Category Archives: News/Releases

News about new stuff, new program releases and my new tools, tweaks or fixes…

Major Firefox Tweaker update released!

Today, I’ve updated Firefox Tweaker to version 2.2, bringing several big features worthy of extra post about it.

  • Totally redesigned the prefs.js auto detection mechanism and added GUI driven manual selection or override for situations where prefs.js cannot be detected in default location or when multiple profiles are detected.
  • Added name of the exact parameter used for any given tweak under HELP button. Helpful so you know what exactly is being modified and if I’m interpreting some tweak wrong.
  • Added “Enable HTTPS green padlock” (Interface Tweaks)
  • Added “Disable Beacon API” (Privacy Tweaks)
  • Added “Browser Components” category
  • Added “Disable Firefox Accounts” (Browser Components)
  • Added “Disable Pocket” (Browser Components)
  • Added “Disable Screenshots Tool” (Browser Components)

Micro page for more details:

https://rejzor.wordpress.com/firefox-tweaker/

NextDNS is officially launching their private and secure DNS service

NextDNS Inc has announced today they are soft launching their private and secure DNS service globally. What is so special about NextDNS is that it’s not an ordinary DNS service. Sure, at its very core, it’s the same thing as Cloudflare DNS or OpenDNS. What separates it from the rest is their Anycast array of their own servers that are in charge for routing of traffic to nearest location, making them about as fast as Cloudflare.

What separates NextDNS from the rest

What really sets NextDNS apart is their extensive security and privacy feature set. When using NextDNS as public resolver, it logs nothing. It’s just a domain name resolver and that’s that. However, if you create an account, you can also make NextDNS filter traffic for you on multiple fronts, from security where it blocks phishing and malware to more privacy oriented wide selection of popular block lists like EasyList and EasyPrivacy for ads and trackers to manual block and whitelists to blocking of services, blocking of native trackers in common devices and operating systems, extensive configurable logs, statistics page as well as security/privacy settings where you can actually define where you want your DNS account logs stored when you opt for having logs. For now it can be USA, EU or Switzerland specifically. And if you want to keep logs, you can specify for how long and you can also filter things on a deeper level by only hiding IP’s in the DNS queries or even domains.

Wide support on various types of devices

Another amazing thing about NextDNS is native support for almost any type of device. Be it Android or iOS smartphone, Windows PC, Linux, Mac, browsers or even routers. Yeah, you can install NextDNS client directly on a supported router like ASUSWRT-Merlin powered routers and it’ll filter EVERYTHING that connects through that router. It’s freaking amazing service. I’ve been using it since quite early BETA and it has been amazing. It’s really not just a DNS service, it’s a full security suite where you can exactly control your privacy and security of all devices from mobile device to desktop PC or Android TV media device. Of course within limitations of DNS service. For more precise filtering you still need to use something like uBlock which actually combs through webpage code and filters out tracking junk, but it’s still doing pretty damn good job.

Pricing

As far as pricing goes, regular DNS or DNS with DoT/DoH is entirely free and costs nothing to use just like any other public DNS. However, running extensive block/filter lists is only free for 300.000 queries and then it switches back to regular DNS without filtering if you get past this limit. If you want to use it for unlimited amount of queries, it’ll cost you 1.99€ a month or 19.90€ a year, giving you some discount.

Homepage: https://nextdns.io

Changelog: https://headwayapp.co/nextdns-changelog

RSS: https://headwayapp.co/nextdns-changelog/rss

NextDNS on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/nextdns

My verdict on NextDNS

I’ve been using NextDNS for several months and even though there were few tiny issues, it was rock solid and reliable even during BETA. And what I like NextDNS the most is tracking protection. The amount of garbage devices want to send around that can and most probably does compromise your privacy, NextDNS blocks it at the “entry” point. Almost all communication outside of direct IP communication uses DNS resolving to convert fancy names into ugly numbers. And with their filter lists, you can keep a hand over excessive communication. An if none of the lists block what you want to block, you can do it manually. I run it on all my devices and it’s doing amazing job filtering all the garbage. There are bunch of apps for smartphones that cost as much as NextDNS for a single device. Here, you can basically control traffic of ALL your devices for 20€ a year. I think it’s quite worth it. Give it a try. It’s free for 300.000 queries a month which is quite a lot so in most cases even free plan should be enough to get through the month for most users.

As far as filter lists go, I highly recommend only using the following:

  • All 3 “Disconnect” lists (very lite, only block most common trackers)
  • LightSwitch05 (super extensive filter list that makes use of other lists pretty much obsolete)

I was really amazed by the performance of Lightswitch05 list. It blocks huge amounts of internet manure while causing pretty much no false positives. And its maintainer is really cool too, adding or fixing things really fast. There are tons of lists, but I wasn’t impressed by them, especially not by default NextDNS Recommended list. Just too many problems with a lot of lists where above ones work pretty much flawlessly.

Firefox Tweaker 2.0 released!

I’ve released a huge new update for Firefox Tweaker with new interface, bunch of new tweaks and settings and added some convenience to it. It now also has explanation of every tweak inside the app and an all new icon 🙂

Visit Firefox Tweaker micropage for more details:

https://rejzor.wordpress.com/firefox-tweaker/

Firefox Tweaker released!

FirefoxTweakerMainPanel

Because Mozilla just can’t stop with their endless fuckups when it comes to browser design, I wrote this tool to quickly and effortlessly revert or change their stupid “features” that are either endlessly annoying, ugly or totally not functional or helpful and I was sick and tired of dealing with incredibly time consuming and clumsy about:config page.

Firefox Tweaker allows you to change few super important (but hidden) settings in just few clicks through an easy to use interface. There is also a safeguard in place which backups settings file on first run so there shouldn’t be any problems.

For any questions, problems or bug reports contact me via e-mail or through micro-page comment section.

Visit Firefox Tweaker micro page for more details:

https://rejzor.wordpress.com/firefox-tweaker/

AVIRA Antivirus 2020 got new interface

I’ve been lurking around MalwareTips forums when I noticed someone posted about AVIRA getting new interface in their paid Internet Security package. Turns out, AVIRA Free also got a facelift. So I gave it a spin…

Main reason I did so was because AVIRA literally had the worst interface of all antiviruses in existence for literally decades. It was cumbersome, clumsy, fat, outdated and just plain terrible. It was so bad I avoided AVIRA like plague despite constantly scoring highly in tests. New interface looked promising, but I still had doubts knowing AVIRA and their almost legendarily terrible interface designs. Well, here are the findings in regards of new interface facelift.

What’s new?

Biggest change is ditching of weird “modular” launcher AVIRA insisted on for so long. The main interface now looks more like latest versions of AVG or avast!, even in color scheme. Which is not necessarily bad. It actually looks pretty ok and is quite logically organized. On the left there are categories and when you select them you have options on the right side.

What isn’t so new…

What isn’t so new are some of the old interface elements that got carried over from old interface dating as far as 15 years back in time. Yeah, I’m not kidding here and AVIRA seriously needs to step up the game now they finally done the main interface right. Luke Filewalker scanner is still around, old settings panel is still around and detection popup all look exactly the same as they have back when Windows XP was released and “Luna” theme design was a thing. Yeah, it has Windows XP vibe all over the place and it just feels wrong almost 20 years later.

Screenshots

AVIRA_Main.png
Main interface panel
AVIRA_Security.png
Security panel
AVIRA_Scan.png
Protection options panel
AVIRA_Settings.png
The “new” old settings panel
AVIRA_LukeFilewalker.png
Good very old Luke Filewalker…
AVIRA_Detection.png
“New” detection popup with Luna style close and Details buttons…

Additional info

Manual removal of some components in Programs and Features is required to get rid of things that are annoying and you don’t need, but get installed automatically. Like AVIRA Software Updater, AVIRA VPN and AVIRA Cleanup tools. They are all paid features that won’t have any purpose except eating resources and space as some dig into Explorer context menus and run constantly and eat absurd amounts of memory. Software Updater component for example was eating 450MB of RAM. I have 32GB of RAM, but it’s still absurd and serves absolutely no purpose as it’s paid only feature.

Verdict

New AVIRA interface is certainly a step in the right direction. It’s still not perfect, but it’s at least bearable now. And they need to seriously work on modernizing and integrating old panels and settings into new interface and make it a complete, consistent looking package. If they do this, AVIRA will become a serious competition with good detection and good looks. It’s already half way there and I can finally recommend it as an option.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it. Or just comment on screenshots. Do you like the new design or not?

Some explanation of avast! data selling drama

I want to explain some things in regards to this thing. People seem to be freaking out like it’s end of the world and I have a feeling 3/4 of them don’t even understand what’s going on, they are just jumping on the rage bandwagon. For TLRD, scroll down and skip the next two paragraphs.

I do have to admit this is pretty bad fuckup on avast!’s end and it was just a question of when it’s going to happen. I’ve been long time avast! supporter since it’s quite early days when it was still a relatively small company. It felt like family run company, team was super invested into actually listening to users and while it had some issues like unusual fancy interface and detection that wasn’t the best of the best, everything felt genuine and their top priority was product quality and user satisfaction. Fast forward to now and all their company seems to care is profits, profits, profits and again profits. I guess that’s what always happens when you get investors from outside, all they care is money and they always do it in most desperate ways. Selling user data is one of them…

As evident from investigation by PCMag and Motherboard. avast! of course responded with their official response and blog post, but I don’t think this will fix much. Damage has been done and to my surprise, they don’t seem to understand or care how quickly you ruin your reputation that took decades to build up. Coz if they cared, it wouldn’t even cross their mind to do it like this. Or have a whole freaking subsidiary that deals with data selling.

TLDR

So, yes, they were selling user data and although they say it was anonymized, it was a dick move. But there is no need to be totally freaking out and uninstalling avast! like it’s end of the world. After all, avast! does have a very good detection and that’s what we use antiviruses for.

  • If you were/are only using avast! Antivirus without any browser extensions, you are NOT affected.
  • If you were/ are using avast! browser extensions, but you have disabled Data Sharing in extension settings, you are NOT affected.

So, chances are, some users who weren’t using their browser extensions or had data sharing disabled, it’s like nothing happened. It’s a black mark in their rap sheet, but I’d still consider their antivirus. One coz they can’t afford another such fuckup and second, because it’s good and if you opt out from data sharing like I’ve always done, it’s still a good option. I never understood or liked sharing of data beyond protection one in antiviruses. Be it avast!, Kaspersky, Bitdefender or any other.

But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to stay in this “relationship” or use something else…

EDIT 2020-1-30:

I got some extra info from a Reddit user that data collecting was also involved with antivirus alone through Web Shield component (at least per their EULA which I haven’t analyzed to such depth). Which means users not even using browser extensions could be affected unless data sharing was also disabled in antivirus itself. Which is what I’ve always done right away after installing avast!, but I can imagine millions of casual users not doing that.

EDIT: 2020-2-14

I just got a reply from avast! employee on their forums that Web Shield in desktop versions of avast! was not involved in data collection. Data collection only affected mobile version of avast! Web Shield assuming you had data sharing enabled. If you didn’t, then you weren’t affected either.

CryEngine real-time ray tracing tech demo capable of running on any graphic card!

CryTek recently shocked gaming community with a jaw dropping tech demo showcasing real-time ray tracing running on mid range AMD Vega 56 graphic card, but they say it can run on any graphic card from AMD or NVIDIA without any need for dedicated ray tracing hardware. Yes, CryTek is saying that for their ray tracing, you don’t need GeForce RTX graphic card.

If you think I’m exaggerating when I say it’s jaw dropping, have a look for yourself…

I really wish we had an executable tech demo that we could run ourselves on graphic cards we already have, but if CryTek is not fooling us in any way and this was indeed running in real-time using AMD Vega 56 graphic card and all the reflections, lighting and shadowing is in fact ray traced method, then NVIDIA is in for a shock. And so is almost entire gaming industry. Just imagine what a huge breakthrough this is for the graphics, we are talking Pixel Shader level of shock that happened back in 2001 with DirectX 8 that brought programmable shader effects including beautiful simulated reflections that were basically impossible with earlier DirectX versions. Realistic reflections that can be used on any graphic card without having to drop almost 1000€ for a graphic card and you still get playable framerate. It’s insane. We could finally see use of reflections as a game mechanic. Just imagine multiplayer games where using reflections to have an advantage. For example looking at windows or reflective objects to see if someone is hiding in the room, or using reflections to create more scary environment. Or even just to boost immersion. I always loved games that render player’s own shadow, because it gives a feeling that your player character physically exists in the game and it’s not just floating hands and gun, but a real person that casts a shadow of its own. Now imagine also seeing real reflections of yourself in everything that is reflective.

I don’t know what kind of witchcraft CryTek is doing, but it seems to be working and I really hope developers will jump on it. CryEngine has always been visually amazing, but always stumbling in the shadow of Unreal Engine. I hope this will help them out. Crysis 4 maybe? I sure hope and with ray tracing please. 🙂