A Guide to Internet Security Terms

21 02 2008

Every Internet user should at least have a basic understanding of the terms used in regard to online security and so I have collected a few of the popular ones and put them in this article with a brief explanation of each.

Adware means “Advertising Supported Software”. It refers to placing adverts in software or distributing them along side a software download.

Bots are software applications that run automated tasks over the internet. Bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive,virus internet worm at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human editor alone.

Cross-site scripting This is a method of placing malicious scripts on websites that are then “executed” inside the web browser of the person viewing the website. These scripts can be dangerous at times.

DDos stands for Distributed Denial of Service. A DDoS attack attempts to consume the target resources so that it can not provide the service. In plain English this means a website can be brought down by aiming 1,000’s of page requests a minute until the website can no longer cope and fails!

A drive-by download is a program that is involuntarily downloaded to your computer, without your permission or even your awareness. A drive-by download can be commenced by simply visiting a Web site or viewing an HTML e-mail message. Read the rest of this entry »


Think Different – Apple MacBook Air vs Sony TZseries

29 01 2008

As my colleague Dan Frakes discussed, the MacBook Air is all about tradeoffs, even if Apple doesn’t present it as such. As Dan explained, it’sMacBook Air just that the MacBook Air’s tradeoffs are different than those other manufacturers have chose for their subnotebooks. Basically, Apple opted to focus on thickness (or thinness), weight, performance, and screen and keyboard size in the MacBook Air.In his Macworld Expo keynote presentation, Steve Jobs used the Sony TZ series as a point of comparison in some charts showing how the MacBook Air compared to the TZ in many areas. I thought it might be interesting to take that comparison deeper, examining all of the major features of a Sony TZ-series laptop against those same features in the MacBook Pro….”

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First Look at Microsoft’s Tafiti search engine

2 09 2007

Microsoft has released a new showcase of its Silverlight web development frameworks, a graphical search engine called Tafiti. Tafiti, which means “do research” in Swahili, is an experimental frontend to Microsoft’s Live Search engine. It presents search options in three panes on the screen: the left pane is for entering search queries and switching between image, RSS, Web, and News, the middle pane contains the search results, and the right pane is used to “dock” results using drag-and-drop for looking at later.

To run the Tafiti web application, you must first download and install Silverlight. Silverlight runs on Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher. A Linux version of Silverlight is being worked on by Mono developer Miguel de Icaza but is not yet available.

The installation is a one-time-only affair, with the default setting to update Silverlight automatically in the background when new releases come out—a good thing since the Silverlight frameworks themselves are still in beta. Once installed, a browser restart is required, and then the Tafiti site will run. Tafiti runs on Internet Explorer 6 or 7, Firefox 2.x, and Safari 2.x, but it will not work on Opera or the new Safari 3 beta. I had some problems with Tafiti not rendering search results on Firefox, but others have reported no difficulties. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Piracy Good?

15 07 2007

This article has been taken from the April 2006 issue of computer magazine DIGIT. I am sharing it here just because I thought it was worth it. The article is written as it appears in the magazine. The ME in the article is not me, it is the author of the article.

Oh Shush, You Little **** Activist! Piracy is Good

This is what was said to me when I recently chided a female friend who called me to ask for a “free version” of a very popular (and expensive) image-editing software! The verbal refuse did not ruffle me- but her statement,”Piracy is good,” left me speechless.

A lot of muttering and stammering and hurled abuses later, things calmed down a bit and I got down to asking her how exactly piracy was good, and for whom.

“Not unless you buy me coffee and get me that software,” she teased. Long story short, I took her out for coffee, but made sure she got someone else to do her piracy work.

Here’s what transpired:

Me: So how can piracy be good? Good, for you, yes, but not good for the poor developer or for our economy!
She: Nope. Piracy is good for the software developers themselves. I mean, it’s also good for me, but it’s lot more beneficial for the big software companies.

Me: Oh really, how? Do you know how many billions of US dollars of profit they lose because of piracy?

She: Sure, but how many billions more do they make with sales?
Me: Oh, that’s not a valid argument; it’s like saying that since 1 million citizens pay tax, why should the government want tax from rest of the population?
She: No, taxes are different. You have to pay them, but when it comes to software, I don’t have to use it; I could choose to be like you and not use paid software at all!

Me: So why don’t you?
She: Because I am keeping the balance of good and evil in the world! What do you think, dummy? It’s because there are popular software that are easy to use and the not-so-popular freeware that are a lot harder to get used to! I like to keep it simple.

Me: So piracy is justified for you because you are lazy?
She: No. Piracy is justified for me because I want to use same software at home as I do at work. My company will not buy me a copy for home, so I pirate it!
Me: Wha…huh…umm…that’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard! Why can’t you just use logic and listen to what you’re saying! Read the rest of this entry »

10 Tips to make your Laptop Battery last longer

15 06 2007

1. Turn off Wi-Fi and BlueTooth – Most laptops have shortcut keys to instantly disable wireless networking.

2. Don’t play computer games, music or DVD movies – Multimedia activities drain laptop batteries.

3. Disconnect all external device like PC Card modems, Firewire, USB devices and optical drives. Use the notebook touchpad instead of an external mouse.

4. Adjust your screen brightness – Dimming your display saves battery power.

5. Tweak Windows Power Options – Choose a Laptop power scheme that turns off the notebook monitor and hard disk after 10 minutes of inactivity.

6. Decrease or mute the Laptop Speaker Volume.

7. Turn off all scheduled tasks.

8. Turn off Auto-save features in Microsoft Office and other applications. Read the rest of this entry »

Boost up your system’s performance in two easy steps

14 06 2007

Your computer can become slow as hell if it is not maintained properly. The average size of hard drive has become quite large in recent times, and this is one of the reasons for slow speed and decreased system performance. The main reason behind this is the fragmentation of files on the hard disk over a period of time. More space, less organized files. So today I will tell you how to increase your system performance with the help of two of the best freewares available around – CCleaner and Auslogics Disk Defrag.

Lets first download both these freewares:

Download the latest version of CCleaner here

Download Auslogics Disk Defrag here

After you have installed both the softwares, first run CCleaner. Clean up all the junk off your hard drive with it and also scan and clean up your registry. Read the rest of this entry »

Playing around with PDFs

30 05 2007

So now you know what are PDFs. (No need to remember what PDF stands for). And you are really impressed by its features, which stand high over other document formats. Its easy for me to guess what you want to do now. So here I am going to list some of the free PDF creators (and if you are thinking that PDF format was created by Adobe then you are thinking right, and the format was first used in 1993…so now you know why Adobe is dominant in PDF mania).

1. PrimoPDF

     PrimoPDF is one of the best free PDF creators. It is also very easy to use. Read the rest of this entry »