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Amnesty International is in the verification game and that is good news for journalism.

When journalists monitor and search social networks, they’re looking to discover and verify newsworthy content. Amnesty utilizes the same networks and content — but their goal is to gather and substantiate evidence of human rights abuses.

“Verification and corroboration was always a key component of human rights research,” said Christoph Koettl, the emergency response manager in Amnesty USA’s Crisis Prevention and Response Unit. “We always had to carefully review and corroborate materials, no matter if it’s testimony, written documents or satellite imagery.”

Now they’re “confronted with a torrent of potential new evidence” thanks to social networks and cell phones. As with their counterparts in newsrooms, human rights workers and humanitarian organizations must develop and maintain skills to verify the mass of user-generated content.

That’s why, it’s no surprise, Amnesty International today launched a new website and tool to help human rights researchers and others with the process of video verification. The site is Citizen Evidence Lab, which offers step-by-step guidance on how to verify user-generated video, as well as other resources. The tool is the YouTube Data Viewer.

The development of the site and tool were led by Koettl, who is one of Amnesty’s lead verification experts. (He also authored a case study about verifying video for the Verification Handbook, a free resource I edited for the European Journalism Centre.)

Here's an introduction to the site:

YouTube Data Viewer

The YouTube Data Viewer enables you to enter in the URL of a YouTube video and automatically extract the correct upload time and all thumbnails associated with the video. These two elements are essential when verifying a YouTube video, and it's information that's difficult to gather from YouTube.

The upload time is critical in helping determine the origin of a video. Finding the upload time of a YouTube video can be difficult -- it's not clearly displayed on the video page. The thumbnails are useful because you can plug them into a reverse image search tool such as Google Image or TinEye and see where else online these images appear.

“Many videos are scraped, and popular videos are re-uploaded to YouTube several times on the same day,” said Koettl. “So having the exact upload time helps to distinguish these videos from the same day, and a reverse image search is a powerful way to find other/older versions of the same video.”

The goal is to offer non-technical users a tool and guidance to help them verify video, without requiring an expert such as Koettl. He said now his colleagues "will be able to do this basic research themselves by using the new tool, so not everything has to go through me for a basic assessment.”

The same goes for journalists. The YouTube Data Viewer should join tools such as an EXIF reader, reverse image search, Spokeo, and Google Maps/Earth as one of the core, free verification tools in the verification toolkit. (For a list of other tools out there, see this section of the Handbook.)

A guide to video verification

Citizen Evidence is also a valuable addition to verification training. Koettl has created a series of videos that offers a step-by-step walkthrough for verifying user-generated video. This is a detailed and easy-to-follow guide, offered by someone who practices this as part of his daily job. (The videos are geared toward human rights workers, but the techniques apply for journalists.)

For Koettl, the tool and the videos are an important step in helping spread the skills of digital content verification within his profession.

“I believe in a couple of years from now, verification of citizen media will be part of the core skills of any human rights researcher, as a consequence of better verification protocol and tools, as well as dedicated training,” he said. “Subsequently, we will only need dedicated staff for more advanced analysis, including more technical and forensic assessments.”

I hope this same dynamic begins to emerge in more newsrooms, whereby basic verification knowledge/skills are spread among as many people as possible, and they are also supported by a smaller group of colleagues with specialized expertise.

Source: This article was published poynter.org By Craig Silverman

It's a big, crazy world out there, so it's understandable that strange stuff happens in it. Fortunately for us puny humans, science has been able to explain some of it. But, in the same way that explaining a joke ruins it, it remains to be seen whether or not science's explanations take the fun out of the world itself.

Raining fish in Sri Lanka


Getty Images

Fish fell from the sky onto a Sri Lankan village in May 2014, and no, it wasn't a sign of the apocalypse. According to scientists who spoke with the BBC, whirlwinds formed over shallow water, turning into a waterspout, which is essentially a water tornado. When this happens, the spouts vacuum up everything: fish, frogs, eels. Aside from becoming dizzy, the animals can be carried long distances before the spouts peter out and everything drops. And this wasn't an isolated incident. Such incidents have taken place in India, Nepal, and Saskatchewan, to name a few. Gives new meaning to the term "flying fish."


The Beacon of Maracaibo

In Venezuela, the area where the Catatumbo River flows into Lake Maracaibo holds the Guinness world record for "the highest concentration of lightning" on the planet. So much lightning flashes that the sky is regularly illuminated for nine hours at night, according to the BBC. It's so intense that the phenomenon has also been photographed from space. This natural light show results from a confluence of wind and topography, or so it's believed. Previous theories, however, have postulated that possible uranium and methane deposits are the source. But one thing's for sure: it makes for a great, natural rave.


Orange snow in Omsk

In 2007, oily orange snow fell on three locations in Siberia, an area usually known for bears and trees, according to The Guardian. Some of the snow smelled, too. Initially, scientists believed pollution or radioactivity caused the pigmented precipitation. But Russian officials blamed the colorful cascade on a storm carrying dust and clay from Kazakhstan. However, environmentalists found high quantities of acids, nitrates, and iron in the flashy flurries. Sounds like someone's up to some scuzzy chicanery.


The year without a summer

In the early 19th Century, the Northern Hemisphere decided to skip summer one year, sort of. Known primarily as the Year without a Summer, although there are several other names, colder-than-normal temperatures were recorded during June and July 1816 in disparate locations such as Pennsylvania, Germany, and China. According to Bellrock.org.uk, a massive volcanic eruption in Indonesia, compounded by eruptions in other locations, created what's known as a volcanic winter, where ash blocks out the sun, consequently chilling everything out. The resulting ecliptic sky caused catastrophic crop failures, cattle deaths, and even intensified a cholera outbreak from India to Moscow. Makes you at least slightly grateful for global warming, doesn't it?


New England's dark day

For early Americans in the 1780s, New England's dark day must've seemed like God was done with them. While there's no way to prove how any deities were feeling that day, we now know that all-powerful beings being in a bad mood probably weren't the cause…at least not directly. In 2007, University of Missouri researchers found evidence of a huge wildfire that had taken place in Southern Ontario, according to History.com. Winds then carried the resulting smoke over the Northeastern United States, tinging the sky and freaking the bejeezus out of Revolutionary America. Candlemakers must've loved it, though.


Sailing stones

If you ever visit Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, and it looks like the rocks are moving, don't worry. The sun's not playing tricks on you. They're really moving. But they're not moving on their own. In 2014, scientists discovered the cause of this half-century mystery: ice shove. According to Scientific American, thin layers of ice form on the ground, providing a slippery enough surface for light breezes to push the rocks across the dry lake bed. What's left is a trail tracing the rocks' paths. Now that's a rockslide you can enjoy.


Bioluminescent waves

In some parts of the world, the beaches are so beautiful that the waves shine at night. It's true! These glowing waves, which can be found in the Everglades, the Maldives, and numerous other places around the world, are actually created by microorganisms, according to National Geographic. These particular microorganisms, phytoplankton, give off light when they're agitated, like when they're struck by waves. The result is an alluring glow, which can be seen in various locations in the world's oceans. It also makes for great, natural mood lighting.


Light pillars

On January 11, 2016, the residents of Annandale, Minnesota who were awake at 4 a.m. witnessed a spectacular light show, according to Fox News. Colorful beams of light glowed down from the pre-dawn sky. No, aliens weren't attacking the town. What they saw was a display of light pillars. Light pillars, sometimes also called sun pillars or solar pillars, occur when light from any source reflects off ice crystals in the air. The result is shafts of light illuminating the sky that put lightning to shame. That almost makes braving the sub-zero temperatures of Minnesota worth it.


Flammable ice bubbles

The bubbles found in Lake Abraham in Canada may look like a giant lava lamp, but they're nowhere near as groovy. These brisk globules actually contain methane released by bacteria, after consuming dead organic matter, which is then trapped in the ice, according to The Guardian. For the most part, the bubbles are harmless. That is unless they're lit. In that case, they turn to bitter bombs. That's right: Lake Abraham, the only lake that needs a no-smoking sign.


The Door to Hell

Science can easily explain the 70-meter-wide Door to Hell in Turkmenistan, because science caused it. According to the Daily Mail, back in 1971, Soviet geologists were drilling what they thought was an oil field. But instead, they wound up opening a natural gas-filled cavern. Fearing a poisonous-gas leak, they lit a match, hoping to burn off the toxic vapor. The gas supply they thought would burn off in a few days continues to burn as of this writing. In 2010, Turkmenistan's president Gurbanbuly Berdimuhamedow wanted the hole closed, but that hasn't happened. And in case you're wondering, people can visit the infernal locale. Just don't forget the marshmallows.


Dirty thunderstorms

Dirty thunderstorms are the ultimate explosive combination. These crackling ash clouds are essentially lightning created by volcanic eruptions. This dynamic display results from the same thing that causes regular lightning: ice particles colliding to produce a static charge, only with rock and ash thrown into the mix. According to the BBC, these voltaic visuals are actually pretty rare, except for at Mount Sakurajima, where it happens on an almost daily basis. Poor Japan. First Godzilla, now this.


The Tunguska Event

One of the biggest explosions in history, the Tunguska Event occurred on June 30, 1908 in Siberia. The blast leveled approximately 770 square miles of forest, and supposedly left a glow in the night skies for the next three days, according to an issue of Nature from that time. The cause of the explosion, however, has yet to be fully explained. However, of the possible causes, the leading answer is an asteroid burst, similar to the Chelyabinsk meteor in 2013. What is it with Russia and meteors?


Read More: http://www.grunge.com/10104/weird-phenomena-explained-science/s/the-tunguska-event/?utm_campaign=clip

A wave of attacks hit computer systems in in nearly 100 countries on May 12, 2017, in a global onslaught that impacted Britain's health service, Russia's interior ministry and French carmaker Renault, along with many other organizations around the world. (Damien Meyer / AFP/Getty Images)

Authorities worldwide are mopping up after an international ransomware attack disrupted hospitals, factories, government agencies, banks and businesses in 150 countries over the past few days. The latest clues point to hackers possibly linked to North Korea.

In what looks to be an unrelated cyber attack, hackers reportedly shanghaied the Disney film "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales." The crooks threatened to splash it onto the internet before the film's scheduled May 26 release if Disney didn't fork over a ransom in bitcoin, according to deadline.com.

Experts warn that worldwide ransomware attacks could bloom again in the coming weeks. They warn that many computers running outdated (or stolen) software could be vulnerable to hackers who pilfer data, or hold it hostage for ransom.

Hmm. When have we read about similar breaches and often heard similar warnings about computer vulnerabilities?

Oh, right. In 2016 when the Russians were roaming through the Democratic National Committee's email system.

Or in 2015, when the U.S. government revealed that hackers stole a massive trove of data from the federal Office of Personnel Management, exposing sensitive information about millions of people, including federal employees, contractors and their families and friends.

Or when hackers spread Sony's secrets across the internet in 2014.

Or when Russian cybercriminals stole data on more than 500 million Yahoo accounts the same year.

Or earlier this year after WikiLeaks revealed CIA computer hacking secrets for criminals, spies and other foreign malefactors to exploit. (We haven't heard much about the fallout from that, but stay tuned.)

Before the latest series of attacks, officials at Britain's public health system ignored several warnings that many of its computer systems were unprotected and ripe for exploitation, The New York Times reports.

Apparently, the official attitude there is the same as it is around the world as people are bombarded by cyber warnings (and invitations to reap riches from people they don't know): What, us worry?

The big questions: Will this latest spate of attacks be a wake-up call to upgrade protections around the world? Or will many people hit the snooze button again?

Microsoft blamed the U.S. government for "stockpiling" software code wielded by the hackers in ransomware attacks. The company's top lawyer argued that the government should report the weaknesses it discovers rather than hold them as weapons to use later. Microsoft attorney Brad Smith wrote that "an equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen."

Not quite. Tomahawks hit targets and the blast damage is contained. But cyber attacks can damage computers, and disrupt lives, around the world. Ask all those British patients who couldn't be treated.

Nor is the U.S. immune. Hackers have targeted hospital systems in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Boston and Kentucky, The Washington Post reports.

The criminals who unleashed this latest ransomware virus didn't have to be computer geniuses. New tools make this kind of cyber extortion much easier. Mad skills aren't needed.

What is needed, however, is for computer users — all of us — to neglect to upgrade security or change passwords. To click on attachments willy nilly. To assume that because our devices haven't yet been captured, they won't be.

The crooks and spies are counting on us. And so far, they haven't been disappointed.

Source: This article was published on chicagotribune.com

Sunday, 21 May 2017 02:05

41 Best Google Chrome Extensions

Check Out These Top Chrome Extensions

Google Chrome is the most-used Web browser worldwide, according to Stat Counter. With its swift performance, clean interface and easy syncing with mobile devices, that popularity is easy to understand. But Google's browser also benefits from plenty of useful extensions available on the Chrome Web Store. Here are the best extensions. Note: Extensions can slow down your browser, so make sure you stick to what you think will be most useful.

Data Saver

Free download

Data compression for more efficient browsing isn't exactly something new, as it's being built in to some browsers like Opera. Now Chrome users can also enjoy bandwidth savings with Google's Data Saver extension, a free Chrome add-on that uses Google's servers to compress website data before sending it's displayed, which can lead to large data savings. Users can look up further details as to how much data they're saving and consuming over time. As a security measure, pages accessed through HTTPS or Chrome's incognito mode are left uncompressed.

Mercury Reader

Free download

Readability may be gone, but that doesn't mean that you can't get clean and easily readable versions of your favorite webpages, articles, and news anymore. Mercury Reader strips out surrounding webpage clutter, formatting, and advertising, for a clean, easily readable view for your comfort, while also including social sharing features and Send to Kindle functionality.

Accompany for Gmail

Free download

We've heaped praise on Accompany for its approach to upgrading your meeting preparations by combining calendar and contact management features. Now you can get those features added straight into Gmail with the Accompany for Gmail Chrome addon. Accompany for Gmail makes sure you're never out of the loop when it comes to important information about the people and companies you correspond with, automatically pulling up bios, social media links, shared connections, recent interactions and professional news.

Gmail Offline

Free download

Gmail Offline is exactly what it says on the tin: an offline tool for users to view the contents of their mail inboxes, as well as type up messages and queue them for delivery the next time there's a network connection. Gmail Offline takes a page from the tablet interface of Google's email client, with a clean two-panel interface and threaded conversations for easy access to your messages and drafts.

Send To Kindle

Free download

Amazon's Kindle devices and reading app are great for reading ebooks, and with a little work, longform articles as well. The Send To Kindle extension for Chrome lets you send entire articles, text snippets, and other web content straight to your Kindle account, where that content gets converted into a clean, reader-friendly format that you can then peruse at your leisure from a Kindle reader or app.

Unshorten.link

Free download

Link shorteners are an online convenience, making it simpler to deal with clunky URLs. They're also a bit of a security risk, as a shortened link can take you who knows where. Unshorten.link is a Chrome extension that takes you to an in-between page when you click on a shortened link, displaying the URL where the link shortener is redirecting you to, as well as warning you of any known associated malware and tracking cookies.

Taco

Free download

Turn Chrome's New Tab Page into a productivity center with Taco, a Chrome extension that pulls your incoming tasks and notifications from more than 40 Web tools and services. Taco works with a variety of services, such as Trello, Asana, Todoist, webmail, Google Tasks and iCloud. Users can then drag and drop to organize the tasks list, mark tasks as done and hide notifications. It's a great way to see everything you need to do in one convenient page.

Momentum

Free download

For something a bit lighter than the extreme to-do functionality of Taco, check out Momentum. This Chrome extension turns the New Tab Page into your personal dashboard. Fire up that page and Momentum delivers a personalized greeting, an inspirational quote for the day, a to-do widget, weather report and a quick links widget for your favorite websites.

Ultidash

Free download

Where Taco pulls in resources from dozens of web services and tools, Ultidash instead focuses on adding its own suite of productivity tools to Chrome. Ultidash is a New Tab page replacement that adds a to-do list in basic and Eisenhower box forms, as well as a website blocker (for, say, restricting your access to social media or entertainment sites) that's tied to a Pomodoro-style timer. A site tracker shows you how much time you've spent on particular websites over time, while a chart shows your use of the "concentration timer." The package is rounded out with some neat photos and greeting quotes that cycle every hour, as well as a four-day weather forecast.

Any.do

Free download

Any.do is one of our favorite cross-platform to-do list apps, and the Chrome add-on lets you seamlessly sync your tasks and checklists to and from your mobile devices and your desktop. Users can create new lists and reminders, easily organize with a drag-and-drop interface, add notes, share tasks and more, all from your browser and synced across all your devices.

 

Strict Workflow

Free download

Viral media sites, social networks and other online pastimes can quickly eat through time that you could be spending on something productive. Strict Workflow is a productivity app that takes inspiration from the popular Pomodoro method by setting up a 25-minute countdown during which the extension automatically blocks known time sinks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Once the timer is done, you get a 5-minute break with unlimited access, after which the cycle repeats again. Once you start the countdown, there's no way to shut it off. You can tweak the blacklist or whitelist, as well as configure the duration and other settings.

Noisli

Free download

Sometimes, the right ambient noise can help calm you down or promote focus and mental clarity. Noisli is a website where you can play preset cocktails of soothing ambient sounds; you can also create your own. The Noisli add-on for Chrome turns the site's ambient noise features into a built-in element of your browser. Users can save their favorite ambient sound mixes on Noisli and then quickly fire them up in the add-on. The extension includes a timer and volume control.

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OneTab

Free download

OneTab quickly compresses all of your open tabs into a single tab page with links to all of the Web pages you had open, allowing you to flush all of the tabs from your browser, while still allowing you to go back to them for easy reference right after. Users can then restore tabs one at a time or all at once. Users can also easily export their tabs into a list of URLs or a web page for easy sharing.

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Tab Wrangler

Free download

Do you have bad tabbed browsing habits? Do idle tabs suck up all your system's free memory? Tab Wrangler helps keep excess tabs in check by auto-closing idle tabs after a designated time. Users can configure the idle time before Tab Wrangler closes an idle tab, as well as whitelist select tabs that you want the extension to never close. A "Tab Corral" feature temporarily saves closed tabs so that it's easy for users to restore tabs that have been closed.

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Hiver

Free download

Hiver is a Chrome extension that turns Gmail into your team's productivity center. It adds a wealth of tools to Gmail such as a Shared Mailbox system (great for managing things like a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. address), Shared Labels and Tasks for building a task management system right within Gmail, and an email notes system for adding comments, thoughts and other info in shared email threads. Other tools include a "send later" feature, email templates, message snoozing, contacts sharing, and a collision detection system to show when others are working on the same email/task. A free tier allows sharing of one mailbox and a number of shared labels and notes per month, with premium plans unlocking more features and increased limits.

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MightyText

Free download

MightyText brings your Android smartphone and computer closer together, allowing you to sync your SMS messages and notifications from your phone to your desktop. Users can send and receive SMS and MMS messages from their desktop, sync photos and videos and receive low battery notifications for your smartphone. Users will need to install the MightyText app on their phone, as well as on Chrome. 

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Boomerang

Free download

Boomerang is a fantastic addition to Gmail's basic functions, allowing users to schedule message sending, set up recurring email messages, and postpone emails. Free users can schedule 10 messages a month, while subscribers gain unlimited message credits and a variety of premium features.

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The Great Suspender

Tabs in moderation can be a productivity booster, but keeping too many of them open quickly leads to a massive drain in your PC's memory resources. The Great Suspender comes to the rescue by monitoring your open tabs and automatically (or manually) unloading tabs that haven't been used in a while from memory, while retaining the tab's title and favicon on your tab bar. Users can then quickly reload the tab by clicking on the screen.

Image result for Cite This For Me: Web Citer chrome extension 

Cite This For Me: Web Citer

Free download

Properly attributing online articles and research can be a pain for students and writers. Cite This For Me comes to the rescue with a browser extension that allows you to quickly create a properly formatted website citation for the APA, Chicago, MLA, and Harvard citation styles, which you can easily save or copy to the clipboard for use in your documents.

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TabCloud

Free download

TabCloud allows tabbed browsing addicts to easily save and import their open tabs across desktops. Users can save all of their currently open tabs to the cloud, and then open some or all of their saved tabs on another desktop machine at their convenience. Users can view their saved windows, selectively open tabs from particular windows or even drag and drop tabs from one saved window to another.

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VideoStream

Free download

VideoStream is a handy Chrome extension that allows you to stream videos from your computer straight to your Chromecast or Android TV without having to mess around with media server software. VideoStream supports subtitles and a wide variety of video formats at full 1080p resolutions. It's a surprisingly capable video player for a browser extension. Premium users can set up playlists and other premium features, and mobile remote apps provide playback controls and library navigation, allowing you to step away from your HTPC or laptop and settle in for a long night of viewing.

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Turn Off The Lights

Turn Off The Lights provides you with atmospheric lighting for your online video viewing on Chrome. At its simplest, you can set Turn Off The Lights to automatically dim your window background when using YouTube or other video sites. If you want to get more in-depth, you can customize the add-on to set custom colors to your screen while playing videos, set atmospheric lighting, fade effects and toggle a night mode for an experience that's more akin to a home theater than a run-of-the-mill video site.

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The Camelizer

Free download

Online shoppers might want to check out The Camelizer, an unobtrusive Chrome add-on that adds product price history information for items displayed in Amazon, Best Buy and Newegg. In addition to viewing pricing trends for any given item, users can also sign up for price drop alerts via email or Twitter.

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Disconnect

Free download

Disconnect is a powerful browser add-on for Chrome that allows users to see advertising, analytics and social media tracking cookies, with the option of disabling them globally or selectively. The extension comes with a host of features, including the ability to create whitelists and blacklists of permitted trackers, a visualization tool for listing the trackers on a particular site and an indicator of how much time and bandwidth is saved by blocking trackers and other elements.

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StayFocusd

Free download

StayFocusd is a godsend for users who fritter away their time instead of working. Users can set themselves a time allowance for particular sites and time-wasters, such as social networks, feed readers or TVTropes, and once you've hit that limit, StayFocusd blocks access. The extension is highly configurable, allowing you to block access to a particular list, restrict access to everything except an approved list or even block access to all websites.

Image result for Honey chrome extension

Honey

Free download

Tired of tracking down and saving coupon codes and discounts? Then Honey might just be the Chrome extension for you. Honey automatically finds and tests coupon codes for more than 100 online stores in the US, Canada and the UK. Simply go about your shopping as normal, and on checkout, hit the Find Savings button in order to have Honey track down and attempt to apply coupon codes. Heavy online shoppers will save both time and money with this useful addon.

Image result for AdBlock Plus chrome extension

AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus (ABP) is among the most popular adblockers online. ABP features a quick setup, loading preset filter lists that allow users to quickly block most ads, as well as the option to filter malware and social media buttons. Savvy users can chose additional block lists, as well as set custom filters or whitelists. AdBlock Plus allows what it calls "non-intrusive advertising" through filters, which may irk some users, though this can be disabled in settings. Be aware that many ad blockers don't block all ads, and that most websites — including this one — depend on those ads to pay the bills.

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Evernote Web Clipper

Free download

Evernote is one of the most popular note-taking tools available, and its powerful Evernote Web Clipper allows users to quickly and easily save Web content from their Chrome browser straight into their Evernote notebooks. Clip full articles or Web pages, or save more optimized, distraction-free versions. This powerful extension also lets you take screenshots, save as PDF, and mark up content and images.

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Lazarus Form Recovery

Free download

We've all been there: a storm knocks out power, or perhaps a pet or child accidentally yanks your PC's power cord. If you were busy working on complex Web forms, you'd think all your work was lost, right? Well, Lazarus Form Recovery comes to the rescue. Lazarus automatically saves form information to your computer as you type, allowing you to safely and easily recover work in the event of a power outage, server timeout, browser crash or whatever else Murphy's Law decides to throw at you.

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Hover Zoom

Free download

Hover Zoom is a helpful little extension that zooms in on pictures that you hover over. Easily navigate through image galleries by just hovering over a thumbnail to view the full picture. No more messing with new image tabs or loading new pages. Large images are automatically resized to fit your screen.

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HTTPS Everywhere

Free download

HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox and Chrome extension produced as part of a collaboration between the Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. HTTPS Everywhere helps encrypt your online browsing and communications by rewriting HTTP link requests to HTTPS when within a whitelist of sites that support HTTPS.

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Google Translate

Free download

While Google Translate is already an excellent Web service for translating snippets of text to and from languages, the addition of a Chrome extension allows you to translate entire pages with a toolbar button. The extension automatically detects whether the site you're on uses a different language from your Chrome default, and can offer to translate it automatically. Users can also easily translate snippets of text, as well as listen to the proper pronunciation of translated words and phrases.

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Ghostery

Free download

Ghostery is a free browser privacy extension that allows users to quickly and easily detect and block Web trackers designed to tag your movements across the Internet. In addition, Ghostery allows you to look up more information about companies and websites using these tracking methods. The extension also provides links to their privacy policies and opt-out options.

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LastPass

Free download

LastPass is an online password manager and Form Filler designed to reduce the headache of managing multiple user accounts and passwords, making your browsing experience easier and more secure. LastPass also includes the ability to import and export passwords from major password storage services such as RoboForm, 1Password and KeePass, as well as Chrome, Firefox and IE's built-in password managers. Best of all, cross-platform and device syncing is now available for free to all users, making LastPass a great deal even on the free tier.

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Web of Trust

Free download

Web of Trust is a crowd-sourced browser add-on that rates websites with a color-coded symbol based on a site's trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety. While any reliable Internet security and antivirus suite can protect you against malware, Web of Trust gives you an extra layer of defense by allowing you to gauge a link's reliability based on the experience of other users worldwide.

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Pocket

Free download

Pocket allows you to save articles, Web pages, images and videos for your reading or viewing pleasure. Then it syncs everything across numerous devices, such as your smartphone or tablet. There's also a new Pocket Chrome App for viewing saved content on your desktop.

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Click&Clean

Free download

Click&Clean is a handy utility that allows you to preserve your surfing privacy by scrubbing away traces of your online traffic in your local system. This includes the ability to scrub your browsing history and cookies, as well as dump your temp file cache. While most of these activities can already be done within Chrome's settings and preferences, Click&Clean puts all of these features in one place, helping you keep hard drive bloat to a minimum while reducing malware risk. This extension is great for the privacy conscious or those sharing a machine.

Image result for Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate chrome extension

Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate

Free download

A must-have for any power surfer, Awesome Screenshot provides the tools that make capturing and annotating portions of Web pages dead easy. Captured screenshots can be saved right to the user's computer or uploaded to awesomescreenshot.com for easy sharing. Record entire Web pages with ease and save images even over the old 2MB limit.

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Google Dictionary

Free download

What does "schadenfreude" mean again? With the Google Dictionary extension installed, double-click on a word on a Web page, and the definition instantly pops-up. These pop-ups can also translate foreign text into your default language or provide links to more detailed definitions from resources like Wikipedia.

More Chrome Apps

In addition to Chrome extensions, we also have 20 top apps for Chrome. And if you've got a Chromecast for streaming video, photos and other media, be sure to check out our picks for the best Chromecast apps.

Source: This article was published on tomsguide.com

The invisible shield is the result of very low frequency radio communications interacting with particles in space.

Earth might seem like a cozy place to live, and that's mostly true, but only due to a very thin protective barrier generated by our planet's magnetic field. Without this natural shield, we'd be under constant assault by extreme space weather like coronal mass ejections.

But now scientists believe we may have another way to protect ourselves should our natural shield break down, an artificial force field-like boundary that we accidentally, inadvertently, created, reports Newsweek.

It turns out that our communications using very low frequency radio signals, such when radio telescopes are transmitted from the ground and are used to communicate with submarines, have been leaking out into space and interacting with electrons and ions there. This interaction has resulted in a sort of VFL (Very Low Frequency) "bubble" that completely enshrouds our planet.

“A number of experiments and observations have figured out that, under the right conditions, radio communications signals in the VLF frequency range can in fact affect the properties of the high-energy radiation environment around the Earth,” Phil Erickson, one of the scientists involved, said in a statement.

Normally, man-made radio bubbles might seem like bad news, a kind of cosmic pollution. But these artificial bubbles actually have been secretly working in our favor, adding another layer of protection from dangerous solar storms. The result is a "Star Trek"-like invisible shield that could potentially be manipulated to be turned up or down depending on the level of protection we might need.

A major reason why scientists constantly monitor the sun's activity is because of the dangerous conditions generated in the aftermath of solar flares, when plasma and magnetic field from the solar corona can be spewed in our direction. If these ejections are strong enough, they have the potential to knock out communication satellites and even shutdown our power grids.

The idea that our radio communications have the ability to protect us from these violent events is quite remarkable. Researchers are even looking into whether directed use of this protective layer might be used to remove excess radiation from the space surrounding Earth.

Technology based on this discovery might even one day be used to emit protective shields around spacecraft, to give them protection when flying outside of Earth's field. "Star Trek"-like indeed.

Source: This article was published on mnn.com

Thursday, 18 May 2017 15:07

Best Google Chrome Extensions

Check Out These Top Chrome Extensions

Google Chrome is the most-used Web browser worldwide, according to Stat Counter. With its swift performance, clean interface and easy syncing with mobile devices, that popularity is easy to understand. But Google's browser also benefits from plenty of useful extensions available on the Chrome Web Store. Here are the best extensions. Note: Extensions can slow down your browser, so make sure you stick to what you think will be most useful.

Data Saver

Free download

Data compression for more efficient browsing isn't exactly something new, as it's being built in to some browsers like Opera. Now Chrome users can also enjoy bandwidth savings with Google's Data Saver extension, a free Chrome add-on that uses Google's servers to compress website data before sending it's displayed, which can lead to large data savings. Users can look up further details as to how much data they're saving and consuming over time. As a security measure, pages accessed through HTTPS or Chrome's incognito mode are left uncompressed.

Mercury Reader

Free download

Readability may be gone, but that doesn't mean that you can't get clean and easily readable versions of your favorite webpages, articles, and news anymore. Mercury Reader strips out surrounding webpage clutter, formatting, and advertising, for a clean, easily readable view for your comfort, while also including social sharing features and Send to Kindle functionality.

