Drag and Drop Attachments in GMail

19 07 2007

I’m a Google-holic. I use GMail and Google Calendar religiously. One thing that always bothered me about GMail was the fact I couldn’t drag and drop my attachments into the browser. Lucky for me I found this useful Firefox extension called dragdropupload that allows me to do so.

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Secure Your Connection With Open Source

25 06 2007

You never know who may be watching your connection. With constitution violators like AT&T and other service providers your data can be in the hands of big brother. Here are a few tips for securing your online experience, so you can enjoy the web in peace.

1. Encrypt E-Mail Messages

Assuming you use GMail, FireGPG is a great Firefox extension that encrypts your messages. It can only be decrypted with a GPG key that only trusted parties will have access to.

2. Encrypt Instant Messages

GAIM is the most popular instant messaging platform on the internet. Encrypting your messages is cake with the gaim-encryption plugin. Nobody likes an eavesdropper.

3. Encrypt Torrent Downloads

With bit-torrent activity coming under heavy fire from the RIAA and Hollywood, encrypting your torrents is important. Azureus allows you to enable Transport Encryption which will make it harder to track what you are downloading.

4. Block Suspicious Incoming/Outgoing Connections

Peer Gaurdian is a great tool that blocks incoming and outgoing connections based on IP blocklists. Government probes, RIAA bots, and and spyware won’t be able to enter or exit your computer.

5. Anonymize Internet Surfing

Who really needs to know exactly which sites you are visiting? Xerobank Browser (previously called Torpark) lets you browse the web anonymously so that your IP is not exposed. You can even get a portable version that runs off of your flash drive, in those times where you can’t browse the web from your own computer.

Security has its limitations. There are no patches for human stupidity, however there are open-source technologies that will suffice.

Post Scriptum:
For those of you interested in how the government and companies are sacrificing your privacy, be sure to check out the CNBC special Big Brother Big Business.





iPhone Alternative: Safari-Like Web Browsing on Any Phone

20 06 2007

Apple has been generating a lot of buzz about Safari and how it is revolutionizing the way the internet is displayed on a mobile device. Opera Mini 4 beta is a free Java powered browser for any phone which allows you to view the web formatted for your screen. This feature has always been a part of Opera Mini, however you can now zoom into certain sections of a webpage and navigate across a site. The beauty of this, is that a web-page can be viewed in its full form. Try it out yourself by demoing it in the Opera Mini 4 Simulator.

Opera has made it easy to download the software. Choose which method you would like, and start browsing the web in style. Just remember, you don’t need $600 to view a website on your phone.





Skweezer.net – Fit The Web on Your Phone

15 06 2007

Mobile web-browsing is pathetic. Period. Websites are designed to be seen on regular computer screens and the mobile market lacks software that will re-render webpages to fit on the screen of your phone or PDA. A co-worker recently introduced me to skweezer.net. Skweezer is a portal that lets you view the web nicely on your phone. You give them a URL you want to browse, they format the page on their server and give you back a nice webpage that is readable on your mobile screen. The idea of no horizontal scrollbars makes me jump for joy, and the fact skweezer is a free web-service makes it an ideal solution for me.

 

I like to make skweezer my homepage so whenever I’m on the go, I can easily access the sites I need. Did I mention skweezer strips out content that can’t be rendered on mobile devices? That means faster page loads my friends.

UPDATE:

For a list of mobile web-browser software reviews check out this post from fellow blogger Mohammad.

 





OpenDNS – Speedy Internet in Ubuntu

29 05 2007

OpenDNS has richly enhanced my internet experience. I have been using the service for about 6 months now and have always noticed a difference between page load times on networks using OpenDNS and networks using their ISP’s DNS. OpenDNS is great because it caches frequently visited websites more often and flat-out has a bigger cache than what your local ISP provides. The end result is a faster internet. Some additional features include spell-checking when you accidently type in “craigslist.og” and anti-phishing prevention. OpenDNS maintains PhishTank which is a blacklist of known phishing websites. Shortcuts is a great feature which allows me to type in “bball” to go directly to the Phoenix Suns homepage.

 

Here is how you can setup OpenDNS in Ubuntu:

  1. Run: sudo gedit /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf
  2. Change the prepend line to read: prepend domain-name-servers 208.67.222.222, 208.67.220.220;
  3. Run: sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

What we just did here was prepended the OpenDNS addresses to the top of the DNS list. You don’t have to worry about the DHCP client overwriting settings on each reboot or lease cycle, and your ISP nameservers will still be used as backup.

The only issue I had with OpenDNS was that it would not work in locations that used their own DNS through a proxy. For example, I wasn’t able to use OpenDNS at the local Starbucks which used T-Mobile HotSpot to connect to the internet. This is due to the fact T-Mobile forces you to use their own DNS. There is nothing OpenDNS can really do about that – but overall my OpenDNS experience has been great and the internet keeps on blazing.