Showing posts with label Tech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tech. Show all posts

Internet and Google Search Engine Privacy Concerns and Government Snooping Concerns

Latest update: March 17, 2020
Warning, some humor may be present; as well as the political aspect. But also lots of informational items and resources. In truth, Google does seem to be one of the more benign corporations out there. Besides, though this article is mostly about Google; Google is really only the tip of the iceberg as far as companies and corporations go. As for governments; in reality, no one has had any privacy for decades.

I Love Google. Well, Maybe "Fond" Is a Better Word.

Google. All Seeing. All Knowing. All Powerful.


If you really are concerned about privacy invasion, be sure to read the last section of this page. What you are concerned about has been going on long before the internet and Google arrived on the scene. In other words, on the private-sector side, George Orwell's 1984 scenario showed up a long time ago. As for the public-sector side, more about that later.

Wherever I Go, There Is Google...

No matter which website I visit, there's the Google API's scattered across my screen. Google knows I've been there.

Whenever I search for something, Google knows and Google saves. And then Google follows me around, telling me all about it for the next month (they really do).

Google knows where I've been. Google knows where I am. Google knows where I want to go. But wait, there's more...
  • Google knows my name.
  • Google knows my gender.
  • Google knows my age.
  • Google knows my ethnicity.
  • Google knows my education level.
  • Google knows what I do for a living.
  • Google knows what I do for fun.
  • Google knows what I buy.
  • Google knows the companies I love.
  • Google knows the companies I hate.
  • Google knows what financial institution I use.
  • Google knows where I live.
  • Google knows the YouTube song I listened to six times in a row.

We Are Being Watched...

Not only does Google want to know, and does know, everything about me; they want to watch me.

So much so, they even send driver-less cars with cameras that follow me around wherever I go. Sure, they say it is for their Google Maps; but I know better.

And if the cars weren't bad enough, now Google is launching satellites to watch over me. I mean seriously, satellites!?! They claim it's for their Google Earth, but then they took a picture of me in front of my house. [Yes, they really did. The technology is that good. No, I'm not posting the link; I'm already paranoid enough as it is.]

And then, of course, there's the whole GPS thing.

Google Headquarters

But Wait! There's More.

Google isn't happy just knowing everything about us and where we are at any given moment.

Google is gradually buying up the entire planet. If you doubt this, check out acquisitions and partnerships. Not only is Google buying up everything in sight, they have even partnered with the NASA Ames Research Center.

The NSA certainly loved Google and what they do. So much so, they were busily stealing all of Google's information about us from the Google data centers; leastwise until Google wised-up and encrypted it.

The CIA certainly loved Google. Apparently, they've been stealing everyone's user data from Google's Chrome browser. Fortunately, Google announced in March 2017 that they've finally been able to put a stop to most of it.

Do you use web-based email? Someone is probably thumbing through your letters as we speak.

Do you use Google Docs? Best not to put anything there that some law enforcement agency or your spouse's divorce lawyer might be interested in.

It Gets Worse, Google Has a Sense of Humor and Can Strike at Any Time...

...and without warning.

Depending on which browser you use:
This is only the tip of the iceberg. You can find more at Google Hoaxes and Easter Eggs.

Where Will Google Be in a 100 Years? They'll Still Be Around.


Other companies that have survived over 100 years include ExxonMobil, IBM, General Electric, Chevron, McKesson, and many others.

IBM is the most notable of these. Even though they are in the cutthroat technology industry and even though they have seriously messed up at times, they are still around and even prospering the last time I checked.

Will Google still be around in a 100 years? Probably. As long as Google continues to keep hiring the smartest people on the planet; and as long as Google continues its company charter policy of "Do no evil", and thus avoiding perturbing the general population; the odds of Google's continuing prosperity are good.

When some new company does come along with a threatening new technology, Google will no doubt do the corporate usual, i.e., buy them or stomp on them. Capitalism is capitalism...

One of Google's Data Centers

Though this page is sometimes humorous of intent, it somehow also kind of turned into an informational article and a review of Google and of internet life in general. I'm fine with that. All in all, I am fond of Google. One really does have to admire what Google has accomplished since its inception. And as far as corporations go, Google really does seem to be less evil than most.

The Privacy Controversy


There has been a lot of media coverage concerning privacy issues. The thing is, all the other corporations and companies out there have been doing the exact, same thing. And not just tech companies; any company that has any interaction with the public is busily snooping into your private life in every way they can. Admittedly, Google is probably better at it than most.

Privacy invasion is actually old news. This has been going on long before the internet came along. Try decades and decades; probably somewhere between 50 to a 100 years or even longer.

If you really want an eye-opener as to privacy invasion, try checking out the Credit Report Guide for Beginners page; this has likewise been going on for decades and decades.

As previously mentioned, the private-sector side of privacy invasion arrived a long time ago. As for the public-sector side of things, both George Orwell's 1984 and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 officially arrived the day after September 11, 2001.

An Update. Between smartphones, the internet, surveillance cameras, and everything else; privacy is indeed a thing of the past. Not good for the criminals, but is a sad day for everyone else.

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How to Make Your Own Bookmarks Manager Web Page

Latest update: March 23, 2020

Make the Browser's Clumsy, Old Bookmarks List into an Online Bookmarks Manager Document Page or Website.

A quick lesson on how to create your own bookmark manager app. Setting up a bookmarks web page or online document is easy. You will be so glad you did.

No Technical Skills Required
And Much More Fun

How to Make Your Own Bookmarks Manager App

If you can...
  1. Type text.
  2. Highlight text.
  3. Click a link icon.
  4. Copy/Paste an URL from the browser website address bar.
Then you can create your own personal template, bookmark webpage or online document.

Why Make Your Own, Homemade Bookmark Manager App?

Quite simply, because it is incredibly convenient. Laying out all your links exactly the way you want them is so much more efficient than any browser bookmark list or pre-made app can ever be or do for you.

Plus, the bookmark manager web page or online document will always be there for you across all devices. Convenience factors include:
  • Always available no matter which or whose computer or mobile device you are using.
  • The ability to organize your links in rows as well as columns.
  • Never losing all your bookmarks, due to accidental deletion or browser corruption.
  • Never losing all your bookmarks, due to desktop/laptop/smartphone problems.
  • The convenience of grouped-by-type links.
  • The convenience of grouped-by-subdomain links.
  • The convenience of grouped-by-frequency links.
  • The ability to set the background and your link text to whatever color, size, and font, that is easy and best for your eyes.
  • The ability of your bookmark lists to change as your needs and preferences evolve.

How to Organize Your Bookmarks. And Things to Include in Your Lists.

You will probably want to put your most frequently visited websites near the top. Only you can decide what those might be.

As for groups, some examples would be:
  • A row of the search engines you use.
  • A row of the news sites you regularly visit.
  • A row of your frequently visited social media sites.
  • A row of your blog websites.
  • A row of your email websites.
  • A row of your less frequently visited social media websites.
  • A row of utility websites, e.g., weather, calendar, etc.
  • A row of whatever doesn't fit somewhere else.
  • Subdomain rows of a website.
As for the last one, Facebook might be a good example. If you regularly go to certain accounts all the time, it would make sense to set up a convenient row of links to those accounts.

How to Make Your Bookmarks Manager Online Document Page

Here is a Demo Bookmark Template (opens in new tab).  Feel free to copy the template for use as a starting point on your own document. The links are set to open in new tabs, which is a necessary feature. If that attribute fails to transfer when you copy, you will need to reset them to that option.

If you are not already using an online document app that lets you publish to the web, then I recommend G-Drive for your first cloud experience. They are owned by Google, so they will be around for awhile; it is free. It is as easy to use as any other word processor. Once you are familiar with it, you will probably use it for other projects as well.

Side note. Sometimes, copying from one app or format to another results in an unusable mess. If that happens, try copying into your document using the web page version below. In addition to the template, the next section also has additional, worthwhile information.

How to Make Your Own Website Bookmark Manager Web Page - Website Building the Easy Way


Eliminating Constraints

Going the website/web page building route will give you considerably more design capability.

Here is a webpage version of the Demo Bookmark Template (new tab). Only highlight and copy the portion between the lines, the objective being to omit as much unnecessary HTML and unwanted  format and other attributes as possible.

If you are not already using a website design app or software, then Blogger/Blogspot is free and easy to use; no degree in rocket surgery required. It is also run by Google and so will be around for awhile.

Since you are creating this template site for your own personal use, you will probably have only the one post. You will frequently re-edit it as desired.

Once you've created the blog and are ready to do the post, it's pretty straightforward. After copying over the template into your new post, just type in and arrange your additional destination titles as desired. You don't have to do all of them at once. Start with your most frequently visited websites. No problem leaving the post open in edit mode as you are visiting the other sites.Then, as you are visiting your sites, take a moment to copy/paste the URL into your titles.

Always set the link to open in a new tab. The planned routine, once you have everything set up, is for the bookmark page tab to always be open and available at the far left for desktop and laptop. For smartphone, you don't want your bookmarks page (located in its own folder) disappearing every time you select one of the links.

In layout mode, do enable (if it isn't already) the navbar you will see at top-right. This way, you have one-click access to re-edit your page whenever you wish to add another URL.

