Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Resist the Giants - Stop Comcast from blocking Netflix [30Nov10]

Take a moment and consider what it will mean if Comcast starts blocking Netflix and gets away with it. It could end the net as we know it if the large providers are able to block their competitors and control what data we can have access to. So it's not about movies it's about data and our right to download what we chose without being limited or blocked by those companies we contract with to provide us access. So take a couple of minutes and read the article and then signing the online petition if you want to help stop this practice.

Amplify’d from act.credoaction.com
It's as brazen as it is outrageous. At the very same time that the FCC is deliberating the fate of our open Internet, cable giant Comcast threatened to block Netflix from delivering streaming movies to Comcast's own broadband customers.
Without strong net neutrality rules, companies like Comcast can demand fees from innovative companies like Netflix in an attempt to choke consumer freedom and coerce users to adopt its own video services instead.

Sign the petition

Tell the FCC: The big cable companies and telecoms will destroy our open Internet if you do not regulate strong net neutrality protections.
This is about more than getting movies via Netflix instead of Comcast. It's about the ability of media monopolies to decide what information we can access via the Internet. Will Fox News stories be carried in the fast lane while Democracy Now! is relegated to slow lane or perhaps blocked altogether?
Read more at act.credoaction.com

Monday, November 29, 2010

Stunning Development in Humanoid Robots [VIDEO]

Another Isaac Asimov prediction coming true. This truly makes a world of interactive robots seem not only possible but very close to reality.

What Kind of Nut are You??

Another one of those silly pick a favorite games but fun anyway. Make your friends pick BEFORE you show them the list. Anyway I got a laugh or too and had fun trying to guess what nut best fit some friends and family members.

Amplify’d from www.bitrebels.com
Nut Personalities | Which Nut Are You?

I had a bowl of pistachio nuts tonight for dinner. As I sat there meticulously cracking open each shell, I began to ponder why I was spending so much time opening each one of those little suckers for just that tiny little nut. I know a lot of people that would never bother doing that. But I love pistachios and it’s worth the work to me.

I have a friend that eats her peanuts with the shells on them. That’s right; she puts the whole thing in her mouth, like an elephant. She loves peanuts. I would never do that.

Is it possible that the kind of nut we like can give us a glimpse into our personality type? The answer to this question is absolutely not. However, that did not stop me from letting my imagination run wild to come up with these nut personality types. Which nut is your favorite? This is based on, well, nothing. ;)

If your favorite nut is…
Macadamia – You are living a high end lifestyle and you have champagne taste. Your friends may accuse you of being a snob, but deep down, you have a heart of gold.
Peanut – You are a little bit boring, and you know it, but you are ok with that. Your motto is, “I’m just trying to get through the day.” You love animals and are very loyal to your friends.
Honey Roasted Peanut – You like to get dressed up and go out on the town! You are the life of the party and appearance is very important to you. All your friends come to you for advice on fashion and image.
Coconut – You speak in disjointed sentences, you use the word “dude” a lot, your favorite shirts are tie-dyed and you like to smoke the ganja, whatever that is.
Pistachio – You have a strong work ethic. You know what you want and you don’t stop until you get it! Although you may think you don’t have much patience, you have more than you realize.
Walnut – You are stuffy, conservative, and probably really old. Your career is most likely that of a judge or attorney, and you only wear plaid flannel to bed.
Almond – You are sleek, smooth and sexy. You are on top of your game and enjoying life. Other people are naturally drawn to you. You love to flirt and have a good time.
Hazelnut – You are creative and have innovative ideas. You like to stay up all night and you drink a lot of tea or coffee. You march to the beat of a different drum, and people look up to you for it.
Chestnut – You love the holidays and winter is your favorite season. You love to roast.. err.. sit by an open fire. You are very friendly and all your friends love you and support you.
Pine Nuts – You are a world traveler and you like to eat exotic food. You prefer a warm climate and family is the most important thing in the world to you.

Update added 1/7/10: How could I forget the cashew and the Brazil nut? They are the biggest baddest nuts of them all. If your favorite nut is one of these, according to the comments below, you are the Alpha nut. You are probably a natural leader and people look to you for guidance. I gotta go get some cashews right now…

Read more at www.bitrebels.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Finally an App for FaceBook that Helps With Security

There are a lot of scams to watch out for - on Facebook and off and it’s getting worse all the time. However, for Facebook, now there's a really good utility called Safego from BitDefender.

It's a FaceBook app that;

a) Checks your FaceBook privacy settings to alert you to any issues with information you may be unknowingly giving out and

b) Scans all links on your wall, in your inbox, and in comments to see if any of them are malicious in any way.

To install it, you can go here http://apps.facebook.com/bd-safego/ or search for Safego in Facebook and add the app. That should provide you with a very good level of protection from malware, bad links, and phishing attacks for you and the visitors to your wall.

Five Tax Moves Too Make Before Year End

1. Sell appreciated assets

Capital Gains taxes are now at historic lows but soon that may change so cash in any stocks or assets with lots of appreciation before 12/31 this year and lock in those low rates. Just remember that while they may not end up raising capital gains rates you can be sure they won’t be lowering them. So the best tax rate you will see on Capital Gains is here NOW and that may not be true after Jan1, 2011.

2. Review charitable giving

Giving has always been a good way to lower taxes and be sure your money goes to those groups and purposes you want to see supported. And this year offers an additional incentive for high income givers. For under the Bush tax cuts deductions for giving were gradually phased out and finally ending in 2010. That means that this year no limits exist for how much you can give and get full credit on your Schedule A. This is one of those Bush era tax reductions that are not likely to remain. So you could lose a large tax deduction if you wait to make any large contributions till after the 1st of the year. Just be sure to check your status under the Alternative Minimum Tax rules or you still might get an unpleasant tax surprise.

3. Convert to Roth retirement accounts

Converting to Roth IRA and 401k programs is always something to be considered and in this regard this year is no different. But there is a couple of special tax breaks for doing so this year that won’t be around later. For this year and this year only you can convert from a regular account to a Roth account (in most cases) without the $100,000 income threshold and you can defer paying any taxes due till 2011 or 2012.

4. Energy efficiency tax credits

Be sure and look at the energy tax savings for home improvements and while it’s almost too late to get them done so you can take them it’s still possible. And remember you can’t take them this year if you’ve used the maximum total allowed in previous years and the work MUST be done this year not just contracted for so if you want to qualify you must take action immediately.

5. Adjust withholding

And for those of you who always end up getting a large refund it’s time to consider making changes in your withholding to reduce that free loan you’re making every year to the Federal government. Just remember to talk to a tax professional before you do as there are so many law changes coming you don’t want to get it wrong and end up owing. Especially watch for the end or reduction to the child tax credit to make some big reductions in your possible tax credits.

Disclaimer: And as always remember this advice is only offered as a suggestion of possible tax credits and savings and they may or may not apply in any individual case. So any actions you take with regard to tax deductions and credits require careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances that are unique to your return. There are many issues that may reduce or eliminate your benefits or use of some or all of them. As always it is suggested that you consult with a tax professional aware of your return and how any special circumstances you have may affect your ability to benefit from these or any other suggested tax planning strategies.

Well Another One of those "I Really Can't Believe They Did That" Stories

In a move that surprised many and pleased very few the Oxford English Dictionary made their usual yearly announcement of their "word of the year". It's suppose to be the one word that sums up or describes the year. I guess you have to understand just how boring and non-colorful life is for someone dealing in Lexemes to come up with such a yearly event. But it does have a certain interesting aspect. However this year they've gotten a little off the mark with their choice of 'Big Society'.

With that in mind I had to wonder what I would have chosen. And after only a small amount of thought (not really ready to devote much time on this question) I decided I would have chosen 'Babble'. For that's what we've seen this year from everyone... a lot of babble.


a : to talk enthusiastically or excessively b : to utter meaningless or unintelligible sounds

2 : to make sounds as though babbling

transitive verb

1 : to utter in an incoherently or meaninglessly repetitious manner

2 : to reveal by talk that is too free

So I guess the question is what word would some of the rest of you chose? What word or thought in your mind best describes this last year?

Amplify’d from uk.news.yahoo.com

Behold, the Word of the Year is unveiled

If you were going to choose a word to represent 2010 what would it be? Debt? Coalition? Wedding? Miners? Gamugate? Snow? There are lots to choose from. There are so many, in fact, that even the lexical behemoth that is the Oxford Dictionaries has struggled to narrow it down to just one word while it was selecting this year's ‘Word of the Year'.

And so, without further ado, and not so much as a drum roll, I can reveal the 2010 Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Year is... ‘Big Society' or, yes, BS for short. Exciting, right? Call me a pessimist but it would appear that the Tory party's influence in the posher parts of the country is still rife.

That aside, is ‘Big Society' really the word, sorry, lexical item, that Oxford Dictionaries feels best represents the year? According to Susie Dent, spokesperson for Oxford Dictionaries and language expert on Channel 4's Countdown: "'Big Society' was for us a clear winner because it embraces so much of the year's political and economic mood. Taken to mean many things, it has begun to take on a life of its own, a sure sign of linguistic success."

Big Society as word of the year? I must have been watching the wrong year.

Read more at uk.news.yahoo.com

Bose-Einstein 'Super-Photons' Promise X-ray Lasers

At long last we may see x-ray lasers for the first time. This promises to be one of those breakthroughs that allow physicists to finally work with x-rays like they have with visible lasers. And that should allow for even better electronics among other things.

Amplify’d from www.sciencedaily.com

Physicists Create New Source of Light: Bose-Einstein Condensate 'Super-Photons'

ScienceDaily (Nov. 24, 2010) — Physicists from the University of Bonn have developed a completely new source of light, a so-called Bose-Einstein condensate consisting of photons. Until recently, expert had thought this impossible. This method may potentially be suitable for designing novel light sources resembling lasers that work in the x-ray range. Among other applications, they might allow building more powerful computer chips.

By cooling Rubidium atoms deeply and concentrating a sufficient number of them in a compact space, they suddenly become indistinguishable. They behave like a single huge "super particle." Physicists call this a Bose-Einstein condensate.

For "light particles," or photons, this should also work. Unfortunately, this idea faces a fundamental problem. When photons are "cooled down," they disappear. Until a few months ago, it seemed impossible to cool light while concentrating it at the same time. The Bonn physicists Jan Klärs, Julian Schmitt, Dr. Frank Vewinger, and Professor Dr. Martin Weitz have, however, succeeded in doing this -- a minor sensation.

When a black body is cooled down, it will at some point radiate no longer in the visible range; instead, it will only give off invisible infrared photons. At the same time, its radiation intensity will decrease. The number of photons becomes smaller as the temperature falls. This is what makes it so difficult to get the quantity of cool photons that is required for Bose-Einstein condensation to occur.

And yet, the Bonn researchers succeeded by using two highly reflective mirrors between which they kept bouncing a light beam back and forth. Between the reflective surfaces there were dissolved pigment molecules with which the photons collided periodically. In these collisions, the molecules 'swallowed' the photons and then 'spit' them out again. "During this process, the photons assumed the temperature of the fluid," explained Professor Weitz. "They cooled each other off to room temperature this way, and they did it without getting lost in the process."

A condensate made of light

The Bonn physicists then increased the quantity of photons between the mirrors by exciting the pigment solution using a laser. This allowed them to concentrate the cooled-off light particles so strongly that they condensed into a "super-photon."

This photonic Bose-Einstein condensate is a completely new source of light that has characteristics resembling lasers. But compared to lasers, they have a decisive advantage, "We are currently not capable of producing lasers that generate very short-wave light -- i.e. in the UV or X-ray range," explained Jan Klärs. "With a photonic Bose-Einstein condensate this should, however, be possible."

This prospect should primarily please chip designers. They use laser light for etching logic circuits into their semiconductor materials. How fine these structures can be is limited by the wavelength of the light, among other factors. Long-wavelength lasers are less well suited to precision work than short-wavelength ones -- it is as if you tried to sign a letter with a paintbrush.

X-ray radiation has a much shorter wavelength than visible light. In principle, X-ray lasers should thus allow applying much more complex circuits on the same silicon surface. This would allow creating a new generation of high-performance chips -- and consequently, more powerful computers for end users. The process could also be useful in other applications such as spectroscopy or photovoltaics.

Read more at www.sciencedaily.com

Simple 7 Step Plan To Promote A Post

These 7 simple and yet great steps are written by John Paul. He is a Blogger and Internet Entrepreneur and a Kidney Transplant Recipient. He's been making money online for 6 years. His blog is a keep it simple, no BS, how-to on how he can help you become a Blogging Entrepreneur too.

So make sure you check out his blog after reading this post.

/ Viggo Andersen

Amplify’d from www.johnpaulaguiar.com
Let’s get into it my 7 Steps

Submit To Twitter

This should be a no brainer for you by now.  Twitter if used correctly WILL send people back to your blog to read your post! Period!

Now more then ever, Twitter should be first place to send your new post, Read Why.

Submit To 20 Social Sites

I use Hootsuite and Ping.fm to send out my post to over 20 other social sites.

Go here is to be as efficient as you can be, using Ping.fm let’s you do that without having to sign into each and every account.

Facebook tip, is to post your link directly on facebook at least once before using Ping that way will get more SEO juice from it as a direct link back to your blog.

Bookmark To 30 Sites

Bookmarking works and with Onlywire I send my new post out to 30 sites with the exception of a few Capcha codes it is automatic.

Added to this I use firefox add on Shareholic to submit to another 15 sites that Onlywire doesn’t have.

So in about 15min of time I have my post out to about 45 sites.

Lately I been testing Bookmark Demon to go crazy with bookmarking, to over 200 possible sites, so far I am very happy with it.

Both options work great Onlywire and Shareholic or BookMarking Demon, but if you have a little bit of money to spend then I Highly recommend BookMarking Demon software it is awesome.

Submit To Blog Carnivals

Blog carnivals are a great way to a. get quality back links and b. get targeted traffic.

It is free to submit to carnivals and the more targeted the post to carnival is the higher your chance your post will be excepted.

I did this manually for a few weeks and bitched and moaned the whole way thru lol  but in the end the effort is worth the hard work.

I have been using a blog carnival submitting software called Xingla Pro that pretty much automates the process to 1 or 30 carnivals at once.

Have used it for 3 weeks and makes life A LOT easier..lol  especially if you have a lot of old posts that you would like to submit.

Post To Bloggersbase

I been posting on BloggerBase for few months see my BloggersBase Profile and each my post have been read (each my post get read 200-400 times.

Not bad for a site that lets you post on for free as many times as you like and let you read readers you may never have before.

Post To BlogEngage

BlogEngage is a new site I was invited to join a few weeks back.  Brian at BlogEngage has a nice system setup to let bloggers reach other bloggers, connect and share in the promotion of each others blogs.

I been very happy with the luv my posts have gotten and the comments, traffic and ReTweets I been getting all from BlogEngage.

You have to be invited to be  part of the community, which is Brian’s way of keeping things at a high quality and a benefit to all members.

If you email Brian tell him John Paul sent you and I’m sure he will send you an invite,  yea I got celebrity status like that :)

Comment On Related Blogs

I have talked about how I use blog commenting before so I won’t go to far into it, but I comment on blog posts that fit what my most recent post was about.

Also I learned recently is if you are blog commenting for a back link, then don’t waste your time commenting on a post with over 40 – 50 comments.

Google only spiders the first 60 links on a page top to bottom, so if you comment 55 plus the links on that page beside the comment links, then you wont get credit for that back link.

Now you SHOULD comment FIRST to offer something to the conversation, and back link benefit should be a bonus not your primary reason to comment.

Read more at www.johnpaulaguiar.com

Friday, November 26, 2010

Apple has it's Security Problems Too as Large Set of Fixes Released

As is seen by the latest set of Apple security patches their OS isn't immune to problems and threats. I see Apple systems all the time that have security issues and for the most part their users just can't believe that there are any possible security risks if you just use Apple. I only wish that were true. And no doubt Apple stands much above MS Windows in areas of security. But that risk is increasing all the time as Apple becomes a larger part of the market and is targeted more and more by hackers. And MS has really turned up the screws when it comes to safer code and better procurers to produce and test their code. So a word to the wise, don't think that MS can't be a safe system and don't believe that Apple is totally secure. Security issues and risks are found in both OS's and they will only become worse computers continue to become more and more integrated into the cloud.

Amplify’d from blogs.pcmag.com

Just when you think they can't pull another one off, Apple does it again. No, we're not talking about killer consumer electronics products, we're talking about security updates of record-setting girth.

Only 45 of the 85 vulnerability fixes described in Apple's latest iOS security advisory apply to the new iOS 4.2 version. iOS 3.2 through 3.2.2 for iPad incorporates another 40 fixes on top of those. 8 of the vulnerability fixes for iOS also affect Apple TV and are fixed in the new version 4.1 of that product.

It's always fun to look for the oldest vulnerability listed by Apple and this update is no exception. CVE-2009-1707, revealed to the public on 6/10/2009 and just fixed today, describes an error which could allow a user with physical access to the device to view stored web site passwords. It's not the most serious bug, but 17 months+ is a long time.

But many of the other vulnerabilities are classic critical bugs where reading a file can lead to remote code execution. Normal users run in a less privileged mode, but combined with CVE-2010-3830 ("Malicious code may gain system privileges"), a more severe compromise is possible.

Time to go to iTunes and apply updates.

Read more at blogs.pcmag.com

New Imaging Finds Cancer Faster,Better, and Without Biopsies

Finally we may be seeing an end to the long waits and missed diagnostics in cancer screening. As a new imaging method shows early promise of removing the personal interpretation currently relied on and replacing it with a cellular level analysis. This may spell the long awaited end to things like the mammogram and painful biopsies. Lets hope that this procedure ends up living up to its early testing.

Amplify’d from www.sciencedaily.com

New Imaging Technique Accurately Finds Cancer Cells, Fast

ScienceDaily (Nov. 25, 2010) — The long, anxious wait for biopsy results could soon be over, thanks to a tissue-imaging technique developed at the University of Illinois.

The research team demonstrated the novel microscopy technique, called nonlinear interferometric vibrational imaging (NIVI), on rat breast-cancer cells and tissues. It produced easy-to-read, color-coded images of tissue, outlining clear tumor boundaries, with more than 99 percent confidence -- in less than five minutes.

In addition to taking a day or more for results, current diagnostic methods are subjective, based on visual interpretations of cell shape and structure. A small sample of suspect tissue is taken from a patient, and a stain is added to make certain features of the cells easier to see. A pathologist looks at the sample under a microscope to see if the cells look unusual, often consulting other pathologists to confirm a diagnosis.

Rather than focus on cell and tissue structure, NIVI assesses and constructs images based on molecular composition. Normal cells have high concentrations of lipids, but cancerous cells produce more protein. By identifying cells with abnormally high protein concentrations, the researchers could accurately differentiate between tumors and healthy tissue -- without waiting for stain to set in.

Each type of molecule has a unique vibrational state of energy in its bonds. When the resonance of that vibration is enhanced, it can produce a signal that can be used to identify cells with high concentrations of that molecule. NIVI uses two beams of light to excite molecules in a tissue sample.

"The analogy is like pushing someone on a swing. If you push at the right time point, the person on the swing will go higher and higher. If you don't push at the right point in the swing, the person stops," Boppart said. "If we use the right optical frequencies to excite these vibrational states, we can enhance the resonance and the signal."

One of NIVI's two beams of light acts as a reference, so that combining that beam with the signal produced by the excited sample cancels out background noise and isolates the molecular signal. Statistical analysis of the resulting spectrum produces a color-coded image at each point in the tissue: blue for normal cells, red for cancer.

Another advantage of the NIVI technique is more exact mapping of tumor boundaries, a murky area for many pathologists. The margin of uncertainty in visual diagnosis can be a wide area of tissue as pathologists struggle to discern where a tumor ends and normal tissue begins. The red-blue color coding shows an uncertain boundary zone of about 100 microns -- merely a cell or two.

The researchers are working to improve and broaden the application of their technique. By tuning the frequency of the laser beams, they could test for other types of molecules. They are working to make it faster, for real-time imaging, and exploring new laser sources to make NIVI more compact or even portable. They also are developing new light delivery systems, such as catheters, probes or needles that can test tissue without removing samples.

"As we get better spectral resolution and broader spectral range, we can have more flexibility in identifying different molecules," Boppart said. "Once you get to that point, we think it will have many different applications for cancer diagnostics, for optical biopsies and other types of diagnostics."

Read more at www.sciencedaily.com

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Windows P7's Jail Break is On With ChevronWP7

In only about a month after it's release it's now possible to jail brake your Win P7 phone. And while there isn't much you can do at the root level yet it's coming as developers will soon be releasing apps and ideas. So with Win P7 now joining iPhone in being easily rooted it means that for all practical purposes any major phone OS is open source. And while the phone companies and software companies don't like it much it's almost impossible for them to stop it. If they were smart they would quite and devote their attention to doing something useful rather than spend time and resources on protection systems that never end up working anyway. The nice thing is that now it's even legal and only raises the question of voiding your warranty. Anyway it's going to be a fun open Christmas as we can now root all of the major phones and OS's to truly free up their full potential.

Amplify’d from gizmodo.com

Windows Phone 7 Gets JailbrokenWindows Phone 7 is "finally" jailbroken! ChevronWP7, the unlocker tool, works with every WP7 phone and allows for the side loading of apps, the use of private APIs, and access to low level functionality. Basically, it unleashes your WP7 phone.

It's easy to jailbreak too: just download the tool, connect your phone, and run through the unlock tool. It's straightforward, very low-risk and completely reversible.

As of now, there's not much benefit in jailbreaking a Windows Phone 7 device, but with some time, hard work and the right developers, it'll eventually mature into something awesome like the iPhone dev community, Android root users and even webOS homebrewers. [ChevronWP7 via WPCentral via IthinkDiff]

Read more at gizmodo.com

And there is Much that is Meaningless here on this Earth

In pondering Thanksgiving and what we have to be thankful for I found this part of Ecclesiastes to be especially fitting. For we know not the ways of our lives nor do we know the ways of the Lord. So while our days are spent in trivial maters searching for answers to questions that escape us we all need to remember that life is much more than we can or will ever understand. And so many times the answer to our question.... "Why!".... is simply.... "Because."

Ecclesiastes 8:14-17 NIV

14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.

15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.

16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe man's labor on earth—his eyes not seeing sleep day or night—

17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.
You all have a great break today and try to enjoy some time off too as Thanksgiving is a time to treasure. And some where, right now, an American Soldier stands between you & those who would harm you so be thankful this thanksgiving & remember them in your prayers. http://amplify.com/u/gfli

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To one and all best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving and may God bless you and yours with a bountiful holiday season. http://amplify.com/u/gec2

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giants, Eagles game was a real let down. Giants came back only to give it away in the end. Let's hope they can win the next one. http://amplify.com/u/ftd2

Saturday, November 20, 2010

AT&T Says Google Isn't Playing Fair Nor Being Net Neutral

Just as I thought now AT&T is pushing the FCC to find Google Voice in violation of the Net Neutrality rules. And in some ways both sides have a point.

Google's stand is that since Google Voice is a free service they can't afford to pay to connect with some expensive outlying phones and phone services. And on the surface of it that is a good point. They are offering a "free" service so how can they be expected to pay the high connection charges that many rural phone companies charge?

But as AT&T points out what Google Voice is doing is taking the low hanging fruit by offering a service for "free" that the regulated carriers can't offer.

So is AT&T to be made to stand by as Google Voice grabs a large group of users just because they can offer prices that AT&T can't possible match?

Those are just the kinds of questions that will become more and more common as the internet pits regulated verses non regulated communication service providers against each other.

And there is no easy answer as to force Google Voice to connect to any and all lines would force the service to become a paid service rather than a limited but free service. But to allow Google to offer services that rob a regulated carrier of customers just because they can chose only those customers that cost little to access since they aren't regulated is to allow Google Voice to rob regulated carriers of customers.

It will be interesting how this thorny issue is resolved. And you can bet no matter which side wins with the FCC the other side will fight it in court. So we won’t know the final outcome for some time.

Amplify’d from www.maximumpc.com

AT&T has sent a rather pointed letter to the FCC accusing Google of violating Network Neutrality standards. No, that isn’t a typo. AT&T’s beef is that Google Voice will not connect calls to some numbers that traditional telecoms are required to connect. This is because of so-called “common carrier” laws.

Some rural local telephone carriers charge long distance companies extremely high fees to connect calls to certain numbers on their networks. These are usually numbers for conference call centers, adult chat lines, or party lines. Sneakily, revenues from these connections are shared with the owners of the lines. Google Voice does not connect these calls, and AT&T thinks that isn’t fair.

It is interesting that Google, a company that strongly supports Net Neutrality, is taking this course of action. AT&T seems to want them to be treated like any other telecom, but in Google’s response, they lay out their rationale for why AT&T should shut it.

Google says that first and foremost, Google Voice is a free service. To make it workable, they simply cannot spend money to connect those calls. They also say that Google Voice is software, and software isn’t covered by common carriers rules. Finally, they claim that since Google Voice is an invite-only beta service, it doesn’t need to comply with all regulations.

So, is this just AT&T trying to distract the FCC, or is Google really in the wrong here?

Read more at www.maximumpc.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

SSRN-'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

This post discusses the often discussed but seldom though out argument that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn't fear government's watching your activities. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that your actions violate no laws nor are considered out of the public norm doesn't mean that you should not protect the privacy of your actions. For it is the threat of government control that is the real danger to government's snooping into our lives. Only a government that knows our actions can try to contain or control those actions. And if you think that the government won't use such knowledge to watch, control, and manage your life you would be mistaken if history is any example.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fannie Mae Seeking Additional Federal Aid After Posting Loss

Just when you think it can't get any worse comes the latest disclosures by Fannie Mae of their continued financial woes. It seems that loses are still very high and the markets are terrible right now in most of the country. So it's asking for even more money and stating that the whole foreclosure mess that's brewing may make things even worse. With the current estimates of cost to bail out both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac standing at 259 billion dollars (up from 133.4 billion dollars already earmarked for them) that doesn't sound good for the American tax payer. It sounds like this whole mess is heading for south of 300 billion dollars at least. It may just be that we can't save these two from failure without bankrupting the government. The whole housing market is so riddled with problems right now it's impossible to say. But one thing is certainly clear this will be the most expensive bailout of a long line of bailouts. Lets just hope that the crooks that caused it will someday face punishment but at this writing it is seeming doubtful.

Amplify’d from www.usatoday.com

Fannie Mae asks for $2.5B in new government aid
WASHINGTON (AP) — Government-controlled mortgage buyer Fannie Mae is asking for $2.5 billion in additional federal aid after posting a narrower loss in the third quarter.

Fannie Mae also said Friday it was likely that the market disarray and suspension of foreclosures due to big lenders' problems with flawed documents will have a negative impact on the delinquency rates of its loans, its expenses and foreclosure timelines. However, the company said, "we cannot yet predict the extent of its impact."

Fannie Mae said Friday it lost $3.46 billion, or 61 cents a share, in the July-September quarter. That takes into account $2.1 billion in dividend payments to the Treasury Department. It compares with a loss of $19.8 billion, or $3.47 a share, in the third quarter of 2009.

The government rescued Washington-based Fannie Mae and sibling company Freddie Mac about two years ago and it estimates that will cost taxpayers up to $259 billion. That's nearly twice the $133.4 billion Fannie and Freddie are in line to receive from taxpayers so far and would make it the most expensive bailout of the financial crisis.

Fannie's chief executive said Friday the latest results reflect ongoing efforts to contain losses from the high-risk mortgages it bought from 2005 to 2008 and to build up new, more profitable loan business with tighter lending standards.

McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac reported Wednesday that it managed a narrower loss of $4.1 billion for the third quarter and asked for an additional $100 million in federal aid — far less than the $1.8 billion it sought in the second quarter.

The two mortgage giants have been hit by massive losses on risky mortgages purchased from 2005 through 2008. The companies have tightened their lending standards after those loans started to go bad, and default rates on new loans are far lower.

Add to that the uncertainty stemming from allegations that big lenders used flawed foreclosure documents to seize millions of homes, a controversy that could put added scrutiny on Fannie and Freddie and bring fresh losses for them.

Fannie and Freddie used some of the same law firms that are accused of processing foreclosure files with flawed documents. They are revoking thousands of foreclosure cases from one Florida law firm which is under investigation for falsifying documents used to complete foreclosures.

Fannie and Freddie buy up home loans from lenders, bundle them together into securities with a guarantee against default and sell them to investors worldwide. They own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages, or nearly 31 million home loans worth more than $5 trillion.

Fannie Mae reported its earnings three days after midterm elections in which criticism of the government's financial bailouts had figured prominently in many races. Fannie and Freddie have many critics, especially among Republican lawmakers whose party gained control of the House in Tuesday's elections.

Over the next year, lawmakers plan to review the nation's mortgage-lending system and consider a potential replacement for Fannie and Freddie. The financial overhaul signed by President Barack Obama in July didn't address that issue, despite protests from Republicans that it was incomplete without such a plan.

Read more at www.usatoday.com

bit.ly blog - Introducing bit.ly Bundles!

Bit.ly has added a new service that allows for bundling under one shortened URL a bunch of links. Click on the shorted link and you will see a list with descriptions of the links and a thumbnail showing of what the link is to. You can even add custom descriptions and such to the list as well as add and subtract items . It sure seems that this service will offer a great tool to allow for sharing a bunch of related URL's with only one short link. Great idea Bit.ly

New Threat for Privacy Invasion by FaceBook‘s “Instant Personalization” Setting

Yes FaceBook is at it again. This time by starting a new service that they have began with little or no announcement. They hope to catch people off guard and thus allow information to be shared with sites not even on FaceBook. And you have to give them credit by adding a NEW area to the securities section people now have something else to check that by default is set to share information and they most likely don’t even know it’s there.

So watch out people FaceBook’s idea of security is that you share everything with everyone when you use Facebook. (Looks like it's time for another article on these guys.) It's always something to watch out for with them. Remember this when you consider using them for email. Your contact list and the information you would give them would increase substantially and that's now what you want with FaceBook.

Anyway here's the info on neutralizing this new setting in FaceBook. Feel free to share it with others. Remember constant vigilance is necessary when dealing with FaceBook so stay alert!

FACEBOOK SECURITY ALERT*** As of this week, there is a NEW PRIVACY SETTING called "Instant Personalization" that shares data with non-FaceBook websites and it is for most people automatically set to "Enable." But you can change it.... Go to Account >Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites >Instant Personalization > Edit or ...customize Settings, and un-check "Enable". BTW, If your friends don't do this and don't have their apps setting locked down for contacts they will be sharing information about you to these sites REGARDLESS of your settings. SO PLEASE COPY & REPOST.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So Who is the Number One Email Provider? You Might Be Surprised!

With all the talk centering on FaceBook's entry into the email service sector and how it would effect Google it's interesting to note a few facts. Google isn't more that a distant third in email while Yahoo is first and HotMail is second and by large numbers. So if FaceBook has anyone to beat in email it's more Yahoo and HotMail than Google. And you can bet that those two are Mr. Zuckerberg's real targets. Yet it may be more of a MS collaboration than a contest if FaceBook allows MS's on line office apps to work in their email. That would be more of a hit on Google than their offering email service anyway. Google desperately want's to stop MS from getting any traction from their on line office products. Because if office 365 (as it's called today) takes off Google will feel the pain in it's online suite of office products. How Google would handle such a sudden availability of office 365 to millions of users might be interesting to watch. But no mater how it plays out FB is causing some realignment and new thinking in the back offices of Google, MS, and Yahoo you can be certain.

Amplify’d from www.zdnet.com

Who's the biggest U.S. e-mail service of them all? (Hint: It's not Gmail)

On the day Facebook is expected to throw its hat into the crowded and competitive e-mail ring, it’s worth noting what the current landscape looks like.

Compete.com recently published stats on e-mail market share, based on U.S. Internet users’ engagement with web-based email clients.

“Based on unique visitors from the US IBP (internet browsing population), Gmail doesn’t even hold a candle to Hotmail (94% larger than Gmail) and Yahoo Mail (190% larger). Gmail’s buzz is obviously much larger than it’s bite.”

