12 October 2013

Google Adds Episode Lists Of Your Favorite TV Shows To Search

Google Displays TV Listings

We all like to keep track of our favorite TV shows. Google just made it a bit easier by including episode listings to search results. Now, when you search for your favorite TV shows, you will see the entire list of episodes with season numbers and air dates. Clicking on a specific episode takes you to a different search result page with all the information a Google Search can give you on it. The TV episode listing adds to the Knowledge Graph data that gets displayed as usual like ratings from IMDb, Cast, and related information. Google illustrated the feature...

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Google+ Notification for the New Terms of Service

This is interesting: Google uses Google+ notifications to informs users about the new terms of use. "The update includes information about mobile safety, login security, and the use of your information in ads and other contexts."

I wonder if the Google+ notifications panel will be used for other Google services. What about Google Now notifications?

Customize Google's App Launcher

Google's navigation menu is still not customizable. The app launcher interface allows Google to add many cool features like reordering apps, removing them or adding new ones, but for now they're not available.

Carlos Jeurissen released a Chrome extension that lets you customize the app launcher. You can select from a very long list of Google services, including Google Scholar, Google Play Music, Google Keep, Chrome Web Store. You can also reorder the services or remove the Google products you don't use often. The upgraded launcher has up to 5 columns and as many rows as you want, but I suggest to pick less than 20 services.

My favorite feature is that settings are synced, so you can use other computers and see the same Google menu in Chrome. You may need to reload the new tab page after changing the menu, since Google caches it.

There's also an option to add custom shortcuts, so you can link to non-Google web apps like Dropbox, Vimeo, Twitter, or Imgur.

{ Thanks, Florian K. }

Google's Homepage and Safari

Chrome's updated new tab page reminded me of a Safari feature. If you try to change your homepage to google.com in Safari for Mac, you get this message:

"Are you sure you want to change your homepage to Google search? You can do a Google search directly from the Safari search field, without going to the Google webpage."

Apparently, it's hard to convince people to use the browser's search box instead of Google's search box, especially if the address bar and the search box are merged.

T-Mobile Goes Global With Free International Unlimited Data Plan


T-Mobile (in the USA) has decided to shake things up a bit and see if they can get any new customers, by announcing a new plan which gives users free unlimited Internet data plans, while overseas. Apparently, if you are on a “Simple Choice” plan, you can now browse the Internet on your mobile device while abroad, free of charge. And there is no need to sign up, wait in long phone queues, or do any time consuming form filling. The feature will just start automatically for all eligible users from October 31st, which will scrap the previous staggering fees...

Read the full article: T-Mobile Goes Global With Free International Unlimited Data Plan

Internet Explorer Under Attack! How To Protect Yourself From Getting Hacked


If you have been using any version of Internet Explorer, you are potentially vulnerable to being hacked. The recent zero day exploit has now been patched with a critical security update released this past Tuesday. The next attack, however, is just around the corner. Incidents such as this not only are a sound reminder to enable Windows Update and make sure all critical updates are installed immediately, it also raises the question whether there are safer options. Let us recap the events and explore what you can do to protect yourself from getting hacked in future. What Happened To Internet...

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From Cute To Ferocious: 12 Animal Videos That Are Absolutely Amazing


Have you ever seen a video of an animal that just left you in awe? I have. Animals have always been a fascination of mine, and I know it’s not just me – there are a lot of you who feel the same. Now, animals aren’t difficult to like, especially the cute ones. But It’s not just about how cute they are – we are fascinated by not only their physical capabilities, but also by their emotional ones. I think much of what we enjoy about animals lies in how they interact with each other and our planet, and perhaps...

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11 October 2013

Windows Update: Everything You Need To Know

windows update photo

Is Windows Update enabled on your PC? If you don’t know the answer to that, you should — Windows Update keeps Windows, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Office up-to-date with the latest security patches and bug fixes, ensuring your computer is as secure as possible. However, Windows Update can also cause problems — particularly by nagging you to reboot when you’re trying to use your computer and automatically restarting your computer overnight. While Windows Update can be obnoxious, it keeps your computer secure and is well worth using. It can also be made less obnoxious with a few quick settings changes....

Read the full article: Windows Update: Everything You Need To Know

Duolingo Gives A Fillip To Free Language Learning With Crowdsourced Lessons


Duolingo has gained a lot of traction as an online language learning service. It could easily gain some more with a new initiative that aims to crowdsource new lessons and new languages with the help of the website’s growing community of ten million and counting. The Language Incubator could be your chance to contribute to a course and expand the scope of learning from the six languages which Duolingo covers on its own. According to the site, the most requested languages are Chinese, Japanese Russian and Arabic. Bilingual participants can apply to contribute a course. Duolingo looks over their applications...

Read the full article: Duolingo Gives A Fillip To Free Language Learning With Crowdsourced Lessons

Think Big, Start Small: 6 Tips To Start A Creative Project On The Web


So you have plans for a creative project and you aren’t sure where to begin? Why not start off on the Web? The Internet has a low barrier of entry yet grants you access to the largest audience known to man — the worldwide audience. There has never been a better time to jumpstart a creative project on the web than now and you won’t even need to spend much money to do so. Unfortunately, though the Internet has increased the viability of creative projects, the creative process remains as difficult as ever. You’ll face a lot of challenges and...

Read the full article: Think Big, Start Small: 6 Tips To Start A Creative Project On The Web

Concerned About Privacy? How To Keep Google At Arm’s Length


With all of the scares surrounding the NSA’s PRISM program and the potential backdoors in many of the top American websites, most people today are as privacy-aware as ever. One of the biggest Internet companies, Google, has become a part of everyone’s lives, but if you’re concerned about Google’s data collection policies in light of these privacy issues, it might not be a bad idea to keep Google away from your Internet activities. But just how can you do that when Google is practically everywhere on the web? Here are 5 tips you can follow so that Google has far...

Read the full article: Concerned About Privacy? How To Keep Google At Arm’s Length

Google's Storage Problem

A lot of people wonder what happens when you stop paying for additional Google storage. Google doesn't delete your files, but you're forced to delete some of them because you can't upload new files until you use less than 15GB of storage (your quota may be different).

A downside of Google's shared storage system is that it affects both Gmail and Google+ Photos, not just Google Drive. Gmail used to offer 10GB of free storage, Picasa Web/Google+ Photos only 1GB and Google Drive - 5GB. Small photos (< 2048x2048) and short videos (less than 15 minutes) uploaded using Google+ Photos, as well as the documents, spreadsheets and presentations created using Google's Drive apps don't count towards your storage limit.

"If you exceed your quota limit, you'll receive warnings in each product and you'll need to correct the issue as soon as you can. Otherwise, you'll be unable to upload additional items to your Drive or photos to Google+, and, after a period of time, incoming messages to your Gmail account will be returned to the sender and you won't be able to send new messages," explains Google.

Now that Yahoo Mail offers 1TB of free storage and Outlook.com "includes email storage that expands to provide you with as much storage space as you need", Gmail's 15GB limit doesn't look that impressive. Maybe Google wants to encourage people to use Google Drive for uploading files, instead of using Gmail attachments.

Yahoo's Flickr service offers 1TB of free photo storage. "No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat." Suddenly, Google's photo offering is less impressive: you get unlimited photo storage, but only if you resize the photos.

It looks like Google no longer has the edge when it comes to free storage. Gmail offered 1GB of free storage when its main competitors only included a few megabytes of storage. Now roles are reversed.

Top 8 Sources For Downloading And Printing Masks

Top 8 Sources For Downloading And Printing Masks

Did I catch you shopping for Halloween masks? You should be out and about as Halloween is not very far away. There’s time left to ratchet up the creepiness with the right mask and the right costume to go with it, but why not start “mask hunting” now with a few ready online sources for printable masks. The Web coughs up a lot of Halloween ideas and there’s so much to choose from. We do our bit too – from websites for the best Halloween costumes to geeky house decoration tips, we cover a large territory. We don’t waste nifty...

Read the full article: Top 8 Sources For Downloading And Printing Masks

Multi-Point Directions, Available in the New Google Maps

Google added one of the missing features from the new Google Maps for the desktop and now you can enter multiple destinations when searching for directions. Just click the "+" button to add more destinations".

"Whether you're running weekend errands or planning a cross-country tour, you can plot multiple destinations for your trip with ease – now available for driving, walking and biking directions. Once you've chosen a starting point, click '+' and add stops to your route by typing in the search box or clicking on the map," informs Google.

You can also reorder the destinations using drag and drop: just drag the icon next to the location you want to move.

Google Maps now shows data from your Gmail account. "Find your flight, hotel, and restaurant reservations faster right in Maps. Just search for your departing airport or dining destination, and we'll instantly show your upcoming plans." This only works in the US, just like the similar Google Search feature.

There's also an events card that's displayed if you search for places like Radio City, O2 Arena or Arena Berlin and click "upcoming events". The same data is used in the Knowledge Graph card from Google Search.

Multi-point directions was one of the most important missing features from the new Google Maps. What other features from the classic Google Maps would you like to see in the new Google Maps?

