Sunday, March 29, 2009

A signal bounced off of Venus

I am an amateur radio operator (a ham) I know this has nothing to do with SEO or web marketing but I thought it was cool. Man can achieve many things if he puts his or her mind to it and this is a historic event for hams:

EVE ! - Radio Amateurs bounce a signal off Venus

Radio Amateurs have achieved the very first reception of amateur signals bounced off the planet Venus, over 50 million km away - EVE (Earth-Venus-Earth)

Peter Guelzow DB2OS, President of AMSAT-DL has provided a description of this landmark achievement.

On March 25th, 2009 a team from the German space organisation AMSAT-DL reached another milestone on its way to an own interplanetary probe towards planet Mars.

The ground station at the Bochum observatory transmitted radio signals to Venus. After travelling almost 100 million kilometers and a round trip delay of about 5 minutes, they were clearly received as echoes from the surface of Venus.

Receiving these planetary echoes is a first for Germany and Europe. In addition, this is the farthest distance crossed by radio amateurs, over 100 times further than echoes from the moon (EME reflections).

For receiving the EVE signals, an FFT analysis with an integration time of 5 minutes was used. After integrating for 2 minutes only, the reflected signals were clearly visible in the display. Despite the bad weather, signals from Venus could be detected from 1038UT until the planet reached the local horizon.

The 2.4 GHz high power amplifier used for this achievement is described in the current AMSAT-DL journal.
This represented a crucial test for a final key component of the planned P5-A Mars mission. By receiving echoes from Venus, the ground and command station for the Mars probe has been cleared for operational use and the AMSAT team is now gearing up for building the P5-A space probe.

For financing the actual construction and launch, AMSAT-DL is currently
in negotiation with the DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) amongst others, to obtain financial support for the remaining budget of 20 Mil Euros.

AMSAT-DL wants to show that low-cost interplanetary exploration is possible with its approach.

More information and the link to the official press release [in German]:

The EVE experiment was repeated on Thursday, March 26th for several hours with good echoes from Venus. Morse code was used to transmit the well known “HI“ signature known from the AMSAT OSCAR satellites.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Is Google following the same path as E-Bay?

Interesting...This article snippit is possibly warning that Google might be facing an uncertain future. I think they are trying to be too much to too many people.

By Chris Crum - Fri, 03/20/2009 - 12:06 4 comments
Many eBay users will be very quick to point out that they feel eBay has lost its luster (to put it mildly). Some think Google could find itself on a similar path. BusinessWeek is running an article basically warning Google to avoid such a fate. I think Google has a long way to go before it has to worry about getting to an eBay-type status.

Do you want to pay for on line news?

I think this survey is a bit stretching it but the future of print newspapers is clouding up as many big newspapers fail. The only business plan that seems to work is a pay to read one. I believe a free on-line section with paid ads would be a much better one!

By Mike Sachoff - Thu, 03/19/2009 - 14:44 1 comment
A new report suggests some consumers may be willing to pay for online news content. J.D. Power and Associates has released a report "Online Commentary Indicates Consumer Willingness to Pay For Online News" which is based on a survey of blogs and message board postings.

An undo e-mail button for G-Mail?

I like this!!

By Mike Sachoff - Fri, 03/20/2009 - 09:20 4 comments
Google has added a new feature in Gmail Labs that allows users to retrieve email messages. A new Undo Send button will hold an email for five seconds after the user clicks send. Google says the purpose of this feature is to allow users to recall emails that were sent to the wrong person, have the wrong subject heading or are missing a file attachment.

Skype launches a beta service for business

I use Skype and I like it and recommend it. This service works.

By Mike Sachoff - Mon, 03/23/2009 - 10:58
Skype has announced a beta version of its calling service for business users. The new service, called Skype for SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) allows workers to make calls with traditional telephones, instead of a headset hooked up to a computer.

Facebook redesign a flop? Maybe

One million voters so far and almost 95% do not like the new Facebook redesign. Yikes I hope they go back to the drawing board.

Craigs List is growing in use?

I use Craig's list a lot, it is easy to use and it is free. I have gotten results and that is why I think this next info item is happening:

Heather Dougherty writes, "U.S. searches on the term 'craigslist' have increased 105 percent for the week ending March 14, 2009, compared with the same week last year." Meanwhile, queries for 'myspace' decreased by 7 percent during the same period.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Viral inviters want your e-mail contact list

This is very very important please read!!!


'Viral inviters' want your e-mail contact list

Becky Waring By Becky Waring

Several firms have recently sprung up that provide tools to copy e-mail and social-network contact lists from Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, MySpace, Friendster, and other sites.

Web site operators who lure unsuspecting users into sharing their address lists can then send invitations to all your contacts in order to swipe even more private info.

The names of some of the contact-scraping tools —,, and — hide their true purpose. They present themselves as list-builders for site owners and e-mail marketers, and are indeed used by many legitimate companies. But these tools are attractive to all kinds of sites, not just trustworthy ones. Sites that use contact-scraping tools can build e-mail lists in a way that puts your privacy and security at risk.

You may have used an address-scraping tool already. Major social-networking sites such as Facebook, ShareThis, LinkedIn, and Plaxo offer a convenient way to build your initial "friends" list by importing your contacts from Outlook or other e-mail programs or by signing in to your webmail or social-networking service. The process is as easy as uploading a file or entering your user ID and password. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Legitimate social-networking services — in this illustration, — can create an initial friends list by importing contacts from an e-mail program or from Web services such as Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, AIM, and MySpace.

Viral inviter–type services take advantage of this familiarity by making their input forms look like those on the social-networking sites. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The TrafficXplode service gives site owners an online form that scrapes contact lists from more than 20 popular webmail and social-networking sites.

Uploading a contact file or entering your ID and password into these forms, however, can transfer your password and/or all of your friends' e-mail addresses to a company that may not have a strong privacy policy.

How viral inviters overcome built-in suspicions

"But wait," you might say, "savvy Windows Secrets readers would never upload their address lists or enter their passwords, so they must be safe, right?"

That may be true of you and me, but it's not the case for the population as a whole. Your friends, relatives, co-workers, and random classmates from 20 years ago could easily fall prey to this data-scraping scam — and they could be the ones surrendering your info.

Imagine that your 15-year-old daughter is a member of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and ShareThis. She also might be a subscriber to chat services such as AIM, Yahoo, Skype, and MSN. She's used to sharing her address lists on social sites. That's how the services work.

So when your daughter joins a new site — very likely having been invited by a friend to do so — and is asked to go through the exact same list-building process she's familiar with from Facebook, she becomes easy prey. The viral scripts look just like their social-networking cousins.

A site may say that it won't store passwords or misuse addresses, but such promises mean nothing to a spam operator. Phishing sites can do even more damage by simply emulating a well-known social network to lure users into logging in via phony e-mail invitations.

Spammers are famous for manipulating big sites to do the work for them. For example, blogger Dave Taylor describes a standard Plaxo address-update request he received that he would normally respond to without much thought.

However, this request had various bits of old and incorrect info and was obviously cobbled together from different sources, which roused his suspicions.

According to Taylor, "a spammer uploads as much data as is easily found on tens of thousands of people, then triggers Plaxo sending out an 'update your contact information' message. Clueless or overly busy people see the contact info, say 'Whoa! Let's update that, it's way wrong,' and never ask themselves if they actually know the person sending the request."

David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times has accused social-networking site of abusing e-mail contacts. The company's aggressive marketing tactics require you to surrender your address list to join up, in most cases. The site then sends out invitations in your name to all your contacts. Since charges for membership, the more members it can sign up, the more it makes.

This is not to say that every site posting a form provided by a viral-inviter service is a scam. Most are just typical Internet marketers out to make a buck with their weight-loss secrets or self-help videos.

But address-scraping tools can be gold mines when put in the hands of identity thieves — and the scripts are available to any Web site operator.

