Internet of Things

We are pretty good at labelling things and then making them seem real. When the net first took off in the 90s we were using it how we wanted and we were saving to our computers or 1.44MB floppie disks. We had fun downloading programmes of our own choice to run on our computers. The desktop became the laptop became the tablet became the smartphone. We now have streaming and cloud services. Programmes became software became apps. Everything has a chip in it. We can do computer diagnostics on our cars and we have life saving monitoring equipment in hospitals. Every bit of a pregnancy and birth is monitored and tracked on a computer. Cars cannot get us easily from one place to another because of roadworks and infrastructure changes. The internet of things isn’t what they say it is but it is. It does exist and it can serve us well. We can have a smart home if we want one. We can sometimes navigate our way out of a difficult driving situation if we need to. We can connect with businesses and organisations in a helpful , effective way if necessary. We never have to live in ignorance or feel disconnected because we have internet access and we have technology tools which link us and help us to collaborate , share and grow ideas.

The problem appears to be that we are not driving it. We are being driven.  Our photos are hijacked helpfully to the cloud. Tabloid news is bingly bonging onto our devices whenever it wants to. Adverts will hang a device or a computer because they feel like it. Our privacy has been ignored and our capacity to develop our own way of being with our device has been overridden. We now have world class gamers which the gaming industry cannot keep up with. They can finish a new game and then be waiting several months for  a new game to come out. They are very good at what they do. They think at the speed of light and can process information and strategy at awesome speeds but the games are complex and take time to make. The gamers don’t want to be held in a holding pattern until something new arrives and virtual reality isn’t appealing to them much at the moment. We haven’t addressed that level of complexity. We created it but we can’t deal with it.

So many people are walking away from technology other than for essential services and contact because is has become TheirNet and no longer MyNet. The upsurge of board games is an interesting by product of that. Monopoly, Cluedo and Ludo , in particular, are enjoying new found success. People are dumping their smartphones because of all the notifications, interfering buttons and screens and lack of capacity to just do something. They are buying cheap phones which  call and message. Just like in the 90s when a phone did what you wanted. The ever growing minimalist movement is doing a lot to counterbalance and rationalise this internet of things because it isn’t what we were thinking. It exists but we need time to think about what we need and want. We need clarity but we also need our own personal space on the net which is ours and not theirs.

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Protect your privacy

Privacy

Image: Pixabay

I have mentioned BetterCloud before. I subscribe to the email and I always get very good quality tech information. Today was no different. In this morning’s email was a link to an article about 66 ways to protect your privacy. You may know some of them, you may want to try the others and then there might be some you are not sure about and you can investigate. If nothing else this is a lot of solid advice about how to protect your privacy online.

Check your Facebook settings

Facebook likes and comments

Image:  Customised from Clipart Kid

Great functionality for stalkers, noseyparkers and eavesdroppers. Facebook is now running a live feed in the sidebar on the activity of your Facebook friends so you know when they like something and when they are commenting on something. I’ve just shut my sidebar down because it is none of my business. As such that sidebar is also broadcasting when you are online which may or may not be a problem. Facebook asks a lot of us and I think it’s time we need to ask Facebook to adapt to our needs too. We know Facebook. We know it’s a blabbermouth but the amount of concern caused by the broadcasting of likes and comments on the main Facebook feed was enough to drive people to try and find a way to shut it down. That was invasive. Now the live sidebar is escalating that. Facebook has always pushed the social boundaries and operated on the notion that people will squawk for a while and then settle down. Good old chook shed slapping. This comments and likes broadcasting is causing real concern fro two main reasons:

  1. Your friends and friends of friends can see what you like and comment on
  2. Friends of friends can comment and like  things from your friends even though they don’t know each other

It comes back to the settings. You cannot turn off the broadcasting of what you have liked and commented on. You cannot control it either. Your Facebook friends have to limit this for you. They have to go to their settings and change the permissions so that your privacy is respected a bit more. It would be better and easier for Facebook to change its algorithm but it’s called co option and, at this point, it is unclear as to what we are being co opted into. Asking others to change their setting?  Leaving Facebook because they have gone too far and thereby being the ones who bring down Facebook? Not liking and commenting so that Facebook gets no more interaction and therefore fewer discussions which breaks our connections?

Everyone needs to look at their settings. You can start with the 5 cnet recommended in 2011. You can try and scroll down to the bottom of your own Facebook wall to adjust further settings there. Quickest way is to click and hold anywhere on the Facebook page and press the spacebar. I am never going to get to the bottom of my wall. It just keeps loading. Check the settings top right of your Facebook page, especially notifications and limit who sees what you publish and do. Set it to friends and not public or friends of friends. Check the bottom right of your Facebook page and click on the cog. Change those settings to suit your needs. Check your privacy settings. Basically, you have to go around Facebook and take  control of the settings as much as you can. You can help change this by contacting Facebook about your concerns and also by asking your friends to change their settings…which is rude, but we seem to be living in a socially incompetent world by default.

Get out your Facebook settings again

Facebook settingsTop right of the screen when you log into Facebook is your name. Next to that is a little padlock and then a little cog. Those are your settings. The one with the padlock controls what you broadcast ,who can search for you and who can contact you. Go through each one and make a decision. If you restrict it you will presumably not be logging into sites with your Facebook account and you will want to tell people yourself that they can come onto your Facebook. The second lot of settings is quite considerable and takes time to go through. You may have apps on your Facebook account which are accessing your information. You can change that. You don’t want your friends to be broadcasting your information…or do you? That is your decision. How to lockdown your Facebook account on Facecrooks goes through these settings one by one very clearly and then you can make some sensible choices. Do you really want your phone number on Facebook? Have you used location maps on your phone to say where you live? Is that what you want? Make a habit of going through the settings and deciding what you want to broadcast and how you want that information used and passed on. Practise safe settings for all the accounts you subscribe to online.

Are you logged out?

privacy

Check you are logged out

One of the unpleasant sides of human nature, it would appear, is if they find your account of any description is not logged out then they will go in and wreck it in one way or another. Friends and family seem to do this to others particularly on Facebook. My way of looking at it is to translate that behaviour into a REAL life situation. If you visited a friend or family member and their front door were unlocked and left open, what would you do? Would you go in and graffiti? Change their furniture? Write on their walls? Would you shut the door , secure it and let them know? If you find someone has forgotten to log themselves out – LOG THEM OUT. It’s about respect. It is particularly difficult if you are away or if you cannot easily go to where you logged into Facebook. Mobile people will be logging into Facebook on other computers. It’s back to CHECK YOUR SETTINGS. You go to settings top right, then privacy, account security and then click on account activity. Facebook will give you a list of computers which you are logged into or have been logged into. Next to each of them is an edit option. You can shut down any open sessions. This can be done on a mobile phone or tablet if you need to. You can always access your settings. It is also good to set Facebook to the secure settings and if you do have to use alternate devices and computers often to also activate the notifications of devices and Facebook will send you a message if you are logged into a computer/device you do not normally use. People need to be reminded that these options exist. You can protect yourself.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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