From: Bob Rankin
Subject: TOURBUS - 20 Mar 07 - Anonymous Surfing / Download Movies / BIOS
In today's TOURBUS, you'll see what your online activities reveal to others, and how to surf anonymously. I've also got quick guides to downloading movies and tapping into your BIOS. We'll also learn how to protect against Phishing, and where to get free office software. Read on for answers!
Your Internet Service Provider, along with the websites you visit, gather more information about you than the FBI or the CIA. Just about everything you do on the Internet is being watched by someone. All the big websites, major search engines and ISPs know what sites you like to browse, what pages catch your eyes, what subjects you like to search. Even your e-mails may be subject to prying eyes.
In "Anonymous Web Surfing", you'll find out what information you reveal when you surf the web or open email, how much of a privacy risk there really is, and how you can go online with a higher level of protection. Read on...
A reader caught in a technology vacuum opined thusly:
> "I've been using Netflix to rent movies by mail, which is okay,
> but with high-speed connections so common now, why can't I just
> download movies I want to watch from the Internet?"
Who says you can't? Maybe Blockbuster and Netflix don't offer online movie downloads (yet), but there are several places online where you can keep up with the Hollywood hustle without ever leaving home. But due to the large file sizes (500-800MB for movie downloads) and high bandwidth requirements for streaming video, you'll need plenty of hard drive space and a solid DSL, cable or fiber connection.
Oh, and there are also copyright and legal issues. Here's a rundown of some sites where you can legally download movies without breaking the bank, and some alternatives that might earn you an eye patch...
Perhaps you've heard that you can change your computer's BIOS settings to affect performance and startup options, but you're hesitant to poke around in those geeky BIOS setup screens. Let's demystify it a bit... BIOS is an acronym for Basic Input/Output System. On a PC, the BIOS controls the functioning of disk drives, serial communications, the display screen, keyboard, mouse, etc. The term BIOS can refer to a chip on your motherboard, the program hard-coded on that chip, or the BIOS setup screens you can access when your computer boots up. Let's take a look at the trouble you can cause by fiddling with the options on those BIOS screens...
A reader recently asked me to explain in simple terms what "phishing" is all about. In simplest terms, phishing (sometimes called social engineering) is the act of stealing information using lies as bait. Instead of coming to your home to steal your information, online scammers try to trick you into passing it over voluntarily, by pretending to be someone you trust.
The Internet has become a playground for unscrupulous people looking to steal your information. Take a look at some examples of phishing scams and learn how to protect yourself from this insidious threat:
A reader concerned about the high cost of Microsoft Office wrote:
> "I just got a new computer but it doesn't have Microsoft Word.
> And the Microsoft Office package is WAY expensive... are there
> any good alternatives for cheap or free office software?"
Yes, there are alternatives to the Microsoft Office software. In fact, there are a variety of low-cost and even free office suites, offering a comparable level of functionality. Try some of these alternatives to Word, Excel and PowerPoint...
That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin