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Category: Google

Gigabit Internet Coming to Asheville Soon

This is what the Internet looks like as it travels through the tubes.

You read that right!  According to the WRAL “Techwire,” Raleigh and Asheville will soon be getting blazing fast gigabit Internet, well ahead of Google Fiber reaching our neck of the woods.

That’s about 1000 times faster than your average Charter or Comcast cable Internet service. You can download an entire HD movie in roughly 30 seconds. Believe it or not, this will bring us more in line with the rest of the planet, where speeds have far surpassed those in the US in recent years.

When Does it Happen?

“Asheville will receive service about the same time as Raleigh, according to RST Fiber co-founder and CEO Dan Limerick.”

According to the article, that will be within 60 days or so.

The part about a-la-carte TV service sounded appealing to me as well. Imagine only paying for the channels you want. I’ve been a proponent of this concept for years. It remains to be seen how this will actually work, but there is hope.

This is exciting news!

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Hide Yourself From Social Networks (and others)

Did you know that Facebook gets a report every time you visit a site with a Facebook “Like” button, even if you never click the button, are not a Facebook user, or are not logged in?

That, and more you should be aware of here in this Consumer Reports article.

Priv3 for Firefox will silently prevent the cookies from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ from being installed in your browser, thus protecting you from being tracked everywhere you go online.

Take it a step further and install CSFire to block not only the big four social networks, but any site that surreptitiously makes requests to third parties without your knowing it. It takes a little more management to unblock sites you want to function this way, but it will greatly increase your overall online privacy (and safety).

One of the above, paired with AdBlock Plus and NoScript will go a long way toward keeping you safe online.

 

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Practical Security Round-up

We here at Geekamongus care about you, the visitor, so we offer some news and tips about staying secure:

iPhone
Here’s a good reason to set your iPhone to *not* auto-join Wifi networks, especially those AT&T Wifi Hotspots.

Antivirus Software
There is no need to pay for antivirus/security software for your Windows computer.  Save your money.  As cnet suggests, use one of the many free programs available.  Personally, I prefer MSE or Avast.

Facebook
Considering there may be 1.5 million Facebook accounts up for sale on the black market, now would be a good time to rid your computer of malware and then change your Facebook password.

While you are at it, you may want to learn about (and restrict) all the personal data Facebook has unilaterally decided to share about you.

Microsoft SharePoint Security Warning
SharePoint administrators and users, beware: Serious XSS flaw haunts Microsoft SharePoint

The Google Overlords
Afraid of Google?  Here’s a good way to anonymize yourself when doing Google searches or using many of their services:

Read more on the project page. Download the Firefox plugin here.

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Hacking Experts Exchange

Over the years, Experts Exchange has become quite the repository of tech advice, where people go to ask questions, then the experts compete to give the best answer and win the asker’s vote.  It’s a pretty slick system, I suppose, if you are an ‘expert’, and your goal in life is seeing your username at the top of a list on their site, or if you have a question and have been unable to find an answer to it on any of the completely free message boards across the internet.

Whatever your reason for paying the fee to join their site, you have probably run across one of their pages if you have been searching for answers to a technical problem online.  Their search engine placement has been historically good for a wide variety of key words and phrases.

A Bit of History

You have also probably run across Expert Exchange’s efforts to protect their paid content from the casual observer. If you are like me, you have seen them at the top of a search results page, cussed them out in your head, then moved on to the next result.  That is because you know they often seem to have people asking the exact same thing you are in search of, and they seem to have people who have provided answers/solutions, but when you go there you are asked to pay to see the answers.  But being the freebie seeking geek you are, you haven’t ever signed up for their site.

I remember that it used to be they would obfuscate their experts’ answers to a question with Javascript.  That worked for a few minutes, until Firefox gained popularity and it became really easy to turn off Javascript.

For a long time, I thought that they had ended up removing their experts’ answers altogether.  However, I learned that Experts Exchange is using a simple visual cue to make you think this so that you won’t find the coveted content for which they take great lengths to protect (and charge you $12.95 a month for access to).

The Hack

The secret is, if you just keep scrolling down the page, you will see all the answers to the question at the top of the page!  What they do to make you think there is nothing there is show several empty bars of “Expert Comment” and “Accepted Solution”, followed by a “Sign up to view this solution” section, making you think the content is hidden.  Below that, you will see a ton of “footer links”, making you think you are at the bottom of the page. However, keep going, and you will find the hidden pot o’ gold.

Why would they do this?  Because they need Google to be able to crawl their content so they can maintain the excellent search engine placement they usually have.  If they only showed the question, and not the answers, they would have much less worthy text to index, so it really behooves them to have that text shown somewhere in plain view. Obfuscating it with Javascript or CSS will only end up hurting them because Google looks at those things as ‘trickery’ due to the fact that they can be used for keyword stuffing.

This isn’t to say I don’t advocate paying for their service.  I actually had the company I used to work for pay the fee a few years ago, but didn’t find myself using it that much, so I didn’t ask them to renew it.

In summary, scroll scroll scroll your way to the bottom of the page when you find an Experts Exchange result while troubleshooting on the Internet.

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Google Notebook Is Being Ditched

Move Your Web Clippings Out of Google Notebook.  Now.  The free service has already stopped allowing new registrations, and will no longer be updated.

I can’t express the grief I have over this, as I have been a hardcore Notebook user since I discovered it about 9 months ago.

In case you haven’t heard of it, Google Notebook is a tool which allows you to save clippings, notes, and bookmarks which you run across while cruising around the information highway.  It’s easy to save parts of web pages using the Notebook plugin for Firefox, and you can add bookmarks, pictures, and notes, and to boot.

There are alternative services offered, the most popular of which seems to be Evernote, but being forced to switch services is just not cool, not matter how good they might be.

I have had an Evernote account for quite a while, but I never used it because I preferred Google Notebook’s ease of use and simplicity.  The worst part is that in order to import half of what I have saved in Google Notebook, I will have to purchase Evernote’s premium service and do it all by hand.

So, check back soon for an Evernote review!

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