Friday, June 17, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 10 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 10 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 11:28 PM PDT

Check out the top picks from MakeUseOf Geeky Fun during the last couple of days.

  1. Our Children Will Never Know The Link Between The Two… (Pic)
  2. What Photo Sharing App Should You Use? (Pic)
  3. How Do I Grab People's Attention?! (Pic)
  4. Why I Love & Hate Having A Smartphone (Pic)
  5. 15 Years Ago Vs. Now (Pic)
  6. Live Your Life To The Fullest!!! (Pic)
  7. The Amount Of Cool Stuff Online… (Pic)
  8. Stuxnet: Anatomy Of A Computer Virus (Video)

If you would like to keep up with all latest Geeky Fun additions, please subscribe to the Geeky Fun feed here. You can also subscribe and get the latest additions via email.

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Cool Websites and Tools [June 16th]

Posted: 16 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!


Wifi Photo Transfer – Plugging in your iPhone's cable each time you want to transfer photos to the computer is inconvenient. Offering a much better solution is an application called WiFi Photo Transfer, a free to use iOS application sized at only 3MB, which lets you access your iOS device photographs from your computer wirelessly, provided they are both on the same Wi-Fi network. Read more: Wifi Photo Transfer: Access Pictures On iPhone, iPod or iPad Wirelessly


Let’s Name – Considering that almost every word in the dictionary is booked when it comes to company or domain names, pretty soon random name generators could be the only way to find unique names. Let's Name is a simple online name generator that generates random names, or generates names similar to what you entered. Read more: Let's Name: Quickly Generate Names For Company Products & Sites



SalaryShare – We often wonder how much others earns. But salaries are private matters and we cannot come out and ask about them directly. Salary Share is here to help anonymously compare earnings amongst our friends. You start by creating a salary pool and naming it. Next you enter your own salary and share the pool's URL. Read more: SalaryShare: Anonymously Compare Earnings With Your Friends



CuteRoulette – Do you love stuff that's cute? Or maybe you need to cheer up after a bad day at the office? There's no better way to do that than watching a real cute video of a baby, puppy or a cat. CuteRoulette is a simple site that aims to provide these doses of instant happiness whenever you need it the most. It shows cute videos from YouTube randomly. Read more: CuteRoulette: Random Cute Animal Videos From Around The Web



TaxReceipt – Ever wonder where the thousands of dollars you pay in taxes actually goes? Tax Receipt is a tool set up by the US Government that gives you a breakdown of how your tax dollars are spent. Just fill in how much you pay for your social security, medicare and income tax, and the tool will automatically generate a receipt for you. Read more: TaxReceipt: See What Your Tax Dollars Are Spent On [US]


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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Funny Amazon Reviews: 6 Items That Feature Hilarious User Feedback

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 06:31 PM PDT

amazon reviewsNiche products on the Internet are often the subject of ridicule, especially on big retail websites like Amazon where user feedback is encouraged. Often these “reviews” make for a hilarious read, as communities around the net pick up on and continue to share the joke.

Over the years Amazon has taken down a considerable number of these parody reviews, though many still remain. These products have some of the funniest and cleverest reviews on the Internet, with some racking up hundreds of sarcastic submissions from would-be comedians.

Each item has at least a page or two of content, so there should be enough here to stop you doing any real shopping today!

Katie Price & Peter Andre – A Whole New World

amazon reviews

For those of you not familiar with Katie Price (or “Jordan” as she is known) and Peter Andre then I refer you to around 15 seconds (or however much you can stand) of this video. Acquainted? Good, because the reviews on Amazon probably (don’t) sum up exactly how you’re feeling.

"If you can imagine a soothing blend of jojoba oils, vanilla, and WD40 being poured into both ear holes simultaneously, then you will have only been able to scratch the surface of the feast of pleasure that is Katie And Pete’s “A Whole New World” Album" wrote one fan, and there are many more who were equally as moved.

"We still use it in the Accident and Emergency ward at work as an alternative anaesthetic; it’s cheap, and it renders the unsuspecting patient motionless and numbed," claimed a punter.

JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank

amazon reader reviews

Whoever thought that putting a tank up for sale on Amazon was a good idea probably didn’t think it through. The item has actually been out of stock for years, though the 250+ customer reviews remain strong.

However, this battle-ready behemoth has clearly touched a few hearts: "For urban driving, the Badonkadonk is terrific; equipped with an upgraded 400 terawatt subwoofer, it strikes terror wherever it goes. When we get stalled on the George Washington Bridge, we pull out the lounge chairs and watch reruns of “Knight Rider” on the DVD player," admitted a fan.

