Chrome Extensions – Taking Your Web Browser to the Next Level

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Google_Chrome_icon_(2011).svgYour web browser is probably the most used piece of software on your PC, tablet, or phone. They are our chariot to a nearly limitless amount of information on the web. While finding information is their main function, you can supercharge your browser by using extensions or plug ins. Here are few examples of how you can get more out of Google Chrome. (Don’t worry if you are an Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox user: those browsers also have the abilities to take on similar-type plugins.)

YoWindow Weather

Weather extensions are pretty common, and there are a lot out there. But not all are created equal. This is one I recently started using. I like that it adds a little icon, which displays current temperature, to the right of your address bar. Clicking on the icon expands the extension, so you see an extended forecast, along with a ton of other information. You can change backgrounds, which also reflect current conditions, for an extra visual. Overall, YoWindow does a great job of quickly telling you what the weather is doing in one or multiple locations.

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Search by Image

This is great if you find an image and want to find others similar to it, one of better quality, or find out more about it whatever is in the picture. You simply right-click on the image and search Google (look for the blue camera), which will go out and bring back all kinds of related information. For example, I right-clicked on this picture, and the Search Image brought back a plethora of useful information about Albert Einstein.

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Momentum

This extension helps spice up a new tab when you open it — along with providing some nifty features — instead of just showing the plain white background with previously-visited sites. It will greet you, provide the time, temperature, a daily goal set by you, a to-do list, and an inspirational quote. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery!

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Of course, these  plugins only scratch the surface of what’s available. Extensions are easy to install and can usually be done in a click or two.  Head over to the Chrome webstore to check out all of the extensions, apps, and themes available. And remember, if you need help getting any of these installed on your work computers, give us a call at Everon (888-244-1748). We’re here for you, 24/7, 365.

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Microsoft to Stop Making Windows OS: How this will impact your business

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windows 10 - last osIn a recent conference speech, Jerry Nixon, a Microsoft exec, announced that Windows 10 will be the software giant’s last operating system. Instead of creating an entirely new OS after Windows 10 is released (widely rumored to happen in July), Microsoft will continue to make improvements to Windows 10 through regular updates.

This type of OS-updating is already seen to some extent with the Apple OSX architecture. Nixon stated that a big reason behind the move was due to how the development team would lock themselves away for three years to create the next operating system… but their end-result would be a product the world wanted three years ago. Given how quickly technology changes, this new process will be a welcome departure.

Microsoft has not yet determined what it will call its iterations, post-Windows 10. However, we will not see the continued numerical names to its OS. Microsoft also mentioned that this will help sales, as the idea of selling end users on entirely new operating systems has become increasingly difficult. This way of thinking can be somewhat attributed to the failures of Vista and Windows 8.

Windows 10 will have some version of the Start Menu, which is what seemed to be a stopping point for many businesses. You can download a free preview of the operating system here. (For information on how to create a virtual Windows 10 preview, see my previous blog post, found here.)

Of special note, if you are a small-medium business: you can rejoice in the fact that you will no longer have to have a test machine in your network, to test all of your applications and specialized network setup, every time Microsoft releases a brand new OS. Once your company moves to Windows 10, you should not need to worry about having a new operating system, preventing your company from moving to the latest version. (Although you will want to ensure you are getting the appropriate updates, as they will be critical for keeping your computers protected, and allowing Microsoft to patch security flaws.)

Microsoft’s updates to Windows 10 will likely be free, similar to the way Apple handles its updates to OSX. In fact, if you own Windows 7 or later, and you update within the first year of Windows 10′s release, you will get Windows 10 for free. (Details for that can be found here.) The Windows 10 free upgrade is also free for users who have pirated software as well. (Details for that can be found here.) Microsoft is allowing this to happen to help combat piracy and ensure their OS is patched and in the hands of as many end users as possible.

Microsoft’s idea of giving away their OS for free is a departure from their old way of thinking. It is a strategic move, as Microsoft continues to battle Apple for the OS user base.

Microsoft has made some other bold changes lately, including a decision to discontinue its popular web browser Internet Explorer for its new product, Spartan. Spartan will reportedly be lightweight and very similar to other popular lightweight browsers on the market, such as Chrome and Firefox. The new browser will appear on Windows 10.

Our engineers at Everon are constantly staying on top of the tech-trends that affect small to medium businesses. If you have any questions about Microsoft or Windows 10, feel free to call 1-888-244-1748.

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How To Email A Web Page To A Friend

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Oftenwhen a web page I come across something I like, for those pages that don’t have an e-mail option following the below simple steps can allow you to send a link to a friend.

Internet Explorer users

Send a friend the web page you are viewing by clicking File, Send, and “Page by E-mail”. If you do not see the File menu press the ALT key.

Firefox users

Right-click on the page you wish to send to your friend and in the menu click Send link.

Opera users

Right-click on the page you wish to send to your friend and in the menu click Send link by Mail.

Netscape users

Send a friend the web page you are viewing by clicking File, and “Send Page”.

Download Firefox without Internet Explorer

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There are many internet browsers out on the market today. Internet Explorer is still a fan favorite in many eyes. But Mozilla Firefox is still a browser to be respected. But lets say you don’t want to use Internet Explorer at all. Lets trying using  Windows’ built-in FTP (File Transfer Protocol) support to download and install Firefox without ever opening IE.

Bring up windows explorer and type “ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/” in the address bar like so:

ftpEntry

Navigate to /pub/firefox/releases/latest/win32/en-US/

Or simply just go to ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/latest/win32/en-US/

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Simply double click or drag and drop to the folder or your choice! No Internet Explorer involved!  Using just Windows Explorer you are able to connect and download from almost any ftp server with no 3rd party software.

Oracle installs unwanted software with Java updates

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A few weeks ago, ZDNet’s Ed Bott reported on the way that potentially unwanted software gets installed with Java. Here’s what to look out for.

With the frequency of Java updates, you have probably seen (and ignored) the popups that ask you to install. But if you do run an update (which you very much should, if you need to have Java installed at all) or if you are about to install Java for the first time, here’s what you want to look out for.

java-setup-ask-toolbar

In the installation process (that most people just click through without worrying about what the default settings actually are), one of the screens that comes up is the one above. It clearly states that Oracles recommends installing it, and it provides a whole bunch of things that need to be right in front of you at all times, like Facebook status updates and YouTube videos. And it works with Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. What’s not to like about any of that? So you click next, the Java installer does its thing, and then you see this screen:

java-setup-complete

 

Success! You click close and you open up Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and/or Mozilla Firefox to check out your shiny new Ask Toolbar. But the toolbar is not there. What gives? Without telling you, the Ask Toolbar installer sits on your system and does not run for 10 minutes. And only then it runs silently, with no GUI or any other indication that it’s running except for a momentary blink of an hourglass cursor while you are doing something else.

Along with the annoying toolbar, your browser’s default search engine also gets set to Ask, so even when you don’t use the toolbar, you are getting results from Ask unless you explicitly visit another search site’s URL first. Aside from the poor search results compared to Google or even Bing, this is shady and dishonest and Oracle owes Java users more than that, since we have so many security problems with Java to begin with.

Do you have questions about toolbars or search engines that are in use by your organization? Give Everon a call today!