App of the Week: DuckDuckPro

A Year of DuckDuckGo – a review

 

By Tom Wood of designwithtom.com

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo as my default search engine instead of Google for about 12 months. This is why I could never go back.

1. Privacy

The main reason I switched over in the first place was a privacy concern. Spawned from a talk by the irrepressible Aral Balkan, the notion of corporatocracy was first lodged in my brain. Google weren’t just storing all my search history, but they were using it for all manner of things except for the one thing they assured me it was for; improving my searching.

With a Privacy Policy written in clear English, DuckDuckGo are all about you.

2. Quality of Search

Using Google you’re subject to what is known as the filter bubble. The filter bubble is where your search results are conditioned by the history of your previous searches. That means that different results are shown to different people. Not everyone who searches for Donald Trump (or guns) sees the same thing.

There is no filter bubble on DuckDuckGo. The ability to switch which local region you’re searching in gives you more options and ultimately, a truer search.

3. Design

Look at it. Look how clean it is! Don’t like how it looks, then head straight to part 4!

Lose the visual clutter of Google, and the mismatching styles and enter some gentle alignment and you get DuckDuckGo. Search for a topic like Airbnb and you’ll get a tidy summary (from Wikipedia of course) at the top of the page, and some genuinely related links to the right. All of this in your search results.

Search for an HTML snippet like <td>, and you’ll get an HTML table in correct syntax ready for you to copy and paste. Occasionally a StackOverflow answer will even appear up there!

4. Customization

So you don’t like how it looks and you prefer Google. Why?! Only joking.

You can change how DuckDuckGo both looks and behaves. You can change the default ProximaNova font to Helvetica Neue, or the colour to pink. You can change the way links open, or stop the favicons from displaying. You can truly cater it to your tastes.

5. Instant Search

You know how Google can give you the results to basic arithmetic, or tell you the weather without having to leave your search results? Well DuckDuckGo have been doing that for longer, and arguably, they do it better.

The weather is supplied by the wonderful and gorgeous Forecast.io (now renamed DarkSky), the clean strokes and bold lines are a breath of fresh air.

But perhaps the cleverest thing, is DuckDuckGo’s ability to play a song from within the search results. Try it. You can play a Soundcloud tune without ever having to leave your search results.

Oh, and if you search for “Stopwatch” you get (you guessed it) a working stopwatch.

6. !bangs

Bangs are the most useful part of DuckDuckGo. A bang is when you type an “!” followed by a letter, and then type your search query to instantly search on another site. Directly. Use wikipedia right from DuckDuckGo; “!w trainspotting”, or thousands of other sites.

You can use it to search Google if you need to, !g or !guk or even !maps. It’s such an intuitive way of searching. Visit DuckDuckGo for the full list (or submit your own)

It’ll work with !wikipedia, or !stackoverflow, !verge, and so on and so on (9,088 at the time of writing. Wow).

But the best part? DuckDuckGo does all of this anonymously, and if you don’t know why that’s a big deal (or if you don’t care) then I implore you to watch Aral’s talk below.

 

Download DuckDuckGo for iOS here
Download DuckDuckGo for Android here

 

Do you have a favorite browser you use for security? Tell us about it in the comments below!

App of the Week: Google Chrome

11 Chrome features you’ll wish you’d known all along

 

 

By Matt Elliot of CNet

Do you consider yourself a Chrome ninja? If not, these tips can help you navigate the web with deadly efficiency.

Pin tabs

I spend much of my day using Gmail and Google Drive, and with Chrome’s tab-pinning feature, I can keep those tabs parked to the left of all of my many open tabs. It’s a great way to keep the tabs you’re constantly visiting and revisiting within an arm’s reach. To pin a tab, just right-click it and select Pin Tab. It will move to the left of your tabs where it will stay readily available. Better yet, the size of the tab shrinks to give you more room to juggle the rest of your open tabs.

Mute tabs

Where is that sound coming from? Chrome identifies which tabs are playing audio by placing a little speaking icon on the tabs making noise. If a video starts playing on one of your background tabs, look for the little speaker icon. To mute its audio, right-click the tab and hit Mute Tab. You’ll mute the offending tab without leaving your current tab.

Block autoplay videos

If you find yourself constantly muting tabs, why not just put a stop to autoplay videos altogether? Type chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy into Chrome’s URL bar, which will open Chrome’s list of features Google is testing out, but have yet to make it into the official release. For the autoplay policy, select Document user activation is required and then click the Relaunch Now button.

Block notification requests

After autoplay videos, my least favorite part about browsing the web are the constant requests from sites asking me if I’ll let them show me notifications. My answer is always “block.” Thankfully, there is a way to tell Chrome to stop sites from asking. Open Settings and scroll down to the bottom and click Advanced. In the Privacy and security section, click Content Settings. Next, click Notifications and then click the toggle switch so it goes from Ask before sending to Blocked.

Quickest way to a Google search

You probably know that you can use Chrome’s URL bar to do a quick Google search, but that’s not the fastest way. If you come across a word you want to look up, just right-click it and select Search Google for “_____” from the contextual menu and a new tab will open with Google search results for the word. You can also look up a phrase the same way by first highlighting the whole phrase and then right-clicking.

Zoom out to normal view

Frequently, my MacBook’s ($1,249.00 at Amazon.com) touchpad misreads a swipe or gesture and wildly zooms in on the page I’m reading. So I memorized the Command-0 (zero, that is) keyboard shortcut, which returns Chrome to the regular zoom level. (That’s Ctrl-0 for you Windows users.)

Select multiple tabs

If your open tabs have reached the point where you want to break off a bunch and move them into their own window, you can select multiple tabs by holding down Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) and clicking the tabs you want to move. You’ll see that the tabs are highlighted in a lighter shade from your other tabs. With your tabs selected, you can release the Command or Ctrl button and then drag the tabs from the current window and they’ll all open in a new window of their own.

Reopen a closed tab

Accidentally closed a tab? You can bring it back by hitting Command-Shift-T on a Mac or Ctrl-Shift-T on a PC.

Start where you left off

Did you know you can tell Chrome to restart not with a blank page but where you left off, with all of your many tabs. I like to shut down my MacBook from time to time to keep it running smoothly, and I like to be able to pick up right where I left off in Chrome after a reboot. To do this, go to Chrome’s Settings, scroll down to the On startup area and select Continue where you left off.

See what’s slowing you down

Is Chrome acting sluggish? You can see if there is a particular tab that’s causing the slowdown by using Chrome’s built-in Task Manager. It shows which tabs are using the most CPU and memory resources. To open Chrome’s Task Manager, click the triple-dot button in the top right and go to More Tools > Task Manager. The small Task Manager window shows fluctuating percentages for each open tab and extension you have running in terms of CPU and memory usage. Highlight a tab or an extension and click the End Process to kill any egregious resource hog and reclaim some CPU and memory overhead.

Save time with autofill

Tired of entering your address or credit card info on web forms? You can save this information and have Chrome enter it for you. Go to Settings > Advanced > Passwords and forms > Autofill settings to save address and payment information with Chrome. When you come to a web form, you just need to enter the first letter or your name or first number of your credit card and Chrome will offer to fill out the appropriate boxes for you.


Do you have a favorite feature of Chrome? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to: Close All Your Open Tabs at the Same Time

 

 

By Jake Peterson of Gadgethacks.com

If you’re like me, your iPhone has way too many Safari tabs open. Links from other applications open up new tabs automatically, it’s too easy to open up new tabs to search, and sometimes you’re skittish about closing pages you don’t want to forget about. This all creates a massive mess that requires cleaning house, and there’s an easy trick to doing just that.

While on the surface it appears you need to close out of each Safari tab manually, there’s actually a quick way to close them all at once. If you really want to save some webpages first, go through and bookmark them or add them to your reading list so you don’t lose them before using this trick for a clean slate.

Just like you normally would, tap the two-squares icon in the bottom menu (or top, if in landscape mode) to display all of your tabs. In this tabs overview, you can either tap the “X” or swipe left on any tab to promptly close it. If you have a ton of tabs to close, this could get tedious real fast.

A much faster way to close your tabs exists, without you needing to look at your tabs at all. Simply tap and hold the two-squares (tabs) icon in the bottom-right corner of Safari (or top-right, if in landscape view). Moments later, a menu appears with some helpful options. To close all open tabs at once, just tap “Close All [#] Tabs” (I had a whopping 211 open when writing this, as you can see).

That’s not the only nifty function this menu has to offer. You can close the tab you are currently viewing by tapping “Close This Tab,” and you can open a new or private tab by tapping “New Tab” and “New Private Tab,” respectively. While the latter three options might not be as useful as the hidden “Close All [#] Tabs,” they offer a way to skip a step to perform these actions.

 

How do you handle all your Safari Tabs? Tell us about it in the comments below!

App of the Week: Firefox

 

 

3 awesome features coming to Firefox that you can get right now

By Matt Ellliot of CNet

The upcoming Firefox 59 will help you stop sites from asking for permission to send you notifications and know your location, but you can stop these right now in the current build of Firefox with a little digging.

When Firefox 59 is released in March, it will add controls for setting permissions for how the browser accesses your location along with your computer’s camera and microphone. It will also include a global setting for blocking sites from asking to be allowed to send you notifications.
These settings will be most welcomed — particularly the ability to shut off those annoying requests that sites pop up asking if it’s OK to send you notifications — but you can access those if you are willing to dip into Firefox’s advanced settings in about:config.

1. Disable notification requests

Have you ever answered “Allow” when a site asks if it can send you notifications? I have not. If you have grown tired of repeatedly answering “Block” to this question, there is a way to prevent sites from even asking.
Enter about:config in Firefox’s address bar and click the I accept the risk button. Search for dom.push.enabled and double-click it to switch its value from true to false.

 

2. Disable location requests

Many sites also ask for your location, which might be helpful for some types of sites (weather, mapping and so on) but certainly not for all that ask. If you want to disable all sites from requesting to know your location, go to about:config, search for geo.enabled and set its value to false.

3. Disable camera and microphone requests

You probably get fewer requests from sites asking to use your computer’s webcam and microphone, but you can shut off these requests in about:config, too. Find media.navigator.enabled and media.peerconnection.enabled and set the values to both to false.

What are your favorite Firefox features? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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