NetLingo Top 10 Internet Words of 2009

NetLingo.com announces the Top 10 Internet Words of 2009! Listed in alphabetical order and chosen for their popularity, here are the Top 10 Internet Words of 2009 according to NetLingo.com:


anime - the reason why kids are learning Japanese
cloud computing - software as a service is a must know
flash mob - how social media impacts world revolutions
meme - the new viral, it's an idea that spreads quickly
OMG - I thought he'd never leave, next year it will be ZMG
sexting - to send sexy pics on cell phones is all the rage
Twitter - #1 most popular term is spawning a new lingo
twitterverse - check it out for 12 more twitterati terms
unfriend - New Oxford American Dictionary word of year
Web 2.0 - the one millionth word added to English

Make one of your New Year's resolutions to learn more lingo by signing up for our Word of the Day newsletters... Happy New Year 2010 everyone!
HHTYAY,
Erin



Erin named Top 25 Women in Tech to Watch

Erin Jansen, founder of NetLingo.com, has been named to the first annual AlwaysOn "Top 25 Women in Tech to Watch" List. This year's winners will be celebrated at a special luncheon, presented by Accenture, at "Venture Summit Silicon Valley," taking place Tuesday, December 8, 2009. Selection for the list was based on the following criteria: overall innovation, ability to identify new market opportunities, commercialization of new products and services, creation of stakeholder value, and media buzz and awareness in the tech community.

Venture Summit Silicon Valley is a two-day gathering that highlights the significant economic, political, and technology trends impacting the global growth investor. The Venture Summit features the most influential venture capitalists and angel investors, corporate buyers, investment bankers, and entrepreneurs in keynote presentations and panel debates. Erin will be attending the Venture Summit, you can learn more about her here!

I had an affair with Tiger Woods


That's the punchline my girlfriend is using these days, she even wants to get t-shirts made. But despite all of the viral jokes about Tiger's philandering, it's sad. The lesson? Aside from his infidelity issues, Tiger got caught because of his digital footprint. That's right, recently called telephone numbers left on his cell phone and hundreds of text messages saved on someone else's mobile device got Tiger caught in the digital act.

As I research technology and the psychological impact it has on our lives, I find myself questioning what do we value most? Judging by how we spend our time, it's definitely our computers. Most people spend more time with their computers than with their spouse or significant other. More than 80% report that they grow more dependent on their computer every year and 24% say the Internet can serve as a substitute for a significant other. The fact that 1 in 3 boys ages 13 and 14 are considered heavy online porn users, and that 11% of adults say they'd be willing to implant a device in their brains that would allow them to access the Internet, causes reason for concern. (Source: The Week)

Computers are also a growing source of stress. The average person experiences frustrating computer problems twice a month and wastes 12 hours a month due to computer problems and hours each day due to the side effects of multitasking. Not to mention the stress and humiliation of getting busted because you left your digital footprint behind! As I've said before, the advice is to either not engage in improper activities or only communicate about such activities in person, in real time. Just ask Tiger, this thing hasn't even gone viral yet.

It's Outrageous, it's Fun, it's a Great Gift!

The new NetLingo book is a handy guide of every text abbreviation and chat acronym you'll ever need to know! Just in time for the holidays, "NetLingo: The List" is a great "gag" gift and conversation starter to say the least. Not recommended for children under 12 due to adult content, this "coffee table meets toilet humor" book contains thousands of hilarious sayings used by millions of people.

NetLingo is the leader in tracking online terms and "NetLingo: The List" is the largest collection of text and chat acronyms to date! More than 82 million people text regularly, it's no wonder you've seen some of this cryptic looking code... but you haven't seen it all until you've seen "NetLingo: The List." Get a few copies to give to your peeps today!

* Material is not appropriate for children under 12 due to mature and suggestive themes
* Contains a cornucopia of crude humor, sexual content, profanity, drug & alcohol references,
* It's modern, it's shocking, it's funny, it's real, it's timely, it's handy, it educates, it entertains
* It's for parents and professionals, educators and enthusiasts, everyone who gets online
* Explains the difference between acronyms, abbreviations, shorthand, initialisms, and leetspeak
* Take an inside look at the dynamic language that eludes conformity or consistency
* People magazine says "The NetLingo Guide to acronyms is super!"
* Great gift for adults, only $9.95, get copies of "NetLingo: The List" here!

Happy December everyone,
Erin

Tasty Tidbits from the Tech Front


Reduce your carbon footprint with the best holiday gift I've seen! Consumers obsessed with the "need to upgrade" are flooding landfills with non-biodegradable, old cell phones, laptops, and iPods.

The MOTO W233 Renew offers a potential solution.
The first "carbon neutral" cell phone is constructed with a casing made from 100 percent recycled water bottles. It even comes with a prepaid envelope for when you inevitably need to dispose of it; just mail it back to Motorola to be recycled. Only $49.99, you can buy it on Motorola.com

In social networking news: A new worm is spreading on Facebook. It posts a racy photo on victims' walls. Clicking the image takes users to a porn site. The image is then posted on the user's wall. Yikes! It's unfortunate but true, criminals are increasingly targeting Facebook users so keep aware. And last week 19-year-old Rodney Bradford of Brooklyn, NY convinced police to drop charges that he committed a robbery at 11:50am by proving he'd updated his Facebook page at 11:49am. It's the first criminal case in which a Facebook entry has provided alibi evidence.

In international news: Egypt is launching the world's first Arabic-language Internet domain. The new domain name will be ".masr" --which means ".Egypt" -- written in the Arabic alphabet. "It is a great moment for us," said Egyptian communications minister Tamek Kamel. "Ther Internet now speaks Arabic. "But press-freedom activists warn that content in the new domain would likely be censored. "The fact that Egypt is launching this Arabic domain is ironic really," said Soazig Dollet of Reporters Without Borders. "Egypt is one of the enemies of the Internet." The international Internet regulatory body, ICANN, voted last month to allow use of non-Latin characters in Web addresses.
Source: The Week

And now for something a little crazy: A man marries a video game character... what? A man has married his virtual girlfriend. That's right. The girlfriend is a character in the Love Plus video game. They honeymooned in Guam and held a public wedding reception, read more about it here. Until next time, see you online.
Erin

Generation Gaps at Work: A Look at Gen Y


Twenty-something workers may often seem to be in a "constant whir of socializing," said Jeffrey Zaslow in The Wall Street Journal. They text, they send instant messages, they even tweet. While some worry that "hypersocializing" can kill productivity and dull interpersonal skills, others see the benefits. Younger workers have a "gift for multitasking," and they know how to get "to the pithy essence of an issue." They still schedule a meeting or pick up the phone when it's necessary, says technology analyst Ben Bajarin. "If not, they text."

These days, the generational divide in the workplace isn't defined primarily by what you wear or the music you like, said Alina Tugend in The New York Times. It's defined by how you communicate. Even if you're not about to ditch your land line or use Facebook as a primary means of communication, understand how your younger colleagues communicate, and keep an open mind. For example, don't bother leaving a voicemail when calling someone younger than 30. "They don't listen to them." And if you must send emails, "make them short and sweet - no rambling missives."
See also: generation d, generation e, generation x, generation y

As quoted from our favorite magazine The Week.
Join NetLingo in the coming months as we look at the generational divide in the workplace, online, and in real life. Sign up for our blog updates here!

2009 Word of the Year: unfriend


Unfriend has been named the "2009 Word of the Year" by the New Oxford American Dictionary, chosen from a list of finalists with a tech-savvy bent. "Unfriend has real lex appeal," said Christine Lindberg, senior lexicographer for Oxford's U.S. dictionary program.

"In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year." Other words deemed finalists for 2009 by the dictionary's publisher, Britain's Oxford University Press, came from other technological trends, the economy, and political and current affairs. In technology, there was "hashtag," which is the hash sign added to a word or phrase that lets Twitter users search for tweets similarly tagged; "intexticated" for when people are distracted by texting while driving, and "sexting," which is the sending of sexually explicit SMSes and pictures by cellphone.

Here are some of the other words considered finalists for "2009 Word of the Year" -- netbook, paywall, freemium, funemployed, zombie bank, birther, choice mom, death panel, teabagger, brown state, green state, ecotown, deleb, and tramp stamp; to learn more about these terms, check out David Coursey's article in PC World.
AAYF,
Erin

Americans send 4 billion texts each day


Twice a year, the organization representing the wireless industry puts out facts and figures on how much we're using our cell phones in the U.S., and each time the survey results are announced, the findings are astounding.

The big number this time around, according to CTIA-The Wireless Association: In the past six months alone, Americans sent an estimated 740 billion text messages, which equals about 4.1 billion text messages each day!

Or look at it like this: An SMS has a maximum capacity of 160 characters, let's say (for the sake of example) that your average text message is about 80 characters long. And let's assume that your average novel contains about 100,000 words, and each word has about five letters. Assuming all that, we here in the States are writing the equivalent of about 656,000 books--all via SMS--every 24 hours. At that rate, we could match the entire catalog of the entire New York Public Library system (which holds about 20.4 million books) in a little over a month.

A few other interesting facts and figures from the CTIA survey:
* The average cell phone bill in June 2009 was $49.57, up more than a buck from June 2008;
* The average length of a voice call was just 2.03 minutes, shorter than any other year since the CTIA started keeping records in 1988;
* There are about 276,610,580 wireless subscribers in the U.S., up about 14 million from last year, and more than double the number in 2002;
* The various wireless carriers (or at least the ones who reported figures to the CTIA) raked in $151.2 billion in revenue from June 2009 to June 2008—again, more than double what they made in 2002.

In any case, if the CTIA's tally of 740 billion text messages in the past six months stays on track through the rest of the year, we'll pass 2008's total of one trillion text messages easily, ending up at nearly a trillion and a half messages for 2009 (and remember, that's just in the U.S.). Can anyone say information overload?

The full CTIA survey results can be read here. Sign up to get the NetLingo blog on your Yahoo or Google page here!

Trick or Tweet: Tidbits from the Tech Front


Facebook plans to keep profiles of the dead. Death doesn't erase the digital footprints that people leave in life and Facebook has announced it won't erase them either. The site will "memorialize" profiles of the dead if their friends or family request it.

Such accounts will be different from regular Facebook profiles, according to The Associated Press. For example, the site will remove any contact information and bar people from logging in. The person's profile also won't appear in the "suggestions" section of Facebook, and only the deceased person's confirmed friends will be able to find them in a search. The development comes as Facebook becomes an important social hub for its more than 300 million active users worldwide to keep up with friends and family.

And in other social networking news...

Hollywood studios have begun inserting anti-Twitter clauses into stars' contracts in order to prevent leaks of confidential information via social networking. Cameron Diaz and Mike Myers are among the first to sign contracts including language said The Hollywood Reporter. Their contracts with DreamWorks for the next film in the Shrek franchise are said include a clause forbidding postings to any "social networking site, blog, or other Internet-type site."

And finally, in a special story called "Trick or Tweet" Wired reported that as many as one in every 500 links posted on Twitter lead to sites hosting malware. The spread of malware is aided by the popular use of short URLs on Twitter, which generally hide the real website address from users before they click on a link, preventing users from self-filtering links that appear to be dodgy. As I've said before, if you're a Twitter user you should learn how to handle these short URLs. There are several ways to see the underlying URL, unfortunately most methods are still inconvenient.

One of the easiest ways to check short URLs is an add-on for Firefox called Long URL Please. It automatically converts any short URL on the Web. You won’t even see a short URL, you’ll only see the underlying link. Others take more work, for example, Untiny and PrevURL will check short URLs for you but you have to copy and paste the short URL into these sites. Or if you’re an avid Twitter user, you might like TweetDeck. It organizes your Twitter account on your desktop and can preview most short URLs. Of course in every case, you may see URLs you don’t recognize so you still won’t know if the site is safe.
MfG,
Erin

Google fast flip makes news reading fun


The newspaper industry is in trouble. Fewer people are subscribing to newspapers because instead we're getting our news online. It's fast, convenient and mostly free. But browsing the Web to read your news isn't the same as leafing through a paper.

Take Google News, for example. It is one of the most popular destinations for online news but it isn't the most appealing site. You see a thumbnail photo with each story and the rest of the page is filled with links and short blurbs. Yawn. But now, Google has launched a new way to view the news on its site: fast flip. It presents you with screen shots from news sites, so you don't just see headlines and blurbs, and you get a quick glimpse of the site and the headline.

To get a closer look, simply click on a screen shot, then, use the arrows at either side to "flip through" different stories. To read an entire story simply click on the screen shot when you're in flip view and it will take you to the site. It may not replace the feeling of reading the paper over morning coffee, but it sure makes online news much more enjoyable to view!
Check out Google fast flip here
,
Erin

Trouble for Teens: Harassment, Predator


A 16-year-old girl has been arrested for online harassment in Texas. A new law that went into effect September 1, 2009 criminalizes online harassment on social networking sites and through email or text messaging. If a person posts one or more messages on a social networking site with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten another person, it is considered a third degree felony. Read the full story.

And in other teen news...

The FBI has released photos of a Massachusetts man who allegedly enticed dozens of teenage girls to perform sexual acts for him in front of their computer webcams, some of which he recorded and posted on the Web. Lawrence Joseph Silipigni, 41 was arrested and is expected to answer to federal child pornography charges today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The FBI announced yesterday some of the alleged victims “have not yet been identified.”

One alleged victim, a 13-year-old California girl, first made contact with Silipigni in December 2007, believing him to be a 17-year-old boy named “Jamie,” who became her “online boyfriend,” according to federal court records. After agreeing to perform for “Jamie” privately in a real-time chatroom, the girl later discovered a video of herself masturbating online. Another alleged victim, a 15-year-old Bay State girl, agreed to go to the movies with Silipigni in Worcester even after she learned his true identity.

On April 6, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Silipigni’s home and seized two computers. On those computers were found 103 porn videos of “unknown underage victims,” court records state. Silipigni’s screen names have included “Boston,” “Jamin,” “RJLarry” and “here4Sam.” His family declined comment. Silipigni has confessed to authorities. People who believe Silipigni preyed on them or their children are urged to call local police or the FBI’s Los Angeles Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (S.A.F.E.) Team at 310-477-6565.
Read the full story here
.

Parents: Talk to your children about cyber safety! Here are 10 tips:

1. Explain risks to your teen and talk about the good and bad points of the Internet.
2. Keep the computer in an open area so you can supervise its use.
3. Limit the number of hours per day or week of online time.
4. Help your teen create an email name that is not sexually suggestive and does not identify him or her in any way.
5. Teach your teen NEVER to give out his or her name, password, home address, school address, telephone number, or individual or family pictures.
6. Tell your teen to let you know if someone sends a message that makes him or her feel uncomfortable.
7. Teach your teen to NEVER meet anyone in person that they have met online.
8. Spend time online with your teen. Ask him or her to teach you about the computer.
9. Check with your Internet Service Provider for information on how to block or filter inappropriate materials and report inappropriate conduct to your ISP.
10. COMMUNICATION IS KEY! Setting up guidelines and trust are crucial.

Parents, if you don't yet know about the need to protect your kids online, read these statistics and let NetLingo help you Get With The Program.
BBBG,
Erin

Teenage 'sexting' Trend Keeps Growing

Police, parents and children’s organizations are alarmed at the growing trend of “sexting”, where young people send explicit and indecent photos to each other using their mobile phones. Did you know that one in every five teenagers say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves?

It's not just the risk of sending the photo on a mobile device that's causing concern, now police say predators are increasingly trolling social networking sites to find explicit pictures taken by teenagers of each other. They then contact the young people involved, using the photos to blackmail them into committing indecent acts.

Murad Ahmed of the Times Online reports that what started out as risqué fun among adolescents has spread quickly and with serious consequences. In the past year, there has been a huge rise in the number of pictures being stored on hard drives by pedophiles that have been taken by teenagers in relationships.

Often the photographs are taken by teenagers in relationships who then split up and place them on social networking sites such as Facebook or BeBo. The pictures also get passed around by friends at school, leading to cyberbullying.

New research in August 2009 revealed that a quarter of all youngsters between 11 and 18 have received a “sext” by phone or email. Controversial cases of sexting in the U.S., England and Australia have resulted in campaigns to educate young people about the dangers of their behavior. Teenagers across America have been arrested on child pornography charges, cases of cyberbullying and suicide as a result of sexting are on the rise, and there have been reports of high school graduates losing jobs or college scholarships as a result of being identified in sexually suggestive pictures on the Internet.

Attention Parents! You need to educate your kids about keeping track of their digital footprint, not only for online privacy issues, but because it could come back to haunt them in a serious way. As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach them about these things. It's understandable if you don't know yourself, so start by reading the digital footprint definition, and sexting and cyberbullying -- and read the "see also" and "more info" links. Read through NetLingo terms like these once a week with your kids and have them be the expert and explain it all to you. The point is do whatever it takes to open up the lines of communication so your kids know they can come to you about cyber safety issues if and when the need arises.

The message is this: If you don't want an image of yourself to be seen by other people, don't take it because once you share content electronically, you've lost control of it. Pictures are like a cyber-tattoo, it is easy to publish information but difficult to get it removed. Oh and BTW, adults: This goes for you too!
ITS,
Erin

This one's for you Martha ;-)


Wow, what a week! I just got back from NYC where I taped a segment on The Martha Stewart Show! Can you believe it? OMG, Martha is so high-tech. The good news is that it was a very rewarding experience :-) The bad news is that it won't air until next Spring 2010 :-( I will be sure to let you all know when to watch it!! And I'll post some of our speaking points a little later on...

In the meantime, I'm back in sunny Santa Monica plowing through my "Finalize Product Development list", and I realize I've done it. I've accomplished a huge number of NetLingo upgrades that my friend and coach in NorCal and I decided were my priorities. When I encountered this list to cross off --and was able to cross off every one of them and more!-- I was like OMG, and so I decided to dedicate this blog to another Martha I know, Martha Danly, this one's for you...

We had a follow-up column and sure enough, these are all DONE :-)
Content:

  • Dictionary/Website – needs upgrading to PHP, streamline design, run broken links, add wiki feature, add new shop capability, add new ad system, possible subscription - DONE
  • Homepage – to feature popular editorial topics and add your own lingo - DONE
  • Monthly Newsletter email – broken, needs upgrade - DONE
  • Word of the day email – ready to launch - DONE
  • Webcast – on-demand requests - DONE
Products:
  • Book – time to publish another book - THE LIST
  • PDF – produce handbooks for walgreens/subscription - NEXT MONTH
  • E-book – bundle with websafety/nokia - instead DEVELOPED AN IPHONE APP!
Web Tools:
  • Pocket Dictionary - mini-browser - FIXED
  • RSS - new and updated terms delivered immediately - ENHANCED
  • Search & Browse Box - use the dictionary from any website- SAME
  • Toolbar - keep on browser for easy search - NEW
  • Widget – word of the day on Google - NEW
Just giving myself a big pat on the shoulder, isn't that what blogs are for?
POTS,
Erin

The List: Text & Chat Acronyms


It's here! NetLingo has a new iPhone app and it's called:
The List: Text & Chat Acronyms
(this link will launch iTunes)

Whether you're a parent who wants to know what your kids are online chatting about, or a texting or chat addict who needs the latest acronyms, this app is for you! Powered by NetLingo, the largest library of texting, chat and IM acronyms and abbreviations on the web, this handy application provides an instant reference to over 1800 acronyms, plus 230 smileys.

Each acronym, abbreviation and smiley is defined and additional information such as acronym origin, usage, and classification is provided. Free future updates will include new acronyms and smileys from our ever-expanding database, plus enhanced application features such as lingo search, cross-linked acronym references, and the NetLingo.com "Word of the Day" feeds direct to your app. Happy messaging!

Special Offer: For a limited time, buyers of version 1.0 will receive a future free upgrade to NetLingo Premium upon it's release, which will include the ENTIRE NetLingo dictionary of online jargon for everything from business to technology to organizations, and more ;-)
Learn more about the NetLingo iPhone app here!

2G2BT,
Erin

Trendiest iPhone App: Social Networking - But Beware of Latest Facebook Scam!


iPhone users are the most active social networkers of all the smart phone users, according to the quarterly Smartphone Intelligence survey released this week. Among the social networking apps, Facebook has won out as the iPhone app of choice. Approximately 71% of users use the app to access their account, and 37% list Facebook among their top three most used apps.

Even though iPhone is leading the way in apps -- iPhone users are more likely to spend money on their apps preferring those priced under $5, and 72% of iPhone users download 10 or more apps -- iPhone has ranked as the worst smartphone for mobile advertising click-through rates according to online advertising network Chitika.

No surprise really, apps rock and advertising bites, but the thing to stay aware of is practicing prudence with regard to online scams. Most recently a Missouri woman was tricked into wiring $4,000 to someone in England after receiving faked messages from a friend on Facebook asking for help.

Apparently someone took over the Facebook account of Grace Parry and changed the password so she couldn't access it. They then sent out messages saying she and her husband had been detained in London and needed money. Jayne Scherrman wired the money through Western Union after receiving what she believed were several requests for help from her friend. She was even called by a man with a British accent who pretended to be an immigration official! Police say it's unlikely she'll get her money back.

Facebook said Internet schemes like this one aren't uncommon. Facebook has systems to detect suspicious behavior tied to compromised accounts and blocks it when it possible, but the onus is on you. Remember to change your passwords often and be careful about posting personal information.
DBEYR,
Erin

As Internet turns 40, Faces Mid-Life Crisis




The Internet is facing a mid-life crisis. It’s impossible to set an exact date for the birth of the Internet. According to Stan Schroeder, you could say that it was born when the first two nodes of the ARPANET were connected between UCLA and SRI International in Menlo Park, California, on October 29th, 1969. Or you could say that it all began when Len Kleinrock and his team at UCLA transferred some data between two computers on September 2nd that same year. Either way, he claims it was last seen with a blonde in a red corvette.

According to Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer, a variety of factors that are seen as barriers to its growth are to blame. Spam and hacking attacks force network operators to erect security firewalls. Authoritarian regimes block access to many sites and services within their borders. And commercial considerations spur policies that can thwart rivals, particularly on mobile devices like the iPhone.

"There is more freedom for the typical Internet user to play, to communicate, to shop — more opportunities than ever before," said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor and co-founder of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. "On the worrisome side, there are some longer-term trends that are making it much more possible (for information) to be controlled."

Early obscurity helped the Internet blossom, free from regulatory and commercial constraints that might discourage or even prohibit experimentation. "For most of the Internet's history, no one had heard of it," Zittrain said. "That gave it time to prove itself functionally and to kind of take root." Even the U.S. government, which funded much of the Internet's early development as a military project, largely left it alone, allowing its engineers to promote their ideal of an open network.

"Allow that open access, and a thousand flowers bloom," said Kleinrock, a UCLA professor since 1963. "One thing about the Internet you can predict is you will be surprised by applications you did not expect." That idealism is eroding.

An ongoing dispute between Google Inc. and Apple Inc. underscores one such barrier. Like some other mobile devices that connect to the Internet, the iPhone restricts the software that can run on it. Only applications Apple has vetted are allowed. Apple recently blocked the Google Voice communications application, saying it overrides the iPhone's built-in interface. Skeptics, however, suggest the move thwarts Google's potentially competing phone services.

On desktop computers, some Internet access providers have erected barriers to curb bandwidth-gobbling file-sharing services used by their subscribers. Comcast Corp. got rebuked by FCC last year for blocking or delaying some forms of file-sharing; Comcast ultimately agreed to stop that. The episode galvanized calls for the government to require "net neutrality," which essentially means that a service provider could not favor certain forms of data traffic over others. But that wouldn't be a new rule as much as a return to the principles of 40 years ago.

Now, what the Internet's leading engineers are trying to avoid are barriers that are so burdensome that they squash emerging ideas before they can take hold. Already, there is evidence of controls at workplaces and service providers slowing the uptake of file-sharing and collaboration tools. Video could be next if consumers shun higher-quality and longer clips for fear of incurring extra bandwidth fees. Likewise, startups may never get a chance to reach users if mobile gatekeepers won't allow them. If such barriers keep innovations from the hands of consumers, we may never know what else we may be missing along the way. As seen in The Week. Read the full story on Yahoo! Tech News, and read Stan's post on mashable here.
BHIMBGO,
Erin

The millionth word in English? It's Web 2.0


You know you are living in auspicious times when you get to ring in the year 2000 and technology such as the Internet changes your daily routine. But to be around when the one millionth word is added to the English language? Incredible, not to mention the fact that the word happens to be Web 2.0!

Did you know the English language contains more words than any other language on the planet? According to Global Language Monitor, a Web site that uses a math formula to estimate how often words are created, more than 14 words are added to English every day.

As a lexicographer who specializes in online communication, I'm fascinated by words and I'm here to tell you that MANY MORE terms are going to be added to our lexicon. NetLingo gets new acronyms and text messaging abbreviation submissions everyday. Now of course, not all of the online jargon or business and technology terms that you see on NetLingo will be officially "added" to the English language, but that doesn't mean they're not in use all around you.

Believe it or not, Web 2.0 is most likely all around you. Now is a good time to make sure you understand what it means ;-) See also: NetLingo definition of Web 2.0; CNN announcement of one millionth word
FTR,
Erin

Text Messaging the Solar System


It's a good week for patience, as seen in The Week, after an Australian website started transmitting text messages to Gliese 581 d, the closest planet outside our solar system likely to support life. Estimated delivery time: 20 years. Check it out Earthlings: http://www.hellofromearth.net

It's Risky to Search for Stars in Cyberspace


Actress Jessica Biel has overtaken Brad Pitt as the most dangerous celebrity to search for in cyberspace. According to Internet security firm McAfee Inc., who surveys which A-list celebrities are the riskiest to search for, Biel was deemed the most dangerous, with fans having a one-in-five chance of landing at a website that has tested positive for spyware, adware, spam, phishing, or viruses.

"Cybercriminals are star watchers too - they latch onto popular celebrities to encourage the download of malicious software in disguise," said McAfee's Jeff Green. "Every day, cybercriminals use celebrities' names and images, like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, to lure surfers searching for the latest stories, screensavers and ringtones to sites offering free downloads laden with malware."

Brad Pitt topped the list in 2008 and Paris Hilton came in first in 2007. Coming second on the list for the second year running was pop star Beyonce, with McAfee finding that putting "Beyonce ringtones" into a search engine yielded a dangerous website linking to a distributor of adware and spyware. Actress Jennifer Aniston was third, with more than 40 percent of the Google search results for "Jennifer Aniston screensavers" containing nasty viruses. Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie tied as the eighth most dangerous celebrities on the Web while newlyweds Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen came in fourth and sixth respectively.

However, U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who have been featured on most celebrities list this year, were not at the top of risky public figures to search. The Obamas ranked in the bottom-third of this year's results, at No. 34 and No. 39 respectively. Best advice? Go to the stars' official sites!
They're GRAS,
Erin

How Cyberattacks Affect Your Online Home


Did you hear about the massive cyberattack that shut down Twitter for several hours last week and also interfered with Facebook? Maybe you experienced it yourself when you tried to update the world about your daily activites and suddenly you couldn't.

It turns out it was caused by a Russian effort to silence a Georgian blogger, according to Internet security experts as seen in The Week. The blogger, known as Cyxymu--the Cyrillic spelling of Sukhumi, a Georgian city damaged during last year's war with Russia--is famous for his anti-Russian posts. Security experts believe that Russian cyberattackers sent out a huge volume of spam with links to Cyxymu's sites on Twitter and Facebook; when the spam's recipients clicked the links, the resulting traffic overwhelmed the sites.

Talk about a sci-fi, action, thriller movie plot gone awry; obviously it isn't too far fetched when it actually hits home... your home. These are modern times we're living in so please do yourself a favor and take a moment to understand what a DDoS is, and better yet, remind yourself of the most important tip I always tell you: Don't click on links in email messages or blog posts, especially if you don't know the person who wrote it!
Be safe, surf well, NetLingo is here to help.
PEEP,
Erin

It's Official: You Can't Text While You Drive!

Many of us have done it, many of us still do it, and many of us will keep on doing it even though there are now laws against it. But this vice may actually end up killing someone and believe me, you don't want that on your conscience, let alone your criminal record. I'm talking about texting while driving.

Drivers who send text messages while at the wheel are 23 times more likely to get into an accident, a new report concludes. Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institiute installed video cameras in the cabs of long-haul trucks and observed them for 18 months. They found that just prior to collisions or near-collisions, the truckers typicallty spent five seconds or more looking at their texting devices instead of at the road. Yikes! Truckers texting while driving? First I was fearful of your random drunk driver on the road, now I have to be concerned about EVERYONE on the road including truckers? And what happens when all of our kids grow up?

