Tag Archives: Browser Extensions

Knotes Turns Your New Tab Page Into a Beautiful To-Do List

Chrome: Sometimes the best to-do app is the one you have available—and if you use Chrome as your main browser, Knotes puts your to-dos and notes on a beautifully-designed new tab page. It also makes adding new ones a one-click operation, then backs all of it up to Dropbox or Gmail.

We’ve talked about the best ways to supercharge Chrome’s new tab page before, but Knotes, from Knotable (who has a number of other Chrome extensions too worth checking out) transforms your new tab page into a beautiful photo background with a space for notes and to-dos offset to the right. Depending on the size of your Chrome window, you’ll also see a clock on the left, so every new tab also tells you the time of day.


You’ll have to sign up for an account in order to use the add-on, but you can sign up via email, and your account is only used to sync your notes and to-dos with the Knotable on the web, so you can access them on mobile devices or from other browsers where you don’t have Knotes installed. Once you’re signed in (Fair warning: This seems to be the stumbling block for some people—they can sign up, but can’t log in via the extension, or their accounts never get activated. It took me a while too, but restarting Chrome let me finally log in.) you’re off and away. From there, it’s simple to use: Just start adding notes or to-dos. You can turn one of the note spaces into a to-do list to complete over the course of the day, or use them all for individual items you want to accomplish, it’s up to you.

There are other features, like emailing notes via Gmail and backing up your notes to Dropbox, but most of those come through the Knotes webapp, not directly through the new tab page. All in all though, it’s a good-looking to-do list that sticks with you on every new browser tab. It’s easy to use, and ties back into a pretty robust back-end that you can use on other devices, or just open in its own tab to use for calendar appointments, deadlines, and more. You can see it—and its companion webapp—in action in the video above, and download Knotes at the link below.

Knotes (Free) | Chrome Web Store via Knotable

​Download Notifier Adds Desktop Notifications for Completed Downloads

​Download Notifier Adds Desktop Notifications for Completed Downloads

Chrome: When you download large files, you probably find that you constantly check your browser to see when the transfers will finish. With Download Notifier for Chrome, desktop notifications let you know when downloads complete.

The extension is available in the Chrome Web Store (linked below). The next time you download a file, you’ll see a desktop notification when the download completes. Click the Reveal in Finder link to open Explorer or Finder at the download location—the reference to Finder is present even in Windows. To access a full list of completed downloads, click the Download Notifier toolbar button.

It’s a simple extension, but a great alternative to obsessively checking your browser when you could be getting on with something else.

Download Notifier | Chrome Web Store via AddictiveTips

Fokus Highlights Selected Text on the Web and Dims Everything Else

Fokus Highlights Selected Text on the Web and Dims Everything Else

Chrome/Firefox: Much like how Turn Off The Lights lets you focus on your videos and dims everything else in a web page, Fokus highlights selected text and darkens the rest of your Chrome or Firefox window.

The extension is simple to use. In Chrome, you just need it installed and any time you select text, it will highlight that paragraph in a spotlight and fade out the rest of the page in a dark frame. You can specify the opacity of the darkened background, the padding of the highlighted part, and even include a key modifier if you don’t want it to be always activated.

In Firefox, you will have to hit the "F" icon in the toolbar and then highlight text. Do note that the latest 0.5 version requires you to be running Firefox 29 or a later version of the browser, which is in beta. If you’re on Firefox 28, you’ll need to download the older 0.2 version.

Fokus | Chrome Web Store via Ghacks

Fokus | Firefox Add-ons

Make Firefox's Tab Groups Better with This Extension

Make Firefox's Tab Groups Better with This Extension

Firefox: If you find the default tab grouping in Firefox to be a mess, try Tab Groups Helper. It’s faster, more streamlined, and has easy keyboard shortcuts to switch between your groups.

When you have multiple tabs open and want to group them together, fire up Tab Groups Helper by right-clicking on a tab and selecting the option in the context menu. From there, you can choose to manage groups, show all groups, create a new group, or quickly start one of the groups you already have going. When you open a group, only the tabs in that group are visible, clearing up your tab bar of all other distractions.

The interface is dead simple. Each group is a column and the tabs can be dragged and dropped as you want. I like that it also has a little search function to quickly find a tab when you have too many open.

