Blog

Updates to Link Cleaner

I released the first version Link Cleaner a little over a year ago as a simple web app for quickly removing junk from web links, like tracking attributes and search data. Even though it was relatively simple, it has become one of my most popular software projects. In the past month, Link Cleaner has had roughly 1.2K users, and 1.6K links have been cleaned.

I’ve rolled out a few updates to Link Cleaner over the past week, so I thought I should write about them!

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Tech Tales: Year One

The first episode of my technology history podcast, Tech Tales, was published exactly one year ago today: June 14, 2021. I had wanted to produce something related to tech history for years, but it was only last year that I was able to narrow down a format I was happy with (largely inspired by You’re Wrong About) and recruit enough friends to join me for stumbling through hour-long recordings.

I would say the show’s first year has been a success. As of June 12, it has a total of 29 episodes, 4,291 plays/downloads on audio platforms, and 2,012 views on YouTube. The first year of episodes has covered topics like the NASA’s Voyager space probes, the 20 year-long development of Mac OS X (now macOS), Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, and the failed Intel Itanium CPU architecture. Video games are an important part of technology history, so Tech Tales has also covered topics like the ‘Hot Coffee’ mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the disastrous port of DOOM to the 3DO console.

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ImageShare is now an even better image upload tool for the 3DS

ImageShare is a lightweight web app I made for uploading images. It’s primarily designed as a replacement for the Nintendo 3DS Image Share Service, but also works with many other limited/legacy web browsers. It opens quickly, doesn’t require a login, and uploads images to the popular Imgur service. After your image is uploaded, a QR code is provided for quickly grabbing the link with any phone or tablet with a camera.

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Picture-in-Picture Shortcut now available for Google Chrome

Google Chrome and other modern web browsers have the ability to ‘pop out’ video players in sites into small floating windows, called Picture-in-Picture Mode. This is an incredibly useful feature for videos that don’t need someone’s full attention, or when someone doesn’t want to waste screen space with the browser and page during multi-tasking.

However, Chrome doesn’t have a universal keyboard shortcut for Picture-in-Picture. Most sites don’t have a PiP button, so this useful feature requires two clicks to access (first opening Chrome’s media menu, then clicking the PiP button). I’ve now made an extension to fix this problem: Picture-in-Picture Shortcut.

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Google has turned the web publishing industry into YouTube

You’ve probably heard many of your favorite YouTube channels and creators talk about YouTube’s recommendation algorithms at one point or another. Maybe someone worked for days on a specific video only to see YouTube not display it prominently on the Home page, and took to Twitter to complain, or a creator mentioned an old video of theirs suddenly spiked in views for no apparent reason.

Most people on YouTube watch videos through the Home page, which is entirely based on what the site’s algorithms and machine learning believe you want to watch. The high usage isn’t just because the Home page is the first thing you see when you open the site or mobile apps — it’s because, given enough historical data, the Home page is usually pretty good at guessing what you want to watch.

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Wii Shop Channel Music extension 2.0 now available!

I released a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox in 2020 called Wii Shop Channel Music, which plays the iconic Wii Shop Channel theme in the background when you visit a shopping website. It went somewhat viral a few times (most recently on a popular AskReddit thread), so I’ve received plenty of feature requests and additional sites to add.

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Ending development of NoPlugin

I released the first version of QuickChrome in early 2016, as a browser extension that replaced old QuickTime media embedded players in webpages with a modern HTML5 player. It was a convenient way (when it worked) to interact with old websites without using an old and insecure web browser. I have released 19 updates since then, and the extension has a combined total of ~27,000 active users across Chrome and Firefox under its current name of NoPlugin.

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