Tumblr Savior Filters Tumblr for You

Tumblr Savior screenshotTumblr can be extremely fun to use. Connect to people who you share an interest with and your dashboard will be full of wonderful things that make you happy. Unfortunately, Tumblr can stop being fun if one (or more) of the people you follow start posting things that you really do not want to see.

What can you do? One option, of course, is to unfollow them. Doing so will remove the things you are hoping to avoid, but it also takes out all the good stuff the person posts. Another option, one I recently started using, is Tumblr Savior.

Tumblr Savior is a browser add-on that was created by Bjorn Stromberg. You can use it with Chrome, Safari, Opera, or Firefox. I use a Mac and I am using Tumblr Savior on my Safari browser. I love it! You can download the version you need for free.

Once you install it, you can access Tumblr Savior by clicking on the T icon that should now appear in your browser. It will bring up a “black list” and a “white list”. The “black list” is where you put terms or phrases that you would like Tumblr Savior to filter out for you.

Just like that, those annoying posts are gone! Instead of seeing it, you will get a note about it. It will say something like “’Person You Follow’ made a post containing: ‘word on your black list'”. You can leave it be. Or, if you are curious, you can click on that note and see the post.

Tumblr Savior is a good way to avoid “spoilers”. Put the name of a TV show, or movie, that you haven’t watched yet on your “black list”. Watch the movie (or TV show). Later, go back to your Tumblr Savior and take out those words.

Arr Matey! The Torch browser turns one

To be fair, Torch is an excellent browser that is based on Google’s Chrome platform. With that said, the web browser does come with built-in BitTorrent client, though that is far from its only feature. There are excellent media features included with the software, allowing the user to explore the latest music.

Now Torch Media announces the celebration of its one year anniversary. “Torch just celebrated its first birthday. We did a lot over the last year to make sure our users are getting the most out of the web and are looking forward to the future with our new improvements”.

The software maker tells us that is has accumulated 10 million users over its short life, plus touts other milestones and plans, as it is “hard at work making sure everyone can use this awesome browser, it is now available for Mac.  When you make the switch to Torch you don’t have to lose any of the add-ons you are used to, now that all Chrome add-ons are compatible with Torch Browser”.

torch birthday

“Torch recently released an update to help users download faster. So you have to wait less time to watch that movie you have been dying to see and you don’t have to compromise on the quality, because your browser can handle the larger HD files”. Nope…no piracy here. Move along, nothing to see.

As I said earlier, the browser is excellent. It is fast and brings many features to the table. Unfortunately, there is that whole stigma that continues to hang over it.

The Maxthon Cloud Browser

maxthon logoAt the moment you may not realize it, but there is a difference between a cloud browser and a web browser, despite the general feeling that the internet itself exists in the cloud. Maxthon stopped by TPN in Las Vegas to explain.

The Maxthon Cloud Browser attempts to provide and experience that spans multiple platforms, from computer to tablet to smartphone. The browser not only syncs, as both Firefox and Chrome can do, but CEO Jeff Chen claims that it allows the browsers on different platforms to “talk to one another”. Users can push information between devices in multiple ways, depending on what they choose.

The technology is available free across Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. To learn more, you can check out the video posted below.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net and Daniel J Lewis of  Audacity to Podcast

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Firefox 18 beta launches, faster JavaScript and Retina support

Mozilla may be suffering a bit lately thanks to the growth of the Chrome web browser, but they are still a popular choice for many computer users. They have also begun updating the browser at a much faster pace in order to keep pace with the competition. Those frequent updates don’t always result in cool new features, but the release today of the version 18 beta does bring some welcome new features.

Whenever a company updates their software I always tend to go first to the changelog so I can find out exactly what I am looking for. In this case I was surprised to find a couple of nice updates.

The first was a major inprovement to JavaScript by implementing the much anticipated IonMonkey engine. This should improve the display of web apps, games, and other JavaScript-heavy sites and services. The second was new support for Apple’s Retina displays. Beyond these two important changes, there are several other things that are notable.

Changelog

  • CHANGED: Performance improvements around tab switching.
  • DEVELOPER: CSS3 Flexbox implemented.
  • DEVELOPER: Support for new DOM property window.devicePixelRatio.
  • DEVELOPER: Support for @supports added.
  • DEVELOPER: Improvement in startup time through smart handling of signed extension certificates.
  • HTML5: Support for W3C touch events impemented, taking the place of MozTouch events.
  • FIXED: Disable insecure content loading on HTTPS pages (62178).
  • FIXED: Improved responsiveness for users on proxies (769764).

If you are already using the beta version of Firefox then you should receive this update automatically. If not, then head over to the Mozilla Beta Channel to make the switch. The final version will be released in January.

SurfEasy On-line Privacy Debuts at CES

Canadian firm SurfEasy will debut their eponymous USB key-based private Internet browser at CES, Las Vegas, next week. The portable USB key launches its own web browser which uses strong encryption to keep your surfing habits secret and holds all your personal information such as bookmarks, history and web passwords on the password-protected key itself. Nothing is left behind on the computer itself.

SurfEasy Secure Internet

When you stop and think about it, we use many different networks and computers to access our online lives. Whether it’s connecting from the office or using a Wi-Fi hotspot, we’re providing a lot of personal information to computers, networks and websites that are not designed with our personal privacy in mind,” said Chris Houston, founder and CEO of SurfEasy Inc. “SurfEasy lets people take control of protecting their online privacy and security by simply plugging in a USB key.

One of the biggest potential benefits is when using unsecured WiFi in places like coffee shops. As SurfEasy creates an encrypted tunnel from the SurfEasy USB key across the Internet, no-one can see any detail about your browsing. All they can see is the encrypted data and the volume of data. SurfEasy encrypts the web traffic using SSL and passes the traffic through its own servers, stripping the client IP from the data stream.  The proxy network is hosted in Canada and the US, with other international locations to come soon.

As the data stream passes through SurfEasy’s servers, SurfEasy publish a Customer Bill of Rights which is upfront about what you can expect from the company in terms of keeping your activities secret. Basically, unless you come to the attention of the legal authorities, no usage data is held.

The SurfEasy browser is powered by Mozilla and is compatible with Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and 7. Apple users needs to be on Mac OS X 10.5 or later. The SurfEasy USB key costs $60 and this includes 2 GB per month of encrypted traffic through the SurfEasy network. Additional data costs $5 per month for 25 GB and $10 for 75 GB. Product delivery is expected in February.

I can see this being very handy for backpackers and other travellers who have to use Internet cafes while travelling and are rightly concerned about security. Plug-in the SurfEasy USB key to a public computer and you’re instantly secure wherever you are.

Search Data and Browsing History Used As Evidence

Google Logo
The murder trial of Jo Yeates is front page news throughout the UK – a neighbour Vincent Tabak is accused of killing her. At the moment, the prosecution is presenting its case and a couple of interesting things have emerged as evidence.

In particular, the prosecution has alleged that the defendant:

  • looked at Wikipedia for the definitions of murder and manslaughter.
  • searched for the maximum penalty for manslaughter, i.e. how many years in jail.
  • looked up definitions for sexual assault and sexual conduct.
  • searched maps showing the area where the body was later found.
  • searched on CCTV cameras in street where both the defendent and victim lived.
  • use Google StreetView to view the same area.
  • researched criminal forensics, fingerprinting and DNA evidence.
  • read news stories on the investigation into the disappearance  of the victim.

Of course, it will be up to the jury to decide whether these are good indicators of guilt, but regardless it’s clear that if someone is accused of a crime then there’s a pretty thorough examination of one’s computers and on-line behaviour. Obviously this case is about a very serious crime but it’s almost a gift to the prosecution when put together like this: can you think of any good reason to access this material at the time of the disappearance? However, this is circumstantial evidence and needs to be weighed as such.

On a related note, Google has announced that if you are signed-in to Google when you search, you will automatically use https://www.google.com/, the secure version of Google Search. While this will prevent casual snooping on your search, Google will be keeping hold of your search information so that it can better serve you adverts. And how long does Google keep the search information? Indefinitely or until you remove it. So while on the face of it encrypted search is a good thing, it comes at the price of Google knowing yet more about you.

I suspect that in the current murder trial, all the computer forensics team had to do was look back through the defendant’s browser history. Easy if there’s only one computer, but more difficult if the person has a home computer, work laptop, smartphone and so on. If you’re tied into Google everywhere, all they’ll have to do is subpoena information from Google and get your search data in one tidy little bundle. Nice.

CyanogenMod 7 On The Nook Color

CyanogenMod 7I’ve had my Nook Color for about a month at this point, long enough to develop a real feel for how it integrates into my life.

Keep in mind, the Nook Color is not an iPad and sells for half the price of the cheapest Apple jewell. I’ve already got the latest iPod Touch with dual cameras, so I don’t need or currently want cameras in a tablet device.

The Nook Color shines best as a word-centric consumption device. It takes the Internet and turns it into a very portable book.

To be perfectly honest, the stock Nook Color version of Android is very locked down. Besides being a good reader platform for books and magazines, you can browse the web, do email, do social networking, and run a limited but growing number of apps (mostly paid but a few for free) from the Barnes & Noble Nook Color App Store. The Nook Color stock software experience is nice for what it does, but still rather limited overall. The included stock Android browser does include the ability to run Adobe Flash. The Nook Color has a bright and very clear 7 inch widescreen capacitive glass touch screen along with about 10 hours’ worth of battery life.

What makes the Nook Color a great value at $249 dollars is its ability to boot into other versions of Android FROM the built-in internal Micro-SD chip reader without affecting the built-in Nook Color’s Android operating system.

After experimenting with different bootable Micro-SD card arrangements, the best pre-built Android solution I’ve found so far comes from http://www.rootnookcolor.com, a website that is selling pre-configured versions of Android to give a good overall tablet touch screen experience starting at $39.99 for a pre-configured 4 gigabyte Micro-SD card.

