Pale Moon – Incompatible add-ons

Pale Moon Icon

My very first post was about the awesome browser Pale Moon.
You can read the article here.

I received some complains from users who found a lot of incompatibilities when installing add-ons from Firefox.
Even though Pale Moon shares code with Firefox it is in most part a different animal, and during the last years it has become clear they are taking a completely different direction from all the other browser companies, and this includes Mozilla.
Long story short, do not expect all Firefox’s add-ons to work on Pale Moon. But, as a great man once said, “Never despair.”

In the official website you will find a list of the most requested add-ons, organized by incompatibilities, fixes, and workarounds.
Here is the link to the page:

Before install any add-on make sure to check this page first and see what’s what.
It is clear that Pale Moon is not aimed for the common internet user. This browser requires a little bit of IT cleverness to configure, but that’s it, just a little bit of IT cleverness.

Some geeks prefer their software to be small, light, fast, and efficient.
If you still use Winamp then Pale Moon is the browser for you.

How to Block Windows Telemetry

Spybot Antibeacon

As you know Windows 10 has serious privacy issues.
You can disable most of the spying options in the Control Panel, but it does not mean you are fully protected, because on the background there is something called Telemetry.
Windows’ Telemetry is basically a bunch of stuff running in your computer specificity design to gather has much information as possible about the user.
Luckily there is a small piece of software designed to block this, it is called Spybot Anti-Beacon.
It’s pretty straight forward, just install it, check all the boxes, click Immunize, and reboot your computer.
You can download it here, and say goodbye to Windows’ Telemetry.

Linux – What is it?

Linux DuckLinux is an operating system, like Windows 7 or Mac OS, but it has a couple of major differences: it’s free and it’s open source.

You don’t have to pay a penny to use it, just download it and install it. You can replace your Windows or install Linux alongside – in this case the computer will ask you which operating system you want to use when the computer is booting (starting). But the best thing about Linux (or one of the best things) is that you don’t have to install Linux on your computer, because it has the ability to boot from a CD-ROM or a Pen Drive. This is called a Live Version, and it’s very simple to use.

When you download Linux, generally you will download a virtual image (most of the times an ISO or IMG file), then you can use Windows native Image Burner to burn it into a CD. To do so, just click on the image file and you will see the option on top of your window, or right click on the file and explore the options “Open With”. To burn it into a Pen Drive you have to use a third-party program, I recommend you “Universal USB Installer”, it’s pretty much straight forward. After the process is complete, insert you CD or Pen Drive in your computer and reboot. Linux will start up just like if it was installed. When you’re done using it, just turn off your computer, remove the CD or Pen Drive, and your old Windows will boot like nothing ever happened. Keep it in mind that to use Live versions you might need to access your BIOS and change the Boot Order, but it’s a very simple process, just search the web for tutorials.

What are the advantages of using a Linux? In one word: security. Linux is way more secure than Windows or Mac Os, and I mean way more. Traditional virus do not affect Linux, and hacking this operating system is an herculean task. Which makes it perfect for managing online bank accounts, or to use your credit card on online shops. Some banks are now recommending their clients to use Linux Live CDs, because CDs are read-only devices, once they are burned no one can change its content.

Now the tricky thing, there isn’t just one Linux distribution, there are hundreds. Each one is developed with a specific purpose in mind. Some are design for old machines, some are designed for enterprise companies, others are designed for hacking, but luckely most are designed for the nowadays common user. The distribution I use for online banking is Puppy Linux, because it has a size of only 160Mb, and it’s mind blowing fast, just takes a couple of minutes to boot. But this distribution can be a bit complicated for a first time user. If you never used Linux before, I recommend you: Lubuntu or Elementary OS. They are light, fast, and simple.

If you care about online banking security, use Linux.

Elementary OS

Free Antivirus – Which one to choose?

Antivirus List

As you know antivirus are pretty much essential if you are running Windows on your computer. Let just get something straight right away, if you want an excellent protection on your system, you have to pay for it. Luckily for those who don’t want to spend money on software, there are free solutions. They aren’t as good as the paid versions, but they will do the job reasonably well.

There are five major brands that provide free antivirus: Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, and Panda. Both Bitdefender and Panda free versions are “cloud based”, which means that it’s not your computer that does the protecting stuff, but a server on the web. They claim it is fast, light and secure, but how secure is it when your internet connection goes down and the server can’t reach your computer? This brands claim they will still be efficient by 90%, or 80%, or whatever. There is just no consensus on the efficiency of a cloud based antivirus on an offline computer. So let’s cross this two of the list. The real choices you should take in consideration are: Avast, AVG, and Avira.

The best way to make up your mind is to check on independent labs. What are independent labs? They are a bunch of people that test antivirus in a very professional way, and then sell the reports at high prices. Luckily there are a couple of sites that offer some reports for free: AVComparatives and AVTest. Forget about searching the web for opinions, if you really want to know the truth about an antivirus check this two websites. I’ve have been following their results for the past three years, while testing each product, so I’m ready to give you an opinion.

Avira is my favourite. It’s the best for virus detection, if Avira says a file is infected it’s because it’s really infected. It also stands out on blocking and cleaning. But nowadays virus are the least of your problems. Most of the infections come from the internet, and thrust me, there are a ton of things crawling the web ready to infect your machine. So one of the things you may need for browsing the internet safely, besides common sense, is a link scanner, and Avira’s link scanner is awful. It forces you to install an add-on on your browser and it gets constantly in the way. Oh, and did I say that Avira constantly bothers you with pop-ups trying to convince you to buy the paid version? Don’t get me wrong, you can still work around this problems, and if you have good informatics knowledge this is definitly your best option.

AVG it’s one of the oldest free antivirus and it’s still a pretty good choice. In the last months it received high scores from independent labs, reaching almost the level of top tier security products. But this Moravian antivirus has a big problem. In the last few years it gained a reputation for having a high level of false positives. What is a false positive? It’s when the antivirus makes a mistake by telling you a file is infected when it really isn’t. So it makes it hard to believe anything AVG tells you, specially if you have illegal software installed on your computer, which you really shouldn’t have.

That leave us with Avast. This antivirus is not the best at anything, but it’s good in everything it does. It has a good link scanner that works with all browsers without the need to install additional add-ons, it just runs silently on background. The antivirus is only reasonably good, but you can install additional security software, like MalwareBytes or ClamWin, without experiencing compatibility problems. Finally it has an Email Scanner that scans your emails for virus (dah!). If you check your emails on the website through a browser, you won’t need to install this feature. Email Scanning is only for people who use email programs like Thunderbird or Outlook Express. Avast is my recommendation for the common user. It’s light on resources, simple, fast, and all of its features run flawlessly right after you install it, without the need of additional configuration. Its interface is clean and pretty straight forward, it has a low false positive rate, and it does not annoy you with pop-up adds.

There is just one thing you need to be careful: when you install Avast chose “Custom Installation”, somewhere during the process you will be asked which features you want to install. There will be three columns, one for the major three features, other for optional features, and other for languages. Just keep it simple and make sure to uncheck all the optional features, because they will not bring you any real advantage, besides slowing down your computer I guess…

And that’s it. If you’re a computer newbie who doesn’t want to spend money on an antivirus, get Avast!

Avast Free 2014

AxCrypt – Protect your private files

AxCrypt HeaderDo you have private data in your computer? Are you afraid hackers may get to it? Are you afraid someone will see it if your laptop gets stolen? Why not secure your precious files with an encryption software?

Every time someone asks how to encrypt data, someone at the end of the table yells “TrueCrypt”.

Well, that showoff guy is right, but TrueCrypt might be a little to complicated for the common user who is just looking to encrypt a couple of files. Not to mention that TrueCrypt is no longer supported – which does not necessarily means it’s unsafe, but… you know.

AxCrypt is fast, secure, free, and above all it is simple. You don’t need to follow tutorials to create virtual drives, encrypted files, mount encrypted files on virtual drives… Although this may sound like a very secure way to protect your data against CIA or NSA, most users are just looking to secure their data from that little kid sited at the end of the pub, with a laptop, and a grim on his face.

How does it work? AxCrypt integrates itself on Windows context menu, so when you want to encrypt a file, just right-click on it, and chose “Encrypt”. You will be asked for a password, and that’s it. Everyone who wants to open the file will have to either insert the password, or crack the file. Regarding this, AxCrypt uses AES encryption with 128-bit keys. I’m not going to get into details, but I assure you that you don’t have to worry about that evil kid anymore.

And now the cherry on top of the cake: AxCrypt comes with a shredder. What is a shredder? I’ll explain. When you delete a file from your computer you don’t really delete it, you just make the file invisible and tell your computer that he can overwrite it. Even though you can’t see it, the file is still there, it still exists, and therefore it can be recovered. So keep it in mind that when you delete your shameful collection of pornography just by using Shift-Delete, anyone using a simple software can easily recover it and see it. And here is where a shredder comes in handy. When you delete a file using a shredder, the computer deletes it and writes random data on top of the file, making it virtually impossible to recover. To use it just right-click on the file you want to delete, chose “Shred and Delete”, and yell “Fuck you file!!!” really out loud.

Protect your sensitive data with AxCrypt, it doesn’t get any more simple than this.


Pale Moon – An alternative browser

Pale Moon IconAre you one of those people who are constantly looking for the perfect browser?

If you are then you should know that such thing does not exist (at least since Opera 12 went down). If you hate Google Chrome’s privacy policy, and if you think SRWare Iron is to buggy, then this might be the browser for you. Pale Moon is based on Firefox, but don’t let it fool you, it comes with some tricks on its sleeve.

Do you know that Firefox comes with a tone of features that most users don’t even know they exist? Things like accessibility features for disabled people, parental controls to keep an eye on your kids, tab groups which no one knows exactly how to use, maintenance service, crash reports, integrated PDF reader, social API, WebRTC, and other little things which the only purpose is to annoy you by slow down your browser and occasionally crash the entire computer – because who doesn’t love when the browser crashes when you are sending that life or death email…

Luckily those days are gone. Pale Moon will increase the life of your computer by preventing you from punch it. It is basically a lighter, faster, and functional Firefox. And the best of it all: it does NOT come with the new user interface (Australis) that doesn’t resembles Google Chrome at all. It looks just like the old good Firefox with some more visual customization options.

Because it is based on Firefox you can expect it to be functional, secure, highly customizable, and if you are one of those add-on freaks I’m glad to tell you that Pale Moon supports all those widgets designed for Firefox. Talking about add-ons, have you ever noticed that Firefox takes forever to startup? One of the big reasons is the famous and indispensable AdBlock. If you really want an adblocker (which you really should), I recommend AdBlock Edge, it uses the same block lists as all the other adblockers, but it is much faster. Pale Moon is designed for Windows and Linux, and available on 64-bit version, but I recommend you to install the 32-bit to avoid compatibility problems.

Pale Moon is free, open-source, and reliable. Give it a try.

Pale Moon