Posted: 31 Dec 2007 03:08 PM CST
It’s the end of the year – almost quite literally. I’ve only got a few more hours to figure out what my personal goals list will be for next year, but I can at least publish my geek goals so that I’ll have some public accountability as to whether any of these will be achieved in 2008.
Most of these are fairly open, too. My guess is that most of you will be able to adopt most or all of this list as your own. Let’s make it a year to remember. Let’s actually achieve some New Year’s resolutions.
01) Log-in to my social networks more than twice a week.
Still, there are benefits, like the centralized apps and mini-feed views, that are afforded from Facebook that you simply can’t get out of Twitter. Having one spot for productivity and a quick glance at what my friends have been up to recently is something I’m missing out on.
02) Drink the Apple Kool-Aid
On the other hand, folks with the Apple laptops are always expressing their condolences and telling me how super-great Leopard is. They’re finally starting to wear me down. I want to be one of the shiny happy people now. The Hare Krishna act has finally worn me down. At some point next year, I suppose I’m going to need to drink the Apple Kool-Aid, and hope the increased productivity is worth the sack to my identity as a PC guy.
03) Set up a spam bot for Ron Paul
What does get the job done? Apparently setting up spam servers works. Got him all that campaign money. I’m tech savvy, it is the least I can do to help the old coot.
04) Get control of my personal brand.
05) Invest in the next Google.
06) Get my calendaring organized.
07) Travel to more conferences.
08) Fix my grammar errors.
09) Make the next blockbuster online video podcast.
10) Get my email under control.
Posted: 31 Dec 2007 12:45 PM CST
Planning on packing plenty of spare battery power to that New Years party? You might run afoul of new air travel rules that go into effect on January 1, 2008.
Posted: 31 Dec 2007 11:58 AM CST
Hot off the heels of their last debate, Frank and Ben square off again: this time about the newly-released footage of Street Fighter IV and where the series may be going.
Posted: 31 Dec 2007 09:47 AM CST
Maybe we’re just getting better at the job but it seems like the debacles this year were bigger and more scandalous than last year. Every time we turned around, there was another deadly product or breach of consumer rights or act of malfeasance. Here’s our roundup of the top 10 worst moments in business this year…
10. VerizonFiOs Setting People’s Houses On Fire
Verizon’s new fiber optic cable network is blazingly fast, but their technicians can’t be accused of the same swiftness as they keep drilling through customer’s electrical lines and gas lines, leading to small fires. In an effort to put out the PR blaze, the Verizon Policy Blog always seemed to find a way to spin each story into a tale of how wonderful and in-demand their new network is. The phrase goes, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” yet Verizon’s PR mavens felt they could reinvent physics and claim that the smoke at some of the incidents occurred in the absence of fire. (Link to stories)
9. Comcast Throttles Bit Torrent
Though long suspected on tech-oriented sites, the internets went into a frenzy after the AP proved that Comcast was disrupting the traffic of customers using popular file-sharing program BitTorrent, preventing its use. Though often used to trade pirated movies and music, the software is used by popular online game World of Warcraft and open-source groups to distribute new versions of their software, and in the AP’s case, the decidedly non-copyrighted Bible. Comcast denied disrupting BitTorrent traffic, but said that they reserved the right to manage their network. (Link to stories).
8. E.Coli In The Meat Kills Topps Meat Company
Late 2007 saw an extremely high number of meat shipments recalled for e.coli contamination. At Topps Meat, the recall was so massive that the company went bankrupt carrying it out. Insiders say the USDA’s ineffectuality and meatpacker-friendly loopholes have lead to higher tolerances for e.coli at plants. When the meat tests too high for e.coli, meatpackers only have to slap a “Cook Only” label on to and still get to sell it without reporting it to the USDA. Quoth Fast Food Nation, “There’s shit in the meat.” Medium-rare no longer looks so appetizing. (Link to stories).
