Archive for June 2011

With Google+, Is it the end of Facebook era?

The mystery of the black menu bar at the top of your Google searches this morning is solved. Apparently, it's part of gearing up for Google's latest assault on the social networking scene.
Facebook's latest competitor is alive, and it's called Google+.
Although Google+ has officially launched - its web site says so - you can't actually try it yet. More accurately, you may be able to. Or you may not.
Recent, survey tells us that there is an increase in Facebook account being deactivated in U.S. Our main concern is just like Facebook killed Orkut, Will Google+ kill Facebook?

Main Features
Google+ Circles helps you: organize everyone according to your real-life social connections--say, 'family,' 'work friends,' 'music buddies,' and 'alumni'. Then, you can share relevant content with the right people, and follow content posted by people you find interesting.

Hangouts lets you: Chill with friends that are scrolling through the web, just like you!, Use live video chat that puts you in the same room together!, Coordinate plans, whether it's working on a project or meeting up for coffee, Maybe you’re bored. Start a hangout, invite your circles, see who’s around!

Instant Upload lets you: Create a new post from the stream or the Google+ bar. Upload photos from your Google+ Photos homepage or from the Photos tab on your Google profile. Share directly from your mobile device.

Sparks brings you: stories on the things you love from all across the Web, so it's easy to strike up meaningful conversations with your friends. When you first arrive in Sparks, you'll see a collection of featured interests. If nothing strikes your fancy, search for a different interest.

Texting is great, but not when you’re trying to get six different people to decide on a movie. Huddle turns all those different conversations into one simple group chat, so everyone gets on the same page all at once. Your thumbs will thank you.

Nevertheless, if you're interested in Google+, you should probably start getting ready now for its public launch by reading (or re-reading) Google's policies on privacy. There are several.

Then there's the Google Privacy Policy. But that's just the start, because Google+ has its own brand-new T&Cs to peruse, too. There's the Google+ Privacy Policy, the User Content and Conduct policy, and the Google +1 Button Privacy Policy.

And if you want to access Plus from a mobile device, there's also the Mobile Privacy Policy.
You'd better read the Picasa Privacy Notice, too, in case you ever upload a photo. And that is supposed to happen automatically and instantly every time you snap a picture on your phone. Actually, to save searching time, you can use the Google Privacy Center to dig into all 37 of of Google's privacy policies, from +1 (like Like, it really means Recommend) through to YouTube.

Anyway, happy privacy policy reading.
The good news is that you've still got time to give feedback on any of the Google+ terms and conditions which you find unpalatable. Google has listened before - for example, when its early T&Cs claimed intellectual property rights over everything you uploaded.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Now You Can Give Any Name To Your Domain

Get ready for www.inferno19.hacks -- or even www.hacks.inferno19. You just name it. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided to allow virtually any word to become a new top-level domain to compete with the old favorites of .com, .net, .org and .gov.

ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom said the decision will open "the Internet's naming system to unleash the global human imagination," in that it "respects the rights of groups to create new top-level domains in any language or script."

$185,000 Fees Only, Plus
Until this decision, there were 22 generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, of which .com, .net, .org and .gov were the best known. Under the new guidelines, gTLDs now can be "almost any word in any language."

But the groups whose imagination will be unleashed will likely be limited to large and flush ones. Application fees will cost $185,000. ICANN has determined that level of fees is needed to cover its cost in evaluating the applications, and, if a group is turned down, the fee will not be returned.

Some observers have estimated that, in addition to the application fee, other costs for application preparation, legal, trademark searches, and web-site preparation and maintenance could add hundreds of thousands of dollars more. In addition to restricting the new domains to groups that can afford them, the high cost of entry could also tame the gold-rush fever that accompanied the first wave of URL naming.
If two or more groups want the same domain, that domain goes to auction.

Biggest Beneficiary?
Applications for the new domains will be accepted beginning in January, and they go into effect July 2012. Already, Canon, Unicel and the city of Paris, France, have announced they will apply for their names as gTLDs. Of course, if Canon owns .photo, instead of simply owning, it would seem to dramatically change the nature of URLs.

The new gTLDs raise the distinct possibility of a major new level in phishing. For instance, a user might now be suspicious to receive an e-mail purporting to be from Citibank with link that doesn't contain But how will users respond to, say, e-mails with links to

Andrew Frank, research director at Gartner , said "the dot-com formula is pretty much etched into people's brains at this point in time," adding that it might be "hard to change behavior."

In any case, Frank said, don't expect the change to have much impact on Internet branding until it becomes widespread and people get used to it.
In fact, he said, the biggest beneficiary of this change "could be Google ," with users utilizing the popular search engine when they can't remember Canon's new top-level domain.
Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chrome, Firefox Build in PDF Functions

Browser developers at Google and Mozilla are working on new ways to more tightly integrate PDF capabilities. Google was the first browser maker to integrate a PDF reader in Chrome instead of a plug-in vulnerable to hacker attacks. Now Chrome developers have taken the next step.

A new print-preview function in Chrome 13 beta lets web surfers convert any web page into a PDF file. Users on a Wi-Fi-only notebook, media tablet or PDF-compatible e-reader should find this capability useful because web content can now be stored as PDF files for later reading where hot-spot access is unavailable.

"Print preview uses Chrome's built-in PDF viewer to display the page you want to print, and it updates automatically as you adjust your print settings," noted Google software engineer Chris Bentzel. "You can also choose to save any web page as a PDF file, using the 'Print to PDF' option that's automatically included in the printer list."

From Web To PDF
Using print preview is a straightforward process. Users encountering a web page they wish to print can click on the tool icon in the upper right corner of the Chrome 13 browser to select the print menu option. Print preview automatically appears in a separate window that shows users what the web page currently being viewed will look like when printed.

The Print to PDF option is among the available selections in the drop-down menu next to the word "destination." Users can even specify a single page or pages of content to be printed from among those displayed in the preview window. Click the Print button to save the selection as a PDF file.

Chrome's lack of a print-preview function has been among the top Chrome user requests since Google started requesting user feedback in 2008, according to Bentzel. Having finally implemented it on Windows and Linux, the Mac version will be coming 

Building a New PDF Engine
Mozilla's developer community is working to eliminate the use of a native-code PDF plug-in from Adobe Systems by building a secure PDF rendering engine into future Firefox browser releases. However, the developers are approaching the problem in an entirely different way than Google's developers.

"Google's Chrome browser goes through quite some pain to sandbox the PDF renderer to avoid code-injection attacks," Mozilla researcher Andreas Gal wrote in a blog. "An HTML5-based implementation is completely immune to this class of problems."

Firefox developers are working on a new open-source specification dubbed pdf.js for rendering PDF files quickly and securely from within the browser that is based on HTML5/JavaScript coding.
Saturday, June 18, 2011

Apple's iCloud allows to Update all Types of Content

Apple's iCloud is out, offering coverage to music lovers everywhere. Apple formally announced its iCloud service to enable iPhone, iPad , iPod touch, Mac and PC  users to get content from Apple's servers. Although the focus is on music, iCloud can offer access  to any kind of content -- photos, videos, documents -- and changes to that content will be reflected across all accessing devices.

Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs said "it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up to date across all your devices." With iCloud, he said, "all of this happens automatically and wirelessly."

The service will take over all the MobileMe features, such as Contacts, Calendar and Mail. Apps and e-books purchased in Apple's App Store and iBookstore will also be available in the iCloud, and tapping the iCloud icon will download the content to any iOS device. Up to 10 devices will be supported at no additional cost.

When an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is charged, iCloud Backup automatically backs up the content via Wi-Fi. This includes all music, apps or books purchased from iTunes as well as photos, videos, device settings, and data relating to apps. When a new iOS device is acquired, a user enters his or her Apple ID and password into iCloud, and all the user's content is downloaded to the device.

Any previously purchased iTunes music can be downloaded from iCloud to iOS devices at no additional cost, while new iTunes purchases are automatically downloaded to all the supported devices.

Any document created with an iCloud Storage API is automatically stored online and pushed to devices. Apple gave the example of photos taken at a family event, which are then automatically available for sharing on iCloud.

Michael Gartenberg, research director at the Gartner Group, said the iCloud announcement represents "a shift in their philosophy," in which iCloud becomes the "glue that ties all of their devices together." It's much more than "an online storage locker," he noted. "It's about synchronicity, and having your content wherever and whenever you want it."

iTunes in the Cloud is available now for free in the U.S. and requires iTunes 10.3 and iOS 4.3.3, or, for PCs, Windows Vista or Windows 7. The service will be available in the fall for iOS 5 devices and a Mac OS X Lion computer. It provides 5GB of free cloud storage for Mail, Documents and Backup, and iTunes-purchased content doesn't count toward the storage limit.
Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stop your Gmail account being hacked

Recently it has been widely reported, high profile users of Gmail - including US government officials, reporters and political activists - have had their email accounts hacked. This wasn't a sophisticated attack against Google's systems, but rather a cleverly-crafted HTML email which pointed to a Gmail phishing page. Victims would believe that they had been sent an attachment, click on the link, and be greeted by what appeared to be Gmail's login screen. Before you knew it, your Gmail username and password could be in the hands of unauthorised parties.

So, what steps should you take to reduce the chances of your Gmail account being hacked?
1.     Set up Two step verification
2.     Check if your Gmail messages are being forwarded without your permission
3.     Where is your Gmail account being accessed from?
4.     Choose a unique, hard-to-crack password
5.     Secure your computer

1. Set up Two step verification
The hackers who broke into high profile Gmail accounts grabbed usernames and passwords. So, an obvious thing to do would be to make Gmail require an extra piece of information before allowing anybody to access your account.
Google provides a facility called "two step verification" to Gmail users, which provides that extra layer of security. It requires you to be able to access your mobile phone when you sign into your email account - as they will be sending you a magic "verification" number via SMS.

The advantage of this approach - which is similar to that done by many online banks - is that even if cybercriminals manage to steal your username and password, they won't know what your magic number is because they don't have your phone.
Google has made two step verification easy to set up.

Once you're set up, the next time you try to log into Gmail you'll be asked for your magic number after entering your username and password. Your mobile phone should receive an SMS text message from Google containing your verification number.

2. Check if your Gmail messages are being forwarded without your permission

Gmail gives you the ability to forward your emails to another email address. There are situations where this might be handy, of course, but it can also be used by hackers to secretly read the messages you receive.
Go into your Gmail account settings, and select the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab. If your emails are being forwarded to another address, then you will see something like the following:

That's fine if you authorised for your emails to be forwarded to that email address, but a bad thing if you didn't. Hackers want to break into your account not just to see what email you've received up until their break-in. Ideally, they would like to have ongoing access to your email, even if you change your password or enable two step verification. That's why it's so important to check that no-one has sneakily asked for all of your email to be forwarded to them.

3. Where is your Gmail account being accessed from?
At the bottom of each webpage on Gmail, you'll see some small print which describes your last account activity. This is available to help you spy if someone has been accessing your account at unusual times of day (for instance, when you haven't been using your computer) or from a different location.

Clicking on the "Details" option will take you to a webpage describing the type of access and the IP address of the computer which logged your email account. Although some of this data may appear nerdy, it can be a helpful heads-up - especially if you spot a computer from another country has been accessing your email.

4. Choose a unique, hard-to-crack password

You should never use the same username and password on multiple websites. It's like having a skeleton key which opens every door - if they grab your password in one place they can try it in many other places.
Also, you should ensure that your password is not a dictionary word, and is suitably complex that it's hard to break with a dictionary attack. Don't delay, be sensible and make your passwords more secure today

And once you've chosen a safer password - keep it safe! That means, don't share it with anyone else and be very careful that you're typing it into the real Gmail login screen, not a phishing site. Check this video.

5. Secure your computer
You need to properly secure your computer with up-to-date anti-virus software, security patches and so forth. If you don't, you're risking hackers planting malicious code on your computer which could spy upon you and, of course, your email.
You always want to be certain that your computer is in a decent state of health before you log into a sensitive online account, such as your email or bank account. That's one of the reasons why I would always be very nervous about using a computer in a cybercafe or hotel lobby. You simply don't know what state the computer is in, and who might have been using it before.
Monday, June 6, 2011


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