Google Drive Private Sharing Requires a Google Account

Everybody says, “It’s easy, just use Google Drive. It’s free.”

And I’m sure Google wants you to think that.

And it is easy except for one type of sharing:

  • Password protected sharing to people who do not have a google account.

To be specific, here are the layers of sharing:

  1. Public. AKA Publish to the web. Everyone can view. Even strangers.
  2. Sharing with people by emailing them a link
    • Good News: do not need to have a google account
    • Bad news: ANYONE who has the link can view the file.
  3. Sharing with specific people only–ie only people who have the password
    • Bad news: REQUIRES a google account. In fact, the password to their google account is what protects the file from unauthorized eyes.

So the premium feature is sharing with ONLY SPECIFIC PEOPLE – WITHOUT a google account. can do it with paid subscription only. As little as $10 or $5 / month. and other free webmails

Consider my comment at webmail is one to consider.

the webmail (not pc client program) in myopera was pretty good. It was part of the whole myopera community. It went “out of business” as of 3/1/2014. Ie tomorrow 😉 However the developers created; It is also a whole community. When i load their pages and watch the websites go buy in the lower left of firefox, i do not see many other sites go by besides In fact i just double checked now, and the ONLY website i saw go by was Their servers are located in Iceland for, among other things, their commitment to free speech. It appears on first glance very open source mindset friendly.

Their vivaldi mail is a hosted roundcube program. I have found roundcube only meh. But free as in freedom is a big plus. Altho this is just a first impression, i dont really “know” the community.

The tech world is changing. There use to be “free as in beer” and “free as in freedom”. Now there’s also “free as in build a profile on you and sell it for ad targeting”.

Some other notes:

vivaldi does not (currently) require a cell phone to register. They require an alternate email which they use for “forgot password” retrieval. gmail and yahoo both require a cell phone these days. is another “very free” email. It is very Ad HEAVY. From a couple hours surfing, it has mixed reviews. Gmx has the advantage that it does not (currently) require a cell phone nor even an alternate email address to register. Their “forgot password” retrieval is based on a security question.

What Secrets Your Phone Is Sharing About You

“Businesses Use Sensors to Track Customers, Build Shopper Profiles”

From Wall Street Journal Article <>

By Elizabeth Dwoskin

Jan. 13, 2014 8:47 p.m. ET

Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.

And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.

Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.

The sensors, each about the size of a deck of cards, follow signals emitted from Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones. That allows them to create portraits of roughly 2 million people’s habits as they have gone about their daily lives, traveling from yoga studios to restaurants, to coffee shops, sports stadiums, hotels, and nightclubs.

“Instead of offering a general promotion that may or may not hit a nerve, we can promote specifically to the customer’s taste,” says Mr. Zhang. He recently emblazoned workout tank-tops with his restaurant’s logo, based on the data about his customers’ gym visits.

Turnstyle is at the forefront of a movement to track consumers who are continuously broadcasting their location from phones. Other startups, such as San Francisco-based Euclid Analytics Inc., use sensors to analyze foot-traffic patterns, largely within an individual retailer’s properties to glean insight about customer behavior.

Their success speaks to the growing value of location data. Verizon Wireless last year began crunching its own location information from customers to help retailers see which neighborhoods shoppers arrived from or limited information about their habits, such as restaurants they drive past. Apple Inc. recently released its iBeacon technology, which can be integrated into sensors to read customer’s smartphone signals in brick-and-mortar stores.

But Turnstyle is among the few that have begun using the technology more broadly to follow people where they live, work and shop. The company’s dense network of sensors can track any phone that has Wi-Fi turned on, enabling the company to build profiles of consumers lifestyles.

Turnstyle’s weekly reports to clients use aggregate numbers and don’t include people’s names. But the company does collect the names, ages, genders, and social media profiles of some people who log in with Facebook to a free Wi-Fi service that Turnstyle runs at local restaurants and coffee shops, including Happy Child. It uses that information, along with the wider foot traffic data, to come up dozens lifestyle categories, including yoga-goers, people who like theater, and hipsters.

A business that knows which sports team is most favored by its clients could offer special promotions on game days, says Turnstyle’s 27-year-old founder Chris Gilpin. Czehoski, a local restaurant, hired an ’80s-music DJ for Friday nights after learning from Turnstyle that more than 60% of the restaurant’s Wi-Fi-enabled customers were over 30.

But as the industry grows in prominence, location trackers are bound to ignite privacy concerns. A company could, for example, track people’s visits to specialist doctors or hospitals and sell that data to marketers.

“Locations have meanings,” says Eloise Gratton, a privacy lawyer. Marketers can infer that a person has a certain disease from their Internet searches. A geolocation company can actually see the person visiting the doctor, “making the inference that the individual has this disease probably even more accurate,” she says.

Mr. Glipin says his data doesn’t include doctors visits or sensitive health information, nor does he sell his profile data to marketers. He is considering offering more detailed profiles based on the logged-in information, an endeavor that would be legal in Canada as long as consumers provided consent.

“We know there is more value to be extracted from this data,” Mr. Gilpin says. “But we’re wanting to move cautiously and turn on the tap slowly—in a way that doesn’t offend customers.”

In the U.S., companies don’t have to get a consent before collecting and sharing most personal information, including their location. A bill, proposed by Minnesota Senator Al Franken, would require consent before collecting location data. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission settled its first location privacy case in December, against an app developer that misled consumers into believing their location data wouldn’t be sold to marketers.

Some customers have concerns. Aj Tin, a university student and customer at Rsquared Café, was surprised to learn that by logging into the Wi-Fi at the coffee shop, he was enabling Turnstyle to track his movements and offer other local businesses an aggregated profile of his activities. The disclosure form tells consumers they will be tracked, but not how aggregated personal information will be distributed. “Privacy is cheap,” Mr. Tin said.

Even as they covet the data, stores and businesses recognize it is a touchy subject. “It would probably be better not to use this tracking system at all if we had to let people know about it,” says Glenna Weddle, the owner of Rac Boutique, a women’s clothing store that is a Turnstyle client. “It’s not invasive. It might raise alarms for no reason.”

Viasense Inc., another Toronto startup, is building detailed dossiers of people’s lifestyles by merging location data with those from other sources, including marketing firms. The company follows between 3 million and 6 million devices each day in a 400-kilometer radius surrounding Toronto. It buys bulk phone-signal data from Canada’s national cellphone carriers. Viasense’s algorithms then break those users into lifestyle categories based on their daily travels, which it says it can track down to the square meter.

For example, by monitoring how many times a consumer visits a golf course in a month, Viasense can classify her as a casual, intermediate or heavy golfer. People whose cellphones move at a certain clip across city parks between 5:30 and 8:30 every morning are flagged by the algorithm as “early morning joggers.” The company identifies “youth” by looking at phone signals coming from schools during school hours and nightclubs, and home locations by targeting the places phones spend each night.

Viasense, which says its clients are grocery chains, a large concert venue and a billboard company, then overlays that data with census and marketing lists the company buys from data brokers to deduce demographic information, like whether the cellphone’s owner is in a high-income bracket.

Viasense doesn’t gather personal information or know any of its users’ names, but CEO Mossab Basir says it is simple to figure this out. A person who has enabled location services on an app in which they upload information publicly, such as Twitter, is broadcasting their location and their identity—or at least their handle—at the same time. “People are probably unaware of how much they are making available,” says Mr. Basir. “That’s why it’s a very delicate subject for us. It’s kind of Big Brotheresque.”

A username is considered personal information, which under Canadian law can’t be collected without the consent of the user. In most of the U.S., consent wouldn’t be required.

Right now, the only way to opt-out of geolocation is to either switch off the Wi-Fi on a cellphone, or make a request through a website of one the data companies like Turnstyle that has an opt-out option.

As these companies operate mostly behind the scenes, the nascent industry is keeping a close watch on Google and Apple. With their Android and iOS mobile operating systems, respectively, Google and Apple know the location of every customer’s Wi-Fi-enabled phone—far more location data than any startup could access. The Silicon Valley giants aren’t allowing access to such data by outsiders. Both Google and Apple declined to comment.

Places where people didn’t think they were being watched are now repositories for collecting information, says Ryan Calo assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law. “Companies are increasingly able to connect between our online and offline lives,” he says.

—David George-Cosh in Toronto contributed to this article.


Also from same author at <> “5 Things to Check to See Whether Companies Are Tracking Your Phone”

1 Your Cell Phone Carrier Knows, and Is Beginning to Share

Cell phone carriers have always known your location because the phone must send signals to cell towers. Verizon, and soon AT&T, have businesses selling this data to retailers, billboard advertisers, and stadium owners.

Users can’t turn off those signals. But they are generally anonymous. Verizon asks users to agree to let it share their identity with its brick-and-mortar customers, which can lead to pings from nearby merchants when shopping.

Firefox new TAB page, vs new window page

Unfortunately, in Firefox (by Mozilla) the default start page for a new tab differs from that for a new window.

For the more common new window, the default page in the “Mozilla Start Page”:


That has Google search build in.

Of course i like, so my Mozilla Start Page is set with the DuckDuckGo search engine, replacing google:


Then again, probably the most popular home page is the world is the google home page, super simpler, less-is-more:


But, for the new tab in Firefox, it’s different.

The default is the “Speed Dial” page:


If you dont like that, you can hide it off by clicking the tab button in the upper right corner.


Of course, then your new tab page is just blank.


That’s not very interesting, helpful, or convenient.

However, something obvious, say, making your new tab page the SAME as your new window page, is surprisingly non-obvious.

You have to use the advanced, somewhat dangerous about:config page.

Type about:config in the address box (NOT the google search box):


You will get the warning above. Click “I’ll be careful. I promise”.

Oh, and, please, do, be careful. Only change this ONE thing.

What thing? Well, type newtab in the search box (not the address bar):


It should find name "browser.newtab.url" on the left, with value "about:newtab" on the right.

RIGHT click on that value, and click Modify:


You’ll get a pop-up window. Type in a new value, eg about:home


This particular value will make your new tab go to the default Mozilla Start Page.


Or, modify the value to be


This will make a new tab go to the google home page. You can set it to exactly what your home page is.


Online Storage

Video files are huge. 100MB. 1GB. 5GB.  Depending on resolution, frame rate (frames per second, or “fps”), and length.

Trouble is, everything online limits files size.  Facebook (currently, Oct 2013) limits videos go 1GB (=1000MB).  GoDaddy WebsiteBuilder limits videos to 150MB.  That’s low.  Email systems limit the size of file you can send. Sometimes to 20MB. That’s even lower.

Consider an example:

Say a 1hour video file is 2.5GB. Let’s say we want to put that on our website hosted by GoDaddy. We would have to break it up into 17 separate chunks of 3 minutes 30 seconds each. Hardly convenient.

So, what to do?

I think the best answer is paid online storage.  (Un-paid (“free”) online storage, like or facebook take ownership of your images and scan them and sell your profile to 3rd parties.)

Here are the two options i think are the best.  (Dropbox, while paid, is excluded because i sense they sell your profile):

I think is the best. They have privacy. And not too expensive. $5 for 2GB max file size, 100GB max total storage.
full-size image (via screen capture) | Live Page (link was live on 10/20/2013)

Another favorite of mine is But in this case their “docs” is too expensive. $25 for 2GB max file size, 250GB max total storage.
full-size image (via screen capture) | Live Page (link was live on 10/20/2013)

CS Lite MOD – FireFox Add-On – Limits Information Revealed about You Online

In FireFox you can run an add-on called CS Lite MOD which really helps to limit the information that web companies can gather about you while you surf.  It is highly recommended.

“CS” stands for “Cookie Safe”.

The main feature is “Deny Cookies Globally” in the CS Lite -> Options menu.

Then, website by website, you can turn them back on.

CS Lite MOD options deny globally_highlighted

However, there’s a big disadvantage with this approach:

about 50% of websites will not work.  To make them work, i turn on Temporary cookies for that website.  They go away when i delete the window or tab.  Then i have to turn on Temporary cookies when i return to that website.  There’s an add-on bar icon for it

And you can select at which level to allow cookies for each website.

For me, the “Temporary” option disappeared on day.  Apparently that’s common, cuz on the CS Lite MOD page there’s a FAQ about it:

Menu item was not displayed
The lost menu item be found in a “Menu Items” tab of “CS Lite Options”. Menu item is restored with a “Add” button.


How To ‘View Source’ or ‘Inspect Element’ Of A Website On Safari?

From :

Published by technguide on October 23, 2012 | Leave a response

There’s a plugin – Firebug – to do just that on Firefox. Google Chrome has it built it, just right-click anywhere in Chrome and the menu is right there. Safari has it built in too! But it’s not activated by default.

Unless you carefully look at every option in Preferences for Safari, you would most probably miss it. Navigate to Preferences > Advanced and check Show Develop menu in menu bar.

StatCounter Reports Market Share for Browsers and Operating Systems

StatCounter has a thing they call GlobalStats (gs for short) that shows the usage of things like operating systems and browsers as measured by their widgets.

Here are some interesting snapshots (as of Aug 2013). The worldside distribution is in fact different than the USA distribution.

Click “Source” go to their site to customize dates to see updated stats.

Browser Usage

Browser Usage WorldWide

gstatic_browser_2013_08_to_2008_07_worldwide_mine (Source)

Browser Usage in the USA

gstatic_browser_2013_08_to_2008_07_usa_mine (Source)

Operating System Usage

Operating System Usage WorldWide

gstatic_os_2013_08_to_2008_07_worldwide_mine (Source)

Operating System in the USA

gstatic_os_2013_08_to_2008_07_usa_mine (Source)

What version of Safari am I running on my iOS (iPhone, iTouch)

Apparently there’s no way to tell what version of Safari you’re running on your iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s not in the Safari app, nor in the Safari entry in Settings.

But you can type this into your Safari browser address bar:


Or, just click here (same thing),

Here’s what it looks like on my iPhone 4s (running iOS v6.1.2)

iphone_safari_user_agent(click to enlarge)

This show’s i’m running Safari v6.0.

Actually, this works in any browser.  Eg in Firefox on Windows it gives this:


I got this tip from a tweet by Tim Acheson

The best way to get Flash Updates (Hint: DON’T click DOWNLOAD)

We all need flash. It’s a given. Because Adobe (the maker of Flash Player) knows that, they take every opportunity to track you and install their extra programs on your computer.

We dont want any of that.

It used to be an extra program “GetPlus” came along for the ride, but that annoyance seems to have subsided. Now they sometimes sneak in McAfee Scanner. I trust McAfee, but if you already have antivirus, this programs adds little and runs all the time, slowing down your system. And who knows what they’ll put in the future?

So when you get this window:

[This specific example is for the v16.0.0.235 update]


Note: if you dont see this window, it might be because your adobe flash is set to download and install updates automatically. You can change this in the flash entry in control panel (blog post coming soon).

Two ways

1. My personally verified safe files

I plan to keep the following location up to date with the latest download files, selected and verified by me: Montgomery Minds Flash Player file storage. (If that doesnt work try this or this.) That page has hash values and exact files sizes in the description for each file, and in the source.txt file in that folder.

(You can browse all the files i have for download at: Montgomery Minds file storage)

At the end of your install you’ll see that “Allow Adobe to install updates” is checked by default–BAD. That will let them install whatever they want next time. Instead, check “Notify me to install updates” and then check Montgomery Minds Flash Player file storage next time you are notified, and download from there.


2. Second-best way

Or, as of 2/16/2015, the next best recommendation is go to the Adobe FlashPlayer FAQ / Flash Player Help / Installation problems (its title keeps changing) and search for something called something like “direct link” or “downloading the installer directly”. It is often in a section dealing with download or installation problems, eg, “Still having problems?” and listed as an alternative to the default installation method. That’s good, because the default installation method is “heavier”, containing as much junk as adobe can put in there. For a while now, the direct link filename has been called something like "install_flash_player.exe" and "install_flash_player_ax.exe" for IE (Internet Explorer). Mouse over the link that looks like the “direct link” and see if the file name is something like that. Note that the filename "install_flashplayer11x32_mssd_aaa_aih.exe" is not a good one.

Also note the size.

The direct link "install_flash_player.exe" today is 17.4MB. That’s big. That’s good.

The “network install” more invasive method "install_flashplayer11x32_mssd_aaa_aih.exe" today is 1.0MB. That’s small. That’s bad. That means it’s really going to contact the adobe website to download the real stuff.

Direct Link – Example URLs

Here’s a direct link accurate as of this writing: (at the time it was version

And for IE.

And for Chromium based browsers and Opera

  • (A flash specifically for Chromium based browser and Opera is relatively new, ie, appeared in 2014. The standard Chrome browser however does not use this–it has flash support built-in.)

Check version, Check installation

No matter how you get your files, to check whether your installation is working, or what version you have, or whether you have the latest, try one of these two pages (valid as of 1/3/2014; they keep changing):

If that doesnt work, Google check flash version or validate flash installation, ie only on the site to protect yourself from malware, or better yet, DuckDuckGo it eg:

“Get Adobe Flash Without GetPlus in Firefox” on

“Get Adobe Flash and Reader without GetPlus in Firefox”
and updated “Download the Latest Adobe Flash for Firefox and IE Without Any Extras”