Thursday, August 29, 2013


We have two kinds of cookies for lunch, cheap and expensive.  The cheap all come from Wal-Mart, the closest grocery store to our house.  Some are varieties of Pepperidge Farm, some World Table Chocolate Caramel, some Walkers shortbread cookies from Scotland and some strawberry or lemon filled Henry Lambertz cookies from Germany.  They are the ones we trot out on alternate days.

On the other days, we split one expensive cookie ($2.25 each) between us.  The cookies, called Nuts2Chew, are hefty and filled with nuts, raisins and craisins.  These cookies come from the hardworking Earth Crust bakers, inside our local food coop.  We end most of our lunches with cookies and fruit of one sort or another.

There are  the third kind of cookies in our lives, too.  Those are the small bits of code that various companies leave on our computers, to track our browsing.  These were originally created to make signing into an account easier and faster.  Most browsers can be set to retain these "cookies" indefinitely or just for that session of browsing the web or to not accept them at all.  I am not a fan of being tracked, although I understand it is pretty difficult to avoid.  Some commentators on the National Security Administration (NSA) surveillance of private citizens have pointed out that tracking companies that collect data about my favorite sites on the web know a great deal more about my typical online behavior than the NSA does, unless, I suppose, I come under special scrutiny.

When you stop to think how the World Wide Web works, you grasp the fact that every time you click on a link, in the results of a Google search or on your church's website or anywhere, you are actually sending a request for a "file" to be sent to your computer.  It is the file that will make the "web page" appear as it was laid out in the browser that you are using.  This means, of course, that the server sending the file must be given the computer's address.  It needs to know where you are if it is going to send you something.

I often start my computing day using Chrome, Google's browser, since it is touted as especially fast at loading and being ready to use.  For a while, I didn't understand why I should "sign in" to use a browser.  However, eventually, I understood that Google will preserve my bookmarks and lots of other stuff (most of which I don't want kept but I do get to pick and choose.)  Most computers anywhere have Chrome on them (since it is free and unobtrusive) and can serve as a handy alternative to Internet Explorer (the blue "e") or Safari on Apple products.  But, once I agree to let Chrome save my bookmarks, they are available on any computer and that can be handy, especially for the way I use my iPad.  After my computer is more or less warmed up and fully loaded, I usually close Chrome and switch to my main browser, Firefox.

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