Mashable: Chrome extensions for everybody

I love lists of "X Must-Have Apps/Extensions/Whatever for [Career]s" -- not because I do most of these jobs, but because special-purpose extensions go a long way towards enriching my experience of the internet.  In this case, there are a few that will be really useful for blogging, and a few that will be really useful for tweaking the design of my blogs. Mashable's list, 10 Essential Chrome Extensions for Designers, has a lot of great stuff for just using the internet.  I've already installed ColorZilla, Screen Capture, Pixlr Editor, MeasureIt!, and Palette.  The rest of them were really, definitely specific to webpage designers and I don't particularly need them.

There's less in the 10 Must-Have Chrome Extensions for Developers, being mostly more technical and less artistic, but Resolution Test looks pretty useful for the occasions when I'm trying to tweak my web page, and I cannot begin to explain how useful I think Session Manager is going to be.  Mashable writes:

When you're working on the web, browser tabs management is a priceless skill -- it's so easy to slip into bad habits and become "tab happy." Session Manager saves your browsing state and lets you re-open the session later. It is particularly useful if you find yourself opening the same web pages over and over.

The extension groups and saves related tabs, so for example, you could save your favorite news or social networking sites under their own session names, and then quickly access them without having to individually open each website.

I've usually got three windows packed with tabs running at a time, and dozens of folders in my bookmarks labeled "Prematurely closed."  I will be using this app extensively.

Entanglement: a strategy guide

Minecraft doesn't work on my Chromebook, so I've been killing time playing Entanglement, a freemium game that's listed as one of the basic apps on Chrome.  I would like to discuss some of the strategies I've experimented with, and their relative success rates.

Simple survival

My initial strategy, when I was just figuring out how the game worked, was to try and fill up the whole board, figuring that the longer I stayed alive, the more points I was likely to end up with by the end.  This strategy yields very poor results -- the way scoring works in Entanglement, you get cumulative points based on the number of tiles your line passes through.  If you just pass through the one you place, you get 1 point.  If you pass through 2, you get 1 point for the first one, and 2 points for the second one: 3 points.  3 tiles is 6 points, 4 tiles is 10 points, and so on.

Simple line maximization

This is also a sub-ideal strategy -- every move, I did what I could to maximize the number of tiles I passed through while still coming out alive.  (If you hit either the center piece or any of the edges, your game ends.)  It doesn't tend to create much opportunity for big scores.

Safe Ring

This strategy entails creating a ring of tiles in the space between the center tile and the walls, so you maximize the number of tiles you can pass through that can't possibly drive you into a wall.  As a result, the mid-game tends to go along freely and comfortably.  It was the first remotely successful strategy I attempted.

Safe Island

This strategy entails carefully placing tiles around the center tile, using the corner and loop shapes, to construct a safe zone wherein no paths actually lead to the center tile.  My goal, similar to the Safe Ring strategy, was to make it impossible to hit a wall while still easy to move freely around the board.  It worked in theory, a couple of times, but mostly doesn't work because you just can't rely on getting the right tiles.

Building the Endgame

This is the strategy that yields the best results, as far as I've been able to tell.  You try your best not to die while carefully keeping track of another path, one you haven't yet taken, which you make as long as you possibly can -- then, once you're pretty much out of other options, you take that path into the wall to which it probably leads, raking in hundreds of points in one final, glorious move.

Hank Green's Good Samaritan App

[notice]This is only a hypothetical app, but should totally exist.[/notice] Hank Green, Vlogbrother rockstar, posted this picture on Twitter last night, and it received "significant interest."

I didn't see it at first, but across the top, there's a feature I wish I had.  "If found, slide to contact owner."

Hank says about the idea:

I have, several times in my life, found people’s phones and then called or texted people in their contacts to get in touch with the person who owns the phone. There’s nothing more horrible than losing a phone. It’s expensive, inconvenient, and potentially dangerous (if you don’t have a lock on it, passwords are easy to find.)

But if you do have a lock on it, the occasional good Samaritan will be stumped for ways to get the phone back to you.

I’d much rather there just be a feature that you can turn on to allow someone who found your phone to get in touch with you immediately. Strictly optional, of course, but you can set it up to allow the nice person to send you an email, text your mom, call your house…whatever.

I want this to be a thing.  Go grab the nearest app designer you know and drag them to a computer screen, so they can make this.