Are you concerned about your privacy? Do you use Facebook? Answering yes to both of these questions is a contradiction. Like the story of “Peter and the Wolf”, I keep saying I’ll stop using FB any day now and I haven’t but….stories like this one in Gizmodo about the “People You May Know” (PYMK) feature are nudging me closer to the edge.
In the months I’ve been writing about PYMK, (People You May Know) as Facebook calls it, I’ve heard more than a hundred bewildering anecdotes:
- A man who years ago donated sperm to a couple, secretly, so they could have a child—only to have Facebook recommend the child as a person he should know. He still knows the couple but is not friends with them on Facebook.
- A social worker whose client called her by her nickname on their second visit, because she’d shown up in his People You May Know, despite their not having exchanged contact information.
- A woman whose father left her family when she was six years old—and saw his then-mistress suggested to her as a Facebook friend 40 years later.
Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.
The only reason I keep reading FB, not participating is to wish happy birthdays and to check on a business group I belong to. My whole family and close friends are there but I notice that even their own interactions are less every day. I’ve unfollowed so many people that when I go to my newsfeed I scroll down and I’m told there’s nothing new to see! (I tend to use the “recent items” newsfeed and that’s enough for me).
All this to say that I’m getting close to pulling the plug on the whole thing, and the Gizmodo story has moved me closer. Below are a few reminders of how FB operates just in case you have forgotten. In my opinion, they’re really not a good bunch of people over there, but in the end, to use it or not is a personal choice. Be careful out there.
This CBC article covers some of FB big problems that have made the news
Emotional manipulation study “The complaint alleges Facebook deceived users by secretly conducting a psychological experiment to explore if seeing positive or negative updates in their news feeds would sway their emotions.”
Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’
Facebook Criticisms. You don’t have to read it all, but just look at this Wikipedia article to see how long the list is…it’s mind-blowing.
Now back to wearing my tin-foil hat and continue building that Faraday cage around my apartment.
Taking inspiration from Jason Kottke at kottke.org (one of the best independent blogs out there that deserves your support), I’ll be posting the media I’ve been consuming recently.
“The Hanging Tree” by Ben Aaronovitch is book #6 in the Rivers of London series. Of the previous books, I think this one is going to rank around the middle for me. I’m almost done with it and as usual, it’s brilliant writing (which in my book is a given since the guy wrote for Dr. Who). I think this story will rank in the middle of the whole series, It all takes place in London and as usual, we follow Peter, the policeman/wizard apprentice in his investigation. This is no Harry Potter wizardry, by the way, it’s an adult crime series with magic as a twist. I highly recommend the series, start with the first book and you’ll be hooked for the whole thing.
A-ha Unplugged – Summer Solstice. The boys from Norway recorded a sort of acoustic session of their hits in a remote island and the result is something else. As proof, I offer “Stay on These Roads” or their biggest hit “Take on Me”, which is adapted beautifully.
The Good Place. Marga and I started watching this TV series after it was recommended in various places online. The setup is so quirky and different that after a couple of episodes we binged on the first season on Netflix. The more you watch the more you want to stick around to see where they take the story. Kirsten Bell, Ted Danson and the rest of the cast is funny as hell.
The After On Podcast – The Fermi Paradox. On the podcast front this one kinda blew my mind, mostly because a lot of the discussion made my brain hurt in a good way. Rob Reid is the author of the novel “After On”, described as “A fun, humorous, fast-paced, and fascinating take on what happens when an AI awakens.” which is right up my alley but…I haven’t gotten to reading it…yet. What I did check out is the podcast series that the author created to promote his book (one of the best marketing ideas I’ve seen in a while). He interviews famous thinkers and scientists about the topics that his book explores and the one I linked to above is my favourite so far. The Fermi Paradox tries to answer the following: “Where are the aliens? Given that our star and Earth are part of a young planetary system compared to the rest of the universe — and that interstellar travel might be fairly easy to achieve — the theory says that Earth should have been visited by aliens already”. This conversation is fun, intelligent and even scary. Highly recommended if you’re into science and the real search for E.T.
Season 2 of Stranger Things on Netflix was a joy to watch. It’s always a tricky challenge to make the second season of a beloved show as good as the first season. It’s even more difficult to make it better. I’m not saying season 2 is absolutely better (season 1 was such a fun ride that it will always edge out the rest), but in my opinion, it’s as good as the first one and better in a couple of places.
The new season feels like it allowed every character it’s moment to shine, even with the addition of a couple of new characters. We got to see the core group of kids as individuals with their own unique family lives and quirks. The scenes with Steve and Dustin were really fun, Eleven got to have a massive adventure and Hopper was again the anchor of the cast, and his little dancing scene has gone viral as hilarious memes…
I could go on and on…Paul Riser is always fun to watch…Sean Astin plays the role of “red shirt” Bob perfectly and the conspiracy theory character made me laugh out loud…I’ll wrap it up by saying I highly recommend it. As a final note, here’s the awesome soundtrack to the series, which will take you back to the mid-eighties in style.
Tonight’s sunset is very much on theme. Also, no rain for the Vancouver kids for once!
Sunny October days do make up for all the rain we get.
Tuesday is usually just plain meh, worse than Wednesday. At least Wednesday has the label “hump day” going for it. Tuesday doesn’t have much going for it but sometimes…it can surprise you.
This is the start of my personal blog. For a long time I’ve wanted to have a place of my own to write about a variety of topics, so let’s be honest, there’s going to be a lot of science fiction, Apple and tech, movies, TV shows, and everything about the 80’s…you’ve been warned. I’ve also wanted a place where I would own my content and where I wouldn’t have to put up with the bullshit that sites like Facebook make you go through. I don’t need “likes” and I don’t have to get bombarded with other peoples content. Basically, I’m posting but I don’t have to see what you post unless I’m into it, and that sounds awesome to me.
The paint is still drying but I’ll get things nice and shiny soon enough.
See you around.