If you’re a movie lover on a budget and don’t mind watching some lesser-known films, you’ll be happy to learn that Paramount Pictures has released over 100 free movies on its new Paramount Pictures YouTube channel. The channel is verified, so it’s definitely legitimate. Unfortunately, these films are only available in the US, so if you’re outside the States you’ll need to work around region blocksVPNs Are Old: Better Ways to Access Region-Blocked VideoInternet users outside of the United States are blocked from accessing the wealth of streaming video and music content available to Americans. Even Americans are deprived of international services like BBC iPlayer. Faced with this,…Read More .
You won’t find big hits like Titanic, Iron Man, or Forrest Gump in this list, but you’ll be able to select a film easily due to the genre playlists. Whether you want to discover a new Drama, Western, Comedy, or Thriller, you’ll have choices.
This is a perfect chance to try something new; maybe you’ll find a new favorite movie! If you’re hesitant, look for some familiar faces – Jack Nicholson, Mel Gibson, and Gene Wilder, for example – among the movie’s actors to use as a start for finding a flick.
Here at MakeUseOf.com, we are all creative writers (I like to call myself that). As wordsmiths we use our fair share of text editors and online writing tools. My preference has been for tools that let me write without distractions. There’s something about visual clutter that comes in the way of focus. As you know, Writer’s Block being as bad as it is, on the web it is a constant struggle to stay focused while working.
There are a few things I ask of any writing application or a text editor. Yes, it should be minimal but it should have a few features to aid the words I key into the screen. Privacy is on top of the list. The ability to back up my work is close behind. Then, a little bit of markdown support is always welcome. WriteApp is a relatively new online writing tool that ticks all three boxes.
We recently featured it in our Directory section. I think it has enough to offer for a closer look. But just don’t confuse it with WriteApp.net which is note taking app for iOS.
WriteApp Is Not Just a Tool but Also a “Place”
WriteApp aims to be an all-embracing writing environment that you can use to keep a journal, write a book, write blog posts, or anything that needs you to just write in the simplest way possible. WriteApp says it’s a writing platform for anyone who wants to write privately but also share notes selectively. Here are its key features if you just want to skip ahead and try it out yourself:
Security: Set your notes as public or private. Two factor authentication is a comfort.
Organization: Keep your related notes together in notebooks.
Formatting: The editor supports Markdown syntax, code blocks and syntax highlighting.
Back Up: The Export feature is in beta. You can also download your notes as text files.
Mobile: Access the mobile version of the text editor.
WriteApp is still a work in progress. The good thing is that it is being actively developed, so expect to see some improvements come along. So, just register and log into the site to start your first note.
The Business of Writing on WriteApp
The WriteApp interface is simple in the best traditions of minimal text editors. A title box and the writing dialog area make up one part of the screen. You can see the options for customizing the look of your note on the right. WriteApp gives you quite a few themes to work with. The font face also changes with the selection of the themes. So, pick one you are comfortable with.
Two controls are worth mentioning – Live Preview and Standard view.
WriteApp supports Markdown. Live Preview helps you quickly see the display format of your content. Standard View is the interface you would most likely choose if you hanker for a distraction free writing environment. It removes all the controls and just gives you a plain interface to write upon, depending on the theme you choose. So, choose your theme (I prefer the darker colors), decide if you want to turn on lines or not, and then click the cross-arrowed button to get into the standard view.
All notes by default are private. You can hit the button to toggle-off the privacy settings and make them shareable with a custom slug. All public notes are available at https://writeapp.me/your-username. To save your notes, you have to come back to the default view.
You can also download your notes as .md formats (Markdown) which can be opened by any text editor like Notepad. Downloading your notes to the desktop or shift it to your Dropbox folder is a good way to keep them backed up. If you have too many notes piled up, it’s better to use the Export option under Settings. Though, the developer warns that it is very much a beta feature and may not work smoothly. In my trials it didn’t.
