Two simple ways to thwart Web spies

Some Web sites just won't take "no" for an answer. You tell them you don't want their tracking cookies, and they continue to figure out new methods for keeping tabs on your Web activities anyway.

CNET's Greg Sandoval reported last month that several big-name sites have been sued in the U.S. District Court for using Flash cookies to spy on adults and children. At the center of this and similar suits are ad networks Clearspring Technologies and Quantcast that track your online activities even if you set your browser to block standard Web cookies.… Read more

The fast, free way to clean up text in MS Word

There's nothing easy about reformatting text in a Microsoft Word document. You can use the Format Painter to apply the formatting of one paragraph to others with a single click, and Word's Find and Replace features let you remove unwanted characters (or strings of characters), but these tools make their changes one at a time and often require additional cleanup.

I wish I had discovered Greg Maxey's free Clean Up Text add-on for Word years ago. The retired U.S. Navy submarine ordnance officer and former Microsoft Word MVP has created a Word DOT template that removes … Read more

Mozilla's Add-on builder great if you have know-how

For Mozilla users who want to control their browser, Mozilla Add-on Builder is a free tool that lets users create their own add-ons. Using the relatively new Jetpack SDK and Bespin code editor, Mozilla has created this Web-based SDK for the masses. As fun as it sounds, however, it is not intuitive, and some may want to stick to using premade add-ons.

Mozilla requires registration to use this tool. This process is fast; all you need is basic information like your name and e-mail. Before creating your add-on check out the tutorial provided by Mozilla. It will give you a … Read more

Firesay adds simple voice navigation to Firefox

Voice navigation is now commonplace on modern-day Android devices, but on the desktop, many of the accessibility tools that would bring voice commands to the end user still require special system level software or customized hardware.

That's not the case with a new Firefox add-on called Firesay, which brings hands-free voice controls to just the browser. Once installed as an add-on, it can pick up voice commands to do Web searches, open and close sites, and even pull up TV shows on Hulu.

The number of commands, and sites users can visit is extremely limited for the time being. … Read more

Reading Glasses blocks the extras

Reading Glasses is a nifty Google Chrome extension that lets you read on the Web only what you want to read while blocking out the rest.

A small Reading-Glasses icon will appear to the right-hand side of your address bar after the quick install. While you are reading a body of text, highlight your focus and click the icon. Doing so will white out everything other than the text. The problem with this extension is that it can be very finicky; sometimes it whites out more than you want it to, and sometimes less. It seems that luck may have … Read more

Take notes with Clipmarks

Clipmarks is a Mozilla Firefox extension that allows you to clip and save any portion of a Web page. The extension is great for sharing clips as well as saving them to a personalized note page. Though the add-on holds minor annoyances, it is an easy and simple way to take Web notes.

After the quick installation, a green paperclip icon will appear to the right-hand side of the address bar. To begin clipping, click on the icon and a green bar will appear at the top of the page. Pan over text to select it; an orange box will … Read more

Chrome to Phone streamlines desktop to phone transfers

Google is providing its users with an elegant and simple method to transfer links and snippets of text from its Chrome browser to its Android handsets. Available on Thursday, Chrome to Phone requires two installations and a Google account, yet works almost effortlessly to make what you're looking at on your desktop instantly accessible on your smartphone, too. It also requires users to be running Android 2.2 (Froyo) or later.

Users must install the Chrome extension, which frustratingly doesn't provide a QR code or other easy access to the Android marketplace link (available on Once … Read more

Firefox add-on blocks malicious search results

In their never-ending quest to steal your credit card and bank account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other sensitive personal information, malware purveyors go wherever the eyeballs are. Lately, the bad guys have increasingly been targeting the links served up by Web search engines.

Two computer security firms recently issued press releases touting the dangers of searching for popular terms, such as the names of starlets or items in the news. Barracuda Labs' 2010 Midyear Security Report highlights the risks of entering a popular topic in Google, Bing, or Yahoo. The company entered thousands of search terms in these … Read more

TabSense for Chrome: Smart choice for clutter

TabSense, a fast-moving Google Chrome extension, fights the distractions inherent to multiple tabs and windows. Similar to Mozilla Firefox's upcoming "Tab Candy," this Chromium extension efficiently declutters your work space by organizing your tabs all in one spot. While it has a few glitches that need hasty fixing, this new tool is handy for anyone who finds themselves navigating through multiple windows and tabs.

The TabSense icon at the right-hand side of the address bar opens a page filled with boxes that represent your open Chrome windows. Each box contains a list of the window's tabs. … Read more

TabSense makes sense for Chrome

Similar to Mozilla Firefox's upcoming "Tab Candy" concept, Google Chrome add-on TabSense helps manage your tabs in a streamlined, organized manner. Though in its rookie status--there are still minor bugs--the extension is definitely worth keeping thanks to its simple utility. After the lightning-fast install, a rounded/rectangular icon will appear to the right-hand side of the address bar. A message will say that settings can be configured through the extensions option of the tool menu. In this menu users can uninstall and disable; however, the "options" link takes you to a blank page that merely … Read more