Family Re-Connections

If it wasn’t for the train delay, I wouldn’t be writing this. I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams this could or would happen.

THE BACKSTORY: Before I was forced to place my Mom in a nursing home back in 1999, she had managed to sever connections all of her family members. That meant both here in the United States/New York City and back in the West Indies (Saint Kitts and Nieves). All I can recall is that all the addresses and phone numbers suddenly disappeared and there was no way to regain them. So, for more than thirty years I’ve been out of touch with my cousins.

When Mom died I tired everything in my power to find at least one cousin. Because I knew if I’d contacted one, that one would’ve let everyone else know. But, unfortunately, I was unable to contact anyone. Even after putting up a Facebook page dedicated to my Mom. I did that in the hopes that someone would look us up and find us. At least in time for her funeral. It never happened.

So, yesterday (10/11/2012) I was on my way out to Bible Class but I couldn’t catch a downtown train. The train I needed was stuck between stations and was not pulling into the station. So, I decided to take the train uptown, cross over and take the express back downtown into Brooklyn.

While on the downtown express, I found a seat, pulled out my Galaxy Tablet and began reading. I noticed a woman sitting beside me but didn’t pay her any mind. However, she kept staring at me.

Finally she asked, “Pardon me but are you Nanci?”.

I looked up warily because I didn’t recognize her at all. I said “Yes”.

“You don’t remember me?” she asked.

I looked at her again and I certainly didn’t. After all, it’s been over 30 years.

“I’m your cousin Debby!” she said.

“OMG!” I replied. Fifteen minutes of continuous yakking (trying to make up for lost time) ensued. We both made sure we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. I also promised to send Debby my Facebook page link and links to my blogs and stuff.   Debby promised to let everyone know that she had found me and give them my information……….

Like Counselor Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation, “I sense a big re-union coming on.” In the end before I disembarked, Debby told me that she’d commuted on that particular train, every weekday at that same time for the past three years and never saw me until today.

The reason this happened? It was God’s appointed time.

 

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My Facebook War

Everyone knows Facebook and me, “Don’t break bread.” This simply means, “We don’t get along.” Why? After all everyone and their grandmother uses Facebook. . . . . . 

The straight fact is I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family, members of my church, and most recently with writing groups I’m a part of. I’m not one of those Face book game addicts (except for Scrabble). I have a third party application which prevents me from being able to participate in certain Face book games on purpose. Why? Some of them are SPAM. . . . . .

It seems that Face book and I are always at war. Because I’m a Geek, I always know when they roll out updates, which to me are downgrades. Face book used to update regularly every week on a Tuesday. So, if you used it Monday, skipped Tuesday and signed back on a Wednesday you got a nasty surprise. However, I’ve heard they have stepped up their updates to SEVERAL times a week.

I subscribe to several GEEK e-news newsletters which I receive several times a week (Lifehacker and Sophos), and the GEEK community is on Face book like white on rice with the crazy and dictator like updates. 
Two of the latest were: Updating your profile to make your email address public. This action horrified many. Suppose you are on Facebook and don’t want your email address to be public? I certainly didn’t! Supposedly this part of Face books new policy of total exposure. But, suppose you have someone you don’t want to communicate with? A stalker? Now Face book in the name of creating a more friendly environment has made it unsafe for many users.

Lifehacker published a newsletter telling all geeks, and would be geeks. how to disable this latest Facebook horror. Many found to their disgust, that they COULD NOT DISABLE it! The power mad geeks at Face book have wised up. They know there is a geek community who is close knit and are dedicated to undoing their dastardly deeds, so they’ve now made these changes impossible to disable or undo.

This seems to be standard practice, because another horror has raised it’s ugly head. Remember that public email, that you couldn’t deactivate? Well, as of last week (I noticed it on 08/31/2012 – Friday), that the email I’d listed for Face book has been getting SPAMMED with a gazillion Face book emails!

Did I ask for this? Of course not! Like everything else, my email address is used for strictly business and personal use. I don’t care to receive an email every time one of my friends on Face book picks his or her teeth, scratches their head, or passes wind! Sorry folks, but I have more important things to do. . . . . Like REAL LIFE!

Thoroughly ticked I had to delet 78, that’s right 78, Face book emails! Then I went back to my account settings and found that my email feature had been turned “on”, after I had turned it OFF years ago! So I went about shutting everything down except for messages me. Of course, The Geek Warrior Princess gave herself a tremendous pat on the back for a deed well done.

However, when I arrived at work (I work midnights) and checked my emails, I found much to my chagrin and utter dismay, 75 more Facebook emails! Hey wait a minute! Didn’t I just turn that darned thing off? Then why is my email still being bombarded with this foolishness?

I lamented my dilemma in my status and several friends responded. Apparently, I’m not the only one who noticed. Nor am I the only one who noticed that Face book is preventing us from circumventing their latest debacle! In essence, my friends said you can’t change it so you have to put up and shut up. That is exactly what Face book is expecting all of it’s users to do.
Well, not me! Psssst! There is a way to do it. As a Geek Warrior Princess, I possess SEVERAL email addresses, like spies, I only use them for . . .ehem. . . “clandestine” purposes.

I thought I was unable to properly deactivate the email feature because I’d done everything on my smartphone. So, I again made my assault via my laptop. It didn’t work, because apparently, Facebook has you on lockdown if you only have ONE email address listed. If you add another one or two addresses you can switch up where you want all of that junk sent, if you don’t want it piling up on your main email address.

Side Note: Mail.com is an excellent free email site in order to do this. Once you establish an account, you are allowed to have 10 (ten) different customized email addresses on your account! So you can effectively set up a “cut out” account there and let Facebook spam that account to it’s desire without clogging up your personal/business account. The site is a bit tricky to use, in comparison to Google/GMail, but it’s worth the hassle once it’s set up. And just in case you want to check your emails, Mail.com has apps for smart phones and i-pads. . . . . .

Now, back to the story.

I so simply went back to “Account Settings” added the new “cut out” email addy. I then confirmed it, then clicked the “cut out address” as my “primary email address! Now, if Facebook wants to bombard me with crap, they can go to town, but it won’t be on my main email addy/address!

I will also inform my Face book friends if they need to message me, don’t send it through Face book’s messaging system. Send an email, to my “correct” email address, of course.

I’m just totally amazed how Face book over the years has turned me from being a Luddite into a first class hacker. Funny thing, I’m not the only one. Sadly, you must do these things in order to protect your account, your privacy, and your sanity . . . . .

A pox be upon you, Face book!  

* * * * * * * * * *

PS.  The method I described above may actually detrimental to you if you have cross linked platforms.   Say if you have your Google account linked to your Facebook as well as your WordPress.  You might wind up losing followers.  I’ve found, If you have a Google account (GMail) it is best to go into your GMail account settings and create a filter with the word FACEBOOK.  That way you can tell Gmail to DELETE all of those annoying emails before they even get to you.  However, you MUST warn your friends to email you directly instead of sending Facebook messages.  Or just make it a habit to check your facebook page several times a day to see if you get anything.  This is infinitely preferable to receiving tons of SPAM any day!

What Do YOU Consider Profanity?

Some of us consider profanity to be swear words. The “F” bomb and it’s ilk.

“Profanity” according to Wikkipedia is:

Profanity, also known as swearing, cursing, foul speech, strong language,  dirty words, cussing, bad words, bad language, adult language, or simply language, is pejorative language that shows disrespect, desecration or debasement. Profanity can take the form of words, expressions, gestures (such as flipping the middle finger), or other social behaviors that are construed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, obscene, obnoxious,foul, desecrating, or other forms.  Remember those words:  “Other Forms”.

I’m Old School and back in the days when I was growing up, “bad” words were vobotin. You may have uttered “cuss words” as a child, but you’d better not say them around an adult! Back then adults would let you have it (a cuff upside the head or a whack on the backside), and it wasn’t child abuse by the way.

Nowadays, swear words are considered part of the culture, and it’s everywhere! On television, radio, movies, books, and forget music (rap music being the leader. . . .), and let us not forget “social media”. Facebook, Twitter, and other social websites and forums.

However, if you are offended by these words and don’t want to see them,  what do you do?

I personally don’t like swear words because I don’t use them, and prefer not to see them on my Facebook timeline. So, I remove the offending posts. Most of the time these posts are few and far in between so that’s not a problem. However, if I’m “beseiged” by them, the producer of said posts becomes history. I unfriend them.

By the way, I also do this for what I consider “visually provocative and lewd” photographs. Yep, half or nearly neekid men and women.

A good example is a recent incident I had on Google Plus where I had joined a photography circle. For the uninitiated, on Google Plus you join “circles”. This circle consisted of a bunch of “unvetted” strangers who all claimed to be shutterbugs, and posted their photos for comments. This one guy kept “bombing” my timeline with a lot of photos of women, and since I work for who I work for, I was immediately on the alert.

At first the young ladies were fully clothed, then progressively they went to bathing suits, to half nude, to full nudity, then finally overt pornography. The indivdual claimed he was “professional photographer” and supposedly this was his idea of “art”. Well, not to me! I immediately blocked and reported him to Google Plus.

I’m proactive and censor my Facebook timeline because, 1. I have friends, family members, co-workers, and members of my church on Facebook, who would also be offended. 2. The “JOB” is laying in the cut and monitoring my page. . . . . .

I’m not saying I’m perfect. However, I am a Christian and I’ve been unfriended for what some call my “religious viewpoint” in the past. I’m also a stanch patriot, support the United States Military, and have a strong Conservative viewpoint. I’m sure I’ve been unfriended in the past for that also. But, “You can’t make people like you, who nitpick and find excuses not to.” So, life goes on.

I use Facebook as my “Neutral Zone” because I try not to espouse my viewpoint(s) very much on my pages. I’m saying very much compared to the “power washing” I’ve gotten in the past from some. . . . . .

Why not? Because, I have created other forums in which to safely express these viewpoints. I have a Political/Conservative/Christian blog and Twitter pages set up just for that. There I have like minded friends and followers where we can let fly together without being offensive to one another.

The prosecution rests. . . . . . . .

The floor is officially open for discussion.

The FaceBook Nightmare

Ak!  It has happened again!  What?  More Facebook hijackings!  Please click the following link to see what I mean.


Facebook Hacking & God Awful Gold Lame Sneakers


Unfortunately as society becomes more dependent upon computers, people have “gotten stuck on stupid”. No one uses common sense anymore. With the internet (and most of life) there is no such thing as just “set it and forget it”. Yes, Facebook does have a certain amount of safeguards (nod, nod, wink, wink) but you as a user must be responsible for the upkeep of your pages.

This means regularly checking your security parameters. For some strange and inexplicable reason, Facebook is constantly changing them in order to (in my scathing opinion) LET hackers into the system. So, we the users must be just as savvy in keeping a lockdown on our accounts. The only way to do that is to be vigilant.

1. The most important is your password. It should NOT be anything related to your name, address, social security number, phone numbers, birthday, etc. Why? That’s too easy for the hackers to figure out.

Your password/code should be as random as possible using upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Some sites don’t allow symbols as part of passwords so you should have a selection of them without symbols ready just in case.

If you simply cannot concoct a random password, you can Google a password generator and let the computer generate one or several for you.

If you don’t want to do that, or don’t feel you will remember those passwords, I have another suggestion. Use Shakespeare! Othello Act 1 Scene 2. ex: OTHact12

Note: This was merely an example and not meant to be used.

My personal favorite is the Bible. Unless the hackers are mind readers they will never know which verse I’m using for my password/code.

2. Another hint, change your password often. At my place of employ there is an automatic program which forces everyone to change their codes every three months. Annoying yes, but needful. Remember while you are at work and/or asleep, hackers are at work. And because the internet is global said hackers don’t even have to reside in the United States!

3. At least once a month do a system sweep of your FaceBook account settings and privacy. Review all of the applications that you have allowed to have access to your account. These are called “third party apps” and you usually have to give them access to your account, your Facebook friends, and permission to auto post on your wall. If you don’t want a particular app to do that, DELETE or DENY them permission.

A warning about Facebook games.

4. Facebook games are a sure way for your account to be hacked. As mentioned above they must have permission in order to have access to all of your friends, your personal info, and post on your wall. If you are a strict privacy buff like me, do not give them permission. Technically, you should ask all of your Facebook friends if THEY WANT their information given out in order to play Mafia Wars, or Sim City, etc. Some may not and you’ve gotta respect that.

If your friends send you invites to join games, tell them nicely that you don’t use them because they are a security risk. Period. You’re not being mean or anti-social, you are just using common sense.

5. Along with checking your Facebook security, don’t forget to check which devices have access to your account. In addition to your desktop or laptop at home, do you also use an I-Pad? A smartphone? Those addresses (and names) will be plainly listed for you to see.


Now, lets put on the thinking cap. If you look at your list and see ten devises hooked up to your account and you know you only have three. . . . It’s time to do a couple of mouse clicks and kill / DELETE those devises and “sessions” you don’t recognize.  What’s this mean?  Someone else is hanging out and lurking on your account.   Like the baby bear said in “The Three Bears”, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.”  


THROW THEIR BUTTS OUT!

For safety’s sake if you prefer, do a “clean sweep” and shut everything down or deny access to them all. This will require you to sign back in with each of your devises, one at a time.  This way you will be secure in the fact that it is only YOU using your account. Not a hacker or a spy/lurker/stalker. . . . . .

6. EXTRA! EXTRA! You don’t have to LIKE everything on Facebook! As a matter of fact, you should not! You should only LIKE legit organizations and trusted pages and stay away from advertisements!  Especially those which redirect you to weird sites which are way off the Facebook grid. That goes doubly for the ones who LURE you with FREE STUFF!

Except for rare cases, free stuff has a tendency to come with strings attached. In this case the strings can be viruses, trojans, cookies, worms, bots, and all kinds of nasty things to steal your personal information, and destroy your computer to boot.

7. Facebook is all about connecting with family, friends, people with like interests, and recently business and business networking. You want to be honest and transparent with people, but you must beware you may giving away vital information to hackers and identity thieves. All they need is your name, date of birth and city/country of residence, to move in on your bank accounts, social security and even file income tax returns in your stead.

So ladies, (and some men. . . . .) here is your opportunity to either lie about your age, or leave just it blank!  Keep the hackers on their toes and guessing.  For gender, you could enter the total opposite and add a photo of some androgynous cartoon character you like for your avatar. 


For those who really want to “go to ground”,  you might even consider using a pen name, or nome de plume.  I’ve done it for the past two years. Why? Because I literally had stalkers on Facebook. 



Huh?  What’d you say, Nanci?

Alas, that is a subject for another blog post……..

I hope this post was helpful. Comments are most welcome.

Thank you.