Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More Great Things about Mozilla Firefox

If you're like most internet users (self included) you don't really check out features of your browser beyond those that stare you in the face. So I just thought I'd tell you about a couple of features of Mozilla Firefox that I find very useful.

The first is the scroll mouse support in opening links in a new tab. Now, you've probably already realised that Firefox offers a fantastic way to surf by allowing you to open a site in a new tab. You right-click a link and select "Open in New Tab" and your current window remains unaffected. You can switch between tabs and, when you want to minimise your browser, you don't have to minimise separate windows. One minimise click does everything.

Here's another way to open a link in a new tab if you have a scroll mouse (those mice with wheels that allow you to scroll up or down a page by rolling them with your middle finger): just place your mouse pointer on the link and "click" the scroll wheel. That's right, quickly press and release the wheel the way you click the left and right buttons on the mouse. The site automatically opens in a new tab. Neat, huh?

The second neat feature is "increase / decrease text size". Some sites feature really tiny text that's pretty hard to read. Well, squint no more. Simply go to View-->Text Size and select "Increase" to magnify the text (or hit Ctrl++). To decrease text size, go to View-->Text Size and select "Decrease" (Ctrl+-). Hitting Ctrl+0 brings the text size back to the original from an increased or decreased view.

NB: Ctrl+ indicates that you press and hold the Ctrl key while you hit the next key indicated. Thus "Ctrl+-" doesn't mean you hit "Ctrl" then "+" and then "-". It simply means you keep "Ctrl" pressed when you hit "-".


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thunderbird: The must-have email client

If you're on a Windows Operating System (and most people are) you're probably using Outlook Express to read your POP email.

Thunderbird is a better alternative.

If I were to recommend Thunderbird for one and only one feature, it's the Junk Mail recognition inbuilt into it. Whenever you mark an email as junk or spam, Thunderbird learns and applies its learning to similar messages in the future, the same way spam filters in gmail and yahoo mail work.

What's more, Thunderbird will also warn you if an email is a possible phishing scam. I'll be posting more on phishing scams soon. If you can't wait, find out more about phishing here and here.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

WMF Exploit: It can become a Virus

A serious threat has been uncovered about the vulnerability of Windows' image viewer to being manipulated. So far, the only misuse has been in the form of adware and spyware being placed on the hard disks of users, but this can easily become a virus nightmare.

Read more about it (and how to protect your computer) at the about.com site.

Also, please take the following steps immediately to protect your computer until Microsoft figures out how to fix the problem:
  • Disable Google Desktop if you have it
  • Disable Picasa if you have it
  • Disable HTML in your email client
  • Do not open email attachments with names ending with .wmf, .jpg, .jpeg, .bmp, .dib, .gif, .emf, .jiff, .jpe, .png, .tif, .tiff and of course, .scr
  • Disable images in your browser (for gawd's sake, if not your own, PLEASE shift to Mozilla Firefox IMMEDIATELY) when you visit unknown sites (like, when you do a search)
EVERY user of Windows from Windows 98 upwards is at risk. If you've stored your data on partitions other than the C Drive, you may still be able to recover your data if Windows does crash as a result of this problem. If you haven't, back up your data NOW! Shut down all Internet activity and copy your data to a hard disk partition or CDs.

Better safe than sorry.