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Ahh the wonderful world of Social Network applications! What surprises me most about them is the lack of moderation by Facebook. I cautiously say this because I really don’t know what it takes to pass an application into the network. I do know there have been many with a sole purpose to exploit. Now I don’t want to sound like some major conspirator, such as: some who think computer viruses come from the anti-virus companies, but, the truth is but a wave. You can see it coming. Every day there are webs of friends caught by some virus yet unknowing where it come from.

We are simple too trusting. Lets face it, we wouldn’t be on Facebook or other social networks if we didn’t trust some level of Facebook protecting us. And then there is a complete generation who never knew anything but this form of communication. To them this fad has always been. They have not seen more than a couple shifts on the Net.

Rogue Applications

For starters you want to Control what your friends can share about you when using applications and websites from What your friends can share about you.

Again, in theory, if you deselect all items… this will stop others’ applications from accessing your information. Because you would by default allow friends access to see your profile, so does their applications they choose to Allow. Sorry to be a party pooper, but I don’t care if your nice quiz/game/farm/war can not harvest my information as payment for you to play their free game. They in turn can customize ads to suit my liking. How clever!

All apps give you a chance to Allow the application, the odds are that most users don’t read the disclosure before hitting the Allow button. Besides this disclaimer is pretty generic and pretty much the same for every app. One would hope it had specific juicy details about what it wants based on what you plan to allow. Instead it gets the full coverage of allowing whatever privileges the user has with other friends.

But there is more. For every application there are finer permissions to be set. Go through the different filters to show what apps match the various selections. I go through all of them to be sure I set all apps the way I want.

Here you decide again what relation level you allow the chosen app to have by clicking Edit Settings.

Then be sure to look at the Additional Permissions tab. Here you can decide if you want to allow this app to post activity to the News Feed stream. I choose not to for everything but Notes.

Your information if you choose to publish for whatever reason is information anyone can use and that includes for purposes you would not wish for. This information should be protected even if you think everyone knows it already. There are folks out there that don’t know you from Adam (or Eve) and only care about selling your information to later be used in marketing or worse; black marketing.

We have Contact

Anything I do not have populated I just set to Only Me. But for most everything else I suggest Only Friends. The exception, again, is Add me as a friend and Send me a message; I allow Everyone to find me and even send me a message.

I had been working on a blog post on suggested Facebook security settings for about three months now. Today I decided to scrap it partly. Instead, I want to just pop out good suggestions whenever I come across them. Things change so fast in the social networking arena, I end up rewriting or loosing track of what I planned. So today is the start of hopefully many suggestions to staying safe while enjoying Facebook as a communication forum.

Right Privacy

I think privacy is probably the most overlooked setting users will assume Facebook has set right from default. Nothing against Facebook, however, you have to understand something about marketing if you want to succeed with allowing free usage of your products. It does not work well when there are roadblocks in the way.

Start with your Profile Information. Facebook would like you to share as much about you as they can in efforts to broaden your visibility to others; including those you would rather not by proxy of other friends. So first thing you want to look at is changing who can view parts of your profile. I suggest Only Friends

With the exception of Photos and Videos of Me, I have a custom setting here that in theory should protect you from a smug friend who may try tagging you in some photo that may be less than appropriate. Only you and in this case, my custom friend I have selected may see this and hopefully help warn you that you were tagged inappropriately. From this point if you have been tagged and you do not approve, you always can go to the said picture and simply remove your name.

Facebook Best Practice

Over the past year I have been amazed and thrilled to be a part of the latest crazed fad in social networking; Facebook. It has truly been a wonder to be able to re-connect with family, church family, friends, and former classmates. I had always thought Classmates.com was going to be the next big connection point.

Over the past five years a multitude have joined up, and phase after phase of changes have come and gone. Every time Facebook makes a change a new anti-change group forms to voice their opinion. Sometimes enough change occurs to loose the newbie’s way around in frustration until someone posts directions, tips and tricks. But like these ever changing look and feel, Facebook security and privacy settings change almost as much without most even noticing or caring for that matter. Over the past couple days, Facebook has made yet onother change, and to my surprise, I have not seen one critic comment.

I have been planning this post for over two months now. New ways of setting up your privacy and other setting have changed twice during this short period of time. I thought it might be a bit of waste to put these suggestions down. So if you are reading this now, consider the date it was posted because something most likely has changed hopefully for the better.
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A co-worker of mine inspired me to create a new enterprise CD with SP3 pre-installed the other day after I asked about an existing iso I had found on our network. I wondered if it were OEM or a new volume license with SP3 I had hoped it was.

He sent me a few links to some howto’s and not all were the same. Looking over a few examples I quickly began replacing their Windows solutions with known Linux. Rather than recreate the wheel, I first searched how others have done it using Linux. These are a couple sites that have inspired my success:

The process is actually very easy but as usual ‘your mileage will vary’. I am using KDE 4.3.0 with Fedora 10.

  1. Copy XP CD content into a clean working directory (/home/warren/software/VRMPVOL_EN/)

  2. chmod -R 777 /home/warren/software/VRMPVOL_EN/
  3. Convert everything to uppercase with convmv -r –upper –notest /home/warren/software/VRMPVOL_EN/. Don’t ask; who’d of thunk Microsoft was case sensitive!
  4. Retrieve the redistributable SP3
  5. Extract the service pack using cabextract -d /home/warren/software/SP3/ /home/warren/software/WindowsXP-KB936929-x86-ENU.exe
    Updating_Your_Windows _Share
    Integrated_install_has_completed_successfully

  6. Install the service pack using wine /home/warren/software/SP3/i386/update/update.exe /integrate:D:\\home\\warren\\software\\VRMPVOL_EN_SP3.

    The D: is the wine drive letter I have my existing CD in. Run the wine configuration app and find the Drives tab.

  7. Extract the boot loader from the original CD with ./geteltorito /dev/sr0 > /home/warren/software/VRMPVOL_EN_SP3/boot.bin.

    I didn’t have an rpm package for geteltorito so I got both files from the download page and chmod 755 to make it executable. I could only run this as root, so be sure to chown the boot.bin back to you.

  8. Write the iso with mkisofs -b boot.bin -hide boot.bin -hide boot.catalog -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -iso-level 4 -relaxed-filenames -D -V VRMPVOL_EN_SP3 -o /home/warren/software/VRMPVOL_EN_SP3.iso ./home/warren/software/VRMPVOL_EN_SP3/
  9. Burn iso to CD and test! I prefer K3b; just works.

So there you have your newly update XP CD with SP3 already installed. I tested and only created one coaster with a botched boot loader. This one boots and has a clean SP3.

Lead or Follow?

From The Love Dare:

… you must take the view that instead of following your heart, you are choosing to lead it. The world says to follow your heart, but if you are not leading it, then someone or something else is. The Bible says that “the heart is more deceitful than all else” (Jeremiah 17:9), and it will always pursue that which feels right at the moment.

My wife and I are taking the dare… The Love Dare. It will be a challenge I am reading, but I think it will be well worth enduring. I encourage you to do the same in your marriage.

Breathe in Eternity

Signed up for a couple classes at the church. One is Spirit-Filled Living. To make one thing clear about the belief our church has on the Holly Spirit: there are different camps of thought and a lot of Pentecostals tend to be the guilty party of, and that is establishing cliques of the “haves” and the “have nots”. Most are referring to the gift of tongues. Where our church (of Pentecostal roots) is different: we don’t these “have/not” people. We also recognize the many gifts from Holly Spirit; not just tongues. It’s not like we get to come to a buffet and choose from the gifts. In the same breath, we have the freedom to ask for them. I’m looking forward to learning a whole lot more on Spiritual Gifts in the weeks to come.

The other class I started last night is Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. This is based on the book of the same title by Peter Scazzero. I have only read the first chapter before the class started. I know there will be a lot of things to learn. So far some things are: understanding my emotions have played a big part of how I was spiritually. Peter says you can’t be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.. Looking ahead to chapter 8: Discovering the Rhythms of the Daily Office and Sabbath. This caught my eye as it has to do with Stopping to Breathe the Air of Eternity. If we could only imagine, get a glimpse, taste the air of Heaven, then perhaps we would slow down and truly change our priorities

Another Beginning

Well here I am again attempting to start my blogging back up. Sort of a New Year’s commitment I guess. It’s just taken me this long now to get all my posts from my old MovableType blog.

Many things have happened in the past couple years since my writing. Mainly just a few job changes, trip to Germany, various counselings, ah… closer relationship to God, and back to martial arts. Shocking eh? Well perhaps I shall talk about some of these past things in the future, but I don’t want to waste time right now on the past.

Part of what I want to change about my blogging is going to be more spiritual. After compiling all my past blog posts from two sites, I have found much of my ramblings about the IT Crowd. Plan on seeing more from the SOAP category.

Ouch! Bad Sync

One of my favorite Firefox extensions I have been using for a year and a half is called Foxmarks. Foxmarks is a bookmark synchronizer that keeps your different Firefox installs all updated with the same set of bookmarks. For me there is nothing more frustrating than not having that one cool link you saved on your computer at home and for the life of me, can’t remember how or where I got it to begin with.
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I had been a non-conformist in many ways with regard to installing my own tarball of Thunderbird and Firefox instead of using the packaged RPMs Fedora already built. I mainly did this because they are considered stable by Mozilla yet one version ahead of RPMs.

Late last year I had run into problems with my system dieing for various reasons and I had suspected Firefox. I knelt down and installed the RPM leaving the tarball version in place and changing my app links to point to the correct bin. Soon to follow was Thunderbird as well.
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