Firefox Plugins -vs- Plugins Internet Explorer

In Firefox, click the "Firefox" menu (top-left) and select submenu titled "Add-ons" and a new Firefox tab will open (if you've configured your browser that way) and display the various plug-ins installed within Firefox.

Firefox apparently groups their Plug-ins into "Extensions", "Appearance" and "Plugins". I don't know or care what those mean. I just want you to see what's installed.

Firefox Plug Ins

Did you see the button or buttons at the right-side of each plug-in?

Firefox Plugin

Depending on the plugins installed you might see buttons such as:
Options
Disable
Remove

Close the Firefox tab if the Plugins were shown in a tab.

Plugins Internet Explorer

In IE, click the little 'gear' looking icon in the upper-right of the browser. Or hovering over it will show a tool-tip of "Tools (Alt+x)" or you can just press Alt+X keys.

In the Tools menu, choose "Manage Addons" and a window will open that says "View and manage your Internet Explorer Add-ons"

In the leftmost pane there is a pane titled "Add-on" types and clicking on each type will show you which plugins of that type you have installed within IE.

Internet Explorer Addons

In my IE I have four plug-in types:
Toolbars and Extensions
Search Providers
Accelerators
Tracking Protection

Similar to the plugin buttons in Firefox (remember: Options, Remove, Disable?) IE shows you similar options when you click on the individual plug-in nane in the rightmost pane.

So in the leftmost "Add-on Types" pane I click on "Toolbars and Extensions" the rightmost pane will display (for me) Adobe PDF as one of the specific plug-ins installed in my IE.

When I click on that plugin name, it shows me that I can enable it.

IE Addins

Ok, I'm tired of plug-ins.

But hopefully you know how to check which ones you've got installed and what you can do to enable, disable, or remove them.

This was a little geeky, but take the info mainly for context, rather than for something you'll likely need to do. Plugins

Browser Plugin Test? Is this what you mean?

Yup, there's still a few Drive-In theaters around.

Massive screens, rocking technology to hang-in your window, kids playing on playground equipment, and the occasional greaser saying something about "Stranded at the drive-in. Branded a fool. What will they say Monday at school?"

Browser Plugin Test

Ok, nowadays we can watch movies on both PCs and handhelds, but for our topic today is going to focus on common web browsers like IE (Internet Explorer) and Firefox.

A Little History:

Web browsers were originally text based back in the day shortly after a Vice President 'invented' the interwebs, but quickly they evolved to display richer things like images of kittens saying silly things.

The Present:

Nowadays we get to watch videos of humans doing silly things on those same browsers, but for the most part browsers can't do much more than show text and images without something known as "The Plug-In"

Web Browser Plugins

Easy Understanding of Plug-Ins:

Plug-Ins are a set of software components that add specific abilities to a larger software application. Some intended for fun based use, some are productivity focused.

Depending on the software compnay, plug-Ins are sometimes called Add-ons. ("You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to.")

For our purposes today, the larger applications are Firefox and Mozilla and the plugs include Adobe Acrobat viewer, Flash, or Silverlight. Yup, ECF pdfs display in Firefox thanks to a plug-in.

Microsoft Silverlight Browser Plug-in

Not all plug-ins are for watching movies, but the movie thing did get your attention (although JAWS at the midnight drive-in showing as a child was more riveting than on the iPod as a 40 year old dad).

The Future:

The brainiacs behind the future web have said that HTML5 will have features that will make some types of plugins obsolete. In fact, Flash and Silverlight type plugins days are numbered.

However, until all websites adopt HTML5 we'll be downloading some plug-in from Microsoft or Adobe in order to watch Netflix or Hulu.

Installing Browser Plug-ins

The Big Takeway:

Plug-ins aren't voodoo. Neither are they hoodoo.

But you can find a variety of them to provide added features to an otherwise ho-hum browser like IE or Firefox.

You could even say that browsers and plug-ins.... well... they go together like rama-lama-lama ke-ding-ke-dee-ding-ke-dong...

Windows Tricks and Tips #1: Use Start as a Shortcut

Do you hate Windows programs buried->
deep->
in menu->
after->
SubMenu.

If you know the program name... just leverage the Search box.

Windows 7 Tips and Tricks pdf

On Windows 7:

Step 1: click the "Start" circle

Step2: type into the "Search programs and files" area the name of the program you want to run (and not hunt for).

Step 3: Look at the list that Windows7 displays and click the one that you want.

Try it with these common program names:

notepad
calc
snipping tool

After you recover from that last one, did anyone dare look up what a Locavore is? (I promise, it's rated G,).

Yup, the principle is the same. "Why travel through all those menus to get your application running?" (Just like "Why have your peaches grown in Europe, canned in Asia, and shipped to your local grocery, when you can get them grown in the midwest?").

Of course, if you get into the habit of using the application often enough, you might want to just create a shortcut.

Cyber Security Report - Overview 2012

On the "Putting the Pieces Together" front...

The number of attempted and successful cyber attacks on critical infrastructure (think dams, nuclear power plants, water systems) jumped 383% from 2010 to 2011.

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120703/IT01/307030004/Report-Cyber...

As I enjoy my Independence Day and consume a few clean water-based beverages or enjoy chilly air-conditioning that flows from those increasingly threatened
sources, I'll be grateful for those seemingly simple luxuries after having read this report.

http://www.us-cert.gov/control_systems/pdf/ICS-CERT_Incident_Response_Su...

Less chilling (pun intended) highlights include:

"Cybersecurity gaps can occur when personnel at all levels of an organization do not clearly understand security risks to the control systems environment.
This includes management, IT operations, security operations, process operations...." (page 15)

"Cybersecurity gaps also can occur when personnel have insufficient understanding of the technical impacts of inadequate security policies. Organizations
often fail to develop common technical and seucity standsra for the IT and control systems components of their environments." (page 15)

Cyber Security Report 2012

So as we head off to watch the fireworks and ponder independence, dependence, and interdependence, I'm feeling like those cold and numbing notions of security
patches, disciplined IT measures, and sound security processes may have value beyond being annoying, but they hopefully defer a few inconveniences that have
proven to be 383% more likely to come our way.

Hopefully the good management, IT, and operational folks at power plants + water plants + pharmaceutical plants around the world are as vigilant and skilled as we
endeavor to be.

Have a richer, and more meaningful 4th of July

Anti Software Virus - Realtime or Not?

Why do you care about real-time -vs- not realtime anti software virus?

Well, if you think you've got real-time antivirus protection at work and at home, and you behave like you've got real-time protection - and you DON'T actually have it - then you could be in for a rude awakening after you discover you're infected and can't restore your files.

Anti Software Virus - Realtime or Not?

What's the difference between one and the other?

Realtime - scans traffic to/from your computer and attempts to block bad stuff before you get infected.

It's like the German Shepherd you keep at home to nip anyone bad that attempts to get in.

Not Realtime - is a scan of your computer memory and hard-drive for "What HAS happened" and then cleans it up (mostly).

It's like the HazMat team you call (or ServePro/ServiceMaster) to cleanup the mess as best as they can.

But let's just say you find yourself separated from the US Courts and can't rely on that source of antivirus software anymore... you know... sometime between July and August.

Now, you've got one more thing you can throw at the kid working at the electronics department when you go in to shop for antivirus software (assuming you don't just purchase one online).

Gratis Anti Virus

Alternate to store bought, here's a few free antivirus solutions that may or may not meet your needs. Some folks here have used these for years as non-realtime solutions and I suspect these software companies have a paid upgrade option for those who want realtime protection.

http://www.malwarebytes.org/
http://www.superantispyware.com/
http://www.clamwin.com/

Happy scanning...

How To Cut and Paste on a Computer (How Do You Copy and Paste)

Why does copy/paste sometimes not work as expected?

The secret is: hidden characters

How Do I Copy and Paste?

Whether you're copying from MS-Word to another software, or from a web browser to MS-Word, you've probably noticed that the 'paste' results can often differ.

Another frustrating scenario is copying a username or password from an email into a website or other application and having it reject what you've pasted.

Again, the reason is: hidden characters.

Here's a 4 minute video that shows you some of the unexpected pitfalls of these formatting-rich applications.

Sometime the hidden characters are whitespace, other times it's formatting characters. Usually the problems arise when you copy from a 'formatting-rich' (think MS-Word with all it's fancy formatting options) into something else formatting rich (like Lotus notes or MS-Word or WordPad).

How Do YOU Cut and Paste? How Do I Cut and Paste?

Here's a solution that I use to copy/paste safely between two formatting-rich applications:

Step 1) Copy from the formatting rich application 1 (Lotus, IE, Firefox, MS-Word) and paste it into something that's formatting poor (eg: Notepad)
Step 2) Copy from the formatting poor application into the formatting rich application 2.
Done.

I've used that recipe hundreds (no exaggeration) of times to alleviate the mystery of "Why does the formatting get funky when I paste?" or "Why does the password not work since I pasted it from the original email?"

Save your horsepower ; use a notepad. You'll find that it kills and it thrills like the horns on my Silverado grill...

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