Tag Archives: free

TokBox: Free Video Chat, No Download Necessary

Want to use video chat but don’t want to have to download and install more software on your computer? With TokBox, now you don’t have to.

This relatively new site (still beta, of course) makes use of Flash to enable you to do video and voice chat with your friends right from a web page. The video quality is a little grainy but that’s supposed to be fixed soon with Flash 9.

It’ll be interesting to see how much traffic they can handle as more people start using it. In order to avoid issues with firewalls, all the video and audio goes through TokBox’s servers so that’s going to be quite a lot of bandwidth. Just think YouTube times two!

TrueCrypt: Free Encryption for Windows and Linux

I was recently asked how to password protect a USB memory stick (a.k.a. thumb drive, USB key, etc.) without having to buy software. TrueCrypt is a free and open source solution for securely encrypting data on any kind of drive including USB keys. In addition, it’s available for both Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Linux so you can share the secure data between operating systems.

With TrueCrypt you can either create a file of a specific size that will appear as a separate drive on your system (virtual encrypted disk) or you can encrypt an entire partition/drive. Of course, you can’t encrypt your entire boot disk because your computer still has to be able to load the TrueCrypt software to read the boot files.

A unique feature of TrueCrypt is that you can create a hidden area inside an encrypted volume that uses a different password. This hidden partition cannot be detected even if it’s analyzed byte-by-byte because it all looks like random bits. By storing your most important data in the hidden area, no one will know it’s there even if they force you to give them the password–you give them the password to the main encrypted area, not the hidden one.

TrueCrypt supports AES, Serpent and Twofish encryption algorithms.

How to Run Multiple Firefox Profiles Simultaneously

As you probably know, Firefox supports the creation of profiles so that different people can have their own browser configuration (buttons, add-ons, font size, etc.). If you’re not familiar with this feature, see How To Manage Profiles at the Firefox help site. A feature that’s more obscure is that you can actually run more than one profile at the same time.

Why would you want to run profiles simultaneously? I use the feature primarily so that I can check that pages look correct on a clean Firefox profile as well as on my heavily souped up one with lots of add-ons. You might also find it useful to have profiles with different add-ons for different tasks and then start one or more as needed.

Normally, if you start Firefox when a copy is already running, it’ll just start another window using the current profile. To start a completely separate instance of Firefox, add the -no-remote option. In Windows, you can either do this by selecting Run from the Start menu and typing in the entire command, or add the option to the shortcut that you use to start Firefox. On Linux, just add the option to the command line or if you’re using a GUI (e.g. Gnome, KDE, Xfce) adjust the command assigned to the desktop or menu icon that you use to start Firefox.

For example,

firefox -p Profile_Name -no-remote

will start a new instance of Firefox with the profile named “Profile_Name”. If, on the other hand, you want to choose the desired profile from the Profile Manager window, use

firefox -profilemanager -no-remote

Now you can start as many different profiles as you like. Have a novel way to make use of profiles? Leave a comment.