Selectively enable Flash in Chrome without an extension

January 08, 2012

Last week I wrote about the extensions I use in Chrome, and the number one question I got in response was, "You don't block Flash?!" Of course I block Flash. I've always blocked Flash. (In my 2009 discussion of the ClickToFlash Safari plugin I wrote briefly about the ways I've blocked it over the years.)

The thing is, with Chrome, you don't need a plugin or extension to ensure that Flash (or any other type of content that requires a plugin) is blocked by default, but easily enabled when needed; this sort of functionality is built into the browser.

To set it up, simply punch about:flags into the address bar and enable "Click to play." Then (and you may need to restart the browser before doing this) go to Preferences rarr; Under the Hood rarr; Content Settings rarr; Plug-ins, and choose "Click to play." That's it. (I'm not entirely sure this is currently available in the regular and beta channel builds, but it's been baked into the developer builds for a very long time, and so my hunch is that it has creeped into the other builds by now.)

(You might also want to check out my trick for restarting (Chrome or Safari's) Flash, without having to cycle your browser.)

Kaufmann's posographe#

An ingenious six-variable exposure calculator from the 1920s. This kind of blew my mind.

The books I read in 2011

January 05, 2012

Just a quick list of the books I managed to plow through in 2011. After browsing this list, if there's a book you think would interest me, please let me know, or just gift it to me.  ;)  Relatedly, you also may want to have a look at my book wish list.




Currently, I'm reading the following books:

If you made it this far you might as well have a look at my reading list for 2010.

Shawn Blanc reviews the Galaxy Nexus#

I usually mark-as-read product reviews if it's something about which I already know a fair amount. That said, I ended up reading this piece because Shawn is a friend and I was curious what his opinion was of Android's latest flagship device, especially given that this was his first real experience with Android.

It's a thoughtful write-up that I encourage everyone to read, particularly the iPhone-for-life crowd.

The Chrome extensions I use

January 04, 2012

I've long been a huge fan of Chrome/Chromium and have been asked more than a few times for a list of the extensions I use, and so I thought I'd whip up a quick post to list and discuss them (where necessary). (The italicized text after the name of each extension is the copy provided by the respective developer.) Note that this list does not include the bookmarklets I use; I'll discuss those in a separate post.

Though it probably is obvious, there likely is some overlap between certain of the "privacy" extensions, and I'm OK with that. Relatedly, I also whitelist cookies on Chrome (an awesome browser feature). Basically, this means that I have to give a site explicit permission before it can set cookies. It's great, though not without its annoyances; for example, sometimes some snooping is required to get certain websites working. (It'd be nice if Chrome let us enable cookies for a particular site, and then automatically deleted those cookies as soon as the tab in which they were created was closed. If you're aware of an extension that will do this, please let me know.)

  • Send to Kindle Push web articles to your Kindle. I use this extension a lot; if, for whatever reason, it fails, I fall back on Instapaper's "Send to Kindle" bookmarklet (which, I'm guessing, most people don't even know about).
  • Instachrome Save your URLs to Instapaper. I use this instead of the bookmarklet(s) because it automatically closes the tab after the link has been saved, something I've written about (and "fixed") before. I hope that future versions allow us to target specific folders.
  • Posthoc Adds pages to the Read it Later online service. This is a must-have for me because I use both Instapaper and Read It Later, and like Instachrome, this too closes the tab after the link is saved.
  • Tabs Counter A visual candy - always know the number of opened tabs. This is the kind of stat I love knowing at all times. I kind of wish it would display the tab count for the current window and the combined tab count for all of the open windows; currently, it shows the tab count of just the current window.
  • AdBlock The most popular Chrome extension, with over 2 million users! Blocks ads all over the web.
  • Chrome Cookies Button Provides quick icon access to manage your Chrome cookies.
  • Chromeblock Stop secret tracking of your web browsing. (UPDATE: This extension is no longer available for download; I'm not sure why.)
  • 1Password Beta Password and identity manager for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android.
  • Disconnect Stop third parties and search engines from tracking the webpages you go to and searches you do.
  • Ghostery Protect your privacy. See who's tracking your web browsing with Ghostery.
  • YSlow Make your pages faster with Yahoo!'s page performance tool.
  • Google Analytics Opt-out Add-on Tells the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js) not to send information to Google Analytics.
  • Page One - Banish Multipage Articles Always display the single-page version of articles at popular news sites.
  • SelectOut Tracking Opt-Out Be in control of who tracks you online.
  • Sheepish Protect your privacy. See who's tracking you. Are you sheepish? (UPDATE: This extension is no longer available for download.)

Misconceptions about iOSmultitasking#

The multitasking bar always shows a list of recently used apps, regardless of whether they're in the Background, Suspended or Not Running states. (Emphasis mine.)

I thought this was well known, or at least just common sense, but all the links to this post in my RSS reader tell me otherwise.

Why is the NYPD after me?#

[O]n average, every young black man [in New York City] can be expected to be stopped and frisked by the police each year.

America, 2012.

Florida was weird as only it can be in 2011#

There's pockets of strangeness all over the country, but here it's a baseline lifestyle. There, it's the aberration. There, it's the tail end of the bell curve. Here, it's the peak of the bell curve.

So, so true.

Relatedly, I was back in Florida earlier this week visiting friends and family, and tweeted: "In an incredibly smokey bar with my brother discussing probation violations and trying to ignore a large dog at my knees. What? Florida."

Most of the conversations I have--and overhear--when back in Florida, wouldn't be believed unless you're from there. It's just a different world, and one I often miss.

Kindle iOS app can now manage emailed content#

This is kind of a big deal, especially for those that don't have a Kindle device and instead just use the iOS app. As you guys know, each day I send a ton of articles to my Kindle, and until just a few days ago those articles could be read only on the device itself, because content not purchased from Amazon didn't get synced with the various Kindle apps. With v2.9 of the iOS app that's no longer the case--non-Amazon content is automatically archived in the Amazon Cloud (including last page read, bookmarks and annotations) and (re-)downloadable on the app.

While I don't see myself using this too much (simply because I prefer e-ink for all of this stuff), it's pretty cool that in a pinch I can pick up my iPhone or iPad and read something I've sent to my address.

Jake Dyson's CSYS LED task light#

It will surprise no one that I keep a collection of beautiful desk lamps--along with every other type of product--inside Yojimbo. This way I don't have to go scouring the web each time I decide to buy a new product; I simply scroll through the stuff I've accumulated over the years.

All of these products have two things in common: simplicity and beauty. If a product strikes me as having both of those qualities, it goes straight into Yojimbo, along with at least two tags: "Want" and a tag that describes the type of product (e.g., lamps).

Now, I don't currently have a desk lamp in my home office, and don't particularly need one. I like to tell myself that if I got one I'd write more. Really, I get these romantic thoughts of me hunched over a desk late at night, desperately trying to carve some great idea into a Moleskine. I know that that's not likely to happen and that even with a desk lamp I'd still probably write only when adding sentiments to Christmas and birthday cards, but come on, just look at this task light and tell me you don't want it!

The rub: it's $850. But, it's so pretty! And the bulbs will last for at least 37 years! And it has so much great tech! And...

OK, fine, I'm not going to buy it right now, but you can be damn sure I'm keeping it in Yojimbo.

A primer on evolution#

For those of you who may not study this sort of thing (how can you not?!), but still are interested, be sure to give this a read. It's short.