Woe to the Web designer who lists hyperlinkable text as such instead of appending a URL. You know what I'm talking about - when an errant Web designer spells out something like "go to maximumpc.com for an awesome column," yet doesn't actually make the "maximumpc.com" part of the phrase into a clickable hyperlink. This practice is not only annoying, but it really does defeat the entire point of a hyperlink to begin with.
I sure don't like copying and pasting URLs, or email addresses, into various browsers or applications. And I'm not being petty with this complaint. I surf faster when I can click, bookmark, and open potentially interesting links into new tabs. If I had to copy and paste a significant majority of the links I frequent, I might just give up on the Web entirely--and I bet you would too.
If you're a hardcore Web browsing fiend (no, not that kind of hardcore), then the kinds of add-ons that likely interest you are the ones that enable you surf as fast as humanly possible. But trawling site, after site, after site is often limited by both your connection speed and the speed of the site/server you're accessing, not to mention a few other little factors here and there.
I can't do much to help you with that via a simple Firefox add-on. However, I can assist you in finding information faster on the Web. Specifically, I can show you how to access previews for interesting links before you take the time (and resources) to open them up in a new tab, scan the page, and close them (or use them to continue about your way.) This might not sound like much of a benefit to one who's used to dumping a ton of new tabs based on links throughout a Web site. But hear me out--I've used CoolPreviews and it's a pretty sweet deal.
In a new study commissioned by Adobe and carried out online by YouGov, it would appear that businesses put too much emphasis on using email as an admin tool. Out of the 1,151 office workers polled, which represented both public and private sector organizations with at least 50 employees, some 30 percent of respondents said they spend more than five hours a month on 'unnecessary administration work.'
"Businesses are over-relying on email as an administration tool," said David Gingell, Adobe's senior director of marketing, EMEA. "There are more efficient ways of collating data. [For example] electronic forms can simplify the collection and automate sharing of data in the back office, and for many organizations, electronics forms is a fairly straightforward business case in terms of return on investment."
Despite what Gingell says, only 17 percent of the respondents said they use electronic forms, while 11 percent still rely on paper. The vast majority of respondents -- 72 percent -- said they use email, and according to Adobe, this is costing UK companies around $13.5 billion a year.
The US Department of justice has dropped its case attempting to force Yahoo to hand over private email without a warrant. The DOJ files a two page brief with the court canceling its request for access to Yahoo subscribers' email. The action taken by the DOJ ruffled a lot of feathers including the EFF and Google, who filed their displeasure with the court just recently.
The nature of the crimes being investigated was never disclosed, and that likely had something to do with the governments eventual decision to pull out. Though, the media attention in the last week probably helped as well. The EFF is claiming that the Justice Department dropped the case mainly because they did not want to fight the civil liberties group in court.
Yahoo isn't offering much background, but seems positive saying, "We are pleased with the decision and we continue to be committed to protecting the privacy of users." This decision does not rule out the possibility the government could make another attempt to access email without a warrant in the future, but these accounts are likely safe. How does this make you feel about the privacy of email?
Users of the Chrome and Firefox 3.6 browsers got a nice treat today courtesy of Google. Gmail in those browsers now supports drag and drop file attachments. Instead of using the attachment link to bring up a file explorer window, you can just drag files into the Gmail interface and have them uploaded automatically. The feature works with multiple file uploads and requires no tinkering with settings.
Dragging a file (or files) anywhere in the Gmail window will bring up a special box in the area usually reserved for attachments. Simply drop the file(s) anywhere in that box to upload. Google hinted in their blog post that the feature was only being enabled in Firefox 3.6 and Chrome due to a some missing features in other browsers. Perhaps some sort of HTML5 support?
We really dig this feature, and hope that Google adds more UI elements that are this intuitive. Is this the sort of feature you'll use? Anything you've really been hoping Gmail would implement?
In a statement today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) officially came out in support of Yahoo and their attempt to block a government request for access to a private email account. The sticking point here is that the government is seeking access based on probable cause and does not have a warrant. The nature of the case is unknown as all details are sealed.
The case being made by federal investigators is that since the individual has accessed the email, it is no longer "electronic storage" as defined by the Stored Communications Act (SCA), and therefore no warrant is required. This position does not have legal precedence, and strikes us as a bit nutty. Yahoo is in the process of challenging the government request citing the SCA and Fourth Amendment. The EFF court brief is expected to be of help in the case.
"The government is trying to evade federal privacy law and the Constitution," said EFF Attorney Kevin Bankston. The EFF is also pushing for government action to clarify privacy rights when it comes to technology. The EFF's brief was also signed by Google, NetCoalition, and the Distributed Computing Industry Association among others. If Yahoo is unsuccessful in their defense, this could have serious privacy ramifications for personal data storage.
Gmail added a new security feature today to alert users of suspicious activity that may indicate unauthorized access. Gmail already has a feature that lists IP addresses the count is open at, but the information is at the bottom of the page and Google found that most users don’t know it’s there. Now Google will use a banner right up front to alert users proactively of strange activity.
The warning will show a brief description of the activity and link to a list of current and recent sessions identified by IP and geographic location. Google says the warning will only be triggered if the system considers the account to be at risk. For example, if you usually log in from a certain geographic area, then a log in occurs from outside that area, the alert would be triggered. The interface also allows users to change their password if they believe their account is indeed compromised.
We always like to see better security options for users, but it will be interesting to see if Google gets a lot of false positives. Keep an eye out and let us know if you get this warning and what caused it.
Mozilla this week made available the first beta of Thunderbird 3 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Codenamed "Lanikai," the latest release introduces a few changes to the open-source email client, many of which take place under the hood.
Built on top of the Gecko 1.9.2 platform (the same engine powering Firefox 3.6), Mozilla says you can expect improvements in stability and memory, fixes to improve upgrading from Thunderbird 2, fixes for auto complete, tabs, and activity manager, and several design improvements and corrections to the interface.
As with any beta software, you should expect a few bugs, and there are a handful of known issues in Thunderbird 3. Kaspersky's Anti-Spam extension is disabled, for instance, and you may run into some SMTP issues.
If you still want to give it a try, you can download a copy right here.
Teneros, a backup and disaster recovery specialist, announced the launch of its new hosted disaster recovery offering, DR-as-a-Service, for critical network and communication applications like Microsoft Exchange, BlackBerry, and so forth.
Teneros claims its new service is suitable for enterprises of all sizes looking for a global disaster recovery solution, noting that it requires no upfront capital expenditure.
"Our DR-as-a-Service represents another milestone in our product strategy, which is focused on ensuring always-on, available and accessible email," said Ben Petro, president and CEO of Teneros. "Teneros is the industry leader in delivering email and messaging continuity via appliances. The Teneros hosted DR-as-a-Service broadens our Always-On™ product suite to address enterprises’ expanding application continuity requirements across their entire IT infrastructure."
Petro went on to note that the company's SaaS offering is the first complete disaster recovery solution that both protects corporate IT infrastructures while also providing an affordable solution for mission critical SMB applications.
Email encryption is a task that's often misunderstood and frequently confusing. In fact, I can't think of anyone on my list of friends right now--geek or otherwise--who actually encrypts their email. That's not because email encryption is a bad thing. In fact, there are some pretty compelling benefits to being able to conceal the contents of a message. Suppose you have to quickly email a friend or loved one access to your online banking account for some reason. You aren't going to want to just send that information straight into the digital ether. An unhappy coworker or an industrious packet sniffer can pick out the contents of your message and compromise your security in a short amount of time.
You usually have to walk through a ton of hoops to get your hands on powerful email encryption. It's a hodgepodge of certificates, authentications, digital signatures, strings of text exchanged as keys, et cetera. Or, at least, it was. A helpful piece of freeware called Comodo SecureEmail is attempting to simultaneously reduce the headache and maximize the benefit of email encryption. I'm proud to report that it's super-easy to use so long as you know how to work your way around a typical configuration screen. More importantly, it's a great way to set up the encryption handshake between you and new email contacts without rendering you lifeless from all the different options and authentications.
Click the jump to check out Comodo SecureEmail's features!