Private Email?

Gmailers Beware: Google Says You Have No “Reasonable Expectation” of Privacy

Is anyone out there really surprised about this? In this day and age, is anyone really still naive enough to think that their electronic mail is private? There is no privacy anymore.

The only private conversation you can ever have is the one with those voices in your head, and even that may be under surveillance soon thanks to Google’s prototype as-yet-unnamed cranial chip implant (codenamed: Chips Ahoy).

Be the first on your block to get one! It’s safe. Don’t you worry. Remember Google’s Prime Directive: Use ALL data from ALL sources to make disgustingly large amounts of money! Er, no… wait. I meant their other Prime Directive: Don’t be evil. ;)

Later…

~Eric


HeliOS – Ken Starks Posts Sad Missive

***REPUBLISHED 16 March 2012 @ 1805hrs EDT***

A couple days ago, Ken Starks of the Austin, TX HeliOS Project posted a sad missive on his Blog of HeliOS.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

A quiet communication went public

As often happens with people that possess less than sure Internet Skills, a posting was made publicly that was meant for far fewer eyes. Sometimes it can be funny, sometimes it can end a marriage.  Other times it makes news readily availability before people were physically ready to receive it.

For those of you in the GNU/Linux community who know or have heard of Ken, you really need to read his posting in its entirety.

We’ll be thinking about you and your family, Ken. Our mutual friend and mentor, Bruno Knaapen, was proud of your achievements. It’s difficult to type these words, but if the inevitable that overtakes us all one day should overtake you any time soon, know that your contributions, assistance, and passion will not soon be forgotten by those of us who have had the privilege to know you.

Give ‘em hell, brother!

~Eric

Additional information:

An Interview with Ken Starks by Larry the Free Software Guy

Is This Thing On? – A heartfelt plea from Diane regarding Ken

Diane says:

I know I am going to receive a ton of wrath from this but his pride is outweighing his needs and I don’t believe in miracles like he does.

I have a paypal account set up via the email dianekfranklin@hotmail.com.  I hope none of you think badly of me for doing this.  Thank you for helping me take care of Ken.  I don’t know how to really spread the word so if you would help me do so I would appreciate it.

Please help, if you can.


An Open Letter to Chris Dodd – by Eric S. Raymond

This article is so important, in my opinion, that I’m posting a link to it on all my blogs.

This is about freedom, pure and simple. If you read nothing else the next month, you should at least read this article by Eric S. Raymond. It is 24 carat TRUTH. It’s not just about technology and the Internet. It’s about your future and the future of your children and their children. Read it!

An Open Letter to Chris Dodd – by Eric S. Raymond from his blog.

Later…

~Eric


Adobe/Google Backroom Boogie

Well, I don’t know who is bending over for whom, but there seems to be some strange bedfellow action going on here.

Gregg Keizer @ ComputerWorld writes:

Adobe today said that it would stop offering direct downloads of Flash Player for Linux, telling users to move to Google’s Chrome browser, which bundles Flash with its updates.

*Emphasis mine.

OK, well then… let me state my case plainly for Adobe: KISS MY ASS! You’ll NOT be dictating to me what/how I use my own equipment in my own home. I don’t think I’ll follow your orders to use Google Chrome. I happen to like Firefox, Opera, and Seamonkey. What’s that you say? No more Flash for me. Unless you figure out a way to disable my current Flash plugin, my Flash will be just fine.

Besides, there are open source alternatives out there. Ain’t it great?!

So, pardon me Adobe for being blunt here, but PISS OFF! And take your not-doing-any-evil-as-long-as-greed-doesn’t-count pal Google along with you.

There. I feel better now.

Later…

~Eric

Further reading: Adobe to Linux users: Get Chrome or forget Flash from ComputerWorld


Big Brother Investigates Big Apple

How’s this for strangeness. The F.B.I. has an extensive file on that dope smokin’ Steve Jobs guy.

FBI’s Steve Jobs file: He will ‘distort reality … to achieve his goals’from The Washington Post:

By , Updated: Thursday, February 9, 12:25 PM

Steve Jobs, being considered in 1991 for an appointment under President George H.W. Bush, underwent a thorough background investigation by the FBI, according to newly released files from the agency.

Definitely a must-read, folks. Be sure to check out the actual 190+ pages of documents being served in .pdf format by the Post (link in quote above). I wonder how many of us would come up squeaky clean in an F.B.I. investigation; not many, I’d bet.

Despite interviewees saying that they did not personally like Jobs, many said that they would recommend him for a position in government.

One section said, “It was [redacted] opinion that honesty and integrity are not required qualities to hold such a position.”

Honesty? Integrity? For a position in government. Wow! That would be a novel idea, huh?

Later…

~Eric


Some News You Can Use… Firefox 11, Google, awk

Hey folks, I’m just zipping by here today.

I just wanted to post some links to some interesting reading I ran across this morning. Here goes…

Firefox 11 Gets SPDY – Datamation | Sean Michael Kerner

Google’s speed-enhancing SPDY protocol lands in upcoming version of Mozilla’s open source browser.

Mozilla is taking a page from Google’s Chrome development and is gearing up to implement a new protocol to help accelerate the Firefox web browser. The open source Firefox 11 browser, which is now in beta, will include the SPDY protocol. The current stable release of Firefox is version 10, which was released last week.

 

Beware the power of Google? – ITWorld | Brian Proffitt

Chaotic good is still chaotic

Has Google taken over the Internet? No, I’m not wearing a tin-foil hat, and I’m not looking for a secret villain’s lair when I am in Silicon Valley at the end of the month (though wouldn’t the “Eye of Sauron” be synonymous with “Mountain View”? Hmmm…). But there have been some incidents over the years that have made me stop and ponder a bit about the huge amount of quiet influence Google seems to have on commercial activity on the Web.


How to get started using awk – SImple Help | Sukrit Dhandhania

awk, sed, and grep are three of my favorite tools in the Linux or UNIX command line. They are all pretty powerful. Today we’ll look at how to get cracking with awk to help you ease into using it. Then we’ll look at some useful awk one liners to make things a bit more fun for you.

Read, learn, have FUN! :)

Later…

~Eric


Dude! Where’s My Data?

My faithful readership may remember that I’m not a fan of cloud computing at all.

I feel that it’s just another way to restrict Internet usage, suck up your data, track your habits, and make $$$ for the greedy mega-corps currently circling around one another in the Internet seas seeking fresh meat (you) to gorge upon.

In light of the recent TERMINATION of operation of MegaUpload by Agent Smith and his colleagues, one has to wonder what happens to all the legitimate data that was stored on those servers? Are you one of the unlucky ones who is quite possibly having your private data scoured by the IT department gnomes at BIG BROTHER Central? Disturbing thought, huh?

Sebastian Anthony at ExtremeTech wrote an interesting article about the demise of MegaUpload. Here’s a tidbit:

There have always been two major concerns about cloud services in general, and cloud storage (Dropbox, Megaupload, SkyDrive, iCloud, and so on). The first is privacy: When you upload data to a third party, there’s always the risk that they can look at the contents of your files. Some cloud providers securely encrypt data, but many don’t. The second issue is data security and integrity: Does the third party keep a tight ship against hackers? What happens if a hard drive fails? What protections have the cloud provider put in place to mitigate against natural disasters, bankruptcy, or being shut down by the Feds?

Yes. What happens to your data? Who gets to look at it? The “folly of cloud storage”; it is, indeed.

Rebecca Lipman at The Motley Fool writes:

Government access to cloud computing files
Many note that the timing coincided too conveniently with SOPA online protests. And although SOPA has not passed, the death of Megaupload, which is seen as a kind of victim to the government’s fight against piracy, brings some interesting, if not disturbing, aspects of cloud computing to life.

Get wise, folks. Stop volunteering your personal data to these giant data-sucking companies like Google and Facebook. Keep your personal data where in belongs… in your personal possession; meaning on your own damned system. Drives and drive space are so BIG and cheap these days, you could have your very own server farm in the back room of your house to store all your stuff. You don’t need to be uploading it to Suckle or Slurpbox so they can sift it and then target you with advertisements.

Anywho… that’s just how I feel about this. Y’all have fun now. :)

Later…

~Eric

Further reading:

Megaupload’s demise: What happens to your files when a cloud service dies? – ExtremeTech

Popular file-sharing website Megaupload shut down - Yahoo Finance

Feds Shut Down Megaupload: Warning Sign for the Cloud Storage Model? - The Motley Fool


Google Wants YOU!

Well, they want ALL of your Internet usage data, anyway.

In yesterday’s news, stories were published all over the Internet regarding Google’s new upcoming NO-OPT-OUT Privacy Agreement due to hit the streets in early March. Google, in their ever widening, ever more frenetic feeding frenzy to control every bit of data on the Internet, has decided that they will now combine ALL of your data across all of their apps, that you are already so addicted to using, into one nice and easily (for them) accessible pile.

BIG BROOGLE, er… I mean Google will now be able to track your activity online from your Gmails to Auntie Em all the way to that stash of Uncle Bob’s tinfoil hat designs that you have sitting in your Picasa account. So, is that cool or what? Google is a giant seine net that scoops up every bit of cyber data that you so kindly make available to them on a daily basis. They use this data to ENRICH themselves, their shareholders, and their business partners. If you ain’t in any of those categories, you ain’t seeing any $ showing up in your bank accounts, even though it’s your data providing them with that money.

So, is there something wrong with making a buck? No, of course there isn’t. That’s the capitalist way, comrades. It’s what has made America China great! I don’t have an issue with companies and individuals making money. Hey! Money makes the world go ’round. Commerce is good. However, when you are forced to agree to terms by a bully in the schoolyard who takes your baloney sandwich that mom packed for you, well… that just ain’t right.

I’m not naive. I know that Google isn’t the first evil empire to do this stuff. There was Microsoft before them, forcing folks buying computers to use their OS… or at least pay for it. Once you got the system home, you could wipe that OS off the drive and put something good, like GNU/Linux on there. ;) You still had some choice, if you were knowledgeable enough and had the motivation. The sheeple just used Windows; just like the sheeple will continue to use Google. That’s the way of the world, I s’pose. Doesn’t mean I can’t bitch about it, though.

Choice is yours folks. Remember the saying, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” Free minds, free knowledge, FREEDOM! Only the greedy feel the need to use profit/loss columns to determine something’s worth.

Later…

~Eric

Further reading:

Google announces privacy changes across products; users can’t opt outWashington Post Business

Google Privacy Police Change: How Does It Affect You? – International Business Times

Google’s Privacy Policy: A Wakeup Call, But That’s It - PCMagazine

Related article:

Google Won’t Pwn Me! - Nocturnal Slacker v1.0

Image credits: Google is watching you – ownership unknown. If you own the copyright to this image, contact the author to amend usage here.


Mate – an Alternative Desktop Environment

So, you’re not too thrilled with Gnome 3, Unity, or KDE 4. Well, here’s another option…

MATE is a Gnome 2 fork started by Arch Linux Forum member Perberos. I like the description: MATE Desktop Environment, a non-intuitive and unattractive desktopHeh! Can’t get much more honest than that.

Christopher Tozzi at varguy.com wrote a nice article about MATE. Here’s a snippet or two:

Right or wrong, plenty of Linux users — such as this guy — have been less than happy with the interface changes wrought by the advent of Unity and GNOME 3. Lucky for these people, there’s hope in the form of MATE, a fork of GNOME 2…

To be perfectly upfront with my readers here, I have never tried Gnome 3 or Unity on any of my systems. I do have some experience with KDE 4, as many of you know; none of it was pleasant. My main desktop environment is Xfce. I’ve been using Xfce primarily in my main (Slackware) and secondary (Arch) installations for quite some time now; ever since KDE 4 first came on the scene, actually. I was a big KDE fan up till then. Oh well… the world moves on.

Tozzi continues…

GNOME 2 may not have been ideal for touchscreens or tablets, and it wasn’t the most visually dazzling interface out there. But it got the job done without giving me a headache or turning every mouse click into a surprise by eliciting totally unpredictable behavior.

A surprise with every mouse click. Hmm… that sounds a lot like my KDE 4 experience. ;)

Seriously, folks… as I always say, whatever works best for you is what’s best for you. If you would like to go back to the older, more stable, less visually orgasmic Gnome 2 days, give Mate a shot.

Have fun!

~Eric


ALERT: Linux.com, Linux Foundation Sites Breached

Believed to be connected to kernel.org attack

By Brian ProffittAdd a new comment
September 11, 2011, 10:31 AM

The Linux Foundation is reporting this morning that their web sites, including Linux.com, are down for a complete reinstall following a discovered security breach.

The breach was discovered on September 8, and affects Linux.com, LinuxFoundation.org, and all attendant subdomains of those web properties, according to an e-mail sent out early Sunday morning (East Coast time). Kernel.org, though not explicitly described in the e-mail, was also down for maintenance as of 1010 EDT.

Read the rest of this alert at ITWorld.

When they come back online, be sure to change your passwords… just to be safe.

Later…

~Eric


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