MegaFon Moscow: Privacy & Advertising

Funny thing happened today. My car insurance expired, so I called my insurance company (RESO) from my cellphone. Nobody answered my call, it was Friday evening after all, so I hung up and decided to call them on Monday.

A few hours later, I received a text-message:

megafon-moscow-advertising

For those of you who can’t read Russian, it’s an advert from INHELP, a different insurance company offering its services. The message came from PROMO — the official MegaFon advertising channel.

At first I thought it was a coincidence, so I asked my wife to dial the same number and moments later she gets the exact same text advert!

I wouldn’t consider this a big deal if I had registered on some website online and given them my phone number. I would actually expect them to sell the number to third-party advertisers, but this is different.

Here’s what I think: MegaFon Moscow, one of the three largest network operators in Russia, is not only selling my phone number to advertisers, but also the fact that a phone call was made to a certain number. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if a recording of the phone call was also handed over.

Talk about privacy.

Knock knock! Who’s there? … 1Password.

I’ve been using 1Password for almost a year now and I love it.

1Password Mini (that thing that lives in the OS X menu bar) is my favorite, especially combined with the Cmd+Alt+\ (or ⌘⌥\) shortcut key that opens the menu, focused on Search. Type a few letters, hit the right arrow, hit the down arrow, hit Enter and boom — you have your password in your clipboard for 90 seconds. Amazing!

However, a recent update to 1Password added a nice little animation to the item details screen that pops up in 1Password Mini. The animation lasts for less than a second, but during that fraction of a second you have to wait before you can hit the down arrow and select your password.

1Password Mini

So now it’s more like type, right arrow, wait a bit… down arrow and Enter. And if you didn’t wait enough, you’ll copy your username instead, and now you have to do it all over again. Argh!

I counted the number of times I copy passwords from 1Password Mini on a daily basis, that’s around 30! Rounding that extra delay up to one second means that this animation now costs me approximately three hours per year!

It’s the little things.

Update: Here’s what 1Password had to say on Twitter:

As I already mentioned in the comments, I’m not really worried about the browser — my copy/pasting almost always goes to the Terminal for things like SSH, Subversion, etc.

But it seems like #2 gives me my 3 hours/year back. Thank you 1Password, did I mention you rock? Well, you rock.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Today I turned 24 and my wife got me a Kindle Fire — something I wanted for ages, primarily for reading, but turns out it’s a great tablet for work and play too.

Amazon Kindle Fire

The first thing I did was go to the Amazon App Store to install a couple of free apps, but got quite a disappointing message: your payment method contains a non-US billing address, please use a US credit card, which I don’t have.

Luckily PayPal has a list of dummy credit cards where I got my American Express, entered a random US billing address, removed all other credit cards and addresses on file, and soon had free apps running on my Kindle. Great, though this method will probably not work for paid apps or books, and you’ll need an actual US credit card, or an Amazon gift card.

Anyway, time to make a list of things I’ve always wanted to read. What a great birthday present!