Things to Do: Plain Simple Task List on Chrome New Tab Page

The featured extension today is extremely simple.  It is a handy tool that helps Chrome user to remember important things and enhance productivity.

Things to Do - Chrome Extension

Have you ever thought that the new tab page in Chrome (i.e. the page that opens when a new tab is opened) is not quite useful?  For many people who do not install many web apps, the new tab page does not do much other than a decent bookmarks page.  The developer of “Things to Do” came up with a better use of this page, i.e. to display you to do list.

Probably since the only function of this extension is productivity enhancement, the developer removed everything that may get your attention distracted.  After installing Things to Do, the only thin you see is a pure text page in white background and black text.  You could customize the look and feel by changing the width and text color, if you do wish to add a little personal touch to it.

Using this extension is extremely easy, just enter the task name in the empty box and hit enter.  As the list grows, you can re-order the items by dragging and dropping.  Deleting an item is as simple as clicking the red cross on the right end.

If you need something simple and effective, Things to Do is a great choice.  However, if you are a frequent web app user and would prefer having the web app icons right in front of you every time you open a new tab, this extension does not help.

 

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

Context: Toggle On/Off Chrome Extensions in Different Contexts

Chrome is great for its speed and expandability of features thanks to the variety of extensions.  However, the more extensions we installed in Chrome the more likely the browser’s speed be lowered (extensions eat memory and CPU power)!

Today’s featured Chrome extension is Context, a tool which allows you to group different extensions and selectively turn them on/off as and when needed.  In this way we could minimized the consumption of system resources.

Context Chrome Extension

 

The first thing to do after installing Context is to create contexts.  You can give each context an icon for easy identification.  Then, drag and drop the extensions you would like to use in each context.  Save the settings and everything is ready.  You would see all extensions originally on the right of the address bar disappeared.

Context Chrome Extension

You now can choose which context to apply.  Click the icon to the right of the address bar and choose the applicable context.  Only those extensions you added in this context would be enabled.

 

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

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

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