Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Warning: It’s an F for Flash security

Folks, if you haven’t done so already, you need to act now to protect yourself.

* Block or update Adobe Flash
flash_logo Apple notoriously hates it. Firefox is currently blocking it, and Facebook is calling for its demise. Three zero-day vulnerabilities have been exposed in Adobe Flash in the past week, and the company has been speedily patching its vulnerable app. You should either update it right away or shut it down. Find out how to block Flash in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE, and how to keep watching your YouTube videos without it.Read more..

My two cents: Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash have – for as long as I can remember – consistently topped the Most Vulnerable and Most Exploited lists. They’re *crud*. And Adobe should be taken to task. Remove them if you can.

*     *     *

Today’s quote:I have a low tolerance for people who complain about things but never do anything to change them. This led me to conclude that the single largest pool of untapped natural resources in this world is human good intentions that are never translated into actions.” ~ Cindy Gallop

Copyright 2007-2015 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

July 16, 2015 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, security, software | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to block ads on Android

Folks, on Monday I told you the alarming (and revolting) news that Google has removed ad-blocking apps from the Google Play app store. Fortunately, Neil Rubenking at PC Magazine has just published a How To for installing AdBlock Plus on Android devices (aka “the workaround”).

abpI just did it on my Kindle Fire, and I did not have to do the “manually set a proxy” steps. It’s so nice to view ad-free webpages! (And it’s safer, too.)

Here’s the 4-1-1. How To Block Ads on Android

Yesterday, the venerable adblocking company Adblock Plus (ABP) announced that Google had blocked their enormously popular app on the Google Play store. While Google can slam the door through their app store, Android’s open nature means that users can still “sideload” the app.“” Read more..

It really isn’t hard, and I think you’ll be glad you did it.

[Update: a reader has suggested an easier method in the Comments section, here (below).]

*     *     *

Tip of the day: Advertising really works!! And is a GREAT!! investment!! See?


And unicorns are real.

Today’s quote:In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” ~ George Orwell

First Day of Spring (Yay!) I just heard. Today is the calendar’s equinox, or solstice, or sumsuch, and they say Spring is now playing in a theater near you. Yay!

Today’s Spring quote:When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

March 20, 2013 Posted by | advice, Android, free software, gadgets, how to, Internet | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Flash Cookies Devouring Your Privacy

“..Flash cookies may be making an end run around your attempts to preserve your privacy…”

In a world run by advertising revenue.. the online marketers (hello, Google) are determined to “profile” you, track your online habits, and serve you “targeted” ads.

So, we “consumers” (and yes, that’s how us “average computer users” are viewed) have had to become adept at blocking “cookies”, installing Ad Block programs, and adjusting our “Privacy settings”.

Fact is, we’ve become pretty good at it. So the advertisers had to develop, better, harder to prevent methods at tracking us, and getting their ads to pop open so we can see them (and ignore them).
(Are you thinking of advertising on the Internet? Paying for ads? Good luck with that..).

One such method they’ve developed is the “Flash cookie” (or, “LSO”) which actually uses Adobe’s Flash Player as a conduit.
If you have ever watched a “video” on YouTube, you know what Flash Player is.

If you are at all concerned about your privacy, or simply want to prevent the Big Brother aspect of the Internet, I suggest you read Are Flash Cookies Devouring Your Privacy?

Even if you delete normal tracking cookies regularly to evade tracking by snooping sites and eager advertisers, little-known Flash cookies may be making an end run around your attempts to preserve your privacy.” Read more..

Here you will learn about the Flash Player “control panel“, and the settings you need to adjust to gain back some of your privacy.

looks like loads of fun, doesn’t it? Well, that’s why most of us don’t bother, and the concept of privacy is becoming obsolete.. and when you really think about our “tech”, you might think Orwell’s 1984 was tame by comparison.

So, if you don’t use Firefox, and have the BetterPrivacy add-on (I also reco TACO) you will want to read the article, click the link, and tweak a setting or two.
If you think your right-to-privacy is more important than advertisers getting their way, that is.

Today’s quote:Looking at the proliferation of personal web pages on the Net, it looks like very soon everyone on Earth will have 15 megabytes of fame.” ~ M.G. Sriram

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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January 4, 2012 Posted by | advice, Firefox, Internet, privacy | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Which Browser Blocks The Most Malware? Surprise!

In Q2 of 2011, NSS Labs performed a test of web browser protection against socially-engineered malware targeting users around the globe.

Socially-engineered malware is a widespread problem, claiming one third of internet users as victims. The use of free browser-based reputation systems to assist in the fight against socially-engineered malware is a strong use of cloud technologies. However, in this global test of socially-engineered malware, we found that not all vendor implementations and daily operations yield the same results.

So who did the best at blocking online threats? The result of one lab’s tests may surprise you.

Windows Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) caught an exceptional 99.2% of live threats. Read more..

(A full report of their tests is available as a PDF download. Anyone interested in the true state of Internet insecurity should take a quick read.. pick up a few interesting [and scary] factoids.)

Today’s quote:A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them.” ~ Leonard Louis Levinson

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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October 8, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, hackers, IE 9, Internet, security, software | , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

How To Block Websites

Preventing access to websites is called “blacklisting”. (Parents, take note.)

In yesterday’s article, I mentioned that I was going to boycott any website that started showing me image advertising – just won’t go there no more – and I used the Geekspeak word ‘blacklist’. Which prompted a few letters asking how that was done. Today I will show you how it’s done.. and I’ll try to keep the Geekspeak to the very minimum.

acl If you should decide that you want to block access (called “access control”) to websites you do not approve of, or think may be dangerous to you and/or your family, (and yes, there’s plenty of those) there are several strategies and methods — which you choose will probably be decided by how many websites you wish to block and for how many machines.

Simplest first: The web browser.
Say I just wanted to make sure my own, one machine, here, (or perhaps my child’s) never went to MSNBC, regardless of what I accidentally clicked or Googled (or perhaps I discovered a website that tried to do a “driveby” virus download) – I could add that site to my browser’s Do Not Go There list.

In Internet Explorer:

  • Click Tools, and then Internet Options
  • Next click on the Security tab
  • Now click on the red-circle icon for Restricted sites
  • Click the Sites button


[Notice that the URL for the web page you are currently on is – by default – filling the “Add this site” pane… Which is fine if you happened to be on the site you want to block; but you may (probably) want to manually type in URL for the website. You can add more than one – just separate the URL’s by comma+a space.]

  • Click the Add button. You will now see the URL(s) listed in the blocked Websites list pane. (You can add as many sites as you want.)
    If you make a mistake, click on the list entry, and then the Remove button.
  • Click Close to close that window, then OK to close Internet Options. You’re done.

Other Web browsers can work much the same way (though may use slightly different wording) though my preferred “alternative browser”, Firefox, needs an Add on for this (called Blocksite).

A better way: In the “home computing” environment, it was assumed that it would mostly be parents – wanting to prevent their children from visiting “mature” websites – who would desire to block (blacklist) Internet access. Because of this, most ‘Internet access control’ tools can be found under Parental Controls though, obviously, you do not need to be a parent to take advantage of it.

A good place to get started learning about enabling Parental Controls (to block websites) in Windows is here, Set up Parental Controls (and a brief video can be seen here); and on an Apple Mac, here.

Better yet: The best place to block Internet access is at the front door.. which in computer land is the device known as the “router” (or “wireless router”, or “WAP”), if you have one. Here you can block access by machine, time of day, and more.

This screenshot shows me blocking the website MySpace on a Linksys router, as well as by some “adult” keywords. It is taken from my step-by-step How To article here, Protecting your network–use your router for access control.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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June 23, 2011 Posted by | browsers, computers, Firefox, firewall, how to, IE 7, ie 8, IE 9, Internet, PC, security | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Image Advertising – version 1.0

Web ads’ final frontier

I have been sitting on today’s topic for almost ten days now, because I have been giving myself time to “cool off”. (Because I cannot post an article here using the language I want to use, and say the things I want to say.) It all started with an article I came across in the business section of our ‘big city’ newspaper. It starts out,

“For years, advertisers have complained about “banner blindness,” Internet surfers’ tendency to browse sites without noticing the rectangular ads on the periphery of most Web pages. And most browsers excel at blocking the pop-up and “pop-under” ads that advertisers have relied on for more than a decade.”

And, like much of what you read in the rags, that’s partly true — advertisers have been complaining about p-ing away their dollars on Internet ads. But it is us, the “consumers”, who go to great lengths to block the [expletive deleted] *crud* from our screens (and buy a TiVo so we can ‘skip over’ broadcast ads). The reason I do not use Internet Explorer 9 is because there is no really effective way for me to block ads with it. (If some folks get their way, ad blocking software will become illegal.)

Banner ads don’t work, annoy (anger, even) the viewer, but, Man, being the freakin’ genius that he is — “For all the difficulties that companies face in reaching consumers on the Web, online advertising keeps growing. U.S. companies spent $26 billion on digital ads in 2010, 15 percent more than they did in 2009, according to a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Yeah. It doesn’t work, so pour more money on it.
That’ll fix it.

Okay, so, there’s going to be a new kind of ad, ads placed in Web photos, and the hope is, this new type will work, and we’ll buy more stuff (Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!).

“Now some of the nation’s largest publishers are starting to sell ad space in what may be the final frontier of digital advertising: the trillions of images displayed across the Internet. If startups in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have their way, it will soon be commonplace to mouse over an image and find advertising, e-commerce or other information contained within them.”

Early versions of this exist.

“Mouse over an image of a denim shirt-clad Sean Penn on and a pop-up image will suggest a similar, less expensive shirt. Click the image and you can buy the shirt.”

I simply cannot print my reaction to that sentence; but I will say, I do NOT want that “feature” on my Internet. And I will say that it gives hackers another way to attack your machine. I will further say that if I find a website doing this, I will take pains never to visit it again (MSNBC is now blacklisted). And companies that elect to advertise this way, I will take great pains to ensure I never purchase their product/service. (My rebellion.)

The entire article is here. I do suggest you put on your thinking cap and read it.

Related: Good-bye YouTube. Enjoy Your Ads.

Today’s free download: I don’t actually see all that many ads when I surf the Internet because I use ad-blocking software/tools. (Don’t worry all you businesses running ads, I never buy stuff because you ran an ad anyway. Usually I boycott you because I detest ads so much).
Firefox: I use the plug-ins (“Add ons”) AdBlock Plus, NoScript, OptimizeGoogle, and FlashBlock
Internet Explorer: I download and install SelectView

There are other products available for you to choose from, both free and for-pay.

I hope people wake up soon.. or this vile and ugly scene is our future..

Because some *people* think it works…

Think I’m ‘off base’?

For those of you who actually read down this far.. I will say that “tar and feather and run out of town” was the mildest phrase I chose not to print.
I guess this is a “pet peeve”..

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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June 22, 2011 Posted by | Internet, News | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Software License Giveaway Drawing: SPAMFighter Pro

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway drawing.

SPAMfighter_box_webThe folks at SPAMFighter have generously donated 5 licenses for SPAMFighter Pro to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. So I am going to do a random drawing¹ contest from folks who “enter” by posting a comment (below). The drawing will close midnight (Pacific) Thursday, Sept. 17th, and the winners announced Friday.

SPAMFighter is a community-based spam filtering tool for Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Thunderbird that automatically and efficiently filters spam and phishing fraud – keeping it out of your Inbox.

When a new e-mail arrives, it is automatically tested by SPAMfighter. If it’s spam, it will be instantly moved to your SPAMfighter folder. If you receive a spam mail that is not detected, click on a single button, and the spam mail is removed from the rest of the 7,258,856 SPAMfighters in 228 countries in seconds.

MG5strsOverall, SPAMfighter is a very simple to use product, especially for the novice. It can be setup and run with little to no user intervention and simply begins working on its own. I currently run this as my spam program and have given it an Editors Pick due to its simplicity, effectiveness and ability to keep a free version.~ Tim Tibbetts, review on MajorGeeks. 5/5 Stars

Blocks most spam. Almost no false positives. Filters any e-mail account in supported clients.~ Neil J. Rubenking, review in PC Magazine.


  • Award winning technology to block spam
  • Protects all the email accounts on your PC
  • Protects against “phishing”, identity theft, and other email frauds
  • Privacy Guaranteed – we don’t see any of your email
  • Blacklist and block domains and emails
  • Spam abuse reporting with one click – Get revenge now!
  • Unique language filtering tool – Stop emails in languages you don’t understand

SPAMfighter requires:
Operating System – Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7 (32 and 64bit)
Email client – Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2010 (32bit). Outlook Express 5.5 (and later).
Windows Mail (Only 32bit) and Mozilla Thunderbird 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1.

SPAMFighter Standard is free for personal use, but the program adds a SPAMfighter footer to your outgoing e-mails, and also displays small text advertisements in its toolbar. Purchase SPAMfighter Pro (retail $29/yr) and you get rid of the ads and footer. You also gain the ability to blacklist or whitelist unlimited domains and addresses (the free edition is limited to 100). The Pro edition can block messages written in specific foreign languages.

How to enter? Residents of the US and Canada may enter the drawing by simply clicking on “comment”, and entering a name and a valid e-mail (so I can send you the key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but multiple entries will result in disqualification.

Again, I thank the folks at SPAMFighter for making this giveaway possible. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win an activation key..) You can get started by downloading the trial, here. (It will revert to the free version after 30 days.)

¹ All entrants will be placed into’s “randomizer”, and the top 5 results will be the winners.

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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September 13, 2010 Posted by | computers, e-mail, Internet, Phishing, phraud, security, software, spam and junk mail, tech | , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments