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Dana W. Jimenez

Dana W. Jimenez

Q. When I type in web searches in the box at the top of the Safari program on my Mac, the browser always brings me Google results. Is there a way to use Bing without having to first go to the Bing page and then type in keywords?

A. Apple’s Safari has several built-in features intended to make web browsing more efficient, including sending your keywords to a default browser when you type them into the Smart Search field at the top of the window. If you want to change the search engine that is automatically used, you can pick a different one in the Safari settings.

Click the Search tab in the Safari settings to change the default search engine. CreditThe New York Times

Open the Safari program, and in the Safari menu in the top-left corner of the toolbar, select Preferences. As a shortcut, you can also press the Command and comma keys on the keyboard to open the Preferences box without going through menus.

In the Safari Preferences box, click the Search tab. Here, you can change the browser’s default search engine. If you do not want to use Google, you can switch to YahooBing or the privacy-minded DuckDuckGo (which does not collect personal information when you use it).

The Search tab has a few other settings you can change, like whether to include search-engine suggestions or get Safari Suggestions (which bring results from iTunes, the App Store and places near your location, among other sources). Additionally, Safari allows you to turn off the ability to search within a site from the Smart Search field — just disable the “Enable Quick Website Search” option.

If you would rather Safari not start immediately displaying a page it thinks best matches your request (based on your browsing history), turn off the checkbox next to “Pre-load top hit in the background.” Finally, if you don’t like the big window of icons from your Favorite sites, you can shut it down by turning off the checkbox next to Show Favorites.

Author:  J. D. BIERSDORFER

Source:  http://www.nytimes.com/

Amazon has reached out to Extremetech with the following statement:  “Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands, and pursue wrongdoers aggressively.”

Amazon has a reputation for delivering quality goods at low prices, but a new lawsuit filed by Apple sheds unwelcome light on just how good some of those products actually are. It’s common to see Apple-compatible chargers and hardware for sale on Amazon and advertised as genuine Apple products — but according to Apple, the vast majority of these products are fake and built to terrible quality standards.

According to Patently Apple, Apple has filed suit against one such manufacturer, Mobile Star, whose products are available directly from Amazon and advertised as being genuine hardware, as shown below:

MobileStarListing-640x257

Image by Patently Apple

Underwriters Laboratories Inc (the testing facility responsible for certifying a great many products) recently conducted a series of tests on 400 counterfeit Apple adapters. Here’s how they describe the outcome:

The results of UL’s testing of counterfeit phone adapters were literally shocking. Part of the test equipment was damaged by energizing some of the counterfeit adapters. Twenty-two samples were immediately damaged during the process of energizing or during the leakage current test with 12 samples having a very high leakage current with a capacity for electrocution.

With regard to the electric strength test, only three of the four hundred samples passed, which corresponds to a 99 percent failure rate. Selected construction reviews found issues with the isolation transformer design. The internal components are vastly different when compared with a genuine UL Listed Apple adapter. Post testing analysis of the tested samples revealed a complete lack of triple isolation wire used for the secondary windings; neither the primary or secondary windings were separated properly, which is the major reason for the dramatic failure rate on the electric strength test.

When only three out of 400 samples can pass a test, you’ve clearly got a problem — and Apple is acting to isolate and reduce the possibility of product damage by suing one manufacturer directly. On the one hand, this is not surprising. Counterfeit and cheap generic power supplies from no-name vendors are a known point of failure. Generic power supplies tend to use cheap components and often aren’t designed for anything like the load ratings they advertise.

We’ve also seen a number of problems with USB-C in the past year, thanks to the efforts of Benson Leung, who took on the challenge of testing whether myriad cables advertising USB Type-C compatibility were actually built to spec and up to code (the answer has been no, in many cases, particularly when dealing with cheap Chinese manufacturers). Goods and services in China are often built with a mindset of “Chabuduo,” or close enough — this essay over at Aeon explores the problems and root causes of the philosophy and how the tech industry, in particular, has pushed to adopt manufacturing philosophies more in line with what Western customers expect.

When you don’t get what you pay for

The problem with counterfeit devices these days is that many of the counterfeits are good — so good, you need to literally read the fine print or examine the UL and Apple logos extremely closely to determine whether the hardware is actually legitimate. That’s not something you can plausibly do from an Amazon order page, not when stock photos are easily available and can be substituted for the product you’re actually buying. The fact that this hardware was sold directly by Amazon is another problem, though Amazon appears to have cooperated with Apple in removing the offending listings.

The problem here is that consumers tend to assume that a product is genuine if it is sold by Amazon and advertised as an official Apple product. There’s an unconscious assumption that someone — either Amazon or Apple — has already verified that products being advertised as genuine actually are genuine. Situations like this drive home the point that this is not the case. But the consumer has no practical way of validating the authenticity of the product without purchasing it and doing a close examination of its external markings and/or internal structure.

The simplest way to avoid the problem is to buy directly from the manufacturer. Don’t try to cut corners when it comes to power adapters and supplies — you may save a few bucks up front, but it could cost you significantly more later on.

Source : extremetech.com

Frank Hugenard, a scientist, public speaker and freelance contributor, had his report removed by HuffPo editors and his account disabled without explanation. The piece was entitled, ““Hillary Clinton to be Indicted On Federal Racketeering Charges” and it quickly went viral before being removed.

Huguenard, who seems to support Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), claims to have sources within the FBI who say the agency will recommend racketeering charges against Hillary. As Huguenard explained:

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a United States Federal Law passed in 1970 that was designed to provide a tool for law enforcement agencies to fight organized crime. RICO allows prosecution and punishment for alleged racketeering activity that has been executed as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Activity considered to be racketeering may include bribery, counterfeiting, money laundering, embezzlement, illegal gambling, kidnapping, murder, drug trafficking, slavery, and a host of other nefarious business practices.

James Comey and The FBI will present a recommendation to Loretta Lynch, Attorney General of the Department of Justice, that includes a cogent argument that the Clinton Foundation is an ongoing criminal enterprise engaged in money laundering and soliciting bribes in exchange for political, policy and legislative favors to individuals, corporations and even governments both foreign and domestic.

Huffington Post Politics senior editor Sam Stein claims to have no idea why the post was removed, and refused to give further comment when contacted by Breitbart News. Stein opined, “Sorry. I don’t know. I’d direct your question to a blog editor.”

Do you think Hillary Clinton will finally be indicted by the FBI, after years of criminal activity? Please leave us a comment (below) and tell us.

Source : thepoliticalinsider.com

94 percent of consumers said they plan to shop Amazon this holiday season.

A consumer survey recently conducted on behalf of retail personalization platform BloomReach found that Amazon has increased its lead as the product search engine of choice for US consumers. Last year, 44 percent reported starting their search for products on Amazon; this year, it’s 55 percent.

The “State of Amazon” study polled 2,000 US consumers in September. A survey released earlier this year by PowerReviews (n=1,000 consumers) found a narrower lead for Amazon (38 percent) vs. Google (35 percent) as the starting point for products.

Amazon is utilized as a starting point by twice as many people as use traditional search engines for product search. On mobile devices, search engines do a bit better: 34 percent vs. Amazon’s 50 percent.

product-search

products-search

 

Even if it’s not the starting point, Amazon is still used during the online shopping process by the vast majority of online shoppers: “9 in 10 say they check Amazon even if they found a product they want on a retailer’s site.”

Overall the Amazon user experience was cited as superior to most retailers and as a major loyalty driver: 53 percent of survey respondents said that Amazon offered the best site experience overall. In addition, 58 percent of consumers said they have abandoned a retailer site for Amazon after a poor site experience.

holidays -happen

The chart above reflects usage patterns among consumers with a product in mind (left), as well as those uncertain about what to buy (right). Amazon is more widely used by those who know what they want but still heavily used by those who do not.

One daunting finding for traditional retailers: survey respondents expect to do half of their holiday shopping online, with 94 percent planning to shop on Amazon.

Source : http://searchengineland.com

Since the the revelations of Edward Snowden, we’ve all become a bit more paranoid about digital security and privacy. Snowden himself hasn’t owned a smartphone since he blew the whistle on the NSA’s illegal tracking actions in 2014 for fear of being tracked. Still, as Joseph Heller wrote in Catch-22, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you”.

To that length, Snowden has now partnered with hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang to build a case for your iPhone 6. Once installed, it will alert you if the phone is broadcasting when it shouldn’t. The primary purpose is to protect journalists who are reporting in dangerous parts of the world like Marie Colvin who, in 2012, was killed by artillery fire. The Syrian military has been accused by Colvin’s family of targeting her using her mobile device.

