Quaintness in Salt Lake

(This is the script for a piece I did for the BBC World Service. Posted here by request. Podcast here.) Something rather quaint is going on in a Salt Lake City courtroom. A company called Novell, who you’d be forgiven for not having heard of, is suing Microsoft over a product called WordPerfect, which you …

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Getting Paid for Doing Bad Things (12″ version)

This is the extended version of my earlier blog post. The BBC finally ran my commentary so for those of you who want more info, here it is: Think of it as product placement for the Internet. It’s been around a while, but I just figured out how it works, and it made me realise …

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Getting Paid for Doing Bad Things

I have recently received half a dozen offers of placing links in my blogs to reputable companies’ websites. Think of it as product placement for the Internet. It’s been around a while, but I just figured out how it’s done, and it made me realise that the early dreams of a blogging utopia on the …

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Hundreds of Facebook Groups Hacked

  (Update UTC 2100: I’ve received a reply from Erik Hjort af Ornäs, the registrar of the site itself, and have included his statement below and in the comments, as well as that of Facebook. Both deny any hacking took place) A hacker, or group of hackers, has found a back door into taking over …

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Driver Phishing II, Or Who Is Trentin Lagrange?

I’m fully awake now, and doing some digging on who is behind the Driver Robot “driver phish.” The digging has introduced me to a whole level to the software scam industry. The company that sells it is Victoria, BC, Canada-based Blitware (“or Blitware Technology Inc.,  to be precise,” as its website urges us). Nothing gives …

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The Heatline of a Story

Google, apparently prodded by the ground covered by twitter news, has introduced a feature on its Google News search results that indicates what one might call the ‘heat’ of a story—how many sources are covering it over time: As with Google Search Trends, the stories below the chart are linked to the graph via letters …

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Encarta’s Passing: Harbinger of Redmond Doom?

Microsoft has announced that Encarta, its digital encyclopedia, will be dead by year’s end. First off, hands up who thought it had died long ago? Secondly, and before we get on to the whole Wikipedia thing, I’d like to make a more general comment about Microsoft: its online stuff is awful, and Encarta is no …

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Sponsoring Theft

Are companies like eBay knowingly peddling stolen goods? Surely not, but I wonder about their advertising strategy. I get confused about how sponsored results work. You know, those textual ads that appear alongside search results or on a webpage. I mean, I thought I knew how they worked: someone buys a word and when that …

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Shrines to Frustration

It’s depressing that two gripes I’ve posted, both at least a year old, continue to get comments which push both posts to the top of the search engines. My grumbles about accessing Xdrive, an online storage service bought by AOL, comes out top if you search for xdrive problems on Google. Search for cancel napster …

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Has PR Taken Over The Conversation?

Here’s the hot news for a Monday: PR firm Edelman has teamed up with Technorati to develop localized versions of their offering in German, Korean, Italian, French and Chinese. Edelman’s PR teams worldwide will retain exclusive use of these sites as they are being developed, beginning with French this summer. These localized versions – which …

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