Pitch Us Your MakeUseOf Story Ideas! [We Ask You]

MakeUseOf is many things to many people, as we previously discovered when we asked you all to tell us how you would describe MakeUseOf to a friend. We are, at the core, a group of writers passionate about technology, and in particular technology that you can make use of, even if only for entertainment purposes.

We publish dozens of stories each week, some of which are extremely well received, others which disappear off the radar with barely a glance. Which is where you come in. Who better to suggest ideas for what we, the MakeUseOf collective, should be writing about than you, the MakeUseOf readership.

This is your chance to veer the MakeUseOf content in the direction that interests you. And you could even win a T-shirt for taking part.

This Week’s Question…

We want you to Pitch Us Your MakeUseOf Story Ideas! If you’re interested in doing so then you need to read the following very carefully. Only comments which follow the format outlined below will be considered.

Your comment should comprise 1) a title, and by that we mean a proper headline that could be used in its entirety. Be sure to look over recent MakeUseOf articles to see the kind of titles that make the cut. And 2) a description of what the the article should be about. Please be as detailed as you can be, avoiding vague notions whenever possible.

lightbulb idea head   Pitch Us Your MakeUseOf Story Ideas! [We Ask You]

The only rules regarding content are that your idea should be related to technology in some way and be original. The range of tech-related material we cover on MakeUseOf is quite wide, so just ensure it fits into one of the many topics listed here. Being original means finding something that we haven’t covered previously, with a simple search of the site all that’s needed.

As long as it adheres to these rules you’re free to suggest any story that comes to mind. Perhaps it’s a subject you’ve long wondered why we haven’t covered. Or perhaps one that you would be extremely interested in reading for a particular reason. If you can add context to your submission then that’s great, but doing so isn’t a prerequisite for entry.

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail the We Ask You Results. Two readers will be chosen as having the best ideas for MakeUseOf articles, getting their name up in lights, the respect of other readers, and a T-shirt chosen from those available through MakeUseOf Rewards. What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to necessitate a discussion. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to the MakeUseOf readership. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: B Rosen

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16 Comments -

1 votes

Rob

Title: Is Texting and Driving similiar to Drunk Driving?

Description:
The short answer is yes because you can take someone’s life while doing either activity and driving. A smartphone has become a vital tool in our everyday lives. We seem to forget some obvious rules do to our interest in the smartphones. The main rule a lot of people seem to forget is “keep your eyes on the road while driving”. Fines for using smartphones while driving keep going up. Some attibute this problem to a certain kind of driver but we all feel the effects. This article will give you some apps that allow you to text while driving. Some apps work well via speaker phone but they all work the best with a bluetooth headset. We can discuss various budget and top of the line bluetooth headsets in another article. For now lets discuss the apps out there for download… From here you can go ahead and discuss pros and cons of various text-to-speech apps and there features. The purpose of this article is to share the apps which will avoid losing a life because someone could not wait to text.

1 votes

Ric B

Title: Getting a smart phone without getting all the tracking and advertising

Description:
Smart phones provide some useful functionality. But they are also permeated with attempts to track and otherwise manipulate the behaviors of their users. How can one acquire the benefits of using a smart phone to manage information, process emails, and so on, without also being tracked by apps that are little more than selling programs embedded in one’s phone?

2 votes

Db

Title:
Best Laptops at the Following Price Points: $400, $500, $600, $700, $800 +

Description:
We present our knowledge & research regarding the best laptops money can buy at the following price points. This will include refurbished units.

1 votes

Csaba

Apps and tools for activits – a weekly series

Social activism is getting popular all across the web. Organizing and following up civil movements have created a wide range of apps and tools, that can be useful for many readers. However, many tools of Makeuseof’s featured apps are really effective for social/civic organizers.
I would create a review and selection of these tools, for the benefit of all involved!

0 votes

Guven Witteveen

Title: Surprising ways to use ITC for pet care

Description:
From managing diet, contacts, arranging doggy play dates and meet-ups, to tracking medical needs and participating in discussion circles (or even blogging with the help of the pet owner), there are many ways to make your pet love bigger, easier and good to share.

1 votes

Guven Witteveen

Title: Hobbyist Potpourri [proposed series, not a single mass article]
Description: Start with a list of mainstream and alternative hobbies then brainstorm a list of directly and indirectly relevant sites, apps, and real-life user kits (hardware and software they use in aid of their hobby: learning, performing, sharing, inventing/extending the field of play).

