Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cool Websites and Tools [December 14th]

Cool Websites and Tools [December 14th]: "

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. All listed websites are FREE or come with a decent free account option. You can make use of them without spending a dime. If you want to have similar cool websites round-ups delivered to your email daily email subscribe here.

Add Your Website Here!

MakeMeZombie – The internet can be very helpful whenever you are bored. There are countless fun sites that help you pass the time and let you have fun while you do it. One such website is MakeMeZombie and it lets you zombify your face. All you have to do is upload a clear frontal photograph of your face. Read more: MakeMeZombie: Zombify Your Face Online

Secret SMS Replicator – If you ever want to spy on text messages, this Android app will do wonders. Just install this app on any Android enabled phone and specify the phone number you wish to receive messages at. After that, any time the Android phone receives a text message it’ll automatically be forwarded to you. Read more: SecretSMSReplicator: Spy On Text Messages (Android)

DIY Or Not – DIY or DoItYourself is a great way to save professional costs on projects that can be managed by one person with some extra effort. However, there are many projects where doing it yourself can be equally or more expensive then hiring a pro. DiyOrNot is a web app that helps you decide between the two. Read more: DiyOrNot: Helps You Decide If You Should Do It Yourself

Phone2Location – Keep getting missed calls from a strange number and you have no idea who it is? Phone2Location can help by disclosing their geographical location. Just head over to the site and enter the number you wish to resolve. Phone2Location will quickly display its geographical location. In most cases, the tool will also display the name of the phone provider. Read more: Phone2Location: Quick Geo-Location Of Any Phone Number

TurnSocial – Looking for a new way to connect with your site’s visitors? If yes then a website toolbar with social networking buttons is exactly what you need. Thanks to TurnSocial, you will not need to go through extensive coding to create your own network-loaded website toolbar. TurnSocial is a very simple and easy web service that is free to use. Read more: TurnSocial: Connect With Your Site Visitors Through A Social Networking Toolbar

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.

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.

Similar MakeUseOf Articles


Urban Survival Kit

Urban Survival Kit: "There are a lot of guides for kits to help you survive miles from
anywhere--but how often do you end up miles from anywhere? What about
the everyday, the mundane, situations where you constantly find yourself
saying, if only I had& and even though it's always the same thing,
you've never got it? You...
By: Mother Natures Son

Continue Reading »"

Formspring – Hold Conversational Q&A With The People You Care About

Formspring – Hold Conversational Q&A With The People You Care About: "

conversational questionsFormspring is a community of millions of people that all share one thing in common: curiosity. Through conversational Q&A, Formspring helps others express themselves and learn more about their social connections and the people they care about. The idea is simple, anyone can ask you anything and you choose which questions you would like to answer and be made part of your profile.

I’ve had Formspring on my radar for quite some time now, wondering if it would catch on, and it has. The curiosity that the site promotes drives engaging, authentic conversations between community members, and over one billion questions have already been answered.

What Is Formspring?

conversational questions

As I alluded to in the introduction, Formspring is a kind of social network. Once you claim a profile and add your connections, others can visit your profile and “ask [you] anything”. Questions can pertain to sports, music, movies, comedy, opinions, or really most anything you can think of asking.

Whether it’s a universal question like “Who was your favorite teacher?” or a specific question about starting a business, Formspring provides a new, personal way to connect with the people who you want to know better.

We originally covered this platform in our directory a while back, but it has gone through a complete redesign since then.

How Do I Start Using Formspring?

If I’ve made you curious, head on over to Formspring’s homepage and try it out. You can test answering questions to see what it’s like on the site or sign up for an account by clicking on Sign up and find friends. Or, if you prefer not to create a new account from scratch you can just sign in with your Facebook credentials.

conversational questions and answers

Once you get set up, you can locate your friends on the other social networks you belong to. Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace are all supported, as well as Gmail and Yahoo. Then start filling out your profile information and brand it to suit your needs. If you have a Twitter account, you’ll find Formspring’s profile settings to be pretty similar. You can fill out a Bio, Location, Website, etc.

conversational questions and answers

One setting I find interesting, is the “What do you want to be asked about?” section. By default, this reads “Ask me anything“, which is great if you want to be completely open to any and all inquiries. Making this more specific however, provides a good opportunity to brand yourself as an expert in a particular area as you welcome questions in your field of expertise. What you decide to put here is completely dependent on what your goal of using the website is.

The Process of Answering Questions

All that’s left after designing your profile is to ask and answer questions. Click on the Questions tab to be taken to your page. Anytime somebody asks you a question it will appear here.

conversational questions and answers

If you don’t have any questions to answer – which is not uncommon with a new profile – you can send out a link to your profile on your social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Just select which networks you would like the message to go out to and click Send Announcement.

conversational answer

Or if you like, you can answer some default questions to get things going. Just click the “Or we have some questions for you!” link and a few questions will appear. As I said, you can answer the ones you want and they will appear on your profile for all to see. You can dismiss questions by clicking Delete and, if you feel the need to, you can click Block to prevent a specific user from asking you questions.

conversational questions

Whenever you answer a question, you have the same option to send out your answer to your social networks. This helps draw people onto your profile page for engagement opportunities. You can choose to allow anonymous questions and even go as far as protecting your account and controlling who follows you if you like. Formspring also features integration with blogging platforms like Tumblr, WordPress, and Blogger.


And there you have it, Formspring in a nutshell. I find it very interesting how this social network has caught on and continues to reach impressive numbers. The best thing they could have done was integrate the service with Facebook and Twitter, as I’m sure that’s where the majority of users hear about the service. I do suggest you check it out, as it can be an interesting tool to add to your arsenal as we continue to mold our public images online.

What do you think of Formspring? Will you be giving it a go, and if not, why?

Follow MakeUseOf on Twitter. Includes cool extras.

Similar MakeUseOf Articles


5 Quick & Simple Ways To Write Your Life Logs With These Minimalist Online Journals

5 Quick & Simple Ways To Write Your Life Logs With These Minimalist Online Journals: "

free online journalsIn the digital world, the difference between a journal, a diary, and a blog is fuzzy. A blog is meant to be shared with those around you. An online or offline journal is more personal. You can of course, remove the padlock and share it with the world but I guess most would like to keep it closer to the chest. My two penny opinion says that the difference mainly boils down to the degree of laziness. A blog needs more upkeep; an online personal journal can be used to record random and disjointed thoughts. But let’s look at it this way, the web gives us so many ways to connect with others and also with ourselves.

Writing a journal is like having a conversation with one’s own self. Treat a journal like a ‘digital wall’ to vent your feelings on or just use it as a ‘digital cupboard’ to store memories. In both cases, a journal is a priceless companion. Here are seven free online journals for your thoughts.


free online journals

OhLife makes journal keeping dead easy by not asking you to come to their site every day. It simply sends you an email every night at 8pm asking you about your day. From the comfort of your inbox, you can type in your thoughts and send it forth like a regular email. That’s it! The easy-to-use and easy-to-keep philosophy tries to promote the habit of journal writing by dressing it up as an email activity.

You can choose to go to the site and read all your past entries when you feel like it. The posts get listed in chronological order and when it’s time for nostalgia, you can read them out to yourself.

I really like the minimalism of this free online journal and the ease with which I can keep up the journaling habit by not forcing myself to visit one more site at the end of a tiring day.


online journal

Memiary will make you believe that if you have had five interesting experiences the whole day, it has been a day worth recording for keeps. Memiary calls itself the weightless pocket diary. It is really that as all you have to is sign up and put down five thoughts for each day. You can even do it on the go if you have an iPhone. The five points a day really add up and you can keep them organized with tags (just add a #before any word and it turns into a tag).

It takes just about ten seconds to jot down five thoughts and the tag organization should really help when you add up all the memories. (See Directory mention)


online journal

MotoDiary is another simple journaling tool without any frills. It uses some HTML5 features for storage so it’s still not compatible with Firefox. It runs on Chrome, Safari, and IE. As you can see from the screenshot above, the interface is only about your words. MotoDiary is a highly secure application. The FAQ says that the encrypted key is stored locally and not sent to the server. The app auto-saves entries to the hard disk and uploads it to the server when online.

MotoDiary displays the potential of HTML5 in a utilitarian interface. (See Directory mention)


online journal

Some people consider Twitter to be the closest thing to an instant free online journal. Why not? Twitter has become the medium for channeling all your rants and raves. TweetPrivate takes your Twitter habit and turns it inside out. Log in with your Twitter account, log your thoughts in 140 characters or less, but instead of tweeting it out, store it here and keep it private. These tweets can include pictures too. Later, you might choose to release these tweets and post them to Twitter’s public stream. By using TweetPrivate as your personal diary, you can archive your tweets and search them by date.

TweetPrivate is a cool application if you have fallen prey to Twitter (or SMS) and evolved into using only 140 characters or less.


free online journals

Penzu comes with a few decorative features like an interface which resembles a lined notebook. The free account is limited but it serves its purpose adequately if you are not too into customization and tools. The free account gives you basic encryption with a password, photo uploads, plus sharing options with email and link. You can set up a notification to remind you to write every day.

The Penzu Pro account with all its features is appealing, but the free account is a quick fire journal tool that keeps things simple. You might grow to like the notebook style pages (see Directory mention).

If you are looking for customization and editing options, then you will be disappointed with these apps. For that I will always recommend Live Journal. But I believe when it comes to journaling or keeping an online diary, it’s best to start simple, keep it about the words and move on. For the making of a habit, these five online journal apps serve as a minimalist starting point. Your thoughts?

Image: Shutterstock

Similar MakeUseOf Articles