Beam Me Up and Away From These Cookies

internet, privacy

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.28.51 PM


Here are the facts:

I surfed the web for 20 minutes.

I visited 16 website during that time.

The circles are the sites that I actually visited.

The triangles are third party sites.

The white lines represent the connections made from the sites I visited to the third party sites that have content on the sites I visited.

The purple lines are connections that have cookies.

I know what you’re thinking. What do these words me? What do they have to do with me? Will I ever be able to successfully sleep with a top sheet without it being shoved to the bottom of the bed? Answer: probably not.

Well you better believe that I’m answer those first two questions right… now.

Let’s first start with third party sites. What the heck are they and what business do they have in my browser history?! Don’t worry, I’m a little confused too. These third party sites are typically ads or embedded external links for reference and “convenience”. The danger with third party websites is that some threaten privacy by collecting data about you.

Third party sites do this by using cookies.

Cookies are the tool that third party sites use to collect information about your browsing history. Some of this information can include your address and gender for example, but never includes your name (instead, you are assigned a number). These sites are used as an opportunity to boost advertising power by tailoring ads specifically to users.

Smart…but sneaky.

I collected data on my web searches using a Firefox add-on called Lightbeam and within a 20 minutes period I “visited” more third party sites than the sites I actually intended to visit. Among those visits, at least 30 cookies collected information about me without my knowledge.

With WikiLeaks and the NSA hacks that recently happened, I didn’t really think it was as big of a deal as people were making it out to be. Though this is not quite on the same level of that kind of hacking, I must admit that seeing this diagram as a visual representation of what is happening beyond the screen put things into perspective. Now knowing what cookies are how and how they access and collect information, it does scares me a bit. Personal information in the wrong hands or context can misconstrued and used against us; our privacy has become compromised.

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Project Proposal, Will You Marry Me?

blogging, google, internet

In the tradition of the project proposal, myself as well as two other members of the #EID100 course put together a presentation that proposes the final project we are proposing. We propose that this proposal be proposed using Google platforms, Hangouts on Air and Slides. Here is our proposed proposal.

Project Proposal by: Sydney Boniface, Aaron Cordeiro and Victoria Schupp

The Googly Googs featuring Google and the Google Search Band

google, internet, tips

I’ve been using Google to search the web since I started using the web. Now that Google is all sophisticated and runs shit now, it’s all like “Hey man! I’ve changed. I feel like we’re not using our relationship to it’s full potential.” And I’m all like, “Google, when did this happen? I feel like I don’t know you anymore!” But it’s okay because Google makes things easy.

Let’s catch up.

Searching for an exact word or phrase.

Google wants us to keep things simple. Make sure to work out the key ideas of what you’re asking and keep it concise.
Let’s say I want to know what Elvis’ last words were. In real life I would ask, “What were Elvis’ last words?” In the Google world, those five words are way too much. It’s a good idea to use only necessary words. Try searching instead: Elvis last words. By searching the query this way, you avoid unnecessary words that could sabotage your super important search. Using unnecessary words like the, a, & and will likely include unnecessary pages in your results.

Another bonus tip: Keeping in mind what your search is, it might be helpful to use words that you think the writer of your desired information would use when writing about your query.

Ps. Elvis’ last words were, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.”

Specifically searching for something specifically on a specific site.

Say you only want to search for something but exclusively on one site…you can do that! First, type your query term(s) then type site: followed by the site’s URL.

Google_Specific Site

Defining life and also words.

If you’ve been going to dictionary.com or worse, opening up the book version of the dictionary, you’ve been wasting your time. Dude, it’s so simple. All you gotta do is type define and then the word. Define and then the word. It’s so simple.

Google_Define

 

This is how to shop online, like a boss.

“Life is a game and true love is a trophy”. That was a quote by Rufus Wainwright and for me online shopping is that trophy. You know who else loves shopping? Google does.

Google Shopping is a feature that allows you to search for a product and see if its available near your location while also allowing you to search based on a set price range, seller or for new items only.

Google_Online Shopping

Love in the time of searching for file types.

Searching by file type comes in handy if you need information in a specific format. Let’s say you come across the need for a picture of Fergie to put on your blog. You want a internet safe file type so a PNG seems like the best fit. By typing your search term then filetype:png, you will only get PNG files of Fergie.

Google_Filetype

 

I want this but not that. This is for picky people.

When it comes to search sometimes you know exactly what you want, but related terms might get in the way of getting the results you need. By adding “quotations” around words like the for a title, the search becomes much more focused toward the search in relation to your title rather than terms within the title.

Let’s us American treasure Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as an example. By adding quotations around “the”, I get a completely focused search on Dwayne.

Google_The Rock 1

If you want to search The Rock but are more focused on everything but his cinematic endeavors then you would simply type a “-“ in front of the term that you would like to omit from the search.

Google_The Rock 4

 

Finding similar stuff to stuff.

I just finished reading Haylee Duff’s (sister of Hilary Duff) 2015 resolutions on her website Real Girls Kitchen and I can’t get enough. I’ve exhausted Haylee’s blog but want more.

By typing in related: then the site’s URL you can find everything related to Real Girls Kitchen! YAY!

Google_Related

And I quote. Wait, what exactly did you say?

There’s no way that I don’t remember the crazy antics that Amanda Bynes pulled back in 2013, but there was one tweet that I can’t exactly remember the wording of. If I type what I remember and asterisk the words that I don’t, then I can find the complete quote to later insult others.

Google_Amanda Bynes

Other the hand, maybe saying “he’s rocking that incest face” might be a bit much….

 

Words that are connected on pages…how?

Hosting a party? Guests on their way? Too stupid to read the box and just figure out the recipe? Search terms that are connected words like jello shots, can be connected by typing a “-“ between them. This will generate results relating to pages that deal exclusively with jello shots, not just jello and not just shots.

Although in real life, those two terms are fine ideas on their own.

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OMG did u see that #TBT #selfie?

REAL WORLD SCENARIO: You’re super hungry. Instead of eating, you are looking at pictures of food that you could be eating but aren’t. Where is someone supposed to find an endless supply of delicious treat and snack imagery? #FOODPORN.

By typing a # in front of a search term, Google will generate results that include hastagged terms. This especially comes in handy if you want to find results within a social media context.

Look at the difference in results between not using and then using a hashtag in my query.

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The Internet and I: A Love Story

blogging, internet, social media

ILoveTheInternet

The Internet and I use to have a great relationship, but things got complicated.

Our breakup was rough. Transitioning back into a single relationship status wasn’t easy but as the old adage says, “cookies heal all”. While I was enjoying single life, everyone else was getting into serious relationships with SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. PDA in the form of hash tagging and selfie-taking was now…normal and…acceptable? Needless to say, I was starting to feel a little lonely.

The Internet certainly has evolved since I was a kid. This Internet is the Web 2.0, an interactive, interoperable driven platform of endless information. In 1996 the number of websites in existence hovered around 100,000. Today it’s over one billion…and counting. Instead of dial-up preventing the simultaneous use of computer and landline, I can now store information on a variety of devices and by using something mysterious called “The Cloud”, can access that information on any computer, anywhere in the world. Things were getting a bit too serious.

I don’t think I’m ready for the sort of serious relationship that involves #ThrowbackThursday or swiping right or left, but I’d like to give it another go.

I will make to you (the Internet) this vow. I will use this opportunity to get to know you better. I will choose to love the best parts of you and to not involve myself with the other parts that we see differently on. I will spend time with you, but I will not let you distract me from those that I am right in front of. And finally, I will use you in a way that offers an outlet for thought, creativity and inspiration.

Let’s take it slow.