Tag: web tips

WeatherStack API: Real-time Weather Data for Your Project

WeatherStack API: Real-time Weather Data for Your Project

If you need to add weather information to your website or to an app you’re developing, the first thing you need is a reliable source of weather data. But that’s not all, you also need a method of fetching that data. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that allowed you to easily fetch various types of weather data and include it in your app or site? Well, there is. It is called the

About Weather Data

As defined by Wikipedia, “Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting.” And while there is more than weather forecasting to that science, it is its main branch. For as long as we’ve been, we’ve always wanted—and often needed—to predict what the weather was going to be like. Throughout the centuries this science—like all others—has considerably evolved up to relatively precise science it now is. Of course, weather forecasting is an error-prone field and we’ve all gotten caught by an unexpected shower at one point or another.

Today, several national agencies or private organizations provide weather forecasting and observation services that cover pretty much the whole globe. And while the exact information each group provides and how it is formatted can vary, the tends to be more and more uniform, making it easier for international organizations to get similar data about different locations.

Adding Weather Data To You Site Or App

There are many reasons why one would want to incorporate weather data in their app or their website. The most basic reason would be for someone building a weather app or site. And using a tool such as the Weatherstack API, one can easily fetch weather data for almost any location on the globe and present it in any way they want. All you have to do is determine what information you want to present to your users and how you want to present it. Two different applications or websites could be fetching the same data from Weatherstack yet present it in a completely different way.

But building weather apps of sites is not the only use for weather data. Imagine you run a nice bed and breakfast by the sea coast. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could include the current weather and forecast right there on your home page? Well, a weather data provider such as Weatherstack will let you do just that. Even better, it will do it automatically for you. All you need is add the appropriate code to your site and voilà! You have the weather forecast right on your site.

We could easily think of a bevy of similar uses to anyone wishing to add any kind of weather data to its app or site. If you, for instance, run any kind of outdoor operation, you may want to supply your clients with some current weather data or an upcoming forecast.

We could go on forever with good examples of using weather data either on your website on an application. The truth is that the only limit to what can be done with it is only one’s imagination. I’ve seen sites that had nothing to do with the weather but still included some weather data.

A First Look At The Weatherstack API

The Weatherstack API is actually rather simple. It’s a web-based service that you can use to fetch weather data about almost any location. Once you have the data, what you do with it is entirely up to you. What the API provides is just a source of live and up-to-date international weather data. The tool is super simple to use and it’s pricing model makes it easy to pay for just what you need.

The Weatherstack API delivers both real-time, historical, and future (forecast) weather information. Its primary target clientele is big and small organizations, as well as developers, freelancers and individuals. It is one of the most popular weather data REST API providers on the market due to its ease of implementation and data consistency.

Weatherstack is a service by Apilayer, a software company based in London, United Kingdom and Vienna, Austria. It is behind some of the most popular API and SaaS products worldwide. Those include things like Ipstack, Currencylayer, Invoicely, and Eversign. The API is using licensed weather data from some of the largest weather stations and weather data providers in the world. Furthermore, all the data sources are closely monitored for consistency and data accuracy around the clock. You always get the highest level of reliability, consistency and accuracy.

Although the refreshing frequency of weather data differs from one source to another, all data returned by the Weatherstack API—current, past, and future—is always the most up-to-date information available at the current point in time. Weather data is always updated in real-time. You can use it with confidence and trust that it is the most current data available.

It is one thing to have current data but it is also important to be able to fetch that data whenever you need it. And on that front, the Weatherstack API leaves nothing to be desired. It has a stellar uptime record and although the company advertises a 99.9% uptime, recent statistics show that the service hasn’t been down once in the past thirty days. But it’s not only available, but it also performs well. All weather data is returned in JSON format which makes for a fast response. The query response time is rarely above half a second and usually much shorter. Of course, your experience may vary and various issues outside of the provider’s control could slow down the process.

Weatherstack API Status Page

The Weatherstack API is also highly scalable. It is backed by a cloud infrastructure built and maintained by Apilayer which is capable of handling billions of requests per day. And if security is important to you—as it most likely is—the queries and responses can be secured using industry-standard 256-bit HTTPS (SSL) encryption. This is the same level of encryption that you get on banking websites.

And since any product—and especially an API—is only as good as its documentation, you’ll appreciate the thorough documentation provided with the Weatherstack API. You’ll find easy to understand document for pretty much every possible use case. Furthermore, a series of interactive code examples in multiple languages are provided. In many cases, using the API will be a simple matter of copying code from the examples into your own application. It could hardly be easier.

The Weatherstack API’s Main Features

The feature set of the Weatherstack API is impressive. It varies depending on the plan you choose and, of course, the price you pay. (More about pricing below). Let’s have a deeper look at what is actually available in terms of features.

Real-Time Weather is the Weatherstack API’s most basic feature and the only one that is included in all plans, even the free one. What it gives you is instant access to current weather data for millions of global locations. It is, of course, powered by rock-solid data sources and refreshed in real-time.

The Location Lookup & Autocomplete module is only available with paid plans. It provides a flexible search & autocomplete API endpoint that can help you easily pinpoint any city or region of your choice. You can search by name, by ZIP code, by geographical coordinates or even by IP address. That last feature can be very handy if you want to include localized weather data to your site’s visitors. It uses geolocation techniques to find the physical location of your visitors based on their IP address.

The Astronomy & Lunar Data module—available on all paid plans—lets the Weatherstack API deliver a series of valuable astronomy data points. These include information such as the sun and moon rise and set times, the moon phase and the moon illumination levels.

The Weatherstack API also delivers Hour-by-Hour Data on all paid plans. You’ll get very accurate real-time and also historical weather data broken down to the hour for the past 24 hours including temperature, wind, humidity, rain and a lot more.

And if you want to get more ancient data, all paid plans include Historical Weather Data which lets you full and detailed historical weather information globally all the way back to the year 2008. This feature is included with all paid plans as well.

When it comes to weather, though, we are often more interested in what the future has in store for us rather than what the past was. This is where then Weather Forecast Data module comes in handy. It will provide a reliable weather forecast data for 7 to 14 days into the future (depending on your plan), updated in real-time and around the clock.

Not everyone speaks English and the makers of the Weatherstack API know that. This is why the API is available in 40 different languages with the Professional and Business plans. The available languages include English (of course), Chinese, Arabic, French, Spanish and German, just to name a few.

Now if you need to fetch lots of weather data, running multiple individual queries can be complicated, cumbersome and rather slow. Fortunately, the Weatherstack API comes with the Bulk API feature. Bulk queries let you look up real-time, historical or future weather data for multiple global locations in a single API request.

Using Weatherstack

Let’s have a look at how you can use the Weatherstack API. Our goal is not to provide you with an in-depth tutorial—the great documentation available on the Weathersrack API’s website can be used for that—but rather to give you an overview of how easy it is to use the service and what the returned data may look like.

Invoking the Weatherstack API is as simple as sending a get request to api.weatherstack.com. That URL is extended to specify the type of request. You would, therefore, use either api.weatherstack.com/current, api.weatherstack.com/historical or api.weatherstack/forecast, If you need encryption, simply prefix the call with https:// instead of http://.

You need, of course, to send a few parameters with your request. The first—and most important—one is your API key. This is a unique key that is assigned to you when you sing up for the service. Another required parameter is called “query’. It is the actual query you want to run. That is the location for which you want to retrieve data. It could be a single location such as “London, United Kingdom” but it could also be multiple locations separated by semicolons like “London, Madrid, New York” The search engine is smart enough that you don’t need to enter more than just the city name for most well-known locations. That is unless, of course, you need something specific such as the weather in London, Ontario, Canada.

There are also a handful of optional parameters that enable users to specify parameters such as the number of days to forecast, the measurement units, of the language. And since the response is in JSON format, you can also specify a JSONP callback function that will handle the response. This is very powerful.

Once you sent your request, here’s an overview of the response you’re going to get:

{
   "request": {
      "type": "City",
      "query": "New York, United States of America",
      "language": "en",
      "unit": "m"
   },

   "location": {
      "name": "New York",
      "country": "United States of America",
      "region": "New York",
      "lat": "40.714",
      "lon": "-74.006",
      "timezone_id": "America/New_York",
      "localtime": "2019-09-07 11:38",
      "localtime_epoch": 1567856280,
      "utc_offset": "-4.0"
   },

   "current": {
      "observation_time": "03:38 PM",
      "temperature": 18,
      "weather_code": 113,
      "weather_icons": [
         "https://assets.weatherstack.com/images/wsymbols01_png_64/wsymbol_0001_sunny.png"
      ],
      "weather_descriptions": [
         "Sunny"
      ],
      "wind_speed": 0,
      "wind_degree": 345,
      "wind_dir": "NNW",
      "pressure": 1011,
      "precip": 0,
      "humidity": 58,
      "cloudcover": 0,
      "feelslike": 18,
      "uv_index": 5,
      "visibility": 16
   },

   "forecast": {
      "2019-09-07": {
      "date": "2019-09-07",
      "date_epoch": 1567814400,
      "astro": {
         "sunrise": "06:28 AM",
         "sunset": "07:19 PM",
         "moonrise": "03:33 PM",
         "moonset": "12:17 AM",
         "moon_phase": "First Quarter",
         "moon_illumination": 54
      },
      "mintemp": 17,
      "maxtemp": 25,
      "avgtemp": 21,
      "totalsnow": 0,
      "sunhour": 10.3,
      "uv_index": 5,
      "hourly": [
         {
            "time": "0",
            "temperature": 18,
            "wind_speed": 28,
            "wind_degree": 15,
            "wind_dir": "NNE",
            "weather_code": 122,
            "weather_icons": [
               "https://assets.weatherstack.com/images/wsymbols01_png_64/wsymbol_0004_black_low_cloud.png"
            ],
            "weather_descriptions": [
               "Overcast"
            ],
            "precip": 0,
            "humidity": 68,
            "visibility": 10,
            "pressure": 1008,
            "cloudcover": 75,
            "heatindex": 18,
            "dewpoint": 12,
            "windchill": 18,
            "windgust": 35,
            "feelslike": 18,
            "chanceofrain": 0,
            "chanceofremdry": 87,
            "chanceofwindy": 0,
            "chanceofovercast": 90,
            "chanceofsunshine": 15,
            "chanceoffrost": 0,
            "chanceofhightemp": 0,
            "chanceoffog": 0,
            "chanceofsnow": 0,
            "chanceofthunder": 0,
            "uv_index": 0
         },
         {  "time": 300, ... },
         {  "time": 600, ... },
         // 6 more items
      ]
      }
   }
}

As you can see, that’s a lot of information. You get complete current weather data such as temperature, wind direction and speed, humidity, barometric pressure, and UV index, among others. The forecast section is just as detailed and includes, for instance, the chance of precipitation in percentage, heat index, wind chill factor, and dew point. One last thing worth noting is that the response also includes URLs to icons you can use to add visual interest to your weather data.

We could spend quite a bit of time going over all the options and the various bits of data included in the query responses. However, since the Weatherstack API website has such detailed documentation, we figured it was not necessary. And if you need concrete examples of how to use the Weatherstack API with your programming language of choice the online documentation has several code examples in PHP, Python, Nodejs, jQuery, Go and Ruby.

Pricing Information

The Weatherstack API is available under several different plans. As we saw, the plans vary in the number of features they each offer but they also vary in the maximum number of API calls you can make each month.

The most basic plan is the Free plan. It costs nothing and a credit card is not even required to sign up for that plan. It is, however, severely limited in that it will only allow up to a thousand API calls per month. Its primary use is for testing purposes.

