Let’s face it: For every honest, reputable website, shopping portal or social network out there worth putting your trust into, there’s another thousand internet destinations hellbent on getting their dirty rat claws on your personal information or slinging shady deals. Mitigate the damage with Web of Trust, our Browser Extension of the Week.
I don't know if you've heard, but Minecraft is pretty great. Now, maybe (read: probably) I'm crazy, but building towers that scrape – nay, grievously paper cut – the sky and versions of Mt. Rushmore with the faces of Rush band members actually isn't my favorite part of the game. Truth be told, that award goes to the simple act of cracking open a fresh world and seeing the sights. Minecraft's random generator is a subtle master of “Ooooo, what's that over there?” and each unique world is a joy to explore. Towering, snowcapped mountains, glorious seaside vistas, winding cave mazes that feel thousands of years old (as opposed to seconds) – each one's a Costco bulk bag of block-shaped eye candy.
Meanwhile, when most gamers hear “randomization,” they probably think “Diablo loot,” or – if you've been around the block/are a clinically diagnosed masochist – “roguelikes.” That, I think, needs to change.
Even though Chrome has proven itself to be a capable gaming platform, precious few of our favorite pre-existing titles have managed to make their way to our browser windows. Sure, Angry Birds and Plants versus Zombies is great, but even marquee titles can only be played for so long. Fortunately, Android and iOS legend Fieldrunners is ready for a little play time with Chrome. We’ve invested so many hours into this tower defense classic, we had to make it our Chrome Web App of the Week.
Fun Fact: Most people would rather watch a movie than go to work... unless of course watching movies is one of your job functions, in which case you might be happier reading a book--It’s a strange world out there. Unfortunately, the majority of we worker bees aren’t able to take in a flick while on the clock, forced instead to keep our eyes on spreadsheets, assembly lines and work orders. Don’t fret: Hollywood’s just a set of headphones away, thanks to Listen to a Movie, our Cool Site of the Week.
Despite rampant privacy concerns, annoying ads, creepy stalkers and the aggressive time stealing demands of the games it offers, for many of us, Facebook is still a much-loved way to share our lives with the people who matter to us. While we might be willing to put up with the social network’s many quirks and eccentricities, there’s one thing that most of us won’t tolerate when it comes to Facebook: A change to it’s interface or functionality. If your blood boils every time you hear the words ‘News Ticker’ you’ll want to download Facebook Classic, our Browser Extension of the Week.
(This was written before Steve Jobs died, and it was never intended to be disrespectful, only slyly satirical. Because of publishing schedules, it is only appearing now. I admired Jobs and I will sincerely miss his presence in the consumer electronics industry. His influence went far beyond his own company. He was a human catalyst accelerating the pace of computer evolution to warp speed.)
1984 was and still is a year forever tainted by George Orwell’s novel of the same name. Orwell, “Big Brother”, and even the year itself have become shorthand terms for totalitarianism or anything that even hints of it, whether it’s a security camera or a political philosophy you disagree with or Microsoft’s Windows validation software. “Orwellian” is a way of saying “like the Nazis, but without Godwin’s Law.
During the 1984 Super Bowl broadcast, Apple showed one of the most memorable commercials ever filmed. If you’ve never seen it, you can probably find it on YouTube. Directed by Blade Runner’s Ridley Scott, the commercial shows a woman in a track suit running through a totalitarian environment. She dashes past all the drone-like people sitting on benches and hurls a hammer at a huge screen that represents the Big Brother of George Orwell’s novel, 1984.
With movie theaters full superheroes this past summer and zombies currently dominating Sunday night television, it’s safe to say that comic books are once again en vogue. With geeks of all ages willing to spend their hard earned money on the graphic novels and monthly titles that they love, comic book creators and imprints are making it easier to snag their wares through multiple channels than ever before. One of our favorites of late has been Graphicly Comics, our Chrome Web App of the Week.
As of 2010, scientists have managed to find and catalog 1.7 million different species of life. Sounds like a lot, right? Not when you consider that the very same lab geeks feel it’s possible that there may still be another five million species out there that we haven’t stumbled across yet. Before depriving anymore of those lifeforms of their habitats for the sake of a new strip mall or a few rolls of toilet paper, maybe we’d do well to get to know them a little bit better (you know, just in case the planet finally decides to rise up and rebel against us). To this end, we’re declaring Encyclopedia of Life our Cool Site of the Week.
For most of us, the internet is a social experience. No matter what time of day it is, or where you are, the web ensures that there’s something to talk about and people willing to listen. With services like Twitter and Facebook, we’re glut with ways to get our messages and opinions out into the world. That said, with so many others taking the time to give their two bits on a given topic through the same channels, it’s getting harder and harder to filter those opinions in a way that makes them timely or meaningful. Fortunately, our Browser Extension of the Week is here to sort the situation out.