Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

Browse public Instagram accounts anonymously

GeneralEdward Kiledjian
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I wrote an article on how to browse Twitter anonymously using Nitter. I talk about the issues and dangers of tracking by Twitter, the Facebook owned Instagram takes all those risks and pumps them up 10 times.

Nitter is a consumption service for Twitter posts, well bibliogram.art is a consumption service for public Instagram posts.

Bibliogram is a website that scrapes Instagram public profiles and then displays it in a cleaner, faster loading interface that stops trackers, removes ads, generates an RSS feed and doesn’t require an account.

Obviously, because you are not logged in, you cannot post, comment, follow or perform other functions that require an account.

Here is the profile of vegan artisanal cheese maker Vegcheese on IG which consumes 1.81MB to load.

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Here is the Vegcheese IG profile via bibliogram and it consumes 748KB to load (less than half the size of the original IG page.

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You can browse bibliogram from any web browser. Here are some instances for you to try:

There are many more instances around the world but I wanted to give you some examples. For me the fastest is the ENDL hosted site from Canada.

If you use Android, you can install the UnTrackMe app and force all Instagram links to open in bibliogram as well.

Browse Twitter while protecting your privacy with Nitter

GeneralEdward Kiledjian
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Twitter changed its privacy policy this year, preventing its user from opting out of profiling for advertising purposes and informed users that it would be sharing more data with said advertisers.

I know that most users couldn't care less about their privacy but for the small band of privacy crusaders wanting to use Twitter without giving up their privacy, keep reading.

This Twitter front end is called Nitter. It is an open-source front end that redirects Twitter links to its interface, stripping all tracking code from the page or links. You cannot log into your Twitter account or send messages through Nitter (since that would allow tracking), and Twitter doesn't officially allow third party web interfaces to its services.

Here is the “business case” from the Nitter dev team in their own words

It's basically impossible to use Twitter without JavaScript enabled. If you try, you're redirected to the legacy mobile version which is awful both functionally and aesthetically.

For privacy-minded folks, preventing JavaScript analytics and potential IP-based tracking is important, but apart from using the legacy mobile version and a VPN, it's impossible. Using an instance of Nitter (hosted on a VPS for example), you can essentially browse Twitter without JavaScript, while retaining your privacy.

In addition to respecting your privacy, Nitter is on average around 15 times lighter than Twitter, and in some cases serves pages faster. In the future a simple account system will be added that lets you follow Twitter users, allowing you to have a clean chronological timeline without needing a Twitter account.

There are countless ways to ensure Twitter links you click on open in Nitter (instead of Twitter).

Here is an example of my @ekiledjian Twitter page

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Most Twitter clients (e.g. Tweetbot, Twiterific, etc) are designed to log you into your account and therefore require you to log into your Twitter account through them, so Twitter can grant them a unique authentication token. This means that Twitter can revoke the tokens assigned to a client, if the client falls out of favour.

Nitter on the other hand is only requesting the public profile page of the account and then re-skins it to remove all trackers and beacons. Nitter is much more difficult to block.

There are times when certain public profile Twitter users will block you. In my case, I tweeted an article about corruption (written by a major Canadian newspaper) about the mayor of Brampton and he decided to block me on Twitter. To be clear, I never harassed him or did anything un-gentlemanly. I simply retweeted an article from a major Canadian newspaper that they themselves had tweeted.

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But through Nitter, I can access all of his public tweets

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Hopefully you found this useful.

Sites to legally watch streaming movies

GeneralEdward Kiledjian
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Most of us have multiple streaming service subscriptions (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc). As money becomes tighter, some want to lighten their monthly subscription spend and here are some legal ways to stream.

Kanopy

Kanopy offers an interesting portfolio of artistic and classic films. Before you close this page thinking the content is low-grade, know that they even have some films from the Criterion collection.

Kanopy also supports AppleTV, Roku, Chromecast, AndroidTV, FireTV and SamsungTV.

