2 Reasons why you should use Edge Browser

Naming convention: Microsoft, some times comes up with pithy names pregnant with rich connotation for its products. Take for example, its Word Processor software – ‘Word‘ its biblical connotation is apparent and so it creates an image in your mind – that it is the ultimate. Another example is their Spreadsheet software – Excel – symbolically meaning that it excels in everything. Now their ubiquitous Browser software – Edge, it offers an edge over others. The top 2 reasons why you should use the Edge Browser are lower resource usage and enhanced privacy and safety.

Top 2 reasons why you should use Edge Browser

From the time, they annihilated the first browser – Netscape, their version was Internet Explorer (IE) which despite its shortcomings resolutely stayed on the scene for decades. Many web developers had a love/hate relationship with Internet Explorers in the past. It was quite tolerant of poor coding in HTML and rendered the page without any issue whilst other browsers refused to render the page. Internet explorer took time to adopt industry standards while the rest of the world quietly marched on. The only thing going for it is it was baked into the Windows OS and you needed it to download other popular browsers. If you decide to use its later Internet Explorer 11 version, it consumed the lowest system resources – RAM or CPU – probably because it shared common dynamic link libraries. It was fast as well. It is getting better at safety too.

The Edge:
It is safe to use the new Edge Browser from Microsoft. It uses the lowest system resources when I tested it against Google Chrome and Firefox. The Internet Explorer 11 has the lowest memory footprint as the screenshot here shows. All the browsers except Firefox run a single tab with the same site.

Comparison of System resources for browsers

The original Google Chrome invokes a separate updater as a service. Other browsers in this line up do not invoke any such service when I tested them. If you are paranoiac about some of the software running in your computer surreptitiously calling home ostensibly to check for new updates, you will need to take a call in avoiding such software. Windows anyway checks its servers for any update at regular intervals regardless of the fact that you use Edge or no Edge. I routinely conduct net auditing to keep an eye on any software that wants to call its home from my computers. I block them in the firewall if it is deemed unnecessary.

Set up Privacy in the Edge Browser

User privacy is taken seriously in this new Edge. Check out this page: Microsoft Edge https://microsoftedgewelcome.microsoft.com/en-us/privacy

To set your level of privacy, just type the following into the address bar:

It has 2 panes : Left pane shows where you are while the right pane shows you 3 options:
1.Basic : It is open season where the site will work as usual with only the known harmful trackers are blocked. The ads will continue to function as usual.

  1. Balanced : This mode blocks harmful trackers in addition to trackers in sites you haven’t visited. The ads will work mostly as usual with less personalization. Works for must of us.
  2. Strict: Blocks all trackers. Ads won’t work most of the time. But some functions of the site will not work either.

Control who can track you here

Whilst at it, you can set other privacy options in the same screen. Scroll down and select ‘Microsoft Defender SmartScreen’ under the Services heading (Recommended). Other choices are optional. Personally I have not enabled others.

The old Edge (now called as legacy edge browser) is based on MicroSoft’s own HTML engine whereas the new Edge is based on Chromium from Google’s open source browser engine.

The new Edge is specifically tuned for speed and better privacy than the Google Chrome browser.The Edge offers World class productivity, privacy and additional values. If you use Chrome extensions, you can use them with some exceptions in this Edge. In Short Microsoft new Edge offers an edge over other browsers.
Chrome is a resource hog when compared with Internet Explorer or the subsequent versions.

Microsoft Defender SmartScreen: Guards you against phishing sites and malware sites. The cloud based anti-phishing and anti-malware component is baked into Windows,outlook and Edge software which goes on further to prevent you from downloading obnoxious material from such blacklisted sites.

Control from control Panel of the Windows

It has always been a struggle to fight against the software vulnerabilities. Every time some one wrote a malicious code – a virus, it required some time before the antivirus researchers analyzed the malware and came up with a antivirus solution and eventual distribution of the anti malware. This time was enough for serious computer pandemic and successful monetary gain for the malware producers. Microsoft Research came up with a Reputation score where it created a blacklist populated with reported malware sites and software.

This helped to narrow the time taken to address a malware from several weeks to days. Microsoft could do this effectively as the same company builds the OS – Windows as well as the other software connecting to the Internet – Browsers and Email clients. It is another reason why you don’t hear of serious virus/malware issues associated with Windows as we used to hear about in the past.

Cheatsheet for connectors

  1. The genesis of this cheatsheet was the time, a friend of mine borrowed my Action camera for his road trip. He fixed the camera on the back of the rear view mirror with the supplied adapter kit alright.

But he took one look at the micro USB socket and assumed that it was an USB c socket and tried to plug in his USB c plug. In the process he ended up damaging the socket. It was a silly mistake – made by someone who earned his livelihood by writing software in the latest available language. He had been dealing with computers for well over a decade.

Does expecting the unexpected make the unexpected expected?


Cheet Sheet for Connectors

We realized that if there was some sort of a sheet containing the most common connectors, such mistakes will be less likely. You need some sort of look up table to sort through a plethora of different connectors, sockets and jacks we use in our daily life related to computers and phones.

I carry a small bag of cables HDMI, CAT 5 cable, Earphone male to male cables amongst others in my travel bag. You never know what to expect. Experience has taught us valuable lessons – and to be prepared for such contingencies.

I spent some hours creating a Cheatsheet for the common connectors we use daily whether it is a computer, monitor, printer or even a mobile phone.


Hardware works best when it matters the least. 

The other day, I wanted to check some of the photographs I had taken laboriously going around the monument for an article in TargetWoman. I yanked out the micro SD card from the camera and flipped the Laptop to its side to access the SD card port. I pressed the card inside. Something was wrong – something inside me kept parroting. But I ignored it and used my finger nail to press it home. To my horror, it went fully inside and naturally the Laptop was oblivious to the presence of the SD card.

So the moral of the story here is as all things in life – be gentle and use cheat sheets.

Choosing motion sensors

Motion sensors are small electronic devices which detect the presence of humans primarily. These devices are used to control doors, turn on lights and alarms.

Motions sensors save a pile of energy and tons of Carbon dioxide. A real world example would tell us how: Typically an outdoor light consumes anywhere between 30 W and 1000 W depending upon the type. If you use a conventional incandescent bulb, you need a flood light of 1000 W to illuminate a long drive way. Over a year of normal usage, it will consume 4320 kWh at a cost of 648 US dollars (assuming 15 cents per kWh and daily 12 hours of usage) and about 3.4 tons of co2 emission. Now if you use a motion sensor to control the light, it will consume 720 kWh at a cost of 108 US dollars and 0.5 ton of co2 emission.
You can use a LED flood light of 30 W to provide similar light output with drastic drop in power consumption.

Choosing motion sensors
Motion Sensing  Switches:

Types of Motion Sensors:  Motion sensors are of 2 types: PIR and RADAR (microwave). PIR (Passive Infrared) sensors work by detecting the infrared energy emanating from humans and control the light. It uses a Fresnel lens to focus the energy into the sensor.  Switches fitted with PIR sensors work well under most situations. But they have a draw back – the sensitivity of detecting people drops with the rise in ambient temperature.  In other words, you will have to flail your arms to trigger the PIR switch in summer where the ambient temperature rises.  Another drawback of PIR motion sensor is if the object sensed remains motionless, the PIR switch may turn off.

The RADAR (microwave) sensors work with microwave frequencies – 5.8 GHz to 24 GHz which can detect motion even through wooden doors, glass and light partitions.  And they are not temperature sensitive like their PIR counterparts. If you are worried about the microwave radiation, you don’t need to worry. They output less than 1 milliWatt continuously. Compare this with your smartphone which can output 100 mW. Your microwave oven puts out more than 650 W of microwave energy within its shell.

A high end RADAR sensor device operating at 24 GHz has increased detection range, reduced false alarms and better detection of humans and large mammals.  Besides the technical advantages, RADAR sensors also can be hidden behind surfaces unlike the PIR sensors which depend on a visible round Fresnel lens to detect.

These Motion sensor Switches also contain light sensors built-in so that they are not turned on during the day time. So these devices can be permanently left on. In quiescent mode (when the lights are not on) they consume low power: 0.2 – 0.9 W

Comparison of PIR and RADAR motion sensor Switch

Temperature sensitivity Range drops with increase in ambient temperature No comparable temperature sensitivity
Appearance Needs to use obvious Fresnel lens Device has no obvious tell-tale lens
Range and obstacles Limited range. Line of sight capture range. Angle is 110 degrees Extended range. Angle is 260 degrees typical. Works against thin wooden doors, glass etc
Detection capability Horizontally Moving targets at ideal minimum speed. Wider capture range. Detects animals at least 1 feet tall. Better differentiation between humans and animals. Lesser false triggering

Tips on using Motion sensors:

Position:   The position of the Motion detector /Occupancy sensor  is critical to the effective operation of these devices.  Generally, if you want maximum range and fewer false triggering, place the sensors between 7 and 9 feet. If it is a PIR sensor, place them away from heat sources and hot air draught.  Position these sensors in such a way that the target has the maximum distance to cover. The PIR Fresnel lens should be clear all the time.  Dust and atmospheric pollutants can coat the surface of the lens rendering it ineffective over a period of time.

It is essential that these motion sensor devices are kept clean depending upon the environment in which they are operated.

Another thing to note is if the sensor is self-contained inside a LED bulb, do NOT place that bulb in a completely closed lamp fitting. Despite the fact that LED bulbs draw significantly lower power compared with their incandescent counterparts, their drivers use electronics to step down the mains voltage to the right level for the LED chips to work. And the electronics can produce quite a bit of heat. If you use a closed lamp fitting and the weather is sufficiently warm, it can easily destroy the sensitive electronics driver. Most LED bulbs fail because of heat.

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