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Archive for Internet

Sugarsync – Online Backup and Storage: Review

sugar_sync Sugarsync (www.sugarsync.com) is one of the online storage system offerings that are out there, and I recently had the opportunity to test the service out. This feature-rich product is more than just an offsite storage system; Sugarsync not only allows you to sync your computer with the online backups, but allows you to sync files across multiple computers, access your data from anywhere, including your mobile phone, and provides both dynamic and static storage spaces.

Everyone knows the importance of keeping good backups of your computer data, especially anyone who’s ever lost data due to a hard drive crash, natural catastrophe, or any other reason. Many people, however, don’t back their data up regularly; it can be a time-consuming process that’s not always easily automated. This is one of a series of articles we’re doing on ways to backup your data. Read our previous article for an overview of different backup strategies available.

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Firefox 3 vs. Opera 9.5

Over the last few years, Mozilla has taken quite a large slice of the internet browser market.  Its community-developed Firefox, is now already in its 3rd version, which has been released today.  Firefox has been praised for its security features, and often declared safer than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer by security experts. The new Firefox boasts, in addition to a comprehensive redesign of its looks and a host of new features, several new security enhancements which promise to make it even more secure.

But Firefox isn’t the only player in the web browser game. Another recent player is Opera. Actually, it’s not new, per se. Several years ago, before Firefox’s breakthrough into the market, Opera was a paid browser. Later, Opera released an ad-supported free version, and then finally released a fully free version, without any advertising whatsoever, in order to try and capture a larger market share. The release of various beta versions of Firefox 3 took most of the attention of the media, however, and the news about the release of the new 9.5 version of Opera was overlooked. Along with an update of its appearance, the addition of several new gadgets and features, and speed optimization, Opera added a security feature which is very similar to one offered by Firefox 3; both of these enhancements will be described later in this article.

So, is Opera a real player in the browser scene? Can it beat the unbeatable? Let’s find out.

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Security Features in FireFox 3 and Opera 9.5

Opera 9.5 was released yesterday (June 12, 2008). Firefox 3 final will be released next Tuesday (June 17, 2008). Among the many new features that each browser is touting are beefed up security enhancements.

Both browsers now have mechanisms that enlist the help of your web browser to prevent a malware infection from known malicious sites, or fraud from known phishing sites. While browsers have offered phishing protection for a while, malware protection is something new.

How does it work?

Attempting to access a site with Firefox 3 that’s known to infect visitors with malware will offer a warning like this:

ff3-malware

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Windows Live Search and Give

While Google may continue to be everyone’s favorite search engine, Windows Live Search has made some recent improvements in their number of results, and relevancy. The Microsoft search engine continues to see updates that make it an attractive alternative.

Today the Live Search blog announced Search and Give.

search

After you sign in you simply select a charity or school. They will receive a donation of one penny each time you search the web. According to my web history, I’ve totaled 20,039 searches this year. Had my searches been through Search and Give, my charity or school would have received $200. Not bad!

http://www.searchandgive.com/

Have a home router? You’ll want to read this!

Satellite A researcher by the name of Dan Kaminsky will soon be unveiling an attack that could be used to hijack certain routers. This web-based attack can be used to gain complete access to your router and change settings within. By doing this, a hacker could change the DNS settings to hijack the user to an unknown location on the internet.

A DNS related attack could be used to make a user think they are going to a legitimate website, while actually redirecting the user to a malicious website that can be used to steal identity or track online activity. Both are a serious breach in online safety. The main problem is that the user would have no idea this is happening. The browser would still show that its directing to the correct address. Also, because this attack happens at the router and not on the computer, Antivirus and Anti-Malware solutions can not detect it.

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Geeks Need Grammar too

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A question was asked recently that stopped me in my tracks. The question was,

“Why is grammar and spelling important on the Internet? I can understand if you’re writing a paper for school, but on forums and boards, I never bother”.

What? I thought one of the reasons we were taught grammar and spelling in school was so that every sentence we wrote, whether online, in a paper, or a letter to our grandmother, would be clear and understandable. This means not only correct spelling and grammar, but the ability to convey one’s idea or question so it can be understood. In my opinion, writing correctly when online is more important, not less so, and I can give several reasons why.

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IT after hours: Tech pros donate time to help the computer-clueless

IT workersAll week long, these IT professionals are under constant pressure at work, troubleshooting downed networks, fixing dead hardware, patching security holes and updating buggy software.

So what do they do for fun and relaxation after work? They head home and spend hours doing the same thing — for free — by volunteering on tech support Web sites to help home and business users solve perplexing computer problems.

On sites like Protonic.com, Techguy.org, BleepingComputer.com and GeeksToGo.com, anguished computer users post messages seeking answers to problems with hardware and software from volunteers — many of whom are self-taught home computer users. But the group also includes IT pros who work in the corporate trenches every day and then give away their expertise at night and on weekends.

They say they gain far more from the effort than what they put in.

IT after hours [ComputerWorld]

SunRocket dead?

SunRocketVoice over IP service involves using the Internet to route your land line phone call instead of traditional telephone companies. It was once touted as the future of telecommunications, however clouds are on the horizon. Vonage has legal problems resulting from a patent dispute that if successful is likely to affect all VoIP providers. SunRocket apparently faces other challenges. They were the darling of many “hot deal” forums by offering two years of service for $199, including unlimited US long distance, and many other features. However, as of today calling their 800 customer service line (800) 786-0132 yields the following:

We are no longer taking customer service or sales calls… goodbye

SunRocket purportedly had 200,000 customers. As of this time they still have phone service, but odds are that may not last long (including 911 service).

VoIP companies have been hit hard by cable companies offering ‘bundled services’ and stealing market share. This is sure to hang another cloud over the industry.

HDTV the new PC?

Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of HDNet and the Dallas Mavericks recently blogged about the TV replacing the importance of the PC in US households. Among his claims are that in 18-24 months every HDTV will have a built-in web browser. That Web 2.0 content like YouTube is better geared toward the 10 foot from your TV experience, rather than 10 inches from your monitor. He’s not the only one, Arnie Berman, technology strategist for Cowen & Company wrote this:

In the past, consumers replaced their PC’s every 3 years and their televisions roughly every decade. Is this trend poised to reverse? Hint: Yes.

Interesting this talk is happening while network ratings are at their lowest point ever, especially among the 18-25 demographic. More people are tuning out their TV, and spending their prime time hours in front of PCs.

What do you think? Is the importance of the PC about to be replaced by the HDTV? Or, is it the other way around?

The Maturity of Web 2.0 and The HDTV is the PC [blog maverick]

30 – 50 times faster Internet?

No, it’s not a commercial for switching from dial-up to broadband. It’s the potential speed increase for existing cable Internet customers using a new standard DOCSIS 3.0. Download speeds of 160mps and upload speeds of 120mps are possible.

South Korea and Singapore are already deploying the new technology, and at least one US cable company (Comcast) plans to start next year. It will be rolled out first in areas where it competes with FiOS (fiber optic Internet). It’s estimated that by 2011 , DOCSIS 3.0 will be available to 40% of US cable customers.

160Mbps downloads move closer for US cable customers [ArsTechnia]