TinyURL links – the REAL destination

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Most people that have used the internet for a while know about the TinyUrl service. For those that are not familiar with it, here’s a quick primer.

If you find a website that you want to tell your friends about, all you have to do is copy and paste the URL (the website address) into an email. Simple, right? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. What if the address looks something like this:

http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?ovi=1&mqma
p.x=300&mqmap.y=75&mapdata=%252bKZmeiIh6N%252bI
gpXRP3bylMaN0O4z8OOUkZWYe7NRH6ldDN96YFTIUmSH3Q6
OzE5XVqcuc5zb%252fY5wy1MZwTnT2pu%252bNMjOjsHjvN
lygTRMzqazPStrN%252f1YzA0oWEWLwkHdhVHeG9sG6cMrf
XNJKHY6fML4o6Nb0SeQm75ET9jAjKelrmqBCNta%252bsKC
9n8jslz%252fo188N4g3BvAJYuzx8J8r%252f1fPFWkPYg%
252bT9Su5KoQ9YpNSj%252bmo0h0aEK%252bofj3f6vCP

You really don’t want to paste something that long into an email. This is where the TinyURL service comes in. Just go to www.tinyurl.com and paste that ridiculously long address into the form on the front page, and they will automatically create a nice SHORT address that you can use instead of the long one. You will get something like this:

http://tinyurl.com/6

So now, whenever you see a link like that, you know it is really just a shortened link that goes to some other website.

But what about security? I mean, you don’t really want to be blindly clicking on links and not knowing exactly where you are being taken, right? That is the subject of today’s tip.

The TinyURL website has a special feature that you should enable: the Preview Feature. You will see a link on the left side of the TinyURL website called Preview Feature. Just click on that, and then click on “Click here to enable previews”. That is all you have to do – the site puts a cookie on your computer so it knows your preference.

Now, whenever you click on a TinyURL link, it will first take you to a page that tells you the ACTUAL website address to which you are being taken. Then, you can continue on to the site, knowing that you will be safe.

This week’s video – forget being smarter than a 5th Grader; are smarter than a chimpanzee?

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