Remove annoying Facebook features

Facebook PurityOver the years, Facebook has added a lot of obnoxious features to their website (i.e. Top Stories, App Requests, Gifts, Ads, etc). Thankfully there is a free browser plugin for Safari/Firefox/Chrome that will allow you to customize and remove many of the things you don’t like.

  • Go to F.B. Purity and install the plugin for your browser of choice.
  • After you install the plugin, you will see a “F.B. Purity” link at the top of your Facebook feed. If you click on the link, it will open a window where you can make all sorts of customizations.
  • See the user guide for additional help.

Browse privately

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If you are browsing the internet on a public computer, you may not want others to see what you have searched for or what web pages you’ve looked at. Fortunately there are several browsers that let you look at the web without leaving a trail behind you.

Mac:

  • Safari: Go to Safari > Private Browsing
  • Chrome: Go to File > New Incognito Window
  • Firefox: Go to File > New Private Window

PC:

  • Chrome: Go to Settings (icon next to address bar) > New Incognito Window
  • Firefox: Go to the orange Firefox menu > New Private Window
  • Internet Explorer: Go to Settings (gear icon) Safety > InPrivate Browsing

Saving video off the web

Can’t get enough of that kitten video or your friend’s baby laughing? Here are a few websites/browser plugins that enable you to save web videos onto your computer, so you can watch them offline later:

*Keep in mind that video you don’t own the copyright to should only be used for personal use and not shared with others.

Saving electronic receipts

Instead of printing out every confirmation or receipt I get on the web, I like to save mine electronically. It’s eco-friendly, saves space, and makes organization easier.

Mac: In Safari/Firefox, go to File > Print (or hit CMD-P). When you get to the Print dialog box, instead of clicking Print, click on the PDF button in the lower left corner. Choose “Save as PDF” and choose which folder you’d like to save a PDF version of your receipt in.

In Chrome, go to File > Print (or hit CMD-P). Change the Destination to “Save as PDF” and then hit the Save button.

PC: If you are using the Chrome browser, click on the tool icon in the top-right corner. Choose Print. Change the destination to “Print to PDF” and click Print.

If you don’t use Chrome, you can install the CutePDF Writer which will allow you to print to PDF from any browser. Instructions here.

Opt-out of behavioral advertising

Ad networks like DoubleClick, Quantcast and others track the websites you visit and target ads specifically to you. To opt out of these tracking networks, go to the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) website. It will check your system for tracking cookies from the participating ad networks and allow you to opt out of receiving them.

Visit the NAI website

If you want to block ads and ad tracking altogether, you can install an ad blocker plugin for your browser:

Adblock (Safari)
AdBlock Plus (Chrome/Firefox)
Ghostery (Firefox/Safari/Chrome/Opera/IE)

Browser Tab Keyboard Shortcuts

All modern browsers have the ability to open several websites in the same window with tabs. Using tabs instead of opening multiple windows keeps your screen less cluttered and makes it easier to switch back and forth between websites. Instead of using your mouse to open a new tab, you can just hit CMD and T (CMD is the button with the Apple on it) or CTRL and T on a PC. If you want to switch between tabs without using your mouse, hit CTRL-TAB (the tab key). To close a tab, hit CMD-W on a Mac or CTRL-W on a PC.

Clearing Your Browser Cache

All web browsers automatically save web page code, images, and other content to your computer. This saved material is called your browser cache. Your web browser can load local copies of files more quickly than it can download them over the internet, so having a browser cache helps your web browser load websites faster once you’ve already visited them. If a website has been redesigned, sometimes it won’t render properly until you empty your cache, and force your browser to take a fresh look at the site. If you see something funny on a site you normally visit, you can try this and see if it helps.

Clear your cache