Tips & Tweaks: Surf in Stealth Mode
A buddy of mine called, needing a way to hide his IP address while Web surfing. I couldn't resist asking why. (You know I've always been a yenta.) It turns out he was doing business with a company overseas, needed to check up on them, and had to make sure they didn't know it was him.
Browse the Web Anonymously
The best bet is to use an anonymous proxy server, a server that acts as a buffer between you and the sites you visit. The proxy server hides your IP address; it also gives you some protection from the malicious vagaries of the Net. You can read through a fairly decent FAQ at Answers.com.
My buddy said he'd tried a handful of free proxy servers; there's a long list at the Russian Free Proxy site. He complained that each one slowed down his browsing to such an extent, he felt as if he was back on dial-up--that's the showstopper for most freebie proxy servers.
I suggested he try Anonymizer's Anonymous Surfing, which costs $30 for a one-year subscription. I use it occasionally and the surfing delay is barely noticeable. The other critical issue is that I'm comfortable knowing that, unlike with some of the freebies, I really am surfing anonymously.
Dig This: This video has been floating around the Net for a week or so. Here's the text that accompanied it: "This tunnel in Russia is supposedly the longest in-city tunnel. A river runs over it and water leaks at some points. When the temperature reaches -38 degrees, like it did this winter, the road freezes and the result is the attached video taken during a single day with the tunnel camera."
Risky Business: Stealth Surfing at Work
Not long after I told my buddy about Anonymizer, I heard from another friend, an IT director for a fairly large company. It may not be such a good idea to surf anonymously at the office:
I asked George Siegel, my network guru, what he thought. Here's what he said: "It's interesting to note how the user was initially discovered--by the absence of anything incriminating. Network professionals have logs showing just about everything that goes on and they look for any deviation from the norm. I can always tell who is up to no good... their computers are scrupulously clean."
Dig This: One of the comments on YouTube said, "This is Loic Jean-Albert and the clip is from Warren Miller's 'Journey' ski movie. I saw it on the big screen and it's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen."
Amazing? I think it's crazy.
CompactFlash on the Big Side
On my last trip I set my digital camera to record at RAW+JPEG. I thought I was hot stuff with a 1GB CompactFlash card, but I was wrong--and quickly ran out of storage. So Kingston's recent announcement is appealing. The card's expensive, though. The best online deals I could find start at about $300.
But a reader had some good advice about file formats and memory cards (which I edited for space):
Our Digital Focus writer, Dave Johnson, has lots to say about file formats:
Dig This: Last year I was on vacation, sitting next to a lake, sipping a gin and tonic, and enjoying a good book. Then a jerk fired up his obnoxious jet ski and zipped around, wrecking the peace and ruining the day. What this idiot needed was a human-powered AquaSkipper.