Stripping Search

In response to regulatory pressure and to apply some pressure on their competition, Yahoo has announced that after 90 days it will anonymize search queries and remove personally identifiable information (PII) from them as well.  Specifically, Yahoo will delete the last eight bits from the IP address associate with a search.  Further, Yahoo will remove some PII data, like names, phone numbers and Social Security numbers from the searches.  The goal is to (eventually) destroy the ties between a person and what that person searches for which could include embarrassing, compromising, or sensitive items such as information about medical conditions, political opposition materials, adult entertainment, etc.

There are two points I want to draw you attention to.  The first point is related to the amount of time search providers, like Yahoo, hold identifiable search queries.  Regulators have recommended to search vendors to reduce how long they hold identifiable searches.  The EU has recommended 6 months, for example.  Yahoo, reducing their retention time from 13 months, has taken a laudable step to reduce that time to 90 days.

In the future, the time it takes a search provider to extract whatever goodness it wants to out of a search query (to feed its varied businesses) and anonymize that query will reach zero.  External pressures aside, the Googles and Yahoos of the world will achieve near-instantaneous goodness-extraction/anonymization of search queries simply because it reduces what they have to store, maintain, and worry about.  That being said, even though search providers will be able to achieve near-instantaneous extraction and anonymization, they will never be able to put it into practice.  Why?  Because there will always be a desire on the part of law enforcement to gain access to those identifiable searches. Continue reading Stripping Search

Tuesday Night has shpilkes

Pat and Jeff have run their blogs through Typealyzer, an interesting little site that applies a Myers-Briggs personality test to a URL you give it. (The cynic in me thinks it picks four letters at random.)  So aiming it at Tuesday Night we discover that it is an ESTP – The Doers.  As Typealyzer says:

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities. 

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

It is that last sentence that brings us to our Yiddish word of the day: shpilkes.  Shpilkes, as wikipedia reads, is

upset stomach, or simply nervous energy; to be feeling “antsy”, to be “sitting on pins and needles.” Cf. Polish szpilka, “pin”

My family always used it to refer to a kid (often me – see nudnick) who was antsy and couldn’t still.

As for the analysis, I can see how Tuesday Night would be seen as an ESTP.  For those very few of you out there who have actually worked with me in a office/cubicle setting, you know that I really can’t sit still for huge amounts of time.  (Unless I am coding, but that’s a whole different, in the zone, kind of thing.)  The E (as is in extrovert) is the most interesting to me.  When I have taken Myers-Briggs tests, I have come out as an ISTP, an introvert.  I remember being 50-50 on extrovert versus introvert scale.

Well apparently, Tuesday Night needs to know go outside, crack a joke, and fidget a bit.

How we got out of Thailand

As some of you know, my wife and I were recently in Thailand.  We were, in fact, there while People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) closed down the airports in Bangkok.  Once that happen, we (a long with 349,998 people) were pretty screwed getting back home.  The following is a rough account of what we went through to get home.  It is a bit long, but enjoy it anyway.

By way of an introduction, the following is a map of roughly where we were and where we went.

Tuesday, November 25th – The Fun Begins

PAD takes over the main airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi, as well the older Don Meung airport.  They have a bit of a throw-down with the cabbies at the airport.  This involves golf clubs, sticks, and whatever else everyone get their hands on.  They demand to know when the Prime Minister is returning to Thailand, which turns out to be Wednesday.  I figure that the PM will come back to Thailand and work things out with PAD.  Oh so wrong was I.

I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for the people at the airport waiting to fly out.  Truly terrifying.  But then again, PAD people were dressed rather festively and they did set up a bunch of food stalls.  It might have been fun… for about 5 seconds.

Wednesday, November 26th – What, me worry?

So the Thai Prime Minister returns to Thailand, but instead of flying back to Bangkok where the welcome committee was stationed, he flew to an air force base near Chiang Mai.  We had seen this base a week prior.  The PM states he will not dissolve the government and he called on PAD to leave the airports.  Stop or I’ll say stop again!

Hoping that this would resolve itself, we did nothing to prepare for what was coming.

Continue reading How we got out of Thailand