Erase your Google Search History and make Google more Privacy-Friendly

May 17th, 2015

Privacy? What privacy?Everybody uses Google these days for all kinds of things. If it isn’t search, it’s Google Maps, plotting the fastest route to your vacation destination, checking the weather, or letting your Android phone track your every movement to make Google Now services “useful”.

It’s pretty much a certainty that Google is tracking your every move. This is the price you pay for all these wonderful whiz-bang features that you have come to rely upon.

If you do value your privacy, there are a few tricks you can use. But, a word of warning: it’s probably much worse than you think.

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Computers, Networking , , ,

How to Block Apple Bonjour on your Local Network

May 14th, 2015

Block Bonjour!Bonjour is Apple’s way of doing zero-configuration networking. It’s a bit of software that does three things:

  1. Service discovery on the local network (LAN)
  2. IP address assignment/sharing
  3. Hostname resolution

Normally, things like IP address assignment are handled by DHCP. With Bonjour, the idea is that all you have to do is plug your gizmos in, and turn them on. Bonjour will then “scan” the network, and all devices and services on the LAN will be automagically configured for you. Each gizmo will have an automatically configured IP and hostname, and you’re done.

This is great, except when you don’t want Bonjour to do its thing. Perhaps you have a mostly Windows/Linux LAN, or you want to restrict access to a certain group of computers on your LAN that are separated from the rest by a physical home router/firewall. Bonjour makes this rather difficult, since it sneaks by basic IP/MAC filtering you might set in your router.

So, how do you block Bonjour?

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Computers, Networking , , , , ,

How to Easily Resize and Crop a Single Image in Windows

April 30th, 2015

Resize Single ImageNote: For resizing and posting or e-mailing many images at once, see: How to Easily Resize Images in Windows

There is another little problem I see a lot: How does one resize and/or crop an image to a specific custom pixel size in order to post it online somewhere, or to send in an e-mail, or whatever?

Of course, most online services and social networking sites will automagically resize and compress your images for you, and the they often even let you crop the image right there on their site.

But, sometimes you need to create an image of a specific size, like when creating a Facebook-friendly image.

Fortunately, it turns out that there is a fairly easy and completely free way to do it without any extra software!

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Computers , , , ,

I shared a link on Facebook, but no image shows up

April 20th, 2015

Sharing an Image on FacebookAh, yes. Facebook and images!

You know the drill: You share a link, and you expect that an image from the page you shared will show up.

But, it doesn’t.

This is especially true if you’re sharing a link from a lesser-known site, like perhaps your own blog or online store.

Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to make Facebook – and other social networking sites – happy.

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Computers, Programming , , ,

Browser Fingerprints: What they are, how they work, and what it means to you

April 12th, 2015

Browser FingerprintYou may have heard of browser fingerprinting and its security implications. Then again, maybe not.

In either case, you probably haven’t heard the whole story.

A browser fingerprint is when, by visiting a web site, that site can generate an ID (or fingerprint) that is unique to your computer. The fingerprint can then be sent to their server, and you can be tracked.

No cookies required, no security holes required, no “Do not track me” setting can make a difference… Just plain old browsing the web will do it!

Okay, so how does this all work? And what does it mean?

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Computers, How Does it Work?, Networking , , , ,

Reinstall all your programs at once with Ninite

March 29th, 2015

Time to Reinstall...You know the drill.

Your puter crashes, or you want to reinstall Windows, or you upgrade to a new version and do a clean install…

You can restore your data easily enough from a variety of backup methods, including Windows’ own Backup and Restore feature.

But then comes the fun part: Reinstalling all of your applications, one at a time.

It’s tedious, slow, time-consuming, and generally kind of annoying.

There’s a better way: Ninite.

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Computers , ,

Why Yahoo is Rejecting Your Mail

March 22nd, 2015

Yahoo Mail SucksOh frabjous day!

At long last, I have managed to figure out why Yahoo enjoys rejecting lots of mail that is sent to its users.

You have probably encountered this problem before, especially if you happen to manage any kind of mailing list that sends HTML messages to even one or two people with Yahoo e-mail addies.

Yahoo bounces messages back at you with the message, “554 Message not allowed – [PH01] Email not accepted for policy reasons.”

What gives?

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Networking, Spare Me! , , ,

Why Movies look like Soap Operas on your new TV – and how to fix it

March 8th, 2015

Soap Opera EffectYou buy a new 400″ TV. You hook it up, and pop in a DVD or Blu-ray disc.

You expect to enjoy a glorious movie-watching experience, but instead, your movies look like TV shows or soap operas.

What gives?

As it turns out, the problem is your fancy new TV. Get ready for this: it’s too realistic, and your brain doesn’t like that.

Read on to find out how to fix it!

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Do-It-Yourself, Gizmos , , ,

Make Your DVD or Blu-ray Player Region-Free

February 22nd, 2015

Unlock DVD Blu-ray RegionThis one is a lot of fun: You borrow a DVD from a friend, or you buy one online somewhere.

You stick it in your player.

And then, disaster strikes!

You get a message like “Region not allowed”, and the movie won’t play.

WTH?!

Welcome to the glorious world of Region Codes!

Sometimes, it’s possible to bypass this restriction, but it depends on your DVD/Blu-ray player.

Read more…

Computers, How Does it Work? , , ,

Why the Responsive Web Site Design is Dying

February 15th, 2015

The Almighty Grid!Oh boy… This is one of those topics that everybody loves to talk about. People either love it, or they hate it. I’m talking about so-called “responsive” web design.

A responsive web site will automatically adjust its layout based on the screen or device being used to view it. So, when I view a responsive site on my desktop puter, it will look one way.

But when I view the same site on my smartphone, the different parts of the site will rearrange and modify themselves so I that I get a “mobile-friendly browsing experience.”

There are several problems with this responsive approach.

The number one problem is that it doesn’t make any sense at all when you really think about…

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Computers , ,