Not as private as you may think

Are you a Facebook user?  Do you like posting photos and status updates?  Do you enjoy posting on people’s walls and having them post on your wall?

One of the main issues that I have with Facebook is the illusion.  You log in and you are presented with your news feed.  Over on the left you see the smiling faces of your friends that are online, and your feed is full of them telling you about random stuff.  And see all this friend-centered stuff and you think, “Hey, I’ve got something to say, let me update my status and share it with my friends…”  Who can really see that?  If you’ve gone into your privacy settings then it might just be your friends.  More likely, it’s your “Friends of Friends” or even “Everyone”.

You might have heard that horror story about someone who bitched about their boss and the boss saw it and it got them in trouble, so you haven’t friended your boss.  However, you are unaware that your boss actually went to high school with someone who is your friend.  You’ve got your status updates set to “Friends of Friends” which means your boss, who is a friend of your friend, can see that you just called him a twat, so maybe you don’t get that raise or promotion.

That photo you posted of your girlfriend meeting you at the door when you got home, naked with a beer and a steak… sure, the plate covered all the naughty bits, but you just posted that to your Mobile Photos album (since you uploaded it from your phone) and that album is marked visible by Everyone!  That’s on the Internet now.  Tagged and cached, for-ev-ver.  The next time your girlfriend goes looking for a job, someone just might Google her name, see that photo and decide her future based on it.  Maybe she doesn’t get the job… or maybe she does and her new boss treats her like a girl willing to have half-naked photos of her posted on the Internet… or maybe it doesn’t matter…

I prefer to err on the side of thinking that it matters…

A caution about privacy and the Internet might seem odd coming from a guy who blogs and mentions his real life now and then, but know that every tidbit of information I put into a blog post is carefully considered.  I ask myself, “Do I mind if everyone knows this?”  I have over 1,100 posts here and I’ve probably put just as many in the trash bin.  It’s actually common for me to come here, write out a diatribe on the latest frustration at work or amongst friends, let it sit in draft form for a couple of days and then delete it.  It’s one of the reasons I love blogging and haven’t been a huge fan of most social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, because they are immediate, there is less chance for careful consideration.

So, my Monday morning bit of advice this week is to go to your privacy settings in Facebook and make sure all your sharing is at levels you are comfortable with.  At the very least, be aware of who can see what you say…

Movie Round-Up: May 14th, 2010

Just Wright:

This actually looks pretty decent, and I’m a fan of Queen Latifah, but I’m always hesitant to pay full price for a romance film on the big screen.  Movies like this are just generally better sitting at home cuddled up on the couch with a girlfriend or wife.  I’m certain I’ll see this at some point, just not this weekend.

Robin Hood:

This story has been made into a movie so many times that you’d think I would be tired of it.  And yet, every one seems to find something new to bring to adds a little life to the tale.  Certainly this one looks action packed, and I like most of the cast.  However, the reviews around the Internet seem to indicate that this is barely a tale of Robin Hood and more a tale of the Magna Carta and the events that surround it.  This news both saddens and intrigues me.  If I can find the time and a few spare dollars, I might make my way to see this at an early show this weekend.  If not, I’ll catch it on Netflix for sure.

Letters to Juliet:

As previously established, I’m a sucker for romantic comedies.  I got to see a screening of this film a few weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it.  Amanda Seyfried puts in a much better performance here than she did in Dear John.  Here I actually believe her and that she is falling in love, whereas there she seemed wooden and unsympathetic.  Plus, here you get Vanessa Redgrave too, who does a fantastic job.  And the whole movie makes me want to visit Italy.  Anyway, completely worth seeing if you like to catch your rom-coms on the big screen.  Had I not gotten to see it for free, I’d probably have waited for DVD, but since I did get to see it for free, it was great to see with a full house and a crowd willing to laugh out loud.

The Walking Dead

For Christmas, I was given a book that I asked for, The Walking Dead. Its a comic book about people trying to survive in a world of zombies. Yesterday, on a drive to North Carolina with my wife, my brother and his girlfriend to visit his girlfriend’s family, I re-read book one, and read books two, three and four.

The Walking Dead is, quite simply, the best zombie stories I have ever read. A while back I posted about Brian Keene’s books, and those were very impressive for horror books, but The Walking Dead, which is a comic book series and not novels, deals more with the people than the zombies. They aren’t zombie stories, they are people stories where the setting happens to be a world full of zombie like you might set a drama with a backdrop of World War II or the Depression Era US.

I recommend these books, and Amazon has a very reasonable deal for buying all 4 collections for $33 right now. The rest of this review is going to contain some spoilers, a little plot revelation, so avoid it if you want the books to remain secret until you page through them. Read more

9 March 2001

The Question
When anyone mentions the specific phrase “The Question” it only means one thing. It is the most important question that any person can ask another person in the life. Not because of the question itself, but of all it implies, and all it brings with.
But before I get to that question, I’m going to speak a bit about the second most important question there is, only second to “The Question” but because it is a question that you can ask yourself, there are times when it is THE most important question.
“What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”
I personally have asked myself that question every single day for a long time. As long as I can remember. Most of the time, I had no answer to it. Sometime, the answer started out fine, but whittled itself down to a “sure I can do this for a while” kind of answer.
So I go to Mardi Gras. Did I not mention that? Oh yes. Took a group of 6 down to New Orleans for the Fat Tuesday celebration. Myself, my two roommates, my girlfriend, and 2 of her roommates from England where she goes to school. Had a pretty damn good time too.
Anyway, we are at Mardi Gras and basically everyday I find myself not caring much for the holiday. Just a bunch of drunken people, mostly college frat boy losers, some of whom get naked, and beads. Lots of beads. If you ever go to Mardi Gras, never, ever, under any circumstances buy beads, there will be plenty (more than plenty) thrown off the parade floats at you. And sometimes, thrown HARD. 🙂
Back to it… so I’m not caring much for the holiday, but I am enjoying the city. I need to go back when its not overwhelmed with retards. The shops, the streets, its a very cool little town.
On Fat Tuesday itself, my girlfriend and I break off from the pack and just go wandering around the city after dark. A nice fog settles in over the town giving it that last touch it needed to complete its look of old European streets. We are away from the crowds and walking near the river. We happen upon and bench and sit down just to take in the sights and sounds of the city around us and to talk and hold hands.
Well, before long she heads off find a bathroom, and I’m left there just staring out at the river and listening to the sounds of the party a few blocks behind me and watching a ferry churn the waters of the river. A few stars had managed to peak through the fog and I was trying to figure out which ones they were. Giving up on the stars I go back to staring at the river. And smiling. And my mind just starts to wander around about the usual stuff: my job, bills, my friends, is my car safe in the parking deck, my family, did I leave the stove on in Atlanta, what are the others up to, and more.
And I ask myself that question…
“What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”
… and for the first time in my life I had an answer. Not some half assed answer. No “pretty sure”s. No “for a while”s. An honest to God “This is what I want to do”.
And it felt good. To finally know. To have figured out something for once instead of guessing. And I kept on smiling.
Before long, my girlfriend returned, and sat down beside me. We talked a little, but it was all heading to one point. I wanted to share with her my answer. I wanted to tell her what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. And I did. The only way that I knew how.
And I asked her “The Question”.
“Will you marry me?”
She said yes.

10 October 1999

Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday dear me-ee. Happy birthday to me.
Yep, today is the big day. My birthday. I turn 25 today. One-quarter century.
I was going to try a nice happy .plan for my birthday, but one just didn’t come to mind. However…
During a conversation with a friend of mine, I happened upon an odd thought: In my 25 years I have never had a girlfriend on my birthday, and only once on New Year’s.
It’s true. Of the 7 or 8 girlfriends that I have had, not a single one has stuck around through a birthday. And the only time I had a girlfriend on New Year’s was many moons ago, when I was 18, and what a disastrous night that was.
But what does this really have to do with anything?
It means that since I was about 16 I have made the same wish every year when I blow out the candles on my cake. But more important than that, it has never come true.
Why continue making the same wish when it never comes true?
I’m a hopeless… no. I’m a hopeful romantic.
9 years running. Maybe this year I’ll have better luck.

13 March 1999

I got an email the other day, and some comments exchanged between friends last night have inspired the following:
I had heard about the GirlFriend line of software for a while and so I decided to install GirlFriend version 1.0. Getting to learn new software is always interesting and the GirlFriend line included many new features that other lines like BestFriend, FamilyMember, and Acquaintance never had. I really enjoyed the Kissing algorithms, and my introduction to the SexualIntercourse plug-ins were quite good. I kicked myself for waiting so long to buy into the GirlFriend line. My system seemed to really take to the whole thing really well, except for the extreme stress that GirlFriend put on my system’s resources but this is part of any GirlFriend program. I hadn’t been aware of it, but apparently the programmers had messed up during the development of version 1.0 and it had alot of broken code. After fighting with it to work properly I finally decided to delete it from my system.
Disillusioned with the GirlFriend line right off the bat, I had intended to wait a while before the next purchase, but after installing one of my many versions of BestFriend, I learned that it included a copy of GirlFriend 2.0, so I immediately began using the extra features of the GirlFriend 2.0 package. However, this version of BestFriend also had a copy of PreMed, so shortly after starting using the GirlFriend 2.0 features, PreMed became enabled and GirlFriend 2.0 was disabled.
Quickly, I went and bought a copy of GirlFriend 3.0. This version had a really good PassionateKissing feature, but I learned that it wasn’t a full version of GirlFriend as it didn’t enable the SexualIntercourse plug-ins without the purchase of a Commitment Agreement. I didn’t mind so much as my system seemed to really be compatible with the version of GirlFriend. But then my MindReader protection software failed and allowed a copy on NewFriend with a hidden GirlThief worm. The worm corrupted my copy of GirlFriend, which then uninstalled itself along with NewFriend which had been upgraded to NewBoyFriend.
A little while later I was pleased to discover that GirlFriend 2.0 had become re-enabled. I began to explore all the upgrades that had been made to this version while it had been off, but unlike version 3.0, 2.0 included a NonCommittal Agreement and a SeeOtherPeople browser. Because of this, during an execution of “A Gathering Of Old Friends” by PartySoftware I began fooling around with a copy of GirlFriend 4.0. It included a much speedier run time and immediate access to all of its Plug and Play features. Of course, getting to all the SexualIntercourse plug-ins and special add-ons so quickly is probably how I overlooked the flaws in this version of GirlFriend, but once these were apparent, I quickly uninstalled version 4.0, and closed the SeeOtherPeople browser.
With its PreMed program now complete, my copy of GirlFriend 2.0 upgraded itself to the full MedSchool package and then uninstalled itself from my system. I decided then that perhaps I should take that wait between GirlFriend versions that I had intended before and perhaps wait for a more stable version. During this time, a friend suggested that maybe the GirlFriend line was incompatible with my system, which made some sense, and they suggested that I might consider trying BoyFriend. It wasn’t really appealing to me. I had seen BoyFriend in the stores and installed on some other guys systems, and I had never really been impressed, I was still drawn to the GirlFriend series even though it often seemed to be more trouble than good. For a moment, I considered it, but when several key system components failed and my FoodStorage threatened a core dump, I became adamant that BoyFriend was not the answer.
I took some time off and reformatted my system. I reinstalled all the essentials and made sure that I didn’t install anything resembling the GirlFriend software packages until I felt my system was ready.
After some time, I saw a copy of GirlFriend version 5.0 and toyed with the idea of installing it. Finally I did, but since I hadn’t done my RealityCheck processor upgrade I didn’t see that it was really a trojan horse hiding a copy of Jealousy. Jealousy causes a GirlFriend package to install on a system in a minimal state in an attempt to migrate its full installation to a more attractive system when this other system realizes that it needs this version of GirlFriend. After a few short weeks, GirlFriend 5.0 uninstalled itself and attempted to install JustFriends, but by this time I had performed the processor upgrade and realized this to be an attempt to just path holes that the uninstall of GirlFriend had caused in my Ego kernel, and I prevented the install and chose to patch the kernel myself.
Almost a year later with my system fully upgraded with CollegeDegree, NewJob, and SelfEsteem, and my Ego kernel fully patched, I was introduced to GirlFriend 6.0 through an ad in NewBestFriend. GirlFriend 6.0 was a delight. It communicated well with all of my other programs and integrated comfortably with my system. The only problem with GirlFriend 6.0 is that it turned out to be a remote application. Sometimes the connection to this version of GirlFriend was fuzzy. I attempted to resolve this with a visit to GirlFriend 6.0’s server to make a direct connection. This did help, but after returning home, the fuzzy connection continued and I realized that it was because my LongDistanceRelationship network adapter was faulty. Rather than try to fix or replace it, I decided just to uninstall GirlFriend 6.0. Oddly enough, after an initial problem, I found that StillFriends (a companion piece to JustFriends) had been installed and was working over the same LDR connection that was failing for GirlFriend.
Almost immediately I installed GirlFriend 7.0. My new experience with version 6.0 had gotten me back into desiring possibly permanently installing a copy of GirlFriend, and that’s why 7.0 seems so strange to me I guess. It included a feature called TakeThingsSlow which was enabled by default. I didn’t mind this so much as my system was compatible with slow running programs. I haven’t mentioned this so far because it has never been significant, but I will now. Each copy of GirlFriend includes a collection of other small environment programs that run in conjunction with it, the most important and influential of these are the multiple copies of HerFriend. HerFriend will usually always retain its initial configuration, but sometimes can be upgraded to OurFriend, or even in rare cases to MyFriend (which in turn can be upgraded to BestFriend). On occasion, copies of HerFriend will be incompatible with your copies of BestFriend that are running, but even if they are troublesome, they can coexist. With GirlFriend 7.0 all the usual copies of HerFriend started to show up in my active task list, but it seemed that only some of the were aware that they were running on my system, and even less seems to know that GirlFriend 7.0 was installed. 7.0, as I now understand it, has a stealth feature which my system cannot control, and it can enable and disable at will. Currently this feature is enabled and I am giving warning messages when my system or any of MyFriends make any mention to HerFriends of anything alluding to the installation of GirlFriend 7.0 on my system.
At this point now, I’m not even sure that 7.0 is still installed on my system, I see less of HerFriends active in my task list, and it seems like I can go for a week without seeing GirlFriend itself active on my system. I’ve been thinking of uninstalling GirlFriend 7.0, but then I also wonder if it hasn’t already uninstalled itself. A friend suggested that version 7.0 may have been vaporware and that what I have seen may have only been a demo, which would explain the disabling of all features after a number of days evaluation.
I’ve been looking at various copies of GirlFriend 8.0, but as with the purchase of any version of GirlFriend there are many different releases, each with its own level of install, system requirements, and of course, features, plug-ins, add-ons and dozens of compatibility issues, so choosing a release of GirlFriend 8.0 may take a while. Luckily, every copy of GirlFriend includes a FirstDate install that allows you to preview many of the features of the program before purchasing, and many do include a CasualDating patch to the FirstDate install that allows the preview to be extended. But in all my looking around at GirlFriend 8.0, I keep going back to thinking that maybe I might try to reinstall GirlFriend 6.0, but I only think that would work if I upgrade my LDR adapter and purchase a copy of Forgiveness v1.1 which I’m told will counter the effects of the Stupidity virus that has infected my system’s installation of a previous versions of GirlFriend.
Well enough of all this, I think I’m taking my system out tonight and running the AlcoholicBeverage routine a few times and may even temporarily install a copy of StripClub if my resources allow for it.