The world knows where you've been

The world knows where you've been

A reminder for those operating in the digital world. This includes the internet, your phone, social media and basically anything in the public sphere. You can all but guarantee that everything you post online is eventually available to everyone. It doesn't matter what promises your provider might offer -- and maybe they're even being as honest as they can be -- eventually your data will turn up on a public server somewhere. The golden rule is simple: if you don't want everyone to see something, then don't post it anywhere on public networks.

As one example, according to a report from Vice's Motherboard, they revealed that T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint are still selling customer-location data to third-party companies who then resell it to less-than-savoury sources. These include the likes of bail-bond companies that pass people's details on to bounty hunters looking to track down folks who have skipped bail. So essentially to anyone who has the cash. This is another good reason to keep location services turned off on your phone, unless you really must play that game that needs them turned on to play.

Another example is Twitter. Researchers have demonstrated, again, that location metadata from Twitter posts can be used to determine private information like a user's home address, workplace and sensitive locations visited. If you want to know more, look for the paper "Please Forget Where I Was Last Summer: The Privacy Risks Of Public Location (Meta) Data", due out in February. This buttresses a related paper from 2015. Twitter claims that location information associated with your tweets is an opt-in-only process, but when it comes to the Twitter API, it is not that simple.

If you are a Windows 10 Professional user, then you can pause a Windows update. Until now, the Home users had no choice. That's about to change, with an update due in April that will allow you to pause an update for up to seven days. Microsoft has not to date mentioned this feature in any of its posts on the update, but buried it away in some technical data that it is coming. Now, seven days may not seem a lot, but that is seven days without being nagged to do the update, which will be a welcome change for some Windows users. Windows Professional users can already pause an update for up to 35 days, which is one of the reasons I always make sure I get the Professional versions when I upgrade.

The CES show always has some interesting new gadgets. A new printer from Canon caught my eye, not because it has any new technology but rather because it shows how the incremental upgrades may pan out this year. The Pixma TS702 is a compact unit selling for around US$130 (4,200 baht) in the US. It can hold up to 350 sheets at a time, and works with the XL and XXL series of ink tanks. Wi-Fi printing is supported, along with a number of printing protocols. Print speed is a mere 10 seconds per sheet for colour and faster for black-and-white. Even a 4x6-inch photo only takes a bit over 20 seconds. Printing resolutions up to 4800x1200 dpi are supported. Automatic duplex and borderless printing are also provided. Add protocol support for Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and Mopria, as well as wireless support for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT, and you have an excellent printer for the modern home and office. In summary, greater flexibility and increased options can be excepted this year.

Looking for a nice microphone setup for your phone blogging? Check out the new Shure MV88+. It works with Android and Apple phones and a whole range of other options. The kit comes with a mic stand, shoe clip and smartphone mount. It is a Shure, so I expect the quality to be very good.

When I purchased my new PC, I found that the current state of integrated graphics on motherboards was not really up to the challenge, so I bought a stand-alone card. If you are someone who is still in the 1080p world, the upcoming advances in AMD and Intel onboard graphics (iGPUs) may allow you to avoid the need for a stand-alone graphics card in the next generation. iGPUs suffer due to memory requirements and manufacturing-die size. The available memory speed is based on what is installed on your motherboard, while stand-alone graphics cards have faster specialised memory. GPU dies are a lot larger than those used for CPUs but that is changing in 2019. The word to remember here is "chiplets." These are smaller, linked chips to allow integrated manufacturing of a CPU and a GPU. AMD is currently leading in this area, so expect to see the AMD integration to be better than Intel, at least in the short term.

James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at

James Hein

IT professional

An IT professional of over 30 years’ standing. He has a column in Bangkok Post tech pages and has been writing without skipping a beat every week all these years.

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