Posts tagged: blabbering

May 04 2009

Yeah, comments are borked.

A quick entry to say that yes, I know you’re getting an error when you leave a comment. The comment IS going through and will be posted, there’s just a problem with this theme returning you to the correct page after. So please, feel free to talk :D

I need to spend some time tinkering with the design of this blog and fix things up, please just bear with me in the process. :)

Feb 20 2009

Facebook Changed Their TOS. So What.

Two weeks ago, Facebook updated their terms of service. This past weekend someone wrote a blog entry pointing out the changes, and that people should maybe worry.

And people flipped the frack out….about something they didn’t understand. At all.

Sheesh. Before freaking out, let’s talk about a bit of the basic information behind this first. This issue involves user data and a site’s Terms of Service.

1) Terms of Use/Service and Privacy Policies

Every single site out there could benefit from a Terms of Service/Use & Privacy Policy, and any commercial site launching without one is asking for trouble. The documents generally cover what a user can and cannot do with the site, what the site is responsible for in the event of illegal activity or police involvement, what the site will or won’t do with a user’s information, and the typical indemnification “it’s not our fault if your computer breaks.” ToS aren’t unique to websites or tech, but sites are bringing these things to the attention of mainstream folks a bit more.

These docs are important for the legal protection of the company, but also to make as clear as possible to a user what will be done with any information they may provide. I don’t have one for this blog, because, well, I don’t much care, this isn’t a business, it’s my blabbering and your comments here are your own. But folks who take their blogs a bit more seriously will include something.

The moment you hit a website you’ve agreed to their Terms of Service, whether there’s a registration process or not (“your use of this site is governed by this agreement between you and whatevercompany, inc”). Ignoring a site’s terms is the same as signing up for a credit card without reading the fine print.  One month later, you get your bill:

“I didn’t see anything about 35% interest!?”
“Sure you did, you signed on the bottom of the form that you agreed to the fee.”
“I didn’t notice, so take the money back.”
*hysterical laughter* “Is this a crank call?”

Yeah, that doesn’t go over so well. There isn’t much difference between that and a site’s TOS. You agreed to it, you’re stuck with it.  And just like credit card agreements, it can be changed at anytime, with all changes taking place retroactively.

Personally? I read ‘em all, have found some fun doozies buried in various agreements, and have refused to sign up for sites or services because of them. Most recently, a line in a beta user agreement required that I “never say anything negative about the site or service.” Add to that the “this agreement exists in perpetuity,” and suddenly I’ve agreed to a gag order. I don’t think so! I was truly amazed people did sign up, but then again, I’m sure they didn’t read that.

2) User Data = You Online. Forever.

I talked about this a lot in one of my entries from she’s geeky, since it’s a big issue I don’t think people understand (and this Facebook mess just proves that).


Ok? One more time.


It doesn’t matter if you’ve locked your Facebook, if you’ve deleted it, whatever. It’s there. If not somewhere you can find it, then it’s in Google cache, or on the wayback machine, in your friend’s inbox, on flickr, somewhere. Don’t think that if you can’t find it it’s not online – the Wayback Machine, for example, only keeps a small fraction of their archive available online.

Now – this latest Facebook blowup.

The freak out was over the fact that Facebook added some language to their Terms saying they would keep a user’s content and licenses even after the person deleted the profile, and removed some other language about users being able to remove content to invalidate the license.

Hey, guess what people? This is nothing new – Facebook just put it in clear text. With the massively complicated architecture of today’s websites, there are caches and archives all over the place of things you’ve put online. If you delete something, it may no longer be delinked, but don’t kid yourself into thinking it’s gone. It’s probably not.

Should facebook have updated it’s TOS like that? Eh. They should have probably been a bit more subtle in their language, but the fact is, had a blog not pointed out what the changes meant, nobody would have noticed.

Want to read some spooky legalese? Check out Google’s Privacy Policy:

When you access Google services, our servers automatically record information that your browser sends whenever you visit a website. These server logs may include information such as your web request, Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser. Also, in order to protect you from fraud, phishing, and other misconduct, we may collect information about your interaction with our services. Any such information we collect will only be used to detect and prevent fraud or other misconduct.

Know what that means? They track you online, and save that data. The wording is nice and light, but that’s what it means.  That’s scarier to me than thinking that Facebook may keep a record of “25 things about me..” even after I delete my account.

The lesson here is twofold. Just as in real life, don’t sign anything you haven’t read. If you don’t like what you’re reading, don’t use the service. And don’t think your information can ever be taken offline once you’ve put it there. It’s there forever, and even if one website says they’ll protect your information, they can always change their terms of service to say otherwise.

Be smart, be careful, and stuff like this really won’t matter.

Update: Just wanted to add a link to this article, “What Facebook’s Stumble Can Teach Your Company.” I think the opinion expressed in the article is highly idealistic and probably extremely unrealistic, but it’s still a good read.

Jan 25 2009

25 things you might not know about me

I was tagged to do this on facebook, but since I have a blog, and my blog entries end up on facebook anyway….I’ll write it up here, and tag everyone there.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with
25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose
25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I
tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these
instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag
25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. One of my favorite things to do is sleep all day, but I can rarely sleep past 9am anymore.

2. I am terrified of lightning.

3. I was a New York State certified EMT-D and rode on an ambulance corps for 5 years. I don’t remember much anymore, beyond ALS-CPR (which I will never forget) and basic first aid stuff.

4. My brother was born on Memorial Day. I was positive the parade for Memorial Day was actually a parade celebrating his birth.

5. I used to call the hospital every birthday to ask if I was old enough to be a candy striper yet. I was SO excited when they said yes, and was one until I left for college.

6. I am a published author in an MIT book on Women and Games. Looking back at it now, I like the content of my article, but think it was very poorly written.

7. I am a bread geek, and can go on and on and on about uses of different flours, sourdough, and fillers in bread, and what they do to the end result.

8. Kurt Cobain spit on me one week before he died. I still don’t really know why – he walked out of his hotel angry and spitting. I threw out the sweater as fast as I could take it off. Dave Grohl was very nice, though.

9. I am very hyperactive, and was tied to my chair by my second grade teacher for not sitting still. I was embarrassed by it, and my parents only found out when my best friend told my mom.

10. I can “speak” American Sign Language, but I forget more and more every day.

11. I love all things Broadway, and was part of Putnam County Spelling Bee when I got to be one of the people in the spelling bee. I was out in the first round, but at least I can say I’ve been on Broadway.

12. I have a lot of grey hair. It’s covered well.

13. When I was 4, I walked into my neighbor’s house and sat down at her piano to play. I didn’t know her, but she was a piano teacher and started teaching me. I stopped playing in high school, and just started playing again four years ago. It drives me nuts that I can’t do what I could do then, my head knows what to do, but my fingers can’t do it.

14. I built my first website ’96 at It was all about the X-Files, and “worked best in Netscape.”

15. I used to spend all day every Sunday at the library playing with their computers when I was in elementary school.

16. I become obsessed with things very easily.

17. I once got an A+ in a statistics class at NYU that I only went to twice. Once for midterm review, and once for the final review.

18. I love to write fiction. I think I’m damn good at it, and my secret fantasy is to publish someday.

19. I cannot handle silence. There always needs to be some background noise, doesn’t matter what it is, there just has to be something.

20. I am my own worst critic.

21. I worked in a cancer research lab in high school doing necropsies on rats and mice. I lost the job when New York passed a law saying that “children under 18 could not work in hazardous conditions.” I worked with formalin, so….I was crushed when I couldn’t work there anymore, I loved it.

22. I hate beer.

23. I have a huge collection of stuffed animals, and as much as I know I should get rid of some of them, I can’t decide which to give away. Every stuffed animal contains a memory.

24. I cannot live without a watch, which I wear on my right hand, even though I’m right handed.

25. My hands shake. My right hand shakes more than my left. It’s called “minor tremor,” according to doctors it is ‘harmless,’ and the only thing that stops it is alcohol.

Nov 08 2008

First post! Well, first iphone post…

I am currently sitting in a hair salon in west Hollywood, writing this on my new iPhone. I figured, what better way to get used to this keyboard than to write a blog entry. And ya know, it isn’t half bad. My salon has open wifi, so I have a nice, solid Internet connection.

I am using the wordpress iPhone app, which has been very simple to use so far. I am definately making tons of typos as I type, but autocorrect seems to be catching most of what I’m trying to say. I also find that I don’t need a tactile response from the keyboards as much as I thought did. My piano teacher would be horrified.

Gotta admit, I love this phone. Cuz it’s not just a phone it is truly a little mini computer, and the power of that is incredible.

It also helps to alleviate the extreme boredom that is waiting for hair color to set. I’m surevim downloading lots of useless apps, but it is wasting time.

So first iPhone impression – amazing, and I am much more in love with this thing than I expected to be. Go fig – and thanks, Steve!

Nov 07 2008


I’m a little brainless today. It’s been quite a week, huh. New president, California taking rights away from its citizens, my birthday (what, wasn’t that a major event to the world?)…lots of stuff going on.

At least it’s the weekend. And strangely enough – I have a new Michael Crichton book to read!! After I published the entry about Michael Crichton on Wednesday, I received an email telling me about a ‘favorite book of his called Binary.’ I’d never heard of a Michael Crichton book called Ninary…

Now, I have read a book published by Michael Crichton under another name called “A Case of Need.” I loved the book, but it was very clearly not “typical” Michael Crichton.  Turns out Binary is written under yet another pseudonym, one I’d never heard of. I dug around online (the book is long out of print), found a used copy for sale, ordered, and have it now.

So much to my surprise, I get to spend the weekend curled up with a new Michael Crichton book (considered new under the “it’s new to me” rule). Not a bad weekend at all.

Hope everyone has a good weekend, you all probably need one after this week!

Nov 03 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

I always tend to go a little overboard with the self-analysis around my birthday, and nicely manage to depress myself. Because, of course, no matter where I am in life, there is somewhere else I could be.

Not that I’m saying I SHOULD be somewhere else. I just could be. Like everyone, my life has taken lots of turns and missteps along the way to getting here, and although I try not to look back very often, I always do around my birthday.

I don’t feel like doing that today. Today another year starts for me, and I’m looking forward to a good one.

And it has to be said – tomorrow starts another four years for the US, so please…everyone who can, get out and vote!!

Nov 01 2008

Blogging’s not what it used to be

I feel like I should say something profound, it being November 1st and the beginning of this whole “blogging for 30 days” month. I’m not good at profound, though. So some ramblings on blogging.

I’ve been blogging for a long time. My LiveJournal creation date is in early 2002, but I’d kind of started a bit before that in a different form. Like many people, whatever personal webpage I was working on at the time had an “about me” section. The “about me” would turn into a personal blog, entries in reverse order and all, and was updated almost as regularly as the rest of the site.

Before that, I had a .plan file on my VAX account. The updates there were closer to status updates on Facebook/MySpace, or Twitter blabberings, but even there, I would put basic info like “in class.” I didn’t keep the old entries, though (which is technically required to hit the definition of a “blog”).

Over the years my blogging has become much less personal, I’m sure in large part due to the fact that just about everyone’s online these days. I mean…my mom reads my Twitter. Weird, right? Not bad, just strange. The Internet was my world.

The majority of the entries in my former blog would be locked to friends-only, and would be extremely personal at times. I was a master of friend lists, and would post to different people depending on the topic. I trusted that privacy. I don’t anymore.

I very rarely see people blogging like we used to. It’s a necessary thing, of course, we were regularly talking about things we didn’t want the world to know. Not a good idea to put private information online these days.

I do miss it, though. I was friends with every single person who read my blog, and truly valued their comments and feedback. These days, I have nearly 1,000 followers on Twitter, and damn if I know half of them.

Our tiny Internet community exploded. It’s different, sure, but I’m very happy to welcome everyone on board. This is just the start – the next five years online are going to be amazing. And I for one can’t wait to see what happens.

Sep 09 2008

Fun With Twitter

I’m always being asked for links to people to follow on Twitter. This is often phrased as “gimme some things to follow, because I don’t understand why I should bother.” So, here you have it – my list of fun Twitter stuff.

First, learn all about twitter here:  A Newbies Guide to Twitter ( ) – this was written by the CEO of Zappos, (who you should also follow ) and is still to date the best explanation I’ve seen.

Now that Tony’s taught you all about twitter, add these “people” who I find really entertaining:

Sockamillion – Yes, this is a cat. But I think this is easily the funniest “person” on twitter – I adore seeing him update. I think my cats are jealous.

CobraCommander: – remember GI Joe?

SARAH – Sarah is the house in Eureka (tv show). Gotta love a twittering house.

Whole Foods – Yummy.

Captain Hammer – from the singalong blog, of course.

Darth Vader – needs no explanation

I Can Has Cheezburger – Cat pics, what else!

Donna Noble – not so active these days, damn that amnesia

Martha Jones

Southwest Airlines

Stop the Spam Twitter spammer updates. Always fun to get a new follower update, then see that person reported by Stop the Spam within the same minute.


TechInsider rumors, gossip. Not always correct.

The Coop FAKE Anderson Cooper.

Anderson Cooper REAL Anderson Cooper

Pirate Bay News about IP and the internet

El Gato And another cat.

Twitter Twitter news, status updates

CNN Breaking News

Mars Phoenix Lander – if you were watching this guy a few weeks back, you would have seen the “wee, we found ice!” update. Cutest thing ever.

NASA News Feed

For real people…search Twitter for your friends, for celebs, for websites you like – you never know who or what you’re going to find there. Another way to find people to follow is to look at who your friends are following.

You can also reading Twitter easier by hooking up sms or getting a client ( or check google to find some, there are TONS).

There ya have it – the basics of twitter. If you do decide to join in on the obsession, leave your twitter name here, or shout out to me so I can follow you – @stephaniebambam. Just remember – 140 characters or less!


Aug 06 2008

Now Open for Business

I have “officially” moved my blog over here, my LiveJournal blog is no more. All posts there are gone, and thanks to wordpress being awesome, all of the posts from there are now here. Yay for archiving!

Anyway, here I am. WordPress and Dreamhost. Thanks for all of the recommendations!!

Jul 28 2008

WordPress is neat

I’m still working on things, but I gotta admit – WordPress is as friendly to use as people say.

It isn’t EASY, or at least, not for what I’m doing – the one-click install didn’t fly – but it is still remarkably user friendly.

And I’m posting this through ScribeFire, which I just adore, but had poor LJ support.

Hopefully will be ready to fully pull the trigger on this blog by the weekend. Woo!

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