Tuesday, June 28, 2011

MakeUseOf.com: “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 11 more

MakeUseOf.com: “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 11 more

Link to MakeUseOf

Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 11:03 PM PDT

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

  1. Online Gaming In The 90?s… (Pic)
  2. I'm Gonna Get Stuff Done Today!! (Pic)
  3. The Most Accurate GPS Device (Pic)
  4. Mom, Can I Go Online? (Pic)
  5. Geeky Marriage Proposal (Pic)
  6. I Wonder Whats The Weather's Like?! (Pic)
  7. That Awkward Moment… (Pic)

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.

Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun] is a post from: MakeUseOf

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Cool Websites and Tools [June 27th]

Posted: 27 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!

 

Reactor Finder – The recent earthquakes in Japan caused a lot of damage to the country's nuclear power stations. With this event the world's attention was refocused on nuclear power and its potential danger. If you are curious about nuclear reactors in the world and their locations, check out Reactor Finder by VOANews. Read more: Reactor Finder: Maps Nuclear Reactor Locations Worldwide

 

Sleep Cycle – If you've been waking up really tired from sleeping, even though you've had a good 8-9 hours of sleep, then it might be because you have woken up suddenly during the deep sleep phase. Sleep Cycle is a bio alarm clock that makes use of the iPhone or iPod touch to ensure that you wake up in your light sleep phase. Read more: Sleep Cycle: A Bio Alarm Clock For iPhone & iPod Touch

 

 

RSS Search Engine – Some of us love RSS feeds and wouldn't read otherwise. RSS Search Engine lets you search for feeds across the web based on either topics, from a particular site, or a combination of both. You can also search using categories like "tech news" and use popular search engine options like "allintitle" or "inurl". Read more: RSS Search Engine: Search RSS Feeds On Any Topic

 

 

Llama Font – If you love playing with fonts and are looking for a fun tool to pass the time, or maybe trying to convey a message in a way that doesn't look harsh or inappropriate then you might want to try out this web based tool called Llama Font. The name sums up what the tool does. Anything you type will be converted into Llama fonts. Read more: Llama Font: Type In Fonts That Uses llamas As Characters

 

 

Downloads In Tabs – The release of Firefox 4 with its speed, security, and interface improvements showed the impressive evolution of a browser we all love. But it did not stop us from noticing that Firefox's download management interface has not changed at all – it still opens in a new window which makes for a messy desktop. Downloads in Tab is a Firefox extension that helps solve that. Read more: Downloads In Tabs: Puts The Downloads Window Into A Tab [Firefox]

 

These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

Cool Websites and Tools [June 27th] is a post from: MakeUseOf

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3 Tools To Download Facebook Photo Albums

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 06:30 PM PDT

download facebook photo albumMany of us spend time on Facebook just for the sake of exchanging photos with old friends.

Storing your personal photos and sharing them with your contacts is one of the most popular Facebook features.

We have already shared a few cool Facebook photo tips: here’s a way to enlarge Facebook photos on hover-over and here’s another fun tool to quickly create Facebook photo slideshows. We have also shared a detailed post on doing Facebook photo search.

Today’s post shares three tools to download your and your friends’ photo albums:

1. PhotoGrabber: Download Photos of Any Friend (Desktop)

PhotoGrabber is an desktop application that makes it easy to download all Facebook photos of any of your friends. This could be a good app for social media monitoring of your child’s photos, for example.

Just have the app installed, give it access to your data on Facebook (through Facebook authentication) and choose your friend in the list. You can:

  • Download all photos where your friend is tagged in;
  • Download all albums that contains your friend’s photos;
  • Download all albums uploaded by your friend;
  • Download comments and tagging information of the photos:

download facebook photo album

When you select the destination folder, give it some time and all photos will soon be downloaded.

Download PhotGrabber: Mac / Windows

Note: If you are unable to download ALL photos where you are tagged in, it’s probably the default privacy settings to blame. A Facebook application with a user’s credentials has different permissions than the same user accessing Facebook from a browser. The people who have uploaded and tagged pictures of you are probably blocking applications from accessing their information.

Here are also some tips on customizing your Privacy to control the way the tool can access your photos.

2. Fluschipranie: Download Your Albums (FireFox)

Fluschipranie is an experimental plugin for FireFox 4 that requires no restart to be installed.

Once you have it installed, browse to “Your Albums” on Facebook and right-click on your album link and notice “fluschipranie Download” option:

download facebook album

Now, give your photos a “base name” (your downloaded photos will be named “base_name_01″, base_name_02″, etc):

download facebook album

You can check Facebook’s prefix checkbox if you do not want to change Facebook’s default prefix or simply click OK with the input field empty.

Finally point it to the folder where all the articles will be saved and click “Download”.

Here you go! All the album photos are in your target folder:

download facebook album

Note: There’s an Opera extension to be launched soon.

3. Download Facebook Album’s Photos as HTML page (Google Chrome)

This Google Chrome Extension is another nice way to download all Facebook album photos (either yours or those belonging to any of your friends). It works via a toolbar icon:

  • When viewing photos on Facebook, click the button;
  • A new page will be created listing all photo thumbnails;
  • Use CTRL+S shortcut to save this page (together with linked images);
  • The destination folder will contain this page + a separate folder with all listed photos.

download photo album from facebook

More ways to download Facebook photos:

I am sure there are other great hacks to list here: please share them in the comments!

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3 PDF Document Management Tools For Organizing Your Research

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 04:30 PM PDT

pdf document managementThe web has seen its fair share of research-friendly tools grow over the past years, which makes sense, considering more people are actively engaging online, uploading documents and photos, publishing blog posts, and more, simply expanding online information. Among these tools, are some very popular services, including Diigo, the Firefox-only Scrapbook, Google Books, and other quality research tools, which can help you organize your findings when you research for cars, for homework, for verifying or debunking science claims, and a whole lot more.

When you're in the market for researching academically though, there are dedicated services that will definitely simplify your life. We're not just talking about  bibliographic reference managers (such as BibMe) or catalogue managers like Libra, which help you keep track of your gigantic book, DVD, song, etc collection. What we will discuss are tools that help you keep your PDF article library neat and catalogued for use when you have to compose your research paper, so read on to find out which services stand out in this category.

Mendeley [Cross-Platform]

pdf document management

Mendeley is a renowned scientific research management tool and academic social network that helps you index and organize research papers and PDF documents into a personal digital library of sorts. Not only can you organize your PDF library, but you can also highlight and annotate your PDFs, as well as sync documents across platforms since Mendeley is available for download on Windows, Mac and Linux, and on iOS. Mendeley also has a great web app, which you can use to add notes to a PDF file, as well as edit metadata. What's cool is that Mendeley extracts bibliographic information, such as PubmedIDs, from your PDF documents, which helps you keep a tidy personal database, complete with searchable information of many kinds.

 

Zotero [Cross-Platform Firefox Addon]

manage pdf documentsThe open source Zotero not only helps you build bibliography and keep track of your references, it also provides a place for you to organize your PDF article library. Like Mendeley, Zotero can sync citations and entries across operating systems and mobile platforms. It also permits the user to bookmark, highlight and add sticky notes to pages, assemble a no-fuss mailing list, index full-text from PDFs, etc. Zotero not only stores PDF files, it also can store files, images, links, and entire web pages.

Benubird PDF [Windows]

Benubird PDF is part Windows Explorer shell replacement, part collection manager. You can use this program to group specific files into collections or even use the Smart Collection feature to automatically group files into virtual folders according to rules you set. By default, there are four empty collections ready for you to make use of, namely, Finances, General, Personal, and Work. You can also put files together into a zip archive from within this program and select specific folders to keep track ("Watched Folders"), as well as what files to show. In this screenshot, I chose to have Benubird monitor my Dropbox folder's PDF files only.

pdf document management

Filtering files of a certain format isn't the only unique feature that Benubird possesses, as it also allows you to add tags to any file and edit the PDF details (metadata) without having to open up your PDF reader. Despite the fact that Benubird froze up several times during my test, it is a pretty robust tool to help you organize your PDF collection better. You should definitely check it out (or see the cross-platform Shoka, which is another PDF library manager) if you constantly deal with a huge collection of PDF documents.

If you're just collecting PDF-based research articles, Mendeley and Zotero are probably the best choices to help you keep an organized library, as they also pick up bibliographic information. If you're looking for just an easier way to manage your PDF documents only, try Benubird.

What do you use to organize your research and manage your PDF document collection? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Shutterstock – Spectral-Design

3 PDF Document Management Tools For Organizing Your Research is a post from: MakeUseOf

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4 Hacker Software Tools Every Budding Coder Should Have

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 03:31 PM PDT

hacker softwareIf you're a computer geek, chances are you like fiddling around with things. You are, in short, a hacker. Although most hackers probably use Linux, there are some that use Windows. Maybe your business requires you to use Windows. This post covers some essential hacking and coding tools for all you Windows hackers. Why should the Linux crowd get all the fun, right?

Before we begin, what is a hacker? Well, Wikipedia defines a hacker as “a person who heavily modifies the software or hardware of their own computer system” while Google defines a hacker as “an enthusiastic and skillful computer programmer or user“. I bet most of you here fit that second description at least.

jEdit

This is less known than Notepad++. It supports many advanced features, such as syntax highlighting, which is a must if you're a programmer. It also has features such as a built-in macro language, which allows it to be incredibly extensible. It's written in Java, which allows it to be cross-platform.

As a programmer, you are constantly removing code to optimize your program, to fix bugs or any number of other reasons. Sometimes, you may need it back. The so called “Kill Ring” stores deleted text, so you never have to worry.

It supports 130 languages, including AppleScript and Objective-C, which surprised me. So even as a stranded Mac developer, it's worth a go. It comes with a nice amount of documentation that’s easy to understand, so if you're ever stuck, don't worry. It's a powerful text editor that no Windows programmer should go without.

hacker software

free hacking software

FireBug

FireBug is the number one free web development tool for Firefox which allows live inspecting and editing of webpages. It is is a powerful tool for testing your websites and fixing problems without having to reload the page all the time. Similar to Safari's built-in ‘Element Inspector’ but for Firefox. Safari is not extensible enough for a web developer, though that may change with Safari 5. For now though, Firefox is the way to go for web development and FireBug makes it even better.

One use for FireBug is downloading page elements, such as Flash games.

free hacking software

Jorge covered how to install Firebug on other browsers than Firefox back in 2009, and James also covered it in his recent CSS tutorial.

AutoHotKey

free hacking softwareThis is like TextExpander for Windows, although it goes much further than that. It's a macro utility which runs in the background and intercepts any key or mouse presses you have ordered it to. It is easily script-able and allows you to do many things, from reversing your scrolling, to auto-correcting text, to the aforementioned text substitution.

I can have it set to substitute “@habib” with “habib@makeuseof.com“. I can set it to do it after the space, or immediately. My choice. That's the beauty of it: everything can be tweaked. Here's one line of code that replaces @habib with my email:

:*:@habib::habib@makeuseof.com

The block of text can be as long as I want. I can have pre-written email responses. For the budding coder, you can set it so that +ifelse writes out an if, else statement for you. Then just enter the condition, statements, and other elements. It's obvious how this can speed up development substantially. In fact, with AutoHotKey, you can optimize a machine for any task, from development to gaming. If the game doesn’t allow you to choose the controls, just fire up the associated AutoHotKey script.

Tina wrote about ac'tivAid, a set of useful AutoHotKey scripts, last year.

VirtualBox

This is a no-brainer for web developers, especially if you run a geeky-type website, where a lot of visitors use Linux. Mac OS X can be installed, albeit without support and you'd be breaking the license, which is illegal.

hacking software

Some of you may be asking why not just install Linux here and dual-boot, or even replace Windows and have all these tools available out of the box, or with a better alternative? Well, some people are required to run Windows and may not want to keep VirtualBox running all the time, while dual-booting would be a pain in the ass. These tools allow you to have some of the power and extensibility of Linux without having to give up your job, dual-booting or keeping 2 whole OS’s running. VirtualBox allows you to test your websites with other OS’s, or develop for Linux in your spare time. If you are trying to port an application, virtualization is a lifesaver.

hacker software

This app has been covered many times on MakeUseOf, e.g. two posts by Jorge in January and February 2009, while Justin wrote about VirtualBox's seamless mode last year.

What do you think of these tools? Do you have any other suggestions? Did you already know of these tools, and their uses? Are you going to consider retrying some of these programs? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Image Credit: Alan Toniolo de Carvalho

4 Hacker Software Tools Every Budding Coder Should Have is a post from: MakeUseOf

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Feedly Mobile – Keep Up With News & Google Reader Feeds On The Go With This Stylish App [iOS & Android]

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 02:30 PM PDT

news reader appWhen I first went looking for a suitable news and RSS reader for my iPhone, I had two prerequisites – no price tag (the feeds are free, after all) and Google Reader integration. At the time Feedly was a paid download, and my unwillingness to pay for content I was already getting for free (albeit in an attractive wrapper) put me off.

Then Feedly’s developers dropped the charge, and made this attractive little news reader free to all. No price tag? Check. Google Reader? Check. A host of other features and a beautiful UI? Check. Suddenly I started to feel rather tight-fisted.

I’ve been using Feedly for a few weeks now, and I thought it’s about time to share what I love about this powerful, minimalist news reader.

Feedly On Its Own

First up – if you don’t use Google Reader then you might still enjoy Feedly. By default the app features news feeds from a long list of popular sites including the BBC, Engadget, Perez Hilton and Instructables – quite a mix.

In fact there are so many news feeds included that you’ll probably never read a whole "issue". This doesn’t actually matter, because Feedly is a learning app. The more you use it, the more news stories you tap and sections you frequent the more Feedly will personalize your reader.
news reader app
Sections included within the app are as follows: tech, design, fashion, web-design, business, photography, deco, cooking, gaming, cinema, celebrities, Apple, Android, do it yourself, and world news – there’s definitely something for everyone. Each section receives the personalization treatment, so even if you don’t find yourself that interested in a particular topic the app might still deliver something that tickles your fancy.
news reader app android
Click on the first screen you’ll see is the Essentials section, which provides a brief overview of the top stories in your most popular sections. It is at this point Feedly somewhat resembles a customized, electronic magazine – ultimately making it one of the classiest ways of chewing through some RSS.

Google Reader Integration

Feedly supports full Google Reader integration, with features like recommending articles and sharing via email and Twitter. It’s easy to login, simply touch the bar in the bottom left and choose Login to feedly/Google Reader and input your credentials.
news reader app android
The first thing you’ll notice will be your own feeds, in glorious Feedly-vision ready for perusal. The second thing you’ll probably notice is all those previous feeds that the app so usefully included have disappeared (at least from the menu view). I noticed that the Essentials button still took me to Feedly’s prior feeds, though this could be due to the fact that I prefer vanilla Feedly than using my Google account, and the app was used to my normal setup.
news reader app android
Further Google integration includes a buzz section for items recommended by friends, history for past articles, saved for later for bookmarked posts and latest which displays the most recent content. You can also choose to share, save, email (and so on) individual articles, as per the screenshot above.

The choice over whether to connect Google Reader depends on your expectations from a news app. If you have a highly customized RSS configuration with only the news that matters to you then go for it. If you’re not a massive RSS user and enjoy a less regimented browsing experience then vanilla Feedly may suffice.

Shortcuts & Navigation

Navigation within Feedly is a truly wonderful thing. The app plays out like an "issue" – content from the web organised into a magazine-style layout. Swiping left and right will take you to the next and previous story or index, a swipe down the page marks items as read and a swipe up marks as unread.
news reader iphone
On an index card (list of stories) tapping the centre of the heading text will open the article, tap left to save the article for later or tap to the right to toggle between read and unread. I’ve encountered very little lag whilst scrolling lengthy articles and image posts in Feedly.
By default the app uses a black-on-white colour scheme, however for reading at night you might prefer white-on-black. This is accomplished with a simple shake of your device.
news reader app

Download

The version of Feedly reviewed here is the iPhone version (2.0.1), which may have minor differences between Android or iPad editions. There is also a Feedly web app for Firefox, Chrome and Safari and you can find out more about these on the official Feedly site.

  • Download – Feedly for iOS (4.0+ required, iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad)
  • Download – Feedly for Android (2.2 required)

Conclusion

Feedly is a cracking little reader for simple news updates whilst also tactfully handling your entire personal RSS catalogue. Minimalist design makes it easy on the eyes, smooth and quick to navigate. The learning algorithm provides a custom channel of news and the in-built feeds are plentiful. To top it all off Feedly is now free, and doesn’t feature one pesky advert. Download it, use it and tell us what you think!
Have you tried Feedly yet? Did you buy it? Get it for free? Any features you’d love to see? Let us know in the comments!

Feedly Mobile – Keep Up With News & Google Reader Feeds On The Go With This Stylish App [iOS & Android] is a post from: MakeUseOf

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The Top 4 Websites To Find Free iPad Books

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 12:30 PM PDT

ipad booksAs much as some people want to ignore it, it seems that eBooks are here to stay. This does not mean, of course, that paper books are gone for good, and I personally still like them very much, but it’s hard to withstand the availability and speed with which one can get one’s hands on an eBook.

While not being as fun as paper books or as easy on the eyes as other dedicated eReaders, the iPad provides a good way to read thousands of eBooks without buying another specialized device. Below I mention several websites where you can find loads of free iPad books.

Note that most of the free books you can get are those that are now in the public domain, meaning they are mostly by dead authors or have become public domain for other reasons. If you’re looking to get the latest big bestseller, you probably won’t find it for free on these websites.

In order to view these books on your iPad you’ll need an eBook app like iBooks. Simply add the .epub files to your iTunes library and sync them to your iPad. The books will automatically appear in iBooks.

Project Gutenberg

ipad books

Project Gutenberg might not be the best website to look at, but I guess that’s because they’re concentrating on what’s really important, and that’s bringing us  lots of free books! It has pretty good search and browse options, and if you know what you’re looking for, finding it should be a breeze. There’s also a Top 100 list that should help if you don’t really know what you’re looking for.

This site offers eBooks in 7 different formats (including ePub, PDF, Kindle and several others). When I downloaded the ePub version on “Alice in Wonderland”, I got a file named “pg11″, which wasn’t very helpful. The book also didn’t come with a proper cover (or artwork, if you wish), so that was a bit boring, and this was the case for other books I downloaded through this site as well, but the books themselves were all there.

free ipad books

Project Gutenberg also offers an offline catalog of their books, so if you want to sit and look through it while you’re not connected to the internet, you can do so easily. You can also find books in many other languages, with 14 languages boasting more than 50 books to download!

ManyBooks

free ipad books

On first glance, ManyBooks‘ design is better than Project Gutenberg, and definitely more “modern”, but after I tried playing with it a little, I found their interface a bit confusing. ManyBooks offers, well, many free books, and you can get those in numerous formats, some that I’ve never even heard of before.

free ipad books

Just browsing through their titles or authors gets a bit confusing, but searching works well. If you need help finding a book, there’s a “recommended” section and a “new titles” section. The “new” titles are, of course, new to the site, but not to the world. I also found a weird mix of English and non-English books in the same place, which didn’t help my confusion at all.

I chose to download “Through the Looking Glass”, which came with the helpful file name of “carrollletext91lglass19epub”, but the book did come with a cover picture, which was nice.

ePubBooks

This site is a great improvement when it comes to looks. It’s very nice to look at, all the books have cover pictures and I found myself browsing it for much longer. I guess I’m a sucker for good looks.

ePubBooks offers many free books, but it also points you to places where you can get paid books. There aren’t many formats to download here, as you can guess from the name, but when looking for iPad books, this is not a problem. I chose to download the book “A Christmas Carol”, and the file name included both the name of the book and the author’s name in a way I could actually read it. Big plus! The file (and others I tried) did not, however, contain a cover picture for the book.

books for ipad

This site lets you browse and search, like all other sites, but it also lets you browse by genre. This is not new by any means, but what I loved about it is that ePubBooks actually explains what each genre means. Dropping genre names is all nice and dandy, but it’s great to know what they mean by those names.

books for ipad

FeedBooks

FeedBooks is different from the other websites in that it has its own eBook store, which could be useful to some. This also means that you need to be wary, because many of the suggestions they give on their main page are for paid books. You can choose to look only at free books, and there is also an “Original books” category, which is interesting.

books for ipad

The book I chose to download came with a book cover image, and the name of the file was the best of all the sites I tried: “H. G. Wells – The War of the Worlds”. This is what it should look like! This by itself, for me, is a winning feature. As far as I could see, this website offers books in the ePub format only. It’s a very easy site to browse through, and it even has an RSS feed you can subscribe to which will let you know about new releases.

ipad books

If you’re looking for books in other languages, though, this might not be the site for you. While other sites offer books in numerous other languages, FeedBooks offers book in only 4 languages (English, French, German and Spanish). But if you’re looking for books in these languages, you should definitely give this site a spin.

Conclusion

All these websites deliver what I was looking for, which is free iPad books. It’s hard to say which one is the best, as they all have some good features, and, of course, free books! But as all books are the same, I will tend to use the website that offers the best browsing experience, and that was FeedBooks. Having a coherent file name on download didn’t hurt either.

So where do you get your free books? Is there a really good website we missed? Let us know in the comments!

The Top 4 Websites To Find Free iPad Books is a post from: MakeUseOf

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Two Cost Free Ways To Sign & Send Digital Documents

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 11:30 AM PDT

sign digital documents

Ever since the release of the iPad, I have resolved to avoid printing documents of any kind on paper. With so many online and software solutions for creating managing, and reading documents, there's little reason these days— especially in computer-centered environments—to use paper and ink. The website, SignNow and the ad-supported version of Sign-N-Send are two examples of how important documents can be signed and emailed without the need for ink and paper. Let's check out their features.

SignNow

There are several online and mobile signature apps and services on the market today, but I don't know of one that is as easy to use as SignNow.com.
sign digital documents
First off there's no online registration to go through. This site only requires your and/or recipient's email for your signed document to be emailed to you or others. You simply click the Upload & Go button to import your document into the online web application.
digital document
I uploaded both a plain RTF document and a PDF, and each appeared in the online application without a problem. I would imagine that large multi-page documents might take longer to upload, but the site doesn't indicate a page limit for uploading.

SignNow is so cool that it includes a “Try a Sample” document that you can use for practice. Now, here's the catch, if you want to call it that: you are signing your document online using your computer mouse or trackpad. Thus, the signature is not going to be exactly how you might sign with a pen, nor will the print be as smooth.
digital document
I practiced signing with my mouse a few times until it matched as close to how my pen on paper signature would like. The results of trying to sign using my trackpad were not as good. But as the site points out, "Don't Worry! Even if your signature looks weird, it's still legally valid."

The Try a Sample will give you all the practice you need. Just follow the instructions for drawing your signature. There's also a Type Signature option that for many purposes could work just as well.
digital document
In addition, you can add typed text and a sticky note for telling a recipient of your document where to sign.
digital signature
To complete the process, if you're the only one signing the document, just provide your email address and the document will be emailed to you in PDF format. If you need a signature of one or more people, use the “Invite a Signer” option. For added security, you can include a password for the document you're sending. You just need to let the recipient know the password.

Sign-N-Send

Sign-N-Send is a non-registration iPhone and iPad application that you can use for signing digital documents. To get a document for signing into Sign-N-Send you need to email it to your iOS device. As with other mail attached documents, you open the email, and then press and hold your finger on the attached icon. An option for opening the document in Sign-N-Send will appear.

digital signature

Next, navigate to the page where it needs signing or filling out. Select the Pen tool at the top of the document. Select a pen color and write your signature with your finger or stylus pen.

You may have to practice a few times, so just tap the Eraser, Undo, or Clear button to erase pen marks and start over.
digital signature
You can also select the Type tool to type text on the document as well.

Once you're done, you can email the document, send it Dropbox or to another application that supports it, or print it wirelessly from your iPad.
sign digital documents
Sign-N-Send also allows you to save and manage your documents for later use.  You can also create documents with the application.

The free version of this app stamps your document with the Sign-N-Send ad at the top of the page, so if you like and need to use the app a lot, this free version is useful for testing. The non-ad version is $1.99.

Let us know what you think of these tools. If you have tried and liked similar online or mobile applications, please share them with our readers.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

Two Cost Free Ways To Sign & Send Digital Documents is a post from: MakeUseOf

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Avast Working On Android App, Will Offer Extra Features For Rooted Phones [News]

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 11:11 AM PDT

Avast, currently one of the most popular Windows anti-malware companies and known for Avast! Free, has revealed that an Android app is in the works. This isn't surprising, but more unusual is the company's plan to provide extra functionality to users who own rooted phones.

The details on what features would be unlocked have not been announced, but chief technical officer Ondrej Vlcek told CNET the reasoning behind this decision : “rooted phones are more prone to certain kinds of attacks […] We consider people with rooted phones high-risk users, and so they need more security“.

In addition to a focus on rooted devices, Avast! will be including another rare feature – VPN access. This will make it possible for mobile users to securely access the Internet even when using an unsecure public WiFi network. Access to the VPN feature will be an additional charge, however.

Besides the above, the Android app will include the company's antivirus engine, anti-theft and phone tracking, and parental locks. The app may also be bestowed with a backup service and the Avast! WebRep engine, which helps users avoid sites that host malware of browser exploits.

When can you obtain this fancy new Android security app? A precise release date isn't set, but the company has stated that they seek to release several new products within a few months. This means late summer or fall is most likely.

Source: CNET

Avast Working On Android App, Will Offer Extra Features For Rooted Phones [News] is a post from: MakeUseOf

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How To Convert A PowerPoint 2010 Presentation Into A Video With One Click

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 10:30 AM PDT

convert powerpoint to videoConverting a PowerPoint slide to a video has lots of uses. It can be used to send a cluster of pictures to someone who does not have PowerPoint or a PowerPoint viewer installed. Videos are in fact, quite an easy way to send someone a PowerPoint presentation. In any case, a video 'show' sounds more interesting than a PowerPoint slideshow; you can convert one and watch it on a TV. Another use I can think of straightaway is to create a novel 'visual resume' to stand out from the crowd. Pretty much like the one demonstrated in the said link.

Creating a video from a slideshow isn't something new. It has been a pretty common activity thanks to the clutch of PPT to video converters. But thanks to the latest edition of Microsoft Office, you can do away with third party tools…at least for a basic video conversion job.

Microsoft Office 2010 has come in with a slew of user-friendly new features. One of the new features in PowerPoint 2010 helps you convert Powerpoint presentations to video with just a click.

Here are the steps that start with a normal presentation file.

  1. After creating a presentation, select the File tab from the ribbon.

    convert powerpoint to video

  2. Click on Save and SendCreate a Video under File Types.

    powerpoint to video

  3. A few optional settings help to further tailor your video creation process.As the screenshot below shows, you can record and time voice narration and laser pointer movements in your video effectively creating a screencast. All other animations and transitions are also preserved in the converted format.

    powerpoint to video

  4. Two dropdowns fine tune your 'production' for the media it will be displayed on. It also determines file size. For instance, opting for Portable devices reduces the resolution. I find this quite handy if I have to carry along and watch a presentation on an iPod or a smartphone.

    powerpoint to video

  5. You can also add the recorded timings and narration to the video. You can also specify the time that will determine the transition from one slide to the next.
  6. Finally click on the large Create Video button and choose a location to save your video as a WMV file.

    convert powerpoint to video

As the conversion to .wmv format begins there will be a progress bar displayed in the lower right corner of PowerPoint that indicates the pace. The time taken for the conversion will of course depend on the size of the PowerPoint file. My 15-slide sample presentation took about eight minutes to turn into a movie.

The inbuilt PowerPoint video conversion is a handy aid to have. There are some limitations of course:

PowerPoint 2010 supports only one video format. A few more choices like MP4, FLV etc would have been real handy. For that, you still have to depend on third-party conversion tools. Also, the highest resolution that's on offer is 960×720. Higher resolutions (and commonly available) like 1,280×720, 1,920×1,080, or 1,920×1,080 are not available.

The limitations notwithstanding, the Create Video feature is a great tool to have. It saves us the bother of looking for a conversion tool and allows us to quickly upload and share videos of any presentations. If you are a PowerPoint super-user, would you agree that Microsoft has plugged a gap.

 

How To Convert A PowerPoint 2010 Presentation Into A Video With One Click is a post from: MakeUseOf

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Puppy Linux

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 09:30 AM PDT

puppy linuxAs I’m fairly sure you know, Linux is known to be capable of virtually running everywhere and doing anything. Not only does it run on a majority of our world’s supercomputers, but it can also run on the tiniest systems ever made, just as the size of a quarter. Today we’ll be taking a look at a distribution of Linux that is famous for being able to run with very little hardware requirements, Puppy Linux.

Puppy Linux isn’t based on another distribution; it is developed completely on its own. The system can, however, be built from packages of other distributions like Ubuntu, Arch Linux, and Slackware thanks to the Woof project. One of the great advantages of this distribution is it’s very small size. Generic Puppy Linux offers a 128MB ISO to download, with both “new” and long-term release options available. The small size lets Puppy Linux boot on any CD or USB stick and run with a weak CPU and low amount of memory. Puppy Linux is also constructed so that the computer doesn’t even need to have a hard drive for Puppy Linux to run. Don’t worry, there’s still a way to install this distribution to a hard drive if you desire.

Puppy Linux is also very customizable. A handful of developers have taken it and created their own specialized versions of it. The site offers a whole list of different “puplets” that offer special features or support. Among the specialized puplets includes non-English puplets and special-purpose puplets, that range from helping with certain subjects to being targeted for netbooks. Therefore, this distribution will suit your needs very well.

As you may expect from Linux Live CDs, getting started is very easy. Once you have the ISO burned to a CD or written to a USB stick, you simply need to boot off of that media. Puppy Linux will then scan through the hardware before launching the desktop environment. Once that finishes, you’ll see something like this:

puppy linux

 

Remember that Puppy Linux is a very lightweight distribution, so don’t expect anything fancy from it (although there’s a puplet that adds some eye candy, including Compiz). The desktop, however, is still very eye pleasing, and doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been sent back to 1995. Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure that Windows 95 was more than 128MB, and yet Puppy Linux, the simplified distro, is still capable of more.

download puppy linux

Installing this distribution is also fairly easy. A universal installer is available on the desktop to get Puppy Linux onto your hard drive or other media.

puppy linux

Installing application packages is easy too, which you can do in the Puppy Package Manager. Quickpup let’s you install popular packages very quickly via a native package format.

The rest is up to you. You can do whatever you wish with Puppy Linux from here on out. Many people choose Puppy Linux over traditional distributions because it works, runs fast, and has great graphics for a lightweight distribution. Therefore, you get more work done quickly and have the distro stay out of your way so that it doesn’t bog you down.

Is this Linux distribution a plausible choice for you? What do you like or don’t like about it? Let us know in the comments!

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Puppy Linux is a post from: MakeUseOf

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Stay Safe Online With Sticky Password [Giveaway]

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 08:30 AM PDT

Do you keep your passwords just “lying around” or do you consciously manage them with a password management tool? If you answer in the affirmative to both the questions, it's time to take a look at Sticky Password. Sticky Password stores and protects all your personal data (e.g. passwords, user names, contacts, phone numbers, etc.). It connects passwords and accounts to the respective applications and websites. Thanks to Sticky Password, all your passwords are stored together in a secure and encrypted location and you no longer need to rely on your memory.

Sticky Password is a handy anti-theft device, but how exactly does it give you the cushion of security? Let's walk through the software.

Open Sesame with a Master Password

Sticky Password Pro is a 7.8 MB download. The installation takes you through four steps starting with the setup of a master password. This is the only password which you have to remember. A Virtual Keyboard also allows passwords to be entered without pressing keys on the keyboard. The next three steps ask you to setup an authorization method (how you will unlock and access the database); a locking timeout (the auto-lock after x minutes of inactivity); and select the browser extensions that you would like to install.

The authorization method deserves a special mention because it allows you to be flexible and gives the option of using a Bluetooth device or a USB drive to decrypt and unlock the password database. All these options make for a strong first line of defense.

Store Your Personal Data Securely

Sticky Password is not only about storing your usernames and passwords, but the software also manages personal details like addresses and contact numbers as Identities. Also, Secure Memos can be filled up with extra information like passport data, various licenses, or the details of your software licenses and Internet settings, and more. It moves beyond a password management app into the realms of information management.

Putting Sticky Password to the Test

From the system tray, Sticky Password automatically recognizes when an application or a website is launched. If an account is found, the login data is entered and you are logged in automatically. If there is no account in the database, Sticky Password automatically hints at adding an account to the database. You can also use the Sticky Pointer to quickly select an application / website and enter personal data. Sticky Password allows multiple user names-password combos to be saved for one account. It allows for unlimited accounts and you can conveniently group them too.Quiet handy for all your Google accounts.

The auto-fill features of the software also includes other identity details like full name, sex, country, town/city, phone number, email address, etc. You can set up different identity profiles for your online shopping.That's a real timesaver!

Noteworthy Extras

With a single click you can create a portable version of the app to carry along in your portable device. If you are a flummoxed, Sticky Password helps to create super-strong passwords with an included password generator.

To round it all off, Sticky Password has password import, secure encrypted export and backup functions to give you complete peace of mind. Is there anything else you can ask from a foolproof password management software? Stay safe.

We’ve got 25 copies of Sticky Password Pro to give away this week and here’s what you need to know to win one.

How do I win a copy?

It’s simple, just follow the instructions.

Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form

Please fill in the form with your real name and email address so that we can get in touch if you are chosen as a winner. Click here if you can’t view the form.

The giveaway code required to activate the form is available from Friday’s newsletter or on our Facebook page.

Step 2: Share!

You’re almost done. Now, all that’s left to do is to share the post. There are 2 options to choose from or you can do both!

Like it on Facebook

Or share it on Twitter

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, July 1st at 2100hrs PDT. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.

Spread the word to your friends and have fun!

MakeUseOf would like to thank Sticky Password for their generosity while participating in this giveaway. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.


Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.


Stay Safe Online With Sticky Password [Giveaway] is a post from: MakeUseOf

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