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How your battery can be used to track your online activity

As part of HTML5, it is possible for sites to see the life remaining in the battery you are using to browse the internet. This feature exists so that it is possible to reduce the amount of data being sent and received by your device in order to preserve battery life. W3C have said that in their specification that the API “has minimal impact on privacy or fingerprinting” and because of this they allow sites to request the information without requiring permission to do so. However a paper published in the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) explains how this API can be used to track users across the internet even when they are using tools such as a VPN.

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Tricks & Tips: gitignore.io – A `.gitignore` generator

A very, very quick tip for using Git, specifically gitignore.

I recently have been semi-forced into developing in VisualStudio which comes with a ton of extra files that I was sure I didn’t need. After some time of searching the web for what extensions and folders I could put in the .gitignore file I came across gitignore.io.

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Tricks & Tips: Git – committing specific sections of a file

(If you are an SVN user, see the end of this post.)

Using git add -p

This command has been a life saver for me on several occasions when writing my dissertation project, something I look forward to talking about on here later. It allows you to stage specific lines within a file using the -p switch on the add function. Lets say you have this file:

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Ubuntu: Additional Drivers for Wireless

If you are working from a Dell computer on Ubuntu, you might have noticed that you cannot connect to your internet wirelessly. This is because the driver for your network card has not been installed. Here are 3 steps to fix it: 1) Plug in an ethernet cable (a wired connection to the router). 2) Open a Terminal (Ctrl + Atl + T) 3) Type the following commands (hitting enter after each

sudo apt-get install linux-firmware-nonfree

sudo modprobe -r b43 && sudo modprobe b43

And your problem shall be solved. Hope this helps.

If that fails, this link should help.

A Full Guide On How to Encrypt Your Emails – Hardcore Style

Whether you believe it or not the NSA and GCHQ are storing your emails, calls browsing history and God knows what else this is total breach of your right to privacy. Even GMail scans each email your send and receive to create ads target at what you and your friends talk about. In an ideal world this post would not need to exist at all but thanks to our ‘dear leaders’ around the world there has developed a need for us to encrypt our emails so that we can actually hold our right to privacy.

In this post I hope to give you an explicit step by step guide on how to set up encryption for any email account that is easy to follow and understand even if you’re new to the concept. The method I use is one of the best ways to secure your emails.

You will need the mail client Thunderbird, though you will only ever need to use this client to read/send encrypted mails, the rest of the time you can continue using your current mail client or web app. This is because you need the add-ons for Thunderbird to encrypt/decrypt your emails, if most of your emails won’t need this, then you will not need to use it all the time.

I will start with email encryption and if it is well received I will move on to how to keep your browsing history private from prying eyes.

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How Email Encryption Works

GPG starts for GNU Privacy Guard, it uses two types of ‘keys’ – public and private – to encrypt your emails.

The public key is used to encrypt emails sent to you by other people and the private key is used by you to decrypt emails you receive. As the names suggest the public key is public for anybody to see and use and your private key is only known by you.

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Take the above example, Bob sends Alice a message saying “Hello Alice!”, here’s the step-by-step of how this is encrypted, sent, decrypted and finally read.

  1. Alice sends Bob her public key (this can also be done by downloading from a public keyerver like pgp.mit.edu
  2. Bob encrypts his message to Alice using Alice’s public key
  3. Bob sends his message to Alice
  4. The message is received by Alice
  5. Alice decrypts the message from Bob using her private key

In a nutshell, public keys encrypt, private keys decrypt.

How to Set Up Email Encryption (Beginner)

If you want to make sure you have the strongest key possible, go to the bottom of the page

For good coverage, I will explain the step-by-step process on how to set up GPG for Windows, OSX and Ubuntu – if you use another distribution, it shouldn’t be too hard to translate the commands.
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