Archive for September, 2009

How many of us use the Fire-fox browser, sorry, How many of us don’t use the Firefox browser ? 🙂 So is Firefox a capable and popular Web browser, and not just because of its speed and reliability: It offers an almost endless customizability that Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari don’t try to emulate at all. Even Internet Explorer, despite its own selection of addons, Web Slices, and Accelerators, can’t match Firefox for flexibility. There are thousands of Firefox addons available that let you change the way it looks and what it can do. Chances are that someone out there has already found a way to make Firefox do anything you’ve imagined—and a lot of things you probably haven’t.

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Here are some of the Best 10 Add-ons for your Firefox Browser that you will love :

1) LastPass Password Manager: Keeping your various online log-ins secure is hard enough; remembering them all can be even bigger challenge. That’s what’s great about LastPass, which can keep track of your usernames and passwords for you, so you only need to remember a single log-in (the one you use for LastPass). It also fills in forms for you, helps you manage data across multiple computers, and can help you track down passwords you may have lost on your computer.

2) ColorfulTabs: Turn your installation of Firefox into an artistic statement with ColorfulTabs. It makes every tab you open a different color, so they’re easier to tell apart at a glance—and a major part of a more vibrant, attractive Firefox window.

3) Morning Coffee: We want to check our favorite Web sites in the early mornings before work, but while we’re still groggy from sleep we can’t quite get the mouse or keyboard to work the right way. Morning Coffee saves you the trouble by letting you organize Web sites by day and open all that day’s sites when you fire up Firefox. This addon could save you so much time, maybe you can catch a few more Zs before you log on.

4) StumbleUpon: The Web can be overwhelming and finding really interesting sites next to impossible. StumbleUpon can help: Click the “Stumble” button on the toolbar it adds to be taken to a site. If you like where you end up, click the “I like it!” button; if you don’t, click the thumbs-down button. StumbleUpon learns from your answers (and those of millions of other users) to serve you better sites in the future.

5) Cooliris: Surfing the Web can be informative and fun, but even the most dynamic Web sites look pretty much the same. Not anymore. Install Cooliris to view search results on sites like Google, YouTube, and Flickr, and photos from Facebook, Picasa, and your PC as an infinity-spanning 3D wall of windows.

6) Echofon: Love Twitter, but hate having it open on your PC all day or running a separate program to follow your friends? Echofon sends notifications of your followees’ updates right to an icon in your status bar, so you can click and see them anytime you want, no matter what you’re doing. Echofon supports multiple accounts and direct messages, too.

7) ForecastFox: Never again be caught without your umbrella or sunglasses just because you forgot to check for clouds before you left the house. Install ForecastFox to view AccuWeather.com weather forecasts from all over the country and the world right in the toolbars section of your browser window.

8) GooglePedia: The wealth of information available in Wikipedia is staggering, but it can be a pain to head over to it anytime you want to look up one little thing. GooglePedia solves this problem by displaying a related Wikipedia article along with your Google search results. The links in the Wikipedia article will automatically start new Google searches using those terms.

9) Xmarks: If you’re a compulsive bookmarker and you regularly use multiple PCs, Xmarks could save you a lot of frustration. It can back up and synchronize your bookmarks and passwords, and even can help you discover new sites you might be interested in (based on what other users are bookmarking).

10) Tab Mix Plus: Tired of the same old boring tabs? Load up Tab Mix Plus, and start duplicating them, closing multiple tabs at once, controlling when and why they open, and much more. You’ll never go back to traditional tabs again.

So here you go the Best add-ons for your firefox brower, if you thing anything was missed leave a comment below. So Happy Add-Ons…

In my last week post I explained how to secure your wireless router, to reply to that post there were indeed some questions on how to choose a good Wi-Fi router, so here I am with this post dedicated to the top ten tips which will help you to buy a Wi-Fi router:

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1) Should I buy a portable router?

If you need to take your Wi-Fi on the road, a new breed of router making its mark is the portable. It can travel with you because it uses a 3G signal from a cellular carrier for back to the Internet. This means it won’t be as fast as hooking it up to your cable modem, but what you lose in throughput you gain in movement. Because they’re not as fast, most of them only support 802.11g instead of the faster 802.11n, which also keeps the cost down.

2) Are dual-band routers better than single-band routers?

802.11n routers come in two flavors—single-band and dual-band. Single-band routers use the 2.4-GHz band, the same frequency used by G routers. Dual-band N routers support 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands. Even at 2.4 GHz, 802.11n routers are faster than G routers because they make better use of the frequency range in the band, and they’re better at bouncing signals off surrounding surfaces such as furniture and walls. Average throughput for single-band N routers is usually five times as fast as G routers. Some routers can achieve as much as 100 Mbps more by switching up. The answer is, therefore, an overwhelming yes: Dual-band band routers, though generally more expensive, outperform single-band (2.4-GHz) routers. Simultaneous dual-band routers are also more efficient in their throughput.

3) Do I need two, three, or four antennas, or hidden ones?

Because the speed in N routers depends heavily on signal bouncing and multiple transmitters and receiver antennas, the ideal antenna configuration is 4-by-4. This means the router has four antennas, each of which has a transmitter and a receiver. Generally, however, most high-end N routers come with a 3-by-2 or 3-by-3 antenna configuration. While antennas come in all shapes and sizes, most are visible, tubular antennas. The crucial point to consider is the number of transmitters and receivers built into the router. More is better.

4) Is 802.11n really that much better than 802.11g ?

Very true, 802.11g Wi-Fi router, which uses a technology that has been around for seven years, is still popular. (802.11 is the IEEE’s technical name for wireless networks; the brand name used for products is Wi-Fi which encompasses many different types of 802.11 technology.) Small businesses buy G routers because they are cheaper and perform adequately. Some 802.11g routers include specialized functions that are essential in business, such as powerful policy-based firewalls and threat-management features. In the home, however, speed is far more important, and there the 802.11n Wi-Fi router is king.

5) What is the choice of simultaneous dual-band router?

Some routers with the dual-band features transmit N signals simultaneously in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. By using both frequencies, the routers achieve longer range and better signal strength, and, as you might expect, they don’t require manual switching between bands. It’s like having two concurrent wireless networks, but that’s only useful if you have clients that use 5GHz, which are few are far between unless you purchase after-market 802.11a/n cards that use it. These routers are generally more expensive than regular dual-band routers, but are worth the money.

6) What about guest access??

An very recommended feature, Guest access is one of the most useful, and most underrated, features of a wireless router. Routers with guest access, can separate one Wi-Fi network into two. This allows friends to use your broadband access without knowing the password for your main network, so they can’t get to your files. You can achieve a similar configuration with routers that support virtual LANs (VLANs), but the steps in setting up multiple VLANs are more difficult.

7) Tightening access to your router with MAC access control

If you are still not convinced that your wireless network is secure after encrypting your Wi-Fi router with Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) —and you better be using WPA2—don’t worry because this step ensures that only your computers can access your Wi-Fi network. MAC filtering allows or prevents computers with certain MAC addresses to access your network. Like a fingerprint, no two network adapters can have the same MAC address, so snooping neighbors are out of luck when you enable that MAC filter. Your router will only accept handshakes from your computers and other Wi-Fi network devices, filtering everything else. Conversely, you can deny access to specific devices by enabling the deny option instead. MAC addresses can be spoofed, so this isn’t foolproof, but neither are doors;

8) What is Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)?

Wi-Fi Protected Setup is a standard for securing your laptop with a Wi-Fi router. The technology simplifies the encryption process that users otherwise have to go through to secure a Wi-Fi network. Is the technology simpler to use than the schemes that preceded it? That depends on the laptop and operating system you use. Vista’s Windows Connect Now (WCN), for instance, is compliant with WPS. When WPS does work, it’s a simple process for setting up WPA2 without thinking about it. Getting the configuration to work on laptops that don’t support it (in both software and hardware), however, is quite an ordeal. Should you then look for this feature in a router? No. WPS isn’t essential, and, all too often, some part of your setup won’t be compatible. Still, many newer routers offer it, and, when it does work, it’s worthwhile.

9) Turning your router into a gaming powerhouse ?

A good tip if you are a core gamer, No one wants their Internet games to interfere with YouTube videos, Skype calls and Web surfing, or vice versa. The answer lies in the QoS (quality of service) feature in your router. A router with QoS can separate network packets and prioritize your network traffic, allowing your most important applications to get the largest bandwidth chunk. Luckily, games don’t take up a lot of bandwidth, but they can slow your network down when you are sharing the connection.

10) Is a router with a strong firewall important?

most routers include a firewall, and many use the SPI (stateful packet inspection) firewall, which is better than the older NAT firewall alone. A few routers provide a range of manual settings on a firewall. Are these routers better? Not really. Typically, manual firewall settings are designed for specific usage needs and not for enhancing the overall capability of a firewall. As long as a Wi-Fi router has a SPI firewall, that’s enough for most us.

So here few important things you may need to consider before choosing a good Wi-Fi router, but the market is already flooded with Wi-Fi routers, so finding a good one could be simpler than you might think, if you know what you’re looking for 🙂

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As you know everything these days is wireless. But, rarely do we care how we connect, instead often just get online. A lot of wireless routers that are available offer very useful features that you probably didn’t know about. Chances are if you’ve never accessed your router’s settings, you are just running the defaults which means your neighbors or anyone who drives by could potentially access your data or perform a criminal act that points to you. However, there are times when it’s OK to take the shields down and let people leech off your network. For that reason, you may want to periodically check who is accessing it. In most routers, they have a status page to display connected computers.

To learn how to secure a wireless router there are three important things to know: SSID (Service set identification), MAC (Media Access Control) Address, and WEP(Wired Equivalent Privacy) / WPA (Wifi Protected Access), don’t worry I will not bug on this tech terms. Let me explain it in 5 simple steps..

Step 1) Access Your Wireless Router’s Configuration: log in to your wireless router administrative control panel. This is usually done by opening a browser and going to http://192.168.1.1 (for most Linksys routers) or http://192.168.0.1 (for most D-Link routers). Check the user manual or quick-start guide that came with your router if either of those do not work. (Once there change the Admin password. Most wireless routers ship with a blank password. It is essential that this is changed else a potential hacker could get into your router configuration and lock you out of your own hardware. Many Linksys wireless routers, use the word “admin” as the default password. Either way, you should change this to something only you know and never give this out to anyone.)

Step 2) Change the SSID name: The SSID is your Network Name. That is, it’s how other computers know what to look for when connecting to your wireless network. Linksys wireless routers use “linksys” as their default name. D-Link uses, get ready, “dlink” as their default. Changing this to a unique name, but not something related to a personal password or anything personally identifiable. My tip i have seen wireless networks named things like, “computer-virus” and they like to scare people off.

Step 3) Disable/Turn-off SSID broadcast: By default, almost all wireless routers broadcast the SSID name you setup above. This means that anyone within range of your router (neighbors, random strangers driving by, criminals, etc.) can find out the name of your network and thus try to connect to it. Make it a bit harder by disabling this broadcast feature. Combined with the unique name above, these two steps will certainly ward off the casual wi-fi poachers.

Step 4) Enable WPA or WPA2 encryption: This is switched off by default. There is a choice of WEP, WPA and WPA2. Currently the latest encryption method is WPA2 so use this where possible. Both your wireless router and wireless PC adaptor must be configured to use the same encryption, it is the most effective and most important part of securing your wi-fi network as well as the information you send across it.

The benefits here are 2-fold:

1) It makes access to your wireless network password-protected.
2) It encrypts all the data you send while browsing the internet (credit card numbers, email passwords, etc.).

You’ll want to use WPA2 if your wireless router gives you that option and your computer supports it. If it does not, go with WPA. Do not even bother with WEP encryption, as this has been proven to be hackable in minutes and really only offers a false sense of security. You will be required to enter a password, or “shared key,” when setting this up. For this, you’ll want to pick a long string of both capital and lowercase letters as well as numbers. Stick with a string of ten characters or more to be safe, although some security experts suggest going with something over twenty characters. Keep in mind that you might have to give this out to trusted visitors and weekend guests, so don’t make this the same as any other password you use.

Step 5) (Optional) MAC address filtering: As said this is more optional which works well on most branded routers. All hardware has a unique MAC address associated with it, including your PC adaptor card. This MAC address can be added to access control list in the wireless router. Only devices added to the router’s access control list are allowed to be connected. Why did I make it optional simple with MAC address filtering, you can tell your wireless network to only allow access from certain computers by inputting their MAC address into the router settings. However, from a hacker’s point of view, what this does is give them a list of MAC addresses that can access the network and gives them one more piece of information to help them snoop around on your network. Also other good tip with this is to Disable web access to the Control Panel. The fact is, once you set up all this stuff you rarely have to access the Control Panel anyway, so this just makes it all the more secure.

Final get some help out of your router manufacturer like update your router latest router firmware from the manufacturer’s website and installed in the router. This will hopefully fix any bugs that have been found for your router and also help with any known security flaws in the router itself., finally backup all router settings. If you reset the router back to its factory default settings even by mistake, your configuration can later be easily restored back with this.

Tip: The major wireless router manufacturers are Linksys/Cisco, D-Link, and Netgear. You will see these brands dominate in most retail stores. Look for sales because these manufacturers often discount models from week to week and you can sometimes find a good deal for substantially less cost. Online, you will also see brands, such as Asus, Belkin, Buffalo Technology, Beetel and SMC, all worthy of consideration

To even make it complete, I found the right video where GetConnected hosts Mike Agerbo and AJ Vickery discuss wireless router security and give some simple tips on how to keep yourself and your home computers protected from an unexpected attack

Happy WIRELESS Surfing..

I know there are plenty of excellent smartphones out there. Narrowing down a list of 5, and then ranking them in order of preference, certainly isn’t been easy. But one thing is true who says that there is nothing to great things to expect this year in terms of smartphones and mobile devices? Also inevitably, any such Top 5 list ends up being a subjective process. And any buying decision is going to be one based on a balance between your need, affordability, desirability and brand loyalty., and also I know most are intelligent enough to know that carrying around a cell phone and a PDA is inefficient so lighten your load by picking up an all-in-one device. Whether you use it as an organizer, an e-mail device, a cell phone, or all of the above, getting a smartphone is a smart move 😉

So let me start the show without much honks:

1) BlackBerry Curve (8310, 8320, 8330, 8350i, and 8900)

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The BlackBerry Curve is an all-around top-performing smartphone wrapped in a snazzy design. it though lacks 3G, but the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 is a solid update to the Curve series, bringing a better design, improved features, and faster performance and is one of T-Mobile’s top smartphone offerings. Also no much differential to Bold series

Specs: AT&T GSM 850/900/1800/1900, EDGE; Intel Xscale CPU; 64MB memory; BlackBerry Handheld Software
Price: $149.99 – $609.99

2) Apple iPhone 3GS (16GB and 32GB)

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iPhone 3GS doesn’t make the same grand leap that the iPhone 3G made from the first-gen model, but the latest Apple handset is still a compelling upgrade. The iPhone 3GS is faster and the new features and extended battery life, but call quality and 3G reception still need improvement, also Performance enhancements distinguish the otherwise evolutionary step-up iPhone 3GS from its previous iterations.

Specs: AT&T, OS Supported: OS:Mac OS, Battery Life Average (hh:mm): 6:12, 16GB and 32GB
Price: $299

3) Nokia E71x

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Affordably priced, the Nokia E71’s sleek design and multitude of useful features makes it ideal for both personal and business use.

Specs: AT&T, OS Supported: OS:Symbian, Battery Life Average (hh:mm): 4:48,
Price: $99.99 – $449.99

4) T-Mobile Mytouch 3G

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MyTouch 3G is high-tech android mobile and also as a first android phone T-Mobile’s G1 was a much welcomed entry into the smartphone market with host of features, with a big improvement from its predecessor, but the physical keyboard is sorely missed.

Specs:Carrier:T-Mobile, OS Supported: OS:Proprietary Google Android.
Price: $179.99

5) Palm Pre (Sprint)

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Palm has developed a solid OS that not only rivals the competition but also sets a new standard in the way smartphones handle tasks and manage information, may not be the most innovative smartphone, but it’s extremely capable and affordable enough to fit any budget.

Specs: Carrier:Sprint, OS Supported: OS:Proprietary, Battery Life Average (hh:mm): 5:17,
Price: $199.99 – $699.99

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Also here is the top 5 smartphones according to Consumer Reports:

Samsung Blackjack II
T-Mobile Wing
Motorola Q9C
T-Mobile Shadow
Blackberry Pearl Flip

These phones are all fine smartphones but it is surprising that only one Blackberry made the cut, and where the heck is the iPhone 3G? The iPhone 3G was further down the list and actually tied with the T-Mobile G1. Interesting list to say the least.