Posts Tagged ‘Internet’

RT @ginatrapani: YouTube now has a vuvuzela button on all videos (the soccer ball icon next to 360p setting). Tx @digitalkitty!

These Companies Gave Away Your Credit Card Number!

Question:

What do the following companies have in common?

1-800-flowers Expedia Intelius Shutterfly
Buy.com fandango MovieTickets.com Travelocity
Classmates.com FTD Orbitz USAirways
ColumbiaHouse Hotwire
Priceline VistaPrint
Confi-Check InQ RedcastsUSA Hotels.com

Answer:

They’ve all made $10 to $30 million by handing over your credit card information!!

In emails released by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation the companies have been receiving customer complaints for years that they were tricked into signing up for a service they didn’t want.  What really boggles my mind is that these major, trusted, companies ever, EVER, thought it was a good idea to hand over credit card and financial information to a third party advertiser! What in the world were these CEO’s thinking?

Unfortunetly, the list above is only of the companies that made over $10 million from this scheme.  Over 450 web companies have participated in these schemes.  Many for 5 years or more.  Avon, Hertz, Pizza Hut, Tier Direct, Victoria’s Secret, and Yahoo all made between $1 and $10 million by handing over your credit card information to a third party advertiser.

Trust on the internet is a difficult thing to gain and now that I know how little regard these companies have for my personal information, how can I trust them?  I have no choice but to boycott their sites.

It pains me because I have used Orbitz to plan many vacations and have purchased many movie tickets on Fandango, as recently as last weekend.  I’ve seen the pop-up ads but have never signed up for the offers, although, I have been tempted once or twice by getting a free movie ticket or discounts on my next hotel stay.  I have already closed any accounts I had with these services and I encourage you to do the same.

To learn more about how this scheme works I have linked to PDFs provided by the U.S. Senate Committee’s investigative committee.

pdf 11.16.09 Exhibits of Staff Report

pdf 11.16.09 STAFF REPORT

pdf Representative Documents Part I

pdf Representative Documents Part II

pdf Representative Documents Part III

Information Week has a good article on the deceptive advertising.  I also would encourage you to check out the official website of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation.

Joomla! vs. WordPress, Why I Made the Switch

wordpress-vs-joomlaA little over three years ago I made the switch from the Nucleus CMS to the Joomla CMS. At the time my main motivations for making the switch were the slowness of the Nucleus development cycle, and my desire to use a system that was easier to update and to make information easier to find.

For the last few years Joomla! has served me well and I have used the framework as the backend for a number of commercial and private websites. At the end of April I decided to launch a new blog site, www.SloArch.com, and started looking for the easiest way to get a blog up and running. My tech mentor Leo Laporte has been touting SquareSpace.com for a few weeks. I checked out their site, which is amazing, but I didn’t like the idea of paying a monthly fee and I wasn’t planning on giving up my web hosting account with SiteGround, so I looked primarily at solutions that I could host myself.

I had taken a look at WordPress three years ago and I decided to take another look (I also checked out Nucleus, still not impressed).

Wow, WordPress has grown up in the last three years. Bottom line, I used WordPress on SloArch.com for a month and new I had to port this site over. So, for the last 5 days, that’s what I’ve been doing.

Okay, this is why you are here, you don’t care about all that history.

Joomla vs. WordPress

1. Post Editing:

This was probably my biggest frustration with Joomla is the lack of an integrated tag system and the ability to add posts to multiple categories. Since the purpose of this site is really to be a blog, tagging and multiple categories have been something I’ve wanted to add for some time.

WordPress also has a great autosave feature as well as keeping a history of past article versions. I havn’t had a need to go back to a previous version, but the autosave feature has saved me a couple times already. With Joomla! I typically edited my text in an external editor because I was afraid of browser crashes, etc. If you don’t edit site content that often or your posts are usually short then this probably isn’t important.

Joomla! and WordPress both have great WYSIWYG editors and Joomla! has a number of editors that you can use.

Winner: WordPress (more…)

Swine Flu H1N1

In watching the coverage of the Swine Flu story over the last week I must admit that I’ve been watching with somewhat of a morbid curiosity. What will happen next? How many people have died? Is this all a bunch of hype? Why didn’t they quarantine Mexico a week ago? These are all questions I’ve had and all the while I have been hovering over a user generated map of the swine flu.

Google mashups are nothing new, but the map below has really captured my attention. Lifehacker reports that the map was created by Niman, who identifies himself as a “Biomedical Research from Pittsburgh” on his/her Google profile. The map has been updated rather regularly and has been fascinating to watch over the past week.

When I first looked at the map there were the cases in Mexico and one in Southern California and one in Texas. When I checked back later there were a few more cases in California and a possible case in New Zeland. Today, the flu has spread to Europe, South America, Israel, Russia, Canada, and many parts of the United States. It’s amazing to see how a virus can travel so quickly in our interconnected world. Frequently I am surprised by how small our world is, and watching this map evolve has really reinforced the point. (more…)

09 F9 11 02 and the death of DRM

Okay, I don’t usually comment on things like this but something really exciting is happening right now on the internet and I have to document it. I just came on line right now and dig.com, the social news website is flooded with the hex number “09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0”. I then look at my Jaiku feeds (an internet presence feed) and see that flooded with the hexadecimal number “09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0”. I even notice that the greatest tech journalist of all time and CheifTWIT Leo Laporte has even posted “09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0” to his Jaiku feed. So what’s going on?

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The Times They Are A-Changin’

In the immortal words of Bob Dylan The Times They Are A-Changin’. I’ve launched a new web site specifically for family members. It is located at www.alatorrefamily.com. From now on personal stories, photographs, genealogical research, and other sensitive items will be posted on this site.

Alatorrefamily.com is a collaborative effort and all family members and friends are encouraged to create an account.

Talatorre.org on the other hand is going to transition into my public front. On this site I will post essays, political writings, restaurant reviews, my resume and portfolio and other professional information. I hope in this way I can protect mine and my families privacy. As time goes on this web site will become more specialized and some information may be moved to the new site.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that these changes will may these pages easier for everyone to use! Merry Christmas!

EDIT June 9th, 2009: Due to lack of interest and support Alatorrefamily.com was taken down earlier this year. It was a fun experiment.

When Spam Bites Back

One of the biggest annoyances in my life and probably in the lives of most people who use email and computers regularly is Spam. Spam comes in all shapes and sizes and is usually sent from businesses seeking your dollar. Another and more frustrating form of Spam is conveyed by your friends and family in the form of chain letters. This form frustrates me more because the mail doesn’t come from some anonymous corporate evil, but comes from those you care about and who have been lured into purveying internet pollutants.

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