Cutting to the chase, the best version I’ve gotten so far from Root Nook Color.Com is called CyanogenMod 7, also know as Gingerbread. This version offers great battery life (almost as good as the stock Nook Color Andriod at about 7 hours) and even enables undocumented Nook Color features such as its built-in Bluetooth radio. It also comes installed with the full Android Marketplace, enabling the ability to browse, download and install most of the available Android apps, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands. As mentioned above, since it’s running entirely from the Micro-SD card slot, the stock Nook Color Android operating system remains entirely untouched and completely intact. It’s not even necessary to remove the Micro-SD card to boot back into the stock Nook Color operating system since it comes pre-configured with a dual-boot loader.

While it’s possible to play YouTube and other videos along with apps such as Pandora, by far the most use I find myself making of CyanogenMod 7 is as a highly portable news feed consumption device. I am currently compiling a list of Android apps that take the best advantage of the Nook’s 7” display and will report on these apps in future posts.

Overall, the Nook Color opertated with the CyanogenMod 7 version of Android from Root Nook Color.Com offers a genuine Android tablet experience at a bargain basement price with very good overall performance.

The Tablet Influence

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I’ve had my Nook Color Android-powered e-reader for a few weeks, long enough to really get a feel for not only the e-reader experience but a bit of a tablet experience as well.

I have to admit I was initially somewhat dismissive of tablets. My feeling was though they would be useful in many situations, I personally had little use for one. I spend the majority of my time in my truck, where I’m already equipped with an iPod as well as laptop computers. I felt that the iPod had most of the functionality of an iPad, and that since my MackBook Pro was running most of the time when my truck is parked I really wouldn’t have much use for a tablet.

Since having the Nook Color I find myself spending quite a bit more time on it than I initially thought I would. I use the iPod for listening, and I’m using the MacBook for tasks such as recording my own podcast as well as email and iTunes. However, a great deal of the time I find myself using the Nook Color to browse and consume web-based content.

I believe the adoption of tablets is going to change the content that people consume from the Internet. The change isn’t going to be dramatic or overnight, however it does seem to me that if I’m browsing on a tablet I’m much more likely to read certain types of articles and/or news stories that I probably wouldn’t read in a laptop of desktop browser.

In other words, tablets are turning the Internet into the equivalent of a digital book or magazine as opposed to something that is best used sitting at a desk. The effect of this change in consumption psychology is likely to be subtle but relatively substantial over a period of time.

Firefox 4’s First 48 Hours

Firefox 4 was released a few days ago after what seemed like the most Beta versions a product has ever had (12 + the RC I think it was).  It had a lot to live up to since Firefox 3 is the record holder for the software with the most downloads in the first 24 hours – 8,002,530.  Plus, a week earlier, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 and did some strutting about their more-than-just-respectable 2.35 million.

The Mozilla blog just posted an interesting graphic depicting the numbers surrounding Firefox 4’s first 48 hours of life.  Among the numbers was the surprising fact that the high, but not record, download rate on day one (7.1 million) was surpassed on day 2 (8.75 million).  They also put some perspective on those numbers by pointing out such facts as the 48 hour average was 5,503 downloads per minute and the peak was 10,200 per minute.

If you haven’t yet installed it, then you can visit the Firefox download page and perhaps become part of the next Mozilla graphic.  I think they can rest easy that Ed Bott’s dire prediction can be written off for now – both Firefox 4 and IE9 are solid browsers that have a big place in the market.

Day 2 – A week Using Google Chrome OS

On day 2 I have learned a couple more things about Chrome OS. First, I learned how to save a photo (or any other file) to a “mystery” downloads folder on the CR48. So that is why you are seeing the chrome OS logo in this post. I’m not sure where the storage is on this machine or how much storage there is. I will do some research and find out.

Another thing I wanted to try was recording some audio. I sort of succeeded in that I found an audio recording / editing “app” in what Google now calls the “web store”. The App is called Aviary Audio Editor. I was able to record and then save my recording to the “downloads” area on the CR48. I tried using my usb headset plugged into the CR48’s one USB port. That did not work. I’m not sure if it is supposed to work or if that is something that will be added to Chrome OS in the future. I am going to try Google Talk’s Audio and Video chat and I will see if the headset works for that.

The whole idea of trying to record audio is I want to see if it is possible to podcast from the CR48. I am going to do that experiment Tomorrow using my Sony recorder and see if I can get the CR48 and chrome to download the audio file from the recorder. If that doesn’t work, I will record using the app described above and put an audio post on my personal podcast feed. Wish me luck.

A couple of notes about the CR48 Hardware:

The Keyboard looks like an unlighted version of the Macbook Pro keyboard with a track pad that looks very much like the Mac with no buttons. Those who use multi-touch on the Mac will get used to it very quickly as the same gestures work for scrolling and “right” click. The keyboard is missing the CAPS LOCK key and in it’s place is a search key. Also, there is no Function keys at the top. Instead, there are keys that do specific functions but they are not numbered like the Mac or PC keyboards with F1-F12 or whatever. I do find the track pad gets in the way a bit while typing (Like many laptops and netbooks) but nothing you couldn’t get used to if you use it enough.

So far so good and I will report back on day 3 and if I was able to get a podcast up from the CR48.