tomo's blog

Did you know that Facebook was tracking all the links you clicked? If you've ever tried to copy a link from Facebook to another site then you'd see that the link always started with which is how they track what pages you're visiting.

In Vietnam, this is more than just a privacy problem. Because Facebook access intermittently requires workarounds to connect, those links can be useless even if we can see the actual website URL right there. This is because, by showing you the real website URL, Facebook makes you think they aren't doing anything tricky by adding a tracking ID to the URL and forcing you to go through Facebook to browse to the site.

So what can you do to make your life easier as well as private?

Install the Facebook Link Tracking Disabler free from the Chrome Web Store.


Bonus: Are you tired of people using Facebook apps to post news stories which then require you to install the app to actually read the article? If you haven't already filtered all of those out of your feed then you should at least install the Facebook Article Grabber extension to convert those stories into real URLs.

Daily Twitter Posts - 02/17/2012 - 02/24/2012

Submitted by tomo on February 24, 2012 - 12:45pm

02/23 08:12 @caligarn It would take approximately 6385096 x 140 char tweets to answer your email here #
02/23 08:06 @caligarn At Mobile Mondays. Where's your ninja hide hiding? Are you watching me tweet this right now? #
02/23 07:32 RT @mqtran: Science in Vietnam: Stemming the outflow of talent | The Economist #
02/23 04:57 @tamkaizen Just a coincidence I tweeted that RIGHT after your tweet... I swear... Really. \^_^/ #
02/23 04:49 I don't want to unfollow you, I just want you to stfu. #imho ^_^ #
02/22 02:46 @caligarn Another headline for you: Cafe in Vietnam where you can experience Zen: #
02/20 10:53 Subtraction. Art created by only removing, not adding anything, to create sculptures from books: #
02/18 03:08 @brettSjohnston Quite possibly another victim to that. Provide out-of-Twitter links? #
02/18 02:55 @brettSjohnston I would like to respond but I have no idea what you're talking about #
02/18 02:22 @brettSjohnston On a scale of 0 to 1? 1. #
02/18 02:01 @brettSjohnston Agreed. But DNA and geological evidence points to several population bottlenecks where mankind faced extinction. See Toba. #
02/18 01:37 Dau? RT @goldkorn: Why is my net connection in a Vietnamese village faster & more stable than both my home and office connections in Beijing #
02/18 01:34 @fisheggtree Maybe I'm the only person who feels the best part of MBP is the keyboard and trackpad. Otherwise, why pay the Apple tax? #
02/17 12:24 Brilliant. RT @benjaminbland: Fighting tyre repair gangs who spread nails on road in Binh Duong. #
02/17 02:15 What Americans think Vietnamese eat vs. What Vietnamese really eat - a Venn diagram: #
02/17 01:31 @travislotek ACK. Establish secure channel with CFX HQ requested. RESET #

Daily Twitter Posts - 02/10/2012 - 02/17/2012

Submitted by tomo on February 17, 2012 - 12:45pm

02/16 11:29 @jon7b @TylerWatts When I say slice up my Twitter people, I mean it in the sanest, most benevolent way possible. I forgot to say "lists of " #
02/16 11:26 @jon7b Looks like even Twitter REST api can be used to create lists. But just discovered a Google App Scripts way to do it. Mind = Blown #
02/16 10:46 I set Facebook to only show important updates and basically there's nothing important happening in people's lives #
02/16 10:41 There must be some way to export my Twitter people, drop some Unix commands to slice them up, then reimport. Twitter site is such a p.o.s. #
02/16 04:39 Alex Millan, billed as having played alongside Laurent Garnier, Derrick May, Richie Hawtin, etc. playing at IDECAF tonight at 7 #
02/16 04:02 @betoneko Nothing special. Sounds like a Phnom Penh Post reporter #
02/16 03:57 @betoneko Perhaps of interest to your employer: another Overseas Vietnamese dies in a traffic accident @tuoitrenewsvn #
02/16 02:52 @caligarn If you can ride another human like a horse, controlling their mind directly, is that person (a vehicle) a cybernetic extension? #
02/13 03:45 @brettSjohnston @caligarn My friend has something similar for his aorta. We joke that he's a cyborg. Just not a cool/sexy cyborg. #
02/13 03:28 @caligarn @brettSjohnston I'm happy to talk about posthuman cyborgs but that research will likely be weaponized too... #transhumanism #
02/13 03:15 @ericburdette I assume you are looking for a better word than 'cake'? But I think cake can describe packed carbohydrates that are not sweet #
02/13 03:14 @brettSjohnston @caligarn I think one is speaking of the illusory nature of 'reality', the other is talking about being a cyborg? #
02/13 02:24 @brettSjohnston @caligarn So there is a conspiracy to produce weaponized dark matter thus all related scientific research is bunk? #
02/13 02:19 @brettSjohnston @caligarn If you're going to refute generally accepted theories, onus is on you to accompany with some proof, so be my guest #
02/13 02:08 @brettSjohnston @caligarn Physics predicted/describes properties of black holes. You believe God steps in to prevent them from forming? #
02/13 01:54 @caligarn @brettSjohnston There is Earth-scale engineering that requires post-classical mechanics, such as (quantum, etc) computer hardware #
02/12 23:45 @caligarn @brettSjohnston Yup, scientists disprove the status quo. You don't believe general relativity over Newtonian physics? Proof? #
02/12 23:09 @TylerWatts @caligarn Or perhaps Thích Quảng Độ? I think Vietnam needs more real heroes. (Or lots of small heroes!) Role models are lacking #
02/12 23:05 @caligarn Been wanting to attend #barcampyangon 2 years. Didn't hear #aungsansuukyi was speaking until the day before :( We need to get 2k+ #
02/12 05:35 Before dnb, it was called jungle - BBC 2 documentary about the burgeoning phenomena from 1994, amusing in hindsight: #
02/11 10:36 It does not matter if the sign says 'WOMEN' on the outside. If there is a urinal no man shall hesitate to enter. #

Daily Twitter Posts - 01/20/2012 - 01/27/2012

Submitted by tomo on January 27, 2012 - 12:45pm

01/24 04:24 @nguyenhimself Ha ha ha. Welcome to my world. I take it as a compliment when it's Koreans who say it #
01/23 07:28 The reason for FourSquare: Vietnamese checking in and becoming mayor of grandpa's grave in the lunar new year #
01/22 13:02 Breaking news: At approximately 12:00AM Saigon local time, Vietnam started lighting shit on fire #CMNM #giaothuarealtalk #

Daily Twitter Posts - 01/13/2012 - 01/20/2012

Submitted by tomo on January 20, 2012 - 12:45pm

01/19 09:05 What is Khmer Bali-style drum&bass? Join me tonight at Yoko where we'll explore the creation-fabrication of undefinable musical microgenres #
01/19 02:45 OMG @ericburdette: Police ticketing illegally parked cars, as they should. Seeing this brought joy to my morning. #fb #
01/18 20:40 On censorship and the irony of protesting SOPA in Vietnam: #
01/18 03:04 @tamkaizen Read some stories about Amish Rumspringa. Some kids go buck wild for a year, party like rock stars. #
01/18 02:19 If you need to read Wikipedia (en) today, just open it in links or lynx or turn JavaScript off in your browser #
01/17 03:53 Rain twice in one day in January in Vietnam makes me smile #
01/17 03:28 @jon7b @WAYFUNBAA @ourman Can't speak to intro classes, but dont recommend non-intro classes there. Skill level of students varies too much. #
01/16 11:27 That's great #DuMa RT @jon7b: Shit Asian Dads Say #
01/16 03:52 If the Vietnamese government has to black it out by hand - - it must have some substance, right? #
01/16 01:26 Shaolin version of wall-riding ( RT @bryanpelz: Shaolin Monk Walking on the Wall #
01/16 01:09 RT @newsjean: We have opened AP’s newest bureau, located in Pyongyang. A truly historic moment.#nkorea #
01/16 00:58 "Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption." #
01/15 11:37 RT @khmer440: French #expat and his 4 children murdered in #Cambodia. #crime #
01/15 02:55 If I follow someone new on Twitter my timeline up to now only contains their tweets. Can't see others anymore. #wtf #fixurshit #
01/14 10:25 Aka by midcentury VN will no longer be in the bottom half RT @tuoitrenewsvn: Vietnam to be listed top economies by 2050: HSBC #

Today, Wikipedia, Google, and many other high profile websites are protesting the MPAA's Protect IP Act (PIPA, in the Senate) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA, in the House), two anti-piracy acts that they're trying to push into legislation in the US, which also threaten internet freedom. Citizens of other countries should be concerned not just because much of the internet each of us uses runs in the US and so abides by US law, but because the wording that eventually passes will likely be copied by governments around the world.

Netizens in Vietnam have joined the cause or at least have spread word in support. Stepping back, doing so is an act of irony from multiple perspectives.

First, that we're protesting at all in a country where public protest is a privilege more than a right, that the Communist Party is seldom willing to confer. In this case, there's little concern for the Party, since the object of protest is in America, and it's specifically an industry (Hollywood) which clearly gets no respect here - it's more convenient to buy pirated DVDs, two for a dollar, publicly on the street at tax-paying (or whatever it is they're paying, to whoever) businesses, than it is to download them online anyways.

Next, we're protesting because we don't want arbitrary websites to be taken down by the law without any due process. If you're at all familiar with Vietnam's legal system, you'll already know that this is the case here. Nominally, pornography is banned and this is why the government can block websites but if there are any porn sites that are blocked I'm not aware. If IP laws were enforced here, Zing would not exist. But some websites are taken down occasionally.

And finally, we're using social media as our protest medium. Social media and web technology make it really easy to join a protest; it only takes two clicks to share something on Facebook. Except that Facebook itself is already "blacked out" in Vietnam. And Facebook is by far the most commonly used form of social media in Vietnam. And the protest is about internet censorship.

The point I want to make is that internet freedom is valuable and is a worthwhile cause for all people. For the people who are just now thinking about internet censorship issues, I hope they also become aware of it in a more immediate context, like a campaign to help starving Africans should also serve to bring about greater awareness of poverty closer to home.

Daily Twitter Posts - 01/06/2012 - 01/13/2012

Submitted by tomo on January 13, 2012 - 12:45pm

01/11 08:49 @fisheggtree My reading: Commission predicts Vietnam will have bigger macroeconomic problems than inflation and currency deprec'n in 2012 #
01/11 08:48 @TylerWatts @ourman They have awarded me influential on chili and apples. Add bacon, drugs, and beer and it's a proper Klout party in here #
01/11 08:46 @learningdrupal We can do Drupal sessions at the next #BarCampSaigon and FOSSASIA events #
01/11 06:48 North Korean punishing people who didn't cry hard enough when Il died, using re-education camps: #
01/11 06:01 RT @fisheggtree: LOL. Robin Hood lives! RT @tuoitrenewsvn: ‘Super thief’ targeting state agencies arrested #vietnam #
01/11 05:40 @SaigonSean @jon7b I think Vietnamese take some blame for that too, for giving us undue flattering attention (when not trying to scam us) #
01/11 04:35 @dynamicscholar I remember one older cafe around the Turtle "Lake". Maybe they'll sponsor the app, and it just tells everyone to go there #
01/11 04:12 @jon7b @PedroInSaigon @saigonnezumi Why should Vietnam of all countries get stuck with the losers from other countries? (Reason: IELTS, etc) #
01/11 03:11 G F'n L. RT @benjaminbland: Vietnam central bank governor says maximum dong devaluation this year will be 2-3%. #
01/11 03:01 @lenabucatariu Local people definitely walk their bikes across the Cam-Viet border, but I'm not sure if any citizen is allowed or only local #
01/11 02:46 @dynamicscholar @fisheggtree I've seen these locker-like phone charging stations in some cafes in Saigon (not that it's a trust-based soc.) #
01/11 02:44 RT @GSElevator: #1: if you have a job where you have to wear a nametag, nobody gives a shit what your name is. #
01/09 06:57 Hey, so there is a Subway on Ho Tung Mau #
01/09 04:54 @ncouture Let me know if you find an automated solution. VNI should be purged from the internets. #unicode4life #
01/07 04:10 @careyz Indeed the Internet is technically speaking 'slow as ballz' #

Facebook in Vietnam 2012

Submitted by tomo on January 9, 2012 - 4:03pm

Happy 2012!

Despite one of FPT's divisions signing a contract with Facebook to be a Facebook developer partner in Vietnam, unlike what many folks here in Vietnam had hoped, it did not mean that FPT would keep access to Facebook flowing freely. Facebook isn't actually banned in Vietnam, it just suffers from "technical difficulties" from time to time that nobody seems to bother to investigate for the millions of users in Vietnam. So businesses still advertise and do business using Facebook as a platform. Even the State uses Facebook, with the Vietnam Administration of Tourism stating they will campaign on Facebook. I suppose they don't mind if only people outside of Vietnam can see the ads, even if most tourists in Vietnam come from Vietnam.

There are a number of theories as to why it's sometimes difficult to access Facebook in Vietnam. In China, it's outright banned. In Cambodia, it's just really slow, but otherwise doesn't suffer the same "technical difficulties" despite using the same Internet service providers as Vietnam (as Vietnamese telecoms serve as uplinks to Cambodian ISPs). Some of the conspiracy theories include pressure from rival social networks like Zing Me or the government's own, or that Facebook is blocked due to not paying taxes.

As of right now, FPT has started making it "technically difficult" to access Facebook, whereas Viettel seems to be okay, and VNPT is hit or miss (currently it is working on this VNPT connection), Mobifone is a no go. The usual method of changing your /etc/hosts file or your DNS will no longer work. Using apps like HotSpot Shield, VPNs, proxies, and SSH tunnels will always work. You can also use various apps including Seesmic or Hootsuite to access both Facebook and Twitter at the same time.

So if you don't want to play musical chairs with your ISPs as each one opens/closes access to Facebook, be sure to have one of the above in your arsenal of freedom.

If your ISP is blocking Facebook then you must use a general workaround such as Hotspot Shield (spammy) or a VPN like StrongVPN.

Daily Twitter Posts - 12/30/2011 - 01/06/2012

Submitted by tomo on January 6, 2012 - 12:45pm

01/05 04:42 From 250+ tabs down to 99. NY resolution achieved, tempted to call it a day. #
01/05 04:37 @saigonnezumi I'm not seeing any tweets from you because apparently you are blocking me! #
01/05 04:34 @saigonnezumi @jon7b Most people who listen to dubstep don't realize it originates from doubleyoustep. #jk #
01/05 03:27 @jon7b @saigonnezumi In some languages it is "double-v", but historically there was no distinction between u and v, pre-w. Lingo artefacts. #
01/05 00:40 Why is one pronounced with a double-u and two pronounced w/o? #
01/04 07:52 In times of domestic good news paucity, local governments will shine the darkest light on foreign elements within #
01/03 03:22 @svenbergryen Sounds good, look forward to meeting. Who else will be coming? #
01/02 13:13 @madlyduck @philip_arthur You can remap your keys in software without replacing your keyboard. if typing speed's a bottleneck #
12/30 03:24 Is there an automated/scriptable way to convert Vietnamese text between VNI Windows and Unicode encoding? #
12/30 02:29 Only in "Vietname" can you misspell your own country on a large banner, shrug, and hang it up anyways #

Daily Twitter Posts - 12/16/2011 - 12/23/2011

Submitted by tomo on December 23, 2011 - 12:45pm

12/22 01:24 "It’s an era of the warring states for business in Vietnam." - Sapporo #
12/19 00:40 After a long day of looking at things in North Korea, Mr. Kim Jong Il has passed away. #
12/17 03:16 @PedroInSaigon @dynamicscholar LOL, love the expat camaraderie when it comes to "things that should just not be happening every day but do" #
12/17 02:01 Announcement: I want to murder the person who is hammering into my wall and has been since 7AM using his own hammer #
12/16 06:58 Any technical project managers in Vietnam? Get in touch! #

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