Next up is the Standard plan with many more features—it’s only missing the forecast module and the multiple languages—and a monthly allocation of up to fifty thousand calls. This plan is available for $9.99/month or $7.99/month if you pay annually.

Weatherstack APIPricing and Signup Page

The mid-range plan—and also the most popular—is the Professional plan. At this level, you get the full feature set and multilingual support as well as an extended allocation of up to three hundred thousand call per month. This one is priced at $49.99 or $39.99 if billed yearly.

The top plan—called the Business plan—offers the same full feature set as the professional one but in increases to monthly allocation to one million calls per month. It is, of course, the priciest plan at $99.99/month or $79.99 with yearly payments.

And if none of these plans seem to match your needs, you can contact Apilayer and arrange for a customized Enterprise plan. It will include the features you need and the monthly allocation you require. This level also features dedicated support as well as the possibility of custom solutions which fit your specific needs.

Bottom Line

If you need to add weather data to a website or an app you’re developing, the Weatherstack API can provide you with precisely what you need at a very reasonable price. The product is easy to use and it will easily integrate into your existing environment. The service is fast and efficient, its availability is stellar and its quality second to none. With an available free plan, try it and see for yourself how this tool can help you achieve your goals.

Read WeatherStack API: Real-time Weather Data for Your Project by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to enable a play/pause button on the Chrome toolbar

How to enable a play/pause button on the Chrome toolbar

Controlling media that’s playing in a browser isn’t as easy as it is when you use a dedicated media player but Chrome has been working to bridge that gap. A few releases ago, it added support for the Windows 10 volume/media OSD keys and controls though many users seem more interested in disabling it than actually using it. With the latest release of Chrome, there’s a play/pause button that you can enable for the Chrome toolbar.

Play/pause button on Chrome toolbar

To enable a play/pause button on the Chrome toolbar, you need to open the browser and in the URL bar, enter the following.

chrome://flags

Tap enter, and you’ll be taken to the Chrome flags page. Here, search for Global Media Controls. Select the flag that matches, and set its value to ‘Enabled’ from the dropdown menu. Relaunch Chrome to apply the change.

The Play/pause button only appears if you have a tab open with media in it. If you later close the tab, the button doesn’t go away but it won’t be present in any new windows that you open until you open something else to play.

When you click the play button, a little window opens giving you the title of whatever is playing, the URL that the media is streaming from, the play/pause button, and buttons to move to the next or previous item in a list. In some cases, the window will also offer a thumbnail for the video that’s playing.

How to enable a play/pause button on the Chrome toolbar 1

The control updates in real time and it supports multiple tabs which means you can access i.e., play/pause media, and move to the next/previous item in any tab from any window.

The feature doesn’t work the same for all websites but it will definitely let you play/pause media on most, if not all websites. During tests, it was able to play/pause YouTube, Facebook, and Netflix but the next/previous item buttons only appeared for the YouTube video. Additionally, the thumbnail and video title was only generated for the YouTube video as well. It’s safe to say that this feature works best with YouTube.

How to enable a play/pause button on the Chrome toolbar 2

While the feature doesn’t work perfectly with all websites, it’s still not to be discounted just for that reason alone. It’s a native way to control media that’s playing in any tab and before Chrome 77, this is something that required an extension. There are still many extensions that outshine this feature but for something basic, this beats many other options.

Read How to enable a play/pause button on the Chrome toolbar by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to disable extension sync on Chrome without disabling sync

How to disable extension sync on Chrome without disabling sync

Chrome sync is a great feature that Google improves constantly. A recent update to Chrome now allows you to send links between connected devices. It’s a great way to keep everything in sync across multiple devices except when it syncs data you don’t want it to. Case in point; extensions. Extensions will sync so that you always have the same ones installed across all your synced Chrome browsers. If you need to selectively disable extension sync on Chrome so that extensions from one instance do not sync to all others, you can. Here’s how.

Disable extension sync

Chrome sync will sync lots of things; passwords, history, auto-fill, extensions, themes, and more. When you open Chrome on a device, it will make sure that everything from extensions to your browsing history is available from all other linked devices however, you can pick and choose what is and isn’t synced.

