Super Power your Browser with Extensions

The program you use everyday to browse the internet can do much more today than just browse the internet. Tech2U is here to talk about browser extensions, and how you can use them get features you never thought were possible for your browser.

A browser extension is basically an app for your browser. The browser is a computer program that handles all of the overhead of connecting to the internet and accessing a website, and an extension can let you do things that your browser cant do by itself. Examples of browsers are Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Most extensions are free and some popular ones are pop up blockers, Evernote, and Pinterest.

The most reliable and popular popup blocking extension is Ad Block Plus. It is free and installs in seconds. Ad Block Plus blocks all annoying pop-ups without breaking your web surfing experience and can even block ads on Pandora, YouTube, or your favorite social networking site. Users also have the option to disable website tracking so they appear anonymous to sites who might be collecting data. Malware is also blocked and Ad Block Plus also gives users the ability to choose which sites to run on so you can support a website with ads if you want. It is free and works with all major browsers.

Ad Block

Coupons at Checkout is a great little extension aimed to save you money. Coupons at Checkout will automatically pull any possible coupons for a site when you are shopping online. All you have to do is find the promo code box on the extension to see if there are any coupons for the site you are buying off of. It integrates with any major browser and is free.

Panic Button is an extension aimed at people who might be doing private browsing at work or home where you don’t want people to see what you were looking at. Say your boss is around the corner and you were looking for a new job, Panic Button will close any tabs or windows you have open from just a keypress. The extension can also load up a default page such as your email to give you the illusion that you were working the entire time. Panic Button will save the sites you were working on so that when you are good to go again they will be easily accessible and relaunch-able.

Sending a text message from your computer is a luxury that mac users with iPhones have had for some time, but luckily for everyone else, the extension MightyText is here to give that functionality to the masses. MightyText lets users send text messages from there browser with just a click of a button. All you need to do is install the extension on your browser and app on Android and you are done. MightyText also lets you easily get photos and videos off of your phone and onto the computer and is compatible with all browser and android phones.

If you struggle with your grammar or spelling and constantly have to copy past text into a text editor to get spellchecked, than Grammarly is the extension for you. Grammarly finds more errors than Office 360 and can even identify words used incorrectly. It can offer synonyms and suggestions to improve clarity of writing and is compatible with Chrome, Outlook, Safari, and Firefox.

To get any of the extensions we have mentioned today, the easiest way is to search the name of the extension + your browser into Google. You can also type in your browser + extensions into Google and it will take you to an app like store where you can browse and download new extensions. Every extension takes up some resources so only download those that you readily use and need and make sure they are well-reviewed and reputable.


Tech2U’s App of the Week

Bonjournal is a free iOS app that helps you document your travels. Easily turn your trip memories into an engaging narrative by writing notes, diary entries, and adding pictures to illustrate. The app works offline so you can capture moments on the fly and convert entries to PDFS to share via email or social media.

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Video Transcription:
Interviewer: The interface that you use to access the internet on your computer, whether it’s Internet Explorer, Chrome, FireFox, Safari, there are so many out there. But you can do more to improve your web surfing experience and Jason Davis from Tech To You is here to talk to you about the browser extensions, as they are known, and how you can use them to super power your browser. It makes it sound so exciting.
Jason: Right, it does but basically what a browser extension is, it’s like an app for your phone, except for your browser. So it’s a program that will integrate into your web browser to give you added features like blocking pop-ups or integrating things like Pinterest into your browsing experience.
Interviewer: Okay.
Jason: And the cool thing is that most of these extensions are free.
Interviewer: Okay, so tell us more about them. How do we find them?
Jason: Well AdBlock is the first one, so this is probably the most reliable and best pop-up blocking extension and it’s free to use on all internet browsers. So basically it blocks pop-ups without interfering with your user experience. It can block banners, pop-up ads and also those videos on YouTube and Facebook which are the most annoying, right? YouTube ads are the worst. So this takes care of them and it also helps protect you with blocking malware and it also you can allow certain acceptable ads, stuff you wouldn’t mind seeing. So you can set that so you can still see some stuff. But like I said, it’s available on all major browsers. So that’s the one to start with.
Interviewer: Okay, quick question. Because when you go to YouTube and there is an ad, don’t they have to show that ad? So there’s actually a way where you can avoid watching that?
Jason: Right, if you have AdBlock, it’ll go right to your video, no ads.
Interviewer: Wow, okay good to know. What else is there?
Jason: So we’ve got one called Coupons at Check Out. Sounds exactly like the name, right? So it will automatically pull any coupons from the website you are shopping online for and once you get to your cart, you can click the red promo code box for potential coupons. If any of them apply, just put them up right there, you’ll get the savings. And that one’s good on Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.
Interviewer: Okay.
Jason: And then we have the Panic Button. Which it’s really cool if you’re working on something you don’t want other people to see and they walk into the room. Instead of struggling to close all your browsers, you just click the panic button and it’ll bring up a page that you set, like maybe your email inbox, just to look normal. But it saves the work you were doing in a different folder so that you can re-watch it later.
Interviewer: So is this for those sneaky people at work who like to go shopping online? Amy Carabba.
Jason: Exactly so it’s like, your boss doesn’t see you scrambling, instead you just click the one button and you are good to go.
Interviewer: Okay, we are gonna download that right after the show. Amy, what do you think?
Amy: I’m taking notes, I have my pen. Panic Button, okay got it.
Jason: So the next one is MightyText and its basically like iMessage so iPhone users have had this function for a while but Android phone users haven’t. So you can download the MightyText app on your phone and then get the browser extension on your browser. Then you can text from your computer and you can also easily transfer videos and photos from your phone to your computer. And that one works on most major browsers as well. So it’s really convenient and it works with all Android phones.
Interviewer: Wow, okay well you’ve covered a lot so far.
Jason: I got one more. So it’s Grammarly, it’s basically a spell check and grammar checker in your browser, so you don’t have to copy and paste to Microsoft Word anymore to check those paragraphs, you know? And it’s actually a lot better than the spellcheck in Word because it offers suggestions and synonyms. And also identifies when words are used out of context. So it helps you spell check there more than Word does.
Interviewer: So that sounds pretty intuitive then if it can even tell the context of your words?
Jason: Right, right.
Interviewer: Okay we also have an app of the day. It’s called Bonjournal so tell us about that.
Jason: Right, so this is the app of the week, it’s free on iOS devices and it is basically a travel journal app. So what you can do is turn your trip memories into narratives, right? So you can upload the notes and any diary entries. You can also add images from your phone. The coolest part is you don’t have to be online. So if you’re out in the middle of nowhere and you want to take a picture and be able to upload it, or something like that, you can save it. And once you find an entry that you really like, you’re able to convert it to a PDF and share it via email or social media, anywhere you want.
Interviewer: Oh, I like that for people who are on, maybe, trips where you don’t have cell service or it’s intermittent through out the trip.
Jason: Right, exactly, exactly, you can still keep track.
Interviewer: Okay, love it. You’re always full of so much knowledge. Thank you so much for being with us.
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