Archive for March, 2006

Software Fluke Causes Engaged Couple to Break Up After 5 Years of Dating

A woman using the Firefox web browser discovered her fiancé’s secret life by accident. Here’s a detailed account of what happened, and instructions on how to reproduce the “bug.” (from Bugzilla)

This privacy flaw has caused my fiancé and I to break-up after having dated for 5 years.

Basically, we share one computer but under separate Windows XP user accounts. We both use Mozilla Firefox — well, he used to use it more than I do but now we don’t really use it. The privacy flaw is this: when he went to log-in under his dating sites (jdate.com, swinglifestyle.com, adultfriendfinder.com, etc.), Mozilla promptly asks whether or not he’d like Firefox to save the passwords for him. He chose never, obviously. However, when he logged off his user account, and I logged onto my Windows XP account X amount of days later, I decided to use Firefox because hey — it loaded everything much more efficiently, was better to work on with website designs and is a lot more stable than IE7beta2.

Firefox prompted whether or not I’d like it to save my password for logging into my website. I chose never and changed my mind. I went into the Password Manager to change the saved password option from Never to Always and that’s when I saw all these other sites that had been selected as “Never Save Password.” Of course, those were sites I had never visited or could ever dream of visiting.

Then I realized who, how and what… and sh*t hit the fan. Your browser does not efficiently respect the privacy of different users for one system.

Reproducible: Always

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. Create 2 unique user accounts (for steps sake, let’s call the two accounts Joe and Mary) in Windows XP Home.
  2. Logout and sign-in under Joe.
  3. Open Firefox and go to an e-mail site or to jdate.com or wherever.
  4. Attempt to log-in to the site so that Firefox will ask whether or not you want your password saved.
  5. Choose not to save the password.
  6. After successfully logging in and having selected the “never save password” option, logout.
  7. Log-in as Mary and open Firefox.
  8. Browse, browse, browse… but you don’t really have to. Just go to “View Saved Passwords,” click on the tab that will show you sites to never save passwords for, and you’ll see whatever painful site Joe denied to save a password for.
  9. Break-up with fiancé.

Firefox should be respecting every single area of privacy per user on one system. It’s not doing that… I’m going to submit this as Major because not everyone shares one computer, but it should really be considered Critical.

Posted in Relationships, Conflict and Anger, Computers and Technology | 2 Comments »

Adult Children Are Living At Home Longer

CBC reports that adult children are living at home longer. However, instead of staying home, they’re leaving home, and then coming back. They’re calling them “boomerang” offspring.

Peter Morgan is typical of the trend. Morgan and his wife have three children in their 20s. Until recently, they all lived at home.

The 29-year-old and the 27-year-old men recently left, but a 21-year-old son is still under the family roof in Vancouver.

“If history serves, he will probably be there another five years,” said Morgan. “Possibly another nine or 10.”

Personally, I have no plans on having any of my children live with me past 18. This trend seems more like a poor parenting than young misfortune. If adult children know they can use their parents as a crutch, then many of them will take advantage of it.

Adult children need to shed the “child” and learn to fend for themselves as adults. Otherwise, I think it’s fair to say that their parents didn’t prepare them to live as a true adult in society.

Posted in Parenting, Character Development | No Comments »

See Spot Run

It was like someone hit a switch in his mind — it came out of nowhere. My son picked up a book, one of those ancient Dick & Jane books, and started reading it front to back. It was like he had been reading for years. My husband and I were giddy with astonishment. It was a beautiful sight.

In his kindergarten class the students had begun reading “clubs” — they separate you into your appropriate reading levels and we were shocked to find out that our son was in the lowest level reading group. Like every parent we had always seen a gifted spark in our child — and to some extent, like every parent, we were right. My son has an engineer’s mind — math and science skills seem to be inherent within him. Every child has their knack. But I guess, as a writer and someone who has loved literature my entire life, I was certain that my children would be as bookwormish as me. Not according to the “reading club” at my son’s school. Understandably, they have to set these standards that have little wiggle room for the kids to feel out their learning style — how are public schools supposed to accommodate each independent weakness and strength of their students? Somehow though, as I write that, I am not feeling the conviction of the statement. I understand the plight of public schools — lack of funding, lack of integral structural integrity — but the fact that three days spent away from the pressure of “groups” and the predetermined “levels” of his school having merited a huge leap in learning is something that my husband and I can’t quite shake. We had been working at home with him (oddly enough, something that we were advised not to do by the reading specialist) and we feel that it is this that has lead him to the delightfully obsessive amount of independent reading that he has been doing these last couple of days. I literally had to drag him out of the library, prying books out of his hand because we had maxed out our limit. But, like a lot of other parents from his class, it has left me disillusioned about the state of things in his school, and public schools in general.

Aside from all of that though, I can’t quite convey the absolutely amazing sight it is to see your child read to themselves. It is one of those doorways that you know leads them to a whole other world of knowledge and independence. See spot run, indeed.

Posted in Character Development, Daily Living | No Comments »

Rainy Day Darlins’

Today is the first day of my son’s spring break. Wouldn’t you know it, it had to rain. All my big plans of starting his holiday off with a bang (trips to the zoo, picnics at the park) have been thwarted by the grey and wet day. What to do, what to do! My urge to just tuck a movie in the DVD player and call it a day was strong — the force was powerful.

Thankfully, I snapped out of it. I realized that the days that my son and I get to cozy up on the couch and hang out are, between school and work and his sweet little sister, few and far between. We just don’t get that time the way we used to. Some of my fondest memories are of the two of us sitting, sometimes for hours, just reading books and drawing pictures. With all the busy day-to-day stuff, I can’t remember the last time we had a chance like this.

So, I put the littlest Donovan down for her nap, picked out some of our favorite books and snacks and cozied up for an hour or two of sweet rainy day lovin’. It was heaven.

My husband and I have always made a point of making down time, sans children, with each other — we recognized early in our marriage that this is essential to having a deep and lasting relationship. Just being able to have a cup of hot tea and listen to a good album together has saved us from many grumpy moods induced by lack of sleep or too much rushing about. I think it’s easy for us to forget that we need to do that with our kids too. At least it was for me. I often get so bogged down with making sure that he is on time for school or that he is on time for bed or that he is washing his hair instead of just playing pirate ship in the bathtub, that I forget that he is such a neat person and that spending just a wee bit of time together doing nothing at all makes all the difference in the world.

Posted in Daily Living, Holidays | No Comments »

Helping My Daughter Say Goodbye To An Old Friend, “Bear.”

Bear In MouthWhen my daughter first met Bear she was only a few months old. Although my wife and I called him Bear from the beginning, he was known as “mnguh” by my daughter. This was true even when her phonetic ability was such that she could easily pronounce the word bear. As she reached two-years-old, only then did she even consider exchanging his name with Bear.

From day one, Bear was attached to her mouth. She would suck and chew on his nose for comfort and to help her go to sleep. As time went on, Bear’s nose became, how do I put it … totally disgusting. As she got older and began to eat food other than her mother’s milk, that food got transferred to Bear’s nose. Bear’s nose went from a cute white nose, to a brown stinky snout.

It got to the point that we had to wash Bear every other day or worry that something nasty would grow on his nose and make her sick. Through the frequent washing, and also my daughter’s tendency to literally chew on his snout, a hole appeared underneath his chin and above his snout. The holes quickly got worse, and stuffing started to come out of him. Since the material was so frayed, we didn’t really have the option of sewing him back together.

The only option left to us was to replace him. My wife and I looked everywhere for a new “Bear,” but he had been discontinued years ago. After an extensive search on the Internet, including eBay and some obscure collector sites, we gave up looking for him. That left us with only one option, Bear had to go.

Bear SnoutMy wife and I talked about how to best get rid of Bear and how we thought my daughter would handle it. As we discussed it, we had visions of screaming and crying as we took Bear away from her. We would soon become the meanest parents ever. After talking about it off and on, and not being able to come up with a good solution, the idea hit me one night to just have her say goodbye to Bear.

The other night, as I was getting my daughter ready for bed, I saw Bear laying on the living room floor looking as nasty as ever. My wife was putting our 2-month-old son to sleep in the back, and I knew that I had to seize the moment. I snatched up Bear and asked my daughter to come over and sit on my lap. I explained to my almost 2 ½-year-old daughter that Bear was broken, and that we needed to say goodbye to him. She looked at him with a serious face, and then pulled him close to her face and kissed him on the large gaping hole beneath his chin. She then stuck her nose up to his snout, took one last sniff — as if to save a sensory memory of his existence — and then pushed him away, and said, “Goodbye Bear.”

Suddenly, she jumped out of my lap and ran back to her room. I got up and walked to her room and found her clutching a much larger stuffed animal (a puppy dog). I asked her if she wanted to sleep with the doggy, and she said yes. So I placed him in her crib, and said that she could sleep with him instead of Bear. She seemed content with the change.

The story isn’t over yet. This morning she asked my wife for Bear. She replied that Bear had to go away, because he was broken. She replied, “Bear, come home.” Only time will tell.

Posted in Parenting, Grief and Loss | 1 Comment »

Can You Sue For Something You Didn’t Pay For? Whiny KinderStart.com Thinks So.

I’ve run FamilyResource.com for several years. Throughout those years, much of my traffic has depended on referrals from search engines. I never had the budget to advertise, so I was (and am) dependent on search engine referrals for a good portion of my traffic.

Search engine traffic is free traffic. If you’re lucky enough to have good search engine results, then you can get a lot of traffic. If you don’t show up in the first couple of pages of search results (the top 20), then your traffic will be much lower. Over the years FamilyResource.com has experienced wild fluctuations in search engines—especially with Google. There have been times when for one reason or another, Google has decided to throw FamilyResource.com out of their index, or push it down their search engines results to a place where no one but the brave would find it.

Having poor search engines results, or being removed from Google’s index, is always frustrating (to say the least). However, as disheartening as it may seem, I really don’t have a right to complain. I never paid Google (or any other search engine) to refer people to my website, so when they take it away, I really don’t have any recourse. All I can do is contact Google and ask what I may have done wrong, and hope for the best.

Recently, a website called KinderStart.com decided that they had a right to sue Google for taking them out of their index. Google of course has every right to take any website out of their index for any reason they please. KinderStart.com claims that they lost 70% of their traffic when Google quit referring visitors to their website, and now they want to sue to get the traffic back.

KinderStart.com’s claims are completely absurd. Google sent them traffic for some period of time for free, and then took it away. Speculation would say that KinderStart.com was probably using some techniques that Google considers spammy, and therefore removed them from their index. The only way KinderStart.com might have a case is if they paid Google to send traffic to their website through their contextual advertising service Adwords. If Google claimed to send traffic that KinderStart.com paid for, then they would have something to sue for.

FamilyResource.com is doing fairly well in Google right now, but there’s no guarantee that we will in the future. New websites that challenge FamilyResource.com for the same keywords will continue to challenge us, and Google’s algorithm will continue to change—causing FamilyResource.com to either rise or lower in their search engines results. What will we do when and if FamilyResource.com quits getting a large percentage of traffic from Google? What we’ve always done, which is continuing to grow the website with new original content, and hope for the best in the future. What we won’t do is whine about our lost free traffic from search engines, and sue them for not giving us special treatment.

In life you can either pout and whine about how life isn’t fair, like KinderStart.com, or grow up, take the punches, and stop acting like you’re entitled to something you’re not.

Posted in Lifestyles, Daily Living | No Comments »

World Travelin’ Snacks

I have always loved that my kids are fairly experimental with their eating habits. My 19-month-old loves Indian food (her favorite is Sag or Vegetable Korma) and my six year old is a glutton for any kind of sushi or asian food.

This has lead me to wonder what else they may try and like. I discovered a great little gem of a website that tallies up snack ideas from children all over the world. Of course, the largest amount of entries are from the U.S. but there are plenty of interesting small recipes from all over. My personal favorite, and one we are sure to try, is from a teacher in France:

A favorite of all my students on food days is the chocolate sandwich. Take two pieces of bread (French, bien sur!) and put a plain chocolate bar in between. Voila! A typical French child’s favorite afterschool snack.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is living!

Posted in Nutrition, Parent Education, Cooking | No Comments »

Modern Day Medici

I used to be quite an idealist. People close to me often mark it as a weakness – my want and need for people to be better than they really are (sometimes). So, through the years I have had to revamp my open door policy – or, as my husband calls it, being a doormat. I have learned, through tough lessons, that some people aren’t to be trusted on any level and that there are a few out there that will really take advantage of you if given even the slightest opportunity. I used to give anyone and everyone that chance. It is sad to say, but now, I have become pretty careful of who I take a chance on.

And then, one day, some one takes a chance on you. It’s a golden moment and one that you might not feel you deserve. Someone gives you an opportunity simply because they have faith in you - seemingly for no reason other than because you are a human being with obvious struggles and talents that you may have to offer the world if only given the chance. Those are the times when you are reminded that most of the world is, indeed, good and full of simple love. It reminds me that idealism and hope in people is a strength to be honored and displayed at any given opportunity.

So, for you modern day Medicis out there (and you know who you are) supporting us artists and giving us a chance to arrive at our full potential – cheers to you all for making this world a much more livable and generous place.

Posted in Daily Living | 1 Comment »

Weather Grump

I’m in a weathery grump - I think the neurotic seasonal patterns we are having here in Nashville have finally gotten to me. Two days ago - a summery 75 degrees. Today - a super chilly 40 something with biting winds that make you want to shiver. Bleh.

It makes me certain that I am ready for consistancy in all forms. I am starting to understand those old people that wear the same clothes everyday and complain in a restaurant when they don’t get the same waitress who knows exactly how they like everything. I’m starting to feel great sympathy toward that notion of living. There is something comforting in predictability.

The me of five years ago would be balking with great disapproval if I had heard myself say these things but, ah well, we live and we get cozy with things. I like things how I like things and I know what makes me happy - I fail to see the harm in that anymore.

Posted in Lifestyles, Daily Living | No Comments »

2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The inductees to this years Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are impressive and, personally, quite exciting. The listing ranges from Miles Davis (about time, no?) to the Sex Pistols to Blondie - all worthy nominations in my opinion.

I am most happy about the seemingly overdue nod to Mr. Miles Davis. His ability to spread jazz to a rock and roll audience, and combine the the genres, has changed the face of music forever more.

“Miles Davis is one of the key figures in the history of jazz, and his place in vanguard of that pantheon is secure. His induction as a performer into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a subtler and less obvious matter. Davis never played rock or rhythm & blues, though he experimented with funk grooves on 1972’s On the Corner and in some of his later bands. However, his work intrigued a sizable segment of rock’s more ambitious fans in a way that no other serious jazz figure had ever done - and not retroactively but while he was alive and making some of his most challenging music. In particular, the boldly experimental soundscapes of Bitches Brew spoke to the sensibilities of rock fans who’d been digesting the Grateful Dead’s expansive improvisations. Davis’ was acutely attuned to his environment and he once remarked, ‘We play what the day recommends.’ ……….

“In Davis’ own words, ‘The way you change and help music is by tryin’ to invent new ways to play.’ For nearly fifty years, Miles Davis did just that. “

And then there’s the wonderfully revolutionary sounds of the late seventies/early eighties that are ingrained in my entire being - the Sex Pistols and Blondie. One of my earliest memories is hearing Debbie Harry on my parents tape deck in our silver 1980 Honda Accord. It was a moment as important as reading my first Vonnugut novel or hearing my first Velvet Underground album. These things become have become part of my generation’s personal history - they have accentuated and defined our experiences and it is always nice to know that, on a very human level, it is something most can feel utterly connected to one another in regard to. 

 

Posted in Lifestyles, TV and Pop Culture | No Comments »

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