Monthly Archives: May 2012

10 Ways to Save the World One Internet Connection at a Time

Evidence of the power of the internet is everywhere. From the impact of social media to the outreach programs that have changed lives around the world, there has never been a more potent tool for global influence available to the common man. You don’t have to look far to find ways to save the world with the internet. Here’s a list of ten of them: 

  1. Human Rights WatchHRW provides timely information about human rights crises and developments in 90 countries around the world. You can follow them here on Twitter.
  2. Save the ChildrenSave the Children is the leading independent organization creating lasting change for children who are in need, both in the United States and around the world. Working in more than 120 different countries, this organization also delivers assistance to parents, teachers and caregivers.
  3. DoSomething.orgA website whose stated purpose is: “Using the power of online to get teens to do good stuff offline.” From book drives to the bully project, Do Something offers venues through which teens can impact their world positively through doing something good.
  4. Change.orgThe impetus behind Change.org is to establish an organizing platform from which people who want to affect change in their world, whether it’s locally or globally or both, can launch a campaign.
  5. World Food ProgrammeWFP is the food aid arm of the United Nations system. Their mission is to eradicate hunger and poverty around the world, and visitors are able to donate from their website here, or join an online community.
  6. AshokaFounded in 1980, this organization is rooted by a fundamental vision to empower individuals to address societal issues, innovate for change, and develop the confidence they need to see that they have the power to do so.
  7. GoodWhat is Good? We’ll let them explain: We are people, businesses, moms, kids, artists, organizations, policymakers, students, teachers, and engineers. All united in one simple idea, each elevated by being connected. Let’s do what works and never default to what doesn’t. Join us, and together we’ll power what works.
  8. KivaYou can literally lend a hand here. Well, some money anyway. As little as $25 to help change the world for someone in need. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of micro-finance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend to help create opportunity around the world.
  9. Movements.orgA non-profit organization, they connect and support online activists to help them acquire the technology, media, and people to promote their missions. Grassroots activists are able to make real changes in their communities with their help.
  10. SocialEdge.orgA global online community that brings together social entrepreneurs and philanthropists in order to share resources, network, and motivate one another to affect change locally and globally.

10 Lessons You Can Learn from a Pinterest Spammer

What do you think of when you think of spamming?  No, I’m not talking about the meat product that comes in a can, although I do kind of like that Spam.  You may think that a spammer sends a bunch of junk e-mail to your in-box, but what if I tell you there’s another kind?  A spammer who bombards social sites with information that leads to him making money.  Check out 10 lessons you can learn from a Pinterest Spammer.

  1. A Lot of money is being made: Spammers are making anywhere from $500-$2000 a day on Pinterest.  As they do more spamming their earnings grow.  No wonder they are interested in doing this.  If they kept this up for even a year they would make over a half a million dollars.
  2. It takes very little money to get started: No big investments are needed to do this.  You need to have a computer with a lot of bandwidth.  So you do need to have already purchased a decent computer and have excellent Internet service.  Other than that it’s all know-how.
  3. Spammers use bots: I really had no idea that spammers use bots to do their ‘dirty’ work.  Apparently they have the knowledge to create a program that will pin photos onto Pinterest and note a link on that photo.
  4. Not invitation only: When you go to www.pinterest.com you can look around at photos, but you can’t start pinning them to different boards until you become a user.  It says right up front that becoming a user is by “invitation only”.  The spammer tells that this is not true and that if you make a request from a valid e-mail address that you will get your invitation no matter what or you can invite yourself from a different e-mail account.
  5. Easy to spot: If you spend enough time on Pinterest the bot postings are pretty easy to spot.  There’s a picture, but the words under it have nothing to do with what’s in the picture.   You’ll see a cute photo of puppies and the link will be for hand bags.  Unless you are making hand bags out of the puppies like Cruella Deville I don’t think the link really relates to the photo.
  6. Pinterest not shutting spammer down: Out of the thousands of bots this spammer uses he’s only had one shut down.  His very first bot because he was posting too many photos.  He modified his approach and has had no more problems.  This seems surprising to even the spammer so why isn’t Pinterest shutting down his bots?
  7. Money made through Amazon: There’s a long-time existing affiliate referral program through Amazon where they will pay a referral fee to you if you refer someone to their site who buys something.  By creating links to Amazon products this spammer gets people to buy stuff on Amazon and he gets the affiliate money from them.  You’d think they could track down anyone who is making a great deal of money from them and make sure they are not cheating the system.  This spammer is cheating Amazon.
  8. Crowding out real posts: While this spammer doesn’t feel any guilt about how he’s making his living because he says he’s not hurting anyone.  He makes a point to say that he’s not uploading viruses or scamming anyone.  But he is hurting the intention of Pinterest.  When I go on to Pinterest I want to see real comments from real people.  I don’t want the site to fill up with fake stuff.
  9. Artificially raising photos to popular: On Pinterest the more a photo gets pinned the more popular that it is deemed to be.  Makes sense right?  Wrong, this doesn’t work when bots are posting pictures from fake accounts and then pinning and repinning those same photos to increase their popularity so that they are more visible.  Yet another way that Pinterest could stop this spammer.  Putting in a simple fix that allows you to only pin a photo to 3 boards or something like that.
  10. Always be alert: People will always try to make a buck the easiest way possible.  Some will not only cheat, but steal too.  If you don’t want to be a victim stay alert when you are on the web.  The number of scammers on the web is amazing and they would like to dupe you into giving them all your money.  Beware!

10 Different Ways to Play Roulette on the Web

The popular classic casino game Roulette has broken out of the casinos and moved into the online world, becoming a hit among internet gamers. Its simplicity and the James Bond-cool cache have made it a web fan favorite. Variations in form, game rules, and betting odds can be found throughout the internet. We’ll take a look at ten different ways that roulette can be played on the web:

  1. Chat Roulette – In this variant of the game, “players” enter a chat room and can meet up with other users online from around the world for a webcam-based chat session.  Your initial contact is selected at random; from there you can opt to “roll the wheel’, so to speak and meet someone else.
  2. 3D Roulette – Downloadable software allows you to play the game using 3D graphics and sound. Or you can opt to play a limited version online, such as with this version. Different styles of the game are also available, such as …
  3. European Roulette – In this version of roulette, there are spaces on the wheel numbered 0 through 36, which places betting odds at 37-to-1. This was the original wheel layout, until it was revised by American casino owners, as below:
  4. American Roulette – In order to improve the house odds – and, hence, raise the odds against the bettor – American roulette wheels were given an added segment for the double-zero. This raised the odds of winning to 38-to-1.
  5. Russian Roulette – Then there’s this form of the game, which uses an entirely different “wheel”, one with usually only 5 or six “segments”, and the odds are not very good for players getting to walk away as winners. There are internet versions you can play, though, but they’re a bit graphic.
  6. Cute Roulette – This website “spins” through a random library of cute videos on YouTube. You can get your daily dose of warm fuzzies and then some, all with just a click of the arrow on the right.
  7. Kitteh Roulette – If you just can’t get enough video of kittens at play, then check out this site for a roulette of adorable kitties and their silly antics. Load up on some lulz to email your friends. Just don’t tell them who sent you.
  8. Mobile Roulette – There are all sorts of roulette apps available that you can download to your mobile, and take the casino along with you. Versions for every platform can be found online, as on this site.
  9. Reel Roulette – This website, created by Nick Campbell, Joshua Schaible and Trevor Turk provides both a search and a posting option for either browsing others’ films or showing off your own. Think of it as a job fair for motion designers.
  10. Live Roulette – Streaming video brings the croupier and casino table directly to your computer screen. Casinos from around the country offer software that will deliver live feeds to your PC. Choose from a variety of table layouts and wheel configurations.

