How To Be Private in the Digital Age

I am the tech person at my local library. On a daily basis I read articles about privacy and answer questions about technology and how it works.

The bottom line is, if you are on the Internet, you are not private. People think if their online password is strong their accounts cannot be accessed. But doesn’t someone out there have to store your password into a program in order for you to get in? Yes.

The number one question I get is – HOW CAN I STAY PRIVATE? The number one answer always seems to be strong passwords. And that works for hackers, sure. But aren’t the real enemies here retail? Those are the companies who want your information. They want to know your buying habits. How can they get you to spend your money at THEIR website instead of someone else’s? They track your every move.

How to stay private:

1. Try your best to shop local, small business
2. Pay cash!
3. Don’t give away so much information online. Facebook does not need to know where you work, what college you went to or what your favorite music is.
4. Get in your car, drive to the park and take a walk – and leave your phone IN THE CAR. Smartphones know your location!

Amazon DASH Button

It happened. I signed up for Prime and bought a DASH button. For a very long time I avoided signing up for Amazon Prime because I knew if I did, I’d give a lot more of my business to Amazon. It’s just that easy. When I read about their DASH buttons, I just could NOT resist.
I decided to start with the Bounty button. Paper towels are the things we always run out of and forget to keep on hand.

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I did some fierce Googling, trying to find the pros and cons of users who have already tried the DASH buttons. There wasn’t a whole lot of information out there! I found a few blogs here and there but they weren’t super helpful. So I thought I’d go for it!

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I received the button rather quickly. The set up was super simple. The terms & agreements however, took a while to read. There are lots of big terms that are very overwhelming. Some you’d need a lawyer to interpret. And there is a third party warning in there, so there goes your information off to other people and other companies. This is Amazon and is to be expected. They aren’t big because they mind their own business, right?

Unpacking the box was very easy. The instruction packet was small and super easy to understand. I placed it near my smartphone and Amazon app walked my right through the process which took under 2 minutes.

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And voila! It was done. The back has a small ring where you remove the tape and the adhesive is ready for you to simply apply the button to the wall. It was incredibly easy and now hangs in our laundry area where we keep the paper towels.

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Days later we were down to the last paper towels so we hit the button. I initially wondered what would happen if someone hit the button 4 times in a row. Amazon already thought of that. You can’t order this item 80 times at once (thank goodness because that would be expensive!) So I received the notification on my phone and later word the item had been shipped. I am expecting the item today at my door.f

Alright what’s the catch? That’s what I was wondering. The button cost $4.99 and Amazon said they’d apply that price as a credit toward my first purchase (which they did.) The catch I suppose  is that you are willing to pay for the product they offer at the price they demand. I didn’t find the price of the 8 “huge roll” pack terribly high, but certainly at least -$0.50-1.00 higher than the store. Well that is the price I pay for not having to drive to the store at 9pm. And I am ok with that.

So now what? Get more DASH buttons? I think not. I have paid handsomely for this convenience and I don’t mean in dollar amount. Now Amazon knows even more about me and my buying habits. This is why I would hesitate to buy other DASH buttons.

But for now, this little convenience can allow us to skip a trip to the store!

 

 

Amazon Wins

Why Amazon is Winning

Convenience

Ease of Use

No Drama

No Teenagers

Amazon is kicking butt. I hate to say it, but it’s true. You know why they are winning? Because they are SMART and know their demographic!  They know customers are tired of running out for toilet paper and we hate being checked out at the register by teenagers who are practically making out with each other.  They also know we like a variety of items available to choose from. That word AVAILABLE being the key term. There’s why they are winning and all the other stores are losing. A healthy economy is about competition. Let’s consult Webster shall we?

Compete: to try to get or win something (such as a prize or reward) that someone else is also trying to win : to try to be better or more successful than someone or something else

Other stores will DIE (are dying) if they don’t try and keep up with Amazon. Hey other stores – you need to COMPETE with Amazon to get your customers back! Get us back! Get ME back! I’ve gone over to the other side!  I cannot believe I actually bought a DASH button or anything from Amazon!
dash buttons

I get it, you don’t have as much revenue as Amazon, but you can get creative. Ask people what they want and have it in stock! If Amazon offers 2 day free shipping, offer something similar! Invent your own type of “Prime” service or something similar.

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I’ve been to two Target stores for my printer ink. For weeks now they haven’t had it. I have worked in retail before and it’s no-brainer than when you are down to the last two items on the shelf that you begin to re-order so your rack isn’t empty. Well Amazon had my ink at lower prices with free two-day shipping. Sorry Target. I didn’t even have to leave my couch or change out of my pajamas. No-one cares anymore. No one has a good work ethic and wants to keep their store tidy. I’ve seen it from the inside. When the district manager visits, the staff scrambles to make the store look great. Too bad that doesn’t happen everyday. Where has pride gone? No one seems to be motivated to do good work and do it well.

I am really troubled by all of this. I don’t want to use Amazon, really. But they make it easy and convenient for me. I am 34 years old, but I already sound like a disgruntled old lady yapping about lazy teenagers and bad service. I guess that speaks for itself….

 

Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

Couch Curse

Bought my first couch used & it lasted forever.
Moved in with Kevin & invested in a new couch. I never buy new.
(Never shop at Bob’s because our couch fell apart & was made poorly.)

Today we went to Ikea & bought another new one (this pained me as I never buy anything, especially NEW) and within the first 10 minutes the dog rolled in dog poo, dashed inside the house & made a b-line for the couch!!! Well I stopped her!!! Phew.
Finally sat down to a bottle of strawberry seltzer water which upon opening exploded all over my clothes but fear not the couch is dry but I’m soaked…..

Im going to just sit in my rocking chair now…..

“Shout It, Shout It, Shout It Out Loud!”

It’s safe to say I’m a pretty passionate person.
I’m not rowdy by any means but I do have some strong opinions that I generally keep to myself.
I think in the day and age of social media rants, it is a bit more tasteful to save your opinions for something you find important.
I was recently told that someone called our local library OBSOLETE.
I know the person.
I work full time at the library and have never seen this person use our library, EVER.
It’s a bit like saying a product taste terrible when you’ve actually never TRIED It before.
Now THAT gets my goat.
I was having a discussion with my supervisor and we were a little bit troubled by the fact that libraries always have to prove themselves. There are countless articles online about the importance of libraries. Don’t people already know how great they are?!
This prompted me to write a letter to editor of the local paper, the Bristol Phoenix.
I do hope they publish it. If not, feel free to click below to read it and SHARE if you’d like!

Letter to the Editor

Sewing Again…

It was around this time last year that I took my very first sewing lesson. I had a wonderful instructor who was incredibly patient with this slow learner. Fast forward one year and I’ve only made one project which looked like a the work of a kindergarten student.

I’ve been meaning to make valances for a small kitchen window for sometime now. But finding the time to get to my sewing area is difficult. Finally this weekend I had a chance. I measured the window to the best of my (awful) math skills, sketched out the plan and was on my way.

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Ah, but if it were only that easy. I went to JoAnn’s Fabrics with the window measurements not remembering I have to convert inches to yards!! The very gracious girl at the cutting table with 20 tattoos was happy to help. I was just hoping she wouldn’t beat me up. I picked up some matching thread and was on my merry way!

IMG_3168That night was not as smooth! I attempted 7 times to wind the bobbin but the thread went all over the place NOT including on the actual bobbin. SO the next day I consulted the woman I work with (who happens to be a seamstress and my 4th grade teacher – hey, it’s Bristol). She gave me some tips and FINALLY I was on my way!

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Did I mention this was a hand-me-down machine? It is missing parts but I am trying to wing it (see clothespin)They say threading the machine is half the battle with sewing. Well in this house it was a real housewives catfight. Blood, sweat and tears were shed and FINALLY I was on my way.

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I am sad to say there is still something wrong with the machine tension so my stitches aren’t so hot but the curtain is TOGETHER so I proudly ran down to the kitchen to hang up the curtain and VOILA – it was way too long!!
No one said life was easy right?

Bad stitches:
IMG_3169Finally hours later I got it (somewhat) right. It hangs slightly crooked but I don’t care! It’s a project under my belt! We must learn from our mistakes (I am a life-long learner, this is for sure). Until next time….

IMG_3173 Too long!

FullSizeRenderSlightly crooked but does the job!

 

 

bookcover

I just started reading this book. I think everyone should read this. Here is some insider information about the robots that DO exist and will be taking over many jobs. Don’t assume for a second that your job is not replaceable because it is. I do wonder what will happen to the population when robots take over. This reminds me of the film The Surrogates. It stars Bruce Willis. It didn’t get the best reviews but it is certainly worth the watch. The movie takes place in a futuristic society where humans stay home and their robot surrogates enter the real world. Many of the TV shows and films we once thought were so futuristic may be on the mark now!

Back to the Basics

I decided the other day that I would wander down into the children’s room at my library. I think sometimes it is nice to re-live our childhood! The stresses of adulthood can really kill the IMAGINATION. I don’t ever want to lose my imagination & creativity. I am going to try to read a few children’s books a week. I will start with some of the classic picture books and probably pick up some Roald Dahl & E.B. White. I will keep a running list here! 

Great New Book!

book

What a fantastic book. I almost quit in the beginning because the author went on about history that I already know, especially about Thomas Jefferson. But she tied it all together so well.

“In Jefferson’s vision, access to organized knowledge is necessary to promote the progress and well-being of humanity. In the developed world, market capitalism plays important roles , but long term investment in the public good is not one of them. Google boasts
that they organize knowledge for the world. But the vision of Jefferson and the Founders proposes that the organization of access to knowledge is to be a public utility, wholly owned by the people for the purpose of self-government.”

“Free access to information is the sole guarantor of self-rule. Ignorance and secrecy are fundamental threats to freedom because the compromise our autonomy and freedom of choice. This is what Jefferson and his peers believed and why they established a national library funded by the public purse.”

Reflect upon those two statements from the book! Certainly put things in perspective for me…