According to Ron, the Badonkadonk has even settled neighbourhood disputes: "My neighbors used to get mad when the dog “Wally” would use their yard as a bathroom — not any more. In fact, they don’t get mad when I do it either."

Bic Crystal Ballpoint Pen

amazon reader reviews

This little collection goes to show that even the cheapest and most basic items aren’t safe from the Internet’s sense of humour – pens that cost a mere 25 pence (41 cents). "Worked fine with my right hand, but when I came to use my left hand my writing came out looking like the work of a complete imbecile," warns one shopper.

Importers beware, apparently this one’s region locked: "Because of the region differences, my imported pen will not work with region 1 8 1/2 x 11 inch letter-size paper – it only works on European (A4 and such) paper … I have looked up some so called “gray paper” import companies but I don’t know if I altogether trust them."

Tuscan Whole Milk (1 Gallon)

amazon reader reviews

Personally I’d recommend not buying foodstuffs from Amazon, and a few reviewers clearly feel the same way. In fact there are over 1,000 reviews for this gallon jug of milk, with the finest arguably being this lengthy poem and a tale of milk and love.

Greg, however, found a few problems "Initial set up of the Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz is easy, just unscrew the cap and remove the liner. It has a surprisingly rich set of standalone and integrated food possibilities and the addition of vitamin D was a bonus … however, I find that this product quickly becomes unstable (even without overclocking) to the point that it is no longer usable."

Male Testicular Exam Model Anatomy

reviews and reader reviews on amazon

No giggling at the back, this is a valid medical training tool! Then again, you can’t list it on Amazon and not expect the following reviews. Especially when you’re charging close to $150…

Stuck for gift ideas? So was one reviewer: "I was going to give my wife a pair of diamond stud earrings, and my kids were going to get an Xbox w/Kinect, but now, nuh-uh. It’s male testicular exam models for everyone!"

"WOW!" writes LeeAnne, "what a difference they have made in my life. No longer do I quake with fear at the slightest stressor. I am able to stride forward in my life with confidence…the kind of confidence that only a set of hairless, tumor-riddled testicles can give you."

Original Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt

amazon reviews

Probably the most famous Amazon product for all the wrong reasons, this t-shirt featuring not one, not two but three wolves all howling at the moon in unison has been celebrated with some of the funniest and most far-fetched reviews on the site.

Some elude to its incredible power: "I can honestly say I’ve never looked back. I don’t wear anything else. Literally. Sure, I’ve been arrested in every major supermarket for being naked from the waist down and limited washing has meant that I smell faintly of mushroom, but the wolves are a greater power and I no longer recognise Earth’s laws."

Whereas others warn against it: "I cannot recommend purchase of this shirt. Though its attractions are obvious and keenly felt by me I believe that it puts its wearer on a different plane to the other humans which – while flattering – will ultimately lead to isolation and loneliness."

Check them all out, they’re great.


You can pretty much sell anything on the Internet these days but you’re always at risk of attracting this kind of attention (sometimes with even the most mundane products). I dare say some of the products featured here have enjoyed boosted sales, better exposure and ultimately stick in the mind of those who have read the reviews.

Have you got any favourite funny Amazon reviews? Any ridiculous products you’ve found lately? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Steps You Can Take To Reduce The Firefox 4 Memory Leak

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 04:31 PM PDT

firefox memory leakSince the introduction of Chrome and the advancement of Internet Explorer to version 9, Firefox has been losing ground rapidly. Innovation is lacking and problems are amassing. One major issue is that Firefox 4 swallows up more RAM than any other version before it. Its memory usage has become almost abusive and working with a browser that turns your computer into a snail is no fun.

If you are looking for ways to tame the beast, I may have some clues! In this article I will show you 3 steps to reduce and limit the chunk Firefox bites off your RAM. I will start with the obvious, but in the last step, we will dive deep into the heart of your browser.


I have been using Firefox for many years and have carried over my profile from each version and computer to the next. Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of bookmarks, dozens of extensions (most disabled), and several plugins. So by version 4, Firefox has grown to a respectable size. You could call it a monster.

To show you that the tips I’m sharing do have an effect, I have documented how memory usage improved on my machine as I went from one step to the next. Unfortunately, I found that Firefox leaks memory, thus I recorded the value after a few minutes, even though in all cases it continued to increase. This is not 100% exact, but it still gives you a good idea of how well each step works.

Counting: 29 open tabs, 31 extensions

State of affairs: 700,740K

firefox memory leak

1. Close Or Hibernate Tabs

In case you didn’t know this already, the outrageous amount of memory Firefox uses, correlates with the even more outrageous amount of open tabs you cannot get yourself to close. Unfortunately, the easiest way to save a lot of RAM, is to close a lot of tabs.

If you cannot close all of them for the love of it, how about managing your tabs with the help of one of the following extensions:

  • BarTab
    Loads a tab only when it is visited and lets you unload tabs from memory either manually or automatically.
  • Memory Fox
    Fixes Firefox memory leaks and releases RAM.
  • Load Tabs Progressively
    Limits the number of concurrent loading tabs. Similar to BarTab.
  • TabGroups Manager
    Allows you to organize tabs in groups and hibernate groups, removing them from memory.

Personally, I work with TabGroups Manager. The extension helps me to keep the amount of open tabs at bay, and this is how I could remove 13 tabs from memory all at once.

For more about tabs, see this article: The 5 Best Firefox 4 Addons For Tabbed Browsing.

firefox memory hog

Counting: 16 open tabs, 31 extensions

Memory usage: 496,860K

2. Remove Add-Ons

Running add-ons, i.e. extensions, themes, or plugins, eat up quite a bit of RAM. So go through your collection and remove those that you never use. Before entirely removing them, you can disable them and see whether that significantly improves the memory leak. Go to > Firefox > Add-ons and switch between > Extensions > Appearance and > Plugins. Be sure to update them via the > Tools for all add-ons button.

firefox memory hog

Counting: 16 open tabs, 21 extensions

Memory usage: 443,916K

3. About:Config Hacks

There are several very potent hacks that control how much memory Firefox can or will use. None of them had a huge effect in my demonstration, but your results may vary.

Limit Firefox’ RAM usage

Type > about:config into the URL bar, promise to be careful, and scroll to > browser.cache.disk.capacity. The default value depends on how much RAM you have installed. Double-click it to change the value. Do not limit the RAM usage too aggressively, especially not below the amount of RAM Firefox is using as you apply this hack, so be sure to check first! In my case around 400,000K was a realistic value.

firefox memory leak

Allow Windows to Claim Back RAM when Firefox is Minimized

With this hack enabled, Windows will be able to claim back RAM more aggressively. In > about:config right-click anywhere and select > New > Boolean and enter > config.trim_on_minimize as the preference name. Double-click the new entry to set its value to > true. Restart Firefox to enable the changes.

firefox memory leak

Limit Memory Storage for Open Tabs

The last about:config preference we are going to look at is > browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers. The default value is -1, which will automatically determine the maximum amount of pages stored in memory, based on the total amount of RAM. In other word, the bigger your RAM and the more tabs you have open, the bigger the chunk that Firefox will take. You can set this value to zero to not store any pages in memory or to 1 for 32MB, 2 for 64MB, 3 for 128MB etc.

More information about this preference can be found in the mozillaZine. I went with 3 for 128MB.

Status: No change in tabs or add-ons, all hacks applied.

Memory usage: ~400,000K (maximized) and ~350,000 (minimized)


All steps brought some improvement, but the end result was still not very satisfying. Besides, the real problem with Firefox 4 is the memory leak, which in my case was mainly caused by open tabs. Firefox’ memory usage would climb on and on with no way to stop it, other than to close all tabs. When I closed all tabs except for one, Firefox used about 230,000K. With a virgin profile, memory usage went down to around 48,000K; finally a realistic value, but sadly with almost every little bit of customization removed.

Status: virgin Firefox profile, 1 tab open

Memory usage: ~48,000K

The conclusion is that Firefox has a problem, but if you love your open tabs and add-ons, you will have to put up with it. If you prefer a lean and fast browser however, simply ditch everything, create a new profile, and be very restrictive with what you add.

Finally, you may also want to try the tips from this article: 5 Things To Do When Firefox Runs Slow But Other Browsers Run Fast.

So what are you going to do? Hold on to your stuff or browse lightly?

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How To Create Cool Time-Lapse Videos With ChronoLapse

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 03:31 PM PDT

time lapse videoHave you ever watched a speed-drawing video on YouTube? You know the ones – they often feature some great Photoshop artist showing off their skill by creating a beautiful piece of art right in front of your eyes. A large part of what makes them so impressive is how fast everything happens. The video is shown in fast-forward, so that every second of video is actually several seconds (or even a minute) of real time.

If you’re still not quite sure what time lapse videos look like, here’s a great example :

It’s a video of someone drawing by hand, not a screencast. But that’s not a problem for ChronoLapse. This free, open-source app can create time-lapse videos either using your monitor or a webcam (or even combine both).

