Investigative reporter Julia Angwin was curious what Google knew about her, so she asked the company for her search data. “It turns out I had been doing about 26,000 Google searches a month … and I was amazed at how revealing they were,” she tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies.
From NSA sweeps to commercial services scraping our Web browsing habits, to all kinds of people tracking us through our smartphones, Angwin says we’ve become a society where indiscriminate data-gathering has become the norm. Angwin has covered online privacy issues for years, and in her new book she describes what she did to try to escape the clutches of data scrapers, even to the point of creating a fake identity.
“I want all the benefits of the information society; all I was trying to do is mitigate some of the risk,” she says.
Angwin’s book is called Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. She considers dragnets — which she describes as “indiscriminate” and “vast in scope” — the “most unfair type of surveillance.”
If you are interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend that you listen to the podcast
I follow the ghacks blog, and over the last few weeks, there have been several sites that I’ve booked mark. Rather than take any credit for finding these sites and/or programs, please click through to the ghacks website to read the original postings
- Zero Install: portable app catalog software for multi-user systems
- MediaTab adds media information to Windows Explorer’s Properties window
- DUMo scans your system for hardware driver updates
- tinyMediaManager is an excellent cross-platform media manager
- TinyTask is probably the smallest automation tool for Windows
Ghacks recently posted some information about a program called Easy Context Menu that lets you put all sorts of options in a context (right-click) menu. It looks interesting. I’m going to give it a try…
I’m guessing that many of you have heard of Fiverr. This is an online marketplace where you can have almost anything done for $5. People are offering to proofread/edit documents, type transcripts, and more. I’m a bit of a fan of online avatars, and I recently heard about someone on Fiverr who would draw you as a Simpson’s character. I thought it looked very nice, but I don’t really watch the Simpson’s, so it got me thinking about what other cartoons might be available. I found someone who would draw a character (no particular style) and someone who would draw a Tim Burton style character.
I ended up deciding on someone who would draw you as a LEGO character. I did one for each of my kids and they look fantastic!
A few weeks ago I posted some links to some websites that help you with various PDF operations (merging, splitting, unlocking, etc). I tried to use the unlocking one recently. I have a PDF that I wanted to print so I didn’t have to sit at the computer. The PDF was protected and I couldn’t print it. I tried to use the unlocking service mentioned, but since the file was over 5 MB (it was 7 MB), it was going to cost $4.99. I found another service that seems to do the job. It is free and supports PDFs up to 200MB in size.
Check out http://freemypdf.com/
I’m looking to get a good USB flash drive. I’ve had cheap ones, but they just aren’t fast enough. I’ve looked at the SanDisk Extreme 64 GB USB 3 drive. It was on sale for $56.99 around Christmas, and I was hoping to pick one up, but when I went to order one a couple of days later, the price had gone up to $86. I hate it when that happens.
SanDisk also has a “slower” model, the SanDisk Cruzer 64 GB USB Flash Drive, which is slower and is still $47.
Of well, I picked up a Lexar JumpDrive S70 32GB USB Flash Drive for a decent price recently to keep me going until I can get a high capacity drive.
From the New York Times:
The two leading analysis companies tracking the PC industry just delivered their reports on the fourth quarter of 2013, and it was bad.
Gartner had worldwide PC shipments for the quarter at 82.6 million units, a drop of 6.9 percent on the number a year ago. It was the seventh consecutive quarterly decline, Gartner said. IDC put the figure at 82.2 million units, a drop of just 5.6 percent, and less bad than the 6 percent the firm had earlier expected.
Today I just heard about XBMC, an open source media centre. It looks pretty cool. I’ll have to check it out!
XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OSX, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.
A couple of months ago I got a new Samsung Galaxy S4. I love it, and have recently been looking for some accessories. I’m looking to get a cable that will let me have video out to a TV, as well as something that will let me connect a USB device to the phone. I haven’t purchased one yet, but this is what I’ve come across: