Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recent Facebook Scams and Annoyances to Watch out for

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I guess FBaction and FBstarter were the start of a trend after all. Since so many Facebook Phishing scams and other nuisances have been popping up lately, I decided it would be best to compile them into one post.

Here is the list of the recent Facebook phishing scams and bogus ads, according to their common names:
  • FBaction - redirects the user to fbaction.net via link in an email or Facebook message
  • FBstarter - redirects the user to fbstarter.com via link in an email or Facebook message
  • Joonias - Facebook message advertises the site joonias.net as a shop
  • Kromked - may include a captcha field that essentially redirects to sabl.ru
Of the above scams, I only actually received the Joonias.net one. It was simply a Facebook message with the word "hello" as the subject. The body contained the following text:
joonias.net - best shop!!
Yep, that's it. I tried going to the site in order to test the severity of the threat, and it looks like it is now just bringing up an "Address not found" error. Considering how fast Facebook addressed the FBaction scam, I wouldn't be surprised if they took action to get these sites shut down just as quickly. Kromked and Joonias appear to be attempts to increase the value of the respective domain names by drawing in hits, while FBaction and FBstarter are blatant attempts to steal sensitive information. Still, it is best to just avoid them in any case (Yeah, I tested them for your safety... I'm just too self-sacrificing right?).

As always, use of common sense and the following general guidelines will keep you and your information safe:

FBstarter: Another Facebook Phishing Scam to Look Out for

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Yesterday, it was the FBaction Facebook phishing scam that caused a great deal of commotion. Today's Facebook phishing scam is known as FBstarter (let's hope this is not the start of a trend here). Similarly to FBaction, Facebook users may receive a message containing a link that directs them to fbstarter.com. This site looks like a normal Facebook login page, but if the user logs in from this page, the login credentials will be sent right to the scammer.

So, here's what to do in order to make sure your information is not exploited:
  • Do not click on any links that contain "fbstarter" or "fbaction" in them
  • Avoid putting any extra sensitive informaiton on your Facebook account, such as credit card numbers
  • Always make sure you are at the official Facebook website page when you are logging in - the URL will simply be http://www.facebook.com/
All in all, as long as you follow these steps and use common sense, you should be fine and will not be affected by this Facebook phishing scam.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gaia Online: Better Teen Hangout than the Mall?

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Online social networks and interaction tools of all kinds have been growing in popularity for a while now (Read: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.). One interesting "online hangout" that has been gaining ground lately is Gaia Online. Consisting of social networking, forums, news, events, gaming, and much more, it is an extremely diverse place to interact with people having tons of different interests.

According to Gaia:
Founded in 2003, Gaia Online is the leading online hangout on the web. More than seven million visitors come to Gaia every month to make friends, play games, watch movies in Gaia Cinemas, Gaia's virtual theaters, and participate in the world's most active online community. Gaia provides a fun, social environment that inspires individuality and creativity. With everything from art contests to discussion forums on poetry, politics, celebrities and more, to fully customizable profiles, digital characters and cars, Gaia is a place where teens can create their own space and express their individual style.
The site also claims to have over 100,000 transactions taking place in the "Gaia economy" each day.

Sounds interesting to you? Head over to Gaia Online for more information and see what you think. The site seems to be mostly geared toward teens, but then again Facebook was only for college students at first ...

Kenneth Lewis Removed as Bank of America Chairman

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Kenneth Lewis has officially been removed as chairman of Bank of America, but will remain on as CEO and President. Even before the results of the final vote from the Bank of America shareholder meeting were announced, Bank of America shares rose 53 cents to $8.68, a 6.5% increase. The move seemed inevitable as Lewis was widely criticized for not making shareholders aware of Merrill Lynch and Co.'s problems immediately after he found out about them. In addition, many did not approve of the merger with Merrill Lynch that took all too little time to finalize.

Walter E. Massey, formerly President of Morehouse College and Director of the National Science Foundation, will take the place of Lewis as Bank of America Chairman.

Make Money Online as a Personal Virtual Assistant

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Some people like desk jobs, and some people don't. If you are looking for some more freedom, or just hate to be away from your spouse and children during the work day, you might want to look a little further into getting a job as a Personal Virtual Assistant (VA).

You might be thinking that it sounds too good to be true, especially after that deceiving Process at Home "opportunity". However, this is actually a legitimate opportunity to pursue. And, there is even potential to earn even more than you might be making already. If you are dependable and do your job well, chances are you will be offered even better positions in the future.

Here are some of the duties a VA could be responsible for:
  • Maintaining public relations with clientele
  • Coordinating and managing events
  • Daily scheduling / keeping track of meetings and appointments
  • Paying bills or document maintenance
  • Other technical, social, or managerial duties
Probably the best way to obtain a position as a Virtual Assistant is to apply for employment with a placement agency. The agency will take your resume into consideration to find the best possible position available for you.

FBaction Facebook Phishing Scam

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It looks like the Facebook stalkers just keep coming up with clever ways to always know what you are doing. An email has been circulating that appears to be an official email from Facebook, although it really isn't. The message contains a link in it that will redirect you to the domain fbaction.net. At that site, you are asked to login to your Facebook account, and it looks like a convincing login page. Of course, it won't log you into your Facebook account though. Instead, your login credentials will go straight to the sly phisher.

Again, it must be a stalker right? After all, I don't think scammers will be able to steal credit card information from a Facebook account ...

Facebook responded quickly to the issue. A Facebook representative said:
We are aware of this phishing domain and have already begun to take action. Specifically, we have passed the domain on to Markmonitor who pushes the domain to the browsers for blacklisting. They will also actively try to disable the site at the server/domain level for people who don’t have updated browsers. Our user operations team has blocked the domain from being shared on Facebook and is removing the content retroactively from any messages. They will also be resetting passwords of senders to remove access from an attacker. We’re also reaching out to the ISPs to get information and will attempt to build a civil and/or criminal case against the owners.
Google also recognizes the site as a phishing site, as you can see in the picture above.

So, don't click any links that contain "fbaction" in them and you'll be fine.

Baskin Robbins Ice Cream for 31 cents!

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It's that time again for the random great deal from the Mobile Mogul Report. This time we have the ice cream chain Baskin Robbins selling any of their 31 flavors for only 31 cents per scoop! Money made will go toward a donation of $100,000 to the National Junior Firefighter Program run by the National Volunteer Fire Council.

This 31 Cent Scoop Night deal will last from 5pm to 10pm tonight, so get over there soon!

Want to find out more about Baskin Robbins promotions? Or just love their ice cream? You can follow Baskin Robbins on Twitter. (You can also follow me on Twitter for all of the latest in tech, with the occasional awesome deal thrown in here and there!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Facebook for BlackBerry Version 1.5 Info!

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Way over a month after MySpace for BlackBerry version was released, Version 1.5 of Facebook for BlackBerry is now here! Some nice improvements include BlackBerry message, calender, and contacts integration right into the app!



Get it straight from AppWorld or go to http://www.blackberry.com/facebook from your BlackBerry browser.

Want some more info before you download? ... Boygeniusreport posted a nice Facebook 1.5 preview.

Enjoy!

Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee for 50 cents!

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Is it okay to make another coffee post? Please? I really do enjoy my coffee. Sorry for the tangent, but it does stick with the random great deals theme. For today only, Dunkin Donuts is selling small size iced coffee for only 50 cents. They are donating 10% of each purchase to Homes for Our Troops, a charitable organization dedicated to helping severely injured veterans.

Obviously only the participating Dunkin Donuts locations will have this offer, but I have never visited one that decided to be an outcast when it comes to things like this.

Craigslist Killer Caught Because of His BlackBerry?

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In addition to armed robbery and kidnapping another person, Philip Markoff, who has come to be known as the "Craigslist killer", was charged yesterday with murdering a woman that he may have contacted using an ad on Craigslist. Markoff allegedly held a 29-year-old woman at gunpoint and robbed her at a Westin Hotel in Boston. He was later accused of murdering 25-year-old Julissa Brisman.

According to the Boston Herald, the online trail that Markoff left is what lead investigators to him. In pictures such as the one shown above, Markoff appears to be using a BlackBerry on-the-go. Being an avid BlackBerry user myself, that grip looks to be indicative of a crackberry addict thumbing away.

Oh yeah, Philip Markoff is a medical student at Boston University ... erhh ... at least he was. Wonderful.

UPDATE: Julissa Brisman was 25 years old, not 26.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Awesome Tax Day Freebies, Discounts, and Gift Cards!

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I couldn't let the day go by without mentioning some of the nice tax day relief being offered today, April 15, 2009. If you still need to do your taxes or file for an extension, check out TaxACT. Many of the tax day relief deals are coming from the food industry, which seems to be turning into an annual tradition.

Here is a list of some of the tax day freebies and discounts:
  • McCormick and Shmick's Seafood Restaurants: $10.40 entree menu (items which normally cost $15 to $20!), plus you receive a $10.40 dinner certicate for use with a future visit
  • P.F. Chang's: 15% off
  • T.G.I. Friday's: Receive $5 Bonus Bites gift cards for food and beverage purchases of $15 to $25 and $10 cards if you spend more than $25. Frequent-customer program members will get double points too.
  • Cinnabon: Free Tax Day Bites (Cassic Bites) from 5 pm to 8 pm
  • Taco Del Mar: Register at the Taco Del Mar website to receive an email containing a coupon for a free tax day taco
  • MaggieMoo's Ice Cream and Treatery: Free single-scoop ice cream servings
  • Chik-fil-A: If you bring back your receipt within 30 days of a purchase made today, you'll get the same items you bought for free
  • Papa John's: Large original crust pizza with up to 3 toppings for only $10.40 (use this coupon code online: 1040)
  • Dunkin Donuts: Free doughnut when you buy any size hot coffee
  • Walgreens: Save 15% on online purchases (use this coupon code: TAXED)
Make sure you take advantage of these deals today ... they won't be valid tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TaxACT: Quick and Easy Way to do Your Taxes Online

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Ok, you might be in a quite a debacle if you don't already know this, but tomorrow, April 15, is the last day to get your taxes all finished up by. Just remembering now? Haven't finished yet? Hit a road block? Not to worry ...