A Blogger/Blogspot editor note. When attempting to space from an existing link to add text in preparation for the next link in the row, the editor extends the hyperlink attribute into the space. To circumvent, don't do the space; hit enter instead. Then enter your space and text on the new line. Then go back to the end of the previous line and hit delete to bring your new line up to the existing line. It will then be as it should be.

Last, but not least, organize everything so all your bookmarks will fit on a single screen. Your objective is convenience, having to scroll all the time would defeat that purpose.

Once published, set the page as your new browser home.

Privacy Options

You can restrict public access to your bookmarks page to whatever degree you wish. You will find the privacy options under Settings on the left-side menu when in design mode.

No matter what privacy settings you use, do keep in mind the internet is the internet. So it would be wise to not include bookmark links to such things as your bank, credit card, or utility accounts. For that matter, such links should not be on your browser bookmark list either. Those links can be accessible to any malware that might happen along.

Other Blogger/Blogspot Options

For those who are not already familiar with Blogger/Blogspot, the platform has all sorts of other capabilities. Some of those capabilities include:
  • Displaying ads and earning part of the revenue
  • Adding 3rd party HTML/JavaScript
  • Images
  • Videos
  • News feeds
  • Lots more
And if you know basic HTML, you can create templates and bookmarks pages like this webpage example or this webpage example. Personally, I don't bother with the table format; the format the templates use is more to my liking

Some Final Thoughts...

Once the bookmarks manager page was set up the way I wanted it, my overall efficiency had a marked increase. Somehow, it caused me to become a real tab management pro. Projects involving repeated, multiple website access were not only easy and quick to do; they were fun again.

And besides, any bookmark manager webpage or website you create and customize exactly the way you want can't help but be:
  • 10 times better than anything Mozilla Firefox could come up with.
  • 10 times better than anything Google Chrome could come up with.
  • 10 times better than anything Microsoft Explorer could come up with.
  • 10 times better than Safari or any other prefabricated, standardized, generic website could come up with.
  • 10 times better than anything a third-party vendor could come up with, simply because only you really know what you want.


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How to Do Screenshots and Create Windows 10 Shortcuts on Desktop PC

Latest update: April 25, 2020

Making Desktop Screenshots and Shortcuts in Windows 10

How to do/take/make a screenshot aka print screen with desktop Windows PC. And how to create shortcuts in Windows 10. By doing the one-time shortcut creations, it makes the screenshot procedure just a 10-second task going forward.

Where do screenshots go on PC? Basically, they go into memory and all one has to do is simply retrieve it. The procedure is quick, easy, and convenient.


How to create WIN10 shortcuts and how to quickly and easily use the PrtScn key and MS Paint to make and save desktop Windows PC screenshots. The secret is to make some shortcut icons. Then it really is just a matter of PrtScn, Paint, Ctrl-V, and save or print. Here's how.

How to Create Desktop Windows 10 Shortcuts

First, one has to find the Paint Program.
  1. Click the 4-square, lower-left, Windows 10 start icon. Or tap the same-looking keyboard key.
  2. Drag down the scroll bar on the left-hand menu to "Paint 3D".
  3. Right-click "Paint 3D", then select "Pin to Start". Drag it on your graphic menu to upper-left or wherever else is convenient on your graphic menu.
  4. Then drag it again from your graphic menu to your desktop main screen, this will create a duplicate shortcut there as well.
  5. Right-click "Paint 3D" from the left-hand menu again and then select "More", then select "Pin to taskbar".
You now have three easy-access shortcuts to the Paint 3D Program. Frankly, I found the old Paint Program more convenient; if you have the older version laying around somewhere, you might prefer it.

How to Do a Print Screen aka Screenshot

  1. Press the "PrtScn" key to capture whatever is on your screen, the key is probably located near upper-right on keyboard.
  2. Open the Paint Program using any one of your new shortcut icons.
  3. Simultaneously press the Ctrl-V keys. The image will display in the Paint Program.
  4. The Paint Program menu options enable saving in various formats and locations, etc. And you can print. I usually save it right to the desktop screen. From there, it is easy to post wherever online.
  5. As a side note, the "Crop" and "Rotate" functions listed in the Paint Program menu options are highly convenient. So is the "Resize" function, but beware resolution degradation.

Reference page for:

  • How to make desktop Windows 10 shortcuts
  • How to capture and save screen shots with desktop Windows

Collection of Other Keyboard Shortcuts and Tips

  • Function Key "F3" gives you ability to do a text search on the page you are on. Doing: Ctrl+f does the same.
  • That moon sliver at the top of your desktop keyboard locks and puts the desktop into hibernation. Tapping any key brings it back to life and you have to re-enter the password.
  • "Esc" key at upper-left can untangle one from many situations.
  • When viewing an article, the space bar does the same as the PgDn key.
  • As I think of other useful keys, I will add them. Consider this page an ongoing project whose purpose has extended beyond its original intent of just providing PrtScn instructions. Hopefully, we will end up with a nice key-function library here

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What Happens When Doing an Online Internet Search - Tech and Privacy

Latest update: April 16, 2020

Do not do an online search for your debit or credit card account numbers. Actually, the following description of what happens applies to any and all search terms you may happen to enter in most search engines.

Epic Fail!

MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express ( AMEX ), etc.
This website has discovered people are doing that. I'm guessing people do so in an attempt to see if their credit or debit card numbers have been stolen and are being posted online anywhere. Unfortunately by searching online for your card number, you have just made your credit and/or debit card account number available to any website you then happen to land on; the website owner now has your card number.

Here's What Happens When You Do a Search on Google, Bing, Yahoo, or Most Other Search Engines

Sequence
  1. You do a search for your credit or debit card account number (or anything else for that matter).
  2. A list of search results comes up.
  3. You click on one or more of the results.
  4. Now here is where the problems start... The vast majority of website owners automatically track what search terms bring people to their websites; they do this for perfectly benign and legitimate search-engine-optimization-related reasons. Your card number was the search term bringing you to the website and so is nicely displayed to the website owner along with all the other more usual search terms being recorded by the site. Now if you landed on an honest website, then your account number is simply ignored. But if you landed on a dishonest website who is looking for these kind of numbers...
Be wise, do not look for your credit or debit card account numbers online. And as a side note and needless to say, the same applies to your social security number and all other sensitive data. And the website you landed on is not the only entity that now has your search term(s)...

Online credit card account number searches are a bad idea...
Online credit card account number searches are a bad idea...

It should be mentioned that Google and probably most search engines track, store, and analyse virtually every search phrase that is entered into their sites. Many times the search engines will turn around and make that information available to others; this includes displaying it online to the general public. This information can also be sold/given to any and all government agencies. Private companies can also purchase this data. And, as most people know, your search history is also stored on your computer and other electronic devices.

Please share this page so as to help others. The more people who are knowledgeable, the better off we all are. We really do live in a fishbowl society these days.

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RFID Primer

Latest update: March 23, 2020
RFID Technology and Society



What Is, About, and How RFIDs Work

RFID is the acronym for Radio Frequency Identification Device. In other words, it is a small microchip that "broadcasts" whatever information is put in it. These devices have been around for years.

Las Vegas casinos put them in their higher denomination chips. So when you walk around the casino, show up at a blackjack table etc.; casino personnel know about those chips in your pocket.

Retail stores randomly hide small, button-sized RFIDs or their equivalent in their merchandise throughout the store. So if you pick up an item and “forget” to pay for it, when you try walking through the scanners at the front door; you are dead. A word to the wise.

As far as I’m concerned, so far so good as to the above uses for RFIDs. Nailing shoplifters is always a good thing. And as for Las Vegas, I haven't been there in decades.

Unfortunately, it’s not going to end there.Welcome to your future (actually, it's already here).

RFID microchips have arrived on credit cards, debit cards, passports and driver's licenses. In many cases, all one has to do is just wave their card at the point-of-sale (POS) machine to complete a transaction, or maybe even just stand in front of the thing.

Unfortunately, there is also a very deleterious offshoot to this technology. Namely, anyone with a scanner can just stand close to you and instantly acquire your card account number and possibly all your personal information. ID theft is entering a whole new realm.

And if you happen to have a specific store credit card when you visit that store, the employees will instantly know everything you ever bought there, the last time you visited, your home address and telephone number, etc.

All of this is not a good thing…

How to Block RFIDs and RFID Scanners

However, there are ways to combat this vulnerability. There are already metal cases and such that you can buy online to prevent this kind of ID theft, simply place the cards in the metal envelope to prevent information access. The store thing doesn’t bother me that much, but a person standing close to me in the checkout line is an entirely different matter, or someone "accidentally” bumping into you on the street, etc.

Personally, the first one of these cards I'm forced to use, I’ll try wrapping it in aluminum foil and see if that works.

Hopefully this post will prevent an ID theft or two.

Year 2020 Update: Past, Present, and Future

As everybody knows, RFID chipping in pets has been going on for years. Mandatory RFID chipping of humans has now become a major privacy concern; so much so, that many states have actually passed laws against it.

Personally, I see the future as clear as a bell. Within 40 years or less, it will be standard practice to implant RFID chips in newborns; just as it has been standard practice for decades to fingerprint. And you will need that RFID to function in society, e.g., going to school, getting a job, medical care, driving a car, all monetary transactions, you name it.

And it will all be considered no bigger a deal than getting a passport, drivers license, credit card is today. For that matter, all forms of paper and plastic identification will be a thing of the past.

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