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February 20, 2017

4 Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private

Private information is big business. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that everyone is trying to watch you. The NSA, the UK government, Microsoft, cyber-criminals, your creepy neighbor from across the street; they all want to know what you’re doing, all the time.

Unfortunately, unless you want to take excessively drastic measures, it’s almost impossible to remove yourself from the global grid completely. But there are some steps you can take to reduce your information footprint.
One of the best places to start is with your browser. It’s your main portal to the web, so using a more secure option will make a big difference to your privacy.
Here are four anonymous web browsers that are (almost) completely private.


1. Tor Browser

Available On: Windows, Mac, Linux
The Tor network has one simple goal: anonymous communication. The network aims to protect a user’s location, browser history, personal data, and online messages from any person or bot that’s performing network traffic analysis.

How it Works

Network traffic analysis is arguably the most powerful weapon in a data collector’s armory. It can track your behavior and interests for advertising companies, it can lead to price discrimination on online shopping sites based on location, it can even reveal your identity to people who might want to silence or harm you.
Basic encryption techniques don’t protect you against traffic analysis. Data sent over the internet has two key aspects: the payload and the header. The payload is the actual data (for example, the contents of an email), the header helps the data get to its destination. It includes information such as source, size, and timestamps. Encryption can only hide the payload, not the header.
And that’s when Tor comes in. It sends your internet traffic through so many individual relays and tunnels that the header is nonsensical to traffic analysis tools. In simple terms, instead of going directly from A to B, the network sends your traffic on a mazy route through lots of locations. A sniffer looking at a single point on that route has no way to tell where the traffic originated or where it’s going.

Browser Features

To access the Tor network, you need to use the Tor Browser. It’s so secure that the US Navy uses it for intelligence gathering and by law enforcement organizations who want to visit websites without leaving government IP addresses in the site’s log.

You don’t need to install any software on your machine; the browser is a portable app that can live on a USB stick. It means you can use the service regardless of what computer you’re working on, even if it’s in a public location such as a library or university.





The browser itself will be instantly recognizable to Firefox users, but there are a couple of notable changes. The biggest difference is the integration of NoScript; it’s included by default. Unlike the regular NoScript add-on – which can be complicated to use – the Tor version has an easy-to-use slider to manage your privacy.
There are also some downsides to using the Tor Browser. For most users, the biggest issue is speed. Because your traffic is taking such a twisty route to get to its destination, your browsing experience will not be as fast. If you have a good connection, it might not be an issue, but if your internet speed is slow, Tor might become painful to use.
Ultimately, Tor doesn’t guarantee anonymity. Taking online risks – such as downloading torrents or using unscrupulous browser plugins – will still leave you vulnerable. But when compared to the mainstream browsers like Chrome and Safari, there is no contest.


Other Options

No other browser comes close to Tor in terms of privacy and anonymity, but three other options deserve your attention.
They’re ideal if Tor sounds a bit extreme, but you still don’t want to give Google et al a free reign on your personal data.


2. Epic Browser

Available On: Windows, Mac
Epic Browser doesn’t use a specialized onion network, but it does immediately disable lots of the most common ways your privacy is comprised when you’re surfing the web.
For example, it doesn’t save your history, there’s no DNS pre-fetching, it doesn’t allow third-party cookies, there are no web or DNS caches, and there’s no autofill feature.






When you close your session, the browser automatically deletes any associated databases, preferences, pepper data, and cookies from Flash and Silverlight.




3. SRWare Iron

Available On: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
If you’re a Google Chrome user, SRWare Iron will be familiar; it’s based on the open-source Chromium project, so a lot of the on-screen visuals look very similar.
The main difference between Chrome and SRWare Iron is data protection. Experts have criticized Chrome for its reliance on a “Unique User ID”; every time you start a session, Google is alerted to your data usage.
SRWare strips out the usage of an ID along with other Chrome privacy concerns such as search suggestions.

