Thursday, August 5, 2010

Web Cookies: About 500 Words of Common Sense and Peanut Butter

"Web Cookies: the good, the bad and the ugly."
Information Carnivore (August 4, 2010)

"As a person who helps a lot of individuals with their personal computer problems
I seem to run into a familiar line of thinking on a regular basis, and that is many people seem to think web cookies (also known as browser cookies or an HTTP cookie) are a bad thing. Some I’ve talked with even seem to think that having a cookie is akin to having a virus, and that web cookies are a very bad thing.

First off, what exactly is a web cookie? Simply put, web cookies are nothing more than a piece of text that your web browser (firefox, internet explorer etc.) stores. It is not an executable file and doesn’t have any ability to run scripts or other potentially malicious software on your computer, all it ever stores is information in text format....

This is one of the best - and quite possibly the shortest - discussions of cookies I've read. Just over 500 words - including a digression about peanut butter cookies - it explains how cookies
  • Will not take over your computer
  • Will save you the trouble of re-entering your preferences every time you return to a place like
  • Might be embarrassing
    • Particularly if you like to visit websites you're supposed to loathe
I think it's the "privacy" aspect of one class of cookies - tracking cookies - that gave them an unsavory reputation.
A tip of the hat to , on Twitter for the heads-up on his post.

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