Tag Archive: tips

Oct 06

Choosing a smart password

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Posted by Michael Santerre, Consumer Operations Associate

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you about smart password practices. Help ensure you’re protecting your computer, website, and personal information by checking out our security series on the Google blog or visiting http://www.staysafeonline.org.

Phishing, a topic that’s been in the news, is unfortunately a common way for hackers to trick you into sharing personal information like your account password. If you suspect you’ve been a victim of a phishing attack, we recommend you immediately change your password, update the security question and secondary address on your account, and make sure you’re using a modern browser with anti-phishing protection turned on. Keep an eye out for the phishing warning Gmail adds to suspicious messages, and be sure to review these tips on how to avoid getting hooked.

Creating a new password is often one of the first recommendations you hear when trouble occurs. Even a great password can’t keep you from being scammed, but setting one that’s memorable for you and that’s hard for others to guess is a smart security practice since weak passwords can be easily guessed. Below are a few common problems we’ve seen in the past and suggestions for making your passwords stronger.

Problem 1: Re-using passwords across websites
With a constantly growing list of services that require a password (email, online banking, social networking, and shopping websites — just to name a few), it’s no wonder that many people simply use the same password across a variety of accounts. This is risky: if someone figures out your password for one service, that person could potentially gain access to your private email, address information, and even your money.

Solution 1: Use unique passwords
It’s a good idea to use unique passwords for your accounts, expecially important accounts like email and online banking. When you create a password for a site, you might think of a phrase you associate with the site and use an abbreviation or variation of that phrase as your password — just don’t use the actual words of the site. If it’s a long phrase, you can take the first letter of each word. To make this word or phrase more secure, try making some letters uppercase, and swap out some letters with numbers or symbols. As an example, the phrase for your banking website could be “How much money do I have?” and the password could be “#m$d1H4ve?” (Note: since we’re using them here, please don’t adopt any of the example passwords in this post for yourself.)

Problem 2: Using common passwords or words found in the dictionary
Common passwords include simple words or phrases like “password” or “letmein,” keyboard patterns such as “qwerty” or “qazwsx,” or sequential patterns such as “abcd1234.” Using a simple password or any word you can find in the dictionary makes it easier for a would-be hijacker to gain access to your personal information.

Solution 2: Use a password with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols
There are only 26^8 possible permutations for an 8-character password that uses just lowercase letters, while there are 94^8 possible permutations for an 8-character password that uses a combination of mixed-case letters, numbers, and symbols. That’s over 6 quadrillion more possible variations for a mixed password, which makes it that much harder for anyone to guess or crack.

Problem 3: Using passwords based on personal data
We all share information about ourselves with our friends and coworkers. The names of your spouse, children, or pets aren’t usually all that secret, so it doesn’t make sense to use them as your passwords. You should also stay away from birth dates, phone numbers, or addresses.

Solution 3: Create a password that’s hard for others to guess
Choose a combination of letters, numbers, or symbols to create a unique password that’s unrelated to your personal information. Or, select a random word or phrase, and insert letters and numbers into the beginning, middle, and end to make it extra difficult to guess (such as “sPo0kyh@ll0w3En”).

Problem 4: Writing down your password and storing it in an unsecured place
Some of us have enough online accounts that we may need to write our passwords down somewhere, at least until we’ve learned them well.

Solution 4: Keep your password reminders in a secret place that isn’t easily visible
Don’t leave notes with your passwords to various sites on your computer or desk. People who walk by can easily steal this information and use it to compromise your account. Also, if you decide to save your passwords in a file on your computer, create a unique name for the file so people don’t know what’s inside. Avoid naming the file “my passwords” or something else obvious.

Problem 5: Recalling your password
When choosing smart passwords like these, it can often be more difficult to remember your password when you try to sign in to a site you haven’t visited in a while. To get around this problem, many websites will offer you the option to either send a password-reset link to your email address or answer a security question.

Solution 5: Make sure your password recovery options are up-to-date and secure
You should always make sure you have an up-to-date email address on file for each account you have, so that if you need to send a password reset email it goes to the right place.

