Facebook scam fraud alert


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p4njL-4W

Over the last few days several “alumni” who say they attended the same college that I attended have asked to friend me. The tip-off that something’s wrong was that they had no other friends. I then checked them out in the online directory of my college and none of them were listed (I have been approached by four “people” so far).

All four of them had only one other piece of information and that was an additional email address (hotmail or aol accts) .

This may be some kind of new scam. So if you have warm-fuzzies about some institution that you have attended, don’t let that be a reason to let your guard down. Don’t let people that you don’t know into your network w/o checking them out first.

Facebook vs. Wordpress, Naked Emperor Syndrome


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p4njL-2u

John C. Dvorak says in “Why I Don’t Use Facebook” that FB is “basically AOL with a different layout and all the same retro problems.” Check out the article for yourself, it’s worth the read.

One quote:

“Facebook is retro because, like AOL, it’s retro by its nature. It’s a closed system. Some people like a closed comfy system and others don’t. I, for one, don’t. If I want a personal webpage with all sorts of information about myself, I’ll go to WordPress.com and make one. By doing this, I don’t turn over any data, control, or information to an onerous third-party to sell, use, or exploit. I can close down the site when I want. I can say what I want. I can pretty much do whatever.”

My two cents. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, and I will continue to use it. But I also think that it’s popularity reflects some of our societal “dark side” as well. It has to do with how our society thinks about “convenience.” For most people “seeming convenience” trumps “real convenience.” The price United Statesians pay for the privilege of consuming (up to now) 80% of the world’s resources is that we pay for this “privilege” with blood and treasure (and our souls, metaphorically speaking). The trade-off  for using something like Facebook may sometimes be parallel. Sure it’s fun, but in Facebook, our comments drift every which way *, we remain insecure about our security, and we get screwed when we try to use their advertising (subject for a later blog) and and and… So yes, I still use it and often enjoy it.

BUT I’m blogging more and then adding links to the blog into Facebook. This way, I can have a safe threaded ongoing dialogue with anyone who cares to join me here. Is it harder to login or register with WordPress? No, it’s about the same, maybe simpler: just make up a username, and add password and email address (worried about security, get a “trash” email address from Gmail). In terms of security, I’ll put my money on WordPress.

Going back to Dvorak’s comments, here’s how I’d put it. WordPress is to Facebook as Gmail is to classic email, as voice mail is to an answering machine, as email is to faxing, as the phone is to a telegram. They are not only better, they are: 1. qualitatively superior, 2. have features that alter the meaning and functionality of the technology (ex. a car is NOT a horseless carriage).

There are always the “early adopters.” What’s interesting is that the “newer” technologies get so bollixed up. That’s why I like Macs, for example (another blog), it gives us a new technology, but tries to save us from a “horseless carriage” mentality about what we can do with a computer. And I think, that’s why I don’t like Facebook.

Speaking of technology evolution. Here’s a phenomenon that illustrates some of these issues very nicely. I moved from Portland Oregon to a tiny town (pop. 240) on the coast in Nov 2009.  The most popular networking tool for the local community is an email system. We’re talking pre-bbs technology here. You sign up and then send anything you want to disseminate to this (very nice) guy who shall remain nameless. In return, you receive anywhere from 15 to 40 emails A DAY that he forwards from all the other members. It’s right up there with shooting geese with a rock. But try and get something more useful going? Good luck with that. Because people have finally wrapped their heads around the fact that email is useful (and not some dadburned newfangled toy) NOW, they won’t budge from there (the First Mover Advantage).

And so we’ve moved from Ning, to MySpace to Facebook. Meanwhile there’s WordPress.

One more thought for now. My guess is that Dvorak prefers Android over the iPhone. He likes “open systems.” Whereas I’m happy to sign over – when the trade-off makes it worthwhile – some of the flexibility that an open system offers (in this case) to the end-to-end simplicity and cohesiveness of the mac environment, whether it iPhone, iPad, iMac etc. WordPress, in contrast to Facebook, however, offers the best of both worlds. It’s internally cohesive, but you can add bells and whistles easily without having to be an IT-class brain.

* Yes, I know about Notes, and I’ve also created several FB pages, some of which have really taken off and meet a need.

See also: interesting article (and comments) on this subject.

What happens on the net STAYS on the net; is it the ultimate “Permanent Record?” Do we care?


ShortLink to this page: http://wp.me/p4njL-1W

William (Bill) Rheinhardt sent this to me via Facebook, and I’m replying via WordPress which I will then link as an answer.
Don’t u know my snide sense of humor, yet! I salute u for blabbing about controversial subjects and telling peeps how u really feel! I love to buck ‘the system’ and FB has become a corp. blue nose to ‘protect the children’. I have nudity in my photos and would love to post more obscenities. I just don’t want to be deleted for all the work it’s been putting up media I have shared. I have good friends who are Ludites (sic) and refuse to participate in the ‘double edged sword’ all the new tech has provided to distract us from ‘real life’ and sell us more junk. I’m mixed about the slippery slope all this social networking has become.

To which I respond:

Well put Bill. My sentiments indeed. I’m playing with various media as I’m pretty certain FB will grow ever more controlling. That’s one of several reasons why I’m answering via WordPress and then linking to FB. Ultimately, I’ll probably spring for a proprietary blog. I have lots of websites, but the WordPress tools are too good to pass up.

On national security and Apple’s iPhone lockdown.


Apple tightens link on new iPhone

B. Franklin said “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” That said, I love my Apple computer and iPod (and some of their apps are good, others suck). On the other hand I’m a big supporter of open architecture software and electronics. But Jobs has a good reason for being a monomaniac about keeping Apple “closed,” everything Apple works with everything Apple. Even major tech nerd friends of mine, who can more easily navigate the non-Apple world, like their Apples. So it’s a fascinating gray area, often misunderstood. I know I’m being simplistic, but there you go. I agree w Ben F, but I LOVE Apple and by and large, embrace their policy. If they wanna lock up their iPhone, fine. As to national security vs. security… that reminds me of what Ghandi replied when he was asked what he thought of “Western Civilization,” he said “I think it’s a great idea.”

Short link for this page: http://wp.me/p4njL-S

Remove your personal data from people aggregation websites (Spokeo, Intelius, Whitepages >.com)


Joe Hage mentioned in Facebook: “There’s a site called spokeo.com where I can see your age, your spouse, the value of your home, etc. Remove yourself by searching your name, copy the URL of your page, then go to the bottom right corner of the page and click on the Privacy button to remove yourself. Copy &… re-post.”

Barry Hurd added: “There are many services like Spokeo. Unfortunately the people-aggregation business model is pretty massive, two local companies actually lead the industry with Whitepages.com and Intelius.com. Most of the techniques they use to gather persona…l data would be questionable in the sense that the common person has no idea where the info came from (estate records, tax info, census, drivers info, hotel lists, phone carrier, etc.). In my mind these services are like the spammy email lists of the 90s.”