Chip Anderson

Browser Extensions May Be Inserting Ads Into Our Pages

Recently we've gotten an up-tick in the number of paying members reporting that they are seeing ads on our website even though they are logged in to our website.  That is a problem because our website is designed so that paying members who are logged in should not see ads on our charting pages.  So where are these ads coming from?

A strong possibility is that they are coming from a plug-in/extension that the user added to their browser at some point in the past.  This morning I found a good article that explains exactly what is going on.  Here is the link:

http://lifehacker.com/many-browser-extensions-have-become-adware-or-malware-1505117457

I recommend that everyone read that article and re-evaluate all browser plug-ins that you have installed in light of this new issue.

- Chip

Attention Kaspersky Internet Security Users

Recently, we've been getting some disturbing reports for users about our charts appearing very slowly and then sometimes disappearing after about 20 seconds.  Initially these reports were very confusing to us because we had not made any significant changes to our website that would cause those kind of problems.  In addtion, only a couple of people were reporting the problems - most people were not experiencing any issues.

Some follow-up messages from some of the people with the problem revealed a suspicious pattern - all of them were using the Kaspersky Interlet Security program to protect their Windows computers from malware.

Given that information, we spent some time today installed and configuring the latest version of Kaspersky on several different test machines.  After some tweaking, we were able to reproduce the problem!

(As many of you know, recreating the problem on a programmer's computer is 80% of the battle.)

We discovered that there were actually two strange problems that Kaspersky is currently causing for people using our website:

1.) Google Chrome users would see a SharpChart for about 20 seconds and then that chart would get replaced with a "broken image" icon.

2.) Internet Explorer users would have things work fine for 2 to 3 minutes and then they would stop seeing charts at all and would instead see a big white space.

Next, we started experimenting with the various "Settings" that come with the Kaspersky program.  The first thing we verified was that if you disabled Kaspersky entirely, both problems went away.  That confirmed that Kaspersky was the culprit.  The next thing to try was to see if there were some less-destructive settings that could be changed that would allow most of Kaspersky to continue to operate while eliminating the charting issues.

Pretty quickly, we discovered that if you only disabled as small part of the Kaspersky suite of tools - the "Anti-Banner" feature - the Google Chrome problem (#1) would stop happening.

Later, after more trial and error, we discovered that if you added "stockcharts.com" to the "Exceptions " list for Kaspersky's "Web Anti-Virus" feature, the second problem would also stop happening.

So, if you use Kaspersky Internet Security 2012, here are the steps you need to take:

1.) Click on the "Settings" icon (gears) on the main Kaspersky control window.

2.) Click on the "Anti-Banner" item at the bottom of the list of features.

3.) Click on the top-most checkbox that appears to disable the "Anti-Banner" feature, then click the "Apply" button.

4.) Click on the "Web Anti-Virus" item which is about 4 items down on the list of features on the left side of the window.

5.) Click on the "Settings..." button that appears

6.) Click on the "Trusted URLs" tab that appears

7.) Click "Add" and enter "stockcharts.com" to the list of trusted URLs.

8.) Click "Apply" and then "OK" to close the Kaspersky window.

Those changes _should_ fix any slowness issues and/or disappearing chart issues that you have.  Let our Support Team know if you still see problems after following these steps.

Tracking down issues with Anti-Virus/Firewall programs like Kaspersky can be maddening.  If you see problems like this, please follow the general approach I outlinded above (disable everything, does it still happen?, un-disable various sections until it goes away, etc.).  Finally, when reporting this kind of "strangeness" to us, be sure to include the names of any security programs you use.

- Chip

Seeing Ads on Wikipedia? If So, You Have a Virus

Just a quick heads up about a new security issue to worry about.  If you see ads on Wikipedia, you have a virus on your computer.  Here's a link to all the details.   I mention this to everyone here at StockCharts because: 1.) chances are you visit Wikipedia often and 2.) these kind of tricks are not always limited to Wikipedia and may cause problems with our site as well.  We are not currently aware of anything that is specifically targetting StockCharts.com, but that could change.  It's worth spending a couple of moments reviewing the information about the Wikipedia version to see if it affects you.

- Chip

Pixel-Friendly Browsers

Recently, the good people at Lifehacker.com wrote an article comparing various web browsers to see which one was the most "pixel friendly" - meaning which one provided the most space to the website instead of wasting it with toolbars, etc.  Since this topic is one that is near and dear to my heart, I wanted to pass along the results for everyone to see.  Charting is all about the pixels and if your browser is stealing them, then maybe it is time to get another browser.

Here's a link to the article that compares Windows browsers.

Here's a link to the article that compares Mac browsers.

Bottom Line:  Google's free Chrome browser is the most "pixel friendly" browser for general use.  If however you use the browser's Full Screen mode (F11) then Firefox and Opera are the best.

Combined with Chrome's speed advantages, there really is no reason not to at least try Google Chrome and see if it gives you a better StockCharts experience.

Finally, take a look at your screen right now.  If you see more than one third-party tool bar at the top of your browser window, you really owe it to yourself to read my Vertical Pixel post from back in April.

- Chip

Firefox. Just do it.

My web programmers are forcing me to write this at gunpoint.   Well...  sort of.  They really do have a good point though.

From time to time a user will write to us with a problem that they are having and, after digging into the issue for a while, we end up completely stumped.  None of the standard advice for fixing things helps.  None of the non-standard advice helps either.  We all just stand around scratching our heads and throwing our hands up in despair.

Continue reading "Firefox. Just do it." ยป

Other StockCharts Blogs