Let’s take a quick tour of the app and figure out how to use it to create a simple time-lapse screencast.

Here’s the main window:

time lapse video

As you can see, you can configure the interval between each capture (screenshot or webcam capture), and the source. You might want to change the interval, according to the pace of whatever you’re capturing: If you’re working in a frenzy and there’s a lot happening on the screen, setting a shorter interval would capture the action better.

Next, let’s take a closer look at configuring the screenshot source:

time lapse

If you have a dual-monitor system, you can use ChronoLapse to capture both monitors, as shown in this video.

You can also limit it to just a section of your screen, in case you don’t want it to capture any sensitive information displayed outside of the window you’re working on. Sadly, you cannot drag a marquee to indicate the area you’d like to capture. You can only manually specify its pixel borders. Also, you can’t “lock” the capture to a specific window – you can only capture a section of the screen (or the whole screen). For now, let’s just leave it as it was. Make sure you configure the Save Folder. This is where the captured images go. You’d want to use a new, empty folder.

Next, launch the application you wish to capture, load your file, and get ready. Once you’re all set, switch back to the ChronoLapse window and click Start Capture. The button will change to Stop Capture.

time lapse

Now go back to your app and go about your business, creating the masterpiece you’d like to record for posterity. If you need to pause for a while, you can just switch back to the ChronoLapse folder and click Stop Capture. Once you’re ready to start, just click Start Capture again.

Once you’re done working, go to your capture folder and check out the images:

time lapse

You will probably see a few images you don’t want to end up in the final video, such as screenshots showing the ChronoLapse interface itself. Simply delete those.

Now it’s time to make your movie! Switch back to ChronoLapse, and click the Video tab:

time lapse recorder

The Source Images folder should, of course, be the folder you originally captured all of the images to. Don’t worry about MEncoder. That’s the video encoder, and it comes bundled with ChronoLapse. Don’t change this setting unless you have a good reason.

You can also leave the codecs as they are. The chances are you’re going to upload the video to YouTube, which can process these easily. One thing you might want to tweak is the frame rate. Depending on the desired duration of the video, you can set how many frames per second your video should contain. Change this value and click ReCalculate Estimate (their capitalization, not mine). Once you’re happy with the projected duration, click Create Video.

A console window will now pop up, while MEncoder does its magic:

time lapse recorder

Once done, you’ll have a video file of your creation. Play it back and see if you’re happy with it. If you are, now’s the time to add audio. You can do this using ChronoLapse itself:

time lapse video

Just select your video file, any audio file (I obviously wouldn’t use Alanis for a real screencast…) and an output folder. Hit Add Audio and let MEncoder do its magic. Of course, this isn’t going to work if you’re going to narrate anything and need to sync the audio up to specific spots in the video, but then again, time lapse videos are rarely narrated. If you do need to narrate or add any other effects, you’re better off using a standard video editor.

You can do lots of other things with ChronoLapse. As soon as you bring a webcam into the picture, a host of other possibilities opens up. But I hope this short tutorial was enough to whet your appetite, and if you create anything cool, I’d love to see it in the comments!

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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Access Your Preference Panes From The Menu Bar With MenuPrefs [Mac]

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 02:31 PM PDT

access preference paneAre you always on the look-out for cool hacks and nifty tricks to make your life easier? Do you get sick of wading through pages of things you don’t need just to access the things you do need? Does Apple’s System Preferences generally just annoy you?

Well, there’s a way out. The coders at iThink Software also got annoyed with Apple Preferences and decided to write MenuPrefs in order to make it more manageable. Now, instead of click after click, you can now access all of your favourite Apple Preference Panes via the Menu Bar. Finally, there’s now a quick way to access your sound preferences, turn Growl on and off and change your energy saving settings. It’s all just there.

What Does MenuPrefs Do?

MenuPrefs is a simple application which runs in the Menu Bar system wide, allowing access to your Apple System Preferences. Users can choose which preference panes to list in MenuPrefs and re-arrange the order of the list. This means that sysadmins can limit the preferences list to just what’s available for users to change. Other users might limit it to just their most regularly-used preferences.

Get MenuPrefs

MenuPrefs is free and available from the iThink Software website. They’ve made public a serial number for use with the older version while they work on making an entirely freeware product ready for use.

