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Beware: A new scam hits Twitter users

30/04 (0600 hrs IST): We got this newsletter from blog HellBound Bloggers in our In-Box today. Since this website is BIG on the war against online SPAM & HACKING, we thought it only fit to run this story here to warn our readers, too.
"Twitter", says the report on HellBound Bloggers, "has also grown to be one of the biggest social networking websites, though it is not yet that popular with the youth in India, as compared to Facebook, it is still used a lot! Twitter has also become a popular medium for spammers, with all types of scams appearing on it. This time, the scam is named as “Your Online Timer”. It sends the user private messages and of course tweets, which read as follows : I have spent 379 days on Twitter. How much have you? Find out here: [LINK]”
The link takes the user to a rogue application, asking him/her to click on a bit.ly link, which asks the user to authorize the ‘Your Online Timer’ application to access and update his/her Twitter account. Once you allow the application to connect to your account, it posts tweets on your account saying the this text : “I have spent 379 days on Twitter. How much have you? Find out here: [LINK]” .
In case you wanna read more on this, & also find out how to tackle it, here's the link to the report.

Americans do not want to pay for online News

29/04 (1320 hrs IST): This report could come as a disappointment for The New York Times which  recently began charging online readers who view over 20 articles per month. A recent Adweek/Harris Poll has found that a large majority of online readers said they would be willing to pay "nothing" per month to read a daily newspaper's content online (80%). A press release issued by PR  Newswire said of the 1 in 5 who would pay, 14% said they would pay between US $1 and US $10 per month, while very few said that they would be willing to pay between $11 and $20 (4%) or more than $20 per month (2%).

Other findings of the recent poll included:

   --  Younger adults were more likely than those older to pay for a daily
       newspaper's content online--over a quarter of adults aged 18-34 say they
       would (26%) compared to between 15% and 18% of all other age groups;
   --  Men were more willing to pay than women were--a quarter of men said they
       would (25%) with 18% saying they would pay between $1 and $10 per month,
       while only 15% of women said they would pay anything to read a daily
       newspaper's content online; and

   --  The more education a person had the more likely they are to be willing
       to pay to read a daily newspaper's content online--over a quarter of
       college graduates say they would pay (28%) compared to one in five
       people who have attended some college (19%) and just 15% who have not
       attended any college at all.

Currently, several major publications charge readers for their Content online including the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times.

Beta of Yahoo! Mail continues to roll out

29/04 (1320 hrs IST): In all that disruptions & downtime, Yahoo! Mail latest version (in Beta) launched on April 21, continued to roll out. Better speed, unlimited storage & an even greater Spam protection are some of the features that this version boasts of. Yahoo! said on users' demand, a new feature included is the ability to add Stationery (background colors and image templates) to messages. Stationery is a feature that existed in the previous version of Yahoo! Mail.
We, then, wonder - were the disruptions because of user switch over?

Partial disruption in Mail services again on Friday

29/04 (1102 hrs IST) On Friday morning, Yahoo!Mail service was disrupted once again, several hours after it had gone down for the 1st time on Thursday. Users complained on the e-mail service being down on Twitter. The exact number of those affected or there whereabouts was not imediately known.There was no official word from Yahoo! on this fresh disruption. For the latest update, you can check out this link.
Later on Friday afternoon, the service was back to normal.

Yahoo! Mail back online

29/04 (1034 hrs IST): Yahoo! has said its e-mail service had been restored after it was disrupted on Thursday. Stephanie Shum, Senior Product Manager, Yahoo! Mail, in a brief statement online, said the company had managed to "identify the root cause" of the disruption & restore service. Over 1 million users were affected by the disruption during its peak at about 11:00a.m. on Thursday, by Yahoo!'s own admission. Yahoo Mail boasts of more than 250 million users worldwide.
Some online news reports yesterday said 2 of its most popular services, Yahoo Mail & the Flickr photo service, had gone down for several hours on April 28 'for an undisclosed number of users'.

Yahoo! joined Amazon Web Services & Sony Playstation Network which were hit by outages this week. Yahoo! also denied that there had been any data theft.

Gap on Cloud security between demand & supply

28/04 (1924 hrs IST): Coming in the wake of this week's Amazon Web Services disruption, this new report on Cloud Computing & Security is quite disturbing.
CA Technologies &  the Ponemon Institute, an independent research firm specializing in privacy, data protection & information security policy, today released a study that shows Cloud providers & Cloud consumers were not aligned on Cloud security.Their conflicting views on focus, priority and responsibility suggest a pending security standoff between providers & cloud users.
A press release by PR Newswire said the study, Security of Cloud Computing Providers, indicated that Cloud providers were more focused on delivering the benefits of cost and speed of deployment, the top two reasons cited for migrating to Cloud Computing. The majority of Cloud providers (79%) allocate just 10 % or less of IT resources to security or control-related activities. This result was consistent with the finding that less than half of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that security was a priority.

"The focus on reduced cost and faster deployment may be sufficient for Cloud providers now, but as organizations reach the point where increasingly sensitive data and applications are all that remains to migrate to the Cloud, they will quickly reach an impasse," said Mike Denning, General  Manager, Security, CA Technologies. "If the risk of breach outweighs potential cost savings and agility, we may reach a point of 'Cloud stall'--where Cloud adoption slows or stops--until organizations believe Cloud security is as good as or better than enterprise security."


Will it be a Delicious transition?

28/04 (0621 hrs IST): It was something that was being talked about for some time now.  Finally, Yahoo! has confirmed it. Chad Hurley & Steve Chen, founders of YouTube, have bought the well-known bookmarking service Delicious from Yahoo! for an undisclosed price.
Delicious shall be added to Chad's & Steve's new California, USA-based Internet company, AVOS. It may not be clear on the exact amount paid by the duo for Delicious but it is said to be far less than what Yahoo! paid for it - US $30 million -  in December 2005.

This is not the 1st time these 2 guys are doing something like this. They are the ones who sold YouTube to Google for US $1.76 billion in 2006, 18 months after creating it as a dating site.
Now, they say, they will carry on to provide the same great service users love, & also make Delicious  easier & more fun to save, share and discover the web's 'tastiest' Content."

On Wednesday (US, EST), an announcement was placed on the front page of the Delicious blog , saying that "providing a seamless transition for users is incredibly important for both companies. Yahoo! will continue to operate Delicious until approximately July 2011. When the transition period is complete, your information will be moved over to Delicious' new owner."

Right now, nobody can predict what's coming up next for Delicious? But one thing is clear - if any one can do things, it is Chad & Steve.

'State of the Net' Q4-2010

27/04 (1931 hrs IST): In its just released State of the Internet report for the 4th quarter of 2010, Akamai has said "attack traffic" flowing out of Russia represented 10 % of all observed global "attack traffic." The United States of America accounted for 7.3 % of the same.
Akamai provides market-leading, cloud-based services for optimizing Web & mobile content and applications, online HD video, and secure e-commerce.

While Akamai saw the attack traffic coming from a specific country,  it said there was the possibility that there was a deeper origination point. Which means it could be that the attacks came from somewhere else  & were being proxied or forwarded through Russia.
In looking at "attack traffic" from just mobile network providers, Italy remained in the top spot, responsible for 30% of the observed attack traffic in the fourth quarter. 
To read the detailed report, you may click on http://www.akamai.com/html/about/press/releases/2011/press_042611.html

Its (not) so Sony

27/04 (0805 hrs IST): Over 70 million Internet users find themselves under the gun after their sensitive personal details were reportedly stolen by hackers in one of the biggest ever cases of online data theft.

Hackers targetted Sony’s PlayStation Network & gained access to personal info of users including credit card details. Sony is now trying to contact around 70 million customers warning that details including their names, addresses, dates of birth, passwords & security questions have been stolen.

The network provides online video gaming services and allows streaming of films and music via the Internet.

Minecraft sells over 2 mln copies

25/04 (1851 hrs IST): Indie game Minecraft is making waves in the Gaming world. After hitting the 1 million sold mark just 3 months ago, it has gone past the 2 million copies sold. Plus, there are 7,083,728 users already registered. 
Minecraft is still in Beta, it is still incomplete as a Game & has a release date of 11-11-11.

It is a game about placing blocks to build anything you can imagine. At night, as an added challenge, monsters come out to thwart a user's efforts.

1st quarter of 2011 sees record funding for consumer info cos

23/04 (0950 hrs IST): Vator.tv news has carried this interesting piece of news - Consumer information service companies, especially those in the Social Media, Gaming & e-commerce markets, have already raised US $875 million for 81 deals in the first quarter of 2011, according to data released by Dow Jones VentureSource. This, said the report, was triple the amount raised during the same period in 2010.

The 5 largest rounds raised by consumer information service companies:

   1. Hungry Machine, the company behind daily deals site LivingSocial, raised US $200 million in new funding from existing investors  Amazon & Lightspeed Venture Partners along with some new participants.
   2. Digital music marketplace Beyond Oblivion raised a $77 million round led by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
   3. OnLive, provider of an on-demand game service, raised $40 million from smartphone maker HTC.
   4. Video advertising optimization company TidalTV raised $30 million led by New Enterprise Associates with participation from Comcast Interactive Capital and Valhalla Partners. (Baltimore, Md.)
   5. Social commerce site Lockerz also raised $30 million--of a planned $45 million--from Liberty Media Corporation and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

In total, corporations, venture capital firms, angels and the rest invested US $6.4 billion in 661 deals for U.S.-based venture companies during Q1 2011, according to Dow Jones VentureSource, a 35 % rise in investment & 5 % decrease in deals when compared with the same quarter last year.

Amazon services up & going (well....almost)

23/04 (0910 hrs IST): Amazon Web Services (AWS), providers of Cloud based services, which was hit with a technical glitch early Thursday, was functioning near-normal late Friday (9:00p.m. EST). A Dow Jones report quoted Amazon.com Inc. as saying it had "fixed most of the technical problems" plaguing its Web services business & expected full service to be restored later Friday. Here's the link to the status update.

24 hours later, Amazon Cloud still down 

22/04 (1950 hrs IST): It's over 24 hours now since the Amazon Cloud outage & disruption but there seems no end in sight.  Friday noon (EST), Amazon's team continued to tackle the problem in order to get the Cloud fully back online. 

What has irked Netizens is the silence on part of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Twitter & Facebook users were complaining about the outage as it was hampering their online activities. Several websites including Reddit were either down or working slow  because of the failure.
The only place one could get some update on the problem was the AWS Service Health Dashboard.  "We continue to make progress in restoring volumes but don't yet have an estimated time of recovery for the remainder of the affected volumes," Amazon wrote early Friday in an update on its  Dashboard. 

Amazon Web Service EC2 had experienced outages & interruptions in its North Virginia region early Thursday morning.

Websites come crashing down following failure of some servers of Amazon

 22/04 (0600 hrs IST): It's a nightmare unfolding across the Internet. Major websites including Foursquare & Reddit went down or became slow to respond on Thursday (EST) after Amazon.com's widely used Web Servers were hit by technical problems.

Though better known for selling books, DVDs and other consumer goods, not many know that the Seattle-based Amazon also rents out space on it's huge computer servers under the name of Amazon Web Services that run many websites and other online services. Besides Foursquare, other sites affected were HootSuite, which lets users monitor Twitter & Questions-answers site Quora, according to online reports.

But there were other companies that use Amazon Web Services, like Netflix Inc.  that remained unaffected. Amazon has data centers in Washington & California in the United States of America.

Amazon had yet to put out an official response to this crisis that seems to have affected millions of users.Amazon Web Services provide "cloud" or utility-style computing in which customers pay only for the computing power & storage they need, on remote computers.

Amazon's computers are divided into groups that are supposed to be independent of each other. If one group fails, others should stay up. But Thursday's problem took out many groups simultaneously.

Way back in 2008, several companies had lost access to their files for about two hours when one of Amazon's data centers had failed.

Let the past remain in the past, demand Spain's Net users

21/04 (0340 hrs IST): A new debate is raging in Spain, to be more specific, in the rank & file of the Spanish Internet community. A report by the Associated Press (AP) said the 'Right to Forget' debate wants all old Internet references to web users that pop up in Google searches dropped.

In a case that Google Inc. & privacy experts call a first of its kind, Spain's Data Protection Agency has ordered the Search Engine to remove links to material on about 90 people. The information was published years or even decades ago but is available to anyone through Searches.

The report said several hundreds of Spaniards lay claim to a `Right to be Forgotten' because public information once hard to get is now so easy to find on the Internet. Google has decided to challenge the orders and has appealed five cases so far this year to the National Court.

The issue, said AP, isn't a new one for Google, whose Search Engine has become a widely used tool for learning about the backgrounds of people. A final decision on Spain's case could take months or even years because appeals can be made to higher courts.

By April-end Google Videos will be history

17/04 (0640 hrs IST): It's the last hurrah for Google‘s video service. Google Inc has announced that it will be shutting down its video service from April 29. So all those of you who have uploaded videos to the site have until May 13 to download them before they are deleted from the server.

Google said that from April 29, Google Videos will no longer be viewable. The download function will still be available for a couple of weeks after that to allow users to retrieve their work.

Google says Happy Birthday to Charlie Chaplin

15/04 (1930 hrs IST): In what is being dubbed as a "first", Google has put up a "Live" doodle on its Home Page Search bar to mark the 122nd birthday of well-known comedian, the late Charlie Chaplin.

The doodle is currently only displaying on international versions of Google's Front page including Australia, the UK, France, India & Hong Kong. Chaplin's birthday is not actually until Saturday, though.

The YouTube video has some members of the Google doodle team in it. Chaplin is shown reading a Google "newspaper", among the many references to the famous Search Engine in the clip. Chaplin was born in 1889 in London & started his career in entertainment at the age of 14.

