Jump to content

Declassified MISC 10


Recommended Posts

DM 9 was getting a bit LONG.

It's time to start DM 10.



Sleek snoop center still leans on human factor


NORWALK, Calif.--A new law enforcement center--quite possibly the best real-world likeness of the fictitious high-tech "Counter Terrorist Unit" in the popular show "24"--relies on a surprisingly low-tech feature: low cubicle walls.


Located in the Los Angeles suburb of Norwalk, the first-of-its-kind Joint Regional Intelligence Center joins federal, state and local law enforcement in one facility as part of a post 9/11 effort to improve law enforcement collaboration. Analysts and investigators at the center handle intelligence from the various agencies on potential threats to national security, in particular terrorism, and correlate the data.


"We are connecting the dots," Michael Chertoff, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said on Friday after touring the recently opened center.


The facility--housed in a nondescript office building in suburbia, near fast-food restaurants and bland government offices--is equipped with some $2 million worth of technology, including numerous projectors that display onto walls maps, information on terrorists, and other data from public and nonpublic sources.








CSS Website




Cool Sites 8




The Daily Slurp




Metro Arts and Architecture




CSS Diagrams



CSS Bloom




CSS Mania



No Enemies




Good Stuff to Know - Internet Time Blog





Internet Time Blog




Flash Drives Go To Work



USB flash drives get to work





Turning Garbage into Gold



From Garbage to Gold






Teens Don't Think CD Copying is a Crime



Are kids 'sharing' or stealing?

The music and movie industries spend millions to spread the word: Copying is wrong.





Dell, Sony Discussed Battery Problem 10 Months Ago



Dell, Sony discussed battery problem 10 months ago



Update: Dell to recall 4.1 million laptop batteries



Michael Dell hoses flaming laptops







Viruses the New Condiment



FDA approves viruses as food additive





DBS Talk.com




Dublin man plans Apple "walk of shame"



Putting Google-Fi to the Test



Worst cars ever made



The Zombie Preparedness Kit - Gizmodo



DIY: Make an alarm system in 3 minutes!



Awesome Site: Create Your Own Font!



Google Video: No Tube of Plenty - Yet







I stole your bandwidth/images and now I believe that I can sue you


I must say, I'm quite upset. I have been using images from you web site on my web site for a long time now and suddenly they are gone. and I am concerned. I am using my web site to build up my business which is not easy and you changed the location or deleted them or somethin.






50 Common Interview Questions






Review these typical interview questions and think about how you would

answer them. Read the questions listed; you will also find some

strategy suggestions with it.


1. Tell me about yourself:

The most often asked question in interviews. You need to have a short

statement prepared in your mind. Be careful that it does not sound

rehearsed. Limit it to work-related items unless instructed otherwise.

Talk about things you have done and jobs you have held that relate to

the position you are interviewing for. Start with the item farthest

back and work up to the present.


2. Why did you leave your last job?

Stay positive regardless of the circumstances. Never refer to a major

problem with management and never speak ill of supervisors, co-workers

or the organization. If you do, you will be the one looking bad. Keep

smiling and talk about leaving for a positive reason such as an

opportunity, a chance to do something special or other forward-looking



3. What experience do you have in this field?

Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for.

If you do not have specific experience, get as close as you can.


4. Do you consider yourself successful?

You should always answer yes and briefly explain why. A good

explanation is that you have set goals, and you have met some and are

on track to achieve the others.


5. What do co-workers say about you?

Be prepared with a quote or two from co-workers. Either a specific

statement or a paraphrase will work. Jill Clark, a co-worker at Smith

Company, always said I was the hardest workers she had ever known. It

is as powerful as Jill having said it at the interview herself.


6. What do you know about this organization?

This question is one reason to do some research on the organization

before the interview. Find out where they have been and where they are

going. What are the current issues and who are the major players?


7. What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year?

Try to include improvement activities that relate to the job. A wide

variety of activities can be mentioned as positive self-improvement.

Have some good ones handy to mention.


8. Are you applying for other jobs?

Be honest but do not spend a lot of time in this area. Keep the focus

on this job and what you can do for this organization. Anything else is

a distraction.


9. Why do you want to work for this organization?

This may take some thought and certainly, should be based on the

research you have done on the organization. Sincerity is extremely

important here and will easily be sensed. Relate it to your long-term

career goals.


10. Do you know anyone who works for us?

Be aware of the policy on relatives working for the organization. This

can affect your answer even though they asked about friends not

relatives. Be careful to mention a friend only if they are well thought



11. What kind of salary do you need?

A loaded question. A nasty little game that you will probably lose if

you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like,

That’s a tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position?

In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you. If not,

say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide



12. Are you a team player?

You are, of course, a team player. Be sure to have examples ready.

Specifics that show you often perform for the good of the team rather

than for yourself are good evidence of your team attitude. Do not brag,

just say it in a matter-of-fact tone. This is a key point.


13. How long would you expect to work for us if hired?

Specifics here are not good. Something like this should work: I’d like

it to be a long time. Or As long as we both feel I’m doing a good job.


14. Have you ever had to fire anyone? How did you feel about that?

This is serious. Do not make light of it or in any way seem like you

like to fire people. At the same time, you will do it when it is the

right thing to do. When it comes to the organization versus the

individual who has created a harmful situation, you will protect the

organization. Remember firing is not the same as layoff or reduction in



15. What is your philosophy towards work?

The interviewer is not looking for a long or flowery dissertation here.

Do you have strong feelings that the job gets done? Yes. That’s the

type of answer that works best here. Short and positive, showing a

benefit to the organization.


16. If you had enough money to retire right now, would you?

Answer yes if you would. But since you need to work, this is the type

of work you prefer. Do not say yes if you do not mean it.


17. Have you ever been asked to leave a position?

If you have not, say no. If you have, be honest, brief and avoid saying

negative things about the people or organization involved.


18. Explain how you would be an asset to this organization

You should be anxious for this question. It gives you a chance to

highlight your best points as they relate to the position being

discussed. Give a little advance thought to this relationship.


19. Why should we hire you?

Point out how your assets meet what the organization needs. Do not

mention any other candidates to make a comparison.


20. Tell me about a suggestion you have made

Have a good one ready. Be sure and use a suggestion that was accepted

and was then considered successful. One related to the type of work

applied for is a real plus.


21. What irritates you about co-workers?

This is a trap question. Think real hard but fail to come up with

anything that irritates you. A short statement that you seem to get

along with folks is great.


22. What is your greatest strength?

Numerous answers are good, just stay positive. A few good examples:

Your ability to prioritize, Your problem-solving skills, Your ability

to work under pressure, Your ability to focus on projects, Your

professional expertise, Your leadership skills, Your positive attitude


23. Tell me about your dream job.

Stay away from a specific job. You cannot win. If you say the job you

are contending for is it, you strain credibility. If you say another

job is it, you plant the suspicion that you will be dissatisfied with

this position if hired. The best is to stay genetic and say something

like: A job where I love the work, like the people, can contribute and

can’t wait to get to work.


24. Why do you think you would do well at this job?

Give several reasons and include skills, experience and interest.


25. What are you looking for in a job?

See answer # 23


26. What kind of person would you refuse to work with?

Do not be trivial. It would take disloyalty to the organization,

violence or lawbreaking to get you to object. Minor objections will

label you as a whiner.


27. What is more important to you: the money or the work?

Money is always important, but the work is the most important. There is

no better answer.


28. What would your previous supervisor say your strongest point is?

There are numerous good possibilities:

Loyalty, Energy, Positive attitude, Leadership, Team player, Expertise,

Initiative, Patience, Hard work, Creativity, Problem solver


29. Tell me about a problem you had with a supervisor

Biggest trap of all. This is a test to see if you will speak ill of

your boss. If you fall for it and tell about a problem with a former

boss, you may well below the interview right there. Stay positive and

develop a poor memory about any trouble with a supervisor.


30. What has disappointed you about a job?

Don’t get trivial or negative. Safe areas are few but can include:

Not enough of a challenge. You were laid off in a reduction Company did

not win a contract, which would have given you more responsibility.


31. Tell me about your ability to work under pressure.

You may say that you thrive under certain types of pressure. Give an

example that relates to the type of position applied for.


32. Do your skills match this job or another job more closely?

Probably this one. Do not give fuel to the suspicion that you may want

another job more than this one.


33. What motivates you to do your best on the job?

This is a personal trait that only you can say, but good examples are:

Challenge, Achievement, Recognition


34. Are you willing to work overtime? Nights? Weekends?

This is up to you. Be totally honest.


35. How would you know you were successful on this job?

Several ways are good measures:

You set high standards for yourself and meet them. Your outcomes are a

success.Your boss tell you that you are successful


36. Would you be willing to relocate if required?

You should be clear on this with your family prior to the interview if

you think there is a chance it may come up. Do not say yes just to get

the job if the real answer is no. This can create a lot of problems

later on in your career. Be honest at this point and save yourself

future grief.


37. Are you willing to put the interests of the organization ahead ofyour own?

This is a straight loyalty and dedication question. Do not worry about

the deep ethical and philosophical implications. Just say yes.


38. Describe your management style.

Try to avoid labels. Some of the more common labels, like progressive,

salesman or consensus, can have several meanings or descriptions

depending on which management expert you listen to. The situational

style is safe, because it says you will manage according to the

situation, instead of one size fits all.


39. What have you learned from mistakes on the job?

Here you have to come up with something or you strain credibility. Make

it small, well intentioned mistake with a positive lesson learned. An

example would be working too far ahead of colleagues on a project and

thus throwing coordination off.


40. Do you have any blind spots?

Trick question. If you know about blind spots, they are no longer blind

spots. Do not reveal any personal areas of concern here. Let them do

their own discovery on your bad points. Do not hand it to them.


41. If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for?

Be careful to mention traits that are needed and that you have.


42. Do you think you are overqualified for this position?

Regardless of your qualifications, state that you are very well

qualified for the position.


43. How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience?

First, if you have experience that the interviewer does not know about,

bring that up: Then, point out (if true) that you are a hard working

quick learner.


44. What qualities do you look for in a boss?

Be generic and positive. Safe qualities are knowledgeable, a sense of

humor, fair, loyal to subordinates and holder of high standards. All

bosses think they have these traits.


45. Tell me about a time when you helped resolve a dispute betweenothers.

Pick a specific incident. Concentrate on your problem solving technique

and not the dispute you settled.


46. What position do you prefer on a team working on a project?

Be honest. If you are comfortable in different roles, point that out.


47. Describe your work ethic.

Emphasize benefits to the organization. Things like, determination to

get the job done and work hard but enjoy your work are good.


48. What has been your biggest professional disappointment?

Be sure that you refer to something that was beyond your control. Show

acceptance and no negative feelings.


49. Tell me about the most fun you have had on the job.

Talk about having fun by accomplishing something for the organization.


50. Do you have any questions for me?

Always have some questions prepared. Questions prepared where you will be an asset to the organization are good. How soon will I be able to be productive? and What type of projects will I be able to assist on? are















Is Nanotech safe? Experts debate


"In the U.S., trouble ramped up in June when an EPA study found that titanium nanoparticles commonly used in sunscreens cause neurological changes in mice."






Small Stuff—Big Trouble

Experts go head to head on the issue of nanotech safety


There’s nothing tiny about the international controversy brewing over the safety of nanomaterials. In April, a German company recalled a tile sealant called Magic Nano after dozens of consumers suffered breathing problems while using it. Never mind that the product contained particles too large to actually count as nanomaterials (which must be smaller than a billionth of a meter)—the scare was on, and European confidence in products labeled “nano” had already sunk. In the U.S., trouble ramped up in June when an EPA study found that titanium nanoparticles commonly used in sunscreens cause neurological changes in mice. Since then, at least eight organizations, including Friends of the Earth and The International Center for Technology Assessment, have called for safety assessments of 116 personal care products on the US market, many of which required no FDA approval before hitting the market.


But is nanotech getting an unfairly bad rap? Manipulation of materials at the nano level has potentially ground-breaking applications for medicine, for example (click here for examples from our Future of Medicine slideshow), and some scientists worry that one of the industry’s biggest challenges will be overcoming its PR problem.


To get to the heart of the issue, we talked to two experts on opposing sides of the debate. Hope Shand, research director of Ontario-based human rights organization ETC Group has called for a worldwide moratorium on nanotech until the full scope of the technology, and its risks, can be understood. Christine Peterson is founder and VP of Public Policy for the Foresight Institute, a think-tank in Menlo Park, CA dedicated to the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology. Here, they face off about the big picture of this small-scale science.




Christine Peterson: Not necessarily. It depends on the specific material. There are, of course, concerns that the small size will allow certain particles to pass through barriers such as the skin or lungs. From the research done so far, it isn’t clear that just because something is small enough to penetrate a barrier, it necessarily will. However, other research has found that certain nanoparticles can and will pass between the blood-brain barrier, which could be harmful. Materials act differently at the nanoscale, and you can’t just assume that they’ll be as safe as they are at the macroscale. Gold, for instance, is highly reactive at the nanoscale.


Hope Shand: We don’t know for sure. What we do know is that there’s a virtual consensus among scientists that the toxicology of engineered nanomaterials is largely unknown. That is, while the materials used in creating a nanomaterial may play a role in determining toxicity, it seems that the size of the nanomaterial plays an equal or even more important role. The reason for this is because the smaller the particle, the higher the percentage of atoms on the surface; a high percentage of surface atoms corresponds to a high level of reactivity. In general, the more reactive a substance, the more toxic it becomes.




CP: A small segment of American society is perhaps over-concerned about the dangers of nanoparticles, while the vast majority are paying no attention at all. The activists who did the sunscreen press conference are the ones who are most interested, and their views may be a little exaggerated. The general public is totally unconcerned and that’s perhaps a little too easy-going of an attitude. The right answer lies somewhere in the middle, as some of these materials are going to end up being a problem and some are not.


HS: I believe that people are largely in the dark about this issue. That being said, by allowing nano-products to come to market without public debate or regulatory oversight, government and industry are jeopardizing nanotech’s future.




CP: What you keep hearing over and over again within the industry is that they don’t want another genetically modified organism fiasco. Not that GMOs have necessarily been proven dangerous; nonetheless, they have essentially been rejected within Europe. So the nanotech industry wants to build a world market for their products, and are therefore being much more careful than an emerging industry normally would be because they have such a recent and vivid example of the very problems they want to avoid.


HS: There’s really no way for us to know the extent to which the industry actually is self-regulating–or if it’s happening at all. Because the names and chemical formulas of materials and their nano-scale counterparts are the same–for example, graphite and nanotubes are both carbon–there has been a false assumption on the part of industry and government that they could be treated the same in terms of regulation. Researchers and product developers, on the other hand, were well aware that they were dealing with essentially different materials that have different structural properties and different behaviors. When we informally surveyed companies several years ago we found that some were requiring measures as simple as dust masks, while other companies were treating nanoparticles as hazardous materials. Recently, there has been a shift in attitude and awareness¬–industry and governments are belatedly recognizing that the lack of information about toxicological risks is a problem–and today there's growing recognition that regulations are needed.




CP: That’s a huge debate going on right now. For one thing, the U.S. and Europe haven’t even agreed to a fundamental approach to regulation: in Europe, they tend to regulate from the process side, while in the U.S., regulations apply to the product side of the industry. Right now, in this country, we’re dealing mostly with “passive” nano materials–found in products like sunscreens and a special coating on baseball bats–and are trying to figure out whether we can get by with tweaks to existing legislation, or if we need new regulations altogether. As for “active” nano-devices [such as the precision guided tumor killers featured in PopSci’s August issue], we don’t really think about those that much, since our systems aren’t set up to deal with them. However, there is still the potential for some crossover: any active nano-device that has a medical application, for example, will have to adhere to the standard medical regulations, which are plenty strict as is. In terms of less-regulated areas, like cosmetics, it’s more problematic.


HS: Regulations need to be mandatory and based on precautionary principles. They need to provide for well-funded and comprehensive research into the health and environmental risks posed by nanoscale materials, while also considering issues related to control and ownership of the technology, and the enormous societal impact it will have on jobs, trade, and commodities. Our group also believes in the need for intergovernmental oversight in the form of an independent international body dedicated to assessing major new technologies.



CP: When you look at the list of risks, the workers ARE in much more danger than the consumer. The industry is trying to implement good practice rules, and surveys have already taking place so that a standardization of rules can happen, but it’s still in the early stages.


HS: It’s likely that the greatest risks involve free-engineered nanoparticles–that is, those not embedded in a matrix. Therefore, whomever comes in contact with these materials, whether it be workers handling them in the manufacturing stage or consumers at the end stage–with cosmetics and sunscreens, for example–could be at risk. It also means that the release of nanoparticles into the environment should be prohibited.








Podmaxx you’ll unlock your iPods maximum potential!




Save Money: Go low tech



Video: 16,000 Firecrackers, bundled and hanging from a pipe pole...



Proper use of a firecracker roll!


3.2 million firecrackers




Massive search for autism genes begins.





Congressman: Blacks Can't Swim




How the Brain Loses The Plasticity of Youth



Study Provides Insight Into How the Brain Loses Plasticity of Youth





Sony Transparent TV






7 Steps on How to Win Monopoly Everytime



How to Win Every Time in Monopoly


As proof that Monopoly is truly an American game, Hasbro, Inc. added a new game token this year: a money sack. It beat out the piggy bank and biplane. The 11 tokens now used in the classic Monopoly game are a boot, iron, racecar, top hat, thimble, battleship, cannon, wheelbarrow, dog, and horse and rider. These last three were added in the early '50s.



1. Keep an eye on other players. Don't let on if they take a property you really want.


2. Buy everything you can except Park Place and Boardwalk (blue properties); Atlantic, Marvin Gardens, and Ventnor (yellow properties); and Pennsylvania, Pacific, and North Carolina (green properties).


3. Buy one each of the blue, yellow and green properties to break any other player's chance at a monopoly.


4. Go for the Tennessee, St. James Place, and New York (orange properties) and Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky (red properties). They're more likely to be visited because of their locations on the board.


5. Try to get players to sell you property instead of mortgaging when they owe you money. Heavily mortgaged properties can be bought cheaply by other players who land on them.


6. Build up to three houses on each of your properties, but not more than that, for the best return.


7. Use the rules to your advantage. If you land on a property, don't automatically hand over the rent. If two people roll the dice after your turn and no one notices, you're off the hook.



Keep some money in reserve. Remember, you'll have to pay rents and other fees.



Tips from eHow Users:

Two overlooked properties by Jeffrey

Try to pick up the St. Charles Place and Illinois Avenue properties and monopolies (magenta and red). There are Chance cards that will get people to land on them. There is one for Boardwalk, as well, if you can get that.


Winning at any cost by eHow Friend

The trick here is to focus on one color group.







The Real Impact Of Open Source...



The real impact of open source






Top 10 reasons to start your own blog








Airport terror scare shutdown 'was racist'



Airport terror scare shutdown 'was racist'





A Pakistani woman whose daughter's carry-on luggage caused an airport to shut down for more than nine hours says it was her ethnic background, not a few bottles of suspicious liquids, that set off security officials.


Initial laboratory testing by the FBI turned up no evidence of explosive materials in the bottles carried at Tri-State Airport in West Virginia by Rima Qayyum, a 28-year-old Pakistani woman dressed in the traditional Islamic headcover.


No charges were filed against the woman, who was never detained and was co-operative when interviewed by the FBI.


Qayyum's mother, Mian Qayyum of Jackson, Michigan, told The Associated Press that her daughter is four months pregnant, lives in Barboursville and is innocent.


"It was not only a false alarm, it was racial discrimination because there was nothing," Mian Qayyum said. "They should clear her name and apologise on national TV."


The FBI did not return messages last night seeking comment on the allegations.


A screener noticed a bottle in Rima Qayyum's carry-on bag as she was going through security before her 9:15am flight yesterday to Charlotte, North Carolina, airport authority president Jim Booton said.


The terminal was evacuated at 11:25am after two bottles of liquid in the bag initially tested positive for explosives residue twice, and a canine team also got a positive hit. Chemical tests of the bottles' contents later turned up no explosives, said Capt. Jack Chambers, head of the State Police Special Operations unit.


The woman had purchased a one-way ticket to Detroit by way of Charlotte on Wednesday. The flight eventually left for Charlotte without her.


Rima Qayyum planned to return to the airport today to take another flight, her mother said.


"She just had water to drink because she is pregnant and she had a face wash that had a drop of bleach on it," Mian Qayyum said.


The FBI plans to perform additional tests on the bottles today, Killeen said.


US authorities banned the carrying of liquids onto flights last week after British officials made arrests in an alleged plot to blow up US-bound planes using explosives disguised as drinks and other common products.


The TSA screening looks for a range of explosives residue, some of which can be found on common household items, said TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser.


"Anytime a prohibited item is brought to a checkpoint, then you are going to be immediately more interested in that bag," Kayser said.


Two airlines - Comair and US Airways Express - serve the airport. Commercial airline service was suspended, and about 100 passengers and airport employees were ordered to leave the terminal, Booton said.


After the evacuation, many passengers decided to stay and wait it out.


"We bought them pizza, soft drinks ... tried to make them comfortable as could be in this situation," said Larry Salyers, the airport's manager. "We had them in the parking lot, under trees, in conference rooms, the firehouse."






15 year old tries to out drive the police at 150MPH!





In Pictures: Seven Amazing Robots That Will Change Lives



We present the masters of robotic innovation who are fusing advances in biomechanics, software, sensor technology, materials science and computing to create new generations of robotic assistants. Learning has been key, both for robots and for their designers. Robots are about to be unshackled from forced labor. Expect them everywhere.






IT business.Ca









Technology Review








































Link to comment
Share on other sites

Man blames Dell laptop for house fire


SOUTH VENICE -- A fire that destroyed a South Venice house and left a family of five homeless early Thursday may have been sparked by a Dell computer model that was recalled by the company because its battery was a fire hazard.


Homeowner Louis Minnear, 36, said his wife's Dell laptop was sitting on papers on the family's couch when the couch mysteriously caught fire.


Minnear, who was staying with his family at a nearby motel Thursday night, said he is "convinced" the fire was started by the computer's battery.


The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating, and has not ruled on the cause of the fire.


"None of us know what the cause is," said Assistant Fire Chief Paul Dezzi. "That's why we called the fire marshal."


Dezzi said he knew there was a computer on the couch when the house burned, but was not aware that the computer was a Dell. He said the fire marshal's office should issue a preliminary report on the cause today.


The flames took less than 20 minutes to move through the Falkland Road home, causing severe damage and leaving the structure uninhabitable. Sarasota County firefighters arrived at about 6:30 a.m.; they had the flames extinguished in 10 minutes.


The family lost almost all of its possessions, including 843 DVDs.


The fire came three days after Dell recalled 4.1 million notebook computer batteries. The company warned consumers the batteries could erupt in flames.


The recall is the largest safety recall in history for the consumer electronics industry.


Dell, the world's largest PC maker, said the lithium-ion batteries were made by Sony and were installed in notebooks sold between April 2004 and July 18 of this year. Minnear said he bought the family PC two years ago. It is a Latitude D500, one of the models on the list with potential battery problems.


Minnear said he heard about the recall this week, but didn't have the chance to do anything about it.


Minnear's wife, Jeanne, used the laptop computer for work while at home. She is a computer programmer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.


Minnear said he smelled what he thought was an electrical fire at about 5 a.m. But after a quick sweep through the house, he went back to bed.


About 45 minutes later, Minnear woke up again and saw that his couch was engulfed in flames.


He led his pregnant wife, 9-month-old son and two dogs out of the house. Once outside, Minnear said he scrambled back inside the house two more times, grabbing what little he could salvage before the flames and heat got to be too much. He salvaged wedding pictures, baby toys and his wife's purse.


