Friday, September 30, 2005

Malicious code could trick ZoneAlarm firewall

CNET "Malicious code masquerading as a trusted application could trick a ZoneAlarm firewall into letting it connect to the Internet, security experts have warned.
The issue affects the popular free ZoneAlarm firewall and default installations of version 5.5 and earlier of the paid product, maker Zone Labs said in a security advisory on Thursday. Default installations of the Check Point Integrity Client are also affected, but the paid ZoneAlarm 6.0 products, released in July, are not, Zone Labs said.
'If successfully exploited, a malicious program may be able to access the network via a trusted program,' Zone Labs, which is part of Check Point Software, said in its advisory. If the malicious program attempted a direct connection to the Internet, it would be blocked by the firewall. "

Some States Push To Collect Sales Tax From Internet Stores "For years, states and online retailers have bickered over whether the retailers should -- and, if so, could -- collect local and state sales taxes on purchases made over the Internet. The states have said they should and could. The retailers have argued that the complexity of different tax rates and categories among states and localities made it very difficult to do so.
Hoping to put an end to that argument, 18 states tomorrow will implement a long-planned move to remove obstacles that the retailers have cited. Architects of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project are devising a computer program that tracks the tax rates of the 18 states and their localities and automatically adds that rate to the bill of every online purchase. The states will also entice online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes by offering amnesty on taxes the retailers haven't collected in the years since the Internet retail boom began."

Tools for the ultimate high-tech survival kit

CNET "Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina can turn a high-tech culture into a decidedly low-tech one--where food, water and shelter are what matters most.
But that doesn't stop technologists from inventing devices for the disaster kit of the future. They're trying to provide for the most basic needs with technology that can turn sewer water into Gatorade, equip people with long-lasting lighting or save hypothermia victims without the use of electricity.
So if you're tech-savvy, and your home disaster kit already includes a flashlight, cans of food, bottled water, a first aid kit and plastic ponchos, then you may want to consider some advanced technologies for survival. After all, the U.S government and the American Red Cross recommend that people prepare three days' worth of supplies and survival gear in the event disaster strikes. Katrina certainly proved that to be true. The following are some high-tech aids to augment a standard issue from the Red Cross:"

Cell Phone Ads Are On the Way

RED HERRING : "Mobile marketing executives say the potential to hawk goods over cell phones is big but there are still some challenges.
September 29, 2005
Using the cell phone to hawk products to consumers has big potential for brands, but the emerging mobile marketing industry still has to clear major hurdles in the U.S. market, key executives said Thursday at a convention for the wireless industry.

Mobile marketing, which consists of sending a text message or media clip in the form of an advertisement to a cell phone, is a tricky business, said the media, brand, and ad execs attending the CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment conference. Cross the line into cellular spam and a brand can easily offend a customer. But smart, targeted ads have already proven to be an effective branding tool. "

First Live Giant Squid Photographed

National Geographic News Photo Gallery: First Live Giant Squid Photographed: "This extraordinary image, captured by Japanese scientists, marks the first-ever record of a live giant squid in the wild. The mysterious deep-sea creature has inspired countless sea monster tales and a variety of scientific expeditions."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Images: New look for the $10 bill

CNET "Alexander Hamilton is finally catching up with the times. The $10 bill, which sports a portrait of the 18th-century politician, joins the $20 and $50 notes in using new security features intended to defeat high-tech counterfeiters. "

Esquire wikis article on Wikipedia

CNET "When Esquire magazine writer A.J. Jacobs decided to do an article about the freely distributable and freely editable online encyclopedia Wikipedia, he took an innovative approach: He posted a crummy, error-laden draft of the story to the site.
Wikipedia lets anyone create a new article for the encyclopedia or edit an existing entry. All that's required is for a user to register. As a result, since it was started in 2001, Wikipedia has grown to include nearly 749,000 articles in English alone--countless numbers of which have been edited by multiple members of the community. (There are versions of Wikipedia in nine other languages as well.) "

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Gates, Ballmer top $1 million in pay

CNET "Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer have finally entered the millionaire's club.
Although the duo have long been billionaires, last year they both cracked the $1 million annual-pay threshold, up from about $900,000 in total pay the prior year. For fiscal 2005, Gates and Ballmer each received a $600,000 salary and $400,000 in bonus pay.
'The compensation of Messrs. Ballmer and Gates reflects their status as significant shareholders of the company,' Microsoft said in its annual proxy filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 'Their salaries are significantly below competitive levels elsewhere in the information technology industry and large market capitalization U.S. companies, and they do not participate in the company's equity compensation program.' "

Google Plans Lavish Campus

Wired News: "MOUNTAIN VIEW, California -- Google was expected to announce plans Wednesday to build a new 1-million-square foot corporate campus at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, according to a published report.
Google, the internet's leading search company, is expected to build on NASA property at a now-vacant site in the heart of Silicon Valley, which will include offices, housing and roads, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing unidentified sources."

No Green Acres? Try Skyscrapers

Wired News: "Tens of thousands of empty storage containers are stacked in towers along I-95 across from the harbor in Newark, New Jersey. They're heaped there in perpetuity, too cheap to be shipped back to Asia but too expensive to melt down.
Where many might see a pile of garbage, Lior Hessel sees, of all things, an organic farm. Those storage containers would be ideal housing for miniature farms, he believes, stacked one upon another like an agricultural skyscraper, all growing fresh organic produce for millions of wealthy consumers. And since the crops would be grown with artificial lighting, servers, sensors and robots, the cost of labor would consist of a single computer technician's salary. "

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Trusted-Search Service Attacks Internet Fraud > September 26, 2005

InformationWeek > Internet Search > : "GeoTrust Inc. on Monday launched a search engine powered by Ask Jeeves Inc. that verifies whether Web sites listed in results are legitimate or are more likely to be those of phishers looking to steal personal information.
The Needham, Mass., security firm, which sells digital certificates and encryption technology to retailers, financial institutions, insurance companies and other businesses, also on Monday launched out of beta a browser toolbar for Internet Explorer that will verify the legitimacy of Web sites being visited. A Firefox version of the toolbar is expected soon.
In launching the TrustWatch site and browser add-in, GeoTrust hopes more retailers will buy its digital certificates, so they can be shown as a trusted site in search results, Neal Creighton, chief executive for GeoTrust, said.
'A lot of consumers buying something online want a level of comfort with the retailer they're going to do business with,' Creighton said. 'In a way, we're competing with (online-search leader) Google for people who want to purchase goods online.' "

Paisley denounces IRA arms 'cover-up'


Staff and agencies
Tuesday September 27, 2005

The leader of Northern Ireland's largest unionist party claimed today there had been a 'cover-up' over the decommissioning of IRA weapons after meeting the man in charge of monitoring the operation, General John de Chastelain.
Ian Paisley, the Democratic Unionist leader, said he was 'shocked about what we learned' in the meeting with Gen de Chastelain, who announced yesterday that the IRA's entire arsenal had been put out of action over the past few weeks."

Google to Yahoo: Ours is bigger

CNET "In the latest round of the search-index size contest, Google unveiled an updated index it said is more than three times larger than that of any of its search engine competitors.
'We're celebrating our seventh birthday...We had a pretty strong year,' Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said in a phone interview with CNET, as he listed the launch of new products including Google Talk, Google Earth, Google Video and Google Desktop Search. 'And we've sort of been struggling here with respect to the index. It has always been much larger than the others.'
'We're announcing tonight that in terms of unduplicated pages our index is now three times larger than any other search engine,' he said, without saying how many pages are in the index.
Google will stop providing on its search page a quantity of pages indexed, which previously was listed as 8 billion, 'because people don't necessarily agree on how to count it,' Schmidt said. "

Happy 7th Birthday Google!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Wiretap rules for VoIP, broadband coming in 2007

CNET "Broadband providers and Internet phone services have until spring 2007 to follow a new and complex set of rules designed to make it easier for police to seek wiretaps, federal regulators have ruled.
It's clear from the Federal Communications Commission's 59-page decision (click for PDF), released late Friday evening, that any voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider linking with the public telephone network must be wiretap-ready. That list would include companies such as Vonage, SkypeOut and Packet 8.
But what remains uncertain is what the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) ruling means for companies, universities, nonprofits--and even individuals offering wireless or other forms of Internet access. "

Motorola CEO: 'Screw the nano'

Yahoo! News: "Apple Computer's newest MP3 player, the iPod nano, is receiving rave reviews and analy sts believe the device will solidify Apple's dominance in the competitive MP3 player market for at least another year. However, not everyone praises the device -- Motorola CEO Ed Zander had some harsh words for the nano in a recent interview."

Reforming the Net campaign reformers

CNET "Congress finally recognizes the magnitude of the error it made three years ago by acquiescing to a sweeping campaign finance law. All I can say is that it's about time.
That 2002 law, which included the most extreme restrictions on political speech in a generation, is called the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It's better known by the names of its Senate sponsors, John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis.
Today it's known on the Internet as an unconstitutional restriction on free expression, thanks to federal regulations based on the law that are currently being drafted and are expected to become final in the next few months. Bloggers are alarmed, civil disobedience is being mooted, and petitions are circulating.
Our politicians may lack an appreciation for the values enshrined in the First Amendment, but they're hardly naive. Now that they've realized that a public backlash is brewing from bloggers and online activists from both major parties, members of Congress who once embraced strict Internet restrictions are backpedaling. (Possible regulations could include mandatory disclosures of affiliations with campaigns, restrictions on linking, or rules against republishing campaign material.) "

Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina

The Observer : "It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.
Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly."

VoIP wants to cut the computer cord

CNET "Mark Bruk, a frequent business traveler, always packs a Plantronic headset with an ear bud and microphone so he can plug into any computer and make phone calls on the cheap.
Once he finds an Internet connection, he only needs to download a piece of software, or 'softphone,' to make the call using voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, technology. The software, created by his own company, takes about 30 seconds to download and, presto, he's making a call.
Of course, Bruk, chief executive of VoIP provider CounterPath Solutions, drinks his own Kool-Aid when it comes to phone technology. But he's also a cutting-edge sort: He's using broadband Net access and lightweight software to save big money on his telephone calls."

IPod Maps Draw Legal Threats

Wired News: "Transit officials in New York and San Francisco have launched a copyright crackdown on a website offering free downloadable subway maps designed to be viewed on the iPod. is the home of iPod-sized maps of nearly two dozen different transit systems around the world, from the Paris Metro to the London Underground"

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Tracking Rita: Interactive

Wired News: "As Hurricane Rita approached, editors at the Houston Chronicle decided to experiment: They hand-picked about a dozen web diarists and asked them to post regular dispatches on the newspaper's online blog -- all without any editorial intervention.
'One of the benefits to blogs is that they tend to be more personal, they tend to provide more the emotional feel of an event,' said Dwight Silverman, the Chronicle's interactive journalism editor. 'In traditional reporting you put on your poker face and do your writing.... It's not supposed to be the writer's emotions.' "

Can Bloggers Strike It Rich?

