5 Easy Places to Recycle Your Old Gadgets and Computers

Maybe you got next-generation gear over the holidays, or maybe it's time to clean out your unused gadgets for the new year. Whatever the reason, if you've got old gizmos that need to go, Kevin Purdy of Lifehacker.com tells you where to recycle them.

Did you know that many towns, cities, counties, and states have their own e-cycling programs that offer convenient drop-off locations for dead computers, dead cell phones, big monitors, and other electronics? The Environmental Protection Agency suggests a few sites to help you find a local solution, including EcoSquid and Digital Tips. However, almost everybody has a Best Buy, Goodwill, or Staples somewhere near them and they may even pay you back in green for helping keep the planet green.

Best Buy Recycling has one of the most convenient and customer-friendly electronics recycling programs. Each household can bring in up to three items per day including older-style CRT TVs, any flat-panel TVs, monitors, cell phones, GPS units, DVD players, basically anything that you can carry that has a plug and a display, Best Buy will take it. (There's a $10 charge for TVs and monitors, but you get that back in a $10 gift card.)

New cell phones often come with a plastic pouch in which to mail back an older cell phone for recycling, or for re-purposing as an emergency 911 phone for community services. Each cellular phone provider, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon offers phone recycling services and they are generally free through both in-store drop-offs and postage-paid mail-ins.

Both Office Depot and Staples are fairly convenient for recycling smaller gadgets in different ways. Office Depot sells boxes (small, medium, and large for $5, $10, and $15, respectively) that you can fill with pretty much any gadget that fits, then drop it off for recycling. Staples does the smaller stuff for free, like phones, PDAs, and calculators, and if you drop off TVs or monitors or other notably big gear, it's a $10 charge.

But one of the first stops to make is good old Craigs List. As one user notes, turning in a working laptop for recycling so that it can be destroyed is NOT recycling. If you really care about recycling then selling it for a small price to someone who will use it for a few more years is the best recycling you can do.
Until next post, see you online,
Erin



Early Adopter Update: It's Time to Hurry Up and Wait for 4G

It's the CES this week (the Consumer Electronics Show) and the industry is buzzing. Standards are being solidified. Convergence is taking place. It's a good time to be a geek. One of the major announcements is 4G.

If you've read the NetLingo definition, you know what 4G is :-) If you haven't, go read the 4G definition and come right back because Roy Furchgott of the New York Times tells us that the refrain from the cell phone industry at CES has been “4G, 4G, 4G.”

As NetLingo explains and Roy confirms, "Just what constitutes 4G at this point is debatable. But this week T-Mobile announced it would double the speed of its 4G network, AT&T vowed to have nationwide 4G LTE coverage by 2013 and Verizon is stumping its LTE build out." (LTE is also in the 4G NetLingo definition :-)

So here's the thing early adopters, "If you are leaning toward 4G, you certainly will have plenty of cell phones to choose from. Verizon said it would have 10 4G devices, from phones to tablets to wireless hotspot cards. Sprint announced three. AT&T announced two and promised five to seven more. T-Mobile announced two tablets and promised more devices." And on and on... that's CES. It's these kinds of advancements that make early adopters happy.

If you still don't quite get it, try looking at 4G from this point, "It’s the same problem that faced TV buyers when televisions with 1080p screens first came out. You could spend extra for a premium set, but what are you going to watch on it? There were no 1080p shows and practically no DVDs at the time (and when there first were, selection was small and very expensive). Yet people snapped 1080p TVs up. They wanted to be ready with 1080p when shows became available." Did someone say first-mover advantage?

In the end, Roy fesses up, "I live in the first city in America to go 4G, that was in 2008. I still don’t get reliable service. If your carrier charges you extra for 4G service, don’t buy it yet... if you don’t get charged extra for 4G service, consider it but make sure the phone works well on both 3G and 4G."

It's good advice. If you're not entirely certain about exactly what 3G is, be sure to read the NetLingo definition of 3G too! It'll only take a moment and you will learn something about the amazing technology that powers your cell phones and handheld devices! You know those little things you can't imagine living without, also known as your life?

Meanwhile at CES, it's all about convergence. This time it's merging television sets with the power of the Internet... but, there's nothing really to blow you away, not even Google TV, we're just not there yet.
Until next post, see you online,
Erin



Should parents let toddlers play with iPhones?

Moms and dads are discovering that iPhones can entertain little kids more effectively than traditional toys, but does that mean it's a good idea? The iPhone may just be this generation's "boob tube." The iPhone has not merely revolutionized communication, says Hilary Stout in The New York Times. It's also given parents what may be "the most effective tool in human history to mollify a fussy toddler." Moms and dads are finding that their 1-, 2-, and 3-year-olds can amuse themselves endlessly with this new "Toy of Choice," pressing buttons to see the screen light up, watching videos, or even mastering educational apps. Though the phenomenon can give parents rare moments of peace, some child development specialists worry that handing a toddler an iPhone may be as neglectful as planting him in front of a TV for hours. Are smart phones damaging our babies?


Resist the temptation to hand your kid a phone: As conveniently bewitching as the iPhone is, says Paula Bernstein at Strollerderby, "kids--especially little ones--don't need any more screen time." Letting them get obsessed with gadgets only keeps them from learning how to interact with "the outside world" and don't fall for the notion that kid-targeted apps are automatically educational. "Do toddlers really need an iGo Potty app (sponsored by the company that makes Huggies) that will remind them when it's time to go potty?"

"Why toddlers don't need iPhones"
As always, parental supervision is key: "Every generation has its vices," says Jack Loftus at Gizmodo. The iPhone is one of ours--parents just have to do their job and make sure toddlers don't get carried away. Besides, "touchscreens and ultra-portable communication devices are the inevitable future," so there is no harm in letting little Bethany get used to "the tools she'll be immersed in when she's older."

"Experts worry toddlers are becoming iPhone addicts"
Used correctly, the iPhone can be an educational toy: It's true that iPhones and iPads can be instruments of "boob-tube zombification" if all your kid does is look at videos, says Wilson Rothman at MSNBC. But some "edutainment apps" are worthy additions to an array of traditional toys. If anything, instead of reactionary panic, what parents need is more research. The real question should be: Which iPhone apps do help kids? - As seen in The Week

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Give hours of fun to your digital friends!

The new NetLingo book is a handy guide of every text abbreviation and chat acronym you'll ever need to know!

In time for the holidays, "NetLingo: The List" is a great "gag" gift and conversation starter for your digital friends. 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.

Featured on The Martha Stewart Show, it's easy to order and send to your friends!

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." Order a few copies online and have them mailed 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
* Learn 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
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NetLingo Top 10 Internet Words of 2010


NetLingo.com announces the Top 10 Internet Words of 2010! There has been a huge emphasis on numbers this year so we decided to feature multiple terms within one expression. Listed in no particular order and chosen for their popularity, here are the Top 10 Internet Words of 2010 according to NetLingo.com:

1. leetspeak (1337) - a coded language replacing letters with other keyboard characters
2. 143, 1432, 459, 831 - means I love you
3. 182 - it means I hate you
4. 9, 99, H9, W9 - code to alert another computer user that someone is watching you
5. 53X, 8, CU46, LH6 - it means sex, oral sex, see you for sex, and let’s have sex
6. 10Q - it means thank you
7. LOL - most popular use means "Laughing Out Loud," not as popular is "Lots Of Love"
8. digitally grounded - a modern form of punishment that forbids use of electronic devices
9. cyberbullying - being bullied online by peers became a serious health concern this year
10. zerg - in gaming it is to outnumber the other team, in life it means to gang up on someone

Did you know most of these? If not, it’s time to get with the program! Make one of your New Year's resolutions to learn more lingo and sign up for our Word of the Day newsletters and subscribe to our blog and RSS feeds.
Happy New Year 2011 everyone!
HHTYAY,
Erin

Happy Thanksgiving from cyberspace

Happy Thanksgiving America, are you really going to spend it in front of the boob tube or waste it in cyberspace? Here's a quote by author William Gibson, who coined the term cyberspace, "Cyberspace, not so long ago, was a specific elsewhere, one we visited periodically, peering into it from the familiar physical world. Now cyberspace has everted. Turned itself inside out. Colonized the physical. That makes Google a central and evolving structural unit not only of the architecture of cyberspace but of the world. This is the sort of thing that empires and nation-states did before. Empires and nation-states had their many eyes, certainly, but they didn't consitute a single multiplex eye for the entire human species." - As seen in The Week

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First Engrish, then Euro-English, and now Singlish

In world news, Singapore is urging its people to speak standard English instead of "Singlish," the city-state's unique patois. Singlish, which employs English words in a framework of Chinese grammar, is the one language that Singapore’s ethnic Chinese, Malays, and Tamils share in common, but authorities worry that the dialect is hampering business and tourism. "We need to remain relevant to the world," said government minister Vivian Balakrishnan. She said the government would soon put up posters giving proper English versions of common Singlish phrases. "Got problem call me can," for example, translates as "Please let me know if you need help." See also: Engrish - As seen in The Week

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If you use Verizon, check your bill!

Verizon copped to overcharges and will offer customer refunds. FYI: Verizon announced last month that it would reimburse millions of customers who had overpaid for Internet access, said John Sutter in CNN.com. Verizon blamed a defect in its mobile phone software that “caused at least 15 million customers to be charged data fees, even if they didn’t subscribe to data plans.” Refunds of $2 to $6 will appear in subscribers’ bills in October and November. Consumer activists faulted Verizon for a lengthy delay in correcting the overcharges, which were first reported in 2009. The total amount rebated could reach $90 million. - As seen in The Week

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Did you hear the one about...? And other dumb Facebook stories!

I know many of you use Facebook on a regular basis, in fact the NetLingo blog posts get automatically streamed to the NetLingo Facebook Page so it's a great way to stay informed. Since I regularly write about what NOT to do on social networking sites like Facebook --did you see the "5 Guidelines if You're Gonna Facebook It" post-- there's no excuse for you to make the same crazy mistakes I read about in the news!

Case in point, did you hear about the school board official who posted attacks on homosexuals on his Facebook page? C'mon dude, not only is this bad behavior but it's also downright stupid. Apparently Clint McCance never considered empathy, let alone his digital footprint. The school board member resigned from Midland School District last week after he used his Facebook page to encourage "queers" and "fags" to kill themselves. What? Turns out he wrote a series of posts in response to a campaign called "Wear Purple Day," which was meant to show solidarity with gay youths in the wake of a spate of suicides connected to cyberbullying. I don't even want to reprint what he said, it's that bad. If you're curious, read more here.

And how about the story of the woman who got fired because she posted criticism of her boss on her Facebook page? Even though I empathize with her more than the authorities who fired her, it reminds me of the dooce story and is still a lesson in what NOT to do! Turns out this story could have far reaching implications: The National Labor Relations Board announced last week that it had filed a complaint against an ambulance company for firing a worker after she criticized her boss on her personal Facebook page. Board officials said Dawnmarie Souza, an emergency medical technician in Hartford, Connecticut, was fired after posting sarcastic remarks on Facebook about her supervisor at American Medical Response. The company said Souza had violated a policy barring employees from depicting the company "in any way" on social media sites. Lafe Solomon, the National Labor Relations Board acting general counsel said "Employees have protection under the law to talk to each other about conditions at work." Labor lawyers said the conflict has the makings of a landmark case that may help define the rights of workers in the new frontier of social media.

