Killing Content Farms PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 March 2011 00:00

One thing that really bugs me when performing Internet searches is accidently clicking on a content farm site. You know what these are, right? Content farms are websites where bogus articles are written just to get search engines to index them so they'll show up you when you do a search. Or worse, they blatently copy content from valid websites. Content farms exist only to make money off the ads that are served there. The owners of the website could care less whether you click on the ads or not -- they make money just by displaying the ads AND, if you do click on an ad, they make even more money.

So, how do you get rid of content farms -- you kill their search engine results. Here's how.

If you use Google, do a search. If you accidently click on a content farm link, just hit "Back" to go back to the search results. Google now presents a new option under that particular search result that reads "Block all <name of website> results". If you click on this, you'll never get results for that website again. The hitch is that you must use a recent browser (Firefox 3.5 or higher, Chrome, etc.) and be logged in to Google to get this option. For most people neither of these stipulations create an issue.

Do us all a favor and let's help kill as many content farms as possible. It'll make searching that much better and get rid of the Internet scammers and leaches.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 October 2011 10:29
 
My First Computers PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 March 2011 00:00

The first computer I worked on in high school was an Apple II with cassette tape drives. We learned BASIC programming and did some novice-level programs -- math mostly.

In 1983, I learned how to do a little more programming using a friend's Commodore 64 they bought for their kids for Christmas. My friends enlisted me to work on it because they just assumed I knew how to do stuff like that. I set it up, figured it all out, and even wrote a little game from the instructions that came with the system and that was my present to their kids that year. I think I had more fun with that computer than their kids did and I was hooked.

I spent plenty of time using a computer in the Navy. This system worked with the radar and the electronic counter measures systems in the P3-C Orion aircraft I flew in as we tracked non-friendly submarines.

After I got out of the Navy, I eventually went to work for a database developer and my first "real" computer was an original IBM PC running MS-DOS 1.0. That computer was "special" because it had 512k memory, two 5.25" floppy drives, a 10MB hard drive, and an amber screen instead of a green screen. The multi-user database system we created, Team-Up, was a dBase competitor. We ran it over Banyan Vines, AT&T StarLAN, 3Com 3+, Lantastic, Novell 2.15, IBM PCLAN and Token Ring, Microsoft XENIX... basically anything that ran NetBIOS. It was DOS-based but ran well in OS/2 and even Windows 1.0. We even got it running on CP/M and the PDP-11. Alas, the company died a horrible death during the database wars of the 1990s. Luckily I had moved on to bigger and better things by then but amazingly there are still a few companies out there using that database today.

My first home PC was a 286 machine with 1024k memory, two 3.5" floppy drives, a 40MB hard drive, and a VGA color screen. It ran MS Windows 3.1. I can remember holding my daughter Ashley, 9 months old at the time, in my lap while programming the Team-Up database system.

As Ashley grew, she was fascinated by the computer. She loved to play a game called "The Berenstain Bears" and would play that game for hours if I let her. She was probably 4 years old by that time. It was about a family of bears who would live out their life depending on what choices you made for them. Part of the game involved getting the baby bears to go to the bathroom. They'd go in the bathroom and then the light would turn out so you couldn't see what they were doing and that's typically when the game would lock-up. It took a long time of playing the game to get to that point so it would frustrate us to no end. I never could figure out a resolution to get her past that issue. Every time I thought I had solved it, the game would lock-up after she'd been playing for an hour or so and I of course would spend more time trying to figure out why the heck the game kept locking-up there. I attributed it to a memory problem but never could fix it.

Ashley eventually moved on to Sim City and other Sims games which she really enjoyed. She would build fantastic cities in Sim City, Sim City 2000, and Sim City 3000. She enjoyed showing me how everything worked from the plumbing and electricity to the museums, fountains, buildings, and transportation systems. In The Sims, she created interesting families and communities, always fascinated by the interaction between her characters and other in-game characters and situations. I believe these games helped spark her interest in graphic art and particularly computer animation.

Ultimately, my interest in computing has spread to my daughter but she's taken it down a different track. She understands how an artist can use a computer as yet another tool to create wonderful works of art. Her work thus far has been awesome and I'm looking forward to seeing her future creations.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 March 2011 07:56
 
Motorola - Destined for mediocrity? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 July 2010 08:49

So Motorola is selling off major pieces of their business. The most recent to go is their cellular-based divisions that handle WiMAX, LTE and other cellular-based technologies which is being sold to Nokia. Next will likely be their handset (cell phones) and set-top-box (cable) business. What will happen with their radio division, the Wi-Fi-based solutions division, and other parts of the company? It'll be interesting to see the sell-off occur over the next year or so but I wonder how that's going to impact their existing customers.

