Volume 14, Issue 32
Published and Copyright
Atari Online News,
Atari Online News,
Thomas J. Andrews
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A-ONE #1432 08/17/12
~ Wikileaks Back Online! ~ People Are Talking! ~ Social Media Openness!
~ EA in Talks To Sell? ~ Supercharge Your Laptop ~ Facebook Stock Drops!
~ AT&T Attack Temporary! ~ Virus Shuts Down Saudis ~ Twitter’s Medium.com!
~ Nexus: Poor Man’s iPad ~ Facebook "Owner" Fined! ~ Hacks Are About Money!
-* Sony Confirms PSN Hack Is Fake *-
-* Digital Piracy Can Not Be Stopped! *-
-* Teens and Video Games: How Much Is Too Much *-
->From the Editor’s Keyboard "Saying it like it is!"
TOW TO Tr Wr Wr ee ee oe oe ee ee ee
Can you believe that, in only a few weeks, we’ll be celebrating Labor Day,
the unofficial end of summer! Personally, this entire year has been
nothing less than a blur. And, there’s no clarity in sight with all of
the personal issues we’re dealing with here. One step forward, a half
dozen backward. We can’t seem to catch a break.
But, sometimes one must create their own breaks. So, I’ve taken some
action with regard to some of our family issues. And, we’re taking a
week off, for a much-needed rest! Looking forward to it!
Until next time...
->In This Week's Gaming Section - Teens and Video Games: How Much Is Too Much?
TOUT Tr ae Or Oe We ae ee oe ee ae ee oe ee oe ee oe ee ee ee EA in Talks To Sell to Private Equity Firms!
Sony Confirms PSN Hack Claim Is Fake!
—>A-ONE’s Game Console Industry News - The Latest Gaming News!
TOUT Tr em Or er ee ee ee ee ee ee
Teens and Video Games: How Much Is Too Much?
The gamer community had a near-miss this week in Ohio, when a 15-year-old
boy collapsed after playing "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" for up to
five days straight.
The Columbus teen was rushed to the hospital with severe dehydration,
where he recovered, according to a report from TV station WCMH on Aug. 7.
Players who delve too deeply into their electronic worlds can face various
health risks, ranging from deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots, to severe
For instance, in July, a Taiwanese teenager was found dead after sitting
for 40 hours in an Internet cafe playing "Diablo 3." At the time, doctors
speculated he died from a heart attack caused by a blood clot that formed
during the long session.
And last summer, a 20-year-old man from the U.K. died from a blood clot
after spending 12-hour sessions on his Xbox. His father told "The Sun"
newspaper, "He lived for his Xbox. I never dreamed he was in any danger."
While these ar xtreme cases, they are a reminder that sitting at a
computer or console for days, whether it’s for "World of Warcraft" or for
work, isn’t healthy for anyone. But psychologists who study video games
and kids say parents needn’t worry about the amount of time spent gaming,
unless screen time starts to affect school, health or social life. (And,
of course, a stint of tens of hours gaming is likely to negatively affect
schoolwork and lead to social woes.) That said, researchers remain
concerned about the effects of violent content in video games, which have
been linked by many studies to aggressive behavior.
These days, screens of one kind or another occupy youth for 50 hours a
week, a 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation reports. "It’s a
full-time job plus 10 hours of overtime, and that’s the average," said
Douglas Gentile, a psychologist and director of the Media Research Lab at
Iowa State University.
Video-gaming consumed nine weekly hours for teens, the Kaiser survey
found, while a Harris Poll conducted for Gentile during the same period
reported 13 hours a week spent gaming on computers and consoles.
While some kids can shoot ’em up for hours, for others, too much time
gaming leads to poor school performance. Recent studies have finally
linked the cause and effect, showing that gaming displaces after-school
academic activities such as homework and reading. A 2010 study from
researchers at Denison University in Ohio, published in the journal
Psychological Science, compared two groups of boys that had never owned
gaming systems. They gave one group a system right away, but withheld
games from the other group for four months. Boys who received the
video-game system first had more teacher-reported learning problems and
significantly lower reading and writing scores than the other boys.
Problems in school are relatively easy for parents to fix: Limit screen
time of course, if you can get the controller out of his or her hands.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one to two
hours per day in front of any electronics.
What’s harder to control is violent content in video games. The Pew
Research Center reported in 2008 that more than 90 percent of games rated
as appropriate for children 10 years or older contained violence,
including games rated "E" for everyone. (Most researchers define violenc
as the ability of a player to intentionally harm others in a game.)
