Category Archives: Browser Extensions

The Missing Chrome Browser Features

Remember when iOS app developers where upset that Apple incorporated the functionality of their apps into iOS by default? Remember how much better it made iOS by default? I do too.

If Google followed Apple’s lead, as they do on occasion, it would seem that they should examine various helpful Chrome extensions and consider adding their functionality as native components.

Some areas that would easily level up Chrome for the masses:

  • browsing security
  • tab management
  • extension management
  • password management

For now, here are my favorite extensions that provide exactly these features.

HTTPS Everywhere – keeps Chrome on the secure protocol for websites even when an non-secured page is requested, if the website has HTTPS as an option.

Disable Extensions Temporarily – lets you toggle extensions on and off. I actually made this one myself :)

TabCloud – saves and restores open tabs across multiple sessions and computers.

LastPass – saves your passwords and provides access from every computer and mobile device.

Change the Way a Website Looks

When you’re browsing around, do you ever wish you could change the colors or fonts used on a website? If you’re using the Chrome or Firefox web browsers, you can!

There is a browser extension named “Stylish” that will let you apply different styles to various websites. Anyone familiar with CSS can create new styles, but everyone can use them.

After you install Stylish, you just browse the web like normal. When you’re viewing a website that you want to change the appearance of, you click the Stylish browser extension button and enable styles or click “find more styles for this site” which will take you to a website Userstyles.org where a lot of custom styles have been shared. Find a style that’s more appealing to you. After all, a website doesn’t have to look the same for everybody.

Install Stylish for Chrome
-or-
Install Stylish for Firefox

Visit Userstyles.org to find custom website styles

How To: Disable Chrome Extensions Temporarily

How do you disable your chrome extensions, temporarily, then re-enable them? With an extension of course!

You can install it from the Chrome Store: Disable Extensions Temporarily

I personally have a lot of chrome extensions enabled but from time to time need to disable them all. However, I also need to be able to re-enable them and I don’t want to go one by one and click check-boxes. I just want to be able to temporarily turn off my chrome extensions with one click and then when I’m ready to turn them all back on, click again.

I found some decent extensions available, but not an exact fit. So, I scratched my own itch and made a new chrome extension that disables all chrome extensions with one click and, even better, remembers which extensions where previously enabled and will re-enable them again with just one click. Re-enabling only previously disabled extensions was key for me, because I have some extensions installed that I toggle on and off individually from time to time and after temporarily disabling extensions I don’t want to simply turn on all chrome extensions, I want to just turn on previously disabled extensions.

Try it for yourself!

Disable Chrome Extensions Temporarily

Better Bookmarking for Citations, Quotes and Snippets

Cite Marker is a Chrome browser extension that puts a twist on browser bookmarking. When bookmarking a web page if you’re trying to save a reference back to a quote or snippet, more so than the entire content of a page, then Cite Marker can help.

Built in browser bookmarking uses the web page’s generic title to identify the page being bookmarked. Cite Marker uses the text you highlight instead. And yes, you could type in your own title for the bookmark, if you’ve got nothing better to do with your time and would rather paraphrase the content that you find valuable enough to bookmark.

Also, by using the text you highlight to mark the source your bookmarks become a lot easier to retrieve, especially if you use the bookmark search feature. You can also create multiple marks for the same page.

It’ll even let you tweet out what you’re marking, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Check it out on the Chrome Web Store

Gmail Manager for Chrome Browser (manage multiple email accounts)

If you’ve used Gmail Manager for Firefox but have been looking for the equivalent on Chrome, or if you’re just looking for a chrome extension to manage multiple Gmail and/or Google Apps email accounts, then you’re in luck. The maker of Gmail Manager for Firefox hasn’t written a port for Chrome, but there is at least 1 very good Chrome extension for managing multiple gmail accounts as well as multiple google apps email accounts.

After trying a few, the one I’ve really come to like the best is Simple Gmail Checker. The interface isn’t exactly like Gmail Manager for FF, but you might actually like it better. It’s not the most downloaded gmail add on for chrome, but it probably should be. That is, if you have multiple gmail accounts and/or google apps email accounts. So, here’s my shout-out to another extremely helpful chrome extension!

Gmail Manager for Chrome

Gmail Checker Plus is a decent chrome extension for multiple accounts, but it has problems with multiple addresses from the same domain. This makes the add-on worthless if you actually monitor more than 1 email address on a domain. Nice try, better than nothing, but Simple Gmail Checker handles this scenario flawlessly!

If you’re looking for an add-on to manage multiple gmail and google apps accounts with Firefox then Gmail Manager is the way to go!

Best Bookmarking Software & Service, IMHO

i finally decided that having browser bookmarks on several different machines was not a good thing. it’s frustrating when you’re on one computer and you’ve bookmarked something on a different computer so you have to resort to googling all over again for something that may have taken you a while to find originally (hence the bookmark). i’m also a great fan of Google and their products; the google toolbar is great. however their bookmarking feature isn’t solid. i don’t like the fact that their bookmarking solution doesn’t allow sub-folders. i’m also getting rather tired of giving so much (too much perhaps) information to 1 entity.

so i ventured out to try and compare many of the bookmarking services on the web. a lot of “bookmarking” now-a-days is more about sharing and promoting pages and not so much just about indexing pages for private recall. delicious was decent, diigo was better, but ultimately i found a perfect fit with “xmarks”, previously known as “foxmarks”. it has a web based interface, but also includes browser plugins for FireFox, Internet Explorer and Safari (for Mac only). the browser plugins make the bookmarking experience so much better. now on all the computers I own or control I can install the plugins and have my brower bookmarks act like they always have. if i need web based access from a computer where i can’t necessarily install the plugins on, no problemo.

anyhow i just thought i’d share my find with anyone interested in some really good, free bookmarking software coupled with a web based bookmarking interface. check out xmarks!

diggbar – better than tinyurl

digg might have been crazy for not selling out to Google or any other suitors by now, but they are continuing to develop. i personally feel that digg is a more likely business to return real dollar bills back to investors than twitter. sorry, i’ll use twitter while it’s free but i think that’s short lived unless Google eventually buys them and continues the give-it-away-because-we-can-afford-too model of.. cough cough business.

more to the point, the diggbar is better than tinyurl.com. digg has taken the tinyurl idea to another level. they’ve turned it into a sticky service which completely compliments their core service of promoting popular content. too bad for the tinyurl folks they didn’t come up with this sooner. but heck if they’re just slightly lucky Micro$oft might come along and offer tinyurl a quarter billion bucks (i think that’s how they do things over there nowadays).

so here’s how it works

Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) Developer Toolbar Download

this is post is for my fellow web coders… i tested the Beta 2 of the IE Developer Toolbar and it’s nice. i’m pretty sure firefox has had this stuff for a while… but considering that IE still dominates the browser world (in terms of end-users) it’s nice to have these slick features available for a blue collar type (m$ developer) such as myself.

i thought at first the toolbar wouldn’t play nice with the Google toolbar… but i just needed to disable the Google toolbar and then re-enable it (not an uncommon thing when loading up multiple toolbars in IE (i know i know you firefox cronies are thinking ‘see IE sux’ haha… o well). it works nice so check it out dev’s.

o yeah be on the look out for the upcoming Internet Explorer 7… the beta 2 for that is out now >> http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie7/default.mspx