched to Windows 7 on my laptop, which had previously shut down within seconds while running on Windows XP, the slow shutdown has been nagging me. If you also happen to be looking for ways to kick-start a Windows 7 slow shutdown, look no further! Here I will introduce you to 3 ways to optimize or speed up the logoff process, so that you can leave the office or get into bed faster.


I tested these tips one after the other on my Windows 7 netbook (which shut down significantly faster after upgrading to 2GB RAM). I booted into Windows, started some standard programs, including Skype and Chrome with several different tabs open, waited until they had fully loaded, and then shut down the computer. In its native state, the shutdown took 32 seconds from clicking the ‘Shutdown’ button until the laptop had fully shut down.

Initial shutdown time on test machine: 32 seconds

1. Reduce Timeout To Kill Service Or App

Before Windows shuts down, it attempts to properly close all running processes. If a service doesn’t close immediately, Windows waits for a few seconds, until it prompts the user that the service is not responding to the shutdown request. The amount of this waiting time is defined by registry keys and you can reduce it.

These are two fairly harmless registry hacks. If you follow the steps outlined in this article, it should in no way harm your system. Nevertheless, I have to issue a warning:

Editing the registry can damage your operating system! I or MakeUseOf take no responsibility whatsoever!  Make a backup of your registry before continuing.

For the first hack, click the key combination > [WINDOWS] + [R], type > regedit into the text field, and click > OK to launch the registry editor.

In the registry editor, navigate to this folder:


Within that folder (on the right) find and double-click the string > WaitToKillServiceTimeout.

In the > Edit String window, change the > Value data from the default of 12000 (12 seconds) to 2000 (2 seconds). Click > OK to save the change.

windows 7 slow shutdown

For the second hack, navigate to the following location via the registry editor:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

On the right, find and double-click the string > WaitToKillAppTimeout.

speed up shutdown

If this entry does not exist, you can create it. Right-click into the folder and click through > New > String Value, and name it > WaitToKillAppTimeout.

Set > Value data to 2000, click > OK.

In the same registry folder, if you see an entry called > AutoEndTasks, set its > Value data to 1, then close the registry editor.

Shutdown time: 27 seconds

2. Create a Fast Shutdown Shortcut

As of Windows 2000, Windows has come with a remote shutdown tool to shut down and restart Windows. You can control this tool through the command line, but a much faster alternative is to create a shortcut.

  • Right-click your Windows 7 desktop and select > New > Shortcut.
  • Enter > shutdown.exe -s -t 00 -f in the location field, click > Next, give the shortcut a descriptive name, e.g. Shut Down Computer, and click Finish.

windows 7 slow shutdown

The letters (options) added above tell the tool to shut down (-s) with a timeout of zero seconds (-t 00), and to force running applications to close without forewarning the user (-f). Basically, it unites the registry hacks from the first tip in the shutdown process. You can see a full list of options when typing > shutdown.exe into the command prompt, which you can open via > [WINDOWS] + [R] then type > cmd into the text field and click > OK.

You can move this shortcut from the desktop to your quick launch bar or pin it to the taskbar. Double-click the shortcut to instantly shut down the system.

This trick is courtesy of Seven Forums.

Shutdown time: 24 seconds

3. Brute-Force Method

This method is also known as hard boot, as it is typically used to shut down and immediately reboot the computer. It should be used with extreme caution!

If you’re in a hurry and cannot wait for 20 seconds or if your computer responds slowly or even froze, simply hold the power button for several seconds and Windows will shut down immediately. Since this method literally kills not only the operating system, but also the hardware, it should not be used as a routine way of shutting down your computer. In a worst case scenario, it could cause your hard drive to crash.

Shutdown time: 5 seconds


Finally, you may experience an issue that can not be solved with the two hacks above. If you see a message saying “1 program sill needs to close: (Waiting for) Task Host Window”, then you should look into this Hotfix released by Microsoft.

