Want to do your bit for your country? Join the forces and fight for your freedom? Many people do.
However, wouldn’t it be so much better if you could do it from a comfy chair, in a climate controlled building, with tea and biscuits on hand?
The front line
When you think of the front line, you usually think of solders in action, often in hostile, dangerous conditions. However in our new ‘cyber’ world, the front line is more the back offices. More and more, the threats to our security are not physical, but cyber.
This is why the UK government have set up Cyber Security Challenge UK. Cyber Security Challenge UK is a project that hopes to encourage individuals into the security industry.
In the future it is likely that our wars are not going to be as defined as country versus country, but rather hackers versus data owners. This means that anti-virus firms, and the military will need to work very hard to keep our country safe.
Imagine what would happen if the banking system got hacked. Everyone’s theoretical money could potentially be wiped, and we would have no clue who owned what. Imagine a leading brand had a virus infect their entire internal network.
Cyber threats are becoming more and more real, and more and more scary.
If you think that you could be up to the challenge to become a ‘security champion’ head over to cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk and have a go at their challenges.
The challenges are a series of online games and competitions to test your cyber security abilities, to see if you could train to become a defender of computers.
If you are successful, you may be offered a job or funded through training, so it’s worth a try – you never know, you may discover some hidden potential!
Could you work for an anti-virus firm or the government to protect people against cyber crime/attacks?
The Internet is an awesome and mighty force. It is an creative engine that powers great progress and imagination, but it’s can also become a distracting dead weight that plugs up your work flow.
Due to the nature of my job, I very often need to be on a computer writing, researching, or communicating. I’m always a click away from the infinite reaches of the internet. It’s easy for a quick tangent to become a lengthy absorption, eating up precious time that was intended for work.
Luckily there are new tools created almost everyday to help us tame the vast power of the web and make our time online work on our behalf. Here’s just a few of my favourites time-saving productivity tools:
How did you get here?
You sit down at your desk planning to get some serious work done. Three hours later, and you can’t remember how you ended up watching YouTube videos of cats wrestling with ferrets. That’s a big chunk of day that will you never ever get back…
Chrome Nanny (Google Chrome) and LeechBlock (Firefox) both solve the same problem: They keep you from wasting time!
These simple browser extensions allow you place fully customizable limits on what websites you have access to during any given time of the day. Do spend too much time reading the latest gadget reviews? Are you sacrificing your most productive hours of the day to news sites and celebrity gossip?
Chrome Nanny or LeechBlock will block out your favorite sites for certain hours of the day or even certain days of the week. I block all my favorites Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and after 9 pm.
And if that feels too restrictive, you can merely place a cap on how much time per hour or day you are allowed on a certain site.
Although I love Twitter, personally I find it can become an endless time-suck, a virtual black hole for productivity. I set Chrome Nanny to only allow me to be on Twitter for two minutes each hour. That gives me just enough time to update my status or share a link, but not enough to get close to the event horizon.
This can save massive amounts of time, so just try it!
Read It Later
Often times I’ll come across a great looking article, but it looks a LONG read. Longer than I have time to spend at the moment. What do I now? Having too many tabs open makes me start to feel overwhelmed. If I e-mail myself a link, that clutters up my inbox and adds to the stress of sorting through my e-mail.
Saving the page to Read It Later quickly stores the page to my Read It Later list (which I conveniently export as an RSS feed). Later on when I’m on Google Reader and have more time, it will show up in my reading list with the other blog feeds I follow. Easy as pie.
It’s a very simple free way to keep track of articles online. Read It Later works in almost any browser and is especially convenient when using mobile devices.
And it does exactly what its name says. I like that.
Have you ever started to read an awesome article and then suddenly a wave of unnecessarily large ads start invading the screen, dancing across the page and completely ruining the reading experience?
Or perhaps you find a very thoughtful and intelligent blogger with amazing ideas, but unfortunately her blog design hails from 1999 and is loaded with distractingly ugly GIFs matched only by the blocky, unreadable fonts?
This savvy tool scours your current page and strips away all the unnecessary fluff and add-ons bringing you an incredibly smooth and simple reading experience. If you like, you change the background colour, make the text larger or small, and adjust the margins all to your liking.
Because it exterminates the ads, you probably shouldn’t use it on your favorite sites (like Technology Bloggers!) but for especially reader-unfriendly pages it’s a must have. We could use more clean, user-oriented experiences like this one!
Remember The Milk
A To-Do list is quite handy, unless of course you happened to have left it at home by accident. Or maybe you keep track of your tasks by an ever-multiplying collection of sticky notes plastered all over your desk?
Although I imagine many people have switched to using digital To-Do lists, not many tools out there offer the flexibility and ease of use as Remember the Milk.
Maybe you are at the store and you remember something that you need to do? With RTM you can update your list from a Smart Phone. If you don’t have a Smart Phone, RTM has a handy feature that allows you to send a text through Twitter’s personal message function to add that urgent task to the list.
You can keep your list with you all over the place. A little browser extension can keep a little track next to your e-mail count. Or, you can install the corresponding Gmail extension that lets you manage your To-Do list right in your inbox.
If you are a forgetful person, you can request e-mail or text reminders for time sensitive tasks. It’s truly never been easier to organize all those pesky assignments.
Those are the free tools that I use to maximize my web time, but I’m sure I overlooked some great ones.
Many of you reading this blog will have a printer next to you as you read this and you will also have probably bought an ink cartridge at some point. But have you ever wondered why a lot of modern printer cartridges have chips?
Well first of all let’s have a look into what types of cartridges have smart chips. There are two types of cartridges: Ink Tanks and Ink Cartridges.
Ink tanks are those that just there to hold the ink, they don’t usually have any circuitry, they just plug into your printer and the ink gets fed to a print-head. Ink cartridges usually have a print-head built in and are sort of the ‘all-in-one’ of the printer world.
It is the printer cartridges that have print-heads built in that usually have chips or circuitry on them. They do so for a number of reasons…
Primarily in this type of cartridge they are used so that the printer can communicate with the built in print-head and are necessary for the printer to work. As well as this they communicate other things to the printer such as ink levels.
This is were a lot of people run into trouble, it can be very frustrating when your printer starts telling you that the ink levels are low but in fact you know that there’s still some juice left in there! This is due to the fact that the cartridge doesn’t actually know how much ink is in the cartridge, it just counts down how many pages you have printed.
Another way the chip is used is to, in some cases, stop the cartridge being re-filled by third party companies. Some manufacturers just simply don’t like people re-using their cartridges as this usually means a loss for them, so once one of their cartridges runs out of ink, the cartridge will remember that it has no ink in even if it has been re-filled.
So that little chip on the bottom of your cartridge does a lot really… both good and bad. If you wish to learn more about printers and ink have a look at the blog of the firm I work for, which can be found on our printer cartridge site.