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A really handy free tool for your tech-confused relatives (or maybe even you?)

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Do you know your JigaPNGs from your TetraLols? Is a RibbiBit something I just made up? Did I make all of them up?

Of course I did, but you might not know that if tech is your foe, rather than your friend, and that’s where the ‘Sideways Dictionary‘ comes in. If you don’t know your ransomware from a trojan, or are baffled by bitcoin, the potential tech holds is more confusing than empowering and the headlines you read make less and less sense.

Now, when you find yourself discombobulated all you need to do is go to Sideways, and see what the term that’s confusing you really means – unlike a normal Wikipedia-style definition or dictionary entry, however, the site uses analogies rather than descriptions to get the point across. So, adblocking, for example, is ‘like auto-skipping the ads on recorded TV. The ads fund the programs, but if people can find a way to avoid watching them, they usually do,” in one ‘definition’.

There are multiple analogies per term, and you can submit your own if you register and login. Likewise, you can vote on your favorite analogies to see them rise up the page. And if you don’t want to keep visiting the site directly, you can install a Sideways Dictionary Chrome plugin that will indicate any terms that can be defined as you browse around the Web.

While it sounds simple, the tool is actually the work of Alphabet-incubated JigSaw and the Washington Post – whether or not user submissions will be vetted closely enough to keep all the analogies of a good enough quality to be useful remains to be seen.

For now, it’s a useful place to get a simple explanation to send to your perennially-confused family and friends.

I’m a tech journalist and editor with lots of opinions. 10second.tech is a place for me to put those. All views expressed are personal, and not those of any titles for which I write in other capacities. As well as running this site, I also write for WIRED, Engadget, Trusted Reviews, and a number of other leading technology titles. I also run SexTechGuide.com.

You’re welcome to contact me via [email protected] if you have news or anything else to pass along, on twitter at @10sectech or @TheNextWoods

Tech startup founders that need media advice or PRs and brands that need content strategy advice should visit benwoodsish.com.

Tools

Toby is my new favorite Chrome extension for managing browser tabs

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Tab overload, particularly with the memory hog that Chrome is, can be a real problem. It is for me, particularly when using my now ageing desktop. However, Toby is a really handy Chrome extension that helps keep everything organized, and it was updated this week with a free new syncing feature.

The Chrome extension previously offered a sync option, but in a slightly convoluted way that involved linking it to your Google Drive. Now, that’s no longer required.

As someone with a persistent interest in better ways to manage tabs, Toby has quickly become my new favourite tab manager by providing genuinely useful options in a simple, well-designed extension.

Once you’ve installed Toby, each time you open a new tab, you’ll find your list of saved tabs – or alternatively, you can hit the icon in your taskbar to access your lists of tabs, or to save the whole session. Across the top of the screen, you can jump directly to one of five different topics, that you can create as necessary. Or you can view all your saved tabs shown in lists on the ‘All’ tab. While you can create a whole load of different lists, you can only create up to five topics (you can think of these as ‘tags’ too, for filtering purposes).

The ‘All’ tab is by far the easiest way to move items between different lists, if you accidentally assign a page to the wrong one.

For my new favorite tab manager, I don’t actually use it as often as you might think, but it’s the times when I need to quickly assign my mess of open windows to a bunch of different lists before running out of the house that I truly appreciate the ease of Toby. It’s similarly useful to me when researching different topics for different stories.

Oh, and it’s free.

If you don’t see the new syncing feature yet, it’s being rolled out to users in batches to ensure a smooth transition. The Google Drive syncing feature will stop working from January 1, 2017, and will disappear after that date once you switch it off.

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ShoutOut

How to use CoSchedule to simplify your content marketing and social posts

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Anyone that runs a blog knows that a huge part of most site’s traffic comes from social channels, which means that having a strategy (yes, an actual strategy) is a must for any brand that wants to grow awareness through blog posts, videos and other content.

There are a whole bunch of different tools available to simplify the basic process of sharing to social networks from a platform like WordPress (our example, as this site runs on it) but few live up to their promises.

