Category Archives: Internet

Turn on HTTPS for Feedly’s Chrome app

Feedly enabled HTTPS for all its users a while ago, but there is no way to turn it on permanently on its website.

If you use Feedly’s app for Chrome, right-click on the icon, go to Options and enable HTTPS.

Feedly Chrome Options

Feedly for Chrome HTTPS

If you don’t use the Chrome app (or you use another browser), simply bookmark and use https://feedly.com.

HTTPS provides a secure connection between your computer and the website you’re visiting, and prevents others from eavesdropping on your browsing activity (which is why websites for banking and transactions use HTTPS). You should turn on HTTPS on every website that supports it.

SugarSync is ditching its free plan. Here are some great alternatives.

SugarSync, one of the earliest and most feature filled cloud storage services, is removing its 5GB free plan. If you’re an existing free SugarSync user and do not want to upgrade to one of their paid plans, we have some great free alternatives for you.

 

You should switch to Dropbox if…

Dropbox Logo

You want excellent cross-platform compatibility. Much like SugarSync, Dropbox has solid apps for every major operating system except Windows Phone (you can find third-party apps for Windows Phone).

You do not want too much space. Dropbox gives you 2GB of free storage, although you can quickly add mode space by completing few trivial steps, and inviting your friends. (Sign up with my referral link to start with 2.5GB space!)

You want simplicity. A big reason for Dropbox’s popularity was its simple approach to cloud syncing. You get one folder to  put all your stuff and it gets synced across devices and platforms.

Other features: automatic media backups, 30 day file revisions

 

You should switch to Google Drive if…Google Drive Logo

 

You use Google’s online services. If you have a Google/Gmail account, you’re good to go for Google Drive.

You want relatively more free space. You get 15GB of free storage from Google, and it’s shared across  Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. If you don’t get a ton of email and don’t use Google+ Photos, most of that 15GB can be used for your Drive.

You use Google Docs/Spreadsheets/Slides. Documents, spreadsheets, and presentations created in Google Drive do not count towards your free storage.

You use Chrome OS. Google Drive is the only deeply integrated cloud syncing service currently available for Chrome OS, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

You want unlimited photo backups. Technically, this is a feature of Google+ Photos, which, together with Google Drive and Gmail, shares your Google Storage (yeah, very confusing). You can set Google+ Photos to automatically backup your photos in iOS, Android, Chrome OS, and Chrome. Google can automatically resize your photos to 2048px resolution (which is plenty good) so they won’t count towards free storage. You will need a Google+ account, obviously.

 

You should switch to Microsoft SkyDrive if…SkyDrive Logo

 

You use Microsoft’s online services. If you have a Microsoft/Outlook/Hotmail/Xbox account, you are already on SkyDrive.

You use Windows and Windows Phone. SkyDrive is integrated deeply into Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone, and has excellent apps available for Windows 8 and below. Non Windows users need not worry – Microsoft also makes good SkyDrive apps for OS X, Android, and iOS.

You use Internet Explorer. SkyDrive syncs IE bookmarks and settings across devices running Windows and Windows Phone.

You use Microsoft Office on the desktop/web. SkyDrive is deeply integrated with Office, particularly Office on the web.

Free storage: 7GB

Other features: automatic media backup on Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.

 

You should switch to iCloud if…iCloud Logo

 

You use only Mac OS X and iOS. If you have an Apple account on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you’re likely already using iCloud. iCloud has few configuration options, and silently syncs your bookmarks, app settings, mail, calendar, contacts, recent photos, iWork documents, and more in the background. iCloud has a complementary app for Windows.

Free storage: 5GB

Think of iCloud as a complementary service to your primary cloud syncing app.

 

You should switch to Ubuntu One if…

Ubuntu One Logo

 

You use Ubuntu. Ubuntu One is baked into Ubuntu and offers all the usual syncing features. It is essential for using Ubuntu’s Music Store.

Free storage: 5GB (extra space through referrals)

Apps for Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android (besides Ubuntu, of course).

 

You should switch to Tresorit if…

Tresorit Logo

 

You want absolute privacy. Tresorit will encrypt your data locally before uploading it to their servers. They can neither read your data nor retrieve it if you lose your password.

Free storage: 5GB (extra space through referrals)

Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS. Windows Phone and Linux coming soon.

Similar services which encrypt your data before uploading to their servers include Wuala and SpiderOak. Besides Dropbox, Wuala and SpiderOak are the only services to currently support most Linux distributions.

What Are Userscripts, And How Can I Use Them?

Web applications often lack the flexibility provided by their desktop counterparts. Although they’re designed to offer a unified and pleasing experience to most users, they don’t have those configuring options that would otherwise allow you to tweak the app to suit your needs.

Let’s take Facebook. The largest social networking site in the world is best accessed from its web interface because of all the features it provides, but there remain a few quirks that you really can’t do much about. Photos can’t be rotated. There is no threading in comments. You can’t apply themes or even custom colors to your profile. These and more, depending on how you use Facebook (or any  other web app). So how to address these issues? Simple, just install a userscript, and watch along as the problem magically vanishes!

Userscripts are tiny bits of code written in JavaScript that add useful functionality to your web apps. You can think of them as a cosmetic makeover of the web apps that you use. Userscripts are browser-specific and website-specific; a particular script, if installed and supported by your browser, will work only for a particular website (or a group of websites). Unlike regular extensions, user scripts won’t slow your browser down.

How To Install A User Script?

As I said above, you need to install a userscript on your browser for it to work. Now, of all modern browsers, only Google Chrome and Opera support these scripts out of the box, although you can bring the functionality to other browsers with simple add-ons. To install a script in Chrome, all you have to do is download it. Chrome treats these scripts as regular extensions, and will install them as one, which you can then manage from the Extensions page. Getting user scripts on Opera isn’t as straightforward as that on Chrome, but it’s not much difficult either. You can learn how to make Opera use the scripts from this doc.

A vanilla Firefox install doesn’t support user scripts. However, there’s nothing to worry as the awesome Greasemonkey add-on brings the functionality to the open source browser. In fact, Greasemonkey for Firefox is so popular that most user scripts are usually designed to be fully compatible with it.

Where Do I Find User Scripts?

UserScripts.org is the largest source of user scripts available online. All scripts are free to download and use. They’re specifically designed for Greasemonkey, though most will run just fine on Chrome and Opera, if not all. IE users using IE7Pro can try IEScripts.org instead.

Caution

Userscripts are relatively simple to create (for programmers, at least!), hence you’ll literally find thousands of them doing practically the same thing. Finding that exact script for your particular need will need some tinkering around. Whether you’re looking in UserScripts or IE Scripts, make sure that you search with accurate parameters to get the best results. Lets say you’re looking for a script that’ll change Facebook’s colour from the monotonous blue to something else; for this you should search for something like ‘facebook colour’ or ‘change facebook colour’. From the results that will be displayed, look for one that has high ratings and has been downloaded more number of times than the other scripts displayed, and install it.

Again, owing to the ease with which they can be created, there’s a good chance you’ll come across scripts that contain malware. So never install them from unknown sources. UserScripts is huge (and safe), and you’ll almost always stumble across whatever you’re looking for.

Some Useful Userscripts

There are thousands of amazing userscripts available, and it’s not possible on my part to list even a part of them. However, here are three of my absolute favourites. All of these work flawlessly on Firefox (with Greasemonkey) and Chrome, and I’ve no idea about Opera (they should work!).

Greased Lightbox

If you’ve ever searched for images on Google (and you certainly have!), you know how frustrating it is to get to the actual image which you can save to your computer. Enter Greased Lightbox. With this userscript installed, the images, when clicked, will instead appear on a fancy ‘lightbox’ overlay. The images can be scrolled back and forth, and even viewed in a slideshow.

Screenshot 121

[That’s Lady Gaga without makeup!]

Grease Lightbox works on Google Images, Wikipedia, MySpace, DeviantArt, FFFFound!, flickr, and Blogger. Neat!

YouTube Video Download

Well, this userscript is the easiest way to quickly download any YouTube video. Install it, and you’ll find the amazing Download button below your YouTube video. Click on it, and you’ve options to download the video in any of the available formats!

Screenshot 122

FFixer

This adds a ton of stuff to Facebook, and is quite likely to fix any issues that you’ve got with the interface. I don’t use Facebook a lot (though this is changing fast!), but I can assure you that you’ll be a happier soul using Facebook after installing this.

 

I’ll definitely be covering many more userscripts in future, but that’s it for now. Enjoy the web your way with userscripts!

Prevent Your Secondary Email Accounts From Being Deactivated By Using Digsby

A lot of people, myself included, have this habit of creating multiple email accounts, and then abandoning one or more of them. This leads to removal of those inactive accounts by the email provider after a stipulated time (usually six to twelve months).

One wouldn’t normally expect this to be a cause for concern. Except that, it is. This behaviour is being exploited by hackers these days (read this & this) to gain access to their primary email address, contact details, complete chat logs, transaction information, and God knows what else. And so here’s the deal – never  ignore your secondary email account/s.

But how? By nature we tend to avoid anything that doesn’t seem important enough. Your secondary account is not quite important (that’s why it’s secondary), so it’s natural you will either forget or not want to check it out every so often.

However, you can make the awesome Digsby to keep checking your mail inboxes at regular intervals, and hence prevent them from being deactivated. For those who haven’t heard of it, Digsby is a free Windows utility that can manage all your IM (Gtalk, AIM, Live Messenger, Y! Messenger, and more), email, and social accounts together. If you’ve not tried it out yet, go give it a ride (make sure you get the crap-free version).

Once you install Digsby and create an account, it’s time to add your email addresses to it. From the menu bar, go to Digsby > My Accounts, and click on Add Email Account. Select your email provider, and enter your account details. If your secondary account doesn’t receive a lot of mails, you can increase the time interval after which Digsby will check for new mail. Click Save, and then Done. Keep running Digsby every now and then (don’t forget to do that!), and it’ll make sure your secondary account stays active.

Screenshot 99

 Screenshot 102

Screenshot 103

Why can’t I just delete my secondary email address?

It’s even more dangerous. If you read the email exploit article that I linked to above, you’ll know that the exploit is possible only when your secondary account is deleted and then taken up by some other person. While signing up for your primary email account, you must have provided your secondary email account. Hence any problem in your primary account will usually be mailed to the secondary account.

Why Digsby?

Sure, Digsby is not the only social client out there. Trillian and Pidgin also offer IM and email capabilities. However I prefer Digsby because of the way it separates your email account from your IM account. Both Trillian and Pidgin integrate the two – if you add an account, it will serve both as IM and email without choice (you can opt out of email, but not the former). It’s highly unlikely that you chat with people using your secondary account, so Trillian and Pidgin are both redundant in this respect. Moreover, Digsby allows you to do all sorts of stuff with your email right from its interface.

Screenshot 104

 

Email addresses contain some of the most sensitive information about yourself and your contacts, and hence you must take all steps to make sure that they don’t get deactivated or hacked.