Friday, April 29, 2005

Beware how you Google

Security researchers warn that a one-letter typo in Google's domain name could lead to a massive virus- and spyware-infection attack. A simple misspelling of Google's domain name could lead to a Web surfer's worst nightmare. The malicious site,, is infested with Trojan droppers, downloaders, backdoors and spyware, and an unsuspecting user only has to visit the page to be at risk of computer hijack attacks, according to a warning from Finnish anti-virus vendor F-Secure Corp.

Click on the link to read the entire story.

Friday, April 22, 2005

best places to live in rural america

Progressive has compiled a list of the 100 best rural counties in which to live. They started with 600 counties with rural areas that met their population, population density and income criteria. Then They ranked them by health care (the number of hospitals and clinics in the county); education (student/teacher ratio and number of higher learning institutions); climate (average temperature and rainfall); pollution index (ranked against the national average); crime index (personal and property crime ranked against the national average); and tax burden (county sales tax and state income tax only, since pro p e rty taxes vary too widely between municipalities). In each category, they used OnBoard's most recent stats.

After crunching the numbers, their editorial board looked at the intangibles, such as quality of life, leisure and cultural pursuits, and scenery. The selections stayed true to the numbers but also reflected subjective opinions about the counties chosen. They also talked to residents in these counties.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Google search memory in beta testing

Google wants to become an extension of a user's online memory. Google on Wednesday (04/20/05)launched a personalized Web search service that stores users' search histories, builds individualized search data into Web results and suggests related searches.

Called My Search History, the service, currently being beta tested, is available through Google Labs, the company's site for service prototypes. With the search-history release, Google Inc. joins competitors such as Ask Jeeves Inc., Inc.'s and Yahoo Inc. in attempting to make search more personal.

Marissa Mayer, director of consumer Web products for Google, said My Search History should eventually become an integral part of Google.

Ad skipping could cost 27 billion

Ad skipping and on-demand viewing could cost the TV industry $27 billion in lost revenue over the next five years.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

world bank/imf spring meetings

High oil prices might be pushing the world economy into trouble. Oil prices are 70% higher in real terms compared to two years ago. On April 7th, the economists suggested that the world get used to an "oil shock" that was permanent. Higher oil prices certainly have not helped the Japanese economy and the unemployment rate in Germany is 8.9%. The IMF reckons that global growth in 2005 will be 0.8 percentage points lower than last year.

The world economy is much less oil-intensive than it used to be. In contrast to the supply shocks of the 1970s, much of the recent run-up in prices has been caused by rapidly rising demand: oil is dear in part because some economies, especially America’s and China’s, have been growing vigorously. Central banks’ strong reputations for fighting inflation have stopped the translation of higher oil prices into wage-price spirals. These fortuitous conditions may not last, but for now they are good reasons not to be too pessimistic.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

liquidity bubbles

There have been a lot of very confusing market situations as of late. Inflation concerns ratchet up and bonds rally. The dollar strengthens due to rising interest rates on said inflation concerns while rates actually fall. The Dow Jones Transport stocks rally in the face of surging oil prices and then fall when crude retreats. What’s causing all this schizophrenic behavior?

Quite clearly the huge swings we have been seeing in everything from crude oil to soybeans have been fund driven. The sheer amount of money that is available to be thrown into various markets is staggering. And where did this money come from you might ask? Of course from our friendly central bank we would reply. The Federal Reserve has been printing money and thus providing liquidity in a manic fashion. This money has flowed first into stocks, then housing, then crude oil, and now commodities in general. It seems as there are liquidity driven bubbles popping up everywhere.

It's the big money pushing things around.

scientists destroy flu strain

The WHO has advised 5000 labs in 18 countries to destroy the deadly flu strain so that a world-wide epidemic does not break out. The 50 year old flu virus was sent to labs so that studies could begin.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

LexisNexis Data on 310,000 People Feared Stolen

Data broker LexisNexis said Tuesday that personal information may have been stolen on 310,000 U.S. citizens, or nearly 10 times the number found in a data breach announced last month.

