Sunday, September 28, 2008

Do you really think your confidential images are safe online?

In the modern age of information, people are using Internet resources more and more to communicate each other, sharing their personal images and videos with their friends. Bloggers and chatters are also looking for the best ways to place the videos and images on the third party services for instant hot linking to their posts and messages. That will help to preserve account space and related bandwidth.

Appearing tinypic.com on the top of the Google Hot Trends today just prove the fact that these service, in spite of the existing variety on the offered services on the market.

TinyPic.com is a Video and Image sharing service that allows easily uploading, linking and sharing users’s videos and images. You can select whether to share the files in a private or public form. TinyPic.com is free for everyone and there is no need to open an account so as to take advantage of its features. This service is really easy to use; all you have to do is type in the files’s name and create some tags for it and it is done. Your image or video will appear on the website in a matter of seconds. TinyPic.com offers people the chance of searching for a specific video or image by the newest or the most popular ones.

Comparing with the alternative services as ShareAPic (images) or Flixya (images and video), the ultimate service advantage is an ability to use the service without registration or login to the account. However, while being free, TinyPic does not offer any way of revenue share to its users. So, if you are blogger, focused on monetization of your content, TinyPic will not be a best pick for you. If you do not care on the profits generation, I would definitely recommend a close look on its service offerings. The service is fast and reliable. TinyPic™ owned and operated by Photobucket.com, another free Image and Video Hosting company.

On the list of 25 Free Images Sharing Services for Bloggers, TinyPic is rated 4 of 5.

The regular service review is just a first part of the topic I would want to discuss today. As it is introduced by the developers, there is opportunity to load the pictures and videos on the site with intention to make the files private. And the site indeed does everything possible to keep them private. However, is that really the case?

Nav.Net is a Fusker engine for intelligent image and video search and downloading. It can help unauthorized person to get access to the media files, which were not intended to his eyes. But since the site and the software (actually, there is much more than one offering on the market) are freely available, those how consider their data absolutely private, should be aware that it is not entire truth.

Please review the video with brief fusking tutorial.



Nav.Net - Intelligent Image and Video Utility

NavNet Developers Site: http://navnetapp.com/

Direct downloading link: http://www.ziddu.com/download/2278315/NavNetSetupB35.exe.html

I am neither promoting such kind of activity, nor using it myself. But I also do not store confidential photos online. Please use the software to check how secure your safe storage is.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Can you Vote? How? When? Where? Why?

As you noticed, I am not covering in my blog many topics that stay on top of the US society hot lists, as TV, sports, or elections. I am not truly interesting in these topics of discussion personally, so I do no feel of writing about. But, refusing to promote my personal political views on the upcoming president elections, I do have my strong points, what would be better for this country, backed up by personal experience, available information, and experience in politics back in Europe, where I was extremely politically active and where at one time I was elected as a member of the Central Committee of one of the Political Parties. All the point of this paragraph is to ask everybody to take part in the elections. Does not matter, what you think, remember - your voice is important. Evil comes to the power by the way of democratic elections in some cases, so thinking “it is not my business” or “I can change nothing” might be a small and tiny step to the disaster.

Two related search queries were today on the top of the list: can i vote and canivote.org. They both refer to the Web site http://www.canivote.org. The Web site is maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State, the nation’s oldest, nonpartisan professional association for public officials. Here you can find all the information required to ensure that your voice will not be lost due to the incomplete or incorrect voting process. Requirements might be different in different States, or even in different counties of the same State. So, if you care, please care enough to make your homework ahead of time.


General reminder checklist for your convenience:

  1. Be sure you are properly registered.

Most States require voters to register in advance of an election (though some allow voters to register on Election Day). Deadlines range from 3 to 30 days before an election. Find out if you are properly registered, confirm your address, obtain a copy of a voter registration form, and learn about registration deadlines in your state ahead of time.

  1. Be sure you go to the correct polling place.

Remember that in many states, if you vote at the wrong location, your vote will not be counted.

  1. Find out your options for convenient voting.

Many States allow individuals to vote prior to Election Day, either in person or by absentee ballot. Absentee voters typically must request an absentee ballot in advance.

  1. Find out if you are required to show ID.

Every state has identification requirements for at least some categories of voters. Be sure that you are carrying proper personal identification with you.

  1. Review sample ballots and information about candidates and issues.

If you familiarize yourself with the layout and instructions of the ballot, you can prevent mistakes when you go to vote. Some local election officials will provide you a sample ballot if you request one. Also, know who and what you’re voting for - you can research all candidates and ballot issues by contacting local civic groups or visiting www.canivote.org.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

iSearch - a Better Way to Find People Online

isearch made line 20 in the hottest news on Google Trends after recent announcement at the DEMOfall 2008 convention. It was introduced by its parent company Intelius as a brand new and more extensive search directory. When entering the site, iSearch gives you the search options of searching a person’s name and their location. A user can also search Internet screen names to find out more about their Internet buddies, as well as search phone numbers.

With iSearch, by typing in a person’s name and address, they have instant access to everything the Internet has on this person. iSearch may list several people with the same name in the same town or city, but the user will likely eventually get to the person they searched for in the first place.

If someone wants to look for old friends or family members, iSearch is positioning itself as the search tool to use. However, iSearch can only find information that is posted on the Internet, displaying all the web pages with a person’s name in one search entry. Of course, iSearch doesn’t magically pull this information out of thin air. It depends on what your search "target" has disclosed publicly online somewhere. ISearch simply does a thorough scanning of the web and collects and displays all that information in one entry for you.

Intelius’s CEO Naveen Jain explained that the older form of people search (e.g., Googling around, resorting to the White Pages or following people home) just isn’t up to standards in light of the social networking phenomenon.

Can you trust data received from the search? Sometimes... Do you think, the Michael Jackson’s profile below is real?

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You can access the Web site and try isearching immediately: http://www.isearch.com/

No registration required!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How Natural is Human Morality?

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In the heat of the political and weather cataclysms, an unusual search for moral.wjh.harvard.edu came to the top of Google Trends couple of days ago. It was definitely inspired by the soft copy of the article “Is Morality Natural?” by Marc D. Hauser, Ph.D. that will be published on September 22, 2008 in Newsweek. The article is reviewing biological roots of our intuitive sense of what is right and what is wrong. We are making moral and ethical decisions multiple times every day. Sometimes, we make our choices without even thinking about, automatically applying framework of our moral standards to the given situation. Sometimes, we hesitate and suffer, not being able to define the optimal way of the situation resolution.

Before presenting the article itself, I just want to introduce several opinions on the topic of discussion:

Truth, morality, beauty. It has been humanity’s persistent hope that these three ideals should be consistent with each other. Yet successful activities in science, politics, and art diverge greatly, and I believe the three activities can be pursued initially without regard to each other, or without reconciling the possible conflicts that may arise. Today there is perceived to be a strong contradiction between the results of science and the requirements of morality; for instance, the application of science has led to the development of nuclear weapons, while international morality seems to demand that such results never be applied--and that research leading to them should be stopped. I hold a position radically different from the general point of view, believing that contradiction and uncertainty should be embraced (Edward Teller, 1998)


The brain takes longer to tell a lie than to tell the truth. This is indicative of longer processing time and - interestingly - this accords well with St. Augustine’s view that truthfulness was the ground state of man (Dr Spence researched brain scans, using modern neuro-imaging technology, proving that the act of lying can be associated with significantly increased activity in specific regions of the brain).

At now, when you became slightly distant from your daily activities, we are presenting the article, created the search buzz. Think for yourself. How would you resolve the presented dilemmas?

And one more thing… It is nice to read about theoretical perspectives of critical moral dilemmas, but I wish everybody that it will never happen with you, that you have to make decision to choose one person to be saved in expense of another…

Is Morality Natural?

Science is tracing the biological roots of our intuitive sense of what is right and what is wrong.

Marc D. Hauser, Ph.D.

On Jan. 2, 2007, a large woman entered the Cango caves of South Africa and wedged herself into the only exit, trapping 22 tourists behind her. Digging her out appeared not to be an option, which left a terrible moral dilemma: take the woman’s life to free the 22, or leave her to die along with her fellow tourists? It is a dilemma because it pushes us to decide between saving many and using someone else’s life as a means to this end.

