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)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blogger Auto Pagination Speeds Page Loads but Angers Bloggers

Susan's Blogging Blog, by Susan Gunelius, Thursday February 25, 2010

Last week, Blogger rolled out Auto Pagination, which automates the amount of content that is displayed on Blogger blog pages based on the amount of HTML and and images on each page. Google claimed that the purpose behind the change is to speed page load time. For example, with the new Auto Pagination feature, a Blogger blog might be limited to only display two posts per page if those posts include a lot of images. Visitors would need to click on the Next Post link to view additional posts from the blog.

While the change is unlikely to affect a lot of smaller bloggers, it has caused concern from larger bloggers, particularly those who use Blogger for photo blogs or blogs that are image-intensive, such as celebrity fan bloggers.

Many of the Blogger users who found their blogs suddenly altered to display only a couple of posts per page blogged about the new Blogger Auto Pagination feature in order to complain about the change. According to some of the more vocal bloggers, they were able to email Google and work with them to modify their blogs so the Auto Pagination feature doesn't affect their blogs. If you use Blogger and dislike the Auto Pagination feature, be sure to contact Blogger support and voice your concerns.

Has the new Blogger Auto Pagination function affected your blog or any of the blogs that you read? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mobile Phones Become Banks in Developing Countries

Jakarta Globe, Celine Cornu, February 23, 2010

Barcelona. An Afghan police officer gets his salary in a text message on his mobile phone. A Kenyan worker dials a few numbers to send money to his family.

The rise of banking transactions through mobile phones is giving a whole new meaning to pocket money in parts of the developing world that lack banks or cash machines.

Mobile money applications are emerging as potent financial tools in rural and remote areas of the globe, allowing people with no bank accounts to get paid, send remittances or settle their bills.

“One billion consumers in the world have a mobile phone but no access to a bank account,” said Gavin Krugel, the director of mobile banking strategy at GSM Association, an industry group of 800 wireless operators.

“We see it as very big opportunity,” he said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the industry’s annual four-day event that ended on Thursday.

Mobile banking began to emerge six years ago in the Philippines and South Africa, where 8.5 million and 4.5 million people, respectively, use such services.

Today, 40 million people worldwide use mobile money, and the industry is growing, according to the GSMA.

“Africa and Asia are the most active regions right now,” Krugel said. “We expect Latin America pick up this year.”

There are 18,000 new mobile banking users per day in Uganda, 15,000 in Tanzania and 11,000 in Kenya, he said.

Mobile phones can offer a wide range of banking solutions, from sending transfers to a relative to buying goods in a store or putting money aside for a rainy day, all by dialing a few numbers on one’s phone.

Mobile banking can also make life easier for people in parts of Africa where paying a simple bill can be time-consuming, said Reg Swart, regional executive of Fundamo, a company that makes banking applications.

“It takes one day to pay one bill. You have to physically go to the bank, then you must queue, a long queue,” he said.

In Afghanistan, the national police has been testing a service from mobile operator Roshan to pay its officers, which helps to limit corruption, the company said.

“We are currently moving from a trial to a full launch in paying the Afghan national police,” said Roshan’s head of mobile commerce, Zahir Jhoja.

Every month, police officers receive a text message in the language they prefer informing them they have received their salaries, Jhoja said.

A voice message is also left on the phone “because a lot of them are illiterate and cannot read,” he said. The officer can then go get his money from an authorized Roshan agent.

“The benefit is that police and police officers don’t have to carry cash anymore: from their post they are able to send their money home, buy items, and take whatever cash they want from an agent, or to store for future,” he said.

The system has helped officers who were not receiving their full salaries due to “corruption and skimming.

“The police officers who received the money electronically were very surprised to learn that they earn so much money. When they were getting cash they were receiving 25 to 30 percent less,” Jhoja said.

Agence France-Presse

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Monday, February 22, 2010

China's President Signs Up for Microblogging

Jakarta Globe, February 22, 2010

Chinese President Hu Jintao.

China’s President Hu Jintao has set up a microblogging account that has drawn thousands of followers as of Monday, in a country where social networking sites remain tightly controlled.

The account was set up on a microblogging platform operated by the People’s Daily, the main print media mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, which Hu heads.

