Browser Overload

Too Many Tabs

I should probably close some browser tabs. I’ve tried various tab extensions, using Pocket, or even copying URLs into a text file but still I leave the same tabs open for days on end until Chrome crashes and I forget to recover them and, BOOM, they’re gone and I don’t care.

Rinse and repeat.

Happy 25th birthday WWW!

Extra Adverts showing in Chrome?

For the last few weeks I’ve noticed unusual floating adverts from superfish.com on amazon.co.uk, focalprice.com and other shopping sites but I couldn’t figure out what was causing it. Turns out I’m not the only one to notice them.

superfish floating advert

It was an extension I had installed in Google Chrome. I went through each of the extensions I have installed, checking the options for each. Some didn’t have any options page and only one mentioned adverts at all but it wasn’t the Superfish one. With those checked I disabled each extension one by one, reloading Amazon until the advert went away.

I found it. “Flash Video Downloader” version 2.3.5 (id: ggkfikfcbnpfoicfjammigpnakpogebh) was responsible for the adverts. Authors of software want to be paid but this was very underhand. The extension has no options page and doesn’t mention adding Superfish adverts on the extensions page. It’s also a reminder of how much trust we put into the authors of software with access to our personal and private data. Since finding this I found the CNET download page and reviews for the extension. The latest reviews warn of the added malware:

Pros
Flash Video Downloader used to be an easy & safe product to download flash-based videos embedded into various websites.

Cons
They’ve secretly slipped Adware/Malware into their product (Superfish “Featured Shopper”). Flash Video Downloader obviously tracks your browsing history (that’s how it know’s when there’s a flash video available to download)… who knows where your browsing data is going now that they’ve got AdWare/Malware involved.

Also, Flash Video Downloader recently removed support to download YouTube videos. (I suspect Google/YouTube probably forced that change for copyright purposes.)

Summary
With Adware/Malware added to the product and YouTube support removed removed, I suspect most users will no longer find this product helpful or safe to use.

The extension isn’t on the Chrome Web Store. The last time I went searching I couldn’t find a decent one on there but maybe that has changed since. I don’t want to pirate Youtube videos. Sometimes I just want to watch a gameplay video offline!

Chrome 23 and Flash missing sound for you too?

The latest version of Google’s Chrome browser in Windows reintroduced an old bug where Flash videos were missing all sound. It doesn’t happen to everyone but if you set your speaker configuration to Stereo you should hear sound again.

Click on the Windows Start button > Control Panel > Sound > select the speaker/playback device and click the Configure button > in the Speaker Setup dialog that appears, if you have multiple audio channels listed, please test the Stereo configuration, and let us know what happens.

I already had it set to stereo using the on-board Realtek sound chip in my PC but going through the motions of setting it to stereo and restarting the browser seems to have worked.

There’s a lengthy thread here, there’s a bug open about the issue and it has been fixed. The next stable release will include the fix. Yay!

Chrome bug: it forgets browsing sessions!

I just reported my first Chrome bug but it looks like it’s been known for quite some time, unfortunately.


When Chrome is configured to open the home page on startup it forgets any recently opened tabs if you don’t open those pages before you close the browser again. I’m fairly certain it used to do the right thing before and remember those pages but I’m not sure when that behaviour changed.

Unfortunately Firefox does the same thing. Go to History->Restore Previous Session and it will restore the home page in the same circumstances. I’m almost certain that browser did the right thing in a previous release.

If one were pedantic, the previous session was the single homepage tab and not the dozen tabs I had open before my browser was closed but it’s not what I expect. I’ll close my browser down when I’m doing something intensive but then click on a link in Tweetdeck, laugh at a rage comic and close the browser again before I realise my mistake.

The other thing Chrome has changed is when you have multiple windows open. It only shows the recently closed tabs for one of those windows. Open the home page again and you’ll see the “recently closed” link again where you can open tabs from other windows. You can also press ctrl-shift-t to restore closed windows.

If you hadn’t closed many pages before you shut your browser down you can also use the History page to open previously closed pages selectively. Unfortunately that won’t help if you had pages open for days that you just meant to read when you had time but never found the time. I find myself shoving pages into Read It Later just so I can get back to them at my leisure.

I’ve tried a few Chrome extensions that promised to save my browsing sessions but none worked in the way I’ve described. Does such an extension exist?

Ubuntu: ALT TAB between browser windows?

I’m still using Ubuntu’s Unity desktop, which is saying a lot as I switched back to Gnome within a week or so of the previous release of Ubuntu.

One of the remaining bugbears I had with Unity was the window or task switcher. It was impossible to switch between Chrome browser windows. I had to click on the Chrome icon in the Unity sidebar and select the window I wanted. It felt like Ubuntu had tried to emulate what Windows 7 did with their taskbar, but Windows did it better because the window previews are close to the taskbar.

I’m not the only one to have this problem. You can either change window switcher in CCSM (oh oh, watch out when using CCSM!) or use ALT-`. That character is the tick character which normally sits above the TAB key on UK/English/US keyboards but may be elsewhere on other locales. I now need to get used to it like I did with Mac OS X.

Google Chrome on Linux and Mac

Google Chrome, the open source browser that recently made headlines, was unfortunately only released for Windows. Linux and <a href="Mac users were left out in the cold.

It was possibly to get the browser working with Wine, but it wasn’t very stable by all accounts. Thanks to CodeWeavers, they have ported the Chromium browser to Linux and Mac OS X and packaged it ready for download on both systems!

First impressions of the Linux version? For some reason my whole screen goes black while a page is loading or when a new tab is opened. I see this in Vice (The C64 emulator) and any movie player other than mplayer so it’s an issue with my setup, not the browser. The fonts in the url bar suck as well, but I’m sure they can be fixed too. My curiousity is sated. CoveWeavers did a great job, but I’m going back to Firefox. (Via Tom)

So today I am pleased to announce that we have shipped freely available versions of Chromium for both the Mac and Linux. Not only does this give Mac and Linux users a chance to see what all the hype is about, it also lets the world see just how far Wine has come and how powerful it truly can be. In just 11 days, we were able to bring a modern Windows application across to Mac and Linux.