An investigation by the firm's Anglo-Dutch parent Reed Elsevier determined that its databases had been fraudulently breached 59 times using stolen passwords, leading to the possible theft of personal information such as addresses and Social Security numbers.

Monday, April 11, 2005

developers like XML Query

XML Query Posted by Hello
A new survey of developers using XML has found a vast majority are using or plan to use XML Query even before it becomes standard. The language has the ability to simplify data extraction. DataDirect Technologies surveyed 550 developers on their plans to use XQuery and 52 percent they are using it and another 33 percent said they plan to use it by the end of 2005. The XQuery specification has not yet been approved by the World Wide Web Consortium working group. The working group produced a working draft of XQuery in February 2005 and will probably publish a final working draft later in 2005. Approval from W3C should be sometime in 2006. XQuery is being used for a variety of purposes. The survey participants were software engineers (37.4%) , IT consultants (9.9%), program managers (9.9%), system architects (7.6%) and Web developers (6.9%). The majority of XQuery users cited simplified data access. Nearly one-third said they like the more concise or easier syntax and programming style. XQuery aggregates information from multiple XML documaents and extract information from them. Extraction of data from structured XML documents stored in an XML database is improved with better querying capabilities.

Is blogging going full-bore corporate?

According to sources, Boeing is negotiating to buy 10,000 licenses for Movable Type software from Six Apart, Ltd. Is blogging about to go full-bore corporate?

And if it does, does this mean that the "newness" of blogging will keep the blogosphere from growing like it is now? Perhaps. However this may well be what blogging needs to gain some serious recognition. The corporate structure of information sharing and gathering will most likely evolve so that the data will be shared faster.

With Boeing looking at blogging, surely other corporations can't be far behind.

call for world-wide DNA database

At a lecture on Saturday Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys of Leicester University, to mark the 20th anniversary of the discovery of DNA fingerprinting, said a global DNA database would have been invaluable in attempting to identify victims of the recent tsunami. Instead, investigators faced endless searches through incomplete records, or having to cause further distress to relatives of the victims.

Everyone in the world should have their genetic profile stored on a database, but the information should be held independently of the authorities, according to the pioneer of DNA fingerprinting.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

is the dollar run-up over?

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan spoke twice in the past two days without commenting on inflation, causing the dollar to retreat more than a cent from a seven-week high against the euro reached on April 5. It gained 3 percent in the past two weeks, after the Fed said on March 22 price pressures were building.

Losses in the dollar accelerated today after it fell through $1.29 per euro, where traders had placed pre-set orders to sell the U.S. currency. Technical charts indicated that its rally was losing steam. There's been a major rally in the dollar, and given that, its run looks to be over for now given massive technical resistance.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

U.S.State Department plans RFID in passports

The U.S. State Department has proposed a plan that would implement the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips in passports. The State Department claims this would enable Americans to pass through border crossings faster. The RFID tags would include the printed information plus the picture of the individual that is on the passport. The State Department plans on using the new technology in diplomatic passports in August 2005.

Critics say the RFID tags could act as beacons, allowing terrorists more information to separate Americans in a group of tourists. The State Department says the RFID tags would only be readable at a distance of four inches. Technology may, however, in the future enable the tags to be read at far greater distances. One item to disallow reading the tags is a lead sleeve that can be put over the passport.

partial solar eclipse will occur on Friday, April 8

Sky-watchers from the South Pacific to the Americas will witness the first solar eclipse of 2005 on Friday when the moon blots out part of the sun. Solar eclipses occur when the Earth, sun and moon line up in such a way that the moon casts a shadow over Earth.

It will be a partial eclipse rather than a total one, in which the Earth is cast into darkness. But it will be the last partial solar eclipse visible from the continental United States until May 20, 2012.

Friday's eclipse will last from a few minutes to over an hour, depending on one's location. In much of the continental United States, people will see what looks like the moon taking a bite out of the sun, with the bite bigger over the South.

In Central America and the northern portion of South America, the sun will be reduced to a narrow ring of fire. Astronomers warned people not to stare directly at the sun without eye protection.

The path of the eclipse will stretch about 14,160 kilometers (8,800 miles) through a corridor beginning near New Zealand and extending across the Americas.