Web services can't control what people share

Why don't the big sites slam the door on the scraping of their contact lists? It's not that they aren't trying, but when a user gives up his or her ID and password to a viral-invitation site, there's not much the services can do.

Take Facebook. With more than 150 million members worldwide and a huge amount of data on every user, the site is a dream come true for spammers and identity thieves.

Facebook has an onerous end-user licensing agreement (EULA) that puts the liability for misuse of your account on you whenever you share your passwords or contacts. The EULA also prohibits the use of "automated scripts to collect information from or otherwise interact with the Service or the Site."

Facebook seems to be fairly successful in its attempts to prevent scripts from accessing users' data. For one thing, neither Viralinviter nor TrafficXplode currently claim to be able to scrape data from Facebook (although this ability was at one point claimed by TrafficXplode). This is probably because Facebook now presents address-book information in image form rather than text, which makes it harder to scrape.

Such techniques as cutting off users who make too many data requests in one session can also be effective. However, there's nothing stopping a shady site from storing the IDs and passwords it acquires and using the data later for malicious purposes.

LinkedIn's EULA has similar verbiage to Facebook's. Unlike Facebook, however, LinkedIn doesn't seem to actively prevent scripts from scraping its data. Viralinviter claims to work with LinkedIn accounts and even features the LinkedIn logo prominently on the Viralinviter site, along with logos of MSN, AOL, and others.

Linked social networks accelerate the problem

The arms race between the script builders and big-name Web services is just beginning. The massive data collections that the scrapers are able to accumulate are simply too valuable to pass up.

The problem will only get worse as social-networking sites create linked systems. For example, the Facebook Connect service that launched last year allows members to use their Facebook account to sign in to hundreds of third-party sites, such as CNET and (This is explained on a page listing Facebook Connect Live sites).

Facebook claims to vet each site before allowing it to join the Connect system, but as the list grows, it will be increasingly difficult for Facebook to control things. Google has a similar service called Friend Connect. (Google has posted its own explanation of the concept.)

Services such as these provide convenience, but when people become accustomed to entering their passwords on third-party sites, it's only a matter of time before users encounter phishing sites, or worse. Even experienced users may be fooled in this way.

Dave Jevans, chairman of the Anti-Phishing Working Group, told me in an e-mail interview, "Malicious software and scripts that take advantage of social-networking sites or that scrape e-mail address books are a growing threat. Because these messages appear to come from a friend or colleague, the recipient usually trusts the contents.

"There have been outbreaks where over 1 million people have been affected in a short period of time," according the Jevans. "These malicious systems can be used to drive users to advertising sites, thus driving ad revenue for the fraudsters. In some cases, they drive users to Web sites that install malicious software — malware or crimeware — onto their computers in order to steal passwords and credit card information."

Jordy Berson, group product manager for Check Point's Zone Alarm, echoes that sentiment. "Legitimate companies train us to use and trust their harvesting techniques, such as e-mail scraping," Berson said in an e-mail, "but in the wrong hands, they are extremely dangerous for consumers — and stolen e-mail [addresses] are just the beginning."

The bottom line: Assume your data can be scraped from any social-networking or webmail site, and plan accordingly.

Prevent your data from being scraped

Other than canceling all your social-networking accounts, what can you do to protect yourself against list scrapers?

First, be diligent about your own sign-in habits. Use strong passwords and enter them only on sites you trust. Also, make sure you have your browser's phishing protection turned on. The LinkExtend Firefox extension recommended by WS senior editor Gizmo Richards in his Mar. 5 Best Software column (paid content) will alert you to most malicious site operators.

Second, safeguard your e-mail accounts. As emphasized earlier, the main danger is not that you will give away your own information but that your so-called friends will do it for you. Use your work e-mail address only for communicating with colleagues and clients, not for shopping or registering on social sites. Most importantly, don't share your work address with friends and relatives.

Next, educate your contacts that you don't want them handing over their e-mail files or contact lists to any site that asks. You can't guarantee that everyone you know will comply, but there's no reason to let scraping services go unchallenged.

Finally, protect your primary personal e-mail address by using disposable aliases that are forwarded to your primary account. That way, you can track who is sharing your address and delete any addresses that become spam magnets. Google's Gmail and Yahoo Mail both make it easy to create throwaway e-mail addresses. (They work quite differently, however, as WS contributing editor Scott Dunn explained in his July 24, 2008, review of webmail services.)

The data-scraping problem will not go away any time soon, but taking steps to safeguard your personal data can help you keep the scrapers at bay.

Becky Waring has worked as a writer and editor for CNET, ZDNet, Technology Review, Upside Magazine, and many other news sources.

Microsoft and the new explorer

Microsoft Releases IE8, Stresses Security (PC World)

* Posted on Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:20AM EDT

The Tuscaloosa News Tuesday 17th March, 01:38:57 AM

- Microsoft plans to make its Internet Explorer 8 browser available on Thursday, along with a company-commissioned report claiming IE8 is more secure against malware than rival browsers from Mozilla and Google.

Users will be able to download IE8 in 25 languages at 12:00 noon Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday from Microsoft's IE Web site and its online download center.

Microsoft has been preparing users for IE8 for a good year now, stressing performance improvements, better support for Internet technology standards, the addition of new features to help people keep track of most visited sites and favorite sources of information, and of course, security, as highlights of the new browser.

According to the report Microsoft released Thursday, based on research conducted by NSS Labs, IE8's Release Candidate 1 was 69 percent effective at catching malware before it did damage to a user's system. Mozilla Firefox 3.07 came in second with a 30 percent effectiveness rate, with Apple Safari's 3 in third place with a 24-percent rate and Google's Chrome 1.0.154 in fourth place with 16 percent effectiveness rate

NSS Labs said in the report that the data was collected from tests conducted in just over 12 days from Feb. 26 through March 10 in its labs in Austin, Texas. During the course of the test, the company said it monitored connectivity to ensure the browsers could access the live malware sites being tested, and performed 141 discrete tests. The margin of error of the tests was 3.76 percent, according to NSS Labs.

Amy Barzdukas, a senior director at Microsoft, acknowledged that it might be a conflict of interest for Microsoft to sponsor a report in which IE8 came out on top in terms of security. However, she encouraged people to "look closely at the results" before making a judgment call on the validity of the report.

IE8 will be included as part of the Windows 7 OS. However, for the first time since adding browser technology to its operating system, Microsoft will give users the ability to turn off IE8 as a feature in the system.

This decision was outlined in a blog post on the Engineering Windows 7 blog. Microsoft is under pressure from an ongoing antitrust case in the European Union to give users more browser choice in Windows.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

another glass half full

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said it was ready to pump more money into its economy and saw a pick-up in trade, offering another glimmer of hope for the battered global economy as signs that big U.S. banks may be turning around lifted world stocks.

I believe if we start thinking like sales are coming and money will flow then it will flow!!

Joe R

5 out of 6 days!

NEW YORK - You know things have changed on Wall Street when the housing industry saves the day.

Glass half full..... back we come slowly but surely!

Half full news update

The Good News is that Inflation is Down

Small Business Loans to be Expanded

Today in KC it will be 80!!

Spring is this Friday yeaaaaaaaaaaaa

Bernanke reported an end in sight to the recession, offering another glimpse of sunlight.

I believe that by using a coordiniated SEO marketing policy you can get leads and sales! You must make sure your internals of the web site are good. You must try to blog if yu can. How about a PR release on a good product or a success story. I happen to know that these things do work and can bring in notice and leads. Do not forget the use of some on line free advertising like Craigs list. Think about at least a small Google Adwords campaign. These things can get you a sale or two if yu try them. I am being positive because I know they work!

The glass is not half empty we are half full and moving to fill it more...See ya soon.

joe R

I begin the half full news

I am tired of gloom and doom so I have begun the half full news. Good stories about the economy and things. I start with this today on Yahoo news:

The government says construction of new homes rose sharply in February, defying economists' forecasts for yet another drop in activity. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that construction of new homes and apartments jumped 22.2 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000 units. Economists were expecting construction to drop to a pace of around 450,000 units.

Maybe we have reached the bottom of the housing crisis!

Last week the stock market was up the most since last November and I think it will be up again this week. I dont think we will boom ahead but step by little step we will come back. I feel so positive I am going to buy some stocks this week.

Ok more to come.

Monday, March 16, 2009

One step at a time

A note from a mentor John Alexander:

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all of the strategies you want to implement on
your Web site to improve it? Some people are so completely overwhelmed that they
put off getting started for far too long.

Walt Disney put it simply like this:

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
Walter Disney

Of course he was not speaking about SEO but the principle still applies.
Why not mak a list of strategies that you like to apply on your Web site, but then
take one single item and work on it immediately, until it gets done.

Sometimes even the simplest of changes have significant impact and I always feel
sorry when I see anyone taking to long to "get started."

Linking the danger involved

Be very careful about using any kind of "link exchange service" that
offers to inflate your link popularity quickly. The one thing you
don't want to do is have the appearance of "unnatural linking" or
anything that looks remotely contrived.

Exploding link popularity overnight is bound to get you flagged
for penalty.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A new virus!!!

A third version of Downadup has been identified by Symantec, which says the new variant gives infected machines more powerful instructions to disable antivirus software and analysis tools, among other actions.

W32.Downadup.C is a modular component for machines currently infected with Downadup. This variant of Downadup, also called Conficker, is not attempting to self-replicate and appears to behave more like a Trojan than a worm, says Vincent Weafer, vice president of Symantec Security Response.

"Think of it as an updated module that's more aggressive, more robust in defending itself," Weafer says.

The W32 Downadup.C variant was discovered Friday in a Symantec honeypot and is still under investigation. Symantec expects to identify additional capabilities shortly, says Weafer, who adds that Symantec has not yet seen W32.Downadup.C in customer networks directly.

Earlier versions of Downadup did attempt to disable anti-virus software, but the third version represented in the Downadup.C module is designed mainly to provide more protective actions to infected Windows-based machines so they can better defend themselves from anti-virus software and other eradication methods.

"It's more aggressive, it has more services," says Weafer.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Need to write content?

It is hard to write but here is a bit of a tip:

What motivates you to think outside of your bubble? How do you get outside of your left brain into your outrageously exciting, creatively appealing, right brain thinking patterns?

I’ll give you some tips that help me.

Think of something funny, or find humor in something that’s not necessarily funny (like politics–ha!). Talk to someone about it.

Go outside and enjoy the outdoors. Look at the clouds. Enjoy the fresh air. Get away from your desk/computer. Take a quick power walk.

In other words . . . relax . . . enjoy life. Try not to take it so seriously.

Start with an idea and begin to build upon that one idea. Don’t be afraid to come up with outrageous concepts to add to that idea. Let the world be your playground as you flesh out your idea. Another way to look at it is to think like a child. Children don’t know how to reign themselves in. You need to feel that way too.


Did yo know what effect colors can have? This is a bit old but is valid:

Did you know that there’s an agency who decides what the color trends are going to be several years in advance?

It’s called the Color Marketing Group, the leading international association of color professionals.

What does this mean to you? If you have an online (or offline) business that has anything to do with colors, you’ll definitely want to be aware of what colors are in style for the current year.

For example, Web design firms, Webmasters, clothing stores, department stores, advertising agencies, SEO/SEM companies, marketing companies, interior decorators, wallpaper and paint companies, etc., need to be aware of what colors are “in” for the current year.

So what are the hot color trends for 2008?

According to the Color Marketing Group, here are your colors for 2008:

1. Green and all colors of nature

2. Blues that remind us of the sky and water as well as a navy that’s so dark it’s almost black

3. Coppery, bronze-y tones of metallic

4. Ethnic accent colors like Moroccan reds, sunny golden yellow, and turquoise.

For more detail, read the entire article at: