Hulu is celebrating its first anniversary. And what an amazing inaugural year it was for Hulu: its market share rose steadily through the year making it one of the most riveting video sites on the internet. The video-on-demand site has stepped into its second year armed with new social networking features.
Now website users can share their favorite shows with each other using the new "Hulu Friends" feature. Users can import contacts from major social networks and email services. The site ensures that friends are kept up to speed with each other’s viewing activities. This move is expected to make Hulu more enticing for advertisers.
Youtube houses arguably one of the largest music-video collections on the internet, which even features some hard-to-find musical gems. Dan Nelson, a 15-year-old developer, has built an iTunes-esque, free-music service that streams Youtube music to the user’s desktop. His downloadable music player is called Muziic.
Muziic can be considered the notional progeny of Youtube and iTunes: it delivers free music available on Youtube in a seamless manner one associates with iTunes. But its adolescent creator is yet to secure Google’s endorsement.
Google’s gripe may emanate from the fact that there is no mechanism in Muziic to display the advertisements that usually accompany Youtube videos. So Muziic is effectively depriving Google of ads revenue that is lawfully its due. Having used Muziic, this author can vouch for its utility. But will it be music to Google’s ears?
It is a disgrace that humans haven’t still got the hang of setting passwords. It seems as though that most internet users have inextricably tethered themselves to a promise of not setting strong-enough passwords, which may force hackers to reconsider their choice of profession for its grueling nature. As you devour more of this story, you will begin to envy hackers for having it stroll-in-the-park easy.
A new study has revealed – rather reiterated - that internet users nonchalantly continue to set unimaginative, fatuous passwords. The study appraised 28,000 passwords that were recently stolen from a U.S website.
Sixteen percent of the users had set their first name as their password. Around fourteen percent chose easiest to recall key combinations, including “1234” and “12345678”. Other users, who apparently don’t rate their mathematical ability highly, chose to steer clear of numbers and settled for passwords such as “AZERTY” and “QWERTY”.
Five percent of the passwords were found to be inspired by popular things and celebrities, including names of movies, TV shows and actors. The strongest password in this category was found to be “Ironman” as it sounds impenetrable.
Three percent of the people reckon passwords are another medium of expression. How else would you explain passwords like “Iloveyou” and “Ihateyou?”
Yes, you heard right! Microsoft is giving away free, hosted domains. This means you can finally set up a website for your special hobby or anything else that you wish. There is a catch though. Unfortunately, it is only free for the first year and then $15 per year after. This is still a good deal though. So why would you want such a thing? Because it’s your website and you can do whatever you wish to it. Other free services, such as Tripod, give you free website hosting, but you do not get your own domain name. Hit the jump for more details.
UK’s Competition Commission has disapproved Project Kangaroo, a proposed Hulu-esque VOD service, which was supposed to provide video content – mostly free videos - from three of its joint owners, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The fear of Kangaroo’s inevitable hegemony led the Commission to veto the alliance. The Commission felt that the video-on-demand service would have resulted in the “loss of competition” between its proprietors.
The three companies expressed their disconsolation in a joint statement. “We are disappointed by the decision to prohibit this joint venture. While this is an unwelcome finding for the shareholders, the real losers from this decision are British consumers. This is a disproportionate remedy and a missed opportunity in the further development of British broadcasting,” the statement reads. Although consumers would have most certainly devoured the service, the Commission's findings appear to be reasonable.
Online scammers have contrived an ingenuous way to ride Obama’s rampant wave of popularity. According to Websense Security Labs, certain unscrupulous elements have registered several accounts on my.barackobama.com, the social network on Obama’s website that affords all standard social networking features to users, including personal profiles, groups and blogs.
The charlatans created various accounts on the website and planted a hideous Youtube image with the message, “click here to see movie.” Users who click on the image mistaking it for a Youtube video are redirected instead to a website, which resembles Youtube, but appears to be fraught with pornographic content.
However, when a user proceeds to view one of the videos the website asks the user to download a missing video codec. In its stead is downloaded a Trojan. Further proof of Obama's widespread popularity.
Jimmy Wales, founder of the popular human encyclopedia site Wikipedia, has posted an open letter soliciting donations to keep the number 9 website (according to Alexa) afloat. The plea follows weeks of fund raising efforts, which prior to the letter managed to raise $3.5 million. Days later, that number now stands at over $5.8 million.
"Your donation helps us in several ways. Most importantly, you will help us cover the increasing cost of managing global traffic to one of the most popular websites on the Internet," Wales wrote in his letter. "Funds also help us improve the software that runs Wikipedia -- making it easier to search, easier to read, and easier to write for. We are committed to growing the free knowledge movement world-wide, by recruiting new volunteers, and building strategic partnerships with institutions of culture and learning."
Wales says that annual expenses are less than $6 million. Because Wikipedia is largely volunteer-based, the site's paid staff sits at just 23, which is 23 more than it had in its first couple years of operation. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Wikipedia's business model changes, as the site doesn't collect any advertising revenue. While the fundraiser appears to have raised enough to keep the site live for another year, it remains to be seen if readers will again be willing to open up their wallets on an annual basis.
Will donations be enough to keep Wikipedia going? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Since 2002, CastleCops has been among the leading antimalware research websites, offering a Wiki, blog, malware removal and prevention tips, and much more. CastleCops founder Paul Laudanski went to work for Microsoft's Live Consumer Services team in mid-May of this year, and CastleCops, which was volunteer-driven, did not survive the transition. CastleCops' last day on duty was December 23, as the farewell message relates:
You have arrived at the CastleCops website, which is currently offline. It has been our pleasure to investigate online crime and volunteer with our virtual family to assist with your computer needs and make the Internet a safer place. Unfortunately, all things come to an end. Keep up the good fight folks, for the spirit of this community lies within each of us. We are empowered to improve the safety and security of the Internet in our own way. Let us feel blessed for the impact we made and the relationships created.
With respect to the server marathon, by March 17 2009 CastleCops will refund contributions made through PayPal that were specifically designated for servers. Unfortunately, server donations made via check cannot be returned because we do not have the addresses for the donating entity. Unless instructed otherwise, CastleCops will re-allocate these funds as a donation to the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC.org). This organization sponsored our hosting environment for approximately the past 2 years. Please contact us [cc at laudanski dot com] before March 17, 2009, if you would like a return of your server marathon donation. Otherwise, we would like to thank the ISC for their unfettered support.
We thank everyone in creating our unique footprint and memories in time.
Love, Best Wishes and Happy Holidays, CastleCops PST 23 Dec 2008
If you've depended upon CastleCops' databases and forums as a resource for fighting malware, now what? Join us after the jump for new resources, and for your chance to suggest your favorite anti-malware websites and tools.
Before you drop in on the American Express website to see how much damage you did to your credit line with holiday shopping, you should know it's vulnerable to an XSS (cross-site scripting) exploit. As The Registerreports, this news comes after a bungled attempt to fix the problem. As El Reg puts it,
The cross-site scripting (XSS) error that makes it trivial for attackers to steal americanexpress.com user's authentication cookies is alive and kicking. The confusion stems from a mistake made by many application developers who incorrectly assume that the root cause of a vulnerability is closed as soon as a particular exploit no longer works.
So far, only proof-of-concept exploits have been written to show how easy it would be to pilfer login credentials, but until AmEx really eradicates this problem, keep a careful eye on your website transactions. For a list of precautions you can take to stop XSS exploits, see our 2007 article.
Have you been victimized by an XSS error? Join us after the jump and sound off.
LIFE Magazine, which published classic photojournalism from Maragaret Bourke-White, Alfred Eisenstaedt, David Douglas Duncan and many others during its various incarnations as a weekly (1936-72), special issue (1972-78), monthly (1978-2000), and Sunday supplement (2004-2007), lives again, thanks to the new LIFE photo archive hosted by Google.
Ultimately, about 10 million photos (only about 3 percent of them ever published) will be available at Google. There's no need to wait to explore this rich photo heritage, though: about three million are already online.
So, what can you do with photos ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Winston Churchill, World War II to Vietnam, Muhammed Ali to the King of Siam? You can view photos in three different sizes, including high-resolution (5MP-6MP) sizes and use them for personal or research purposes.
To learn more about the collection, and for your chance to tell us about your favorite LIFE Magazine images, join us after the jump.