Safe Surfing and Email with Web of Trust

wot-icon[Windows, Mac, Linux] Web of Trust (WOT) is an addon or extension that identifies risky or dangerous links and websites while you are using your web browser. This addon is available for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers. There is also a bookmarklet for Browsers such as Opera and Safari.

Here’s what the WOT website says about their product:

Protect yourself from online scams, sites with adult content, spam and other Internet threats. The WOT community has rated millions of websites so you can search, shop online and surf for fun without worrying.

When the WOT addon is installed in a web browser, it displays safety information about web sites in two different ways.

First, there will be a WOT icon at the top of the browser next to the address bar. It will be colored green, yellow or red to show you the general rating of the web page you are currently viewing.

wot-ratings

If you click on this icon, you’ll be able to see more details about the ratings.

wot-ratings-for-techiebuzz

The detailed ratings are broken down into four categories: Trustworthiness, Vendor Reliability, Privacy and Child Safety. As you can see, Techie Buzz is a winner in all four areas.

The second way that WOT displays it’s ratings is while you are searching at one of the popular web search engines. Ratings are shown for Google, Yahoo, Ask, Bing and Froogle.

wot-in-google

As you can see, there is a colored icon next to each search result. Clicking on the icons there also gives you more detailed information about each site. You won’t have to worry if it’s safe to click on search results once you have WOT installed.

Some online email services are also covered by the link identification from WOT. Here’s what my Gmail looks like in Firefox. This also seems to work in Yahoo Mail, Live Mail and AOL Mail.

wot-in-gmail

The WOT addon will make your online email far safer to use.

Downloads:

Download the WOT addons for Firefox, IE and Chrome

The WOT Bookmarklet for Opera and Safari

For those who don’t wish to install anything at all in their browser, I’ve found an online search engine which uses WOT to rate the search results.

Safe Search:

Try SurfCanyon’s WOT Search

Techie Buzz Verdict:

There are several other services that offer similar addons or toolbars to make surfing more safe. WOT is my favorite and it supports the widest range of web browsers.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5

Block Flash Animations in Google Chrome Browser

Today, I decided to look for a Flash blocking extension for the Chrome web browser. One of the web sites that I visit frequently had decided to add a very loud flash advertisement. I couldn’t turn it off or ignore it.

I went to the Chrome Extension Gallery and I found a very good flash blocking extension. It’s called FlashBlock.

flashblock-ext-gallery

Go here to install FlashBlock

How does it work?

Once installed, Flash animations will show as a grayed out icon in your browser window. To view them, just click on them once.

FlashBlocked

You’ll also see a little Flash icon up in the browser’s address bar. You can click on the little icon to add sites to a list of sites that you don’t want to block Flash on.

flashblock-allow

The Chrome web browser is now my default web browser. I made the decision based on speed and also on security. Take a look at Chinmoy’s post here about the Pwn2Own contest, in which Google Chrome was the only browser that was not hacked. Since Adobe Flash is a big source of security exploits, blocking all Flash by default is also a good security measure.

Are you using some other web browser?

You will be ready to surf faster and safer by using a Flash blocking addon. I’m guessing that you won’t miss Flash on most websites.

See also:

Can You Hide Your Web Browser While Surfing at Work or School?

If you have to sneak around, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. You could get fired or expelled. However, there is one way to hide your surfing from other people as they walk past your computer. GhostZilla was designed to help with this exact problem.

ghost-from-clif What is GhostZilla? It’s a web browser that behaves like a scared chameleon. It blends into your desktop windows so well that anyone who’s more than 2 feet away won’t even see it at first. If someone is looking, a single mouse movement causes GhostZilla to disappear completely.

GhostZilla is a modified version of the Mozilla web browser, which is no longer supported. The Mozilla and Netscape browsers are the parents of the modern Firefox browser. You could say GhostZilla is an aging uncle to Firefox. The main feature of GhostZilla is that it appears inside the window frame of any application window that’s on top at the time.

Here’s what it looks like before you launch –

ghostzilla-word-0-large

– and after you launch GhostZilla, you see this.

ghostzilla-word-1-large

While you are surfing, you’ll notice that the text is displayed in a low contrast mode, and gray images will only appear as you hover your mouse over them.

monochrome-image-google

When you want GhostZilla to disappear, just move the mouse out of the window and it disappears, leaving behind the original window.

ghost-zilla-mouse-moves

To get GhostZilla back, you need to move your mouse all the way to the left edge of the display screen, then back to the right edge, and finally back to the left edge once again. Suddenly, GhostZilla should re-appear in the current active window.

There are a few problems with GhostZilla as it currently stands.
• It’s an abandoned project
• The original website is no longer there
• It doesn’t work as well in Vista/Win7 (XP is fine)
• It’s pretty big – 26mb

GhostZilla is a free and open source (FOSS) portable app. You can download it, unzip it and run it from a folder, flash memory stick, USB thumb drive or CD. To start GhostZilla, double click the Start-Ghostzilla-CD.exe file.

There is a current add-on project, named GhostFox, which is trying to duplicate the features of GhostZilla in the Firefox browser. However, I have not been able to get it to work because of add-on compatibilities. Once this add-on is working, it should be the ideal way to go.

If anyone out there has the time, I’d like to see a portable version of Firefox with the GhostFox add-on enabled and running by default. Be sure to let us know if you succeed.

Download GhostZilla:

http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=681

Techie Buzz Verdict:

GhostZilla is a great idea that isn’t great for everyone at this time. It’s old, it’s big and it’s no longer supported. However, some of you may find it useful. Remember that I warned you not to secretly do your web surfing at work or school.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

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 eWeek.com 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. OpenOffice.org, 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. :)

CometBird – Mozilla Based Powerful Browser

CometBird

CometBird is a lightweight, yet powerful browser,   developed using the source codes of Mozilla Firefox, the open source browser. Hence, it comes with all amazing features of Firefox. Moreover, all the Firefox add-ons and extensions are compatible with CometBird.

CometBird has some advance utilities and functionality which make it a fantastic browser. Here are some of the cool features in CometBird:

  • CometBird comes with a pre-installed add-on BitComet Video downloader. Users can download media files (video/audio/flash) from any site with this utility.

Built-in Media Downloader

  • CometBird has an integrated bookmark synchronization tool: CometMarks. It works exactly as the Xmarks and Chrome’s sync feature. Users need to signup for a CometMarks account to use this service. CometMarks also works with Internet Explorer and Firefox. Moreover, users can easily import their bookmarks from Google Bookmarks.
  • All Firefox add-ons, extensions and Personas work smoothly with CometBird.

Firefox add-ons are compatible with CometBird

  • Easy import wizard for importing browser options, cookies, history and favorites from Internet Explorer.
  • CometBird has an integrated note taking tool and translator. Translator uses Google translate’s technology.
  • Undo Close Tabbutton to re-open recently closed tabs, adjacent to Home button on navigation toolbar.
  • Supports AwesomeBar, pop-up blocker, one-click clearing private data, anti-malware and customized security settings etc., similar to Firefox.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Hence, CometBird is a really cool browser. If you love using Firefox, you will also love CometBird. CometBird is the best alternative of Firefox, and you can choose it as your secondary browser.

Techie Buzz Rating : 5/5

Link: CometBird

Create Goo.gl Short URL’s with a Bookmarklet

goo_gl_logo Earlier today, Amit posted a note here, which told you about a Firefox add-on to create short URLs with Goo.gl. My immediate thought was:

How can I create Goo.gl links if I’m not using Firefox?

I wasn’t a bit surprised to find an answer at Marklets.com, one of my favorite spots to grab new bookmarklets. Bookmarklets will usually work in any modern web browser. If you don’t know what bookmarklets are, see this FAQ.

Now, I’ll part the curtain to display the Goo.gl Bookmarklet:

goo.gl bookmarklet

Drag the link above and drop it onto your web browser’s Bookmarks Toolbar, or right click and copy the address, then create a new bookmark. You can then move it to your bookmarks toolbar folder.

To use the Goo.gl bookmarklet, all you have to do is click the bookmarklet in your toolbar when you are at a page that you want to shorten the URL for. Here’s what you’ll see when you click the bookmarklet.

goo_gl_bookmarklet_shot

After the popup appears, highlight the short URL and copy it.

Here at Techie Buzz, we have also posted several other useful bookmarklets and links to lists of bookmarklets. You can find our posts about bookmarklets here.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

This bookmarklet could use some work. It would be nice if there were an easier way to grab the short URL instead of highlighting and copying. I also have to question the use of Goo.gl for shortening website addresses. Currently, there are far better URL shortening services out there, such as bit.ly and others we’ve mentioned before.

Techie Buzz Rating: 2/5 (Below Average)

Internet Explorer 8 Is The Name

Well many of us cringe when they hear about Internet Explorer but the real fact is that it performs better when memory comes into the question. Nirmal has done an extensive test on browsers to come up the fact that Firefox uses up the most memory among browsers.

I have been using IE7 along with Firefox for a long time. The reason I started using both the browsers was because I started up a new account for Google AdSense which could not be accessed within the same browser.

I had used the beta version of IE7 before for quite some time and I can tell you all the beta versions were crap. The browser either crashed or did something it was not supposed to.

The final version of IE7 is much more stable and performs much better than most of the other browsers. Well what more we are now going to get nextG of Internet Explorer Browser which is now officially called Internet Explorer 8.

Continue reading Internet Explorer 8 Is The Name