To faff or not to faff?

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To faff or not to faff? That is the question. Distractions are plenty on the internet, and it is hard to work while they call your name.  The last few things I heard my internet whisper:

  • ooooh, do you want to learn how to dye your woven basket?
  • Check out this rug, they are gosh damn cool
  • Must know what gluten free is, right?

As I battle with my internet to get the day’s work done, I am wondering, should I google, “why is it so easy to be distracted online?”

The MONSTER in your COOKIE JAR

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I am very wary of most websites. They set cookies, they skim personal data, exploit privacy policy, and what not. We have discussed this endlessly during our ‘mediated communication’ classes and more recently in my ‘critiquing marketing communication’ class.

Today, navigating in the digital world implies you are creating a virtual self by your cookie trails. We surf the internet, hoping from one website to the next and it is observing and tracking our every movement. We read about the big data of everything and how it helps us predict pattern and trends … little do we know, all this bobs and bits of data it gathers about you means it is creating a big of data of “you”

I have installed adware, keep cleaning my cookies, disable passwords, keep checking the privacy setting of Google and what ever other measures I can take to keep the ‘digital information grabbers’ out of my browser. But here is the catch, they make it difficult for you to navigate their website when you do this.

I was trying to browse ‘Bed Bath and Beyond’ website via ‘Chrome’ browser today and the product images refused to load. The loading icon kept circling for minutes and the website did not load at all.  The images did not display well after five minutes had elapsed. I was on to it … I suspected that the ‘Adblock Plus App’ (Yellow highlight in below pic) that is installed as a browser plugin was preventing the images from loading. A clear indication that it has to do something with tracking, cookies or whatever ‘marketing activity’ they have programmed the website for.

Bed Bath and Beyond

In the above pic, you can see ‘adblock’ icon is red in color which means it is enabled. The grey icon below indicates that I have disabled the app and that implies the website has the liberty to track my navigational movements. The second I turned it off and refreshed the page, everything loaded instantly!

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So I put it to the next test, I opened it on Firefox where I have installed ‘Lightbeam App’ that enables an internet user to track the tracker! I reset the counter and then opened the same Bed, Bath and Beyond Link and here is what turned up in my Ligthbeam report! 23 Third Party Websites were tracking my data when I visited this one webpage! You can see the B icon in the center and surrounding it are other icons such as Facebook, Google and many more who were ‘infromation thirsty’ and trying to profile what you will buy next!

Lightbeam

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In today’s digital world, consumers are in a catch-22 situation; if we opt-out, we are left behind, if we opt-in, we compromise our privacy and are subject to be data probing!

I don’t care that they are tracking information because I have apps to ensure that they can be blocked, but it downright unfair that they mess up the website’s user experience on purpose because of disabled ads. I got so miffed that instead of browsing the website with ads enabled, I decided I will by the product in some other website that does not con its consumer into selling out their ‘personal online data.’

House hunting … a nightmare, a dream

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The spring semester is long over now. And I know this cause I counted every nano second with all my energy. The exhausting final papers, the never ending agony and anxiety of whether you will get an A for final grade. But it went well. The term’s 4.0 is intact, so yay me!

And all that wrapped up at the perfect time … in time for home hunting. Yup, me on the moves again! “Here I go again on my own” …. eeer  okay, not on my own 🙂

I barely finished my the last assignment, and I was off to home hunting the next day because I have 15 days on the lease and I have to relocate, LOL! It was tiring and tedious, and I only have myself to blame because obviously I so picky that I annoy myself sometimes.

I have to have wooden flooring cause who wants to vacuum often with carpet and let’s not get started on the allergies it brings. If I am gonna get allergies, it better be the cat hair, not carpet.

I would not take one where there was no Island in the kitchen, or the kitchen must have space in the kitchen, and the sink must have disposal, and so on and so forth!  All of these became must have when I realized how quickly I can’t tell the difference between ingredients, food that is cooking, and mess within 15 minutes of entering my small kitchen! Here is a regular scenario, I would wanna stir the pan, but I will have no place to put the lid, and it will land up on the counter over the cutting board and knife. When I go back to chopping, I still have to find a place for the lid, so I will dump it in the dish rack, and when I get to cleaning the utensils, I will forget the dirty lid in there! LOL.

Back to home hunting … if I saw angled walls, I ran out as fast as my legs would carry me. Only the furniture Gods would know what a challenge it is to fit the queen size bed with 2 nightstands in a bedroom that looks like they forgot to keep the wall in a straight line while building the room! Why in the world would they do that? And the leasing office person was super helpful, “why don’t you put the bed by the diagonal wall?” Sure, if I don’t want to ever access the closet or change my clothes, I will put it there!

Let’s just say, I am a classic pain in the butt when it comes home hunting. When I moved in Bangalore, I saw close to 35 homes over 6 months before I picked one. Then I stayed there for 4.5 years, so glad that paid off! Whew.

But I nailed that home in spite of 1000 criteria checklist over the weekend! Beyond platinum. And just right after the pollen got to me. I was on a full blown war path with pollen and desperately trying to fight my flu for a whole week. I obviously got a cold, but this was my first spring allergy flu and boy is that a experience. I used to wonder why Claritin ads spiked before the spring season. Now I know why. Soldier down for a whole week.

It was time to pack, it is a one bedroom apartment. And I am a less is more person. I declutter, reorganize, even when there is no need to do so. In spite of that, I saw many objects that I could do away with. Of course, I had to haggle with other entities at home to see that it really does not serve a purpose 🙂

I had a many “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” moments. A strong urge to give every thing away and just hibernate. But that ain’t happening. My flu was still on although I rested for a whole week. Brave me, summoned the energy to pack. In total, 30 boxes were packed over 4 days. 2 people, 30 boxes? How much stuff does a man need? If you get it, I am proud of ya!

So yeah, the stuff came over to my new place, which I love love love BTW. And I unpacked 30 boxes in 2 days flat cause the only the good universe knows that I stand to see things out of place. If the can opener is a nanometer to the right of its chalk marking, I am gonna go bonkers for sure. J.K.

But yes, what has been a nightmare for the past two months has finally come to an end. I have set up the dream home I want. The pretty picture in the foyer, all glass jars in the frosted glass cabinets, the walk-in closet and what not.  The last two months have been super hectic for me, but now it is time for me to kick back and enjoy summer!

Bye Bye Website, Hello WordPress

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I loved my website, it was a precious design with coffee swirls, diary and a pen for a search bar. I called it ‘A Cup of Me’. However, since this was a standalone website, traffic was at a standstill. I never really advertised it was me, just posting without identifiers. There was limited traction although it was positioned on a WordPress platform. More than anything, the modules and maintenance was not my cup of coffee. I let it go, the site went down last week. I have saved some content from there … but I thought it would be nice to give it a proper goodbye with this post.

Bye Bye Love, I will miss you. Stay rested in the absent digital world. Thanks for all your love and digital kindness.