Four Really Cool Reddit Clients for Desktop Users

Reddit’s popularity has soared over the past few years; however, one thing that hasn’t changed is its appearance. There is no way to put this politely. Reddit.com is ugly. It’s fast and functional, but an eyesore. Even the Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES), which adds dozens of super cool features to the Reddit website, leaves the appearance aspect largely alone. If you are looking for a completely revamped Reddit experience on your desktop, here are four options.

reddit

1. ReedditApp

This app is for Redditors wanting something simple and elegant. Reeddit has a simple three pane layout. The first pane lists the subreddits, the second lists the posts and the third displays images (including GIFs), self-posts and comments. The website is responsive and works well at a wide range of resolutions. Reeddit is solely targeted at the lurkers who mainly use Reddit for consuming information. There is actually no way to submit new content or comment and vote. Surprisingly, Reeddit also doesn’t support multi-reddits. Instead, it has its own implementation called Channels. ReedditApp is available for Mac, FirefoxOS, and the web.

Reeddit

[ Visit ReedditApp ]

2. Redditery

A lot of the content on Reddit are pictures. In fact several of the popular subreddits are completely image driven. Redditery is a simple web client that’s great for browsing through multimedia content. You can open any subreddit with Redditery, but the navigation bar disregards your subscriptions and offers a pre-curated list of popular subreddits.

Redditery

[ Visit Redditery ]

3. Reddit.TV

Think of RedditTV as Reddit’s Leanback mode. It offers a continuous stream of popular video content from /r/videos and various other popular subreddits. To be honest this website itself pretty ugly. However, it is the best way to surf through the endless list of awesome videos that Reddit community regularly discovers.

RedditTV

[ Visit Reddit TV ]

4. Reditr

If you want a powerful, full featured Reddit client, then Reditr is your best bet. Reditr supports two modes. A TweetDeck like multi-column mode, and a more conventional single columns Stream mode. The multi-column mode is great for the heavy duty users as columns can be created from a multitude of sources including subreddits, multireddits, searches, and users. However, the dizzying amount of information that’s on display in the multi-column mode might be too much for most users. The Stream view offers a familiar single stream of updates, but with an enhanced user interface. Multimedia content and self-posts are displayed inline, and the top comments from every submission is also shown in the main stream. Reditr is extremely customizable and you can change almost every aspect of the interface including theme and background. It supports multiple accounts and allows you to even import your RES tags. It is available as a web app, Chrome extension, and Windows/Mac/Linux app.

ReditR

[ Visit Reditr ]

Get Awesome Video Recommendations with these Video Discovery Websites

Every minute more than 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. With hundreds of thousands of videos vying for your attention, it can be challenging to find and watch videos that are actually worth your time. This is where video discovery services come in. Much like the portals of the olden days, these services scour the interwebs to identify and highlight videos you’d want to watch.

YouTube Nation

YouTube Nation is actually just a YouTube channel. Created by DreamWorks Animation, in partnership with YouTube, this is a 5 minute daily show which highlights latest viral and trending videos. Each episode is accompanied by a playlist featuring all of the content showcased in the episode. So, for every five minute episode, you often have an hour or more of associated content.

Youtube-Nation-Video-Recommendation
YouTube Nation

YouTube Nation is simplistic and impersonal, but I still love it because the content featured by YouTube Nation is almost always brilliant.

Reddit.TV

Reddit is often responsible for discovering fresh content and making them go viral. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, /r/videos is where you should head to. Reddit.TV is an alternate interface which makes it easy to speed through all the video shared on your favourite subreddits. However, Reddit can be very unpredictable regarding the topic and quality of the videos. If you’d prefer to only see a selection of some of the best videos, you can try Digg Videos, which is pretty much subset of Reddit’s /r/videos.

Reddit-TV-Trending-Videos
Reddit-TV

Frequency

Frequency is a personalized video discovery service, which uses your social feeds as signals. Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, Reddit, and a host of other services are supported. There are literally dozens and dozens of channels. Subscribe to the ones you like, and remove the ones you don’t like to build your personalized video discovery service. If you don’t care much about personalization, you can always stick to the Top Picks section, which showcases popular videos.

Frequency-Video-Discovery
Frequency

For more on Frequency, check out our in-depth interview with its CEO.

Others

If you’re still looking for more options, you might want to try out the following:

  • WayWire: Often described as Pinterest for videos, it encourages users to scour through different video services and curate videos into channels (called wires).
  • Telly: Telly asks you to follow content-creators you like, and surfaces latest content from those users. It also enables discovery through tags.
  • ShowYou: Like Frequency, ShowYou uses channels as well as social networks to provide video recommendations. However, it is only available as a mobile app (Android and iOS).

Video-Recommendation-Services

Windows Phone Is Getting a File Manager App Soon

On Friday May 2, Joe Belfiore, VP in the Windows Phone team participated in a reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA). There were several good questions and more importantly, several good answers there. One of the revelations from the AMA was an upcoming File Manager app for Windows Phone 8.1.

The app’s existence, and the fact that it should hopefully land in the Store around the end of May, was revealed by Belfiore in response to a question about file management on the phone. In fact, in his response, he mentioned that it is a highly requested feature and that he was glad to announce that the app is coming.

WOO HOO! SOMEONE ASKED THIS QUESTION!! I’ve been waiting! in fact, I’ve avoided tweeting on this very topic just for all you redditors. Seriously.

in fact– you GET A CORTANA T-SHIRT FOR ASKING!! :) (PM me your size and we’ll get it to you.)

*** YES *** We are doing a File Manager for WP8.1! I know a LOT of you are looking for this (thanks for the tweets, I’ve read them all). In fact, I’ve been running a build of it on two of my phones for the last week or so and it’s getting to pretty good shape.

Here’s what it looks like: http://imgur.com/a/hvqGD#nRuOFXp

We are expecting to get it into the store HOPEFULLY by the end of May.

Some screenshots that he linked to:

Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager File Listing
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager File Listing
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Folder View
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Folder View
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Create New Folder
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Create New Folder
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Locations
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Locations
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Folder Multi-select
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Folder Multi-select
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Transfer to SD Card
Windows Phone 8.1 File Manager Transfer to SD Card

The app by itself is nothing special. All the functionality that you expect from a file management application seems to exist. The design is quite consistent with the Windows Phone design language, with the large tiles for folders and the large names of files making them easy touch targets.

However, my first reaction was of disbelief, that there were in fact many requests for such an app:

 

An interesting use case though, was brought up by Belfiore himself, on twitter (and the last screenshot above shows this use case in action):

 

Right, so normal users shouldn’t and wouldn’t care about managing files on the phone. However, Windows Phone supports external storage and with Windows Phone 8.1, even apps can be installed on the external storage. With microSD card storage capacities going up and the push to lower cost of phones making on-board storage minimal, it may very well be that most Windows Phone users will need a way to move files back and forth between the device storage and external storage.

Hence, this app deserves the attention it has apparently got. However, it is a good sign that Microsoft is pushing all such functionality to apps and making several things possible as a result: make it optional for customers to use this app or not; make it easy for Microsoft to update the app based on features and functionality requested by the customers; keep the OS size smaller so that phones will low on-board storage don’t end up using much of it for the OS itself, and not have to wait until the next version of OS to deliver this functionality.

I like the fact that Belfiore chose to reveal this app on reddit. I suspect most of the requests for such an app would have come from the “power users”, and those are the type of users who would be on reddit to hear what he may have to say.

My phone (Lumia 920) does not have external storage so this app is not for me yet. I may get one of the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 devices and if they have expandability, I will most surely get an external card and will need this app. Looking forward to it regardless.

Are you?

Mozilla, Reddit, WordPress and Others Join Hands to Create the Internet Defense League

The Internet is a wonderful place for activism, and when we speak of activism, what names come to your mind? Reddit, 4chan, EFF? Well, the Internet just got its own vigilante club, with its own bat signal (a cat signal actually) and the timing could not have been better, with the Dark Knight Rising this weekend.

The movement is done in style, and it is extremely appealing for geeks and Internet fans. The EFF has done a wonderful job protecting Internet users, though not many people know about them. The purpose of this league, is to engage more youngsters and get them interested in rights and freedom over the Internet. The League was launched yesterday with real cat-signals being projected at various cities. You can check out the launch page for more details.

nyc-cat-signal

An important part of making an expression is understanding your audience, and this might be a point of failure for the Internet Defense League. The Internet Defense League starts off with a funny name and takes the fun a step further with the cat signal. At the end of the day, it would project itself as a group with strong ethical beliefs and concerns, but these idiosyncrasies might overshadow the seriousness of their cause (though not in my eyes). In other words, good luck explaining to a 60 year old judge or senator the seriousness of your movement, after he sees a cat signal.

If you want to express your support for the movement, head over to their website, join the league and save the Internet.

A Reddit Clone from the US Military, Coming Next Month

For years, the Pentagon has used a suite of applications called the milSuite that consists of Facebook, Wikipedia, WordPress and YouTube knockoffs. These clone websites serve as internal collaborative platforms for the military, and are managed by MilTech Solutions, an office of the US Army. The milSuite has four applications, namely milBook, milWiki, milBlog and milTube, though a fifth one is in the making. This new application will be a Reddit clone, and will host ideas from soldiers that will be voted up/down by other soldiers.

eureka-miltech-reddit-clone

Enter Eureka, the Military Reddit Clone

This new knockoff in the MilSuite breaks away from the mil* naming convention and will simply be called Eureka. It will follow the same content model as Reddit, and will have user-generated content that will be created and voted on, by soldiers. Given the fact that the Reddit application is open source, it will save MilTech the trouble of developing things from scratch. From the screenshot, we get a glimpse of what Eureka can offer. There are categories for what we call subreddits in Reddit, and the homepage lists five top ideas and five new ideas. This seems like a work-in-progress and some more sections and features might be added to Eureka before its release.

Reddit General Manager Erik Martin commented on this news, saying,

The Reddit format and the military both love acronyms. I can actually imagine a decent military version of TIL (Today I Learned), IAMA (Ask Me Anything), and ELIF (Explain It Like I’m Five), but the military version of MLP (My Little Pony) gives me nightmares. I do have high hopes for RAOMRE (Random Acts of MRE).

When we think of Reddit, we get this idea of a flamboyant, carefree, unrestricted and highly engaging group of users. Reddit has a rich history of organized activism, good deeds, investigations and much more. In Mimicking Reddit, Eureka might recreate the same physical environment, but the same level of engagement? According to Defense News, the project will go live mid-July and will be offered as part of MilBook.

Lamar Smith, Sponsor of SOPA, Gets A Crowdfunded Message From The Internet

The Representative from Texas, Lamar Smith, is well known around the Internet for all the wrong reasons. Rep. Smith was one of the key sponsors of the ill-fated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that was protested by mostly the entire Internet and has been (for the most part) shelved because of these protests. One of the sites that went dark during this protest was Reddit.com, the popular link aggregator and community website that is well loved by the geeky community.

However, Reddit users decided to take things a little further by sending a loud and clear message to Lamar Smith. The idea was to hire a billboard and populate it with the message right outside Smith’s office. The content of the message? “Don’t mess with the Internet.”

A new website called FightfortheFuture.org was set up and a crowdfunding gateway was built to fund a billboard. This is the result:-

billboard_main

More things have been planned, according to the website and frankly, we cannot wait:

This is an election year, and we’ve got a lot planned. Right now we’re scrambling to organize Senate constituent meetings to stop CISPA / Lieberman-Collins. The Internet Defense League is gearing up to build the network that stopped SOPA into an ongoing force for good. We’ll be taking aim at the US “6-strikes” regime. And even bigger things are in the works for the November election.

Reddit and Y Combinator Want to Take the Censorship Battle to the Entertainment Industry

For the last few years, the entertainment industry has been trying its level best to censor the Internet. It has been pushing the US government to pass arbitrary laws, which have less to do with piracy and more to do with controlling free speech. The matter is getting worse, with their bills getting more stringent and harder to oppose. A draconian bill like SOPA, which never should have been considered, required a massive protest to be rescheduled and dropped later! Censorship bills are created every few months, with backing from the media-industry lobbyists. If the anti-censorship opposition grows weak anytime, a censorship bill passes without doubt. This is a delicate balance, which we have come to accept. Finally, Reddit and Y Combinator have decided that it is time to stop fighting the small battles and address the root cause- the entertainment industry.

The first time I saw this idea springing up on a website was at “The best page in the universe” [mildly NSFW].

Instead of changing your Facebook icon to an anti-SOPA image for a day or two, here’s something you can do that might make a real difference: boycott the companies that supported this legislation. There are too many to boycott all of them effectively, so I propose we pick two or three, hit them, and hit them hard. Punish them for putting their interests above ours.

As suggested above, both Reddit and Y Combinator are gearing up against the entertainment industry in their own fashion.

Reddit is looking to boycott movies made by the top six recording studios, namely Walt Disney, Sony, Paramount, Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers. A huge discussion has started outlining the strategy and inventory for the battle.

Make [it] look professional instead of like a handful of angry nerds using rage faces and MS paint to call the MPAA [names]. It would be hard to blame piracy when a single studio starts to sink and a boycott announced weeks before said it was going to happen.

At the same time, popular startup-funding firm Y Combinator has decided to fund startups that will compete with movies and TV shows.

What’s going to kill movies and TV is what’s already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now?

The entire SOPA fiasco was an eye opener, both for the Internet (severe censorship bills) and for the entertainment industry (strong protests). Perhaps, it really should get worse before it gets better. Only time will tell how this ends.

Internet Censorship and the Free Society

If I were given a dead kitten for every mind blowing piece of information I saw on the internet, I would be quite rich by now, selling those dead kittens covertly online to a bunch of shady dead kitten enthusiasts and then investing that money on a webpage dedicated to dead kitten paraphernalia, photos and Google AdWords. (Of course, one has to assume that I do not fly into a blind rage and kill the nearest human responsible for the kitten’s death and go to jail thereafter. But this is also the internet, and anything is possible)

Yes, anything is possible on the internet. This one invention has fundamentally changed all civilization touched by it in a matter of years, akin to the steam engine and electricity. It has become a tool with which any layperson can become aware of a niche subject if said person puts their mind to the task, and learns concepts, ideas and practical use of the subject from the comfort of their homes. It is a medium of communication that far outperforms any other kind of relay that human civilization has used in its history. However, the biggest draw to the internet is that it is not subject to any kind of restriction wherever it has been put to use, and users can freely roam it in search of atypical and curious information.

An astute reader would, at this point of time, either chuckle at my seemed ignorance about internet restrictions, or write a harshly worded comment forming an ad hominem argument relating the size of my genitalia to the propensity to naiveté regarding the aforementioned internet restrictions. I believe the last sentence of the previous paragraph may be worded as the biggest draw to the internet is that it is not seemingly subject to any kind of restriction wherever it has been put to use, and users can freely roam it in search of atypical and curious information.There definitely are restrictions on the internet, and while the ways to circumvent these bans and blockages do exist, oftentimes the methods prove to be quite cumbersome for those who are not very internet-savvy; they do not even bother with knowing these methods because they either do not know of the existence of the banned places, or they do not bother about the aforementioned banning because they were not going to go there in the first place, right?

Wrong.

Censorship is the granddaddy of book burning. Book burning itself is a symbol and method of proscription, and its political ramifications of essentially erasing’ a religion or a reign’s past so that the current dominator can write their version of history. In George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty Four, the protagonist works in a department of the totalitarian regime built on this very concept of erasing and rewriting history. Ironically, Nineteen Eighty Four was itself banned or challenged for its views as being intellectually dangerous for society.

Censorship

So if a three hundred and twenty-six page book written in the year Nineteen Forty Nine has challenged the views of great number of people, many of whom were in positions of authority to actually effect an injunction on the book, I wonder how many such quantities of text, photographs and videos have appeared over the years on the internet that have been censored due to their content being deemed unpalatable for the general public’ by a core group of people in positions of authority?

Does this not easily look like an abuse of power vested in those people? Internet users in the United Kingdom have recently been plagued by the same question with four of the country’s big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) bowing to the pressure imposed indirectly by the Mothers’ Union to shield children from sexualized imageryand have decided to make sexually explicit sites an opt-in’ for those who wish to see it. Elsewhere, the admins of Reddit have banned a community under the website called Jailbait where people could find non-nude photographs of girls who are allegedly underage.

Both these bans come under the broad principle of a small bunch of people deciding what is right or wrong for the consumption of an extremely large populace.

The mothers of Mothers’ Union UK has obviously never heard of parental internet control software such as Net Nanny which makes me question their knowledge of the internet as a whole. These people do not understand the anything goes on the internetconcept and have firm rules about what and what should not be viewed by society. Of course, they are the same people who arbitrarily decide on what societyshould be or not be. These are the same people who wish to make upstanding members of the society’ with their ideals akin to a factory production line. And (this is admittedly a long shot) these are the kind of parents who make trash like Toddlers and Tiaras possible. If only they would wake up and browse the internet for a while with an open mind, but no they have to think of the children!

internetcensorship

On the other side of the spectrum is Reddit that has always been a champion of free speech and free see, and free hear and free download. The ban of /r/jailbait has struck a controversial chord in the community and has polarized discussion on what constitutes free speech and what should never ever be done because the reputation of the site is at stake. This argument regarding the reputation of the site stems from the fact that Reddit was seen under an awful light by Anderson Cooper of CNN when he did a one-sided coverage of the site that indirectly claimed that Reddit consisted of a huge population of perverted pedophiles who spent their entire day watching lithe, semi-nude bodies of society’s underage daughters. If you had been to erstwhile /r/jailbait, astute reader, you would also claim that if these were society’s daughters, then society has gone to the dogs. Indeed, when an unsavory community is made specifically to test Reddit’s determination to uphold its protection of free speech (I am talking about a community that links to pictures of dead children) but Reddit fails the test with another community page because of some TV news anchor’s one-sided report, it does boggle one’s mind.

Nevertheless, there is a case for Reddit’s administration, for the subscribers of /r/jailbait might have been engaged in a trade of child pornography which is morally and legally base. However, how does the case stack for Mothers’ Union UK, as they are essentially muting a bustling industry (which is quite harmless to the consumer as opposed to the tobacco or the alcohol industry) because they do not understand (or want to understand) the internet and how to educate their child about it.

The question that arises here is one of perceived freedom. How does a civilization such as ours claim to be free when, given an opportunity, it crushes any sort of deviation from the apparent norm? Why is homosexuality such a grievous sin and how do two men or women falling in love with each other in any way harm children? This entire perception of society colors the word very word deviantin a terribly bleak and distrustful hue that burns pictures of perversion against said deviant in our brains.

Have we, the urban civilians, really become free from the bonds of prejudice or have we really invented another form of prejudice under the vague umbrella of being morally right’?

Color me disappointed.

Redditor Receives Phishing Email, Hacks the Scammer, and Reports Him

While surfing through Reddit this morning, I stumbled across an interesting submission from a Redditor going by the username “Tomble”. Apparently, Tomble received a standard PayPal phishing mail demanding personal information for “verification purposes”. However, unlike most of us, who would simply report it as a phishing attempt and be done with it, Tomble decided to do some snooping around.

Tomble noticed that the domain name had a structure similar to “http://www.example.net/~joe”, which indicated that the username for that domain’s control panel as well as ftp account was probably ‘joe’. He then decided to try his luck by assuming that the ftp address will be similar to the domain name. His guess turned out to be correct. He still didn’t know the ftp password. However, the domain indicated that this particular webspace was provided by an ISP. Hoping against hope that the webmaster hadn’t changed the default password, which is often just ‘password’, he entered ‘password’ as the ftp password. Amazingly, it worked, and Tomble managed to break into the server.

The website actually belonged to some clueless gentleman who probably had nothing to do with the scammer. The scammer probably managed to break into the server in the same way Tomble did, and planted a few PHP scripts to collect PayPal authentication information.

Tomble found all of this information stored in a single text file. So far, three gullible PayPal users had fallen for this scam. He immediately notified the concerned ISP. However, he didn’t receive any immediate response. On the other hand, two more users had fallen victim within the next thirty minutes.

Tomble now decided to intervene. He made a few modifications to the phishing website (see screenshot below). All of the victims, with the exception of one guy from Thailand, had left their phone numbers for verification purposes. Tomble emailed the Thai guy, and called up the other four with the following helpful suggestion.

Hi, my name’s Tomble, this might sound weird but I received a scam email pretending to be from PayPal this morning. I was able to follow it back and discovered your contact information there. You should contact your bank and let them know your credit card has been compromised, so they can protect you from fraudulent charges.

Scammer-Gets-Scammed

While one of the victims was initially suspicious, all of them eventually realized that Tomble was one of the good guys. In one case, he had to leave a message with the wife of the victim, who will probably find himself in some minor domestic trouble due to his gullibility.

It’s unfortunate that even today people are falling for phishing scams and Nigerian scams. Significantly, all of the victims were between the ages 39 and 60. While the younger ‘cyber-generation’ is by and large aware of the threats they face online, many from the older generations still need to be educated. Do you bit today, and educate your parents and grandparents about online security. As our fine Australian friend, Tomble, has shown, a little effort can go a long way.

MS DOS Themed Website Is Fun

My first ever introduction to computers was through MS DOS, where I spent countless hours creating nested directories, making it a pain for my professors to delete. I continue to use DOS even now and will continue to do it for a long time.

MS Dos Website

Thanks to Reddit, I came across a very cool site. A site which emulated MS DOS in a browser, complete with commands et al. Visiting the site brought back some nostalgia in the form of remember the good old floppy drive among other things.

run_dos_commands

Other than looking like MS DOS, the site works pretty well too allowing you to type in commands which actually produce output. The site was built by Michael Wilson, and this is what he has to say about it:

This is the hub site of Michael Wilson. It’s designed (ironically) to look like a 1980s single floppy-drived, green-screened, UNIX-loving computer of yesteryear. If you’ve got this far, you probably know what you’re doing. If you’re still confused type some of the commands below or click on the links above to visit my REAL sites like Facebook and Twitter.

For those who are interested, the site is built using JavaScript. Go ahead and give the site a try at http://stopwilson.com/, run some commands and have fun.