To stop extensions from an instance of Chrome from being synced to other devices, you need to open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. From the menu, select Settings. At the very top of the Settings page, you’ll see the sync options. Click ‘Sync and Google services’.

On the next page, click ‘Manage sync’.

The next page will show you switches for the various items that you can enable/disable sync for. Turn off the switch for ‘Extensions’. From this point forward, all activity from the browser will sync to other Chrome installations but extensions will not.

How to disable extension sync on Chrome without disabling sync 3

You’re free to install more extensions, remove some of the existing ones, and enable/disable the ones that are installed without worrying about it changing how Chrome is set up on your other devices.

Chrome sync is selective in nature and users have freedom to choose what is synced. The syncing options are grouped and not itemized i.e., you can enable or disable extension sync as a whole but you cannot disable one extension from syncing while allowing all others.

If this doesn’t do the trick for you, you might consider creating different Chrome profiles on the devices that you use Chrome on and making the changes to the extensions on a per-profile bases. The profiles will not sync data between themselves but data from one profile will always be available on other Chrome installations that sync using the same account. If you prefer nothing sync from a particular installation of Chrome, you can always disable sync in it.

Read How to disable extension sync on Chrome without disabling sync by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to send links to connected devices from Chrome

How to send links to connected devices from Chrome

Sharing links between devices isn’t always easy. The only exception is if you’re using an iPhone and a Mac that have a shared clipboard. If you’re on a different desktop OS such as Linux or Windows 10, your ability to share links to another device runs into platform restrictions. Chrome has added a new feature to its stable release that lets you push links to other connected devices. The browser is easily one of the most popular browsers on the desktop and it has mobile versions for both Android and iOS. It’s a great way to share links between the various devices that you own. Here’s how the feature works.

Chrome connected devices

This feature relies on Chrome sync to work. A connected Chrome device is any device that has the Chrome browser installed and that has Chrome sync enabled. All devices must be using the same Google ID to sync data. Chrome sync is available on all versions of Chrome desktop and mobile.

Send links to connected devices – Chrome desktop

Open the link that you want to send in Chrome and right-click in the URL bar. From the context menu, select Send to your devices. Select a device from the sub-menu and then open Chrome on the device.

You will see a notification telling you that you’ve received a new tab. Tap it, and the link will open. On mobile devices, these notifications only appear in Chrome and are not send through the mobile OS’ notification system.

How to send links to connected devices from Chrome 4

Send links to connected devices – Chrome mobile

On your mobile device, whether it’s Android or iOS, open the link you want to send to a device and tap the share button. A menu will open listing various options once of which will be ‘Send to your devices’. Tap it and then select the device you want to send the link to.

How to send links to connected devices from Chrome 5

Go to the device that you sent the link to, and you will see an alert/notification (depending on the platform) telling you a link has been sent. If you tap it, it will open the link in a new tab.

How to send links to connected devices from Chrome 6

If you’re sending links to a desktop via Chrome, the browser must be allowed to send notifications. Unlike its mobile version, the notifications on the desktop are delivered via the desktop OS’ notification system.

Adding new devices is pretty easy; all you have to do is install Chrome on the device and then sign in and enable sync via the same Google ID.

Read How to send links to connected devices from Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to limit network bandwidth in Opera GX Gaming browser

How to limit network bandwidth in Opera GX Gaming browser

Opera GX is a version of the Opera browser that targets gamers. It’s not going to run games but it has certain features that gaming enthusiasts might be interested in. In fact, it has features ordinary users might find useful e.g., CPU and GPU limits. The browser has just added a network bandwidth limiting feature as well. Here’s how it works.

Limit network bandwidth in Opera GX

Open Opera GX and you’ll see a bar of controls along the left. Click the icon that looks like a speed dial and a panel will open. You’ll see a ‘Network Limiter’ switch at the very top. Turn it On, and a dropdown will appear below it. Open the dropdown and it will list the various network speeds that you can limit Opera GX to.

The lowest limit is 64 Kb/s and the maximum limit is 25 Mb/s. You cannot freely choose the limit between the upper and lower limit in the dropdown. You will be selecting from preset values. The lowest limit is pretty low but the highest limit falls short of the internet speed you’d get if you have a good connection. In some countries, internet speeds are delivered in GBs so you can imagine how the 25 Mb/s limit might be small in comparison.

How to limit network bandwidth in Opera GX Gaming browser 7

If you wanted to limit network speed in any other browser, even a mainstream one like Chrome or Firefox, you’d have to go through developer tools or find an add-on or extension to do that job. Limiting bandwidth might be useful for gamers but it’s just as useful for users who aren’t interested in games.

The network limit, once set, is saved between sessions. If you close the browser and open it again, the limit will still be set which is a good thing but if you suddenly find the internet is slow in the browser, check if you may have enabled a bandwidth limit for the network and then forgotten about it.

The limit will apply to all activity in the browser; any website you visit will load at the speed that you’ve allocated, and any file that you download will also be constrained by it.

The network bandwidth limits how much of your network Opera GX can use however, if other apps on your system are also downloading content, the browser might end up using significantly less bandwidth. This tool doesn’t let you set a minimum bandwidth usage limit. That simply isn’t possible. If you’re looking to distribute bandwidth on a per-app basis, you’re going to have to look for a tool that is independent of any other app and that runs on your desktop and not just in your browser.

Read How to limit network bandwidth in Opera GX Gaming browser by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to use Firefox Picture-in-picture mode

How to use Firefox Picture-in-picture mode

Firefox has a picture-in-picture mode, much like Chrome and Safari do. This feature was added in Firefox 67 (current stable version is 68) and works on websites that use an HTML5 media player. One popular website is of course YouTube. For some reason, the feature isn’t enabled for everyone by default so here’s how you can enable and use Firefox Picture-in-picture mode.

Enable Firefox Picture-in-picture mode

Open Firefox and in the URL bar, enter the following.

about:config

Tap Enter, and accept the warning that you see on your screen. Once you’re on the preferences page, use the search bar at the top and look for the following preference.

media.videocontrols.picture-in-picture.enabled

Double-click it to change its value from False to True.

Use Firefox picture-in-picture mode

Once enabled, you can start using the picture-in-picture mode in Firefox. Navigate to a website with playable video content, and make sure it’s an HTML5 player. Play it, right-click the player. The first time you right-click the player, the context menu may, or may not, have a picture-in-picture option. If it does, select it and the video will be played in Picture-in-picture mode.

If the option isn’t there, right-click the player a second time, and the option should appear.

How to use Firefox Picture-in-picture mode 8

The picture-in-picture mode works as you’d expect it t; a floating player is added to your screen and it floats above all other windows i.e., it is pinned to the top. You can click and drag it to move it anywhere you want and it can be resized.

The player itself doesn’t feature a lot of controls; only a button to switch back to the window/tab it was originally playing in, and a play/pause button. There’s also a close button which, when clicked, will exit the floating Picture-in-picture mode player. The video will return to the tab it was open in, and it will be stopped at whatever point it was on when you closed the floating player.

How to use Firefox Picture-in-picture mode 9

Chrome added this feature almost a year before Firefox did and it didn’t work for all websites. It’s the same case with Firefox. It won’t work on all websites, even those using HTML5. One example of this is Facebook which has been using HTML5 for videos since 2015. Neither Chrome nor Firefox’s native picture-in-picture mode works with it. Chrome users can force it with an official extension from Chrome but, there’s nothing official from Mozilla to fill the gap.

You can probably find an add-on that, while not developed by Mozilla, will force other HTML5 players to work with picture-in-picture mode.

Read How to use Firefox Picture-in-picture mode by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to sideload an add-on in Firefox

How to sideload an add-on in Firefox

Add-ons for Firefox are generally available in the Firefox Marketplace along with themes. These add-ons are safe and you can install them with a few clicks. It’s about as easy as it gets. Add-on developers generally do not have to face any problems when they submit an add-on so distribution is fairly simple.

That said, not all add-ons are distributed via the Firefox Marketplace. Some will inevitably have to be distributed from outside it. In order to install these add-ons, you have to side-load them. Here’s how.

Sideload an add-on

Sideloading an add-on in Firefox is really easy. All you need is the add-on file which is an XPI file. Developers choose how they distribute their add-ons which is why we can’t point you to a single place where add-ons from outside the Firefox Marketplace are made available. They may be on a developer’s website, or they may be on a Github page.

Once you have the XPI file, all you have to do is drag & drop it on to an open Firefox window. Alternatively, you can tap the Ctrl+O keyboard shortcut to open the Select File box, and then select the XPI file from it.

You will see a prompt asking if you want to add the add-on to Firefox, and it will show you a list of the permissions it will have access to. Click Add, and it will be installed.

To uninstall an add-on that you sideloaded, tap the Ctrl+Shift+A keyboard shortcut. This will take you to the add-on manager. Click the more options button next to the add-on and select ‘Remove’ from the menu.

How to sideload an add-on in Firefox 10

Limitations & precautions

Add-ons that are not from the Firefox Marketplace may not be safe. If the add-on is open-source, it’s likely going to be harmless but if it isn’t, make sure the developer is reliable before you sideload an add-on. A malicious add-on that you install to your browser can steal all sorts of information.

This method will not allow you to install add-ons that are not compatible with your version of Firefox. Compatibility hasn’t been a problem with Firefox add-ons for a long time but there will still be exceptions. If you find an old add-on’s XPI file, and try to install it this way, it may not work. It might also install but fail to work as it should. If that’s the sort of add-on you’re trying to install, it’s best to seek an alternative for it.

Read How to sideload an add-on in Firefox by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to uncensor Google search results

How to uncensor Google search results

Censorship is an amazing thing in that you’ll never know it’s there until it suddenly isn’t. Censorship is often used by governments to keep regulate what information is available to its citizens though other forms of censorship may be used by organizations to restrict content e.g., in schools, or in prisons. When censorship is on a government level, it’s usually done by asking companies to refine or restrict content e.g. Google search results. If you want to uncensor Google search results, you can. You can do this in Firefox, or Chrome, or in Chrome Edge.

In order to uncensor Google search results, you will have to side-load an extension/add-on in Chrome or Firefox (whichever browser you use). This is because the extension that we’re going to use has been removed from both the Chrome Web Store and Firefox Marketplace for obvious reasons.

Uncensor Google search results

Download the Google Unlocked extension from Github. Go to the Releases tab. If you’re looking to download the extension for Chrome, or Chrome Edge, download the CRX file. If you want to install the add-on for Firefox, download the XPI file.

To install the app in Chrome, check out our post on how to install extensions in Chrome. The sideloading section is the one you want to check out. Since this is a Chrome extension, it’s highly likely going to work in Chrome Edge.

For Firefox, the process is much easier. Open the browser and tap the Ctrl+O keyboard shortcut. In the Select File box that opens, select the XPI file you downloaded. You will see a prompt asking if you want to add the add-on or not. It will also display the permissions that the add-on needs. Once you click Add, it will be installed.

How to uncensor Google search results 11

Uncensored search results

The uncensored Google search results may feature new entries on the first page, or on subsequent pages. It’s hard to point you to a search term that you can try since it may not be censored in your part of the world. That said, you might have seen that under some search results, the results page tells you that some items were removed in response to a copyright claim. This extension will likely add them back to the search results.

A lot of people recommend using other search engines instead of Google. DuckDuckGo is often recommended and while it will give you uncensored results, its algorithm isn’t as efficient as Google’s which is why, this extension may be worth installing.

