Tag: Questionable

Dear Facebook (by Michael Aguilar)

Michael Aguilar - From PoorlyPlannedSafari.com

Guys, this is a letter one of my friends wrote in Facebook (to Facebook) that really needs to be more public than the silly public settings on Facebook itself. While this letter doesnt touch on some of the more questionable actions by Facebook we’ve learned of in the past, it does address a common dissatisfaction within the environment that most people do find in their experience with the service.

Michael is very much like me, he’s very savvy in the tech arena and often cracking some awesome one-liners that sometimes you’ll even find me quoting on the blog. He’s currently forgone the tech arena, and is currently taking a journey camping from Texas all the way to Alaska..no really, he’s actually doing it. I am featuring him here mainly because he’s a pretty cool cat and he posts rants like these that just make people want to hug him.

You can find him and his campy camping experiences at PoorlyPlannedSafari.com

Dear Facebook,

I think it’s time I explained something to you. It’s about what you are. Yes, I’m sure you’ve drunk enough of your own Kool-Aid to believe you are something new, cool, and different.

You’re not.

What you are is blogging for the masses. Nothing more. There isn’t anything happening here that hasn’t happened for years on other platforms. You just made it easy enough for anyone to get into it.

That’s great! Setting up and filling a blog used to be really hard. If you wanted to say something to the world, you had to jump through a lot of high hoops. HTML & CSS was enough to scare people away. If you wanted to manage access in any way, you had to convince people to sign up for it. You had to give out your URL, or urge people to subscribe to your RSS feed. You had to pester them to read the thing.

It was part tech, part marketing, and then only what you had to say.

That sucked, and you fixed it. Thank you.

So why even bring this up? Well, it seems that you’ve gotten a little too big-headed lately. You’re so fixated on being cool that you haven’t figured out that you’re not. You were just the next step in something that has been going on for almost 20 years.

So, now you’re running around buying and building things that nobody even asked for. Timeline? Really? Show me a successful blog laid out that way, I dare you. Nobody reads like that.

Instagram? Face.com? Sure, lots of people were using them, and I’m sure they will make fine additions. They’re cool, right?

What about the basics, though? Instead of listening to what your closed circle of people are telling you, why don’t you just look at the things WordPress does, and make it even simpler?

How about nested groups, or at least permitting more than one group access to a post, picture, or album? Managing access is still a complete pain. This is something that Google+ does much better.

What about (you knew I was going to say it) better photo management? Moving a picture from one album to another should be a no-brainer. It isn’t possible at all. Instead of automatically tagging faces, an automatic watermark would be nice.

And wow – these long-form posts really hammer the browser. I didn’t know that until just now. Take a look at it, would you?

Most importantly, quit trying to be so sneaky. This is our stuff. We want to talk to each other, not you. I’m sure most people understand that we’re giving away data to advertisers, and that’s not so bad. You gotta make a buck or two. That’s fine. Setting things so that we’re unknowingly sharing has got to stop. Take us more seriously.

“Cool”, by it’s nature, only lasts so long. You’re not lame, yet. You sure are working on it, though.

I’m not going anywhere just yet. This is where the people are. For now. I’ll go back to posting pictures of my cats.


Michael Aguilar (but you already knew that)

A little tech-ness from Tony…

How paranoid are ya?

I know a lot of us are at the very least a little wary of getting hit by a computer virus/malware/generally nasty code.

Before you get incredibly paranoid, or worse, you write it all off as fiction, let me give a little insight:

It exists, it’s incredibly easy to find, and most importantly, it’s incredibly easy to avoid and defend against.

1. Keep your virus scanner up to date.
If you find that some virus scanners are outside your budget, use a free one. AVG & Kapersky are great examples of free scanners. If you want concrete details on which scanners actually pull their weight, I highly suggest you check out av-test.org. They really put scanners to the test and make sure the scanners do what they are meant.

AV-Test.org’s Current Reviews

Know the name of the virus scanner you have installed. Some harmful links and sites will attempt to trick you into scanning your system by creating a popup saying you need to scan your computer immediately. You run the scan, buy their software to remove the incredible number of harmful files on your machine (without realizing that you just downloaded them from the same source), and that’s it…you just paid them $50 for cleaning up all the bad stuff they gave to you in the first place. This is very BIG business for many country’s overseas, so knowing what you scanners name is will keep you from giving these scams a chance to rip you off.

2. Don’t run it unless you know what it is.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve watched turbo-trigger-happy people decimate their machine because of their uncontrollable need to double-click everything they see. I don’t need to give examples, we all have done it at some time or another. The bottom line is as a practice, running programs you aren’t familiar with on your machine is asking for fun.

Some of these creepy business applications deliberately create icons and links designed specifically to make you think they are something else. I found one last year that looked like the windows update icon…but it wasn’t, it was a little program that set up a download point on your machine and checked an IRC channel for instructions from people as to what to download to the infected machine.

If you ever have a question about what a program is, Google it. Here are some sites that are really good about telling whats what about a program:

If you want to scan a file, check out Jotti’s Virus Scan, it will let you scan a file on your machine with a gazillion scanners.

3. Questionable sources.*cough* Torrents *cough*
Some friend or buddy gives you a “freebie” copy of some software hookup they got. You have to be incredibly careful here. In addition to risking your computer, you’re probably breaking a handful of laws by using cracked software. Even worse, it’s estimated that 90% of the intrusions and malware/virus infections come from cracked or illegitimately licensed software. The difference is that you shouldn’t be downloading software that is from a questionable source. Any software you acquire that is deliberately cracked to enable the full use of the product without purchase/registration is asking for trouble, the decision is yours, but an incredible percentage of cracked software out there is wired to to make computer do a lot more than what you’re expecting.

So thats it, simple advice. You can probably get away with the stuff in bold, but I thought it might be good to explain a little bit. Also keep in mind, this is the basics. There are tons more things you can do to tighten things up on your machine and I am sure I will write about those at some point.

Regardless, the guidelines really are this simple folks. If you’re using the above, the odds are distinctly in your favor. Most of the time.

Unless you’re me and happen to actually find malware in a legitimate application and have to alert the vendor that they made me cry when their software came up as toxic on 5 different scanners’ 🙂