Do you have an irrational fear of clicking on links?

At work there’s a policy where we should not click on links in our emails.  However, we still click when we’re confident that it is safe to do so because I know it’s from my sister or from my best friend.  It might not be an ‘appropriate’ link for my current environment, but chances are the link they send is something they know about and they’re sharing and you can have confidence in knowing it’s safe to click.

It’s very unlikely that a friend would send you an unsafe link on purpose, but there’s always a remote chance that your friend loses control of his email and then you’re smart to think twice about clicking on it.

So what is so unsafe with links?

Why worry about such things?  Should I really be that concerned about it?
One of the concerns, as I understand, is that if you click on a link in your email that link will open up a file on a web server.  Doing this *might* identify you to the server as a ‘real person who reads the email’ and then they’ll send you more email spam.  Another concern is that the link you open might not be the ‘real’ website but a fake website that is pretending to be something else.  If you fall for it and log in with your user name and password then you might be giving that information to the wrong person.

How can you tell what is real and what is fake?

Simple, if you’re concerned about the link then you should instead go to your browser and type the url for the site directly into the top of the browser in the url field.  Or you can also search for the site on google and then look for the correct website.

As an example, if you’re looking for “wikipedia” you should see as the google  search result.  The important part is

If you’re on this site and want to know it is the ‘real’ deal, then look at the url at the top and you can tell it’s the authentic site because the url is
Not, anything else.  (you might only see the part)  The stuff after the [.com/] are things on this site that are under my control.  But once I write something anyone could then copy it if they wished to and paste it on their computer or on another website.  Comments that people make are their own and I might not agree with them but I do try to make sure no one is saying anything mean spirited.

The url is a good indicator as to whether a website is ‘fake’ and/or ‘unsafe’.  To find out more, you can read more at this site:

How I can identify phishing websites.

The links on this site go to other websites but I do not track anyone other than as stated in this website’s privacy policy.  This link goes to my privacy policy page.

Now, there is good reason to hesitate when you click on links but please don’t let that fear hide the interweb from you.  If you get lost close your browser and start again. 😉

A link to google search: ‘Do you have an irrational fear of clicking on links?’
Note that the first part is

Copy paste if you want to open it in your browser directly.
expressed as link to the search.

This an example of a link pointing to a specific search on google. [this link will search for  ‘Joberrr’ on Google]

What is the best background noise for work?

About 15 years ago I worked in an office with a white noise generator.  It kept an otherwise loud environment filled with many lively coversations to a dull roar.  It worked rather well, to a point.  Pretty quickly your brain tunes out the white noise, it just becomes part of the environment and makes it easier to concentrate on your work. I’m sure some noise generators are better than others.

Noise Generation

However, a white noise generator can also be very irritating for some people.  I’ve read that it can possibly even increase your stress level rather than do what it is supposed to do which is to provide a peaceful and seemingly quiet work space.
My current office has a rather loud ventilation system that blocks out quite a bit of the distracting conversations in the adjacent cubicles.  When the fans turn off, there’s a sudden deafening silence.  It feels strange without the white noise of the ventilation system.  It turns off so rarely, otherwise it runs continuously all day, every day, winter or summer.  Without the vents on, everything and everyone seems so much louder, so much more noticeable.
If I had to block out the surrounding office noise by wearing headphones, I would not choose to listen to most of the ‘ambient’ noise generator apps that I’ve tried.  There are some exceptions of course, but typically for me,  10 to 15 minutes is all I can take of ambient music, after that my skin starts to crawl. I find that listening to music with vocals can be equally distracting.  If I’m reading or otherwise trying to concentrate, Jazz or Classical music would be a good choice.  I tested my album to see if I can actually work while listening to it.  I have to say it really depends on what I’m working on.  If it’s a mostly visual task like working with Photoshop then it passes the test quite nicely.  Ultimately, not having to wear headphones to block out the noise at work would be best.
In my opinion, the best background noise for work would be the natural sounds you hear sitting in the woods among the trees, the birds and the insects.   Far away from the fax machine, the paper shredder and the sound of the ventilation system. Somehow, I don’t think listening to a recording of ‘sounds of the woods’ will help my work environment.  If only we could open a window in our office.  Oh imagine the nuisance of that! There would be no end to it, some of us would want the window to always be open, others for it to always be shut.

So it goes.

You Silly Wabbit!

Why is track 12  named “:(){ :|:& };:”?

That line of special characters consisting of some colons, a semi-colon, parentheses, brackets, braces and an ampersand is what is known as a fork bomb or wabbit.  This tiny bit of code will replicate itself like a couple of rabbits until it uses up all of your computer resources and your machine crashes.  You would need to type this into a terminal window for it to execute (not a good idea).  To read more details on how it works check out this Wiki article.
When I was creating track 12, the sound from the ‘retro space lead’ synthesizer I was using made me think of a recursive loop.  That is when the fork bomb name came to mind.
Interestingly, when this title was uploaded to the iTunes store, certain characters were stripped out and you end up with only this line: [::&];:  Typing this into a terminal window will give you the following response: ‘-bash: [::: command not found. In other words, it’s completely harmless.
There are some variations between music stores, the Google Play store shows the title as () [:|:&];:  I’m guessing the programmers added a rule that you can’t start the name of your song with a colon (:) because that might be confused with the same character that is  sometimes used in the path name to denote a directory.
At Amazon you end up with :() [:|:&];:  Different software with different rules on how to handle special characters but they all do pretty much the same thing, protect their data from getting messed up.  It seems for whatever reason that all stores swapped the squiggly braces ‘{}’ for brackets ‘[]’.

Where can I find out more information about punctuation marks?

Please try the