Ten Must-Have Twitter Tools for the Home Office Warrior

Over at his excellent Home Office Warrior blog, Grant Griffiths outlines 10 Must-Have Twitter Tools for the Home Office Warrior. Here’s a couple examples from his list:

  • My Tweeple can be used to make informed decisions when it comes to following people on twitter. You can use it to see who is following you and who you are following. And with a simple click, you can follow, unfollow, or block people all in one place.
  • Quotably is another way to follow the twitter conversations. What I do like about this service is that it puts the conversations in what appears to be threads. This is actually one feature I am hoping twhirl adopts soon.

ZDNet takes a look at the CAPTCHA economy in India

Many of us use CAPTCHA technology for preventing comment spam, registration spam on forums, or for other spam blocking mechanisms on email and other online tools.

Did you know there was an entire underground economy operating in the world focused on defeating those CAPTCHA blocks?

ZDNet takes a look inside the India version of that economy:

Let’s analyze the shady data processing economy of India, discuss exclusive photos of Indian workers breaking MySpace and Google CAPTCHAs, and take a tour inside the web applications of several Bangladesh based franchises, whose team of almost 1,000 international workers is actively soliciting deals for breaking Craigslist, Gmail, Yahoo, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook’s CAPTCHA, promising to deliver 250k solved CAPTCHAs per day on a “$2 for a 1000 solved CAPTCHAs” rate.

The story goes on to examine a few different “de-CAPTCHA” firms and has pictures of the workers and links to their websites.

Microsoft breaks standards compatibility promise with IE8 Beta 2

Microsoft earlier this year committed to delivering a standards compliant browser when they launched Internet Explorer 8 at some undetermined future point.

According to this article at the Register today, Microsoft has broken this promise with the release of IE8, Beta 2:

This week, the promise was broken. It lasted less than six months. Now that Internet Explorer IE8 beta 2 is released, we know that many, if not most, pages viewed in IE8 will not be shown in standards mode by default. The dirty secret is buried deep down in the «Compatibility view» configuration panel, where the «Display intranet sites in Compatibility View» box is checked by default. Thus, by default, intranet pages are not viewed in standards mode.

This is yet another reason why more than five years ago, I switched to using Firefox.

Scribd launches a redesign

Scribd, a popular document sharing service, has launched a redesign. TechCrunch takes a look:

One of the major changes in the design is a new emphasis on search. Scribd has seen impressive growth since its launch in Spring 2007, and now claims more than 20 million unique visitors monthly. But more than half of that traffic comes from search engines – something that the site would like to change. The new design is intended to make the search function more prominent, encouraging users to turn to Scribd instead of Google or Yahoo when they’d like to find a document. And CEO Trip Adler says that it’s working: while A/B bucket testing the new design, Scribd has seen the number of searches double (the number of uploads increased by 70% as well).

Scribd is a great service for incorporating complex documents into blogs via their widget for posts and other functions.

Largest internet security hole revealed… or what is BGP?

Wired has the story of the latest major security hole on the internet, the routing protocol BGP:

Two security researchers have demonstrated a new technique to stealthily intercept internet traffic on a scale previously presumed to be unavailable to anyone outside of intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency.

The tactic exploits the internet routing protocol BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) to let an attacker surreptitiously monitor unencrypted internet traffic anywhere in the world, and even modify it before it reaches its destination.

The demonstration is only the latest attack to highlight fundamental security weaknesses in some of the internet’s core protocols. Those protocols were largely developed in the 1970s with the assumption that every node on the then-nascent network would be trustworthy. The world was reminded of the quaintness of that assumption in July, when researcher Dan Kaminsky disclosed a serious vulnerability in the DNS system. Experts say the new demonstration targets a potentially larger weakness.

[Read more…]

Mozilla Labs introduces Ubiquity

Mozilla Labs has introduced Ubiquity, a new method of interacting with the World Wide Web – and one that allows you to create mashups and more integrated communications.

We’ll let Aza Raskin from Mozilla Labs explain:

You’re writing an email to invite a friend to meet at a local San Francisco restaurant that neither of you has been to. You’d like to include a map. Today, this involves the disjointed tasks of message composition on a web-mail service, mapping the address on a map site, searching for reviews on the restaurant on a search engine, and finally copying all links into the message being composed. This familiar sequence is an awful lot of clicking, typing, searching, copying, and pasting in order to do a very simple task. And you haven’t even really sent a map or useful reviews—only links to them.

This kind of clunky, time-consuming interaction is common on the Web. Mashups help in some cases but they are static, require Web development skills, and are largely site-centric rather than user-centric.

It’s even worse on mobile devices, where limited capability and fidelity makes this onerous or nearly impossible.

[Read more…]

DailyBlogTips interviews Timothy Sykes, $50k/month blogger

Earlier this month, Daily Blog Tips interviewed Timothy Sykes, who is making more than $50,000 monthly with his blog:

You claim to have earned $45,000 from your blog last month, and that your traffic is 3 times smaller than John Chow’s one. How is that possible?

My business model is different, he’s all ad and affiliate-based, while my focus is on creating educational products through my own publishing company, BullShip Prress, LLC, namely my PennyStocking Instructional DVD that makes penny stock trading understandable and TIMalerts, a real-time trading alerts subscription service, both of which I promote endlessly through my blog.

Mind you, I tried Chow’s business model—admittedly only half-heartedly because I have problems promoting all the frauds in finance–but it didn’t work for me…so I adapted.

It’s an interesting interview to read primarily because of the discussion around the question above. Timothy’s income is less about advertising and affiliate income and more about using his blog as a method to promote his product lines – and then pocketing the much higher profits when those products are sold.

Adium releases version 1.3 of its unified instant messaging tool, adds social media tools

Adium, a highly popular unified messaging tool for Mac OS X, has released version 1.3 – a major upgrade:

I’m happy to announce Adium 1.3, a major release seven months in the making. This release improves almost every aspect of Adium, ranging from performance and memory to Facebook chat support, and from user interface polish to much improved MSN support with personal messages (finally!). A brand new, gorgeous Contact Inspector brings together all a contact’s information in one place – coalescing combined contacts’ information and accessing your Apple Address Book to give you at-a-glance information, and intuitive live searching in the Standard Contact List makes it a snap to find your friends.

As a long time Adium user, the upgrade is a welcome addition full of bug fixes and new features that have been requested for some time… [Read more…]

Google’s Matt Cutts offers three tips for ‘Company Blogging’

Google’s Matt Cutts writing on his personal blog offers up three tips for company blogging.

His best tip is #2:

Don’t trash talk a competitor.

Your product should be strong enough that you don’t have to diss a competing company. Back in 2002, an article in the Boston Herald showed up about another search engine. The article claimed that “The entire XXXXXXXXX Catalog is updated every 9 to 11 days.” I knew for a fact that wasn’t true and at first I wanted to rip that claim to shreds like a bulldog. But (with the advice of some wiser Googlers), I decided to take the high road instead of picking a fight. In fact, claims like that motivated Google to be fresher and faster. Now I believe Google has the freshest index of any of the major web search engines.

What advice would you give someone blogging for/about their own company or employer?