Hu’s profile contained no message, photo or information other than his name and official titles.

The state-controlled Global Times newspaper said the People’s Daily had set up its microblogging site on February 1.

It said it had confirmed with the site that Hu’s account was genuine.

It was not clear when the account was set up, but more than 14,000 web users had signed on to follow the account by Monday morning, allowing them to receive updates by email, Windows Messenger, or Google’s Talk service.

“I am looking forward to communicating with the Secretary General (of the Party),” said one user.

Another expressed disappointment, saying, “It’s a pity he hasn’t written anything yet.”

Hu’s microblogging presence has emerged in the middle of a row between China and the United States over Beijing’s restrictions on the Internet and Google’s presence in China.

Google threatened last month to abandon its Chinese-language search engine google.cn, and perhaps end all operations in the country, over censorship and cyberattacks it says targeted the email accounts of Chinese rights activists.

The New York Times reported last week that the hack attacks had been traced to two elite Chinese schools, but both have denied any involvement.

China’s government has recently walked a tightrope on the Internet, with leaders saying they were committed to developing the Chinese web even as Beijing operates a huge censorship system dubbed the “Great Firewall of China.”

Authorities attempt to strictly control exploding use of the Internet in the country — restrictions that include stifling foreign social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube.

AFP

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Cashing in on Internet censorship

CNN, by Lara Farrar for CNN, February 19, 2010

Scaling the wall: Firewall breaching tools are booming in countries clamping down on Internet freedom.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Companies providing tools to avoid Web access restrictions see big rise in business
  • Virtual private networks (VPN) and proxy servers increasingly popular in China and Iran
  • Firewall breaching services often fall victim to government blocks if they are too popular
  • In China majority of VPNs used by expatriates


(CNN) -- A growing number of software companies are capitalizing on an unexpected business opportunity: Internet censorship.

In countries where governments continue to ramp up Web filtering systems, more people are searching for tools that will allow them to access inaccessible information -- and they are willing to pay for them.

Such tools include virtual private networks (VPN), proxy servers and other workarounds that enable users to breach barriers to blocked information online.

VPNs "tunnel" through to servers in a country with no Web controls, encrypting information under an anonymous computer address to conceal private traffic. Proxies also allow unfiltered Internet access but are considered less secure than VPNs.

"The market is growing very rapidly at the moment," said Patrick Lin who offers a circumvention technology he calls "Puff" to those looking for ways to leap over firewalls. One version is available for free, while another costs $16 to use for a year.

According to Lin, since he launched the application from his California office last June, it has been downloaded more than 500,000 times. Sixty percent of its 60,000 daily users are from China while 40 percent are in Iran, he said.

"The reason is the Chinese and the Iranian governments are becoming more aggressive with blocking Web sites," he told CNN. "If China blocks Gmail, then the user base will increase a lot more rapidly."

Earlier this month Iranian authorities imposed restrictions on Internet access in the country and a permanent ban on Gmail, Google's e-mail service.

While there has been no such move in China, there has been speculation Google's international site could be blocked after the company announced on January 12 it was considering ending its operations in the country and would stop censoring results on its Chinese search engine, Google.cn.

On February 12, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the Internet giant will not pull the plug in China and would agree to filter pornographic and other potentially objectionable material.

However, Google's video sharing portal, YouTube, and popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China, which means companies have already been cashing in on censored Web surfers who can no longer connect with friends and family online.

David Gorodyansky, founder of the U.S.-based company AnchorFree, said his business has around one million people in China using its free VPN Hotspot Shield each month. The VPN has over 7 million monthly users in 100 countries.

Gorodyansky says the company is profitable and generates revenues by selling ads appearing on every Web page. There are 50 million page views a month in China and more than a billion worldwide.

"We have grown 500 percent in the last 12 months," Gorodyansky told CNN. "We would like to continue growing as fast as possible. We think there is no reason why usage can't grow from 7 million to 70 million around the world."

When AnchorFree introduced its product in 2005, it was intended for people concerned about online identity theft or who are safely using wireless networks in hotels and other public places.

