More privacy concerns

Privacy issues continue to be questionable. This seems to be happening more often when you are using one account [such as Facebook or Google+] to comment about something on another site [usually entertainment news sites, bulletin boards or news sites].

When I recently decided to post a comment on an entertainment news site, the site gave the option to log in sand post using a Microsoft ID, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and a couple of other sites.

I decided to post using a Microsoft ID account [in this case my “throw-away” Hotmail account]. Before it accepted the post, I had to agree of the following conditions:

  • The site will be able to see your profile info, including your name, gender, display picture, contacts, and friends.
  • The site will be able to see the email addresses in your profile.
  • The site will be able to see your birthday, your age, and the birthdays of your contacts.

You could not post to the site unless you agreed to the above. You couldn’t even agree to one or two of the three. It was an all or nothing. Interestingly that if you log into the site with the credentials [i.e. Microsoft ID, Facebook, etc.] you would be able to remove the second and third requirements.

In my case, I used my “throw-away” Hotmail account. If it has my birthday, it isn’t my actual birthday. Why do they need my birthday? My age is sufficient if it was related to a site that wants you to be 18 years old or older.

Name and gender I could understand. Profile picture is questionable. Having access to friends’ names, Email address and birthdays shouldn’t be allowed. There is no reason for that.

So before you use one site to access another site, you should look at the “fine print”. Additionally, routinely go into your settings for Facebook, Google+ and others and see what access each of these sites are giving to others.

Microsoft to discontinue Windows Live Messenger on March 15th

If you did not get an email from Microsoft regarding the Windows Live Messenger [WLM] service, you should be getting one shortly.

Microsoft is expected to discontinue Windows Live Messenger [i.e. MSN Messenger or Windows Messenger] on March 15th. Yes this March 15th.

Microsoft is encouraging those using Messenger to instead switch to Skype. Version 6 includes the option to chat [instant message] just like Messenger with the added features including to chat with Facebook users [if you have an account].

If you are new to Skype, choose your WLM account when logging in. It will automatically import your WLM contacts.

You can then also add Facebook contacts by right clicking on the Contacts and select Facebook and follow the directions.

Of course, you don’t need a microphone or webcam if you just want to chat.

The latest version is at http://beta.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-windows/ [don’t ask my why the server name is “beta”].

Personally, I prefer the WLM chatting interface over Skype. As a whole, Skype’s interface isn’t as clean. On the other hand, no ads. 🙂

Note: If you don’t see the option to add Facebook for chatting, it is in the latest version.

Note: You can only completely close Skype by choosing Quit. If you choose Close, it is the same as minimizing. If you choose Sign Out, then you will have to sign in to connect.

Tip: I noticed that if you want to minimize [not quit] Skype, it is still showing up in the taskbar [same if you choose to Close]. If you don’t want it on the taskbar but just in the system tray, change the compatibility mode to Vista with service pack 2. Had the same issue with WLM. Odd.

Tip: You can make Skype look a bit like WLM by clicking on the View menu and select Compact View.

Update 2013/01/11: Skype has been updated to 6.1. Version 6.1 now also integrates  with Outlook, so you can now chat in Outlook.

The death of RIM?

I’ve been a fan of Research in Motion ever since I bought my Bold 9700 – quite possibly the last popular smartphone they released.

And of course, being a Canadian headquartered company doesn’t hurt either.

But after the last few of days, who knows what RIM will be like in 2013.

There has been denied reports by RIM that the company would be split in two and possibly sold. As most of the company comes from their smartphones and services, unsure how it could be split.

Then a big bombshell when it was announced that 5,000 jobs at RIM would be killed off and that the next generation smartphone – scheduled for this fall – is now delayed possibly for six months.

When this news came out, stocked dropped quite a bit – hitting its lowest level in ovder nine years.

There have also been further rumours floating around that either Facebook or Microsoft could buy them with a Facebook purchase a better fit as it doesn’t have any phones at all.

And naturally, the federal government has decided it won’t do anything about it.

What to expect in Apple’s iOS 6

As the next iPhone is probably just a few months away, Apple has already announced some of the features that are expected to be included in the release. Apple’s iOS 6 will be available for iPhones all the way back to the 3GS, plus the iPad 2 and new iPad. Here are some of them:

A new feature is the global HTTP proxy. It now applies to all networking instead of a per-connection basis. For the enterprise and end users, this feature could provide better protection for data and devices on public networks. IPv6 will also be finally included.

In iOS 6, iPad and iPhone owners will be able to use FaceTime over 3G connections – not just Wi-Fi. The initial concern by wireless carriers about FaceTime’s network load didn’t pan out. For the enterprise, an issue is increased data costs, because video of bandwidth.

There is also “kiosk mode”. Ever want to run a demo continuously without someone stopping it? Kiosk mode will do it for you.

A new features will add support for Microsoft’s encryption formats. Instead of being forced to open documents on a desktop, iOS 6 users will be able to open those protected Office files or use services such as Dropbox.

Apple will be making a handful of changes to protect the data of iPhone users from third-party apps. This will give users much more control of which applications can access their personal info.

As reported a few months ago, some iOS applications in the iTunes store were giving out personal information from users to the software’s developers without permission. Apps did not need the user’s consent to access any form of content on the user’s device.

In addition Facebook will be integrated into iOS 6 as well.

One of the new iOS 6 features that will add to these capabilities of protecting lost iPhones is Lost Mode, which lets the user send a phone number to his or her lost iPhone which if found will display the phone number of the owner and call.

Is Google on purposely ignoring certain web sites in “Your most popular sites”?

This is interesting. If you have Google as your default home page [I guess it wouldn’t make a difference in which browser], ever notice that Google’s own search site is always at the top of the list in their “Your most popular sites” [assuming you have it enabled]?

Even more interesting. I visit Microsoft’s web site a couple times a day or more and Facebook’s web site at least once a day and both aren’t listed. I also go to WordPress several times a week. I’m sure I visit others. I also visit one site maybe once or twice a month – and yet it’s in the top 10. Go figure.

Regarding Google’s web site, they claim that because many people use the search page as their default page, they only count the search page once per user [per day]. If that statement is true, then Microsoft’s site and probably Facebook’s site should be on top – but they aren’t even listed.

Interesting to note that Microsoft’s TechNet web site is listed but that site isn’t using the microsoft.com domain.

I would assume the top 10 would be for a certain number of days [or even a week] as just for 24 hours would be useless.