BITS & BYTES: IE9 the safest browser by far

2012-12-20T00:00:00Z BITS & BYTES: IE9 the safest browser by farApril Miller Cripliver Times Business Columnist nwitimes.com
December 20, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Q. Which browser should I be using if I want to be safe on the Internet?

A. I received information about a study by NSS Labs (www.nsslabs.com), which clearly showed that Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 was significantly better at blocking malware than any other browser tested. In fact, the study showed that no other tested browser even came close to challenging IE9.

Needless to say, those results struck me not only as being a bit odd, but also as being the opposite of accepted conventional wisdom. So I downloaded the report (PDF) and studied the methodology. To my surprise, the research and results were well-documented, and the conclusions were sound. Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 does a much better job of blocking malware sites. Surprise, surprise!

The results of the NSS Labs test for overall malware block rate:

Apple Safari: 4.7%

Mozilla Firefox: 5%

Google Chrome: 27.6%

Internet Explorer 9: 94%

So, what do we do now? Obviously, the study concentrated on just one security problem for which web browsers are susceptible; we can’t use it as the only criteria for choosing a web browser. However, the study does suggest that perhaps it is time for information technology professionals to reassess their web browser choices. When was the last time you took a close, objective look at your current web browser’s security capabilities?

Q. I use the =rand() feature to insert random text into Microsoft Word. Is there is a way to customize or add text to what is returned by =rand()? I use this feature as a boilerplate/filler for demonstrations and would like to add my own verbiage.

A. Unfortunately, there is no way to modify what is returned by =rand() since it is a function built into Word. There are a couple of ways around this issue, however. The most likely candidates are the following: a Building Block, an AutoCorrect entry or a macro. These have their own set of drawbacks, however.

Word provides three ways to insert random text into a document. The =rand() function, which inserts some text about how to use some of the features in Word, is the most popular of these. If you prefer to read about quick brown foxes, you can use the function =rand.old() instead. The third way uses =lorem(), which will insert text that is based on the familiar lorem ipsum filler text that designers have used for decades.

What you place inside the parentheses will change the effect of =rand command. For example, typing =rand(45) will result in 45 paragraphs about Word features. Typing =rand(45,10) will still give you 45 paragraphs about Word features, but each paragraph will be limited to only 10 lines of text. Typing simply =rand()—with nothing inside the parentheses—will give you 185 words divided into three paragraphs of varying length.

This is a great tool to use when you just want some words on the screen to practice a new skill instead of possibly damaging one of your valuable documents.

Opinions are solely the writer's. April Miller Cripliver, of Chesterton, has a doctorate in management information systems and is a computer hardware and software consultant. E-mail your computer questions to nwitimes@cripliver.com, and specify your operating system and other pertinent PC information.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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