Managing Your Notes with Notebooks
You can organize all your notes into discrete notebooks. The organizational part of this app can be accessed by clicking the Notes link on top. Click on the area where it is written – Plans for world domination. Enter a name for the notebook. Click on the red New Notebook button to create your first notebook. One of the quirks is that the Plans for domination notebook remains even if you delete it from the Settings screen.
There are no filters to trawl through a multitude of notes; but the search is quick and responsive. Finally, you can go into the Settings and delete any notebook you want to. The Settings screen also allows you to set up your public profile.
Features To Like
WriteApp is still undergoing development. But already there are some features to like:
WriteApp allows you to insert code blocks. Automatic syntax highlighting is also a big plus. These makes it a writing environment, coders can also use.
WriteApp has integrated a commenting platform powered by Disqus. You can trigger discussions around public posts with a Disqus account.
WriteApp lets you send notes via email. Use email@example.com for private notes and firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can upgrade for free to take advantage of Notes by Email and 2-factor authentication which are Premium only features. If you start with a free account, you can still upgrade for free though the offer blog post says it was till January 2013. The developer is trying to build up mass for his app. There’s nothing wrong with it, as WriteApp has promise and the features to meet that promise. This is an early look, even then tell us about your first impressions. Do you use minimal text editors for distraction free writing online? How would you compare WriteApp with the rest of the tribe?
As a writer, developer and all-round geek, I’m of the opinion that my best work is done while thoroughly off my head. Here I present you with four DIY recipes to get your buzz on: alcohol and caffeine, because we all know that mixing stimulants and depressants is a recipe for success in life.
Warning: you can get very, very wasted with not a lot of money. Don’t ruin your life by overdoing it. Alcohol abuse kills thousands every year – it’s your responsibility to drink in moderation.
As a student, half of my budget was spent on various intoxicants and the other half on rent. If someone had told me I could have saved hundreds of dollars by fermenting my own wine, I’d have at the very least hugged them for an unspecified amount of time to show my gratitude. On the average $10 bottle of wine, UK drinkers pay over half of that straight into the tax coffers. If you make your own, you can bring the cost down to less than $2 per bottle.
First, a primer on fermentation. Making alcohol is actually one of the easiest processes known to mankind – it’s widely believed that the first alcohol was produced purely by accident, but thankfully someone figured out what was going on and it’s been a staple of civilisation ever since. Here’s the secret: yeast and sugar. The yeast consumes the sugar, and produces waste products of alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The amount of sugar you put in at the start will determine the final alcohol content at the end, but only up to a certain level. High alcohol content actually kills yeast, so production by fermentation is only really possible up to about 15% ABV (or 30 proof). If you put enough sugar in to theoretically reach higher than that, you won’t: you’ll get to 15% and it’ll just be really sweet (unless you buy expensive specialist yeasts). Beyond that, you need to distill the alcohol, which is illegal – and for good reason, because the ethanols produced by amateur distillations can make you go crazy.
But surely you need hundreds of dollars to do this miraculous process at home?! Not really. You don’t need a hydrometer, for instance – which is a float that looks like a thermometer, but actually gives you accurate readings of how much sugar is in there, and hence what the final alcohol content will be. You don’t need a huge fermenting tub like the one pictured above if you work in small batches; and you don’t even need a glass carboy (though you can probably get one off freecycle Get Free Stuff, Give Away Your Junk & Save The Planet The Freecycle Way
). The only things you really need are an airlock, a siphon tube, and some yeast (and of course, the grape juice).
Let’s start with grape juice: get 100% natural preservative-free. Costco has a suitable 2.72 litre pack. There’s 39g per cup of natural sugar content in this, which is enough to make a 7-8% wine. Add about 3 cups of sugar (remove some wine to make room) for a theoretical 14% ABV final wine.
Airlocks are small glass or plastic curly tubes that you fill with water: they let air (or in this case, carbon dioxide) out, and stop nasty flies getting in (which will turn your lovely wine into vinegar). Here’s a suitable airlock; and a universal bung. Don’t forget to add some water to the airlock, or it’s useless – there should be a little mark on it to indicate how much to add.
Finally, you need some yeast. This champagne yeast is enough to brew 5 gallons, so divide accordingly and store unused yeast in the fridge. Just tip the yeast into the bottle, secure with the airlock, and place in a warm environment (25-28 degrees Celsius is ideal). It’ll start bubbling within a few hours; when it stops after a week or so, the wine is done. Leave longer to clear the wine further. Siphon off, being careful not to agitate the lees (dead yeast, etc.) at the bottom.
Excuse me for a moment to compose myself, but I’m still cringing from the absurdity of having to put the word “hard” in front of cider to let Americans know this is something different to lemonade. Ok, I’m good now.
Hobo wine is cheap and nasty, but it gets the job done. Cider is the easiest of the “real” homemade alcohols if you’ve been blessed with a surplus of apples, and you needn’t add additional sugar. Otherwise it’s the same basic process as making wine, but you obviously need to get the juice from the apples first. This instructable walks you through that – you can use a regular juicer, and just filter the results with a bit of muslin cloth. The instructions also introduce Campden tablets, which are a sulphide used to kill yeast; used at the start to kill the natural yeast (not strictly necessary, but it’s a bit of a gamble), and at the end when you want to ensure no further fermentation. If you want to bottle and carbonate your cider, you’ll need to add additional sugar at the end, but you’ll need to look up the details yourself as I won’t be held liable for your exploding bottles.
Once you’re done with cider, you can advance to beers – but that’s a whole level of geekery I just can’t be bothered with.
Numerous tests have shown that a preference for Coca Cola comes not from actual taste, but brand loyalty. Though the real Coke recipe remains under guard, it was supposedly leaked many years ago – which means you can now make your own (scroll down to skip the history and get to the recipe). The production process is pretty complex, but don’t let that discourage you. The first step is to create the flavouring from a number of essential oils – the so-called “7X formula” – this is probably the hardest part. You then create a caffeine mix, and caramel colouring mix, before crafting the final cola syrup. Mixing 1 part syrup to 5 parts fizzy water is your final step.
The only real problem is the initial cost – although on a per-batch basis it will save you literally tens of dollars (hey, DIY isn’t about the money) – you need to buy a large quantity of essential oils in comparison to how much you’ll actually use.
Warning: the oils used in the process and the caffeine are extremely potent – don’t mess with the recipe. It’s tempting to up the buzz when you’re making it yourself, but just don’t. Normal people (i.e., those without known heart conditions) have died after ingesting as little as 1000mg of caffeine in a 24-hour period.
Alcoholic Butter Beer
A sweet concoction, popularised by Harry Potter but believed to be based on an original recipe from 15th century England. Though the version you can buy on Warner Brothers studio tours is a glorified cream soda with fluff on the top, this one from Bryton Taylor has a nice kick to it from a strong British Ale as the base ingredient. Add sugar, egg yolks, butter and pumpkin pie spice (for UK readers: it’s basically all the spices used for mulled wine – nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger).
Don’t let Professor McGonagall catch you!
If you’d rather try one of the many non-alcoholic Harry Potter butter beer clones kicking around, this site compares them all.
Do you have any geeky drink recipes to share? How do you get your buzz on?
Mactracker, a classic application for Mac users, has recently made its appearance in the Mac Store. If you ever need information about any piece of Mac hardware, from the Macintosh XL released in 1983, to the latest MacBook Pro models released early this year, you can quickly find it in Mactracker.
This encyclopedia program contains information about nearly everything Apple has ever produced, including its devices, such as Apple TV, every model of iPods and iPhones; all its operating system software releases (from System Software 2.0.1, released in 1987, to Mac OS X 10.6, released in August 2009.)
Now, you may think a program like this is basically for geeky Mac computer addicts, but it’s not. Let’s explore what you can learn about your own Mac hardware and other products, and how it could be useful in purchasing new or used Macs.
After you download and launch Mactracker, the first category you probably want to check out is – This Mac, which presents all the available information about your Mac computer in which you launched Mactracker.
For each Apple product, Mactracker provides general information, including when the product was released and—if applicable—discontinued; the initial price of the product, the processor speed, the default storage and media for the model hardware, and the peripherals for Mac and mobile products. You also get information about software, memory and graphics, and the type of connections and expansions included for Mac computers.
This is the kind of information you find on those thin slips of paper you toss out or misplace when unpack your new Mac. Well, no problem, you can now find all that information, plus a lot more, in Mactracker. Also, when you click on the icon of the Mac model, you can hear the startup chime for that product. Holding down the option key when you click the on the model’s icon will play the death chime, if it has one.
If you took the time to register your Apple product, Mactracker will help you keep track of the type of technical and warranty support you have for your product(s). At the bottom-left of Mactracker, click on the My Models category. Next, click the + button. In the pop-up window, click the Change button. You can instead manually type the name of the product you’re adding to Mactracker, but it’s better to check to see if it’s already listed.
If you want add information about the current Mac your working on, click the This Mac button and select the product you want to input into Mactracker.
You can also type in the name of a product in the search box and select the correct model. If you’re adding a fairly recent Mac computer or device, type in the serial number for your product. For Mac computers, you can locate the serial number by clicking the Apple icon in the upper-left of your desktop. Then click, About This Mac. (For your iPhone or other iOS device, simply click on the Settings app > General > Serial Number.)
Click twice on where it says – Version; and the serial number for the product will appear. If you know your purchase date and warranty information, add that as well. The information for the next column, Network, can be found by clicking the System Preferences on your Mac, and then clicking on Network. Your IP address, server host, and Ethernet information will be listed there.
Back under the General category, click the Check Coverage button. If you provided the correct serial number for your Apple product, you will be taken to a page that provides information about the support services for your product.
Mactracker could be useful tool for researching Apple products you’re considering for purchase. In the Categories column, Macs are sorted by Desktop, Notebooks, Servers and Devices. They are further broken down by models.
Say for example you’re thinking about buying a MacBook Air. You can click on that folder and open the information for the latest models and compare performance, memory, storage, and other specifications.
Mactracker may not be an application you use on a regular basis, but it’s certainly a resource you should have in your in Applications folder for when you needed. And though it’s free, it’s well a donation for all the useful and accessible information it provides.
If you’ve chosen to learn Linux to use as your operating system, you’ve made a great choice! There’s a lot to learn about Linux, and if you want to make the most use out of the open source operating system, it’s important to learn and improve!
But how can you tell when you’re not a rookie anymore? Check out these 10 mistakes rookies tend to make, and see if you’ve made any of them recently. If you have, don’t worry! The point here is not to point and laugh, but to recognize the mistakes and learn from them.
How to Pronounce “Linux”
First off, some people tend to have rather strange ways of pronouncing the word “Linux”. It’s definitely not the easiest word in the world, but it’s not hard either. Linux has two syllables with the same pronunciation as the “lin” in “linens” and “ux” in “flux”. Lin-ux. Easy, right? As a comparison, it’s a bit different than the name of the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds. His first name is pronounced like “line” and us”. At least that’s how he prefers his name when spoken in English.
Linux Is More Than Ubuntu
There’s no single “Linux” out there, and it definitely isn’t just Ubuntu either. There are tons of other distributions out there, all of which have differences between each other. The beauty (and curse) of having all of these distributions is that you have choice. While they all run Linux at the core, what’s provided along with the core varies, so you can pick what you think suits you best.
Don’t Always Use Sudo
When you run a command in the terminal, it’s sometimes aggravating when it says “permission denied” and you have to redo the command with “sudo” at the beginning. Some rookie Linux users will tend to prefix all of their commands with sudo, even when a lot of them don’t require it. This is bad, because certain commands actually run better when you run them as your own user rather than as root. Of course, it’s also a security risk if everything runs as root and therefore has access to literally everything on your system.
Don’t Run Every Command Given to You
Similarly, rookie Linux users will often run any command on their system that a member of an online support forum claims will help whatever problems you’re encountering. Although rare, it does occasionally happen that people will provide damaging commands to innocent users. We’ve made a list of the most common commands that you should avoid at all costs, so take a look at that if you’re worried. Otherwise, you might find that the system is deleting itself!
Learn How to Use Commands
There are tons of commands out there that you can use. In fact, there are so many that not even the most seasoned Linux users know all of them. The rookie mistake here is not knowing how to help yourself. If there’s ever a command that you come across that you’d like to learn how to use, you can use the man command. So for example, if you need to learn more about the move command mv, you can enter in man mv and it’ll give you detailed documentation over everything mv can do. Not sure how to use man? Just type man man and learn all about it! An easy way to remember this is that man is short for manual.
Stop Relying on WINE
Linux rookies tend to lean too much on WINE or think that WINE can run all Windows applications. While WINE certainly does allow some applications and games to run under Linux, it’s not perfect. In fact, if something works under WINE, you should feel lucky rather than take it for granted. If you want to be a better Linux user, you’ll need to seek alternatives that are native to Linux and use them to their fullest.
Windows Software Isn’t the Only Software
Which comes to my next rookie mistake: Windows software isn’t the only software available. While there are a lot of applications which also have Linux versions (such as Firefox, Chrome, Thunderbird, GIMP, etc.), this isn’t always the case. However, just because that specific application isn’t available on Linux doesn’t mean that the functionality you’re looking for doesn’t exist on Linux. Nine times out of ten, there’s a Linux alternative that doesn’t run on Windows and can give you the same functionality as that Windows application you were looking for.
Software Centers Are Just Package Managers
Some distributions like Ubuntu offer a “software center” or “software store” where you can go to find all sorts of software. While this approach does make things more familiar for newer users, you’ll sound like a rookie if you keep mentioning them as such. These software centers or stores are merely just different UIs placed on top of what’s called a package manager. They allow you to install or remove packages (which software, add-ons, and other goodies come as in Linux), keep a list of all installed packages, and check for updates for installed packages. Ultimately, you’re just using the package manager with a fancy user interface.
DEB and RPM Files Don’t Mix
It’s important to know that some distributions use .deb packages, some use .rpm packages, and others have their own package formats. If you didn’t know that, it’ll seem like a rookie mistake whenever you find an .rpm package and try to install it on a system that uses .deb packages. The reasoning behind these different formats is that different distributions can use different package managers, which require different package formats. It’s confusing and honestly a bit hindering, but it might explain why you’re not able to install that one package sitting in your Downloads folder.
Watch Your File Formats
Finally, when you’re using Linux alternatives, please be aware that they may have different default file formats. For example, when you’re using LibreOffice, it will want to save files as .odt, .odp, and so on by default. However, Microsoft Office users that you send these files to may not know what to do with them (although Microsoft Office should be able to open them — albeit poorly). So it’d be a good idea to make sure that you save such documents in the industry-standard formats to avoid any potential compatibility issues with other users.
Save Time and Learn Now
These ten mistakes are made quite often by Linux rookies, but you’ll learn from them eventually. However, with this list right in front of you, it may be easier to try to avoid the mistakes and save yourself some time. It’s also worth checking out these five lies about Linux to see whether you thought they were true.
What mistakes did you make as a Linux rookie? Let us know in the comments!
New scanning research has revealed so-called thermal anomalies in Egypt's Great Pyramid of Khufu, suggesting a space that could be a tomb within the 4,500-year-old pyramid.
Thermal imaging of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza has revealed anomalies (variations in temperature) on the lower east side as well as the upper part of the pyramid. Additional thermal anomalies have been detected at the pyramid of Khafre as well as the Red and Bent Pyramids at Dahshur.
This image shows one of the spots on the Great Pyramid where an anomaly was detected. The work is being carried out by the Scan Pyramid project. (Image courtesy Scan Pyramids.)
The thermal scan shows that the temperature of the area is elevated by a few degrees (note the scale on the right). Researchers say that this could be caused by many things, including internal air currents, differences in the materials used or by an opening behind the wall. (Image courtesy Scan Pyramids.)
An unexpected find
A close-up view of the anomaly. Is there an opening behind these stones? More tests need to be done. (Image courtesy Scan Pyramids.)