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07/09/01 Privacy Issue
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer

TIME Magazine scooped me on Computer Privacy!! IT'S OKAY. I'll even
give you the URL. Read my take, enhanced with fascinating Mac trivia,
insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit,
and don't take TIME too seriously. THERE IS ONLY THE PRESENT. HONEST,
there aren't too many people who would want to 'take over' your
computer - or mine for that matter. DON'T PANIC, BE AWARE, take
reasonable precautions. Read this issue. :-)

UPDATES - a few
NEWS - Cube Tubed
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK - Just the usual accolades.
Dirty Little Secrets
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands

GEEK SPEAK ALERT: Instant Messaging, AIM, IRC, BIG BROTHER, Chairman Mao

Appleworks 6.2 for OS TEN (AQUA) and 6.1.2 for Everybody Else - Includes
translators for Word and Excel, enhanced formatting tools, and so on.


AQUA 10.0.4 - Another stability/fix/drivers update. Keep it up Apple!
Just keep on working on that Aqua so the plumbing will be all fixed when
we move into the house 6 or 12 months down the road.


The Cube is Tubed - Apple has officially killed the elegant G4 Cube,
which in a nutshell, everybody loved but nobody bought. My personal
analysis? Without the big Flat Panel display, the tube is just not
impressive. It's the WHOLE PACKAGE that people loved. And how many people
would go for the 22" flat display (at $2999) or settle for the bitty 15"
flat panel?

MacWorld Expo NYC Is Coming - AND YOU SHOULD GO. Believe me, if you've
never been, this show is FUN and INSPIRING. You don't have to make
excuses or explain to anyone ALL DAY why you PREFER a MACINTOSH. WHY YOU
UNDERSTAND!! Meet Mac celebrities on the show floor. You'll probably see
Bob Levitus, David Pogue, Maria Langer. Last year I bumped into Sinbad
and stood next to the bass player for CHEAP TRICK while he talked with
the folks at one booth about why his buddy Peter Frampton endorsed their
guitar training software. Of course STEVE will be giving the keynote.
(Sometimes he even endears himself to the common people by doing demos at
the Apple booth, just like a REGULAR Apple employee.) If you've never
seen Steve speak, and your BIG DUMB CORPORATION will pay the obscene
price, SEE THE KEYNOTE. Otherwise, get there early, and head right to the
Apple pavillion. They'll broadcast the keynote on a GIANT TV Screen. What
will the ol' master of reality surprise us with this time? Personally,
I'm predicting a Flat Panel iMac. I just hope he keeps the darn price
down. The show starts on the 18th of July and you can still get free


Just the usual Accolades (Thanks!)

Privacy. Never assume that ANYTHING you do on the Internet is Private,
although it might be 'secure'.

When it comes to email, mail sent through a small local ISP using a POP
mail client (where the mail actually spends most of its time on your
local machine) is much less likely to be read than web-based mail
residing on some giant server somewhere - such as Yahoo, Netscape, etc.
This is partly because these BIG sites are the main targets of hackers
and spammers. It's also because these sites are commercial MONSTERS that
will obtain and retain any amount of information about you that might be
of value in a marketplace. How else can they offer 'free' email?? Read
their privacy policies. I'm not saying they actually READ your mail. I'm
just saying they COULD. And who's to say they don't track a list of every
outbound or inbound recipient to your mailbox. Just consider that
information that you put out there is OUT OF YOUR CONTROL.

Beyond the allegedly benign COMMERCIAL interests that represent our
culture, there's the BIG BROTHER FACTOR. If you think about it, there
aren't enough HUMAN minds to listen to every phone conversation or read
every piece of email. But THANKS TO THE WONDERS OF TECHNOLOGY, there's
enough computing power to make the effort. Call me paranoid, call me
prophet, call me for a date, just DON'T CALL ME 'OH ESS EX'! ;-)

There's a project called 'ECHELON' which uses resources from the US,
Canada, Australia, and Britain (and others) to electronically monitor ALL
EMAIL that crosses the Internet. These are allegedly benign government
interests that use the awesome computing power at their disposal to scan
messages for SUSPECT WORDS like: RUBY RIDGE, WACO, TERROR, BOMB, and so
on. You can make up your own list. Obviously if you use those words in an
POWER STRUCTURE. If you're planning some kind of revolution, don't go
carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, and don't send me an email telling me
about it!

See this link for the DOPE on ECHELON. WHOOPS! There's TWO more SUSPECT


Do you do 'Instant Messaging'? This is THE NEXT BIG THING that is
happening right under our noses. Literally, if you have kids. They're
'down' with it. To kids, the Internet is all about AIM (as it is usually
called, referring to AOL's current lock on the market). It's the NEW
version of what in the JURMASSIC days we called IRC (Internet Relay
Chat), which for all I know, is still around. Instant Messaging is one or
more popup windows that allow you to send messages back and forth to a
specific person or group of persons while you're on the Internet.

WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT? Instant Messaging is not secure, and not private.
It has a great deal of potential for abuse. At the very least, ASSUME
that someone other than the intended recipient could be reading your
messages. More on that:

Instant Messages are not private

Buying stuff on the web is becoming more common. Can someone 'steal'
your VISA card number? Sure, it's possible, but it's probably more
SECURE than making a purchase at a restaurant or superstore where some
HUMAN scum may steal the information. On the other hand, when a website
gets your credit card AND all kinds of personal information about your
address, the web sites you've visited, and who knows what else,
you're taking a big chance that your PRIVACY will be compromised. There
are businesses that gather information so that the advertisements and
content on a website can be TARGETED at you. Unfortunately this is so
true of so many websites, where you don't even make purchases, that
it's become an accepted risk. Face it, your web browsing AND buying
habits are going to be profiled somewhere in some big database, and
that information will probably be sold and disseminated to other
commercial ventures.

What can you do? You can never accept 'cookies' in your browser,
according to the article in TIME. Yea right. I dare you to try that. You
won't get into ANY web sites! JUST BE AWARE. Never provide information
that is not 'required'. Setup one of the free email accounts with Yahoo,
Excite, Netscape, etc. I call these 'Spam Magnet' addresses. They're
decoys. Sure, you should check them once in awhile, and clear out the
junk you will undoubtedly receive. If you want to enter contests, or
respond to surveys, or sign up for membership-requiring web sites, and a
form requires an email address, use your Spam Magnet address. If you
really want to protect your privacy, make sure your browser preferences
also contain one of these diversionary addresses. Be aware of it.

That still leaves desktop privacy. And I'll cover that another time. :-)

Read the TIME ISSUE:

If you're really into this whole 'privacy' thing :-) check out this
web site, the 'Security News Network':


Dirty Little Secrets:
Internet privacy issues are just the beginning. The dirty little secret
is that Neil Young was right: Interactive TV means "You'll be watching
your TV and it'll be watching you."


Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
Hmm. Privacy related keystrokes?? Let's say someone walks in on you and
you don't want them to see what you're working on. How about this:

[Command]+[w] - Closes the current window FAST. Of course you might have
to Save your work first, [Command] + [s].

You can also double-click the Title Bar of a window to collapse the
window (like a window-shade, rolling up). Double-click it again to open
it. For this to work, you have to:

1) Open the Appearance Control Panel
2) Click the Options Tab.
3) Check 'Double-click title bar to collapse windows'.

TFSB :-)

** CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **
Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western
Central New Jersey. Published Whenever - About Whatever!

Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full
credit is given. Others please contact the editor. Accuracy of articles
is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Caveat lector. Publication,
product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their

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All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)