January 21st, 2015
So yesterday, just before the State of the Union speech, a poorly detailed story was released about how Healthcare.gov is sharing visitor data with various 3rd party services.
What is happening is that Healthcare.gov uses a quick and dirty parameter search (age, zip code, certain status) for the initial search for health insurance plans. That URL with the personalized parameters can be passed as a referrer URL to the external services (analytics, testing, image serving, etc.) the Web site uses.
I looked at Healthcare.gov last night and saw the same behavior. As a long time online marketer, I can confirm this behavior is NOT unique to healthcare.gov and THIS URL REFERRING BEHAVIOR CAN AND DOES happen elsewhere on nearly every modern Web site. In fact, I’ve written about it extensively on this very site.
Aside from the status parameters used in the particular site search, any webmaster can see what you searched for on a Web site site, and what your IP address is and other client information.
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Where the pearl clutching should happen (Note to journalists: There are places to look *hint* *hint*) as there are some legitimate questions as to why certain 3rd party services are being used on the site or why the search is executed the way it is and/or URL parameters aren’t obscured (I’d have to think the site creators were afraid of a site performance hit on the latter).
Update: A few days after the brouhaha, Healthcare.gov started obscuring the URL parameters. As of this writing, Zip Code is still intact in the URL, but your IP address gives webmasters that information anyway. Here’s a screenshot of the new URL.
January 4th, 2015
If you’re a Facebook user, at some point, you’ll want to evaluate how public your individual Facebook profile is. There are three types of settings you can choose - Public (default), Hide Your Profile From Search Engines and Hide Certain Parts of Your Public Profile*.
Here’s the official Facebook instructions to hide your profile from search engines: What should I do if I don’t want search engines to link to my profile?
And this is how your profile will appear if you’ve chosen NO (Hide Your Profile From Search Engines).
*These section settings are configurable by editing individual sections of your Facebook profile.
December 22nd, 2014
So, you’ve been going through your virtual rolodex only to find that some people have moved on, changed jobs or why the heck did I ever connect to this guy?
Here’s a quick and easy shortcut to clean up your LinkedIn connections…
1) Make sure you’re logged into the LinkedIn service - this shortcut apparently works on Web and Mobile.
2) Click this link: https://www.linkedin.com/people/conn-break-selection
3) Choose the connections you wish to break and click the Close Connection button.
August 27th, 2014
I like this…no, I kind of love it. This is a working gopher server over http.
Back in the early days, gopher was a text-based competing protocol to the World Wide Web and http. As the Web grew in adoption, gopher servers died out. This server at floodgap is holding onto some history.
Go check it out.
August 26th, 2014
This is more of an IT note because I spent more than an hour on this last night, killing what I had to do…
If you have automatic updating turned on in Google Chrome, and you find that your install is not quite right - wherein you still have your bookmarks and such, but the install just seems to have limited memory, refuses to show Chrome settings and/or goes directly to the AW SNAP! view.
Feel free to skip the usual troubleshooting steps and uninstall then download the new Chrome package. This worked for me on OS X. I have to think that the recent Chrome update either was b0rked or I had an incompatible file somewhere on my system.
July 22nd, 2014
A new-to-me anonymizing referrer appeared in the referrer logs today, AnonymZ.Com.
From the Web site:
To make a long story short: anonymz.com is a free and easy way to block the referrer when a visitor clicks a link on your homepage. It works with every browser as you do only have to add a http://anonymz.com/? in front of every outgoing http:// link. Use it as you want.
A note, this service does *not* block your IP Address, cookies or other information that may be logged when you visit a Web site, it only blocks the referrer of the site you may have clicked a link.
September 6th, 2012
Long time reader Harald shared his new Kobo Touch eReader with cleverhack.
Interestingly enough, the browser shows as Safari 1.3 in logs, which is an absurdly old Safari version.
User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.0; en-us;) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1 (Kobo Touch)
August 25th, 2012
I had no idea you could browse the Web on a Nook.
User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.1; en-us; NOOK BNRV200 Build/ERD79 1.4.3) Apple WebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1
November 23rd, 2011
*ahem* Bing SERP today showed that my post was at the top 4 or so…
November 6th, 2011
Not yet pushed out the public, but now available if you know where to look, Firefox 8.0…
Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.7; rv:8.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/8.0