Snowden’s device is not yet on the market, but there are still ways out there that make it easier to protect yourself and your phone from snooping.

1. Hardware Level Encryption

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.31.14 AM.png

iOS has long supported hardware level encryption, and every new version seems to support more features. Android encrypts your storage by default ever since version 5.0 Marshmallow. In both cases they encrypt your data and can only be unlocked by the hardware in your phone.

However, it’s only as strong as your key. Setting up a lock code more complex than ‘1234’ or your birthday is one of the best security devices you can have.

2. Biometric scanning hardware

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.01.52 AM.png

Why have passwords and codes to unlock your phone when fingerprint readers are on the newest iPhones and flagship Android phones? Securely unlocking your device is as quick as pressing a button. Iris scanners are the new biometric scanner toy, and is currently a unique feature on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It’s far more secure than fingerprint scanning, but early reports indicate that it’s slower and more inconvenient. Even so, thieves will have a hard time replicating your iris in order to access your data so iris scanning might be your best option.

3. Smartphone technology

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.03.32 AM.png

You can put your phone in Airplane Mode or you can hold the power button and turn it off. However, Edward Snowden rightly believes that malware can be installed on your device to simulate those features while still reporting your location. The only way to be sure your phone isn’t talking to the wrong people is to yank the battery.

Phones like new LG G5 are doing some things to work around that. The flagship smartphone was redesigned to take advantage of LG Friends products, which are modular accessories that add special features to your phone. The accessories haven’t really taken off, but it gives the G5 the unique ability to pop the battery out with the push of a button. It also has a fingerprint reader and the newest Android with encrypted data protection built in.

When it’s turned off you can’t use the camera, microphone, or notepad features that make a smartphone so useful when acting covertly. You’ll have to check how safe you are, then with a quick pop the battery is back in and you can get recording.

4.Encrypted Instant Messenger

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.16.02 AM.png


There are dozens, maybe hundreds of Instant Messaging apps out there. We all have our favorite, and our friends have theirs (which we have too just to use just to stay in contact). If you want to be sure that only you and your recipient will be able to read your conversation, you need to use Signal (available for iOS and Android).

 

Once you install it, the app checks your contacts and immediately connects you to anyone else who has the app installed. There are no animated stickers here. The design is minimal and fits right in with Android or iOS’s design specs.

If your friends are unwilling to part with their IM app-of-choice, you have to do your research. WhatsApp supports encryption using the same algorithm used in Signal, but they were acquired by Facebook in 2014 and that makes some users uncomfortable. Google’s forthcoming Allo app will replace Hangouts, but only enables end-to-end encryption with Incognito Mode conversations and are deleted when the conversation ends. Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime both support end-to-end encryption as well. Just make sure to encrypt your backups because all your conversations will wind up there.

5. Anti-Virus Software

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.33.17 AM.png

No sooner than someone says an operating system is virus-proof than someone tries to write a virus for it. While not the plague it was for desktop computers in the 90s, viruses are still a very real possibility even if you only download from the official Apple or Google app stores.

To that end, there are several anti-virus apps that sit in the background and scan every app that comes through the doors. Lookout Security & Antivirus is one of the grandaddies on the mobile platform. It’s available on Android and iOS for free and remains one of the highest ranked antivirus apps. Additional features are unlocked for $2.99 a month or $29.99 annually.

6. Password Safes 

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.19.05 AM.png

Thinking up a new password for every email address, e-card site, and cat video portal is exhausting. Eventually, you start to recycle passwords. It then only takes one hacked Sony or LinkedIn to expose your accounts on every site where that password is used. Password managers like 1Password and LastPass securely store your passwords, and release them only when authorized by a master password or fingerprint reader.

While they can store your weakly generated and repeated passwords, password safes can also randomize unique passwords for each site. Securely storing ‘passw0rd123’ is good, but no hacker will guess a 16-digit random collection of letters and numbers. Since they will automatically populate username and password fields in your browser or apps, you’ll never need to type it in either. Both 1Password and LastPass can be installed on your desktop browsers so you have full access to those secure sites everywhere.

7. DTEK by Blackberry

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.20.02 AM.png

You’ve set a secure password on your lock screen, you’ve turned off Google’s tracking, you disable WiFi when outside the house, but there’s still lots of work to do. Just one year ago privacy experts found that simply having Uber installed on your phone could send buckets of your data to their servers, even if you weren’t using the app.

Enter DTEK by Blackberry. It will scan all potential security breaches on your phone. If an app decides to turn on your microphone, DTEK flashes you a warning. Most of the time it will probably be okay, but that one time it’s not you’ll appreciate the warning.

DTEK keeps a log of the access each app receives and reports back to you how many times it has, for example, read your contacts. It even has Factory Reset Protection, which stops thieves from wiping your device to prevent you from tracking it. All this security sounds like a lot of work, but that’s the beautiful thing about DTEK. The clean interface makes it all very simple for the casual user.

Sadly, the DTEK app requires deep access to the phone’s OS. That’s only possible for Blackberry on their own devices; the Blackberry PRIV and DTEK50. Both are Android phones with hardware features comparable to other high-end and mid-range Android flagships. If Blackberry decides at the end of the year to get out of the hardware game, the DTEK software may be opened to other devices.

8. Tracking software

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 10.21.42 AM.png

Sometimes, tracking your phone is a good thing. Your phone goes missing, and all your photos, notes and interview recordings are on there.

For at least a few years, both iOS and Android have had tracking software built into your phones in case they get lost or stolen. Using iCloud.com (link), iPhone users can locate their device, lock the screen, lock the activation (so it can’t be resold and reactivated), or remotely wipe the device clean.

When logged into your Google account, a simple search engine query of “Find my phone” will bring up a map for any of your registered devices. From the web-based interface you can force it to ring (even if the sound is off). Useful for when you just can’t find it around house, or when you know the thief is nearby and you want it to send up a flare. From here you can also reset the password, or completely lock out the device.

 

9. VPN

A Virtual Private Network sits between you and the Internet. It’s like a butler that goes out, gets the newspaper, and returns without anyone knowing you like reading supermarket tabloids. VPNs can be used to keep your information anonymous when visiting web sites, place you in different countries (so you can watch Netflix’s BBC lineup), and most importantly, encrypt your data transfer.

Avoid free VPNs. If you don’t know how they’re making money, then they might be making money on you. Spring the few bucks a month it takes to secure all your connections in and out of your smartphone with a service like NordVPN. Is one level of encryption not good enough? NordVPN offers Double VPN which runs AES-256-CBC encryption on your data transfers two times at the expense of some speed. The feature is optional and can be enabled for those times when you’re feeling as paranoid as Edward Snowden. The service is $8 per month, or $69 for the year.

Source : https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/08/9-ways-to-secure-your-smartphone.html

Saturday, 20 August 2016 14:48

How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet

They’re turning the web into a cesspool of aggression and violence. What watching them is doing to the rest of us may be even worse

This story is not a good idea. Not for society and certainly not for me. Because what trolls feed on is attention. And this little bit–these several thousand words–is like leaving bears a pan of baklava.

It would be smarter to be cautious, because the Internet’s personality has changed. Once it was a geek with lofty ideals about the free flow of information. Now, if you need help improving your upload speeds the web is eager to help with technical details, but if you tell it you’re struggling with depression it will try to goad you into killing yourself. Psychologists call this the online disinhibition effect, in which factors like anonymity, invisibility, a lack of authority and not communicating in real time strip away the mores society spent millennia building. And it’s seeping from our smartphones into every aspect of our lives.

The people who relish this online freedom are called trolls, a term that originally came from a fishing method online thieves use to find victims. It quickly morphed to refer to the monsters who hide in darkness and threaten people. Internet trolls have a manifesto of sorts, which states they are doing it for the “lulz,” or laughs. What trolls do for the lulz ranges from clever pranks to harassment to violent threats. There’s also doxxing–publishing personal data, such as Social Security numbers and bank accounts–and swatting, calling in an emergency to a victim’s house so the SWAT team busts in. When victims do not experience lulz, trolls tell them they have no sense of humor. Trolls are turning social media and comment boards into a giant locker room in a teen movie, with towel-snapping racial epithets and misogyny.

They’ve been steadily upping their game. In 2011, trolls descended on Facebook memorial pages of recently deceased users to mock their deaths. In 2012, after feminist Anita Sarkeesian started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of YouTube videos chronicling misogyny in video games, she received bomb threats at speaking engagements, doxxing threats, rape threats and an unwanted starring role in a video game called Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian. In June of this year, Jonathan Weisman, the deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, quit Twitter, on which he had nearly 35,000 followers, after a barrage of anti-Semitic messages. At the end of July, feminist writer Jessica Valenti said she was leaving social media after receiving a rape threat against her daughter, who is 5 years old.

A Pew Research Center survey published two years ago found that 70% of 18-to-24-year-olds who use the Internet had experienced harassment, and 26% of women that age said they’d been stalked online. This is exactly what trolls want. A 2014 study published in the psychology journal Personality and Individual Differences found that the approximately 5% of Internet users who self-identified as trolls scored extremely high in the dark tetrad of personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and, especially, sadism.

But maybe that’s just people who call themselves trolls. And maybe they do only a small percentage of the actual trolling. “Trolls are portrayed as aberrational and antithetical to how normal people converse with each other. And that could not be further from the truth,” says Whitney Phillips, a literature professor at Mercer University and the author of This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture. “These are mostly normal people who do things that seem fun at the time that have huge implications. You want to say this is the bad guys, but it’s a problem of us.”

A lot of people enjoy the kind of trolling that illuminates the gullibility of the powerful and their willingness to respond. One of the best is Congressman Steve Smith, a Tea Party Republican representing Georgia’s 15th District, which doesn’t exist. For nearly three years Smith has spewed over-the-top conservative blather on Twitter, luring Senator Claire McCaskill, Christiane Amanpour and Rosie O’Donnell into arguments. Surprisingly, the guy behind the GOP-mocking prank, Jeffrey Marty, isn’t a liberal but a Donald Trump supporter angry at the Republican elite, furious at Hillary Clinton and unhappy with Black Lives Matter. A 40-year-old dad and lawyer who lives outside Tampa, he says he has become addicted to the attention. “I was totally ruined when I started this. My ex-wife and I had just separated. She decided to start a new, more exciting life without me,” he says. Then his best friend, who he used to do pranks with as a kid, killed himself. Now he’s got an illness that’s keeping him home.

Marty says his trolling has been empowering. “Let’s say I wrote a letter to the New York Times saying I didn’t like your article about Trump. They throw it in the shredder. On Twitter I communicate directly with the writers. It’s a breakdown of all the institutions,” he says. “I really do think this stuff matters in the election. I have 1.5 million views of my tweets every 28 days. It’s a much bigger audience than I would have gotten if I called people up and said, ‘Did you ever consider Trump for President?'”

Trolling is, overtly, a political fight. Liberals do indeed troll–sex-advice columnist Dan Savage used his followers to make Googling former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s last name a blunt lesson in the hygienic challenges of anal sex; the hunter who killed Cecil the lion got it really bad.

But trolling has become the main tool of the alt-right, an Internet-grown reactionary movement that works for men’s rights and against immigration and may have used the computer from Weird Science to fabricate Donald Trump. Not only does Trump share their attitudes, but he’s got mad trolling skills: he doxxed Republican primary opponent Senator Lindsey Graham by giving out his cell-phone number on TV and indirectly got his Twitter followers to attack GOP political strategist Cheri Jacobus so severely that her lawyers sent him a cease-and-desist order.

The alt-right’s favorite insult is to call men who don’t hate feminism “cucks,” as in “cuckold.” Republicans who don’t like Trump are “cuckservatives.” Men who don’t see how feminists are secretly controlling them haven’t “taken the red pill,” a reference to the truth-revealing drug in The Matrix. They derisively call their adversaries “social-justice warriors” and believe that liberal interest groups purposely exploit their weakness to gain pity, which allows them to control the levers of power. Trolling is the alt-right’s version of political activism, and its ranks view any attempt to take it away as a denial of democracy.

In this new culture war, the battle isn’t just over homosexuality, abortion, rap lyrics, drugs or how to greet people at Christmastime. It’s expanded to anything and everything: video games, clothing ads, even remaking a mediocre comedy from the 1980s. In July, trolls who had long been furious that the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters starred four women instead of men harassed the film’s black co-star Leslie Jones so badly on Twitter with racist and sexist threats–including a widely copied photo of her at the film’s premiere that someone splattered semen on–that she considered quitting the service. “I was in my apartment by myself, and I felt trapped,” Jones says. “When you’re reading all these gay and racial slurs, it was like, I can’t fight y’all. I didn’t know what to do. Do you call the police? Then they got my email, and they started sending me threats that they were going to cut off my head and stuff they do to ‘N words.’ It’s not done to express an opinion, it’s done to scare you.”

Because of Jones’ harassment, alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter. (He is also an editor at Breitbart News, the conservative website whose executive chairman, Stephen Bannon, was hired Aug. 17 to run the Trump campaign.) The service said Yiannopoulos, a critic of the new Ghostbusters who called Jones a “black dude” in a tweet, marshaled many of his more than 300,000 followers to harass her. He not only denies this but says being responsible for your fans is a ridiculous standard. He also thinks Jones is faking hurt for political purposes. “She is one of the stars of a Hollywood blockbuster,” he says. “It takes a certain personality to get there. It’s a politically aware, highly intelligent star using this to get ahead. I think it’s very sad that feminism has turned very successful women into professional victims.”

A gay, 31-year-old Brit with frosted hair, Yiannopoulos has been speaking at college campuses on his Dangerous Faggot tour. He says trolling is a direct response to being told by the left what not to say and what kinds of video games not to play. “Human nature has a need for mischief. We want to thumb our nose at authority and be individuals,” he says. “Trump might not win this election. I might not turn into the media figure I want to. But the space we’re making for others to be bolder in their speech is some of the most important work being done today. The trolls are the only people telling the truth.”

The alt-right was galvanized by Gamergate, a 2014 controversy in which trolls tried to drive critics of misogyny in video games away from their virtual man cave. “In the mid-2000s, Internet culture felt very separate from pop culture,” says Katie Notopoulos, who reports on the web as an editor at BuzzFeed and co-host of the Internet Explorer podcast. “This small group of people are trying to stand their ground that the Internet is dark and scary, and they’re trying to scare people off. There’s such a culture of viciously making fun of each other on their message boards that they have this very thick skin. They’re all trained up.”

Andrew Auernheimer, who calls himself Weev online, is probably the biggest troll in history. He served just over a year in prison for identity fraud and conspiracy. When he was released in 2014, he left the U.S., mostly bouncing around Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Since then he has worked to post anti–Planned Parenthood videos and flooded thousands of university printers in America with instructions to print swastikas–a symbol tattooed on his chest. When I asked if I could fly out and interview him, he agreed, though he warned that he “might not be coming ashore for a while, but we can probably pass close enough to land to have you meet us somewhere in the Adriatic or Ionian.” His email signature: “Eternally your servant in the escalation of entropy and eschaton.”

While we planned my trip to “a pretty remote location,” he told me that he no longer does interviews for free and that his rate was two bitcoins (about $1,100) per hour. That’s when one of us started trolling the other, though I’m not sure which:

From: Joel Stein

To: Andrew Auernheimer

I totally understand your position. But TIME, and all the major media outlets, won’t pay people who we interview. There’s a bunch of reasons for that, but I’m sure you know them.

Thanks anyway,

Joel


From: Andrew Auernheimer

To: Joel Stein

I find it hilarious that after your people have stolen years of my life at gunpoint and bulldozed my home, you still expect me to work for free in your interests.

You people belong in a f-cking oven.


From: Joel Stein

To: Andrew Auernheimer

For a guy who doesn’t want to be interviewed for free, you’re giving me a lot of good quotes!


In a later blog post about our emails, Weev clarified that TIME is “trying to destroy white civilization” and that we should “open up your Jew wallets and dump out some of the f-cking geld you’ve stolen from us goys, because what other incentive could I possibly have to work with your poisonous publication?” I found it comforting that the rate for a neo-Nazi to compromise his ideology is just two bitcoins.

Expressing socially unacceptable views like Weev’s is becoming more socially acceptable. Sure, just like there are tiny, weird bookstores where you can buy neo-Nazi pamphlets, there are also tiny, weird white-supremacist sites on the web. But some of the contributors on those sites now go to places like 8chan or 4chan, which have a more diverse crowd of meme creators, gamers, anime lovers and porn enthusiasts. Once accepted there, they move on to Reddit, the ninth most visited site in the U.S., on which users can post links to online articles and comment on them anonymously. Reddit believes in unalloyed free speech; the site only eliminated the comment boards “jailbait,” “creepshots” and “beatingwomen” for legal reasons.

But last summer, Reddit banned five more discussion groups for being distasteful. The one with the largest user base, more than 150,000 subscribers, was “fatpeoplehate.” It was a particularly active community that reveled in finding photos of overweight people looking happy, almost all women, and adding mean captions. Reddit users would then post these images all over the targets’ Facebook pages along with anywhere else on the Internet they could. “What you see on Reddit that is visible is at least 10 times worse behind the scenes,” says Dan McComas, a former Reddit employee. “Imagine two users posting about incest and taking that conversation to their private messages, and that’s where the really terrible things happen. That’s where we saw child porn and abuse and had to do all of our work with law enforcement.”

Jessica Moreno, McComas’ wife, pushed for getting rid of “fatpeoplehate” when she was the company’s head of community. This was not a popular decision with users who really dislike people with a high body mass index. She and her husband had their home address posted online along with suggestions on how to attack them. Eventually they had a police watch on their house. They’ve since moved. Moreno has blurred their house on Google maps and expunged nearly all photos of herself online.

During her time at Reddit, some users who were part of a group that mails secret Santa gifts to one another complained to Moreno that they didn’t want to participate because the person assigned to them made racist or sexist comments on the site. Since these people posted their real names, addresses, ages, jobs and other details for the gifting program, Moreno learned a good deal about them. “The idea of the basement dweller drinking Mountain Dew and eating Doritos isn’t accurate,” she says. “They would be a doctor, a lawyer, an inspirational speaker, a kindergarten teacher. They’d send lovely gifts and be a normal person.” These are real people you might know, Moreno says. There’s no real-life indicator. “It’s more complex than just being good or bad. It’s not all men either; women do take part in it.” The couple quit their jobs and started Imzy, a cruelty-free Reddit. They believe that saving a community is nearly impossible once mores have been established, and that sites like Reddit are permanently lost to the trolls.

When sites are overrun by trolls, they drown out the voices of women, ethnic and religious minorities, gays–anyone who might feel vulnerable. Young people in these groups assume trolling is a normal part of life online and therefore self-censor. An anonymous poll of the writers at TIME found that 80% had avoided discussing a particular topic because they feared the online response. The same percentage consider online harassment a regular part of their jobs. Nearly half the women on staff have considered quitting journalism because of hatred they’ve faced online, although none of the men had. Their comments included “I’ve been raged at with religious slurs, had people track down my parents and call them at home, had my body parts inquired about.” Another wrote, “I’ve had the usual online trolls call me horrible names and say I am biased and stupid and deserve to be raped. I don’t think men realize how normal that is for women on the Internet.”

The alt-right argues that if you can’t handle opprobrium, you should just turn off your computer. But that’s arguing against self-expression, something antithetical to the original values of the Internet. “The question is: How do you stop people from being a–holes not to their face?” says Sam Altman, a venture capitalist who invested early in Reddit and ran the company for eight days in 2014 after one of its many PR crises. “This is exactly what happened when people talked badly about public figures. Now everyone on the Internet is a public figure. The problem is that not everyone can deal with that.” Altman declared on June 15 that he would quit Twitter and his 171,000 followers, saying, “I feel worse after using Twitter … my brain gets polluted here.”

Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Del Harvey, struggles with how to allow criticism but curb abuse. “Categorically to say that all content you don’t like receiving is harassment would be such a broad brush it wouldn’t leave us much content,” she says. Harvey is not her real name, which she gave up long ago when she became a professional troll, posing as underage girls (and occasionally boys) to entrap pedophiles as an administrator for the website Perverted-Justice and later for NBC’s To Catch a Predator. Citing the role of Twitter during the Arab Spring, she says that anonymity has given voice to the oppressed, but that women and minorities are more vulnerable to attacks by the anonymous.

But even those in the alt-right who claim they are “unf-ckwithable” aren’t really. At some point, everyone, no matter how desensitized by their online experience, is liable to get freaked out by a big enough or cruel enough threat. Still, people have vastly different levels of sensitivity. A white male journalist who covers the Middle East might blow off death threats, but a teenage blogger might not be prepared to be told to kill herself because of her “disgusting acne.”

Which are exactly the kinds of messages Em Ford, 27, was receiving en masse last year on her YouTube tutorials on how to cover pimples with makeup. Men claimed to be furious about her physical “trickery,” forcing her to block hundreds of users each week. This year, Ford made a documentary for the BBC called Troll Hunters in which she interviewed online abusers and victims, including a soccer referee who had rape threats posted next to photos of his young daughter on her way home from school. What Ford learned was that the trolls didn’t really hate their victims. “It’s not about the target. If they get blocked, they say, ‘That’s cool,’ and move on to the next person,” she says. Trolls don’t hate people as much as they love the game of hating people.

Troll culture might be affecting the way nontrolls treat one another. A yet-to-be-published study by University of California, Irvine, professor Zeev Kain showed that when people were exposed to reports of good deeds on Facebook, they were 10% more likely to report doing good deeds that day. But the opposite is likely occurring as well. “One can see discourse norms shifting online, and they’re probably linked to behavior norms,” says Susan Benesch, founder of the Dangerous Speech Project and faculty associate at Harvard’s Internet and Society center. “When people think it’s increasingly O.K. to describe a group of people as subhuman or vermin, those same people are likely to think that it’s O.K. to hurt those people.”

As more trolling occurs, many victims are finding laws insufficient and local police untrained. “Where we run into the problem is the social-media platforms are very hesitant to step on someone’s First Amendment rights,” says Mike Bires, a senior police officer in Southern California who co-founded LawEnforcement.social, a tool for cops to fight on-line crime and use social media to work with their communities. “If they feel like someone’s life is in danger, Twitter and Snapchat are very receptive. But when it comes to someone harassing you online, getting the social-media companies to act can be very frustrating.” Until police are fully caught up, he recommends that victims go to the officer who runs the force’s social-media department.

One counter-trolling strategy now being employed on social media is to flood the victims of abuse with kindness. That’s how many Twitter users have tried to blunt racist and body-shaming attacks on U.S. women’s gymnastics star Gabby Douglas and Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno during the Summer Olympics in Rio. In 2005, after Emily May co-founded Hollaback!, which posts photos of men who harass women on the street in order to shame them (some might call this trolling), she got a torrent of misogynistic messages. “At first, I thought it was funny. We were making enough impact that these losers were spending their time calling us ‘cunts’ and ‘whores’ and ‘carpet munchers,'” she says. “Long-term exposure to it, though, I found myself not being so active on Twitter and being cautious about what I was saying online. It’s still harassment in public space. It’s just the Internet instead of the street.” This summer May created Heartmob, an app to let people report trolling and receive messages of support from others.

Though everyone knows not to feed the trolls, that can be challenging to the type of people used to expressing their opinions. Writer Lindy West has written about her abortion, hatred of rape jokes and her body image–all of which generated a flood of angry messages. When her father Paul died, a troll quickly started a fake Twitter account called PawWestDonezo, (“donezo” is slang for “done”) with a photo of her dad and the bio “embarrassed father of an idiot.” West reacted by writing about it. Then she heard from her troll, who apologized, explaining that he wasn’t happy with his life and was angry at her for being so pleased with hers.

West says that even though she’s been toughened by all the abuse, she is thinking of writing for TV, where she’s more insulated from online feedback. “I feel genuine fear a lot. Someone threw a rock through my car window the other day, and my immediate thought was it’s someone from the Internet,” she says. “Finally we have a platform that’s democratizing and we can make ourselves heard, and then you’re harassed for advocating for yourself, and that shuts you down again.”

I’ve been a columnist long enough that I got calloused to abuse via threats sent over the U.S. mail. I’m a straight white male, so the trolling is pretty tame, my vulnerabilities less obvious. My only repeat troll is Megan Koester, who has been attacking me on Twitter for a little over two years. Mostly, she just tells me how bad my writing is, always calling me “disgraced former journalist Joel Stein.” Last year, while I was at a restaurant opening, she tweeted that she was there too and that she wanted to take “my one-sided feud with him to the next level.” She followed this immediately with a tweet that said, “Meet me outside Clifton’s in 15 minutes. I wanna kick your ass.” Which shook me a tiny bit. A month later, she tweeted that I should meet her outside a supermarket I often go to: “I’m gonna buy some Ahi poke with EBT and then kick your ass.”

I sent a tweet to Koester asking if I could buy her lunch, figuring she’d say no or, far worse, say yes and bring a switchblade or brass knuckles, since I have no knowledge of feuding outside of West Side Story. Her email back agreeing to meet me was warm and funny. Though she also sent me the script of a short movie she had written (see excerpt, left).

I saw Koester standing outside the restaurant. She was tiny–5 ft. 2 in., with dark hair, wearing black jeans and a Spy magazine T-shirt. She ordered a seitan sandwich, and after I asked the waiter about his life, she looked at me in horror. “Are you a people person?” she asked. As a 32-year-old freelance writer for Vice.com who has never had a full-time job, she lives on a combination of sporadic paychecks and food stamps. My career success seemed, quite correctly, unjust. And I was constantly bragging about it in my column and on Twitter. “You just extruded smarminess that I found off-putting. It’s clear I’m just projecting. The things I hate about you are the things I hate about myself,” she said.

As a feminist stand-up comic with more than 26,000 Twitter followers, Koester has been trolled more than I have. One guy was so furious that she made fun of a 1970s celebrity at an autograph session that he tweeted he was going to rape her and wanted her to die afterward. “So you’d think I’d have some sympathy,” she said about trolling me. “But I never felt bad. I found that column so vile that I thought you didn’t deserve sympathy.”

When I suggested we order wine, she told me she’s a recently recovered alcoholic who was drunk at the restaurant opening when she threatened to beat me up. I asked why she didn’t actually walk up to me that afternoon and, even if she didn’t punch me, at least tell me off. She looked at me like I was an idiot. “Why would I do that?” she said. “The Internet is the realm of the coward. These are people who are all sound and no fury.”

Maybe. But maybe, in the information age, sound is as destructive as fury.

Source :http://time.com/4457110/internet-trolls/ 

There are so many information portals on the web for health information, it can be tough to decipher which one is the best resource to answer a medical question. NetBase Solutions has launched healthBase, a powerful semantic search engine that aggregates medical content from millions of authoritative health sites including WebMD, Wikipedia, PubMed, and the Mayo Clinic’s health site.

HealthBase uses NetBase’s proprietary search intelligence technology to read sentences inside documents and linguistically understand the meaning of the content. Thus, healthBase’s search engine can automatically find treatments for any health condition or disease; the pros and cons of any treatment, medication and food, and more.

The search engine’s results are impressive. When you type in a search for the available treatments for diabetes, you are given results that are broken down by 63 drugs and medications used to treat the disease, 70 common treatments for diabetes, and 20 appropriate food and plants for the treatment of diabetes. You can also see the pros and cons of certain treatments. Search results appear disarmingly fast and will take you to the appropriate site where the content and information is hosted.

There’s no doubt that this is a useful site to tap into the vast variety of health information there is on the web, but I find the site to be slightly impersonal. Medical information, which can be daunting and sterile, is sometimes best served with a human touch on the web, especially when it comes to consumer knowledge. Medpedia is a good example of a site that contains a large amount of content that also has a social element.

But healthBase serves a valid purpose as an aggregator of medical content and will surely help those looking for a comprehensive research tool. Parent company NetBase won’t serve advertising on the site but monetizes its technology by powering internal search engines for companies that have large databases of content. Healthbase is a public demonstration of its technology.

https://techcrunch.com/2009/09/02/healthbase-is-the-ultimate-medical-content-search-engine/

A 2012 data breach that was thought to have exposed 6.5 million encrypted passwords for LinkedIn users instead likely impacted more than 117 million accounts, the company now says. In response, the business networking giant said today that it would once again force a password reset for individual users thought to be impacted in the expanded breach.

The 2012 breach was first exposed when a hacker posted a list of some 6.5 million unique passwords to a popular forum where members volunteer or can be hired to hack complex passwords. Forum members managed to crack some the passwords, and eventually noticed that an inordinate number of the passwords they were able to crack contained some variation of "linkedin" in them.

LinkedIn responded by forcing a password reset on all 6.5 million of the impacted accounts, but it stopped there. Earlier today, reports surfaced about a sales thread on an online cybercrime bazaar in which the seller offered to sell 117 million records stolen in the 2012 breach. In addition, the paid hacked data search engine LeakedSource claims to have a searchable copy of the 117 million record database (this service said it found my LinkedIn email address in the data cache, but it asked me to pay $US4 for a one-day trial membership in order to view the data; I declined).

Inexplicably, LinkedIn's response to the most recent breach is to repeat the mistake it made with original breach, by once again forcing a password reset for only a subset of its users.

"Yesterday, we became aware of an additional set of data that had just been released that claims to be email and hashed password combinations of more than 100 million LinkedIn members from that same theft in 2012," wrote Cory Scott, in a post on the company's blog. "We are taking immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of the accounts impacted, and we will contact those members to reset their passwords. We have no indication that this is as a result of a new security breach."

LinkedIn spokesman Hani Durzy said the company has obtained a copy of the 117 million record database, and that LinkedIn believes it to be real.
"We believe it is from the 2012 breach," Durzy said in an email, declining to answer questions about why LinkedIn chose again to force a reset for only some users. "How many of those 117m are active and current is still being investigated."

The 117 million figure makes sense: LinkedIn says it has more than 400 million users, but reports suggest only about 25 percent of those accounts are used monthly.
Alex Holden, co-founder of security consultancy Hold Security, was among the first to discover the original cache of 6.5 million back in 2012 — shortly after it was posted to the Russian-language hacking forum InsidePro. Holden said the 6.5 encrypted passwords were all unique, and did not include any passwords that were simple to crack with rudimentary tools or resources [full disclosure: Holden's site lists this author as an adviser, however I receive no compensation for that role].

"These were just the ones that the guy who posted it couldn't crack," Holden said. "I always thought that the hacker simply didn't post to the forum all of the easy passwords that he could crack himself."
According to LeakedSource, just 50 easily guessed passwords made up more than 2.2 million of the 117 million encrypted passwords exposed in the breach.

"Passwords were stored in SHA1 with no salting," the password-selling site claims. "This is not what internet standards propose. Only 117m accounts have passwords and we suspect the remaining users registered using Facebook or some similarity."

SHA1 is one of several different methods for "hashing" — that is, obfuscating and storing — plain text passwords. Passwords are "hashed" by taking the plain text password and running it against a theoretically one-way mathematical algorithm that turns the user's password into a string of gibberish numbers and letters that is supposed to be challenging to reverse.

The 10 most common LinkedIn passwords, according to LeakedSource.

The weakness of this approach is that hashes by themselves are static, meaning that the password "123456," for example, will always compute to the same password hash. To make matters worse, there are plenty of tools capable of very rapidly mapping these hashes to common dictionary words, names and phrases, which essentially negates the effectiveness of hashing. These days, computer hardware has gotten so cheap that attackers can easily and very cheaply build machines capable of computing tens of millions of possible password hashes per second for each corresponding username or email address.

But by adding a unique element, or "salt," to each user password, database administrators can massively complicate things for attackers who may have stolen the user database and rely upon automated tools to crack user passwords.
LinkedIn said it added salt to its password hashing function following the 2012 breach. But if you're a LinkedIn user and haven't changed your LinkedIn password since 2012, your password may not be protected with the added salting capabilities. At least, that's my reading of the situation from LinkedIn's 2012 post about the breach.
If you haven't changed your LinkedIn password in a while, that would probably be a good idea. Most importantly, if you use your LinkedIn password at other sites, change those passwords to unique passwords. As this breach reminds us, re-using passwords at multiple sites that hold personal and/or financial information about you is a less-than-stellar idea.

Source:  http://www.smh.com.au/technology/consumer-security/linkedin-breach-affected-more-than-100-million-users-site-confirms-20160518-goyh68.html

Google Chrome used to clearly be the best browser, with its speed advantage and extension ecosystem, but that’s changing. We’re living in the golden age of web browsers, and users are spoiled when it comes to choice.

After decades of criticism, Microsoft is replacing Internet Explorer with Edge, a lean browser designed for Windows 10. Mozilla Firefox and Opera, meanwhile, continue to optimize features and add new tools, while Safari’s focus on power usage gives Mac users a serious reason to consider using the default. And then there’s the new kid in town, Vivaldi, with a minimalist design and near-total customization.

You can’t really go wrong with any of the popular browsers, but there are a few things here and there that give each its own competitive edge.

Installation, updates, and compatibility

Installation across the browsers is basically the same. Users can download them from their respective websites if they aren’t built into your operating system already — i.e. Safari, Edge, IE — and each will typically download in under 30 seconds.

Below is a list of browser compatibility.

  • Google Chrome: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • Mozilla Firefox : Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • Internet Explorer (32 and 64-bit): Windows
  • Safari: Mac OS X (Windows version no longer supported)
  • Opera: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • Edge: Available with Windows 10, not available for older versions of Windows.
  • Vivaldi: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux

When it comes to updates, most of the browsers are now more or less equivalent. Background updating is the default practice. In the case of Chrome, Firefox, Vivaldi, and Opera, it’s handled through the app. Edge and Safari are updated through Microsoft and Apple’s respective update utilities. Internet Explorer is the only browser that’s no longer receiving updates, as it’s been put out to pasture in favor of Edge. However, it’s still available for use on Windows machines for compatibility reasons.

Design and ease of use

The current trend in browser design is for the browser to nearly disappear. IE, Edge, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome all attempt to be as minimal as possible, offering next to no actual text and small, monochromatic buttons that discretely blend with the aesthetic design of operating systems such as Windows 8 and Mac OS X. Vivaldi fights back against this somewhat, offering a splash of color and bringing back the statusbar, but it’s still largely governed by the minimalist ethos. Overall, all the browsers stay out of your way and let you focus on the site you’re looking at. Below we compare and contrast the design of each browser.

Google Chrome

Google-chrome
 
Google-chrome

Chrome was the first browser to radically simplify the user interface, offering users little more than an address bar and just a few other buttons. It’s a clean look, and though installing enough extensions can clutter things up, for most users, this won’t be confusing. Like most browsers, the window can get incredibly cramped with 15 ore more tabs open, but it still does a fantastic job of delivering content whether the window is expanded or slightly minimized for the sake of space.

Adjacent to the omnibox are standard navigational features (i.e. back, forward, refresh, home), but you can easily slim down the window by customizing the toolbar and deleting any buttons you deem useless. Chrome’s single-click bookmarking method, done by simply clicking the star located on the right side of the address bar, also makes bookmarking your favorite webpages a breeze.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox
 
Mozilla Firefox

This browser features a similar, yet more useful layout when compared to its competitors, and places the tab bar above the address bar. The URL and search boxes are still separate by default, a unique feature among current browsers, despite the fact that searching from the address bar works fine. Recently added buttons for Pocket and Hello also take up space while other browsers are slimming things down. But if you want to, you can remove any of these elements in just a couple of clicks. Firefox is nothing if not customizable.

 

The browser offers the same kind of single-click bookmarking that Chrome does — all you have to do is click the star located to the right of the search bar — but there’s little else that separates it from the rest of the pack. The settings menu is accessible in a similar fashion to that of Google Chrome, allowing you to access various options by clicking a simple button depicting three horizontal bars located in the upper-right corner of the window. Unfortunately, it also takes up a bit of space that could otherwise be used by the tab bar.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 11
 
Internet Explorer 11

In terms of screen space, Internet Explorer is minimalist, with less “chrome” than Chrome itself. IE 11 features a single bar that simultaneously functions as the browser’s address and search bar. The space at the top places your open tabs to the right of the address-search bar, making it somewhat more cluttered than some of our other picks given the amount of space the search field takes up, but it typically isn’t worrisome unless you’re really stacking up a high volume of tabs. Other notable design features include the single-click bookmarking star now widely adopted by almost all other prominent browsers.

However, the 20-year-old browser is being phased out to make way for Microsoft’s newest browser, Edge. IE is still available in Windows 10, but is no longer the default and will not receive new features.

Safari

Safari
 
Safari

This long mediocre browser is now a serious competitor when compared to the likes of Google and Firefox. The newest version of Apple’s browser is fairly minimalist in design, but retains enough familiarity for old users of the browser to feel at home. Like its peers, Safari offers the address-search bar hybrid. Recent features include a share icon embedded to the right of the search field, which serves as a way to bookmark pages, post to social networks, and share via native Apple platforms like iMessage and Mail. An optional sidebar also give you quick access to your bookmarks, social media shares, and a reading list that syncs with iOS and works offline.

Opera

opera
 
opera

This browser uses Google’s chromium Web engine while retaining a set of signature features that distinguish the browser from the rest. Opera has a single hybrid address-search bar like Chrome, but the alternative browser also sports Opera’s signature features, stash and speed dial. Speed dial allows for easy bookmarking and functions like “the most visited page” on Safari. Stash is similar to Pocket, and thus allows you to quickly store pages for future browsing. The bottom line? Opera sports a clean design with innovative features that hold their own against the rest of the competition.

Edge

Microsoft Edge
 
Microsoft Edge

Edge resembles IE 11, though with even smaller borders, fewer icons, and a streamlined toolbar designed to take up more real estate on your display than IE 11. A solitary, address-search bar also runs the width of the page, along with a trio of headline features that include markups, reading view, and Microsoft’s equivalent to Siri (aka Cortana). It is the standard web browser for Windows 10, and has integration with many of the OS’s features and apps, including Outlook and the aforementioned Cortana. The latest update even gives it the ability to cast video, audio, and pictures to Miracast and DLAN devices.

Vivaldi

Vivaldi
 
Vivaldi

This browser doesn’t just offer customization, it actually asks you to choose where things like the tabs and address bar should go when you first launch it. If you want your tabs in a panel to the left of your window, you can do that, or you can leave them above the address bar. Bucking recent trends, Vivaldi also brings back the status bar at the bottom of the window, giving you a quick place to zoom in and out and preview URLs from. The current tab also takes on the primary color of whatever site you’re visiting, making the browser chrome seem like a natural extension of the site you’re visiting and adding some visual flair.

Benchmark tests

Most browsers are compatible with web standards and handle speed with relative ease. A casual user probably won’t notice a difference in the rendering speed between today’s modern browsers, but all six browsers are much faster and leaner than those of a few years ago — and become even more so with each new build. Below are our benchmark results for the six browsers, with bold text indicating the winner for each category.

  JetStream 1.1 Kraken JavaScript 1.1 Octane 2.0 HTML5 Compliance
  Higher is better Faster is better Higher is better “555” is perfect
Chrome 50 134.31 1350.0ms 23812 521
Internet Explorer 11 91.035 2776.7ms 12300 343
Mozilla Firefox 46 118.13 1651.2ms 20913 478
Safari 9.1 145.61 1441.8ms 12514 410
Opera 31 126.83 1498.6ms 22568 520
Edge 162.34 1496.7ms 24096 453
Vivaldi 129.78 1495.0ms 22840 521

Google Chrome has long dominated the HTML5 compliance benchmark, but it has some competition at the top now: Vivaldi. The two browsers support the same number of standards, meaning both should be able to perfectly render just about anything you can find.

The Jetstream benchmark, which focuses on modern web applications, has a surprising winner: Edge. Microsoft’s been working hard on optimizing its new browser, and it shows. Safari, Chrome, and Vivaldi aren’t too far behind, though.

Two Javascript benchmarks, Mozilla’s Kraken benchmark and Google’s Octane 2.0, give us more split results. Edge just barely beat Chrome on Octane 2.0, while Chrome came out ahead on the Kraken test. The results suggest most modern browsers are pretty fast, however, with the exception of Internet Explorer 11.

This suggests that Microsoft’s Edge is a huge leap forward from its old browser, and that competition in the browser market is pretty tight overall.

Extensions and extra features

Features are what truly separate one browser from the next given that speed and compatibility are no longer the defining issue. That being said, each browser has its own slate of unique features, from expansive app stores and add-ons to various extensions and tools, that makes it shine in its own light.

Chrome

Chrome has become the starting point for browser extension developers, and it shows. If an extension exists, you can probably get it for Chrome before you can get it for any other browser. There’s also Apps, which blur the line between web and local apps in some unique ways. We like the idea, and Chrome remains the most integrated software for accessing anything Google-related (i.e. Gmail, Google Drive). If web apps and seamless dashboard features are important to you, check out what Google has to offer.

chrome-icon
chrome-icon

Download now

Firefox

Firefox icon
Firefox icon

Like Chrome, Firefox is on a six-week update schedule, and sports a strong catalog of extensions. Some older extensions have broken with recent Firefox releases, and at this point, cutting-edge extensions tend to be offered first on Chrome and show up on Firefox later. Having said that, a few power-user extensions are exclusive to Firefox, making this hard to call definitively. The built-in PDF viewer is incredibly handy, as is the browser’s support for Macbook Retina displays and grouped tabs. Firefox also remains one of the most customizable in terms of interface and display out of the five on our list, though Vivaldi is a legitimate threat on the horizon.

Download now

Safari

Safari-icon
Safari-icon

Safari’s extension ecosystem isn’t massive, but Apple’s default browser has come a long way since its initial beginning. Most major extensions are available at this point, even if the collection is nowhere close to competing with Chrome or Firefox. Other awesome built-in extras include the ad-free Safari Reader, which lets you read any article without all the unnecessary clutter, and comprehensive iCloud integration for syncing pages across all your devices. There’s also built-in RSS support, and a reading list that syncs with your mobile devices.

Safari’s mobile version comes pre-installed on iOS devices, but isn’t available on other mobile platforms.

Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer icon
Internet Explorer icon

IE11 sports heavy integration and optimization for Windows 7 and 8. Many functions, like turning tabs into new windows, are much easier with Microsoft’s stalwart browser. It retains some of the unique features introduced in IE 10, like individual tab previewing from the task bar and a new feature called site pinning, which lets you ‘pin’ a website to the Windows 8 task bar like you would a normal application. However, unlike an ordinary taskbar shortcut, pinned websites can offer customized “right click” menus. For example, pinning the Facebook toolbar will let you right click and auto browse to different sections of the Facebook site like News, Messages, Events, and Friends. In addition, when you open a pinned site, the IE 11 browser customizes itself to resemble the site you’re viewing. Currently, this only means the icon in the upper-left corner will change along with the colors for the back and forward buttons, but we like the idea.

IE’s mobile version comes pre-installed on Windows devices. There’s currently no mobile version, though.

Opera

Opera Logo Now
Opera Logo Now

Opera has always stood out in part by bundling features that other browsers offer as add-ons. The inclusion of both ad blocking and a VPN in recent builds of Opera are prime examples, and make this a go-to browser for the privacy set. But it’s not just about the included features: Opera’s add-on library is fairly complete. The extensive web-app store offers a variety of free and premium apps, but Opera’s extensions are centered around the browser’s signature tool, Speed Dial — a touchscreen-optimized homepage. Each extension can be tacked to Opera’s Speed Dial homepage. The simplicity of having your Gmail account stored next to a dependable news aggregatior on your homepage is hard to pass up.

Download now

Edge

Edge Icon
Edge Icon


At this point, Edge doesn’t offer any extensions (unless you are a Windows Insider and have the preview version). However, extensions have proven to be more than just a niche feature given their wide-spread adoption in other browsers. Microsoft has confirmed that Edge will support extensions in one capacity or another down the line, but there’s no word on when they’ll be enabled for regular users. For now, Edge does offer an attractive and easy-to-use reader mode, one that removes clutter and formatting from webpages and articles to make for a more comfortable reading experience on the web.

Vivaldi

iu
iu

As the newest browser in this list, Vivaldi doesn’t have an extension ecosystem, and extensions aren’t supported by default. Extensions are planned, however, and some users have even managed to get a few Opera extensions working in the browser (though the method isn’t straight-forward). Outside of the robust customization options, the sidebar offers a lot of compelling features. You can write notes about any URL, for future reference, or add any site as a side panel. This isn’t the most feature-filled browser as of right now, but it’s clearly an ambitious one.

Download now

Security and privacy

The most valuable tool for secure browsing is user discretion, especially when you consider that every web browser has encountered security breaches in the past. And Internet Explorer and Chrome’s reputation for protecting users’ security and privacy credentials is spotty at best.

Chrome, Safari, Vivaldi, Opera, and Firefox all rely on Google’s Safe Browsing API to detect potentially dangerous sites. Thanks to constant updates, Mozilla, Chrome, and Opera all make constant security updates. But Chrome takes security a bit further by also scanning for potentially harmful downloads. There’s also encryption add-ons currently in the works at Google.

All browsers offer a private session option, too. Private sessions prevent the storage of history, temporary Internet files, and cookies. For example, Internet Explorer 11 features a security measure called Do Not Track. Only Internet Explorer goes so far as to to block trackers completely from communicating with your browser. What’s more, according to a2013 NSS study, only Internet Explorer blocks trackers used on more than 90 percent of potentially hazardous sites.

Nonetheless, Microsoft has stated that Edge won’t offer IE’s Do Not Track feature, though you will be able to enable some tracking protection. This change of heart is because Do Not Track isn’t really honored by many websites, making it largely pointless in 2016.

Popularity & Verdict

browser-share-chart
browser-share-chart

Internet Explorer has been the number one browser for decades, but that’s changing right now, according to NetMarketShare’s latest numbers. They show Chrome as edging out Microsoft’s default for this first time this year, with 41.71 percent of the market. The closest competitor to these two browsers is Firefox, with a distant 10.06 percent of the market. Safari, the default browser on the Mac platform, captures a respectable 4.47 percent of the market, while Opera sits at 2.1 percent. Vivaldi doesn’t show up in these numbers.

stat-counter-browser-share
stat-counter-browser-share

StatCounter provides a much different view. According to its data, Chrome is by far the most popular desktop browser, with more than 56.75 percent of all Internet traffic. Firefox is up next, at a distant 14.24 percent, and a declining Internet Explorer sees 12.14 percent of the market share. Safari nets 9.47 percent of traffic, while Opera captures about 1.87 percent.

Why the big difference between these reports? It’s because NetMarketShare counts unique visitors, while StatCounter tallies all visits. In other words, NetMarketShare’s numbers reflect how many people are using a browser, while StatCounter reflects how much a browser is used.

Once you know that, the numbers make sense. A lot of people default to Internet Explorer because they don’t know any better, and only visit a few websites each day. Chrome is often preferred by people who browse heavily and might visit hundreds of sites in a day. And Firefox, despite being used by fewer people than Internet Explorer, generates more web traffic because of its power-user base.

Chrome is still king

It’s getting closer every month, but it still seems like Chrome is the best browser overall. It’s still a top-performing browser, and its extension eco-system is the best. There’s a reason why it’s the most popular browser ever made, and while specific users might prefer something different, most people can safely default to Chrome.

Source : https://www.yahoo.com/tech/battle-best-browsers-edge-vs-190732036.html

One of my main bandbox issues over my years of working with school libraries and technology has been internet filtering. I was lucky enough to work in a very forward-thinking school district in the short time between our going online and the passing of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). During those golden days, we had no filter. Our philosophy was, “The best filter is an informed and watchful adult looking over the shoulders of students using the internet.”

Ah, those were simple times. There were only two to three computers in a classroom, six to eight computers in my library, and no such thing as handheld devices. This was in the middle and late ’90s. Our system worked pretty well back then. Even when we started filtering, our technology director saw to it that we were able to get what we needed. Librarians had a bypass to the filter and could still help students when something appropriate was blocked. We did not take for granted the freedom and respect we were extended. I always knew it was rare.

Once I started working at the university level teaching M.L.S. students, I started to hear stories of how hard it was to do the simplest of searches, with filters locked down tightly and no override ability on campuses, even for administrators. That’s when I constructed my bandbox and began shouting about the problem. I have conducted surveys over the years that yielded dismal results about accessibility to information and web-based tools in many schools and districts. While CIPA was meant specifically to keep children safe from obscene and harmful images, people began adding all kinds of additional restrictions and misquoting the law in order to block sites that, for one reason or another, were deemed undesirable for students and/or teachers to access.

The last time I surveyed was in 2014. While there were improvements over previous years, there was still far too much filtering. Since then, I have started wondering whether we have lost ground. Due to the current atmosphere in our country, with so many people afraid and angry about racial and religious differences and people’s lifestyles, I began to wonder how American schools are handling filtering with regard to diversity, especially relating to race, religion, and GLBT issues. Time for another survey? Yes!

The questions that were uppermost in my mind at this point were the following:

  1. Can students learn about world religions using the Internet at school? Are they able to look up information about the Muslim faith in particular, as well as about other faiths?
  2. Are racism and discrimination on the basis of religion present in filtering? Again, I wondered about Muslims first, but also thought about other groups. Surely, despite the controversies regarding immigration, students can still have unfettered access to Hispanic sites and sites using Spanish or other languages?
  3. What about GLBT topics? A quick preliminary search revealed that information for or about gays and lesbians, and especially transsexuals, has been filtered in the past. While gays and lesbians can legally marry in all states, I wondered if they can read about this or any other aspect of GLBT topics when they are at school.


THE SURVEY

Following my usual modus operandi, I constructed a survey using SurveyMonkey and shared it via listservs (LM_NET and TLC), our student message board, Facebook, and Twitter. Even though this survey required a greater time commitment than others because respondents needed to try various searches, I still had 90 responses. As always, I learned a lot. There definitely are issues hampering access to topics that are vital parts of many students’ lives. And because poor students have less off-campus access than do their classmates, again the greatest loss is visited upon those from low-income families. Just knowing this is one reason why the tight filters are unfair and detrimental.I want to stress that this was an informal survey. Readers seeking more scholarly data can refer to recent work by the American Library Association (ALA) and also the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). As is usually the case when I put out a survey of this type, the comments are as valuable as, or possibly more valuable than, the numbers. The survey I conducted, complete with comments, is available for free at this location: surveymonkey.com/results/SM-VX3VPRLJ.

 

THE CONTEXT

I am writing this at the height of the unrest following the November ISIS attacks in Paris. If I hadn’t already been worried about children of Muslim families, this crisis would have raised my concern. I live in Texas, and the exclusionary voices here are raising quite a din. It is painful to see my fellow Americans so filled with hate and fear about people holding religious beliefs different from their own. At the same time, and often from the same people, I hear outrage about marriage equality and especially about accepting transgender people. Finally, the racism that has always been an ugly part of our society ramped up in the past 8 years reached new levels this summer after the incidents in St. Louis and on university campuses. I feel a great concern for youngsters who fall into one or more of these groups and have to go to school every day knowing they are apt to be in an unwelcoming environment where they cannot even find information about their situations or about others like themselves. These concerns led me to write this article.

 

THE RESPONDENTS

I started out with basic demographic questions about the respondents. Most were librarians, although I also reached classroom teachers and technology faculty members. Most were from Texas, which is not surprising since I live and work in this state. But I also heard from people from 17 other states and from Germany and Kenya. The responses from elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools were evenly distributed. Over half the respondents said they were satisfied with internet access at their schools. While this is a far cry from the dismal numbers I received for that question in the past, it still means nearly half of those responding are not satisfied. I am not going to try to parse out the responses to each question in the survey, since it is open for you to view. Instead, I am going to make some generalizations based on the responses and also share what is frequently for me the best part of any survey: the comments. As with the numbers and graphs, you can read all comments at the survey site, and, as always, I find them fascinating. It goes without saying, but educators are verbal and articulate, especially when discussing concerns.

 


THE QUESTIONS

My questions centered on whether reasonable access was accorded three main categories: religion, race, and sexuality. I tried to come at each from several angles, asking if word-by-word filtering was stopping searches, then if certain topics seemed to be blocked, and then if conducting research was difficult because students could search but would find sites blocked. I also mentioned a couple of specific sites per category to see if they were blocked.

One thing I need to make clear from the outset is that many people skipped questions. I had stated in my introduction that responses were welcome and I was OK with leaving some questions unanswered. My suspicion was that one factor would be a worry that, by searching, they would compromise their own situations if someone noticed they searched for something “inappropriate.” As one person said when I asked if searching by certain topics was blocked, “Not sure and do not want to try.” This is significant to me for two reasons. First it shows that in some schools people are afraid to bring attention to themselves by even trying to seek information on some topics. Second, it did adversely affect the number of responses I got on questions that were specific to topics or sites that might be deemed problematic. This means I cannot say a certain percentage of respondents failed to reach a certain site because many participants skipped that question. I still found the information gathered to be useful, because it does indicate that there is filtering going on that inhibits access to words, topics, and sites that youngsters coming from minorities as to religion, race, or sexual identity might rightfully need to reach.

 

PARSING THE RESULTS

Regarding race, I found less blocking than I found for the other two topics. None of the searches I asked about was reported problematic by more than four respondents. There was some blocking (three to four instances) of black lives matter , Black pride , La Raza , and the word racism itself. By and large, it seems that users can learn about people of the world regardless of race in a majority of schools. Next, I turned my attention to religions. Buddhism , Scientology , alternative religions , Wicca , ISUL/ISIS , and jihad had several blocks each. I founded it a bit odd that Islam was only blocked two times as opposed to the others at four. In any case, blocking either race or religion in schools is counterproductive. Keeping information away from students seems wrongheaded.

Finally, I turned to the all-American hang-up : sex and sexuality. Even with the threat of ISIS and the obvious racism exhibited daily in our world, by far, the biggest bugaboo for most adults seems to be sex. Having been young themselves, it flummoxes me how adults think that keeping information away from kids will keep them innocent, with their hormones kicking in and the societal pressures to sexualize youngsters coming from all sides. Despite a plethora of scientific proof that people do not become gay or transgender due to proselytizing, the worst fear folks seem to have is that their children will learn about these two topics.

The old notion of keeping kids in the dark about safe sex and/or sexually transmitted diseases still seems to hold sway in many districts. Words, sites, or topics offering such information were two or three times more likely to be off-limits than sites about racial or religious issues. Youngsters begin to form their sexual identities during their school years. I know this from my own experience with my daughter, who is a lesbian. To keep factual information from them seems so damaging. As for sites offering reassurance, those are the ones blocked most of all. How hard it must be for boys and girls who are trying to navigate adolescence to have the additional burden of their identities being deemed harmful and wrong.

Looking back at the information I gathered, I certainly found evidence that internet filtering was keeping students from information that could be beneficial to them. As one respondent said, “Some topics are ‘flagged’ if visited frequently by individual students. Any topic the district thinks is ‘harmful’ to students is tracked.” Another participant described her available content as being “pro-Christian, anti anything problematic.” The numbers are not as large as I feared, and that can be interpreted as a positive thing. At the same time, though, respondents let me know that they skipped items rather than trying searches that might be traced back to them and used against them. This indicates a mutual distrust in many districts that is troubling. Thus, I do not have highly dramatic numerical data to back up my suspicions, but I do have enough to indicate that the problem exists. And who suffers most from this lack of access? That would be students who are from the lower economic classes. While their more affluent classmates can go home and gain access to sites blocked at schools, these kids do not have that option.

 


NOW HEAR THIS

So here I go climbing up on my battered bandbox again. I think as caring teachers and librarians, we must do everything to help those kids who are considered “other” by their peers, whether it is due to race, religion, sexuality, or a combination of these. They deserve information and, maybe even more, they deserve hope. Gay and transgender kids and those seeking their identities desperately need to be able to visit the sites out there that are specifically for them. Here are some of the most blocked sites related to sexuality:

  • It Gets Better Project, which is designed to reach out to kids and promise them that even if their teen years are tough, better days will indeed come. It provides accounts from young adults who have been through the same thing. It was blocked at least three times.
  • I’m From Driftwood, which was put up by a young man who grew up in the small and very conservative town of Driftwood, Texas, and who wants to share similar stories to those at the It Gets Better Project site. It was blocked at least eight times.
  • Any sites about being transgender or transsexual. They were blocked 10 and 13 times, respectively.
  • Family Pride Coalition was blocked six times.
  • PFLAG, the widely accepted national organization for parents and families of lesbians and gays and now transgender individuals. I have to add that this group helped me a great deal back when my daughter was first coming out, so it is personal for me. It was blocked six times.
  • And let’s not forget straight kids who are dealing with scary scenarios regarding sex and its consequences. Planned Parenthood was blocked at least five times, and the most blocked topic of all reviewed, sexually transmitted diseases, was blocked 14 times. How can we want to deny access to kids about this kind of information?

 

SOME POSITIVES

Before I close, I do want to say that there were many positive comments about internet access at schools. Things do appear to be better regarding filtering than they were a few years ago. I asked for comments from people who had been able to work for positive change and got remarks such as the following:

  • “Hire great tech people! No kidding, they are the driving force in having more access. They were all educators before becoming techies.”
  • “I went to the principal and showed him research and the sites that I wanted to use. Then, I went to the Technology Director with the same information plus more. Next, I went to the Superintendent with my new information plus more. Finally, I presented to the school board. They heard me, but no one listened. I left the school district and taught nearby for three years. Then, the former school district called me and asked me to come back. I agreed with some stipulations, and one of those stipulations was that I was on the hiring committee for the new Technology Director. I have realized that many administrators do not understand Tech Talk and really do not know who is qualified or not qualified. Praise the Lord that I had the opportunity to interpret the Tech Talk, and the committee made an informed decision that has set our district on a path of growth based on research based instruction and meeting the needs of the 21st century learner.”
  • “I continuously advocate for unrestricted access. I had to be very persistent to get the code to override the filter. Apparently the principal doesn’t have it. My argument is that no one in the district is more qualified to evaluate a website than a certified librarian. It is an ongoing battle but I must admit that my district has worked with me.”

 

Efforts such as the ones described above do result in positive change, and the fact that we can see progress is due to the tenacity and persistence of people speaking out for reasonable access.

When I was considering writing about filtering and diversity, I looked for other research about these topics. “Access Denied: How Internet Filtering in Schools Harms Public Education,” a study published in 2013 by the ACLU, reported the types of filtering that I have explored in this article and gave me impetus to continue. Further proof that the issue is one many school and district personnel need to address was documented in the ALA study, “Fencing Out Knowledge: Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later.” My desire is to shine a spotlight on the problems with overfiltering once again as 2016 arrives and this time as it relates to diversity. My message is for educators dealing with excessive filtering but also for everyone else. Students and educators need and deserve access to any sites not specifically restricted by CIPA as containing images that are obscene or that are harmful to students. In today’s climate with increasing polarization and antagonism centered on the topics of race, religion, and gender issues, we need to stand firm against any encroachment of filters as part of the backlash happening due to recent events.

Contact Mary Ann at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 Source : http://www.internetatschools.com/Articles/Column/Belltones/BELLTONES-Back-on-My-Bandbox--Internet-Filtering-and-Diversity-108774.aspx

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