Friends don’t let friends…

This is the basic Internet security tip I give everyone. Don’t load Outlook & don’t run Internet Explorer unless you have to.

Friends don’t let friends run Outlook.

Think about it. The vast majority of email based virii (viruses or however you want to spell it) take advantage of the huge security holes in Outlook.

It’s not even that good an email client. Really, you are better off with Mozilla’s Thunderbird.

As a groupware scheduling program, it is actually pretty good.  That doesn’t make up for its general, and I’m going to use a technical term here, suckage as an email program.  If you are using Outlook for your personal email, just don’t. Use a web based solution, like Yahoo mail or Google Gmail.  You can even use a client program like T-Bird in IMAP mode with Gmail for free.

I’ve run a couple of small corporate IT departments, which included supporting their Exchange servers and Outlook clients, so I know of what I speak.

For small companies, especially non-profits, going with Google Apps makes a lot more sense.  Outsourcing your email means at least one less bit of server hardware you have to maintain on top of any software related costs.  Even if you are running Linux for your mail server, there is an associated cost for the geek to maintain it, on top of the hardware costs.

Take a look at Worcester State College for a good example of how outsourcing a basic function like email frees up not just money, but the talent of the IT department to help their clients.

Not using Microsoft IE browser is another simple way to improve your basic Internet security.  Web based security attacks focus on IE because it is the default browser for a large majority of computers in use.

Switching to a third party browser, such as Firefox, will not only improve your security, it will also improve your overall browsing experince by using a better designed product.


Simple is good

A gadget doesn’t have to be high tech and fancy to be good.  It doesn’t hurt, but it’s not critical. 🙂

Example, the simple coffee press.  I’ve used different coffee makers over the years and have settled on a basic coffee press for home use.

Why? It makes damn good coffee quickly and easily.  I’m not tied into buying a particular type of prepackaged, pre-ground stuff that the one shot machines require.

The trick is start with good coffee, whole beans, and fresh roasted.  I get mind from Armeno Coffee Roasters, a local establishment in Northborough, MA, that actually roasts their own beans on site.  They also carry Hawaiian beans.  Which in addition to “buying American” is damn good coffee.

A course grind on the beans, hot but not boiling water, wait a few minutes, and my coffee fix is taken care of.

You may ask, “A discussion on coffee in a tech blog?” If you do, you haven’t worked in High Tech.  The business runs on coffee.  According to Bandit Six, so does the US Army, but I digress.

The latest issue of Wired had an article on a high tech coffee machine that Starbucks paid a lot money for. Perhaps it will help hide the fact that they over roast.