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It’s one of the Internet’s oft-mentioned ‘creepy’ moments. A user is served a banner ad in their browser promoting products on a site they visited hours, days or months in the past. It’s as if the ads are following them around from site to site. Most people know that the issue of ad stalking – termed ‘remarketing’ or ‘retargeting’ - has something to do with cookies but that’s barely the half of it.

The underlying tracking for all this is provided by the search engine provider, be that Google, Microsoft or Yahoo, or one of a number of programmatiic ad platforms most people have never heard of. The ad system notices which sites people are visiting, choosing an opportune moment to ‘re-market’ products from a site they visited at some point based on how receptive it thinks they will be. The promoted site has paid for this privilege of course. Unless that cookie is cleared, the user will every now and then be served the same ad for days or weeks on end.

privacy

Is this creepy? Only if you don’t understand what is really going on when you use the Internet. As far as advertisers are concerned, if the user has a negative feeling about it then the remarketing has probably not worked.

If it was only advertisers, privacy would be challenging enough but almost every popular free service, including search engines, social media, cloud storage and webmail, now gathers intrusive amounts of personal data as a fundamental part of its business model. User data is simply too valuable to advertisers and profilers not to. The service is free precisely because the user has 'become the product' whose habits and behaviour can be sold on to third parties. Broadband providers, meanwhile, are increasingly required by governments to store the Internet usage history of subscribers for reasons justified by national security and policing.

The cost of privacy - dynamic pricing

Disturbingly, this personal tracking can also cost surfers money through a marketing techique called 'dynamic pricing' whereby websites mysteriously offer two users a dfferent bill for an identical product or service. How this is done is never clear but everything from the browser used, the search engine in question the time of day, the buying history of the user or the profile of data suggesting their affluence may come into play. Even the number of searches could raise the price.

This seems to be most common when buying commodity services such as flights, hotel rooms and car rental, all of which are sold through a network of middlemen providers who get to decide the rules without having to tell anyone what these are. Privacy in this context becomes about being treated fairly, something Internet providers don't always seem keen to do.

ISP anonymity – beware VPNs

Achieving privacy requires finding a way to minimise the oversight of ISPs as well as the profiling built into browsers., search engines and websites. It is also important to watch out for DNS nameservers used to resolve IP addresses because these are increasingly used as data capture systems.

At any one of these stages, data unique to each user is being logged. This is especially true when using search engines while logged into services such as Google or Facebook. You might not mind that a particular search is logged by the search provider but most people don’t realise how this is connected directly to personal data such as IP address, browser and computer ID not to mention name and email address for those services. Put bluntly, the fact that an individual searched for health, job or legal advice is stored indefinitely as part of their personal online profile whether they like it or not.

In theory, the traditional way of shielding Internet use from ISPs can be achieved using a VPN provider. Techworld recently covered free VPNs available to UK users in a standalone feature so we won’t repeat its recommendations here but it is critical that the user doesn’t make naïve assumptions about this technology. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel from the user’s device and the service provider’s servers which means that any websites visited after that become invisible to the user’s primary ISP. In turn the user’s IP address is also hidden from those websites. Notice, however, that the VPN provider can still see which sites are being visited and will also know the user’s ISP IP.

Why are some VPNs free? Good question but one answer is that they can perform precisely the same sort of profiling of user behaviour that the ISP does but for commercial rather than legal reasons. In effect, the user has simply swapped the spying of one company, the ISP, for another, the VPN.

Post Snowden, a growing number advertise themselves as ‘no logging’ providers, but how far the user is willing to go in this respect needs thought. Wanting to dodge tracking and profiling is one thing, trying to avoid intelligence services quite another because it assumes that there are no weaknesses in the VPN software or even the underlying encryption that have not been publically exposed. With that caveat:

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – VPNs

IPVanish

IPVanish is a well-regarded US-based service offering an unusually wide range of software clients, including for Windows, Mac and Ubuntu Linux, as well as mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. There is also a setup routine for DD-WRT and Tomato for those who use open source router firmware. Promoted on the back of speed (useful when in a coffee shop) and global reach as well as security. On that topic, requires no personal data other than for payment and states that “IPVanish does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service.”

Costs $10 (about £6.50) per month or $78 (£52), and even accepts payment in Bitcoins.

Cyberghost

Another multi-platform VPN, Romanian-based Cyberghost goes to some lengths to advertise its security features, its main USP. These include multi-protocol support (OpenVPN, IPSec, L2TP and PPTP), DNS leak prevention, IP sharing (essentially subnetting multiple users on one virtual IP) and IPv6 protection. Provisions around 50 servers for UK users. Also says it doesn’t store user data.

Pricing is based on the number of devices protected. Premium covers one device and costs £3.99 per month while Premium Plus costs £6.99 per month for up to five devices.

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – Privacy browsers

All browsers claim to be ‘privacy browsers’ if the services around them are used in specific ways, for example in incognito or privacy mode. As wonderful as Google’s Chrome or Microsoft’s Edge/IE might be their primary purpose, we’d bed to differ. The companies that offer them simply have too much to gain from a world in which users are tagged, tracked and profiled no matter what their makers say. To Google’s credit the company doesn’t really hide this fact and does a reasonable job of explaining its privacy settings.

Firefox

Firefox by contrast is by some distance the best of the browser makers simply because it is does not depend on the user tracking that helps to fund others. But this becomes moot the minute you log into third-party services, which is why most of the privacy action in the browser space now centres around add-ons.

We recently updated our look at the other privacy browsers on the market, including services such as Tor, but failing that users can resort to add-ons.

Disconnect Private browsing

Disconnect is a slightly confusing suite of privacy add-ons offering private browsing and visibility (control over tracking cookies, including branded social sites), private search, essentially a VPN dedicated to the anonymous use of search engines. The former worked fine on Firefox while the latter required Chrome. There’s also a Premium desktop version that bundles these features and more into a single service for up to three devices for an annual fee

Disconnect is essentially the VPN idea presented in a different way with browser add-ons for those not wanting to go that far. The service says it neither collects not stores personal data beyond that required for payment and does not disclose any of this unless legally required to do so.

The add-ons are free while Premium costs $50 per annum. Mac/iOS users are offered a separate service, Privacy Pro, for the same price.

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – Privacy search engines

It might seem a bit pointless to worry about a privacy search engine given that this is an inherent quality of the VPN services already discussed but a couple are worth looking out for. The advantage of this approach is that it is free and incredibly simple. Users simply start using a different search engine and aren’t required to buy or install anything.

DuckDuckGo

The best know example of this is DuckDuckGo, which was embedded inside Mozilla’s Firefox in November 2014. What we like about DuckDuckGo is protects searches by stopping ‘search leakage’ by default. This means visited sites will not know what other terms a user searched for and will not be sent a user’s IP address or browser user agent. It also offers an encrypted version that connects to the encrypted versions of major websites, preserving some privacy between the user and the site.

DuckDuckGo also offers a neat password-protected ‘cloud save’ setting that makes it possible to create search policies and synch these across devices using the search engine.

Oscobo UK search

Launched in late 2015, Oscobo competes head-on with DuckDuckGo but in truth is almost identical bar the fact that it returns UK-specific search results by default (DuckDuckGo requires a manual setting). As with DuckDuckGo, the search results are based around Yahoo and Bing although the US outfit also has some of its own spidering. Beyond that, Oscobo does not record IP address or any other user data. According to its founders, no trace of searches made from a computer are left behind. Where does it make its money? As with any search engine, from sponsored search returns.

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – DNS nameservers

Sister title Computerworld UK recently covered the issue of alternative DNS nameservers, including Norton ConnecSafe, OpenDNS, Comodo Secure DNS, DNS.Watch, VeriSign and, of course, Google. The attraction of these is overwhelmingly performance and sometimes deeper levels of domain security. We highly recommend them compared to ISP DNS equivalents on that basis.

However, as with any DNS nameserver, there are also privacy concerns because the growing number of free services are really being driven by data gathering. The only way to bypass nameservers completely is to use a VPN provider’s infrastructure. The point of even mentioning them is that using an alternative might be faster than the ISP but come at the expense of less privacy.

DNS.Watch

Available on 84.200.69.80 and 84.200.70.40, DNS.Watch is unique in offering an alternative DNS service without the website logging found on almost every rival. We quote the firm: “We're not interested in shady deals with your data. You own it. We're not a big corporation and don't have to participate in shady deals. We're not running any ad network or anything else where your DNS queries could be of interest for us.”

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – Privacy utilities

Abine Blur

Blur is an all-in-one desktop and mobile privacy tool that offers a range of privacy features with some adblocking thrown in for good measure. Available in free and Premium versions ($39 a year) on Firefox and Chrome only, principle features include:

- Masked cards: a way of entering a real credit card into the Blur database which then pays merchants without revealing those details. Using this feature requires a Premium subscription ($39 per annum) and incurs additional credit card processing fees each time the card is charged with credit.

- Passwords: similar in operation to password managers such as LastPass and Dashlane without some of the layers of security and sophistication that come with those platforms. When signing up for or encountering a new site Blur offers to save or create a new strong password.

Masked email addresses are another feature, identical in principle to the aliases that can be used with webmail systems such as Gmail.  Bur’s management of these is a bit more involved and we’d question whether it’s worth it to be honest were it not for the single advantage of completely hiding the destination address, including the domain. Some will value this masking as well as the ease of turning addresses on and off and creating new ones. On a Premium subscription it is also possible to set up more than one destination address.

- Adblocking: with the browser extension installed, Blur will block ad tracking systems without the conflict of interest are inherent in the Acceptable Ads program used by AdBlock Plus and a number of others.  We didn’t test this feature across many sites but it can be easily turned on and off from the toolbar.

- Two-factor authentication: Given the amount of data users are storing in Blur, using two-factor authentication (2FA) is an absolute must. This can be set up using a mobile app such as Google Authenticator, Authy or FreeOTP.

- Backup and Sync:  Another premium feature, this will synch account data across multiple devices in an encrypted state.

- Masked phone: probably only useful in the US where intrusive telemarketing is a problem, this gives users a second phone number to hand to marketers.  Only works in named countries including the UK. Only on Premium.

Overall, Blur represents a lot of features in one desktop/mobile browser extension. Limitations? Not terribly well explained in places and getting the best out of it requires a Premium subscription. Although the tools are well integrated and thought out most of them can be found for less (e.g. LastPass) or free (e.g. adblocking) elsewhere.  The features that can’t are masked phone and masked card numbers/addresses.

Author:  John E Dunn

Source:  http://www.techworld.com/

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Building a cohesive search strategy can be difficult. There are a lot of factors to consider, including new search methods that are becoming increasingly popular such as altered reality and voice search and AI. But, other lesser known search strategies have the potential to increase engagement.

Learn more about overlooked search strategies you can use to get that much-needed boost in conversions.

The Benefits of Bing for Consumers and Advertisers

At Pubcon 2016 in Las Vegas, Brent Csutoras, SEJ’s Chief Social Media Strategist, sat down with Christi Olson of Microsoft to talk about the benefits of Bing for consumers and advertisers.

Here Are Some Key Takeaways from Her Interview:

  • Bing is finding ways to create a search results page that helps consumers take action right away. It’s not just about the links on the page anymore. It’s about what users are trying to do, the intent behind their query, and helping them get to their intended action quickly.
  • Bing presents more information and context based on user search behavior — what they’ve looked at in the past, how they’ve clicked, and how they engage with the search engine. A machine learning algorithm looks at user behavior over time. So, if you’re looking for your ad and do the same query repeatedly, your ad might not appear in search results because you’re not clicking on it. This teaches the algorithm that you’re not engaging with the ad so you might not be interested in it.
  • Bing’s audience skews slightly older than Google average audience (25 years old and up). Bing has also seen a 20% growth with its integration into Microsoft products, where it powers search on a user’s machine as well as across the internet.
  • The search engine also presents video in search results. Outside of text-based links, results that get good engagement include local search and shopping campaigns. Bing has a 30% market share, which means that one in three searches happens in Bing today. This opens up opportunities for advertisers.

Tips on Structuring Mobile Advertising Campaigns

In this interview at Pubcon 2016 in Las Vegas, Optmyzr CEO Frederick Vallaeys, shares a few strategies for structuring your mobile advertising campaigns.

Here Are Some Key Takeaways from the Interview:

  • The majority of search is now happening on mobile devices, so you must optimize for mobile search.
  • Google has created different bid modifiers for different devices: mobile bid modifier, tablet bid modifier, and desktop/computer bid modifier. If you want to advertise only on mobile, turn off your desktop traffic or set a different bid modifier for desktop traffic.
  • You can also create different landing pages. You can even have a mobile-preferred landing page. However, Google has taken away the ability to have a mobile-preferred ad.
  • Expanded text ads no longer have a mobile-preferred option. One way to get around this is using ad customizers to create mobile-preferred ads. Because of these new controls, you can think about account structure in completely new ways and you can reinvent it in a way that works best for you.

How On-Site Search Helps Boost Engagement and Conversions

JP Sherman of Red Hat discusses how on-site search can help boost engagement and conversions in this interview at Pubcon 2016 in Las Vegas.

Here Are Some Key Takeaways from His Interview:

  • People who are searching on your site are more likely to convert, since they’re already engaged and might even be looking for something you’re actually selling. Based on this, you can use on-site search as a force multiplier for conversion. On-site search is a way to establish brand identity, helping people remember who you are and encouraging return visits.
  • On-site search can help improve user experience based on the types of products you have, what your customers are looking at, and how they consume that information. Searching on your site is a way for people to get to your products so you need to understand what they’re actually looking for.
  • Key matches in on-site search can be seen as a stripped-down version of Google AdWords. It’s a way to promote something to the top of search results based on a keyword.

Source:  searchenginejournal.com

Categorized in Online Research

How can you trust a secret if you can't tell where it came from? Today, we are excited to share that the Internet Society is a proud supporter of the Cryptech initiative. From the website introduction:

Recent revelations have called into question the integrity of some of the implementations of basic cryptographic functions and devices used to secure communications on the Internet. There are serious questions about algorithms and about implementations of those algorithms in software and particularly hardware.

We are therefore embarking on development of an open hardware cryptographic engine that meets the needs of high assurance Internet infrastructure systems that rely on cryptography. The open hardware cryptographic engine will be of general use to the wider Internet community, covering needs such as secure email, web, DNS, PKIs, etc.

In his recent blog post on Pervasive Internet Surveillance, Phil Roberts enumerated some of the technical efforts underway in the IETF as a result of this past year’s ongoing revelations about unwarranted surveillance and data collection. The IETF is not the only organization involved in attempts to block or mitigate what some have characterized as an attack on the Internet itself. Recent announcements include attempts to secure email (ProtonMail, Darkmail, etc.), to secure your mobile phone (Blackphone), to put better tools in the hands of end users (leap.se), and to provide private messaging services (jabber/otr), to name just a few. There are also serious efforts to secure the routing and domain name infrastructure, which rely on underlying methods for generating and protecting strong keys for encryption.

All of these projects depend on strong encryption and strong keys as tools to both establish trust and to protect sensitive data. Sadly, trust in many of the components needed to achieve real secrecy has been undermined. Core components such as entropy, cryptographic algorithms, and purpose-built hardware have all been compromised. Some of this has been malicious, some was the result of pressure from governments, some was due to the failure of business practices in deployment, and some was the result of underfunded and understaffed volunteer efforts in maintaining widely used software. The combined result has lead to widespread doubt in formerly trusted institutions, developers, and vendors. For many, even those using these products and tools as part of their critical infrastructure, the process of key generation and key management is a black box.

Here is the paradox: how can you trust the generated secrets if you can't tell how the box was made? The Cryptech project poses the following riddle: when do you want your black box to be transparent? The answer: while you're building and configuring your own particular box.

The Cryptech effort began in late 2013 with a small group of engineers at a side meeting at IETF 88 in Vancouver. The project has strong support from the IETF and IAB chairs but the project is not limited to IETF participation. While early use cases included IETF protocols such as RPKI and DNSSEC, there was also interest from Certificate Authorities, the TOR Project, and others. Cryptech is aimed at those processes requiring a very high degree of assurance – normally provided by purchasing a Hardware Security Module (HSM) – but in this case they will replace the closed box with an open one. One of the project objectives says: 

“The intent is that the resulting open hardware cryptographic engine can be built by anyone from public hardware specifications and open-source firmware. Anyone can then operate it without fees of any kind.”

Stephen Farrell, an IETF Security Area Director, had this to say in supporting the project:

“The particular aspect that the cryptech folks are addressing is that there is somewhat of a crisis of confidence in the implementation of the cryptographic functions that underpin our most important Internet protocols. These functions are required for securing the web and for many other aspects of Internet infrastructure such as DNS security and routing security. Cryptech and the team that has been assembled could significantly help to alleviate these specific concerns by producing open-source hardware designs that can be directly used or re-implemented by others. A significant benefit of that is to provide confidence that the design and implementation is as free from potential nation-state or other interference as can be. While it may never be possible to achieve 100% confidence in that, it is definitely technically possible (though non-trivial) to do far better than we have to date – today we essentially have a choice between pure software cryptography or commercial hardware products for which its impossible to see what's "under the hood."”

The Internet Society is in strong agreement with this statement and has been an early supporter of this effort. We are actively encouraging additional partners. The project will need steady funding sources, active coders, good community review, and additional experts to audit and validate the project outputs.

The Cryptech team has been evangelizing the project and will be on hand at IETF 90for a project update. The briefing will be held on Wednesday, 23 July, during the lunch hour in the Quebec room of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Please come and bring your questions and your inputs.

Details of the Cryptech project can be found here: https://wiki.cryptech.is. The project is hosted by SUNET, but participants come from a variety of sources including academia, the open hardware and software communities, the TOR project, and the IETF. The team is committed to a transparent development process and early code is available at https://cryptech.is/browser.internetsociety.org

Please join us in this effort to help make the Internet a safer place.

Source:  internetsociety.org

Categorized in Market Research
1. The term “surfing” the internet was coined in 1992 by an upstate New York librarian Jean Armour Polly, aka “Net Mom.”
2. The most played song on Spotify is “Wake Me Up” by Avicii.
3. The first tweet was sent on March 21, 2006 by Jack Dorsey:
 

4. Mark Zuckerberg’s original Facebook profile number ID is 4.
5. The first YouTube video was uploaded April 23, 2005. It’s called “Me at the zoo,” and features Jawed Karim, one of the founders, at the San Diego Zoo.
6. A single Google query uses 1,000 computers in 0.2 seconds to retrieve an answer.
7. The original Space Jam website is still live.
8. So is the You’ve Got Mail site.
9. 16% to 20% of the searches Geoogle gets each day have never been Googled before.
10. Chinese social network Sina Weibo has 280.8 million users.
11. Twitter has 250 million users.
12. 500 milion tweets are sent ever day.
13. Tila Tequila had 1.5 million friends on Myspace.
14. The inventor of the modern world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
15. Mr. Berners-Lee uploaded the first image to the internet. It is of a joke band of women from the nuclear research lab CERN.
16. The first website is still online.
17. The most commonly searched question beginning with “What is” in 2013 was “What is twerking?
18. The most expensive keyword for Google AdWords is “insurance.”
19. The GIF format was invented by Steve Wilke, an engineer at Compuserve in 1987.
20. Mr. Wilhite maintains the correct pronunciation of the term is “jiff.”
21. He is clearly wrong.
25. Today, the Internet is 8,354 days old. Check HowOldIsTheInter.net to keep up to date.
26. “Gangnam Style” by Psy is still the most viewed YouTube video of all time. It’s been viewed over two billion times.
27. The first email was sent in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson to himself. He doesn’t remember what it said.
28. The first spam email was sent in 1978 over ARPNET by a guy named Gary Thuerk. He was selling computers.
29. The first registered domain was symbolics.com.
30. The world record for the fastest time to log into a Gmail account is 1.16 seconds.
31. The world record for fastest texter is held by a Brazilian teenager.
32. This is what Google looked like in 2004:
33. 2.58 million people still pay for AOL.
34. It cost AOL over $300 million to mail all those CD-Roms back in the day.
35. At one point, AOL accounted for about 50% of all CD-Rom discs being made.
36. It took only 5 years for the internet to reach a market audience of 50 million users.
37. This is what Facebook looked like in 2004:
38. There were over 7 million Geocities sites before it was shut down in 2009.
39. Angelfire is still up.40. Mark Zuckerberg had a pretty sweet Angelfire page.
41. One million babies have been born from people who met on Match.com.
42. Online daters spend an average of $2
43. per year on online dating.
44. 33% of female online daters have had sex on the first online date.
45. 10% of sex offenders use online dating.
46. The Amazon logo is indicating you can get everything from A to Z (look at the arrow):
47. Before the world wide web (the modern internet invented in 1989, people traded ASCII porn on the internet during the ’70s and ’80s.
48. We now spend more time browsing the web on mobile devices than desktop computers.
 
