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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.

1744 Articles
3447 Comments
Are You Being Unfollowed? Check With These Apps and Plugins

Are You Being Unfollowed? Check With These Apps and Plugins

In my opinion, one of the best things Facebook ever did was to let users “unfriend” each other without any notifications. There have been numerous examples where I’ve regretted “friending” someone, and I’ve avoided tons of drama thanks to this unfriend-in-secret feature. Now, there are apps and extensions that will let you monitor when people unfriend or unfollow you on Facebook or Twitter.

15-02-2013
Are You Being Unfollowed? Check With These Apps and Plugins
How to Optimize Your DNS for Faster Internet

Internet

How to Optimize Your DNS for Faster Internet

“The Internet is just a series of tubes” as one man so wisely stated. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. There’s a complex architecture that supports the Internet, and data packets need to travel some interesting routes in order to reach you. If you can optimize the paths that your data takes, you can boost your Internet speed. Now, there are some limitations. Data packets are essentially light, and light has a fixed speed of travel.

12-02-2013
How to Optimize Your DNS for Faster Internet
The Best Ways To Send A Free SMS Online

Internet

The Best Ways To Send A Free SMS Online

In an era where smartphone ownership is becoming the majority, it’s hard to imagine someone who can’t (or won’t) send out text messages. When was the last time you knew someone who didn’t have a text messaging plan on their mobile? Or better yet, when was the last time someone told you “don’t text me because I’ve hit my limit!”? You probably don’t remember. And yet, there are still millions of people out there who don’t have access to free text messaging.

08-02-2013
The Best Ways To Send A Free SMS Online
Post This: 5 Fantastic Blogging Add-ons [Firefox]

Wordpress & Web Development

Post This: 5 Fantastic Blogging Add-ons [Firefox]

Growing up, I created dozens and dozens of blogs on nearly every subject that interested me. I’ve had software development blogs, video game blogs, religious blogs, mini-blogs for team projects, small blogs for my inner circle of friends. You might be running a blog right now, or you may be thinking of running one. If so, listen up! One of the best advancements in browser technology over the past decade has been in plugins/extensions/addons.

05-02-2013
Post This: 5 Fantastic Blogging Add-ons [Firefox]
What Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains]

Technology Explained

What Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains]

“Open source” is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days. You may know that certain things are open source, like Linux and Android, but do you know what it entails? What is open source software? How can you tell if a program is open source? And, really, who cares? How does the open source philosophy affect you?

01-02-2013
What Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains]
Speed Up & Tweak Windows Explorer [Windows 7]

Windows

Speed Up & Tweak Windows Explorer [Windows 7]

For a long time now, Windows Explorer (the process on Windows that controls everything from the desktop to folder browsing) has had a poor reputation for being a clunky, slow, and arguably useless file navigator. More recent versions of Windows (namely 7) have improved upon it, but there are still a few options and features that are missing. Thanks to hobby programmers, there are a few options and tools that you can use.

25-01-2013
Speed Up & Tweak Windows Explorer [Windows 7]
Bloodline Champions: Free-to-Play Skill-Based PvP Arena For Competitive Players [MUO Gaming]

Gaming

Bloodline Champions: Free-to-Play Skill-Based PvP Arena For Competitive Players [MUO Gaming]

Bloodline Champions (BLC) is a top-down F2P game with high hopes: to create a game where players can play against each other in an arena that rewards skill, not repetition or luck. If you’ve ever heard of the term “e-sports,” this game is a prime candidate. It’s all about aiming, timing, reacting, and making the right decisions – and it’s HARD. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, as a game that rewards skill wouldn’t be very rewarding if it was easy.

25-01-2013
Bloodline Champions: Free-to-Play Skill-Based PvP Arena For Competitive Players [MUO Gaming]
RSS And Beyond: The Top 5 Android News Reader Apps For Free

Android

RSS And Beyond: The Top 5 Android News Reader Apps For Free

RSS, which means Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary depending on who you ask, is a popular way to receive news updates from your favorite websites. You can pick and choose which updates you want and they’re amalgamated into a central “inbox” of sorts, allowing you to read your news at your convenience. With smartphones, you can now do all of this through apps.

22-01-2013
RSS And Beyond: The Top 5 Android News Reader Apps For Free
What’s A Cookie & What Does It Have To Do With My Privacy? [MakeUseOf Explains]

Internet

What’s A Cookie & What Does It Have To Do With My Privacy? [MakeUseOf Explains]

Most people know that there are cookies scattered all over the Internet, ready and willing to be eaten up by whoever can find them first. Wait, what? That can’t be right. Yes, there are cookies on the Internet (technically, the World Wide Web), and yes, they really are called “cookies”. But they aren’t delicious and they can affect your privacy, so you should know what they do.

18-01-2013
What’s A Cookie & What Does It Have To Do With My Privacy? [MakeUseOf Explains]
Avoid These 7 Common Mistakes When Buying A New Computer

Technology Explained

Avoid These 7 Common Mistakes When Buying A New Computer

I built a new computer a few years ago. I’ve always considered myself above average in the tech field, but looking back, I have a few regrets with the system I built – some of my decisions could’ve been much better. Even if you’re thinking of buying a computer, not building one, you could be making the same mistakes as I did. Most of these mistakes come down to a lack of knowledge.

11-01-2013
Avoid These 7 Common Mistakes When Buying A New Computer
Are You Really Using The Best Web Browser For Windows?

Windows Browsers

Are You Really Using The Best Web Browser For Windows?

Ask anyone about the best browsers in the web browsing market and you’ll likely get the following list – IE, Chrome, Firefox. Those who are more tech-savvy might list Opera as an alternative. Those are the 4 most popular browsers on Windows, but which one is the best? Perhaps none of them. Popularity can be an indicator of quality, but it doesn’t guarantee it.

08-01-2013
Are You Really Using The Best Web Browser For Windows?
Make Sure You’re Clean With These Free One-Time Scan Antivirus Tools [Windows]

Windows

Make Sure You’re Clean With These Free One-Time Scan Antivirus Tools [Windows]

It sucks to be constantly bombarded by computer-related threats, whether they’re spyware, malware, viruses, keyloggers, or whatever else. A popular way to combat this problem is to install an antivirus solution that sits in the background and keeps you safe. But no matter what resident solution you’re using, it might not catch each and every infection. That’s where the one-time-scanner steps in.

04-01-2013
Make Sure You’re Clean With These Free One-Time Scan Antivirus Tools [Windows]
$1 Per Song? No Way! 5 Cheaper Alternatives For The iTunes Store

Internet

$1 Per Song? No Way! 5 Cheaper Alternatives For The iTunes Store

The world of music is constantly changing. Vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and now MP3s – and that means that we’ve gone from analog to digital. The best thing about digital music, in my opinion, is that you can purchase it in full online without ever leaving the seat of your desk. But the latest question in online music purchases is – where?

04-01-2013
$1 Per Song? No Way! 5 Cheaper Alternatives For The iTunes Store
Which Is The Best Mobile Music Streaming Service?

Internet

Which Is The Best Mobile Music Streaming Service?

Online radio is picking up steam now that there’s a good bit of competition driving the technology. You might be familiar with services like Pandora and Spotify, but now that you can stream music on-the-go with your mobile device, it’s better than ever. Join me as I explore and compare the five best music streaming services available today.

01-01-2013
Which Is The Best Mobile Music Streaming Service?
Don’t Fall Victim to Keyloggers: Use These Important Anti-Keylogger Tools

Windows

Don’t Fall Victim to Keyloggers: Use These Important Anti-Keylogger Tools

In cases of online identity theft, keyloggers play one of the most important roles in the actual act of stealing. If you’ve ever had an online account stolen from you – whether it was for Facebook, Gmail, a forum, or a video game – and you couldn’t explain how it was stolen, then the likely explanation is a keylogger. They’re dangerous, and no one is safe from them. What exactly is a keylogger?

28-12-2012
Don’t Fall Victim to Keyloggers: Use These Important Anti-Keylogger Tools
Write More Good: 7 Free Online Tools To Ensure You Use Proper English

Internet

Write More Good: 7 Free Online Tools To Ensure You Use Proper English

Improper use of English is one of my pet peeves. I’m not a full-blown “grammar nazi” (a colloquialism for someone very strict with grammar) but it does irk me. An exception can be made for those who don’t use English natively, but blatant disregard for the rules of language can be seen all over the Internet – and it can be quite annoying. Language is meant to convey ideas through a common medium that obeys a set of rules.

21-12-2012
Write More Good: 7 Free Online Tools To Ensure You Use Proper English
Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone?

Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone?

At one time, landlines and payphones were all we had–and we survived just fine, thank you very much. But now, it’s almost laughable if you don’t own an iPhone or Android, and for some of us, we can’t even go a day without them. Smartphone addiction is a real issue for modern society and, like most addictions, people who are addicted don’t truly realize how addicted they are. And even if you aren’t addicted yourself, chances are good that you know someone who is.

21-12-2012
Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone?
Stream Audio to Your Phone With These 5 Apps [Android]

Android

Stream Audio to Your Phone With These 5 Apps [Android]

I’m a big fan of streaming media. Whether it’s YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or whatever else is out there, I love being able to stream on demand. It opens up a lot of flexibility – especially in terms of access (streaming media that I don’t have) and schedule (streaming when it’s convenient for me). And now you can stream media directly to your Android device. Smartphones have evolved to a point where they aren’t just “smart phones” anymore.

18-12-2012
Stream Audio to Your Phone With These 5 Apps [Android]
Shoot The Apple: A More Skillful Alternative To Angry Birds [Android]

Android

Shoot The Apple: A More Skillful Alternative To Angry Birds [Android]

Talk to anyone about mobile gaming and the first game that pops into mind will likely be Angry Birds. So imagine my surprise when I downloaded Shoot the Apple, gave it a try, and saw that it was pretty similar in gameplay. You fire objects at a target, navigating or destroying obstacles that are in the way. However, Shoot the Apple has a 4.5 star rating on Google Play, and after playing it a bit, I can see why.

14-12-2012
Shoot The Apple: A More Skillful Alternative To Angry Birds [Android]
Discover New Android Apps With These Android App Finders!

Android

Discover New Android Apps With These Android App Finders!

How many apps do you use on a daily basis? Not that many, I’m guessing, but the ones you do use are pretty important. Now, how many apps do you have installed? A lot, probably. Yet even so, there are thousands of other apps out there – some of them just waiting for you to discover them. A few of them will change your life. But how do you discover them when you don’t have the time?

11-12-2012
Discover New Android Apps With These Android App Finders!
Save Time and Effort When Typing With PhraseExpander Professional [Giveaway]

Windows

Save Time and Effort When Typing With PhraseExpander Professional [Giveaway]

If you’re like me, you spend a good portion of the day typing on your computer — whether it’s responding to emails, writing up papers, researching on the Internet, or just chatting with your friends through instant messenger. Typing, typing, typing. And eventually, typing can become a repetitive process. We can fix that. PhraseExpander Professional by Nagarsoft is available for $139.95 USD on Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8. It’s available for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. For you, however, we’ve got a great offer that you just can’t pass up: we’re giving away 25 copies of PhraseExpander Professional worth a total of $3,500 for FREE!

10-12-2012
Save Time and Effort When Typing With PhraseExpander Professional [Giveaway]
Write Space: A Distraction-Free Text Editor Right Inside Your Browser [Chrome]

Browsers

Write Space: A Distraction-Free Text Editor Right Inside Your Browser [Chrome]

Distraction-free editors are all the rage these days, and I’m fully aboard the train as a raving fan. I love the fact that these editors block out everything else on the computer so that you can write in peace. There’s a lot that could be said regarding our culture, that we need distraction-free programs in order to concentrate, but that’s for another article entirely. In terms of software programs, there are a bunch of different distraction-free editors you can pick from.

07-12-2012
Write Space: A Distraction-Free Text Editor Right Inside Your Browser [Chrome]
Move the Box: A Logic-Based Puzzle Game With a Boxy Twist [Android]

Android

Move the Box: A Logic-Based Puzzle Game With a Boxy Twist [Android]

I love puzzle games. I love that I can play them on my Android and I love that there are so many puzzle games available on Google Play. Logic-based puzzle games are the best as my brain can use all of the exercise it can get. There’s always Sudoku and Unblock Me, which are classics, but here’s another classic that deserves recognition. Once you see Move the Box, you’ll recognize it immediately if you’ve been a casual gamer for any period of time.

07-12-2012
Move the Box: A Logic-Based Puzzle Game With a Boxy Twist [Android]