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Archive for the ‘Tech News’ Category

Facebook recently changed their terms and conditions to not-so-subtly say that they owned our data when users disabled their accounts. Meaning your photos, notes, wall posts would be property of Facebook.

People raised a fit! Boy howdy, did they raise a fit. Facebook saw a surge of accounts disabled. People wrote them, blogged nasty posts, and cursed the ground Mark Zuckerberg walked on.

Er, well, maybe that last part was just me.

Well, Facebook is saying they made a whoopsie.

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But I find it odd that they’d make the announcement so late. Maybe it’s a political move…like politicians hoping for a damaging story to happen on a Friday so that news organizations might not catch the move.

I’m not sure.

Either way, feel free to post, write, upload. It’s your property (for now.)

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A free and open Internet, which I support, is frightening to most people. We all know the Internet’s a crazy place because many sites rely on their communities to police user-generated content. On social networking sites, we worry about predators and malware developers. And around every corner someone is trying to scam us out of our credit card number. We know this, but it’s still frightening.

There are two news items today that need some discussion.

pee-wee-hermanThe first comes from MySpace [via TechCrunch.] They’re boasting an increase in safety on their network, citing that 90,000 sex predators have been found and removed from the site. I’ve gotta say, that’s like me telling you that I cleaned out 90,000 rats from a mall… It’s a little disgusting.

Now, most of us view MySpace as a creepo stompin’ ground. But I think MySpace is doing the best job it can in the free and open Internet. Could it be more private like Facebook? Sure, but they don’t need to mimic Zuckerberg’s site.

Parents, your kids already think Fbook is infinitely cooler. If they don’t, introduce them to privacy settings.

Pervos, ugh, just take your stache somewhere else, or MySpace will find and remove you.

See? This free and open Internet isn’t too bad.

Now the second item is a stickier situation because it involves the saintly Google. If you don’t know, Google is on the vanguard of the battle against legislators who’d love to remove neutrality from the Internet.

It turns out that 4 Google executives are being accused of criminal activity. Now, we’re used to executives facing jail time for white collar crimes, but these four execs didn’t even commit a crime. A user posted a video on Google video of bullies teasing a kid with down-syndrome. The prosecutors intend to prove that the execs are to blame rather than the user.

It’s sticky. Is MySpace to blame if a sexual predator uses their service to create an improper relationship? If an airline sells a murderer a ticket that he will use to escape the crime scene, is the airline an accomplice? This case gets into the nitty gritty of community-regulated content.

YouTube can’t pull down all those naughty vids alone. They need help from the users. Just like Ebay can’t monitor all potentially fraudulent auctions. See, the execs can’t block all harmful videos, and they can’t monitor all videos because, let’s face it, the number of vids is in the millions.

Google released this statement:

As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our cooperation the bullies in the video have been identified and punished. We feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It’s akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What’s more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution.

Basically, Google’s service does a lot of good too. It’s a neutral platform that news organizations, entertainers, and teachers can utilize to spread information.

MySpace, on the other hand, is also a great service. It’s a neutral place to connect to your friends and their friends, as well as socially interact with music and television content.

If the Internet were to lose its neutrality we’d lose our ability to create new and exciting services. The big dogs would run the show, and the little startups wouldn’t have a chance. The Internet doesn’t favor one company, one idea, one country, one religion…it is a truly diverse place because of its neutrality. Let’s keep it free (er, with a few, minor conditions…)

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“Hey, dude. Wanna go drink? I just got laid off from Sprint.”

“Bro, don’t interrupt me right now. I’m trying to connect with my spiritual side.”

“What…on YouTube?”

“Yes. Yes, on YouTube. I’m watching the Vatican’s channel.”

“Cool, wanna watch Numa Numa after you’re done watching the Pope?”

“Um, hell yeah I do.”

This is definitely noteworthy. A month ago, the only holy grail on YouTube was on the official Monty Python channel. Now, we have the official channel for the Vatican. That’s right, everyone. We will have the Pope and everything Catholic amongst the other YouTube greats like the skiing squirrel and naked Vlogs.

The channel already has 20 videos, and the channel is one of the nicest I’ve seen in a while. There’s some saint pointing in the background pic. It’s funny because they use the same saint in the profile pic, and it looks like he’s some holy Fonz pointing at some dude.

See the featured video from the Vatican Channel below.

{via The Official Google Blog}

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//UPDATE the Rumors are true.

The rumors are confirmed in this detailed blog post from Macworld. Music will cost as low as $0.69 to $1.29, with some music still at $0.99. The full catalog of DRM-free music will be out April.

//ORIGINAL POST

{via Mashable}

There is a good rumor than Apple’s iTunes will drop DRM.

