Thoughts on Information Finding

Reflections and reblogs

How I Stopped Robocalls From Disturbing My Life

During one of the recent data breaches, my information was breached. More specifically, my cell phone number is now in the hands of spammers.

Several times during the day, my phone will ring. The caller ID will display a number (usually out-of-state and cities where I know no one). In the beginning I would pick them up and either hear some marketing scam, or  hear nothing but noise in the background. So I stopped picking them up. But I would still have to run to my phone at all times of the day to see who it was to determine if I needed to pick it up. It was driving me crazy. I blocked number after number on my iPhone, but they continued to come up with new numbers.

In my frustration I took to Facebook with my rant, and my brother mentioned the service Nomorobo. It sounded perfect! Nomorobo develops a “black list” of phone numbers to block based on complaints received by the FTC. So if one phone number receives lots of complaints, Nomorobo will block that number from ringing the phone of a subscriber. In order to utilize this service, one has to sign up for Simultaneous Ringing with the phone carrier. Nomorobo quickly answers the spam calls, then hangs up.

However, Verizon Wireless does not offer the simultaneous ringing feature. I scoured their help boards, and their solution is for the customer to pay Verizon Wireless a fee to block a finite amount of numbers. I can already block unlimited numbers on the iPhone, I certainly wasn’t going to pay Verizon to do the same.

I was seriously considering changing my cell phone number. I know, though, I would have missed valuable telephone calls, and that solution was not acceptable either.

My solution: download a silent ringtone from iTunes, and set that as my default ringtone. In actual practice I only receive calls from a few of my contacts. So I manually set the custom ringtones for those contacts (plus a few who could possibly call me) to something other than the default.

Now my phone no longer rings unless one of those contacts call me. I can still see the call if I wake up my phone, and they can, of course, leave a voice mail. I still have an audible tone set for a new voice mail.  Legitimate callers will leave a message. I will subsequently add them to my contacts and give them an audible custom ringtone for future calls.

No more running across the room repeatedly during the day. In this small area of my life, I have restored peace.



Zorphia is Back

After being quiet for a while Zorphia spam has again appeared in my inbox.

Georgia left you a private message

Georgia left you a message. Click on the button below to view it:


I actually received the message in two different email accounts – so “Georgia,” who has my phone number, is leaving me two different messages on a random website?

Or perhaps her contacts were all pilfered by a phisher?

There is nothing we can do to stop this, but I will continue to get the word out – stay away from Zorphia.


Facebook Cleansing – Deleting Your Facebook Activity

I have a friend who maintains her timeline continuously. She deletes her old posts as soon as she moves on to the next topic. Watching her made me begin to think about all the Facebook activity I have – clutter.  Below is linked a blog post where the writer describes how she was able to clean out her old posts completely, including some scripts to automate the process.

The new year inspires people to make a clean start, and with that motivation, I set out to delete everything I had posted on Facebook that was more than a month old…..

… Read More

Nothing is really ever “gone” on the internet – it is all archived somewhere – but it is nice to have less clutter in one’s life. Your online persona is an important place to declutter.

Anatomy of a password disaster – Adobe’s giant-sized cryptographic blunder


Always assume that your data is being stored in plain text – because there is no unbreakable encryption.

Originally posted on Naked Security:

One month ago today, we wrote about Adobe’s giant data breach.

As far as anyone knew, including Adobe, it affected about 3,000,000 customer records, which made it sound pretty bad right from the start.

But worse was to come, as recent updates to the story bumped the number of affected customers to a whopping 38,000,000.

We took Adobe to task for a lack of clarity in its breach notification.

Our complaint

One of our complaints was that Adobe said that it had lost encrypted passwords, when we thought the company ought to have said that it had lost hashed and salted passwords.

As we explained at the time:

[T]he passwords probably weren't encrypted, which would imply that Adobe could decrypt them and thus learn what password you had chosen.

Today's norms for password storage use a one-way mathematical function called a hash that [...] uniquely depends on the…

View original 1,514 more words

Do the Discovery and Delivery Solutions Solve OPAC Usability Problems?

Those of you who have been following my thoughts for a long time know that one of my pet peeves is the current state of the library OPAC. While we have seen some improvements since I started blogging in 2009, we are still light years behind what we could have.

Libraries (sic) goal should be to make library system front end intuitive, easy to use and even more – attractive to patrons, and make them to come back to library discovery and delivery solution with pleasure instead of using different sources not connected with libraries….

… Read More

Has Zorpia Taken Action To Protect Privacy?

As I had posted previously, I have been receiving spam messages from Zorpia. I tweeted an article I found on the subject, and this reply came from Zorpia:

Then why did this appear in my inbox this morning??? I changed the links and the image to protect my coworker whose contacts were apparently phished from her. All Zorpia links are removed as well.

Hi Susan,
Rachel left you a private message

Rachel has left a private message for you. Click on the button below to view it:
View Private Message
The Zorpia Team

I know for a fact that Rachel did not leave me a private message on Zorpia. All I have to do is click on the links in my email and access to my email contacts would be granted to Zorpia.

Zorpia is a Pfishing Scam

Recently I have been receiving messages from a company called “Zorpia” informing me that “Rachel” had left me a private message. “Rachel” has my email address and my personal phone number, so I doubted she would leave me a message on a website I had never heard of. She doesn’t particularly like mainstream social networking, such as Facebook. I suspected, and my research has confirmed, that Zorpia is likely a pfishing scam, much like “ShoppyBag.”

It all started with PickyKidPix who opened the first Zorpia email from her friend Devin. Devin had no idea that such an email was sent out. No one does. I then got an email from my daughter that I had a message from her. Given that it was 11:00 pm and she was asleep, I opened the email. The only way to see the message was to allow it access to my Facebook.

Big mistake…

… Read More in PragmaticMom

Why Twitter doesn’t care what your real name is


The real-name requirement must be based on something other than just wanting to have an online community in which people are free to share information, because Twitter has shown that doing this doesn’t require real names…

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Amid all the noise and fury over Google’s (s goog) policy of requiring real names (or at least real-sounding names) on its new Google+ network — a policy that Facebook also has, and one we have been critical of in the past — it’s easy to forget that there’s a pretty large web service that doesn’t much care what your real name is. Although it does prevent you from pretending to be people you aren’t, Twitter doesn’t block or ban users for having pseudonyms the way Google and Facebook do. Why is that? I think it’s because Twitter realizes it can provide plenty of value for users (and thus for advertisers) without having to know your real name. The social web is about reputation and influence, not necessarily names.

I started thinking about this again, not just because the real-name issue continues to draw heat from Google+ users — and…

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Guest Post: Why am I getting my MLIS? Because I have to.


The library is changing. It has to change to remain relevant. The MLS degree needs to change along with it.

Originally posted on Agnostic, Maybe:

When I tell people I’m in graduate school studying to be a librarian, I receive the response, “You need a Master’s degree for that?” I find myself struggling to defend it. Librarians do more than what the average person realizes, but how much of that is really gained through the MLS? I usually wind up confessing it is like a stamp to gain entry a nightclub. I’ve been advised countless times by librarians that your coursework doesn’t really matter, but your experience does. I agree that there is no teacher greater than experience, but isn’t this a huge flaw in our profession’s degree? This is also disheartening for me because the first word I’ve used to describe myself most of my life is “student.” I like being in the classroom. I want to learn. I want more degree to mean more than a stamp or a merit badge.

I agree…

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How are discovery systems similar to Google? How are they different?

A comparison between discovery services, such as Summon, and Google:

… similarities include the holy grail of “the one search box” that searches “everything” (or close enough) and heavy focus on relevancy ranking to surface desired results.

As a sidenote, relevancy ranking isn’t really new to library catalogues by now (for example our “next generation catalogue” Encore, has relevancy ranking and ……

… Read More in Musings about librarianship


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