4 Useful Websites To Help You Pronounce Names Correctly

As a blogger I have to answer many questions to readers from across the world. Luckily, I converse with them either via emails

Lock Your Computer With Secure My Screen

There are several tools and methods to protect a computer from unauthorized access under a working environment. I had mentioned many of them in previous posts.

Create Multiple Aliases with Outlook.com Account

Microsoft has launched the latest version of their webmail service called Outlook.com. The new webmail replaces the existing Hotmail and users can now create their new Outlook.com email address

Monday, December 31, 2012

Scan Files For Malware On The Go With VirusTotal Uploader Portable

With millions of files available for download in the internet, it is very important for you to have an antivirus installed on the systemyour computer in order to keep it safe and secure from viruses and other malware. While downloading executable files, one should be extremely careful since installing virus-laden program can lead to data loss and corruption. VirusTotal is a service that allows people to check a file against a large number of antivirus services and detect if there’s anything wrong with it. Today, we found a third party portable app for the service called VirusTotal Uploader Portable that lets you check locally saved files, online hosted files and even running processes on the VirusTotal service.

Even if you are careful during downloading files, just visiting websites can put you in harm’s way due to the temporary data downloaded during browsing. A good antivirus works as a shield as well as a filter, and scans each and every bit of data passing through, or getting stored in your computer. For further security, you can use a third party firewall that protects the network from all unwanted outbound and inbound connections. These measures are sure to protect you from most amount of viruses and malware, but since each antivirus has its own detection method and virus definitions, sometimes, a particular antivirus is not able to detect a specific virus. That’s why testing against multiple antivirus services can be a greater security hedge.
If you are using a portable application suite such as our recently featured CodySafe for carrying your favorite apps with yourself on the go to use from any computer, you can’t always rely on the antivirus solution installed on those computers. That’s why carrying a portable antivirus of your own handy on the same flash drive can be really useful.
Getting back to the tool, even though it’s a portable package, you will have to install it to a folder. After that, you can copy the complete folder and use it as a portable application. The main interface lets you choose a running process for checking if it’s a virus, upload locally saved files, or enter file URLs and upload them directly to the service for scanning. You can add files by just dragging and dropping them over the main interface.
VirusTotal Uploader Portable 1
In order to check a file through its URL, just paste the URL in the application and click the ‘Get and Upload’ button to start the process. As soon as the file is found, the VirusTotal results page will open in the default browser and display the results.
VirusTotal Uploader Portable 2
The options window lets you select whether you want to store any downloaded files through the URL feature on the hard drive at all or not, download them only temporarily (delete them after uploading to VirusTotal) or permanently download them to a specific folder.
VirusTotal Uploader Portable 3
VirusTotal Uploader Portable works on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Downlaod VirusTotal Uploader Portable

Via Addictivetips

Official Adblock Plus Android App Released; Blocks Ads On Rooted & Non-Rooted Devices

Official Adblock Plus Android App Released; Blocks Ads On Rooted & Non-Rooted Devices:
The official Android app for Adblock Plus - the favorite ad blocking solution for many Chrome and Firefox users – has just been released in the Google Play Store. Unlike most existing alternatives, Adblock Plus for Android is available for free as a fully functional version, and works on rooted as well as non-rooted devices. From the mobile viewpoint, Adblock Plus helps you get rid of intrusive and annoying ads, banners, ad-oriented notifications et al within almost the entire OS, including the notification shade, home screen, browsers and apps. Adblock Plus’ effectiveness is very much dependent on whether your Android device has root access or not. While users with rooted devices get the full monty, those with non-rooted devices have to face a few restrictions. Details to follow.

It should not come as a surprise that the app’s complete feature set is available only on rooted devices. If you’re thinking of rooting your device, you might want to go through our comprehensive compilation of Android root guides.
The mileage for non-rooted device owners however, may vary depending on the Android version they’re running. For instance, Adblock Plus is meant to block ads over Wi-Fi only on non-rooted devices running Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher.
On the other hand, users currently stuck on older Android versions (Froyo, Gingerbread & Honeycomb etc) will have to follow the proxy tweaking guidelines to extract some benefit out of Adblock Plus. It’s also worth mentioning here that, the app neither works on certain SSL encrypted websites as desired, nor does it support running effectively on Firefox for Android unless you use an additional plug-in.
Adblock-Plus-Android-Home Adblock-Plus-Android-Filters
The app’s UI comprises just a toggle for triggering the Adblock Plus service, and another option to select the required filter from as many as 11 different available options. Proceeding to the app’s advanced settings screen, you get the additional options to automatically activate the app’s services on device reboot, specify the required subscription refresh mode, and a toggle to refresh content over Wi-Fi only. On a slightly annoying note, there is no option to get rid of the app’s icon from the notification bar. However, considering the utility of the app, this can be dismissed as merely a minor annoyance.
Overall, Adblock Plus could prove to be a godsend for Android users who find all the various on-screen ads on their devices vexing, and want to get rid of them without shelling out a penny. Hopefully, future updates of the app will bring the option to whitelist select apps for which ads should not be blocked entirely.
Adblock Plus has been successfully tested on Samsung Galaxy S running Android 4.1.1.
Download Adblock Plus For Android

Easily Create GIFs From Videos With Freemore Video to GIF Converter

Easily Create GIFs From Videos With Freemore Video to GIF Converter:
(Graphic Exchange Format) files are animated images created by stitching together still images and playing them like a movie clip. The format is widely used on several entertainment websites such as Tumblr, 9gag, Memebase, 4chan etc., as it allows users to create simple animations without having to use a complicated image or video editing application. Previously, we have covered a lot of application that allow you to create GIF images, such as GiftedMotion. However, if you want to create GIFs from video files, you will need a different tool. Today, we present to you an application called Freemore Video to GIF Converter that lets you easily convert video files to animated GIFs. It support a lot of popular video formats including AVI, MP4, MPEG, FLV, MOV, and 3GP. Other than converting the whole video to GIF, you can also select a specific part of the video for conversion.

Freemore Video to GIF Converter is also bundled as a part of the excellent Freemore Audio Video Suite that we have featured here a few weeks back. Both the standalone version and the version bundled in the suite are identical when it comes to features. If you’re interested in the complete suite of audio, video and PDF tools, don’t forget to check out our coverage of Freemore Audio Video Suite.
The main interface of the application is really simple and provides you with options to import the source video file and start, stop, pause or resume the conversion process. You can also preview each frame of the GIF while it is being assembled. In order to load a video clip to the window, click Input and browse for the video file you want to use for creating the GIF.
Freemore Video to GIF Converter
Once you select the video clip, you can choose if you want to convert the whole clip or just a specific part or it into a GIF file. The Set Start and Set End controls at the right side enable you to define the starting and ending points of the GIF file.
Output Options
The application offers a long list of frame sizes and resolutions to choose from, including160 x 120, 320 x 240, 640 x 480, 1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080 etc. Once all settings are done, click OK to move back to the main interface. Click Start to start assembling the GIF.
2012-12-26 15_35_06-Output Options
Video to GIF Converter works on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Download Freemore Video to GIF Converter

3 Ways Tech Startups Can Avoid Wasting Time And Resources

Most companies fail not because they don’t have what it takes to build a successful product or service. They fail because they build an unneeded or unwanted product or service. For many tech startups, this happens because they built too much, too early. They identify a problem in a particular market, and they try to obliterate that problem with possible solutions.

To avoid this, take notes from Eric Ries, the forefather of the The Lean Startup Movement. As a result of his work, we are seeing a radical shift in way startups are solving customer problems. Today, garage-office startups and Fortune 500 companies alike are approaching product development with a more “scientific” approach. The principles that anchor the Lean Startup help entrepreneurs avoid wasting time and resources on products or features that will have little positive impact on customers.

Here are three ways to avoid providing too much, too early to your customers — and possibly ending up with nothing:

#1: Start with the real MVP.

You have heard of a minimum viable product, right? Have you ever built one? Probably not. Most of us are educated under a more waterfall-driven product development approach — we design something robust, and then we build something robust. It’s a linear model which doesn’t leave much room for flexibility. One of the major issues with the waterfall model is that it does not provide an adequate environment to gather quick quality feedback.

