Tag Archives: Internet

Online Ads More Likely To Deliver Malware Than Surfing Porn Sites

Sounds like porn sites have been getting an undeservedly bad rep…

At least as far as being a source of computer viruses….

Not that I would know anything about this, of course….

Sounds like the real spyware danger may come from Google shopping!

Which I know entirely too much about….

Interesting story from ThinkProgress.com:


Your online habits may be less dangerous than you think if they involve the less savory aspects of the web: According to Cisco’s annual 2013 Security Report internet users are 182 times more likely to get malware from clicking on online ads than visiting a porn site. It turns out, the site on the gray or black market edges of the web most of us traditionally think of as dangerous aren’t the biggest threats to your online security, instead:

“The dangers […] are often hidden in plain sight through exploit-laden online ads that are distributed to legitimate websites, or hackers targeting the user community on the common sites they use most.”

Those common sites include online shopping and search engines, which were 21 and 27 times more likely respectively to deliver malicious content than counterfeit software sites according to Cisco. Unsurprisingly, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reports of the 81% of American adults who use the internet some 91 percent report using search engines to find information and 71 percent buy products online.

via Clicking Online Ads More Likely To Deliver Malware Than Surfing Porn Sites, Report Finds | ThinkProgress.

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Is Google Fiber Internet Service Driving Down Time Warner Prices?

God, I hope so…

There are few companies more justifiably hated than Time Warner.  Their combination of outrageously poor customer service, ridiculous prices, poor quality signals, lack of responsiveness, and sheer arrogance is astounding.

And they and Comcast and a few others get away with it because they have a defacto monopoly in so many communities- thanks to their bought and paid for friends in Washington, as well as Raleigh and most other state capitols.

And let’s not even talk about how much better and cheaper internet, cable tv and phone service is in Europe and other parts of the world.  That conversation always makes a few right wing heads explode as they are incapable of recognizing the fact that things aren’t always done best in the USA

Great article from AmericaBlog on what a little competition can do:



The Consumerist has an interesting story about this, and other similar stories seem to be popping up.  Google Fiber is a new fiber optic Internet service, along with cable TV, that Google is building, with it’s first test cases in Missouri and Kansas.  Google is offering multiple tiers of service, including a free level.  It sounds rather amazing.  And it seems that suddenly Time Warner Cable has found it in its heart to drop its prices significantly in the areas where Google Fiber is operating.  Imagine that.

As it stands today, Americans pay outrageously high prices for Internet services, yet they still receive low quality. Overseas the competition is much greater, as is the internet speed — and our prices are MUCH lower than what you pay in the states for less service.

Thanks to plenty of friends in Washington, DC, American Internet Service Providers (ISPs, aka the Comcasts of the world) have mostly been able to get away with this lousy deal for consumers, but this may be changing. Unfortunately, Google Fiber is only present in Kansas City today, so the reports of pricing and quality are only there. Secondly, Google Fiber itself is pretty darned expensive.

As I’ve mentioned before, in “socialist” France we have numerous options all around €30 per month, that include high speed internet (including fiber optic, which I have), phone calls around the world at no additional charge and more TV channels than most will ever watch. Other countries in Europe have similar 3-pack deals and Asia reportedly has even better internet connectivity.

As much as the US is the center of the world for many things including leading internet companies, the people of the US are being ripped off with the internet services. (It’s not unlike pharmaceutical prices, which are much more expensive in the US than everywhere else.)

Computer guy via Shutterstock

Will Google Fiber drive prices down as some have experienced? Maybe. But the US still needs a lot more competition in more places to break the market apart from the stranglehold of a few players.

MORE:   Is Google Fiber Internet service driving down Time Warner Cable’s prices?.

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The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This

It seems more people are reading books now than ever before…


This is some surprisingly good news from Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic.  I encourage you to click the link and read the full article.

My bet is this is due to e-readers, like the Amazon Kindle.  I’ve always read a lot, but the Kindle has put me into overdrive due to the ease of carrying it around and the ability to instantly obtain new books related to one you have just finished.

My guilty pleasure is mysteries set in various time periods in England, but I also read a lot of history, biographies and popular/literary fiction.  I go right from one book to another on my Kindle.

Of course, this doesn’t mention the quality of what people are reading, only the quantity….

Remember the good old days when everyone read really good books, like, maybe in the post-war years when everyone appreciated a good use of the semi-colon? Everyone’s favorite book was by Faulkner or Woolf or Roth. We were a civilized civilization. This was before the Internet and cable television, and so people had these, like, wholly different desires and attention spans. They just craved, craved, craved the erudition and cultivation of our literary kings and queens.

Well, that time never existed. Check out these stats from Gallup surveys. In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, that number had shot up to 47 percent. I couldn’t find a more recent number, but I think it’s fair to say that reading probably hasn’t declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s.

All this to say: our collective memory of past is astoundingly inaccurate. Not only has the number of people reading not declined precipitously, it’s actually gone up since the perceived golden age of American letters.

via The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This Chart – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic.

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Home Allegedly Set Afire in Neighbors’ Facebook Feud

I’ve seen some heated arguments on Facebook, but this takes the cake!

With Facebook friends like these, who needs enemies?

Police in Des Moines, Iowa, have arrested 30-year-old Jennifer Christine Harris (pictured left) for allegedly setting her neighbor’s house on fire, according to the Des Moines Register. The suspected motive? Retribution for being “de-friended” on the popular social networking site.

Nikki and Jim Rasmussen awoke to the sound of a loud “boom” around 1 a.m., officials said, and escaped the home just as the siding on their house began to melt.

When asked who might have caused the fire, Jim Rasmussen named Harris as the prime suspect. She and Nikki Rasmussen had a falling out on Facebook, he told police, when a party invitation that his wife volunteered to create for Harris yielded a high number of “declines.”

After a large volume of text and Facebook messages, the dispute escalated to the point where Nikki Rasmussen “de-friended” Harris. She and Harris had been the best of friends before the dispute, according to The Associated Press.

More:   Home Allegedly Set Afire in Neighbors’ Facebook Feud | AOL Real Estate.

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New Study Probes How We Use Social Media

No surprises here– to me, at least.

Based on their survey, NM Incite determined that the main reason people use social media is to “find and maintain” relationships with family and friends, with 88 and 89 percent of users, respectively, saying they used social networking sites for this purpose. The next most popular activity is connecting with new friends (70 percent do this), followed by accessing product reviews (68 percent) and online entertainment (67 percent). Just 16 percent said they use social media for dating and less than a third reported using social networks to find a job.

More:   New Study Probes How We Use Social Media.

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NC governor will let Time Warner cable-backed bill restricting municipal broadband become law

Bev Perdue continues to be a most disappointing Democratic Governor here in North Carolina…

She’s will “neither sign nor veto” this horrible Time Warner Protection Bill …

Another bought and paid for politician?

I really hope she doesn’t run again and gets out of the way for a new Democratic choice.

She won’t though….

She will hand the Office of the Governor over to the GOP instead.

Thanks to my friend Gary for initially posting this on FaceBook…

We’ve repeatedly hammered Time Warner Cable (and its big-cable cronies) for crying to the North Carolina legislature about municipal broadband. TWC claims it can’t compete with taxpayer-backed ISPs such as Wilson, NC’s Greenlight — and that it shouldn’t have to. In fact, Greenlight and four other municipal providers came about specifically because corporate players refused to provide inexpensive, fast broadband. And now that local governments have proven they can provide it, the cable companies have cried foul, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into select political pockets all the while. That’s the drama so far, and now a bill restricting municipal broadband — mandating that providers pay taxes similar to private companies, for example — has landed on the desk of Governor Bev Perdue. She won’t veto the bill, meaning it will soon become a law; for whatever it’s worth (read: not much), she also refuses to sign it. The reason? Here it is from the horse’s mouth:

“I will neither sign nor veto this bill. Instead, I call on the General Assembly to revisit this issue and adopt rules that not only promote fairness but also allow for the greatest number of high quality and affordable broadband options for consumers.”

The legislation strikes a blow against public ISPs in a country that ranks ninth in the world for broadband adoption and download speeds. And that, apparently, is what “fair competition” looks like in the US.

via NC governor will let cable-backed bill restricting municipal broadband become law — Engadget.

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With 56% of American Internet connections now capped, advocates ask FCC for probe | The Raw Story

To me, this seems like just another way to limit access to information…

This is so wrong…

Unlimited Internet is the norm in most other countries…

Just another way for the telecom’s to make more money….

They are as bad as the Oil Companies…

The practice of capping Internet bandwidth and selling it as a metered commodity has fully taken hold, to the point where 56 percent of U.S. internet connections are now on plans that restrict how much information users can access before triggering additional fees.

For an Internet landscape that’s been accustomed to unlimited access to information the world over, this represents a sea-change for many broadband subscribers. And to at least two prominent Washington, D.C. advocacy groups, it’s cause for immense concern.

That’s why the directors of Public Knowledge and New America’s Open Technology Initiative — two Washington tech policy groups — have written to the Federal Communications Commission to request they investigate the potential for these practices encouraging anti-competitive activities.

“These caps, which are now a fact of life for 56% of all broadband users, can perniciously undermine each of the goals set out by the Commission in the National Broadband Plan while at the same time stifling the competition and innovation that has established itself as the sine qua non of the internet economy,” they wrote.

More:  With 56% of American Internet connections now capped, advocates ask FCC for probe | The Raw Story.

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Television Ownership Drops in U.S.

I’m not surprised…

We barely watch TV and if we do, it’s usually to watch a DVD or stream a movie in from on-line….

Broadcast TV has become a wasteland of mindless trash and insipid commercials….

I don’t miss it….

I choose to watch a few quality shows on DVD, get my news on the internet and ignore the trash culture TV perpetuates….

From the New York Times:

For the first time in 20 years, the number of homes in the United States with television sets has dropped.

The Nielsen Company, which takes TV set ownership into account when it produces ratings, will tell television networks and advertisers on Tuesday that 96.7 percent of American households now own sets, down from 98.9 percent previously.

There are two reasons for the decline, according to Nielsen. One is poverty: some low-income households no longer own TV sets, most likely because they cannot afford new digital sets and antennas.

The other is technological wizardry: young people who have grown up with laptops in their hands instead of remote controls are opting not to buy TV sets when they graduate from college or enter the work force, at least not at first. Instead, they are subsisting on a diet of television shows and movies from the Internet.

That second reason is prompting Nielsen to think about a redefinition of the term “television household” to include Internet video viewers.

“We’ve been having conversations with clients,” said Pat McDonough, the senior vice president for insights and analysis at Nielsen. “That would be a big change for this industry, and we’d be doing it in consultation with clients if we do it.”

Nielsen’s household figures suggest that while the TV set is still firmly at the center of the average American’s media life, a small minority of Americans are finding ways to live without it. The “persistently rocky economy” is a factor, the company says in the report to be released Tuesday.

via Television Ownership Drops in U.S., Nielsen Reports – NYTimes.com.

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Mom on Facebook Sentenced in Son’s Drowning Death

She ought to be sentenced to life in prison due to self absorbtion and stupidity….

A northern Colorado woman who was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old baby drowned in a bathtub was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Shannon Johnson, 34, of Fort Lupton, cried as District Judge Thomas Quammen told her he didn’t think she was a bad person or that she killed her son on purpose, the Greeley Tribune reported. But, he added, that doesn’t mean her action wasn’t criminal.

“You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games,” Quammen said. “And you left that 13-month-old human being, little Joseph, incredibly for those reasons.”

Johnson pleaded guilty in March to negligently causing the death of her child. The charge carried a sentencing range of four to 12 years, but it also left open the possibility of alternative sentencing, which means she might have avoided spending time behind bars. Authorities rejected both of those options, saying they didn’t want to play down the seriousness of her crime.

According to court documents, Johnson put her son in the tub for his bath a little after 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 20. She then left him unsupervised as she went to another room to share videos, check status updates and play Café World on Facebook.

via Mom on Facebook Sentenced in Son’s Drowning Death.

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Some Thoughts from 37000 Feet

First of all, I’m amazed that I can blog from an airplane 37000 feet in the air while I’m traveling to Phoenix on a business trip.  It’s so cool to be able to access the internet in flight, but I’m so thankful they still don’t let people use cell phones.  This is as good as it gets while traveling….

I’m sitting here listening to Spencer Lewis on my iPod while I type this…I’ve flown cross-country and around the world with Spencer more times than I can count and he’s never known.  Maybe he will now.  His music makes it so easy to create my own peaceful, pleasant bubble while surrounded by travel madness.

And travel is madness now.  There is no longer anything pleasant about it.  Planes are packed solid and less comfortable than the old Greyhound Buses.  The airlines are out to get every penny they can from you any way they can.  Customer service is non-existent.

And my fellow travelers…

I frequently think of the old Noel Coward song:  “Why Do the Wrong People Travel?”

So many of them complain constantly and I don’t know why.  Sure, its miserable to travel, but why do people have to wallow in it?  Why can’t they just make the best of it and muddle through.

I will offer them a few travel pointers:

  1. Never argue with the airline.  You will not win.  They do not care and you will only raise your blood pressure.
  2. When your flight is delayed and you originally only had 30 minutes to make your connection, do not complain loudly to anyone and everyone within ear shot.  Yes, we realize you are going to miss your connection and we do not care.  You should never have booked a flight with a connection that tight in the first place.  We should all know better by now.  I certainly do.
  3. If it is cold enough for you to think you need to wear a sweat shirt, it is too cold to wear flip-flops, so don’t complain loudly about your feet being cold.
  4. If you are a man over 40, and certainly over 50, you have no excuse for wearing shorts on a plane.  No one wants to see your  legs anymore.  Where is your sense of dignity, man?
  5. When you travel, you are on an airplane.  They do now have the internet, but they do not yet have gyms.  Dress accordingly.  No need to wear your workout clothes…
  6. It is beyond tacky to bring a whole box of Bojangles Chicken on the plane and eat it by yourself.  Yes, someone is doing that a couple of rows behind me…

That’s it for now.  I’m going to put up the laptop and go back to listening to Spencer Lewis on my iPod with my Bose noise reduction headphones and reading my Kindle.

I’ve learned these are all necessities for my frequent travel in today’s world.  They help me pretend to be anywhere but where I am.  This is one moment I do not need to be in….

I just had to take advantage of the moment and the access to all this new technology.


Filed under Scott's Commentary, Travel