20 April 2013

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?

There are many reasons why you might not like PayPal. For one thing, it’s such a big service that it’s prime meat for hack attempts and scam attempts. Similarly, ever since PayPal grew into an enormous international service, people have been experiencing a decline in service quality. And who can forget the PayPal account freezing horror stories? PayPal is not the be-all end-all of online transaction services.

But even so, PayPal is convenient, widely accepted, and established. There are many PayPal competitors out there, but none of them have the same ubiquity or prominence. By switching away from PayPal, you may be gaining in some respects but you’ll also be losing out in other ways. If that’s okay with you, then keep reading!


Overview: The first time I heard about WePay was when I stumbled across GoFundMe, one of many services that help with online fundraising. They trusted WePay enough to make it their default money handler over PayPal for US users. As it turns out, WePay is used by over 250,000 merchants and they’ve processed over 1.5 million transactions. WePay accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and more.

What’s Good: WePay has an extremely fast setup process that’ll have you ready to go in less than a minute. There are no contracts or tricky fees: 2.9% + $0.30 for credit card payments and 1.0% + $0.30 for bank payments. In terms of security, they’re sharp: first-class security credentials that they test every day for vulnerabilities. And, most importantly, WePay has excellent customer service (rated 9 out of 10 by its users).

But on top of the usual transaction features, WePay has a few more things to offer. You can embed an HTML WePay button right onto your website which you can use to collect payments. WePay also has a page builder which you can use to create a fully functional online store without any technical expertise.

Check out Angela’s WePay review if you haven’t already.

Overall: B+


Overview: Formerly known as MoneyBookers, Skrill is a money service that stretches internationally when it comes to reach. With more than 10 million users in over 200 countries with support for more than 40 currencies, you can be sure that Skrill is a force to be reckoned with. In terms of sheer size, Skrill may be the closest to PayPal.

What’s Good: The international support is definitely a thumbs up. Skrill allows you to deposit and withdraw money instantly all while keeping your information secure. For personal users, Skrill’s fees sit at 1% for sending money (caps at $0.50) and no fees for receiving money. For merchants, there are a few processing fees per transaction but they are competitive with other similar services (standard rate is 2.90% + $0.29).

For US users, deposites and withdrawals are free. For international users, deposits and withdrawals are mostly free but may incur processing fees depending on the method. When you want to take your funds out, you can opt for a physical check, a direct deposit into your bank account, or a MasterCard debit card that you can use in tandem with an ATM.

Overall: B+


Overview: Dwolla is similar to PayPal in that it’s an online peer-to-peer transaction service, but unlike PayPal, Dwolla requires both sender and receiver to have a Dwolla account; if you receive money and don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one to access it. It’s a small inconvenience, but otherwise pretty similar to PayPal’s system.

What’s Good: The first thing that sticks out to me about Dwolla is the transaction fee. Most services will charge a percentage-based fee, but Dwolla has one simple rule: a $0.25 fee per transaction unless the transaction is less than $10, then the fee is waived. Transactions take a few days to process, though you can subscribe to an Instant Transaction feature for $3 a month.

Dwolla is available as a mobile app for iPhones and Androids, too, which makes it extremely easy to check your account and transfer money no matter where you are.

Overall: B+

Google Wallet

Overview: A few years ago, Google combined their Checkout service with their Wallet service. Both services were meant to track your payment information and to facilitate e-commerce transactions. If you’re a customer, Google Wallet may be exactly what you need; if you’re a seller, there’s a Business version for accepting payments.

What’s Good: On any site that accepts Google Wallet, you can use your Wallet account to make payments. The Wallet account tracks all of your credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards in one convenient location, so purchasing items online becomes easy. All of your data is secure, obviously. If you’re a seller, Google does not charge any transaction fees for accepting Wallet payments.

For in-store purchases, Google Wallet can transform your phone into your wallet. If you have a device with the Wallet app and NFC capabilities, you can simply tap your device on the store’s NFC reader and pay instantly without hassle.

Overall: B


Overview: Formerly known as AlertPay, Payza has grown into something of a force over the past decade. It’s a great PayPal alternative for both personal users (transfer money, purchase items) and business users (process payments, send invoices). And if you need an international solution, Payza is global with offices all around the world.

What’s Good: Payza is supported in over 190 countries and over 20 different currencies. Money transfers can be performed through wire transfers, bank transfers, money orders, or credit cards. Payza money can be withdrawn through wire transfers, bank transfers, physical checks, or prepaid Payza cards. Payza has a simple fee structure that you should be aware of before committing to the service.

Overall: B-


So for quick reference, here are the most viable alternatives to PayPal that I’ve found in order of rating:

  • WePay

  • Skrill

  • Dwolla

  • Google Wallet

  • Payza

All of these services are great and they’re all used by many people, which means that none of these are horrible choices when it comes to finding an alternative to PayPal. However, it ought to be reiterated that there really isn’t a perfect PayPal alternative; no matter which one you choose, you’ll always be missing out on something.

Have you switched away from PayPal? If so, what are you using now? Are there any other services that could work as a PayPal alternative? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.

The post Why You Don’t Have To Use PayPal For Online Transactions: 5 PayPal Alternatives appeared first on MakeUseOf.

Anonymous Animals in Google Drive

Google found a funny way to show the anonymous persons who open a document in Google Drive. Instead of only using different colors for each person, Google Drive associates each person with an animal, so you'll see things like "anonymous anteater", "anonymous moose", "anonymous chupacabra", "anonymous axolotl", "anonymous kraken", "anonymous gopher", "anonymous jackalope". Google also uses special icons for each animal.

For the moment, this only works for PDF files, photos, videos and other files that can't be edited using Google's apps.

To test this feature, I'll link to Nexus 4's PDF manual.

{ Thanks, Yu-Hsuan Lin. }

19 April 2013

Blogger Comments Powered By Google+

I don't know if you've notice, but this blog's comments look different. That's because I've switched to the new Google+ Comments feature for Blogger.

The upgraded commenting system preserves the existing comments, but the future comments require a Google+ account. That means, visitors can no longer post comments anonymously, using an OpenID account or using a Google account that hasn't been upgraded to Google+. When posting a comment, visitors can also share it on Google+. The new commenting system doesn't just show the comments posted on Blogger, it also shows all the Google+ messages that link to the post and their comments.

Just like Disqus, Google+ Comments shows by default the best comments and there's an option to show the most recent comments. It's not clear how Google determines the top comments, but the number of +1s could be one of the signals. You can also restrict the comments to the people from your Google+ circles.

Bloggers will notice some other changes: the comment management feature from Blogger is no longer available and you can only manage comments for each post. That's a significant downside, especially if you receive a lot of comments. When one of your posts receive new comments, you'll see a notification in the Google bar and you'll get an email notification. I haven't found a way to disable these notifications, not even from the Google+ settings page.

How to enable Google+ Comments if you have a Blogger blog? "Google+ Comments is available for Blogger users who have created a Google+ profile and connected it with their blog. If you haven't upgraded your Blogger profile to a Google+ profile and would like to, you can start the process by clicking the Google+ tab on the Blogger dashboard. Once your blogs are linked to a Google+ profile, a new 'Use Google+ Comments' setting will be displayed on the Google+ tab of your blog," explains Google. If your blog has a heavily modified template, you may need to reset widgets or use the code from this page.

There are additional limitations: Google+ Comments is not available for private blogs and for blogs with adult content. This means that the old commenting system will continue to be available as long as Blogger supports these kinds of blogs. You can always disable Google+ Comments and go back to the legacy Blogger commenting system.

It's important to point out that Google+ Comments are embedded as an iframe (the URL starts with https://plusone.google.com/_/widget/render/comments) and the comments are no longer included inside the Blogger page. Google manages to index content from iframes, but the change could affect your Google rankings.

Another interesting thing: it's the first time when the official Google Blog has comments.

Some early thoughts:

* Blogger is now more relevant, it's less likely that it will be discontinued in the next few years

* Blogger finally has a modern commenting system

* Google+ Comments will be available for other blogging platforms

* "sign in with Google+" will make Google+ even more popular as an identity service.

Why Use 5 Different Websites? TripWhat Includes Everything You Need To Plan Your Next Trip

Last summer, I went on a 3-months-long trip across Canada. Such trips are a once in a lifetime experience, no matter where you take them, and no matter what you end up doing while travelling. That said, one of the greatest challenges of any trip is finding the most interesting attractions, the best places to eat, and fun local events. When you find yourself in a different city every day or every week, the process of scouting several different apps in search of the best places to go to becomes a bit tedious.

TripWhat is a Web and iPhone app made by the same people behind the excellent Sortable, the money-saving Geekaphone, and the effective CPUBoss. After helping us choose everything from smartphones, tablets and cameras, to CPUs and cars, it’s time to find the best things to do, eat, and see in almost every city in North America.

TripWhat aggregates information and reviews from multiple websites such as Facebook, Google Maps, Last.fm, SeatGeek, UrbanSpoon, Wikipedia, WikiVoyage, and Yelp, making it super easy to explore any city, find the things you want to do, and get on with the fun.

Start Exploring

Starting with TripWhat is as easy as entering the name of the city you want to explore. If you’re not even sure about that, you’ll find some popular choices in the top toolbar, as well as in the “More” dropdown menu on the far right.


With information currently available only for North America, TripWhat can help you explore almost any city in the United States or Canada, and find places, activities, entertainment, restaurants, and even trip ideas. Once you choose a city, TripWhat will present a map of that city, with pins representing all kinds of interest points. As you zoom in on a specific area, you’ll discover three types of pins: blue for sights, green for restaurants, and red for events and entertainment.


Alongside this map, you’ll find a visual list of the same attractions you see on the map. Each attraction comes with one image or more, a link to the place’s official website and social networks, an address, and for restaurants, a star rating from Urbanspoon. As soon as you place your mouse cursor over one of these tiles, the corresponding pin on the map will start jumping and waving, making it easy to match tile to pin.


Clicking on a tile reveals more info about the place, depending on the type of place you’re looking at. This can include a quick summary, additional photos, opening hours, contact information, etc. If you need more information, finding your way to the official website is easy.


Finding Specific Places

TripWhat’s interface is nice enough, but it does tend to get a little bit confusing at times, as there are several ways to reach each section, and it’s not always clear which section you’re looking at. In general, you can focus your search on sights, restaurants, events, and trip ideas. Some sections also include several subsections, and this is where it gets a little confusing, especially when you filter the results and then want to go back to their unfiltered form.

To keep it simple, I suggest using the icons on the right to navigate through a city’s attractions. The restaurants tab offers the best eats in town, complete with all the information you’re going to need. Click on the star rating to view more Urbanspoon reviews about the place.


In the events tab, you can filter the results according to time of event, making it easy to find an event for tonight, for tomorrow, for the upcoming weekend, etc. Here too, you can find all the necessary information in every tile, with quick links to Wikipedia pages and Facebook pages, venue addresses, and more.


In trip suggestions, you can sometimes find themed mini travel guides such as “top sights to see”, “best pizza in town”, “best family-friendly sights”, etc. These are just collections of places, already marked on the map, which you can use for inspiration when planning your trip.

Theoretically, TripWhat makes it possible to share your finds using the “Link” button on the top right corner of the map. Unfortunately, this link is often dead, so I wouldn’t send it along without checking it first.

There’s More

For this review, I was only looking at TripWhat’s Web app. The service also comes as an iPhone app, which includes the option to save your favorite activities and places to your trips, thus creating your very own mini travel guide which you can always refer back to. The app could be even more useful while on the road. Don’t worry, Android users, TripWhat will soon be available for you as well.

TripWhat doesn’t offer any information you won’t find on other websites, but if you’re trying to make plans and don’t know where to start, it’s going to be a huge help. Just enter the name of the city, and you’re good to go. The hardest part of the process is going to be choosing which fun thing to do!

Planning a road trip? You’re going to want to plan more than what you do on your stops. Check out these informative websites for planning a road trip, and other tools to help you prepare for the journey. Have fun!

How do you find the best things to do on your trips? Share in the comments.

The post Why Use 5 Different Websites? TripWhat Includes Everything You Need To Plan Your Next Trip appeared first on MakeUseOf.

CrunchBang: A Lightweight OS Perfect For Old And New Computers Alike

crunchbang osBloated operating systems bogging your system down? Is waiting for software to load on an older computer ruining your entire freaking life? Try something lightweight. Crunchbang is a minimalist OS built on Debian Linux, but don’t worry if you don’t know what any of those words mean – it’s also easy to use and runs well even on older computers.

The Crunchbang OS has been around for a long time, and it’s always stuck to its mission: offering a lightweight operating system based on Openbox. If you’re a fan of widgets, docks and shiny things you might want to look elsewhere – by default this OS is more striaght-forward than that. If you want an operating system that thinks you know what you’re doing, and doesn’t waste resources, I recommend Crunchbang (sometimes written as “#!”).

Previously based on Ubuntu, these days the Crunchbang OS is based on Debian (which Ubuntu itself is also based on). Again, don’t worry if that confuses you: the system itself is straight-forward to use and fun to explore.

Simplicity and Speed

crunchbang os

Start up CrunchBang and you’ll basically see a blank canvas. There’s no start menu – we’ll get to that. There’s a taskbar at the top of the screen, complete with clock and icons. And there’s also a list of keyboard shortcuts, courtesy of Conky.

crunchbang lightweight

(The Super key, if you didn’t know, is Linux-speak for the Windows key on most keyboards).

Use these shortcuts to quickly load a web browser, media player or the Terminal. Or, if you’d rather start exploring, right-click anywhere on the desktop (or press Super + Space) to bring up the main menu:

crunchbang lightweight

You’ll find a variety of programs here for getting work done – more on that later. You’ll also find quick links for installing software not included with CrunchBang, like Chrome and LibreOffice. Again, more on that later.

The browser included is called IceWeasel, but don’t panic: it’s basically Firefox. Debian doesn’t included Firefox by default, because Firefox itself includes some things (mostly the name and the logo) that are not technically open source. It’s a long story.

crunchbang lightweight

So you’ll be able to browse the web as you like.

Don’t like the way the menu is arranged, or how the various keyboard shortcuts work? For me, this is where things get fun. Linux distros used to reward exploration, and part of the fun was exploring and seeing what was possible. Go through the settings and you’ll find tools for changing all of these things, and if you don’t you can always explore the Crunchbang Forums.

List of Software Included With CrunchBang OS

Explore the menu and you’ll find programs for everything from word processing to microblogging – all of which are lightweight and run well on older computers. Here are the highlights in one list:

These are only the default apps: you’ll find links for installing software like Google Chrome, Libre Office or Dropbox in the menus, and you can also browse or search the entire Debian repositories thanks to Synaptic. Or, if you prefer the command line, you can install anything you like using apt-get:

crunchbang os

Download Crunchbang

Ready to get started with Crunchbang? You can head to Crunchbang.org and download an ISO file, which you can burn to a CD or boot from a USB disk using software like LiveUSB or uNetBootin. There are two versions offered: a year-old stable version, and an unstable version based on the current version of Debian. Both worked quite well for me in testing – which makes sense because, as of this writing, Debian’s unstable branch is quite far along.

Of course, Crunchbang isn’t the only Lightweight linux distribution out there: there are many. But if you’re looking for some polish, but also very lightweight, it’s one of the best.

But I want to know what you think: is CrunchBang a good lightweight distro for your personal use? If not, what will you be using? Let me know below, okay?

The post CrunchBang: A Lightweight OS Perfect For Old And New Computers Alike appeared first on MakeUseOf.

18 April 2013

Google Babel in Gmail

As Droid Life previously reported, Google already tests Babel, an unified messaging service that combines Google Talk, Gmail Chat, Google+ Messenger. There's a Gmail page that mentions "dogfooding Babel in Gmail" and it's supposed to be available only to Google employees.

"Upgrade Chat to Babel! Babel is Google's new messenger with clients for Android, iOS, Chrome, Google+ and Gmail. Access the same conversation list from anywhere!" That's how Google describes the new service.

"Some of the new features:

* A new, conversation-based UI

* Advanced group conversations

* Send pictures

* Improved notifications across devices."

It looks like you can go back to the Gmail Chat interface: "You're about to revert the Babel chat client to the old Gmail chat client. You can always opt in back from the chat roster menu."

Here's a screenshot (it's this image):

{ Thanks, Florian. }

Extreme Sports Revealed With Amazing GoPro Videos

gopro videosGoPro cameras are designed to be worn or held while doing adventurous activities. They’re tough and waterproof, meaning they can survive along with you (hopefully) whether you’re jumping out of a plane, diving in the ocean, or competing in any of the extreme sports that adrenaline junkies the world over are increasingly participating.

For those of us less inclined to throw ourselves into the path of danger, GoPro cameras offer a chance to see these activities from the perspective of those involved. What follows are 10 channels, across both YouTube and Vimeo, dedicated to showing off GoPro action videos.

NB: This isn’t a sponsored post, and similar cameras are available from other manufacturers.

GoPro HD

This is the most popular (by number of followers) GoPro video channel on Vimeo, and it’s easy to see why. The videos are shot in HD, and most are extremely well-shot and well-edited.

GoPro videos on this channel cover climbing, trekking, cliff jumping, biking, and general adventuring. The video embedded features a holiday in the desert.

GoPro HD Movies

This is another very popular amateur GoPro channel on Vimeo, with stunning HD GoPro videos which cover a wide range of activities. There are also tips and tutorials for budding GoPro users.

The video embedded above was originally meant to be about catching tuna from a boat. But the fisherman instead dived in and swam with dolphins. The resulting footage is incredible.

GoPro Windsurfing

This GoPro channel on Vimeo is dedicated to surfing, windsurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. This is one of those sports that few of us will ever try, so it’s the perfect candidate for GoPro videos.

The GoPro video embedded above is typical of what to expect from the channel, with a whole day’s windsurfing condensed down into an amazing few minutes of adrenalin-inducing action.

GoPro Paragliding

Who of us hasn’t, at one time or another, imagined flying like a bird, seeing the world from above? Paragliders are able to do just that, and this channel lets us tag along for the ride.

These videos literally show us what the paraglider is seeing as they soar around the skies. The video embedded above features some epic mountain scenery that will make your eyes water.

GoPro Mountains

This is another channel featuring mountains, though this time they’re being traversed on either a bike or on skis. The GoPro cameras give those of us watching from the comfort of our own homes a scenic view of the environment.

The video embedded above shows one man making his way through a mountain bike trail. It really gives a sense of how many obstacles there are and how much the riders have to concentrate to avoid a nasty fall.

GoPro Official

The key channel for GoPro videos on YouTube is the official channel from the company itself. As GoPro wants to show off its cameras in the hopes you’ll buy one, the videos are all of a high quality.

The range of sports and activities featured in stunning, with golf, biking, watersports, and motorsports all featured. The video embedded above shows wing walking, which is something very few of us will ever (have the guts to) try.

GoPro Deeyung

GoPro Deeyung offers something a little different. Sure, extreme sports do get covered extensively, but there are also examples of other ways these maneuverable cameras can be used.

The GoPro video embedded above is a good example, showing, as it does, children enjoying a day at the park. It may not be extreme but it’s still experiencing someone else’s life through their perspective.

Everything GoPro

This YouTube channel is wholly dedicated to GoPro, with activities filmed using the cameras, as well as tips and tricks for those new to the form factor.

Sports featured include swimming, skiing, biking, and ice skating. The video embedded above is extremely interesting, showing the world from a dog’s perspective. Everything looks very different from down there.


This channel features wall-to-wall footage from AMA motocross and supercross events, so if motorcycles aren’t your thing these videos will likely leave you cold.

There is a big difference with these videos, however, as they show what it must be like to be in one of these races. There may be no way of replicating the smells and atmosphere, but the visuals are enough for me.

Brush Entertainment

This GoPro video channel features a random guy sharing his life with us through the power of a GoPro camera. These videos mostly ignore adrenalin-seeking adventures for more normal pursuits. But they’re no less fun to watch.

