Friday, February 29, 2008

Make Use Of...can I make use of it?

Make Use Of is a tech blog that compares free web services and software for the benefit of the populous. In addition to writing about free services, they have a whole directory sorted into categories, sort of like a search engine for any free service you may need! It's free to read and comment on and doesn't require any registration. The blog itself can be located through the following URL:

Can I make use of...MakeUseOf?
Well, I sure did. Remember that MakeUseOf only writes about free services, so there really is no prerequisite to using these services, all you may need to do is download it if it's software, or register an account if it's a website. The posts are very detailed and compare the service in question to other services of its kind and shows, not only how, but why it's better. Posts always include links at the bottom for more information about the service introduced and a screenshot to give you a better idea about what the service looks like and how it works.

Another section of the blog is the "Directory", the directory is a list of about 20 keywords, word like web, mobile, games, chat, etc. These 'words' represent different categories. Say I wanted to find a free chat program that I could use easily. I would click on "Chat" and browse through all the different posts made on chat services. Once I found an interesting post title, I could click on the title and read the full post. Now that's what I call a search engine.

MakeUseOf is free to read, so there's really nothing to lose. It also gives you links to the actual service/application in question so you won't have to Google it yourself. And hey, when was the last time you had someone download or register for a service just to tell you whether or not you should use it, and why you should?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Softpedia, the Wikipedia...of Software!

Softpedia is essentially the Wikipedia of software. All software on the site has been organized into categories and sub-categories so that the user can easily find what he or she needs. In addition, all software has a user rating and has been automatically checked for viruses, ensuring safe download and installation. A lot of the software on Softpedia is freeware, although there re some trial versions here and there. The site also includes PC news and software for Windows, Mac and Linux, in addition to mobile applications and PDA, or palm software. Softpedia has categories dedicated to games, office software, scripts, drivers and etc. Downloads are absolutely free and registration is only required to upload software and post in the forums. Softpedia puts equal stress on Mac, Windows and Linux software, so no matter what operating system you're using, you'll find the software you need.

So you want me to download unknown source.
There's no need to worry about any additional 'packages' coming with your download. Softpedia guarantees 100% clean downloads, meaning no malware, spyware, adware or viruses. In addition, you can also view any reviews that may have been typed up for clues as to what the package contains (screenshots included). It would also be a good idea to see how many downloads the software received to check its authenticity and reliability.

Certain software receive a bright red ribbon with a "5/5" on them. This denotes an 'editor's pick', any software with a ribbon has usually been rigorously tested and scanned and proved to by virus free and easy to use. Happy downloading!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Floorplanner, Planning...for your Floor! (not really)

Floorplanner is a free online service that allows you to design and visualize homes, offices, apartments, etc. It allows the use to build walls, floors, and add windows. This way, you can make a carbon copy of your own house, or start from scratch! It includes measurements and different types of furniture. with a growing bank of furniture types, colors, sizes and brands, it's easy to find furniture that best suites you!

Do I need to sacrifice any green?
The basic version of Floorplanner is free. However, dome set-backs include the ability to only create 1 floor plan and 5 designs. With the free account, you will still be allowed to share plans via email so if you're planning on using FP to designing a house for the family: save some green, get the free version. There are alternatives to the free version though, the next account up is the plus version. This costs $30.50 a year and includes 5 savable projects with multiple floors and no ads. Personally, my thoughts on this are: "Who the hell would waste $30 on this!?". The final account type is the professional version, with unlimited floor plans and 3D viewing capability, if you're planning on spending money, this is the best plan.

In short, save yourself some green! If you plan on using FP, get the free version.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Blackle, A Greener Google!

Blackle, what is it?
With all this Global Warming and pollution going on these days, the people of America have become intent with "green" technology. We think, "Oh well, let's leave it to the private corporations to figure this one out." and leave it at that. With Blackle, everyone with a computer can contribute to the wide-spread mitigation of the pollutification (kudos to our prez) of Earth.

How does it work?
Google gets 2 million queries per day, that's 2 million people times 74 watts it takes for a computer screen to load the Google homepage. That comes down to a total of 148,000,000 watts per day. By inverting Google's white pages into black (monitors use less energy to display a white screen as opposed to a black one), which would instead use approximately 59 watts to display, we would use 118,000,000 watts a day. That's saving a lot of watts!

To search, Blackle uses a Google Custom Search, meaning that any search you type in at Blackle, you will get the same hits as if you search in Google. Basically, Blackle is...well, a black version of Google, hence the name. It is recommended that, if you open your internet a lot, you set Blackle as your homepage, this means, without even starting a web session, you'll already be saving watts. Now isn't that a bright idea!