7. Best Buy Caught Stealing Porn From Customer’s Computers
Following up on insider tip-offs of systematic porn pilfering, The Consumerist rigged a computer to make a video of itself, loaded it with porn, and it took it Best Buy. On video, we caught one of the techs purloining porn from our computer. The video went viral and Best Buy conducted a nationwide internal investigation, outsourced to ex-cops. Kids were interrogated. Kids were fired. Store hard drive were searched and seized. Pants were shat. According to some reports, most of the worst “porn caches,” communal computers where employees swapped porn, movies, music, and documents taken from customer harddrives, somehow managed to escape being hooked up for remote review. (Link to story).
6. Student Loan Scandal
Attorneys General sued and fined prominent banks and universities after uncovering widespread collusion and conflicts of interest between the two to sell college students on high-priced student loans. One of the techniques was to give students a “preferred lenders” list, which is to say, the private institutions the university preferred you to use because it meant kickbacks, gifts and expense-paid trips for them in referral rewards. While they were being shuttled into expensive private loans, the students were often not informed of the array of Federal loans that should be exhausted first. Seems some universities slept through their own Intro to Ethics classes. (Link to stories).
5. Jet Blue Passengers Stuck On The Tarmac
A winter storm swamped discount airline Jet Blue’s operating capacity, with planes grounded, passengers stuck on the tarmac for over four hours, flights canceled, call centers jammed, and thousands of passengers unable to reschedule their flights. The CEO initially won kudos for making an online video apology, but that, and his subsequent apologies upon apologies weren’t enough to save his job. The airline has developed contingency plans for future fiascoes, including new “stranding policies” for passengers, which includes paying passengers if they’re stuck inside a metal tube on a runaway for upwards of four hours and not given any food or allowed to disembark. The debacle helped galvanize a growing passenger’s rights movement and spurred pro-passenger legislation in New York, legislation which the airlines then quickly moved to scuttle. (Link to stories).
4. TJMaxx’s Largest Data Breach In History Of The Universe
Unsecured wireless systems at TJ Maxx lead to the largest data breach in the history of the universe, with millions of credit card numbers compromised. As is typical, the credit card companies and banks tried to keep everything as hush as possible and most customers only were curious as to why they and all their friends were getting their credit cards forcibly replaced. The issue highlighted how retailers have been quick to adopt the convenience of wireless information systems without taking the security measures to make sure they weren’t also conveniencing potential thieves. Who would have thought you could conduct the world’s greatest bank robbery without a note, gun, or even leaving the parking lot? (Link to stories).
3. Menu Foods Kills Pets With Fake Pet Food
Before there was lead, there was the counterfeit pet food. Menu Foods of Canada was found to be selling pet food tainted with fake protein. Swapping out the cheaper ingredients lined their and their suppliers’ pockets, and the intestinal tracts of their customer’s pets with poison, leaving dozens of pets dead. Consumers were livid. A massive recall ensued, and readers got their first glimpse into how Chinese ingredient makers get their contracts approved, only to later replace certain key ingredients with cheaper and sometimes fraudulent components, a practice that would come to be at the center of the massive lead recalls that were to come later that year. (Link to stories).
2. Mattel’s Lead-Tainted Toy Recalls
Worries about children consuming lead were largely confined to jokes about avoiding eating paint chips on old houses, until Mattel was forced to conduct the largest toy recall ever after it was found a number of their toys contained lead well above the federally allowed toxicity levels. As parents, agencies, advocacy groups, and other manufacturers began scrutinizing products and supply chains, scores more products were recalled for high levels of lead. Congressional hearings were held and the story became a staple of local and national news broadcasts. It may not be until 20 years from now that we know the true impact, when we start wondering why national IQ levels have dropped 45 points. (Link to stories).
1. Sub-Prime Mortgage Meltdown
Housing prices stopped going up and banks stopped refinancing houses, pulling out the bottom blocks of the giant Jenga tower that was the housing frenzy. In fact, it was Jenga towers upon Jenga towers, with the mortgages being carved up and reshuffled until they looked like sensible investments. Now banks are washing out billions upon billions of losses, and homeowners across the country are worried about losing their homes. Everyone in the confederacy of dunces; homeowners, loan officers, credit agencies, banks, investment firms, stand to lose. Who will get stuck holding the hot potato? (Link to stories).
Posted: 31 Dec 2007 09:37 AM CST
Okay, final list for 2007. Here are the top-25 bookmarked or shared posts from the year, as determined by people who used the “Add This” bookmark button at the bottom of each post (see also our other year-end lists: Popular, Headlines, Launches, Deals, Deadpool):
Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.
Posted: 31 Dec 2007 07:48 AM CST
Some of the quotes are pretty straightforward, others might not make that much sense without context if you’re not a regular TorrentFreak reader. You can always subscribe to our feed if you want to stay stay up to date in 2008.
Happy New Year!
The MPAA after they were caught infringing the copyright of Patrick Robin’s blogging software “Forest Blog”:
BitTorrent Inc. co-founder Ashwin Navin on iTunes DRM:
The Pirate Bay’s Gottfrid Svartholm about his favorite anti-piracy organization:
Mediadefender CEO Randy Saaf when we found out about Miivi:
Mark Cuban to Bram Cohen, in a rant about the new BitTorrent movie store:
President Basescu (Romanian President) on copyright infringement:
Shaw, Canadian ISP gives advise on how to configure BitTorrent:
MPAA’s Dean Garfield about Pirate Party politicians:
P2P virus to its victims:
Scener about Feds that try to stop the Scene:
The Pirate Bay about the Caribbean pirate Jack Sparrow:
BitTorrent admin about Leaseweb:
Demonoid explains why they were offline for almost a week, and moved from The Netherlands to Canada:
IsoHunt’s Gary to Brokep from The Pirate Bay:
Marnie stern about her BitTorrent addiction:
Pirate Bay admin Brokep on US politics:
NiN’s Trent Reznor about OiNK after it was raided:
TorrentSpy’s Justing Bunnel on the power of the entertainment industry:
Dave Peters, frontman of “Throwdown” on supporting musicians:
“A former music buyer writes to the CRIA:
Comcast to its customers:
(but we do slow it down)
Researchers on the effect of filesharing on CD sales:
Noël St-Hilaire, head of copyright theft investigations of the Canadian police on piracy:
TorrentFreak council in an open letter to the Dutch anti-piracy organization BREIN:
50 Cent on filesharing:
Eric Wilkinson, the producer of the independent film “The Man from Earth”, wrote an email to RLSlog in which he thanks them for the free promotion they gave him:
Posted: 31 Dec 2007 04:38 AM CST
Another year has passed us all, and 2008 beckons tomorrow. For those not out and about this New Years Eve, here’s a few places you can join the experience online:
Video Streaming Sites
I did a brief interview today with Eli, one of the two most remote Twitter users on the planet:
how long have you been down there?
I’ve been living (and working) at McMurdo Station (on Ross Island) for 3 months, and I’ve got about 6 more weeks to go before the end of the summer season.
my first tweet was posted on 07/07/07 and i’ve really loved it from the very beginning.
definitely. i have friends all over the planet (US, Europe, etc) using twitter right now and it makes it so easy to stay in touch. it is especially helpful for me down here because the internet connection is pretty terrible, so it’s nice to just hope on to twitter, type a few characters, and be done with it.
well, it’s 10:45pm on new years eve for me right now, so in a few minutes i’m going to suit up in me ECW (extreme cold weather) gear and hike to the top of Observation Hill with some friends. there’s about 6 inches of snow on the ground (in the summer!) and it’s still snowing. we’re going to bring in the new year in true antarctic fashion!
There’s also live streaming cams as well.
If anyone else has some NYE live links let us know in the comments.
Update: BlogTV has a live zone here.
Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0
Posted: 31 Dec 2007 04:06 AM CST
2007 was an eventful year in Web Technology, with the rise of Facebook, some frenzied acquisitions from the likes of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, and of course the iPhone. To round out the year (and put an end to the December lists!) here is a look at what we think were the 10 biggest Web tech stories of the year. They’re ordered in terms of technology impact and innovation – however it’s a subjective list, so let us know in the comments what you think should be in there.
This post doubles as the final Weekly Wrapup of 2007 — it’s been a great year and all the best everyone for 2008! Here’s looking forward to more Web innovation and startup success in ’08!
On January 9, 2007 Steve Jobs announced at Macworld “three revolutionary new products”: an iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator. But turned out it was all one device: the fabled iPhone. This is our number 1, because it finally made the Mobile Web real for the influential US market (and the geeks who bought it in America, then took it overseas and unlocked it! cough).
Much has already been written about this announcement on May 24, but suffice to say that it ushered in a new era for social networks – where outside companies could deploy advanced functionality inside the Facebook site.
On April 13 Google acquired online advertising company DoubleClick, which set off a frenzy of acquisitions in this space – notably Microsoft’s $6B purchase of aQuantive. The Google/DoubleClick deal confirmed that online advertising was in a bubble period.
At the end of October Google launched OpenSocial, a set of common APIs for building social applications across the web, in a bid to cut off Facebook’s momentum with third party developers. Perhaps the biggest part of this news was the world’s largest SNS MySpace joining OpenSocial the day after.
Despite mixed reviews of this e-Reader device with internet connectivity from Amazon, the Kindle promises to shake up the e-commerce giant’s core business model – by delivering books electronically instead of the familiar brown box.
On July 23, eight Democratic presidential hopefuls took the stage in South Carolina — a crucial early primary state — for a debate sponsored by CNN and YouTube in which all of the questions were submitted by users of YouTube. The Republicans got their chance in September. In the same vein, 2007 also saw the MySpace/MTV Candidate Forums and the rise of web 2.0 tools in politics.
On Nov 5, Google announced an open-source mobile operating system called Android. This could significantly change the way that Mobile Web applications are developed.
On Feb 6, Apple CEO Steve Jobs posted his Thoughts on Music in the ‘Hot News’ section of the Apple website. In it he outlined why DRM should be abolished by record companies. And Jobs’ pleas seemed to be heard by the record industry, with first EMI and then later Universal and Warner on AmazonMP3 ditching DRM.
Late this year Facebook announced a new advertising system that used retail data collected from its users. But after howls of privacy protests, Facebook had to back off some and make the system opt-in. It’s also worth mentioning here another Facebook story that just missed this list: in October Microsoft invested in Facebook at a $15b valuation.
10. Adobe AIR
On June 10, Adobe officially unveiled Adobe Integrated Runtime, or Adobe AIR for short. Formally called Adobe Apollo, it is a cross-operating runtime developed by Adobe that allows developers to create Rich Internet Applications for the desktop. It was a close call between this and Google Gears (the offline browser plug-in), or Microsoft’s Silverlight (a Flash-like plug-in) – both of which were also launched in ’07.
What have we missed? What were your top Web tech stories of 2007?
Posted: 30 Dec 2007 11:30 PM CST
When a news organization as venerable as the BBC censors the reportage of a story as important as the assassination of Benzir Bhutto –a highly visible critic of Bush/British policy with regard to the “War on Terrorism” et al –it is fair to ask: who is the BBC protecting? Are they covering up the motive for her murder?
Posted: 30 Dec 2007 11:00 PM CST
Posted: 30 Dec 2007 07:33 PM CST
* August 25, 2005: Google Talk launches. “Built to support industry standards, Google Talk enables Google users to connect to the Google Talk service and exchange IMs using any client that does the same, including Trillian, Adium, iChat, GAIM, and Psi.”
* July 2007: To bid for the 700MHz spectrum in the US, Google asks four conditions, the most important being to allow people to use any application and any device (these two conditions were accepted).
* November 2, 2007: Google launches OpenSocial, “a set of common APIs that make it easy to create and host social applications on the web”.