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Personal Stories
July 29, 2011

Will the Real Matt Refghi Please Stand Up?

Back in mid 2009, I discovered an unexpected shipping confirmation in my e-mail inbox. It was sent from my cellphone service provider, and was letting me know that the iPhone I ordered had been sent out to me. Thing is, I never ordered an iPhone, and though the confirmation showed my name, it was being shipped to another address, and was associated with another phone number. It didn't take long for me to realize that this was identity theft. I immediately called my provider, and realized that I would likely have problems authenticating with them. You see, the provider usually asked for two key items whenever I called: birth date, and postal code. Anticipating this, I first told the agent the situation, and he confirmed…
Personal Stories
October 23, 2010

When Gaming Handles Invade Real Life

Having been a gamer since my teenage years, I'm pretty familiar with representing myself in a virtual world. While some games offers customization of an avatar, the most common element is usually a username, also known as a gaming handle. When other players encounter you in this online world, they know you by your handle, not your real-life name. Over the years, I came to realize that my online personna could sometimes find its way into the real world, with undesirable results. The first situation I'm going to describe revolves around the handle. When creating gaming handles, I now know to exercise caution, as the name may be seen in a context that isn't... appropriate. I have personally experienced this before, and it is both…
Tips & Tricks
August 23, 2010

Using Google Search with SSL in Chrome

On May 21, 2010, Google announced the release of their new SSL Search service. This new search service behaves almost exactly like Google Search - the main difference being that it uses SSL for security. Wondering what SSL is? In the words of Google: SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol that helps provide secure Internet communications for services like web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, and other data transfers. When you search over SSL, your search queries and search traffic are encrypted so they can't be read by any intermediary party such as employers and internet service providers (ISPs). Source: Google SSL Search Help So, put simply, the announcement was great news for privacy and security enthusiasts everywhere. As one of these enthusiasts, I immediately…
November 21, 2009

To Love and Hate NoScript

Mozilla Firefox has always been one of my¬†favorite¬†browsers. The only contender that was able to knock it from its #1 position was Google Chrome. Even though Chrome is still lacking in a few departments (extensions, bookmark management), I swear by it because of the overall performance. Plus, whenever they release a major version, I know they'll have further performance enhancements - that's just what they do. I also prefer the minimalistic nature of their user interface - which, as it turns out, also integrates beautifully with my operating system, Windows 7. Despite Firefox dropping to #2 in my list, I still use it regularly for web development. They have plenty of extensions to keep me coming back: Firebug, Web Developer, ColorZilla, HTML Validator, and... well,…
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