Monthly Archives: December 2009

15 Biggest Internet Controversies of the Past Decade

Written by Cameron Chapman

The Internet has been a breeding ground for controversy from the start. Part of this is a result of the fact that the Internet is the great neutralizer; it empowers everyone to have a voice.

As the first decade of the new millennium ends, let’s examine some of the most infamous and scandalous events that started, happened, and/or escalated on the web.

15 Biggest Internet Controversies of the Past Decade

If we missed something, tell us in the comments and let’s have the last great Internet controversy of this decade.

1. Climategate

When hackers gained access to a server used by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, they leaked over a thousand emails and other documents that call into question much of the data that has been used to support climate change models and predictions.


This controversy is still ongoing, with one side calling it a smear campaign, and the other, asserting that it shows collusion among scientists to manipulate data. Some have even begun to contend the validity of man-induced climate change.

The situation challenges the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, and whether this is an isolated incident or rampant practice among all fields of science.

More coverage of the controversy:

2. The Great Firewall of China

Censorship has always been a hot button issue in society. China is probably the most notorious country to practice strict online censorship garnering the moniker, “The Great Firewall of China”.

The Great Firewall of China

Other sites have cropped up to try to get around the censorship and provide access to blocked sites. There are also sites that let you test whether your site is blocked.

Censored material includes sites that incite Chinese citizens to resist or break their constitution, criticism of laws or regulations of the Chinese government, sexually suggestive material, talk about gambling and violence, and more.

The censorship has come under fire from governments around the world. President Obama has openly criticized China’s censorship programs. The biggest event that brought the situation to light occurred during the recent Beijing Olympics, where foreign journalists’ ability to report freely was blighted.

More coverage of the controversy:

3. Amazon removes sales rankings of gay and lesbian books

In the spring of 2009, a number of authors and site users were outraged when they learned that Amazon had stripped the sales rankings of thousands of gay and lesbian oriented books on their site. This meant that books aimed at gays and lesbians would not be able to show up on Amazon’s search.

The issue was proclaimed as a technical error that affected more than 57,000 books in other categories. Amazon issued an apology and restored the sales rankings.

More coverage of the controversy:

4. Google Street View invades privacy

Google Street View takes photos while driving through various towns and cities around the world, creating an alternate view within Google Maps.

Google Street View invades privacyvia Google Sightseeing

That also means they’re snapping photos of people, often on their private property, and sometimes in not-so-flattering situations. While so far Google has prevailed in lawsuits targeting the service, it does raise a number of interesting privacy issues.

More coverage of the controversy:

5. Google Books indexing copyrighted material

When Google announced in 2004 that they wanted to index the content of millions of copyrighted books from university libraries as part of the Google Books project, publishers and authors took to protesting the decision by claiming copyright infringement.

Google Books indexing copyrighted material

In 2005, a group of publishers and authors, including Penguin and McGraw-Hill, sued Google over the project. A settlement was reached where users will be able to purchase out-of-print books in digital format through Google or access them in subscribed libraries and universities. The settlement has been given preliminary approval, though final approval is still pending.

More coverage of the controversy:

6. The Net Neutrality debate

The prevalence of Net Neutrality is a big concern to people who use the Internet. In the U.S., net neutrality is practiced universally though there are no laws in place to guarantee that it remains that way. Nothing prevents Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from charging consumers different rates based on the sites they visit or the services they use.

The Net Neutrality debatevia Looking Glass News

There have been five different bills in the U.S. Congress over the past few years, and heavy lobbying by corporations on both sides of the debate. So far, no laws have been passed regarding net neutrality.

For the most part, many technology bloggers and other sites have come out in favor of protecting net neutrality.

Full disclosure: the loss of net neutrality affects websites such as the one you’re reading now. Help us by reading up on the issue and being proactive in voting for government representatives that support your rights to a free Internet.

More coverage of the controversy:

7. Internet Service Providers throttle bandwidth consumption

Bandwidth throttling is a common practice among some ISPs to restrict excessive consumption of service resources, specifically when they’re using file-sharing services. ISPs proclaim that it helps ensure all their customers have reasonable bandwidth access, but critics assert that it’s unethical and unfair to consumers that have to pay the same price for less service.

More coverage of the controversy:

8. The Digg Revolt

In 2007, Digg users posted the encryption keys for HD-DVD. Digg took the keys down on advice from their legal team. Digg’s users revolted, posting links to the codes and voting them up to the front page.

The Digg Revolt

In the end, Digg listened to its users, stating they’d rather do what their users wanted, even if it meant the site would be shut down.

9. Pedophiles on MySpace

MySpace has long been popular with teenagers. Underage children use the social networking site to share photos, post videos, and document their events in their lives. At one point of MySpace’s existence, adolescent users could make their profiles public, accessible to anyone.

Pedophiles on MySpace

Parents, and those concerned with child welfare, were outraged when incidents emerged of adults preying on young users of the social networking site. As a response, MySpace took measures to protect users under the age of 16 by making site adjustments such as restricting anonymous viewing of their user profiles and blocking unknown users from sending them messages.

While the problem won’t be resolved completely, MySpace has taken a more proactive role in ensuring the safety of its younger participants. Of course, MySpace is not the only social networking site out there that is experiencing this problem.

More coverage of the controversy:

10. Prostitutes on Craigslist

Craigslist has an adult services category that allows users to solicit adult-oriented services from site users. It’s really no surprise that prostitution rings conducting illegal activities would eventually take advantage of the favorable situation of anonymity on the web. It has made the job of cops so hard that some have sued the site for being the largest source of prostitution.

Though Craigslist’s purpose for the category is well-intentioned, promoting free speech and a fostering an open-minded community, the Internet is the biggest magnet of unscrupulous characters, and it was only a matter of time before the situation would escalate into the eyes of mainstream media.

