All posts tagged: Online

The Internet is Watching You

Hello! Is this Gordon’s Pizza? Google: No sir, it’s Google’s Pizza. Did I dial the wrong number? Google: No sir, Google bought the pizza store. Oh, alright – then I’d like to place an order please. Google: Okay sir, do you want the usual? The usual? You know what my usual is? Google: According to the caller ID, the last 15 times you’ve ordered a 12-slice with double-cheese, sausage, and thick crust. Okay – that’s what I want this time too. Google: May I suggest that this time you order an 8-slice with ricotta, arugula, and tomato instead? No, I hate vegetables. Google: But your cholesterol is not good. How do you know? Google: Through the subscriber’s guide. We have the results of your blood tests for the last 7 years. Maybe so, but I don’t want the pizza you suggest – I already take medicine for high cholesterol. Google: But you haven’t taken the medicine regularly. 4 months ago you purchased from Drugsale Network a box of only 30 tablets. I bought more from …

The Quippery

The Silent ‘M’

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 …

The Quippery

Algorithms – Do They Have a Hidden Agenda?

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 …

ocean rocks trees

Over the Top Writing Makes me do Just the Opposite

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. OMG! The scenery was to die for! My jaw dropped as I watched the waves crash onto the rocks. …

The Quippery

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! I 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 …

The Quippery

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? 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 …