reCAPTCHA

Does anyone else hate reCAPTCHA? There was a time where it was simply a matter of clicking maybe three squares but now it’s just plain daft. You click an image and another appears, or doesn’t, and it seems to go on forever. Websites that use this stuff need to be careful because where I see there newer type of challenge, like click all squares that had an ant on them last week or something equally daft, I go elsewhere. I even had to email an ISP because I could not get past the infernal challenge.

And it seems to make no sense. Sometimes I click one of the ‘all squares matching’ types to get a completely new set, and clicking at random then lets me past. Why? And now there are grainy photos too. They might as well post moon shots and ask which rock the alien might be under.

Pretty soon all we will be spending time on the web doing is trying to prove we are human!

I doubt many people process web server logs properly these days, all will use Google Analytics. But it would be interesting to see the number of people that get past a reCAPTCHA and find useful information in the target site vs those that give up. Oh wait – Google have this, surely! Ah, of course, checking their marketing literature states clearly that we are all working for Google as they make use of our actions to do their own thing.

Yes I realise that this blog has one too but it’s old school and simple… probably little use these days but comments are all held for moderation anyway.

Cloud storage confusion

With cloud services it can become confusing as to where things actually are. If you’re like me, old school, I tend to want to keep a local copy of things just in case and so I elected to do this on the MacBook with Desktop, Documents and the photo library so I would always have a local copy if things come undone.

This all worked fine until I changed my Apple ID today prior to the potential deletion of .eu domains held by UK people post-Brexit. My Apple ID was a .eu email address.

So, new ID set. The iPhone and iPad both worked fine but the MacBook presented an empty desktop and no documents. Oh. After a fiddle it transpired that it had not re-enabled the Desktop and Document folders in iCloud Drive in Settings. Checking this resulted in a re-populated desktop, albeit with the icons jumbled up. No biggie.

But all the files showed that little cloud icon with a downward facing arrow. This does not imply a pending thunderstorm, rather it means you can download the document.

But remember I kept local copies? Well, it transpires that the MacBook made an archive of everything. So all the files are sat in a named folder with ‘(archive)’ appended.

So the MacBook now appears to be happily downloading all the files from iCloud regardless of the fact they are already there in this archive. All 21Gb! Thanks.

There is a twist in this tale. Photos has also been disconnected. It now gives me the option once more of sending all photos to iCloud (they are all there already and can be seen on the iPhone and iPad!) and also storing them locally. Only its says there is insufficient space! yes, because you made a 21Gb archive and are now downloading the 21Gb again so that’s 42Gb and that’s more than the free space you numpty.

I am wary of deleting the archive, and anyway the photo library may have its own, as-yet undiscovered archive too. Apparently my photo library is 51Gb… good job we have unlimited broadband.

On the plus side, when I logged into iCloud again on the iPhone and iPad the photo app now uses iCloud. I had intended to switch over to this but never did. So at least those work… I just need to sort the MacBook because, being old school I really want a local copy of the photos just in case.

And it’s probably time to fix the NAS so it can be used by Time Machine again, or get a plug-in disk. You can never have too many copies when you are old school!

144MHz UKAC

I caught the tail end of the 144MHz UKAC last night. Listening around on SSB it was useful to see how effective my basic loft dipole is. This is a cut-down old FM radio antenna I’ve had for decades. It’s fixed horizontal roughly east-west so should max north and south.

The closest heard was around 7 miles off the west end of the dipole and a clear path, and the furthest was 35 miles roughly ENE with a lot of buildings and a hill in the way. No idea the strengths of those because the S-meter packed in while I was listening,  but all were easy R5 and plenty of juice. I’ve also no idea what power they were using and this is all very unscientific but at least proves the stuff works. Hopefully I’ll be free to join in next month.

Now if I could just manage a rotatable 6/4/2/70 setup on one of the chimneys… one day.

Keeping control of your content

The Internet Society are hot on this and their new website follows the POSSE principle – Publish on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. IndieWeb has more on this at https://indieweb.org/POSSE

Essentially, you acquire a home on the web, maybe your own server, a VPS, or shared hosting via wordpress.com or many others. The key thing is it is yours. Better still you purchase your own domain name and point it to your ‘home’.

At this stage it is little more than, for example a personal blog. But when it becomes the only place you publish content and when you syndicate that content out to other sites then it becomes your single source of truth. And you always have the original.

So, you publish a post and link it out to your social media channels. I can see this also helping with your Google rankings due to the backlinks. But it also means you do not need to worry about social media platform X being switched off because you don’t actually have any content to retrieve before it goes.

It’s more complex than I set out above – see the IndieWeb pages. But the Internet Society are making use of this method now, see https://www.internetsociety.org/blog/2018/03/building-new-website-posse-sharing-facebook-twitter-linkedin-google/

To me, this is has come full circle. When I started publishing on the web back in early 1993 if one wanted to publish something one found some Internet connected computer somewhere and put a web server on it. There were many such islands back then, some large, some small. Discovery was either by word of mouth or by fledgling search engines. Now with social media and the ease with which one can publish material and have it all searchable, keeping control of, and ownership of your own content is crucial.

Facebook woes

Facebook recently hit the headlines due to the Cambridge Analytica event. Along with this came tales of doom and gloom and suggestions that Facebook will lose up to 80% of its members. Of course, news comes and fades, and leaves current memory. People will continue to use Facebook although some small number will close their accounts. And so it goes. Like so many others I’ve always said only put online what you don’t mind the whole world knowing. Anyone sharing nude photos with their partners should take note – a good few celebrities included.

Personally I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and, as such all my settings are friends-only. I don’t use it to share generally, other of course than where I might click ‘like’ to an open post or share on an open group. To me this is just a part of using Facebook and I do not put anything on there that I would not wish the world to see. Facebook is free and useful and we need to remember that, but also remember to pay attention to those privacy settings and check when Facebook change them.

If I want to have a private conversation I use WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram. If I want it to be really private, well, I go and say it face to face! Yes I hear you, if we want to discuss stuff we should not be spied upon, but we’re in the real world.