Your private data pays for ‘free’ Facebook and Google

Free isn’t free. In fact while you read my blog some brand team is probably making notes about the type of materials you have been reading! Yes perhaps Xanga too has some type of tracking.

“The cost of reading the New York Times for free is being tracked. The cost of being on Facebook is being Data Mined,” Peter Eckersley from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, comments came at an event organized by Google at its Washington, D.C., office to mark Data Privacy Day — an international effort by governments and businesses to draw attention to the issues surrounding individuals’ online privacy.

A seemingly constant stream of breaches have given the issue fresh visibility this year, and prompted lawmakers and regulators to consider new mandates aimed at protecting

Google touted the new “two-step verification” option it will be rolling out to all accounts within the next few weeks.

The new opt-in setting gives users a second security wall. When someone logs into a Google account for first time from a new computer, a code will be sent to the phone (typically a mobile, but a landline will also work) associated with the account. That code is required for access — a step intended to keep out intruders who have obtained the account’s password.

Facebook also launched new data protection tools this week. The biggest was a “safe browsing option” that integrates the HTTPS protocol for secure connections. That technical tweak will help solve a gaping hole that lets hijackers grab control of FB accounts accessed through public Wi-Fi hotspots.

“The thing that you should know about ‘http’ is that it’s fundamentally very hackable,” Eckersley said. “If there’s an ‘s,’ you have a good chance of protection against those kind of threats.”

In this case, though, it was a bit like bolting the barn door after the horses have fled. Facebook posted its new security tool the day after Mark Zuckerberg’s fan page was hacked!

A “Sputnik” Moment” Obama Pledges to Make Tech a Priority.

President Barack Obama made technology innovation a centerpiece of his economic agenda during an address to Congress…I hope he is serious because I think the USA is “seriously” lagging behind.
His speech compared Google and Facebook to Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers, and Obama declared that “the first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.”

In an eyebrow-raising rhetorical flourish, Obama said that America had reached its “Sputnik moment,” referring to the Soviet satellite whose 1957 launch embarrassed the United States and eventually spurred President John F. Kennedy to vow to beat the Soviets to the moon, a race the United States won.

“Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the space race,” Obama said. “We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology and especially clean-energy technology, an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet and create countless new jobs for our people.”

In order to pay for his ambitious innovation agenda, Obama said he would ask Congress to cut billions of dollars in oil-company subsidies.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own,” Obama remarked to laughter. “So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.” He said exactly what I have been thinking for years.

Energy was a key component of the speech, and Obama laid out a far-reaching 25-year plan that he said will “give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail.”

He also said that within the next five years “we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans.”

“This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls,” Obama said. “It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.”

At one point, Obama seemed to scold Congress for letting China and India make such competitive gains against the United States in technology innovation.
“Just recently,” the president observed, “China became home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.”
I do realize that this road with its gleaming solar panels passes many people below poverty level but China is working to become a powerful country.

Better late than never, right?

Leeches, a medical marvel in Tokyo.

Dr.Asenoff my doctor in Tokyo is a medical marvel himself still practicing at 95 years of age…I was very happy to find an English speaking doctor and one that was so worried about my health, especially my Gout.
However one day as I was getting yet another steroid shot to relieve the swelling from my monthly gout attack I noticed in his window a site that belonged to a scene from medieval ancient medicine, when doctors applied the worms to patients to ”cure” just about every condition and yes Druids danced by the light of the moon. But there they were, leeches in a Mason jar near stethoscopes, electronic devices and bottles of modern miracle drugs like Viagra and Prilosec.
I asked him about the leeches and he told me that Japanese often apply leeches to their arms in the belief that their health will improve when their body produces a fresh supply of blood in response to the few ounces painlessly lost to the leeches. My doctor was using them to reduce swelling in some cases.

Leeches in modern medicine? A horrifying thought. I am sure in American medical school, nothing is taught about leeches. All I remember about that visit to the doctor is that leeches are one of the most shocking examples of the cultural differences I found in Asia.

Well, I shouldn’t say too much about the cultural divide when even Demi Moore made a public declaration that she uses leeches to keep herself “looking fresh and feeling healthy.” While I don’t endorse the personal use of leeches Demi is a great case history and it seems that leeches are medical marvels.

Today’s doctors use leeches, as well as maggots, with great success. Surgeons, for instance, use medical leeches to remove blood from the site of skin grafts or reattached parts and to relieve congestion in the blood vessels.

The leeches used for medical purposes are a European variety called Hirudo Medicinalis and are raised on special leech farms. Sounds like science fiction or just fiction doesn’t it?

The Hirudo leech works some additional magic by secreting a chemical in its saliva that acts as an anti-coagulant to prevent blood clotting… hirudotherapy.

Matching Languages and True Love.

I just read an article by Kathleen Doheny that made me pause and reflect about the friends I have met over the years. She suggests that the next time you have a first date, forget about chemistry and common interests. What really matters, new research suggests, is whether your language styles match.

I have lived overseas so long I wonder how this applies to couples where even the languages themselves don’t match.

The kind of language style the researchers focused on was the use of such words as personal pronouns (I, his, their); articles (a, the); prepositions (in, under), and adverbs (very, rather) — the types of words most people don’t give much thought to.

But when this language style is in synch with someone else’s, well, the sparks might just fly, said study author James Pennebaker, the chair of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He and his colleagues evaluated the language style of men and women who were speed dating and found that the more it matched, the better. When speed daters picked their matches, they tended to go for those whose language style matched their own, he found.

“You are four times more likely to match and probably go on a date if your language style matching is even just above average,” he said.

In a second study, Pennebaker’s team looked at couples’ instant message exchanges and SMS and found that language style matching mattered there, too. Participants were age 19, on average, many of them living in different towns as they attended school.

“These are wonderful groups to study,” Pennebaker said. “They have notoriously unstable relationships.”

They had to be dating at least six months. “What we found is if their IMs were high in language style matching they were much more likely to be together three months later,” he said.

Those with the highest matching, he said, “were 50% more likely to be dating at follow-up.”

Some experts think you are attracted to a person and begin to talk like them. Others say when someone talks like you, you are attracted to them.

I think it may be a bit of both, and paying attention to the other person counts too. I have certainly heard the phrase, “Are you listening to me?” uttered to me in anger a few times in my life from a frustrated woman.

The new study shows that, “…the words we choose in everyday interactions are related to the success of our relationships, including whether the relationship progresses from a casual meeting to a romantic relationship and whether we resolve conflicts.”

Verizon finally adds iPhone and more…

Verizon announced its long awaited support for the iPhone. For the most part,the device and its features look the same whether you get them for AT&T or Verizon, but there’s one cool exception — Verizon says users will be able to turn their phones into five-person hot spots.

The idea is to turn your phone into the equivalent of a MiFi device, — personal WiFi networks that you carry around with you. No more struggling to find free WiFi, and it’s arguably an improvement on MiFi devices, since you don’t have to carry around an extra device. (In VentureBeat’s case, we try to work on-the-go by connecting my Verizon 3G modem to Owen Thomas’ MiFi device — now we’ll just make sure there’s someone with a Verizon iPhone in the car.)

Verizon hasn’t released any details about how much it will cost or how it will work. I don’t know, for example, how long we’ll be able to run the WiFi feature without completely draining the iPhone’s battery. But if Verizon can make this work in even a halfway decent fashion, that should give it bragging rights over AT&T, which struggled to support connecting one computer to the Internet via iPhone tethering.

Update: Here is a video of the Personal Hotspot in action.

Kink Ador

These guys (and Gal) of Kink Ador are becoming hot. They are friends of mine from Nashville. Their sound is defined by its funky rock bass lines, dysfunctional guitar, and a drum groove that sits tight in the pocket.

The song, Animal, featured in this video, has become the their signature song. The trumpet and horn sounds accent the bands high energy, and musicality. The classic testosterone fueled guitar solo, swampy drum beats, and tight funky bass line originally made this song resonate with fans.

On this version of the song, Kink Ador teamed up with record producer Craig A. King ( Ludacris, Aaliyah, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, ) to bring an even brighter and tighter energy to the song. Craig is fantastic.