Screenshot from PleaseRobMe.com
Technology is a wonderful thing. Until it's used for nefarious purposes.
Did you know you're giving up your privacy when you tweet out your location on various location-based networks like Twitter or Google's Buzz?
Some enterprising folks know that when you're announcing you're not at home, you're not there to guard your property. So they've created Please Rob Me, a stream of updates from various location-based networks that show when users check in somewhere that is not their home.
The site scans Twitter feeds to find location check-ins that are being tweeted out. Be sure to check your preferences for opt-out options. Otherwise, your followers and others might get this message from you:
GoogleBlogger XXXXX ([email protected]) was within 800 meters of you in Boston, Mass., at 7:15 p.m. Check Google Latitude to see where GoogleBlogger is now."
Now, on the other hand ...
You can find your childhood home, or any other place on the Virtual Turnpike. Enter an address to see a picture of that place. There's a map with a little man on it – you can move the little man up and down the block if you need to. I just looked at my childhood home! This is a fun website!
NBC, Olympics, Twitter, ouch!
According to an informal poll of Twitterers, two thirds of them are not happy with the coverage NBC is giving the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The network is tape-delaying competitions, holding them for broadcast during prime time.
"Sports need to be shown live because half the drama is in the outcome," Schonfeld writes. "The excitement just kind of fizzles otherwise. Everything else is real-time; NBC can't expect the country to just wait for Bob Costas to start rolling tape."
Weather on the Ones? NBC says not so much
The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore, on duty in Vancouver for NBC Sports, was told by NBC to stop tweeting weather reports and real time results.
"We have been asked that our tweeting be limited from Vancouver," was his final tweet. NBC Universal owns The Weather Channel.
Soon folks will be turning to their computers or personal devices to get instant weather reports. SWASAlert, a super-speedy severe weather alert service can now alert via Twitter and SMS. Click here and select your city. You'll then receive instant emergency weather updates straight into your TweetStream. It's weather on the NOW! – as you like it.
Twitter plus Dow = Stocktwits
Floor traders must be wondering what they did without it! According to TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, it's been just a few months since StockTwits, a real-time platform for stock traders to share information, broke away from Twitter and forged ahead on its own.
"StockTwits is like cocaine for hard core traders," writes Arrington. "They started long ago with just a filtered stream of Twitter messages that touched on stocks. But they've continued to add resources that traders want and need to their product suite."
Show me the money: #spon?
In my December 7th Surfin' Safari column I wrote that if you're a blogger and you accept cash or freebies for your posts, the Federal Trade Commission's regulations on blogger payola and freebies in effect since Dec. 1 requires bloggers to disclose whether they're receiving compensation for blog posts of a testimonial nature.
As a result, you will now see "#spon" for sponsored tweets, "#paid" or "#samp" based on guidelines released by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) in response to the Federal Trade Commission's call for more explicit disclosure from bloggers.
New "currency" expected to increase on-line revenues
Facebook and PayPal have partnered to let advertisers and Facebook users pay for ads and virtual goods using their PayPal account, a payment option that is quickly becoming the social network's currency.
Previously, you could only buy credits with a major credit card or through purchases on your mobile phone. This also provides Facebook advertisers with an advantage, giving them the option of paying for ads with PayPal. Previously, Facebook advertisers used a credit card to place ads on the site. The option will be launched within the next few weeks and is expected to generate more revenue.
For an Administration that exploited the Internet during its presidential campaign to organize and fund raise, it seems incongruous that its official spokesman is only now opening a Twitter account. But it's true.
Welcome White House spokesman Robert Gibbs to Twitter. But think twice before you shoot off a 140-character diatribe. Since this is an official White House account, comments and messages you send him "may be archived" in line with the Presidential Records Act.
To pay or not to pay; that is the question
Would you be willing to pay for online movies, games, TV shows and music? A recent survey by the Nielsen research firm shows that most of us (85 percent) want free online content to stay that way. However, about half of us would be willing to pay for entertainment sites.
The sites we won't pay for? Most of us (80 percent) would not be willing to pay for news, blogs and user-created videos.
The report concluded that, "At this point, no one can say for sure how deeply embedded the free-information ideology is among consumers. So it is unclear how, even if they accept the inevitability of having to pay for online content, consumers will deal with a flood of new charges."
Faster than the speed of Facebook?
Facebook users are noticing that their pages are now loading faster, but it wasn't easy, according to Jason Sobel, Facebook engineer. Writing on the company's blog, Sobel takes you through the steps that now brings you Facebook at twice the speed of load.
Out of this world
As of this writing, the Space Shuttle Endeavour's return to earth is set for 10:20 p.m. EST, Sunday evening. If it is delayed, these links will be useful to track its re-entry into earth's atmosphere all the way to its landing, scheduled to take place at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But even if the mission has already been completed when you're reading this, save these links for future shuttle missions.
This one is particularly fascinating, because you can track future shuttle missions from beginning to end. Zoom in and watch the orbiter whip around the globe so fast, you won't be able to read the map landmarks beneath it. Zoom out, and watch as it traverses the oceans and continents.
These links tie in nicely with the sites we wrote about in last week's Surfin' Safari column. Bookmark them.
A look back at America's proud history
Sixty-five years ago on Feb. 23, U.S. Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over Iwo Jima, four days after landing on the Japanese-held volcanic island. The battle for Iwo Jima was described as the bloodiest fight in U.S. Marine Corps history by the commander of the Marines in the Pacific, Lt. General M. "Howling Mad" Smith. Out of the 74,000 Marines that landed, more than a third were killed or wounded. The 28th Regiment of the 5th Marine Division took Mount Suribachi at 1030 hours local time.
The photograph of the U.S. Marines raising the flag over Mount Suribachi was taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal and is an iconic image of the war. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945.
A memorial based on the photo stands at Arlington Cemetery, Va.
Now playing at the Princess Theater, Urbana, Ill.
Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Chris S. of Miami, Fla.; Joe King of Pasco, Wash.; Terry McKelvey of Athens, Ala.; and John Takacs of Westminster, Mass., who correctly guessed last week's movie and the actor/character who said the following:
"Listen, I'm a politician, which means I'm a cheat and a liar, and when I'm not kissing babies I'm stealing their lollipops. But it also means I keep my options open." – Jeffrey Pelt, played by Richard Jordan, "The Hunt for Red October."
In this week's new trivia quiz, identify the movie and the actor/character who said: "Frankie, most people figure out by kindergarten it's about faith."
Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!