TaxACT is great tool to get done your taxes just in time. You can do everything online; no software is necessary. There are three options to choose from ... one FREE option, or two paid options.

Here are the choices:

FREE Edition

Get All Your Deductions & Credits:

  • New! Deduction Examiner
  • Prepare, print, & efile free
  • For simple & complex returns
  • Price = FREE!
Deluxe

Extra Tax Help & Tools:

  • New! Track & value donated items
  • Powerful tax calculators & reports
  • Complete the FAFSA with ease
  • Price = $9.95
Ultimate

The power of Deluxe + State:

  • Finish your state return in minutes
  • Get state refund fast w/ free efile
  • Free guidance from tax specialists
  • Price = $16.95
If you are beyond all hope of completion by April 15, TaxACT has information on how to file for your free tax extension.

Head over to taxact.com to do your taxes online before it's too late!

World of Warcraft Realm Status Servers Down

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Ok, we'll continue with the tangent today ...

Several World of Warcraft realm status severs are currently down ... 38 of them in fact, as confirmed by Blizzard Entertainment in the WoW forum. Extended maintenance is expected to keep the servers down until 11:00 AM PDT.

Below is a list of the 38 effected servers mentioned:

Antonidas
Anub'arak
Blackwater Raiders
Bladefist
Borean Tundra
Cairne
Cenarion Circle
Cenarius
Darrowmere
Drak'Tharon
Drenden
Echo Isles
Farstriders
Fenris
Garrosh
Hydraxis
Hyjal
Korialstrasz
Lightbringer
Maiev
Misha
Mok'Nathal
Moon Guard
Nazgrel
Nesingwary
Nordrassil
Quel'dorei
Ravenholdt
Rivendare
Shandris
Shu'halo
Sisters of Elune
The Forgotten Coast
Tortheldrin
Uther
Vashj
Winterfhoof
Wyrmrest Accord
Be sure to check the WoW forum for updates on this ... I might not stay off topic long enough to cover it further.

UPDATE: On a happier (and more relevant) note, check realm status easily with your iPhone. Version 2.o of the app, from Digitopolis, can be bought from the App Store for just $0.99.

World of Warcraft Official Patch 3.1 Notes and Confirmed Release Date

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We'll deviate from the normal Mobile Mogul stuff for all of you World of Warcraft fans out there. It is not my specialty, but I know for sure that this one is major. The anticipated 3.1 patch is available today, April 14. This is a completely confirmed date. And, not only is the date confirmed, but the full patch notes are up for your perusing. Although they are of course subject to change before the live version is released, these notes were obtained from the official patch files.

Here is a summary of what changes / additions you can expect from the WoW 3.1 Patch:
  • Dual specs
  • Secrets of Ulduar
  • The Argent Tournament Begins
  • Major Class Changes
  • Swimming Mounts
  • New Inscriptions
Click on over to wowinsider for the full notes on Patch 3.1 for World of Warcraft

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Virus-built Battery Developed, More Efficient Power for Cars and Electronics

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Nickel-cadmium batteries used to be the most efficient way to power electronic devices. Soon, nickel-metal-hydride and lithium-ion ones were developed. Since then, lithium-ion has definitely become the favored option. Now, Researchers from MIT have developed a way to make virus-produced batteries. These batteries are expected to hold their charge even longer than lithium-ion.

The common bacteriophages used can infect bacteria, but are harmless to humans.

The need for more efficient and resilient batteries to power all kinds of tools we used everday just keeps growing. These virus batteries may end up powering hybrid cars, cell phones, laptops, and many other electronics in the future.

Another major benefit this new technology has aside from increased efficiency is that it uses much more environmentally-friendly materials.

SitOrSquat: Find the Best Places for When You Have to Go

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This has to be one of the most uniquely useful tools I have ever seen for anyone on-the-go. Mobile applications were in the works when I first heard about this creative invention. According to their website, SitOrSquat.com was started just as a personal blog that essentially rated public restrooms. It has evolved into a website that allows you to search for toilets in an area you specify. The toilets are rated on a basis of "Sit" (safe to sit down) or "Squat" (better not sit), as well as 1 to 5 stars. Also included in the listings are user comments and reviews, descriptions of the place, features (like high speed hand dryer, baby changing station, personal items vending machines, etc.), and sometimes even a picture! Currently, the service is sponsored by Charmin.

Free mobile applications are now available for both BlackBerry and iPhone. You can search for toilets based on GPS location or address. Toilets found in each search are plotted on a map, courtesy of Google Maps. The BlackBerry version lets you use either Google Maps or BlackBerry Maps.



Great Price on Digital Photo Converter

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Yet another amazing deal is being offered by Woot.com. This time, Woot is selling the Famous Maker 74597 Digital Photo Converter for $59.99, plus $5 for shipping. With digital cameras basically being ubiquitous nowadays, it can be tough to stick to the old 35 mm ways that many have become used to. The Famous Maker Digital Photo Converter makes it easier than ever to go all digital. Buy yourself a nice digital camera and use this converter to convert all of your printed pictures into digital copies. Digital copies can be stored on the computer, viewed, and reprinted without limit.

Here are the features listed by Woot:
  • Quickly and easily converts photographs into digital images, preserve your photos for generations to come
  • Faster and easier than a conventional scanner, this device instantly captures the whole image using a 5 MP CMOS sensor, the same found in digital cameras
  • Share old photos in a new way
  • 1,800 dpi resolution, 10 bits per color channel, automatic exposure control and color balance, clear, accurate digital images are assured
  • Photographs are placed into a tray that slides into the converter; the touch of a button records the image instantly
  • Power and data are transferred though 1 USB port, no additional power adapter required
Keep in mind that exceptionally large pictures won't be compatible. The unit supports photo sizes of 3” x 5”, 4” x 6”, and 5” x 7”.

After you've bought your converter and a digital camera, make printing new digital photos easy by using Snapfish to get you photos delivered to you without having to leave your home. Check out the great deal Snapfish is running this month too!

Don't miss out! Get the Famous Maker 74597 Digital Photo Converter here. ... As we know, Woot.com deals can sell out pretty quickly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Snapfish Digital Photo Printing Sale

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Snapfish is currently running a pretty nice promotion on it's digital photo printing services. For the month of April, you can chose between two great deals.

Here's how it works ...

All you have to do is create a free account with Snapfish, and you'll automatically get 50 free 4" x 6" prints. Then, you can chose from one of the following additional benefits:
  • Save 20% off photocards (coupon code: CARDSAVE20)
  • Save 20% off Snapfish's award-winning photo books (coupon code: BOOK2009)
Keep in mind you do have to use the coupon code as well.

Don't miss out on this deal from Snapfish!

New 2-wheeled "Car" from GM and Segway

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General Motors Corp. and Segway Inc. finally annouced the PUMA today. It's not just another hyprid or electric car; it's a "Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility" (PUMA) vehicle. It has only two wheels and two seats, but will get you around at a whopping 35 MPH. The prototype weights 300 pounds, and can run for 35 miles on one charge of its rechargeable lithium ion battery. Larry Burns, the vice president of research for GM says that the PUMA will not have airbags and will only have safety belts for "comfort purposes" only. Why you ask? Well, it's designed to avoid obstacles like pedestrians and other cars. It definitely seems to be geared mostly toward urban travel, so avoiding obstacles like umm... people... is definitely a plus. It might even be quicker than a regular car if you are usually in heavy traffic areas most of the time anyway (provided you won't be required to stay in the normal lanes ... which would only make it a gas saver and not a time saver).

Is this what GM needs? Maybe, but if they are allowed offroad, then I'm not sure how many of these PUMA's will be able to fit on a sidewalk.

Looks like this could be some competition to Panther Motors' Scoot Coupe 2009. We'll se how this super small 2- or 3-wheeled mini-car trend plays out soon enough.

Neither GM nor Segway disclosed a price for the P.U.M.A. yet, but did reveal that the operating cost would be around one third or less than the average regular car. This includes the purchase price, insurance, maintenance, and fuel.

Cheap Pair of Keyring Breathalyzers!

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You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where someone's ability to drive is "questionable". Prove it to them with this neat little gadget. Test your blood alcohol content (BAC) in a flash with this breathalyzer from Ashley Collection. Woot.com is currently offering the breathalyzers for an awesome price of $9.99 for two! Yep, you can even give one to a a friend or family member to keep with them at all times.

One cool thing about it is that it's FDA approved. Here are the full freatures from Woot's website:
  • Aids in the detection of alcohol intoxication
  • Measures the amount of alcohol on your breath
  • Oxidized semiconductor measures blood alcohol content (BAC) in seconds
  • Blow onto the sensor for at least 3 seconds and it will report if your BAC is low (less than .05%), borderline (.05% to .08%), or legally intoxicated (greater than .08%)
  • Accurate for at least 400 tests or 1 year from the first use
  • LED flashlight finds keyholes in dark parking lots, streets and garages
  • Convenient timer, counting up or down, great to measure time on parking meters and garages
  • Compact breathalyzer is lightweight and sports a keychain for easy transport
  • Operates on 2 AAA batteries (not included)
  • FDA approved
Grab one soon before they sell out! It is certainly cheaper than the AlcoHawk Digital Alcohol Detector Brookstone is selling ...

