Good Move, RIM: Warns Users of Spyware

Just saw this story in my feedreader, and thought it worth a mention:    An update downloaded by BlackBerry users of a Middle Eastern wireless provider contained spyware that secretly read and stored text messages and e-mails, Research In Motion confirmed. Etisalat, a cellular service company based in the United…

RIM.gifJust saw this story in my feedreader, and thought it worth a mention:   

An update downloaded by BlackBerry users of a Middle Eastern wireless provider contained spyware that secretly read and stored text messages and e-mails, Research In Motion confirmed. Etisalat, a cellular service company based in the United Arab Emirates, released a firmware upgrade to BlackBerry subscribers on July 8 telling them its installation would improve the device’s performance and was required for continued service.

BlackBerry maker, Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion, said in a statement that it “did not develop this software application and RIM was not involved in any way in the testing, promotion or distribution of this software application.” Etisalat originally issued a press release that referred to the software as an official BlackBerry upgrade…..RIM has since issued its own utility allowing users to uninstall the application.

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OMG! It’s A New Yahoo Homepage

Yahoo has redesigned its homepage, on the same day it announced improved profits (thanks in large part to the painful cost cutting of the past few quarters). Quite directly, Yahoo says "This new launch represents the most significant change to our homepage since the company’s inception." That's quite a statement….

new yahoo.pngYahoo has redesigned its homepage, on the same day it announced improved profits (thanks in large part to the painful cost cutting of the past few quarters). Quite directly, Yahoo says “This new launch represents the most significant change to our homepage since the company’s inception.”

That’s quite a statement. I’ve spent some time on the page, and I’m not sure it lives up to that billing. The big deal, in short, is Yahoo’s promotion of other sites that are not in Yahoo’s immediate family – Facebook, Myspace, and eBay made the permanent list of integrated suggestions – you can get your updates on a customized Yahoo page (no Twitter, sorry) – and the first splash I got suggested – quite randomly – This Old House and a few others.

yahoo celeb.pngThe parts of the home page that are not customized are overwhelmingly LCD (lowest common denominator) – very celebrity focused, for example. What to do? That’s what binds us all, I guess.

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SIGIR This Week

I don't write that much about core geeky search stuff here lately, but I still get a bit excited when I am reminded that once again, ACM's SIGIR is happening. It's always fun to take a look at the agenda and see who is speaking and presenting papers. And taking…

sigir.jpg

I don’t write that much about core geeky search stuff here lately, but I still get a bit excited when I am reminded that once again, ACM’s SIGIR is happening. It’s always fun to take a look at the agenda and see who is speaking and presenting papers. And taking a look at the papers tells us something about what’s up in search, who’s adding value to the academic search community, and on what topics.

Microsoft has a stamp on this show, with, according to Microsoft, nearly 30% of all papers presented at the event.

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Can 20 folks Make Bing? Nah.

Since vacation last week I've been on the road constantly, and unable to find much time to write. But this NYT Op Ed, by Robert Cringely, caught my eye, as it addresses something I've been watching closely for some time – the competition between Microsoft and Google. Clearly the two…

Since vacation last week I’ve been on the road constantly, and unable to find much time to write. But this NYT Op Ed, by Robert Cringely, caught my eye, as it addresses something I’ve been watching closely for some time – the competition between Microsoft and Google. Clearly the two giants are circling each other’s core revenue streams – Google announced a vapor competitor to Windows last week, and Bing is Microsoft’s answer to Google search. (Disclosure: Both companies have sponsored this site in the past, and Bing is sponsoring it now (see BingTweets), and both companies work with FM, my business). google-windows_1439540c.jpg (image credit)

So it makes sense that there’d be a fair amount of speculation on what it all means. But Cringely’s take, validated as it was in the pages of the Times, struck me as worthy of thinking through. In it he argues:

This is all heady stuff and good for lots of press, but in the end none of this is likely to make a real difference for either company or, indeed, for consumers. It’s just noise — a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check.

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Twitter Grows Again

The growth is back, impressive but slower than before, but it's probably quite a relief over at Twitter HQ to see no continuation of the trend from last month. Update: As of this morning, the Compete chart does not show the growth for June yet, so here is a screen…

The growth is back, impressive but slower than before, but it’s probably quite a relief over at Twitter HQ to see no continuation of the trend from last month.

Update: As of this morning, the Compete chart does not show the growth for June yet, so here is a screen shot:

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Vark Goes Twitter

I'm on vacation this week, ostensibly, building a treehouse and taking time off. Hence the light posting schedule. But I've also been tracking Aardvark, the lightweight question answering service that uses your social graph, IM, and email accounts as a channel to intelligently route complicated questions to those who might…

aardvark_twitter.pngI’m on vacation this week, ostensibly, building a treehouse and taking time off. Hence the light posting schedule. But I’ve also been tracking Aardvark, the lightweight question answering service that uses your social graph, IM, and email accounts as a channel to intelligently route complicated questions to those who might best answer them, and as readers know, I’m intrigued.

So when Max Ventilla, Aardvark’s CEO, told me he was finally integrating Twitter, I knew it’d be big news.

As explained on the Vark blog, using the service on Twitter is simple:

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The Year’s Half Over. So How Are My Predictions Tracking?

I like to do this exercise from time to time – asking how my predictions for the year are holding up given six months have passed since I posted them.   Well, let’s see, shall we? 1. We’ll see an end to the recession, taken literally, by Q4 09. I think…

nostraD-tm-3-tm-tm-tm.jpgI like to do this exercise from time to time – asking how my predictions for the year are holding up given six months have passed since I posted them.  

Well, let’s see, shall we?

1. We’ll see an end to the recession, taken literally, by Q4 09.

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Bing Starts to Get Real (Time)

I've been complaining that nearly no search engines surface real time data (for now, that's Twitter, but Facebook is coming soon enough, and there will be tons more). In fact, I complained to Microsoft about this well before the launch of Bing, and then complained some more when Twitter results…

gore bing twitter.pngI’ve been complaining that nearly no search engines surface real time data (for now, that’s Twitter, but Facebook is coming soon enough, and there will be tons more). In fact, I complained to Microsoft about this well before the launch of Bing, and then complained some more when Twitter results were not surfaced in initial beta versions of the service. Man, I’m grumpy lately, eh?

Well, that’s changing. Sort of. From a Bing blog post today:

There has been much discussion of real-time search and the premium on immediacy of data that has been created primarily by Twitter. We’ve been watching this phenomenon with great interest, and listening carefully to what consumers really want in this space. Today we’re unveiling an initial foray into integrating more real time data into our search results, starting with some of the more prominent and prolific Twitterers from a variety of spheres. This includes Tweets from folks from our own search technology and business sphere like Danny Sullivan or Kara Swisher as well as those from spheres of more general consumer appeal like Al Gore or Ryan Seacrest. Starting later today, when you search for these folks names in association with Twitter, you’ll see their latest Tweets come up in real time on Bing’s search results.

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