Image by Duane Storey via Flickr Creative Commons

Crockford Files – October 2013

By John Crockford

U.S. Postal Service Wants to Verify Who You Are

The U.S. Postal Service recently awarded a three-year $15.12 million contract to build a cloud-based authentication exchange. IT World (www.itworld.com/it-management/369985/can-us-postal-service-find-future-running-govt-cloud-based-authentication-servi) reports on its Web site, “While in the early stages, the USPS-managed Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCCX), as it’s being called, is envisioned as a way that people can use their existing online credentials to gain access to U.S. government agency online services in the future.” This could include integrating a user’s Google or PayPal security credentials.

But the Fresno Bee Wants Facebook to Do It

The Fresno Bee (www.fresnobee.com/2013/09/12/3493950/changes-coming-to-fresno-bee-story.html) has changed its online commenting system and is requiring that commenters log in using a Facebook account. This was done to address the “large number of online comments [that] consist of name-calling and sniping, and don’t contribute to the community conversation.” The Bee says that “most people with Facebook accounts use their real names, and we believe the tone of comments will improve if commenters aren’t anonymous.”

Security Advisory for Windows XP Users

Windows XP users may face an increased security risk after April 2014. At that time, Microsoft will discontinue issuing security patches for the aging operating system. Generally speaking, computer users should update all their software regularly to the latest version available.

Something to Think About…

If you’re particularly fond of your collection of movies, shows, songs and books that you’ve patiently, and at some cost, amassed over the years, you should give some thought about what happens to it after you’re gone. Can you leave your digital catalog to your heirs? Apparently, the answer isn’t clear and those pesky issues of copyright and profit keep popping up in the discussions. USA Today has an interesting story about this on its Web site at www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2012/09/19/digital-inheritance-law/1578967/.

Buyer Beware

A recent e-mail from a national publishing house offering a selection of books for sale contained one particular paperback—a how to book on building shelters, shacks and shanties for $11.96 (reduced from $14.95). The book, written in 1916, is also available as a digital ebook from the Gutenberg Project (www.gutenberg.org/). This free ebook edition contains the illustrations from the original and is available in several different formats including Kindle, ePub and plain text. Before buying your next book, check to see if there is a free digital edition available through one of the many free book services online or check your library’s Web site for free loans of some of the latest books and bestsellers.

*****

John Crockford, a self-described “geek with Luddite sympathies,” is an independent Web site designer and consultant. Contact him at info@johncrockford.com or follow the Crockford Files (@crockfordfiles) on Twitter (https://twitter.com/crockfordfiles).

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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