Tag Archives: Internet Browsers

How To Block Flash Videos in Opera

One of the most popular extensions for Firefox is Flashblock, which prevents flash and shockwave files from being automatically loaded. There have been quite a few ways to achieve the same in Opera, however all of them required some effort on the user’s behalf. The good news is that with Opera 11, this feature is now baked right into the browser.

Related: How To Install Opera in Portable Mode

To block flash and other plugin driven content (other embedded video files, Silverlight files etc.), simply open up Opera’s “Preferences” dialogue box (Alt+P), and browse to the “Content” tab. From here, check the “Enable plug-ins only on demand” box.

Flash-Block-Extension-Opera

Once this option is enabled, Opera will stop loading plug-in driven content automatically. However, you can still load/play the flash videos you want by clicking on the play button (see the screenshot).

Flash-Block-Opera

Firefox 4 Continues to Fall Behind Schedule: Major Delays Expected

Last month, I reported that Mozilla had axed some of the features from Firefox 4, in order to meet its release deadline. The first feature to be dropped was the new Account Manager that had received rave reviews from most users. However, it now appears that, even cutting down on features might not be enough to get Firefox 4 back on schedule.

Firefox-4

According to this publicly available schedule, Firefox 4 Beta 7 was supposed to arrive on Sept 17, and Beta 8 was supposed to land on October 1. However, both of these dates have come and gone, without any new Firefox 4 builds being released. Quite obviously, Mozilla also missed its target of achieving code freeze by Oct 15 in preparation of the RC (Release Candidate) release.

Firefox-4-Schedule

There’s still plenty of work left to be done. Just a couple of weeks back, Mozilla reported that it had 17 blockers (bugs that are major enough to prevent the release of a build) to deal with before the next beta release, and as many as 510 blockers to fix before they can move on to the RC stage. This has prompted Softpedia to speculate that Mozilla might not even manage to pull off the release by the end of this year.

How To Install Opera in Portable Mode

Opera@USB is an unofficial mod of Opera, which adapts the venerable browser for installation on removable drives (USB drives). However, with Opera 11, you don’t need to use a 3rd party tool to use Opera in portable mode.

Until now, Opera Software used to offer two different setups for Windows users – one was a Classic installer, and the other was an MSI installer. With Opera 11, Opera Software has done away with both, and is instead using a custom installer. Besides being incredibly fast, the new installer also has a major benefit – it includes a portable mode.

To install Opera 11 (and beyond) in portable mode, simply follow the following steps:

Opera-Portable-Options

  • Launch the installer and click on “Options”.
  • Set “Install path” as a location on the USB drive
  • Opera-Portable-External-Devices

  • Change the “Install for” option to “External Device”.

That’s it! This mode forces Opera to simply extract the files to the specified destination, without touching any system settings. Also, it makes Opera read its profile from the installation folder.

Opera 11 Extensions: Quick Preview

A short while ago, Opera Software released Opera 11, which finally introduced extension support the venerable desktop browser. Soon after launch, the extension gallery went down, so I wasn’t able to preview the extensions in my earlier article. Fortunately, Opera sorted out the issues quickly and the gallery is back online.

As mentioned earlier, extensions for Opera are simply web applications that adhere to the W3C Widget specifications. They are developed using existing web technologies, and interact with the browser through certain methods made available in the API. Opera expects their implementation to be secure and fast. In fact, all extensions submitted to the gallery will be checked to keep out the buggy and malicious ones.

Opera-11-Extension-Installation
Extension Installation

Installing as well as uninstalling extensions is a breeze. Like Chrome, Opera doesn’t require a restart for either installation or uninstallation. However, users upgrading over an existing installation should note that extensions don’t seem to get installed properly, if you are using a modified toolbar configuration.

Opera-11-Extension-Completed
Notification of Installation Completion

Extensions might or might not have a user interface. If the extension has a user interface, it is generally exposed through a button that brings up an overlay screen. The buttons can update themselves dynamically based on the context. For example, a reddit extension button can display the number of upvotes the currently open page has received. Installed extensions can be managed through a dedicated Extensions tab that can be opened from the Opera Menu. Surprisingly, there isn’t any panel for extensions. However, this will be probably added in the future.

Opera-11-Extension-Manager
Opera 11 Extensions Tab

To kick things off, Opera is showcasing about fifteen extensions for Opera 11. However, in terms of quality, the showcased extensions are frankly all over the place. Some of them are useful, some of them are interesting for demonstration purposes, and some of them are a bit pointless. Listed below are some of extensions I found useful:

i) Fastest Tube – YouTube Downloader: This extension is very similar to the Download YouTube Videos as MP4script for Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari. It simply adds a download button to YouTube video pages (next to the embed button). You can download the videos in standard or HD resolutions in FLV as well as MP4 formats.

ii) Translate: This extension is quite obviously inspired by the automatic translation feature of Google Chrome. Whenever you open a page that is not in English, a notification will appear offering to translate the website to English.

Opera-11-Extension-Translate
Opera 11 Extensions: Translate

iii) Reddited: It adds a button for quickly submitting a page to reddit. If the page has already been reddited, it will display the number of upvotes the page has received and link to the submission.

Opera-11-Extension-Reddited
Opera 11 Extensions: reddited

iv) miniFeed: This extension leverages the Facebook touch website to enable you to quickly check your Facebook stream and even post updates without having to open a new tab.

v) Opera to Phone: If you have an Android device (with FroYo), you can push any link from your Opera browser (for desktop) to the phone with this extension. Again, this functionality is quite obviously inspired by the Chrome to Phone extension provided by Google. In fact, it even utilizes the same Android app.

You can check out all the available extensions at addons.labs.opera.com/addons/extensions/. More extensions should start appearing soon. StumbleUpon and LastPass extensions are already under development. Don’t forget to share share your favourite extensions with us.

Opera 11 Alpha Released with Extension Support

The first alpha build of Opera 11 is here. Opera 11 boasts of all the benefits of the Opera 10.7 trunk, and introduces a major new feature – extensions. As revealed in last week’s Up North Web press event, Opera 11 finally allows developers to build add-ons that can interact with the browser and add new features.

Opera-11

To kick things off, the folks at Opera have created about fifteen extensions, which are available for installation from the Opera Extensions Gallery. Unlike Firefox, which allows extensions to pretty much configure any and every aspect of the browser, Opera’s Extensions are essentially web applications (written using HTML, CSS and JavaScript) that can interact with certain aspects of the browser exposed through the API. This is quite similar to the way Chrome handles extensions. As a result, extensions are expected to be more secure and have minimal impact on performance. If you are a developer, check out the video embedded below or head over to dev.opera.com for more information. It’s worth keeping in mind though that the API will in all likelihood be expanded in the future to support more functionality.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t check out any of the extensions first hand as at the time of writing this article, Opera’s extensions gallery was getting hammered and was unreachable.

Opera 11 will also benefit from the speed improvements introduced in the Opera 10.7 snapshots. Although, I didn’t conduct any benchmarks of my own, I expect Opera to hold onto its healthy lead over Chrome and other browsers in the performance department.

Opera-11
Browser Performance Benchmark (via BetaNews)

There are a few minor UI changes also. Again, anyone who used the 10.7 snapshots will already be familiar with these. Opera has added a new Mail Panel to quickly switch between different accounts or RSS Feed sources., and the personal bar has been replaced with a new bookmarks bar, which appears below the address bar.

Opera 11 continues Opera’s push towards supporting latest web technologies. New in this version is support for HTML5 server-sent events and websockets. Several dozen bugs have also been squished since the Opera 10.6 release.

You can download the alpha build for Windows, Mac and UNIX from opera.com/browser/next/.

Firefox 3.6.11 and 3.5.14 Released

With Firefox 4.0 hogging all the limelight, it’s easy to forget that most of the users are still using stable builds of Firefox 3.5 and 3.6. Earlier today, Mozilla pushed through a recommended security and stability update for both the trunks.

Firefox

As many as nine vulnerabilities have been fixed in this release, including five critical ones. This update also fixes numerous stability and performance issues – 40 in Firefox 3.6.11 and 23 in Firefox 3.5.14 to be exact. For more information about the fixed vulnerabilities refer to the bugzilla thread for Fx 3.6.11 and 3.5.14.

[ Download Firefox 3.6.11 | Download Firefox 3.5.14 ]

Mozilla Announces Open Web App Platform

Web is the future and the browser will make the operating system redundant. I am sure you have heard this argument before, and will probably hear it in the future. While I am still not sure about the web browser making the operating system insignificant, a lot of the big guys (especially browser manufacturers) are definitely convinced.

Back in 2006, Opera introduced widgets, which are essentially applications developed using existing web standards that can run on desktop, mobile phones and even other devices like television sets. Last year, Google announced their web-oriented operating system – Google Chrome OS. While the Chrome OS is yet to arrive, the Chrome Web Store is expected to launch pretty soon. And, just a couple of days back, Opera joined the Wholesale Application Community – an alliance of the world’s leading mobile operators working together to define, create and deploy a common mobile application platform that leverages the power of the web.

Open-Web-App-Platform

Now Mozilla has also jumped in and announced its own “Open Web App Platform“. Conceptually it’s very similar to Google’s Chrome App store. Developers can build applications using existing standards (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) and must include a special manifest file that confirms to the Open Web App platform specifications. After that the app can be installed and used from any operating system (desktop or mobile) that has a modern browser. Unlike Google’s offering, which is restricted to Chrome OS alone, Mozilla supports Internet Explorer 8, Chrome 6, Safari 5, Opera 10 and WebKit mobile.

Head over to appstore.mozillalabs.com to get a taste of what Mozilla is planning.

Opera 11 Coming Soon: Will Introduce Extensions

While Opera is the leading mobile web browser developer, it seems forever destined to be the little guy in the desktop segment. It’s fast, functional and secure, yet it has never quite managed to catch the fancy of a large section of internet users in the way Firefox and Chrome did.

In my honest opinion, the biggest chink in Opera’s armor has been extensibility. Sure, you can modify the toolbar, edit the context menu, install bookmarklets and buttons, and even play around with widgets; however, when it comes to really captivating and powerful extensions like StumbleUpon or LastPass, Opera doesn’t have an answer.

Extensions are something I have been requesting for a long long time. Opera always seemed to be reluctant to introduce an API due to security and performance concerns. Fortunately, the Norwegians have finally found a way to implement extensions without impacting performance or compromising security.

Opera-11

At its Up North Web press event, Opera Software revealed that extension support will be one of the new features in Opera 11. Opera Software is taking a leaf out of Chrome’s book when it comes to implementing their API. Opera extensions will be developed using open web standards like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. “Extensions will be based on the W3C Widget specifications and this is being considered for an Open Standard effort”, wrote Espen André Øverdahl, Opera’s community manager.

An alpha build of Opera 11 is expected to be released soon. In the meantime, check out this video from TechCrunch, which demonstrates Reddit, Wikipedia and StumbleUpon extensions for Opera.

How To Set Image As Wallpaper in Google Chrome

If you have been using , you might come across the lack of an option to set any image as a wallpaper in Chrome. This has been an annoyance for hundreds and thousands of users and as MG from TechCrunch points out, a bug filed with Chromium about the issue has tons and tons of comments.

Set Image As Wallpaper In Google Chrome

So how do you set an image as a wallpaper in Google Chrome? Quite simple, just use a new   created by one of the Chromium developers to add this feature to Google Chrome. The extension is called, Set Image as Wallpaper and can be downloaded from here.

Once you download and install the extension you will get an option to set any image you come across in Google Chrome as a desktop wallpaper. Have fun. This only works in Windows right now with a Linux and Mac version under works.

If you are expecting this feature to be part of Google Chrome out of the box, you are in for a disappointment, it’s not going to happen. And it hardly matters anyways. Look at me, I didn’t even notice that it had been missing for past two years Smile.

Google Chrome 8 Adds GPU Acceleration, Cloud Print and More

has hit another milestone with their development version. Google Chrome 8 now adds more features to the about:labs section including GPU Acceleration.

Google Chrome 8

Chrome 8 has added an option to leverage your graphics hardware for better graphic performance for the browser. You will have to visit about:labs in the browser to enable the new feature.

In addition to that, Chrome 8 also supports "cloud printing" also known as print from anywhere using the cloud. However, this feature is not yet fully functional. Chrome 8 development version has been updated for , Mac OS X and Linux.

If you want to try out the development version of Google Chrome, read our earlier guide on switching to Chrome development version.