Techno-Trinkets: Firefox Bookmarks, Flash Books, and Redundent Data Storage

This is going to be the beginning of a semi-regular series where I’ll post some of the (what I find) interesting things that I’ve been playing with/working on. I expect that the its will tend to be somehow related to my work in IT, my work as a graduate student, and my persistent work in developing a redundant large storage system at home.

Bookmark Sync and Sort

I work on a lot of computers on a regular basis. I have a series of them at work, my laptop (which travels pretty well everywhere with me), and a few at home. You know, in addition to all the other computers I pass by on a regular basis. To date, the best bookmark synchroniser that I found was Foxmarks, but I wasn’t a terribly large fan of putting my data on another person’s server. In addition to that, when you send your data it isn’t encrypted (while https data will be encrypted using standard Firefox encryption, it still means that what you have bookmarked will be sent along whatever networks you happen to be operating on). Ultimately, those two matters meant that I wasn’t particularly comfortable with the Foxmarks solution.

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Doubleclick + Adblock = I’m a Moral Monster?

I’m back to Linux after spending time in Windows to work on my thesis (it’s in the .docx format that I railed about previously, before I knew much about the format and, because of the importance of the document, I’m loathe to transfer it to another format), which means that I have access to all of the links that I’ve been gradually storehousing over the past few months. I have a lot to talk about, but one of the most pressing surrounds ‘moral’ arguments directed towards blocking online ads.

The Background

If you use the Mozilla Firefox web browser, then you have access to some of the most potent ad-blocking software that is currently available to you. If you install the Adblock Plus extension, easily 98% of the ads that you’d normally see online go away – it’s wonderful. You can hit up websites, get content, and not be distracted by ads.

In related news, Google Corporation recently bought Doubleclick. Doubleclick is a massive online advertising company, one that buys ‘banner spaces’ and sells them to interested parties. Doubleclick logs the IP addresses (the number associated with your computer’s online activities) when you click an ad. Google is currently facing a barrage of challenges from the EU in light of their purchase because their internal database, combined with Doubleclick’s, will allow Google to effectively target discrete individuals because of the substantial digital dossiers they will be able to covertly collect.

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