SPEEDING UP A SLOW COMPUTER

Bob’s XP computer was so slow, Joy tried to talk him into restoring it back to its factory settings. Bob wouldn’t do it.

Because what it means is you’re clearing the hard drive. You’re taking it back to the beginning, when the Universe was dark. All your files, all your programs, will be gone. Did you back up the files before you reset it to factory specs? No? Too bad. Do you still have the disks to reinstall the old programs? Who does?

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NEW BROWSER FOR IPHONE AND IPAD

Opera Coast is a new web browser for iPhone and iPad. Swipe your hand to the left to go back to sites you recently visited. Tap the home button to get your list of favorites. The “Stuff We Like” feature helps you find popular content quickly.

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YOU TRACKING ME?

Quite a few people seem upset over the possibility that their online activities are being tracked by the government. Yahoo acknowledges they have answered around 13,000 tracking requests from the feds in the last six months, and Facebook and Microsoft have similar numbers. Google’s “Chrome” browser has an “incognito mode,” but warns that you could be under “surveillance by secret agents.”  (Can you imagine what a boring job that must be?) Mozilla Firefox has denounced government tracking and offers add-ons, such as “DoNotTrackMe,” to cover your embarrassing parts.  In an upcoming release, they’ll block the most intrusive tracking cookies by default.

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BEST BROWSER

Chrome is still our favorite web browser, and according to a recent Accuvant study, commissioned by the security firm ZoneAlarm, it is also the safest and the fastest –even though it’s only around five percent faster than others.

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EXTENSIONS

Browser extensions are much like apps. But instead of something you install on your phone, extensions are useful when surfing the web. The trick is not to install too many of them or they’ll slow down your surfing.

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THAT’S AWESOME

If you surf the web with Google Chrome, you may notice that typing the first few letters of a website you’ve recently visited brings up the rest. Now Mozilla’s Firefox does the same thing. They call it the “Awesome Bar.”

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CRASHING CHROME

Until recently, Google’s Chrome web browser was our favorite because it’s faster and probably safer than Firefox or Internet Explorer. But recently it started crashing regularly on Joy’s computer.

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FREE AT THE CHROME STORE

If you use the Chrome web browser instead of Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer, you probably saw an on-screen notice for the Chrome web store. It has thousands of free apps. We did a little shopping (can’t beat the price) and here are three we liked.

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A BETTER BROWSER

If you have an Android phone, you probably use a web browser called “Browser.” But the Dolphin browser is better, and it’s just out in a new version for iPhone and iPad.

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THE NUMBERS REPORT

Here’s a trend to ponder: The number of American’s who use Microsoft’s “Internet Explorer” to browse the web has dropped to 44 percent. It was once nearly 100 percent, and as recently as three years ago it was around 70 percent. Mozilla Firefox has 28 percent, Google Chrome has 21 percent, Safari around 5 percent and Opera, now out in a new version, around 2 percent.

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