Category: Internet

The Silent ‘M’

The Quippery

English has 13 letters that are, at times, silent. A ‘B’ might as well disappear when it is at the end of a word if it follows an ‘M’. ‘C’ is not pronounced in the ending ‘scle.’ ‘D’ disappears in handkerchief. E, G, GH, H, K, L, N, P, S, T, U and W may also be silent on occasion.

Readers should also be aware that when a media campaign tries to generate mass hysteria, based on nothing but purposefully vague and unsubstantiated claims, the ‘M’ in ‘Masses’ can also be silent.

Social media makes it incredibly easy to spread false or misleading information.

Facebook’s algorithm, which tends to only show users content they agree with, makes the company complicit in spreading falsehoods. That feeds into people only seeing particular viewpoints or sources, which allows for these kinds of sites to be circulated with much more frequency.  Facebook needs to create a “check this source bar” that would display information about a story’s origin. We have to remove the barrier for people to fact-check what they’re sharing. [That is], If we can even get them to read what they’re sharing.
– Quartz report on the work of Melissa Zimdars –

Algorithms – Do They Have a Hidden Agenda?

The Quippery

The Quippery
When you ask Google or Bing or Duck Duck Go to find something for you, how does ‘it’ filter the results? How do advertisers, retailers and financial markets make  decisions on what product to offer you? How do banks decide who to offer a loan or a bank card to? How do insurance companies determine how to assess risk and set prices? How do employers and dating sites use personality tests to find matches? The answer is, they use Algorithms!

An Algorithm is a set of detailed instructions that are fed into a computer program to deliver a result, or set of results from the information that it is given.

On the internet, Algorithms determine what we see first, or most. For example, when I input the letters ‘do’  into Google search, the autocomplete algorithm suggests ‘donald trump, ‘dominos’ and ‘donald trump news’. The search engine Duck Duck Go  and Yahoo suggest ‘domino’s pizza’, ‘dorothea hurley bongiovi’ and ‘donald trump’. Bing suggests ‘domino s’, download chrome’ and ‘download google chrome’ before getting to ‘donald trump twitter’.

Why do they all choose such similar suggestions? It is because search engines look for what they believe is most relevant – which is the highest frequency of a search term and the way that pages containing that term link to other pages in the Web.

There are other factors at work too. Because Algorithms are written by people, it is not uncommon for those people to write their personal bias into the algorithms:

The dustup over Facebook’s “trending topics” list and its possible liberal bias hit such a nerve that the U.S. Senate called on the company to come up with an official explanation, and this week COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company will begin training employees to identify and control their political leanings.
– Nanette Byrnes, Why We Should Expect Algorithms to Be Biased, MIT Technology Review, June 24, 2016 –

Sometimes algorithms are simply mercenary in nature. Facebook may claim that its algorithm is personalized for your benefit, but it would be fair to say that Facebook’s algorithm is also optimized for Facebook, and thus for the advertisers.

More disturbing – it has been demonstrated that people’s emotions can be controlled by algorithms built into their social feeds. In 2012, Facebook  and data scientists from two Universities (in a study that was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) tweaked the news feed algorithms of roughly 0.04 percent of Facebook users, or 698,003 people, for one week in January. During the experiment, half of these people saw fewer positive posts than usual, while half  saw fewer negative ones. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced  more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite occurred. (In a note of contrition, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the decision to manipulate the content without the users consent might have violated some principles of academic research…)

It is one thing to know and accept that sites like Google or Facebook (both are primary news sources for people under 35) can manipulate what you see and potentially control how you feel. Are you also willing to accept that they could also be isolating you from other viewpoints, thus exacerbating your biases?

If you believe, as I do, that trending news can often be incomplete news –  will you search for better information if you see ‘Red Flags’ like the following?

– does the story  contain facts that seem to be inflated?

Example from Greenpeace USA: “The Arctic is one of the most unique places on Earth. It spans eight countries, is home to more than 13 million people… Fact check: The National Snow and Ice Data Centre, which is supported by NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says “In total, only about 4 million people live in the Arctic worldwide.”

– is the story attempting to appeal to your emotions, or to the emotions of young people who may not be old enough to understand the inaccuracy of the story?

