Updated (only slightly) for the cookie law (summary of the EU cookie law)
If you visit one of these blogs, you'll get a cookie; probably more than one. Sorry, you can't eat it. Your computer, mobile phone or other device can, though.
If you use our blogs without disabling the relevant cookies, we'll take that as your implied consent to these cookies. If you're not happy with that, please disable cookies as explained below, or just don't visit these blogs, though we'll be sorry to see you go. See below for more on cookies, how to stop getting them and how to delete them.
In the section below, "we" means "me", Improbulus, because it's just little me here at ACE and AHEx2 so "we" sounds a lot more important and a lot less lonely. It would also be nice to be royalty, too, but we're not holding our breath.
Our blogs are signed up with Google AdSense, so blog posts will display ads to visitors. That's how we fund the internet connection we need to put up the posts and to do the background work for these blogs.
Google is, wouldja believe it, a third party - not even remotely owned or controlled by us. We wish; we could certainly do with the dosh. And the Segways. The information gleaned about visits to our blogs and to other websites, which is stored in Google's DoubleClick cookies, is used by Google and its partners to serve ads to visitors to these blogs (and other web sites), based on their visits to these blogs and/or other websites. Hopefully the goods or services advertised will be of interest to you, although we got an ad about pole dancing lessons displayed in Gmail once, even when the email concerned had nothing to do with pole dancing. Honest.
If you want more information about those cookies, including your option to not let Google collect or use your information, see Google's instructions or to opt out of getting Google's DoubleClick ad cookies, on all sites, you can use this plug-in (for Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox). Links about cookies generally are provided later below. (Google might use web beacons too - we're not sure but this page refers to them. Anyway, if they have 'em they'll serve a similar function to cookies.)
These blogs also incorporate the Google Analytics and Statcounter tools to help analyse how our blogs are used. They're analytical tools which employ "cookies" (text info saved on the visitor's computer) to collect standard internet log information and visitor behaviour information, all in what they call anonymous form. We use Statcounter as well as Analytics because we started off with Statcounter before Analytics was available, so Statcounter has recorded more visitors. And it's nice to see a bigger number, we like bigger. (Also, it's a more accurate record of total visitors since starting ACE.)
You can opt out of Google Analytics collection on all sites, not just this one, by installing an add-on in your browser. You need to do this separately for each browser you use eg Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Opera.
How does it work? When anyone visits one of our blogs, details of standard routine administrative information like internet logs and visitor behaviour patterns are collected. Usually this is done via cookies, but internet servers do generally log certain info automatically.
The info collected by those tools is then used to produce statistical reports for us (not viewable by the general public), with pretty graphs and maps, relating to website activity and visitors’ use of our blogs.
We use this info to watch the visitor numbers creep up, which is soothing to the soul, although we try very hard not to check the total count obsessively. We also use it to find out things like how many visitors viewed a particular blog post. E.g., did lots of people visit this new post? Yay! And - aha, so this is the most popular blog post ever. Or - ooh this post is really popular. Maybe we oughta write more on that subject. Or sometimes, unfortunately - what, no one visited that post at all? But I sweated blood over it. Wail.
The standard info collected includes the date and time you visited, the web browser and operating system of the computer you used (e.g. Internet Explorer and Windows Vista), your IP (Internet Protocol) address (which is the numerical internet address of the computer you're using to visit the blog), and the Internet address of the website from which you clicked a link to reach our blog, so that we can maybe send the referring website a real cookie - or a "thank you", at least.
But the info collected can't and won't include details of your name, email, address or phone number. The information is collected in such a way that, in itself, it doesn't personally identify anyone specifically. In fact, we don't try to personally identify any of our visitors. We won't use the tools to track or collect any personally identifiable information about visitors to any of our blogs (don't know how, don't think it's possible based on the info collected by the tools anyway). If you're logged in to a Google service when you visit one of our blogs, Google might know who you are, but what it does with that info is their business and yours, and Google certainly won't tell us your name, email etc. We wouldn't ask anyway.
Here's the official info Google want websites which use Analytics to include:
You'll notice that this means Google may use this site's Analytics info. However, we've turned off Analytics data sharing with Google as much as possible, so if Google honours those settings that should limit what Google can use the data for.
Other Google stuff - comments, search
Actually collecting personal info
If we ever decide we'd like to collect personally identifiable information from you via any of our blogs, we'll make it very clear that we're going to do it and we'll explain the purpose of the collection and what we intend to do with the info. (It won't be to sell your details to the highest or indeed any bidder, that's fer sure.)
Very likely, it will only be for a (very infrequent) survey of readers' views, where you can give (or not give) your name or any other info as you wish. If we run a survey or questionnaire it'll all be entirely voluntary as to whether you take part or not. And it'll be entirely up to you how much if any of it you want to fill in - no coercion, no whips, no cuffs (not without fully informed free consent and the submission of a real chocolate chip cookie, at the very least).
Cookie management for privacy control
By now you'll have gathered that cookie management has nothing to do with hiding your favourite biscuits away from your child, partner, friend, parent or dog.
In order to control your privacy you can set your Web browser (like Internet Explorer) so that it won't accept any cookies. The links below will explain how, and also how to remove existing cookies from your browser. However, some of our blogs' features (and probably other websites) may not work as a result. So, for more information on cookies and cookie management, see www.aboutcookies.org or www.allaboutcookies.org.
There are tools that let you accept or reject cookies site by site, and indeed to block scripts from specific sites (if you think there's a risk that their script might set cookies or worse, or you just don't want them messing with your browser). For example, Opera, which is very fast and sophisticated as well as free, lets you control things site by site, while Firefox has several free extensions to manage cookies or scripts, including NoScript (which is good for security generally too).
Links out to other websites, social networking buttons
Same thing if you click on a Twitter button, Facebook Like, Google Plus etc - that will communicate with Twitter, Facebook etc, and then how they handle the communication and what they do with the info communicated is up to them, not us.