Read How to uncensor Google search results by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to set up a YouTube live stream alert for a channel

How to set up a YouTube live stream alert for a channel

YouTube added a live streaming feature a while ago. It was added to compete with Twitch though that didn’t quite work. Still, the live streaming feature is there and this year, Apple is going to be using it to stream its iPhone event. If you already follow Apple, or any other channel for that matter, and you’ve enabled notifications for it, you will get an alert when the channel goes live. That said, if you’re only interested in a specific event that’s going to be broadcast, you can set up a YouTube live stream alert for the channel. Here’s how.

YouTube live stream alert

In order for this to work, the channel must already have set up the live stream to play in advance. If the channel already doesn’t have the stream link up, waiting to go live, you will have to subscribe to the channel and enable alerts for it instead. We’ll detail how to do that as well.

Locate the live stream. It should be on the channel’s page. The link will show a countdown timer to when the event/stream will start. Click the ‘Set Reminder’ button. If you’re not already signed into YouTube, you’re going to have to sign in first.

The reminder is set the second you click the button. It’s delivered via email but also via YouTube on both the mobile app and the website. You can undo it by clicking the ‘Reminder on’ button and it will be toggled off.

How to set up a YouTube live stream alert for a channel 12

The stream may start earlier than the time that the channel has set and if it does, you won’t get an alert for it. The live streaming feature, and its reminders, need work. The notification settings don’t allow you to set when you should get a reminder to a live stream i.e., how far in advance. You’re alerted at the designated start time, and not before that.

Live alerts for subscriptions

If you’ve already subscribed to a channel, you will need to enable alerts for it. This might seem like something that should happen automatically but any YouTube channel will tell you otherwise. To subscribe to alerts, visit the channel’s page. You’ll see a bell icon next to the Subscribe button. Click it to get alerts for activity from the channel.

How to set up a YouTube live stream alert for a channel 13

You can also find this same bell icon under a video that’s been uploaded by the channel. Click it and you’ll be subscribed to alerts from the channel. These alerts will include both new video updates, live stream updates, as well as status updates.

Read How to set up a YouTube live stream alert for a channel by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to bookmark a Skype message

How to bookmark a Skype message

Skype has returned its focus to its core function; messaging and calls. To that end, it’s added several useful features to the app that aid in better communication such as subtitles. Another feature that’s recently been added to Skype is a bookmark feature. The name is self-explanatory for the most part; you can bookmark a Skype message and quickly find it again whenever you need to. Here’s how it works.

Bookmark a Skype message

This feature is available on the Skype desktop apps, the web app, and the mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Desktop & Web

Open the Skype app on your desktop or visit the Skype web interface in your browser. Select the chat thread that you want to bookmark a message from. Look for the message and when you find it, click the three dots/more options button next to it. In the menu that opens, select the ‘Add bookmark’ option.

To access the bookmarks, click your profile icon at the top left (above the search bar). In the menu that opens, click Bookmarks.

How to bookmark a Skype message 14

The bookmarks are grouped by person, and then sorted by date. If you hover the mouse over it, an arrow appears. When you click the arrow, it takes you to the message within the chat thread it’s from. To remove a bookmark, click the three dots/more options button that appears when you hover the mouse over it and select the remove option from the menu.

How to bookmark a Skype message 15

iOS & Android

Make sure the Skype app on your phone is up to date and visit the chat thread that you want to bookmark a message from. Tap and hold on the message until a menu or additional options appear. Tap ‘Add bookmark’ from the menu, and the message will be bookmarked. You will see a little icon on top of the message indicating that it has been bookmarked.

How to bookmark a Skype message 16

To view bookmarks, return to the main app screen and tap your profile at the top. From the menu, tap Bookmarks. If you tap a bookmark, it will take you to the chat thread it’s from. If you want to remove a bookmark, tap and hold on it until a menu appears. Select the ‘Remove bookmark’ option from the menu and it will be removed.

How to bookmark a Skype message 17

You can bookmark messages that have been sent to you, or that have been sent by you. When you bookmark a message that has been sent, the sender is not notified that it has been bookmarked.

Read How to bookmark a Skype message by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter