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Play ball! (And don't let 'em steal home)

Posted By Andrea Shea King On 07/13/2009 @ 11:00 pm In Diversions | Comments Disabled

This week’s surf through the Internet takes us to a number of computer and Internet tech-related sites. From baseball to travelers and vacationers, we’ve got the bases covered. Ready? Here’s the pitch!

Batter up!

Hey baseball lovers, it’s Ballbug!

Ballbug spotlights the most buzzed-about baseball news from thousands of web sites, knocking one out of the park. It autogenerates a summary page every five minutes, drawing on local news sites, national sports media, and baseball bloggers of various stripes. Waveland Avenue, baby!

Memeorandum

What is Memorandum and why aren’t you using it?

Increasingly, stories are broken and analyzed in near real-time and away from established news sites.

Memeorandum offers you a window into this new world of constantly evolving online news coverage. The website focuses primarily on national politics and current affairs and autogenerates a news summary every five minutes, drawing on experts and pundits, insiders and outsiders, media professionals and amateur bloggers. I wouldn’t be without it.

Who are memeorandum’s top sources?

Look to the Leaderboard, which identifies 100 of them, ranking sources by how much they’ve appeared on Memeorandum in the past month. It updates every 20 minutes and offers archives of past days.

“The ascent of blogs and other independent publishers has expanded and revitalized political dialogue in the United Status,” the Leaderboard explains. “While the ‘mainstream’ media remains the primary source of factual reporting, they no longer own the agenda. It follows then that tapping a diversity of media sites is essential to produce Memeorandum’s autosummaries of the web’s most buzzed-about political items.”

To see past headlines, jump into Memorandum’s river, which features headlines in reverse chronological order.

More from the brains at Memeorandum: WeSmirch. This page distills the lastest buzz from popular gossip blogs and news sites every five minutes.

And for you nascent tech geeks, Techmeme is the ultimate go-to site for tech stories scattered across hundreds of news sites and blogs. Fortunately, Techmeme arranges all of these links into a single, easy-to-scan page. Story selection is accomplished via computer algorithm extended with direct human editorial input.

“Our goal is for Techmeme,” the site states, “is to become your tech news site of record.”

Twitter tools and tips

How clean is your Twitter account? We’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating. Try TwitterKarma to do the cleanup. I use it to get rid of the deadwood – Twitterers who haven’t tweeted for the past 30 days.

Want to find a media contact on Twitter? Here’s a database to help with that task. Sort by name, media outlet, country, title or beat in ascending or descending order. More than 650 media contacts.

Everything you need to know about Twitter and microblogging can be found in these seven essential books.

More Twitter tips: Shrinking long URL addresses can help save space on Twitter. And since Twitter limits messages to 140 characters, users have quickly come to depend on “URL shorteners.” These free services take the long URLs and shrink them to a manageable size. Some shortening tools even allow you track the performance (i.e. number of clicks) that a URL receives from Twitter and other social networking services.

Silverlight to the third power!

Everything you need to know about Microsoft’s Silverlight 3 is right here.

Microsoft’s “Flash-killer,” Silverlight has released the third version of its rich media application platform, Silverlight 3, a cross-browser, cross-platform and cross-device plug-in for delivering media experiences and interactive applications for the Web. Silverlight’s gorgeous video stream quality will give Adobe Flash some serious competition.

Security alert!

Microsoft has warned of a serious computer security vulnerability it hasn’t fixed yet that affects Internet Explorer users whose computers run the Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 operating software. A hacker can remotely take over your computer!

“Microsoft is investigating a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Video ActiveX Control,” the security advisory states. “An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user. When using Internet Explorer, code execution is remote and may not require any user intervention.”

Under cyberattack

Beginning on July 4, a dozen U.S. government websites, including those of the White House, Pentagon and State Department, and the New York Stock Exchange were targeted in a coordinated cyberattack, which also struck sites in South Korea. South Korea’s intelligence service believed North Korea or its sympathizers may have staged the attack.

Attackers used 86 IP addresses in 16 nations. There was also some concern that PCs might be hit next.

Scam alert

Meanwhile, vacationers and travelers beware!
Government websites weren’t the only targets for cyberattack. Wireless cybercriminals have been targeting clueless vacationers by creating phony Wi-Fi hot spots in airports, in hotels and aboard airliners. Vacationers think they’re using designated Wi-Fi access points, but instead, are signing on to fraudulent networks and hand-delivering everything on their laptops to the crooks.

With any major world event comes opportunity for online scammers. The recent protests in Iran, swine flu outbreak and Michael Jackson’s death triggered a barrage of Internet attacks. How it works and why.

Where’s Obama?

In recognition of President Obama’s visit to Ghana, Google worked with the Ministry of Tourism in that country on a special site detailing his stops at cultural and historical landmarks using Google Earth and Maps.

Eye on Google

Why is Google stealing Apple’s ideas?

Brian Caulfield writes, “Short answer: Because they’re good. Long answer: Because Google has none of its own.”

Google introduces its own operating system

Nine months ago, Google launched its Chrome browser and reports that over 30 million people use it regularly. Google Chrome was designed for info search, checking email, catching up on news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends.

Google, however, says the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no Web. Google Chrome Operating System is Google’s attempt “to re-think what operating systems should be.”

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year Google will open source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But bloggers run the risk of using images without the permission of their owners. To fix that problem, Google has launched a feature on Image Search to help you find images you can use for free, while respecting the wishes of artists and creators.

“This feature allows you to restrict your Image Search results to images that have been tagged with licenses like Creative Commons,” Google states, “making it easier to discover images from across the web that you can share, use and even modify.”

Smart computers

Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer says the next generation of computers will know what you want. The next focus of research, Ballmer says, is machines that intuit what the user wants. And within the next ten years, computers as flexible as a sheet of paper will replace notepads and newspapers, while others will be able to intuit what you’re trying to find online.


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