Research Safely With Firefox

Genealogy is a fascinating hobby but it can also be a dangerous one. Our research requires that we spend a lot of time in many different kinds of websites. Most of them require a login name and password. Instead of creating a different password for each site, many people use the same password over and over. This can be quite dangerous. If someone manages to crack the password for one of your sites he will then try using that password to crack even more of you sites. This could include access to your bank accounts and other personal information.

The Firefox browser was designed to protect users while they browse the Web. Turn on the Private Browsing and Firefox will make sure that no trackers are following you as you visit various sites. There is also a Tracking Protection feature that stops the hidden trackers often found in advertisements.

Firefox has an experimental password management app called Firefox Lockbox. Even though it is experimental, it functions quite nicely. There are a number of affordable password managers that function very well in the Firefox browser.

Firefox also offers a mobile version for both iOS and Android devices. Create an account with Firefox and it will insure that bookmarks, passwords and Pocket items are automatically synched between your desktop and devices.

Firefox even has a feature for taking screenshots. In this example only the visible part of this page has been captured and the buttons above it give you options on what to do with this shot.

The panel on the left is my bookmarks. The panel slides open with just one click and closes just as quickly. There is also a bar just above the screen for the sites that are frequently visited.

Firefox on iPhone
Here is an example of Firefox on iOS. Tap the three bar icon at the bottom of the screen to view options.


Those options are available on the iPhone version of Firefox. Notice at the top of the panel is the Firefox account info. Because I created a Firefox account and use it on my desktop and mobile devices, all my settings, bookmarks, etc. stay synchronized.

The Firefox browser is available for Windows and Mac desktops as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. This is just the beginning. There’s a lot more browser goodness coming to make your online researching easier.


The Future is HTML

HTML is the language of the web. It is now becoming the language of everything you do online – from email to news to e-books and more. And, although most of us never “touch” the actual code, it’s behind many of the things you see and do online.

Right now we’re watching an HTML revolution in the making. But, like many revolutions, things can get a little messy at times. The online world is in the process of moving to an updated version of HTML called HTML5. It offers a lot of great things for those of us who create content and we are excited about these new opportunities. BUT! We’re not all there yet. And, it will be a while before we do get there. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to insure you enjoy the best browsing experience you can.

  • Make sure you’re using the latest version of your web browser. In order to take advantage of these new HTML capabilities, you need to use a browser that supports them. Older browsers don’t. Even some of the newer browsers don’t support all of the new capabilities – yet. Opera [Win & Mac] and Chrome [Win & Mac] have the best support with Firefox [Win & Mac] and Safari [Mac] close behind. The latest version of Internet Explorer [Win] supports a majority of HTML5 capabilities, but still lags far behind the rest of the field.
  • Remember that you and your browser are in charge. You can override font style and sizes shown on a site by changing settings in your browser. Press CTRL/+ (CMD/+ for Mac) to increase the font size and CTRL/- (CMD/-) to decrease. To change the font style, look in your browser’s options panel. If things look really weird, you might check your “text encoding” settings. The “default” setting is probably the best, but you might also try the Western or Unicode options. This setting defines which alphabet is used to present content.
  • HTML5 makes its biggest impact with media, simplifying the way audio and video are added to a web page. Most sites can identify the browser you are using to visit their site and then display their media using a method supported by your browser. If you visit a site displaying media only in HTML5 and your browser doesn’t support it, you won’t be able to view that media. You might try using another browser that does support HTML5.

Most web developers are doing everything they can to insure you enjoy the best experience possible when you visit their site. At the same time, they are working hard to learn HTML5 while building sites that cover all these constantly changing possibilities. It means an awful lot of work for them and sometimes it doesn’t always work just right. It’s a challenge but one that’s well worth the effort.

Every day we’re seeing new and amazing views of our world thanks to HTML and these hard-working developers, designers, writers, photographers and artists that bring it to us.