Dec 6 2019

Export Your Data From Google, Twitter, and Instagram

It feels like every year we rely more on online services, from Google, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and others. Each of these online services stores a lot of your personal data, not just meta data, but actual data like contacts, posts, photos, chats. Data is more than just personal and private, it is often our work and livelihood.

Unfortunately, to drive user engagement on their own platforms, these services don’t make it easy to interoperate with others, in essence locking you in. Much the personal and private data that we pour into these services is locked into the one service you posted, uploaded, or commented on.

It is a good idea to export all your personal and private data you consider valuable, at least once a year, from any online platform or services. Be sure to backup this data accordingly, using both physical and cloud backup solutions.

For example, with Google Takeout you can export your Blogger posts and pages, GMail email and contacts, Drive documents, YouTube videos and comments, and much more.

Google Takeout

I don’t backup my data off of Google because they would lose it, but because it has been documented a number of times that Google can suspend any account, even for what would be considered normal behavior and usage by the account holder. In the case of services like Twitter and Instagram, there are cases that accounts have been hijacked by hackers or even former friends. Additionally, these services can be bought up by other companies and can change their terms of service in a way that impacts your data and work, like when Flickr got acquired by SmugMug in 2018.

Feb 7 2011

Does Lenovo Use ThinkVantage Toolbox To Spam Users?

Everybody hates pop ups with annoying ads to services you don’t need. But how to you block pop ups that are bundled as part of your computer? Recently I got this ominous looking warning that popped up from the task manager stating that one important issue with my computer had been discovered.

Lenovo ThinkVantage Toolbox Pop Up

Lenovo ThinkVantage Toolbox Pop Up

When I clicked on the warning message the Lenovo ThinkVantage Toolbox came up with a system health warning message about enhanced backup and restore.

Enhanced Backup and Restore Message

Enhanced Backup and Restore Message

Following through with anther click the ThinkVantage Toolbox warned that my system had not been backed up in over 30 days. Looking at this pieced of software that interrupted my work and productivity, I thought what would a typical user do? I red the warming message in red and all the other information that looked too technical for an average user and I clicked both buttons available. I clicked the Purchase Backup Drive button and this launched my web browser to a page at which my spyware system blocked accordingly.

Purchase Backup Drive

Purchase Backup Drive

From my user experience, it is evident that Lenovo ThinkVantage Toolbox is used to up sale users on products and services that they may most likely not need though an affiliate program. To me this software is no better than those fake anti-virus software programs that infect your computer and pop up have you think that your computer is infected with a virus that they can remove if they get your credit card number. This is software that spoofs a utility only to up sale you on products that most users don’t need.

Sometimes large hardware makers make the worst software…