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)
Last Thursday was Thanksgiving in the US. For those that don’t know, Thanksgiving is traditionally enjoyed by millions who gather to eat turkey until overcome by a deep sleep – also know as a food coma – and awaking the next day to watch American football. However, it is also a time to reflect on the past year and to appreciate our friends, families and good fortunes. For the past two years, I’ve had the pleasure of running MyLifeIsAverage and MyLifeIsG, so I have a lot to be thankful for. You may find yourself asking, “What is MyLifeIsG?”, “Why have I never heard of MyLifeIsG?” or perhaps you’ve seen the sad “under construction” page that occupied its place for the last year. MLIG was the original site I co-founded with Guru Khalsa in the spring of 2009. It was a happy place where people could post short stories about the little victories in their lives. Since the site imploded over a year ago, I’ve intended to re-launch it – and Thanksgiving seems like a very fitting time do it. So, while millions of bleary eyed food coma patients flooded the Black Friday sales at un-natural hours of the early morning, I made the final preparations to bring MLIG back online. Drum roll please… MyLifeIsG.com is back and taking submissions!
At this point everybody should be able to access MLIA again. In some respects the move went smoothly and in others there was lots of room for improvement.
For instance, some people were still seeing the “MLIA is moving” page well after the new site was up. I think I now know what I could have done to prevent or reduce the number of people who were locked out.
For the lucky few that were able to access the site, the site kept crashing and comments were broken for a brief while. Those bugs have been fixed.
Also, a few people were seeing a “welcome to nginx” page instead of the site. My bad. I had setup mylifeisaverage.com, but forgot to enable http://www.mylifeisaverage.com.
Lessons have been learned and hopefully it will be better next time – and hopefully there will be no next time.
Thank you all for your patience. Onward and upward.
Update: Of course, immediately after I post this MLIA goes down. However, this time it is not my fault – I promise. The new servers are experiencing internet connectivity issues and it is beyond my control. Apologies.
Update 2: Seeing as I’ve been in a “learn from your mistakes” mood lately, I’ve decided that my mistake here was that I didn’t knock on wood before publishing this post. Knocking on wood originally came from the belief that malevolent spirits lived in dead wood and knocking was meant to drive them away, so they wouldn’t overhear and foil your plans. Clearly the clever devils in my desk must have heard.
Update 3: KNOCK ON WOOD!!! It is back up.