Accompany for Gmail

Free download

We've heaped praise on Accompany for its approach to upgrading your meeting preparations by combining calendar and contact management features. Now you can get those features added straight into Gmail with the Accompany for Gmail Chrome addon. Accompany for Gmail makes sure you're never out of the loop when it comes to important information about the people and companies you correspond with, automatically pulling up bios, social media links, shared connections, recent interactions and professional news.

Gmail Offline

Free download

Gmail Offline is exactly what it says on the tin: an offline tool for users to view the contents of their mail inboxes, as well as type up messages and queue them for delivery the next time there's a network connection. Gmail Offline takes a page from the tablet interface of Google's email client, with a clean two-panel interface and threaded conversations for easy access to your messages and drafts.

Send To Kindle

Free download

Amazon's Kindle devices and reading app are great for reading ebooks, and with a little work, longform articles as well. The Send To Kindle extension for Chrome lets you send entire articles, text snippets, and other web content straight to your Kindle account, where that content gets converted into a clean, reader-friendly format that you can then peruse at your leisure from a Kindle reader or app.

Unshorten.link

Free download

Link shorteners are an online convenience, making it simpler to deal with clunky URLs. They're also a bit of a security risk, as a shortened link can take you who knows where. Unshorten.link is a Chrome extension that takes you to an in-between page when you click on a shortened link, displaying the URL where the link shortener is redirecting you to, as well as warning you of any known associated malware and tracking cookies.

Taco

Free download

Turn Chrome's New Tab Page into a productivity center with Taco, a Chrome extension that pulls your incoming tasks and notifications from more than 40 Web tools and services. Taco works with a variety of services, such as Trello, Asana, Todoist, webmail, Google Tasks and iCloud. Users can then drag and drop to organize the tasks list, mark tasks as done and hide notifications. It's a great way to see everything you need to do in one convenient page.

Momentum

Free download

For something a bit lighter than the extreme to-do functionality of Taco, check out Momentum. This Chrome extension turns the New Tab Page into your personal dashboard. Fire up that page and Momentum delivers a personalized greeting, an inspirational quote for the day, a to-do widget, weather report and a quick links widget for your favorite websites.

Ultidash

Free download

Where Taco pulls in resources from dozens of web services and tools, Ultidash instead focuses on adding its own suite of productivity tools to Chrome. Ultidash is a New Tab page replacement that adds a to-do list in basic and Eisenhower box forms, as well as a website blocker (for, say, restricting your access to social media or entertainment sites) that's tied to a Pomodoro-style timer. A site tracker shows you how much time you've spent on particular websites over time, while a chart shows your use of the "concentration timer." The package is rounded out with some neat photos and greeting quotes that cycle every hour, as well as a four-day weather forecast.

Any.do

Free download

Any.do is one of our favorite cross-platform to-do list apps, and the Chrome add-on lets you seamlessly sync your tasks and checklists to and from your mobile devices and your desktop. Users can create new lists and reminders, easily organize with a drag-and-drop interface, add notes, share tasks and more, all from your browser and synced across all your devices.

 

Strict Workflow

Free download

Viral media sites, social networks and other online pastimes can quickly eat through time that you could be spending on something productive. Strict Workflow is a productivity app that takes inspiration from the popular Pomodoro method by setting up a 25-minute countdown during which the extension automatically blocks known time sinks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Once the timer is done, you get a 5-minute break with unlimited access, after which the cycle repeats again. Once you start the countdown, there's no way to shut it off. You can tweak the blacklist or whitelist, as well as configure the duration and other settings.

Noisli

Free download

Sometimes, the right ambient noise can help calm you down or promote focus and mental clarity. Noisli is a website where you can play preset cocktails of soothing ambient sounds; you can also create your own. The Noisli add-on for Chrome turns the site's ambient noise features into a built-in element of your browser. Users can save their favorite ambient sound mixes on Noisli and then quickly fire them up in the add-on. The extension includes a timer and volume control.

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OneTab

Free download

OneTab quickly compresses all of your open tabs into a single tab page with links to all of the Web pages you had open, allowing you to flush all of the tabs from your browser, while still allowing you to go back to them for easy reference right after. Users can then restore tabs one at a time or all at once. Users can also easily export their tabs into a list of URLs or a web page for easy sharing.

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Tab Wrangler

Free download

Do you have bad tabbed browsing habits? Do idle tabs suck up all your system's free memory? Tab Wrangler helps keep excess tabs in check by auto-closing idle tabs after a designated time. Users can configure the idle time before Tab Wrangler closes an idle tab, as well as whitelist select tabs that you want the extension to never close. A "Tab Corral" feature temporarily saves closed tabs so that it's easy for users to restore tabs that have been closed.

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Hiver

Free download

Hiver is a Chrome extension that turns Gmail into your team's productivity center. It adds a wealth of tools to Gmail such as a Shared Mailbox system (great for managing things like a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. address), Shared Labels and Tasks for building a task management system right within Gmail, and an email notes system for adding comments, thoughts and other info in shared email threads. Other tools include a "send later" feature, email templates, message snoozing, contacts sharing, and a collision detection system to show when others are working on the same email/task. A free tier allows sharing of one mailbox and a number of shared labels and notes per month, with premium plans unlocking more features and increased limits.

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MightyText

Free download

MightyText brings your Android smartphone and computer closer together, allowing you to sync your SMS messages and notifications from your phone to your desktop. Users can send and receive SMS and MMS messages from their desktop, sync photos and videos and receive low battery notifications for your smartphone. Users will need to install the MightyText app on their phone, as well as on Chrome. 

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Boomerang

Free download

Boomerang is a fantastic addition to Gmail's basic functions, allowing users to schedule message sending, set up recurring email messages, and postpone emails. Free users can schedule 10 messages a month, while subscribers gain unlimited message credits and a variety of premium features.

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The Great Suspender

Tabs in moderation can be a productivity booster, but keeping too many of them open quickly leads to a massive drain in your PC's memory resources. The Great Suspender comes to the rescue by monitoring your open tabs and automatically (or manually) unloading tabs that haven't been used in a while from memory, while retaining the tab's title and favicon on your tab bar. Users can then quickly reload the tab by clicking on the screen.

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Cite This For Me: Web Citer

Free download

Properly attributing online articles and research can be a pain for students and writers. Cite This For Me comes to the rescue with a browser extension that allows you to quickly create a properly formatted website citation for the APA, Chicago, MLA, and Harvard citation styles, which you can easily save or copy to the clipboard for use in your documents.

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TabCloud

Free download

TabCloud allows tabbed browsing addicts to easily save and import their open tabs across desktops. Users can save all of their currently open tabs to the cloud, and then open some or all of their saved tabs on another desktop machine at their convenience. Users can view their saved windows, selectively open tabs from particular windows or even drag and drop tabs from one saved window to another.

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VideoStream

Free download

VideoStream is a handy Chrome extension that allows you to stream videos from your computer straight to your Chromecast or Android TV without having to mess around with media server software. VideoStream supports subtitles and a wide variety of video formats at full 1080p resolutions. It's a surprisingly capable video player for a browser extension. Premium users can set up playlists and other premium features, and mobile remote apps provide playback controls and library navigation, allowing you to step away from your HTPC or laptop and settle in for a long night of viewing.

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Turn Off The Lights

Turn Off The Lights provides you with atmospheric lighting for your online video viewing on Chrome. At its simplest, you can set Turn Off The Lights to automatically dim your window background when using YouTube or other video sites. If you want to get more in-depth, you can customize the add-on to set custom colors to your screen while playing videos, set atmospheric lighting, fade effects and toggle a night mode for an experience that's more akin to a home theater than a run-of-the-mill video site.

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The Camelizer

Free download

Online shoppers might want to check out The Camelizer, an unobtrusive Chrome add-on that adds product price history information for items displayed in Amazon, Best Buy and Newegg. In addition to viewing pricing trends for any given item, users can also sign up for price drop alerts via email or Twitter.

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Disconnect

Free download

Disconnect is a powerful browser add-on for Chrome that allows users to see advertising, analytics and social media tracking cookies, with the option of disabling them globally or selectively. The extension comes with a host of features, including the ability to create whitelists and blacklists of permitted trackers, a visualization tool for listing the trackers on a particular site and an indicator of how much time and bandwidth is saved by blocking trackers and other elements.

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StayFocusd

Free download

StayFocusd is a godsend for users who fritter away their time instead of working. Users can set themselves a time allowance for particular sites and time-wasters, such as social networks, feed readers or TVTropes, and once you've hit that limit, StayFocusd blocks access. The extension is highly configurable, allowing you to block access to a particular list, restrict access to everything except an approved list or even block access to all websites.

Image result for Honey chrome extension

Honey

Free download

Tired of tracking down and saving coupon codes and discounts? Then Honey might just be the Chrome extension for you. Honey automatically finds and tests coupon codes for more than 100 online stores in the US, Canada and the UK. Simply go about your shopping as normal, and on checkout, hit the Find Savings button in order to have Honey track down and attempt to apply coupon codes. Heavy online shoppers will save both time and money with this useful addon.

Image result for AdBlock Plus chrome extension

AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus (ABP) is among the most popular adblockers online. ABP features a quick setup, loading preset filter lists that allow users to quickly block most ads, as well as the option to filter malware and social media buttons. Savvy users can chose additional block lists, as well as set custom filters or whitelists. AdBlock Plus allows what it calls "non-intrusive advertising" through filters, which may irk some users, though this can be disabled in settings. Be aware that many ad blockers don't block all ads, and that most websites — including this one — depend on those ads to pay the bills.

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Evernote Web Clipper

Free download

Evernote is one of the most popular note-taking tools available, and its powerful Evernote Web Clipper allows users to quickly and easily save Web content from their Chrome browser straight into their Evernote notebooks. Clip full articles or Web pages, or save more optimized, distraction-free versions. This powerful extension also lets you take screenshots, save as PDF, and mark up content and images.

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Lazarus Form Recovery

Free download

We've all been there: a storm knocks out power, or perhaps a pet or child accidentally yanks your PC's power cord. If you were busy working on complex Web forms, you'd think all your work was lost, right? Well, Lazarus Form Recovery comes to the rescue. Lazarus automatically saves form information to your computer as you type, allowing you to safely and easily recover work in the event of a power outage, server timeout, browser crash or whatever else Murphy's Law decides to throw at you.

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Hover Zoom

Free download

Hover Zoom is a helpful little extension that zooms in on pictures that you hover over. Easily navigate through image galleries by just hovering over a thumbnail to view the full picture. No more messing with new image tabs or loading new pages. Large images are automatically resized to fit your screen.

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HTTPS Everywhere

Free download

HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox and Chrome extension produced as part of a collaboration between the Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. HTTPS Everywhere helps encrypt your online browsing and communications by rewriting HTTP link requests to HTTPS when within a whitelist of sites that support HTTPS.

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Google Translate

Free download

While Google Translate is already an excellent Web service for translating snippets of text to and from languages, the addition of a Chrome extension allows you to translate entire pages with a toolbar button. The extension automatically detects whether the site you're on uses a different language from your Chrome default, and can offer to translate it automatically. Users can also easily translate snippets of text, as well as listen to the proper pronunciation of translated words and phrases.

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Ghostery

Free download

Ghostery is a free browser privacy extension that allows users to quickly and easily detect and block Web trackers designed to tag your movements across the Internet. In addition, Ghostery allows you to look up more information about companies and websites using these tracking methods. The extension also provides links to their privacy policies and opt-out options.

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LastPass

Free download

LastPass is an online password manager and Form Filler designed to reduce the headache of managing multiple user accounts and passwords, making your browsing experience easier and more secure. LastPass also includes the ability to import and export passwords from major password storage services such as RoboForm, 1Password and KeePass, as well as Chrome, Firefox and IE's built-in password managers. Best of all, cross-platform and device syncing is now available for free to all users, making LastPass a great deal even on the free tier.

Image result for Web of Trust chrome extension

Web of Trust

Free download

Web of Trust is a crowd-sourced browser add-on that rates websites with a color-coded symbol based on a site's trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety. While any reliable Internet security and antivirus suite can protect you against malware, Web of Trust gives you an extra layer of defense by allowing you to gauge a link's reliability based on the experience of other users worldwide.

Image result for Pocket chrome extension

Pocket

Free download

Pocket allows you to save articles, Web pages, images and videos for your reading or viewing pleasure. Then it syncs everything across numerous devices, such as your smartphone or tablet. There's also a new Pocket Chrome App for viewing saved content on your desktop.

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Click&Clean

Free download

Click&Clean is a handy utility that allows you to preserve your surfing privacy by scrubbing away traces of your online traffic in your local system. This includes the ability to scrub your browsing history and cookies, as well as dump your temp file cache. While most of these activities can already be done within Chrome's settings and preferences, Click&Clean puts all of these features in one place, helping you keep hard drive bloat to a minimum while reducing malware risk. This extension is great for the privacy conscious or those sharing a machine.

Image result for Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate chrome extension

Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate

Free download

A must-have for any power surfer, Awesome Screenshot provides the tools that make capturing and annotating portions of Web pages dead easy. Captured screenshots can be saved right to the user's computer or uploaded to awesomescreenshot.com for easy sharing. Record entire Web pages with ease and save images even over the old 2MB limit.

Image result for Google Dictionary chrome extension

Google Dictionary

Free download

What does "schadenfreude" mean again? With the Google Dictionary extension installed, double-click on a word on a Web page, and the definition instantly pops-up. These pop-ups can also translate foreign text into your default language or provide links to more detailed definitions from resources like Wikipedia.

More Chrome Apps

In addition to Chrome extensions, we also have 20 top apps for Chrome. And if you've got a Chromecast for streaming video, photos and other media, be sure to check out our picks for the best Chromecast apps.

Source: This article was published on tomsguide.com

Thursday, 18 May 2017 02:01

5 Powerful Ways to Boost Your Confidence

Confidence gives you the power to conquer the world. Here's how you can learn to be confident in all you do.

Self-confident people are admired by others and inspire confidence in others. They face their fears head-on and tend to be risk takers. They know that no matter what obstacles come their way, they have the ability to get past them. Self-confident people tend to see their lives in a positive light even when things aren't going so well, and they are typically satisfied with and respect themselves.

Wouldn't it be amazing to have this kind of self-confidence, every day of the week? Guess what? You can.

"Low self-confidence isn't a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered--just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better." --Barrie Davenport

It comes down to one simple question: If you don't believe in yourself, how do you expect anybody else to?

Try some of the tips listed below. Don't just read them and put them on the back burner. Really begin to practice them daily, beginning today. You might have to fake it at first and merely appear to be self-confident, but eventually you will begin to feel the foundation of self-confidence grow within you. With some time and practice (this is not an overnight phenomenon), you too can be a self-confident person, both inside and out, whom others admire and say "Yes!" to.

1. Stay away from negativity and bring on the positivity

This is the time to really evaluate your inner circle, including friends and family. This is a tough one, but it's time to seriously consider getting away from those individuals who put you down and shred your confidence. Even a temporary break from Debbie Downer can make a huge difference and help you make strides toward more self-confidence.

Be positive, even if you're not feeling it quite yet. Put some positive enthusiasm into your interactions with others and hit the ground running, excited to begin your next project. Stop focusing on the problems in your life and instead begin to focus on solutions and making positive changes.

2. Change your body language and image

This is where posture, smiling, eye contact, and speech slowly come into play. Just the simple act of pulling your shoulders back gives others the impression that you are a confident person. Smiling will not only make you feel better, but will make others feel more comfortable around you. Imagine a person with good posture and a smile and you'll be envisioning someone who is self-confident.

Look at the person you are speaking to, not at your shoes--keeping eye contact shows confidence. Last, speak slowly. Research has proved that those who take the time to speak slowly and clearly feel more self-confidence and appear more self-confident to others. The added bonus is they will actually be able to understand what you are saying.

Go the extra mile and style your hair, give yourself a clean shave, and dress nicely. Not only will this make you feel better about yourself, but others are more likely to perceive you as successful and self-confident as well. A great tip: When you purchase a new outfit, practice wearing it at home first to get past any wardrobe malfunctions before heading out.

3. Don't accept failure and get rid of the negative voices in your head

Never give up. Never accept failure. There is a solution to everything, so why would you want to throw in the towel? Make this your new mantra. Succeeding through great adversity is a huge confidence booster.

Low self-confidence is often caused by the negative thoughts running through our minds on an endless track. If you are constantly bashing yourself and saying you're not good enough, aren't attractive enough, aren't smart enough or athletic enough, and on and on, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are becoming what you are preaching inside your head, and that's not good. The next time you hear that negativity in your head, switch it immediately to a positive affirmation and keep it up until it hits the caliber of a self-confidence boost.

4. Be prepared

Learn everything there is to know about your field, job, presentation--whatever is next on your "to conquer" list. If you are prepared, and have the knowledge to back it up, your self-confidence will soar.

5. For tough times, when all else fails: Create a great list

Life is full of challenges and there are times when it's difficult to keep our self-confidence up. Sit down right now and make a list of all the things in your life that you are thankful for, and another list of all the things you are proud of accomplishing. Once your lists are complete, post them on your refrigerator door, on the wall by your desk, on your bathroom mirror--somewhere where you can easily be reminded of what an amazing life you have and what an amazing person you really are. If you feel your self-confidence dwindling, take a look at those lists and let yourself feel and be inspired all over again by you.

Source: This article was published on inc.com

Last year, Google introduced the ability to save pages offline with Chrome for Android and now the search giant has eased up the process of downloading pages altogether. While there several apps that allow users to save webpages for offline reading, Google says that more than 45 million webpages are downloaded every week through Google Chrome.

1- DuckDuckGo - What Can You Do With It?

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that offers quite a few useful features for Web searchers; add-ons, streamlined shortcuts, and "zero-click info", i.e., instant answers depending on the nature of the search query. Here are ten different things you probably didn't know you could accomplish with DuckDuckGo, anything from a stopwatch to discovering movies with Chuck Norris (yes, really!). 

What is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo is a great search engine that delivers effective, fast, relevant results, and is especially attractive if you're keeping track of how information is gathered about you online.

DuckDuckGo offers a few features that are worth a second look for the savvy Web searcher. For example:

  • DuckDuckGo's results pages are not paginated, making it easy to scroll down and find what you're looking for quickly.
  • Favicons (the small images that show up in address bar, unique to each site) are displayed next to search results for instant recognition of your favorite sites.
  • Instant answers, called "zero-click info", show up delineated by a red outline at the top of your results, depending on what your search query is.

DuckDuckGo gives searchers the ability to search within any site, using either the dropdown menu next to the main search box, or the "bang" search shortcut (an exclamation point used in tandem with the name of the Web site). There are hundreds of DuckDuckGo bang shortcuts, covering a wide multitude of sites varying in topics from Research to Entertainment.

In addition to advanced site search, DuckDuckGo offers what they call goodies, an intriguing array of all kinds of search shortcuts, anything from special keyboard shortcuts to specialized cheat sheets.

DuckDuckGo and Privacy

In addition to the shortcuts given above, DuckDuckGo offers what they call goodies, an intriguing array of all kinds of search shortcuts, anything from special keyboard shortcuts to specialized cheat sheets. Here's more about their increasingly more popular stance on privacy:

"DuckDuckGo prevents search leakage by default. Instead, when you click on a link on our site, we route (redirect) that request in such a way so that it does not send your search terms to other sites. The other sites will still know that you visited them, but they will not know what search you entered beforehand......DuckDuckGo takes the approach to not collect any personal information. The decisions of whether and how to comply with law enforcement requests, whether and how to anonymize data, and how to best protect your information from hackers are out of our hands. Your search history is safe with us because it cannot be tied to you in any way."

Privacy is becoming more of an issue for many people as the Internet continues to evolve. If you are concerned with privacy and you enjoy a simple, uncluttered interface with plenty of shortcuts, then DuckDuckGo would probably be a good choice for you as a search engine.

2- Stopwatch

stopwatch duckduckgo

Need to time something - a cooking turkey, how long it takes you to finish that spreadsheet, maybe do a few laps? You can do that with DuckDuckGo; simply type "stopwatch" into the search bar and you're good to go (literally).

3- Quick word definitions

define duckduckgo

Quick dictionary definitions are only two words away with DuckDuckGo; just type "define" plus the word you're searching for, and instant definitions will be returned to you. 

4- Find information about your favorite movie

movies duckduckgo

Sure, you can find information about movies with DuckDuckGo, simply by typing in the name of your favorite film. However, perhaps you want to find a movie that includes a particular actor or director. Just type "movies with Chuck Norris" or "movies directed by Mike Nichols" and you'll get a list of instant answers. 

5- Get a quick weather report

weather duckduckgo

Local weather or weather halfway around the world, either way, you'll be able to find it easily with DuckDuckGo. The search engine automatically determines where you are located for the local weather; if you're looking for weather in another town, city, or country, simply type the place name and weather; i.e., "Chicago Illinois weather". 

6- Search for your favorite music

music duckduckgo

DuckDuckGo gives searchers the ability to search within SoundCloud, an online streaming music service, for virtually any musical artist. Just type in what you're looking for plus the word "soundcloud," i.e., "daft punk soundcloud," and start listening. 

7- Find your favorite recipe

recipes duckduckgo

Need to impress someone with your culinary skills? Try looking for recipes here at DuckDuckGo with ingredients you already have on hand. For example: "salmon recipes", or "quinoa recipes", or "Christmas recipes". All come back with impressive results. 

8- Convert something easily

conversion duckduckgo

Need to figure out ounces to grams, feet to yards, or inches to centimeters? Type in what you'd like to convert and DuckDuckGo will automatically calculate that for you. Example: "8oz to grams". 

9- Local attractions

local duckduckgo

Whether you're looking for something in your local area that you haven't tried yet, or you're in a new city and you're unfamiliar with what's available, this particular DuckDuckGo feature can come in handy. Remember, this search engine automatically picks up where you are located, so if you want to find restaurants in your area, just type in "restaurants near me", 'bars near me", etc. 

10- Find an image

images duckduckgo

DuckDuckGo promises Web searchers that it will not collect, store, or share personal information, and it goes to great lengths to back up those promises. In fact, one of the most popular DuckDuckGo features are their privacy settings - they don't keep track of what you're searching for. This can come in particularly handy if you're looking for images like "images of cats wearing sweaters". 


11- Find a video

videos duckduckgo

There are literally millions of videos on the Web, and it can get somewhat overwhelming when you try to search for something specific. DuckDuckGo tries to limit that frustration by providing quick shortcuts to popular video searches; i.e., "jimmy fallon videos". 

Source: This article was published on lifewire.com by Wendy Boswell

Learn how to spy on competitors to better understand the strategy they are using to attain a high ranking on Google

Want to hear something crazy? In 30 minutes, I can look at your competitor’s website along with your website and deploy a strategy for you to achieve a better search engine ranking than them on Google. No joke!

I’ve learned how to spy on competitors to better understand the strategy they are using to attain a high ranking on Google. Taking their approach into account, I’m able to organize a way to begin outranking them.

Today, I’m going to share this technique with fellow entrepreneurs. The beauty of this spying tactic is that I don’t have a secret formula to get this information. It is at the disposal of any business owner, marketer or entrepreneur to use.

It’s time to get out the binoculars along with the night vision camera and let the spying games begin!

Step 1: Open Site Explorer

Moz builds tools that make SEO, inbound marketing, link building and content marketing easy. One of these amazing tools is called Open Site Explorer, which identifies top pages and researches backlinks.

To put this in layman’s terms, backlinks are the foundation of Google’s algorithm. If you have some extra time on your hands, read up on the PageRank algorithm. Basically, you want to make sure you get high quality backlinks pointing back to your site, as this will help improve your SEO rankings.

If you bring up Open Site Explorer within Moz, you can type your website -- or any website for that matter -- into the search bar. Once the data populates, it will bring up a metric called “domain authority.” If you are unfamiliar with domain authority, it is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines, all predicated based off of backlinks. This domain authority score will be a huge indicator to how well your site ranks on Google.

Step 2: Competitor analysis with Open Site Explorer

If you have the paid version of Moz, you can compare link metrics for up to four competitors at once. If you have the free version, just copy and paste your top competitors into Open Site Explorer and take note of their respective domain authorities.

After you jot down the domain authority of your top competitors, it is time to do a Google search. Make sure you use the Google incognito window (a setting that prevents internet history from being stored) so the search results aren’t skewed. If you are an orthodontist in Tempe, for example, make sure you are searching for keywords that will pertain to your business, such as, “orthodontist in Tempe, Arizona” or “braces in Tempe.”

What you’ll find fascinating is that if your competitor has a higher domain authority than you, there is a very, very strong probability it will rank ahead of you on Google. I say “very, very strong” because there are a lot of other factors that can go into ranking well on Google, so this is not the be all and end all. If you have a much higher domain authority than a competitor and are nowhere to be found on Google, reach out to a digital marketing agency for help in conducting a deeper dive into other areas that could be holding you back on Google.

Your domain authority, however, is the key metric that within a minute, will let you know whether or not your competitor is doing better at SEO than you.

Step 3: Backlink profile

Like I mentioned earlier, backlinks are the foundation of Google’s algorithm. This is where the domain authority score is derived from. Yet, so many businesses don’t have any sort of link building strategy in place.

There is a negative connotation with link building. Back in 2008, business owners would pay $99 and offshore their link building efforts to someone in India. Google got smart. It figured out this pattern of link profiles where these low-quality and spammy links were coming from and penalized sites who took part in this

When I refer to link building, I’m talking more about digital public relations. You need to get high quality links pointing back to your site.

To give you an example, we have a client who is a dermatologist who owns an ecommerce store. We’ve used PR tactics to get him quoted in Reader's Digest, Glamour and the Today Show, to name a few. All of the quotes are dermatology and skin care related and they are on trusted websites, all of which have high domain authorities themselves. Each time one of these articles is published online, it will link back to the homepage of the dermatologist’s ecommerce site and in some instances, it will link back to the individual product pages if he is providing product recommendations. 

Within the Open Site Explorer tool, for your competitor, you can click on “Recently Discovered Links.” This will allow you to see all of the recent links pointing back to your competitors’ sites. This will show you everywhere that your competitor has been mentioned and also give you some good ideas about places you could potentially get mentioned as well.

If the orthodontist in Tempe discovers his competitor’s domain authority is higher than his and he sees that the competitor is getting quoted in Dentistry IQ and the New Dentist Blog, this will reveal that his competitor has a better digital PR strategy. This, in turn, is boosting his or her domain authority and helping the competitor outrank him on Google. And now that orthodontist in Tempe knows what he needs to do in order to start building his own domain authority to the level of his competitor’s.

Step 4: Competitive research

I just did some of my own research on Moz’s Open Site Explorer and it turns out that the top-ranking orthodontist in Tempe has a domain authority of 20. For a local business in a hyperlocal market (such as Tempe), a good benchmark to ranking on the first page of Google is a 20. The top-ranking orthodontist in New York City, on the other hand, has a domain authority of 30. So, the score you need to get on the first page in Google will fluctuate based on your market. New York City is clearly more competitive than Tempe, which makes sense. If you are an ecommerce site and want to rank nationally, like the dermatologist, a domain authority of 40 would be a great benchmark to hit. 

Make sure you do research on where your site stands with its domain authority and where the competition sits as well. This will give you a great idea of how far you need to go in order to get on the first page and then also to outrank your competitor. If your website has a domain authority above a 40, you are doing something very right with your SEO and back linking strategy. Give yourself a pat on the back!

Some larger brands could naturally get a high domain authority if they are frequently mentioned in the news and other websites that link back to their site. This isn’t the norm though, as most businesses have to put in a lot of work and have a solid SEO strategy in place in order to increase their domain authority.

Don’t be discouraged if your site has a domain authority of a 12. With the right strategy, this can be increased, and so can your search engine ranking positions. Like I said, however, it takes work and it takes time.

Another important thing to note is that Moz’s domain authority can fluctuate, so don’t freak out if you go from a 26 to a 22. Your score will move up and down a bit.

If you are consistently getting high quality links on sites with a domain authority over a 30 or so, you are in great shape. Remember, the higher the domain authority on the sites that are linking back to your site, the better it is for you. Going back to the dermatologist, if the ecommerce site received backlinks on Reader's Digest (domain authority = 81), Glamour (domain authority = 85) and the Today Show (domain authority = 93), that would be fantastic.

Don’t forget about local links as well if you are a local business. If the orthodontist wanted to rank in Tempe, it would be a great idea to sponsor a kids’ baseball team. Not only could the orthodontist introduce himself to new prospective patients (the parents of teenagers) but he could get a backlink on the sponsor page, which would be extremely hyperlocal. This would be a great complement to his Dentistry IQ article. 

Step 5: Strategy implementation

You should now have a better understanding of how to use domain authority (both yours and your competitor’s) to increase your SEO. Keep in mind, resources are needed to deploy a successful SEO strategy.

You will need to conduct outreach, which anyone can do. This consists of formulating a list of websites (both nationally and locally) that you want to reach out to to either contribute content or provide quotes. When you have an authoritative figure who is proficient in their field (like the dermatologist or dentist), this will give you a stronger likelihood to contribute content, since you are providing more value to any publication looking for quotes.

Additionally, you need someone who can create content. We like to interview the authoritative figure, like the dentist, over the phone for five minutes, which typically gives us enough content to write an article. We then send it to the client to proof and then it gets sent to the editor to get it published. 

Finally, you also need someone to manage the process. There is a lot of back and forth communication between forging new relationships, writing content and feeding the content to the editor. Consistency is key. You need to be extremely consistent in your digital PR and link building efforts so you can constantly be getting media mentions and articles published.

Let’s climb the mountain!

Most business owners are extremely savvy individuals. If you have extra time during the evening or on the weekend, you can deploy this strategy yourself.

Remember, check your domain authority versus your competitor’s, analyze your backlinks and get moving on forging new relationships.

This is a long hike to the top of the mountain. You won’t see results overnight. If you are patient with this strategy, however, you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

Source: This article was published on entrepreneur.com

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