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Chrome extension kills frustrating JavaScript

While JavaScript has some amazing benefits, it can be troublesome for any web browser, so one coder has created a cure for the Chrome browser.

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When JavaScript makes you want to scream

Ever run into some nuisances on the web caused by JavaScript? It’s a great programming language but it can cause some headaches – for instance, when a website won’t let users copy and paste text or right click. These annoyances occur due to the scripts written by the sites’ developers; although some scripts are helpful, there is a way to enjoy the merits of beneficial scripting while doing away with the kind that make you crush your mouse in frustration.

Kill Evil, an extension in Chrome, provides workarounds for unwanted scripting all across the web by disabling instances when sites:

  • Restrict the right click menu.
  • Don’t allow the user to resize windows.
  • Force users to open up all links in a new tab.
  • Prevent users from copying text, or if they allow copying, automatically include a citation link along with the text.
  • Take users to a print dialogue box whenever they click “view print version” of a page or document.

The ups and down of the tool

The extension is a great solution and can be turned on and off in Chrome thereby providing users the flexibility to enable as they wish. At times, it can misinterpret some scripting and cause pages to work incorrectly, so it’s best for users to whitelist pages they visit regularly and denote their acceptance of scripting on the site, especially Google sites and services.

This way, Kill Evil can provide a more enjoyable user experience where site visitors can freely browse and interact on the web without being inhibited by Java scripting.

The Kill Evil extension is available in the Google Chrome Web Store and has a 4-star rating with upwards of 10,000 users. The extension puts the power back into the hands of the site visitors, preventing web pages from interfering with user clipboards, window sizing and impeding user actions while on the site.

Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. getify

    August 22, 2012 at 9:42 am

    This is an inaccurate article, and for someone like me in the web development community, really frustrating to see.
     
    Java != JavaScript. “Java scripts” != JavaScript. Java and JavaScript are as related as “car” and “carnival”. Totally different languages. This article is talking about an extension which blocks various JavaScript functionalities, but you use the Java logo, and mention “Java” several times.
     
    It’s a common confusion/mistake, but it’s definitely one which we need to make sure we’re not casually overlooking.
     
     
    “At times, it can misinterpret some scripting and cause pages to work incorrectly…”
     
    This is actually a perfect example of why this sort of extension is actually really irresponsible and a bad thing to promote. If general users don’t understand what the browser can and cannot do with JavaScript, and they blindly use some over-aggressive extension to block behavior, they are defeating potentially lots of valuable functionality that they don’t even know is there.
     
    We web developers spend a lot of effort to improve the user experience in sites by leveraging JavaScript’s power, but an extension like this can cripple that experience. Neither the developer nor the user know this has happened, and so the user loses.
     
    Yes, I agree that some of the stuff it blocks are annoyances that sites’ developers never should have used.
     
    But, here’s a perfect example of why this extension is a bad idea: it blocks any script which uses “oncontextmenu”, because it assumes (incorrectly!) that any site which uses that JavaScript feature is doing so to disable the right-click menu. In reality, most sites these days use that feature to provide really useful things like custom right-click menus. For instance, if you’ve ever used googledocs, you’ll know that the right-click menu you see there is customized and much more powerful and useful than the built-in browser menu.
     
    You note, rather casually, that users should white-list sites where these legitimate things are blocked. The problem is, most users don’t even realize what’s going on, so they don’t know if the site they’re using is broken, blocked by the extension, etc. They also don’t know if it’s a responsible thing to whitelist that site or not.
     
    The better approach is not to disable scripts on pages you think behave “badly”, but to simply not go to those sites. Sites which behave poorly lose, if people “vote” by stopping using them. Sites which do useful things in a responsible way win, when people “vote” by switching to them from bad sites. This extension hampers that “democratic” self-policing of the web by creating a situation where the users it targets are incapable of making the informed decisions it requires.
     
    This is, in my opinion, an irresponsible extension for the web, and your promotion of it is equally so. I would ask you to reconsider the basis of the article. I would also ask, as mentioned above, that you at least correct it to be accurate (JavaScript vs. Java).
     
     

    • laniar

      August 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

       @getify Kyle, totally my fault, I personally edited the title and went too quickly. I apologize.Thanks for that update, and your other thoughts on the extension. Do you have any suggestions for our readers that go to pages, such as their company’s, or association’s that they are required to use daily, but get frustrated by Java? You know we’re rational people here, so we’re totally open to your thoughts!

      • getify

        August 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

         @laniar I believe you just edited the title to go from “Java scripts” to “Java”. This is actually the opposite of what I was suggesting. This article is definitely about JavaScript, which is distinct from Java, and so the accurate thing is to change references of “Java” to “JavaScript”. In addition, the Java logo isn’t appropriate. There’s a JavaScript logo if you’re interested, here:
         
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:JavaScript-logo.png
         
        ———–
         
        My suggestion would be, if you visit a site (and have to), and that site is doing things with JavaScript that you don’t like, voice your concerns to the site. Explain to them why blocking context-menu is actually hurting your user workflow (and why it’s also a frowned-upon practice by the entire legitimate JavaScript community). Point them to sites which you think do things well, and ask them to consider updating their user experience to be more modern and user friendly.
         
        If all those things fail, then I think you should consider the wisdom of finding a different site to get that content from. If a site stubbornly refuses to stay “with the times” and instead insists on keeping its users in the dark ages, it’s actively disrespecting them and their needs and wishes, and is in my opinion detrimental to the overall web.
         
        If they don’t see the consequences of their stubborn backwards ways, from real users, the web will continue to be held back and users will continue to feel alienated and unimportant.

        • laniar

          August 22, 2012 at 10:52 am

           @getify so that brings up a good point – take real estate, for example. Many Realtors are actually tech savvy (where do you think everyone went after the dotcom bust?), and they get on committees at associations and push/plead/beg for modernity, but the talking heads shoot it down, and you get an entire MLS or search site that has wonky Java and outdated code, despite endless ours of pushing for innovation. In those instances, is there an alternative to the chrome extension above that could be used for when people are stuck with sites they must use to function in their industry and have no choice, but are absolutely at their wit’s end? Thanks for taking the time to be so responsive! (also, you’re coming to BASHH tomorrow, right?) 🙂  

        • emmecinque

          August 22, 2012 at 11:06 am

           @laniar  @getify You’re still using the term “Java” when you really mean “JavaScript”.  As getify wrote, that’s like using the word “car” when you mean “carnival”.  The names share those four letters “J-A-V-A” but they’re otherwise completely and totally different.
           
          Java does play a small role in some web properties, but it’s quite rare nowadays. If you experience broken or misbehaving web pages, the overwhelming likelihood is that the problems are in JavaScript code, not Java.

        • getify

          August 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm

           @laniar Reiterating: please change “Java” to “JavaScript” and ditch the Java logo.
           
          ————
           
          You’re asking, what can you do when all the sites in your industry suck? Sounds like your industry is ready for a startup to shake things up. If the challenges these MLS sites are giving you are impeding your job, and you could build a better site that fit the workflows better, you could capture a huge chunk of the industry pretty easily, right? Sounds like a few of you smart former-techies need to ‘carpe diem’. 🙂

        • laniar

          August 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm

           @getify I WISH! You’re singing my tune. Unfortunately, in this case, Realtors are bound to the MLS chosen by the association, and there are some new startups seeking to shake things up that are open source-y, and less sucky, but the traction is difficult in the dinosaur committees. C’est la vie! (Also, changes in progress, thanks for helping clarify. Totally my bad! #wristslap #quitworkingat3am)

          • Joe Whitehead

            December 7, 2016 at 8:28 am

            Sounds like the College Board. Corruption to the core. I imagine some stereotype of an uncle or aunt owning the company providing the software+site. XD

    • Joe Whitehead

      December 7, 2016 at 8:36 am

      “This is actually a perfect example of why this sort of extension is actually really irresponsible and a bad thing to promote. If general users don’t understand what the browser can and cannot do with JavaScript, and they blindly use some over-aggressive extension to block behavior, they are defeating potentially lots of valuable functionality that they don’t even know is there.”

      Hey, not our fault the sites abused it! Blame people like advertisers and Fanfiction.Net for abusing their users. Even worse is when you’re told to not use a site like Youtube or eBay, when you’re depending on it for income and using an unpopular site runs right into the “network effect”. That is, you’ll lose money! I see some sites deliberately using opaqueness to make the page white even for the main text in the page, until JS is enabled, and even then it doesn’t work on all devices. Ouch! That’s very much anti-user. Same sites often have 0 comments and no subscribers, so at least part of the “voting” effect is working.

      I also partially blame Google for not even caring about stuff like the “Do you really want to leave” loops that ‘hijacker’ sites use. If they won’t even fix it so you can block all future dialogues (or at least until reloading browser) on a site, on mobiles, then they definitely have shown their true colors. Supporting the spammers is in the long term hurting the advertising industry. There’s a reason that people actively try to ‘break sites’. Sad but this is why we can’t have nice things.

  2. emmecinque

    August 22, 2012 at 9:51 am

    The programming languages Java and JavaScript are not at all the same. The proper topic of your article is “JavaScript”, not “Java scripts” (which don’t exist) or “Java” (which is simply incorrect).

  3. mipesom

    August 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

    @getify Business i/gence isn’t the only thing this site is redefining. 😉 Nice comment. You only forgot a link to “Researching essentials”.

  4. andystalick

    August 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

    @getify You’re quite right, and the confusion is frustrating. But I don’t think the average journalist knows that != means ‘does not equal’

    • getify

      August 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

      @andystalick yeah i realized that after i wrote the comment, but no edit. :/

  5. KeithMonday

    August 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    @DanielZeevi So does uninstalling with REVO and running SuperAntiSpyware

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Browsers

Facebook Messenger for Firefox launched, browsing gets social

Facebook Messenger for Firefox is now live, and users can interact with Facebook while visiting any website or page that can be browsed in Firefox, saving steps and truly integrating social into browsing.

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facebook messenger for firefox

Facebook Messenger for Firefox users

As a means of integrating social into Firefox users’ experience, Facebook Messenger has launched as part of the browser, built on a new Social API for the web, and because roughly 20 percent of all time spent online is on social networks, Firefox has sought to organically make that a part of their browser. Users need to update to the latest Firefox, then click “Turn On” on the Facebook Messenger for Firefox Page, and Facebook chat and updates pop up right in the sidebar of Firefox.

Here’s how it works:
[pl_video type=”youtube” id=”pSGoS8VkOFE”]

Marrying social with browsing

As shown in the video above, when the feature is enabled, you’ll get a social sidebar which includes Facebook updates and chat, and you can like new comments, tag photos, and get notifications for messages, friend requests and more, turning Firefox into a little Facebooking machine.

The company says the integration is the beginning of making the browser more social, adding that more support for other features and multiple providers is on the way.

“Mozilla is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web,” the company said in a statement, “and we can’t wait to see what cool Web experiences developers will build on our Social API. We want to build a social standard for the Web to give developers more opportunities and users more choice, much like we did with our work on OpenSearch. Imagine using the Firefox sidebar, toolbar buttons and even an AwesomeBar button for news, music, finances, email, group projects and more.”

When users do not wish to be available, Facebook Messenger can be disabled altogether, or simply “hide” the sidebar which will put it away and stop notifications so you can focus.

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Browsers

Google chrome keeps getting faster and faster

When people get frustrated with the speed of their internet, they often blame their service provider, but the culprit could be an outdated web browser. Google Chrome continues to get faster and faster over time, while others appear to be degrading.

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google chrome

Not all browsers are created equal

How do you decide which browser to use? Do you use Internet Explorer because it’s what you’ve always used? How about Firefox? Do you use it because it’s potentially the most common and your contacts have recommended it? Or, do you use Chrome because it’s new and fresh? There are other browsers, but these are some of the main ones. The truth is that all browsers are not created equal. Which browser you choose ultimately depends on what you want out of it.

Let’s take a quick look at Chrome, namely its speed. According to the Google Chrome Blog, one of Chrome’s core principles is speed. As such, Google tests and improves Chrome’s speed regularly. And regularly for Google means every six weeks. They liken it to a car mechanic who comes to replace your engine every six weeks. However, it seems as though Chrome is simply enhanced every six weeks, not completely replaced.

google chrome speed

How Chrome is increasing its speed

One way that Chrome continues to increase speed is to diminish and severely lessen wait times, including waiting for the browser to start up and waiting for a dialog box to completely open and load. Chrome has also enabled tests to automatically detect when there is a code issue that slows or may slow it down, both in the long term and in the short term.

Chrome measures speed and overall performance through Octane scores, which “is a JavaScript benchmark [they] designed to measure performance of real-world applications on the modern web.” Compared to last year, Chrome reports seeing a 26% increase from last year’s score. And they promise to continue increasing the speed and maintaining and improving stability, as both are key to Chrome’s success.

When it comes to browsers, you definitely have options. But, if you want speed and precision, it looks like Chrome might be a great option. They’ve already made great progress and improvements, but the best part is that they promise to continue making progress. Just because they are fast today doesn’t mean they aren’t striving to be even faster tomorrow, making Chrome a great browser for both your professional and personal lives.

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Browsers

Privacyfix: browser extension shows who’s tracking you, what to do about it

Everyone knows that by the mere act of using the web, we are all leaking information like a sieve, but Privacyfix shows you where the leaks are and how to fix them.

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privacyfix web privacy tool

Do you really know who is tracking you online?

Online privacy. It’s a major issue that can be confusing, frustrating, and very violating. You already know that you can adjust your privacy settings on sites like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, but do you know which changes will affect which information on your account? The more concerning question is do you know which sites are tracking you and storing your information? Well, there’s a free solution – Privacyfix, a Chrome and Firefox extension.

In order to keep yourself and your private information protected and secure and still be able to use your favorite sites, it’s crucial that you understand every site’s privacy settings. Just a few tweaks here and there can fortify your browsing experience and give you peace of mind. The truth is, most of the sites you probably visit track you one way or another. Some want to see what you’re searching for and which sites you’re visiting and others will use targeted ads based on content in your sent and received emails. These sites make ample money off of your information, and it’s time to take back the control.

Privacyfix goes one step further

Privacyfix will show you what information is being tracked and which site is doing the tracking. But Privacyfix takes it one step further. It will actually provide you with a detailed list of which privacy settings you need to update to protect certain types of information. Privacyfix gives you the information you need to make the right privacy changes. These sites shouldn’t be given access and permission to track you by default. But, unfortunately, that’s how it usually works. You can put an immediate stop to it by simply using this free extension for either Firefox or Chrome.

Our modern times have shown us that some people are unworried and completely open to sharing every detail of their private lives with a world of strangers. And, let’s be honest; this is incredibly dangerous, no matter if you’re using it for personal or professional purposes. Information is king, but there should be some separation between your professional life and your home life with your loved ones. Too much of your information out in the open can lead to more trouble than it’s worth.

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