‘Tweetups’, ‘unfriend’ added to Oxford English Dictionary

December 30, 2009

The increasing popularity of Internet has led to the inclusion of ‘Tweetups’ and ‘unfriend’ in the Oxford Dictionary.

While ‘Unfriend’ means removing someone as a ‘friend’ on a site such as Facebook, ‘Tweetups’ is used for meetings or other gatherings organised by means of posts on the social networking service Twitter.

Other words in the list compiled by Oxford University Press, come from the economy, fashion, and politics, which include “great recession”, and “Zombie Bank”, a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support.

The past year also saw some of the old words coming into use again due to recent events, reports the Telegraph.

Redact, which means to censor or obscure part of a text for legal or security purposes, has gained prominence due to the parliamentary expenses scandal.

The word “snollygoster”, meaning a shrewd, unprincipled person, has been applied to politicians.

Words of the Year 2009:

Bossnapping – noun: (in France) the prevention of senior managers from leaving company premises for a period of time by their employees, in order to protest about large-scale redundancies and cutbacks

Zombie bank – noun: a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support

Jeggings – plural noun: close-fitting leggings made of fabric that resembles denim in appearance [from jeans + leggings]

Tweetup – noun: a meeting or other gathering organised by means of posts on the social networking service Twitter. [from tweet + up on the pattern of MEETUP]

Staycation – noun: a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions

Simples – exclamation: used to say that something is very easy to achieve [from the ‘compare the meerkat’ TV advert]

Great Recession – noun: term for the current recession, modelled on the Great Depression.

Freemium – noun: a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content

Paywall – noun: a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers

Unfriend/defriend – verb: to remove from one’s ‘friends’ list (e.g. on a social networking website)

Tag cloud – noun: a visual depiction of the word content of a website, or of user-generated tags attached to online content, typically using colour and font size to represent the prominence or frequency of the words or tags depicted.

Slashdot effect – noun: the slowing down or crashing of a small website due to a huge increase in traffic when the website is linked to another, much more popular one.

Snollygoster – noun: a shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician

Redact – verb: censor or obscure (part of a text) for legal or security purposes.

Epigenome – noun: the pattern of chemical switches in all 2000 types of human cell that indexes genetic information. (ANI)

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Gmail Overtakes YahooMail in India

October 14, 2009

According to ViziSense, an online audience measurement and analytics provider platform, Gmail, Google’s free e-mail service is now India’s largest free e-mail service provider with more than 18 million users. Yahoo Mail, which held the top spot until the previous month has now been relegated to the second spot.

Yahoo Mail boasts of 16.8 million unique users and has seen its usage dip 8 percent since August this year. This, coupled with Gmail’s continued growth which averaged 3 percent since August, has ensured that Gmail surpassed the number of Yahoo users in early October. Microsoft’s Windows Live Mail too is seeing a surge in its userbase with it managing a very impressive 8 percent growth in India since August. Rediff Mail is at number three with 6.25 million users.

However, on the global scale, it might be a while till Gmail usurps the throne from Yahoo to be the world’s largest e-mail provider. Besides, it also has another adversary to counter, Windows Live Mail from Microsoft which is right up there at number 2. As seen in a recent ComScore report, Gmail has been growing pretty fast in U.S. as well– and unless Yahoo and Windows Mail don’t do something drastic, Gmail, in its current form, will eclipse the “traditional” webmail providers in the years to come.

Incidentally, it was just last week that Yahoo carried a full front page ad across leading national dailies in India. Was this an attempt to woo its once loyal users who have started migrating to Gmail?


Hacked Hotmail accounts used weak passwords

October 7, 2009

The majority of passwords revealed in the recent Hotmail phishing attack would not have taken much cracking in the first place, according to a researcher at security firm Acunetix.

Bogdan Calin said in a blog post that an analysis of the phishing attack and the hacked accounts revealed that the most common password was ‘123456’.

The details of some 10,000 Windows Live Hotmail accounts were posted online by an anonymous hacker earlier this week, and Calin suspects that it was rather a crude attack that managed to grab just low-hanging passwords.

“My impression is that these passwords have been gathered using phishing kits. Even more, the phishing kit used most probably was badly designed. I think it just returned an error message after grabbing the credentials. I noticed this because some of the passwords are repeated once or twice (sometimes with different capitalisation),” he wrote.

“What most probably happened is that the users didn’t understand what was happening, and they tried to enter the same password again and again, thinking the password was wrong.”

Calin found that the most popular passwords were rather similar, and that the majority were made up of alphanumeric combinations, as opposed to the often recommended letter/number/symbol combinations. Sixty-four accounts used ‘123456’, and the second most common was ‘123456789’ with 18 users.

Forty-two per cent of users stuck with lower case alpha passwords containing only characters from ‘a’ to ‘z’, and 19 per cent used numeric passwords containing only the numbers ‘0’ to ‘9’. Just six per cent used mixed passwords containing letters, numbers and other characters.


Twitter may help shed some extra pounds

October 5, 2009

Here is another reason for you to join Twitter, for slim people worldwide are now posting their healthy food diet on ‘Tweet What

The food chart also gives the calorific value of the food. And because millions around the world see the online food chart, people are “shamed” into following their healthy diet.

Some report to have shed a good measure of flab. Actor Stephen Fry reportedly lost about six stone in six months, using his Twitter page.

Comedian Matt Lucas wrote on his Twitter page: “Have lost half a stone in the last fortnight.”

“Tracking what you eat using technology helps, as most of us are appalling at estimating what we’ve eaten,” the Sun quoted the WeightWatchers as saying.


Symantec Norton 2010 to ride on reputation

October 1, 2009

PC security giant Symantec today released Symantec Norton 2010 and Norton Antivirus 2010 package that features real-time security service and technology that evaluates the reputations of the files and applications running on PC.

The new 2010 products uses extensive online intelligence systems to pro-actively protect the PC and keep users informed of the security and performance.

David Hall, Symantec Regional Product Manager, Asia Pacific, said that the new products leverage a new model of security codenamed Quorum.

“The 2010 products helps to attain unmatched detection of new malware and advanced far beyond traditional signature and behavior-based detection. Since July, thousands of users have been test driving beta versions of the Quorum-enhanced software from the Symantec site.” he added.

With the Quorum technology the software tracks files and applications and dozens of their attributes including their age, download source, digital signature and prevalence. The attributes are then run through several complex algorithms to determine the reputation of a file.

“As a file is distributed across the Internet and these attributes change, Quorum updates the reputation of the file. This reputation is especially important when a file is new, likely to be a threat, and traditional defenses are not likely to detect it,” David explained.

According to Symantec, Norton 2010 installs in about a minute, uses just over 10MB of memory and scans a hard drives and solid state drives in 61 seconds and 31 seconds, respectively.

NIS 2010 comes at a suggested retail price of $69.99 for a three-PC license. Norton AntiVirus 2010 will sell for $39.99 and includes a one-year service subscription. Users with an active subscription can also receive the product updates.


Only 44% Indians have clean hands

September 2, 2009

Indians’ hand-washing habits may not be up to sniffles, but Canadians have the cleanest hands, a hygiene survey.

While 90% of people surveyed in Canada feel that washing hands regularly is good protection against catching flu, only 44% of Indians believe the same, says an international survey, conducted by Global Hygiene Council supported by Dettol, in 2008.

Ideas of hygiene and health vary from country to country, and in India, food also comes into play: 20% of Indians believe that avoiding eating meat can keep the flu away, while other countries, especially Australia and South Africa, do not believe it at all.

The survey – which also covers South Africa, Malaysia, Italy, Great Britian, Australia and USA – revealed some interesting nuggets on people’s perceptions. The questions, on measures to prevent flu and washing hands, were posed to 1,000 respondents.

Cross-country

Even as 58% of people in Italy believe that avoiding public places is another preventive measure to prevent the flu, only 12% of Indians agree. While 71% of Malaysians believe a rubbish bin poses the greatest risk of transmitting germs to a person or child, 16% of Indians think the bin poses the greatest risk, while 44% Indians think the toilet seat is a risk best not taken.

Though 27% of Indians wash their hands for a minute after using the toilet, in Italy, 28% do so. However, 41% of people in South Africa wash their hands after using toilets, but only for five seconds.

Kiddy habits

When it comes to children washing their hands before eating, 79% of Indian kids obediently do so, while only 29% of Australians do, and 80% of Malaysians wash up before eating.

The survey says 45% Indian parents believe in asking their children to wash hands as they come home from school or nursery, to prevent them from picking up germs and becoming ill.

The importance of teaching children good hygiene habits was highlighted by the survey, which revealed that 50% of Indians do not wash their hands after coughing or sneezing, thus pushing up chances of picking up germs from each other. When someone coughs or sneezes, millions of germs can be expelled into the air, so it’s important that children understand the ways to protect themselves and their classmates from illness.

Suggestions

* Leftover food in lunch boxes should be discarded, and the box thoroughly cleaned. Crumbs in school bags can spread salmonella and cause gastrointestinal upsets

* Kids should be taught to clean even hard-to-reach areas like between the fingers, around the nails and even thumbs. They should know that just because they can’t see dirt on their hands, it doesn’t mean there are no germs

* When kids cough or sneeze, they should use tissue and dispose it in a bin. If they don’t have a tissue, teach them to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm rather than into their hands – this way, bacteria and viruses aren’t transferred to their hands, and then on to the surfaces they touch, and on to other children

Top 5 illnesses picked up at school

Common cold
Stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis)
Ear infection
Conjunctivitis
Sore throat

INDIAN SOAP OPERA

12% believe avoiding public places prevents contracting flu
44% wash hands use regular soap
32% prefer anti-bacterial soap
3% use sanitizer
11% only running water


Facebook Gets Friendfeed To Fight Google

August 11, 2009

Earlier today, Facebook successfully acquired FriendFeed service. This is yet another major partnership deal after the recent Microsoft-Yahoo search deal. “

FriendFeed’s 12-employee team will join Facebook family. The four founders of FriendFeed – Paul Buchheit, Bret Taylor, Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh, will take senior positions in Facebook’s Engineering and Product teams. The founders of FriendFeed are all from Google’s development team who handled Gmail and Google Maps.

Currently, the acquisition amount is undisclosed but FriendFeed looks happy with the acquisition and the joy was expressed in a recent post on their blog.

FriendFeed was looked upon as close competitor of Twitter, microblogging service for the same task – sharing information online. However, both services combined don’t have enough users to match up Facebook’s more than 250 million user base. Facebook couldn’t buy Twitter, a service that has seen a tremendous growth since its inception, so, the next close substitute was FriendFeed. Twitter has been facing some problems like the recent worm and DDoS attack, database upscaling issues. People cannot see their tweets older than two days or to a week if they don’t tweet frequently. So having that glittering five figure updates is pointless since you’ll never get to see your first update.

In May, Google was eyeing to acquire Twitter since the search giant was interested to venture into real-time search. However, the indexing of old Twitter updates for real-time search results has been quite an issue lately. If Google buys Twitter then all the search excellence can be used for tweaking Twitter’s search code.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I’ve admired their team for creating such a simple and elegant service for people to share information.” As of now FriendFeed will work as it is and the founders are yet to lay out future plans for integration of both services. Facebook’s FriendFeed acquisition is buzzed as directly challenging Google and leap frogs Twitter. “

FriendFeed service went out cold until they had announced the second version of their API this month. So, now Facebook will make use of ex-Google’s excellence in expanding Facebook platform to the next paradigm: Real-time search. If Google and Twitter is listening to this, they better sit together at least for mutual partnership on Twitter’s search technology.