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Mon 24 Sep 2007 05:03 PM

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Better living online

The best-kept secrets of three popular websites that make surfing more productive: YouTube, Facebook, Google.

If you're looking to make your online life more productive, read on as we reveal the best-kept secrets of three popular online offerings: YouTube, Facebook and Google.


1. Just YouTube IT!

If you regularly search for YouTube videos of topics you've read in news stories or blogs then this tip has your name written all over it. The Firefox extension, YouTube it lets you easily search for any word or group of words online. So how does it work exactly? Simply right-click on a word in any web page and hit ‘YouTube it'. For instance, if you've read any article on the Wii console and are looking for related YouTube videos, simply highlight Wii, right-click and choose Youtube IT.

2. Burn it up

If you're looking to watch YouTube vids on a big screen TV then please note that the video will be of low quality. As an example of this, the resolution of videos on YouTube and Meta Café is 320x240 pixels. In stark contrast, DVD resolution is 720x576 for PAL, which is the video standard used in the Middle East region.

Now if you're looking to burn Youtube vids without spending a fil then you have many options at your disposal. Firstly you need to download the video in question to your PC in flv format, which stands for flash video format. To do this you can use KeepVid, which is available from KeepVid.com. This is an easy-to-use app and a favourite of the team.

You will now have to point your browser to dvdflick.net and download DVD Flick onto your PC. DVD Flick is designed to encode YouTube or Google Videos and consequently burn them onto DVD. It may take some time getting use to this app but lucky for you the app's official website boasts a very easy-to-follow guide that comes highly recommended. This is available at www.dvdflick.net/guide.

3. Easy save

Looking for a super simple way to save your fav videos? Well, look no further folks. Kiss Youtube, a new app online, boasts a dead easy way to download YouTube footage. The best part about the app for us is that you don't even have to install any software.

So how does this nifty piece of software work exactly? If you are watching a video on the website, all you need to do is add the word ‘kiss' to the URL in the address bar and hit Enter. Viola! You can now easily save the vid on your desktop. Still not too sure what we mean? Okay, let's provide any example to make things a little easier. If your video URL is www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngRq82c8Baw (which is a hilarious video by the way) then all you need to do is add kiss just before the youtube domain. This would make the URL www.kissyoutube.com/watch?v=ngRq82c8Baw. Simple, isn't it? Now when the kissYoutube link loads up in your browser you will be presented with a link that will let you download the video.

4.Fast and furious

If you're like me then you don't have the time or the patience to wait for things to download, which probably means you will use any app that can speed up your downloads. But did you know that you can also speed up streaming YouTube videos? Yes, it's true and it's all thanks to Speedbit Video Accelerator. This is essentially a free app that is designed to stream vids faster and much more smoothly. So how does this ingenious app do this? Well, it works exactly like your everyday download manager works; it makes a number of connections to a certain video on YouTube's servers and will simultaneously download different segments (or parts) of the same video. The great part about this method is that buffering problems are less likely as all the videos are pre-buffered so that they run more smoothly. The best part about this app is that it also works when watching videos on Facebook and MySpace.

5. Extracting tunes

The Windows team recently received a e-mail from a user asking how he could extract music from a YouTube video. Now while it's a little difficult to this is, where there's a will, there's a way. We recommend you install RealPlayer and then download the video to your desktop. Next, strip the audio from the file using the app's Audio Strip feature and then covert this into the audio format of your choice such as MP3 or WAV.


1. iRead

This app lets you to display what books you've read, what you are reading right now and which releases are on your reading list, direct to your Facebook Profile. You can also write book reviews and rate the books on your list, however iRead's best feature is that it matches you up with people with similar reading tastes. There's also a board that lists who the top reviewers are as well as what the top related books are amongst iRead users.

2. Billmonk

This app lets you easily keep track of shared expenses with your pals. You choose either to create a new loan or new shared bill. When you create a new shared bill, you can select which friends participated in the bill, how much you paid, and how much your friends have to pay. BillMonk then sends your friends a message and displays figures on a canvas page so you can all see them.

3. del.icio.us

If you've never heard of del.icio.us before, you've missed a treat as it's an awesome social bookmarking site. With it, you can easily tag your favorite webpages with your own customized labels. The coolest part about it though is you can see what others have tagged as well. So, you can find people who have similar interests to you and thus expand the amount of websites you get to enjoy and visit.

The app also lets you post your most recent del.icio.us bookmarks on your Facebook profile, so now you can share with Facebook users what sites you've been surfing. Very nifty indeed.

4. Calendar

This offering from the makers of the popular calendar web app, 30 Boxes, lets you manage all your Facebook-related dates through your profile.Thus, you can keep track of birthdays, concerts, assignments and other events relative to your online life, and share those events with your Facebook friends.

If you're a 30 Boxes user already, you can also sync your calendars and add events - either in Facebook or at the 30 Boxes site. This program also rules just because the clean, Ajax-powered interface makes it the coolest and easiest to use online calendar for Facebook.

1. Find definitions

Google ‘s ‘define' operation can help you look up the definition of almost any word. Simply include this operator in your search phrase. For example, to find out the meaning of crux, type ‘define: crux' (without the quotes) in the Google's search field.

After you then hit Search, you'll be provided with a list of definitions from different websites - some more detailed than others.

2. Look for similar webpages

Let's say you have a keen interest in PC modding and you have a favourite site that you always access for news and updates. But though you like the site, you wish it was a little better designed and the info was more detailed. It's for this, that Google's ‘related :' operator exists. This, as its name suggest, provides you with a list websites that are similar to the page you've specificied in your search.

3. Search for page connections

This feature is useful if you operate a site of your own. The ‘link:' operator lists links to web pages that you specify in the search. For instance, the following command will list pages that have links pointing to our itp.net homepage; ‘link:www.itp.net'.

4. Perform a wildcard search

The asterisk (*) can be used as a wildcard in a phrase search. It denotes the placeholder for a single word, meaning that an asterisk in a search query is like a blank slot that will accept any word. For example,let's say you know a film is called "bridge on the river...", but no matter how hard to try you cannot seem to recall the name of the river! In this case, just search using this: ‘the bridge on the river *'. Hey presto, it's the river Kwai!

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