Advanced Tips and Tricks for Better Online Privacy and Security

With social networks and tons of places to spend time online it is important to be aware of security measures you can take and what pitfalls to avoid. With the default stock configuration of your systems and browsers, you should be safe but whether you are safe enough depends on how seriously you take your safety and privacy online.

The need of the hour is to move beyond simple security measures and opt for advance techniques like data encryption and two-factor authentication etc. to have a safe, secure and private online experience. Here are some of safety measures you should know of and take heed, to make yourself safer online.

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Check for telltale signs

There are a few telltale signs that indicate a problem or something fishy with a site.

Always Check for Telltale Signs
  1. Padlock icons: Green padlock is good but any other color (orange, yellow or red) indicates a issue.
  2. HTTPS in the address bar: HTTPS means the site is on a secure connection (and safe from prying eyes). By January 2017, Chrome will label HTTP connections as not secure.
  3. Phishing and malware alerts: Such alerts given by the browser means the site is insecure to visit and must not be viewed, in any case.
  4. Suspicious attachments in email: Emails with suspicious attachments are likely spam and may lead to phishing attacks
Always Check for Telltale Signs

These are the indicators that the website or page you’re viewing is not safe/secure, known of having malware or exploited for malicious use like cheating people, hacking into their data, etc. There is also danger in the handling of payment details leading to potential thefts or other attacks.

Avoid sharing info with strangers (or new friends)

With the increasing use of social networks, we run the risk of oversharing what we shouldn’t. If we are not careful this could lead to identity theft issues or stalking cases.

If you are not familiar with privacy or security settings, here are a few tools and posts with tips you can use to configure privacy settings in popular social networks.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Always have alternative email addresses

The selling of email addresses and personal data is rampant online, not to mention very easy to look up. Apart from that hacking cases also lead to the exposure of user data pertaining to online accounts. Here is where having alternate emails can be of use.

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Using just one email everywhere may allow malicious people to get hold of and target the email for spam or identity theft. It’s a good idea to have an alternative email, for sending mail to strangers, signing up for newsletters or to filling up forms at unknown or untrusted websites.

This second email gets all the inevitable spam or unwanted emails while the official email remains clean and unexposed. Additionally, you can always forward important emails from the second address to your primary email and set a filter to keep those mail in a separate folder.

Simply add the second email to the first email’s account (using SMTP) and send mail as the second email directly from your official email only. This way your primary email account is nicely organized, free from spam, and even you don’t need to login to another account to do less secure tasks.

For creating a side or temporary email account, you can always use one of the popular email providers or go for a temporary/anonymous email provider:

Always have One or Two Alternative Email Addresses
  1. Zoho Mail – One of the leading email providers wherein you can create a separate account for third-party emailing.
  2. Trashmail – A super-easy temporary email provider that doesn’t ask you to register an address – you just need to use it.
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Also included are tips and tutorials for managing your mailbox with multiple email ids in a single inbox for popular email providers:

  1. How to forward emails in Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo Mail
  2. How to use/configure filters in Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo Mail
  3. How to send mails from different or secondary email address or using an alias in Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo Mail

Avoid logging into personal accounts at the workplace

Keeping business and leisure separate is always a good idea, especially when it is to do with personal accounts at the workplace. Avoid using your personal email address at work and never access private accounts like your bank account while at work.

If you’re really required to access your personal accounts for any reason, then do remember to do a security check using an anti-malware app. (Check out Malwarebytes).

Moreover, if you’re the owner or admin of your system and look for any suspicious program (though it’s hard to easily find a tracking software as it’s mostly hidden).

Avoid Logging into Personal Accounts at Workplace

As an alternative solution, you can always use your smartphone coupled with data pack to send personal emails without getting tracked anyhow by your employer.

If you’re using the same on your employer’s WiFi, then do consider using Tor or a VPN (discussed below) or encrypting the mail contents for safety (discussed below too).

Enable two-factor authentication

Do Enable Two-factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is a security mechanism that asks for a second key or passphrase in addition to the password. The same has been long used by high security systems (in the form of RSA hard tokens), but it is now generated and sent through text or email or generated using a smart app.