Moreover, a slow logoff can be caused by outdated drivers or antivirus software. Therefore update all your drivers, remove antivirus programs like Norton and McAfee and replace them with a better alternative, such as Avast or Avira AntiVir. Note that fingerprint scanners have been known to cause a particularly slow log-off.

For more Windows 7 tricks and fixes, check out the following articles:

How fast does your computer shut down and which method/s do you use? Or do you ever shut down Windows at all?

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Study The Movement Of The Milky Way With Solar Model

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 02:31 PM PDT

solar system modelYou’ve probably noticed that here are MakeUseOf, we love space and the Universe. Between Saikat’s list of 6 awesome astronomy sites, my coverage of the free exoExplorer app, Taty’s review of the Worldwide Explorer and Jeffry’s coverage of the very cool NASA space app – we’ve got a corner on the market when it comes to using your computer to explore outer space.

One of the things I’m always on the lookout for when searching for free apps to review are more cool space explorer apps or websites. I often come across dozens that are pretty cool as far as graphics go, but most of them amount to nothing more than novelty apps – they just aren’t very useful.

So I was pretty excited to come across Solar Model 2, because aside from the cool factor involved in exploring space in an advanced graphical rendering engine, it also has the useful feature of actually letting enthusiasts and students “measure” space. This solar system model software lets you examine how the Milky Way galaxy and nearby systems move in relation to each other in a real-time way.

Scientifically Exploring the Milky Way

This open source app is useful enough to be used in science class for elementary and high school students. Upon first launching the app, the graphical quality of this program becomes apparent quickly. You’ll see a huge model of planet Earth. If your computer graphics card can handle it, the Earth will rotate in real-time (based on the clock at the lower-right hand corner of the screen). If you don’t see  it moving, move the window around and you should see Earth’s position update.

solar system model

Clicking on any planet in this modeling software will pop up information about the planet – including orbital rotation speed, sun rotation, gravity, moons and more.

model of the solar system

All of the tools available in this solar system model software are found in the menu system at the upper left of the window. The important ones you’ll be using often are the “Labels” to toggle planet labels, the camera view toggle button, and the very cool measurer, which I’ll cover below.

model of the solar system

The Galaxy view button just offers a really cool graphical model of the entire layout of the Milky Way as it looks at this moment, with the enormous Sun at the very center.

model of the solar system

It’s an amazing image – you can even take a quick screenshot by clicking on the “Screenshot” button and use it as your desktop background.

Exploring & Measuring the Milky Way

The tool that I really want to focus on is the one that makes this application so valuable. If you click on the “Measurer” tool, you’ll see a huge image of the Sun flanked by unit lines and the distance represented by each line shown at the bottom.

solar system diagram

This tool gives you a scientifically accurate measurement of every planet that you lay across the ruler lines. You can use the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in and out, and zooming way out, you can see all of the planets in the Milky Way lined up accurately by distance and position from the Sun.

solar system diagram

As you zoom out, you’ll see the unit values grow significantly, as each line represents a much greater distance in space, and all of the planets come into view. If you want to see any individual planet more clearly (and take accurate measurements of its size), just hover the mouse over that planet and then roll the mouse wheel to zoom in where the mouse is pointed. Here, I’ve zoomed into the huge planet Jupiter.

solar system diagram

I really love the planet imagery in this solar system model software!

Exploring In Camera View

The other perspective you can use to explore the Milky Way is with the camera view. When you click on the “Camera” button, you’ll see a 3 dimensional display of where all of the planets are situated in the Galaxy. Click on the “Labels” button to see all of the planets identified.

Click on the Camera button again, and you can change perspective of the camera. For example, you can look from the Moon to Jupiter, or point the camera from the Earth to Mercury.

It’s interesting to see how all of the positions of the planets change depending on which direction you’re looking out into space. The positions are are all represented based on the time displayed at the bottom right corner of the screen, so you can see how and when planets will be aligning with each other.

solar system model

You can use the numbered buttons off to the right of the screen, 1 through 5, to increase the clock speed and watch the movements of the planets as they will occur far into the future. This is probably one of the coolest features of this program.

