NEW - a great new privacy helper for (selected) social media networks

Do you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Linkedin, etc.?
Do you value your privacy?
I value my privacy.
Here's why I don't trust Facebook anymore:

"Any application that gets permission to access your profile information potentially puts that information at risk. And, in the case of Facebook, it could put your friends' information at risk, as well. Any permissions can be dangerous, but Facebook is particularly worrisome, given the high number of users who are happy to give their personal information to strangers. (...) That personal information can be used for identity theft. It can be used for a mind-boggling array of other nastiness, as well. Bill Pringle has a nice compilation page of Facebook security issues, but lest we forget, the other social media sites can be used in similar mischievous ways."

[ Internet security service --- news, opinion, advice and research on computer security issues and the latest internet threats] [ ] helps you to control the horde of applications and sites to which you've granted permission to access your personal information on Twitter, Facebook and more.

More information from SOPHOS about MyPermissions

Personal testimonial: This tool works like a charm - I didn't even realize that over time, I'd given permission to access my profile information to over a dozen different apps --- and that means over a dozen companies, most with products to sell and some with malware to distribute. I wiped them all out in 30 seconds. I heartily recommend !

Start 2012 by Taking 2 Minutes to Clean Your Apps Permissions!


Special security information for Facebook users:

Facebook security issues
* Never type anything into a computer that you wouldn't want your mother to read.
* Don't put sensitive information in your profile
* Refuse to let any application access your profile
(bolding added)
* Don't click on any link
* Don't use Internet Explorer

To my Facebook Friends who occasionally post a message on
my Wall inviting me to play a game or access a greeting card (sorry, Maxine...):
In order to play or access that card, I'm required to grant permission to the application to access my profile information. The author of the above article on Facebook security presents a compelling case for fewer Facebook permissions, or none. I agree. If that means that I can't join you in a game of Scrabulous or open your greeting card, I'm sorry. But you can always reach me by email - my address is at the bottom of each page on my site and on my weekly newsletter...
By Gilles



Microsoft Excel File Viewer - free (but you can't edit - view only.)
Microsoft Word Viewer - ditto.


Here's what you'll find on this page:

- Some information about my web experience as a surfer and a website author
- Some information about my tools of preference for the type of work I do on my website (pretty simple tools, really, until I bought Macromedia Dreamweaver in the spring of 2001)
- Some links to sites about computers and software that I've picked up over time
- miscellaneous tech links

My "tech" experience:

I started surfing the net in the fall of 1995 at the office.
By early summer 1996, when I bought my first home PC, I'd accumulated over 1,600 bookmarks on various social research themes and jurisdictions, mostly focusing on social assistance (welfare) in Canada. I started playing around with web authoring tools like Hot Dog and NaviPro (an "old" America Online web authoring program) in the summer and fall of 1996, but it was only in the fall of 1997 that I finally established my presence on the web. I was a dial-up subscriber with Comnet from October 1997 to December 1998 when Rogers cable offered cable Internet in Ottawa, where I live. I've been with Rogers since then. Comnet hosted my site for the first year; then I moved it to XOOM, where I could get more webspace than with Rogers (11megs VS 5 megs). When XOOM started offering unlimited web server space in the summer of 1999, I found that access to my site was slowing down, gradually but noticeably. I moved the site to the Rogers server in September, and Rogers subsequently increased its member server space to 10MB per e-mail account and up to seven e-mail accounts per household. I was generally pleased with access to my pages, especially compared with XOOM. Then there were other times when access to my site on the Rogers server was very slow. Over time, though, I've found Rogers' service to be constantly improving, and I'm pleased with that.

In September 2000, I bit the bullet and registered with a domain name service and moved my site to a local web hosting service, CVO.CA.
I made the move ($70 for registering the name for two years and $20/mo. for the web hosting) for a few reasons :
- can be picked up more easily by search engines than because it's a top-level domain (search engines give higher priority to top-level domains); I've noticed a significant increase in traffic to my site since I made the move (averaging one million-plus page views a month in the 2009 and 2010)...
- a web hosting service offers more support and tools (visitor logs, CGI script, e-mail tools, etc.) than an Internet service provider.
- My new web address is more meaningful - hence easier to remember, I hope
- If I become disenchanted with, I can move my site virtually anywhere I want and visitors won't even know they're seeing my site on a different server - my domain name is my ID wherever I am on the net.
- is my way of saying I'm committed to doing this for awhile.
I retired from the federal civil service in October 2003 to work full-time on Canadian Social Research Links.

Patriotism vs Practicality

In the summer of 2004, everything was going along swimmingly when I started noticing a spike in visits to my home page. When I checked the origin of my sudden popularity by analysing my user stats, I discovered that I had a visitor who was hitting the home page of my site every half hour on the hour. From BC Hydro, of all places. I sent the nice folks at BC Hydro an e-mail with screen captures and a long-winded explanation about the unwanted visitor on my site. Well, it turns out that BC Hydro weren't overly concerned about the Trojan Horse or Worm or whatever it was on one of their machines, because this went on for several months. My son Daniel finally convinced me to move my site to a different web hosting service, one that had an "I.P. Deny" feature, i.e., where I could actually block someone with a specific Internet Protocol Address from even accessing my site. I'd originally gone with CVO because they're located in Ottawa, where I live, and I wanted to be a good, patriotic webmaster by buying Canadian, and also to know that the folks who take care of my account are just a short drive from my home.Turns out that CVO.CA is located in Ottawa, but the physical location of my site is somewhere in Florida - something about the company needing an American outlet if they want to do business with Americans. Argh - so much for patriotism.

In the summer of 2004, I opened an account with Total Choice Hosting, and that has proven to be a very good choice indeed --- my "Starter Plan" account costs me $44 (U.S.) per year for 700MB of server space and 20GB of traffic (click the link for current rates), and Total Choice offers a wide range of "features" and add-ons along with an exceptional member forum. I activated the IP Deny feature and haven't heard from anyone at BC Hydro since then. And what a price! Quite different from my old outfit, CVO.CA, which was charging me $20 (Cd.) per MONTH for 100MB storage and 6GB traffic.

My tools of preference:

For my first year on the web (1996-1997), I was perfectly satisfied with Netscape Navigator Gold (version 3.04) for just about all of my webwork. It was free, and it worked. Problem is - it killed Javascript. When I added some Javascript-based drop-down menus to each page using another program, I quickly realized that I was somehow corrupting the Javascript code by simply opening the file in the Navigator Edit function.  I upgraded to Netscape 4.5 Communicator, and Composer (the Edit function) worked very well with everything, including my drop-down menus. And the price was right : $0.

Early in 2001, I decided it was time to move up in the world. I'm planning on maintaining this site for awhile, so I should use the tools that help me to work more effectively. I consulted with a number of people, then decided to give Dreamweaver 4 a try. It's pricey (~$500 Canadian), but it does help me work more effectively AND it's got tons of features that I haven't even begun to explore yet. DW4 is an excellent site management tool, too - synchronizing the local (hard drive) version of my site with the remote live site is a snap. File management is impressive, as is the search-and-replace feature.

My browser of preference? I started out in '95 with the Netscape browser, and I continued to use it as my default browser until Firefox came out in 2005. Then Firefox started slowing down and Google Chrome appeared (in 2009, I think) and I've been using Chrome since then.

I use the latest version of Firefox as my main browser, and I occasionally check my website using Internet Explorer (IE) and a few other browsers. IE is much more forgiving with HTML coding errors and Javascript quirks, because those errors and quirks are mostly caused by proprietary coding for IE. The bottom line for me is the vulnerability to viruses of the Internet Explorer/Outlook integrated package. I also use Internet Explorer on occasion to open those pages that crash or otherwise mess up browsers that respect the WWWstandards.

As for e-mail, I used the Netscape Messenger program (integrated with the Netscape browser) as my only mail from the time I cranked up my first home system wayyyyyy back in '96 until late 2005 when I started using my Rogers/Yahoo web-based e-mail service. My Rogers email works much like Google's GMAIL, which I also have but seldom use (just because I like to keep all my email in one searchable location).

As for graphics, my site is not cutting-edge stuff. Simple things like buttons, lines, a plethora of icons and a bazillion graphics can be found on the net -- for free. A number of sites even offer custom banners that you can design yourself online (you'll see links to all this stuff below).


Here's what my
"cyber-workstation" looks like

General Computer and Software Links

Gizmo's Best-ever Freeware


Balking at the cost of Microsoft Office software?
Give these a try...

Office Productivity Software & Services
(from PC World)

[Comment by Gilles: The first three resources below are free web-based applications, i.e., you can access, edit and share your work files from any computer with Internet access. The last item below, OpenOffice, is a full suite of programs that you download and install on your computer. All OpenOffice programs are Microsoft-compatible - they can create and edit all Microsoft files and save in Microsoft format. ]

What makes Zoho the winner is that it doesn’t merely try to copy Microsoft Office functionality. It’s web-based, so you can collaborate with others on your documents, for example. But the functionality of even the base software beats Microsoft’s offering in some areas; for creating HTML and graphics-heavy documents, for instance, it surpasses Word. This is the best and most comprehensive web-based office suite you can find. Included are a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation program, and a database builder – and plenty of other productivity applications are being added all the time.

Google Docs and Spreadsheets
Like Zoho, the web-based Google Docs and Spreadsheets lets you work with others as well as create and edit documents and spreadsheets. Its collaboration features are particularly noteworthy, and it uses Google’s search to make finding any document fast.

Num Sum (create and share spreadsheets for all occasions)
While Num Sum includes all of the features you would expect it to have, it’s also a social-networking site where you can share spreadsheets with like-minded others. It’s a great setup for anyone who’s interested in sharing spreadsheets to track home maintenance, a workout schedule, or a Rugby Sevens pool, for example.

Ajax 13
This web suite has more features than competitors like Zoho, including everything from a word processor to a drawing program, a spreadsheet, a presentation app, and even a digital music player.
Not happy with the idea of a web-based office application? Then you want the downloadable, the free competitor to Microsoft Office. A complete suite, it provides a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation program, a database – and, for übergeeks, a “mathematical function calculator” (if you have to ask what it is, you don’t need it).
[ Gizmo's Best-ever Freeware


602PC Suite 4.0 [for the Windows Operating System] - 21.5MB
"For those looking for an alternative to some of the more mainstream computer office suite packages, the free edition of 602PC Suite 4.0 may be worth a look. The package of programs includes a word processor, spreadsheet, photo editor, and a digital photo organizer. Additionally, this application is compatible with MS Office document types, and supports a number of different languages. The program is a bit large (approximately 21.5 MB), so those persons using a dial-up connection will want to keep this in mind. 602PC Suite 4 is compatible with all systems running Windows 98 and higher."

Reviewed by:
The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.

Personal note: my wife tried the spreadsheet package, and she found it to be identical to Microsoft Excel. And it's free.

What's My IP Address? - this little javascript program simply opens a popup window with your IP. Sometimes useful when speaking with techies, or just to impress people with your technobabble. This Javascript doesn't work in Internet Explorer, for some reason... (;-)

File Extensions - File extensions are often used to determine the program that created the file. While there is no guarantee users will not rename files and/or associate odd extensions with particular programs, the following are some fairly standard associations.

Internet Discussion Groups from
Micromedia's Home Page
Microsoft home page
PaintShop Pro c|net Computer Product Finder
Technocracy/HumHome Page

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

See the Canadian Social Research Links Reference page for links to my favourite search engines and metasearch services (the ones that perform searches on many engines at once).

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Site created and maintained by :
Création et mise à jour : 

Gilles Séguin