UPDATE: Wow! ... those sold out quick! Hopefully out of responsibility of course ...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Free WiFi from Optimum Online!

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If you are currently an Optimum Online customer, you can enjoy access to WiFi hotspots completely free! Tons of hotspots are located all throughout the NY, NJ, and CT area. With services like Skype for iPhone and BlackBerry, this could prove to be some great news for Optimum subscribers. As for those on Comcast, many people are still without access to their Comcast webmail ... might be a good time to move to an area covered by Optimum!

All you need to do is login with your Optimum ID and password. Find out if Optimum's free WiFi is available near you!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Watch Free Full-Length Documentaries with SnagFilms

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Enjoy watching documentaries? Well, a website growing in popularity lately will provide you with a perfect place to watch an increasing selection of over 550 documentaries, for FREE! It's called SnagFilms. The vast selection is guaranteed to have something you'll like to watch. In addition, you can actually gather a collection of your favorite documentaries and put them on your website (including Facebook and MySpace!) in your own 'virtual theater'.

Here's a summary of how it works, courtesy of SnagFilms:
  • Find. Whether using our custom search tools, browsing by topic, or tuning into one of the great channels provided by our partners, with a few clicks you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for.
  • Watch. By streaming films worldwide, on-demand, 24x7 and with no software installation or downloading required, we have radically expanded the audience for documentary films. All you need is a decent broadband connection. Just click play, go full-screen, and lean back and enjoy our films.
  • Snag. Widgets let you take your favorite SnagFilms with you wherever you like to go online. Open a virtual movie theater right in your webpage, blog, Facebook or MySpace page, or just about any other place online you can think of.
  • Support. At their best, documentaries don‘t merely entertain us, they engage and inspire us to action. We provide a link for you to a charity related to the topic of each film (many of them selected by the filmmaker) so you can get involved, immediately. And just by embedding our widgets, you’ve donated your pixels and helped support independent film.
The service is technically in beta, but works wonderfully and is available to all. SnagFilms is a great way to watch the kinds of documentraries that interest you the most, and provides a great venue for filmmakers, producers, and distributors to publicize their content. You can submit to SnagFilms by sending an email to submissions@snagfilms.com.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Comcast Email Error Shows System is Down for All Customers

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The weekend has brought some serious issues for users of Comcast's email service. Anyone who tried to log in to their Comcast webmail was greeted with an Error code 400. The code simply means that the network is down, but the underlying problem has proven to not be simple to fix. The company initially said the issue would be resolved by 1:00 PM EST today, but later updated that with a 2:00 PM EST resolution time. As of now Comcast technitions are still trying to identify and correct the server problems.

Frank Eliason, Comcast's Director of Digital Care, has been making great use of Twitter. For those of you who don't know, Twitter is quite a useful tool. It allows you to post small, 140-character updates to people who are following you. You can follow others to get their updates as well (follow me on Twitter here). Eliason has been using Twitter to keep customers updated on Comcast's email problems. His latest update, at about 3:15 PM, stated " I will be responding to everyone. Servers are back but some directories are being restored if you are not back should be momentarily." However, another tweet from Eliason just a few minutes later read, " Just received notice that others that were fixed are being impacted again. I am sorry for this trouble and agree unacceptable." Follow Frank Elison on Twitter here (his username is "comcastcares").

How many of you stuck without access to your Comcast webmail are relying on your BlackBerry's more than ever? I know I would be. Get the best of both worlds by using your BlackBerry for email, as well as to follow comcastcares on Twitter, with a great free Twitter program for BlackBerry: TwitterBerry.

More information the Comcast email problems here. Check back for updates!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Apple iPod Video 30GB Woot Deal

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Woot is currently offering an Apple iPod Video 30GB model for $99.99. It is a refurbished Fifth Generation device, but not a bad deal nonetheless. However, you can probably grab one for a bit cheaper elsewhere. But if you trust Woot.com more than other online retailers out there that have it for less, definitely take advantage of this deal before they sell out!

Skype for iPhone and BlackBerry Release!

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Skype for both iPhone and BlackBerry have finally become official. Tomorrow (Tuesday) will mark the release of the iPhone version, but BlackBerry users will have to wait until May. While there isn't much information yet on the BlackBerry version, quite a few details have been reported on the iPhone app...

Here is a summary of what to expect:
  • Typical iPhone app user interface
  • Free Skype to Skype calls
  • WiFi connection needed for VoIP (won't work over the cellular network)
  • Basic chatting
  • Mute call
  • Hold
  • Speakerphone
  • Sort contacts
  • Set avatar image by a taking photo right in the app, or using your stored photos
  • Accept Conference calls (but can't make them... yet...)
The Skype app will work with the iPod Touch as well, but will require the use of headphones that include a microphone for voice calls. While it is not going to be part of tomorrow's release, hopefully video calling will be a feature added in the near future.