Example: Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, soliciting donations for the Suzuki Foundation, did a “live from the North Pole” broadcast in front of some faux Arctic scenery in 2011. “Santa’s workshop is sinking! Climate change is melting the snow and ice and the rising water is getting too close for comfort. Santa must relocate – fast – to make sure all the nice boys and girls still have a happy holiday.”

– does the headline contain exaggerated language that attempts to make you fearful?

Example: “Sir John A. Macdonald: 5 Frightening Facts About Our First Prime Minister” – Rachel Décoste, Huffpost –

– does the story swear at someone or make derogatory comments?

Example: “Soon enough, he will be alone, surrounded only by his admiring fellow racists. But he will still be governing from the Oval Office. It bears repeating. Americans got what they asked for. And it oozes.” Opinion piece on Donald Trump from Neil Macdonald, for CBC News

Who is to blame for the dismal state of journalism today? Do you think Algorithms  have played a role in forming your opinions or  have they impacted your life in other ways?

Follow this link to read my list of related quotations: Algorithms

Over the Top Writing Makes me do Just the Opposite

ocean rocks trees

You’ve probably seen some of these ‘over the top’ words in Post Titles on the internet. They are supposed to be so enticing that you will click through to read the story. Here are some of the most common superlatives:

Utterly Strangest
Outrageous
Amazing
Groundbreaking Truth
Astonishing
Incredible Bombshell
Awesomely Stunning
Unbelievable (or You Won’t Believe Your Eyes)
Insanely Gorgeous
Impossible
Absolutely Unbeatable
You’ll Never Guess
Ridiculous
or Jaw Dropping

for stories, that will

Blow you away
Be to Die For
Take Your Breath Away
Change Your World
Freak You Out

because

well, OMG – This is Genius!!!

This style of writing has just the opposite effect on me – I simply refuse to click through to read it.

Just this once, though, I’m going to use words from the list above to describe my photos for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge (which is Opposites.) These photos were taken on a trip to the Hawaiian Islands.
ocean rocks trees

OMG! The scenery was to die for! My jaw dropped as I watched the waves crash onto the rocks. Bombshell – that soft looking water can crush the hard looking rock into sand!

cooled flow plants

I was freaked out by how this once hot flowing magma could become, like, just the opposite – cold and hard! Unbelievable!

The Quippery
That ends my attempt at this writing ‘style’ – would you add any words or phrases to the list above?

Post 547

Media Bias and Knowledge – The Truth is Out There

There are things I know I know.
And things I think I know – but don’t.
Things I know I don’t know.
And things I don’t know that I don’t know.
The Truth, for me, is a moving target!

The QuipperyI think it is safe to say that my blogging days would have ended several years ago if I had stuck to writing about things ‘I know I know’! ‘Shopping’ for things I don’t know is why it takes me so long to write a blog post. I look for facts and arguments, then test them to see if they are congruent, consistent, coherent, and useful truths.

Mark Twain once said that “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Thanks to the internet, this observation is more applicable now than it has ever been.

Traditional news media has been supplemented with a vast array of online media sources and opinion journalism. The pressure to produce reactions and opinions at a greater and greater speed has resulted in a ‘media bias’ that attracts and holds a ‘true believer’ audience. This doesn’t always mean they are ‘impartial’, ‘well-balanced’ and ‘truthful’ reports.

I think this is why the role of the blogger is important. Often bloggers are the ones who descend upon media misinformation and set the story straight! They are part of the New Age of Journalism that is thriving online.

12-canada-goose-in-tree-1While I play a very small and almost invisible role as a Blogger Journalist, I was reminded of the importance of that role and my search for truth when one of my posts was referred to on a Gratefulness Forum. The members were discussing beauty in nature, and someone eventually posted a photo of a Canada Goose in a tree. One of the forum members researched whether this was something Canada Geese did very often, and found my post called A Lofty View. I know that Geese do this!

One little Truth at a time – this is how the bloggers of the world are making a difference.

 

As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
– Donald Rumsfeld, while serving as George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense

Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home, they say, is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. But the truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a man can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of rules and set tasks.
– G.K. Chesterton –


What ‘Truth Crusade’ is near and dear to your heart?
What have you contributed to the accumulated knowledge of a particular subject?

Post 533

Security – A New Year – Time for New Passwords!

Happy New Year to you all!
Do you have a List of Resolutions?
Thought about adding ‘New Passwords’ to that list?

The Quippery

In 2011, The Car Guy’s Yahoo Mail account sent out invitations to most of his contacts to use Viagra. After hours of looking for a breach, I realized that the account had been hacked through Yahoo itself. We secured the account with a new password, but the whole episode was a good reminder of why it is a good idea to change passwords frequently, and have different passwords for different accounts.

Strong passwords are also highly recommended. Some sites require specific combinations, though not quite as rigorous as this password protocol that I made up:

The Car Guy and I developed and memorized a few mnemonic phrases. They form the first part of our passwords. The second part of each password varies from site to site. We’ve memorized most of them, but keep them all in a database (without the mnemonic part) for those days when we can’t find our car keys, let alone remember a password…

Do you have a Password ‘System’?

Post 526

Internet – Google Autocomplete – Unfiltered Eavesdropping

Google Search wants to help you find what you are looking for. To speed up the process, it uses autocomplete to list suggestions that are based on the search activity of other Google users.

Here are some of the searches I did and what I learned from my digital eavesdropping:

How do I convertpdf and atheism – two new religions.

How do I know ifOnce the issue of the unlocked cell phone is resolved, we can move on to other pressing matters.

How do I know whenPotatoes were right up there with making babies.

How do I know whyWhy wouldn’t you know why your license was suspended?

How do I stayMaybe if you do the first three, the last will be easy…

Best style ofThe fridge was a bit of a surprise considering the rest of the list.

I will have the children read Hamlet as soon as it is practical. There are some useful cautions against eavesdropping to be gleaned from that.
– Maryrose Wood, The Mysterious Howling –

One of the unique things about the human brain is that it can do only what it thinks it can do. The minute you say, “My memory isn’t what it used to be …” you are actually training your brain to live up to your diminished expectations. Low expectations mean low results. The first rule of super brain is that your brain is always eavesdropping on your thoughts. As it listens, it leans. If you teach it about limitation, your brain will become limited. But what if you do the opposite? What if you teach your brain to be unlimited?”
– Deepak Chopra –

Sounds like you kids have some talking to do. I’ll be eavesdropping from the kitchen.”
– Jill Shalvis –

A raintree bent towards a window in one side of the bungalow, eavesdropping on the conversations that had taken place inside over years.”
– Tan Twan Eng –

Our whole lives are lived in a tangle of telling, not telling, misleading, allowing to know, concealing, eavesdropping and collusion. When Washington said he could not tell a lie, his father must have answered, ‘You had better learn.
– Germaine Greer –

Post 518

Unplugging from the Web – Flowers Help to Heal

It’s called ‘The Web’ because once you’re in it, you are stuck.
– Terry Hall –

I’m going to take some time off – see if I can find a new Happy Place.  I know it exists somewhere here in my mind, but I’m not having much luck finding it right now.

So, I’m going to unplug for a while. I hope you will come back to visit my blog when I return!

Before I go, here are the photos I took the last time I was at the cabin. It is quite remarkable what is blooming out there. All 305 homes were destroyed, yet the flowers are cheerfully acting like nothing happened!

columbine

A yellow Columbine or Aquilegia.

A pink Rose. It is a hardy bush rose, but I don’t know it is called. I wish I had one in my yard!

white

A white Shasta Daisy. These grow like weeds at my place.

orange

An orange Daylily. I have these in my yard, but they never look this good!

white

A white Mallow or Sidalcea. I’m really guessing on whether that is what this is.  It has leaves like a cranesbill geranium, but flower buds like a little hollyhock.

false sunflower

An orange Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Asahi’ – commonly called a False Sunflower. I’m guessing that is what this flower is called…

I hope I’ll be able to return to Hidden Valley next year to see what is blooming – but I don’t expect the Siksika Nation will allow us to enter once our buildings have been demolished and removed, and our lease has expired.

Before I go, please  tell me if you have ever taken a blog holiday. How long did you leave your blog to fend for itself? Did you find what you were looking for while you were gone?

Post 452

From Rags to Riches – the Spam Way

grinning

I opened a few Gmail accounts a while back – I am migrating from Hotmail to Gmail, though for the life of me I can’t remember what prompted me to do that. Regardless of the reason, I have never checked the Spam box of my Gmail account until today. Imagine my surprise when I discovered all the ways I could be a wealthy woman if I simply follow the instructions in these emails:

1. If I can just help out Mrs.Fatoumata Zongo, the wife to the deceased former Head of Delegation to the World Bank in West Africa, I will get 30% of  US $7 million. Her husband was the linkman between the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC and the petroleum sector in a West African country. He died from cardiac arrest, though she doesn’t say whether that might have been just after a bullet or an arrow pierced his heart.

I suggest this because it appears like Mr. Zongo was a bit of a shady character. He seems to have skimmed the money off the  allocated oil quota in OPEC. Mrs. Zongo isn’t all that honest either, and she wants me  to assist her to claim his ill gotten gains. The process appears to be very simple. There are some claim documents that will be processed and sent to me. The documents will be amended to reflect me as the beneficiary so that I can  collect the fund as his business associate. Then, I will keep 30% of the total funds and give her the rest when she arrives  in my country.

Now I have to ask the obvious question – why would I give her the 70%?  She anticipated that question, so she appealed to my humanitarian side – she needs it for the up keep of her only son. Well, Mrs. Zongo, you are very wrong if you think I have both a greedy side and a humanitarian side!

My dear Mrs. Zongo – this is a dangerous game you are playing.  Run, Mrs. Zongo before you and your son also experience ‘cardiac arrest’.

2. The next email skipped the preliminary story and got right to the point.  Mrs. Fatu Kabri wished to solicit my partnership to transfer $20 Million US dollars. She would send me more information and procedures once she received this information from me:
1. Full name……….
2. Nationality………….
3. Age…………….
4. Occupation…………..
5. Phone number………….

I expect the circumstances surrounding Mrs. Kabri ‘s $20 million were not all that honest either. Run Mrs. Kabri before you suffer ‘cardiac arrest’ too!

3. The third email was to notify me that I was a Winner in UKNL of One Million Pounds. All I had to do was Contact Agent Larry William Via his Email address and tell him my:
Full Name:
Contact Address:
Tel:
Age:
Country:

Toonaday shark

I had to wonder, how did I win a lottery that I didn’t enter in a country I don’t live? Clearly Agent Larry doesn’t know any of these answers either. Agent Larry also should know by now that One Million pounds is chicken feed compared with what is being offered by his fellow crooks in South Africa.

That was all there was in my Spam Box – three incredibly stupid stories intended to appeal to either my greed or my gullibility. It would all be very funny if the purpose of these emails wasn’t fraudulent, and if some people weren’t victims of the schemes behind these emails.

Think of your Spam Email box as shark infested waters. Don’t even think of going swimming in there!

Unsolicited e-mails, however, are often the initial means for criminals, such as operators of fraudulent schemes, to contact and solicit prospective victims for money, or to commit identity theft by deceiving them into sharing bank and financial account information.
– The United States Department of Justice –

Post 432

Speed Liking – Click Your Way to Fame

Blogging Question of the month from Virginia in New York:

Dear Margy: I am a WordPress.com blogger. When I publish a new post – within seconds, someone presses the WordPress ‘Like’ button. How can this be? They didn’t have time to read the post, so how do they know they like it? Is it possible they read as fast as Santa Claus travels on Christmas Eve?

Answer:

Dear Virginia – Yes, there is a Santa Claus – but there is no way that someone can read entire blog posts in just a few seconds. I’m afraid you are being scammed by the WordPress Reader. You see, besides showing the first few words of your post (and any pretty picture you inserted), the Reader also lets you ‘Like” and ‘Reblog” that post – without even going to your site!

I know you are going to ask what anyone gains from liking a post they haven’t even read. Virginia, Virginia – your questions just get easier and easier! The ‘Like’ button puts a reader’s Gravatar picture on the bottom of your post and that is the link back to their blog. If you are one of those bloggers who faithfully visits the blogs of those who ‘Like’ your post, then you will go read their latest post!

