Two tools that help you stop over-using words in your documents

I go through phases with my writing. Sometimes I feel like every second sentence needs to start with “but,” then I start using “however,” which becomes “nevertheless,” and on and on it goes until the bad habit stops.

For times like those, it’s handy to use a word frequency tool to understand how often I’m using problem words. Here are two ways to get that done. One is easy and the other is a little advanced.

Web app solution

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How to keep track of Beats 1 playlists even when you're not "tuned in"

The music streaming revolution has arrived in the form of Apple Music—or so say the reviewers anyway. Services like Rhapsody, Rdio, and Spotify have been around for a while, but Apple Music’s features are getting a lot people excited. Alongside Apple Music’s new streaming service is Beats 1, a live streaming 24/7 radio station with DJs from around the world.

Even if you decide not to sign-up for Apple Music, you can listen to Beats 1 for free. But if you don’t want to bother with booting up iTunes 12.2 to listen on your PC or Mac, you aren’t ready to upgrade your iOS device to iOS 8.4 (or you have an Android phone, which won’t get Apple Music until the fall), or you just want an accessory to keep track of what the radio station is playing, here are a few tools that can help. 

Tweeting Beats 1

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Turn multi-page web articles into a single, scrolling page with this extension

This one’s for the anti-clickers. Despite fast Internet connections and zippy PCs, web designers still like to organize really long content into multiple pages. That can be for financial reasons (more clicks equals more ads thus more revenue) or just because the designer thinks it’s more manageable for the reader. Visual content in particular suits itself well to slideshows.

But the downside for the user is you have to constantly click through to the next page, whether it’s a Google search, or a lengthy news article. All that clicking can interrupt your concentration.

There are a whole bunch of add-ons that try to solve this problem. To save you a few clicks they automatically load multi-page content while you scroll. I’ve been trying out a bunch of these add-ons. Some work really well, some don’t work at all, and some seemed a little sketchy.

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Panic Button for Chrome hides your online shenanigans

“Quick! The boss is coming shut down that MLB stream!”

Too late, you’re caught.

Lucky for you, the boss pulled up a chair to watch the game too, but you can’t always count on near misses to get you through your slack-off time at work. That’s why it’s good to know about a great little tool available in the Chrome Web Store called Panic Button from the VPN specialists at HideMyAss.

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Stream music from your PC to almost any device with this free tool

Here’s a fun tip to get your week off to a good start: an easy and free way to turn your PC into an audio streaming center that broadcasts to almost any web-capable device in your house. This can be handy if you don’t have access to Spotify on a game console, or you have audio tracks on your PC that you don’t have on your smartphone or tablet.

Whatever the reason, Stream What You Hear (SWYH) can help send audio to pretty much any device on the same network with a web browser or UPnP/DLNA functionality. This Windows-only software takes whatever’s pumping through your sound card and turns it into an audio stream. You can even mute the streaming PC and your other devices will keep rocking.

To be sure, this is what you’d call a low-buck solution with some drawbacks. For example, let’s say you’re partying to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and an audio alert for instant messaging or Skype starts ringing; you’ll hear it on the receiving device. That has its advantages if you need that alert while you’re in the kitchen, but isn’t so great if you want uninterrupted music.

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This Firefox extension kills the pesky problem of noisy web pages hiding in your tabs

I end up talking a lot about Chrome extensions and apps partly because it’s the browser I use every day, and partly because so much active development is happening on Chrome. But today I’ve got a great tool for all the Firefox users out there who open a lot of tabs at once or are tired of videos auto-playing in tabs that aren’t the main focus.

The Firefox add-on Open Link in Silent Tab gives you the option to open a tab without loading the corresponding webpage. Once you switch to that tab the page automatically loads. The downside to this is it will slow down your browsing a bit since you’ll have to wait for the page to load. But it also makes it easier to have multiple tabs open without slowing down the whole program and also means you don’t have a bunch of auto-playing videos going off at once.

openlinkinsilenttab

The Open Link in Silent Tab add-on places a new option in your context menu.

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AVG's Crumble extension simplifies online privacy

We’ve talked about anti-tracking extensions before. These are the tools that prevent online advertisers from tracking you online, allowing you to retain your privacy. There are many to choose from—including Disconnect, DNT+, and Ghostery—but recently AVG came out with a new extension for Chrome called Crumble that’s worth trying out.

AVG already offered an anti-tracking extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. The difference with Crumble is that it doesn’t rely on blacklists. Instead, Crumble is designed to identify and block tracking cookies on its own without the need to rely on a central database of domain names.

crumble

AVG’s Crumble for Chrome.

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