Will currently available services like Fring and Nimbuzz continue to exist after Skype enters the game for two of the most popular smartphones? Well, they better bring some new ideas to
the table if they plan to... Take a look at Google Voice as an example - they really seem to know how to set themselves apart from the competition.

Cnet already has a nice review on Skype for iPhone, as well as some awesome screen shots, so be sure to check it out!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Google Voice Differentiates Itself with Number Portability

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Ever since I found out that GrandCentral, acquired by Google in mid-2007, would soon become something bigger and better, I have been increasingly anxious to see where the project would go. Google's announcement on May 11 of this year only made that anticipation grow when it stated GrandCentral would be replaced by Google Voice. The fact that YouMail has begun charging for many of its relatively more useful features such as voicemail transcription, an alternative service is undoubtedly in demand.

For those who aren't yet familiar with the Google Voice service, let me start by saying that it is only being rolled out to GrandCentral users for the time being. But, it is sure to become available to new users sooner than later. I would venture a guess to say that you'll increase your chances of quickly receiving an invitation if you request an invitation from Google ASAP. Basically, you can sign up and receive a brand new number that you can set to forward calls to any (or all) of your existing numbers.

Here's a rundown of the features that have surfaced:
Now, it looks like Google will most likely allow for number porting - not just from Google Voice, but to the service as well. A common reason to use such services is to not give away your main number to people. However, those who already have a number they are willing to hand out will be able to take advantage of all the other great features Google Voice offers by porting their number into it.

Yep, that's right. It seems like Google Voice is becoming a kind of service provider in itself - with no contracts, no early termination fees, or anything of the sort ... just a whole lot of great features. Keep in mind that while number porting from Google Voice is already supported, porting to it is technically not featured yet officially (no matter how likely). So, if you would like to see this happen, be sure to send the feature request to Google.

Definitely check back for updates on this one!

Disney Content Coming to Hulu?

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It is now a real possibility that Disney television content will be offered by Hulu. Talks about the Hulu and Disney deal are reportedly in progress. Currently, Disney's ABC programming is the likely contender, but other possibilities like ESPN and the Disney Channel could very well be part of the deal.

NBC Universal and News Corp each have a 45% stake in Hulu, with the other 10% owned by Providence Equity Partners. In exchange for its program offerings, The Walt Disney Company could receive a large equity stake in Hulu similar to those of NBC and News Corp.

Will Hulu's range of content be able to stand up against such free internet TV alternatives as ZillionTV and their ZBar? I guess we'll find out soon enough... Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Citizen Eco-Drive Calibre BL9000-08A Great Deal

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ChronoShark is offering a pretty nice deal on the Citizen Eco-Drive Calibre BL9000-08A watch. Citizen's EcoDrive feature allows the watch to virtually never need a new battery. It charges itself using light, and can last up to 9 months in complete darkness after being fully charged.

Here are the full specs:
Case MaterialSolid Silvertone Stainless Steel Case and Caseback
Case Dimensions42mm (1.65") in Diameter, 13.5mm (0.53") Thick
MovementPrecise Citizen Eco-Drive Calibre 9000 Japanese Movement (Charges in Sunlight or Indoors - No Batteries to Change - 270 Day Power Reserve when Fully Charged)
CrystalAnti-Reflective Scratch Resistant Hardened Mineral Crystal
Bezel
Polished Silvertone Stainless Steel Bezel
CrownStainless Steel Push/Pull Crown located at the 3:00 Hour Position, Selector Buttons
DialWhite Multitone Dial with Black Hands and Hour Markers, Date Hand, Multifunction Subdials and Indicators located at the 3:00-4:00-7:00 Hour Positions
Luminous
Luminous Black Hands and Hour Markers
Calendar
Perpetual Calendar Subdial
Multifunctions
Minute Repeater, 2-Mode Alarm, Dual Time Zone Capability
Bracelet/StrapGenuine Black Crocodile Patterned Leather Strap
Clasp Type Push-Button Stainless Steel Safety Deployment Clasp
Water Resistance30 Meters (100 Feet - 3 ATM)
Warranty
5 Year Original Citizen USA Manufacturer's Warranty

At a price of just $119, plus $5 for shipping, you can save over $160. Grab your Citizen Eco-Drive Calibre here before they sell out, and be sure to check out the video on how Eco-Drive works.

If you don't get to the site before they're all gone though, not to worry... ChronoShark has great new watch deals everyday.

