7 Great Firefox Extensions You Must Install Right Away

Last year, Firefox received a much-needed and long-deserved makeover in the form of Firefox Quantum, a new and improved browser that brought faster loading times, better memory allocation, and stronger security. On the other hand, it changed how extensions work.

Under the old Firefox, a security flaw in an extension opened the entire browser to vulnerabilities. Now, only extensions created with Firefox’s WebExtensions coding tool are supported.

That means the older extensions you knew and loved might not work anymore, but that’s no reason to mourn. There are a whole host of brand-new Firefox extensions that expand the functionality of the browser to all-new heights.

If you’re new to Firefox or returning after a long break to check out Quantum, here are a few of the most brilliant extensions you should install right away.

Adblock Plus (Link)

Adblock needs no introduction. Basically anyone that has ever used a web browser has heard of the service – and the outcry from many ad-driven sites. That said, if you want to avoid most annoying advertisements and watch YouTube without any commercials tossed before, during, or after the video, Adblock is the way to go.

The extension has been downloaded by more than 8,500,000 users and holds a 4.6 star rating with 11,222 reviews. Aside from the convenience of an ad-free experience, Adblock Plus helps keep your browsing experience more secure so that companies can’t track and target you with specific advertisements.

Lightshot (Link)

Most operating systems have a built-in tool for taking screenshots, but it just deposits the selected area to your desktop. Firefox takes it a bit further with Lightshot and provides users with a powerful tool for snagging in-browser screenshots and customizing them as you need.

Once installed, Lightshot can be activated by clicking the icon on the toolbar. You then select the area you want to take a screenshot of. You can edit the screenshot by adding text, lines, and much more.

If you work in a field where you need to take a lot of screenshots, Lightshot is the way to go.

Firefox Multi-Account Containers (Link)

In today’s world, few people have a single online persona. Most of us at least have a personal and a professional side. Firefox Multi-Account Containers make it easy to separate everything about your different personas into individual tabs.

Even cookies are separated by container, which makes it easy to browse the web in all your online forms at the same time. This is a powerful tool for keeping different parts of your life separate and avoiding any potentially catastrophic crossovers between your personal and professional social media accounts.

HTTPS Everywhere (Link)

Logging into services through HTTPS – secure hypertext transfer protocol – rather than the standard HTTP format is always the better option. HTTPS Everywhere is an extension that enables HTTPS on any site that is known to support it.

It’s a small step to take that adds more security to your online experience. In a time when cyber security is more crucial than ever before, installing this extension is one way to help protect yourself that much more.

OneTab (Link)

When browsing the web or researching a topic, it’s easy to open far too many tabs and slow down your browsing experience. If you install OneTab and press the icon, it sends all open tabs into a list in a single tab.

You can easily view the pages you had open and choose the ones you need. It also divides your tabs into sessions.

It makes it easy to regain control of your browsing experience, especially if you find yourself with 27 tabs and no easy way to navigate between them.

Honey (Link)

Let’s face it: online shopping is here to stay, and that’s a wonderful thing. Why spend hours browsing the aisles of a store when a quick search brings up exactly what you want to buy with a dozen different price options?

Honey is an extension that helps you make sure you’re getting the best price for what you’re buying. Honey automatically applies discount codes at checkout for any supported site and then chooses the most effective one.

While your mileage may vary, Honey is great for saving a few dollars on pizza deliveries.

Momentum (Link)

Momentum adds a brand-new look to your screen when you open a new tab. The extension provides a customized greeting, a to-do list, the current temperature, as well as a list of optional features like quick links.

The background is random art chosen from a database. It’s a beautiful, relaxing upgrade to your new tab screen that helps you remain focused and productive throughout the day.

How to back up Linux terminal history

The Linux terminal has a “history” feature. With this feature, every command operation you enter will be backed up for later. Since all of your terminal commands are saved in “history,” it’s essential to keep a backup of it for safekeeping.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to back up Linux terminal history and how to restore backups as well. So, open up your favorite Linux terminal emulator and follow along!

Where is Linux terminal history stored?

The Linux terminal stores its history in a file. This file is named “.bash_history.” Anyone can edit it, and it is stored in the home directory. Since the terminal history file for Linux is stored in a user directory, every single user on the system has a file.

Special permissions do not protect these history files, and any user on the system can take a look at the history of another with a simple command. So, for example, if I want to take a look at the terminal/command-line history of username “user” on my Linux system, I’d do:

cat /home/user/.bash_history

Users can also view the history of the current user they’re logged into in the Linux terminal shell, by simply executing the “history” command.

history

Best of all, since “history” is just a file, it can be searched like a regular text file using the grep function. So, for example, to find instances of “git clone” in username with the command below.

cat /home/user/.bash_history | grep 'git clone'

It also works as the current logged in user with the “history” command.

history | grep 'search term'

Save terminal history to a backup

In the previous section of this guide, I talked about how the “history” for the Linux terminal is just a neatly hidden text file that contains all user-entered commands. Well, since it’s just a file, that means it’s super easy to back up for safekeeping.

To create a backup, make use of the cat command. Why? With cat, you can view the entirety of a text file right in the terminal. We can use this command in combination with the “>” symbol to redirect the viewing output to a backup file.

So, for example, to backup your current history, run the cat command against “~/.bash_history” and save it to a file with the label of “history_backup.”

cat ~/.bash_history > history_backup

You can also run the history command in combination with “>” and save it that way.

history > history_backup

Lastly, it’s possible to back up the command-line/terminal history of another user not logged in by running the command below.

Note: be sure to change “username” to the user that you’d like to save history from.

cat /home/username/.bash_history > history_backup

Only backing up certain history items

You may only want to back up specific commands in your Linux terminal history. The way to do this is to view the history file and combine it with the grep command, which will filter specific keywords.

For example, to only backup commands in your Linux terminal history that contain the git clone or git commands, you can run the operation below.

Note: in these examples, we are using “>>” rather than “>.” The reason for “>>” is that it will not overwrite the contents of the history file backup, and can be re-run multiple times to add to the backup.

cat ~/.bash_history | grep 'git' >> history_backup

Or

cat /home/username/.bash_history | grep 'git' >> history_backup

Filtering with grep can also be applied to the history command, like so.

history | grep 'git' >> history_backup

To back up certain keywords from the history file, replace “git” in the examples above with whatever commands you’d like to back up. Feel free to re-run this command as much as necessary.

How to restore the history backup

Restoring the history backup is as simple as deleting the original file and putting the backup in its place. To delete the original history file, use the rm command in a terminal window to delete “.bash_history.”

rm ~/.bash_history

Once the original history file is deleted from the home folder of the user in which you want to restore history, use the mv command to rename “history_backup” to “.bash_history.”

mv history_backup ~/.bash_history

Now that the new history file is in place run the history -rw command to reload the terminal’s history function.

history -rw

You’ll then be able to see your terminal history with:

history

Restore backups for other users

Need to restore history backups from other users on the system? To do this, start by logging into their user using the su command.

su username

After logging in to the user, delete the current history file that resides in the user’s home directory (~).

rm ~/.bash_history

From there, rename the history backup file as the new “.bash_history” file in the user’s directory.

mv /path/to/backup/file/history-backup ~/.bash_history

Write the changes with:

history -rw

When done, run history to view the restored commands in the terminal window.

Read How to back up Linux terminal history by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Make Your Voice Sound Professional With These Quick Audacity Tips

If you want to create a professional sounding voice for podcasts, videos, or other media, you can use a number of tools in Audacity, which is a free open source audio software. In this guide, I’ll explain the steps you can take in Audacity to get that perfect professional sounding voice.

I will also be giving some general tips on picking out a microphone and other equipment – generally speaking, you’ll need to invest around $80 to $150 to get a microphone that’s good enough to produce professional style voice recordings.

If you already have audio equipment, skip the first section. After, please make sure to follow each step carefully so you can get the highest quality results possible.

Picking Audio Equipment For a Professional Voice

There are dozens of great microphones available, but for budget options I would suggest purchasing a Blue Snowball Ice Condenser microphone for $50, a MXL Mics 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone for $70, or a Blue Yeti for $120.

Once you have picked your microphone, you should also purchase a microphone arm. You can attach this to your desk and ensure your microphone is directly in front of your mouth during recording. These are available on Amazon for $20-$50.

Next, make sure to purchase a pop filter – this can be placed in front of your microphone to remove popping sounds when you speak. This can cut out sharp noises from Ps, Bs, or other hard hitting letters. Pop filters can be purchased for under $10 on Amazon.

Once you have your gear, you can move onto the steps below to start creating a professional sounding voice in Audacity.

How To Improve Your Voice Recording Quality In Audacity

Before we begin, you first need to actually record your voice. There are some crucial steps you must follow when recording your voice to improve the quality. If you do not follow these steps, improving your voice recording with software will be difficult.

First, make sure you reduce background noise to a minimum. Sometimes it can be difficult to reduce every noise – very small background noises, for example from your PC, can be cut out. However, try to switch off appliances like desk fans or your air conditioning during your recording.

Once you have reduced the sound, it’s time to record your voice. I have personally found the Windows 10 Voice Recorder app to work perfectly. Search Voice Recorder in the Start Menu and click on the option that appears.

Once voice recorder is open, it’s time to start recording. Click the microphone button to begin your recording. A visual will appear to show you that sound is being picked up. Click the stop button to end the recording. You can also pause if necessary, but I find it easier to cut out mistakes later in my video editing software.

For every recording, have a 30 second period of silence before you start speaking. This way you can pick up the sound profile of your environment and use Audacity to reduce it.

Once you have finished your recording, right click the recording in Voice Recorder and click Open file location. You’ll need this location for the next step in Audacity.

If you haven’t done so already, download Audacity. Once it has downloaded, install and open it.

Click File > Import > Audio. Next, navigate to the folder that your recording was saved and double click your recording.

We will now be following the steps below to do the following tasks:

  • Remove background noise.
  • Equalize your voice for better audio.
  • Use a compressor to reduce the dynamic range of your voice.
  • Amplify your voice to readjust after using the compressor.
  • To remove background noise, click and drag the area of silence you recorded at the start of your voice recording. It will be highlighted as you drag it.
  • Next, click Effect > Noise Reduction.
  • On the noise reduction window, click get Noise Profile. The window will close. Now press Ctrl + A to select the entire voice recording.
  • Once again, click Effect > Noise Reduction. This time click OK to apply the noise reduction based on the noise profile you just collected.
  • After this, press Ctrl + A to select the entire voice recording again. Click Effect > Equalization. You can click to add points on the EQ graph.
  • Add two points on the low end (left side) at about 75Hz and 120Hz. Next, drag the point at 75Hz to around the 4dB mark.
  • Add two points on the high end (right side) at about 2500Hz and 3000Hz. Next, drag the point at 3000Hz to around 6dB. You can click preview to hear the recording, and make adjustments as necessary, but it should sound better already.
  • After following these steps, click Effect < Amplify and then click OK with the default levels. This will help to fix up the audio levels after the equalization.
  • Next, we will use the compressor effect to lower the higher decibel areas and bring up the lower decibel areas. Click Effect < Compressor. Use the settings as follows:
  • Threshold: -30 dB
  • Noise Floor: -50dB
  • Ratio: 5:1
  • Attack Time: 0.10 secs
  • Release Time: 1.0 secs
  • Tick Make-up gain for 0 dB after compressing
  • Finally, click Effect < Amplify again. This time, set the amplification (dB) level to -2.8, then click OK.
  • You can now play the audio back. You should hear a considerable improvement over the default audio. To save the recording as an MP3, click File < Export < Export as MP3.

How to Make Nearly Any Dumb Appliance Smart

A fan, a smart switch, and Google Home and Amazon Echo devices.
Josh Hendrickson

Smart appliances offer voice control, smartphone apps, and powerful automations. But why spend hundreds of dollars on the latest models? With some inexpensive smart plugs, you can give your dumb devices the same features for a fraction of the cost.

Dumb Devices Are Best

A mechanical switch on a fan.
Josh Hendrickson

Smart plugs work on a pretty simple principle. You insert one into an outlet and plug in something. It cuts power to turn off devices and restores it to turn them back on. If you control any outlets in your home with a light switch, the principle is essentially the same. But that same principle also limits the types of appliances a smart plug can control.

Appliances and fixtures either have a mechanical or electronic switch. A mechanical switch physically cuts power. An electronic switch stores the current state and toggles to the opposite state when you push the power button.

The latter presents a problem because the “current state” is stored using power. If you lose power in your home, the device defaults to “off” with the next toggle set to “on.”

RELATED: Not All Appliances Work with Smart Outlets. Here’s How to Know

Mechanical switches tend to be a toggle or rocker switch, while electronic switches tend to be a soft push button. If you aren’t sure if your fixture has a mechanical or electrical switch, you can test it in just a few seconds. First, turn the device on, and then unplug it. Count to five, and then plug it back in. If the fixture turns on, it’s compatible with a smart plug. If you had to press a button to turn it on after plugging it in, a smart plug won’t work with that device.

Smart plugs are an excellent option for some window or portable A/C units, fans and heaters, curling irons and straighteners, Christmas lights, lamps, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, and more.

RELATED: How to Make Your Dumb Window Air Conditioner Smart

What You’ll Need

A Z-Wave Wi-Fi and outdoor smart outlet.
Josh Hendrickson

To get started, you need a smart plug. They come in many shapes and sizes, and prices vary. Some have extra features, like energy monitoring, but most offer compatibility with Alexa, Google Home, or both. Unless you have a specific need for energy monitoring, you can skip that feature and save money.

Read the remaining 25 paragraphs

How to Sleep Well in a College Dorm

A young woman asleep in bed.
Stokkete/Shutterstock

Going to college changes many aspects of your life, from friends and eating habits to interests and extracurricular activities. It can also change your sleeping habits—often for the worse. Here’s how to get the sleep you need.

There are many reasons college affects your sleeping habits. It’s a drastic shift in your routine. You’re in a new place, doing new things, with new people. For many students, college is the first opportunity they have to dictate exactly what their routine is. Without mom or dad around to tell you when to go to sleep, it’s tempting to stay up all night.

If you share your space with a roommate, that can also seriously disrupt your sleep patterns. Even if you believe in the power of getting eight hours of sleep per night, your roommate might not. And if you’re a sensitive sleeper, how do you manage to get good shuteye when someone else is awake in the same room watching TV or studying?

We’ll show you how.

Develop a Routine

The first way to improve your sleep at college is to develop a routine. For many students, college is when routines go out the window. Most students set their class schedules and have the freedom to decide how they spend their downtime. It can be easy to fall into the trap of doing whatever you want, whenever you want to do it.

Living an unstructured life might sound fun, but it often negatively impacts your productivity and important habits, like sleep. If you don’t stick to at least a loose schedule, you might find yourself staying up all hours of the night, only to have to get up a few hours later to catch a class.

Once you’ve set your classes, develop a routine of what you want your week to look like. Be sure to include time for work, friends, and, yes, sleep. If you have a set time you go to bed and get up every day, you’ll be more likely to prioritize getting an adequate amount of sleep.

Work Out Sleep Etiquette with Your Roommate

Aside from your own ability to develop a routine, your roommate is the biggest impediment to developing healthy college sleep habits. She probably has an entirely different schedule and routine than you. So, how are you supposed to sleep with another person in your space, causing tons of distractions?

The best way to navigate sleep with a roommate is to set expectations. Set a cutoff time for visiting friends, so you don’t have to chase them out—or worse—try to sleep while they’re still around.

Commit to common courtesy. For example, agree that when one of you is trying to sleep, the other will switch to headphones and turn off any bright lights.

The layout of your dorm room will dictate the rules you set. The important thing is to have these conversations, so you can each respect the other’s needs.

Invest in Sleep Aids

Even if your roommate is extremely respectful, light sleepers might still find it difficult to fall asleep if there’s even a sliver of light or the subtlest sounds in their space. This is where sleep aids can help.

Earplugs or an eye mask can negate the effects of stray sounds and light, and make it easier for you to fall asleep.

If you try sleep aids and still struggle, though, you might want to speak to a doctor about medicines or supplements that could help you.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

RELATED: How to Get Better Sleep

The final way to get better sleep as a college student is to adopt the same sleep hygiene practices that help everyone. Turn off all screens 30 minutes before bed or do a small meditation to quiet your mind. Journal about your day or read a book.

Also, if you get plenty of exercise during the day, not only will it help you combat the Freshman 15, but it will also make you more tired.

Make Sleep a Priority

There are so many exciting things to do and see when you get to college, it can be hard to remember how important sleep is. But it’s important that you’re healthy, happy, and able to make the most of all your new experiences.

All of these suggestions can help while you’re at college and beyond. So, follow them any time you need to make your nights more restful and ensure you wake up recharged.