Technology Scribes

Online Privacy In The Facebook Age

Privacy concerns have always dogged Facebook. Recently, after admitting that they are using tracking cookies to store a member's online browsing activities, the issue of privacy rears its head once again. 

A Quick Look At Cookies

Internet cookies aren't harmful to your computer. It is simply a code used by websites to communicate with your web browser. Cookies allow your computer to store passwords, save your preferences, and keep track of online purchases. Supercookies do the same thing, but unlike traditional cookies, supercookies are not as easy to remove from an individual’s web browsing history.

Facebook's Supercookies

Facebook has long admitted that they are using tracking cookies to ensure that the site's advertisements are tailored to the preferences of its 800 million members. However Facebook actually uses supercookies to keep tabs on member browsing activity for up to 90 days after a visit.

So what do you have to be concerned about? Privacy advocates look at this breach as a glaring intrusion on Facebook users' private lives. Given that supercookies are better equipped to collect data, there is always the concern that the site can acquire personal information and later sell it to third party parties which may use it such information in ways not authorized to users. 

What Can You Do About It?

Congress and the World Wide Web Consortium are currently discussing guidelines to govern online privacy because of this recent development. PCWorld recommends open source applications like SlimCleaner for the Windows OS, and BetterPrivacy and NoScript for the Firefox browser. All three are free for download and versions for Mac are also available.

Removing Regular Cookies

Regular cookies can be manually removed from your computer. Removal of Facebook cookies, as well as those from other websites you don't wish to store, should be stripped after each visit. Remember that deleting cookies means that you lose all the saved information pertaining to these sites, such as log-in information.

Learn how to remove cookies from the web browser you use by using the process described below.

Firefox and Internet Explorer

Regular cookies can be removed from Firefox or IE by accessing the Tools menu on top of the Internet window.

  • Click on Internet Options for Firefox, or Preferences for Mac, and then select the Privacy tab.
  • Click "remove individual cookies". A pop window should appear.
  • In the search bar of the pop-up, type the name of the website, for example; Facebook. 
  • Select the Facebook cookies you want to delete by pressing the Shift key and clicking on each cookie.
  • Click on the option to remove cookies and close the Options window.

Google Chrome

  • On the upper right hand corner of your browser screen, click on the wrench icon.
  • Click Options or Preferences for Mac
  • Click on the tab labeled “Under the Hood".
  • Find Content Settings under the Privacy section.
  • Under Content Settings, click on the Cookies tab.
  • Click on the "Delete Cookies" option.
  • Here you have the option to remove all cookies from this window with one click. To remove individual cookies, click on the site and select the cookies you want to delete from the drop-down window. 
  • You can set Google Chrome to automatically delete all issued cookies as soon as you close your browser window by clicking on the  "Clear cookies and other site data when I close my browser" dialogue box in the Content Settings.

Safari

  • Click on Preferences from the Safari Menu on top of the browser window
  • Click Bookmarks under Security
  • Switch from “only from sites you navigate" to "should be checked" under Accept Cookies.
  • From the cookies window, click on those that pertain to the sites you wish to delete, and then click Remove.

Online privacy is a sensitive issue which, if breached, carries the potential to cause tremendous harm to any web user. Take the proper precautions and stay updated about it. This is the only one way to keep your browsing history more protected.

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Google To Launch New Music Service November 16

Google is set to launch its new music service on November 16th, and has sent out invitations via email to an event they referred to as "These Go To Eleven". The Verge, a tech news website, spilled the beans, citing the event as Google Music's debut. Google itself declined to comment. 

It was reported that Google has been negotiating with the various music label companies, but none have reached a solid agreement. Industry insiders reveal that Google has been in contact with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI; the four major music labels. 

Earlier this year, Google came up with a beta version of the music service, but didn’t allow users to purchase songs from labels. What it did was allow users to upload music to Google servers and make those songs available to stream from any Android based device.

Google's new music service plans offer users a lot more than that. Equipped to connect with Google+, Google is reportedly planning to use social media to influence potential buyers into purchasing tracks available through the service. Additionally, a new feature will be added that will allow users to let their Google+ friends listen to a particular song once for free. If they like it, they can purchase it just like they would from any online music store.

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Granola: Reduces Computer Energy Consumption by 15 to 35%!

Granola is affordable, easy to install and works on a variety of computer systems. But what exactly does Granola do?

This little download was initially used in Japan to reduce energy consumption after the Fukushima meltdown. Now made available by developer Miserware as a free download for a limited number of systems, Granola promises to reduce power usage by 15 to 35%.

Granola runs in the background of the computer’s operating system and works just like the dimmer switch in computers. Its power saving benefits are most apparent when computers are not being used actively, in which case, Granola automatically initiates the system's own energy-saving hardware to reduce energy usage.

Miserware, Granola's developers, offers a great advantage for its users, on top of its electricity saving features. It is offered as a free download for everyone, including its Enterprise version, but is only limited to five computer systems. Bigger companies can purchase licenses that could pay-back in energy savings within four months.

Granola is easy and quick to install. With this power saving software, you'll have access to your data anytime without compromising energy costs.  It works on laptops, desktops and servers. All these have unique demands in terms of power. Granola adapts to each system's workload and environment, allows energy savings across all systems and consequently reduces energy expenditure.

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“Google Offers” Android App a Hit for Mobile Shopping

Mobile shopping and bargain hunting just got better – now with the free Google Offers application for Android mobile devices. A late bloomer in the daily deals arena where pioneers like Groupon have achieved success, Google Offers makes it possible for Android users to find products, make purchases, and take advantage of coupons and specials - all directly through their mobile phones.