A new science of morality is beginning to uncover how people in different cultures judge such dilemmas, identifying the factors that influence judgment and the actions that follow. These studies suggest that nature provides a universal moral grammar, designed to generate fast, intuitive and universally held judgments of right and wrong.

Consider yourself a subject in an experiment on the Moral Sense Test (moral.wjh.harvard.edu), a site presenting dilemmas such as these: Would you drive your boat faster to save the lives of five drowning people knowing that a person in your boat will fall off and drown? Would you fail to give a drug to a terminally ill patient knowing that he will die without it but his organs could be used to save three other patients? Would you suffocate your screaming baby if it would prevent enemy soldiers from finding and killing you both, along with the eight others hiding out with you?

These are moral dilemmas because there are no clear-cut answers that obligate duty to one party over the other. What is remarkable is that people with different backgrounds, including atheists and those of faith, respond in the same way. Moreover, when asked why they make their decisions, most people are clueless, but confident in their choices. In these cases, most people say that it is acceptable to speed up the boat, but iffy to omit care to the patient. Although many people initially respond that it is unthinkable to suffocate the baby, they later often say that it is permissible in that situation.

Why these patterns? Cases 1 and 3 require actions, case 2 the omission of an action. All three cases result in a clear win in terms of lives saved: five, three and nine over one death. In cases 1 and 2, one person is made worse off, whereas in case 3, the baby dies no matter what choice is made. In case 1, the harm to the one arises as a side effect. The goal is to save five, not drop off and drown the one. In case 2, the goal is to end the life of the patient, as he is the means to saving three others.

Surprisingly, our emotions do not appear to have much effect on our judgments about right and wrong in these moral dilemmas. A study of individuals with damage to an area of the brain that links decision-making and emotion found that when faced with a series of moral dilemmas, these patients generally made the same moral judgments as most people. This suggests that emotions are not necessary for such judgments.

Our emotions do, however, have a great impact on our actions. How we judge what is right or wrong may well be different from what we chose to do in a situation. For example, we may all agree that it is morally permissible to kill one person in order to save the lives of many. When it comes to actually taking someone’s life, however, most of us would turn limp.

Another example of the role that emotions have on our actions comes from recent studies of psychopaths. Take the villains portrayed by Heath Ledger and Javier Bardem, respectively, in "The Dark Knight" and "No Country for Old Men." Do such psychopathic killers know right from wrong? New, preliminary studies suggest that clinically diagnosed psychopaths do recognize right from wrong, as evidenced by their responses to moral dilemmas. What is different is their behavior. While all of us can become angry and have violent thoughts, our emotions typically restrain our violent tendencies. In contrast, psychopaths are free of such emotional restraints. They act violently even though they know it is wrong because they are without remorse, guilt or shame.

These studies suggest that nature handed us a moral grammar that fuels our intuitive judgments of right and wrong. Emotions play their strongest role in influencing our actions-reinforcing acts of virtue and punishing acts of vice. We generally do not commit wrong acts because we recognize that they are wrong and because we do not want to pay the emotional price of doing something we perceive as wrong.

So, would you have killed the large woman stuck in the cave or allowed her to die with the others? If you are like other subjects taking the moral sense test, you would say that it is permissible to take her life because you don’t make her worse off. But could you really do it? Fortunately, there was a simpler solution: she was popped out with paraffin after 10 hours.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hunting Guide for best gas prices by zip code

Fuel prices lately lowered a bit, but they are still burning the drivers’s pockets. Probably, that is a reason why the search item gas prices by zip code made to the top Google Searches yesterday. The search suggests that there is a way to investigate the possible pricing variations among the gas stations in the neighborhood. You will not save a lot, but since you have a plenty of choice, and you have to fill your tank anyway, it is a good idea to search for the cheapest solution. The point is that the fuel prices vary from station to station, and they change daily, so you might find a bargain each time at a different station.

