The Cavalier Daily
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Going off the grid

Humor columnist Kate McCarthy reports from Silicon Valley and guides you on the path to cybersecurity.

The biggest social media network in the world is rebranding itself. That’s right — Piazza has officially changed its name to Kalzone. 

Piazza, the student discussion forum preferred by most professors, is desperate to claw out from its plummeting reputation after the data deals, whistleblower scandals and political meddling that I’m sick of hearing about. Piazza — now Kalzone — has invaded the minds, the culture and even the love lives of students. Everyone walks around Grounds with their eyes glued to their phone screens, addicted to the rush of seeing one more classmate click “good question” on their post about how to calculate compound interest. 

The CEO of Kalzone claims that the new name aims to better capture the essence of the company. However, that directly translates to “quick, guys, we’ve gotta pretend we’re not evil anymore.”

Nothing can be trusted, regardless of its name. The internet is a scary place that’s usually trying to trick you. That innocuous app you use to order salad could be selling your address. Or, even worse, they could be tracking your favorite cheese. Here’s a guide to the super simple changes you can make to protect yourself — and your cheese preferences — online.

Buy a camouflage sticky note to write passwords and sensitive information on. I’ve been warned against putting all my eggs in one basket. However, there’s nothing wrong with putting all my eggs in a basket nobody can see. The camo sticky note blends in so well that nobody — not even the owner — can find it. Owners should take a lesson from my mistake and mark it with something only they can recognize. A friend of mine — inspired by a walk with her dog — has marked her camo sticky note with a distinct scent.

Find a job that doesn’t require the internet. Thanks to my very normal activity on Google, I recently stumbled upon a promising maple syruping internship. It only requires two short years of previous experience with maple syrup. In other words, those oatmeal breakfasts have adequately prepared me for the job market.

Make your location impossible to pin down. The best way to confuse big corporations is to ditch Charlottesville and become a moving target. If you love to travel and classes still sound oddly appealing, try studying abroad in NOVA. I studied abroad in NOVA last summer. It was a transformative experience, to say the least. In fact, my host family almost felt real. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a special form of the English language in which people use words like “froyo” and “bandwidth” in everyday conversation.

Change your name. Piazza isn’t the only thing that needs rebranding. To protect your identity, go to court and apply to legally be called “Anonymous Beaker.”

Throw your phone out of the window. It will fix everything.

The internet is too much to handle. We cannot let Silicon Valley control our lives. I’d much rather go off the grid and cheat my way up the corporate ladder towards maple syruping CEO. 

If you aren’t willing to quit the internet cold turkey like me, at least gain some insight from this guide. The next time you feel deeply wounded that your classmate’s answer received more “thanks” than yours, know in your heart that if I hadn’t just thrown my phone out of the window, I would click thanks. And that’s what matters most.