June 22, 2019

Google Chrome Has Become Surveillance Software, It's Time to Switch

Chrome has become like spyware for Google, allowing more tracker cookies than any other browser.

You open your browser to look at the web. Do you know who is looking back at you?

Over a recent week of web surfing, I peered under the hood of Google Chrome and found it brought along a few thousand friends. Shopping, news and even government sites quietly tagged my browser to let ad and data companies ride shotgun while I clicked around the web.

This was made possible by the web's biggest snoop of all: Google. Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software.

Lately I've been investigating the secret life of my data, running experiments to see what technology really is up to under the cover of privacy policies that nobody reads. It turns out, having the world's biggest advertising company make the most-popular web browser was about as smart as letting kids run a candy shop.

It made me decide to ditch Chrome for a new version of nonprofit Mozilla's Firefox, which has default privacy protections. Switching involved less inconvenience than you might imagine.

My tests of Chrome versus Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker "cookies" that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer, but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.

Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you'd think would be private. I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service's log-in pages.

And that's not the half of it.

Look in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. See a picture or a name in the circle? If so, you're logged in to the browser, and Google might be tapping into your web activity to target ads. Don't recall signing in? I didn't, either. Chrome recently started doing that automatically when you use Gmail.

Chrome is even sneakier on your phone. If you use Android, Chrome sends Google your location every time you conduct a search. (If you turn off location sharing it still sends your coordinates out, just with less accuracy.)

Firefox isn't perfect - it still defaults searches to Google and permits some other tracking. But it doesn't share browsing data with Mozilla, which isn't in the data-collection business.

At a minimum, web snooping can be annoying. Cookies are how a pair of pants you look at in one site end up following you around in ads elsewhere. More fundamentally, your web history - like the color of your underpants - ain't nobody's business but your own. Letting anyone collect that data leaves it ripe for abuse by bullies, spies and hackers.

Google's product managers told me in an interview that Chrome prioritises privacy choices and controls, and they're working on new ones for cookies. But they also said they have to get the right balance with a "healthy web ecosystem" (read: ad business).

Firefox's product managers told me they don't see privacy as an "option" relegated to controls. They've launched a war on surveillance, starting this month with "enhanced tracking protection" that blocks nosy cookies by default on new Firefox installations. But to succeed, first Firefox has to convince people to care enough to overcome the inertia of switching.

It's a tale of two browsers - and the diverging interests of the companies that make them.

A decade ago, Chrome and Firefox were taking on Microsoft's lumbering giant Internet Explorer. The upstart Chrome solved real problems for consumers, making the web safer and faster. Today it dominates more than half the market.

Lately, however, many of us have realized that our privacy is also a major concern on the web - and Chrome's interests no longer always seem aligned with our own.

That's most visible in the fight over cookies. These code snippets can do some helpful things, like remembering the contents of your shopping cart. But now many cookies belong to data companies, which use them to tag your browser so they can follow your path like crumbs in the proverbial forest.

They're everywhere - one study found third-party tracking cookies on 92 percent of websites. The Washington Post website has about 40 tracker cookies, average for a news site, which the company said in a statement are used to deliver better-targeted ads and track ad performance.

You'll also find them on sites without ads: Both Aetna and the FSA service said the cookies on their sites help measure their own external marketing campaigns.

The blame for this mess belongs to the entire advertising, publishing and tech industries. But what responsibility does a browser have in protecting us from code that isn't doing much more than spying?

In 2015, Mozilla debuted a version of Firefox that included anti-tracking tech, turned on only in its "private" browsing mode. After years of testing and tweaking, that's what it activated this month on all websites. This isn't about blocking ads - those still come through. Rather, Firefox is parsing cookies to decide which ones to keep for critical site functions and which ones to block for spying.

Apple's Safari browser, used on iPhones, also began applying "intelligent tracking protection" to cookies in 2017, using an algorithm to decide which ones were bad.

Chrome, so far, remains open to all cookies by default. Last month, Google announced a new effort to force third-party cookies to better self-identify, and said we can expect new controls for them after it rolls out. But it wouldn't offer a timeline or say whether it would default to stopping trackers.

I'm not holding my breath. Google itself, through its Doubleclick and other ad businesses, is the No. 1 cookie maker - the Mrs. Fields of the web. It's hard to imagine Chrome ever cutting off Google's moneymaker.

"Cookies play a role in user privacy, but a narrow focus on cookies obscures the broader privacy discussion because it's just one way in which users can be tracked across sites," said Ben Galbraith, Chrome's director of product management. "This is a complex problem, and simple, blunt cookie blocking solutions force tracking into more opaque practices."

There are other tracking techniques - and the privacy arms race will get harder. But saying things are too complicated is also a way of not doing anything.

"Our viewpoint is to deal with the biggest problem first, but anticipate where the ecosystem will shift and work on protecting against those things as well," said Peter Dolanjski, Firefox's product lead.

Both Google and Mozilla said they're working on fighting "fingerprinting," a way to sniff out other markers in your computer. Firefox is already testing its capabilities, and plans to activate them soon.

Choosing a browser is no longer just about speed and convenience - it's also about data defaults.

It's true that Google usually obtains consent before gathering data, and offers a lot of knobs you can adjust to opt out of tracking and targeted advertising. But its controls often feel like a shell game that results in us sharing more personal data.

I felt hoodwinked when Google quietly began signing Gmail users into Chrome last fall. Google says the Chrome shift didn't cause anybody's browsing history to be "synced" unless they specifically opted in - but I found mine was being sent Google, and don't recall ever asking for extra surveillance. (You can turn off the Gmail auto-login by searching "Gmail" in Chrome settings and switching off "Allow Chrome sign-in.")

After the sign-in shift, Johns Hopkins professor Matthew Green made waves in the computer science world when he blogged he was done with Chrome. "I lost faith," he told me. "It only takes a few tiny changes to make it very privacy unfriendly."

There are ways to defang Chrome, which is much more complicated than just using "Incognito Mode." But it's much easier to switch to a browser not owned by an advertising company.

Like Green, I've chosen Firefox, which works across phones, tablets, PCs and Macs. Apple's Safari is also a good option on Macs, iPhones and iPads, and the niche Brave browser goes even further in trying to jam the ad-tech industry.

What does switching to Firefox cost you? It's free, and downloading a different browser is much simpler than changing phones.

In 2017, Mozilla launched a new version of Firefox called Quantum that made it considerably faster. In my tests, it has felt almost as fast as Chrome, though benchmark tests have found it can be slower in some contexts. Firefox says it's better about managing memory if you use lots and lots of tabs.

Switching means you'll have to move your bookmarks, and Firefox offers tools to help. Shifting passwords is easy if you use a password manager. And most browser add-ons are available, though it's possible you won't find your favourite.

Mozilla has challenges to overcome. Among privacy advocates, the nonprofit is known for caution. It took a year longer than Apple to make cookie blocking a default.

And as a nonprofit, it earns money when people make searches in the browser and click on ads - which means its biggest source of income is Google. Mozilla's CEO says the company is exploring new paid privacy services to diversify its income.

Its biggest risk is that Firefox might someday run out of steam in its battle with the Chrome behemoth. Even though it's the No. 2 desktop browser, with about 10 percent of the market, major sites could decide to drop support, leaving Firefox scrambling.

If you care about privacy, let's hope for another David and Goliath outcome.


© The Washington Post 2019

June 21, 2019

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser now available on Windows 7 and Windows 8

Microsoft is making its Chromium-powered Edge browser available on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 for testing today. The release comes two months after Chromium Edge first debuted on Windows 10, and a month after it appeared on macOS. Microsoft is releasing the daily Canary builds initially, and plans to support the weekly Dev channel “soon.” You can download the installer over at Microsoft’s Edge Insider site.

“You will find the experience and feature set on previous versions of Windows to be largely the same as on Windows 10, including forthcoming support for Internet Explorer mode for our enterprise customers,” explains a Microsoft Edge team blog post. While most features will be the same, dark mode is missing and Microsoft says there is no support for AAD sign-in.

Microsoft is still testing its Chromium Edge browser across Windows 10, macOS, and now older versions of Windows, and it’s still not clear when the company will start to release it more broadly. Edge will be available for Windows 7, despite the fact Microsoft is planning to end support for the operating system next January.

Edge Chromium will include an IE mode for businesses, and a new Collections feature that’s designed for web users to be able to more easily collect text, images, and information from the internet into a note. We got a closer look at the new Microsoft Edge earlier this year.

Microsoft Edge, when it was originally launched with Windows 10, was not available for earlier versions of Windows operating system. Because of this, Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 had to rely on third-party web browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox as the built-in Internet Explorer browser was outdated.

A few months ago, Microsoft announced the Chromium-based Edge browser. The new Chromium-based Edge was initially made available for Windows 10, and later it was released for macOS as well.

Now, Microsoft has made available the Chromium-based Edge for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 as well. With this, Windows 7/8/8.1 users will finally be able to install and use the Edge browser without upgrading their installation to Windows 10.

Although this will certainly help PC users who are still running Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1, it’s surprising that Microsoft released a new browser for Windows 7 at this time as Windows 7 support will end in just six months (January 2020).

For starters, the new Edge is super-fast like the Chrome browser and looks very similar to Chrome. Since the new Edge is based on Chromium, it offers most of the features and options offered in Chrome. Besides that, it supports Chrome extensions as well.

After installing the Edge browser, you can import browser data (including passwords) from other browsers into the Edge.

Visit the following link to download the latest version of Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 7/8/8.1. The new Edge is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7/8/8.1 systems.
Download Edge for Windows 7/8/8.1

June 14, 2019

13 Cool Chrome Extensions You've Never Heard Of!

10 Reasons Why Chrome is Better Than All Other Browsers

Google chrome is one of the best things to have happened to the internet. It made sense to come up with the chrome browser as Google already controls a good amount of the web that can be accessed by normal users. What could be better than having a dedicated browser to browse pages that Google itself will show. The browser was launched in 2008.

Initially, the browser was made available for the windows platform but it was later ported to other platforms such as Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android. There are many other internet browsers but all of them seem to have some or the other problem which annoys users. Chrome has always been supportive and comes up with features that are worth mentioning. Let us see what are the reasons that make chrome a favorable browser despite so much competition.
Why Chrome is Better Than All Other Browsers
1. Simplicity

Chances are high that you must be reading this post on a chrome browser itself. The google chrome browser has a very clean and minimal design. It has almost no fluff and instantly you get a feeling that you are into something that helps you search the web very easily. When it comes to other browsers, they have not taken the user in mind and instead focus on making money via showing useless ads. While chrome has an interface that appeals to people of all age group.
2. Speed

Most of the browsers can open pages very quickly but what matters the most is when you open heavy pages that contains stuff which has too much graphics and flash ads or a video. Google chrome opens such pages very quickly, almost in a blink. You won’t find this speed of opening pages in any other browser. Opera is a good competitor but it has ruined the user experience in the long run. So when it comes to speed and optimization, nothing comes close to google chrome.
3. Security

Google has a lot of web-based products and they have the best engineers by their side to control the internet and its services who ensure that the updates to google chrome always carry security patches and bug fixes so that no malicious attempt is made to hamper the working of the browser. Other browsers have had a very poor record when it comes to updating the browser to tackle web attacks. Just in case you get stuck at an error like Error404 or any other error then you may refer to this Errorcodes guide which will help you resolve the issue.
4. Appealing Apps

Google Chrome was one of the first browsers to have a dedicated store for buying stuff that could enrich the user experience. The chrome web store has tons of interesting things that are set to make things easy for you. There are loads of epic extensions and many other things as per your needs. Some to track your usage, some to block ads and what not. Any web-based developer would want to launch his app first at the google chrome store. It has apps that attract users.
5. Platform Independent

Just like internet explorer or edge is available exclusively for windows system. Chrome is not bound by anything like that. You can find chrome for almost all the devices where you can browse the internet. Chrome browser can be downloaded for Android smartphones, Linux based systems, windows systems and also on Mac OS systems. It is platform independent. It has a wider reach because of which people love it.
6. Market Share

Market share does not ever lie. If you look at the recent stats, you will find that chrome is leading the market with 60% of the share followed by other web browsers such as opera, safari, and firefox. The reason behind this could well be the trust that Google has instilled among the people and also genuinely their product is way much better than the other browsers. Chrome has been there on the market since 2008 and any other web browser is yet to dethrone it from the title.

7. Quick Updates

With websites being made on new technologies and also sites carrying data that is only increasing, it becomes important for web browsers to have a better compatibility. Google chrome is very nice in those terms. They roll out updates before anyone else does and it helps users to have a butter smooth experience of browsing the web. In other browsers, the updates do come but they arrive too late while in chrome they come first.
8. Easy Migration

Google Chrome has a great property of synchronization which means if you are just migrating from an old browser like internet explorer then you can migrate the important stuff like your bookmarks. Also, the latest feature that has come is signing in your chrome browser which has made accessibility even easier. Now you can carry your credentials like bookmarks and most visited sites with you. It is a more of personalized experience now.

9. Extensions and Add-ons

Google Chrome was one of the first to support extensions. It later became like a marketplace where you could make extensions and then sell them. Other browsers do not have this facility because they have just one forte which is to let the users browse the web. Chrome was among the first to make extensions that made the world know what all as an extra we can do with our browsers. There are tons of epic facilities such as Momentum and other exciting extensions.

Personally, we use extensions like Pocket to save links for offline reading, Alexa to check Alexa rank, Grammarly for writing, AdBlock Plus to block pop-ups/ads, GMass for managing and tracking email campaigns, Google Hangouts for chatting and many more.
10. Reboot Free Installation

In some browsers when you install a particular extension or any other service than to make it run on the browser, you often need to reboot the whole browser or even sometimes the entire system. In chrome, there is no such thing as a reboot for completing the installation. All you have to do is simply install and without you having to get off the browser, you can begin using the web browser. It is very robust and has great compatibility.

There are tons of different browsers and almost every browser has some of the other features that makes it unique but when you combine all the stuff that is important while browsing the web then Google Chrome is a clear winner. Go ahead and browse the web with chrome for the best experience.

About Author: Shaira Williams


May 15, 2019

How to change web browser default zoom settings

I recently upgraded one of my monitors to a big screen. I needed to change the default zoom level in my web browser from 100% to 90%. Below are how to do it in Firefox and Chrome (Chromium).

In Firefox, download the add-on called: Zoom Page WE.  Then Firefox will open every time at the desired page zoom level. See the below options dialog box.

Located here:

In Chrome, it is built in. Got to Settings, Appearance, and select the default zoom level.


May 9, 2019

How to Stop Videos From Autoplaying

Most browsers don't make it easy, but you can block the interruptions
By Nicholas Deleon, January 22, 2018

You don’t have to let autoplaying videos get in the way when you go to such sites as ESPN and Bloomberg on your computer.
With a few tweaks of your browser settings or the installation of a small piece of software known as a browser extension, you’ll be able to browse the web on a laptop without having to worry about these videos, which begin playing automatically when you land on a site. (You can also turn off autoplay just in Facebook.)

The videos can be particularly annoying when you have several tabs open and can’t tell where the sound is coming from.
Blocking these videos not only cuts down on the distraction but can also keep you from needlessly burning through cellular data. That's handy if you’ve tethered your laptop to a smartphone at a café or have an internet service provider (ISP) with a monthly data cap.
And using a browser extension to block annoying autoplay videos has the added benefit of enhancing your overall online privacy. Those videos often come packaged with technology that can track your activity across the web for the benefit of advertisers.

“Searches about your health condition, your political engagement—you probably want to keep those secret,” and blocking autoplay videos can help, says Günes Acar, a research associate at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. 

Browser Settings

Chrome: Google recently released Chrome 66, a new version of the popular desktop web browser, which blocks by default autoplay video that contains sound. To stop video that does not contain sound, you can use a third-party extension. (See the Extensions section below.)

As a developer, you may want to change Chrome autoplay policy behavior locally to test your website depending on user engagement. You can decide to disable entirely the autoplay policy by setting the Chrome flag "Autoplay Policy" to "No user gesture is required" at chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy .

Firefox: Mozilla’s recently revamped Firefox web browser offers a straightforward way to prevent unwanted videos from playing automatically as you hop from site to site. It's straightforward, but not something you'd stumble across by searching through pull-down menus.

First, you’ll need to access the browser’s advanced options by typing “about:config” (without the quotation marks) in the address bar and hitting Return. Next, search in the window for the “media.autoplay.enabled” setting and double-click it. This will disable most HTML5-based videos from playing on their own when you load a page.

This method won’t typically block videos in the older Adobe Flash format, but we’ll explain how to do so below.

To always allow or disallow autoplay for all media with sound, follow these steps:
  1. Click the menu button and choose Preferences.
  2. Select the Privacy & Security panel.
  3. Scroll down to the Permissions section.
  4. Next to For websites that autoplay sound, click the drop-down menu to choose Allow Autoplay or Don't Autoplay.

Safari: If you use Apple’s Safari browser as your daily driver, you may be wondering to yourself, “What’s autoplay video?” That’s because in the newest versions of Safari (starting with version 11, released in 2017), most autoplaying videos are blocked. Score one for Apple.

If you don’t have the latest version of Safari—say, if you’re using a work-provided laptop that has an older version of macOS—it’s a bit trickier to pull off.
You’ll need to open the application called Terminal (which is found in your Utilities folder), then paste in the following text (without the quotation marks): “defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1”.

This scary-looking string merely allows you to access an additional settings menu inside Safari called Debug. The next time you go to a website that has autoplaying video, you have to select the new Debug menu option at the top of the screen and then scroll down to Media Flags and Disable Inline Video. Goodbye, autoplaying video!


As mentioned above, there's no built-in setting for Chrome that lets you turn off autoplay for videos, but you can do it by using a browser extension.
Regardless of which browser you use, extensions (also known as add-ons) are small pieces of software that add useful features. Some extensions, such as LastPass, help manage your passwords, while others, including the Evernote Web Clipper and OneNote Web Clipper, make it easier to archive snapshots of websites for later retrieval.

Some of the most popular extensions block ads from appearing on websites, with two, Adblock Plus and uBlock Origin, generally earning high reviews from users.

It just so happens that both Adblock Plus and uBlock Origin will block most autoplaying videos, including those based on the older Adobe Flash, right after you install them. No further configuration is needed.
Another extension, called NoScript, goes even further, and is able to scrub out entire sections of websites, including ads, videos, or blocks of text. The flip side of NoScript is that it’s generally more difficult to configure than either Adblock Plus or uBlock Origin, and can easily keep many websites from working for you if you accidentally configure it to block a vital script.


With more than 2 billion active users, there’s a good chance that Facebook has an account for everyone reading this sentence. And while the company has recently announced changes to the News Feed that should limit the amount of video you see from brands and businesses, it still does allow autoplay videos. But Facebook also provides a setting that disables videos from playing automatically in your feed.
To use this setting, click the arrow icon on the top right-hand corner of your Facebook page and then click Settings. From here, select Videos on the left side of the window and change the Auto-Play Videos option from Default to Off.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include information about a new version of Chrome that blocks autoplay video that contains sound.


April 26, 2019

5 Sites Like Craigslist to Buy and Sell Used Stuff

Craigslist is an interesting part of the internet’s legacy. Founded over 22 years ago as an email distribution list, the site has steadfastly refused to change its minimalist design and easy-to-use posting system. Craigslist remains a favorite shopping site to sell stuff locally hunters and an enduring site to post your classified ads for free.
Other sites like Craigslist want to sell stuff online too. Most of those alternatives to Craigslist have failed before anyone knew they existed. Still, there are a few which managed to withstand the web’s churn and have endured as a viable choice to Craigslist.
Let’s look at several other online classified sites where you can sell old and new stuff online with a few clicks.

1. Oodle Marketplace

Oodle - a website like Craigslist

Oodle is both a site like Craigslist and an anti-Craigslist at the same time. The basic concept of posting online classifieds is the same, but it embraces Facebook to provide a more personal experience and recommendations from friends.
It uses the same technology that powers Facebook Marketplace. You don’t have to use Facebook to post, but you have to connect your profile to your genuine Facebook profile.

Oodle’s focus on social networking makes it a bit less intuitive for people looking to find items in a specific category. Some people will prefer this design, and others will find it frustrating.
There’s a lot of activity on Oodle. You can not only sell your stuff online but also use it to find jobs nearby. This site seems to do a better job of providing geographically relevant results than many competitors and there is support for several countries besides the United States. The site operates in Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

2. - A Craigslist alternative is not as old as Craigslist but not by much as it started in 1999. It started its life with only buying and selling ads. Today, it covers other kinds of classifieds like Pets and Animals, Jobs, and Services.
The site also does not categorize classifieds by region automatically, though there is the option to enter your zip code. You can also drill down to the city of your choice and then refine it with an advanced search.
Want to save yourself some time?
Log-in to the site and set up an alert to match new ads to your keyword. allows you to make your ads more visible on the site by paying money. You’ll find eBay-like features such as seller ratings and a shopping cart. Products are more visible thanks to the thumbnails.
Do note that there’s no charge to browse, make offers, or buy items and services on But, you have to pay a small fee to list and sell items and services.

3. Geebo

Geebo - Lists stuff for sale

Here’s another internet veteran of the buy and sell industry. Geebo has never obtained the household name status of companies like Craigslist and eBay but has remained relevant for anyone who’s looking for an alternative classified site.
Like most classified sites, the design is simple, but like eBay Classifieds it is far more colorful and modern than Craigslist. Another similarity is this site’s focus on the United States.
Geebo uses the tagline “safe community classifieds” and claims to have a more personal atmosphere than the competition. The site’s blog does spend a lot of time bashing the competition for sketchy practices, but otherwise, the site isn’t any safer than any other online classified site.

4. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace
There was a hint of Facebook’s own market when we talked about Oodle. There are already thousands of groups on Facebook that have the same idea at their heart but the Marketplace makes it a bit more organized. Think of it as a more specialized corner where you can do a more localized search for stuff you want to buy and sell.
Snap a photo and publish it to sell your stuff. To buy stuff, type the keywords and filter by location, category, and price or through a map.
With the community-powered marketplace, you can “know” the person you are dealing with through their social profile. That’s always a wise precaution before any big-ticket purchase even though it can be a hotbed for scammers too.
Check the listings carefully and the Facebook public profile behind it. Opt for verified profiles on the Marketplace. You can talk to the seller using Facebook Messenger to negotiate a final price and close the sale. If you spot a red flag, be careful of the details you give out.
Marketplace is available in the Facebook app and on desktops and tablets. Look for the Shop icon at the bottom of the app on iOS or at the top of the app on Android.
Download: Facebook for Android | iOS (Free)

5. LetGo

LetGo - a Craigslist alternative
LetGo follows the template of Facebook Marketplace and others with its large thumbnails. But it seems to do a better job than Facebook with its pinpoint filters. It is a mobile app first and website second.
For instance, it’s much easier to click a photo and load the information with the apps. It uses artificial intelligence to categorize the product and title it. Also, the in-app chat platform is a must when you want to talk to the buyers and sellers.
Letgo is free and doesn’t charge sellers a fee for posting their listings. You don’t have to give a percentage of your sales either. Letgo offers in-app purchases to allow you to feature your listing. It’s an optional feature that you can pay for to highlight your product amidst the crowd.
Download: LetGo for Android | iOS (Free)

Online Flea Markets: Other Honorable Mentions

Craigslist is barebones. Several alternatives have found a home in mobile apps because it is easier to click, upload, and list the stuff you want to sell online. So pick one that reaches the largest audience or has a thriving community. Even selling internationally is no longer hard.
  1. OfferUp
  2. Locanto
  3. Carousell
  4. Your Classifieds
  5. Wallapop
  6. Gumtree (UK)
  7. AdlandPro
  8. AdsGlobe
  9. Mercari
  10. Bookoo

More Ways to Take Advantage of Craigslist

There are a lot of sites like Craigslist, but these were picked because of their strong user communities. A classified site is not of much use if no one ever visits it. Today you can take your pick from social shopping apps and many niche apps that list only one or two categories.
Keep searching for good bargains on Craigslist but don’t stop yourself from listing your stuff on other classified sites too.


March 26, 2019

Firefox Send: Share Files Up To 2.5GB

There is no dearth of free file sharing services. In fact, there are hundreds of cloud storage and file sharing services around. OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud Drive are the popular file storage and sharing services out there.

Firefox Send

Firefox Send pic1
Firefox Send is a new free file sharing service from Mozilla. Like most other file sharing services out there, you don’t need to install an app (in fact, there is no app) to begin sharing files. Besides that, you don’t need to create an account or sign in to Mozilla account to share or download a file under 1GB size.

Firefox Send features

As of now, Firefox Send allows sharing files up to 1GB without signing in to the service. If you have a Mozilla/Firefox account or willing to create one, you can share files up to 2.5GB at a time. Unlike many file-sharing services out there, Firefox Send lets you share files with end-to-end encryption which means that you can keep your files private. The shared link can be configured to expire after x number of downloads or x number of days.
A shared file can be downloaded for a maximum of 100 times or 7 days, whichever is earlier. Of course, you can configure the link to expire after 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 20, 50, or 100 downloads.
Firefox Send pic3
When you select a file to upload, you will be offered options to set the expiry and password (optional) for the file.
The catch with the sign in free upload is that a file uploaded without signing will expire after one download or in a day. Likewise, if you want to keep the hosted file’s link active for more than one day (supports a maximum of 7 days), you will need to sign in to the free service.
Firefox Send pic2
By signing in to the free Firefox Send, you can share files up to 2.5GB, share files with more people (up to 100 downloads), keep the file hosted for up to 7 days, and manage shared files from your account.
Overall, Firefox Send is a fantastic service from Mozilla. Given the fact that it allows you encrypt and share files up to 2.5 GB, it’s the best free file sharing service from a trusted developer.
Firefox Send is also pretty good in the privacy department. According to the privacy page on Firefox Send, Mozilla receives an encrypted copy of the file that you upload, and it cannot access the file content or name of the file. Files are stored on Mozilla servers for a maximum of 1 day or 7 days, depending on how long you would like to store/share an uploaded file.
If you are wondering, no, you don’t need to have installed Mozilla Firefox to upload or download files to and from Firefox Send service.
Once a file is uploaded, you will get a link which you can share with anyone to let them download the file. The link will automatically expire once it reaches specified time or download limit.
Firefox Send pic6
If you have set a password while uploading a file to Firefox Send, you will have to enter the password to download it. In fact, one cannot see the name of the file without entering the password.
Firefox Send pic7
It’s worth noting that your browser’s memory usage might go up by at least the size of the file that you are uploading. That is, when you are uploading a file of 2GB, you can expect your web browser to use around 2GB of memory. The reason is, Firefox Send encrypts and decrypts files in the browser.
Visit the following link to begin sharing files with Firefox Send.
Firefox Send


March 25, 2019

This is the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser

Microsoft revealed plans in December 2018 to use Chromium as the core for the company's Microsoft Edge web browser instead of the company's own engine.
Chromium is used by Google Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and several other web browsers. Some saw the decision as a long overdue move to improve the default browser on Windows, others as another step towards a Chromium monopoly on the web.
Firefox and Internet Explorer, Microsoft's second web browser that is not really in development anymore, are the two only browsers left standing that use a different engine on Windows after Microsoft completes the move.
A version of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser leaked to the public recently. The download has a size of 112 Megabytes and it is recommended to test it in a sandbox or virtual machine as it comes from an unofficial source.
Note that the browser is still in active development; some things may change and features that are missing may be added before the first stable version release later this year.
The new Edge and the old Edge run side by side. I tested this only on a Windows 10 machine; the new Edge will run on Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 systems as well according to Microsoft. Whether that is the case for this build is unclear.

The Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser

microsoft edge chromium
The browser interface looks very similar to that of other Chromium-based browsers; this should not come as a surprise as all browsers use the same core.
The browser picks up the logged in Microsoft Account of the Windows system and displays the account icon in the interface automatically.
The menu looks like a mix of Chrome's main menu and that of Microsoft Edge. Most options look identical to those offered by Chrome but you find Microsoft's handwriting in some entries. The Read Aloud option is already available and incognito mode is called inPrivate mode.
The Edge main menu is gone in this build which is a good thing in my opinion as I never got used to it. Settings do look different in Microsoft Edge than in Chromium.
microsoft edge settings
A couple of things are still missing in Settings. There is no Themes option or option to change the search engine, but most Chromium Settings are already available.
Update: you can edit search engines by going to edge://settings/searchEngines.
Microsoft integrated Windows Defender SmartScreen in the browser natively.
The extensions link works already and redirects to the Microsoft Store. There you may install a few dozen extensions optimized for the Microsoft Edge version of Chromium already.
Extensions include AdBlock Plus, Amazon Assistant, Boomerang for Gmail, Dashlane, Enhancer for YouTube, LastPass, Save to Pocket, or uBlock Origin.
Installations work directly; it is no longer necessary to install browser extensions for Edge from within the Microsoft Store app.
install extensions edge
Edge displays the extension installation dialog directly in the browser window. The prompt lists permission requests and options to install the extension or cancel the process.
The extensions management page lists options to enable the Developer Mode and to allow extensions from other stores. Microsoft Edge displays a notification to users that this is an option when the Chrome Web Store is visited (but not Mozilla AMO).
microsoft edge chromium extensions chrome
You can install extensions from the Chrome Web Store after you make the change on edge://extensions.
The option removes a severe limitation as Edge users could only select from a hundred or so extensions previously. Support for Chrome extensions gives users more options and improved functionality.

Closing Words

The new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser does away with several of the annoyances of the old Edge browser. Better web standards support and support for Chrome extensions are certainly features that make the new Edge more attractive. Whether that is enough to convince users to stick with the browser remains to be seen.
The first impression is good. Microsoft Edge is fast to open, websites load quickly, and you can install extensions from the Chrome Web Store. Some settings and options are still missing but development is ongoing. It is possible that these will be introduced in a future version.
Now You: What's your take on this initial Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge? (via Caschy)


January 13, 2019

11 Ways to Speed Up Google Chrome

One of the most popular web browsers users love is Google Chrome, yet in spite of all the feature updates and bug-fixes, Chrome can be slow at times because of some of its features, extensions or applications.

The good news is that there are various tips and tricks, and hacks that help to improve the overall speed and sensitivity of this browser, which subsequently can improve its page loading and web browsing speeds. In this post we will be looking at 11 ways to help speed up your Chrome.

Recommended Reading: 5 Useful Chrome DevTools Tips for Developers

1. Get Rid of What You Don’t Need

These tips and tricks disable various unnecessary and unneeded features of Chrome to allow the browser to load web pages faster. These include extensions, plugins and web apps you don’t need.
1. Disable Avoidable Extensions

Extensions are tools that extend the functionality of the Chrome browser, which are helpful yet some may actually be less helpful than you think. Extensions mostly run in the background, and parse or filter web pages before they’re displayed on the screen, but will also load their own pack of data from the Internet.

To get better browsing speeds and good response times, disable and/or delete extensions you don’t actually need.

To disable extensions you do not need:
Type “chrome://extensions” in your Chrome’s location bar. Alternatively, you can go to Chrome’s Options > More tools > Extensions.
Untick the Enabled to the extensions you want to disable, or click the Trashicon to delete the extension.

2. Disable Unnecessary Plugins

Plugins are much like extensions. They provide extended functionalities to the browser. Chrome comes with few built-in plugins provided by Google (like Chrome PDF Viewer, Native Client, etc.), and may carry plugins by other software installed in your computer. Plugins, like extensions, can slow down the browser and clog memory and network resources.

To disable plugins you do not need:
Type “chrome://plugins” in your Chrome’s address bar.
Click Disable to disable the plugin you no longer need.

3. Remove Unnecessary Web Apps

Google Chrome is not just a web browser. It’s also an application platform for web apps. It can run locally-installed web apps written using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. While web apps don’t load resources like websites do, if you don’t need them, shed them.

To remove unnecessary web apps:
Type “chrome://apps” in your Chrome’s address bar or click Apps on the Bookmarks bar
Right-click the app you want to remove, select Remove from Chrome…, and click the Remove button to confirm the removal

4. Enable Prefetch Resources

Google Chrome comes with many intelligent features such as network prediction, spelling correction, resource preloader, etc. Resource pre-fetcher or preloader provides intelligent suggestions about the pages or links the user is most likely to open next, loading those pages/links in the background before you actually open them.

To enable the prefetch feature in Chrome browser:
Head over to Chrome’s Options > Settings > Show advanced settings…
Check the “Prefetch resources to load pages more quickly” option.

Enable Secret Hacks

Google Chrome packs many secret and experimental features under its hood. These are experiments by the Chrome’s developer team – some may not be built for novice users, some may not work for some devices, and some may not be good for your computer too.

But lucky for us there are some experiments that are useful enough to boost the browser’s page-loading and rendering engines.

Again, some of them may not work for some devices, and if you find yourself in a situation like this, just undo the hack to go back to normal.

5. Experimental Canvas Features

Experimental Canvas Features allow the Chrome to make use of opaque canvases to amplify the loading times and boost performance.

To enable experimental canvas features:
Go to “chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-canvas-features“.
Click on Enable and then Relaunch Now button

6. Fast Tab/Window Close

The Fast Tab/Window Close option increases the response time of the browser when a user tries to close tabs or windows. Enabling this feature runs a tab’s onUnload.js handler independently of the graphical interface and speeds up the closing process.

To enable fast tab/window close feature:
Type “chrome://flags/#enable-fast-unload” in the address bar
Click on Enable and then Relaunch Now button

7. Scroll Prediction

Scroll Prediction feature tells the Chrome browser to predict the finger’s future position during scrolls allowing the engine to render the frame before the page is scrolled again.

To enable Scroll Prediction:
Type “chrome://flags/#enable-scroll-prediction” in the location bar
Click on Enable and then Relaunch Now.

8. Maximum Tiles

Maximum Tiles refers to the tiles for interest area. Increasing the maximum number of tiles allows Chrome to show more tiles based on your interests or browsing history, which allows you to quickly open a new website from the interest area.

To increase the number Maximum Tiles:
Head over to “chrome://flags/#max-tiles-for-interest-area” in your browser
Choose 512 from the dropdown. Click Relaunch Now.

9. Raster Threads

Raster Threads are responsible for rendering images in Chrome . Increasing the number of raster threads improves the image rendering time, and thus influences page loading time.

To increase the number of raster threads:
Open “chrome://flags/#num-raster-threads” in Chrome.
Select 4 from the dropdown menu and click Relaunch Now.

10. Answers in Suggest

The “Answers in Suggest” feature allows Chrome to show responses to certain types of queries (mostly questions) directly in the Omnibox’s suggestion list. After enabling this feature, you no longer need to wait for the page to load to see answers for your queries.

To enable Answers in Suggest:
Type “chrome://flags/#answers-in-suggest” in the location bar.
Select Enabled from the dropdown. Click Relaunch Now button.
11. Simple Cache for HTTP

Simple Cache is the new caching mechanism for Google Chrome. It works better than the old caching system, relying on the filesystem for space allocation.

To enable Simple Cache:
Go to “chrome://flags/#enable-simple-cache-backend” in your browser.
Select Enabled from the dropdown. Click Relaunch Now button.

Wrap Up

How’s your browsing experience using Chrome after following these tips and tricks? Do you any more tips & tricks or hacks to speed up Google Chrome?

Please let us know using comments.