An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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January 31, 2006

Google creates a Linux distro based on Ubuntu

The Register brings some interesting news:
"Google is preparing its own distribution of Linux for the desktop, in a possible bid to take on Microsoft in its core business - desktop software.

A version of the increasingly popular Ubuntu desktop Linux distribution, based on Debian and the Gnome desktop, it is known internally as 'Goobuntu'.

Google has confirmed it is working on a desktop linux project called Goobuntu, but declined to supply further details, including what the project is for.

It could be for wider deployments on the company's own desktops, as an alternative to Microsoft, but still for internal use only."

Ubuntu is a desktop Linux distribution, based on Debian GNU/Linux. The name of the distribution comes from the South African concept of Ubuntu — roughly, "humanity towards others".

25 words that hurt your resume

CNN lists 25 words you shouldn't use in your resume.

Aggressive
Ambitious
Competent
Creative
Detail-oriented
Determined
Efficient
Experienced
Flexible
Goal-oriented
Hard-working
Independent
Innovative
Knowledgeable
Logical
Motivated
Meticulous
People person
Professional
Reliable
Resourceful
Self-motivated
Successful
Team player
Well-organized

Instead of saying you are successful, you should try to provide examples. But aggressive? Who would write he's aggressive?

January 30, 2006

Fastr - recognize the word


Fastr is a nice game based on Flickr that asks you to guess a word looking at pictures that describe it. You should answer as fast as you can to earn more points. Very addictive.

Google made an evil scale for China censorship

It took Google more than a year to make the decision that offering a censored version of its search services in China would be a lesser evil than boycotting business in the country altogether, according to Google Inc. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Schmidt.

"We concluded that although we weren't wild about the restrictions, it was even worse to not try to serve those users at all," Schmidt said. "We actually did an evil scale and decided not to serve at all was worse evil," he said, referring to the company's famous "don't be evil" creed.

Google Toolbar vs Yahoo Toolbar


Features Google Toolbar Yahoo Toolbar

Bookmarks

Can't import/export bookmarks

Can't tag bookmarks.

Pop-up blocker

Works well (misses some pop-ups)

Blocks pop-ups even when it shouldn't.

Languages

Translate into English, word translation in many languages, spell checking

Simple translate button that links to a page on Yahoo.

Search

Custom search sources. PageRank. One click access to cache version, links to current page.

Search only Yahoo services, the list tends to be too big.

Send this page.

Email page, Blog page, SMS page.

Email page, IM page.

Mail

Search mail, go to Gmail.

One-click access to Yahoo Mail, compose mails, check mails. Includes some promotional options for Yahoo Mail Plus.

Other services

Google doesn't promote too many services, it doesn't let you see your groups in a list, or your Google Talk contacts.

Yahoo adopts a simple strategy: take every service we got and create a button for it plus a list of important links for it. For example, News button includes the latest news.

Overall

Google Toolbar adoped account-integration from Yahoo, but it didn't extended too much. Google Toolbar remains a search toolbar, although the new features show that Yahoo Toolbar exhaustive aproach may become Google's approach soon.

Yahoo Toolbar default layout is too cluttered. You can make it simple and elegant if you choose Search Toolbar profile (developers wanted to create a Google-mode for their toolbar).

Google Operating System as a hosted desktop


Bill Boebel writes some interesting ideas about how the Google Operating System might look like and how the traditional software is to be replaced with web applications.

Some excerpts:

"Traditional installed software is on its way out and software as a service ("SaaS") is on its way in. Soon most, if not all, software applications will be available as a hosted service. Both hosted and non-hosted versions of popular applications will be available for many years, because not everybody will be comfortable making the switch to hosted right away - just like there are still Windows 95/98 users today.

So what is Google's master plan? Some say that they have no master plan, just a lot of smart engineers cranking out independent projects. I don't believe that. I believe Google does have a master plan and it is aimed right at the heart of Microsoft. I believe Google thinks it can crush Microsoft's operating system monopoly, and thus it's desktop monopoly, by turning more and more uses on to their hosted applications, and eventually by removing the need for an installed operating system altogether. I believe Google can and will eliminate the traditional operating system - by introducing the world to a new choice: "Network Only" mode.

In just a few years, I believe that all new computers will come with a "Network Only" boot option. In this mode, your computer will plug into the network as a terminal and can run entirely web-based applications. There will be no software to install - you just plug in and go. This option will be built into the BIOS so that when you turn your computer on, you can choose if you want to boot traditionally via Windows (or other installed OS) or if you want to boot in "Network Only" mode.

With a hosted desktop you have total portability and your virtual computer is always on. You never need to close your files, you never need to email documents to your self to get it from place to place, and your experience is always the same. No matter where you are in the world, or which computer you are using, you simply need to login and you have access to everything."

Google changes the previously unavailable page

Google changed the page in their Help Center that said:

"Google does not censor results for any search term. The order and content of our results are completely automated; we do not manipulate our search results by hand. We believe strongly in allowing the democracy of the web to determine the inclusion and ranking of sites in our search results. To learn more about Google's search technology, please visit www.google.com/technology/ ... "

into

"It is Google's policy not to censor search results. However, in response to local laws, regulations, or policies, we may do so. When we remove search results for these reasons, we display a notice on our search results pages. Please note: For some older removals (before March 2005), we may not show a notice at this time."

http://www.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=17795&topic=3

The page about censorship was previously unavailable, after the China issue.

January 29, 2006

Google Toolbar 4.0 Beta


Google has released a new version of Google Toolbar for consumers and corporations: Google Toolbar 4.0.

Users can easily create their own buttons from Web sites, that allow them to search a site directly from the toolbar. Developers are able to use a new XML application-programming interface to create more advanced buttons that read feeds or do notifications. Bookmarks can be saved to a user's account so they can be accessed from any computer.

The enhanced search offers query suggestions and spelling corrections. Users can send Web pages via Gmail or mobile text messaging or to a blog with the click of a button. The new enterprise edition lets administrators control which features to enable. Google Toolbar 4.0 beta for Internet Explorer will initially be available in English, and in more than 16 languages by the end of March. It runs on Windows XP.


So it seems that Google pushed many new features tied with Google Accounts, finally created an easy way to bookmark pages, included Google Suggest and extended the custom searches from GMail, Desktop and Earth to external sites through custom buttons. Also the new Toolbar brings the live bookmarks from Firefox in Explorer.



A custom button can update its icon and tooltip from a remote server at specific intervals, so it could be used as a notification device, or as a status icon.

Very impressive (except for the ugly icons, of course) and very developers-orientated.

Picasa x 25

Picasa x 25

By A Googler

Posted by Sanne Su San Lim, Picasa Localization Lead

You love taking photos. You love your photo collection on your computer. But your options have been limited if there's no easy-to-use photo software available in your language. So if you lived close to Wieliczka, Pulau Seribu or Wat Phra Kaeo you were stuck with English.

But no more! The team behind Picasa has now added 25 new interface languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Tagalog, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Catalan, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

All of these languages are one click away. Just download Picasa, and it will automatically match your system's native language. If you wish to change your Picasa language, go to Tools Options and use the pull-down menu on the "General" tab. (You'll need to close and re-open Picasa to see your new language selection take effect.)

Shouldn't you be able to organize your photos no matter where you are and what language you speak? Of course.

This text was posted at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/picasa-x-25.html on January 26, but it seems it was removed. Thankfully, Bloglines was able to retrieve it.

Update: the blog post is now live at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/picasa-x-25_30.html.

January 28, 2006

Radio Firefox

Radio Firefox is a tech-oriented radio show created by Jason Schramm that talks about Google, Apple, Technology, Business and Firefox.

The first show was on January 17th and was followed by another one on January 25th. You can find Radio Firefox on 91.3FM WTSR if you live in Trenton or online, as a podcast.

Some interesting subjects:

Performancing for Firefox - nice Firefox extension for bloggers that integrates Technorati, del.icio.us, ping sites and lets you easily post to your Wordpress, MovableType or Blogger blogs.

Greasemonkey - lets you to add bits of DHTML ("user scripts") to any web page to change its behavior

Instant Domain Search - Ajax search for domains

and something really misterios: Newsvine. Can you figure out what this site is all about? (Hint: think Digg + del.icio.us + AdSense)

Bad news from Google AdSense

Is Google turning evil? The latest AdSense might make say yes.

AdSense silently adds a 90-day time limit on AdSense referrals. A thread over at DigitalPoint points out that Google AdSense has quietly added a new term to all AdSense referrals generated by a publisher. They have now instituted a 90-day time limit on that referral, meaning a referred publisher must earn the $100 within the first 90 days, before the referring publisher is eligible to earn that $100 for a completed AdSense referral.

Google uses the asterisk trick at the bottom of the Referrals page.

Google AdSense begins rich media beta test. Google AdSense is moving beyond the traditional text and graphical advertising to rich media, including interstitials, expanding ads and floating ads. AdSense began contacting publishers last week to be involved in the rich media limited beta test. Floating ads are ads that either stay on top as the page is scrolled, or ones that "float in" from the side of the page to the center of the page. Expanding ads are those that require user interaction to expand, either with a mouseover or a click. Interstitials appear when you click through to read a page, and before they will show you the page, you are bypassed through to a full page ad that you must view before seeing the actual content you were wanting, often by having to click a link on the interstitial ad page.

January 27, 2006

Google Blog finally talks about China issue

Filtering our search results clearly compromises our mission. Failing to offer Google search at all to a fifth of the world's population, however, does so far more severely. Whether our critics agree with our decision or not, due to the severe quality problems faced by users trying to access Google.com from within China, this is precisely the choice we believe we faced. By launching Google.cn and making a major ongoing investment in people and infrastructure within China, we intend to change that.

Obviously, the situation in China is far different than it is in those other countries; while China has made great strides in the past decades, it remains in many ways closed. We aren't happy about what we had to do this week, and we hope that over time everyone in the world will come to enjoy full access to information. But how is that full access most likely to be achieved? We are convinced that the Internet, and its continued development through the efforts of companies like Google, will effectively contribute to openness and prosperity in the world. Our continued engagement with China is the best (perhaps only) way for Google to help bring the tremendous benefits of universal information access to all our users there.

Posted on Google Blog by Andrew McLaughlin, senior policy counsel.

How to make money without doing evil


Rebecca MacKinnon, one of the world's most prominent online rights activists writes on her blog, "Google has caved in," and says the action "contradicts its mission statement: 'don't be evil.'" On Thursday MacKinnon modulated herself somewhat, even noting that on the censored Google one can still find reports describing the recent events at Dong Zhou village, where police shot citizen protesters, as a "blood crime" or "massacre."

If Google made a mistake, it may have been to adopt its famous slogan ("Don't be evil") years ago, long before the possibility ever dawned on founders Brin and Larry Page that the company they were starting might one day have a market cap of $128 billion, as it does now. Evil is a strong word, and to spout such rhetoric rightly raises expectations that are now being disappointed.

But the reality is that no business that aims to make money -- as Google of course does -- can make decisions purely on moral grounds. Morality must be part of the calculus, but so must the interests of shareholders. Managing a modern business is increasingly a matter of juggling competing values and goals. Google continues to do a good job of this, in my opinion.

New motto: Don't be unprofitable. Creating a censored Google for China was a rational and responsible act for a commercial business.

General Motors ad: Just Google Pontiac

Television ads often stimulate Internet search behavior by increasing brand awareness or sparking curiosity, as often demonstrated by Hitwise. But this General Motors spot is significant because it ends with an unusual call to action: "Don't take our word for it. Google Pontiac and discover for yourself." And the ad ends not with a URL or phone number for a local dealer, but an actual Google screenshot with Pontiac typed in.

General Motors’ head of sales and marketing said in Business Week:
"We’re touting Google, frankly, because it stands for credibility and consumer empowerment, and we like the association."



It seems that Mazda also bids for Pontiac keyword in Adwords. Here's a closeup of the Mazda ads showing up, not only are they ads for Mazda they are pointing people to a head to head comparison of the MX 5 vs the Pontiac Solstice.

Students for a Free Tibet protest at Googleplex


About 20 people from Students for a Free Tibet, including Joshua Duncan, right, of Oakland, gather in front of Googleplex, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2006, to protest the company’s argeement to censor their Internet search engine results in China. The group has chapters at the Stanford and UC-Berkeley campuses.

Does Google censor search results?

Before the China censorship:
"Does Google censor search results?

Google does not censor results for any search term. The order and content of our results are completely automated; we do not manipulate our search results by hand. We believe strongly in allowing the democracy of the web to determine the inclusion and ranking of sites in our search results. To learn more about Google's search technology, please visit http://www.google.com/technology/index.html."

After the China censorship:

You can still find the original page in Google Cache.

The address in Google Help Center is: http://www.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=17795&topic=368.

Google admits Video Store launch was a failure


Shows for sale weren't well promoted on the home page of Google Video, which was introduced earlier this month, Vice President Marissa Mayer said in an interview in Munich, Germany. That left customers unable to tap easily into hits such as CBS' top-rated "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and reality show "Survivor."

"We made a big mistake," Marissa Mayer, who oversees all of Google's search products, said Tuesday. "You can't come out and launch a product like Google Video and say 'CSI' and 'Survivor' are there if they're not on the home page."

The video service has "fallen far short" of competitors such as Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes music and video offering, said Allen Weiner, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. "What Apple has done with the iTunes store sets the bar really high."

Will Google Tune Into MP3 Business

Bear Stearns maintained an "outperform" rating on Google and said the Internet search giant may be looking to expand into the MP3 downloading business.

"We believe that Google is in the midst of creating its own iTunes competitor, which we've dubbed 'Google Tunes'," the analyst wrote in a client note issued today. "We think this is a logical step, now that the nascent Google Video product has been introduced."

Analyst Robert Peck speculated that it makes sense for Google to create a rival for the popular iTunes service by Apple Computer, given the explosive growth of unique visitors to the iTunes' Web site. "Further, Nielsen [Net Ratings] indicates that iTunes users form a distinct target audience with brand preferences along autos, alcohol beverages, magazines, and television," he added.

From Forbes.

That wouldn't be very surprising, but they should do a better job with Google Video Store first.

January 26, 2006

New Google SERP

Remember the post about the new Google homepage?

It seems like the new Google SERP will look like this. Nice touch.

January 25, 2006

Yahoo Mail Beta Review


Yahoo! Mail Beta is a web-based email application that combines the rich, responsive interface of a desktop program with the available-from-anywhere convenience of your existing Yahoo! Mail account.

Benefits of Yahoo! Mail Beta include:

* Drag and drop messages into folders for better organization

* A preview pane makes it easier to read your messages

* Speedier Ajax-interface

* Keyboard shortcuts such as Ctrl-S to save a message

* Navigate from message to message with the arrow keys

* Messages open in tabs or new windows so you can multitask

Yahoo! Mail Beta doesn't work in Opera (GMail does), it's pretty fast, loads faster than GMail, but you don't have the feeling you're using a desktop client. For example, scrolling the list of messages takes some time, you have to wait a couple of seconds after you select a message (you only see: "Loading message...").

The built-in RSS reader works very good, it imports your feeds from My Yahoo, but you can't categorize them or move them, you can't export your subscriptions into OPML.




Yahoo Beta Mail doesn't preview attachments (not even images) and it opens any external link in a new window. The tab functionality is really limited: you can use it for searching, composing messages, but you can't compose two messages simultaneously. I wonder why they implemented the tabs (I know: so you can multitask) if they are so limited.

The shortcuts are really nice:
Check Mail m
New Message n
Reply r
Print Ctrl+p or p


You can finally attach files easily, but they could remove the Browse and Attach buttons and instead use a Add button to make the interface more user-friendly. It would be one single step, a very intuitive list UI, that could be integrated into the Compose tab.


Spell checking has some flaws.

Overall, the new Yahoo Mail is much better than the previous version, you can't see (too many) ads, but it doesn't have many features included in GMail (label, fast reply, POP3, forwarding, automatic mail saving, attachment preview). Still, it outperforms GMail with is Outlook-ish design.

Classic Yahoo rating: 4/10
Beta Yahoo rating: 7/10
GMail rating: 8.5/10

Related:
Google Toolbar vs Yahoo Toolbar
How to switch to GMail from Yahoo Mail or Hotmail
Yahoo and the evolution of search

www.miibeian.gov.cn


The red link in the screenshot points to www.miibeian.gov.cn.

Here is the list of the most visited sites in China:

1 www.mofcom.gov.cn 1301.84
2 www.cofortune.com.cn 1007.39
3 www.miibeian.gov.cn 670.901

www.miibeian.gov.cn is the website of a special management system of the Ministry of Information Industry, which decided to close down all web sites that failed to register with local telecommunications authorities before June 30 2005. The registration aimed to control domestic Internet information services.

The Chinese government is using a new internet content management system named the "Night Crawler System" (pa chong) to block access to websites that have not been registered with authorities.

Google's dilemma

"Google's dilemma with China is a near-textbook case study on the deep question of how much assistance, if any, companies chartered in free societies should render to regimes that censor political and cultural expression," said Jon Zittrain, a Harvard Law School scholar who has studied Chinese censorship.

"V.I. Lenin gloated that western businessmen would greedily sell Communists the very rope they would later be hanged with. He was right about the greed. But history has found that the market economies that efficiently produced rope, and all other inputs and outputs, continue to prosper.

Google may regret its embarrassing moment. But I suspect the reverse. Chinese autocrats will one day look back fondly on a world before global communications networks, when searching the internet was difficult and the masses knew their place."

(Thomas Hazlett: Google’s beautiful China paradox)

Google censors the Web in China

To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit Web content that the country’s government finds objectionable. Google will base its censorship decisions on guidance provided by Chinese government officials.

A Chinese-language version of Google's search engine has previously been available through the company's dot-com address, but now can be found at Google.cn. By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world's most populous country.

In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on Google.cn, in response to local law, regulation or policy. While removing search results is inconsistent with Google’s mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is more inconsistent with our mission.
was the response from Google.

Although many people seemed to be shocked, this isn't the first time Google censors the web. In Google France and Google Germany, many Nazi and hate sites are removed.

In a compromise that trades off Google's desire to provide universal access to information in order to exist within local laws, Google will not offer its Gmail e-mail service, Web log publishing services or chat rooms -- tools of self-expression that could be used for political or social protest.

January 24, 2006

Let the machines write

My world is full of Love. We should Share fruits of Contemplation with unfortunate results.

This weird phrase was created with Internet Autotyper, a site that uses Google to determine some of the most common words that might make sense to complete your sentence. It looks at the last few words of what you typed to determine some words that should come next.

EPIC - how Google might reinvent media


In the year 2014, The New York Times has gone offline. What happened to the news? And what is EPIC?

Find out from EPIC 2014, a brilliant Flash journey into the future.

In the year 2014 people have access to a breadth and depth of information unimaginable in an earlier age.

Everyone contributes in some way. Everyone participates to create a living, breathing mediascape. However, the Press, as you know it, has ceased to exist.

The ‘Evolving Personalized Information Construct’ is the system by which our sprawling, chaotic mediascape is filtered, ordered and delivered. EPIC produces a custom contents package for each user, using his choices, his consumption habits, his interests, his demographics, his social network – to shape the product.

Freeware collection: SmartFTP - FTP client


SmartFTP is my favourite FTP client. It's free for personal use, has a very nice Explorer-like interface (now with tabs), you can use drag and drop, secure connections (TLS and SSL). SmartFTP also offers support for Unicode/UTF8/MBCS, IPv6, and UPnP. Multiple FTP connections can be opened at the same time, and you can copy files from one remote host to another (FXP). Remote-host directory information is cached for future viewing, and FTP URLs are supported.

Pretty impressive for just 2.3 MB. This is arguably the most developed FTP client. You can even download a native x64 version.

SmartFTP homepage

BBC: World according to Google


The internet search engine Google is the fastest growing company in history.

Created just seven years ago it is now worth about $140bn (£80bn) and receives more than a quarter of a billion queries every day.


This BBC documentary has interviews with Google staff (Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Craig Silverstein) and people who dislike the company or some of its services (for example, Google Book Search).

January 23, 2006

Google News Out Of Beta

We're taking Google News out of beta! When we launched the English-language edition in September 2002, we entered untested waters with a grand experiment in news browsing - using computers to organize the world's news in real time and providing a bird's eye view of what's being reported on virtually any topic. By presenting news "clusters" (related articles in a group), we thought it would encourage readers to get a broader perspective by digging deeper into the news -- reading ten articles instead of one, perhaps -- and then gain a better understanding of the issues, which could ultimately benefit society. A bit more than three years later, we offer 22 regional editions in 10 languages, and have a better sense of how people use Google News.


From Google Blog we also find about the new features of Google News: automatic personalization (news stories that many other users have read, especially when you and they have read similar stories in the past) and most popular news.

January 20, 2006

Bush administration requests data from Google

The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.

The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.

"We had lengthy discussions with them to try to resolve this, but were not able to and we intend to resist their motion vigorously." Nicole Wong, a Google lawyer, said in a statement. Wong said the demand for information "over-reaches".

The government argues that it needs the information as it prepares to once again defend the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act in a federal court in Pennsylvania. The law was struck down in 2004 because it was too broad and could prevent adults from accessing legal porn sites.

According to ZDnet, who’s quoting an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, other search engines complied to release the information: Microsoft, AOL (who fully complied) and Yahoo (who complied in parts). ZDnet writes that a Microsoft spokesperson said, “MSN works closely with law enforcement officials worldwide to assist them when requested ... It is our policy to respond to legal requests in a very responsive and timely manner in full compliance with applicable law.”

Google objected to the government's subpoena, saying it would reveal trade secrets by providing the data and disclose personally identifiable information about its users. It's important that Google doesn't provide this information because it will be the first step in government's requests. To give up the first time means setting a bad precedent.

January 18, 2006

Marketing beta products

Marketing Beta versions is a creative, if somewhat risky, tactic in hyper-competitive, hyper-accelerated, impatient online markets where the notion that things are kind of dynamic and changeable anyway is already pretty well understood.

It’s less polished, less formal, more populist. And those aren’t necessarily bad things. But it also carries the risk of watering down the “promise of performance” that underpins a brand. The emerging philosophy seems to be, “Here, try this out. Maybe you’ll dig it. Tell us what you think. But we’re not making any promises about what it is ultimately going to be—or when.” (StealThunder)

Users are the beta-testers, they improve the product, test its scalability and build the hype. Beta versions are cool because they are unfinished. They look good, but you know you don't see the whole package - there are still things to come. Moreover, you have the privilege to be one of the first persons who can try that product.

That may be the case with developers, adventurers, or teenagers, but I don't think many businesses can afford to use a beta product for corporate work. But maybe that shouldn't be the case.

Baidu vs Google - viral video

Here is an interesting Google vs. Baidu video that has been making the word of mouth of rounds on Chinese BBS and blogs and mail forwards. Altough Baidu doesn't mention Google in the video, it seems pretty obvious that Google is represented by the foreigner.

Baidu is a popular Chinese search engine. Its design resembles that of Google and features the capability to search news and images, among other functionalities. Baidu claims itself the biggest search engine in Chinese language. As of December 2005, it is the fourth most visited site on the internet, according to Alexa. Baidu translates to "hundreds of times" in English.

Are you awake?

Whenever we meet someone new, one of the first questions that goes through our minds is, “Is this person awake yet?” The vast majority of people are still asleep, meaning that they aren’t really conscious and aware of what their lives are all about, why they’re here, or what their purpose is. You can easily identify such people simply by asking them, “Why are you here on earth at this time?” These bears — we call the sleepers bears because they’re still hibernating — can’t answer this question intelligently because it’s outside their normal mode of thinking. But conscious people (and those who are becoming conscious) will consider the question truly important and will be able to provide an intelligent answer, even if it isn’t fully formed yet. I think of the conscious people as eagles because they have huge eyes and soar above the terrain, taking everything in and being able to see clearly over a distance.


From Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog.

Steve's purpose in life is:
to live consciously and courageously;
to enjoy, increase, and share peace, energy, passion, and wealth;
to resonate with love and compassion;
to awaken the great spirits within others;
and to fully embrace this present moment.

January 17, 2006

BugMeNot - easy to get account login passwords



Ever tried to access a site to read an article and found you needed an account? Maybe you are too lazy to create an account for such a small thing, or maybe you don't want to pay for a subscription.

BugMeNot.com was created as a mechanism to quickly bypass the login of web sites that require compulsory registration and/or the collection of personal/demographic information (such as the New York Times).

Some nice people post their username and password and let you use them.

What sites are in the database: www.nytimes.com, www.nypost.com, www.washingtonpost.com, www.chicagotribune.com, www.latimes.com, www.imdb.com and many more.

If you are too lazy to visit BugMeNot.com every time you need a login, you can install a Firefox extension or use a simple bookmarklet.

Google to Broadcast Radio Ads

Google is acquiring Newport Beach-based dMarc Broadcasting, which runs an automated advertising platform for radio. It seems like Google will start delivering radio ads with an automated system.

dMarc connects advertisers directly to radio stations through its automated advertising platform. The platform simplifies the sales process, scheduling, delivery and reporting of radio advertising, enabling advertisers to more efficiently purchase and track their campaigns. For broadcasters, dMarc’s technology automatically schedules and places advertising, helping to increase revenue and decrease the costs associated with processing advertisements.

In the future, Google plans to integrate dMarc technology into the Google AdWords platform, creating a new radio ad distribution channel for Google advertisers.

How much did Google pay? Only $102 million.

January 16, 2006

SEO contest: v7ndotcom elursrebmem

Yahoo search was able to index the sites which have covered or entered in the v7ndotcom elursrebmem SEO competition - 24 hours after the contest keyterm was announced. The SEO contest is being hosted by v7n.com , who have announced the keywords which must sites must be ranked within the top 5 of Google results in order to win : V7ndotcom Elursrebmem. Elursrebmem is “Members rule” spelled backwards.




The rules for entering the contest are simple, in order to qualify for the contest a page must have either a link back to the V7N home page, one of the Official ‘V7ndotcom Elursrebmem’ v7n SEO Contest banners, or the following text “We support v7n.com“. To win the first prize (4000$ + one iPod), you must place first in Google (organic rankings) for the search term on May 15, 2006, noon, Pacific standard time.

For more information, visit Contest Keywords Announcement Forum.

So it seems that Yahoo has a more up-to-date index than Google, probably because Google wants to check new pages for spam.

January 15, 2006

Google refines queries

It seems that Google is in a experimental mood. Web 2.0 Central reports that Google tries to grasp a meaning from our queries - and that's a first step to semantic search.

Earlier today I was searching on google and something new popped up. It seems Google was experimenting with some interesting search refinement.

On a search for Apple, it offered a few refinements (as I recall more news, more blogs)

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=apple+more%3Ablogs&btnG=Search

It appended a more:blogs to the search and low and behold the search results had more blogs in them.

January 14, 2006

Yahoo! buys a company before its foundation

SUNNYVALE, CA, Jan 11, 2006 (YARDLEYPRESS) — Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YAHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced the acquisition of an unnamed Web 2.0 company three days before it was to be founded. “Yahoo! is committed to generating mass quantities of free public relations by acquiring more pre-revenue, pre-business plan companies than any other global Internet company,” said Chris P. Bacon, Director of Hype Production.

“We’ve been acquiring companies earlier and earlier - before VC funding, before revenue, and in some cases before the completion of their products,” explained Hugh Jorgan, newly-appointed Vice President of Pre-Business Development. “By buying companies before they’re founded, we move directly to the natural conclusion of the trend.”

Yahoo’s! Department of Compiling and Distributing Favorable News Clippings to Executives is already girding itself for the inevitable deluge of laudatory press. “I mean, our latest ‘acquisition’ was described by its author as ‘buggy software,’ which ‘may and probably will crash your browser or cause your computer to burst into flames’, but it still became one of the most discussed topics in the industry,” laughed Director of Stapling Kerry Oki. “This time around, we’re expecting nothing less than the establishment of a major religion.”

LOL.

Reply from Yahoo?

Ah, satire. If you ever wonder whether you company is getting a reputation, just wait for the blogosphere to make fun of you.

(Jeremy Zawodny)

Get sensitive information using Google

Google's advanced syntax lets you expose many vulnerabilities and gather confidential or sensitive information.

[ intitle: ]

The “intitle:” syntax helps Google restrict the search results to pages containing that word in the title. For example, “intitle: login password” (without quotes) will return links to those pages that has the word "login" in their title, and the word "password" anywhere in the page.

Similarly, if one has to query for more than one word in the page title then in that case “allintitle:” can be used instead of “intitle” to get the list of pages containing all those words in its title. For example using “intitle: login intitle: password” is same as querying “allintitle: login password”.

[ inurl: ]

The “inurl:” syntax restricts the search results to those URLs containing the search keyword. For example: “inurl: passwd” (without quotes) will return only links to those pages that have "passwd" in the URL.

Similarly, if one has to query for more than one word in a URL then in that case “allinurl:” can be used instead of “inurl” to get the list of URLs containing all those search keywords in it. For example: “allinurl: etc/passwd“ will look for the URLs containing “etc” and “passwd”. The slash (“/”) between the words will be ignored by Google.


[ site: ]

The “site:” syntax restricts Google to query for certain keywords in a particular site or domain. For example: “exploits site:hackingspirits.com” (without quotes) will look for the keyword “exploits” in those pages present in all the links of the domain “hackingspirits.com”.

[ filetype: ]

This “filetype:” syntax restricts Google search for files on internet with particular extensions (i.e. doc, pdf or ppt etc). For example: “filetype:doc site:gov confidential” (without quotes) will look for files with “.doc” extension in all government domains with “.gov” extension and containing the word “confidential” either in the pages or in the “.doc” file. i.e. the result will contain the links to all confidential word document files on the government sites.


[ link: ]

“link:” syntax will list down webpages that have links to the specified webpage. For Example: “link:www.securityfocus.com” will list webpages that have links pointing to the SecurityFocus homepage.

[ related: ]

The “related:” will list web pages that are "similar" to a specified web page. For Example: “related:www.securityfocus.com” will list web pages that are similar to the Securityfocus homepage. Note there can be no space between the "related:" and the web page url.


[ cache: ]

The query “cache:” will show the version of the web page that Google has in its cache. For Example: “cache:www.hackingspirits.com” will show Google's cache of the Google homepage.
If you include other words in the query, Google will highlight those words within the cached document. For Example: “cache:www.hackingspirits.com guest” will show the cached content with the word "guest" highlighted.


[ intext: ]

The “intext:” syntax searches for words in a particular website. It ignores links or URLs and page titles. For example: “intext:exploits” (without quotes) will return only links to those web pages that has the search keyword "exploits" in its webpage.


[ phonebook: ]

“phonebook” searches for U.S. street address and phone number information. For Example: “phonebook:Lisa+CA” will list down all names of person having “Lisa” in their names and located in “California (CA)”. This can be used as a great tool for hackers incase someone want to do dig personal information for social engineering.


Using “Index of ” syntax to find sites enabled with Index browsing

A webserver with Index browsing enabled means anyone can browse the webserver directories like ordinary local directories.

Some interesting searches:

Index of /admin
Index of /passwd
Index of /password
Index of /mail
"Index of /" +passwd
"Index of /" +password.txt
"Index of /" +.htaccess
"Index of /root"
"Index of /cgi-bin"
"Index of /logs"
"Index of /config"


Looking for vulnerable sites or servers using “inurl:” or “allinurl:”

a. Using “allinurl:winnt/system32/” (without quotes) will list down all the links to the server which gives access to restricted directories like “system32” through web. If you are lucky enough then you might get access to the cmd.exe in the “system32” directory. Once you have the access to “cmd.exe” and are able to execute it then you can go ahead in further escalating your privileges over the server and compromise it.


b. Using “allinurl:wwwboard/passwd.txt”(without quotes) in the Google search will list down all the links to the server which are vulnerable to “WWWBoard Password vulnerability”. To know more about this vulnerability you can have a look at the following link:
http://www.securiteam.com/exploits/2BUQ4S0SAW.html


c. Using “inurl:.bash_history” (without quotes) will list down all the links to the server which gives access to “.bash_history” file through web. This is a command history file. This file includes the list of command executed by the administrator, and sometimes includes sensitive information such as password typed in by the administrator.

d. Using “inurl:config.txt” (without quotes) will list down all the links to the servers which gives access to “config.txt” file through web. This file contains sensitive information, including the hash value of the administrative password and database authentication credentials.

Other similar search using “inurl:” or “allinurl:” combined with other syntaxs

inurl:admin filetype:txt
inurl:admin filetype:db
inurl:admin filetype:cfg
inurl:mysql filetype:cfg
inurl:passwd filetype:txt
inurl:"wwwroot/*."
inurl:adpassword.txt
inurl:webeditor.php
inurl:file_upload.php

inurl:gov filetype:xls "restricted"
index of ftp +.mdb allinurl:/cgi-bin/ +mailto

Looking for vulnerable sites or servers using “intitle:” or “allintitle:”

a. Using [allintitle: "index of /root”] (without brackets) will list down the links to the web server which gives access to restricted directories like “root” through web. This directory sometimes contains sensitive information which can be easily retrieved through simple web requests.


b. Using [allintitle: "index of /admin”] (without brackets) will list down the links to the websites which has got index browsing enabled for restricted directories like “admin” through web. Most of the web application sometimes uses names like “admin” to store admin credentials in it. This directory sometimes contains sensitive information which can be easily retrieved through simple web requests.


From: Neowin.net forum

January 13, 2006

Google Local Ads



Google is starting to add advertisements to Google Local, which now shows sponsored locations on select searches. For example, if you search for hotels in New York, you’ll see four pushpins denoting hotels that paid to be there, along with some listings for the hotels in the search results, two at the top, two at the bottom.

It's interesting to notice that sponsored listings don't include options like reviews or driving directions.

For most searches, though, you will see simple AdWords ads, not related to the map, but related to your query.

January 12, 2006

Google pushes Video and Pack on homepage

Google promotes the new services Google Video Store and Google Pack on the homepage for some users. That's not a typical Google move. They should extend their store first, or else no one will buy Google videos, even if the service will get some awareness.

Screenshot from John Battelle.

No XP on Intel Macs, but Windows Vista may be

If you've been counting on being able to run Windows on those new Intel-based Macs, Apple's not about to make it easy for you -- at least not if you're attached to Windows XP. According to Apple SVP Phil Schiller, the new Macs announced yesterday (those being the Intel iMac and MacBook Pro) may not be able to run current versions of Windows due to the fact that the computers will boot using the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), rather than a traditional BIOS (current Power PC Macs use Open Firmware). EFI was developed by Intel and allows a number of advanced features, including the ability to connect to the Internet from a command shell before the OS is loaded. Since EFI was developed after the rollout of Windows XP, it's not supported by the current or earlier version of Windows (it is, however, supported by 64-bit versions, but the new Macs are 32-bit, so it's back to square one). However, all is not lost: Windows Vista will support EFI, and Apple has said it has no plans to directly block Windows from working on the new boxes. So, if you're a Vista beta tester and have ordered a new iMac or MacBookPro, get those install CDs out; the rest of you will have to wait for the official Vista release, or find a way to hack XP to boot using EFI (which we're sure is about to become a major priority of some of you at this very moment).

From Engadget

January 11, 2006

The ironic encyclopedia

Uncyclopedia is an encyclopedia full of misinformation and utter lies. You might say it puts the "psych!" in "encyclopedia". It's sort of like Congress or Parliament, but unlike Congress or Parliament, they do have a sense of humor.

Here are some interesting articles from Uncyclopedia (remember, Uncyclopedia is not Wikipedia):

The British Film Industry is, remarkably enough, the film industry from Mediocre Britain. One of the most successful film industries in the world, its wise and far-sighted producers realised in the mid-80’s that people were afraid of any form of innovation or originality in the cinema, and so endlessly re-make the same 3 movies.

Uncyclopedia on British Film Industry

When faced with a large group of similar looking people, the Slim Shady Algorithm can be applied to deduce which member of the group is the authentic person whom you are seeking.

Uncyclopedia on Slim Shady Algorithm

Microsoft Access is Microsoft's answer to the classic program noir Colin Brett-Leomen's Have Fun With Accounts. Colin Brett-Leomen was a man troubled. His wife had left him to enginneer a coup d'etat in Rhodesia, his son had caused a time paradox, causing Colin to flicker in and out of existence, and he had a moustache. The only joy in his life was his business, 'Brian's Brushes', which did sell a few brushes, but mostly dealt in insurance.

Uncyclopedia on Microsoft Access

“You want to know the truth?.. YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!”
~ Oscar Wilde on Truth

“The Truth is just a lie that hasn't been discovered yet and that's the truth.”
~ Oscar Wilde on Truth

Be warned, every statement on this page is a lie, including this one.

Uncyclopedia on Truth



(Wilde wilde wicked) Wikipedia (also spelt "Wikipaedia" and sometimes they get all snooty and use one of these things, "æ" like this:"Wikipædia"), is a tragic parody of Uncyclopedia, although Wikipedia claims the reverse. Wikipedia is ruled by Dr.Phil, live from a soundstage in Hollywood California. Wikipedia, despite proporting to be an encyclopedia, is actually a database including such things as: lists of trains, Mortal Kombat characters, one-time villains from Mario games, road intersections, boring suburban schools, garage bands, cats, webcomics, Digimon, Bionicle characters, webforums, characters from English soap operas, Mortal Kombat characters that don't exist, and a thing they call articles.

Uncyclopedia on Wikipedia

How to send large files

YouSendIt

YouSendIt is a large file email service that helps you get around email file attachment limits. YouSendIt stores up to a 1 gigabyte and emails the recipient a link to download the file for up to seven days (and an unspecified number of times). The recipient can also click a link to delete the file after downloading.

YouSendIt’s larger capacity makes it a more practical way to move your data from a CD-burnerless old computer to a new one (zip ‘em all up into one file first). Or send a TV show to a friend (a typical hour-long episode is around 600 megabytes.) Sending files of those sizes will be a time commitment, so plan ahead.

January 10, 2006

Google Video Store is live



The Google Video Store now opened its doors after the announcement at the CES last Friday.

The full list of paid content as shown on the front-page is this:
NBA Basketball Games
Movies
Music videos
Brady Bunch
Charlie Rose
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Ed Sullivan Show
Have Gun Will Travel
I Love Lucy
MacGyver
NCIS
NOVA
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Survivor Guatemala
Twilight Zone

But most of these shows aren't available yet; that makes Google Video Store pretty slim. The only notable presence is Charlie Rose Show and some independent films.



Also now every playback page has a link to download the video using Google Video Player, a free software very similar to the online version. Google added download support for Windows/Mac, Video iPod and Sony PSP.

January 9, 2006

Beautiful baby eyes



Nicole is such a lovely baby.

Google classified ads in Chicago Sun-Times


In a quiet and small-scale experiment, Google is running classified-like ads in the pages of the Sun-Times. The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, allows Google to fill what's known as "remnant space" in the Sun-Times — unsold space where the paper would normally run in-house ads. Google fills those spots with its own ads.

A Google spokesman declines to comment on Google's satisfaction with the test; the ads debuted on Dec. 9, and only 15 boxes have run so far. "This limited test is part of Google's continuing effort to develop new ways to provide effective and useful advertising to advertisers, publishers and users," the Google spokesman says.

Great freeware: FreeRAM XP Pro memory manager

FreeRAM XP Pro frees and optimizes your computer's RAM (Random Access Memory). Often, other applications may hog or incorrectly use RAM, which decreases your computer's performance. FreeRAM XP Pro frees this RAM so your computer can run faster and more smoothly. The need to reboot is also less frequent.

How does it work? FreeRAM XP clears junk out of RAM and flushes less-often used items to the swap file. There they do not take up any RAM, and are reloaded from the swap file on a need-to-use basis.

FreeRAM XP Pro's AutoFree feature enables it to clear out no longer useful data from RAM without affecting RAM still used by programs and applications.

FreeRAM XP Pro is, of course, freeware, has only 600 KB, and got 5/5 rating on Download.com:

Looking to free up some RAM on your running system? Then FreeRAM XP Pro is the program for you. Truly freeware, it gives you complete access to all its features at no cost. You can either have the program automatically optimize your system, or you can specify how much memory you'd like to free up. Advanced tray support, automatic memory monitoring and optimization, system-metric monitors, and real-time memory information are just a few of the features that make this program attractive and useful. You also can apply different sounds to different actions. It's doubtful you'll find a memory optimizer easier to use than FreeRAM XP, making it a smart pick for anyone who's ever been frustrated by a poky PC.


Download from Download.com

January 7, 2006

Google Pack: where is Open Office?

From John Battelle's blog:

Google Pack strikes me as an obvious play for Google, the company has made no secret of its intention to poke Microsoft in the eye from time to time. And honestly, they are right - setting up and maintaining a PC is a right pain in the ass. I very much hope this thing works, and plan to try it out on a new PC Federated Media is buying this week.

I spoke to Marissa Mayer about Pack, and she had some fun stuff to say about it. I noticed no version of Open Office in the Pack, and she reminded me this is just the first version of the Pack, and since it updates itself automatically, why, there might be Open Office in an update shortly. They are in active discussions, I was told.

Pack, if it becomes popular, will bring a whole new set of users to Google, mainly because it includes Toolbar and Desktop, which of course means more searches, and more data, and more money for Google.

"We realize software distribution will have to become one of our core competencies," Mayer told me.

"Some of (the applications in Pack) will result in increased revenue to us," she also noted.

Well, I asked, might you ever include Microsoft products in a Google Pack? "If they are interested," the ever on her feet Mayer responded, "we'd be more than willing to discuss it with them." Over to you, Mr. Ballmer....


Let's see what's in the pack:

* Adobe Reader 7 - everybody would have downloaded anyway
* Ad-Aware - probably the default anti-spyware solution
* Norton Antivirus 2005 - 6 months subscription, just a trial version. There may be some money here, because Google could've chosen AVG Antivirus or Avast.
* RealPlayer - another money source from the good old friends at Real Networks
* Trillian - Google Talk is not ready for being considered a viable answer to Yahoo Messenger or MSN Messenger, so Google chose an all-in-one solution: Trillian. Gaim was considered too geeky.
* GalleryPlayer HD Images + Google Pack Screensaver - fun stuff to increase the coolness effect.
* Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar - what else?
* Google Toolbar (increase Google traffic), Google Desktop (let Google know more about you, Google outside the browser), Google Earth (splendid piece of work that will drive some traffic to Google), Google Talk (more traffic to GMail).

So where is money? Norton Antivirus, Real Player, Google Toolbar, Google Desktop.

What does Google Pack lack?
* a firewall (maybe Zone Alarm)
* media codecs (maybe DivX or ffdshow)
* office suite (OpenOffice)

And something else: who needs Google Updater? Google software can take care of its own updates (or auto-updates), Norton Antivirus, Real Player and Ad-Aware also have an update system. It seems pretty useless.

January 6, 2006

Google Video Store: rent video from Google

Google announced a service Friday that will let people rent or buy downloadable videos online, including classic and contemporary CBS television shows and NBA basketball games.

With Google Video Store, which the company said will be "available soon" at video.google.com consumers will pay $1.99 to download and view, for an unlimited time, episodes from last season's "Survivor" series, as well as episodes of 300 older TV programs like "I Love Lucy," said Peter Chane, senior business product manager for Google Video. The announcement was made in conjunction with a keynote address by Google co-founder Larry Page at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Also for $1.99, people will be able to rent, for 24 hours, recent episodes of popular TV series from CBS like "NCIS," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "The Amazing Race," Chane said. National Basketball Association games shown on TV can be downloaded for permanent purchase within one day of broadcast for $3.95, he said. Classic NBA games will also be available.

<> Video of Larry Page's keynote (9 minutes 8 seconds)



Also Friday, Google announced Google Pack, a software package that includes programs like Google Talk, Google Toolbar, Google Desktop, Google Alerts and Google Video Player for rented videos, Firefox browser, anti-spyware from LavaSoft, Adobe PDF Reader 7, Norton's antivirus program, Trillian Instant Messenger and RealPlayer. The cool thing is you can select to install only the software you want. Try Custom Google Pack.

Larry Page keynote at CES announcement

GOOGLE CO-FOUNDER TO KEYNOTE AT THE 2006 INTERNATIONAL CES

Arlington, Virginia - 11/15/2005

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced today that Larry Page, co-founder and president of products of Google, will deliver a keynote address at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Page's address is slated for Friday, January 6, 2006, at 4 p.m. in the Hilton Theater at the Las Vegas Hilton. The 2006 International CES, the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, runs January 5-8 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"Page has helped lead Google to become one of the world's most prolific brands and recognized as the world's largest Internet search engine. Google has been one of the most innovative companies of the past decade, moving beyond its search engine roots. With his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to innovation, Page is a natural fit for CES. We are thrilled that he has come on board as a keynoter at the 2006 International CES," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. "Page joins an outstanding keynote line-up that includes Microsoft's Bill Gates, Intel's Paul Otellini, Sony's Howard Stringer and Yahoo!'s Terry Semel".

Larry Page co-founded Google as the CEO in 1998 and grew the company to more than 200 employees and profitability before moving into his role as president of products in April 2001. He continues to share responsibility for Google's day-to-day operations and serve on Google's Board of Directors.

In 2002, Page was named a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow. He is a member of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) of the University of Michigan College of Engineering, and together with co-founder Sergey Brin, he was honored with the Marconi Prize in 2004. He is a trustee on the board of the X PRIZE and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004.

The 2006 International CES focuses on more than 30 product areas from more than 2,500 exhibitors spread throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands Expo and Convention Center, the Las Vegas Hilton and the Alexis Park. For more news on CES before, during and after the show, including a detailed keynote schedule, visit www.CESweb.org, the interactive source for CES information.

Keynote Schedule


Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software
Architect, Microsoft Corp. 6:30 p.m.


Thursday, January 5, 2006
Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman and CEO, Sony Corp.
9 a.m.
Special address prior by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, CEA


Paul Otellini
CEO, Intel Corp.
4:30 p.m.


Friday, January 6, 2006
Terry Semel
Chairman and CEO, Yahoo! Inc.
9 a.m.


Larry Page
Co-founder and President, Google Inc.
4 p.m.


All keynotes take place at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater

From http://www.cesweb.org/press/news/rd_release_detail.asp?id=10876.

Yahoo connects PC, TV and mobile phone



Yahoo launched at CES its Go initiative, a series of connected initiatives which exist outside the browser. Yahoo will present at go.connect.yahoo.com:


  • Yahoo Go Mobile - apps for mobile devices that will organize your content on your phone and keep it automatically synched with your online account. Will include Yahoo Mail, Messenger, Photos, calendar, address book, Web and image search, news, sports and finance, and come with Nokia 60 series phones (Nokia N70 Nokia 6680 Nokia 6681 Nokia 6630 Nokia 6600 Nokia 7610 Nokia 6670 Nokia 6682 Nokia 6620) and available to Cingular and AT&T customers in 10 countries. In order to use Yahoo! Go, your phone requires:
    2 MB free on the phone’s internal memory and 8 MB free on a separate memory card.

  • Yahoo Go TV - sends entertainment related services to a TV connected to a PC, like Windows Media Center does. Will include local and video search, access to content from CNN and MTV, movie trailers, and other info from My Yahoo. Will hit in April and be ad supported. Will have a program guide that combines TV listings with user-supplied ratings and reviews. Will work with any remote control.

  • Yahoo Go Desktop - another name for Yahoo Widgets, or Konfabulator.

January 5, 2006

Google Pack free software bundle

Google Pack: a software package including pretty much everything but an operating system and productivity suite.

[It] will include the open-source Firefox Web browser, a version of Norton AntiVirus software from Symantec Corp., Adobe Systems Inc.’s Reader software, RealNetworks Inc.’s RealPlayer multimedia software, Trillian instant-messaging software from Cerulean Studios and Lavasoft ’s Ad-Aware antispyware software. Google Pack will also include Google’s own desktop search software, Google Earth satellite imaging and maps software, Picasa photo-management software, Google Talk instant-messaging program, its Toolbar add-on for Web browsers and screen saver software.

Dirson reports that you’ll be able to find it at http://pack.google.com/pack/pack_installer.html.

Google Pack, which could eventually come preinstalled when people buy some new personal computers, is one way for Google to promote alternatives to Microsoft. It doesn’t, however, appear to include productivity applications, such as word-processor software, that would compete more directly with Microsoft’s core software business.

Run Windows XP more securely

Four simple rules for keeping your Windows operating system secure from OSNews.com.

Rule 1. Use a limited user account for normal work, and for connection to the net. Never connect from an account with administration privileges.

Rule 2. Connect to Broadband via an ADSL Router, never just an ADSL modem. Either ask your provider to supply Broadband with an ADSL Router, or buy a combined modem/router yourself.

Rule 3. Only use secure software. First, don't use the chronically insecure Microsoft Explorer and Outlook; get (free) Mozilla Firefox (Web) and Mozilla Thunderbird (Email). Also get the Firefox Spoofstick plugin and Adblock to guard against phishing.

Rule 4. Keep as much personal information as possible off the machine, on paper.

January 4, 2006

New Google data center: Google Bigdaddy

Google has a new data center nicknamed Bigdaddy, as Googler Matt Cutts writes. Matt expects that Bigdaddy’s results, which are still experimental at this stage, will become the default for Google. Matt says, “[Bigdaddy] has some new infrastructure, not just better algorithms or different data. Most of the changes are under the hood, enough so that an average user might not even notice any difference in this iteration.”

"The changes on Bigdaddy are relatively subtle (less ranking changes and more infrastructure changes). Most of the changes are under the hood, and this infrastructure prepares the framework for future improvements throughout the year."

If you want to help test-drive the new results, you can do so by searching at 66.249.93.104 (recommended IP) or 64.233.179.104.

It looks like [sf giants] is a fine query to see if you’re hitting Bigdaddy. If you get giants.mlb.com at #1, you’re searching Bigdaddy. If you get www.sfgiants.com at #1 and an uncrawled url http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/sf/homepage/sf_homepage.jsp at #3, you’re hitting the older Google infrastructure.

If you don't like the new results, click “Dissatisfied? Help us improve” link at the bottom right of the page.

January 3, 2006

New Design for Google Search Results

Google tests new designs for the homepage and the search results. More exactly, they changed the way people switch between their many services.

Here are two of the ways Google's search results pages may look in a short while:


First screenshot is from Arjun Prabhu. The services moved to the left, alongside the search results, like a navigation system. But the problem is it shouldn't be a navigation system.


The second screenshot, from Philipp Lenssen, shows a simpler approach: Google services migrated to a combobox. Just like that. I think the problem with this approach is that people will click less to other services.

So I think both possible changes are bad. What if Google included more from their specialized search engines in their main search results? For instance, the first three image results on top, three news or blog results, Froogle for products, Wikipedia for facts in a column.

Many people use only Google Web search and may miss interesting results, so instead of letting the users make more choices, Google should mix the most important results, disregarding the source.

Google to sell PCs with Google Operating System

The Los Angeles Times reports we might be seeing a Google PC:

“Google will unveil its own low-price personal computer or other device that connects to the Internet.

Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft’s Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap — perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars.

Larry Page will give a keynote address Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Analysts suspect that Page will use the opportunity either to show off a Google computing device or announce a partnership with a big retailer to sell such a machine.”

Google Operating System anyone?

January 2, 2006

Internet Maps



What the internet would look like if represented graphically into a tree structure.

Read more about Internet Mapping Project. The Internet Mapping Project was started at Bell Labs in the summer of 1998. Its goal is to acquire and save Internet topological data over a long period of time. This data has been used in the study of routing problems and changes, DDoS attacks, and graph theory.