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Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.
One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.
Whether you're a weekend photographer or seasoned professional, Wired's Charlie Sorrel says you should always use your digital camera's RAW setting—no excuses. Sorrel cites increased dynamic range, no in-camera processing of the image, and full reign to adjust the results using all of the pre-compressed, raw data available in the image (hence RAW). The downsides to RAW, on the other hand, include slower capture times, larger files, and lack of support on lower-end consumer cameras. (Then again, if you've got a Canon point-and-shoot, there's a good chance you can add RAW support and other high-end features by installing the easy-to-use Canon Hackers Development Kit.) Wired's recommendation is one thing, but we're curious what mode you regularly shoot in. So we want to know:
Why waste time schooling clueless email senders one by one when you can build a web site to do it for you? A recent trend among email-overloaded web developers who don't want to explain the basics of email etiquette to frequent senders is to set up a web page that does it instead—then reply to senders with a link to the page, or just include it in their signature. Merlin Mann's Thanks, No turns down unwanted email; Mike Davidson's five sentences explains why his email messages are so short; and now Brett Kelly's BCC, please asks that bulk senders use the BCC field to hide his address from everyone else on a big list. The question is: would you ever actually use any of these explainer pages?
A steady stream of preview releases have kept our typing fingers especially busy covering the beta beat the last several weeks. From Mac virtualization software to Microsoft Office add-ons to iTunes sharing apps, there are lots of new features for eager testers to preview and try out. Beyond the most obvious best public preview out there right now—Firefox 3—which beta has your heart? Cast your vote, after the jump. Photo by arriba.
In the age of social bookmarking and blogs, old fashioned browser bookmarks (or "Favourites," as Internet Explorer refers to them) are teetering on the edge of obsolete. When you can save a bookmark at, say, del.icio.us, tag it, and have it accessible from any computer, storing a link in your browser seems almost archaic. Adam uses Gmail to save and search his bookmarks; I use Firefox's toolbar for bookmarklets and I'm partial to Firefox keyword bookmarks that turn the address bar into a command line. What about you? Is your bookmarks manager stuffed full of links, or has bookmarking URLs become a thing of the past? Fess up your bookmarking habits after the jump. Photo by WordRidden.
Sure we've all downloaded a free copy of Google Earth, the big G's eye-popping desktop map application, and flown around the planet with a heightened sense of awe at how cool the whole thing is. But have you done anything else with Google Earth since then? Traveler Anick Jesdanun used Google Earth to create a robust photo tour of a trip through Antarctica and South America, and found the software powerful but complicated and difficult to intuit—especially for friends with whom he shared the resulting KML file.
Technologist Alexander van Elsas says that the problems a lot of new services and web applications solve are specific to a certain kind of super-techie user. He writes:
How many people do you know outside your tech community that want to have 25 desktop applications live, running Firefox alongside with 10 tabs open, twittering 100 times a day, reading and commenting articles on FriendFeed, writing a blog post about it, starting riots to get traffic going, AND still have a normal day job and a life after that? I don't know anyone that fancies that kind of life.
It's a strong argument that services like Twitter or FriendFeed solve problems only a select few have—too many social networks, no time to blog, email overload, etc. Are front-line, super-connected techies harbingers of what's to come for mainstream folks, or are we nerds just making solutions to solve problems created by our own solutions? Photo by jonrawlinson.
Both Windows users in love with XP and those in hate with Vista continue to cry out to Microsoft for clemency, hoping that XP might be spared from the chopping block come June 30th (the last day XP will be sold in stores). Vista's been out in the wild for a solid year now, but even so, more users than Microsoft could ever have intended still aren't ready or willing to trade in XP for the shinier, debatably improved upgrade to the Windows line. We consider Lifehacker readers to be very willing adopters when an upgrade is worth it, so we want to know where you stand on the issue.