49. There is a subreddit devoted to chicken nuggets that look like other things.
50. This is the NeXT computer that Tim Berners-Lee used to create the World Wide Web:
Source:  buzzfeed.com
Categorized in Science & Tech

It’s easy to forget that we have access to a virtually limitless resource of information, i.e. the Internet. For a lot of us, this is even true at our fingertips, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and an ever-increasing push for online greatness by tech engineers all over the world.

As a result, there are countless websites out there that are geared to make you smarter and more brilliant for either a low or no cost. Here are just 25 killer websites that may just make you more clever than ever before.

1. Duolingo

This isn’t the first time I’ve recommended this language-teaching website (and app), and it certainly won’t be the last. Duolingo is a free version of Rosetta-Stone that delivers the same results: teaching you another language. Regular use of the site can have you speaking and writing Spanish, English, German, French, Portuguese and Italian in a matter of months depending on the diligence you put into it. Hopefully, even more languages will become available soon.

Duolingo

2. Khan Academy

Have you ever wanted to pick up a subject you’re not well-versed in, but you didn’t have the money to invest in a college course? Khan Academy aims to provide education at the collegiate level for anyone who wants it. They provide resources for learning pretty much every subject out there, including math, science, history and more. As you learn, the platform will even assess your progress and help you gauge what you’ve learned.

Academy

3. Justin Guitar

Guitar is one of the few instruments out there that’s actually pretty easy to learn if you’re a little older, making it one of the most accessible instruments. Still, learning how to play still takes some direction, at least for most people, so a guy named Justin decided he was going to help out. His website provides hundreds of free guitar lessons that range in different styles, depending on how you want to play. His schedule for learning is pretty easy to follow, and the site is a great stepping stone for people wanting to pick the instrument up.

Justin Guitar

4. Cooking for Engineers

Founded by Michael Chu, Cooking for Engineers goes further than just providing recipes. The site is a blog that is geared toward making your food taste good. Additionally, his analytical take on ingredients and cooking recipes is interesting and will likely change the way you approach cuisine.

Cooking for Engineers

 

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5. The Dating Specialist

Or Nick the Dating Specialist is a website that wants to help guys be better dates. The site is full of advice on how to approach social situations and flirt successfully with different types of people. Nick even offers personal coaching at your request, so he can help your specific situation or hurdle to successful dating.

Dating Specialist

6. Nerd Fitness

When we think of exercising and gym techniques, we typically think of bodybuilders and jocks from high school. Nerd Fitness aims to provide resources for getting in shape from a nerd’s point of view. All of the guides, blogs and fitness tips on this site have a geek flavor that is intended to make anyone who feels uncomfortable at the gym feel right at home here.

Nerd Fitness

7. MIT Open Courseware

As much as I would love an education at MIT, that isn’t really in the cards. Thankfully, the educators at the Massachusetts Institue of Technology decided to give out information for tons of courses online through Open Courseware. Hundreds of millions of people have benefitted from the information that they can learn from these courses, starting a trend for other sites to offer free courses as well.

MIT Open

8. Investopedia

I don’t like to admit it, but my lack of a business degree tends to make me feel easily intimidated when a conversation starts taking a turn for the financial. To solve this, Investopedia was born to provide a news blog that makes it easy to digest and really understand the financial markets. There are tons of resources like tutorials and videos that will help you keep up with the ever-changing world of money, and the news stories will keep you coming back for more.

Investpedia

9. Quora

Have you ever wanted to ask someone famous a question, but you suffer from never having the chance? Thanks to Quora, you can read the opinions and answers of fascinating (and varied) questions from the leading experts in pretty much everything. You can answer questions too and get feedback from numerous others who share your love for a given topic.

Quora

10. Information is Beautiful

I love reading, but sometimes a visual demonstration just makes information come alive. Hence, Information is Beautiful is a platform that uses gorgeous visuals to impart data. For example, if you want to find out how much money individual organizations have lost from data breaches, you can view an action visual that shows bubbles that are labeled and sized accordingly, giving you an in-depth, but easy to digest overview of the data.

Information is beautiful

Do you think you've mastered the searching skill on Google? Not yet. How to Google like a boss – Become a master of Google search with these little-known tips

11. Spreeder

According to Spreeder, a lot of us have trouble reading quickly because we can only read as fast as our “inner voice” can. Spreeder’s solution is to teach you to read without an inner voice, boosting reading speed and comprehension immensely. The best part? It’s totally free.

Spreeder

12. Project Gutenberg

Imagine a library with tons of free books that you can keep for the rest of your life. Actually, you don’t have to imagine that because Project Gutenberg gives you the ability to download thousands of free e-books, and it’s completely legal.

Project Grutenberg

13. Codeacademy

If you haven’t noticed by now, the Internet has pretty much taken over everything, which means the skill of coding and developing websites is in higher demand than ever, and that’s not likely to change. With Codeacademy, you can use free tutorials that teach you the basics of coding with interactive and handy tools for helping you become an expert.

Codeacademy

14. GeographyIQ

Imagine if Google Earth and Wikipedia decided to make it official and have a child. That would be GeographyIQ. Using the world map, you can select any country and access virtually every facet of useful information there is about that country, including history, currency, population and more.

Geography IQ

15. Anki

It’s no secret that the key to memorizing information is mastering recall. With flashcards, you can recall things faster, making Anki an ideal resource for using flashcards online. Unlike other sites that use flashcards, Anki allows you embed more than just text. You can use video, audio and images to help you start studying faster and smarter.

Anki

16. Lumosity

Using games to learn is something I’ve treasured since Kindergarten, making Lumosity a trusted resource for me and countless others. Using a daily schedule of games, Lumosity is literally designed to make you more clever. As you progress, the software figures out what your strengths and weaknesses (such as memory or math skills) and assigns you games accordingly. The best part is that the games are actually addicting and fun to look forward to!

Lumosity

17. CliffsNotes

Ideal for high school and college students, Cliffsnotes provides valuable resources like study guides and test prep for standard books and subjects you’ll have to read anyway. The site also provides resources for math and science, giving you the chance to finally master the dark arts of homework.

CliffsNotes

18. TED

For years, people have been benefitting from TED talks that provide free insights from the world’s smartest people. TED provides the value and learning growth of a seminar, but without the exorbitant costs and travel expenses, by providing visitors with tons of free video lectures. The app is also great for catching up on the latest talks, and you can even download some on iTunes.

TED

LOOK: You Can Easily Learn 100 TED Talks Lessons In 5 Minutes Which Most People Need 70 Hours For

19. Pinfruit

Need to memorize a lengthy number? Pinfruit analyzes the number and provides all of the options you could want as a mnemonic device. That’s all there is to it, since (unfortunately) they only provide this for numbers and not words.

pinfruit

20. Mindtools

There are countless blogs that you can enjoy for being interesting and mildly useful, but how many of them actually help you with your career? Mindtools is a blog that teaches you what they call “practical career skills” that you can apply at your job. This is a great daily read for entry-level workers who want to make a great impression, and the variety of topics and advice provided make this is a fantastic bookmark for anyone wanting to excel.

MindTools

 

21. HowStuffWorks

There are things we want to know about, and then there are things we didn’t know we wanted to know about. HowStuffWorks addresses the latter by providing information on a variety of topics and eye-opening facts that will broaden your horizons.

HowStuffWorks

22. OneLook

Finding a great dictionary is not a difficult task in a world full of search engines, but it can be tricky to define more complicated words and phrases that most dictionaries (besides UrbanDictionary) don’t attempt to define. With OneLook, you can find multiple definitions from numerous dictionaries in one place, even if you’re looking up a phrase that is obscure or too specific for normal dictionaries to help you out with.

OneLook

23. The World Factbook

Did you know that the CIA has information on pretty much everything in the world? Okay, but did you know that they make a ton of this information open to the public? The World Factbook is your godsend for research, allowing you to cite facts and details that pertain to a seemingly endless amount of information from reputable sources.

Worldbook

24. Couchsurfing

Don’t let the name fool you, as Couchsurfing is far from a website that will make you lazy. Couchsurfing lets you connect with travelers all over the world and is the ultimate resource for experiencing other cultures. Put simply, you can use the social network to meet locals in a new community you are visiting. You can also open up your home to fellow  couchsurfers, giving you the chance to make new experiences and memories with fascinating people from all over the globe.

Couchsurfing

Source: lifehack.org

Categorized in News & Politics

Facebook has responded to widespread criticism of how its Newsfeed algorithm disseminates and amplifies misinformation in the wake of the Trump victory in the US presidential election yesterday.

Multiple commentators were quick to point a finger of blame at Facebook’s role in the election campaign, arguing the tech giant has been hugely irresponsible given the role its platform now plays as a major media source, and specifically by enabling bogus stories to proliferate — many examples of which were seen to circulated in the Facebook Newsfeed during the campaign.

Last week Buzzfeed reported on an entire cottage industry of web users in Macedonia generating fake news stories related to Trump vs Clinton in order to inject them into Facebook’s Newsfeed as a way to drive viral views and generate ad revenue from lucrative US eyeballs.

This enterprise has apparently been wildly successful for the teens involved, with some apparently managing to pull in up to $3,000 and $5,000 per month thanks to the power of Facebook’s amplification algorithm.

That’s a pretty hefty economic incentive to game an algorithm.

As TC’s Sarah Perez wrote yesterday, the social network has become “an outsize player in crafting our understanding of the events that take place around us”.

In a statement sent to TechCrunch responding to a series of questions we put to the company (see below for what we asked), Adam Mosseri, VP of product management at Facebook, conceded the company does need to do more to tackle this problem — although he did not give any indication of how it plans to address the issue.

Here’s his statement in full:

We take misinformation on Facebook very seriously. We value authentic communication, and hear consistently from those who use Facebook that they prefer not to see misinformation. In Newsfeed we use various signals based on community feedback to determine which posts are likely to contain inaccurate information, and reduce their distribution. In Trending we look at a variety of signals to help make sure the topics being shown are reflective of real-world events, and take additional steps to prevent false or misleading content from appearing. Despite these efforts we understand there’s so much more we need to do, and that is why it’s important that we keep improving our ability to detect misinformation. We’re committed to continuing to work on this issue and improve the experiences on our platform.

Facebook has previously been criticized for firing the human editors it used to employ to curate its trending news section. The replacement algorithm it switched to was quickly shown to be trivially easy to fool.

Yet the company continues to self-define as a technology platform, deliberately eschewing wider editorial responsibility for the content its algorithms distribute, in favor of applying a narrow and universal set of community standards and/or trying to find engineering solutions to filter the Newsfeed. An increasingly irresponsible position, given Facebook’s increasingly powerful position as a source of and amplifier of ‘news’ (or, as it sometimes turns out to be, propaganda clickbait).

