Monday, October 3, 2011

New Intersections in our Neighborhood

Here's an intersection near my house ( courtesy of Google Maps)

Notice how the corners are curved in? It's done to make the crosswalk shorter and hopefully reduce the number of pedestrian accidents. I guess this has been a bad corner in the past.

A side-effect of this design is the loss of 8 or more parking spaces on the street close to the corner. For the owners of those houses on the corner, they now have to find somewhere else to park, or do they? It seems they really don't care if they block traffic.

I'm sure you can tell that even on the straighter section of street, there is just enough room to park on both sides and allow two cars to pass driving up the street while each trying to keep to their side of the road. (Imagine this in Winter when the people who live here fail to remove the snow on the street in front of their homes, but park there anyway. They are often almost in the middle of the street.) Once you get to the top of the curve on each corner, there is barely room for one large vehicle to pass if both sides are blocked. In fact, if there is on coming traffic as you make your turn, there is no where to go.

I know they are trying to make it safer for pedestrians, but in an obviously high traffic area, they have made it more dangerous for the drivers. Even more so when the corner residents attempt to claim the parking in front of their house.

The magic question, what would you do if YOU frequent this intersection?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Separate rules for everyone?

This is a pointer to the following CNET article:

Facebook blocks a second contact export tool
by Stephen Shankland

Read more:

After all of Facebook's efforts to prevent this activity, and also after the shut down the API that Open-Xchange uses, why is Yahoo still allowed to pull this info with email addresses but other apps are not even permitted to pull the first and last name?

Read the article in full and tell me what you think?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Internet Privacy

I have received several emails about this site"" over the last 2 weeks and have observed several friends posting about it both on Twitter and on FaceBook.

Here's the main part of the email that seems somewhat consistent:
I recently got notified of a site where people got information about me (including a picture of my house and what it was worth). In an age where identify theft is a daily occurrence, this site (Spokeo) is alarming.

To remove yourself, go to and do a search for your name, click on your name and copy the url of your data, then open up another web page and go to acy and paste the url of your information into it. You have to put in your email address; once you get the email to remove, click on it and you are off of spokeo.

I decided to check out the site on Snopes and found they rated it as True. As Snopes describes it, Spokeo is a "Data Aggregator" that gathers personal information from multiple Public Websites and associates the data when it can. I had 8 entries personally that included my house value, physical address, etc. I did follow their instructions to remove my entries from their system, though I believe the entries probably still exist, but are now hidden from public view.

Although this did resolve things for Spokeo's database entries, it occurred to me that they cannot be the only ones aggregating data from across the Internet. To clarify, the data is already out there, all the did was gather it up into a single location making it more readily search-able. So, I asked myself, "How many more sites like this are out there?".

Very little effort put in resulted in this list of other sites aggregating personal information:


And also got me to The Consumerist editor Ben Popken's June 2010 article "Giant List Of Data Brokers To Opt Out Of". A very good start for a list if I do say so. At the bottom of his article, he even has a link to another Forum post, "Removing your personal information from the Internet, data brokers, marketers, etc". The list there is even longer with some additional links to "How To's" for removing more of your "Public Information".

For those of you with a great deal of concern for your own privacy and that of your family, it may be worthwhile to clear your information off as many of the sites in Ben's article as possible.