One advantage of using rack is having access to rack middleware. rack-flash is a middleware which you can use for flash hash on your rack apps.

If you’re using sinatra, the syntax is similar to rails. Check out the rack-flash page here.

I added rack-flash to my sinatra app. Check out the git commit. Since rack-flash uses the session, don’t forget to add Rack::Session::Cookie.

Watch the video of Jon Crosby’s talk In a World of Middleware, Who Needs Monolithic Applications? at Mountain West Ruby Conference 2009 for more on rack middleware.

Online privacy

Recently, I have come across this news in Slashdot. I don’t fully understand the repercussions of that but from what I do think I understand, it just says that Google actually logs your IP and your online behavior, right? Like, “Hey, this guy using 123.456.789 .123 is surfing bestiality porn! LMAO!”.

Sure, it kinda violates your “privacy” but I don’t know. Google actually does it(log people’s online behavior, like surfed sites, search terms) because they want to know what kind of ads to show you, right? Sure, you use Firefox 3 and have adblock plus, but what about the others who don’t? What about the others who actually like getting ads as those ads help point them get to sites/buy items they usually wouldn’t have seen anyway?

Maybe there should be an option for turning off/on the tracking of your online behavior, but for me, I’m pretty sure it is harmless. It’s not like they’re watching your every move online. You are NOT that special. To them, you’re just a byte. Or a statistic. Or a number. Nobody. You’re an ip address at most. I’m pretty sure they’re not trying to be Orwell’s Big Brother by looking at everyone’s personal lives and trying to dictate everyone’s actions.

Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I understand it. Is there any other reason for them to get everyone’s surfing behavior?  Like almost all web services, I think it is important to “get to know” your users so that instead of giving them what they need when they need it, you can give them what they need/want before they even ask for it. Sure, they’ll know you surfed for car porn or door porn or even the fact that you googled “the number of married men/women uglier than me” or something, but that doesn’t mean they’ll try to find you. For what? To laugh at you? Tell the whole world that you’re one of a kind who searches google for married people uglier than you? Or maybe you purchased a sniper rifle to kill someone and they can trace you(Wow. That’s just genius on your part then)

I honestly don’t understand why people care about online privacy that much. It isn’t that much different from you asking the local librarian for books on “How to Impress a First Date” or “French Kissing 101″ or even “How to Wipe Your Ass Properly”. It isn’t much different from buying OTC potency pills. They wouldn’t actually care if you surf for weird stuff at night – they’ll just give you more ads about the weird stuff you like. And wouldn’t that make your web experience better?

These are just my thoughts and maybe I am missing the whole point here. And if so, feel free to steer me the right way. But right now, I still think that people are being overly paranoid on what Google might do to about their online behaviors. Am I just that naive? Can anyone enlighten me on this?

PNOI Judge

The first Philippine National Olympiad in Informatics (PNOI 2008) will be held on March 15, 2008 at Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

PNOI is an individual programming contest for high school students. I’m a judge (and 4 others) at this contest.

Click here for the details.