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  • Geebo 10:01 am on August 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , pac-man, solitaire, tic tac toe   

    Shall we play a game? 

    Shall we play a game?

    Come on. Be honest. You’re not going to get a lot done today. It’s Friday, the boss has left early for the weekend and the phones are pretty quiet. The problem is that the IT Department has stripped anything even remotely fun from your computer. So if you’re looking for something to keep you occupied while the minutes slowly tick away until quitting time, Google has got your back.

    As of yesterday, if you go to Google Search and type in either ‘tic tac toe’ or ‘solitaire’ you’ll now be able to play those games within your browser. This works on both desktop and mobile platforms. These are just the latest tricks you can do with Google Search dating back to when they fist introduced the ‘do a barrel roll’ trick. Google has also put games in browser before as it once put a PAC-MAN game within the Google Doodle when it was celebrating PAC-MAN’s 30th anniversary.

    The fact that Google chose tic tac toe as one of their games reminds me of the 1980s movie War Games and how Matthew Broderick’s character had to have the military supercomputer play itself in tic tac toe in order to prevent nuclear Armageddon. Back then, even the most rudimentary video games required either a console or computer. Now in a lot of instances we only need a browser or an app. In case you’re not that old and have always lived with more complex games, appreciate what you have now because you will see many more amazing technological advances in your lifetime.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on August 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , money-flipping,   

    Instagram scam targets those who follow their bank 

    Instagram scam targets those who follow their bank

    An internet security company has made public that there is a scam being proliferated through the photo sharing app Instagram. The scam, known as ‘money-flipping’, appears to target users who follow any kind of financial institution on Instagram. The scammers will message a user telling them they know a trick to make quick money while the scammer’s Instagram account contains picture that flaunt wealth and cash. The scammer will then request the victim’s bank information to transfer some money to and then will only take a percentage of the money back.

    If this sounds familiar it’s because it’s a variation of the fake check scam. The fake check scam targets people who sell items online where the scammer will send a check that’s more than the amount asked. The scammer will then say they made a mistake and then will ask for the excess money back, usually to be wired somewhere. The checks then turn out to be fake after the victim has already wired the money back so then the victim is on the hook to the bank for the money they’ve wired and the scammers are long gone. With the money-flipping scam it’s all done electronically and you’ve been taken for a ride before you even know it.

    Instagram claims that this is only a small problem on their network, however as with any get rich quick scheme, if it sounds too good to be true it almost definitely is.

     
  • Geebo 12:59 pm on August 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is the internet as free as it should be? 

    Is the internet as free as it should be?

    The first webpage

    Yesterday was celebrated as the 25th anniversary of the internet. While that date may be in question, WIRED has published a great article on whether or not the web has lived up to its promise.

    WIRED supposes that the internet was intended to give everyone in the world a voice and not just a select few who have the resources to shout their voice over everyone else. While mostly everyone on the internet has an opportunity to voice their opinion and stories, we are still beholden to a chosen few gatekeepers. For example, if you want to be any kind of content creator you have to follow Google’s ever-changing rules to receive higher rankings in their ubiquitous search engine. Facebook has created a walled garden determined to keep its users within their website. If you want to get people to view your content, it’s almost a requirement that you have to promote your work on Facebook. Want to use Twitter or Snapchat to share your internet voice? You’ll still have to abide by their terms of service and you could lose your voice at their whim.

    While the idea of an internet that is totally free is a great idea the reality is that without some of these gatekeepers the web would be a disorganized mess. Prior to the advent of Google, searching on the web was far from an exact science and finding what you wanted was often a time-consuming chore. While Facebook may be keeping their users in their gates at least you can go and share your voice where mostly every one can see it. Without this kind of organization the web would just be a chaotic mess and may have only been a passing fad.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: censorship, , , , , Tom Scocca   

    Gawker writer: Censorship is for sale 

    Gawker writer: Censorship is for sale

    True censorship can only come from the government since it’s the First Amendment that guarantees a free press. However, Gawker writer Tom Scocca makes the case that a free press is threatened by those who can afford to have the press bent to their will.

    In his post entitled ‘Gawker Was Murdered by Gaslight’, Mr. Scocca makes the point that only one person killed Gawker and the man holding the smoking gun is none other than Peter Thiel. Scocca makes great points about Thiel’s personally financed vendetta against Gawker, especially with the infamous Hulk Hogan lawsuit. He points out that without Thiel’s backing the Hogan lawsuit was without merit since federal courts ruled that the publishing of excerpts from Hogan’s sex tape was considered newsworthy and therefore protected speech. It’s also pointed out that media outlets have insurance policies for such lawsuits and Mr. Scocca not only points out that the New York Post settled out of court for publishing pictures of two men they thought were responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings, but also that in previous instances Gawker never had to pay anything close to a million dollars for any such mistakes prior to Mr. Thiel’s revenge by proxy campaign.

    According to Gawker, Thiel just kept throwing money at more lawsuits for anyone who perceived that they may have been wronged by Gawker. He basically bankrupted Gawker in a war of attrition by outspending them all because Gawker outed Thiel as gay, which as salacious as that may sound was also considered newsworthy therefore also protected. After the $140 million judgement was ordered against Gawker they were immediately denied any kind of appeal in court. That sounds a lot like Peter Thiel’s money speaking for the court and since the court is part of the government maybe Gawker’s death is true censorship after all.

    Peter Thiel should not be mistaken as some kind of privacy champion. Instead he should be seen as the public face of a number of entitled billionaires who are buying favorable press and financially crushing any dissension.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on August 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lifestage, , ,   

    Facebook announces new app aimed at teens 

    Facebook announces new app 4aimed at teens

    Over the weekend, Facebook announced a new standalone app aimed at teens called Lifestage. Not only is it meant to be a competitor to Snapchat, but it’s also said to return to Facebook’s roots. Facebook’s first incarnation was a social network geared specifically toward college students. Lifestage, which so far has only been released for iPhone, is geared towards users that are 21 and under and is supposed to help you get to know the classmates at your school as the app is very school-centric.

    As is the norm with most apps geared towards kids and teens, there are some security concerns. The first is that there is no actual age verification system for Lifestage, so it has the potential to be abused by offenders. Another issue is that Facebook doesn’t say what the under in 21 and under is. The closest to an age limit that I’ve found was the rating on the Apple app store which says that app is rated 12+. Lastly, since the app is so focused on schools it has the potential to be used for cyberbullying.

    This is not to say that Lifestage doesn’t have its advantages. For example, a user can only list their school once. This prevents potential offenders from changing schools to in order to target new victims at a different school. Lifestage also has a feature where someone can be blocked with a single swipe.

    However, like most apps Lifestage is just a tool. While most apps have security concerns or features, the only true defense between potential predators and kids are parents that are actively engaged with their child and their social network use.

     
  • Geebo 10:06 am on August 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Univision   

    Gawker: The Final Chapter 

    Gawker: The Final Chapter

    After losing its infamous lawsuit against Hulk Hogan and declaring bankruptcy, Gawker Media was purchased for $135 million. While tech media publisher Ziff Davis was an early suitor, the network of blogs under the Gawker banner were purchased by Spanish language TV network Univision. However, after the purchase was made final, it was announced that Gawker.com itself will be shuttered next week after 14 years of being online. Gawker founder, Nick Denton, announced that Gawker itself was unable to find a buyer while properties like Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku were worthwhile to their purchaser.

    While some may celebrate the demise of Gawker it has set a dangerous precedent that if you have enough money you can silence any media that is unfavorable to you. The Hulk Hogan lawsuit, and others, were admittedly funded by Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel after Gawker outed Thiel as gay some years ago.

    If we’re not careful, we could be seeing the start of an era where freedom of the press could be squelched by the super rich elite if the media crosses them.

     
  • Geebo 10:06 am on August 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: backspace key, Chrome, content creation, , writing   

    Google Chrome and the backspace debate 

    Google Chrome and the backspace debate

    As a blogger/writer, or even someone just trying to type out a Facebook status, nothing is more frustrating than hitting the backspace key to correct a typo only to have your browser go back three pages and lose all your work. Up until recently, Google’s Chrome browser on the desktop had the backspace key mapped as a shortcut for the command to go back in your history. While most users celebrated Google’s latest decision to free the backspace key for its intended purpose, others, who we’ll refer to as Philistines, lamented the change.

    In an unusual move by Google, they’ve tried to please all the people all the time by releasing a Chrome extension called Go Back With Backspace. When Google removes a feature or service, they usually don’t care whose toes they step on. Google Reader anyone?

    While this may be a textbook example of a first world problem, this comes as a great relief to many a writer who has accidentally lost their content after hitting a mis-functioned backspace key.

     
  • Geebo 10:02 am on August 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , malware, ransomware,   

    New ransomware knows you by name and address 

    New ransomware knows you by name and address

    Ransomware is a nasty bit of malware that can lock you out of your computer or network and will hold your files ransom until you pay a bad actor to release them. One of the more infamous ransomware incidents involved a hospital in Kansas that paid the ransom in order to regain access to their patients’ records. One of the main ways ransomware infects a computer network is when a user either opens a strange email attachment or goes to an infected website.

    Now the BBC is reporting a new type of ransomware that tricks you into infecting your computer with your own name and address. In this case the scammers will send you an email that appears to be a large bill that you owe. Normally scam emails like this are generic in their presentation however this new type of attack makes the email look more official by having your name and address listed. Like any other phishing email, it tries to trick you into clicking on to an infected website. Once your computer or network is infected and your locked out from your files, the ransowmware will not only detail instructions on how to pay the ransom with Bitcoin, but it will also give you a timer that shows you how much the ransom increases the longer you wait. There has been no word yet how the attackers have been able to match up the names and addresses to the email addresses. While the malware has only been reported so far in the UK, it’s probably only a matter of time before it shows up in the US.

    The best protection against ransomware is to not click on unknown email attachments or strange websites these emails ask you to click on. It also helps to make multiple back ups of all your important files. According to Wired, if you do become infected, disconnect any infected computer from the network and try to use anti-malwarwe tools to remove the infection from the computer. They recommend only paying the ransom as a last resort as paying the ransom only propagates the attacks.

     
  • Geebo 10:11 am on August 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Hillary Clinton,   

    Sorry Facebook pundits, you’re not convincing anyone 

    Sorry Facebook pundits, you're not convincing anyone

    Even long before the nominees were determined for each party during this presidential election season, many people were posting their political punditry on Facebook. Whether it be the Donald Trump memes or the ‘lies’ of Hillary Clinton or even lamenting the fact that Bernie Sanders was not nominated, virtually no one is having their political views changed on Facebook.

    According to survey of 10,000 Facebook users, over 90% of respondents have not had their minds changed on a political issue due to anything posted on Facebook. However the political postings have had some effect as 13% of respondents say they’ve unfriended someone on Facebook because of a political post.

    It used to be said that in polite company you should never talk about sex, politics and religion. Since Facebook it’s now so ubiquitous in our lives should those same courtesies be extended to Facebook, or is Facebook more akin to a graffiti laden restroom wall? Maybe we would be more united as a country if we used Facebook as a forum of discussion rather than a series of megaphones projecting a cacophony of political clamor.

     
  • Geebo 10:04 am on August 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , elephants, etsy, ivory, wildlife   

    Online retailers vow to stop illegal wildlife trade 

    Online retailers vow to stop illegal wildlife trade

    Many online retailers, including giants Ebay and Etsy, have banded together, and have vowed to stop the illegal sale of wildlife parts on their sites. This new initiative was announced this past Friday which coincided with World Elephant day and is a collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and TRAFFIC.

    Believe it or not the trade of illegal ivory from elephant tusks is still happening. Elephants are still being poached and slaughtered for their tusks to make jewelry, carvings and other items. While most of the demand for ivory comes from eastern Asia, the United States is also one of the top countries where people buy ivory.

    There is an international ban against ivory trading that was instituted in 1989. However, in 2007, countries that had stockpiles of seized ivory were allowed to sell their ivory inventory. This allowed for illegal ivory to work its way back into the international market. Unfortunately there are a number of ivory consumers who are unaware that ivory can only be harnessed from the elephants by killing them.

    The suppliers of illegal ivory will only be shut down when there is no longer any demand and hopefully this initiative goes a long way in helping to achieve that goal.

     
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