The family lost everything else. Much of the home is charred. From the front door, a Sesame Street Elmo doll sits on the house's edge, its red fur charred black. The smell of black soot and melted plastic reaches to the street's edge.


"It moved fast; it burned hot," Minnear said. "But they got it out quickly."


American Red Cross officials have given the Minnear family a three-night stay in a local hotel and vouchers for food and clothing. The family has until Sunday to find a rental place. Their insurance company said it would be a year before they'd be back in their home.


Neighbor Randy Doby, who was awakened by his barking dog once the flames rose, said it was hard to watch the family see their house burn.


"It was sad," Doby said. "You hated to see that."


Minnear said his two older sons were staying with family and didn't have to experience the fire.


He said his sons have taken it differently.


While sifting through their belongings today, their 12-year-old son, Louis, saw that his favorite teddy bear had melted. Louis was crushed, Minnear said.


Meanwhile, their 6-year-old son was more concerned about his mother missing her DVD movie collection, which melted in the flames.


"It's funny what kids worry about," Minnear said.


Dell documented six instances since December in which notebooks overheated or caught fire. None of the incidents resulted in injuries or death.


Minnear said its hard to imagine that his home computer caused his house to burn down.


"It isn't something you never think about," Minnear said. "I'm just still kind of in shock over the whole thing."






Google's share of U.S. search market dips in July




Arbys Online Marketing & Store Contests Suck




Famster’s hamster wants to network with your mom



Famster is the latest social networking site



SkyscraperCity Forums









News.com > Nanotechnology



Save the Internet Blog



Green Hybrid






Memory Alpha















TechWorld Forums



Intelligence center in action


























Link to comment
Share on other sites

Secrets to becoming an eBay millionaire

7 strategies to help you reach PowerSeller status on the online auction site.



Tudors: Going medieval in style

Based on old English themes, Tudor homes still attract fans in the modern world.



How your child learns

Listening, looking, or doing? Make the most of what works




Iran tests short-range missile

Military training plane catches fire, crashes outside Tehran




Army burning mustard gas in Utah



Residents defy volcano warnings



Navy ship arrives with 7 tons of cocaine



Rhymes busted, charged with assault



Hillary gets ready to run



Karr on flight to Los Angeles



Chance meeting in Paris led spotlight to Karr




Drinking My Own Kool-Aid: Best Posts Page Updated



How a Best Posts Page Will Increase Your Blog Subscribers



Ranking 50 Top Blogs in the Search Space



Google's share of U.S. search market dips in July



"Official" Search Engine Bloggers



Expose: Search Engine Bloggers Tell All



Arbys Online Marketing & Store Contests Suck



If You Can't Google, Yahoo Instead!



A/B Testing For Adsense Is Often Pointless



Famster’s hamster wants to network with your mom







Check for bookmarks with SocialMeter






Thank You For Coming To TechCrunch 7



AmateurIllustrator nails niche social networking



Amateur Illustrator



Amateur Illustrator Forums



Test Your Site's Link Popularity with Socialmeter






links for 2006-08-20



Digg Mobile



Web 2.0 BS Tagline Generator



Video: Behind the scenes at the real-life "24"

First U.S. government intelligence center opens



Business consulting comes to 'Second Life'



'Second Life' brass show off ancient versions



Scientists try to create new universe



10 'most beautiful' cell phones



fosfor gadgets



The top 10 weirdest USB devices



Top 10 most beautiful cellphones



Katrina refugees scattered across U.S.




JonBenet suspect heads to U.S. in style





Science: Morphine Relief Without Addiction?



Y. chemists hoping to ease pain

Morphinelike compound may lack addictiveness





Under the Hood of Quantum Computing



Fun with niobium





Eavesdropping on a Botnet



Botnet Eavesdropping: Inside the Mocbot (MS06-040) Attack



Botnet Hunters Search for 'Command and Control' Servers



Triple-Barreled Trojan Attack Builds Botnets





Molecules Spontaneously Form Honeycomb



Molecules Spontaneously Form Honeycomb Network Featuring Pores Of Unprecedented Size






Polymer 'Muscle' Changes How we Look at Color



Polymer 'muscles' add colour to visual displays







How to Run a Computer in a Sub-Zero Environment?








Writely.com Beta - Google's Answer to Word



Writely.com - Google's answer to Word






China Malware War Gets Personal



China Malware War Gets Personal







Pay By Touch Goes Online



New Pay Buy Touch Online Checkout Service






Upgrading Wi-Fi — What, When, and Why



Upgrading Wi-Fi: What, When, and Why





Are Plasma TVs the Next BetaMax?



The big picture






Google Targets TV Advertising



Google CEO wants $74 billion TV ad market






First Phase of AIDS Vaccine Trials Successful



At least 800 volunteers needed for AIDS vaccine trials




Getting Spied On the European Way



Getting Spied the European Way





Does Google mean resistance is futile



Does Google mean resistance is futile






Digg Card, Get your digg profile on your site



Welcome to DiggCard.com






Huge List of Python Tutorials



Huge List of Python Tutorials









Revealed: world's oldest computer



Revealed: world's oldest computer





UK Police Will Seize Your Encryption Keys



Why you should care about the RIP Act

With police officers poised to get the power to seize encryption keys, how will this affect you and your business?


The RIP Act, eh? Sounds a bit deadly.

You may be more accurate than you think. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, to give it its full name, gives the police and the security services the right to intercept our communications data.


Scary stuff indeed. But wasn't there a big scandal about this a while ago?

That's right. RIPA, as it's affectionately known by some, was passed in October 2000, in the face of widespread opposition that nearly brought the bill down.

So why is it in the news today? Is it terrorist-related?

You're on the right lines. What's new is that the Government is now proposing to activate Part III of RIPA, which has been gathering dust on the statute book for the last six years. Part III gives police the right, in some circumstances, to force a suspect to decrypt their data or hand over an encryption key.


Why do they want such a power?

They say that terrorists and child abusers are increasingly using encryption tools to hide data. One police officer said this week that computers are piling up around the country because they can't be cracked, and suspects are walking free.


But could the powers also be used against businesses?

Some experts believe so. They predict that there could be a rush to move encryption keys out of UK jurisdiction.


Suppose I can't find my encryption key, or never had it?

Failure to supply a key is an offence under section 53 of the Act.

So would I get a slap on the wrist?

You'd be lucky. Brace yourself for two years imprisonment, or up to five if you're suspected of terrorism or paedophilia offences.


All sounds a bit draconian. Still, we live in dangerous and disturbing times. Does anyone oppose activating Part 3 of RIPA?

Plenty of people. The Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR) organised an open meeting in London on Monday to debate the issues. Security experts, academics and members of the House of Lords all raised objections.


What have they found to object to? Anything serious?

Oh yes. It's not clear how the police would actually bring a prosecution for failing to hand over a key. The defendant would have to give a good reason for not complying with an order; perhaps he has simply forgotten where he put the key, or perhaps he never had it and the data belongs to someone else. It's then up to the prosecution to prove that the defendant is lying — and how do you prove someone hasn't forgotten something?


There's also an argument that the Bad Guys will be able to get round the law. Caspar Bowden, a long-time opponent of RIPA, believes you could simply claim that a virus had eaten your key.


Or they could use a tool such as TrueCrypt, which will create an encrypted storage volume that can't be detected.


But isn't the Government paying attention?

Simon Watkin of the Home Office attended the FIPR meeting. He's drafted a Code of Practice that will underpin the Part 3, and is currently seeking views on it. He argued that the police and security services need these powers, and will use them responsibly.


But Richard Clayton of Cambridge University is concerned that it's too easy for someone to deliberately abuse RIPA's powers to obtain personal information. He also wasn't too impressed that the Home Office couldn't spell 'program'.


So how can I influence things?

If you have a time machine in the basement, then you could go back to 2000 and lobby MPs to vote against the RIP Act. If not, your only hope is to take part in the consultation, by downloading the Code of Practice from the Home Office Web site.







Introduction to Socially Driven Political News



Introduction to Socially Driven Political News



Libertarians Are Rallying On Digg



How Michelle Malkin's followers are promoting Digg articles



How Digg Was Sabotaged







How I (color blind person) see the world!



How I (color blind person) see the world!



Can color blind people work as web designers?



Ishihara Test for Color Blindness



Colorblind HomePage







Build Your Own Cat Tree



Build Your Own Cat Tree








Giant Diggnation Mosaic - Revision 2 - TEN THOUSAND icons!






17 year old gets two years for 1 Marijuana joint







Ex-con tries to break back into jail



Ex-con tries to break back into jail







Police abuse man investigating police abuse



PoliceAbuse.org Investigation - Independence, Missouri


3 officers, 1 trooper wounded in Texas



Man confesses to killing 7 in Missouri





I found a whole bunch of videos, perfect for when you're bored to death lol.


Crossing 16 lanes of Highway



Hallucinate from this video clip!



The Best Extreme Tubing Video on the net 40+ ft air



Trampoline Jewel Breaker - OMG that hurts!



Hummer owner owned, pwned!



Skater grinds 33 kinks of rail down a staircase



The REF Owns the ring



Matrix Style Back Flip, well not quite



The Not So Merry Go Round



Bucket Head



Mr. Cool trying to impress the ladies



Diet Coke and Mentos ROCKET Over House



Skater lands in a real bad way. OUCH!



Failed Board Breaking Attempt



Rex Kwon Do! How to be prepared for a street fight



Prankster Falls Flat on His Face



Shark Diving Almost Gone Wrong



Fat Fingers Professional Bowling Tour



Friend Tossing



Deer Gets Revenge



Another Excellent Driver Causing Chaos



Glacier Skier Eludes Deaths Grip in the Bowl



Dude Dragged Around in Lazy Boy



Twister Hits Soccer Game



Amazing Save by Goalie



What would you do with a 500 pound giant rubberband ball?



Extreme Dry Ice Bombs, 2 Close Calls



The Ultimate Slip N Slide + Launch Ramp



Insane Base Jumping



Kid Takes A Spin In The Dryer



Rollerblader Pulls Sweet Grind, Ouch!



Tow Skiing The Side Streets Of Cali Without Snow



Everybody Ready For Jetpack Man?











Ramsey suspect lands in Los Angeles




Lieberman calls on Rumsfeld to resign




ScanSoft's revamped PDF converter



Nuance turns text into speech




FeedCrier, another way to act fast with RSS and IM





Adam Kalsey's blog



pheedo RSS + Weblog marketing solutions



Feed Crier










































































Link to comment
Share on other sites

Boyhood friend struggles with bin Laden's terror



Zimbabweans use it or lose it on last day of money changeover



Sunday school teacher dumped for being female



U.N.: Iran turns away inspectors



Bush: Leaving Iraq now would be a 'disaster'



Air terror 'plot': 11 charged



Britain plot follows recipe of 'Bojinka'



Why the Internet's not all it's cracked up to be

Yes, it has transformed our lives. But at what cost?



Medical tourism agencies take operations overseas

Complex surgery is the latest service to move offshore - and clever businesses are helping cost-conscious patients go under the knife overseas.



Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Wildfires, Earthquakes ... Why We Don't Prepare



The best retirement plan...is simple

It's easier than ever to get into 'sophisticated' investment vehicles. There's a better way to secure your retirement.



What pipeline problem?

Lost in the fallout from BP's shut-down at Prudhoe Bay is the fact that the system is getting better, and oil supplies are growing, says Fortune's Jon Birger.



An even dozen

Tiger fires final-round 68 to breeze to 12th major title



Good-bye grits, hello quinoa



Long training period for Atlantis crew



Engineers swap out bolts on Atlantis



JonBenet suspect awaits court date



How to Beat Schwarzenegger

Democratic challenger Phil Angelides, facing the governor's rebound in the polls, tries to cast himself as a Clinton populist



"Viva La Bam' uncle held on sex charges



A shopping cart that doesn't run into things!



Photog who shot Iwo Jima flag-raising dies



Sunday school teacher dumped for being female



Suspected cop killer shuts Virginia Tech campus



Securing data by scattering the pieces



Infineon gets order for U.S. passport chips



VCs see opportunity in blogosphere



Business consulting comes to 'Second Life'



A virtual world's real-world conference



How to succeed in the gadget biz



Automaker aims to bring clean cars to the masses



SanDisk unveils 8GB music player



New service tracks rise and fall of airline prices






Samsung's 70-inch LCD



SanDisk's 8GB music player



Kozmo it's not, but we'll take it



Kozmo to shut down, lay off 1,100



11 Rising Barriers To Entry for Small Businesses on the Web



SEORockstars - Tuesday at 7:00 EST - Suggestions?






Google's share of U.S. search market dips in July



"Official" Search Engine Bloggers



Expose: Search Engine Bloggers Tell All



Is eBay Dying a Slow, Ugly Death?



Web Analytics Firm ClickTracks Acquired



Free Google Wi-Fi? You Get What You Pay For!



Search Competitors Gaining on Google



Don't Join Washington Post Blogroll for Link Value



Yahoo Has Eye on Tech Start-ups



Tiny Web Firms Bubble to Surface



The Wall Street Jornal Center For Entrepreneurs



Still Waiting for Legal Stance onTrademarks in Subdomains



Can Subdomains Violate a Trademark?



Phishers Luring People With Fake Charity Sites



Why Was Linux Successful (and Will It Stay So)?



Troubleshooting Mistakes



Mobile Design: Quest Against Horizontal Scrolling



Seeing Perl In Google Code



Communication And IT: Still An Uneasy Alliance



Speedo Shows What Podcasting Can Do For Marketing



Blog Out: When Blogging Becomes A Chore



Google Base Adds Traffic Stats



AmateurIllustrator nails niche social networking



FeedCrier, another way to act fast with RSS and IM



Farecast launches for 55 US cities



bullshitr Is Good For a Laugh



Hey Kids! It's The Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator™



Experience Attributes: Crucial DNA of Web 2.0



Web Economy Bullshit Generator



This will change everything.



Create your own Web 2.0 Company



Web 2.0 Generator



Browse The Web From Actors To Shopping To Zoos: Nosearch.com



links for 2006-08-21



AdAge Takes a Reality Check on Blogs, Pods, RSS



Marketing Reality Check: Blogs, Pods, RSS






Splogs Threaten Blogosphere, Wired Says


The September issue of Wired, which is not online just yet, has a significant exposé on spam blogs and the threat they pose to search engines and the blogosphere. The article, written by Charles C. Mann, exposes the underworld of link farms and junk blogs that are designed to generate traffic and advertising clicks. (I will add a link once the article is up.) The piece includes some really interesting points:


* Some 56 percent of active English-language blogs are spam, according to researchers at the University of Maryland

* A survey by Mitesh Vasa in December 2005 found that Blogger.com was hosting more than 100,000 sploggers

* One splogger interviewed by Wired (I'm not going to dignify him with a mention) made over $70,000 in just three months from his network of splogs


The article includes interviews with Anil Dash from Six Apart, Matt Mullenweg from Wordpress, David Sifry from Technorati and Jason Goldman from Blogger. All provide a lot of insight into the splog problem and what they're trying to do to address it. You can clearly see how important this issue is to them and how vexxing it is.


Unfortunately, what's absent from the piece is any accountability directed at the powers that supply these spam blogs with their funds: advertising networks. It seems to me that the splog problem needs to be attacked by not just the publishers and the search engines, but also by the contextual search ad providers who are making it easy for spam bloggers to make money. Google, Yahoo and others will need to raise the requirements for publishers who want to enroll in these lucrative programs. Publishers should have to prove they are legitimate before they can sign up for Adsense or any other contextual ad service. Perhaps a waiting period similar to the one for handguns is a model.


Is it unfair? Sure it is. However, you need to attack this at where the money flows. Otherwise, the spam issue will never abate.






Go Ogle Somebody, Not Google Them




Important Q&A on Googlebot



Pricing Points, Perceived Value And How To Make More Money Per Sale




Tower Collapse a Warning





Working Smarter Fuels Small Biz



While we've all heard the axiom about how most small businesses fail within 2 years, that rule need not apply online. Sure, if you want to spend $10 million to compete with Amazon, your prospects aren't great, but mastering the tools of marketing online enables you to be your own master and say "buh-bye" to working for the man.


According to Reuters, eBay and the increase in online commerce are prompting growth in small businesses. That means more competition for your specialty affiliate site, blog or store, and heightens the urgency of understanding how to milk the most of out technologies like contextual advertising, web analytics, SEO, and RSS.


While having a good product is important, natural search, working the blogosphere and maximizing conversions will ultimately spell success or failure. Unlike days gone by when you could win by paying for store shelf space or an ad in the NYTimes, you can't really buy this knowledge. It takes time and effort to optimize your site and track the evolving technologies by reading every day and attending conferences. Calling up one vendor or consultant and saying "give me the best you got" isn't sufficient because of the ever-changing nature of marketing and advertising technologies.


In today's online reality, being smart trumps deeper pockets. If only our political system worked this way.





EBay fuels growth of sole proprietorships


Online storefronts like eBay have enabled more Americans to go into business for themselves, according to new Census Bureau statistics.


The number of self-employed Americans grew by 1 million, to 19.5 million, between 2003 and 2004. While that represents an increase of roughly 4.7 percent, the number of electronic shopping and mail-order businesses run by sole proprietors ( http://www.inc.com/criticalnews/articles/200608/sole.html ) increased by 12.7 percent over the same period.


"Our merchant base is mostly sole proprietors," said Amanda Pires, spokeswoman for PayPal ( http://www.inc.com/criticalnews/articles/200407/paypal.html ) , an eBay-owned site that allows individuals and companies to accept and send credit card payments online.


"An individual working alone can create a global businesses using eBay," Pires added. "Sellers can turn over their inventory much faster. They get their money instantly so they can send goods immediately. They no longer have to wait to receive a check and the check to clear before they send their goods."


Online retail was not the only category to post significant gains, however. Other sectors experiencing an increase in self-employment ventures included building finishing contractors (up 22.5 percent), Internet service providers (up 18.7 percent) and nail salons (up 14.7 percent).


Currently, sole proprietorships account for 70 percent of all U.S. businesses and generate $887 billion in annual sales.





Consumer Created Web Content Impacting Online Purchases






JupiterResearch Reports The Influence of Consumer-Created Content is Dramatically Affecting Online Businesses









Cleversafe Offers Storage Solution



Cleversafe Dispersed Storage



Cleversafe.Org Wiki





Testing An ASP.NET App With The Default Browser



Second Life Corporate Training With John Hartman



ClickTracks Sold!



Second Life Convention: SL Views And My Views



SL Con. - Building Your Brand And Marketing



Second Life Convention: RL Business In SL



AOL Data Leaked Google Secrets



Tool: What it’s Worth to Rank in Google, Yahoo and MSN




AT&T Yahoo! Collaborate On Photo Sharing



Zazzle Turns To API For Dazzle






Google Mapping KML Applications



SocialPicks enables collaborative investment research



SocialPicks: social stock picks & research



Zooomr launches zoomable picture in picture feature



Zooomr: Photo sharing that speaks your language



Amazon Is Down



Guba starts price war on movie downloads



Hitwise Examines How Three Blogs Grew



Girl with a One-Track Mind - How Blogs Grow



Automaker aims to bring clean cars to the masses



Google welcomes Writely sign-ups



U.S. Open swings for instant replay



Read that Dell battery serial number closely



Friendster scoops up $10 million in funding



Podcast: Why SanDisk thinks it can hurt the iPod



Quote of the day: No more 'little labs' for tech companies



"And to your left, the Stephen Colbert Bridge..."






Deal of the day: $50 off HP PhotoSmart digicam





Poker Driving Artificial Intelligence Research



iPods at War



Irish Company Claims Free Energy



Network Algorithmics




















Link to comment
Share on other sites

Car Owners to be Notified of Blackboxes in Vehicle





Spies Riding Shotgun






With Data Recorders, Big Brother is Riding Shotgun



Someday it'll happen, probably when you least expect it.

Systems like OnStar use 4-inch square boxes known as event data recorders or crash data recorders to collect driving information.


Just as you countersteer while drifting out of a tight corner or after you punch the brakes hard, you'll hear the mechanically animated female voice emanating from your car's audio system: "Collision detected. Calling OnStar."


You need not be anywhere close to a collision, really. During one road test this summer, it was just a matter of running a routine slalom in a Chevrolet Malibu Maxx — without so much as hitting a rubber cone — when OnStar called to check.


If you're anything like the test drivers, it won't be until after you've explained to the distant helper that you didn't have an accident, the airbags did not deploy and you don't need assistance, that you'll begin to experience an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach.


How'd they know you were driving like that? What else do they know? And who else knows?


Welcome to Paranoiaville — the driving equivalent of George Orwell's "1984," brought to life in the post-9/11 world of Homeland Security.


Your first impulse might be to complain of the intrusion to those behind the bright blue OnStar button, but here's a flash: You should be far more alarmed by what alerted OnStar in the first place — the black box insidiously hard-wired into your car's electronic guts, unstoppable, unalterable, and unbeknownst to most drivers, silently recording every dramatic move.


These 4-inch square boxes (actually silver, not black) — known as event data recorders or crash data recorders — collect an array of information every five seconds. Unlike aircraft recorders pulled from plane crash wreckage, these devices don't record cockpit voices or such a wide range of information over such a long period, but they do constantly record everything from seat belt use and airbag deployment to throttle position and braking action — information retained the moment G-forces, called g's, indicate that a crash is imminent.


The threshold at which the recorder begins saving data or sending a call to OnStar for help varies depending on the vehicle. It typically falls in a range of 1.0 to 2.0 g's. At the low end, the module wakes up and begins retaining recorded information, followed by a second threshold, typically when the airbag deploys, when additional data are saved. Once retained, the data typically are retrievable for as long as 250 ignition cycles, or about 45 days on average.


In short, data from these recorders can paint a fairly descriptive picture of exactly what occurred in a vehicle in the critical moments immediately before, during and after a crash. Used as intended, data help safety engineers make cars safer — and help companies cut their product liability risks — by learning from information collected during collisions.


"You can't shut it off, and you can't manipulate it," says General Motors safety engineering spokesman Jim Schell. Other event data recorders help mechanics get to the bottom of service problems, sometimes without a customer even driving into the service bay. Similarly, OnStar and other helpful on-board services can provide directions and information, track stolen vehicles, send help in emergencies and even save lives.


As with most technology, though, unintended consequences are often the rule, not the exception. If someone's Chevrolet Tahoe records a 1.0-g ramp maneuver and calls OnStar, does that information help clear GM of liability after the SUV unexpectedly rolls over five miles down the road?


Or take the driver who races his Miata one weekend and files a warranty claim the next. What are the chances that his data recorder will rat him out to the manufacturer who then voids the warranty? And who is to say that recording a few seconds of data might not lead to recording a few more seconds, and a few more seconds, until automotive black boxes record and retain information constantly just like the ones on planes?


"It all seems to be going toward the idea of tracking people as much as possible so companies can wring as much money as possible out of people," warns Eric Skrum of the National Motorists Association, a Wisconsin drivers' rights group. "Most people don't even realize it's there, and nothing addresses who owns that information."


OnStar says it, too, is opposed to giving information from its subscribers, but for purposes of record-keeping the company does retain information from collisions and near-collisions for as long as 18 months at a time.


Although it uses global-positioning technology, OnStar won't track down a cheating spouse, but plenty of companies using similar technology will be more than happy to trace a car's movements — for a fee.


And while auto companies and the public remain as divided as the red and blue states of the U.S. electorate on what information should be recorded by event data recorders and who should have access to it, police, government regulators, insurers and the legal community already are lined up and ready to reach into the car's internals and retrieve information.


"The technology is there, and it will do more than we can imagine," Skrum said. "There are no safeguards in place, no protections for the motorist."


