Three-Quarters of the World's Messages Sent by Mobile

According to TNS Global, 74% of the world's digital messages were sent through a mobile device in January 2009, a 15% increase over the previous year. However, the popular impression created largely by the media, is that text message shorthand is weird. It has been described as alien, foreign and outlandish, and this lingo is viewed so much as a new language that texters have been called bilingual. Parents are concerned because they don't know what their kids are texting. Educators are concerned because text message shorthand is infiltrating schoolwork. Meanwhile, we're all doing it, and most of us love it, especially for short quick messages. Face it, worldwide communication in the future will be done through mobile devices and NetLingo will continue to track the new text terms and how this style of communication impacts our lives. We're here to dissect the pictograms and logograms, the initialisms, and the omitted letters, the shortenings and the acronyms, and even the popular non-standard spellings, so you can make sense of it all. NetLingo adds new acronyms every single day!
See also: texting, text messaging, instant messaging, SMS, leetspeak, acronyms, and the largest list of acronyms & text message shorthand on the Internet.
Be sure to sign up for the Acronym of the Day newsletter (not suitable for all audiences ;-) NetLingo is the talk of the net: You can keep up, just keep coming back!

Sexting: 14 -year-old Girl Arrested for Porn

In a bizarre case in New Jersey, a 14-year-old girl was arrested and charged with child pornography after posting nude photos of herself on her MySpace page. Known as sexting, the case comes as prosecutors nationwide are pursuing cases resulting from tweens sending nude photos to one another over cell phones and e-mail. What happened was The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tipped off a state task force, which alerted the Passaic County Sheriff's Office. The Associated Press then reported "This is a wake-up call to parents" because "she wanted her boyfriend to see these very explicit photos." The girl, whose name has not been released because of her age, has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. She was released to her mother's custody. If convicted of the distribution charge, she would be forced to register with the state as a sex offender under Megan's Law and go to jail.

It's bizarre because at that point the law has been flipped to punish the very people that it was designed to protect, as pointed out on It's controversial because concerned parents and citizens are criticizing the trend of prosecuting teens who send racy text messages or post illicit photos of themselves. They do not want to charge teens under laws that were designed to protect them, including Maureen Kanka, the mother of the girl that inspired Megan's law. "This shouldn't fall under Megan's Law, this girl needs counseling because the only person she exploited was herself." The legal question up for debate is when a teen chooses to exploit him or herself online or on some other platform, can authorities then claim that the teen is committing a crime? Prosecutors in states including Pennsylvania, Connecticut, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin are trying stop it by charging teens a fine who send and receive the pictures because they "knowingly" do so.

Get real. The lesson comes back to where it always leads: family. Parents need to communicate values to their children, engage with them in their lives, and keep tabs on who they're communicating with... there is such a thing as a digital footprint. The challenge is that many teens and tweens are far more technically savvy than their parents, teachers, and even authorities. This is why next month NetLingo is announcing a special series called "Get With the Program" to help bridge the digital generation gap between adults and kids. It will teach parents and educators how to empower kids to use the Internet productively, and it will teach everyone about current Internet trends and technology, highlight the important issues you need to know, and keep you up-to-date on all of the Internet terminology used in our online world.

You can keep up, keep coming back,

Read more here...

I'm Here to Make You Feel Better

Meet Bandit-II a "socially assistive" robot being developed at the University of Southern California. Robots can already perform surgery and track your meds. Now, new models aim to provide therapy and support. Before consumers send their Roombas for repair, they sometimes etch their names on the machines in the hopes of getting their own robots back. Somehow, they grow attached to the squat, disk-shaped sweepers and worry that a new robot will have a different personality. "People are grateful that the Roomba improves their lives, so they reciprocate by giving it attention like they would a pet. Many owners who gave their Roombas names also paint them, dress them in costumes or turn them on to entertain friends.Difficult as it is to design a robot that can assemble a Toyota or handle toxic waste, researchers are working on making machines that can coach, motivate and monitor people with cognitive and physical disabilities -- machines that are "socially assistive." As seen in The Washington Post, read more here...
Film @ 11,

Becoming Web Dead: How to Erase Your Online Identity in 10 Steps

Because what happens in Vegas, stays online.

