Sunday, 11 May 2014

Breaking down on the Information Super-Highway

Hi Tom,
We’d like to wish you a very happy birthday full of great friends and everything you like.
— The Facebook Team —

This is the message I got when I opened up my T.S. email account this morning.

It is strange, because not only do I have no recollection of signing up to Facebook under the name of Tom Stephenson (but maybe I did without thinking one drunken night) but also I make it a point never to give any correct dates for these sort of personal information requests. Usually what I do if asked is name a date one side or the other, so that I know where the information came from if I am contacted by a third party.

What Facebook are saying with this message is: 'We know who you are, we know where you are and we know how old you are. We know everything about you, and there is no escaping us', not just 'happy birthday. I hate the bastards.

Anyway, I am not going to go on a paranoid rant about Facebook or any other covert, information-gathering, social network group other than to give a warning to anyone who does not need to sign up, but is considering doing so. Once you sign up, they've got you, and they've got you for good.

Sometimes though, you just have to give up and give in. I never signed up to Google+ - they just signed me up without asking me.

After I was signed up to Google+ in my absence, Google bought Picassa - the photo editing software system - and then turned it into a photo sharing medium. I then kept getting pestered by Google with pop-ups telling me to update my Picassa preferences, which I ignored by clicking the red, 'go away' button. There was no button to press which said 'no thank you', only 'I will update this later'.

I had - some years ago - foolishly signed up to the innocent version of Picassa on the advice of an equally foolish friend, so I don't think I have any excuse for being targeted.

After the 5th or 6th time of ignoring the update notice - which was designed to look very similar to the Apple updates which I regularly receive - I found that my internal, Apple photo-editing program began to grind to a halt. Google were teaching me a lesson.

So the next time I got one of those pop-ups, I reluctantly clicked 'download', then reluctantly clicked the terms and agreements box, knowing that if I didn't, Google would automatically delete any photo which I had used for any application under their licences, including all the photos I have put up here, in over 1700 posts. 

I know this because they told me that I was perfectly within my rights to unsubscribe to Picassa, but all files which had been stored when using it in the past would be irretrievably deleted. 'Did I really want this to happen?' they asked, as my finger hovered over the 'unsubscribe' button. No, of course I didn't.

They regularly put up their latest version of what they call a 'privacy policy', and I am sure they chop and change it just as regularly, so I never bother to read them. I ignored Apple's warnings that this pop-up contained an application from an unknown source, and updated Picassa, and - guess what? - my other photo-editing system began working properly again.

As I write this, there is a line of text above this page which says:

'Cookies help us to deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.'

There are two buttons attached that I can click. One says, 'Learn more', and the other says, 'Got it.'

At some point, I am going to have to click the 'Got it' button, because it is going to stay there until I do, quietly irritating me.

If I don't agree to their use of cookies when using their services, then this whole computer would be set back about 10 years in terms of efficiency when using the internet.

The 'Information Super-Highway' has a toll-booth every quarter of a mile.

54 comments:

  1. The message is actually from the H's masquerading as The Face Book Team.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Same, same, same. (Complaints)
    Without "Got it" you don't get it. And they even cannibalize your mails (I have proof) on FB. Google gets far too nosey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. But they don't seem to bother about us here... yet.

      Delete
  3. On the Austrian roads there are now scanners to check that you have a current autobahn vignette or GO Box on your vehicle windscreen. If you haven't got one a letter will arrive by mail at your address informing that you MUST pay a €500 penalty or go to jail for 1 day and 9 hours. There's no recourse to the justice system. There are no mitigating circumstance, . You pay up or you go to jail.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Australian police are cunts. No arguments, I think.

      Delete
    2. This has nothing to do with police, Astrian or Australian, it's to do with a firm called ASFINAG who build roads and a bunch of politicians. If it was police I wouldn't mind as there would be recourse to justice and the courts.

      Delete
    3. Oh, I see. More privatisation.

      Delete
  4. Our freedoms are being eroded on a daily basis. When we arrive in the cashless plastic society paradise they be able to switch off those of us they don't like. That's worse than losing a few photos. It's the end scenario.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be biting the hands that feed them - this is how I can slag off Google here and still survive.

      If I couldn't survive, then what would I do? Start my own blogsite, then monetise it - simples. They know this.

