Tag Archives: tracking

Is it okay for a city to track … and other thoughts

This: Is it okay for a city to track what’s in your poop? – Macleans.ca, is a provocative question that headlines a good article.

Now for most people, the answer would be a loud “no!”.  But as you can see in the article, smarter cities lead to municipal governments gathering more information about you. Certainly in the case of smart meters, the government agency can tell alot about you just from when you use power. Digital technology and the need to better manage government resources can lead to further tracking, including to what is in your waste water. Expect to see more such tracking in the future.

Ideally for any information being gathered about you, there would be strict control over who has access to the information and what they can do with it. As well, there would be some accountability with regards to that information. I would expect there is a mixed record for much of that information, but the fact that I can only speculate tells me there is more work to be done with regards to accountability.

Read the article. It helps to be informed about such tracking so you can know how you can be tracked and how you can ask questions about such tracking to government officials and elected politicians.

Advertisements

If you think it is alarming that Facebook also collects what you decide not to post, then I have some news for you

If you think this is alarming: Facebook also collects what you decide not to post, tech consultant warns – Technology & Science – CBC News, then I have more news for you.

Not only can Facebook do this, but they can do other things. For example, if they wanted to, they could track where you move your mouse, even if you don’t click on something, using technology like the kind mentioned here: web page mouse tracking – Google Search.

In fact, you don’t even have to go to Facebook to have them track you: Facebook Is Tracking Your Every Move on the Web; Here’s How to Stop It.

And if you use Facebook on your mobile phone, there’s potentially even more information they can track about you.

So, lots of reasons to be concerned. I all but avoid Facebook, but it is not an easy thing to do. In addition, I don’t think Facebook is the only one that does this. They seem to be just the most notorious.

 

 

How to prevent sites from tracking you – five good links

Do you find it weird when you search for something, then go to other sites, and it seems like the product is following you around? Do you worry that sites are tracking information about you and you want to stop it?

I’d like to say there is an easy way to put an end to such tracking, but it doesn’t seem to be so. If anything, companies like Facebook, Google and others have a big financial interest in tracking you, regardless of what you think, and they are going to make it hard for you to put an end to it all.

That said,  if you still want to take action, I recommend these links. They highlight tools you can use and steps you can take to limit tracking. You don’t have to be technical to read them, but you have to be comfortable making changes to your system.

  1. How to prevent Google from tracking you – CNET – this may be the best article that I read. Mostly focused on Google. There are useful links to tools in here and plugins you can use, like Disconnect and Ghostery. Somewhat technical.
  2. Facebook Is Tracking Your Every Move on the Web; Here’s How to Stop It – This Lifehacker article has more on how to deal with Facebook tracking you than Google, but it is also good.
  3. How to Stop Google, Facebook and Twitter From Tracking You – this piece from ReadWrite talks mostly about the Disconnect tool, but it does it in conjunction with discussion of some other tools. Seems less technical than the first two, if you found the first two links too hard to follow.
  4. How to Stop Google From Tracking You on the Web on NDTV Gadgets has tips that are more manual in nature, if you don’t want to download tools. Also some good information on how to deal with mobile phone tracking.
  5. Delete searches & browsing activity – Accounts Help via Google comes straight from the source of the tracking.

Some thoughts of my own:

  • Consider using two browsers: one for your Google use (e.g. Chrome) and one for other uses (e.g. Firefox or Safari). The non-Google browser you can lock down with blockers and other tools, while the Google oriented browser could be limited to just what you need to integrate with Google.
  • Avoid sites that track you, like Facebook.I know, it isn’t easy. If you have to go on Facebook — you get a call from a sibling asking why you haven’t commented on the new baby pictures there — limit yourself to a few thumbs up and leave it at that. (Knowing Facebook, they will still find a way to do something with even that data.)
  • If you are really concerned, avoid Google altogether and use other search engines, like DuckDuckGo, and other email services, such as Outlook.com. There can still be tracking, but in theory this should make it harder.
  • If you use any of tools, get into a habit of using them and keeping them up to date.
  • Don’t forget to do the same thing on your mobile devices. Facebook can track your activity on your mobile phone, regardless of what you may be doing on the web. You can be tracked via apps just as easily as you can be tracked from your browser.
  • If you do anything else, install the Disconnect plug in and then activate it and go to a newspaper site. You will be amazed just how much tracking is going on. (Also, you do NOT have to sign up for the premium version to get it working.)

How to set up Kanboard (a visual task board inspired by Kanban) on the IBM Bluemix platform

It is very easy to set up Kanboard on Bluemix, IBM’s PaaS solution. (For those of you not familiar with Kanboard, it it a visual task board inspired by Kanban). I encourage you to visit the Kanboard site for more information. 
 
Meanwhile, to set up Kanboard in Bluemix, I took the following steps, some which are optional:
 
1) Download the kanboard code from here: http://kanboard.net/downloads
2) Unzip the kanboard folder.
3) (Optional) Copy the kanboard folder into a local test environment. I had a Xampp test environment and I put the kanboard there. (e.g., C:\xampp\htdocs\kanboard). I started Apache and then pointed my browser at http://localhost/kanboard to see it working. (One of the benefits of doing this is I can configure the Kanboard environment before I push it into Bluemix. In my case, I created some new users, changed the admin password, and added some default tasks. If I push this folder, these changes will also show up in Bluemix.)
4) I had a copy of the Cloud Foundary executable (cf.exe) to push the code into Bluemix: I put the cf.exe file in the Kanboard folder.
5) I created a manifest.yml file in the Kanboard folder. In my manifest.yml file I had the following 
 

applications:
– name: <my app name>
  memory: 256M
  instances: 1
  host: <my host name>
  buildpack: https://github.com/zendtech/zend-server-php-buildpack.git
 
You can make the name and host name anything, though the hostname is part of the URL for the site, so it must be acceptible as part of a URL. Also the hostname needs to be unique in Bluemix. I tend to make the app and host name the same.
 
Open a command window, and from the Kanboard folder, enter the following commands:
  1. cf api https://api.ng.bluemix.net
  2. cf login -u <your Bluemix login account>
  3. cf target -o <your Bluemix login account> -s dev
  4. cf push
Once you see that the health and status for the app is “OK”, you can either go to Bluemix to check it out, or go directly to  the url: http://<hostname>.mybluemix.net/
You should be able to login and proceed to use it. (The default userid and password is here).