I've talked to you before about your digital doppelganger and your digital footprint, now it's time to find out how to delete your online identity and personal data if you should so choose. Fortunately there are some practical steps a savvy surfer can take to prevent (and reverse) the "morning after" effects associated with putting TMI on the Web. Here are the 10 steps, click here for the complete explanation on how to be Web dead!
1. Delete What You Can First
2. Use Webpage Removal Request Tools
3. E-mail Webmasters Directly
4. Employ ReputationDefender
5. Hide Your Ass (proxy service)
6. Always Use Pseudonyms
7. Contact
8. RemoveYourName
9. Pull the Old Switch-a-Roo
10. Stay Offline
So there you have it, 10 rays of hope in an online world of ever-increasing threats and decreasing privacy rights. Pass it on.

Privacy and Google

It's not a winning combination. First came the use of Google search engine results as evidence in court to convict a man of murder because they revealed he searched for information on the weapon used to kill his wife. Then came news about Google disclosing the viewing history of everyone who has watched videos on YouTube. Face it, the stuff people look at online can be pretty embarrassing. Next came the revelation that Google's Gmail program scans your email messages to deliver relevant ads. Now privacy advocates are alarmed over Google's new browser Chrome, which gives Google the ability to collect users' Web addresses and therefore track your complete surfing history on the Web.

Privacy is our right to freedom from unauthorized intrusion. People are starting to wonder if the dawn of the Internet era foretells the doom of personal privacy, due to the widespread use of e-mail, cookies, cell phones, and spyware, as well as checkout scanners, electronic tollbooths, closed-circuit surveillance cameras, and other monitoring technologies. For more on privacy, see also: consumer profiling, digital footprint, EPIC, keylogger opt-out, and watch the CNBC documentary "Big Brother, Big Business."

Keep it P&C,

Lessons from the Online Job Front

Checking out job sites? Surfing around looking for possible new career opportunities? Don't become the victim of an online scam in the process! The term phishing first emerged as an email trick in which a legitimate looking message (appearing to be from a respected company such as Citibank, eBay, PayPal, AOL, etc.) says it needs your personal and financial information to update their files; instead it is a false attempt to get your private information to later use for identity theft. Nearly 50% of adult Americans have received these bogus e-mails; I get at least one every day! To see an example and understand how it works, and to learn what you should never do, read this.

Now phishers are on the attack in the online job front. If you're launching an online job hunt for the first time in awhile, be cautious. Most legitimate job-search sites screen postings, but bad listings slip through the cracks. What to watch for? Listings that are vague about the hiring company or position, specifically ads that are pretending to offer a job but are really trying to get you to give up personal information, such as a Social Security number. Even if you think the ad is the real deal, don't hand over your personal information or your credit card. Legitimate jobs don't come with a price tag.


Would you kiss a robot? Your grandkids might!

Robotics expert David Levy, author of Love + Sex with Robots says in five years, people will be having sex with robots and in forty years, full-blown romantic relationships. Apparently the development of artificial intelligence and robots is proceeding so rapidly that "soon it will be possible to produce anatomically correct mechanical partners that are sort of an upgrade to the sex dolls on sale now, complete with sound effects." It will take quite a bit longer for robotic science to progress to the point at which artificial intelligence is capable of holding conversations with humans and forming a reasonable facsimile of a romantic relationship, but Levy says it's inevitable. "You will find robots conversation partners that will talk to you and you will get as much pleasure from it as talking to another human." It may seem grotesque to fall in love with a robot, but Levy says that for people with psychological problems or physical deformities, it could be a huge consolation as there are millions of people in the world who have nobody. Call me old-fashioned but that sounds like a major RTBS. Film at 11.

Lessons Learned from the Online Dating Front

Like many people who use the Internet to communicate with friends and connect with people, I'm continually amazed at how rude and insincere humans sometimes behave when interacting on electronic devices--seemingly because you're not F2F in real life. Take Jennifer, she'd been corresponding with Mr. Online Dating Guy for several weeks and when they finally met, it was clear he lied about his age (she's 41, he said he was 48, he was actually 61). When he asked her the next day --via text-- if he scared her away, she said it concerned her that he lied because she values honesty. Apparently the dude went from gentleman to you-know-what in 0.5 seconds and proceeded to text her a series of nasty messages. The moral? Don't spend too much online time with strangers you want to meet, and certainly don't while away the hours conjuring up future fantasies about your potential love mate until you've actually met IRL! Clearly you want to see if there's chemistry, and you have to find out if they're really telling the truth... otherwise it can turn into a major time suck.
As my friend would say, he's a RTBS.

New NetLingo site is LIVE!!

I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that after 6 months of hard work, my team and I have launched the new and improved NetLingo website! We converted the old Cold Fusion site to a PHP environment, complete with custom CMS and 4 Word of the Day newsletters. PLEASE CHECK IT OUT AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS ;-)

There's several more features on their way, due to be released over the next 2-3 months, including our "Get With The Program" for parents series, our "Add Your Own Lingo" and become a wiki editor initiative, and back by popular demand our "Gifts for Geeks" online store with gadgets and gizmos that are all the rage.

Be sure to Sign Up for any or all of the Newsletters: You can get business terms, technology terms, cyber jargon terms, or the acronym of the day. It's an easy way to learn a little bite size chunck each day!

Congratulations to Chip of ExpertHost (for putting up with me during this trying time) and his team of programmers! I'm so very grateful.


Love in the Age of Texting

It's official, technology is slowly killing romance. And many are ready to hit "delete." Take Natalie, she had a boyfriend who was Mr. Text-o-Rama. He never wanted to talk, but he always wanted to text. A flirtatious text here and there is fine, but a text of more than 100 characters? Overkill. "Good morning" or short texts during the day are fine but receiving one at 7pm asking "How are you?" is a chicken way of saying "I want to talk to you without actually calling." There are some texting rules for dating: Don't flirt too long virtually; if someone doesn't text you back in 24 hours it's not happening; only cowards settle arguments via text, and text breakups don't count. And yes, "I love you" is fine -- but only if you've already said those words in person. Read more here...


Critics are out of touch, what else is new?

Many social critics have blamed the distractions of technology for weakening family ties, but that's simply not true. According to Pew Internet and American Life Project, 47% of adults said the Internet, cell phones, and other handheld devices had actually improved communication within the family; only 11% said they have harmed family cohesion. Face it, the burden is on parents to keep up with technology and communicate about it with your children. Most of the dysfunctions associated with heavy Internet usage, such as online porn, gambling, and identity theft, are committed by adults. In fact, the next edition of the DSM of Mental Disorders will include new mental illnesses such as "Internet Addiction" and "Parental Alienation Syndrome." As the kids would say "Don't be 404, get a clue!" You can start here...

Obama Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages!

The Washington Post reported today that If the Obama campaign represented a sleek, new iPhone kind of future, the first day of the Obama administration looked more like the rotary-dial past.

Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts.

What does that mean in 21st-century terms? No Facebook to communicate with supporters. No outside e-mail log-ins. No instant messaging. Hard adjustments for a staff that helped sweep Obama to power through, among other things, relentless online social networking.

Read the full story here...

Did You Update Your Facebook Yesterday? 1.5 Million Users Did... for Obama!

People are waking up today with new hope!

Adios dubya,

Obama First President with Internet Access

Barack Obama plans to have a laptop on his desk in the Oval Office, making him the first president to have Internet access there. But he'll probably have to give up using email since emails can be hacked into and subpoenaed. Neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush used email during their presidencies (can you imagine!), but unlike Mr. Obama neither of them was a devoted BlackBerry user. One possibility under consideration is that he could continue to receive emails, but not send them. Why? There are 3 main reasons: In addition to the risk of digital communications being hacked into, there is the Presidential Records Act, which could open all presidential emails to public scrutiny, as well as the possibility that the location of a presidential mobile device could be tracked. Kind of makes me appreciate my email after all!

No More Free Jott? Fine. A Company's Got to Make Money!

I like to follow Internet start-ups, especially when they involve subscription services and have the potential to grow into mega-success stories. One company I'm particularly interested in is Jott based in Seattle. They are a voice-to-text service who moved out of beta in August 2008 and added a premium feature for $4/month. According to the company, about 30% of Jott's active users have opted for the premium, no-ads version of the service since then. 30%? In 5 months? Not bad!

What is Jott? People use Jott to send voice-to-text emails and SMS messages, to send Twitter messages, to add calendar items as a personal reminder service, and so on. It's way cool. The way it works is that voice messages are transcribed into text messages via software by, you guessed it, good old-fashioned wetware (as in humans ;-)

The free version of Jott is going to end on February 2, CEO John Pollard told Michael Arrington of The terrible advertising market, he said, means every customer has to pay their own way from now on. Customers will need to pay $4/month to continue the service, the current price for a premium account. This includes users of the Jott iPhone application.

I read today that Jott is also preparing to roll out a new service, voicemail-to-text. Like their competitors (including Spinvox, PhoneTag, GotVoice and others) voice mails will be converted into text messages and sent to the subscriber within a couple of minutes. The application is priced at the same level as their competitors, $10/month for up to 40 messages. Now that sounds a little suspect to me but we'll see as the product launches today. Film at 11!


Reminder to All: Think Before You Hit "Send"

"Plans for Saturday?" That was the subject line of an email I received the other day, and I was excited about the prospect of some fun, until I realized I was not the intended recipient. My colleague had sent it to some family members and mistakenly included me. In this case it was a harmless mistake, but the inadvertent hitting of "Send" is becoming a part of daily life sometimes with more serious consequences.

Surveys have found that the percentage of Americans who've sent embarrassing emails to the wrong person at work has doubled over the past five years to 20%. Embarrassment is the mildest possible consequence, I've read about employees ending up in jail! So next time, before you hit "Send," remind yourself of little r, and count to 5 to save yourself from the dreaded ohnosecond.


Take a Cue and Get a Clue as to Why Text Messages are All the Rage

It is so funny to see the difference between teens and parents when it comes to online communication. I say funny because I'm on the outside looking in (I don't have kids), but I remember when I was a teen, I was a hellion so I'm sure my Mom doesn't think there's anything funny about trying to communicate with an adolescent. I can't imagine her trying to control me if we had the Internet around back then. But I digress, my point is that many parents "hate" texting but I'm here to change your mind. For starters, look at it like this: It's another way to communicate with your child and isn't that what every parents wants? To communicate more with your child?

A friend was explaining that the only way his daughter will "call" him is if he "texts" her. He could call her cell phone and leave message after message and he'll never hear from her, but if he texts her, she'll respond immediately. "Why is that?" he asks me. "Because" I say, "it's easier and quicker for her to punch a few buttons and touch base with you. If she thinks she has to call you, then she feels like she has to spend time talking to you and ultimately answer whatever question you may have at the moment. Basically she doesn't really want to do that. With texting she is in control."

Most teens I talk to think it's cool when their parents finally adopt texting, and in fact, they appreciate it tremendously. Here's the skinny: If you want to have a conversation with a child who still lives at home, do it over dinner, don't expect to do it on the phone or worse yet, via text or email. You simply cannot have a relationship via text, it's meant for short messages, to keep each other posted on what's going on. Just because your tween is texting her fingers off with her BFF Jill, doesn't mean she'll do that with you. She has a different kind of relationship with her peers, respect it, encourage it, but monitor it. Keep in mind that this kind of communication is empowering to youths, and in the end, they are communicating more and more with each other. Again, isn't that what every parents wants? For your child to express him or herself and communicate more?

One startling statistic is that 95% of parents don't recognize the lingo kids use to communicate online. NetLingo is here to help! One way to get a clue is to keep up-to-date with text lingo. Check back to this blog too, I'll be writing MANY posts about text messaging in the future because it remains to be "a gr8 db8."


Wine, Sex and iPhone Logos, It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This!

So this posting is about creating iPhone apps but actually it's an excuse for me to archive this picture for eternity. Being a wine connoisseur I just have to!

It started when my programmer friend and I began laughing hysterically when we saw this image on Tech Crunch. Sure enough, many others saw the Freudian image contained therein, and in fact, the longer you look at it, the naughtier it becomes.

Anyway, I intend to create an iPhone app for NetLingo and so after doing some research, here are a few items of interest to keep in mind. Enjoy!

Experienced iPhone app developers tell me it’s tempting to think that developing a UI for an iPhone is like developing a UI for a computer. But it isn’t. iPhone UI design is much less forgiving than for Mac or Windows. Fortunately, Apple has provided us with a consistant user interface, which we can draw off of and use in our own native apps.

The attention to detail is so important when developing for the iPhone. For example, ever notice the "Back" buttons found in almost every app don't actually say "Back", but instead the title of the previous screen? And what about when it's sliding in and out of screens, the buttons drift away seamlessly? Sure, they could of made them just fade, but they made them drift... The result makes sense to your brain. All just simple things that make using an iPhone so enjoyable and easy.

I'm taking suggestions as to NetLingo iPhone applications, let me hear your thoughts!

Face It: Your Personal Information Is Not Safe, Even From Your Neighbor!

I was shocked to read in the The Washington Post this morning that businesses, governments and educational institutions reported 50 percent more data breaches last year than in 2007, exposing the personal records of at least 35.7 million Americans, according to a nonprofit group that works to prevent identity theft.

Nearly 37 percent of the breaches occurred at businesses, while schools accounted for roughly 20 percent of the reported incidents. The center also found that the percentage of breaches attributed to data theft from current and former employees more than doubled from 7 percent in 2007 to nearly 16 percent in 2008.

They say this may be reflective of the economy and that some of the incidents are the result of employees feeling the pinch from the recession. As companies become more stringent with protecting against hackers, insider theft is becoming more prevalent.

I find this completely unacceptable! What is wrong with these people? Suddenly your next door neighbor is a white collar thief?

But like many things in this world, it feels like it is beyond my control, especially when the largest single cause of data breaches came from human error. Lost or stolen laptops and other removable electronic devices, along with the accidental exposure of consumer data -- such as the inadvertent posting of personal data online -- were named as the cause for more than 35 percent of reported incidents.

One important thing I can do is educate myself and take action so as to not "inadvertently" post personal data online. It is also our duty as citizens to not let government or big corporations take away our privacy rights. We must stay aware, and put pressure on state and federal legislators for regulatory infrastructure to protect privacy.

Here are several resources that have helped me understand how to keep a rap on my ever-increasing digital footprint. Please, I beg of you, WATCH this "big brother" video... then tell your loved ones and children to do the same. You don't want to wake up one morning in the middle of a nightmare do you?


Are you a Freelancer? You're in Good Company Now!

"Laptop nomads" are getting a little less lonely according to Ilana DeBare the San Francisco Chronicle. A movement known as "co-working" gives independent types an alternative to working at home or camping out in cafes. In co-working, a group of freelancers or other solo entrepreneurs shares one big office space with perks that they might not get at home, such as conference rooms espresso machines, and opportunities for socializing. Co-workers can either drop in or rent a dedicated area in spaces ranging from funky industrial lofts to sleeker sites with a more corporate ambiance.

I love it! In Manhattan, for example, In Good Company Workplaces caters to female entrepreneurs, according to to Marci Alboher in The New York Times. The company's menu of offerings reads like a gym membership with an annual fee and various options based on how many hours of desk and meeting-room time the entrepreneur wants to rent each month. A basic membership is $300 a year, though there are extra fees for renting desk space or conference rooms. The idea makes sense according to Nell Merlino (founder of Count Me In, a nonprofit in which Erin of NetLingo is a member), as long as it's not an excuse to socialize. The focus has got to be about growth for your businesses. Check out NetLingo for definitions of these terms and a link to In Good Company Workplaces.