A trip to Disneyland offered ample opportunity for GoPro footage, and the video embedded above shows what it’s like to ride Big Thunder Mountain. I think I’ll pass, to be honest.


Just watching the GoPro videos uploaded to these channels tires me out. I don’t know how these people have the energy to participate in such activities. But then I’m old and prefer to spend my weekends cuddling up on the sofa sipping red wine. And now, thanks to these guys, watching other people get high on adrenaline.

Do you own a GoPro camera, or one of the other similar action-oriented cameras? If so, what activities have you filmed yourself doing with it? Do these videos inspire you to get out there and try new activities? If so, how extreme would you go? As always we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

The post Extreme Sports Revealed With Amazing GoPro Videos appeared first on MakeUseOf.

17 April 2013

Frozen Bubble Might Be The Most Addictive Linux Game Of All

frozen bubbleWaste your time the right way – shoot bubbles at similarly colored bubbles, in the hope of freeing the entire board of bubbles just long enough for more bubbles to show up. It’s called Frozen Bubble, and it’s more than a game.

Actually, it’s not more than a game. It’s a game, and for a long time it was one of the best put together games for Linux. That’s not been true for a while – the platform has grown leaps and bounds for gamers since then – there’s the Humble Indie Bundle and Steam for Linux, to name a few developments.

But before all of that, Frozen Bubble taught us all that Linux games didn’t need to be ugly. It won Linux Journal’s reader’s choice award seven times, so clearly Linux users love it. The game hasn’t aged perfectly, but it still runs well and the music simply couldn’t be catchier. It’s a worthy diversion.

Playing Frozen Bubble

Open the program and you will be immediately assaulted by spectacular music and pictures of penguins. When the shock of all that awesome fades, you can pick the sort of game you want to play.

frozen bubble

If you’ve never played before, I recommend starting with one player. My preferred settings are random levels with chain reaction turned on, but it’s completely up to you – and you should probably experiment with different settings.

free frozen bubble game

The object of the game – which is essentially a clone of Puzzle Bobble – is to clear the screen of all bubbles. Shoot bubbles at like-colored bubbles – any time you cause three bubbles of the same color to connect they’ll all fall down. If you do this properly you’ll clear a bunch at once, assuming they were supported by bubbles you matched.

It’s simple, sure, but it’s addictive. And it’s even better with multiplayer – do well enough and you’ll cause chaos to happen to your friend.

free frozen bubble game

The second player uses the X, C and V players to move left, fire and more right respectively. The idea here is that both players can share a keyboard – and this works well if you don’t mind being cozy. Plug in another keyboard if that bothers you, I suppose.

Not a fan of in-person social interaction? Not a problem. You can play Frozen Bubble on your LAN connection, or even play with total strangers thanks to the world wide web.

free frozen bubble game

There are usually several servers up and running, so pick one you like and enjoy the five-player action.

Don’t like the levels? Design your own. A built in level editor allows you to customize the bundled levels, or to create your own entirely.

frozen bubble

Download Frozen Bubble

If you’re a Linux user, you’re in luck. Frozen Bubble is basically in the repo of every Linux distro in existence. Just search your package manager and you’ll find it.

Ubuntu, Mint and Debian users who love the command line can quickly install Frozen Bubble by typing:

sudo apt-get install frozen-bubble

There’s a Windows port of Frozen Bubble, if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s outdated – no web support – but if you’re stuck using Windows it’s better than nothing. There’s an OS X port as well, though you’ll need MacPorts to get it working. The game’s also been ported to many mobile phones, but the quality seems to vary – all ports are done by third parties, not the Frozen Bubble team itself.


I remember when I first stumbled upon this gem – around 2005. I was just beginning to explore the idea of Linux, and somehow aquired a copy of Knoppix – then the premier live CD on the market. Every piece of Linux software you can imagine was on this thing, but one game caught my attention – Frozen Bubble. I regularly booted into Knoppix just to play the game. I’m not going to say it’s the reason I’m a Linux user today, but it certainly helped keep me curious.

As I said earlier, these days there are many worthy diversions out there for Linux users. Steam could end up bringing some of the biggest games on earth to the platform. But Frozen Bubble’s always going to be special to me, because it’s completely open source and a lot of fun in it’s own simple way. I cannot believe we’ve not given it a proper review until today.

I’ve pointed out casual Linux games you might not have heard of, and included Frozen Bubble in the list. What Linux games do you think deserver their own review? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll try to get to them.

The post Frozen Bubble Might Be The Most Addictive Linux Game Of All appeared first on MakeUseOf.

How Google Quick View Works

I've mentioned in the previous post that Google launched a feature called Quick View that's designed to load search results faster on mobile devices. Right now, the feature only works for Wikipedia results and you'll only see it if you use google.com in English.

It's interesting to see how this feature works, especially when you consider Google's claim that pages load in less than 0.1 seconds. Like a magician, Google uses tricks to make people think that pages load faster than they really do.

All the Wikipedia results with a blue "Quick View" button have special sections in Google's source code that include the first part of the articles. When you tap the "Quick View" result, the article appears to load instantly, but you only see the first paragraphs, which are included in Google's code, just like snippets. Google loads in the background the rest of the article: it's a simplified version of the mobile Wikipedia article from the Google Cache. An example of page that includes the second part of a Wikipedia article: http://websearch-experiments.googleusercontent.com/B/08/d88ede51537960e3_926bb07ecb8a2bc1.htm.

Here's what happens if Google can't load the rest of the article: you get the error message "Error loading the entire article. Try again".

But is Quick View really fast? I've loaded the Wikipedia article about lettuce in the desktop Chrome and changed the user-agent to Galaxy Nexus/Android 4.0.2. Here are the load times obtained from Chrome's developer tools (I've only included the results for the main HTML file, the images are loaded from Wikipedia's site even when you use Quick View).

- Quick View: 120 ms

- Regular Wikipedia article: 522 ms

I've tested many other articles and Quick View pages consistently loaded in 100-130 milliseconds, while the original Wikipedia articles loaded about 4 times slower. It's a significant difference, especially if you use a slow mobile Internet connection with high latency.

How To Integrate Internet Explorer 10 Into Windows 7 DVD Using DISM


A couple of weeks back, Microsoft rolled out the final version of its Internet Explorer 10 to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. Internet Explorer 10, which was originally available only in Windows 8 and Server 2012, comes with some new features and significant performance improvements. Windows 7 users who frequently reinstall [...]

Apowersoft - Best Free Online Video Converter Review

Due to the different layers of transmission and storage, each video has its own set of formats to choose from.

Technical development comes up with more and more video formats, on one hand, satisfying us who have different requirements towards a certain video, on the other hand, leading us a more frequent use of video converter. In this post, Apowersoft Free Online Video Converter, one of the most talked about converter will be shared in details.

The Application Appearance:

Apowersoft Online Video Converter provides you a simple and easy-to-use interface, with eye-protected cool color. No ads, plug-in and additional web links, the app gives you a very clear idea on how to operate it. With it, a newbie could convert video online for his or her first time without any troubles.

How it Works

The way that a program works, to a large extent, decides its value and popularity among users. Exactly, the way of Apowersoft Free Online Video Converter contributes its bigger and bigger fame. The app is able to free convert video, but has no limitations on conversion time. No downloading and registering, it provides web-based services, allowing you to finish conversion with three steps. All you have to do is to add local file, choose output format and click Convert button, then, video will be converted in a few minutes.

You can enjoy the demo video of Apowersoft Online Video Converter below.

Various Output Formats

To a video converter, various output formats stand for its worthiness to users. As to Apowersoft Free Online Video Converter, what I like most is that it has a wide range of outputs formats even as a free application. It has video formats including MP4, MOV, WMV, MKV, AVI, 3GP and so on. As well, it supports audio formats including MP3, WMA, WAV, ACC, OGG and so on.

The Output Quality

There exists programs that are free but has discounts on conversion quality. But, I realized that such hoaxes could not happen on Apowersoft Free Online Video Converter as it has successfully converted videos in a way that I wanted for many times. The app outputs high quality videos or audios. Instead of worrying about wasting time but getting a poor converted video, you would get a 1:1 quality video at the simple process of conversion. What’s more, you can modify video by setting resolution, bitrate and frame rate on the step two of the conversion process.

Considerate Services

On the webpage, there are four tabs below the application, which are Overview, Video Demo, Tips to Use and Testimonials. So, any user can get a very closer look on the app. Regardless of what a simple application it is, Apowersoft staff still provides you with video demo to give you a better thought on the app. In addition, you can post the problem you may encounter to the Apowersoft technical support. They are nice and will deal with your case promptly as far as I know. All in all, I give Apowersoft Free Online Video Converter two thumbs up!

What Does The Future Hold For Virtual Currencies Such As Bitcoin? [You Told Us]

Virtual currencies, or digital currencies if you prefer, have been in the news a lot lately. Not just the technology news channels either, as even the mainstream news channels have picked up on them. Bitcoin has driven this new and renewed interest in these currencies that are very different in nature to dollars, euros, renminbi, and all the other real-world currencies we use to buy and sell products and services on a daily basis.

Bitcoin has been around for several years now, but with its price climbing to monumental highs over the past few weeks, there has been a will to explore what it is, how it’s created (or mined), and what the future may hold for this new virtual currency and others that could emerge in its wake.

The Results

We asked you, What Does The Future Hold For Virtual Currencies Such As Bitcoin? The response was disappointing, and this time I’m blaming you, dear readers. The question was solid, the subject was interesting, the range of opinions open to be given was epic. So it must be you. And you must do better from now on. Or else!

The responses we did receive reveal vastly differing opinions on Bitcoin and virtual currencies as a whole. On one extreme are those who feel Bitcoin is the start of something big; something which may lead to society taking back control of monetary systems from governments and banks. On the other extreme are those who believe Bitcoin is flawed and nothing more than a fad due to die out as quickly as it has emerged from the underground.

I’ll be honest and admit that, even after reading about Bitcoin extensively (including our own guide to Bitcoin), I’m still confused about how it works. And that in itself doesn’t bode well for its long-term future. Everybody understands the nature of coins, notes, and cards, but the ordinary person in the street is never going to understand Bitcoin.

The future for virtual currencies is far from clear at this point. If the value of Bitcoin stabilizes then perhaps its importance will increase. In the meantime speculators and investors will take the gamble on virtual currencies being the next big thing. And their bank accounts will live or die by the volatility of the market.

Comment Of The Week

We had great input from the likes of Lisa Santika Onggrid, Abhishek Rai, and Dragonmouth, to name just a few. Comment Of The Week goes to Scott M, who, as well as the respect of myself and hopefully everybody reading this, receives 150 points to use for MakeUseOf Rewards.

This is the first time that an alternative currency that wasn’t backed by any government or precious metal attained a serious acceptance in the financial world. There have been teething pains caused by rampant speculation similar to what is seen in commodity markets and also a move of flight of paper money to it as investors grow disenchanted with traditional forms of fiat currency. A bubble has now been created and like precious metals of late people will begin to lock in their gains and take their profits. Whether bitcoins succeed or not doesn’t matter as others will take their place.

We have begun to see it accepted as as a valid form of payment and and alternative form of investment protection. It wasn’t so very long ago that FDR and the Federal Government called in all forms of gold currency coupled with what happened in Cyprus and the legislation allowing the same type of taxation of deposits written into Canada’s new banking laws,and people begin to acknowledge its usefulness. This bubble will burst but I think other alternative forms of currency will arise. This experiment has proved its possible that an electronic form of money and payment is able to be produced that will remain beyond the seizure of Governments to pay for their and large bankers greed and mistakes. These are just early days.

We like this comment because it offers a sensible, level-headed assessment of Bitcoin and the future virtual currencies it may help spawn. There’s no doubt there’s ill-feeling over the global economic meltdown that is still ongoing, and perhaps people will jump on board a legitimate alternative if one is placed in front of them.

We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.

Image Credit: Zach Copley

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