Monday, July 4, 2011 “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 6 more “Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]” plus 6 more

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Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]

Posted: 03 Jul 2011 10:40 PM PDT

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

  1. What Personal Info You Are Broadcasting On Social Networks (Pic)
  2. The Org Charts Of All The Major Tech Companies (Pic)
  3. Google. Helping drunks get….more drunk (Pic)
  4. What To Do When The Police Want To Search Your Digital Devices (Pic)
  5. Which Website Is Right For You (Pic)
  6. The Blame Line (Pic)
  7. If Mark Zuckerberg Was A Chef (Pic)
  8. If Celebrity Tweet Were Honest (Pic)
  9. I Promise, It Gets Funny! (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 [July 3rd]

Posted: 03 Jul 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!


MpprMe – Google Maps can be easily used to get an embeddable map for your business and use it on your blog or website. But if you want to go a step further and let people send your business's address to their smartphones, you need to start using a service called MpprMe, a free to use web service that lets you get an embeddable map for your business. Read more: MpprMe: Help People Send Your Business Address To Their Smartphone


Munchery – is a new startup that aims to bring great meals by personal as well as commercial chefs to people who cannot afford to keep a personal chef at home. Currently, only people in the San Fransisco area can enter their zipcode and see the chefs that deliver meals in their area. Then they can choose a chef after exploring profiles. Read more: Munchery: Order Meals By Personal Chefs



ImageOid – Not all images have to go through the tedious process of Photoshop to add a simple effect. ImageOid lets you do that online without any hassle. Just upload an image in GIF, JPG or PNG format and start playing with almost a dozen effects including sepia, grey scale, blur, noise mono, noise color, emboss, solarize and more. Read more: ImageOid: Add Effects To Digital Photos Within Seconds



PC Auto Waker – When you come home you may prefer your computer to automatically turn on and be ready for you to use it. Since leaving it on would waste electricity, you need a better solution to this problem. That solution is an Android app called PC Auto Waker which wakes your computer using the “Wake on Wireless LAN (WoWLAN)” feature built into many motherboards nowadays. Read more: PC Auto Waker: Auto Wake Up Computer Using Android Phone & WoWLAN



Boxnet – In the event that your computer faces any physical damage, all data backups on it would be useless. Therefore creating online backups of your data is a better move. There are many websites that let you upload your files online; but if you want to be able to securely share your uploaded files, you need to check out Boxnet. Read more: Boxnet: Back Up 5GB Of Files Online & Share Them With Friends


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 [July 3rd] is a post from: MakeUseOf

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Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!

Posted: 03 Jul 2011 06:31 PM PDT

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

    [1] ShrinkTheWeb – Website Screenshot Thumbnail Service

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


    [2] LapDawg “" Hands-free Laptop Stands

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

    [3] Walyou “" Cool Gadgets for Geeks

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


    [4] TrueKolor – Affordable Quality Logo and Banner Design

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


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

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


Thank you, guys!

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What Do You Think Of Google+? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Posted: 03 Jul 2011 03:30 PM PDT

Last week we decided to poll your browsing habits and asked if you use a start page or saved sessions in your browser. It seems start pages are the most popular option, but only by one vote!

With 466 votes, answers were divided as follows: 33% voters use a start page; 33% use saved sessions; 25% have a “home” page of several pages; and 9% voters use some other solution. From the comments, it seems most people with another solution actually use “about:blank” as their “home” page.

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

This week’s poll question is: What Do You Think Of Google+?

Google+ has dominated tech news this week, so it’s only fair that we ask you all what you think of it.

We know there’s some wildly conflicting thoughts on Google+ out there — feel free to elaborate on yours in the comments. Love it? Hate it? Couldn’t care less? Tell all!

What Do You Think Of Google+? [MakeUseOf Poll] is a post from: MakeUseOf

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10 Free MP3 Albums Exploring Shades of a Genre [Sound Sunday July 3rd]

Posted: 03 Jul 2011 12:30 PM PDT

Let Sound Sunday into your ears!

This Sunday I want to explore the often neglected sides of a very artistic and diverse musical genre with you. When people hear Hip Hop, they typically think of Rap, “the beat-driven rhymes of an often improvisatory nature.” For many (including myself) Rap is a turn off. But Hip Hop has evolved and expanded into sub-genres and flavors that do perfectly well without Rap. This is the other side of Hip Hop, the instrumental, beats,  soul, ambient, electronic, dubstep, trip hop, and drum’n'bass side, which I want to give you a taste of today.

Feel free to post your feedback in the comments or send me an email [tina at makeuseof dot com].

Word Is Bond – Hope for Tomorrow

Genre: beats, piano, instrumental, charity

From the album description: “Hope For Tomorrow is our humble idea to make a difference. We are reaching out to YOU to support our efforts in providing help for those struggling in the aftermath. Our friends at Kevin Nottingham have come on board to assist in the release of a charity album. We are grateful to be in a position to use the talents of some of the undergrounds most respected hip-hop artists. It is our hope that this project will continue to garner attention for the people of Japan and raise some much needed funds.

Hope for Tomorrow is a free download from Bandcamp.

Loud Mouth – Loud Mouth Compilation Volume 2

Genre: ambient, electronica, dubstep, techno

From Loud Mouth’s blog: “Sam has been a DJ for the past 8 years and has been performing since 2006. He began with a regular night in the Harbour Bar in Bray [Ireland] playing a mashup of everything and anything from 80′s to rock to electronic. He later became more involved in the electronic music scene which was his original inspiration to become a DJ. He plays regularly in clubs throughout Dublin (…)

Loud Mouth Compilation Volume 2 is a free download from Bandcamp.

Keith Charles – Before Common Era

Genre: drum’n'bass, neo hip hop, soul, electronica

Before Common Era is Keith Charles’ debut album. The Emcee from Atlanta, also known as Spacebar, embeds soft Rap lyrics in a bed of neo-soul beats. The music flows. This is how he explains his nickname: “Since I can remember, everyone has called me ‘Keithcharles’ and there was no space in between. They ran it together, so every time someone would ask me what is my last name, because they thought "Keith Charles" was my first, I told them "Spacebar". It just kind of stuck to separate the words.

Before Common Era is a free download from Bandcamp.

Vanilla – High Life

Genre: experimental, instrumental, beat tape, soul

Vanilla is a UK-based producer. On High Life he samples soul hip hop, inspired by Dilla, Madlib, and Onra.

High Life is a free download from Mediafire.

Dainumo, Jeesh, P SUS – 3 Flavors of 8bit

Genre: trip hop, electronic, game music, pogo

The album 8 Flavors of 8bit is a collaboration between Dainumo, Jeesh, and P SUS. They have used sound bits from several video games, such as Super Mario Bros. or Pacman.

3 Flavors of 8bit is a name your price download from Bandcamp.

Master Class – Compilation Album

Genre: instrumental, turntablism, beats, electronica, jazz, lo-fi, trip hop

Master Class is an artist from Seoul, South Korea. From his Facebook profile: “Master Class started listening to Hip-Hop music when he was 10, and when he turned 15, he started to make his own music. ‘Master Class’ started with simple mixing to more delicate and complex mixes. Master Class also studied the theory of music and his albums, that Master Class had been collecting ever since he was a child, helped him to do the ‘Cut and Paste’ work after he bought his MPC.

Master Class’ Compilation Album is a name your price download from Bandcamp.

So Crates & Sour Beats – Hippie Sabotage Volume 2

Genre: electronic, instrumental, beat tape

Hippie Sabotage is a musical project of SoCrates and Sour Beats, occasionally complimented by Chase Moore. From the album introduction on Rebellious Reflection: “This album displays a variety of styles that showcase this groups excessive talents. Vol. 2 is much more mature than the last release, it's not just a journey, it's a roller coaster ride of ahead of it's time music with a little bit of flavor for any and every person out there.

Hippie Sabotage Volume 2 is a free download from Bandcamp.

