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Showing posts with label chrome. Show all posts

April 19, 2018 ,
Chrome’s new autoplay video blocker doesn’t really work, but this free extension does
When Google announced that the next Chrome update would introduce a feature that would block autoplay video, the internet was thrilled. Now that pop-ups are mostly a thing of the past, there’s nothing more annoying than loading up a site and being forced to watch (and listen) to a video which may or may not even be related to the article.
Google claimed that Chrome 66 would stop videos with sound from autoplaying, but after updating to the latest official build of Chrome, the feature doesn’t appear to be working quite as well as advertised. In addition to reports from other publications around the internet, my own colleagues have discovered that some videos are still playing automatically, sound included, even after ensuring that the latest version of Chrome has been installed.
This phenomenon can at least partially be explained by the guidelines that Google put in place for the new feature. If you click or tap on a site or have previously shown an interest in media on that site, Chrome won’t apply the autoplay ban to the site in question. This definitely sounds sensible, but are there any sites where you actually want videos to begin playing (and following you around the page) without any input on your part? If so, you’re in luck, as that’s how the feature has been built. If not, you have a few options, but these are the best two we’ve stumbled upon so far.
First, you can utilize a separate feature that Google introduced in Chrome 64 and mute a site altogether. This will carry between sessions, so once you mute a site, you’re done. You can also install this extension from the Chrome Web Store which disables HTML5 video and audio from playing on its own. Sadly, it is unmaintained and could become obsolete at any time. But if you’re just desperate for a catch-all solution and aren’t satisfied with Chrome 66, you might want to give it a try.

July 17, 2017 , ,
10 Awesome Chrome Extensions You Should InstallI’m a big fan of Google Chrome and I feel it’s got just as many extensions as Firefox has add-ons. I also just prefer to use Chrome over IE, Edge or Firefox because I use Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive and a whole host of other Google products.
There are literally hundreds of great extensions that you can install to enhance Chrome in various ways. There are specific extensions for developers, music lovers, gamers, bloggers, and a bunch of other categories. However, there are some extensions that are more universal and can help pretty much anyone in their daily tasks.
In this article, I’m going to talk about several extensions that I think everyone should install. Even if you haven’t heard of some of these, give them a try before you decide against using them. Having a lot of extensions installed can also slow down your browsing experience, so pick and choose what works best for you, but give each extension a try. You can easily delete or disable an extension in Chrome.

It’s also worth noting that some of the extensions I have listed are based on my heavy reliance on Google, so if you’re not in the Google ecosystem, just ignore those extensions.

Speed Dial 2
One of the first things I like to customize in Google Chrome is the new tab page. By default, it’s a boring list of some recently visited sites and that’s pretty much it. Now there are a lot of fancy extensions that also replace the new tab with dashboards, wallpapers, task lists, etc., but I’ve found the simple Speed Dial 2 to be perfect for my needs.
When I’m browsing the web, I just want quick access to my favorite sites. Speed Dial 2 does that by allowing you to organize all your pages and apps into groups. You can also customize the theme and heavily customize the layout. Lastly, you can create an account and sync everything across all your devices.
LastPass
If you don’t use any password manager yet, then make sure you try LastPass. If you’re using something like KeePass, then don’t worry about this extension. If you use another password manager like 1Pass, then make sure to install their extension. Password managers are a must these days with the number of companies being hacked always rising and the amount of personal information being leaked even greater.

A password manager lets you create complex passwords that are different for each site. You obviously can’t memorize them, so you have to store them somewhere. The obvious fear most people have is that one of these companies will be hacked themselves and all your passwords will be leaked. That is a possibility and that’s why a lot of people use local databases like KeePass. That being said, I’ve been using LastPass for years and they’ve had one incident, which didn’t result in any compromised passwords.

HTTPS Everywhere
HTTPS Everywhere is one of those extensions you should just install and forget about. It basically tries to use HTTPS security on a site if it’s not already secure. It’s from the folks over at EFF, which is a great organization that exists to protect consumers in the digital world.
The only downside I’ve seen with the extension is that it does use a bit more memory than all the other extensions. It’s not a big deal for me since I have 16GB of RAM on my computer, but if you have less RAM, it might be something to consider.
Disconnect
Disconnect is also another extension you can install and just leave. It’s a great privacy tool for making sure every website you visit isn’t tracking everything you do online. In addition, because it blocks tracking, it also saves data and reduces the load time for sites. A lot of requests made to a website are just for the tracking cookies, tracking scripts, etc.

Adblock Plus
Even though a site like mine relies on ads for income, I still recommend an extension like Adblock Plus because there are so many sites out there with tons of ads. Not only that, a lot of those ads have malware in them, which means you can get a malware infection just by viewing the site! That’s plain ridiculous.

My site only shows ads from high quality networks and I try to keep my ads to a minimum that still let allow me to earn an income. The only downside to this extension is that some of the big sites, like Forbes.com, detect ad blocking extensions and won’t let you enter unless you whitelist their site first.

Honey
I was a little skeptical of this extension at first, but the crazy number of good reviews finally made me try it. In the end, I have to say it’s pretty awesome. If you’re online, you have done some kind of online shopping. If you’re like me, you probably buy most things online except for groceries.
Honey will automatically try to find coupons and apply them when you are checking out. Previously, I used to hit up RetailMeNot and a bunch of other sites trying to find a coupon that I could apply before checking out, but now I just use Honey and it finds and tries all kinds of codes. At this point, there are no ads or anything intrusive and hopefully that doesn’t change in the future. It recently saved me $255 on a Dell XPS laptop!
Grammarly
Outside of browsing web pages, watching videos and shopping online, the other major activity in my browser is typing. Typing emails, filling out forms, typing messages in social networking sites, writing articles for my sites, etc. Basically, it’s a lot of typing and inevitably a lot of typing mistakes occur.
Grammarly is a neat extension that will check your spelling and grammar as you type in a whole bunch of different web apps. Most web browsers like Chrome already check spelling, but Grammarly will give you Word-like suggestions for sentence structure, proper wording, etc.
uBlock Origin
Most hardware firewalls that businesses buy for their organizations have web blockers to prevent users from accidentally visiting phishing or malware sites. They work by looking at huge blacklists of bad domains and URLs.

uBlock Origin is an extension that does just that, but in an efficient and memory-saving way for your personal computer. Once you install it, you choose the different lists you would like to protect yourself against and that’s it. Sometimes it’ll block something it shouldn’t, but it’s super easy to disable it for the current website you are on. Highly recommended from a security perspective.

Turn Off the Lights
As I mentioned previously, I’m watching a lot of video when I’m working on my computer. In addition to just YouTube, I also check out other video sites and Turn Off the Lights makes the experience more enjoyable. It basically blacks everything out or replaces everything except the video with a nice background. It’s really not an extension you must install, but if you watch a ton of video on your computer, it’s definitely nice to have.
For YouTube specifically, you can have it play only the high resolution version of videos automatically. This is nice if you have a 2K or 4K monitor and have to keep changing those settings for every video.
FireShot
Lastly, sometimes you have to take screenshots of what’s in your browser and this plugin is way better than trying to use the Windows Snipping tool or something like that. FireShot can capture full scrolling web pages and save them as images or PDF files. You can capture all tabs at once to a single PDF and upload it to OneNote. You can also edit the screenshots and annotate them.

So those are ten extensions that pretty much anyone can use on a daily basis when using Chrome. I tried to keep them as general as possible, so most of them will do their work in the background without you even noticing. Enjoy!

July 17, 2017 , , ,
How to Enable Flash in Chrome for Specific Websites
If you’re a Chrome user, which you should be, you probably have noticed that Flash is blocked by default in the browser. Google does not like Flash because of the major security flaws inherent in Flash and therefore does everything in its power to force you not to use Flash.


The only problem is there are still a lot of sites that use Flash. None of the major sites you visit every day like Facebook, Instagram, etc. use it, but a lot of smaller and older sites just haven’t bothered to switch to HTML 5. For example, I am taking a Cisco course at my local community college and in order to complete the assignments, I have to log into Cisco’s NetAcademy website. The problem is that some of the questions require Flash to view and answer.
If you do a quick Google search for enabling Flash in Chrome, you’ll see a lot of articles telling you to download Flash from Adobe’s website and install it (which won’t work) or to open a Chrome tab and go to chrome://plugins (which also won’t work anymore). In the most recent version of Chrome (57), you can no longer manage plugins by going to that URL. Instead, you’ll just get a “This site can’t be reached” message.
This is terribly unintuitive and really confused me because I was used to going there to enable or disable Flash as needed. Now it seems they only want you to enable it for the specific sites where it is needed. In this article, I’ll explain how to get Flash to work when you need it and how to keep it disabled otherwise.

Check Chrome Flash Settings
First, let’s check the Flash settings in Chrome. There are a couple of places where you can do this. Open a new tab and type in chrome://flags.

Make sure that Prefer HTML over Flash and Run all Flash content when Flash setting is set to “allow” are set to Default. Open another tab and type in chrome://components. Under Adobe Flash Player, click the Check for update button.

Now click on the Chrome menu button at the top right and click on Settings.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Show Advanced Settings. Scroll down some more and then click on Content Settings under Privacy.
In the popup dialog, scroll down until you see the Flash heading. Make sure that the Ask first before allowing sites to run Flash (recommended) box is selected. Obviously, if you want to completely block Flash in Chrome, select Block sites from running Flash. You should never choose Allow sites to run Flash unless you have a really valid reason like using Chrome in a virtual machine or something.
Allowing Sites to Run Flash
Now for the fun part! In order to run Flash, you have to enable it for specific sites only. There is no longer an option to enable it for everything all the time. One way to specify a site for Flash is to click on the Manage exceptions button under Content Settings – Flash as shown in the screenshot above.

As you can see, I have added the NetAcad site I was talking about earlier with Behavior set to Allow. This method is a bit cumbersome since you must go to the Settings page, etc. The easier way to allow a site to run Flash is to go to the site and then click on the little icon to the left of the URL in the address bar.
The icon will either be a lock icon if the connection is using HTTPS or it’ll be an information icon if the connection is non-secure. When you click on this icon, you’ll see a bunch of settings you can configure for that particular site. Towards the bottom will be Flash. By default, it should be set to Use global default (Ask), which means the browser should ask you if you want to enable Flash for a site that has Flash content.
However, in my experience, the browser never actually asks me to enable Flash content even when there is clearly Flash content on the website. So, I have to basically select the Always allow on this site option in order for Flash to work. Note that you may have to close the tab and reload it in order for the Flash content to appear correctly.

That’s about it. Hopefully, this clarifies exactly how Flash works in the latest version of Chrome. I’m sure it’s going to change again soon, so I’ll be sure to update this post in case that happens. If you have any questions, post a comment. Enjoy!

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Satish Kumar

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