Ukrainian Cybercriminals made $10,000 per Day

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Security vendor Finjan conducted a 16-day infiltration of a Ukrainian cybercrime operation, resulting in the shut down of the criminals' servers after being reported to internet service providers. Credit card numbers were obtained from people attempting to purchase illegitimate antivirus and antispyware software, and the criminal operation generated $172,000 in the 16 days alone.

To pull off this clever maneuver, the operation first exploited search engines by injecting a text HTML page into hundreds of websites, mostly those dedicated to news and shopping. The text page contained many commonly misspelled search terms like "Obbama" and "gogle". Popular searches provided by Google Trends were also included. This allowed their sites containing the illegitimate software to be indexed quickly by search engines. When visitors stumbled upon the site, a flashing message indicated to them that they should install antivirus software because their computers were infected with viruses.

Yuval Ben-Itzak, the CTO of Finjan, said 1.8 million web users were successfully redirected to the rogue software website. The ones that were fooled into purchasing the fake software charged $20 to their credit cards to do so.

It is amazing how many people fall for such schemes in the present age. However, there certainly are endless ways to run into trouble and security threats on the information superhighway. My advice is to never click on any internet prompts telling you that your computer is infected with a virus. These prompts are certainly not scanning your computer for vulnerabilities. If they are advertising their software, it might be okay, but they generally wouldn't be as aggressive as the rogue software. In addition, I always think it is best to stick with the more generally well-known intrusion prevention software, and always purchase legitimate copies of them. Symantec (Norton), McAfee, Webroot, BitDefender, Kaspersky, and Spybot are some of the more trusted ones out there. Spybot antispyware is also free, and is a great one to have.

More info about the Ukrainian cybercriminals

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nice Twitter Application for BlackBerry

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Orangatame Software is a relatively new BlackBerry application software development group. Their only creation so far is TwitterBerry, and they are off to a great start. TwitterBerry incorporates many of the functions of Twitter, but uses your BlackBerry's data connection instead of SMS text or Instant Messaging. Although I have unlimited texts, I still prefer the great TwitterBerry interface. It integrates really well with the BlackBerry OS.

The app will save your username and password so that you never have to take the time to login again.

Some of the features include:
  • Send status updates
  • See a list of your updates
  • View a timeline of your friends' tweets
  • View Public Timeline
  • Send Direct Messages, view your Direct Message inbox, view sent messages
  • 'r' Reply and 'd' Direct Message support
  • Displays user icons
  • Picture support through www.TwitPic.com
  • Favorite and Delete tweets from any timeline
  • Configurable Automatic Update (Manual, 1, 5, 10, 30, 60, or 120 minutes)
  • URLs in tweets can be selected and opened in your BlackBerry Browser
  • Auto-Detect Connection Mode, or Manual (BES, BIBS, TCP)
  • FREE!
I use the program myself and have to say I love it (Follow me on Twitter here - you'll get the site updates as well!). It is incredibly user-friendly and reliable. My personal experience has been on a BlackBerry Pearl 8100 and BlackBerry Bold 9000. It doesn't seem to drain the battery any extra either, which is a huge plus.

So, after you have found the perfect Blackberry for you, be sure to download Orangatame's free TwitterBerry app here OTA directly from your BlackBerry Browswer. It is currently in version 0.8.

Nearly any BlackBerry model is supported, but you need to have BlackBerry OS 4.1.0+ (BlackBerry OS 4.2+ for TwitPic support). And if you're not using Twitter yet, start!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Apple Touch Screen Netbook Soon?

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According to the reputable DigiTimes, the Chinese-written Commercial Times reported Taiwanese company Wintek will be making touch panel displays for Apple's new netbook. Although they did not specifically say what, Wintek did admit they are working with Apple to develop new products. In addition, Quanta Computer will actually be the ones to use the displays to make the Apple netbook.

Rumors of an Apple netbook have been circulating on the internet for quite some time now, but it is always nice to have some new information from the companies who will play a role in making the device. Wintek also said that shipments will probably begin in the second half of this year (summer?!), so we'll see soon where this goes. The idea is interesting and could certainly be a mobile media wonderland, but I just can't see myself typing on a giant iPhone touch screen as if it were a laptop. I might end up using only my thumbs...

More info from DigiTimes here
Yes, the image is fake... It's from here

Scans_Daily Shut Down by LiveJournal

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Scans_Daily was a community journal hosted by the popular LiveJournal. The purpose of this online journal/social network was to share excerpts from all kinds of current, past, and vintage comic books. However, many members of the community ended up scanning in a great deal of copyrighted material and posting it through the LiveJournal channel. Of course, this was a clear violation of the website's Terms of Service, and Scans_Daily was suspended. Classic case of copyright infringement in modern times...

More info here

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blockbuster Total Access Policy Change

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Blockbuster's Total Access plans, while being very similar to its top competitor Netflix, did have one key advantage. Just like Netflix, you could sign up for a plan to receive one, two, or three movies at a time by mail. Upon receipt of your returned movie(s), you are sent the next movie(s) from a queue you have set online. However, Blockbuster's Total Access has the advantage of having physical Blockbuster locations. They allowed customers to return movies directly to a Blockbuster store instead of mailing them back. In return, the customer could enjoy a free rental from the store. And, these free rentals were in addition to the mailed movie plan limit.