The Google Offers app underscores the growing popularity of mobile-based shopping as the new means to make purchases. The app offers four screens which includes a "Featured" screen that highlights the “deal of the day” as well as a daily deal notifier. The features of the app are thought to reflect a similar system used by Groupon.

Mobile Android users show positive reactions to this new app, which garnered a rating of 4.5 stars out of five. Shoppers appreciate the fact that Google Offers lets them find deals and make purchases right then and there, without having to access their email inbox. Consumer enthusiasm is high, for mobile shopping shows no signs of waning. Additionally, research suggests that users who have taken the greatest advantage of these deals are the most excited about them. Google

Offers was initially launched in June in Portland, Oregon, rolling out into other areas since then. Positive consumer response indicated a need for expansion and better offers that would include further participation from other direct merchants and deal sites as well. A similar Apple app is in development, which means mobile shopping directly from your iPhone is on the horizon.

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IMAX Gains Rights to Kodak's Laser Projection Technology

IMAX, the Canadian entertainment and technology company, has been granted an exclusive license to over 50 technology patents for a laser technology projection designed by Kodak. The recent deal is expected to greatly enhance the public's movie-going experience in more and more IMAX theaters around the globe.

Truly at the cutting edge entertainment, IMAX CEO, Richard Gelfond, said that Kodak's intellectual property will "enhance the cinematic experience for consumers, enable the application of digital technology in our larger and institutional theatres, and make being in business with IMAX even easier and more profitable".

Expected to be installed by late 2013, Kodak's technology will allow IMAX to deliver digital content suitable for larger screens. IMAX currently still makes use of the traditional film format. The deal includes exclusive rights to complementary laser projection technologies as well as in digital cinema field. No amount has been disclosed for the deal, but it will include up-front and milestone payments, including royalties.

Eastman Kodak's deal with IMAX comes amid speculations regarding the financial health of Kodak, with some insinuating that the company may file for bankruptcy. However, Kodak has denied these rumors. The IMAX deal will make Kodak realize part of its target to boost its coffers by $250 million to $350 million annually through intellectual property. Marketing its patents through Lazard Ltd., Kodak has over 1,100 patents pertaining to the capturing, processing, storing, editing, and sharing digital images.

IMAX, in coordination with Kodak engineers, are said to have commenced conversion of two thirds of its 585 theaters from 50 to 70 feet screens to 80 to 100 feet wide formats. Promising features such as increased sharpness and brightness, IMAX and Kodak will ensure that improvements are implemented on target and on schedule. IMAX can look forward to a great deal of savings with a film delivery in digital format, costing only $150 compared to a typical film print which can cost as much as $30,000.

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New Features Of The iPhone 4S

Apple's dominance in the smart phone industry is unarguable immense. With the launch of the new iPhone 4S, the question of whether it will supersede the iPhone 4 is inevitably the big question on savvy consumers’ minds.

New Features Of The iPhone 4S

iPhone 4SApple's dominance in the smart phone industry is unarguable immense. With the launch of the new iPhone 4S, the question of whether it will supersede the iPhone 4 is inevitably the big question on savvy consumers’ minds. Judging by its appearance, Apple is betting on its internal features to wow the crowd, as its looks are no different than its predecessor.

The naming of the latest iPhone gives people a pretty good idea of what to expect. Like the successor to the iPhone 3G in 2009, the iPhone 3GS was more internally upgraded, as opposed to more visual modifications. It appears as if Apple follows the same route with the iPhone 4S. Externally, there seems no difference except for a SIM card slot that is visible on right side of the device. However internally, the 4S is completely revamped.

The 4S Upgrades

Inside the new iPhone 4S, there are notable changes that are definite upgrades from the iPhone 4. The The most substantial of these upgrades of is a faster processor and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). In addition, Apple says that its new wireless system, which features two antennas, enables better calling quality and improved download speed. The download speed on the 4S is indeed impressive, at a maximum of 14.4 Mbps compared to iPhone 4's 7.2 Mbps.

Also big step up on the iPhone 4S is the 8 mega pixel camera. Compared to earlier version’s 5 mega pixel camera, this new feature has value written all over it. It also has wider lens and improved lighting capabilities, so users can view images in better quality. The video capabilities of the 4S have also been enhanced, upgrade from 1280 x 720 pixels on the iPhone 4 to whopping 1920 x 1080 pixels on the 4S.

iPhone 4S has Siri voice assistant, a feature that responds to natural language requests and can alert you verbally. Siri is triggered by pressing and holding the home button. You can either ask a question or give instructions to retrieve data. This feature can access your contacts and recognize them when you verbally give them a specific label, such as "wife" or "office". It can also alert you when fresh emails arrive, among other options.

Apple began receiving pre-orders of the iPhone 4S on October 7, 2011, a week prior to its availability in stores. There are two available colors, black and white with three different storage sizes. If you opt for a two year holding contract from service providers, the 16GB model costs $199, the 32GB at $299 and the 64GB at $399 (in the U.S.) An unlocked version of the phone will be available but will come at a considerably more expensive cost. For 16GB, it will cost you $649, 32GB at $749 and 64GB at $849. The unlocked version won't work with U.S. Sprint and Verizon, so this option is best for those traveling abroad and getting a local SIM to use in the country where they intend to use it.

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Recent Posts

  • Online Privacy In The Facebook Age
    Privacy concerns have always dogged Facebook. ... read more
  • Google To Launch New Music Service November 16
    Google is set to launch its new music service ... read more
  • Granola: Reduces Computer Energy Consumption by 15 to 35%!
    Granola is affordable, easy to install and wor... read more
  • “Google Offers” Android App a Hit for Mobile Shopping
    Mobile shopping and bargain hunting just got b... read more
  • IMAX Gains Rights to Kodak's Laser Projection Technology
    IMAX, the Canadian entertainment and technolog... read more
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