Check the table below for a complete list of differences between the two:







4. Comodo Dragon Browser





Available On: Windows, Mac, Linux
Again, Comodo doesn’t come close to Tor Browser, but it does have some built-in tools that’ll make browsing the web a safer experience.
It’ll automatically block all tracking, cookies, and web spies, it comes with built-in domain validation technology that’ll instantly segregate strong and weak SSL certificates, and it uses the Comodo anti-virus suite to protect you from malware, viruses, and other attack vectors.

Like SRWare Iron, it’s based on Chrome, so it’ll be an easy switch for a lot of people.


Which Browser Do You Use?

There are some other privacy-orientated browsers which deserve an honorable mention such as Yandex and Dooble – but in my opinion, the four I’ve listed are the clear winners.
However, I’m sure many of you don’t agree with me. Now it’s your turn to share your favorites; which browser do you turn to when you want to stay anonymous and out-of-sight?


Source: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/2-anonymous-web-browsers-completely-private-secure/

February 17, 2017

Multi-Process Firefox: everything you need to know

After years of development and several delays, multi-process Firefox, also known as Electrolysis or e10S, is about to be enabled for a subset of Firefox stable users.
The following guide provides you with information about Firefox's multi-process architecture. It explains what the feature offers, preferences and switches for it, covers add-on compatibility, and takes a look at the future of the feature.
Mozilla plans to enable the multi-process architecture for a subset of Firefox Stable users when the browser reaches version 48. If things go as planned, Firefox 48 will be released on August 2, 2016.

Multi-Process Firefox

Electrolysis functionality hosts, renders, or executes web related content in background child processes which communicate with the "parent" Firefox browser via various ipdl protocols.
The Multi-process architecture improves the browser's stability, performance and security by separating tasks into processes.
The first iteration of multi-process Firefox moves NPAPI plugins, media playback and web content to child processes thus separating them from the browser's core.

Find out if Multi-process support is enabled

 

multi-process firefox


The easiest way to find out whether multi-process Firefox is enabled is the following one:
  1. Load about:support in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Locate "Multiprocess Windows" under Application Basics near the top.
It should read enabled or disabled, and gives you a direct answer about the state of multi-process functionality in the browser.

Enabling Electrolysis in Firefox

If multi-process support is not enabled yet in Firefox, you may enable it manually. This is true even if you run Firefox 47 Stable as the functionality is already there.
Before you do so, you may want to run compatibility checks for add-ons though. If you don't run add-ons, about 40% of Firefox users don't according to Mozilla, you may skip the step.

Verifying add-on compatibility

 

firefox e10s compatibility


While you can jump into water right away by enabling Electrolysis without verifying compatibility first, it is highly suggested to verify that all important add-ons are compatible with e10s before you do so.
You may check out the Are We e10S Yet site which lists top add-ons and their compatibility with e10s. The majority of Firefox add-ons are not tested though so that you may be none the wiser after checking your add-ons on the site.
What you can do, is create a secondary profile in Firefox, copy all extensions of the first profile to it, and enable e10s for that secondary profile.
This is far from ideal though. An alternative is to disable all add-ons, enable e10s, and enable extensions one by one to find out whether they are compatible.

Enable / Disable Electrolysis in Firefox

 

browser.tabs.remote.autostart


To enable or disable multi-process Firefox, do the following
  1. Type about:config in the browser's address bar.
  2. Confirm that you will be careful.
  3. Search for browser.tabs.remote.autostart.
  4. Double-click on the preference.
Setting the value of browser.tabs.remote.autostart to true enables the multi-process architecture in Firefox, setting it to false disables it.
Please note that you need to restart the browser when you change the preference's value.
Some configurations, if accessibility is used or add-ons are incompatibility, prevent Electrolysis from being enabled.


disabled by addons
disabled accessibility tools


The about:support page mentioned previously list the reason so that you know why multi-process is not working.
You may force-enable multi-process functionality in Firefox. I recommend that you backup your user profile before you do.
  1. Type about:config in the browser's address bar and hit enter.
  2. Right-click and select New > Boolean.
  3. Name it browser.tabs.remote.force-enable.
  4. Set its value to true.
Note that forcing compatibility may have a big impact on performance if add-ons are incompatible with e10s.

When Multiprocess Windows is enabled

 

multiple firefox processes


You can check the about:support page in Firefox to find out whether multi-process is enabled or not.
You will notice several firefox.exe processes when you run a process manager, e.g. the Windows Task Manager which highlights that Electrolysis is enabled.
Firefox should for the most part run just like before. Ideally, enabling multi-process functionality should improve the browser's performance and stability right away.
You may however notice a higher than usual RAM usage. Mozilla confirmed that Firefox with Electrolysis will use about 20% more RAM.
You may change how many processes Firefox uses for its multi-process functionality.

 

The future

Mozilla will continue to work on multi-process Firefox after the initial roll out of the feature. The organization plans to bring sandboxing to Firefox which, on Windows, is based on the Chromium sandbox that Google uses in Chrome. This sandbox will improve security significantly when enabled.

Source: http://www.ghacks.net/2016/07/22/multi-process-firefox/

January 24, 2017

Firefox 51: Find out what is new

Mozilla Firefox 51.0 Stable was released on January 24, 2017 to the public by Mozilla via automatic updates and on Mozilla's website.
Note: If you are reading this article on January 24, 2017, you may not be able to upgrade Firefox  to version 51 yet as Mozilla may not have enabled the new version through automatic updates. Releases are always available on Mozilla's FTP before they are made available via Firefox's built-in update mechanism.
Mozilla Firefox 51 is the latest stable version of the browser. The new version replaces previous stable versions, including Firefox 50.1, the last version Mozilla released prior to the Firefox 51 release.
All Firefox channels follow the same release schedule. This means that Firefox Beta, Aurora, Nightly and Firefox ESR are updated as well. Mozilla released Firefox Beta 52, Firefox Aurora 53, Firefox Nightly 54, and Firefox ESR 45.6 today as well.
Executive Summary
  1. Firefox 51 is the new stable version of Firefox.
  2. Firefox 52 Beta, 53 Aurora, 54 Nightly, and ESR 45.6 are also available.
  3. The new Firefox version adds native support for FLAC audio and WebGL2, and displays a warning when login pages don't use a secure connection.
  4. It features other interesting new features including new privacy and security options.

Firefox 51 download and update

firefox 51
You may download the latest version of Firefox directly from the Mozilla website, or use the browser's automatic update capabilities to upgrade to the latest version.
To check for updates in Firefox, do the following:
  1. Tap on the Alt-key while the Firefox window is active.
  2. Select Help > About Firefox from the menu bar that is displayed.
Firefox will display the current version, and run a check for updates. Depending on how Firefox is configured, any updates found may be downloaded and installed automatically, or on user command.
You may download all editions of Firefox using the links below instead.

Firefox 51 Changes

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) support
firefox flac support
Mozilla Firefox 51 supports FLAC audio playback natively (in both FLAC and OGG containers). FLAC is also supported in MP4 with and without Media Source Extensions.
This means among other things that you can play any FLAC file directly in Firefox without issues, and that streaming services may stream FLAC audio streams to Firefox.
See bug 1195723 FLAC support / Create FLAC MediaDataDemuxer for additional information.
Google added FLAC support in Chrome 56 as well.
Firefox 51 highlights insecure login pages
insecure login page
Mozilla Firefox 51 displays an insecure notification in the browser's address bar when you visit a login page in the browser that is not using https.
The notification shows the red "connection is not secure" strike-through icon when that happens. Firefox did not display any notification previously when sites used http for login pages.
Google Chrome will do the same starting with Chrome 56.

Battery Time precision limited for privacy

Privacy improvement: BatteryManager.chargingTime and BatteryManager.dischargingTime precision limited to avoid fingerprinting.
This means that services cannot use the data that these two functions provide anymore for fingerprinting, as it returns a rounded value to the closest 15 minutes now.

Password Manager Improvements

firefox 51 show password
Firefox's built-in password manager received two improvements in this release. The first adds a new "show password" option to the save dialog. This provides you with an option to reveal the password that Firefox is about to save in its database.
The second allows you to save passwords for forms without "submit" events.

Other Firefox 51 changes

firefox zoom level
  1. Added Georgian (ka) and Kabyle (kab) locales, removed Belarusian (be) locale.
  2. Added support for Spatial Audio for 360 Videos on Facebook with Opus 255 Channel Mapping.
  3. Firefox 51 blocks automatic audio playback in non-active tabs.
  4. Firefox 51 has a new search reset feature.
  5. Firefox 51 shows the memory use of processes on about:performance.
  6. Improved reliability of browser data sync.
  7. JavaScript served with wrong MIME type will be blocked.
  8. New WoSign and StartCom certificates will no longer be accepted.
  9. SHA-1 certificates issued by public CA will no longer be accepted.
  10. The Firefox address bar shows an indicator if the zoom level is not the default on a page open in the web browser.
  11. The SocialAPI is deprecated.
  12. Updated to NSS 3.28.1.
  13. Use 2D graphics library (Skia) for content rendering

Developer Changes

Firefox for Android

Coming soon. Release notes list no major changes. At least some of the changes of the desktop versions of Firefox are also part of the Android version of the browser.

Security updates / fixes

Security information is released by Mozilla after the official release of Firefox. We will update the information once Mozilla makes it available.

Additional information / sources

Now Read: The state of Mozilla Firefox

Source: http://www.ghacks.net/2017/01/24/firefox-51-find-out-what-is-new/

December 31, 2016

Firefox 64-Bit Now Available for Windows with Improved Performance




Windows: Firefox has been available in unofficial and testing 64-bit builds for years, but this week, Mozilla finally released an official 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows 7 and above.
Along with the other minor changes in Firefox 43, you’ll also find new versions of Firefox on the download page (you have to re-download it from Mozilla; upgrading won’t get you the 64-bit version). Note that it doesn’t have support for many plugins, because Firefox is phasing out support for NPAPI plugins by the end of 2016—so if you still rely on any of those, you may want to stick to 32-bit for now. But, if you’re on a 64-bit system, you may see some performance improvements with the new version.
Check it out by downloading the installer here.

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all/
Firefox 64-bit for Windows Available | Mozilla Future Releases

Source: https://lifehacker.com/firefox-64-bit-now-available-for-windows-with-improved-1748489333

Firefox 64-bit for Windows Now Available

By Vygantas | December 16, 2015 Grab it now. 
With the recent release of Firefox 43, Mozilla has finally introduced the stable 64-bit build for Windows users, something we have been waiting for almost a decade.
In case you forgot, Mozilla has abandoned the 64-bit builds back in 2012 due to the “significant negative feedback” only to change their minds afterwards.

As far as Firefox 43 features go, it includes Private Browsing with Tracking Protection that allows users to choose additional blocking trackers, search suggestions selection from the Awesome Bar, on-screen keyword on selected input fields, various security fixes and changes for developers.
Congrats to Mozilla for reaching a significant milestone.
Download
Firefox 43
Source: http://www.favbrowser.com/firefox-64-bit-for-windows-now-available/#more-16050




November 23, 2016

Web browser benchmarks: Firefox vs. Waterfox vs. Pale Moon vs. Chromium vs. Chrome



 
Webbrowser_Benchmarks

I was curious how some browser perform and what kind of web browser benchmarks were available, so I ran Kraken, SunSpider, HTML5, JetStream, Octane 2.0 and Acid3 on Firefox, Waterfox, Pale Moon, Chromium and Chrome. Here are the results with my rig 2600k @ 4.4Ghz, 16GB RAM, Samsung 840 EVO SSD.

Kraken & Sunspider -> lower is better, in every other test bigger is better. I ran each test 5 times and calculated the average. I also made some Google docs sheet:
Link .

Firefox 44 EME-free 64-bitWaterfox 43.0.4 64-bitPalemoon 26.0.2 64-bitChromium 50.0.2641.0 64-bitGoogle Chrome 48.0.2564.103 64-bit Iron 48.0.2550.0 64-bit Vivaldi 1.0.344.37 (Beta 2) (32-bit) Cyberfox 44.0.2 64-bit midori 0.5.11 32-bit Qupzilla 1.8.9 64-bit GNUIceCat 38.6.0 32-bit
Download Kraken: 907.2ms ± 1.6%
SunSpider: 158.1ms ± 4.7%
HTML5 Test: 461 out of 555 points
JetStream: 177.13 ± 31.144
Octane 2.0: 32297
Acid3: 99/100
Source: https://www.kaputniks.org/web-browser-benchmarks-firefox-chrome/

It seems to me that Chromium, Waterfox and Firefox are head on head. However Chromium passes more HTML5 tests and on top of that the Kraken (931/919/907 ms) and SunSpider (164/171/158 ms) tests differ by mere milliseconds. So I’d say the overall winner out of these 3 is Chromium.
If we throw Google Chrome into the pool of candidates then the result is quite different: Google Chrome wins the crown even if its SunSpider result is a mite slower than Pale Moon’s! If you know any other good web browser benchmarks or if you want other browser benchmarked, let me know in the comments or via contact form!
That said, take this benchmark test with a grain of salt. There are just too many factors involved for it to be a real representative test about browser speeds. In my opinion though it’s a good starting point.
Edit 2016-02-06: As I’ve been made aware on Reddit, none of the browsers passed the Acid3 test, because no animation was smooth. Something I oversaw. Apologies!
Edit 2016-02-17: A few browser have been added after the publication of this post. They’re marked with a right caret.

October 20, 2016

Send Faxes From the Web: Three Services Tested


Though you might be tempted to ditch your office fax machine, you probably have to send out at least a few faxes every year. Windows lets you fax from the OS itself; but it requires you to use a landline that your small business may not want tied up, and it lacks security and mobile features that your business may need.
Luckily, a number of services can keep you covered even if you don't have a fax machine connected to an old telephone line. I took three Web fax services for a quick test drive. Here's how they fared.

FaxZero
FaxZero

FaxZero is a bare-bones fax service, with no options for receiving faxes or for faxing from your mobile devices. Nevertheless, as long as your fax is less than three pages long and you don't need to send more than five faxes a day, FaxZero is free and doesn't require any type of sign-up process. Just enter your contact information and the fax number you want to send to, and then upload the document you want to send. FaxZero should send your fax in a matter of minutes. When I tested the service with a two-page document, I received a confirmation e-mail about 3 minutes after I pressed Send that my fax was on its way. The fax arrived at its destination moments later.
If you plan to fax a lot of documents, however, FaxZero isn't your best option. It charges $2 for each fax that exceeds three pages in length and for each one beyond the company's limit of five free faxes per day. That isn't much of a burden if only a fax or two each week aren't free, but if you plan to use the service as a replacement to a regularly used fax machine, the overage fees can add up quickly.

MyFax

MyFax
MyFax is a feature-rich fax option that's great for users who need more than an occasional fax machine replacement. The company makes sending even international faxes by email easy; all you have to do is address your fax to @MyFax.com. When you sign up with MyFax you automatically get a fax number in your local area code for receiving incoming faxes. The service automatically converts faxes into PDF files and stores them on MyFaxCentral, the company's easy-to-navigate Web dashboard. When I sent my two-page test document from MyFaxCentral to myself, I received the fax along with a confirmation email message almost immediately after pressing Send. If you don't want to use MyFax's site for some reason, you can arrange for all incoming faxes to go to your email address as well as to five other email addresses you choose. MyFax even has mobile apps available that let you send and receive faxes on the go via your Android or iOS smartphone.
MyFax's base plan, which costs $10 per month, lets you send 100 faxes a month and receive another 200 faxes. If you exceed those limits, the company charges 10 cents per page for the surplus faxes--but it also offers $20-per-month and $40-per-month plans that establish higher send and receive ceilings.