The purpose of an MVP is to test your idea as an experiment as quickly and as cost effectively as possible. This can be a banner ad that measures the conversion rate on people responding to your offering (AppSumo’s Noah Kagan and Tim Ferriss are pros with this method) or it can be a series of prototypes trying to solve an overarching consumer problem (like the guys at Aardvark, acquired by Google). At JoynIn, we built what we thought was an MVP, but found out (after months of development time) that adding too many features made it difficult to really test our idea. By building too much, too soon, we made our solution hard to validate. Even worse, we made our users have to dig to find the true value of our product. Lesson learned.

#2: Hit one value proposition out of the park.

Another huge lesson we learned was the more assumptions you try to validate, the harder it is to validate just one. Spreading your team’s focus too thin leads to mediocre features, customer service, and even affects your user. Quora is a good example of a startup that takes on a fundamentally simple value proposition and knocks it out of the park. They aimed to provide people the easiest way to find answers to questions on topics they cared about. Many believe they did this better than Yahoo! Answers, Aardvark, Answers.com and LinkedIn Answers by using semantic data that give users the answers they’re looking for.

When you are looking to solve your customer’s problem, focus on the best possible solution rather than five good ones. Simplicity, clarity and leverage go a long way.

#3: Don’t forget the most important question.

When you are building a product or marketing to an audience, always ask the “Why?” Ask this question from the point of view of a customer. Why do I want to spend $49 on this shirt?  Why am I looking at this label over the others on the shelf?  Why do I want to click the ‘Buy Now’ button?  Don’t create unnecessary steps for the user to get to where they want to go.

At JoynIn, we imagined that before each step our users took — whether it was clicking a button or filling out a form — they would ask themselves why they were doing it. The “Why?” had to justify the action and effort. For example, take a look at Groupon: the primary call to action is the “Buy!” button. Before clicking, I intuitively ask myself why. In this case, the reason is clear: to get 60 percent off a Swedish massage. Next step: confirm the purchase and enter in your credit card number. Why? To get a great discount on a Swedish massage. The effort to click a few buttons and pull out my credit card is worth it because of the deal.

Resist the temptation to solve all the world’s problems right away. Pinpoint your focus and embrace the Lean Startup principles. Doing so will help you understand where to spend your precious time, effort and money.

Decorate Instagram Photos With Weather Or Location Info Using InstaWeather & InstaPlace

Decorate Instagram Photos With Weather Or Location Info Using InstaWeather & InstaPlace:
Apps like Textgram and Overgram belong to a budding niche that focuses on making Instagram photos more interesting by offering gorgeous typographical options for them. InstaWeather and InstaPlace might be classified under the same genre, but these apps differ from their competitors owing to the fact that the typography and skins they apply to images are intelligent enough to reflect the current weather conditions and your location. You can use InstaWeather to generate your very own personalized weather report, as some of the skins overlay quite detailed weather stats of your location on your images. InstaPlace – on the other hand – offers captions and skins that can let your Instagram followers know about the place you are visiting, and your thoughts about it. Both these apps don’t offer filters of their own, but that means you don’t have to spend any time on tweaking the skins to get the right look; just select a suitable skin for your photo, and you are good to go!

The apps don’t differ much in their mode of operation, interface or features; the only difference lies in the kind of skins on offer. Both InstaWeather and InstaPlace work with images from the camera roll, and also offer real-time skins if you use the camera available within the apps.


InstaWeather-iOS-Skin_ InstaWeather iOS Share
A dozen skins are available in the app, ranging from the simplest ones that show nothing more than the current temperature of your location, to more elaborate ones that display data like wind speed, air pressure and almost everything else usually associated with weather details. You can choose a detailed skin if they want the focus to be on the weather, while a minimalistic skin ensures that the overall feel of the original photo is retained. After applying the skin, InstaWeather saves the image to your camera roll, and also allows you to instantly share it with your Instagram followers.


