Tag Archives: chrome

RBUTR supports more browsers, adds a universal linking toolbar

RBUTR logo

Some exciting new additions to RBUTR have been announced in the last few weeks. The folks on the team behind this skeptic favorite have been busy!

RBUTR is an excellent skeptic tool that I’ve written about here before. It is a service that links web pages to other articles which rebut them (hence the name). Skeptics could do well to both evangelize the tool to the general public, and to populate it with links to good skeptical content.

RBUTR works via a browser add-in: a small piece of software that adds new functionality to your web browser. When you navigate to a new web page, the add-in looks up whether there are any rebuttals to that article or content and gives a visual indication at the top of the browser window.

One limitation of browser plugins is each one is usually only compatible with one browser. Since its launch, RBUTR has only been available for Google’s Chrome browser, which limited the product’s reach. Statistics on browser usage vary widely, but Chrome’s market penetration varies somewhere between 15% and 40% depending on whose numbers you believe. But whichever set of numbers are correct, the majority of Internet users are using other browsers.

Now the RBUTR team have made several new additions that significantly widen its reach – two additional browsers and more.

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Why Google’s Chrome is currently the skeptic browser of choice

Google Chrome logoI try to avoid advocating one technology or vendor over another on this blog whenever possible.  Perpetual battlegrounds such as Mac vs. PC and Google vs. Bing are unproductive distractions from the general techniques we can use in our work.  But there are exceptions, cases where one technology has a clear advantage.

Web browsers are designed as a generic platform for displaying content.  They follow established standards such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  But there’s aways some cutting edge capability that can’t quite be handled using the standard technologies.  And so most browsers have a way to add functionality beyond the standards.  Some call this a plug-in, some call it an addon, some call it an extension.  Microsoft sometimes uses the term “browser helper object”.  Each browser does it their own way, so these tools usually have to be rewritten for each browser.

These things manifest themselves as toolbars, right-click menu options and so on, to enhance your use of the browser.  Recently they’ve become incredibly common as adjuncts to online services of various kinds.  That includes, of course, services that I’ve been recommending here as tools for skeptics to use in their work.

I decided to compile a list of which browsers are currently supported by the various online services that I’ve recommended here, in my talks and on Virtual Skeptics.  Once you see the list, you’ll see why I recommend Google Chrome for skeptics.

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Afternoon Toolbox – October 25, 2012 – Short news from CSICON

Morning Toolbox is a daily digest of interesting tools and techniques that skeptics can use online.

I’m at CSICON this weekend, so my toolbox posts may be a little short and often late in the morning

Another day, another Chrome browser plugin it seems. This one is called Unpolitic.me and it removes politics-related posts from your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Could be handy if you are tired of that stuff by now.

Wikipedia reformats their pages for mobile devices like smartphones, which is very very useful. They recently redesigned their mobile formatting to make it more legible and easier to use.

I mentioned Blekko the other day, this is an alternative search engine that lets you customize the results in ways that are difficult to do in Google. Handy for skeptic-oriented searches, among other things. They have posted new tutorials, so go learn about this tool.

PunditTracker is teasing that they may add some sort of incentive program next week.

Don’t forget you can vote in the Stitcher Podcast Awards once per day, give your favorite podcasts some love.

Another short toolbox, have another good day!

Follow me on Twitter at @krelnik.  You can submit stories there or via submit at whatstheharm.net.