Friday Faves 01-11-13

This week’s faves include free online courses, some Kickstarter projects, and a kitten in need:

You can take online courses from some major colleges and universities for free at Coursera. I just found that they are offering four courses this spring from Berklee College of Music:

– Starting March 1st: Songwriting and Intro to Music Production

– Starting April 22: Intro to Guitar and Intro to Improvisation

Maybe I’ll ‘see’ you in the Improv course :-)

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Sharing Files Across Multiple Devices Part 2: Carbonite

In Part 1 I discussed using Dropbox as a cloud storage solution for sharing files among your devices. Today I want to discuss using Carbonite, which is advertised as a backup solution but can also be used to retrieve files.

You ARE backing up your computer, aren’t you? Unless you are only using it to read Facebook and your Gmail account, you really ought to be doing so. If you are a Mac owner, all you need for basic local backup is an external hard drive and the built-in Time Machine software (you do not need to buy a special Time Machine Capsule from Apple). If you have a PC, you need an external drive and either Windows built-in backup application or another one.

But even if you do perform regular backups to a local hard drive, that does you no good if your home is damaged due to flood or fire, or someone breaks in to seal all of your electronics. To cover you in those instances, or if you don’t want to need to remember to connect to something to back up, a cloud backup service like Carbonite can save your data bacon, as it is constantly updating its copy of your files in little bits every time you are connected to the internet.

But there is another trick you can perform with Carbonite once it has backed up your files:

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Facebook Tip: Nothing Is Really Private

Just in case anyone still has any assumptions about privacy on Facebook:

A friend of my partner sent her a private FB message mentioning having a certain type of not-average medical procedure… and 24 hrs later I started seeing ads in my FB feed for variations on that same procedure, which had not been pitched to me previously.

Since we are both friends with that person, plus J and I are listed in our FB accounts as being in a relationship, this is an example of how FB targets ads based on what keywords they are seeing pass through ANY part of your account AND the accounts of people with whom you are connected.

This is also an example of what can be done while still probably adhering to a privacy policy. FB, Google, etc say that they don’t give identifiable information about individuals to advertisers – but I’m sure that use of that keyword in the message plus my being linked on FB to both people in that conversation resulted in my account ID # being lumped into a batch of IDs used to target an ad using that same keyword.

So again, a reminder: do not post anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want to see featured on the nightly news or in another public forum.

[Also check last week’s post on keeping your public FB posts private]

Facebook Tip: Beware of Privacy Slippage

Who can see what you post on Facebook is a tricky concept. After numerous complaints FB made a lot of changes to their privacy settings but it’s still complex, and not all of the settings are “sticky” – you may think you are fine but unknowingly did something that makes everything you subsequently post a LOT more visible than you thought.

The most dangerous privacy slippage I’ve seen recently is one that may be setting ALL your status updates to be publicly visible – including to job interviewers, co-workers, etc.

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