Registration Name: MenuPrefs Freeware User
Serial Number: MP200ST001-E4E4-81NH-JF5C-DW26-G5HC

Installation is about as easy as it gets: just open the DMG and drag the application to the Applications folder. Then when you start it, enter the Freeware license given.

access preference pane

The MenuPrefs icon is now in your MenuBar and is ready to use.

preference pane mac

Modifying MenuPrefs

When you start using MenuPrefs you’ll soon see that the list of preferences is rather long. There’s also a “Show All” item to take you to the regular System Preferences pane.

To make changes to your MenuPrefs list, choose the “Preferences” option at the bottom of the list.

preference pane mac

The preferences let you choose to open MenuPrefs on startup, which is handy if you want to keep using it. You can also choose whether to show icons in the menu and how big those icons should be.

access preference pane

The list order can be changed to Name order, Location order, Category Order or Custom Order. Location order separates the list similarly to within System Preferences.

Custom order should let you choose which preferences to show in the list, including separators and a custom order. It’s a little buggy for me though and won’t make the changes.

More About Mac Preferences

If you’re keen on tweaking your system, you’ll probably also want to read about these preference changes you can make to your Mac:

So, is MenuPrefs something you’ve really wanted for a while? Is there anything the developer can do to improve the app? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Places Online To Find Long, Fulfilling Articles To Read

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 12:31 PM PDT

long articles to readDo you feel like your online life is lacking substance? Find longer, substantial things to read from around the web. You just need to know where to look.

Reading, at its best, should be fulfilling. The age of Twitter, cable news and paragraph-long blog posts can leave you feeling intellectually unsatisfied. There are only so many sound-bite driven tidbits you can read or watch in a day. Sometimes you need to immerse yourself completely into a particular story; longer articles allow you to do this. Some people work around this by finding particular journalistic sources and sticking to them, such as the New York Times (or, in the age of the paywall, some alternatives to the New York Times).

If you’d prefer to pull such stories from a variety of sources however, you’re also in luck. There are services out there dedicated to providing you with just that, and they index articles from a variety of sources on a variety of subjects.

Long Reads

The name is appropriate enough, right? Longreads is a database of longer articles from the around the web. You can search for articles on any subject:

long articles to read

This is perfect if there’s a topic you’re specifically interested in, or if you’re looking for context regarding a recent story in the news. With articles from a variety of reputable sources you can look past the soundbites and into the details for a particular story.

Don’t have anything specific in mind? You can simply browse the top articles of the day. The topics vary a great deal, but I’ve always been able to find something fascinating to read using this tool.

reading long articles

Once you find something you like you can read it now or click the “Read it Later” button. This button will send your content to Instapaper so you can read it later.

Instapaper’s Browse Page

Speaking of Instapaper, you can also find longer articles worth reading on their browse page. Here you’ll see selections picked by the Instapaper team, as well as some of the most-read items on the service.

reading long articles

I’ve found a lot of great things here, so take your time and browse. Articles range in terms of interest a great deal, which is perfect if you want to learn something new.

As with Long Reads you’ll find a “Read Later” button. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that this will send your article to Instapaper!


Surprised to find Twitter in this list? That makes sense: the social network built its reputation on limiting its users to 140 characters or less. That doesn’t mean people don’t link to longer content there, however.

long articles to read

Particularly helpful is the #longreads hashtag. People around the web use this to point out articles of substance, and Longreads (described above) even uses this hashtag to find content for its database.


I like to read longer articles, and between these three tools, I am never found wanting for material. I’m sure there are other places to find longer articles, though. Do you guys have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments below.

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Take a Screenshot & Upload To Your Site In One Step With UpScreen [Windows]

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 11:31 AM PDT

upload screenshotWhen you’re an online writer, you really have to spend a lot of time taking screenshots. This need also extends well beyond the online writing world. Maybe you need to create a web-based manual for work and you need to capture screenshots for it, or maybe you are a teacher trying to create an online how-to guide for your students to use at home.

There are a lot of important reasons why people need to take screenshots and then upload them to the web for online publication. Here at MUO, I think we’re really covered the gamut when it comes to screenshots, such as Ben’s list of the 4 best screenshot and screencast tools, Ann’s list of tools for high quality screenshots, or the list of Chrome snapshot plugins by Simon.

Believe it or not, there is another tool that you may want to consider if you want to shave even more time off your screen capturing efforts. Imagine being able to hit a couple of keys, draw a rectangle on your screen, and then have that area captured and automatically uploaded to your website or blog? In almost a single step you’ve cut four or five steps from the typical screenshot process. This is possible by using a cool little app called UpScreen.

