The Cure for the Common Web
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Kyle Denlinger
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Mozilla's Mycroft Project is an excellent community resource of custom search engines you can add to your browser. +Brian Croxall provides a great write-up.
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Kyle Denlinger
owner

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Awesome video about the structure of the web and how we're using it and it's using us to become a smarter machine. Six years old, which in internet years is ANCIENT, but it holds up very nicely.
 
I still love this video and it's hard to believe it is 6 years old. Still relevant! Thanks to Kim Wilkens  for sharing this video in WomenLearningTech.

The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final Version)!
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Kyle Denlinger
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Interested in how the National Security Agency trains its agents to do their spy work online? Their manual, Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research, was just made available through a Freedom of Information Act request. Very interesting stuff!
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Kyle Denlinger's profile photoTerry Lease's profile photo
3 comments
 
Heh. Probably. And definitely not available via a FOIA request. (Although this book isn't about hacking, which would definitely be covert and probably never released or admitted to. It's about how to use search to find specific and sometimes sensitive information that's freely available if you know how to find it. The search hack [ site:.ru filetype:xls login ] to find Excel spreadsheets from Russia that contain login information is an example.)
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Kyle Denlinger
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Some awesome time-saving tips in this TED Talk. What are your favorites?
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John Graves's profile photo
 
I've started using the space space trick on my phone. Nice!
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Tom Daly

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Kyle Denlinger's profile photoTom Daly's profile photo
4 comments
 
Haha. Very good point, Tom. I hope I die at a ripe old age, connected to the internet via a chip implanted in my brain. :) (Kidding, of course.)
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Tom Daly

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Fortune reports that Facebook may soon be tracking where you are all the time, via an app in your smartphone.  They may clam that you already gave them permission to track you, even if the app is not opened.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/mattmiller/2013/02/05/facebook-know-where-you-are/

In addition NPR yesterday reported that Google is combining their data on you with that of retailers, so that they can sell not only what you look at on the web, but also your shopping history.

1984 had it somewhat wrong, big brother is the Fortune 100.

Kyle, ZSR, thanks  for the course.
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Kyle Denlinger's profile photoKathy Martlock's profile photo
4 comments
 
Here's the story you're talking about re: Facebook and ad targeting. Reinforces the idea that "if you're not paying for something, you're not the customer, you're the product being sold." http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/facebook-refines-ad-targeting/
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Kyle Denlinger
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Hey everyone! This most recent module kind of hit on the concept of content farms. Here's an excellent article about the emerging industry of Facebook "like farms," where companies create a page, get it a lot of "likes," and then sell the page (and those that like it) to a bigger company. Think twice next time before liking those photos that just tug on your heartstrings. 
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Tom Daly

Discussion  - 
 
Kyle
  Thanks for the post about Safari etc.  If you use the "Guest" login in OSX (mac operating system) you can use most of the programs on the mac, and all traces will disappear when you log off.  It is a good thing to uses if friends and family use your machine.
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Kyle Denlinger's profile photo
 
Good point, Tom!
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Tom Daly

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    OK, Here is some good news about tracking.
     There are two types of tracking, one done by the site you visit, like Google, and the other done by third parties; companies that have code in the web page you are on that are not, for instance, Google. The third party tracking  is introduced in web pages by advertizements and in hidden code (non displayable.)
     Well help will be at hand soon to limit and stop third party tracking.
    According to CNET.com, reliable if a bit nerdy:
"More important is Mozilla's recent announcement that upcoming versions of Firefox will block third-party tracking cookies by default. That feature is due in the Firefox 22 Aurora build, expected tomorrow (in beta test), and should be in the Firefox stable (general use) around July."
     The text in parenthesize were added by me.
     I hope IE, Chrome, and Safari will follow, but those products are from Fortune 100 companies and perhaps they would fear adding this new feature.

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-3514_7-57578058/firefox-prepares-additional-do-not-track-options/
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Louisa Puffett's profile photoKyle Denlinger's profile photo
7 comments
 
You've gotta watch out--we librarians are quick about radical change. :)
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About this community

ZSRx is a four-week open online course from the Z Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University. Share what you're learning, tools you've discovered, and anything else that might be of interest to the group. This community will continue after the class has concluded, so feel free to stick around!

Kyle Denlinger
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Interesting look at DuckDuckGo, a small search engine that doesn't track you or store your search data.
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Joel Stegall's profile photoMichael Kaiser's profile photo
2 comments
 
There is a Google Chrome App available for DuckDuckGo as well as a free iPhone App.  
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Kyle Denlinger
owner

Discussion  - 
 
An interesting piece on how Google's search algorithm relies on our own intelligence. It also contains one seriously useful search tip: eliminate all words that have high frequency of occurrence and only search for those words that would appear on the pages you're looking for.
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Just saw post from John Graves about the course. It tells quite a story! Very cool experience all around. 
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John Graves's profile photo
 
Thanks +Molly Lineberger. You can tell your story the same way. At the very simplest, use one of the SlideSpeech mobile apps to take a picture and either write or record a description. Like this: http://slidespeech.com/s/cflOHYYAen/

To get fancier, do as +Kyle Denlinger  did, and make a presentation. You can then add a script in the speaker notes of the slides -- which SlideSpeech will read for you.
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Kyle Denlinger
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Just so we're all clear here, I've envisioned this space continuing on well after the course "officially" concludes. If we do offer future versions of ZSRx, I'd like to have future participants be added to this community. Essentially what I see happening is that future participants will have the opportunity to interact with all of you (who have been absolutely amazing to share ideas with!), and the community will slowly grow over time into a resource all its own. (That said, if you want to leave the community, select "Leave community" from the "Actions" menu on the left.)

Folks, I cannot tell you how delighted I am at how well this course has gone and how much it seems so many of you have learned. The response to our little experiment has been absolutely humbling. I hope we challenged your thinking, enriched your lives with new tools and skills, and caused you to (maybe) rethink the role of libraries and librarians in the Google era. 

It's been fun! Don't ever stop learning!
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John Graves's profile photo
 
Just shared your post on the forum
http://octel.alt.ac.uk/forums/topic/creating-interactions-which-talk/

at ocTEL (Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning)
http://octel.alt.ac.uk

in hopes of inspiring them to follow your example.

As these different communities grow, they should begin to connect with one another over time -- like the roads between cities, as I suggest in this presentation:
http://slidespeech.com/s/g9qyyoYzen?autoplay=true
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Carolee Hutton

Discussion  - 
 
Ok- so I have been far behind in viewing and reading ( If I don’t have a clear deadline or time to accomplish something it never gets to the “front of the line”).
That being said, I am thoroughly enjoying this course. The latest videos and readings ( Module 3) have been enlightening, and the readings truly eye opening.  Specifically, "The Answer Factory: Demand Media and the Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell Media Model"  gave me a real understanding of the motivations and the methods of the different information “services”.  I will surely be looking at the videos and the advice given on sites such as  EHOW.COM  with a different set of lenses.

The notion that one can’t count on some of the information gathered on the web was always understood. But the thought that even info which is purported  to be factual or informational  may very well be written by someone who has not spent any real time in investigation, was not something that crossed my mind before.

This quote concerning Demand Media’s focus on getting as much information out as quickly as possible, with very little concern of quality was disturbing, to say the least.  “The second algorithm also looks at how well past titles with similar words have performed in terms of ad revenue. Demand has learned, for instance, that “best” and “how to” bring in traffic or high click through rates, while “history of” is ad poison. At the end of the process, the company has a topic and a dollar amount — the term’s “lifetime value,” or LTV — that Demand expects to generate from any resulting content. The focus on LTV keeps Demand away from any kind of breaking news coverage or investigative work, neither of which tends to hold its value.”
 
One other quote  from the article “Rethinking Privacy in an Era of Big Data” that struck a note with me was:   “Defaults around how we interact have changed,”. “A conversation in the hallway is private by default, public by effort. Online, our interactions become public by default, private by effort.” 
 
I am eager to try out web searches such as  DuckDuckGo and Instagrok.
 
 
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Kyle Denlinger's profile photo
 
"Public by default, private by effort" was the nugget I was hoping most would take away from Module 3. Glad you're learning so much, Carolee!
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Michael Kaiser

Discussion  - 
 
Immediately after I watched the Gary Kovacs video I went to download Firefox so that I could install Collusion.  Of course, I Googled “Firefox” and without thinking (shameful after three weeks of this course) I clicked the first link and began to download “Firefox.”  Much to my surprise, all kinds of junkware started popping up from the install2ez-download.com installer.  Install the MixiDJ toolbar and value app? sign-up for unlimited cloud storage? install a toolbar that will provide me with discount coupons? etc.  It was asking me to install tracking software!  I couldn't believe Firefox was asking me to do this.  I went back to my Google results and saw that in my haste, the first link was an ad cleverly masquerading as a search result.  I deleted that download, I hope. 

I then downloaded Firefox from the Mozilla website without any junk that I know of.  The first thing it asked me: “Do you want to import your bookmarks from another browser.”  So there it is in a nutshell.  Do I trade my privacy for convenience? I didn’t. I’ve been using Google Chrome for a year or more, primarily because I can log in to any of the computers I use including my phone and get access to all my bookmarks.  I find that very convenient.  I’ve recognized that in doing so I’m giving up some privacy.  How much privacy I don’t know. 
Tomorrow, I’m going to use Firefox and Collusion and see what happens.  
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Kyle Denlinger's profile photoTerry Lease's profile photo
3 comments
 
I thought Collusion could be fun (in a scary movie kind of way) and so added it to Firefox.  It goes pretty quickly from looking like a cool atom to a complex molecule and over a few days to the Christmas lights when you first unpack them and give serious consideration to buying a new set instead of trying to untangle to mess you are facing.  Somewhere in that last stage it slows down the browser a bit (but a noticeable bit).  It's probably best to reset it every two or three days (or maybe every 10 - 15 hours of web surfing).
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Mark Reasor

Discussion  - 
 
While I would not want the Internet to be over-regulated it seems that some consumer protection is needed regarding privacy..
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Holly Powell's profile photoKathy Martlock's profile photo
4 comments
 
In light of the discussion of privacy, selling "likes," etc. ... a reminder than Good Reads has been purchased by Amazon.

Here's NPR's take on how it will affect many people:

http://www.npr.org/2013/04/06/176419121/what-does-amazons-purchase-of-goodreads-mean-for-book-industry
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Tom Daly

Discussion  - 
 
Hi Louisa
   I agree with your post.  Ads do "pay" for web content.  However I believe that there can be three parts to the advertizements.
 1.  Display the ad - this usually does not pay anything.
 2. Clink on the ad, this usually is the paying part.
 3. Tracking has two parts as far as ads  are concerned.
     a.  Third party tracking occurs when you do not clink on the ad.  This is the part of tracking that the new Firefox is designed to halt.
    b.  If you click on the ad, the website  that displays the ad will no longer be a third party, and thus will be able to track you under the new Firefox.
   c. Some tracking is done by code that does not display at all on your monitor.  This type of tracking, if third party, should also be blocked by Firefox.
   Third party tracking can reach hundreds (really) on one web page. It is this type of tracking, perhaps unseen and usually unwanted, that the new Firefox is designed to limit.  It does this primarily by only allowing  the writing of small files called "cookies" by the web site of the URL that displays the primary content of the web page.  If Wake had ads, only code from  WFU.EDU  would be allowed to write tracking files.

There are add-ins to all the major web browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) that will block ads that are not from the website you are visiting.  I do not believe the new Firefox works that way.

Most browsers allow you to see a list of the the cookies, you should take a look at the list.  Software is available to remove the tracking cookies from companies whose main business is selling information about you to others. 

Next week Kyle will, I believe,  give us some good remedies to these problems.
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Andy Hartsfield

Discussion  - 
 
Kyle -- I'm finally getting around to viewing the videos about who is tracking us.  Does the "private browser" option on apple computers prevent any of the tracking?  Or does it just prevent history data being stored on the particular computer you are using? 
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Kyle Denlinger's profile photo
2 comments
 
And I'll say again: I'm not saying that everyone should rush right out and enable every single "do not track" feature available. Although many might argue against this, tracking allows search engines to give us more relevant results. It's definitely a trade-off: by giving up a certain level of privacy, we gain a certain level of convenience. 

To be honest, I don't actually care too much about how my online activity is tracked, which I'd wager is probably a generational thing. I prefer my search engine to know a little about me--a search engine that knows I live in Winston-Salem, read a lot of technology blogs, and am more interested in gardening than sports adds huge value to my life. The only service I use related to tracking is AdBlock. If tracking is used to put ads in front of my eyeballs, I never see them.
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Kyle Denlinger
owner

Discussion  - 
 
If you're interested in the answers to the Module 2 Search Challenge, I've put together a short video that describes my search process. Enjoy!
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Tom Daly's profile photo
 
Great video!  Thanks.
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