      Delete
    2. I just got a message on Wikipedia. "In June we are changing our privacy rules . . ." or some such wording. An epidemic of cookies perhaps.

      Delete
    3. The whole things runs on cookies. It's the only way they make any money for these services.

      Delete
  5. Hello Tom,
    (To be sung....not by us it would sound awful)Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Tom, Happy Birthday to you!

    Whatever the irritations (and there are many) of the virtual world do not depart from it. We should miss you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Snap! I could have written every word of that post! 'They' really do know every move, don't they? Recently a member of a 'private' forum posted about having to go bankrupt and several of us commented on her post.
    On this PRIVATE forum, remember. Next time I opened my emails, there was a header offering advice about Bankruptcy and since then the side panel has been full of adverts offering debt solutions. Aaaarrrggghhh! IT'S NOT ME, GOOGLE. IT'S NOT ME!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish you were alone, Rambler, but you are most certainly not.

      Delete
  7. How old thomas?
    I dare not guess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 63, but don't tell Saga or the Cooperative Funeral Service.

      Delete
    2. Your hair looks younger!

      Delete
    3. They knew when I took car insurance out with them 13 years ago.

      Delete
  8. P.S. - Google/Picassa just sent me another of those updates again tonight...

    ReplyDelete
  9. The electronic services of the virtual world are sometimes nothing but frenemies. They sure act friendly, but beware … I'm not even successful in unsubscribing unwanted e-mail ads because some phony unsubscribe buttons don't even work. Things were so much better when the wheel was square. O.k. maybe not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's that sort of friendship like when your superior or boss comes up to you and places a 'friendly' hand on your shoulder in an inappropriate way, just to show you who IS the boss.

      Delete
  10. I couldn't give a fuck about Picasa (one 's'), I use their free service every day.

    Have you heard that as from next year the EU are insisting that EVERY new car is fitting with a tracking device? Now that I do worry about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One s is it? Oh well, I can't be bothered to correct it. People who drive around with their mobiles switched on are providing a free tracking service already. I always switch mine off when I go up North to murder someone.

      Delete
  11. This morning, the Google front page has a picture of birthday cakes spelling it out, and says Happy Birthday Tom when you put the cursor over it. Yet more evidence that the whole thing is run by the Women's Institute - they are a day out in baking the cakes, because yesterday was Sunday and they were all in church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get a life Stephenson.

      Delete
    2. The Happy Birthday thing is quite creepy; I've had it too.

      Delete
    3. Good old Rachel - she never fails to be perfectly clear about others, but not quite so clear about herself over on her blog.

      Delete
    4. Why don't you check out your last comment on my blog or perhaps you have forgotten.

      Delete
    5. Go and give Heron a bit of attention could you? He really craves it like you do, and he is a bit on the lonely side.

      Delete
    6. From my point of view Heron's comment couldn't have been timed more badly, I was fully expecting something along these lines from you. I do not need Heron, nor he me, and I am no more attention seeking than you are.

      Delete
    7. Oh yes you are. Not much, but you are.

      Delete
  12. Only 63 eh ? I see now why you often seem to be childish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and Rachel should live with each other - after all, she voted to keep your highly amusing and entertaining comments on my blog. I reckon you two would be suited to each other.

      Delete
    2. Two or more good reasons for her not doing so. 1 is that Mrs H would not approve and 2 is that I don't understand Soccer.

      Delete
    3. There has always got to be two tits together

      Delete
    4. .... and you would know all about that John.

      Delete
    5. Leave his tits out of it. He can't help it if he has man-boobs... oh actually, he can. I just remembered the Scotch Eggs.

      Delete
  13. I wish I were only 63. Happy Birthday, Tom -- whoever you are...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can always rely on someone.

      Delete
    2. Because the clock is wrong on this blog I have no idea at what time I am posting this.

      Delete
    3. Don't blame my wildly inaccurate clock. That's not the reason for your being completely out of touch with the here and now.

      Delete
    4. Even I ( who is mr calm) is getting fucked off with comment s about the effin clock

      Delete
    5. Thanks for nothing tonight John.

      Delete
    6. And I am getting fucked-off with the continuous, humourless and relentless hostile sniping from Mrs Nice. It's just so boring.

      Delete
    7. And it's not just boring to me, which makes it worse.

      Delete