Monthly Archives: August 2010

Hotspot Shield

Below is an excerpt from a reply to a posting at regarding  HotSpot Shield uninstall problems. Hotspot Shield is a widely used freeware application for Windows and Mac that has been around for several years. It purports to create, with the click of a mouse, a “Virtual Private Network” (VPN) between your computer and Hotspot Shield’s own purportedly secure HTTPS. However, sometimes what sounds to good to be true…(Read what this guy posts below/) I used to use Hotspot Shield successfully with my Macbook, but this time have not been able to connect to their VPN (you’d do this by clicking on the   Hotspot Shield desktop menu icon   icon, in Mac OS found in the upper right of your desktop menu near Spotlight.

Posted by: [xxxxxx]
From: germany
Registered: Aug 12, 2008
Re: hotspot shield — uninstall problem
Posted: Aug 22, 2008 2:55 AM

“…HSS must have installed something in the system area, outside user’s home directory or browser profile; it is independent of the browser one is using. To see that this is the case I created a test user account and bang! the banner was there immediately.

HSS appearantly inspects the http stream coming into one’s box and inserts a javascript just after the tag in the page — have a look at the html code. To my mind, this is not only annoying but quite worrying. If they can do that, they can potentially do anything since one has stupidly given HSS one’s password.

Also, in my case I thought I had uninstalled HSS. It was only a month later when I went to a cafe when the banner started reappearing. It does not appear in all cafes, only a couple of them. Again this is worrying since it means it may be the case the software is actually working, it’s just that the user is not aware of it.

For these reasons I have absolutely not trust in that software. I’ll reinstall my whole system asap. Nobody seems to know how HSS works; their webpage and OS X uninstall instructions are useless: they say what one knows anyways (drag the app to trash box), but that does not help. One can’t email them; their forum is a closed one. And if you think of it, there is no reason to install for security reasons anyways. If I go to a bank or email, one should use a SSL connection anyways, in which case I don’t need a vpn.”

MB 13   Mac OS X (10.5.4)


This is some revealing information! Point is, be weary of lavish claims like those on Hotspot Shield’s web site :

  • Secure your web session, data, …personal information online…
  • Protect yourself from identity theft online.
  • Hide your IP address for your privacy online.
  • Access all content privately without censorship; bypass firewalls.
  • Protect yourself from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices.

And ask yourself – if this small, easy-t0-use freeware app does the bad-ass stuff it says it does, why are they giving it away for free?

               – d.g.w.


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Trying to embed stuff on WordPress; Themes

Ferdinand, aka “boofer”, aka “ferdy”, ca. Spring 2002.

alt=”Ferdinand in mom’s backyard”


(The above from animals page)

Darn. Well for some reason WordPress is eternally rejecting my attempts at embedding a simple photograph. It particularly does not seem to like KeepandShare’s embed syntax. I don’t know what markup language WordPress uses but it’s very idiosyncratic; seems only to work with itself – whatever that means.

So to celebrate the absurdity of things, here’re a couple of screenshots of the process:

photo of our late Himalayan Ferdinand, ca. Spring 2002

Adobe Photoshop AS

Trying to embed a simple pdf (to no avail)

Trying to embed a simple pdf (to no avail)



Shoot! See what I mean? Trying to put a simple horizontal rule in here. Gee whiz.


Another thing: maybe it’s just me, but have you ever noticed that when you come across certain web sites – often blogs but other kinds of pages, too – that it’s easy to recognize a WordPress-generated page? You can tell from the font. Now I’ve looked at my “theme” I utilize on this blog and in The Journalist‘s CSS one finds that the font is of the Helvetica sans serif family – Lucida and Lucida Grande. It occurred to me that you could theoretically run the template through a text editor and use find/replace to get rid of that WordPress-signaturesque typeface. It’s just getting increasingly annoying to me that all WordPress pages look the same. You may know to what I refer: a hundred-thousand blogs, easily use the “minimalist” Cutline and “journalist” PressRow themes. Quite frankly it offends the designer’s sensibilities that, as personal as is a blog, each should use the definition of which ought to entail a truly unique handwriting style, or “script”, on each unique blog site. The definition of “weblog” is that it is you’re your own publisher; your own “wordpresser”. But instead our weblogs face the world looking branded; like they’ve come off the assembly line at GoDaddy or Google.

And this isn’t only a WordPress problem, so I don’t mean to single it out – Google Blogger/Blogspot blogs suffer the same malady. Some of this comes down to the fact that both these organizations and every other blog host for that matter, are incorporated entities, and force on their users at least some advertising space on the margins (usually right margin). I’ve always thought Matt Mullenweg and WordPress were cool; cutting edge, etc.

For better or worse, contributors to WordPress of original CSS-designed themes do not get direct credit. For instance, the creator of TheJournalist theme, Lucian E. Marin, (who is not a journalist but a web designer from Eastern Europe) offers it for download on his web site, but states that he releases it under GPL license and requests that you give him a link on your blog if you use it.

WordPress reserves the right to edit stuff out of any submitted theme. Wordpres has the following statement under Appearance > Manage Themes > CSS Stylesheet Editor:

Things we strip out include:
* HTML code
* @import rules
* expressions
* invalid and unsafe code
* URLs not using the http: protocol

Things we encourage include:
* @media blocks!
* sharing your CSS!
* testing in several browsers!
* helping others in the forum!

Please use the contact form if you believe there is something wrong with the way the CSS Editor filters your code.

The ubiquitous themes need to be recycled! They’ll come back in style in ten years, don’t worry!!

– d.w.

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"cloudmir1" by Autechre.


Gantz Graf [Best Quality version – not embeddable]: directed by Alex Rutterford, music by Autechre.

        – above audio and video courtesy Autechre and Warp Records

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How to set the email client of your choice on Firefox 3

You click a “mail-to” link on the web and it opens a default email client that usually isn’t the one you use. Sound familiar? Like MSN or Apple email instead of Yahoo or Gmail?

Turns out, there’s an easy fix – to make Firefox open the email client of your choice. (I’m not sure about other versions; I no longer use Firefox.)

    For Macintosh:

1) Open the Firefox browser, go to the menu and click on Firefox > Preferences. Click the Applications icon. The alphabetical “Content Type/Action” list appears. (See screen capture below):

The list under the "Applications" tab.
2) Find mailto and select the corresponding ‘Action’ from the drop-down list box.

    For Windows:

1) Open the Firefox browser, go to the menu, and click on Tools > Options. From here, select ‘Applications’.

2) Under the Content Type/Action list, go to mailto and choose the email client you want from the drop-down list box.


Now, when you click an email address hyperlink, Firefox will open the email client you actually use! 

                             – d.g.w.

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Filed under Browsers, Firefox