Revenge of Son of Bride of Facebook II: The Return

One of Facebook’s “features” are these applications and games that people can play. And many of them are based on how many people you can get to join them with you. Now, I am by no means a security freak, but I don’t know who wrote these things and I am not sure what kind of information I’m giving to these applications when I accept the invitations I get. I only use one non-Facebook applications, and that’s for WordPress, and I checked it out and looked at it for a few days before I decided to use it.

The people sending me the applications are my friends and family. I am very happy that they are thinking of me and including me in their Facebooking (is that a verb yet?). But, when it comes to those applications, I’m just not sure I trust them, or want them on my Facebook account.

So, no offense to those of you sending me these invites. I really appreciate the sentiment, but do not be offended if I am not joining the Zombies army or something.


I don’t really like social networking sites. I used Orkut for a little while and I didn’t really “get it”. I saw the mess that was MySpace. Orkut ended up being taken over by Brazilian drug lords or something.

I am on LinkedIn, though. And it seems low-key and very simple. No one trying to bug you all the time. Every so often, I meet someone on there I work with and I link to them. I think the total business design of the site keeps the annoyances to a minimum. It’s all professional.

I went to a friends 50th birthday this past weekend, and I found out that lots of my old friends are using Facebook to keep in touch. I suppose that I’m not a very sentimental person in some respects, but these are people I grew up with and I enjoyed seeing them again. So, I guess I’m on Facebook now.

For better or worse.

Scary Hoaxes

As is the case for most things on the web, a link led to a link which then led to some forums with an interesting story. The initial post consisted of a short explination and a series of unusual images. The author had found a digital camera in the woods near his house and recovered the photos from the camera. The images displayed were all pretty spooky to begin with, but some appeared to have shadowy figures and shapes. I read the story and I examined the images and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Was this real, coincidence, or a clever hoax? The pages that followed the post were all discussing the exact same ideas at length. Some people were outright rejecting the concept and images, others were defending the images as authentic and real.

None of these people (even the original poster) had witnessed any of the evidence first-hand. One of the posters was even saying that the authenticity of the images was being checked by a friend who was an expert at digital photo manipulation to discover if these were real. For a while, his friend had found nothing and this was offered as proof of the images being “real”. For some people, the fact that you couldn’t prove the images were false, meant that they had to be genuine. Others did their best to convince people that the images were obviously fake. And some people just made jokes. It is the internet after all.

What surprised me the most, was my indifference over the images. They were good. They had a good creepy vibe and a good story to go along with them. But, the real interesting part were people’s reactions to them. It was a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces and this forced people to honestly try to put forth ideas that would solve the puzzle. There were mysteries and most people felt there was a genuine need to get to the bottom of it all. There were skeptics who refused to believe anything in the images was real without more proof. A few people latched onto these images as evidence of aliens on Earth or the supernatural. When the facts became known, everyone backed out of any conviction of what truth the photos revealed to them.

Ignoring the cursory beliefs of some of the people involved, the struggle for the underlying truth of the situation was very interesting. The lack of logic and understanding was a bit depressing. But, that’s pretty par for the course on a forum.

VPNs are a hack

I don’t have a problem with Virtual Private Networks (or VPNs) as a technology. They serve a purpose and I do work with them a lot where I am currently employed. But, I have come to the conclusion that using them for common or casual remote access is a total hack.

For the remote computer, the VPN essentially takes that remote system and virtually places it on the office network. That’s the hack. Instead of using secure technology and SSL tunneling, you “fake” having the computer on the office network. Obviously this is sometimes required, but should remote users be using VPN just to send and recieve mail? I’m not even sure you need a VPN for file access if you have a good, secure portal that allows uploads and downloads. End users dependent on VPNs for access to their day-to-day tools are depending on a single point of failure. If the VPN doesn’t work, the user is out of commission.

I feel that a VPN should be used to connect office LANs together and as an emergency for remote users who can’t get what they want through normal secure methods.

Speakeasy + Covad + Bellsouth = DSL

Last Friday around 8:00am EDT, my DSL died. I stopped by the house around lunchtime and checked things out. I have had a lot of issues with DSL in the past due to the wiring in my house being unshielded and basically ancient. But, when I plugged an analog phone into the jack outside my house, I got no dialtone. That’s bad.

I put in a trouble ticket and by the end of that day I got a voice mail indicating my phone line was good and my DSL would be back up Monday. No explination about what happened or why my phone just went dead. Same for the DSL. It just came back with no message from Bellsouth or anything.

I suspect gnomes … or maybe brownies.


Snopes is an awesome web site. It’s not unlike FactCheck but with less of a topic focus. Myths, wives tales, urban legends, it’s all here and debunked for the most part. I’ve been spending far too much time here.

The forums are really where the meat of this site resides in my opinion. But after reading most new stuff regarding urban legends and the like, I noticed that hardly any new posts came up. At least, it was a relativly slow trickle of posting going on. Seemed kind of odd. Then I noticed that most of the more intense posting was occuring farther down the forum list in the SLC area. I don’t even know what “SLC” stands for, but this is more like normal forums. I find it a little funny because even the layout of the page seems to lend itself to the concept of a group of animals congregating at the bottom of a lake, rising to the surface occasionally to feast on a new post in the urban legend forums above.