Now most researchers will agree that video games can help as well as
harm. For example, educational games boost learning, and action games can
improve vision and spatial skills. Video games have also been used
successfully to teach children self-care skills for asthma and diabetes.
And then there’s the primary reason people play video games: They’re
relaxing. Gentile thinks the flickering screen and varying sound levels
trigger a primitive brain response. "One of the reasons I think we find
television and video games so relaxing is they provide the attention for
you. It forces you to orient to the media. You don’t have to work to pay
attention like you do in [a] classroom lecture," said Gentile.
But a preponderance of evidence links violent video games to an increase
in aggressive behavior in teens. The behavior wasn’t violent crime, like
school shootings, but small yet hurtful offenses like teasing,
name-calling, rumor-spreading and fist fights. In a review of 130 studies
of kids and teens, Iowa State University researchers found that violent
video games increased the likelihood of aggression and decreased empathy.
The meta-analysis appeared in 2010 in the journal Psychological Bulletin.
Of course, repeated exposure to violence in any environment has a
deleterious effect, Gentile noted. "Seeing violence anywhere increases the
risks that a child might become involved in aggression, whether as a
perpetrator or a victim," he said. But video games are phenomenal teachers.
Players get immediate feedback and rewards for punishing competitors. And
not only do games reward hostility, they train your brain to respond to
real-life problems with aggression, research indicates.
In fact, games can prime teens to react to slights with name-calling or
pushing, instead of choosing to avoid confrontation. "So when I get bumped
in the hallway, I don’t assume it’s an accident anymore," explained
Gentile. "What comes to mind first is to retaliate in some way. Those
aren’t the only options you have, but we never think of them because what
we see over and over in the media is ’You killed my monster, now you must
But psychologist Patrick Markey’s research suggests just some teens are
susceptible to these effects. Markey found people with certain personality
traits those who are highly neurotic, less agreeable and less
conscientious are those more likely to become hostile from gaming. The
2010 study appeared in the journal Review of General Psychology.
"The truth of the matter is that most people can handle this media, but
for some people with a select predisposition, these people might be a
little more aggressive, more prone to an argument here and there," said
Markey, a professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
"The most interesting part is there is really no research that suggests
video games have a different effect than TV or movies. It has empirically
never been shown," said Markey. "Any media is supposed to engage us
emotionally, and video games are a form of media, a form of art even."
EA in Talks To Sell to Private Equity Firms
Publishing giant EA has apparently been approached by two private equity
firms about a potential sale.
Sources close to the New York Post have claimed that the company was
approached by private equity firms KKR and Providence Equity Partners over
the possibilty of a purchase, but emphasised that talks are at an early
One source said, "It’s early days," but another added that EA has "made it
known they’d do a deal at $20 a share." EA’s stock has had a tumultuous
ride so far this year, suffering a 37% drop. When trading closed yesterday
shares were being sold at $13.09.
It’s a difficult economic time right now, and many videogame companies
have experienced similar stock falls to EA thanks to increased interest in
casual and social games. With a third of the company’s value disappearing
so far this year though, it’s unsurprising that potential buyers are being
A possible reason for this is the current uncertainty regarding Star Wars:
The Old Republic and its free-to-play future; the most expensive videogame
ever made with a rumoured cost of around $200 million recently announced
it was abandoning its subscription fee, less than a year after launching.
But what does this mean for the average gamer? At the moment, nothing.
This hasn’t been confirmed and even the claims state that any deal is
still a long way off. But what is interesting to consider is the fact that
Providence Equity Partners is a major shareholder in Bethesda’s parent
company, Zenimax. As a result, it’s certainly a story worth keeping an
Sony Confirms PSN Hack Claim Is Fake
Update 4: Sony has given IGN the following statement:
"Weve confirmed that the recent claim that PlayStation Network was
illegally hacked and that customer passwords and email addresses were
accessed is completely false."
All is well!
Update 3: Anonymous has deleted the Tweet claiming that it hacked the PSN.
You can see the image of the Tweet as it existed in the original story
We’re still waiting to hear back from Sony, but the removal of the Tweet
is probably all the confirmation we need that this was fake. We’ll update
with any further developments if and when they occur.
Update 2: While this shouldn’t be counted as an official comment from
Sony, Shane Bettenhausen -- EGM and 1Up alum who now works for Sony’s
PlayStation-centric business development Tweeted the following:
We’re still waiting for official comment from Sony, but in the meantime,
file Mr. Bettenhausen’s comment as further confirmation that all is well.
Update: Kotaku points out that the document of leaked data linked to in
the Twitter account appears to be identical to one posted on the Internet
back in March.
This suggests that PSN - and the data therein - is safe, though we’re
still waiting to hear back from Sony for confirmation and will update when
we hear back.
Infamous hacking group Anonymous claims to have hacked the PlayStation
Network again. The following was posted on Twitter:
The group linked to a lengthy document of the data they purportedly mined,
including e-mail addresses and what appears to be other encrypted
It’s important to keep in mind that this is totally unconfirmed. It’s also
worth noting that PlayStation Network is still up, so if this is real, it
was a data leak and hasn’t led to an outage (at least at this point).
Weve reached out to Sony for comment and will update when we hear back.
A-ONE’s Headline News
The Latest in Computer Technology News
Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson
Digital Piracy Cannot Be Stopped
From the early days of IRC to the creation of The Pirate Bay, online
piracy has grown from a minor annoyance perpetrated by an underground
community to a mainstream issue that impacts several industries. Internet
savvy users originally shared music and videos with one another through a
string of underground chatrooms, however with the rise of video-sharing
website YouTube, it has become increasingly easy to watch or listen to
copyrighted material on the Web for free. While Google (GOOG) does its
best to remove infringing content, throughout the years users have found
various techniques that allow them to bypass the Internet giants search
and destroy tools, and keep their videos online for millions to see.
YouTube and similar sites are only the tip of the iceberg, however.
Each day more and more users are turning to peer-to-peer file-sharing
websites that use the BitTorrent protocol, the most popular being The
Pirate Bay. These websites offer users the opportunity to download
millions of movies, music, games and software with a simple click of the
button. For years, the United States government has attempted to shut down
pirate websites, however it isnt that simple and online pirates always
seem to be one step ahead of the authorities.
Even as popular services like Demonoid and Megaupload are shuttered,
users will find new places to download pirated content.
As Nick Bilton of the The New York Times notes, stopping online piracy is
like playing the worlds largest game of Whac-A-Mole. In the arcade
version of Whac-A-Mole, the gam ventually ends often when the player
loses. Bilton wrote. In the piracy arms-race version, there doesnt seem
to be a conclusion. Sooner or later, the people who still believe they can
hit the moles with their slow mallets might realize that their time would
be better spent playing an entirely different game.
AT&T Says Attack Temporarily Cut Internet Access
AT&T Inc said some business customers temporarily lost internet access
because its network was targeted by unknown attackers on Wednesday.
Company spokesman Mark Siegel said that domain name system, or DNS,
servers that direct traffic for AT&T customers were targeted at two
locations by a distributed denial of service attack.
In such attacks perpetrators target a server with a lot of requests at
the same time, making it unavailable to users.
The issue has now been resolved, he said.
Saudi Aramco Says Virus Shuts Down Its Computer Network
Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco) said its computer systems had been shut
down by a virus late on Wednesday, but it added that production had not
"An official source of Saudi Aramco confirmed that it had isolated
electronic systems for the entire company today and cut off external
access as an early precaution," said a statement in Arabic from the
The world’s biggest oil company said that although the virus affected some
computers, it did not penetrate key components of the network, which it
said would return to normal operating mode soon.
"The source ... reiterated the lack of any effect at all on the work of
production due to the strength of advanced protection systems," the
Rumors had spread among traders earlier on Wednesday that the state-owned
company had been subjected to a hacking attack.
WikiLeaks Resumes Operations After Massive Cyberattack
A hacker group calling itself "AntiLeaks" took credit for the attacks
against WikiLeaks on Twitter, claiming it targeted the website because of
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s ongoing efforts to seek political
asylum in Ecuador.
We are not doing this to call attention to ourselves," @antileaks said
in an extended tweet.
"We are young adults, citizens of the United States of America and are
deeply concerned about the recent developments with Julian Assange and
his attempt at aslyum [sic] in Ecuador. Assange is the head of a new
breed of terrorist. We are doing this as a protest against his attempt
to escape justice into Ecuador. This would be a catalyst for many more
like him to rise up in his place. We will not stop and they will not stop
DDoS attacks work by targeting heavy amounts of bogus traffic at a
website’s host server in hopes of overloading it and forcing it offline.
They’ re among the most common form of cyberattacks.
