App of the Week: student edition

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To shake you out of your post-Independence Day hangover, we’re going to give you four tiny technological tidbits that’ll really excite you, though you’ll probably appreciate them more once you’ve recovered your sobriety.

All four of these apps abide by the following exceedingly important criteria (we only made up one of them):

Platform: Google Chrome

Price: Free

Mission: To prove that The Daily Clog is right about everything.

With that out of the way, here we go:

1) Announcify: “Listen to your web.” There have been a good number of text-to-speech apps, but none have as few caveats as this one. Sure, the default voice can get annoying after a while, but that’s true of nearly any software that hasn’t broken the copyright on Morgan Freeman’s voice. The options are standard but still allow you to exert a great deal of control over the content — including changing pitch, volume and reading speed. It can work with any webpage, but it naturally works more quickly with webpages that are meant for reading, as opposed to your Facebook news feed or an eBay listing. It opens up the page in a new tab in a simple-text format, so you can simply read it in that window without all the flashy distractions. The app blurs out every paragraph except for the one it’s reading, which can be useful or annoying depending on your use. If you’re falling asleep while reading often, this could save you some valuable studying time. 3.5/5 clogs.

2) Print Friendly & PDF: “Save paper and ink when you print.” This is one of our absolute favorites. It’s quite simple in context — you can control what you print from a webpage and convert it into a PDF file. A single click on the extension takes the webpage you’re currently viewing, eliminates all ads and junk that you’re probably not interested in and pops it up in a mini-window reminiscent of the default Chrome print screen. There, you can click on any line, phrase or image and delete it right there. There’s also a one-click option to remove all images and change the text size. Then, you can print your modified page, save it as a PDF for later use or e-mail it to anyone within that window. Though we would like to see some options like adding text first, it does a great job of keeping the pre-existing formatting and doing what it’s intended to. 5/5 clogs.

3) WatchDoc: “Notifies you if your Google Docs change.” The tagline is pretty self-explanatory. The icon will produce a little notification square a la Facebook if any of your Google Docs happen to change. Clicking on the app creates a submenu showing your most recently edited Google Docs with a timestamp on each, as well as a link to each Doc and the Drive homepage. A one-time entry of your Google credentials is all you need, and it remedies one of the only noticeable issues that Drive had in the first place. An obvious improvement would be to notify of any chat messages within Drive using a different notification color, but for now, the extension isn’t quite capable. Yet despite its ugly interface, it’s functional. 4/5 clogs.

4) WiseStamp: “Empower Gmail…” This app is a great way to give your emails a touch of professionalism. You can start your signature with a bunch of templates according to your stylistic preference and edit the information within. The interface has a rich-text editor and the option to insert and resize pictures as well — handy if you happen to be photogenic. The coolest part, however, is the ability to add miniature social icons — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to name a few — to the bottom. Customizing these icons to link to your respective profiles is very simple, and you can view real-time changes to your signature. The only drawback is that it has a WiseStamp advertisement at the bottom, but this can be circumvented by copying and pasting the signature itself into Gmail’s signature option, where you can customize the signature for each account you send mail from. 4.5/5 clogs.

Our average verdict: 4.25 Clogs. So what are you waiting for?

Contact Uday Mehta at [email protected]