Did privacy ever exist?

I’m in the IT world since a while. More often people are using their computer for business occassions as well for their leisure. In the media more and more article are published about big companies who don’t respect our privacy. Is this a mistake of those companies? Is it something new or is it as old as the companies?

The problem is that lot of people, consumers, often forget why a company is on the market. A company, according Western measure, has the goal to make profit. They achieve this by adding value to the market and in exchange for this they receive a compensation. A lot of consumers are confused who these companies customers really are. A motto which describes everything and often forgotten by people is “free doesn’t exist”.

I will explain what I mean with this.

In the previous century, long before internet was accepted by the mass, companies tried also to market their products based on your privacy information. The problem was that not everyone understood or saw the manner they achieved this with.

Years the Dutch Chamber of Commerce sold, which were ‘free’ in their database, addresses to other companies so they could use these addresses to send them marketing letters. You could state which criteria they had to met like which area, how long the company exists and how much the maximum distance of your postal code could be to be included.

Later on the dutch phonebook as the yellow pages saw a big market in this. You now understand why those companies were sold for enormous sums. This is valuable information for marketeers.

In the past also big companies let consumer fill in and send forms so the consumers receive an amount of their money back on their bank account. Did they do this because you were such a nice customer? No, they did this because it was cheaper and more accurate than buying those addresses. Most of the times those databases with addresses were obsolete and expensive.

If we now look on the current examples of big companies:

  1. Google
    • Who doesn’t know them… the ultimate example of free… it is free, isn’t it. Google sells ads to the highest bidder. 9 billion US$ in 1 quarter is not because of giving things free, see here. You are NOT the customer of Google. The buyers of advertising are. They have special departments for servicing their customers. You try to call Google.
  2. Facebook
    • Lately the king of privacy marketing mentioned in the media. This company should have a value, according analysts, around 100 billion dollars. That could not be the case if everything was free. Their customers are also the ad buyers. You can use the system for free and they can show you their ads. Everything is mentioned in their policy and user license agreements, which nobody reads. If you accepts those terms, you can use it, if not, then not. Easy like that.
  3. Groupon
    • Discounts, discounts and discounts. People are in love of discounts and coupons. Again as visitor of this website you are not the customer of Groupon. The companies who offer you their services and products are the customer of Groupon. They have to pay an amount to Groupon, and not that little percentage. It’s working well but sometimes the offers outside Groupon are even better.

And there are so many to mention. But Ramond, is this all bad? No, of course not. The searchengine of Google works well, Facebook is handy to keep in touch with contacts, especially international and yes sometimes even Groupon has a nice discount. But what the issue is that all those companies use your personal information to make more profit. Is that bad? In my opinion it is not because you are not forced to use their services. Nobody force you to use Google or Facebook. You can also visit the library and search their. Wait. In NL they also keep track of the books you have read in the library, mandatory by government rules. Nobody speaks about privacy here…

Free doesn’t exist…

But it’s not that bad…

Posted by Ramond - 27 February 2012 at 20:00

Categories: Algemeen, Beveiliging, Opinie   Tags:

World of versions…

World of versions…

How are normal users able to know which are the possibilities and impossibilities of the devices and applications they use on a daily basis. Not to mention want to buy.

For me it started in the 90’s… U.S. Robotics had a modem on the market which gave the users the option to run a firmware upgrade so features could be added. Short after the first features even new speeds were possible via upgrading. Now this is more common than you can imagine. Almost all devices have some kind of upgrade system.

The reason for this is that manufacturers can release their products faster on the market. They can correct minor mistakes, often called bugs, or even add new features. Nowadays updates are also more published in the news because many times a new version implies a solution for a security issue.

Here are some examples of devices :

  1. Television (Sony v1.730EA)
  2. Mobile phone (My Sony Ericsson X1 runs Christian’s ROM version 5.721 with SPB Home Shell version 3.5.5)
  3. Tablet (Apple iPad version 3.2.1)
  4. Multimedia player (Playon!HD Mini, beta v7.00.21r4312)
  5. Playstation 3 (version 3.31, since a while 3D support)

The TV can now since the upgrade support CI+ modules which my cable provider Ziggo uses without the need to purchase a new TV. My mobile phone is more than 1.5 years old but thanks to the new ROM upgrade it has the newest applications and features like the modern phones have. My tablet is able to connect to newer WiFi networks since the upgrade and applications are running faster. The multimedia player supports new video formats. My PS3 can now play 3D games, twitter and Facebook without the need to buy a new console.

Ofcourse there is a limit on the new features. On a certain moment the device will hits its limit. It can not process the data fast enough, then it’s time to replace the device. Upgrading does lengthen the life span of your device, not doubt about that.

If you compare versions in applications you can see it’s a real mess. Maybe you are surfing via Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 or FireFox 3.0, this website is currently running on 3.0.1 of WordPress and I can continue for hours and hours. Techies can keep track of this, but normal users can’t. A worse administrator doesn’t do it. Companies with this kind of administrators are often victim of hackers, hackers use a lot of time the known security holes of old versions of software, they call them exploits.

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Posted by Ramond - 29 August 2010 at 20:58

Categories: Algemeen, Beveiliging   Tags:

How to re-activate Office 2010 Technical Preview

Several people who installed the Technical Preview of Microsoft Office 2010 noticed after 30 days activation will not succeed. This is related to the fact the activation servers of Office 2010 not yet are published via DNS, simply explained to the fact they don’t exist yet. How you can re-activate for another 30 days? I give you a brief procedure how to do it :

First you have to stop the service : Office Software Protection

Then run x:\Windows\System32\OSPPRUN.exe (x can be your C: or other driveletter you have installed windows on)

You will have a prompt.

Enter these command followed by an enter like shown below, go to next step

>Initialize (enter)

>Open (enter)

>GetInstalledSkuIds (enter)

   0. 128a057a-7e95-4063-b296-c54c5f3d3f3a (deze is het ID van Office 2010)

   1. 26adec89-edf3-4adc-a3fc-c865f1a9f71f


> GetInstalledAppIds 128a057a-7e95-4063-b296-c54c5f3d3f3a (enter)

   0. 59a52881-a989-479d-af46-f275c6370663


(You will get something that looks like this)

> GetLicensingStatus 59a52881-a989-479d-af46-f275c6370663 128a057a-7e95-4063-b296-c54c5f3d3f3a (enter)

SkuId            = 128a057a-7e95-4063-b296-c54c5f3d3f3a


dwGraceTime      = 1D 23:37

dwTotalGraceDays = 30 days

hrReason         = 4004F00C

qwExpiration     = 2010/10/31


(What you are now going to do is set AppID and SkuID for Office 2010 to enable again 30 days before activation. That gives you another 30 days to test. Mostly the IDs are the same, if not please copy and use yours

> Rearm 59a52881-a989-479d-af46-f275c6370663 128a057a-7e95-4063-b296-c54c5f3d3f3a 1 (enter)


>close (enter)

>Initialize (enter)

>open (enter)

You can enter the command below to check out how many days you have left (See dwGraceTime): 

> GetLicensingStatus 59a52881-a989-479d-af46-f275c6370663 128a057a-7e95-4063-b296-c54c5f3d3f3a (enter)

SkuId            = 128a057a-7e95-4063-b296-c54c5f3d3f3a


dwGraceTime      = 29D 23:37

dwTotalGraceDays = 30 days

hrReason         = 4004F00C

qwExpiration     = 2010/10/31

>quit (enter)

You are able to use it again for 30 days. Have a lot of fun with testing Microsoft Office 2010…

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Posted by Ramond - 24 June 2009 at 18:13

Categories: Algemeen, Beveiliging, Tips   Tags:

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