Tag Archives: Safari

DoNotTrackPlus Gives The Boot To Nosy Internet Trackers

imageSeveral weeks back, I received an invitation from CNET to join a dating website designed especially for those that are 50 years old – or more. OK, it wasn’t exactly an invitation  – it was, in fact, an ad inserted into one of my subscribed  CNET newsletters.

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So what – no big deal you may be thinking. But from my perspective, it is a big deal – here’s why.

In the years that I’ve been Internet connected – 18 years or more – I’ve never referred to, or listed, my actual age (other than to make the point, from time to time, that I’ve been at the computing game for a very long time). Nor, have I ever referred to my marital status (other than in a humorous way in re-commenting on a reader’s initial comment – perhaps).

As it turns out – I am over 50, and I am a bachelor. So, in reality, CNET targeted me precisely. The question is – how did CNET know to target me so effectively and efficiently?

A partial answer is – CNET spies. The fact that CNET spies on site visitors is hardly news. Nor is it news, that the majority of commercial websites engage in spying on site visitors.

SPYING – such a loaded word. Instead of “spying”, let me use a series of descriptors handily thrown around by those engaged in spying on my privacy.

Predictive analytics, customer profiling, customer segmentation, predictive modeling, lifestyle clustering……. all done for my own benefit, of course (according to the intruders). There, now I feel better about being profiled, segmented, and clustered. Not!

I’m certainly not a Luddite and, I understand the cost/benefit associated with using the Internet. But, the rules (such as they were) have changed dramatically in the last year or two. The Data Miner is now on the scene, and gobbling up personal information at a prodigious rate.

Webopedia definition – The two most common forms of data miners are data mining programs that an organization uses to analyze its own data to look for significant patterns, and spyware programs that are uploaded to a user’s computer to monitor the user’s activity and send the data back to the organization, typically so that the organization can send the user targeted advertising.

In a real sense then, it isn’t so much that CNET is aware that I’m 50 plus, or that I’m single that is at issue – since CNET could not/did not develop the specific information I referred to earlier. Instead, this information was undoubtedly culled by any one, or more, of the data miners that have infected the Internet and, using “predictive modeling” rolled out a “best guess” that I’m in my fifties and single.

And that makes me feel not only “profiled, segmented, and clustered” but, as if I’ve been “diced and sliced”. I have, in essence, become a product. A product, I’m afraid, that’s closing in on its “best before date”.    Smile

A product that LiveIntent, working on behalf of CNET, targeted based on (according to the company’s site), gender, age, geo, browser, and time of day. I should point out, that according to LiveIntent’s promotional material, the foregoing “is just the tip of the iceberg”. Of that, I have no doubt.

The other side of the coin is – and there is another side of the coin – Internet users (by and large), have been trained to accept a tradeoff in order to get access to “free” information and services. In return – they buy into the condition that each commercial site they visit has the right to spy and build a profile on their browsing habits – the type of sites they visit and revisit, time spent on sites, their shopping and spending habits, their political views, their marital status (it appears), and much more. Some tradeoff!

In the long term, the personal information gathered will be sold, bartered and traded (to bypass the disclaimer – “we will not sell your information”), so that it can be used in multiple ways that generate profit. And, that’s the upside. If there’s one thing the Internet has taught us, it’s – if information can be abused – it will be abused.

If you’re like me, and you staunchly oppose the collection of your personal information, then you’re likely aware of any number of Browser tools which claim to shutout nosy data miners. In fact, I’ve reviewed many of these tools here.

One free tool which I haven’t reviewed until now (although, I wish I had earlier) is DoNotTrackPlus – a free Browser add-on from Abine (the online privacy company).

In the several weeks I’ve been running with DoNotTrackPlus, I’ve found that this add-on lives up to it’s reputation for excellence.

The following screen captures emphasize just how pervasive online tracking has become. And, more importantly, how DoNotTrackPlus puts the boots to these invasive parasitic data miners.

A selected result, from earlier today, while reading my local newspaper online.

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Cumulative results since installing this add-on. You’ll note, the rather staggering tracking company total.

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Abine’s Internet privacy view:

There is a huge difference between sharing personal information and having it taken. That’s why we’ve created Internet tools and services for those who want a say in how and when their information is used. And since we think exercising your right to online privacy should be easy, our solutions allow regular people just like you to regain and maintain control over their personal information – while continuing to enjoy all the wonderful things the web has to offer.

If you find yourself agreeing with this concept – and, you want a say in how and when your privileged information is used – take DoNotTrackPlus for a test drive. I suspect that you’ll be reluctant, in future, to surf the Internet without DoNotTrackPlus in place.

Fast facts:

Free tool that puts you back in control of your information.

Stops more than 600 trackers.

When you visit a website DoNotTrackPlus blocks tracking technologies from:

· Seeing and collecting your web activity such as what sites you visit and what you view.

· Putting cookies on your machine that would continue to store information about your Internet browsing.

· Displaying ads with tracking capability, including the annoying ads that seem to follow you everywhere you go.

Compatible with Mac or PC for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

Automatically updates to catch new trackers.

Download at the developer’s site: Abine

Click on the graphic below to view a video of DoNotTrackPlus in action.

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Additional information is available on the company’s FAQ site.

17 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Online Privacy, Safari

Is Awesome Screenshot Browser Add-on, Really Awesome?

So, is Awesome Screenshot, a screen capture add-on for Firefox 4.0 (which I recently installed), Chrome, and Safari really awesome? If you’re an active Blogger and you have a need to capture web graphics, or you’re the type of web enthusiast who likes to share unique content, then I think you’ll agree that it just might be.

Using Awesome Screenshot by activating its Browser toolbar push button icon

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(which launches the add-on’s toolbar), you can capture a visible part, a selected part, or an entire web page. You then have the option to annotate the screen capture with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and even text.

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Sample Capture

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Saving the image to your Hard Drive, or sharing – by uploading the image to the Pict image hosting site, is a snap. In the following illustration, I’ve uploaded the sample capture to http://awesomescreenshot.com/0879qyp64, which, when clicked, (try it), opens the following.

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This neat add-on doesn’t stop there though. You can share your capture on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Buzz – and even email it with Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail.

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Fast facts:

Capture

  • Capture visible part
  • Capture any region
  • Capture the whole page
  • Crop any portion and show crop dimension

Annotate

  • Annotate it with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and text
  • Erase the sensitive information with blur tool

Share

  • One-click Upload the screenshot to awesomescreenshot.com
    and get a sharable link
  • Hard to guess URL to allow private sharing
  • Share the link to Twitter, Facebook, email etc.

To see  Awesome Screenshot in action, watch this YouTube video.

Compatible with: Firefox 4.0, Chrome, Safari.

Download at: Mozilla, or the developer’s site.

Note: No restart required for Firefox 4.0 add-on.

Just a quick word on Firefox 4.0, which I’ve been running for a few weeks.

Contrary to most of the hype I’ve been reading regarding Firefox 4.0 which attempts to reposition Firefox 4.0 as the “reinvention” of the Browser, it’s simple not so.

Yes, there are major differences under the hood in this latest version, some of which you may find valuable, but in terms of productivity increases, I doubt if an average user will notice. For example, I have a very high end Video Card which Firefox 4.0 is designed to take advantage of – I have yet to see any improvement in performance based on this.

The following type of pseudo scientific testing is misleading, and really just twists reality out of shape – “performance tests on the Kraken, SunSpider and V8 benchmarks, for example, Firefox 4 blew away previous versions of the browser, with performance results between three and six times better.” The test results may be accurate, but unless you can count in milliseconds, I doubt if you’ll notice any appreciable increase in speed.

Nevertheless, if you’re a Firefox user, you do need to upgrade for security reasons. But don’t expect that you’ll be walking into a new and exciting Browser world.

With all the new releases, upgrades, and what have you in the Browser market in the last few weeks, and the accompany trumpeting of “were the best”, “we’re the fastest”, “we’ve got the best technology”, ad nauseam – it very much reminded me of children bragging in the school yard.

It would be helpful for average users if certain tech journalists, and the product developers, stopped trying to “sell” browsers as if they were used cars, it seems to me.

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Filed under Blogging Tools, Browser add-ons, Browsers, Chrome Add-ons, downloads, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Gmail, Google Chrome, Image Editors, Interconnectivity, Safari, Safari add-ons, Screen Capture Utilities, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Replace Gmail’s Ads With Rapportive – A Free Social Network Tool

If you use Gmail, then you know that it can be difficult to ignore the mass of Ads which Google salts into your Inbox pane. I hear from many Gmail users that they find these Ads both annoying, and distracting. On the other hand, it’s fair to say, that there are those who find the Ads provide useful links and products.

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There are a number of ways to stop these Ads from running, if you find them annoying. If you’re a Firefox user install the WebMail Ad Blocker add-on. Or, if you’re a Chrome user install the Chrome extension – Hide Gmail Ads. Instead of the Ads, you will be left with white space.

Rather than simply letting the white space sit there uselessly, you can put it to work. Rapportive, a Browser plugin which is compatible with Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, replaces Google’s Ads with available information on the sender and the email address, which can include – who they are, where they’re located, what they do, and any additional information which is available from social network sites.

It wouldn’t be reasonable (given privacy considerations), to show Rapportive at work using a contact as an example, so I’ve used a test email to myself to illustrate.

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While Rapportive may not be for everyone, for socially active users I see it as a worthwhile “keep in touch” tool, since it keys in on social networks. At a personal level, since I receive quite a number of emails from technology companies every day, I’ve found the information Rapportive provides, very helpful.

I now have much more information regarding the company, and company contact person, than I had access to previously, which allows contact on a more personal level – always a good thing in business.

Operating Systems: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7.

Requirements: Gmail account; Firefox, Safari, Mailplane, Chrome.

Download at: Rapportive

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4 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Browser Plug-ins, Chrome, Chrome Add-ons, downloads, Email, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Gmail, Google, Google Chrome, Interconnectivity, Safari add-ons, Social Networks, Software

Get Cooliris – You Don’t know What You’re Missing

If you don’t have Cooliris installed on your computer, you could be missing out on the best of what the web has to offer.

Web 2.0 has given us new and exciting ways to utilize the and interact with the Internet. I have to admit, when I stop to consider the benefits of Web 2.0, and the applications that got us here, one of the first applications that comes to mind is Cooliris.

Sure, we have Twitter and FaceBook, but in my view, these are just two of the social utilities that have been overhyped to the max, and which continue to be, along with many other social networking applications, natural gateways for cybercriminals.

Cooliris, on the other hand, is a wonderfully fluid and superbly crafted free add-on for Safari, FireFox, and Internet Explorer, which allows me to interact with the Internet in ways I never considered possible on a web browser.

Cooliris 5

Cooliris 9

What the developers have to say:

“It’s simply the fastest and most stunning way to browse photos and videos from the Web or your desktop. Effortlessly scroll an infinite “3D Wall” of your content without having to click page to page, whether you’re on Facebook, Google Images, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Kodak Gallery, or any supported site. Or channel surf the latest news, TV episodes, movies, and music videos – all from within Cooliris”.

Expand your own Internet horizons, download and install Cooliris, and while you’re at it, if you’re a FireFox user, download Cooliris Previews (almost 9,000,000 downloads to date). You’ll be glad you did.

Fast facts:

Search

It’s the fastest way to search Google Image Search, YouTube, Flickr, Hulu, online retailers, and other sites. Zip through search results on the 3D Wall with our search function. Switch engines effortlessly without having to re-enter the search term.

Cooliris 6

Works with hundreds of sites

Cooliris is built around the industry standard Media RSS format, and works on hundreds of sites across the Web.

Slideshows

Double clicking an image or pressing the toggle button brings you to full screen slideshow mode. There, you can play, pause, fast forward, and rewind at will.

Channels: News & Entertainment

Hulu, ESPN, BBC, SonyBMG, MSN, and more …Catch the latest news, sports, and entertainment. Even enjoy full-length movies and TV episodes.

Preferences

Customize the look and feel of Cooliris – modify the number of rows, background image, wall angle, slideshow speed and more!

Local File Support

Quickly find and view photos stored on your computer. Enjoy images from your Hard Drive, Desktop, iPhoto, and more.

Sharing

Share stuff with friends by dragging and dropping content from the 3D Wall. You can share as many items as you’d like, and even add a personal message.

3D Window Shopping

Window shop some of the world’s largest retailers by comparing products visually on the Cooliris 3D Wall. Highlight an item to learn the price or click the shopping cart icon to jump to the corresponding product page of the retailer.

Cooliris 4

Jump to Page

A picture tells a thousands words, but sometimes you just want to see the detailed story behind it all. Cooliris makes that easy. A click of a button lets you toggle between Cooliris and the corresponding web page of any item.

System Requirements: Windows XP, Vista, OSX: Mac OS X: 10.5-10.6.x (operates in 32-bit browser mode), Linux: Ubuntu 8.04+, Fedora 10.0+, OpenSuse 11+

Download at: Cooliris

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

Comments Off on Get Cooliris – You Don’t know What You’re Missing

Filed under Browser add-ons, Cell Phone Apps, Digital Media, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Photo Tools, Safari add-ons, social networking, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Cooliris – A Cool to the Max Browser Add-on

If you don’t have Cooliris installed on your computer you’re missing out on the best of what the web has to offer.

Web 2.0 has given us new and exciting ways to utilize the and interact with the Internet. I have to admit, when I stop to consider the benefits of Web 2.0, and the applications that got us here, the first application that comes to my mind is Cooliris.

Not Twitter, and not FaceBook, which, in my view, are just two of the social utilities that have been overhyped to the max, and which continue to be, along with many other social networking applications, tremendous gateways for cybercriminals.

Cooliris, on the other hand is a wonderfully fluid and superbly crafted free add-on for Safari, FireFox, and Internet Explorer, which allows me to interact with the Internet in ways I never considered possible on a web browser.

Cooliris 5

The developers of this free Internet Browser add-on, as well as being the developers of Cooliris Previews, a tool I couldn’t function without, on the Web, are a very talented group of people with true insight into how to create and develop tools to expand our internet horizons.

Expand your own Internet horizons, download and install Cooliris, and while you’re at it, if you’re a FireFox user, download Cooliris Previews. You’ll be glad you did.

Fast facts: (from the Cooliris site)

Search

It’s the fastest way to search Google Image Search, YouTube, Flickr, Hulu, online retailers, and other sites. Zip through search results on the 3D Wall with our search function. Switch engines effortlessly without having to re-enter the search term.

Cooliris 6

Works with hundreds of sites

Cooliris is built around the industry standard Media RSS format, and works on hundreds of sites across the Web.

Slideshows

Double clicking an image or pressing the toggle button brings you to full screen slideshow mode. There, you can play, pause, fast forward, and rewind at will.

Channels: News & Entertainment

Hulu, ESPN, BBC, SonyBMG, MSN, and more …Catch the latest news, sports, and entertainment. Even enjoy full-length movies and TV episodes.*

Preferences

Customize the look and feel of Cooliris – modify the number of rows, background image, wall angle, slideshow speed and more!

Local File Support

Quickly find and view photos stored on your computer. Enjoy images from your Hard Drive, Desktop, iPhoto, and more.

Sharing

Share stuff with friends by dragging and dropping content from the 3D Wall. You can share as many items as you’d like, and even add a personal message.

3D Window Shopping

Window shop some of the world’s largest retailers by comparing products visually on the Cooliris 3D Wall. Highlight an item to learn the price or click the shopping cart icon to jump to the corresponding product page of the retailer.

Cooliris 4

Jump to Page

A picture tells a thousands words, but sometimes you just want to see the detailed story behind it all. Cooliris makes that easy. A click of a button lets you toggle between Cooliris and the corresponding web page of any item.

Favorites

Keep track of the best items in Cooliris by adding it to your own custom feed!

Maximize/Restore

Toggle between full screen and tabbed mode.

System Requirements: Cooliris currently supports FireFox (Windows XP/Vista and Mac), Internet Explorer, and Safari (Mac), iPhone

For a Cooliris video preview checkout YouTube

Download at: Cooliris

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Filed under Browser add-ons, Digital Media, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Graphic Software, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Mobile Applications, Multimedia Tools, Safari add-ons, social networking, Software, Website Previews, Windows Tips and Tools

Cooliris Browser Add-on – Awesome Picture-in-a-Picture Web Surfing

Cooliris is a wonderfully fluid and superbly crafted free add-on for Safari, FireFox, and Internet Explorer, which will take you to places you never thought possible on a web browser.

If you want Picture-in-a-Picture browsing, with a cool free browser add-on that that gives you the power to preview links and rich media content without clicking the link, or leaving your current page, then Cooliris is for you.

(Click pic for larger)

With Cooliris, just place your mouse cursor over your link, or over the Cooliris icon, and a customizable preview window of the website that the link points to instantly appears with the content; page view, image view, or even video.

You can fully interact with the preview window; play the video, click on links, fill out forms, and more. In fact, you can interact with the preview just as if you had the full page open. Opening the full page is easy; just click the Cooliris full page icon and you’re there.

(Click pic for larger)

Using Cooliris is a great way to save time and reduce the drudgery involved in trying to determine which search results are worth investigating. Cooliris lets you take a quick look at each link to see if it’s worthwhile investigating further.

I use this add-on frequently as I build a web page, or when writing a Blog posting, to ensure that all included links are working. Cooliris definitely increases my productivity; what a time saver!

It’s no wonder Mozilla lists this neat little tool as a recommended FireFox add-on, and also includes it in its most popular list of browser add-ons.

Quick facts:

Preview web links, images, and videos without even clicking

View photos in full-screen mode

Drag, click, and zoom into a “3D Wall” interface

Search for web images

Play a slideshow of image search results and photo albums

Fly through 1000s of images in a split second

Instantly send links to friends and family with just a click.

Automatically search Google, Wikipedia, or virtually any searchable website by right-clicking on any phrase

Customize Cooliris to control preview window activation

iPhone compatible

(Click pic for larger)

Expand your own Internet horizons, download and install Cooliris. You’ll be glad you did.

System Requirements: Cooliris currently supports FireFox (Windows XP/Vista and Mac), Internet Explorer, and Safari (Mac).

For a Cooliris video preview checkout YouTube

Download at: Cooliris

4 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Browsers, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Mobile Applications, Portable Applications, Safari add-ons, Software, Timesaving Tips, Website Previews, Windows Tips and Tools

Cooliris Previews – The Best Browser Add-on? – Picture-in-a-Picture Web Surfing

Get Picture-in-a-Picture browsing with a cool free browser add-on that that gives you the power to preview links and rich media content without clicking the link, or leaving your current page.

cooliris.jpg

With Cooliris, just place your mouse cursor over your link, or over the Cooliris icon, and a customizable preview window of the website that the link points to instantly appears with the content; page view, image view, or even video.

You can fully interact with the preview window; play the video, click on links, fill out forms, and more. In fact, you can interact with the preview just as if you had the full page open. Opening the full page is easy; just click the Cooliris full page icon and you’re there.

Using Cooliris is a great way to save time and reduce the drudgery involved in trying to determine which search results are worth investigating.  Cooliris lets you take a quick look at each link to see if it’s worthwhile investigating further.

I use this add-on frequently as I build a web page, or when writing a Blog posting, to ensure that all included links are working. Cooliris definitely increases my productivity; what a time saver!

It’s no wonder Mozilla lists this neat little tool as a recommended Firefox add-on, and also includes it in its most popular list of browser add-ons.

Quick facts: 

  • Preview web links, images, and videos
  • Stack previewed items into temporary bookmarks
  • Instantly send links to friends and family with just a click.
  • Automatically sub search Google, Wikipedia, or just about any searchable website by right-clicking on any phrase
  • Customize Cooliris to control preview window activation

 

Supported Browsers: Firefox, Safari, IE, Flock

The Safari 2.0 version works only on Google, (Web, Images, News, Groups, Froogle), Yahoo!, AOL, Ask, Flickr, Newsvine, BBC News, CNN News, Craigslist, eBay, Del.icio.us and RSS feeds.

Safari 3.0 and Internet Explorer 7.0 are not yet supported.

For a Cooliris video preview checkout YouTube

Download at: Cooliris Previews

1 Comment

Filed under Browser add-ons, Browsers, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Safari add-ons, Search Engines, Timesaving Tips, Website Previews, Windows Tips and Tools