Remember the days when unlimited Internet connections were just that? Unlimited? I’m not talking about a generational gap here—it seems like but a few years ago, that $40, or $60, or $80 you shuffled away to your favorite Internet service provider each month got you true unlimited Internet. You could download Linux distros until your router exploded; stream movies until your eyes exploded; play Counter-Strike until your… well, OK, Counter-Strike never really did use up that much bandwidth.
We live in different times now. Each bit and byte of data you transmit has an effective price tag: You’re paying for unlimited service so long as you, like many others, ignore the fine print that specifically tells you just how much unlimited service you’re going to get until your ISP gets pissy. Look, we can both agree that this practice is a complete joke, and it’s just one more way for your data providers to slowly squeeze the noose until we’re all paying $10 per picture we download on our mobile phones.
But is it really that bad?
It goes without saying that America’s Internet infrastructure (and pricing models) can vary wildly from those found in the rest of the world. But let’s not end the comparison with just a throwaway statement like that: How do American ISPs fare against their cross-cultural brethren? Does it get much worse than this… or better?
Last week we showed Chrome users how to rock a no nonsense interface for their Amazon Cloud Player account. But why should folks rocking a Google-flavored browser have all the fun. If you have a Last.FM account and your weapon of choice for getting online is Firefox, we suggest rocking some tunes with Fire.fm, our Browser Extension of the Week.
Even the most spontaneous of souls, needs to have the facts of a situation laid out for them now and again. No matter whether you’re noodling out your annual road trip with the family or preparing a massive presentation of proposed personnel shuffle at the office, you’ll want to have the right tools on hand to get the job done as quickly and easily as possible. Thanks to LucidChart, Chrome users can have access to a powerful set of free diagramming tools anywhere with an internet connection.
As Robert DeNiro said in The Untouchables, a man should have enthusiasms. Where many of opt to fill our spare time by spending it with friends, playing music or traveling, others find their thrills collecting toys, comic books and other much-loved geek paraphernalia. If you belong to this latter group, you’re going to want to know about Crave, our Cool Site of the Week.
Between looking up new remixes of the Nyan Cat song, reading your favorite blogs and occasionally doing a bit of work, your life has become a pretty complex affair. To keep track of the demands your job, friends and family make of you, you could--God forbid--write down a to-do list, or rely upon an application like Outlook or Google Calendar. If you’re a Firefox user you might also want to consider checking out ReminderFox, our Browser Extension of the Week.
Who has time (or money) for a vacation anymore? There’s just not enough free time in the month for your typical hardcore geek to unstick him or herself from that butt indentation in the office chair, throw some Threadless t-shirts into a bag, and travel to parts unknown. No, there’s email to check. Digital dungeons to stomp! Desktop files to organize!
Before you emit a frustrated sigh and close this article from the realization that, yes, our lives are truly just like that, fret not. For I have visited many a location across this great wide Internet, and I come back from my cyber-vacation with riches to behold. You don’t need to take a real-life vacation, because everything you’ve ever needed for a digital vacation is but a few keystrokes away.
If you listen to the pundits, there’s little doubt that iTunes users will be getting word that their Apple powered ditties will be making their way to the clouds by the end of the day. That might be great news for anyone rocking Cupertino’s resource hogging, behemoth of a music player or an iOS device, but what about the rest of us? If you signed up for a free or paid Amazon Cloud Player account, chances are that over the course of the past few months, you’ve had a chance to upload all of the audio files in your music library that your Cloud Drive can handle. Too bad Amazon’s browser-based music player is, shall we say… clunky? Fortunately, Amazon Cloud Player, our Chrome Web App of the Week, brings a modicum of style to Amazon’s streaming music service.
There’s nothing better than discovering music that moves you. Too bad we have to wade through so much crud to find that one aural gem that’ll keep us bopping all week long. For those of us sick of what mainstream joints Amazon or the iTunes Store have to offer, you’re going to want to know about the awesomeness that is exfm, our Browser Extension of the Week.
We used to have a love/hate relationship with sticky notes. They were great for jotting stuff down, but over time the small yellow squares ended up consuming the entire surface of our desks in a slow, ever-expanding Blob-like wave. We could never find the note we needed when we needed it. It always ended in hysterical tears and missed appointments.
Then we downloaded Evernote, and never touched a sticky note again. Plus, we started making it to our appointments on time. Or at least some of them.
There’s never been a better time in the history of geekdom to give your cable or satellite television the slip. Over the past few years, consumers been spoiled for choice, with just about everything we once turned to our televisions for now available online. Add to this the countless steaming video sites that pumping out fresh content to the interwebz on a daily basis, and you’ve got the makings of a viewing solution that has cable companies and satellite providers running scared. To keep track of it all, many resort to software solutions like XBMC, MediaPortal or Windows Media Center. If you’re a Chrome user, you’ve also got the option of rocking Clicker.TV, our Chrome web App of the Week.