I got this very thought provoking email today, wanted to share.
When things in your life seem, almost too much to handle, When 24 Hours in a day is not enough, Remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, He picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar And proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students, if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open Areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - family, children, health, Friends, and Favorite passions – Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, Your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.
The sand is everything else --The small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first,' He continued, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, You will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play With your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner.
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
'Take care of the golf balls first -- The things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.
The professor smiled. 'I'm glad you asked'.
It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'
I wanted to show a facebook friend's photograph to another facebook friend. I sent him the link in the browser. But he got an error "No Content Found". This is a general facebook message when someone tries to access a resource which does not exists or you don't have the permissions to view the resource. In this case the content was there, but permissions were missing.
I right clicked on the photo(browser : firefox) and copied the image location. And pasted it to my friend. And voila, he could access it. Now that is scary. Even your photographs with the highest privacy levels are on some facebook caching server somewhere on the Internet. The only thing you don't know is the address. I could access the cached copy without any authentication.
My next question : Can a crawler(automated web program) find these photographs?
Well, this is what I tried. Following is the image link of a photograph which has the highest privacy level ('Only Me') and you can see this photograph too.
http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/ --> domain owned by facebook
hphotos-ak-snc3/hs005.snc3 --> seems to be their caching directories (keeps on changing for different cached photos.)
11269_100176256674713_100000470162575_1960_2224458_n.jpg --> your photograph, obviously renamed but we can break it down too.
Of these, 100000470162575 --> is your profile Id. 1960 --> is your photo id. n --> type of photograph (other values could be 'a' or 's'or 't' where s could stand for 'small' and t for 'thumbnail', n for 'normal')
But for the other 3 params (11269, 100176256674713, 2224458) I am still figuring out (look at the facebook API might help).
If the crawler tries generating these params (using the same logic as Facebook or some derived intelligent alogrithm other than Brute Force). Any such attempt will definitely make Facebook aware.
It is only a matter of time for some outsider to understand this logic.
So back to the question : Are my facebook photos really private?
Yes they are, as long as no one knows where they are. The analogy for this is, Imagine the Internet as the world where all places are indentified by a unique address. As long as your home address is unknown to intruder, the intruder cannot harm you. But if the address becomes known, there is not a single lock at your home to protect your assets.
P.S. : These are my personal views and conclusions and may/may not be accurate/correct.
Not many times you get to see a google search taking more than 3 seconds for a query. Check it out here. However, google caches this information (expected) and the next time it gave the results in 0.15s.
Tip 1: If your browser history grows larger and larger (you never delete like me ), It would be a good sacrifice to delete your browsing history once in a while after having everything you need bookmarked. This speeds up firefox many times, especially when you start typing in the address bar.