Wired News: "When it comes to the profit potential of blogs, Nick Denton, founder of Gawker Media, calls himself a skeptic.
It's a surprisingly pessimistic perspective coming from the Brit who has launched a network of 13 theme blogs -- including Fleshbot (porn), Gawker and Defamer (gossip), Gizmodo (gadgets) and Wonkette (politics). His most popular properties (Defamer, Gizmodo and Gawker) report between 4 million and 6 million visits per month and millions more pageviews, he and his top talent have been featured in articles in the ink-and-pulp press (Wired, The New York Times Magazine) and Denton rarely misses an opportunity to trumpet ads on his sites for blue-chip companies like Absolut, Audi, Sony, Nike, Viacom, Disney and Cond� Nast. "

Problems surfacing with iPod Nano screen

CNET "Some owners of Apple Computer's new 'impossibly small' iPod Nano are starting to wonder if the device is also impossibly delicate.
The most widespread complaint about the otherwise highly-praised device seems to be that the color display screen gets scratched extremely easily.
Nano owner Brian Cason posted one of 250-some threads in response to a recent post on Apple's discussion board about screen scratching."

Friday, September 23, 2005

PayPal glitch sparks customer anger

CNET "Online payments company PayPal is working to fix a glitch that has been causing duplicate debit card withdrawals and deposits on some customer accounts since the beginning of September.
The problem first surfaced on Sept. 6, when some PayPal customers noticed duplicate withdrawals from their debit cards that sent their accounts into the red. Two weeks later, more PayPal customers also reported duplicate withdrawals and deposits into their accounts. "

Google Map Plot of Rita (2005)

Google Maps Hurricane Track Overlay - extremely cool stuff can be done with Google Maps.

Hurricane Rita

NOAA is providing the latest information on Hurricane Rita, which is threatening the U.S. Gulf Coast. There are many NOAA assets that are following the storm. The NOAA National Hurricane Center provides the most comprehensive information on the hurricane. NOAA Storm Tracker and the NOAA Storm Watch Web sites provide live links for tracking the storm. The NOAA National Weather Service local forecast offices are issuing special statements on the storm. The NOAA Satellite Services Division allows you to see the storm�s movements in real-time satellite views. The NOAA National Data Buoy Center has real-time marine data as the storm passes by the many buoys deployed in its path. The NOAA Fisheries Service and NOAA Ocean Service will be providing assessments after the storm makes landfall."

Katrina spurs federal action on VoIP

CNET "Hurricane Katrina's thrashing of communications networks has amplified the need for Congress to take action on Net phone policy, senators said Thursday.
At a hearing convened by the Senate Commerce Committee, senators pledged to take steps to ensure that all communications networks, including voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, can connect their customers to the 911 system. One such bill was introduced in May.
'I want to underscore how complete and total the implosion of communications seemed to be,' said Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican who was in the ravaged state during the storm. 'It puts the sort of normal process of rumors floating around...through the stratosphere, because all of a sudden there's no way to get real, accurate information on the ground.'
The 'robust, unique features' of Net phones helped ease the communications logjam when people could find power sources, said Sen. John Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican. According to the Voice on the Net Coalition, which represents VoIP interests, Net phones lines have been used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross, the Army, hospitals and evacuees at the Houston Astrodome in the storm's aftermath. "

Microsoft's nightmare inches closer to reality

CNET "As early as May 1995, three months before Netscape Communications' initial public offering sparked the dot-com boom, Microsoft executives were worried that the nascent World Wide Web could one day become a significant threat to the Windows franchise.
In an extensive memo called 'The Web is the Next Platform' that was introduced as evidence in Microsoft's antitrust trial five years ago, Microsoft engineer Ben Slivka described a 'nightmare' scenario for the software giant."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Let Google Copy!

Wired News: "Google's book war with copyright holders is coming to a head with a lawsuit this week from the Writers Guild of America. The courts should take this opportunity to loosen unnecessary restrictions that are limiting innovation with no clear benefit to the public or rights holders.
In a lawsuit filed Monday, Google stands charged with illegally copying protected works for a commercial purpose without first obtaining the permission of the copyright holders."

Can Bloggers Strike It Rich?

Wired News: "When it comes to the profit potential of blogs, Nick Denton, founder of Gawker Media, calls himself a skeptic.
It's a surprisingly pessimistic perspective coming from the Brit who has launched a network of 13 theme blogs -- including Fleshbot (porn), Gawker and Defamer (gossip), Gizmodo (gadgets) and Wonkette (politics). His most popular properties (Defamer, Gizmodo and Gawker) report between 4 million and 6 million visits per month and millions more pageviews, he and his top talent have been featured in articles in the ink-and-pulp press (Wired, The New York Times Magazine) and Denton rarely misses an opportunity to trumpet ads on his sites for blue-chip companies like Absolut, Audi, Sony, Nike, Viacom, Disney and Cond� Nast. "

Name that worm--plan looks to cut through chaos

CNET "Zotob.E, Tpbot-A, Rbot.CBQ and IRCbot.worm: all names given to a single worm that wreaked havoc in Windows 2000 systems last month. Among the plethora of identifiers, perhaps the most useful--CME-540--didn't make an impact.
But that's about to change. CME-540 was the tag attached to the worm by the Common Malware Enumeration initiative, which is just emerging from its test phase. Next month, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team plans to officially take the wraps off the effort, meant to reduce the confusion caused by the different names security companies give worms, viruses and other pests. "

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Blog: The Weather Channel on weather news, hurricanes, tornadoes & meteorology - Blog: The Weather Channel on weather news, hurricanes, tornadoes & meteorology

Hurricane Rita Satellite and Radar :

Fraud Sinks Subway's Sub Club

Wired News For years, Subway regular Brandy Littleton kept business-size cards with tiny stamps on them in her purse. She loved the Sub Club, a reward system that allowed studious customers to earn free meals every time a card filled up with stamps.

"I eat here all the time," she said. "It made sense. I collected them for years, and I was upset when they were gone."

A few months ago she learned that her collected fortunes had become worthless. The Sub Club was phased out, and the San Bernardino, California, woman found herself paying full price every time she wanted a sandwich artist to prepare her a meal.

Classifieds dominate local ads growth online

CNET "Online local ad spending in the U.S. is expected to see steady growth in 2005, but will be dominated by classifieds, a new study has shown.
Local ad sales on the Net will rise 26 percent to $3.2 billion in 2005, according to a JupiterResearch report released Wednesday. The rest of the decade should see 11 percent compound annual growth, up to $5.3 billion. Approximately 70 percent of that revenue will come from classifieds.
'Outside of classifieds, local ad spending online remains relatively immature,' JupiterResearch analyst David Card said in a statement. For online publishers and networks, better opportunities lie in national advertisers that target local audiences rather than local businesses, Card said. "

Google builds an empire to rival Microsoft

CNET Google's one-of-a-kind computer network gives it a chance to surpass Microsoft to become the most dominant company in tech, according to the author of a recently published book on the search giant.

Google already has plenty of influence. It handles nearly half of the world's Web searches. It's hiring some of the biggest names in the industry, from the controversial Kai-Fu Lee of Microsoft to the legendary Vint Cerf, an early Internet pioneer. And it has become such the topic du jour in Silicon Valley that its search for a new corporate chef warrants significant local news coverage.

But what's next? Author Stephen Arnold has closely analyzed Google patents, engineering documents and technology and has concluded that Google has a grand ambition--to push the information age off the desktop and onto the Internet. Google, he argues, is aiming to be the network computer platform for delivering so-called "virtual" applications, or software that allows a user to perform a task on any device with an Internet connection.

Google Blog: Googlebombing 'failure'

Google Blog: Googlebombing 'failure': "Googlebombing 'failure'
9/16/2005 12:54:00 PM
Posted by Marissa Mayer, Director of Consumer Web Products

If you do a Google search on the word [failure] or the phrase [miserable failure], the top result is currently the White House�s official biographical page for President Bush. We've received some complaints recently from users who assume that this reflects a political bias on our part. I'd like to explain how these results come up in order to allay these concerns.

Google's search results are generated by computer programs that rank web pages in large part by examining the number and relative popularity of the sites that link to them. By using a practice called googlebombing, however, determined pranksters can occasionally produce odd results. In this case, a number of webmasters use the phrases [failure] and [miserable failure] to describe and link to President Bush's website, thus pushing it to the top of searches for those phrases. We don't condone the practice of googlebombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results, but we're also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up. Pranks like this may be distracting to some, but they don't affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission."

-- hmm... I think this first appeared around the time of the french military victories..

Authors Guild sues Google over library project

CNET "update The Authors Guild on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against search engine Google, alleging that its scanning and digitizing of library books constitutes a 'massive' copyright infringement.
As part of its Google Print Library Project, the company is working to scan all or parts of the book collections of the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, the New York Public Library and Oxford University. It intends to make those texts searchable on Google and to sell advertisements on the Web pages.
'This is a plain and brazen violation of copyright law,' Nick Taylor, president of the New York-based Authors Guild, said in a statement about the lawsuit, which is seeking class action status. 'It's not up to Google or anyone other than the authors, the rightful owners of these copyrights, to decide whether and how their works will be copied.'
In response, Google defended the program in a company blog posting."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

AOL, Microsoft prep VoIP services

CNET "America Online and Microsoft are both gearing up to launch Internet phone services, the companies announced Tuesday.
AOL plans to launch its TotalTalk Net phone service on Oct. 4. The service will let consumers make and retrieve calls, as well as send and receive e-mail and instant messages, via a PC or home phone when using AOL's AIM Triton client, the company said. The instant-messaging software upgrade will be available later this week.
Meanwhile, Qwest Communications International and Microsoft said they are partnering to enhance VoIP, or voice over Internet Protocol, service for small and midsize businesses.
The companies are the latest players to throw their hat into the increasingly crowded VoIP ring that includes telecom giants such as SBC Communications, as well as start-up Skype, which was recently acquired by eBay.
AOL said its TotalTalk service will include such features as a built-in dial pad for PC-to-phone calls and a telephone terminal adapter, or broadband router, to connect traditional telephones to a cable or DSL modem. "

Symantec: Mozilla browsers more vulnerable than IE

CNET "Mozilla Web browsers are potentially more vulnerable to attack than Microsoft's Internet Explorer, according to a Symantec report.
But the report, released Monday, also found that hackers are still focusing their efforts on IE.
The open-source Mozilla Foundation browsers, such as the popular Firefox, have typically been seen as more secure than IE, which has suffered many security problems in the past. Mitchell Baker, president of the foundation, said earlier this year that its browsers were fundamentally more secure than IE. She also predicted that Mozilla Foundation browsers would not face as many problems as IE, even as their market share grows.
Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report Volume VIII contains data for the first six months of this year that may contradict this perception.
According to the report, 25 vendor-confirmed vulnerabilities were disclosed for the Mozilla browsers during the first half of 2005, 'the most of any browser studied,' the report's authors stated. Eighteen of these flaws were classified as high severity. "

Google to bid on AOL?

CNET "Google could try to bid for America Online to pre-empt a Microsoft takeover and protect the $380 million in revenue Google gets from its biggest partner, according to an analyst.
'We believe it is entirely possible that Google could consider making a bid for AOL as well,' Lauren Rich Fine, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, wrote in a Friday report on the implications of an AOL-Microsoft Network deal. 'This would certainly protect Google's revenues from AOL as well as enable Google to keep 100 percent of the search advertising revenues as well as gain a significant amount of content.'
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Microsoft was in talks with AOL's parent Time Warner on merging AOL with MSN and other options as a way to counter the serious competitive threat Google poses in the portal and search market.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that AOL may be considering switching its search engine from Google to MSN, which could cut Google's earnings per share by between 5 percent and 10 percent, the report said. AOL generated about 12 percent of Google's revenues in 2004, or $382 million. "

Google invites 400 to 'off the record' event

Google is planning a partner forum for about 400 people, including bloggers and journalists from major media outlets, and is prohibiting participants from writing about it, according to a search engine industry expert.

Dubbed "Zeitgeist '05: The Google Partner Forum," the event is "the first 'customer innovation conference' Google said it has ever held," wrote Danny Sullivan in his Search Engine Watch blog from Friday.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 25-27 at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, Sullivan said. The link to Google's posting about the event now requires a username and password for access.

In his blog, Sullivan cited the following passage, which he said is in the frequently-asked-questions section of the event Web site: "All speeches and discussions at Zeitgeist are off the record. To ensure that our presenters and attendees can speak openly, no press coverage or blogging is permitted."

- so if I go... I can't tell ya about it.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Yahoo Moves Into the Hot Zone

Wired News: "Yahoo's latest online news project is called 'The Hot Zone' and is billed as a much-needed look at war-torn regions that have drawn scant mainstream media coverage. But the title could just as easily describe the trouble the media giant could encounter as it ventures for the first time into original news reporting"

- it might actually be good if Yahoo! decided to pay attention to Yahoo! Directory instead of all this other stuff.

Dennis Hastert was Right

Clark Community Network - Why Rebuild New Orleans?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Yahoo Overhauling Free E-Mail

Wired News: Yahoo Overhauling Free E-Mail: "Yahoo will begin testing a sleeker version of its free e-mail service Wednesday, shifting to a more dynamic design that mimics the look and feel of a computer desktop application like Microsoft's Outlook.

The company plans to invite a 'sizable' portion of its current e-mail account holders to experiment with the retooled service, said Yahoo spokeswoman Karen Mahon, who declined to be more specific."

Teenager Pleads Guilty to Hacking Into Hilton's Cell Phone "A Massachusetts teenager has pleaded guilty to hacking into the cell phone account of hotel heiress and Hollywood celebrity Paris Hilton.
The 17-year-old was sentenced to 11 months' detention at a juvenile facility for a string of crimes that include the online posting of revealing photos and celebrity contact numbers from Hilton's phone. As an adult, he will undergo two years of supervised release in which he will be barred from possessing or using any computer, cell phone or other electronic equipment capable of accessing the Internet."

AloAchoo! The next generation of viruses has hit mobile phones.

Business today Egypt: "Mobile phones can act as organizers, video game consoles or cameras and even allow you to surf the web during downtime. So, it was only a matter of time before viruses started infecting �smartphones� like they do computers.
The intricacy of mobile communication systems is becoming a more alluring playground for those with a penchant for hacking. This summer, a wave of mobile phone viruses spread across the world, including Egypt, affecting smartphones with so-called Symbian operating systems, which use wireless technology such as Bluetooth. Nokia, Siemens and Motorola phones were the hardest hit.
Unlike viruses that spread to computers virtually through the internet and e-mail, security holes in some mobile phones enable viruses to spread and infect nearby handsets. �If a mobile uses Bluetooth, it can transmit a virus to any mobile phone within 10 meters,� says Osama Shoeib, a mobile phone expert in Cairo. �It is exactly like catching a cold!�
Shoeib has heard of a rising number of cases of mobile phone viruses in Egypt, especially in the last month."

Google launches blog search

CNET "Google has launched a blog search feature, as it seeks to go head-to-head with archrival Yahoo in the booming blog market.
Google's tool is designed to find listings beyond those published through its own Blogger service by searching blogs that publish feeds via RSS or Atom. The feeds are checked frequently for new content, Google said on its Web site.
An upcoming feature will allow bloggers who publish site feeds to request inclusion in Google's search index.
The tool is designed to find blogs posted in multiple languages, including Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish, among others.
The tool can be accessed at, at or through the Blogger Dashboard, as well as through the 'Navbar' of any Blog*Spot blog, Google said on its site. The service is the same in all locations, though the Navbar method features two buttons, one that allows people to search for text in the blog they are currently viewing, and another that requests a search of all blogs indexed."

Monday, September 12, 2005 "SINGAPORE : Two bloggers have been charged with sedition for posting racist comments online.

This is the first time bloggers are being charged in Singapore and it is sending shockwaves through the local blogging community.

Lawyers say the last time the sedition act was invoked in Singapore was at least 10 years ago.

Twenty-five-year-old Nicholas Lim Yew and 27-year-old Benjamin Koh Song Huat are being accused of posting racist comments on an online forum and on their blog site.

They are both being charged with committing a seditious act, by promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility between races in Singapore.

They were not represented by defence lawyers and were granted bail of S$10,000 each.

This charge came as a shock to many in the blogging community.

Said Singaporean blogger Benjamin Lee (Mr Miyagi):' A lot of them will be looking at their blogs and wondering if they made any legally seditious remarks. I think because of the way this will be played up, it's negative publicity for the Singapore blogging community.' "

Cingular expelled from BBB for too many complaints "WASHINGTON-Cingular Wireless L.L.C. has been expelled from the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York, according to a report in a Rochester, N.Y., newspaper. The nation's largest wireless carrier acknowledged the situation.
'We take all customer complaints very seriously, and we're working diligently to address the concerns brought to our attention by the BBB of Upstate NY. We want to set this right,' said Rochelle Cohen, Cingular spokeswoman. 'We will be meeting with BBB representatives today to address any outstanding issues they may have, and we will apply for reinstatement as soon as possible. It's very important for us to be a member in good standing.'"

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Google Code: Summer of Code

Google Code: "The Summer of Code is Google's program designed to introduce students to the world of open source software development.
This summer, don't let your programming skills lie fallow. Use them for the greater good of open source software and computer science. Google will provide a $4500 award to each student who successfully completes a project by the end of the summer. (Payment details can be found in the FAQ)
By pairing applicants up with the proven wisdom and experience of established prominent open source organizations (listed below), we hope to make great software happen. If you can't come up with a great idea to submit, a number of our organizations have made idea lists available. "

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Can Microsoft Out-Google Google?

BetaNews: "For the past decade, Microsoft has largely ignored the Web as an emerging platform for application development with fears that it could render Windows obsolete. But that will all change next week, as Microsoft unveils a new strategy for transforming its Web properties into an open platform for developers.
The shift is a direct attack on Google, which has dominated the online space using that very same technique. Most of Google's offering, from its Search to Maps service to Desktop Sidebar all provide methods for third parties to extend -- and improve on -- the technologies."

Digging deep with Google Earth

CNET "Digging deep with Google Earth
For all of us who were told that if we worked long enough, we could dig a hole all the way to China, it seems we were woefully misinformed.
A neat app built around Google Earth allows users to click on their current location and then shows where you'd come out if you dug straight through the Earth's core to the other side of the planet. Looks like the Blogma writers in CNET's San Francisco offices will have to bring our life vests along for the trip because we'll end up in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
The only disappointment is that since most of the planet is covered with water, i.e. doesn't have high-res capability on Google Earth, many of the places users' 'holes' end up can't be seen up close. But if you're one of the lucky ones who lives opposite land, zoom way in and check out where you'll pop your head out after the long journey through the center of the Earth."

An Unatural disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State.

The Intellectual Activist: "It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.
If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.
Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists�myself included�did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.
But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster. "

Friday, September 09, 2005 - Relationship Advice, Women's Forum, is a place where you can go to get over a break up. Realize that going through a break up is not the end of the world and heal your broken heart.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Astrodome Radio Station Blocked

Wired News: "HOUSTON -- KAMP 95.3 'Evacuation Radio Services', a low-power FM station for Hurricane Katrina evacuees housed at the Astrodome, is still stuck in limbo. Although the group trying to organize the station has wrangled three 90-day licenses from the FCC, as of Thursday, they were being stymied by a handful of temporary administrators content to maintain radio silence.
While basic needs -- food, water, clothing, shelter -- have been met with remarkable hospitality, the survivors of the hurricane inside the Astrodome complex say they continue to suffer from a lack of information. Parents struggle with paperwork to enroll their children in school while simultaneously attempting to locate housing and employment, not to mention lost family members. Most evacuees sit alone on cots, passing the time playing cards or dominoes. Short blasts of information periodically echo from the Astrodome's PA speakers. "

Google hires Net pioneer Vint Cerf

CNET "Google announced on Thursday that it hired Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, as the search giant seeks to build a network foundation for its future Internet applications.
Cerf, who co-designed TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), will help Google develop architectures, systems and standards for next-generation applications, the company said. "

Wired News: Hackers Admit to Wave of Attacks

Wired News: "An Ohio computer hacker who served as a digital button man for a shady internet hosting company faces prison time after admitting he carried out one of a series of crippling denial-of-service attacks ordered by a wealthy businessman against his competitors.
In a deal with prosecutors, Richard 'Krashed' Roby, 20, pleaded guilty in federal court in Toledo last month to intentionally damaging a protected computer, after launching a 2003 attack on an online satellite TV retailer that caused at least $120,000 in losses. "

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Brook Mays Music Group Establishes Disaster Relief Fund for Employees Affected by Hurricane Katrina

Brook Mays Music Group Establishes Disaster Relief Fund
for Employees Affected by Hurricane Katrina
Dallas, TX - Brook Mays Music Group (BMMG) announced today that they have established a disaster relief fund of over $50,000 to support their Louisiana employees that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. The music retailer has two stores in the New Orleans area that were directly in the path of the storm.
BMMG will use the fund to help financially support their Louisiana employees affected by Hurricane Katrina as well as to make a donation to the American Red Cross. The disaster relief fund will be distributed to employees from the Slidell and Metairie, LA Brook Mays stores over the next 4 weeks. In addition, BMMG has also begun taking up a voluntary collection among all employees.

BMMG is also working with their displaced employees to find them positions in other locations in the company. Additional locations as far away as Houston have become temporary work places for several employees. Most employees have indicated that they are ready and willing to go back to work in New Orleans once the stores can be reopened.

"We have such dedicated employees in these stores that really put their hearts into our business every day," said Jim Tener, President and COO of Brook Mays Music Group. "It is unthinkable what many of them have gone through and we hope that this fund can help them get back on their feet in this time of great need."

In addition to the internal support for their employees, BMMG also announced that it is making arrangements to help out their customers that have been affected. BMMG is waiving any and all rental payments for the month of September for their rental customers in the affected area. These rental customers will begin seeing credits on their account as early as this week.

Brook Mays Music Group stores across the country are also acting as donation sites for people wishing to donate band and orchestra instruments for students that have been displaced and are in need of instruments. The LINKS program (Lonely Instruments Needing Kids) is something BMMG launched several years ago to help less fortunate children get into band and orchestra programs by organizing and donating instruments to these programs. BMMG takes instrument donations from the public, then completely repairs and refurbishes them, and turns them into playable instruments that are then distributed to needy children across the country all at no cost. People wishing to make instrument donations to the Brook Mays Music Group's LINKS program can call 1-877-PLAYONE to find the store closest to them.

Brook Mays Music Group is the largest full-line musical instrument retailer in the country with 63 stores in eight states. The company's product lines include band and orchestra instruments, guitars and amps, drums and percussion, pianos and keyboards, pro audio, DJ and lighting equipment, and related software. Brook Mays Music Group also offers musical instruction and instrument repairs. The company was founded in 1901.

Yahoo 'helped jail China writer'

BBC NEWS : "Internet giant Yahoo has been accused of supplying information to China which led to the jailing of a journalist for 'divulging state secrets'.
Reporters Without Borders said Yahoo's Hong Kong arm helped China link Shi Tao's e-mail account and computer to a message containing the information.
The media watchdog accused Yahoo of becoming a 'police informant' in order to further its business ambitions. "

ITunes Coming to a Phone Near You

Wired News: "SAN FRANCISCO --- Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs introduced a music-playing phone Wednesday that is capable of storing about 100 songs, as well as a pencil-thin version of the iPod, the company's ubiquitous digital music device."

Adware maker seeks to thwart rogue installs | CNET

CNET "In a continuing effort to clean up its image, advertising software maker 180solutions has updated its products to thwart rogue distribution.
180solutions has long been in the crosshairs of anti-spyware groups. The Bellevue, Wash., company makes the 180search Assistant and Zango Search Assistant applications that deliver pop-up ads to users as they perform Web searches. While the company distributes Zango on its own, 180solutions relies on about 8,000 third parties to distribute 180search. Those parties get paid for each installation of the software.
As is common with adware, many Internet users may have unwittingly installed 180solutions' products. Some adware pushers have buried download disclosures in lengthy legalese; installed software surreptitiously through Web browser security holes; disguised their brands; or made it tough for users to uninstall the pop-up programs."

Web inventor: Online life will produce more creative children : "(CNN) -- Since he invented it more than 15 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee has watched the Web change the way the world communicates, works and learns.
He laid the groundwork for the World Wide Web in 1980 when he wrote a program called 'Enquire' to help him organize his computer files with links. He later built on the idea and created a network of linked information that would be available to everyone across the Internet.
Today, Berners-Lee directs the World Wide Web Consortium at MIT, an organization dedicated to standardizing Web guidelines and components."

From Barcodes to RFID

From Barcodes to RFID: "An airplane engine, a cell phone, a Microsoft Word software package and an aluminum shipping container filled with cereal boxes. All have something in common: Each can be seen as an �asset,� and can be protected through computer technology.
While assets obviously vary in size and value, many need to be protected.
�Mobile assets� and �IT (information technology) assets� can pose an especially tough security job. Computer-based tools can come in particularly handy in these situations."

Credant Mobile Guardian (CMG) Enterprise Edition : Review

InfoWorld: Product Guide: "The world has changed, but you know that. Your auditors are now checking to see if you�re protecting sensitive information to meet Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA requirements, among others, and your lawyers are promising dire consequences if somebody gets into your database and steals customer information. And although the laws may not require that you encrypt your information, your auditors and lawyers probably do.

A number of encryption products are designed to protect data from unauthorized access, three of which I recently had an opportunity to test: Control Break SafeBoot Device Encryption 4.2, Credant Mobile Guardian Enterprise Edition v. 4.3.1, and Utimaco SafeGuard Easy 4.11. (A fourth vendor, PointSec, declined to participate.)"

