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:

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 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:

Citebite: Link Directly to Specific Quotes in Web Pages

I have introduced some link shorteners and simplifiers before.  They allow you to shorten long URLs and make web pages easier to read.  Citebite, the web app I’m going to introduce, works in a similar way but produce different results.  Instead of an easy to remember URL, it generates a new URL with a (seemingly) random string of characters.  It probably does not make URLs easier to remember or enter, but it helps you to quote a specific part of a web page for sharing and sending to friends.  It is very useful when you want to share a web site to others but want to highlight only a specific part of it.


Citebite: Link Directly to Specific Quotes in Web Pages

Citebite is very easy to use.  Just copy the URL of the site and the text you want to highlight, paste into Citebite, it will generate an URL for sharing.  I used a blog post in this blog as an example.

Citebite - Link directly to specific quotes in web pages


If your friends follow this link, they will see the web site with the specific part highlighted.  I found this very useful for sharing long web pages.

Citebite - Specific Quote Created

By default, Delicious, StumbleUpon and Digg icons are provided for fast sharing to these sites.  You can also manually copy the link and attach to email, tweets and updates in Google+ and Facebook.

Citebite has a Firefox extension (sorry, not for Chrome).  Users of other web browsers could use a bookmarklet instead.  Both of them are provided on the official site.


Official Site:

Firefox Extension:

Bookmarklet (see inside for how to use):

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