So, install Solar Model and give it a shot. You might find it useful enough to use in your classroom if you’re a teacher, or use it to take screenshots that you can embed into your reports if you’re a student. What do you like about it and what do you think is missing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Hot Tech Deals – Samsung LN40C650 40in LCD HDTV for $649 + more

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 01:30 PM PDT

Today’s featured deal is the Samsung LN40C650 40in LCD HDTV which is going for $649 ($450 off!) and sports a 1080p display, 4 HDMI ports, HD tuner, Wi-Fi networking for Netflix, Pandora streaming and Samsung Internet Apps.

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

  1. LG IPS231P-BN 23in LED-Backlit IPS Monitor w/ Adjustable Stand $209.99 via code EMCYTZT539 (Exp 6/15)
  2. Garmin nuvi 1690 GPS (4.3in, Bluetooth, 2yr nuLink Internet Service) $120 Free Ship via code BUYDIGCLUB5
  3. Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 Portable Duplex Sheet-Fed Color Scanner (Instant PDF) $239.99 via code 24HRSALE615J (Exp 6/15)
  4. TODAY ONLY Samsung SMX-F50BN Flash Memory Card Camcorder $99.99 Free Ship via code EMCYTZT538 (exp 6/15)
  5. TODAY ONLY Samsung LN40C650 40in LCD HDTV (1080p, 120Hz) $649 Free Ship via code EMCYTZT540 (Exp 6/15, see price at checkout)

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5 Ways To Increase Your Torrent Download Speed

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 12:31 PM PDT

how to speed up torrent downloadsFor many people, the distributed peer-to-peer download power of torrents isn't all it's made out to be. If you're feeling drowned in fake files, choking from ISP speed throttling, and sick of being told you're unconnectable – this guide is for you. We’ll have your torrent downloads in tip-top shape in no time. Note, I’m not touching on security here. If you’re paranoid about your ISP or the RIAA, your only solution is to run everything you do through a VPN and be done with it. If you follow everything I show you here, your torrent overview screen should soon be capable of looking like this:

how to speed up torrent downloads

Open Those Ports!

Your first step how to speed up torrent downloads is to ensure you can actually be connected to from other peers. The latest version of uTorrent is able to test this for you, so launch the Setup Guide from the Options menu. If you have an older uTorrent, you can test specific ports using this tool.

speed up torrent download

By default, uTorrent will attempt to auto-configure your router using uPnP, which solves so many problems. If your router isn't compatible, this will fail – but you can perform the following steps to forward the ports correctly.

speed up torrent download

Open up a command prompt from Windows, and type ipconfig. Find the IPv4 address of the form 192.168.x.x and note it down.

speed up torrent download

Open up uTorrent Options-> Preferences -> Connection , and choose your own port or note down the one it has chosen for you. Make sure “randomise port each start” is not checked.

torrent speed

Open up your router config page and look for PORT FORWARDING. Yours may be different, but they are all basically similar. Name the forwarding rule, add the first and last port you want forwarded (just enter the same value in this case), and the IP address or the machine you want forwarded to.

Note that if your network is running an automatic addressing scheme, you may need to reconfigure this if you shut down and are given a new address. You can read my previous tutorial here on how to reserve a permanent IP address from your router.

Be sure to re-test when you're done, though you may need to restart your router.

ISP Throttling & Traffic Shaping

Assuming you've gone through all the other steps in this guide and your torrents are still slow, then it's quite possible that your ISP is shaping your traffic somehow.

This tool from Glasnost can help you tell if your ISP is throttling your speed and specifically tests torrent protocol.

If you find you're being restricted, you have two possible courses of action. The first is to switch your ISP to one less draconic. In the UK at least, I know Virgin Media are very open about their traffic policies, and do perform some outright speed restrictions (not just on your torrent traffic) if your download/upload goes beyond a certain point during peak times. In general though, they have the least restrictive of any UK ISP.

torrent speed

Your second option is to use a VPN to encrypt your traffic, making it impossible for your ISP to inspect what you are actually doing. Bear in mind this only works if they are “shaping” your traffic for specific protocols, rather than placing general restrictions on the total amount of traffic you can use. We covered some free solutions before, and you can read a complete explanation of what a VPN is here – but when choosing a service for you it's important to note that most VPN services explicitly DON'T allow torrent traffic, and certainly not any that are free. The best two paid services I know of that do allow unlimited torrent traffic are and

Enable DHT Or Join A Private Tracker

I extolled the virtues of private trackers with their ridiculously fast download speeds and high quality torrents last week in my 9 Easy Ways To Never Get A Virus article, but be aware that private trackers generally don't allow peer exchange and DHT to be enabled because it prevents the system from counting your ratio correctly, effectively letting certain users “cheat”. So personally, I would recommend you DISABLE DHT and join a good private tracker or two, but if you can't find your way into one…

Make sure DHT and peer exchange is enabled from the connections screen. This will have the fortunate side effect of meaning you can still find peers even when the tracker is down.

Windows Firewall

Make sure the firewall exception is on, or turn off the Windows firewall entirely. Again, do this from the connections screen of uTorrent options if you wish to add an exception.

In my opinion it's another of those unnecessary security precautions like anti-virus that ends up causing far more problems that it's worth. To turn off the firewall completely, click Start and type “firewall“. Open the first option in the Control Panel results, and you’ll see a link on the sidebar to completely disable it.

how to speed up torrent downloads

Don’t Be A Leech

If you set your torrent client to severely restrict the amount of uploading it can do, and basically just leech the files, most private trackers will restrict the amount you can download too. Make sure you are fully able and willing to give back to the community.


What kind of speeds do you get for torrents, and is that your ISPs fault? Do you have a restrictive ISP and would like to shame them in the comments? Do you still use public trackers? Go ahead and tell the world in the comments! Alternatively, ask for ISP specific advice in the ever growing tech questions community we have here at MakeUseOf.

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1by1: A Small Lightweight Portable Music Player You Can Use In Dropbox [Windows]

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 11:31 AM PDT

dropbox musicIf every developer thinks that adding more features is the only way to improve a piece of software, then I think the story of almost every application made will have more or less the same ending – they will become bloated and slow. We can see examples of this everywhere, from operating systems to browsers to media players.

But what an increasing number of people want is exactly the opposite – applications which are minimal, small and fast. In the realm of music players, 1by1 is one which fits that description – a small, fast, and lightweight audio player that only does one thing but does it really good.

Let’s Play Them One By One

Compared to other media players which are hundreds of megabytes, 1by1 is really tiny. Its size is only around 150KB and it can be used as a portable app.  Therefore it’s small enough to be kept inside your Dropbox folder or USB drive or be installed on every computer you use.

Setting Up The Portable App for Dropbox Music

If you want to install it in your Dropbox folder or USB drive to use it as a portable app, choose the folder or drive as the location where you want to put it during the installation process. But please make sure that both the 1by1 application and a file called “mpglib.dll” are located in the same folder.

dropbox music

Sometimes, the installation process will put “mpglib.dll” in a different location and thereby render 1by1 unfunctional as a portable app.  If this happens and you are unable to locate the file, you can just download it from here, and extract it to the same location as the application inside your USB drive or Dropbox folder.

Opening It Up For The First Time

The first time you open 1by1, you’ll quickly notice that the app is definitely not the prettiest one in town. It’s a bit difficult to get around the functions, especially if you are using it the for first time. Plus it’s hard to tell what each button does just by looking at the shape. You have to hover your mouse above each button and let 1by1 tell you its function.

The default interface is divided into three – the folder browser on the left, the song browser on the right, and the song information at the bottom. Once you get past the first time user confusion, using 1by1 is fairly simple. You navigate to a folder with a music file inside, pick a song, and press play. The app will go through the songs one by one if you do not interfere.

portable music players

Just pick a folder and play, no complicated database required. If you want to play sets of songs in a certain arrangement, arrange them inside folders. If you’re the kind of person who can’t live without smart playlists, then 1by1 is not for you. On the other hand, 1by1 is perfect for those who just want to listen to their collection without any fuss.

