Google Knows Where you Live and They Want to Tell Everyone

Did you know Google keeps track of everything you do online, with any Google products, software, etc. You can’t make them stop, not really. (You would have to eliminate Google from your life). Also, if you do want to control how much they know and share about you, the most you can do it pause it. There is no stopping Google.

Google is not the only option for web searches. Even if you are only looking for your own site to see where it comes up in a search – why are you only looking at Google?!

The following screen captures are a mess due to problems with software I was using. Right now I don’t want to fix them. But, they tell the story, as messy as it is.

Vulnerability in WordPress

I’ve linked to an older post (2014) but you should always update WordPress as soon as possible. The ironic thing about using popular software is that it is vulnerable to attack, more than the less popular software. So, you choose WordPress for features, community support and reliability… and those are the same reasons the spammers, hackers and so on choose it too.

When you choose to run Windows, WordPress or other popular software know there are more security risks. Be aware, keep up with updates and if you’re upset about this and would rather not deal with vulnerabilities quite so much… choose something else with less community support/ interest. Basically, pick which drawback you can live with.

If your website runs on a self-hosted WordPress installation or on Drupal, update your software now.

Nir Goldshlager, a security researcher from’s product security team, has discovered an XML vulnerability that impacts the popular website platforms WordPress and Drupal.

via – Major Security Vulnerability in WordPress, Drupal Could Take Down Websites.

Facebook Also Thinks a Mobile Phone is a Security Blanket

Facebook phone security


Soon after my post about Google’s mobile phone fetish… I open Facebook and get a note about how I can improve the security of my account… using a mobile phone, of course.

Do you see what I mean?

It won’t be long and you will be offline if you don’t have a mobile phone to prove your identity. This is the step beyond word verification. Don’t lose your mobile phone or you won’t be able to prove you are who you say you are.

Simply Security Questions

I was registering for an online points service with one of the grocery store chains here in Ontario. Part of the process was choosing a security question and then typing in your (unique and individual) answer. Well, I have a problem with the new security questions which pop up. I was just fine with the old standard Mother’s maiden name or Father’s middle name. I knew those, they had a simple and definite answer. 

Maybe they became too standard, maybe they were less secure as they became over used or maybe not everyone knows this information about their parents. Some how there are now new security questions and I usually can’t find a simple answer for any of them. I don’t remember enough, I don’t have strict enough opinions or I just don’t have a preference and this leaves me with no security questions and answers, too often. It’s frustrating. 

Here are the security questions from my recent adventure with them:

If you could be any historical figure who would you be?

Where did you go on your best vacation?

What is the name of your best friend from childhood?

What was the first concert you attended?

What is the name of your favourite teacher?

Do you have answers for all of them? An answer you are sure of enough to be able to remember and have the same answer months from now? Not me. I can think of a lot of historical figures, none I’d really want to be. My best vacation…. I can’t pick one. My best friend from childhood… too many options, we moved a lot when I was a younger child and then I never really was great at keeping friends or making them. Another memory game… the name of my favourite teacher, I can’t pick one from among the faces I remember and I’m not sure how to spell the names I can remember. First concert was Cher, or Sonny and Cher, I guess. Or was there something else I’ve forgotten. Likely so. I picked the concert question because it was the only one I might answer the same way twice. 

The problem with most of these questions is still that they do not come with simple, definite answers. Different spellings, different abbreviations, different ways of writing them (like short forms versus long forms). Even if you give the same answer it might be wrong because you typed it with capital letters or without any spaces the first time you gave the security question answer. 

This is why the old standards of Mother’s maiden name worked. Just type in a last name, with the first letter as a capital because (of course) it is a proper name. I miss the old, simple security questions. Security seems to be pulling us farther and farther away from the very things we are supposed to be accessing. I think it will be easier for someone else to guess my security answer than for me to remember it. 

What would you use as a great security question? Can you think up a few? 

Comments in Moderation

Why do some bloggers use comment moderation as well as word verification? If you are moderating your comments do so. Why stick people with typing in their email address (as proof they are not bots) then torment them with trying to read word verification. I get the word verification wrong at least one out of three times I type that thing. But, having done so it annoys me to see that my comment is still being held for moderation on top of that. I really think bloggers should use moderation and leave it at that.

Get rid of the excess moderation. Don’t use word (or other types) verification as a security blanket. If you want comments let people comment without having to perform verification you don’t really need. Make commenting in your blog as simple and painless as possible.

If you really don’t want comments just turn them off and save everyone the hassle, including yourself.

Welcome and Long Life to the Queen

The Queen is here in Canada for a Royal Tour, 2010. I admire the lady for what she has done and continues to do. She gives the world an image to look up to, someone who can be admired and she is leadership (no one is asking her to lead troops into battle, there is a lot more to leadership than that). I’d like to thank her for coming to Canada. Most of all I’d like to let her know I am glad she is still around and still leading.

Do you know the protocol/ etiquette for meeting the Queen? I’ve heard bits here and there but never actually looked it up. Some of the things I had heard were:

  • You never speak to the Queen before she speaks to you.
  • You always curtsey or bow to the Queen.
  • You do not touch the Queen until she notices you and then shakes your hand or in some other way touches you.

These all make pretty simple sense. The Queen is not a young thing and does not really want someone running up and jumping all over her with their enthusiasm in meeting or seeing her. Bob Barker asked for the same kind of consideration as the host of the Price is Right. So, it is not asking too much to give the Queen some space as well as some respect. In the case of the Queen it is also, of course, a question of security. She makes herself available to the public which must be just a bit scarier in this day and age.

I did find some information online about the protocol for meeting the Queen.

Globe and Mail: Royal Protocol Tips (video)

BBC News: Preparing Oneself for Tea with the Queen

Government of Canada site: Canadian Heritage: Meeting the Queen and Members of the Royal Family

The Official Website of the British Monarchy

The Monarchist League of Canada

I did not read too much about letting her speak first, but I know I have heard that before. I can imagine it would be the rule of protocol most often broken. It would be very hard to meet the Queen and have so much bubbling up that you would like to say. Most likely it would be nothing too new, people are happy and proud to meet her and no doubt have said so many times. But, if you had to remain silent, at least until spoken to, you could still say everything with your eyes.

Think of all the ways our eyes express our emotions, our thoughts and intentions. Make a list of emotions: happy, sad, angry, curious, cautious, etc and describe how your eyes (and only your eyes) would show each mood to the reader.

No One Knows Where you Are

Assuming you are writing a personal blog/ journal/ diary why don’t you show your location to readers?

I know there are security, privacy and paranoid reasons to not give your home address but surely you can say which country you live in, maybe even your province/ state?

One of the things I like best about reading a new blog is knowing where the person I am reading about is from. It’s interesting to read about daily life in another country. It is also a warm feeling of coming home to be reading the blog of someone in your own country. Mine is Canada, Ontario to hit a bit closer to home.

Why not post your location. Stick up a little flag in your sidebar. Be proud of where you are.

Don’t Get Angry, Get Mad

Your new house has a basement with a secret room. The entrance to the room is hidden and no one else has noticed it. Of course, you’re the only one who goes down to the basement much, for the laundry room. You begin using the room to store your books, some other personal things and some shopping excursions which you’d rather keep to yourself. Then, you meet a contractor, an old guy who is mostly retired but could use the odd job to keep the bills paid. So you hire him to refurbish that secret room, even give it a spooky security door. A door that locks by a code you set, from the outside. Now no one can get in there even if they do notice it some day.

A few years go by. The kids are all in school, you’re working a part time job and starting your own home business. The husband is doing well, working a lot of overtime and making good money.

Then, the day comes, when you discover your husband has his own secrets. He’s been keeping a place of his own too, sort of. His comes with another woman and it’s in some fancy highrise downtown. He’s also been stashing money in all kinds of accounts all over the place. You take all the information down into your secret room and just sit awhile. You cry, you rage and then you begin to plot.

It doesn’t take too long to clear out your secret room, though those books were pretty heavy. The contractor comes back for one last job, installing cameras and a thick plexiglass window in the hidden doorway of the secret room. The contractor is curious about your latest renovations but figures it’s some new kind of entertainment centre you’re building down there now.

And it is… sort of. You, at least, are very entertained watching your faithless husband pace and rant in his new accommodations. How long do you leave him there and what do you tell the kids?

ID Card Madness

You have to wear an ID badge for your new job. But, you are allowed to decorate it any way you like as long as it doesn’t cross the line for the professional atmosphere at work (no adult content or gum) and your ID (name, number and photo) have to be visible (otherwise you won’t be allowed past security on your next day at work). How far do you go on decorating and what ideas come to mind to make your ID card stand out from the pack?