Internet::Observer::Archive::Year 2006

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Best Question and Answer Websites

I don't use "question and answer" sites, but it appears many web users do. MIT's Technology Review did a "study" to see if they could determine the "best" Q&A website. The following websites were tested: AnswerBag, Amazon Askville, MSN Live Q&A, Wondir, Yahoo! Answers and Yedda.

TechnologyReview.com:: What's the Best Q&A Site?

The following Q&A websites are listed in alphabetical order.

[28 December 2006, top]

Keep an Eye Out for Wikiasari

Wikia Inc. is planning on building a search engine that relies more on humans than computer algorithms for generating search results.
   "The project, set to launch commercially in the first quarter of 
    2007, is called Wikiasari, bringing together the words wiki, 
    Hawaiian for 'quick' and asari, Japanese for 'rummaging search.'

To date, I find the best way to search the Wikipedia is to use Google prefixing query strings with "wikipedia."

Forbes.com:: Wikipedia Co-Founder Seeks To Out-Google Google

[28 December 2006, top]

CSS Turns 10 Years Young

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a simple, yet powerful tool for building websites. They are primarily used to give websites a common look and feel. For example, I used CSS to make sure all GDT webpages have the same foreground, background and link colors. You don't have to be a CSS guru to make effective use of them. Happy birthday to CSS!
   "The design community has confirmed that using CSS promotes 
    beauty while making it easier and less expensive to build 
    sites," said Bert Bos, W3C Style Activity Lead and one of 
    the original co-authors of the specification that became 
    CSS level 1, published on 17 December 1996.

W3.org:: World Wide Web Consortium Celebrates Ten Years with Style

[20 December 2006, top]

Time's Person of the Year: The WWW

Time Magazine's person of the year for 2006 is not an individual person, but all those people that use the WWW to share knowledge. With respect to 2006, Time wrote:
   "It's a story about community and collaboration on a 
    scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium 
    of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's 
    network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace."

Time went overboard when they used the word "revolution" in the following quote.

   "Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it 
    were a new version of some old software. But it's really 
    a revolution."

Based upon the following quote, it is almost as if Time thinks the Internet was born in 2006.

   "But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build 
    a new kind of international understanding, not politician to 
    politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, 
    person to person."

Although it has taken 16 years, it is nice to see the World Wide Web is Time's "Person of the Year."

Time.com:: Person of the Year: You

[18 December 2006, top]

Vodka.com Sells for $3 Million

Russian Standard Co., which is controlled by Roustam Tariko, has purchased the Vodka.com domain for $3 million.

Speaking of vodka... "Russian Standard entered the U.S. market in September 2005 with its Imperia brand. The recipe for Imperia is said to have been discovered by 19th century Russian scientist Dimitri Mendeleev, inventor of chemistry's periodic table of elements." [source: AP via My.Yahoo.com]

[15 December 2006, top]

Amazon.com Invests in Wikia, Inc.

Wikia, Inc., the "leading wiki site for information on thousands of topics written by a community of contributors, announced it has completed Series B financing with a strategic investment from Amazon.com, Inc." Kudos to Amazon.com.

Prior to this round of funding, Wikia received "$4 million in Series A funding earlier this year from a prominent group of investors -- Bessemer Venture Partners, Omidyar Network and a select group of angel investors including Marc Andreessen, Josh Kopelman, Joichi Ito, Mitch Kapor, and Ron Conway." Note: Andreessen and Kapor are both GDT::DreamTeam Members.

Amazon.com's founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, was quoted saying: "We want to support the continued growth of sites like Wikia, which has cracked the code for user-generated content."

Wikia supports the development of the open source software that runs both Wikipedia and Wikia, as well as thousands of other wiki sites. Go Wikia!

Wikia.com:: Wikia Central - A Wikia wiki

[06 December 2006, top]

Porn Website Operator In China Gets Life

The Guardian posted a story that started as follows: "The creator of China's largest pornographic Web site was jailed for life on 2006.11.22, state media reported." The Guardian also reported that eight "accomplices" were sentenced to non-life sentences. It doesn't appear they made much money serving porn.
   "Xinhua News Agencey reported that police said it was difficult to 
    know the exact amount of profits the Web site earned. Police found 
    about 200,000 yuan ($25,000) in the bank accounts of the nine."

The Guardian informs us that the China government "encourages Internet use for education and business, but strictly controls content and tries to block access to material deemed pornographic or subversive."

Guardian.co.uk:: Porn Site Operator Jailed in China

[26 November 2006, top]

Blog and Die? (Not Quite, at Least Yet)

Some bloggers in Egypt are being arrested for using their blogs to critize their government. That might be okay to do in the U.S.A., but bloggers have to be careful in other parts of the world. One blogger in Egypt was charged with "disrupting public order, inciting religious hatred and defaming the president." Defaming the president? Most Americans would be in jail if this type of government action was executed in the U.S.

BBC.co.uk:: Egypt arrests another blog critic

[21 November 2006, top]

The Three Stages of the Digital Divide

Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen posted an Alertbox article discussing the "digital divide." Nielsen split the digital divide into three stages: economic, usability and empowerment. He is confident that the economic stage is becoming a non-issue, but usability and empowerment remain huge problem areas. Nielsen summarized it in one sentence: "The economic divide is a non-issue, but the usability and empowerment divides alienate huge population groups who miss out on the Internet's potential."

UseIt.com::Alertbox:: Digital Divide: The Three Stages

[Extra] Nielsen is correct when he says the digital divide can cause groups to "miss out on the Internet's potential." The digital divide needs to continue to close because it violates RFC 3271: The Internet is for Everyone.

[20 November 2006, top]

China Likes The Wikipedia

China's population is around 1.3 billion, yet its Internet population is approximately 120 million.
   "Activity on nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation's Chinese Wikipedia 
    site has skyrocketed since its release, which Internet users in 
    China first started reporting on Nov. 10. Since then, the number 
    of new users registering to contribute to the site has exceeded 
    1,200 a day, up from an average of 300 to 400 prior to the unblocking. 
    The number of new articles posted daily has increased 75% from the 
    week before, with the total now surpassing 100,000, according to 
    the foundation."

   "The unblocking of Chinese-language Wikipedia makes the site's 
    user-generated content accessible to a much larger share of China's 
    Internet population, which now numbers more than 120 million."

The Internet has lots of growth potential in China and that is being demonstrated by the Wikipedia's popularity.

Online.WSJ.com:: Wikipedia Is a Hit in China As Ban Is Lifted

[20 November 2006, top]

TurnItIn.com and Never Get It Back?

It appears as though TurnItIn.com might not treat student work with the privacy it deserves.
   "But three professors at Grand Valley State University in 
    Michigan this month posted a letter online arguing that 
    Turnitin 'makes questionable use of student intellectual 
    property.' The University of Kansas last week decided to 
    let its contract with Turnitin expire because of cost and 
    intellectual property concerns. And the intellectual property 
    caucus of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, 
    an organization of 6,000 college-level educators, is debating whether 
    such services 'undermine students' authority over the uses of their 
    own writing" and make them feel 'guilty until proven innocent,' 
    according to a draft position statement."

WashingtonPost.com:: Students Rebel Against Database Designed to Thwart Plagiarists

[14 November 2006, top]

Like.com--A Visual Search Engine

Like.com is a search engine that provides the ability to search by image instead of text. It is a visual search engine. The search engine is based on the philosophy "a picture speaks a thousand words." Like.com uses what they have trademarked as "Likeness Technology(TM)."

Like.com:: Find things by Appearance

[14 November 2006, top]

Internet Addiction Can Be a Problem

Studies show that more than 160 million Americans are regular Internet users. Stanford University did an Internet study and came up with the following statistics.
   * nationwide household survey and interviewed 2,513 adults 
     and 68.9 percent were regular Internet users.
   * 13.7 percent (more than one out of eight respondents) found it 
     hard to stay away from the Internet for several days at a time
   * 12.4 percent stayed online longer than intended very often or often
   * 12.3 percent had seen a need to cut back on Internet use at some point
   * 8.7 percent attempted to conceal non-essential Internet use from 
     family, friends and employers
   * 8.2 percent used the Internet as a way to escape problems or 
     relieve negative mood 
   * 5.9 percent felt their relationships suffered as a result of 
     excessive Internet use

ScienceDaily.com:: Internet Addiction: Stanford Study Seeks To Define Whether It's A Problem

[13 November 2006, top]

First Webpage Created On 13 November 1990

It appears as though the first webpage was created on 13 November 1990. The first webpage had the URL http://nxoc01.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, but CERN no longer supports the historical website.

[Extra] Tim Berners-Lee is considered the "father" of the world wide web (WWW) and he is still working hard on the Internet's evolution.

NewsFactor.com:: Web's Founder Looks to the Future

[13 November 2006, top]

Yahoo! Gets Into Food

Yahoo! has started up Yahoo! Food at Food.Yahoo.com. Would Yahoo! like to put some money into FoodHacker.info? The first recipe I examined looked good (but I like bananas, corn and fritters): Banana Corn Fritters [03 November 2006, top]

Network Etiquette Is Important

The headline caught my eye: "Time to teach digital etiqutte." The headline is from 27 October 2006, but it should have been (and probably was) a headline from 1996. Here's a quote from a TechWeb posting: "Cyberspace has become the breeding ground for a new type of bully. Rather than stealing a child's lunch money the bullies are now taking pride." I thought stealing pride was what all bullies did--with or without the Internet. The posting states the following obvious: "schools and educators need to start teach children digital etiquette because as more technology becomes deeply integrated with daily life."

TechWeb::com Time To Teach Digital Etiquette, Experts Suggest

[29 October 2006, top]

Jobbing.com Arena In Glendale, Arizona

All is well in the dot-com world and that is evidenced by the fact that Jobbing.com will pay $3 million a year for 10 years to have the Glendale hockey building named Jobbing.com Arena. Jobbing.com Arena is adjacent to the UofP Stadium where the Arizona Cardinals play. UofP stands for University of Phoenix even though the stadium is in Glendale. Bottom-line: UofP graduates can find jobs posting their resumes to Jobbing.com. [28 October 2006, top]

Firefox Browser Continues To Gain Ground On IE

Version 2.0 of the Firefox browser has been released at about the same time version 7.0 of Internet Explorer was released. In a nutshell, I read where IE now supports tabs, which is a great browser feature. Browser usage statistics vary widely from one source to another. For example, data by W3Schools.com says Firefox had a 28.8% market share, while E-Janco places it less that 14%. I tend to believe E-Janco is more accurate. [26 October 2006, top]

Court Orders SpamHaus Domain Name Taken Away

My primary email account is getting more and more spam. In fact, it is gettings spammed to a point where I may have to shut it down. Things won't get any better if the following is true.
   "The world's largest antispam group is warning that a deluge 
    of spam could be on its way to computers around the world if 
    a U.S federal court follows through on its threat to strip 
    the group of its domain name."

A deluge of spam?

   "The UK-based Spamhaus Project, which has long been one 
    of the Internet's main bastions of defense standing between 
    spammers and e-mail inboxes, expects a federal judge in Chicago 
    this week to strip the organization of its domain name for 
    failing to comply with an $11.7 million judgment."

Some company sued SpamHaus because they got blacklisted as a spammer and they won. Now the U.S. federal courts want to use the Internet to do their dirty work for them. To date, ICANN has reported they will not shut the SpamHaus domain name down. Kudos to ICANN.

[16 October 2006, top]

The Internet is Tough To Crack

The design of the Internet makes it difficult for crackers to cause it to crash. Crackers can use the Internet to crack other computers, but the Internet itself, given its distributive design, is a difficult crack.

ScienceDaily.com:: Study Shows Internet To Be Resilient Against Terror Attack

[Extra] The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is considering buying Facebook.

[Extra] Yahoo! is opening up its Yahoo! Mail code.

[08 October 2006, top]

Dot-Mobi Becomes a New Top-Level Domain

Domain names ending in dot-mobi can now be registered.

The TLD dot-mobi is to be used exclusively for Internet resources devoted to mobile phones and other wireless devices. The dot-mobi is going to be popular because there are "four times as many mobile phone users in the world as there are Internet users."

It is anticipated that most dot-mobi websites will work well on small screens.

[27 September 2006, top]

Yale University Putting Some Courses On The Web

Yale University announced it is putting some of its courses on the web and that they will be available to everybody for free. Yale credits cannot be obtained, but many web users won't care about that. A few years ago MIT did this and it is nice to see Yale follow their lead. Go Yale!

CNN.com:: Yale University to post courses on Web for free

[25 September 2006, top]

Doug Engelbart's HyperScope 1.0 Up and Running

It sure is cool to see Doug Engelbart doing great things. When the web exploded in popularity it was mostly a readonly, but Engelbart released many decades ago that web needed to be read/write. He also new that although the hyperlink was a powerful tool, it was not nearly as powerful as it needed to be. With a fully powered hyperlinking, the web might be one of the most powerful intelligence augmentation tool in the world.

ReadWriteWeb.com:: Douglas Engelbart's HyperScope 1.0 Launched

[16 September 2006, top]

Dennnis 'Mill Avenue Food Critic' Found on Usenet

I found a reference to Dennnis Skolnick (a.k.a. the Mill Avenue Food Critic) in the "Alt.Drugs" Usenet group. {Groups.Google.com::Alt.Drugs:: Dennnis Skolnick, Loveable Crackhead, relapses and dies }

Dennnis Skolnick was a good guy, but sadly he died at the too young age of 51. I hope Dennnis has found a new Mill Avenue to call home. { http://MillAvenueFoodCritic.com}

[Extra] A blogger at AzCentral.com wrote about something weird that happened with MySpace.com. He finished his posting with the following.

   "We had plenty of wackos before the Internet, to be sure. 
    But in terms of driving some people over the edge, it 
    appears the forces of darkness have a great new tool."

To which I replied...

   The Internet is not a "new tool." The Power of the Internet 
   has been up and running for a long time. MySpace.com is "new," 
   but go visit the "Alt" Usenet groups, which are currently 
   administered by Google. During the early 1980s, "Alt" stood 
   for "Alternative," but these days it might stand for 
   "Anarchists, Lunatics and Terrorists."

My reply received no comment.

[16 September 2006, top]

Penn State Into Text Messaging

Pennsylvania State university has a a text-messaging wireless service called PSUTXT that has 360,000 subscribers. PSU is using the service to "send text messages of news alerts to mobile devices. Registered users can sign up for short message service (SMS) text messages on campus emergencies, sports, and concert information."

CNET com.com:: Penn State Adopts Text Messages To Students

[01 September 2006, top]

The Internet is Not a USPS Killer

Many (myself included) thought the Internet would hurt the United States Postal Service (USPS), but thanks to the shipping needs of online retailers this has turned out to be a false belief.
   "Contrary to popular belief, the New York Times reports that 
    Internet usage has actually boosted the USPS's revenue, instead 
    of decreasing it. It is commonly believed that the rise of the 
    Internet has negatively affected the Postal Service's revenue, 
    since e-mail usage is rapidly superseding snail-mail usage. 

This was true for me six years ago... "Six years ago, people were pointing at the Internet as the doom and gloom of the Postal Service," said James Cochrane, manager of USPS package services. However, the widespread usage of e-commerce sites has boosted USPS revenue, since millions of packages are shipped from such sites daily."

[01 September 2006, top]

Brazil Wants Access To Google Data

A judge has ordered Google to "turn over information on users of the company's social networking service Orkut or face daily fines of $23 million." The law "gave Google Brazil 15 days to release information needed to identify individuals accused of using Orkut to spread child pornography and engage in hate speech against blacks, Jews and homosexuals." According the AP, Google has "ignored 38 court requests for the information." does only sales and marketing and they don't access to the information being requested.

Orkut has not been on of Google's most successful services; however, it is most popular in Brazil. AP indicates that Orkut has "some 8 million users -- representing about a quarter of all Brazilians who have Internet access."

[01 September 2006, top]

15 Most Significant Websites?

Picking the 15 websites that have "changed the world" is nothing but subjective and I don't agree with the following list put forth by The Guardian.
    1) eBay.com         2) wikipedia.com    3) napster.com  
    4) youtube.com      5) blogger.com      6) friendsreunited.com  
    7) drudgereport.com 8) myspace.com      9) amazon.com   
   10) slashdot.org    11) salon.com       12) craigslist.org  
   13) google.com      14) yahoo.com       15) easyjet.com

Guardian.co.uk:: Websites that changed the world

[Extra] Speaking of YouTube.com... The AP reported on Tuesday, 15 August 2006, that YouTube.com "suffered an outage Tuesday, the same day a Web measurement company said the site had broken into its list of the Internet's top 50 for the first time."

[15 August 2006, top]

Politicians Still Debating DOPA (and chatrooms)

Politicians continue to debate DOPA (Deleting Online Predators Act). According the Guardian, DOPA "identifies 'social networking websites' as hunting grounds for paedophiles, and requires federally funded schools and libraries to limit access to them."
   "The FBI estimates that one in five of the country's 
    24 million child internet users have received sexual 
    approaches, and that as many as 50,000 sexual predators 
    are prowling for children online."

Guardian.co.uk:: Chatrooms may be banned in US schools to combat sexual predators

[Extra] University of Maryland has done a study to compare how female usernames are treated compared to male usernames in populat chatrooms. The results were not surprising.

   "Female usernames, on average, received 163 malicious 
    private messages a day in the study, conducted by Michel 
    Cukier, assistant professor in the Center for Risk and 
    Reliability in the Clark School's Department of Mechanical 
    Engineering, and an affiliate of the university's Institute 
    for Systems Research, and sophomore computer engineering 
    student Robert Meyer."

ScienceDaily.com:: Female-name Chat Users Get 25 Times More Malicious Messages

[14 August 2006, top]

Google and Yahoo and the Power of the Internet

What power. "Activists" are doing wonders helping us learn about the Power of the Internet. China's population exceeds 1.3 billion people, yet numerous American computer companies are filtering content for the Chinese government.
   "Activists want Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft to do more 
    to disclose to Chinese users how and why their searches 
    are being censored."

   "All year, human-rights and free-speech advocates have been 
    chastising big U.S. Internet companies for helping to censor 
    the Internet in China."

Poor Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! -- they're foo'd if they do and foo'd if they don't. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, however, realize the world if going flat and that China is a goldmine of collective IQ and money.

Yahoo.BusinessWeek.com:: Search Engines Censured for Censorship

[Extra] Speaking of Google... Hormel Foods has an issue with SPAM and spam. Now Google is having a same experience with Google and google. {Independent.co.uk:: To google or not to google? It's a legal question }

[14 August 2006, top]

Caution Needed When Buying Drugs on the Internet

Here is spam I got this afternoon.
   Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2006 21:46:06 +0000
   From: Keely <xxxxxxxx@yyyyyyyy.com>
   To: gthurman@gmail.com
   Subject: Canadian online drugstore

   Good morning!

   more than 100 products for your 100% health
   great prices, 24/7 customer support

   Just have a look at our site: http://www.babuwom.com

   Best Regards,
   Online Pharmaceuticals

Typically this spam would be immediately deleted; however, earlier in the day I ignored reading a story titled "Warning of online drugs 'danger'." It was a BBC report about "a woman who damaged her vision with oral steroids bought online from Thailand."

More drugs... DrugStore.com is a GDT::Portfolio stock. Melinda Gates is a Drugstore.com shareholder.

[11 August 2006, top]

Google To Help Search MySpace.com

Fox Interactive Media and Google Inc. announced they have "signed a multi-year search and advertising deal covering Fox's MySpace.com and other properties." Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Google, is quoted saying the following.
   "We believe that our innovative technologies will be 
    of real benefit to Fox Interactive Media's growing 
    number of users.  MySpace.com is a widely acknowledged 
    leader in user-generated content and incorporating search 
    and advertising furthers our mission of making the world's 
    information universally accessible and useful."

Google is a 21st century Informatics company and MySpace.com is a Social- and Community-Informatics company. Google can be a powerful tool for MySpace.

Google.com:: Fox Interactive Media Enters Into Landmark Agreement with Google Inc.

[07 August 2006, top]

Some Think Instant Messaging Speak is a Good Thing

A study indicates that "instant messaging shorthand helps kids master how language works."
   "If nothing else, IM and email increases the ability for teens 
    to communicate across cultural as well as physical borders."

I was surprised by the "less than 3%" found in the following quote.

   "Among other things, they also found that instant messaging 
    is really a flexible combination of formal speech, colloquialisms 
    and abbreviations. Acronyms, such as lol ('laughing out loud') 
    and emotional text speech (such as 'ha ha') usually represented 
    less than 3% of instant messaging, the researchers said."

NewsFactor.com:: IMing Is Creative Language, Study Says

[03 August 2006, top]

Defining What is a "click" is Hard

How do you define a "click"?

I know a "click" is when you move the mouse over an object (e.g. a hyperlink or image) and while hovering over that object you depress and release the mouse key. I also know that just one click can end up getting many Internet users in trouble.

Click fraud has been and continues to be a problem with respect to the WWW.

   "As part of an effort to combat advertising fraud, 
    Google and other search engines are searching for 
    a standard definition."

Yahoo.BusinessWeek.com:: What Constitutes A Click?

[03 August 2006, top]

Politicians Continue to Debate DOPA

Politicians continue to debate DOPA (Deleting Online Predators Act). According the Guardian, DOPA "identifies 'social networking websites' as hunting grounds for paedophiles, and requires federally funded schools and libraries to limit access to them."
   "The FBI estimates that one in five of the country's 
    24 million child internet users have received sexual 
    approaches, and that as many as 50,000 sexual predators 
    are prowling for children online."

Guardian.co.uk:: Chatrooms may be banned in US schools to combat sexual predators

[Extra] University of Maryland has done a study to compare how female usernames are treated compared to male usernames in populat chatrooms. The results were not surprising.

   "Female usernames, on average, received 163 malicious 
    private messages a day in the study, conducted by Michel 
    Cukier, assistant professor in the Center for Risk and 
    Reliability in the Clark School's Department of Mechanical 
    Engineering, and an affiliate of the university's Institute 
    for Systems Research, and sophomore computer engineering 
    student Robert Meyer."

ScienceDaily.com:: Female-name Chat Users Get 25 Times More Malicious Messages

[01 August 2006, top]

Cyber-bullies are Flamers

Bullies take on many forms and I guess that is true in cyber-space. Cyber-bullies have been using the Internet ever since it was created, but the problem will only get worse as more and more computers get connected to the Internet.
   "The Anti-Bullying Alliance research identified 
    seven types of cyber-bullying, ranging from abusive 
    text messages, e-mails and phone calls to bullying 
    in internet chatrooms, social networking sites and 
    instant messaging."

I don't know how webpages can be "abusive."

   "As technology has become more sophisticated, so has 
    the way children are bullied. One in five have been 
    bullied by mobile phone or computer and for many there 
    is no escape." -- John Carr, technology adviser for NCH

I guess we're talking about e-abuse, but this whole concept of "cyber-bully" sounds like bullfoo. In the Internet world this stuff is called "flaming."

BBC.co.uk:: Government acts on cyber-bullies

[25 July 2006, top]

Cerf Versus Farber on Net Neutrality

In the computing world, this is cool. Two long-time computing gurus speak about the Internet. Vinton Cerf versus David Farber. The hyperlink to AmericanProgress.org posting was obtained from the ACM's U.S. Public Policy Committee.

AmericanProgress.org:: The Great Debate: What is Net Neutrality

[21 July 2006, top]

MySpace and YouTube Examples of "Alt" Usenet Groups

The Arizona Republic's Plugged In poster Ric Borom posted something about MySpace.com that ended with the following: "It is a maze, a jungle of ignorance and inappropriateness. The scariest part was finding two of my employees on the site..." I don't know why he considered finding fellow employees with MySpace.com spaces "scary." I posted the following as a comment.
   WWW stands for World Wide Web, but some social networking 
   websites turn the WWW into the World Wide Wasteland.

   Checkout YouTube.com... it is a goldmine for perverts of all forms.

   Websites like MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, etc. are the web equivalent 
   of the "Alt" Usenet groups from the 1980s.

I don't know, but this might be scary... Ric Borom is the principal of Pinnacle/WestMark Charter High Schools and he just got around to looking at MySpace.com.

[20 July 2006, top]

Netflix and a "Paradox of Abundance"

The Wall Street Journal reported that some Netflix users suffer from a "paradox of abundance." NYU Professor Siva Vaidhyanathanat is quote saying: "When you have every choice in front of you, you have less urgency about any particular choice." Internet-based Netflix, which replies heavily on the efficiency and reliability of the USPS (United States Postal Service) claims to have over five million members and over 60,000 DVD choices.

Online.WSJ.com:: For Some Netflix Users, Red Envelopes Gather Dust

[20 July 2006, top]

CNN Reports About Google's Logo

Google's homepage has always been an excellent example of the power of simplicity. The Google logo has become famous, but every now and then the graphic gets edited to acknowledge a special day or event. CNN.com Technology posted a story about the graphic artist who spends about 20% of his job editing Google's precious logo.

CNN.com:: Google's unknown artist has huge following

[20 July 2006, top]

Free Song Lyrics on the Web Might Be Ending

I use the web a lot to find song lyrics. Go to google.com, type in a song title along with the word "lyric" and Google returns a plethora of hyperlinks to lyric giving websites.

I ended up at PC Magazine because of a headline that read "Forever Young." The posting behind the headline didn't have anything to do with music (or Dylan's song "Forever Young"), but the magazine had another headline that implied the day of finding free lyrics might be coming to an end.

PC Magazine posted a story that started as follows: "U.S. digital entertainment company Gracenote on Thursday [14 July 2006] said it obtained licenses to distribute lyrics as music publishers mulled legal action against Web sites that provide them without authorization."

PCMag.com:: Lyrics Sites Next Targets For Content Groups?

[15 July 2006, top]

Goldman Sachs Goes After GoldmanSex.com

Goldman Sachs Group (a major investment bank) wants the owner of GoldmanSex.com to change their domain name.

Accoring to Reuters, "Goldman Sachs submitted a complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) arguing the Internet domain name goldmansex.com would cause confusion and contained links to objectionable 'adult' material. The NAF mediates corporate disputes including those over Internet domain names."

As of 14 July 2006, the GoldmanSex.com's homepage did not contain images, nor did it contain any "sex" related information. The website's motto is "leisure after business" and it is an "adult entertainment guide for business travellers."

If I were the NAF, I'd say "No" to Goldman Sachs' request for GoldmanSex.com to change their domain name.

[14 July 2006, top]

Politicians Debating DOPA

It's called DOPA (Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006). Our society is all messed up and this is giving politicians the ability to regulate away the Internet as we know it. Each regulation potentially erodes away our computing freedoms.
   "Debate began in earnest this week over federal legislation 
    that would ban access to MySpace, Facebook, and other 
    social-networking Web sites at U.S. public schools and 
    libraries."

MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc. are morphing into the "Alt" Usenet groups of the 21st century.

NewsFactor.com::InternetLife:: Congress Hears Testimony on DOPA

[12 July 2006, top]

You Are What You Post

The phrase, "you are what you post," is becoming increasingly true. TechWeb reported that an ExecuNet survey revealed the following.
   "More than one-third of employers have eliminated 
    a candidate after digging up 'digital dirt.'"

I had not heard the phrase "digital dirt" before. In our e-hypenated world digital dirt is e-dirt.

There are many ways a person can create e-dirt: non-password protected websites (e.g. Gerald.Thurman.name), e-mail messages, instant messages, e-forum postings, blog postings, video uploads, etc. It is unlikely that an "old" Usenet posting could end up being e-dirt, but you never know thanks to Google Groups.

TechWeb:: 'Digital Dirt' Derailing Job Seekers

[Quote] What computer users of all ages should be taught... "I have a rule of thumb here: You shouldn't broadcast or share any information that you wouldn't want to share with your parents or spouse, or that you would be ashamed of should it appear on the front page of the newspaper. Follow that and you can't go wrong." [Ken Rogers, senior management recruiter at Trader Publishing and a member of the Principles for Professional Conduct Committee.]

[12 July 2006, top]

PayPal Opening Scottsdale-Based Technology Development Center

Kudos to Scottsdale on the arrival of PayPal. [Located in San Jose, CA, PayPal was acquired by eBay Inc. in October, 2002.] The entire Valley of the Sun and the state of Arizona should be happy with this news.

On 12 July 2006, the Arizona Republic reported that PayPal will open a "technology development center" at 90th Street and Mountain View Road. PayPal plans to have 300 employees. Since PayPal is calling their Scottsdale office a "technology development center," it appears many of these 300 jobs will involve technology development.

Again, excellent news for Scottsdale. Let's hope PayPal comes to town and gets happy.

[Extra] Speaking of PayPal... NewsFactor.com:: New Phishing Scam Hits PayPal Users [10 July 2006]

[12 July 2006, top]

Politicians Going After Internet Enabled Gambling

Some politicians want to regulate the Internet with respect to gambling. When it come the Internet, politicians just can't stop working on legislation that erode away our computing freedoms. I came across the following quote on the topic of Internet gambling: "Click your mouse, lose your house." In a nutshell: Internet gambling bad, but gambling on an Indian reservation or gambling on a state lottery are okay. I'll be keeping an eye on what happens with the "Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act."

InternetNews.com:: Online Gambling up For House Debate

[Update::2006.07.12] It must have been a short debate... The House voted "Yes" 317 to 93 on a bill that "seeks to eliminate many forms of Internet gambling, targeting Internet service providers and financial intermediaries, such as banks and credit card companies that process payments and send the money to offshore Web sites."

The Arizona Republic "Plugged In" blogged about an Arizona senator saying the following: "A Harvard professor once appropriately likened Internet gambling to using crack cocaine. Gambling can be highly addictive, especially when it's done over an unregulated environment such as the Internet."

Crack cocaine is addictive, gambling is addictive, the Internet as a whole is addictive; therefore, I wonder if this Arizona senator wants the regulate everything about the Internet. I instincts say "Yes" because that what politicians want to do--they want to regulate the Internet to the point where it is in violation of RFC 3271.

3291 (i.e. " [11 July 2006, top]

Lots of Nasty Video Clips are On the Web

AP technology writer May Wong posted an article titled "Online Video Boom Raises Risks, Concerns."
   "As if porn sites and pedophiles in chat rooms weren't 
    frustrating enough for parents whose children use the 
    Internet, now online postings of amateur video featuring 
    skin and violence are raising concerns. The explosion in 
    online video-sharing sites, where clips of any nature can 
    be easily uploaded for the world to see, has become the 
    latest challenge for parents trying to protect their 
    children and for Web sites coping with obscene submittals."

According to Wong's report, YouTube.com says it averages 50,000 new video uploads per day after being launched during December of 2005.

Since my kids are adults, I don't care about Internet content; however, Wong wouldn't have much of a story if the majority of parents restricted their kids to computers having dial-up Internet connections only.

[10 July 2006, top]

Google's Jet is in the News

The Wall Street Journal published a report about Google's 767 corporate jet. Seems some Googlers can't agree on how the plane should be configured. SearchEngineWatch.com blogged about Google's jet back on 12 September 2005.

Blog.SearchEngineWatch.com:: Lawsuits Over The Google Party Jet

[07 July 2006, top]

Blog Controversy Hits Kentucky, U.S.A.

TechWeb.com reported about some strange blog-related action taking place in the state of "unbridled spirit" -- Kentucky, U.S.A.
   "A blog ban has been kicking up dust in the bluegrass state, 
    where government employees are cut off from Internet content, 
    including some that has criticized their governor."

You'll have to read the story, but there is a simple bottom-line: If you want to blog and speak your mind, don't use your employer's computer systems and networks. For example, if Foo.whatever wants to block Foo.whatever users from using Blogspot.com, then Foo.whatever blocks access to Blogspot.com. If a Foo.whatever employee uses Blogspot.com to exercise their right to speak freely, Foo.whatever cannot do anything about it (although we know this isn't true; if you foo off your employer, your employer might try to get rid of you).

