Tag Archives: Beacon

Facebook Beacon

I’ve been reading an interesting post about Facebook Beacon, which together with the other posts it links to gives a pretty good overview of the technology and why people are concerned about it.

In layman’s terms, what Facebook Beacon provides is a way for third party websites to find out whether a user is logged on to Facebook, and to perform actions on Facebook based on what you do on their site. The examples used in the article are from e-commerce sites, so one person has bought a coffee table and the mini-feed in Facebook has told all her friends, and another added some DVD’s to their rental list, and again this was reported to all the listed friends. Currently there are 44 third-party sites signed up, but more are being added.

From a technical point of view it is pretty clever (check here for the technical breakdown of exactly what it does), especially as it isn’t being done with some sort of complicated data exchange, however from a personal privacy point of view it is a decidedly worrying step, especially as there is no global opt-out – you have to opt-out site by site. Just for a moment think of everything you do in your web browser, do you want details of any or all of that being broadcast to all your friends, or more importantly stored away by Facebook?

If you’re a Facebook user and decidedly worried, the simple way to stop it working is to remember to log out of Facebook before browsing to any other site. However if you want a more automated solution, the deconstruction article includes a number of tips as to how to block operation of the system.

Update: Facebook have now implemented a one click opt out from the whole system in their privacy settings – but I’m still going to leave the site block for the beacon address running.

Trafalgar 200 in Finchampstead

Trafalgar 200 Beacon

Tonight, as the nation marked two hundred years since the British won the Battle of Trafalgar, Finchampstead joined in by lighting a beacon at the highest point in the village, at the top of the church tower.

As we did back in 2000, the church also provided free drink for the revelers, many of whom had climbed the hill from a Trafalgar party down in the village.

Flame 1

We didn’t go along to the party, however I went up for the beacon lighting, and took along my camera. Unfortunately, what I probably also should have taken was a tripod, but anyway, I’ve posted the best of the shots, some of which I’ve managed to make look more arty rather than shaky! I think the best pictures where the close up shots of the beacon itself that I took on top of the tower, which required minimal work in Photoshop to get presentable!

Anyway, you can see what I think are the best 15 out of the thirty or so I took in our photo gallery.