{ via Google Lat Long }

Real-Time Site Search Visualization

If you like the full-screen Google Trends visualization that shows the latest hot searches, there's a cool project that uses the same animations to show Google Analytics searches in real time. It's made possible by the recently launched Google Analytics Real Time Reporting API and it shows your site's internal searches, as well as some of the Google searches that lead to your site.

"You can setup your own site visualization in only two steps: first authorize access to your Analytics data, select your site, and set the query parameter for your site searches, usually the letter q. Click save, and see your visitor's searches appear live as a beautiful visualization," explains Yvo Schaap, who developed the service.

Here's a video that shows how to use this addictive mashup:

According to the site, Live Site Search Visualisation is "a dashboard visualizing live search activity on your site using your existing Google Analytics tracking." It also shows Google search referrals. Just like in Google Trends, you can click the top-left corner to select the number of keywords that are displayed at a time.

Just in case you're worrying about this, the site does not "save any data coming from your Google Analytics account on its servers. All data requests are made client-side only over https."

{ Thanks, Yvo. }

Make Interactive Image Labels with qTip (jQuery Plugin)


Images can be pretty lifeless and boring – unless they’re interactive and awesome, that is. And qTip makes this easy, with the power of jQuery. Read on to find out how you can add interactive labels that appear when the user hovers over parts of an image. Why would you want to do this? Personally, I’m using the technique in a new eCommerce site – so the user can hover-over elements of a scene (like an Ikea catalogue), with the product title and add to cart button appearing dynamically. It could also be used to good effect on something like...

Read the full article: Make Interactive Image Labels with qTip (jQuery Plugin)

10 October 2013

What You Need To Know About Windows System Restore


Windows System Restore could save your butt when your computer goes wonky. There are plenty of horror stories of people who forgot to make backups. Well, imagine the trouble you could find yourself in, if you didn’t make backups of your system? That’s where System Restore steps in. What is a restore point? Should you be using the System Restore feature or would you be better off disabling it? And if you decide to use it, how do you go about setting it up? By the end of this article, you’ll know the answers to each of those questions, so...

Read the full article: What You Need To Know About Windows System Restore

Google Chromebook Lands in India; Should You Buy One?

Google Chromebooks, the low-cost laptops running on Google Chome OS, are available in India but do they offer value for money? Should you buy a Chromebook?

This story, Google Chromebook Lands in India; Should You Buy One?, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 10/10/2013 under Google Chromebook, India

Lightweight Music Players Not Up To Snuff? Jaangle Will Change Your Mind


Don’t you just hate it when a music player is so bloated that it takes forever to install, even longer to load, and slows your computer down to unbearable speeds? There are some lightweight music players out there, like Foobar2000 (our Foobar2000 review) and GOM Audio (our review), but maybe you don’t like them for whatever reasons. Well, have you heard of Jaangle? Jaangle flew under my radar until a MakeUseOf reader, DiogoCosta, recommended it as his personal favorite program for light, simple, and efficient music playing. Seeing as how Jaangle was originally known as Teen Spirit, I was a...

Read the full article: Lightweight Music Players Not Up To Snuff? Jaangle Will Change Your Mind

Oil Rush: A Fun, Cross Platform Strategy Game With Amazing Graphics


I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to do this — review a decent game that’s available for Linux. Yes, I’m fully aware of the fact that there have been great games such as X-Plane available for the OS a long time ago, but this is different. Linux actually has a steady stream of good games coming its way, rather than the cute, but lackluster open source games that most serious gamers laugh at before turning back to Windows. Ever since Steam has been made available for Linux, there’s been a number of great titles added (and plenty...

Read the full article: Oil Rush: A Fun, Cross Platform Strategy Game With Amazing Graphics

09 October 2013

5 Creative Uses Of PowerPoint Presentations You Haven’t Explored Yet

5 Creative Uses Of PowerPoint Presentations You Haven't Explored Yet

Death by PowerPoint is a popular term. It’s unfair that PowerPoint gets the stick as there are more than a few presentation tools around. As anyone who has taken the pains to make a memorable PowerPoint presentation will tell you – the secret of the steak is in the sizzle. The sizzle also comes and stops at creativity. If you have creativity by your side, you can use PowerPoint as your canvas. We have looked at a few offbeat uses earlier. Visual resumes on PowerPoint could make you stand out in a crowd. I looked into how to turn a...

Read the full article: 5 Creative Uses Of PowerPoint Presentations You Haven’t Explored Yet

Create A Free Online Database For Any Purpose With Soda DB


What do you call a spreadsheet on steroids? A database. Where’s the best place to store a database? Well, on the Internet of course; and here I am going to tell you how to easily create a free online database for your own purpose. Having your data, and the ability to enter your data, right on the Internet means that you can manage and control your data from anywhere in the world, so long as you have an Internet connection. Why would you ever want to do this? Well, just think of the possibilities. You could maintain a complete online...

