There seems to be a shift in people’s perception of what a “computer person” does. While in the old days it would go like this:

– So you are into computers, right?
– Yes
I have this problem with Word

These days it goes like this:

– So you are into computers, right?
– Yes
– There’s this guy in Facebook. Can we trace him so that …

Is this an upgrade or what?

Update: It seems that I am repeating my self yearly. Then it was a neigbour. This time a friend of a friend. And in between I have been asked a number of times.

7 thoughts on “upgrade

  1. It’s a turn. Can’t be called an upgrade unless someone finds out definitely which way is “up”.

    Although I’m afraid we’ve reached a point in time where almost any movement is a fall.

  2. – So you are into computers, right?
    – Yes

    So how can one prevent others from sneaking into his social networking pages (without authorisation) with the intention to do (unauthorised) “online vetting” etc?
    Can these intruders be backtracked? Can their intrusions been brought in front of the court for compensations to the victim etc?

    1. In theory: “Yes”. In practice: “It depends”. I cannot give a more specific answer, as I never had an account on Facebook.

    2. Can these intruders be backtracked?

      I suppose the answer is “Not likely”. As far as it regards Facebook, the answer is most probably still a “No”.

      A couple of years ago (before Facebook switched to the “new” interface) there was a report analysing ways in which an outsider could access non-trivial personal/social information of a Facebook member via a dummy account or in some cases without having an account at all. Facebook was notified but they didn’t issue a response. I am not aware of the current status of this vulnerability (as it was a core part of the Facebook infrastructure and may have been propagated through time).

      Can their intrusions been brought in front of the court for compensations to the victim etc?

      IANAL but this must be hard. Vetting in real life is not a crime (although in most cases the subject must have given their consent).

  3. The solution to your problem is so obvious that I am surprised you have not implemented it yet :)

    – So you are into computers, right?
    – NO

    Problem solved.

    Oh and if you get challenged on the “NO” with a followup?

    – So what do you do then?
    – I just read/create mathematical stuff and get paid for it.

    Mentioning mathematics is typically sufficient to scare people away.

    In short: present yourself as a scientist, not an engineer. Problem solved.

  4. Best method: “Why yes, I can hack their facebook page for you but I’ll need your account’s password first, so you can see what they tell other people, in private!”

  5. To answer the original question, I doubt that this can be called an upgrade as an upgrade is usually a refined version of the same object.

    The phrase “I want (you) to make a program for my taxes” would be for sure an upgrade whereas the “I want (you) to find someone on Facebook” signifies something more like a paradigm shift: from the era of the strictly technical issues, to the era of the social ones. Obviously, this relates to the corresponding shift that has taken place in the users’ online habits.

    As to how to respond to the “new” questions, the secret is to use every 5-year-old favourite (and at times, annoyingly repeated) question:


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