The Firefox web browser has been my main Internet browser for the past years. Some time ago I decided to disable the Flash plugin in the browser, which sometimes led to a situation where I had to use a different browser to access Flash contents on the Internet. My browser for choice for those situations is the Google Chrome web browser, which ships with am integrated version of Adobe Flash.
Whenever I encounter Flash contents in Firefox, a video, game or presentation for instance, I copy and paste the web address into Chrome to access the contents there.
The Firefox extension Open in Chrome has made this process a tad easier by eliminating the need to copy and paste the web address.
Once installed in Firefox, it can be used to send the active tab, or all open tabs of the active browsing window, to a version of Chrome that is available on the system. The extension tries to pick up the correct version of the browser automatically, and provides you with the means to pick a different location in the preferences.
Advertisements are important to finance the free distribution of high-quality content on the internet. However, some websites are loaded with annoying banners and intrusive popups, so surfing the internet has become quite annoying on these sites. Adblocking extensions for Google Chrome therefore are becoming increasingly popular.
Which is the best adblocker?
The two most popular extensions in the Chrome Webstore currently are “AdBlock” and “Adblock Plus”. Both extensions promise to do the same thing: Block all ads on every website. But what is the difference between the two, and which one is the better adblocker?
AdBlock was originally created for Google Chrome. It is the older one of the two and still has more users. Adblock Plus was only recently ported to Google Chrome, but the numbers of users are growing quickly. In no time, it has become the second most popular of all Chrome extensions. It is the equivalent to Adblock Plus for Firefox, with more than 120 million downloads, and is the most popular browser addon in the world. Chrome Adblock Plus is based on the same code as the Firefox version which has been developed for years as an open-source project by an international community of voluntary helpers.
When comparing the two extensions, it is noticeable that Adblock Plus has a much more sophisticated code base. While both adblockers have the same effectiveness in blocking ads, Adblock Plus is more stable and doesn’t cause the browser to slow down. Also, on video websites such as youtube.com, the normal blocking mechanism doesn’t work for ads embedded in the video. Adblock Plus has implemented a workaround so that blocking those ads becomes possible. So while both extensions do a great job, Adblock Plus works a bit faster and more reliably.
Setting up Adblock Plus
You can download Adblock Plus from the Chrome Webstore or the official Chrome Adblock Plus website. Setup takes only a few seconds, once installed, all ads are gone automatically. During setup you will receive a warning that extensions can access private data, such as your browsing history – this is a standard warning in Chrome for all extensions that modify webpages. Adblock Plus does not actually infringe on the user’s privacy.
After the installation, Adblock Plus does its job quietly in the background and no actions from the user are required. However, if you want to support a website such as techie-buzz.com you can easily disable Adblock Plus from blocking ads on this particular domain. Just click on the ABP logo in the right corner of the address bar and uncheck the “Enabled for this site” tickbox. This way, creators of great content don’t miss out on advertising revenues, while all ads on other websites are still blocked.
Add additional filter lists
Adblock Plus itself doesn’t block anything – the elements that are blocked are determined by filter rules. Advanced users can add filters themselves. Users without the time or knowledge to create filter rules can subscribe to one or more of many free filter lists. In the default setting, the “EasyList” is enabled, which blocks all ads on websites. If a user wants to block additional elements, such as malware domains, advertiser tracking or social bookmark buttons, the respective filter list needs to be added manually. Many free filter subscriptions can be found here.
To add a filter lists, it’s URL needs to be inserted into the Adblock Plus interface using copy & paste. After having copied a filter list’s URL, the user needs to right-click on the ABP icon and choose “Options” and the “Filter lists” tab. There you will find a field to add the filter list’s URL. By pasting the URL and clicking the “Add URL” button, the user has subscribed to the filter list.
For example, if you want to get rid of all Facebook like-buttons, you just need to add the Antisocial list by adding the following URL to your filter lists:
The next time you visit a website such as techie-buzz.com, all social bookmarking buttons will be gone. This is especially useful for users who never bookmark anything or are concerned about their privacy, because Facebook is well known to track and store user data from visits to websites which have the like-button implemented.
The “Questions” feature in Facebook may be useful to some folks, but I don’t find it useful for a couple of reasons.
First, the questions are more geared towards fun and virality rather than usefulness. I agree that the nature of questions depends on the people you’re connected to but I have hardly seen anyone praising the usefulness of Facebook questions.
Second, whenever there is a world event like the Royal wedding or the launch of a new gadget, my timeline suddenly gets filled with dozens of irrelevant questions in which I have no interest at all. Worst thing is that the same question appears multiple times in the timeline, whenever there is a new answer or someone posts a comment to the question
And the notifications.“Mr X has answered Mr Y’s question”. After a while, this gets really annoying and the sad part is that Facebook does not allow you to block Facebook questions like you can block a particular application, game, invites or a user.
Here is what the FAQ page reads
As with other Facebook applications like Photos and Events, there is no way to turn off Questions.
If you’re fed up with the spammy nature of Facebook questions and want to turn off the clutter, try the Hide Facebook Questions extension for Google Chrome. The extension hides every evidence of the “Questions” feature so your news feed doesn’t get cluttered with polls.Once installed, you will need to refresh Google Chrome and the Questions feature will vanish from your timeline.
And so will the notifications that used to come when one of your friends answered a question asked by another Facebook friend of yours.
Firefox fans can try the more advanced FB purity add-on which lets you fix some other annoyances apart from hiding Facebook questions in Firefox. For example, FB Purity allows you to use the older Facebook commenting system, where pressing Enter or Return adds a new line to your comment, and pressing the “Comment” button submits the comment.
Both the browser extensions works out of the box – there are no options to configure and nothing to tweak.