Featured Mac Download: Control Multiple Macs with One Keyboard and Mouse with Teleport

Mac only: Control multiple Macs with one keyboard and mouse with freeware app Teleport. You've long had this functionality with previously mentioned Synergy, however, Teleport aims to be more Mac-centric by supporting clipboard synchronization and drag-and-drop copying of files between Macs. Teleport is still a beta and at this point I can't recommend leaving Synergy unless you've been having performance problems. Teleport is a free download for Mac OS X Tiger and Panther.

Interruption Management: Why Proximity Kills Productivity

Entrepreneur Jason Fried found that working in the same office with his long distance co-workers actually reduced their productivity:

Proximity is an invitation to interrupt somebody. And interruption is the biggest enemy of productivity that there is. When everyone is sitting together, everyone's at the same desk or nearby. It's really easy to shout something over to somebody or tap someone on the shoulder or whatever. That can be useful at times, no doubt. But for the most part, it's interruption.
One could argue that this applies more to software development companies whose employees do more deep mental work than anything else, but it is an indictment of those awful open office plans that make you build your own attention firewall (headphones, anyone?) to actually get things done.

Advice: Make Life More Interesting

Life can be interesting and rewarding—Tim Ferriss has paved that road for many—and other people are living their dream. Blogger Tynan says that in order to live an interesting life, you need to do three things: take social risks, take financial risks and act upon your great idea. His life is enjoyable because it is filled with uncertainty and creativity, and to him, that makes all the difference in the world. How are you turning your life into a never-ending adventure?

Back To School: Firefox Campus Edition—which comes ...

Firefox Campus Edition—which comes with the Foxytunes, Zotero and StumbleUpon extensions preinstalled—is now available for download.

Exclusive Lifehacker Interview: Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth on Productivity and Linux

Founder of Ubuntu Linux Mark Shuttleworth took time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about email, productivity, travel, web applications, Ubuntu, free software and much more. We asked Shuttleworth what you wanted to know and he gave us the full scoop. Hit the jump for the full interview transcript.

Lifehacker: Describe your typical day. What do you spend most of your time doing?
Mark Shuttleworth: That depends—it varies usually. If I'm in London then it's a very straight-forward day. I get up, usually do a bit of exercising, and then head to the office to finish work [...] I can't stand commuting. I work till plenty late in the evening and then head home. I don't go out a lot on school nights, and when I'm traveling it's a lot more interesting. I have a fairly tight schedule with meetings and I travel quite intensively—sometimes for a couple weeks at a stretch. [When I return home] it's a rush to keep up on email.

Lifehacker: How much time would you say you spend in London versus Africa?
Mark Shuttleworth: I'm in London probably just over half of the time—it varies from year to year.

Lifehacker: Do you ever travel to the United States?
Mark Shuttleworth: Yes, I was in the States just six weeks ago. I spent two lovely weeks in Oregon. One week in Eugene for a company strategy meeting where we brought all of our guys together from around the world to talk our position through and see where we want to go. I spent the other week in Portland for Ubuntu Live and OSCON.

Lifehacker: Please describe your personal productivity system. What version of Ubuntu are you using and what applications are part of your daily routine?
Mark Shuttleworth: I am running Gutsy, which is the current development version that will be released in October, and I use Thunderbird heavily. For me it's a better email system then Evolution. Since I travel so often, I use it in online/offline mode so I always have access to critical email. I do quite a bit of work offline, on trains and planes and when I don't have Internet access. I'm really looking forward to WiMAX so I can be connected more of the time when I'm on the road.

Lifehacker: Do you use any other third-party applications that are not included in the default Ubuntu installation?
Mark Shuttleworth: I'm a fan of Gobby, which is a collaborative text editor. For the rest, I use the standard stuff. I use Gaim [Ed: now Pidgin] for instant messaging and group chats.

Lifehacker: How do you manage your to-do list, calendar, and email?
Mark Shuttleworth: Most of that happens in my inbox—I don't have a separate to-do list. That way I can keep everything in one place.

Lifehacker: Do you spend any time with web applications?
Mark Shuttleworth: I use the Google infrastructure quite heavily.

Lifehacker: Do you think web applications will affect the Linux desktop in the future?
Mark Shuttleworth: Yeah, I think we're seeing interesting ideas around blurring the line between the web and applications. Although at this stage the pendulum's still very heavily swinging toward a web-centric view of the world.

Lifehacker: Do you think we'll ever get to the point when the Linux desktop is nothing more than a terminal used to connect to the web?
Mark Shuttleworth: No, I don't think so. I think you can give people a richer experience though a client application then you can just through the web. Again, I think the emphasis tends to swing like a pendulum. We went from green screen terminals to rich clients and then we went back to the web. In due course, I think balance will be restored. You can do some interesting things...For example, I export my Google calendar into Evolution and that means I have access to my calendar offline. Automatically from the desktop with just a single click I can see what I have going on at any given day. That works online and offline and automatically synchronizes itself. There are some interesting ways to bring the two worlds together.

Lifehacker: You mentioned Google Calendar. Are you also a Gmail user?
Mark Shuttleworth: Yes, but not very heavily. I have an email address, but I prefer to access my email offline so I'm not a particularly heavy user.

Lifehacker: The Lifehacker readers are a mixed group of highly competent power users that primarily use Windows and Mac. What argument would you use to persuade users who have never used Ubuntu to dive in for the first time?
Mark Shuttleworth: Well, you described them as power users so they're people who are familiar with using different tools to get the job done. Using the right tool for the job is a strong mantra—I'm a big fan of that approach. If you're responsible for the IT of other people you always need to know what the right tools are to get a particular job done. The best way to do that is to make sure you are familiar with those different sets of tools. Anyone who is a power user really should be familiar with Linux because it is emerging as a very powerful set of tools. On the back-end of the computing world we see a steady pattern of great companies being built entirely around free software infrastructure—for example, Google, Amazon and eBay. On the front-end we're increasingly starting to see companies using free software like Linux and Ubuntu to do interesting things in call centers and other large corporate deployments. From the developer's perspective it is amazing to have such an extraordinary depth of software that is instantly available at your fingertips. Anyone who fancies themselves a developer or as a creator of technology should be familiar with free software. And as a CIO it's good to know all of the tools you have access to.

Lifehacker: The deal with Dell was highly publicized. Looking back on the process, what worked well and what were some lessons learned?
Mark Shuttleworth: It was an interesting process that continues to unfold. We recently expanded the area that the deal covers to include parts of Europe. The most interesting part for us has been building a relationship with an organization as large as Dell, and working with them to figure out the processes that allow them to do the things that they're really good at while allowing us to do the thing we're really good at. There are some tricky issues where the hardware and software interfere with each other. We've learned a lot throughout the process. I would really credit the Dell guys for being willing to figure out how to do this in the best possible way. There's nothing quick and dirty about the approach they've taken. They are working to understand Linux and make sure what people get is a system that lives up to the expectations of a power user.

Lifehacker: It seems that pre-installed Linux computers are gaining momentum. Are there plans for partnering with other major corporations?
Mark Shuttleworth: Of course. There are discussions underway which I can't go into because they're not ready to be announced. The main thing is to recognize that Linux remains somewhat of a specialist's option. It is actually quite prevalent amongst the specialist providers. If you talk to any of the major system integrators they will all do Linux deployments for you. Even if you talk to some of the smaller OEMs they will all figure out how to work with you and to work with Linux. Where it has always been blocked is in the large-scale consumer market. I think Dell has been very clever in the way they've done it. They've figured out how to make Linux available to those consumers who are specifically looking for it without accidentally having folks who don't know what Linux is (and who don't really want Linux) accidentally buying those machines. That's critical to the economic viability of the offering.

Lifehacker: What do the Ubuntu faithful have to look forward to in the release following Gutsy, and has a name been decided upon?
Mark Shuttleworth: It has. The name will be the "Hardy Heron." We picked Hardy as the name because it will be the basis for our next long term supported release—which is one that is supported for at least five years on the server and three years on the desktop. It will have been two years since our previous LTS release. We think the upstream open source community has moved on to the point where there are really exciting new capabilities, features and functionalities—in particular for folks who are moving Ubuntu onto the server.

Lifehacker: You mentioned long-term support in the release cycle. Recently there have been some criticisms saying that the release cycle is too short. Obviously the six-month release cycle is drastically different than that used by commercial operating systems. In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this compressed development cycle, and do you think as Ubuntu matures in the future you will stick with this six month cycle or will you extend it?
Mark Shuttleworth: To understand the Ubuntu release cycle you should think of two separate cycles that are superimposed onto one another. The first cycle is a regular six-month release, and we consider those releases production-ready. There are people who deploy them in the data center and there are people who deploy them in production, on desktops. They focus primarily on the integration of the latest cutting-edge stable code. These are all stable, upstream components that have security updates and fixes available for them and they are safe to deploy. The emphasis is on the fact that they really are current. Those are only supported for 18 months and we will only make maintenance changes and improvements to those releases for 18 months. Every four of those releases we designate as "LTS." This is the second cycle that is roughly a two-year process. You get a much longer maintenance commitment for those releases. This allows people to pick and choose. If they only want to stay on [operating systems] which are only going to be released every two or so years and supported for three to five years, then they can stick to the LTS releases. If they want to maintain a cutting-edge focus they will move from six-month release to six-month release. We do put a lot of emphasis on the upgrade process. You don't have to reinstall, you can simply upgrade. We're having increasingly good results with people who move from one release to the next.

Lifehacker: Does your mindset change with the releases that are deemed "LTS?" Are you more conservative when selecting which packages will be included?
Mark Shuttleworth: We are. The idea is that we have developed quite a good understanding of our ability to work with the upstreams and to choose for each [release] what the appropriate level of risk is if we move to newer versions. In an LTS release, we will typically include the latest version because we have a very good relationship with upstream and we have full confidence in our ability to deliver a really reliable desktop infrastructure even though it has relatively new code on it. For some of the other components we may take a more conservative view and stick with versions we had in previously releases because it is less imperative to move to new versions and there is a perceived greater risk in doing so. We also do modify the release cycle slightly. The last time we did this (which was with the last LTS), we stretched that release cycle so we could give ourselves extra time to get additional rounds of feedback. This time we'll probably do something different. We haven't finalized it yet, but the current theory is that we will make the normal six month release, we will allow that to bake and we will address any unexpected critical issues that arrive and then we'll put out a point release which we'll consider the LTS.

Lifehacker: Many Lifehacker readers have faced difficulties getting wireless and other hardware to function properly. What are the plans to improve hardware support in the future, and has the partnership with Dell had any immediate effects?
Mark Shuttleworth: The partnership with Dell has been beneficial for us and for every version of Linux because it has raised the profile of Linux in the consumer space. The component manufacturers who make everything from graphics cards through sound cards and network and wireless cards are increasingly aware of the fact that it's easier to sell to a company like Dell if they can say, "This will work in Linux and Windows." That is making it easier for us to work with the industry to make sure they have good Linux drivers. Not just for Ubuntu but for all versions of Linux.

Lifehacker: The readers have also commented that they are staying away from Linux because it is missing big name software packages—especially games. Is there a strategy to overcome this traditionally unconquerable Linux roadblock?
Mark Shuttleworth: Games are a particularly difficult thing to address on Linux. Obviously that's less of an issue in a corporate environment or amongst professional developers who may well have multiple computers and have a gaming machine for their own personal use separate from their development machine. It is not something we particularly want to address at this stage. That industry has very specific economics that we can't really influence. On the more traditional applications front, the existence of specific brands is less important than the existence of compatible, interoperable software implementations. It is encouraging to see that in many cases you can function on a completely free software desktop and still interoperate perfectly well with people who are used to using Windows. You can exchange documents, talk to them on the network and so on...

Lifehacker: Do you think some Linux users are dismissing Ubuntu as a fad or "Poster Child?" If so, do you think it's because it is so simple to install and use that it is being perceived as "for new users only?"
Mark Shuttleworth: That's interesting...we see the option of Ubuntu invite quite hardcore serious developers. We work very hard to build something that embodies ideas that those developers think are impressive. That doesn't mean that something needs to be super-complicated to install. There's a big difference between supporting really cutting-edge features—like the way we support virtualization in Ubuntu which I think makes it phenomenally easy for power users to experiment with Xen, KVM, and VMWare and get very good results. Those are very sophisticated power user features and we've worked hard on making them easy to use, easy to experiment and easy to install. I don't think those things are in conflict at all. In fact, it really helps power users to focus on the things they are trying to do rather than on installing and maintaining systems.

Lifehacker: I'd like to talk a little bit about Gobuntu. I think it has faced some criticism for lacking a realistic user-base. In your own words you had this to say: "Gobuntu will not correctly enable much hardware today—but it exists as a banner for the cause of software freedom and as a reference of what IS possible with a totally rigorous approach." Who do you envision benefiting from this flavor of Ubuntu and when do you think it will be a suitable distribution for widespread adoption?
Mark Shuttleworth: There are two things that Gobuntu gives us: the first is taking the idea of "freedom" beyond software and into things like the documentation, the media and the content that are increasingly associated with a Linux distribution, and the second is reminding people that there is still some way to go before we have completely open systems. There is a certain amount of closed infrastructure that goes on right at the heart of things: key drivers, firmware and so on. Just as in the old days just as it was a badge of honor to get Linux installed on your computer, it will become a badge of honor if you manage to get Gobuntu working. Everything that doesn't work under Gobuntu is an indication of a piece of work which is needed to make the free software world more complete. I think that's a useful reference point.

Lifehacker: What can a typical Linux or Ubuntu user do to help the open source movement? What can a Mac or Windows user who is unwilling to leave their operating system do?
Mark Shuttleworth: The first I would say is that free software is not necessarily an operating system choice. It is possible to run free software on both Mac and Windows. I would encourage people to start to experiment with that. Try Firefox and its derivatives, and try OpenOffice and its derivatives (I think NeoOffice is the name of the OpenOffice version for the Mac). In building familiarity with the free software world, you improve the general discussion about what is possible with free software, and you improve people's awareness of free software. I think it is really important to realize that if you see yourself as being a real IT professional and you're ambitious as an IT professional, Linux offers tremendous opportunities. First, people who are very familiar with Linux are paid more than people who are only familiar with Windows or Mac. Second, this is in fact measurable...Microsoft will tell you as much—one of their arguments against Linux is that people are expensive. The second thing you can do is participate in the community processes like translating or documenting so you can help [free software] reach a wider audience. Ultimately, I would say it's always useful to have people span communities because if you live only in one community then you often miss out on good opportunities which happen to have taken root somewhere else. We shouldn't dismiss good ideas just because they started in the proprietary world. It's good to have people in the free software world who are also very comfortable in the proprietary world.

Lifehacker: Thank you very much for taking the time today. Is there anything else you'd like to share with the Lifehacker readership?
Mark Shuttleworth: I hope folks take the time to try Linux and Ubuntu.

Spyware: Popular anti-spyware/adware software Ad-Aware ...

Popular anti-spyware/adware software Ad-Aware just pushed out its first Vista-compatible release, including the Free, Plus and Pro versions (32-bit only).

Featured Windows Download: Sync Photos to Flickr with FlickrSync

Windows only: Free, open source application FlickrSync monitors any image folders of your choosing and syncs their contents to your Flickr account. We showed you a simple command line method for automatic Flickr uploads, but FlickrSync brings an entirely new level of functionality to keeping desktop folders in sync with your Flickr account—allowing you to do things like match folders to Flickr sets and create new sets for new folders.

It takes a little getting used to, but with FlickrSync you can basically manage your photos locally and ensure the results are replicated perfectly on Flickr (which makes it an exceptionally good photo backup tool). FlickrSync is a free, Windows-only download requiring .NET 3.0. If you need to recover photos in the other direction (i.e., from Flickr), try previously mentioned Migratr.

Digital Music: Last.fm releases a cross platform audio fingerprinting ...

Last.fm releases a cross platform audio fingerprinting application designed to aggregate a database of proper metadata for your music. In time, the application hopes to clean up your music's metadata similar to MusicBrainz.

Reminders: Never Forget a Birthday (or Card) Again

The folks at the Unclutterer weblog are serious about getting birthday cards to loved ones on time. In addition to using Plaxo to capture and get reminders about whose birthday is when, they pre-buy cards:

In addition to a birthday reminder system, I also purchased a card organizer. At the start of the year, I print out a birthday list from Plaxo, buy cards for all of my family and friends in a single trip to the card store, and organize the cards in my organizer.
Personally, Plaxo or other reminder system nag emails asking me to update my birthday so someone else doesn't forget it makes me want to stick pins in my eyes, so I opt for the more subtle approach: find out birthdays the old-fashioned way (face-to-face *gasp!* or via mutual acquaintance) and use a web-based calendar to schedule reminders. But the card organizer with pre-bought cards? Now that is preparation.

Igoogle: Set Reminders on Your Startpage with iReminder

Set SMS, email or Twitter reminders from your iGoogle homepage with the iRemind iGoogle gadget. Setup is extremely easy (it can all be done from your iGoogle page), which means you'll be ready to start creating natural-language reminders from your homepage in under a minute. iRemind is built by the creator of the popular Todoist online task manager (which, incidentally, integrates nicely into Gmail), but it's actually a completely separate service. If you've already got a Todoist account and you want the full functionality of Todoist from your iGoogle or Netvibes homepage, the Todoist widget is for you.

Call For Help: GTD Between Two Locations and Operating Systems?

Reader Darrell writes in:

At work I am a IS manager in a Microsoft environment. At home, I love Mac OS X. At work we use Exchange, Outlook 2007 and Treos with Goodlink. At home, my email is all in Mail.app, Address Book and other info storing programs like Journaler. The main issue is my info at work. It is really locked in since it is Exchange and our Treos use Goodlink. So, what ideas do you have for making my life easier and less "now where did I put that info?"
Work data lockdown—especially in Microsoft Outlook for you Mac users—isn't an easy problem to solve. Beyond Adam's recent suggestions for keeping up a consistent workspace across computers, any readers have home/work syncing tips for a home Mac-using work Exchange server guy? Let us and Darrell know in the comments.

Moleskine: Clean Up Your GTD Moleskine with Inverted Tabs

Steve from the Inventoids weblog loves the Moleskine hacked for GTD, but he hates the floppy page-marking tabs that "get bent, or pushed out of place, or lose their stick." So instead of sticky tabs protruding from his notebook, he's cut innie tabs at the first five pages of every section similar to what you see marking new letter sets on dictionaries. The idea isn't terribly groundbreaking, but if you're sick of messy tabs sticking out from your notebooks, this might be your solution.

Ebooks: Tech blogger Bryan Murdaugh shares how he ...

Tech blogger Bryan Murdaugh shares how he uses tagging and filters in Gmail to create the ultimate GTD system in a free ebook [PDF Alert].

Image Editing: Edit Your Online Images with FotoFlexer

Online photo editor FotoFlexer integrates with popular social networking and digital photo sites like Facebook, MySpace and Flickr to seamlessly edit and return pictures to your online accounts all from the comfort of your browser. Aside from the online integration, FotoFlexer does everything that you'd expect from an online image editor and then some (including webcam shots).

We've posted an embarrassing number of online image editors in the past year, but FotoFlexer looks like the editor that devoured the features of all the rest and then went back for seconds. If you need to do serious image editing, desktop editors like Photoshop, GIMP, or Paint.NET will always be your best bets, but if you want to do some fun, lightweight editing—especially with social sites—FotoFlexer is the place to go.

Featured Windows Download: Automatically Copy Selected Text to the Clipboard with DragKing

Windows only: Donationware application DragKing automatically copies selected text in any application to your clipboard. Like previously mentioned AutoCopy Firefox extension but without the Firefox-only limitation, DragKing can then paste the clipboard text using Ctrl-V or one of several possible paste combinations (unlike True X-Mouse Gizmo, DragKing is very customizable). DragKing is donationware, Windows only. Thanks xplorer2user!

Stuff We Like: Greenhouse in a Box

Greenhouse-in-a-Box.pngEnjoy fresh fruits and vegetables season after season with the reusable eight-shelf greenhouse. This greenhouse weighs in at 31 pounds, can fit eight shelves, measures 4' x 4' x 6' and costs $130. If you're pressed for cash, space or both, the eight-shelf greenhouse looks like a great investment. I'm not sure this could withstand some of the storms in the East and Midwest, but it looks to be perfect for space-starved West Coasters. Think you can beat the $130 price tag by making it yourself? Share in the comments.

Cars: DIY iPod Car Mount On the Cheap

Build a DIY car mount for your MP3 player with web site Cloudcraft.com's step-by-step guide. The guide uses a simple fifty-cent hardware mount that the author inserts in his Volkswagen and then clips his iPod to with his existing belt clip whenever he's ready for some iPod time in the car (the guide may not exactly work for your car, but it should give you a good idea of where to start). The final product isn't the most attractive mount on the market, but if you're looking for a cheap way to mount your MP3 player, the price is right. If you've installed your own car mount (DIY or otherwise), let's hear about it in the comments.

It All Comes Together: The Email Roundup

How To: Design a Memorable Business Card

biz_cards.jpgBusiness cards convey a lot of information about you, so using a good design can leave an excellent first impression. If you're starting out and need ideas for your business card design, the Quick Sprout blog recommends that you emphasize on color, paper, uniqueness, typography and feel of your card. After all, you want to have something that describes you in a memorable way.

When you leave a conversation and the other party has your business card, your identity is that piece of paper. Because of this representation, your business card should not only state who you work for, your contact information, and what you do, but it should also state something about you. Not in a written sense, but more so on the overall image it creates about you.

I just returned from a trade show where I scored a bunch of cards, but there were only a few real ones from that batch that left an impact on me. Do you have any business card design tips? Feel free to share in the comments. Photo by Alena.

Mac Tip: Embed Google Calendar Agenda into the Desktop

Mac users: Know exactly what you've got going on throughout the day without checking Google Calendar. Tech blogger Devan demonstrates how you can embed your daily agenda directly into the desktop, using GeekTool. The process requires some pretty decent scripting skills, but the end result is very convenient. You'll need to install perl, curl, and Lingon and then use Devan's scripts. With a little elbow grease you should be all set. Here's how to embed the GCal web page onto your Windows desktop.

Featured Linux Download: Browse the Web Without Installing Anything with ioSwiftFox

Linux only: Run a browser directly from RAM with open source "app" ioSwiftFox. ioSwiftFox requires absolutely no installation and doesn't even require root privileges to run for the first time. ioSwiftFox is a simple script that after some chmod foo you can use to browse the web. It runs faster than Firefox and even works with your existing Firefox extensions! If you want to get technical, ioSwiftFox is a recompilation of Firefox 2 for Infodomestic Objects. To get ioSwiftFox up and running, download the file and enter the following three commands into the terminal:

chmod +x ioSwiftFox2.0.0.6-pentium4_Infodomestic0.8.5
mv ioSwiftFox2.0.0.6-pentium4_Infodomestic0.8.5 ioswiftfox
Make sure you do not have Firefox open when you run ioSwiftFox for the first time. ioSwiftFox is a great portable app for your thumb drive—talk about badass! ioSwiftFox is a free download for Linux only.

Love And Money: Thanks to This Week's Sponsors

Thanks to this week's sponsors for a long weekend of productivity and barbecue: AT&T, Ask.com, Bank of America, Blackberry, Canon, California Lottery, EBay UK, Flavorpill, Mio, Pentax, Sonos, Sprint, TechSmith, TiVo, Toyota, Verizon, VW and Zune. Wanna toss another efficiency shrimp on the GTD barbie? Advertise with Lifehacker.

Cameraphone: Turn Your Digital Camera into a Scanner with Qipit

Webapp Qipit turns a digital photo of a whiteboard, handwritten notes or a typed document into a PDF. Much like previously mentioned ScanR, you can email cameraphone snaps to Qipit, or upload images via email or the web site. Qipit stores up to 100 scanned documents in your account for free, where you can make them public and tag them, too. When you sign up for Qipit, optionally register your cameraphone's make and model, and the app will tell you what it can do with images from it (whiteboards, hand-written notes and/or printed documents.) My 1.3MP Nokia can do everything but finely-printed documents, as shown.


You don't have to use a cameraphone, though—you can upload documents via the web site or via email from your regular digital camera. Qipit can also rotate documents once they've been uploaded (for the ones you shot landscape.)

Qipit's concept is a good one, and it groks lower-res photos than ScanR (ScanR requires a 2MP cameraphone at least), but the site is slow and a bit flaky. (One of my uploads never made it, and the app threw an ugly error during testing.) Still, once it stabilizes and speeds up, Qipit will be a nice option for students and professionals who want to capture that whiteboard quickly. Here's my test cameraphone document scan—not bad!

Search Engines: Find MP3s with SkreemR

Music search engine SkreemR turns up a nice selection of MP3 files from all over the web whether you're looking for Mozart or Justin Timberlake. Pop in your favorite artist, song or album and get back links to MP3s (no other audio file format.) A few search operators to know:

  • Use double quotes to pinpoint a set of words, ex. "my favorite song"
  • Use + operator to pinpoint particular words, ex. my favorite song +extended +remix
  • Use - operator to eliminate unwanted results, ex. my favorite song -live
Grab the Firefox SkreemR search plugin and see some of the top searches. As always, download copyrighted material at your own risk, yadda-yadda, blah-blah.

[this Is Good]: August '07's Most Popular Posts

September starts tomorrow! If you spent August working on your tan instead of reading Lifehacker, have a quick list of this month's best posts:

  • Turn a flashlight into a handheld burning laser
    "DIYer Kipkay extracts the laser from a DVD burner and mounts it in a small flashlight to create a handheld laser burner that can light matches and burst balloons."
  • Power replacements for built-in Windows utilities
    "How many times have you wished Notepad had tabs, Paint supported layers or Windows Explorer let you bookmark frequently-used folders? Power users need power utilities, and Windows' default system programs barely get the job done."
  • Top 10 Free Wallpaper, Fonts and Icon Sources
    "Spicing up your computer desktop or documents is a cinch with the right fonts, wallpaper or icon set - but finding the best ones isn't an easy task."
  • A beginner's guide to BitTorrent
    "Despite the fact that BitTorrent has been around for a good 6 years now, the lightning fast file sharing protocol hasn't completely taken off in the mainstream."
  • Top 10 PDF Tricks
    "Whether it's your résumé, a tax form, e-book, user guide or a web page, you can't go wrong using a PDF."
  • Top 10 Firefox features that don't require extensions
    "The more extensions you install in Firefox, the slower and more bloated it becomes."
  • Show Us Your Go Bag
    "On Monday we asked you to send us pictures of your 'go bag,' and submit you did. There was a good amount of debate over proper terminology (is it a purse, satchel, man bag, murse, urban assault bag?), but in the end we received a whole lot of great submissions."
  • Top 10 Ways to Clean Up Your PC
    "Whether it's remnants of that bag of Fritos you ate three years ago lodged in your keyboard or a registry full of broken entries, that old PC of yours could use a little cleaning up."
  • Show Us Your Non-Firefox Browser
    "In all things computers, variety is the spice of life..."

Featured Firefox Extension: Scan Files for Viruses Before Your Download with Dr.Web

Windows/Mac/Linux (Firefox/Opera/IE): Scan any file for viruses before you download it to your computer with web site Dr.Web. After installing the Firefox extension, performing the Internet Explorer registry hack or adding the Opera tweak, you can scan any directly linked file for viruses through your browser's right-click context menu (re-directed downloads—like those in Gmail, for example—won't work). Dr.Web will download the file to their servers, scan it for viruses and report back whether or not it's clean. Dr.Web is free to use, works with Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera.

How To: Address an Embarrassing Problem

Approaching your coworkers about "tidy ups" can create an uncomfortable situation. Whether they've got toilet paper stuck to their shoe, crumbs on their face, a bat in the cave or a whale-tail showing, knowing how to tell them is one hell of a hard skill to master. If the problem is above the neck or below the knees, The Vat19.com weblog recommends politely telling them. However, if the problem is anywhere else, you need to approach the situation with some subtlety.

If you're dealing with a member of the opposite sex, take a moment to decide whether or not you're the right person to inform them of the issue. It's very different for a man to point out a woman's visible panty line than for a female to do so. If nothing else, it lets that person know that you were glancing in that general area, which may not be the best message to send.
I have always taken the "say absolutely nothing about your coworkers' appearances no matter what" approach. How do you handle these sticky situations? Share in the comments. Thanks, Stefanie!

How To: Win at Carnival Games

Unlock the many secrets of carnival games with the guide from Blifaloo.com and stop emptying your wallet to win a $.30 stuffed animal for your girlfriend. Blifaloo.com covers all the carny games you know and love like the rope ladder, ring toss, balloon dart throw, basket toss, coin toss, milk bottle throw and more.

Rope Ladder
The trick to climbing carnival rope ladders is to completely ignore the "rungs" and only use the outside ropes to climb on.

While applying equal pressure with your right foot and left arm, move your left foot and right arm at the same time. Then do the same thing with the opposite limbs—shimmying yourself up the ladder.

This guide would have been incredibly useful in my youth. Any carnival game hustlers out there? What's your game and what trick do you use to win every time? Share in the comments.

Call For Submissions: We Want to See Your Desktop

If there's one thing we've learned at Lifehacker HQ over the years, it's that our readers have just as many useful tips and tricks to share as we do. When it comes to your computer desktop, you've got everything tricked out and streamlined to get things done fast. That's why starting next week, Lifehacker readers, we want to see your desktops. In short, we're looking for screenshots of your Windows, Mac or Linux desktop in tip-top shape—prime and pretty for posting. Hit the jump for more details and the submission guidelines.

If you want to submit your desktop for this Thursday's Desktop Show and Tell, here's what you'll need to do:

  1. Take a screenshot of your desktop: Include all the widgets, gadgets, gidgets and other sundry desktop applications you may run on a regular basis. If you don't know how to take a screenshot of your desktop, you can try one of the many great screenshot apps we've highlighted on Lifehacker. Windows users can try Window Clippings, and if you're a Mac user, our favorite is InstantShot. Both Windows and Mac users might want to take a look at the newly released Jing. If you've got something particularly cool going on in your desktop, do your best to make sure we can see it in action.
  2. Write up a description of the programs/tweaks/hacks/etc. that make your desktop so great: It doesn't have to be long or flowery, but after we've seen the incredible things you're doing with your desktop, we'll want to know how we can do the same.
  3. Send your screenshot and description to us: Compose an email to tips at lifehacker.com with the subject title Desktop Show and Tell (Windows/Mac/Linux) (the subject should specify which platform you're running), then attach your screenshot and enter your description in the body of the email.

That's all there is to it. Thanks to everyone who submits, and here's looking forward to seeing and reading about your killer desktops. If you've got any questions about the submission comments, let's hear them in the comments.

Tgif: This Week's Best Posts

Lifehacker posts flooding your newsreader? Turn down the volume using either our daily, trimmed-down top stories feed or once-weekly highlights feed. This week's best posts include:

  • Partition and Image Your Hard Drive with the System Rescue CD
    "You've just reinstalled Windows from scratch--again--but this time you want to preserve your sparkling clean setup for instant restoration down the road."
  • Where the Web Archives Are
    "Some of the most intriguing resources on the web are located in archives--compilations of data that in the past, could only be found by making appointments in dusty libraries."
  • Maintain a Consistent Workspace Across Multiple Computers
    "Most likely you use more than one computer in the course of a day--a work computer and a home computer, maybe even a laptop and a desktop."
  • Top 10 Ways to Clean Up Your PC
    "Whether it's remnants of that bag of Fritos you ate three years ago lodged in your keyboard or a registry full of broken entries, that old PC of yours could use a little cleaning up."
  • Show Us Your Go Bag, Part III
    "You've shown us your satchels, we've seen our fair share of urban assault bags, and this week we're back for the third and final installment of our Show Us Your Go Bag series."
  • Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth on Productivity and Linux
    "Founder of Ubuntu Linux Mark Shuttleworth took time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about email, productivity, travel, web applications, Ubuntu, free software and much more."
  • Confident Body Language
    "You can make yourself seem more confident (even if you're not) with a few body language tricks."
  • Unsubscribe from Catalogs
    "While most reputable companies make it easy to unsubscribe from their email list, those same companies make it as much of a pain as possible to unsubscribe from their paper catalog."
  • Get Reverse Phone Lookups with Sullr
    "Web site Sullr provides reverse phone number lookups with an attractive AJAX interface and Google Maps mashup."
  • Make an iPhone/iPod Stand from a Business Card
    "Sick of holding your iPod, iPhone, or other portable video player in your lap like a chump while all the other cool cats in the plane/train/automobile sit their portable devices in a trendy yet elegant stand?"
  • Tweak Vista and XP with Xdn Tweaker
    "Windows only: Tweak system settings in both Windows XP and Vista with lightweight freeware application Xdn Tweaker."

Making a YouTube video about your employers business could get you sued

Making a YouTube video about your employers business could get you suedJust because it's done after work hours, doesn't mean that a video you post to popular social sites will not get you fired of even sued.

Two brothers that were employed at a popular grocery store made a video about the produce section of a supermarket. This well done 'rap video' doesn't particularly mention the chain they had worked at, but that did not stop their employer from canning the two gangsta rappers who were advertising the fine selection of produce stores carry. Now it looks like their employer has decided to sue them for millions claiming defamation. Which doenst really matter much now since these two have their little shot at YouTube fame, they could be billionaires in the next little while if Pharrell Williams gets word! If anything, the supermarket should be awarding these New Jersey hooligans for all of the word of mouth social press they are creating. Nice work guys.

Rentometer lets you know if you're paying too much for rent

Every time you look in your neighbor's window and notice their marble countertops and high ceilings, it's hard not to get jealous. But you console yourself with the knowledge that they must be paying way more in rent than you are.

Thanks to a rather unscientific Google Maps mashup, you can now cry yourself to sleep in the knowledge that they just got a much better deal than you. Rentometer compares your apartment with others in your area and lets you know if you're paying more or less for rent than your neighbors.

The site works by using iiProperty data and a Google Map showing the locations of comparable apartments. Click on a bubble with a plus sign to see who's paying more than you, a minus sign to see a lower rent, and an equal sign to see a place where the rent is identical to your own.

The site doesn't account for parking, proximity to public transportation, or the age of buildings.

[via Webware]

Dumb beauty pageant answer leads to kind of cool blog

Maps for Us
In the last 5 days, a YouTube video of Miss South Carolina giving an incoherent answer during the Miss Teen USA pageant has been viewed nearly 9 million times. Asked why 1 in 5 Americans can't locate the USA on a map, she essentially said we need more maps. And South Africa, and Iraq, such as. Or something.

But while you may have laughed, the folks at G4TV's Attack of the Show took action. They created MapsforUs.org, a web blog dedicated to maps. Users can e-mail maps of pretty much anything, from their high school parking lot to Sparta, to the blast door map from the TV show Lost.

There's something intrinsically interesting about maps, especially maps that show interesting places or show everyday locations in an unusual way. So while the blog was obviously created as a joke, it makes for pretty compelling reading. After the jump check out the videos that started it all.

[via Boing Boing]

Continue reading Dumb beauty pageant answer leads to kind of cool blog

Googleholic for August 31st 2007

In this issue of Googleholic we cover:

  • Google Chocolate mashup
  • Yahoo ups the anti in email apps
  • Google explains privacy
  • Google Phone gossip timeline
  • Brainteasers for getting a job at Google
  • Supporting charities through acquisitions
  • 2008 US political candidates get mashed up
Continue reading Friday's Googleholic...

Continue reading Googleholic for August 31st 2007

Government emails hit by hacker

Government emails hit by hackerGovernment and embassy email accounts were penetrated by a 'hacker' recently, with passwords posted live for all to see.

This 100 email account information highjacking involved government agencies and embassies worldwide. Accounts penetrated include foreign ministries in Iran, Indian embassies in the US, the UK visa office in Nepal, and the Russian embassy in Sweden. The 'Hacker', a so called freelance security expert, was doing an experiment and came across the information by accident. Then he found it necessary to repost the information on a website.

All of the involved parties have been contacted by Computer Sweden, the company that found the leaks, some confirmed the leaks, but most denied to comment. Time to beef up the security boys.

[via infoworld]

YouTube licenses music for use in videos

YouTube licenses music for use in videosYouTube has worked out a deal with a UK licensing company that will see its uploaders being able to use the music of over 50,000 composers legally on their uploaded videos.

The licensing company represents and brings in the royalties on behalf of over 50,000 composers, songwriters and publishers, with over 10 million combined pieces of music. Google owned YouTube has supposedly paid out a flat fee in exchange for the usage of the library of music. No terms of the deal, as well as dollar figures have been released.

This is a big move in Google's efforts to ward off copyright hungry record labels.

[via Reuters]

CNN says bye bye to Reuters news

CNN says bye bye to Reuters newsLots of news on the CNN corporate front this week. First the media giant announced that they were dumping Yahoo in favor of Google ads, now they are saying no more Reuters.

CNN said on Thursday that they would be terminating their 27 year relationship in order to cut costs. The Time Warner owned company said that they had not wanted to rely on outside sources as much as they currently do, and would be focusing their efforts and money saved on investing in their own news gathering staff.

CNN reiterated the fact that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Reuters, the way they operate or their content. CNN just wishes to own the content they serve, and they believe that content ownership is king. Reuters text, photography, and television materials will stop being used as of Friday, today, on CNN.

However, the big question is why will CNN still be using Reuters competition, the Associated Press?

[via Reuters]

Yahoo! wants to KickStart a social network

yahoo kickstart social network

Social networks are huge, and Yahoo knows this, that's why they have been working hard to develop the next level of social networks, KickStart.

Yahoo! KickStart is aimed at matching college students with relevant employers. This new service will give users a profile page where they can post a resume similar in style to LinkedIn. The companies listed in the service can then start up groups which users can join, start a discussion and hopefully get hired.

The service is still in a concept only phase, and might never make it to launch. Sounds like it could defiantly be a good way for students to enter the job market, we hope something comes out of this study.

Joost opens up API, get ready for some widgets

Joost opens up API, get ready for some widgetsGet ready for the newest widget platform on the market, Joost. They have just rolled out their API and opened things up for developers to make masterpieces that integrate with the P2P TV client application.

The launch of Joost's latest version 0.12.0 is a little overshadowed by the API introduction, which is the icing on Joost's cake. The somewhat hush hush announcement in the product forums of their website will open up the application to a whole new realm of developers who will go beyond what Joost has already done with their current RSS, chat, and clock widgets.

The official Joost API website is currently password protected.

[via NewTeeVee]

Job seekers get hacked, Fed says phishing to result

People applying for federal jobs recently had their personal information stolen by a crafty hacker that nailed the USAJobs web site, operated by the Office of Personnel Management. Some 146,000 job applicants hoping to get a job with the fed instead may find themselves the victims of identity theft. Although the fed insists no social security numbers were compromised, the information stolen is still quite valuable.

Security experts (people who, like O.J., speculate how they would've accomplished an illegal feat "if they did it") believe that the information stolen will be used to phish additional information from Monster.com subscribers (the USAJobs web site is powered by Monster--the inspiration for our blue friend in the picture). So, if you've applied for a federal job recently using USAJobs, it might be wise to use caution when corresponding with Monster by e-mail or web. Office of Personnel Management is sending letters to subscribers to alert them of possible counterfeit e-mails. Individuals who receive a suspicious e-mail regarding a federal job search should forward the e-mail to mayday@fedjobs.gov.

Blogger infections

blogger infectionsSome Google Blogger users have been stung with attacks over the past little while, causing disturbing infections. Or is it just a case of the splogs.

Malicious hackers have supposedly been successful in gaining access to some blogs and posting fake entries with weblinks that lead to infectious downloads on Windows PC's. A security researcher started noticing the corrupt links turning up in Blogger accounts on August 27th. Since then hundreds of blogs have been reported to contain the malicious links. The researcher could not tell how the links were posted. They could have been posted through a Blogger exploit, through a feature that lets users email an entry, or the blogs could have been also set up solely to host spam and no hacking could have occurred at all.

So far the links appear to pose as YouTube links, others are looking for software testers, and others are links to supposed digital greeting cards. No word from Google on the matter.

No more NBC shows on iTunes

No more NBC shows on iTunesApple's number one seller has apparently just cancelled its contract to sell digital downloads of their shows via iTunes.

NBC Universal was unable to come to an agreement with Apple on pricing, bundling content and more restrictive DRM. This move is yet another grinding moment between Apple and the media companies who are unhappy with Apple for not giving them greater control over the pricing of music and videos it sells through iTunes. Could this just have been a way for them to finally jump over to NewCo (Hulu), their YouTube competition?

NBC has accounted for 40% of downloads on Apple's iTunes, and will continue sales through to December. Apple is now the third largest seller of music, passing Amazon, and just behind Wal-Mart and Best Buy. Say bye bye to your most important way of marketing new products to consumers NBC.

UPDATE: Apple beat NBC to the punch and will not be selling any NBC material starting in September.

Unofficial Windows Mobile 6 upgrade for PPC-6700/XV6700

Apache WM6
Lest you should think Dell Axim users are having all the fun, an industrious hacker has crammed Windows Mobile 6 onto yet another device. If you're using a Sprint PPC-6700 or Verizon XV6700 (which are basically the same device), and don't mind voiding your warranty and possibly killing your machine, have we got news for you!

PPCGeeks forum member helmi_c has managed to get Windows Mobile 6 running on the 6700 series. And he's released ROMs for pretty much any carrier you might have, including Sprint, Alltel, Verizon, Sasktel, Vivo Brazil, Telus, Bell Mobility, Cricket, Cellular South, New Zealand, Midwest, Reliance India, and Qwest.

The ROM inlcudes a lot more than just a Windows Mobile 6 upgrade. Helmi_c has also loaded it with some software to make your phone a bit more usable, including MS OneNote Mobile, MS LiveSearch, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash Player 7, WM5 Storage, TCPMP, PimBackup, Yahoo Go! 2.0, and a suite of HTC applications:
  • HTC Home Plugin 6tab v1.5.620.722
  • HTC CommManager with 10 Buttons
  • HTC Touch Dialer With working Smartdial and ## Codes
  • HTC Smartdial v2.5
  • HTC Task Manager v1.51.30229.1
  • HTC Voice Recorder v1.10.611711.0
  • HTC Streaming Media v2.20.615718.00
  • HTC Audio.Manager v1.2.614712.q
There are a few bugs, including one that messes up text messaging when you install the Palm SMS threading application. Although this ROM seems to be working for most users, as always, we have to warn you that you'll be solely responsible for killing your phone if anything goes wrong with this "upgrade."

[via Engadget]

Amazon ramping up music offerings and competing with iTunes

Amazon ramping up music offerings and competing with iTunesIn an effort to get back in to the number three spot, Amazon has announced that they will begin selling MP3's next month.

Apple stole the number three spot away from Amazon, but Amazon has plans to get it back. The online store will soon be offering songs in MP3 format, giving consumers that extra choice with hopes that will boost their bottom line. The alternative to iTunes is said be launching sometime in September.

Wal-Mart is currently the largest seller of music, with Best Buy tucked in the second spot and Apple in third.

Adobe Kuler API

Adobe Kuler APIAre you a designer? developer? Like color? Want to do some cool things with Adobe's Kuler application? Now you can.

The Adobe Labs project Kuler, is a hosted color picker application that allows for inspiration, creativity and sharing, they now have an API for developers. This new Kuler API allows developers to request RSS feeds of the highest rated or most popular color themes, and incorporating them into web project and web sites.

Check out some Kuler API usage in the Showcase. Warning, most do require users to have Adobe AIR installed.

Online demo of next gen image resizing method

Image ResizingRemember that crazy image resizing method that can change a photo without dramatically altering its composition? Of course you do, we just showed you the video on Wednesday, and we know your memory isn't that bad.

Anyway, now that Adobe has hired Shai Avidan, one of the guys behind the technology, it's just a matter of time before we see this tool implemented in Photoshop. But in the meantime, Patrick Swieskowski has used the basic principles demonstrated in Avidan's video and created a web-based demo.

The demo is very unpolished compared with the software in the video. For example, you can only shrink images, you can't make them larger. And we're not convinced that it does a great job of finding the best places to cut because some of the shrunken pictures look downright silly. But it'll have to tide us over until someone develops a better web-based demo. Or a finished application. That would be nice too.

[via TechCrunch]

NoteSake your way to clean notes

NoteSake your way to clean notesNoteSake is one of the cleanest, easy to use online note taking applications we have come across.

This "keepsake" for your class notes is free to sign up to, and offers a clean look at your online class notes. Notes are easily entered using a scaled back toolset version, but it has the basics of what is needed including paragraphs, bolding, italics, underlines and bullets. Notes are neatly listed out with the ability to tag them with keywords for easy searching. Notes also have the ability to be re-edited, printed, or even shared with a NoteSake user, email address or group.

Although beautiful, one thing that is missing from NoteSake is the ability to export notes to common formats (or even RSS feeds). A feature that is highly needed when using notes as a base for essays and reports.

More details on the Amazon MP3 store

Amazon Music StoreAs we've noted, Amazon is preparing to launch its online music store the week of September 17th, although the New York Post reports that date is a moving target. Amazon first announced it would be entering the digital music download business earlier this year, although the move had been anticipated for quite some time.

Amazon plans to sell songs as unencrypted MP3 files, with roughly a million tracks from Universal Music and EMI. Universal and EMI have both previously agreed to sell music without DRM, and Universal has severed its relationship with Apple.

While Amazon's music library won't be as large as Apple's, a million songs is nothing to scoff at. And Apple hasn't been doing a great job of holding onto content partners. So while we're going to go out on a limb and predict that Amazon won't topple Apple from it's number one position in the digital music download business, perhaps Amazon can make some headway, even without music from Sony BMG or Warner Music Group.

Oh yeah, and the post is reporting that while final pricing hasn't been set, Amazon may sell MP3s at $.99 for new and popular tracks, and $.89 for "emerging artists and back catalog tracks," with albums selling for $7.99 to $9.99. Apple sells new tracks for $.99 with DRM and $1.29 without it (when available).

Teaching and learning online with edu 2.0

Teaching and learning online with edu 2.0In keeping the school theme we have been running with, a newer educational tool to enter the market is Edu 2.0. This web based education website that holds features for teachers, student and parents that aid in learning wherever the user is connected.

There are four main sections to the site. A teaching section where teachers can host a class using a specially designed learning management system. The learning section where students can participate in classes at their own pace. A resource section where contributed resources complete with quizzes, experiments, projects and self paced course can be followed and taken. Then there is the community section. This allows for collaboration between members, sharing and collaborating on educational interests.

Edu 2.0 is free to sign up to, and provides a wide range of topics including art, computers, english, foreign languages, health, math, science, and physical education.

[via ehub]

PocketCM Keyboard - finger friendly typing on Windows Mobile

Windows Mobile is great at a lot of things. Text entry is not one of them. While a lot of folks complain that the iPhone soft keyboard takes some getting used to, at least it allows 2 fingered typing on a device without a keypad. You need a stylus to type on most Windows Mobile devices without keyboard unless you're using a full-screen keyboard or Tengo Thumb.

The developer behind PocketCM Contacts has another solution, a 2-fingered software keyboard that takes up about the same amount of space as other software keyboards.

The keyboard looks and acts a lot like the iPhone keyboard. Key presses don't register until you lift your finger. This gives you time to shift your finger from one spot to the next until you've got the correct letter.

PocketCM Keyboard runs on Windows Mobile 5.0 and newer devices. It's still in beta, although it's under rapid development, so we can probably expect a final release soon. No word on whether the full version will be freeware, but PocketCM contacts is donateware, so one can only hope.

[via the unwired]

Google Maps: Position Your Satellite Dish with the Alignment Calculator

Perfectly aim your satellite dish or antenna using Google maps mashup, Satellite Alignment Calculator (SAC). With SAC you choose your satellite provider (DirectTV, XM, Sirius, etc.), enter your address and SAC will show you the exact direction you need to position your satellite for the best signal. Since I'm dish-less I can't test SAC's accuracy. Can anyone out there confirm SAC's usefulness? Share in the comments.

Linux Tip: Embed a Terminal in the Desktop with Compiz Fusion

Linux users: You can configure Compiz Fusion to embed a terminal in the desktop. The last time we covered this process you needed to install Devilspie and create a configuration file. With Compiz Fusion the process is much simpler and the end result looks much more streamlined. The Ubuntu Unleashed weblog details the entire process. You need to create a terminal profile that will only be used when it is embedded into the desktop. Then just configure Compiz Fusion and you'll be all set.

Email: Companies Limit Email Use to Boost Productivity

The U.S. Cellular company has instituted a no-email rule every Friday (except customer email):

Tired of "cyber indigestion," U.S. Cellular Vice President Jay Ellison instituted the policy company-wide last year in an effort to curb out-of-control emailing and encourage face-to-face or at least voice-to-voice communication. [Director of sales Jodi] Valenta notes that Fridays are often her most productive days because of the policy. "It's really great. I can go out of the office on Friday and spend my time visiting associates across Iowa and not worry about my email backing up," she said.
While it's nice to see a company acknowledge and do something about email overload, it seems a more comprehensive effort to get workers to use email well every day of the week might be a better approach.

In Brief: Cranky geek John C. Dvorak rails against ...

Cranky geek John C. Dvorak rails against web-based services' single-point-of-failure. Of course, it all comes down to trust.

Recent Posts