Tag Archives: Useful Websites

The Best Rotten Tomatoes Alternatives for Bollywood

What is a good movie to watch? I am sure that most of you can rattle off at least a dozen movies off the top of your head. However, the real answer to that question is a bit more complex. It’s often very subjective and greatly influenced by personal preferences. Your judgement might not necessarily align with that of a critic. Now, don’t get me wrong. Reviews are important. They can often save you from a couple of hours of agony. But, just a review or two is often not enough to get a sense of how watchable a movie is. This is where aggregators come in. Services like Rotten Tomatoes, which collect and summarise critic as well as audience ratings, are a great resource for movie buffs.

Rotten Tomatoes features both Hollywood and Bollywood movies. However, it’s obvious that the focus is on western movies, western media, and western audiences. If you are looking for your dope of Indian cinema, Rotten Tomatoes is not the place to be. The good news is that there are quite a few desi versions of the Tomatometer. Here are my top four picks.

Know Your Films

The design of this website is a bit old school, but it does get the job done. The home page shows a selection of entertainment news, upcoming movies, current movies, and some featured movies from the past. For current movies, the box office performance, as well as the latest reviews are displayed. Opening up a movie’s page shows more info including cast, crew, sound track, and various reviews. There is, however, no average rating, or a quick way to see how a movie has been received. There are a few other useful features including the ability to create watchlists (requires registration), and watching popular Bollywood clips and trailers.

Know Your Films: Home Page
Know Your Films: Home Page

[ Visit Know Your Films ]

Filmy Pakode

This website trims all the fat and puts all the focus on the films and their ratings. The home page is just a collection of recently released movies along with their ratings, and a preview of the upcoming movies. The individual movie page contains average rating, along with information about movie cast, plot, and trailers and preview clips. Filmy Pakoda is simple and useful. But, the lack of even basic features like Search limits its utility.

Film Pakode: Home Page
Film Pakode: Home Page
Film Pakode: Movie Page
Film Pakode: Movie Page

[ Visit Filmy Pakode ]

Sahi Nahi

Sahi Nahi is the new kid in the block, and it’s very obvious what the inspiration for this service is. The design is clean and pleasant with good use of typography. The home page gives you a quick overview of the latest movies along with their ratings, as well as the current top box office performers. You also have featured celebrities, movies, and blog articles. Every movie page features the critic rating along with excerpts of their review, trailer, and cast and crew information. It’s worth noting here that Sahi Nahi follows a Rotten Tomatoes like rating system were each review is classified as either positive and negative. The overall rating is not an average of the scores assigned by each reviewer. The layout is responsive, hence, Sahi Nahi works well on a wide range of devices including phones and tablets.

Sahi Nahi: Home Page
Sahi Nahi: Home Page
Sahi Nahi: Movie Page
Sahi Nahi: Movie Page

[ Visit Sahi Nahi ]

The Review Monk

The Review Monk has an unmistakably Indian soul that will endear it to Indian movie fans. The beautiful slider on the home page showcasing some of the most memorable moments in Indian cinema will impress you straight away. The Review Monk, however, doesn’t restrict itself to Indian cinema. Hollywood movies that have been released in India are also featured. The home pages offers a quick look at movies that are currently in the theatres, as well as top rated recent movies. The coming soon section displays the release dates of movies that will hit the theatres soon. There are even monthly reports and occasional blog posts about cinema for the film buffs looking for more. Every movie page has a TRM score, excerpts from reviews, cast and crew information, soundtrack list, trailer, and twitter buzz. There is even a spider chart breaking down the critic’s ratings for you. The Review Monk score is an average, unlike Sahi nahi or Rotten Tomatoes. For mobile users, there’s a free Android app that’s once again simple but elegant and useful. You can register to build your profile by rating and reviewing movies you have watched, and adding movies you want to watch to your watchlist. In addition to Bollywood movies, The Review Monk is currently also tracking Tamil and Telegu movies. The idea behind The Review Monk might not be original, but the execution is really good.

The Review Monk: Home Page
The Review Monk: Home Page
The Review Monk: Movie Page
The Review Monk: Movie Page

[ Visit The Review Monk ]

Watch Celebrity Ice Bucket Challenge Videos at IceBucketVideos.TV

It’s been weeks since the Ice Bucket challenge went viral and became mainstream, but it’s still showing no signs of slowing down with more and more celebrities as well as thousands of common folks gleefully dunking themselves in frigid water to raise awareness about ALS.

Ice Bucket Challenge - Bill Gates
Ice Bucket Challenge – Bill Gates

Now, Sapan Diwakar from Switzerland has created a nifty website which catalogues all celebrity Ice Bucket Challenge videos. The website already has almost three hundred videos featuring a wide spectrum of well-known personalities including presidents, tech innovators, sport stars, athletes, and Hollywood and Bollywood stars. You can scroll through the list, search for your favourite celebrity, or filter by tags. The website is responsive and works well in various form factors. There’s also an accompanying Android app for those wanting their dose of Ice Bucket Challenge videos on the go. However, the app is simply a repackaged version of the website and doesn’t offer any additional functionality.

Ice Bucket Videos
Ice Bucket Videos
Ice Bucket Videos - Android App
Ice Bucket Videos – Android App

The Ice Bucket challenge was initiated to raise awareness about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Over the past month, it has managed to raise over eighty million dollars towards fighting ALS. This is massive considering that only $2.6 million was donated last year between July 29 and August 26. Right now donations are averaging $9 million per day. If you haven’t already, head over to alsa.org to learn more about ALS and contribute.

[ Visit Ice Bucket Videos ]

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

How to Easily Delete and Deactivate Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and Other Web Accounts

Creating an account online is easier than ever before thanks to multiple open-id providers like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. In most cases you don’t even have to provide a username and password, and even for the rare cases where you’re forced to type in all the details, there are automated tools like Lastpass and Keepass. However, things often get a lot more confusing and obscure when you want to do the reverse. Whether you just want to delete your data from the company’s servers because you no longer trust them or you want to break free from your past and start afresh, cleaning up your online identity is a lot harder than you might think.

Some services like Facebook have the account deletion link buried deep within their interface, while others like Skype don’t even offer an automated option. An annoyingly large number of services including Skype, Amazon, and Adobe force you to call or email them for deleting your account. Even worse, some web apps like Evernote don’t allow you to delete your account, and only offer a temporary deactivation after making you jump through several hoops. Manually figuring out how to delete dozens of accounts can be a painfully slow and laborious process. Thankfully, there are a couple of websites that can lend you a helping hand.

JustDelete

Just-Delete-Me-Direct-Link-to-Account-Deletion-Page
Just Delete Me – Home Page

JustDeleteMe is a directory of Account Deletion/De-activation page of various web services. It categorizes all entries into four buckets (Easy, Medium, Hard, and Impossible) based on how easy it is to delete your account. Often, it also has a brief snippet or a note about the account you’re trying to delete. JustDeleteMe also provides a Chrome extension, which adds a color-coded dot to the omnibar whenever you visit a website that’s in the database. The dot indicates how easy it is to delete your account on the website, and clicking on it directly takes you to the account deletion page.

AccountKiller

Account-Killer-How-To-Delete-Online-Accounts
Account Killer – Home Page

AccountKiller isn’t as pretty as JustDelete, and doesn’t have a browser extension. However, it does seem to have a bigger database. AccountKiller classifies websites into White, Grey, and Black categories depending upon the ease of account deletion or deactivation. It also provide a bookmarklet called SiteCheck. Clicking on this bookmarklet makes a bar appear at the top of your screen, which indicates which category the website that you’re currently surfing belongs to.

Account-Killer-How-To-Delete-Accounts-Guide
Account Killer – Step by Step Instructions

If you are looking to clean-up your online profile, then another web app that you might find handy is KnowEm. This website has over 500 services in its database, and when provided with a username, it instantly lets you know which services that username has been registered on.

