Sunday, January 22, 2006

Playing Hide and Seek with Google

I'm still feeling in a funky mood this morning.

There hasn't been any word yet on the condition of journalist Jill Carroll currently in the hands of Iraqi thugs. I've hit a few more websites that are concerned with the direction our legal system is taking. I really just need to move on.

ARS has a news story about pending legislation pushed by the RIAA and MPAA that ..."attempts to freeze the progress of consumer electronics technology and then start turning back the clock on all of us. Fair use, meet your successor: "customary historic use." So whatever rights and abilities you thought you possessed to do with your radio broadcasts, tapes, CD's, legally downloaded music and movies, television and cable broadcasts, etc...could be rendered illegal in the near future. As for me, I'm going to keep my VCR in top shape, invest in and old vinyl-technology record player, and start hoarding records from the thrift shop.

SunbeltBlog waxes philosophical about the coming police-state in the UK. There almost every person or vehicle can be tracked real-time with the extensive camera system. He also links to where the inane attempts to protect our rights comes back and bites us all on the butt--for example. Henry Porter of the UK's Observer paper goes into greater detail of life now in England.

But that's probably not why you showed up here.

On to Google and search-engine privacy.

Google tracking my searches on their web site doesn't really concern me. By doing so they can add better value to my usage of their site. That's cool as long as they explain what they do up front. However, some users--in light of recent DOJ tactics--may wish a little more privacy when they Google. Here you go.

Wired News is carrying a post about How to Foil Search Engines. Consider it more a primer than a white paper review. Basically it boils down to this: 1) most are harmless, 2) delete or suppress your cookie options, 3) use an anonymizing tool, or 5) give up because "the man" can track you anyway.

Here is the real hidden-gem when it comes to Google: Make a special bookmark and you can work around Google's tracking cookie--at your descretion. Really!

iMilly goes into a very nice discussion about the truth behind Google's tracking cookie and other Google FAQs. This can give you a really nice perspective on the matter. Then, there is a link you can bookmark. To suppress Google's cookie, browse to Google. Then click the GoogleAnon bookmark you made and your cookie for Google will be zeroed out of any personal data. Done! Can they still track you, I guess if you use a pretty static IP address, but this is better than doing nothing--if you are so inclined.

What is going on is a tip that power-web surfers know--but most of the general public has never heard of: Bookmarklets.

To most users, bookmarks only take you to a website you want to visit again. But clever coders have figured out how to leverege the convience of bookmarks with the inner code working of browsers. With the right code, you make make bookmarks become "mini-utilities" that do powerfully cool things: like (quoting from imilly's page) "1) Modify the way you see someone else's webpage, 2)Extract data from a webpage, 3)Search more quickly, and in ways not possible with a search engine, and 4) Navigate in new ways."

More Bookmarket links:

* Bookmarklets Home Page
* Milly's Bookmarklets
* Jesse Ruderman's website

Just don't come back here and blame me if you get hooked on these things.

Finally, just to show I'm not wholy anti law-enforcement: CNN has a review on the latest models of police cruisers. I loved seeing the HPD Camaro interceptors as well as the Texas DPS Mustangs when I was on the road. I really like the new Dodge Charger CNN has pictured. Bad to the Bone! I've always enjoyed watching COPS and now A&E on cable is running a show on the Dallas SWAT team. It's pretty good. Am I trying to have my cake and eat it, too?

Enjoy you skies today,

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