Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

I have been looking for a Facebook alternative for a while now mainly because I know that Facebook does not have it’s users interests at heart in fact it uses people purely for profit with little or ethics applied when making decisions that affect hundreds of millions of its users.

So I have found a few Pinterest, Myspace, Tagged and Fubar all very different from Log in page with red arrow pointing to facebook loginFacebook but none quite right for what I want but seeing as the main reason I have been looking around is because of Facebook’s terrible privacy policy that basically leaves individuals wide open to attack from other corporate and media companies in the form of advertising and copyright of your personal photo’s and video some of which are personal.

Interestingly with the exception of Myspace the other sites say they are non corporate and therefore more trust worthy, now I know that nearly all websites are for profit of some kind so I get the whole advertising aspect of the net and how without it the internet would not be sustainable but all of the Facebook alternatives all have one thing in common but this should all be done with the user in mind and not the corporation in question.

 

 

All of the so called alternatives allow you to log in using your Facebook account, now this kind of  integration going across websites and platforms is interesting and worrying because Facebook is getting advertising from its competitors who claim themselves non corporate so straight away that rhetoric is actually void and the worrying part is why are facebook able to get themselves on every website out there, as a private company motivated by greed you are giving Facebook staff an online map of your movements and even a free pass to your information from all sorts of different areas I have even noticed a share button on flight intenaries this is just ridiculous and a reminder of how much effort is being put into tracking your movements through social media.

vexed with the lack of privacy

Because I am so vexed with the lack of privacy or more to the point my control of my privacy online I have decided to read through the privacy policy of the supposed alternatives that are claiming to give me greater autonomy compared to the blue behemoth and its poxy like buttons. When I read them I noticed something familiar amongst the various websites by using the Facebook log-in page your agreeing to the Facebook terms and conditions which now apply to your new profile, so in other words by using Facebook to log in I am agreeing to my new website/profile giving Facebook access to information I may not be willing to share which is whole reason I decided I want to leave Facebook in the first place.

When looking for an alternative always read the privacy policy and always create a profile using your email and never log in with another sites credentials it maybe easier but will end up costing you more than a few less seconds, integration is not always a good thing and this is especially true when it comes to your online profiles as not only do you give other sites rights to your new sites but you are also giving them yet more information regarding your online movements.

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Facebook Gold Accounts

Since the inception of the public internet fraud has always been present largely due to the anonymity given by the net and a lack of regulation allows this kind of behavior to continue unabated, whether its an African prince needing £30,000 to get his or her 50,000,000,000 out of a locked account or this new one of convincing people that Facebook now offer paid subscription which is doesn’t.

This is the darkside of the World Wide Web but the one thing I love the web for is it is a place still ruled by the law of common sense, Most people fall into online fraud because they wanted something for nothing and ended up paying out their life savings instead.

Yes their are hackers and organized crime syndicates but these largely are interested in the bigger fish such as government, financial and sites which hold databases of personal information. On the whole your simply not that important and the only time your likely to come into contact with a hacker online is when they use your computer in spam attacks which you will never even know about.

Staying Safe Online

The best way to stay safe when using the internet is to think before you act, Firewalls and Antivirus programs can only do so much if you suspect a website may have harmful content stay away, if you receive an email from Barclays.eu or woolyworths asking you to confirm your account details don’t click on the link in fact when ever I receive emails from banks the first thing I do is check the address from where it was sent.

The truth is that internet is a great tool but as the Facebook Gold Accounts scam shows you still cant be to careful and I will say this be wary of asking for legislation to govern internet websites as once we start down that path the price we end up paying may just be to high. I certainly don’t want to see PC licenses imposed as a tax for the governments protection that is sure to accompany any attempt from the authorities to police the web.

Use your common sense and stay safe.

Big Brothers Little Brother

In the novel 1984 by George Orwell helicopters and CCTV in flat screen monitors are used to monitor every aspect of the daily lives of the citizens of Oceania, interestingly enough Orwell wrote this book before these things even existed and was banned in the UK for many years so when I read that the United Kingdom is preparing to use unmanned drones to hover above us and snoop on our daily business I cant help but feel like Big Brother really is watching.Police officer using a remote controlled drone

Many people will say that worrying about this is paranoia and that if you have nothing to hide then you needn’t worry, well I say this we should worry especially when the people who are deciding whether what you’re saying or doing is illegal are the very same people who write the laws. Here in the UK we have become overly relaxed about what the state is doing on our behalf in the name of safety and if we do not start looking soon we may find ourselves in a Liberal prison from which there truly is no escape.

To UAV Or Not To UAV

I can understand that the usage of UAV’s will continue to increase but I think they should only be used in a military capacity and never in a civilian one where the possibility of abuse is increased. The usage of surveillance in Britain is now at a point where you will not go a single day without your face and details being logged. I will attempt to give you an idea of what I meanmen monitoring cctv screens

  • All modes of transport now have CCTV including many taxis and stations.
  • Every major and many minor streets have CCTV all linked into a national system.
  • Supermarkets and shops use reward cards to monitor your purchases and also have CCTV in stores.
  • Smart card systems for traveling track your movements and patterns.
  • Any mobile handset with GPRS activated is constantly tracked by local phone masts even if switched off. This includes mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
  • Credit/Debit cards track every purchase you make.
  • Your IP address is logged at every site you visit.
  • Every piece of electronic information sent within the UK is now kept in a database for 3 years in case needed for legal reasons.

Every single example I have given above all use the internet and mobile networks to transfer data, and if you add face and voice recognition software currently in use to this very intricate system and you can track every person in the United Kingdom from a laptop. This type of information is is very dangerous if the political landscape was to change from passive to hostile.

Surveillance State

The point I am trying to make is that we now live in a surveillance state and we don’t really know how that information is being used to monitor and manipulate us. I even think it was a deliberate ploy to get us used to the concept of 24 hour surveillance through the aptly named Big Brother series which first aired just as CCTV was coming into full force even though crime figures show that it does nothing to reduce crime. If you think that in the TV show the people in the house were totally at the mercy of the producers people who they had never met and if so inclined could have made the house mates lives a living hell. Now apply that to modern society and you have the soviet state that Stalin truly craved.Caption of Big Brother is watching you ever Obama's face

We are living in a world where our every move and word both written and spoken are not only monitored but recorded and documented, this is not science fantasy or conspiracy theory but fact, and we the people are becoming increasingly ignorant of this fact because of careful manipulation of the media system. Today is it not illegal to say that our politicians are fools but tomorrow it may be against the law and I might even find myself vaporized for this very article. My hope lies in that we can stop this constant invasion of our privacy today so we don’t live to regret it tomorrow.

Itunes Yesterdays King

baby shocked

I read last week in the London Metro that the Samsung Galaxy SIII is outselling the iphone 4S two to one, this is fantastic news as far as I am concerned however this also means that all those people moving from Apple to Android will be saying goodbye to itunes yesterdays king.

The main reason for this more than anything is that Apple treat their customers like children and lock them into the everything Apple mentality and thankfully people are trying to break free from this corporate vice, the downside to this new found freedom is you now realise that the world of smartphones is a whole lot more complicated than when you was locked into your 24 month contract.

Are we really that stupid, I think not

The main problem I have always had with the iphone is that it was designed to be smart while dumbing you down and what I mean by this is that with the iphone everything was locked it was designed to keep you out of anything that might be called a customization and I think the only reason people accepted it was that Apple had the best screens and the quickest phone.

Well that’s not true anymore and I think for this reason Apple simple mind simple phone tactic will hurt them bad. With the Android not only do the companies not care if you jailbreak your handset they actually offer you tools such as debugging mode to help you do it, how awesome is that?
The downside to android for those just emerging out of the apple womb after two years of stasis is the bewildering level of choice you now have from ring tones to themes and even customizable text not to mention the superb cameras and probably the single most daunting thing is that mammoth itunes library you spent the last 24 months building up because apple were clever enough to prevent you listening to free music via your FM radio now available in the other smartphones like Samsung.

To move or Not to move

Well to be honest guys the decision of whether to move or not to move your music library is not really all that daunting and shouldn’t be a deciding  issue when choosing to defect from the United States of Apple trust me I did it. Two computers syncing data

Well I went the short way about things by simply going to C:\Users\HomeAdmin\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Music and copy and pasting it into the folder of my new player. For most of you who like your album artwork I would not recommend this approach as most apps will not display the artwork and I later found by importing your library through the new software will usually do this all for you.

the best alternative to itunes

I will be absolutely honest with you and say that I never bothered looking to hard when I defected and I was lucky enough to be happy with the first media player I found which is a lovely little app called DoubleTwist. However in the interest of fairness I did look around to see what else is out there for the newly reborn.

  1. Songbird this little number is getting pretty good reviews and also has a mixture of media player, web browser and a easy to use interface. So I can see why this would be popular
  2. Mediamonkey this badboy has it all and its not the only media player but it also has a built in CD burning features and even will link from your ipod directly to import your music and it has also very good organization tools.
  3. DoubleTwist this is my personal favorite I find it easy to use and it also allows you to sync directly from your itunes and it also has a free app available on the googlestore for any android device, oh and did I mention it will play just about any video aswell.

Ok guys well I don’t want to clutter up your mind with millions of links to a million different music players more to give you a head start in your rebirth but I will say that take your time and look around because not all software is suited to you.

Is itunes toast

As far as I am concerned itunes is toast they had they market cornered but much like Nokia in the mid 90s they just didn’t innovate and move with the times.  I don’t think we will see apple disappearing of our store shelves anytime soon and they can bring it back but they need to stop thinking that people are as simple as they like to act. But for now far superior handsets are available on the market and showing yesterdays king people are once again being inspired by the fact that innovation is liberation. Well good luck with your new media players and I hope my short article will help you settle in.

Keep it real.