Who do you believe?

I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy.

Watching the original X-Files was a command performance for me.

Computer-wise, I used to sit watching my DLink router for hours watching the connection light flicker and wonder just who or what my computer was talking to over that connection.  Since I upgraded to an Apple router, that bit of fun has stopped.  No flashing LEDs for me now.

It’s tough to believe that you can be totally invisible when you’re online.  After all, when you send out a request to the internet via your computer, tablet, or phone, it goes somewhere and finds its way back to you.  Unless you believe in magical dolphins, it has to work somehow.  It’s even made its way to the courts.

I mean, who hasn’t watched your favourite crime show on television and watch the detectives zero in on the bad person by watching their cellphone ping off cell towers?

There are lots of negative commentators who indicate that civilization and education as we know it has everyone’s information up for grabs.  Of course, there are no solutions offered other than turning everything off but it makes for good paranoia anyway.  After all, mean and big XXXXX (insert your favourite online target here) is collecting all your information.  So is your doctor, dentist, pet food store, jewellery store, credit card company, coffee shop, …  All of us make for an interesting profile when you think of it.  It used to be just the friendly face who recognized you from return visits but now it’s any company that keeps records to make you feel like a really special customer when you visit.

But that doesn’t stop those who would spread the paranoia from doing so.

A big story hit this week – I’m used to reading about big, bad Google in this context – but this time it was Microsoft.

Every product has its champion or fan who rise to the challenge when reports like this come by.  This time, it was Ed Bott who broke down the data and made it understandable.

So, who do you believe?

As I’ve mentioned before, I have upgraded this computer to run Windows 10 – intentionally because Windows 7 was such a nightmare I was considering getting rid of Windows altogether and just running Ubuntu.  Windows 10 has been a nice change.  Windows actually runs nicely here and my GRUB gets its exercise booting into both on a regular basis.

Advertising makes our world work these days.  If you’re not aware of this, you just haven’t been paying attention.  So, I think that all of us who had paid for copies of Windows 3.1, CE, XP, Vista, 7, 8 were a little suspicious when 10 was made free.  But it’s not unlike the other free options from Apple.  Whether it’s a noble gesture to make us all better digital citizens or an attempt to provide more tracking and better advertising is up to speculation.  It doesn’t stop people from writing like in the original story above.  Advertising is big and no longer some invisible thing.  Windows 10 lets you manage your Advertising ID as does iOS.  It’s a few clicks or taps deep but it’s worth discovering and seeing if you want to change the default settings.

Being connected is an incredibly sophisticated process.  Even connecting to your home router or a new network can be a challenge.  If you read and understand part of Mr. Bott’s article, you get more of the big picture.  From that perspective, I really enjoyed the read.  It’s not a quick and easy one but it’s information that I’ll bet a lot of people don’t understand. 

So, who do you believe?

And, for the truly paranoid…

OTR Links 02/15/2016

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.