Save Ink, Paper, and Money by Cleaning-Up What You Print

Taking printouts of webpages can be an insanely wasteful exercise. Even though you might be only interested in a snippet of text, you can end up being forced to print everything including pictures and advertisements. Thankfully, there are a few nifty tools which can clean-up the content before you send it to the printer. By using these tools not only will you be able to cut down your printing costs, but you’ll also be responsible for fewer dead trees.

PrintWhatYouLike

This is my favourite tool since it allows me to manually select and retain the sections of the web page that I’m interested in. I can scroll through a page, delete elements I don’t want, and even tweak the appearance by changing color, width, and fonts. There’s also an AutoFormat option, but that can produce unexpected results. Thankfully, there’s also an Undo button to quickly revert any unwanted changes. Another handy option is the “Next Page” button, which leverages the PageZipper tool.

PrintWhatYouLike

[ Install PrintWhatYouLike ]

PrintFriendly and CleanPrint

If you prefer something more automated, you can use either PrintFriendly or CleanPrint. I prefer PrintWhatYouLike because automated tools can often go wrong. However, for most web pages, these tools will work well enough. CleanPrint is available as a browser extension for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. PrintFriendly is available as a web service, as a bookmarklet, and as Chrome and Firefox extensions.

PrintFriendly

CleanPrint


[ Download PrintFriendly and CleanPrint ]

priPrinter

This tool is likely to be an overkill for most people; however, if printing websites and documents is something that you do on a daily basis, then priPrinter might be worth exploring. This utility installs itself as a Printer driver, and allows you to preview and edit absolutely anything you print on your system. priPrinter has a strikingly feature packed document editor that allows you to reformat your data and remove unnecessary elements. It also comes with an ink saving mode, and can further save costs by printing multiple pages on a single sheet of paper. And if you are still not satisfied, this tool has its own scripting language, with which you can create buttons with custom actions, automate repetitive tasks, make custom layout or even automatically change pages before print preview.

priPrinter

[ Download priPrinter ]

Kill Time with Class

Here is a pick of some entertaining websites that allow us to kill time and relax. Considering that we are spoilt for choice, I looked at websites on the following criteria: interactivity, enjoyment, and revisiting the website. I am not going to count Facebook, YouTube, news websites, and the rest.

Twitter

This is my first recommendation as a source of entertaining comments from people across the world. Unlike Facebook where we decide on what updates matter to our near and dear ones, I find that Twitter provides a far more intimate portrait of any person. It is very easy to understand the mental makeup of a person based on their comments and the people they follow.

Ted

These are records of some of the most brightest and successful minds today. The inspiration that these talks provide is phenomenal. This is something that we should all set some time aside regularly to go through. There will always be a talk that will leave you close to tears, and another that will make your mouth drop at the levels of ingenuity.

UComics

A collection of all your favorite comics in one place. I think that this is the largest collated collection that I have found online so far. From Peanuts to Calvin and Hobbes, there is everything you can imagine here.

StumbleUpon

I was mentally wrestling for quite a while on either Pinterest or StumbleUpon, as they do bring the same thing to your plate (despite their different approaches). I made my choice after I spent an hour on both sites trying to determine which one engaged me more in terms of increasing my energy levels. Plus, StumbleUpon offers a better appeal to members of both genders.

Wikipedia

The never failing Wikipedia has come to our rescue more than a zillion times. It is not a certified source of information by educational institutes, but it has always been that first step we take when we come across something new. I have always considered this website the best example of how free and public web institutions can truly showcase the power of the internet.

Snesbox

If you are allowed to run Flash, playing games here will be quite entertaining. My current favorite is Mortal Combat.

Balldroppings

This interesting JavaScript page is called Ball Droppings. You are supposed to draw lines to make sure that the balls are retained by bouncing back instead of falling out.

iwastesomuchtime

If you are in need of some laughs, this web site will leave you chuckling at some of its funny and insane takes on life. Lots of Facebook rage here.

Neave

The various available items on this website have never left me bored, be it the Planetarium, Webcam Toy, or play with Simon.

Enjoy these time wasters, you know what they say about all work :)

Reading Bear Teaches Kids to Read for Free

There is a great new tool to teach kids how to read. It’s called Reading Bear. It is a project of WatchKnowLearn.org. The project seeks to teach “beginning readers vocabulary and concepts while systematically introducing all the main phonetic patterns of written English, all using innovative rich media”. The project has some strong backing, including its Editor-in-Chief, Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia.

The website has a beautifully illustrated and child-friendly design. In the image below, you can see a sampling of the layout. It is worth noting that most of the images and video were donated by Shuttershock.com.

Main Screen

The website uses a series of video presentations to introduce phonetic concepts. Each presentation can be viewed as an interactive slide show or in video format. At this time, there are 14 presentations and they hope to add 50 soon. Pictured below, you will notice that each concept has seven different ways that it is presented to the child. This helps to reinforce concepts by using different learning styles.

Presentation

 

They have a really nice introductory video that describes how this process works. You can view it below.

Reading Bear’s parent site, Watch Know Learn,  is a program of the non-profit Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi. The intent of Watch Know Learn is very simple: “Free educational videos delivered over the Internet. Viewed any time, from anywhere.” Watch Know Learn was initially funded by an anonymous Memphis-area philanthropist. Dr. Larry Sanger, Ph.D. was tapped to be the leader of this endeavor because of his success in building knowledge-based websites like Wikipedia. Sanger is also the father of two young children and shares a passion for reading. The Reading Bear website is a work in progress and they are actively seeking volunteers to help with their endeavor. If you are interested, you can e-mail  [email protected]  to learn how you can contribute to the project.

I believe endeavors like this are worthy of community support. They believe in equal access to education and that everyone should have the opportunity to learn. Hopefully, they will gain support and, more importantly, many children will learn to read from this project.

Hiox India Launches Indiaballot.com – Live Election Results At Your Fingertips

Wouldn’t it be good if you get the consolidated results, of the government elections happening in your state, at one place? If you feel this is true then here is something you may be interested in. Hiox India – a web services company, has launched a website called Indiaballot.com. The website currently has full reports and results of the Assembly elections in India including all the data for the five states where Assembly elections took place recently.

The website nicely structured with all the election data categorized under the respective states. There is also a search feature which you can use for finding information about a party or alliance wise, district wise and constituency wise information of parties from any state in the country.

Among other things, indiaballot.com has information about the number of contestants from each party or alliance, along with the name of the candidates, who participated in the election and number of candidates who won or lost are recorded. Another website which has been profiling similar information is myneta.info. It will be interesting to see how these websites profile the info for better use during elections.

Send Large Files Easily with WeTransfer

file-share-icoWhat can you do if you want to send an entire CD to someone? Sending large files as an email attachment is usually a problem. Most email providers have limits on the size of attachments. For example, Yahoo’s and Gmail’s limit is 20mb, with Hotmail trailing behind at 10mb.

You could use any one of several online file storage sites, or even set up your own FTP server. These all take time and usually require some setup. There are easier ways to send large files if you don’t want to waste time.

we-transfer

A new service called WeTransfer allows you to attach several files, up to 2Gb in total, and send a download link to a person or group. There is no sign-up required. You can use any fromaddress you wish and include a short message to the recipients.

WeTransfer couldn’t be much easier to use. However, if you need alternatives, take a look at YouSendit, which has been around a long time and is just as easy to use.

I like to use WinDroplr, which allows you to quickly upload and create short URLs to share in email, Facebook or Twitter. It’s fast and easy but it requires you to install a simple program on your PC.

One of my rock-star friends likes to use Box.net to share his unique creations online. It’s free, and you can even mount Box.net as a virtual drive on your PC.

What’s your favorite method for sending large files to people? Be sure to tell us in the comments below.