Monte of MiCHIgan

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ruby on Rails FREE hosting

I recently learned about the Ruby on Rails bandwagon, and I've decided to jump on and learn about it. There is a great FREE site where you too can have your own website that is Ruby enabled FREEonRails.com. When I get farther along I'll put my domain name up that I'm using so that you can see how I doing.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Upholding Michigan's Item Pricing Law

For seven months, MCF led a campaign urging legislation not to support or introduce to end price tags on products in Michigan stores. Over 8,000 citizens wrote letters to elected officials and nearly 25,000 signed statements supporting the law. Our concern grew out of meetings with Home Depot lobbyist in which they proposed doing away with price tags on consumer products. Price tags have been required on most products in Michigan since 1976 and they provide a useful tool for spotting and correcting scanner overcharges.

In December, State Representative Mike Bishop introduced House Bill 5544 at the request of Home Depot. The bill allows retailers to end price, marking of products other than food and drugs. A shelf tag or other sign listing the price could be used rather than a price marked on each item. Although the bill claims to increase the penalties for being overcharged, it is unlikely that consumers will be able to spot overcharges -- or to prove it later. How can you prove what price was displayed on the shelf at the time you selected an item? You can't.

Learn more at the Michigan Consumer Federation

Monday, January 16, 2006

Yahoo is Tracking Group Members

If you belong to ANY Yahoo Groups - be aware that Yahoo is now using "Web Beacons" to track every Yahoo Group user. It's similar to cookies, but allows Yahoo to record every website and every group you visit, even when you're not using Yahoo.

Look at their updated privacy statement at
http://privacy.yahoo.com/privacy

About half-way down the page, in the section on cookies, you will see a link that says WEB BEACONS.

Click on the phrase "Web Beacons." On the page that opens, find a paragraph entitled "Outside the Yahoo Network."

In that section find a little "Click Here to Opt Out" link that will let you "opt-out" of their snooping. Be careful! After opting out, DO NOT click on the button shown. It is an "Opt Back In" button that, if clicked, will UNDO the opt-out.

A quick link to opt out is:
http://pclick.yahoo.com/p?optout

Note that Yahoo's invasion of your privacy - and your ability to opt-out of it - is not user-specific. It is Browser/machine specific. That means you will have to opt-out on every computer (and browser) you use.

Please forward this to your other groups. You might complain, too, but I'm not sure if anyone is listening..

Related articles:

Yahoo Web Beacons Igniting Controversy Yahoo's current privacy policy is causing consternation among some users who object to their use of so-called 'web beacons'. Known in most circles as web bugs, these invisible images are embedded in websites and email and used to track your surfing - and even tell whether you've opened a particular email. http://antivirus.about.com/od/spywareandadware/a/yahoobugs.htm

Wired article from 2002 about Yahoo Groups:
http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,51461-0.html

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cookie opt-out

The more I learn about how we are being tracked at every turn on the web and in the real world, the more I want to be anonymous in my surfing. RFID tags in clothes (shades of the movie The Minority Report) and on our person is going over the line for me.

The is a way to opt-opt of tracking ad cookies very easily. I've been opting out for a while from Double-Click, but just today I happened upon a site where you can opt-out of cookies from these tracking companies: Atlas (member of aQuantive, Inc.), BehaviorLink Network, DoubleClick, Poindexter Systems, Inc., Revenue Science, Inc., TACODA Systems, Inc., nad 24/7 Real Media, Inc.

Steve Gibson from Gibson Reseach was on Call For Help recently and did a nice segment on the danger of cookies. He has a good article on his website at this link.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

FREE blogging software and web hosts

I've been looking into several Monte of MiCHIgandifferent types of blogging programs for various projects I'm working on. FREE blog software Serendipity is even being hosted for free by an organization called Supersize.org. Click on this link and see the FREE site I've set up for testing. I'd recommend this for anyone! Yet another FREE Serendipity blog host is N3rds.net, Whereas Supersize has ads on the site, N3rds.net doesn't yet. I was able to do some things with the options they have enabled at Supersize.org that N3rds.net doesn't have. Take a look at my N3rds site.

I think I like Blogger.com best, as I can have it published directly to my own webhost and not deal with ads, and even email new posts that will automatically get added to the site! From looking at the free sites that use Seredipity, I see that there is an option to be able to publish new entries by sending emails, but they are not enabled at this time. I could just load the program onto my webhost, but then I'd have to spend all that time debugging, and updating when necessary. Blogging.com is easy to use.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Salt Brine Turkey recipe

I had another successful Thanksgiving turkey this year thanks to a recipe I got from my friend Sally G. I got up at 7 am to get the stuffing ready and get the bird started. I was planning on my parents around noon, but the weather sucked and my folks are in their 70's and have a ways to drive, so they went to some friends in their city. You can find the recipe on my personal website by clicking on this link