SOS Smooth – Truth Hurts

Genre: alternative

SOS or ‘Sound of Style’ Smooth is a Hop Hop artist from New York. Also check out his Twitter stream.

Truth Hurts is a free download from Bandcamp.

Finalsecond – Articulate

Genre: experimental, alternative, soul

From his Homepage: “Musician first, Hip hop artist second, this classically trained pianist and folk guitarist rhymes and sings over soulful and organic productions. The music entertains but there is a clear emphasis on lyricism. The over all style is textured with musical influences from many genres, the end result; a colorful blend of Hip hop and soul which lends its self to easy listening.

Articulate is a free download from Finalsecond’s Homepage.

Various Artists – Best Of Breitband Vol.3

Genre: electronic, downtempo, compilation

Best Of Breitband Vol.3 is not actually a hip hop album. It’s a selection of songs that were featured in the programme ‘Breitband’ on Deutschlandradio Kultur, a German radio station focusing on culture. This compilation also contains pop, rock, contemporary classical, and funk pieces. This is to cheer up all of those who didn’t find anything to enjoy in the hip hop centric selection above.

Best Of Breitband Vol.3 is a free download from the Free Music Archive.

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

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

10 Free MP3 Albums Exploring Shades of a Genre [Sound Sunday July 3rd] is a post from: MakeUseOf

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8 Reasons Why I Switched To A Mac

Posted: 03 Jul 2011 10:30 AM PDT

I’ve been using Macs for about 5 years now, and before that I was a 100% Windows and PC guy. What happened exactly? Why did I switch? Without wishing to start a flame war, here are 8 reasons why I now buy into “the Apple way”.

This isn’t designed to convince die-hard fans of PCs, but if you’re wondering what the fuss is about, and why someone with a geek level of 9000+ would ever consider a Mac, then read on.

1. OS X happened

Before OS X came along, Macs were pretty bad. Incompatible with virtually anything in the consumer marketplace, they were proprietary machines that hadn’t quite reached that pinnacle of usability that defines Apple today. They were “hobbyist” machines, not for real work or the business place. Then along came OS X, built on a rock solid UNIX foundation and making astounding leaps in UI design. It was a radical change for Apple. I however, was not quite willing to buy into that yet, not until…

why i switched to mac

2. Apple moved to Intel Hardware

For someone like myself who had grown up with predominantly Intel hardware (after the Amstrad anyway), and who loved tinkering with processors and memory and hard drives – the move to Intel was a big step in the right direction. As far as I was concerned, on an Intel platform I would be far more able to switch out the hard drive, change the memory, and use existing files and data – not to mention thousands of USB peripherals that would work.
why i switched to mac

3. The Mac Mini Made It Easy To Try

Of course, I was apprehensive about switching 100% to a Mac given I'd never even touched one before – and it was then that Apple introduced the Mac Mini and I finally satisfied my growing curiosity  in the platform.

The Mac Mini was revolutionary, and a fantastic marketing move on Apple's part – in that I could take my existing monitor, mouse and keyboard and plug them into the Mini. It didn't matter that the thing was underpowered compared to my PC gaming rig – I'd heard good things about the Mac, and I wanted to try it. All at a truly affordable price point. I ran it alongside my PC, and even shared the mouse and keyboard with a standard USB input and video  switcher. At first, I only used it for emails. Outlook Express had been my app of choice for so long, and I found to be far more reliable piece of software that just worked. It was a slow start, but I was convinced. Pretty soon, my internet browsing went through the Mac too, and slowly but surely I bought into the Apple way.

switching to mac

4. No Drivers

This is one point that seems rather contentious as to whether it’s a good or bad thing. Because Macs are built using a specific subset of hardware that is officially supported, the base systems don't ever need drivers to function optimally. For someone used to reinstalling Windows on a half-yearly basis and the inevitable hours following spent hunting down all the correct drivers (again), this was quite revolutionary.

Of course, for some this is turn off – you can't simply swap out your aging video card for the newest model – which is precisely the reason why the Apple platform has remained a loser for the gaming community. At this point though, my gaming was almost 100% done through an Xbox. We should not need to find drivers, and Apple understood that. For Windows users, finding the correct drivers was just an accepted part of owning a computer.

switching to mac

5. It Just Works

I am geek, and I do like fiddling with things and hacking them, but sometimes I  appreciate software that just works. I must admit though, I was afraid that the user experience on OS X would be just so dumbed down I might  be insulted, or officially lose geek points. It's a natural reaction to Apple's marketing – a computer designed for the everyday person to just use and be productive and have fun with! It's easy to scoff at that – if people don't know how to configure or protect their computer correctly and download the right drivers, then damn it all – give them an etch-a-sketch or something.

switching to mac

And then something magical happened. I used it, and I wasn't insulted. In fact, I suddenly became so much more productive that I was able to do more of the geeky things I so loved, like programming and making webpages – and at this point, I was sold.

6. The Cost Myth

Most arguments in the PC vs Mac debate inevitably end with “well, they cost twice as much for the exact same hardware – I could get a Dell for half the price of a similar specced Macbook Pro! what do you say to that, huh?!”. It seems like a far enough argument, but it completely ignores the resale value. You see, most Mac's are very good at retaining their value over the years. The first ever Intel MacBook Pro from 2006 is still selling at around £300 on eBay.

switch to mac

7. You Can Run Windows On It

Truthfully, I don't really need a single Windows PC anymore. With virtual machines on my main Mac, I can run any Windows utility I want simply and easily. The same cannot be said for my PC running OS X apps. Perhaps this is Apple's fault, or deliberate intention, but either way the truth stands. On a Mac, I can run both. On a PC, I can only run Windows stuff.

why i switched to mac

8. Steve Jobs and the Apple Magic

This might seem like a bit of an odd reason and is probably going to label me a fanboy, but I have yet to see anyone who with such an astounding stage presence and presentational skills as Steve Jobs. I can remember the last iLife announcement, where my wife and I sat watching the presentation and literally saying “oh, wow, that’s absolutely amazing” as our jaws dropped with each announcement. You simply don’t get that on a Windows product launch, because the world of Windows is just so stagnant. Apple breaks new ground, and the world follows. You only need to look at the iPad “competitors” to see how laughable they really are in comparison.

Have Your Say

Are you steaming at the ears now, ready to type an essay long rebuttal on why the PC rules? Meh, go ahead but don't expect a reply other than “lol”. Are you considering getting a Mac and need that final bit of convincing? Let us know in the comments, and perhaps I can address some of your concerns. Are you an Apple fan too, and think I missed something key – let me know!

8 Reasons Why I Switched To A Mac is a post from: MakeUseOf

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Google Labs Releases Swiffy, Helps You Convert Flash To HTML5 [News]

Posted: 03 Jul 2011 09:31 AM PDT

Making the switch from Flash to HTML5 content just became a bit easier thanks to a new tool released from Google Labs. Called Swiffy, this web utility is able to convert .swf files into a JSON file which is seen by web browsers as a JavaScript object.

Swiffy is an online tool, so it's simple to use. The .swf file is uploaded and the JSON output is spit out alongside the original Flash content for comparison purposes. There's a gallery of four conversion samples available for those who'd like to see examples of the tool's work but have no .swf files to upload.

Google stated on its Google Code blog that Swiffy's conversion process results in a file that's about the same size as the original .swf, which will be good news for developers. However, the same post also made note that this project is very much a Google Labs product, and as such it can't be expected to convert all Flash content perfectly. At the moment, it's most comfortable when working with animations or advertisements.

Although new to Google, this isn't the first Flash-to-HTML5 tool to hit the web. Adobe made its own solution, called Wallaby, available in March. According to the Swiffy FAQ, Adobe is supportive of this new utility and believes that “anyone creating rich or interactive ads can continue to get all the authoring benefits of Flash Pro and have the flexibility to run the ad in the Flash Player or HTML depending on what’s available on the system“.

Source: Google Code, ZDNet

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

Google Labs Releases Swiffy, Helps You Convert Flash To HTML5 [News] is a post from: MakeUseOf

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