From: Bob Rankin <[log in to unmask]> Subject: TOURBUS - 27 Sep 05 - The Worst Problem on the Net
If everyone was just a little smarter, would spam, viruses and spyware be banished from cyberspace? Can using Firefox get you in trouble with your Internet service provider? And what's the deal with RSS? Read on...
What's the worst problem on the Internet? Is it the mountain of spam that fills your inbox daily? Or perhaps the twin plagues of viruses and spyware? How about hackers and identity theft? The surprising answer, according to 600 people surveyed by Net Patrol, is (D) Stupid Users. At first glance, you might think it's just a bunch of geeks casting aspersions on the not-so-techie, but do they have a point?
Have you been wondering what in the world all those little RSS and XML buttons you've been seeing on websites are for? Do you get a vague angst when you hear about RSS feeds? Did you break into a cold sweat when that guy at the office party asked which aggregator is your favorite?
Simply put, RSS is a nifty way to track just the topics you want to keep tabs on and pull that info off the web without spam getting in the way. This article explains why you should care about RSS, how it works, and how to get started.
After reading my recent article "I Use Internet Explorer, And I Feel Fine!" [ http://www.askbobrankin.com/is_firefox_for_everyone.html ], some folks might think I'm anti-Firefox. Actually I think it's a good browser, and I do use it sometimes. But the folks at Earthlink may actually be discouraging people from using it at all. A reader asked me today:
> I've heard that I should switch to Firefox, but my ISP Earthlink
> tells me that Earthlink can only use Internet Explorer as its
> default browser and made it sound like I'd get into a bunch of
> trouble if I even used Firefox on occasion. Is that true?
If your ISP tells you that you MUST use a particular browser or email program, chances are it's for THEIR convenience, not yours. Here's my complete answer to the question, and if you're an Earthlink user who prefers Firefox, I welcome you to comment.
Did you know... a survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and backed by the US Department of Homeland Security found that more than 70% of computer owners falsely believed they were safe from online threats such as adware, spyware and viruses?
The truth is, it's easy to get infected without even knowing it. Downloading free software or visiting tainted Web pages can often infect your computer. What's an unsuspecting computer owner to do? No need to worry - you can take steps to eliminate this false sense of security by taking a few precautions to protect yourself. And Smart Computing can help. Sign up for your 3 RISK-FREE ISSUES now!
That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin