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  • Sarah King 9:34 am on September 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: GCSB, NSA, Surveillance   

    Getting real about Surveillance 

    There has been so much noise in the NZ media about surveillance, the GCSB and NSA and what is or isn’t being done.

    Seriously? 28k searches in a month?

    Seriously? 28k searches in a month?

    In the meantime we are all blindly using the internet with no real thoughts about keeping ourselves safe. I don’t use secure email and I only know one person who does. I don’t use anonymous browsing, I’m always logged in to Google – and it can give me some scary stats about my own internet use. There wasn’t even 1 day in August where I didn’t search for a thing?

    How many of us really understand how the Internet works – or give a thought to the mechanics of it all? We pay our ISP and magically we can connect with computers all over the world to get information. We are more realistic about how websites pay for themselves and somehow teens talking about makeup become YouTube sensations and earn not just a living but a fortune.

    Lets take a typical web request to facebook – most of us have accounts and use it.

    When I request a facebook page my request goes through 13 “hops” which are networking hubs that handle traffic. Most of those have some information that would allow me to identify the country they’re in, and little else.

    Traceroute to Facebook

    Traceroute to Facebook

    I’m sure somewhere, somehow, there is a legal agreement on what the people owning those hops are obliged to do with the information that passes through but do we know?

    Do we know how they pay for the machines, the running costs, the staff and the building? Presumably they have bandwidth fees?

    So, if we don’t know squat about this how do we know there isn’t surveillance? You can probably manipulate the hops if you really want to, but how would you know which are monitored?

    I personally don’t mind if they are monitoring to catch the child pornographers, the spammers, the drug dealers and the terrorists – who would?

    At the back of your mind there is the whole Big Brother thing and what if, sometime in the future, there’s a lynch mob against people who do certain things? Things that at the moment are acceptable? What if they’re collating data on what I like, where I go?

    After all we’ve seen Afghanistan turned from a progressive society to an impoverished Third World nation. Could being a tech literate woman be seen as evil by a future society?

    So next time we talk about Surveillance and who is tapping into what – remember that the Internet is wide open and absolutely anything could be happening out there.

  • Sarah King 9:53 am on August 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    How not to promote yourself 

    I received an email sent to a client and although it looked like spam I felt I should give it a double check.

    Steven J Elder, BrandRoot SEO LLC

    BrandRoot SEO LLC

    Given that the sender was in NZ I thought I’d see what the locals are doing in this area – and he appears to have several offices so it must be employing several people and working with quite a few clients.

    Alas, there were no clickable links in his email and google searches for BrandRoot, his gmail address and his full name (based on his gmail address as the email only gives his first name) were fruitless.

    Surely if a company specialises in making websites visible theirs should be a showcase in SEO marvelousness?

    • Dave Smyth 1:17 pm on August 12, 2014 Permalink

      LLC normally means it’s an American company and I doubt it’s based here at all!

    • Sarah King 4:26 pm on August 12, 2014 Permalink

      LOL, I misread it as LLB and thought he was an ex-Lawyer.
      The grouping of Tauranga and Dunedin together is interesting, don’t you think?

    • Wet Head Pump Repair 2:32 pm on August 19, 2014 Permalink

      We get emails like that here in America as well. They always make me laugh :))

    • Wet Head Pump Repair 2:34 pm on August 19, 2014 Permalink

      How many resources will that puppy use IF you did not cancel out that like and had 100 people online logged in ;)

  • Sarah King 9:38 pm on July 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

    Oh the irony, Google doesn’t like being spidered! 

    There’s a delicious irony when the site that we expect to spider our sites doesn’t like to be spidered itself.

    I’d run a search and then opened each of the results, worked through them and flicked to page 2 and repeated. I then went to refresh page 2, not sure why, and got this lovely little “are you human” check.

    google-bot-checkWhy, yes I am! and it let me proceed.

    Now, this doesn’t affect me in any way, if I have to occasionally enter in a captcha it’s not a big deal.

    Has anyone had any problems because of this?


  • Sarah King 9:58 pm on June 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply

    Password Cracks I didn’t expect! 

    I got a bit sidetracked by an NZ Herald on passwords: Tired of passwords? You aren’t alone. I find myself in both camps, both the user of passwords and the enforcer of rules. The self loathing as I had to type up the error message “Please use at least one upper case character” into my script.

    The article itself was nothing particularly new and as the cost of automated SMS messages drops we’ll find reputable websites start sending us one use codes instead of relying on us to remember passwords – just don’t lose your phone or leave it in another room or you’ll be scrambling. (More …)

  • Sarah King 9:49 pm on June 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mentionData, p2   

    Just having a whirl with WordPress’ P2 theme after hearing Matt Mullenweg wax lyrical. I like the look and it suits my kind of blogging – however – if you have many, many users in your system it WILL fall over.

    It isn’t enough just to comment out the line in the javascript, you have to comment it out at the PHP level. I hate changing code within a theme but this, it seems, is what you have to do.

    Go to /wp-content/themes/p2/inc and open js.php
    On line 250 wrap php comments around the code (or delete it entirely)

    <?php /* var mentionData = user_suggestion() ); ?>; */ ?>
    var mentionData = false;

  • Sarah King 9:45 am on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: calendar, ,   

    Google slowly catching up on alternate emails 

    I have all my main email addresses listed as alternates on my account page. It makes sense to me and I’m happy for Google to have that information about me.

    google-calendarIt’s been a source of irritation, though, that Google haven’t recognised those other emails when used within their apps such as Analytics and Calendar. (More …)

  • Sarah King 12:39 pm on February 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Take the rough with the smooth in social media 

    I recently had a really interesting experience with facebook. I made a post on a company’s facebook page that was, perhaps, incendiary, the other party certainly thought so and took an extremely heavy handed approach. I’d tried to word my post so that a positive spin could be taken – I wanted the company to come out smelling of roses, that would have been a win-win. (More …)

    • Sarah King 3:52 pm on May 1, 2014 Permalink

      JeansWest just aced it. This is how “complaints” should be managed.

      JeansWest Facebook Page

  • Sarah King 7:09 pm on January 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Say “No” to content spinners 

    Content Spinners have been around for a long time now, some are very sophisticated and some are like blunt force instruments. Put one in the hands of someone who is ESL and it all falls to pieces.

    spun-contentIn my example the “writer” is Indian – and the level of English literacy coming out of that nation is usually very good. Not in the case of ashokdhan, sadly.

    Ashok appears to have consulted a thesaurus and discovered that where the original document might say:

    I confess to spending lots of my time with purchasers fixing technical problems

    (More …)

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