Today Forbes has an article about how BitTorrent Sync is taking off. I’ve been using it since the beta was opened up, and I’m very impressed. I run it on my phone. When I take a photo or record a movie, it sits in the DCIM folders (the name is part of the DCF standards for digital cameras). When the phone finds my home network, Sync automatically does a 1-way read-only sync of all the camera files to my Mac and my home server.
People are freaking out about a ‘new’ feature that lets people e-mail you from your Google+ profile, even if they don’t know your e-mail address. Well, guess what? That feature has been in there for years. You can still read an article I wrote about the feature back in 2011. I’ve had it set to “Anyone can e-mail me” since before then, and I’ve received zero spam as a result. The only new feature is that Google+ contacts show up in Gmail’s autocomplete, and the preference is visible in Gmail as well as Google+.
Google are apparently hellbent on making your Google+ profile be your publicly visible worldwide profile. With this goal in mind, starting in 2014 Android phones will be displaying your Google+ profile information as caller ID when they receive a call from you. Your Google+ user icon, name, and other information will show up for whoever you call. Not worried yet? Well, consider that my work phone number is a VoIP system which forwards the call to my cell phone.
Following the discussion of Google’s profile name policy, I see some ridiculous arguments crop up with tedious regularity. “It’s to stop spam.” Looking at my spam folder, it’s full of mail from spammers with autogenerated fake names that would pass Google’s smell test: “Denese Mozelle”, “Adrien Lavona”, “Mohammad Alitahir”, “Letisha Lorri”, “Kelli Thomas”, and so on. If you don’t understand how trivially easy it is to bulk generate plausible WASPy names for spamming Google+, ask any programmer.
On TechCrunch, Paul Carr pretty much nails the Facebook situation. Yes, Facebook’s privacy “promise” has been steadily eroding. However, the problem isn’t that Facebook has given up on offering privacy. Rather, the problem is that Facebook initially sold people on the myth that they could fill the Internet with personal information and magically expect that it would stay personal. I don’t know whether that was a deliberate bait and switch, or simply naïvety on the part of its founder.
It’s been a bumper month for Transparent Society demonstrations. Michael Richards went into a racist tirade. He played Kramer on Seinfeld, but I’m guessing he won’t be doing any NAACP benefits now. Perhaps they could invite him to the Comedy Central Roast of Whoopi Goldberg. Allegedly he had ranted about Jews previously, but nobody had heard about it because nobody had had a camera handy. A Muslim student was repeatedly tasered by a campus cop with a history of police brutality and suspensions.
A few days ago a web developer in Seattle called Jason Fortuny posted a personal ad to the Seattle Craigslist. He apparently lifted the text from a personal posted to another city’s Craigslist.
The ad was a sexually explicit one, from a submissive woman seeking BDSM sex. Fortuny posted it using the Craigslist e-mail anonymizing option. He then collected the responses—178 or more, with at least 145 photos.
Then he published everything on the web. Every single response, unedited, including all the personal information and photographs that people had sent him.
You’ll find threads about it all over the place if you do a few searches. I’m not going to link to any of it, and I’m not going to give any clues to where the personal information was posted. Go search if you really feel you must know; I don’t feel the need to make the victims’ problems even worse by increasing Fortuny’s pagerank scores.
There are a few things I find interesting about the reaction I’ve seen.