Reality of Microsoft’s Browser Ballot Screen, Adblock Plus: Best Add-on, Geolocation in Chrome [Browser Saturday]

The reality of Browser Ballot Screen

Windows 7 Browser Ballot Screen went live for European Union, and as expected Microsoft is not ready to lose the game so easily. Microsoft is tracking user clicks and the algorithm to decide random appearance of browsers is also being criticized.

Now, Download Squad has revealed another fact about Browser ballot screen: 5 out of 7 ‘secondary’ browsers featuring in ballot screen use Microsoft’s Trident rendering engine! A comment posted by richquick in a forum has attracted attention towards this fact. Avant, Green Browser, Maxton, Slim and Sleipnir use the Trident engine, and hence 6 (including IE) out of 12 (i.e.; 50%) browsers provided through the Browser ballot screen are powered by Microsoft technology.

Firefox, Flock and K-Melon run on Gecko, the open source browser rendering engine developed by Mozilla. Moreover, Sleipnir provides an option to switch to Gecko, and Maxthon is planning to support WebKit in future.

Adblock Plus is the Best Open Source Firefox add-on

Firefox add-on Adblock Plus is the most essential tool to browse internet safely. Recently , Adblock Plus has been awarded the Linux Media Award for the best open source Firefox extension. Congratulations to Wladimir Palant! :)

Google Chrome gets Geolocation capabilities

Geolocation in Chrome

Google Chrome dev channel has integrated geolocation APIs. It will help “location-aware” websites to track visitor’s geographical information and serve content accordingly.

Firefox Personas Are Coming To AMO Soon

Mozilla has decide to upgrade Personas by migrating the entire gallery to (AMO). Moving to the AMO will integrate Personas with the Firefox ecosystem to a greater extent. Featuring in AMO will enable many existing AMO features with the Personas; like ratings and reviews, usage statistics, designer profiles for developers, support for more languages, tagging and searching etc.

Mozilla is also planning to add more new features to the Personas, like:

  • Theme capability
  • Dynamic Personas
  • Personas for subwindows
  • Self hosted Personas, similar to recently introduced “Self hosted Add-ons”

JaegerMonkey, Opera 10.5 Beta, Mozilla Ubiquity And 3 New Chrome Extensions [Browser Saturday]

Welcome again to our weekly column Browser Saturday, where the Techie Buzz team will try to aggregate the latest innovations and updates around the browser world. Check the previous post here.

Mozilla Developers Working On A New JavaScript Optimizer: JaegerMonkey

Mozilla developers are now working on a new JavaScript optimizer for Mozilla based browsers like Firefox. This new project, named JaegerMonkey (or JägerMonkey), will replace Mozilla’s current JavaScript optimizer TraceMonkey. JaegerMonkey will have the features of TraceMonkey and Nitro (WebKit’s JavaScript engine) both.

Developers Dave Mandelin and David Anderson have blogged about this project. David writes:

Mozilla’s JavaScript optimizer, TraceMonkey, is pretty powerful. It carefully observes loops and converts them to super-fast assembly. We call this tracing. That’s great and all, but there’s a problem: sometimes tracing doesn’t work. Loops can throw curveballs that cause tracing to stop. Especially with recursion, or lots of nesting, it can be very difficult to build good traces on complex code. Other JavaScript engines, such as Nitro (present in WebKit/Safari), take a simpler approach. Instead of compiling loops to assembly, they compile entire methods (functions) to assembly.

We’re taking the tried-and-true approach of other vendors, and bolting trace compilation on top. Once the two are interacting seamlessly, you’ll have a much more consistent and fast JavaScript performance experience.

This project is in the initial phase at the moment, and the team is very excited about it. After its implementation, Mozilla based browsers will have super fast JavaScript rendering speed, similar to WebKit based browsers. :)

Opera 10.50 Beta For Windows And Mac

Opera 10.5 Beta for Mac platform has been released. This release includes some exciting features like Growl notifications, unified tool bar and Multi-touch gestures. The Opera team has also released 10.5 beta 2 for Windows.

Where is Mozilla Ubiquity?

Erez Zukerman of DownloadSquad has posted about the current development status of Mozilla Ubiquity.   This post was widely discussed among developers, and finally Aza Raskin, the head of User Experience for Mozilla Labs, has replied Erek’s post. Raskin writes on his blog:

Ubiquity is currently on the back burner, with the core Ubiquity people now working on Jetpack (myself and Atul Varma) and Test Pilot (Jono Xia). In the next couple of months I will be focusing on a new project that incorporates some of the learnings from Ubiquity and Taskfox.

Surprisingly, this post has been removed from Raskin’s blog (though accessible using Google cache). The homepage of Ubiquity project at Mozilla Labs has been updated now, and discusses the current status of Ubiquity: The purpose of an experiment is to learn something not necessarily to make a product.

3 New & Useful Chrome Extensions try them now!

  1. SEO Site Tools: A useful extension for web professionals. Pulls tons of on-page and off-page metrics, social media stats etc. for any site.
  2. Skeet: A brand new Chrome extension for twitter users. Attractive and simple UI, feels like Twhirl!! :)
  3. Chrome Lock: This extension claims to lock Google Chrome, and hence it prevents unauthorized use of the browser when you are not at your desk. Users can set their password to unlock the browser. Unfortunately, it is not working at my end (Windows, 5.0.335.0 build 39559), but many users have posted positive reviews. :)

Also Check: Best Chrome Extensions You Should Definitely Download

Firefox Private Browsing Mode Is Broken

Firefox’s Private Browsing Mode enables users to browse the web privately. It empowers users to surf websites without storing browsing data (URLs, cookies, page content etc.). But, now Mozilla has discovered that Private Browsing Mode (PBM) in Firefox is partially broken, and browsing data get stored even if a user has enabled PBM.

According to a blog post on official Mozilla Add-ons blog, this flaw generates because of Firefox Add-ons:

Add-ons have the ability to obtain and store browsing data, and some of these add-ons may not be taking PBM into account. This is a breach of the user’s privacy expectations when using PBM, so we will be updating our policies shortly, requiring add-ons to respect PBM.

Private Browsing Mode In Firefox

Mozilla has announced to update user privacy policies soon. To overcome this problem, Mozilla has planned two different levelsof privacy support:

  • If an add-on stores browsing data in any way, it must support PBM. This support cannot be disabled in any way.
  • If an add-on stores some other type of personal data, support for PBM is optional.

In the referred blog post, Mozilla has suggested add-on developers to ensure PBM support for their add-ons. This is another issue discovered with Firefox add-ons recently. Few weeks ago, two experimental add-ons were found to be infected with trojans. Although, later Mozilla informed that these reports were false.

Moreover, Google Chrome disables all extensions in PBM (incognito mode).

Browser Saturday: Firefox In Technology of the Decade, Arora is Alive, Chrome Flash Extension and MS Browser Ballot

Welcome to the first post of our new weekly column Browser Saturday, where the Techie Buzz team will try to aggregate latest innovations and updates around the browser world.

Firefox is one of the 25 Technologies that changed the decade

The has listed Firefox among the 25 technologies that changed the decade. Firefox is at 9th place. eWeek says:

Just a few years ago, the future of the Web and the browser looked bleak. Internet Explorer dominated the market, and Microsoft wasn’t interested in browser innovation. But when Mozilla released Firefox, we finally got real browser choice and innovation.

Firefox is the only software product in Top 10., Gmail, Ajax and iPhone are the other names in the list.

Arora is not DEAD!!

Arora is a light-weight cross-platform WebKit based browser, which comes with a unique feature: built-in Ad blocker. I personally appreciate Arora (& it is my alternate browser!). Unfortunately, the development process is too slow and users were suspecting if the project has been abandoned. But Benjamin Meyer, the main developer behind Arora, recently responded to a mail thread and explained his future plans. Meyer told:

I did suspend my own development for several months while I determined if I could actually work on Arora and related libraries at my new place of employment (My old company TorchMobile was bought by RIM).   At the end of the summer there was a ton of development mostly by me trying to get the adblock stuff in.   Going from that to nothing doesn’t look good in retrospect.     More recently I have been reviewing various patches and some have gone in.   I will be making another release in the near future.

Another Chrome Extension To Download Flash Videos in official gallery. Will Google remove it too?

Flash Video Download is a new extension for Google Chrome. It enables users to download flash videos from the sites like dailymotion and YouTube. The extension is hosted in the official Chrome extension gallery (owned by Google). In past, Google had removed such extensions from gallery because such extensions violate gallery policies to not create extensions that enable the unauthorized download of streaming content or media.

Interestingly, now there are many similar extensions featuring in gallery (another here). Will Google remove these extensions again?

Microsoft reveals browser ballot screen

Microsoft has revealed the browser ballot screen, which will be available to Windows users in EU soon. Download Squad reports that the rollout begins from the next week.

Techie Buzz has already told users about EU’s anti-trust complaint against Microsoft.

Block JavaScript in Google Chrome. NoScript’s features in Chrome!

If you have just migrated to Chrome from Firefox, you may have noticed that there is no Chrome version of NoScript the popular Firefox add-on to block JavaScript on web pages. NoScript blocks JavaScript, Java, Flash, Silverlight and several other executable contents by default and gives users a choice to allow these content from trusted sources only. Hence, it makes browsing faster and safer. I can’t imagine web browsing without NoScript, and this is one of the many reasons to stick with Firefox.

If you miss NoScript in Chrome, I have good news for you: Google Chrome will have similar content filter options soon. The latest Dev channel v5.0.317.0 for Windows has an option to selectively control cookies, images, JavaScript, plug-ins and pop-ups. Users can either block this content or opt to allow only certain trusted sources.

How to block JavaScript and other contents in Chrome?

disable javascript in google chrome

If you are using Dev channel of Chrome on Windows, you can access these features by updating it to latest release. Move to Options->Under the Hood->Content settings. This setting window provides better management of images, JavaScript, plug-ins, and pop-ups.

The recommended option is to block all JavaScript and add trusted hosts as Exceptions. Although, blocking JavaScript may result into unusual rendering of web pages. You can set options for cookies, images, popups and plug-ins similarly.

content setting icon in address barYou can also control your content settings from the address bar. If there is any blocked item on the current web page, a small icon will appear in the address bar, and users can manage settings by clicking on it. This feature is similar to NoScript, where you can control settings from the status bar icon.

I hope to see this feature in stable version of Chrome soon. :)

Filter Items In Google Reader

As you know, Apple has announced its much hyped tablet computer, iPad, and this news has turned almost everyone crazy. This is a totally disgusting situation for some of us (like me) who are not interested in iPad and want to focus on other things. My RSS reader is overloaded with articles covering the Apple tablet, and I hope this situation will remain the same for next few days.

If you are looking for any solution to reduce the RSS load in Google Reader, thankfully here is a Greasemonkey script which filters unwanted content based on keywords. This greasemonkey script, Google Reader Filter, helps you to focus on interesting topics by filtering blogposts with provided keywords.

How to use Google Reader Filter?

Install the userscript from here and reload the Google Reader page. Now, a link named Filter Settingswill appear on top right corner of the page.

Filter items in Google Reader

Click this link and provide keywords and regex to exclude. All RSS items that match the provided keywords will be displayed with dull gray text, so that they don’t attract much of attention.


Another interesting feature of this script is its ability to highlight entries with selected keywords. It increases the visibility of those items. For example, if you have added a keyword JavaScript to the Highlights column blogposts with the keyword JavaScript will be highlighted with a lime background.


So the next time you face a situation like this, use this userscript to increase your productivity. Google Reader Filter requires the Greasemonkey add-on for Firefox and works wherever Firefox does.

You Will Soon Be Able To Hide Extension Buttons On Chrome’s Toolbar

Recently,  Google Chrome introduced extensions for stable channel using which all users can enjoy extended power of Chrome. One annoying thing about Chrome extensions is that if you install even five or six extensions, your toolbar area will be crowded. This decreases the address bar’s width too.

extension icons on Chrome's toolbar

Right now, there is no option to hide or disable icons for some (or all) extensions. If you are looking for a solution, your wait is about to over (though not that early!). Google Chrome will soon have an option to hide extension buttons and to adjust button area width.


This feature is not integrated with any channel of Chrome yet. If you are interested to try this feature, you need to download latest build of Chromium, the open source browser behind the Chrome.

Once this feature gets ported to Chrome, you will be able to hide the extension buttons. While I am at it, I wish for another useful feature: ability to re-order extension buttons. This will help users to prioritize the extensions. Chrome extensions are getting mature day by day, however they are still far away from attaining the capabilities of Firefox add-ons. :-(

Google Docs Extension For Chrome

Google Docs is the best online office suite with powerful features of editing, collaboration and sharing. There are many Firefox add-ons already available to integrate Google Docs with Firefox. But a Chrome extension was missing, and finally we have a cool Google chrome extension for that.

Google Docs extension for Google Chrome browser

This Google Docs extension is actually the iGoogle gadget transformed as a Chrome extension. Using this extension, you can access your Docs account just with a single click. Users can also create new documents, presentations, spreadsheets etc. right from the extension popup. By default, it lists your recent documents, but you can filter files from the showmenu.

Some other Chrome extensions for Google Docs

  • QuietRead: QuietRead is another useful tool for Chrome users. Users can bookmark web pages using QuietRead, and it saves these links in a separate Google Docs spreadsheet. Hence, you can collect links into a spreadsheet. It has option to sort and search links.


  • Import to Google Docs : It provides an easy way to view supported files in Google Docs from the Google search result page. Unfortunately, this extension is not working as expected and developer needs to work on it. :(
  • Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer and gPDF : we have already covered gPDF in our popular post: Best Chrome Extensions You Should Definitely Download. These extensions open PDF (and other supported formats like PPT) in Google’s Docs Viewer. You can view these files in an online application, without any desktop tool.

TOCMonkey Adds A Table Of Contents At Any Web page

TOCMonkey is a Greasemonkey script for Firefox users, which creates a table of contents at any web page. This enhances page navigation, and users can find information easily on any website.

How to use TOCMonkey?

To use TOCMonkey, you need to install the Greasemonkey add-on for Firefox first. Once you have this add-on, install TOCMonkey from developer Zoran’s site. After installing TOCMonkey, you can use it on any web page to generate a table of contents. You need to run the User Script command to generate the table of contents.

Run user script command to generate TOC

To execute the command, right click on the monkey icon at status bar and select User Script Commands > TOCMonkey: Add Table Of Contents from the menu (see above screenshot). Now, you will notice a small semi-transparent button at the top-right corner of the page with label TOC.   Hover the mouse over the button and a Wikipedia style table of contents will appear.

TOC at Techie Buzz homepage

Techie Buzz Verdict

Certainly, TOCMonkey increase readability of web pages but it is not the perfect solution yet. It uses heading tags (h1, h2 etc.) to generate TOC, hence it may not perform well on some pages.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2/5

Link: TOCMonkey

LimitedSurf : User Controlling Add-on For Firefox

LimitedSurf is a handy Firefox add-on to control user activities. It is very useful specially when you have to administer public computers in college labs, offices, libraries, cybercafes etc. Parents can also use LimitedSurf to block certain websites and make the internet safer for their kids. It gives you full control over Firefox settings and accessibility.

How to use LimitedSurf?

First time setup

Install the LimitedSurf from the Mozilla Add-on site and restart Firefox. Now, move to the option panel in the add-on manager (Tools>Add-ons). You will be asked for the Admin password, which is 123by default. Once you have entered this password, you enter into   Admin Mode, where you can manage the LimitedSurf settings.

LimitedSurf Admin Settings

In Admin Mode, you can set the following   configurations:

  • Change admin password.
  • Enable/Disable timeslot. This restricts browser usage to a certain time period.
  • Enable/Disable Blocking websites and keywords. Using this setting, Administrator can block certain websites and keywords. Non-admin users can’t open these sites.
  • Enable/Disable timelimit. This restricts browser usage to the provided duration.
  • Enable/Disable Admin mode. Disable it when transferring system control to users.

After configuring the above settings, restart the browser to apply them.

What is Admin Mode?

When Firefox runs in this mode, user have all control and functionality. To disable Admin mode, un-check the related check-box in options panel and restart the browser.

When Admin mode is disabled, i.e., you want to restrict user control, a user can’t:

  • Access Tools menu.
  • visit blocked websites (or sites with block keywords).
  • Change LimitedSurf settings.
  • Change Firefox’s settings or preferences.

To re-enable Admin mode, press CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + S keys altogether, and enter the admin password.

Enable Admin Mode

Techie Buzz Verdict

LimitedSurf is a nice extension to Firefox’s features. It makes Firefox a perfect browser for public computers. But, LimitedSurf (or any other utility) can’t stop users from accessing restricted websites. Users always have the option to create another Firefox profile, and hence they can bypass all restrictions. Still, we appreciate this effort.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5

LimitedSurf is an experimental add-on, which can be installed from here.