Facebook privacy tool

I spent last Saturday at a local tech conference, BeCamp 2010, it was a great success.  The topics were excellent, the participants were the best of central Virginia\’s tech community and the sponsors provided excellent food.

The most useful session I attended was John Feminella\’s presentation on Internet Privacy. It was a great example of the kind of nuance that I see missing from general public discourse on any topic. The first step in addressing any problem is understanding the problem. And when the problem is privacy on the Internet, we have to understand what we mean by privacy.  John\’s main point was

privacy != secrecy

that is, our privacy is not achieved through secrecy.  Instead what we really want is control over our information.  When Facebook changes their settings or when we find out about Spokeo\’s listing on us it\’s the lack of control that causes our anxiety, not the lack of secrecy. We don\’t put secrets on Facebook for our friends to read and Spokeo\’s data is collected from public records like the Charlottesville City Assessor\’s Office. The problem starts when we feel that we don\’t have control over how the information is distributed.

Facebook\’s big change this year was their new \”API\” or interface (called Facebook Open Graph) for other websites and applications to read data out of their site.  And by data I mean what you and I have put on Facebook. They reorganized their privacy settings to align with this new API and to align with their business goals of making money off our information.  The two big problems with the new privacy settings are that many of them defaulted to be more sharing than most people like and that it\’s very hard to tell when you\’ve locked them down enough to suit you.   That\’s where the tool John Feminella showed comes in handy.  Not sure what the Internet can see of your Facebook profile? Go to http://zesty.ca/facebook/ and put in your Facebook ID.  Click on the links in the list it generates to see what anyone else can see about you.  Because the tool\’s navigation is not the best, I recommend \’center-clicking\’ to open the links in a new tab or \’shift-clicking\’ to open in a new window. Review each category of information, then go back into Facebook and change the settings.  Because of the loose structure of Facebook\’s database, there may be a time delay between changing the settings and seeing the changes on Zesty\’s tool.

I locked my profile down a few days ago and now the only thing it shows is a list of \”likes\” I belong to.

Hope this helps you feel okay about staying on Facebook.

Yady’s Alterations

Yady\’s Alterations, a full service clothing alterations and tailoring shop in Downtown Charlottesville has a new website:


While they\’ve only been in Charlottesville for a few years, they\’ve been doing this kind of work internationally for a while:

Yady\’s Alterations brings you more than 30 years experience. Our goal is to satisfy our customers with the lowest price in shortest time.

A great family-owned and operated business, they are happy to tackle any job, big or small:

From custom couture to small repairs, bridesmaid\’s dresses to backpacks, costumes to curtains, Yady\’s Alteration has done it all.

Can\’t get the right fit? Arms are too long? Pants are too short? Just a small hole doesn\’t have to ruin it. That backpack would be perfect if it only had that extra feature. We have a solution to these common problems. We alter clothing and add features to equipment, returning your item with a \”factory finished\” look.

They\’re a great \”Green\” asset for our town because they can fix things that we might normally be tempted to trash and replace.

We have the experience to bring your items back to \”good as new\” status. Most zipper repairs are simple and inexpensive. We offer many alternatives for repairing rips and tears with multiple color and fabric choices. We can repair almost anything including tents, packs, parkas, pants, sleeping bags, and dry suits.

We also make dresses, pants, skirts, shirts, coats, jackets, pajamas, nighties, robes, pillows, curtains, and costumes for any event.

I\’m looking forward to many years of success for them in Charlottesville.

In Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
Jeff Lavezzo

Royal India Restaurant Re-opens Today

The best Indian Restaurant in Charlottesville, The Royal Indian, re-opens today. About a year ago, one of the three chefs of The Milan Indian restaurant, Ravi Dahiya, sold out his share of the business to open his own restaurant. The result was The Royal Indian. And from March through July, 07, it was the best Indian food in Charlottesville. It had delicate sauces, diverse flavors, a mix of spicy and mild, basically all the things missing from The Milan. But after their illuminated \”OPEN\” sign caught fire, they had to close for renovations. All cleaned up with a new color scheme, it\’s as delicious as ever and the buffet has plenty of gulab jamun to make my kids happy!

See you there!