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Review of Stylebot

Occasionally you come across something that is just phenomenal. Plus also needed, because the world does not all think in the same way when it comes to making websites.  Plus it was the right thing to do.  Granted, it wont create mind blowing  accessibility for everyone on the Internet.  But it's a start in the right direction.  The name of this phenomenal is "stylebot".  It's creator is Ankit Ahuja.  Ankit Ahuja was mentored by Rachel Shearer in this years Google Summer of Code project for Chromium.  Ankit Ahuja created a new extension for Chrome that enables users to easily customize a websites appearance.  For many users this will benefit them when viewing websites that pages are less than perfect if you are sight impaired. For others you will still have to use jaws, or one of the many other text to speech software on the market because this tool is not perfect for everyone.   It's not perfect because it's creator forgot that stylebot may too be a issue to view, to be able to change out colors, and text sizes on pages. 

If you are sight impaired pages are a problem, but so are the many tools/apps you use.  On behalf of stylebot's creator, I am hoping this is just a oversight.  (No pun intended.) Not knowing what is involved in such a undertaking... perhaps he may consider down the road this needed new feature?  Being able to change the text color, background, and size of stylebot would be a great addition to this nice tool. The blue, and gray text looks nice, but does nothing for the tool if you are having problems seeing it.  Other than this one flaw, this tool is worthy of a look at, and a keeper for those that don't have this issue. 

Link to original article: 

http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/09/changing-look-of-web-with-stylebot.html

Setting a Good Example Online

Years ago when I first came on line.  You heard more about computer users being yelled at, trolled, ignored, cussed out, and very much abused on forum and group boards for not asking a question in the right manner.  I have notice that trend on many boards, and groups has been changing.  There is not as much so called "old school" as there use to be. In the beginning of the year of 2000. You learned which boards you had to post to a certain way, and you did not dare stray from their way of posting.  Or else, they would cut you up, and have you for dinner.  Then throw your left overs out for the rest of the pack to have a go at it.  They were a ruthless bunch.  Called "old school".  It was OK to ask a question.  "But I am watching you.  You better post it right or else!"  For some.  It was like a game, or time of passage.  As soon as someone posted wrong.  Out came old school to tear them a new hole.   Some forums, boards, and groups were ruthless.  Many people did not dare post to these type boards.  They chose instead just to read the post, and move on to the next board.  Then in 2001, a change started to take hold. Overnight new boards, forums, and groups emerged.   With a new set of rules.  As long as you did a search first, and put as much info in as possible in your post when you asked a question, or that you knew,  they would help you.  Yes a few were still ruthless.  But many on these new boards started to tell old school to back off.  They realized old school was running off potential customers.  So some complained, and after much consideration, they changed.  I decided my group at Yahoo, was going to be one of these new boards.  We were one of the first that did not care about how a question was asked.  I did not want any one yelled at, or abused in that matter.  Granted it was hard at times.  Because I had old school and new school on my group.  But we prevailed.  We won the hearts over.  We Showed everyone by setting a good example.  We did not stop there either.  The next example we set for our users to follow was the fact that on our group the user was expected to keep their computer secure as much as they could.   For many, they were not even doing this.  They may have a firewall, but many had no anti-virus software.  Some had neither.  We set up guidelines for the users to follow, thus a rule was born, and they pretty much followed our lead to keep their computer secure at all times.  Yes we have had a few failures.  But for the most part our computer users tackled computer security with as much robust that they could muster.  We were also the first to do this, as far as I know were were.  When many of the computer groups on Yahoo were spreading viruses, our group was humming along as though it was just another day.  Yes a few managed to pick up a virus or a worm here or there.  But what ever was hitting Yahoo Groups at the time did not grind our group to a halt. It never has. We follow these same rules today.  Have no need to change them.   Honestly I don't see how a computer group can function without setting up some basic security guidelines for the members to follow.   If everyone did this, I believe the Internet would be a better place.  Tell them they have to do their part to help keep the Internet secure, by keeping their computer secure.  Make it a rule. After all...  The Internet has both businesses, and consumers on it together. From all walks of life.  Not just consumers. Not just businesses.  The time has come too demand secure computers.  Would you please make this a common rule on your group, forum, or board? Please set a good example.

