All posts in “Apps And Software”

Download this: Google’s Grasshopper aims to make coding as easy as a game

Ever wanted to learn to code, but didn’t know where to start? Google’s new app wants to help.

This week the company launched Grasshopper, an app that aims to help teach adults to code (javascript, specifically) with a series of bite-sized puzzle games.

Launched from Google’s Area 120 incubator, which is devoted to experimental projects, Grasshopper takes a Duolingo-like approach to coding. It breaks down the basic concepts behind javascript, like functions and variables, into lessons you can complete in just a few minutes.

Like some of the coding apps aimed at kids, Grasshopper game-ifies the process a bit, turning coding lessons into mini-puzzles you need to solve. After you learn one concept, the next lesson will build on it and slowly add new elements so each one gets progressively more complicated.

And, like Duolingo, the app encourages you to return each day for another lesson in order to build your skills up.

Of course, no app can replace actually sitting down at your computer an practicing the real thing. But with Grasshopper’s lessons, you might feel less intimidated to start.

The app is available on iOS and Android.

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Google Chrome just launched its best feature in years

Google just gave us a very long overdue gift: the ability to browse in silence.

That’s because Google Chrome will finally mute annoying autoplaying videos by default. The update, part of Google Chrome 66, launched today for the browser’s desktop and mobile apps.

With the update, you’ll no longer have to manually mute sites that autoplay videos with sound. Instead, Chrome will block the videos from playing altogether (note that videos set to autoplay without sound will still play). 

The only exception will be sites where you’ve “previously shown an interest in media on the site.” So expect sites like YouTube, where you’ve likely engaged with a lot of video in the past, to still play as they normally would. (Gizmodo also has a good breakdown on how Google determines what sites you’re “interested” in.)

This also applies to mobile browsing (unless you have a website saved to your home screen), which is nice because it can be much more difficult to spot and manually mute the offending site in a mobile browser.

So go ahead and browse with the sound on — Chrome (finally) has your back.

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Medium pokes fun at Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony in the best way possible

Who me?
Who me?

Image: SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

It’s been a very long week for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Dude survived over 10 hours of Congress grilling him on the Cambridge Analytica scandal that has rocked the world.

But is his skin thick enough to brush off all the jokes derived from his canned statements? I guess we’ll find out.

Blogging platform Medium is no stranger to writing hilarious app update release notes that users get a kick out of.

In the Medium app’s latest update for iOS, the release notes take a light jab at the entire congressional spectacle that went down.

We get a transcript featuring a “Representative” playing the part of asking dumb questions and “Medium” standing in for Zuck with his generic “we immediately built a fix” and “I will have my team look into it and follow up” response at the ready.

I mean, how could they not include the “follow up” zinger? Zuckerberg said he’d have to follow up on a lot of things.

Full LOLs below:

Medium gold.

Medium gold.

Image: screenshot: Raymond wong/mashable

Oh, and in case you care about the boring, more functional parts of update, yeah, Medium includes that too:

Yawnnnn.

Yawnnnn.

Image: SCREENSHOT: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE

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Why it makes sense for Twitter to take on Snapchat Discover

Facebook may not be the only competitor Snap needs to worry about. 

Twitter is reportedly working on a new Snapchat Discover-like feature that emphasizes photos and videos tied to specific events, according to CNBC.

The news follows an earlier report from Bloomberg that Twitter was working on a Snapchat-like camera feature.

Details are scarce, and CNBC notes that the feature may never end up seeing the light of day, but the “camera first feature” is apparently meant to encourage people to share more photos and videos associated with news that often breaks via Twitter.

Such a feature would directly compete with elements of Snapchat Discover, as well as Snap Maps — both of which curate Stories-based current events. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the report, but it’s not surprising Twitter would want to build such a feature.

Increasingly, Snapchat has become a go-to source to get a first-person view of breaking news. Time and time again, the best place to get a raw, unfiltered look at what’s happening during a major event like the Olympics — or, more tragically, during a news event like a natural disaster or a mass shooting — is not Twitter but Snapchat.

If you’re Twitter, which prides itself on being the platform for “what’s happening,” this is a worrying trend. The company wants to ensure that their platform stays top of mind when news happens. Incorporating a way for users to more easily share photos and videos — which can then be pulled into Moments or other features that highlight breaking news — would make a lot of sense. 

Whether or not it would have any measurable impact on Snapchat is another matter. But it’s a good way to ensure that Twitter retains its reputation as a go-to source for news.

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10 apps that will change the way you use your Mac

Time to optimize your Mac usage.
Time to optimize your Mac usage.

Image: Pexels

The right apps can completely revolutionize your computer experience, but why bother paying for them when there are so many free alternatives floating around? Easy: some apps are worth it. 

Professionally designed and honed for the quality you need, the 10 apps in the 2018 Mac Essentials Bundle are years ahead of their free alternatives. This diverse collection of Mac apps is only $19.99 (which isn’t free, but is still less than a movie, popcorn, and a drink), and includes gems like:

BusyCal 3

Mac’s Calendar app leaves a lot to desired, and BusyCal is the clear favorite alternative among reviewers. Not only does BusyCal sync with the cloud so you always have your updated calendar on-the-go, but it offers a range of customization tools to make it your own.

HoudahSpot 

CNET gives HoudahSpot 4 out of 5 stars, and for good reason. This app blows Mac’s Finder away with its advanced search interface. You know that file that you were looking for that disappeared off the face of your Mac? HoudahSpot can find it. It’s a simple addition that can save you a ton of time.

Systweak Anti-Malware Pro

You think your Mac is immune to malware? Maybe that was true once, but as Macs get more popular, they attract more and more hacker attention. With a constantly updating database of known malware and viruses, Systweak will check your apps and services at every startup to make sure your data is safe.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Platinum

If you’re not salivating at the thought of establishing your own digital theme park, that’s just because you haven’t played a RollerCoaster Tycoon game. Give these digital theme park attendees the time of their life, or knock their digital little socks off. The choice is yours. And the platinum versions means you get both expansion packs: “Soaked!” and “Wild!”

Movavi Photo Editor

Editing pictures isn’t just for the professionals now, it’s practically necessary for maintaining a social media presence. Experiment with backgrounds and colors and clean up any blemishes you want with this fun and easy-to-use tool.

Flip PDF for Mac: Lifetime Access

Want to turn your PDF into a different kind of file, like an ebook, html, .app or something similar? This is the app for you. Instead of forcing users to navigate an unwieldy PDF, you can create a smooth reading experience for desktops and mobile to enable you to easily share your creation on any social media platform. And since Flip PDF is constantly updating, lifetime access means this app will continue to improve for as long as you remember you have it.

Cisdem DuplicateFinder 4

Everybody ends up with a few duplicate files on their computer because staying organized is hard and we’re all so busy. Sadly, there’s no easy way to get rid of them — unless you snag the Cisdem DuplicateFinder 4, which is a digital housekeeper that sweeps your entire Mac for doubled-up files and cleans them out (even if they’re named differently!).

Cargo VPN

No matter what your social media privacy settings are, the cold truth is that the internet is dangerous, full of scallywags and mal-contents that want to pillage your data for loot. A VPN can encrypt and hide your data while you browse, protecting everything from your baby photos on Facebook to your bank accounts and PINs.

All these apps (and more!) are worth a grand total of $529.90, but during this special month-long promotion you can get the entire Mac Essentials Bundle in the Mashable Store for just $19.99.