Prostitutes on Craigslist

More coverage of the controversy:

11. Filesharing gets hammered down for copyrighted materials

Online file sharing has been happening since the early days of the Internet. But 2000 brought the first major lawsuit and take-down of a file-sharing service. Napster was sued by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for facilitating the transfer of copyrighted material in December 1999, and was finally shut down in July 2001.

Other popular P2P services have suffered similar fates. The Pirate Bay, a torrent-indexing site, has been involved in a number of lawsuits. The site’s servers were raided by Swedish police in 2006.

In 2009, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde were all found guilty of “assistance to copyright infringement” in Swedish courts and sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of over $3.6 million.

Filesharing gets hammered down for copyrighted materials

More coverage of the controversy:

12. Protesters use social networks during Iran elections

Iran’s election protesters and demonstrators took to Twitter and other social networking sites in the wake of the 2009 election to organize themselves and garner support for their cause. Though the situation precipitated out of the web, it was escalated and brought to mass media attention via the Internet.

Protesters use social networks during Iran elections

More coverage of the controversy:

13. Facebook’s Privacy Policy changes

In February 2009, Facebook altered their Terms of Service to allow them to use and retain any content posted to user accounts indefinitely and without limitation, claiming ownership of its user’s content once it’s uploaded to their site even after a user’s account is deleted.

Facebook's Privacy Policy changes

Unsurprisingly, this caused quite a stir among users. Others formed groups on the site itself, calling for the ToS to be reverted back.

Facebook asserts that they never intended for the change to be that far-reaching, and that it was a misinterpretation of the new terms.

Users weren’t buying it, and in the end, Facebook changed the ToS back to the original version, and has seen sought user input before implementing changes.

More coverage of the controversy:

14. Facebook deems breastfeeding as offensive

Facebook has a strong policy against what they term “obscene” content, something most parents would embrace. But many mothers went crazy when photos of breastfeeding moms were removed from the site due to the policy of censoring obscene content. It sparked boycotts, user groups, and even a protest (a “nurse-in”) at Facebook’s headquarters. The most popular group, “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!” has nearly 250,000 members.

Facebook wouldn’t budge on the policy.

More coverage of the controversy:

15. Blogger, Dooce, gets fired for blogging about work

In 2002, Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce (also the name of her blog), was fired for blogging about the company she worked for and some of her coworkers in a less-than-flattering manner. She’s possibly the first person ever fired for blogging, and definitely one of the most well known. There’s even a term that spawned from her experience: dooced (which means to lose one’s job because of one’s website according to Urban Dictionary).

Blogger, Dooce, gets fired for blogging about work

Since being fired, she’s turned Dooce into the sole source of income for her family. She was even named as one of the most powerful women in media by Forbes. The site still drums up plenty of controversy, as her posts are brutally honest.

More coverage of the controversy:


It’s unlikely the Internet will ever be controversy-free. And would we really want it to be? Many Internet users enjoy (at least in part) the controversy that is so prevalent on the web. We all have a chance to be heard, whether it’s in matters of global importance or the latest celebrity gossip.

If we missed something, tell us in the comments and let’s have the last great Internet controversy of this decade.

8 Tips for a Green Christmas

Written by Clara Moskowitz

While Christmas is sometimes white, it generally isn’t green. All that one-time-use wrapping paper and packaging, fuel spent traveling and shipping presents, and energy used to light up trees and houses means the holiday season takes a toll on the environment.

While red metallic wrapping paper looks festive, it\'s often not recyclable. Credit: Dreamstime

(While red metallic wrapping paper looks festive, it’s often not recyclable. Credit: Dreamstime)

In fact, Americans produce about 1 million extra tons of trash around the holidays, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which reported that the volume of household waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day rises by 25 percent above normal.

So to take pity on Mother Nature while celebrating Father Christmas, here are some tips:

Recycle wrapping paper — or better yet, forgo it altogether. Try making your own wrapping paper and trimmings from newspapers, paper bags, art projects, clothes, dish towels, etc. And if you do buy new wrapping paper, go for the kind without glossy metallic coating, which makes it harder to recycle.

Stay home. Much of the worst impact to the environment comes from all the carbon dioxide emitted by the transportation we use to get around during the holidays. Consider limiting your plane travel (the worst offender) and long car rides. If you must drive, carpool, and try to schedule around traffic, to reduce the amount of time you idle and waste fuel.

Lower the thermostat. If you’re cooking and having company over, chances are you can get away with lowering the heat in your house, because the body warmth and heat from the oven should help compensate.

Lose the lights. Think about cutting back on excessive house and yard lights — is it really necessary to see your glow-in-the-dark inflatable Santa from the next town over? And if you are decorating with lights, try switching to the LED variety, which can use 90 percent less energy than regular holiday lights.

Buy in bulk. Instead of purchasing cans of soda, small bags of chips, and serving-size baking supplies, stock up on bulk goods to reduce packaging waste.

Use real dishes. While disposable plates and silverware are easier if you’re hosting crowds, the environment will thank you if you buck up and do the dishes.

Serve less meat. Chicken, pork, and, especially, beef, take a heavier toll on the environment than veggies. Cows, in particular, produce copious amounts of methane, which is even worse for global warming than carbon dioxide. So instead of serving the turkey, the ham and the pot roast side-by-side, consider replacing some of the meat on your menu with tofu or veggies.

Use a real tree – and then recycle it when it’s done! Though it may feel sad to cut down a tree for the holidays, consider that most Christmas trees are grown expressly for the purpose (so you’re not contributing to deforestation), and can be planted or composted when you’re done with them. Plastic trees, in contrast, require petroleum to make, and then can’t be recycled easily when you’re through with them.

