A Kansas woman is trying to drum up support to make it illegal for cyberbullies to post hurtful comments and photos on memorial websites, The Kansas City Starreports.
The crusade began when Karla O'Malley happened by a car wreck on Christmas Eve in which an Arkansas teenager ultimately died. When she went to post her condolences on a memorial website for the teen, she found that someone had posted off-color comments about the teen's demise. Someone had posted that they wished the teen would have suffered more, while another post included a photo of the accident with the caption, "Oops, I died." There were more such comments.
"I am not a legal expert by any means," O'Malley admitted to The Kansas City Star. "I just have a strong burning inside to make this stop. Protestors can voice their opinions elsewhere, but there is a time and place for mourners to be left alone."
Despite her lack of legal background or training, O'Malley wrote what she's calling the Travis' Law. If enacted, it would make it a federal crime to post remarks or photos intended to hurt others or "create a hostile environment," and would include "customary standards" to define what's out of bounds.
"It sounds as though the law would be aimed at suppressing particular viewpoints, and anytime a law attempts to do that, it faces a lot of First Amendment hurdles," said Doug Linder, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. "I think it would be very difficult to draft a law that would stand constitutional challenge there."
What are your thoughts on the matter? Could, or should, such a law be enacted? Hit the jump and post your thoughts!
First and foremost, you might be surprised to learn that people still subscribe to AOL, the once popular ISP that fell from relevance about the time broadband came into its own. But get this -- according to The New Yorker, some 80 percent of AOL profits still come from its subscription business. It gets even better.
The New Yorker describes these subscribers as "older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional $25 a month to get online and check their email."
We're not talking about a small fraction of users, either. BusinessInsider said it spoke with a former AOL exec who said that AOL's "dirty little secret" is "that 75 percent of the people subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it." When you consider that AOL raked in $244 million from 4 million customers in the third quarter of 2010, you can see where this could be troubling.
It might be true that social networking itself doesn't kill marriages, unhappy couples do, but according to a new survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, popular social networking site Facebook is involved in one out of every five American divorces, the U.K''s Daily Mail reports.
"The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to," said Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce-Online.
Is social networking a marriage killer? About 80 percent of divorce lawyers who participated in the study said that there was a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating, the majority of which involved Facebook (66 percent). MySpace was a distant second with 15 percent, followed by Twitter at 5 percent.
Rev. Cedric Miller of the Living World Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune, New Jersey, called Facebook a "portal to infidelity," pointing out how easy it is to reconnect with ex-lovers through the social networking site. He's the same reverend who made headlines when he ordered his congregation to delete their Facebook accounts after blaming the site for interfering with the relationships of 20 couples in his church.
Like most, we're big fans of the Cheezburger Network, which is best known for its weblog of lolcats and other animals, as well as its Fail Blog spinoff and other amusing memes. There's always that fear that something awesome (and free) will up and vanish one day, like what almost happened with the Xmarks project, but it's safe to say that's not going to happen here.
The Cheezburger Network has just secured $30 million in funding, most of which comes from Foundry Group, the venture capitalists that helped bankroll Zynga and Gist. Other investors throwing some cheese at CN include Madrona Venture Group, Avalon Ventures, and SoftBank Capital.
"I have been a rabid fan of Ben and the Cheezburger team for years. It’s incredible what they’ve built with a small, dedicated team," said Greg Gottesman, managing director of Madrona Venture Group. "As an investor, this one is as fun as it gets. We’re working with a great team, helping them grow an already massive audience, and testing new and exciting ways to monetize the funniest collection of sites on the Internet."
The Cheezburger team said it plans to use the funds to hire more employees (engineers, product managers, advertising salespeople, social media coordinators, and other positions) and fund other marketing and growth initiatives, the specifics of which are not yet known. If you want to apply, you can do so at http://jobs.cheezburger.com.
In the battle for browser market market share, Opera Software can claim victory in a skirmish to land a contract with Sony. As a result, Sony will shove the Opera browser into its Internet-connected Bravia televisions and Blu-ray disc players, the Swedish browser maker announced.
"The Web as we know it is evolving, and we are committed to making it more accessible across diverse devices," said Christen Krogh, Chief Development Officer, Opera Software. "Our ability to address key hybrid broadcast-broadband initiatives in numerous markets makes us a natural fit with Sony. By delivering both a global viewpoint and the necessary technology, we are able to stay on the cutting edge of the industry."
Opera talked up its SDK in the announcement, calling it a "robust, open platform" that's highly customizable and ideal for this sort of thing. The platform will allow for developers to create related apps and widgets.
The Opera browser is already used by Nintendo on its gaming consoles, and Opera's mobile browser remains a popular download. Nevertheless, the combined market share for Opera and Opera Mini sits at less than 3.5 percent, according to NetMarketShare.
Making a million dollars is apparently far easier than any of us ever thought. Rather than go out in the real world and toil away for 'the man,' you can just hop on YouTube and ask for the money. Don't roll your eyes, it actually works.
So maybe it won't work for everyone, but it did for Craig Rowin, a 27-year-old comedian who posted a video on YouTube imploring millionaires to give him a million bucks for no particular reason. He even suggested some potential donors, such as Stephen Spielberg and Lady Gaga.
According to ABC News, Rowin's plea for cash worked.
"Hi Craig, Benjamin, I was hoping to catch you in person," a caller told Rowin. "I want to talk about how to make you a millionaire."
Some have accused Rowin of shenanigans and say this all amounts to nothing more than a publicity stunt, but Rowin insists that's not the case.
"I have my doubts," said Brian Sercus, who previously performed in a college improv group with Rowin. "But I have never known him to be a practical joker, just a funny guy, not a guy who would go to such lengths to pull off a prank."
Spotify once set a goal of infiltrating the U.S. market before the end of 2010, which on hindsight turned out to be overly ambitious. Perhaps the first half of 2011 will prove a bit more reasonable.
The European streaming music service isn't bound for North American homes just yet, though it took a giant leap towards that goal by signing a U.S. distribution deal with Sony, All Things Digital reports.
Under terms of the deal, which are being passed on by "multiple sources," none of which include Sony or Spotify, the streaming music service will offer a set number of hours per month of free streaming music, with the option of shelling out for an ad-free version. There will also be a service compatible with mobile devices.
For this to actually happen, All Things Digital says Spotify needs at least one more major music to hop on board, and preferably Universal Music Group, the largest of them all.
Facebook alone claims over 500 million active members, though it's far from the only social networking site on the Web. Social networking is the hottest trend right now, and according to security firm Sophos, scammers and spammers haven taken notice.
Sophos recently surveyed 1,273 users and asked how many had encountered spam, phishing attacks, or malware attacks as a result of social networking. The result? Significant rises in all three categories.
Two-thirds of respondents said they received spam, up from 57 percent one year ago. Phishing attacks rose from 30 percent in December 2009 to 43 percent in December 2010, while malware infestations affected 40 percent of respondents, up from 35 percent one year prior.
"Rogue applications, clickjacking, survey scams – all unheard of just a couple of years ago, are now popping up on a daily basis on social networks such as Facebook," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Why aren't Faceboook and other social networks doing more to prevent spam and scams in the first place? People need to be very careful they don’t end up being conned for their personal details, or get tricked into clicking on links that could earn money for cybercriminals or infect innocent computers."
The vast majority -- 82 percent -- said that Facebook posed the biggest risk to security, but does it really? Not according to Sophos, which named the onMouseOver Twitter attack the biggest social networking worm of 2010.
There's a rather interesting article in The Hollywood Reporter that takes an in depth look at Netflix and the impact its fast growing streaming service is having on the industry. One of the points the article touches on is the feasibility of going after content providers like HBO.
"HBO believes in content exclusivity, especially for high-value content," says Jeff Cusson, the channel’s senior VP of corporate affairs. "That’s our rationale for not selling streaming rights to a competing subscription service." HBO does license its shows to iTunes and Amazon, but indicated it has “no intention of making its content available for streaming on Netflix."
Citing a high-placed Time Warner executive, The Hollywood Reporter says Netflix would have to raise the price of its streaming-only service from $7.99 a month to $20 to make it worthwhile. Not so fast, says Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix.
"They make an incredibly great product that is very expensive to produce," Sarandos says. "But we're buyers and they're sellers, so we'll figure out a deal that makes sense. If we don't, then the service doesn't have everything, and that's OK too."
Some of what Netflix does pay for content rights may surprise you. Starz, one of the first to jump on board, inked a deal some analyst say is in the neighborhood of $30 million (that figures to increase to anywhere from $100 million to $300 million before the end of 2011), while it's believed Netflix is paying $150 million to $200 million for a year's worth of Disney content. You can see how it all starts to add up as Netflix adds more providers to the mix.
So here's the question: How much would you be willing to pay for a streaming subscription, and what would have to be included to justify that ceiling price?
Google isn't messing around when it comes to uptime. In a recent blog post, the search titan vowed to make email as reliable as a phone's dial tone, which translates to getting Google Appls to 99.99 percent reliable.
"Unlike most providers, we don't plan for our users to be down, even when we're upgrading our services or maintaining our systems," Google said. "For that reason, we're removing the [Google Apps] SLA (service level agreement) clause that allows for scheduled downtime. Going forward, all downtime will be counted and applied towards the customer's SLA. We are the first major cloud provider to eliminate maintenance windows from their service level agreement.
"We're also amending our SLA so that any intermittent downtime is counted. Previously, a period of less than ten minutes was not included."
These are lofty goals for Google, but are they unreasonable? According to Google, its Gmail service was available 99.984 percent of the time in 2010, both on the consumer and business side. That translates to 7 minutes of downtime per month, which is the accumulation of smalle delays, usually no more than a few seconds, Google says.