3 Extensions To Recover Forms & Text Area Data In Firefox

<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/text-area.png”>firefox recover form dataHave you ever spent 10 minutes writing something and then pushed the “Submit” button only to find out that you have lost your Internet connection and your information has all been lost? Or that you have lost your form due to a Firefox crash or your own stupid mistake (such as clicking the “cancel” instead of “submit” button? I sometimes do that!)

Have you ever felt desperate because of the need to type the text all over again?

If “yes” is your answer (and if you use Firefox), read further and try these tools (they won’t save your life in any situation that may occur but they will recover the form data in most cases!).

Lazarus

Lazarus (already reviewed by Saikat here) is the most popular text-saving tool out here. It works really smoothly, saves text automatically and is there only if you need it.

According to their own words:

Lazarus works on ordinary web forms, WYSIWYG editors, and even AJAXified comment boxes, and will save you from pretty much any given server, browser, or connection problems that might otherwise cause you to lose your work, or that really pithy blog comment you struggled on for over an hour.

It Has Two Options:

  • Recover Text – which recovers text in one (current) field. It also lets you preview the text on hover-over:

remember form data firefox

  • Recover Form – recovers the whole form completing all the fields you previously completed:

firefox recover form data

The options menus allows to:

  • Let the tool save the passwords;
  • Remove the saved forms after the set period of time;
  • Require passwords to restore forms:

remember form data firefox

Does the tool remember text after the Firefox restart? Yes.

Note: The tool saves data after you click “submit” – it is unlikely to save your life if you pushed “cancel” instead of “submit”

Textarea Cache

Textarea Cache is a similar tool, but it does provide a bit different functionality that makes me a fan. The tool is rather simplistic, it can’t remember the whole form but it is nice to use for saving the text area contents.

What I like about the tool is that it isn’t tied to a form. Instead, you can access the tool (via the status bar icon) any time to see the whole history of what you have typed and where:

  • Time;
  • The form page title;
  • (after you select one) The exact text you submitted:

remember form data firefox

The options allow you to:

  • Show the status bar icon when text is saved in the cache;
  • Don’t save text in private browsing mode;
  • Maintain the list of domains you don’t want to save text from:

Text area cache options

Does the tool remember text after the Firefox restart? Yes.

Text Saver

Text Saver (not reviewed by Mozilla and still in experimental mode) – while being the least usable of all, this one also seems useful in some cases.

What makes it stand out is that it doesn’t saves text automatically – it only saves something if you ask it to.

To save the text, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Type something in a text area;
  • Right-click on the text-are and choose “Add this text to text Saver”
  • Give this extract a name (to easier identify it):

Text Saver

Next time you need it, open the tool sidebar (via the icon in the status bar) and notice it there:

firefox recover form data

Note: The addon works not only with text areas. You can add pretty much any text there. You can also use the drag-and-drop functionality to drag any parts of text directly to the tool sidebar.

From the sidebar, you can:

  • Delete any text;
  • Edit any note;
  • Search within your notes

Does the tool remember text after the Firefox restart? Yes.

Do you use any text-recovery tools in FireFox? Please share them in the comments!

Completely Secure: 11 Must-have Firefox Addons For Security

The NSA’s collection of phone records was recently ruled illegal by the U.S. Appeals Court. Security has been a big buzz word for the past few years and these kinds of rulings remind us that we can never, ever be too careful.

In fact, think about the browser you’re using to view this article right now. Is it safe? Is it secure? How many websites are pulling information about you without your knowledge? And what is your browser doing to stop it? You’d be surprised by those answers.

Let’s forget about browser benchmark comparisons for a second. Firefox is the only true open source browser of the major five — IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari — and if you have no trust in browser companies at all, it’s the one you’ll want to use.

But an open source browser isn’t enough on its own. You need to bulk up with a handful of powerful addons. We’ve covered Firefox security addons in the past, but a lot has changed since then. Here are the modern-day essentials that you need.

firefox-security-addons-https

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is the king of all privacy addons. It’s developed as a collaboration between the Tor privacy project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is an organization that fights for rights in a digital world.

But what is HTTPS? In short, it’s a more secure web-browsing protocol that encrypts all of the web data that’s transmitted between the server and your browser using SSL/TLS. So, even if someone intercepts your connection, they won’t be able to read the data.

HTTPS Everywhere forces HTTPS all the time. Even if a particular web page doesn’t support encryption, the addon can get around it by rewriting the requests behind the scenes. It’s a must-have Firefox security addon. Don’t skip it.

Ghostery

Ghostery is one of the big three security addons that some consider to be evil, at least from the perspective of a content producer. Long story short, it blocks web trackers so that companies like Facebook and Google can’t track your activity.

One thing to note is that Ghostery has recently come under fire as a somewhat deceptive addon. While it does block web trackers from gathering your personal information, it also has an opt-in feature (“Ghostrank”) that anonymously sends your information to advertisers.

