Recently, the Federal Trade Commission has decided that companies that compile this information may retain it for up to 7 years. If an employer decides not to hire you because of something the background check discovered, they must tell you. Of course, if this happened to someone they would quickly remove the offending information so that the next potential employer doesn’t find it. However, since the companies that do the background checks can store the information for seven years, you still aren’t safe. If the next potential employer uses the same company to do the background check, they will get the same information even though you removed it. This just re-enforces a belief I have had for a long time: You must assume that anything you ever post on the Internet can be seen by everyone and will be there forever.
The good news is that these companies are only allowed to mine public information. They aren’t allowed to hack your Facebook or Twitter account, so if you haven’t set you account to private you may want to right now. But even if you do set it to private, treat it like it isn’t. It is better to play it safe. If you really need to tell all your friends about that “funny” thing that happened last night, go old school and just call them.]]>
Infographic by- Shanghai Web Designers
It is absolutely amazing the amount of action that take place on the internet in just 60 seconds. Here are a few that I found most interesting:
600 videos uploaded to YouTube, that’s about 25 hours of video
695,000 Facebook status updates
168,000,000 emails are sent
13000 iPhone apps are downloaded
20,000 new posts are published on Micro-blogging platform tumblers
370,000+ Skype minutes used
13,000+ hours of music streamed via Pandora
Wow, that is just 60 seconds and there is more, much more. That is pretty amazing to me!]]>
The idea is that the only thing loaded on the laptop is Chrome, and all the apps you use would be web apps such as Google Docs. You would also store your data on the cloud. The benefit of this is that the laptop would not require much processing power or storage space. Of course, to really use this laptop you would have to have Internet access, but nowadays that isn’t too much of a problem.
There will be a small amount of memory so that you can store some files offline and many web apps can be run locally if you are able to download them. You will also be able to plug a USB thumb drive for a little extra storage.
So, how useful will this device really be? Well, there are about 5000 web apps that Chromebook will be able to run. That doesn’t sound too bad until you compare it to the number of apps that are available for the iPad. But still, that is a decent amount so we shouldn’t be lacking for apps. The device claims to boot in about 15 seconds, which is faster than pretty much any laptop out there. My Macbook Air comes close to that and boots in 18 secs. They are claiming about 8.5 hours of run time, which is pretty good. There are tablets out there that run a little longer, but 8.5 hours should work for most anyone. All in all there are some good arguments for this device, but as you can see, there isn’t anything that it can do better than any other device.
Looking at all it offers and all that it doesn’t and then examining the hardware required, I figured the killer proposition for this device was going to be price. I was wrong. The Samsung Series 5, 12 inch model has a starting price tag of $430. This puts it in the same price range of a number laptops and a few tablets.
The big question is if this device will really take off. It hard to tell right now. I think it’s going to take some time and refinement before it will attract many users. My guess would be that the OS will evolve but continue to be Chrome centric and more local storage will be added.]]>
In November of 2010 Microsoft released a device that aimed at changing this. Well, at least for the gaming community. Of course, I am talking about the Kinect. I have one and it is cool, but I don’t find it as useful as a traditional controller. While the Kinect offers a neat interface, it doesn’t really add that much usability to the Xbox. That is, I don’t find an advantage to using the Kinect over using a standard controller. This may change as they build new games to take advantage of this technology.
Microsoft isn’t the only one that is thinking that perhaps the best controller is no controller. The Hasso Plattner Institute is working on a technology they call the “Imaginary Interface.” It works by having the user simply draw in thin air. The User wears a small camera that captures these movements, and they are then translated in to commands. Imagine walking down the street and your cell phone starts ringing. Instead of digging through you purse or pocket to find your phone, you simply draw a check mark in the air which causes the phone to be answered via your bluetooth headset.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/718RDJeISNA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
One thing that this type of interface offers is that it would allow devices to become even smaller than they currently are. One of the reasons devices can’t be much smaller than they are now is that they have to have buttons or screens on them so that we can interface with them. By using something like an Imaginary Interface, screen and buttons could be eliminated on some devices.
It seems like a pretty cool technology, but as with all technologies it going to take a little while to be refined and adopted. Remember how funny people looked when bluetooth headsets came out? It looked like they were walking around in public talking to themselves. Just imagine what people will think when they see people walking down the street waving their hands in the air.]]>
Recently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved a plan that will allow for the creation of generic TLDs. The idea is that organizations can request a “personal” TDL. For example, perhaps Steve Jobs group would be interested in registering .apple or the folks over a General Motors might be interested in .gmc.
They say that they may add up to 1000 TLDs per year, but the plan is to start out a little smaller. The first phase will process about 500 applications. So, what is preventing an individual from trying to register their last name as a TLD? Near as I can tell nothing, that is if you have an extra $185,000 laying around and have nothing better to do with it. That is the starting price to file an application. Additional fees may be required.
Once a party registers a TLD, they pretty much “own” it. If another organization wants a sub-domain on it, they have to request it from the TLD owner, and the owner can allow or disallow it at their own discretion.
I am still not sure why we need more TLDs, but I can’t say I wouldn’t mind owning my very own TLD. However, since I don’t have an extra $185,000, donations are welcome.]]>
I have always felt that no matter what a company’s privacy statement says or how much they tout their state of the art encryption, anything I store on “the cloud” was less secure than promised. On Sunday Dropbox proved me right. For a few hours on Sunday Dropbox accounts were accessible without requiring a password. This issue was quickly discovered and fixed, but it still shows that once you store something on someone else’s system, it is open to compromise.
So what should we do? Should we stop using these cloud services? No, but we should use them knowing that we are taking a risk. In other words, assume that anything you post could be accessed by people that you may not wish to share it with. If you have a document that you want to ensure unauthorized people don’t ever have access to, then don’t store it on services like this. You can also take extra steps to protect yourself when using these types of services. An easy way to encrypt files before you post them is to zip them and password protect the file.
The fact that these service are not infallible could be good in one respect. This might help us remember to clean up files that we really don’t need to store offsite or that we no longer need. That reminds me, I have to go clean up some files now.]]>
A number of their sites have been hacked into and a lot of user information has been obtained by the hackers. Many are outraged that Sony did not do a better job of safe guarding our personal information and rightfully so. However, one interesting thing that did come to light was how serious some are about protecting their information. Some of the information that was obtained by LulzSec from one of Sony’s sites was released, and it shows that many people don’t care enough about their own security to create strong passwords.
As I am sure you know by now, a password should contain upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and perhaps even special characters. Of the information released by LulzSec, only about 90 percent of the passwords used all lowercase. Less than one percent contained any special characters (non-alphanumeric) and only about four percent used at lest three types of characters.
While Sony has a long way to go to ensure its customers’ information and regain the public’s trust, it looks like most users need to start doing their part by using a password a little stronger than their birthday.]]>
If you haven’t heard, we are running out of IPv4 addresses. Actually, we already have ran out of them. The solution is to migrate to IPv6, which should provide more Internet addresses than this world will ever need. In preparations for the eventual migration, sites like Yahoo, Google, Facebook, and Bing are going to test IPv6 for the day.
So how will this affect you? If all goes right, it won’t. As a matter of fact, if all goes according to plan, you may have never known it happened if you hadn’t read about it. But what will happen if things don’t go according to plan? At worst, you may see some slow response or timeouts when visiting sites that are participating in the test.
So, for the next 24 hours or so don’t freak out if it takes you a few extra minutes to update your status on Facebook. I am sure your “friends” will understand.]]>