TechWeb.com:: Blogs Blocked In BlueGrass State

[07 July 2006, top]

From AzCentral.com to Time.com to SaveTheInternet.com

Time Magazine reported on the topic of Net Neutrality. Here is a quote.
   "But on Capitol Hill, in the debate over "net neutrality," 
    it's Old Media 2, New Media 0.

The Time article didn't say much, but I did learn about the website SaveTheInternet.com, which uses mottos such as "Don't let Congress ruin the Internet" and "Join the Fight for Internet Freedom."

I took a peek at some of the names involved in the SaveTheInternet.com coalition and came across the following: Lawrence Lessig, Craig Newmark, David Isenberg and David Weinberger.

Time.com:: A Limit to Bloggers' Power?

[Extra] Again, there is Internet Neutrality and there is Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality has morphed into a political issue, but Internet Neutrality must be a given.

[06 July 2006, top]

Google Makes It Into Merriam-Webster as a Verb

Headline: "'Google' As a Verb Makes Merriam-Webster's"
   Main Entry: goo·gle
   Function: transitive verb
   Inflected Form(s): goo·gled; goo·gli
   Usage: often capitalized
   Etymology: Google, trademark for a search engine
   : to use the Google search engine to obtain information 
     about (as a person) on the World Wide Web

M-W.com:: google

On 6 July 2006, it was easy to find me on the WWW--simply google "gerald thurman".

[06 July 2006, top]

Social Networking Websites are Popular

Social Networking, which the Internet has excelled at for over 30 years, has become a growth industry. Now people are trying to figure out how to make lots of money off of this fad.

Top five social networking websites...

   1) MySpace.com   2) Classmates.com   3) FaceBook.com
   4) YouTube.com   5) MSN Spaces

I recently heard a new term, Community Informatics, to go along with Social Informatics.

TechWeb.com:: Social-Networking Sites Continue Meteoric Rise In May

[04 July 2006, top]

You Cannot Edit Real Life

A homegrown video was playing a computer and somebody in the video says: "You cannot edit real life."

Wrong! If somebody is sharing their "real life" on the Internet, it can be subjected to edits.

Thanks to the Power of the Internet people can morph into whatever characters they want. In other words, if it's on the Internet, it might not be "real life."

[04 July 2006, top]

There is Just No Stopping Spam

My primary email account is receiving more and more spam prompting the question--where does spam come from?
   64% of email spam is served up by servers in Taiwan.  
   23% of spam comes from the U.S, and 3% is from China. 

TheRegister.co.uk:: Taiwan fingered as the hub of spam distribution

[04 July 2006, top]

Mesa, Arizona, Police Mis-Use the Internet

A Mesa police officer should be able to afford a PC and high-speed Internet connection at their home. In other words, if a Mesa city employee abuses city resources, fire them.

The following are some statistics published by the East Valley Tribune on 18 June 2006.

   "A breakdown of Mesa police employees facing discipline, 
    by rank. Note that some appeals are pending."

   Lieutenants: ...................  6 
   Sergeants: ..................... 21 
   Detectives: .................... 43 
   Officers: ......................138 
   Civilians: ..................... 58 
   Total: ........................ 266

   "Overall, about one in five Mesa police 
    employees face discipline."

EastValleyTribune.com:: Deputies also sent indecent e-mail

[04 July 2006, top]

Apache Webserver Numbers Drop

The Apache webserver software has seen a decline in usage. Part of the decline is because Scottsdale-based GoDaddy.com moved 1.6 million parked hostnames from Apache to Microsoft's IIS.

Linux-Watch.com:: Where, oh where have all the Apache servers gone?

Netcraft.com:: June 2006 Web Server Survey

[04 July 2006, top]

Arizona Republic Editorializes About MySpace.com

The following was sent as a Letter to the Editor of the Arizona Republic in response to editorial published on 23 June 2006.

Thank You to the Arizona Republic for writing about MySpace.com. MySpace.com is an excellent example of the Power of the Internet.

On 23 June 2006, the Arizona Republic editorialized about MySpace.com.

The Republic said the issue was "patrolling the Internet" and the title of their opinion was "MySpace is parents' place, too."

Many parents would be unhappy if they saw their kids MySpaces. This is especially true if the parent takes a peek at their kids friends.

The Arizona Republic's editorial on MySpace.com said that MySpace.com was filtered from Arizona Republic employees. Doesn't the Republic trust its employees? Is if filtered for everybody?

MySpace.com is a form of community informatics and it requires the Internet. The Internet itself is neither good nor bad: It is neutral. It is the human-being users of the Internet that are good, bad, ugly and evil.

Speaking of neutrality... I'd be happy to see the Republic editorialize about "network neutrality." I have recently learned that there are two neutrality issues (or at least there should be). Internet neutrality and network neutrality. Network neutrality is a battle field, but Internet neutrality is a given: The Internet must stay "forever neutral."

I have not had much success getting computing-related items printed in the Republic.

[23 June 2006, top]

Microsoft Workers Prefer Google to Microsoft Search

Microsoft employee's use Google when they search the web. Googlers use Google, too.

I like how TheInquirer.net starts their article with "search statistics suggests that the majority of Microsoft workers snub their own outfit's search engine and use Google."

We must be careful to place too much trust in web stats (especially when they are obtained for free).

TheInquirer.net:: Microsoft workers prefer Google [via Slashdot]

[22 June 2006, top]

Slashdot to Nielsen to Wall Street Journal

Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and it got slashdotted. Nielsen is on the GDT::DreamTeam A quote from Nielsen about using blogs for "conversations."

   "That will work only for the people who are most fanatic, 
    who are engaged so much that they will go and check out 
    these blogs all the time. There are definitely some people 
    who do that -- they are a small fraction."

The word fraction implies small; therefore, prefixing fraction with small implies very small. A small fraction implies a small number.

Online.WSJ.com:: For Web-Design Expert, Ease of Use And Clarity Are Essential for Firms

[21 June 2006, top]

Internet Neutrality vs. Network Neutrality

I hadn't thought about this--Internet Neutrality versus Network Neutrality. They are two different things because only part of the "network" is allocated for the Internet.

The following was copied from the homepage for the Center of Democracy and Technology.

   "The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) today 
    called on lawmakers to enact narrowly tailored legislation 
    to preserve the essential neutrality and openness of the 
    Internet, while leaving broadband network providers free 
    to experiment with non-neutral arrangements elsewhere on 
    their networks. The Internet is fundamentally neutral, 
    and that neutrality has been critical to its unique role 
    as an engine for free speech and innovation, CDT finds in 
    a new paper. CDT found that it is vital to make a clear 
    distinction between 'Internet neutrality' and the more 
    ambiguous principle of 'network neutrality.' CDT recommends 
    that current legislation be focused specifically on the 
    portion of broadband networks dedicated to the Internet.

MIT.edu:: The Neutral Internet: An Information Architecture for Open Societies

[21 June 2006, top]

14 Year Old Sues MySpace.com for $30 Million

I suspect MySpace.com needs to have a bunch of lawyers on their payroll to handle bullfoo lawsuits like the following.
   "A 14-year-old Travis County girl who said she 
    was sexually assaulted by a Buda man she met 
    on MySpace.com sued the popular social networking 
    site Monday for $30 million, claiming that it fails 
    to protect minors from adult sexual predators."
    [Monday was 19 June 2006]

Question: Did MySpace.com put a gun to this girl's head and force her to visit their website? Answer: No.

Question: Did MySpace.com assult this girl? Answer: No.

There are an increasing number of people who are seeing MySpace.com as easy money via the U.S. legal system. I wanna be rich--who can I sue?

Chron.com:: Girl, 14, Sues MySpace.com Alleging Assault

[Extra::2006.06.21] Adult (18 or over) users of MySpace.com cannot request to be on a 14- or 15-year-old's friends' list unless "they already know either the youth's e-mail address or full name." You must be at least 14 years in age to open a MySpace.com account. Here is what makes this moot: MySpace.com has no "mechanism for verifying that users submit their true age when registering."

[20 June 2006, top]

More on Net Neutrality

TechWeb has posted an informative article on the topic of net neutrality. Sadly, most Internet users are clueless when it comes to the issue of net neutrality.
   "We live in a democracy and we need something like this 
    controlled by the people in the country, giving everyone 
    a fair chance, not just a few people with a lot of money." 
   --Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist

TechWeb.com:: Whose Net Is It? Courts May Have To Decide

[18 June 2006, top]

College Students Don't Use the Net for Politics

A Northwestern University professor did a study to see what "today's college students spend most of their time online doing." 1,300 students were surveyed with 51% and 78% saying they have visited MySpace.com and Facebook.com, respectively. The survey indicated students use the Internet for "research, to download music, or to read news." Bottom-line: I found nothing surprising about this study.

InsideHigherEd.com:: Networking, Not Politics

[17 June 2006, top]

Math Literacy Required to Email Politicians

Learning about math has become increasingly necessary because we might need to do some math in order to send email messages to our politicians (i.e. government).
   "Increasingly, citizens are being forced to demonstrate a basic 
    knowledge of mathematics to have any chance of communicating 
    electronically with their congressional offices."

I wasn't aware that sending email messges to politicians can be so convoluted.

   "Generally, before a person can send an e-mail to a member of 
    the House, he or she must go to a lawmaker's Web site, click 
    on 'Write Your Rep,' select the congressman's state, type in 
    a Zip code that is in that state, and then fill out a form that 
    includes name, address, city, e-mail address and phone number."

Just because it is in the paper doesn't make it true, but this is understandable.

   "So the House's managers are adding what they call a logic puzzle 
    to the hurdles that constituents must already scale before writing 
    e-mails to members. In addition to the Zip code test and others, 
    the system now used by a growing number of lawmakers also asks 
    would-be e-mailers to solve a simple numbers problem."

Numerous websites that can be posted to generate an image that contains characters a user must type in order to do a posting. The objective is to make sure that postings are not computer generated (i.e. that they are actually coming from human-beings).

WashingtonPost.com:: Finding Fault With Logic of Congress's E-Mail Plan [12 June 2006, top]


Hollywood and Pornographers Make Powerful Partners

The Business Week headline caught my eye: "The Pornographers vs. The Pirates." Pornographers, just like many in Hollywood, are mad about Internet users gaining access to their content without paying for it.

Here is a quote from the article.

   "Nowadays, the pornography business, once relegated to 
    a dark corner of the media world, has become a powerful, 
    if unlikely, ally with mainstream Hollywood in the battle 
    against digital piracy."

Hollywood and pornography... what's the difference? Many in Hollywood have made lots of money thanks to selling sex (soft porn) and violence. Most pornography is directed to adults, while Hollywood's "porn" is aimed at extracting money from all age groups including those who like to use social networking websites such as MySpace.com.

BusinessWeek.com:: The Pornographers vs. The Pirates

[12 June 2006, top]

Net Neutrality Rejected by the House

The House of Representatives rejected, 152-269, an amendment to HR 5252 disallowing the implementation of a "two-tier Internet." HR 5252 passed, 321-101, sending the bill to the Senate. HR 5252 enables the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to "supercede local authority in the award of franchises for delivering video, broadband and other Internet services to the public."
   "'The future Sergey Brins, the future Marc Andreessens, 
    of Netscape and Google... are going to have to pay taxes' 
    to broadband providers, said Representative Ed Markey, 
    the Massachusetts Democrat behind the net neutrality 
    amendment. This vote will change 'the Internet for the 
    rest of eternity', he warned."

The quote makes is appear Brin was Netscape and Andreessen was Google, but the opposite is true.

The issue of net neutrality is contained in an act called the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE). In a nutshell, telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Verizon are against net neutrality, while many dot-com companies such as Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Google are for it.

ZDNet.co.uk:: House rejects net neutrality rules [by Declan McCullagh] [12 June 2006, top]


Browsers Still Having Problems Securing JavaScript

Damn JavaScript... Sadly, if you disable client-side processing, most websites become unusable.
   "Multiple security organizations warned Tuesday that 
    Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, and SeaMonkey 
    -- on Windows, Linux, and the Mac -- are vulnerable 
    to a JavaScript bug that could allow a determined 
    attacker to dupe users into giving up sensitive 
    personal information such as credit card or bank 
    account numbers and passwords."

TechWeb.com:: IE and Firefox Sport New Zero-day Flaw

[07 June 2006, top]

Tim Berners-Lee Speaks About Net Neutrality

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the father the web, is quoted saying the following with respect to net neutrality.
   "We need a church and state-like separation between 
    Web access and content. It's better and more efficient 
    for us all if we have a separate market where we get 
    our connectivity, and a separate market where we get 
    our content."

NewsFactor.com:: Father of the Web Weighs In on 'Network Neutrality'

[29 May 2006, top]

ICANN Votes No on Dot-XXX TLD

ICANN, by a nine-to-five vote, decided against adding the dot-xxx TLD (Top Level Domain). Some people wanted a dot-xxx domain for pornographic web sites. This topic has been under consideration for a long time and we need to let it go. There is no need for a dot-xxx TLD just like there is no need for a dot-kids TLD. [12 May 2006, top]

Google is a Great Source for Pornography

We have joked all along that Google.com is one of the best sources of pornography on the web. It appears our joking might not be a joke.

A 5/5/2006 NewsFactor.com posting starts as follows.

   "A Democratic representative in Long Island's Nassau County 
    filed a lawsuit against Google on Thursday, accusing the 
    company of making billions of dollars from child pornography."
    
    [Thursday was 4/5/2006]

NewsFactor.com Google Sued for Allegedly Profiting from Child Porn

[06 May 2006, top]

Politicians Remain Against Net Neutrality

Slashdot contained a posting to a Business Week posting about net neutrality. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce rejected a plan that would have given the FCC the "power to prohibit discrimination of Internet traffic." Numerous high-tech companies are battling over the issue of net neutrality.
   for                against
   --------------------------
   Google             AT&T
   Intel              Verizon
   Yahoo              Comcast
   eBay               Time Warner
   IAC/InterActive    Disney
   Microsoft

In a nutshell: those who control the pipe can control the Internet.

BusinessWeek.com:: Tech Giants' Internet Battles

[28 April 2006, top]

Nielsen Says F-Shape; Imaginary Friends

Once again Jakob Nielsen offers free advice to helping websites be usable. Many of today's leading websites have followed Nielsen's suggestions.

Useit.com::Alertbox:: F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content

[Extra] Copy/paste from Reuters on 21 April 2006.

   "The Los Angeles Times has suspended the blog of a Pulitzer 
    Prize-winning columnist who posed as an Internet reader to 
    defend his own column and attack his conservative foes."

This type of stuff is happening more and more. Don't have any followers? Create anonymous characters and have them become your supporters.

[23 April 2006, top]

Search Engine Users Don't Go Beyond Page 3

The BBC had an interesting posting about how people use search engines. The report said that most users never go beyond page three of the search results.
   62% of users clicked on a result on the first page

   90% of users clicked on a link in the first three pages

   41% of users changed search engines or their search term 
       if they did not find what they were searching for on 
       the first page

I would have to think that most users modify their search strings rather than switch search engines when not satisfied with their search results.

In a nutshell, search engine technology is only going to better and better and better.

BBC.co.uk:: Search users 'stop at page three'

[14 April 2006, top]

MySpace Makes the Top 10 Popular Website List

ZDNet Research had a posting containing the "Top sites in March 2006." The report indicated that MySpace.com was new to the top 10.
   Site      audience,100  time spent
   ----------------------------------
   Yahoo!    105,027       3:28:39  
   Microsoft  99,368       0:50:16  
   MSN        95,124       1:52:10  
   Google     93,244       1:00:56  
   AOL        75,348       6:13:54  
   eBay       55,573       1:59:18  
   MapQuest   40,809       0:12:05  
   Amazon     40,721       0:23:21  
   Real       36,961       0:43:00  
   MySpace    36,373       2:09:04

It is not hard to see why Google made an investment in AOL.

MySpace.com domain name was created Feb. 1996, but the copyright years on MySpace.com indicates 2003.

I spend most of my time on the Yahoo! website (finance, email, tech/science news and maps). I use Google for searching the web and some email. I don't eBay or MySpace or use RealPlayer.

ZDNet.com:: Top Websites for March 2006

[14 April 2006, top]

Some Politicians Don't Care About Net Neutrality

Money rules--that's just the way it is. Politicians crave money and it might have been money that swayed the votes of some techno-illiterate politicians.
   "By an 8-to-23 margin, the committee members rejected a 
    Democratic-backed 'Net neutrality' amendment to a current 
    piece of telecommunications legislation. The amendment had 
    attracted support from companies including Amazon.com, eBay, 
    Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and their chief executives wrote 
    a last-minute letter to the committee on Wednesday saying such 
    a change to the legislation was 'critical.'"

CNET News.com:: Republicans defeat Net neutrality proposal

[06 April 2006, top]

Nature Defends Wikipedia Against Britannica

Encyclopedia Britannica issued a "harsh critique of a report released in December by the journal Nature about the reliability of information on Wikipedia." In a nutshell, Nature reported that many Wikipedia articles were of the same quality as Encyclopedia Britannica. This in turn upset Britannica editors.

NewsFactor.com:: Britannica Editors Call Wikipedia Comparison Sloppy and Careless

[Extra] Slashdot.org:: Britannica Attacks - Nature Returns Fire

[05 April 2006, top]

Yahoo Finance Subjected To Negative Reviews

I have been a long time user of Yahoo! Finance. For what I do, it was been a great tool that has been provided for free with easily ignored advertising. Recently Google came out with a finance feature and now the Yahoo!/Google comparisons have become. According to one Yahoo! "insider," Yahoo! failed to implement many features that Google currently has working in their finance service.

InternetStockBlog.com:: Should the Yahoo Finance Failure Concern Shareholders?

[24 March 2006, top]

Google Getting Added To the SandP 500

On 23 March 2006 it was announced that Google, Inc. was being added to the S&P 500. Inclusion into the S&P 500 generally provides a stock a short-term upward movement because there are numerous large mutual funds based on the index's composition. When a stock is added to the index, "money managers typically have to buy shares as they readjust their portfolios." In addition, joining the S&P 500 is a symbol of "prestige that stamps its members as a blue-chip company." Google officially joins the S&P 500 on 31 March 2006. Kudos to Google. [23 March 2006, top]

Net Neutrality is a Hot Topic

What is 'net neutrality'? The following is the first paragraph from an InformationWeek.com posting.
   "The Internet is open to all at affordable, simple pricing, 
    and users can send or receive content without fear of it 
    being relegated to second-class status. Streaming video 
    from Comedy Central's Web site is treated the same as a 
    transaction on eBay or photos on a blog. This even-handedness 
    is known as network neutrality, and it has worked like a charm 
    for years. But the telecom industry is pushing for change, 
    with broad implications for how companies use the Internet
    --and what they pay."

Politicians are busy discussing what to do about ensuring net neutrality. Politicians like to create laws and many times these laws are created thanks to large sums of money that find their way to the politicians. The Internet cannot be for everyone if net neutrality is not adhered to.

The InformationWeek.com ended with the following paragraph.

   "Carriers have the upper hand today. Says U.S. Telecom 
    Association CEO Walter McCormick, "'If you want more, 
    then you pay more' is as American as it comes." Momentum 
    could still shift the other way, but money may hold sway 
    over Internet neutrality."

InformationWeek.com:: Test Of Net Neutrality

[21 March 2006, top]

Google To Setup an ASU Location in Tempe

Tempe's motto of being "the smart to be" got some confirmation with Google's announcement that they will be in Tempe for at least the next three years. I'm not sure Tempe would have been the choice without Arizona State University and Michael Crow.

Google.com:: Google to Locate Phoenix-Area Facility on Arizona State University's Tempe Campus

[12 March 2006, top]

Dog Poop Girl Story Lives

For some reason, I just read about "dog poop girl." A quick Google search found a hyperlink to a posting by computing guru Bruce Schneier about "dog poop girl." In his posting Schneier wrote the following.
   "A woman and her dog are riding the Seoul subways. 
    The dog poops in the floor. The woman refuses to 
    clean it up, despite being told to by other passangers. 
    Someone takes a picture of her, posts it on the Internet, 
    and she is publicly shamed -- and the story will live on 
    the Internet forever. Then, the blogosphere debates the 
    notion of the Internet as a social enforcement tool."

   "The Internet is changing our notions of personal privacy, 
    and how the public enforces social norms."

Schneier.com:: Dog Poop Girl

My Google search also found a Wikipedia entry that includes a hyperlink to a picture of the dog.

Wikipedia.org:: Dog Poop Girl

It was interesting to learn that "South Korea is the most wired country in the world and Internet witch hunts have been conducted with such ferocity that people have committed suicide, left the country in shame and taken new identities after being the subject of a cyber attack."

AzLitter.org has been attempting to do a cyberattack on litter, but with zero success. If we were in S. Korea, instead of taking pictures of litter we would take pictures of people littering.

[09 March 2006, top]

Yahoo Now Allowing Allah-based User Names

I didn't know that Yahoo! would not allow user names containing the string "allah," but it is a moot point because they have lifted this restriction. {CNET News.com:: Yahoo Mail reverses ban on 'allah' in usernames }

[Extra] Google announced that during 2006 they would be implementing systems that will support the company doing $100 billion in revenues. {GDT::BAB:: Google Wants To Do $100 Billion In Revenue}

[Extra] There has been a proliferation of markup-languages and it no surprise that work it taking place on HumanML. {DMReview.com:: HumanML: The Vision }

[03 March 2006, top]

Blog Spam is Called Splog

Spam is spam is spam regardless of where it ends up. I get spam in my U.S. post office box in Tempe on a weekly basis. This spam is particularly bad because the post office box is physically small and it doesn't expand when it gets full. Politicians during election season like to spam answering machines with their political messages. Spammers spam message boards, chatrooms, cell phones, etc. Email spam has been a long running problem, but now -- with the increased popularity of blogs -- spammers are spamming the blogosphere. A spam blog is called a splog. Bottom-line: Spammers are criminal and they need to be caught and processed like criminals.

WashingtonPost.com:: A New Place for Spam's Same Old Pitches

[23 February 2006, top]

Keep Internet Control Away From the United Nations

Controlling the Internet is a huge issue and the U.S. wants to make sure control the responsibility of "managing" the Internet is not given to the United Nations.

ZDNet.com:: Senator: Keep U.N. away from the Internet [by Declan McCullagh]

[Extra] On 1 November 2005, the East Valley Tribune published a short editorial advocating that "management" of the Internet not be given to the United Nations. At the 2005 CPSR annual meeting, there was considerable discussion about Internet Governance."

	"It doesn't take any great insight to realize that what most 
	 of these countries want is control over the information their 
	 peoples have access to. It's a short step from controlling the 
	 means of communication to controlling what is communicated."
	"The old adage 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' aside, 
	 handing the Internet over to the U.N. is a terrible idea."

EastValleyTribune.com:: Keep UN's hands off Net

[23 February 2006, top]

Top-Level-Domain Bloat?

In the earlier days of the Internet, there were seven gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains). These domains still are in use and they were the following.
    .com   .edu  .gov  .int  .mil  .net  .org

Anybody could get a dot-com or dot-org or dot-net domain name, but all the others are restricted. For example, to get a dot-edu domain name, you must prove you are an educational institution.

Currently, the following gTLDs have been added to the Internet.

   .biz  .info  .name,  .pro  .aero  .coop  .museum

The following new gTLDs appear to be near getting added to the system.

   .jobs   .travel   .xxx

ICANN.org:: Registry Listing

[Extra] Email is the oldest and most popular Internet-based application; however, it might be losing its popularity given how younger people use the Internet. {InternetWeek.CMP.com:: Study: IM Surpasses Email Among Teens, Young Adults }

[Extra] Speaking of electronic mail... the U.S. military should always be interested in how military personnel use the Internet. {MessagingPipeline.com:: Navy Goes On Email Defensive }

[23 February 2006, top]

Wikipedia Experiences Growing Pains

From the blog of Dan Gillmor comes the following quote.
   "We should be teaching our students how to interpret 
    the materials they get on the web, not banning them 
    from it. We should be correcting inaccuracies that 
    we find rather than protesting the system. We have 
    the knowledge to be able to do this, but all too often, 
    we're acting like elitist children. In this way, I believe 
    academics are more likely to lose credibility than Wikipedia."

[Extra] The conversion from Internet Protocol version four to version six might be costly. {InternetNews.com:: Could a U.S. Shift to IPv6 Cost $75B? }

[23 February 2006, top]

Google Does Firefox; Firefox Turns 1; Opera Turns 10

The following are "old" news items that having finally been prepared for posting.
   Google is providing its ad publishers with a set of buttons 
   that website visitors can use to download Firefox with the 
   Google Toolbar, which is a browser add-in that takes a user 
   directly to Google services, Mozilla said this week. Site 
   operators using the buttons will be paid $1 each time someone 
   installs the browser and toolbar.
InternetWeek.cmp.com:: Google Gets Closer To Firefox

[Extra] The Mozilla Foundation released version 1.0 of the Firefox browser on 9 November 2004. {InternetWeek.cmp.com:: Firefox Turns 1, Ratchets Up Marketing }

[Extra] CNET News.com:: Opera celebrates 10th birthday

[23 February 2006, top]

Doing Business With China is All About Greed

U.S. computer companies "see" the future and realize that China has great potential to add to the world's collective IQ.
   "Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would 
    force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft 
    to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations 
    the State Department deems repressive to human rights. Moving 
    servers would keep personal data they house from government 
    reach. But that also could weaken the firms' crucial Internet 
    search engines."

It would also make the data available to the U.S.A. [I am not advocating cyber-terrorism.]

   "Smith's bill - still being written - has already drawn 
    interest from another lawmaker, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, 
    R-Calif., with long-held concerns about U.S. business 
    cozying up to the Chinese government. 'This is greed 
    in high technology, and it's not a pretty sight,' 
    Rohrabacher says."

The word greed comes out of the mouth so easily for some. If wanting to do business with China is greed, then many U.S. computer companies are greedy. Capitalism is about making money and there is money to be made in China. If we don't make it, others will. My instincts tell me that the U.S. computer companies are optimistic that things will improve in China over the next few decades.

USAToday.com:: Bill would keep servers out of China

[Extra] I "archived" all of my gmail.com email messages effectively clearing my in-box. The resulting Gmail screen contained the following message.

No new mail! There's always Google News if you're looking for something to read.

[23 February 2006, top]

Google's China Operations Get Gooey

Google agreed that its search and news tools in China will block access to information the Chinese government considers objectionable. Google said they would alert users when search results are filtered. There are many in the U.S. that are unhappy with Google's decision to satisfy the Chinese government.

John C. Dvorak started an article with following paragraph.

   "So Google goes into China to do business and goes 
    along with the Chinese program of censorship already 
    accepted by Yahoo!, MSN, and others. If a company 
    wants to do business in China, such acceptance is 
    part of the ground rules."

Dvorak continue his article focusing on Google's motto of "Do no evil."

PCMag.com:: Google vs. China vs. Evil

Bambi Francisco wrote an article titled "Google shows its true colors" having the subtitle "What CEOs will do for shareholders." The following are some Bambi quotes.

   "It passionately claims that, 'Google has steadfastly 
    refused to make any change that does not offer a 
    benefit to the users who come to the site.'"

   "Yet Google's announcement Tuesday that it will comply 
    with China's repressive laws by doctoring its search 
    results in that country makes a mockery of those values."

   "Google is making a sacrifice, and a big one at that, 
    risking its democratic image for more access in a 
    country that will contribute very little business 
    in the near future."
[13 February 2006, top]

Chinese Want Access To The Wikipedia

From time-to-time (at least three times), China has blocked access to the Wikipedia and this makes many Chinese unhappy.
   "Chinese students and intellectuals are expressing 
    outrage at Beijing's decision to prohibit access 
    to Wikipedia, the fast-growing on-line encyclopedia 
    that has become a basic resource for many in China."

Slashdot.org:: Chinese Ban on Wikipedia Prevents Research

[Extra] A group of students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who were sued by the RIAA, think i2hub deceived them into thinking it was legal for them to download materials via the Internet. The students want i2hub to pay the $157,500 that the RIAA is seeking from them. The EFF commented that the students legal argument was like "a shooter deciding to sue a gun company, saying, 'The gun made me do it.'" Bottom-line: ignorance is not bliss.

[Extra] Users are not that patient when it comes to surfing the WWW (World Wide Web), {NewsFactor.com:: Research: Internet Users Judge Sites in 50 Milliseconds }

[01 February 2006, top]

Sex.com Sells For $14M; Google Execs Earn a $1

Sex.com, which is primariy a directory and portal to pornography sites, has been sold for for around $14 million.

[Extra] Last week's Internet Observer posting was about Google refusing to give the government search data that was collecting in a kiddie port investigation. Keeping with a Google theme, we learned that Google's top employees don't get paid well when it comes to salaries. {ZDNet.com:: Google execs keep $1 salaries }

[Extra] It doesn't happen often, but I got the following error message when attempting to post a message to one of Yahoo's message boards.

   "Our servers are a little grumpy now. The servers 
    should be fine soon. (We promise!) Please try to 
    repost your message in a few minutes."

Grumpy servers?

[Extra] The Internet is full of stuff that is good, bad, ugly, and evil. For some Internet users the good dominates the sum of bad, ugly and evil; but, for other, the Internet is full of perverts. {EastValleyTribune.com:: Web sites targeting teens can lead to trouble }

[28 January 2006, top]

Federal Government Wants Search Engine Porn Data

The Federal government wants Google, Yahoo, MSN (Microsoft) and AOL, to hand over search logs in order to find kiddie pornographers. Google refuses to do, but the other three Internet search companies have given data to the government.

Bottom-line: As of 21 January 2006, finding porn on the Internet is easier than easy. I agree with the following assessment from Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch: "If you want to measure how much porn is showing up in searches, try searching for it yourself rather than issuing privacy alarm sounding subpoenas. It would certainly be more accurate."

This should not be true, but these days it may be wise to use caution with respect to what you search for on the Internet.

CRN.com:: Google, Yahoo, MSN Subpoenaed In Anti-Porn Effort

[Extra] After this posting was posted, I came across the following headline from TechWeb.com: "Search Engines' Trustworthiness Shaken By Government Data Gathering."

[21 January 2006, top]

Google's Market Value Exceeds IBM's; Spammer To Pay

As of the market close on 6 January 2006, the stock market value of Google was greater than the stock market value of IBM. With GOOG priced at $456.66 per share, Google had a market value of $137.62B. IBM's market value was $134.18B with IBM priced at $84.95. The market value of Microsoft, with MSFT at $26.91, was $284.45B.

[Extra] CIS Internet Services has been awarded $11.2 billion in a court judgment against a Florida person who sent over 280 million unsolicited commercial email messages. The spam advertised "mortgages, debt-consolidation services, and pornographic and gambling Web sites." The following quote is true: "If no one bought goods sold via spam, the problem of unsolicited commercial e-mail would disappear overnight," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security firm Sophos.

[07 January 2006, top]

About the Internet Observer Blog

The Internet Observer is a blog related to the Internet. It is updated on a weekly basis and covers a wide array of Internet topics such as privacy, security, browser usage, server usage, domain name speculation, ecommerce, and so forth. The following blurb summarizes the goal of the Internet Observer.
Because of the constant evolution of the Internet this document could be updated every minute of every day, but that would result in too information overflow. The primary objective of the Internet Observer it to open our eyes to just how powerful the Internet is and to help us realize that the Internet is here to stay. We are becoming a "networked" society and if you use the Internet, then you are a member of the cyber-community. If users of the Internet are Internet-literate, then the Internet will be a better place for all of us to work and live.

The Internet Observer was started August of 1998 and as of 01 January 2006 it contained 376 postings. Reviewing archived Internet Observer postings is an one way to get an Internet related history lesson.

[01 January 2006, top]

Author: Gerald D. Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:18:20 MST