NEWS FROM THE LAB - Monday, September 3, 2012

Tips For Java Junkies Posted by Sean @ 19:11 GMT

So, according to our recent poll, only 12% of you don't have Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed. And the rest of you (88%) are Java junkies to one degree or another.

Java Poll

Okay, well, for the 41% of you that have Java installed and also have browser plugins enabled, we hope you're at least using Java via Google Chrome, which prompts the user for permissions each time it comes across Java.

Chrome, Java needs your permission to run

Are you a Firefox user? Perhaps Plugins Toggler, an extension by Trinh Nguyen will encourage you to disable Java in your browser.

Firefox extension, Plugins Toggler

It's a very simple and easy to use toolbar button that lets you open and "toggle" any installed plugins. So then you could leave Java disabled by default, but enable it when needed without having to dig through options menus.

Plugins Toggler

(A dedicated Java toggler button extension would be nice. Hint, hint.)

If you're now tempted to limit your Java plugins, why stop there? Why not inhibit all of your plugins? (As in Adobe Flash.)

Google Chrome includes an option for "Click to play" in Content settings (chrome://chrome/settings/content).

Chrome, Settings, Content, Plug-ins

Firefox introduced its own click to play options in version 14, but you have to open about:config to enable. And you can whitelist sites, but not from a convenient central location as in Chrome. But then… it's still a beta feature in Firefox, so what can one expect.

Firefox, plugins.click_to_play

Not perfect, but pretty good.

Just one final thought on Java: if you're going to remain among the majority that keep it installed on your primary computer, do also remember that Java (as well as other plugins) can be invoked from applications with banner ads.

Applications such as Spotify which suffered a compromise and attack via its third-party banner ads.

Update: Ask and you shall receive. A reader has suggested Doug G's QuickJava for a Java toggle button. Thanks!

Firefox Extension, QuickJava