The Classics: Prettifiers
With return tickets to the International Space Station still a way off, you have two options for a daily fix of satellite imagery – build a DIY rocket cam or use these handy tools to bring an earth cam to your browser. Our favourite new Chrome extension, Urthecast Imagery delivers a stunning new hit of landscape porn from its ISS camera every time you open a new tab. Prepare to spend large parts of your working day staring vacantly at your screen.
If you like your new tabs to come with a little more functionality, Momentum pairs beautiful images with a rich dashboard of info: the current time and weather, a to-do list and a list of user-defined links. There’s even an inspirational quote as well as a place to record your “main focus” for the day – which, yeah, comes across as a bit naff, but you’re free to totally ignore it if you like.
If you’re a voracious reader on the web, you probably find some sites’ formatting and clutter can become a distraction. Cut the noise with this extension, which reformats any web page into clean, easy-to-read text. You can choose from three typefaces (which can be re-sized using a slider) and night and day modes. There’s also a reading list mode that lets you save articles so you can read them at your leisure later.
The Classics: Time Savers
18) Hover Zoom+
A brilliantly simple extension, Hover Zoom+ allows you to hover your mouse pointer over any website image and have it display at full size (or at a size that fits your browser window, whichever is smaller). It’s particularly useful when browsing reddit, as the site’s default formatting uses tiny previews – with this extension, you can blow these up to a viewable size without having to open a new page.
19) Save to Pocket
One of the best reading list services is Pocket, which lets you save web articles for later reading and syncs across multiple devices. So you can save an article (may we humbly suggest something from Stuff India?) on your laptop, then read it later on your smartphone. It also makes saving articles an incredibly quick and easy process – after installing it, just click the Pocket icon in your Chrome toolbar and whatever web page you’re currently on will be added to your reading list.
20) Lazarus: Form Recovery
A must for anybody that frequently fills in web forms, Lazarus autosaves everything you type so that crashes, timeouts and network errors don’t spell doom for your words. As anyone who’s ever hit “save” after 10 minutes of writing to be confronted by a blank screen knows, losing your work can be a major headache – so Lazarus’ ability to bring things back from the dead is a true time-saver.
While online security is vitally important, remembering different passwords for all the services you use can be a real drag – which is why so many take the decidedly risky “one password fits all” approach. But LastPass makes things much easier by generating unique passwords for each service and locking them in an online vault that can only be accessed by you (and your master password). Amazingly, it’s free!