Category: Optimization

Your e-mail holds the bulk of your online information. Unfortunately, that information is out in the open. That is, unless you decide to encrypt it so only you can determine who can read it.

The growth of the internet, and e-mail in particular, has given rise to numerous types of encryption software for the secure transmission of information. There are various reasons for wanting to encrypt your e-mail today:
Client confidentiality. You need to transmit sensitive commercial information over e-mail, and you don’t want people who sneak onto or steal your computer to compromise your clients’ privacy.
You want to avoid prosecution by the government. Perhaps you you live under an authoritarian regime that is trying to infringe on your civil liberties. We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here.
You are a business owner or the head of an organization targeted by digital con artists and you need a system to authenticate your identity amongst your clientele.

What You’ll Need

Encryption on the internet is not unlike your typical lock and key combination. What you’ll need to do is choose the lock, in the form of encryption platform, and then generate a key to lock (encrypt) or unlock (decrypt) your data.
Choose your lock

  • There are various encryption platforms. Some popular standards include:
    Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
    Triple Data Encryption Algorithm (TDEA), X.509
    Various flavors of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), including Open PGP and Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG)
  • Because encryption ought to be tightly integrated with your e-mail client, the standard you end up using is probably going to be determined by what works with your e-mail client of choice. For example, Microsoft Outlook comes with TDEA encryption, Apple’s Mail supports X.509 encryption, and there is a GPG add-on for Firefox that works with Google’s GMail.

    Create your keys

    To get started with encryption, you need to create an encryption key pair, which is like a digital signature and pass code. Your e-mail client or stand-alone encryption software might be able to create these keys for you or you may be directed to the web site of a certificate authority such as Thawte or Verisign to create and store your key.

    Enter your full name, your e-mail address, and create a pass phrase that will ensure that only you can use your key. Your pass phrase should be fairly long and complicated – you shouldn’t use names, dates, addresses, or anything else that can be easily guessed at. One simple method is to use mondegreens; you know, those misinterpreted words you used to sing along with, until you learn what the real lyrics really are and become terribly embarrassed. For example, Jimi Hendrix’s “‘scuse me, while I kiss this guy.”

    Certificate authorities create a key pair of both a private and a public key for you. The only people who should have access to your private key are you and the certificate authority; this key is what allows you to encrypt files and decrypt files meant just for you. The public key is freely distributed to anyone you correspond with; it allows other people to check your digital signature to confirm that you are the actual author, and it allows them to encrypt files and messages that only you can decrypt. Depending on the encryption standard you are using, you may have to send people your public key by attaching a file, or it may be automatically downloaded from the certificate authority’s public key server.

    Start encrypting!

    The two most common functions of encryption software are Signing and Encrypting. Signing an e-mail lets anyone who has access to your public key decrypt the message, and serves to confirm that you are the original author. Signing is useful in situations where unsavory characters may be sending out fraudulent information in your name and you need people to know what information is really coming from you. Encrypting scrambles plain text or file attachments and only allows the intended recipient to access them. Encrypted files and messages are also signed as a matter of course, so the recipient can also confirm that the message they are decoding did actually come from you.

    In the Future

    As computers get more powerful, it becomes easier to crack encryption. In fact, one of the very first digital computers ever created, Colossus, was used to decrypt German codes during World War II. Typically as code breakers get more powerful, encryption systems just use longer and longer codes to slow down brute-force attempts to guess them: right now most desktop encryption software offers up to 4,096-bit encryption.

    An entirely new system of encryption is being developed that takes advantage of the principles of quantum mechanics: quantum encryption creates an entangled key pair of qubits that is shared among two parties. These entangled qubits allow the two parties to share information securely, and – due to the peculiar role observation plays in quantum mechanics – also alerts them if anyone is attempting to eavesdrop on their secure channel. Quantum cryptography is already running on experimental military and university communication networks, and if the example of the World War II code-breaking machines is any indication, it’s only a matter of time until the technology trickles down to consumers.

    You see, when you build your personal training website you have to realise your web design guy is…

    Fact 1 – More interested in Design, Layout, Flashy bells-and-whistles and ‘coolness’ factors (ever wondered why these types of guys have ‘Portfolios’ rather than Testimonials…?

    Fact 2 –Not interested in personal training or your personal training business. He is not interested in getting more clients for your business and…

    Fact 3 – Their job is to design a web site for you, not to get people to go to your website and sign up for your services – he sees that as your job.

    Can you see the problem here?

    If you have fallen for the Personal Trainers ‘Hollow Dream’ you most certainly have a flashy looking website but you lack traffic, that is real people visiting your website. With out anyone to visit your website how is it ever going to bring in NEW clients and extra revenue for you?!

    Your web guy will sit there and try and impress you with all the swish-looking websites he has designed for his clients, but ask him if he has any customer testimonials…

    Better yet, see if those testimonials actually report that the client got more customers and made money BECAUSE of the website, rather than just praising the designer for a professional or good looking website.

    Your web guy might as you questions about your business to get a ‘feel’ for what you want your website to look like, but again, this is just so he can tailor the look of the website to you and make the design look good. This has nothing to do with getting people to your website or actually converting them into paying clients. Ask him if he’ll use an autoresponder to capture visitors contact details… ask if he’ll help you set up an autoresponder series to brand you and your personal training services as the best in your area. My guess is he won’t even know what an autoresponder is… (sigh).

    Ask your web guy what he is going to do to guarantee you actually get new client as a result of building your website and his response will probably be;

    “I just build your website, you’ve got to sell your services”

    HANG ON A MINUTE!!! Didn’t he just sell me a website so I can get more clients?!? and now he’s saying I’m the one who has to get those clients?! So what is it exactly that he is doing? – He is selling the Hollow Dream… BUSTED!!!

    Don’t fall for it.

    Without people to visit your website your site is just an abandoned island that no-one knows about.

    You can have your web guy to do some traffic generation and some search engine optimization buy this can easily cost you hundreds of dollars each and every month!

    To make things worse, your web guy can only control on-page optimization and he will never tell you Google only cares about off-page optimization.

    He’s making his job of designing a website that attracts more clients sound hopeless if he tells you these facts…

    Fact 4 – Google does not care about your meta tags anymore. While they can help you ‘get-the-click’, once a person sees your website in the search engines. Search Engines rank off-page SEO more than on-page SEO.

    Fact 5 – People will not remember your business name when it comes to TYPING it in so you must rank for many different keywords related to your SERVICE (There are thousands more people searching for the service you provide compared to your actual business name).

    Fact 6 – Most people will click away from a website within 7 seconds if it looks messy or doesn’t seem to promise to deliver what they are searching for. (Your dead in the water if you can’t convey your message in 7 seconds).

    Nature photography

    Taking pictures of nature
    The great outdoors offers a lot of irresistible subjects: landscapes, gardens and individual flowers, trees, waterfalls, and animals. The next time you explore Mother Nature, take these helpful tips with you and bring back some amazing pictures.

    Waves in motion

    Step into the light

    Effective use of dim light

    Look for interesting combinations of color, light, shadow and texture
    Morning light gives you warmer, yellow colors
    Late afternoon, or evening light provides colors with a hint of red to full red

    Prevent flare-ups

    Sunlight can hit the camera lens and create flare – those hexagonal shapes that veil over the image
    Use a hat or your hand to shade your camera
    Find a location where something like a tree or its limbs can block the direct sun

    A new angle on life
    Sometimes the best photo is the one you just walked by
    Look up, look down, look all around you
    Take a few wide-angle shots of the area
    Move in close to capture the details of a flower or bark of a tree by using macro mode on your camera

    Explore your camera modes
    Landscape mode – optimizes the camera settings for landscape photos and capturing objects at great distances
    Macro mode – perfect for taking extreme close-up photos
    Panorama stitch mode – combines up to three shots together into one large picture

    Cut the clutter
    Unrelated elements compete for the viewer’s attention and draw the eye away from the center of interest
    Fill the frame with your subject by moving in close to exclude any extraneous elements
    Take vertical pictures of vertical subjects like trees, flowers, and mountains
    Shoot from a very low or very high angle to help the subject stand out
    If practical, move the subject to a better location with a cleaner backdrop

    Capture the full view
    Take dramatic shots of beautiful landscapes. Capture the whole scene, be it a landscape or plunging waterfall using the panoramic mode.

    Location, location, location

    A good location is a job half done...

    Even city slickers can find opportunities for nature photography – simply head to the park
    Do a web search of your region, or a location that you plan to visit on vacation
    Search for gardens, wildlife rehab centers, zoos and various nature preserves

    Google has more deeply integrated its Web search history product into the mobile version of its search home page. Users in the U.S. who are accessing Google from a compatible mobile phone will see a new history option on the bottom of the page that takes them to a mobile-friendly version of their last 10 searches, along with what time they were queried and from what device. Additional results can then be loaded in 15 at a time.

    To use the new listing, which is simply an optimized version of the Web history product that’s been around since early 2007, users first have to opt in. After that, it begins tracking searches from any computer or mobile phone where you’re signed in.

    Besides a listing of all your history, the mobile version of search history also lets you browse through result pages that have been starred. This is something you can do on either the mobile phone or on a normal browser since early March, when Google dumped its SearchWiki project in favor of a more traditional bookmarking system.

    The mobile-optimized Google search history page shows you where you’ve been, and what you’ve bookmarked–even if it was on another device.

    One nice feature that’s still there and still quite easy to access from the mobile interface is a delete button. While you can’t delete a whole group of searched for items at once (like you can on a desktop), it’s a one-touch affair to delete items one at a time after hitting the “edit” button on the top of the search history page.

    All in all this is a handy addition and certainly a no-brainer for Google to custom tailor for touch-screen devices. On the company’s Android handsets, search history is a more deeply ingrained part of the Web and phone search experience, so it’s no surprise to see it show up as a more prominent part of a start page where users on other handsets have a chance to see it too.

    The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions.

    THERE ARE TWO PROBLEMS WITH INFORMATION: NOT HAVING ENOUGH, AND HAVING TOO MUCH. WITHOUT ALL THE NECESSARY INFORMATION ABOUT A TOPIC, IT’S EASY TO MAKE A WRONG DECISION BASED ON AN INCOMPLETE PICTURE OF REALITY. Then again, having too much information can be just as bad, since finding the relevant facts about a topic can be time-consuming and tedious, which encourages people to make snap decisions based on perception rather than accuracy.

    Trying to find just enough useful facts without being overwhelmed by too much irrelevant trivia can be a delicate balancing act. Still, if you want to make informed choices based on reason and information rather than on emotion and ignorance, you must take the time to research your topic thoroughly.

    As a research tool, the Internet offers a wealth of information about virtually every topic. Unfortunately, the Internet poses a few problems of its own when it comes to research:

    How do you find the information you need?

    How do you know if the information you find is accurate, obsolete, misleading, or just plain wrong?

    Finding information on the Internet is relatively easy: You just type one or more words into a search engine, and then the search engine lists all the websites (that it knows about) that contain the words or phrases you want to find.

    The easy part is sifting through the different websites to find the information you need. The hard part is deciding whether you can trust what you find, knowing that every source of information selectively chooses which facts to report and which ones to omit. Because we all have a natural tendency to interpret facts based on personal biases and experience, don’t be surprised to find that one set of facts may cause you to reach a conclusion that’s completely different from what someone else might reach.

    Sometimes there might be a right answer and sometimes there might be a wrong answer, but more often than not, there won’t be any one answer that’s either completely right or completely wrong. What you decide may be the right answer depends on your point of view.

    The key to finding anything on the Internet is to use a search engine, but if you ask different search engines to find the same information, each one will find a number of websites not found by the others. Rather than limiting yourself to the tunnel vision of a single search engine, experiment with some of the different search engines listed below, and you may uncover information that your favorite search engine missed.

    Even better, you may find that one search engine is better at finding certain types of data or offers a unique perspective to searching for information. For example, the Teoma search engine tries to cluster search results into subjects. So if you search for “Mustang,” the Teoma search engine clusters the results according to “Ford Mustang” and “Mustang horses.” The following list includes some of the more powerful search engines:




    AOL Search

    Ask Jeeves





    Open Directory Project



    Meta-search engines
    Rather than visit multiple search engines yourself, you can save time by using a meta-search engine, which simultaneously sends your query to two or more general-purpose search engines and eliminates duplicate results. Here are some popular meta-search engines:




    Specialized search engines
    Finally, don’t ignore specialized search engines designed to search only for websites pertaining to a particular topic. Specialized search engines often find obscure web-sites that the larger search engines might overlook. There are specialized search engines for everything from caring for fish to the latest crafting fads. Here are a few interesting ones:

    AvatarSearch Finds occult information about witchcraft, vampires, pagan rituals, astrology, tarot cards, and other topics that often panic right-wing conservatives (

    Black Web Portal Finds websites of particular interest to blacks (

    Crime Spider Searches for websites providing information about various crime and law enforcement sites and organized by topics such as serial murder, urban legends, and cybercrime (

    Disinformation Conspiracy theory-laden search engine that helps you uncover websites offering the “real truth” behind the pyramids of Mars, the sightings of black helicopters over America, film footage of Bigfoot, and the government secrets hidden in Area 51 (

    Education World Finds websites that can help students, teachers, and parents learn more about education (

    Federal Web Locator Lists many of the websites from various government agencies and organizations (except for the really cool ones like the CIA and FBI). Maybe you can use it to find out where all your hard-earned tax dollars are going (

    GovSearch Collection of government search engines for finding information about the U.S. government: IRS documents, Customs Service, NTIS, U.S. law code, legislative information, OSHA regulations, and information from many other agencies and departments (

    CopSeek Directory and Police Search Engine Helps you find websites related to law enforcement so you can find a policeman when you need one (

    NerdWorld Search engine dedicated to computer and technology fanatics (

    Que Pasa! A bilingual search engine geared towards Hispanics and Latinos, available in both English and Spanish (

    Satanist Net Search engine geared to helping you find satanic information on the Internet ( and WWWomen Two search engines geared toward helping women find information and resources on the Internet ( and

    Kid-safe search engines
    If you leave your children unsupervised, it’s likely that they’ll eventually find bomb-making instructions and pornography on the Internet. While keeping children isolated from such information may be impossible, you can at least limit their searching to kid-safe search engines. Unlike general-purpose search engines, kid-safe search engines won’t accidentally display links to pornographic or bomb-making websites. Try one of the following:

    Ask Jeeves for Kids



    Multimedia search engines
    Most search engines help you find text, but what if you want to find a song, a picture, or a video clip? Rather than waste your time using a general purpose search engine to find an MP3 file of your favorite band, try using a special multimedia search engine instead. These multimedia search engines specialize in searching only for specific audio, graphic, or video files.

    Here are some of the more popular multimedia search engines:

    Ditto (see Figure 1-1)

    FAST Multimedia Search

    MIDI Explorer

    Search within categories
    Many search engines, such as Yahoo!, display categories such as Computers & Internet or Business & Economy. If you click on a category and then use the search engine, you’ll have the option of searching the entire Internet or limiting your search to within the currently selected category. Obviously searching within a selected category will take less time and avoid a lot of irrelevant websites.

    Still, you might like to search the entire Internet just for the surprise of seeing what the search engine might uncover that is not in your specific category.

    Use specific words
    If you want to find all websites that focus on birds, you could type the word “bird” into a search engine. Unfortunately, the search engine might return thousands of irrelevant websites that talk about badminton birdies or different ways to cook game birds. Instead of searching for general words, use more specific words such as “ornithology” (which is the branch of zoology dealing with birds). The more precise your search terms, the less likely the search engine will be to return irrelevant websites.

    Use multiple words
    You can also narrow your search by typing in multiple words. For example, if you wanted to find information about Miami, Florida, type in the two words “Miami” and “Florida.” If you just search for “Miami” or “Florida,” the search engine might bombard you with websites about the Miami Dolphins football team or the Florida Marlins baseball team. In general, the more words you search for, the more likely the search engine will find exactly what you want.

    Use Boolean operators
    Many search engines allow you to focus your search by using two different Boolean operators: AND and OR.

    If you wanted to search for all websites that contain both the words “hot” and “dog,” you would simply type the following into the search field:

    hot AND dog

    This search would find websites devoted to hot dogs, but could also turn up websites that talk about ways to cool down a dog on a hot day.

    If you wanted to search for all websites that contain either the word “hot” or “dog,” you would type the following into the search field:

    hot OR dog

    This could turn up websites that talk about hot dogs along with sites that mention dogs, different ways air conditioning can cool you down on a hot day, hot chili sauces, or dog food.

    Be wary of what you find
    The order that a search engine ranks websites can influence which ones people may visit, so to increase the odds that people will visit a specific website, some websites pay search engines to put them first (or at least near the top) of any list of related websites. The better search engines identify which websites paid for greater exposure, but other search engines may not be so honest.

    Also, because search engines scan websites for keywords that people are most likely to search for, many websites hide multiple copies of the same keyword on their web pages. This tricks a search engine into thinking the website contains more information about a particular keyword than it really does.

    As with reading newspapers, listening to the radio, or watching the news on television, always be wary of the source of your information. Search engines can find information for you, but they can’t verify the accuracy of the information. Anyone can put any information on a website.

    No search engine will find everything available on the Internet, so be sure to use several search engines to find websites that other search engines might not have found. The more search engines you use, the more information you’ll find, and the more information you find, the more likely you’ll have most of the facts you need to make an intelligent decision.

    Sometimes the hardest part about finding an answer is knowing how to look for it in the first place. With so many different search engines available at your fingertips, there’s no excuse for not finding the information you want on the Internet right away.