Razer Green Switches: Don’t Call Them Kailh

Razer Green Switches: Don’t Call Them Kailh

There aren’t that many mechanical keyboard switches on the market. Cherry and Kailh switches are by far the most ubiquitous, but there are several others that you’ll bump into, as well. Greetech and TTC are two switch makers that we’ve seen on shipping products recently, and some keyboard OEMs have also begun crafting their own, including Logitech G’s Romer switches, EpicGear’s EG switches and Razer’s Green (and Orange) switches.

Tackling Misconceptions

Of the above, few are as misunderstood as Razer’s Green switches. It’s a common misconception that they’re just rebranded Kailh switches, but that is not the case. It is true that Kailh (Kaihua Electronics) is one of the manufacturers of the Razer Green switch, but Razer has them made to its own specifications.

That is to say, they are not identical to any Kailh switch.

The Razer Green switches even run on different production lines than Kailh switches. Further, Kailh is not the only manufacturer to produce the Razer Green switch. Razer will not divulge who any other manufacturing partners are, but Kaihua Electronics is not the sole supplier.

So, The Switch

Anyone that has mistaken a Razer Green switch for a Cherry MX or Kailh Blue could be forgiven, as they all feel rather similar. In all three, you get a nice, fat tactile bump along with a definitive, loud “click.” There are subtle differences, and they’re worth exploring, but the average user is unlikely to be able to determine which of these three switches are under their fingers without directly comparing them to one another. It is, however, possible that more particular or discerning users would notice.

Partially, this was by design. Razer had used Cherry switches on its keyboards in the past, and so it opted for a backwards-compatible stem and buckle design when creating its own switch.

Personally, I feel like the Razer Green is a little smoother than Cherry or Kailh Blues (although it could partially be an illusion because of the soft-touch Razer key caps), and the bottom portion of the travel (past the tactile bump) feels and sounds a bit like a linear Red switch. That is to say, to me the Razer Green switch comes off as something of a hybrid of two switch types.

It was certainly Razer’s design to create a fast-action switch that also had some tactility — a switch, it says, that was designed from the beginning for gaming. (Razer reps said that when they developed the switch, they enlisted pro esports gamers to try them out in real-life scenarios and were able to tweak the end design from there. This design is the result of that feedback.) Note that in the specification comparison table below that, indeed, the delta between the actuation and reset points (that is, the physical distance between when the switch engages and when it resets so that it can be pressed again) is significantly smaller than the competing Blue switches.

Razer Green
Cherry MX Blue
Kailh Blue
Actuation Point 1.9 mm (+/-0.4 mm) 2.2 mm (+/-0.6 mm) 2.0 mm (+/-0.4 mm)
Actuation/Reset Delta 0.4 mm 0.7 mm 0.9 mm
Lifespan 60 million strokes 50 million strokes 50 million strokes
Actuation Force 50g (55g to get over tactile bump) 50g (60g to get over tactile bump) 50g (60g to get over tactile bump))
Total Travel 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm

However, there is a reality check we must take here. First, note that when it comes to pretravel and actuation/reset points, we’re talking about differences of tenths of a millimeter. That is such a minute distance that arguably, the differences may be imperceptible. (If you can reliably discern between 1.9 mm and 2.0 mm just by feel, I tip my cap to you.)

Concerning actuation and reset, there is certainly a wider, and therefore more easily perceptible, gap when you compare the three switch types above. For example, Razer Greens reset at just 0.4 mm, whereas Kailh Blues reset at 0.9 mm. That’s half a millimeter difference, but, again, that’s a tiny distance.

Another wrinkle here, though, is that even with a single manufacturer, you have to consider tolerances switch-to-switch. Note that in the above chart, the actuation points are listed with a +/- rating, which means that, technically, a Razer Green switch designed to actuate at 1.9 mm could actually actuate at anywhere between 1.5 and 2.3 mm (1.9 mm [+/-0.4 mm]).

Therefore, perhaps it would be better to chart actuation points this way:

Razer Green Cherry MX Blue Kailh Blue
Actuation Point 1.5-2.3 mm 1.6-2.8 mm 1.6-2.4 mm

What is one to make of the above? To be honest, not too much. Again, these switch distances are measured in tenths of a millimeter to begin with, and when you take into consideration the acceptable pretravel tolerances of any switch (and the fact that total key travel is still just 4 mm, and that pretravel can easily comprise half of that), it’s exceedingly difficult to detect any meaningful differences between similar types of Razer, Cherry and Kailh switches.

Granted, there is no tolerance for variability between actuation and reset points. The Razer Green switch has a shorter delta between those points than either Cherry or Kailh (0.4 mm versus 0.7 mm and 0.9 mm, respectively), so you can reliably assume that the fast-fingered can technically type faster. Whether or not that speed boost is perceptible in real life scenarios will vary person to person.

Intense Quality Control

In my conversations with various Razer employees, I was struck by how intensely they manage the switch making and quality assurance process. Razer staff is embedded in each factory, and that person’s job is to oversee all the production of the switches. (A Razer representative told me the production facility is nearly as clean as a semiconductor fab; he has to go through a special chamber to get cleaned off before entering, and has to wear a clean suit, too.)

To ensure quality, the switches are inspected by hand as they come off the production line, and then Razer staff further sorts the batches of switches as an additional check. According to the company, this is the daily QA grind in the factory for Razer staff:

Beyond that, there’s a need to check durability. Razer tests the switches and gets a force curve, and then after running through 60 million strokes of fatigue testing (which takes months), as well as thermal shock, salt mist (corrosion), humidity, and vibration and drop tests, the company rechecks the force curve to ensure nothing has changed. (It performs abrasion testing on whole keyboards, after the switches are mounted.)

This attention to detail extends to the RGB LEDs adjacent to the switches, as well. Razer personnel conducts a process of bending and sorting the LEDs themselves to make sure they have the most accurate lights, and they use a spectrography test to check for color shade accuracy. The goal is R, G and B at maximum brightness to ensure purest white. (To take advantage of these capabilities, Razer had to employ a new microcontroller on its keyboard PCBs.)

Measuring For Ourselves

In our quest to measure some of these things for ourselves, Razer offered to provide us with a height gauge and some switches to measure.

This is a somewhat custom setup. Although the height gauge itself is an off-the-shelf tool, some of the overseas Razer guys hacked together a custom box with two switches mounted onto it. One of the switches is a Razer Green, and the other is a Cherry MX Blue. They rigged it so an LED lights up upon actuation, and they machined a metal baseplate that fits both the height gauge and the box.

Although we hoped to use the height gauge to measure multiple switches on actual keyboards, Razer advised us against it, as that use case is outside of the scope of what the machine is designed to accurately measure. (We ran our own tests anyway, but we discovered that there were indeed some inaccuracies with testing keyboard-mounted switches.) Thus, in the end we were limited to measuring just the two switches mounted in the box Razer provided.

Before each test, we lowered the arm of the height gauge until it touched, but did not depress, the switch. Then we zeroed out the gauge so we were starting the measurement at 0.0 mm. When we reached the actuation point (when the LED engaged), we noted the height, and then continued to depress the switch until the travel bottomed out.

Then, we reset the gauge again to 0.0 mm and measured from the bottom of the travel to the reset point (when the LED disengaged), and that is the distance in the cells in the table below.

With actuation and reset measured thusly, we can measure the delta between them for each test run. Also note that actuation and total key travel were measured together on the downstroke, and the reset point was measured on the upstroke.