Gulf Coast Based Satellite Communications Company Puts Disaster Recovery Efforts Into High Gear

HOUSTON, Sept. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- CapRock Communications, a global
satellite communications company with several offices along the gulf coast,
has been working around the clock to package and deploy transportable
satellite communication systems since hurricane Katrina's landfall on
August 29th. The company, which normally provides satellite based voice,
data, and video communications services for remote locations including
offshore oil rigs, commercial ships, mines, construction sites and government
and military operations, has quickly turned its immediate focus on providing
communications services to support the disaster recovery efforts in the
aftermath of the storm.
"This hurricane literally hits home for CapRock, with an operations center
in New Orleans directly in the storm's path," said President and Chief
Operating Officer, Errol Olivier. "We were fortunate, all of our employees
made it safely through the storm. Now we are concentrating on restoring
service for our offshore customers and providing disaster recovery services
for relief agencies and businesses in the affected areas."
CapRock utilized its own disaster recovery solutions to restore
communications to its New Orleans and Lafayette offices. The offices are now
operational, and along with the company's Houston headquarters are working to
support recovery efforts in the region.
In response to the overwhelming need for satellite communications along
the coast, CapRock is building and deploying dozens of multi-user satellite
systems that include telephone, fax, real-time video, and broadband Internet
access services. The self-contained packages are available as either a
stationary kit, a mobile trailer mounted unit, or as a stabilized system for
maritime and offshore customers.
"We are deploying these packages as quickly as we can get them configured
and out the door -- now at a rate of about a dozen a day," Olivier said. "We
are also providing much larger satellite based circuits on a customized basis.
"Last year, when Florida was ravaged by three storms during the same
hurricane season, we realized that we needed to put a series of disaster
recovery plans in place, both for our own personnel and facilities, as well as
for our customers. Our plans have been put to the test sooner than we
anticipated, but are working better than we could have hoped. At CapRock we
are just glad that we can bring our resources and expertise to the scene and,
at least in a small way, help the disaster recovery efforts by re-establishing
critical communications."

About CapRock Communications
Established in 1981, CapRock Communications is the premier satellite
communications provider for the offshore oilfield, maritime, construction, and
mining industries, as well as for disaster relief and government applications.
By offering complete managed telecommunications solutions in the world's
harshest and most hard-to-reach environments, CapRock has earned a reputation
as the one to call when reliability matters. The company utilizes the latest
field proven satellite technologies to deliver highly reliable communication
services for broadband networking, real-time video and digital telephony.
"Best of breed" partnerships, technical expertise and a robust self owned and
operated global infrastructure enable CapRock to deliver on its promise to be
the market's reliability leader. More information about CapRock is available
at .

InformationWeek > PDA Security > Tighter Security For PDAs > September 5, 2005

InformationWeek: "The portability of handhelds makes them attractive to business users, but it also makes them more likely to be lost or stolen or for data to be corrupted.
By Martin J. Garvey

Many PDA users want E-mail access to business networks, but IT security administrators don't want the PDA security risks. Without help from third-party vendors, BlackBerrys and Palms would remain nifty calendars and address books for many users, rather than the laptop substitutes they're meant to be.
'PDA users roam a lot more than laptop users, so their systems are twice as likely to be corrupted, lost, or stolen,' says Nick Magliato, CEO at Trust Digital, a provider of PDA security products. 'That's why there's a higher need for security on PDAs than there is for laptops and PCs.' "

Computer, Heal Thyself!

Wired: "Microchips are like potato chips: More of them come out of the oven broken than whole. And of the chips - micro, not potato - that make it to market, many have built-in weaknesses that eventually cause them to fail. Most people don't care. The useful lifespan of an electronic device is only about three years, and it's hard to consume just one. By the time your cell phone's processor melts down, you've already bought a newer model.
But if you're planning to send a computer on, say, a 10-year mission into deep space, then you need more staying power. The best option� used to be to send lots of spare processors and cross your fingers. As your probe flew silently� through the night, you would dream about chips that could fix themselves."

Yahoo IM users get more than they bargained for | CNET

CNET "If you're one of the tens of millions of Yahoo users asked to upgrade your instant-messaging software this week, be on your toes: The update can open the door to unwanted PC houseguests--and setting changes--by default.
The newest free version of Yahoo Instant Messenger (YIM) boasts advanced Internet phone calling in a upgrade that comes 'highly recommended' by Yahoo. By clicking 'yes' to the update, a user can expect to get a slicker YIM interface with buttons to quickly chat, blog, swap photos or call someone online. It even has new smiley icons.
Those changes are what many might expect. What they may not expect are all the other tools they get when not paying attention."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Temporarily down

Temporarily down
Our servers are located in downtown New Orleans, which was recently devastated by hurricane Katrina.

We will have these services restored as quickly as possible. Thank you.

'My life as an online gamer'

BBC NEWS | Technology : "After China introduced measures to combat addiction to online role-playing games, gamers from around the world gave the BBC News website their perspectives on addiction, sleeplessness and life as a gamer. "

Photo: New Orleans, before and after

CNET "Satellite images from March 9, 2004, and Aug. 31, 2005, show how New Orleans was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. (Darker areas indicate standing water.) "

A splog here, a splog there, pretty soon it ads up� and we all lose

Blog Maverick - _ - The media and some blog search engines have gotten excited about counting the number of blogs in the blogosphere. If the number of blogs is growing, the medium must be real. Right?

Right in concept. Unfortunately it’s impossible to count the number of blogs in the blogosphere due to the number of spamblogs, splogs, zombies, whatever you want to call them.

While the number of blogs has been placed by those who like to speculate about such things in the 15mm range, new blogs per day in the 30k to 80k range, and blog posts per day in the 500k to 900k range, no one seems to want to put an asterick next to any of those numbers and try to remove the number splogs.

Whats a splog? A splog is any blog whose creator doesn’t add any written value. I’m sure some might argue that packaging data, such as news feeds or the blog posts of others is added value. I dont think it is. After all, thats why there are topics and indexes. If I want information about the Dallas Mavericks, I can search for it, optimize it, and save it. Because indexes are based on freshness, my searches are automatically updated, freshest data first, as new posts are introduced.

Splogs SUCK!