Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

internet titsbits

BROWSER COOKIES

or, thanks for the memories

Cookie seems like an unlikely name for a piece of technology, but cookies play a key role in providing functionality that Internet users may want from websites: a memory of visits, in the past or in progress.

A cookie is a small piece of text sent to your browser by a website you visit. It contains information about your visit that you may want the site to remember, like your preferred language and other settings. The browser stores this data and pulls it out the next time you visit the site to make the next trip easier and more personalized. If you visit

a movie website and indicate that you’re most interested in comedies, for instance, the cookies sent by the website can remember this so you may see comedies displayed at the start of your next visit.

Online shopping carts also use cookies. As you browse for DVDs on that movie shopping site, for instance, you may notice that you can add them to your shopping cart without

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logging in. Your shopping cart doesn’t “forget” the DVDs, even as you hop around from page to page on the shopping site, because they’re preserved through browser cookies. Cookies can be used in online advertising as well, to remember your interests and show you related ads as you surf the web.

Some people prefer not to allow cookies, which is why most modern browsers give you the ability to manage cookies to suit your tastes. You can set up rules to manage cookies on a site-by-site basis, giving you greater control over your privacy. What this means is that you can choose which sites you trust and allow cookies only for those sites, blocking cookies from everyone else. Since there are many types of cookies — including “session-only cookies” that last only for a particular browsing session, or permanent cookies that last for multiple sessions — modern browsers

typically give you fine-tuned controls so that you can specify your preferences for different types of cookies, such as accepting permanent cookies as session-only.

In the Google Chrome browser, you’ll notice a little something extra in the Options menus: a direct link to the Adobe Flash Player storage settings manager. This link makes it easy to control local data stored by Adobe Flash Player (otherwise commonly known as “Flash cookies”), which can contain information on Flash-based websites and applications that you visit. Just as you can manage your browser cookies, you should be able to easily control your Flash cookies settings as well.

logging in. Your shopping cart doesn’t “forget” the DVDs, even as you hop around from page to page on the shopping site, because they’re preserved through browser cookies. Cookies can be used in online advertising as well, to remember your interests and show you related ads as you surf the web.

Some people prefer not to allow cookies, which is why most modern browsers give you the ability to manage cookies to suit your tastes. You can set up rules to manage cookies on a site-by-site basis, giving you greater control over your privacy. What this means is that you can choose which sites you trust and allow cookies only for those sites, blocking cookies from everyone else. Since there are many types of cookies — including “session-only cookies” that last only for a particular browsing session, or permanent cookies that last for multiple sessions — modern browsers

typically give you fine-tuned controls so that you can specify your preferences for different types of cookies, such as accepting permanent cookies as session-only.

In the Google Chrome browser, you’ll notice a little something extra in the Options menus: a direct link to the Adobe Flash Player storage settings manager. This link makes it easy to control local data stored by Adobe Flash Player (otherwise commonly known as “Flash cookies”), which can contain information on Flash-based websites and applications that you visit. Just as you can manage your browser cookies, you should be able to easily control your Flash cookies settings as well.

BROWSERS AND PRIVACY

or, giving you choices to protect your privacy in the browser

Security and privacy are closely related, but not identical.

Consider the security and privacy of your home: door locks and alarms help protect you from burglars, but curtains and blinds keep

your home life private from passersby.

In the same way, browser security helps protect you from malware, phishing, and other online attacks, while privacy features help keep your browsing private on your computer.

Let’s look more closely at privacy. Here’s an analogy: Say you’re an avid runner who jogs a few miles every day. If you carry a GPS device to help you track your daily runs, you create a diary of running data on your device — a historical record of where you run, how far you run, your average speed, and the calories you burn.

As you browse the web, you generate a similar diary of browser data that is stored locally on your computer: a history of the sites you visit, the cookies sent to your browser, and any files you download. If you’ve asked your browser to remember your passwords or form data, that’s stored on your computer too.

Some of us may not realize that we can clear all this browser data from our computers at any time. It’s easy to do through a browser’s Options or Preferences menu. (The menu differs from browser to browser.) In fact, the latest versions of most modern browsers also offer a “private” or “incognito” mode. For example, in Chrome’s incognito mode, any web page that you view won’t appear in your browsing history. In addition, all new cookies are deleted after you close all the incognito windows that you’ve opened. This mode is especially handy if you share your computer with other people, or if you work on a public computer in your local library or cybercafe.

All these privacy features in the browser give you control over the browsing data locally on your computer or specific data that are sent by your browser to websites. Your browser’s privacy settings do not control other data that these websites may have about you, such as information you previously submitted on the website.

There are ways to limit some of the information that websites receive when you visit them. Many browsers let you control your privacy preferences on a site-by-site basis and make your own choices about specific data such as cookies, JavaScript, and plugins. For instance, you can set up rules to allow cookies only for a specified list of sites that you trust, and instruct the browser to block cookies for all other sites.

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