The most popular site to locate gas prices according to you local zip code is MSN Auto. Just enter your zip code in the site, and you will see the map of your area with gas stations, the highest and the lowest price, and listing of particular gas stations prices in with addresses, starting with the cheapest and going up. The site is updated daily. See screenshot (click to enlarge):

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An alternative solution is offered by MapQuest, site, having a significant experience with maps and directions generation. The idea, and the simplicity of getting information is actually the same, but the map is better looking and is easier to use. See screenshot:

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Another Web site, specializing in providing gas saving advices is GasBuddy. They claim to use a network of more than 181+ gas price information websites that help you find low gasoline prices. GasBuddy web sites allow motorists to share information about low priced fuel with others as well as target the lowest priced stations to save money when filling up at the pumps. Entering your Zip code, you have several opportunities - to see the prices as listing or as a map. See screenshot:

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Webmasters running local sites or specializing on the related topics, might add this interactive, frequently updated map to their Web sites, but to do so, you need to create account on GasBuddy Web site. Without registration, you can embed the small window, that will show Today Local Gas Prices on your site or blog (self updated):

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You might find more Web sites, offering similar services, but the three provided seems to be the best on the market. Drive safely, buy cheaply, and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why we should remember 9/11

Dry facts on September 11, 2001 for the history lesson in the future
On September 11, 2001 were a series of terrorist attacks were executed on the United States of America. Four commercial passenger jet airliners were hijacked on that morning and two of the planes were crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one plane into each tower, causing the collapse of both towers within two hours. The third aircraft was crashed into the Pentagon. Passengers on the fourth hijacked aircraft attempted to retake control of their plane from the hijackers, which crashed into a field in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania killing all on board but in the process saving many other lives. Approximately 3,000 people died in these attacks, including a number of fire fighters and rescue workers.

Why we should remember 9/11

The attacks of September 11, 2001, reshaped the face of the nation and the course of history. Our lives and the lives of those to come - not just here in New York or the United States, but around the globe - have changed forever.



9/11 in Pictures


The date, September 11, will forever evoke recollections of unimaginable tragedy, of lives callously lost and brutally cut short and of unspeakable horror and sorrow in the hearts and minds of all of us. We must never forget the depths of inhumanity to which terrorist fanatics are willing to sink in the name of their depraved cause as they seek to destroy the very principles of freedom and democracy on which this great nation was founded.


That is why each and every September 11, we as Americans pay tribute to those who lost their lives that fateful day. We gather in unity and dignity to honor the freedoms that we have fought for in the past, the freedoms our loved ones have died for, and those freedoms that we continue to fight for today.


What is it personally for each of us

Before the day of September 11, 2001 Americans were confident that they are living in the strongest, the wealthiest, and the most secure country in the World, far from wars, terrorist attacks, and tragedy. War was far away, and even with USA troops deployed somewhere, it did not matter too much. It was far-far away…


9/11 showed that the World is small and vulnerable. That there are no local conflicts any more. That the Hamas terrorists are not only problem of Israel, and IRA is not purely British headache. We are in the war, everyday and every hour, and the take is big - our freedom, our lives, and our children. Never forget this day and these pictures, and do what you can, no matter how small you think it can be, to prevent that from happening again. This time, it can be closer to your home. Where? Who knows... May be, it will be in Los Angeles..., or Austin..., or Portland...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Insider Information on your Prospective Employer

On September 7, 2008, search string glassdoor.com has reached a top Google Searches list. This is a respectable marketing exposure, taking in an account that the site opened its doors in June, and announced it supports international locations as well in August 26. Since its June debut, the site has collected reviews or salary data for more than 11,000 companies.

Glassdoor.com is a California startup Web site that showcases salaries from individual companies along with employee reviews, created with money from Menlo Park, Calif.-based Benchmark Capital, by the founder of the popular home-valuation Website Zillow.com.

Glassdoor.com is bringing more transparency to the workplace so that everyone has the information needed to make better career decisions. Evert community member can find and anonymously share ratings, reviews, and salary details about specific jobs for specific employers - all for free. The employee generated content usually covers a range of workplace factors, including work-life balance, career opportunities, compensation, leadership, and much more of what you need to get an inside look at what it’s really like to work at a company. To become a community member, you just anonymously submit your own job information and opinion.

What is new in the service comparing with the existing competitors on the market? By contrast, Salary.com shows salary ranges for job titles in your Zip code, but job descriptions are fairly generic and may not match the position you’re evaluating. PayScale.com is similar to Glassdoor.com in that it compiles salary data directly from users. You can see where you rank (or how much other jobs pay) compared with similar profiles, but no companies are named or reviewed. Combination of the real companies and real positions makes the provided information so valuable on the verge of the important decision-making. This knowledge helps to leverage the playing field slightly between the employer and employee at the position discussion.

Glassdoor takes pains to ensure data are on the level, reviewing every submission before it’s posted. Suspicious content -- such as outlier salaries or multiple entries from the same user -- is thrown out.

The site’s original focus was technology companies; banking and consulting listings have grown quickly, and Glassdoor is pursuing other industries.

Just, out of curiosity, Google’s overall rating is 4.1, Microsoft’s - 3.8, Yahoo! - 3.4, Intel’s - 3.4. My company’s rating is 3.2. Is that time to move? It is true, that eBay does have even lower rating - 3.1. If you planned to join eBay team, watch the movie first.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Do your Kids Watch Porn?

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Videobox.com managed to climb to the 100 Google Top Searched today, and that draw my curiosity on this site.

Description: VideoBox is the largest adult video (porn) download site on the internet. Over 3,000 movies and 20,000 scenes. No DRM and unlimited downloads. Free samples.

Warning: Website may contain adult content, themes and/or photographs. If you are not of legal age to view such content in the area that you reside in, or it is prohibited in the area that you reside in, or you find such material offensive, then please do not enter.

Prices: Monthly subscription from basic ($9.95) to premium ($17.95).

How it works: You have options on how to watch the adult movies. Stream with Flash player or download DRM-free Windows Media Format files to keep forever. There are no download limits, so enjoy all the porn you want!

Why I am “promoting” this Website? Actually, I am not! I am warning you!

In Terms and Conditions at the Eligibility you can read “You must be 18 years of age or older to use the Site or the Service. Use of the Site or the Service is void where prohibited. You represent and warrant that the profile information you submit is true and accurate and that you are 18 years of age or older and are fully able and competent to enter into, and abide by the terms of this Agreement. The Site and the Service are not intended for those under the age of 18. You represent and warrant that you do not find pornographic materials offensive or indecent and that you will not allow any person other than yourself to utilize your subscription”.


So, if you are younger than 18, you cannot use the site. Right? Wrong!

Quantcast is offering the US Demographics review for the site use:


You see, what is wrong with this picture? Use of the young adults of the site services is far from 0. Keep in mind, that your kids can be inside the 9% of the visitors statistics. I am not planning to argue, is that acceptable or not. Every family establishes its own rules. Just if you deem is unacceptable, be proactive and block your kids’s access to the porn services.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

National Gotopless Protest Day

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For many people, the matter is quite an important. Probably, that is why the Website gotopless.org captured again the public attention, raising to the top 12 line in Google Top Searches.

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Gotopless.org! is an official US organization, claiming that women have the same constitutional right to be bare-chested in public places as men.
Rael, spiritual leader and founder of gotopless.org states: "as long as men can be topless, constitutionally women should have the same right, or men should also be forced to wear something hiding their chest."

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Gotopless.org claims constitutional equality between men and women on being topless in public. Currently, women who dare to be topless in public in the US are repeatedly being arrested, fined, humiliated, and criminalized. On Aug 23rd, 2008, topless women arranged multiple rallies in different USA cities to protest this inequality in the law and demanded the fundamental right to be topless where men already enjoy that right according to the 14th amendment of the Constitution. August has been chosen for the peaceful protests, because in 1970, Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day "as a reminder of women’s continuing efforts for equality".

Protesters, many of whom wore plastic nipples over their clothes as a sign of their cause, argued that topless women are more pleasant to look at than some men who remove their shirts in public with no legal repercussions.

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I would say that these ladies have their points, from all perspectives - legal, ethical, aesthetical, and psychological. May be, that is time for USA to reach little but more open-minded position. I am sure, while glancing back from the future on these protests they will look funny and immature. But, remember, how ridiculous were viewed women in short dresses in the public not so long ago? Time is running forward, and some societal processes are stalling.