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The catch is that you have to be a member of an organization that is subscribed to their service (local library or University ) The one important note is that their film catalogue changes regularly so if you see a film you want to watch, stream it quickly.

Popcornflix

I know the name sounds like one of those Android side-loadable illegal BitTorrent streaming "services" but it isn't. Popcornflix offers comedies and mainstream movies (many recent releases) for free in exchange for inserting ads while you watch. You can watch Popcornflix through any modern web browser or via apps on Roku, AppleTV, Google Play, Amazon or Xbox.

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Internet Archive

Many technical geeks know Internet Archive for their service that is trying to archive the web for posterity.

In addition to that noble cause, they also store and stream a considerable amount of classic black and white films (from days gone by). The Internet Archive waits until the copyright expires and then stores and streams it. Everything they stream is in the original unedited format.

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Crackle

Crackle has been around for a while but never seems to have caught on. Owned by Sony, it offers relatively modern TV shows and movies for free. They monetize the service by inserting ads. Crackle offers some cult classic films that other platforms don't, so it is worth a look.

Hoopla

Similar to Kanopy, Hoopla requires you to be a member of a library that offers its services. Hoopla is owned by Midwest Tape, a company that supplies libraries with DVDs, CDs and audiobooks.

You sign up using your library card and you will instantly gain access to hundreds of movies and TV shows. Hoopla works via your web browser, on most tablets (Android, iPad), Smartphones (Android and iPhone) or on TV-connected devices like AppleTV, AndroidTV, Chromecasts, Roku and FireTV.

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Navigate to your destination without using GPS

GeneralEdward Kiledjian
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I remember a time before Google maps when navigation meant buying paper maps from the petrol station and required a navigator. Then came the smartphone with its GPS magic powered by Google Maps, and our lives became instantly better. 

There are times when GPS is unreliable (like dense city centers), or you want to maximize your smartphone battery life, or there are times you simply don't want to give Google your precise location for privacy reasons. 

This is where an Android app called SmartNavi shines. SmartNavi uses steps to determine your location instead of an always-on GPS antenna. Without a GPS components, this app is more geared towards pedestrians, hikers, bikers, skateboarders or other non-car users. 

Your phone is a cornucopia of sensors and SmartNavi uses these to calculate your steps and then guesses your current location. At startup, the app connects to the internet and GPS to pinpoint your starting location but from that point on, no more cheating.

This means that even if you are walking in the densest downtown (like Hong Kong) or lose your internet connection, you will still be able to navigate. The app claims it can save 80% more battery (compared to Google Maps or Apple Maps) by not using the GPS antenna.

There is also the important notion of privacy. There are times you simply want to go somewhere without big brother looking over your shoulder (logging and then analyzing your travel patterns). Using the app is simple. You download it from the Google Play Store (Appstore); you open and set-up the app (first time) and then input your destination.

During the initial set-up, the app asks for your height. This isn't to profile you but to better calculate your steps.


Obviously, this isn’t the perfect app for everyone but it does meet a unique need for many smartphone users.

If you live in the USA, your info is probably on this site and how to delete it

GeneralEdward Kiledjian
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There are lots of “less than reputable” websites that scrape the web for your information and then make it cheaply available to anyone willing to spend money.

I recently found a website that has a ton of information about many Americans including address, telephone number and even some relationship information.

Once you enter your name and state, it will show you a list of possible “victims”. You choose your listing and prepare to be astounded by the amount of information they have about you.

Now that your are properly terrorized, here is how to remove your information from Cyber BackGRound Check

  1. Go here: https://www.cyberbackgroundchecks.com/removal

  2. Agree to the conditions and enter his email address

  3. Complete the CAPTCHA and then click “Start Removal Process.”

  4. Find your records and click the Remove My Record button at the top of the page (must be on the details page of your profile to do this)

  5. Check your email for the removal confirmation note and click the enclosed link

  6. 48-72 hours later, your information should be removed from the site