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Anti Spam Tips & Tricks Business and Marketing Computer & Internet Literacy

Beyond Snowden: How Government Corrupts Business

It seems we have been living with the Snowden revelations forever. But in truth, he has only been a household name since mid-2013. There was so much news released that it quickly became information overload. There was too much information to fully process any one piece of it. The takeaways from the information dumps can be summed up in the following manner:

  • The government is spying on its own people
  • Everything you do on your cell phone is being monitored in some way
  • Private businesses are colluding with the government to erode your civil liberties

Everyone kind of suspected the government was spying on them. And they knew that cellphone data could be monitored. But they were surprised and offended that the companies with which they were doing business were actively selling them out.

The level to which the government has subverted private industry is still news. The more we learn about what the government is doing in the name of security, the less security we feel like we have. Here are two examples:

The Government Compromises Your Protection

Never mind China and Russia. One of the biggest malware threats U.S. citizens face is from the U.S. government. For years, we’ve known that various governmental agencies attend black hat conferences. We also know that they hire some of the best hackers. Now we know what they are doing with all of that black hat talent. They are making and releasing malware. While we know about some of the malware offensives against other governments, there is no reason to believe that some of that malware isn’t used against U.S. citizens.

For these reasons, the government wants your computer to be as insecure as possible. Spiking the security punch your computer is drinking is one of the ways they can lull you into believing that you are secure when you really are not.

When your system is breached, sometimes the only thing you can do is wipe all the data and make a clean start. Before you can do that, you need to be sure to have a secure backup of your data. That means you will have to have some type of data loss prevention plan for such an eventuality. A plan is necessary due to risk factors such as:

  • Rapidly evolving compliance regulations and mandates
  • Continued growth of workforce mobility
  • Employees using their own mobile devices and consumer apps for work
  • Rising frequency of advanced persistent threats (APTs) and data breach incidents

The Government Causes Businesses to Compromise Core Values

Blackberry is in the news again, and it is not good for Blackberry fans. Blackberry CEO, John Chen, speaks on the great encryption debate and where BlackBerry stands on it all. What he is saying is proving worrisome to many longtime Blackberry fans.

Blackberry still has a lot of government contracts. And Blackberry’s only stronghold is mobile security. The conflict of interest becomes apparent when one hears what every branch of the government in almost every country is saying. Right now, especially in the U.S., there is a war on strong encryption on consumer devices. The government is demanding backdoors, and wants access to consumer communications upon request.

For his part, Apple’s Tim Cook has drawn a hard line when it comes to cooperating with such requests. He has publicly stated that Apple cannot comply with such requests because they have engineered its solutions so that Apple holds no keys, and cannot comply with such requests. They are in the business of privacy.

On the other hand, Blackberry’s John Chen is promising cooperation. He is not promising a backdoor. But he is taking a pro-government stance which seems geared toward protecting existing ties with government entities. Blackberry is not necessarily doing anything wrong. But it is a strange day when a consumer company defies the government in the name of security, while the security company defies security in the name of the government.

We have seen some disturbing examples of how the government is becoming more emboldened when it comes to pressuring businesses to serve as an unofficial branch of the state. As a consumer, your best protection is to use products that have a proven track record of consumer protection and strong encryption, and keep a good set of backups just in case.

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Computer & Internet Literacy Internet Tools

Enable Firefox Spell Checker for Single-line Text Input

Firefox has come with a tremendously useful feature that is the spell checking. However the problem is, by default, it only checks the spelling of text in <textarea></textarea> the block text input. How to make it also check the spelling of <input type=”text” /> so that we can be worry-free of misspelled words in single-line input text boxes as well such as when you are entering article titles, product names, etc.?

There is a very simple way to do this. Just fire up your Firefox, type in the address bar and enter:

about:config

And then filter by:

layout.spellcheckDefault

So that you would see a configuration line like this:

firefox spell checker settings

Double click on the Value and change it from 1 to 2. That’s it.

You don’t even have to restart Firefox and it will start inspecting all single-line input text boxes for wrong spellings from now on.

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Computer & Internet Literacy Hosting Tips & Deals Internet Tools My Personal Reviews

Free 2GB HTML static web pages hosting

Dropbox - Sync your filesFor every free Dropbox plan, it comes with 2GB online backup storage that has a public folder in which you can publish HTML web page files that are publicly accessible around the Web. It will give you a URL that you can hand out to your friends so they can view the page on the Web anywhere anytime.

Basically, a free static HTML web hosting space (with potentially unlimited transfer).

Simply download the software and sign up with them, put the HTML file in the “Public” folder of your specified Dropbox directory. After a few seconds’ synchronization when there finally turns up a small green tick at the bottom left corner the file icon (which means the synchronization is successfully completed), right click on the file, point to “Dropbox” for the submenu and select “Copy Public Link”. Now you have the public URL address of the page.

Paste it into the address bar of your favorite browser, bravo! Now you have your own HTML web pages freely hosted on the Web! Check out what I’ve published on Dropbox!

The brilliant part is the ease of the hosting. Just create more web documents such as audio files, images and HTML pages, put them in the “Public” folder and you will have them online in no time because Dropbox automatically synchronizes everything you put in the folder. Want to modify the existing files, fine, just do it, save the changes and Dropbox would also automatically synchronize the update to the remote server.

Dropbox is not just a public host though, it’s easy to use and rocks as a photo gallery, online backup storage, file sharing and synchronizing machine.

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Computer & Internet Literacy Domains

How to get a web address (top level domain)?

There are millions of websites online, each of which has its own unique web address or domain. It’s what the visitors, us, use to type in the browser address bar and go to the site. It universally identifies a website on the web. And it’s something EVERYONE can have.

Yes, you can have one too, in just a minute or even less. You completely own the top level website address in regards to legal terms. It’s officially a piece of the online real estate.

All right, for those of you who can’t wait to own your first web address such as SuperHero.com or Jessica.com, here’s how you can get a domain name:

  1. Navigate to one of the best domain registrars. You may first register an account with them by Create an Account.
  2. Search for a web address or domain by typing it in the “Search For A Domain text box. For example, mybestfriends.com, and click “Go!”.
  3. The system then prompts with all the results showing the availability of the web address which end in a variety of TLD (Top Level Domain). The domain of your choice may or may not be available with regards to its generic-ness because others may very probably have registered and owned it.
    You will also see .com is unavailable the most of time, so you may choose to go with other top level domains such as .net, .org or .us.
  4. After you have made the decision and selected one or more of the web addresses listed by checking the check box before them, you will click “Add to Cart” to process your order of the web addresses. At the same time, you may consider adding domain privacy which basically prevent others from knowing your ownership of the domain.
  5. The web address is now placed in your cart. Click “Checkout” to check out.
  6. If you have not registered an account with them, now is the time. After you have successfully created the account, you will be able to pay for the web address / top level domain of your choice.
  7. An order confirmation email should be sent to your email inbox to inform you of the your successful purchase of the domain name.

Well, if you have followed these steps to this point, you have had your first ever website address! You may create a website for it and spread the address to your friends! They can visit your website by typing the web address in the browser address bar!

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Computer & Internet Literacy CSS & HTML Tips

HTML Definition: What is HTML Defined – What does HTML stand for?

HTML is the abbreviation of Hyper Text Markup Language invented by Tim Berners-Lee, who’s also been called the father of the Web.

HTML is what websites are written in. All websites on the Web are written in HTML that your browsers and email software recognize. It’s a way of representing, organizing and containing information as well as data that need to be stored in web page format and transferred from websites to client computers to be displayed on the screen.

HTML consists of nearly 100 tags in the form of <tag> … </tag> that contains more tags or plain texts in it. For example, tabular data can be represented and stored in HTML in the following manner:

<table>
  <tr><td>11</td><td>12</td></tr>
  <tr><td>21</td><td>22</td></tr>
</table>

Notice that there are 3 types of tags used in this example, namely <table></table>, <tr></tr> and <td></td> which represent tables, table rows and table cells respectively. Ideally, this HTML table will be rendered in your browser as something looking like this:

11 12
21 22

A table it is.

All after all, HTML is a programming language that mark things up by tags, thus representing information to help computer programs recognize and process them (such as displaying them). A typical example of such programs is your Internet browser.

Information content marked up in HTML is then styled in CSS to be beautiful.

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Computer & Internet Literacy CSS & HTML Tips

CSS Definition: What is CSS Defined and Explained

CSS standards for Cascading Style Sheets. It’s a descriptive programming language that specifies how web pages look like in appearance and style.

Take a book for example. The texts in the book are content, just like the texts you are reading right now in a web page or HTML page. The publishers of the book decide that it would be too boring to the readers if they had simply printed out those texts as a book with nothing but black ink on the white sheets, instead, they spice things up, such as using light blue as the background color of the pages, employing different typeface for different sections and framing here and there to outstand things, though not too much.

It’s the same with a Microsoft Word document, .doc, if you have ever worked with one. The plain texts themselves are the ultimate content and what we care about in the end. However, without proper styling, it’d look dumb and hard to digest in some cases. You will want to give colors to important snippets such as heading texts and possibly also make them bold.

Basically, that’s what CSS does with web pages – styling things and spicing the plain content up so they become appealing or even striking. Web designers rely on CSS to design everything in the web pages. All page elements, visual components on the Web are styled and beautified by the help of CSS.

A quick example of CSS

Let’s say there are some paragraphs in a web page (HTML page) that you want colored red, then you’ll probably write a CSS rule of this:

p {color:red;}

That’s all it takes. Now all modern browsers will load the HTML page and render and display the paragraph texts in red.

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Computer & Internet Literacy Google Hacks, Cheats & Tips

Ask Google for Astronomical Unit, proton mass, planet or sun’s mass and radius

To get the exact Astronomical Unit in kilometers:

astronomical unit
1 Astronomical Unit = 149 598 000 kilometers

To get Google to return the mass of proton:

mass of a proton
proton mass = 1.67262158 × 10-27 kilograms

To get the mass of any planet in solar system from Google, search by:

m_Earth

Will yield the mass of our planet Earth:

mass of Earth = 5.9742 × 1024 kilograms

Try:

m_Mars

And you will get the mass of Mars

mass of Mars = 6.4191 × 1023 kilograms

To get the radius of Uranus:

r_Uranus
radius of Uranus = 25 559 kilometers

The same approach to get the radius of other planets hold true. Also you can get the radius of the Sun:

r_sun
radius of the sun = 695 500 kilometers

Or the mass of the Sun:

m_sun
mass of the sun = 1.98892 × 1030 kilograms
Categories
Computer & Internet Literacy Google Hacks, Cheats & Tips

Google to get the Light Speed or Gravitational Constant

Want a reference to the speed of light in vacuum with a meter / second precision? Just ask Google:

c

And it returns the speed of light in m/s:

the speed of light = 299 792 458 m / s

To get the Gravitational Constant, simply type ‘G’:

G

And it returns:

gravitational constant = 6.67300 × 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2

Categories
Computer & Internet Literacy Google Hacks, Cheats & Tips

Google: Restrict matching results by searching only the anchor text, page title, page URL, page text or filetype

For a normal search, Google decides the best results and the web page order by a variety of matching criteria such as in anchor text, page title, page URL. Sometimes, however, you need Google just to search certain part of the entire spectrum of comparison candidate.

For example, to search with the matching phrase just in the URL of the web page:

inurl:google sucks

To search for results pages with ‘google sucks’ in the title element:

intitle:google sucks

You can also make this match more strict and an exact one by:

intitle:"google sucks"

To search web pages / websites that are called ‘google sucks’ from other web pages:

inanchor:google sucks

That is, if site A links to site B with the anchor text ‘google sucks’, the linked page on site B will emerge in the results.

You can also designate Google to only return results with the specified keywords or phrases in the page content or page text:

intext:google sucks

Each of the above search phrase operator: inanchor, inurl, intitle and intext can all be prepended by ‘all’, resulting in: allinanchor, allinurl, allintitle and allintext that prescribes all the words in the provided phrase must be in that part of the page or it won’t be a match.

To search a specific type of files for the matching results, for example, PDF files, use:

google sucks filetype:pdf

And Google will only return those PDF files that it finds the phrase ‘google sucks’ in.

Categories
Computer & Internet Literacy Google Hacks, Cheats & Tips

Google: Find out the population of a country, state or city – Google Public Data Search

Google identifies data in a lot of fields across the web and population is one of them. To get the local population of a city, a state or a nation, simply type in Google search:

population new york population paris population shanghai population CA

Or

population california population japan

What can be more handy. Google has all the historical population data and figures across the entire US and you can view them in a comparison chart at here.