Archive for the 'Internet' Category

Healthcare.gov 3rd Party URL Referrer Real Talk

Wednesday, 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.

Healthcare.gov 3rd Party Services as of January 20 2015
Full Size View

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.

healthcaregov obscured url

Quick Facebook Non-Public Profile Setting

Sunday, 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).

No Public Facebook Profile

*These section settings are configurable by editing individual sections of your Facebook profile.

Unlink a LinkedIn Connection or two

Monday, 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.
4) Profit!

gopher.floodgap.com

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

I like this…no, I kind of love it. This is a working gopher server over http.

Floodgap.gopher.com

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.

Google Chrome OH NO

Tuesday, 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…

Awwww SNAP!

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.

Google

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Google

I feel like I’ve just won the Internet

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

*ahem* Bing SERP today showed that my post was at the top 4 or so…

Firefox User Agent 8.0 Bing Microsoft

Firefox 8.0 User Agent

Sunday, 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

Spoofed Googlebot User Agent

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Well, this visitor caught my eye earlier as the originating IP address is from the technology company Oracle but with a Googlebot user agent. Another clue that this is a spoofed user agent is that they came in off of a Google Search Engine referrer, as Googlebot doesn’t usually do that. Also, their browser had requested images off of my server (as browsers usually do) and Googlebot usually does not.

Why would someone spoof Googlebot? Aside from the amusing (and covert) aspects, some Web sites may serve different content to Googlebot — for example, cloaking or doorway pages which are a big Google Webmaster no no (i.e. a Flash or Video based Web site serving text for indexing or a specifically optimized entry page).

Host: 137.254.4.8

/2010/12/19/droid-user-agent/

Http Code: 200 Date: Sep 19 07:58:51 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 10962

Referer: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=droid+user+agent&oq=droid+user+

Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)

Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 User Agent

Friday, September 16th, 2011

IP Address: 96.227.#.#

Operating System : Microsoft WinNT

User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows NT 6.2; Trident/6.0)

Monitor :
Resolution : 1920 x 1080
Color Depth : 24 bits

It’s always sweet when a friend visits you to show off his new user agent (apparently this is why I’ve garnered Internet fame). Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 preview (MSIE 10) on Windows 8 (Windows NT 6.2) it looks like.

BlackBerry User Agent

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

I had no idea the user agent was…Safari based. Unless this is a BB user with a Safari browser? Can you use multiple browsers on a BB?

Host: 74.82.68.#

Operating System: Macintosh Unknown

Agent: Safari 1.3
Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9800; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.8 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0.0.526 Mobile Safari/534.8

Monitor:
Resolution : 360 x 480
Color Depth : 24 bits

RockMelt User Agent

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

RockMelt, the new browser which takes advantage of your social networks, has a user agent.

*

/2011/01/01/easy-seo-update-your-copyright-notice/

Http Code: 200 Date: Jan 01 11:02:13 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 10150

Referer: -

Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) RockMelt/0.8.36.128 Chrome/7.0.517.44 Safari/534.7