This is just a post for all the commenters who need a place to hide while the site is down. I’m looking forward to following the conversation…
Edit: er… I mean June 4th!
Update: Wow! That took way longer than it was supposed to… sorry about that. My pizza has gone cold, but I’m famished, so I’m going to go eat.
Almost two years ago, we raised enough money to pay for the construction of a well. I’m proud to announce we just received proof that our well is complete! Actions speak louder than words and while we didn’t dig this well, it was our action that made it possible.
You can view our project report on Charity:Water to see more detailed information about the well we sponsored. Our contributions were more than enough to fund our well, so we are actually co-sponsors on a second well too!
Needless to say, our accomplishment brings a massive smile to my face. Best. Website. Community. Ever.
When Facebook made a creepy change to its photo tagging policy, I wrote a post explaining how you could opt-out.
On this weeks episode of “Creepers gonna creep”, on March 1st Google is going to start sharing the information they have collected on you between its many services.
What does this mean? Right now YouTube doesn’t know anything about your Google searches and vice versa. Google search does not know that you’ve seen every single JBiebs video – multiple times – even though you regularly search for “What did we ever do to you Canada?” and “Visa application for countries where Justin Bieber songs are illegal”. As a result, YouTube shows you ads for the new JBiebs CD, but Google search still thinks you are a well-adjusted functioning member of society. Starting March 1st, YouTube will see your searches and Google search will see your YouTube views; both will think you are a self-hating Bieber-fever mega-fan. Obviously this is not the only information that can and will be exchanged between Google services and this applies to all Google services, including but not limited to YouTube, Google search, Gmail and Google maps.
What can you do? Delete and/or disable your web search history at https://www.google.com/history
To see an overview of the Google services you are using and the information they’ve collected, visit https://www.google.com/dashboard/b/0/
As noted on the EFF blog:
Note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. It also does not change the fact that any information gathered and stored by Google could be sought by law enforcement. With Web History enabled, Google will keep these records indefinitely; with it disabled, they will be partially anonymized after 18 months.
I’ve been on a music kick lately. Today I discovered a track that I can’t help but play on loop – over and over. What do you think of this one?
I stumbled across this on Facebook and thought it would make a pretty good theme song for MyLifeIsAverage. What do you think?
PS If you were the person who posted this on Facebook and you’d like to receive a hat tip, let me know in the comments. You know who you are.
If you live in the United States – and especially if you do not – you should be interested in a piece of legislation that is currently making the rounds in the US Congress. The legislation is called SOPA or PIPA (no, not Middleton). This legislation is being fiercely contested with the movie and music industries backing the legislation while the tech industry fights the good fight against it. No points for guessing which side I’m on.
In a nut shell, SOPA will give the US Attorney General and plaintiffs (such as the RIAA and MPAA) new powers to fight foreign sites that engage, enable or facilitate copyright infringement. They will fight these sites using a four pronged approach:
1) Require search engines to delete the site from all search results.
2) Require ad networks to stop display ads on or for the site.
3) Require payment processors (eg Paypal) to prevent any transactions between US customers and the site.
4) Block US visitors from accessing the site.
Just over a year a go, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized “dozens of domain names linked to illegal file sharing and counterfeit goods” (via cnet). If I understand correctly, SOPA is meant to target similar sites, but whose domain names cannot be seized because they are foreign domain names. Among the domain names seized by ICE was dajaz1.com, a popular hip hop blog. The evidence of copyright infringement? Songs sent by representatives of the copyright holder to dajaz1 to promote on their blog. Dajaz1.com was returned to its rightful owner but only after more than a year after it was wrongfully seized (via techdirt x2).
Do we really need a bill to expand powers that are already being abused?
If you live in the US and haven’t already contacted your Congressmen, please do. Google has a simple form here you can fill out and it takes less than a minute (unless you have a really really long name or type really slowly)