Our Favorite Lifehacker Posts of the Week

via Gizmodo by Rosa Golijan on 11/4/09

This week Lifehacker’s got ways to avoid looking like a slob when eating chicken wings, pointers on really leaving no trace when browsing, proof that office space can be shared, and a gadget to annoy your coworkers.

Browser speed test results for Windows 7

How to really browse without leaving a trace

How to make some coffee shop favorites at home (I highly recommend the lemon pound cake)

How to decide when to spring for the extended warranty

How to turn IKEA cabinets into a cordless desktop stand

How to eat a chicken wing with little to no mess

The Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 is finally officially available for download and there’s a great guide on how it integrates into Windows 7

The five best application docks

How to get along with your significant other in a compact home office (For a moment I thought this was also a lesson on a Mac and a PC cohabiting, but alas, both computers are Macs)

How to build a “beeping thing” and drive your coworkers nutters

How to use Vicks VaporRub to cure toenail fungus

Make system rebuilding tear-free by using Allmyapps to bulk-install your favorite applications (Windows/Linux only, but those feeling left out can learn about tear-free onion cutting instead)

Watch this YouTube Video without the Flash Player

via Digital Inspiration – Technology Blog by Amit Agarwal on 6/10/09

The next major release of HTML, dubbed HTML 5, will include several new tags for embedding audio, video and other graphical content in web pages.

Currently, your browser needs a plugin to play embedded multimedia content. For instance, you need to install Adobe Flash Player for watching videos on YouTube while the QuickTime player is required for viewing movie trailers that are available on the Apple website.

That may however change because the HTML 5 group has recommended some new tags – <audio> and <video> – that will let you play video files in the browser without the Shockwave Flash plugin.

youtube without flash

You can visit youtube.com/html5 to see the HTML 5 video tag in action.

This may look like a regular YouTube video player but the interesting part is that the YouTube video clip will play just fine even if you disable (or completely remove) the Flash Player from your browser.

You can either use Firefox 3.5, Google Chrome or Safari 4 to view this video but no Internet Explorer.

And here’s a single line of HTML 5 code that was used to embed this video clip on the YouTube page:

<video width="640" height="360" src="file.mp4" autobuffer>  <br>You must have an HTML5 capable browser. </video>

This YouTube page demonstrate some of the capabilities of HTML 5 but it’s nearly impossible predict at this stage if HTML 5 (or the Open Video format promoted by Mozilla) can make any impact on the ubiquitous Flash Player which, some estimates suggest, exists on more than 90% browsers.

The other problem is that none of the older browsers can understand content that’s wrapped inside the <video> tag so you’ll still need to embed your video streams through Flash or an alternate technology like SilverLight.

That said, HTML 5 still looks very interesting and exciting.

SHIFT: Google Chrome signals the death of the Operating System


via DVICE by Charlie White on 9/18/08


Someday soon, you may not even notice which operating system your computer is using. That broadband-connected machine may not have an operating system on board at all, at least not like Windows and Mac OS X are today. That’s because there’s a new kid on the block, but he’s not even on your block at all, but storing your data and running applications based somewhere else, out there, on the Internet — or as it’s more commonly referred to, “in the cloud.”

Google’s doing all it can to expedite that exodus, pounding its latest nail into the coffin of conventional earth-bound operating systems with a web browser called Chrome. With architecture that runs Javascript web applications as separate services, it’s fast, and primed to make it easier to compute in the cloud. This could be the beginning of the end of the operating system as we know it, and that won’t come a moment too soon.

Head in the clouds
Some applications are tailor-made for cloud computing, and the best, most popular example of that is Gmail. You access Gmail’s interface in any browser, and all your email is stored on Google’s servers, giving you 7GB of free storage for all your messages and their associated attachments. Using Google’s renowned search prowess, you can easily find important info in those emails using simple keywords. Even better, you don’t need to worry about backing up anything, and you can access your email from just about any connected computer, as long as it has a browser.

The best part of Gmail’s cloud computing: tapping into the wisdom of crowds. With Gmail, you’ll never have to deal with spam again, because Gmail’s millions of users each have the ability to report spam, instantly inoculating all the other users from it. The downside: there are ads running down the right side of every email you receive, but it gets to the point where you never even notice them.