Many websites will ask you to choose a question to verify your identity if you ever forget your password. If you’re able to create your own question, try to come up with a question that has an answer only you would know. The answer shouldn’t be something that someone can guess by scanning information you’ve posted online in social networking profiles, blogs, and other places.

If you’re asked to choose a question from a list of options, such as the city where you were born, you should be aware that these questions are likely to be less secure. Try to find a way to make your answer unique — you can do this by using some of the tips above, or by creating a convention where you always add a symbol after the 2nd character in the answer (e.g. in@dianapolis) — so that even if someone guesses the answer, they won’t know how to enter it properly.

Read the rest here: 
Choosing a smart password

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/gmail-tips/choosing-a-smart-password

Jul 22

Submit a video: “So much email, so little time”

The following is is a posting from the Official Gmail News Blog:

Posted by Sarah Price, Online Operations Strategist

Like many of us nowadays, I get a lot of email. So much email that going on vacation can be a little scary because I know I’ll have a mountain to wade through when I get back. A few messages I receive each day are time-sensitive or very important — but only a few. Lots of my mail can wait a few hours or a few days or even a few weeks, or in the case of that mailing list I’ve always meant to unsubscribe from, forever.

Thankfully, Gmail has a lot of features that keep me organized, from filters to archiving to keyboard shortcuts to Tasks, as well as a whole bunch of Labs features, like Superstars. I’ve developed my own system for dealing with all my incoming mail, but I’m always curious to hear about how other people manage their messages.

If you’re a Gmail expert and an organizational wizard, we want to see how you do it. So submit a short video at youtube.com/gmail to showcase your tips and tricks for managing your inbox. Submit a great one by August 15th, and your video could end up in our Help Center, our forum, or even on this very blog. And if you aren’t into making your own video, check out the videos that others have submitted and let us know what you like.

You can discuss these videos in the official thread in our new forum. The Gmail Help Forum isn’t just about “help” — it’s also a great place to connect with other Gmail users and share tips and tricks. We recently gave it a complete makeover, so if you haven’t been there in a while, check it out.

Original post: 
Submit a video: "So much email, so little time"

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/official-gmail-news/submit-a-video-so-much-email-so-little-time

Jun 20

iPod Touch Review: ByLine – An Excellent RSS Reader

bylineiconOK, so I now have to retract part of what I said in my last article about RSS readers. There is an excellent RSS reader on AppStore called Byline that so far, does exactly what I want in a news reader for my iPod Touch.

Byline is like many RSS readers, but this one really does understand how to be effective on an iPod Touch. For example, my iPod Touch is is not always connected online. I purposely turn off networking when I’m not in range to extend my battery. How many online applications have you launched that display an error message telling you that the network is not available? Well, duh, I turned it off. Why tell me something I already know? Byline elegantly ghosts the sync icon when you’re offline and makes it active when connected. It’s just done right.

And now, the great part: Byline optionally caches images for offline use! No longer do I feel cheated by not having always-on connectivity. Yes, it does take some to download all the images, but with multiple news feeds each having dozens and dozens of articles, it’s actually pretty quick.

The formatting is typical, and the inclusion if the images really rounds it out. Probably the only down side to this is that it requires setting up the feeds in Google Reader. At first, I was somewhat hesitant to go down this path, because this means that there is really no way to just add an ad-hoc feed, but realistically, I rarely want to do this anyway, so it’s not really an issue. Byline’s settings are located in the iPod Touch’s main Settings page, so you have to exit the application to get to it. I wish applications would be consistent with this. But once you set the settings, you rarely need to revisit them.

So the bottom line is that Byline provides an excellent news reading experience online or offline. It caches and displays images very nicely, so you don’t feel cheated by not being connected. So wherever I am, I always have something to read to kill some time.

Highly recommended!

Pros: Solid interface, ability to cache images for offline viewing, no annoying errors when not online, logical interface, very customizable.

Cons: Byline requires setting up your feeds in Google Reader. This is not really negative overall, it does eliminates the ability to add an ad-hoc RSS feed on the fly.

Tip: Your RSS feeds must reside in a folder. While you can put multiple RSS feeds in the same folder, if your article is not in any folder, it ill not display in ByLine.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/ipod-touch-tips/ipod-touch-review-byline-an-excellent-rss-reader

Sep 14

Google Chrome Tip #6: Where’s the Status bar?

Google has really gone to great lengths to try to increase the viewing space in its Google Chrome browser such as moving the tabs into the window’s Title bar, etc. One thing that appears to be missing, though, is the Status bar at the bottom. So how do you see what URL you are hovering over? How do you know what URL is loading? The status bar is there on the lower right of the page, however it’s just not always there. Hover over any link, or load a page, and you will see the Status bar slid in.

Status bar

When you move off of a link or when the page finished loading, the Status bar slides away when not needed. Slick!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-6-wheres-the-status-bar

Sep 12

Google Chrome Tip #5: How to see Browsing History

Browser HistoryUnlike in Firefox and Internet Explorer, Google Chrome has no dropdown integrated in the back and forward buttons, so how do you view your recent browsing history? Simple! Just click and hold either button, and if there is history, a dropdown menu will appear. You can alternately right-click on either arrow with the same effect.

To view your full browsing history, select the “Show full history” selection from the same menu, select “History” from the “Customize and control Google Chrome” button (the “wrench” icon), or simply press and a full browsing history page will open in a new tab.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-5-how-to-see-browsing-history

Sep 10

Google Chrome Tip #4: about:stuff

aboutEnter about:memory into the Omni bar (the address bar) and Google Chrome will display a nice summary of your memory useage and all Google Chrome-related processes. As a bonus, the summary section also displays the memory usage information for all other open browsers giving you a nice comparison!

Here is a list of other “about:” commands that provide interesting information and do some interesting things:


Most of these can also be easily bookmarked by clicking the Star in the Omni bar.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-4-aboutstuff

Sep 08

Google Chrome Tip #3: Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard ShortcutsGoogle provides many keyboard shortcuts to move around and work with Google Chrome. For a complete list, you can always jump over to the Google Chrome Keyboard Shortcuts page. In the mean time, read on to see a list of the keyboard shortcuts….

Here is a list of most of Google Chrome keyboard shortcuts:

Window and tab shortcuts Window and tab shortcuts

Ctrl+N Open a new window
Ctrl+Shift+N Open a new window in incognito mode
Press Ctrl, and click a link Open link in a new tab
Press Shift, and click a link Open link in a new window
Alt+F4 Close current window
Ctrl+T Open a new tab
Ctrl+Shift+T Reopen the last tab you’ve closed. Google Chrome remembers the last 10 tabs you’ve closed.
Drag link to tab Open link in specified tab
Drag link to space between tabs Open link in a new tab in the specified position on the tab strip
Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+8 Switch to the tab at the specified position number. The number you press represents a position on the tab strip.
Ctrl+9 Switch to the last tab
Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+PgDown Switch to the next tab
Ctrl+Shift+Tab or Ctrl+PgUp Switch to the previous tab
Ctrl+W or Ctrl+F4 Close current tab or pop-up
Alt+Home Open your homepage
Ctrl+O, then select file Open a file from your computer in Google Chrome

Address bar shortcuts

Do one of the following actions in the address bar:
Type a search term Perform a search using your default search engine
Type the part of the web address that’s between ‘www.’ and ‘.com’, then press Ctrl+Enter Add www.and .com to your input in the address bar and open the web address
Type a search engine keyword or URL, press Tab, then type a search term Perform a search using the search engine associated with the keyword or the URL. Google Chrome prompts you to press Tab if it recognizes the search engine you’re trying to use.
F6 or Ctrl+L or Alt+D Highlight content in the web address area
Type a web address, then press Alt+Enter Open your web address in a new tab
Shortcuts to open Google Chrome features
Ctrl+B Toggle bookmarks bar on and off
Ctrl+H View the History page
Ctrl+J View the Downloads page
Shift+Escape View the Task manager

Webpage shortcuts

Ctrl+P Print your current page
F5 Reload current page
Esc Stop page loading
Ctrl+F5 or Shift+F5 Reload current page, ignoring cached content
Press Alt, and click a link Download link
Ctrl+F Open find-in-page box
Ctrl+G or F3 Find next match for your input in the find-in-page box
Ctrl+Shift+G or Shift+F3 Find previous match for your input in the find-in-page box
Ctrl+U View source
Drag link to bookmarks bar Bookmark the link
Ctrl+D Bookmark your current webpage
Ctrl++ Make text larger
Ctrl+- Make text smaller
Ctrl+0 Return to normal text size

Text shortcuts

Highlight content, then press Ctrl+C Copy content to the clipboard
Place your cursor in a text field, then press Ctrl+V or Shift+Insert Paste current content from the clipboard
Place your cursor in a text field, then press Ctrl+Shift+V Paste current content from the clipboard without formatting
Highlight content in a text field, then press Ctrl+X or Shift+Delete Delete the content and copy it to the clipboard
Backspace, or press Alt and the left arrow together Go to the previous page in your browsing history for the tab
Shift+Backspace, or press Alt and the right arrow together Go to the next page in your browsing history for the tab
Ctrl+K or Ctrl+E Places a ‘?’ in the address bar. Type a search term after the ‘?’ to perform a search using your default search engine.
Place your cursor in the address bar, then press Ctrl and the left arrow together Jump to the previous word in the address bar
Place your cursor in the address bar, then press Ctrl and the right arrow together Jump to the next word in the address bar
Place your cursor in the address bar, then press Ctrl+Backspace Delete the previous word in the address bar
Space bar Scroll down the web page
Home Go to the top of the page
End Go to the bottom of the page

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-3-keyboard-shortcuts

Sep 06

Google Chrome Tip #2: Importing Firefox Portable Bookmarks

 Currently, Google Chrome will only import Bookmarks from an installed version of Firefox. I use Firefox Portable exclusively, but unfortunately, Google Chrome does not recognize it as an import source. So, if you are a Firefox Portable user, here’s a quick and dirty method of getting all of your existing Firefox bookmarks into Google Chrome….

This process assumes that you are using the “Firefox Portable” application found at http://PortableApps.com, and that you do not have Firefox “installed” on your PC. If you already have Firefox installed on your PC, doing this will probably mess up your current installation to the point that you may need to re-install Firefox and re-build all of your customizations. Be sure to back up your Firefox Portable directory because you don’t want to do anything to mess up your working version. I take no responsibility if you mess things up.

Also, the specific directories listed here refere to Windows XP directories. As I get the information for Vista, I will update this article.

First, close any instances of Firefox that you may have open.

Next, backup your Firefox Portable folder. Just copy it. It may take a few minutes. This will give you a backup should anything happen to your original folder.

Next, download and install Firefox. You can go to http://GetFirefox.com for the latest version. Launch the installer and install Firefox. You can keep all of the defaults as you will be uninstalling it later.

When the install completes, Launch the newly installed version of Firefox once to initialize itself.

Now, close Firefox.

OK, at this point, you can follow two paths depending on how much you want to import into Chrome:

Option 1. Import only Bookmarks into Google Chrome

This first method simply does an export, and import, and anoter import of your Firefox Bookmarks. If all you want to do is make your Bookmarks available in Google Chrome, this is probably the easiest method.

Close the installed version of Firefox, open Firefox Portable, and click the “Bookmarks” menu item and select “Organize Bookmarks”. In the new window, click the “Import and Backup” button on the top and select “Export HTML…”. Give it a filename, and click the Save button.

Now, close Firefox Portable and launch the newly installed version of Firefox. Click the “Bookmarks” menu item and select “Organize Bookmarks”. In the new window, click the “Import and Backup” button on the top and select “Import HTML…”.

When the Import Wizard opens, select “From an HTML file” and click the “Next” button. Select the filename you saved above, and click the “Open” button. Your bookmarks are now imported into the installed version of Firefox.

Take this moment to re-organize your bookmarks to your preferences and then close Firefox.

Finally, open Google Chrome and click on the “Customize and control Google Chrome” button (the Wrench icon in the upper right) and select “Import Bookmarks and Settings”. Select Mozilla Firefox from the dropdown and check only the “Favorites/Bookmarks” checkbox and click Import.

Your Portable Firefox bookmarks are now imported into Google Chrome!

You can now skip down to the CLEANUP section to complete things.

Option 2. Import all bookmarks, Search Engines, Saved passwords, and Browsing History into Google Chrome

This second method will let you import much more personal data into Google Chrome. It’s actually fairly easy. Just be sure you do NOT do this on a previously existing installed version of Firefox as you will mess it up if you do.

With this method, you simply copy your “profile” from your Firefox Portable folder to your installed Firefox folder, launch the installed version of Firefox, and then import into Google Chrome.

You should have a portable version of Firefox and a freshly installed version of Firefox. Close all instances of Firefox.

First, open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to the location of your Firefox Portable folder. You should see the following three folders: plugins, profile, and settings. Open the profile folder.

Now, open another Windows Explorer window and navigate to settings folder for your installed version of Firefox. It’s buried deep–you need to look here: (Note: This path is for Windows XP)

C:Documents and Settings{username}Application DataMozillaFirefoxProfiles

…where {username} is the user you are currently logged into.

You should see a single folder called {something}.default where the {something} is some numbers and letters. This differs from machine to machine. Open that folder.

Now, go back to your first Firefox Portable folder and do a “Select All” on all of the files and then select “Copy”.

Now, go back to the seconf Explorer window (the {something].default folder) and Paste what you copied. A “Confirm Folder Replace” popup will display. Click “Yes to All” and all of the required Firefox Portable data will be copied. This may take several minutes.

Next, launch the installed version of Firefox. Check the Bookmarks to verify that they are there and reofganize them if you want.

Close Firefox.

Finally, open Google Chrome and click on the “Customize and control Google Chrome” button (the Wrench icon in the upper right) and select “Import Bookmarks and Settings”. Select Mozilla Firefox from the dropdown and check the checkboxes of what you want to Import and then click “Import”.

Your Portable Firefox bookmarks, Search Engines, Saved Passwords, and browsing History are now imported into Google Chrome!

Now, just uninstall yout “installed” version of Firefox by clicking Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs. Select Mozilla Firefox, click the Remove button, and follow the prompts.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-2-importing-firefox-portable-bookmarks

Sep 04

Google Chrome Tip #1: Enhanced Find Feature

Google Chrome Enhanced FindThis is a really subtle one, but Google Chrome improves nicely on the “find” function for finding text within an open page. As in other browsers, pressing <ctrl><f> brings up a find box, however its overall functionality is just a bit different. Read on to see the differences….

First, the find box is integrated unobtrusively in the upper right corner of the page into which you type your search text. It’s clean and looks good. I never liked how Internet Explorer pops up a dialog box. It just gets in the way. Firefox, Safari, and now Google Chrome implement this well with Google Chrome behaving similarly to how Safari does it.

Google Chrome

As you type your search text, hits are highlighted in real time and the number of occurrences is displayed in the box. Clicking the Up and Down arrows in the find box will step you through all occurrences highlighting the current one in a bolder highlight.

Google Chrome

So far, this is all pretty standard, but look at the scrollbar on the right of the page. The relative locations of the hits is visually indicated by little lines in scrollbar in the same color as the highlight color within the text. This makes it quick and easy to tell at a glance where within the page you will find all of the occurrences.

Google Chrome

Its subtle, but surprisingly useful!

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/google-chrome-tip-1-enhanced-find-feature

Sep 03

Welcome to Google Chrome Tips!

Google Chrome Tips is here to provide some tips and tricks for Google’s new Chrome browser. I will also post some articles related to Chromium, the Open Source version of Chrome. While my browser of choice is still Firefox, Google Chrome offers some exciting features and performence enhancements that really makes it worth a look.

Permanent link to this article: http://jimstips.com/google-chrome-tips/welcome-to-google-chrome-tips

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