1 votes

Guven Witteveen

Title: Futurist Looks Back at 2013
Description: Start with the observation of John Naisbitt [MegaTrends] that all technology cycles through the stages of toy (pricey, prone to fail, avant garde) to mainstream (replaces older ways to accomplish existing functions; a new normal) to creative expression (unimagined ways to apply the technology). Then poll readers about the creative uses they put their hardware; their software to –hopefully something more interesting that using old CDs as drinks coasters or garden reflectors to scare crows.

2 votes

TVV

Title: Getting around geographic restrictions on content

Description: Start with an explanation of how content providers are able to figure out where you are located in the first place, for example, how does a Canadian web site know that I’m in New York rather than Ontario? If it goes by IP address, is there any way to make it appear that my IP address is geographically located somewhere other than where it actually is?

From there you could cover the various ways to avoid geographic restrictions, with special emphasis on FREE or very low cost solutions and on figuring out how to do things that aren’t readily apparent. For example, you can use the Hola Unblocker addon in Firefox or Chrome to get around many geographic restrictions, but is there any way to use Hola Unblocker with XBMC? Or let’s say you are able to use a SOCKS proxy in Firefox to make it appear you are somewhere else, which could be any server that you can SSH into, but is there any way to utilize that SOCKS proxy with a standalone video device such as a Roku?

Or let’s say that you are not a real Linux geek, but you have managed to install DD-WRT on a router. Without having to totally abandon the router’s GUI, is there any way to use that to set up a SOCKS proxy or VPN connection to another server that will be used only by specific devices on the network, identified by either local IP address or MAC address, so that traffic from those devices only would be “tunneled”, while all other traffic from other devices goes out the in the normal manner? And if that’s possible, is it also possible to further define that proxy or tunnel so that it is only used for connections to specific IP ranges or addresses?

In other words, let’s say you are in the U.S. but occasionally you’d like to watch TV from Canada or the U.K. or some other country. And you can ssh into a server in that country (maybe you know a friendly system admin, or maybe you pay for such a service), and you can set up a SOCKS proxy in Firefox to utilize an ssh tunnel, but rather than watching the content in your browser you’d prefer to do it in XBMC on a standalone device such as an AppleTV (using the Canada on Demand addon) or perhaps some other device that can access streaming video from various web sites and services.

Then there is Aereo, the company that offers local television from many cities in the U.S. but will only stream to you if they think you are physically located in one of their geographic areas (and I would LOVE to know how they know which city or county I am in). Again it MIGHT be possible to use a SOCKS proxy or VPN, and a credit card with an address in the “right” area, to view the service, but if you want to watch it on your TV rather than in a browser window, what can you do?

Anyway I trust you see where I am going with this. ANY articles on this subject, but especially those that do not limit you to watching the video on a tablet or a desktop computer running Windows would be very much appreciated!

0 votes

likefunbutnot

E-Readers, reading applications and online bookstore ecosystems

I spend a lot of time arguing with a Digital Services librarian whose position is that if people buy everything from Apple, it’s the only service and the only device that they need. She’s of the opinion that it’s not worth trying to deal with anything else because god forbid someone might have to convert a file or want to transfer to a different device.

Anyway, there could or perhaps SHOULD be a series of articles about e-Readers, starting with the dedicated units from Amazon, BN, Kobo, Sony et al.Then a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of different reader applications for general purpose devices such as Kindle, Aldiko, Moon Reader, desktop reading apps and whatever crap ithings have.
The stores should probably be considered separately, as should the concepts associated with ebook lending; there are actually multiple programs that libraries can buy in to and they don’t all work the same way. I have the impression that this can be something of a raw deal with the lender and the reader.

There would need to be a concluding piece on dealing with data transfer, format conversion and removing DRM restrictions, and for dealing with non-ebook content that might be turned in to an ebook for offline reading.

0 votes

KW

Title: How to get your company email on your desktop.

Description: Many companies restrict corporate email to VPN or Domain use on company owned PC’s, however use on IOS and Android phones is easily obtained via Activesync and OWA. What options are there for PC (win 8.x, win 7) and OSX users (and Linux) and how to set it up. I’ve managed to find some options (win 8 supports activesync, but not sure how/if it works since I’m still win7), Linux supposedly works with Evolution and who knows abut OSX. I’ve even heard of using phone emulators. But nothing of a concrete “How to” guide for the road warrior who’s company issued “laptop” tips the scales at over 8 lbs and has aged more than some whiskeys.

0 votes

Robert O

Title: Easy Linux Gaming for Noobs!

Description: Linux is starting to come into its own as a video gaming platform, and despite popular belief, you don’t have to be an uber-techno-geeky nerd to set up a Linux gaming rig. Thanks to Ubuntu, Steam, PlayOnLinux, Humble Bundle releases, “deb” files, and updated graphics drivers, it’s now possible to play commercial games on Linux without having to know anything about obscure, command-line terminal syntax. It seems Linux is getting better and better by the day as a gaming platform, and is certainly light-years further than it was two years ago. Even dummies like me can game on Linux now!

While AAA titles are still rare, the commercial “indie” scene is strongly represented on Linux. Also, PlayOnLinux allows for a large selection of Windows games to be installed (and played) with little hassle, and I’m enjoying a significant portion of my GoG.com game purchases with it.

Humble Bundle game releases often have “Steam codes” that activate the games on all platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux). This makes it easy (or easier) to switch to Linux for gaming purposes, since you already own the Linux version if you’ve paid for the “Windows” version.

With the tag-team of Ubuntu, Steam, PlayOnLinux (with GoG.com), and Humble Bundle, I’m enjoying an almost mainstream gaming experience on Linux now!

MakeUseOf often touches on Linux, and on Linux gaming (and thank you very much for that), but “Linux Gaming for Noobs” would be the ultimate Linux gaming article! That is my pitch!

0 votes

Eugene M.

Weapons & Gadgets

With the growing interest for weapons, you guys should have an article dedicated to new technologies in the war world (guns, tactical attachments, gadgets, etc.). Weapons in shooting games and weapons in real life are awfully similar to each other these days, so whether you own a gun (which sounds like a lot of people do in this country), or just want to know if the night vision motion detection thermal 200x zoom rifle scope exists in real life, and if yes, how much it costs, then this article would be for you!

0 votes

Jesse S

Title: Need help managing your bandwidth plan, we’ve got you covered….

Description: If your using a 3G, 4G, or Satellite Service for your broadband needs you’ve probably had problems managing bandwidth allotment on occasion. There are several good pieces of software for managing a limited bandwidth plan. One of the most wide spread pieces of software is the “SoftPerfect: Bandwidth Manager”. Which can range from a free license to $150 a computer. There are a number of great features that you can take advantage of. Though pairing it with the router and service of your choice can prove to be a bit more technical. Especially when your trying to get a couple of dozen MAC Addresses past your wireless routers NAT to manage each device individually. To that end, we’ll look at typical setup used to divide a 15 Gig “Exede” Plan between 11 devices, 4 users and 1 guest account through an “Amped Wireless” Router.

1 votes

Eugene M.

Technological “Mythbusters”

Have an article dedicated to talking about whether a certain technology from some movie or some video game exists in real life, and what it’s best uses would be.

1 votes

Eugene M.

“Who they are and how they got there.”
I feel like most of the people who go to this site are the kind of people who are looking to advance themselves and progress further and further, one way or another. Whether someone just follows your articles on Android to learn how to master their cell phone, or studies computer science at a university and just goes to your site for tech news, they both wouldn’t mind reading about how some other people got to their next level in life. Example: start with yourselves (the writers of this site). Tell us how you got to where you are, if you’re happy doing what you do, and what your plans are for the future. Then move on to other people. And they don’t have to be Bill Gates or Steve Jobs – just someone who works in the technology world and has gone from nothing to something, and by something I mean, for example, a 25 year old graphics design major who just got his masters, and started doing a lot of free work for local paper when some CEO was in town, saw his work, and hired him for what turned out to be his dream job making over $200,000 a year. Something like that. Or some entrepreneur kid who didn’t do well at school, dropped out of college, but knew how to code really well for many years, and got a patent on his new app that he wrote and now makes millions. I’d love to read stories like that, they give a lot of motivation to us, people of the tech world (or to anyone else for that matter), and make us not forget that good things do happen if you work hard – just gotta keep believing!

0 votes

Mark Sofman

You should show readers who upgraded to OSX Mavericks on their Macs how to replace and return their ebooks and pdf files, automatically migrated to iBooks on Mavericks start up, into iTunes so they can edit metadata, manage their collection(s) and readily sync with their iOS devices.