May 282015
 

No SecretsWould my app spy on me? Do I need to worry about phone apps and my privacy? I’ve worked with and around computers for many years. I’m no guru, but I’m pretty comfortable with technology. What I’m NOT comfortable with is the apparent war between some popular technology and privacy!

We recently left the world of “dumb” cell phones behind, switched carriers, and got Android-driven smart phones via Consumer Cellular™. Yeah, we’re of AARP age, traveling more in the ol’ RV, and wanted to spend a bit less on cellular service than we were with one of the “big three” providers. The move reduced our bill by at least a third and the service and coverage seem fine. Time will tell if it was a good move.

I used to use my cell phone just, well…as a phone. Now, everything is all about apps, Google, and the Google Play store! There are some really neat apps available, and loads of them are free, at least for their basic features! I wanted to download a weather app. The Weather Channel app looked great. Lots of features to keep us informed about current and forecasted weather anywhere in the country. Sounded very handy for RVers.

I hit Install and got a list of things to which the app requires access. Before I hit Accept to start the installation, I decided to read the “fine print” and here’s where my “privacy gene” started to get outraged! I can understand why the app might need access to my location so it can quickly give me weather information for wherever I am. I also get that it might need to know about my Wi-Fi connection and the kind of device I’m using.

But, here’s the thing: WHY does a weather app need to know my identity and/or Google (or other) account information? WHY does a weather app need access to my photos, videos, audio, or other files I may have stored on the phone? WHY does a weather app need – and this seems like THE BIG ONE to me – not only my phone number, but also “…whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.”

Now maybe I’m reading that last one wrong, but it sure sounds as if I’d be granting permission for this app, any time it’s running, not only to know when I’m speaking with someone on my phone, but also to collect the caller’s phone number. Whoa! Why do “they” need to know who’s calling me? What do “they” do with this information? Where is it stored? Who has access to it? What other information can/do they collect?

Needless to say, I didn’t install this app. I looked at other weather apps and found that some of them require access to the same information. I won’t install them either. A couple only need access to location and Wi-Fi info. and that makes sense to me.

Am I being paranoid? Should I just accept that privacy is a thing of the past? Should I believe that these app developers and providers all have only the best of intentions? Maybe, but you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.

I’d welcome your comments and thoughts. I’d like to learn more about this topic. Maybe my thinking is all wrong. Maybe…

 May 28, 2015  Posted by at 10:51 pm This 'n' That No Responses »
Apr 282014
 
RVing Squirrels!

Red squirrels are cute little things, aren’t they? Not so much, though, when you find one hanging out in your RV! Rodents, of any sort, can make a real mess, spread germs, and even do some fairly serious damage with their sharp little teeth. Here’s how we found, and then got rid of a furry visitor. We live in a fairly rural area of New Hampshire. There are lots of woods and fields around our house and so, lots of wildlife too. We winterize our travel trailer and it is stored outside on our property. As much as we try [Read more…]

 April 28, 2014  Posted by at 2:40 pm This 'n' That No Responses »
Jun 142010
 

Funny, I used to think that Spam was a processed meat product with which you could make sandwiches, fried slices to go with your breakfast eggs, and so on. Remember the little blue can that said SPAM, with the attached “key” that you used to roll open the top? Then, when you got it open, there was that clear jelly goo surrounding the Spam luncheon meat. You’d have to stick a knife in along the sides of the can to loosen the Spam so it would slide out onto a plate, then clean away the goo. It wasn’t bad goo, [Read more…]

 June 14, 2010  Posted by at 8:58 pm This 'n' That No Responses »
Mar 062010
 
Wild Thing

The Great New Hampshire Wind Storm of 2010 struck Thursday night, February 25th-26th. Friday morning, there were around 400,000 power company customers without electricity! We were among them. The power lines that run from the transformer on the telephone pole to our house were ripped loose by a falling tree. We were fortunate to have a generator to power our furnace, water pump, and refrigerator. As a matter of fact, I started writing this post under gennie power. Our power restoration was low on the list, but that ‘s ok…lots of folks suffered MUCH bigger problems than we did. We finally got [Read more…]

 March 6, 2010  Posted by at 9:55 pm This 'n' That 1 Response »
Nov 292009
 

You know, I’ve not been a very faithful blogger to date. The day job and all the other “stuff” going on seem to get in the way of regular posts. However, something bad happened in Washington state today that just makes my blood boil! Four police officers were sitting in a coffee shop outside of Tacoma, WA prior to starting their work shift. Someone walked into the coffee shop and shot and killed all four officers. I said to my wife, “Deb, that’s an attack against you and me and all other citizens who pay their taxes and hope and [Read more…]

 November 29, 2009  Posted by at 8:32 pm This 'n' That No Responses »
/* ]]> */