Better web browsing for all

Photo of computerComputer columnist Matt Bentley reckons folk are doing a lot of web browsing at the moment – he shares tips to make it a better experience.

Web browsing, skype/messenger conversations, and gardening – that seems to be the order of the day. Still, things could be worse.

It’s hard to see how, but I’ve been assured by people who know what they’re talking about, that this is the case. So, to lighten your day I thought I’d present a few ways to make your web browsing experience better.

To start with, you’ll need Firefox as your web browser. There’s nothing wrong with Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome (aside from the fact that they report your entire web browsing and search history back to their parent companies) but they’re just not very configurable. Once you’ve got Firefox installed, there’s a few things I like to do.

First, start Firefox and go into options (via the drop down menu from the three-lined ‘sandwich’ button in the top right-hand corner).

Search for ‘notifications’, and go into Settings for Notifications (which will be highlighted in yellow). Tick the box next to “Block new requests to allow notifications” then click on “Save Changes”. This will stop websites from asking to ‘notify’ you about stuff every time you visit them. Frankly this should be on by default.

Next, staying in options, click on ‘Extensions and Themes’ in the bottom left. In the search box that appears top-right, search for “ublock origin”, without quote marks.

Once the page comes up for Ublock Origin, click on the ‘Install’ button and say yes when Firefox asks if you really want to install it. This little addon blocks the majority of ads across all websites, without compromising your browser experience or screwing up websites. You’re also a lot less likely to click on something bad if you have this installed.

Next, go back to the ‘Add-ons Manager’ tab at the top and click on it, then do a second search for “Shut up”. You should be able to find a nice little comment blocker called “Shut-up”, which disables all comments across all websites (with the exception of Facebook I believe).

This stops you from inevitably glancing at the roiling cloud of obnoxious emotions which inhabit most youtube, reddit or stuff.co.nz comment sections. You can turn it back on for any given website by clicking the little speech bubble icon which the addon installs on the Firefox toolbar.

I think that’s enough to get you started. There’s Firefox extensions (also known as addons) for all sorts of things, like customising youtube, pointing out spelling errors, and converting all website text into gibberish based on the swedish chef from the Muppet Show (yes, that is a real addon).

The sky’s the limit, or as the swedish chef would say, “der skee is der burky-durky”. Have fun out there, or in there, I should say.Photo of chef

 

Email Matt here or phone 021 1348576.
$60 per hour or $50 for Grey Power cardholders, with no callout fee.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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