The 15 Best Time Travel Stories Of All Time

Written by Tim

Ever since man first got drunk at a work Christmas party, and accidentally told his boss “how to fix what’s wrong with this company”, people have dreamed of time travel. The ability to shift through the firmament of time, as though it were water. To fix the problems of the past, and hit on aliens in the future. Time travel really hit its stride in the late 19th and the 20th centuries, and became a standard fixture of novels, short stories, and eventually television. Even though the concept has been used frequently (and often badly) there are still interesting ways to play with the idea. Here are 15 of the finest time travel stories ever put on paper.

15. Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain


A pre-20th century choice, Connecticut Yankee has the distinct pleasure of having being adapted into a number of absolutely horrific films, each using a different–and equally stupid–take on the tale (see A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, A Knight in Camelot, and Black Knight). For some reason, this story seems to draw shitty, family friendly remakes like Twilight fans to a glitter sale. It’s horribly ethnocentric (temporacentric?), but functioned as a biting criticism of the over-romanticisation of the past. Twain was always at his best with satire, and making fun of 6th Century England is perhaps an easy target. Yet reading Connecticut Yankee in this day and age also serves as an interesting view on how people in the late 19th Century viewed themselves compared to their antecedents.

14. Saga of Pliocene Exile by Julian May


Spread across four novels (and a few followups):The Many Coloured Land; The Golden Torc; The Non-Born King; and The Adversary, the Pliocene Exile saga wins major points for its innovative central concept. 21st Century minor criminals, misfits and ne’er-do-wells are offered the opportunity to escape the rigors and overcrowding of the present, by taking a one-way trip back to the Pliocene (circa 5.3-2.8 million years ago), with the view that they’ll be in a wild paradise. Instead, they arrive to find the past inhabited by a dimorphic race of alien religious extremists, who enslave humans as soon as they get there. The books do run long—as is often the case with SF and Fantasy—but manage to keep things fresh, and provide interesting nods to the prehistory of our planet.

13. Looking Backward: 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy


Looking backward was written in 1888, and once perfectly described “…one of the few books ever published that created almost immediately on its appearance a political mass movement.” The time travel, and even plot, of Looking Backward are superfluous, and only present as a way of delivering Bellamy’s Socialist message (actually Socialist, not teabagger “Socialist). It’s the tale of a young man who slips into a coma, and wakes in the far future, where the United States is a Socialist paradise, everyone works for the good of all, and the quality of life is unparalleled. Bellamy’s work was an overnight sensation, inspiring clubs devoted to his ideals, utopian communities, and a political movement. It was extremely influential, and remarkably prescient on a number of issues.

12. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett


Terry Pratchett is a fantastical and hilarious author, and the Discworld series has more fans than any 40-odd long series of books has a right to. They’re consistently funny, and brim-filled with ideas and wit. Night Watch is part of the City Watch cluster of books, and deals with erstwhile leader of the Watch, Sam Vimes, being dragged back in time, and assuming the identity of his own mentor while coping with his younger self, and trying to control a revolution, which for him has already happened. The wonderful, and repeated, scenes of Present Vimes teaching Young Vimes the lessons he remembers from what he thought was his mentor are particular favorites, and Night Watch is some of Pratchett at his best.

11. The Dancers At The End Of Time by Michael Moorecock


If you’ve not encountered Moorecock before, you’re doing yourself a disservice, as his writing completely changed the face of British literature in the 60s and 70s–an managed to spawn unutterably bad copycats in all directions. The Dancers At The End of Time is a series of books focussed on the decedent and immortal inhabitants of a time period where entropy is causing the universe to collapse. They are utterly without morals, which they see as passé, and flit about the timestream on whims, searching for diversions. Moorecock’s writing is utterly languid and sublime, a sexual acid trip in a period when free love actually meant something, and was taken to its utter extreme. Dancers never achieved as much recognition as some of his other work, and is a more surreal, introspective and less violent, and revels in its debauchery.

10. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card


OSC is very easy to paint as a homophobic misogynist, and a man full of hate, because, well, he is. He’s also an excellent writer, as anyone who ever read Ender’s Game will tell you. Pastwatch is one of the few novels he managed to write with a female character who wasn’t just there as mother or lover. He created a nuanced tale of future scientists watching Colombus’ westward exploration, and its everlasting effect on our own society. They eventually realise that he was sent westward by a similar group of scientists, from an alternate timeline, attempting to prevent an even worse fate for the planet. The scientists in our own timeline then send back three of their own to various junctures in history, to try again to create a better outcome than the eventual genocide of Native Americans. The book really hits its stride in the final third, when it deals with the trio in the past, trying to right the potential wrongs of the future, while knowing they’ll never see the result.

9. The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter.


Once, there was a very shitty science fiction book called Timeline, by Michael Crichton, which used quantum foam as a way of sending college students to the medieval era for hijinks. Then, around a year later, came a truly excellent novel by Clarke and Baxter, also focusing on the theoretical possibilities of quantum foam—but for time viewing instead of time travel. Through wormholes, people became able to watch any point in the history of humanity. The Light of Other Days is a brilliant sociological analysis of a culture where privacy becomes completely non-existent. When someone can look at any event ever (including the present), Governments grind to a halt, and modesty becomes a relic—apart from a small group dedicated to attempting to avoid being watched. It’s Clarke and Baxter at their bests, with a deep philosophical view on the possible implications of this technique. Though the ending comes completely out of left field, and makes little sense.

8. The Time Quartet by Madeline L’Engle

8-wrinkle in time

One of the finest young adult series to be had, the first volume—A Wrinkle in Time—deservedly won the Newbery Award. Young adult literature functions best when it actually bothers to treat its readers as intelligent human beings, and L’Engle does this with aplomb. The quartet deals with morality, belief, and good and evil, while taking place across the a universe of time, space and scale. While some find L’Engle’s religion off putting—either for being too Christian, or not enough—within the context of the novels, it’s seen as part of a larger universal force for good.

7. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe


Another multi-volume choice, but the four part Book of the New Sun flows continuously from one novel to the next, reading a single unit. The reason it’s included on this list isn’t that the story involved time travel, but that the book itself is an artifact from another time. The tale is based on a journal from the future, flung into the recesses of the past. The story told in the Book of the New Sun is one of the clearest examples of science fiction as literature as you can find, and one of the few SF stories that’s actually had an entire book devoted to its analysis published. Any budding linguists out there will do well to read it, as Wolfe’s approach to the language of the future is masterful, crafting argot from similar roots to modern English, so they sound familiar, but still unrecognized.

6. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


Yes, I know I completely lose any guy cred for choosing this. I totally don’t care. It’s a beautiful love story about a man with a genetic condition that causes him to randomly pop around the timeline, the woman who loves him, and their desperate struggle to have a relationship. It’s saccharine and cliché, but it’s a love story, it’s meant to be. How each of the main characters meets the other for the first time, at various points in their lives, are particularly well done, and the ending of the story is particularly heart-wrenching, though telegraphed. The story’s pace is perfect, and while it won’t mentally tax you the way some of the other stories on this list will, it makes a perfect lazy read.

5. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams


If you haven’t read the Hitchhiker’s Guide Trilogy yet, then you are a horrible, horrible person. You probably push old ladies into incoming traffic, and believe in trickle down economics. Seriously, I steadfastly refuse to believe that anyone of decent worth has not read the Hitchhiker’s guide, so go do it. In those hallowed pages you will find the most bitterly hilarious and tragic comedy to be set on paper. Including, among other things, time travel, and the original colonization of Earth by a ship full of middle managers, hairdressers and telephone sanitizers.

4. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

4-Wells Time Machine White500

The one, only, and classic. One of the few time travel stories from the 19th Century, H.G. Wells’ seminal tale told of the Time Traveller, and his shifting through the ages. The most commonly known chunk of the story is when he visits the year 802,701 AD, and comes across the peaceful but aimless Eloi, and the brutal subterranean Morlocks. However, the book continues further, as the Traveller continues onwards, watching the Earth slowly die, and the Sun turn cold. This novelette popularised the concept of time travel via a vehicle (rather than by accident, as with other older stories), and without it we wouldn’t have the breadth of this genre that we all love.

3. The short stories of Philip K Dick


A full half this list could easily be devoted to the short stories of legendary (and drug addled) author, Philip K. Dick. So we’ll just combine them into one big lump, and call out a couple of great ones. Forget the crappy Ben Affleck adaptation, Paycheck is a tense thriller about a man who has his mind voluntarily wiped as part of a job, and when he comes to, instead of a large paycheck he has six random objects; The Skull tells the story of an assassin sent back in time to kill the founder of a new religion, with only the man’s skull from the future as a guide to his target; finally The Variable Man is perhaps my favorite, the tale of a man from the early 20th Century accidentally hurled into the future and getting dragged into an alien war. Dick’s work is always hard to summarize without giving away too much, so go and grab a book of his stories, they’re universally mind blowing.

2. Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance With Death by Kurt Vonnegut

2-Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Gray 1000

Vonnegut’s most well known work, Slaughterhouse-Five rightly belongs on any list of great novels, especially one focused on time travel. It concern’s Billy Trout, WWII POW unstuck in time. He simultaneously and out-of-order experiences his past, being at war, being a prisoner of the Germans, the firebombing of Dresden, his experience as an exhibit at an alien zoo, his life after the war, and his eventual murder. The bleak fatalistic view of the novel is marked and re-marked by the constant recurrence of the line “so it goes.” As ever with Vonnegut, his writing is bittersweet and touching.

1. —All You Zombies— by Robert Heinlein

1-19RSO Ring Ouroboros AG

All You Zombies is one of the greatest, and most twisted, time travel stories ever imagined. It’s available in its entirety online, and well worth the time. I won’t spoil this magnificent story, but the twists pile on one another, each one making you revisit the previous, until the final reveal. It’s one of the few stories where it probably wouldn’t hurt to make a diagram as you go, to keep track of what happens. The title itself is a reference to one of the final lines in the story, in itself packed with portent, “I know where I came from—but where did all you zombies come from?”

List of Top 50 free applications for Windows

Written by Nidhi

Are you tired of buying utilities or renewing license to your utilities on your already expensive Windows system? Here is a list of 50 such applications that are free to use. Furthermore, these applications do not require any fees and are available absolutely free.

1    Advanced SystemCare Free

Helps to protect, repair, clean and optimize your PC.

Owner : IObit

2    Wise Registry Cleaner Free

Helps you speeds up your PC by cleaning up your registry. Basically it provides windows registry clean up features with pretty easy to use interface.

Owner: WiseCleaner

3    Ccleaner

Helps you optimize your system by cleaning up the system. Cleanup includes Browser history, Trash Files, Temporary files and Log files. Further, it features un-installation of unused application and the registry cleanup.

Owner : Piriform Ltd.

4    Adobe Reader 9.1

Adobe Reader lets you

•    Open up and interact with all PDF documents.

•    View, search, digitally sign, verify, print and collaborate on Adobe PDF files.

Owner : Adobe Systems Incorporated

5    PDF-XChange

PDF – Xchange standard features includes

•    Add Comments and Annotations

•    Add & apply Custom Stamps

•    Mark-up pages with text and objects

•    Type directly on any PDF page

•    Extract text from a PDF page and few more.

Owner : Tracker Software Products (Canada) Ltd

6    AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

Protection against viruses and spyware

•    Compatible with Windows Xp or higher

•    Light weight and less overhead on OS.

Owner : AVG Technologies

7    avast! Home Edition

Simplest of application in terms of usability.

•    Daily automatic updates

•    Continuous data protection against all types of malware and spyware

•    Available in 30 different languages.

Owner : ALWIL Software

8    Avira AntiVir Personal – FREE Antivirus

Provides Basic protection

for your computer against dangerous viruses, worms, Trojans.

•    Available in 5 different languages

Owner :

9    Avant Browser

Its salient feature include online profile storage to let user save users’ bookmarks, RSS Feeds, configurations or web passwords etc, in Avant Online Storage.

Owner : Avant Force

10    Open Office 3.0

Open office is an open source office suite for Windows. This is available for free download and serves as good alternative to well know Microsoft’s Word & Excel. It has full-featured set of office applications for word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs.

Owner : CollabNet, Inc., Sun, Sun Microsystems

11    DropBox

This application lets your share files with an account and you could use up to 2 GB (greater space requires paid accounts). This is quite handy tool for sharing your file over internet.

Owner :

12    SKYPE

This popular freeware is VOIP based application which helps you voice call and is available for free download. You may make computer to computer calls for free. Moreover, Skype is one of the cheap VOIP service available to make computer to Phone calls.

Owner : Skype Limited

13    Smart Defrag

Smart Defrag helps defragment your hard drives more efficiently.

•    Ease of use along with Data Safety and Reliability Guaranteed

Owner :

14    Download Accelerator Plus

  • Provides Mirroring Speed Boost to download from the fastest sources.
  • Available in 38 languages
  • Built-in Twitter integration to Tweet directly from DAP

Owner : SpeedBit Ltd

15    Flash Player

Plays multimedia design made with Flash.

Owner : Adobe Systems Incorporated

16    VLC Media Player

•    It supports various audio and video formats which include MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, etc.

•    Further, it is handy for use with DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

Owner :

17    YouTube Downloader

•    YouTube Downloader is software that allows you to download videos from YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo Video, and many others

•    This lets you convert them to other video formats for Ipod, Iphone, PSP, Cell Phone, Windows Media, XVid and MP3.

Owner : Biennesoft

18    Irfan View

•    Fast directory view (moving through directory)

•    Batch conversion (with image processing)

•    Multipage TIF editing

•    File search

•    Email option

•    Multimedia player

•    Print option and many more.

Owner : Irfan skiljan

19    Notepad++

•    It is a very good source code editor with support for several programming languages.

•    Very good search and replace option.

•    It has good Bookmarking and Multi-document support feature.

Owner :

20    Textpad

•    Huge files can be edited, up to the limits of 32-bit virtual memory.

•    Good search and replace files in huge files.

•    Warm Start feature lets you restart exactly where you left off.

•    And many more.

Owner : Helios Software Solutions

21    Word Web

•    Provides Definitions, Synonyms and Usage for 150000 root words.

•    Includes audio pronunciations

•    Light-weight to the system

Owner : WordWeb Software

22    Applian FLV Player 2.0

•    Play FLV Files on any PC

•    Zoom to 2x or full screen.

•    Includes free audio/video recorder & converter option.

Owner : Applian Technologies Inc.

23    Easeus Partition Manager 3.5

•    Resize/Move partitions without data loss

•    Extend system partition easily and safely

•    Create, Merge, Split, Delete and Format partitions

•    Support up to 2TB partition or hard drive

Owner : CHENGDU YIWO Tech Development Co., Ltd.

24    Free YouTube to MP3 Converter

•    Lets you convert the YouTube video and download it as MP3 or Wav format.

•    Automatically fills the title tag and the artwork in the downloaded mp3 files.

Owner : DVDVideoSoft Limited

25    Undelete Plus

•    Restore accidentally deleted files

•    Image recovery from Compact Flash, SmartMedia, MultiMedia and Secure Digital cards.

Owner : Phoenix Technologies Ltd

26    Video mp3 Extractor 1.8

•    Convert Video Files (AVI, ASF, WMV files)  to mp3

•    Fast audio extraction algorithm

•    Easy to use interface.

Owner : GeoVid.

27    Diagram Designer 1.22

•    Creating flowcharts, UML class diagrams, illustrations and slide shows.

•    Import/export WMF, EMF, BMP, JPEG, PNG, MNG, ICO, GIF and PCX images.

•    Consists of slide show viewer and Simple graph plotter to plot mathematical expressions.

Owner :

28    Real Temp

•    Reads temperature information for all inter Core processors.

•    Keep track of the minimum and the maximum temperature of the processor.

•    Provides calibration features for each core of your processor.

Owner :

29    Pidgin

•    Free chat client with support for Msn, Yahoo, AIM Google Talk and other chat networks all at once.

•    Supports more than 60 different languages.

Owner :

30    VNC Viewer Free Edition 4.1 

•    Easy connect and use remote computer screen.

•    Easy to install and use.

•    Supports loading and saving of .vnc a file which contains a set of connection options.

Owner : RealVNC Limited

31    Free Video to iPod and PSP Converter

•    Helps convert full video or the part of video to Apple iPod, Sony PSP, BlackBerry and mobile phones MP4 video format

Owner : DVDVideoSoft Limited

32    LimeWire

•    Helps user connect to P2P network and share the file they want to share.

•    Faster starup and less waiting time.

•    Better memory usage

•    Free download and usage for basic usage.

Owner : Lime Wire LLC

33    FrostWire

•    Completely free and open source.

•    Provides Faster Torrent Speeds, I-Tunes compatibility, Friendly online chat rooms, easy navigation and many more.

Owner :

34    JetAudio

Even though plus Vx cost but basic version is absolutely free. Features it consists are as

•    Audio CD ripping

•    Voice recording

•    File conversion between various formats and

•    Audio CD buring.

Owner : JetAudio Inc.

35    Sql Tools

•    This tool is for Oracle 8/9i/10g PL/SQL development.

•    Provides good basic editor services

•    Easy to install and connect to ORACLE server

Owner : Aleksey Kochetov

36    Tortoise SVN

Tortoise SVN is Subversion client having features such as

•    Atomic Commits

•    Directory and File versioning,

•    Versioned Metadata

•    Consistent Data Handling

•    Reliable and quick tagging and branching and many more.

Owner :

37    7 Zip

•    High Compression ratio

•    Compression ratio in the new 7z format is 30-50% better than ratio in ZIP format

•    Supports multiple formats such as 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, LZH, CHM, GZIP, BZIP2, Z, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB formats

Owner : Igor Pavlov

38    The Gimp

The GIMP is a more of the complex image editor like Photoshop available for windows platform. This application is free for download. It is quite good alternative Adobe’s Photoshop with similar features available for use.

Owner : The GIMP Team

39    iTunes

ITunes is a freeware that helps you play your digital music and video. It helps you synchronize your iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV.

Owner : Apple Inc.

40    JCreator

Jcreator is a light weight IDE for Java Programmers. Project management, project templates, code-completion, debugger interface, editor with syntax highlighting, wizards and a fully customizable user interface are some of the functionality that it provides.

Owner : Xinox Software

41    Eclipse

Eclipse is Software Development environment with support for multiple programming languages such as Java, C++, perl, PHP and others.

Owner : The Eclipse Foundation

42    MySql

MySql is a free open-source relational database management system (RDBMS).  This is the most popular open source RDBMS and offers free download and usage. Further this has adequate features needed by small to medium scale database.

Owner : Sun Microsystems, Inc

43    Cygwin

Cygwin is a Linux-like environment for Windows.

This provides a DLL which acts as a Linux API emulation layer providing substantial Linux API functionality.

Owner : Cygwin

44    Apache

•    This is free/open source http web server.

•    This provided Server-side programming language support to authentication schemes.

Owner : Apache Software  Foundation

45    Xampp

•    Xampp is a comprehensive set of web development resources under a bundle.

•    This is integrated package that consist PHP, PHP myAdmin, Mysql RDBMS, Apache Web server, Filezilla Ftp Client and few more.

Owner : Apache Friends

46    HTTrack

•    This is freeware that you download the full website into your local folder.

•    Arranges the file in the same directory structure.

•    Further, lets you browse the pages with offline browser utility.

Owner : Xavier Roche & other contributors

47    AVS TV Box Free

•    AVS TV Box Beta is a FREE universal software TV viewer and comes along with Personal Video Recorder functionality (PVR) .

•    PVR allows you to schedule TV recordings.

•    It works with any windows video capture device like satellite, TV and DVB cards, miniDV cameras, video capture cards and others.

Owner : Online Media Technologies Ltd., UK

48    Mozilla ThunderBird

•    This is good alternative to Microsoft’s Outlook. This is an email client email and Usenet client.

•    Provides features such as easy mail setup, attachment re-minder, One click Address Book and many more.

Owner : Mozilla

49    Free Guitar Tuner

Free guitar tuner provides features for tuning acoustic and electric guitars. It provides few set of tones to tune it.

Owner : GCH Guitar Academy

50    mTorrent

mTorrent is free to download and use torrent client. This is one of the finest, speedy, efficient, and free torrent clients. Ease of installation and use along with user friendly GUI makes it quite popular.

Owner : BitTorrent, Inc.

Image Credit :,,,,,,,, thewaytobuildhealth,,

Most Popular DIY Projects of 2009

Written by [email protected]

We love DIY projects here at Lifehacker. Whether we’re building computers, backyard projects, or turning office supplies into artillery, we’re always tinkering. Today we’re taking a peek at the most popular DIY projects of 2009.

Create Your Own Sun Jar: Lifehacker Edition

Inspired by a tutorial we posted last year, we decided to make our own DIY sun jars. The trendy summer time lighting accessory retails for $30+ but we were able to make ours for around $10 each. The sun jars proved to be our most popular non-computer DIY of the entire year and readers shared their own creations with us.

The First-Timer’s Guide to Building a Computer from Scratch

Building your own computer is a great way to get exactly what you want, the way you want it, without being constrained by the limits and high-prices of mass produced computers. We showed you how to build a computer from start to finish and have fun doing it.

Turn a Sharpie into a Liquid Fueled Rocket

What’s standing between you and some office mayhem? Certainly not a lack of Sharpie markers and keyboard dusting spray. Combine the two with this fun DIY project and you’ve got one of the most awesome pieces of office-machinery we’ve ever featured.

Properly Erase Your Physical Media

You need to be properly erasing your physical media: all the time, every time. Our guide will show you how to get the job done and done right whether you use software to scrub your disks or you send them to the great data mine in the sky with a 21-gun salute.

Turn an Old Laptop into a Wall-Mounted Computer

Why settle for a digital picture frame when, in the same wall space, you could mount an entirely functional computer/slideshow player/TV tuner? One Lifehacker reader turned an old laptop into a super-charged digital frame.

$8 DIY Aluminum Laptop Stand

We’ve always been keen on DIY laptop stands, but reader Aaron Kravitz—inspired by an attractive $50 stand—went above and beyond, creating one of the most attractive DIY laptop stands we’ve featured to date.

Build an IKEA NAS On the Cheap

If the Hive Five on best home server software got you excited about setting up a home server but you’re not keen on another unsightly PC in your home, check out this DIY IKEA NAS.

Build a DIY Portable Air Conditioner

We’ve shown you how to make an air conditioner (even for as low as $30), but what if you wanted something you can put in your car and take with you? While it’s no substitute for a fully-charged and factory-fresh AC system, it’ll keep you cool.

Turn a Bookshelf into a Secret Passage

Who hasn’t dreamed of having a mystery-story-style secret passageway? While a trick bookshelf is pretty awesome in itself, this secret passage hides a home office with clever style. One industrious Lifehacker reader and his girlfriend had grown tired of seeing their office from their living space, so they hid it behind a wall of books.

Wire Your House with Ethernet Cable

You’ve ripped a movie on your laptop, and now want it on that fancy new home theater PC next to your TV. If you’ve got the time, wiring your house with Cat-5e cable could make transfer times a distant memory.

Rain Gutters as Cable Management Tools

We’re all about creative cable management here at Lifehacker, so we were instantly drawn to reader Seandavid010‘s rain-gutter cable management setup. He was awesome enough to send detailed photos and step by step instructions to help other readers recreate his setup.

Build Your Own DTV Antenna

The lights went out on analog television this year and we were there with a guide to help you build a great DIY antenna for boosting your reception and getting that crisp digital picture you crave.

DIY Laptop Rack Hack Turns Your Monitor into an iMac

Lifehacker reader Matt Lumpkin saw our monitor stand from door stoppers post and thought we might like his laptop rack hack as another space-saving desktop solution for laptop-lovers. He was right.

Build Your Own Pizza Oven

Suppose you were inspired by the cheap DIY home pizza oven—but weren’t so sure your home insurance would cover oven modifications. It’s time to build a safer, more eye-pleasing oven, and we’ve got a thorough guide.

Crack a Master Combination Padlock Redux

Two years ago we highlighted how to crack a Master combination padlock for those of you who may have lost the combination to your bulletproof lock; now designer Mark Campos has turned the tried-and-true instructions into an easier-to-follow visual guide.

DIY Invisible Floating Bookshelves

We’ve covered the invisible floating bookshelf once or twice before, but if you liked the idea but weren’t keen on ruining a book in the process, weblog May December Home’s got you covered.

DIY Inverted Bookshelf

Instead of storing your books upright on top of the shelf, the inverted bookshelf holds all of your books in place using elastic webbing so you can hang them below the shelf—all the while allowing you to still take them out and put them back on as needed.

Build an Under-the-Cabinet Kitchen PC from an Old Laptop

Inspired by our guide to giving an old laptop new life with cheap or free projects, Lifehacker reader Brian turned his aging Dell laptop into an incredible under-the-cabinet kitchen PC.

Turn Storage Containers into Self Watering Tomato Planters

If you’d like to have delicious home-grown tomatoes but lack a garden to grow them in, you’ll definitely want to check out this ingenious and inexpensive self-watering system.

Deter Thieves by Uglifying Your Camera

A few years ago, blogger Jimmie Rodgers’s camera was stolen while volunteering in an impoverished Brazilian community, so he did what any sane person would do: He bought a new camera and made it ugly. With his uglified camera, Rodgers was able to snap pictures freely during the rest of his trip without worrying too much that his ostensibly crappy camera would end up stolen.

DIY TV or Monitor Stand from Door Stoppers

Nothing adds space to a desk or home theater setup like a simple monitor or TV stand, and weblog IKEA Hacker details how to build your own stand on-the-cheap with a few inexpensive items from IKEA.

Repurpose Your Analog Television

You don’t need to run out and buy a new TV because of the DTV switchover. If you did anyways, Make Magazine has put together quite a guide to giving old TVs new life.

Use Ping-Pong Balls to Create Diffused Party Lights

If you need some cheap and novel ambient lighting for your next party, you’re only a box of ping-pong balls and a string of lights away from solving your lighting worries.

Build a Custom-Made BoxeeBox

DeviceGuru blogger Rick Lehrbaum, inspired by the cheaper set-top boxes, made his own higher-powered “BoxeeBox” for the free, open-source media center. He posted all the parts, the how-to details, and lots of pictures.

Build a Sturdy Cardboard Laptop Stand

You already shelled out your hard earned cash for a swanky laptop, why drop more cash on an overpriced laptop stand? Cardboard alone can do the trick, as detailed in this step-by-step tutorial.

Install Snow Leopard on Your Hackintosh PC, No Hacking Required

Earlier this year we put together a wildly popular guide to building a Hackintosh with Snow Leopard, start to finish, and then followed it up with an even easier guide to install Snow Leopard on your Hackintosh PC, no hacking required. Computers + DIY is all sorts of geeky fun waiting to happen.

Have a favorite DIY from 2009 that wasn’t highlighted here? Sound off in the comments with a link to your favorite project. Want to see more popular DIY guides courtesy of the ghost of Lifehacker past? Check out our huge DIY guide roundup from 2008.

10 Must-Have Google Chrome Extensions

Written by Sebastian Anthony

With the Chrome Extensions gallery now fully up and running, the number of awesome extensions is multiplying at a rapid rate. What I’ve tried to do here is offer up the best, the most useful and the must-have extensions for Google Chrome.
To use the extensions you will need to install the Beta if you’re under Windows, or the Developer build for Mac. Linux users will also need the Beta version. Google has a quick walkthrough that I suggest you read, if you’re new to extensions — but mostly, it’s just a matter of installing the Beta (30 seconds), clicking the links in this article and hitting ‘yes’. Easy enough, right?

The main thing you’ll notice from this list of extensions is that all the big Firefox add-on developers are now on-board with Chrome. It’s still very early days but the offerings are already surprisingly extensive. There’s something for everyone in this list, I assure you.

1. WOT (Web Of Trust) — Direct Install Link

From what I can tell, this is like your usual ‘link scanner’ that’s present in most security suites… only it’s faster, and a lot more informative. WOT is a huge community that rates and appraises a vast majority of the popular Web. This is one of the many add-ons that has made the (quick) transfer from Firefox to Chrome — it was incredibly popular over on Firefox, so I think you’ll find this an invaluable extension if you’re now exclusively using Chrome.
For every page you can view its ‘scorecard’ using the extension’s icon in the top right of your browser, pop open the extended details (as you see in the screenshot above) — and of course, you are encouraged to add your own ratings to the web of trust! Also of note, when you install the extension, you can choose default security settings — this extension is ideal for protecting your kiddies from the dangers of the world wide web…!

2. Evernote Web Clipper — Direct Install Link

This is an odd one, but cool. Basically, it allows you to annotate and tag any page on the web — a bit like Delicious or Stumble Upon, but it’s not social. It attempts to differentiate itself from the social bookmarking services with a few features. For a start, you can take clippings of entire pages, or just blocks of text that you like. There’s also Twitter integration — Evernote can be set to stalk your tweets — and also easy access to the website (and your clips) from any Internet-connected device. Good for taking notes at home and then reading them on the move!
It’s worth noting that the service could definitely be a bit quicker though. I imagine it’s just a teething issue, with so many new users suddenly using the extension.

3. FeedlyDirect Install Link

I’d never even heard of this extension until today, and it’s totally unlike any other extension you’ll install. Instead of directly interacting with how you surf it… does some clever stuff. From what I can tell, it sniffs out your Twitter and Google Reader login details and collates everything into a ‘magaziney’ homepage.
Seriously, it’s as cool as it sounds. I guess it does it via my cookies or something clever like that — but really, the first time you install this extension and hit that icon in the top right corner… you are suddenly looking at a web page that feels strangely familiar, but also not. Then you slowly realise it’s your RSS feeds from Google Reader… and recommended items from Amazon… and shared Reader items from your friends! It’s really quite odd, rather daunting, but very, very neat — and well worth playing with!

4. Google Wave NotifierDirect Install Link

You probably know by now that I’m a bit of a Google Wave fan — I’m one of those nutcases that thinks it’s the key to Google’s continued world domination — and this extension is another neat way of keeping up to date with Wave, but without leaving its the resource-intensive monster open in another tab. Now you can close that CPU cycle-hogging behemoth and just keep an eye on the notifier in the top right corner.
It even shows you which waves have been updated, and links you directly to them. There are a few configuration options too, such as update frequency, and the colour of the icon (it’s important for some people, damnit!)

5. ShareaholicDirect Install Link

No list of extensions or add-ons could ever be complete without the wunderkind that is Shareaholic. It’s like… a social sharegasm, in an extension. It’s all right there, in a single drop-down menu: share it, save it, email it, tweet it… you get the idea — Shareaholic is really all you need, instead of pesky and bloated application-specific extensions.
As far as options go, pickings are pretty slim. All you really have to do is choose what services appear in the menu… and that’s about it! Oh, it also automatically generates a shortened link too, so no need for any of those pointless URL-shortening extensions either.

6. LastPassDirect Install Link

This one I’m lifting straight from Lee’s excellent ‘pre-release’ list of Chrome Extensions that he did last month. LastPass is the password manager — no other tool or add-on even comes close to LastPass in its functionality or usability. You can import password databases from almost every other similar service, and the developers say that it picks up more password fields (AJAX forms for example) than any other password-scanning tool.
LastPass has other neat bits too, like the ability to store secure notes and generate secure passwords. This is one of those vital extensions that every security-aware user should download.

7. Mouse StrokeDirect Install Link

I always love reviewing mouse-gesture tools; I revel in anything that can give those five remaining Opera users a reason to join the Chrome or Firefox revolution!
Mouse Stroke is about as good as gestures get in Chrome, at least so far. It can be a bit tricky initially, using gestures, but after a little bit of training you’ll wonder how you ever got by without them. I guess there are two ways you can go: either keyboard-only, with something like Gleebox, or mouse-only with a gesture extension like Mouse Stroke. Either solution is going to save your fingers and hands a world of RSI pain, so I suggest you pick one or the other!
Getting to the Mouse Stroke options screen is a little harder than usual: you have to hit the spanner, then Extensions and then ‘options’ next to the Mouse Stroke entry. Documentation is pretty slim, so the options page is your best bet — U, D, R and L are the four directions. That should be enough to get you started with gestures (and if not, there’s a rudimentary FAQ on their Google Code page).

8. AdBlock, FlashBlock, FacebookBlock et al. (Direct Install Links below)

Talking about the vast variety of ‘block’ extensions seems a little bit of a waste. If you want to block ads, or Flash elements or anything really, there’s an extension that will do it. Yes, they have white lists for specific sites, and some are better than others, but at the end of the day… you all know what they do, so what’s the point in me telling you something you already know?

But in any case, here are some links to the most popular Chrome ‘blocking’ extensions:

FlashBlockDirect Install Link — this one blocks Flash! (there are two FlashBlocks with the exact same name on the Chrome Extensions site, doh!)
AdBlockDirect Install Link — I’m told this one blocks ads… (and it has some neat in-line black- and white-listing functions — take a look at the options page for more info)
Facebook AdblockDirect Install Link — if you just want to block ads on Facebook… (why?)

9. Speed TracerDirect Install Link (requires the ‘–enable-extension-timeline-api’ command line flag)

We actually covered Speed Tracer in its own article on Download Squad; it’s that neat — at least if you’re a developer! This isn’t a tool for the average user (unless you’re the curious type), but I’m including it because it really is useful if you’re a website admin or designer — or even an executive type that wants to smack down your tardy webdesign department with great vengeance and furious anger.
It basically gives you a wealth of information about where your web pages/apps are being slowed down, be it in the Javascript execution or the AJAX callbacks. There’s a cool video on the extension’s page too, which is worth a watch so you can see just how much this extension does.

10. Chromed BirdDirect Install Link

Ladies and gentlemen, the customary Twitter extension. No! Don’t throw rotten tomatoes at me! Really, this is quite cool. Think about it — how often do you navigate to the Twitter website, or alt-tab to TweetDeck? Fairly often, if you’re a contemporary social-networking nerd like me. Chromed Bird lets you send tweets and watch tweets as they come in from your friends in real time.
It would be nice if there was an ‘automagic’ button that tweets whatever page you’re currently on — you have to copy and paste at the moment — but other than that, this is a very concise and cute Chrome extension. It even changes colour and notifies you when new tweets come in — it lets you view @replies and direct messages too!
* * *
As always, if there are other Chrome Extensions that you think people should know about, or ‘must-haves’ that I’ve sacrilegiously left off the list, please leave me a comment!