AntiLeaks claimed it had no relationship to the United States or other
governments considered enemies of WikiLeaks. However, that hasn’t stopped
ongoing speculation that the attack was a response to WikiLeaks’ posting
of documents related to TrapWire, a counterterrorism surveillance system
that collects and analyzes footage from security cameras and license plate
Details about TrapWire were discovered in emails from security intelligence
firm Stratfor acquired by Anonymous and leaked by WikiLeaks earlier this
year. Some observers immediately labeled it a secret digital surveillance
effort that’s in use around the world, though recent reports have cast
doubt on several of the more audacious claims made about the system.
WikiLeaks’ documents regarding TrapWire are now back online.
Nexus 7 Is Great If Youre Too Cheap for An iPad
Consumer Reports today added Googles Nexus 7 to its tablet rankings and
concluded that while its probably the best cheap tablet on the market, it
still cant match the overall quality of the Apple iPad. Overall, the
Nexus 7 scored a 79 out of 100 and did particularly well in Consumer
Reportss ratings for both touch response and portability. This gives the
Nexus 7 vastly superior scores than similarly-priced tablets such as the
Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, which scored 66 and
All that said, Consumer Reports said that the iPad remains the best option
for users who value having the best overall tablet experience regardless
With its bigger, excellent Retina display and a still-unmatched app
store, the iPad still has the edge over the Nexus 7, wrote Consumer
Reportss Donna L. Tapellini in a blog post. But if you want a tablet in
a smaller package for a lot less money, the Nexus 7 is worth thinking
5 Ways to Supercharge Your Laptop For Under $100
Whether you have a 4-year-old notebook or a shiny new system you bought
yesterday, you can dramatically improve your PCs performance and
productivity value for less than the cost of a nice dinner out. For less
than $100, you can purchase your choice of significant hardware upgrades
that will allow you to get more done in less time and put off buying a
new system for several more years.
1. Upgrade to SSD ($80 to $100)
There is no single upgrade that will improve your digital life more than
going from a standard hard drive to an Solid State Drive (SSD). If youre
still using a 7,200 rpm or (gasp) 5,400 rpm drive, youre wasting precious
seconds of your life every time you boot, open a file or a launch a
program. Instead of twiddling your thumbs while the old-fashioned
turnable-like head spins inside your hard drive, you can be up and running
in your favorite programs, including heavy applications like Photoshop,
in just a few seconds.
When we took a 5-year-old Dell Latitude D630 running Windows Vista on a
2.4-GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and tested it with both its original 7,200-rpm hard
drive and a speedy Kingston HyperX SH100S3 SSD, it felt like we were using
two different computers. On PCMark Vantage, a synthetic benchmark that
measures system performance, upgrading to SSD raised the D630’s overall
score from 3,210 to 4,693 and its HDD score from 2,666 to 16,715.
In real-world tests, the Latitude D630’s Vista boot time decreased by
around 20 percent, falling from an average start time of 37.3 seconds to
31 seconds. When we tested the launch times for five popular applications
(Photoshop CS5.1 opening to a 400MB TIF, Adobe Reader 10 opening to a 500
page PDF, Excel 2007 opening to a 20,000 row worksheet, Mozilla Firefox 14
and Word 2007 opening to a blank document), each program opened about
three times faster after the SSD upgrade.
To see how much benefit an SSD provides on a new notebook, we opened some
of the same applications and timed them on a 3rd Generation Intel Core i7
notebook, both with a 7,200 rpm 750GB hard drive and the same Kingston
HyperX SH100S3 SSD. Even with a much newer, faster processor, launch
times were 2 to 4 times faster after the upgrade.
Today, you can get a 120 or 128GB SSD for well under $100. A quick glance
at popular retailers such as NewEgg, Tiger Direct and Amazon shows some
budget-oriented SSDs like the OCZ Agility 3 selling for under $90 while
the Samsung 830 Series, the winner of our Fall SSD roundup, can often be
found on sale for $99 or less. If you require more capacity, you can find
a 256GB drive for as little as $150.
2. Add more RAM ($20 to $40)
The more RAM your notebook has, the less time it must spend writing to the
Windows paging file on your hard drive (or SSD) to help make up for a lack
of a physical memory. Since physical memory is infinitely faster than even
the fastest SSD, you want to avoid your system needing to use that paging
file whenever possible. Even better, if you have some memory to spare, you
can create a RAM disk which will load your favorite programs much faster
than even a speedy SSD.
Most of todays notebooks come with 4GB of RAM and moving from 4GB (or
less) up to 8GB can provide significant performance gains. If you have
DDR3 memory, the standard type since 2009, an 8GB kits (2 x 4GB DIMMs)
will cost you $40 or less.
Since most notebooks have just two slots for RAM and come with both
filled, youll probably have to remove your existing RAM. However, if you
do have a free slot, the cost of a 4GB DIMM is around $20. To find out
what kind of memory your notebook takes, either consult your owners
manual or visit an online RAM configurator like the one on Crucial
Memorys home page. Removing and replacing RAM on most notebooks is as
simple as unscrewing a door on the bottom of the system, popping out the
old chips and popping the new ones in.
[To show the benefit of increased memory, we ran PCMark 07, a leading
synthetic benchmark, on an Intel 3rd Generation Core i7 CPU, with both 4GB
and 8GB of RAM installed. With 8GB installed, the benchmark returned a
score of 3,398, about 9 percent higher than the mark or 3,121 it provided
with 4GB on board.
We also tried configuring 4 out of the 8GB as a RAM disk, using DataRAMs
free RAMDisk software. With some of our favorite programs installed on
the RAM disk, we were able to cut open times in half from what they were
on a 7,200 rpm hard drive and reduce them even further when we paired th
RAM Disk with an SSD.
3. Get an external monitor ($80 to $100)
You can never be too rich, too thin or have too many pixels on your
desktop. If youre just relying on your laptops single screen, youre
slowing yourself down, because you cant fit enough windows on the screen
Just imagine this situation. Youre working on a PowerPoint presentation
in one window while using data from an Excel sheet thats in another
window, looking up some facts on the Web in your browser and keeping
track of your email in a fourth window. Every time you switch windows
either by hitting ALT tab or by navigating to the task bar youre
wasting a good 2 seconds and taxing your short-term human memory because
you have to remember the contents of a window thats now covered over.
With an external monitor attached, you can add a whole second desktop,
which can either show one full screen window or two half windows that are
docked next to each other. These days, you can get an 18.5- or 20-inch
monitor today for $80 to $100. A quick survey of online retail sites shows
several 20-inch, 1600 x 900 monitors priced at just under $100 and
18.5-inchers with 1366 x 768 resolutions starting as low as $80. If youre
willing to splurge, you can find a 1080p, 22- or 23-inch monitor for well
If you want a monitor you can take with you on the road, you can find a
portable, USB-powered monitor such as the 15.6-inch AOC e1649Fwu for
under $100. However, we prefer the lighter, more portable, but more
expensive $174 Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421.
4. Step up to 802.11n Wi-Fi ($10 to $20)
If your notebook is more than three years old, it may have an older
802.11g wireless radio, which is significantly slower and less reliable
than the current 802.11n standard. With 802.11n, you move from a
theoretical maximum of just 54 Mbps to 150 or 300 Mbps, depending on your
router and radio.
While the stepping up from 54 to 150 Mbps probably wont improve Web page
loads, it will enable you to transfer files a lot faster within your home
or office network. That means better streaming from your media center,
better backups to connected storage drives and faster copying of photos to
and from your family members PCs. If you have an extremely fast fiber
optic broadband plan such as Verizions 300 Mbps FIOS Quantum, youll see
a boost in video streaming and file downloads. No matter what youre
doing, youll also see an increase in range, making it easier to get a
strong signal when youre further away from the router.
The good news is that you can get an 802.11n Wi-Fi dongle that plugs into
one of your USB ports for under $20. For just $10, Rosewills $9.99
RNX-MiniN1 802.11n dongle offers speeds up to 150 Mbps and is so tiny that
it looks like one of those nano receivers that come with some wireless
mice. The $16.99 Rosewill RNX-MiniN2 sticks out a little bit more, but
offers up to 300 Mbps and is still short enough to stay attached to your
notebook when you stick it in your bag. If you dont already have an
802.11n router at home, you can purchase one for as little as $25 for a
150 Mbps unit or under $50 for a 300 Mbps model.
To see just how much additional throughput you get from upgrading to
802.11n, we used the Netperf benchmark to test an old Dell Latitude D630
laptop with its native 802.11lg Wi-Fi, and then with the Rosewill
RNX-MiniN1l and the faster Rosewill RNX-MiniN2. Though our results on the
small file transfer were well below whats theoretically possible even
with 802.1llg, there was a clear difference in performance between the
5. Get an external battery ($70)
If your notebook provides over 12 hours of endurance, perhaps you can live
without more battery life. Whether youre sitting on an airplane or lying
on the couch, you dont want to have to worry about finding and tethering
yourself to an outlet.
Unfortunately, in LAPTOPs tests, the average mainstream notebook
provides just five and a half hours of endurance at 40 percent brightness.
Even worse, more and more new systems come with sealed batteries you cant
replace, so forget about buying an extended unit or carrying a spare.
However, for around $70, you can purchase an external notebook battery
such as the $69 Veho Pebble Pro. Ive been using the Pebble Pro for a
couple of months now and found that the 13,200 mAH battery provides
another several hours of charge to my notebook while, at just 14 ounces,
barely adding any weight to my bag. Because the battery comes with 10
different connectors, it works with nearly any brand of PC notebook on the
market and is able to charge a phone or tablet at the same time.
Mac users can opt for pricier Hyperjuice Mini external battery, which
retails for $169.
Judge Fines Man in Facebook Case
THE RULING: A federal judge again ordered the release of a letter that
Facebook says can help prove that a man’s lawsuit claiming half ownership
of the multibillion-dollar company is a fraud.
HE FINES: The judge also fined the man and his attorney for not giving
the letter to Facebook’s lawyers when told to twice before.
HE LETTER: Facebook says the letter from the Kasowitz, Benson, Torres &
Friedman law firm informs two other law firms that once represented the
man, Paul Ceglia, that it is withdrawing from the case based on a finding
that the contract is a fake.
Embrace Social Media Openness
Democrats and Republicans are using social media to turn their national
conventions away from the smoke-fil
where anyone who wants to get invol
where they are.
that played a much smal
Republicans call theirs
say their gathering will
ler role in
Democrats will not just show prime-
also stream caucus meetings and the council
party’s platform and ideals over the Web. Repub]
nothing but engage people online.
in the events,
interact with a mouse click,
convention Twitter feed
had more than 10,000 fol
Social media was still in its infancy four years ago.
posted on Twitter on
of tweets today, the social
start from scratch in devel
their convention. Now,
"Social Media War Room"
Republican National Convention spo
"Our goal is to leverage these tec
whether they are in Toledo, Ohio,
forward operating base in Afghanis
Democrats will have a similar setup at their convention Sept.
Charlotte. (Republicans meet a wee
"We’re able to expand it even furt
"convention without wall
be "the most open and accessible in history."
Facebook and Twitter sites are al
with photos of the Republ
Tampa or profiles of Democratic volunteers and del
Lled rooms of yore and into meetings
lved is just a click away, no matter
ambitious plans reflect the maturation of social media sites
the conventions four years ago. The
ls," while the Democrats
time speeches live on the Internet, but
discussions of the
licans have hired a
-time blogger and a full-time digital communications manager to do
lready stoking interest
lican stage under construction in
legates. Users can
such as one who urged friends to help the GOP
muster more foll
lowers than its counterpart. Both
The number of items
Election Day 2008 is equal to about six minutes worth
media company recently wrote on its blog.
The dramatic changes in social media have required both parties to almost
loping strategies for incorporating Facebook,
Instagram and Flickr into their conventions.
Republicans hired a web vendor to handle all things Internet for
there’s a dedicated social media team with its own
in the Tampa Convention Center.
biggest push through the Internet will
come through videos on YouTube,
kesman James Davis said.
logies, to reach every American,
he convention floor in Tampa or a
k earlier in Tampa.)
her and invite the whole country to
participate in a more interactive way then you might traditionally
experience by tuning into a television,"
digital media for the 2012 Democra
said Nikki Sutton, director of
And those planning protests are using the Internet to get organized, too.
The March on Wall
Charlotte to rall
y against big busi
which plans to bring thousands to
ness and economic inequality, has a
website, Facebook page and Twitter
Organizers hope to use the Web to direct people to sites in more than a
dozen states where they can take buses to Charlotte to join in the various
protests during the week.
Social media is allowing modern-day campaigns and political parties to get
their messages out unfiltered. That’s especially useful as broadcasters
and newspapers have drastically reduced the amount of air time and space
they devote to conventions.
Convention organizers will use social media to emphasize themes that might
get lost in the traditional media’s limited coverage, said Daniel Kreiss,
an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
journalism school who authored a book about the use of new media from
former presidential candidate Howard Dean to President Barack Obama.
