For their new "Purple Pedals" campaign, Yahoo has dispatched a handful of GPS-enabled bicycles equipped with cameraphones that automatically shoot and upload photos to Flickr to riders in cities all over the world, from San Francisco to New York and soon, to Singapore, Denmark and the U.K.. The bikes come with solar panels which power the camera, and special software that uses the phone's accelerometer to snap photos every 60 seconds automatically when the bike is in motion. I was one of the lucky folks to get my hands on one of these bikes, and I've been riding it all over San Diego for over a week now. Let's take a look at how the bike works, how it was made, and how you can turn your handlebars into a tripod and photo-map your neighbourhood in similar fashion.
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Now that you've been enjoying Google Chrome's headliner features and speed for almost a week now, it's time to dig into the less obvious functionality and options you don't already know about. Become a keyboard shortcut master, take a peek under the hood, and customise its behaviour and skin with some of the best shortcuts, bookmarklets, themes, add-ons, and subtle functionality in Google Chrome.
The basics of how email works hasn't changed much since its invention, but even forty years later, there are still tiny features and enhancements that can make dealing with large volumes of email easier. Your email client already provides message attachments, filtering, HTML email, auto-fill contacts, spell-checking, folders or labels, keyboard shortcuts, search, and an advanced spam filter. What else do you need? Well, as people rely on email as a primary means of communication, and everyday users deal with a mounting level of new messages per day, even more advanced features can help all of us keep our inbox under control. In honour of Mozilla Thunderbird 3's latest alpha release, let's take a look at some email innovations—some concept, some already available in various clients and plug-ins—that you want in your inbox.
In the mid-year slump when there's absolutely nothing new on television (except the Olympics), it's time to start watching the web—and you need the right tool to do just that. The free, cross-platform internet video player Miro can automatically download online video series via RSS feed or BitTorrent, play almost any format you throw at it, and keep track of what you've watched and what's new and queued up for you. More and more independent producers are putting out fabulous video content on the web, but keeping up with it by visiting your favourite video hosting web site or in your regular feed reader can be almost impossible—but setting up Miro is like getting TiVo for web video. Let's take a look at how to subscribe to free internet television with Miro.
When moving, copying, pasting, browsing, and getting information about your files feels like tedious work—and it can in the feature-sparse Windows Explorer—you need some power add-ons that can help. Instead of completely replacing Windows Explorer with an alternative file manager, you can pick and choose the extra features you want and add them piecemeal. Let's take a look at some free power add-ons for Windows Explorer that make dealing with your growing file collection faster and easier.
When you don't want to depend solely on the official App Store to get your iPhone 2.0 applications, you want to jailbreak your iPhone or iPod touch—and less than two weeks after the iPhone 2.0 launch, it's easier than ever to do with your new device. The hard-working iPhone Dev Team released the jailbreak utility PwnageTool version 2.0.1 this weekend, and while it's not as one-step as ZiPhone, it still offers an easy GUI interface for the job. Let's take a look at the step by step for jailbreaking your iPhone 2.0 device with PwnageTool.
Jotting a simple list is a great way to brainstorm, but when you want to visualise, organise, and untangle a deep set of ideas, you want a mind map. Web-based mind mapping tool MindMeister offers a simple interface to create mind maps collaboratively or on the go. We've mentioned a few mind mapping apps in the past, and showed you how to mind map meetings as an alternative to linear note-taking. But if you haven't tried mind mapping yet, MindMeister is a great place to start. Let's dive into MindMeister to give mind mapping a go without downloading a thing.
ACCESS DENIED. Those two bone-chilling words are the last thing you want to see when you're trying to log into a system or open a file, but they're not necessarily a dead end. Several free tools can help you find lost passwords you can't remember or that your computer has saved but obscured. Let's take a look at a few free remedies for lost password panic when you're trying to log onto a computer, network, or just figure out what's behind that string of asterisks.
When you're saving sensitive files on your computer meant for your eyes only, make sure you've got the right tools on hand to keep them private. Whether you want to shield your brilliant startup business plan from the Pointy Haired Boss, or hide your stash of Gillian Anderson photos from the kids, there are several free tools that can encrypt, password-protect, or obscure files and folders from others who might use your computer. Let's take a look at various methods, tools, and levels of privacy and security you can use to lock up your sensitive data.
You don't have to mod your classic Xbox to run the best free media centre application around anymore: Dedicated developers have ported the Xbox Media Centre (XBMC) software to the Mac, and its killer features will convince you to abandon Front Row forever. The latest XBMC on OS X beta dropped last week, and it's as stable and useful as ever. Dubbed the "throw out your Xbox" release, XBMC for Mac 0.5 beta 1 adds the key feature that finally puts your media centre Mac under the TV where it belongs: remote control support. Let's take a look at how you can (and why you want to) replace Front Row with XBMC on your Mac.
The most common complaint we get from Lifehacker readers in Windows IT lockdown is that the majority of our tips require installing third-party applications—which you can't do if you don't have the right permissions on your PC. If you don't have the rights to install software on your company-issued computer, there are still lots of ways you can make Windows a more productive place to work. Let's take a look at how you can maximise your computer productivity with keyboard shortcuts, desktop tweaks, search tricks and more—without installing a thing.
It may be the year 2008, but a whole lot of sucktacular software still rears its ugly head on PCs everywhere, even when better-behaved options are freely available. Whether it's molasses-slow bloatware, shameless adware, anemic default apps, or "Your trial period has expired!" nagware, it's time to replace stinky Windows software with its superior (but lesser-known) alternative. Last week we asked what software you should never install on your PC, and over 200 comments later, you compiled quite a list. Today we're going to take a walk down the Crapware Hall of Shame, point and laugh at the worst offenders, and highlight some better choices. Photo by chelseagirl.
Microsoft Outlook is the company-issued email client at your place of employment, so like it or not, it's up to you to figure out how to manage your inbox, calendar, and task list every day using it. To make things worse, if you're in IT lockdown without administrator rights to your PC, you can't install special add-ons or software to help your cause. Luckily there are install-free ways to customise Outlook, add keyboard shortcuts, and get your inbox down to zero messages painlessly with a few tweaks to your setup.
Managing the daily onslaught of incoming email with filing systems, keyboard shortcuts, and batch processing will only get you so far. When a flurry of new email snows you in within an hour of every inbox sweep, it's time to dig in and get to the source of your email traffic. You've accumulated a sizable email archive over the years, and a new breed of analysis tool can extract meaningful statistics from that data to help you conquer email overload. Who sent you the most email messages last year? What hour of the day do you receive the most new messages? Which of all the mailing lists you're on are the most active? A new command line tool called Mail Trends works with Gmail over IMAP and can give you all that information and more.
If you're sick of Firefox 2 eating up over a gigabyte of memory only to freeze up and crash, it may be time to move onto Firefox 3. The new version of our favourite browser has seen its fifth and final beta release, and Mozilla says its for testing purposes only. However, the Firefox 3 beta is leaner, meaner, faster, and just plain better than Firefox 2—and don't tell Daddy Mozilla, but even at this early stage, we've found it to be stable enough for full-time use. There are a few ways you can start using Firefox 3 without blowing your browser setup to hell or losing your most important extensions. Here's how.
It's that dreaded time of the year again, when that teetering pile of W-2 and 1099 forms haunt your dreams, and the perennial question gnaws at you: "Should I do my taxes myself, or hire an accountant?" A poll here on Lifehacker last month shows that most of you complete your income tax returns using software like TurboTax. In the past few years, I've gone back and forth between using an expensive human accountant and TurboTax.com to file my tax return. This year I decided to do both and see which solution saved me the most money and heartache. Read on to see who comes out victorious in the battle of the human tax accountant versus TurboTax.com.
Nothing sucks worse than getting to the office in the morning and realizing you left the most recent copy of an important file—whether it's your to-do list or a PowerPoint presentation—on your home computer. No matter where you are and what computer you're using, you always want the most updated set of documents and files you've got without having to carry 'em around on a thumb drive. Luckily, several free solutions can automatically sync folders between computers—even over the internet, through office firewalls—no matter what operating system you use. Whether you want work files edited at home to magically appear on your PC at the office, or the family room Mac to have a copy of the latest batch of digital photos downloaded onto the computer in the den, three free applications can help.
More devices in your living room have Ethernet ports than ever before, but you can't plug them into the network if your router's in the other room. When your Wi-Fi access point is in the home office but your TiVo, Xbox, and media centre are screaming for network love under your TV in the living room, you want a wireless bridge (also known as an Ethernet converter). A wireless bridge catches your home network's Wi-Fi signal and provides ports where you can plug in wired devices near it. Let's take a look at how to wire up your living room using a wireless bridge.
Even if you do all your banking online, there's still one ugly time of year when you've got to deal with a pile of financial paperwork, and that's tax time. If your accountant accepts forms via email, or you just want to save tax documents on your computer, you want a quick and easy way to do it. While most scanner workflows require several steps to digitise documents, the Fujitsu ScanSnap transforms paper into PDF with a single button press. No one wants to spend more time than they have to on receipts, 1099's and W-2's. Let's take a look at how to instantly capture tax-related and other important paperwork to your hard drive on April 15th and throughout the year with the ScanSnap.