Government regulators obviously have a keen interest in the development and proliferation of data recorders. Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says automakers are installing event data recorders on their own fast enough without any regulations in place, the agency has proposed a rule mandating a standard by 2008 for all those voluntarily installed event data recorders. The rule proposes that recorders collect as many as 42 points of common data readily downloadable by anyone with the proper equipment, expertise and authority.


The rule is still under review, with adoption a year or more away. But in all likelihood it will go into effect despite public sentiment that so far is running 10-to-1 opposed, judging by public comment on NHTSA's website.


David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, worries about the unintended consequences — and abuses — of data recorder technology. Today the recorders are collecting data for five seconds, but Sobel doesn't doubt that "at some point somebody will suggest recording five minutes or more" that could, for instance, allow police to ticket a speeder without ever witnessing the driver speeding.


"There are many potential uses of this technology that are yet to be conceived of," Sobel says.


Lining up on the other side of the argument are safety advocates, police, crash reconstructionists, insurance companies and black-box manufacturers.


The National Transportation Safety Board called for requiring standardized recorders in all light-duty vehicles after it was unable to ascertain what happened when an elderly driver plowed through a farmer's market in Santa Monica, Calif., last year, killing and injuring scores of people.


Board spokesman Keith Holloway said public concerns about personal privacy shouldn't get in the way of providing a valuable tool for accident investigators.


"We don't want to record someone's whole route," Holloway says. "We're focusing on the last few seconds before an accident. Granted, some people could use that information (in criminal prosecutions or lawsuits), but that is not our concern."


Former NHTSA administrator Ricardo Martinez, who now heads Safety Intelligence Systems, a black-box manufacturer in Atlanta, has urged NHTSA since 2001 to mandate data recorders in cars.


Though most crash reconstructionists argue that recorder data are merely a supplement to a careful on-scene investigation, Martinez argues that crash scene investigations are expensive, time-consuming and often inaccurate. For instance, investigators can no longer rely on skid-mark evidence because cars equipped with antilock brakes, traction control and stability systems often don't leave skid marks on the pavement.


Even Canadians have weighed in, sharing experiences on how recorder data have helped to convict — and to clear — Canadian drivers in crashes. On the one hand, a black box helped convict a Quebec driver in a fatal crash even though he claimed the driver who was killed was at fault.


But in another case, black-box evidence cleared a driver in a fatal chain-reaction crash in Ontario despite witness testimony that the crash was triggered by a reckless driver.


Similar cases have cropped up in the United States as well, including a case in which recorder data helped convict the driver of a Ferrari who crossed the center line at high speed and hit an oncoming car, killing the driver.


In another fatal accident case, though, a Florida driver used recorder data to prove that he wasn't speeding and beat the rap.


If there's a bright spot in the black-box debate, it's that almost everyone agrees that proliferation of the data recorders must come with strong rules governing notification of the technology's presence in the vehicle and what it might record, who owns the data, how the data can be used and who can legally obtain them.


"Those rules are not anywhere close," warns Barry Steinhardt, of the American Civil Liberties Union's Technology and Liberty Program.


"The technology is growing at the speed of light, and the laws are back in the Stone Age. We're not saying 'Smash the black — actually they're silver — boxes.' But we've yet to establish a legal regime that can put some chains on this growing surveillance monster."


For now, simple notification that a recorder is aboard is about all a person can expect, and some companies don't even do that. But what's the likelihood that such notices will be read and understood any more than those long legal disclaimers people skip past when they're installing software on their personal computers? Notification matters in courts and to lawyers. But for Joe Public, it's mostly a lot of empty words.


Even the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a private safety research agency that rarely finds fault with greater regulation on America's cars and trucks, has concerns that valuable crash data from the recorders may be lost for research purposes if privacy protections aren't part of the package.


The agency's Adrian Lund also expressed concern that if federal regulations demand that the data recorders monitor too many safety systems, automakers may leave safety technology off their cars to avoid engineering the monitoring of those systems.


So far, California is at the forefront of black-box regulation. In July, the state approved a wide-ranging data recorder law requiring manufacturer notification to buyers and specifying that recorder data are the property of the vehicle owner or lessee and can be downloaded only with the owner's permission or through a court order.


But smart cops are way ahead of the law. Sgt. Tim Brown, a Michigan State Police crash investigator who is a seasoned veteran in this field as a result of downloading some 50 data recorders from crashed cars in the past two years, recommends getting a search warrant to download the data.


Automakers see the writing on the wall and already are incorporating notice of data recorders into owner's manuals. But even if a driver happens to read the disclaimer, there's little he or she can do to prevent the device from recording data short of shorting out the car's airbags and other safety systems.


So much for the enemy you can't see. What about the one you can?


OnStar gets enough emergency calls to keep a library of rescue "true story" commercials on TV and radio, 11,000 blue button pushes a month and another 700 automatic notifications due to airbag deployments.


While we might appreciate a call from an OnStar adviser if we're upside down in a ditch, we might not always want someone looking over our driving shoulder. But forget about the urban legends — what can all this stuff really do?


Eavesdropping, for one. In California, a federal court slapped the hands of investigators who tapped into illicit in-vehicle conversations via the car's built-in communications system (not OnStar), but the ruling did not focus on privacy issues.


Rather, the court held that using the system to eavesdrop on vehicle occupants interfered with the system's contractual obligation to provide emergency services and communications to the vehicle owner.


Though service providers such as OnStar and ATX Group Inc. of Irving, Texas (used in many Mercedes, BMW and Rolls-Royce vehicles), contend that surreptitious eavesdropping isn't possible without setting off a series of warnings, privacy advocates warn that it won't be long before the long arm of the law finds a way around those alerts. Then there's global positioning satellite data to consider.


OnStar says it won't track a customer's vehicle unless the vehicle is reported stolen to police. Then, OnStar deals directly with the police, rather than the subscriber, to locate the vehicle. Furthermore, once a customer declines service and quits paying, the electronics in the vehicle are deactivated, and OnStar cannot initiate a new connection.


OnStar — the industry's largest provider of on-board safety and security systems with 2.7 million subscribers and systems built into most GM models sold in recent years (as well as Audi, Volkswagen, Acura, Subaru, Isuzu and Lexus vehicles) — promises to be a strong gatekeeper when it comes to privacy.


"Privacy is a huge concern to this company," says OnStar spokesman Terry Sullivan. "We're always going to err on the side of the angels, and we're going to protect the privacy of our customers." But that privacy doesn't extend to sharing OnStar data within the giant corporation, where the marketing side may find a driver's OnStar data helpful to the next sales campaign.


Others have similar privacy policies and systems. ATX policy calls for challenging court orders that seek to track vehicles equipped with ATX.


"Law enforcement has learned that a system like ours or OnStar's isn't a good tracking or eavesdropping tool," says Gary Wallace, ATX vice president of corporate relations. "They know they can do it faster and easier themselves."


LoJack Corp. of Westwood, Mass., is a company with operations in 25 countries that tracks stolen vehicles. LoJack has some of the same public relations problems as OnStar: Paranoid people think the company's tracking equipment can keep tabs on a subscriber's whereabouts at all times. That's not true, says Pat Clancy, LoJack vice president of law enforcement.


"The only way a LoJack unit can be activated is through stolen vehicle reports," Clancy says. A customer might try to track a cheating spouse by filing a false stolen car report, but only the police will ultimately know the vehicle's location.


Police also find that activating a LoJack unit to serve as a tracking beacon for surveillance often has the opposite effect. The beacon attracts marked patrol cars with LoJack tracking equipment from every jurisdiction it enters, ending any hope of surveillance.


Rental car companies also have come under fire for using global positioning satellite data to track driving habits, and once again, California is on the forefront of rule making. In August, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law prohibiting rental car companies from using global positioning satellite data to enforce speed and in-state driving restrictions.


Similarly, faced with consumer complaints and a state government order, Acme Rent-A-Car in Connecticut has abandoned a strategy of charging extra fees based on black-box data showing that customers had exceeded the speed limit.


For those looking for other things to worry about, consider this: Oregon is working on a toll-road system that downloads global positioning satellite data and odometer readings at the gasoline pump to collect fuel taxes on each gallon based on the amount a motorist drives. Similar systems are in place for truckers in some European countries, but Oregon's system proposes that all motorists come under the user-pay tracking system. Some 15 other states are looking into the concept.


While the data theoretically would be collected strictly for calculating equitable road taxes, even the task force working on the system recommends that "legal safeguards be built into any GPS-based mileage fee to prevent anyone other than the vehicle owner/operator from knowing the vehicle's movements without the consent of the vehicle owner/operator."


Here's the kicker: Because the travel data would be managed by private vendors, presumably to save money and government red tape, any legal privacy protections governing those data go out the window.


"In a free society with free people, you should only have to give out information to those you want it to go to," says Don Harkins, editor of The Idaho Observer, a newspaper in Spirit Lake, Idaho. "It should not be collected and collated by people you don't know. It's none of their damn business."


So what if you really do want to keep track of an errant teen, a malingering worker or a suspect spouse? Besides private investigators, plenty of tracking-specific companies are ready to jump into the fray.


Reynolds and Reynolds Co.'s Networkcar unit promises to keep track of your teen driver via global positioning technology for $995 for the first year, and GPSi LLC will outfit a car with a system called Guidepoint that allows satellite tracking, early theft warning and roadside service. The Pontiac, Mich., company says it has done business with those who want to keep an eye on Junior or follow a spouse's path to a paramour's place.


"We don't endorse that, but we have some customers who have bought our system for that purpose," says Brian Edwards, the company's vice president of corporate development.


As in the case of black boxes, there is little law governing who owns the information and who can get it.


"We're very aware that's a law waiting to be written," Edwards says.


In an ominous twist, insurer Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. is forging ahead with a plan to give customers a discount on car insurance premiums by taking advantage of the black boxes.


Progressive's TripSense test program in Minnesota, which is likely headed for a nationwide introduction in a year, allows customers to install monitors on their cars that record speed, miles traveled and time of day that the driving occurred. Those who drive less, at lower speeds, and at safer times of day, can save as much as 15 percent on their car insurance premiums.


Some already see uses such as Progressive's as the first step to constant monitoring of the driving public. Jim Haas, Progressive's Minnesota product manager, admits that some insurers may decide to tie insurability and risk to use of the box.


"We can't control what other companies do," he says, "but I don't think we're ever going to get to a point where we're saying we won't insure you unless you have this device."











New rule: Car buyers must be told about 'black boxes'


Rule will also require a uniform set of data be recorded, making it easier to use.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has passed a regulation requiring car makers to inform customers when their car has been equipped with an Event Data Recorder, the agency said Monday.


EDRs, similar to "black boxes" used in commercial airliners, record data about what a car is doing in the moments just before and after a crash. They do not record the voices of occupants but they do record things like speed, steering wheel movement, how hard the brakes are being pressed and the actual movement of the car itself.


About 64 percent of model year 2005 cars were equipped with EDRs, according to NHTSA. Some manufacturer's already include information about the EDR in the owners manual, but not all, said Rae Tyson, a spokesman for NHTSA.


"If you have a new vehicle, chances are it's got one," he said.


Data from the recorders is used by law enforcement and attorneys to recreate events directly leading up to an accident. Data is also used by car companies to research how cars and drivers perform in actual crashes.


Some privacy advocates have expressed concern that the data, which can be used as evidence in court cases, is being collected without the knowledge of vehicle owners and drivers.


The devices are virtually impossible to disable because their functioning is so tightly integrated with vehicle safety systems such as airbags and anti-lock brakes.


Several states have already passed laws that restrict how the data can be used.


Car companies must comply with the new regulation beginning in the 2011 model year. Information about the EDR, if one is installed, will have to be included in the vehicle's owner's manual.


The new rule also requires EDRs to collect a uniform set of data. Having access to uniform data will help investigators to recreate crashes and determine causes, the agency said.


More-uniform data will also make it easier to develop systems so that, in cars equipped with automatic 911 emergency notification, data about the crash can also be passed along to paramedics and ambulance crews.


The data can also be used to research better road designs and ways to better protect young and old drivers, said Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for the New York chapter of AAA.


AAA had previously expressed concern to NHTSA about privacy issues that might hamper public acceptance of the systems. Those concerns seem to be addressed by the new rule, Sinclair said.





Car Owners to be Notified of Blackboxes in Vehicle






Spies Riding Shotgun






Big Brother In Your Front Seat




Drivers let Big Brother in to get a break





With Data Recorders, Big Brother is Riding Shotgun








AOL CTO Shown the Door




AOL chief technology officer resigns: sources


NEW YORK (Reuters) - AOL chief technology officer Maureen Govern, who oversaw the division responsible for accidentally releasing search data for more than a half a millions Internet users, has resigned from the company, according to an internal company memorandum.


John McKinley, AOL's former CTO, will take over on an interim basis, according to the memo obtained by Reuters on Monday. Govern joined the company last September.


AOL declined comment.


AOL apologized on August 7 for releasing information onto the Web about 20 million keyword searches from about 658,000 anonymous users over a three-month period. Disclosing the data was against company policy, AOL said at the time.


The release of data by the online division of media conglomerate Time Warner Inc. drew the ire of privacy advocates, who called for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to review the company's customer data retention practices.


Collecting and sharing Internet user data for any purpose is under close scrutiny by privacy watchdogs. Internet search leader Google Inc. won plaudits for refusing to comply with U.S. government demands to hand over search data.


A researcher in AOL's technology research department and the employee's supervisor have also left the company in the wake of the disclosure, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.


In response to a torrent of criticism across the Internet, AOL also said it plans to create a task force to review its customer information privacy policy.


"We have to earn their trust each and every day and with each and every action we take," AOL Chief Executive Jonathan Miller wrote in a separate memo obtained by Reuters.


The task force, headed by AOL Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis and AOL General Counsel Randy Boe, plans to review the company's data collection and retention policies, according to the memo.


AOL currently stores search data that can identify users for 30 days. Anonymous search data, the kind divulged by AOL in early August, is stored indefinitely, the source said.


Privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a complaint with the FTC last week requesting an investigation into AOL's privacy practices, arguing that the Internet provider did not need to store such search data.


AOL's task force will also review other measures to protect users, including ways to prevent the storage of any sensitive data in the research database that include 16 digits, like those of many credit cards, the source said.


Time Warner shares fell 5 cents to $16.45 on the New York Stock Exchange.







Download Torrents With Your PC Turned Off




ISS Construction Resumes



Some Bands Still Refuse Music Downloads



Goldfish Smarter Than Dolphins



Scientist: Dolphins are stupid





































Biofuel Production to Cause Water Shortages?



Food, biofuels could worsen water shortages: report



Writely Open For All



YouTube Ripe For Purchase By Apple?



AOL's Data Valdez Takes First Staff Casualties



Selling Out The AOL User



AOL Execs: These Are Our Darkest Days



NetRatings Gives Google A Lift



Fox Streams More TV to Internet



Google's U.S. market share rise halts in July



Amazon suffers site outage



Homeland security chief promises privacy safeguards



9/11 conspiracy theories rampant



Conspiracy theorists blog that Flight 93 photo is fake



The 9-11 Commission Report

Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Official Government Edition



The 9/11 Truth Movement






Teens lash out at food marketers


Five teens from Bend, Ore., have started an online film project to attack the food-marketing industry that sells them junk foods.


Playing on the Internet zeitgeist, the high-schoolers have launched a blog and online film contest to solicit as many as 10,000 videos from other kids on the subject of annoying food-marketing.


"Our culture is making our youth fat, sedentary and unhealthy at unheard of rates--one cause is the 24/7 'big marketing'?coming from all directions," according to the blog, which is called Get Outta My Face.


"The very 'screens' and video games that are being targeted as the cause of these challenges could also be the catalyst to solutions."


The teens ask their peers to send in a 30 to 90 second digital video that conveys a funny or irreverent take on marketing to kids--and entrants could win $500. The group of teens plan to make a film about the process, in the mold of the Holocaust-education documentary, Paper Clips.


The blogger Filmkidzzz has already tried to get the creative juices flowing.


"I am gonna get my friend who draws animae to make me a character that fights a fat globby cheese while chasing its big butt down a trail on a mountain bike," according to Filmkidzzz. "Now don't copy my idea - get your own!!!"












What is causing Dell laptop batteries to explode



What is causing Dell laptop batteries to explode? Is my battery at risk?



How Electricity Works



How Batteries Work



How Laptops Work






12-Foot Inflatable Home Theatre, Minus The Theatre



12-Foot Inflatable Home Theatre, Minus The Theatre





The Robots Are Coming!



The Robots Are Coming!





FBI software doesn't exactly work



FBI software doesn't exactly work





Youths on MySpace and similar sites aren't cautious about surfing the Web



Social-networking sites a 'hotbed' for spyware

Youths on MySpace and similar sites aren't cautious about surfing the Web

















































Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Plot To Hijack Your Computer

They watch you surf the Web. They plague you with pop-up ads. Then they cripple your hard drive


Consumers have strong opinions about Direct Revenue's software. "If I ever meet anyone from your company, I will kill you," a person who identified himself as James Chang said in an e-mail to Direct Revenue last summer. "I will f------ kill you and your families." Such sentiments aren't unusual. "You people are EVIL personified," Kevin Horton wrote around the same time. "I would like the four hours of my life back I have wasted trying to get your stupid uninvited software off my now crippled system."



Sifting through a stack of customer complaints in June, 2005, a Direct Revenue employee decided to tally the most frequently used words of aggression: "die" (103 times), "f------" (44), and "kill" (15). Douglas Kee, then Direct Revenue's chief of quality assurance (QA), ribbed colleagues in an e-mail that with all the death threats, it was a "good thing QA sits farthest away from the entrance."


According to angry consumers and the New York State Attorney General, Direct Revenue makes "spyware." These programs track where you go on the Internet and clutter your screen with annoying pop-up advertisements for everything from pornography to wireless phone plans. Spyware can get stuck in your computer's hard drive as you shop, chat, or download a song. It might arrive attached to that clever video you just nabbed at no charge. Web security company McAfee Inc. (MFE ) estimates that nearly three-quarters of all sites listed in response to Internet searches for popular phrases like "free screen savers" or "digital music" attempt to install some form of advertising software in visitors' computers. Once lodged there, spyware can sap a PC's processing power, slow its functioning, and even cause it to crash.


This explains the vitriol aimed at Direct Revenue. The company, located in a loft above a clothing boutique in New York's hip SoHo district, has been a pioneer in a seamy corner of the booming Net advertising industry. Although it is small by some corporate standards, having generated sales of about $100 million since its start in 2002, its programs have burrowed into nearly 100 million computers and produced billions of pop-up ads.


Direct Revenue's swift rise illustrates the intertwining of spyware and mainstream online marketing. The Web is the hottest game in advertising, but what's rarely acknowledged is the extent to which unsavory pop-ups boost the returns. Here's how it often works: Sellers of advertising, ranging from giant Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO ) to much smaller networks, recruit clients, tally the clicks their ads generate, and charge accordingly. But then Yahoo and the other advertising companies sign up partners that distribute the ads beyond their own sites in return for a fee, and those partners sign up other partners. Down the line, a big piece of the business winds up in the hands of outfits like Direct Revenue, which disseminate the ads as pop-ups and share revenue with their more mainstream partners. Some advertisers say their messages have appeared in pop-ups without their permission. Others seek out pop-ups, and Direct Revenue frequently sells ads directly to such advertisers.


Spyware rakes in an estimated $2 billion a year in revenue, or about 11% of all Internet ad business, says the research firm IT-Harvest. Direct Revenue's direct customers have included such giants as Delta Air Lines (DALRQ ) and Cingular Wireless. It has sold millions of dollars of advertising passed along by Yahoo. And Direct Revenue has received venture capital from the likes of Insight Venture Partners, a respected New York investment firm.



Many of those impressive ties have frayed or ripped apart recently as Direct Revenue has struggled to fend off a lawsuit filed in April by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The state court action alleges that Direct Revenue crossed a legal line by installing advertising programs in millions of computers without users' consent. Shining a light on the shadowy spyware trade, the suit asserts that the company violated New York civil laws against false advertising, computer tampering, and trespassing.


This article is based in part on more than 1,000 pages of Direct Revenue's internal e-mail and other documents included in court filings. BusinessWeek has reviewed additional documents and interviewed dozens of industry insiders, including 12 current and former Direct Revenue employees and executives.


The company denies any wrongdoing. In a filing in June, it calls the Spitzer suit "much ado about nothing" and defends its past practices as "commonplace" in the industry. It calls its programs "adware" and says it has notified consumers when putting the programs on their computers. It insists that some of the methods Spitzer assails "were long ago changed." And it argues that by accepting its ads, consumers get popular software applications free of charge that otherwise can cost up to $30 apiece.


In the wake of the litigation, Direct Revenue has shrunk in size, but it remains an important player on the spyware scene. Thousands of people still complain each month to Web security firms about new computer infections caused by Direct Revenue programs (although many users are baffled about what's causing the maladies). And a new generation of spyware purveyors of equal or greater potency is imitating Direct Revenue's strategies, infuriating customers, and threatening to taint the larger business of online advertising. Chances are you have some of their handiwork hidden within your hard drive right now.



Direct Revenue's origins trace the rise of what might politely be called one of the more freewheeling sectors of Internet commerce. The company's sales philosophy, according to current and former employees, was heavily shaped by Jesse Stein, a Wharton School-educated marketer whose successes before joining the company included selling VigRX, an herbal penile-enlargement supplement. VigRX may sound familiar because, to win customers, Stein inundated e-mail in-boxes with spam promoting the product. In 2003, when the ABC News (DIS ) 20/20 program identified what it said were the biggest online spammers, it featured VigRX and showed one of Stein's e-mails. He reveled in the notoriety. On his desk at Direct Revenue, Stein, now 36, kept a framed 20/20 screen shot of his VigRX spam, former colleagues say.


His eventual boss, Joshua Abram, came to online hawking from a different angle. His family has a rich history of public service. Abram's late father, Morris, was a civil rights activist in the 1960s who later served as president of Brandeis University and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George H.W. Bush. Joshua's sister, Ruth, heads the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York.


In 1999 Joshua Abram helped start Dash.com, a benign precursor to later spyware operations. Dash attached an unobtrusive horizontal bar to the bottom of a computer user's Web browser. As the user moved around the Internet, Dash would note the sites being visited and offer relevant text ads inside the narrow bar. Dash went out of its way to ask users' permission to install the ad bar, and the company even shared its fees with consumers who made purchases. But Dash's tactful text ads drew relatively few clicks, and its fee-sharing became an administrative nightmare. As the Internet market imploded in 2001, Dash folded.


Abram, known for wearing stylish suits amid a sea of techie grunge, kept developing ad software with several colleagues. They joined a broad post-bust move toward treating customers with less respect. One of the new spyware variants he helped create was called VX2, which a former colleague and computer security professionals believe was named after the deadly, undetectable VX nerve agent. In 2002, Abram, a father of two and husband of a fashion-industry executive, started Direct Revenue. His co-founders were fellow Dash alumnus Daniel Kaufman and a pair of data-mining entrepreneurs from a company called Pipe9, Alan Murray and Rodney Hook. The next year, Direct Revenue did business with and then acquired Stein's online ad agency, forming a spyware powerhouse. Stein declined to comment. The four founders didn't respond to numerous inquiries.


By early 2004, Direct Revenue, with Abram as CEO, had settled into its SoHo loft, employing two dozen programmers and salespeople. Current and former staff members say the place had an informal, often cynical atmosphere. The unsophisticated computer users subjected to Direct Revenue's ads had a nickname among some staffers: "trailer cash."


Knowledgeable consumers can reduce the risk of spyware infection by using widely available security software and steering clear of free online goodies. Direct Revenue and its rivals -- companies with such names as eXact Advertising and Zango -- say they employ "user agreements" that notify individuals when they are about to download their software. But the agreements typically can be found only by clicking on links deep within separate legal agreements related to the online freebies. The documents tend to be lengthy and opaque. Large numbers of Internet users who lack adequate security software and fail to read the legalese make themselves vulnerable.



Once embedded in your hard drive, spyware communicates via the Internet with the company that produced it. The company's computer keeps track of your online meanderings and sends you pop-up ads relevant to the sites you visit. The travel-booking sites Travelocity (TSG ) and Priceline.com (PCLN ) have both been direct customers of Direct Revenue. People who picked up Direct Revenue spyware and then perused flights on Travelocity might find their screens obstructed by a pop-up for Priceline, or vice-versa. The travel sites say they stopped doing business with the company earlier this year.


Direct Revenue and other ad software creators struggle to balance an impulse to pump out waves of profitable pop-ups against the danger of enraging consumers who lose control of their computers. "Most of these companies can't overcome their desire to make the most money right away," says Sam Curry, vice-president for product management at Computer Associates International Inc. in Islandia, N.Y. (CA )


From early on, a small group of programmers at Direct Revenue focused on how to protect their employer's programs once they were lodged in a computer, current and former employees say. The team called itself Dark Arts after the term for evil magic in the Harry Potter series. One of the biggest threats Dark Arts addressed came from competing software. The presence of multiple spyware programs can so cripple a computer that no ads manage to get seen.


Dark Arts crafted software "torpedoes" that blasted rival spyware off computers' hard drives. Competitors aimed similar weapons back at Direct Revenue's software, but few could match the wizardry of Dark Arts. One adversary, Avenue Media, filed suit in federal court in Seattle in 2004, alleging that in a matter of days, Direct Revenue torpedoes had cut in half the number of people using one of Avenue Media's programs. The suit settled without money changing hands, according to an attorney for Avenue Media, which is based in Curaçao. "This is ad warfare," explains former Direct Revenue product manager Reza Khan. "Only the toughest and stickiest codes survive."


In light of the Dark Arts stratagems, Direct Revenue management in early 2004 procured from its lawyers a modified user agreement that would supposedly be shown to PC owners. Within the densely written seven-page document was a declaration that Direct Revenue "could remove, disable, or render inoperative other adware programs resident on your computer, which, in turn, may...have other adverse impacts on your computer."


Abram presented the new agreement to his troops with an impudence befitting the Dark Arts crew. "It's a lawyer-approved license to kill," the CEO said in a February, 2004, e-mail. He urged some restraint because at the time potential investors were examining the company: "I would think twice about going too aggressively on the offense during [due] diligence." But he added: "Obviously, if we find someone is slaughtering us in the interim, we should not wait to counter."


"It was like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons," a current Direct Revenue manager says, and it was becoming lucrative. An ad software shop generally charges advertisers up to a penny a day for each computer that showcases its ads. A company with access to 10 million computers can make about $100,000 a day. With its "install base" soaring to more than 20 million computers by late 2004, Direct Revenue's annual sales rose 450%, to $39 million. Its four founders took home a combined $23 million, with Abram enjoying the biggest share: $8.1 million.


This cash geyser drew investors' attention. Insight Venture Partners, which has among its advisers Robert E. Rubin, former Treasury Secretary and now chairman of the executive committee at Citigroup (C ), poured in $27 million, court filings show. Andrew J. Levander, a lawyer for Insight, says the firm's pre- investment due diligence "did not raise any issues concerning the lawfulness of Direct Revenue's disclosure and distribution practices." Rubin wasn't involved with the investment, Levander says. When Insight learns of complaints, he adds, it works with the company to address them.


Complaints were certainly not in short supply. "You have 24 hours to provide me with a removal tool for your piece of crap spyware program," Joe LoMoglio e-mailed the company in September, 2004. "Your pop-up ads popped up a few porn sites while my 6- and 9-year-old children were using the computer." Reached by e-mail, LoMoglio says the company "refused to respond."


As Direct Revenue surged in late 2004, its hyperactive sales force profited as well. Several top performers took home more than $300,000 apiece that year, current and former employees say, and a celebratory mood enveloped the fourth-floor ad-sales department. On Friday afternoons, employees opened bottles of beer, and Paul Nute, a top sales executive, occasionally blasted the pop song Everybody's Working for the Weekend.


Nute had a trademark line for corporate sales pitches, according to current and former sales employees. "It's like crack," he would say. "Once you try it, you'll keep coming back for more." Nute declined to comment.


By early 2005, Direct Revenue had notched deals with JPMorgan Chase, Delta, and the Internet phone company Vonage, according to former sales staffers and Direct Revenue documents. Cingular Wireless spent more than $100,000 a month at the peak of its relationship with Direct Revenue, current and former employees say. Direct Revenue put Cingular pop-ups in front of other phone companies' Web sites and news sites such as the one affiliated with tech magazine Wired. Vonage, meanwhile, was billed $110 for each customer that Direct Revenue delivered, according to a sales report from July, 2005. For that month, Direct Revenue billed Vonage for 287 new customers, or $31,570.


JPMorgan Chase confirms that it advertised with a Direct Revenue unit through the middle of last year, but says it was unaware of any spyware activity. Delta and Cingular declined to comment. Vonage didn't respond to inquiries.



By mid-2005, Direct Revenue had grown to more than 100 employees, and its practices were drawing public notice. Bloggers, invoking the right to be free of uninvited ads, singled out Direct Revenue. Benjamin Edelman, a prominent Internet consultant and spyware foe in Cambridge, Mass., tried to shame advertisers away from Direct Revenue by displaying on his site the names of companies that appeared in Direct Revenue pop-ups. Jules Neuringer, owner of Portronix, a Brooklyn (N.Y.) computer-service firm, says that during this period about a dozen of his small-business clients complained about Direct Revenue spyware. Of these, he says he "was never able to bring an infected computer back to pristine operating condition."


Direct Revenue insiders knew they were alienating consumers and even made tentative moves to clean up their act, court filings show. But when the result was fewer people getting stuck with its software, Direct Revenue pulled back from reforms.


In early 2005 the company was bundling its products with a file-sharing program called Morpheus, which users could download onto their computers. Morpheus required that Direct Revenue make its software easy to spot in a computer's "Add/Remove" panel, which is the registry where a user can find most legitimate software and delete it. Direct Revenue agreed at first but after a few months noticed that thousands of new users it gained via Morpheus were quickly deleting the ad software. Kaufman, a co-founder of Direct Revenue, sent an e-mail to colleagues in February, 2005, saying the company should drop the Mr. Nice Guy routine. "We need to experiment with less user-friendly uninstall methodologies," he wrote. The distribution agreement with Morpheus ended within three months.



The same ambivalence was evident in April, 2005, when Direct Revenue released a concoction known as Aurora. The program clearly labeled ads as coming from the company, a gesture designed to build credibility. But Aurora had powerful features that fought off competing spyware and security programs. The company also raised the number of pop-ups it sent users to as many as 30 a day.


Disaster ensued, as Aurora paralyzed thousands of computers. Matt Oettinger, who ran media operations at Fastclick (VCLK ), an advertising network that bought ads from Direct Revenue, found his home PC afflicted by Aurora, e-mails in court filings show. In June he ordered all Fastclick ads disentangled from Aurora. Branko Krmpotic, the managing director of Technology Investment Capital Corp. (TICC) (TICC ), which had invested $6.7 million in Direct Revenue, also caught the Aurora bug and couldn't kill it, according to e-mails. Eventually, Direct Revenue had to send its customer support director to fix Krmpotic's machine. After receiving complaints about Aurora, Insight Venture, another major investor, told the company to remove Insight's name from the Direct Revenue Web site. Fastclick declined to comment; Krmpotic didn't return calls.


Even Aurora's creators fell victim as the program froze computers at Direct Revenue. One sales staffer, Judit Major, documented receiving more than 30 pop-up ads in one day, according to e-mails. Her computer crashed four times. "We are serving WAY TOO MANY pops per hour," wrote Chief Technology Officer Daniel Doman in a June e-mail to the company's brass. "If we overdo it, we will really drive users to get us the hell [off] their machine. We need to BACK OFF or we will kill our base."


By then consumer complaints were pouring in to Attorney General Spitzer's office. He filed suit in April, after his staff had hauled away 150 boxes of the company's e-mails. Spitzer alleges that he found numerous examples of Direct Revenue spyware downloaded with misleading user agreements or no disclosure at all. In many cases, the download was performed by a distributor on behalf of Direct Revenue, but company executives repeatedly conceded in e-mail that users were in the dark about how its programs got into their computers. This, Spitzer argues, amounts to illegal deception.



A Direct Revenue spokesman, Michael Spinney, says the company is "mystified" by Spitzer's allegations. It cleansed its practices more than nine months ago, Spinney says, and now puts its name on all its pop-up ads. It also now makes its software available for deletion in a computer's Add/Remove Programs registry and has limited its use of distributors. Before these changes, Spinney asserts, Direct Revenue employed practices common in its industry. He wouldn't comment on Spitzer's individual allegations.


The anti-spyware activists and computer security firms confirm that Direct Revenue has dropped its most destructive programs, such as Aurora. But they emphasize that the company continues to cause serious headaches. Tokyo's Trend Micro Inc. (TMIC ) offers an online service that scans customers' troubled computers. In April it identified Direct Revenue's spyware as the culprit in 9,400 computer scans. That's down from 14,000 in January, but it represents a substantial level of annoyance. "Direct Revenue is still on everyone's top 10" of reviled spyware companies, says Anthony Arrott, Trend Micro's spyware research manager.


Deborah Maradei-Ugel, a loan officer in Santa Clarita, Calif., says she receives more than 20 pop-ups a day on her home computer as a result of Direct Revenue spyware. She complained to the company, but removal instructions it sent her are impossible to follow, she says. Her machine frequently stalls and requires restarting. "You hit your computer," she fumes, "but it doesn't help."


The way Direct Revenue describes its software during the download process remains vague and misleading, Edelman and other critics say. The company now bundles ad programs with Kazaa, an online service offering music and other digital content. Kazaa gives users a choice between a $30 version of its program and a free version labeled "ad supported." But few ordinary consumers would understand that ad-supported means they get separate software from Direct Revenue that will monitor them online and serve a steady stream of pop-ups, Edelman says. Kazaa declined to comment.


Direct Revenue has lost business and reduced its headcount to a couple dozen employees. The four founders still own 55% of the company, according to Spitzer's filing, and Abram is still seen around the office in his sharp suits. But he no longer serves as CEO. Sales gurus Stein and Nute have moved on to another Internet venture. Many major companies, such as Cingular and Yahoo, have severed connections with Direct Revenue. But the ads of others, including Vonage, continue to appear in Direct Revenue pop-ups. Insight and TICC remain investors.


Among Direct Revenue's alumni, pride over technical cunning mingles with regret for exasperating so many computer users. After waffling on the issue during a long interview, one former Dark Arts wizard sighs and sums up his version of the company credo with an elegiac observation by abolitionist Frederick Douglass: "Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them."





Associated Comments as of Aug 21 2006 808pm:



Nickname: Dave

Review: I'm also in the computer repair business. I also agree that my novice users don't have any idea how to keep malware off of their computers. It's not the platform, it's users not being security smart. When I got my first machine, I had no clue either. I've repaired computers infested with spyware, trojans, and viruses; and with their anti-virus programs expired for over a year, running cable Internet with no firewall, or no spyware programs at all. Windows isn't perfect, and Linux is far from becoming as popular as Windows for the general public. People are not going to take the time to research about spyware and viruses, until after they have one and it takes down their computer. Stay up to date with patches and spyware updates, or pay someone else to.

Date reviewed: Aug 21, 2006 2:23 AM

Nickname: Ike

Review: I am an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer). I run a computer shop from home. 100% of computers that I work on have multiple MalWare installed. I have seen the damage done by these programs. Although I have never had any of my computers infected, most novice users don't have a clue as to how to prevent this type of harm. Some of the latest MalWare is nearly impossible to remove, although with the help of special software such as HackThis! I have managed to clean every computer brought into my shop. The newer MalWare (Malicious Software) runs as hidden services. They are very hard to remove but not impossible. I haven't yet had to format a drive, although many times would have been quicker. One woman last week brought in a laptop that wouldn't even shut down because her processor was running at a constant 100%. She had QuickBooks with 5 years of business records and no recent backup. I had to remove the battery! Keep your machines clean! Use Anti-Spyware software. Else pay me :)

Date reviewed: Aug 20, 2006 4:52 PM

Nickname: Darkness

Review: As an IT engineer I share your concerns with this software and its obtrusive and somewhat mindless crawling accross the internet. As I am in New Zealand, I dont quite see how ads for telco or service providers in the USA are what I would consider even relevant advertising, and the removal of these programs is more than the usual fun and games that comes with working in this field. Having said that, someone has to keep us employed, so in a way I thank you for the custom your applications have drummed up for us!

Date reviewed: Aug 17, 2006 10:40 PM

Nickname: Oil Can Harry

Review: As a former Direct Revenue staffer, I can attest to the fact that after the personnel began to truly understand that the management's nefarious actions were not what we had signed on for, there was a silent movement towards abandoning ship for higher moral ground. As a result of the company's cruel tunnel vision, we wrought damage unnecessarily and caused a lot of undue pain for people. The Soho Digital management and staff were part of the D.R. financial hemorrage and helped bring this enterprise to a faster conclusion.

Date reviewed: Aug 6, 2006 6:05 PM

Nickname: Computerlegalexpets.com

Review: I am a Computer Expert-Witness http://www.computerlegalexperts.com I recently had a matter come before the court involving child pornography and how others used by others used his machine as a vehicle for the transmission and storage. Although defense counsel and I were able to establish that there were well over 300 items of spyware, virus-related and malicious software that infected the client's hard drive. I am a firm believer in firewalls, anti-virus software, and anti-spyware programs that can prevent the crippling of a machine. But the individual computer user who is a novice can end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. I realize that some people will think they are invincible, but the reality is if one does not perform defense-in-depth by utilizing several anti-spyware tools, I can only equate it to the Fram oil filter commercial of years ago where the mechanic (holding a Fram oil filter) said, if I don't see you now, I'll see you later (engine overhaul)!

Date reviewed: Aug 6, 2006 3:47 AM

Nickname: Scott

Review: For the people upset with Yahoo!, etc for advertising with DR, you need to understand that those decisions are done by marketing staff that do not have the technical expertise to understand how that traffic is being delivered. The fact that they dropped advertising with DR should balance their initial mistake. No one is perfect or exempt from making mistakes!

Date reviewed: Jul 31, 2006 5:01 PM

Nickname: Paladin

Review: There are plenty of free programs that will take care of 99.9% of the virus/spyware/adware/trackware issues--iF the PC user will also use a little common sense, as many of the posters have stated. Spybot, AdAware, Avast! Antivirus, Squsi, Adblocker, and SpywareBuster are all great programs that work well and are all free! If each PC user wold take some responsibility for the upkeep of their machine by installing proper "anti-whatever" software and then running the appropriate scans at least once a week (personally, I run spyware scans daily ) they would eliminate the majority of their problems. Instead, many folks mindlessly point and click on anything that catches ther eye as they marvel at the wonder of the Internet. I got an e-mail from a friend inviting me to play some online game and it asked me for all my e-mail accounts and their passwords. Needless to say, she received a terse reply and some good advice. Lets all be careful out there!

Date reviewed: Jul 28, 2006 4:03 PM

Nickname: coldrevenge

Review: Just hang them.

Date reviewed: Jul 19, 2006 8:57 PM

Nickname: Donald

Review: I can't imagine that "legitimate" companies use these services. Besides being careful about downloads, websites, etc., I am going to stop using Yahoo!, Cingular, Delta, Travelocity, Priceline, and other companies that fund spyware companies. These "legitimate" companies are the companies that enable spyware companies like Direct Revenue. If Direct Revenue had no customers paying them, they wouldn't exist.

Date reviewed: Jul 15, 2006 9:10 PM

Nickname: Redwood

Review: I agree with Pratik's point on Direct Revenue, Claria and WhenU being history. Unfortunately, it is because spyware is no longer needed to provide targeting across sites--the new contenders are Tacoda, Revenue Science and Blue Lithium to name just a few and they fall into the 'trackware' category. The NAI's site www.networkadvertising.org/consumer/opt_out.asp# is really Orwellian. First, they expect you to opt-out individually for each network and then you have to consent to - guess what? a tracking cookie that paints a bulls-eye on your browser. In exchange for what?--non targeted ads. Guidescope is good but it sends URL data to servers. I chose Squsi and it takes care of my issues.

Date reviewed: Jul 14, 2006 9:22 PM



Nickname: AZ

Review: "My Computer Works" offers awesome remote tech support. I've used them for my laptop for several months and just signed up one of my desktops because the popups were driving me crazy. My rep at My Computer Works is Kurtis, give him a call and he'll e-mail you brochures on their services. They are very affordable and I'm extremely happy with them! I call them all the time to help me fix things on my computer! Call: Kurtis D. Bieber, Account Manager Office # : 602-635-6149 Cell # : 602-920-9297 Good luck!

Date reviewed: Jul 14, 2006 4:55 PM

Nickname: Steven

Review: I'm surprised that there's no mention about the root of the problem. The platform used by users ... Windows. I'm a windows user turned Linux user. And ever since i've switched over to linux, ive had none of these problems no spyware, adware, malware, popups. ... ha ha ha suffer ... ignorant winblows users.

Date reviewed: Jul 14, 2006 9:16 AM

Nickname: Renegate

Review: Some hackers should crack into their computers an destroy all those malicious software or iven build some program that can destroy that server

Date reviewed: Jul 14, 2006 7:14 AM

Nickname: Kam

Review: These spyware are actually doing the Internet community a big favor. These so- called "victims" are nothing but freeloading scammers looking for free scams online. That's why the "victims" routinely download and install malware. These same "victims" will most likely also respond to spam mail and install Trojan spamming programs that turns their PCs into zombies and spout out spam to the rest of us. The spywares do us a favor by shutting down these imbeciles' PCs, leaving us in peace.

Date reviewed: Jul 13, 2006 2:17 PM

Nickname: zeroqs

Review: Platforms don't matter. When greed decides you can make them a profit you're the next target. As Apple grows it will become victim.

Date reviewed: Jul 13, 2006 11:59 AM

Nickname: Redtwain

Review: The saddest part of this article is the client list that Direct Revenue was able to create. Shame on the two-faced practices of these (venerable?) brands who demonstrate they'll do anything to make a buck--even if it stretches what is ethical or legal.

Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2006 11:09 PM

Nickname: LuckyAngler

Review: Working on the Web part time I have found that my spam blocker going off all the time. They profit from this if it gets through by unneeded and unwanted ads. They should be fined more and more until they cannot afford to do so any more.

Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2006 10:20 PM

Nickname: pratik

Review: A good historical perspective. But conventional adware/spyware is all but dead. But this all old hat really. The new spyware is "trackware" from Tacoda, Revenue Sciences, Blue Lithium and others. There is a laughable attempt to defuse the issue by conning users into "opting out" at http://www.networkadvertising.org/consumer/opt_out.asp# Once you get "tagged" at a site, you'd be surprised (or maybe not) at how quickly the "non-personally identifiable data" become very personal as your e-mail address, credit card data, address, gender, purchasing/surfing habits all build up over time and are shared. The only way for users to fight back is to build a "walled garden" around themselves. The future of Web advertising has to be engage, not enrage; consensual, and it must compensate users for their attention. There are some good tools available for users to block trackware tags such stopzilla (not free), squsi (free)and adblocker (free).

Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2006 3:10 PM

Nickname: Kevin

Review: This ought to do a pretty good job of putting you spyware war profiteers out of business: http://www.infination.com/links.html Remember, profiteering on the spyware war is just as bad as creating the spyware yourself. You're all accomplices. I provide these services free of charge to everyone worldwide. Learn some integrity, and provide a service that is worth the money, instead of calling your clients "stupid" when they are just ignorant of the designs of companies like Direct Revenue and their associated companies. You are indirectly sharing in the revenue of people that did nothing to deserve what inevitably happened to their networks or systems.

Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2006 9:09 AM

Nickname: K

Review: I used to work for Whirlpool Corporation. I removed 'CoolWebSearch' every day at least 10X for 88 days. I have worked at Synergetics DCS, Inc., and the MS Dept of Education lets everything in, with no firewall, so we had to remove irc.backdoor trojans from PC's all day long. It made the company millions, and cost the educational system millions. I think that the people that create the software that cripples Fortune 100 companies and smaller ones are evil and should be penalized by the fullest extent of the law, but the companies that profit from the removal of the site may as well be considered accomplices of the spyware industry. Everyone benefits. Microsoft just doesn't have a secureable NOS. Linux is secureable, but as opposed to what was posted earlier, it is very susceptible to hackers, and is rated #2 in the most hacked NOS list. You ignorant "computer repair wizards" should do your research on sites like SANS.org, and stop profiteering on the spyware war. -K

Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2006 9:00 AM



Nickname: smity1066

Review: Thanks for providing something of a consumer service. Mr. Spitzer seems to enjoy grandstanding but I applaud his taking on these leeches. I have had my hard drive professionally wiped clean on two different machines to the tune of around $500. I would love to see a class-action suit against these people. I'd really like to see them pay. William G. Smith

Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2006 5:40 AM

Nickname: EK

Review: Almost all of these comments totally miss the point. Even if I leave my front door open, does that give anyone the right to walk into my house? Wake up, folks! These maggots are "invaders," breaking into our private property. It's illegal in any other context and it should be here.

Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2006 2:39 AM

Nickname: Jade

Review: Check out a service named My Computer Works. They offer a remote technician service for about $20 a month. It's great, I can call them every few months to scan my computer for spyware. They do a great job of keeping it clean.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 9:53 PM

Nickname: SoonerJJ

Review: I beg to differ that viruses have not been written on Linux, Unix, or Macs, and the idea if everyone would just get Macs or Linux all this would go away is just pure bunk. Right now it is just not worth investing time in writing malware, viruses, or other crap. If everyone would just switch would simply provide the right incentive for the malware writers to switch their tactics too. The best deterrent is for people so stop installing the so-called freeware. We should should also drive these companies who try to exploit our stupidity out of existence.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 9:51 PM

Nickname: TheKLF99

Review: Spyware can be so annoying, but so can people who contact me to tell me they got spyware on their computer but don't know where it came from, and then when I tell them where it come from and uninstall the problem two months later they're calling me back up after doing exactly the same thing. Are these people stupid? Just because the Web site changed its look it still says Ad-Supported or something along those lines. Kazaa is very good for doing that, like when they realized Spyware was bad for business it suddenly changed all its banners to say "Spyware free, now Ad-supported." Same thing. At one point the only file sharing program I used to use was WinMX (RIP) as that was about the only one that was decent enough to be free of all this ad-crap, but now I'm glad to see that eMule has got rid of all the spyjunk and really cleaned they're image up. Ad programs should be made so that they only show the adverts when you are using the specific programs, not all the time.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 9:37 PM

Nickname: Jay

Review: In reply to RCN's post: yes, I agree that Direct Revenue wouldn't want to make our PCs crash if they need to use them as a medium to make money. But based on this article, do you think they really give some concern about this? I think their lust for profit had override their behavior, making them oblivious to the disaster they are bringing to people. If they are really being socially responsible, they should have done thorough research about the implications those spyware programs might cause in the long run. I really think an intensive ethical course will do them good. I just hope it's not too late before more damage is done.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 8:02 PM

Nickname: Derrick

Review: I've never had problems. (I use my computer a lot). Installing unknown software can do damage and be a real pain to remove for ordinary computer users. I'll admit that this perhaps is not a tech site, but just don't install software from the Internet without skimming the fine print. Weekly spy sweeper and Ad-Aware scans should keep the majority of people safe from other types of spyware. On a side note: Macs aren't better. Just no one bothers with 4% of the market. And Windows XP is not worse than Mac OS/x; it just deals with 1000 times more software than Macs. Just be smart when you surf.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 7:53 PM

Nickname: rm14543

Review: This kind of misery just goes on and on. My company makes a lot of money fixing this stuff. But what people don't recognize is if they bought Macs this would all go away. Thank goodness people just keep doing what their doing.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 5:46 PM

Nickname: Cameron

Review: This type of malicious software only affects Microsoft systems. It's just too hard to to it to Unix. People have been trying for fourteen years and we still haven't seen a real virus or spyware for Linux. If you want a trustworthy computer, just don't use Microsoft's operating system.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 4:24 PM

Nickname: Herb

Review: "Free MP3s"! "Free Games"! "Free Porn!" Install something like McAfee SiteAdvisor ( http://www.siteadvisor.com/ ) then run a Google search using the above 3 search terms. The results should be eye-opening. Moral of the story: If you consider your PC to be an "appliance," avoiding entertaiment sites with "FREE!!!" plastered all over them will go a long way to avoiding infestations of spyware. Also using Mozilla Firefox as your default Web browser will help a great deal, as the scummier of these sites will attempt to use functions in Internet Explorer intended for "controlled" office networks to install their spyware without you noticing it. -Herb

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 2:57 PM



Nickname: davebarnes

Review: I agree with airunner4, "Get smart". I used a Windows PC from 1997 thru mid 2005 every day. I visited 5+ new websites every day. I installed new software on a weekly basis just to "check it out". I surfed to porn sites. And, I never had one piece of spyware installed on my Windows PC. Not one. One year ago I switched to a Mac OS X PC and still haven't seen any spyware. These people with infected machines are just stupid. And, I mean stupid, not ignorant.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 2:51 PM

Nickname: HackerHater

Review: This invasion of your privacy deserves nothing less than putting these slimy bastards out of buisiness. If they aren't brave enough to face the public, then I say give them the axe. The are yellow bellied and rotten to the core and a danger to the American way of life. They belong in prison. This veteran would like to take them on face to face!