Pew research earlier this year found that a majority of U.S. adults (62 per cent) now get news via social media. And while Facebook is not the only social media outfit in town, nor the only where fake news can spread (see also: Twitter), it is by far the dominant such platform player in the US and in many other markets.

Beyond literal fake news spread via Facebook’s click-hungry platform, the wider issue is the filter bubble its preference-fed Newsfeed algorithms use to encircle individuals as they work to spoonfeed them more clicks — and thus keep users spinning inside concentric circles of opinion, unexposed to alternative points of view.

That’s clearly very bad for empathy, diversity and for a cohesive society.

The filter bubble has been a much discussed concern — for multiple years — but the consequences of algorithmically denuding the spectrum of available opinion, whilst simultaneously cranking open the Overton window along the axis of an individual’s own particular viewpoint, are perhaps becoming increasingly apparent this year, as social divisions seem to loom larger, noisier and uglier than in recent memory — at very least as played out on social media.

We know the medium is the message. And on social media we know the message is inherently personal. So letting algorithms manage and control what is often highly emotive messaging makes it look rather like there’s a very large tech giant asleep at the wheel.

Questions we put to Facebook:

  • How does Facebook respond to criticism of its Newsfeed algorithm amplifying fake news during the US election, thereby contributing negatively to misinformation campaigns and ultimately helping drive support for Donald Trump’s election?
  • Does Facebook have a specific response to Buzzfeed’s investigation of websites in Macedonia being used to generate large numbers of fake news stories that were placed into the Newsfeed?
  • What steps will Facebook be taking to prevent fake news being amplified and propagated on its platform in future?
  • Does the company accept any responsibility for the propagation of fake news via its platform?
  • Will Facebook be reversing its position and hiring human editors and journalists to prevent the trivial gaming of its news algorithms?
  • Does Facebook accept that as increasing numbers of people use its platform as a main news source it has a civic duty to accept editorial responsibility for the content it is broadcasting?
  • Any general comment from Facebook on Trump’s election?

Source:  techcrunch.com

Categorized in Social

It’s easy to find text on a page with a desktop browser, with just a keyboard shortcut you’ll have a search field. This is a bit different in the world of smaller mobile screens though, and if you need to find text on a current web page with Safari for iPhone or iPod touch you’ll need to do the following instead:

This is the same with Safari for iOS 6 and iOS 5:

  • While on the page you wish to search, type the phrase or text you want to search for in the upper right corners Search box
  • With the suggestions populated, swipe down to the bottom of the suggestion list to find “On This Page (x matches) and tap on ‘Find “search text”‘

Search on Page in Safari for iPhone and iPod touch

After you type “Find” the matched search terms will be highlighted in yellow, just like in Safari on Mac OS X or Windows. When finished tap on the blue “Done” button and the search phrase will no longer be highlighted.

Find on Page in Safari for iPhone

This is the same for iPhone and iPod touch, though it’s a bit easier on the iPad, where the Find On Page item is attached to the top of the onscreen iOS keyboard.

With Apple simplifying the Safari UI within OS X Mountain Lion to include an omnibar, we should probably expect this feature in iOS to change slightly with it and adopt the same omnibar. If that happens, chances are you’ll just tap in the universal bar to perform the same functionality.

Source:  osxdaily.com

Categorized in Search Engine

In a Blogpost yesterday, Google rebuffed antitrust charges by the European Union accusing the search giant of monopolistic practices with its Android operating system.

The EU said that by requiring hardware manufacturers to pre-install Google apps under “restrictive licensing practices,” Google was closing the doors to rival search engines and browsers trying to enter the market.

Google, however, says Android is an open source platform that has helped to significantly lower costs for device manufacturers that use the operating system for free — albeit after agreeing to Google’s terms.

Google also points to the fact that Apple pre-installs Apple apps on the iPhone, as does Windows. And that Android doesn’t block device manufacturers from pre-installing competing services next to Google apps, nor does it block users from deleting Google apps.

But those who have complained to the EU about Google’s restrictive contracts see it differently. One of the industry organizations that lodged a complaint, Fairsearch — which represents competitors Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle — says Google locks phone manufacturers into a web of contracts that effectively force them to install Google apps.

Apps, after all, are how phones collect user data, and that’s how Google sells ads.

Google is in the throes of two other antitrust complaints with the EU. One involves accusations that the company favors its own search results in its online shopping service over its rivals. The other alleges the online search giant abuses its market power by offering its online advertising on third-party websites that use Google’s search engine.

If the European Union concludes Google is in violation of its antitrust rules, it could fine the company up to $7.5 billion, or 10 percent of its annual revenue.

The case has similarities to when the European Commission accused Microsoft of antitrust abuses. Because Internet Explorer was bundled with Windows in 2009, regulators claimed Internet Explorer unfairly held a disproportionate share of the browser market in Europe. In the end, Microsoft paid $3.4 billion in fines.

Source:  recode.net

Categorized in Search Engine

When billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel bucked the trend of Silicon Valley by throwing his cash and support behind Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg had some explaining to do.

As one of Facebook’s board members, Thiel’s move sparked criticism among the ultra liberal tech community of California. “There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault,” Zuckerberg, who launched Facebook in 2004, wrote in an internal company memo.

While Trump’s views on building walls and lack of belief in climate change are well documented, the president elect’s stance on the issues that will directly affect technology firms, and by extension, much of the world are less obvious.

