Get rid of those cookies!
How much porn is on your computer? How about that recipe someone e-mailed you for making napalm out of orange juice, or the Noam Chomsky speech you downloaded two years ago and forgot about?

In April, a U.S. court ruled that border agents can search your laptop, cell phone, or any electronic device, for that matter. They can confiscate your device as well. And other countries are following suit. Living in NorCal, we sometimes forget that things like pornography, marijuana and various reading material are illegal in some countries, maybe even our own.

Bruce Schneier, a technologist writing for the British newspaper The Guardian, suggests some safeguards including hidden, encrypted partitions of your computer’s hard drive, and deleting Internet browser cookies, caches and browsing histories. Sound paranoid? People are getting arrested for the T-shirts they are wearing in this “land of the free.” The Fourth Reich may be closer than you think.

Off the scale
You’re not the only one unhappy about paying $4 a gallon for gas. Apparently there are about 8,500 service stations across our country using the old-school, analog, mechanical gas pumps whose gears max out at $3.99 (and 9/10 cents). Maybe we should randomly invade an oil-rich Middle Eastern country to secure our petrol needs … oh, wait …

What is this thing called e-mail?
Take a wild guess at how many of your local country people have never sent or received an e-mail: one in five! Walk down Main Street or Broadway and count five people; one of them has never clicked the Send button!

OK, maybe the annual phone survey conducted by the firm Parks Associates does not accurately represent Chico, but come on, America! The firm also claims that nearly one out of every three heads of household has never used a computer to create a document. What?! And 20 million homes in the U.S. do not have Internet access (down from 2006’s 31 million).

Wow. I’m trying to think about what I don’t use the Internet to accomplish.

Smart computer condoms
I know companies have been making these for a while, but I am really impressed with this set of keyboard covers from KB Covers. Not only do they protect your electronics from coffee/beer spills and more germs than appear on a public toilet seat (according to some claims), but they help you learn/remember keyboard shortcuts for your most used apps such as Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro and even World of Warcraft. For only $40, this protection/help is well worth it.

Wacky Web site of the week
Think you can beat Jessica Alba in a staring contest? Here is your chance. And even if you’re not good at staring contests, well, there are uglier people to stare at for two minutes.