In other far reaching news, if you're planning on climbing Mount Everest anytime soon, you'll now be able to text us and Facebook your journey all the way to the top. Ncell, a Nepali telecom firm, constructed a new facility allowing climbers of the world's tallest mountain to make cell phone calls, send videos, and access the Internet all the way to 29,035 feet!

Back on the ground, did anyone notice the fact that numerous candidates running for the House and Senate this past election had to contend with old photos, circulated via Facebook or the Internet, that captured them in embarrassing situations? Again I will say, what were they thinking!? Several photos appeared during the campaigns including a man dressing like a Nazi and another simulating sex acts with a toy. ID10T.

Finally, it seems the Wakefield Track and Field team adults don't read NetLingo. The Massachusetts high school handed out shirts with the team's initials, "WTF." School officials said they were unaware of the initials' meaning in online jargon (as in "What The F***")... someone please forward them a clue! Tell them they can subscribe to free NetLingo word of the day, acronym of the day, and blog posts here :-)

How to make time slow down, really!

Looks like I'll be moving to another high-rise! In his theory of relativity, Albert Einstein put forth a very strange idea: Time moves faster or slower depending on how fast you’re moving and the strength of the gravitational field around you. Subsequent experiments proved Einstein right: Time ticks slightly slower on a fast-moving satellite compared with a stationary one, while a clock in the mountains--farther from Earth’s gravitational field--runs faster than one at sea level.

The same weirdness applies at a more intimate scale, but only now have scientists been able to measure it. Using a pair of ultra-precise atomic clocks, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology demonstrated that a clock raised just a foot above the floor ticks marginally slower than the lower one--by a difference of about 90 billionths of a second over 79 years. In a second experiment, they found that a clock moving at as little as 20 mph ticks ever so slightly slower than a nonmoving clock. "People tend to just ignore relativistic effects, but relativistic effects are everywhere," NIST’s James Chin-Wen Chou tells ScienceNews.org. The effects, however, are rather subtle: Over a lifetime, people who live at the top of a skyscraper age about 100 millionths of a second more slowly than people on the ground floor.

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No message is worth dying for :-(

Having spent the summer in a state that has not yet passed any texting laws, let alone hands-free cell phone laws, I came to fear for my life at the hands of multitasking, mini-van soccer moms speeding past me completely unaware. For the good of us all, it’s time for the kind of aggressive police crackdown that was mounted against drunken-driving a generation ago, said Michael Fumento in the Los Angeles Times. “No message is worth dying for.”

“Border collie jill surveying the view from atop sand dune.” Those, said Michael Fumento, were the last words typed into a cell phone by Malibu, Calif., plastic surgeon Frank Ryan, just before he drove his Jeep Wrangler off a cliff in August. May he rest in peace. He was just one of thousands of motorists who’ve lost their lives while typing out messages in recent years, most of whose last words are not known. But we do know, from these tragedies and numerous studies, that texting while driving is far more dangerous than driving while drunk. One study by Car and Driver found that a test driver who was legally drunk took 4 feet farther to come to a full stop when confronted with an emergency; the same driver stopped 36 feet farther when reading an e-mail, and 70 feet when sending a text. Yet few states truly enforce their texting laws or laws banning talking on hand-held phones. - As seen in The Week

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Toasted Skin Syndrome: When Laptops Singe

The latest health scare in the tech world? Your laptop. “Toasted skin syndrome’’ generally disappeared around the time people stopped spending hours huddled close to a potbelly stove. But the syndrome is now cropping up again, in young people who spend hours a day with laptop computers on their legs, says the Associated Press. Toasted skin syndrome is a rare skin condition characterized by “sponge-patterned skin discoloration,” and it’s caused by long-term exposure to heat. Cases are now popping up in the medical literature, including a Virginia law student who toasted her leg while having her laptop propped on her lap six hours a day. The temperature underneath registered 125 degrees. Another case involved a young man who played computer games for hours a day; his left thigh, where he balanced the laptop, turned brown and mottled, while the right did not. The discoloration may be permanent, and researchers say laptop users who won’t give up the habit should at least place a carrying case or other heat shield under their devices. Uh, duh. - As seen in The Week

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Have I taught you nothing about privacy?

If you're a parent, maybe you've already heard about this recent study. I hope so and I hope you've done something about it! For those of you still in the dark, read on... About 92 percent of American babies and toddlers under 2 have their pictures and names posted online (sometimes along with the names of their mothers) on social networking sites such as Facebook, a new study found. Privacy advocates warn that identity thieves may someday exploit this information. Ok everyone, this doesn't mean you can't post pictures of junior to share with your friends and family, it just means you need to take time to learn how to set the privacy settings on your social network of choice so that only the people you know can view the pics. Got it? - As seen in The Week

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Artificial intelligence behind the wheel?

