Your “cookie disclaimer” is not enough

With various legal directives in place throughout the world, website owners are “off the hook” by providing a cookie disclaimer and the possibility for the visitor to “opt out”. Some websites have a rather odd approach where they refer you to a page with a vast amount of information abou their “data partners” and invite you to “opt out” on their partners’ page(s). It goes without saying that many people don’t bother because it’s just too much work (which is exactly the purpose).

But when your website designer relies on “web fonts” and/or resources from a content distribution network (CDN) like Javascript libraries, you are also, indirectly leaking some visitor data to the companies hosting such resources. Granted, you’re not “leaking as much data”, but with analytical AI and the huge amounts of data many of these “analytical companies” already have on your visitors, you’re simply providing one more piece of the puzzle to them. Free of charge.

The cost of free is perhaps hard to measure for you and me, but Google and others know exactly how much the data about your visitors is worth.

Ain’t that something.

New Cookie Disclaimer-proposal:

“By continuing to our site, you are agreeing to the collection of data about yourself beyond your wildest imagination and possible comprehension. We could explain it, but you wouldn’t get it anyway.  [OK]”

PS. Hosting external libraries and web fonts on CDN is not always such a grand idea when it comes to website performance. For each and every different such external “site address”, a new session handshake (SSL/TLS/etc) between the visitor’s web browser and the CDN is required.

Cookies in the jar turns into whiskey in the jar

For almost as long as “cookies” have existed on the Internet, companies have made a habit out of using them to track you, your “behavior” on the Internet, and to turn you into something “measurable”. For almost as long, there have been countermeasurements: “cookie blockers”, “ad blockers”, “privacy shields”, and so on. Cookies are, of course, only one of many data points being collected about you while using the Internet.

Companies using third-party service for anything from payment solutions to advertising and the collecting of statistics often don’t fully understand the implications of their choosing one service over another. And for the past several years, this has turned into a rat race.

On one side of the fence, there are companies like Facebook, Google, Quantcast, Amazon, Cambridge Analytica, and other, that want to know everything about you at almost any cost, and on the other side of the fence we have tools to “protect our privacy” during our online experience such as VPN, “ad blockers”, “privacy shields”, “Facebook containers”, “Privacy Badger”, and so on. (None of these tools will prevent you from being tracked by those to make it their business to track you, they are way ahead of such trivial attempts.)

So now people are blocking sites, all kinds of sites without necessarily understanding the implications of their actions. What makes it harder to distinguish “good sites” from “bad sites” is that quite a few of these “trackers” and “cloud asset sites” use sub-domains, like aj38305.trackyourcookies.com, so we end up blocking everything from “*.trackyourcookies.com”.

A company’s e-commerce site using third-party services to collect statistics and “web insights” can quite easily shoot itself in the foot, as the same services are also used in the payment verification process. I have had countless “Verfied by Visa” and “Secure Checkout” transactions fail because I choose to block certain sites, or prevent them from setting cookies. So this actually leads to poor sales performance, rather than enhancing it.

Companies using third-party services for e-commerce checkout solutions need to ask the service provider the question: Will your payment solution work with “ad blockers” and “privacy shields” before using them, or risk losing customers who find far less privacy intrusive services.

The tip of the iceberg: Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

The short version of this post: Wake the fuck up and smell the maple nut crunch!

The somewhat longer version follows.

The Netflix “documentary”, “The Great Hack”, is a great beginning of something that will take years to be argued, debated, and (mis)understood. Thinking that Cambridge Analytica is the “bad guy”, and “it’s going to be alright now that we know” is all too comfortable (and all too easy).

One serious issue with this and the people that are in charge of making sure it doesn’t happen is that they don’t understand, don’t want to understand, or are actually paid by people who have as their prime interest that they do not understand.

How the United Nations (UN) and other organizations cannot consider ownership of personal information to be a basic and fundamental human right is beyond me, but it also goes to show how slowly the “democratic” machinery works and how easily the system is manipulated by those who understand.

Getting clowns elected as “the ruler” of a nation, or deeply influencing referendums one way or the other, while sinister and non-democratic, is arguably, less dangerous than standing in the way of science in, perhaps, the most important question of our time; the climate debate.

When “data points” can be used to, in the best interest of fossil energy companies, manipulate people and nations to prevent science, common sense, and logic to have its way … we’re truly skating on thin ice; and, it’s melting.

Oh, and you seriously don’t think Google (and others) aren’t doing the same thing? Bwahahaha … that’s good comedy right there.

“War Pigs” and “The Dogs of War” (look them up) have more truth to them than we’d like to think.

The Great Hack (Netflix), IMDB:
www.imdb.com/title/tt9358204

Resizing windows in XFCE / XFWM4

This does not seem to be a problem for everyone nor for every XFCE theme, but sometimes it can be a real drag (no pun intended) to resize the windows in XFCE / XFWM4. For no apparent reason whatsoever, this seems to be known by the developers but marked as “wontfix” … #WTF

Anyway, hold down the (left) Alt key (PC keyboard), right click the mouse and then drag in the desired direction to “easily” resize the windows. This is a lot easier with an actual pointing device rather than a “touchpad”, but at least there’s a way.

You can also use Alt+Space and then press R to resize the current window.

This sort of “behavior” is one of (many small) things that annoys and frustrates people with “Linux Desktops”, and in all honesty, this should not be an issue in 2019! #FFS

So, remember:

ALT + [RIGHT-CLICK] + DRAG

or

ALT + [SPACE] followed by the [R] key

Exactly one piece of carry-on luggage #WTF

Most people travelling by air seem to be able to read. This is encouraging. The instructions are simple: One (1) piece of carry-on luggage. The rest of the luggage is check-in-luggage. That means:

IT DOES NOT GO ON THE PLANE.

I quite often travel with camera(s), computers, tablets, books, and what not.

Amazingly enough, it all fits in exactly ONE PIECE OF CARRY-ON LUGGAGE.

But when I’m asked if I would like to check in my carry-on luggage, I have to politely decline as it’s not a good idea to let airport baggage handlers have their go at sensitive electronic equipment.

So you seat yourself onboard the plane only to see some people carry on one “cabin suitcase”, one handbag, one backpack, one laptop case, and sometimes an additional bag or two with their “tax-free shopping”. And all of a sudden, the ability to read and comprehend a simple sentence goes out the window! I mean, these people understand the concept of going to the toilet in the designated area instead of relieving themselves in their seat. So how hard is it to count to one?

Say what?! #WTF

Changing your MTU may help certbot / Let’s Encrypt

While attempting to create a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate using certbot for a number of domains, I ran into something that appeared to be a timeout issue in the certbot client and/or one of the Python libraries used by it.

I found this thread, which recommends changing the MTU to 1300, and it does work. So, maybe this will help you too 🙂

community.letsencrypt.org/t/cannot-get-new-certificate-readtimeout-error/94586

In other words:

ifconfig eth0 mtu 1300

may help you out.

SwiftMailer 5, PHP5, and ISO-8859-15

I’ve been using SwiftMailer for as long as I can remember because it’s, IMHO, a great library and far more logical than PHPMailer and “others”. While maintaining a PHP5 codebase for a rather large project, I ran into an issue while using ISO-8859-15 encoded data. Most people won’t care about ISO-8859-15 over ISO-8859-1 (“Latin1”), but since I live in Europe, I prefer to have support for the €uro character 🙂

To make a long story short, if you need SwiftMailer 5 to properly handle ISO-8859-15, look for a line in “MimePart.php” that looks like this:

if (!in_array($charset, array('utf-8', 'iso-8859-1', ''))) {

and change it to this:

if (!in_array($charset, array('utf-8', 'iso-8859-15', 'iso-8859-1', ''))) {

(Yes, the project will move to a PHP7 codebase at some not so distant point in the future.)

Hur kan kyckling vara ett “klimatsmart kött”?

Eftersom “allt” numera har med klimatet och miljön att göra och många människor gärna vill framhäva kycklingens fördelar jämfört med “rött kött”, så börjar man undra hur det ens är möjligt att någon myndighet i världen kan tillåta att producenter injicerar kött med vätska (vanligast är vatten och/eller saltlake).

Om 20-40% av köttets (oavsett typ) naturliga innehåll består av vatten till att börja med, så är ju redan det ett klimatproblem om man tänker på hur mycket bränsle det går åt till att frakta vad som faktiskt inte är kött. Om man sedan beaktar att många producenter injicerar ytterligare vätska i sina produkter så känns det ju som dubbelfel i den högsta divisionen, både sett till miljön och till kostnaden.

Detta gäller för övrigt även fisk som t ex lax. “Matfusk” är ju bara förnamnet på denna idiotiska företeelse!

Några få länkar, av alla de som finns på Internet:

www.svt.se/articles/plus-jamfor-mycket-vatten-i-fryst-kycklingfile
www.aktavara.org/News.aspx?r_id=89996
www.aftonbladet.se/minekonomi/a/Qlw4dR/bara-halften-av-din-kycklingfile-ar-mat
www.kkuriren.se/opinion/insandare/vad-har-hant-med-kycklingarna-kronfagel-sm4540135.aspx

Människan i sitt esse!