"There’s just not a lot of convention coverage that is going to be offered
by the major networks, and this becomes a way that individual figures’
speeches get publicity," Kreiss said.
Social media is increasingly allowing parties to control their message
and spreading those key messages through an online network of "friends"
may allow them to create a sense of credibility, Kreiss said. It will be
"Viewed as more credible and more authentic" than less-personal media
The candidates’ overall campaigns are also ratcheting up efforts to reach
voters online. A report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center
found that President Barack Obama’s campaign was more active than
Republican Mitt Romney’s on the digital front.
The group’s Project for Excellent in Journalism analyzed both campaigns’
efforts between June 4-17 and found Obama’s team posted almost four times
as much content during the period and maintained an active presence on
almost twice as many platforms. But Romney’s campaign said his Facebook
page has more people who share or comment on his posts.
Of course, the only metric that matters will be votes in November, and
both campaigns and their parties think social media will be critical to
get their voters excited enough to go to the polls.
Democrats have already released a smartphone app that provides one place
for videos, blog posts and photos. The app also includes an interactive
map to help visitors to Charlotte find convention locations or
Their convention Facebook site has been running posts spotlighting
different delegates and volunteers from across the country for months.
Its Flickr page included more than 150 photos from people who printed out
a special "I’m There" logo and had their pictures made with it, promising
to either be in Charlotte or to follow the convention online. One person
holding up his sign on the site is Vice President Joe Biden.
On the GOP convention’s Facebook page, a posting showed a picture of
lighting rigs inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum and said: "The lights are
on and we only have 17 more days to go! Are you ready to nominate the next
President of the United States?? The entry had more than 360 "likes" and
400 comments on Wednesday afternoon.
The Democrats used Twitter to invite more than a dozen followers on a tour
in July. They got to see Time-Warner Arena, where most of the convention
is taking place the first week in September, and the city’s football
stadium, where Obama will give his acceptance speech.
For Rashon Carraway, the tour was a dream come true. He sells men’s
clothes online, but the political science major in college hasn’t
forgotten his first love.
This was a great opportunity for me to get an up close and personal look
at something I am passionate about, and I have always wanted to do," said
He plans to attend as many convention events as he can using his
cellphone to make online posts.
And it’s just not the parties and protesters who have an interactive
Donna Chen, the director of marketing and communications for the Tampa
Downtown Partnership said more than 15 tourism and convention groups are
setting up their own "Social Media Command Center" for the convention.
Tampa Bay and Co., the area’s tourism and marketing agency, is coordinating
the effort. They’1ll use the hashtag "TampaBay" to curate the posts.
Chen said about 50 local experts will monitor and interact with people
online. They will staff the center and answer questions about the area
from people in town for the convention for instance, "where’s a good
Italian restaurant?" or "What’s the closest beach to downtown Tampa?"
Twitter Co-founders Create Online Publishing Site
A website launched by Twitter co-founders as a publishing platform for
stories, memories and news was open Wednesday to members of the hit
one-to-many text messaging service.
A preview version of Medium.com, launched by Biz Stone and Evan Williams,
was live with collections such as "This Happened to Me" stories and "When
I Was a Kid" pictures.
"We’re rethinking publishing and building a new platform from scratch,"
Williams said in a message on the site.
"Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing
information, but there’s been less progress toward raising the quality of
"While it’s great that you can be a one-person media company, it’d be even
better if there were more ways you could work with others."
Stone and Williams are building the platform through their Obvious
Corporation, an enterprise named for the notion that many great ideas seem
"obvious" in retrospect.
"We believe publishing, and media much more broadly, is important... It’s
easy to forget this given how much pointless and destructive media is in
the world," Williams said.
"But there’s also more great stuff than ever before - and we haven’t even
scratched the surface of what our smart devices and our networks that
connect most of the planet might enable."
Reading Medium posts was open to anyone with a Twitter account, but
posting was initially limited to an invitation-only group that Williams
promised would expand rapidly to include those who register.
Google: An Update to Our Search Algorithms
We aim to provide a great experience for our users and have developed over
200 signals to ensure our search algorithms deliver the best possible
results. Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new
signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we
receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may
appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find
legitimate, quality sources of content more easilywhether its a song
previewed on NPRs music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed
Since we re-booted our copyright removals over two years ago, weve been
given much more data by copyright owners about infringing content online.
