Privacy concerns with foxmarks / xmarks

April 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm

The foxmarks plugin is a very popular plugin for firefox that lets you sync bookmarks between computers.  I've used it ever since google bookmarks was cancelled and has worked great for me.

Recently they announced changing their name to xmarks as well as adding some new "features."  A lot of them revolve around bookmark discovery.  xmarks scans your bookmarks anonymously to see what pages have been bookmarked a lot.  It can then show a special icon next to something that has been bookmarked by other people.  Now they really reinforce that the data is anonymous but it's still a concern for me.  Bookmarks I really want to share I bookmark at delicious.  If I'm not saving it on there, I generally don't want to share the bookmark.  It could be private administration pages, for example.

Good news is you can opt out.  Login to your account and choose change your bookmark options (that link should take you straight to that page after login). remove the checkmark and save changes.  Alternatively it's pretty simple to delete your account entirely if you're really concerned.

Only other alternative I can think of is weave by mozilla.  It encrypts the data before sending it to the server so there's no way they can access it.  It's also possible to store the bookmarks on your own server.  To be fair xmarks offers this as well.  You also may want to go into xmarks preferences and disable all the suggestion links.  Although there's the privacy concerns but I disabled it only because that's extra network requests that are made and can slow down page views slightly.  May not be too significant but with all the other plugins I have the fewer extra requests I'm making, the better.

I'm still going to stay with xmarks.  Currently they support firefox, internet explorer, and safari.  I'm hoping they add support for a couple other browsers I'm interested in; Opera and Chrome.  Weave is still in alpha/beta.  As of writing they're at version 0.3.  I've used it before and worked more or less fine, had some minor stability issues that may have been fixed by now.

Posted in Security and Privacy. |

Now Using Kohana

February 28, 2009 at 12:06 am

After a couple weeks I've finally moved the site over to Kohana Framework. It's a fork of CodeIgniter but designed to take advantage of PHP 5.2+. It also uses a "cascading file system" which allows for several nice things, like making me a section to admin the site with. Can finally stop entering these blog posts in phpMyAdmin.

You shouldn't notice any difference with the site itself. It may be a little slower since Kohana doesn't have the all-or-nothing page cache that CodeIgniter had. But it's more powerful so I can cache just certain parts of pages. Once I implement a page cache again this site will feel just as zippy as before

Posted in Website. |

Ohayocon 2009

February 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Went to ohayocon over the weekend from January 30th to February 1st.  This is probably the third or fourth of these anime conventions I've gone too.  It's fun people watching since everyone dresses up as either their favorite anime character or just some random anime-looking person.

It wasn't that bad.  Wouldn't say it's the best one I've been too, but hasn't been the worst either.  One thing that I didn't like was that some of the rooms were literally 1/4 mile away if not further.  So you end up just staying in one area.  The biggest annoyance to me was the video rooms.  Typically there are 3-5 video rooms that show nothing but anime 24/7 during the convention.  At any point you don't feel like going to any panels you can go to a panel and possibly run into an anime you never heard of.  Well these didn't run 24/7.  In fact they ended really early to me, I think around 3:00 AM.  That may not seem too bad but I've done several marathons where I watch an entire tv series of 26 episodes over one night and end up not going to bed till 8:00 AM.  Usually conventions slow down in the mornings so I can grab a few hours of sleep.  I guess the positive side was I had plenty of time to sleep this time around and some pricey hotel rooms as well.  Perhaps that's why I like anime punch so much.  They have 5 video rooms and they make it a point to play things you haven't heard of.  Anime punch is April 10 - 12 in Columbus.  I'm still deciding about it but probably will.

I didn't bother even bringing a camera with me to this one.  Typically I take four pictures, and they all aren't that good.  So instead I'll just link to other people that have:

Posted in Anime. |

Moving to Kohana?

February 4, 2009 at 12:04 am

Now that I got the hang of CodeIgniter I just found out about Kohana, which is based off of CodeIgniter. I guess kohana started out as a port of CodeIgniter because ElisLab's developers were focused on their paid product, ExpressionEngine. The community at CodeIgniter got tired of waiting so they forked it into what has become Kohana.

Kohana has a lot of key features, including full php 5 support. CodeIgniter would work with php 4 and so some things that php 5 offered couldn't be used. What really got me interested is their views. The nesting of data is really useful instead of the way I have to do it in CodeIgniter.

So will I move to it? probably. I like that it's pure php 5 and is building a nice little community of ex-codeigniter users. My biggest gripe with CodeIgniter was when ElisLab showed off ExpressionEngine 2.0 and talk about how both ExpressionEngine and CodeIgniter would merge code bases... like a year ago. It was the reason I put off on making my own blog section but as evident here I got tired of waiting. I'll add functionality as I need it and who knows, maybe Kohana will have a blog module sometime soon if not already.

Posted in Website, Geek Talk. |

Just added comments

January 23, 2009 at 9:38 pm

As you can see I now have a comments system going. I'm trying out IntenseDebate. I've been anti-cloud computing lately but implementing it on a custom install was really simple, just a couple javascript calls. This does mean you will need javascript enabled to use it.

There are still a couple issues with it. I can't get the open id login to work. Also if I use a username and password to login, it forgets that info as soon as I refresh the page. Also if you don't register and enter your information manually, it doesn't save that info either. I have a dialog going with support and I'm sure it will be something simple.

So try it out and let me know if it works or not. You can use the contact form to get a hold of me if comments aren't working. Now next thing is making me an interface to add blog posts so I don't have to do this manually...

After playing with it some more I found the issue. In firefox I block third party cookies as they are generally tracking cookies or not good in someway. Well comments are going through IntenseDebate, which happens to be a third party, so the login information is being blocked. I added to the list of exclusions and said to allow cookies from that site and things are working great. I noticed if you comment while unauthenticated it won't remember your information. This may be intentional. I've made a feature request to add a checkmark to remember that info so you don't have to register if you don't want. I've updated the comments page to mention the third party cookie thing.

Posted in Website. |

Finally have a blog going

January 11, 2009 at 1:12 am

Turns out it didn't take much to get the rest of the blog stuff working to a point I can use it. I backdated the previous info to when it was entered according to subversion. That's why there is stuff dating back to 2007 (wow, it's been delayed that long)

Still needs a lot of work before it's done. Categories don't have their own pages, no way to view previous pages of history, and there's no interface for me to create entries. Right now I'm creating these straight in the database, which is cumbersome to say the least. Also want to get comments working at some point.

I've had a personal blog going for several years now. I plan on using this one for things that may be useful to other people. Also as I research something and get a lot of information I'll mention on here. Not only for others but it would help me remember it as well

Posted in Website. |

Latest Status

May 19, 2008 at 12:48 am

To give an update on the new site, it's pretty much a waiting game right now. ExpressionEngine version 2.0 has been rumored to being released really soon. What makes this important is version 2.0 will be running CodeIgniter as the framework. This will allow me to have a feature packed blog that is seemlessly integrated to the rest of the site. This still hasn't been a set deal yet as I've been debating just building a blog from scratch. Hopefully it will be soon, and integration with current site will be as easy as they say.

Posted in Website. |

Old Links

September 30, 2007 at 4:10 am

You may notice that a lot of links are no longer functional. As mentioned above, I just built the initial site ensuring the highest traffic areas were still accessible. I've setup several redirects so if the old address gave you a 404 "File not found" message, try back later.

When I moved to the new server, I realized several areas of the site were never utilized or just very outdated. I've made my best effort to actually have it redirect somewhere, but some pages simply no longer served any meaningful purpose. These pages will return the status code 410 "Gone" which tells browsers and search engines that the request page has been completely and permanently removed. How your browser will interpret this will vary but should still mention it is permanently removed. If it was a link from another site, you should inform them that the link has been removed. If you really wish to access the page, you may contact me.

Posted in Website. |

New Site

September 30, 2007 at 3:57 am

As you can see I've finally updated the website. I've made mock ups a few times but figured the only way I'd ever actually use it is if I actually implement it. Because of that, a lot of content is still missing. I've kept the main items active (mainly the pc name maker). If you're trying to access something that doesn't work anymore, try back again later. If you really need something you may contact me and I'll see what I can do.

So what's changed? pretty much everything. The old site had a very old look to it. All the dynamic content was done using server side includes which worked fine at the time. Now, everything has moved to PHP and with the help of php accelerators it runs faster than before. This site is also now 100% css driven. It is also XHTML 1.0 compliant.

Another big change in this is building it on top of CodeIgniter. A problem with the old site was being able to maintain any sort of consistency. There were maybe three pages that used php, but all used different includes and connects in different ways and it was just more tedious than it should be to create a new page. With CodeIgniter everything is very structured. Entire new sections can be made relatively quickly. This makes it more worthwhile to put effort into creating something when I don't have to look at it as another place to make things complicated. The downside is this does slow things down slightly. But once I get everything setup I can start caching some things to speed it up.

Posted in Website. |

« previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »