Archive for January, 2011

Privacy, not yours, other people’s….

January 30th, 2011 No comments
Screenshot of Facebook's Friend Finder Feature

Sure, give Facebook your email password, good plan!

This call to action periodically appears on Facebook as an inducement to provide them information to help you locate people you know on Facebook. It’s wrong, deeply wrong in so many ways. You don’t even need to factor Facebook’s already very checkered history with security and privacy. You don’t even need to decide for yourself to be more cautious than you are. All you need do is take a moment to consider that others might be offended, or worse, by your actions.

Don’t do it. Ever.

It’s wrong because it encourages you to decide on behalf of others what their level of privacy concern should be and to compromise their privacy without their consent.

Think about what you risk doing to others by using this feature:

  • If you use your employer’s email you have almost certainly violated their internet usage policy by granting a third party access to your account. Unless you own the company yourself, your work email account doesn’t belong to you. Your work contacts list doesn’t belong to you. Unless you’re the I.T. top dog, you’re not allowed to decide who can access password protected company resources. If you do what Facebook suggests you do with your employer’s email account without explicit permission, you should be fired. Period.
  • If you use your own email address, you have decided that you are both qualified to decide and entrusted by everyone on your contact list to share their personal information with Facebook. Believe it or not, lots of people want nothing to do with Facebook. Now they’re part of Facebook’s data pool. If you upload their contact info, Facebook has that but they also now know those email addresses are connected to you and, to a degree, to each other. Connected to you and whatever you felt like sharing with your Facebook community. Perhaps your friends aren’t too keen on being associated in a database with somebody who’s into knitting? Perhaps they’d prefer to keep their membership in the Free Masons on the down-low?

Sure, this is an extreme case. The hubris on Facebook’s part in actually asking you for log-in credentials for an account is unusual and, I hope, obviously excessive. The problem is, many sites ask you to compromise others under the pretext of doing you, or them, a service. Decide only for yourself who to trust.

Unless you’ve established a prior agreement with your friends that it’s OK….

  • Don’t use ‘send to a friend’ buttons on a web site. Copy the URL and write an email. Let them decide for themselves.
  • Don’t use evites or other  similar services to plan events by giving the service the email addresses of your friends.
  • Don’t send them ‘gifts’, real or virtual, by giving a web site their email address.

If you can’t refrain from doing these things, don’t be surprised to discover who ‘un-friends you’.

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Google dumps h.264 support in Chrome.

January 11th, 2011 No comments

Google’s move re: h.264 in Chrome appears lame and disingenuous. I’d write something but Daring Fireball did it perfectly:

Summary: Going forward, Google’s Chrome Browser will only support Google’s own WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs but it appears they plan to continue to support Flash. Whyzat?

Remember, MPEG-LA has committed to cost-free use of h.264 IP for free content. The looming threat of license fees was lifted.

****************Update 1.17.11****************

Link of interest:

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Boinx Being Smart Re: Mac App Store

January 11th, 2011 No comments

I received the following email from Boinx Software and  because it, and Boinx in general, are a great example of a company behaving in the ways I advocated in my yesterday post about the Mac App Store, I am posting it here by way of example.

Expect this kind of behavior and transparency from the companies whose products you buy and accept nothing less.

Note their transparency, their careful walking of the line regard’s Apple’s policies and confidentiality without taking all the heat for limitations imposed by Apple. Go look at their web site. Note also their decision not to forego direct distribution even as they expand into the Mac App Store. Note that they were able to contact me because they maintain a relationship with their customers and while they do announce, they are not spam-like in their frequency of broadcasts. (I could wish for some tweaks to their emailing methods like a text only option and not using a third party provider but that’s a topic for another day.)

I’m going to hope they decide their forthcoming “App Store Exclusive” experiment goes well for them but that they elect to sell the forthcoming product directly too.

————-Email From Boinx Below ————

Questions regarding the Mac App Store
Dear [customer name],
2011 is off to a good start with the launch of the Mac App Store.Steve Jobs even quoted me in his press release!
Many of you have contacted us with questions regarding the Mac App Store. I decided to write this email because the answers to your questions are probably of interest to all of our customers!
Here are some of the questions we have received from customers:
Q: Are you going to continue to sell your products outside the App Store?
A: Yes. All currently available products will continue to be available through our website. However, we are going to announce an exciting new product soon which will be available exclusively at the Mac App Store to begin with, because we want to try out this path of action.
Q: I noticed that the apps in the store are newer versions. Are you abandoning customers who bought the apps the traditional way?
A: No way! For the launch of the App Store, we had to submit new versions of our products. Those do not have new features except for the licensing stuff that had to be added for the App Store. The versions available from our website will be updated ASAP. In the future, because of the App Store approval process, it might be that some versions are released first outside the App Store, some will be released simultaneously, but overall the goal is to keep everything in sync as much as technically possible.
Q: Why are the prices different between the App Store and your website?
A: The Mac App Store does not allow us to set the prices arbitrarily. We chose the “tiers” that are closest to the pricing on our website. Over time, we will harmonize the pricing.
Q: I bought FotoMagico Home on the App Store. Can I upgrade to FotoMagico Pro?
A: No. Unfortunately, the App Store does not allow for cross- or upgrades. For the time being, this remains an advantage of buying the apps from our website instead of through the Mac App Store. The unofficial way is to request a refund with Apple and repurchase FotoMagico Pro from our website.
Q: Why is FotoMagico Pro not available on the App Store?
A: Currently, FotoMagico Pro comes with plugins for Aperture and Final Cut Pro. The App Store submission guidelines prohibit an app from installing plugins anywhere on the system. Until we figured out a solution for this, FotoMagico Pro will not be available on the App Store.
If you have further questions, please feel free to  tweet, post on our Facebook wall or send them by good old email.
Due to the great efforts by the Boinx team, there are currently four Boinx products available for you to purchase on the Mac App Store:
List of Boinx Products Goes Here
This is an exciting new beginning. Sales are going really well, both on the App Store and through our traditional channels, making sure that we can continue to develop cool Mac software.
Happy New Year!
Oliver Breidenbach on behalf of your Boinx Software crew
Legal and Good Practice Compliant Information, send to a friend, address and unsubscribe info in footer here.
End Boinx Email

DISCLOSURE: I have been given NFR licenses for a subset of Boinx products as a promotional gift for my participation as Macworld Expo Conference Faculty in past years. I have also met and spoken with Oliver and Achim at some length at several Macworld events. I l like them, I like their products and I like the way they run Boinx. I have bought, specified and used several of their products on various personal and professional projects. I am not, and never have been on the payroll. I do not own any stock.

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