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7 Sites All Parents Should Add to Their Block List Right Now

If you're a parent, you will no doubt be aware of the dangers of giving your child unfettered access to the web. Whether it's adult entertainment, gore, or gambling, there's a near-endless number of sites that your children shouldn't see.

Worryingly, even content that appears innocent can still be a minefield. For example, the YouTube Kids app has been criticized for letting unsuitable content leak through its filters. Meanwhile, popular kids streaming apps have been hijacked by pedophile rings and groomers.

Suddenly feeling apprehensive? Keep reading as we examine some seemingly-innocent websites that should parents block right now.

Live streaming sites have grown in popularity over the last few years. One such app is Periscope; it's particularly popular among young adults and teenagers. Indeed, more than 30 percent of its users are 21 years old or younger.

In mid-2017, a BBC investigation found children as young as nine were being groomed on the service. In a video on the BBC YouTube channel, there's a chilling exchange as a groomer encourages a young teen to show off her skirt and remove her top. The person even offers to pay money in exchange for a "show".

Yes, we know online dating sucks for both men and women, but if you really want to give it a try, Tinder should be your first stop. For minors, however, Tinder is dangerous and a wholly inappropriate site.

To sign up for Tinder, you only need a Facebook account. Technically, the app banned under-18s in mid-2016, but it's notoriously easy to create a fake date of birth on Facebook. Estimates suggest that despite the ban, as much as seven percent of Tinder's userbase is aged between 13 and 17.

Of course, this opens the same issues that we've already touched on: grooming and pedophilia. As a parent, you need to be alert to the possibility that your child could be a target. Remember, instil "stranger danger" into your child at a young age. Using Tinder at a young age also opens a can of worms about image and self-worth. It's easy for your early-teen to fall into an unhealthy obsession with appearance.

Ultimately, you need to put Tinder on your block list to protect your child both physically and mentally.

Ask.fm is a question-and-answer site that's widely used among the 13-to-17 demographic. On the face of it, the site appears harmless: ask a question, get an answer. Simple.

However, there are some critical reasons to keep your kids off the Ask.fm site. When we investigated, we discovered it was littered with sexual requests, innuendos, cyberbullying, and other inappropriate content for minors.

And in case you don't think your child is susceptible to the above issues, consider these facts:

  • In Spring 2013, a 15-year-old from England committed suicide because of cyberbullying on the site.
  • In August 2013, a 14-year-old girl from Leicestershire, England, also committed suicide after an Ask.fm user told her to "drink bleach."
  • A Guardian expose found 10 percent of 11-to-16-year-olds on Ask.fm were targeted at least once per day with rape threats, suicide encouragement, and death threats.

Omegle was named in the same BBC investigation that brought attention to the issues with Periscope.

In case you're not aware, Omegle is a video chat website. You do not need to register to use the service. It works by randomly pairing two strangers together for a chat, though you can express some preferences such as interests and desired gender.

Omegle does offer a "monitored" video chat. In the monitored version of the site, mods are looking for sexual behavior and other inappropriate content. However, an unmonitored version still exists, and several minors use it.

No registration, lax moderation, anonymity, and video chat. It's clearly a recipe for problems and should go on the block list.

Chatroulette works on the same principle as Omegle. It's a video chat site that pairs random people together for conversations. When you go to the homepage, you can choose whether to participate in filtered or unfiltered chat. There are no age verification checks.

If anything, the site's reputation is even worse than Omegle's. Here's what renowned American psychiatrist, Keith Ablow, said about the site:

"Parents should keep all their children off the site because it's much too dangerous for children. It's a predator's paradise. This is one of the worst faces of the internet that I've seen. It's disconnecting human relationships rather than connecting them."

There are two other worrisome facts about the service you need to be aware of. Firstly, 30 percent of the sites monthly visitors are under 18. That makes Chatroulette an attractive destination for predators.

Secondly, as part of the site's attempts to clean up its image, it introduced random screenshots. In practice, that means your child's video feed could be snapped without their knowledge or consent and looked at by a complete stranger---even if they're doing nothing wrong.

4Chan is an image-based bulletin board that often draws comparisons with Reddit. But while Reddit isn't exactly a haven of safe, moderated content, it's nowhere near as bad as its older cousin. It's one of the most inappropriate sites for kids and tweens on the web.

The site's rap sheet is worryingly long. It's endured headline-grabbing scandals as diverse as racism, child pornography, celebrity nude photo leaks, murders and killing sprees, and the Gamergate controversy.

It's not a crowd that you want your child to associate with.

Kik is an anonymous instant messenger app. Again, anything regarding anonymity and kids online is a potential trouble spot, but Kik's adult-orientated tools make Kik more dangerous than most other chat apps.

For example, you can search for anonymous chat partners by selecting up to five compatible interests from Kik's list, many of which intentionally allude to sexual behavior. Perhaps worse, anyone can message you. Users can spam messages to multiple guessed usernames in the hope they exist.

Even though Kik recently introduced new tools for parents, it's a predators' paradise; block it.

The sites and apps we've listed might not be caught on regular parental controls. At face value, they are not necessarily problematic. The issues arise either because of the way the site handles users who are minors, or the way in which other people use the site.

If you'd like to learn more about keeping your kids safe online, check out our other articles on the best parental control apps for Windows and the best parental control apps for Chromebooks.

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The 5 Best Sites for Free Guitar and Bass Tabs | MakeUseOf

Want to learn how to play the guitar or bass but you are terrified of sheet music? The good news is that you don't need to read sheet music to start your lessons. The frets on your stringed instruments guide where to place your fingers.

Before the internet, you'd only had your ear or the official sheet music at your disposal. Fortunately, there are now several excellent guitar tabs and bass tab sites that hold the key to thousands of songs.

Ultimate Guitar is one of the most comprehensive guitar resources available today. Alongside guitar tabs, there are sections for news, reviews, and lessons. There's also a thriving community accessible on Ultimate Guitar's forum.

The site has been operational since 1998 and has since amassed 10 million registered users and 1.1 million guitar and bass tabs. Frequently updated charts like Fresh Tabs and Top 100 make it easy to find something new to play if you are looking for inspiration. Alongside tabs, the site offers a large selection of guitar chords as well, placing it among the best websites to find guitar chords for songs.

Importantly, unlike some guitar tab sites, all tabs are officially licensed. In the past, musicians could sell their own tab books or sheet music. These days, the content is freely available online, potentially depriving artists of income.

By licensing the tabs, Ultimate Guitar supports your favorite musicians. This setup does mean that, occasionally, you won't be able to find a tab that you're after. However, the company has also released an Android app, so you can conveniently access tabs on your smartphone.

Also, should you want some extra support and guidance, Ultimate Guitar Pro offers an interactive way to use guitar and bass tabs. The service allows you to play along with a synthesized version of the track, and you learn to read music by toggling between tabs and sheet music.

911Tabs has existed since 2004 and is now an essential destination for guitarists and bassists around the world. However, unlike Ultimate Guitar, 911Tabs doesn't host tabs itself, thereby excluding themselves from copyright licensing and disputes.

Instead, the site is a meta-search engine---a search provider that aggregates results from other sources. The creators of the website even refer to it as "like Google, but smaller and more accurate" for tabs only.

The minimal home page is comprised of a single search box. Enter your favorite artist or song into the search bar, and 911Tabs will return a comprehensive list of every tab available online. There is even a "Users who played this also played..." suggestion box to the right of the results page.

You can also rate the tabs you access, which helps the most accurate tabs appear prominently in the search results. As it's a gateway to other websites, 911Tabs doesn't actually host the tabs.

When you select your chosen tab, the host website loads inside 911Tabs, so their banner and menu are still accessible for further searches. To date, 911Tabs has indexed over four million tabs, so you will surely find what you were looking for.

Many of the best guitar tab sites use text-based tabs to help you play along with your chosen track. Jellynote is different. The site launched in 2015. Since then, the French company designed the site to be more interactive than standard guitar tab websites.

So you won't find any text-based tabs. Instead, the entire site is based around a service that's not dissimilar to Ultimate Guitar Pro. Search for a song, and Jellynote will load a set of augmented sheet music. These come with MIDI instrumentation, so you can hear how the music should sound.

The company has also developed apps for Android and iOS. However, to support these features, most content on Jellynote is not free. Each song comes with a time-limited free sample, but to get full access to the library of songs, you'll need to take out a $7.99 per month subscription. If you prefer to use your smartphone, consider one of the best free apps to help you learn to play the guitar as well.

Plus, you can adjust the tempo, allowing you to learn at your own pace. If there's a section you want to conquer, you can even loop specific timeframes. If a song includes more than one instrument, you can view these all on a single page, and then mute those you don't need. There's also an option to toggle between sheet music and guitar tablature.

If you're after free guitar tabs that are more interactive, then check out Songsterr. The site takes some of the best elements from the premium offerings above while keeping the simplicity of standard guitar tabs, so there are no barriers to using the service.

The website is clean, uncluttered, and modern so that you can focus on the task at hand without distractions. Your chosen song's MIDI recreations are based on the site's library of more than 500,000 free to access guitar tabs.

Interestingly, instead of hosting multiple versions of the same song, Songsterr allows users to edit the tab if they spot an error or improvement. In this sense, Songsterr is the Wikipedia of tab websites. Despite this setup, the company still has to obtain licenses to display each tab.

Consequently, the site offers a premium subscription service called Songsterr Plus. The paid plan takes are of artist royalties so that the tabs don't infringe copyrights. For $9.90 per month, you can access all tabs, use the Songsterr Android and iOS apps, remove ads, and adjust the interactive elements.

Although YouTube is one of the world's most popular video streaming sites, it's also home to a wide range of educational and instructional content. As a result, it is an excellent resource for finding free guitar tabs and bass tabs. Channels like Tab Sheet Music have a wide selection of tabs, ranging from popular music to video game and movie soundtracks.

Producing a video is more time consuming than transcribing a tab, so you won't be able to find everything on YouTube. However, it's a great place to practice your skills, especially for some of the most popular songs.

Also, you can watch another guitarist perform the song while also playing along to the tab. YouTube also allows you to control the playback speed of each video. So, if you need a little more time to catch a crucial detail, you can slow down or pause the video.

Tabs are perfect when you start playing the guitar or learn bass. They don't require in-depth knowledge of sheet music or music theory, and the numbers directly correlate with the frets on your instrument. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as a beginner's tool.

However, you don't need to leave tabs behind. Many of your favorite artists aren't proficient in music theory either, preferring to play based on feeling and a general understanding of their instrument instead.

That said, if you want some experience of the fundamentals, check out the best sites to learn the basics of music theory.

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The Best Free Apps to Trim, Cut, or Split Videos | MakeUseOf

We're all shooting more video than ever, but it rarely comes out of the camera in perfect shape. More often than not you'll need to cut a few seconds off the start or end of your video, or trim it to a more shareable length.

Fortunately, you don't need any editing skills to do this. You just need the right software. So let's take a look at how to trim videos in Windows, Mac, Linux, and directly in a web browser.

How to Trim a Video in Windows

The quickest way to trim and cut videos in Windows 10 is to use the built-in Photos app.

Open your video to get started. You can do this either by launching Photos from the Start menu and navigating your way to where the clip is stored on your hard drive, or by right-clicking the file and selecting Open with > Photos.

When the video has opened, click Edit & Create in the top-right corner of the window then select Trim.

The video now reopens in Edit mode. On the timeline at the bottom there's a blue handle that enables you to scroll through the video, plus two white dots that can be used to set the start and end points for your newly trimmed clip.

First, drag the left dot towards the right until you reach the point where you want your video to start (everything to the left of this will be cut). Then drag the right dot left to trim off the end of the video.

Hit the Play button to preview the changes, and tweak the positions of the white dots to fine-tune your edit. When you're happy, hit Save as to save the edited version as a new file. By default, it'll be saved with the same filename with the word "Trim" appended to it. This ensures you never overwrite the original file.

And that's it. You can split a longer video into two or more shorter clips using the same technique. Just repeat the process for each clip, setting different start and end points to isolate the sections you want to save.

If you need more advanced editing functions, take a look at the best free video editors for Windows.

How to Trim a Video on a Mac

On macOS you can trim videos using QuickTime Player, which comes pre-installed on all Macs.

Open the video. By default, supported video files open automatically in QuickTime Player. If yours doesn't, right-click and select Open With > QuickTime Player, or drag the file onto the app icon in the Dock.

Next, go to Edit > Trim. You'll now see the trimming bar at the bottom of the window. Everything inside the yellow section is included in your trimmed video, while everything outside will be removed.

Grab the left handle and drag it to the right until you reach the point where you want your video to start. Then grab the right handle and drag it to the left. Hit the Play button to preview your selection, and tweak the handles if necessary.

When done, click Trim. The video will now be trimmed, and will open as a new untitled file. Go to File > Save to save the new, trimmed video.

QuickTime is easy to use, and lets you trim a video to less than one second. For greater control over your editing, use iMovie. This is one of the free downloads for all Apple users.

How to Trim a Video in Linux

If you're using Linux, you'll need to find a third party app to trim and split your videos. We recommend VidCutter, which we'll be using in this guide on Ubuntu.

To begin, you'll need to install VidCutter. How you do this depends on which Linux distro you're using. Check out VidCutter on Github for full instructions for all of the main distros.

On Ubuntu, we install VidCutter through the Terminal app, starting with the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ozmartian/apps
sudo apt update

Finally, install the app:

sudo apt install vidcutter

To open your file either launch VidCutter and select Open Media, or navigate your way to where the video is stored on your computer. Right-click the file and select Open With > VidCutter.

When the video opens, locate the filmstrip at the bottom of the window. Drag the green handle to the point where you want your video to start. Click Start Clip to save that position.

Next, drag the green handle to the point where you want your video to end. Click End Clip to save this position. Now click Save Media to save a copy of your newly edited file.

What's good about VidCutter is that you can make multiple cuts to the same video all at once. If you want to remove something from the middle of a clip, set two start points and two end points either side of the unwanted portion. Clicking Save Media will then create a new video where the two sections you've selected are joined together.

If you want more control, check out our guide to the best Linux video editors.

How to Trim Videos Online

If you're using a Chromebook, or just prefer to work in the browser on any machine, there are lots of options to trim videos online. We're going to use the Video Trimmer option at Kapwing, which is free for videos up to 250MB in size and seven minutes in length.

You don't need to sign up to use it, although not doing so will put a watermark on your final video. Create an account to remove the watermark.

Load up the site and drag your video into your browser window. To start trimming, simply move the sliders below the timeline. Trim the start of a video by moving the left-hand slider to the right, or trim the end by moving the right slider to the left.

If you want to know how to trim the middle of a video, it's something you can do easily in Kapwing.

First, load up your video, then click Add Cut. A new timeline will open with a red section that represents the part of the video that you want to remove.

Drag the red bar into position, and use the handles attached to each end to finetune your selection.

When you're finished, click Done. In the next screen, click Export Video. It'll take a couple of minutes to process, depending on how large your video file is. When it's ready, click Download. You can also share the video from here.

The Easy Way to Trim Videos

It's easy to trim or edit videos on your desktop or laptop. You can use free software that will often already be installed on your computer.

If you're working on your phone or tablet instead, take a look at our guides to the best video editing apps for Android and the best video editing apps for iOS.

It only takes a couple of minutes to tidy up the beginning and end of your clips, or to chop a longer video down to size. It's amazing how a few simple edits can make a video look a whole lot better---and more people will watch it, too.

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6 Reasons Your Wi-Fi Dongle Speed Is Slow and Performance Sucks

A dongle is a small device, typically in the general form of a USB flash drive, that plugs into another device to provide extra functionality. A wireless dongle, also called a Wi-Fi adapter, provides Wi-Fi capabilities to a device that otherwise isn't Wi-Fi-capable, such as a desktop PC with no wireless network card.

Dongles are useful because you can easily move them between devices, they don't take up much space, and the added functionality is convenient. But when using a Wi-Fi dongle, you may run into some issues. In particular, it's common to have poor wireless speeds that don't live up to what you get on other devices in your home.

Here are some reasons why your USB Wi-Fi adapter is slow, and what you can do about it.

Wi-Fi devices can communicate using two different bands. The 2.4GHz band is older and supported by most devices, but slower. Meanwhile, the 5GHz band is newer and more reliable, but has a shorter range and doesn't work with older devices.

While modern wireless dongles tend to support both bands, you can only utilize the 5GHz band if your router also transmits on the 5GHz band. If your router isn't a dual-band router, then you're stuck using the 2.4GHz band. Thankfully, most modern routers are dual-band, so you may need to buy a new dual-band router if you have an old model.

What's the problem with the 2.4GHz band? As it turns out, it's extremely narrow. In the US, there are only have 11 channels to choose from---and even that's deceptive because each channel's frequency overlaps with the frequencies of neighboring channels. As a result, channels 1, 6, and 11 are the only non-overlapping channels.

Overlapping channels are bad because the wireless data waves can interfere with each other, causing lost data packets that must be resent. Resending data packets takes time, which can cause your wireless speed to drop. With a lot of interference, the drop can be significant.

It gets worse if you live in a densely populated building, such as an apartment complex in a major city. In these cases, there are hundreds of devices all around you trying to transmit Wi-Fi data. Even if you're using a non-overlapping channel, transmissions on the same channel can interfere. A wireless dongle on the 2.4GHz band thus has a lot of roadblocks to good performance.

If you have to use 2.4GHz, make sure you've set your router to use the latest Wi-Fi standards instead of "legacy" or "mixed" mode, which is limited for backwards compatibility.

However, if possible, you should use the 5GHz band with your Wi-Fi dongle. As long as your router and dongle both support 5GHz, this is simple to do. The 5GHz band has 23 non-overlapping channels and isn't as susceptible to interference from other devices like microwaves. Learn more about ways to solve wireless dongle interference.

Depending on where your dongle is, the interference could begin before the signal waves even reach your router. If your dongle is physically small, it will be right next to your desktop, which likely has a metal case. This can reduce the reliability of the signal waves significantly.

It's not just your desktop that does this---if your dongle is plugged in right next to a desk with metal legs, you can run into the same problem.

To partially resolve this, you can buy a USB extender, which plugs into your USB port and gives you more room to plug the actual dongle in away from the interference. Many wireless dongles include a USB cradle in the box, so give that a try and see if it helps.

[amazon id="B014RWATK2" title="AmazonBasics USB 3.0 Extension Cable"]

Speaking of this, don't forget that your computer's positioning matters too. If the desktop you're using the dongle with is in the basement with your router upstairs, concrete walls will affect the signal strength.

Wireless dongles come in two main forms: compact ones (which have internal antennas) and bulky ones (which have external antennas). Compact wireless dongles, sometimes called nano dongles, are what most people gravitate towards because they're tiny, portable, and more aesthetically pleasing.

Nobody wants a massive antenna sticking out of their device. Plus, internal antennas are cheaper to produce, so compact dongles are more affordable. An example of this is TP-Link's N150 USB Wi-Fi Adapter.

[amazon id="B008IFXQFU" title="TP-Link USB N150 Wi-Fi Adapter"]

While internal antennas have come a long way and aren't terrible, external antennas generally provide better performance. This is because external antennas often have higher gain, which results in better signal reception.

You can point them towards the router for even better reception, and as discussed above, they aren't as close to internal electronics. An example of this is Techkey's USB Wi-Fi Adapter.

[amazon id="B07J65G9DD" title="Techkey USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Dongle"]

If you're using an old nano dongle, you should upgrade to a dongle with an external antenna. They aren't pretty, but if you rely on Wi-Fi to get work done on your desktop, they're worth the investment.

When considering the best Wi-Fi dongle for your needs, there are a few details you should pay attention to.

First are the dongle's specifications. A dongle labeled as supporting 600Mbps probably doesn't support that much throughput per band. Instead, it might be 150Mbps on 2.4GHz and 450Mbps on 5GHz, for a "total" of 600Mbps.

Be sure to get a dongle that lives up to your internet plan's max speed on the band you plan to use. If you're not sure, see how to test your home network speed. It's not a bad idea to get a dongle that's a little faster than your network speed now, in case you upgrade in the future.

Next is the USB port you plug the dongle into. USB 2.0 ports have a theoretical max speed of 480Mbps, but due to protocol overhead and hardware inefficiencies, you won't ever hit that value. For best results, you should get a USB 3.0 dongle and plug it a USB 3.0 port, which has a theoretical max speed of 5Gbps (faster than any modern residential connection).

Finally, consider your maximum internet speed. If you're paying for 25Mbps down and 5Mbps up, then no combination of router and wireless dongle will get you faster speeds. Since your ISP likely doesn't provide your plan's full speed all the time, you may need to upgrade to a plan that's faster.

A final aspect to check when your Wi-Fi dongle is slow or unreliable is the USB port that it's plugged into. Aside from the USB 2/3 issues discussed above, you should also make sure that the USB port is working properly.

Try moving the dongle to another USB port and seeing if that results in better performance. If you have it plugged into a USB hub, remove it and plug it directly into a USB port.

Aside from this, you should also see if you have the right drivers installed for your dongle. On Windows, press Win + X and click Device Manager, then locate Network adapters and find your Wi-Fi dongle name. Right-click and choose Update driver > Search automatically for drivers to see if there's an update available.

If this doesn't work, you should check if your dongle manufacturer offers any specific drivers for your model. Google the model name to find the official download page, then install any available driver updates and restart your PC.

If you've walked through all of the above steps and still have poor Wi-Fi dongle performance, your issue might not really lie with the dongle. Similar to limits from your ISP speed as mentioned above, your Wi-Fi speed may be slowing down because you're using too much bandwidth at once.

In situations where you have multiple people streaming 4K video, downloading large files, and performing other network-intensive activities, network performance will suffer if you don't have enough bandwidth to handle all of them. You'll tend to find these problems are exaggerated when you use a poor-quality Wi-Fi dongle.

If you've upgraded your dongle, optimized the positioning and channels, and made sure you don't have a hardware issue, you should analyze your bandwidth usage to see if that's the true culprit.

Now you know what factors can cause your Wi-Fi dongle to suffer in performance. Chances are that you might need to upgrade it for best results; hopefully once you do you'll have an acceptable experience.

If you're frustrated with Wi-Fi performance, connecting via Ethernet is much more reliable. In case that's not an option for you, you might consider using powerline adapters.