Read the full article: Create A Free Online Database For Any Purpose With Soda DB

5 Tools To Take An Auto-Guided Google Street View Tour

Icefields Parkway Hyperlapse Featured Image

Hitting the road for a scenic drive can be super relaxing. Unfortunately, it’s neither a cheap, nor an environmentally friendly pastime, which both traffic and weather can utterly ruin. With Google Street View you can comfortably explore the world from your desk. Google Maps is a nifty navigation tool and all the information embedded in the maps make it a great travel guide, too. Now you can even set Street View on auto-pilot and let it take you on the world’s most scenic drives. Here are 5 tools that make this possible. Gaiagi Driving Simulator This online driving simulator will...

Read the full article: 5 Tools To Take An Auto-Guided Google Street View Tour

Technophilia 84 Live From MakeUseOf


This week: some jerk hacked into a baby monitor and started swearing at a two-year old. Maybe your baby monitor shouldn’t be connected to the web? The federal government shut down the Silk Road. Typical big government intervention: shutting down an innovative company just to protect traditional, brick-and-mortar drug dealers. And we talk with a longtime Technophiliac whose website we made fun of. He’ll tell us whether or not we’re jerks. The CEO of Qwest, a phone and broadband Internet provider, is going to jail for not giving the NSA info. Why didn’t he just tell the NSA he’d drop...

Read the full article: Technophilia 84 Live From MakeUseOf

Align Parallel Texts and Help Improve Google Translate

When you select a language pair in Google Translate, you might see a message at the bottom of the page: "Please help Google Translate improve quality for your language here". The link sends you to a page like this one (the example is for French -> English).

It's an interesting way to help Google Translate become more accurate. Here's what you need to do: "In the translated sentence, select the words which mean the highlighted word in the original sentence."

It's likely that all the texts from this experiment are used to train Google Translate and they include professional translations. This might help Google Translate improve the word-level alignment of Google's parallel corpora.

Google's Knowledge Graph Card Shows TV Episodes

When you search for a TV show from the US, Google's Knowledge Graph card now shows the latest episodes. "For example, say that you're wondering when the next season of The Walking Dead starts. Try searching for [the walking dead tv show] and you'll see all episodes listed along with their air dates," explains Google.

I've searched for [Breaking Bad], [Seinfeld], [Dexter], [Modern Family] and the results are pretty good. Unfortunately, when you click on the episode title, Google displays a card that doesn't provide a lot of useful information. It's just the first paragraph from the corresponding Wikipedia article. Here's an example: "'Problem Dog' is the seventh episode of the fourth season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad, and the 40th overall episode of the series. It originally aired on AMC in the United States on August 28, 2011." Google should use the plot summaries from IMDb.

How To Make Your Windows 7 PC Genuine Again After a Hardware Upgrade

desktop pc hardware upgrade

When you purchase a computer that comes with Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows 8, that copy of Windows is tied to your computer’s hardware. It’s an OEM copy, which means it can only be used on that computer. Even if you purchase a retail, boxed copy of Windows and install it, that copy of Windows will become tied to your hardware after it activates itself with Microsoft. If you change your hardware later, your copy of Windows may become “non-genuine,” turn your desktop background black, and start pestering you to use a genuine version of Windows. You’re allowed to...

Read the full article: How To Make Your Windows 7 PC Genuine Again After a Hardware Upgrade

How To Extend System Partition In Windows 8.1


Most PC users allocate less than 25GB space to the system partition while installing Windows operating system. While 25GB of free space is good enough for users who don’t install apps that require huge disk space, it’s always a good idea to allocate at least 50GB of space to the system drive. If your Windows […]

Track Your Website’s SEO Performance with Positionly [Giveaway]


You run a website – but how do you judge your success with keywords? One way is to compare your keyword rankings with those of your competitors. Positionly offers this service, enabling you to compare and contrast your successful (or otherwise) keyword strategy. Offering a suite of tools and reports, Positionly can be used to determine whether your website’s keywords are projecting your website the best position in the search engine rankings, or if more work needs to be done. This might be used in conjunction with a Google Analytics account and a search engine optimization strategy for your website....