To me, the winning element was the keyboard shortcut of Alt+[number]. Your tab groups are numbered, and just as you would switch between tabs using Ctrl+[number], you can switch between tab groups with Alt+[number].

The only thing I’m missing in Tab Groups Helper is the ability to save certain groups forever, so that it acts like a session manager of sorts. But it’s not a dealbreaker and the included functionality is enough to make this worth downloading.

Tab Groups Helper | Firefox Add-Ons via Ghacks

PepFeed Augments Tech Shopping on Amazon with Essential Info

Chrome: When you are shopping for any tech product on Amazon, there’s a chance you might want to know more about it—perhaps read a review from a journalistic source or watch videos about it. Or maybe you just need info from the company itself. PepFeed’s got you covered.

This handy Chrome extension will analyse the product you are browsing and quickly put together a cheat-sheet popup overlay with videos related to the device, reviews of it from various sources, and web pages from the company itself. There’s also an "Overview" tab where the top hits for this info are brought together.

PepFeed only seems to work with tech products though. Running it on books or DVDs had no effect, but it had results for anything from a PlayStation 4 to a Sony Xperia Z1.

PepFeed | Chrome Web Store

Chrome Protector Notifies You If You’re Running an Adware Extension

Chrome Protector Notifies You If You're Running an Adware Extension

Chrome: Chrome Protector is a new extension that will let you know if you’re running one of the Chrome add-ons that’s been flagged as adware in disguise so you can remove it. Plus, as the community blacklists grow, the extension will update with new information to keep you safe.

Chrome Protector is brand new, but it already knows about the most popular and commonly used extensions mentioned at How-To Geek’s updating list. Once installed (and yes, the add-on asks for a lot of permissions), it will notify you if you install something that’s tracking your activity, and you can click it at any time to check the extensions you have installed currently against its blacklist. The developer plans to add in new features like notifying you if an extension starts to behave oddly, or if there’s been a change in ownership (or TOS) of an extension you have installed in the Chrome Web Store.

Of course, this is trust issue: How do you trust an add-on that’s telling you what other add-ons you can or can’t trust? Well, we took a look at its code and didn’t see anything fishy, but since Chrome extensions can be updated automatically without the user noticing, we’d understand if you’re skeptical of a new extension from an unknown developer that promises to keep you safe. Still, if keeping up with the blacklists is too much for you, or you want something to warn you that an add-on you’ve installed may be spying on you, Chrome Protector is a good start, if not a bit ironic.

Chrome Protector | Chrome Web Store via Ghacks

Minimum Font Eliminates Small Text from Web Pages

Minimum Font Eliminates Small Text from Web Pages

Chrome (and Firefox): Tired of web pages making fonts so small you can’t see them, making you fool around with the page’s size until you can? If you don’t want to repeatedly make this adjustment yourself, Minimum Font can get the job done for you.

It allows you to set minimum font sizes in several instances. You can make sure the global size stays large enough, but you can also adjust intentionally small fonts, block quotes, and input text areas. If you’d prefer to see the page as it was meant to be first, you can set a delay so the change won’t occur immediately. Either way, you can make on-screen reading a little bit easier on your eyes by default and leave pages that don’t have this problem alone.

Firefox users can pickup No Small Text instead.

Minimum Font (Free) | Chrome Web Store

Text Mode Makes Web Pages Less Distracting

Text Mode Makes Web Pages Less DistractingChrome: Great apps like Readability turn web pages into a format more easy on the eyes, but sometimes you just want less of a distraction rather than an entirely new look. Text Mode blocks out all images and flash components on a web page and puts everything into grayscale for distraction-free web browsing.

As depicted in the screenshot above, text is rendered about the same—just without color. Images, however, become a diagonal striped pattern so you can focus entirely on the written word. To activate Text Mode, you just click on the installed extension button and let it fly. To turn it off, just click the button again. The only very minor issue is that Text Mode doesn’t work in Hi-DPI mode (e.g. on retina MacBook Pros and computers like them) but that won’t affect the majority of users. If you’re looking for a simple way to make web pages less distracting, all you need is Google Chrome and this free extension.

Text Mode (Free) | Chrome Web Store via Addictive Tips