There’s a guy out there who is so sure he can prevent identity theft, he gives out his Social Security number in his ads. He dares you to try and steal his identity. He’s got a $1-million guarantee on it. (The company is Lifelock, his name is Todd Davis, and I’m not linking to him or his site because this is not a paid ad, but rather an illustration of a larger point.)
Identity theft is such a big deal, that many people refuse to put their Social Security numbers on any document whatsoever. Your employer probably doesn’t require it. Your insurance companies don’t use it as an identifier for you. Because if that identifying piece of information ever got out, someone could pretend to be you.
But hey, let’s just hand over the keys to our websites, right? BlogBackUpr is missing more than just vowels and originality. It’s missing a clue about security. It claims to be a free webservice (in BETA, of course) that will back-up the contents of your blog, every day. A nice automated procedure, that involves no local storage headaches for you… and all you have to do is turn over your username and password.
Frequently Unasked Questions
Reprinted, as of the moment of this posting, is the FAQ:
Is this a backup service for my blog?
Does this service work with my blog?
This service works with all blogs that have a RSS-feed.
Why do you need my WordPress login?
We need to be able to backup more than the RSS-feed supplies and for restore. All passwords are stored encrypted in our database.
What’s included in the backup?
If your blog engine is WordPress we include full posts, comments and catagories. And the other blog engines depends on the engine in question.
Which blogs support automatic restore?
We currently support:
- WordPress Open Source (wordpress.org)
There will be support for more platforms in the future. Blogs with other platforms can use the “Export” function.
Why is there no backup?
Please wait at least a day.
What about the blog template and images?
Sorry, this service is just beta. But if you register we announce when we will backup your template and images.
I’m seeing error messages
All errors are logged and reviewed. Please contact me for more detailed status
Who is behind this service?
Jonas Lejon is a young web 2.0 entrepreneur living in the beautiful country of Sweden.
I’m sure Jonas is a nice young man, with no ill intent whatsoever. And I am fully satisfied that my passwords will be stored encrypted in his database. However, there is no promise whatsoever that he won’t use them!
Trust: a four-letter word
Hey… if I were into spam blogs or building up search engine links, I’d create some valuable webservice that gave me unencumbered access to blog sites. I’d go into older posts, maybe insert a few text links in there. I might even add a “display: none” tag, so they wouldn’t be visible, but would fire up my linkrank just the same.
This isn’t the first time I’ve railed against our collective stupidity in trusting too much. Even the tech-savvy elites can’t resist the chance to click on the promise of a shiny new Firefox plugin! What makes this BlogBackUpr even worse is I discovered it through the “Currently Popular” links on del.icio.us. Which means it’s just a matter of moments before it’s on Digg, and Reddit, and any of a host of link-hosting sites. Share the misery, people.
Again — no ill will toward Jonas. Good luck, my man. But even better luck to the people who have signed up for your services without asking any of the important questions that ought to have been addressed in your FAQ. Better luck to them — because God only knows where else they’ve handed off the keys to their online identity.
[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, blogging, security, identity theft, webservices[/tags]
Wit is the ability to be clever. Wisdom is knowing when clever will get you beaten up.
I know many people who are clever. Some are clever when they shouldn’t be. Many times that person is me.
I’m a fan of layers in communication — being able to reach more than one audience within a single message. If a particular analogy communicates at a basic level, yet alludes to something on a higher plane, that’s effective writing. Some people learn by peeling the onion.
I first started toying with these concepts while still in television news. The size of the canvas is measured in time, and it’s hard to paint pretty pictures on a postage stamp. Every second counts, and counts against you. If you can marry the words and the pictures just so, you can squeeze more meaning than in the words or the pictures alone.
We celebrate the clever, and we appreciate the genius behind it. Comedians often get away with remarks about hecklers or others in the audience by sheer virtue of wit. Comedy writers squeeze naughty content through a device known as the double-entendre. Yes, they can be very funny. Yes, they are very clever. But it’s time we celebrate the single-entendre.
Writing in single-entendres:
- eliminates potential ambiguity
- puts the focus on your point
- puts your ego in the backseat
- respects the reader’s time
If you find yourself patting your own back about something clever you wrote, ask:
- for whom am I writing?
- how many will really get that?
- how many will enjoy it?
- how many might be confused? (or even offended)
Layers have their place, but let’s not forget where the onion gets its name: the same Latin root as the word union. Meaning one. Whole.
Single, naked thoughts are liberating.
[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, language, writing, communication[/tags]
Actually, the economy is still growing, but the reporting and hype around it is quite bad.
This morning, our power came on just in time for me to catch a segment on Good Morning America with Mellody Hobson. I really like Mellody, but it’s clear she’s being pushed into stories that make no sense whatsoever. Unlike the bloviating fools on the finance nets, she isn’t forced to fill airtime with idle speculation. Her piece today was about Americans being over-extended on car loans, and the possible effect on the economy. A “car bubble” might be interesting, but it didn’t go that far.
She interviewed a couple that has upgraded vehicles three times in fours years, new cars every time. They think they’re worth $24,000; the loans are for $44,000. That’s called being “upside down” on the loan.
I feel for this couple, I really do. But this isn’t a sign of economic slowdown. It’s individuals facing up to the consequences of the choices they made. That didn’t stop the producers from slapping a Recession Rescue! banner on the piece. It’s misleading, either way you look at it. Any oncoming recession (if one exists) has had no bearing on this couple’s plight. Conversely, the over-extension of car loans is not a factor in creating a recession.
A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of a shrinking economy. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysts, we haven’t had a single one since 2001. (3Q 2000, 1Q 2001, 3Q2001.) That’s 24 consecutive quarters of growth, and only 3 of the 24 were less than a percentage point.
Which gets us back to this Recession Rescue bit. Why the banner? Why the angle on the story? Isn’t it enough to do the same piece as just a consumer-advocate story? The couple interviewed even admitted at the very end that it was entirely their own decisions and consequences! We could be having record growth and still have this same dynamic.
As for Mellody, I’m a big fan. I happened to be watching the morning she debuted, and remember how nervous she was. You could see it in the body language that she wasn’t comfortable. Her voice was low, with a little timbre. She shook, just a little. She didn’t project her voice with the same command and authority that she does now. But I’ve watched her over the last year or so really grow into the role, bringing her background in finance and honing her gentle manner of explanation.
And today? She looked and sounded just like her rookie self. Same unsure sounds, same uncomfortable look. I remember feeling that way myself, when I had to read things into a camera that others had written.
Speak for yourself
Body language and comfort level speak volumes. I was never a good enough actor to pretend that I knew things I didn’t on television. That’s why I took advantage of every opportunity I had to rewrite copy, and say things the way I naturally speak. Sometimes it was a light touch-up on phrasing– sometimes the merging a couple of thoughts — sometimes a complete re-organization of the script to put the facts in a more logical framework. But it always needed to sound like it was coming from me, because ultimately it was.
When you’re not speaking for yourself, not speaking your own words, people catch on quickly. (And Mellody, I feel for you. I’ve been overruled by producers too, and still have the scars to prove it…)
[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, broadcasting, GMA, economy, news, recession[/tags]
What does it mean to be a “friend?”
If you’re young, and growing up online, the word can mean many different things. And there are other words that can cloud the issue: followers, acquaintances, allies, supporters…
So think for yourself how you can categorize and differentiate the terms. I broke things down this way, but it’s not the only way:
- People you like
- People who like you
- Over a long period time
[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, friendship[/tags]