Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stay Signed In? (K2 #31)

Question of the Week
Should I check the "Stay signed in" box when I log into my Gmail account?
-- Dechen, Motithang HSS
Dear Dechen,

Like so many other questions, the very short answer is: it depends. And now for the longer answer...

The "Stay signed in" feature is designed to make life easier. Here's how it works: If you check the box when you sign in, then the next time you visit your Gmail account on that computer you will automatically be logged in. This is very convenient, since it saves your from re-entering your user name and password every time. But there's a big drawback: If the computer is public and is used by other people - for example, in an Internet cafe, the public library or the youth centre - then people who use the computer after you will be able to go to your account and read your email. The consequences of this can range from "embarrassing" to "devastating". So when using a public computer, make sure the box is not checked.

Even when the computer is at home, and is used by some of your family members, you will probably want to make sure that the "Stay signed in" box is not checked, just in in case your little brother is a bit too curious to see what his older sibling is up to...

Other email services and websites have similar options. For example, when you log into Facebook, the box is called "Keep me logged in". Yahoo! Mail's version is called "Keep me signed in" , etc. etc. It's all the same.

To be on the safe side, it is always a good idea to sign out after you finish reading your email or done chatting on Facebook. Look for the "sign out" or "log out" button or link. On Facebook, for example, click on the small triangle on the top-right corner of the screen, and then select "Log out".

So when should you check the box? If you have your own laptop which no one else is using, then feel free to check the box. Just make sure to protect your laptop with a strong Windows password, in case your laptop gets into the wrong hands.

What's in a cookie?

Websites can store information in small files on your hard disks. These files are called web cookies, Internet cookies, browser cookies, or simply cookies. Websites use cookies to remember your account details and log you in automatically, so they offer a lot of convenience. On the other hand, cookies can be used to track your activity online and thus cause a major headache to Internet privacy advocates. To learn more about cookies, visit www.howstuffworks.com/cookie.htm