They don't have to grow up, it's already happening. Kids who are as young as 14-years-old are trying to educate other teens about the dangers of doing it. Why? Because they've already killed people. Please take this opportunity to share this information with your teenager so they don't make the same mistake. Still not quite sure, read through the thousands of news reports about deaths while text messaging here.

One of my best friends is afraid to eat in the car for fear she might choke and then die in an accident, but she has no problem texting constantly while she's racing around at 65 miles per hour. I tell her it's illegal and dangerous but somehow it doesn't matter to her, whatever's on her little phone is suddenly more important than her life and the lives of those around her. Listen up people, you can't do it any longer. Period. There are now bumper stickers that say "Don't Text While Driving," c'mon get a clue. For a list of Countries and U.S. States that ban cell phones and text messaging while driving, click here. And please, take a break from all that instant communication and keep your eyes on the road.
CIL,
Erin

Experts Worry Machines May Outsmart Man


According to one of my favorite journalists Eric Effron, Executive Editor of The Week, it was disturbing enough when scientists developed chess-playing computers that could vanquish even the world's great chess masters. Now comes the alarming news that machines could soon be putting us to shame in our national pastime.

Japanese researchers last week unveiled robots that can hit and pitch a baseball with remarkable acumen. The robotic hitter swings only at balls in the strike zone and almost never misses, while the pitcher robot throws strikes 90 percent of the time and is even developing a wicked curveball. The robots can't yet spit chewing tobacco, but with technology getting exponentially smarter as well as more agile (see my previous blog posts about kissing a robot and socially assitive robots), the prospect of a machine-ruled apocalypse, long a mainstay of science fiction, is starting to seem a little less far fetched.

Its not just Terminator aficionados who worry about the "rise of the machines." A group of leading computer scientists, artificial intelligence researchers, and "roboticists" recently convened a private conference in Menlo Park, CA, to debate the need for limits on research that "might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems," according to a distressingly nonchalant account in The New York Times. Among the experts' concerns: What would happen if machines developed their own capacity to build ever-smarter and stronger machines? And what about robots that can "kill autonomously"?

The hope, apparently, is that with the right guidelines, the cutting-edge science that has been moving these scenarios into the realm of the possible will improve the human condition--rather than, say, spawn lethal, superintelligent machines that will eventually wipe out humanity. Those rules better be good. At the very least, though, Eric Effron suspects the machines will kick our sorry, human butts in baseball. But I might add, robot butts aren't nearly as fun to look at during the seventh inning stretch ;-)
NBFABS,
Erin

Bridging the Digital Divide: Female Style


Having recently been named one of the Top 30 Female Internet Entrepreneurs, I am continually intrigued by women who are self-proclaimed geeks ;-) and women who are actually making a difference in the high-tech world. One of my favorite journalists on this matter is Kim Hart of The Washington Post. In her article "Up-and-Comers Who Are Breaking Down a Digital Divide" she explains that you often hear people referring to a tech start-up as just "two guys in a garage." But that phrase excludes a gender that is too often overlooked in the technology industry. The fact is a number of women are leaving their mark as entrepreneurs, big corporate front runners, social media enthusiasts, and government policy experts. Even if she happens to start her business from the kitchen table.

Those of us who have established ourselves as influential figures all agree, we want to make room for more girl geeks! Most women in technology admit they were never encouraged to be interested in computers or programming but in the 21st century, that is changing. One area of growth is social media because it is a tech industry that is natural for women. Social media is all about communicating and women's communication skills are great assets.

Whether women entrepreneurs are expanding the reach of social networks among associations, educational institutions and government groups, or whether they're founding nonprofits to provide training for women and helping communities take advantage of tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter to organize events, respond to issues, and spread information, it is clear that we are growing the female faction within the tech community (even though there is still a huge digital divide that adversely affects women, especially minority women). However, the verdict is in: There's something very optimistic about what's going on right now. And since more women are spending more time online, career opportunities in the online world are growing. As my Mom (a successful entrepreneur herself) always said, "Don't be afraid to take a risk and make an impact. Find the work that fulfills and satisfies you and that in itself is part of the reward." Spoken like a true woman.
DGYF,
Erin

Word Up: Teens Don't Twitter


A research report by a 15-year-old intern at Morgan Stanley's London office "has generated a flurry of interest from media executives and investors," according to Julia Kollewe in the London Guardian, as seen in The Week.

Matthew Robson's report on teens' use of social media says flatly that "teenagers do not use Twitter" and that they regard online advertising as "extremely annoying and pointless." Traditional media, including television, radio and newspapers, is losing ground to new media.

The report has led some prominent media investors to question the business model for such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter, which rely heavily on online advertising. Well it's about time. Note to media: keep it real. See also: digital native, generation y, twinternship, and read the full article here.

DBEYR,
Erin

Short + URLs = Big Trouble


Anyone who Twitters knows the value of short URLs. But unfortunately, as is the case with email, spammers intent on spreading malware are now using the shortened URLs to spread viruses.

According to David Needle at InternetNews.com, the security firm MessageLabs reported this week that there are many reasons to be careful about clicking on short URLs or forwarding them blindly to others.

Let's review for a moment: What have I told you is the most important thing to NEVER do? Answer: Never click on a link in an email! Why? Because it could look like a bona fide link from a bank, for example, but actually launch a virus on your computer, or take you to a fake phishing site. It is simply safer (and almost as easy) to copy-and-paste the URL into your browser in order to view the content. This is known as a best practice (which I finally convinced my Mom to do ;-)

However, due to shortened URLs, this best practice has been thwarted on social networking sites and now the problem of spreading viruses via links is confounded because many of these short URLs used in microblogging sites such as Twitter, do not reveal the end destination. While it is a well known fact that many sites have updated their lists of bad addresses to block, URL shortening provides a way to get around those blocks.

"Generally there's nothing wrong with using these URL shortening services, but when you see a list of sites on Twitter, for example, with the short URLs under a hot topic, a lot of those are actually spam," Matt Sargent of MessageLabs told InternetNews.com. "But lots of people retweet them without clicking first to see what they are so they're actually spreading spam without realizing it." MessageLabs, a division of Symantec, identified Donbot as one of the major culprits. Donbot is a botnet responsible for sending approximately five billion spam messages every day!

Face it, experts agree there will always be spammers :-( and now the bad guys are exploiting popular consumer resources like Twitter and Facebook. This is why it's up to you! You must stay up-to-date on this kind of news and be vigilant in protecting yourself (and your computer and your data) as you go forth and explore the new worlds of the Web. NetLingo is here to help! We want you to learn about best practices like these so you can stay safe along the way and enjoy your online world.
GNBLFY,
Erin

I'm So Over Microsoft: Here's to Going Mac


The Associated Press reported on Monday that Microsoft took the rare step of warning everyone about a serious computer security vulnerability… it hasn't fixed yet. Normally I see these kinds of announcements and make a mental note to keep my anti-virus program active and working, but this one struck me as important so I kept reading. Turns out, it is a vulnerability that affects Internet Explorer users whose computers run on Windows XP operating software. Hello?! Everyone I know who uses a PC still prefers and uses Windows XP including myself… so why are they telling me about a flaw that can allow hackers to remotely take control of my machine just because I visited an infected Web site that's been hacked, and then tell me they haven’t fixed this flaw yet? It made me furious.

Don’t get me wrong, just because I work in this industry and I have to be smarter than the average bear when it comes to understanding technology, doesn’t mean I can’t get as frustrated as the next guy. Not only am I incredibly pissed off at Microsoft for announcing this security breach and then not providing a patch, I’m also incredibly pissed off at Microsoft because in addition to disrupting my home computer, this flaw hacked thousands of websites using Windows Server 2003 server software, which means it could potentially disrupt my professional website and worse yet, make it serve as a catalyst to spread malicious software to others. It’s gone too far.

The most important tip to ensure you don’t get a virus on your computer is never, and I mean NEVER, click on a link in an email especially if it is from someone you don’t know. If it’s from someone you know, hover over it first and see what the tag says that appears in the small window when your cursor rests on top of it (don’t click on it). If it ends with a file name of .exe do not click on it and delete the email immediately (.exe means it is an executable file that will load a program onto your machine). If it looks like a normal URL, at least copy-and-paste it into a browser first to see what appears on the Web page (otherwise the link may lead you to a bogus Web page in an attempt to phish you). Basically clicking on a link in an email is the worst thing you can do. This so-called "zero day" vulnerability is spreading mainly due to people clicking on links in an email. Don’t do it.

Here’s the scoop: I used to work at Microsoft and I know they only issue security updates once a month; if they issue this kind of “security reminder” at any other time, it’s because it’s very serious… and it most likely affects you or someone you know! Unless of course you’re on a Mac. While it is possible for an Apple Macintosh to get a virus, the likelihood of a Mac user getting a virus when compared to a Microsoft Windows user is very little to none. In fact, many Apple Macintosh users don't even run an anti-virus protection program (unless you’re running a virtual PC on your Apple Macintosh, then you need anti-virus protection). I decided enough is enough, I’m making the switch. And you know what? Now that I'm looking through my new rose-colored Mac glasses at the online world, it's fun again! They say once you go Mac, you'll never go back, now I know why.
AP,
Erin

Know Any Silver Surfers? Get Them Online!

Surfing the Internet is great exercise for the aging brain, says a new study according to The Week. Physicians and scientists have long advocated "brain exercises" such as puzzles and word games to stave off age-related loss of cognitive function. As it turns out, daily Internet searches are a terrific workout for the mind: They demand attention from verbal, memory, and problem-solving areas of the brain. Googling for health information or a good local restaurant is an excellent way for seniors especially, to clear the cobwebs from unused corners of the mind, says professor Gary Small of the University of California. "A simple, everyday task like searching the Web appears to enhance brain circuitry in older adults," he says, "demonstrating that our brains can continue to learn as we grow older."


Silver surfers are also using the Web to feel connected, according to The Washington Post. When U.S. centenarians were questioned in a new survey, 3% said they use Twitter at least once a week to keep in touch with their friends and family. Another 10% sent emails to stay connected, 12% shared photos on the Internet, and 4% downloaded music from the Web. "They are using new technologies, staying abreast of news and current events, and engaging in social networking -- all of which help to prevent chronic illnesses and contribute to greater longevity," said Dr Mark Leenay of Evercare. And if stranded on a desert island, 2% said they would want an iPod with them ;-)

It can be daunting for seniors (and baby boomers, and anyone for that matter) to venture into world of cyberspace, that's why NetLingo is here to help! Start by subscribing to the Word of the Day, then begin browsing the Dictionary, and be sure to read more Blog postings. There's a brave new world to explore and learning the lingo of the digital frontier will help keep you mentally sharp, physically healthy, and feeling connected.
XOXO,
Erin

The Red Flags of Cyberlove


It's another installment of "Lessons from the Online Dating Front." That's right, real life stories again from the good, the bad, and the OMG what were they thinking!? As an on-again, off-again online dater, I can't tell you how many silly situations I've experienced and crazy stories I've heard. My friends and I? We couldn't make this stuff up!

It's true, according to SafeInternetDating.com, the Internet has become the hot new place for smart, eligible people to find romance, and those looking for love are swarming into cyberspace. As a result, many individuals are beginning relationships online with people they have not met and know little about. It made me wonder, does traversing the digital dating frontier change the dating game and if so, what are the new red flags?

As I listen to friends and research "how to play it safe on the online dating front" these 4 red flags stand out:

Red Flag #1: Someone who seems too good to be true. Misrepresentation and lying about age, appearance, income, or anything else is immoral and worse than that, illegal, because the profile could be fraud or phishing. The fact is, lying about age and marital status runs rampant on the Internet and don't think it's just the guys ladies; women are some of the biggest perpetrators of misrepresentation.

Red Flag #2: Someone who is evasive. They won't answer straight questions like are you married, how old are you, or they won't send you a picture. Tread with caution.

Red Flag #3: Someone who won't meet you in real life, or even talk on the phone, instead they only want to communicate digitally. Clearly this person is physically unavailable to carry on a relationship, and possibly emotionally unavailable at that particular time too. The fact is, many people are not serious about meeting someone online, they are "trying it on" only to see "what's out there."

Red Flag #4:
Someone who wants to rush into everything, or move at a speed you're not comfortable with. "The bottom line is it doesn't matter one bit how many responses you get - how many of them are good, bad, or OMG - it only takes one person to make it all worthwhile." And even in real life --if you get passed the red flags-- it can still take time.
AML,
Erin

America's Texting Champion

OMG!!!! WSJ's Andy JORdaN witnesses the crowning of AmErica's top txtr. LOL!



CUL8R,
Erin

10 Tips for Safer Instant Messaging

Last week I talked about 10 Tips for Safer Chatting and I received dozens of emails from parents saying "my kids tell me they don't chat anymore, but I see them IM'ing all the time, are the safety tips the same?" The answer: No. Communicating using an instant messaging (IM) program has unique security and privacy risks that you need to be aware of, both for you and your kids too!

10 Safety Tips for Instant Messaging:

1. Never open pictures, download files, or click links in messages from people you don't know. If they come from someone you do know, confirm with the sender that the message (and the attachment) is trustworthy. If it's not, close the instant message.

2. Be careful when creating a screen name. Each IM program asks you to create a screen name, which is similar to an email address. Your screen name should not provide or allude to personal information. For example, use a nickname such as SingerSue instead of SyracuseSue.

3. Create a barrier against unwanted instant messaging. Do not list your screen name or email address in public areas (such as large Internet directories or online community profiles) or give them to strangers.

Some IM services link your screen name to your e-mail address when you register. The easy availability of your e-mail address can result in your receiving an increased number of spam and phishing attacks.

4. Never, ever provide sensitive personal information, such as your credit card numbers or passwords, in an IM conversation.

5. Only communicate with people who are on your contact or buddy lists.

6. If you decide to meet a stranger that you know only from IM communication, take appropriate safety precautions. For example, do not meet that person alone, (take a friend or parent with you), and always meet and stay in a public place, such as a cafe.

7. Don't send personal or private instant messages at work. Your employer might have a right to view those messages.

8. If you use a public computer, do not select the feature that allows you to log on automatically. People who use that computer after you may be able to see and use your screen name to log on.

9. Monitor and limit your children's use of IM.

10. When you're not available to receive messages, be careful how you display this information to other users. For example, you might not want everyone on your contact list to know that you're "Out to Lunch."

Referred to by many as the "coolest way to communicate online since email" you can now use a service like Meebo or Trillion to connect with people who use all kinds of different IM services like MSN, Yahoo, AOL, MySpace, Facebook, Google Talk, and many more! Download Meebo and Trillion IM programs here ;-)

IHAIM,
Erin

10 Tips for Safer Chatting

In the 21st century online cyber safety has become just as important as personal safety in the real world. Don't believe me? How about this statistic: 20% of children age 10-17 have been solicited sexually online (that's 1 out of every 5 kids) and 89% of sexual solicitations are made in either chat rooms or via Instant Messages.

Surely you know what chat rooms are by now, but if you're a parent and you've never visited one of these virtual places on the Internet, it's time to check one out. Chat rooms are a popular form of communication for kids and unfortunately online predators know this. Since chatting poses a particular threat for kids and teenagers, it's time to have a talk with your children and follow these 10 chat guidelines.

10 Safety Tips for Chat Rooms:

1. Never give out your personal information in a chat room.

2. Never agree to meet a stranger in person whom you met in a chat room.

3. When you're asked to enter or sign up for a chat username, choose a name that doesn't reveal your personal information. For example, you might use SingerSue instead of SyracuseSue.

4. Be wary of other chatters who ask you to meet in private chat rooms.

5. Check the terms and conditions, code of conduct, and privacy statement at the chat site before you begin chatting.

6. Monitor your child's use of chat. Remember, kids can participate in chats using Web sites, chat software programs, cell phones, and even certain online games.

7. Tell your child that if something in a chat room makes them feel uncomfortable, they should immediately leave the chat room and tell an adult.

8. Insist that your child never send photographs of themselves to anyone they meet in a chat room.

9. Tell kids to stick to moderated chats.

10. Learn the chat lingo. Kids often communicate using shorthand while 95% of parents don't recognize the lingo kids use to let people know that their parents are watching.

NetLingo is here to help. Read more online safety statistics; keep up-to-date with the chat lingo; sign up for our Acronym of the Day email; and then check out some of these teen chat sites; what you see may surprise you.

CWYL,
Erin

Power Texting: There's a Time and a Place


Sending short text messages from mobile phones have become arguably the most popular method of instant communications among teenagers and young adults. That was established in fall 2007, when Nielsen reported not only that the average mobile customer placed 357 text messages and only 204 phone calls in the second quarter of 2008. More incredibly, mobile users aged 13 to 17 placed 1,742 text messages a month and those 18 to 24 sent 790 a month.

But is power texting in everyone's best interest? While most people agree it is rude to text while eating (also known as "under the table messaging") because you're being antisocial when you're supposed to be social, did you know there's now a law about not texting when in a restroom?

I agree with journalist Tom Steinert-Threlkeld that the only rule that really matters when it comes to power texting is NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING. He believes we'll soon logically be at a point where there will be laws in every state where you can't hold or touch a communications device of any kind while driving. This is because with driving while texting, the public safety at stake. If someone wants to waste message units on power texting or use the bathroom while sexting (eww), then so be it.

Just remember power texting is here and it looks like it's here to stay. A modern variation on the old slogan brings it home... let your fingers do the talking.
HAND,
Erin