Matthew's blog

Privacy? It's not gone (yet), but you'd better be careful

Many in the tech community have been concerned for a while- quite a long while- that privacy as we used to know it is a rapidly disappearing concept. Year after year, they've been dismissed as alarmists, radicals, and so forth.

It is now becoming increasingly obvious that those "alarmists" were right. Whenever we interact with anything involving a networked computer, we leave a digital trail that can and will be mined for someone else's financial benefit.

Don't trust your Web presence to third parties

A popular blog hosting service, Posterous, is shutting down next month.

Posterous is far from the first such service to spontaneously close up shop, leaving hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of users high and dry. Remember Geocities? Remember BlogSpace? Remember Hosting.com?

There's an important lesson in this, one that's been well known for a long time but that bears repeating: If your Web presence is important to you or your company, you- not some third party- must be in control of it.

Learning to arc weld

One thing I never really got around to learning in high school or in university was how to do a decent job with an arc welder. It's about time to change that- Sunset Chaser's trailer needs work, our weird new Starwind 860 will need a custom trailer, and there's always plenty of stuff that needs fixing.

It's one thing to read about how to do it- friendly old Google offers up 1.58 million pages on the subject. And, having been through engineering school, I have a pretty good idea how a weld works, what a good one should look like, and how the stresses are transferred across it.

Friends who know, though, always respond with "Well, you can read all you want, but the only real way to learn it is to lay down dozens of really bad welds until you start to get the hang of it."

So, for anyone else who's thinking of learning how to weld and is a bit intimidated by the idea, here's my "Day 1" report- complete with terrifying photos of beginner screw-ups.

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