One Quick Setup For Fast Screenshots

UpScreen is just an executable file. Download it and place it wherever you want to launch it from. The first time you launch the app, you’ll need to set up where the screenshots will get uploaded to via FTP.

If you can, stick to using “www” in front of your domain rather than “ftp” so that the preview window, which I’ll show you in a bit, will work correctly. So long as you list port 21 the server will know to access the FTP account. Ideally, you should create a special FTP account for this purpose. In this example I created an FTP account and assigned it to an “auto” folder inside the wp-content/uploads/ area of my blog.

upload screenshot

If you do assign the FTP account to a subdirectory structure inside the “public_html” directory, you’ll have an opportunity in the next step of the setup to tell the application what that directory is. Make sure you type the right one so that the preview feature of the screenshot app works right.

upload screenshot online

Now, when you run the application, you will see crosshairs show up on the screen. You can now draw the area that you want to take a shot of, and the application will capture it and upload it. But if you would rather take a full screenshot or check your FTP settings, right-click anywhere on the screen and you’ll see the menu appear.

upload screenshot online

Options is where you can re-configure FTP settings if you want to, or you can alter what image format you want the screenshots saved to. The five characters refer to the 5 random characters assigned to the screenshot name. You can assign more characters if you think you’ll be taking lots of screen captures over time.

upload screenshot online

To take a screenshot, just draw the rectangle as shown below. A gray box will appear over the area that you’ll be capturing as a new image.

The moment you release the mouse button, two things happen at once. First, the application captures the screenshot of the area you assigned. Second, it immediately connects to your FTP host account and uploads the file. That’s it! All of those ftp/upload steps are erased when you use UpScreen to do your screen captures.

instant screenshot upload

The screenshot I captured above is a screenshot of a Firefox window that I had open, which was displaying an image on my website. UpScreen took a snapshot of the area of my Firefox window that I had boxed, uploaded it to my website, and then displayed a preview of the snapshot as shown above. Now all I have to do is use that image link anywhere in my blog posts that I like.

Now, all this is well and good, but what good is it to have an executable you have to keep launching in order to do screenshots? The solution for this is to assign a hotkey to launch the app whenever you want to do a screenshot upload. There are lots of ways to create HotKeys in windows – I prefer to use the WinHotKey app.

instant screenshot upload

Here, I’ve defined Control-U as the hotkey to take a snapshot using UpScreen. That’s all there is to it.

A few final things you should know about Upscreen – taking a full desktop screenshot is as simple as running the app, right-clicking, selecting “Full Screen” and then double-clicking anywhere on the desktop.

instant screenshot upload

Here is my full desktop snapshot instantly uploaded to my website using UpScreen. This procedure took me just about 5 seconds and it was instantly on my site.

upload screenshot

You can also take a quick snapshot of a single window by double-clicking on the title bar of that window. UpScreen will capture the window, upload, and then display a preview of your uploaded picture in your web browser.

UpScreen is good for anyone that does a lot of screenshots, but it’s really worth its weight in gold if you do a lot of “how-to” articles that require constant screenshots. The ability to cut several steps out of the process can really save a lot of time in the long run.

Give UpScreen a shot and see if you find it as convenient as I do. What do you like about it and what would you change? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Liferea – The Perfect RSS Aggregator For Your Linux Desktop

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 10:31 AM PDT

rss aggregator linuxSince our need for information is growing, we need a good, reliable way of getting the information we care about. RSS feeds can do the job well, but managing those feeds is another story. There are some great online services like Google Reader, but there’s a chance you’re not always going to be online, depending on where you are with your machine. Therefore, a desktop client would be best. But for Linux, which client is best? Liferea will easily do the job.

Introduction & Installation

Liferea, short for Linux Feed Reader, is a simple RSS feed reader with some extra functionality. You can easily install it in any distribution by searching for a liferea package. Install it, and open it up!

Getting Started

The program is very easy to use. As soon as you open it, you are already within the main program window, and it will already be updating the few default feeds that it has configured. Here you can click on a source in the left pane and view individual articles from that source in the right pane. If you scroll down a little, you’ll find a metafolder of all unread items, so you can quickly read all the unread articles instead of searching for them in each individual news source.

rss aggregator linux

Adding new feeds is quick and easy. Just click on the “Add Subscription” button, and type in either the full URL of the RSS feed if you know it, or simply type in the home address of the site and Liferea will pick out the default one for you.

rss aggregator linux


Migration to Liferea is also very easy. The program does a great job of importing and exporting feed lists. If you’ve been a user of Google Reader, you can export your feed list from there and import it into Liferea, and you’ll have all the sources that you had in Google Reader.

