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