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Joel Lee

Editor in Chief / Joined 8 December, 2011

Joel Lee has a B.S. in Computer Science and over six years of professional writing experience. He is the Editor in Chief for MakeUseOf.

1737 Articles
3447 Comments
Need An Alternative to Winamp? Try Spider Player [Windows]

Windows

Need An Alternative to Winamp? Try Spider Player [Windows]

I’m a big music junkie. If I’m sitting at my computer and there is no music coming out of the speakers, then it actually puts me on edge a bit and I end up unable to focus. Whether I’m reading, browsing, playing a game, or typing away at an article, I need music and I need to be able to control it comfortably. I’m therefore constantly on the prowl for the perfect music player. But here’s the thing: I’ve already been through all of the big name household programs.

01-05-2013
Need An Alternative to Winamp? Try Spider Player [Windows]
Using Paint.NET? Make It Even Better With These Great Plugins

Windows

Using Paint.NET? Make It Even Better With These Great Plugins

Have you ever needed to do computer artwork that involved more than simple crops and resizes? For a long time, your only real options were Paintshop Pro and Adobe Photoshop, although the rise of GIMP has provided users with a powerful free alternative. But in some cases, those tools are too powerful. What if you want something in the middle? That’s where Paint.NET comes in.

29-04-2013
Using Paint.NET? Make It Even Better With These Great Plugins
Use Prey & Never Lose Your Laptop Or Phone Again [Cross-Platform]

Internet

Use Prey & Never Lose Your Laptop Or Phone Again [Cross-Platform]

Here’s the thing about mobile and portable devices: since they aren’t tethered to anything, it’s almost too easy to lose them or, worse, have them stolen from right under your nose. I mean, if you really think about it, all somebody needs to do is run past you and grab your phone while you’re using it and they have a good chance of getting away with it. However, with Prey, you’ll never have to worry about absentmindedness or theft ever again.

26-04-2013
Use Prey & Never Lose Your Laptop Or Phone Again [Cross-Platform]
Meon: It May Be Ugly, But It’s Refreshingly Fun [Android]

Android

Meon: It May Be Ugly, But It’s Refreshingly Fun [Android]

A lot of games tend to be rehashes of the same concept. Meon isn’t one of them.. Fact is, it’s rare to find new concepts in mobile gaming; instead, we usually just end up with refinements which are admittedly nice, but sometimes we need breaths of fresh air. Meon may have its flaws, but it presents a new gameplay concept that I haven’t seen before.

26-04-2013
Meon: It May Be Ugly, But It’s Refreshingly Fun [Android]
How GPS Works [MakeUseOf Explains]

Technology Explained

How GPS Works [MakeUseOf Explains]

As an avid gamer, I’m surprised by the correlation between GPS-like features in modern video games and the proliferation of GPS technology in mundane life. When I was a kid, paper maps and cartography were still common; if you got lost, you suffered through it and found your way to your destination. Nowadays, we’ve got the wonders of GPS to guide us there and back again. What is GPS? How does it work?

24-04-2013
How GPS Works [MakeUseOf Explains]
You Should Buy These: 5 Android Apps That Are Worth Every Penny, And Why

Android

You Should Buy These: 5 Android Apps That Are Worth Every Penny, And Why

There is a vast ocean of Android apps on Google Play and it can be daunting to browse, especially if you’re new to Android in general. Free apps are great and all, and there are tons of them available, but what about the paid ones? Are they worth the money? I found five Android apps that pack so much value, they’re worth every cent. Best of all, even if you buy them all, they’ll cost you less than a meal out.

23-04-2013
You Should Buy These: 5 Android Apps That Are Worth Every Penny, And Why
Why You Don’t Have To Use PayPal For Online Transactions: 5 PayPal Alternatives

Internet

Why You Don’t Have To Use PayPal For Online Transactions: 5 PayPal Alternatives

Online shopping and online purchases have grown into something so important in many of our lives that it’s strange, at least for me, to think of a world where it doesn’t exist. PayPal is one service that really pioneered that world, especially in terms of purchasing without needing a credit card, debit card, or gift card. But are there any viable alternatives if you don’t like PayPal?

19-04-2013
Why You Don’t Have To Use PayPal For Online Transactions: 5 PayPal Alternatives
Save Your Eyes & Improve Web Page Legibility With Readability [Firefox]

Browsers

Save Your Eyes & Improve Web Page Legibility With Readability [Firefox]

Poor web design can really put a damper on your web browsing. Ever been to a website with a jet black background and neon font colors with flashing banner ads all over the place? Good luck trying to read that. But even properly designed websites can be hard to read thanks to intrusive ads or overall clutter. With Readability, you can bypass all of that.

17-04-2013
Save Your Eyes & Improve Web Page Legibility With Readability [Firefox]
5 Tips & Advice To Help You Become A Successful Telecommuter

Internet

5 Tips & Advice To Help You Become A Successful Telecommuter

Working a job, no matter what you do, can be difficult, exhausting, and downright unrewarding. Waking up to the screech of an alarm, dragging yourself from your cozy bed, and making it all the way to work can be miserable, especially when the weather outside is grim and gloomy. So when you hear about people working from home, it sounds like a dream job. But is it?

16-04-2013
5 Tips & Advice To Help You Become A Successful Telecommuter
Take a Break From the Mainstream Music Apps and Try Rocket Player [Android]

Android

Take a Break From the Mainstream Music Apps and Try Rocket Player [Android]

When it comes to Android music players, there are a few big names that everyone likes to throw around – e.g., Winamp and doubleTwist – but popular isn’t always the best. Recently, I heard about a lesser known Android app called Rocket Player. I checked it out, the screenshots looked enticing, so I downloaded it and gave it a test run. The results were pleasantly surprising, but is it a contender for the title of Best Android Music Player?

15-04-2013
Take a Break From the Mainstream Music Apps and Try Rocket Player [Android]
Need a Custom Home Screen? Apex Launcher Gives You What You Want [Android]

Android

Need a Custom Home Screen? Apex Launcher Gives You What You Want [Android]

For many users, Android is the mobile operating system that revolutionized the smartphone market thanks to the level of customization it allowed. Don’t get me wrong: the iPhone and the Blackberry (and more recently, Windows Phone) all have their place in the market, but nothing beats the out-of-the-box capabilities for personalizing an Android. And what iconifies the smartphone experience better than the home screen?

12-04-2013
Need a Custom Home Screen? Apex Launcher Gives You What You Want [Android]
Faster, Leaner, Better – Alternatives To The Android Facebook App

Android

Faster, Leaner, Better – Alternatives To The Android Facebook App

Oh, the joys of having social media available to us at any time of day thanks to the advent of the smartphone. Facebook has always been (at least on the surface) about connecting with your friends and family and staying updated without having to meet up in person every few days. And in that sense, mobile Facebook apps have ushered in a new era of information convenience. But when it comes to Android, the official Facebook app is not perfect.

09-04-2013
Faster, Leaner, Better – Alternatives To The Android Facebook App
What Can You Do To Speed Up Your Browser?

Browsers

What Can You Do To Speed Up Your Browser?

If you’re like me and you spend a huge portion of your day browsing the web then you understand how frustrating it is to have a slow, bloated browser that seems to be on its last leg. While some of that slowness can stem from issues unrelated to the browser, like ISP and computer hardware, there are some steps you can take to maximize browser speeds.

08-04-2013
What Can You Do To Speed Up Your Browser?
What Is Onion Routing, Exactly? [MakeUseOf Explains]

Browsers

What Is Onion Routing, Exactly? [MakeUseOf Explains]

Internet privacy. Anonymity was one of the greatest features of the Internet in its youth (or one of its worst features, depending on who you ask). Leaving aside the sorts of problems that spring forth from anonymous interaction, such as the lack of consequences, Internet privacy and anonymity is important for preventing some serious crimes, like identity theft. And so when topics related to Internet privacy pop up, you’ll often hear of “private browsing” and “proxy servers”.

05-04-2013
What Is Onion Routing, Exactly? [MakeUseOf Explains]
Make Animated GIFs & Cinemagraphs [Android]

Android

Make Animated GIFs & Cinemagraphs [Android]

The GIF image format is one of the staples of the Internet, allowing for animations to be shared with other people who aren’t standing in the same room as you. It’s one of the oldest image formats to have become mainstream, but it’s still used regularly even today and creative people are pioneering new uses for GIFs, such as the cinemagraph. A cinemagraph is a GIF that is mostly a still image with one small section being animated.

05-04-2013
Make Animated GIFs & Cinemagraphs [Android]
Why USB Sticks Are Dangerous & How To Protect Yourself

Internet

Why USB Sticks Are Dangerous & How To Protect Yourself

USB drives are so pervasive in today’s world of technology, but when they first debuted, they revolutionized data exchange. The first USB flash drives had an 8MB capacity, which isn’t much by today’s standards, but a far cry better than the alternatives – the 1.44MB floppy or the CD that required permanent burning. Nowadays we have USB drives that are larger than traditional hard drives.

03-04-2013
Why USB Sticks Are Dangerous & How To Protect Yourself
How To Streamline Your Mouse Use [Windows]

Windows

How To Streamline Your Mouse Use [Windows]

Back in the first days of the computer, the only way to interface with a terminal was through a keyboard, no mouse. Of course, back then, most operating systems ran on a command line interface so a mouse wasn’t really necessary. But nowadays, when we have mice available, a question is raised – are you using your mouse productively? The mouse gives us a great deal of control in two dimensions – selecting, dragging, tapping, double-tapping, and more.

02-04-2013
How To Streamline Your Mouse Use [Windows]
Don’t Let Your Smartphone Take Over Your Life

Don’t Let Your Smartphone Take Over Your Life

Back at the end of 2012, just in time for New Year’s Resolutions, I wrote an article all about smartphone addiction. We created technology to serve us, yet so many of us – myself included – have fallen enslaved to our phones. Ever lose your phone for one moment and felt your heart jump out of your chest? That’s what I’m talking about. Don’t let your smartphone master you. Take control over your smartphone by avoiding these potentially harmful habits.

01-04-2013
Don’t Let Your Smartphone Take Over Your Life
Don’t Like Amazon? Alternatives To The Kindle eBook Reader App For Android

Android

Don’t Like Amazon? Alternatives To The Kindle eBook Reader App For Android

Amazon has its own set of flaws that send readers looking for an alternative that’s just as good. Looking to get away from Amazon, the Kindle, and DRM? Here are some of the best ebook reading apps that I’ve found on Android over the years. I’ve used each of them at some point in my life and I’ve been satisfied with all of them. Hopefully they work well for you, too.

29-03-2013
Don’t Like Amazon? Alternatives To The Kindle eBook Reader App For Android
How To Deal With Telephone Spam

Internet

How To Deal With Telephone Spam

The greatest aspect of the telephone? The fact that you can speak to anyone at a moment’s notice, even if they’re halfway across the world. Sit back and think about that for a second because it’s amazing. But there’s also a drawback: spammers can constantly attempt to reach you with texts and calls and you may feel helpless against the endless barrage.

29-03-2013
How To Deal With Telephone Spam
Word Processing In Google Docs? 5 Important Tips To Keep In Mind

Internet

Word Processing In Google Docs? 5 Important Tips To Keep In Mind

For the majority of my life, Microsoft Word was the word processing tool to use if you were going to do any serious work. Sure, there were alternatives like Corel WordPerfect and later on OpenOffice, but Microsoft Word held a pretty tight grip as leader in that field. Since then, Google Docs shifted all of that into a cloud environment and has been quite successful. In the future, I truly see Google Docs taking over traditional desktop word processors.

27-03-2013
Word Processing In Google Docs? 5 Important Tips To Keep In Mind
3 Fun Tools to Get More Out of Your Webcam

Windows

3 Fun Tools to Get More Out of Your Webcam

To be honest, I never understood the big fuss over webcams and video chatting. Sure, it’s nice to chat face to face every once in a while, especially when you haven’t seen your significant other or family members for long periods of time, but other than that, I’ve always thought webcams weren’t a justified purchase. Until I learned you can use webcams for more than just chatting.

26-03-2013
3 Fun Tools to Get More Out of Your Webcam
Quell: The Most Relaxing Free Puzzle Game for Mobile Devices [Android, iOS]

Android iPhone and iPad

Quell: The Most Relaxing Free Puzzle Game for Mobile Devices [Android, iOS]

There are many Android games that deserve praise, many of which are logic-based puzzle games like Move the Box and Unblock Me, although there are a few action games like Death Worm to seal the deal. I’ve found yet another fantastic logical puzzler that will calmly pick your mind and stump you regularly. It’s called Quell and it’s available on both Android (Free) and iOS ($1.99).

22-03-2013
Quell: The Most Relaxing Free Puzzle Game for Mobile Devices [Android, iOS]
Learn To Play The Drums With These Websites & Tools

Internet

Learn To Play The Drums With These Websites & Tools

Who doesn’t love a skilled drummer? Beats are the heart of music and a great beat by a great drummer can absolutely transform the spirit of a song into something transcendent. I’ve tried learning how to drum on a few occasions in the past but always ran into an obstacle: drums are expensive. Luckily for any of you readers in that same boat, there are now a handful of fantastic resources on the Internet

22-03-2013
Learn To Play The Drums With These Websites & Tools