Daily Archives: December 18, 2009

Speed Dial Beefs Up Chrome’s New Tab Page [Downloads]

Chrome only: The oft-imitated New Tab button on Google's Chrome browser isn't bad, but it's not the most customizable either. Soup it up—and access your favorite bookmarked web sites quickly—with Speed Dial.

Instead of keeping 4,000 tabs or windows open so you can revisit web sites quickly, just drop them into Speed Dial and keep them all accessible in a single click. The next time you open Speed Dial, all your favorite sites will be neatly lined up with a thumbnail preview of each page so you can tell what’s what at a glance. That’s all pretty similar to how the default New Tab page works, but Speed Dial expands on that in a few ways.

This slick extension lets you choose how many favorite slots you want to have available, anywhere from three to 36. You can also customize the background color, theme, and whether you want the search box displayed on Speed Dial’s main screen.

Once installed, the extension places a small icon in the address bar of your browser. When you’re visiting a page you want to add to Speed Dial, just click the icon and it will appear in your list. Note: Sometimes it takes a minute or two for changes to show up.

Previously mentioned Speed Dial, Fast Dial, and various other Firefox extensions sport a lot of the same features, though the two don’t appear to be related. (To give credit where due, we should also note that this whole interface originated with Opera’s Speed Dial feature.)

Will Speed Dial be on your list of must-have Chrome extensions, or are there other tweaks you prefer more? Let us know in the comments.

Speed Dial [Chrome Extensions via Download Squad]

Common Laptop/Netbook Positions to Avoid [Health]

The great thing about laptops and netbooks: You can use them anywhere. The downside: If you spend a lot of time in the wrong position, you’re in for a world of RSI pain.

The illustration above—from weblog Core77's netbook case study—highlights ten common usage positions and the pain points you're asking for down the road with each. (No one wants glowing red joints!) Interestingly, the most comfortable position, according to the study, is position #2 above: lying down with the device slightly elevated on the user’s thigh with bent knees.

Gizmodo’s Brian Lam attests to the comfort of the lay-down position, having been bed-ridden for months after a motorcycle accident several years back. Now if only you could convince your boss that working from bed is a good idea.

Got a non-traditional computing position that does the trick for you when you’re away from the desk? Let’s hear it in the comments.

Get More Precise Font Smoothing in Snow Leopard [Mac OS X Tip]

Among the many changes in OS X 10.6 was a simplification of the font smoothing options to a yes or no toggle. If your monitor text isn’t quite right, Macworld offers up a quick terminal tip to get nitty-gritty control.

You should only undertake this fix if you believe Snow Leopard has made your font rendering somehow worse than Leopard. In the Macworld writer’s case, that’s because his Hackintosh-ed Dell Mini 10v screen doesn’t support the kind of pixel smoothing that OS X presumes it does; you may have the same experience with older, or off-brand, monitors.

The fix is a terminal command with a single, three-setting variable:

Just open Terminal (in Applications -> Utilities) and paste this command, then press Return:

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2

The 2 at the end is equivalent to the old “Medium – Best for flat panel” setting in 10.5. You can also use 1 for light smoothing, and 3 for strong smoothing.

It’s also worth noting that the fix won’t apply to currently open applications, so you might want to re-open a browser or text editor to test out the difference.

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