From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 10 Aug 2007 - Surfing at Work / Sued for Downloading


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 how to go online at work without revealing your personal life to the IT department. You'll also find out if you are at risk of getting in legal trouble for downloading an episode of Desperate Housewives. On the technology front, I've got a quick tutorial on Firewire connectivity, and some tips on saving money by getting better gas mileage. Read on!

Surfing At Work - Is Big Brother Watching?

One question that I often hear concerns the privacy of computing in the workplace. Can the boss really tell when you're watching YouTube videos at work? Even scarier, can the geeks from the IT Department read your emails and monitor everything you do on your PC?

Some businesses have a laid-back approach when it comes to monitoring employee computer activities. Other companies track every click, keystroke and email. Regardless of what the official policy may be, you should assume that while at work, any website you visit will be logged, and that emails you send or receive will be monitored and scanned for certain keywords.

The reality is that most people ocasionally use the office computer for non-business reasons. But there are ways to do so without sending up a big read flare. Here are my tips to help you fly under the boss's radar when you need to check your email, or go online for personal business...

Can You Get Sued For Downloading?

It seems that more people are getting nervous about downloading music, movies, games and television shows. Readers are asking me if they can get sued, fined or hauled into court for using LimeWire, Bittorrent and other file-sharing programs. It's easy to get a false sense of anonymity while on the Internet. So many files to download, and so much confusion over copyrights. Is it legal to download all these goodies? Even if it's not, who's gonna know? The truth is scary... lawyers for the RIAA (Recording Industry Association), the MPAA (Motion Picture Association), NBC and others have gone after college students, 12-year-olds, grandmas and even dead people, charging them with piracy and copyright violations.

Obviously, someone is watching what you download or share with others over the Internet. Read on and learn how to download safely, and avoid the snares of the RIAA, MPAA and copyright lawyers...

What is Firewire?

I have to confess that for a long time I was confused by references to Firewire. I knew it was a way to connect certain devices to a computer, but that's about as far as my knowledge went. So when a reader asked me this:

> "I was told that I should have a Firewire cable to transfer videos
> from my camcorder to my computer. I have USB connectors on my PC,
> is that the same thing, or can the Firewire plug in to that?"

... I figured it was time to learn all about Firewire connectivity. In a nutshell, Firewire is a technology designed to facilitate high- speed data transfer for devices like digital cameras and camcorders.

Here's a rundown on the speed and features of Firewire, and some comparisons to the more common USB technology. It'll also tell you how to determine if your computer supports Firewire, and how to add Firewire capability if it's not already there.

Boost Your Gas Mileage

The great thing about travelling on the information highway is that you can travel around the world in seconds, without using any gas. But in the real world, higher prices at the gas pump continue to put a squeeze on family budgets. Europeans are accustomed to paying a lot for fuel, but in the US, folks are grudgingly accepting the fact that $3 per gallon gas is here to stay.

You can argue about whether inflated fuel prices are subsidizing government services or lining the pockets of the oil companies, but I think time is better spent working towards improving the mileage you can squeeze out of a tank of fuel.

While there’s no magic pill or bolt-on gizmo that will magically turn your gas guzzling SUV into a 50 mile per gallon (MPG) wonder, there are a number of things you can do to cut your fuel bill. My friend Dan Gray has compiled a list of tips to help increase your fuel efficiency, and has also created a nifty tool to help you compare the gas mileage efficiency of many cars. Tank up on fuel tips 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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