It’s interesting to see many press and bloggers claim that Facebook’s main target with its expected e-mail entry is Gmail (a distant number three in Compete’s stats). It’s also interesting to consider how the Hotmail team views the increasing cooperation between Facebook and Microsoft — especially if Facebook does end up announcing today that it will be offering Facebook e-mail customers the ability to view and edit Microsoft Office Web Apps documents from inside their inbox. That’s a capability that is currently offered only via Hotmail.

Update: Yes, Office Web App integration is part of the new Facebook e-mail (that Facebook officials say isn’t email.)

In my most recent monthly column at Redmond Magazine, I noted that there’s a tug-of-war happening inside Microsoft. On one side are those who believe that making Microsoft products and services available on as many platforms as possible is the way to win. On the other are those who believe that software and services are the company’s greatest assets and should be treated as incentives for Microsoft-centric users. Office Web Apps inbox integration is a prime example of this battleground.

Read more at www.zdnet.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Improving Your Blog or Website's Visitor Appeal

I've read a lot of articles on how to improve a blog or increase it's readership and most while are fine they are often difficult to understand and hard to implement. Well this one is different and contains some great, easy to understand, and even better easy to use ideas. I've only recently found Larry Brauner but so far his articles seem to do a wonderful job of simplifying what are usually difficult subjects and making them easy to understand. So if you have a minute be sure and not only read this article but check out some of his other work. I'm sure you will be glad you did.

10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog or Website

Read more at online-social-networking.com

Some web sites clearly have it together. They have lots of traffic and appeal to visitors.

Other sites aren’t bad. They have good potential. With a few tweaks here and there, they could enjoy much more traffic and appeal much more to their audience.

I promised myself that I’d write up some suggestions for improving blogs and websites. I realize that while much is possible, we can’t hope to do everything. We need to apply the 80/20 rule and focus on strategies and techniques that are easy to implement yet promise substantial benefits:
  • Make Your Text Easier to Read - Some months ago, I noticed that my blog’s text wasn’t visually sharp enough. It was difficult to read. Upon examination, I noticed that the font wasn’t quite black, and the background wasn’t totally white. The links were grayish. After a few minor theme changes, the color scheme was improved. Low contrast combinations or light text on a dark background always require extra effort to read.
  • Optimize for Human Eyeballs - A site’s title tells search engines and their users what the site is about. The title is the bold headline in search engine results. Using keywords in your site’s title can help you rank higher for those keywords. Recently, I changed the title of my blog hoping to rank higher on more keywords, and my traffic fell. The new title was unfortunately less relevant and less appealing to my potential readers. I changed my title back, and traffic rebounded. The takeaway: Optimize for humans, not just for search engines.
  • Use Headings to Break Up Long Articles - Headings break up an article into sections and help make the article easy to scan and read. Limiting paragraph size helps too. Headings, however, like titles, can tell search engines what an article is about and are an excellent place to insert your keywords.
  • Link Out - I provided a rationale for linking out to other sites in The Blogger’s Guide to Links and Comments: “Use of outbound links enhances your pages in ways that both search engines and people can easily appreciate.” The advice in that article applies equally to blogs and conventional websites. Unless you’re linking to ads, use only dofollow links.
  • Link Internally - This can be huge. Linking internally increases a site’s circulation, and it increases the perceived relevance of both the linking page and the page linked to. Link to another page or article on your site when you have the opportunity. In a blog, you can even link to a tag, as I often do. A blog site map such as the once generated by the Wordpress plugin Really Simple Sitemap makes it easy for visitors to find a blog’s archived content. I use internal links on my blog nearly everywhere, even in places which aren’t obvious.
  • Be Social - Adding a social dimension to your web presence makes you real and credible. Join all the major social networking sites, and let visitors know how they can connect with you. Google Friend Connect and Facebook NetworkedBlogs widgets add sociability to your site and enable readers to publicly endorse you. Bloggers can join blog networking sites as well such as Technorati, Entrecard, BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog.
  • Make Subscription Simple - Make it as easy as possible for readers to subscribe to your blog or newsletter. Blogs should offer subscription by both email (using a service like Aweber) and RSS (using a service like Feedburner). I’m always amazed when I have to hunt for a way to subscribe to a site.
  • Use Social Bookmarking - Make your content easier to find and, as is the case with some social bookmarking sites, create quality links into your blog or website. Some of the social bookmarking sites I use are Digg, Delicious, Propeller, Reddit, diigo, Jumptags, Google Bookmarks and iZeby.
  • Encourage Comments - Not only do I generally ask readers to comment, but I comment back as well whenever it’s appropriate.
  • Extend Your Domain - If your domain will expire with the next twelve months, you might be signaling to search engines and savvy visitors that your site is only temporary.
  • Read more at online-social-networking.com