Amazon launches Askville.com

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Amazon.com Inc, the world’s largest Web retailer, launched Askville.com, an information-sharing Web site where users can ask questions and answer queries from others, on Thursday.

The site, open to all of its customers, has been in beta testing since December 2006 and has already been open to a few users, Amazon said.

Similar services are offered by Yahoo Inc’s Answers and other Web sites such as AnswerBank.

Google Experimenting With Digg Style Voting On Search Results

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google is experimenting with Digg style voting features on search results that allow users to vote up or bury search results they see.

The program, part of Google Labs, works like this:

This experiment lets you influence your search experience by adding, moving, and removing search results. When you search for the same keywords again, you’ll continue to see those changes. If you later want to revert your changes, you can undo any modifications you’ve made.

At the moment the results of the program will only be stored per user and not applied to the general search index, so that sites buried (”I don’t like”) will not appear in future results for the user, where as sites voted up will stay up. Google Labs notes that “this is an experimental feature and may be available for only a few weeks,”

The Pirate Bay Introduces Music Discovery Feature

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Pirate Bay just rolled out a new feature to their music section that makes it easy for users to find similar artists, more albums from the same artist and upcoming concerts. The data they are using comes from the popular music community website last.fm and is fully integrated into the website.

If you click on show detailed artist info on a torrent page it will show a list of similar artists, other albums from the same artist, upcoming concerts and even an embedded Last.fm player. The new features are inspired by the OiNKplus extension for firefox, but it loads a lot faster (instantly) because all the data is cached.

Gmail got new group chat

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

About group chat
The group chat feature lets you chat with many friends at once. There’s no limit to the number of people you can chat with, and any participant can invite others to join. To get started, follow these steps:

1. Start a chat with a single person in your Contacts list.
2. Once you’ve started the chat, click Options at the bottom left of your chat window and select Group Chat.
3. In the field labeled ‘Add a person to this chat,’ enter the name of the contact(s) you want to add to your group chat.

To end your chat, click the X at the corner of the chat window. Others in the group chat will get a message saying that you’ve left the conversation. If you want to rejoin, you’ll need to be invited back by a contact who’s still in the group chat. The group chat will continue until all participants have left.

Testers See Windows XP Passing Vista

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp.’s Windows XP operating system is about to get faster and Windows Vista isn’t, according to a report that caused a stir online this week as industry watchers speculated that a zippier XP could keep customers from upgrading to Vista.

Microsoft, however, said it’s too early to evaluate the two service packs it plans to release next year.

Early versions are already in the hands of testers like Devil Mountain Software Inc., which helps big financial services companies track trading-floor computer performance.

Wellington, Fla.-based Devil Mountain Software ran several versions of XP and Vista through a test simulating common desktop computing tasks. It found the original Vista performed 50 percent to 100 percent slower than the prevalent XP Service Pack 2, or SP2.

Vista SP1, due out in the first quarter of 2008, barely improved the operating system’s performance.

But XP SP3, scheduled for the first half of 2008, did improve on XP’s earlier performance, running 10 percent faster than SP2.


Woman seeking baby info breaks child porn ring

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A woman who stumbled on evidence of child abuse while looking for information about babies on the Internet helped Spanish police break a child pornography ring.

Police made 13 arrests in different parts of Spain after detecting thousands of images of child pornography following the woman’s tip-off, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

The woman called police after she found files with names suggesting pedophilia on an Internet file-sharing site. Investigators discovered the files contained images of two adults sexually abusing a child.

Nasdaq launches index for Internet companies

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Nasdaq Stock Market, an exchange that typically attracts a high number of technology listings, said on Tuesday that it had launched an index to track the performance of a broad range of companies offering Internet-related services.

The Nasdaq Internet Index is designed to track the performance of companies offering such services as Internet access, Web-based searches, Web hosting, Web site design and Internet-based retail, according to a company statement.

The index is made up of Internet companies that trade on Nasdaq and other U.S. exchanges, Senior Vice President Steven Bloom said.

Adobe and Yahoo test running ads inside PDF documents

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Software maker Adobe Systems Inc and Internet company Yahoo Inc said on Wednesday they will offer a service to let publishers run advertisements in Adobe’s popular document-reading format.

The new service, Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo, presents publishers with an alternative to conventional subscriptions, which, if widely adopted, could open up a new model based on free, ad-supported publishing, analysts said.

New Software Detects Web Interference

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Increasingly worried over Internet providers’ behavior, a nonprofit has released software that helps determine whether online glitches are innocent hiccups or evidence of deliberate traffic tampering.

The San Francisco-based digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation hopes the program, released Wednesday, will help uncover “data discrimination” - efforts by Internet providers to disrupt some uses of their services - in addition to the cases reported separately by EFF, The Associated Press and other sources.

“People have all sorts of problems, and they don’t know whether to attribute that to some sort of misconfiguration, or deliberate behavior by the ISP,” said Seth Schoen, a staff technologist with EFF.

The new software compares lists of data packets sent and received by two different computers and looks for discrepancies between what one sent and the other actually received. Previously, the process had to be done manually.

Google Rolls Out Mobile Phone Locator

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google announced the release of version 2.0 of Google Maps for mobile, its innovative and widely used mobile mapping and local search application. New in v2.0 is a beta version of Google’s “My Location” technology, which uses cell tower ID information to provide users with their approximate location, helping them determine where they are, what’s around them, and how to get there.

Google is committed to providing users with quick and easy access to the information they need, no matter when or where they need it. Location information makes mobile mapping and search faster and more convenient, but the most common source of location information to date — GPS technology — is supported on fewer than 15 percent of the mobile phones expected to be sold in 2007. With Google’s new My Location technology, users who don’t have GPS-enabled mobile phones will now be able to take advantage of the added speed and convenience afforded by location information. The My Location technology also complements GPS-enabled devices, as it delivers a location estimate faster than GPS, provides coverage inside buildings (where GPS signals can be unreliable), and doesn’t drain phone batteries as quickly as GPS. Whether users are trying to locate a restaurant in an unfamiliar neighborhood, get directions to the nearest hotel while traveling, or just find a place to grab some coffee while shopping for the holidays, Google Maps for mobile with My Location can help them get what they need quickly and easily.


FTC: 8 Million Were Victims of ID Theft in 2005

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

More than 8 million American adults were victims of identity theft in 2005, the Federal Trade Commission said Nov. 27.

Of the victims, 3.2 million experienced unauthorized use of their existing credit card accounts, according to an FTC survey. Another 3.3 million reported misuse of non-credit card accounts and 1.8 million victims said that new accounts were opened or other frauds were committed using their personally identifying information.

The cost of being an ID theft victim varies widely, according to the survey. The FTC examined the value of the goods or services stolen, and in at least half of the cases, ID thieves stole $500 or less in goods and services. However, in 10 percent of the incidents, thieves made away with at least $6,000.

New Java Encryption Tool Readied

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The team behind the Jasypt Java encryption tool is rolling out Jasypt 1.4.

Jasypt is a Java library that enables developers to add basic encryption capabilities to their projects with minimum effort and without having to know much about cryptography, developers involved with the project said.

Jasypt, also known as Java Simplified Encryption, is an open-source project hosted on Sourceforge.net. New features in version 1.4, which was announced Nov. 23, include encryptable properties files and Spring Framework integration, encryptable Hibernate data source configuration, new command line tools, Apache wicket integration for URL encryption and upgraded documentation.

According to the Jasypt documentation, the technology can be used for encryption tasks associated with applications, such as encrypting passwords, sensitive information and data communications, and creating sums for integrity checking of data.

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