Ever since they launched it without a Delete button, the folks at Google have been trying to convince Gmail users to archive their mail instead of trash it. On the Official Google Blog, a Googler lists nine reasons why you should archive instead of delete. (You'd think they were personally invested in you keeping your email! Oh, wait.) It's true that with all that storage space, there's really no reason to delete anything in Gmail. I lean on the Y key a lot more than the Delete button, but what about you?
Productivity consultant Jared Goralnick offers ten reasons why your phone shouldn't automatically notify you the moment you receive a new email message—like protecting your sanity, for one. Some phone email clients (like Gmail Mobile for Java-based phones) require that you start them up to check your mail; other devices like the Blackberry check automatically and notify you the moment a new message lands in your inbox. It may seem convenient to have your phone auto-check email, but do the constant interruptions actually save you time? After the jump, tell us how you like email on your phone—pushed to you on the fly or only there when you check.
Based on reports from our email inbox, it sounds as if lots of Gmailers—including Google Apps users—saw the upgrade to the latest version of Gmail this weekend. You're using the new version if you have access to label colours, and an "Older Version" link on the upper-right hand side of the page inside Gmail. So, we want to know.
You've been with us for parts one, two, and three of this year's Coolest Cubicle Contest, and now the time has arrived—time for the final vote-off to determine which creative cubicle jockey will hit their commute tomorrow $500 richer (in Amazon bucks). We've got a tonne of entries to vote on, so hit the jump, peruse your options, and decide whose cubicle deserves the title of Lifehacker's Coolest Cubicle of 2008.
The New York Times reports on several disturbing statistics connecting televisions in the bedroom to health and developmental problems like obesity, insomnia, and more. The article focuses on the effects of the bedroom TV on kids (who see lower test scores and are at a higher risk of smoking), but we've also seen how electronic media can hinder a good night's sleep for adults, as well. So the question is:
New employee survey results released by Deloitte LLP show that salary isn't as big a factor for attracting job candidates as it has been in the past:
For today's workers, hefty compensation packages and fancy retirement plans just aren't as appealing as they used to be. What they really want—more than anything else—is to control when, where, and how they work. They're happy to work hard, but want to do it on their terms.
Lifehacker readers have mixed feelings about asking the boss if they can work from home. But would perks like the option to telecommute, flexible hours, multiple widescreen monitors, and free gourmet cafeteria food convince you to take a lower-paying job?
Wired News reports on a recent survey of 1,000 people in which the participants reported getting an average of six hours and 40 minutes of sleep on weeknights. The same participants estimated they would need around 40 more minutes of sleep to perform their best at work, and almost one-third of the participants admitted to falling asleep or becoming very sleepy at work at some point in the last month. We all know how important sleep is to increased productivity at work and all-around happiness and well-being, so clearly many of us are facing some serious sleep debt. We've asked this once before at the end of a related post, but in light of the findings reported on in the Wired article, we're curious:
You sit down at a computer running that other browser and you hit Ctrl+T to open a new tab, and... nothing happens. Ctrl+T! Ctrl+T! You mash the keyboard and gnash your teeth and finally, begrudgingly, reach for the mouse. Anyone who's burned keyboard shortcuts into their muscle memory knows it can feel like you're missing a limb when they're not available. But when it comes to Firefox—which is loaded with key combos—we want to know:
According to News.com, Microsoft is slashing prices on several versions of Vista, dropping upgrade versions of Vista Ultimate to $219 from $299 (full version drops to $319) and Home Premium to $129 from $159 for U.S. customers. Naturally, the price drop has raised a lot of eyebrows from Vista haters and XP die-hards, which got us wondering which our smarty-pants readers prefer:
Productivity weblog Digital Inspiration rounds up several ways to travel without your computer, suggesting instead that you carry all the programs and documents you need on your USB thumb drive. We've covered most of the post's suggestions before, whether we were showing you how to carry your life on a thumb drive or rounding up the top 10 thumb drive tricks, so with the wealth of options out there for taking that thumb drive to its limits, I'm wondering: