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Tip of the Week

Forgetful Firefox

If you have downloaded the latest version of Firefox you maybe interested in a hand new feature called the Forget button. Basically it does exactly what it says, and clicking on it displays a big red button that will instantly close all open tabs and windows, delete recent cookies, delete history and opens a clean, new window, and heed the warning that it can’t be undone. You can set it to cover just the last 5 minutes, the last 2 hours, or the last 24 hours. It’s no good looking for it on the toolbar though, as it is not displayed by default, so here’s how to make it appear. Left click on an empty part of the tool or title bar and select Customize. You’ll see the Forget button in the man screen, click and hold on it then drag it to your preferred location on the toolbar and let go, and that’s all there is to it.


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News Briefs

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Spook Detekter

Being spied upon by villains, hackers and nosey multinationals is bad enough but when it’s your own government, or another country’s security services, it’s time to say enough! For most citizen’s it’s probably not an issue, but for journalists, human rights activists and campaigners, solicitors, lawyers and in fact almost anyone who dares to pop their heads above the parapet, there is a very real possibility that one government agency or another could be taking an interest in what’s happening on their computers, which is why Amnesty International has developed Detekt. It’s a purpose-designed spyware scanner that looks for the sort of covert surveillance software used by spooks, and this includes the dark spyware that can read emails and even listen and watch their victims through a PC’s built in camera and microphone. Detekt is freeware and once it is up and running, it takes a fair while to scan a PC, which suggests it is delving deeply into the places where this stuff hides.  And yes, it really works, having actually found some nasties lurking on a human rights lawyer’s computer. The chances are if you try it you will get an all clear, but you never know, and it costs nothing to find out.


Kentucky Fried Keyboard (and Mouse)

You have to hand it to those wacky Japanese. For a culture with an enviable (and at times, somewhat questionable…) association with raw fish and good healthy fresh food they seem to have taken to fast food in a big way. Doubtless they will be paying the price, but we have to say that we’re rather envious of it’s KFC restaurants, which have been running a Colonel’s Day Twitter promotion. There’s finger-lickin fun for all the family but the feature that caught our eye is this custom KFC keyboard and mouse. It’s brilliant; there are small pieces of plastic chicken on all of the keycaps, with only the letters K, F and C displayed in the company livery. Colonel Sander’s visage is on the Windows key; top left, where the escape key usually lives, there’s what looks like a tiny light-up Colonel and a couple of keys in the top tight corner have been replaced by a soft drink and a bucket (we think, our Japanese is a but rusty). Best of all is the fried chicken-drumstick shaped mouse. Sadly, as far as we can make out, it’s a one off competition prize; so don’t go looking for them on ebay Japan any time soon. But if there’s any justice in this old world KFC will see the light and start making these things for everyone to enjoy, especially in more deserving markets, like the UK, where we had the first branch outside the US and have been dutifully chomping on the deep fried treat since 1965, a full five years before those Japanese Johnny come lately's…



The Appliance Of Power

Wire-free charging for smartphones and tablets has been around for a while but here’s a new twist, called WattUp. The idea is your device will charge wirelessly, while it is in your pocket or on the table, by power beamed from household appliances like microwave ovens, refrigerators, cookers and even washing machines. It’s the brainchild of the Energous Corporation and Haier Wireless and apparently it will be able to deliver a useful charge over distances of several metres, creating ‘always on’ charging environments in ‘high-traffic areas’ in homes – presumably in and around the kitchen – offices, retail stores and commercial spaces. The report, from Yahoo Finance is a little short on detail, beyond the fact that WattUp is a pat pending technology and it delivers ‘intelligent, scalable power’ using the same radio frequencies as Wi-Fi. On the face of it this sounds like a very bad idea. There’s also no mention of how much power will disappearing into the ether in what sounds like a suspiciously wasteful technique but what do we know? Anyway, we’ll just have to wait and if and when it comes to pass we’ll let you know.