Thursday, August 27, 2009

Facebook security

I've been using Facebook more often lately, almost everyday. And yet as I tried to sign in yesterday it's telling that I need to verify my account. It doesn't make sense really. The reason given is that I'm signing in from an unfamiliar location. Wow, so Facebook keeps track of from where I sign in and I actually have to sign in from the same place all the time? Please.

Besides, I've been signing in from the exact same location for the last few days and yet there was no problem. Now I'm thinking maybe it's some sort of phishing attempt. I feel so uncomfortable going through this step. Just one more reason to hate dislike Facebook. Below is the message I get after entering my email and password.

You are signing in from an unfamiliar location. For your security, please verify your account. This check prevents others from accessing your account without your permission. If your password is stolen through a phishing site, for example, this step keeps your account safe. You will not be prompted every time. For additional information please see

I still don't understand how entering my birth date will help Facebook know that it's really me. Seriously! My birthday is displayed on my profile, it's practically public information. If somebody is really trying to break into my account and made it pass the username/password that person most likely will have my birth date. I hate strongly dislike Facebook I wish my friends were not on there.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What Facebook does with your deleted photos

Remember my Facebook Horror Story? Today I read an article on Yahoo Tech where Christopher Null explains how the photos you delete from your online pages don't get deleted. Of course if you are one of my beloved readers that's not news to you.

I've actually reused my deleted Facebook profile picture. What happened is I wanted to add many new friends and I wanted them to recognize me when they received my invite. Guess what I did? Since I didn't have a photo with me I simply went on my deleted facebook photo's address, downloaded it and uploaded it to Facebook again. If you read the Yahoo tech article you'll notice that the author claims the sites would keep your deleted content only for a few days or weeks, in my case the photo was still available at the old address after a few months. Keep in mind that this was a photo that should not have been public in the first place.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's day card
Today is February 14. I would like to wish you all a Happy Valentine's day. It's a belated wish for those of you who are many hours ahead of me. Here in Haiti it's still time to wish the ones you love a Happy Valentine's day. I hope you made someone smile today and that you did take the time to remind the people who love you how much you love them too.

Needless to say that you don't have to wait for a special day like Valentine's day to tell the people you love how much they mean to you. Even if you don't buy chocolate or special gifts there are many ways you can express you love.

Now a few words of wisdom from the good book, from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Friday, February 06, 2009

Valentine's day specials for singles

I was reading an article recently about how to enjoy your singleness on Valentine's day. Instead of writing an ode to singleness I simply wanted to point out the fact that as V day is approaching many dating sites are offering specials. While there are sites that offer special promotions every now and then, some seem to only do so when Valentine's day is near.

So what's a single person to do? Well, if you've been considering joining a dating site but didn't want to spend too much money on it, now is the time. Seriously! I'll simply tell you about the sites I know of who have specials, whether they offer extended free trials or free upgrades. Before I list the sites I would advise you not to join those sites to find a date for Valentine's day because frankly you won't have enough time to get to know the people you'll be meeting on those sites enough to be already going out on a date alone with them. And when you do find someone that you got to know and like enough to go out on a date with, remember, safety first. Pick the offer and the site you find most appealing and good luck.

worldfriends valentines day special

1- Worldfriends
Once again worldfriends valentines day special is having a Valentine's day promotion where you get double the time you pay for. For example if you buy a 3 month membership you get an additional 3 months free or if you buy a 6 month membership you get 6 more months free, likewise, if you pay for 12 months you get 12 additional months for free. It's a great deal. Even if you only buy a modest 1 month membership you get not one but 2 additional months for free. The more time you get to spend as a premium member, the more people you'll be able to contact. If you can afford it, I would recommend the VIP+Open Club membership which gives you all the premium benefits one can have on Worldfriends. Register right now on Worldfriends for free.

2- Lavalife

Lavalife is offering a 7 Day FREE Trial for this Valentine period, instead of the usual 24 hours free trial. You can't be cheaper than free. It's only 7 days but if you really enjoy being on the site you might want to stay longer. You need to register soon because this offer expires in 8 days. Lavalife is a very popular dating site so you will find many potential matches. Use those 7 days to search and browse profiles and to initiate contact, see what happens. Register right now on Lavalife for your free trial.

3- Matchmaker

Matchmaker is offering a 10 day free trial, it's free and they don't ask you for your credit card when you register for the trial period. Did I say it's free? You'll have a little more than a week to find out if Matchmaker is the right site for you. Since this is a special promotion period there will probably be more active members on the site during that period than usual which is good for you of course. Another good thing about this promotion is that it ends only on February 28th so you've got lots of time to try the other two sites first ;). Register before the end of the month on Matchmaker for your 10 day free trial

Those are only three of the many dating sites with promotions for this Valentine period, try them out or check the dating sites you're already registered with and see if they are not offering special Valentine's day promotions too.

Related Posts
Why you should join Worldfriends today
Meet People at Matchmaker

Friday, January 30, 2009

Online dating sites

I often talk about free online dating sites. I've joined so many during the years but frankly I barely spend time on them lately. The latest one I tried out was mingles, it's free of course, not very flashy like paid dating sites are but it looks OK. I'm not going to write extensively about it like I used to, I'll just point you to another site where you can read about it in more details.

I see many people use free online dating sites the same way they use social networks. They don't really search for dates as they contact people from far and distant lands that they will never visit.

Many people, especially those that are online often seem to use those sites to find a chat partner. That's way they will often give you their msn messenger email in the first message that they send you. I've met a few people on some of those sites but since I don't use msn messenger a lot we don't really keep in touch.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Facebook Horror Story

Or, What Happens to your photos once you post them on Facebook.

So you have a Facebook profile and you enjoy reading daily updates from your friends and browsing their photo albums. You also enjoy posting your own photos and updating your status. It's fun and safe, you think, because after all, you use the privacy settings to not show your profile in search results and all your photos are accessible to your friends only. You feel in complete control of everything that you've added to Facebook so far.

But do you realize that simply by posting your photo on Facebook you grant the site the right to reuse that Photo for any purpose they please. Yes, they can use your private photos anytime anywhere because you grant them that right. You don't believe me? Read this directly from their Terms of Use:

By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.

No big deal, you think, because after all you can delete your photos on Facebook can't you? In fact you can't. You can't delete your account either. Still don't believe me? More from the Terms:

You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.

So as you just read, even when you delete something from Facebook it remains there indefinitely. Even though they say that the license you granted theme expires ask yourself this: if they did not intend to reuse your content why would they keep it?

You might be thinking it's no big deal because you're not famous. The fact is it may not bother you now but who knows in 2, 5, 10, 20 years what will you think of it?

And this is not even the horror story I promised. Nope, I have my very own your-content-is-ours-and-we-keep-it-forever story with Facebook.

So here I am, a reluctant but long time hi5 user now on Facebook where many of my hi5 friends seem to have migrated. I added just one picture so my long lost classmates can recognize me when I send them friend requests. You can read my first impressions from using Facebook then come back to read the rest of this story.

One day, a friend sent me an invite to install an application. Actually the application used my friend's details to send me an invite to install it. While in one of those confusing pages where you choose what type of access to grant the application I see a Facebook-like button telling me I have one message. Thinking the message was from the application I clicked.

facebook ad

I know I should have been more careful but I would have never guessed that Facebook allowed ads with buttons that look exactly like the ones on the site. Truly, it's the most misleading ads I've ever seen. Anyway, I clicked then it happened. I saw myself on a site I had never heard of. The site had my Facebook profile photo and my public details. I was horrified. How to remove myself from this site? HOW!!! I tried and tried and just wouldn't find anything. This site that I shall not name, wanted me to think that they had imported my Facebook details to it and created a profile for me. I'll call the site, the Site Without a Name, SWN for short.

After investigating a little I realized that in fact what happened is even scarier. This 'SWN' was 'reading' my Facebook information from my browser session. Don't ask me how I don't know, maybe it's some sort of spyware. What it does is as long as your logged into Facebook it shows your profile picture and any public info you have available. Which means, if you Log out of Facebook and go on SWN site, it no longer shows your so-called profile but tells you that the site is 'Not open to you'. And it shows you an add for a Facebook application (I wonder if I can report this application and have it banned from Facebook?). As soon as you click on the ad it sends you to what looks like a Facebook login page (you can never be 100% sure these days) so you can login and proceed to install the application.

In a moment of panic, I deleted my profile photo. Hoping that it would no longer show up on the SWN profile page. Since they take the information from Facebook that should certainly solve the problem since the photo is no longer there, right? Wrong! Remember what you read earlier about Facebook keeping your content indefinitely. You see, each photo you add has a unique address and it is that address that the SWN site uses. When you delete the photo from your profile, it simply does not show up in your profile but its address remains the same. Since the SWN site knows your photo's address, it can reuse it at will even when it does not show up in your profile.

But the horror doesn't stop here. As I was getting used to my faceless profile, looking at what my friends where doing and just browsing around on Facebook. The most horrifying thing that ever happened to me on a social network happened. Keep in ming that I've tried many social networks and I'm active in quite a few, Friendster, hi5, Orkut, Myspace, WAYN, Mash(R.I.P.), 360 and I'm probably forgetting a few. As I was browsing and went back to the home page it was there... The photo that I had deleted. How? Where? When? I have not idea. I hadn't reupload it but it was there starring at me. Facebook was asking me to crop it. I was so stunt that I just didn't do anything. What happened can anybody tell me?

For a moment I wanted to set it back as my profile picture, yet I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if I simply clicked 'close' (Close what? I have no idea. Facebook is one of the most confusing sites I've even used). So I did it, closed and was back to my picture-less profile.

So now it's official, I think Facebook is dangerous.

Read more of my experiences with Facebook:
Facebook, second impression
Facebook - First impression