Read the full article: Track Your Website’s SEO Performance with Positionly [Giveaway]

How To Automatically Set Start Screen Background Color As Window Border And Taskbar Color In Windows 8.1


The Start screen in Windows 8.1 has been enhanced with a couple of new features. The Start screen in the newest version of Windows comes with new tile sizes, lets you set desktop wallpaper as Start screen background picture, allows you uninstall multiple apps at once, and more. Just like its predecessor Windows 8, Windows […]

Google Chrome 31 Beta Packs Web Payments, Application Shortcuts For Android


Google Chrome is on a roll. After debuting a smarter Omnibox with Chrome 29 and baking Search By Image into the browser, the Chrome 31 Beta has even more new features in store, including a new e-payment system as well as mobile website shortcuts on Android. The current technology that automatically fills up forms on sites using the browser’s autocomplete information — requestAutocomplete() — is now also being used to work for online payments. On sites with requestAutocomplete(), users will be able to use payment data such as Google Wallet. Meanwhile, if you are using Chrome for Android beta, you...

Read the full article: Google Chrome 31 Beta Packs Web Payments, Application Shortcuts For Android

08 October 2013

7 Questions To Ask A Computer Technician Before He Starts Work


If your computer is out of warranty and it breaks down on you, is your first inclination to ditch it and just buy a new computer? Or, are you the kind of person that considers repairing it? Unfortunately, lots of people don’t want to deal with the hassle or cost of trying to repair their failing machine, so they toss it in the dumpster. Little do they realize that finding the right computer technician could lead to a simple, inexpensive fix and a computer that’s like new again. Here at MakeUseOf, we’ve always believed in green computing. Aside from better...

Read the full article: 7 Questions To Ask A Computer Technician Before He Starts Work

How to Play YouTube Videos in the Background on iOS

Do you prefer listening to music while working? Learn a trick to help you play YouTube videos in the background on your iPad or iPhone.

This story, How to Play YouTube Videos in the Background on iOS, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 08/10/2013 under IPad, IPhone, YouTube, Software

Need A New Wallpaper? These 5 Awesome Sites Will Get You There


Your choice of desktop wallpaper says a lot about who you are. On the one hand, it’s not good to make judgments and assumptions about people from such a small data set, but on the other hand, wallpapers that display expensive cars, fantasy art, scantily clad women, landscapes, or even solid blocks of color can speak volumes. Your wallpaper is an expression of who you are, so where can you find wallpapers that fit you? Within the past decade or so, there’s been a surge in wallpaper sites that allow users to upload and share their wallpaper creations for download....

Read the full article: Need A New Wallpaper? These 5 Awesome Sites Will Get You There

How To View Folder Size In Windows 8.1 Explorer


Windows 8.1, just like its predecessors, doesn’t show size of folders in Windows Explorer (File Explorer) by default. That is, when you open up a folder containing several files and folders, Windows Explorer shows only the size of files and not folders in Details view. In order to view the size of a folder in […]

3 Ways To Pin Folders To Taskbar In Windows 8.1


While one can easily pin a folder to the Start screen in Windows 8.1 by right-clicking on a folder and then selecting Pin to Start option, Windows 8.1 doesn’t let you pin folders to the taskbar with default settings. Only programs and application shortcuts can be pinned to the taskbar in all recent versions of […]

8 Ways To Improve Windows 8 With Win+X Menu Editor

desktop on windows 8 laptop

On Windows 8, you can press Windows Key + X or right-click at the bottom-left corner of your screen to open a menu known as the “power user menu” or “quick access menu.” This menu contains quick access to system utilities like the Control Panel, Command Prompt, Task Manager, File Explorer, Device Manager, and more. Win+X Menu Editor allows you to edit the shortcuts that appear here, adding new shortcuts, removing existing ones, and even rearranging the list. While Microsoft did remove the traditional desktop Start menu, they also added this very unappreciated feature. It’s useful without any customizations, but...

Read the full article: 8 Ways To Improve Windows 8 With Win+X Menu Editor

Create a Public Folder Where Anyone Can Add Files

You can create a public folder where anyone can view and upload files without you having to invite them as a contributor to the shared folder.

This story, Create a Public Folder Where Anyone Can Add Files, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 07/10/2013 under Dropbox, Internet

07 October 2013

BazQux Reader – A Worthy Minimalist Replacement To Google Reader


If you are a power RSS reader, I’m sure you mourned the passing of Google Reader a few months back. But once we were past the initial gnashing and wailing of teeth, we began to search for replacements. A lot of my colleagues swear by Feedly or Digg, but I never really melded with either of them. Instead, I was looking for something really simple, minimalist, and perhaps similar in appearance and functionality to Google Reader. And something that just worked. I’m afraid I’m rather picky about what web apps and software I will continue using. When I met BazQux,...

Read the full article: BazQux Reader – A Worthy Minimalist Replacement To Google Reader