If you happen to peek into the preferences (though you really don’t need to), you’ll find a handful of options to customize your viewing experience, as you might expect from Linux. Surprisingly (for me), there are also a few social media options, such as where to store bookmarks.

Finally, the last great and unique feature of Liferea is a script manager, where you can add custom scripts that run whenever a certain action occurs. You can choose where to hook the script, just as startup. Scripts isn’t my domain, but if you like customizing the world via scripts, this might even be your most-used feature, aside from your actual reading.


Overall, Liferea is among the best RSS feed readers that I’ve seen, especially on Linux. For me, it is feature-complete and does what I want it to do. The extra features and settings will also make those happy who want more out of the program than just simple reading. Even if you’ve never got into reading RSS feeds, try Liferea. Just add a source by entering the website, and you’ll get started in no time.

A word of wisdom for those who may be confused by this – at startup, Liferea needs to write a lot onto your hard drive because it is updating a list of feeds when it starts, and it will take longer if you have more feeds in Liferea. The disk activity may slow down your system until it is done, so be aware of that instead of screaming and kicking at your computer. Just remember, the sooner it’s done, the better.

Are you an active RSS feed reader? Do you or will you be using Liferea? Could Liferea possibly get you into reading RSS feeds? Do you think RSS feeds are even relevant now with other ways to get news and information? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Flickr

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Otixo: Access All Of Your Cloud Accounts & Files From One Place

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 09:31 AM PDT

access cloudAlmost all the big names in technology believe that the future is in the cloud, and the great wars to conquer that new territory have begun. Amazon and Google started the war on online music services and Apple happily joined the battle by announcing iCloud.

But music is not the only thing that people put in the cloud. There are documents, photos, and movies also there, with lots of cloud locations to put those files, including Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Docs, Apple iCloud, and personal FTP accounts. But one of the biggest problems of using cloud servers to save your files is that you have to manage them one by one. If you have ten different cloud accounts, you have to log into ten different servers to manage your files.

But luckily, there’s Otixo. This service will help you manage your cloud accounts from one place.

Collecting The Clouds

Start by signing up for the service. Don’t use a fake email address because Otixo will send the activation link to that address, and you can’t start before activating your account.

access cloud

After logging in, you can start managing your cloud accounts by adding them one by one to Otixo. Currently the supported cloud services are: Dropbox,, MobileMe (which will last only for another year), Google Docs, and other online storage services which use the WebDav protocol or FTP. Hopefully there will be more services added to the list in the future.

access cloud storage

To add a cloud service, click on one of the icons on the list. Otixo will ask you to give a name for that account. You can give any name you want, but it’s advisable to use a name related to the service, so that later on, you will have no trouble telling which account is which.

access cloud storage

Adding WebDav and FTP accounts requires you to fill in more than just a “Display Name” field.

The next step is authorizing Otixo to access the account. Click the “Authorize” button and log into the account.

access cloud storage

Then give Otixo permission to connect with the account.

access cloud drive

You will see your cloud service appear on Otixo’s web-based file explorer. To add another cloud service, click the “New Service” icon above the file explorer and repeat the process.

access cloud drive

All the added cloud services are listed on the left pane of the explorer. I discovered that you can only add one Dropbox account to the list.

access cloud drive

Otixo’s file explorer acts similarly to a normal desktop file explorer. You can go inside a folder, open a file, copy and paste, and do other basic file/folder actions.

02b inside folder

You can see all the available actions above the file explorer.

02c file functions

Bringing The Cloud To The Desktop

Another great feature of Otixo is the ability to access the account from your computer desktop. It means that you can add your cloud services to Otixo and access them from your computer’s file explorer as if they were just another drive.

You can find detailed steps on how to set up Window Explorer to access Otixo by clicking the “Otixo on the Desktop” link above its file explorer.

04 on desktop

Just follow the steps, make sure that your computer is connected to the net, and you are good to go.

04b desktop FAQ

Text documents on Otixo are also accessible (and editable) via Pages on the iPad. The detailed instructions can be found under the “Help – Otixo in Pages for iPad” link.

04c ipad

Mac support is currently “coming soon”, But out of curiosity, I tried to follow the Windows version of the instructions to connect my Mac’s Finder to Otixo. I succeeded. Here are the steps.

  • Open the “Go – Connect to Server” menu (or use Command + K).

07a finder connect

  • Write down “” (without quotes) in the server address and click “Connect“.

07b Connect to Server

  • Then Finder will try to connect to the server.

