Yaara (@ylancet) is a freelance writer, tech blogger and chocolate lover, who's also a biologist and a full-time geek. Find her also at lnct.org.
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Yaara's Latest Posts
When it comes to music, I’m a lyrics maniac. When the Internet came along, I was looking for lyrics for any new song I encountered, wanting to make sure I really knew what this song was about. Unfortunately, many of these websites are strewn with endless ads, with the actual lyrics, getting buried between confusing banners and dubious links. Is there a way out? Of course! We’ve come up with several clean and simple lyrics resources you can use anywhere, without having to worry about sketchy ads or NSFW popups.
Smartphones and social networks can be a huge distraction factor for kids in school, and especially at home when they should be doing their schoolwork. Today’s kids are all on Instagram, uploading and editing photos, liking other photos, commenting, etc. Like it or not, the way kids use Instagram cannot be ignored, and what’s the best way to beat a problem? Join it, of course! Inside you’ll find several smart ways to utilize Instagram for educational purposes that are fun for all concerned, and are bound to grasp kids’ attention much more than traditional homework.
Do smartwatches really provide something we’re missing, or are they nothing but a gimmick? Regardless of what it really is, the market is getting slowly flooded with more of these watches, and Apple’s own version is hovering above all of them, threatening to materialize one day. Do you own a smartwatch? Do you plan on buying one? What do you think of this whole smartwatch concept? Let’s find out!
Which is better, Facebook or Google+? Even here at MakeUseOf, we can’t quite agree. When it comes to social networks, especially big ones like Facebook and Google+, we all have our opinions. Some think Facebook is better due to its larger user base. Others think Google+ is better because of its slicker interface. But when push comes to shove, which one is actually the better social network? Which has the better interface? Better messaging options? Profile customizations? News feed? When it comes right down to it, which social network really wins?
Smartwatches are the new hottest trend in today’s tech world, and the Pebble e-ink watch helped start the fire. The most successful Kickstarter project to date, the Pebble raised over $10 million during its 1-month campaign which ended in May 2012. It had almost 70,000 backers, and more than that in non-Kickstarter pre-orders, and still you don’t see many people in the street wearing the watch. Why?
The simplicity hype is taking the world by storm. What started as a small trend with apps like Clear for iPhone is now a full-blown design convention, which looks to have inspired even Apple in their latest iteration of iOS. Unfortunately, most of these apps are not free, and cost anywhere up to a full $5. After a long day of research, I came up with 5 simple, beautiful apps that embrace this new simplicity trend, and yet cost nothing at all, or no more than $1 each.
There’s one thing to be said for Instagram: it got us all into a photo-editing craze. Not that editing photos is anything new, but with Instagram in the picture, everyone wants to be editing photos on their smartphones, and if possible, not using those same old Instagram filters everyone else does. I’m not saying there aren’t any good apps out there. My go-to photo editor, Snapseed, is both free and extremely good, and Aviary is another great option. But is that all there is? I was inclined to think so, when I came across Handy Photo (Google Play/iTunes).
The Chromecast is a $35 HDMI stick that lets you stream videos and music from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and Chrome to your TV, using your existing devices as remote controls. The Chromecast competes with Apple TV, and in a way with all other streamers, and comes with a much cheaper price tag. So are you going to buy it?
Many other alternatives have been popping up, however, including a brand new reader by AOL, the use of Twitter lists to follow the news, and many other interesting Google Reader alternatives worth checking out. But the search, as it is, is not over. Google Reader had us all sleepy and overconfident, and we will not be caught unawares again. It is for this reason that many users are seeking the small and independent readers in favor of the big corporations.
Popular social scheduler Buffer has added the one feature you (and they) never thought they’d add: custom scheduling. That’s right, from now on, Buffer users who don’t wish to make use of Buffer’s algorithm of automatic scheduling — or buffering — can set up their own dates and times for tweets and other updates to go out.
Over a year ago, I turned my iPad into an overpriced cat toy. You called me crazy, but the fact remains that I had no trouble finding apps that were intended just for that. The cats turned out to be extremely gentle with the iPad, and the whole thing was much more fun than I expected. So why leave Android owners out of the loop? Since I don’t expect you to pay for such an app, I dug around the Google Play Store to find some free apps that will turn your Nexus 7 or other Android tablet into a respectable cat toy.
Despite Amazon’s dominance of the eReader market, some competitors manage to keep their heads above water, and one of these strugglers is Kobo. With an impressive line of five different eReaders, its own bookstore, and its own desktop eBook manager/reader, you’d think Kobo would be a good Amazon alternative. But is it really? We took the Kobo Aura HD eReader for a thorough test drive, and the results are in front of you. As usual, one of you will also win this $200 eReader for free! Continue reading to find out how.
Recording your own virtual tours in Google Earth is a great way to remember your trips, and re-experience them (to a degree) at any time. Recording a Google Earth KML file might sound complicated, but as soon as you get the steps pat, you’ll be wanting to record more and more. It takes a little more skill, but can help you share stunning trips and tours around the earth with anyone.
BitTorrent is a protocol, and as such, is not necessarily illegal. It can be used to download all types of things, from pirated movies to completely legal Linux distributions. With that in mind, do you use BitTorrent in your everyday life? You don’t have to tell us what you use it for!
Video is an interesting thing. Unlike photos, which have come a long way from gathering dust in albums, videos — especially longer ones — are still hard to share. They’re sometimes too large to send, and even when they happen to be short and sweet, they’re not always very inspiring or interesting. That’s where automatic video editors come in, taking a long and boring video, or several short ones, and creating a fun-to-watch clip complete with a nice soundtrack, and some effects.