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 2:09 PM

Nickname: Basil Scaperdas

Review: I fix computers as a hobby. There are countless times I have been brought computers that have been slowed to a crawl with "abetterinternet" Aurora. It is very tough to remove but it can be done after about an hour's worth of labor. Based on my experience, many people have bought new PCs and, thanks to rampant spyware, were ready to throw them in the garbage a few weeks later. All these bad consumer experiences add up to overall damage to the PC industry. PC companies, like Dell, would be very wise to pre-install truly effective anti-spyware software(Webroot's SpySweeper for example) and/or pre-"immunize" a new PC from notorious spyware Web sites (the way Safer Networking's Spybot does). Nevertheless, the PC industry, including Microsoft, is making little or no effort to help consumers protect or remove spyware from their PCs. For example, I did not see anything on Microsoft's or Dell's Web site to help consumers remove Aurora.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 1:55 PM

Nickname: popdown

Review: In general, I am against the death penalty but I could make an exception for these people.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 1:31 PM

Nickname: Taywa

Review: We experienced many problems with porno popups and other ads and no matter what we did, they came back faster than our security software could catch them. We had to wipe out our hard drive, install a hardware firewall in addition to security utilities and an updated OS to conquer the problem. Friends have had similar problems, and have ended up upgrading their hardware because their existing systems crashed so often. I hope Spitzer is successful and congratulate him on his efforts. I'm in favor of driving these companies out of business, and suggest that maybe their ace programmers find new employment with Internet security groups. We still need to address hackers and those out-of-U.S. companies that invade the Internet.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 12:47 PM

Nickname: phil

Review: EGO: "Apple may have a good OS, but what works with it? And who can afford it?" Pretty much all of the most popular software runs on Apple Macs (MS Office, Quark, Adobe CS, etc.). And when you factor in the cost of dealing with all the spyware, viruses and system crashes that plague Windows machines, a Mac will probably end up costing you less in the long run.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 9:19 AM

Nickname: kasper

Review: Thanks for the great article. I believe it touches a subject which is not anymore the realm of computer techies, but everybody's homes. We all have suffered the problem of these adware infections, and I personally have used several virus killers (first demos and then purchased) sometimes to no avail, as I had to reformat and reinstall my Windows OS several times. These infections are very annoying, but changing the way we search the internet and keeping our valuable data in a separate hard drive should ease the pain somewhat.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 8:48 AM

Nickname: alnjk

Review: Couldn't agree more with Alrunner4's comments.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 6:07 AM

Nickname: vernonintx

Review: Hey Ego - What works with Apple's OS? Too many items to name, but I carry an Apple to support PCs as a consultant. When people ask why, I tell them the truth. It is because I can do everything I need to on my Mac and it won't get infected with all of the junk that this article talks about. Is it a little more? Maybe, but probably not after you add in the cost of anti-virus software, spyware and adware removal tools that are required for use on Windows. Several articles have pointed out the need for approximately $150 worth of security add-ons to protect the average PC. Then don't forget about the cost of paying someone like you to remove the software after they have followed all the rules but still get infected because their kid downloaded the next best thing after Kazaa. Will this happen to the Macs? Not sure. No one has done it so far and trust me, people have tried. I love PCs because they generate 3-5 times the support revenue than Macs do for me.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 5:50 AM

Nickname: Interesting

Review: It's interesting how 180solutions/hotbar a now projected $100-million-per- year behemoth goes unnoticed in the major press. Combined, these companies have purchased two times the amount of installs that Direct Revenue ever has. Additionally Whenu.com, one of the original creators of adware, continues to show up with major companies like 180/hotbar, and New.net on Sunbelt's list of top 10 newly found spyware and nothing is ever discussed about these companies.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 1:15 AM



Nickname: Arturo

Review: BusinessWeek, good article! Previous reader says "...probably three or four at least. I'm just not a moron when I use the Internet, unlike most people." Sorry to say that all you need is one spyware to get your udentity stolen and not three or four. The moment you enter an order for a book or CD your post is captured by the spyware and sent entered into the criminal's database. You may also want to keep in mind that the three or four spywares you found are may not be the only ones running on yur PC. Most PCs are infected an the owner doesn't even know about it!

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 1:04 AM

Nickname: Sweetwater

Review: OK. I would like these morons who propagate this trade in invasive spyware/adware/pop-ups to think about something. How about I come into your home uninvited, wait until you are watching your favorite television show or maybe the Super Bowl, and begin to flip the channels so you can't watch what you want. This is what you are doing to me by placing your ads in my PC. I am a savvy user and still find occasion to curse you and your slimy trade. I hope you enjoy your profits now as I can only believe the authorities will eventually slam the doors on your "sleazeware" trade.

Date reviewed: Jul 11, 2006 12:22 AM

Nickname: Hawaii Trailrunner

Review: Cost of an Apple goes away when you consider the hours wasted. Does the term "TCO" (Total Cost of Ownership) sound like something that applies here? I have an Apple iBook (about 4 years old) and I have, quite luckily, been immune to these issues.

Date reviewed: Jul 10, 2006 11:06 PM

Nickname: frank

Review: I create a ghost image of my entire hard drive and store it both on a set of CDs as well as on a second hard drive. Anything valuable is burned to backup or deleted from the hard drive after use. I surf away and every couple of months I spend 1 1/2 hours restoring my entire drive to a shiny pristine state. After considering the number of hours I used to spend with removal tools and reinstalling from scratch, my new approach is a bargain in terms of time.

Date reviewed: Jul 10, 2006 10:13 PM

Nickname: pidjammies

Review: Hint, hint. When you purchase a PC from a vendor, you are purchasing all the problems built right into it. It's commerce. For the same amount of money or possibly less money, have a trusted technician build one for you without all the spyware, XP, etc. You will avoid all the headaches and have a dependable machine. P.S. going back to dial-up will solve a myriad of problems too.

Date reviewed: Jul 10, 2006 7:02 PM

Nickname: Capt. Trips

Review: I've been fighting for weeks to remove a rootkit invader from Web Nexus Network, to no avail. These spamazoids are ruthless and incidious. If our feds want to really do something to earn their keep, then they ought to get after these privacy thieves. And no, I don't want to kill them. I just want them to have to sit in front of an infected computer for 8 hours a day for the rest of their lives.

Date reviewed: Jul 10, 2006 6:25 PM

Nickname: Glenn

Review: I commented earlier about using SpyBot Search&Destroy as well as AdAware - and also pointed out Trend Micro's Internet Security. A "victim mentality" isn't what I was trying to imply with my comments, but in reality, if you have a nice home with valuable contents inside, and you don't utilize door locks, a security system or a cranky Doberman: you have to a) expect everyone in the world to be honest or B) not worry or care when people steal your items. Assume the same about the contents of your computer -- pictures of your kids, financial documents and records, passwords, browsing history, etc. Is that not important? I feel bad for folks infested by Aurora, CoolWebSearch, etc. Sometimes it's true that the infected systems can only be repaired by an OS re-install, or a person who really knows HijackThis! People have to change their browsing habits, not necessarily their OS.

Date reviewed: Jul 10, 2006 5:24 PM

Nickname: EGO

Review: I live in a small town, and service very few computers, but Direct Revenue has been a real problem, with 50 of the 55 units having that on them. Since this problem has been getting worse, no matter what they say it is doing. I have seen units with 55,000 pieces of spyware on them. Apple may have a good OS, but what works with it? And who can afford it? Microsoft is supposed to be expensive, but I can afford it, Apple I cannot touch, or sell. So, let's think on that.

Date reviewed: Jul 10, 2006 4:52 PM

Nickname: hammster

Review: I know BusinessWeek is not a "computer" magazine, but as a comment your article about Direct Revenue/Aurora - please note to your readers that any online function (program) they download that "streams" information will also have the potential to track their Internet surfing habits (for example The Weatherbug).

Date reviewed: Jul 10, 2006 4:43 PM

Nickname: rcns

Review: Let's think about this for a second. If Direct Revenue and others like them make money by needing to install programs on your computer, why in the world would they want to break your machine? Whether it is UNIX, Linux, or Windows, they need healthy machines to stay in business. There is something else that is wrong with the programming platform. Microsoft has a history or creating below average software while Apple has better software. The creators of this "spyware" should embrace a more stable platform for them and us; it just makes sense. We just need the "spyware" to be legitimate.

Date reviewed: Jul 10, 2006 3:59 PM


There are pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages of this.........................














Link to comment
Share on other sites

Insanely powerful laser pointers! they Light cigarettes and burn plastic!


Check out the COMMENTS on this digg!!! LOL!!


Wicked Lasers, Laser Pointers, Blue, Green & Red Lasers



Laservibe: Home Laser Show





Flash Light Sized High Power Green Laser Pointers




Internet Explorer Not A Monster Anymore



Internet Explorer Not A Monster Anymore




'The Office' meets Microsoft's Office



How biotech is driving computing

The most super of supercomputers are folding proteins, not crunching numbers. That's because the life sciences have overtaken physics as the source of the most challenging computing problems.



Hurtling into the space tourism industry

Space Adventures is leaping ahead of well-known rivals in the race to launch regular Joes into space.



Why global warming is good for business

Climate change isn't all bad news. In fact, there may well be money in it.



Air taxis line up for takeoff

Ultracheap jets will soon make on-demand flights affordable for business travelers.



Google moves into virtual worlds

By combining satellite maps and 3-D software, Google Earth is turning into a virtual online playground.



The future is in South Korea

Smart investments in broadband there have paid off in the form of a hyperconnected society -- here's how we can start reaping the benefits.



Ethanol war brewing

Grain alcohol is seen as the new gasoline. But which recipe is the one for investors to bet on?




Surfing the Web with nothing but brainwaves

Kiss your keyboard goodbye: Soon we'll jack our brains directly into the Net - and that's just the beginning.


SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - -- Two years ago, a quadriplegic man started playing video games using his brain as a controller. That may just sound like fun and games for the unfortunate, but really, it spells the beginning of a radical change in how we interact with computers - and business will never be the same.


Someday, keyboards and computer mice will be remembered only as medieval-style torture devices for the wrists. All work - emails, spreadsheets, and Google searches - will be performed by mind control.


If you think that's mind-blowing, try to wrap your head around the sensational research that's been done on the brain of one Matthew Nagle by scientists at Brown University and three other institutions, in collaboration with Foxborough, Mass.-based company Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems. The research was published for the first time last week in the British science journal Nature.


Nagle, a 26-year-old quadriplegic, was hooked up to a computer via an implant smaller than an aspirin that sits on top of his brain and reads electrical patterns. Using that technology, he learned how to move a cursor around a screen, play simple games, control a robotic arm, and even - couch potatoes, prepare to gasp in awe - turn his brain into a TV remote control. All while chatting amiably with the researchers. He even learned how to perform these tasks in less time than the average PC owner spends installing Microsoft (Charts) Windows.



Decoding the brain


Nagle was able to accomplish all this because the brain has been greatly demystified in laboratories over the last decade or so. Researchers unlocked the brain patterns for thoughts that represent letters of the alphabet as early as 1999.


Now, Cyberkinetics and a host of other companies are working on turning those discoveries into real products. Neurodevices - medical devices that compensate for damage to the brain, nerves, and spinal column - are a $3.4 billion business that grew 21 percent last year, according to NeuroInsights, a research and advisory company. There are currently some 300 companies working in the field.


But Cyberkinetics is trying to do more than just repair neural damage: It's working on an implantable chip that Nagle and patients in two other cities are using to control electronic devices with their minds.


Already, the Brown researchers say, this kind of technology can enable a hooked-up human to write at 15 words a minute - half as fast as the average person writes by hand. Remember, though, that silicon-based technology typically doubles in capacity every two years.


So if improved hardware is all it takes to speed up the device, Cyberkinetics' chip could be able to process thoughts as fast as speech - 110 to 170 words per minute - by 2012. Imagine issuing commands to a computer as quickly as you could talk.


But who would want to get a brain implant if they haven't been struck by a drastic case of paralysis? Leaving aside the fact that there is a lucrative market for providing such profoundly life-enhancing products for millions of paralyzed patients, it may soon not even be necessary to stick a chip inside your skull to take advantage of this technology.

What a tale your thoughts could tell


Brain-reading technology is improving rapidly. Last year, Sony (Charts) took out a patent on a game system that beams data directly into the mind without implants. It uses a pulsed ultrasonic signal that induces sensory experiences such as smells, sounds and images.


And Niels Birbaumer, a neuroscientist at the University of Tuebingen in Germany, has developed a device that enables disabled people to communicate by reading their brain waves through the skin, also without implants.


Stu Wolf, one of the top scientists at Darpa, the Pentagon's scientific research agency which gave birth to the Internet, seriously believes we'll all be wearing computers in headbands within 20 years.


By that time, we'll have super fast, super tiny computers that make today's machines look like typewriters. The desktop will be dead, says Wolf, and the headband will dominate.


"We already know we can trigger neurons mechanically," he says. "You can interact directly with the brain without implanted electrodes. Then the next step is being able to think something and have it happen: Flying a plane, driving a car, operating household machinery."


Controlling devices with the mind is just the beginning. Next, Wolf believes, is what he calls "network-enabled telepathy" - instant thought transfer. In other words, your thoughts will flow from your brain over the network right into someone else's brain. If you think instant messaging is addictive, just wait for instant thinking.


The only issue, Wolf says, is making sure it's consensual; that's a problem likely to tax the minds of security experts.


But just think of the advantages. In the office of the future, the conference call, too, will be remembered as a medieval form of torture.








Five startups out to change the world



Disney calls Net TV effort a success




Carmakers must come clean about black boxes



Warner kicks off direct-to-DVD division




Hey bud, can you spare a dime



2006 Burning Man map is acidy, Art-Deco-y wonderful




DJs in the desert




17 MS Office Killers




How Future Combat Systems Will Work




Personality Traits of the Best Software Developers



Personality Traits of the Best Software Developers





List of nifty tools for drawing diagrams, charts and chart-flows









List of nifty tools for drawing diagrams, charts and flow-charts





Better Quality Skype Calls On the Way



Better Quality Coming for Some Skype Calls

Software that improves quality of free Internet calls is now available to more makers of Skype-enabled devices.




Website taken down by Scientology after being dugg



Codebot.org was given a takedown notice by the Church of Scientology after getting 2800+ diggs. Here's the discussion from the original link: http://digg.com/links/Amazingly_Scary_In- depth_Look_at_Scientology_


http://digg.com/links/Amazingly_Scary_In- depth_Look_at_Scientology_










Once again,



Read and decide for yourself.






Do We Actually Need Immigrants Because We Are So Lazy?



Do we actually need immigrants because we are so lazy?




How Flowers Know Spring Has Sprung



How Flowers Know Spring Has Sprung




Kevin Mitnick Web site hacked




Frankly Kevin Mitnick, I don't give a turkey. You were a hacker once, You are a Felon and hence, I Don't Trust You and I Never Will, Thank you very much!!


Kevin Mitnick creampied by Pakistani rage



Mitnick released from prison

Kevin Mitnick, one of the world's most notorious computer hackers, walked off the Lompoc, Calif., prison grounds this morning and into the arms of his parents, ending nearly five years of incarceration.



Newsmaker: Kevin Mitnick, the great pretender




JonBenet suspect to appear before L.A. judge



Suspected killer nabbed near Va. Tech



Ramsey murder suspect awaits extradition








Splogs Threaten Blogosphere, Wired Says



when bad things happen to good blogs - shmula



Characterizing the Splogosphere







It is getting bad. For example, here is a google blog search sorted by date on the baseball player "steve finley"




Lots of splogs...














































Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fighting Splogs!!!






Fighting splog



Cashing in on fake blogs



Spam blog - Wikipedia



Splog software from Hell - ebiquity



Archive for the 'splog' Category - ebiquity




Cleaning up the Blogosphere one splog at a time



391 posts tagged “splog” - Technorati



Splog Reporter Improves Features and Reporting Flow



Somewhat Frank: TECH ~ BIZ ~ LIFE



Current Status - Fighting Splog







Blogger on spamblogs



A whole lotta nothing



SplogSpot.com yet another Anti-Splogs service - AntiSplog Network






Blog and Ping



AntiSlog Network



RSS feeds help to create content rated Splog



Tempted by blogs, spam becomes 'splog'



On Spam



The Strange World of Blogspot Spam Blogs - The Republic of Geektronica



The Republic of Geektronica



Spam Karma 2.2 - Dr Dave



Dr Dave blog



Google Webmaster Help Center



The Ethics of Hosted Spamlogs (Splogs)



Screencast of the Blogspot Splog Epidemic



Chris Pirillo






State of the Blogosphere, October 2005 Part 1: On Blogosphere Growth






…is this spam, or just a FREAK?!



$1 will cure the Blogspot splog problem (and related problems)












Blogosphere Killed by Cockroaches? - Opinity






Alan Bennett



splog - Answers.com



Google search on 'splog'






Russian jet crash kills all 170 on board



Hussein defendants: Anfal campaign targeted troops



Thousands of Marines face involuntary recalls



Hurricane chief foresees 'mega-disaster'

Max Mayfield says U.S. setting up for storm worse than Katrina



Spying an intelligent search engine



Highway regulators: Car 'black boxes' can't be secret



Sony desktop doubles as flat-screen TV



AMD aims for 40 percent of server market



Microsoft reaches out to Firefox developers






Researchers develop new 3D nanomaterial


University of Arkansas chemists announced on Tuesday that they have made nanomaterials accessible as three-dimensional forms by making paper out of titanium oxide nanowires.


The nanopaper can be used as a filter and can withstand heat up to 700 degrees Celsius. It can also be folded by hand, cut with scissors and formed into 3D objects.


While two-dimensional freestanding membranes of nanowires have been available, the scientists said their 3D rendering of thermally stable nanomaterial is a chemistry breakthrough. It will open up the field of nanotechnology to more applications, they added.



The ability to cast the nanopaper into 3D forms will allow the nanomaterial to be used in protective masks and armor, flame-retardant fabric, drug release capsules and regenerating tissue, the researchers said. The nanopaper could eventually be used to filter bacteria and prevent the spread of pathogens. The application would be similar to the nanowire bar code system for detecting anthrax.


The researchers also proved the material's use as a low-cost nontoxic photocatalyst--a substance that can regenerate its chemical composition after exposure to light. They did this by comparing the paper's write-erase capability against regular printing paper. A 15-minute exposure to UV irradiation made the water-based ink "disappear."


The nanopaper, while obviously more sophisticated in chemical nature, is actually made from pulp, as is wood-based paper. The scientists figured out a way to make the nanomaterial less brittle and more pliable by playing with "the ratio of water to nanowires in the pulp and the time for drying the nanowire pulp," according to their research paper. The pulp they refer to is made of long nanowires created out of titanium oxide using a hydrothermal heating process.


Details of the nanopaper's development and potential applications appear in a Journal of Physical Chemistry B August article, as well as in an abstract on the University of Arkansas Web site.


The university has applied for a patent on the process and is hoping to license the technology to the commercial industry, according to a University of Arkansas statement.





Nanotubes squeeze salt from water




Nanowires built to fight bioterrorism




Tools for the ultimate high-tech survival kit




Fast Electron Transport in Metal Organic Vapor Deposition Grown Dye-sensitized ZnO Nanorod Solar Cells



Nanowire-Paper Offers Strength, Flexibility







A nonskid surface, courtesy of geckos




Could you explain van der Waals' forces to me, and their role in why energy is needed to vaporize water?







Microsoft puts cybersquatters on notice



Gateway investor group wants foot in the door




Yahoo adds phishing shield





Linux heavies plan lightweight virtualization



Qwest calls for mandatory data retention laws




Off to the eco-races, with fuel cells



More security industry consolidation?



AT&T says cooperation in NSA spying was legal



Video: Video sharing is vehicle for propaganda






Worm sparks rise in zombie PCs


Malicious code that exploits a recent Windows hole has led to significant growth in the number of hijacked PCs, according to messaging security company CipherTrust.


On Tuesday, CipherTrust reported a 23 percent growth in the total number of so-called zombie PCs it has detected. The jump is due to the spread of Mocbot worm variants, CipherTrust said. Mocbot, also known as Cuebot and Graweg, exploits a Windows security flaw for which Microsoft issued a patch with security bulletin MS06-040 on Aug. 8.


"Around Aug. 13, the weekend after Black Tuesday, we started seeing a gradual increase in the average number of new zombies," said Dmitri Alperovitch, a research scientist at CipherTrust in Alpharetta, Ga. "It went up from 214,000 every day in the previous week to 265,000 every day."


Any computer infected by Mocbot will become part of a botnet, a large network of compromised PCs that can be controlled remotely to carry out tasks such as sending spam. In June, Microsoft warned that the threat posed by botnets and zombies was growing fast.


CipherTrust can trace the increase in spam-sending zombies to Mocbot by comparing junk e-mail sent by systems it knows were compromised by the worm to the spam sent by new zombies, Alperovitch said. "They are mostly Rolex spam and porn spam, and they are the same messages that are being sent by these new zombies coming online," he said.


Alperovitch estimated that somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million machines were hijacked by Mocbot. As a result, more junk mail is soiling the Internet, with spam making up 81 percent of all mail volume this week. "I would not say this has been a huge outbreak, but it has been a noticeable change," he said.


Security experts had said that the MS06-040 worm appeared to be limited in its spread and only hitting computers running Windows 2000.





Worm duo tries to hijack Windows PCs



Another hefty patch month for Microsoft



Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-040

Vulnerability in Server Service Could Allow Remote Code Execution (921883)



Microsoft: Zombies most prevalent Windows threat





Net neutrality showdown




SEORockstars - Tuesday at 7:00 EST - Suggestions?



12 Different Types of Links and How To Get Them



Important Q&A on Googlebot



Enjoying DC...



DMOZ editor charged $350 dollars to get 'reviewed'



Newspapers facing huge layoffs - blame Internet

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The summer of 2006 has brought a rash of notices of job buyouts and layoffs at U.S. newspapers, and experts say more nips and tucks will come as advertising dollars dry up and more readers cancel their subscriptions.


The newspaper industry is girding for fundamental changes as new media, particularly the Internet, attract more readers and advertisers with the promise of free and fast news.


What I don't understand is this process has been moving along since the mid 1990's .. and just now the newspapers are realizing that everyone is reading their news online, and mostly at news sites such as news.google.com , drudgereport (or huffingtonpost) depending on your political views or nich forums.






Google Gives MSN Search a Run for Their Irrelevancy



Matt KWDs Says: Do as I Say, Not as I Spam



SEO Advice: Writing useful articles that readers will love




Matt Cutts Keyword Stuffing SEO


yer can you believe it .. do you think He wants to rank for SEO ..


lifted for matt sites .. http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/


There are a lot of niches that just take sweat equity. You could be the SEO that does interviews. Or the SEO that transcribes Matt’s videos. Or the SEO that makes funny lists. Or the SEO company that provides webmaster radio. Or the SEO that makes podcasting easy. Or the SEO that specializes in a certain content management system or shopping cart. Or the SEO company that specializes in Yahoo! stores. Or the SEO that specializes in accessibility. Or the company that mocks Silicon Valley and its companies. Or the SEO that specializes in AdWords API ROI tracking. Or you could be the SEOs that write-up a summary of every panel at every search engine conference. Or the company that does cartoons. Or the SEO who pays attention to Google Base, Google Co-op, Yahoo! Answers, or Facebook. Or the SEO that provides Firefox plugins. Or the company that provides metrics and tracking for blogs. Or the SEO that talks about patents. Or the SEO that specializes in dynamic sites. Eye-tracking. Beginner SEO tutorials. Making maps mash-ups. Ajax SEO. SEO for non-profits. SEO for Second Life or MySpace. SEO to repair a company’s reputation. SEO for MySQL, Python, Ruby on Rails, WordPress blogs, or .NET sites. The SEO that surfaces databases or Flash sites. SEO for self-publishing authors. The SEO that does radio ads.


well what do you reckon ..


a) Matt isn’t keyword stuffing SEO

B) Matt Is Keyword stuffing SEO

c) What is seo

d) Who is Matt and is he an SEO








Editors- Eunuchs or Opinion Leaders



Making AdSense Work






Business Blog Consulting



Marketing Made McStupid






Domain Registry Support Spammers



Three Depart AOL Over Search Data Leak



Three workers depart AOL after privacy uproar



AOL names Miller to top post



Privacy uproar over AOL search data



John McKinley



AOL apologizes for release of user search data



AOL gaffe draws Capitol Hill rebuke



Electronic Frontier Foundation



AOL faces FTC complaint over search data release



World Privacy Forum Files FTC Complaint About AOL Data Releases



AOL's disturbing glimpse into users' lives



Kevin Bankston


Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney specializing in free speech and privacy law, was the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Equal Justice Works/Bruce J. Ennis Fellow for 2003-05.


Center for Democracy and Technology



Electronic Privacy Information Center



Consumer Created Web Content Impacting Online Purchases



Heading to New York



Flash Drive Security - Life In The Palm Of My Hand



Vista's Implications For Open Source





Businesses Expect IT Security Breach In The Next 12 Months


A recent government survey of over 500 small businesses covering London and Surrey regions revealed that 58% of company owners expect a security breach in their IT system in the next year.


24% of those surveyed had already been subjected to a security breach and this is worrying as there are many IT & network solutions available in the marketplace for peace-of-mind, without having to break budgets.


Disaster Recovery and IT security are crucial factors for any business and with proper precautions, support and systems you can be safe in the knowledge that you, your business and your data are covered for any security, virus and spam threats.


Businesses in London, Surrey and the rest of the UK could have a complete corporate-class system with full IT support, a disaster recovery solution, worldwide remote access, encrypted logins, PDA and Blackberry mobile support, multiple virus and spam filters, daily backups and the power of Microsoft Exchange Server.


Forget paying vast sums of money for servers, Microsoft Office licenses, expensive PCs or notebooks, as IT systems can now be supported and maintained in-house in highly-secure data centres with Tier 1 broadband connections. Traditional IT Support could soon be a thing of the past with remote support being so quick, easy and globally available.


The main IT concerns amongst businesses are viruses, system failure, unauthorised access and inappropriate usage by staff. All of these fears and concerns can be resolved with an IT system that utilises the latest technology to deliver a corporate-class infrastructure at a price suitable for SME's, individuals and multi-site companies.


Blackberry devices are a proven choice for the professional business and you can have all the benefits of the enterprise version, without having to purchase separate servers or Blackberry software. Simply "plug in" your device and the communication between you and your business will be at it's optimum level. No matter whether you use Vodafone, O2 or T Mobile, your business will never be the same again.


Your communication, data and business can be in safe hands and with the power to work from any location around the world with ease, you will be put in control of your life and business. Whether you are on holiday, ill or travelling globally, you can stay in touch with your staff and data using any internet connected computer, giving you the edge over your competitors.





AOL Axes Three Over Search Data Fiasco



Worm Spreads In China Via New Vulnerability In Windows



MySQL Trumpets Its Place In Web 2.0



Dialpro Taps Tyler To Take Over Helm



Duet Hits Right Note For CRM, ERP Applications



Why NAT Traversal Matters To You!




Sales Through Storytelling


Sell skills, values and experience with short, powerful success stories that showcase your skills, experience and values...


An old French proverb tells us "Nothing succeeds like success!" And in sales nothing succeeds quite like success stories. Are you sharing yours? Why not? The secret is in how you share your successes.


Learn to tell thirty-second "success stories." During sales calls a quick-hitting story can make or reinforce a point in memorable fashion. Success stories may be told in response to a question, to serve as a testimonial, or even as an aside. Did you know you had a storied past?


Stories work for several reasons: they're more memorable than numbers, names and dates; and listeners enjoy the drama: a problem followed by a solution, a mystery solved with a twist, or a creative workaround to a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Also, your listener can find him or herself in the story. A good story will resonate with prospects.


"We're wired for stories, individually and collectively. Since the time of Odysseus we've been told stories. Since we were little kids we've been read and told stories. This is how we've been conditioned to learn; our morals and our values are taught through stories." So says Gay Ducey, past president of the National Storytelling Association.


Look at your sales history and pick out an accomplishment. Now tell the story behind the accomplishment. It states that you helped a past client increased sales 60%. But tell how you did it; Cite a "before vs. after" description. What was the secret? Stories that reveal secrets captivate.


The Three S's of Success Stories


Success stories offer a setting, a situation and a solution. Remember, you're the hero of your stories. Your decisions, actions and insights made the difference.


Here is an example:


"We recently received a call from a merchant unhappy with their current vendor. They were paying high fees, receiving poor service and experiencing frequent security breaches. In short order we were able to launch a wireless processing system that was more secure, more reliable and even less expensive. Through customization we were able to address their foreign and domestic needs, a strength of ours."


Not only does this success story demonstrate an independent sales organization's ability to solve problems, it showcases an understanding of business, markets and methods.


Stories can demonstrate your professionalism, customer service, researching ability, creativity, problem-solving inclination or other strengths.


Consider this story for a job-seeker:


Here is an example of how one candidate summarized his most recent employment for a competitor:


"In my last job I was hired to manage a production department at war with the editorial department. I walked into an environment full of distrust and resentment, built up over years of animosities and recriminations. Through my implementation of cross training between departments, initiation of mutual social outings such as picnics and scheduling of project post-mortems we were able, after 6 months, to convert resentment into understanding and competition into cooperation. As each department began to understand how the other one worked we were jointly able to improve the workflow and consequently shorten time to market with publications. Even quality improved as we better understood how best to work together. That showed me the importance of internal communication and how hard it can be, though not impossible, to change an existing culture."


Not only does this success story demonstrate the candidate's ability to solve problems, but it shows interviewers the candidate's understanding of interoffice politics and the human side of operations.


Stories can demonstrate your detail orientation, dedication, leadership, independence, researching ability, creativity, serice or problem-solving inclination. Remember that employers want well rounded hires so make sure they see evidence of your varied skill set. Here are a few examples:


* Your conversion of old equipment into new uses shows you can think outside the box and are resourceful.



* The non-monetary ways you recognized your staff shows your creativity, abilities as a leader as you demonstrate your understanding of how to motivate others.



* The weekly internal E-letter you created for employees not only boosted morale, it gave evidence of your strong communication skills.



* The canned food drive you initiated at your last job not only showed your commitment to your community, it also raised visibility for the company and improved their public relations.



* By forming a lunchtime jogging club you helped bring employees from different departments together while improving the health, and mental health, of employees who participated. Your leadership and team building skills were further evidenced when your runners club formed a Centipede in the recent Bay to Breakers race.



* Your multilingual skills helped aright a project suffering from miscommunication between subsidiaries from overseas. Not only could you translate phrases and idioms of speech, your insight into cultural differences bridged a gap and corrected a wayward project. More than showcasing your knowledge of languages, you demonstrated the ability to liaison between different groups, negotiate and turn an important project around.


Here are a few examples:


* Your analysis of existing processing statements and identification of cost savings



* Your experience with a variety of systems and payment methods: credit, debit, phone and gift cards, etc.



* Your skill in designing billing systems that cross borders and time zones and convert currencies"


Best yet, this Story Tell, Story Sell method works for sales, management, consultants, meeting planners, solopreneurs and even politicians. I know, I've coached them!


Review your past work history and identify the stories within each accomplishment. Now tell them to others. Don't forget the moral to your story: the point the story tells about you (and your firm), your skills and credits. And remember, yours is a never-ending story!






Put Your Brand In The Customers' Hands



SlingMedia Has New Wireless Competition



Microsoft Fights For Its Reputation...




Risk Reversal Will Sky Rocket Your Sales


One of the top obstacles that you have to get over is the prospect's sensation that they are at risk when buying from you. The more they feel that they are at risk, the larger will be their reluctance to buy.


To get over this hurdle, you need to reserve the sense of risk. You must assume the risk yourself.


Have you ever considered how many businesses transfer the built-in risks of conducting such a business to the customer?


Well, the following is a classic model of how this is done currently:


Recently, I went into a store to buy a anniversary present for a friend. I saw a sign on the wall behind the cash counter that said "Absolutely no refund after 7 days" and I thought to myself, "How negative is that?" It sounded so severe and foreboding, even threatening.


I was wondering why these people would want to lessen their customer's goodwill by stating the policy in such a negative way and risk turning off even one customer. Especially, when the very same message could have been stated in a much more favorable way and help to make lasting customer relationships. For example, the same line on the store's return policy could have read, "We will gladly refund your full purchase price within 7 days."


The difference:


I am sure the difference in the two approaches is quite obvious. In the first statement, it is implied that the customer has to bear the burden of responsibility while the second statement indicates that the store management is willing to go out of his or her way to help the customer.


The above example is only a small one with perhaps only a minor negligible effect on sales, but the idea is not to state things in a negative fashion when there is a much better and more positive way of saying the same thing.


Your risk, your gain:


The wide range of anti-customer policies employed by various businesses never ceases to amaze me. The point that they all miss here is that, if you believe you have a sound product or service, then you should leave no stone unturned in advertising it to your customers.


For example:


"Our prices are the lowest in town or we'll refund double the difference" or "If we don't have your size in stock, we'll make a special order and have it here within two days" or "Marketing that gets you results or it costs you zilch, nada, zero.


All of the above statements have a powerful and positive psychological impact on the mind of the customer. If you can perform, you must make sure you let people know. If you were the gift shop owner, as in the earlier example, you may get a few returns and refund requests to begin with, but those will be of no consequence at all compared to all the new business you will be getting just by thinking smart and communicating right.


As a matter of fact, studies have generally found that with product guraantees, the longer the guarantee period, the fewer returns. The longer guarantee gives the customer a sense that you really believe in your product.


Take for example an information product. If a customer has not had a chance to really get into the product and consume the information provided within the guarantee period, they may decide to return simply because they haven't had the time to satisfy themselfves that the information is really useful to them.


On the other hand, if the guarantee is for a year, then they don't feel rushed and if they never get to the product and it sits on the shelf unopened, they will have long forgotten all about it and the guarantee when the deadline comes up.


Taking the risk on yourself is good for your business.





The Auction Media FAQ



EBay Fees On The Rise



NetRatings Gives Google A Lift



Microsoft Stages Cybersquatter Shootout



Verizon Replaces Fed Fee With House Money



Yahoo Japan Covers Gypped Auction Goers



Google Audio Player Comes To Light



YouTube's Night In Paris



SEO: Cutts Scratches A Niche



A classic commercial



Not your typical tv news ratings ploy



At the end of the day, it’s all about the cliché



Understanding the Internet’s role in crisis communication



The I-Reporter: Born of the Web



Crisis Manager: For Those Who Are Crisis Managers, Whether They Want to Be or Not!



The secret ingredient to Otavo’s success? People.



Otavo: The Intention Engine | Make Your Intentions Known.



Can Paris Hilton boost YouTube?



Hullo To Enter VOIP War With Free Product



Cisco Buys Arroyo Systems, Cements Video-on-Demand



Facebook adds blog-like notes feature



Facebook Adds Blogs



GigaOM blog



Nimbuzz releases full featured mobile communication software



Nimbuzz Could Change the Face of Mobile Communications: a MobileCrunch Exclusive!



MobileCrunch website



Nimbuzz: Text. Chat. Free.



links for 2006-08-22



ABC News Content Now on Sale in iTunes



MAKE Magazine to Test 3D Ads in iTunes PDFs



YouTube Debuts Brand Channels


































Link to comment
Share on other sites

10% Google Checkout Coupon For Back To School



The Auction Media FAQ



iNetWord is more confusing than useful





Chips promise to boost speech recognition


PALO ALTO, Calif.--Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are using custom computer chips to tackle a problem in speech recognition that software largely hasn't been able to solve.


Speech recognition has long been a computer industry dream--but it never has become practical reality for most computer users. But researcher Rob Rutenbar argues that using a custom processor rather than software will improve speech recognition speed and lower its power consumption.


"It's time to liberate speech recognition from the unreasonable limitations of software," Rutenbar said here Tuesday at the Hot Chips conference. He likened the situation to the now-widespread use of special-purpose hardware for graphics.


Faster chip-based speech recognition will enable video players to search rapidly for Arnold Schwarzenegger saying "Hasta la vista, baby," in a movie, he said. And lower power consumption will enable a cell phone to take dictated notes.


So far, researchers on the university's "in silico vox" project are working on two chip approaches, one using custom chips called ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) and another using reconfigurable chips called FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays). Rutenbar showed a videotaped demonstration of the university's technology using a low-end FPGA to recognize words in a limited 1,000-word vocabulary.


The system recognized several short sentences at about twice the speed it took for researchers to speak them. At the same time, its accuracy was about the same as that of Carnegie Mellon's Sphinx speech recognition software.


Rutenbar said the researchers estimate their first-generation custom chip approach will be faster--nearly twice the rate of regular speech for a 5,000-word vocabulary. They're also working on a custom chip that will work at 10 times the spoken rate, with later goals including speed-up factors of 100 and 1,000, he said.


The speech recognition chip's duties begin with converting an audio signal into combinations of noises that form any of about 50 different sounds, such as "n," in English. That's tricky--the sound of the "i" is different in the word "five" than in the word "nine" because of the different sounds pronounced immediately before and after, so in effect there are more than 1,000 sound possibilities, he said.


Next, the chip compares those sounds to those used in actual words. Finally, it looks for likely combinations of words--both pairs and threesomes--to improve accuracy. The upshot is that the chip's performance is dependent on high memory communications bandwidth so it can make comparisons quickly, he said.





Hate talking to your PC? Nuance gets users heard




Speech recognition: A work in progress



Sun tackles privacy, speech recognition





Ark Linux Review, A Distro with an Identity Crisis




EBay Sellers Seek Management Change



Algorithmic Investors on Wallstreet



'Stargate: SG-1' Cancelled



Execs at AOL Approved Release of Private Data?



AOL Moves to Increase Privacy on Search Queries



E-Passport In the Works



Friendster Back from the Dead?



Tomorrow's Cell Phones



A Quantum Leap for Cell Phones

A new no-buttons handset by Pilotfish and Synaptics signals that mobiles as we know them may soon be a thing of the past




O'Reilly Lawyers Set Up Shop in the Patent Office



World's Largest Medical Experiment



Half a million volunteers to join disease experiment




2006 Fields Medalists Announced




Microsoft Flubs Patch, Putting Users At Risk



Snakes on The Net Fail to Put Butts in the Seats




SCO Lawyers Ambush IBM Witness




A Decision on the Wilson Deposition from Judge Wells and Some Context




Weird Al Says 'Don't Download This Song'




iPod eBook Creator - convert books into notes on iPod



iPod eBook Creator - convert books into notes on iPod




Light text on dark background vs. readability



Light text on dark background vs. readability



456 Berea ST: Articles and news on web standards, accessibility, and usability



Vista's Aero Glass: Is It All It's Cracked Up to Be?



Vista's Aero Glass: Is it all it's cracked up to be?



Gmail Audio Player



Gmail Audio Player



iSpider.pl blog



NASA's World Wind giving google earth a run for its money!



World Wind 3D Engine



Facebook Releases Notes



Facebook Notes Released






The Ipod 1Gb Nano Versus the 1 Gb Creative Zen Nano



The Ipod 1Gb Nano Versus the 1 Gb Creative Zen Nano



Kids Say the Darndest Things in Their Blogs



Kids Say the Darndest Things in Their Blogs

For Parents, It Can Be Embarrassing



Moving Towards Fax Over IP



Save money by using fax over IP



Open source guru advocates ideological shift



Open source guru advocates ideological shift

Eric Raymond calls for compromise...




Wi-Fi Helping To Fight War On Terror



Wi-Fi Helping To Fight War On Terror





Cheat Sheet: Web 2.0



Cheat Sheet: Web 2.0

What on earth is it and should you care?


Web 2.0? I'm learning to spot a buzzword when I hear one and I think I just have...


Web 2.0 is one of those phrases which we're hearing a lot about currently. Everybody says they're very excited about it but do they really know what it is?


So what is it?


Well, in the simplest terms it's the phrase being applied to 'the second coming' of the internet. Dot-com investors are partying like it's 1999 and a number of pioneering online services are very much keeping that party exciting, getting everybody talking about the internet once more and its increasing relevance to our lives.


Such as?


Well, web 2.0 is a bit of a catch-all which covers a broad range of new online services, user-generated content, communities and social networking tools. The most popular are sites such as Blogger, Flickr, MySpace, YouTube and Wikipedia and the Godfather of web 2.0 - Google. The phrase also refers to the creation of far greater levels of interactivity, not just between users, or between users and the internet but between complementary online services through mash-ups and web services.


So this is all consumer stuff - photo-sharing and the like?


That's where a lot of the energy is coming from and the services doing the early running have absolutely been focused on driving and exploiting end-user trends. However, the idea that the web is 'where it's at' is not lost on big business. For example web 2.0 covers 'software as a service' (SaaS) - companies are being told they no longer have to buy software but instead should access applications online. Many people aren't yet ready to embrace that move but investors and advocates of SaaS are certainly convinced.


Where'd the name come from?


The 2.0 name is a clear allusion to the naming convention of software updates - this is the internet version 2.0, get it? - which is slightly ironic given the revolution taking place in software as a service isn't good news for traditional client/server software.


Why's that?


Well, to quote Marc Benioff, CEO of salesforce.com: "All of the action is in services. Web 2.0 is where the action is." His company has embraced this move whole-heartedly, providing a portal for all manner of web 2.0 applications aimed at the enterprise - including online word processors and spreadsheets (nobody said web 2.0 had to be limited to interesting, fun applications).


Gartner is also convinced web 2.0 should be a major consideration for businesses.


But should I care?


Absolutely you Luddite. Two or three years ago there was a feeling that innovation online had failed to emerge from the doldrums of the dot-com boom and bust cycle and had hit something of a dead end but now innovation is arguably at its most frenetic level ever. Never underestimate the effect the internet can have on our lives and now all we need is a browser and a broadband connection and there's very little we can't do.


Isn't there a danger that mistakes will be repeated? We've been here before, haven't we?


We've certainly, very famously, seen an internet boom before and history has shown us that bust follows boom but there is some bedrock here. Of course there are question marks over how YouTube will make money, for example - because great ideas and even popularity don't pay the bills - and the next stage for the investors will be monetising the excitement that surrounds web 2.0. Not every service which launches under that banner will survive but a great many will, probably though acquisition in a lot of cases.


Acquisition by whom?


Well Google for starters. The internet giant is absolutely at the heart of web 2.0 and the ability to bring many of these services together to create vast interlinked content offerings will certainly appeal. For the enterprise and end-user Google already offers a number of Office-style applications as a hosted offering. The company is also readying the finished version of its hosted email Exchange-offering.


The more, dare we say 'interesting' web 2.0 content will also appeal to Google as it puts ever more flesh on its content bones.







Japanese Office Workers Stressed




Prisoners use Chilli Peppers to break out of Prison





Chillies aid Sumatra jail break





Magnetic Water





Web Surfing in Public Places Is a Way to Court Trouble




Web Surfing in Public Places Is a Way to Court Trouble


Any business traveler who has logged on to a wireless network at the airport, printed a document at a hotel business center or checked e-mail messages at a public terminal has probably wondered, at least fleetingly, “Is this safe?”

Skip to next paragraph

Kevin Moloney for The New York Times


Potential computer security hazards are everywhere, including airports, where travelers connect to the Web on laptops.


Although obsessing about computer security is a bit like worrying about a toddler — potential hazards lurk everywhere and you can drive yourself crazy trying to avoid them — the fact is, business travelers take certain risks with the things they do on most trips.


“If you go into the average hotel and sit down in the business center and have a look at their computer, I’m sure you’ll find some interesting things that people shouldn’t have left behind,” said Paul Stamp, a security analyst with Forrester Research.


“The first step companies need to do is to educate people about how valuable the data is and also how small the circles are in which they travel,” he said, noting how loudly many people discuss business on cellphones, without a thought for who may be nearby.


Or what may be in the air. Robert Vamosi, a senior editor with the online technology publisher CNET, said wireless networks at airports — or for that matter, hotels or cafes — are not as secure as most people think.


“Someone may have some software on their computer that allows them to look at all the wireless transactions going on around them and capture packets that are floating between the laptop and the wireless access point,” he said.


These software programs are called packet sniffers and many can be downloaded free online. They are typically set up to capture passwords, credit card numbers and bank account information — which is why Mr. Vamosi says shopping on the Web is not a great way to kill time during a flight delay.


“Where I’d draw the line is putting in your bank account information or credit card number,” he said, adding that checking e-mail messages probably is not that risky, but if you want to be cautious, change your password once you are on a secure connection again.


That said, if you gain access to your corporate network through a V.P.N., or virtual private network, you are safer using public hot spots, because your data is encrypted as it travels between Gate 17 and your office’s server, where it is decoded before going to its destination.


In other words, your communications are automatically encoded by software on your computer so the data looks like gibberish to anyone trying to intercept it. If your company does not offer a V.P.N. for employees working away from the office, there are services you can subscribe to for about $10 a month that do the same thing.


Michael Sellitto, a graduate student studying international security at Harvard, said that even though he encrypted any sensitive data on his laptop, he planned to sign up for a service like HotSpotVPN to add another level of security when he is traveling, especially when using poorly protected networks at cafes and hotels.


