Safari and Chrome aren’t the new IE6 — chill out!

IE6 and WebKit

Internet Explorer 6 was a plague. Not only was it extremely dominant in the web browser market, but it also highlighted a very dark time for Microsoft as a company. IE6 accomplished Microsoft’s infamous embrace, extend, and extinguish strategy, but it also allowed Microsoft to become stagnant. Since Gecko- (Firefox) and WebKit-based (Chrome, Safari) web browsers have really taken off, Microsoft has quickly moved to rectify the problem. IE9 and IE10 are much faster and more standards-compliant than previous efforts, but Microsoft’s corporate culture taints the way it views the current browser market.

It’s clear that Microsoft sees WebKit as a threat — specifically in the mobile space. Due to its almost complete domination of the smartphone (Android and iPhone) and tablet (Android and iPad) markets, this has even caused some people to accuse WebKit-based browsers of becoming the entrenched, stagnant stalwart that IE6 once was. The reality is that WebKit is not, will not be, and can not be the same problem that IE6 once was. Internet Explorer 6 was part of Microsoft’s plan for dominating the market. Safari and Chrome, despite their importance, don’t serve the same purpose for either Apple or Google.

The reason Apple forked KHTML to start the WebKit project was so that it would no longer be beholden to Microsoft. As stagnant as IE was on Windows, it was even worse on the Mac. Safari, and the underlying rending engine, exist only so that Apple will have a reliable web browser for its customers regardless of which third-party companies are developing for its platforms. Google makes the vast majority of its money from advertising. Its goal is for as many people as possible to use its web apps and services. Chrome exists as clear and stable way for Google to offer a clean and fast experience for its users. In both cases, it doesn’t actually matter if the end user is using a WebKit-based browser. As long as you’re buying Apple’s hardware or using Google’s web apps, neither company cares which browser you use. At least in the days of IE6, Microsoft desperately wanted Internet Explorer to be the only browser anyone ever wanted to use. Google and Apple don’t share that idea for their browsers.

WebKit Browsers

WebKit is completely open source, and anyone can leverage it (or fork it) to create their own browser. Google did it for Chrome, and it turned out fantastically. Microsoft’s Trident engine is closed source. Nobody can fork it or even submit improvements for Microsoft to use itself. This alone means that WebKit cannot really be used as a tool for embrace-extend-extinguish. Extinguishing doesn’t work so well when your competitors have access to the core of your application, and can use it themselves.

The only argument left for WebKit-based browsers being at all like IE6 is that WebKit has features that aren’t yet available in other browsers or in any spec. If web developers want to take advantage of a WebKit-exclusive feature, or if they want to target the vast majority of mobile browsers, they have to write WebKit-specific code. Now, with Firefox and Internet Explorer finally making headway in the mobile market, many developers don’t have the resources to re-write their sites using either new standards or more browser-specific code. This is not by any means a failing of WebKit — it is a failing of the competition and standards body.

Apple and Google both want to implement cutting-edge technology, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is very slow in adopting standards. That doesn’t mean that WebKit isn’t standards-compliant. In fact, WebKit-based browsers are even more standards compliant than IE10. In reality, this is more of a problem with the W3C. It’s hard to blame developers for wanting to take advantage of the latest technology in WebKit, but they know the risks of using non-standard code. Microsoft shouldn’t be worried about Safari and Chrome playing the role of IE6. Instead, it should double-down on standards compliance, and keep pace with new features in WebKit. If developers can write standards-compliant code that works in every major browser, they’ll do it happily. Don’t drag your feet, Microsoft, and you won’t have to worry about developer support.

Now read: The death of Firefox

10 Firefox Plugins For A Safer Browsing Experience

Mozilla’s Firefox browser is a user-friendly and feature-rich browser, with around 35% of all web users using it to browse the Web. Today’s internet is no longer the only source of information and entertainment, but also a place of treachery and theft. Hackers, trojans, spam, and phishing scams, are just some problems and dangers that exist in the World Wide Web.

(Image Source: Fotolia)

But there is no need for this to stop us from fully utilizing the web. This is especially true for Firefox users who have an arsenal of great Firefox add-ons that will help ensure that your browsing experience can continue protected.

Here are 10 such Firefox add-ons (or plugins if you will) that can help give you a better browsing experience while on the Web.

1. HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is a project started by Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that fights for your digital rights. This tool will help secure your browsing experience by making the browser load the https version of any site you visit. Under https mode, the data sent from your computer is SSL-encrypted, safe from prying eyes and man-in-the-middle attacks.

2. WOT

WOT stands for Web of Trust. WOT is an online community which tries to identify untrusted or spam websites and maintains a list of trusted websites. The WOT plugin safeguards your online activity by informing you if the website you are about to access is safe to visit or not. The plugin will show you a trust meter for websites and search results as well as warn you when you are at the verge of accessing an untrusted or spam website.

You can contribute to the WOT community by giving your rating about websites you have visited, and help others browse safely.

3. Adblock Plus

As the name suggests, Adblock Plus blocks all types of advertisements shown on websites. Apart from being annoying and detrimental to user experience, ads, when misplaced or misused, can also track your online activities by way of locking down the links you click or visit. If however you stop these ads from showing on all the websites you visit, your favorite sites will stop getting ad revenue and lose their financial backing to keep the site running.

The solution provided is that you can allow non-intrusive ads that you don’t find annoying to continue showing with Adblock Plus, while avoiding ads from, for example, malware-spreading websites.

4. NoScript

NoScript is a powerful add-on for Firefox, which allows you to block JavaScript, Java, Flash and other executable content present on the web pages you visit. You can create a whitelist and allow some trusted websites (like your home-banking website) to run executable content on the browser.

By blocking executable content on unknown websites, this plugin protects you against cross-site scripting attacks (XSS), cross-zone DNS rebinding or CSRF attacks (router hacking) and Clickjacking attempts. Websites in the whitelist are allowed to run content, which will allow you browse your favorite websites without any problem.

5. BetterPrivacy

BetterPrivacy serves to protect you against unlimited-time stored Super-Cookies. Cookies are files stored on your computer, which carry information like your username, password, login date, etc. Super-Cookies known as LSOs are flash cookies which are centrally-stored and can contain many information about you and your online activity.

Many websites like Facebook, Google and advertising companies use LSOs to get information about you. LSOs are almost unmanageable from browsers and also cumbersome to be managed on centrally-stored servers. With BetterPrivacy, you can opt to delete LSOs when launching a browser or shutting down one, or even at a pre-set time interval. You can even opt to keep LSOs that you don’t want deleted.

6. Ghostery

Ghostery is a useful add-on to protect your privacy and online activities from being tracked, particularly by advertising companies who are interested in getting information about you for marketing purposes. Ghostery sees the web page and detect trackers, web bugs, pixels and beacons.

After identifying who’s tracking you, Ghostery will give you options to know more about these companies. It will provide links to their Privacy Policy and opt-out options. With Ghostery you can also block scripts from companies you don’t trust, delete LSOs and block images & iFrames.

7. RequestPolicy

RequestPolicy is a plugin which give you control of your browsing activities by showing you when cross-site requests are made by the web pages you visit. When your browser is told by a web page to access a completely different website, this is called a cross-suite request. You would have unknowingly allowed another website to obtain information from you by allowing this request.

Cross-site requests can also be used to make Cross-Site request forgery attacks where one webpage tells the browser to make a request to another website, thus making it look as if you actually made the request to access this second website.With RequestPolicy, all cross-site requests are blocked automatically and you’re notified about it so that you can allow the requests that you want. You can also whitelist requests by origin site, destination site or origin-to-destination specifically.

8. Close’n forget

You must be using Private Browsing to access certain websites without leaving a trace, or cleaning up your tracks after completing the browsing exercise. But what if you unintentionally got onto a web page that you aren’t supposed to in a public computer and you can’t remove the complete history because it’s against the usage policy there?

Then, Close’n forget will come to your rescue. With Close’n forget, you can close a single tab and Firefox will even forget that it was ever opened in the first place. You can close the tab using contextual menu, a toolbar icon or even with shortcuts like with Alt+W.

9. QuickJava

QuickJava is a simple, yet useful plugin for Firefox. It allows you to turn on (or off) Java, JavaScript, Flash, Silverlight, Proxy and automatic loading of Images from the status bar icons or the toolbar, without having to open options or dialogs. You can use it to easily turn off Flash/Java or Images on websites you visit.

10. BrowserProtect

BrowserProtect is the ideal protection your browser needs from hijacking – homepage and search engine hijacking, that is. You must have noticed sometime after installing some software, your browser homepage or search engine gets changed automatically and you have to reset your options again to suit your needs.

It can be frustating especially when you have installed and customized your software preferences and browser settings. BrowserProtect will protect your browser auto-changes by disallowing any software or app from changing your browser settings without you knowing about it.


The add-ons/plugins described in this article is optimized for FF12 and above, thus they may not work on older versions. I’d suggest you use Firefox’s latest browser version for added security. What security plugins do you use while surfing online? Share your favorite plugins with us.

How to Read .ePub Ebooks on Firefox and Chrome [Quicktip]

ePub Firefox

ePub is an open standard format for ebooks, a format used to publish electronic books, magazines and newspapers. The difference between an ePub format file with a normal doc file is its reflowability to suit the many display dimensions of mobile devices i.e. tablets, smartphones etc. It was created to be flexible with font size and text layout, allowing you to read the same material on any mobile device that you may own.

However, it is not possible to open files with *.ePub extensions on your browsers, even though you can do that with *.pdf and *.doc (opened with Google Docs) files. To open *.ePub formatted files, you need an ebook-reader application like those available on tablets like the iPad, or e-readers like the Kindle or Nook. With more and more publishers switching to producing their ebooks in .ePub versions, you may think that the only way you can keep your reading habits up is to get yourself an e-reader or tablet. Hold that thought.

In this quick tip, we are going to share with you how you can open *.ePub files on your browser with EPUBReader on Firefox and MagicScroll on Chrome. These extensions are made as a minimalist ebook reader that will allow you to browse through ebooks directly from these two browsers.

EPUBReader for Firefox

if you are using Firefox, get to the EPUBReader extension page and click the green button ‘Add to Firefox’ to install EPUBReader.

ePub Firefox

When installation is complete, you will see an additional button appear at the top right corner of your Firefox browser, click the button to launch EPUBReader.

FireFox epub reader

You will then be redirected to your reader page where you will find lots of ebook collections that are available from and for free.

epub firefox

If you want to download an ebook with an .epub extension from the Internet, EPUBReader will automatically load the ebook for you.

fireforx ebook reader

MagicScroll For Chrome

To start reading ebook from your Chrome browser, go to the MagicScroll extension page and click on ‘Add to Chrome’ to install.

epub chrome

Once installed, you can open a new tab and go to this web address:

When the page is loaded, you will see your ebook library. To add new ebook to your library, click on ‘Add a Book to Your Library’.

magicscroll chrome

Now you will be given options to import the ebook from your computer, or provide the link to an ebook source if you want to add them from the Internet.

chrome add ebook

Once added, all ebooks will be accessible from your library.

chrome ebook library

To read an ebook, click on any available ebook cover from your library.

chrome ebook reader

Using MagicScroll on Chrome makes you feel like you are reading on an e-reader. There are 4 menu buttons available at the top left corner of each book page. They will bring you to the library main page, table of contents, options to change font size and theme colors as well as option to download the ebook locally onto your computer.


With these two extensions for FireFox and Chrome, you can now read ebooks from the convenience of your browsers even when you are offline, and there is no need to get an e-reader or tablet, or install external applications for ebook.