Strip away all of YouTube's clutter with Cleanr

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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I don't know about you, but whenever I visit YouTube these days, I want to scold it like a child: "Clean up your room!" Because, seriously, what a mess.

Between the ads, the sidebar, the tools, the related videos, and especially the comments, YouTube has become a cluttered eyesore.

Thankfully, there's Cleanr, a browser extension that strips away all of YouTube's clutter. Specifically, it cleans the page of everything but a large video window. Now you can focus on what you wanted: the video.

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Tweak your browser to show YouTube song lyrics

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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YouTube makes a great jukebox, whether you use it to stream an entire playlist of songs from your favorite artist or just listen to the occasional modern hit.

Ah, but what if you want to sing along? Or just figure out what the heck that line is in a song's chorus? (Surely it's not, "Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing penguins"?)

YouTube Lyrics by Rob W is a browser add-on that automatically looks up and displays song lyrics. And it works with not only YouTube, but also Grooveshark and Spotify.

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Research and compare the latest smartphones at PhoneRocket

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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We interrupt your regularly scheduled Hassle-Free PC post to bring you the Hassle-Free Phone edition.

Trying to decide between, say, an HTC One and a Samsung Galaxy S4. Sure, you can read PC World's awesome reviews, maybe talk to friends and hit some stores for hands-on demos. But ultimately your best bet is to compare them directly, to see their specs, strengths, and weaknesses side by side.

That's what you get at PhoneRocket, a nifty site that compares any two smartphones in exhaustive detail.

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How to fix Web pages that print too small

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Reader Tammy wrote in with this hassle:

"Whenever I try to print a page from the Internet, the size of the print and the photos is extremely small and difficult to read. I do not have this problem with Word documents."

Tammy says she uses Windows 8, but neglected to specify which browser--so I'm going to assume Internet Explorer.

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How to create a bootable Windows 8 recovery tool

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Reader Larry wrote me regarding his new Asus machine, which came without any kind of recovery disks (which would be used to restore Windows in the event of a major system meltdown).

That's not uncommon these days. Even on systems that have optical drives (which are increasingly rare), computer vendors opt to save money by skipping the Windows restore/recover disks that were once common.

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Add a hard drive-activity LED to a laptop that lacks one

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Activity Indicator.

Call me old-fashioned, but I like to know when my hard drive is active.

That's partly so I know when Windows has more or less finished its boot activity (which, on one aging machine, takes 7-8 minutes), and partly so I can troubleshoot problems.

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Add a Wi-Fi hotspot to Windows 8 with Virtual Router Plus

Rick Broida , PCWorld

For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.
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Virtual Router Plus

Recently I spent a full week in a hotel, where I grudgingly paid for Wi-Fi so I could get some work done. Unfortunately, it was a per-device purchase: Only my laptop could get online. If I wanted Internet access on my phone (which had a weak indoor signal) and tablet (Wi-Fi only), I'd have to pay again. And again.

Hey, wait a minute, doesn't Windows let you set up a Wi-Fi hotspot to share its connection with other devices? It did, in Windows 7; it doesn't in Windows 8. Actually, the capability is still there, but enabling it requires some serious command-line tinkering.

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