Tech – for Everyone

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

Firefox 3, or 4 (or 5)? + Turn Off the "Upgrade" Nag

A reader wrote in and asked a good question. The answer(s) will be good “general knowledge” even for those of you who are not currently running Mozilla’s Firefox web browser.

Q:If I may impose on you for information, have you upgraded Firefox to version 4.0.1? I keep saying no when the browser asks me, but my Mom let it upgrade.

Several things won’t work with V 4… Such as the ZoneAlarm browser toolbar and her HP All-In-One printer plugin.

She wants me to roll her FF version back to V 3.6.17 so those items will work, but I’m concerned about potential security issues.

Thank you

A: Dear Reader,
Yours is a very good question, and poses an interesting choice. And, it shows how two “rules of thumb” can sometimes contradict.

* For security, you always want to be running the latest version (and promptly apply any “updates”) of any software.

* Don’t buy version 1 of anything (aka “wait for the service pack”) unless you enjoy being a product guinea pig (aka “bug finder”).

In my mind, Firefox 4 (and the new beta of 5) is enough of a change as to qualify as a ‘new product’, (and also has compatibility issues with some of my add-ons) and so I will not install it until version 4.1 (or 4.2) is released (give the product some time to mature).

Yes, this (staying with FF 3) may (probably does) pose some security “risk”, and is certainly not a long-term answer — bullet point 1 should not be ignored and bullet point 2 will become ‘false’ as newer version of FF 4 are released (and the Add-ons authors update theirs to better work with FF4). In the meantime, while I await v4.1, I have turned off the “upgrade now?” prompt.

To avoid being nagged:
1) Click on the Tools menu, then click Options.

2) Click on the Advanced tab (gray gear icon).

3) Click on the Update tab in the Advanced window.

ff_updt

4) Un-ckeck the “Firefox” checkbox, and then click OK.

That’s it. Now the automated “there’s a new version” prompting will stop (Firefox’s updater will now be in “manual mode”… meaning it is up to you to check the availability of new versions. You can do this anytime by clicking the Help menu, then “Check for updates”).

* 5) [at some future date] When I do install a newer version, I will make sure the automatic update checking is re-enabled (by reversing these steps), as the first bullet point stated, I normally want automatic updating.

Today’s free download: If you find that you too want to revert to the last version of Firefox 3 (or.. contrarily, get the beta of 5) the download site FileHippo is my choice. FileHippo’s right-hand column contains a string of downloads, starting with the most recent, and (usually) going back all the way to the original release. Click here and scroll down that list to “version 3.6.17”. FileHippo is where I go when I need an older version.

Today’s quotable quote:If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”  ~ Author Unknown

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


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May 28, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, free software, how to, Internet, PC, performance, tech, troubleshooting, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Firefox problem a result of malware?

If you are using Firefox to surf the web, and you see some odd behavior that has you thinking you may have been infected with a computer virus, the following information – provided by Mozilla (the authors of Firefox) – may help you. The links contain diagnosing and troubleshooting How To’s.

Is my Firefox problem a result of malware?

Malware is short for “Malicious Software”. It is a term generally used for software installed on your computer that is designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner’s informed consent. Computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware are different types of malware. Sometimes a problem with Firefox may be a result of malware installed on your computer, that you may not be aware of.

Table of Contents

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


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May 9, 2011 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, Firefox, hackers, Internet, performance, security, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Added Security For Social Networking

A new version of WOT

Folks, I received a ‘heads up’ yesterday that I want to pass along to you.

“It has been a while since I updated you on what’s going on at Web of Trust. Our free website reputation rating add-on has grown to 18 million users worldwide who have rated over 31 million unique domains for trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy protection and child safety.

There is a new version of WOT that will benefit our users of social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. The new version of WOT offers the same protection as usual with the addition of reputation rating icons in Facebook, Twitter and with shortened URLs by most popular services, such as bit.ly and t.co.
This will greatly reduce the incidence of risky URLs being passed along and opened.

A beta version of WOT for Social Media is available at http://www.mywot.com/beta. (The beta is available for Firefox users only.)”

Folks, I have not had a chance to test this beta, but I am a fan of Web Of Trust (aka “WOT”) and have recommended it here many times before (see, You have received an eCard.. WOT?). If you use Firefox, and you Facebook and Tweet, you may want to give this add-on a test drive, and be safer on the web.

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


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March 15, 2011 Posted by | computers, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

YouTube Gone In Two Months?

It is my humble opinion that there is only one reason you and I have the Internet.

yahoo page

Some of you may remember – from about a year ago now – that Google purchased YouTube, and shortly thereafter came the headline: YouTube Launches Video Ads — Public Reaction Negative.

Google wants to make money with YouTube. Problem is… the site is expensive as *heck* to run, and they just can’t seem to run enough ads to pay for it all. What’s the solution? Make the user experience as crappy as *heck*, so they use less bandwidth as people stop coming to the site, AND make money during the entire process! Do I smell a hint of BRILLIANCE?” *

This quote was from an article about Google’s  move to fit more ads onto YouTube, posted on LockerGnome. You can read the whole article here, and see the details, but I would like to say some of you may find the language a little salty (though, it’s not too bad, really.) It suggested that YouTube now had a year to live

That year is up in April. (I wonder what the Internet without YouTube will be like…?)

In one of my prior articles (talking about the Yahoo! “mergers” and take-over bids) I came up with a catchy title — “A World Run By Ad Revenue“. It seems to me that we have reached a point in our evolution where we have become so inundated with advertising, that we have developed an internal ability to block them all from our minds.

When that doesn’t work — there’s the Mute button.

Today’s free download(s): 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. I boycott you because I hate ads that much).
Firefox: I use the plug-ins AdBlock Plus, NoScript and FlashBlock
Internet Explorer: I download and install SelectView

There are other products available for you to choose from, both free and ‘for sale’.

[note: hackers (really “cybercriminals”) have found ways to deliver malware through ads, so blocking ads is safer. But naturally, advertisers don’t like the idea that we can ‘block’ their expensive come-ons, and are constantly pressuring developers and lawmakers to find ways to take such tools out of our hands.]

I very much doubt that YouTube will go away.. or that advertisers will clue into the fact they are throwing away money… But I do also hope this is not our future..

hong-kong-advertising

Because some *people* thinks it works…

Yes Advertisers. It’s true. I stopped watching TV because of you (the 5,000,000th pharmaceutical ad was the ‘straw’).

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


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February 12, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, Google, IE 7, ie 8, IE 9, Internet, software, tech | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How To Fix Firefox “Initialize” Error

A reader asks how to cure a “could not initialize” error in Mozilla’s Firefox.

Q: Hey guys,

Recently I let Firefox update itself and now it has errors. It says it cannot open the security component and that I should check to make sure my disk is not full. My computer is new and has almost nothing on it yet, so I don’t see how this could be. Is there a way I can go back to my old Firefox. I do not want to use Internet Explorer as my son has told me it isn’t safe. Thanks!

A: Dear Reader,

Sorry to say there is no “guys”, there is only me. Without looking at your machine, mind you, I suspect two things: one, that the errors reads..

“Could not initialize the application’s security component. The most likely cause is problems with files in your application’s profile directory. Please check that this directory has no read/write restrictions and your hard drive is not full or close to full. It is recommended that you exit the application and fix the problem. If you continue to use this browser session, you might see incorrect application behavior when accessing certain security features.”

and, two, that a file necessary for Firefox to function correctly has become “corrupted”, and needs to be repaired/replaced.

1) Open Firefox  (use Firefox’s “Safe mode” if you have to) and from the menu bar, click on “Help” and then on “Troubleshooting Information

FF_help

2) Click on the “Open Containing Folder” button, and then scroll down until you can see the file cert8.

FF_help2

3) Right-click on the cert8 file, and click on “Properties”. Make sure the checkbox for “Read only” is not checked. If it is, uncheck it and click “OK”.

This should solve the problem, but if it doesn’t, or the checkbox was already unchecked, delete the cert8 file, and restart Firefox. When Firefox starts up again, it will automatically create a new, ‘correct’ cert8 file for you.

Firefox should now be working good as new, and.. that was not too tricky, was it?

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


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February 4, 2011 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, how to, Internet, PC, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Winners named, Browsers & Add-ons, Friday Fun

I am posting a bit of a hodge-podge mixed bag for your Friday, which I hope you’ll enjoy. There’s pictures, so you may have to scroll..

First, I am frequently asked my opinion about web browsers: mainly, “which is best – Firefox or Chrome?” Yes, sometimes I am asked about IE or Opera too. Well.. what do you mean by “best”? And is your definition of “best” the same as mine? Fortunately, I don’t have to think too hard when I am asked, as web browsers all basically do the same thing –> show you websites.

I use Firefox as my “alternative” browser. And I have chosen it simply because of the many Add-ons available. If these “Add ons” were not available, I would not use Firefox. It’s that simple.

So, what Firefox Add-ons do I use? I’ll show you:

FF_addons

With the exception of the Vimeo video capture-to-blog plug in, I would recommend this configuration. Why? Well, what do these things do? Look at them, and you’ll see that they are defenses, and yes folks, your machine needs defenses on the Internet. (OK. The Java is not a defense. It’s a vulnerability.. see, Java, the new Adobe (+How To Protect Yourself).)

Adding Add-ons to Firefox is easy: click on the Tools menu, and then Add-ons. A window like the one pictured will open. In the upper left is the Get Add-ons button. Click it.
(If that seems like too many to you, I would say at a minimum you want NoScript, WOT, and Flashblock.)

*     *     *

Do you have a favorite TV show? Do you ever record movies?

