Power.com helps manage multiple social networks with ease

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The Internet has never been more social and the large number of social networking sites popping up every other day is a testament to this fact. Not a day passes by without the introduction of atleast a couple of social networks. And social animals that we are, most of us like to be active on more than one network. But, as most of us realise, managing those account becomes a nightmare pretty soon.

Power.com is here to save the day for all you social animals. It is an interesting tool. Instead of working with and adding to the feature set of a particular social network, Power.com, lets the user login and stay active on all the networks that it currently supports.

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What that means is that a user who logs in to power.com will be able to interact with all his/her contacts across facebook, orkut, hi5 and myspace from right within the power.com window.

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While the interface could have been better, the integration of the all the different networks that it supports is pretty consistent. One can see all messages from the supported networks on a single page and also see all your friends on the same page. Power.com displays this information in a layout which looks a lot like the default orkut homepage, although the color scheme is different and very easy on the eyes.

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power_msgAnother interesting feature Power.com offers is the ability to send a message to any of your friends without even visiting their profile or scrapbook. Just hover over the friend’s name and a menu appears which will let you send a message directly.

In fact, you can reply to any messages that your friends might have sent you right from the Start Page of Power.com itself. No need to open multiple windows and having to login to different networks.

Power.com also provides a toolbar which is claimed to work on anything newer than IE 5.0 and Firefox 1.0.1 and provides access to most features without even visiting the website.

Oh yeah, before I forget … if, for example, your administrator has blocked access to orkut.com at your school/office, Power.com will still let you access orkut since the actual site will be opening inside of the power.com window.

Are there any other social networking tools that you guys use to manage your online presence ? Anything that aggregates different networks and provides a single view ?

5 free and exciting iPhone Games

Steve Jobs, while launching the iTunes app store remarked that the iPhone (and iPod touch) is the best gaming device ever made.

And looking at the kind of games available for the iPhone, I completely agree with ‘ol Steve.

The App store has thousands of games available already, both paid and free. And each one of those games has been approved by Apple, so you can be atleast sure that whatever is available on the app store right now, is high quality stuff.

In this post, we’ll look at some interesting iPhone games that are available right now and, of course, are free to download and use.

Matches

Matches is the iPhone version of the old game known as Memory or, well, Matches.

Each card on the screen has a matching that the player has to find and there is a time limit for uncovering all the matches. There are many levels and the time available to find all matches keeps shrin

king and so the game becomes increasingly more challenging as the levels progress. Exactly, the kind of thing you want to be engrossed in on a Sunday afternoon 🙂

iBowl

iBowl is from the makers of iGolf, another exciting and addictive free iPhone game. As is obvious from the name, iBowl is a bowling game – With a twist.

The difference between iBowl and the other bowling games that most of us have grown up playing on other consoles is that iBowl uses the accelerometer built into the iPhone for the bowling part. What that means is that the player presses a button and pretends to bowl as if he’s playing a real bowling game, with the iPhone in hand instead of the, well, ball.

You can even challenge a friend to a game of Bowling, althought this doesn’t exactly do this using multi player gaming. Instead, iBowl sends an email to your friend asking them to load up iBowl and then probably uses the developer’s website to keep track of scores. I’m saying probably because I haven’t personally tried this option till now. I’m happy playing and winning against … myself 🙂

WordWrap

WordWrap is the iPhone implementation of the classic jumbled words dictionary based game – You get a set of letters, jumbled up, and you’re required to form as many words as you can out of those letters. If you use all the letters to form a single word, bonus points. Each progressive level gets more difficult, or not, depending on how well you’ve studied the dictionary. ‘Nuff said … this game has to be played to really be able to appreciate it.

Vegas Pool Sharks Lite

This is another of my favorite iPhone Games. I can spend hours playing this one, or atleast as long as the battery on my iPhone lets me.

Vegas Pool sharks is like playing Pool with a twist. The Lite version is the good ‘ol Pool game which you play against an opponent controlled by the computer iPhone. The paid version promises to make the game even more fun by letting you play against stakes. Now, this is one thing every gamer knows. Put some money on the table and watch a boring game transform into the most fearsome encounter ever.

Tic Tac Toe

I’m sure this one will bring back fond memories of all those classes spent sitting in the last row playing Tic Tac Toe with your best bud, while the teacher continues with the most boring lecture ever.

It sure evokes those feelings in me. I’ve literally spent ages playing this game and the last page of all my school notebooks will testify to that. I’m just glad the game is back in its most eco friendly avatar ever. I love it.

Those were some of our favorite iPhone games and I’m sure I’ve missed tonnes more. Go ahead … type in those comments and share with us your favorite iPhone games. We’d love to hear about any tips you’ve got too … for getting past the difficult levels, you know 😉

2 Gmail Labs features that make Gmail rock even more

I love Gmail … There … I said it. And I love the Gmail Labs feature even more. I’ve written an article on some of my favourite extensions earlier on MakeUseOf.com, And this post will talk about two more awesome extensions that I have been using for some time now.

The team at Google has slowly but surely been picking up steam with their plans of world domination as is evident from the two new Labs gadgets they’ve released, Google Calender and Google Docs.

Google Calender has long been the online Calender of choice for a lot of us, including yours truly and I, for one, love it as much for its simplicity as for the features offered at the price point, i.e. Free ! Now, who can argue with Free ! No seriously, I use Google Calender all the time and features such as SMS notification of events absolutely rock my world.

It is disappointing that Google Calender hasn’t been integrated even more with Gmail. Well, guess what ! Google has been listening and Google Calender is now available as a Labs gadget and can be integrated into the Gmail user interface. It isn’t perfect but, hey, its a start.

Now, that’s one tab less in your browser. The calender entries are displayed in a nice and compact interface which feels just right and integrates well with the Gmail UI. This extension definitely brings Gmail one step closer to competing with desktop email clients like Outlook/Thunderbird.

Another great Google product is Google Docs. I use it for colaborating with my collegues, for planning my next himalayan trip and for almost everything that, well, an office suite can be used for.

The latest addition to Gmail is the Google Docs gadget. With this gadget enabled, you can see a list of the documents that you have created in Google Docs and work on them from inside Gmail.

Well, not really but it is close. Clicking on any document name will open a new browser window and take you to the Google Docs homepage with the said document ready to be edited/viewed.

The Google docs gadget is functional, useful and is a nice way to keep your most used documents in sight.

Google regularly updates Gmail with new Labs gadgets and if you use or know of any other useful gadgets, let me know in the comments.

Convert youtube videos online for free

I have a confession to make. I LOVE youtube.

So ? Whats so great about it, you ask ? Everyone loves youtube.

Well, yes and no. Everyone likes to spend time on youtube, watch a dozen videos everyday and then move on. I, on the other hand, actually like some of those videos enough that I like to take them with me and play them back on my iPhone/iPod video.

Unlike some other video sharing sites, though, youtube doesn’t offer an easy way to download videos for offline viewing.

There are a ways to download videos from youtube to your personal computer and then convert them to a format which the iPod can play back, but they’re all just inconvenient hacks. They work, but not if you’re in a hurry and are not really in the mood to play around with the countless options that tools like ffmpeg (which, by the way, is an excellent open source video converter) support.

This is where ConvertDirect comes in.

ConvertDirect is an easy to use and free online service for converting youtube videos to one of the many video formats it supports.

Just enter the link to the youtube video and chose the format you want your converted video to be in. Type in your email address and ConvertDirect will send you an email with a link to the converted video. The link will be live for 48 hours during which time you can download the video from their servers.

If you only want to use a desktop player like vlc to play back the videos offline, then click on the “Download the online video directly” tab and download the video to your computer.

Converting youtube videos for offline playback couldn’t have been simpler and more convenient than this.

Go ahead and download all those music videos great educational videos you’ve been waiting to watch and take them with you on the road.

Are there any other great online-to-offline software that you guys use ? Cool websites ? Let us know in the comments.

ADrive.com tempts with 50GB of free Online Storage

ADrive is yet another startup offering it’s users 50GB of free online “Cloud” Based storage.

ADrive is yet another startup offering it’s users 50GB of free online “Cloud” Based storage. I don’t know if the “Cloud” based part has any relevance here or not, but it sure makes their homepage buzzword compliant.

Unlike wua.la, though, which I covered a while back, Adrive is not any different from the other storage startups out there. What is different is the amount of storage they’re offering.

Most companies these days offer anywhere from 1GB to 5GB to start with for free and then charge more for extra storage. This is called the freemium model. And the model has been working well for a lot of companies, since it is quite easy to run out of 1GB and then ask the user for money once he/she is locked down.

But Adrive is offering it’s users 50GB. That’s a lot of storage by any standards. I have about 4GB of photographs which I need to store, another 20GB of songs and videos and 1 or 2GB of other data. Even, after all this I’m still well under my 50GB limit. I really wonder how are they going to convert free users to the paid model. And they backup all data for even the free account. So, I don’t need to pay to even get my data backed up.

Are services like ssl/webdav really that big a deal that an average user will pay for them ? I don’t think so. My only requirement is that a service should backup my data and Adrive does that. And I don’t mind seeing advertisements to get that much free storage. Infact, show me more ads and give me more space 🙂 Gmail already shows me ads for all the convenience it gives and, trust me, gmail has much more of my sensitive data than Adrive can ever hope to get.

I would really like Adrive to succeed and keep the 50GB limit intact, but I doubt it will.

5 Firefox Extensions I can't live without

Firefox supports extensions to the base browser which extend the functionality of the browser many times.

Firefox is the darling of the tech world. Ask any geek, which browser he or she uses and chances are the answer will be Firefox.

What makes Firefox so Interesting ?

The success of firefox among geeks is probably due to the fact that it is an open source project and consequently more secure than Internet Explorer. But there is another reason why regular people like you and I love Firefox. Extensions, AddOns, Plugins. Firefox supports extensions to the base browser which extend the functionality of the browser many times.

Most of these extensions perform small but important tasks which are better performed outside the browser. In this post I am going to look at 5 extensions that I use absolutely cannot live without. Infact, these extensions are the first things I install on a computer whenever I install firefox.

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Wuala – Free and Simple Online Social Storage

Wua.la social storage

Move over Box.net, Mozy and Xdrive, Wuala is here ! Those were exactly the words in my mind when I first heard about Wua.la a couple of months back. Back then, it was in a closed beta and I couldn’t try the service. Well, Wua.la is open to the public now and, boy, am I glad !

Wua.la is basically an online storage service. In that sense, it is no different than Box.net, Mozy or Xdrive. What makes it different is the social aspect of it.

Wuala is storage based on p2p technology. Each and every file that you store is broken down into several pieces and each piece is then stored (encrypted, of course) on wuala’s servers and also replicated on some of the other machines connected to the wuala network at any given time. Wuala’s servers keep track of the various bits of the file. The Wuala FAQ explains the technology as:

Wuala is based on a novel technology that we have researched for the most part at ETH Zurich. In addition to servers, Wuala can harness idle resources provided by participating computers. All data is first encrypted and then split into fragments which are redundantly stored on our servers and in the grid network. This allows us to save costs for downloads (bandwidth, electrical power) and thus to provide a better service for free, with a number of advantages that others just can’t offer: unlimited traffic, no file size limits, fast downloads, and so on.

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