HDTV: Facts you need to know before buying an HDTV

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Yahoo's Ben the Gadget Hound lists six must-know facts about HDTVs, which he says most people don't use properly. For example, the seemingly obvious:

Your new HDTV needs an HD feed: Just plugging your regular cable or satellite box into your new HD set won't get you a high-def picture. You'll need to contact your cable or satellite provider and ask for an HD set-top box (satellite subscribers may also have to upgrade their dishes), and you may want to sign up for an HD subscription plan, as well (which typically offer channels like Discovery HD Theater and HDNet).

Before you storm the comments with cries of "Well, duh!", keep in mind a recent study that says nearly half of all HDTV owners don't even have an HD feed. We've offered similar HDTV guides in the past (like this one and this one), but I gotta give props to Ben for this novice-friendly, spot-on list of facts many people just don't seem to know.

Love And Money: Thanks to this week's sponsors

Thanks to this week's sponsors for being the uninterruptible power supply in the Lifehacker super computer: Canon, Don Julio, MSNBC, Mio, Nokia, Sonos, Sprint, Toyota, and Verizon. Interested in powering all these life hacks? Advertise with Lifehacker.

Lifehacker Top 10: LH Top 10: USB thumb drive tricks

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Is that a gigabyte in your pocket? And are you putting it to good use? The explosion of USB thumb drives gives anyone the ability take some serious file storage space along with their house keys.

Developers and road warriors have come up with all sorts of innovative techniques for putting these tiny roomy disks to good use. Step into my office for a list of our top 10 favorite thumb drive tricks.

Lifehacker's Top 10 USB Thumb Drive Tricks

What's your favorite thumb drive hack? Tell us about it in the comments.

Download Of The Day: Uncensor the Internet Firefox extension

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Firefox only: If you're a filthy mother****er who loves reading your swears in all their uncensored glory, David from the Ironic Sans weblog has put together a great little Firefox add-on called Uncensor the Internet that turns all that censored text into the bawdy bile it was born to be. Why?

There's an article on-line from Money Magazine called "50 Bulls**t Jobs." That's right. Bulls**t. With those two asterisks in there. Come on. We know what word they mean.

Uncensor the Internet is available as both a Greasemonkey script and Firefox extension, so install whichever suits your druthers. On the flip side, if you're not a crude a..hole, check out previously mentioned Profanity Filter. Uncensor the Internet is free to download, works wherever Firefox does.

Mac Tip: Add favicons to the Firefox bookmark toolbar

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Mac OS X only: In a strange and somewhat inexplicable move (to make Firefox more like Safari?), Mac versions of Firefox don't put favicons in the bookmarks toolbar. I hate this, as we've always extolled saving toolbar space by using a web site's favicon.

Luckily there's the Mac Favicon Firefox theme, which is an exact replica of the default theme, but with favicons enabled in the toolbar. I've never been much for Firefox themes, but this one-tweak theme is something I can get behind.

Time Tracker: Estimate, track, and invoice your time with Cashboard

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Web site Cashboard helps you track your time, then facilitates the invoicing and payment process for your work.

Aside from the after-the-fact invoicing, Cashboard also lets you create and send estimates to potential clients. What's more, if you're a Basecamp user, Cashboard ties directly into Basecamp, linking things like tasks and todos, time, and clients. Cashboard is free for tracking one active project at a time, with premium accounts if you need more. If Cashboard doesn't do it for you, you might also want to check out previously mentioned Side Job Track.

Request Line: It's our pleasure to serve you

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Getting ready to duck out before the boss asks you to work this weekend? Before you do be sure to hit up the comments with post requests, so we can productively waste your time as efficiently as possible next week.

Links, tips, story ideas, questions for the editors or other readers, and even - dare I say - Lifehacker Code software requests are all welcome here. What, no comment login? Just give in and apply already! You know you want to.

Download Of The Day: iPodifier video converter (Windows)

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Windows only: Freeware application iPodifier monitors user-defined folders for videos, automatically transcodes them to an iPod-compatible format, adds them to iTunes, and then syncs them with your iPod.

Awesome, right? There are a lot of to-iPod transcoding tools out there, but iPodifier has clearly had a lot of thought put into set-up-and-leave-it automation. iPodifier can watch any folder for new video, so that means you can keep an eye on your bittorrent directory, your DVR TV shows, etc. In fact, if you're a Windows MCE user, Rick has already detailed how to copy MCE-recorded shows to your iPod with iPodifier. If you do any transcoding to get videos on your iPod, you can't do any better than iPodifier.

Health: See what 300- to 400-calorie meals look like

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The Diet Blog has a great gallery of 300- to 400-calorie meals that look mighty healthy and tasty to boot.

This is a good follow up to the previously mentioned 200-calorie gallery, which put into perspective a 200-calorie portion of healthy foods versus less healthy fare. This gallery actually displays several healthy 300- 400-calorie meals, most of which look delicious. These are the kind of well put-together meals that make dieting seem not so bad, helping you realize that a chicken and rice dish looks a lot more appealing than that unsexy stack of rice cakes.

Weekend Project: Clean out the filing cabinet at Office Depot tomorrow

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The Get Rich Slowly weblog reports that Office Depot has a free offer going on tomorrow, Saturday, April 28th:

Shred-it, the world's leading on site document destruction company and Crime Stoppers USA will bring their expertise to Office Depot stores to help people take action against identity theft and fraud. Shred-it mobile shredding trucks will be on site and consumers are invited to bring all the documents they can carry for shredding.

Souds like a good time for a post-taxes financial records purge. See also which financial records to keep and how long to keep them.

Download Of The Day: Xplorer2 file manager (Windows)

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Windows only: The Xplorer2 lite file manager is a superior alternative to Windows' built-in file Explorer.

Xplorer2 sports a tabbed, 3-paned interface. The first displays the file and folder hierarchy for easy navigation. The other 2 panes are specific folders, which make it really easy to move files between two places or work with two sets of files at once. You can save favorite locations or even bookmark sets of folders associated with particular tasks and projects. Xplorer2 is self-contained (therefore thumb drive-friendly) and has a very mature set of keyboard shortcuts, which reader Ludwig summarized for us in an email. Check 'em out after the jump.

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After just a few minutes of playing with Xplorer2 it's easy to see all the places where Windows Explorer really does fall short. Got a favorite alternate file manager? Tell us about it in the comments. Xplorer2 Lite is a free download for personal use, and it's Windows only. Thanks, Ludwig!

Tgif: This week's best posts

For a once-weekly update on Lifehacker's best posts, subscribe to our Highlights feed - or get a handful of daily best posts with out top stories feed.

This week's best posts include:

Google Calendar: Add a Google Calendar event with just one line

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The always helpful Google Tutor has written up a little-used (at least for me) shortcut when adding events in Google Calendar:

If you're using Google calendar, you don't have to enter the detailed view just to add the basic information on a new entry you're creating. Instead, you can just type it in with one line. Say I wanted to change the time to reflect 12 to 3 p.m. instead of the time I clicked (8 a.m.). Instead of clicking on the edit event details link, I just type in the time along with the event description.

He goes on to say that you can not only edit the time, but location as well - nothing groundbreaking here, but it does save you a few clicks.

Blogging: How do you post to your blog? Let me count the ways

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Just how many different ways can you post stuff to your blog? Library Clips has come up with quite a few; around 18 in fact.

There's the standard bookmarklet and button options, but there's also quite a few on this list that I haven't seen before. What's your preferred platform from which you share your blogging wisdom with the world? Thoughts in the comments.

Food: Make that Chinese take-out more healthy

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Back in Skinny Jeans blogger Stephanie Quilao has come up with five different ways to make your favorite Chinese take-out a bit more healthy. My favorite tip:

Order Wonton soup instead of the Wonton appetizer. Yes they are really crunchy and yummy, but fried Wontons are loaded with fat and calories, and so is the sweet & sour sauce you dip them in. With Wonton soup, you can eat the Wontons minus all the fried fat calories, and get that nice warm cozy soup feeling.

Since I'm probably going to be grabbing some take-out this weekend, this post couldn't have come at a better time. Do you have some ancient Chinese take-out secrets? Thoughts in the comments.

WordPress: Make your own theme with the Wordpress theme generator

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Want to customize the look of your Wordpress blog, but don't have the programming chops to do so? You might want to try the Wordpress Theme Generator, a handy way to whip up your own personalized theme.

You can mix up your own colors, settings, layouts, etc. and then preview it in real-time so you can catch mistakes before they go live. When you're all done, you walk away with a free, downloadable, fully customized Wordpress theme.

Microsoft Office Tip: Add people to the Safe Senders list

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Tech-Recipes has posted a fast and dirty way to get your friends off of the Outlook 2007 hit list: add 'em to the Safe Senders list. Here's how you do it:

  • Click Actions, mouseoverJunk E-mail, and select Junk e-mail Options.
  • Select the Safe Senders tab.
  • At the bottom, check the Automatically add people I e-mail to the Safe Senders List checkbox.
  • Click OK.

It sure is irritating to have this happen and this is a quick fix; it's specific to Outlook 2007 but I believe it will work similarly on previous versions of Outlook as well.

  • Graphics: Create an organization chart with OrgChartWiki

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    Need an organizational chart for your company? You might want to check out Forbes' new site aptly named OrgChartWiki, where you can create org.charts for your company or take a looksee at a few publicly listed companies such as Google, Motorola, and Microsoft.

    The interface is very simple: all you do is pretty much drag and drop. You can also use this site to search within companies employee databases - you'll be able to pull up their current organizational status. It's simple, yet oh so super nichey functional.

    Gardening: How to get the best looking lawn in the hood

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    It's beginning to look a lot like spring/summer in my neck of the woods, with the dulcet tones of lawnmowers filling the air. British DIY store Godfrey's has a few tips that practically guarantee jealous fits from your neighbors, such as:

    • Cut it regularly, ideally once a week.
    • Water occasionally - watch your moisture levels.
    • Check out the lawn food, but apply sparingly.

    I know from experience that many fertilizers and other lawn supplements can do more harm than good, and wil actually "burn" your grass, so use with caution. What are your best lawn care tips? Thoughts in the comments.

    Bill May Save Net Radio (Tom Spring/Today @ PC World)

    Bill May Save Net Radio  —  On Thursday a bill that could save Internet radio was submitted to Congress.  The bill, Internet Radio Equality Act, would stop a new royalty scheme that Internet broadcasters say will shut them down because it will cost them too much money.

    Source:   Today @ PC World
    Author:   Tom Spring
    Link:   http://blogs.pcworld.com/staffblog/archives/004240…

    Techmeme permalink

    [via] Techmeme

    Six Basic Truths of Free APIs (Nat Torkington/O'Reilly Radar)

    Six Basic Truths of Free APIs  —  Amazon and Google have recently shattered a common misconception: that free APIs are a commons of goodies to be built on top of for fun and profit, like open source software.  If you think that, then here are six things you need to know about free APIs:

    Source:   O'Reilly Radar
    Author:   Nat Torkington
    Link:   http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/04…

    Techmeme permalink

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    A tale of two Web 2.0 conferences and mashups (Dion Hinchcliffe/Enterprise Web 2.0)

    A tale of two Web 2.0 conferences and mashups  —  I've just come off a whirlwind conference tour that started in San Francisco last week with Web 2.0 Expo and ended with the Web 2.0 Kongress yesterday in Frankfurt.  I was fortunate enough to be able to speak at both conferences and it was fascinating …

    Source:   Enterprise Web 2.0
    Author:   Dion Hinchcliffe
    Link:   http://blogs.zdnet.com/Hinchcliffe/?p=104

    Techmeme permalink

    [via] Techmeme

    GE Shares Rally on Citigroup's Push for Unit Spinoffs (Update7) (Bloomberg)

    GE Shares Rally on Citigroup's Push for Unit Spinoffs (Update7)  —  General Electric Co. shares staged their biggest rally in more than four months after Citigroup Inc. analysts said the company should spin off NBC Universal, GE Money and the real-estate division.

    Source:   Bloomberg
    Link:   http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid…

    Techmeme permalink

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    At Mix, Microsoft's Windows Live platform group loosens up (Martin LaMonica/CNET News.com)

    At Mix, Microsoft's Windows Live platform group loosens up  —  Microsoft next week at its Mix07 conference plans to detail more generous business terms for partners to use its Live online services and to open up new application programming interfaces for Windows Live Spaces.

