Tag Archives: Toolbar

How to Split Your Screen Down the Middle

Here’s something for the directory of monitor extenders — stuff that increases the size, scope or general bendiness of your screen — SplitView , from the guys who brought you DiskView:

SplitView increases productivity by making it easy to work with two applications side by side. It helps make full use of your high resolution monitor and gives the benefit of dual-monitors without their associated cost.

Given it costs $19, that statement is indeed true. The problem is simple. Having two monitors is great — if you haven’t done it yet, you haven’t lived — but it’s also neat because you can pretty much keep them separate, a bit like having two desks to play with. That’s because Windows treats the two screens as one for some functions – moving windows and whatnot — but as two for functions like maximising programs etc. Very useful if you’re moving between two documents, or dragging and dropping text using the mouse.

But what happens if you have one supersized monitor, with high resolution? You have all that real estate, but not the same duality, if you get my drift. This is where SplitView jumps in. A small program that incorporates itself into the pull-down resize menu on the left-hand top corner (right clicking on its icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen has the same effect), SplitView lets you make the program take up half the screen on either the left or right in one move (or via keyboard shortcuts).  So now you have two monitors in one:

I can imagine this would also be useful for those of us used to dual monitors but forced into single screendom when on the road. Now your laptop can be split in two, making it easy to drag and drop and stuff. Its author, Rohan, says he wrote it “as a ‘me-ware’ – something i needed myself, and then productized it.” Good productizing, Rohan.

Extending Del.icio.us

Del.icio.us has come up with a new Firefox extension which includes toolbar buttons, a menu, context menus and search engine:

Delext

Pretty neat, although for some reason my Firefox is behaving and won’t tolerate some popups. More on some alternatives to this in a future post.

Recovering Your Firefox Bookmarks

This is documented elsewhere, but perhaps comes across as too nerdy for some. If you’re using Windows XP, recovering from a crash or whatever, and find that your Firefox bookmarks (and bookmarklets and bookmark toolbar) have disappeared, here’s what to do:

  • Close Firefox if it’s running.
  • Find your profile in c:Documents and Settings[your XP user name]Application DataMozillaFirefoxProfiles
  • There should be a subfolder there called bookmarkbackups. Find the most recent bookmarks html file in there (usually with a date after the ‘bookmarks’ bit.
  • Copy it to somewhere safe and rename the existing one bookmarks.html.
  • Copy it to the default profiles folder (up one level from the bookmarkbackups folder, deleting the existing bookmarks.html file.)
  • Close Firefox if it’s running and launch it. Your old bookmarks should be restored.

(And, while I’m at it, here’s a solution if your Firefox browser refuses to remember any of your changed settings in toolbars etc when you close it, resetting everything back to what it was before. The same bug — likely to be fixed soon — also deletes your search engines in the search box to the right of the address box. This fix will fix both problems:

  • Locate the localstore.rdf file in the same place as above.
  • Delete it.
  • Restart Firefox. You should be good to go.

Thanks, GreenKri.)

The Bookmarklet

Good list by Steve Rubel of Bookmarklets Every Blogger Should Have:

Here’s a bunch of bookmarklets that I use every day in Firefox. I highly recommend them. To use these, drag each one individually into your Favorites or Links toolbar (in IE), or your bookmarks folder/toolbar in Firefox

Good stuff. What I’d like to find is an extension to the toolbar in Firefox that let me add more bookmarklets (God, I hate that term. Anything ending in -let is ripe for extermination). Anything out there?

The Demise of the Anti-phishing Toolbar?

Must confess I missed this when it first kicked in, but could it be the nail in the ‘anti-phishing toolbar’ coffin? EarthLink lands a win, according to ZDNet, after being sued by a bank incorrectly flagged as a phishing website:

EarthLink had warned its customers who installed a free “ScamBlocker” toolbar–and visited AssociatedBank.com–that the Web site was “potentially fraudulent” and said that they should “not continue to this potentially risky site.”

The warning was wrong. Associated Bank, headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., with more than 300 locations in the Midwest, operated a legitimate Web site.

EarthLink got off the hook because they bought their list of dodgy websites from a third party. But who? The articles I’ve read don’t mention who it was. And how could the third party have judged a bank to be a phishing website?

I’ve not been a fan of most of these toolbars because I don’t think they do a good job of warning the user of dodgy websites. as my tests a few months back indicated. But to be honest it didn’t occur to me that these toolbars would create false positives. Bizarre.

The Firefox Del.icio.us Toolbar

The guys at del.icio.us have launched a “very preliminary del.icio.us firefox toolbar at http://del.icio.us/toolbar/ :

The button icons are placeholders and a product of Joshua’s creative fury. If you bring up the ‘customize’ toolbar palette in firefox, you can rearrange, remove or place the buttons on on any other customizable firefox toolbar.

The icons are very basic, but somewhat charming. There’s not an awful lot going on, but the ‘about’ button is a useful addition, listing all the other people who have tagged the page you’re viewing.

The Toolbar That Works

Netcraft is now offering a Firefox version of its excellent anti-phishing Toolbar.

The toolbar runs on any operating system supported by Firefox and displays the hosting location, country, longevity, popularity, and an abstracted risk rating for each site visited.

Additionally, the toolbar blocks access to phishing sites reported by other members of the Netcraft Toolbar community and validated by Netcraft, mobilizing the community into a giant neighborhood watch scheme which empowers the most alert and experienced members to protect the vulnerable against fraud and phishing attacks. Well over 7,000 phishing sites have been detected and blocked by people using the Netcraft Toolbar since the system started at the turn of the year.

These were the only guys to spot some phishing scams I tested recently. So it’s well worth installing if you use Firefox or IE.

InspectorBrown Responds

Here’s what Rick Brown said of his Inspector Brown anti-phishing toolbar in response to my questions about its failure to catch the cross scripting phish mentioned here:

Our software works to protect our community of users and allow each user the ability to fight back against spam, phishers and online fraud.

Yes, its true, not all smart people will care to report bad links or websites, but a percentage of users will gladly do so.

The idea is simple, when a member of our community gets an email from a known spammer or phisher, they report it, either by sending an email to reports@inspectorbrown.com or clicking on the “Report a Site” button from the Inspector Brown toolbar. Immediately, once the site is reported, our software goes to work analyzing the site for clues. How long has the site been active/registered online? Is it IP based, does it show certain patterns that make it stand out?

The toolbar was also designed as a marketing tool. Financial institutions and any large corporation wanting to protect and promote their image can benefit from a branded toolbar that shares a common database with other businesses. If certain smart employees or users report to our system every user using our software gets the same protection. The toolbar was designed to allow additions such as links to certain departments within a company, information tickers for stocks or weather, the options are endless.

Our software differs from spam blockers as they are what we call “band aid” approaches. Spam is still sent to the users and may end up in spam folders, however some emails such as your message to me, was sent inadvertently to my spam folder even though it was legitimate email. All this traffic affects the ISPs and corporations and users who rely so heavily on email.

What if you went to the grocery store and bought 100 dollars worth of food, brought it home only to find out that $70 of the food was bad? You would be pretty upset. However, ISPs constantly send all of us unwanted e-mail that makes up the majority of traffic sent via our Internet connections.

Our software intends to weed out the bad traffic. If users can’t access the websites of spammers and phishers, they can’t purchase their goods or fall victim to their crime. The criminals will have to resort to other methods. The more users who become part of our community increases the chance of a percentage of users who will be vigilantes and want to fight back, stopping the bad guys from invading our lives. The more users who join our community increases the speed at which the sits are reported. Each user is given a score to determine the trust level we have with each user. This prevents the bad guys from using our software to “punish” their competition.

There is no perfect method to stop spam and phishing scams, but our software adds one more layer of protection in a unique way.

Thanks, Rick.

The Anti-Phishing Toolbars That Didn’t

Here are the results of the toolbars that didn’t work out for me. Remember, the attack is clever enough to appear as a legitimate website in the URL box. The question is: Will the toolbar realise that’s not the only source of data appearing on the webpage?

 Charterone3

Earthlink’s Scamblocker toolbar came out neutral: The text reads While we can’t guarantee that this Web page is safe, ScamBlocker found no evidence that indicates fraud or Internet scam. Of course, neutral really isn’t good enough.

Earthlink1

Corestreet’s Spoofstick took a pretty straightforward punt on the site, and in doing so got it wrong too:

Charterone2

Other toolbars that threw up green lights were SpoofGuard and InspectorBrown:

Others

As mentioned in the previous post, Netcraft’s Antiphishing Toolbar spotted there was a problem. The text reads The page you are trying to visit has been blocked by the Netcraft Toolbar because it is believed to be part of a fraudulent phishing attack…. Are you sure you want to visit the page?

Netcraft

So, congratulations Netcraft. For the others, when I did this research I asked for some comment but so far have received invititations to chat but no detailed replies to my questions, except from InspectorBrown, which I’ve posted here. (Neither has the bank in question replied to my emailed questions.) If I do hear more I’ll pass it on.

I should point out that all of the toolbars are free, and could be regarded as altruistic efforts to halt the phishing plague. But I still believe that unless such tools offer really good protection against the inventiveness of phishers, they merely lull users into a false sense of security. If you want to fight the phishers, you’ve got to be smarter than this.