I’m still enjoying the fresh new Ubunutu 9.04, and one of the nice new features is a firewall – which Canonical calls “Uncomplicated Firewall”. I’m usually not hooked on firewalls, but just for the fun of it I enabled the firewall on my laptop and it seems to work quite well. The firewall doesn’t seem to have any noticeable impact on system performance and as the laptop from time to time visits open wifi’s, it’s probably a good idea to have protection from other users on open networks.
It’s often the case that security is an inconvenience and gets in the way of usability and ease of use. There are exceptions though and for a number of weeks I’ve been playing with the Yubikey (thanks to Schack) from Yubico. It’s a small device, which plugs into a USB port, and to the computer acts as a keyboard. It has some advanced security build-in with the ability to generate one-time verifiable passwords, but is incredible easy to use – plug it into the USB port and press the single button when you need to sign in to services supporting the Yubikey.
Modern computers contains al lot of software. A fully updated fresh windows installation contains well over 50.000 files - and before it being “usable” with the most common applications, plugins, addons and extensions for the software you use on a daily basis, you’ve probably added so much more, that you’ve completely lost count of what’s been installed. It’s a pretty bad situation in terms of security and software maintenance/updating. WindowsUpdate has come part of the way.
It seems some websites produce horrifically long url’s and others (such as twitter) imposes some strict boundaries, which has created the need for sites such as tinyurl.com. With tinyurl you can post a long (even really long) url on the site and have a short (redirect through tinyurl) instead. It’s pretty smart, but I really don’t like being redirected to a secret destination. On tinyurl.com they luckily have an option (if you have cookies enabled) which allows you not to auto-redirect.