: D

See that smiley face? That’s me. If this proves to be true, Apple will have a deal with three major record labels to sell unprotected music to iTunes fans. This means we can share music.

The decision would be catching up to numerous MP3 stores, like Amazon, that don’t protect music.

: (

See that sad face? That’s me because the rumor is that Apple will raise its prices on certain tracks to accomodate the cost of dropping DRM. No more $0.99 music??

Ugh…

If the rumors turn out to be true, there’s not much I can do. I’ll still buy from iTunes because I’m its slave.

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“Dude, check this out. Barack Obama posted a link for free $500 gift cards!”

“What? Where?”

“On Twitter! It must be like a stimulus package or something.”

“Uh, I wouldn’t click the link.”

“What, and miss out on my stimulus gift card to Red Lobster? No way, man! Uh oh…”

“What?”

“Somehow my Twitter account was hacked. That’s weird, it posted a link for a $500 gift card to Hooters. Oh my god, I love Hooters. I’m gonna click the link.”

“…”

So, after 33 celebrity Twitter accounts were hacked today, I’d like to go back to that little website called Twitterank.

Twitter now has to warn you about phishing scams because they’re out there. People want to hack your account just like they want to hack your Facebook. Yet, so many people decided to volunteer their username and password to find out an arbitrary number…

It shows the world that irrationality can exist in the social web.

If you’ve been hacked on Facebook, it’s probably because you’ve seen a message about your pic existing on another website. “Hey, I saw your pic on Lovely Friend Pic . com”  You go, and you’re duped.

In the early days of MySpace, some guys thought real bikini babes wanted to be friends with them. It’s true. If you went to any of the phisher profiles – the ones that promised risque pics via a link on her profile – you’d see real guys writing on the phony babe’s wall.

There is a war between good and spam. On one side, the average user. The other side has a sly opponent. Oh, and I mean very sly. The spammers will do anything to get us to click. Lie, cheat, hack. ANYTHING. And worse, we sometimes just drop the ball.

In the 90s, the opponent sprung a trap about elongating your dinkle. The weakest of us clicked. Fail.

Now the Captcha, a group of noble protectors, hope to root out the evil spammers. But the job is tough.

And, above all, we just need to give more thought to security. Don’t get tricked into thinking something is real. And don’t hand out your username and passwords to sites unless they’re well trusted. (Cough, cough that means I’m judging anyone who gave their stuff to Twitterank.)

Early this week, I got an email from homestead-technologies.com to renew my account with credit card info. Sneaky! Of course, the website is supposed to be homestead.com.

Looks like there’s no end in sight to the war.

Be safe, friends.

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My friend Maritza introduced me to Pandora. I think it’s awesome. It delivers my daily music fix, and it helps me discover new music that fits my tastes.

It’s also nifty because I don’t have to worry about listening to artists I hate.

It’s like Kiss FM here in Dallas: you’re listening to something like Weezer, and then Nickelback plays. So you change the station…

The problem with all Top 40 radio stations is that the listener can’t possibly like every music artist on the station. Just because someone is in the Top 40 doesn’t mean that the general masses listen to that person or group.

But Pandora learns and understands your tastes.

Now, it would just be nice if your XM radio could connect to your Pandora account. Or if we had wireless internet everywhere and an iPhone app.

I’m a dreamer.

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{via Leah}

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I like to track search trends because it’s so freaking cool to see how what’s on our collective minds. Today, you should expect Hillary to dominate blogs, tweets, and searches.

Also, it’s official that we’re in a recession.

Looks like 2008, even with 1 more month, has been one helluva year.

So what were we searching on Yahoo? Luckily there’s Yahoo Buzz: A Year in Review 2008. (Sent by my Facebook friend Leah…We’re still sorting out how we’re friends lol!)

It’s interesting that under the news section Election 2008 was 3rd compared to the term “Hurricanes.” One would think Election 2008 would be the most popular term this year, but then again we had some nasty storms. Plus most people didn’t use the term Election 2008 to feed their political cravings.

And perhaps the saddest part of the page is the farewell section. The untimely death of Heath Ledger boosted his search term to the top. It’s just a shame that so many untimely deaths are on that list; such as Isaac Hayes, Bernie Mac, George Carlin, Brad Renfro and Tim Russert.

UPDATE/// TechCrunch, in a similar post, shows last years list:

  1. Britney Spears
  2. WWE
  3. Paris Hilton
  4. Naruto
  5. Beyonce
  6. Lindsay Lohan
  7. Rune Scape
  8. Fantasy Football
  9. Fergie
  10. Jessica Alba

Wow….lots of repeats///

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