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Archive for December, 2013

A Year Without Facebook

Xmas

MY wife used to be using Facebook quite a lot. It’s a site that, in practice, probably violates people’s privacy more than all other sites combined, but only if one assumed loss of privacy to peers (as opposed to government spies and marketers, who also get data from Microsoft, Google, and countless other companies). Just over a year ago I suggested to my wife that she oughtn’t upload photos to Facebook (with some applications Facebook just uploads all taken pictures automatically) and that I can set up an album that would preserve some of her privacy (no tags, no face recognition, no covert tracking of viewers, etc.). Days ago I completed uploading the last photos of the year, covering as of late:

  • Christmas Party
  • Midland Hotel Suites
  • Bradford City, Hotel, Clothes
  • Day Out and Birthday at Cora’s Restaurant
  • Christmas in the House

Yesterday, the number of direct hits on photos (meaning watching a photo zoomed in) exceeded 100,000, demonstrating, in my opinion, that one does not need Facebook to managed one’s photos. As Facebook is, to many people, primarily a photo album with comments (it’s useless as a medium for news and other purposes), why would anyone really need Facebook? Self-hosting requires some work and money, but there’s a price to one’s privacy too. When you’re merely the product in Facebook — not the customer — it is clear why Facebook gives ‘free’ hosting. Here is some guidance on how to set up a similar photos album.

December 2013 Photos

IT IS hard to regularly upload and share photos, so we’ve begun doing so periodically. New upload of about 50 photos has been completed. Among the photos this time around:

  • House After Redesign
  • Lincoln, Sheffield, and Yorkshire
  • Pool, Gym (Midland Hotel)
  • Midland Hotel Lounge, Health Club
  • Marble Arch Pub
  • Christmas German Market (Triangle, Town Hall, Victorian), Christmas Arrangements

Towards the end of the month there will be lots more.

The NSA’s Back Door Tactics Made the Web Messy

Traffic in schestowitz.com

Traffic in schestowitz.com has reached high levels and as of December 5th there are over 5,000 “visits” per day (the quotes are due to the fact that some visits are misleading). The truth of the matter is, this year there was a struggle against bots and script kiddies, who seem to be interested in hammering on the site and increasing my hosting bills. Last month alone I had to pay an additional 15 pounds in bandwidth bills (almost 50 GB including the unlisted requests).

I once believed that having statistics at the high figures was the goal; then I realised that not all traffic is quite so desirable. Some parts of the sites are permanently disabled due to script kiddies who flood them with rogue requests. Those requests are being sent from zombied Microsoft Windows systems. The headers sometimes give that away.

The Web has become a mess because people’s computers are getting hijacked. Given what we know about the NSA’s war on secure computing, there is a party or two to blame here.

If one was to ask me what proportion of the traffic above comes from people, from bots (like search engines), and from zombies, I’d struggle to give an answer. The Web is a big mess now.

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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