- Latest Hilarious Picks [MakeUseOf Geeky Fun]
- Cool Websites and Tools [July 3rd]
- Thank You To MakeUseOf Friends!
- What Do You Think Of Google+? [MakeUseOf Poll]
- 10 Free MP3 Albums Exploring Shades of a Genre [Sound Sunday July 3rd]
- 8 Reasons Why I Switched To A Mac
- Google Labs Releases Swiffy, Helps You Convert Flash To HTML5 [News]
Posted: 03 Jul 2011 10:40 PM PDT
Posted: 03 Jul 2011 08:31 PM PDT
These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.cool web apps
Posted: 03 Jul 2011 06:31 PM PDT
Thank you, guys!announcements, sponsors
Posted: 03 Jul 2011 03:30 PM PDT
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!Google, Reader Polls, social networks
Posted: 03 Jul 2011 12:30 PM PDT
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
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.downloads, freebies, indie music, music, music albums, songs, soundsunday
Posted: 03 Jul 2011 10:30 AM PDT
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…
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.
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 Mail.app 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!os x, recommendations, user reviews
Posted: 03 Jul 2011 09:31 AM PDT
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“.
Need Assistance? Ask questions to MakeUseOf staff and thousands of other readers on MakeUseOf Answers!
converter, flash, html 5, news
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