Tag Archives: internet

This tag is redundant. This blog is on the internet. Tags in this blog are on the internet. Posts have tags in this blog that is on the internet. But where else would I write about the internet but on the internet?

Google did it best…

Well, as soon as I’ve clicked publish on this post, I’m going to turn off the Go Dark plugin.  I’ve heard that the blackouts today have brought a lot of awareness and changed a lot of minds.  Unfortunately, Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho still supports PICA (he’s a prideful co-sponsor).  I won’t be voting for him next election.

Of all the blackouts, I think I liked Google’s the best.  It was non-intrusive, and the linked to good, easy to read information.  Wikipedia had a close second, especially considering that they made it easy to find information about congressmen.  Plus, by turning off JavaScript, the site could still be used completely.

I was pleased to see the amount of support for the blackout shown by so many internet companies.  I was very disappointed by Facebook and Twitter for their lack of support.  I’m still of the opinion that SOPA/PIPA would destroy them, and they didn’t raise awareness in the slightest.  (I wouldn’t want them to blackout completely, but something like Google would have been good.)

I came across some really great stuff today though.  I’d like to share it with you, for reading if you’re not already sick of SOPA/PIPA.  I found two great posts by Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media (and publishing).  I also found this video: (Enjoy!)

Reader and excerpts…

Yesterday I couldn’t get WordPress to correctly format my list of links.  I got it to look right after a bunch of revisions.  But when I checked Google Reader, it was still all junked up because Reader caches the first response.  The only solution that I can think of is to only have excerpts in the RSS feed so that people (you 5 readers) come to the page to read the rest.  Of course, I hate that idea because then I’m making people come to my site, and they might just stop reading, and then I’d just have Sav as a reader.  And she hates feeds like that and even she might stop reading. 🙁

I’ve got to find a better way to solve this problem.  I’ll let you know if I find one.

Update: Turns out, Reader just needed to crawl my feed again. My changes to the post from yesterday have hit Reader.  Unfortunately, this change probably won’t hit for a few hours.

Currently listening to: “Maybe Katie” by Barenaked Ladies

SOPA and PIPA are bad…

I’ve been trying to learn a little about SOPA and PIPA today.  Here are some resources I’ve found.  Some are better than other, of course.

I’m not a fan of politics.  I hate professional politicians.  The professional politician is half of what’s wrong with this country.  The other half is the greedy lawyer.  Another half (these problems are getting so big that they are all halves, no matter how many) is the patent system, but it’s a smaller half (not much smaller, just smaller).

But congress is proving once again that they don’t have our country’s best interests at heart.

I don’t pirate music, movies, or software.  Being a computer engineer, I very much believe that software developers deserve to be paid for a good product.  I think the same is true for the music and media industries.  But I think they are too quick to point the finger of falling sales at piracy.  Most people are honest and buy music.  Always have, and always will.  Luckily, it’s a little easier to buy good music and avoid the not-so-good.

I’m a believer that there are honest people who couldn’t afford to buy all the music they liked, couldn’t get movies they wanted to see on Netflix and couldn’t afford the $10 movie ticket at the theatre, and who couldn’t afford to buy Windows XP.  I think honest people who may have obtained movies, music, and software at a highly reduced cost might have later become loyal customers, buying every favorite Disney movie as it comes on Blu-ray, buying their favorite albums from the 90’s on Amazon, or buying Window, Office, and Photoshop at their premium prices.  Not every person who downloaded a free mp3 from Kazaa was a horrible, music industry destroying criminal.

I know some people pirate everything they can.  I don’t agree with that.  It’s one thing to download the latest episode of a show when you don’t have cable TV.  It’s another thing to copy every DVD, CD, or game you get your hands on to your hard drive and make copies for all of your friends.  That’s dishonest.

That’s my take on piracy.  And I hope that if you aren’t aware of SOPA or PIPA, that you now know a bit more.  I’m sure by the end of tomorrow, you’re going to know a bit more.  Many sites (including this one) are quietly going dark to protest SOPA.  Many sites can’t afford to go dark, but may at least show a banner.  Wikipedia is the biggest site to go dark.  Reddit and minecraft.net come in close behind.  Google will have a notice.  Facebook and Twitter had better do something.  They can’t possibly survive if SOPA or PIPA goes through.  Social sharing would be destroyed.  The internet as we know it would end.