If you don’t opt in, no harm done, so feel free to install it and disable Ghostrank. However, it’s easy to see why some people are up in arms about this potential conflict of interest, so they may advise that you stay away from Ghostery for good.

firefox-security-addons-privacy

Disconnect

Like Ghostery, Disconnect is an addon that blocks web trackers from gathering your personal information. It’s so good that Popular Science even named it as one of the top 100 innovations in 2013. If that doesn’t earn it a good dose of credibility, I don’t know what will.

Because it blocks tracking elements from over 2,000 sources, Disconnect claims to speed up page loading by upwards of 27%. That’s a pretty significant gain, especially because it’s on top of the security and privacy it already offers in the first place. Definitely a keeper.

NoScript

NoScript is a Firefox security addon that we’ve been recommending since 2008. As the name implies, this addon prevents active scripts from running on websites unless you grant permission to them. Marginally inconvenient, yes, but massively more secure in the long run.

Permission is granted by adding trusted domains to your whitelist. Any domains that aren’t on your whitelist will be prevented from running JavaScript or Java, which will help protect you against cross-site scripting attacks, clickjacking attempts, and more.

uMatrix

uMatrix is a relative baby when compared to the rest of the addons on this list, but it’s one worth looking into if you want an edge in security. Simply put, it’s a dynamic firewall that allows you to toggle various defenses whenever you want.

These firewall options show up as a colored red-and-green matrix and all you have to do is click on the features you want to toggle. It’s a bit more advanced than a straightforward blocker, but the steeper learning curve allows for more power and flexibility in the end.

firefox-security-addons-payments

Blur

Formerly known as DoNotTrackMe, Blur is one of the best addons for protecting your data. Not only does it block companies from collecting information about you, it also manages and protects your sensitive details like password credentials and payment information.

Regarding passwords, Blur will one-click generate touch-to-crack combinations and will immediately encrypt and store them safely for later.

Regarding payments, Blur lets you purchase online without ever giving away your credit card information by providing disposable masking credit cards through Abine, Inc. This feature is only available for premium users, which can be purchased for $5 per month.

KeeFox

Most modern browsers have built-in password management, but they’re rarely as good as dedicated solutions. Take KeeFox for instance, which is the browser variant of the renowned password manager, KeePass. Start using it if you aren’t already.

In essence, KeeFox is a full-blown replacement for the built-in Firefox password manager. Just be aware that KeeFox will not work correctly if you have Firefox set to clear passwords every time it closes.

LastPass for Firefox is a well-known alternative to KeeFox and it works great as well. However, KeeFox is open source and completely free, so it’s the one I prefer. Feel free to use whichever one you think suits you best.

BetterPrivacy

When you visit the addon page for BetterPrivacy, you might notice that it hasn’t been updated since early 2012. Don’t let that turn you away. Despite being three years in limbo, this addon still works just as it’s supposed to.

What does it do? It combats the long-term super-cookies, also known as Flash cookies, that companies use for perpetual tracking of your web activity. BetterPrivacy lets you view and destroy these super-cookies, which is something most browsers won’t do on their own.

firefox-security-addons-cookies

Self-Destructing Cookes

As far as regular cookies are concerned, most browsers offer a primitive “clear all cookies” function that can be done manually or whenever the browser closes. What if you want a bit more flexibility? Then you should install Self-Destructing Cookies.

This addon allows cookies to persist until you close the tab. When a tab is closed, all relevant cookies are destroyed right on the spot. This method of dealing with cookies is especially effective against Zombie-cookies and Evercookies. If there are any cookies you want to keep, you can whitelist them.

Bloody Vikings!

Are you tired of email spam? Starting today, you can kiss email spam goodbye thanks to the advent of the Bloody Viking! addon. Look past the strange name and you’ll see a wonderful tool: one that makes it easy for you to use temporary email addresses when signing up for websites.

Using services like 10MinuteMail and AnonBox, this addon provides you with a limited-time inbox where you can accept confirmation emails without risking the sanctity of your actual inbox. After a given period of time, the provided inbox implodes and disappears.

Clean Links

Lastly we have Clean Links, a humble little addon that’s been in development since 2011. Its premise is simple: whenever it detects an obfuscated or nested link — such as you might find with shady redirection or affiliate products — it replaces it with the clean, straight version.

Not much else to say about this one except that you can now rest easy when clicking on links, knowing that you’ll be able to catch dodgy links before you actually click on them.

Share Your Favorite Addons

This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Firefox addons are concerned. In fact, you should check out our Best Firefox Addons page to beef up your browser even more, but be aware that too many addons can actually slow down your browser quite a bit.

We know that there are plenty of other addons out there that you love but we missed. Tell us about them! Which security addons are your favorite? Which have proven most useful to you?

Image Credits: Red HTTPS Via Shutterstock, Keyboard and Lock Via Shutterstock, Keyboard and Credit Card Via Shutterstock, HTTPS Tab Via Shutterstock

8 Extensions To Transform Your Reddit Experience

If you’re a Reddit addict, you’ll no doubt be well aware of the time-sucking capabilities of “the front page of the Internet”. Once you go down the rabbit hole there’s no turning back, you’ll get lost in a sea of cute animals, hilarious videos, and endless news. The best part? It’s immensely enjoyable.