I always get the same question when it comes to security.  "How do I secure my computer to keep it from getting infected all the time?" Your security may not be failing.  It could be the person handling the keyboard and mouse.  Some see the warnings, and just ignore them.  Others see the warnings, don't understand them, and install/view anyway.  Plus some others see the warnings, and could care less about them, because it is not their computer.  Many people are also overwhelmed because they have several computers in the home scattered from one end of the home to the other.  So it makes it hard for them to keep track of how the computer is doing if they can't keep track of the location.  Mainly this would be laptops/notebooks.  In other homes it is the number of people using just one laptop/notebook or desktop, and keeping track of them to make sure they are not defeating the security settings/software.  Oh and we must not forget the computers that are never updated through windows update, never scanned, and the security software is never updated. I guess they like the pretty icons sitting in their task bar or something?  Or maybe the lack of the icons sitting in the task bar?  Because a few have even disabled their security software. Years ago a lady contacted me by email saying that her neighbors boy came over about once a week, and always when he left her computer was infected.  She asked me "what is a person to do?"  I said, "Plain and simple, he doesn't use your computer anymore."  She emailed me back stating... "I don't want to be rude."  I emailed her back and asked,  "And he is not being rude to you?"  I got a thank you back from her a month later.  She said it was the first month she had gone through without her computer being infected in the last eight months.  In the eight months this lady was not rude.  She did more cleaning of her computer, than she did actually using it.  She was more worried about being rude, than trying to protect her investment.   She had a great security setup, but the neighbors boy ignored her security even after she explained to him her rules. What was she thinking? Another email I got was from a guy.  He said his son was the problem every security he put in place this kid broke.  He even caught the boy on the computer at like 2:30am in the morning.  He wanted to stop him.  When I found out it was a laptop.  I could not help but to laugh to myself.  I emailed him back and told him to put the computer in his bedroom, under the bed, or in the closet so his son would not have access to it.  Then ground the boy from using the computer for a while.  Clean the computer if it needs cleaned, update everything make sure the security software is always running, and if he brakes the rules about the security settings again then take the computer from him, and tell him he is not using it if he can't follow the rules.  The older the child, the longer the no access to computer. A few days later I got a email back thanking me.  He said it just didn't dawn on him to parent the child.  The boy was sixteen, and he just did not think to do this. Another household both parents emailed me to inform me that they had a problem just keeping track, and keeping the computers clean.  I can't imagine what this household was like.  All I can tell you is their house was a revolving door.  Teens from everywhere.  Mainly because their four children were in sports.  So they had all of their desktops in a central location.  But anyone could use them.  All of the computers had XP and Vista.  They asked for suggestions.   My suggestions were for all of the computers to have passwords on the teen accounts, and parents accounts.  The guest account would be locked down.  They could not download anything etc.  They would have the most limits on this account on each of the computers.  No one (their teens or themselves) could give out the passwords to their own accounts to anyone.  The only password that was given out was to the limited account.  Just in case someone was able to guess or find out their account passwords, it would be a good idea to change the passwords every 60 days on the teen accounts and every 30 days on the parents accounts.  Someone from the home would be at or around the desktops when in use by someone outside the home.  All accounts used a different desktop background too.  You just about have to have this rule when there are so many using the computer.  if need be, change the passwords more often.   It puts a strain on the household. But it is necessary.   This is just in case one of the visitors knows how to go around your security.  So if that account's security does end up being breached, you can check the time and date of the breech, and have a general idea of who did it. It's not fool proof.  But most don't know how to change all of, or how to breech the settings on the computer.  So naturally you can find out.   As for the different desktop backgrounds for each account... This is done so you will know which account they are logged into.  You need only to glance at the screen to know.  This family took this one step further though.  They put a picture on the guest account that was only available to the guest account, and not to the others.  They were able to give privacy to the guest, and be assured they were logged into the right account.  This same account used a certain theme as well.  They could see from across the room, or at the door which account they were logged into.   They had emailed me later on and said they only had trouble with one guest because of this set up.  They did not tell me what the problem was.  They just said they had to stop this one guest from using their computers.  Other than that.  It has worked for them having this setup.  Their computers are more secure than they ever have been.  But it also put a strain on the family.  Because they only used their account, and no one else's...  They had to become more aware of what they themselves were doing on their account.  There was restrictions as to what they could download, because of size of the download, and where the download was located on line.  They followed my rules for downloading WOT and siteadvisor as well.  This made them more aware of the potential danger on line.  A lot of it they did not realize was on the websites they visited.  But they were thankful for the setup because it has saved them several times.  They were already avid users of security software like firewalls, and anti-virus programs. But they changed out their anti-virus software because it was not doing a good job.  They were now happy. Which brings me to another example of another user that emailed me stating that her anti-virus software was just not catching the bad stuff.  Her computer was infected at least once every month or two months.  It is not important to tell you the name of the anti-virus software she was using, but just to inform you that you are not stuck with a anti-virus software if it is not working, then change to something else.  Many things can cause this.  It could be the what you have installed on your computer.  What browser you use.  What firewall you use.  Or the lack of steady updates from the anti-virus software vendor.  What ever the case you are not stuck to always use that anti-virus software.  Change to something else.  You can choose free, or pay.  But be sure that you give the software a free run before you buy first.  That includes firewalls.  If your computer slows down, crashes, or is not able to catch the bad stuff then move on to another security software.  Keep in mind also that certain security software does not play nice with other security software on certain Operating Systems all the time.  Sometimes security software will have glitches, that will just about ruin a computers performance, or ruin the security on your computer.   So if you have a new security software keep a eye out for glitches, rather if they are small or large.  There very well could be something going on in the back ground that you are not aware of.   Your computer should run better, or the same, not worse after installing security software.  Run a test to see how the software is performing too. Firewall test:  https://www.grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2 and anti-virus test: http://www.virusportal.com/com/downloads/down_run.shtml  This lady thought she had to use the software that was installed on her computer when she bought it.  This simply is not true.  The choice is yours, not the security vendor, nor the vendor you purchased your computer from.  The choice is always yours to change to a different vendor for ALL of your software that you need, or want.

Solving their problems was easy, some of them had a hard time accepting the truth.  Others, well let's just say they had a duh moment.   

Every day Many of the website businesses are working hard to screw you over.  Every day board meetings abound asking the all mighty important question of... "What will our users do if we expose their private data online?"  As soon as they say "yes lets do it!"  Advocates everywhere come out of the Internet abyss to cry foul after the trifle deed is carried out.  The users do the normal thing.  They rant, scream, cuss, rage, threaten, and troll the boards, comment sections, blogs, and email every Tom, Dick, and Sally they know about the situation, and what their readers need to do about it.  Then as soon as the advocates think they have the users "on their side" so to speak.  The users do a complete about face, and do nothing to stop the abuse of their data.  They just clean up the mess, and carry on.Their show looked good, until it came down to doing the right thing of showing Internet business just who was boss.   Maybe their rants looked good in text form on the many websites that have in the past picked up the topics on privacy discussion issues?  Maybe they wanted to "look good".  But when push came to shove, they did nothing.  Just a few thousand or so maybe more or less took action.  Then members took a rebound of even more users joining the social network.  Membership is up. Which has grown from a little over 400 million to the 500 million mark.  It was like they told the website... "There, there, everything is ok.  I forgive you for exposing my personal life to the whole world." Even though the fix was not given by the website staff, but by third party advocates trying their best to turn a wrong, into a right.  Helping the thousands, millions of social members to hide their private data from the masses.   The fixes came in a rush in just a few hours after the breech.  (I thank each and everyone one of you for providing the fix/tutorials.) But what does this say about the members?  Well... They either don't give a damn, or they have piss for brains.  Maybe both.  Whatever the case, the social site is stronger than ever.  It's like the breech of their data didn't faze them.  Maybe they have gotten use to all of these breeches?  There have been quite a few.  Many have made it to their snail mail addressed directly to them.  Laptops lost, or stolen, CDs misplaced, or stolen.  Databases hacked.  But this social network had none of this happen to them.  They deliberately opened up their user profiles for the whole world to see.   It could be as some suggested that they could not leave because they could not entice their family, friends, and business associates to follow them to another social website.  What ever the case you better believe that the social network studied, dissected, examined, tore apart every conceivable outcome that their users could of done to fight back after they exposed their profiles.  They knew they had their users in their pocket.  They knew, or had ball park figures of what the damage would, or could be.  They knew their social database consisted of a lot of loyal members, that would not leave because they could not get their friends to move also.  I bet they talked for months before they pulled their stunt.  They knew because users have not taken a stand against any website that breeched their privacy.  There never has been a mass exit of users from any type of website online after a major breech of privacy.   Not anything substantial enough to cause damage to the Internet business itself that caused the breech.Years, months, days from now if you’re on the Internet and your privacy is breeched by an online website once again.  You may get help.  But again... You may not get any help.  Because everyone knows that you can only cry wolf for so long.  Even the advocates grow tired of you.  They all think you don't care.  "Big Deal!"  "So what if my personal life is on the Internet."  It is only years later that you realize that one breech cost you dearly.  Because somewhere on the Internet is an archive of YOUR stupidity, YOUR drunken state, YOUR rant, in video, picture, text, or audio.   The upcoming new boss, or even a local place of membership...  wont stand idle and allow you to work for them, or be a member with them... because of your stupidity stunt that should of stayed private that they just happen to find on the Internet. So the next time someone pulls a stunt with your personal information.  Maybe you need to think twice before ignoring it.  Show them you ARE boss.  Unless you do, there will be more board meetings asking that important question of "what will the users do if we expose their personal data?" And it may not be a posh social website this time that spreads your personal information all over the Internet. It will happen because websites watch websites for trends, and outcomes. They watch and they learn.  Eventually they implement the same thing, or similar on their own websites. The question is "what have you learned? Have you learned anything?  Or do you still have piss for brains, and don't care? Will you let the next one do as they please with your private data?  Or will you take a stand, and fight back?  It's up to you.  You can make, or brake our privacy rights. Do nothing... Then you are really screwed.  Take a stand, and the Internet learns you will no longer take their sorry poor excuses.  Next time fight back by clicking on that un-subscribe button or link.  I don't want to hear a peep out of you until you have.  I am sick of the rants, screams, cussing, rages, threatening, and trolling of the boards.I know some of you will say they got what they deserved they never should of put their private info on the web in the first place.  But let’s be reasonable.  Today’s Internet is not the same as it was in the 90's even.  Today it is all about "sociability".

The bottom line is they let themselves down, they let the IT community down as well. What a shame.

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