Currently listening to: “When the World Ends” by Dave Matthews Band

Weekend projects…

Yay for the coming weekend!

This week, I read five different papers for two of my classes.  I’ve completely ignored reading for the other class.  This weekend, I play catch up and get ahead. The book looks to be an interesting read.  I bought the Kindle version because it’s cheaper, and I love the idea of keeping a good textbook without having to lug it around when we move.  Eventually, I’ll convert some of the better books in my library, and by that I mean buy them.  Anyway, should be a good read, except I have to read it on my laptop because it’s a print replica edition, with the full layout.  So I can’t use my actual Kindle, which is a drag, because reading from the Kindle is awesome.

In addition to reading, I’m taking on two other projects.  I want to finish the first programming project for my interactive systems class.  My goal is to spend weekends on these projects, stay ahead, and then have weekdays for the other two classes.  A three-day weekend is perfect to start out.

My final project, if I get to it, but the one I’m most excited about, is to get SPDY running on my web server for faster secure access.  It’s mostly just a fun test to see if I can do it.  But it would make secure connections to my server faster, and that’s a benefit.  It will only really benefit me, as I use SSL to connect to my server, and there’s not any reason to use SSL to read my blog.  But you could, and it will be faster once SPDY is installed.  Hopefully I have time for it.

Anyway, it’s time for bed.  I hope everyone had a happy Friday the 13th.

Currently listening to: “Sonata in F, Op. 1, No. 3, II (Rondeau)” by LeBrun

I love Amazon…

We needed a humidifier.  We had a few different choices.  We could go to a local medical supply store and probably pay too much.  We could go to Walmart, get a cheap one, and wait in a line for 30 minutes to buy it.  Then I remembered: I have Amazon Prime.

So we bought this little guy.  Just $3.99 for one-day shipping?  Yes mam!  Totally worth saving me an hour-long trip to Wally World.  Plus, it’s super quiet, works great, and is kind of cool looking.

In other news, I have been told to challenge Sav to have a blogging resolution.  A resolution to blog.  A blogolution.  Dearest Sav, this is your challenge: blog more (every day!).

In other news, I didn’t pack a lunch today because I was late to meet a coworker to help him with an inportant task.  When I arrived, he wasn’t there.  An hour later, my boss emailed him.  Guess what?  He’d been told not to do said task by the client, and hadn’t thought to fill tell our boss (who the client should be talking to instead) or me (who was going to meet him).  In the end, this coworker is only hurting himself.  He’s not exactly winning brownie points.  (And all I’ll say is that he could use them.)

Well, good night blogosphere.  It’s getting late, and I do have an eventual goal of getting up at 7 (eventually 6 or 6:30) every day (except weekends, duh).  Let’s just say, it hasn’t happened in a while.

P.S. Did anyone else hear this song on the New Year’s celebration program on TV?  They didn’t have Adam, and it was awful.

Currently listening to: “Stereo Hearts (feat. Adam Levine)” by Gym Class Heroes

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web

Safe web browsing…

It isn’t something that Facebook provides. It isn’t something that you download to your computer. It isn’t even using the right browser (although that does help).

Safe web browsing is a human activity. It’s something that has to be learned, and it starts with user education about the internet.

DISCLAIMER: This post is not meant to offend. I especially don’t mean to offend anyone who might have done what I’m about to talk about. If you have, It’s not like you’ve killed puppies or something. But you might benefit from what I’m about to say.

This post all started with Facebook. I’ve had too many Facebook friends post something like this:

FB has changed without any notification. Look at your URL (top box on your screen) If you see “http” or just “www” instead of “https” you do not have a secure session & can be hacked. Go to Account Setting; Security – Click Edit. Check box (secure browsing) Click Save.

There’s two things wrong with posting something like this as your status. First, it’s spam. Second, it’s ignorantly incorrect.

What do you mean it’s spam? Well, because it’s wrong (see below), the only reason someone wrote it in the first place was to get other people to copy it as their status. It’s not the kind of spam that advertises Viagra.  It’s the kind that gets uninformed people to copy and paste statuses over and over. Here’s the obvious sign that it’s spam: the majority of people who post something like this as their status don’t even know what HTTPS stands for, they probably already had the secure option enabled (or they still don’t have it enabled, even after reposting this), and if you asked them how to even get to their security options, they probably don’t know.

What do you mean it’s incorrect? Well, it’s just plain wrong. There was a lot of notification when the Secure Browsing feature came out. Plus, this status leads people to think Facebook turned off such a feature. In fact, Facebook didn’t have the a secure browsing feature when it started. It started out as something that didn’t need that much security. But since more and more people are doing more and more on Facebook (did you know JCPenny has their entire catalog on Facebook?), the need for increased security was apparent. (Also, some jerk hacker created a browser extension that could hijack a Facebook session and released it to the world, making it easy for anyone to hack into others’ Facebook accounts.) When Facebook introduced the secure browsing option, it required that people change the setting themselves (because it’s slower to have a secure connection, and people might complain if Facebook suddenly became slower). And like I mentioned before, Facebook showed a lot of notifications when it added the secure feature. If people missed them, it’s because they dismissed them without reading them.

I'm appalled that the free service that I am in no way obligated to use keeps making changes that mildy inconvenience me.
Remember guys: it's free.

Besides all that, Facebook users should know that even with a secure TLS/SSL (HTTPS) connection, they can be hacked if they do something like click a suspicious link from a friend’s Facebook application or paste JavaScript into the address bar while using Facebook. Using unsafe Facebook applications can put your privacy at risk. Attempting to download pirated music can allow an amateur hacker to spy on you using your webcam. Safe browsing is much more than a secure connection to a server. It’s smart browsing practices.

Most hacks exploit the most vulnerable part of a system: the user(s). Antivirus software isn’t meant to protect users from Windows; it’s meant to protect Windows (and users) from users.

If you’re the kind of person that sees the above type of Facebook statuses and reposts them or gets paranoid, then you’re probably the kind of person who needs to learn more about the internet. If you believe that browser cookies are bad and dangerous, then you definitely need to learn more about the internet. If you’re still using Internet Explorer 6 (or don’t know what browser you’re using), then you need to learn more about the internet. We would never let our 13-year-old daughter take the keys to the car and drive to the mall, but we let those same girls get on Facebook with nothing but the occasional glace at their screen. It’s not hard to get into trouble on the net. We need to be more educated.

Here are some great resources to learn about safe browsing and the internet in general. Both are sponsored by Google and are very informative.

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web
Please read me.

This post isn’t an in-depth look at internet security. It’s just a call for people to educate themselves on the technology that we use every day. You’re welcome to share it with others, or just share the above links with them (there’s nice links on both sites to do just that). And please, if you have kids that use the internet, sit down with them and learn together. The best rule of thumb: if you’re not sure what clicking a link, button, or anything else will do, then you probably shouldn’t click it. Steer clear of 99.9% of Facebook apps. Never click on a link from a friend that came from such an app. There are a few useful and awesome apps (TweetDeck, for example), but most are after either your information or your money.

And Facebook isn’t the only place that you can find trouble. It just happens to be where 90% of people spend 99% percent of their time. Be smart wherever you browse. If your browser tells you that a site may be malicious, take its word for it and run away! Use a modern browser and use caution. Keep your computer up-to-date.

If you’re wondering about me, I use Google Chrome. Chrome updates seamlessly in the background, frequently, and includes updates for Adobe Flash Player (which must also be kept up-to-date). I use the Adblock Plus extension to block a lot of ads, but also a lot of harmful web content. Right now, all of that is running on a Mac, but in a few days, I’ll be using Windows 7. Windows is just as safe as a Mac, as long as you’re smart (which includes running up-to-date antivirus software, just in case). I google everything, because it’s safer than trying to guess a URL. I hide most all apps on Facebook (once it hits my newsfeed with anything but a normal status, it’s hidden). I don’t use apps on Facebook. I don’t give websites access to my Facebook/Twitter/email account. I am very careful about what apps I install on my phone. I don’t use the same password for Facebook that I use for PayPal (meaning I don’t use the same password for everything). And I don’t friend everyone and their dog on Facebook because I don’t need (or want) everyone (and their dog) to see what I’m doing. And I also don’t care about the boring minutia of everyone’s boring lives (sorry). Basically, I’m careful about what I do, where I go, and how I get there on the web. And you should be too.

Currently listening to: “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” by Maroon 5

Fickle like a middle school girl…

Once again, I’ve changed my blog address.  I promise it won’t change again.

This was my initial plan: have a website that would advertise me (have a resume, vita, research experience, whatever) and point to my Twitter, Tumblr, blog, and whatever else. And I put my blog as mchasej.com, leaving nothing by the text “Under construction” on mchasej.com.  Today I realized two things: anything I wanted to put at mchasej.com could easily be a page through WordPress, and that I’d still want people to see my blog.  Then I came to the big realization: I could never design something as well as a WordPress theme (at least not as quickly as clicking “Add Page”).

So I moved my blog from the subdomain mchasej.com to just plain mchasej.com.  It’s much simpler, and simple is good.

Now the link to add to Reader is:

https://www.google.com/reader/view/feed/http%3A%2F%2Fmchasej.com%2Ffeed%2F

Investment opportunity?…

Email is great.  Spam filters are super great.  Yesterday, I actually looked in my spam folder, looking for an email I should have gotten.  It was there.  After marking it “not spam”, I glanced at everything else.  I don’t get too much spam because I worked hard to keep my email address from family members who send forwards (and I maintain that I never got one until I got a forward from my grandma).  So now, like everyone else, I get a lot of offers to increase my manhood and stamina.  I also had a bunch of spam from a crappy dating site where someone created a false account with my email.  Luckily, I was able to get the password and delete it (but not until after 48 hours–lame).  However, yesterday was different, because hidden between emails for Viagra knock-offs was this little gem: Continue reading Investment opportunity?…

Someday, my blog(s) may have a new home…

It’s been a busy couple weeks. I’m crazy busy with only two classes, which I can’t understand. I basically have to steal free time, which is a relief, although it makes me feel guilty because I’m not quite caught up in one of my classes.

But the good news: there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Actually two lights.

First, the end of the semester will come, and I’ll get to work doing research in networking. A welcome change. I haven’t yet told my boss. But I don’t feel bad, because he has been planning on having me work on the worst projects. And I’d rather not.

Second, someday, when I again find free time, I’m going to take an awesome design my sister created for a website and actually make it into a website. And when I do that, I’ll be moving my own stuff to the same server. YAY.

Nerdy details, but I’m planning on hosting my server through Amazon Web Services and their Elastic Cloud. Unless I pass the free tier, then I’m going to have to rethink my plan.

I’ve also been quite torn about whether or not I want to blog more about my CS 462 class and my work there. I actually do want to blog it, but a lot of the students have adopted the, “I just want to follow the TA’s examples and code, and I don’t want to work anything else on my own,” mentality. Hence, I’m reluctant.

Anyway, the wife is telling me that we should leave. I’m agreeing.

Developments in social networking…

In the past couple days, I have learned two things.

  1. mod_rewrite is just about the coolest thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning, and makes me want to have my own web server more each day.
  2. Social networks are pointless if you hate everything you get in your feed.  And they might be pointless anyway.

And so that is why I have both convinced by boss to allow .htaccess files to be used on my latest project and deleted a number of people on Facebook that I had either already hidden or didn’t care to see their updates or didn’t care to have see my updates.  I’m pretty sure that within a month, I’ll have deleted my Facebook completely.

I guess I’m getting tired of checking my Facebook only to tell Sav, “Why does Billie Jean think anyone cares about this?” or “Why does Billie keep commenting on my status?” or even “I didn’t even know my and Ms. Jean were friends…oh, I had hidden her and kept her from commenting on my status…again, why are we ‘friends’?”

Call me crazy.

Currently listening to: “Fireflies” by Owl City