Believe it or not, there are a whole host of extensions out there that can make your experience even better. Here we take a look at eight of our favorites.

Reddit Enhancement Suite

The Reddit Enhancement Suite (RES) is the undisputed king of Reddit extensions, and no list would be complete without it.

The amount of features it boasts is almost infinite. For example, there is an account switcher that lets you hop between your usernames without the need for logging in and out, it offers a way to subscribe to comment threads so you don’t miss out on information you’re interested in, it includes filters for NSFW posts and spam, it lets you tag usernames so you can easily remember who you’ve interacted with, and it removes Reddit pages by making all the content display in one never-ending list.

The extension is available on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.

SHINE for Reddit

SHINE’s main selling point is that it completely overhauls the look and design of Reddit’s homepage. Given the site is starting to look extremely dated, it’s a really good extension to install.

It introduces two new ways to view the content – a grid view and an all-new list view. The idea behind each view is to bring the content to the fore.

The new list view lets you look at pictures, videos, comments, and GIFs without opening new tabs, while the side bar menus have also been overhauled to make them a lot faster and more streamlined to use.

Best of all, the extension is fully compatible with the aforementioned RES.

Unfortunately, the extension is currently only available on Chrome.

Threadit

The comments are one of the best things about Reddit – you can find awesome nuggets of advice, hilarious arguments, and amazing facts – but they’re often hidden deep within the longest, most confusing threads.

threadit

Threadit aims to combat this confusion. Features include being able to use the scroll wheel on your mouse to move up/down threads, using Shift + the scroll wheel to jump through whole screens, and adding borders and backgrounds to gather comments into manageable and easily-understandable groups.

The extension is available on Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Reditr

Like SHINE, the Reditr extension completely overhauls the sites visuals. However, it approaches it in an entirely different way.

Users of TweetDeck for Twitter will be instantly familiar with the layout of Reditr – content is displayed in columns of never-ending, scrollable, live feeds. Columns can be organized around your favorite subreddits, multireddits, topics, searches, and users.

In addition to multiple vertical columns, the extension also offers a single full-screen view, on which content previews and the two top comments of a post are displayed.

Reditr is available as an extension on Chrome, as an in-browser service, or as a downloadable, standalone app on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

AlienTube

The comments sections of YouTube are arguably the worst forum on the Internet. They’re typically one third adverts, one third passive aggressive threats, and one third unintelligible nonsense.

alientube

AlienTube, therefore, seeks to replace them with something more worthwhile by switching out the original comments for the equivalent Reddit ones (assuming the video has been posted to Reddit). The extension also works for videos on Vimeo.

It’s currently only available on Chrome and Opera, though the developer insists that a Safari extension will be available in the very near future.

Reddit Companion

Reddit Companion is the only official Reddit extension to make the list.

It works by adding a bar to the top of your browser’s window and thus fully integrating Reddit into your day-to-day browsing.

The bar will let you vote, save, and view comments on posts, submit new links, and receive desktop notifications of new messages in real-time.

Users report that the official version has some bugs, so /u/creesch has made an unlicensed bug-free version.

Unfortunately, both versions are only available on Chrome at the moment.

SeeIt!

SeeIt! improves the Reddit experience by adding a preview window to the website.

It means that you just need to hover over links in order to see a preview – no more out of control tabs, and no more tell-tale purple links that let other people who use your computer know what you’ve been looking at.

seeit

To close the preview window, either hit Esc or click the cross in the top corner. On the other hand, if it’s something you’re interested in, you can minimize the preview to the bottom of the window and revisit it later.

SeeIt! is only available on Chrome.

Reddit Platinum

Any computer power-user knows that keyboard shortcuts are the key to faster and more efficient productivity. Reddit is no different (though “productivity” is probably the wrong word!).

reddit-platinum

Reddit Platinum adds more than thirty new keyboard shortcuts to the site, offering functionality such as switching between Reddits, upvoting and downvoting, quickly scrolling through top level comments, and jumping between Reddit tabs.

Sadly, like a couple of others on this list, it is only available on Chrome.

What Are Your Favorite Reddit Extensions?

Which Reddit extensions do you rely on? Do you agree with our list, or would you add something to it?

Perhaps you already use some of the extensions we mentioned? How did you find them?

As ever, we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback. You can get in touch via the comments section below.

10 Essential Cheat Sheets To Download

Ever wanted to master the keyboard shortcuts and get more productive on the web? Here is everything you need – 10 quick cheat sheets for some of the most widely used tools on the web. Download, print and stick them somewhere near your desk.

Google Cheat Sheet

Google Cheat Sheet

Windows Cheat Sheet*

Windows Shortcuts

Mac OS X Cheat Sheet

Mac OS X Cheat Sheet

 
Gmail Cheat Sheet

Gmail Cheat Sheet

Firefox Cheat Sheet

Firefox Shortcuts Windows

Firefox (for Mac)

Firefox Shortcuts Mac

Google Reader Shortcuts
Google Reader Shortcuts
Linux Cheat Sheet

Linux Manual and Reference

Linux Command Line Ref. 

Linux Command Line Reference

Thunderbird Cheat Sheet
Mozilla Thunderbird Cheat Sheet
Internet Explorer Shortcuts
Internet Explorer Shortcuts
 

UPDATE: Hey folks, due to massive response the download links to above cheat sheets were moved to our must-have downloads page which is only available to MakeUseOf subscribers. So you will need to subscribe before you can get them. No worries, it takes about 5 seconds. You can subscribe via email.

We have over 65.000 subscribers so you have nothing to worry about. The download link to cheat sheets will be in your inbox in about one minute after you add your email.

Plus, as a MakeUseOf subscriber you’ll also get regular updates about new cool websites and free software programs we come across. Enjoy!

We hate spam as much as you do!

Update: You may subscribe and check out all our cheat sheets here.

Start!: An Alternative New Tab Page [chrome]

Chrome has a neat “new tab” page that displays your most viewed pages, apps, and recently closed pages. However, not all people like the default new tab page and if you are looking for something that is more unique for a new tab page, check out Start!, a Chrome extension that will give your new tab page a different look and feel. Start! will let you easily access all of your bookmarks and Chrome apps in the form of icons.

new tab page chrome

Aside from the bookmark and app icons, Start! also added customization options for the new tabs. For instance, you can change your new tab page background with a click of a button, or by specifying an image URL.

This extension will also let you change the icons of your bookmarks from userlogos.org, or by inputting an image URL. Start! also lets you add an RSS feed to your new tab page, so that you can have quick and easy access to new content of your favorite website.

Start! is a cool new tab page alternative for Chrome that provides additional useful features and more customization options.

Features:

  • Customizable new tab page for Chrome.
  • Access all of your bookmarks more easily in the new tab page.
  • Change the icons of your bookmarks.
  • Add an RSS feed to your new tab page.
  • Change your new tab page background.
  • New tab page will only contain a blank page when Start! page is pinned (cleaner new tab page, background is still shown).
  • Sync favicons between computers.
  • Customizable panes layout.

Check out Start! @ https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/iniabgbbmccaomaocmhcfioahgipigbh/details

3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browser’s Default

No matter which browser you are using, your default search engine is likely to be Google. I am not going to persuade you to change it to something else because that advice would be useless to many: we still use Google, no matter what.

This post is about modifying your browser’s default engine slightly – these modifications are likely to improve your searching experience a lot.

But first, let’s very briefly look at how we can create a new search and set it as default in our favorite browser.

How to Create a New Search Engine

FireFox (address/URL field)

  • Open about:config
  • Filter for keyword.url
  • Double click on this entry to open a dialog;
  • Edit the “˜keyword.url’ string

Placeholder for your search term: blank

3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browser's Default default search engine 01

FireFox search box

  • Go to mycroft.mozdev.org and use the form (you can also use “Show full instructions option?” to see the tips) to create a search plugin for your search box;
  • When ready, test the plugin, generate the code and submit it to the database.

Placeholder for your search term: {searchTerms}

3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browser's Default default search engine 02

Google Chrome

  • Navigate: Settings (icon) -> Options and click “Manage” next to your “Default search engine
  • Click “Add” button and there provide the details:
    the name, keyword and query string of your new search engine.

Placeholder for your search term: %s

3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browser's Default default search engine 03

Opera

  • Press CTRL+F12 to open the Preferences panel and click on the Search tab.
  • Click “Add” button and provide the new search engine name, keyword, URL and query string.

Placeholder for your search term: %s

3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browser's Default default search engine 06

Internet Explorer

  • In the search bar, click the arrow next to the search icon and select “Search for other search engines” and there click “Create my own search provider”
  • Provide the name and query string of your search provider.

Placeholder for your search term: TEST

3 Modified Google Search Versions To Set As Your Browser's Default default search engine 04

Now that we know how to create a new search engine, let’s see which options we actually have.

Google “Browse by Name” Search

Google “Browse by Name” search functionality is something in between “I am feeling lucky” and regular Google search. With “I am feeling lucky” button you will always land on the actual page ranked top for your search term (by-passing Google results page). With regular search, you always land on Google results page.

With “Browse by Name”

  • For generic search terms, you land on Google search results page;
  • For “navigational” terms (where the top result is pretty much obvious), you land on the top result page.

Compare:

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=target

VERSUS

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=pillow

Note: This search will also bypass the search results page for all terms where a Wikipedia article is ranked #1. Try:

  • http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=war
  • http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=dickens
  • http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=shakespeare

Google search query to create this search engine:

  • FireFox address bar: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=
  • FireFox search box: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q={searchTerms}
  • Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=%s
  • Opera: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=%s
  • Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=TEST

Note: The search can be a huge time-saver but surely not for everyone. People who specialize in search (like myself) can’t use it because for them, the search results page is the most important destination.

Google Vanilla Search

Google vanilla is our old good Google we all miss so much: no “universal search” results (images, videos, etc within general Google search results page), no sidebar search options, no ads on top of organic search results, etc. Everything is crystal clean and clear:

vanilla google

Google search query to add this search engine in your browser:

  • FireFox address bar: http://www.google.com/custom?q=
  • FireFox search box: http://www.google.com/custom?q={searchTerms}
  • Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/custom?q=%s
  • Opera: http://www.google.com/custom?q=%s
  • Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/custom?q=TEST

Google De-Personalized Search

Like I have already mentioned, Google personalizes search results to try to show you the results that you are likely to appreciate. You are free to disable this behavior and you have various ways to de-personalize your Google search results – one of which is by creating a new default search engine in your browser.

Google search query to create this search engine:

  • FireFox address bar: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=
  • FireFox search box: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q={searchTerms}
  • Google Chrome: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=%s
  • Opera: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=%s
  • Internet Explorer: http://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=TEST

Are there any cool Google modifications you are aware of? Let’s have some Google fun!

How To View Chrome’s Saved Passwords From Anywhere (and How To Stop It)

Trying to remember passwords is one of the sucky parts of being online. So many online accounts needing to be set up, and that brings with it so many passwords. And since it is now conventional wisdom that you need a strong password, you can’t get away with PASSWORD or 12345.

chromeicon

So when your browser offers you the convenience of a password manager, the offer is too tempting to pass up. Just tell it all your passwords, it will store them for you, sync them for you, and it will even auto-fill the log-in fields for you. What could possibly be the downside?!

In the case of Google Chrome, quite a lot actually. There’s gaps in it so wide you could walk your pet T-Rex through it.

How the Chrome Password Manager Works

The Chrome password manager is integrated into the browser, and can be enabled in the settings. You have to click “Show Advanced Settings” and then scroll down a bit to see it. Or alternatively you can copy and paste the following into the browser :

chrome://settings/passwords

chromepm1

This opens up the password manager with all your stored passwords. I am now not using it anymore after realizing its security vulnerabilities. Now I am solely relying on Keepass, so this is an old picture.

chromepm2

Seeing the asterisks in the password area gives a false sense of security. In reality, those asterisks are merely curtains that you can easily pull back. Just tap on one of them and suddenly you see this :

chromepm3b

All you have to do is click that “Show” button and the password is revealed in plain text for you to copy and paste at leisure. On a Mac, all you need to do is click “Show” and you get the password. On a Windows computer, there is an additional layer where you have to enter your Windows OS password (assuming you have set one in the first place). Why this additional check is not on any other OS than Windows is beyond me.

chrome-passwords

The Downsides Of Google Chrome Manager

As I said at the beginning, using Chrome Password Manager is so convenient. It takes away the need to remember something and you can use that saved brain power for watching reality TV instead. Chrome’s sync function also ensures that all passwords are synced across all of your devices.

But while you are marvelling at modern technology, remember this. You are in fact trading convenience for vulnerability. Let’s look at where your potential security shortcomings are.

No PIN Code

lock

If you don’t put a lock on your computer (a PIN code), then anybody can just come along, start up your computer, start Chrome and get your passwords. It helps a bit that there is no “export” function for your Chrome passwords, so nobody can do a “drive-by mass copy and paste”.

If you have hundreds or even thousands of passwords, nobody is going to have the time or the inclination to go copying and pasting every single one. Nevertheless, if you don’t lock the front door, then you are just asking for trouble when a bad crowd starts lurking.

Tina has previously discussed ways to secure your Windows desktop here and here. Try them.

Viewing Chrome Passwords Online

This is the biggie when it comes to “you can’t be serious!”. If you look at the bottom of the Chrome password window, you will see this in small font.

chromepm4b

If you go to that link (and sign in), you will see all of your passwords online, in all their glory and finery.

chromepm5

If someone successfully manages to hack into your Google account, they will have all your passwords. So, putting them all online is a very bad idea indeed.

What Can You Do to Strengthen Your Browser Password Security?

I hope you can see how epically bad it is to have your passwords in the browser. So it’s time to lock the door and plug the leaks.

Put a PIN Code On Your Operating System

loginscreen

A good start would be to put a PIN code on your operating system. This stops people from just coming along, booting up your computer, starting Chrome, and looking at your password list. Plus, when you’re away from your computer, put the computer into sleep mode and ensure anyone snooping for passwords will need the PIN code to proceed.

And don’t forget, on a Windows PC, an operating system PIN code adds an extra layer of security for when someone wants to see your passwords.

Use 2-Step Authentication

2stepauth

This has been a part of Gmail for so long now, that anyone not using it only has themselves to blame if they get their account hacked. It only takes 2 minutes to set up, and yes sometimes it gets a bit annoying, but it adds a bullet-proof layer to your Gmail login page.

If you do decide to use your Chrome password manager, you would first need to sign in before viewing the password list. It won’t matter if Mr or Mrs Snooper has your Gmail password – 2-step authentication will stop them in their tracks. To get any further, they would need access to your phone, which I hope you are not casually passing around to people. You should have a PIN code on your phone as well to protect the Authenticator app, and don’t let any SMS messages appear on the lock screen (for when Google sends you 2-step codes by SMS).

Use a Third-Party Password Manager

keepass

As I said earlier, I am now exclusively relying on KeePass to store my passwords. The password database is in my Dropbox folder, and provided the database is closed on all my other devices, I can sync any changes to wherever I am working.

But KeePass is not the only possible third-party password manager. We have also repeatedly covered LastPass in the past, and 1Password. You can also go old school and keep your passwords in a text file. You would protect it from prying eyes by keeping it in an encrypted container, which would sit in your cloud account. You can encrypt it with something like VeraCrypt or Windows’ Bitlocker.

Encrypt Your Chrome Password Manager

If you absolutely MUST use Chrome’s password manager, then there is a way to encrypt the whole thing, and which would stop them from being viewable online. However, they are still viewable if Chrome is running or can be opened.

To encrypt the password list, go to Settings (or copy and paste chrome://settings/passwords in the URL bar). At the top is where you would enter your Google account credentials for syncing your browser data. If you are logged into a Google account, you will see a button that says “Advanced Sync Settings“. Click that and look towards the bottom of that box.

chromepm6

Your encryption options will consist of encrypting synced passwords with your Google account details (which is the default setting). Or you can go the more secure route of encrypting the passwords using a separate secret passphrase. Google claims they don’t store your passphrase, so if you forget it, you will need to reset everything.

So think of a phrase that nobody would figure out, enter it twice and save. The next time you use Chrome on your other devices, you will be asked to enter the passphrase before everything syncs. But this is a one time “set it and forget it” deal.

If you now go to the password page online, you will now see this :

googlepm7

Also remember to deselect the password save option in the Chrome settings. Now you won’t be asked if you want to save them or not.

Try Not to Be Too Lazy

We are all lazy to some degree, and anything which affords us a certain amount of comfort and convenience will always be snapped up. But you have to remember that every benefit has a downside as well, and in this case, you are sacrificing your security…for what? Not typing a password? Is it really worth THAT much?

So wipe your browser Password Manager (Settings–>Show Advanced Settings–>Clear Browser Data–>Passwords), and from now on, use a third-party solution. Or encrypt a text file. Then you can relax a bit, knowing you have made any potential password theft a lot harder.

Are you about to delete your Chrome saved passwords? Or do you use a password manager? If so, do you use the standard one in the browser or do you use a third-party one?

How To Change The Search Engine In Microsoft Edge (no More Bing)

There are many valid reasons to use Microsoft Edge, but for some, those reasons aren’t convincing enough. In fact, we recently made a case for why you should wait before switching to Edge — mainly because it doesn’t have as much open flexibility as other browsers.

The search engine setting is one clear example of this. Edge comes with Bing set as the default search engine, which isn’t wrong in and of itself, but the process of changing to another default search engine can be a bit confusing. Off the bat, you’d think it was impossible.

edge-search-engine-default

The above screenshot is what the setting looks like at first: Bing starts as the default. There aren’t any other search engines available to switch to, and there isn’t an apparent way to add your own search engines.

That’s because Edge uses a system of discovery. As you browse the web, if Edge detects that you’ve used some kind of search engine, it will then add that search engine to the list.

edge-search-engine-discovered

The above screenshot is what the setting looks like after searching on Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube. Now that those engines have been discovered, you can set them as your default engine for Edge searches. (Or you can remove them, if you wish.)

You can also use this trick to create custom search queries for greater productivity when browsing the web.

Again, this is only one of many reasons why Edge isn’t the best browser right now. However, if you want to use Edge, don’t let us stop you! Consult our guide to setting up Edge the right way to make sure your settings start off on the right foot.

Are you using Edge on a regular basis? Know of any other tricks that you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Color Picker Add-ons For Web Designers & Graphic Artists [firefox]

color picker firefoxGraphic artists no longer need to have an eye for color. With the kind of tools available these days, you could be color blind and still do your image just right. Okay, that was an extravagant exaggeration, but as we have seen with the previous article on 3 Free Color Picking Tools to Choose Colors From Your Desktop choosing colors from the numerous hues around you has become dead easy.

Eyedroppers and color pickers can work outside a mammoth graphic tool like Photoshop and CorelDraw. Most of these tools are small and portable. But today, we will diverge from desktop color picking tools and look at five browser based ones.

After all, a graphic artist can take his inspiration from anywhere…and if it’s anywhere online, a few very useful Firefox add-ons could come real handy.

ColorZilla

color picker firefox

This advanced eyedropper tool for Firefox is top of the heap as it shows the maximum number of downloads and a good bunch of good reviews. As you can see in the above screen, ColorZilla has quite a few functional features like an Advanced Eyedropper, Color Picker, Page Zoomer, Palette Browser, and a CSS Gradient Generator.

  • The Color Picker dialog box is very similar to that in Photoshop.
  • In case you have a problem picking up a colored pixel, you can zoom a webpage to a maximum of 1000% and use the eyedropper to pick up the color of the pixel. Auto-copy of pixel values to the clipboard makes it easy to paste it in your HTML editor or elsewhere.
  • You can use the Palette Browser to pick up colors from the different palettes available and also save user created ones.

PixelZoomer

color picker firefox addon

PixelZoomer is a neat Firefox add-on that takes a screenshot of the visible area of your webpage and gives you a few pixel mapping tools to work with the image in a separate window (or tab).

  • A selection tool helps to select an area and estimate precise measurements
  • You can zoom the screenshot to 3200% and pick up the color of any pixel with the eyedropper tool.
  • The eyedropper tool can pick up color values and copy the HEX code into any other application.
  • You can use it as a simple screenshot tool as it allows you to save the image as a PNG file.

Rainbow Color Tools

color picker firefox

Rainbow Color Tools is actually a set of four powerful tools. For a web designer, the tools are very intuitive as they are almost one or two click operations.

  • Inspector – You can move your mouse over any pixel on a webpage and get a preview of the color and the HEX values (you can change this in the settings). A single click copies the pixel values to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere.
  • Picker – The color picker helps you pick up HSV and RGB values, and the typeface of any element on the webpage. The more precise pixel tool helps you take the color values of any image pixel.
  • Website Analyzer – This is a quick tool which gives you the color scheme from the current website’s images and CSS. You can choose to copy or save the color values.
  • Library – if you choose to save any of the colors you pick up, they enter the library where you can view them again in the color picker and reuse them in any other application.

Firefox Add-ons Gallery gives you two more color picking tools (Firepicker and Rainbowpicker) based around a simple color picker dialog box. These three Firefox add-ons are good allied options for the web designer who wants to quickly pick up colors while browsing the web. My pick of the three is Rainbow Color Tools for its ease of use and HEX value copying mechanism. Which one is yours? Do you have at least one of these three tools in your list of add-ons?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

7 Creative Ways To Use The Power Of Google Drive With Evernote

It’s time to bury the hatchet.

Evernote and Google Drive just shook hands over a peace pipe. Alex Vogenthaler, Group Product Manager for Google Drive said it best when the Evernote and Google Drive integration was announced:

“The Cloud at its best”

Connecting Google Drive to Evernote makes sense on many levels. Easier access to your Drive assets in Evernote has been a basic need of power note-takers for long. As our work moves more and more to the cloud every day, seamlessly using universal services like Evernote and Google Drive is the need of the hour.

You could always copy-paste your Google Drive links into Evernote, but the latest change brings automatic syncing between the two document tools. This brings side-benefits for both personal and collaborative productivity.

In short, you don’t have to choose.

You can use both Evernote and Google Drive. But what exactly are the benefits you are signing up for? And how can you maximize your productivity? Let’s take a few back of the envelope ideas and talk about them. I am sure you will have your own lightbulb flashes of inspiration – so do add these ideas to the comments!

The Benefits of Pairing Google Drive with Evernote

Here’s what the partnership of Google Drive and Evernote is doing for us today:

  1. Browse documents stored in Google Drive from any Evernote note or notebook.
  2. Add any file in Drive to a note without leaving Evernote. The embedded content will display a thumbnail preview.
  3. Any changes to files in Google Drive are automatically updated in Evernote.
  4. The attachment of Google Drive links and previews will not add to your Evernote quota.
  5. You can copy and paste a Google Drive file link into Evernote from any email, chat messaging, or any other application.
  6. Google Drive files are only available with online access.

The Evernote – Google Drive integration is in beta now. It is available for the web on Chrome and for Android. Other platforms will follow soon. Log into Evernote on the web and click on the green beta banner to access the new feature. You can always switch back to the Evernote of old if you choose to later.

7 Productive Uses for Google Drive Paired with Evernote

There is no need to ditch Evernote and move your house to Google Drive. Now, you have more room to work with in Evernote as you get Google Drive and 15 GB of free space. It is an easy workaround if you are using Evernote Free with its monthly 60 MB upload limit. But what are some of the productive and creative things you can extract from the union of these two apps?

The most effective use that will come out of this integration depends on how you view both Evernote and Google Drive, and the place you give each in your own productivity workflow.

Evernote is best for catching scraps of data. I use Evernote as a quick capture tool for notes and ideas. It may not be the fastest note-taking software on the block, but it is great at capturing and finding the information you have kept. Tools like Evernote and Google Keep are best for handling little morsels of information. Do that in Google Drive, and you will drown in an information swamp.

Evernote is not the best for office productivity. It is not an archive of my documents I am working on or collaborating with my team. This role is reserved for Google Drive which is a workhorse for deeper office productivity.

Even then, the latest ability to embed Google Drive files into Evernote and the power to search for Drive files from within the notes opens up greater possibilities. Here are some creative uses:

Use Evernote as a Powerful Visual Note-taking System

Visual thinkers take note. There are visual note-taking tools out there, but you can create your own system with Evernote and Google Drawings. Use Google Drawings to create digital poster boards and link it to your Evernote note which can also carry more information to explain your ideas. This could be especially useful for students and learners.

Book Ideas

In the above screenshot, I used the Google Drive camera tool to take a snap of visual notes on a book I was reading. A snapshot like this can then be automatically added to your book notes on Evernote and previewed with a click. It is an active way to remember all the great ideas you read.

You can do this as easily with the Evernote app, and using Google Drive’s more generous storage space helps you stay on the free side of Evernote.

