All posts by Harry du Mez

Most recent first

This is about Facebook and the way it sorts posts on your start page.
Don’t know about you, but I like the FB post ordered chronologically, most recent first. So new additions are into view at every page refresh. This setting can easily be achieved by selecting the “Most Recent” option under the “News Feed” item in the menu at the left side of the page.

mostrecent

Unfortunately Facebook seems to have the habit to reset this to “Top Stories” every now and then, without asking me whether I ever wanted that.
Sometimes it takes a while before this gets noticed, if you weren’t aware of the banner ‘Viewing most recent stories’ at the top of the list and you can’t see a fresh post from a friend because is way down on the page.
It’s annoying having to change the setting back over and over again. On top of that, working with a not so responsive tablet − as I am − makes you touch the spot where the “Most Recent” option sits one time to many, which results in you hitting the “Events” option unintentionally.

To minimize the chances you’ll have to redo this setting, is always starting Facebook with the correct ordering option. You do this by a adding the sk=h_chr query parameter to every Facebook link and bookmarks. Like so:

https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr

Probably this will mean something like “Sort key is home chronologically”.
If for instance you always start your browser with Facebook, set your Startup page this way. This is how that looks in Chrome:
startup
I’m sure you will be able to figure out it must be done in your browser. Any other link to facebook.com, like bookmarks, should be altered in the same way.

In the occasion you happen to like the “Top stories” setting, you just need to use the sk=h_nor setting instead:
https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_nor.

Incognito

Most of the time we go on-line, we do that on a device of our own.
Many sites we visit and many services we use on the internet require us to log into a private account. As a convenience our device – or the profile within which we use that device – will store the username/password combinations needed to get access, and remembers them the next time.  This is how you can, for instance, open your Facebook pages or read your web-mail, without having to enter your account information over and over again.
The browser will also keep record of the pages you’ve been visiting (history) and keep content, like images, on disk to prevent them form reloading if you return to pages you’ve loaded before (cache).

But how do you go about when you’re not at home and you need to go on-line but have no device at hand that can do so? If someone is kind enough to lend you his/her web-connected device?
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Say you want to do something on Facebook, but that kind person also has a Facebook account. If you browse to the Facebook site you will automatically be logged on to his/hers account. Should you log out of that and log in on yours, the ‘memory’ of the device will switch to your information and your friend will have to reinstate the login data (or work on your behalf).
This way the privacy of both you and your friend is at stake.

The solution for this is incognito or private browsing.
If you’re using the Chrome browser, click the control button the top right corner of the window and then on “New incognito window” (or push the Ctrl+Shift+N key combination).
cognitoChrome
This will open a new separate window (not a new tab).
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The first tab in the window will contain a text telling you that you’ve gone Incognito. This text will disappear as soon as the content of the page, of which you entered the address in the address bar, is loaded. But to remind you of that modus the little picture of a spy will be displayed to the left of the row of tabs. The original – non incognito – window will still be on the taskbar and you can switch back and forth between the two. To end Chrome you’ll have to close both windows.

While incognito, the browser will not use any account information or cookies available to sessions in the ‘normal’ window; you can use the bookmarks though. Browsing to Facebook for instance, will prompt you to log in (or create an account) so you must be able to remember the user/password combination by yourself. The same goes of course for any other service, like web mail.
When you close the incognito window your browse history will be gone too.

If the device you borrowed has Firefox installed, the procedure is slightly different. Here it’s called ‘Private Browsing’.
cognitoFirefox
Click the menu button in the top left corner and select ‘New Private Window’.
privateWindow
Again the newly created window will show you an explanation. A purple menu button with a small image of a mask will remind you of this.

To get acquainted to this way of working, I advise you to practice incognito browsing on your own device a few times, before you need in the field.

In case of Internet Explorer, I can’t give you precise instructions, you will have to look for the solution yourself. In IE it’s called ‘InPrivate Browsing’.

publicInternet

No need to tell you that this is also how you should handle on public terminals in internet cafés, airports and so on. If you leave such a machine where you just closed a non-incognito browser, or even worse didn’t even close the browser at all, any person next in line could steal your identity. So be warned!
Remember that the incognito modus only effects the behavior of the browser on the local device. It is not a safe guard against any of the dangers and pitfalls on the internet nowadays. So stay alert.

