Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Shower of Praise

Seeing as how one tends to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (no, I'm not comparing any of you to insects, cool your jets), I'm opting this time to take a different approach to alerting my readers to the importance of protecting privacy.

Searska is officially my Carbon-Based Lifeform of the Month. She took the time (all of 10 minutes at most) and the effort (all of 10 clicks at most) to download, install and use the Gaim client (which she already had) and the Gaim-Encryption plugin. I helped her generate a slightly stronger key (done by simply clicking a button and entering a larger number in a text box) and we carried out a nice, long, and secure encrypted conversation. What was it about, you ask? I can't tell you that, that would defeat the purpose! :-)

Searska is officially characterized by any assortment of the following adjectives:
-Generally positive and/or desirable in a non-sexual fashion
-Tubular (going back to the 80s now)
-(fill in other here)

In a world of packet-sniffers, logging utilities, hackers, phishers, crackers, script kiddies, nosy sysadmins (Jeremy I am looking at you), and other undesirable sets of prying eyes that want to be all over your personal communications, she's joined me in taking a stand for privacy and saying "No, this conversation is my business and nobody else's." (obvious semantic/logistical flaw notwithstanding).

If you're on a Windows box and using Trillian, the official AOL/MSN/Yahoo messenger clients, or (Goddess help you) AIM Triton, give Gaim a shot for its faster performance and freedom from ads, as well as the ability to easily and seamlessly encrypt your messages to keep private business private. Remember that only a year ago, AOL announced that all messages sent over their network were theirs to do with as they please. While using AOL's service over Gaim is still using their network, you can make your messages useless to them (as well as keep personal business personal) by taking these fast and easy (and free-remember, Gaim and the crypto plugin are open-source and you do not have to pay anything for them) steps to protect your messages.

You wouldn't want the post office reading your mail, would you? That's why you use envelopes. Gaim-Encryption is essentially the equivalent of an envelope for instant messages.

Once again, that's Gaim and Gaim-Encryption, both available from Sourceforge.

And please, please, please, if you have ANY trouble at all with installing these, let me know and I can either walk you through it via IM/IRC/E-mail (Allison), or if you live nearby, we can get together and I can help you get the software installed (Lady J, Lovely.Legalista, MayoOnASalamiSandwich). I'm thinking of doing an illustrated walkthrough of how to get it set up, using screen captures of the download, install, and tweaking process. If there's enough demand, I'll certainly do so. I do rather enjoy writing guides.

And one more tiny detail before I go. Remember...

Searska is awesome
Searska is awesome


Blogger Lady J said...

**wants to be awesome, too**


**is far too lazy to be awesome**

6:10 PM  
Blogger Lady J said...

Blog owner must approve all comments? Paranoid much?


Or do you really get wackos like me commenting in your blog all the time?


6:13 PM  
Blogger Aidan Novastral said...

Not actually paranoid. Experimenting with various features in the Blogger control panel. My desired effect was that people need to be registered, but not that all comments are screened. So it looks like I tightened the screws too much on the commenting. You shouldn't have that problem in the future.

9:00 PM  

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