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


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


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


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.


Present Shock – Will Technology Destroy Us?

In 1970, Alvin Toffler wrote a book called Future Shock, wherein he speculates that we are being overwhelmed by the rapid changes in technology and society.

I was nine years old in 1970. We were guzzling .29 cent a gallon highly leaded gasoline and making calls on heavy bakelite rotary dialed telephones; many of us sharing party lines. Here we are a scant 40 years later and folks are walking around wearing phones in their ears or carrying around hand-held devices that only science fiction writers had the foresight to dream up back then. Where is this headed, and do we really want to go there as a species?

Technology is a wonderful thing, but like all wonderful things, men have a tendency to twist it to their own means. Einstein once said, “Technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological criminal.” This reminds me of another great quote, from 1970, coincidentally: Pogo cartoonist Walt Kelly stated, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”  This is a blog about technology, or one specific area of it, anyway. Maybe this article will make you think a bit about this subject.

To me, technology, like a handgun, is neither good nor evil. It just is. What is good or evil depends on how it’s used. The human race has access to absolutely amazing things these days. We have an emerging noosphere in the form of the Internet. What I wonder about is how all this technology and knowledge will be used. What’s it going to be like in another 40 years or so? Will we still be here?

The Doomsday Clock was moved up a minute recently as a result of stalled nuclear arms reductions, unsafe nuclear power plants, and climate change. That’s the least of our troubles. While technology provides jobs, improves our lives, brings us pleasure, enables instant contact with each other; there are entities out there in the corporate word bleeding every shred of data from us to use for their own means.

Privacy? This is quite possibly a thing of the past. We like to think we still have our privacy, but the reality is that Big Bro and everyone else willing to pay for it can gain access to every tidbit of data about us out there right now. I read today that Google is now going to include G+ data into the search stream when folks go there to search for something. Hmm… I always knew G+ was a means to an end. There’s a saying going around these days regarding free online services. I don’t know who first said it, but it’s disturbingly accurate. “If you’re not paying for the product, you ARE the product.”

Where is this all heading?

Let’s talk about the medical field for a moment. We have pacemakers, manufactured joints, prostheses, etc. This form of technology is exploding at an amazing pace. In a few years, I wouldn’t doubt there there will be augmentations available similar to the ones in the game Deus Ex. I wrote a review of the latest game in that series earlier at Nocturnal Slacker v2.0. While the game is fun and the story is intriguing, the possibilities for abuse, as shown in that game, are terrifying. I’m 50 years old. I may still live to see something like this in the near future. Your grandkids will, for sure.

Speculating on the future is no one’s strong suit, really. It’s much too unpredictable because man is often an unpredictable animal. We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, though, you can make a difference in how the future turns out by staying informed, choosing leaders who you believe will make the right decisions for our future as a species, and standing up for your rights. Don’t let the greedy few trample the lives of the rest of us.

I’ll close now before I start into a angry diatribe regarding unrestrained capitalism and greed.

Whoops! See what I mean? ;)

Later…

~Eric


Google Television?

Google takes another shot at the TV market…

via Reuters

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO | Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:23pm EDT

The Internet search engine unveiled a revamped version of its Google TV service on Friday, bringing new features aimed at making the product easier-to-use and more appealing to consumers.

Remember folks, if you’re not paying for the product, you ARE the product when it comes to companies like Google. Oh boy! I can hardly wait… TV that watches you while you’re watching it. ;) Just what the world needs.

Read the rest of Alexei Oreskovic’s article HERE.

Later…

~Eric


Diaspora – Not Your Mama’s G+

As many of you who read my ramblings here know, I was experimenting the Google+ a while back. That didn’t turn out so well.

That’s OK, however. I’ve found a wonderful alternative. It’s called Diaspora. For Google+ refugees, it will look quite familiar. Think of it as a concentration camp (Google+) that’s been transformed into a hippie commune. Google+ is like the old TV bar Cheers, where everyone knew your name (and all your personal data, including your underwear color). Diaspora is more like an 80s mosh pit, where no one knows your name (and only know your underwear color because you chose to let them), but they’re all having a great time right along with you. ;)

TechEye.net has a really cool article about Diaspora on its site today. Here’s a wee bit:

Users are climbing on board after being tipped off that there’s a network just like Google+, only without having anything to do with Google, where you can be who you want to be, how you want to be, and still retain full ownership of everything.

Read the rest of the article: Diaspora still trying to reinvent social networks with open source G+ before G+

C’mon over and sign yourself up. I’m there. You can find me from my D* profile.

Have a fun day!

~Eric


Google Won’t Pwn Me!

Well, my experiment with G+ and social networking has come to its end tonight.

This is my last post to the stream there:

Alas, it has come to this…

Friends, Googlers, denizens of this realm we call the Internet,

This is my last Google Plus transmission. I have been here since nearly the beginning. I’ve watched this service become the sweet candy that it now is; tempting and replete with potential poisonous side effects.

I admit to always being a bit suspicious of SUPER-MEGA CORP Google. However, my suspicions were just that… suspicions. That is until I came to G+ and witnessed how a large corporate entity once again wipes its anal orifice with anything the little guy has to say when it doesn’t correspond with their business plan.

Privacy is a very important thing, folks. It’s important in your real lives and it’s important (possibly more so) here in this medium. Since the advent of the Internet, there have been those who have hunted, stalked, and bagged the weak, ignorant victims; children, old folks, silly housewives clicking on every pop-up that appeared on their screens. The wolves have targeted them all.

It’s sad that the sheep will trade their anonymity and security for a sweet taste of the candy. Just one taste, please. These same sheep are the ones who are being sheared daily by their governments, their churches, their employers, etc. Now they will be sheared by Google in its neverending feeding frenzy of data; public, private, ALL DATA!

While I have to admit it’s been fun, this little experiment of mine with G+ and my first foray into the social networking scene; I believe I must be moving on. THINK, folks. Use that mass of gray jelly in your head. Analyze all the input. Determine for yourself if it’s worth exposing your real name, personal data, life history, etc. to a giant corporate entity whose NUMBER ONE purpose for existence is to turn a profit.

Well, this is all just a matter of opinion, really. The above is my opinion. I’m no one. I’m nameless. I am pseudoynmous (maybe). ;)

You know where to find me.

It’s been fun…

~Eric

I feel emancipated. Hell, I think I’ll even switch my browser’s search engine to Yahoo.

Later, folks…

~Eric


Who Uses Linux (Revisited)

Who Uses Linux?

Posted by V. T. Eric Layton on Apr 1, 2010

A lot of folks you never suspected. That’s who.

Yesterday, one of the members at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux, BillD, posted a link to a great list of Linux users. While Linux supposedly only has 1% of the overall market share, some of the folks on that list are movers and shakers in the technology industry. The future should be quite interesting.

Google, Cisco, New York Stock Exchange… even Omaha Steaks! Ummm! That is some yummy dead cow! I can’t chew dead cow currently for this reason, but I can always dream. Besides, their steaks are so tender you can cut them with a spoon. Seriously though, there are some impressive folks on that list.

We’re going to wake up one morning and Linux won’t be just the geek’s favorite operating system. It will be a viable alternate to MS Windows, just as Mac OS and OS X have become over the years. Will that affect how Linux is treated by the pimply-faced crackers and spammers out there currently attacking MS Windows because of its larger user base? I believe that it might. Fortunately, Linux’s innate security will protect it from a lot of the tricks that bedeviled MS Windows.

So, who uses Linux? I do. My brother does. My buddy Mike does. A bunch of folks at the forums I visit do. Many companies and governments around the world do. Why do they use Linux. You’ll just have to ask one of them one day.

Until next time, folks…

~Eric

=====

This article was originally posted on my Nocturnal Slacker | Lockergnome blog. You can see the original and accompanying comments by clicking HERE.


A Closet Misanthrope’s View of Online Social Networking

Up until recently, my experiences with online social networking were limited to the rare messenger conversation or occasional IRC chat.

Since the beginning of my Internet life, I’ve leaned more toward the post/reply model of online communications; such as boards, forums, USENET newsgroups, etc. When MySpace first came online, I thought it to be silly, juvenile narcissism. My feelings toward MySpace carried over to the Facebook and Twitter crowd, once those became the “in” thing online. I mean, c’mon… follow along with Ashton Kutcher‘s daily escapades? It was obvious to this middle-aged (damn…it’s weird calling myself “middle-aged”) semi-misanthropic biker that these newfangled online things were mainly for the young attention-deficit-disordered crowd.

Hmm… well. I may have to change my views on this now. I’m man enough to stand up and admit when I’m wrong. I just don’t get much opportunity to do that since I’m rarely wrong. That being said, online social networking may actually have value for all folks out there, not just the hormonal yutes of the world. I can see the potential of the technology. I can understand now that there is a whole new world out there for young folks, old folks, business, hobbyists, technologists, educators, journalists, alien invaders, hackers, spammers, data miners, and even you.

You may have read about my previous articles HERE and HERE regarding my recent foray into the realm of online social networking; specifically, Google+. Well, I’ve been at it now for about ten days. The first couple days’ worth of my time there was utilized mostly for feeling my way around the place and looking for folks to put into my “circles”. Once I got that all squared (or circled) away, it was on to the actual interacting part of the show. Social intercourse with other human beings from all over the world. Wow! What a concept! Beats the hell out of smoke signals or snail mail, huh?

Photobucket

There is a trick to enhancing your enjoyment of social networking on sites like Google+ (G+ for short). You need to have communicative and intelligent people, with whom you share some common interests, in your circles. Why? Simply because you need them to provide you with that steady flow (the Stream) of data that becomes your focus on these social sites. What is this “stream”, you might be asking? Well, if you’re my age or older, you can think of it as that steady rat-tat-tat of the old RTTY (radio teletype) machines tapping out reams of incoming data onto that tractor-fed paper roll. Or if you don’t remember those days, you can think of the stream as the news ticker that runs along the bottom (or top) of some modern cable news channels. The stream is the heart of your online social network. It’s where the action is.

If you have fun, smart, prolific posters, like Chris Pirillo for instance, in your circles in G+, you’ll have a steady stream of interesting and entertaining (and often very useful) data to read. If all you have in your circles is old uncle Bob, the retired carnival barker who can only access the Internet for 1 hour every three days from his cell in prison, then you’ll probably be pretty starved for decent stream data. Find those interesting folks. That’s half the fun of social networking. Whether you’re looking for celebs or scientists, chances are they’re on G+ (or Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Oh, and don’t forget to share. In other words, be sociable. Post replies to other posters in the stream. Post your own stream posts. Post pictures, music, tales of your latest bar-hopping spree, whatever… Sharing. That’s what social networking is all about. You don’t just want to be one of the quiet crowd hiding in your dark computer room and laughing to yourself about Chris Pirillo’s latest animated .gif posting. You want to be out there with the rest of those folks having fun!

Don’t be shy now.;)

See you on Google+

~Eric


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