Posts Tagged with “web”

Free isn’t always the best option

Many people (especially Malaysians) love free stuff. Free is good on your wallet but a lot of times there isn’t many other benefits.

rip-google-reader

Free stuff inevitably goes away. The latest casualty is Google Reader – there wasn’t a business model for it, and Google needed to direct it’s resources elsewhere so they canned it. Via the official Google Reader blog:

There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.

Just adds on to my distrust of Google.

Free stuff by large organizations stifles innovation. Aldo Cortesi writes:

The truth is this: Google destroyed the RSS feed reader ecosystem with a subsidized product, stifling its competitors and killing innovation. It then neglected Google Reader itself for years, after it had effectively become the only player. Today it does further damage by buggering up the already beleaguered links between publishers and readers. It would have been better for the Internet if Reader had never been at all.

Free stuff turns you into a product to be sold to advertisers, since you’re not the customer. Bruce Schneier summarized our relationship with Facebook (it’s the same with Google):

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re Facebook’s customer, you’re not – you’re the product,” Schneier said. “Its customers are the advertisers.

I always find it strange that people would put up with annoying ads so that they can play games for free. If you like it and it provides value, pay the $0.99 for the game lah! If there are products and services that you use and like, please ensure their continuity by being a paying customer. Or donate if they are a non-profit organization like Wikipedia (donate here).

This is why I subscribe to Basecamp, Hootsuite Pro, Evernote Premium, Fastmail, Gravity Forms Developer License, and too many more to list. Maybe I’m very lucky to have the financial ability to pay for stuff I use, but I don’t smoke, don’t have a Starbucks or drinking habit, and try not to eat out that much. So next time you want to jailbreak your phone so you can install a $0.99 app, consider skipping the pack of smokes instead.

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WTOTW: Get less spam from Facebook apps

You know when you’re asked by an app for permission to do something with your Facebook profile? Maybe it wants to get your Facebook profile picture, or it’s going to automatically Like a page for you — you’re agreeing to these actions, but you probably don’t want to receive emails from the company behind the app right?

Well just do this and you’ll get less spam from Facebook apps. Click the Change link in the popup dialog and change the option to An anonymous email address.

You’re welcome.

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GoDaddy supports SOPA, so let’s all move to Hover

Recently I’ve started using Hover as my main domain registrar, an excellent alternative to the popular GoDaddy which is where many people buy their domain names from. Like many others, I have got tired of GoDaddy’s site and service. Their CEO’s elephant-killing antics didn’t help with their public image too.

Today, we have another reason to ditch GoDaddy – they are a supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act. While stopping online piracy is a noble cause, this bill being put forward by US lawmakers is really dumb. So dumb that Google, Yahoo!, Twitter, Craigslist and many other internet giants are opposed against the bill. Ars Technica has a great explanation on why SOPA is so bad.

Anyway, back to Hover. Go check out their website and compare them against GoDaddy. They currently have a promotion where transferring domains to Hover only costs USD10.

P.S. Use my affiliate link and get 10% off ;) http://hover.com/clickstarter

What is a DNS block and 3 ways to get around it

Recently the Malaysian Commission for Multimedia and Communications (MCMC) issued a directive to local ISPs to filter a number of file sharing websites because they violate the Copyright Act. While some of the content may be in violation of the Act, some think the Government is being too heavy handed by issuing a blanket order to block these sites.

I don’t want to debate the Government’s decision, but I believe that sometimes there are legitimate reasons to access websites that your Government / ISP / employer doesn’t want you to. This article will explain what is DNS filtering and show you 3 ways to get around it.

What is DNS blocking?

DNS blocking or filtering is a common method of denying access to certain websites. Let’s have a look at how it works.

Each website is hosted on a web server that has a IP address. For example, the IP address for Facebook is 69.63.176.13. If you type those numbers in your web browser, you will arrive at Facebook’s website (may not work if your ISP disallows it).

However, IP addresses are not very user friendly. It’s easier to remember facebook.com than 69.63.176.13 isn’t it? Therefore the inventors of the internet also created a phone book called the Domain Name System, or DNS.

The DNS translates domain names into IP addresses so that you don’t have to remember random strings of numbers. Each ISP (e.g. Streamyx, P1, etc) have their own DNS servers that functions as phone books for their subscribers.

Whenever you type a website address into your browser, your browser first asks the ISP’s phone book what the IP address for that website. Once it’s figured out the IP address it will then load the website for you.

With DNS blocking, the ISP is simply removing the record for the blocked websites from their phone book. So when you try to load one of the blocked websites, all you get is a blank screen in your browser because it doesn’t know what the IP address is.

3 ways to get around DNS blocking

1. Use another DNS server / phone book

What do you do if your phone book doesn’t contain the address you are looking for? You use another phone book! Read More »

How to: Apply for the position of “International Money Launderer”

Are you unwittingly being recruited as a phising mule?

Here’s an email that I received today.

Seems like an amazing opportunity to make free money right? Wrong.

This is an attempt to recruit you as a phishing mule, or in plain English, an international money launderer.

Clueless email recipients are enticed by the prospect of an easy way to make money online and some will actually respond and apply to be the representative of ENFOSOFT. In actual fact they are being recruited as mules.

What happens next is that the phisher / hacker logs into the account of phishing victims and then transfers their money out to the mule. The mule then transfers 80% of the funds back to ‘ENFOSOFT’ through an untraceable bank account and happily keeps his 20% of the share. Later when the police investigates the phishing victim’s bank account, the mule becomes an accessory to international money laundering.

I’m not making this up. More details on how this works at BankSafeOnline.org.uk.

Doing some Googling around, I found that you can report these phishing mule recruitment activities to the FBI in the US or BankSafe in the UK. I don’t know how to report it here in Malaysia though. If you know how, please let me know in the comments.

Also, please help spread the word so that your relatives–think of your blur blur auntie–and friends do not fall into this trap. Please tweet this post or share it on Facebook.

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Since the last time I checked out Cuil, its results have improved. Still not enough to move people away from their favourite search engines though.

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Which geek am I?

Apple Geek on Flickr, by ExtraLife

Apple Geek on Flickr, by ExtraLife

Suffian pointed me to the 56 Geeks project on Flickr. The closest I come to is the Apple Geek, although I would consider myself a bigger Internet Geek

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Cuil

New search engine Cuil is going head to head with the big G. Unfortunately the results aren’t too great at the moment. Above is a screenshot of some of the results for the search term ‘blogjunkie’. I’m sticking to Google for the time being..