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Well, this is terrifying. From Vice:

Tim Libert, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, has discovered that the vast majority of health sites, from the for-profit WebMD.com to the government-run CDC.gov, are loaded with tracking elements that are sending records of your health inquiries to the likes of web giants like Google, Facebook, and Pinterest, and data brokers like Experian and Acxiom.

From there, it becomes relatively easy for the companies receiving the requests, many of which are collecting other kinds of data (in cookies, say) about your browsing as well, to identify you and your illness. That URL, or URI, which very clearly contains the disease being searched for, is broadcast to Google, Twitter, and Facebook, along with your computer’s IP address and other identifying information.

It seems like every day I see a new article showcasing what little privacy we really have.

The Verge has an interesting article, Facebook is the new AOL, that discusses how the tech industry of the 1990s is back.

The 90s were a decade of excess and mistakes and excessive mistakes. The rollicking good times of the 90s ended with the dot-com collapse of the early 2000s, the memories of which continue to shape the industry today.

So it’s worth noting that the broad outlines of tech in 2015 look surprisingly like the late 90s. The major players are set up the same, the fights are the same, and the mistakes will almost certainly be the same…

2015 will be defined by the Revenge of 90s Internet: media and tech giants flirting with each other, dominant players throwing their weight around, and portals, portals everywhere.

The article does a good job of comparing the major tech giants today with the ones of yesteryear. Facebook as AOL. Apple as Sony, Qualcomm as Intel and Google as Microsoft. The two that really hit the nail on the head for me are Apple as Sony and Google as Microsoft. That being said, some of these comparisons may just be skin deep. I think companies like Apple and Facebook are in much better positions than there predecessors. Perhaps that’s the point of the article. The companies of the ’90s could do no wrong and no one saw the downfall that would be not far off.

Another article in the never-ending war against net neutrality and the fight against privacy.

The ITC recently gave itself the power to rule on data as it crosses US borders, as a result of a complex 3D printing case. If the ruling holds, it could have huge implications for the way data moves across the global web, and give the MPAA the site-blocking powers it’s been grasping at for years…

If you shipped in a boatload of Expendables DVDs, the ITC would have no problem stopping it at the border — so why not an ISO file? The technical mechanisms for blocking that file in transit would end up looking a lot like site-blocking, and the memo goes on to explain why targeting consumer-facing ISPs would be their best strategy in the wake of a favorable ruling by the Federal Circuit. It’s still unclear whether copyright would fall under the same rules (the current ruling may only apply to patents), but if it does, it would be Hollywood’s best legal channel for blocking sites in transit, supporting the same ISP-based blocking regime that was proposed by SOPA.

Giving the MPAA power to block sites because of the content on the sites is a slippery slope, one that should make everyone uncomfortable.

Over the past year or so I’ve had issues where iTunes would launch (and even play) by itself. I could never figure out exactly what was causing it nor could I find any type of solution. I did find that whenever I would touch the receiver for my wireless Logitech mouse iTunes would launch. That made me believe that the issue was with the Logitech mouse interfering with the Mac. That especially seemed like the case when I removed the Logitech and replaced it with the Magic Mouse and didn’t experience the issue again… until recently.

iTunes started launching by itself all over again over the past couple weeks. Knowing that it had something to do with the USB ports I found a quick fix to the issue. If I would shut down the Mac and unplug all the USB devices and plug them into different ports everything would work fine. Then today I saw this article. It seems that there is an update coming out that might fix the issue. The article talks about one known issue involving USB devices not operating properly after waking from sleep on machines with VMware’s virtualization products installed. This might be the very fix I will need. I have VMware Fusion installed to run Windows. I know the problem happened on Halloween last year (which was creepy, especially since the song playing when I got home that night was a song about vampires) and I didn’t buy VM Ware until November 11th so it still might not be the cause, but I do remember downloading a trial of VM Ware beforehand so that still might be the root cause. Let’s hope it is and it gets fixed.

I received my iPhone 4 today, a day earlier than expected, and wanted to give my quick thoughts. There will be plenty of tech reviews surfacing over the next week, but here is a personal perspective from someone who owned an iPhone 3g.

The first thing I noticed when handling the phone is how solid it felt. It feels like a solid slab of glass in your hand. Don’t let that confuse you though. That doesn’t mean it feels like it is fragile. On the contrary, it feels much stronger than my 3g. It just feels great in my hands. The second thing I noticed about the phone was how beautiful the screen is. Seriously, this is the best screen I’ve ever seen on such a small device. The text is extremely crisp and everything seems to just pop off the screen. It truly is magnificent. The last thing I noticed is just how fast it is. It is so much faster at launching apps, downloading data, and searching than my 3g ever was. Now that I have this and look back at the 3g I wonder how I ever managed. It seriously feels like going from dial-up to broadband. That is the best comparison for device speed I can come up with. Things are instant to load and update. Just these three updates have made this phone feel like the greatest piece of technology to fit in the palm of my hand.

Of course there are tons of new features that I have yet to get into, especially with iOS4, but I’ll let all the tech sites handle those reviews. Just know that the updates, such as multitasking and fast app switching, as well as the 512mb of RAM and 1 ghz processor make this phone a great device and Apple has made me fall in love all over again.