Now, some bloggers (me included) actually use the ‘Like’ button after they have read a post and they are simply saying “I Like what you have written, and I’d say so in the comments except 43 other people have already said “Nice Post!”  Unfortunately, less scrupulous bloggers are simply “Speed Likers”, and the only way WordPress could thwart that activity is if they take the ‘Like’ button off of the Reader.

Would you like to see another application of Speed Liking? Just watch this tongue-in-cheek video:

Weird is when someone you don’t know goes through all of your Instagram photos and likes them. Then when you click on their profile, there are only pictures of pigs.
– Unknown –

Resources:

The Idea for this post came from a blog called Mostly Bright Ideas. The blog post was titled “Five Thousand Whats”.

If you have read all the way down to this part of the page, and you are interested in more information about Gravatars, Commenting, and Reblogging – here are some helpful links:
Visiting Cards – Yesterday and Today
To Comment or Not to Comment, That is the Question
Comment Etiquette – All or Some?
When Does Reblogging Violate Copyright?
Reblogging and Image Copyright

Post 394

Facebook Thinks Your Life is Boring

You see this tuna? This tuna is boring. Stop having a boring tuna, stop having a boring life.
Offer “Vince” Shlomi (Commercial for Slap Chop)

Have you ever watched the Sham Wow, Slap Chop or Schticky commercials on TV? I always crack up when Vince, the consummate salesman, says “You’re gonna love my nuts” – as he is using the Slap Chop to dice up the items that will make your food preparation (and your life) more exciting.

Vince makes the prospect of ‘being fleeced’ fun. He knows he is an old time snake oil salesman, and he doesn’t try to hide it.

Less fun – okay downright annoying – is the advertising on Facebook. Facebook used to be just a social network – the place where I tell all my friends  how The Car Guy is recovering from his Motorcycle Accident and my friends say they are glad to hear the news. Or the son-in-law posts a photo of us on New Years Eve, and we respond by saying “Surely our cheeks and noses weren’t that red!”

AdvertisementsFacebook’s prime purpose isn’t social networking any more. It has morphed into a sophisticated and annoying vehicle for selling product. Advertising is displayed on my Home Page in a column down the right side. Today it is for Plus Size Separates, Party Photography, Criminal Pardons, Rachael Ray’s Hollywood Diet and an Investment that looks like a pyramid scheme.

That is fairly easy to ignore, but advertisements are also sprinkled in with all the posts from my friends. They are called ‘Suggested Pages’.  Should I be offended that one of these pages was an advertisement for Botox? Well yes! I can’t imagine a more offensive product (to me, anyhow) than botox.

Trending articlesThat isn’t all, though. Facebook also inserts ‘Trending Articles‘ to spice up my obviously boring life.  Most of my Facebook friends have decided that the day to day stories about their lives are really not worth sharing either, so they have pretty much quite posting anything personal.  The bulk of my Home Page contains links to things they read, causes they support, videos they’ve watched, businesses they like, places they shop, games they play, posts they ‘Liked’ (mostly from people I don’t know) etc, etc, etc.

It is all pretty slick – Facebook is now a personalized digital newspaper, complete with advertisements, and the content is supplied by my friends and family! Each link they post, each item they ‘like’, each item I ‘like’ – all of it becomes part of a huge user database that helps Facebook target them, and me, with more content and advertising.

Facebook is not your friend, it is a surveillance engine.
– Richard Stallman –

I don’t take kindly to being targeted, so every now and then I go to my Facebook  Timeline and Activity Log and delete everything I find. If I’m going to use Facebook, I’m going to be as anonymous as I can. I’d shut it down completely if it wasn’t the sole way some of my friends and family communicate with me and if I wasn’t using it to advertise my own blog posts! Two can play the advertising game…

The QuipperyPS – If you are a Facebook User, go to your Privacy Settings and set them all to Friends – not Friends of Friends and not Public. Why? Well, lets say you have 50 trusted friends, and let’s say your 50 friends each have 50 friends – who you may or may not trust. If you use the Friends setting, the things you say on Facebook go out to only 50 people. If you use the Friends of Friends setting, those words or photos clutter up the home page of 2450 Facebook Users who may use that content in ways you hadn’t intended.

Update 2016 – Is Facebook a good place to discuss your political beliefs? The 2015 Canadian Federal Election, and the 2016 American Presidential Election were hot topics with my friends!  I didn’t enjoy the never ending barrage of links to sometimes blatant media bias, but it was fascinating to see what people were willing to believe.

Post 386

Cna Yuo Raed Tihs? (A Spam Story)

computer desk paper

How often have you received this email, or one like it?

Can you raed this? Olny 55 people out of 100 can. If you can read the following paragraph, forward it on to your friends with ‘yes’ in the subject line. Only great minds can read this.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

ToonadayHow often have you read the email and then sent it off to your friends to show them that you are one of those 55 folks with a great mind?

I’ve received this email more times than I can count, and each time it is embellished a bit more. The one in my inbox this morning told me that it was a test for Alzheimer’s.

Guess what? The email is really just a fun bit of spam that has been floating around the internet since September 2003. Cambridge University (UK) isn’t aware of the research that is referred to in the email. Matt Davis, who is part of a Cambridge group that is investigating how the brain processes language, has explained this email at the following link:  MRC-CBU: The Science Behind the Meme. Matt lists some of the ways in which the original author(s) of the meme might have manipulated the jumbled text to make it relatively easy to read.

In short, you aren’t as smart as you think you are and in fact, you have been tricked into sending spam to your friends. You can’t help but be impressed by how clever some of these spammers are!

No one bill will cure the problem of spam. It will take a combined effort of legislation, litigation, enforcement, customer education, and technology solutions.
– David Baker –

Post 380

Digital Afterlife – Death and an Exit Strategy

The chief problem about death, incidentally, is the fear that there may be no afterlife — a depressing thought, particularly for those who have bothered to shave. Also, there is the fear that there is an afterlife but no one will know where it’s being held.
– Woody Allen –

I’ve been thinking about Death lately. Not mine, specifically. Others. We’re spending part of the winter in Arizona, and most of our closest neighbours are considerably older than us. I fully expect to see a decline in the number of occupants at any time.

Emergency Services/The Fire Department have been on our street twice so far, but one time was to remove a rattlesnake from a garage and the other was to put a new key in the lock box just outside our front door. The Fire Department seems to only have one daily driver – a big shiny fire truck – so when the truck, and two or three burly young firemen arrive in our tiny cul-de-sac, it is quite the production.

I’ve also been thinking about the Afterlife.  I’m not inclined to believe in Heaven and Hell – not as locales I will be spending eternity in, at any rate. No, I’m thinking of Data Afterlife. Thanks to the Internet, little bits of my life will float around forever – or at least until Google figures out how to put an expiry date on blog posts that detail how much snow there was at the Red House during the great storm of ’11.

In addition to all those bits, there are the websites and accounts that require you to register a username and password before you can access any information. If left unattended, long after you have departed this world your Facebook Account will be sending your Email Account Happy Birthday messages.

Clearly I need to have an Exit Strategy in place. If my ultimate demise is slow enough, I will have time to cancel all those online accounts. But if my death is sudden, as it surely would be if that big saguaro cactus next to my lawn chair toppled over while I was engrossed in reading a book – well, I just wouldn’t have time to react, let alone post my farewell on this blog.

I started my Exit Strategy with a list. First I thought about all the Online Accounts that create a Public Presence. My list included a few of the following (you can likely add many more to this list):

  • Facebook
  • Myspace
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • eBay
  • special interest websites
  • blogs
  • business websites
  • gaming accounts

Then I thought about my Private Accounts, such as:

  • email
  • news readers
  • banking
  • credit cards
  • retail purchases
  • cloud web storage

Once I had my list, I thought about which ones I would want to close down (or have someone close down for me if I did suffer Death by Cactus). The most important one could be my email accounts. If they were hacked in my absence, all the addresses in the account would be fair game to the hacker – and all my friends would receive Viagra Spam.

Any account that had access to any of my banking information should also be closed down.

Any personal information that is stored on the web should also be removed. That would include personal photos and documents.

As for all the rest, I thought about:

  • What content I was willing to leave in the hands of all the insensitive, inappropriate, mischievous people who might take advantage of my absence.
  • Who was going to tell my Facebook friends that I wouldn’t be reading my timeline any time soon?
  • Who was going to say goodbye to all my faithful blog followers?
  • If I leave an account open, how long does it remain the property of my survivors? When does post mortem copyright expire? (This doesn’t actually apply to my content, but it might to yours.)
  • How do I want my online presence dealt with. Do I want all the information removed? Do I want it left online?

Last, but not least, I am working on an Action Plan (if the Canadian Government can have an Action Plan, so can I:

  • I’m making a list of all my internet accounts, with their URLs and my usernames.  I’ll state what I want done with each account. I’ll print this document, then hand print in my passwords and file it in a safe place. I’ll try to keep it up to date.
  • I’ll decide who will carry out my wishes. (I have no problem with The Car Guy or one of my children seeing all my online content.)

That pretty much wraps up my thoughts this week about Death and the Afterlife. How about you?

As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.
– Charles Darwin –

Post 378

How to Clone Yourself – Unfocused

I was going to use this photo for a post about how I wish I could clone myself.  I even have it figured out how the process would happen. I will simply stand outside the house in front of a dual pane window (the cleaner the better so that there isn’t dirt blobs or bird poop on my clone.) I will hold up a box like apparatus (think Calvin and Hobbes and ‘The Transmogrifier’ box, only much smaller), focus until two distinct people appear in the viewfinder, and click the shutter.  Then I will take one large step back, leaving my clone standing right in front of me.

I tried it several times with my Canon camera, but the process didn’t work. I think I have to practice  making the two images less unfocused, and perhaps the camera is much too sophisticated for the job. I think an empty kleenex box with a cardboard toilet paper tube stuck in it would be a better starting point.

If I perfect this technology, one of us will let you know by blogging about it. The other will be off taking photos. Gee, I’m sure looking forward to having a twin!

Post 325

Unsubscribe, Unfollow, Unclutter – It’s UnFriday!

wordle

Drat. I missed Clean Your Computer Day – it was February 13. Please forgive me for being four days late in telling you all about the latest cleaning tool in my arsenal. It is called Unning – from the verb un. I know you think that un has to be a prefix, but I think it has the potential to be a rather good verb. Under what circumstances, you ask?

Let me give you a few examples from the unning I did this week, while I was connected to three large Clouds:

– I had some Facebook acquaintances who, it turns out, aren’t really people I would choose to have as real life friends, so I decided I would unfriend them. But not yet – for now I’ve hid them – unfriending seems a bit harsh.
– I had about 200 Google RSS feeds that I never had time to read, so I unsubscribed to them.
– I  had about 250 WordPress Blog feeds that I also never had time to read, so I unfollowed them.

Collectively, all this unfriending, unsubscribing and unfollowing can simply be called unning. Of course, I expect I will be unned in return, but I don’t mind. We all have to do what we have to do.

Unning can be done to things too. I unned my clothes closet the other day and now I have a bag of good, unfashionable, used clothes to take to Goodwill. I unned the book shelf and collected a box of books for the book exchange. I unned the chocolate box and  picked out all the bars that were just past their best before date and I ate them.

Today is Friday, which is a fine day to do some unning, so I propose we call it UnFriday! I’m looking forward to hearing all your stories of how you used the day to unclutter your life!

Post 289

Not Very Wordless Wednesday – The Web

Apparently Napoleon Bonaparte said “A good sketch is better than a long speech” and from that we get the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  I don’t know who chose 1000 words – it could be only 10 words, or it could be 10,000, couldn’t it?

The blog Wordless Wednesday encourages photographers to post links to photos that don’t need descriptive words because the photo speaks for itself. That appealed to the lazy side of me, so I chose this photo, which I thought I would call The World Wide Web – a Bugs View.

So far so good, except, does the photo really look like the World Wide Web?  I consulted Wikipedia and they told me that the World Wide Web is “a collection of text documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs.” They even included this handy diagram:

This Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons image is from the user Chris 73 and is freely available at //commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WorldWideWebAroundWikipedia.png under the creative commons cc-by-sa 3.0 license.

Certainly looks a lot like my photo, but just to be sure, I enlarged a section of the photo in order to get a closer look.

Yes, my web photo looks an awful lot like the diagram, don’t you think?

So, let me see. Two photos, one diagram and almost 250 words –  I don’t think I’m the Wordless Wednesday type.

Post 283

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