From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 25 Sep 2007 - Firewalls / Facebook / Sharing


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

In today's TOURBUS, you'll learn everything you need to know about Firewalls. I don't care if you were afraid to ask, I'm answering! For social networkers, I've got a rundown on the best Facebook apps, and I also have some tips on sharing your printer and hard drive over the Internet. Read on!

What You Need to Know About Firewalls

What happens When You yell "MOVIE!" in a crowded firehouse? Sometimes even the professionals who are supposed to be protecting you are confused by hype and false alarms. Have you heard conflicting reports on whether or not you should be using a firewall? Some people say they are only needed for dialup users. Others claim that you MUST have a firewall if you have a highspeed DSL or cable connection to the Internet.

So who's right? It turns that "Do I Need a Firewall?" is the wrong question. What you really need to know is... what the heck *IS* a firewall, why you need one, and what kind of firewall is right for your system. My article "Do I Need a Firewall?" answers all of these burning questions.

Facebook Applications

I recently got this question from a new Facebook user:

> "On Facebook, I always get invitations to add 'applications' to
> my profile. Some sound interesting, but I'm not even sure what an
> application is. Are they part of Facebook, or something from the
> outside? Do I need to worry about Facebook viruses?"
Facebook applications are add-ons that can be fun, functional, or frivolous. Think "program" when you see the word "application" and it makes more sense. To their credit, Facebook has created an open system which allows clever programmers to create applications that are nicely integrated into the Facebook system. Adding these applications to your Facebook profile is similar in concept to downloading and installing a program on your computer's desktop.

In theory, a Facebook application could contain a virus or spyware, but none have been reported so far. When evaluating an application, you should feel safe if it says "By Facebook" next to the name. Look also at the "About this Application" section. If it says "This application was not developed by Facebook" then I recommend you decide based on how many users have added the application. Several thousand or more should indicate that lots of Facebook users safely enjoy the app. Several dozen, maybe wait and see.

Facebook apps are free, so go ahead and check out some of my favorite and recommended Facebook apps here...

Printing Over the Internet

Have you ever wondered if it's possible to share a printer online? Perhaps you're working at home and would like to print directly to the office printer. Or maybe you're in Bangkok and want to print something on your home printer half a world away. Both computers are online, so it seems like it should be possible to print over the Internet.

If your cyber instinct told you there HAS to be a way, then good for you! There are a variety of ways you can remotely print through the Internet. Some free solutions require a bit of geekery, and others make it a point & click affair for a price. Find the remote printing solution that works best for you...

Sharing A Hard Drive Online

On a related note, a reader asked me this:

> "I have photos, MP3s and some Word documents on my hard drive. How
> can I share my hard drive online so that just certain people can
> access my files? My colleagues have Internet access but we do not
> share a computer network. Can I share my folders and files online?"
I have to confess that when I read this question, I just KNEW the answer had to be yes. But off the top of my head, I had no idea where to start.

After a bit of research and memory jogging, I found that there are a variety of ways to share your hard drive, certain folders, or just a handful of files using the Internet. Some solutions are free, but don't provide complete transparency. Others have some security implications. But it CAN be done! Researching this topic even made me wonder if traditional hard drives are obsolete. Read all about sharing your hard drive online here:

That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

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