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Friday, October 30, 2009

Icann Approves non-Latin-script Domain Names

With about one half of current internet users speaking languages with non-Latin scripts, the internet regulator Icann, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has approved a move to support domain names in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts.

"Of the 1.6 billion internet users today worldwide, more than half use languages that have scripts that are not Latin-based," said Icann president and CEO Rod Beckstrom earlier this week.

"So this change is very much necessary for not only half the world's internet users today but more than half, probably, of the future users as the internet continues to spread."

The work required to support the change is described as a "fantastically complicated technical feature"

Source: BBC News

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Google Music Search Roll Out - Music Onebox

Finding your favorite tune via Google has just become a whole lot easier with the un-boxing of Music Onebox. Entering the name of a song, an album name, or bands name into a Google search box will now yield results from Lala and MySpace Music. Clicking on either of these links will in most cases, present a pop-up window that enables you to play the song once in it's entirety, for free, and also presents a link to buy the song.

“The intention is not to turn the partners on Google into a free streaming music service. This is about providing a richer experience for users looking for a particular song,” said R.J. Pittman, Google’s director of product management. Music searches often account for two of the top ten searches conducted via Google, within the US.

Source: Bits Blog

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gizmodo Serves Up Scareware

Hackers posing as advertisers for large corporations have been targeting high volume sites buying ad space and infecting their links with scareware. The latest to be fooled into taking the ads is the popular tech blog gizmodo. In a statement on the site, gizmodo says:

"I'm really sorry but we had some malware running on our site in ad boxes for a little while last week on Suzuki ads. They somehow fooled our ad sales team through an elaborate scam.

"It's taken care of now, and only a few people should have been affected, but this isn't something we take lightly as writers, editors and tech geeks,"

The malicious sites associated with the ads try to convince users that their computer is infected with viruses and trojans, and offer them a download remedy which is actually harmful code that can be used by perpetrators to acquire information on the infected PC such as credit card details.

A similar scam got past the folks at the New York Times last month.

Source: BBC News

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Google Voicemail - A Google Voice Tweek

Google has decided that a hack developed by users of the Google Voice system, who didn't want to change their phone number to a Google Voice number, makes sense. The Official Google blog has an announcement regarding a new feature that allows you to use a lighter version of Google Voice with your existing mobile phone number, the trade off is that you will not get all of the features of a full blown Voice account. Oh yeah, and you need an invite to the system before you can get either the light or the full featured versions working. This video gives a great overview of the new lighter version.

I'm still waiting for my invite but it's also unclear what the catch might be for those of us north of the border...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Twitter Taking Notice Of How Users Interact

Twitter has been sitting up and taking notice of how it's users interact with each other and is rolling out some "new" features based on those observations. Over the next several weeks, Twitter users will see two new features, Lists and Retweets, both of which have spawned from user-generated innovation.

According to this New York Times Article "“Twitter’s smart enough, or lucky enough, to say, ‘Gee, let’s not try to compete with our users in designing this stuff, let’s outsource design to them,’ ” said Eric von Hippel, head of the innovation and entrepreneurship group at the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. and author of the book “Democratizing Innovation.”"

Innovations such as the referral of other users by the "@" symbol preceding their user name and the "#" tag identifying a topic where also user generated and are very much embedded in the Twitter vernacular.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Geocities Will Cease To Exist After Tomorrow

While this isn't really that big of a story from the standpoint that Geocities hasn't really been relevant for some time now and hence Yahoo!'s decision to pull the plug and delete the entire site, from a purely historical point of view it is interesting. Geocities was one of the first services to offer web users a home for their own sites, and let me tell you many of those sites were real beauties. It may have contributed to this whole self publishing world that we now live in.

According to Computer World Blog "In April 2009, Yahoo announced that GeoCities would cease accepting new registrations in preparation of the service's closing. In June, they clarified: the service would shut down on Oct. 26, 2009. As their FAQ states, GeoCities is not being decommissioned — it's being deleted. That means any data not personally backed up by its owners or readers will not be recoverable, ever."

Rest in peace Geocities and your users' over use of the blink tag, may we never be subjected to those neon colour schemes again.