What Are Cookies?

What Are Cookies?

Fresh-baked cookies are yummy, but you may not have the same positive associations with cookies on your computer. Here’s what you need to know about cookies and what they mean for your internet browsing.

Cookies have been around for a long time, but new laws now require websites to ask for your permission to use them. You’ve likely noticed more sites informing you that “this website uses cookies,” and they’ll ask you to click to accept the use of cookies. But what exactly are you agreeing to?

A website cookie is a small piece of text the website you are visiting stores on your computer.

Cookies are equivalent to your ticket to get onto the website. Website owners track your individualized code to gather information.

Cookies tell the website that the user has been to the site before. The website can recall personal login information and other preferences. A shopping site will remember your cart and let you continue shopping, or suggest other goods you might like.

Viewing and Controlling Cookies

So, why are sites asking for permission to store their cookies on your computer? Users are more concerned now about the digital footprint they are leaving on the Web: they want to protect their Web history.

Let’s be clear. When you accept a cookie, you are not allowing access to your computer or any of your personal data, unless you have knowingly provided it as you do when online shopping, that is.

Also, it’s not possible to execute code from a cookie. That means a bad actor can’t use a cookie to deliver a virus or malware.

Overall, cookies on their own are safe. Agreeing to first-party cookies from the website simplifies session management, personalization, and tracking.

The danger comes from third-party cookies generated by advertisers or analytics companies. Say, for instance, you surf to a webpage that has 10 ads on it. You don’t even have to click on any of those ads to generate 10 cookies. These cookies track your browsing history across the Web on any site carrying their ads. That’s why people are becoming more wary of the privacy implications.

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Users can make their own cookie choices. Those who allow cookies will enjoy a more streamlined Web surfing experience. Those who don’t want cookies tracking their browsing history will opt out. Without cookies these users have to re-enter their data every time they visit a website.

Often you can control your cookies in your browser settings. In Google Chrome, for example, you’d select “Settings” from the menu drop down in the upper-right corner, then “show advanced settings” and then “content settings.” In the Cookies section you might choose “Keep local data only until you quit your browser” and “block third-party cookies and site data.”

If you’re really annoyed by the pop-ups asking you about cookie use, you can install a browser add-on, too.

The “Incognito” mode on your browser can be used to save cookies for the current session, but when you close the browser the cookies will be deleted.

We can help you minimize the extent to which you are being tracked on the internet. Contact our IT experts today at 276-296-1155. If you want to serve actual cookies if we visit you at home to do the work, we won’t complain.

Why Do Computers Slow Down Over Time?

Remember the awe you felt when you turned on your new computer and it loaded in a flash? Your computer was the envy of your friends and you weren’t afraid to bathe in that glory. Button on, ready to go, those were the days!

After a year or two though, it doesn’t seem to be quite as zippy…no, you’re not imagining it. It really has slowed down, not just in comparison to newer models and your expectations…There’s a measurable drop in speed and power that has nothing to do with worn out parts. The good news is a little maintenance can have that baby cruising at top speed again. Let’s take a leisurely walk through the system and spot the culprits:

Start-up applications: It’s super convenient to have Skype start automatically and your anti-virus too. In fact, many of the applications starting themselves with the computer are essential to your experience. But some of them are getting a little too ‘helpful’.

For example, iTunes helper loads in the background to speed things up when you connect your device – but if you can’t even remember the last time you ran iTunes on your computer, then it can go. Programs like that are holding onto a portion of your processing power and adding to your speed issues. The average home computer automatically loads around 75 programs at start-up!

Temporary junk: Computers are kind of messy. They leave temporary files and snippets of information all over your hard drive, each action leaving a trail rather like a roaming toddler with a sticky sandwich. Every webpage, every image on that webpage, every program you run and every game you play leaves something behind.

It may be the tidbits of information called “cookies”, saved game files, auto-restore files or even a log so that you can hit the undo button 100 times while it remembers your actions for you.

The more junk your computer builds up, the slower it gets.

Viruses and malware: These infections sit in the background consuming resources while doing various nightmarish things. They may be spying on your actions, stealing your information or reaching out through your network to infect others. Occasionally, the impact is limited to seeing your computer slow to a crawl, however the flow-on financial costs of an infection can easily reach into the thousands.

Bloating: With every new version of software comes a new set of features, introductory sequences and design improvements. The problem with this is the application becomes larger and larger with each new version, requiring more system resources to install and run – and slowing your computer down.

Just like a car, computers need regular maintenance – we offer a Tune-Up service to bring your computer back to its original speed and extend its life. 

Give us a call to book a Tune Up.


Remote work checklist

Remote work checklist

Remote working, virtual learning, online living—the COVID-19 situation has required a shift from all of us. For many, this includes working from home. While a few space and routine necessities might seem obvious to some people, chances are we haven’t thought of everything. Chances are we need reminders. Check out this infographic for nine factors to help you stay healthy while working remotely. Whether you’ve done it for years, or this is your first time occasionally working in pajamas, we’re convinced there is something on this list you haven’t thought of. Have a look.

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Seven tips to manage your mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak

Seven tips to manage your mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak

We’re living in extraordinary times—there’s no denying that for most people around the world, life is different since the introduction of the coronavirus. These are increasingly stressful times, yet humans have persevered throughout history. It’s what we do, how we’re designed. Besides our press-on spirit, never before have we been so well-equipped with tools to help us through this challenge.

Clinical psychologist Desiree Dickerson shares her professional insight on best ways we can take care of ourselves in her article, “Seven Tips to Manage Your Mental Health and Well-being During the COVID-19 Outbreak.” One of Dickerson’s tips is to manage expectations. Routines are changing, and while some people might have more time to increase productivity, many others will experience new challenges: “Difficulty concentrating, low motivation and a state of distraction are to be expected,” states Dickerson. She cautions to “not underestimate the cognitive and emotional load” that COVID-19 brings. Adapting to a new rhythm—one that includes remote work and fewer real-time connections—will take patience and effort. Read Dickerson’s entire article for suggestions on taking care of your mental well-being during this difficult time.

We think this is a topic that every person should discuss–please consider sharing this article with organizations, neighbors, friends—everybody could benefit.

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Security Azure Infographic

Security Azure Infographic

Securely harness the power of the cloud with Azure Advanced Threat Protection. This infographic outlines how your organization can trust Azure Advanced Threat Protection as it provides real-time security at enterprise scale, detect threats quickly, and allows your business to stay focused on what’s important.

View: Security Azure Infographic

Security Azure Infographic

Security Azure Infographic

Securely harness the power of the cloud with Azure Advanced Threat Protection. This infographic outlines how your organization can trust Azure Advanced Threat Protection as it provides real-time security at enterprise scale, detect threats quickly, and allows your business to stay focused on what’s important.

View: Security Azure Infographic