Listen to YouTube audio only

musicI must admit I’m not sure how legal this service is. YouTube terms of usage say that the streams should not be represented in any other form.

Sometimes you want to enjoy the stream without the video.

That being said there are at least two situations where you may not want to watch YouTube videos:

  1. You have a low bandwidth connection
  2. Unfortunately many of the videos are not suitable for an office environment

YouTube Audio Player tries to solve the problem by allowing you to listen to the audio stream only. There are many options on how you want to play the audio. The service accepts videos and playlists and you can change the appearance of the player. The Allow YouTube to collect cookies option must be selected as YouTube tracks users.

Website: YouTube Audio Player

Online services to work (& play) smart

smartwork_compFacebook and Twitter won’t help you much in the way of getting stuff done. But there are many online services which can assist you in doing your job faster and smarter. We have covered some of them in past articles but then we thought it’s high time we serve them in a single plate. These services are diverse in functionality and useful in their own unique ways. How many do you use already?

  1. notepad.cc
    Note taking app for quick notes, bookmarks and sharing those with others. Password protection available. In case you want to send a burn after reading note, try Privnote.
  2. FileTea
    Share your files with friends directly from your system. No cloud upload, P2P data sharing.
  3. historious
    Store bookmarks with full page indexing.
  4. Pixlr
    Fast online image editor. Shrink images with Kraken.
  5. pCloud
    Cloud storage that supports direct cloud downloads and uploads to shared storage by non-users.
  6. Google Drive
    One place to view, edit, convert and store all your documents. There are multiple ways to sync files locally. Another alternative is Microsoft Office Online.
  7. PDFescape
    How many times have you wanted to edit a PDF file badly? Thought so. PDFescape is your friend. Remember those scanned PDF files which come in huge sizes? Shrink them with Compress PDF.
  8. Feedspot
    RSS and feed reader with a clean interface.
  9. StumbleUpon
    Spend your spare time browsing random pages from the internet of your interest. Fun way to learn!
  10. MintEmail
    Ever signed up to a service with your regular mail ID only to find numerous spam and newsletters flooding your inbox later? Try disposable mails.
  11. Browser Extensions
    A few extensions for safe and better browsing experience:
    a. AdBlock Plus blocks annoying ads
    b. FlashBlock blocks flash video auto-loading
    c. Disconnect hides your online tracks
    d. HTTPS Everywhere encrypts your communication with many major websites even if they provide limited HTTPS support
  12. Startpage
    Search the web anonymously. If you want to help someone Google something use Let Me Google That For You.
  13. minutes
    Take meeting minutes online and share instantly.
  14. Google Calendar
    Never miss another meeting or anniversary. Register your number and get SMS alerts minutes before the schedule.
  15. EveryTimeZone
    Scratching your head when the meeting with your overseas boss is actually scheduled? Try EveryTimeZone. If you want to check the local time at any city try The World Clock. The combination works better to account for daylight saving. WorldTimeBuddy is another alternative.
  16. FlightStats
    Got delayed at the airport and desperate to know for how long you’ll be stuck? Works worldwide. You cna check the flight schedule and status.
  17. FollowUpThen
    A reminder is only an email away. Need read receipts too? Try Boomerang (limited free).
  18. Date Duration Calculator
    Want to calculate how many days left to your project deadline? If you need a variety of timers check out Online Stopwatch.
  19. Wolfram
    Going to a new place or wanna know about a new dish? Search it in Wolfram!
  20. Dictation
    Speech to text, right in your browser.
  21. Pancake
    Host a blog or website in your Dropbox space. If you want to check if a domain name is still available or not try Simple Domain Name Registrar.
  22. Google Cache Browser
    Dead bookmark? You may still view the contents from Google’s cache.
  23. Similarsites
    Search sites similar to the one you like.
  24. Down For Everyone Or Just Me
    Ensure that a website is really down.
  25. Google URL Shortener
    Generate a short URL for any URL and share anywhere.
  26. DistroWatch
    Thinking of switching to Linux and looking for the right distro? Let DistroWatch guide you.

Finally, for Linux tips and Linux software visit TuxDiary.

Kraken: squeeze your images

kraken_compCompressing images before uploading them online saves both bandwidth and online storage. Kaken claims to achieve good lossless and lossy compression without compromising the quality of images visibly. You can upload your files from your desktop, use Kraken to compress them and finally download them individually or all in a zip archive. When I tried some of my images including a 3.6KB image I wasn’t disappointed. And I must mention that Kraken is fast.

Webpage: Kraken

Online Video Converter: transcode video & audio

online_video_converter_compOnline Video Converter is for those who want to convert their videos stored online and download them. It also supports importing videos from your local disk in addition to Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive and direct URLs to videos. It doesn’t seem to support any online hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo. Features:

  • Simple and professional interface
  • Covert any video file that can be accessed directly (not embedded)
  • Plenty of output video and audio formats like mp4, avi, flv, Apple, mp3, wav, flac, amr…
  • Select audio bitrate
  • Fine tune video resolution
  • Set output size (something I loved in HandBrake)
  • The same service also hosts other services line audio cutter, joiner, converter, video cutter and voice recorder

Webpage: Online Video Converter

Pixlr: light, powerful online image editor

pixlr_compI wrote about Pixlr in a different context before. But not writing a post about this tiny, powerful and yet too easy to use image editor would be a gross underestimation. Pixlr has 3 modes:

  • Editor: the full featured photo editor and most useful
  • Express: for quick edits
  • O-Matic: Apply vintage effects to photos

Possibilities just start from there. While Pixlr might not have all the bells and whistles like native full-blown image editors (e.g. Gimp), it has enough to awe anyone and get the job done in most cases:

  • Simple and easy to use interface with powerful tools
  • Open images directly from local disk, URL, webcam…
  • Excellent speed and you won’t probably feel that it is not a native application
  • Offline plugin for Google Chrome (works disconnected).
  • A huge array of image effects (besides regular ones) like spot heal, heat map etc.

Once you start using it, it’s hard to switch to anything else other than in very specific cases. However, if you are looking for something else, check this article.

Webpage: Pixlr

Websites to search Linux software

tux_compMany a time newbies say that they can’t find the software they need on Linux. It’s true that one can’t make all Windows software run on Wine on Linux but yes, you can find software with either the same or similar functionality on Windows or OS X for all your needs. However, finding the right software can be a pain on any platform, not only Linux. In addition to Google, where the total number of results can be overwhelming and may not be categorized all the time, here are some sites to find the software one needs on Linux:

Lists of Windows software alternatives:

notepad.cc: quick and permanent notes on the cloud

notepadMany a time it happens that you need to take quick notes or save some links that you will access shortly, from another system. If the data is not very sensitive there is a quick way of taking notes and accessing them from anywhere – notepad.cc. You can password protect the note as well. By default this sites generates a random URL for you at which your notes will be saved. For example, I created this new note for a demonstration. But the power of this cloud-based application lies elsewhere, it allows you to create your own note URLs if it is still available! So use something that you can remember easily, e.g., http://notepad.cc/bookitnow (it is available right now ;))! If you are like me and still afraid of forgetting the link add it as a bookmark in your browser or mail it to yourself to use the same link as long as you like. You can share your password protected note with anyone using the share button and it will still be safe as sharing only provides read-only access.

Similar service:

Webpage: notepad.cc

Two great sites for free online music

musicI have the habit of listening to online music. I use the following two websites for this:

1. Grooveshark (now off the grid): This is already a well-known service. It has paid mobile service as well though the Android app seemed to be heavy to me. I love the surveys option to gain points. Once you have enough you can enjoy a free month’s service. The collection is huge and you can have your own customized playlists. The featured new releases section is also good for having a taste of the latest music.

2. Aupeo: Hosted in Berlin, the single thing absolutely I love about this site is its international music section. It has a plethora of world music collection, from J-Pop to Italian to Spanish. It has a free Android app service which was again, a bit bulky and buggy the last time I checked.

Update:
Here’s another website primarily for Indian songs, started 18 months back and having apps for many platforms – Gaana.