The People's Exhibit A (davidology) wrote,
The People's Exhibit A

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Don't browse the web without a condom!

I've been dying to post this for a couple months now, but because it exacerbated the CAPS bug in Firefox (and subsequently caused a lot of crashing and burning), I couldn't. I found this extension so awesomely cool and necessary that despite the frequent crashes, I ran it anyway.

But now it's totally ready for prime time.

You need this extension.

It will change your life.

It's like surfing the web with a condom on.

First, you need to upgrade to Firefox 1.0.5, which was just released. Any other version will still have the bug, and you will curse me in 5 languages. If you're not sure which version you have, go to Help > About Mozilla Firefox. Then get the NoScript extension.

Basically, a lot of malware, adware, popups, and generally bad–things–that–happen–to–your–computer get in through malicious websites using active content, mostly through javascript or active X. Active X is IE-specific, so Firefox covers you there. Now, you could just disable javascript, but you'd find most of your favorite websites would no longer work properly. You could use IE and put any ill-behaved sites in your "Restricted Zone," but that's a royal pain in the ass, and is reactive instead of proactive (so the damage might already be done).

I've been clamoring for a javascript button that would turn it on and off at will. But then someone wrote NoScript!

Here's what it does: it blocks javascript until you say a site is okay. So, you visit your favorite site. Noscript alerts you through the information bar that javascript is being blocked. You notice something on the site isn't working properly, and you trust the site, so you enable it.

In this example, if I found the site not behaving properly, I could enable javascript for Engadget, but I would not enable it for doubleclick. I know doubleclick is an ad server, so the javascript is likely used either for tracking, popups, or some sort of annoying active content I don't want to see.

The awesome thing is that everything is blocked until I say it's okay. No more popups that get around popup blockers. No more floating ads. You've totally taken control of your browsing experience back from the content providers who would violate your preferences. Most savvy sites will account for javascript being off and still function. Some will totally choke, in which case you allow javascript from them (but not from any third party servers).

Anyway, I've been pretty stoked about this plug in for sometime, especially since more and more publishers were finding ways around pop up blockers. At this time, it truly is the safest way to browse (short of going back to lynx).
Tags: geeky, tech

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