"It is an interesting position to be in, for sure," said Gorodyansky. "Our goal is not to in anyway disrespect the government of China. We just happened to build a cool technology that people in China want to use."

Too many people in China, apparently.

When firewall-breaching services accrue substantial user bases, more often than not, they fall victim to government blocks. Hotspot Shield, along with other, usually free, VPNs and proxies have been temporarily shut down or completely banished by Internet police in China as well as Iran.

"That is why we have not specifically done a tremendous amount of advertising in China," Bill Bullock, head of WiTopia, a Virginia-based company that sells a VPN service, told CNN.

"We just kind of do what we need to do," he said. "When we see new blocking techniques come out [in China], we have counter measures for those. It is an ongoing battle, we are doing business in a country that does not want us to do business there."

Steve Dickinson, a China-based lawyer with Harris & Moure, an international business law firm, said that companies supplying VPN products in China are technically breaking Chinese law.

"China has no jurisdiction over such persons. As long as they do not physically enter China, there is no risk," he said in an email to CNN.

While free proxies are frequently shut down, subscription VPNs rarely face blockages, largely because they target expatriates and foreign businesspeople, an almost inconsequential share of Web users in China.

"It is only the elite who can get access or know how to use [the software]," Andrew Lih, director of new media at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, told CNN.

"As long as the Chinese government can keep 90 percent [behind the firewall], then there is not enough critical mass for there to be a problem," he said.

"Even though you will have new ways of piercing the firewall, as long as you have the authorities controlling the physical access points, in the long term, the authorities will have the upper hand."

There could one day be a limit to the expansion of an industry banking its future on selling what is, in essence, freedom.

While there is growing awareness of the technologies, companies running them must constantly outsmart Internet police intent on shutting them down. And in China, many local users are unwilling to pay, either because they lack access to a foreign credit card or would rather use something that is free.

Research also suggests many Chinese may not have a desire to use the tools at all. A 2007 study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found 80 percent of those surveyed supported government control of the Internet.

"We don't want to rely on [censoring of the Internet for our business]," said Bullock. "But we may never get rid of it. Someone will always be trying to control the flow of information."

Minister warned against regulating multimedia content

Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 02/18/2010 8:29 PM

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has warned Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring against regulating multimedia contents, a plan that sparked strong protests among Internet users this week.

While Yudhoyono did not mention the minister’s name when he issued the warning during a Cabinet meeting here Thursday, he made it clear the warning was meant for Tifatul, who is currently visiting Europe.

The Communications and Information Ministry, which Tifatul heads, has reportedly drafted a ministerial regulation on multimedia content, a move many fear will threaten press freedom and the freedom of speech, despite its aim to “fight cyber crime” including child prostitution.

“I want to remind you all, members of the Indonesian United Cabinet, that if you plan to draft a government regulation or bill, you must first report to the President. After I approve it then you can start drafting the regulation,” Yudhoyono said as he opened the Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office.

“Maybe there is a belief at this ministry questioning the freedom in the use of technology and its negative impacts on the community and students … but this is a sensitive issue. You can’t just draft such regulations,” he said.

The President said the public should be involved in the drafting of the regulation, and said the ministry should seriously consider the “urgency” and the “aim” of the regulation, as well as working out how it would be implemented.

He also made clear his position on the issue, saying he was not involved in the plan to issue the regulation, adding that perhaps Tifatul was not either.

The draft of the ministerial regulation is said to have only been discussed at the directorate general level, and apparently had not been approved by Tifatul.

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Sri Lanka cannot use its fund for net censorship: World Bank


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sri Lanka cannot use its fund for net censorship: World Bank

Antara News, Wednesday, February 17, 2010 15:52 WIB

Colombo (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - The World Bank said money given for Sri Lanka's telecom regulator cannot be used for net censorship activities following reports that Chinese expertise would be hired to clamp down on web news portals.

The World Bank said it has given a grant from its Institutional Development Fund for the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC) to develop a regulatory framework for advanced telecom technology known as next generation networks (NGN).

"This consultancy does not include any provisions or scope to include Internet censorship and the Bank would not approve any such provision," the World Bank said in a statement.

Source:
Business in Asia Today - Feb.17, 2010
published by Asia Pulse

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Nokia and Intel merge high-end software

Reuters, Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:58am EST

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Nokia and Intel will merge their top-end smartphone software as they face increasing pressure from cellphone industry newcomers Google and Apple.

The world's top cellphone maker Nokia said on Monday it will merge its Linux Maemo software platform, used in its flagship N900 phone, with Intel's Moblin, also a version of Linux.

The deal is set to boost Intel's chances to get its chips into the cellphones of the Finnish company, which controls around 40 percent of the global phone market.

The new software platform, called Meego, will be hosted by Linux foundation, the companies said.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Hans Peters)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Google acquires Aardvark

Google Blog, 2/12/2010 11:05:00 AM

When you need an answer to a very specific question, sometimes the information just isn't online in one simple place. For example, let's say you want to know if there's snow on Skyline Boulevard on a given day or the best time of year to plant beans in the Bay Area. You might find weather reports and planting guides on many different sites, but for these kinds of questions, a person with the right expertise can be a lot more useful than a webpage.

That's why we're excited to announce that we've acquired Aardvark, a unique technology company that lets you quickly and easily tap into the knowledge and experience of your friends and extended network of contacts. Aardvark analyzes questions to determine what they're about and then matches each question to people with relevant knowledge and interests to give you an answer quickly.

We're very impressed with the Aardvark team and the technology they've worked hard to build, and we're looking forward to collaborating to see where we can take it. You can learn more about Aardvark's underlying technology and premise by reading this paper recently co-authored by founder Damon Horowitz.

In the meantime, Aardvark is available today in Google Labs, so give it try!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chinese Take the Search For Love Online

Jakarta Globe, Dan Martin, February 11, 2010

The founder of Internet dating site jiayuan.com, Gong Haiyan, posing beside a poster in her Beijing office of photographs of married couples who met on her site. In her own search for a husband, Gong turned to what was then a limited selection of social networking sites in the country, but was left unimpressed, so she took matters into her own hands and founded her own site. (AFP Photo/Frederic J Brown)

Jiang Hui hasn’t dated a girl since graduating from college four years ago, but the 26-year-old Beijing office worker hopes the Internet will make this Valentine’s Day different.

Jiang joined an online dating site and began a cybersearch for a sweetheart three months ago — along with millions of other young Chinese taking advantage of technology and a newfound freedom to control their own love lives.

In years past, Jiang, who hails from the central province of Hubei, might have had his future decided by match-making relatives in his rural hometown. But now he logs on each day to jiayuan.com — a site that boasts 22 million members — to browse through dozens of new computer-suggested matches. He hasn’t found his dream girl yet, but says he remains hopeful.

“In Beijing, there are maybe two million members, so about one million are girls. There is no way I could have met that many girls in my three years here,” said Jiang, staring at the day’s matches on his laptop in a coffee shop. Such sites — typically free but with charges for enhanced features — are revolutionizing how Chinese interact with the opposite sex, say users and experts.

“People born in the 1980s are approaching 30 and there is pressure for them to marry,” said Xie Qingqing, an expert on the match-making industry at the China Association of Social Workers. “Today, online dating has become the primary route for China’s youths.”

In a 2008 report, Beijing-based Internet research firm iResearch said China’s online dating market was worth $44 million that year and would surge past $100 million in 2011.

State media reports have quoted estimates of online dating accounts in the hundreds of millions, although many are redundant. It may seem easy to meet others in a country with a population of 1.3 billion, but Jiang says that’s not necessarily true. Millions of people — from college graduates to poor migrants — work far from their hometowns, pursuing better opportunities in big cities where they cling to small circles of immediate friends or co-workers, he explained.

Freed from meddling matchmakers back home, they are nonetheless oddly isolated among the masses, Jiang said.

“In reality, our contact with strangers is limited. When you add in the demands of work, it is hard to meet girls you are interested in,” he said.

Such solitude is driving many to dating sites in a country where the pressure on both men and women to marry and beget the next generation can be intense.

That pressure mounted on Gong Haiyan several years ago when she was a young journalism graduate student from rural Hunan province attending university in Shanghai. “Around that time my parents started saying, ‘You are 27 or 28 already and you need to find a husband and get married,’ ” she said. “We are from the countryside, where we tend to get married younger. So I began to get anxious.”

Gong turned to what was then a limited selection of social networking sites, but was unimpressed. Taking matters into her own hands, she founded jiayuan.com.

It is now a market leader but, more important for her, she found her own husband in 2004 through the site, which claims to have “matched” four million people. “We had only known each other for two months before marrying. It happened so fast,” she said.

Due to a traditional cultural preference for male offspring — and resulting sex-specific abortions — China has a gender imbalance that will leave up to 24 million men unable to find wives in 2020, according to a recent study.

The discrepancy is reflected in jiayuan.com’s members, 60 percent of whom are men. Gong, however, believes the imbalance is due to Chinese men being more tech-savvy than women.

At any rate, Jiang embodies the typical user. A salesman for an Internet services company, he is well-acquainted with the possibilities of the Web and eager to add romance to his job stability. Clean-cut, with thick-rimmed glasses and a quick smile that dominates his broad face, he has set up a profile that he says sets reasonable requirements for his mate. He is looking for someone to love, not a beauty queen.

“As long as there is a feeling of compatibility and common aspirations that we can strive for together, that is enough,” he said. He says he has spotted a number of interesting women members but had few nibbles so far. He remains undeterred. “It’s only been three months. I will definitely find someone out there. You have to have confidence,” he said.

Agence France-Presse

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Editorial: Print dying, journalism thrives

The Jakarta Post | Tue, 02/09/2010 9:18 AM | Opinion

Print may not be dead but those who still glorify printed materials, including newspapers and books, are preventing the industry and society from taking the necessary steps to prepare society to enter into the digital era. One hard truth those in self-denial refuse to swallow is that the printed world is a sunset industry. One would be much better off preparing not only for its inevitable demise, but more importantly, for an emerging society dominated by the digital world.

The National Convention on the Mass Media in Palembang this week hears two contrasting views of how the Internet impacts the media industry and society.

One camp still insists there is ample room for growth for the printed world, and the Internet will not replace the printed materials. Newspapers will survive just as they overcame earlier challenges from telex, the radio, television, facsimile and cable TV.

Another camp, which predicts 100 million Internet users in Indonesia in the next three years, asks the important question: Is Indonesia ready for the digital world? Andy Sjarief of Media Track believes that Indonesia can still take control of the direction of the Internet development, but it needs to get its act together.

The implied message is clear: Drop any pretension that the Internet is not a threat and start entering the new digital world to make sure that we don’t lose out in the fierce global competition, unleashed by the ongoing revolution of the communication and information technology.

Being a sunset industry means it is only a matter of time before the printed world loses its relevance. The experience of the United States and Europe tells us that it is not so much a question of people ceasing to read or buy newspapers, as a question of the industry losing its commercial viability. The writing had been on the wall for some years, and the economic recession helped to speed up the demise of dozens of newspapers in the US by a few years.

Expect more titles to close down and migrate to the digital world in the coming years, including in Indonesia.

The sooner we accept that print is dying a slow death, the sooner we will be in making adjustments. In journalism, this means reinventing the profession to fit to the new situation, a world in which anyone, thanks to easy and cheap access to the Internet, can do the work that has traditionally been the domain of journalists: to disseminate information to the masses.

Professional journalists today have to compete with “netizens” or citizen journalists, including bloggers and just about everyone with accounts in social media like Twitter and Facebook, in breaking news and in spreading information. On many cases, they are breaking the news before even journalists reach the area, which raises the question, how should professional journalists respond?

In this kind of competitive environment, it is wrong to ignore the ground rules and ethics in journalism. If there is one thing that does not change in journalism — whether print, broadcast or the Internet — it is that credibility and trust continue to be the chief currencies underpinning this profession. Good journalism means sticking to the old and tested principles and values that make this profession the fourth pillar in democracy, including honesty, accuracy and fair reporting.

Print may be dying, but the traditional journalism will continue to live for far longer. When society suffers from a massive information overflow, good and honest journalism becomes even more, not less, relevant than ever.


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Google Gmail Getting Social Features

InformationWeek, by Thomas Claburn, februari 8, 2010 05:49 PM

In an escalation of its rivalry with Facebook, Google plans to turn Gmail into a social data hub.

