Twitter isn't just great for finding out what Will Smith had for lunch on Friday (KFC, in case you were wondering) or how Norman Chan feels about chicken fried bacon, it's also capable of keeping you in the loop when it comes to current events. When something newsworthy happens, you can bet your chicken fried bacon there will be plenty of Tweets covering the action. But not only can the information be unreliable, but getting your news in 140-character nibbles doesn't always work out. And hitting up news outlets like Google News, which rely on algorithms to rank stories, doesn't always deliver the story you're looking for quick enough.
To solve these problems, Yahoo BOSS engineer Vik Singh has created TweetNews. The new service compares Yahoo's news results to hot new topics flowing through Twitter, using that information to organize and prioritize news stories. The end result is a search engine mashup that tracks Twitter feeds for fast updates on the stories you're most interested in reading.
"Basically this service boosts Yahoo’s freshest news search results (which typically don’t have much relevance since they are ordered by timestamp and that’s it) based on how similar they are to the emerging topics found on Twitter for the same query (hence using Twitter to determine authority for content that don’t yet have links because they are so fresh)," Singh wrote on his blog.
Will this change the way you get your news? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
He revealed that he successfully gained access to the account of a female Twitter staffer named “Crystal.” He had serendipitously stumbled upon her account and had no idea that she was a Twitter staff member with administrative control. He then proceeded to hack her account using a dictionary attack.
The program didn’t have to break a sweat as she was using the password “happiness.” Her flimsy password coupled with Twitter’s primeval security, which allows rapid-fire log-in attempts, led to several high profile Twitter accounts, including the ones belonging to President-elect Barack Obama and Fox News, being compromised.
Some 40,000 followers of Rich Sanchez's Twitter page may have been led to believe that the CNN anchor had a drug problem after a tweet appeared saying "i am high on crack right now might not be coming into work today." No, Sanchez wasn't really high on crack, nor was he cracking a joke (see what we did there?), but he was the victim of a hacker who took control of his account while he was away doing rehab (for his knee, not for drugs).
Around the same time this occurred, a password stealing phishing scam has been gaining steam by disguising itself as a private message leading to a fake Twitter log-in screen and targeting various celebrities, such as Britney Spears, the account for Fox News, and president elect Barack Obama. The ordeal had Sanchez scratching his head, but Twitter has now revealed this incident had nothing to do with the recent phishing scam.
"The issue with these 33 accounts is different from the Phishing scam aimed at Twitter users this weekend," Twitter wrote in a blog post. "These accounts were compromised by an individual who hacked into some of the tools our support team uses to help people do things like edit the mail address associated with their Twitter account when they can't remember or get stuck. We considered this a very serious breach of security and immediately took the support tools offline. We'll put them back only when they're safe and secure."
The falsly incriminating tweet has been removed, and we hear Sanchez made it work that day, sober and all.
When the people won’t come to the politics, you’ve got to bring the politics to the people. At least, this is the idea that the Israeli Consulate in New York took with a “Citizen’s Press Conference” yesterday.
David Saranga, Consul of Media and Public Affairs took questions regarding the situation in Israel and Gaza from Twitter users yesterday from 1-3pm, all directly from their Twitter page. You can check out all the action here.
All in all, this is a pretty cool step. From how active the page was it’s easy to see that the consulate had plenty of questions to answer, and that good amounts of people were eager to get involved.
As I sit here, in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee, surrounded by friends, family, and other loved ones, I just wanted to take a moment and thank you, our loyal readers, for buying our magazine, visiting the website, reading the newsletter, listening to the podcast, and just plain supporting Maximum PC over the years. The magazine is doing OK in a tough market, and the website has grown beyond our wildest expectations this year; and it’s all thanks to you. The rest of the team and I have a lots of fun putting Maximum PC together, but without you guys around to read it, we’d all have to go out and find significantly less awesome jobs. Speaking for all of us: Katherine, Tom, Gordon, Nathan E., Natalie, Boni, Norman, Alex, Paul, Mark, Pulkit, Andy, Justin, Nathan G., Dave, Michael, Benson, Flo, and myself; I want to wish you all the best during the holidays this year, whatever and wherever you celebrate.
We’re going to let our crack news team off for Christmas, so there won’t be any new news posts tomorrow. I’ll dig up some of my favorite posts from the last year and repost them on the front page (if you have story suggestions, post them in the comments). Assuming I don't drink too much egg nog, they should start showing up in the morning.
I also have a sneak peek at a contest I think you’ll be excited about. Around the Maximum PC offices, we get quite a few cool tchotchkes every day. From limited-run T-shirts and bobbleheads to hardware and accessories, it never really slows down. Until now, we’ve either returned or donated to charity anything over $50 in value, and the rest just piled up on our desks. Starting in 2009, we’re going to give it all away to you guys. From USB-powered mini-fridges to gaming mice to netbooks, I’ve been collecting a ton of gear, and I’m giving it all away to people signed up for my Twitter feed. In addition to sometimes terrifying glimpses into the personal life of a Maximum PC editor, I’ll run regular trivia contests and updates on what Maximum PC is up to. To win, all you need to do is sign up for Twitter and follow yours truly.
So, I hope you and your families have a safe and prosperous holiday, followed by a kick ass New Year! Now, I’ve got to get back to making cake and drinking egg nog…
It's finally possible to piss off your pregnant wife, annoy your Twitter followers, and brand your unborn son as the kid with the dorkiest dad on the block all at the same time. Making it all possible is the Kickbee, the first gadget to enable Twittering from the womb.
"The Kickbee is a wearable device made of a stretchable band and embedded electronics and sensors," creator Corey Menscher wrote on his blog. "Piezo sensors are attached directly to the band, and transmit small but detectable voltages when triggered by movement underneath. An Arduino Mini microcontroller transmits the signals to an accompanying Java application wirelessly via Bluetooth. (a SparkFun BlueSMIRF v2 module that communicates serially with a Macbook Pro)."
The wearable waistband isn't likely to start any new fashion trends, but then again, anyone interested in the concept of unborn Twittering probably isn't into fashion anyway.
Microblogging website Twitter came very close to being acquired by leading social network Facebook, but the two parties eventually retreated from the brink. Twitter’s CEO Mr. Williams admitted that his company took the negotiations seriously.
Want to kill some time, but tired of playing good games? We feel you. We recently decided it would be fun to try and come up with a list of the seven worst free games on the internet. However, we quickly discovered that trying to make a list of the worst anything on the internet is sort of like trying to make a list of the worlds largest numbers. That is to say, there’s an infinite amount of terribleness on the internet.
So, since we decided that coming up with a list of the worst games was too enormous a task for just us to handle, Maximum PC EIC Will Smith used his Twitter account to ask for help. Naturally, the MaxPC faithful delivered in spades. We received a whole bunch of seriously awful submissions, tried them out for ourselves, and had an office-wide vote to pick the most truly, hilariously bad games of the bunch. Now, we get to share them with you.
A few weeks back Twitter and Facebook ended some big talks, where Facebook was looking to snatch up twitter for $500 million of its stock.
Sometime in mid-October Facebook had instigated talks with the San Francisco- based Twitter about possibly bringing them both together. And while the idea seemed great on paper (the world’s fastest growing microblogging site along with the obscenely popular social networking site), concerns of integration and cost were a large part of why the deal didn’t come to fruition.
Still, Twitter executives and board members felt that they should work on building their own revenues before they look at the possibility of a merger. Currently, they’ve got none.
What the future holds for Twitter, we don’t know. But in the meantime, we’ll continue to keep all of you updated on how we feel by using it.
According to the U.S. intelligence community, terrorists might be turning to web 2.0 tools for their nefarious plans, including a specific reference to the popular Twitter social messaging service. Most of the report, which was published by the U.S. Army's 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, focuses on cell phone use, but a section titled Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter: A Red Teaming Perspective points out how terrorists could use Twitter to plot their schemes.
"Extremist and terrorist use of Twitter could evolve over time to reflect tactics that are already evolving in use by hacktivists and activists for surveillance," the report warns. "This could theoretically be combined with targeting."
The reports lays out three different scenarios in which Twitter could be used for evil, including one in which a cyber terrorist operative could find a Twitter account belonging to someone serving in the U.S. Army. Information derived from the hacked account could then be used "for a targeting package (targeting in this sense could be for identity theft, hacking, and/or physical."
Does the report have a legitimate cause for concern? Give it a read, hit the jump, and let us know what you think.