07c Connecting to Server

  • After connecting, a window will appear asking for your credentials. Choose to connect as a “Registered User“, fill in the “Name” field with the email address that you use for Otixo, write down your password, and click “Connect“.

07c authorization

  • If all the data you provide is correct, Finder will open a new window showing the contents of the “webdav” online drive. You can see all your cloud services there.

07d webdav

  • As long as your computer is connected to the net, the webdav access will be available. But please note that the access to those files and folders inside webdav might not be as fast as the access to other items inside the local hard drive. It will depend on the speed of your Internet access.

access cloud

Since both Mac and Linux are built around the Unix environment, I think the trick will also work for Linux machines. I can’t confirm this but I’m sure one of the readers can. Please try the method and share your findings using the comments below.

If you happen to use similar services which are better, why not tell us all about it?

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Three Great 3D Launchers To Revamp Your Android Phone Homescreen

Posted: 16 Jun 2011 08:31 AM PDT

3d launcher android3D performance is a competition that all current smartphones have entered into with pride.  While basic 3D has been easily accomplished on computers for over a decade, it's still rather novel on smartphones. The hardware inside these devices is just starting to become sufficient for displaying truly impressive graphics.

Games are, of course, an easy way to show of the graphical chops of a smartphone. But what if you want a more practical way to display the power of your Android phone? A 3D launcher might be exactly what you're looking for.

Regina 3D

3d launcher android

A relative youngster in the world of launchers, Regina 3D has managed to make a splash by offering a quality 3D interface without a price-tag. There are many great launchers already available on the Android Marketplace, including ADW and Launcher Pro, but they do charge for certain versions. Regina 3D is completely free.

Regina's default interface looks like HTC Sense after getting a job at a steel mill. There's a Sense-style dock on the bottom of the interface and the large clock is also reminiscent of HTC's launcher, but the background is a slick metallic texture and the widgets are dressed to the nines. The 3D effects are noticeable, but also subtle. Moving between homescreens displays a 3D transition effect and widgets have a cool flip animation that is used when switching between display modes. The app tray also uses your smartphone's 3D capabilities to provide a subtle transparency effect.

There is great widget support in Regina, and the functionality is competitive with the veteran launchers. The main disadvantage at the moment is customization, but if you aren't going to spend much time tricking out your interface, this won't be a problem for you.

Regina 3D Launcher requires Android 2.1 and up.

MX Home

3d launcher

Android phones typically base themselves off the concept of having numerous home screens. That's fine, but is it really necessary? After all, flipping through screens can become a bit tiresome.

MX Home tackles the launcher question from a slightly different angle by introducing a 3D “cover page” which contains a clock as well as access to the most important apps on any Android phone, such as Dialer, Internet and Contacts. A battery life indicator, Wi-Fi switch and other gadgets are also incorporated, and the click has a subtle but smooth 3D effect that is based on user input.

The main problem with MX Home is customization, and it's more severe than the issue facing Regina 3D. Since the cover page is a static entity, manipulating the interface requires a modified 3D model and a re-skin. Currently there are just two themes available on the Android Marketplace. The launcher also needs to do a better job of integrating the 3D cover page with the rest of the interface. MXHome is free, as is the second theme.

MX Home requires Android 2.1 and up.

SPB Shell 3D

3d launcher android

This launcher has a very special place on the marketplace. Most of the launchers currently out are indie apps that are made by one developer or a small team. SPB Shell 3D, however, is made by SPB software, a company with a huge variety of apps available for Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and more. It's also unique because of its price tag – a whopping $15.

You might be thinking “Wow – the other launchers are free. How can this possibly justify $15?” There are many answers. SPB Shell 3D puts its 3D effects to better use than any of the other launchers. It has a cool, quick and handy carousel view for navigating screens and it's also possible to use a 3D view to organize what screens are displayed and where. In addition to this, many of the included SPB Shell widgets have 3D effects of their own. The global time widget, with its beautiful 3D globe, is one example.

There's more to SPB Shell 3D than the shiny graphics, as well. It has the best folder implementation of any launcher currently available for Android, and it's surprisingly quick considering all the special effects being used. Paying $15 for an Android app may seem crazy, but if you want a serious do-it-all launcher that also makes excellent use of your phone's 3D hardware, you can't go wrong with SPB Shell 3D.

SPB Shell 3D requires Android 2.1 – 2.3.3.


I'm honestly surprised that there isn't a greater selection of 3D launchers available, but then, development almost certainly takes time. If you know of a 3D launcher we missed or one that it is development and looking good, let us know in the comments.

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