InstaPlace-Free-geotagged InstaPlace-Skin-Top
InstaPlace skins adds your current or selected location information to your photos in various ways. The app finds your current location as soon as you launch it, and then offers different skins based on that information. You can even specify your own custom text as your location (but not the city), letting you add your own comments easily. Simply swipe across the screen to change the skin, and swipe vertically to adjust the skin’s position on the image. The camera mode in InstaPlace supports both front and rear cams (controllable via the ‘switch’ button) while you can toggle flash as well.
If ads don’t bother you much, InstaWeather and InstaPlace have very slightly restricted free versions. The pro variants are ad-free, let you remove watermarks and feature additional skins.
Download InstaWeather For iOS
Download InstaWeather Free For iOS
Download InstaPlace For iOS
Download InstaPlace Free For iOS

Via AddictiveTips

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Visit the real Santa's home on Christmas Eve!

Have you ever dreamt of visiting the real Santa’s home? It is Christmas time and your dreams come true. Find yourself in a winter wonderland deep in the woods surrounded by enchanting snowy landscapes.
Santa is at home getting ready for the big night, and his joyful reindeers can’t wait to embark on a magical sleigh ride. Enjoy this fairytale scenery with gorgeously decorated Christmas trees, gently twirling snowflakes and festive music.


  • Full 3D environment;
  • High-quality animation;
  • Truly colorful graphics;
  • Find yourself in an enchanting winter wonderland;
  • Festive Holiday music;
  • Digital Clock;
  • FPS counter;
  • Visit the real Santa’s home on Christmas Eve.

Unzip the package you've downloaded, and carefully read the instructions which you can find in the readme.txt file. This readme.txt file is included with all our downloads. Follow the instructions carefully to install and activate the software.

The Best Way To Resize Images In Windows 8 And RT

The Best Way To Resize Images In Windows 8 And RT:
As a blogger, I have to work with screenshots, and one of the real pains (besides taking screenshots) is to resize them. There are many things to be kept in mind, like the maximum width, maximum image size, and so on. Resizing images one by one takes up a lot of time, so I planned to devise a solution for this: using batch image resizers. And since I’m using Windows 8, there’s a Modern UI app for that. And I thought, why not share this tip with our readers? So here you go, two of my favorite image resizing options for Windows 8 users.
Just like all the other apps and utilities, you can use either a desktop based program for this purpose, or you can get a Modern UI app from the Store. Let’s discuss the latter one first. Open the Store.

We can search for all such apps by typing ‘Image Resize’. Press Enter after typing.

You’ll be presented with a list of mixed apps. Some will be desktop apps, some will be Modern UI apps, and some might be totally irrelevant. You can try all these apps one by one. But let’s look at one of these apps, the app with the most obvious name – ImageSmaller.

Best thing, it’s free. Let’s install it.

You’ll be notified when it’s installed. Open the app from the Start screen. The first thing you need to do is to select a folder containing the images you want to resize.

Navigate to a folder and click “Select this folder” and then click OK.

All the images from that folder will appear in the workspace. Initially all the images will be selected, but I’m just going to resize one image here.

Let’s get familiarized with the controls. There are three different resizing parameters. You can resize an image by Max Width, i.e. setting a maximum width (and the height will be adjusted automatically to avoid distorting the aspect ratio of the image). Same is the case with the Max Height box: you can specify the maximum height of the image, and the width will be adjusted automatically. Finally, there’s Max File Size, which reduces the dimensions (and the quality) of the image to achieve the specified file size. Initially, all these boxes will be checked (turned on). I’d recommend using just one resizing option at a time (Max Width, Max Height, or Max File Size) to avoid confusion. To uncheck a box (and hence, avoid using that resizing parameter), click in the black rectangular box just behind the type of resizing parameter (Max Width, Max Height, or Max File Size) and it will turn white (meaning it will be turned off).
Let’s turn on the Max Width box, and resize the selected image with respect to the maximum width. Click the drop down menu to see a list of common image widths. You can also specify a custom width in the box below the drop down menu.

So I have set the maximum width to 768 pixels, and the workspace will show what the new image size will be. It will be resized from 1920 x 1200 to 768 x 480 pixels. You can even rotate the image by clicking ‘Not Rotate’ in the top right corner of the image, and it will show you options to rotate the image clockwise or counter clockwise.

You can see how the size of the other images in that folder will change. But since those images aren’t selected, they won’t be resized. You’ll only see what the new size will be, but IF you choose to resize them as well (by selecting those images). There are also some more options, like replacing the original image with the resized one, but that’s not really recommended, it’s always better to keep the original copy intact and remove it later. So select ‘Save to Folder’. You can also select whether to leave EXIF data intact or to remove it. Once all is set, click the Execute button to resize the image (or images).

Once that’s done, you can go to the original folder (containing the image you just resized), and you’ll see another folder named inside it, named ‘Resized’ (unless you selected the Replace Original option to replace the original image with the resized one, in which case you won’t see this folder). This folder will contain all the resized images, and see, our image has been resized!

Okay, moving on to the next one. It’s time for some desktop goodness. We have been fans of the context menu image resizer here at AddictiveTips, and we’re going to mention the same good ol’ program again. It’s called Image Resizer for Windows, and is available for download over at Codeplex (link provided at the bottom of this article).

Installation is pretty simple.

Once installed, you can right click any image and you’ll see a new context menu option to ‘Resize pictures’.

Upon clicking you’ll see a window like this. Once again, you’re presented with some common image sizes and a custom scaling option. I’ll select Medium here. You also have the option to replace the original image, but as mentioned earlier, you wouldn’t really want to do that. So once you’ve set all the options, click the Resize button.

Now have a look in the folder where the file (that you just resized) lies. You’ll see another file next to it, having the same name, but with the type of resizing you did at the end of its name. For instance, I resized the image to Medium size, and the resized image has (Medium) at the end of the filename. And as you can see, it has been resized.

So there we are, simple and quick image resizers for Windows 8, saving your productive time!
Download Image Resizer for Windows

Free Archiving Tool KuaiZip Boasts Better Compression Than 7-Zip

Free Archiving Tool KuaiZip Boasts Better Compression Than 7-Zip:
There’s an umpteen number of file compression utilities out there but 7-Zip easily wins hands-down for most users due to its open-source nature, light memory footprint, wide range of compressed archive format support, and price tag of free. Most archive utilities that we come across nowadays tend to support various archive formats irrespective of their default extension. Though usually, a file archiver works best with its native format for the best overall compression ratio. KuaiZip is a Windows file compression utility that recently crossed my way and left me utterly impressed, to say the least. Not only does it seem to be more powerful than 7-Zip, but its intuitive UI makes it extremely easy to use, even for novices. The tool allows extracting most of the popular archive formats including ZIP, 7Z, ACE, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, GZ, ISO, JAR, LZH, TAR, UUE, Z, as well as KuaiZip’s own KZ format.

KuaiZip sports a well laid-out interface, but the obvious mainstay remains its efficient compression engine that compresses files without any major loss in quality, especially if when it comes to images and video files. The tool does a great job in handling document files as well. In addition, The UI itself shows some resemblance to WinRAR.
KuaiZip can be used to extract files from a large array of archives and supports a multitude of formats but when it comes to archiving the files, it gives choice among KZ, ZIP and 7Z. That said, the utility works best when used with its native KZ format, providing better overall compression ratio compared to the other formats. The available compression methods include Store, Fastest, Fast, Normal, Better and Best, to make things easy for anyone to understand as opposed to complicated technical terminology. In addition, you can configure other parameters before archiving the files such as specify a password, split archives into multiple parts, add comments, and tweak some other tidbits.
For testing, we benchmarked KuaiZip against WinRAR and 7Zip to see how it fares against two of the most popular file archivers, and the result was nothing short of marvelous. Using the best compression methods provided by each of these tools, KuaiZip easily knocked out the competition by compressing the files to 5.46MB, compared to 6.50MB and 6.52MB on WinRAR and 7Zip, respectively. It should be noted however, that the testing was carried out using the default configuration set on each tool, other than the compression method.
7-Zip-compression WinRAR-compression KuaiZip compression
You can also tweak a number of different options under the tool’s Settings window. Here, you can specify a few generic as well as advanced options under the General, Archive, Paths, File List, Viewer, Security and Integration sections.
All in all, KuaiZip is an extremely powerful file archiver. It works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Download KuaiZip

Rearrange Windows To A Previously Recorded Layout On Mac With Slate

Small screens don’t usually give you enough room for viewing multiple app windows side by side but a large screen does. Considering how big your screen is, you might be able to arrange two or three windows on it in any sort of arrangement. The only shortcoming with this is that you have to rearrange them each time you launch your apps. This is because while apps do remember their last window size, they don’t keep track of their last position on the screen. Mac users on any version above Lion might find this a bigger problem since they have desktop spaces that apps can be assigned to, but the window arrangement is still not remembered. Slate is a free Mac app that partially handles this problem. It remembers the arrangement of windows in a single desktop space, and can restore it provided those apps are running.

Once installed, Slate runs in the Menu Bar. To use it, simply arrange your windows however you want to work with them, click the app’s Menu Bar icon, and select ‘Take Snapshot’ from the menu that pops up. Whenever you next have those same apps open/running on the same desktop space, select ‘Activate Snapshot’ from Slate’s Menu Bar options and the arrangement will be restored. Again, the apps that were arranged must already be running for this to work, as Slate does not automatically launch them for you. Though if you took a snapshot of an arrangement of let’s say, three app windows and only two of them are running, Slate will restore the arrangement of those two alone.
Concept-wise, the app is good but self limiting. Two major features that can give it a huge productivity boost are support for multiple desktop spaces, and the ability to launch apps when they aren’t already running. Right now, the app remembers window arrangements for a single space alone. If you use assign only those apps to multiple desktop spaces that you are running in full screen while keeping only one space for the apps in normal screen view, you won’t mind how Slate works but since that isn’t likely, the lack of multiple desktop spaces support could be a bummer for many.
As for launching apps, the feature would make Slate a better app for most users since it will then be able to serve as a tool for quickly getting your desktop ready the way you want. Keyboard shortcuts for taking a snapshot of the current windows arrangement and activating it would be a good idea, and so would be the ability to create different profile sets for remembering window arrangements for scenarios such as beginning your work day every morning by launching all your work-related apps, starting an entertainment session by launching your gaming or multimedia apps, or giving your kids a head start in their study hour on the computer by launching all their educational apps.
Download Slate For Mac

Preview Links & Info On IMDb Without Leaving Current Page [Chrome]

Preview Links & Info On IMDb Without Leaving Current Page [Chrome]:
IMDb is always the first source of information for movies and TV series. It helps you find something good to watch, get information on the cast and release date of your favorite upcoming movie or TV show and much more. IMDb is possibly the Wikipedia of TV and Film, and many websites not only credit it as a source, but also link to it when providing details for a movie. If you’re a movie junkie or a film and TV trivia fan, you’ll definitely like the Chrome extension IMDb Info. This customizable extension shows previews of IMDb links within the same tab, allowing you to enjoy a world of information with as little effort as possible. By default, the extension will display previews for almost all IMDb links that point to additional info, but you can choose to skip information about directors, writers, genre, length, titles and much more. Additionally, it lets you add an option to the right-click context menu for quickly selecting and searching text on IMDb.

Once installed, head over to the IMDb website, hover the mouse cursor over a link and a snippet of the page will appear in a pop up.
To add the extension’s search feature to the context-menu, manage the type of links it shows information for, set the delay after which previews are displayed and more, head on over to the extension’s Options.
Here, you will also find an option to enable the extension’s own widget. The widget is basically a pop up that shows details of the IMDb page that a link points to. It opens in the same tab and can be moved around and resized freely. The extension can also preview additional links from one of the thirteen other listed sites, which include Wikipedia, YouTube and Rotten Tomatoes.
IMDb Info options
IMDb Info is possibly one of the most comprehensive IMDb extensions you will find in the Chrome web store. It deals with just about anything and everything related to IMDb and adds a little something extra. The customizable widget is also a nice touch, since it presents a very accurate summary of a movie. Note that the Watchlist preview will work only when you’re logged in to your IMDb account.
The best thing about the extension, however, is that it is very fast. You won’t notice much delay in the pop up or widget’s loading time unless you’ve increased it from the extension’s settings yourself.
Install IMDb Info For Chrome

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Unblock Hulu & Pandora Access With Media Hint For Chrome & Firefox

Some of the best online services are restricted to select locations. If you don’t live in the right part of the world, you are barred access to web services like Pandora and Hulu, which make for a great online radio and TV experience respectively. The workaround for most people in this case is to use a proxy that unblocks websites that restrict their viewers geographically, or that have been restricted by court ruling within a country. The only problem with proxies is that, with time, they start to stream slowly when the servers can’t handle the influx of users and insert ads on websites that normally don’t have them. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) might give you better results, but only if you have a paid plan. Free VPN services are limited on bandwidth, and as their usability is spread across all internet traffic, they tend to slow everything down. Media Hint is a proxy service with a dedicated Firefox add-on and Chrome extension meant to unblock Hulu and Pandora only.

The extensions/add-on is only available on the Media Hint website. If you use Firefox, that shouldn’t be a problem since Mozilla doesn’t differentiate between add-ons from unknown sources and those from its repository. Chrome is a different story, though not a complicated one. Once the extension is downloaded, Chrome will prompt you that it cannot be installed from the website. All you need to do is open the ‘Extensions’ page and drag & drop the downloaded file on it. Installation barely takes five seconds, and you are ready to watch TV shows or listen to music.
Media Hint
Media Hint is definitely a proxy, but as mentioned earlier, it appears to work differently than most others. What it appears to do is fool these two particular websites into thinking that you’re sending requests from another IP, but it doesn’t change your IP for all other internet traffic.
We tested both Pandora and Hulu with Media Hint enabled, and observed excellent speeds for both video and audio streaming. There were no hiccups and other websites did not seem to slow down in any way. We tried accessing a few websites blocked as per government regulations, but they remained inaccessible.
Media Hint and its browser extensions are available for free on its website, a link to which has been provided below.
Download Media Hint For Chrome & Firefox

Set Reminders For Unreplied Emails In Gmail With Notifus For Chrome

Emails are one of the first things we attend to when we start work in the morning, but reading all the new emails for the day isn’t the only thing one has to do; answering emails and following up on previous ones is important too, and that’s often difficult because there’s always so much to follow up on. Notifus is a Chrome extension that acts as an alarm clock for unanswered emails. When you compose an important email or one intended for someone who is highly unlikely to get back to you on time without sufficient nagging, you set a reminder for the email. The alarm can be set for a minimum of 1 day and a maximum of any number of days. Repeat reminders can be set at the time of sending the email as well.

Notifus adds six buttons to the Compose email view, one each for setting a reminder for 1-6 days and one for adding a custom number of days. The buttons act as send buttons too, so click them only after you have composed, proofread and added attachments to your message. To set repeated alerts, click the “Send & 1D” button. The alerts notify you if the email hasn’t been replied to at the end of the time you’ve set, i.e., if you email someone on December 24, 2012, and set a two day alert, the extension will notify you of the pending reply on December 26, 2012. If you’ve already received a reply, the alert will deactivate on its own.
The first time you use Notifus, you will be asked to authenticate your account and create a password for it. It takes less than a minute, since your email address is already there.
Notifus authenticate account
Once set, Notifus shows a timer when a message is open. You can remove the alert you’ve set by clicking the cross that appears next to it.
Notifus timer
Notifus is useful but needs improvement. At present, alerts and timers show up only when you have a particular message open, and not when you are in the inbox view. The logic behind it that you shouldn’t have to worry about these messages since even if you archive them, the alerts will actively keep track of them. Despite that, some users might prefer to have a cursory look at how many of their emails have not been unanswered. The alert is a good backup in case you forget about an email, but knowing just which tasks are still pending would be a huge help. The alerts can only be set in number of days; adding support for specifying the time would also be great. Overall, Notifus is good to have around as a safety net. Do note that it currently does not work on the new Gmail compose view.

Install Notifus For Chrome

Tablets more popular than e-readers among e-book crowd

(Credit: Pew Internet)
More people are reading e-books, and more of them are using tablets as their primary device.
The percentage of Americans who now read e-books rose to 23 percent from 16 percent a year ago, says a report out today from Pew Internet. Over the same time, the percentage of those who read printed books dropped to 67 percent from 72 percent.
From the poll conducted in October and November, the percentage of people who own a tablet or dedicated e-reader jumped to 33 percent from just 18 percent a year ago.
But among the two types of devices, tablets are proving more dominant.
As of November, 25 percent of those polled said they own a tablet, while 19 percent own a dedicated reader. Last year, both devices were neck and neck with 10 percent ownership. And surveys taken in May 2011 and 2010 showed e-readers then more popular than tablets.
Libraries are also feeling the greater interest in e-books. The percentage of people who borrowed an electronic book from their library rose to 5 percent from 3 percent a year ago. And the share of those who are aware that their libraries offer e-books increased to 31 percent from 24 percent last year.

Who's reading all these e-books?
Among those polled, the ones most likely to read an e-book included people with college or graduate degrees, those with households incomes more than $75,000, and folks between 30 and 49 years old.
Men and women were about on par, while people living in urban areas came in higher than those in suburban or rural communities.
I've always tended to prefer printed books, in large part because of their feel and texture. And I enjoy just browsing through the variety of books on the shelves at my local library and choosing one at random.
But after buying the 7-inch Google Nexus tablet, I now read e-books more frequently. For me, the experience still isn't the same, but the convenience and accessbility to electronic books is definitely appealing.
Pew's data is based on a survey conducted from October 15 to November 10, 2012 among 2,252 Americans ages 16 and older.

Stream Media From Your Mac or PC to Your iOS Device With QuikIO

Usually, when iOS users want to stream their media files (songs, movies and photos) to their other devices, Apple TV tends to be the most common choice. However, when it comes to streaming content from your computer to your iPhone, iPad or other iOS device, things tend to be a bit trickier.
Thanks to QuikIO, a free iOS app, it is not only possible but also quite seamless to access your media and stream songs and movies from a Mac or Windows PC to an iPhone or other iOS device.
Let’s find out how to do it.

On Your Mac

Step 1: Head over to QuikIO’s website and download the client for your Mac or Windows PC. Once you do, open the file and install the app on your computer.

Step 2: Upon opening the application, you will be prompted to create a new account with QuikIO website or to sign in using either your Google or Facebook credentials.

Step 3: After successfully signing up, the QuikIO app will ask you to select your computer’s folders that you would like to have access to from you iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. A few folders are selected by default, so feel free to leave them there or remove them. Once your selection is complete, QuikIO will start scanning the content in your folders to have them ready for you to access from your iOS device.

Important Note: Depending on the amount of content that you have on your chosen folders, it can take a few moments for QuikIO to index them all. Additionally, you can check out the app’s status and access its preferences from its menu bar icon.

On Your iPhone

Step 4: On your iPhone head to the App Store in order to download and install the free QuikIO app. Once you do, open the app and sign in with the same profile that you used to sign into the desktop application of QuikIO.
Step 5: Once signed into the app, it will display filters for all your media available on your Mac or Windows PC, including your Music, Photos, Movies and all the rest of your files. Curiously enough, instead of displaying this information on the main screen, QuikIO displays it on the left side. Sliding the main screen to bring it into view will only show you your linked devices. Odd and counterintuitive, but you will live outside the app (enjoying your media) so this is not such an issue.
Step 6: Tapping on any of the filtering options will bring up all your media. That said, photos, music and other small files are quite easy to get into your iPhone, so I was far more interested in seeing how the app performed with videos, and it didn’t disappoint.

Videos usually take a short while before starting playback, but once they do they play smoothly and without delays.

Final Thoughts on QuikIO

QuikIO is a very simple and convenient app that does what it promises and does it well. But I do have some issues with the video player controls though: There are barely any. In fact, all there is is a Play/Pause button and a playback slider. QuikIO needs to improve this and at least add software controls for playback volume.

It is also worth mentioning that you can stream your media remotely, and QuikIO even offers you the choice of selecting the output quality of your files depending on how you stream them.
The app is free for now, but it looks like the developer will start charging for it soon, which makes performing these improvements even more urgent. But even despite them, this is an app that no one – who has a lot of media on their computers that they would like to access -should miss.