Use Evernote to Expand Your Vocabulary

Expanding your vocabulary can broaden your life. Johnson O’Connor’s findings over many years proved that a person’s vocabulary level was the best single measure for predicting occupational success in every area. The worst part of learning a new word is the deliberate effort involved. The best part is that you have to do it only once.

Using an active learning method can help retain the word in your brain. In active learning, acquiring new words is done with a greater effort. For example, learning new words by looking at images and videos.

Here’s a workflow you can copy.

Step 1. Use Evernote to quickly quick capture new words you want to learn.

Use Evernote to capture new words.

Step 2. Use Google Slides to introduce images (via Image Search in Slides) and a pronunciation video (via YouTube Search in Slides).

Use Google Slides to introduce images

The embedded Google Slides document is then a handy Flashcard for when you want to go back and review your word stock.

Expand Your Ideas with Flowcharts and Mind Maps

Google Drive gives you all the tools to capture great ideas and never lose them. But again, because of its “silo” like organization your ideas can lose themselves within its virtual walls. A single Evernote note can be the index card for cataloging all your ideas while you build them up with flowcharts and mindmaps in Google Drive.

You can move beyond the research tool to expand your ideas. Google Drive add-ons like MindMeister and LucidChart are handy for creating quick mind maps. Mindmeister can quickly turn a simple linear list into a mind map.

Mindmeister

Lucidchart Diagrams is a nimble tool for mind maps, flowcharts, and other diagrams. Gliffy is another Google Drive add-on I can recommend highly.

Create a Project Portfolio

From a Gantter add-on to project management templates, Google Drive has all the tools a small project might need. The Template Gallery gives you everything from timesheets to scope sheets. There are also project cost calculators and Gantt Charts. You can also use Vertex42 Template Gallery add-on that’s available in Google Drive to get started quickly.

However, there is always some information you just cannot put in a spreadsheet.

You can create your own project plan template in Evernote and create an index of assets that are on Google Drive. Specific tags can indicate progress of a project.

Evernote Project Plan Template

An Evernote notebook or note can be a “Super-template” for summarizing key points. It can be the hub with the Google Drive embed acting as spokes for your project.

Project Assets from Google Drive

 

Use the power of checklists to keep track of each step within a project. Thanks to the Google Drive integration, you can search the project related Drive files straight from Evernote.

Do note that you can share your Evernote notes with your team too. Instead of Google Hangouts, you can use Evernote’s Work Chat in real time with your team and collect ideas or feedback instantly. Any changes to a file in Google Drive (or a request for access) can set off a notification in Chrome.

Take Photo Field Notes

Now, you don’t need to use a special app to take field notes and improve your photography. Any photo uploaded to Google Drive can be synced to Evernote. Cameras retain a lot of information within the EXIF data, but sometimes it may not give you the complete picture. Bring your best shots into Evernote from Google Drive and capture the who and why story behind the photo.

Take Photo Field Notes

This TutsPlus.com article on Better Pictures Through Words: The Lost Art of Photo Field Notes shows the usefulness of taking notes while shooting and how thinking about our photos makes us better photographers.

Hire Away with Application Tracking

The simple integration of two powerful apps is a boon for anyone who is in the business of hiring. Use the best features of both for designing a simple application tracking system. Your interview notes can reside in Evernote while staying linked to a Google Drive folder of resumes and other supporting resources.

Interview Notes

You can use a Google Form to enter supporting data on each candidate. Use Evernote tags to organize the status of each interviewee. This blog post on Evernote’s recruiting powers should spark even more ideas.

Make a Better Bucket List

We have talked about project management. But our own lives should be the biggest project we should be engaged in. Projects take you from where you are to where you want to go with a series of small steps.

One of the ideas I am exploring now is to use similar principles and take control of my bucket list. I use Trello to break down my big picture goals, but the Evernote – Google Drive bridge could be a handy alternative for multi-layered life projects.

Bucket List on Evernote

Evernote can be the primary interface with a linear list. Google Drive can be the container for all project support material and a place for larger reference materials such YouTube videos, motivational posters, and budget calculators for travel or money related dreams. Each bucket list goal on Evernote can get a separate detail document on Google Drive.

Michael Hyatt has a wonderful system on Evernote alone where he uses sections like — Key Motivations, Next Actions, Progress Reports, and Random Notes to flesh out his plans. On Google Drive, you can create a specific bucket list folder or document to give more detail to your goals.

Your Best Ideas Wanted

These are early days for Evernote and Google Drive’s partnership. The feature is limited to just Chrome and Android for now, but it signals a way forward for two beloved apps.

You can capture almost anything with Evernote. You can do the same with Google Drive, but it is more disjointed as it is a suite of products. Using the seamless link between the two can solve a lot of your organizational problems. The handshake might look very simple on the surface – but it opens up a lot of creative options.

Here’s the full Evernote FAQ for all your queries.

Think of it this way: Evernote uses the power of tags and Google Drive has its folders and sub-folders. Isn’t that a recipe for a better knowledge management solution!

Do you use both Evernote and Google Drive? Does the connection between the two open up a lot more possibilities for you? What are the ideas that are striking you? Share them in the comments.