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Friday, January 27, 2012

Safe Keeping

A 'Facebook friend' recently sent out the dates of her vacation. On the surface, your Facebook family is just a group of friends, right?   With the scrolling side panel in Facebook, I have viewed many items from people I don't know, including more information than should be broadcast.  So here are some tips to help you become 'Facebook smart'.

Check how your profile looks publicly.
  1. Don't post private information such as times your home may be unoccupied such as vacation or when you are home alone. If you want to tell family members or close friends, do so privately so it isn't broadcasted over the social network.
  2. Do not share your phone number, address or any other personal information on your Facebook wall. You can give your family and friends this information personally. If they don't have it, they can ask privately.
  3.  Review all your privacy settings. You can customize the settings for your profile (Timeline), contact information, tagging, location, photos, chat, your wall, messages, News Feed, groups, events, videos and notes.  You can also limit viewing of past posts by changing your privacy settings (Manage Past Post Visibility).
  4. Make sure your profile isn't public. You can change your settings under your profile AND view what it looks like to the public by clicking the "view as" button on your profile.
  5. Learn to manage your friends list, being sure you are comfortable with sharing your updates with some people and not with people you have met once or twice. 
 Taking these things into consideration and you can protect yourself, your property and your identity.

Be wise, be smart and be cautious.  Be safe. ☺

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Facebook get's Angry... Birds.

Just a little announcement...
Angry Birds is coming to Facebook.. for Valentine's Day. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Your Browser Actually Generates Cache!

Photo credit: Ladyheart from morguefile.com
So what is cache (pronounced cash)? The official definition is a hiding place or something hidden, which seems appropriate because many people don't really know what web cache is, where it is hidden or how to get rid of it.  (Not to confuse you, but these are sometimes called browser cache or temporary internet files.)

The browser program (what you use to get on the internet to browse websites) creates a web cache, or  hidden files that speeds up your browsing experience. For example, your browser might save the information and images of this page on your computer so that next time you visit, it won't take quite so long to load, making the web page load much faster the next time you visit.

The catch is that it is sorta hidden and you won't find a link in the start menu so it just keeps growing and growing each day you're online. So as part of normal maintenance of your computer you probably need to occasionally clean out these files. They can begin to take up a lot of space, especially when they contain files for sites you may never visit again.

Now how to clean it..To delete the files in the Temporary Internet Files folder yourself, follow these steps:
  • Windows 7 and Windows Vista
    1. Click the Start button, click Control Panel, click Network and Internet, and then click Internet Options.
    2. Click the General tab, and then click Delete under Browsing history.
    3. Click Delete all, click Yes to confirm that you want to delete this information, and then click OK.*
       
  • Earlier versions of Windows
    1. Quit Internet Explorer and quit any instances of Windows Explorer.
    2. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Internet Options.
    3. On the General tab, click Delete Files under Temporary Internet Files.
    4. In the Delete Files dialog box, click to select the Delete all offline content check box , and then click OK.
    5. Click OK.*
*If your computer contains a significant amount of cache, this process may take several minutes to complete.

Source: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/260897



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If you Give a Website a Cookie....

Photo by Charles M. Wrenn III.
Morgue File

So.. what is a cookie?  It comes with various names such as HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie although often shorted to simply 'cookie'. When it comes to the web and your browser, a cookie is:

"A very small text file placed on your hard drive by a Web Page server. It is essentially your identification card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you." Source: http://www.microsoft.com/info/cookies.mspx 

What is that in English?  When you visit a website, the web page 'gives' your computer a small file to store on your computer (and doesn't follow you if you use another computer or browser). This small file contains various pieces of information such as the browser you are using and your IP address and an approximate location. Some cookies will only last as long as you are on the site and the browser deletes it after you leave. Other cookies remain on your computer for up to a year or more.  For most websites, it just notifies the server of your visit, but a savvy web designer will give you a more interactive web session once you sign up with them.  It can save usernames, a password and even your personal preferences.  So when I visit Amazon.com, for example, the website knows that it is 'me' by my web cookie and will show me my preferences, my account and any items they think I might be interested in based on my prior visits.

Cookies cannot be programmed, cannot carry viruses, and cannot install malware on the host computer.

Click for larger view. Firefox Privacy
So, maybe you don't' want this much information on your computer or accessible to the website?  After all, some cookies can be used by spyware to track user's browsing activities which can be a privacy concern.

The good news is you can maintain your cookies by your browsers tools. In the Firefox example [right], under TOOLS/OPTIONS/PRIVACY, you can have your browser to "Tell websites you don't want to be tracked". This is not the same as turning off accepting cookies. You can also clean our the individual cookies by clicking on the "remove individual cookies" section. You can also remove all the cookies, but beware, you will have to sign in to all websites once you remove the cookie, so be sure you have a record of your usernames and passwords. (More on browser saved passwords in a future post.)

In Internet Explorer, it is under INTERNET OPTIONS/PRIVACY where you can change your Internet Zone settings.

In Opera, use CTRL/F12 to get to the preferences, select the Advanced tab and you will find 'cookies' on the left side panel.

In Chrome, go to OPTIONS, select UNDER THE HOOD on the left side panel. At the top you will see PRIVACY and a like to CONTENT SETTINGS. You will find cookie settings at the top of the page.

If you choose to not receive any cookies, you will find your browsing experience to be frustrating as you will not be able to view some web pages. Like many things, cookies should be maintained and periodically reviewed. Although small, over time, these files will start to take up space, kinda like soda cans in my son's room. ☺

Monday, January 23, 2012

What's on the Other Side?

There always seems to be something cute online... from unique directions in Google (See #43 as you get directions from Japan to China), to funny pictures and trivia. So today.. we will look at what is on the other side. The other side of what? The earth, of course. Make a wild guess and then give this antipodes map a try. Drop on over to the this blog, zoom in to find your the approximate location of your home or office and see where you would end up if you started digging. Will you truly be digging to China? ☺