I'm a tremendous fan of dark modes. They're easier on your eyes and your computer's battery, and I think make using sites and apps a lot more pleasant. Unfortunately, not every site offers a dark mode (this one included). However, this week I came across a web extension that can make the magic happen anywhere you want it to.
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We only get so much time in this life, and yours is running out, friend. That might seem scary, but it doesn't have to be - it can be motivating. Sometimes you just need a reminder that you need to make it count. This tool sets your Google Chrome homepage and any new blank tabs you open to a clock slowly ticking toward your demise.
Even though everyone is talking about deleting their Facebook accounts, we suspect most of your friends are probably starting out their day as usual - checking Facebook on their morning commutes. But if you're serious about cleaning up your Facebook life, the Chrome extension Social Book Post Manager is a great tool to have at your disposal.
Every time you watch a video, YouTube shows you a dozen more in the sidebar, most of them weirder and worse than what you're watching. They're obnoxious and distracting, they can lead kids to inappropriate videos, and according to a Wall Street Journal test, they tend to get more extreme the more you click. Here's how to hide them.
"Trending topics" are bull, says Select All. These little modules on social media sites are swamps of banality and disinformation. This week, YouTube's trending page included a conspiracy-theory video, which claims that the Stoneman Douglas High School students fighting for gun control are actually paid actors. (Narrator voice: They're not.)
SoundCloud recently switched its music streams from 128Kb/s MP3 to 64Kb/s Opus. Many users hear a drop in sound quality in the higher frequencies. So artist Joseph Lyncheski, aka Direct, built an extension for Chrome and Firefox to force the site to stream in its old format. (For now, Safari is still streaming in MP3.)
Ah 2017, the year fake news took over our timelines, and the attendant hand-wringing took over our lives. It's not as if we needed more things to disturb us on Facebook -- we've been FOMO-gnashing our teeth to dust for a decade, after all. As this year comes to a close, I encourage you to gird yourself for the certain onslaught to come. Take two seconds and install News Feed Eradicator for Facebook, a Chrome extension that does exactly what it says, and in so doing, will preserve the teensy shred of sanity you have left.
Chrome/Safari: If you want a gentle reminder not to waste time online - without investing in a full-featured paid app such as Freedom - try Nothing on the Internet, an extension for Chrome and Safari that turns off all the content of the web, leaving a zen-like expanse of empty wireframes.
Phishing attacks, wherein scammers pretend to be legitimate companies in order to trick you into handing over sensitive information such as usernames, passwords or credit card information, are getting more difficult to spot. Even Google is susceptible to more sophisticated attacks, which have popped up everywhere from email attachments to shared Google documents.
Chrome: I liked Twitter better when everyone got 140 characters. That's the whole point of Twitter: Brevity, concision, a strong editorial hand on the tiller. So I was not at all pleased to see the company's announcement that all users now get 280 characters, which I believe will encourage a certain sloppiness in expression - a slippery slope straight down into logorrhea.
You might be unfortunate enough to have an annoying coworker in your vicinity. You know, the one that talks about how much he loves eating quiche for breakfast. Let's call him Chad. While you (probably) can't put Chad's headphones in jello to get back at him for pinning last week's soccer loss on your bum knee, you can slowly drive Chad mad where it hurts the most: in his precious YouTube goofing-off time.
Being a parent can feel like a never-ending routine of Good Cop/Bad Cop, and for today's generation of child rearers, that includes laying down the law on the digital frontier.