So, what's changing in the Total Access Policy? Basically two things:
  1. In-store rentals will count toward your Total Acess plan
  2. The in-store rentals will not have return due dates, just like the by-mail movies, and will not be subject to the store rental terms
These terms began affecting select Blockbuster locations last month, and will continue to roll out to the remaining stores over the next few months. Now that Total Access has basically it's awesome differentiating factor, it will be interesting to see how much longer they last. Don't forget, Neflix also offers online streaming of thousands of movies.

More info here, including a snippet from the revised Terms and Conditions

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pimp Your Profile: Better MySpace Customization

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So, there has been a lot of MySpace talk lately regarding customizing profiles. From how to hide your last login, to hiding friends and comments, it is clear that people want to add additional features and functionality to their pages, and really want to make them their own with all kinds of cosmetic touches.

Unfortunately, MySpace is blocking many of the manually-inserted codes. However, as I posted earlier after a few of you pointed out this problem, MySpace's Profile 2.0 adds a number of the features that people were implementing with these codes anyway.

A great way to customize your space is to use Pimp My Profile. Pimp My Profile is a great site that works well with MySpace 2.0 to give you all kinds of options.

Here are some of the features you'll find on Pimp-My-Profile.com:
  • MySpace and MySpace 2.0 Layouts
  • Blogger Templates
  • Friendster Layouts
  • Shadow Text Word Maker
  • Banner Generator
  • Poll Creator
  • Survey Creator
  • hi5 Layouts
  • TheForumSite.com Layouts
  • HTML Editor
  • Pimp Your Phone
  • ... and many more ...
What do you think? Better than inputting codes manually? Anything missing you would like to see?

Process at Home Job As Amazing as it Sounds?

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There has long been a desire by many to work from the comfort of their own homes. When that kind of opportunity is coupled with the prospect of making money quickly and easily on the internet, it seems so good that people often buy right into it before doing the research first. The appeal of such "jobs" is now greater than ever. "Process at Home", by Angel Stevens, is one that has been getting a considerable amount of attention lately.

The description given makes it seem like all one has to do to earn up to $15 per rebate is very simple: process rebates! What does it cost to buy into this deal?: $197. And what do you get when you pay your dues? A list of companies who want you to process rebates for them from wherever you want? Nope; you get instructions to sell products from various companies and offer a rebate to your customers. The rebate then comes out of your commission. Still sound like a great opportunity? It might just be, but it's nothing out of the ordinary, and it's definitely deceptively advertised.

So, what's that rule we often ignore? Yep, that's right: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...

If you still want to take a look at the Process at Home website, it's at processathome.com. But let me warm you, there isn't much there at all. In fact, they now claim to no longer be accepting any new members... I wonder why?...

More info here, and here from someone who actually bought into it, tried it, and returned it for a refund.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Samsung WEP210 Bluetooth Headset $19.99

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Bluetooth headsets can get pretty pricey, but the recently released Samsung WEP210 stands out among the rest. Usually you have to sacrifice a significant number of features if you're going to buy a Bluetooth headset that costs any less than $40 or so. The Samsung WEP210 gives you a great balance between cost and function. Actually, it really doesn't seem to be lacking much at all for around $19.99. It is hands-down the best value I have come across lately.

Here are the highlights:
  • Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity
  • 5.5 hours talk time / 70 hours standby time
  • Weighs only 9 grams
  • Fits in either ear
  • Multi-function button for many operations such as voice dialing, redialing, and rejecting calls
  • Omni-directional microphone picks up the speaker's voice clearly
  • Travel charger and User Manual Included
  • Works with both Samsung and other Bluetooth-enabled phones
You can get one directly from Amazon for 19.99 plus shipping, and will be eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping if you spend over $25.

If the WEP210 will be your only Amazon purchase, your best deal will be from WorldWide Distributors, an Amazon merchant (click this link and scroll down to view the Featured Merchants). They even have a very respectable 98% positive feedback rating, out of 21115 total lifetime ratings, and are currently selling it for $10.31 plus $9.33 for shipping, totaling $19.64 ... not bad huh?

What do you think? Anyone going to order one of these or have one already?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More MySpace Stuff: Hide Friends and Comments

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If hiding your last login wasn't enough privacy for you, here is a way to also hide your friends and comments on MySpace. Just copy the code below and paste it into the "About Me" section of your MySpace page:

<style type="text/css">
.friendSpace {display:none;}
.friendsComments {display:none;}
</style>
Again, this code is the only code you need to accomplish this task. Be on the lookout for other sites which may give you code that includes advertisements. This code does not include any advertisements!