Enter Chrome
The benefits of cloud computing are extending far beyond Gmail, with useful apps such as entire Microsoft Office-like application suites Zoho Office Suite and ThinkFree Office, a free online version of Adobe Photoshop, powerful FitDay weight loss software, Quicken Online for personal finance, and a whole lot more mostly free choices. Here’s where Google Chrome comes in. With its ultra-fast compartmentalized approach to running Javascript, the programming language that makes all this neato stuff happen, Chrome makes Javascript a much more attractive platform. Chrome is so powerful, even in its infancy, it breathes new life into Javascript, maybe even pushing aside Adobe Flash and its nascent competitor, Microsoft’s Silverlight.

But wait just a second here. Javascript and its streamlined underpinnings in Chrome (and also in upcoming versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer) is not going to completely render operating systems such as Mac OS X, Windows XP, Vista, and Linux obsolete. When running many office-like apps, it’ll just make the OS invisible, and some users will stop caring which OS they’re running. But that’s true only to a point.

Down to Earth
Some applications need to stay close to the hardware, right there on the desktop because of the current impracticality of moving huge amounts of data over the Internet. Games with huge graphics files that must be processed quickly will stay on the desktop for now, high-def video editing applications need to stay local because the gigantic file sizes involved, and for now, processor-intensive apps such as speech recognition do best on the desktop.

Mind your own business
Then there are the security issues. A large number of users aren’t comfortable with all their most sensitive data residing on a far-away server that’s beyond their control. What if a hacker breaks into a server farm and steals all their data, or what if the government insists on Google giving up that data? The IT departments in many corporations will never submit to a loss of control as significant as this. But for me, I trust Google, am not a vice-presidential candidate, and figure that if the government wants any of my personal data, it can grab it from me at home easier than it can extract it from Google’s servers.

Cloud wins in the end
Given all that, the cloud still wins in the end, and Chrome leads the way. I don’t think Chrome will be loaded onto PCs without an operating system underneath, at least not for a long while. But someday soon, it’ll be available cross-platform, and then you could have a Mac in one room, a PC in another, and another machine running Ubuntu in your vacation chalet in the Swiss Alps, and most of your same apps and data could be available on all of them. Beyond that, when U.S. broadband speed and freedom catches up with the rest of the world, we might be able to do all our computing online. Maybe the OS won’t die tomorrow, but its importance is already starting to shrink so much, that soon it won’t even matter anymore.


Google goes to war armed with a new web browser, Google Chrome

via Boy Genius Report by Kelly Hodgkins on 9/2/08

After single-handedly winning the online search wars, Google appears to be poised to now enter the browser wars. A comic book fashioned document has appeared online at the unofficial Google Blog, Blogoscoped. The 38 page scanned document details on open source browser project called, Google Chrome. It apparently will have many features of the most recent versions of Firefox, Opera, and even IE 8, including an incognito mode similar to IE 8’s InPrivate mode, tabbed browsing, and awesome Javascript support. Google confirmed the beta project on its blog and announced that it will launch the Windows XP version tomorrow in 100 countries. The whole comic book approach to introducing features is novel and throwing a new browser into the mix is just plain exciting; as long as Google remembers these three words, “No World Domination”. Look for a Mac OS X and Linux version in the near future.

UPDATE: It’s available today.


Convince Your Site Visitors to Upgrade their Web Browsers

via Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal on 7/29/08

web browsers

Old web browsers are not just insecure, they also pose a problem for web designers as they have to design sites while keeping the older versions in mind.

updateIf you like to help people upgrade their outdated browsers, Pushup has created a script that can be easily integrated in any blog or website.

This JavaScript checks the version of your site visitor’s browser and will show him an upgrade link if a new version is available – see screenshot.

Your site visitor can either click the link to install the new release of his browser, or choose to be reminded after a time you specify. Thanks Dion.

Firefox 3.0: available now (almost)

via Engadget by Thomas Ricker on 6/17/08

Go get it kids, Firefox 3.0 has just been released. We’re out of beta and looking at web page loads 3- to 4-times faster than Firefox 2.0 and more than 7x faster than IE, according to its makers.

Update: Looks like we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Although a file titled, “Firefox 3.0” (without the RC# associated with previous release candidates) is active and available to download, it looks like it’s just the RC3 installer placed in the final 3.0 folder.

[Thanks, James D.]

Download — FF 3.0 all versions [Warning: FTP, will not be counted in world record attempt]
Download — FF 3.0 to be counted in world record attempt (active at 10am PDT)
Read — 10am PDT translated into local times
Read — Release progress

Firefox Passes 500 Million Downloads, Celebrates With a Lot of Rice

via Gizmodo by Haroon Malik on 2/23/08


Firefox has just hit 500 million downloads worldwide; it is an impressive statistic and we think everyone who works on the project should get a pat on the back. As if their contribution in creating a kick-ass browser was not enough to the world, the Mozilla team is celebrating by raising funds for 500 million grains of rice, which they will give away to poverty stricken nations.

To be completely honest with you guys, I did kind of download Firefox twice when I was installing it. I threw the extra .dmg file right in the trash, which obviously means they are still on 499,999,999 downloads. What the heck, what’s one download between friends, apart from a heap of rice goodness? Jump in and let the Mozilla team know how much you appreciate not having to choose between IE or Safari.


A first look at Mobile Firefox

via Download Squad by Simon Kerbel on 1/25/08

Mozilla has just revealed a first look at its new Mobile Firefox interface. Actually, Mozilla has designed two UI’s: one for touch screen devices, like most PDA’s, smart phones (and the iPhone, of course), and one for non-touch devices, like most cell phones.

The Firefox mobile browser takes some hints from Apple’s own mobile Safari browser, with the main Firefox screen reproducing some familiar buttons: back and forward navigation arrows, a bookmarks button, a retractable address bar.

The mobile Firefox UI does include a few new buttons/features: the zoom in and zoom out buttons reside on the bottom toolbar (though we’re not sure why they don’t use the touch screen itself for zooming in and out). The tabs button gives users a different look than in Safari mobile: when pressed, it displays up to four tab previews on the same screen for quick tab switching.

Firefox mobile browser will likely be integrated with Places (Firefox’s new bookmark-like scheme) and the newly introduced Weave.

[via Cybernet.com]

Flock 1.1 beta will add web Email, Picasa and more to your web browser

via Download Squad by Brad Linder on 1/17/08
Flock 1.1

Social web browser Flock is planning to launch 3 major new features in about two weeks. Like its predecessors, Flock 1.1 beta is built on Firefox code but it has a ton of features that make it easier to keep in touch with your social networking services like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube.

Flock 1.1 adds:

  • Web Mail Integration – Not only can you easily check your Gmail and Yahoo! Mail with the click of a button in the newest version of Flock, but you can also share web pages, images, and articles just by clicking the email icon in the URL bar.
  • Friend Activity – Flock now aggregates your friends’ activity from across all supported social networking services and displays it in chronological order. This could be the easiest way ever to find out which friends have updated their profiles, sent out tweets, or uploaded new media or blog posts.
  • Picasa Integration – Flock has added support for Picasa Web Albums, allowing you to upload images from Flock, share images via email, or browse through images using the media bar. You can also send images to friends just by dragging an image from your media bar to a Facebook, Twitter, or other contact in the People Sidebar.

We got a chance to play with an early version of Flock 1.1 and we were pretty impressed with how well the new social features are integrated into the web browser. The Friend Activity screen and web mail checker don’t check for updates quite as often as we’d like, but hopefully the Flock team will provide users with the ability to customize how frequently the browser checks for new email and friend activity in the future.

Flock is available as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new beta version should be out before the end of January.

Apple revs security updates to fix Safari crashing bug

If you already installed either Security Update 2007-009 or Safari 3 Beta 3.0.4 Security Update for Windows, you may have noticed a wee bit of instability in Safari post-update. The behavior in question is euphemistically described by Apple as “an unexpected termination of the Safari application when browsing to certain web sites,” or translated into English: Safari go boom now.

Fortunately, before heading out to celebrate Christmas with their long-suffering families, Apple security engineers cranked out 1.1 updates to both the recent security patches, available for download now. If your Safari experience hasn’t been all it can be since the updates, try the new patch versions and see if they improve matters.

[originating url]