Disabling Auto-Search in Windows 7

Windows 7 has a “convenience” feature that drives me nuts. When you are in Windows Explorer and you type an invalid directory into the address bar, rather than telling you that the entry is not valid, it pops open your default Internet browser and automatically conducts a search. This is annoying at best and a privacy risk at worst. For me, every time I mistype a directory name, I get popped out to Yahoo. Windows doesn’t provide an easy way to disable this feature. You’re actually supposed to be able to turn it of in Internet Explorer’s settings for managing Search Providers and add-ons (intuitive, I know) but it doesn’t work. So, how do we fix it? Here’s how: Open the Registry Editor. Insert standard disclaimer about how...

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The Value of Half a Penny

The value of half a penny. If you earn $50,000 a year, would you be willing to allow $70 of your annual federal taxes to be allocated to a program that would re-vitalize our economy and ensure its well-being for the next 20-30 years? If a government-backed initiative that required funding of one half of a penny of every federal tax dollar could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, spawn thousands of new companies, and pump a tremendous amount of money back into our economy, would you support it? If half of cent of the tax money that you are already paying could be diverted from waging war and, instead, was applied to waging progress, would that get your support? What is the value of half a penny? Think of the jobs that this initiative could create:   What...

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Neat Chrome Trick

I bring these sort of problems upon myself, I know, but I’m one of those people that typically have 30 tabs open in their web browser. I used to be a die hard Firefox user – mostly because of the¬†phenomenal tools and plug-ins available for software developers (like me). WebDeveloper, Firebug,¬†¬†ColorZilla, FireShot, MeasureIt, JSONView and YSlow… all incredible plugins that made life a whole lot easier. The problem with Firefox came when my 30 tabs would start to consume a very large amount of memory – often times as much as a gigabyte or more. I have the RAM to spare but it still made for a rather slow browsing experience. I would ultimately discover one of the greatest browser plug-ins created for people like me: BarTab. What BarTab...

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Surfing with the Lights Out

Considering the privacy violations, tracking and data theft popping up with various browser extensions, Incognito mode is an excellent solution, primarily because it disables plugins while the privacy mode is running. Many people have asked for a way to indicate that specific bookmarks should always be opened in Incognito mode. The argument against this is that it would compromise part of the privacy as someone could go through your bookmarks, see which ones are marked to always open in private mode, and therefore deduce that this is where you’re keeping your porn stash. This is terribly short-sided on the part of the browser developers and defeats the other reason for privacy/incognito: keeping your browsing private. All too often, I remember to turn on...

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Is it time to dump Google Chrome?

Last week (8/25) an extension for the Google Chrome browser called “Smooth Gestures” was found to contain tracking code that recorded the URL of every single page that you visited (Discussion here). The extension provides mouse gestures in the browser and was extremely popular. Since then, the extension has been removed and the developer has made a public apology. Doesn’t matter, tho. The damage has been done and I won’t be using anything from them again. Still, all’s good, right? Not So Fast Two weeks ago, Blogstorm reported that another very popular extension had gone rogue. This time is was “Awesome Screenshot”. This plugin would inject its own Amazon affiliate links into Google’s search results. This was another...

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