This site is mostly written by me, Scott Carpenter. There are also comments from other people, which fall under the comments policy below. But speaking in this section for myself, this is my personal web site. The opinions and views expressed here are my own and do not represent my employer or anyone else that I’m affiliated with.
(Note also that it is a policy of this web site that prepositions are great for ending sentences with.)
Any advice I give, technically or philosophically or otherwise, will be undertaken by you at your own risk and with no liability to me whatsoever. That may have zero legal standing, but the idea is that you don’t have to be here and you don’t have to read anything on this site, and you certainly don’t have to take action based on what you find here. Take it like you should anything on the internet, with caution and care.
If it’s technical advice I’m offering, I’ll try my best to give sound advice, but I only have my own experience to go on and can’t guarantee that you won’t run in to problems with your particular situation. And maybe I haven’t understood the security risks of a particular action. And technical posts may not age very well, of course. Keep good backups, and use this web site at your own risk.
Also! Fictional works can be found on this web site. Fiction may or may not be clearly indicated by inclusion in the fiction category. For those works that are fictional, let’s say “All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.”
(See also this standard disclaimer which is not mine.)
For the fiction, please be aware that characters and “guest bloggers” may express opinions and viewpoints that I don’t hold myself.
For the non-fiction, I might not even say what I really think.
I care about privacy in general and your privacy specifically, but you should always remember A) you’re on the internet, and B) this is a publicly accessible web site. I don’t have the resources to make and stand behind any kind of privacy guarantee when it comes to government and/or legal coercion and/or malicious hacking attempts against my hosting provider or even my own PC. I also can’t promise that I, or third party services that I use, won’t divulge information due to mistakes or negligence.
Your web browser blabs certain things about you and these things are stored in logs on the web server. This includes things like your IP address and the type of web browser you’re using and the web site that referred you here. When you post comments, you might provide additional private information like your email, which is stored in a database on the server. I use third party services like Google Analytics that collect and store even more information about you.
I won’t disclose your email address (whether real or fictional) voluntarily. I will not sell your email address to anyone. However, if John Law* comes to my door with a warrant for the email addresses that have been collected, I probably won’t strenuously resist handing them over. If the EFF wanted to take the case and pay for all the defense costs, maybe then I’d have some backbone about the whole thing. But I’m sorry, this web site is just a personal undertaking and I’m not going to fight to the ends of the earth to hide your email address. So please keep that in mind before submitting your comment. At this time, the only way I can see myself using your email address is to write you a personal response to you or contact you on a related topic.
I will do what I can to keep your information private. I assume my hosting provider will likewise treat this information as private. However, I may view and transfer server logs and database backups via insecure methods over the internet to my local PC and network. The data may reside unencrypted on various kinds of storage media in my possession.
In addition to my own meager capability to collect information about you, notice that I may have third party code and scripts on this site. Advertising and affiliate programs and etc. These are covered by the privacy policies and terms and conditions of the third parties, including, but not limited to: Google, Amazon, and FeedBurner. (FeedBurner is now part of Google.)
Cookies and Web Bugs, Oh My!
Most browsers allow you to disable cookies (although the web becomes harder to use, then). You can read about web bugs in this EFF Web Bug FAQ. It’s dated November 1999, but still seems fairly accurate. It says the best defense against web bugs is to turn off cookies, and mentions that some browsers may continue to send out existing cookies after disabling, so that you should manually delete cookies on your machine after you disable them.
I don’t think there should be many web bugs here. For Amazon, I tend to use local images instead of loading from their site. I do use a few Amazon IFrames, though.
On March 12, 2009, Google informed me that they would start using “interest-based” advertising, and suggested that I should inform you of this in turn. This is a more advanced form of monitoring where they watch what pages you visit through any number of Google sites (the “Google content network”) and use that information to deliver ever more targeted advertising. Here’s some page that talks about this.
I may publish aggregate information or even information about individual data points, but will not post anything that I believe could be traceable to an individual person. That means no IP addresses, and no search terms that point to a non-celebrity. I’ll share interesting information from Analytics, but I won’t post anything that I think could be used to identify a specific visitor. However, again remember this is the internet, and it’s possible that the sum of your comments and visits to a number of web sites and the things revealed by those sites may somehow point to you. You’re out in public, after all.
Licensing / Copyright
In general, my writing and photographs and the contributor comments on this site are covered under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Here’s a formal statement:
But it doesn’t have to be like that. If you use my writing or photos, I’d appreciate the attribution and a link back to this web site.
Note: From 9 March 2007 forward, this site uses the CC-BY-SA-3.0 license. Material published from July 2006 through 9 March 2007 can be licensed either under CC-BY-SA-3.0 or the original CC-BY-SA-2.5 license. (Including pictures with “cc-by-sa-25″ in the name.)
Software here is generally released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) or put into the public domain.
By posting your comments on this web site, you agree to license them under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, version 3.0 or later as published by the Creative Commons organization. You retain copyright, of course.
(Comments previous to 9 March 2009 are licensed under the 2.5 version of the BY-SA license.)
Note that adding new comments may or may not be enabled.
If you post copyrighted material for which you don’t have the rights, I may have to remove it if the copyright owner requests the removal and it doesn’t fall under fair use (or I decide not to mount an expensive legal defense to prove fair use).
For those that reject copyright, that’s cool. You don’t have to agree to the license. You can place your comments in the public domain. No problem!
I hope it is clear and obvious that comments belong to commenters and do not necessarily represent my own views. I can’t be responsible for comments by others. I’m just providing a forum. If you have a specific objection to a comment left on the site that can’t be remedied by a well-crafted response to the offending comment, please let me know and we can discuss what (if anything) can be done about it.
Moderation may or may not be used for discussions, but if a comment is held and allowed to go through, that still doesn’t mean I approve of or endorse it. (Also note that it’s possible someone else cleared the comment through moderation.)
I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason. I may copyedit your comment for spelling and grammar or other aesthetic reasons. I won’t materially alter the intent of your comment. Although again, I may delete it.
Advertising and other ways this site may attempt to make money
Along with a few million other people, I’d like to make money from blogging and other web-related activities. I realize this is difficult to do, and that many “monetization” techniques are extremely annoying and not especially profitable. I’m working on a vague daydream as a business plan. If you’d like to patronize me, please let me know.
Advertising. Advertising has been on-again off-again on this site. I use Google AdSense, at a minimum with search results because you have to if you want free hosting of Google search results on your site. I’m not currently running any other advertising.
Please keep in mind the concept of separation between editorial and advertising functions. Where there is advertising, I may not agree with or endorse advertised products and services.
Affiliate Programs. I’ve long used the Amazon Associates program, but as of September 8, 2012, I have removed all “affiliate links” from this site. I haven’t had a falling out with Amazon, although I continue to have my concerns about the Amazorg, and it’s not that I’m above participating in some kind of affiliate program. It’s just that I haven’t made more than a few bucks and I don’t want to sell myself so cheap.
Updated: 2 December 2012