Archive for the ‘information’ tag
According to a report on Computerworld, a Microsoft job listing on its Careers website provided a bit of an information leak. The job posting has since been deleted, but it said, “Over the next 18 months, Microsoft will release new versions of all of our most significant products, including Windows (Client, Server, Phone, and Azure), Office, and Xbox.”
Microsoft has made no announcements about a new Xbox console as yet, so this is a significant hint. In addition, Computerworld reports that Microsoft’s Brian Hall made mention of a new Xbox in conjunction with other updates like Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Microsoft, for its part, quickly moved to explain that Hall only meant a new software update.
With the job listing pointing to an actual hardware refresh, Microsoft’s PR response seems too facile. However, keeping quiet about a console that’s in development is vital, as an 18-month drop in sales while consumers wait for the next generation could hurt Microsoft’s bottom line.
An 18-month window would put a possible new Xbox console in the holiday 2013 season. While there are no firm details about a new gaming console from Microsoft, some reports claim that it has Blu-ray support, while others claim the new Xbox will come in two flavors, one full-sized machine and possible a smaller set-top box like the Apple TV or Roku media players.
The current Xbox 360 continues to dominate the sales charts, with models that include high-capacity hard drives, Internet connections, and the Kinect motion control system. The original Xbox 360 came out in 2005.
Facebook and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission officially finalized a privacy settlement today after a period of “public comment.”
Today’s news comes after a period of public comment that was instated by the FTC in November.
In other news, Google settled its suit with the FTC Thursday. The search giant agreed to pay $22.5 million in fines, the largest fine ever given to a single company by the FTC.
via Nasdaq; Image via Nasdaq live stream
Filed under: social
Facebook and the FTC today finalized their earlier announced settlement over charges that Facebook had “deceived” its customers by “telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public.” Unlike this week’s earlier $22.5 million FTC settlement with Google, Facebook does not face any financial penalties. Instead, the company will have to promise that it will give its users “clear and prominent notice” and get their consent before sharing their information beyond their privacy settings. In addition, Facebook will have to submit itself to biennial privacy audits for the next 20 years and maintain a “comprehensive privacy program.”
The FTC launched its investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices in 2011 and the two organizations first announced that they had settled the charges last November. Today’s announcement marks the end of the public comment period and finalizes the settlement agreement.
Here are the details of the settlement. Facebook is:
- barred from making misrepresentations about the privacy or security of consumers’ personal information;
- required to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before enacting changes that override their privacy preferences;
- required to prevent anyone from accessing a user’s material more than 30 days after the user has deleted his or her account;
- required to establish and maintain a comprehensive privacy program designed to address privacy risks associated with the development and management of new and existing products and services, and to protect the privacy and confidentiality of consumers’ information; and
- required, within 180 days, and every two years after that for the next 20 years, to obtain independent, third-party audits certifying that it has a privacy program in place that meets or exceeds the requirements of the FTC order, and to ensure that the privacy of consumers’ information is protected.
Just like with Google’s earlier settlement, Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch dissented from the 3-1-1 decision because he questions whether “Facebook’s express denial of liability provided ‘a reason to believe’ that the settlement was ‘in the interest of the public’ and expressing concern that the final consent order may not unequivocally cover all representations made in the Facebook environment.”
You can read the full settlement order here.
As you probably know smartphones and other mobile devices are revolutionizing the way we work, interact with other people and consume information. Just to give you an idea, this semester the number of mobile Internet users surpassed the number of Desktop Internet users in India.
What this means is that we all need to taking the mobile aspect into consideration, whether you are an individual blogger or a manager of a large corporation.
Thinking about that I decided to run a little poll. The goal is to understand what kind of mobile traffic our readers are seeing on their websites (you can discover this on Google Analytics, on the “Devices” section if I am not wrong).
If you want to expand your answer, including your niche, whether or not you have a mobile version of your site and so on feel free to drop a comment.
I’ll publish the results next week.
Original Post: Poll: What Percentage of Your Visitors Are Mobile?
Blizzard’s gaming network, Battle.net, was hacked and user’s email accounts were accessed on Thursday evening. The news was reported by Blizzard in a blog post, and while no financial information was accessed, users are being urged to change their passwords. Other information was accessed as well, including “ryptographically scrambled versions of passwords (not actual passwords), the answer to a personal security question, and information relating to Mobile and Dial-In Authenticators.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Posted by Jonathon Colman
Howdy, SEOmoz fans! In today's video, we'll explore the nifty, nefarious world on Agile Marketing, which I talked about at MozCon a few weeks ago. We'll take a look at four key principles of Agile Marketing and talk about how you can use them to hack your organization to deliver more value to your customers more often by breaking down barriers and removing impediments to your progress.
The strengths of Agile are that it focuses on bringing customers into our marketing and development efforts; it focuses on interaction with your colleagues by building cross-functional teams; it pushes us to always stay in motion by prioritizing delivery to our users and customers above all other concerns; and it follows a strong, iterative "Build-Measure-Learn" cycle, just like Eric Ries talks about in The Lean Startup.
You know how fast things change in the world of SEO and inbound marketing – Google published 52 changes to their algorithm last April and another 39 changes in May. Agile methodologies can help you respond and react to those changes so that you can stay on top of new opportunities.
Enjoy, and I'd love to see your comments below! I'll be jumping in to answer your questions as they come up.
Howdy, SEOmoz fans. I'm Jonathon Colman from REI, and today we're going to be talking about agile marketing. This is a discipline that we are picking up from software developers, who have been practicing agile for decades, and we're applying it to our discipline of marketing and we're doing that for a couple of really good reasons.
First of all, agile helps us focus on our users and create more value for them more often, in ways that make sense, and it also helps us, as an organization, adapt to change. And you know better than anyone, how much change there is. Google's releasing algorithm updates, 52 of them last May, 29 right after that. There's Panda, there's Penguin, all of the news and tips and tricks we see on Inbound.org.
We are constantly taking in new information to our organizations. But, oftentimes, our organizations aren't able to respond to them. And why is that? Because they're structured like this, because they're structured in a big hierarchy that's not centered around the user. So even when they take in new information, they can't apply it directly to the people who matter most, their customers.
Secondly, we tend to work in models like this, which is a waterfall development model, where we take in requirements at the beginning, and then we do a chunk of work, and we do a chunk of work, and we do a chunk of work, and so on. But if change is coming down the road, if something happens here, like a Penguin, we can't respond to that because that's six months later. And, as you know, SEO, inbound marketing, social media, that's changing hourly, not in six-month or one-year cycles. So we have to become better at changing, and that's what agile helps us do.
So let's talk about four principles of agile and a couple hacks that we can use to change our organizations.
First of all come customers. They're the most important people. They're our reason for existing as a business. So we like to say, "Users are number one." "We're number one!" So what we do is we structure our work and ourselves all around the user. And one great way of doing that, here's a hack you can use, is to develop user stories. So as you're doing research with your users, as you're collaborating with them and sort of bringing them into the business to find out what they need to succeed in their goals, you'll start building these out. And they have a really simple formula.
As a user or buyer or shopper or, in our case, maybe something like backpacker, I want whatever is that they have as a goal. Perhaps I want to be able to find the lightest weight backpacking products so that they can succeed. So this would be so that I can have a great time in an outdoor adventure, hiking the Adirondacks. And what this helps us do, what user stories are so good at is keeping us focused on that increment of work that we need to do so that our customers can succeed. So this is a great way of doing light and quick documentation to help us fulfill user goals.
The next principle we're going to talk about is cross-functional teams, and that's where we really blow away this hierarchy from the old-school business days. What we do is we take all those institutional silos and we just reduce them to rubble, and we form this sort of cross-functional team, where content design, code, inbound marketing, data or analytics, project management, we all sit together, all in the same place, work together on the same thing at the same time. No one is ever gone. You don't have to walk to another building or send a long e-mail to explain something. We cut down on documentation, on all those pesky e-mails and IM's, and we actually have person-to-person interactions. It's a real strength of agile.
So I have a couple tools to help you with that. First is the stand-up meeting. This is one of the few meetings you have in agile marketing, and if it takes longer than 10 minutes, something has gone wrong. Imagine just having one meeting of just 10 minutes, 10 minutes, once a day, and then being able to focus on real work that creates value for users. It's awesome.
So here's how the stand-up meeting works. Everyone gathers around, you stand up, and that helps keep it short, and you talk about first what you did, then what you're doing, and then anything that might be blocking your progress. We'll talk about how to deal with problems like that in just a second. Some tools that can help you out with that, if you visit Trello.com. They're an online collaboration tool. Distilled used them as part of their creation of DistilledU, which is an awesome tool. And then the Meeting Cost Calculator, which you can get at bit.ly/meetcost, and you can also click in these links below us here.
So next, we have the principle of having a bias toward action, and really this is very simple. Doing is always going to be greater than not doing. So when we deal with problems like analysis paralysis, when we have problems like a politician who has the power to say yes or no, and here's my favorite, when someone comes up to you and says, "It sounds like a good idea, but we just don't do it that way," agile helps us break that down, because we always go back to our user story and we say, "Well, this is something the customer needs."
So what we do is we negotiate to "Yes." What we do is, we find that ground that allows us to proceed with our work. There's actually a role in agile that does nothing besides remove impediments to your work. So doing is always greater than not doing. And another hack that you can use is to just say no, because once you have your set of user stories developed, if someone comes around and tries to give you extra work or tries to say, "Well, you need to do this, and this, and this," which happens quite a lot, the old, "Yeah, I'm going to need you to have to come in on Saturday and, yeah, maybe on Sunday too," that doesn't create value for the customer right now. What we have to do is get this prioritize user story out the door as quickly as possible. So we want to maximize the amount of work that we do not do by just saying no.
And our last principle is to "Don't Hate, Iterate." I'm stealing this from a colleague at REI. It's just a great phrase. When we don't release on a six-month or a one-year cycle, when we're releasing every two weeks or every four weeks, we fall into Eric Ries' "Build, Measure, Learn" model here, where we develop our products or we do our marketing campaign, we get it out the door, we launch it, and then we see how it works for customers. We have this measurement phase. We see how it performs, and you know what, if it's not up to snuff, that's okay. It's all right. We learn. And then, two weeks later, we release a fix. When we do an iteration, we do something better that customers are going to respond to. And if that doesn't work either, that's okay. We go through the cycle again until we get closer and closer to what the customer needs to succeed in their goals.
And that leads to our final principle, which is "You're Not Perfect." I'm not perfect. Rand Fishkin is not perfect. He's pretty good, but he's not perfect. And that's okay. We don't want to be perfect, because perfect, chasing perfection holds us up in our work to get something out the door to customers. We don't want that. We want to always be delivering, always be shipping to customers as fast and as quickly as we can. So you shouldn't chasing the A+. You should be chasing what's going to be valuable for your users. Go back to your user story. That's what you need to succeed at. And if you don't get there, it's okay because two weeks later, you'll have another chance.
So, I talked about this at MozCon, and you can download my presentation at bit.ly/agilewins. There's also a link below. Please comment on the story. I'll come in and try to answer your questions and direct you to more resources.
So that's it. Thank you everyone, and see you next Friday.
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Before logging into Diablo 3, Starcraft II, or World of Warcraft this evening, you may want to change your Battle.net password. Video game publisher Blizzard was hacked this week, and the company says its security team is currently working with law enforcement to figure out who is behind the breach.
“Even when you are in the business of fun, not every week ends up being fun,” said Blizzard cofounder Mike Morhaime in a statement. “We take the security of your personal information very seriously, and we are truly sorry that this has happened.”
The damage includes a number of e-mails stolen for Battle.net players outside of China. Battle.net is the online system that contains a Blizzard player’s profile and also hosts online games. The Activision-owned company says that those on its North American servers are affected as well, which encompasses North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. For these account holders, hackers grabbed answers to personal security questions and breached the Authenticator devices that players use to add two-factor authentication to their accounts.
Blizzard suggests that players on the North American servers change their passwords, especially if those passwords were used for other online accounts. We think all Blizzard players should change their passwords as the company continues to dig into what was breached.
North American server players will be prompted to change their security questions as well in the coming weeks. A tip from GamesBeat Editor in Chief Dan “Shoe” Hsu: Don’t answer security questions honestly. Hackers can easily social engineer their way into finding out your security question answers. If the information on your Facebook account is public, you’ve done half the work for them. Coming up with fake answers puts an extra barrier between you and the criminal.
Blizzard was last hacked in May when criminals stole game items and currency. At the time some thought the hack was the result of a SQL injection attack.
Blizzard set up an FAQ regarding the hack, which can be found here.
Pose a fact-based question to Google from your favorite mobile device, be it phone or tablet, and the search leader can now better understand what you want and provide you with a pretty-to-look-at answer posthaste.
“Quick answers,” as they’re called, are Google’s instant search results for queries with answers that the search company can calculate or determine on the fly. Google has long been able to show you the weather forecast, provide you with a stock quote, solve an equation, and do your pounds-to-kilograms conversions on the web, but Thursday it’s updating its handy-dandy instant results and making them more attractive, more engaging, and more readily available on mobile.
“Search has always been about getting you the answers you need as quickly as possible,” Google user experience designer Jeromy Henry said in a blog post. ”Today, when you search on mobile or tablet, you’ll see some more improvements in the way we provide these quick answers, including better understanding what information you need and surfacing the most relevant information for you.”
Check on a friend’s flight status on your phone, for instance, and you’ll now see a progress indicator, along with bigger arrival and departure times so you can better glean the most important information right away.
The update also applies to finance-related queries, currency conversions, unit conversions, dictionary definitions, local time checks, and holiday and sunrise times, the company said.
The changes are currently being rolled out to the English version of Google on mobile devices.
Photo credit: designsstock/Shutterstock
Kaspersky Lab announced a new piece of malware that specializes in obtaining login information for bank accounts in the Middle East. It’s called Guass and is linked to Flame, Stuxnet, and Duqu.
“Gauss is a complex cyber-espionage toolkit, with its design emphasizing stealth and secrecy; however, its purpose was different to Flame or Duqu,” said Kaspersky Lab chief security expert Alexander Gostev in a statement, “Gauss targets multiple users in select countries to steal large amounts of data, with a specific focus on banking and financial information.”
Kaspersky found the malware after digging deeper into Flame, a virus uncovered in May that was billed as one of the most advanced cyber espionage tools to date. Researchers said the malware has “striking resemblances” to Flame in the way it was designed. It seems Guass shares the same source code from which Flame was built. But its actions are slightly different. While Flame installed a keylogger, turned on the computer’s microphone to record audio, and monitored “communications apps” such as IM, Gauss is focused on obtaining financial information.
Guass is tailored to steal “access credentials” to Lebanese banks, which include Bank of Beirut, EBLF, BlomBank, ByblosBank, FransaBank and Credit Libanais. Non-Lebanese entities that are also targets include Citibank and PayPal. This information along with browser history, cookies, passwords, system configurations, and more is sent back to the command and control servers. The malware, however, is in a veritable holding pattern since the command and control servers were shut down in July.
Kaspersky estimates that the number of infections are in the tens of thousands, but as of May around 2,500 infections were recorded. This is lower than Stuxnet, but higher than Flame, which Kaspersky says had around 700 infections.
In June, Kaspersky linked Flame to Stuxnet, the famous malware that hit Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in 2010. Many of Flames functions looked identical to those of Stuxnet’s, spurring Kasperky to dig deeper into the connection. Now the research firm says the two may have had creators that worked closely together, even sharing some of the same source code.
Gauss is the latest member of the family.
Filed under: VentureBeat
Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is currently an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners and has been a columnist at TechCrunch since January 2011. He hosts a weekly TCTV show In the Studio and pens a weekly column, Iterations. Follow him on Twitter @semil.
“In the Studio” rolls into the dog days of summer by welcoming a guest who, originally trained in computer science, went on to found a large consumer website, worked in venture capital on Sand Hill Road, and after helping out his would-be business partner learn the ropes of “hacking” the fundraising process, set out on a journey to build what a platform for startup investing and other related activities that has been gaining momentum and strength over the past few years.
Naval Ravikant, the CEO and co-founder of AngelList, originally began helping his current co-founder, Babak Nivi, navigate the funding process years ago. Nivi began writing down the ideas, and their blog, “Venture Hacks,” born. Since then, the duo has known they’re committed to doing something meaningful at scale, but had to take many attempts. What first started out as a social network (“Dealflow”) morphed into a Google Group, then a Yammer setup, and then in 2010, AngelList was born with an email list. The initial response was so positive, Naval and Nivi realized that they may had found the initial product their market craved.
Since that point, AngelList’s influence has compounded. More and more companies, investors, and other startup ecosystem players began not only creating official profiles, but also searching for and discovering information on the site. Companies began not only being able to raise small seed rounds via introductions channeled by the site, but also closing larger financings, sometimes even with institutional players participating in the rounds. As more and more information about fundraising has come online, and as more and more companies are being founded, and as people look to the web to help create and maintain a reputation, AngelList has been a key force in the current overall reinvention of venture capital, though it has not occurred without differences in opinion among some of the web’s savviest investors, as well.
I invited Naval in for a discussion because most people think of AngelList as “a place to get funding,” but when you start to peel back the layers, what he and his team are building is really a full-blown product, a powerful platform with an API already in use by some of the largest venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road. In this video, Naval also shares more nitty-gritty details about how he and his team think about product features, their hopes for their API, and examples of the vertical and horizontal features they are playing with. AngelList feels poised to be *the* startup ecosystem identity platform, and while Naval concedes some limitations about how much of the process can be facilitated online, this discussion brings to light just how much AngelList is doing to create more transparency and efficiency within the process.