In fact, were now receiving and processing more copyright removal notices
every day than we did in all of 2009more than 4.3 million URLs in the last
30 days alone. We will now be using this data as a signal in our search
Only copyright holders know if something is authorized, and only courts can
decide if a copyright has been infringed; Google cannot determine whether a
particular webpage does or does not violate copyright law. So while this
new signal will influence the ranking of some search results, we wont be
removing any pages from search results unless we receive a valid copyright
removal notice from the rights owner. And well continue to provide
"counter-notice" tools so that those who believe their content has been
wrongly removed can get it reinstated. Well also continue to be
transparent about copyright removals.
Facebook Falls to Half of Public Offering Price
Facebook’s stock fell to $19 for the first time on Friday, losing half its
market value since the company’s initial public offering in May.
The stock dipped 87 cents, or 4 percent, to briefly hit $19, just minutes
before it closed the trading day at $19.05. Facebook’s shares ended the
week down nearly 13 percent.
Facebook hit the $19 milestone a day after the expiration of a lock-up
period that had previously prevented some early investors and insiders
from selling their shares. Stakeholders who owned a combined 271 million
Facebook shares before 1
Thursday can now sell their holdings.
A breakdown of just how many major Facebook Inc. shareholders sold their
stock this week won’t be available until next week at the earliest, when
sellers must disclose such transactions.
Facebook’s stock has struggled since the company’s mid-May IPO. It closed
its first day of trading barely above its initial offering price of $38.
It has been below that level since.
The stock has been down on 38 trading days, up on 25 days and unchanged on
one since its initial public offering.
Investors have been concerned about the social network’s ability to
increase revenue and make money from its growing mobile audience. Many
analysts, however, hold positive opinions of the company’s long-term
Former Hacker: Today’s Hacks Are All About the Money
Hackers have changed since the days of The Matrix. While most hackers used
to hold iconoclastic ideals, with aspirations to "shock the system" for a
perceived common good, today’s hacker/cracker community is more concerned
with making a quick buck.
At least that’s how Mike Calce, the former hacker known as /mafiaboy,’
sees things. Calce says he still has contact with some of the people he
used to know in the hacker community, and while many of them are still
active, their priorities have changed.
"The hacker motivation has changed immensely," Calce told Mashable in an
interview. "It’s much more about monetary gain, whereas in my era, it was
about pushing the status quo."
Calce’s era was circa 2000, when he pulled off major denial-of-service
attacks on several major tech companies, including Amazon, Dell, Yahoo,
eBay and CNN - all when he was 15 years old. Calce was eventually caught
and arrested for the attacks, serving eight months in a "group facility,"
After doing his time, Calce laid low for years, but now he works as a
digital security consultant and keynotes at IT conferences. He wrote a
book about his experiences in 2008, Mafiaboy: How I Cracked the Internet
and Why It’s Still Broken.
I asked Calce what he thought motivated hackers such as the ones that
infamously hacked Wired writer Mat Honan, who claimed they wanted to get
access to his three-character Twitter handle. Calce couldn’t see a clear
financial reason for that particular hack, but he said that’s often the
"There’s a lot of reasons people hack Twitter accounts," he said. "Some are
into skewing data to their advantage. A lot of hacks dont even look like
there is monetary gain involved, but normally that’s the alterior motive."
With the shift from mischief-making to financial motives, the risk has
shifted as well. Whereas 10 years ago hacking was more of a danger to large
companies with big online operations, the risk today to individuals is much
greater, Calce says.
He cautions individuals to take basic security precautions like setting up
a two-way firewall on their computers, turning Bluetooth off (on phones
and PCs) when not using the feature and keeping a close eye on what sort
of data and information they put online. Password managers are a good idea,
too, since Calce says hackers still use "brute force" techniques, which
often work on weak passwords.
However, in Honan’s case he was using a password manager, and hackers
instead slipped through the holes in various companies’ security
procedures, resetting passwords to accounts over the phone by calling
their tech-support departments. Calce says many companies - especially big
ones — don’t invest nearly enough money in security.
"Sometimes if you don’t find a way in electronically, you find a hole
through a human being," he says. "[Companies] don’t budget enough for
security. The IT department is often in charge, and they might not be
looking at the how the company handles phone calls or the screening
process for personnel."
Predictably, Calce suggests companies contract third-party security
consultants to find the holes in their security, but it’s tough to
disagree with him. It took a high-profile hack like Honan’s to prompt
Apple and Amazon to re-examine their security procedures.
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