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Tired of using ugly websites? Change them with these apps, browser extensions and bookmarklets.

Whether you want your co-workers to not notice you’re reading BuzzFeed or just wish you could read an article without distracting sidebars and widgets, today’s Cool Websites and Apps offers tools we’ve never covered that make the web more pleasant.

Shine For Reddit (Chrome): A Much Better Reddit Interface

Love Reddit, but wish it wasn’t so ugly? Shine For Reddit gives your favorite time sink a two-pane makeover.

shine-reddit

As you can see, the left panel is the usual list of links. The right panel includes comments and, for sites like YouTube and Imgur, the content that’s being linked to. Even better, there’s support for keyboard shortcuts and more advanced features not seen in other extensions for the site.

We’ve shown you how to use Reddit like a boss Use Reddit Like A Boss With This Combo Package Use Reddit Like A Boss With This Combo Package Today, we're going to take a look at a couple of browser extensions that will enhance your Reddit experience. One of them is an old fogey, so you might of already heard of it by... Read More , and the tools we outlined there are great. Shine For Reddit has a clear edge when it comes to appearance, though, so be sure to check it out.

McReadability (Bookmarklet): Extracts Article, Presents With Columns

Some sites really like to load on the clutter. Sidebars, popups and worse can make it impossible to focus on what you are reading. McReadability is a bookmarklet that extracts articles from cluttered pages and re-arranges them into columns.

mcreadability

We’ve shown you how bookmarklets can boost your web surfing speed and productivity 6 Bookmarklets That Will Boost Your Web Surfing Speed & Productivity 6 Bookmarklets That Will Boost Your Web Surfing Speed & Productivity Bookmarklets are unsuspicious little helpers that sit in your browser's bookmarks bar. Unlike your regular bookmarks, they don't archive a URL, rather bookmarklets are small java applets with a one-click functionality. There are hundreds of... Read More , and adding another to your arsenal is always nice. The column layout is fantastic if you have trouble parsing wide paragraphs.

Timesify: Disguise The Stupid Crap You’re Reading

There are a lot of gossip sites on the web that, while objectively terrible, are also terribly entertaining. If you’d like to read these at work without your co-workers judging you, Timesify can make any article you’re reading look like it’s from the New York Times. Let the extension’s creator explain:

It’s all very tongue and cheek, and mostly intended to be a joke, but who knows? Maybe some of you will find it useful. Let me know if you do in the comments below.

If you want to be completely unproductive online How To Be Completely Unproductive Online [Opinion] How To Be Completely Unproductive Online [Opinion] Did you know, that the Internet can also make you alarmingly unproductive? It's true! It may be hard to believe, but constant access to all the world's information - from the average flight velocity of... Read More , you’ve got to be smart about it. Knowing how to hide time wasting websites Panic Button: Quickly Hide Time-Wasting Tabs From Your Boss [Chrome] Panic Button: Quickly Hide Time-Wasting Tabs From Your Boss [Chrome] Quickly hide the useless sites you're looking at so your boss doesn't know that you're slacking off. It's called Panic Button, it works in Google Chrome and it's designed for full time workers who actually... Read More is a necessary skill for every would-be slacker.

Wallabag: Open Source Alternative to Instapaper and Pocket

Millions of users love “read later” services like Pocket and Instapaper, which save clutter-free versions of articles to a site or app where you can read them later. The web is full of articles that are well worth reading, but actually getting work done means sometimes you need to put off that reading until later.

If you like this concept, but would prefer not to send your reading list to a third party company, Wallabag lets you host such a service yourself. If you’re concerned about privacy, this is the real deal.

The service supports importing your collection of bookmarks from Instapaper or Pocket. The service is even multi-user, meaning you could set it up on a web server for yourself and offer accounts to your friends. There are even apps capable of connecting to your server, for all major platforms (mobile and desktop).

Note that you’ll need a working web server to install the full version, but there’s also a hosted option if you’d prefer not to mess with the setup phase.

Rdio Mini Player (Chrome): Simple Way to Control Rdio

If you leave way too many tabs open (and I know you do), figuring out where the controls for your music are can be frustrating. If you’re an Rdio listener, this mini player can help.

rdio-mini-player

It sits in Chrome’s extension area, meaning the ability to pause and skip tracks is always two clicks away. Stop digging through your tabs.

How Do You Transform The Web?

We love customizing the web and make it our own. Using Evernote Clearly to reduce clutter Evernote Clearly Removes Clutter From Webpages For Reading, Clipping Or Printing Evernote Clearly Removes Clutter From Webpages For Reading, Clipping Or Printing Remove everything from any webpage - the header, the sidebar, the advertisements - except for what you want to read. Then, if you like, send the article directly to Evernote or print it, clutter free.... Read More or Safari’s reader mode Quickly & Easily Add Safari's Reader Feature To Chrome & Firefox Quickly & Easily Add Safari's Reader Feature To Chrome & Firefox Read More quickly makes reading any website more pleasant, and there are a lot more tools out there for the job.

So I want to know: what tools do you use to clean up the web? Let’s talk about them in the comments below. You should also feel free to tell me what I should round up in future editions of Cool Websites and Apps.

  1. Squalle
    November 28, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    I just may use Timesify just because. That seems like a brilliant idea. And the guy explaining it did so almost flawlessly. Nice work!

    • Justin Pot
      November 28, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Enjoy!

  2. Read and Share
    June 16, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Maybe that was where I learned about it?? Thanks, Justin.

  3. Read and Share
    June 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Hmmm... not sure why my comment disappeared?

    For added Wiki reading enjoyment, I have been using wikipedia . moesalih . com/ (no space)

    I cannot remember where I came across this -- it was a helpful site like MUO. It's completely safe, I have been using this for a few months now.

    • Justin Pot
      June 16, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Hey there! I believe comments that include links need to be reviewed by a human editor before appearing on the site. Spammers forced our hand on this, it sucks but without that measure our comments would be overrun!

      Anyway, I believe I included this in a recent Cool Websites and Apps column about Wikipedia, but it's still well worth checking out for anyone who thinks Wikipedia is ugly.

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