eFax

eFax
eFax offers many of the same features as MyFax. The two companies have almost identical sign-up procedures that involve first picking your free incoming fax number, then tying your account to an email address, and finally providing billing information. eFax's methodology for faxing by email is nearly identical to MyFax's. too. Both companies have Web-based dashboards that support faxing even to international numbers, and both offer Android and iOS mobile apps. My test fax with eFax yielded a nearly instantaneous transmission plus an email message confirming that my fax had been sent.
Despite the similarities, eFax has some powerful features that MyFax doesn't. One is that eFax supports digital signatures, which can save you time and trouble if you often have to sign forms and return them via fax. The company also lets you digitally encrypt your faxes for an extra layer of SSL/PGP security over traditional faxing. That feature is particularly important if you work with sensitive information and must comply with regulations such as HIPAA, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. eFax permanently archives all of your sent and received email messages, too (MyFax deletes older faxes after one month), and it offers storage for files as large as 1GB.
[Related: "Digital Signatures Let You Ditch That Old Fax Machine"]
On the other hand, to use advanced features such as digital signatures, you must download eFax's eFax Messaging Software (Windows or Mac version). The application is fairly easy to work with, but having to open it is a minor hassle. eFax is also significantly more expensive than MyFax: The lowest-level eFax Plus account costs $17 per month for 150 incoming and 150 outgoing faxes a month. The higher-volume rate is $20 per month for 200 incoming and 200 outgoing faxes, for $19.95 per month. A 10-cents-per-page overage fee kicks in if you exceed the limit on either plan.

The Verdict

Web faxing services
If you're in a hurry and just want to send occasional short faxes, FaxZero is your best option among these three. It's easy to use, it sends faxes quickly, and it's free. If you need to send longer faxes regularly, however, MyFax probably delivers the best bang for your buck. MyFax's $10-per-month price is significantly lower than eFax's for many of the same features. But if your business requires secure transmissions, eFax may be the way to go, since it allows encrypted faxing. (And as a bonus, it lets you store larger files.)

Source:  http://www.pcworld.com/article/249237/send_faxes_from_the_web_three_services_tested.html

August 2, 2016

Firefox 48 Released, Multi-Process Enabled By Default For Some Users

Firefox 48 was released today and it includes changes such as enhanced download protection, initial multi-process (Electrolysis, or e10s for short) rollout in Firefox for Desktop, and more.


Firefox Ubuntu


Until version 48, by default, the stable version of Firefox used a single operating system process for the user interface, as well as the web content.

With the latest Firefox 48, the initial process of enabling Electrolysis (multi-process Firefox) has begun. Electrolysis is used to host, render, and execute web-related content in a separate process, which improves security and performance.

For now, this is only enabled for 1% of eligible Firefox users. If all goes well, e10s will be enabled for more eligible users in the following weeks.

Among those who are not eligible for e10s are Windows XP users, users with screen readers, RTL users, and extension users. The plan is to enable it by default for all eligible users, with Firefox 49.

To see if e10s is enabled in for you, open a new tab in Firefox 48 and type "about:support" (without the quotes), then look for "Multiprocess Windows". If its value is higher than 0, e10s is enabled.

Firefox Ubuntu

Users can force Firefox to enable e10s, but it's not encouraged, especially when using add-ons.

It's also important to mention that according to the Multiprocess Firefox page, the current e10s implementation gets the Firefox user interface to run in a process and all browser tabs (web content) to run in a different process. Future versions are expected to have more than one content process.

Other changes in Firefox 48 include:
  • add-on signing can no longer be disabled. This means you can no longer install add-ons that are not signed by Mozilla, even by forcing "xpinstall.signatures.required" to "false";
  • enhanced download protection. Two additional download types were added to the existing Safe Browsing feature: unwanted software (which is software that makes unexpected changes to your computer) and uncommon downloads (which, like the name suggests, it's software that's not commonly downloaded). Also, the Downloads icon now warns if a download has been flagged, and the default action button will be either "open" or "remove", depending on the category. More about this, HERE;
  • the address bar results now display "super smart icons" to let you know when a website is already open in a tab or it exists in your bookmarks. This was available in previous versions, but using a different design that made it less noticeable;
  • redesigned add-on discovery page;
  • the media parser has been redeveloped using the Rust programming language;
  • WebRTC improvements, fixes for Heyo, Jabra & Logitech C920 webcam users;
  • WebExtensions support is now considered stable;
  • Linux: Better Canvas performance with speedy Skia support;
  • Windows: Tab (move buttons) and Shift+F10 (pop-up menus) now behave as they should in Firefox customization mode;
  • more.

A complete Firefox 48 for desktops changelog can be found HERE. If you're interesting in the latest Firefox 48 for Android, you'll find the changes HERE.

Here are a few screenshots with some of these changes:

Firefox Ubuntu
Unsigned addons can't be installed, even if forced using "xpinstall.signatures.required" set to "false"

Firefox Ubuntu
Redesigned add-on discovery page

Firefox Ubuntu
"Super smart icons" for already bookmarked / opened in a tab websites


Download Firefox



Ubuntu users: Firefox 48 should be available as an update (via Software Updater) soon.


Source: http://www.webupd8.org/2016/08/firefox-48-released-multi-process.html

July 9, 2016

4 Easy Tricks to Make Firefox Run Faster

Mozilla Firefox was helping web users avoid Internet Explorer long before Google Chrome arrived, and it’s still going strong. Like all apps though, it can slow down over time. Here are four quick ways you can try to get the spring back in Firefox’s step.

1) Manage the cache




Firefox’s cache is designed to speed up your web browsing by storing certain files locally rather than having to fetch them every time. However, there’s a balance to be struck—if the cache gets too big then it can start causing problems and affect performance. Fortunately, Firefox includes some clever cache management options.




Choose Options from the Firefox menu, then click Advanced and Network. Here you can clear the cache (only do this occasionally) and decrease its size by ticking the Override automatic cache management box. If you have a lot of memory and drive space available, increasing the cache size could work better in terms of performance.


2) Refresh Firefox





Firefox has a built-in refresh feature that works a little like the refresh feature in 
Windows 10: it resets most of the browser’s settings without affecting any of your personal data, such as bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, cookies, and so on. It can often solve problems with sluggishness and the feature is handy for troubleshooting other issues as well.
Type “about:support” into the address bar in Firefox and then click the 
Refresh Firefox button to see if it makes a difference. You can also refresh the browser (and read more about the refresh feature) via this official guide. Some settings may need reconfiguring afterwards but you should notice a speed boost .


3) Cut down on the bloat





Dozens of redundant applications can slow down your computer, and dozens of redundant extensions and plug-ins can slow down Firefox. Getting rid of them not only means the browser becomes a leaner beast, it also improves browser security (as there are fewer bits of code to go wrong and fewer avenues through which hackers can get at you).

Choose 
Add-ons from the Firefox menu to disable both extensions and plug-ins. You may want to do a bit of research on the web before killing anything—particularly when it comes to plug-ins—to make sure you’re not going to break anything along the way. Plug-ins can only be deactivated, whereas you can either disable or remove extensions.


4) Install these two extensions





Yes, we just told you to uninstall most of your extensions, but some of them are genuinely useful. Take 
Auto Unload Tab, for example, which will ditch inactive tabs after a delay of your choice to free up memory and CPU resources. It’s pretty customizable too and you can specify particular tabs and URLs that you never want to be ‘unloaded.’
Then there’s 
Speed Tweaks—this extension gives you easy access to all those hidden Firefox flags that can speed up performance (they’re also accessible by visiting the “about:config” page). A quick web search on any of these flags will show you what they do and how you can tweak their associated values to improve your browser’s speed.

By David Nield


david.nield@gizmodo.com@davidnield

Contributor

Source: http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/4-easy-tricks-to-make-firefox-run-faster-1782835740

July 2, 2016

Opera just added a free VPN to its browser for anonymous internet access


Virtual private networks are popular with privacy-conscious computer users, but the best services cost while the free ones often have hidden costs. Web browser Opera, though, has integrated a free and unlimited VPN into the developer version of its software. "Now, you don’t have to download VPN extensions or pay for VPN subscriptions to access blocked websites and to shield your browsing when on public Wi-Fi," said the company in blog post.
VPNs make it more difficult to track your web traffic

VPNs route users' internet traffic through servers in different countries, making it more difficult for governments and hackers to monitor web traffic, and allowing users to access content that might be geo-restricted to a certain country. (Letting a European user watch American Netflix, for example.) Opera quotes statistics from the Global Web Index claiming that more than half a billion people have tried or are currently using VPNs, with the service most popular among young people. To use the new service, you just need to download the developer version of Opera and activate the VPN via the preferences menu.

It's an interesting move from Opera and an obvious bid to attract more tech-savvy users. The company has previously built ad-blocking software directly into the developer version of its browser, and offering an integrated VPN plays to the same crowd.
It's also worth considering whether services like this could become more mainstream in the future. After all, ad-blocking software was originally fairly niche, but is now being used by a wider audience. Could VPNs go the same way? Opera is still the minnow of the browser world (with between one and five percent of the market depending on what stats you believe) but it could be about to have an outsized impact.


VPN options in the developer version of Opera's browser.


Source: http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/21/11477036/free-vpn-opera-web-browser

June 11, 2016

Firefox "New Tab Override" Add-on - brings back the old Firefox page

I like the old Firefox new tab page. It was clean and offered some basic links with an uncluttered appearance using your favorite search engine. Firefox removed this feature with Firefox version 41. Well a young developer brought it back with the "New Tab Override" add-on. Below is the traditional new tab page along with a link where to get this add-on. Enjoy.






https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/new-tab-override/?src=search

April 23, 2016

A handy tip about updating Flash in the Chrome browser



After my last blog, about recent updates to the Flash Player, a reader was nice enough to pass along a tip that I am now passing along to you. I track updates to the Flash Player on my FlashTester.orgsite, and a number of times Chrome has been late installing an update. The browser would report that it was up to date, yet Flash would be a release behind. My last blog mentioned the helplessness of Chrome users to force an update to Flash. It turns out, we are not helpless. In addition to the standard, well-known mechanism, shown below, for updating Chrome (hamburger menu -> Help -> About Google Chrome), Google has a second system that they sometimes use for Flash.


chrome.full.update.inprogress
Updating the Chrome web browser, the normal way



Chrome, like all browsers, is a large complex package. On the Windows 7 computer that I normally use, the


C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\49.0.2623.112
folder is currently 390 megabytes and contains 88 files. In addition, Chrome stores files in
C:\Users\[windowsuserid]\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data
Many of the files in this second location are the browser cache, but, even ignoring the cache, Chrome has 3,768 files here consuming 239 megabytes.
Rather than do a full refresh for a small change, Google's second update system does small updates for small changes. The parts of Chrome that can be individually updated are called components and the Flash Player, embedded in Chrome, is one of these components.
Google mentions this in an article targeted at IT administrators called Manage Chrome updates on Windows. It makes a good first impression. The article says that the "Chrome Component Updater allows the Chrome engineering team to release small updates to parts of Chrome on a very rapid schedule." Compared to the full browser update, the article notes that the Component Updater uses a small amount of bandwidth and only runs when the browser itself is running.

The downside, for me at least, has been that there was no interface to the Chrome Component Updater.
The tip that I received (thanks Michael) was that there is, in fact, an interface to it, and, that the Component Updater can be used to update Flash. 
The interface is a URL, chrome://components



chrome.components.update2




Updating Chrome browser components


The number of Chrome components varies by operating system. The screen shot above, taken on Windows 10, indicates there are nine, only the first five are shown. There are six components on OS X 10.10, eight on Windows 7, nine on Windows 8.1 and two on Chrome OS 49.

The Flash Player is identified as "pepper_flash". Simply click the gray "Check for update" button and the Chrome Component Updater will not only check for updates, it will also download and install an available update.


The "Component updated" message in the screen shot above is the result of upgrading Flash from version 21.0.0.213 to 21.0.0.216. If there is no available update, the button click response is "Component not updated". If your computer is slow and/or the component is large, you may briefly see a "component downloading" message too.


In my tests, the Chrome Component Updater worked consistently across Windows, OS X and Chrome OS. The only downside is that on Chrome OS (tested on version 49) Flash is not an available component.


So, there is no excuse for Windows and Mac users to run Chrome with an old version of Flash. Good thing too, considering how buggy it has been over the years.

Source: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3056892/security/a-handy-tip-about-updating-flash-in-the-chrome-browser.html