Firefox plug-ins I have known and loved.

It's been said that the killer app that made the Net as ubiquitous as it is today is the web browser, with e-mail running a close second. Just about everyone uses a browser in some capacity or another to access news, information, and e-mail, possibly moreso than dedicated applications (such as e-mail readers, RSS readers, or database searching applications). As great as they are, web browsers have their own unique sets of problems and vulnerabilities that have to be taken into account, especially if privacy is of concern to you.

Firefox, in my considered opinion, is an excellent web browser …

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Safe browsing from hacker cons: Running a personal proxy.

Whenever I plan on using my laptop at a convention, in particular at hacker cons, it's practically assured that an unknown number of attendees will be monitoring the wireless network in some manner for nefarious purposes. Because many application protocols in use do not use cryptographic systems to protect traffic (like instant messenger and webmail), it's possible to record what people are doing as they do it, or worse record the credentials used to log in. The software to do this is trivially easy to acquire because protocol analyzers (more commonly called packet sniffers) have legitimate uses when troubleshooting networks …

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This isn't quite Nikola Tesla's "Free electricity for everyone" but I'll take it.

Wireless net.access is not yet ubiquitous, but it's pretty common and becoming moreso every day for a variety of reasons. Net.access is definitely in enough demand that a lot of places sell wireless access to whomever is willing to pay for it. If you're lucky, you'll get a good price on an hourly rate or a daypass, but if you're not you'll get reamed on the price of daily access (I remember one hotel I stayed at in Florida that demanded $30us per day for 802.11b access). This has angered some people to the point at which …

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