From Adam Engst at Tidbits:
Why does Arc deserve this spot? Arc’s designers have taken the Chromium engine and created a Mac-native app that improves on the standard Web browser interface in four conceptual areas: context, persistence, visibility, and refinement. Each plays a vital role in why I describe Arc as transformative. In the sections below, I’ll explain how its unique features—or at least unique combinations of features—make it stand out.
Adam covers a ton of ground here, and provides a solid overview of what makes Arc a really compelling browser. I’ve been using it on and off for about 6 months now and it’s the first non-Safari browser I really like.
Arc tries to be your hub for the web and it does quite a good job of being a beautiful app that happens to also be great tool for power users. It’s rare to see something so customizable have the level of detail and whimsy that Arc brings to the table. Power users expect to have multiple profiles, keyboard shortcuts and tools for screencaps, notes and more. The command palette is super powerful, so you really can accomplish nearly everything with a few keystrokes. What you often don’t get when you try something with those features is the polish, beauty and attention to detail that you seem in Arc.
Still, I’d say that Arc is trying to do a bit too much – Easels and Notes are cool but not something I even remember exist most of the time. In addition, the power user features add a bit of cognitive load to doing basics. In an effort to make the most of the tab Spaces feature, I’m constantly making sure pages I’m viewing are in the correct location instead of just using the browser. There are also some small UI glitches, but for a beta, it’s quite impressive.
I likely need a little more time to figure out how to make things work perfectly for me, but the fact that it’s been about 6 months and I still feel that way says that it’s too complex in some ways.
If you’re on the lookout for an invite, ping me on Mastodon and I’ll get you set up.
From Elissaveta M. Brandon at Fast Company:
For now, the browser extension focuses on physical disabilities, but the team is also working on a prototype that takes into consideration people with cognitive disabilities, including dyslexia. The ultimate goal is for all of the web to be accessible, so that anybody can navigate a website, regardless of their physical or cognitive ability. “There’s no such thing as 100% accessibility,” says Noone. “But there is such a thing as continual integration of accessibility, and that’s what we aim for.”
One of the biggest challenges for folks who care about accessibility but aren’t deep into best practices is a lack of easy-to-use tools to help make small but meaningful improvements. This seems like a great step in the right direction.
I’m happy to see their extension and tools available for a ton of platform and browsers as well. Oddly, the entire article doesn’t actually link to the extension. Here it is.
Last week, some interesting news broke about Google and Mozilla prepping versions of their iOS browsers to use their own rendering engines rather than simply being a wrapper around Webkit, Apple’s rendering engine. If you aren’t familiar, iOS has rules that prevent browser makers like Google and Mozilla from embedding the engine that handles layout […]
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From Krebs on Security:
If you’re the type of person who uses multiple extensions, it may be wise to adopt a risk-based approach going forward. Given the high stakes that typically come with installing an extension, consider carefully whether having the extension is truly worth it. This applies equally to plug-ins designed for Web site content management systems like WordPress and Joomla.
The only extensions I use these days is an ad blocker (1blocker), add to instapaper, 1password and a rss subscribe button. Most everything else gives me the creeps when you read what it actually needs access to.
Marco Arment, talking about the ethical dilemma of using ad blockers:
I recently started using Ghostery on my computers, and a simple homemade iOS content blocker that I may release for iOS 9’s launch. The web performance improvements with these are staggering, and the reports of quite how much Ghostery is blocking on most pages is shocking and disgusting.
I struggle with the similar ethical quandary. I have been using Ghostery for a while as well, and I’ve decided to allow Google, the Deck and a few other Ad publishers through. I want to support sites if they have chosen an ad-supported model as long as they do it in a moderately tasteful way. But to me, web tracking and retargeting is a bridge too far.
What’s great about Ghostery is that it allows you to choose to either block all 3rd party trackers/ads or specific ones, and you can even choose to do so one a per-site basis. This lets me show ads from certain networks I know of and ‘trust’ on some level, while blocking all of the shadier services. It’s a simple add on for Chrome, Safari or Firefox and it dramatically decreases the load time on most web pages, and gives you some level of peace of mind.
As others have pointed out, trackers and ads nowadays aren’t just something you can simply ignore. It’s code, executed on your machine and dramatically slows down the load time of an average web site by a few seconds most of the time. This has costs in terms of time, bandwidth, privacy and even on an ethical level.
I’ll keep tweaking my Ghostery settings to let some types of ads through, but undecipherable tracker names with no obvious benefit … you’re on notice.