Motorola was founded in 1928. They've been pioneers in radio, TV, cellular and other technologies. It's disheartening to see such an established company having to deal with these issues but hopefully they'll come out of it better than they were. I fully believe that America needs companies like Motorola. We need to continue our tradition of building technologically advanced solutions in the USA and let the rest of the world copy us rather than USA copying others. Moto, to me, is like GE, Ford, and Cisco. These are all prime examples of American-based ingeniuty, persistance, and sweat-equity and we need to keep these institutions, not farm them out to others.

Moto DynaTAC Cellphone

My first cell phone was a Motorola DynaTAC. It was ugly and heavy, but it was so well-made I could have used it as a weapon if needed. The next phone I carried after the DynaTAC was a piece of junk that only lasted a few months until it had to be replaced because I accidently dropped it. When I dropped the DynaTAC, I'd just piece it back together and continue using it. The point here isn't that it was an innovative device... it was just well-made and did the job for which it was designed. Maybe Moto should get back to that philosophy... maybe all of us should.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 09:28
 
Securing your home WLAN PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 August 2010 08:37

I think most people today know they need to secure their home wireless networks. If someone isn't securing their WLAN, it's because they don't care, they want to provide free access to others, or they don't understand how to secure it. If you are providing free Internet access to others via your home WLAN, you might want to think about the ramifications. First and foremost, I completely understand the desire to share the Internet. I'm not saying, "Don't do that." I'm just saying that if you are going to do it, secure your WLAN first, and then invite your neighbors to use it via the secured link rather than an open link. Here's why.

When someone creates an open WLAN, it means they are choosing not to employ security mechanisms. This means anyone can get on the WLAN without configuring an encryption method. All the information flowing across that WLAN is unencrypted. Anyone who is within proximity of the WLAN can easily capture that information and use it for whatever nefarious task they have in mind.

Hackers can use your open WLAN in several ways. They can take the information they've captured and use it against its owner. For example, someone can capture your Facebook session (including the username and password) and use that against you on Facebook. They can login and change your password so that you no longer have access to your account. Hackers could also capture banking information, IM sessions, Skype calls, anything you do from your Wi-Fi-connected device, and use it against you... simply because you made it so easy for them to do it.

Another way people abuse open WLANs is to use it to connect to the Internet. From there they could be uploading porn or stolen movies or music. When the authorities track down where the illegal files came from, they aren't going to find the hacker, they're going to find your WLAN and they will prosecute you... all because you didn't set a simple passphrase on your wireless router and Wi-Fi devices.

Hackers can also use your wired network against you via your open WLAN. An unscrupulous invader will attack wired devices that are connected to the same router that provides you with Wi-Fi and Internet access. They circumvent the security of devices inside your network and establish "bots" on them so that those devices do all the work while the hacker is disconnected. A compromised network device can be used to store illegal files, carry on illegal activities, or send out spam during off-hours. When your Internet Service Provider (ISP) determines the illegal or disallowed activities are coming from your network connection, they shut off your account and cause you legal problems that you don't want to deal with.

All this can happen simply because you wanted to be a Good Samaritan. Go ahead, be a good neighbor, just secure your WLAN. Only provide access to those who request it and whom you feel comfortable granting access. You can still be the Good Samaritan... you'll just be a lot more comfortable with the security it provides you and your family.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 March 2011 11:53
 
Internet growth: Are you ready for the Video Internet? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 July 2010 07:46

The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) is the company's ongoing effort to forecast and analyze the growth and use of IP networks worldwide. Cisco VNI findings indicate what Cisco has consistently professed—that the network is playing an ever-increasing role in our daily lives. Because IP networking is part of Cisco's DNA, the forecast helps Cisco—and its customers—gain greater insight into what's coming next.

  • Global IP traffic will increase by a factor of four from 2009 to 2014, approaching 64 exabytes per month in 2014, compared to approximately 15 exabytes per month in 2009.
  • By 2014, annual global IP traffic will reach almost three-fourths of a zettabyte (767 exabytes). A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes.
  • By 2014, the various forms of video (TV, VoD, Internet Video, and P2P) will exceed 91 percent of global consumer traffic.
  • By 2014, global online video will approach 57 percent of consumer Internet traffic (up from 40 percent in 2010).
  • Globally, mobile data traffic will double every year through 2014, increasing 39 times between 2009 and 2014.
  • For the first time ever, online Internet video will surpass peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing as the top Internet traffic contributor by the end of this calendar year (2010).
  • Face-to-face communications via the Internet will grow sevenfold by 2014—and the global online video community will exceed 1 billion users.
  • By 2014, 3D and HD video is predicted to comprise 42 percent of total consumer Internet video traffic.

If you are interested, you can read more here:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns827/networking_solutions_sub_solution.html#~forecast

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 07:49
 
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