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10 November 2009

Reviews of OpenID: Your Internet ID (YIID)

Admittedly I haven’t been using YIID for too long so I can only give a general overview of the main features. YIID strikes me as your standard modern OpenID provider.

  • Integration of other IDs. YIID allows you to make an account with a different OpenID or Hotmail or Facebook account, which makes a lot of sense.
  • Contacts. YIID provides a contact list that you can add contacts to. In addition, you can import contacts from a few other sites or upload a contacts file (vCard) from your computer.
  • Multiple Identities. As with most providers, YIID allows you to set up separate IDs and choose the one you’d like to use when you sign up for a site.
  • Twitter Integration. Not all providers currently support this and possibly never will, but YIID allows not only logging in via twitter, but also tweeting from the YIID site, which makes some sense given the next point;
02 November 2009

Reviews of OpenID: Verisign Personal Identity Portal

Most avid Internet users have heard of Verisign or at least seen their logo on secure sites. Verisign provides security certificates to web sites that it reviews and certifies as being secure and is highly reputable and recognised for doing it

A bit more recently, Verisign introduced the Verisign Personal Identity Portal, providing secure file storage and sign-in. The features:

  • Encrypted file storage. Of all the OpenID providers I tried, Verisign’s is the only one that provides secure file storage. There’s not much to say about it, online file storage is online file storage for the most part.
  • No Multiple Identities. This is a feature of most OpenID providers. Put simply, it allows you to set up separate ‘identities’ to share with sites with different degrees or or different types of information. Verisign does NOT provide this feature directly, but allows you to select w...
26 October 2009

Facebook Memorials

As the use of social networking grows for both personal and professional use, how to deal with the profile(s) of a deceased person has been slowly making its way into the thoughts of the maintainers of Facebook, among other sites.

Given the idea of social networking, which is partly to show off relations, disabling or deleting profiles of the deceased defeats the purpose while also highlighting the loss (for any friends and family on the site as well). With the apparent death of a Facebook employee, dealing with this issue has been brought directly into the hands of his friends. Announced today is the new “Memorial Profiles” for the deceased. Directly from the Facebook blog;

We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it’s important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialized. For instance, just last week, w...

22 October 2009

Reviews of OpenID: is my current OpenID provider and I plan to stick with it as it is extremely full featured and under active development. The only downside to it is really that it has so many features that it takes a while to learn all of them, but they are easily accessable and easy to navigate. Here’s the features;\

  • A personal URL. Yes, you heard it, you get your own designated URL for free, This in itself is very nice because it gives it a more personal feel and a more professional look, if that’s what you’re going for. They have a deal with a web hosting company- therefore you can also find some web hosting features here as well.
  • Your own website. isn’t so much a website as a personal content hub. You get a full web page all to yourself that you can theme to your liking, though currently you can only do colors and background images- layout is coming soon (there is no coding, it...
15 October 2009

Do you know where you are?

In the online world, privacy is surprisingly difficult to come by because once online, data becomes free game to anyone or anything that has access to it. In day to day life, very little thought is devoted to the fate of anything posted online such as where it goes and to a large degree, who can access it, generally due to the false assumption that in the online world, data solidly stays only where it has been posted. Even in my own experience, I find that Googling myself brings me to things I’ve shared online on sites I didn’t even know existed.

In my situation, there isn’t any particular problem, as everything I can find about me I have intentionally published in some form or another, be it on The Philosophy of Nate or elsewhere. However, having an idea of where other parts of my identity are floating around the Internet is much scarier, mainly because I have no idea where it may be, public or not. One of my email addresses, for example, has suddenly started re...

07 October 2009

Update to account compromises (2)

The issues with the exposed email accounts have been far more widespread than previously thought. As the investigation continues, it appears that accounts for Windows Live, Yahoo, Google, AOL, EarthLink, and Comcast have been affected. Details for the affected accounts were posted online but have been taken down by request of the affected sites.

However, it seems that if you have any of those services, you should not start to worry about your privacy. Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft (Windows Live) have confirmed that all of the stolen accounts are real, but that they were compromised as a result of phishing attacks. This means that the account compromises were NOT resulting from internal security problems.

Security experts who are investigating say that the accounts were probably posted online NOT for data theft but instead to make a point to users about phishing attacks, which many people aren’t well aware of. The specific order (alphabetical, it wo...

06 October 2009

Windows Live Hotmail Accounts Compromised

It appears that thousands of Windows Live accounts have been compromised due to what Microsoft seems to think is a phishing scheme. To quote Microsoft’s description of the problem:

“[Over the weekend Microsoft learned that several thousand Windows Live Hotmail customers’ credentials were exposed on a third-party site due to a likely phishing scheme. Upon learning of the issue, we immediately requested that the credentials be removed and launched an investigation to determine the impact to customers. As part of that investigation, we determined that this was not a breach of internal Microsoft data and initiated our standard process of working to help customers regain control of their accounts.”]{#ctl00_MainContentPlaceholder_ctl01_ctl00_lblEntry}

It would appear that Microsoft has regained control of the compromised accounts and is working to help the affected owners of those accounts regain control. As far as my understanding ...

01 September 2009

Google's Global Downtime

Early today Google’s mail service, GMail, experienced some major downtime across the globe. GMail users who attempted to access their online inbox during the outage would recieve a 502 error- or in more complicated terms, “the upstream server and the gateway/proxy do not agree on the protocol for exchanging data” (1).

I use GMail as my primary mailbox online and route everything into it, so it affected me as much as all other users across the globe. It would seem that GMail was still accessable, although sporadically, through offline software via POP3 or IMAP (the web interface was unreachable). According to news articles, the outage affected Google internally in addition to all the annoyed users across the globe.

Those who pay for Google services such as GMail for their businesses recieve extensions of their service contracts to make up for Google’s rare downtime.

As with most major online or offline things, Twitter and other areas in the Blogosphere have...

21 August 2009

The Downsides to Mobile Life: Conclusions

As the Internet grows and more devices gain the ability to connect to it, our online presence grows. As mentioned in earlier posts in this series, there are significant downsides to being constantly connected or addicted to the Internet.

However, that’s not to say that it’s all bad or that we should turn to older means of communication (snail mail, anyone?). Being online has some distinct benefits providing one does not sit in front of their computer 24/7 or has a cell phone implanted in their molars ( so they don’t miss a single thing when not on a computer.

Being online everywhere opens up a whole new world of information, quite literally. Information about nearly anything (and anyone, as it would seem) is right at the fingertips of anyone with access to the Internet, whether that information is about something right next to them ...

14 August 2009

The Downsides to Mobile Life: Part 3- Health

As with seemingly anything, living constantly online with an MID (mobile Internet device) has effects on one’s health, and generally negative effects for that matter. From the skin to the mind, online life takes a toll. Much of the problems that arise are due to choices of the user, such as where and when they are ‘connected’.

Unlike some “theoretical problems” however, all the effects I have listed have been documented problems. What’s more, the desirable effects of being social and in contact with friends often don’t apply in the online world in the same way that they do with actual real-world face-to-face communications. It seems that being constantly online with an MID is more detrimental to one’s health than it is beneficial.

  • Being connected produces stress, especially in the area of work communications. Stress, as most know, is not good for one’s health, but we won’t get into that here.
  • Small screens produce eyestrain. Actually, most compu...

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