Archive for February, 2012

Google Privacy

February 25th, 2012 Comments off

Sorry about the lack of recent posts but I’ve been preparing for a trial. Now that the trial is almost over there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The following is copied from the American Bar Association Journal (which copied it from the EFF). It explains how to disable Google from collecting data from your various Google services and combining them for marketing purposes or whatever other purpose.

If you’d like to thwart Google’s plans to combine your online browsing history with data gathered from the company’s other products, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is offering some help.

Google plans to begin combining your data into a single cauldron on March 1. On that date, the search engine will combine your Web history with information gathered from products such as YouTube and Google Plus to create advertising and targeted reminders. The information can reveal sensitive information such as your interests, sexual orientation, religion and health concerns, EFF says.

EFF is offering step-by-step instructions on how to delete your Web history along with screen shots of the pages you will see. First, EFF says, sign in to your Google account. Then go to, click “remove all Web History” and click OK. After taking these steps, your Web history will remain off for that account until you enable it again.

If you have more than one account, you will have to repeat the steps for each one.

EFF notes in an update that disabling browsing history won’t stop Google from gathering and keeping the information for internal purposes, though the records will be “partially anonymized” after 18 months. And law enforcement could still seek the information from Google.

Categories: General Observations Tags:


February 10th, 2012 Comments off

I’ve starting using a Windows desktop computer as my main system. There is nothing wrong with my Macbook Pro but I needed additional processing power and disk space for handling media files.  I did not like my options for a desktop Mac in terms of price/performance and wanted to get some experience with current versions of Windows and Office. Some things are better on the Mac and some things are better on Windows. I’m getting to like Office 2010 quite a bit and Windows 7 64 bit is stable and fast on a modern system.

One area where Windows 7 is weak compared to Mac OS X 10.6 is the included backup software. Mac’s “Time Machine” provides a full backup and incremental back-ups. It is easy to use and works as advertised. Windows Backup is brain dead as it does not perform incremental backups; each backup is a complete set of the data files so unchanged files are duplicated. Also the “system” backup is not a compete system image but just core OS files; if there is a disk failure then you must reinstall applications software (but data and settings are saved).

I could buy a third-party backup program that does the job properly, but all I really care about is saving the data. In my Windows days I used a command script to copy any new files to the backup drive. I tried using my old script using xcopy from my Windows XP days and ran into some problems. The problems were caused by the fact that Windows Explorer displays the “Documents” directory as “My Documents,” so when I try to copy from “My Documents” I get the response “0 files copied.” Using the dir command from a command prompt revealed this bizarre design “feature.”

While researching the xcopy problem I learned of a new shell command called “robocopy.” It is expressly for high-speed copying of entire directories with some improvements in speed and reliability as compared to xcopy. I wrote a new script with robocopy and it works like a charm. Fast and reliable data backup.

Categories: General Observations Tags: