Five Must Have Google Chrome Extensions

May 11th, 2010 |
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Last week, I reviewed some Firefox tips and tricks. Due to popular demand, today I’m going to outline some must have extensions for Google’s rising superstar: Google Chrome.

1. AdBlock: Like the one on Firefox, my favorite extension is available on Chrome. All modern browsers have built-in pop up blockers. That’s fine and all, but how about getting just the web content itself. No stupid banner ads. No offerings to lure your kids’ small attention spans (if you have kids). It’s almost like a “stupid” blocker. You won’t get in trouble by clicking on a link with huge tits flashing because you won’t ever see it.

2. Google Translate: Scouring the web for relevant information is usually like a treasure hunt. You find some good things and some shitty things. When you land on a page that’s in another language, you’re all like “Oh fuck” and plan to leave. But wait, don’t leave just yet. In the tech world, leaks are always coming out of China or Russia or some obscure forum somewhere. Use Google Translate to help you out. After setting your default language, Google Translate will automatically pop up in a little unobtrusive bar at the top of your browser when you visit a page that is not in your default language. It’ll ask you if you want to translate the page, and you can pick from many different languages. It’s perfect for the language-challenged. I once used it to translate a page about a dog and a bunny. It turns out the dog and bunny were, like, lovers or something… Read the rest of this entry »

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Raymond Wong

Ditch Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8

January 27th, 2010 |
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By now, just about everyone and their grandma knows about the whole Google versus China fiasco. News that big can’t be quelled; I’ll bet even the technology averse Amish know all about it.

What a lot of people don’t know is that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 (IE 6) played a role in helping hackers attack Google and essentially start up this entire debate on internet freedom. McAfee security experts discovered the attacks on Google, allegedly made from within the Chinese government, were made possible by security vulnerabilities in IE 6. The attacks on Google are now dubbed “Operation Aurora”. The code for the attacks was released to the public on Friday, January 15th.

According to McAfee, the security hole in IE 6 works by tricking a user into visiting a malicious website which then compromises their entire operating system, relinquishing control to an attacker lying in wait. Microsoft was notified and confirmed that the exploit was extremely dangerous.

Since last Thursday, January 21st, Microsoft has issued security patches for all versions of Internet Explorer, but the damage has already been done. In an interesting public relations stunt, they’re advising consumers to upgrade to Windows Vista or 7 as Aurora remains a bigger threat to computers running Windows 2000 or XP. Vista and Windows 7 have security patches that the other two do not. Microsoft has advised users to ditch the ancient IE 6 that is still installed on many machines.

If Microsoft telling you to give up on IE 6 and upgrade to IE 7 or IE 8 doesn’t phase you, then maybe information security organizations in Germany and France will. Officials from both countries have publicly advised all users to ditch IE 6.

Developers for open source web browsers must be cheering because it’s no longer a question of whether IE sucks or not. The answer is an overwhelming “IE SUCKS”.

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Raymond Wong