Technology Tuesday

a topic for the 4pm Tues meetings in the BCRC

Unexpected Zoom in on Desktop Screen

Today there was a student that accidentally zoomed in on her desktop screen on her computer. I assumed that I could zoom out using Command -, like I do on my MacBook, but it didn't work. In case this happens to anyone the solution is Option-Command + or -, if you want to zoom in our out.

Synchronizing Folders

Someone asked me recently if there was an easy way to synchronize folders between two computers. Unfortunately, the easy ways tend not to work very reliably. But here is a method that's a little more complicated, but should be extremely reliable. You'll need to do some unix things and you'll need a place on the server where you can keep all of the files.

Note: You could avoid using the server as an intermediate space, but then you'd be limited to a system that only works inside the building. Or, rather, making it so it would also work outside the building would make it a lot more complicated.

We'll assume you're going to keep a folder in your home directory on a laptop and a desktop synchronized with a folder located on a lab hard-drive on marlin. Don't try to set this up with a folder in your home directory unless you've made prior arrangements with the technical staff, unless you only want to use it for tiny things.

Read more to learn how.

Using the No-Script Firefox Add-on

For Technology Tuesday on Nov 22, 2011, I will offer an overview of the No-Script Firefox add-on -- an important tool for improving browser security.

One of the most serious current vectors for security issues in computing are client-side scripts (Javascript and Flash in particular). In many ways, when you let these scripts run on your computer, it's like letting a stranger sit at your computer and do whatever they want (watch your keystrokes when you type passwords, for example). It's not supposed to be like that, but all too often it turns out that they actually can. It's worth taking steps to be aware of the issue and protect yourself.

Unfortunately, browsers don't provide simple tools to manage which sites you allow to execute code on your computer. In Firefox, there is a powerful Add-on called No-Script, which lets you choose on a site-by-site basis, which to allow to execute scripts on your web-browser. I will offer a walk-through of how to install and manage the add-on to help you make informed decisions about security and web-browsing.