Earlier last week, Transportation Security Administration special agents served subpoenas to travel bloggers Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott demanding they reveal who leaked a TSA directive outlining new screening measures that went into effect the same day as the Detroit airliner incident.

The move raised such a protest over strong-arm tactics being used by a government agency, the TSA withdrew its legal action against the bloggers.

Feds to the rescue?

With unemployment the biggest problem facing the economy, many are thinking of relocating to find work. Check out these stats before you do.

The best place to find a job? Not surprisingly, with the growing federal government in Washington, D.C. Search Stats by Major City. Or search by States.

Social networking to the rescue

Twitter and Facebook are among several social networking sites being used to help find a mom missing since Dec. 7. The three-day effort beginning Monday, Jan. 4, will use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get information about Susan Powell and her photo throughout the Internet. Yet another evolutionary step in the use of social networks.

Tiger deep in the Internet Woods

Golf legend Tiger Woods’ philandering was perfect for Internet exploitation.

Ryan Tate at Gawker wrote, “The Internet may be groaning under the hourly tick-tock of Woods’ life and lies unraveling, and the photos, audio and videos, but it’s also only the web – not just technologically, but also the newish ecosystem of news and gossip sites that are eager to turn every bit of this story into traffic gold – that could handle the Tiger Woods story.”

On a related note, AT&T will no longer sponsor Woods, joining Accenture in dropping support for the world’s top golfer. AT&T’s logo formerly appeared on his golf bag.

Twitter’s starring role on TV

SnapStream’s trending topics site lets you see the “hot words” (those that are ascending in mentions) and “cold words” (those that are descending in mentions) on national television.

TechCrunch reports that TV programs used the word “Twitter” in their programming three times more often in December 2009 than they did in late 2008 and January 2009.

Top keyword mentions on TV, in order: Iran, Michael Jackson, swine flu, North Korea, AIG, pirates, Hamas, Inauguration, Ted Kennedy and balloon (boy). SnapStream also revealed that mentions of “health care” eclipsed mentions of “economy” towards the end of the year thanks to President Obama’s health care initiative.

YouTube wants you to stay put

If you’re an average YouTube user, you watched 83 clips in October. But that’s not enough for the second largest search engine on the net. Google-owned YouTube is working on ways to encourage you to treat it more like regular television.

The average user is currently spending 15 minutes a day at the site, and while you are, a team of YouTube designers, engineers, and project managers are studying your viewing habits, hoping to nudge you to watch more. Besides competing with TV for your viewing time, YouTube’s competition also includes Hulu, BlinkX and Truveo.

The Internet radio boom

When I’m working on my laptop and tire of the usual fare on TV or talk radio, I tune in to Blog Talk Radio.

Internet stations are growing in popularity and numbers, offering thousands of radio stations with content suited to your own tastes and interests.

Search. Play. Listen. It can be heard anywhere as long as you have a device that can access the web, like a PC, smartphone or stand alone receiver.

2009’s top 10 moments in social media

In 2009, Facebook surpassed 350 million users – more than the U.S. population – and Twitter’s short blogging service skyrocketed in popularity, led by celebs, tech lovers and top companies. So, what were the biggest events in which social media played a major role? Hint: Word, Whopper, and Wave.

Pulling the social networks together

A major overhaul to the social news website Digg is expected to expand its excavation of trending Internet info.

Digg founder Kevin Rose said, “We have to take a look at all the different sources of information and kind of just act as Switzerland. If we’re seeing a trend on Twitter, we can map that to the best stories on Digg. And if there’s other things happening on Facebook and other networks, we want to be able to pull all that in.”

The changes could start appearing within the next few months.

Microsoft expanding browser choices

Microsoft has agreed to offer Windows users a choice of up to 12 web browsers rather than just its own Internet Explorer in a deal to avoid hefty fines. The software giant currently provides Internet Explorer (IE) alongside Windows, meaning it acts as the default browser for most PC users. The choice screen will list the 12 most-widely used web browsers, including Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome and Opera.

Robotic trending

The best robots of 2009 include everything from the lifelike to the industrial.

Zoom! The USPS of the 21st century

Cities looking to save millions are using digital communication with Zumbox, a paperless postal system. For the first time online, send and receive postal mail using your street address. Cities already using Zumbox include New York, San Francisco and Newark, N.J.

Let’s make a deal!

Local merchants are signing on to a service that lets you shop online with a new twist – dickering! Spreezio invites you to sign up as a shopper, browse Spreezio’s database of 35 million items, choose your item, and how much you’re willing to pay for it. Then you send your deal proposal to local merchants like Macy’s, Nordstroms, Best Buy, Target and Sears (which Spreezio will locate on a map); and once they get back to you accepting or rejecting your proposal, you can decide if you want to make a short trip and purchase the item(s) either way.

Twitter line

A-listing on Twitter

What’s it like to be a “suggested user” on Twitter? Aside from getting hundreds of “followers” a day, it can be just a lot of noise, as this “suggested user” tells it.

Twitter banning dumb passwords

Great gateway gators! My name is listed as one of Twitter’s 370 dumbest passwords. Is yours?

Going cold-turkey

Ever think of your busy and scattered lifestyle as a fragmented hard drive? Twitterer John Mayer, who has some 2.8 million Twitter followers says it’s time to take a breather and defrag our mental hard drives. Between sites like Twitter, Facebook and multiple Email boxes, most of us have data and friendships scattered all over the place. Giving some of these up for a week might be a good way to “defragment” our minds.

Now playing at The Princess Theater

Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Anna C. of Texas; Daniel B. of Idaho; Major T.J. Kong, USAF Academy, Colorado; Ken Parham of McNairy Co., Tenn.; Beverly in Kentucky; and Russell B. Dobbyn, Gulfport, Miss.

All correctly identified the character Walter Neff, played by Fred MacMurray who said “Do I laugh now, or wait ’til it gets funny?” in the 1944 film “Double Indemnity.”

Nominated for seven Oscars, the plot involves an insurance representative who lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator’s suspicions. Directed by Billy Wilder, the film also starred Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson.

This week’s trivia tests your knowledge about another film classic, one that featured a piano piece by Debussy and the line, “Why are they doing this? Why are they doing this? They said when you got here the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from! I think you’re evil. EVIL!”

Name the film, the character who spoke those lines and the actor who portrayed that character. Email me with your answers and I’ll announce the winners in next week’s Surfin’ Safari. Happy New Year!

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