“The problem is, the really good people have written sniffer programs so that the less-sophisticated people have access to the same technology,” Mr. Sellitto said. “Say a Microsoft Word document gets transmitted. The sniffer program will collect that and someone could open it up on their computer.”


While it is hard to say how likely it is that someone is lurking on a public network, many public networks do not have adequate security.


Last fall, InfoWorld magazine published an article about a security researcher who managed to collect more than 100 passwords, per stay, at hotels with lax security (about half the hotels she tested).


Gathering reliable statistics about security breaches is notoriously difficult, since companies are reluctant to reveal this information. Still, the most recent computer crime and security survey, conducted annually by the Computer Security Institute with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, found that the average loss from computer security incidents in 2005 was $167,713 per respondent (based on 313 companies and organizations that answered the question).


As Jim Louderback, editor of PC Magazine, noted, the statistics may not matter given the problems one data breach can cause.


“Even if it’s 1 or 2 percent,” he said. “You don’t want to run that risk.”


Using a public computer can also mean courting trouble, because data viewed while surfing the Web, printing a document or opening an e-mail attachment is generally stored on the computer — meaning it could be accessible to the next person who sits down. (To remove traces of your work, delete any documents you have viewed, clear the browser cache and the history file and empty the trash before you walk away.)


“You also run the risk that somebody has loaded a program on there that can capture your log-ins and passwords,” Mr. Louderback said, recalling an incident a few years ago when a Queens resident was caught installing this type of “key logger” software on computers at several Kinko’s locations in New York.


One way to foil these programs, which record what you type and can send the transcript to a hacker, is to use a password manager like RoboForm. This $30 software encrypts all your user names and passwords for various Web sites, then enters the data at the click of a mouse when you are prompted to log in.


There is a mobile version that can be stored on a flash drive that plugs into a U.S.B. port — making your passwords secure and portable.


There are also simple measures you can take to protect your hardware, like using a cable lock to secure your laptop in a hotel room or even a cafe (in case you leave the table for any reason), and making sure you lock your computer bag in the trunk rather than leaving it on the back seat.


For travelers who do carry around sensitive data, it is worth looking into programs like Absolute Software’s LoJack for Laptops, which can help recover a missing computer. The software reports its location when connected to the Internet — and some versions can even be programmed to destroy data if a computer is reported lost or stolen.


But perhaps the most common snoop that business travelers encounter is someone nearby “shoulder surfing” to see what is on a laptop, out of curiosity or mere boredom.


To foil prying eyes, 3M sells a Notebook Privacy Filter, a plastic film that makes it impossible to view a laptop screen from an angle.


Trevor Stromquist, a sales analyst for a manufacturing company in Minneapolis, has been using one for the last two years to dissuade nosy neighbors on the road, but he has noticed an added benefit back at the office.


“To be honest, it’s kind of a nice thing when you’re sitting in one of those long drawn-out meetings,” he said. “You can do what you need to do and no one will notice.”






The Bush Fog Machine & The War Crimes Act




Top 10: Vehicles with the Highest Fuel Efficiency



Complex Mag Goes Simple In It's Redesign



How to make magnetic water



Undeniable Friday: Magnetic Water



Undeniable Facts - a fact a day



Upside-Down American Flag Brings Farmer Arrest & Death Threats



Arrest, Death Threat, for Farmer with Upside Down Flag



Top Ten Best Physics Games



Top Ten Best Physics Games



Aeropause - The Goods on Gaming



Fascinating Video: Nanotech Assembler



Nanotech Assembler




Weather suspected in Russian plane crash




Mourning Russian relatives head to plane crash site



















Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fastest-growing metro areas

St. George, Utah has added more people than any other area; Hinesville-Fort Stewart, Georgia has lost the most.



What it takes to be rich



Where Some British Extremists Go On Holiday

On the pretext of visiting relatives, promising recruits are sent to Pakistan-administered Kashmir for training and advice



The $100 million giveaway


Howard Schultz, Vinod Khosla and other top investors are sharing their best startup ideas. And they're willing to give a collective $100 million to the entrepreneurs who can make them happen.



Home sales slump deepens

Sales of existing homes slow more than expected in July as supply of homes on the market climbs to 13-year high and prices soften.



How not to be the ugly American



"No Contract, No Work" for teachers in Gary, Indiana



Space station cosmonaut 'go' for golf stunt



Ancient biblical waterworks discovered



Suspect's blog: Fantasies are 'dangerously weird'



Cell phone recycling brings tech to developing world



Wireless robots may float above Earth



Poll: Most think bin Laden planning another U.S. attack





Paramount cuts ties with Tom Cruise


Studio, star disagree on reasons for break

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- The latest high-profile Hollywood breakup is between a movie star and a top studio.


Sumner Redstone, whose company owns Paramount Pictures, said the studio would sever its 14-year relationship with Cruise's film production company because "his recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."


"As much as we like him personally," the Viacom Inc. chairman told The Wall Street Journal, "we thought it was wrong to renew his deal."


Cruise's partner, Paula Wagner, said negotiations on a new contract simply fizzled.


The deal in recent years paid Cruise and Wagner up to $10 million a year to develop films and operate an office on the Paramount lot, the Journal said Wednesday. It was reported that Cruise and the studio had been discussing a less lucrative deal.


The studio had offered the pair $2 million a year, plus a $500,000 discretionary fund during each of the next two years, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. It cited sources with knowledge of the talks who didn't want to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.


In the past year or so, the usually guarded actor came under intense scrutiny after he jumped up and down on Oprah Winfrey's couch while proclaiming his love for Katie Holmes, openly advocated Scientology, and criticized Brooke Shields for taking prescription drugs to treat postpartum depression. The religion founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard opposes psychiatry and its medication.


Redstone estimated that Cruise's off-screen behavior cost his latest movie, "Mission: Impossible III," $100 million to $150 million in ticket sales, even as he praised the film as "the best of the three movies" in the action series.


"It's nothing to do with his acting ability, he's a terrific actor," Redstone said. "But we don't think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot."


Wagner told The Associated Press that agents for Cruise/Wagner Productions stopped negotiating with Paramount over a week ago and have since secured independent financing, effectively taking any contract-renewal deal off the table.


"For some reason, Paramount has chosen to negotiate in the press," Wagner said, calling Redstone's announcement "surprising."


"It's not really the most businesslike approach," she said. "We've had virtually no dealings with Mr. Redstone."


Each of the actor's last seven films have generated more than $100 million. And the collaboration between Paramount and Cruise/Wagner Productions, based on the Paramount lot since 1992, has produced $2.5 billion worth of business, Wagner said.


Wagner said she and Cruise had been considering independent financing for their company "for a long time." She said the company has already obtained commitments from two hedge funds, whose names would be announced soon.


"For us, this is a very new and exciting direction. We look forward to working with all the studios."






Paramount and Tom Cruise Split, But Who Stands to Lose the Most?


Paramount's parent CEO Sumner Redstone publicly slams Cruise's off-screen behavior, but the actor/producer still pulls in millions at the box office


You're fired! Hey, you can't fire me, because I quit!


That's the gist of the war of words between Tom Cruise's production company and Paramount Pictures following news from film studio's parent late Tuesday that it was severing ties with Cruise/Wagner Productions after 14 years.


Sumner Redstone, chairman of Paramount owner Viacom, told the Wall Street Journal, which first broke the story on its website, that Cruise's "recent conduct has not been acceptable." Redstone cited the actor's public comments defending Scientology and criticizing psychiatry. "As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Redstone is quoted as saying in the Journal.


But in an interview with Time.com Tuesday night, Paula Wagner, Cruise's partner, said that days before Paramount's move, the two producers had already decided to leave the studio, accept an offer of a $100 million-a-year revolving fund from a group of private investors and produce their future film projects independently. (Under terms of its "first-look" deal with Paramount that recently expired, Cruise/Wagner was paid an annual chunk of money to cover overhead and development costs — a sum estimated by sources at the studio to be around $10 million, although Wagner insists it was much less than that. In return, the studio got first dibs on releasing the pictures Cruise/Wagner produced.) "A few days ago, we instructed our agents to cease negotiations (on a new deal) with Paramount," Wagner told Time.com. "We decided that it was best for us to do something where we lead the way in terms of where the film industry is going. We're very excited to be making films independently."


The decision by Paramount to end a business relationship with an A-list star like Cruise comes as all of the major studios are sweating out the gate receipt tallies every weekend, aggressively cutting the sizes of star-driven production deals and all other costs, as well as looking for ways to mitigate financial risks. It's a reflection of just how sensitive their publicly traded corporate parents have become about any issue that could pose a threat to the bottom line. It probably wasn't lost on Paramount executives that about half of the people queried in a USA Today/Gallup poll several months ago had an unfavorable opinion of Cruise, in the wake of his controversial public statements and puzzling behavior such as using Oprah Winfrey's couch as a trampoline while declaring his love for future wife Katie Holmes. And coming just weeks after Disney's decision to drop out of a Holocaust TV miniseries project with Mel Gibson following the torrents of negative publicity about Gibson’s anti-Semitic comments during his DUI arrest, it's an indication that in this celebrity-gossip-saturated age, even stars with stellar box-office records are no longer immune from career reverberations when they get entangled in controversy and public opinion turns against them. "This bespeaks something about where the industry is and where it's going," lamented one producer.


Officials from Paramount and Viacom declined requests to elaborate on Redstone's comments to the Journal, or to react to Wagner's version of events. However, when told about her contention that she and Cruise walked away before being cut loose, a source close to the studio responded dismissively, "Whatever."


Wagner called the remarks about Cruise's behavior attributed to Redstone in the Journal "unprofessional, offensive and undignified" and "not good business." She complained that references to his off-screen actions created a mis-impression that their deal with the studio covers Cruise as an actor as well as a producer, when it actually only involves him as producer. "As an actor, he has never had an exclusive deal with any studio," Wagner said.


Nevertheless, she said the success of the films he has made for Paramount attest to her partner's enduring appeal. According to Cruise's publicist, during the past decade, "Cruise has made six films for Paramount with worldwide box-office totals of $2.4 billion, accounting for 32% of Paramount's total income for the six years he had a film in release." The publicist added that Cruise's last two films, War of the Worlds and Mission Impossible 3, have grossed $977.8 million worldwide. "As an actor, Tom is responsible for almost $3 billion in box office revenue for Paramount," said Wagner. "That's more money than any other actor has made for any single studio in history."


The source with knowledge of Paramount's thinking replied, "You have to factor in how much he cost them. His production deal was expensive and he was providing diminishing returns, based on his box office performance and the [off-screen] behavior that the studio executives felt was impacting it."


Still, the decision to end its association with Cruise isn't risk-free for Paramount. It's a testament to the ongoing strength of the Cruise/Wagner brand that their company attracted such a huge amount of private capital. Moreover, two of Hollywood's biggest producers are still fans of Cruise the actor. Wagner says JJ Abrams, who directed Mission Impossible 3 and just inked big production deals of his own with Warner Bros and Paramount, still wants to work with him.


Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of Cruise blockbusters Days of Thunder and Top Gun, says, "I'd love to make as many films with him as I can. First of all, Tom gives you big openings no matter what, which is what it's all about. You always have to be careful about what you do, no matter what profession you're in. But I don't think Tom has done anything that would change people's movie-going habits if he's got the right material because he's a brilliant actor."


And in ending the relationship in such a public and messy way, Paramount could wind up alienating other talent, industry insiders warn. "As a movie studio, your business is to attract filmmakers and artists," said one, who is a Cruise ally. "Why would you say something about an important movie star when it could make his friends and colleagues [think twice] about working at a place that attacks artists?"


The combatants are going their separate ways, but the war might not be over.







Carroll: Insurgents made Shiites top target




Thai police: Karr claimed 'sex' with JonBenet


Karr's family finds no photo to show him at home Christmas 1996


(CNN) -- Murder suspect John Mark Karr told a Thai officer that he had "sex" with JonBenet Ramsey before her death in 1996 but "there was no penetration," a Thai official said Wednesday.


"Karr then said, 'There are so many ways to have sex,' then he went quiet," Thai Immigration chief Gen. Suwat Tumrongsiskul told CNN.


Karr's disclosure to the officer on duty was the only time the suspect mentioned sex involving the 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant during the four days he was held in Thai custody, Suwat said.


JonBenet's beaten and strangled body was found in the basement of the family home in Boulder, Colorado, the day after Christmas in 1996.


Despite the incriminating statements Karr made to reporters and law enforcement officials in Bangkok last week, questions have surfaced as to whether the slight, soft-spoken schoolteacher could have been involved in the grisly killing of JonBenet.


Karr's immediate family strongly believes he had no involvement in the young girl's murder, according to family spokesman and attorney Gary Harris in Clayton, Georgia.


Harris, who is not representing John Karr, told CNN in a phone interview that family members do not remember Karr ever missing a Christmas gathering prior to his 2001 estrangement from them.


The family members Harris is representing said they would have remembered if Karr was not with his family because Karr was not well-off, Harris said. The family would have remembered if he had taken a plane trip somewhere.


Harris said later Tuesday he would turn over to Boulder police a photograph taken at Christmas of 1996, showing Karr's three sons and another child. Karr is not seen in the photograph. The attorney said family members asserted that if Karr's three children were there, then Karr was as well.


Karr's second ex-wife, Lara Knutson, told a San Francisco television station last week that he was with her and the children during the entire 1996 Christmas season in Alabama.


However, according to Knutson's attorney, Michael Rains, "Lara has not located a photograph which places Mr. Karr either at their home in Hamilton, Alabama, or in any other location on or about Christmas Day 1996."


Knutson has turned over documents to Boulder County prosecutors, Rains said in a statement issued Tuesday, and continues to search for other materials that may be relevant. (Watch an examination of Karr's bizarre past -- 4:00)


When asked why Karr would make up a story about being involved in the Ramsey murder if he had been in Alabama at the time, Harris said there may be a "problem with his emotional condition."


Still, a U.S. law enforcement source told CNN that Karr provided investigators with details about the condition of the girl's body -- details that had not been publicly disclosed.


While being transported to the Los Angeles County Jail, Karr made additional statements about JonBenet's death in the presence of officers, according to a source involved with Karr's transfer.


The source told CNN Karr began talking calmly to himself while looking out the window. He said, "Everybody says I couldn't know my way around the house, but I got in the house around 5 o'clock ... and I stayed there all night," according to the source.


Karr also said that "they" -- meaning the Ramseys -- did not come back until about 10 p.m. He also repeated what he earlier told reporters -- that JonBenet's death was an accident, and that he was with her when she died.


Karr, 41, appeared Tuesday morning at a brief hearing in Los Angeles and waived his right to contest the extradition. He was represented by Haydeh Takasugi of the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office. (Full story)


Karr's only words during the hearing were "Yes, your honor," when he was asked procedural questions by the judge. (Watch Karr in court -- 2:22)


The date of Karr's extradition to Colorado has not been released. The judge allowed 10 days for the transfer to take place.


Karr's being held on a warrant for suspicion of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault, though he has not yet been directly charged with any crime.






F-16s escort jet back to Schiphol




Sony gets its feet wet with Grouper



Asia warms up to intellectual property



Perspective: Confidential data really is at risk



U.K. spammer gets two-month curfew



Red Hat hires president of India operations



Homeland Security chief promises privacy safeguards



Symbian growth spurt continues



Comverse to acquire Netonomy



Google to Japan: Try Gmail



Microsoft lands Facebook ad deal



Brazil prosecutors aim to sue Google



IE patch carries security bug



Sun recoups server market share



Industry shift to services fuels IBM spree



Judge lets Blockbuster antitrust suit go forward



Gateway receives offer for retail unit



Researchers yearn to use AOL logs, but they hesitate



CNET EXTRA articles



DIY Nuke Detector Patrols SF Bay



Playstation 3 demos look great



Computer-based models to replace the investment advisor?



eBay's new fees incite fury

The site's 500,000 online store owners rebel against auctioner's increased selling costs.




Tech Booms, Real Estate Busts?




Georgia drivers who cause wreck while yakking on cellphone will face fine of up to $500 -The Drudge Report




Drudge Report




Bob Dylan: Technology Sucks



Speed demon parents can love

Lunenburg teen invents device to check drivers



Samsung courts amateur shutterbugs, serious gamers



IBM eyes China expansion amid strong growth



Sony to offer 27 PS3 games at Tokyo show



IBM to buy ISS for $1.3 billion



Has iPod's hit parade stalled?



Sony gets into video sharing with Grouper hug



Can German engineering fix Wikipedia?



Newsmaker: Open-sourcing the news





Make Yourself Smarter: Your Laptop as a Transactive Memory System Tool



Book Review Break - The Tipping Point



What is the Tipping Point? - Gladwell.com



Gladwell.com blog



I n f o r m a t i o n P r o c e s s i n g T h e o r y



Association for Information Systems



Large Scale Put and Call Option Executive Corruption



Editors- Eunuchs or Opinion Leaders



Microsoft Gets Ad Playground



McHummer Illustrates McStupidity



Mitnick Sites Hit By Hackers




Top 10 Spam Subjects


Top 10 spam subject lines during July 2006, according to Internet security firm Mcafee...


1.Message from eBay Member


2. PayPal Notification


3. Restore Your Account Access


4. Chase Online Banking Service


5. eBay Member aw-confirm@ebay.com


6. eBay Item Not Received Dispute Opened for Item


7. Question from eBay member


8. Question from eBay Member


9. Barclays International informs you


10. Amazon.com - Account maintenance - Profile Update


Source, McAfee Avert Labs, July 2006


For more information, visit the McAfee AVERT Labs Blog at http://www.avertlabs.com/research








Public Internet Use Fraught With Danger?





The Malware Pandemic And What Spyware Removal Can Do For You


Everyone has dealt with annoying computer problems at one time or another - from spyware to adware and everything in between...


So how can you avoid these predicaments, and what is the best way to eradicate all types of malware and approach the process of spyware removal?


How do you deal with something that seems to be taking over the online world and bogging down your enjoyment and use of the Internet?


First, before you can successfully deal with malware, you must know your enemy. Most people have direct experience with computer invasions, but don't understand the root causes of the problem and why their computer acts as a breeding ground for ads and other virtual nasties.


So what is malware, adware, and spyware? Who creates it and how does it end up on your computer? Basically, malware is a generic term used to describe any type of malicious software designed to infiltrate, destroy, disrupt, or damage the infected computer system without your knowledge or consent. Trojan horses, viruses, and worms fall under the category of 'malware.'


Spyware (software that infects a computer against the user's knowledge for the purpose of obtaining private information) can also be categorized as malware. Spyware may be set up to monitor your keystrokes, website visits, form submissions, e-mail addresses, passwords and bank account information.


Adware is a form of software that displays advertisements by bombarding you with pop-ups. Though seemingly innocuous, adware also poses risks to your privacy. The reason? Advertisers install adware on your system without your permission (just like spyware and any other kind of malware) and may track your online movements for the purpose of gathering marketing information so that ads can be targeted directly to you.


These unwanted programs, once on your computer, have the potential to spawn a whole slew of problems. For example, after becoming infected, you may notice an unwanted toolbar on your PC displaying ads, or in the case of browser hijackers, your homepage or favorites list may suddenly change to sites you don't recognize, replete with ads and paid links. A sign that adware specifically is installed on your system: an increasing amount of pop-ups that continually harass you with advertisements.


Other signs of infection include a slow running computer, search requests that get automatically redirected to another search engine, unexplained calls on your phone bill to 900 numbers, problems with security programs on your system, and difficulties with your modem's send and receive lights which may blink even when you aren't doing anything online.


How does malware latch onto your computer without your permission? Often, this type of malicious software stealth installs by drive-by-download or comes bundled with freeware. Or, you may unwittingly download it by clicking on a pop-up window or suspicious e-mail attachment.


Unfortunately, even if you're smart enough to stay away from spam attachments and never click on aggressive pop-up ads, there are other, more sneaky ways for malware to hitch a ride on your PC. For instance, rogue anti-spyware, anti-virus, and registry cleaning programs use Trojans to infect computers. Once these rogue programs are on your system, fake Windows system alerts or System Tray balloon pop-ups warn users of a virus or spyware infection, and scare people into purchasing a so-called anti-spyware product that contaminates your computer with the exact thing you were trying to avoid: malware.


Why it's important to fight malware


When it comes right down to it, malware impacts all of us. Businesses and individuals alike waste time and money ridding their computers of rampant pop-ups generated by adware and spyware. For many people, too much unwanted software hampers their online experience and endangers the prospect of the Internet's growth as a tool of communication.


Society as a whole should not tolerate the proliferation of malware across the Internet. It is an abuse of technology and violates the rights of citizens and businesses to keep their personal information private and out of the wrong hands. Many criminals use the technology to steal your private information, your identity, and your money. It's just not right.


The good news is that the more people who speak up and voice their concern about these issues, the more regulatory bodies such as the government and companies that combat spyware will do to eradicate the problem. We have the opportunity to make malware a thing of the past, especially as people learn more about it.


What is the government doing to stop malware?


In 2005 the Federal government enacted the I-Spy and Spy Acts as a way to fight against spyware. Specifically, the I-Spy Act (Internet Spyware Prevention Act) imposes stricter jail sentences and multi-million dollar fines on those convicted of distributing. The second SPY Act (Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act) also has stiffer penalties, and calls for more stringent policies regarding opt-in notices and consent agreements.


Although these acts are a step in the right direction, many believe they don't do enough to deal with the malware problem. One of the main concerns is that affiliate marketing is really at the heart of the issue. Companies and individuals spread adware across cyberspace trying to rake in the financial benefits. Even though adware is used for marketing purposes, it operates in the same manner as spyware, is just as invasive, and causes a lot of headaches for the average computer user. It's a very thin line that separates adware and spyware, and unfortunately, current legislation isn't designed to handle the complexities of the spyware/adware dilemma.


Another weakness is that the acts don't deal with the fact that companies producing spyware and adware are in the habit of opening frivolous lawsuits against the very businesses that create software designed to fight malware invasions. Until anti-spyware companies are given full freedom to eliminate malware threats, the I-Spy and Spy Acts won't have the strength to deal with what's causing the crisis in the first place.


How can technology control the problem?


The best way to cope with malware, in addition to exercising vigilance and caution while online, is to install anti-spyware software to detect and destroy unwanted programs on your computer. Popular firewall and anti-virus companies produce anti-spyware products - unfortunately, like the United Nations, these programs are too diplomatic and weak to truly protect your system from outside threats. For good anti-spyware software, you might want to consider products from lesser-known companies whose specialty is adware and spyware removal. More successful in attacking new variants of problematic malware, they are a better defense against the perils that lurk in the online world.


What can you do?


You may feel powerless in the face of malware, but there are steps you can take to stop the malware pandemic. First off: think globally, act locally. If you've experienced the negative consequences of a spyware infection, be proactive and write to your local senator explaining the impact malware has had on your enjoyment of the Internet, how it has wasted your time, and hindered your productivity.


Install and run a high-quality anti-spyware program. Keep on top of the game by setting up automatic scans and updates on a daily basis, just like you do with your anti-virus software. New variants are unleashed all the time, so it's extremely important to keep your system up-to-date so it can adequately deal with new threats and remove spyware as it appears.


If you become infected, take notes and capture relevant screenshots before removing the infection. Go one step further and write an official complaint letter to the businesses mentioned in the ads that pop up. It's a waste of time to contact the adware-maker or advertising agency because adware often lifts paid ads and listings from syndicated search engines and affiliate networks - this means most businesses are unaware they're paying to show up in adware programs.


By contacting the business directly, you have the chance to let them know their ads are showing up in adware displays. A reputable business will investigate your claim and remove their ads. This cuts into the revenue stream of the adware makers, so spread the word! Get the adware companies where it hurts the most and we'll be on our way to a spyware free tomorrow in no time.


Malware is a nuisance, it's invasive and a threat to your privacy. Defend your rights and take a stand against it. In addition to utilizing technology designed for spyware removal, let your voice be heard by putting pressure on the government to more effectively discourage the dissemination of malicious software and contacting businesses to let them know how you feel about the issue. Only when everyone affected by malware rises up against it will we move closer to abolishing it forever.











Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yahoo Seals Up Site Against Phishers



Sales Through Storytelling



Why NAT Traversal Matters To You!



Dialpro Taps Tyler To Take Over Helm



Duet Hits Right Note For CRM, ERP Applications



The Auction Media FAQ



10% Google Checkout Coupon For Back To School



It's Time To Add Video To Your Content Strategy



NetRatings Gives Google A Lift



Microsoft Stages Cybersquatter Shootout



Google Pitching Jobs To SciFi Geeks



To Say Nothing of the Dog



IE7 Closer To CSS Compliance



Details on our CSS changes for IE7



Update coming for IE 6.0 SP1 security vulnerability



But Facebook Has A Great Personality



Google Base Releases GData API



Nimbuzz releases full featured mobile communication software



Another Proximity Based IM Service






Wow - Grouper Sells for $65 million



Facebook Does Ad Deal, But Not With Google



CrunchGear This Week




do not Fear the Blogosphere


Every single second, two blogs are born.


Search for the words 'my first blog entry' on the Internet and you will find newborn blogs popping up in Australia, St. Louis, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Japan and China.


Eager to elicit the intimate confessions, random musings, quirky enthusiasms and idiosyncratic judgments that characterize these Web sites cum personal journals, companies such as Google, Yahoo, MySpace.com, Six Apart and WordPress offer easy-to-use software and free hosting.


Still, the chances are, dear reader, that if you are an English-speaking American, you don't have one.


People 'feel a bit intimidated by the technology,' said Phil Hollows, creator of Feedblitz, software that turns blogs into newsletters that can be shared using e-mail.


According to Technorati, a popular blog search engine that publishes an authoritative 'State of the Blogosphere,' 39 percent of all blogs are written in English, with the next most popular language being Japanese, 31 percent, followed by Chinese, 12 percent, and Spanish, 3 percent.


In the United States, only one in every 12 Internet users has a blog, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project -- roughly the same proportion of Americans that live in Texas and Utah.


Moz Hussain, group product manager for Windows Live Spaces, said more than 90 percent of the 120 million users of Microsoft's blogging service are outside the United States.


Could it be that technophobia is holding back a population of Americans desperate to express themselves in words, pictures, sound and video posted on the Internet?


Blogs were born in the United States in the late '90s when online diaries evolved into Weblogs and then into blogs (we-blog). But until recently, the act of publishing a Web page required technical skills. At a minimum bloggers needed to know basic HTML, or HyperText Markup Language.


No longer.


'I can set someone up with a blog in two minutes,' said Elisa Camahort, co-founder of BlogHer, a community of female bloggers and an affiliated advertising network. 'It can be as easy as writing what you want to say and hitting publish.'


'It used to be a lot harder,' said Anil Dash, chief evangelist for Six Apart, a San Francisco company that makes blogging software. 'It's getting easier all the time.'


Six Apart's proprietary blog platform software, Movable Type, was first released in 2001. It competes with WordPress, an open-source blogging platform. Both are supported by passionate users and can be installed on a server by someone with technical knowledge. They can also be used through a Web browser by someone with zero technical skills.


Six Apart offers free blogs at LiveJournal.com, as well as a more sophisticated service at TypePad.com, for a monthly fee starting at $4.95. WordPress.com offers free blogs, as do Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, MySpace and others.


In choosing a turn-key blogging service, some important things to consider are the identity associated with the service, desirable features such as audio or video hosting, available storage, ease of customization and whether advertising is displayed by the service or can be used to support bloggers themselves.


TypePad is favored by professionals who want a hosted service with rich features that allows advertising. Google and Windows Live Spaces, formerly called MSN Spaces, are widely popular with general audiences. They also allow bloggers to potentially profit from selling advertising on their blogs.


Most of the top services can be customized by bloggers who know HTML.


'The No. 1 complaint I hear about Blogger is that it's not pretty,' said Kim Holmes, a blogger who offers free design templates at her site MissZoot.com. 'But it can be if you learn a little HTML.'


Yahoo's popular 360 blog service does not allow use of HTML or advertising.


Another key to blogging happiness is customer support. Heather Schlegel, who writes about Los Angeles on Heathervescent.com, said she particularly likes TypePad's customer service, which is based around a transparent online ticketing system.


Other bloggers, who are fans of WordPress, said the service has the most active community of users who volunteer their expertise. They say WordPress has an advantage over other services because it is an open-source project and so is constantly being improved by developers around the world who understand how it works.


Google and Microsoft offer extensive knowledge databases, along with community support. As a last resort, they also offer e-mail support.


Popular services like Xanga and LiveJournal have e-mail support as well.







ABC News Content Now on Sale in iTunes



MAKE Magazine to Test 3D Ads in iTunes PDFs



YouTube Debuts Brand Channels



links for 2006-08-23





Let the Rivers of News Flow


The Onine Marketing blog writes about a new aggregate of marketing and advertising blogs syndicated under one RSS feed. It's called the Marketing and Advertising Blog Network. It has over 50,000 subscribers and covers marketing, media, advertising agencies, PR, branding, television, radio, new media and interactive advertising. My feed is part of this "River of News."


In related aggregation news, Dave Winer is creating mobile rivers of news for the New York Times, CNET, BBC and others. They're very handy on a mobile device. Give them a go.









Marketing and Advertising Blog Network



Marketing and Advertising Network


[ADDED TO FEED AT 330PM AUG 23 2006]




For Beautiful Skin, It's Good to Swallow



The DMV Experience



MTV Goes All Bloggy, Gawker Stalker For VMAs



Agencies Love Clients With Sense of Bathroom Humor



Savvy Marketing or Sour Grapes?



Weblogs Inc Launches Health and Wellness Blog



That's Fit blog



Editors- Eunuchs or Opinion Leaders



50 Coolest Websites



50 Coolest Websites







Brazil wants Google's Data Now


Google is in danger of being shut-down in Brazil and faces a possible US$61 million fine for refusing to hand over user information associated with one of its social networking sites.


Yes It's Orkut, This time its Porn and not Drugs





If Google were to be shut


If Google were to be shut down in Brazil, what would be the point in paying the fine? Anyway, I hope GOOG don't cave over this - otherwise I'll be purging all my data from Google as fast (and as much is) possible.

By Mopatop at Wed, 2006-08-23 14:54 | login or register to post comments | top

The ugly face of data mining


That's what this demonstrates quite clearly once again. We've seen it before, of course: the Chinese government, the German government, the US government, North Korea, Singapore, Iran etc. - all blithely involved in censuring the Net and voicing demands re user data across the board.


More recently, it was AOL deliberately spilling the beans, now it's the Brazilian government believing this data is up for grabs.


Hopefully, this will help silence the crowd who keep ranting about granting Google (or any other major SE for that matter) the benefit of the doubt. Because Google's company ethics aren't at issue here anyway: If such data is accumulated at all, no matter by whom and to what originally benevolent purposes (even if genuine, which more often than not is highly doubtful by default), it constitutes a time bomb for everyone involved.


Of course, as long as people keep harping on credit card data and Social Security numbers alone, they're simply missing the point by breaking it down to a mere fraction of the overall nasty issues actually at hand.


Just like anything encrypted can be decrypted sooner or later, depending on how much effort you're prepared, willing and able to throw at it, any such treasure trove of personal/traceable information is bound to attract if not breed all sorts of unappetizing covetousness, be it commercial, administrative, political, or otherwise.


If nothing else, that's the way Big Brother scenarios will inevitably be spawned to full physical manifestation, as if they didn't exist already ...

By fantomaster at Wed, 2006-08-23 15:33 | login or register to post comments | top

Well said fantomaster


It's not a Google issue, it's a search engine and data collection and privacy issue. Google is simply at the tip of the spear for their size and influence.


The thing that frustrates me is that more people aren't nervous about this. If the government access stories are too removed from our daily lives for the average man on the street to relate to, the AOL debacle should have shaken up at least a few more people than it did.


I don't assume that something bad WILL happen. Only that something bad COULD happen. And most likely, not many people will care about this unless and until something bad DOES happen.


"If only we had paid more attention..."

By caveman at Wed, 2006-08-23 18:03 | login or register to post comments | top

If G, Y, and MSN do not act.


All this data will eventually end up sifted through by the feds, its as good as done. In fact, I give it three years.


Just think about how easy it would be to say "Sorry, all our user level data has been destroyed".

By littleman at Wed, 2006-08-23 18:14 | login or register to post comments | top

reality bites


even if they say "all our user level data has been destroyed" it won't really, truly be ALL of it. there will always be segments ranging from "today's hot searches" to "under special study" to some starving geek in the back room porting it to his super-mega 8TB sandisk mp3 player and selling it. top that with the fact that this is some really valuable stuff marketing-wise and it'll feel like erasing the corporate savings account. i don't see how you can expect profit-driven entities to do anything but circle the wagons. it's going to take a gov legal mandate to get those disks wiped and i'm not sure the gov wants to mandate that.

By rcjordan at Wed, 2006-08-23 18:41 | login or register to post comments | top



>gov look at banking "privacy" if you want to see the parallel.

By rcjordan at Wed, 2006-08-23 18:44 | login or register to post comments | top

Or to keep it


it's going to take a gov legal mandate to get those disks wiped and i'm not sure the gov wants to mandate that


For certain scenarios and in certain circumstances, depending who owns Congress at the time, I can even envision a mandate for the SEs to keep all of the data as it's something certain segments would really like to have access to.

By jimbeetle at Wed, 2006-08-23 18:48 | login or register to post comments | top

As individuals, what you can do


don't log in

flush your cookies

change your IPs often


Most DSL lines are PPPoE accounts and it is very easy to switch IPs. If you have a cable line you will need to use proxies to get the same effect. For the real paranoid there is tunneling, but then you better trust the company providing the service.


Ues plainjane user agents.

By littleman at Wed, 2006-08-23 18:55 | login or register to post comments | top

Trust: Google or The Govt?


There comes a point, even in a "democratically-represented" society, where it's pertinent to ask, who do you trust with your personal info and don't you think we, as your representatives, at least should know what, and how much of your info is out there and who has it?


Who wins your trust over the other: Google? Or your Govt?



By ThePost at Wed, 2006-08-23 19:20 | login or register to post comments | top






Google prosecuted in Brazil to hand over user data


Google is in danger of being shut-down in Brazil and faces a possible US$61 million fine for refusing to hand over user information associated with one of its social networking sites.


The problem is that the Sao Paulo based federal prosecutor's office alleges that pages on Google's Orkut social networking site are used to promote child porn and other criminal activity. So the prosector wants a federal judge to order Google Brazil to hand over the data on users associated with those pages.


Google maintains that as the data is housed on a server in the US, the request should be made to Google headquarters in the US.


Meanwhile Google in Brazil is using the defence that it has already handed over all the information that is able to and does not have the data about Orkut users that is being requested.


The Brazilian case highlights an issue that has been brewing for sometime over the information that search engine and other internet companies keep on their databases about their users.


The recent blunder made by AOL in which the internet company erroneously published 20 million search requests made by 658,000 users demonstrated that a detailed level of information can be obtained on even anonymous users simply by grouping together unique user ID numbers.


Early this year, Google successfully defended a subpoena from the US Department of Justice to hand over its data in another child porn investigation case.


No doubt, Google wants to use the same US laws to protect itself from the Brazilian legal system. The problem is that Brazil, like many other countries, may decide that data associated with websites that target audiences in its jurisdiction also falls within its jurisdiction, especially in criminal investigation cases.


Brazil is by no means a totalitarian regime but its privacy laws differ from those of the US. If a Brazilian judge decides that Google must hand over data or pay a hefty fine and shut down its local operations then it sets a dangerous precedent for Google.


What happens if the Chinese Government makes a similar demand of Google China to hand over data in an attempt to track down dissidents? Google may hold the Chinese user data on US servers but Chinese law may require that it hand over data or have its Chinese office censured and shut down.


The same thing holds true for Yahoo, Microsoft and any social networking site that chooses to operate in jurisdictions where privacy of the individual is not paramount in the legal system.







IT Consultation: Qualifying A Customer





Turning Customer Service Inside Out!


While companies focus thousands of dollars on external customer service in hopes of wooing and retaining customers, little attention is being paid to the effect poor internal customer service has on overall customer satisfaction.


It all starts within your organization! Sooner or later the ripple effect reaches your external customers. To really walk your service talk, your commitment to internal customer service must match your company's external focus on customer care.


When we think of customer service we think of staff serving customers over a counter or over the phone. But customer service occurs within your organization as well. How well does staff serve its internal customers: other departments, its management, vendors and consultants? Believe it or not, it all counts. Internal customer service refers to service directed to others within your organization. It refers to your level of responsiveness, quality, communication, teamwork and morale.


I define Internal Customer Service as effectively serving other departments within your organization. How well are you providing other departments with service, products or information to help them do their jobs? How well are you listening to and understanding their concerns? How well are you solving problems for each other to help your organization succeed?


Teaming with Success


How well do you work with other departments? Does your Marketing department communicate well with the Legal department? Does sales relate well with Shipping and Receiving? Do Catering and Facilities work well together? When it's time to communicate with others from different departments do you take a deep breath, or smile and relish a chance to renew contact with colleagues from elsewhere in the company?


As a manager I once joined a publishing company and found myself in the midst of a war between departments. Production resented Editorial for the way they missed deadlines and delivered shoddy copy. Conversely, Editorial had little respect for the resulting manuscripts they received back from Production, full of errors and oversights. Poor teamwork, poor communication and myopic thinking had led to a hardening of positions over time. They each cared about the finished product but were putting pressure on each other without realizing it. Over time, both groups came to appreciate each other and how to best work together to achieve win-wins for the greater good of their customers.


Do you relish or dread committee work with other departments? Does it seem their aims are contrary to your department's? When other departments contact you for help do you regard it as a nuisance, a distraction and a drain of your valuable time? Can you see the greater good that comes from helping them solve their problems or fulfill their needs?


Take pride in opportunities to help other departments look good. Obviously, you don't want their success to come at your expense. Usually helping others doesn't mean you lose a zero-sum game, where only one of you can win and helping others hurts you. In most cases helping other departments leads to a win-win situation. And what goes around usually comes around. Helping other departments succeed can help yours too when the roles are reversed.


Up with People


Good internal customer service starts with good morale within your group. Are your people happy? Do they feel good about themselves and their contributions to the goals of the department and to the company at large? They should, and effort should be made to help them do so. Happy employees are productive, and customers take note. Happy employees are also better team players. Will you fly the airline whose employees are striking with management, or the airline whose employees are management? Employees invested in employee stock purchasing plans with matching contributions see themselves as much more a part of the company. Thus, as the company goes, so goes their lot.


When I fly out of Oakland International Airport I use an outlying parking lot and shuttle van. This shuttle is shared by employees from Southwest Airlines, coming to work or returning to their cars after their shifts. They are as happy and upbeat when starting their shifts as when they're finishing shifts. That's great morale, and tells me they like their jobs. It's contagious! Sometimes I'm envious on that shuttle when I know I'll be checking in at another airline's ticket counter.


Who's On Top?


Many organizational charts employ an inverted pyramid with customers at top. Some companies instead put their employees at the top. In many senses, the employees are management's customers. Corporate values that emphasize treating employees well translate to good customer care too. Does your organization value its people? Invariably, companies that care about their people can better ask their people to care about their customers.


Catering to Customer Service Needs


Here are five tips for your organization to help strengthen its internal customer service orientation.


1. Employees should never complain within earshot of customers. It gives them the impression your company isn't well run, shaking their confidence in you.


2. Employees should never complain to customers about other department's employees. Who wants to patronize a company whose people don't get along with each other?


3. Employees at every level should strive to build bridges between departments. This can be done through cross training, joint picnics, parties or off-sites, or creative gatherings, as well as day-to-day niceties.


4. Utilize post mortems after joint projects so everyone can learn from the experience. You can mend fences and gain new understandings when everyone reviews what went right...or wrong. By doing so after the project the immediate pressure is off, yet stronger bonds can be forged while the experience is fresh in peoples' minds. Not doing so can result in lingering animosities that will exacerbate future collaborations.


5. Let your employees become "Customer for a Day" to experience firsthand what your customers experience when doing business with you.


Congratulations on turning customer service inside out! By improving internal customer service you have just enhanced the customer service your external customers receive. You're walking your talk regarding customer service. Touché.









Small Businesses: Go Local Now


Local newspapers - long the primary advertising vehicle for small business - are on the decline in terms of circulation, readership and effectiveness.


Because of this and the easier-to-use technology, local paid search is expected to grow 161 percent in 2006. This will be the year to take advantage of this marketing tactic to level the playing field for your small enterprise.


Never has advertising effectiveness been easier to track. Businesses paid for newspaper ads and hoped they brought in business. With local search, your ads are presented to people in your area looking for your keywords and you don't pay unless they click on your ad.


Many small businesses have not adopted this highly cost-effective tactic because of the difficulty previously involved. Even small marketing firms like mine have avoided using local search for their clients. First, you had to decide which publishers like Yahoo!, Google, and Internet Superpages.com to advertise with, and how to much to spend. You asked, "Do I need different ads for each?" and "How do I target only in my region?"


Then, you had to decide which keywords to purchase and how much to bid on each one. If your keywords didn't work well, you had to figure out how to find keywords that would work.


Hard as it is to believe, a lot of small businesses still don't have websites. Those who do have websites may not have a way to determine if and when visitors are visiting their sites in response to their local search ads.


Today, there are many local search providers - like ReachLocal - from which to choose. The technology takes care of all the details like publisher and keyword selection, budgeting, keyword optimization, and comprehensive reporting. An online guide walks you through the process, which typically works like this:


* create an account and advertiser profile



* specify campaign budget, target areas and duration



* specify products and services



* create ads



* build a one-page website, or point to your existing site



* pay for the campaign



* receive daily reports on web visits, emails and phone calls generated by the program


Simple and effective, going local is one of the smartest things you can do for your organization today.








Google Base Releases GData API



NetSuite Plugs In Keyword Marketing






Ohayo, GMail. Welcome To Japan



They are business women, hear them roar



Where Do Women Business Owner's Open Up Shop?



Calling Dr. Z



Time trying to time its release for the weekends



Fine On Media

The Changing Worlds of Media and Advertising



Time aims at weekend readers with newsstand date



Absolutely great advertising



Yet another ipod extension






Levi Strauss debuts iPod-compatible jeans



CrunchGear This Week



FreshBooks pushes the envelope in online billing




FreshBooks: The Fastest Way To Invoice Your Clients






AllPeers opens accounts to the public today



AllPeers: Share exactly what you want with exactly who you want!



Panasonic Rolls Out New MP3 Players







Seismic scan of Etna reveals an eruption in the making



IPod Gray Market Booms in India






Music Makes Your Brain Happy




As a rock producer, Daniel Levitin worked with Stevie Wonder, the Grateful Dead and Chris Isaak. But the music business began to change, and a disillusioned Levitin turned to academia, where a career in neuroscience beckoned.


Sixteen years after he made the switch, Levitin is an associate professor at McGill University in Montreal and one of the world's leading experts in cognitive music perception.


In his new book, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, Levitin explores research into how our brains process the works of artists as varied as Beethoven, the Beatles and Britney Spears, and why they make us feel so good. Wired News picks his brain about how it all works.


Wired News: Are there any myths about music that neuroscientists have exposed?


Daniel Levitin: I think we've debunked the myth of talent. It doesn't appear that there's anything like a music gene or center in the brain that Stevie Wonder has that nobody else has.


There's no evidence that (talented people) have a different brain structure or different wiring than the rest of us initially, although we do know that becoming an expert in anything -- like chess or race-car driving or journalism -- does change the brain and creates circuitry that's more efficient at doing what you're an expert at.


What there might be is a genetic or neural predisposition toward things like patience and eye-hand coordination. (On the other hand), you can be born with a physiology that gives you a pleasant-sounding voice, but that doesn't guarantee you'll have a career as a singer.


WN: What does music tell us about the brain?


Levitin: Through studies of music and the brain, we've learned to map out specific areas involved in emotion, timing and perception -- and production of sequences. They've told us how the brain deals with patterns and how it completes them when there's misinformation.


What we're learning about the part in the frontal lobe called BA47 is the most exciting. Music suggests that it's a region that helps us predict what comes next in a sequence.


WN: What have we learned about music perception from people with brain disorders or injuries?


Levitin: We've learned that musical ability is actually not one ability but a set of abilities, a dozen or more. Through brain damage, you can lose one component and not necessarily lose the others. You can lose rhythm and retain pitch, for example, that kind of thing. We see equivalents in the visual domain: People lose color perception or shape perception.


I think of the brain as a computational device: It has a bunch of little components that perform calculations on some small aspect of the problem, and another part of the brain has to stitch it all together, like a tapestry or a quilt.


WN: You write that you're more interested in the mind than the brain. What's the difference?


Levitin: The brain is a bunch of neurons, chemicals, water and blood.... The mind is the thoughts that arise from the brain. Anatomists and neuroanatomists are particularly interested in understanding how the brain is formed and how cells communicate. They're really looking at the architecture and geography of the brain....


What we're trying to do is figure out (which) parts of the brain do what and how they communicate with each other. But not simply on a level of description that discusses only neuron and cells, but one that also talks about real ideas, thoughts and memories.


WN: From an evolutionary perspective, why have humans developed music?


Levitin: There are a number of different theories. One theory is that music is an evolutionary accident, piggybacking on language: We exploited language to create music just for our own pleasure. A competing view, one that Darwin held, is that music was selected by evolution because it signals certain kinds of intellectual, physical and sexual fitness to a potential mate.


WN: How does that play out in rock 'n' roll, for example?


Levitin: (Research has shown that) if women could choose who they'd like to be impregnated by, they'd choose a rock star. There's something about the rock star's genes that is signaling creativity, flexibility of thinking, flexibility of mind and body, an ability to express and process emotions -- not to mention that (musical talent) signals that if you can waste your time on something that has no immediate impact on food-gathering and shelter, you’ve got your food-gathering and shelter taken care of.


WN: Do any animals show an appreciation for music?


Levitin: There's no evidence they do -- that birdsong is used in the same way we (use it, for instance, or) that animals use it for recreation. And some of the fundamental things we take for granted about music don't exist in the animal kingdom.


WN: What are we learning about the link between music and emotion in the brain?


Levitin: Music activates the same parts of the brain and causes the same neurochemical cocktail as a lot of other pleasurable activities like orgasms or eating chocolate -- or if you're a gambler winning a bet or using drugs if you're a drug user. Serotonin and dopamine are both involved.


WN: Could music be an antidepressant?


Levitin: It is already -- most people in Western society use music to regulate moods, whether it's playing something peppy in the morning or something soothing at the end of a hard day, or something that will motivate them to exercise. Joni Mitchell told me that someone once said before there was Prozac, there was her.


WN: What is an earworm, and what doctor do I see if I get one?


Levitin: It's the name the Germans give to these songs that get stuck in your head that you can't get rid of. If they're really bothersome, you can do what Neil Young told me: Become a professional songwriter. He writes songs to get them out of his head.


Failing that, the second thing you can do is go to a doctor and have them prescribe an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug like Prozac or Ativan. Or the most common option, find an equally annoying song that’s not bothering you right now, and it will replace the earworm with another one.






Daniel Levitin, Ph.D.



Your Brain On Music
















Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...