2013-07-03 / Front Page

Internet In Bloom For The Layperson


The media’s preoccupation with Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance and Private Bradley Manning, who allegedly sent 250,000 diplomatic cables and 500,000 battlefield reports from Afghanistan and Iraq to Wikileaks in 2009 and 2010, thus considered the largest leak of secret U.S. government documents in history, is not surprising, considering many technical experts, myself included, have been telling the public not to put anything of a sensitive or private nature online for years.  If you would not post the data on the front page of your favorite newspaper then do not use it online.  I like to consider the Internet, the Eternal-net, in that respect.  If you doubt this, choose your favorite search engine and do a search for your name.  If you are feeling brave, do a Google image search by using www.Google.com and clicking on the Images link on the top of your screen.  
Speaking of Google, for a company that began in 1998 with the motto, “Don’t be evil” you have to wonder if a better name for the company might have been George Orwell’s  “Big Brother Is Watching You”.  For example, now if you create a new e-mail address with Google, you will have to provide a working phone number.  If you want to delete your Google e-mail account software aka app, short for application, from your cellphone, you will probably be forced to perform a factory reset, which deletes all of your previous software downloads, such as handy GPS maps, games, etc. The word Google sounds friendly, like the mumbling an innocuous newborn makes. However, CBS News leaked that Google will be selling their own brand of PDAs soon, such as tablets and other portable devices.
Alternatively, you could use a different company for your free e-mail, such as www.Hushmail.com.  Hushmail advertises privacy online through encryption. However, in 2007 this company was documented giving total access to all of its user records to the government. Yahoo’s free e-mail at www.Yahoo.com, is loaded with huge, full-page commercials. Ugh!  At present all free e-mail providers have pluses and minuses.
On a lighter note, as featured in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, www.Taskrabbit.com is an innovative temporary employment Web site for both individuals and companies.  For individuals, the site gets 20 percent of all payments.  Taskrabbit is located in major cities throughout the U.S.  For a list of which cities and towns, see the Web site itself.  Their concept sounds ideal for those who like to set their own hours and have more autonomy, as most employees set their own rates for each task performed. The site gives you average rates so you know what to charge per service performed. Users may post tasks they would like to pay others to do, such as:  shopping, returns or exchanges and furniture assembly.  All employees are given a background check.    
Ted J. Bloom, MLS., MSEd., CPL., has been a published columnist in New York since 1999. A college librarian in Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan with two graduate degrees, some of his credentials include creating and running a career preparation computer lab for at-risk youth through the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as being a SUNY Communications Instructor and a YMCA Director.

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