Lewis' Blog Tales from the trenches of information technology


More Social Networking Nonsense

Regular readers alreaady know my stance on social networking (now called simply, "social media"). I have a couple further examples to share.


Gravatar Privacy Issues

Most of my regular readers know how paranoid I am about my own privacy. I use throw away email addresses for many things, because I know that nothing comes for free (TANSTAAFL), and whenever anyone offers me something for "free" if I only provide my email address, I have a pretty good idea what's to become of it.


Scammers target travelers using hotel Wi-Fi | Fox News Video

I'm not embedding the video stream here, only because I have not requested permission from Fox. Clicking through the link below will take you to the 2-minute piece, however:

Scammers target travelers using hotel Wi-Fi | Fox News Video

I have a couple issues with the segment, which caught my eye a few minutes ago:


A brief note on the passing of Ed Iacobucci

I didn't catch the news earlier this week of Ed Iacobucci's passing. Ed was an amazng force at IBM in the very, very early days of OS/2, and left in 1989 to start Citrix (which began life as an application to provide terminal services on OS/2 servers).

Good people like Ed don't come along every day. He will surely be missed.


Why should CPAs care about the cloud? Let’s count the ways

Why should CPAs care about the cloud? Let's count the ways.

Egad... Drinking the Kool-Aid? Who are these people in this blog post, anyway, and what on Earth do they know of data security?


Facebook Threatens to Shut Down Conservative Site | FOX News & Commentary: Todd Starnes

Facebook is a private entity, and can do pretty much what it wants. However, this is yet another reason why I stand by my feelings about the evil nature of social networking. If it's not conservative thinking, it's something else. The point is that unless you own the billboard, you have to accept that someone else can moderate what gets pasted on it.

Facebook Threatens to Shut Down Conservative Site | FOX News & Commentary: Todd Starnes.


Removing the WP Post to PDF icon in WPTouch

I recently added (and slightly enhanced the usability of) the WP Post to PDF plugin for WordPress (more on my tweaks in a later post). The plugin utilizes the TCPDF class for creating PDFs of selected pages and/or posts on a WordPress blog.

What I discovered, however, was that the plugin doesn't seem to want to play nicely with WPTouch (broken pdf links). I was going to address that, but decided that a more practical approach would be to just disable the icon altogether, if only to regain the screen real estate otherwise surrendered to the image.


Removing social networking links from WPtouch (free version)

I hate social networking.

If you're a regular reader of this site, you probably know that by now.

While I truly love the WPtouch mobile plugin for WordPress, and while I really should upgrade to the Pro version (note to self: let's do this before the end of the year), I absolutely hate those links to Tw-tter and F-c-book at the bottom of each article. I do like the email and bookmark links, though, as well as the navigation buttons.

A little poking around got me what I needed to find. The hack is fairly simple.


Forget those long tweets! Now you can chirp!

In the spirit of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," I direct your attention to Chirper , where the folks at Box.net have come up with some innovative technology which can whittle your normal verbosity down to just a few characters! Why explain what you're doing in detail, when you can convey the same thing in a string of almost-unintelligible non-words?

As a test, I used their live demo, and concatenated:

I think social networking is evil!


I tinksoia etorking ievi!..

How have we lived without this facility for so long? Now, all those people who drool and dribble over themselves, spending day after day, staring at <fill in the blank>, reciting their every bodily function for all the world to read, can now do it in a hip, happening, and abbreviated fashion. No longer will they have to expend so much energy to spout off!



Stopping Linkedin spam

What is spam, anyway?

Besides being a type of processed meat, the merits - or lack thereof, in my humble opinion - of which I shall not discuss at the moment, spam refers to UBE, an acronym for Unsolicited Bulk Email.

  • Unsolicited = the recipient did not ask for the message(s);
  • Bulk = the same - or similar - message was sent to a mass audience (the definition of mass is sort of like pornography: I can't define it, but I know it when I see it);
  • Email = electronic messaging

The above notwithstanding, society as a whole has come to expand the concept of the "E" to include facsimile communications and SMS (Short Message Service, or texts, in common lingo).

You will find several posts of mine dealing with what I consider be to the scourge of the 21st century: social networking sites.

So what is Linkedin?

Supposedly, it's like any of the other social networking warehouses (read: caches of otherwise private information, blindly posted in public fora by an unsuspecting populace) but with a twist - it's business related.


If you want to learn more about this enterprise, I suggest a quick Google or Wikipedia search.

Anyway, as this particular post deals specifically with the UBE facet of this dreadful site, I'll reserve comments on the site as a whole for a later date. Right now, I want to get into the annoyance of all of those "Reminder about your invitation from so-and-so" emails.

As with all spammers, the only way to really stop the noise is not to go to the source, but to go to your firewall. After all, what is possibly in it for Linkedin to discard your email address? I have a new rule which simply blackholes these things. (For those who are not familiar with this term in this context, a blackhole rule is one which silently discards a message without sending a response to the sender that the message has not been delivered to the ultimate recipient).

In another post, I'll talk about the common misconception that clicking the "opt-out" link in an unsolicited email actually opts one "out" of anything (instead of "into" more of the same; an interesting reference in TV pop-culture was portrayed in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode, "Appearances".)