Things worth knowing

It all started with tabbed browsing. That was one of the first things I discovered that 90% of the people I knew could benefit from knowing about.

Since then, the range has increased, here are a few more I wish someone had told me. I hope at least one of them is handy for you — let me know if you have one to add.

Great way to quickly handle a behaviour I do dozens of times a week on iPhone/ iPad.

  • Instant throwaway email addresses

If your address is max@gmail.com, you can add a plus sign and phrase to create a new instant email address. This is great if you aren’t sure whether to trust a site that needs your email — if they abuse it, you can create a rule that funnels all mail to that specific address into the trash.

To use it, just tweak your address when you fill in the form, Gmail will do the rest. e.g. max+ebay@gmail.com. max+dontspamme@gmail.com. max+hello@gmail.com

  • Reopen the tab you just closed

It’s very easy to accidentally close a tab and then have to go hunt down the page you just lost again. Chrome makes it easy to quickly pick it back up, or you can always check your history. But instead, why not just press Ctrl+Shift+T on PC or CMD+Shift+T on Mac. These shortcuts will instantly reopen it, without all the hard work.

  • Tab demon? Consolidate dozens of open tabs into one with OneTab

A Google Chrome extension that does what it says on the tin. Will free up memory so especially handy on slow machines. Also a quick way to group multiple URLs together to share on to someone else.

If you like using Chrome on iOS devices, it can be a drag when a link takes you to Safari. Follow these instructions to get a bookmarklet that will instantly take the URL and shift you back to Chrome.

  • Sign digital contracts on OS X

Nobody wants to print something out to sign it then scan it back in. Follow these instructions and you can save a signature in Preview on Mac OS X, which you can then use to sign any PDF in future.

  • @MagicRecs

Your Twitter account is only as good as who you follow. @MagicRecs¬†from Twitter will tell you when a number of your followers subscribe to a new account. This is a good sign that you may want to follow too — check it out.

  • Stop “closing apps” on your smartphone

Lots of people go into iOS or Android multi-tasking and ‘close’ all their apps so as to save battery or memory. For the most part, it doesn’t work like that. Read here and here for good summaries of why and impress your friends with your newly nonchalant app usage.

  • Try Alfred to open things fast on your Mac

Putting shortcuts in your dock on OS X is so 2013. Alfred is a small, free “task launcher” that lets you do it much quicker. Now, every time I press CMD+Space, a search window pops up where I can type any app name and instantly launch it.

Or I can type a URL. Or a contact. Or, ¬†thanks to plugins, the name of a song, which will start playing. Or I can instantly search Google Drive. The possibilities are endless, but it’s a very speedy way to get around with the things you use most.

  • “Fix” multipage articles with OnePage

Another Chrome extension. If you’re annoyed with multipage articles from publishers, simply install this and it’ll always collate them all into a single page for you to scroll through. A good partner to “Read it later” software like Instapaper.

January 6th, 2014