10 Ugly Truths Twitter Tells Us About Ourselves

We hate to be the tweeter of bad news, but there is some downside to all this time we’ve been spending on social networking sites. Not that you didn’t already have your own suspicions, but it’s probably best that we get this out in the open once and for all, so here goes. The following are 10 ugly truths that twitter tells us about ourselves:

  1. We Are Voyeuristic – If Twitter tells us nothing else, it plainly demonstrates our incessant need to peer into the lives of others. We just can’t seem to get enough of what’s going on in the lives of complete strangers.
  2. We Prefer Superficial Interaction – Social media permit us to interact with people without geographical limits. Yet, we tend to use these same media to correspond locally as well. We’ve developed a taste for keeping our relationships at a distance, it seems.
  3. We Are Stalkers – At some level, we all seem to have a fascination with celebrity. Given the ability to correspond with famous people, we hang on their every tweet. Doesn’t seem to matter how outlandish their comments, we just eat them up.
  4. We Have Poor Time Management – So maybe we manage to get our work done, maybe not. There’s no denying, though, that we could be spending our time a lot more wisely and productively if we weren’t logged in so much of the day.
  5. We Are Our Avatars – The great thing about creating a profile on social websites is, well, creating a profile. There’s an undeniably gratifying element to this ability to define ourselves according to our own self-image, or even fantasy. We get to choose who we are and present that image to the world.
  6. We Have Less to Say Than We Thought – For all the time we spend online, consider how much of it is spent posting re-tweets, quotations, and links; not one word of any of them our own thoughts or feelings. If someone gave you just 140 characters with which to speak your mind, why would you choose to quote someone else?
  7. We Crave Attention – It might just be that what we have to say matters less than that we are heard at all. Think of that sense of relevance you feel whenever your tweets are retweeted. And all you shared was a link to an article about J.K. Rowling’s new book.
  8. We Want Followers – Popularity, a messianic complex, or maybe just lots of loyal customers. We’ve a need for our minions, haven’t we? It’s not like humans couldn’t find self-worth or financial success before Twitter, so there’s something more at work here.
  9. We Value Brevity Over Substance – The most popular tweets are the kind that are pithy, and require little thought. Sort of like bumper stickers. Twitter encourages a jingoistic form of communication.
  10. The Bottom Line – When you add it all up, it’s undeniable: We haven’t much to say and spend entirely too much time saying it. The inescapable conclusion is that we have no lives.

10 Ways People Use FaceBook to Spy on Others

You would think that when it comes to social media sites like Facebook, the people who use them are, well, socializing, right? Well, apparently not everyone is in a particularly social mood when they log in. Here are 10 ways that people use Facebook to spy on others:

  1. Checking Out Their Profile – Unless your privacy preferences are set accordingly, your personal info is not private. It requires action on the member’s part to safeguard from public view what that member wants to keep to herself, or limit to friends.
  2. Friending – Once a person has become a friend on Facebook, they can keep tabs on your status and posts fairly simply. The tendency to automatically friend someone who friends them can open doors that best remain shut.
  3. Fake Profiles – If someone wants to spy on another, and cannot expect to be friended using their actual persona and avatar, they might create a new one that appears less objectionable. This is one way of circumventing privacy settings, and another is …
  4. Spoof Profiles – it’s also possible to use the same name as another of the person’s friends to create an entirely new profile. They can select a friend on their list whose profile suggests a limited use of Facebook (ie, no profile photo, little personal info provided on profile), and pose as that other friend on a different account, adding mutual friends to the new profile as well.
  5. Friending Your Friends – It’s not uncommon for members to confirm friendships with unknown people based purely on the fact that they have mutual friends. So, the logic goes, they must be OK. Not necessarily.
  6. Sending Gifts – It’s just a friendly gesture in most cases, but it also opens your private info up to access by the 3rd party app that the gift was sent through. This in turn leaves your private info open to sharing with others who may want to access that info too.
  7. Reading posts – Although someone may not have access to your profile directly, they may be able to keep tabs on you through your friends’ walls and tagged photos.
  8. Adding an RSS Feed – In order to continuously keep up with your status, it’s possible for a member to simply add your updates and posts to their feed and then see whenever you are logged in, right from their desktop or website.
  9. Send a Message – Social engineering attempts to gain access to private info works essentially the same. In this case, Facebook provides the option of sending a message to someone who isn’t already a friend. It’s the first step toward gaining someone’s trust.
  10. Instant Personalization – Apps and programs that can be linked to your Facebook profile, are another means for others to spy on you. For instance, you’re reading a news article online and wish to make a comment. The website offers you the option of logging in, using your Facebook profile. Non-members can access your profile by following the link from your user name.