From:         Patrick Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 30 MAY 2006 - Firefox Security / RideMax


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, which is currently celebrating its 35th birthday.

No, really. I often make stuff up about my beloved hometown -- for example, Irvine really isn't the clog dance capital of north central Paraguay (at least not yet) -- but Irvine really is 35 years old. Check out if you don't believe me. The city history page is a little sparse and does not include such significant historical dates as October 30, 2001, the day I moved to Irvine from Tuscaloosa, AL (a large, nearly landlocked bay connected with the Pacific Ocean by a strait called the Golden Gate.) But Irvine's 35th birthday page is still pretty cool. On with the show...

Firefox Security, Part Two Audience: All Firefox users

In my last post [which was an awfully long time ago -- sorry about that] I mentioned that Firefox stores its passwords in plain text. That's not entirely accurate. Firefox does encrypt the passwords you ask it to remember, but anyone who has access to your computer can easily unencrypt these passwords by opening your copy of Firefox and then going Tools > Options > Privacy > Passwords > View Saved Passwords.

If you share your computer with others, or if you just want to make absolutely sure your saved web passwords are significantly safer, you have three options:

1. "Throw the baby out with the bathwater": Disable the "Remember
Passwords" feature in Firefox so that the program never remembers any of your web passwords.

2. "Lock down Firefox": Create a new, master password that
automatically locks all of your passwords from snoops.

3. "Lock down your computer": Use your computer's user accounts
feature along with a screensaver password to require everyone who uses your computer to login.

We've already talked about options one and two. You can find those instructions at

I recognize that what I am about to say next is extraordinarily controversial and MANY really smart people disagree with this, but I prefer option three: user accounts. When you set up a user account in Windows XP or Mac OS-X, your operating system creates a special folder into which it stores all of your personal files and settings, including the encrypted passwords you have asked Firefox to remember. This means that other users of your computer won't be able to access your saved passwords in Firefox unless they first login to your user account on your computer. Additionally, setting up and using limited user accounts in Windows XP is a wonderful way to keep some spyware at bay because XP's limited user accounts do not have permission to install new software.

Again, this is controversial. Feel free to skip this if you want. For information on how to set up user accounts in Windows XP, check out either or

The former is an excerpt from Wiley's "Windows XP for Dummies" book and the latter is page from Microsoft. Windows ME users can learn about ME's built-in User Profiles tool [which isn't as neat or secure as XP's but beats a sharp stick in the eye] at and Windows 98 users should read

To set up user accounts in Mac OS-X, just go to System Preferences > Accounts and follow the on-screen prompts. That's it.

RideMax Audience: Windows users planning to visit Disneyland or Disney World

With Disneyland a scant 13.9 miles from my home in beautiful Irvine, California, I tend to spend WAY too much time inside the gates of the holy rodent empire. In fact, three Sundays ago I spent an entire day in Disneyland with my girlfriend and her two nieces. We rode the Matterhorn [twice], Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan's Flight, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Mad Tea Party, Autopia, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Haunted Mansion [twice], and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. And then, at 12:30, we stopped for lunch.

No, you didn't just misread that. We rode 13 rides before lunch! On a Sunday! In May! In a Disney theme park! How did we do it? Well, before we left the house, we used a commercial Windows program called "RideMax." RideMax computed the historical wait times for each of the rides we selected and then created a printable, minute-by-minute, ride-by-ride itinerary that routed us around the longest lines We printed our personalized RideMax itinerary, took it with us to the park, and then proceeded to completely wear out my girlfriend's two nieces [who actually fell asleep at lunch.] Our longest wait time was approximately 10 minutes [Autopia], and on most of the rides we simply walked on without any wait time at all.

RideMax isn't free, and it only runs on Windows. I normally don't promote commercial software on our little bus of internet happiness, but after buying and using the software -- I am a full-paying RideMax customer and the company has no idea who I am or that I am reviewing their software in today's post -- I was so impressed with RideMax I thought you should know about it.

Two versions of RideMax are available, one that covers all of the theme parks in Orlando's Walt Disney World [US$29.95] and one that covers the two theme parks in Anaheim's Disneyland Resort [US$26.95.] Both are available at

Once you download and install the RideMax software on your personal computer, using the software is relatively easy. In fact, check out the "How RideMax Works" page at

to see what RideMax looks like and learn how the software uses historical wait time data to create the optimum itinerary for you, one that helps you and your family spend more time riding Disney's rides and less time waiting in Disney's never-ending lines. You then print your RideMax itinerary and bring it with you to the theme park:

If you are thinking about spending any time at either Anaheim's Disneyland Resort or Orlando's Walt Disney World, check out RideMax. The software isn't free -- it costs between US$25 and $30 depending on the Disney property you'll be visiting -- but it should help you avoid Disney's "Infamous Adventure of the Endless Ride Queue."

Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.

           .~~~.  ))
(\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
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The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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