Evernote undergoing change

13/04 (1830 hrs IST): Evernote, the cross-platform note-taking service, is on the cusp of undergoing  a Social transformation. The website has upgraded its web Application to include Facebook sharing.

Further, Evernote for Windows users, to be launched, can upgrade to start sharing their notes on Facebook & microblog TwitterUsers will find a share button inside each note with four options: send by email, post to Facebook, post to Twitter & copy note URL to clipboard. The Windows App user can then select an option to share individual notes, making its Content public to outside viewers.

Microsoft starts talking of Internet Explorer 10

13/04 (0709 hrs IST): That's fast. Microsoft has already started looking ahead in the Internet Browser war. It has released the 1st version of the Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview, available here for download.  This, it claimed, was the first step in delivering "the next wave of progress" in native HTML5 support.
Microsoft built IE9 from the ground up for HTML5 & for Windows to deliver the most native HTML5 experience. IE10 will continue on IE9’s path, directly using what Windows provides & avoiding abstractions, layers, and libraries that slow down your site and your experience.
"We're about three weeks into development of IE10, and based on the progress we've made, we want to start engaging the development community now," wrote Microsoft corporate Vice President Dean Hachamovitch in a post on the IE Blog. 
So, if you're a developer or a browser buff, you can check out the Platform Preview for more details. 

PushLife gets new life partner

12/04 (1609 hrs IST): News from the online buzz: PushLife, a Toronto-based mobile music service, has been acquired by Google Inc.

Details of the deal are not yet known. "As Google is driving innovation on the mobile Web across a wide variety of areas, we thought joining the company would be a perfect fit," PushLife said in a statement on its website. The company said it would join Google's engineering team in Canada to help build mobile applications.

PushLife, which was founded in 2008, allows users to synch digital content from their iTunes or Windows Media libraries with smartphones running Google's Android software & Blackberry devices.

Australians spent more time online in 2010

10/04 (0838 hrs IST):  Australians increased the number of hours spent online by 4 hours a week last year.

Users Down Under now average 21 hours & 42 minutes a week, online, up from 17 hours  & 36 minutes in 2009, according to the Nielsen Australian Online Consumer Report. That was the biggest year-on-year increase in the survey's 11-year history & means average internet use has more than tripled in the past decade, from 6.5 hours in 2000.

The annual Nielsen research was conducted in December. It surveyed about 5800 Australian internet users aged 16 and over. One of the reasons for the increase was the spread of household connections . The others were faster, broadband & the proliferation of web-enabled gadgets, such a mobile phones.

Overall, 77 % of the respondents said they used more than one type of media simultaneously, up from 69 % in 2009.

Twitter Search just got 3 times faster

07/04 (0938 hrs IST): Microblog Twitter has a now vastly improved Search speed. According to the microblog management, the new Search uses a Java server called Blender.

The change has reduced Search latencies by approximately three times, Twitter claimed.

In simple terms, for Twitter this means fewer servers & fewer costs. For end users, Twitter's Search Engine will work much faster, & hopefully, we shall be seeing lesser of the Fail Whale.

Google's business in China up but Search share down

04/04 (0938 hrs IST): The Web World is full of a news report filed by news agency Associated Press (AP) that talks of Google Inc. saying its business with Chinese advertisers was growing even as the Internet giant's share of online searches in China had plunged.

The AP report comes in the wake of a major Chinese portal's accouncement last week  that it would no longer use Google for Search, compounding its rapid loss of market share since March last year when it closed its local search engine.

Google's main presence in China, said the news report, had become its advertising sales offices, an unusual situation for a company that dominates the Internet elsewhere. It may be recalled that Google had risked being completely shut out of China after it  had angered Beijing by announcing last January it no longer wanted to comply with Web censorship.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, USA, says it sees its biggest opportunities in China in selling advertising on behalf of local websites or to companies that want to reach customers abroad through its global sites. Google was allowed to keep advertising sales offices in China. Beijing had an incentive to let those stay, because they benefit local websites and advertisers.

Virus or anti-virus?

02/04 (0716 hrs IST): Computer security firm Websense has issued a warning that hackers may have infected a large number of websites with malicious code to dupe Internet surfers.

The code try to redirect visitors to "lizamoon" addresses, where they are greeted with bogus warnings that their computers have been compromised. Obviously, the trick is to frighten surfers into downloading & installing "fake" anti-virus software.

People who fall for the ploy, perhaps even paying for downloads, are in fact installing malicious software that hackers can use to their advantage.

Gmail's motion control (T&C apply)

01/04 (1549 hrs IST): Google has gone & tweaked Gmail in a major way today. In what is being described as a "technological advancement" in Gmail, users from today can use their body to control their e-mails. Click here & find out how. You will be a fool not to.