Razer Green Switches
Actuation (mm) Key Travel (mm) Reset (mm) Actuation/Reset delta (mm)
1.93 4.02 2.44 0.51
1.88 4.03 2.51 0.63
1.86 3.98 2.46 0.6
1.94 4.06 2.47 0.59
1.88 4.02 2.47 0.59
(0.08 variance) (0.08 variance) (0.07 variance) (0.12 variance)
Cherry MX Blue Switch
Actuation (mm) Key Travel (mm) Reset (mm) Actuation/Reset delta (mm)
2.02 4.02 2.55 0.53
2.01 3.98 2.53 0.52
2.02 3.94 2.5 0.48
2.02 3.95 2.48 0.46
2 4.08 2.62 0.62

Note that these tests were performed on two switches total. Therefore, these findings can be extrapolated only if we assume that the manufacturing consistency from switch-to-switch is precise, and as we’ve already discussed, there’s a great deal of tolerance in the pretravel.

It’s also important to keep in mind that although this is a machine, the height gauge is hand-cranked, and therefore there’s a very slight margin of error introduced by the human operator. We performed multiple test runs on each switch, and we threw out any clear outliers in order to ensure that we had at least five reasonably consistent results for each measurement.

The performance of this one Razer Green switch shows that it certainly meets the listed spec in regard to the actuation point. However, the delta between the actuation point and reset is between 0.51 – 0.63 mm, which is higher than Razer’s claimed 0.4 mm delta.

The Cherry MX Blue switch actuated at a shorter distance than its stated 2.2 mm (although our 2 – 2.02 mm findings are within Cherry’s acceptable tolerance range). The most notable finding from the whole spate of tests is that the actuation/reset delta of the Cherry switch was between 0.46 – 0.62 mm, which is tighter than the listed 0.7 mm spec.

We confirmed that the total key travel for both switches matches their stated 4 mm depth, give or take a few hundredths of a millimeter.

This video by Razer shows some of the things we’ve discussed here, including the height gauge used in our tests. (You can mute the audio to avoid the promotional language if you like; just watch it for the eye candy.)

The World’s First Mechanical Switch Designed for Gaming

Busting Myths And Testing Claims

The echo chamber is far too prevalent when it comes to knowledge about mechanical keyboard switches, and a common myth is that Razer’s switches are just Kailh rebrands. As I stated at the beginning of this article, that is not in fact the case. The Razer Green switch has different specifications than any Kailh switch, and although Kailh does manufacture some of Razer’s switches, it is not Razer’s only manufacturing partner.

The basic testing we were able to perform on these switches confirms some of Razer’s claims about the Green switch’s performance and denies another (the actuation/reset delta), but before we draw any definitive conclusions either way, we would need more comparative data from performing the same tests on whole batches of switches.

Razer is clearly dedicated to creating an ideal gaming switch with its own twist, and through beta testing with pro esports gamers and intense quality assurance practices, it appears to have done so — however imperceptibly different the Green switches may be from competing Blue switches.

Source: toms hardware


Debunking the myths around secure passwords

Debunking the myths around secure passwords

Debunking the myths around secure passwords


Most websites that we use today generally give you feedback on the passwords that you have created when setting up a new account, rating them either weak or strong. They also advise you to use a mix of upper and lower case letters, along with numbers, to ensure a secure password. However good the advice may be, it doesn’t tell you exactly which order the mix should be in.

By sheer coincidence, it appears that all of us tend to put the upper case letters at the start of the passwords with the numbers taking up the final spaces. This was discovered by a group of security experts who work for Eurecom, an investigation institute based in France.

The results of their study, presented at the last ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Denver, has shown that we are confusing what constitutes a secure password, and that this is putting out privacy at risk.


The programs traditionally used by cybercriminals to guess passwords only handled certain combinations until finding the right one.

However, modern methods aren’t based on random guess work. Criminals can now train the software with large lists of passwords – such as the 130 Adobe user passwords that were leaked in 2013 – so as to find the most common combinations. This method allows them to have a greater chance of success in their attacks.

Using this premise as a base, the experts have used a program – similar to the one used by the criminals – to analyze over 10 million passwords. They’ve done this to compile a list of the easiest passwords for criminals to guess.

The result is a “predictability index” that they tested on another 32 million passwords to verify its effectiveness. According to the results, the least common passwords were the most secure. This means that it is important to have a long password that includessymbols as opposed to just upper and lower case letters.

password strength

The aim for users from now on should be to create passwords that are not at all predictable, no matter if they include numbers, upper case, or lower case letters. The group behind the study say that passwords should be longer, even adding a few extra words in necessary.

Their investigation should help people to become more aware when creating new login codes which will help to protect their accounts better. Although they can’t guarantee a bulletproof way of creating passwords, they assure us that their method is the safest yet.

On the other hand, the investigators advise that technology companies begin to place less emphasis on passwords as a means of accessing accounts, and that they look at alternative means where possible. There are always new ways of decrypting login details, which makes them ever more ineffective.


NOVEMBER 18, 2015

Original Post

The right way to migrate to the cloud

Migration to the cloud is a journey that presents new challenges. Along the way, you need to consider more details than you first thought, and there are many paths available to move applications, but not all of them are right for your migration.

The first step for every migration is to define the types of workloads you need to migrate. This does not mean each application, but the patterns of processing that the applications comprise. You must determine what those patterns are, then place existing workloads in each pattern.

For example, let’s say these three patterns of workloads exist in your enterprise:

  • Database-intensive
  • Compute-intensive
  • User interface-intensive

Let’s say you have 100 applications. It’s simply a matter of placing each application in each workload pattern. That way, from a planning and conceptual perspective, you’re dealing with only three types of workloads, not 100 applications.

By using workload patterns, you can place the applications and data in the proper cloud configuration selected to service that type of workload pattern. For example, database-intensive workloads need a cloud and cloud configuration that provides fast storage services, whereas compute-intensive workloads need faster server processors.

My example is of course a simplification of the process. There are typically dozens of workload patterns, and applications typically number 1,000 or more. However many patterns and applications you have, understanding those workload patterns lets you to better deal with the complexity of matching the right cloud platform and configuration to the right applications.

Migrating applications and data to the cloud is perhaps one of the most complex but important tasks that IT will take on this decade. Although you’ve ported workloads to new platforms in the past — such as to distributed computing systems, client/server, and the Web — this time you are making many leaps of faith, because the hardware is typically owned by other people, your data is maintained offsite, and neither is in your direct control.

If you do it right, there are millions of dollars savings to be had, as well as strategic advantages like agility and speed to market. Get the workload profiles right, and you’ll nail the cloud as well.



LG May Have Leaked 8K iMac

LG just might have outed one of Apple’s sharpest screens ever. In an article published on March 31 about next-generation 8K displays, the Korean electronics giant claimed that Apple will be releasing an ‘iMac 8K’ later this year.

According to a post on the LG Display website, 8K is the highest resolution that the human eye is capable of seeing. It is so sharp that you won’t notice pixelation with the naked eye, and Japanese research indicates that 8K (7680 x 4320) might be as detailed as real life. That level of detail not only makes for realistic media consumption, it’s also extremely helpful for professionals who work with large photos or detailed designs to get up close to their work.


However, there still isn’t much content that is available for 4K displays, not to mention 8K panels. According to our photo editor, professionals may need to soften images to keep them from looking unnaturally sharp. If 8K does become the standard in the future, people like make-up artists may have to re-learn how to do their jobs, since TVs will show more detail than before, and they’d have to do more blending.

We’re not sure who LG’s sources are, or if such a product even exists, since Apple hasn’t said anything yet. But given Apple already has a 27-inch 5K iMac available and that TV makers have begun showing off prototypes of 8K screens, it’s possible that an 8K iMac is headed our way. LG is also one of Apple’s display partners, so it’s possible that it has inside information.

The Most Famous Virus in History: Friday the 13th


NOVEMBER 13, 2015


Let’s keep remembering and recalling more viruses that have caused the biggest headaches for users.

The virus Jerusalem, also known as Friday the 13th, was created in Israel in 1988 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Jewish state.

To activate the virus, the calendar only had to hit Friday the 13th and all the programs and files that were being used would be infected and eliminated.

There wasn’t a specific method to spread the virus, but that it was done through normal systems like floppies, CD-ROM or attachments in emails.

How It Works?

–  Infects files with extensions of COM, EXE or SYS and increases in size whenever the file is executed

–  It reduces the memory available on the computer

–  Causes your computer system to slow down

–  Every the Friday the 13th the virus is activated, and eliminates computer files that are used that day

How to Fix It?

As always, recommendations for preventing these types of infections are to keep your operating system and antivirus updated.


Were you infected by this virus or any of its variants?

Cocoa neighborhood uses new surveillance cameras to fight crime

COCOA, Fla. — Surveillance video could be the best clue police have to solve a shooting in a Cocoa neighborhood.

And cameras like those are part of a community push by residents who want to work with officers to clean up their streets.

Last month, Broadmoor neighborhood residents joined forces with police with a plan to install surveillance cameras.

On Sunday night, the cameras captured what appears to be a dispute that led to a shooting.

It’s the kind of criminal activity Lawrence Sinclair had in mind when he and 70 of his neighbors met with city leaders to propose a public-private partnership to fill the community with cameras.

Some of the cameras were installed last month.

Homeowners are offering police 24-hour live access to the video via smartphones and tablets.

Police support the effort, but the city is still looking at legal issues involved before officers view the live feed.

In the meantime, Cocoa police Chief Mike Cantaloupe told residents to install the rest of the cameras on their properties, which have been donated by the company Night Owl.

“Chances are, if there is something that happens, especially at one of those residences or in the nearby surrounding area, we may at least get some video of a car going through the neighborhood,” said Cantaloupe.

Police are investing the shooting.

Sinclair said while he realizes identifying people in the video may not be possible, he wishes the rest of the cameras had been installed earlier.

Homeowners hope to have 48 cameras up and running in the neighborhood by Christmas and 176 cameras by March.

source: wftv


Beware the Death Star flaw in Office 365

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a moisture farmer from Tatooine was able to blow up a planet-destroying Death Star with a single shot down a narrow pipe (well, and with the Force). You would have thought that the Empire would have bolstered protection for the reactor in its replacement Death Star, but no — entire ships were able to fly right to the core to blow it up too (once the shield generator was taken out).

The mega-clouds that are increasingly replacing data centers may also have such fatal flaws that could blow them up.

Take Office 365. Time has proven that it’s not infallible. There have been several major outages in the past two years, as well as many minor outages. The causes have varied, so there’s been no common fatal flaw discovered thus far.

For example, a December 3 outage in Europe had nothing to do with Office 365 itself but caused five hours of turmoil of customers, affecting, according to news reports, 1 percent of Outlook users on the desktop and 35 percent of Outlook users on the Web. And users were also unable to get into SharePoint, Power BI, Intune, and Yammer.

The issue occurred in Azure Active Directory: A configuration error caused authentication failures for Web protocols. We now know that Office 365’s dependency on Azure is one of the weak spots in the service.

IT admins can easily see and understand the connection between server applications and Active Directory. For example, on-premises Exchange requires Active Directory to authenticate users and protocols. So if you’re having issues with DNS, connectivity, or any number of other things, your messaging environment will not work if it cannot communicate with Active Directory.

As Exchange MVP Tony Redmond has detailed, Exchange Online has a similar dependency on Azure Active Directory for authentication — and thus the same weakness.

Microsoft, while not apologetic about the outages, said it plans to make a variety of improvements to the service — mainly improved testing and fallback options — as well as better communication to users of service status.

While you wait for Microsoft — or any mega-cloud provider —  to make the perfect, indestructible cloud with amazingly transparent communication to its users, you can adopt third-party continuity offerings (like Mimecast) and monitoring offerings (like ENow’s Mailscape).

Do your research and find the ones that are right for you. And may the Force be with you.

Source: InfoWorld


Firefox 43 Launches With 64-Bit Windows Version And ‘Strict’ Tracking Protection

Firefox 43 Launches With 64-Bit Windows Version And ‘Strict’ Tracking Protection

Mozilla launched Firefox 43, which includes a 64-bit version for Windows and a stricter option for blocking trackers in the recently launched Tracking Protection feature.

64-bit Firefox

Back in 2012, Mozilla decided to quietly kill the 64-bit build of Firefox (at the time still in the testing stage). The reason Mozilla gave at the time was that many Firefox plugins didn’t have a 64-bit version, and if they did, it usually didn’t work well and crashed too often.

Mozilla didn’t think it had the necessary resources to focus on fixing all of those problems at the time, so it killed the project. However, this led to major backlash from vocal Firefox users, which eventually convinced Mozilla to resume work on a 64-bit version for Windows.

This was never a problem for Linux or Mac OS X, where most of those third-party plugins wouldn’t work anyway. Because Mozilla decided to drop support for most NPAPI plugins by the end of 2016, it now seems like the right time to bring back the 64-bit version of Firefox for Windows.

The 64-bit version brings some benefits for users, too, including increased security through a more effective address space layout randomization (ASLR), making it harder for malicious websites to exploit browser vulnerabilities. It should also bring better performance, and users will be able to run web apps that are bigger than 4 GB of RAM (such as cloud-based development tools or more advanced 3D web games).

Strict Tracking Protection

Firefox 43 also allows users to block even more trackers when using the Private Browsing mode with Tracking Protection enabled. The additional option for blocking trackers, called “strict protection,” blocks all known trackers as opposed to only some of them, as the “basic protection” does. However, users should be warned that some sites may break when this feature is enabled.

Additional Improvements

The new version of Firefox also received API support for .m4v video playback, an on-screen keyboard that appears when users select input fields on Windows 8 or greater, and it gives users the option to choose search suggestions from the Awesome Bar. Firefox 43 was also supposed to receive the first implementation of the Electrolysis sandboxing architecture, but it looks like that was delayed.


Source: tomshardware



How to Know if Your Computer is Infected with a Virus

by Jonathan Strickland



We all know computer viruses — and other kinds of malware — can cause problems ranging from irritating to catastrophic. Some malware replicates itself until it fills up all available space on your hard drive, turning your computer into a brick. Other kinds corrupt data on your machine or make your computer unstable. A few will even attempt to use your e-mail programs to distribute the malicious code to everyone in your contacts list. And there’s always the possibility a cracker — that’s a malicious hacker — will use malware to get remote access to your computer.

No one wants to own a computer infected with a nasty virus. That’s why it’s very important to practice safe computing habits and to install reliable anti-virus software. You can avoid most malware just by paying attention and staying away from a few common traps. If your anti-virus software is up to date, you should be in pretty good shape.

But once in a while, computer viruses get beyond our defenses. Maybe our anti-virus software is out of date or has been compromised by a particularly clever bit of code. Perhaps we clicked on a link by accident and activated a virus. Or someone else used our computer and downloaded some malware by mistake.

How do you know if your computer has been hit by a computer virus? If your anti-virus software is robust and up to date, you’ll likely receive a message as the application scans your computer. That makes detecting the virus a breeze. But what if your software is out of date or the virus has managed to deactivate the anti-virus program? Are there signs you can watch out for that might indicate a virus?

As a matter of fact, there are several signs that could indicate the presence of malware on your computer. We’ll take a closer look [next].


Signs of a Computer Virus

Assuming your anti-virus software hasn’t alerted you to the presence of a virus, here are some indicators of malware on your computer:

If your computer has become unstable, that’s a sign that something’s wrong. Some malware messes with important files that keep your computer running properly. That could cause your computer to crash. If your computer crashes when you try to run a specific application or open a particular file, that tells you that something has corrupted the data. It could be malware.

Does your computer seem to run much more slowly than it used to? This could be the result of malware as the malicious code begins to drain your computer’s processing resources. If you aren’t running a resource-heavy application but your computer is very slow, you might have a computer virus.

Strange messages indicating that you can’t access certain drives on your computer are another sign that something is wrong. In a similar vein, applications that won’t run or files that won’t open may also be the result of infection. Other indicators include hardware (like printers) that no longer respond to commands. While none of these guarantee the presence of a virus, they do suggest that something is wrong with your machine.

If you notice that file sizes are fluctuating even if you aren’t accessing those files, that’s another sign of a computer virus. And finally, if you access menus and their appearance is odd or distorted, you could be the victim of a malware attack.

It’s important to remember that computer viruses are one potential cause of problems like the ones we’ve listed here, but that they aren’t the only cause. If you believe your computer has been infected by a virus, don’t panic. Follow the steps we suggest in How To Remove a Computer Virus. You might lose some data in the process but you shouldn’t lose everything.

[ ]



While surfing the Web, you might encounter alarming pop-up messages claiming a virus has been found on your computer and that you should download software to get rid of it. Be careful! These messages are often scams that trick you into downloading software that can hurt your computer or spy on you. If the message didn’t come from your own anti-virus or anti-spyware applications, don’t trust it!



  • Dittrich, David. “Lifecycle: Preventing, detecting and removing bots.” March 20, 2005. (March 19, 2009) http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid14_gci1068906,00.html
  • “Signs of viruses: Are you infected?” Sept. 20, 2006. (April 20, 2009) http://www.microsoft.com/protect/computer/viruses/indicators.mspx
  • Quarantiello, Laura. “Computer Virus Warning Signs.” Internet World Stats. (April 20, 2009) http://www.internetworldstats.com/articles/art027.htm
  • Robertson, Jordan. “How to tell, what to do if computer is infected.” AP News. March 15, 2009. (March 17, 2009) http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/T/TEC_INSIDE_A_BOTNET_CHECKLIST?SITE=ILEDW&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Surprise! Mozilla just launched an ad blocker for iOS

Mozilla has released a new content blocker for the iPhone and iPad, continuing its push to provide users with privacy options for their Web browsing.

Called Focus by Firefox, the app released Tuesday works a lot like other blockers for Apple’s mobile platform: users download the app from the App Store, and open it to select the sort of content they want to block. After that, they just enable it as a content blocker in their phone or tablet’s settings.

Focus allows users to block several different types of code that track their behavior across websites, including ad trackers, analytics trackers and social trackers.  The app will block the same content as Firefox’s Private Browsing with Tracking Protection feature on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.

That means ads that don’t track users will be allowed through Focus, giving advertisers and publishers a way to make money off those people who have the app enabled. The list of blocked ads is primarily provided by Disconnect, a company that makes a browser extension focused on blocking trackers.  It is open source, publicly viewable and doesn’t allow or require companies to pay in order to get their ads unblocked.

“We made Focus by Firefox because we believe content blockers need to be transparent with publishers and other content providers about how lists are created and maintained, rather than placing certain content in a permanent penalty box,” Mozilla Chief Legal and Business Officer Denelle Dixon-Thayer wrote in a blog post. “We want this product to encourage a discussion about users and content providers, instead of monetizing users’ mistrust and pulling value out of the Web ecosystem.”

Another interesting component of the Focus announcement is that Mozilla is providing the app free of charge, and says that it doesn’t monetize the blocker through other means. It’s another sign of one of the interesting things about Mozilla as a browser-maker: the organization doesn’t operate an advertising network like its largest competitors, and so it can afford to make a stand about tracking users.

Interestingly, Focus works in Safari on iOS but not Firefox, since Apple doesn’t allow third-party browsers to use the Content Blocker functionality. Firefox’s Vice President of Product Nick Nguyen wrote in a blog post that Mozilla is looking into how it can bring similar functionality to its browser on Apple’s mobile platform.

Mozilla has gone from avoiding Apple’s mobile platform to supporting it wholeheartedly. The organization previously refused to offer Firefox for iOS because Apple doesn’t allow third-party browsers to use their own rendering engines. That policy stance changed this year when the company launched its browser for Apple’s platform, and carries on with this announcement Tuesday.

These moves may be driven in part by Firefox’s dwindling market share. By providing users more control over how their data is shared with advertisers, Mozilla may attract people who want to take a principled stand with their browsing to its applications.


Source: InfoWorld


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