Google is reportedly planning to make Gmail more social by allowing users to exchange status updates with friends and share Web content links, features that moves Gmail into more direct competition with Facebook.

News of the plan was revealed on Monday by The Wall Street Journal.

Gerardo Capiel, CEO of Gydget, talks about the company's social marketing platform, which lets users repackage content, such as news, video, and event information, across social networks such as MySpace and Facebook.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, the company on Monday did invite journalists "to see some innovations in two of our most popular products" at a media event to be held Tuesday at the company's Mountain View, Calif. headquarters.

After Google Search, Gmail is one of Google's most popular products.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Gmail users will gain a module that displays status updates from selected Google contacts, a form of interaction popularized by Facebook and MySpace and also embraced by Yahoo.

These status updates will eventually include content shared by one's Google contacts through other Google properties, such as YouTube and Picasa.

Facebook's walled-off form of social computing is seen as one of the few forces that threatens Google's online advertising empire. In response to that threat, Google has spent the past few years adding social features to encourage social interaction among users of its services.

In October, 2009, Google introduced a Social Search experiement, a way to see what online friends have posted when the content is relevant to a given search. Last month, Google promoted its Social Search experiment from Google Labs to a beta product.

Last July, Google added social features to its Reader service, part of its push to encourage more users to create Google Profiles.

The company has also been promoting social interaction on its iGoogle customizable home page through the introduction of social gadgets.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Blogs are a Global Forum For Homespun Ideas

Jakarta Globe, Tasa Nugraza Barley, February 08, 2010

Blogs provide a door into the blogger's world. (StockXchg Photo/rrezendes)

"Blogs are naked conversations where you have no editing process. Communication can be very objective or biased,” said Jennie Siat Bevlyadi, 39, who has been blogging since 2004.

Born and raised in Indonesia, but now based in Northern California, Jennie is famous among Indonesian bloggers for her posts on social issues, human rights, minority rights, gender issues, entrepreneurship, writing and online learning.

She has described blogs as a way to exercise free speech that is cheap and easy, but can have a great impact on society.

As such she has tackled important topics, including a recent article on her blog at www.jenniesbev.com titled “Peaceful Pluralism and Non-Killing Policy” where she voiced her support for people in Indonesia living in harmony. She wrote: “But we have come to a point where we can no longer tolerate violence and killing. Even in the name of politics.”

Her writing has reached a wide audience and stirred up mixed responses; she has received fan mail — even love letters —from supporters, as well as threats from extremists. She also received an award in 2007 at Pesta Blogger, an annual gathering for bloggers in Indonesia, for best celebrity blogger.

Bloggers with personal rather than political motivations also benefit from the ability to communicate and form connections with people from across the world.

Anita McKay, 30, an Indonesian woman currently living in Perth, Western Australia, began a blog in 2005 to share her own feelings. But as her blogging and writing skills developed, she started to write posts on expatriate and women’s issues as well.

Her blog, www.finally-woken.com, now has posts ranging from discussions of her daily life to her take on political and social issues.

One of her pieces, “What Makes You an Indonesian?” was inspired by a comment she read on Twitter which claimed many Indonesians living abroad pretend to know more about their homeland than they actually do, and that while they like to criticize their country they do nothing to help. Her post challenges her readers to examine what makes them Indonesian.

“Blogs can also be an alternative form of information for people making decisions such as picking a restaurant [to eat at],” Anita added, saying the information that bloggers share is usually detailed and personal which means it can be trusted.

Ian Badawi, 26, is another young Indonesian who has used blogging as a way to stay in touch with his roots. Living in Washington he was frustrated with only ever reading bad news about his home country, so he began blogging with www.goodnewsfromindonesia.com.

“Good News from Indonesia is a blog by a group of young Indonesians who are committed to spreading positive news about Indonesia to the rest of the world,” Ian said.

He said the blog aims to show the strengths of the nation and to help Indonesians, especially young people, to be proud of their country.

Created in 2007, Ian said Good News from Indonesia has followers from places as far away as Norway and Brazil.

Blogging has exploded over the past years as it has become increasingly easy for people to put their thoughts online.

In 2001, local blogger Enda Nasution, 34, wrote an article titled “Apa Itu Blog?” (“What is a Blog?”), explaining the concept and giving people practical advice on how to start their own blogs.

According to his article, the term “weblog” was first introduced by an American blogger, Jorn Barger, in 1997 to refer to commentary Web sites that were updated regularly and contained links to other recommended sites.

His article was one of the first on the topic and since then blogging has become increasingly popular in Indonesia.

“Now there are probably more than one million bloggers in this country,” said Enda, whose efforts to promote blogging in Indonesia include helping initiate Pesta Blogger in 2007.

One of the first companies to give free blog service was Pyra Lab. In 1999 it launched www.blogger.com, which allowed people with little knowledge of Internet coding to start their own blogs.

Enda, a former advertising consultant who now works as a Web consultant, said he has always been a writer at heart and as a teenager he kept a diary of his activities and thoughts.

He said what made blogging remarkable was the way it allowed people to connect with others from across the globe, showing that regardless of religion, nationality or race, people are connected in unimaginable ways.

He once posted a piece about facing a quarter-life crisis. “Now that I’m not experiencing that anymore, I still keep getting comments from people who say things like ‘I have the same feeling’ or ‘Thank you for sharing this,’ ” Enda said.

Of all the many blogs he has created, Enda mostly posts on www.enda.goblogmedia.com, which is made up of his daily observations, mostly on political and cultural issues.

Anita on the other hand, said her blog focuses largely on the “culture shock” experiences that Indonesians, including herself, face living in a foreign country.

“For example there are behaviors that are considered normal in Indonesia but funny to people in other countries, such as dressing up to go to a mall,” Anita said.

Advertising consultant and blogger Ong Hock Chuan, 51, who was involved in organizing Pesta Blogger, said that it was a mistake to say that blogs offer new kinds of information to what can be found in newspapers and magazines.

“What blogs provide is a [different] context to the existing information,” Ong said.

He added that Indonesian bloggers had a uniquely communal nature.

“Bloggers elsewhere do their thing and don’t like to meet up. But in Indonesia bloggers like to meet [face to face] and do things together,” he said.

“Hence you get strong blogger communities.”

Ong said the popularity of blogging in Indonesia is growing. “Last year [Pesta Blogger] attracted 1,500 bloggers from all over Indonesia. We had whole communities of bloggers coming to Jakarta from as far away as Makassar and other parts of Indonesia just to meet with other bloggers,” he said.

This compares with 500 participants in 2007, the inaugural year of the event, and 1,000 in 2008.

Ong said that although there were many ways for people to communicate on the Internet, such as Facebook, Twitter and Kaskus, a local online forum, these tools are not necessarily in competition with each other.

“Each social media platform allows people to do different things, often in a complimentary manner,” he said.

Enda said he would advise new bloggers to use blogging as a tool to find their passion.

“Be original, never give up to keep writing,” Anita said.

“Popular bloggers who have loyal readers are the ones who are passionate about the issues that they bring up, while those who only try to follow the trend will run out of ideas and their blogs will lose their audience.”

Australian Saint-in-Waiting's Modern Miracle: 'Tweeting' From the Grave

Jakarta Globe, February 08, 2010

An Australian nun has taken to Twitter on behalf of saint-in-waiting Mary MacKillop, bringing the late sister’s messages of hope and forgiveness to a new audience a century after she died.

Annette Arnold has been microblogging as stmarymackillop since late December, when Pope Benedict XVI put MacKillop on course to become Australia’s first saint by recognising her second miracle.

“I just kind of take on her persona I suppose,” Sister Arnold told AFP, saying it was “absolutely critical” that the Roman Catholic Church embrace new methods of communication.

“Mary MacKillop was an incredible communicator, our archives just have hundreds and hundreds of her letters,” she said.

“I just think if she were still here today she would be on email, and I think given her passion for her work she’d probably be out there on Twitter and Facebook as well — they’re modern means of communication.”

Melbourne-born MacKillop, who died in 1909, was a pioneering educator and social reformer who founded Arnold’s Sisters of St. Joseph order.

Arnold tweets the latest news about MacKillop’s journey to sainthood, or sends followers quotes from the Order’s vast collection of her writings.

“I think Twitter’s really good at the moment because people are really keen to know what’s happening — is she going to be canonised, what’s the date and stuff like that,” she said.

MacKillop also has a Facebook page which has been running for 18 months, attracting 1,300 followers.

MacKillop, revered as a national icon by Australia’s five million Catholics, passed the first stage to sainthood when she was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 for curing a woman of terminal leukaemia.

The second miracle, in which a woman who prayed to her was said to have been healed of inoperable lung cancer in the 1990s, opens the way for the Vatican to make MacKillop Australia’s first saint.

“My birthday today... if I were still on earth I would be 168 years old! God is good and has done wonders!” she tweeted, via Arnold, on January 15.

AFP

China shuts down training website for hackers

China has more internet users than any other country

China has closed down what is believed to be the country's biggest training website for hackers, state media has reported.

They say the site, Black Hawk Safety Net, gave lessons in hacking and sold downloads of malicious software.

The reports say three people suspected of running the site were arrested.

Hacking is a sensitive topic for China, especially since the internet giant Google recently threatened to pull out of the country.

Google said China-based hackers had attacked its operations but the Chinese government denied any involvement.

The hacker training operation openly recruited thousands of members online and provided them with cyber attack lessons and Trojan software, the China Daily and the Wuhan Evening News said.

Trojans, which can allow outside access to a computer when implanted, are used by hackers to illegally control computers.

Black Hawk Safety Net recruited more than 12,000 paying subscribers and collected more than 7 million yuan ($1m: £650,000) in membership fees, while another 170,000 people had signed up for free membership, the paper said.

The Hubei government refused to comment on the reports.

It was unclear when the shutdown had taken place but the Black Hawk Safety Net site was unavailable on Monday.

Cyber attack

Google threatened last month to pull out of China unless the government relented on censorship.

It said it had uncovered a computer attack that tried to plunder its software coding and the e-mail accounts of human rights activists protesting against Chinese policies.

Government officials have defended China's online censorship and said the country is the biggest victim of web attacks.

China has some 350 million internet users - more than any other country - and provides a lucrative search-engine market worth an estimated $1bn last year.

Google holds about a third of the country's search market, with Chinese rival Baidu having more than 60%.


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Almost all good news: 100 days of Windows 7

The Economic Times, 7 Feb 2010, 1940 hrs IST, IANS

MUNICH: Unlike politicians, operating systems (OS) don't get a honeymoon with the general public. Windows 7 has been on the market for almost 100 days now, so - as in politics - it's a good time to review how the software has performed so far. The results are largely positive.

First and foremost, Microsoft has to be pleased with sales, which have been brisk. Just a week after the Windows 7 launch Oct 22, 2009, the sales figures had already bested the company's expectations. "Compared with the start of Windows Vista, five times as many consumers have opted for the new operating system in the first five days," Microsoft reported.

Even better: despite millions of new installations, no major problems have been reported. "There have been astonishingly few problems with Windows 7," says Axel Vahldiek from German computer magazine c't. He'd know: his magazine fields questions from readers. Unlike the OS's predecessor, Windows Vista, the questions received by c't general involve minor issues.

That said, even the little things can rub nerves the wrong way. "The biggest problems are coming from older hardware," says Axel Vahldiek. If the manufacturer doesn't produce Windows 7-ready drivers, then the device will either refuse to work under the new OS or offer limited functionality. The difficulties are most prevalent in peripheral devices like scanners with SCSI ports.

The blame shouldn't necessarily be laid at Microsoft's door, though. The device makers sometimes make things difficult by design, Vahldiek explains. They might be speculating that those affected by problems will buy new hardware and throw their old devices out if they don't offer enough functionality. The hardware inside the PC usually works without a problem.

No major security holes have been identified yet. Microsoft clearly learned its lesson from the painful introduction of earlier operating systems. "From a security standpoint, Microsoft's Windows 7 has made significant progress over its prior versions XP and Vista," reports the German Federal Agency for Security in Information Technology (BSI). Attacks on the system itself have become so difficult that viruses are instead focusing on vulnerabilities in third-party applications.

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