Try Newsweek for only $1.25 per week

Cybersecurity

Trump has promised to immediately make cybersecurity a top priority, citing concerns about cyberattacks from the likes of China and North Korea. His written policies on cybersecurity are summed up in four bullet points that lack any concrete detail, but include the promise to develop cyber weapons.

It states: “Develop the offensive cyber capabilities we need to deter attacks by both state and non-state actors and, if necessary, to respond appropriately.”

According to Uri Rivner, head of cyber strategy at biometrics firm BioCatch, Trump will take such threats seriously and combating them will be high on the future administration’s agenda.

“Cyber threats to both critical infrastructure and financial systems are just the sort of clear and present danger that requires decisive action—the likes of which the president elect has been advocating,” Rivner tells Newsweek . “This in turn may lead to more aggressive cyber security policies, faster response to cyber attack campaigns, and greater investment in cyber security defenses.”

It remains unclear how clued up Trump is on the actual issues and specific threats facing his administration. On the occasion that he has vocalized his thoughts on cybersecurity, there is little to suggest a clear or informed perspective.

This is what Trump had to say at the first debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: “I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable.”Barron Trump to head his father’s administration on cybersecurity, anyone?

Net Neutrality and Internet Freedom

Trump’s anti-regulation stance may well have an effect on internet service providers and the Federal Communications Commission's rules on net neutrality—the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all internet traffic equally..

In 2014, Trump described the rules as an “attack on the internet” by President Obama, suggesting he may roll back the rules once in office.

Source:  newsweek.com

Categorized in News & Politics

If you're in the market for a new job, you'll want to check out this list of the top eight best job search engines on the Web. All of these job search tools offer unique features and can streamline your employment search efforts so your efforts are more productive.

Monster.com

Monster-jobs

Newly redesigned Monster.com is one of the oldest job search engines on the Web. While some of its usefulness has been diminished in recent years due to a lack of good filtering and too many posts by spammy recruiters, it's still an important site on which to conduct a job search. You can narrow your search by location, keywords, and employer; plus, Monster has plenty of job search extras: networking boards, job search alerts, and online resume posting

Employers can also use Monster.com to find employees for a nominal fee, a useful tool for those looking to expand their hiring repertoire.

Indeed

Indeed

 

 

Indeed.com is a very solid job search engine, with the ability to compile a resume and submit it onsite for employer searches of keywords, jobs, niches, and more. Indeed uncovers a wide variety of jobs and fields that you wouldn't normally find on most job search sites, and they do a good job of making their job search features as easy to use as possible. You can subscribe to job alerts via email; you can set these up for a certain keyword, geolocation, salary, and much more.

In addition, Indeed makes it as simple as possible to keep track of jobs you've applied for; all you need to do is create a login (free) and every job you've applied for from within Indeed.com or that you've just expressed interest in will be saved to your profile.

Daily and weekly alerts can be created with notifications going to your inbox; criteria include job title, location, salary requirements, and skill sets.

USAJobs

USAJobs

Think of USAjobs as your gateway into the huge world of US government jobs. Navigate to the USAjobs.gov home page, and you'll be able to narrow your search by keyword, job title, control number, agency skills, or location. One particularly interesting feature is the ability to search worldwide within any country that currently is advertising a vacancy.

Just like many other job search engines on this list, you can create a user account (free) on USAjobs.gov, making the application process for government jobs extremely streamlined and easy.

CareerBuilder

CareerBuilder

CareerBuilder offers job searchers the ability to find a job, post a resume, create job alerts, get job advice and job resources, look up job fairs, and much more. This is a truly massive job search engine that offers a lot of good resources to the job searcher; I especially appreciate the list of job search communities.

According to the CareerBuilder website, more than 24 million unique visitors a month visit CareerBuilder to find new jobs and obtain career advice, and offers job searches in over 60 different countries worldwide.

Dice

Dice

Dice.com is a job search engine dedicated to only finding technology jobs. It offers a targeted niche space for finding exactly the technology position you might be looking for.

One of the most appealing features that Dice offers is the ability to drill down to extremely specialized tech positions, giving job seekers the opportunity to find the niche tech jobs that are sometimes elusive on other job search engines.

SimplyHired

SimplyHired

 

SimplyHired also offers a very unique job search experience; the user "trains" the job search engine by rating jobs he or she is interested in. SimplyHired also gives you the ability to research salaries, add jobs to a job map, and view pretty detailed profiles of various companies.

If you're looking for a good job search engine that focuses on local job listings, SimplyHired can be a good choice. You can browse by town, by zip code, or by state to find the job that might be right for you.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

LinkedIn.com combines the best of two worlds: the ability to scour the Internet for jobs with its job search engine, and the opportunity to network with like-minded friends and individuals to deepen your job search. LinkedIn's job postings are of the highest quality, and if you are connected to someone who already knows about that particular job, you've got a way in before you even hand in your resume. If you really want to dive into the inner workings of LinkedIn, check out How to Use LinkedIn, a detailed how-to guide.

Craigslist

Craigslist

There are all sorts of interesting jobs on Craigslist. Just find your city, look under Jobs, then look under your job category. Non-profit, systems, government, writing, etc. jobs are all represented here. You can also set up various RSS feeds that pertain to whatever job you might be looking for, in whatever location. One Craigslist caveat: because this is a free marketplace, some of the jobs posted at Craigslist are not legitimate (the vast majority are, however). Use caution and common sense when replying to job listings on Craigslist.

Source: lifewire.com

Categorized in Search Engine

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