Sunday, February 08, 2015

New Vivaldi TP release + Miscellaneous web browser bits

Last week I posted about a new Chromium-based web-browser that has an integrated bookmark side-bar like Firefox.

It doesn’t seem to yet have an (active) self-updating feature yet, so how does one tell if/when to update?

It appears that for now you have two options

  1. Monitor the Vivaldi Forums – and look for a new topic post announcing a release update, or
  2. Monitor the blog – and look for a new blog post announcing a release update.

Had you done either this week you would have seen a new Technical Preview version came out.

  1. Vivaldi Forum - Topic: Feedback for Weekly build (1/7)
  2. First Snapshot Vivaldi - blog

Vivaldi - Download

I did find this part interesting, after downloading the updated setup file from Vivaldi, I was curious how it would handle the updating of my standalone version.  When I clicked the “Advanced” button after launching the installer, I found it had already pre-populated the values to use my previous standalone location and settings.  That was kinda nice…though it would have been nice to give me a tip that it already had it covered.

Update install went smoothly and preserved all my limited customizations.

Lavie’s frustration with Firefox has been growing. She is one of the many web-browser users who opens new tabs for all the links she wants to get to read (eventually) but doesn’t bookmark them. So when the browser crashes (as it inevitably will do), sometimes she cannot restore her session and she looses those open tabs since we don’t apparently have Session Manager Add-on installed on her system. She liked Chrome but the lack of a bookmark sidebar really frustrated her (like me) and the many tab-bar add-ons for Chrome just didn’t satisfy the same experience we like for the bookmarks side bar presentation in Firefox.

So finger’s are crossed that Vivaldi will mature quickly and be ready for some prime-time usage one it pushes past the technical preview stages.

In other browser news,’s TechBlog writer Dwight Silverman recently encountered browser-malware distribution hijacking from an unexpected source, the Chrome Sync feature!

Mr. Silverman’s approach to remediation was pretty straightforward, uninstall the core problem app via the Windows “Programs and Features” list, then do some scans with Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes.  Some more uninstall work was required on the Macbook Pro and a Google browser “settings reset” brought the Google browser back to a clean state.

Don’t forget for Windows users, Google also provides their Software Removal Tool to clean up their browser from malware that is entrenched in the Chrome browser/system. I’ve used it on a few systems that had both Chrome and malware but whatever it looks for didn’t get an alert.

The takeaway?

Beware of browser sync features…they could cause more issues than you would expect across synced platforms. All it takes is one water-hole poisoning and everyone who drinks from it can get sick.

Moving on…

It really isn’t a secret but few non-technical AdBlock Plus users realize that it uses a whitelist where some companies have paid to be included on so that “non-intrusive ads” can continue to be served, bypassing the normal protections offered by AdBlock Plus.

What's the point of AdBlock Plus if Google, Microsoft and Amazon can pay to bypass it? – Brian Wilson – BetaNews

My personal experience is that 1) I already knew about this so I am not shocked and, 2) the effect of leaving the feature enabled for my browsing experience has been negligible so far.

However, if 1) you did not actually know about this and, 2) you either want to disable this feature or understand it more for yourself –- see the pile of links below.

Stay informed!

--Claus Valca


FF Extension Guru said...

I haven't really noticed any issue with AB+ in relation to the allowed ads. What I haven noticed is some sites that don't like the fact I am using it. The behavior ranges from 'suggesting' I turn it off to "avoid possible conflicts" to a plain out refusal to allow me to browse the site until such time I disable AB+ (which in this case I leave that site and vow never to return).

Claus said...

@ FF Extension Guru - I've also seen the comments about the website picking up detection of the AB+ usage. Normally they don't lock the page completely out. I don't mind the unobtrusive ads and generally don't. Although with malverstizing attacks gaining in popularity, I do consider AB+ and NoScript two critical web-browsing tools in my Firefox browser.


--Claus V.