Going Around The Player

You can completely minimize the player to get out of your way while working on something else by clicking on the minus button like any other Windows application. You can put it on minimal view by clicking the minimize button (showed in the picture below).

portable music players

Having a fast player means nothing if you have to go back and forth to the application to click on different buttons. You can go around the player faster if you learn some of the basic shortcuts. Hover your mouse above the buttons to view them.

portable music players

Other than the basic audio playing buttons, I think you should know the Options button at the furthest right of the player. You can access many player functions here, including the “Settings” window (F6). There are many customizations inside the Settings window, but you might want to visit the “Audio Enhancer” section first. Here’s where you can enable or disable the audio enhancer and audio equalizer.

05a audio enhancer

From the “Control section“, you can set “Global Hotkeys” so you can access the player from anywhere on the computer.

free portable music player

You can also set the fonts and background color if you want to. Play around with the settings to customize the player to your liking.

dropbox music

Despite the look, I think 1by1 is a great little audio player. It comes without all the bells and whistles of other big players, but that’s the strong point of this app. If you need a good audio player that won’t put stress on your system, you should try 1by1. Don’t forget to tell us what you think of it in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out our articles about other music players such as Clementine, Instinctiv, Banshee, and other players for Windows and Linux.

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10 Useful Tumblr Tips That New Users Need To Know

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 10:31 AM PDT

tumblr tips tricksI’m absolutely hooked on Tumblr. I found my way back there recently, and in two days I managed to post 45 blogs – some reblogs, some quotes, a few long form essays, and lots of image posts. I don’t know what the appeal to Tumblr is over other similar blogging sites such as Posterous or WordPress, but I’ve caught the Tumblr bug and I have learned some things that might not be so obvious to those who are new to the fastest growing  microblogging site.

1. Following & Followers

When you blog on a site like Tumblr, you’re typically not there to talk to yourself. Tumblr is as much a social chatting site as Twitter is. After you’ve set up your blog, you will want to follow other bloggers and be followed back. What’s the quickest way to do that? Easy, click on the Dashboard and then click Explore.

On the Explore page you’ll find lots of popular topics that members are blogging about – everything from tattoos to food to architecture.

tumblr tips tricks

Nothing in the list appeals to you?  Then search for a topic and see if you don’t find a minimum of ten people who are tumblr blogging about what you’re interested in.

2. Tag Your Searches

Another way to follow your various interests on Tumblr is to save your search tags. When you search for a topic, you can easily revisit that search by clicking the “Track this tag” button. The tags you track will appear on the right side of your Dashboard.

tumblr tips

3. Re-Post & Ask Questions

When you are new to Tumblr, you will want to quickly start filling up your homepage with content. People will start following you when they see you have content. So one way to get some content on your page is to reblog posts by other members, as well as create your own.

tumblr tips

On Tumblr there’s nothing shameful about reblogging. When you see a blog you like in the search list and you want to reblog it on your page, put your cursor over the upper-right corner of the post and click. Once the page downloads, you will see a small menu bar of four items that show on every blog post of Tumblr (unless the poster chooses to disable it).

tumblr tips

Click the familiar little “Reblog” button to repost it on your blog.  Or you can give a little love and simply click the heart button to let the poster know you like the post.

4. Leaving Comments

Leaving comments on Tumblr is different than on most other blogging sites. First off, you need to click Account > Preferences settings > Customize your blog. Next, click on Community and select one or both of the Replies tick boxes.

tumblr tricks

In order to deal with trolls and spammers, Tumblr only allows replies from people you follow. You can also select to only allow people to comment on your page after they have been following you for more than two weeks.

5. Submissions & RSS Feeds

Another interesting Tumblr feature is one that allows other bloggers to post submissions to your blog. I discovered a few Tumblr blogs that are totally made up of submissions by different bloggers. To use this feature, you also set it up in the Preferences section of your account.

tumblr tricks

You can also set up your Tumblr to accept blog posts from RSS feeds.


6. Deselect Twitter & Facebook?

Another preference setting you will want to think carefully about is if you want to have your posted Tumblr blogs immediately shared on your Twitter and Facebook accounts. This feature might be turned on by default.

tumblr tricks

If you find yourself posting a lot on Tumblr, sharing numerous posts might be a turn off to your followers on your other sites. So it’s something to carefully consider.

7. Customizing Background Colors

There are lots of great and free Tumblr themes to choose from. You no doubt spent some time looking for just the right theme for your blog. But even if you don’t know any CSS coding, you can still change the background and font colors of your selected Tumblr theme. Again, this is found in the Preferences section under Appearance.


8. Queued Up

If you catch the Tumblr bug and start posting a lot on your page, you might consider spreading out your posts so your followers can get a little time to appreciate all the content you’re sharing. In Tumblr you can put your posts in a queue or set a specific date for them to post.


I use this feature for working on several blog posts at a time, like daily challenges, which means I can write several blogs but not have them all post at once. Notice you can also save posts as Drafts and come back on work on them later.

9. Chat Post

One of the seven types of posts you can make on your Tumblr is called Chat. When you click it, it appears that it might be a way to hold a public chat with your followers or the people you’re following. But that’s not the case. The purpose of this feature is to copy and repost a chat (e.g., Instant Messsage, iChat) that you had online.


But one way to initiate a little public dialogue on Tumblr is ask and answer questions of your followers. In Preferences you just need to turn that feature on for your blog. This is also where you can change the “Ask me anything” line to anything you want, like “No question is too personal, so ask.”


10. Publish Your Blogs

When you post enough blogs, you might want to publish your Tumblr entries in book or PDF format. Feed Fabrik is set up to do that for you. After setting up your account, the site will import all your blog entries and create a book.

tumblr tips tricks

If you need some how-tos about getting set up on Tumblr, you can also check out How to Easily Create a Blog with Tumblr. Let us know what you think about Tumblr, and if there are tips and tricks for using the site that I overlooked.

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Five Streaming Alternatives To Google Music, Amazon Cloud Drive & Apple’s iCloud

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 09:31 AM PDT

free streaming musicSteam your music from the cloud right now, without waiting for invitations or paying for the privilege. The headlines may currently be dominated by Google Music, Apple iCloud and Amazon Cloud Drive, but cloud-based music is not a new thing and by no means limited to those three companies. Sure, those three companies will no doubt lead the field very soon, but that doesn’t mean the alternatives aren’t worth checking out.

So what are these free streaming music alternatives? I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a look at the cloud-based players that haven’t been in the news lately. You just might end up liking one of them.


Do you have a Dropbox account? You can already use Droptunes then. Simply add some music to your Dropbox folder and log into Droptunes; voila! Now you can play your music from your browser:

free streaming music

The player can be flash or HTML5 based, which is nice depending on the browser you’re using.


Upload your music; listen to it online. If this sounds familiar, it should. It’s the exact model the web’s three biggest companies are working on now. The difference? We reviewed it back in 2009.

streaming music

The service today offers 1 gig of free service and sports a new user interface, along with some region restrictions.


Here’s another service that lets you upload your music and stream it from the cloud. Best of all, it integrates well with Android, making it, at the very least, a worthy alternative to Google Music.  Simon reviewed it last year.

streaming music

Weird name, but I suppose the Internet is running out of names for web apps.


Why upload all of your music when it’s already online? Grooveshark offers free, legal online music, and it seems that pretty much every song you can think of is freely streamable via this service.

streaming music

Be sure to check out Better Grooveshark, the flash and ad-free Grooveshark experience as well.


Don’t want to upload all of your music to the cloud, but still want access to your collection? Try out ZumoCast, the service that turns your computer into a personal cloud.

free streaming music

You’ll need to leave your computer on at home to use this anywhere else, and how well it works of course depends on the quality of your home Internet connection. Still, ZumoCast gives you access to your media collection anywhere. The service is temporarily closed to new users, but should be back very soon.


Alternatives are what the web is all about, so be sure you’re familiar with the alternatives before you decide on a cloud-based media player. It’s very interesting to see the big companies’ approaches to cloud-based music playback, but the fact is they didn’t come up with the idea in a vacuum. Cloud-based music has been around for years.

Which service do you think is best? Share your thoughts in the comments below, because as always we’d love to hear from you. Heck, we’d also like to hear from anyone who isn’t sure why anyone would want their music to live on the cloud.

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6 Simple & Stylish Note Taking Browser Apps [Chrome]

Posted: 15 Jun 2011 08:31 AM PDT

chrome note taking extensionIf you are a productivity maven you probably have scoured the add-ons and extensions available for browsers in search of note-taking tools. Do you take notes right on the browser or do you have a desktop app for the job? Some of us keep both. The utility of having a note-taking app right on the browser probably was drilled home by the Opera browser which has it as a default feature. Strangely, Chrome and Firefox still don't have it. Perhaps the developers haven't felt the need to because there are a slew of very capable apps and browser extensions for storing and managing your notes.

I would probably go with QuickFox on Firefox. Let's take a walk through the  Chrome Web Store and see what options it can throw our way. Quite a few stylish ones in fact; let's look at these six stylish note-taking apps for the Chrome browser.

Quick Notes

chrome note taking extension

If you look at the user figures for this chrome note taking extension, you can figure out its popularity. The slick app gives you one click access to your notes with a right click on any webpage. You can sync it online with a account and access the notes from anywhere. As Diigo is also a mobile friendly app, you can get to your notes from devices like iPhone, iPad, and Android too. All notes are searchable. Notes also get auto-tagged with the current date.


chrome note extension

Chromepad doesn't give you the ease of right-click access but it allows you to put down your notes in the little interface which pops up when you click the icon near the address bar. The note is stored locally. You have to use keyboard controls to copy-paste text. This extension is less stylish but more simpler in its execution.


chrome note taking

This Chrome app is definitely one of the coolest ones on note-taking you will see around browsers. Creating a note is as simple as clicking the '+' sign and pasting or writing on the sticky which comes up. You can change the color, highlight it with a red ribbon mark, and arrange the notes around as they snap on to the grid layout.

Sticky Notes

chrome note taking

When it comes to Chrome utilities, this one clocks in at around 2MB. Think of it as Post-it notes for your browser. You can configure each note by color and font-size. You can play around with the appearance of the background (for e.g. give it a corkboard look), and also arrange the notes by dragging them around or placing them on a grid. You also drag the corners and re-size the notes. Notes are saved automatically.


chrome note taking

This Chrome app takes advantage of the capabilities of HTML5 and gives you a stylishly slick interface to work with. It also has substance because it gives you some formatting controls you can apply on your text. The screenshot shows and explains what you can expect from this note taking app. You can star your important notes; use ordered and unordered lists; use indents; use bold, underlines, italics, and strikeouts to enhance note-taking; and insert pictures too.

Web App Note

chrome note taking extension

With a Google account, you can synchronize your notes and access them from anywhere with this extension. This app also introduces advanced formatting functions along with features like helping you create tasks with to-do lists. You can use priority markers on your to-do list and set reminders. A little feature enables you to add tables inside a note. Being connected through a Google account enables you to synchronize your events with Google Calendar. The good thing about this app is that you can also upload-download files from your Dropbox account. Also, you can straightaway send a note as an email to any email account.

Of course, there are a few more extensions that you will find in the Chrome Web Store that handle notes. I have left out the commonly known but quite often regarded as the best note-taking app – Evernote Web from the list. You can though check it out. Also read through all the posts we have on the app. Which from the above list would you pick for your Chrome browser?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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