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Google ponders shaming slow websites inside Chrome

Google this week said it may identify slow-loading websites in Chrome, shaming their developers to up their game.

“In the future, Chrome may identify sites that typically load fast or slow for users with clear badging,” wrote a trio of Chrome developers – Addy Osmani, Ben Greenstein and Bryan McQuade – in a post to the Chromium blog. They used the term badging to refer to on-screen cues and clues. “This may take a number of forms and we plan to experiment with different options, to determine which provides the most value to our users.”

According to Osmani, Greenstein and McQuade, Chrome will spotlight sites that “are authored in a way that makes them slow generally, looking at historical load latencies.” Molasses-slow sites, for example, may come with messages as the page forms up, warning waiting users that it “usually loads slow.” Presumably, that would give users a chance to abandon the intended destination, or – for those of the glass-half-full persuasion – the patience to wait. Fast sites could be tagged with a color-coded progress bar – Google suggested green – to “reward sites delivering fast experiences.”

The three engineers said that the move to highlight slow and fast sites would be conducted in “gradual steps” and the definitions of each would be “based on increasingly stringent criteria.”

Google’s rationale for the effort? “We’re constantly working to give users an experience that is instant as they browse the web,” wrote Osmani, Greenstein and McQuade.

Yet this won’t be about Chrome, as are most Google initiatives. If Google goes through with this, Chrome won’t become faster (or slower). Instead, it’s a way to deflect criticism. When users encounter a slow site, the browser – any browser – gets the first blast of condemnation. (Some may wonder if their network speed suddenly sank, perhaps because of a flaky ISP or even competition for consumption.) By pointing out that Site Y “usually loads slow,” Google preempts any carping about Chrome.

The longer play, of course, is to use Chrome’s dominance – last month it accounted for 67.4% of global browser activity by the tally of analytics vendor Net Applications – to pressure sites to become objectively faster. Along those lines, Osmani, Greenstein and McQuade offered site designers and developers some tips, including pointers to tools for measuring site performance.

Google has made a career out of pressuring the web to adopt its “advice,” leveraging the popularity of Chrome to get its way, whether that meant shifting to HTTPS or extending the lifetime of aged OSes, such as Windows XP, by supporting them long after their own makers dropped them. In most instances, cases could certainly be made that while the initiatives benefited users, they also did Google.

Chrome announced this “you’re slow” project Monday at its Chrome Dev Summit, which wraps up Tuesday. Neither the company nor the three developers who authored the blog hinted at a timetable for including slow-fast site labeling in the browser.

chrome slow fast site labeling Google

Google may have Chrome label slow sites as a warning to users and an incentive to website developers to make their pages load faster. Google also plans to acknowledge faster sites.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Mobile App Website Inspiration: 20 Application Websites And Tips To Design One

App websites are sometimes neglected by app owners. The owners or developers set up everything in place for the app to go ballistic on the market, except doing the basic marketing step: designing an app website that converts your visitors to users.

But is it enough to create a random website for an app?

Nope.

If you do a rushed job, your website will be just as good as not having one. You’ll end up having visitors come to your site that you’ve been promoting and they’ll close the tab as fast as they’ve clicked on your link.

You can avoid this unfortunate situation if you take the time to create eye-catching and engaging app websites designed to consistently convert visitors into users.

It’s really not all that difficult when you follow these 5 simple steps.

 

5 Simple Steps to Creating the Best App Websites

Step 1: Choose a Mesmerizing Color Palette

Not everyone will necessarily agree with your idea of what a mesmerizing color palette would be. Maybe you’re not even sure what it should look like.

Not a problem. Stick to these 3 simple rules and your selection should be spot on every time:

  • Your palette should feature colors that immediately attract visitors’ attention.
  • Make sure it’s on brand so as not to detract from the message.
  • It needs to be visually supportive of the message as well.

Notice how the use of pastel color touches in this Headspace example are every bit as effective as bold, brash colors. Much more so in fact. They give the site a friendly, lighthearted look that helps to convey the message.

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You can create a similar colorful app website with this Be Theme pre-built website that puts an eye-catching palette of bold colors to good use.

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Magpie illustrates the result of creating a color palette that aligns perfectly with its brand – in this case, visually memorable pastels.

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Muse’s subtle use of a natural, neutral color palette reinforces the message that their product line makes users more mindful and connected as they go about their daily lives.

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On the other hand, the vibrancy of the BeApp2 color palette is designed to perfectly appeal to a large audience of physically active users.

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Step 2: Feature Crystal-Clear Product Photos and Images

People don’t want clever hints as to what the app looks like. Anytime visitors have to try to figure things out you’ll likely loose them. They want to be able to clearly understand how easy or how difficult using the app will be; and above all how it differs from the other 400 similar ones on the market.

Bite for example, clearly displays how the app appears on a smartphone while giving the user a sense of how easy it is to work with.

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You can create a similar app website with BeWallet. This pre-built website provides an excellent starting point for building a website designed for financial apps. Financial apps are in great demand; especially those that are both helpful and straightforward to work with.

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BeSoftware provides an excellent foundation for creating a website that allows a visitor to navigate through the inner workings of the app.

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The use of before and after examples is a simple yet highly credible way to demonstrate what an app is capable of. JibJab applies this tactic to near perfection.

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Step 3: Give Visitors A Clear Picture Of How The App Works

Showing visitors what an app does is a necessary step, but it’s not enough. You need to show how the app works as well. One of the most effective sales drivers lies in the ability of an app website to allow visitors to imagine themselves as actual users of the app.

Video is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. PeekCalendar’s hero section includes such a video.

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BePolyglot may not have been initially created only for presenting an app, but its product in use hero section is exactly what you need to offer the users a preview of your app.

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The best way to present a video is to invite the visitor to watch it (not everyone enjoys watching a video that automatically runs). BePay’s video is opened with a CTA button above the fold.

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Tunity’s website uses a slider in the hero section to show several examples of how the product works. In fact, the entire website brilliantly presents the various workings of the app in great detail.

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Step 4: Don’t Be Afraid To (Over)Use “White” Space On App Websites

An overly generous use of white space often does more good than harm, while sparse usage can have the opposite effect. Use just enough white space to highlight the main message on the page. Add a little bit more, and you’ll be in great shape. White space makes it easier for visitors to focus on a single message or element, or on several.

Curio utilizes a clean, fresh design that makes it ever-so-easy for the eye to focus on what’s most important.

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The BeProduct4 or BeHosting2 pre-built websites can be used to create an app website that has the same, clean and fresh effect. Dark “white space” is used effectively in one example; white and pale blue in the other. The message is clearly presented in both examples.

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SpellTower is an extreme example of white space usage. 90% or more of the page is white space, yet it is by no means excessive. The user clearly knows where to go or what to do next.

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Step 5: Use CTA Designs That Will Grab Visitors By The Eyeballs

The very worst thing you can do with a CTA button (with the possible exception of causing it to send a visitor to the wrong place) is to make it hard to locate. The simple fact is, you want to make it virtually impossible to miss and make your visitor feel compelled to click on it.

Bright and bold are the operative parameters.

The Splitwise CTA button clearly stands out. A visitor will first be drawn to the headline, next to the sub-headline, and the flow naturally extends to the CTA button which is easy to see.

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BeERP uses a bright green color to draw attention to the primary CTA button and a somewhat plainer color (black) to highlight the secondary button.

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As the BeKids example illustrates, it can be perfectly OK to use the same color for the CTA button as is used in other visual elements; in this case blue. Rather than being lost in the shuffle, the button stands out.

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Conclusion

Follow these 5 surefire steps and you should have little problem creating an app website that’s designed to turn visitors into customers. Your mesmerizing color palette and clean imagery will attract attention. Clearly illustrating what the app does and enabling a potential user to visualize how to work with it keeps visitors engaged. White space helps to make the user experience a pleasant one, and bright bold CTA buttons lead to conversions.

It’s important however to remember that the website presentation should be geared to making the intended audience want to use the app.

If you really intend to create as many app websites as possible (while avoiding Christmas Every Day or Groundhog Day issues) you might want to check out Be Theme’s gallery of more than 450 customizable pre-built websites. They’re functional and visually impressive, and they have intuitive navigation and everything else you need to create one attention-getting app website after another.

 

[– This is a sponsored post on behalf of Be Theme –]



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How to Send Websites to Kindle so You Can Read Later

The Amazon Kindle is the best device for reading. It has a special screen that doesn’t strain your eyes and has a range of handy features for readers such as the ability to highlight passages and offline dictionaries.

So why would you limit it to just books? Here’s how to send and read web articles to your Kindle.

1. Send to Kindle

Send to Kindle Chrome extension

Amazon offers an official browser extension for adding online stories to your Kindle library. Whenever you come across an article you’d like to send, all you need to do is click the Send to Kindle button and your Kindle will immediately begin downloading the file.

The tool also lets you edit the document’s content and how it should appear by default on your device. You can customize the title, author, font size and face, margin heights, color mode, and more. Instead of the entire web page, you have the option to only send the selected text as well.

It’s not restricted to Kindle readers either. You can push the article to any device such as your phone or tablet if it has the Kindle app installed. The extension comes with a bunch of keyboard shortcuts you can use to instantly dispatch the article.

Download: Send to Kindle for Google Chrome (Free)

2. Push to Kindle

Push to Kindle Chrome extension

Amazon hasn’t updated its Send to Kindle extension in ages. Therefore, it often struggles to render articles that have modern web design elements such as interactive slideshows. Thankfully, there is a slew of alternative third-party tools you can rely on.

Push to Kindle is one of them. It’s a straightforward utility for forwarding online content to your Kindle. But since it’s not owned by Amazon, you have to supply your personal Kindle address and approved email ID. You’ll find these details on Amazon’s Manage Your Content & Devices page.

Push to Kindle has a few more useful options. You can download the article as a document in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF format. You can alter the article’s title and then transfer them to up to five devices at once. Apart from Chrome, it’s available on Firefox, Opera, and Safari.

Download: Push to Kindle for Google Chrome | Mozilla Firefox | Opera | Safari (Free)

3. Send to Reader

Connect RSS feeds to Kindle with SendtoReader

This is for those who find Push to Kindle’s feature set limiting. Send to Reader is a more exhaustive solution for reading articles on your Kindle.

Send to Reader’s biggest highlight is its RSS feed integration. You can configure a publication of your choice and the service will automatically forward every new post to your e-reader.

Send to Reader can also send you bundles once every day which will include a bunch of recent articles from the sites you’ve subscribed to. In addition, there’s an e-book creator that you can employ to manually bundle the articles you’ve been meaning to read. Like the rest, you can send individual pieces and text directly to your device through the personal Kindle email address.

The majority of Send to Reader’s abilities, however, are not free. The free tier allows you to merely dispatch documents to your Kindle one at a time. The $6 monthly plan—which you can try for 15 days—gives you access to premium features like RSS subscriptions and the e-book editor.

Visit: Send to Reader (free, $6/month)

4. Connect Read-for-Later Services With Your Kindle

Most of us already have an endless pile of articles we want to get through on one of the many read-for-later services like Pocket and Instapaper. You can easily connect this feed to the Kindle too so that the articles you bookmark are instantly available on your e-reader.

Connect Instapaper With Your Kindle

Connect Instapaper feed to Kindle

Instapaper has a built-in facility for integrating your Kindle account. To set it up, go into the Settings and under the Kindle section, enter your Kindle email address. Next, you will need to append Instapaper’s sender ID to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List on Amazon. Hit Save Kindle Preferences and you’re done.

Once you’ve configured these options, there will be a few more functions available in the Kindle section. You can ask Instapaper to automatically forward your saved articles by enabling the Kindle Automatic Delivery switch. Alternatively, Instapaper can deliver a handful of your pending stories daily or once every week.

Connect Pocket With Your Kindle

Connect Pocket to Kindle

Pocket has a long list of features but unfortunately, you will have to depend on a third-party service like P2K for Kindle integration. It works like Instapaper’s native solution. You have to submit your Kindle address and whitelist P2K in your Amazon content settings.

P2K can migrate some articles automatically to your Kindle on a daily or weekly basis. Instead of a routine, it lets you manually pick and transfer pieces. P2K has a couple of more perks that require a premium account such as the ability to mail articles with a specific tag and create multiple delivery systems.

In case you don’t want to pay for accessing your Pocket entries on a Kindle, you can also look into IFTTT applets.

Visit: P2K (Free, $2.99/month for Premium, $4.99 for Platinum subscription)

5. Send Articles From Your Android or iOS Phone to Kindle

You don’t have to switch on your computer every time you’d like to add an interesting article to your Kindle’s library. You can do it right on your phone.

The extension we discussed earlier, Push to Kindle has an Android and iOS client. It brings a new Kindle option in the sheet that appears when you tap a share button. This allows you to forward articles from any browser app on your phone. Just like other utilities, you will have to first punch in your Kindle and approved personal email address.

Amazon’s own Kindle app offers this functionality but at the time of writing, it was broken and always threw an unexpected error.

Download: Push to Kindle for Android | iOS ($1.99)

Get the Most Out of Your Kindle

It’s best to read web articles, especially the longreads on your Kindle since it won’t damage your eyesight. There is a range of more benefits and features you may not be aware of. Here’s how to get the most out of your Amazon Kindle e-reader


9 Amazon Kindle Tips to Get More Out of Your E-Reader




9 Amazon Kindle Tips to Get More Out of Your E-Reader

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.



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8 Websites Where You Can Write to Soldiers

The freedoms we enjoy in many parts of the world are guarded by brave men and women who sacrifice and risk their lives every day. Many of them spend long amounts of time away from home in isolation, which can take a toll on their morale.

As a token of your thanks, it’s a great idea to write to a soldier with words of encouragement. It might seem like a small gesture to you, but a note letting a soldier know that they’re appreciated will do wonders for them. Here are some great websites to help you start writing to soldiers.

Any Soldier Contact

Any Soldier is one of the first resources you should check out for writing letters to soldiers. The site has paired up with overseas military members who act as representatives for others that they serve with. When you send letters (plus packages, if you wish), they distribute them to soldiers who don’t get any other mail first.

On the Where To Send page, you’ll find a list of soldier contacts, sorted by date of last contact, along the left side. Click one to see some information about them, including where they’re stationed and how many male and female soldiers they represent. If you decide you want to support that soldier, you can request their complete address on the page.

There’s a lot of information on Any Soldier, though the site is a little tough to navigate. It’s definitely worth checking the FAQ pages to find out what types of items to send and answer other questions before you get ready to send a support package.

Operation Gratitude is an organization that sends care packages to troops, including new recruits and veterans. These packages include snacks, clothes, toys, and other items that soldiers appreciate. In addition, they have letters inside to lift the recipients’ spirits.

On the above page, you can register for letter writing and get a guide on doing so. You don’t have to contribute the other items in the package, making this an easy way to be part of something that’s much appreciated.

If you’d rather email a soldier than write a physical letter, this site makes it easy. It offers a simple form where you provide your first name, state, country, and email address along with a message.

Once you send it in, Forgotten Soldiers Outreach will print out your letter and include it in one of its packages sent to soldiers. This makes it a great way to let someone in the armed forces know you’re thinking about them without having to mail a physical letter or package overseas.

This service is focused on writing letters to soldiers in basic training. It adds a touch of modern technology to help it stand out.

Using Sandboxx, you write out a letter using your phone or computer, including a picture if you like. The service then sends the letter to your recruit with next-day delivery. It arrives on high-quality paper in an airmail envelope, giving it a premium appearance.

Every letter includes tracking, so you’ll know when your message arrives. And they can reply using the included custom stationery and return envelope. This removes the hassle of visiting the post office, buying stamps, and finding addresses to write to soldiers.

Due to everything it includes, the service is not free. Sandboxx charges $4 to send a single letter, but you can save by purchasing multiple letters at once. For example, $50 gets you 15 letters—dropping the price to $3.33 per letter.

Check Sandboxx’s pricing page for more info and to see all the benefits it provides compared to traditional mail.

If you’d like to commit to writing letters to soldiers for some time, give Soldiers’ Angels a look. The letter writing team is one part of its effort to provide support to troops.

Joining this team requires at least a three-month commitment where you write a letter a minimum of one time per month. Of course, you can write more if you’d like. Have a look at the Team Angel information page if you’d like to sign up.

This provides some important details about the program, including the fact that you don’t decide where to send letters to soldiers on your own. The company chooses who you will support. Additionally, you are required to report your activity monthly and recognize that you act on behalf of the organization.

You should make sure you know what you’re getting into with this before you sign up.

Best Military Pen Pal Sites Outside the US

We’ve focused on sites to write to United States soldiers above. If you live in a different part of the world, here are a few resources to write to service members from your country.

6. UK: Forces Penpals

Forces Penpals

If you’re located in the UK, give this site a look. It allows you to write to armed forces members and even live chat with them via instant messaging and chatrooms. The service also offers forums for discussion with service members and fellow supporters, making it a great way to hear real stories from veterans


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.

Strangely, the site makes mention of dating members of the military too. We wouldn’t recommend using this as a dating site, but the opportunity is there if you’re really interested.

7. Canada: Canadian Armed Forces Messages

Canadian Armed Forces Message

Those in Canada can use this official government website to write to CAF troops. Click Post Message on the page above to write a brief message (under 1,500 characters). It will then appear on the message board for service members to see.

You can use the View Messages link to have a look at messages that others have posted, too.

8. Australia: Department of Defence Message to the Troops

Australia also has a dedicated government page for sending mail to soldiers. This site advises you to email [email protected], which will pass your email onto those in the Navy, Army, and Air Force. You’ll also find a physical mailing address here if you want to send a postcard to the troops.

Write to a Soldier and Make Their Day

With these resources, you have everything you need to send a note of thanks and encouragement to military service members. It’s important to let them know they’re appreciated for everything they do. A simple note for you could mean everything to them.

If you haven’t written a physical letter in a while, you may want to practice your handwriting


10 Unique Ways to Practice Your Handwriting When You Hate It




10 Unique Ways to Practice Your Handwriting When You Hate It

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before penning your note.



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5 Essential Apps & Websites for TikTok Fans and Creators

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social networks today, with some of the best video content you’ll see on the internet. These five websites and apps only make it better than ever before.

For the uninitiated, TikTok is a social network much like the old Vine, and similar to Instagram or Snapchat. It only supports videos, with a maximum limit of 15 seconds. You can merge multiple videos into one longer Story.

If you want to know more, check out our primer on what is TikTok and how does it work. If you already know TikTok, jump on to the apps.

1. TikTokforWeb (Web): Unofficial Web Client for TikTok

TikTok for Web is the only unofficial web client to browse TikTok on computers

Now, TikTok is only available as a mobile app for Android and iOS. We’ve seen this before with Instagram and other social networks, where the web client is launched years later. And till then, you get third-party developers making unofficial versions like this one.

TikTokforWeb doesn’t let you sign in with your own account, so this is a generic web viewer for random TikTok Videos. You can search for an account or hashtag you already know. You can also select your country to see the top TikTok posts currently in your region.

The TikTok web viewer also allows you to watch TikTok Live channels, where users are live streaming to the masses. There is also a TikTok TV option, where you can watch a continuous stream of TikTok videos with other users in a channel.

TikTokforWeb also includes a mini-app you can use to download TikTok videos.

2. Video Downloader for Social Media (Android): Easiest Way to Download TikTok Videos

If you want to download a TikTok video to your drive, perhaps to make a reaction video or make it a part of your own clip, check out the strangely named Video Downloader for Social Media by Avalon Inc. It is one of the most highly rated among thousands of other such apps on the Play Store.

The app’s claim-to-fame is that it removes the TikTok watermark from the video, so it’s easier for you to use.

Just copy-paste the link and the app does the rest. You can even download only the sound from the video to use it as a ringtone. A handy video manager tab lets you decide what to do with all the files you’ve saved.

Download: Video Downloader for Social Media for Android (Free)

For iOS Users:

Unfortunately, this is only available for Android users and there aren’t any particularly good iPhone apps now. For now, you can use a web-based app like TikTok Video Downloader.

It doesn’t remove the watermark, but you’ll be able to save an MP4 video to your phone or computer. TikTok videos can also be downloaded through the TikTok Lite app if you’re using that.

TikTok is still new and so it isn’t yet supported by many of the best free all-in-one apps to download any video on the internet


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. But hopefully, this should be fixed soon enough as TikTok gets more and more popular.

3. TikTok Lite (Android): Best for Lurkers and Casual TikTok Users

If you use TikTok to check out the videos rather than make your own, the main app is overkill. It is packed with features that you won’t use, and it drains your battery. Instead, get the official TikTok Lite app.

As with other storage-saving lite apps for Android


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, TikTok Lite is smaller in size. It also focuses on ensuring it uses less data than the main app, which is critical to anyone on mobile networks and not Wi-Fi. Heck, it even lets you download and save a few videos for watching them offline.

TikTok Lite is best for passive users since you don’t even need to sign in. Download the app and you can use it without a TikTok account, thus protecting your privacy a little more.

TikTok Lite didn’t let users upload videos, but now there is an update. When you tap the upload button, it prompts you to download a 10MB “Video” feature before being able to use it. It is a stripped-down version of the main uploader though, so we still wouldn’t recommend it for serious TikTok users.

Download: TikTok Lite for Android (Free)

4. Vizmato (Android, iOS): Best Video Editor for TikTok

Vizmato is the best video editor for TikTok today. Even the free version is packed with enough features for you to make great videos, and the paid pro version ($11.99 / year) only adds more fun.

It covers the basics of everything you’ll need to create videos. Here’s a quick run-through of the best features available in the free version of Vizmato:

  1. Split any video, trim a video, or join multiple videos to make a single video.
  2. Select multiple photos and turn them into a slideshow video, complete with background music.
  3. Add several sound effects.
  4. Record videos through the app itself, adding music and filters live.
  5. Add popular filters to any video, and video effects like ripples, shocks, transitions, etc.

The free version has a few limitations in the use of filters, effects, songs, and the time limit of the videos. It also adds a visual watermark at the end, but you can always trim that out in the TikTok app before you post your video.

However, if you love the free app and want to avoid all that, just buy the Pro version. It’s worth it for any serious video creator.

Download: Vizmato for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Hashtags for TikTok (Web): Hashtag Generator for TikTok

TikTok Hashtags automatically generates trending hashtags based on a keyword to get you more fans and followers for

It is important to use trending hashtags and popular topics if you want to get more fans and followers on TikTok. Not sure which hashtags to use? There’s an app for that.

You can easily think of one hashtag based on the video you have made. For example, if you shot a cute video of your puppy, you would tag it with #dog.

So type the word “dog” into Hashtags for TikTok to instantly generate a box of 15-20 hashtags. Tap “copy” and paste it into your new TikTok video or as its first comment.

Think about this though: Hashtags for TikTok is the only generator of its kind right now but doesn’t say where it is getting the data for these hashtag recommendations.

There are plenty of similar apps for Instagram though, and this app even recommends keywords that are based on hashtags for Instagram. Make of that what you will…

Best TikTok Tips and Tricks

Third-party apps and websites will only get you so far. If you really want to be a TikTok power user, you need to dive into the main app and tweak it to suit your needs. Check out these TikTok tips and tricks for beginners


How to Use TikTok: 11 Tips for Beginners




How to Use TikTok: 11 Tips for Beginners

Whether you’re new to TikTok or already know how to use TikTok, these TikTok tips should help you get the most out of the app.
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and transition to a seasoned TikTok user.



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Disney+ Content, Revive Your Mac, Conspiracy Websites, Amazon Price Trackers

It’s time for your weekly dose of tech news made easy with the Really Useful Podcast, the tech podcast for technophobes. This time, Disney+ content announced, how to revive your Mac, top conspiracy websites, and Amazon Price Trackers ahead of Black Friday.

Join Christian Cawley and Ben Stegner as they guide you through the latest news, tips, and tricks to help you enjoy life with tech, rather than be frustrated by it.

Really Useful Podcast Season 4 Episode 8 Shownotes

This week:

Your can help us reach people by subscribing, reviewing, and sharing the Really Useful Podcast via email and social media. We’re available anywhere you can listen to podcasts, including:

Come back next week for another Really Useful Podcast!



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28 Websites Every Apple Fan Must Bookmark

If you own Apple devices, there’s no shortage of sites that you need to add to your bookmark list. Whether you want how-to guides, troubleshooting tips, product reviews, news, or merely some chat with like-minded Apple fans, there’s something out there for everyone.

Here are the best sites for iPhone users and Mac enthusiasts.

muo mac section

We have sections dedicated to both macOS and iOS. Each section is packed with roundups, tips, instructional guides, and app lists.

Frankly, we don’t see why you’d need to go anywhere else!

Despite the name, MacRumors covers all aspects of the Apple ecosystem, including macOS, iOS, Apple’s various paid services, and its other non-computing devices (like Apple TV).

The site offers a healthy mix of news, rumors, how-to articles, and buying guides. There’s also a large community in the site’s forums.

mac of all trades apple site

It’s no secret that Apple gear is expensive. A top-spec new Mac can set you back several thousand dollars. In many cases, it’s wiser to by refurbished equipment instead.

And that’s what Mac of All Trades specializes in. You can save up to 50 percent on refurbished laptops, desktops, iPads, iPhones, Apple Watches, and other accessories and parts.

As you’d expect, Reddit has a bevy of Apple-themed subreddits. The largest Apple community is the main r/Apple subreddit. It has 1.1 million members and provides a mix of news, information, and tech support. Some other Apple subreddits worth checking out include:

Make sure you let us know your favorite Apple subreddits in the comments at the end.

apple support website

If something goes wrong with your Apple device, the first place you should turn to for help is Apple Support. It has sections dedicated to all Apple’s devices, apps, and services, including iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple’s pro apps, and Apple ID.

Aside from the troubleshooting tips, Apple Support also has plenty of how-to articles. They’ll explain how to get your products working the way you want them to.

Cult of Mac is another Apple web site with a broad focus. You will find the usual selection of news articles, product reviews, and how-to guides. However, there’s a unique section about the business of app development, as well as a portal to sell your old Apple gear. You’ll also find a section dedicated to deals on Apple products.

Cult of Mac even produces its own podcast and magazine.

macsurfer apple news site

MacSurfer is a news aggregator site that solely collates articles about Apple.

Because it pulls stories from dozens of different sources, you’ll never have any shortage of stuff to read. There are hundreds of new stories available every day. The stories are subdivided into smaller categories for easy navigation.

The AppleWorld blog posts a steady stream of Apple news and rumors. There are also a few reviews and how-to guides, but that’s not the site’s only focus.

This site is also worth checking out if you’re looking for discounts on Apple devices. It frequently posts special offers and coupon codes.

mac observer apple website

The Mac Observer posts news, reviews, tutorials, editorials, and columns. You will also find podcasts and a deals page.

Oh, and make sure you check out the Apple Death Knell Counter. It logs a report every time a writer in the mainstream media has declared Apple to be “dead.” The counter is at 71 and rising!

Of course, iFixit is focused on far more than Apple. It is one of the best tech-themed DIY sites on the web.

If you want to perform a DIY task on your own phone—like changing the screen or swapping the battery—this is the site to go to for a complete guide.

powerpage apple site

PowerPage is the place to go for Apple rumors; there’s very little concrete news. The stories on the site are all well-sourced. They typically focus on topics such as new product release dates, product design, new features, and app updates.

With so many sites offering discounts and deals on Apple products, how do you know whether you’re getting a bargain on the devices you’re about to buy?

MacPrices has the answer. Not only does it scan the web for the best prices on Apple’s laptops, desktops, iPads, iPhones, and other gear, but it also supplies free price trackers for each individual product.

iphone life apple tips website

The iPhone Life site is entirely dedicated to iOS; you won’t find content about macOS or any of Apple’s other devices.

Most of the content on the site is focused on how-to tips, but there’s also a smattering of news and some reviews.

As smartphone cameras become increasingly more powerful, many users are churning out professional-grade photography with their devices.

iPhone Photography School showcases some of the best images taken on iPhones. You’ll also find iPhone photography tutorials. They explain how to take the best shots and how to edit your pictures on your Mac.

the loop apple analysis site

The Loop is an Apple blog run by just two writers, but it still manages to publish an impressive amount of new content.

It offers news, commentary, opinion, and insight. One of the writers, Jim Dalrymple, also has his own podcast. It’s called The Dalrymple Report and is well worth a listen if you’re an Apple fan.

If you want to buy Apple upgrade products and services, check out MacSales. It sells DIY kits, internal components, memory modules, refurbished Macs, and much more.

There are even upgrade videos to help you with the installation. Just be aware that attempting your own DIY on your Mac will void your warranty.

9to5mac apple site

A part of a network of sites including 9to5Google and 9to5Toys, 9to5Mac focuses its efforts on all things Apple. In addition to Mac and iOS coverage, the blog pays close attention to the business end of things, including stock prices, corporate strategy, and personnel.

MacWorld started life in 1984 as a print magazine. The publication was the biggest Mac-focused magazine in North America until 2014 when parent company IDG announced that the print version was being axed, which meant most staff were to be laid off.

Despite this, Macworld continues to this day as an oft-updated resource for all things Apple. It’s the same magazine-like content (reviews, news, how-tos) in an online format.

idownload apple blog

iDownloadBlog is an Apple blog with a focus on iOS, which started life in 2008. iDB is one of the few major Apple blogs that dedicates a sizeable chunk of their coverage to jailbreaking, the slightly dubious act of liberating your mobile device from Apple’s restrictions.

AppleInsider has been up and running since 1997, which makes it one of the oldest outlets on this list. With a focus on news, leaks, and rumors, AppleInsider targets the same news-hungry demographic as MacRumors.

mactech apple website

MacTech is primarily a news aggregator. Describing itself as “the journal of Apple technology,” the website rounds up the latest news, press releases, reviews, and updates from across the Apple world in one tidy dashboard.

The site also produces original content, including gear reviews and quick looks at new accessories.

With a strong focus on software, AppAdvice is a great place to find new apps and games, as well as follow the latest news.

Coverage is skewed more towards iOS apps and software, but Mac users are catered for as well. You’ll also find news about freebies and deals, rumor roundups, and coverage of related accessories and gadgets.

stack exchange apple site

Just like Apple Support Communities, Stack Exchange is a platform for asking questions and sharing answers. The service began life as Stack Overflow, a question and answer website for common programming queries. It has since expanded to cover a broad range of topics.

Due to the nature of the community, Stack Exchange is a good place to ask technical questions.

Despite the outdated name (OSX has been dropped in favor of macOS), OSXDaily still produces relevant content for both Mac and iOS users. There’s a specific focus on practical tips, quick fixes, and feature overviews, which makes this a great place to learn something new.

appshopper apple apps site

AppShopper is the best place to find app deals on both the iOS App Store and Mac App Store. The website allows you to filter by a range of criteria so that you can find all the deals relevant to you. You can also choose whether to view all relevant apps or just filter by popularity to quickly find the best.

Want to find an iPhone app from your Mac? Want to search the Mac app store from your browser? Hate it when iTunes opens because you visited the App Store preview website? Then you need fnd.io.

It’s a simple search engine that allows you to search for apps, movies, music, TV, books, Mac software, and even Podcasts.

apprecs apple apps

Think you can spot a bad review? It turns out the App Store is full of them, and one developer by the name of Mark Edmond has figured out how to spot them.

AppRecs trawls the App Store for reviews, looking for patterns that suggest a review has been falsified. It then lists the most and least trustworthy apps in easy to browse charts for your perusal.

iMore is all about getting more out of your Apple devices. There’s a mixture of topical coverage and out-right guides to all things iOS, including the latest games, new features, and useful tips. There’s some Mac coverage, but the primary focus is on Apple’s mobile devices.

Share Your Favorite Apple Websites

Yes, we already know MakeUseOf is your favorite Apple website, but even so, we’d love to know which other Apple sites you’d add to this list. Make sure you let us know in the comments below.

And if you’d like to learn even more about how to get your daily Apple fix, read our other articles on the best Mac RSS apps and how to get started with Apple news


Getting Started With Apple News+: Everything You Need to Know




Getting Started With Apple News+: Everything You Need to Know

The new Apple News+ subscription allows you access hundreds of magazines and newspapers for one low price. Here’s how it works.
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The Scrapestack API Makes It Easy to Scrape Websites for Data

Finding it time-consuming to visit all your favorite websites and read everything that matters? One solution is a web scraper, a software tool that gathers information you need from other sites.

We’re going to look at the scrapestack API, a web scraping service that you can subscribe to. Once set up, you can use scrapestack to grab whatever data you want from other sites.

Why You Need a Scraper API

Finding information online can be difficult, even with the power of Google. Specific types of information, published around the world, can differ slightly. This is often data that you find valuable.

There are several web scraping services available, but what if you wanted to manage your own? The solution is scrapestack, an API service available with tiered pricing and functionality to circumvent CAPTCHAs, geo-blocking, and other restrictions.

All it needs is the target website URL, and an API (available for free, with limitations). With the power of the scrapestack server, you’re able to scrape all the data you’re looking for.

What Does Scrapestack Do?

Using predetermined parameters, a scraper will visit a specified URL and take a copy of a certain type of data. This could be news on a very specific topic, such as a subset of current affairs or politics, or entertainment news from the NYCC. However, it doesn’t need to be news: it could be weather data, sports results, stocks and share prices, or currency values.

Various software tools exist for scraping that you can run locally from a PC, or wholly on a server. You might even employ a free website to scrape content. But with scrapestack, you have the power of a state-of-the-art server behind you.

The API provides security and reliability, while the scalable approach to the development/testing/release process means that developers can take as long as they need to perfect their scraping process.

Scrapestack: Affordable Packages for All Project Types

Scrapestack API Pricing

While the initial scrapestack signup is free, several packages are available from this scalable service. The Free package provides 10,000 monthly API requests, but support is limited. Standard proxies are in use with this option.

With Basic, you pay $19.99 a month and get 250,000 requests. By paying you get unlimited support, HTTPS encryption, concurrent requests (enabling multiple API use), JavaScript rendering support, and 100+ geolocations. Standard proxies are also available with this plan.

Scrapestack’s best value option is Professional. For $79.99 a month you get 1,000,000 requests, all the same features as Basic, plus Premium Proxies.

The Business package is $149.99, which includes 3,000,000 requests, premium support, and everything Professional has. Finally, there’s an Enterprise option for business-scale projects. Custom solutions, dedicated support, and high-volume API requests are available within.

To get started, of course, you’ll need the Free package. Simply sign up with your email address, grab the API, and begin testing the power of scrapestack.

Get Started With Scrapestack API

Want an idea of what’s behind scrapestack? The server manages over 1 billion monthly API calls, with 99.9 percent uptime. It boasts over 100 global server locations, capable of scraping more than 35 million IP addresses.

In addition, scrapestack claims “2000+ happy customers” and reckons you can get started in under five minutes. But how accurate is this?

Well, signup is quick and easy, with access given almost straightaway. In the account dashboard, you’ll find your API key, which you need to use the API. To protect your account, it’s vital that you don’t share the API key, so keep it safe.

All you need after this is a target URL to scrape data from. For example, you might like to grab data from a popular website such as MakeUseOf. To do that, use a basic URL string like the one below:

http://api.scrapestack.com/scrape?access_key=YOUR_ACCESS_KEY&url=https://apple.com

This will commence the scraping process. In your browser window, you’ll something like this returned:

Apple.com scraped with Scrapestack API

This is basically the page’s contents without JavaScript and CSS styling. Of course, you probably wouldn’t use the API with your browser. Instead, when used as part of a web application or script run from a live system, you can collect the results as plain text and analyze them later.

Use Optional API Parameters for Enhanced Scraping

There’s more to scrapestack API than the basic request, however. You can utilize several optional parameters, including:

  • render_js: Use 1 to enable rendering of JavaScript on the target web page (default is 0, off).
  • keep_headers: Use 1 to enable; it sends active HTTP headers to be returned in the API response.
  • proxy_location: Specify a two-letter country code (such as US) to use as a proxy for the API request.
  • premium_proxy: Use 1 to enable premium proxies; note one proxy API request counts as 25.

Usage of these parameters is simple: add an ampersand (&) at the end of to the basic URL, such as &render_js=1.

On top of all this, the API features some useful, plain English error codes. These include “103 invalid_api_function”, which means the API function does not exist. This commonly occurs following a typo in one of the above parameters. Similarly, “105 function_access_restricted” indicates use of a function that isn’t supported by your subscription.

If a code is not clear, you can check the scrapestack documentation page.

Use the Scrapestack API With Your Favorite Coding Language

The scripts above are available in several different programming languages. The scrapestack API features support for PHP, Python, NodeJS, JQuery, Go, and Ruby. These are arguably the most popular web and app development languages around.

While the basics of using the scrapestack API remain the same, there will of course be differences between languages. For example, here’s a code sample in PHP:

Use PHP to access the Scrapestack API

This Python script, meanwhile, holds the same purpose:

Accessing the Scrapestack API with Python

Obviously, you’ll want use the best code for the project. Suffice it to say that scrapestack API is up to the task, whatever the coding platform.

It’s Easier Than Ever to Scrape Websites With Scrapestack

Information that you need to collect quickly is easier to scrape with scrapestack. Its flexible API gives you the options you need for scraping and output. The error codes are descriptive, too, helping you to overcome issues easily.

With a range of packages and an initial free signup to get you started with development, scrapestack API could prove itself as the most powerful scraper you use. The API is compatible with PHP, Python, NodeJS, JQuery, Go, and Ruby, so it’s ideal for use across a range of development platforms.

Looking for other APIs? The powerful weatherstack weather data API


Integrate Weather Data on Your Homepage With Weatherstack API




Integrate Weather Data on Your Homepage With Weatherstack API

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can help you build your own weather apps or include weather data on your website.



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Which Popular Website’s Name Is The Result Of A Misspelling?

An example of one of the early Google logos
Google

Answer: Google

When Sergey Brin and Larry Page sat down to register the name and domain of their young search engine, they wanted a name that invoked a sense of the magnitude of information their search engine indexed. What better word than googol—a mathematical term that stands in for 10 to the hundredth power, or 10,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000.

If Googol was what they were going for, then how did we end up with Google instead? While Brin and Page might be brilliant computer scientists, they’re terrible spellers.





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13 Creepy and Disgusting Websites to Share With Friends

Looking for something out of the ordinary to spice up your travels around the web? Whether you love grossing yourself out or are looking for weird links to send to your friends, take a look at some of the most disgusting websites we’ve collected here for you.

Of course, the internet is home to some truly vile content, but we won’t share anything grotesque here. To fill in the gaps, we’ve also included some creepy websites so you can scare yourself in different ways.

Pathology Gross Site

You don’t have to look beyond the human body itself for some disgusting imagery. Our first gross site catalogs human organs in various states of health and disease.

Have a look at the System Pathology section for organs in the systems of the body, or General Pathology for types of diseases and injuries.

Feeling itchy? Have a look at Skinsight to view pictures of rashes and other skin conditions. Enter an age group, sex, and body location, and you’ll see images of common rashes for that area.

Insect Images Site

Hate creepy crawlers? This website provides plenty of pictures of insects for you to peruse. You’ll find beetles, ants, cockroaches, termites, and much more.

If you’re feeling especially daring, check the bottom for images of spiders, scorpions, and other frightening creatures.

There’s truly a page on the internet for every topic, as this nasty website proves. Number Two Guide provides you with all the poop-related content you could want, including a poop dictionary, poop stories, and a poop calculator to figure out how much you’ve pooped in your life.

If you dare, visit the Ratings section, where people upload pictures of their poop for others to rate (for some strange reason).

Texas Justice Last Words

The state of Texas publishes the last words of all inmates that it executes. You can read a basic profile of the offender and their crime, then click Last statement to read what they said before their death.

This one falls more under the creepy banner than disgusting. It’s definitely unsettling to read the final statements of those who committed heinous acts.

Continuing with the “last words” theme, this site collects information about planes that crashed due to mechanical issues, sabotage, or human error. You can browse the 100 worst plane fatalities of all time, read about unusual incidents, or browse a map of crashes.

The creepiest content on the site, however, is on the Last Words page. This collects transcripts (and audio files, in some cases) of the dialog exchange spoken in the cockpit shortly before the crashes.

Ever wonder how long you’ll live for? This page claims it can predict the date of your death. Enter your name, date of birth, sex, height and weight, and whether you use tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. Using this, it will “figure out” how much longer you have left to live.

Of course, there’s no way that a simple web form like this could know when you’re going to pass. But it is a bit creepy seeing exactly how much time you supposedly have left.

Heaven's Gate Website

Heaven’s Gate was a well-known religious cult, mostly due to the group’s mass suicide in 1997. They believed that by “leaving their bodies” as Comet Hale–Bopp approached, they would be able to board a UFO trailing behind the comet and ascend to a higher level.

As it turns out, the Heaven’s Gate website is still up and running. Two unknown surviving members of the cult maintain the website, though it hasn’t changed since 1997 when it received an update right before the suicide.

It’s weird to read through the material on the site decades later, knowing how its followers met their end. You can read excerpts from the cult’s book, as well as transcripts of speeches made by the leader just days before they all died. The contact email from the site still sends responses, too.

Another unsettling site, this resource collects all sorts of info about the massacre at Columbine High School that happened in April 1999. You’ll find data on the victims and shooters, along with surveillance photos, audio logs, details of the aftermath, and much more.

It’s horrifying to read the gritty details of such a deadly event, but it’s worth a look if you can stomach it.

World Births and Deaths

This page acts as a visualization of all the births and deaths occurring around the world. After it loads up, you’ll see an icon pop up on the globe to represent every birth and death.

Of course, this is an estimation based on trends, not a real-time feed of actual events. But it’s uncomfortable to see death popping up so many times right in front of you, especially if you uncheck Show births and only watch deaths.

Looking for strange links to send your friends? This bizarre website


Weird but Cool: 25 Most Bizarre Websites You Haven’t Seen




Weird but Cool: 25 Most Bizarre Websites You Haven’t Seen

The internet is a large place with tons of useful websites, but here are several websites that crank up the weird-but-cool factor.
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is a strong contender. It’s not a particularly gross site like some of the others but gets points for being outright weird. Every time you refresh it, the page loads all kinds of random images and text, along with sounds in the background. It’s a great page to send to a buddy to mess with them a bit.

Florida’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge is one of the largest sites for suicides in the United States. Strangely, you can find an entire website dedicated to this.

It holds information on each suicide attempt that’s happened on the bridge, stills from security cameras, and resources about what people are doing to stop the deaths. It’s oddly specific and sad to peruse just like the other death-related pages listed here.

Creepypasta Site

If you’re well-traveled on the internet, you may have heard of creepypastas. These are made-up horror stories that people create to scare others. Slender Man is a well-known example.

Suspend disbelief for a while and browse creepypastas to your heart’s content on this site. You’ll find something to shock and disgust you.

Disgusting Websites and Creepy Links to Enjoy

We hope you enjoyed these gross website links, whether to satisfy your own curiosity or trick a friend. There are certainly many more disgusting websites online, but they’re so repulsive that we didn’t want to include them here. Search at your own risk!

If you enjoyed these pages, you might want to dig deeper and check out the best dark web sites


The Best Dark Web Websites You Won’t Find on Google




The Best Dark Web Websites You Won’t Find on Google

The dark web isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth exploring some parts of it. Here are the best dark web websites.
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