How to Mute Noisy Tabs in One Click

Plus, a bonus special trick for Chrome users.

Has this ever happened to you? You have several web browser tabs open, and suddenly one of the background tabs play a video or advertisement. Or worse, multiple tabs begin playing annoying audio at once.

This happens to me when researching technical issues online. I have a habit of opening many tabs in the background from a web search and reviewing them afterward. Often, some tab will play audio I don’t want over my music.

Tracking down the offending tab, finding the video buried in the page, and then hitting “pause” used to be a real hassle. Hitting the master “mute” on my PC meant that my music was also muted – quite annoying.

Fortunately most web browsers now feature a simple one-click solution.

If you are using Chrome, Edge Firefox or Safari, an icon appears in tabs that have audio playing.

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Hovering over the icon will give you more information. Here’s an example from Chrome.

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In Firefox and Safari, clicking the speaker icon will mute the audio. Clicking a second time enables the audio again.

Microsoft Edge also has this feature in the November 2017 early adopter version of Windows 10. It should roll out to all Windows 10 users soon.

Internet Explorer doesn’t have this feature. Sorry, IE users.

Chrome works a little differently. By default in Chrome, you right-click and select the Mute Tab menu. However, there’s a way to fix Chrome to make this a single-click like Firefox and Safari. Read on.

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After you click the icon or use the right-click menu, your audio is muted and the speaker icon indicates the change. You don’t even have to switch away from the tab you are currently reading. Whew.

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Bonus: How to set Chrome to work with a single click.

If you are using Chrome, you can go to this special URL to enable one-click muting. You’ll need to copy and paste it into your address bar:

chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting

You’ll see this screen, click the Enable button.

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This button will pop up at the bottom of your window, click Relaunch Now.

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Once you’ve enabled that option, you can simply click the icon like Firefox, Safari and Edge users.


Bonus #2: Josh Turner is a talented player. His cover of Dire Straits is fun to watch.

Easy 2 Minute Ad Blocker Guide

I’ll show you how to install the best ad blocker with this easy guide. Speed up and protect your PC or Mac and stop being assaulted by unwanted ads. You have the power to control your ads so let’s install your ad blocker right now.

The best ad blocker for 2018.

uBlockOriginThe best ad blocker at this time is uBlock Origin. It works on Mac or Windows and is available for Edge, Chrome and Firefox. A Safari version is available for development preview.

uBlock Origin works best without other ad blockers installed. Having multiple ad blockers installed will slow down your web browser. If you have other ad blockers, please uninstall them first.

Jump to installation instructions for:


Edge

Step 1: Go to this direct link for uBlock Origin at the Microsoft Store. That link will open in a new tab for you. Click the Get The App button.

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Step 2: Edge will launch the Microsoft Store App. Click the Get button.

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Step 3: uBlock Origin will install. When finished, click the Launch button to re-launch Edge.

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Step 4: Edge will launch and prompt you to turn on uBlock Origin. Click the Turn it on button.

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Done! The uBlock Origin icon will appear in the upper right. The default settings will work for 99% of people. See my guide for how to use uBlock Origin.

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Chrome

Step 1: Go to this direct link for uBlock Origin at the Chrome Web Store. That link will open in a new tab for you.

Step 2: Click the Add To Chrome button.

uBlock Origin - Chrome

Step 3: Click the Add Extension button on the security warning.

uBlock Origin - Chrome - Security popup

Step 4: Done! The default settings will work for 99% of people. See my guide for how to use uBlock Origin.

uBlock Origin - finished


Firefox

Step 1: Go to this direct link for uBlock Origin at the Firefox Add-Ons site. That link will open in a new tab for you.

Step 2: Click the Add To Firefox button.

uBlock Origin - Firefox

Step 3: Click the Add button on the security warning.

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Step 4: Done! Click OK to dismiss the confirmation. The default settings will work for 99% of people. See my guide for how to use uBlock Origin.

ublock origin - ff3


Safari

uBlock Origin for Safari is still in development. It must be manually installed. The installation instructions may change, so until it’s fully released I can’t do a simple screen-by-screen. Here is a link to the current installation instructions. I hope to update this soon when it is fully released. Once you have followed those instructions, see my guide for how to use uBlock Origin.

How to Use uBlock Origin

If you need help installing uBlock Origin, see my prior post with step-by-step instructions.

uBlock Origin works perfectly fine out of the box for most sites using the default settings. I’m a “power user” and I almost never change the default settings. For the majority of the internet sites you can install it and forget it.

If you discover a website not working properly or “acting weird”, it’s probably using a script that uBlock has filtered out. That’s easy to fix, here’s how. These screenshots were taken in Firefox on a Mac, your screens might look slightly different.

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Step 1: Click the red uBlock icon in your web browser’s add-on area, usually the upper-right. Look for the blue on/off button.

Step 2: As you hover over the blue on/off button, a tool-tip appears, instructing you to click to disable uBlock for this site. A “Control-Click” combination will only disable this particular page – and I don’t recommend that. Just use a normal click to disable uBlock for all pages on that site.

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Step 3: After you click the on/off button, it will turn gray.  The red uBlock icon will also turn gray, indicating that uBlock is disabled on this site. A new reload symbol will appear in a pale yellow box.

Click this to reload the web page with uBlock turned off. You can also click your web browser’s reload button, they do the same thing.

That’s it! You have disable uBlock on that site, but it’s still active on other sites. uBlock will remember this setting from now on.

To re-enable it, follow the same steps in reverse: Click the gray on/off button to turn it blue, indicating that the ad blocker is active again.

If you are satisfied with the basic settings, you can stop reading now.


Advanced Settings

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Hint: I’m a pro, and I don’t ever mess with the advanced settings. I’m touching on them here to be thorough, but I’d recommend 99% of people stop reading right now.

I’m not going to go through each one icon and setting, here’s a link to the complete documentation for the people who want to play with all the options.

If you are one of those people, you probably stopped reading before you got this far. 😉

I’m only going to talk about one icon in uBlock, the dashboard button. If you’ve explored, made some advanced changes but thought better of them, here’s how to reset and recover.

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The dashboard button opens up the main configuration screen for uBlock. This screen has many tabs, but I’m only concerned with the main tab in this section.

For most people, the most important button on this page is at the very bottom. This is the Reset to default settings button, used to reset everything in uBlock if you’ve made some adjustments that are interfering with your web browser. If you are in that situation, click the button to reset everything. You will lose your whitelisted sites, so any sites where you have uBlock turned off will need to be turned off again. Consider this just the panic button.

You’ll get a popup window like this:

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Click OK to return uBlock to factory settings.

If you want to explore the rest of the advanced settings, please review the manual and be careful.

Enjoy uBlock Origin!

Computer Speed – Then and Now

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I was going through some old CDs today. On an album from 1993 I found this Mandelbrot fractal image. The authors were so proud of it that they gave a lot of details in the liner notes, which allowed me to recreate it and do some speed comparisons.

I was amazed.

Cover art generated by Lawrence S. Kroll, Professor of Computer Science at San Francisco State University. Dr. Kroll generated the fractal over a period of 4 1/2 hours on a Macintosh Il computer. This particular graphic image was rendered with a total of 640,000 points. Each point on the computer screen took up to 3500 computations to achieve high resolution. This comes to over 2 billon calculations for the one image. Typical times to generate this same image are: IBM PC or Mac Plus: about 4 days (day and night), CRAY X/MP Supercomputer: less than 10 seconds.

640,000 data points sounds like a lot, but it’s not. It’s only 800×800, or .64 megapixel. Your phone (depending on the age or model) is between 3 and 12 megapixel.

Likewise, 2 billion calculations sounds like a lot, but it’s not. CPUs are measured in MIPS (Millions of Instructions Per Second) and a modern Intel I7 CPU, like a typical gamer’s PC is rated at 317,900 MIPS – nearly 318 Billion instructions per second.

Yes, there is more than one “instruction” per “calculation”… But get real. The CRAY Supercomputer from 1993 doesn’t even make a good web browser these days.

For fun, I used a copy of XaoS software on my 2010-model MacBook to generate that same image today. I didn’t time it precisely, but it took around 1 second – on a 7-year-old laptop.

If you want to try it for yourself,  fun fractal software is available for your iPhone, iPad, Windows and Mac.  http://fractalfoundation.org/resources/fractal-software/

For anyone wanting to recreate this test, they listed the exact parameters of this fractal as:

The Fractal Location for this image is: center: x -0.7454286; center: y .11300881; magnify 2 x 10 times; Escape Radius- 2.5, Dwell 1000.