tomtolman's Articles, Page 3 of 4

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14 Aug 06

Microsoft Releases Blogging Tool - Live Writer

On Sunday Microsoft released Windows Live Writer, a desktop blogging tool. In a move that many consider to be un-Microsoft, the software is free, still in beta, and works with any blogging service, not just Windows Live Spaces. This software claims to improve the blogging experience by letting you "know exactly what [your blog] will look like before you publish it." This will prevent bloggers from cutting and pasting their work from another editor like Microsoft Word or risking a browser crash while doing their work online. The features include:

11 Aug 06

Fueling the Mentos and Diet Coke Explosion

Interest in Mentos and Diet Coke has exploded over the past year. Chances are you have probably seen the Mentos and Diet Coke videos on YouTube= or Google Video. When a roll of Mentos is dropped into a 2 liter of soda it forms an instant geyser—sometimes as high as 20 feet. What started as a backyard experiment has spread through viral video and recently received significant media coverage from a variety of outlets including NPR, the Today Show, and Letterman. This week, MythBusters set out to understand the science behind the explosion.

08 Aug 06

AOL Apologizes for Releasing Search Data from 658,000 Users

Almost 2 weeks ago, AOL quietly released roughly 20 million search records from 658,000 users on their new AOL Research site. The data includes a number assigned to the anonymous user, the search term, the date and time of the search, and the website visited as a result of the search. Although AOL did not identify the users, some argue it is possible to combine search information to profile and possibly identify users.

This comes just months after the government requested all the search results conducted over a 1 week period from all the major search engines including AOL, Yahoo, and Google. Google was the only search engine that did not give in to the request. They took their case to court and eventually won.

10 Jul 06

Speculation Heats Up Over GDrive - Codenamed Platypus

In March, notes from Google’s Analyst Day presentation confirmed Google’s intention of creating an online ‘infinite storage’ called GDrive. This morning, Corsin Camichel accidentally discovered what appears to be a test page for the service. Although the page has now been moved, a screenshot reveals the following features:

  • * Backup. If you lose your computer, grab a new one and reinstall Platypus. Your files will be on your new machine in minutes.
  • * Sync. Keep all your machines synchronized, even if they run different operating systems.
09 Jul 06

Firefox 2.0 Beta Now Available

Mozilla looks to steal the show from IE 7.0 (now on its third beta release) when it releases the much anticipated Firefox 2.0 Beta on Tuesday. Although the official release is not for two more days, the beta candidate is available now for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Some of the features in Firefix 2.0 Beta include: an integrated spell check for form posts (like OmniNerd news posts), an anti-phishing tool, and scrolling tabbed browsers. This news comes as Firefox’s share of the browser market has grown to at least 13%, with some organizations reporting it as high as 25%.

06 Mar 06

OmniNerd ... and Five Others

According to a survey conducted by Directgov, more than half of Internet users only visit six sites despite nearly 100 million options. Alexa’s data also indicates that 45% of Internet traffic is directed at the web’s top 500 properties. Despite this research, several of the top sites (such as Google, Digg,, and StumbleUpon) actually help users find sites instead of offering much original content. Does the nature of the web fuel the rich get richer phenomenon or does it allow obscure sites to make it big?

20 Feb 06

Slashdot Readers Catch Post's Slip, Close in on Botnet Operator

Ever have annoying spyware on your computer that you couldn’t get rid of? Well, a person using the alias ‘0×80’ may be to blame. The Washington Post was able to secure an interview with 0×80, a 21 year-old botnet operator, after agreeing not to reveal his name or hometown. The fascinating article profiles the high school dropout as he installs spyware and adware on thousands of computers on his way to a $10,000/month paycheck. The balanced article also looks at victims of the spyware and the companies who have been accused of funding the botnet operators.

30 Jan 06

OmniNerd = SocialNerd?

Rebuking stereotypes, long held myths, and the personal experiences of OmniNerd users, a new study shows that online activity enhances social contact rather than promoting isolation. According to the report, email and the Internet supplements rather than replaces offline communication.

‘The larger, the more far-flung, and the more diverse a person’s network, the more important email is,’ reports Jeffrey Boase, co-author of the study. For example, people who e-mail their friends and family at least once a week are 25% more likely to have phone contact. Internet users, on average, have 37 close friends instead of an average of 30 for non-Internet users. In addition to enhancing social networks, the researchers also discovered that 45% of people turn to their online network to help make major life decisions such as dealing with a major illness, choosing a school, making investment decisions, changing jobs or finding a new place to live.

23 Jan 06

V7ndotcom Elursrebmem

What is v7ndotcom elursrebmem? Don’t be scared—it’s not the codeword to launch The Great Purge. One week ago the phrase ‘v7ndotcom elursrebmem’ did not exist in the Internet world but thanks to a search engine optimization contest there are now over 700,000 pages that contain those two words. The V7 Web Development Community launched the contest on January 15th. The first result in Google on May 15th wins 4K from V7, 3K from Web Guerrilla and notoriety in the SEO community.

12 Jan 06

DoD to Develop Concealable Lie Detector

According to a New Scientist article, the Department of Defense is allocating funds to develop a Remote Personnel Assessment (RPA) that ‘will use microwave or laser beams reflected off a subject’s skin to assess various physiological parameters’ such as pulse, respiration and changes in electrical conductance without the need for wires or skin contacts. The device can be used on moving or uncooperative subjects or could be concealed during an interrogation. Another use would be to spot terrorists or suicide bombers in a crowd by detecting physiological parameters outside of the norm.

30 Dec 05

Click Fraud Peril

Wired Magazine is running an article entitled How Click Fraud Could Swallow the Internet. According to the article, ad clicks generated approximately half of Yahoo’s $3.7 billion in revenue this year and 99% of Google’s $6.1 billion in revenue. They also generate funds for thousands of webmasters who use Google’s Adsense and other pay per click advertising programs.

While click fraud is difficult to quantify and estimates vary, a widely-quoted study published by Marketing Experiments Journal (free registration required) indicates that as many as 30% of ad clicks are fraudulent and a very small fraction of those fraudulent clicks are detected. Software programs such as I-Faker advertise that they can send thousands of unique IP fake hits to your website. A year ago, Google’s CFO admitted that click fraud ‘threatens our business model.’ This month, AIT took the lead in a class action lawsuit charging Google with not doing enough to combat click fraud.

20 Dec 05

Push that Paper

Half of small businesses still use paper-based systems to organize key business data according to a national survey commissioned by FileMaker. Half of these business owners also agree that their business would grow significantly by automating more of their processes. Of course FileMaker, as a database software solution, is not an unbiased source but I think most of us see glaring examples of how an inability to automate processes creates huge inefficiencies in the workplace. What antiquated paper-pushing processes does your organization promote? How should management tackle automating the office?

16 Nov 05

The People's Database

In what seems like a weekly event, Google just launched another product: Google Base. Google describes Google Base as ‘a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content that we’ll host and make searchable online. You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they search Google Base.’

In short, it is a customizable online database. Google has suggested categories such as want ads, course schedules, news, jobs, recipes, and events. If those categories don’t meet your needs you can create your own or modify existing categories by adding labels and attributes. Entries can be added individually or in bulk through RSS feeds or other means.

19 Jul 05

Deployed Bloggers Face Military Restrictions

SPC Leonard Clark, a national guardsman deployed to Iraq, is under investigation for running a blog while deployed. He also happens to be running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. His case elevates the public debate about blogging rights for soldiers.

Earlier this year, the Multi-National Corps Headquarters in Iraq published a policy requiring all military bloggers to register their websites with their command. The blogs will be reviewed periodically to ensure they do not contain prohibited information. This is not an Army regulation, so it does not apply to individuals deployed elsewhere but it may be an indication of where the military’s policy is going. Already a couple of popular blogs have voluntarily shut down rather than register.

02 Jun 05

Online Shoppers Naïve?

Newspapers are calling online shoppers naïve after a new study released by the Annenberg Public Policy Center shows that 2/3 of Internet users incorrectly believe it is illegal to charge different prices to different shoppers. The same percentage also believe that online travel sites are required by law to offer the lowest prices possible. According to the CNN article, this report ‘is the latest to cast doubt on the notion of sophisticated consumers in the digital age.’

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