Tag: google chrome

Syme for secure social network

syme secure social network

Oh the irony. Syme is a new secure social network with plans to compete against Facebook (which we all know is happily sharing user data with the US Government. Like duh!) yet has a Facebook page. It’s early days so no idea if:

(a) Syme will be popular or is just another leaky app

(b) if Facebook admin’s wise up and remove a competitor (proving Syme is viable after all. I mean if Facebook bans a competitor that app must be doing it right)

The Syme homepage offer a Google Chrome app link. I mean like really! Default Google Chrome browser phones home (Google) sharing user browsing details with Google. So how does a secure network guarantee user security when it offers a plugin for a browser that 90% of users have transmitting their online activity to the developer.

I don’t use Google Chrome browser unless I have to (for extension testing). Even in fully locked down mode. Instead I use the free SRWare Iron browser that uses the open-source Chromium browser engine code. Iron is Chrome less Google’s custom data sharing settings. Chrome even has its own extension site; except these aren’t all that great. The actual Chrome App Store (for official Google approved extensions) don’t work very well in Iron. But no biggie :)

And the Stme privacy ironies don’t end. The Syme Blog is hosted by Posthaven that claims to remain online forever. As long as users pay their USD 5 dues monthly. Yeah right! Blame the users for failure to continue. Where have we heard that before? Posthaven lets you blog by sending them an email. Can any data sharing method be even more insecure? It isn’t that hard to setup a free blog. WordPress.com offers a free blog with a free subdomain (aka mysitexyz.wordpress.com) and runs in secure mode so that data exchange between you and site is encrypted against snoopers.

Next rant someday soon.

Delicious not to close but time to consider alternates

Yahoo has clarified their Delicious bookmarking service is not going the way of the dodo yet. It will remain online. While they look for a buyer. I couldn’t wait. I’ve made the switch to Diigo. Here’s a comparison with change-over instructions.

But Diigo aren’t the sole alternate. There are a number of paid and free alternates available. For more read GigaOM’s 5 Delicious Alternates which is where I decided there was no time like the present.

Another reason to choose Diigo was its easy book-market and specialized Google Chrome and Firefox tool bars. Adding links is sooo much easier than with Delicious.

After you signup and import your bookmarks, be prepared to wait. Seems so many worrywarts have changed providers that their data parsing operation is overloaded!

Tip Jar: Live Dangerously! Fix your crawling BSNL DNS

Disclaimer: Implementing this change requires understanding Windows Networking. It may contravene BSNL policy.

This writer uses India’s BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited – what a mouthful hence the acronym) Dataone broadband service. Which is a bit of step-child with mostly outdated (and therefore useless) configuration information on the vendor’s site. That is assuming you can find said information in the first place. I usually use Google to search for DNS status updates. There’s an active thread at the India Broadband Forum where users post their experiences.

I got plumb tired of waiting for ages to open any website outside India. Including this blog. So I did a bit of digging and decided to live dangerously. I changed my DNS settings to use Google Public DNS instead.

To do so I first opened a command line window and ran ‘ipconfig /all’ to detect the existing BSNL DNS which I then carefully wrote down (in case living dangerously meant no connection). I next opened the Windows Control Panel network option and changed the primary and secondary DNS to those offered by Google for both dial-up modem IP4 DNS settings. As well as those for the LAN Card’s IP4 settings. You have to do it in both or there will be no appreciable enhancement. BSNL Router users too can change their settings by opening http://192.168.1.1 and using admin / admin as the login / password combination. If that doesn’t work check the router documentation (you did save it safe somewhere didn’t you?).

And once you are done run Ping Test (requires Flash & Java VM) to check your grade. I tried the service before changing the connection and the site timed out before it could test anything!

Broadband throughput using Mozilla Firefox 3.6.9
Broadband throughput with Mozilla Firefox 3.6.9
Broadband throughput using Google Chrome 6.0.472.x
Broadband throughput with Google Chrome 6.0.472.x

After switching to the Google DNS, I got a B grade connecting to a Mumbai (aka Bombay, India) server and a D grade connecting to Ashburn, VA (USA) servers. Do note these aren’t subjective tests because testing using a different service, Speedtest, of the same servers got completely different times! I tested with Firefox 3.6.9 and Google Chrome 6.0.472.x and Chrome was way faster!!! My poor scores may have something to do with the ancient (4+ years old) modem provided when the maximum BSNL network speed was an awe-inspiring 256 kbps!

And even if you aren’t in India, the Google Public DNS may improve your browsing speed, So why not try it. Living on the edge can be fun!