First spotted on the highway almost a year ago, Google is developing a self-driving car. The company’s fleet of self-driving Toyota Priuses have logged a collective 140,000 miles, 1,000 of those with no human intervention, driving the Pacific Coast Highway, Hollywood Boulevard—and even San Francisco’s Lombard Street, reputed to be the most crooked road in the world. Engineers point out that robot cars, unlike humans, don’t drive sleepy, distracted, or drunk. Though years away from mass production, self-driving cars could transform society, Google says, reducing traffic and saving lives. “Can we text twice as much while driving, without the guilt?” said the car’s inventor, Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and a Google engineer. “Yes, we can, if only cars will drive themselves.” - As seen in The Week

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Stop the Ban of Facebook in Egypt


In November, I've got a lot of tech news updates coming your way so read on...! Alarmed by opposition groups using Facebook to network, the Egyptian government has launched a propaganda campaign warning people away from the site. One opposition group, called the April 6 Movement, has used Facebook to organize strikes and pro-democracy rallies. Another group, of more than 100,000, uses Facebook to lobby Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed ElBaradei to run for president. On state-run TV, Mona ElSharkawy, the host of the country’s biggest talk show, has called for a ban on the social networking site. She warned viewers against its “evil,” saying it can be used by foreign intelligence agencies to gather information about Egypt. Within days, an Egyptian Facebook group called “Stop the Ban of Facebook in Egypt” had formed, attracting thousands of members. Makes you appreciate the fact that you live in the land of the free and can use Facebook any time you like! -As seen in The Week

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Face it, technology can be a PITA, even for the pros!

This was too good to pass up. Facebook is back in the news today only this time due to a SNAFU with their new Groups feature. Poor boys, they got a taste of what a PITA technology can be for the rest of us. Here's how it went down, no pun intended...

NAMBLA is an acronym for the completely unsavory North American Man/Boy Love Association. (For South Park fans, it refers to the National Association of Marlon Brando Look-Alikes). This acronym became popular after Facebook launched a new Groups feature and suddenly technology blogger Michael Arrington, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis all found themselves added to a Group called NAMBLA.

Apparently Calacanis quickly fired off an email to Zuckerberg saying that he was troubled to have been added to the Group without being given the opportunity to opt-in. It turns out, the Groups feature lets users automatically add existing friends to Groups, but they can't do this with people they don't know.

So how did Zuckerberg get added to NAMBLA then? That's all down to tech blogger Arrington. "I typed in his name and hit enter,' Arrington wrote on TechCrunch. "He's my Facebook friend, I therefore have the right to add him." Arrington added that "as soon as Zuckerberg unsubscribed I lost the ability to add him to any further Groups at all, another protection against spamming and pranks." A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that Group members can only add their friends to the Group.
Allrighty then,
Erin

Everytime you go online, data miners are tracking your every move!

I've said it before and I'll remind you again, they're watching you! On the Web it's is almost impossible to avoid prying eyes. It's important that you understand how online marketers are monitoring you and what you can do about it. As seen in my favorite magazine The Week, please read on!

How frequently am I followed online?
Constantly. Your computer leaves a unique digital trail every time you visit a website, post a comment on a blog, or add a photo to your Facebook wall. A growing number of companies follow that trail to assemble a profile of you and your affinities. These profiles can contain shocking levels of detail—including your age, income, shopping habits, health problems, sexual proclivities, and ZIP code—right down to the number of rooms in your house and the number of people in your family. Although trackers don’t identify their subjects by name, the data they compile is so extensive that “you can find out who an individual is without it,” says Maneesha Mithal of the Federal Trade Commission.

How does the technology work?
The moment you land on a website, it installs a unique electronic code on your hard drive. Owners of websites originally placed “cookies,” the simplest such codes, on computers for users’ convenience, in order to remember things like the contents of online shopping carts. But a cookie placed by one site can also serve as a tracking device that allows marketers to identify an individual computer and follow its path on every Web visit. It’s like a clerk who sells you a pair of jeans at one store, then trails you around the mall, recording every store you visit and every item of clothing you try on. “Beacons” are super-cookies that record even computer keystrokes and mouse movements, providing another layer of detail. “Flash cookies” are installed when a computer user activates Flash technology, such as a YouTube video, embedded on a site. They can also reinstall cookies that have been removed. Such “persistent cookies,” says Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), make it “virtually impossible for users to go online without being tracked and profiled.”

Who’s doing the spying?
Marketers, advertisers, and those whose businesses depend on them. Most websites install their own cookies and beacons, both to make site navigation easier and to gather user information. (Wikipedia is a rare exception.) But third parties—advertisers and the networks that place online ads, such as Google and iAds—frequently pay site hosts to install their own tracking technology. Beacons are even sometimes planted without the knowledge of the host site. Comcast, for example, installed Flash cookies on computers visiting its website after it accepted Clearspring Technologies’ free software for displaying slide shows. Visitors who clicked on a slide show at Comcast.com wound up loading Clearspring’s Flash cookies onto their hard drives, which Comcast said it had never authorized.

How is personal data used?
It’s collected and sold by companies like Clearspring. Such information can be sold in large chunks—for example, an advertiser might pay $1 for 1,000 profiles of movie lovers—or in customized segments. An apparel retailer might buy access to 18-year-old female fans of the Twilight movie series who reside in the Sunbelt. “We can segment it all the way down to one person,” says Eric Porres of Lotame, which sells these profiles. Advertisers use the profiles to deliver individualized ads that follow users to every site they visit. Julia Preston, a 32-year-old software designer from Austin, recently saw how this works firsthand when she started seeing lots of Web ads for fertility treatments. She had recently researched uterine disorders online. “It’s unnerving,” she says.

Is all this snooping legal?
So far, yes. While an e-commerce site can’t sell to third parties the credit card numbers it acquires in the course of its business, the legality of various tracking technologies—and the sale of the personal profiles that result—has never been tested in court. Privacy advocates say that’s not because there aren’t abundant abuses, but because the law hasn’t kept pace with advancing technology. “The relevant laws,” says Lauren Weinstein of People for Internet Responsibility, an advocacy group, “are generally so weak—if they exist at all—that it’s difficult to file complaints.”

Can you avoid revealing yourself online?
Aside from abandoning the Internet altogether, there’s virtually no way to evade prying eyes. Take the case of Ashley Hayes-Beaty, who learned just how exposed she was when The Wall Street Journal shared what it had learned about her from a data miner. Hayes-Beaty’s computer use identified her as a 26-year-old female Nashville resident who counts The Princess Bride and 50 First Dates among her favorite movies, regularly watches Sex and the City, keeps current on entertainment news, and enjoys taking pop-culture quizzes. That litany, which advertisers can buy for about one-tenth of a cent, constitutes what Hayes-Beaty calls an “eerily precise” consumer profile. “I like to think I have some mystery left to me,” says Hayes-Beaty, “but apparently not.”

How to fight back against data miners
There are ways to minimize your exposure to data miners. One of the most effective is to disrupt profile-building by clearing your computer browser’s cache and deleting all cookies at least once a week. In addition, turning on the “private browsing” feature included in most popular Web browsers will block tracking technologies from installing themselves on your machine. For fees ranging from $9.95 to $10,000, companies like ReputationDefender can remove your personal information from up to 90 percent of commercial websites. But it’s basically impossible to eradicate personal information, such as property records and police files, from government databases. “There’s really no solution now, except abstinence” from the Internet, says Lt. Col. Greg Conti, a computer science professor at West Point. “And if you choose not to use online tools, you’re really not a member of the 21st century.”
Signing off,
Erin

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New to the NetLingo Blog or Facebook page? Welcome!

Hi, my name is Erin and I am the founder of NetLingo.com ;-) If you are new to the NetLingo Facebook page or NetLingo Blog, I want to personally welcome you!

People tell me everyday "it's tough to keep up with all of this new technology!" I tell them "you're not alone!" It used to be that understanding the Internet was only for computer professionals and web design folks. Now you see technology permeating our lives everywhere and you realize that knowing Internet technology and online communication is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity.

Research shows technology continues to proliferate... there's new software, new hardware, new technologies, new websites, new online services, and new lingo created literally every day. If you're a professional who feels like you're on information overload or a parent who wants to keep up with what your kids are talking about, NetLingo can help you!

Why does NetLingo exist? To track new Internet terms and text and chat acronyms. Others can do that but NetLingo is unique because it’s written by a woman using layman’s language, we are the oldest site who specializes in Internet terms, we have the largest list of text and chat acronyms, and we offer a service that is organized to educate, entertain, and empower you.

NetLingo.com has thousands of definitions that explain the online world of business, technology, and communication, including the largest list of text and chat acronyms. We help everyone from students, teachers, parents, and seniors, to gamers, designers, and techies, to bloggers, journalists, and industry professionals worldwide. NetLingo has been the leading Internet dictionary since 1994 helping millions of people each month understand this new jargon.

Below are just a few of the useful, relevant, and reliable features that can help you learn more each month!

  1. Content is King
    The NetLingo Dictionary
    is structured in an easy-to-read layout and filled with easy-to-understand definitions. Compiled by a woman using layman's language, Erin's purpose is to educate, entertain, and empower you about the language used in the online world. All definitions are cross referenced and sorted by Category to give you the big picture. We encourage you to Add Your Own Lingo and Become an Editor.

  2. Word of the Day Emails
    Sign up to receive any or all four of our popular Word of the Day emails. You can get a daily Online Jargon Term, Online Business Term, Technology Term, and the Acronym of the Day. It's an easy way to learn a little bit at a time... Subscribe here!

  3. Feeds and Widgets
    It's a brave new world and NetLingo understands you want your information whenever and wherever you go, that's why we provide content in various Feeds and Widgets. Once you get the hang of it, you'll love it. You can even subscribe to these feeds so they automatically appear on your "My Yahoo" and "iGoogle" pages: Acronym of the Day, Jargon Word of the Day, New and Updated Terms, and Improve Your Internet IQ Blog. Plus, you can friend NetLingo and follow us on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter!

  4. Tips and Tools to Get With The Program
    We also understand the power of search, that's why we created a Toolbar that lives on your browser and a Search and Browse Box that lives on your website or blog. In addition to our popular Pocket Dictionary, NetLingo is loaded with tips to help you easily learn and reference online information, from Country Codes to File Extensions, from Top 50 Lists to Cyber Safety Statistics, NetLingo offers a free Blog and a paid subscription service called Get With The Program for parents and professionals to stay up-to-date on issues that matter.

  5. Books, apps & PDFs
    NetLingo publishes several products including our new book "NetLingo The List: The Largest List of Text & Chat Acronyms" and our "NetLingo iPhone app The List: Text & Chat Acronyms". You can still order the original book "NetLingo The Internet Dictionary" along with a series of NetLingo PDF Guides. We're also proud to offer a wide range of recommended reading books and geek gifts.

At NetLingo, our first commitment is you. We are dedicated to providing you the best Internet information and resources possible in order to empower you and your family to enjoy an active online life. To ensure that we live up to our commitment, we keep our content up-to-date and written in our signature style so everyone can easily understand the most amazing invention of our time: the Internet.

If you have any questions regarding NetLingo, don't hesitate to contact me personally.
See you online!
Erin Jansen
Founder, NetLingo.com

About NetLingo:
NetLingo.com is a definitive guide to Internet culture. In business since 1994, we are a consumer-technology publishing company and provider of personalized Internet information and educational tools. These tools motivate tech-conscious people like you to learn, understand and grow in your knowledge of hardware, software and online technology, business and communication. NetLingo has been featured on national radio and television programs including CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Fox News, Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart Show, and NPR, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, and many more newspapers and magazines.

Hold Everything: NetLingo airs again on The Martha Stewart Show

Erin's appearance on The Martha Stewart Show first aired in April 2010, and aired again July 29, 2010. Below is the link of the show for you to see :-)

Watch NetLingo.com founder Erin Jansen discuss the pros and cons of texting on the Martha Stewart show here!

It is a good thing! With more than 82 million people communicating regularly via text messages, and with limits imposed on the length of texts, these messages can rely heavily on shorthand. So what does it all mean? Erin offered Martha some some basic translation:

* 143: I Love You
* 2moro: Tomorrow
* 2nite: Tonight
* 411: Information
* B4N: Bye for Now
* BITD: Back in the Day
* BFF: Best Friends Forever
* BRB: Be Right Back
* BTW: By the Way
* FTF: Face-to-Face
* IRL: In Real Life
* JK: Just Kidding
* LOL: Lots of Laughs
* NBD: No Big Deal
* NP: No Problem or Nosy Parents
* OMG: Oh My God
* OT: Off Topic
* POV: Point of View
* RT: Real Time
* TMI: Too Much Information
* TTYL: Talk to You Later

Be sure and watch the show by clicking here! You'll learn about "The List" book and iphone app, which you can buy here ;-)
AMBW,
Erin

P.S. Read these NetLingo blog posts here: http://netlingo.blogspot.com. Subscribe to the posts by clicking on Subscribe to RSS Posts and choosing your RSS reader, or subscribe to the NetLingo blog here!

5 Guidelines if you’re gonna "Facebook It"


I can't tell you how many stories I hear from people about the mistakes they make while social networking. Some stories are just funny mishaps, but other mistakes can be quite serious. In an effort to keep it fun but take care of your digital doppelganger at the same time, here are 5 Guidelines if you’re gonna Facebook it:

Rule #1: Don't Ignore Your Privacy Settings
This is crucial. Take a moment and go to Account and then Privacy Settings and read through it so you can choose your privacy settings. For almost everything in your Facebook profile, you can limit access to only your friends, friends of friends, or yourself. You can restrict access to photos (plus birth date, religious views, family information, etc.) or you can give only certain people access to items such as photos. You can even block particular people from seeing certain information. Privacy experts suggest leaving out your contact info, such as phone number and address, since you probably don't want anyone to have access to that information anyway.

Also, if you want to prevent strangers and search engines from accessing your page, go to the Search section of Facebook's privacy controls and select Only Friends for Facebook search results. Be sure the box for public search results isn't checked. Privacy is your right to freedom from unauthorized intrusion, but it's up to you to protect it online!
See also: privacy (including The EFF's Top 12 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy)

Rule #2: Don't Post Too Much Personal Information
According to Consumer Reports and Internet child safety advocates, do not post your child's name in a caption. If someone else does, delete it by clicking on Remove Tag. If your child isn't on Facebook and someone includes his or her name in a caption, ask that person to remove the name.

Don't leave your full birth date in your profile. It's an ideal target for identity thieves, who could use it to obtain more information about you and potentially gain access to your bank or credit card account. If you've already entered a birth date, go to your Profile page and click on the Info tab, then on Edit Information. Under the Basic Information section, choose to show only the month and day. I know, I know, you've already been told this but you'd be surprised how many people don't act on it.
See also: digital footprint, identity crash, identity theft, open the drapes

Rule #3: Don't “Friend” Guys or Girls You’ve Just Met or Just Started Dating
My 40-year-old single friend's story best illustrates this rule... "I met Ken on match.com a few weeks ago and things were going well. It was technically our 3rd date, but this date involved a long day of 4th of July festivities at the beach along with some younger cousins (30ish) from his side of the family. Drinks were had, food eaten, pictures taken all day long. It was funny, too because I kept hearing the 30 somethings exclaim, as they looked and LOL’d at the LCD screen of their digital cameras, "Facebook it!" Since when has "Facebook it" become the new "Google it?" Anyway, other than the Internet being responsible for yet another new verb added to our lingo, I wasn’t much concerned. My 3rd date with Ken had ended after a beautiful display of fireworks over the Pacific Ocean. Was I really starting to like this guy? Hmmmm, kind of, but the verdict was still out.

Monday morning, coffee in hand, it’s back to the grind, but of course not before checking in on Facebook. Sleepily, I read through the various postings and I come to Ken’s, posted 22 min’s ago. He and his cousins had posted AND TAGGED me in every photo taken! EVERY photo was now on MY profile! OMG, how many people had seen these??? I mean, its not that there was anything incriminating in the photos, but I just wasn’t ready for my closest friends and family and business associates to see my personal life. SO up close and personal. I don’t even know if this guy’s gonna be in my life next week, you know!? Not two seconds later, my phone rings and it’s my Italian mother wanting to know every detail. "Who’s she and he? And wow, is that his place? Whose dog?" "Oh you look so happy in the pictures!" "Tuck your tummy in!" After getting rid of her, so I could tend to (not my first) social networking crisis, I promptly began searching my privacy settings, which I really knew nothing about. I just frantically clicked everything off and then called people, "What can you see now? Are they gone???!" After a few tries, I finally found the way to untag all the photos and some courage to bring up my first “talk” with Ken. Ugh, not sure what is worse: online dating or social networking! But the two combined is definitely not for me! In the end, Ken understood my greater need for privacy and understood why I untagged the photos. I am happy to report we are still FB friends but no longer exploring a possible relationship (a mere 3 days later and he told me he "wasn't feelin it," my earlier point exactly). Maybe dating and social networking can co-exist when you put some basic guidelines in place."
See also: online dating, social networking, anti-social networking

Rule #4: Don't Use a Weak Password
According to Consumer Reports and online privacy experts, avoid simple names or words you can find in a dictionary, even with numbers tacked on the end. Instead, mix upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. A password should have at least eight characters. One good technique is to insert numbers or symbols in the middle of a word, such as this variant on the word "houses": hO27usEs!
See also: cryptic password, leetspeak

Rule #5: Don't Permit Your Kids to use Facebook while Unsupervised
Facebook limits its members to ages 13 and over, but children younger than that do use it. If you have a young child or teenager on Facebook, the best way to provide oversight is to become one of their online friends. Use your e-mail address as the contact for their account so that you receive their notifications and monitor their activities. "What they think is nothing can actually be pretty serious," says Charles Pavelites, a supervisory special agent at the Internet Crime Complaint Center. For example, a child who posts the comment "Mom will be home soon, I need to do the dishes" every day at the same time is revealing too much about the parents' regular comings and goings.
See also: facebooking, FBOCD, generation y, screenagers, tween, texting
YAFIYGI,
Erin

The 5 Guidelines if You’re Gonna "Facebook It" is online at http://netlingo.blogspot.com. Subscribe to the posts by clicking on Subscribe to RSS Posts and choosing your RSS reader, or subscribe to it here!

To Be Transparent or To Rebel?

That is the question of the digital age. The following editorial, as seen in The Week by William Falk, help illustrates the point... "Have you ever sent a snarky e-mail you wouldn’t want published? Made a cutting comment, entre nous, about a colleague or boss or friend? Said or written or texted something that could, if known to the world, get you fired or shunned in polite company? For shame! You are not being transparent.

Transparency, you see, has become the ultimate virtue of this digital age; only Luddites, still mired in the 20th century, cling to outmoded notions of privacy. Virtually every week now, some CEO, journalist, or minor celebrity is fired or humiliated because of an e-mail he or she assumed would be seen by one other person, or an off-hand remark that got tweeted. But as the digital media bites the hand that types into it, The New York Observer reports this week, a backlash against total transparency has begun.

When every person armed with a tiny keyboard is a reporter, the digerati are discovering, casual gatherings of friends turn into a minefield. Any bit of candor, any crude joke, any drunken cell phone photo from the bar may be tweeted or blogged or Facebooked to the world, and thus become part of your indelible Web profile. Even in casual conversations, hip young Manhattanites are acting like Supreme Court nominees, “watching what they say with unprecedented vigilance.’’ It makes me grateful to be a Luddite, with no Twitter feed documenting the thoughtless remarks that sometimes come out of my mouth, and no Facebook photo of that night in South Beach when I put an ice bucket over my head. So which will it be: total transparency, or rebellion? Rebel, I say! But please, don’t quote me."

See also: digital doppelganger, digital footprint, drug dump, open the drapes, open your kimono
CYO,
Erin

The Free 411 Info Service by Google


It's called Google 411 and it rocks! If you haven't heard of it yet, you absolutely must try it. Both free and easy... all you do is call 1-800-GOOG-411 (which is 1-800-466-4411), say where you are and the business you're looking for, and it will connect you for free (which means no more 411 info charges on your cell phone ;-) You can also use Google 411 to text in your query and it'll text back what you're looking for. I tried it and ended up using it again and again... now it's programmed into my phone and it's the NetLingo go-to 411 service. Sometimes big paradigm shifts come in small packages. Watch this quick video to learn more!
With the 411,
Erin

The List: Text & Chat Acronyms iPhone app

If you haven't downloaded it yet, now is the time! As seen on The Martha Stewart Show, the new NetLingo iPhone app is here!

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

OMG! Here's Erin on The Martha Stewart Show

At long last, Erin's appearance on The Martha Stewart Show aired in April 2010. They didn't let us know in advance :-( but we got the footage for all to see and they say it will air again :-)

Watch NetLingo.com founder Erin Jansen discuss the pros and cons of texting on the Martha Stewart show here!

It was a good thing! With more than 82 million people communicating regularly via text messages, and with limits imposed on the length of texts, these messages can rely heavily on shorthand. So what does it all mean? Erin offers Martha some some basic translation:

* 143: I Love You
* 2moro: Tomorrow
* 2nite: Tonight
* 411: Information
* B4N: Bye for Now
* BITD: Back in the Day
* BFF: Best Friends Forever
* BRB: Be Right Back
* BTW: By the Way
* FTF: Face-to-Face
* IRL: In Real Life
* JK: Just Kidding
* LOL: Lots of Laughs
* NBD: No Big Deal
* NP: No Problem or Nosy Parents
* OMG: Oh My God
* OT: Off Topic
* POV: Point of View
* RT: Real Time
* TMI: Too Much Information
* TTYL: Talk to You Later

Be sure and watch the show! You'll hear about "The List" book and iphone app, which you can get here ;-)
See you online!
Erin

Chat Roulette: Chat + Video = Obscene

I’ve tracked a lot of online trends but the newest craze to sweep the Internet

is one of the most shocking developments to date. It’s the website Chat Roulette and it instantly pairs strangers from around the world in a “chat and webcam” interface that allows users to talk to, write, see and hear each other.

I’m told the website was not made to be dangerous, but because of its simple nature, it allows anyone (including kids) to easily turn on their webcam and instantly see and talk to strangers. As you might surmise, a majority of the pictures via webcams contain obscene images, including nudity and sexual activity, truly shocking when you consider it is all in real time.

I first discovered Chat Roulette when Fox News ran a story on it and featured NetLingo as the source for parents to stay up-to-date with online language (watch the TV show here!). But it was a friend of mine who accurately brought the obscenity of this service to light.

When she told me the following story, I was stunned and I realized the best way to describe Chat Roulette to you is to tell her first-hand account. Two things should be noted: (1) this story is not for children 12 or under and (2) the narrator is my modern day, 43-year-old best friend who is an artist and not much shocks her, but she is also a parent and when she saw Chat Roulette, she was mortified. “What happened?” I asked. Here’s what she said…

“I went over to my boyfriend’s house and it was the usual scene: his youngest son (Franky, age 16) was at his computer making crazy, weird music while on Facebook, and my boyfriend (Allen, age 48) and his oldest son (Jake, age 19) were hanging around his computer looking at different t-shirt sites because they’re going into an online business together. So it’s the typical post-modern, nuclear family evening where we’re all gathered around the dinner table but everyone is on their computers, and suddenly Jake says to me “have you heard of chat roulette?” I said no and my boyfriend was like “OMG, you’ve got to see this, it’s unreal!” (at which point I got the distinct impression that he had probably looked at it a couple of times himself). So we logged on to chatroulette.com and honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same….

Once you get there you have to create an account and login, so while Jake is doing that, we position ourselves so that he’s sitting in the middle with the laptop, and I’m on one side and Allen’s on the other, so whoever he’s talking to can’t see us but we can see the screen. Bascially when you get there, you land on this page and it’s crudely set up like IM and there’s a video camera, and so he starts by clicking through to the first person. That’s how it works: you click a button and it randomly takes you to someone else who is logged on with their video camera and viewing and being viewed on this site. The first thing I noticed is that most of the people on there are old men! Not only that, but they’re just sitting there, mind numb, staring into the screen, waiting for someone to talk to them. Allen was like “it’s so sad, look at this, these people are sad, it’s pathetic” and we all agreed.

Of course Jake doesn’t want to talk to these men, he wants to talk to girls or other teens, so he keeps shuffling through chat partners, when the next thing I noticed is that along with old men waiting for someone to talk to them, it is also mainly men masturbating. Not only that, these men have positioned themselves to fill up the entire screen! We were literally watching strangers jack off as up close and personal as possible! We couldn’t believe it, we’d scream, and he’d click the button to take us to the next anonymous, random, who knows who, chatter. We must have seen at least 10 masturbators within 10 minutes! :-0

There were also lots of screens that just had pictures or an image in front of the webcam, like a twot-shot, but it wasn’t a person, it was a video that was looped over and over again showing a woman masturbating. We were like WTF? Someone put up a looped video of a vagina? What is the world coming too? It was unreal! And we did see young girls too (not really older women but mainly young girls) naked and half naked. I couldn’t believe how hideous it all was. In addition to being able to see everything, you can also chat with these people by IM, and even talk to them which also means they can hear everything you’re saying. Talk about online privacy gone awry.

Finally Jake stopped on a girl that looked to be about 15 who was a little on the heavy side and basically topless (she had positioned herself so you couldn’t yet see her nipples) and they had a small interaction: she said hi and asked him if he was horny, he said IDK, she said she could hear music in the background, and he typed I can dance, and she said let me see you dance. Of course we’re all ROTFL in the background, and suddenly Jake rips off his shirt and starts dancing, at which point it was the girl who decided to shuffle away from him! Too funny.

Then we landed on a chat screen with these 3 teen guys who were wearing sunglasses, smoking pot, and listening to loud music. So Jake was like “Yo” and they were like “Hey” and then Franky ran and got this weird walking cane that looks like a shrunken voodoo head and everyone was laughing so hard that Allen and I accidentally leaned into the video camera radius and the boys were like “OMG, who’s that old man?” And then clicked away and they were gone.

Here’s the deal: I’m an artist and a parent and not a lot of things shock me, but with this, not only did the people that were on there and what they were doing alarm me, but the complete uncensored access of it filled me with a kind of distress. Granted there’s a disclaimer at the beginning, but despite the warning, all kinds of pornographic and inappropriate behavior is going on. As a parent of a teen, I was horrified to realize that my son could not only be exposed or participating in this, but also abetting other minors in online porn (or pron as the kids say). Those girls were not adults. The only adults on there were the old men, waiting, staring mind numb at the screen probably for hours. It was creepy.

It also scared me because I know what I was like when I was a teen (which was 25 years ago) and if me and my friends would’ve known about this site back then, it would not have been good a good thing, at all. Frankly, we would’ve been exposed to appalling things which at that age can be damaging, and we would’ve ended up in trouble. The fact that kids are so much more modern these days, and have such easy, unrestricted access to such vulgar images is frightening. If ever there’s been a time for you, the parent, to stay informed about exactly this kind of stuff, it is now!” - Special thanks to my friend for sharing her story!

Here are the facts: Chat Roulette started in late 2009 but didn’t gain worldwide attention until early 2010, when several thousand people at any moment could be found on the chat service. It’s for this reason, many parental groups say kids should not be on Chat Roulette at all (or any video chat service for that matter). While the website has a “report this user” feature, there is no way to protect children 100 percent of the time. In addition, to keep them from partaking in any kind of obscene Internet meeting, kids should not be allowed to have computers and webcams in their bedrooms.

The solution is not filters and monitoring software alone, these cannot guarantee your kids will not see obscene content online. Parents must be proactive in personally monitoring Internet usage. And as my friend said, moms and dads need to stay up-to-date so you can have open, educated conversations with your kids about the risks involved when communicating in the online world. That’s why NetLingo offers a subscription service called "Get With The Program" specifically for parents and professionals. Launching next month, June 2010, sign up here to get an update! In the meantime, check out Chat Roulette if you must, but don’t say you haven’t been warned!
HCC batman,
Erin

Erin Jansen is an expert in online communication. She is the founder of NetLingo.com and author of “NetLingo: The Internet Dictionary” and “NetLingo: The List” - the largest collection of text and chat acronyms. Erin writes to educate, entertain and empower people worldwide about the language used in the online world. In addition to updating the online dictionary, she offers several free Word of the Day emails, a blog and a subscription service to help you improve your Internet IQ ;-) Learn more at www.netlingo.com