If somebody offers you the use of their computer, it is IMHO an act of considerate politeness to go incognito as soon as possible, to not abuse such a kind offer and you’ll be welcome to come around again.

Correct yourself

Nobody is perfect.
When you enter text on a post, on Facebook or any other social application, it’s almost inevitable to make a few typing errors on the way.  If you’re in a hurry or are not paying enough attention, the errors get posted along with your message. Also in many cases the Enter key,  hit by accident, is unrelenting; and your damaged post is on its way to the internet before you’ve had the chance to look it over. To top that some applications have a feature that will turn your correctly typed words into misspelled crap – this is called “Autocorrect”.
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Many jokes on the internet show screenshots of conversations gone wild due to unwanted “corrections”. It’s fun to read how the poster tries hard to make up the mistakes and puts the blame on Autocorrect. Google for “autocorrect fail” and you’ll find loads of examples of what I mean.

It’s  my advice to turn off the autocorrect feature and rely on your own language skills and refrain from hitting the post button until you’ve read it over. Enable a spell checker for the current language, if available, to point out words you may need to correct.SpellCheck

 

Starting a new sentence while typing a post, comment or reply on Facebook is tricky. Hitting the Enter key will  not start a newline, but instead submit you text to the server and close the input box. This may be the reason some people need several entries to get their message across (you will learn in a moment that this need not be). The correct way to do this is holding down the Shift key while pressing Enter.

If your post is bigger than say more than a few sentences, is’t a good idea to prepare the text in your favorite word processor, and after you’re content  copy and paste it into the social media application. If you can do this without a pause, there’s no need to save it on file (saving is not forbidden either, who knows you might want to use – part of it – later).

On Facebook, many posters discover their typos too late. In an attempt to minimize the damage some people put a comment to their own post, explaining how they intended it in the first place. Here I’ll show how to do that in a less clumsy way, hiding the initial mistakes.
Anything you put on Facebook can be edited (or deleted) afterwards, as long as you are the author.

editPost

To manually correct your post, move your mouse pointer over the top right corner of the post (just below the thin line separating the post from the one above). This will display a small button with a pencil symbol. Click it to display a menu. Then select “Edit Post”.
If this doesn’t work while the post is shown on your homepage, try it on the timeline (your own or somebody else’s)  you posted it on.
The menu may have other options than shown here, depending on the context.
If your post is a picture, you can click it to open a window containing the picture with next to (or below) it the description you gave it and the comment/reply conversation, as well as the following buttons:
editPicture

The same nifty little edit button is present on comments and replies you’ve put on posts of others (or yourself).

editComment

Apart from correcting errors you may also use this method to continue with a post that was submitted prematurely by hitting Enter by accident.

Remember that you are the owner of your writing and are entitled to adjust it. But the longer you wait to make a revision of your post, the more people may have read the initial faulty version.

By my knowledge there is no way to edit a post on Twitter (once the bird is out, you can’t get it back in the cage again). You only have the option to delete a tweet (i.e. kill the bird).deleteTweet

How to loose Bitstrips

It’s rather new, but it’s getting popular fast: Bitstrips on Facebook.

bitstrips
So it’s time to brace yourself against lots of FB friends populating your homepage with it.
If you – like me – are getting annoyed by it, here’s how to keep them away.

hideBitstrips
The next time Bitstrips posts an image on someone’s behalf, move your mouse pointer over the top right corner of the post (just below the thin line separating the post from the one above). This will display a small button with a down pointing symbol. Click it to display a menu. Then select “Hide all from Bitstrips“.
You’ll have to answer two questions about why you don’t want to see it (both can be answered by clicking an option, so it will be done in a snap). This then will be the last you see from Bitstrips.

By the way: You can use the same method to hide posts from other apps your FB friends are using.

Unfortunately this doesn’t guard you against Bitstrips posted on the timelines of others.
Also Bitstrips users may still be able to post you images from that app, om their own.

Look before you click

Think before you link.

Personal and professional computing has always been threatened by malicious parties wanting to do nasty things to you. Mostly to their own profit but not seldom just for the sake of bullying. There are many ways they try to enter your systems and a lot of software has been developed to guard us against them.
In addition to this security software I believe that common sense is a good means of defense. Today I will focus on how to regard your incoming E-mail.
The practice of sending you unwanted mail is called scam and has many subcategories like spam, spoofing and phishing.
email-spam
The first measure you should take is configuring your E-mail client not to open any mail before you want it.  The screen of your client is usually made up from several areas. Many times one area shows the content of the currently selected  mail (if you didn’t make a selection yet, this will be the top item in the listing of you inbox). Some clients come with such a screen layout as a default. And even reset it after an update.
This gives any script present in a malicious mail the opportunity to run without your consent. So you should get rid of this so called preview pane.

If you use Thunderbird (which I recommend for PC’s – it’s free) you just have to remove the check mark in front of the “Message Pane” option in the “View”/”Layout” menu, or just hit the F8 key.

messagePane

You can download Thunderbird for Windows from here.
For other brands or web mail you’ll have find out the settings on your own. To my dismay, the web mail client of my ISP (KPN) doesn’t offer a layout option without a preview pane (you can only choose for a preview below or next to the list).

spam_key
Usually you can spot spam mail easily. In fact it ‘s easier for you than it is for most spam filters. If your provider has a filter installed or your ant-virus packages checks for it, you still my encounter spam in your Inbox. Usually can can spot it by looking at the subject. Also pay attention to the  “From” column for senders you don’t trust.
If you’re sure an entry in the list is spam (or a worse form of scam) just select and delete it. Use the Shift-Delete key combination, rather than just Delete, to bypass the recycle folder.

Spoofing.

email-spoofing

By spoofing a malicious sender pretends the mail is sent from a more trustworthy source. Spoofing e-mail is easy because the cheating is done in the header of the mail, before someone sends it out to an SMTP server. When the content of the mail lures you to a webpage where you’re asked to enter some sensitive information, like passwords or pin-codes  this is called phishing. Below is an e-mail I received a while ago, opened in Thunderbird, that spoofs to be a message from Twitter.

TwitterScam

As you can see, the spam filter of my provider marked this mail as spam (prefixed the subject). Also, upon receipt, Thunderbird marked it as scam (hence the warning).
Before clicking on a link, you should just hold the mouse pointer over it and notice the real address the link refers to, in the status line at the bottom of the window.
(If in any doubt, Google for the domain).
You should also check the address of links that offer you to unsubscribe from newsletters and the like.

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Vertrouwen

Identity-theft
Als een ervaringsdeskundige in de ICT dien ik mijn familie en vrienden graag van advies op  het gebied van computers en internet. Daarbij hoop ik dat mijn adviezen geloofwaardig worden bevonden en serieus worden genomen. Ik houd van humor, maar er zijn zaken waar je geen grapjes over maakt. Ik geloof dat ik op dat gebied een reputatie heb hoog te houden. Vooral als het gaat om veiligheid en privacy op het internet.
internet-security-tips
Raadgevingen over hoe je je online moet gedragen, waar je je accountgegevens achter laat, mails die je beter niet kunt openen, links die je beter maar niet zomaar aan moet klikken, enz. enz., zijn al door velen gegeven en met gezond verstand ook zelf te bedenken.
Als je mensen over de vloer krijgt, die je niet volledig kunt vertrouwen, is het onverstandig om computers, laptops, tablets of smartphones onbeheerd te laten, terwijl die onder een of meerdere van jouw accounts op een of meerdere services staan ingelogd.
(Sommige bedrijven eisen dat medewerkers hun terminal met een wachtwoord locken als ze hun hun werkplek verlaten en er onbevoegden in de buurt zouden kunnen rondlopen).
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Zelf kom ik regelmatig bij mijn dochter en schoonzoon in huis, waarbij zij zelf afwezig zijn.
Behalve dat ze hun dochters aan onze zorgen toevertrouwen, hebben ze mij ook het gebruik van de in huis aanwezige apparatuur toegestaan. Dit vertrouwen moet buiten kijf staan en het is er mij ook alles aan gelegen het niet te beschamen. Een rondslingerende tablet gebruik ik niet en als ik eens iets op zijn PC op het internet moet opzoeken, dan gebruik ik de browser in de incognito-modus, zodat ik nooit per ongeluk onder zijn account op een sociaal netwerk terecht kan komen.
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Een kwestie van vertrouwen. Maar wie kun je nog vertrouwen?
Afgelopen weekend heeft mijn vertrouwen in mijn nabije familie, op dit gebied, een behoorlijke knauw opgelopen. Wij waren zaterdag gastgevers voor een familiebijeenkomst. Als goed gastheer probeer je dan je gasten zo goed mogelijk te onderhouden. Als er gevraagd wordt hoe iets of iemand eruitziet, dan probeer je een plaatje te vinden op een van je eigen servers of anders op het internet.
Een tablet is daarbij een doelmatig middel, omdat het een redelijk afmeting heeft en gemakkelijk van hand tot hand doorgegeven kan worden. Een van de afbeeldingen waar vraag naar was, bevond zich op de tijdlijn van een van mijn Facebook-vrienden. Dus ik opende die post (van een aantal maanden gelden) en gaf m’n tablet door.
Ondertussen gaf mijn lieve nicht mij haar smartphone in handen met op het scherm een foto van haar knappe dochter in een prachtige donkerblauwe gala outfit.
Mijn gedachte was “Wow, Maxima eat your heart out”. Het kwam niet eens in mij op met mijn vinger over het schermpje je vegen om nog meer foto’s te zien te krijgen.
Op internetfora blijkt dit een van de vele privacy-schendingen door zgn. vrienden te zijn, waar smartphone gebruikers zich aan ergeren. Deze nieuwsgierigheid had ik niet dus behoefde ik die ook niet te bedwingen. De eigenaar laat jouw iets zien, en bepaalt ook wat je te zien krigt, dat dien je te respecteren.

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Ik probeer mijn tablet zoveel mogelijk vrij de houden van vingerafdrukken, daarom gebruik ik een stylus. Mij aandacht werd getrokken toen ik een familielid bezig zag met z’n vingers op het scherm van m’n tablet. Ik schrok daarvan omdat hij onder mijn facebook-account bezig was op de tijdlijn van iemand anders, met op het scherm natuurlijk ook diverse aanklikbare componenten en zich kennelijk niet beperkte tot alleen maar kijken.
Het gevaar bestaat dat hij dingen like’t die ik niet wil, mij aanmeldt bij sites die ik niet wil, artikelen of tickets bestelt, enz..
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Later bleek dat hij, onder mijn identiteit, een beledigend commentaar had geplaatst bij de post van mijn FB-vriend.
Ik kreeg de tablet weer terug en ging verder met het vervullen van mijn taak als gastheer.
Dit lijkt een onschuldig pesterijtje, maar dat is het niet om een aantal redenen:

  • Ik kwam er pas later – toen hij reeds vertrokken was – achter wat hij gedaan had. Het was stiekem, zonder dat de rest van het gezelschap daar lol aan had. Ik kon daar niet direct op reageren en had ook niet de gelegenheid de schade zo snel mogelijk te beperken.
  • Er werd ongevraagd een derde partij – mijn FB-vriend – in betrokken, die in verwarring werd gebracht omdat die een dergelijk negatief commentaar van mijn niet verwachtte.
  • Een grote groep gemeenschappelijk FB-vrienden zagen de onterechte aan mij toegeschreven reactie op hun FB-startpagina voorbij komen, waardoor we beiden imagoschade opliepen.

Pas toen de visite vertrokken was kon ik in de activity-log zien wat er gebeurd was en kon ik het negatieve commentaar verwijderen. Het kwaad was toen al wel geschied.identity-theft3
Is dit nu een advies om je nabije familie en goede vrienden voortaan maar niet je apparaten in handen te geven?
Nee, je moet m.i. teleurgesteld vertrouwen niet beantwoorden met wantrouwen.
Dit is meer een oproep om dit soort geintjes liever maar niet uit te halen met personen wier vertrouwen je wil blijven genieten.

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