I thought so. So I have a reading reco for you, a tutorial: How To Burn A Recorded TV Show in Windows Media Center

“Many people out there that have Windows Vista and Windows 7 based computers have never tapped into the Windows Media Center component that is right under their noses.”

*     *     *

The folks at TuneUp Utilities generously donated 3 licenses, to me, of their ‘hot off the press’ newest release of TuneUp Utilities (aka “TU 2011″). I sincerely thank them for that. I generously offered them as prizes to you, Dear Reader, in Wednesday’s giveaway. Here are the winners.

Congratulations to:

TUwinners

Again, my thanks to the folks at TuneUp Utilities for making the giveaway possible!
(Winners, check your Inbox [and maybe your Junk folder] for the Subject TU2011 Winner)

*     *     *

Loyal readers know that I sometimes post Nigerian 419 (and other) scam emails — as a warning.. and because they often amuse me.

Yesterday, I saw an email with the Subject DID YOU AUTHORIZE DR GEORGE JEFFLEY TO PICK UP YOUR ATM CARD FOR YOU?
A slightly different tack from the usual.. but the rest looks vaguely familiar.

DID YOU AUTHORIZE DR GEORGE JEFFLEY TO PICK UP YOUR ATM CARD FOR YOU?
Friday, November 12, 2010 6:19 AM
From: “ATM CARD PAYMENT OFFICE” < info_cbn41@yahoo.in > <— Ha! India..
To: undisclosed-recipients

OFFICE OF NEW APPIONTED EXECUTIVE
GOVERNOR CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN)
ZARIA STREET, GARKI 11, ABUJA NIGERIA
P.M.B 0187, GARKI, ABUJA .

ATM Card Beneficiary,

I wish to use this medium to inform you that your CONTRACT/INHERITANCE Part Payment of USD$2.3M (Two Million Three Hundred Thousand Dollars) from CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA have been RELEASED and APPROVED for onward transfer to you via an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw all the USD$2.3M in any ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world, but the maximum you can withdraw in a day is USD$40,000.00 Only.

We have mandated Skye Bank Nigeria Plc, to send you the ATM CARD and PIN NUMBER which you will use to withdraw all your USD$2.3 Million Dollars in any ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world, but the maximum you can withdraw in a day is USD$40,000.00 Only.

However, we received an email now from one Dr George Jeffley, who told us that you send him to come and pick up your ATM CARD for you.

He has also submitted his account for us to transfer your funds to him. Dr George Jeffley account co-ordinate is as stated below:
Bank: Bank of America
1121 N 205th St, Shoreline, Wa 98133
Bank routing number: 167000024
Bank account number: 3619672201
Account Holders name Dr George Jeffley

We want to know if you are the one that send him,but if you are not the person that send him You are therefore advice to contact the Head of ATM CARD Department Contact Person:
DR.ANTHONY AKA
E-mail:dranthonyaka47@gmail.com

Tell DR.ANTHONY AKA that you received a message from office of the director of ATM CARD International Credt Card Settlement department Skye Bank Nigeria Plc,instructing him to send you the ATM CARD and PIN NUMBER which you will use to withdraw your USD$2.3Million Dollars in any ATM SERVICE MACHINE in any part of the world, also send him your,

1. FULL NAME
2. FULL ADDRESS
3. PHONE AND FAX #(P.O BOX NOT ACCEPTABLE)
4. YOUR AGE, SEX AND CURRENT OCCUPATION.
Please do keep this only to your self for now until the bank transfer your fund into your bank account.

Yours faithfully.
Lamido Sanusi.
Executive Governor,
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
(Reply to: dranthonyaka47@gmail.com

Yes, Mr. or Ms. info_cbn41, somewhere in India, I’ll get right on this. Check your Inbox.

The weekend is almost here…

and how about some action? You did say you like movies? Like stunts? Jackie’s the man.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cinemassacre’s Top 10 Jackie Chan Stunts, posted with vodpod

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


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November 12, 2010 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, e-mail, Firefox, how to, tech | , , , | 16 Comments

Step-by-Step Security Tutorial – Firefox

How to Configure Firefox to Stay (More) Secure Online: Step-by-Step

If you are interested in Tech, and visit Websites such as this one, it will not be very long before you read about Firefox. And, it won’t be long before you see NoScript mentioned. Odds are, you already have (loyal T4E readers surely have!). Safer surfing is a popular topic here.

Today, instead of simply telling you “be safer”, I have a link to a step-by-step slideshow tutorial: How to Configure Mozilla Firefox for Secure Surfing

“With assistance from the United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), we’ve created this slideshow to help you configure Mozilla’s Firefox Web browser to stay secure and safeguard your privacy while surfing.”

firefox_security

click for slideshow

(Internet Explorer users, click here for your slideshow tutorial)

In this digital age, we are all connected, and each of us plays an important role in securing cyberspace.

It Is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

So do your part. Make sure your web browser is “hardened” against online attacks.

Related: Block IFRAME For Added Protection

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


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October 23, 2010 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, Firefox, how to, Internet, security | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments