Five Must Have Google Chrome Extensions

May 11th, 2010 |

Last week, I reviewed some Firefox tips and tricks. Due to popular demand, today I’m going to outline some must have extensions for Google’s rising superstar: Google Chrome.

1. AdBlock: Like the one on Firefox, my favorite extension is available on Chrome. All modern browsers have built-in pop up blockers. That’s fine and all, but how about getting just the web content itself. No stupid banner ads. No offerings to lure your kids’ small attention spans (if you have kids). It’s almost like a “stupid” blocker. You won’t get in trouble by clicking on a link with huge tits flashing because you won’t ever see it.

2. Google Translate: Scouring the web for relevant information is usually like a treasure hunt. You find some good things and some shitty things. When you land on a page that’s in another language, you’re all like “Oh fuck” and plan to leave. But wait, don’t leave just yet. In the tech world, leaks are always coming out of China or Russia or some obscure forum somewhere. Use Google Translate to help you out. After setting your default language, Google Translate will automatically pop up in a little unobtrusive bar at the top of your browser when you visit a page that is not in your default language. It’ll ask you if you want to translate the page, and you can pick from many different languages. It’s perfect for the language-challenged. I once used it to translate a page about a dog and a bunny. It turns out the dog and bunny were, like, lovers or something… Read the rest of this entry »

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Raymond Wong

Five Firefox Things Everyone Should Know

May 4th, 2010 |

According to Net Market Share, Firefox has a 24.59% market share. Not too bad for an open source web browser. If you’re still on some version of Internet Explorer, check out my previous article “Ditch Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8” on why you should be dumping it. Here are a few tips that I’ve found essential:

Use these techniques to outfox other web browsers

1. Use keywords: Chrome and Safari both have wonderful “Speed Dial-like” quick launch pages to bookmark your most visited websites, but I find it too slow. I don’t want to have to write “Facebook” or “Gmail” or “Google Reader” or god forbid the sometimes long URLs for some blog. To get to where you need faster, create a keyboard keyword shortcut. Here’s how:

Bookmark the website (Control/Command + D). Ex) Facebook. Then go to the “Bookmarks” menu. Click “Organize Bookmarks.” Navigate to where the bookmark is (usually in the Bookmarks Menu or Bookmarks Toolbar) and click on it. There should be a little arrow icon for more options situated at the bottom of the window. Next to “Keyword,” type a shortcut. For example, for Facebook, I keyworded it to the letter “F.” Now when I type “F” and then press enter, Firefox brings me right to Facebook. I’ve done the same for other websites I visit every day, several times a week. Here’s what I have: YouTube = “YT,” Gmail = “G,” Google Reader = “R,” Yahoo = “Y,” and “Ploked” = “P.” These are just my shortcuts, but I find it has sped up the time I spend on Facebook and YouTube by getting me in and getting me out. The faster I can say “done,” the faster I can start doing more important things! Read the rest of this entry »

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Raymond Wong

When Less Isn’t More – We Need Better Batteries

April 28th, 2010 |
More, more, more. In the tech world, who doesn’t want more megahertz in their CPUs? Faster and more powerful GPUs for the increasing demand of high definition video from 1080p. Moore’s Law states that every two years the number of transistors on a circuit board can be doubled. Thus, this is the reason why the iPhones or BlackBerry’s in our pocket are nearly as powerful as a computer I purchased ten years ago. The silicon is shrinking and the hardware is getting stronger.

There’s only one problem – the battery. Batteries haven’t improved as fast as the rest of the computing world. In fact, why the hell are we still using Duracells and Energizers? AA batteries should be obsolete by now. There shouldn’t be a single digital camera on the market that has a battery that can’t last through a days worth of picture taking. No buts. End of story. It’s two-oh-freaking-ten. Designers, get with the times, please!

When Apple revealed their iPhone back in 2007 sporting an internal non-replaceable battery, the world cried foul. Then look what happened. Oh right, no one is whining about it anymore (except for all those Nokia fanboys). The rate at which our gadgets are used to their fullest potential and then disposed is so rapid today that it doesn’t matter. I don’t know a single person who owns an iPhone and has used it to its max for two years and has needed to get the battery replaced – they are still holding charges and bobbing along.

Asutek (Asus) struck on something interesting back when it introduced the first eeePC and practically opened the floodgates to the Netbook category. Their batteries, at the time, sucked. The original 7″ eeePC ran a variant of the open source OS, Linux, and while it was supposed to be the stepping stone to the future, the OS never caught on. Unlike Windows XP, Linux is so un-bloated that a 3-cell battery lasted quite a long time back in the day. We all know what happened to Linux. Consumers demanded Windows XP, and they got it for another couple years until Microsoft shipped Windows 7. Once everyone made the jump to Windows again on their little Netbooks, people demanded more battery. The 3-cell could no longer cut it. We needed 6, 9, and even 12-cell batteries. As the batteries expanded, the slimness of Netbooks became chunky. The Netbook of today is hardly what you would consider ultraportable. At best, a good Netbook is expected to be able to handle a day’s worth of web browsing, because let’s face it, no one wants to be lugging around an AC adapter at all. Lesson: If you’re going to do Linux, make it a competitor to Windows. I’m willing to bet Google’s extremely feather light Chrome OS will be able to jump start what Asus, HP, and many other companies have failed at.

If you asked me which Atom processor is the best for a Netbook, I’d probably have to spend a bit of time on Google. I’ve lost track of all the Intel Atom versions (now there’s dual core Atoms?). The most important thing when considering any mobile device is now, of course, the battery.

With almost every Android phone packing a 1Ghz Snapdragon processsor or iPads with their A4’s and Netbooks with their Atoms, the processor is no longer the cherry on top. Finding a computer that fits your needs, looks good, and has incredible battery life is no easy feat.
One of the companies that have been innovating and putting a larger chunk of R&D into getting more juice out of the old Lithium is none other than Cupertino’s Apple, Inc. Apple may get a lot of attention for their shiny new gadgets from their iPods, iPads, and iPhones, but no one can complain that the batteries that power Apple’s latest gadgets are anything but spectacular. Read the rest of this entry »
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Raymond Wong