TD Bank Tries an End Run Around Site Tracking Blockers

I’m well aware of the value of site analytics. Most of my sites make extensive use of them. But at the same time I’m aware of a user’s absolute right to not be tracked, be it anonymous or not. When it comes to my personal information, I’m usually happy to let most sites drop in a statistical tracking cookie, but I almost always set the lifetime of those cookies to “session only”.

Basically, I’m happy to let someone know how I navigate their site, because that information is likely to result in improved usability. What I don’t like is disclosing how many times I visit a site over a period of time, and what my multi-visit user patterns are like.

With browsers like Firefox and now even Internet Explorer providing easy tools to manage cookie acceptance and lifetime, more and more users who don’t want to be tracked are limiting cookies. This is giving marketers a more challenging time and skewing their statistics. Poor babies.

Some marketers are fighting back. What’s not commonly known is that Adobe’s Flash Player lets sites store cookie-like information as well. Now Adobe hasn’t quite caught up with the concept of individual liberties, so the default configuration of the Flash Player is to allow local storage without any explicit user permission. Adobe pretty much has a monopoly when it come to this sort of thing, so there’s little incentive for them to change.

So now marketers who claim to seek to improve customer service have a method where they can gather data even if their customers have taken explicit steps to prevent it. News Flash: That is NOT good customer service! It’s really rather offensive customer abuse.

Some time in the past few months, TD Bank decided to join the ranks of companies who have elected to bypass their customer’s wishes. I recently connected to my online banking site, and got asked for permission to allocate local storage to an invisible bit of Flash. So I cranked open the page and found this link: https://easyweb46w.tdcanadatrust.com/dojo111/dojox/storage/Storage.swf?baseUrl=/dojo111/dojo/. At least its name reflects its purpose.

Anyone familiar with the big Canadian banks has become accustomed to dealing with these arrogant behemoths, protected from significant international competition by legislation, and reading from some version of a dictionary where the meaning of “service” is very different from the commonly accepted definition. Really the only surprising thing is that they haven’t found a way to charge me 25 cents per byte of information that they want to store on my computer.

But you don’t have to be subject to corporate whims. These things are configurable. Don’t go looking through your browser, plugins or program settings for the control panel, though. Follow this link to your Flash Player control panel. This looks like a screen shot of what a control panel might look like, but don’t be confused: it’s a live presentation of your current settings. Click on the second tab, “Global Storage Settings”. There’s a reasonably good explanation of the settings below the panel, but if you move the slider to the left until it reads “None”, then every site that tries to save data in flash will have to get your approval first. If you don’t want to be asked, set the “Never Ask Again” check box. Then go to the last tab, “Website Storage Settings” to take a look at which sites have left tracking codes on your computer. Delete all the ones you don’t trust.

Now you have control of your information again.

Liberal Hopeful Bob Rae Expects Three Years of Recession?

Bob Rae announced that he will be seeking the leadership of the Liberal Party today. “I’m running because I believe I have the judgement, the character, the values and the experience to lead at a very difficult time in the life of our country,” said Mr. Rae.

It’s not exactly clear which leadership he’s talking about. If he had said “a very difficult time in the life of our party,” I would probably be in agreement. He and Michael Ignatieff are both pretty strong candidates, but I think Mr. Rae stands a better chance in a federal election. I find Ignatieff to be a little distant… he might very well make the best Prime Minister, but that’s no good if you can’t win an election. I also don’t think Mr. Rae’s much-discussed stint as Ontario premier is anywhere near the liability that it’s been made out to be.

But watching today’s press conference, I got the distinct impression that Rae is saying that he’s got what it takes to be PM during hard economic times. So he’s got some magic plan to win the leadership race and topple Harper’s government in the next nine months or so — that would be quite a feat — or he expects the recession to last a good three to four years, the most likely time we’ll be called to the polls again.

Now this downturn may very well last that long, but it sure doesn’t look good to come out looking like that’s your expectation. Looks like poor judgement, which makes the statement self-contradictory. (more…)

Joomla 1.5.8 is… is what??

Shortly after the release of “Joomla!” 1.5.8, I found myself in this release announcement on techcebu.net. It appears to be a bad case of double-translation, from English to Italian (or perhaps Hebrew) and back to English again. The text was just too hilarious to not repost.

11Nov JOOMLA 1.5.8 RELEASED

Joomla 1.5.8 Released

The Joomla Project is entertained to foretell the unmediated availability of Joomla 1.5.8 [Wohnaiki]. This promulgation contains a sort of fault fixes and digit moderate-level section fixes. It has been around digit months since Joomla 1.5.7 was liberated on Sept 9, 2008. The Development Working Group’s content is to move to wage regular, regular updates to the Joomla community.
Download
Click here to download Joomla 1.5.8 (Full package) »
Click here to encounter an update package. »

Instructions

* New installation and technical requirements
* Upgrade from an existing Joomla 1.5 version
* Migration from Joomla! 1.0.x

Want to effort intend Joomla? Try the online demo. Documentation is acquirable for beginners.
Release Notes

Check the Joomla 1.5.8 Post-Release Notes to wager if there are essential items and adjuvant hints unconcealed after the release.

View instance release notes for Joomla 1.5.7 or release notes for Joomla 1.5.6.
Security

* Two moderate-level section issues were immobile in this release:
o Default filtering for content
o Filtering for Web Link descriptions

For additional information, visit the Joomla Security Center.
Components

* Articles: Remove brackets around Last Updated fellow and time, Start Publishing fellow corrections for another than UT1 00:00, impact counts precise for Articles, adding a expanse after a draped telecommunicate address
* E-mail addresses: Correctly draped when presented in Section and Category descriptions
* Categories: Edit picture aright shows for Articles without Title links, Print picture precise today on prototypal tender for Blog Layout
*
Sections: Plural and signifier modify correction, Category unification right ended, Router changes reverted to edition 1.5.6 so Article ID does not attach to the Article slug
* Frontpage: Article naming correction, rectified sort of Links
* Contacts: Image pass rebuke when Image Directory is configured
* RSS Feed: Corrected spelling of Category in Category feed
* User: Added isInternal checking on referer values
* Weblinks: Language strings

Modules

*
Feed: Target concept validation, module progress correction
* Login: ItemID is cured on redirect
* Menu: Changing Menu Link Type today functions properly, Section Language string, Article Reset fix working
* Related Items: Keyword matched functions aright and filters characters appropriately
* Stats: Corrected Time
* Sections: No dominance constant entireness correctly
* Search: Form validates aright for Transitional xHTML

Legacy

* Return evidence additional for Legacy Menu Check

Templates

* Beez: Lengthened E-mail Content Popup, Search fix today entireness when pressed, countersign set entireness correctly, corrections to Beez HTML folders, User info tender corrected
* JA_Purity: Added absent module strings

Administrator

* Console: Added “Welcome to Joomla!” aggregation and Joomla Security RSS feeds to Administrator Console
* Installation: Proper redaction of factor directories, choice entries for Templates and Languages are today precise for uninstall
* Media Manager: Changed choice for newborn sites to alter Flash multi-file uploader cod to contradictoriness with Flash 10
* Installation: Remove unclear nonachievement communication most module files for spreading installations, Administrator Modules today aright uninstall INI files
* Sample data: Updated programme feeds to saucer to liberated code accord sites, comprehensive corrections and updates to distribution content

System

* API: JFolder::files and JFolder::folders corrections for Search, absent Method additional to JRecordSet, Database Class aright quotes obloquy not using extend notation, JTableUser matches using the precise sort of fields
* Cache: Correct undefinable uncertain in Cache Class
* Language file: Corrected wording, precise artefact of PDF fonts autarkical of module choices, individual module progress corrections in en-GB.ini
* Menu: Performance improvements for sites with some schedule items
* Users: Temporary Users are today healthy to logout, bonded prescript crapper today be utilised when redaction statement details
* Added PHP 4 sympathy for isInternal checking

Statistics

Statistics for the 1.5.8 promulgation period:

* Joomla 1.5.8 contains:
o 71 issues immobile in SVN
o 26 commits
* Tracker state resulted in a gain modification of 4 astir issues:
o 65 newborn reports
o 130 closed
o 66 immobile in SVN
* At the instance the 1.5.8 promulgation was packaged, the tracker had 114 astir issues:
o 44 open
o 44 confirmed
o 24 pending

Joomla! Bug Squad

Thanks to the Joomla Bug Squad for their sacred efforts work reports, sterilisation problems, and applying patches to Joomla. If you encounter a fault with Joomla, find discover more aggregation here on how to inform the bug.

Active members of the Joomla Bug Squad during this terminal promulgation wheel include: Ian MacLennan and Mark Dexter co-leads; Airton Torres, river Zijlstra, Akarawuth Tamrareang, Alan Langford, suffragist Ferrara, Amy Stephen, saint Eddie, Elin Waring, Ercan Ozkaya, Charl camper Niekerk, Gergo Erdosi, Hannes Papenberg, Jennifer Marriott, Jens-Christian Skibakk, Jonah Braun, carpenter LeBlanc, Kevin Devine, Marijke Stuivenberg, Mati Kochen, Mickael Maison, Robin Muilwijk, prophet Moffatt, Shantanu Bala, Toby Patterson, and Wilco Jansen.

A hearty recognize to the newest members of the Joomla Bug Squad: Dan Walker, Eduardo Diaz, and Tibor Toth.