my journal
September 2016

Date: 2011-09-16 00:17
Security: Public
Tags:firefox, rants
Subject: Mozilla Firefox and version numbers

Based on something I've read recently, I want to do a poll of my readers:

Poll #8093 Mozilla Firefox
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 56

Do you use Firefox to browse the web?

View Answers

Yes, I use the official build of Firefox.
49 (87.5%)

Yes, I use a local build of Firefox.
0 (0.0%)

No, but I use a Firefox derivative (like Iceweasel).
1 (1.8%)

6 (10.7%)

If you use Firefox (you answered Yes in question 1), do you know where to look to find the version number of Firefox?

View Answers

Yes; I'd look in the Help->About window (or Firefox->About on Mac OS X).
50 (90.9%)

Yes; I'd find it from elsewhere in Firefox.
0 (0.0%)

Yes; I'd find it using some method outside of Firefox, but I wouldn't know where to look for it inside the program.
0 (0.0%)

No; I'd have no clue where else to look for it.
1 (1.8%)

This question isn't applicable to me as I don't use Firefox.
4 (7.3%)

How about if the version number was taken out of the Help->About / Firefox->About window? Would you still be able to find the version number?

View Answers

Yes; I'd be able to find it from elsewhere in Firefox.
14 (25.5%)

Yes; I'd be able to find it using some method outside of Firefox, but I wouldn't know where to look for it inside the program.
17 (30.9%)

No; I'd have no clue where else to look for it.
20 (36.4%)

This question isn't applicable to me as I don't use Firefox.
4 (7.3%)

If you use Firefox (you answered Yes in question 1), did you know that there was a "Troubleshooting Information" menu item in the "Help" menu?

View Answers

Yes, and I use it regularly.
0 (0.0%)

Yes, and I've used it once or twice.
4 (7.4%)

Yes, and although I've never used it, I know what it does.
7 (13.0%)

I knew it was there, but I've never used it, and I don't know what it does.
10 (18.5%)

No, I never knew it was there until just now.
29 (53.7%)

My version of Firefox doesn't seem to have that option.
0 (0.0%)

This question isn't applicable to me as I don't use Firefox.
4 (7.4%)

My reason for asking )

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Date: 2011-08-28 11:32
Security: Public
xpost, rants, twitter
Subject: Twitter and

I'm thinking of leaving Twitter.

It's mainly because they force that damn URL shortener on all links posted via the service. They don't do this for user convenience, because they even apply it to links that are already shortened by or similar. No, they're doing it for analytics; they want to know what people are clicking on. And I'm damned if I'm going to give them that information. I wrote a Greasemonkey userscript that prevents my browser from going to URLs that I click on the Twitter site, but it seems they still have some analytics that run when you click a link, separate from the shortening. I still need to disable that, too.

(And yes, I know that I already give Google that information when I click on a result on searches. Or rather, I did; I just looked and found that it's trivial to stop the URL mangling that Google does when you click on a link, so I just wrote a Greasemonkey script to stop that, too. This also gives me the advantage that I will no longer bombard anybody with long Google URLs when I right-click a link in the results and copy it to my clipboard. But anyway, this is kinda beside the point.)

I would use , but their Terms of Service state:

By submitting Content to Operator for inclusion on your Website, you grant all readers the right to use, re-use, modify and/or re-distribute the Content under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

I wouldn't have a problem with this if "Content" just meant the text, but if you look to see the definition of "Content", you find that it means anything covered by the action of "[making] (or [allowing] any third party to make) material available by means of the Website". In other words, if you link to a photo/fanfic/tune/etc. of yours via the site, whatever you submitted is then (assuming you have the rights to do so) released under the CC-BY license, because you made it available by means of the site.

I can't agree to that. If I submit any creative works to, I don't to want to be forced to release it under a CC-BY license. So, I haven't signed up for it, much as I want to move away from Twitter.

By the way, the ToS are not shown to you during registration, or at least not on the first step. You do get a checkbox that you have to select to move forward, labelled "My text and files are available under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 except this private data: password, email address, IM address, and phone number.", but no direct link to the ToS. This makes it even worse; legally, there's nothing there to stop someone from interpreting it as "All your files are licensed under CC-BY, even if you didn't submit them to the site". Obviously, if it came to that then this would be legally unenforceable (and of course it's not what are talking about anyway), but still, I have a mistrust of the legal system to get things right.

It's a shame that Twitter are driving me away, because I really like the service. >_< And is the only alternative I know that's even remotely popular compared to Twitter...

6 Comments | Post A Comment | Add to Memories | Tell Someone | Link

Date: 2011-07-24 20:32
Security: Public
Tags:google+, names, pseudonymity, rants
Subject: Google+

I have a few posts that I need to make. But I'll start by talking about Google+.

Let me first just state for the record that I do not use Google+ nor am I ever likely to do so. I do not have a profile and I'm not going to sign up for it to look around.

With that said, I've been hearing a lot about it lately. People are calling it Google's answer to Facebook, although to be honest I'm not entirely sure why it exists. It's only going to fragment the social networking scene more and make each of them less useful than they'd otherwise be. And I see no reason to believe that Google are going to treat your data with any more respect than Facebook do. On the contrary, in fact - Facebook doesn't know what you search for, what you click on in search result pages, or what your email inbox contains. Google very possibly knows all three, among other things, and with the addition of social networking, where they know who your friends are, it becomes quite clear that the massive amount of data they hold about you is, quite frankly, terrifying.

Let me clarify that, because on the surface it sounds like knowing who your friends are isn't such a big thing. The thing is, you can get a *lot* of information about a person not from them themselves, but by the information their friends give about themselves. Interests, hobbies, sites you're interested in, the social circles/cliques you're in... even if you give no information about any of these on your profile page, there's a good chance that your friends will, and when aggregated, this information can actually pretty effectively show not only what you're interested in (for example), but *how* interested you are in it, simply by seeing how many times it crops up.

Obviously, it's not foolproof. A friend of mine, who reads this journal, finds that automated services which find out information using this sort of method always tends to think he's interested in Doctor Who - which he isn't, but a lot of his friends are. That said, it's still a pretty darn good way of finding out this information; the same person, when shown results from tools that I made (which also had Doctor Who as one of its items listed) said that the rest of the results were very accurate.

Okay, enough about blog sociology for now. Let's talk about Google+'s display names policy. The Google+ User Content and Conduct Policy has this to say on the subject:

13. Display Name

To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your full legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, either of those would be acceptable.
Great! So it sounds like Google is being inclusive and letting people use the names they're generally known by, right?

Wrong. There have been a lot of cases where people are getting their profiles suspended from Google+ because "After reviewing your profile, we determined that the name you provided violates our Community Standards." This even though the name they provided is in fact the name that their friends, family and co-workers usually call them, just because the name doesn't look like a 'real name'. This also happened to a friend of mine, Skud, and she's written a blog post detailing all this, along with screenshots. (People may be amused to note that she's even a former Google employee.)

So if you use your real name, you should be safe, right? After all, how can they say that it isn't your real name?

Turns out they can. Ka-Ping (or just Ping) has had his account suspended, even though that is his real first name. So has So had Limor 'Ladyada' Fried, although the account is back now. So did CHAN, Tai Man. [edited: Actually, reading that thread, I think they would fall into the category above rather than this one, as it sounds like they were using the name they were commonly known by and not their Pinyin name. But still.] In fact, from what I hear, a lot of people are having their accounts suspended. Remember, Google's policy is to use the name you're best known by.

And, of course, there's the fact that many people deliberately don't use their real names on the Internet. I've talked about this particular issue before, and it can be for many different reasons, safety being one of them (and one of the most important, in my view). You all know my views on that, so I won't go into it any more. (If you don't know my views, check out the linked post.)

In short, Google+ is a mess, it'll fragment the social networking scene, it gives Google a huge amount of information about yourself, and Google aren't implementing their policies as stated on a hugely important matter.

And that's why I'm never going to be using it.

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Date: 2011-07-06 02:40
Security: Public
Tags:link, rants
Subject: ...I hate it when companies do this.

So, remember the messiah:studio offer I talked about in February? The idea was that the prices would slowly return to their regular prices after a while.

And yes, they have risen, but I'm fairly sure they've been stuck now at $199 and $149 for a while. And in fact, I just used Google Cache to verify that on July 1st, the page was reading that the price of the Pro edition would go to $249 on July 3rd, and $299 on July 24th. Today, that same page reads that it'll go to $249 on July 24th, and $299 on August 14th.

Not cool. Luring customers to buy with the promise that the price will go up later, and then not having the prices go up on schedule, is misleading and false advertising. And this isn't an out-of-date page that was only used during the offer; this is the page that's being linked to as the official Shop page.

This isn't a judgement on the actual software at all; merely a judgement on the practices of the company behind it. I really hate when companies pull sneaky things like that. :(

2 Comments | Post A Comment | Add to Memories | Tell Someone | Link

Date: 2011-05-20 20:08
Security: Public
Tags:portal, portal 2, rants
Subject: Spoiler-free Portal 2 rant (possibly triggering: fat)

Lately I've been watching Portal 2 playthroughs on YouTube. (Yes, I have finished it for myself.) And there's one thing that annoys me with the people who play it.

Cut for potential triggers regarding fatness issues. Post is spoiler-free. )

15 Comments | Post A Comment | Add to Memories | Tell Someone | Link

Date: 2010-11-07 19:29
Security: Public
Mood:aggravated aggravated
Subject: Ads as site background = ARGH

Okay, what is it with the new trend where websites will use the background of the page as advertisement spots?

It's incredibly annoying. I *always* click the background to get rid of any focus that's on the page. I do not want an ad there.

Yes, okay, so they're getting lots of clicks from me and from anybody else. And I'm sure that for the websites themselves, that's probably quite profitable. But it's going to suck money out of the advertisers' pockets, because their click-to-purchase ratio is going to drop dramatically because nobody wants an ad there. I suppose that's the only comfort one can take out of this; anybody who advertises using it is not going to want to use it long.


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Date: 2010-03-17 03:32
Security: Public
Mood:stressed stressed
Subject: (no subject)

There's a site that I like to browse sometimes which is liberal-minded by its very nature, and a lot of the time I find myself agreeing with what commenters say on it (being liberal-minded myself - and in the US meaning of the word). However, on a search recently I saw something said by a commenter that I just cannot agree with and that I find absolutely disgusting.

Cut for potential triggers. )

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Date: 2010-02-17 22:37
Security: Public
Mood:annoyed annoyed
Tags:benefits, rants
Subject: Benefits

The #1 thing on the top of my mind right now:

Why the freaking heck didn't anybody ever tell me about both the existence of and the fact that I'm apparently eligible for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit?

So much money just *wasted*. Now that I know, I'll apply, and that'll go some way towards alleviating my living costs right now.

My family never told me anything about benefits. So far I haven't been receiving *any* - not a penny. That's because I thought the only one I might be entitled to was JSA, and then only if I was actually looking for a job. I have quite a lot of savings, you see, so I figured that automatically disqualified me from most things.

Living is just so goddamned hard. What I really need is someone to help me with all this. I'm slow; I find it really difficult to get to grips with this stuff. (This is partially the reason I believe I have Aspergers, but, meh.)

[edit: Turns out I may have been right about not being eligible. Gah. I really don't need this.]

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