The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Down economy a boon to virtual assistants

By Deborah L. Cohen, Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:25am EST  

CHICAGO (Reuters.com) -- Gayle Buske is a recruiter. But unlike most of her rivals in today's slowing economy, she is experiencing an upswing in business. In fact, Buske would argue that the downturn is actually helping bring in additional candidates - and more customers looking for their expertise. 

Buske runs a service that places offsite support staff with entrepreneurs and small- to mid-sized companies looking for part-time help. Working from home offices, these so-called virtual assistants handle everything from basics like typing and answering phones to more sophisticated tasks such as developing Web sites, following up on sales leads and managing databases. 

"The skills would amaze you," says Buske, who has operated the company, Team Double-Click, out of her own home office in the small southwestern Colorado town of Ouray since 2003. "There's accounting, bookkeeping, lawyers, general administrative assistants - you name it and it's there." 

Indeed, Buske, who used to receive 200 to 300 new resumes a week, says interest in becoming a virtual assistant has jumped in recent months due to record levels of unemployment as corporations tighten their belts. On Monday alone, big companies such as Caterpillar, Nextel and Home Depot announced layoffs amounting to some 65,000 jobs in the U.S. and abroad. 

Team Double-Click has about 56,000 would-be virtual workers in its database. Before being placed, these administrative professionals must pass thorough a rigorous set of screens that include online skills testing, phone interviews and reference checks. 

"Demand for our services has actually gone up," says Buske. "A lot of clients are replacing their brick-and-mortar offices with virtual offices. They're staffing virtually." 

Indeed such arrangements save companies that can no longer support full-time staff large sums in costs such as overhead, workers' benefits and most important, paid time for unproductive hours when the workflow ebbs. 

"I don't work more than 10 hours a month for any one client," says Kathy Hadzibarjric, a virtual assistant who provides ongoing support to about 15 clients. She has developed her business over the past five years, after leaving a full-time project management position for a nonprofit following a decision to relocate to Tampa, Florida. 

EDUCATING BUSINESSES 

In recent years, virtual assistants have become increasingly recognized in the professional world with trade groups such as the U.S.-based International Virtual Assistants Association, Virtual Assistant Networking Association, the Canadian Virtual Assistant Network, and the Canadian Virtual Assistant Connection, among other groups elsewhere in the world. They are slowly developing industry standards and accreditation and have drawn the attention of junior colleges. 

"We don't have any hard and fast numbers," says Sue Kramer Harrawood, director of marketing for the IVAA and an Orland Park, Illinois-based virtual assistant. "Our biggest job is educating the business community that we are out there, that we are a viable option if it's the right fit." Harrawood says her organization estimates that virtual assistants have grown to a multi-billion-dollar industry. 

According to a 2007 survey by the U.S.-based Virtual Assistant Networking Association, which boasts more than 10,000 members, nearly 97 percent of virtual assistants are women; some 76 percent have children. The majority work more than 30 hours per week. 

Depending on the complexity of the task, their rates can range from $20 to about $60 per hour and up. In addition to newcomers from the ranks of the recently unemployed from the corporate world, there are a host of reasons why workers choose this nontraditional career path. Frequently they are trying to juggle career and family responsibilities. 

"I missed interacting with professional people," says Rebecca Buscemi, a Baltimore, Maryland-based mother of two who began her career as a virtual assistant after being put on bed rest prior to the birth of her youngest child. "I really enjoy being home with my kids." 

Like many in the field, she is building her business through referrals and testimonials - critical stamps of approval in a realm of work where there is little to judge worthiness other than the quality of the tasks performed. 

Says Tracy Gosson, a marketing and economic development consultant: "When you're a small business, (you) can't be worried about other people getting their stuff done."

-- Deborah Cohen covers small business for Reuters.com. She can be reached at smallbusinessbigissues@yahoo.com -- 

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Job website hit by major breach

BBC News 

Hackers are believed to have stolen the personal details of millions of people using the online job site Monster.

Users around the world have been affected, including the 4.5 million users of the UK site.

If all are affected it would make it the biggest data theft in the UK since the details of 25 million child benefit claimants went missing last year.

The recruitment giant has advised people to change their passwords and be on the lookout for phishing e-mails.

Recruitment sites have proved rich pickings for criminally-minded hackers in the past and it is not the first time Monster has fallen foul of cyber thieves.

In 2007, 1.3 million details were downloaded to servers based in Ukraine.

Phishing danger

Last year the details of 1.6 million jobseekers was stolen and followed by sustained phishing attacks, where people are fooled into installing malware via links in emails.

Monster first revealed that its database had been attacked again on 23 January but has remained tight-lipped about the scale of the attack.

"We recently learned our database was illegally accessed and certain contact and account data were taken," said Monster senior vice president Patrick Manzo in a statement.

He went on to admit that hackers had stolen user names, passwords, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, alongside demographic data, birth dates, gender and ethnicity.

CVs had not been accessed, he said.

The statement warned people to be on the look-out for phishing e-mails built around the details surrendered to Monster.

"Monster will never send an unsolicited e-mail asking you to confirm your username and password, nor will Monster ask you to download any software tool or access agreement in order to use your Monster account," it read.

Graham Cluley, a senior consultant with security firm Sophos, said hackers armed with details from Monster accounts, could target other online information.

"It is surprising just how many people use the same password for a variety of sites. They need to change all passwords that are the same as that for their Monster login," he said.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mac or PC: Making the Big Switch

Our analyst looks back on 25 years of switching between the Mac and the PC. 

By Joel Santo Domingo, PC Magazine, 23 January 2009 


The Mac vs. PC "war" has been going on since many of us were still in grade school. As for me, I've been torn between the two for about that long. But switching back and forth for me was in large part a combination of necessity and desire. Let me explain.

I learned to run PC-DOS, program BASIC, and write Pascal programs on the original IBM PC in 1982. In those days, you got text with a text graphics card and bare-bones color graphics with a CGA adapter, and I thought it was the height of cool that I could play Microsoft Flight Simulator during downtime. I was so smitten with the new tech that when the ill-fated PCjr came out, I almost convinced my parents to get us one. 

Soon after that, my buddy John showed me an article in Creative Computing magazine about an upcoming computer called Macintosh from the company that produced our "ancient" Apple II computers. I didn't think much about it, since Apple was obviously yesterday's news, and the future of the PC was all in IBM's hands. Apple II was a dying, closed-off system, while the IBM PC was the system that both businesses and consumers thought of when they thought of computers. 

Then I got a summer job at a local Computer Depot, and consequently got some hands-on time with the Macintosh. The first-generation 128K Mac was underpowered, to be sure, but the new graphics interface sure beat having to type DOS commands just to get to the word processor and modem terminal program. Call me fickle, but when I "got it," the way was clear: Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) were the wave of the future. For college, I chose a brand-new Apple Macintosh Plus. It had the power the original Mac lacked, and by that time there were enough software packages to make it useful. I mean, MacPaint and MacWrite were cool, but you need to do other things like connect with CompuServe, right? That 

Mac saw me through college, with an 800K floppy disk drive, a 20GB SCSI hard drive, various modems, Apple ImageWriter printer, and 4MB memory upgrades along the way. I upgraded to a Mac Performa 400 while in grad school. But, alas, the real world waited. 

My first job out of college was as an IT dude at a major record label, where I serviced the art department, which, of course, worked with Macs. I got a crash course in Lotus Notes and saw how a mixed PC/Mac environment worked, which wasn't too well in those days. The lines were drawn between the creatives (Macs) and the corporate side (PCs). I still liked the Mac as a platform, but the incompatibilities were maddening. 

You couldn't reliably get a PC-written Word document to read right on a Mac if you'd done any formatting on it. Even keyboards and monitors were on different, noninterchangeable standards (PS2 versus ADB keyboards, VGA versus DB15 monitors, and the like), leading to walled gardens where the Macs played with each other and the PCs did the same. Networking was just starting to bridge the gap, but the gatekeepers (network managers) absolutely hated that work, so it got done only when necessary.

My next job was converting a whole major news organization from an old MicroVAX to Windows NT Server. That was hardly fun, but I finally saw how the real world worked (or so I thought), and I started carrying around a Toshiba Satellite notebook with a Windows NT and 95 dual boot and a dongle that let me use a Motorola StarTAC as a modem. The PC world was simply better connected than the Mac world: The only way I could connect to my office from the road without a landline was with a PC. Aside from the technical compatibility issues, I found that on the whole, Mac users were walled off by the corporation that headed the news organization. Unless you were a powerful household-name "talent" or high-ranking executive, you couldn't get a Mac onto the corporation's computer network. 

At my next job, which was at a graphics-intensive (read: Mac-loving) business, my work and home systems were a "reasonably priced" PowerMac 7300 and a PowerBook 2400c. I kept a few PCs running just so files could be exchanged reliably with the "outside world." It was fun (not!), transferring files on floppy disks between Macs and PCs, then e-mailing them from the PCs over our Mac- and IP-based network. After that company was acquired, I was back to Windows, this time with another Toshiba Satellite Pro and supporting Windows 2000 in the office, and I had to give up my Macs. This migration was less happy than one from the MicroVAX to Windows, since Mac users of the mid-1990s were even more rabid about "their" operating system than they are today. The entire staff rebelled, from the art department to the administrative folk. The in-house Mac database guys and our head of IT went off to start their own companies in the salad days of the dot-com era. There is always turnover in any business, but for many at that company, the Mac-to-PC conversion was even more of a reason to resign than the regime change or the acquisition. I was fine with the change, since PC developers and IT folk are easier to find and hire than Mac folk. For the time being, however, I was (again) a PC guy killing off the local Macs. 

Finally, in 2001, I came to PC Magazine, where at the time Apple coverage was an afterthought. Mac knowledge on staff was limited to the art department, and those guys didn't write articles for the magazine. We had an Apple expert freelancer who wrote about all things Apple from his own walled-off garden. I didn't try to evangelize the staff, even though that was the only way to get Macs into a business at that point. I accepted that I was a PC guy in a PC-based environment. Homebuilt PCs and trusty ThinkPads (first a 600x, then a T40) were my rides of choice. 

Then in 2002 , my wife got me my first iPod. It "worked" with my homebuilt PCs with FireWire cards, but there was something…lacking. I had to reformat the iPod way too often, and iTunes was a resource hog on the PC. I had to get a Mac so that I could have some stability in my music player. I was back to an Aluminum PowerBook G4, first a 12-inch then a 15-inch. The Intel transition of Macs happened in 2005, and now I carry both operating systems everywhere I go: a MacBook Pro that runs both Windows Vista and Mac OS X Leopard. Strangely enough, it's a working synergy: I use the Mac side for some tasks and the Windows side for others. I still have the ThinkPad, but it's relegated to e-mails that don't come through on Microsoft Entourage.

There are no more walled-off gardens: Using Parallels Desktop, I can even drag info back and forth from the Windows side to the Mac side on the MacBook. The future is Web-based, and all the popular Web sites look and act identically in a Firefox browser window. My iPod is now an iPhone, and even that works well with PCMag's Microsoft Exchange–based e-mail. It seems as if every time I switched from the Mac to the PC it was because I was forced to, while every time I switched back it was by choice. It's been a long road with many detours along the way, but in this case the two paths that diverged came back together, and that has made all the difference.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

For a High-Tech President, a Hard-Fought E-Victory


By JEFF ZELENY, The New York Times, January 22, 2009


Barack Obama, on his way to a campaign rally in New Hampshire last January, paused to relax and keep in touch. (Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times) 

WASHINGTON — There is one addiction President Obama will not have to kick: his BlackBerry. 

For more than two months, Mr. Obama has been waging a vigorous battle with his handlers to keep his BlackBerry, which like millions of other Americans he has relied upon for years to stay connected with friends and advisers. (And, of course, to get Chicago White Sox scores.) 

He won the fight, aides disclosed Thursday, but the privilege of becoming the nation’s first e-mailing president comes with a specific set of rules. 

“The president has a BlackBerry through a compromise that allows him to stay in touch with senior staff and a small group of personal friends,” said Robert Gibbs, his spokesman, “in a way that use will be limited and that the security is enhanced to ensure his ability to communicate.” 

First, only a select circle of people will have his address, creating a true hierarchy for who makes the cut and who does not. 

Second, anyone placed on the A-list to receive his e-mail address must first receive a briefing from the White House counsel’s office. 

Third, messages from the president will be designed so they cannot be forwarded. 

The battle over whether the president could keep his BlackBerry has been fueled to a large degree by Mr. Obama himself, who mentioned it again and again. He would not take no for an answer. In an interview this month, he worried aloud, “They’re going to pry it out of my hands.” 

Mr. Obama received his BlackBerry on Tuesday, but officials declined to specify what kind. In a conversation with reporters on Thursday evening, he said, “I don’t think it’s actually up and running yet.” 

Throughout the transition, several of his aides talked openly about Mr. Obama’s obsession with keeping his BlackBerry. And some of them, when speaking privately, said they were eager to have his device taken away so the case could be closed. 

When asked Thursday whether his advisers were trying to wean Mr. Obama from his BlackBerry, which he often wears attached to his belt, Mr. Gibbs conceded, “Nobody can do that.” 

“He believes it’s a way of keeping in touch with folks,” Mr. Gibbs told reporters, “a way of doing it outside of getting stuck in a bubble.” 

The presidency, for all the power afforded by the office, has been deprived of the tools of modern communication. George W. Bush famously sent a farewell e-mail address to his friends when he took office eight years ago. 

While lawyers and the Secret Service balked at Mr. Obama’s initial requests to allow him to keep his BlackBerry, they acquiesced as long as the president — and those corresponding with him — agreed to strict rules. And he had to agree to use a specially made device, which must be approved by national security officials. 

“It’s a pretty small group of people,” Mr. Gibbs said, explaining who would be allowed to e-mail the president. 

All of Mr. Obama’s e-mail messages remain subject to the Presidential Records Act, which could ultimately put his words into the public domain, as well as under the threat of subpoenas. That was a caveat, aides said, that did not dissuade the president. 

The news was disclosed by Mr. Gibbs at the first White House press briefing, on Thursday afternoon. Several questions about the presidential e-mail, however, were not addressed. 

“What’s the address?” Major Garrett from Fox News asked Mr. Gibbs. 

Mark Knoller from CBS Radio News said, “None-of-your-business.com.” 

It will not, however, be the same address he has used for years. That one is already programmed into too many BlackBerrys.

Related Article:

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President Barack Obama will be the first president to use a BlackBerry while in the White House. (AP/ABC News)



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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Intel to shut sites and cut up to 6,000 jobs

By Ritsuko Ando, Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:02am EST  

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Intel Corp (INTC.O) said on Wednesday it would close manufacturing plants in Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as its only remaining factory in Silicon Valley, cutting as many as 6,000 jobs. 

The announcement comes a day after the world's largest maker of microprocessors used in personal computers slashed prices on a number of its chips and a week after it reported a decline in fourth-quarter revenue. 

Intel said it would close two assembly test facilities in Penang, Malaysia, and one in Cavite, Philippines. 

It will also halt production at a wafer fabrication facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, as well as its Santa Clara, California plant -- a factory connected to its headquarters and the only one left in Silicon Valley. 

The actions will result in a reduction of 5,000 to 6,000 jobs, Intel said. It ended 2008 with around 84,000 employees. 

Not all cuts at the affected plants will lead to job losses and some workers will be offered positions at other facilities, it said, adding that the restructuring will take place between now and the end of 2009. 

"It's not a surprise given that their first quarter is probably going to be challenging, and they're trying to do what they can to cut costs in places that make sense," said Taunya Sell, an analyst at Ragen Mackenzie, a division of Wells Fargo. 

Intel said it was not halting production at any of its more advanced factories. 

Intel shares rose about 1 percent to $13.40 in after-hours trading, after rising 3.11 percent to close at $13.26 on the Nasdaq stock market. 

Last week, Intel said its fourth-quarter revenue fell 23 percent from the year-ago period and profit tumbled 90 percent. It also held back on giving detailed quarterly forecasts, citing economic uncertainty. 

Analysts have been wary about Intel's outlook for the year as chip sales slide. PC makers and other technology companies have been trimming inventory and cutting back on purchases. 

Intel also faces competition from new, cheaper chips made by Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.N). 

On Tuesday, Intel said it was lowering prices on some of its processors, including price cuts of up to 40 percent on some of its higher-powered, faster quad-core chips. 

AMD said earlier this month that it expected to post additional restructuring charges for fiscal 2008 and 2009. 

(Additional reporting by Robert MacMillan; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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Microsoft reports results, plans to cut 5,000 jobs

Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:20am EST  

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp posted on Thursday second-quarter earnings of $0.47 per share on revenue of $16.63 billion, and announced it will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months. 

Highlights: 

  • Says client revenue declined 8% as a result of pc market weakness and a continued shift to lower priced netbooks 
  • Says economic activity and it spend slowed beyond our expectations in the quarter
  • Says entertainment and devices revenue grew 3% driven by strong holiday demand for xbox 360 consoles
  • Says reduction of headcount-related expenses
  • Says no longer able to offer quantitative revenue and EPS guidance for the balance of this fiscal year
  • Says planning for economic uncertainty to continue through the remainder of the fiscal year
  • Says offers operating expense guidance of approximately $27.4 billion for the full year ending June 30, 2009
  • Says will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, hr, and it over the next 18 months
  • Says initiatives will reduce the company's annual operating expense run rate by approximately $1.5 billion
  • Says reduce fiscal year 2009 capital expenditures by $700 million
  • Says operating expense guidance of approximately $27.4 billion for the full year ending June 30, 2009
  • Reuters Estimates Q2 earnings per share view $0.49, revenue view $17,082.44 million
  • Sees lower revenue and earnings for the second half relative to the previous year
  • Says costs of implementation and employee severance will be included in Q3


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Online Video of Inauguration Sets Records

By ASHLEE VANCE, The New York Times, January 20, 2009 

Millions of cubicle dwellers across the country helped set records for Internet traffic on Tuesday as they watched online video of the inauguration ceremonies — or at least tried to. The overwhelming demand meant that some Web sites and data networks had trouble keeping up, forcing many people to turn to less cutting-edge forms of media. 

 “It was really frustrating to have this great technology and still not be able to watch the speech,” said Dan Robinson, who runs the box office at the Julliard School in New York. “I had to use this TV from the early ’80s and some rabbit ears to watch it.” 

Internet traffic in the United States hit a record peak at the start of President Obama’s speech as people watched, read about and commented on the inauguration, according to Bill Woodcock, the research director at the Packet Clearing House, a nonprofit organization that analyzes online traffic. The figures surpassed even the high figures on the day President Obama was elected. 

“The peak is the highest measured to date, and it appears to be mostly a U.S. phenomenon,” Mr. Woodcock said, adding that it did not appear that global records would be set. 

When people are checking for election results or the score for a big game, they tend to produce smaller bursts of traffic spread out over several hours. On Tuesday, everyone wanted to watch video, and that produced bulky streams of data traveling from media companies’ data centers out to people at work and in their homes. 

Data from CNN.com captured the uniqueness of the online surge. CNN said it provided more than 21.3 million video streams over a nine-hour span up to midafternoon. That blew past the 5.3 million streams provided during all of Election Day. At its peak, CNN.com fed 1.3 million live streams simultaneously, according to Jennifer Martin, a spokeswoman for the site. 

Akamai, which helps companies meet demand for their online offerings, worked with media companies like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Viacom to stream live video. It reported a record-breaking day, feeding up seven million video streams at one time. 

While the raw figures look impressive, people unable to access the videos felt less than ecstatic about the state of Internet technology. The snags highlighted one advantage that is still held by old-fashioned television: its viewers are not forced to compete with one another for the right to watch a particular channel. 

“I really didn’t get to see any of it,” said Daniel Wild, a Web site editor at the New York University School of Medicine. “Ultimately, I just saw frozen images of sections of what happened.” 

CNN tried to assuage those who could not access its live feed by posting a note to visitors saying they were in line to receive a working stream. 

“We built capacity for CNN.com Live to handle well above and beyond what was, to our knowledge, the most-viewed live video event in Internet history,” Ms. Martin said. 

A spokeswoman for The Times, Stacy Green, said its site served more video viewers than expected, and that there had “not been any major problems.” 

The viewing troubles may have been more a result of the limited Internet capacity coming to offices and houses, rather than a lack of overall bandwidth from the media companies, according to Mr. Woodcock. The United States continues to suffer from less-than-robust bandwidth, which Mr. Woodstock attributes to inadequate government attention and limited competition between Internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast. President Obama, in fact, mentioned the issue in the very speech that people were trying to watch. 

“We’ve had eight years of stagnation and need to get to work solving problems like this,” Mr. Woodcock said.

Related Articles:

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Award-Winning Blogger to Visit Provinces

The Jakarta Globe, Anita Rachman, January 16, 2009 

 “What about you? Do you think that a woman should be able to cook to be a wife?” 

More than 120 people commented on this question posed by blogger Anandita Puspitasari on her award-winning Web log, or blog, www.nonadita.com, which has a daily readership of 300 people. 

The 23-year-old, known to her fellow bloggers as Dita, was recently named the winner of Microsoft Indonesia’s first-ever “bloggership” award, a scholarship for bloggers. 

The local cyberspace community celebrity beat 115 other contestants aged 20 to 35 to scoop the award, which includes a Rp 15 million ($1,350) cash prize and three fully funded trips to provinces of her choosing, to write about a range of specified issues, including education and the contributions the private sector can make to economic development. 

Despite low Internet penetration rates throughout much of Indonesia, blogging has become surprisingly popular. According to senior blogger Wicaksono, labeled the father of Indonesian blogging, today the nation has 300,000 bloggers, a seemingly high figure given that there are only an estimated 38 million Internet users in Indonesia. 

Dita, a junior researcher with a Bogor non-governmental organization, and who has a second blog at www.nonadita.dagdigdug.com, said she believed readers who sought more personal content are attracted to the blog threads, or individual topics, on her site. 

“Actually, I just write about ordinary things that most people have experienced,” she said. “But I always invite people to share their opinions and I quote other people’s experiences as well.” 

A popular thread on her Web site was on the Indonesian man’s perspectives in selecting a suitable wife. “I want her to be my wife, not my chef.” Anandita wrote, quoting one of her lecturers to support her opinion that women did not need to be able to cook to be proposed to. 

Other threads are more complex, criticizing Indonesian attitudes toward issues such as smoking and government regulations. She also goes where arguably few 23-year-old Indonesian women dare to go, criticizing Indonesian consumerism habits and the strength of the shopping mall culture. 

Helpfully, she also shares her ideas about blogging and the latest and coolest Web sites to be found on the Internet. 

“I think we can use blogs as more than just a place to record diary entries,” she said. “We can build up communications, hold discussions and even organize social activities between friends.” 

She said that her blog was still in the form of a discussion forum. She dreams of further developing her blog and hopes that the Microsoft scholarship would give her the opportunity to share many new things with friends on the Internet.


Downadup virus exposes millions of PCs to hijack

By Barry Neild, CNN 

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A new sleeper virus that could allow hackers to steal financial and personal information has now spread to more than eight million computers in what industry analysts say is one of the most serious infections they have ever seen. 

Experts say a single infected laptop could expose an entire network to the worm. 

The Downadup or Conficker worm exploits a bug in Microsoft Windows to infect mainly corporate networks, where -- although it has yet to cause any harm -- it potentially exposes infected PCs to hijack. 

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at anti-virus firm F-Secure, says while the purpose of the worm is unclear, its unique "phone home" design, linking back to its point of origin, means it can receive further orders to wreak havoc. 

He said his company had reverse-engineered its program, which they suspected of originating in Ukraine, and is using the call-back mechanism to monitor an exponential infection rate, despite Microsoft's issuing of a patch to fix the bug. 

"On Tuesday there were 2.5 million, on Wednesday 3.5 million and today [Friday], eight million," he told CNN. "It's getting worse, not better." 

Hypponen explained to CNN the dangers that Downadup poses, who is most at risk and what can be done to stop its spread. 

How serious is it? 

It is the most serious large scale worm outbreak we have seen in recent years because of how widespread it is, but it is not very serious in terms of what it does. So far it doesn't try to steal personal information or credit card details. 

Who is affected? 

We have large infections in Europe, the United States and in Asia. It is a Windows worm and almost all the cases are corporate networks. There are very few reports of independent home computers affected. 

What does it do? 

It is a complicated worm most likely engineered by a group of people who have spent time making it very complicated to analyze and remove. The real reason why they have created it is hard to say right now, but we do know how it replicates. 

How does it spread? 

The worm does not spread over email or the Web. However if an infected laptop is connected to your corporate network, it will immediately scan the network looking for machines to infect. These will be machines that have not installed a patch from Microsoft known as MS08-067. The worm will also scan company networks trying to guess your password, trying hundreds and hundreds of common words. If it gets in, even if you are not at your machine, it will infect and begin spreading to other servers. A third method of spreading is via USB data sticks. 

How can I prevent it infecting my machine? 

The best way is to get the patch and install it company-wide. The second way is password security. Use long, difficult passwords -- particularly for administrators who cannot afford to be locked out of the machines they will have to fix. 

What can I do if it has already infected? 

Machines can be disinfected. The problem is for companies with thousands of infected machines, which can become re-infected from just one computer even as they are being cleared. 

 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Asus debuts S121 netbook with Windows 7 and 512GB SSD

By Dan Nystedt, Computerworld 

January 6, 2009 (IDG News Service) Asustek Computer on Tuesday debuted an ultra-thin, light netbook called the S121 with two new technologies, Microsoft's yet-to-be released Windows 7 OS and the world's largest solid state drive (SSD) at 512GB. 

The S121 is just under an inch thick and is 11.7-inches by 8.3-inches, weighs about 3 lbs and carries a touchscreen that runs a specialized software Asustek developed for easy touch navigation. 

The use of Asus's touch mode software on Microsoft's Windows 7 OS shows how closely the two companies are working together. 

"We're deeply partnered with Asus on Windows 7," said David Fester, general marketing manager at Microsoft's OEM division, at a news conference ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show, which opens Thursday in Las Vegas. 

And although the S121 will be available about a month from now, it probably won't come with Windows 7. The new OS isn't slated to hit markets until next year, although some pundits say it could be released as early as mid-2009. 

The new netbook will also "cost quite a bit," said Jonney Shih, chairman of Asus, around US$1,649 due to the 512GB SSD on board. He said Asus used its own technology to build the SSD. 

SSD technology generally promises speedier software loading than HDDs (hard disk drives) and better power efficiency. But SSDs are far more expensive than HDDs and they don't last as long. 

In fact, some analysts at the Storage Visions conference currently going on in Las Vegas, warned users to beware of some SSD technology because of the wide range of quality among SSD makers. Some companies may be using less expensive, but lower quality chips in their SSDs. One of the key components on an SSD to ensure smooth, fast running, is the controller chip, but high quality controller chips for SSDs are expensive, and some makers have turned to using controller chips made for USB flash sticks in their SSDs, leading to far slower write times and reliability. 

Asustek's 512GB SSD announcement comes just a few weeks after Toshiba revealed its own 512GB SSD for laptops. Few other companies have announced SSDs with such large storage capacity. 

The S121 will come with a 1.33GHz Intel Atom microprocessor. Few other details about the device were immediately available. 

Netbooks are miniaturized notebooks about two-thirds the size of a normal laptop that have become popular for mobile computing and Internet use. The devices are designed with less powerful chips and other components so they're more battery efficient, cost less and usually weigh just a few kilograms.

Related Articles:

Microsoft begins Windows 7 push

Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 is nearly final

Windows 7 Is Less of a Resource-hog Than Vista


Friday, January 2, 2009

Android OS running on netbooks

By Doug Aamoth, CrunchGear,  on January 2, 2009
 

Taking a tip from a Google developer who claimed to have Android running on an older Asus Eee 701, Daniel Hartmann over at VentureBeat.com got Android up and running on an Asus Eee 1000H in about four hours. Geez, that was easy, huh? 

The ease at which the Android OS was able to be installed on a computer shouldn’t be too surprising, as Android itself is Linux-based, and it also underscores Google’s goal of getting Android onto more than just mobile phones. 

Apparently VentureBeat had a few problems with the sound and networking at first but after that, everything came together pretty smoothly. The screen automatically resized to fit the Eee’s larger resolution and the web browser worked just fine. There’s no Android Market on the open source version of the code but other than that, everything else seems to be the same as what you’d find on an Android phone. 

Says VentureBeat: 

  • Overall, we’re impressed with the relative ease of the compilation. Android code is very “portable” and neat. Many observers, specifically Symbian supporters, have opined that Android would have problems because of its “open source” nature, leading to “chaotic code” and tendency toward disintegration as developers take the OS in different directions. If true, that could give more controlled OS’s like Symbian, not to mention the iPhone’s, an advantage. Based on our experience with Android, we don’t see that danger mid-term.


Hmm. Making things easier on developers. What a concept! That just might result in more widespread adoption of an operating system. It’ll be really interesting to see if and when Android turns up preloaded on netbooks as opposed to a custom-built Linux OS like you’d find on current-day machines. VentureBeat guesses it’ll be 2010, although I could see some smaller, more nimble companies loading it up this year already.

Related Articles:

Skype Launches Lite for Android, Java Phones

Startup Founders Turn Android into Desktop OS

Mac vs. Windows vs. Android: 2009 — The Year Ahead

Android will be more than a phone


Windows 7 beta 1 performance - How does the OS compare to Vista and XP?

Posted by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet,  January 1st, 2009, 2:59 pm 

How does Windows 7 beta 1 compare to Vista and XP in terms of performance? That’s a question that’s been hitting my inbox regularly over the past few weeks. Let’s see if we can’t answer it! 

  • Important note: Before I go any further I feel I need to make a point, and make it clear. The build I’m testing of Windows 7 (build 6.1.7000.0.081212-1400) is a beta build, and as a rule beta builds are usually more geared towards stability than performance. That said, the performance of this build should give us a clue as to how the OS is coming along.

Rather than publish a series of benchmark results for the three operating systems (something which Microsoft frowns upon for beta builds, not to mention the fact that the final numbers only really matter for the release candidate and RTM builds), I’ve decided to put Windows 7, Vista and XP head-to-head in a series of real-world tests to find out which OS comes out top. 

Conclusion 

The bottom line is that the more I use Windows 7 the more I like it. Sure, we’re looking at a beta build here and not the final code, so things could change between now and release (although 

realistically final code ends up being faster than beta code). Also I still have some nagging issues relating to the interface, and some concerns that the UAC changes will break applications and other code, especially installers, but overall Windows 7 beta 1 is a robust, solid bit of code. 

Sure, Windows 7 is not XP, and never will be (thankfully). And if you’re put off by things such as activation and DRM, then Windows isn’t the OS for you (good news is there are others to choose from). But if you’re looking for a solid OS then Windows 7 seems ready to deliver just that - a fast, reliable, relatively easy to use platform for your hardware and software.


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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Leap year bug zaps Zune music players

Washington (ANTARA News) - It wasn't a very Happy New Year for owners of Microsoft's Zune. 

Thousands of the MP3 music players froze on New Year's Eve around the world due to what Microsoft described as a bug in the device's internal clock. 

The bug only affected the original, 30-gigabyte version of the music player that was introduced by the Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft in 2006 as its answer to Apple's wildly popular iPod. 

Later devices with 80GB and 120GB of memory were not affected. 

Microsoft was alerted to the problem when Zune forums and discussion boards lit up overnight with complaints from Zune owners around the world that their devices players had stopped working. 

Many of the messages were signed "Victim of the December 31st 2008 Zune 30 Meltdown!" and the mass Zune stoppage gave rise to puns such as "Zunesday" and "Z2K," a reference to the millennium Y2K bug. 

Microsoft initially put out a statement saying owners of the 30GB Zune may experience "issues" when booting up the device, asked for patience and apologized for the inconvenience. 

Several hours later, another statement on Microsoft's zune.net explained the problem and said it would essentially self-resolve. 

"There is a bug in the internal clock driver causing the 30GB device to improperly handle the last day of a leap year," Microsoft was quoted by AFP as saying. 

"The issue should be resolved over the next 24 hours as the time change moves to January 1, 2009," it said. "We expect the internal clock on the Zune 30GB devices will automatically reset tomorrow. 

"By tomorrow you should allow the battery to fully run out of power before the unit can restart successfully then simply ensure that your device is recharged, then turn it back on," it advised users.  

Related Article:

A Year Ticks Over, and Zunes Get Hiccups

4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... 1 ... Happy New Year!