Tech Talk #9 – Sep 26, 2015
Advertisers and social media companies and others are paying for the ‘free’ Internet by tracking which sites we visit, what we search for, how long we stay on a site, what pages we look at, where we live, who our friends are, and more. How can a normal person maintain any privacy on the Internet? Here are some things you can do.
- If you don’t want your Internet searches tracked and later influencing the ads you’ll see on the rest of the websites you visit, consider using DuckDuckGo or IXStart as your search engine and/or start page. Neither one tracks your searches and can give results as good as or better than the search engine you’re using now. DuckDuckGo and IXStart are both free.
- Disconnect Private Browsing is an extension available for all major browsers that blocks third-party tracking cookies, malware, and malvertising. Disconnect Private Browsing also protects you from tracking by social media networks like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, which can collect data about you even when you’re not on their site. Disconnect Private Browsing is free.
- HTTPS Everywhere is an extension for Firefox and Chrome that forces all traffic between your browser and the site you’re visiting to use the HTTPS protocol. HTTPS stand for – wait for it – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS authenticates a visited website and protects the privacy and integrity of any exchanged data using encryption. Not all sites support HTTPS (the site has to have a Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) certificate from an issuing authority) but HTTPS Everywhere will force all your traffic to use SSL/TLS if it IS supported. HTTPS Everywhere is free and brought to you by the fine folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Language learning while searching
Since we seem to have a browser extension theme today, let’s bring out another one: the Language Immersion extension for Google Chrome by the folks at Google Labs. Language Immersion randomly translates parts of the web page you’re looking at from English to one of 64 supported languages, usually in context. You can use a slider to pick your immersion level, from Novice to Fluent.
When I first loaded the Language Immersion extension, I was doing Google image searches for firepit design ideas and, not surprisingly, it wasn’t too helpful translating pictures. But when I clicked an image and got sent to the Remodelista site and the page with the image on it here’s what I got: Create an instant bonfire con estas versatile fogatas, perfect for the beach, the patio, the lawn (but notse recomienda su uso on wood decks or surfaces).
“If the automobile had followed the same development as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year killing everyone inside.”
― Robert X. Cringely is the pen name of both technology journalist Mark Stephens and subsequently a string of writers for a column in InfoWorld.
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.