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Firefox Tips, Plus a Warning: Protect Those Passwords

Rick Broida | March 9, 2011
Follow these tips to make scrolling in Mozilla Firefox much smoother.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA, MARCH 8, 2011—Here are some tips for scrolling through long Web pages in Firefox. But first—a public service announcement.

The Wrong Way to Manage Your Passwords
Last weekend I went camping with some buddies, and somehow the subject of computer passwords came up. I asked everyone how they managed theirs, and all six of them said the same thing: They store them in a text file, spreadsheet, or some other similarly unprotected document.


The horror!


That's a disaster waiting to happen. If a hacker ever finds his way onto one of their PCs, those passwords will be easier to steal than a whiff of chocolate at the Hershey factory. What's more, if one of my amigos ever needs access to those passwords while traveling, he's out of luck. Same goes for a hard-drive crash: it'll take down that password list along with everything else.


My advice to them and everyone else on the planet: use a password manager, ideally, one that can sync with a smartphone and/or the cloud. These tools offer both simplicity and convenience. You just enter in the details of the various sites and services you use–user ID, password, Web address, and so on–and the program stores them in a simple, secure, password-protected database. In other words, you need to remember only one password to gain access to all your other passwords.


As for convenience, the better managers can sync with, say, your iPhone or Android phone, as well as a secure Web site for easy access on any PC. I also like the ones that can automatically generate secure passwords on your behalf (useful for those folks who still think "123456" is a safe choice).


So, which password manager should you use? I'd say it doesn't matter, so long as you use one.

Firefox Tip: Turn on 'Smooth Scrolling'
To my thinking, the scroll wheel is the single best invention since, well, the mouse. (If you're still clicking and dragging the scroll bar on the right side of your browser, word processor, or whatever, you're making life unnecessarily hard on yourself.)


Much as I like scrolling with the scroll wheel, however, I dislike the way Firefox moves the page up and down in little jumps. It's distracting, and often causes me to "land" at a different spot on the page than I'd like. Luckily, there's a way to make scrolling more pleasant:

 

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