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Adding Ghostery to my list of Privacy Tools

The other day I added Self-Destructing Cookies as an extension to Firefox, which has turned out to be a fantastic and a must have cookie deletion tool. It works exceptionally well and cleans out unwanted and unneeded cookies as soon as I close the tab. Now I’ve decided to beef up my browser privacy by adding Ghostery to stop cookies, trackers and web beacons before they can find a place to roost on my machine.

After install, you get to choose which Trackers and Cookies you want to block. You can either pick and choose, or go with Select All on both tabs to block several hundred different kinds. I went with the Block All option. I may need to use the Whitelist tab for sites like Amazon and Steam – same as I did with Self-Destructing Cookies, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Right off the bat I saw the plugin working. All you have to do is visit CNN, NBC or ESPN to see the excessive amount of crap they push down. I’m all for a website tracking how many users visit and offsetting some costs with an ad or two, but damn, these sites are excessive!

I also chose to Opt Out of their request to collect the types of items that get blocked. They track the type of Trackers and Cookies they block and then sell that information as analytic details to companies. At least they’re up front about it and it’s off by default. It’s probably not a big deal either way, but I’d rather not participate.

Ghostery looks like a pretty good solution and I think this is the most pristine my browser has ever been!

Ghostery on Mozilla

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Make to select the Trackers and the Cookies tab to block as much as possible

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Write errors with Google XML Sitemap Generator and WordPress

I’ve run into a problem where my Google Sitemap Generator plugin for WordPress keeps generating an error that there’s been a problem and it can’t write to either sitemap.xml or sitemap.xml.gz.

The error I get is:

"There was a problem writing your sitemap file. Make sure the file exists and is writable. Learn more
There was a problem writing your zipped sitemap file. Make sure the file exists and is writable. Learn more"

This seems to have started since I upgraded to Google XML Sitemaps 3.2.6. If I rebuild the sitemap manually, everything works fine, the file is written and I don’t get any errors. But left to it’s own devices, things don’t go so well.

I haven’t really solved the problem, but I believe I’ve managed to work around it. First, I downgraded back to Google XML Sitemaps 3.1.6. Since I have a blog running under IIS, there might be another change to make. If you go to Settings – XML Sitemap, Under the Location of your sitemap file:

I selected Custom Location and then put in the full pathname to the file such as C:\Inetpub\blog directory\wordpress\sitemap.xml

With those changes in place, the plugin seems to be working again. After a post, the sitemap.xml file is updated and I don’t get the write protection error. I’m not sure if it was one change or the other, but it’s fixed and I’m not messing with it.

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Transparency issues with FireFox, Personas, Roboform and FoxTab

If you’re using the new Personas feature which comes with FireFox 3.6 and have problems with the transparency of the Roboform toolbar the FoxTab plugin/addon might be the culprit. The Roboform toolbar looks fine right after FireFox starts up, but within a second or two the transparency is lost and the image is now cut with a dark toolbar background.

To correct the problem go to Tools – Add-ons and remove the FoxTab plugin. Restart FireFox and the Roboform toolbar should look normal again. Personas should now have the correct transparency.

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