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Google, Microsoft offer different methods for tracking Santa

It's that time of year, when Google helps little ones around the world track Santa. This year, instead of only tracking Kris Kringle on Christmas Eve, Google is giving you a different glimpse into what's occurring at the North Pole every day leading up to Christmas.

The announcement from Google came courtesy of a post on its Google Maps blog early Wednesday. With a countdown timer at the top of the page, you're able to view familiar Google Maps pins for each day leading up to Santa's busiest day of the year, and see prep work … Read more

Sickweather tracks then alerts you of nearby illnesses

With flu season fast approaching and holiday travelers carrying germs throughout the world, it sure would be nice to know what kind of illnesses are nearby. As Mashable reported, an app called Sickweather wants to give you that information on your iPhone, using your current location.

Download the free Sickweather app from the App Store, designate which viruses and conditions you want to be alerted of, and let the app do the rest.

By scanning social networks for mentions of specific illnesses while filtering out redundant phrases or random uses of the word "sick" (and the like), Sickweather … Read more

Free Firefox add-on graphs the trackers

Like most people, my knee-jerk response to tracking cookies is that they are evil and must be banished from my computer.

Then again, blocking cookies doesn't necessarily prevent sites from tracking you. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Micah Lee explained in a June blog post on Deeplinks that when you open a Web page, your browser retrieves elements from many third-party servers.

For example, if the page has a Facebook Like button, JavaScript and images are loaded from Facebook's servers. The request your browser sends to each server includes your IP address and other information that could identify … Read more

Chrome 32 Beta lets you try apps before you buy (or install)

Chrome 32 Beta has a useful feature that lets you launch apps from the Chrome App Launcher without first installing them.

If you are using Chrome 32 Beta and are running Windows or Chrome OS, you'll need to enable the experimental ephemeral apps flag to use this feature. To do so, head to this page:

chrome://flags/#enable-ephemeral-apps

The "Enable experimental ephemeral apps" line should be highlighted at the top of the page. Click the Enable link and restart Chrome.

Now, when you open the Chrome App Launcher, for any app that gets returned as a search … Read more

Discover, install Pebble watch faces with this free iOS app

Going beyond custom alerts for various events on your Pebble watch, one of the more fun uses for the Pebble smartwatch is the ability to create and use custom watch faces. Up until now, iOS users have had to rely on browsing watch faces using Safari. The process is a bit tedious and it's easy to forget where you saw a particular watch face. Enter MyPebbleFaces.

What started as a fan Web site to curate Pebble watch faces has turned into a free iOS app where iPhone users can browse available faces and install them directly on their watch. … Read more

Find out how long the line is at airport security before you go

I do not enjoy air travel. Of the many aspects I dislike -- the potential for exploding during takeoff, middle seats in coach, turbulence, the person in front of you fully reclining for the entire flight, the potential for crashing during landing -- there is one I must face before I even leave the house: the anxiety about getting caught in a miles-long security line at the airport and missing my flight. Perhaps for my next trip that requires a flight, WhatsBusy can reduce my anxiety a bit -- at least until I get to the gate and begin to … Read more

Stop Firefox pages from loading indefinitely with KillSpinners

I use both Chrome and Firefox on my Mac, but Firefox is a much larger resource hog than its Google counterpart. I have found that a few Web sites in particular are incredibly, frustratingly slow to load on Firefox, with their pages spinning and spinning and slowing down my entire operation. Meanwhile, other sites appear to load correctly only to start back up and spin continuously if left to their own devices. Hence, I am quite excited for the prospect of KillSpinners, a Firefox add-on that promises to eradicate this problem.

You neither need to launch KillSpinners nor restart Firefox … Read more

How to deauthorize Amazon Cloud Player devices

Amazon Cloud Player can stream and download your music library to as many as 10 PCs and mobile devices, which for some users is more than enough. But if you're a tech junkie and/or you share that library with family members, you might be surprised how quickly you hit that limit.

Indeed, if you own a PC, a smartphone, a tablet, a Roku box, and a late-model Ford (seriously), you might already be halfway to your device cap. For me it was a case of older devices I was no longer using, but had forgotten were still connected … Read more

How to automatically back up Instagram photos to SkyDrive

Backing up photos from your iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone is easier than ever and doesn't even require you to use a computer. Services like Dropbox and SkyDrive can automatically back up your photos so you can access them from practically any device.

Instagram photos, however, aren't typically included in the automated backups. After carefully cropping your image and selecting the perfect filter, you might like to keep a backup of it as well. Here's how to automatically back up your Instagram photos to SkyDrive using an IFTTT recipe:

Create your own recipe

Step 1: Go to … Read more

Autosave makes Awesome Screenshot more awesome

Awesome Screenshot just got more awesome. When I wrote about this Chrome extension last year, I liked its simplicity. It granted you three capture options -- visible part of the page you are viewing, a selected area, or the entire page -- and after taking a screenshot, it opened up a new tab where you could annotate your screenshot and then save it locally or online.

I used it for a time as my default Chrome screenshot utility but eventually stopped because I don't annotate most of the screenshots I take. Sure, it comes in handy once in a … Read more