Hey there, my name is Sebastian Staacks. I love to code and to create stuff. At some point I decided that it would be great to create a website on which I can present this stuff. On one hand, there are many things that did not get living room clearance from my wife and hence are rarely seen by anyone. On the other hand, I wanted to give back to the Open Source community and all the amazing makers and coders out there from whom I learned most of what I do.
You can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter under the handle @diconx.
However, please understand that this is only a hobby. My priorities are my family, my friends, my job, my hobbies (including “creating stuff”) and finally sharing said stuff. Therefore, I do not provide step-by-step guides on how to build things and this is not a shop for fancy devices. So, while I usually answer almost anything and I am happy to discuss details about my projects, please don’t be disappointed if I do not respond to some of your messages. It is nothing personal, it is just me enjoying the luxury of saving some time and energy by not having to reply to everything.
Here is the thing: There are quite a few companies out there that live off acquiring and selling your data. That would be kind of ok if it was more transparent how this is done. But of course, only those who are not interested in your data are the ones who properly communicate what they do. This is the case here.
None. To be absolutely transparent, for technical reasons, you are exposing your public IP address when accessing any webpage. That is the address to which the requested webpage has to be delivered. This is considered “Personal Identifiable Information” under GDPR (the European data protection law) and it has to be temporarily stored in the webservers memory until the page has been delivered. But beyond that I do not store, log or record anything and I told my webhoster not to do so either.
Of course, I cannot verify this 100%, but it is the hoster called “all-inkl.com”. The servers are located in Germany and I am using this hoster since 2002 (yes, since 2002!) and I do not have a single reason not to trust them.
Me, Sebastian Staacks. If there was any data to process or to protect.
Seriously, this is a static webpage. No PHP, no database, no nothing. I use Jekyll to locally generate a bunch of html files which are served to you without further processing. There is no comment function, no ads, no tracking and there is no way to leave any personal data. This page is the epitome of a web 1.0 page.
Come on, I just told you that I do not store or process any data. Well, if you insist on contacting me about privacy concerns, please use one of the methods at the top of this page.
Cookies are pretty simple and basically a good idea.
Http, the protocol around which the web is built, is a so-called stateless protocol. This means that any time you access a website, the website is not in a particular state. In other words, if you open a Wikipedia article, it does not care what you did on a previous page. Anybody calling the same address gets the same answer. However, sometimes you want previous actions to have an effect on your page. For example, if you select a specific language on a website, you want the page to be in the same language the next time you visit it. More complex examples are shopping carts or pages with a login. If you open another page on Amazon, you do not want it to act like you had never visited the previous pages. Instead you want it to remember that you have already added that new phone to your shopping cart on the previous page. Similarly, after you logged in on Twitter, it would be pretty annoying if the next page forgot that you did so.
Now, how do you do that? Wouldn’t it be ideal if you could store these things yourself? You could tell your browser which language you selected on that page and the owner of the page does not even need to know what you selected. That is exactly what Cookies do. Some data is stored on your computer and when you visit that site again, that site can use the data to show the right language or your shopping cart. In theory, you could fill the shopping cart without the owner of the site having a permanent copy of it until you eventually place your order.
So, what’s the problem with Cookies? Well, most sites decide to store the data for you on their own server and just give you an identifier to store in your Cookie. So, for example, Amazon has your shopping cart and only gives you a random number that is assigned to the cart - and that number is stored in a Cookie. The next time you visit their page, your browser gives that number from the Cookie to Amazon, so they can pick the right shopping cart. And your product search history. And your previous orders. And all the other information they have on you and that is associated with that number in your Cookie, so they can present all the products to you that you might find interesting.
But that is not the real problem. After all, that information was generated on or entered into Amazon’s page. You should not be surprised that they have that information. If you walk into a bakery and ask for Croissants, you are not really suprised if the guy in the bakery offers you Croissants if you return the next day. You know that Amazon knows what you have been searching for and what you have bought in the past. The real problem are third-party Cookies.
Third-party Cookies are Cookies that your browser accepts from and sends back to a site that is not the site that you are currently visiting. You noticed that the web is littered with thumbs-up buttons from Facebook? That’s what they are for. Whenever you visit a page with a thumbs-up button, that button is not requested from the page you are visiting, but directly from Facebook. So, you visit your local news paper’s page and your browser finds a reference to a thumbs-up-button on that page. So, it asks facebook for that button and Facebook gives the button to your browser. But Facebook also asks your browser if it has previously received a Cookie with one of those random numbers from Facebook (it normally cannot get the Cookie from the news page - it’s not THAT bad) and if you do not yet have one of those numbers, Facebook will send a Cookie with such a number. Now, if you visit Facebook or any other page with a thumbs-up button, Facebook gets the Cookie with that number and recognizes you as the guy who has been on that local news page. And on that page about your favorite soccer club. And on that porn site.
Did you learn what the problem is with Cookies from the million popups on each page? Did any of those pop-ups teach you what a third-party Cookie is? Do you even notice those popups anymore? No. When you visit a website, you click “ok”, “I agree” and “I accept” until you finally see the content. That is total bullshit. There is nothing wrong with Cookies, but we should force webbrowsers to deactivate third-party Cookies unless the user has been thoroughly educated about them and still enables them for some reason.
Well, I hope so. If I understand correctly, I have to clearly state what I do with your data. There seems to be no law that forces it to be austere and magniloquent. Well, now it contains the word “magniloquent”, which probably makes it magniloquent. But seriously, I am not hiring a lawyer just to explain that I am not storing and/or processing and/or sharing any bloody personal data.