HTTPS Everywhere: Force Open Secure Connection in Firefox and Chrome

It is a well-known fact that unprotected HTTP protocol is prone to hijacks, HTTPS provides better security.  However, while some web sites support HTTPS protocol, only HTTP is set as default.  Some web sites provides HTTPS protocol support but the pages also contain links to unprotected HTTP pages.

Today’s featured browser extension is HTTPS Everywhere, one that forces your Firefox and Chrome web browser to use HTTPS protocol on supported web sites.

 

HTTPS Everywhere: Auto-rewrite of Requests to HTTPS

HTTPS Everywhere - Electronic Frontier Foundation

HTTPS Everywhere has a Firefox add-on as well as a Chrome extension.  What it does is to automatically re-write all requests to unsecured HTTP pages to HTTPS, if HTTPS is supported.  Currently over 1400 web sites are supported, on these web sites this tool knows where to enable HTTPS on all supported parts of the site.  In other words, HTTPS Everywhere does not create the security features, it only enables them when available, so that you don’t have to find the link to secured log-in or the option to enable HTTPS protocol.

The new Chrome extension is currently in beta version.  The Firefox version has one particularly useful feature that is yet to appear in Chrome, Decentralized SSL Observatory.  This function, once enabled, detects encryption weaknesses and tells you when you browse a web site with a security vulnerability.  In other words, it points out security issued as you surf.  This is useful to web surfers as well as web designers who could quickly identify potential security holes.

 

Official Site: https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere

Accessibility Extensions for Chrome and Chrome OS (Google Chrome Tutorial)

Internet is the most effective communication tool nowadays, yet due to limitation in technologies, some people with varying degrees of accessibility issues may be unable to enjoy the internet as much as we do.  This article introduces a few accessibility extensions for Chrome and Chrome OS that helps these people to browse the web.

 

ChromeVis

Many info sites such as newspapers and blogs contain lot of words, to put as much information on the page as possible the texts are usually quite small.  ChromeVis is a a handy tool to address this issue.  It magnifies and highlights texts.  Simply choose an text, ChromeVis will display an enlarged version of it on top of the page.  You can choose the background and text colors to create a high contrast.

ChromeVis - Text Magnifier Extension for Chrome

ChromeVis in Chrome Web Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/halnfobaneppemjnonmmhngbfifnafgd

User Guide: http://google-axs-chrome.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/chromevis_tutorial/chromeVis_userManual.html

 

ChromeShades

ChromeShades is designed to help blind users.  It re-formats a web page in a way that simulates how a blind user would perceive it with a screen reader.  The final outcome is a much simplified web page without losing (most) interactive features.  For web developers who want to create accessible web pages, this tool helps them to identify issues before opening a screen reader or send it to a tester for testing (but it is not a full .  Below are a few illustrations I found in the user manual:

ChromeShades Example 1

ChromeShades Example 2

ChromeShades Example 3

 

ChromeShades in Web Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hlklboladblmgfpkenhlgbhoojdlfoao

User Guide: http://google-axs-chrome.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/chromeshades_docs/chromeshades_help.html

 

ChromeVox

ChromeVox takes one step further by directly reading out the texts on page.  There are many text-to-speech apps out there, what’s so special about this function?  Firstly, ChromeVox has a number of keyboard shortcuts to help users to navigate around the page.  For example, you can jump to the next heading directly.  Users can control the level of navigation, e.g. jumping between objects (for instance, bullet points), sentences, words and characters.

Secondly, this extension guides users by sound.  When finished loading the page, you hear a beep sound telling you that the page is ready for navigation.  It could read out the texts on the page and the menu items of Chrome.  Watch this video (with video descriptions) to know more:

 

 

ChromeVox in Web Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/kgejglhpjiefppelpmljglcjbhoiplfn

User guide: http://www.chromevox.com

 

Image source: Google

How to Check Image Properties on Web Pages Instantly

Sometimes you may want to know the properties of an image on a web site, probably since you want to download it as wallpaper, download it as clip art for your own site, save and print it, forward to friends…  You would want to know the dimensions of the EXIF data, image, file size, URL and some other details.  The Chrome extension introduced today, Image Properties Context Menu, helps you to achieve this without having to download the file to your hard disk first.

 

Check Image Properties on Web Pages Instantly

Image Properties Context Menu Chrome extension brings up a new window that reveals the following information:

  • EXIF Data
  • Location (URL of the page)
  • Source
  • Dimensions
  • Original dimensions if the image is shown resized
  • Alt text
  • File Size
  • MIME Type

Image Properties Chrome Extension

One thing I particularly like about this extension is EXIF data display.  I like shooting photos and studying other people’s photos.  If I found a great shot, I would like to know the aperture, exposure time and ISO settings.  I may even want to know the camera the photographer used to take that picture.  Instead of downloading the image file, I can directly check these information right in Chrome.

If you are a web designer, this is also a helpful tool for finding and downloading clip arts.  You can know if the image is large enough to fill a particular space on the web page.  You copy and paste the URL of the page and the image URL to your clip book for re-use later.

 

Chrome Extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/khagclindddokccfbmfmckaflngbmpon

5 Recommended Reddit Chrome Extensions

Are you a redditor?  I am.  It’s great to see the web sites recommended by other internet users, and it’s great to share what I found too.  But not every web site has a Reddit button.  In this article I’ll introduce some Chrome extensions that brings Reddit features to web sites no matter they have the submission button or not.  Besides, I also introduce two extensions that enhances the function of Reddit.

 

Reddit Companion

This is an official product by reddit.com.  It adds a submission bar in your Chrome browser so that you can share any web site you found.  You can also upvote and downvote a web site.  New messages are shown in this notification bar when they appear.

Reddit Companion Chrome Extension

Chrome Web Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/algjnflpgoopkdijmkalfcifomdhmcbe

 

Reddit’s Orange Envelope

Want a more subtle way to get notified about new messages?  This extension adds an icon with counter next to the Chrome address bar, you can easily see the number of messages you have on reddit.

Reddit Orange Envelope Chrome Extension

(Image source: Extension’s page in Chrome Web Store)

Chrome Web Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hlogkgjpdeniihmgefnbndnedimfpijo

 

Reddit Anywhere

This extension brings you a pop-up window showing previous submissions by redditors.  You can read their comments, upvote and downvote a web site.  Of course, yuo can also submit a site to Reddit if it has not be submitted by any people previously.

Reddit Anywhere Chrome Extension

Chrome Web Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ldocbjabkdopnncieelmeokoigpnnilb

 

Reddit Enhancement Suite

RES is a powerful browser add-on that adds many Reddit-related features to your browser.  It supports Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari.  It has a long list of features including account switcher, keyboard navigation (shortcuts), inline image viewer, enhanced Reddit interface, comment saving, etc.  You can find a full feature list here.

Official Web Site: http://redditenhancementsuite.com

 

Hover Zoom

Actually this is not a Reddit-only extension.  It adds image hover zoom to not only Reddit but also many other popular web site such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Flickr, Wikipedia, eBay, Google+, WordPress…

Chrome Web Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nonjdcjchghhkdoolnlbekcfllmednbl

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