Review: Social Networking

Hey everyone:

I met one of the developers of at the Privacy, Identity, and Innovation Conference (Pii2012) last week. The idea of a social networking site that didn’t sell my personal information got my attention. But the biggest draw was this:

Hibe allows each user to control who sees what items they share. So you can keep your “fun pics” in a separate space that a potential employer (or your parents) will never see. It’s also possible to build a sample portfolio, or set up a resume. I could go on about it, but they have a video:

I’m way on board with Hibe. If all goes well, I should be able to migrate over from Facebook in a few weeks. I’m hoping most of my contacts follow me. Otherwise, it will be me and my virtual crickets for awhile. 🙂 Getting it set up does take a bit more thought than other sites. Who qualifies as friends? Who do I think of as family? Even though you can put people in multiple categories, I’ve done more thinking about it in the past week than I have in a long time.

I only had one problem setting the account up was trying to pictures in my profile from the outset. It’s easier to set up your profile, then go back and add pics in. But I sent an email, and the folks at Hibe are getting on it ASAP. So it shouldn’t be an issue much longer.

I think it’s worth joining up.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks April 19th!

Direct from the Seattle Office of Civil Rights:

Seattle University and Mt. Zion Baptist Church are teaming up to bring awareness to social justice issues, with a major community event this spring. In keeping with SU’s mission of empowering leaders for a just and humane world, David (Sonny) Lacks will join a conversation about his mother, science and other issues addressed in, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

Soon to be made into an HBO movie by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball, this New York Times bestseller takes readers on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers filled with HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia, to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we’re made of. – Author Rebecca Skloot

 The event is free and open to the public. The conversation will feature a chat with Sonny Lacks, as he speaks about the book and the impact of the phenomenon surrounding his mother’s cells. The discussion will be moderated by Vivian Phillips, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications for the Seattle Theater Group and Adjunct Professor in Fine Arts, MFA in Arts Leadership at SU.

 For more information about Seattle University’s Center for Justice in Society and to reserve tickets, please visit:

WHEN: April 19, 2012   7 – 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Avenue,  Seattle, WA 98122

 Contact:  Stacy Howard, Seattle University, 206-890-9013        

 Office, Mount Zion Baptist Church, 206-322-6500

Here’s a flyer on the event:

Have You Been PWNED?

What does the word PWNED mean? There are a lot of definitions, but the easiest one comes from the site

PWNED is “Owned, dominated” or “Perfectly Owned”. A lot of theories about the origin of it abound, and I won’t get into that here. The biggest reason I’ve heard for it catching on so well is that it sounds like the definition of it. Hard, fast, and tough.

So, why am I talking about this at all? Because I came upon another website, of course. A way to check yourself and your email security.

PWNED LIST lets you enter your email address or user name into their search engine and see if it has been compromised at all. So far they have found over four million people with compromised addresses. Thankfully mine is not one of them. 🙂

Of course one of the first things I wondered was if  this is a front for someone who wants to collect email addresses for their own use. For those of us worried about the security of our user information, they offer the option of generating a SHA Hash to mask it. I did it, and it still gave me the same result.

The PWNED people say they are a group of security researchers who are doing this in their spare time. They have a contact page where they accept any type of message, including anonymous ones.

Go ahead and check it out for yourself!



Video: Who Controls Copyright?

The explosion online has led to information being passed around in ways that intellectual property laws never anticipated. Corporate zeal to enforce has led to things like this:

In 1995, the ASCAP tried to charge the Girl Scouts royalty fees for singing songs at camp. Yep, the Girl Scouts. Originally going after them for a really high fee, public outrage backed them into a corner. These days they charge an “honorary” $1/year. 

The RIAA’s idea that putting your tunes in a shared folder on your computer constitutes copyright infringement. The concept is that since the potential for someone to grab it is there, then you’ve already done it. (You evil thing, you.) Thankfully, a court struck this idea down in 2008.

In 2010, the “U.S. Copyright Group” filed 30,000 lawsuits against Bit Torrent users.

Corporations buy ideas and entertainment up and then do their best to fence it in tight so no one else can play with it. Personally, I thought humans taught others to share toys around the age of 2 or 3. But I could be mistaken. A lot of people are talking about the need to rethink copyright law in light of today’s speed of information. But companies have a very strong lobby presence, and they aren’t likely to bend to more flexible ideas anytime soon.

Creative Commons has stepped into the middle of this mess and forged a third path. Here, they explain why they feel it’s important.