Two-factor authentication keeps away snoopers from accessing your online accounts – even if they get their hands on your passwords somehow. Here are some notable 2FA apps you should be using:

  1. Google Authenticator
  2. Authy
  3. Microsoft Authenticator

Use Tor or a VPN service

Do Use Tor or a VPN Service

Tor is an online traffic router and encryptor, letting everyone believe you’re using the web from a different location and encrypting your traffic to safeguard against prying eyes.

A VPN is a traffic encryptor for disguising and securing your web data to avoid tracking and censorship from hackers, employers, ISPs and governments.

Using Tor or a VPN prevents third parties from monitoring your activities and keeps you safe from various types of hacks and attacks. Both technologies route your web sessions inside encrypted tunnels to safeguard your privacy.

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One can think of this tunnel as a private, self-owned phone wire between you and Tor network or the VPN provider. This guarantees that no other person can check or track your online activities or look into your data.

Check below for how to download and setup Tor or the popular VPNs easily:

  1. Tor – Peer-to-peer, free traffic router for and by privacy enthusiasts (Download | How to install)
  2. CyberGhost – Popular and free VPN service known and trusted for its quality (Download | How to install)
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Encrypt everything

Encrypt Everything

Encryption packages the private data including passwords, financials, images and videos inside password-protected containers that works like ‘a box with a lock‘. That locked box can be opened only by you and other authorized parties (having password). This will help you keep your communications private and hence avoid various types of attacks or thefts.

Check below some of the tools that help encrypt your emails, IMs, online documents, data on cloud storages, etc.:

  1. Tutanota – Inspired by the FOSS principle, it offers a completely free, encrypted email service out of the box.
  2. Hushmail – Provides enhanced security features to keep your emails safe and protected (including attachments).
  3. ChatCrypt – Encrypts your messages, making them readable only by the participants having the same secret password.
  4. Cyph – A free in-browser messenger app with built-in end-to-end encryption for having private, encrypted conversations.
  5. DocSecrets – An add-on for Google Docs that encrypts sensitive information (like passwords) and highlights the secret texts.
  6. Cryptomator – A free client-side encryption tool to encrypt your files before sending or storing them at any online cloud storage.
  7. SecureGmail – A free tool from Streak to send encrypted mails using your favorite Gmail (receiver is asked for password to read).
  8. Mailvelope – An open source mail encryption tool that works for Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail and few others.
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More apps:
  1. Ghostery – Protects you from the unknown trackers and gives you the power to manage your personal data.
  2. Disconnect – Supports private browsing and searching, and prevents malware and adware from websites to track your activities.
  3. Adblock Plus – Blocks various trackers, annoying ads, compromised domains, pop-ups as well as video ads while surfing the web.
  4. Privacy Badger – Blocks the spying ads and invisible trackers from monitoring your online actions (and comes from EFF).

Use Ad-blocker plugins

Do Use Tracking-Blocker Plugins

Tracking-blocker plugins are browser extensions that help you get rid of online trackers, ad agencies and other organizations that tracks and feeds on your data. Such trackers keep record of everything you do online (which websites you visit, what searches you make, which ads you click, etc.).

Using tracking-blocker or ad-blocker plugins in your browser lets you browse the web privately with no one monitoring your online activities for monetary profits. It also minimizes page-loading time and saves your Internet bandwidth (by small ratio, though).

Find below the links to download and set up such cross-browser, cross-platform plugins:

Understand browser cookies

Most of the sites install cookies in your browser, which are used for tracking your session data and user’s login information as long as you’re browsing the same website.

Some cookies are also used for cross-site tracking, to serve adware and show irritating pop-ups. Hackers can, unfortunately, hijack these to gain access to your logged-in accounts.

Install cookie management tools

To prevent cookies from tracking your data or revealing important information, you need to manage cookies using cookie management tools.

Such tools give you total control over cookies in the browser – view, manage or clear/delete them. By storing the right cookies and deleting all suspicious or sensitive cookies (that holds login or account info), you can be sure they won’t compromise security of your data or logged-in accounts.

  1. Cookie Manager – A Google Chrome add-on that lets you add, edit and delete cookies through the toolbar.
  2. Firebug – A Firefox add-on that manages cookies in your browser and helps filter and delete them easily.
  3. IECookiesView – A third-party tool that details all cookies in the Internet Explorer and assists you in managing them.
Understand Browser Cookies

Did you find it helpful to secure your online experience? Do you know any more tips? Please share your knowledge and experience with us through comments section below.

The post Advanced Tips and Tricks for Better Online Privacy and Security appeared first on Hongkiat.

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Can’t Find the Best 3D Modeling Software? Here Are Some Relatively Better Ones

(Guest writer: Liza Yavorskaya)

Online wars are being waged around which 3D modeling and visualizing software is the best. And when you are making your first steps in learning 3D, you want to find the program that is considered the best, the most popular, and the most demanded by employers.

But, realistically speaking, there is no such thing — otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many existing solutions on the market.

We are going to tell you about 12 programs for 3D modeling and explain what each of them is the most suitable for. Hopefully, this will help you decide where to start your education.

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All-in-One

Let’s first look at the “heavyweights” of the industry: big solutions with tools for almost any task in modeling, animation, texturing, visual effects, etc. You can create pretty much anything in such all-in-one systems, though sometimes it takes a significant amount of creative thinking.

1. 3DS MAX by Autodesk
3DS MAX by Autodesk

3Ds MAX is very popular all around the world, and it is not hard to find classes and tutorials on how to use it. Objects are created from primitives or splines and can later be edited using various modifiers.

There are tools for character rigging and animation, creating soft and frame furniture, fabric simulation, setting up walls and building elements, filling landscapes, texturing, and creating realistic materials. 3Ds MAX is popular in architectural visualization, object design, and engineering.

Third-party developers regularly create and update plugins that add to or improve existing 3Ds MAX functions and the overall work process. Such plugins offer powerful tools for particle systems simulation, creating liquids or fire, and scattering multiple objects around the scene.

They also release modern rendering engines (such as V-Ray or Corona Renderer) for 3Ds MAX first.

If you want to work in architectural visualization or object design, start with 3Ds MAX.

2. Maya by Autodesk
Maya by Autodesk

Maya is a powerful application for large teams and studios. Every project contains several files, each representing parts of it, while the actual scene simply holds the links to all these parts.

This way, several people can work on one scene simultaneously: one animates the characters, the other refines the background, and the third edits the materials.

Maya is an industry-standard in the USA and Europe and is used by big studios to produce CGI cartoons, VFX, animations for video games, and advertisements. It looks and feels a lot like 3Ds MAX but provides much better tools for animation and rigging.

Autodesk develops plugins and extensions and includes them in new versions, so there is no need to search for them on the side.

If you want to create character animations and cartoons and eventually join a professional animation studio, Autodesk Maya is for you.

3. Cinema 4D by MAXON
Cinema 4D by MAXON

Cinema 4D is considered one of the easiest programs to learn for newbies thanks to its simple interface and full support in eight languages.

Objects are created from primitives, but also through parametric modeling, and there are tools for creating procedural shaders and textures. Its special system of takes saves several editable versions of the scene in a single file.

Cinema 4D Lite comes as part of Adobe After Affects, which helped it become popular in the motion design industry. Any animation or effects created in Cinema 4D can be exported into After Effects and immediately added to the video being edited.

Furthermore, MAXON developed Cinebench — a special benchmark for CPU and GPU rendering power evaluation. Major manufacturers consider Cinebench marks when developing new hardware.

If you aspire to create special effects for advertisements and get into motion design, choose Cinema 4D.

4. Blender by Blender Foundation
Blender by Blender Foundation

Blender is a free, open-source application, but it still provides a flexible working space for modeling, animation, simulating particle systems, texturing, realistic rendering, sculpting, and even video editing.

Blender has a reputation of being a program that’s hard to learn, but in recent years the interface has been greatly improved. Initially, all the functions were only accessible through keyboard shortcuts (some of which repeat for different functions in different tools), but since then, proper context menus have been added.

Its interface is based on node structure, so you can adjust the workspace for any needs. Nodes are also a basis for shading, post editing and compositing. The official road map is available on Blender’s website and new test versions are released almost every day.

Blender is rarely used by studios working on big projects, but it is still used for creating indie cartoons, videos, models, and games. Lately, architectural visualization using Cycles and Eevee render engines (built in Blender) have also started gaining popularity.

If you are learning 3D as a hobby, want to become a freelancer, or open your own independent studio, Blender is a great tool to learn.

Architecture and BIM

3D technologies are actively used in designing buildings and structures, especially when using BIM (Building Information Modeling). In BIM, the building and all the schemes and documentation are considered to be a single object.

When a 3D model is changed, these changes immediately appear in drafts, specifications, and charts. If you are learning 3D to work in building and architectural design, take a look at the following applications.

5. ArchiCAD by Graphisoft
ArchiCAD by Graphisoft

ArchiCAD’s workflow is based on the Virtual Building concept. Designers create the building from existing elements: walls, windows, doors, stairs, beams, etc.

Using this model ArchiCAD creates floor plans, facades, section views, specifications, and other documentation. As per BIM requirements, any changes to a 3D model immediately appear in drafts.

While buildings are usually created from existing objects, version 16 added the Morph tool, which allows creating uniquely shaped objects. Many standard objects can be downloaded or purchased as additional libraries by side developers.

ArchiCAD is popular among architects and interior designers and doesn’t require deep knowledge of 3D modeling.

6. Revit by Autodesk
Revit by Autodesk

Revit is best suited for working on big projects: multi-storey buildings, industrial structures, skyscrapers, etc. Designers assemble the building from templates and then divide it into premises and zones.

Floor plans, façades, and section views are then created from the model. Revit includes 2D drafting tool for annotations; 4D BIM technology provides means of planning and tracking the life cycle of the building.

There are also built-in tools for designing technical building systems.

Revit is a more powerful application than ArchiCAD and it is often used by big architectural studios, constructors, and engineers. But it requires powerful hardware to operate on and a special education, which can be received through official Autodesk courses.

7. SketchUp by Trimble Navigation
SketchUp by Trimble Navigation

SketchUp doesn’t support BIM, but it is still used in architectural design for simple visualization. It is free for non-commercial use and works in a browser (you don’t need to install anything on your computer).

SketchUp’s interface is user-friendly and provides easy tools for creating buildings, designing interiors, landscapes, outdoor advertising, and preparing 3D models for printing. The built-in render engine doesn’t create realistic images, but V-Ray is available for commercial versions.

Mid-Range CADs

If you are planning to use 3D for engineering design, start learning it through mid-range CAD systems — the basis for designing technical building systems and creating assemblies of variable complexity.

They combine 3D modeling with engineering calculations and create and calculate additional systems. Mid-range CAD can also create programming code for CNC machines.

Bear in mind that CAD systems are meant to be used by professional engineers and require specialized knowledge.

8. SolidWorks by Dassault Systemes
SolidWorks by Dassault Systemes

SolidWorks is the most used software among engineering companies. Objects are created through a parametric feature-based approach: changing parameters affects the shape and size of an object. Each action is added to a tree and can later be moved up or down to change the result.

SolidWorks is suitable for 3D designing and modeling of components and assemblies, generating dimensions and tolerances, working with 2D drafts, project analysis, and tracking technological requirements.

There is an in-built library of standard elements, but you can also import models from other applications: SolidWorks will recognize the geometry and parameterize it.

SolidWorks’s interface is considered exemplary in the industry, and other developers use it as a quality bar.

9. Inventor by Autodesk
Inventor by Autodesk

Inventor was developed by Autodesk and allows for organic integration with other solutions such as 3Ds MAX, Revit, and AutoCAD. This makes Inventor popular in engineering and object design, architecture, and construction.

It supports DWG files but can open other files thanks to AnyCAD technology: objects, created in other CAD applications, are imported without losing associated bonds.

Inventor supports parametric feature-based modeling, but also provides tools for adaptive modeling: changing one element also changes the conjugated elements. Inventor also has in-built masters for quick creation of standard constructions and nodes.

Specialized Software

Many applications are created for one specific task. They are often used together with other programs, which can be much faster than doing everything in one place. Let’s take a look at 3 such applications, famous in the 3D world, but pretty unique in their workflow.

10. Zbrush by Pixologic
Zbrush by Pixologic

Zbrush is a 3D sculpting workplace. Artists add geometry to the surface like clay using an assortment of brushes. Instead of working with the primitives, an object is sculpted by adding polygons with each stroke. Built-in tools can generate hair, fur, and plants.

Many characters for games, cartoons, and movies are initially created in Zbrush.

Brushes can also be used to draw textures right over the geometry. The model is then unwrapped, and the resulting map can be exported with or without the geometry. There are tools for rigging and preparing the model for further animation.

The built-in render engine is more suitable for previews, and the models are usually exported for re-topology and animation in Maya, Blender, 3Ds MAX, etc.

Zbrush is popular among artists and sculptors thanks to its unique workflow. It played a big role in the advancement of realism in movies and modern games.

11. Houdini by Side Effects Software
Houdini by Side Effects Software

Simulating particle systems like liquids, smoke, flames or explosions is one of the most complicated tasks in 3D modeling. Big all-in-one applications often struggle to create them because working with particle systems requires using a completely different logic to all the other tools.

Houdini is a system for visual programming, where complicated realistic effects are created procedurally.

Houdini uses a node system for creating models, animations, simulations of liquids and special effects, physical interaction calculations, textures generation, and compositing.

In professional use, most of the effects are created through writing programming code, not through interface and buttons. There is also an audio editing tool for synchronizing visuals and sounds.

To master Houdini, you’ll need to understand the main principles of programming and learn Python or Vex to some level. The application is considered standard in the VFX industry and is used for creating VFX for movies, advertisements, and games.

12. Rhinoceros 3D by Robert McNeel & Associates
Rhinoceros 3D

One of the main problems of polygonal modeling is making curved surfaces smooth without creating too many polygons. Any seemingly smooth object will still be an ngon with sharp edges, and increasing polygon count demands powerful hardware.

Rhinoceros 3D uses a principally different way of creating objects: NURBS-based modeling. This sidesteps the need for smoothing completely.

NURBS-based modeling provides a precise representation of curves for production and manufacturing. That’s why Rhino is used for designing cars, ships, planes, and modern buildings.

Thanks to open SDK, there are many expansions for Rhinoceros 3D that turn the basic application into a specialized tool. Such programs are popular in designing clothes, shoes, jewelry, and furniture. It is also widely used for editing 3D scans and 3D printing.

While most all-in-one applications support NURBS-based modeling, Rhinoceros was initially created just for this purpose and therefore provides handy tools and functions for that.

To Sum Up

This list is in no way all-encompassing. There are other applications used in smaller industries. Some studios even develop their own tools tailored to their specific needs. But if you are only starting to learn 3D, choose one of these 12 programs.

When you figure out the basics of modeling, animating, and rendering in one of them, it won’t be hard to learn any other program. Most professionals work in several applications at once: one is good for modeling, another for animation, and a third for creating complex shaders and rendering.

Try using several programs and choose the one that is the most suitable for you. Every application on this list provides either a demo version or a free student license. Good luck!

(This guest post is written by Liza Yavorskaya for Hongkiat.com. Liza is a 3D visualizer and a computer graphic artist. She currently works for Megarender.com.)

The post Can’t Find the Best 3D Modeling Software? Here Are Some Relatively Better Ones appeared first on Hongkiat.

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6 Tools to Help Focus Better at Work

Everyone who works on a computer would know that it’s not easy to concentrate on work the entire time. This is especially apparent when working on your own computer where there’s no network restrictions to what websites you can visit, giving you the ease of access to social networks, non-work related news websites or watching tech channels on YouTube.

Doing any of the above distracts you, wastes time and ultimately you won’t be able to focus on your work, be it working at home or in an office environment. So here are a few apps that we think could help you focus and concentrate better. Although you may not like the idea of installing some of these apps, but giving it a try won’t hurt if you want to up your performance at work.

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Distractions Be Gone

Here are some tools for your web browsers to help you stick around in sites that take up all your valuable time. Installing these tools means you’ll be blocked from your favourite websites until work time is over.

StayFocusd

StayFocusd is an extension for your Google Chrome browser that limits the amount of minutes spent on a list of ‘blocked sites’ determined by you.

You can set the maximum allowed time per day for every blocked site and once you’ve used all of it, you won’t be able to access the sites until the daily reset time or when the active period (for example: 9am – 5pm) is over.

StayFocusd

Once the timer is running, accessing these options is not easy as they require you to type in a paragraph of text without a single mistake. There’s also a Nuclear option for those desperate times for urgent deadlines – all blocked sites will be disabled and only sites on the

Allowed list can be accessed (take note of all possible sites you could possible need before you turn this on). If you find yourself surfing on Facebook too often, you need this.

LeechBlock

Here’s one for Firefox. Like StayFocusd, LeechBlock has options like blocking sites for a set period of time, limiting the amount of minutes online in a day, and setting which day LeechBlock will be automatically enabled.

They also allow you to redirect these blocked sites to a predefined page or just make it load really, really slow.

LeechBlock

Once these options are set, you can prevent access to the settings. Parents can also set a password so their child will not be able to access it, or hide it from the Add-ons manager so it’s harder for them to find and disable it. They also give different sets of sites that you can block.

These presets make it easy for you to block a set of sites while allowing another block for the same period of time.

Work and Play Balance

Balance is important, so give yourself a small reward when a job is finished. A small reward could be some time off work to read your favorite magazine or 5 minutes of surfing social networks after 25 minutes of non-stop work (read: Pomodoro technique).

Strict Workflow

Strict Workflow is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to concentrate on work for a certain amount of time then reward you later on. It helps you concentrate by blocking a list of websites for a fixed period of time.

Once that is over, it’ll unblock those sites to give you a break from work, then block it again after the break time is over.

Strict-Workflow

All you have to do is list down websites which you want blocked. You can then set a timer to how long you want to these sites blocked (work timer), and then set the break timer duration.

This lets you keep track of time so you don’t spend too much time on non-work related sites.

Creating a Peaceful Environment

If all you need is a conducive environment to collect your thoughts then here are three more tools to create that peaceful work bubble for a smoother brainstorming session.

Ommwriter

If you’re a freelance writer and need to focus on just writing something without any distractions then you can try Ommwriter. This is a free text editor app for Mac OS that runs in full screen.

The only text formatting you can find here is to change the font type and size. The text box floats on top of a serene picture in the background, which can be changed to suit your writing mood.

Ommwriter

If you are someone who likes to work with music, there are also ambient sounds to help you sooth your senses, and even keypress sounds for that friendly tapping on the keyboard sound some of you love. Once you are done, save your work on a simple .txt file to be used elsewhere.

CreaWriter

CreaWriter is a free program for Windows that where you can customize the background ambient sound and background picture. Unlike Ommwriter, you cannot change the font, text size or add formatting in the free version, but you can in the paid version.

CreaWriter

The full program is ‘donationware’: a donation as low as 6 Euros will get you the full program and all its features. While the free version suffices, the full program allow you to change things like the text box color, and font color to suit your needs.

Soundrown – Ambient Sounds to help you relax

There are some of us who may doze off if we work in total silence but then find it hard to focus when listening to songs. Here’s where Soundrown can help. It provides ambient sounds instead of lyrical songs to accompany your work session.

Soundrown

You can choose the calming sound of waves crashing on the beach which sets up the lovely illusion, or the sound of raindrops, coffee shop chatter, a passing train, kids and even crickets.

Going to the site gives you a random ambient noise and can also mix the sounds by opening 2 tabs on your browser, giving you a combinedeffect like coffee shop chatter on a rainy day.

The post 6 Tools to Help Focus Better at Work appeared first on Hongkiat.

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28 Chrome Extensions for Better Productivity

There are a number of productivity apps for mobiles and a lot of productivity tools for PCs. But did you know that there are some really amazing Chrome extensions that can take your productivity to the next level, and help you get things done faster while keeping your sanity.

Here are some of the best productivity Chrome extensions I want to share with you today. Let’s check each of these extensions in detail and see how they can make you more productive at work.

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StayFocusd

The online world is filled with distractive websites that are huge productivity killers. StayFocusd helps you stay productive by allotting a specific time to distracting websites, after which they will become inaccessible.

It also makes it very hard to cheat the system by forcing you to complete annoying tasks if you want to disable the extension.

stay focusd
OneTab

If you love multitasking, then most probably you will have dozens of tabs opened at a time, which can make things quite confusing. OneTab sorts all the opened tabs in a list so you could easily view them. All the websites are also taken down to save memory.

one tab
Auto Text Expander

Text expander apps are one of the best tools to boost productivity. Likewise, this text expansion Chrome extension allows you to get this feature in Chrome. Simply create shortcuts and abbreviations for commonly used phrases/sentences and quickly use them when needed.

auto expander
Save to Pocket

If you don’t have time to read an online article, you can use Save to Pocket extension to save it to read it later. You can create a full articles feed to view later in your leisure time. The saved articles are also viewable offline and without distractive content.

xxx
Momentum

Momentum is your all-in-one new tab replacement that will show you your to-dos in an inspiration interface. You can create to-dos and daily goals that will be shown to you whenever you will open a new tab. Along with that, it shows weather and inspiration quotes and pictures to keep you motivated.

momentum
Sortd for Gmail

If you are a Gmail user, then Sortd might be the best thing that ever happens to you. It is basically a smart skin for Gmail that completely changes your Gmail interface to a more productive one.

It shows all the emails in the left column and in the middle there are columns to add to-dos and important emails. Sortd for Gmail works similar to Trello interface.

sortd for gmail
Mercury Reader

Usually, web pages are filled with distractive content such as ads, recommendations, widgets, social media share buttons and more. This extra content can distract you away from the original content.

Mercury Reader gets rid of all this content with a single click and only shows what’s important.

mercury reader
Note Board

Note Board is a comprehensive note-taking extension that gives you customizable cork boards to pin your notes over. I am using Note Board for over a year now and it does a great job of keeping my ideas and to-dos organized. Its advanced features include the ability to drag and drop content, add reminders and create permanent popup notes that are always on top to keep in view.

note board
Strict Workflow

Strict Workflow uses Pomodoro technique to keep you focused. It will block all types of distracting content (customizable) for 25min so you could focus on work and then give you 5min break where you can access such content. It’s a good extension to keep a balance between work and fun time.

strict workflow
Google Dictionary

Google Dictionary allows you to quickly search for the definition of words without opening a new tab to search it. Just double-click on the word and its definition along with synonyms will be shown in a bubble above. You can also save this data to view later for practicing purposes.

google dictionary
SearchPreview

Another handy extension to help with your internet search. SearchPreview will show thumbnails of website content in the search results so you would know what you will see when you’ll click, and it also shows related links to searches (all were helpful in my experience). It works with all popular search engines, including Google Search, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.

search preview
Buffer

A great extension for social media fanatics. Buffer lets you share your post over multiple social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ with a single click.

It also shows responses received on each share and you can schedule posts as well.

buffer
Adblock Plus

Ads can be really distractive and could hinder your productivity. Adblock Plus is one of the best extensions to get rid of all types of ads and easily customize where ads should be allowed to show. Although do keep in mind that ads power the free internet we use, so you should enable ads on websites you care about.

adblock plus
Noisli

Noisli lets you concentrate on work by continuously playing favorite white noise of your choice, like rain, air, thunder or similar sounds. If you are in a loud environment with irregular sounds or in a very quiet environment, then Noisli will surely help you focus better.

noisli
Open Screenshot

Open Screenshot allows you to quickly take customizable screenshots to save them or share them quickly. You can annotate the screenshots with arrows. text, lines, and blur sensitive areas. It also offers unlimited cloud storage for screenshots.

open screenshot
Magic Actions for YouTube

If your work depends on YouTube, then this is a must have an extension for you. Magic Actions adds dozens of features to YouTube to enhance your experience.

Features include, an auto apply HD resolution, adjust volume with mouse scroll, use theater mode, take screenshots, enlarge thumbnails, see user info, stop autoplay, hide extra content and much more.

magic actions
MightyText

We all know how dealing with two devices can be a productivity killer, and MightyText solves that problem. You will need MightyText Android app for this to work, but it’s an amazing extension. MightyText allows you to see all your phone notifications on your PC and you can even reply to them right from your PC.

mighty text
Free Download Manager

This is a replacement for the built-in Chrome download manager that is much more advanced and easier to use. Free Download Manager will let you organize your downloads using categorize to easily view them. It adds resume, pause, restart and recycles ability to downloads. Best of all, it is able to detect all images, audio files and videos on a web page and let you download them in bulk.

chrono download manager
SpeakIt!

Reading content can be a little tiring for the eyes and your brain, and this is where SpeakIt! comes in handy. It will read the content for you so you could relax or do something else while the content is being read to you. You just need to select the content that you want to listen and SpeakIt! will read it for you.

speak it
Openvid Screen Recorder

An astonishingly easy tool to quickly shoot a video and share it with anyone using a shareable link. Openvid Screen Recorder allows you to record your desktop activity, window activity or record a video from your webcam and gives a shareable link to share with anyone.

openvid screen recorder
Session Buddy

Session Buddy offers all the tools to manage your current session in different ways. It allows you to save opened tabs to restore later in time, automatically recover crashed tabs (if the browser fails), organize tabs by categories, use search to find tabs, share opened tabs and quickly open multiple tabs.

session buddy
Remember Form

It can be a quite time consuming to refill an online form if it crashes in the middle due to network error or PC breakdown. Remember Form records all the form entries you make in a form and lets you recover them in case the form crashes for any reason.

lazarus
Black Menu for Google

If you love Google services, then Black Menu for Google is a must have extension for you. The extension allows you to access most of the popular Google services right from the extension interface without leaving your current page. You can also interact with the services and complete basic tasks, such as view and reply to emails in Gmail. Some of the services include Gmail, YouTube, Google Search, Google+, Google Maps, Google Translate and more.

black menu for google
Reading Time

A very helpful extension to help you manage your time and think ahead. Reading Time shows an estimated reading time of an online article so you would know how much time you will consume reading it. The time is calculated based on many different factors and usually, it’s very close to the actual reading time.

readism
Spreed

Spreed gives you a special interface for reading content faster and trains you to read faster. When you will add a web page to Spreed, it will show the content one word at a time at a faster speed. You can adjust how many words should be shown at a time and the next word switch speed. This will help you quickly read the content and improve your reading speed with time.

spreed
Calculator

As the name suggests, Calculator lets you access a scientific calculator (not too advanced though) just by clicking on the extension button. With this you don’t need to depend on Google Search calculator or your operating system’s calculator. Simply click on the extension and an easy to use calculator will show up. It’s perfect for people who depend much on calculations while working.

calculator for chrome
smartUp Gestures

smartUp Gestures allows you to create mouse gestures and shortcuts to quickly complete most of the browser functions. There are many types of gestures, including mouse gestures, mouse wheel gestures, context menu shortcuts, drag gestures, rocker gesture and more. The extension is highly customizable, from design to function.

smart up gestures
Autofill

Chrome has a reliable Autofill feature, but it doesn’t offer enough power. Autofill extension is a replacement for Chrome’s Autofill feature that will automatically fill all entries of forms as soon as the form loads. Additionally, it works on almost all types of forms where Chrome’s Autofill fails and it can even autofill checkboxes and buttons.

autofill
To summerize

So these were some of the best Chrome extensions to help you be more productive while working. Almost all of these extensions are completely free to use, but few may have advanced features locked behind a paywall. Which one of these productive Chrome extensions will you use? Let us know in the comments.

The post 28 Chrome Extensions for Better Productivity appeared first on Hongkiat.

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