CoSchedule is one that manages to, and does so with the minimum of fuss – but it doesn’t come free.

That’s sure to put a whole lot of people off, but if you need to keep track of a lot of different social and blog content, it’ll quickly pay for itself in the time it saves you from manually posting.

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For more advanced editorial and marketing needs, it has a more complete set of tools – but most individuals and small-to-medium size businesses will have plenty at their disposal with the cheaper tiers.

What can CoSchedule do?

Primarily, it’s a marketing and social media calendar, but if you run a WordPress blog (like this one), it’s also a really easy way to auto-publish your content, schedule repeat posts and a whole lot more.

The marketing calendar is a useful tool for teams, and as well as allowing you to schedule and post updates directly, also lets different you assign different tasks (and attach notes) for each campaign.

coschedule-wordpresseditpost

We’ve spent most of our time using the integrated WordPress features and scheduling calendar, so that’s where we’re focusing here. Perhaps the most useful aspect to know about is the main calendar that shows all your content (blog) posts in the same place as your social posts.

Not only does this give you a good at-a-glance overview of where you might have gaps in your schedule, but it also lets you schedule new campaigns on the fly or re-use older ones. And if you do need to move something around, you can just drag-and-drop it.

Time-saver

The real value in CoSchedule isn’t the difficulty of what it achieves, it’s the simplicity in which it achieves it. Time is money, as the saying goes, and copy-pasting or manually entering every single social update for a busy blog just isn’t a good use of time.

Once you’ve installed the WordPress plugin and connected the social accounts you want to use, all you need to do is check out your calendar and create a new social post. Alternatively, and my preference, each time you write a new blog post, you can set up initial and follow-up social campaigns directly from the WordPress post composition screen for all your connected social networks.

coschedule-editpost

If you’re not using WordPress, or need it just for marketing campaigns rather than content, you can manage everything through the Web dashboard.

And if you’ve just got no idea when the best time to send a tweet might be, or to make that post to Facebook, there’s a scheduling option that allows you literally just select ‘best time’ and then forget about it.

Exactly how many people you have on your team and how many social accounts you can connect depends on which plan you opt for – and there’s a free 14-day trial (that requires no payment info) so you can test-drive it before that.

Pricing ranges from $15 per month to $60 per month, with the main omission from the cheapest plan being the marketing calendar – you do get the editorial calendar and autoposting features though.

* This post contains affiliate links, but we do use CoSchedule for 10SECOND.TECH and stand behind the recommendation.

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Ultidash Chrome extension puts the power of concentration in a new tab

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The Web, you may have noticed, is full of stuff. See, here we are now adding another bit to it. With all these distractions, getting work done at your computer can become little more than a notionally possible outcome of firing up your laptop.

If that’s all too familiar, and I’ll wager it is, Ultidash’s new Chrome extension is well worth checking out. In a nutshell, it brings together a whole bunch of tools in a single extension that makes good use of your new tab page.

Plenty of other options exist for achieving similar ends, but Ultidash brings together all the regular suspects in one handy tool.

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In the top-right, you have a four-day weather forecast (mouse over to expand it) and below that in the bottom-right there’s a section for adding notes to a to-do list. It’s not going to replace Trello or Todoist or whatever else you might use already, but it might be a useful addition for transient tasks.

ultidash-todo

Ultidash’s main pitch, however, is its ‘concentration timer’, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. To use it, just click in the lower left corner of the screen to open up the settings and select ‘Site Blocker’ – there you just need to set any domains you want blocked.

ultidashsettings

You can toggle the setting on or off manually, or set a countdown timer from the middle of the new tab screen. Once it has elapsed, you’ll be able to open the sites normally. And if you forget and try to before it’s elapsed, you may well get a virtual slap around the face, or the threat of one.

You can also keep track of how long you’ve managed to concentrate for in the stats section, or check out which sites you spend most of your time on. Finally, in the top left corner there’s a search bar that brings you regular ol’ Google results.

If you’re determined to waste time, you’re going to find a way, but if you just need a little help staying focused, Ultidash is worth checking out. And it’s free.

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