WARN­ING: JUNK AHEAD

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Junk of­fender: Pow­eriso O

CD drives have be­come fairly un­fash­ion­able. If you want to burn or cre­ate an im­age file you might have to go search­ing for suit­able soft­ware. One well-known op­tion is Pow­eriso ( www.pow­eriso.com), which has been around since 2004.

Alas, th­ese days it comes with some un­wanted ex­tras. Click the down­load link and you’re in­vited to try a Chrome ex­ten­sion called Search Man­ager that prom­ises “a cus­tom search ex­pe­ri­ence”. That might not sound like a very dan­ger­ous idea, but once you agree to a trial Chrome warns you that the ex­ten­sion can “read and change all your data on the web­sites you visit”, as well as mod­ify your other ex­ten­sions and book­marks (see screen­shot).

Some re­as­sur­ance can per­haps be found in the ex­ten­sion’s user rat­ings on the Chrome Web Store (an ex­cel­lent 4½ stars out of five). Click through to the ac­tual re­views though and you’ll find pages and pages of five-star rat­ings con­sist­ing of just one word, usu­ally “great” or “help­ful”. Fake re­views? Wouldn’t sur­prise us.

My per­sonal rat­ing for the Search Man­ager? A big fat zero. The best thing about it is the ‘new tab’ page, which has some pretty pho­tog­ra­phy, along­side trend­ing news sto­ries and lo­cal weather re­ports. What it doesn’t re­veal is who your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is be­ing shared with.

More­over, the ex­ten­sion only works with Ya­hoo and Bing. Google isn’t sup­ported at all, which means this ‘cus­tom’ search ex­pe­ri­ence is less flex­i­ble than sim­ply us­ing Chrome. It’s stupid, re­ally: if they’d let me use my pre­ferred search en­gine, I might have con­sid­ered giv­ing Search Man­ager a chance.

The fi­nal straw is that you’re not even sup­port­ing free soft­ware: Pow­eriso comes with a 300MB im­age-size lim­i­ta­tion, which costs $30 to re­move. My ad­vice is to skip the whole thing and use Img­burn ( www.img­burn.com) in­stead. It’s a gen­uinely free disc-burn­ing and imag­ing tool with­out any those un­wanted ex­tras.

Pow­eriso in­vites you to use an ex­ten­sion that rad­i­cally changes your Chrome browser

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