Flash ‘Cookies’ and Security Settings

I’ve found that a large percentage of Internet users don’t realize just how they are being tracked on a website. Most people are aware of HTTP Cookies, but very few realize that browser plugin technologies like Adobe Flash also maintain data about a user’s activities.  Worse yet, while HTTP Cookies are limited to 4k, Flash can store up to 100k per website.

Clearing of standard HTTP cookies is relatively easy to do in mainstream browsers.   However, while Flash is almost ubiquitous, it’s settings are not easy to locate… in fact you cannot even find them in your browser or computer settings, you have to visit a website!

When you visit this link you will first see the sites and amount of data they have stored about you,

Secondly, if you look on the other tabs or follow the next link you’ll be able to control Flash access to your microphone and webcam (provided that you have them connected).

Other tabs will allow you to control various settings related to updates and global security settings, as documentation is provided for each tab it should be relatively easy for you to decide which configuration you prefer in each case.

FYI – I can see some real potential for misuse of these settings if they could be altered externally by a motivated hacker.



Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day.

As a former submarine sailor, and son of a career Navy “Chief”, I’ve got first hand experience as to the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.  Please take the time to thank them for their service to the country, not just today…. but every day.

If you’re a vet, please consider joining one of these or the many other organizations that support you:

If you’re a civilian, please consider contributing to one of these organizations or their respective causes.

I salute you all.

Open Source Office Suite

I am surprised that I have failed to neglect this topic for such a long time.

Some of the most common business applications in use are in the Microsoft Office suite, notably Word, Excel and PowerPoint. If you’ve ever had to purchase this package at retail prices, you were probably amazed at just how expensive this package is, particularly when you only use a small portion of the functionality that they each provide.

The alternative is to use compatible software; originally this meant that you relied on one of many packages that were available in the free-domain. Sun has it’s StarOffice suite which was later released as OpenOffice which over several releases has become the Gold Standard for office suites. It is available on most platforms and is regularly updated. Many features even outperform the Microsoft offerings, my favorite of which is to save just about any document in PDF format.