    Source:   CNET News.com
    Author:   Martin LaMonica
    Link:   http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9713301-7.html

    Techmeme permalink

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    Firefox Extension: Smart Digg Button (Derek van Vliet/Neothoughts)

    Firefox Extension: Smart Digg Button  —  The Smart Digg Button extension for Firefox places a button in your status bar.  It uses the newly released Digg API to determine if the web page you are currently viewing has been submitted to Digg.  —  If the page you are viewing has been submitted to Digg …

    Source:   Neothoughts
    Author:   Derek van Vliet
    Link:   http://neothoughts.com/2007/04/27/firefox-extension…

    Techmeme permalink

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    Idea: Uncensor the Internet with Greasemonkey (David/Ironic Sans)

    Idea: Uncensor the Internet with Greasemonkey  —  There's an article on-line from Money Magazine called "50 Bulls**t Jobs."  That's right.  Bulls**t.  With those two asterisks in there.  Come on.  We know what word they mean.  So why not just say it?  If they think we're adult enough …

    Source:   Ironic Sans
    Author:   David
    Link:   http://www.ironicsans.com/2007/04…

    Techmeme permalink

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    Is Zunch Communications' Bankruptcy a Sign of Things to Come? (Kevin Newcomb/Search Engine Watch Blog)

    Is Zunch Communications' Bankruptcy a Sign of Things to Come?  —  Zunch Communications has declared bankruptcy, but Zunch Worldwide lives on.  The new entity bought the assets and took on some of the debts of SEM firm Zunch Communications in October 2006, and that company finally filed for bankruptcy last week.

    Source:   Search Engine Watch Blog
    Author:   Kevin Newcomb
    Link:   http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/070427-152623

    Techmeme permalink

    [via] Techmeme

    WSJ censoring Vonage's Ads? (Paul Kapustka/GigaOM)

    WSJ censoring Vonage's Ads?  —  When we looked at the back page of Friday's Marketplace section of the Wall Street Journal, it looked like the delivery person had perhaps taken offense with the Vonage ad campaign about its patent case with Verizon, with what looked like some black-pen editing …

    Source:   GigaOM
    Author:   Paul Kapustka
    Link:   http://gigaom.com/2007/04/27/wsj-censoring-vonages…

    Techmeme permalink

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    10 Signs That You May Be a Blog Addict (David Wallace/SearchRank Blog)

    10 Signs That You May Be a Blog Addict  —  Blogs exist on just about every variety of subject one can imagine.  And more and more blogs come online each and every day.  But what does it take to really have an active blog that people will subscribe to and come back again and again to read?

    Source:   SearchRank Blog
    Author:   David Wallace
    Link:   http://www.searchrank.com/blog/2007/04/10-signs-of-a…

    Techmeme permalink

    [via] Techmeme

    Virtual Earth API V5 is released (Virtual Earth)

    Virtual Earth API V5 is released  —  Just in time for your weekend coding pleasure, version 5 of the Virtual Earth Software Development Kit is live today.  There's a boatload of new features and enhancements, among my favorites are mouse events for polygons and polylines and great layering support.

    Source:   Virtual Earth / Live Maps
    Link:   http://virtualearth.spaces.live.com/blog/cns…

    Techmeme permalink

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    The Perfect DB Storage Array (Don MacAskill/SmugBlog)

    The Perfect DB Storage Array  —  I've long known that YouTube had a secret weapon in their datacenter codenamed 'Colin', but yesterday at the MySQL Conference, I met three more secret weapons - codenamed 'Paul' and his team (sorry, guys, I've forgotten your names!).  —  Paul and his team are incredible.

    Source:   SmugBlog: Don MacAskill
    Author:   Don MacAskill
    Link:   http://blogs.smugmug.com/don/2007/04/27/the-perfect…

    Techmeme permalink

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    Justin.tv to get boot from S.F. landlords (Jessica Guynn/San Francisco Chronicle)

    Justin.tv to get boot from S.F. landlords  —  (04-27) 18:50 PDT — One San Francisco landlord has decided that the company producing Justin.tv is a crowd.  —  Complaining of raucous parties and other disruptive behavior, the landlord of the San Francisco high-rise that has become …

    Source:   San Francisco Chronicle
    Author:   Jessica Guynn
    Link:   http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007…

    Techmeme permalink

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    Gizmodo Exclusive: Exclusive Pics of the Vudu - Video Store In A Box (Gizmodo)

    Gizmodo Exclusive: Exclusive Pics of the Vudu - Video Store In A Box  —  These are the first pictures of the box, remote control and UI of Vudu, a video store in a box that is going to engage in a battle royale with Apple TV come June.  The service will launch with thousands of movies …

    Source:   Gizmodo
    Link:   http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gizmodo-exclusive…

    Techmeme permalink

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    Schools say iPods becoming tool for cheaters (Associated Press)

    Schools say iPods becoming tool for cheaters … MERIDIAN, Idaho (AP) — Banning baseball caps during tests was obvious — students were writing the answers under the brim.  Then, schools started banning cell phones, realizing students could text message the answers to each other.

    Source:   Associated Press
    Link:   http://www.cnn.com/2007/EDUCATION/04/27/ipod.cheating…

    Techmeme permalink

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    Coming Soon, Justin.tv's The Homeless Chronicles (Om Malik/NewTeeVee)

    Coming Soon, Justin.tv's The Homeless Chronicles  —  Justin.tv is soon going to be homeless.  —  The four members of the start-up behind the online reality television show are being evicted by their landlords, Trinity Management Services, due to complaints of raucous parties and other disruptive behavior.

    Source:   NewTeeVee
    Author:   Om Malik
    Link:   http://newteevee.com/2007/04/28/coming-soon-justintvs…

    Techmeme permalink

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    Exclusive: Outgoing Sony exec Kutaragi already planning PS4 (Yoshiko Hara/EE Times)

    Exclusive: Outgoing Sony exec Kutaragi already planning PS4  —  TOKYO — Playstation inventor Ken Kutaragi, who will retire as chairman and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. on June 19, is already thinking ahead to Playstation 4 and beyond.  —  In an exclusive interview with EE Times …

    Source:   EE Times
    Author:   Yoshiko Hara
    Link:   http://www.eetimes.com/rss/showArticle.jhtml…

    Techmeme permalink

    [via] Techmeme

    Wi-fi laptop fears for children (BBC)

    Wi-fi laptop fears for children  —  Computers with wireless internet should not be placed on children's laps, says the head of the government's committee on mobile phone safety research.  —  Professor Lawrie Challis told the Daily Telegraph children using wi-fi networks should be monitored until research …

    Source:   BBC
    Link:   http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6602561.stm

    Techmeme permalink

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    The Week MTV Dropped Flash (Ryan Stewart)

    The Week MTV Dropped Flash  —  Friday night and I'm reading feeds about RIAs.  I'm not sure what that says about me, but hey, what can you do.  This one is about the MTV reversion from their touted all-Flash site back to HTML.  It's interesting to see things like this happen.

    Source:   Ryan Stewart - Rich Internet Application Mountaineer
    Author:   Ryan Stewart
    Link:   http://blog.digitalbackcountry.com/?p=784

    Techmeme permalink

    [via] Techmeme

    10 Firefox extensions you could live without

    ConfuscateWe've spent a fair bit of time telling you about useful Firefox extensions. Some can help you with social bookmarking, while others improve your full screen browser experience, and some change the way you interact with Gmail.

    But there's a whole other world of Firefox extensions out there. The ones that don't do anything particularly handy at all. PC Magazine's gone and profiled 10 useless Firefox extensions. Here are a few of our favorites:

    • The Stop! Hammer Time! extension provides you with an M.C. Hammer icon in your toolbar. When you click on it, the page you're currently on will stop loading and you'll hear "Stop! Hammer Time!"
    • Confuscator lets highlight text on a web site and then confuse it. In other words, it will pop up as a new box, but the words will be garbled. While this doesn't seem very useful, you can also use it to translate a page into pig-Latin. Now that's cool.
    • Leet Key converts text into leet speak as you type. You can also highlight text on a webpage that you'd like to convert. You can also convert text to ROT13, BASE64, HEX, URL, BIN, DES, Morse code, or several other useless codes.
    Useless? Yes. But still kind of fun. If you consider bogging down your web browser with tools that you'll only use once fun, that is.

    Wiley publishing sends fair use beat-down to science blogger


    The next time one of your fair-use zealot friends starts in on a tirade over dinner, you may want to pay closer attention. Shelly Batts, a Phd candidate at the University of Michigan, recently received a nasty-gram from Wiley, publishers of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, ordering her -- in some fairly stern language -- to remove a diagram she'd used in a post on her site.

    "In short, I was threatened with legal action if I didn't take it down immediately. I used a panel a figure, and a chart, from over 10+ figures in the paper. I cited and reported everything straight forwardly. I would think they'd be happy to get the press" wrote Batts. You'd think Wiley's legal team would recognize one of the most clear cut cases of fair use possible; that of excerpting for scientific discussion. Then again, you'd think a host of other mega-corporations would be familiar with existing fair-use statutes and recognize when their intellectual property is being used in a responsible, legal manner. Not so.

    When will we see legislation to protect bloggers, writers and video editors from these intellectual property bullies?

    [via Boing Boing]

    Backup your Mac online with Mozy

    Mozy Mac betaMozy has been offering an excellent automated online backup service for Windows users for a while now, but the company has now launched a Mac OS X client.

    There's a dearth of companies offering backup solutions for Mac users. While some may say that's because Macs don't crash as frequently as Windows machines, that doesn't help if you happen to have your Macbook stolen.

    Mozy lets you store up to 2GB of data online for free, and charges $5/month for unlimited storage. You can either backup your entire hard drive on a regular basis, or you can do a partial backup covering specific files like your iTunes or iPhoto collections.

    You'll need Mac OS X 10.4 to play with the new beta.

    [via TechCrunch]

    3D virtual desktop manager for Windows

    Yod'MYod'm 3D is a nifty virtual desktop application that gives Windows users some of the wow factor of Beryl and Compiz bring to Linux desktops.

    The free program lets you create four virtual desktops, which is nothing too special. You can do the same thing with Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Manager. But Yod'm 3D lets you switch between desktops by flipping through the sides of a 3D cube.

    There's no installation necessary. You just download the program, unzip it to a folder, and select your language. You can configure Yod'm 3D to automatically start up with Windows, or ou can just click the .exe file when you want to start.

    Flipping through desktops is a 2-handed operation by default. You click Ctrl+Shift and then use the arrow keys or mouse to navigate. You can configure it to use different keys. For example, if you select Ctrl, you can press and hold your right Ctrl key for a second and then use the arrow keys to move between desktops all with one hand. Since you need to tap and hold to bring up the cube, you can use the Ctrl key normally under most circumstances.

    Dragging windows from one desktop to another is a little tricky. You have to make sure the window isn't maximized. Then you left click and hold the title bar with your mouse and hit the activate key. Now you can drag your window to another desktop.

    [via
    lifehacker]

    Steve Jobs puts damper on iTunes subscription rumor

    iTunesApple CEO Steve Jobs tells Reuters he has no plans to offer a subscription option for iTunes customers, despite claims that Apple was working on just such a system.

    To be honest, the rumor seemed a bit unlikely, coming from an unknown company. And it's not like Apple would really need to involve a third party if it wanted to implement a subscription model.

    Jobs says the subscription model has failed for most other companies that have implemented it. Apple, on the other hand has sold more than 2.5 billion songs over the past four years through the iTunes store.

    Subscription service allows the record labels to collect money on an ongoing basis and provides users with a large music library. But Jobs says there's not much consumer demand for subscription based services where, if you stop paying, you lose all of your music.

    Sony to launch YouTube competitor in Japan

    EyeVio
    Sony is set to announce a video sharing site in Japan tomorrow. While this makes Sony just the latest in a long line of companies trying to get in on some of that YouTube-style action, Sony does have the benefit of owning quite a bit of video content that it can push onto the website.

    News Corp and NBC Universal last month announced they would launch a similar site this year.

    While Sony is launching its EyeVio site in Japan, the company plans to expand the service to other countries if it performs well.

    Sony hopes to avoid the lawsuits that have plagued Google by actively monitoring the site for copyright violations from the get go, rather than waiting for content producers to contact the company with complaints. Of course, this raises the question: Without copyrighted videos, will anyone user the new site? There are conflicting reports over whether YouTube owes its success more to user-generated video or clips from programs like The Daily Show.

    My Space - teams with Burnett for "Political Idol"

    Reality TV guru Mark Burnett, (think Apprentice and Survivor) is teaming up with MySpace to launch a hybrid internet/TV reality series called "Independent", to find a US independent presidential candidate in early 2008. The winner will receive $1 million, however, it is not theirs to keep. They may use it to start their own campaign or donate it to a political cause.

    Contestants will be able to declare their candidacy through MySpace Videos and get public feedback via their MySpace profiles. Once winnowed down, the chosen contestants will participate in a reality series TV show where they will interact with supporters (or not) and the public. An interactive "town hall" will give MySpace users and TV viewers a chance to rate their performance. (No word yet if Simon Cowell is participating).

    The project hopes to tap the young online community and get them involved in the political process. Clearly, this new endeavor as well as MySpace's other political forays, shows it is intent on making a big mark on the American political landscape.

    So, what's the show's tagline going to be? "America has spoken" or "You're Hired"?

    [via Adweek]

    Swept Away - Lifehacker Code

    Swept AwayLifehacker has been on a bit of a tear lately, releasing their very own utilities as downloads, like the Better Gmail Firefox extension. This latest one is a Windows-only utility called Swept Away, which will automatically minimize running applications that are not in focus based on a timer.

    The application is very reminiscent of Spirited Away for the Mac, (warning, link is not English, but the download link is easy to find on the right-hand side of the page) which is a very popular utility to hide running windows that are not actively being used.

    Googleholic for April 27th 2007

    googleholic
    In this issue of Googleholic we cover:

    • No more Google Calendar maintenance
    • Google is the most visited site in the world
    • Google vs Yahoo's revenue
    • SEM money is spent on Google and Yahoo
    • Google and Intel
    • AdWords serving exploits
    • Google in Iowa
    • Google homepage glitch
    Continue reading Friday's Googleholic...

    Continue reading Googleholic for April 27th 2007

    Meshly - instant message web 2.0 style


    It's part Twitter, part Digg, part Newsvine, part BlinkList, part - uh, well you get the picture. If you're feeling the Web 2.0 thing is getting a little cluttered, well there's yet another new thing you might want to try for fun. It's called Meshly, and you use it with your IM client to post links you want to share and then people vote on them.

    Dejavu all over again? Nope, not here. Meshly has a cute fluffy robot single eye icon with antennae that you instant message with. Meshly prompts you for a brief description of your post, asks for the URL, asks you to tag the post, and then, voila! provides the post link to you. Although it's kind of weird at first, you start to grow fond of the old Mesh. And he/she stays in your IM address book with the green light on. Ready. For you. For anyone. To IM him/her.

    Tip: If you're the competitive type (you know who you are) and want your post to make it to the front page - you have a reasonably excellent chance of doing so. Some posts have only one vote and they are living on the front page. This non-crowded state may not last for long though.

    [via techmeme]

    Kerr-Ching! Vista launch proves massive profit boost for Microsoft

    While Mac OS and Linux have made significant gains over the past few years against Windows, if Redmond's latest profit figures are anything to go by the Windows era is far from over. On the back of the release of the latest Windows operating system, Vista, and a new edition of Office, Microsoft has posted a staggering 65% gain in third quarter profits.

    The quick start for Vista is good news for the world's biggest software manufacturer as it demonstrates that consumers are not hesitating to adopt the new OS and we can expect to see Vista dominating the world's computers in coming years.

    On the back of the sales figures, Microsoft's net income rose to almost $4.93 billion for the past year - a rise of a staggering $2 billion on the previous year. Microsoft's slinky new operating system has had mixed reviews from critics, but consumers are clearly not showing any such concerns as they flock to the new operating system which has enhanced communications and usability features.

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