IT CAME FROM UNDER THE BRIDGE: The different species of social media trolls

If you are a regular on the social media scene or frequent forums for subjects such as video games and politics, you may have already encountered a particularly troublesome type of internet user. They like to speak in CAPITAL LETTERS, throw around %^&£” insults and generally behave a nuisance and rile everyone else up. Having a mature, informed and adult conversation with these users is wishful thinking. Make way for the troll. Named for the grotesque monsters living under bridges in Three Billy Goats Gruff and other fairy tales of olde, the internet troll is not likely to eat you but will definitely chew up your self-confidence and online experience if they decide you are next on the menu.

 

In recent years, the act of trolling has become more noticed in the news headlines as social media becomes entrenched in our daily lives. A quick perusal of the comments under any popular YouTube video, for example, will expose you to more swear words and put-downs than any dictionary could ever teach. Filled with verbal bile and hiding behind a (nearly) anonymous screen, internet trolls have become more and more brazen, even targeting famous celebrities, politicians and others in the public eye with vitriol, degrading words and even death threats. Many trolls engage in cyber bullying, usually targeted against the young, which can be just as vicious as bullying in Real Life, but with the more damaging impact that the hurtful words and memes can spread far beyond school or college gates and appear in front of millions of eyes globally.

As the world increasingly is more connected online, trolls have emerged from the darkness in greater numbers, and policymakers are now beginning to sit up and take notice of the problems they cause. In the U.K. several trolls have already fallen foul of the law after engaging in malicious online communications with people they did not like the look of. Legal guidelines have been contemplated that will make extreme trolling punishable by up to two years imprisonment.

Informational website Basic Infos has studied the phenomenon of the internet troll with an almost scientific approach, dividing them into ‘species’ based on their activities. Below are the different types of troll that you need to steer clear of when on the web.

Grammar Corrector Troll: The online grammar Nazi, these trolls are relatively harmless, but can be infuriatingly pedantic. They will call you out on typos in your comments. Some may actually be angels in disguise, simply helping you to improve your spelling, punctuation or factual knowledge, and mean no ill will. The more hellbent ones of this species however, will mock you and often question your intelligence or education, especially in debates or discussions of controversial topics. However even spelling bee champions can fall foul of autocorrect, so the grammar corrector troll may turn out to be a hypocrite.

Headline Reading Troll: These trolls frequent news sites. They generally have low attention spans and will spend more time writing an acerbic comment that actually reading the article they are commenting on. As they have only read as far as the headline, they will start typing up controversy and saying things without knowing the full story. For example, trolls who insult all British Pakistanis based on an article about child sexual attacks where the perpetrator was non-Asian.

Meme Master Troll: This variety tends to be more creative, and employ the viral nature of memes to push forth their twisted opinions. Some of this species who possess a slightly higher IQ and some dexterity will even cook up their own derisory memes. They let these memes do the talking for them and are literal believers in the expression ‘a picture tells a thousand insults’. While offensive at times, some meme masters can be quite hilarious and they have the advantage of adding a bit of pictorial spice to otherwise serious debates.

ITK Troll: To give it its full scientific name, the ‘I Too Know’ troll is smarter than other species, with sometimes encyclopaedic knowledge, or as the Americans say, a ‘smartass’. Unlike other semi-intellectuals however, the ITK troll uses their advanced knowledge of politics, culture, sports or cat pictures to harass and put down other users, especially those considered newbies. These trolls are the online equivalent of that smug smart guy at work or the pub who is a know-it-all and is not afraid to let everyone know it.

Clap Back Troll: These trolls will appear if you make a comment that is the perfect answer or adds weight to a conversation. They will sarcastically agree with you or put you down. The rarest of the species of troll.

Certified Abuser Troll: This species is further subdivided into two sub-species. One of which is in a position of power, i.e. an admin for a Facebook page, but uses their place of authority to pee off other commentators and pick on others while they get high off their clearly abused power. The other breed consists of individuals who will go to extreme lengths to dig up your external links, profiles or older comments and use them to publicly humiliate, attack or counter-argue you with. Basically being beaten with your own e-shoes.

 

Everywhere Troll: Like their microscopic cousin, the dust mite, the everywhere troll is found literally, everywhere.They comment so frequently that they almost become minor celebrities in their little online worlds. Trolling is a full-time career for them, and their experience makes them one of the most dangerous species of troll. The everywhere troll can often be found doing their 9-5 across a range of social media. Despite their dedication to their hobby, most everywhere trolls are unemployed or unemployable, which gives them plenty of free time to go cause some trouble.

Researcher Troll: Another of the more intellectual groupings of troll, the researcher is a whizz at Google, Bing and company. They will claim your comment is wrong, inaccurate or downright stupid and will trawl the web, returning within a few minutes or hours with a link or image aiming to disprove you. Like the Grammar Corrector troll, this species can be beneficial and can teach you a few things but the more malicious specimens will use their new-found facts to crap all over you in front of other participants. Like the ITK troll, the researchers tend to be more intelligent than the average troll, but still an annoyance.

Capital Letter-Loving Troll: LIKES TO TALK LIKE THIS. They may be a victim of a broken Caps Lock key, but more likely, this heavily opinionated variant feels the need to SHOUT their comment or opinion so everyone can feed their insatiable need to be NOTICED. Tend to be quite argumentative and thinks they know everything. Keep calm and ignore. My own addition to this list.

Cyberbully: My second addition to this list, the cyberbully is the breed that would be on the Dangerous Dogs List if you could keep trolls as pets. By far the most pathetic, lowdown and twisted of the various troll species, the cyberbully’s activities make the deeds of all other trolls pale into insignificance in comparison. This troll, sadly a common species, will insult you, demean you, degrade you into the ground and even leave their laptop and make a physical appearance if pushed far enough. These trolls are the ones who are headline gold for news editors. These pointless individuals have caused the most damage to the web experience. Unlike most trolls, which you can safely ignore, the cyberbully needs to be fumigated with a phone call to your local police service or cyberbullying hotline.

Remember folks, trolls are energised by the oxygen of publicity, and if you don’t feed the troll, it will go find some other bridge to play under. Most trolls just want an audience and to provoke a response from you, and most will eventually get the chop once the website owner closes their account or permabans their sorry behinds. If the troll takes it too far, you have witnesses and proof to report them. Don’t get trolled, Rick roll them back. The report link is your best friend. When encountering whichever species of troll behaving badly, the best thing is to ignore them, as it is the perfect troll repellent.

SOURCES:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

Ramat Lami‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Ramat_Lami

“SEE THE DIFFERENT KIND OF TROLLS YOU FIND ON SOCIAL MEDIA THESE DAYS” – Basic Infos/BasicInfosNG [ GAE Enterprise Ltd.] https://www.basicinfos.com/trolls-you-find-on-social-media/

IMAGE CREDITS:

“Troll” – Doug Wildman, Flickr (4 May 2006) https://www.flickr.com/photos/34585748@N00/321902708

“File:Man uses laptop (1).jpg” – Bill Branson & National Cancer Institute, Wikimedia Commons (June 2004) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Man_uses_laptop_(1).jpg

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GOOGLE SEO: What are the SEO trends in 2017?

London, UNITED KINGDOM
MEHFUZ HUSSAIN (writer) with VIJAY SHAH (editor)

 

This article was written by Mehfuz Hussain, a digital marketing specialist based in London with expertise in online marketing concepts and Google Analytics.

Search Engine Optimisation has seen many changes in 2016 thanks to Google. From the launch of its ambitious AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project in February 2016, Google has shaken up the way traditional SEO worked. Understandably, Google knows well that the best way to dominate the industry is to be aware of how search engines are changing, and strategising SEO and content techniques accordingly. The world of SEO continues to evolve at high speed. While some SEO techniques have been a staple for several years, there will be many new ones that you will have to pay attention to. Here are some of the game-changing trends to help you stay ahead this year.

 

Photo credit: BigOakInc.com

 

1. Mobile-first Approach by Businesses

With ongoing improvements in the mobile computing field, browsing on mobiles has become equivalent to desktop browsing if not more In many countries, mobile browsing is more popular and dominant than via traditional desktops and laptops. In the last few years, the plethora of new smartphones with internet capabilities has changed the way search engine look at them. Remember Mobilegeddon?

A few months ago, Google said, “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.” This influenced their latest search algorithm which prioritised ‘responsive’ websites at the cost of older, mobile-unfriendly sites.

So, in 2017, your top priority is to separate your desktop and mobile measurement plans to account for the fundamental differences between mobile and desktop behaviour.

 

2. Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Google Rank Brain

There is no doubt, Google’s main focus in 2017 is on Artificial Intelligence. If you followed the Google I/O event 2016, most announcements were related to AI. Google also said that the speech recognition errors have reduced from 25 to 8 percent. It’s been officially named Google’s third-most important ranking factor. Voice search will grow even more in 2017, with better voice recognition and understanding.

 

3. Infographics

Infographics make complex information eye-catching, shareable and easily digestible. An image coupled with information tends to stay in the minds of readers. Such content generates more social shares and also generates leads. Of course, your content should also be suitable enough to add Infographics to it, and they can really make it pop.

 

4. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) takes centre stage

A great way to ensure better user experience is switching over to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). More brands are using this option as Google also has begun to favour the use of AMP. It contains three sections – AMP HTML, AMP JS, and Google AMP Cache. Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) allows websites to make pages equipped for loading right away onto mobile screens. Interestingly, sites that have switched over to AMP are given more visibility with a special icon in Google searches.

 

 

5. Branding gets personal

There is no denying the power of personal branding. If used strategically, it can be a powerful tool in ensuring the success of SEO campaigns. Even social media platforms like Facebook refine their algorithms to favour individual posts over branded posts. Also, once you have a personal brand in place, it gets much easier to boost user trust and engagement. This, in turn, will up the traffic to your site.

 

6. HTTPS Everywhere

Google has inducted https as a ranking factor in its algorithm. Since then many companies hurriedly made the transition from HTTP to HTTPS in order to protect their own and their users’ privacy. It helps even more if there is money transactions happening on the website (e-commerce) and gives consumers extra confidence about their privacy. Let’s expect more websites switching to HTTPS than ever before in the history of the Web.

 

7. Focus on Content Curation

Though many people do not realise it, content marketing and SEO needs to work together for better results and visibility. Include all types of content in the mix: press releases and newsletters as well as articles and blog posts. A good content mix will help you increase backlinks on authority websites and establish you as an expert in your field. This strategy will help you boost your business to the top of Google’s SERPs.

 

2017 will see a massive hike in Internet usage. People are more concerned about the content they read. Now is the right time to prepare a well-developed strategy to survive in the market and beat the competition. As an SEO marketer, you have to be prepared for changes. Keep an close eye on SEO trends in 2017. All the best everyone!

 

IMAGE CREDITS:
“Google SEO Magnifying Glass” – BigOakFlickr, Flickr (1 July 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/31682982@N03/27940989741
“Free illustration: Seo, Web Page, Responsive – Free Image on Pixabay – 2016484” – Templune, pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/seo-web-page-responsive-web-design-2016484/

BRAIN MATTERS 2015: Online conference to explore the neuroscience of genius coming this November

If you have ever wondered what made the minds of the world’s most intelligent people tick, and what really goes on underneath of the bonnets of famous geniuses such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, a new online conference will aim to help you unravel the mysteries of superintelligence this November. The new conference, which will come with a unique ‘brain training library’ will also enable people to tap into their own hidden geniuses and steal the march on the science boffin that scored all the high grades back in school.

The Brain Matters 2015 conference, staged in the United States but held internationally via the net, will help attendees explore the inner workings of the mind and how neuroscience can explain the way we think, theorise and understand our worlds. It is being held in honour of the 100th anniversary of the General Theory of Relativity, formulated by accomplished scientist Albert Einstein.

(c) LearningToGo/Eventbrite

Brain Matters will help explore the nature of genius through the lens of neuroscience. It will also answer pertinent questions such as whether there is anything unique about the brains of geniuses, and how people can train their brains to acquire this special status of genius. Attendees will come away from the conference with a better understanding of how their own brain works and armed with practical tips on how to unleash your brain’s hidden potential, especially noteworthy considering that we are said to use only 10 per cent of our entire brainpower.

The Brain Matters 2015 conference will be run in the form of an interactive webinar which promises to go beyond the PC screen and immerse attendees in a full-on ‘virtual experience’, organisers say. People who sign on to the webinar conference will be able to post questions and comments, watch videos, collaborate on a scientific whiteboard and join in the Brain Matters discussions via Twitter. Alongside the conference itself, there will also be an informative lounge set up for attendees to relax, network and casually browse the related online bookstore. There will also be a sideline Virtual Expo, offering the chance to interact with event speakers and learn more about their products and services.

Speakers at Brain Matters will include Marshall Goldsmith, an inspirational thought leader and executive coach, who has recently published the mind-training bestseller “Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to BeAs keynote speaker, Goldsmith will be joined by Trudi Baldwin (Drake), a learning, performance and organisational effectiveness manager with several top US companies; Jay Cross, a pioneer of e-learning; Dr. Laura Beavin Haider, research and development manager at the Ipsos Neuro and Behavioral Science Center in Culver City, California and Donna Pangburn, educational consultant and president of Time to Teach, among many other speakers from the worlds of neuroscience, thinking and learning.

The Brain Matters conference and associated events are being organised by LearningToGo in association with Digi-Quest.com, a mind empowerment and training organisation. Registrations are currently being taken at this link and tickets cost only USD $147 (GBP £95.28), excluding booking fees, and there are a limited batch of 500 tickets left. The event runs from 9:00 am (United States MST) on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 to 12:00 pm on Wednesday, November 11.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Christina Lattimer, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/pdiscoveryuk
“BRAIN MATTERS 2015 CONFERENCE:” – Margie Meacham, LearningToGo via The People Development Network http://peopledevelopmentmagazine.com/blog/event/brain-matters-2015-conference/#utm_sguid=144546,cd636388-2cf1-50f0-737d-e3fa713147c6
“Brain Matters 2015 Conference: Speakers” – Margie Meacham, LearningToGo http://learningtogo.info/conference/brain-matters-2015-conference-speakers/
“Brain Matters 2015: Exploring the Nature of Genius” – LearningToGo via EventBrite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/brain-matters-2015-exploring-the-nature-of-genius-tickets-16639768997?ref=estw
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Brain Matters 2015: Exploring the Nature of Genius” – LearningToGo via EventBrite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/brain-matters-2015-exploring-the-nature-of-genius-tickets-16639768997?ref=estw

XBOX AVATARS: Change them with just your mobile phone

Owners of Microsoft Xbox consoles can now change their avatars (display pictures) while on the go with the help of their mobile phones. Mobile phone technology website phoneArena.com reported today that users of the popular console, second only in sales to Sony’s Playstation range, will be able to use a Windows 10 equipped mobile phone and a new app, Xbox Avatar App to change their avatar ‘on the fly’.

The avatar configuration for now only applies to phone users who download the Technical Preview of Windows 10 Mobile on their calling devices. With that in place, they can easily download Xbox Avatar and remotely change their gameface. The app however is a big one, the website warns. Weighing in at nearly 147 megabytes, the app will take up a lot of space.

Xbox Avatar will enable users to create or change avatars for their Xbox online lives, including changing clothes, accessories and features. The app also bridges the virtual with the real by allowing users to take a ‘selfie’ of themselves with their avatar and then save the image to another device. The app leads on from Microsoft’s development in April of this year where a similar app was rolled out for PC users only.

Snapshots of Xbox Avatar in action can be seen on the phoneArena.com report listed in the Sources section of this article.

SOURCES:
Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind
Phone Crazy, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/phone_crazy
“Xbox users will be able to change their avatar on the fly by using a Windows 10 Mobile phone and this app” – Alan F., phoneArena.com – Home – News (12 July 2015) http://www.phonearena.com/news/Xbox-users-will-be-able-to-change-their-avatar-on-the-fly-by-using-a-Windows-10-Mobile-phone-and-this-app_id71436?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Image via Zemanta.

TWITTER WEED WHACKERS: Solving the bot crisis with SM Cadman

If you’re a Twitter user like me, you’ll know that the social media network with the cute blue bird is full of great advantages. A cool interface, brevity of messages, lots of photos and now videos to comb through, and the level of interaction with other users is second to none. You can keep updated on things that matter to you, whether your favourite sports teams, celebrities, artists, politicians etc. as well as your family and friends closer to home. And of course block or mute anyone who does your head in.

But nothing is perfect in life. Not even Twitter. Aside from the occasional and mildly annoying drunken tweet or unsolicited direct message (DM) ….not withstanding the recent controversies surrounding racist and sexist trolls abusing people on Twitter…there is also the scourge of bots. Fake accounts with dodgy names and quotes clearly slurped off a website somewhere, gift-wrapped with a stolen display picture (usually some random meme or woman), or that God-forsaken egg that usually is served up as default, sadly not with some sausages or bacon as well.

These bad eggs are the bane of the Twitterati. Although the admin behind the site are very good at obliterating most of the fake followers, new ones take their place with the speed and intensity of mushrooms on the forest floor after a long rainy spell. Talk about putting too many eggs in one basket.

(c) P. Morris/SearchMuse

According to a filing made by Twitter with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2014, it is believed that bots and spam bots account for 14% of Twitter’s active user base. That is around 23 million accounts out of the 271 active users on there. Many of these bots are programmed to retweet garbage or clickbait articles. Not all bots are bad, indeed some are fun (such as the Wiener Schnitzel bot that retweets you every time you mention that phrase) but there are concerns that some may be a gateway for hackers or data miners. Other bots are created to boost up follower numbers in that never ending popularity contest of ‘Who has the most followers?’. There are some companies that will for a small fee get fake accounts to follow your every move and tweet, and inflate not only your follower count but also presumably your ego as well. They do a relatively roaring trade despite Twitter rules of usage prohibiting tweeters from enlisting the services of such ‘follower farms’.

No-one, and I mean no-one is safe from the attention of the bots. Not even celebrities or politicians. United States presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton is said to have once had 2 million fake or inactive followers and that only 44% of her followers are real, living, breathing people. She has also been accused of plumping up her 3 million follower figures with fake accounts, according to British newspaper The Daily Mail. Over here in the UK, former Member of Parliament Louise Mensch found herself in a bit of bother after a Twitter statistics and auditing website determined that 97% of her followers are counterfeits. Several other ministers and low-level politicians in her party, the Conservatives, also found their accounts’ popularity called into question amid flying accusations of wholesale fake follower shopping to boost party morale.

Personally I’ve seen more than my fair share of bots and dodgy Tweeters. On both my individual and blog accounts, I often receive up to five add requests from suspicious looking accounts. They are either accounts with Russian names and bios written in the Cyrillic alphabet or English language accounts with really strange names combining different ethnic origins. For example, recently I’ve been befriended by a Yuriko Dille, a Manika Boag, a Eustachius Knowler… other with half Arab or Indian or Japanese names affixed to Anglo-Saxon, Scottish or German surnames. They must shred up phone directories and randomly piece the names together like some sort of hellish Yellow Pages puzzle.

You can usually pick them off because their feeds are full of spammy retweets and their bio is some sort of quote. Other bots have nonsensical handles like @fnerit_elephantfartunicorn which is one of the main things I look out for when evading bots and fake accounts.

Last weekend I was having a Twitter conversation with a fellow blogger and keen writer, SD Cadman (a.k.a Sarika and Luna Elektra). Since we met on WordPress, we often have little chats of 140 characters or less, but this time there was a serious topic on hand. The conversation was inspired by an article I posted on @halfeatenmind about obtaining quality followers rather than just breaking numbers. We then got talking about fake followers, and how Sarika mentioned that they may well be bots sniffing out data for possibly nefarious purposes. We agreed that the worst bots were, in Sarika’s words, those that “act bloody human” or the “nonsense Factoid accounts”. We joked that we needed a weed whacker (a nice sharp blade) to remove these bots from Twitter like those pesky dandelions that never seem to give up sprouting over your smart well-manicured lawn.

Here’s a GIF she sent me to illustrate the frustration with these meddling dregs of AI….

(c) Tumblr via Giphy

 

In a nutshell, what Sarika proposed is that Twitter should have some kind of ‘Weed Whacker Award’ for the person who culls the most bots. That can mean ignoring them when they coming knocking at your account’s door, reporting them to Twitter, but most importantly of all, not adding them, as that gives them legitimacy and access to your followers list. Twitter does often undertake regular purges of fake followers, exterminating them like the filthy rats they are, but new ones keep cropping up. The winner of the bot wipeout can receive a certificate in the post or possibly a badge to go on their header or sidebar et cetera on Twitter. A sort of virtual Neighbourhood Watch against the fraudulent and fake. This would be a bit of fun, but also encourage people to look out for each other and protect against malicious hackers and other cyber-criminals and general online trouble makers.

Inspired by Sarika (SM Cadman), I’d thought I’d come up with a couple of designs for a ‘Weed Whacker Award’ badge if Twitter did such badges. If Dick Costolo, the Twitter CEO, is reading this, you can hire me and Sarika as your ‘creative consultancy team’ or whatever they call them in Silicon Valley. Free lunches and Segways would be a bonus.

 

Weed Whacker Award 1 pizap.com14299598637681

Weed Whacker Award 2 pizap.com14299625569931

Weed Whacker Award 3 pizap.com14299644459731

 

You can find out more about Sarika at her Twitter account @SMCADMAN or visit her blog at http://lunaelektra.com/ . She is a Canadian author, writer and blogger.

 

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

 

Part of the sourcing and writing of this article was done using my work computer at Informa in Euston. Many thanks to them –  informa.com
ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Twitter acknowledges 23 million active users are actually bots” – Judy Mottl, Tech Times/TECHTIMES.com (12 August 2014) http://www.techtimes.com/articles/12840/20140812/twitter-acknowledges-14-percent-users-bots-5-percent-spam-bots.htm
“More than 2 MILLION of Hillary Clinton’s Twitter followers are fake or never tweet – and she’s already under fire for ‘buying’ fake Facebook fans” – David Martosko, Mail Online – News/Associated Newspapers Ltd () http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3038621/More-2-MILLION-Hillary-Clinton-s-Twitter-followers-fake-never-tweet.html
“Does Louise Mensch have 80,000 fake followers on Twitter?” – Alex Hern, New Statesman (24 July 2012) http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/alex-hern/2012/07/does-louise-mensch-have-80000-fake-followers-twitter
Sarika (now L. of teh Internets), Twitter/Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SMCadman
IMAGE CREDITS:
“HOW YOU LOOK ANIMATED GIF” – Tumblr, Giphy http://giphy.com/gifs/machien-gun-how-you-feel-weed-whacker-zqkRtj9uERDr2?tc=1
piZap http://pizap.com/pizap
“Blank white badge” – PSDgraphics/PSDgraphics.com (16 May 2011) http://www.psdgraphics.com/backgrounds/blank-white-badge/
“Common Malware Types: Cybersecurity 101” – Nate Lord, Veracode/VERACODE (12 October 2012) https://www.veracode.com/blog/2012/10/common-malware-types-cybersecurity-101
“Accueil” – Université d’Orléans http://www.univ-orleans.fr/
“BLANK – Create On-Site – Write-On – Solid Backgrounds, Borders, Parking” – ComplianceSigns.com/ComplianceSigns, Inc. http://www.compliancesigns.com/BLANK-Solid-Border-Parking.shtml
“A Cute Collection Of Despicable Me 2 Minions | Wallpapers, Images & Fan Art” – ZQ, DesignBolts.com/Design Bolts (18 July 2013) http://www.designbolts.com/2013/07/18/a-cute-collection-of-despicable-me-2-minions-wallpapers-images-fan-art/
“Millennium Bug V20.12” – Paul Morris, SEARCHMUSE (28 May 2012) http://www.searchmuse.com/blog/2012/05/28/millennium-bug-v20-12.html
CC Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“Dandelion wish (88/365)” – John Liu, Flickr (29 March 2011) https://www.flickr.com/photos/8047705@N02/5572197407/

THE HALF-EATEN TIMES: The blog’s very own e-newspaper

While being the next Rupert Murdoch or Lord Northcliffe is probably a very unlikely event for me any time soon – a lack of a gold-plated triple-password protected Swiss bank account not withstanding – it is however, stupidly possible for me, or indeed anyone, to have their own newspaper with content that interests them and their friends. No messy printing ink, whiny subeditors, or pleading with newsagents required. Just an invisible, hands-free, fuss-free ‘editor-bot’ who will pull off a carefully-ish curated selection of tweets, website links etc. to make that virtual front page.

Thanks to the internet, the Half-Eaten Mind now has an accompanying online rag, the Half-Eaten Times.

(c) HEM/paper.li via Pagepeeker.com
(c) HEM/paper.li via Pagepeeker.com
(c) HEM/paper.li
(c) HEM/paper.li

This special newspaper was launched on the 4th April 2015, just before its parent blog’s third anniversary. Created with the help and hosting of the Swiss curated newspaper site paper.li, the Half-Eaten Times draws on the sharing activity of lists and followers on the blog’s Twitter social account @halfeatenmind and curates interesting and newsworthy content, presented in a New York Times format for easy accessibility and browsing.

Like any good broadsheet, The Half-Eaten Times has a respectable and diverse selection of categories for our readers. Updated every 12 hours (twice daily), our e-paper features the latest picks of the current headlines in the HEM world, as well as subtopics covering leisure, entertainment, technology, sciences and business matters. Every contributor is a blogging citizen journalist (excusing the ones who are already journalists, of course) and every follower has the potential to make the news. News media at probably its most democratic.

In addition, there will be also plenty of news from all the world, supplied by our media partners.

Although I own the e-paper, I am not responsible for the content, which is picked up automatically by the curation technology that paper.li makes available to its users.

You can subscribe to the newsletter via email or social media, and special tweets and posts will be sent out every time a new edition of the Half-Eaten Times goes on the newsstand.

Have a leaf-through the Half-Eaten Times at the link below.

https://paper.li/halfeatenmind/1428178623

In other words….. “Read all about it!!”

I’ve also produced a banner advert for this new feature which may be included in the sidebar of this blog for maximum visibility, however my final decision is still pending. Using the now familiar HEM street sign logo, I was lucky enough to find the right visual elements to make this advert tie in with HEM’s header design (the original sunrise one with the silhouetted buildings) in the same way the e-newspaper’s name ties in with the blog’s name. Smart thinking eh?

(c) V.Shah/HEM/piZap and others.
(c) V.Shah/HEM/piZap and others.

The Half-Eaten Times….out now at your local PC screen and at all good tablets….for the cover price of £0.00 ($0.00 US/Canada; Rs 0.00 Mauritius, ₹00/= India)…you get my drift…Get your copy today! 🙂

Let me know what you think. I can also help you set one up if you need.

(c) paper.li
(c) paper.li
(c) V. Shah/HEM/paper.li
(c) V. Shah/HEM/paper.li

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c) V. Shah/HEM/paper.li
(c) V. Shah/HEM/paper.li
Vijay Shah
Paper.li http://paper.li/
piZap http://pizap.com/
pagepeeker, pagepeeker SRL. http://pagepeeker.com/
“Showing (19) Pics For (Click Here To Learn More Button Png)…” – pixshark.com http://pixshark.com/click-here-to-learn-more-button-png.htm

BBC GENOME PROJECT: What was on the telly when you was born

The British public service broadcaster the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has launched the beta version of a new online project that will enable people to find out what programmes were broadcast on UK television and radio on the date they were born. The BBC Genome Project is a fascinating new online archive of the BBC’s flagship publication, Radio Times, a radio and television listings magazine that has been published continuously since the 1920s.

The Genome Project, which despite its name has no connection to the Human Genome Project or to any organisation in the field of scientific research, was set up by the BBC  to encourage its viewers and listeners to search their homes and garages for any old recordings or VCR tapes of BBC and other shows which they are then invited to submit. It is hoped that donations of TV shows from times long gone past will help the BBC preserve older programmes for future generations. The Project’s archives extend from the years 1923 to 2009.

(c) BBC via J. Stone

The website enables you to choose individual editions of the Radio Times, as well as search through the magazine archive via year, people’s names, particular programmes and key dates. A virtual gallery of actual Radio Times covers means the Genome Project’s users can witness the changing face of one of the United Kingdom’s most recognisable entertainment magazines – which has been a fixture of the country’s living rooms for over ninety years and is still running. The actual schedule information is presented as plain, easy-to-read text.

According to the Metro newspaper, the BBC claims that the project currently has a total of 4,423,654 programmes incorporated into the archive from 4,469 issues of its magazine.

The hope is that the project will lead to programmes being recovered if the public realises they have audio or video recordings of their own.

Hilary Bishop, editor of archive development at the BBC, said: “Genome is the closest we currently have to a comprehensive broadcast history of the BBC.

`It is highly likely that somewhere out there, in lofts, sheds and basements across the world, many of these “missing” programmes will have been recorded and kept by generations of TV and radio fans.

‘So, we’re hoping to use Genome as a way of bringing copies of those lost programmes back in to the BBC archives too.

The Genome Project will not only be of benefit to media studies and journalism students and historians of public life in the 20th century, but will also be valuable to people who are curious as to what programmes and services were shown on the day they were born.

As part of the celebration of the unveiling of this unique archive, the Half-Eaten Mind’s blogger-in-chief Vijay Shah tried out the BBC’s Genome Project for himself. His aim was to see if he could discover what was broadcast on the day of his birth thirty years ago, Thursday the 4th of October, 1984.

******

My first impression of the BBC’s new Genome Project website was how much it was like many of the other online arms of the BBC in the internet world. Its slick and minimalist design, a hallmark of the public broadcaster, was reassuringly familiar, yet seemed to understate the vast quantity of publicly-accessible data stored inside. I quickly read through the site’s blurb, while distracted by the strapping image taken from a BBC studio filming from the Sixties or Seventies. A camera operative holding an angular relic with the BBC logo from that time splashed on the side sits precariously on the far right, while a slightly dour-faced audience await the show to begin and the cameras to start rolling.

(c) E.F. Baumgardner/National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons

I scrolled down the page to reach a chapter entitled “Browse the issue archive” which gives you all of the years shown in the archive arranged as a table with the columns set aside for different decades. If you scroll further down, there is a selection of thumbnails of front covers from the Radio Times, arranged by decade. Underneath that is a list of up-to-date schedules from the post-digital BBC stable of channels.

I clicked on the year ‘1984’ and that took me to a list of all the Radio Times editions, or issues, for that year, starting from Issue 3139, which came out across England only on the 5th January of that year. The 1984 archive solemnly ends with Issue 3189, published solely for the London TV region on the 20th of December. My birthday issue was numbered 3178, and was published exactly on the 4th October, much to my relief.

Another click of the mouse brought me to some listings of several BBC stations but these only began from the 6th October, which was a Saturday. I then rewound back and tried the previous issue, No. 3177, released on the 27th September 1984. I found TV and radio listings for the following stations: BBC One London, BBC Two England, BBC Radio 1 England, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 FM. There is no mention of any schedules for ITV and Channel 4, which probably was not mentioned as these channels are independent of the Beeb and the Radio Times is a publication funded by the BBC’s print media division. C4 had been founded just two years before my birth and satellite, cable, digital and internet TV and radio was not to appear for a couple of decades yet. BBC One, or BBC1 as it was then called, tends towards popular and light entertainment programming, while BBC Two (BBC2) at that time was more geared to educational and political programming, as well as documentaries. I was fascinated by how many shows from my later childhood, such as Blue Peter, Henry’s Cat, Grange Hill (a soap set in an urban secondary school) and the Six O’Clock News with Moira Stewart were already well established on TV, considering that my memories of these shows are from the late 1980s at the earliest. It was a great trip down memory lane.

While the simple layout of the TV schedules was a bit of a mood killer, I liked the way that information from the pages of the Radio Times was presented in a clear and accessible format, while keeping faithful to the original text, as far as I could see. Even the mention of Ceefax subtitles was retained, showing just how far technology in television had gone since all those years ago.

(c) BBC via Wikimedia Commons

Here are the TV schedules for BBC1 and BBC2 as they were presented in the Radio Times on 4/10/1984:

BBC1

6.00: Ceefax AM

6.30Breakfast Time

with Frank Bough , Selina Scott Including today: medical advice from the Breakfast Time doctor in his weekly phone-in between 8.30 and 9.0

9.00: Under Sail

2: Pascual Flores
Pascual Flores was built 60 years ago in southern Spain as a fast schooner, but she very nearly ended her days as a scruffy little motor coaster. Now she’s restored.
Narrator Tom Salmon Director JENNI BURROWS Producer ROBIN DRAKE
BBC Bristol. (Part 3 tomorrow at 9.0 am)

9.15: Labour Party Conference 1984

Live coverage of the fourth day’s debates in Blackpool

10.30: * Play School

10.50: * Labour Party Conference 1984

Further live coverage

12.30: * News After Noon

with Moira Stuart and Frances Coverdale including a special report on the Labour Party Conference Weather BILL GILES
12.57 Regional News (London and SE: Financial Report, and News Headlines with subtitles)

13.00: Pebble Mill at One

13.45: Fingerbobs

A See -Saw programme

14.00: Labour Party Conference 1984

Coverage of today’s debates
3.48 Regional News

15.50: Play School: It’s Thursday

Presenter lain Lauchlan Guest Sarah Long
Story: The Luckiest One of All by BILL PEET

16.10: Bananaman

Mystery at the Old Mine
Eric Twinge is just another schoolboy-but when danger calls, a few mouthfuls of his special bananas and Eric is Bananaman. With the voices Of TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR , BILL ODDIE, GRAEME GARDEN, JILL SHILLING Written by BERNIE KAY Music by DAVID COOKE Produced by TREVOR BOND Directed by TERRY WARD

16.15: Beat the Teacher

with Howard Stableford Round 3 of this week’s quiz featuring the most amazing brain-teasers in the world.
THE KING DAVID HIGH SCHOOL, LIVERPOOL V ST BERNADETTE ‘S RC
SCHOOL, BRISTOL
Devised by CLIVE DOIG Designers VIC MEREDITH , LES MCCALLUM Producer IAN OLIVER
(Part 4 tomorrow at 4.15)

16.30: Godzilla

Godzilla, the 600-ton monster who has been asleep for a thousand years, rises from the depths of the Pacific to come to the aid of mankind. In this new series he continues his role as guardian to the crew of the research ship Calico. The Golden Guardians The Golden Guardian attacks Godzilla and turns him into a golden statue.

16.55: John Craven’s Newsround

17.00: Blue Peter

with Simon Groom Janet Ellis and Michael Sundin Flood Alert!
After the summer drought, the villagers of Topsham in Devon were faced with floods when the River Exe produced its highest tide since 1966.
Michael helped to build the barricades to protect the centuries-old houses and joined the men of the Devon Fire Brigade keeping anxious watch on the rising waters. Assistant editor LEWIS BRONZE Editor BIDDY BAXTER *CEEFAX SUBTITLES

17.25: Henry’s Cat

by BOB GODFREY and STAN HAYWARD The Explorer
Narration BOB GODFREY Music PETER SHADE Production BOB GODFREY FILMS

17.30: Grange Hill

A series of 18 programmes
Episode 5 by MARGARET SIMPSON Jimmy McClaren , the ‘Godfather’ of Grange Hill, begins to take a ‘friendly interest’ in Pogo’s chain-letter enterprise.
Devised by PHIL REDMOND Producer KENNY MCBAIN Director CAROL WILKS * CEEFAX SUBTITLES

17.58: Weatherman

18.00: The Six O’Clock News

with Sue Lawley and Jeremy Paxman, including a report by David Coss from the Labour Party Conference.

18.30Regional news magazines

London Plus, Spotlight South Today, Points West Look East, North West Tonight Look North, Midlands Today

18.55: Tomorrow’s World

Presented by Kieran Prendiville Peter McCann , Maggie Philbin and Judith Hann Producers DANA PURVIS , MICHAEL COYLE HENRY CAMPION , CYNTHIA PAGE Studio director STUART MCDONALD Editor MARTIN MORTIMORE

19.20Top of The Pops

Introduced by Simon Bates and Richard Skinner
Sound GRAHAM WILKINSON Lighting KEN MACGREGOR Designer ROD MCLEAN Executive producer MICHAEL HURLL Production BRIAN WHITEHOUSE

20.00The Magnificent Evans

by ROY CLARKE starring Ronnie Barker with Sharon Morgan and Myfanwy Talog William Thomas , Dickie Arnold
Film cameraman REX MAIDMENT Film editor DON CANDLIN Studio lighting RON BRISTOW Designer TIM GLEESON Produced and directed by SYDNEY LOTTERBY *CEEFAX SUBTITLES

20.30Checkpoint

Written and presented by Roger Cook
Radio 4’s award-winning programme comes to television for a short series to investigate cases raised by viewers which can include unfair dealing, bureaucratic bungling, injustice or even fraud.
Video cameraman LAURIE RUSH Researcher DINA GOLD Television producers DAVID BOWEN-JONES and DAVID HANINGTON Editor JOHN EDWARDS
Roger Cook’s Checkpoint. A BBC Aerial Book £2.95 from booksellers

21.00The Nine O’Clock News

with Julia Somerville and the BBC’s reporters and correspondents around the world including a special report on the Labour Party Conference at Blackpool Weatherman

21.25The Horse of the Year Show

from Wembley Arena featuring The Norwich Union Championship
Puissance mght at Wembley when all eyes are focussed on the big red wall in the centre of the arena. Plus horses racing against each other in the Knock-Out Stakes, and a look at some of the other entertainment.

Introduced by DAVID VINE Commentators RAYMOND BROOKS-WARD, STEPHEN HADLEY Producer JOHNNIE WATHERSTON

22.45: * Heart of the Matter

with David Jessel
At the heart of the actions that make the news lie decisions and dilemmas, prejudices and passions, that are defined by our sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. Each week David Jessel takes issue with a major story of concern or conscience, and looks for what can be found at the Heart of the Matter.

Film editor MICHAEL ALOOF
Series producer COLIN CAMERON

23.20* Out of the Undertow

Fay Weldon and Richard Hoggart look at working lives and tides of change in Britain: 3: Sweet Dreams with Miriam Margolyes
Managing a small business is a dream to which many people aspire but it’s a dream that doesn’t often come true. A women’s fashion company, a hairdressing salon and an engineering works are three dreams that have come true – but with a struggle.

Film editor HELEN COOK
Producer JULIAN STENHOUSE

23.50: * News Headlines; Weatherman

(c) Wikipedia

BBC2

6.55: Open University

6.55 The Search for Minerals
7.20 History of Mathematics

9.00: Pages from Ceefax

9.20: Daytime on Two

9.20 Tout compris
Everyday life and language of French teenagers. Au college; Au café bar; Chez Claire ; A une boom
9.38 La maree et ses secrets
A five-part adventure serial in French by CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL and JANE COTTAVE 3: Une ombre du passé
9.55 Thinkabout
See How they Grow
It’s hard to believe that Frank was once a baby.
10.12 Science Workshop Paper ‘A’
10.34 Scene
Troubled Minds – What a Lousy Title!
11.5 Near and Far Concrete
The look of many towns and cities owes much to the use of concrete. However the extraction of its raw materials – limestone, clay, sand and gravel has had a dramatic effect on rural areas Producer ROBIN GWYN
11.30 Home Ground
Towns of Wales 2: Just Down the Road
A town is largely composed of buildings – private houses and public edifices. What can these patterns of brick and stone. tile and slate, glass and paint, tell of a town’s history?
Presenter STEPHEN BOTCHER Producer J. PHILIP DAVIES BBC Wales
11.55 Swim

ANDREW HARVEY introduces a series for swimmers and non-swimmers of all ages. 3: Breaststroke

12.20 pm Illusions of Reality An examination of newsreels of the 1930s
3: Once a Hun….
Discussion notes from [address removed] 8QT. (Please enclose 12″ x 9″ sae and 33p postage)
12.45 Letting Go 3: Sex Education
How parents prepare teenagers for this important part of adult life.
1.10 Mind How You Go
Ten programmes about road accident prevention presented by JIMMY SAVILE OBE
3: Think Child
1.20 Encounter: Germany 3: Communications
By train from Hamelin to Braunschweig – and the work of the railways. A police car chase; a waterways patrol; an island waterway harbour; and life on a canal barge.
1.38 Around Scotland The Great Glen 1: The Ancient Corridor JOHN CARMICHAEL explains how the Great Glen was formed and shows how man has made use of the landscape for forestry and the production of hydro-electricity.
Producer ROBERT CLARK Director PETER LEGGE

15.00Dallas

My Brother’s Keeper
As J.R. drives the final wedge between Pam and Bobby, his masterplan to oust his brother from Ewing Oil gathers momentum. Donna meets an old admirer and Sue Ellen finds she has a new one …
Written by ARTHUR BERNARD LEWIS Directed by LEONARD KATZMAN (For cast see Monday. Continued tomorrow at 3.0 pm. Repeat) * CEEFAX SUBTITLES

15.45Labour Party Conference 1984

Further coverage.

17.05Handicapped in the Community

The Centre for Independent Living in Berkeley, California, was founded to help disabled people achieve independence and self-respect.
Producer ANN POINTON
A BBC/Open University production

17.25News Summary

with subtitles, followed by Weather

17.30Fred

3: Uncalled-for Distractions Fred Dibnah’s holiday at Blackpool
Narrator Deryck Guyler

Delightfully comic filming (Sunday Times)
Photography MARTIN LIGHTENING Written and produced by DON HAWORTH. BBC Manchester

18.00Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles

The last of a three part series starring
The Martians
November 2006: Earth is an amber cinder, all life annihilated by total nuclear war. A handful of settlers left on Mars are the sole survivors of the human race. They face a desolate future, cut off and isolated even from each other. Sam Parkhill holds a land grant to half of Mars, handed to him by the original inhabitants of the planet.
Teleplay by RICHARD MATHESON Produced by ANDREW DONALLY and MILTON SUBOTSKY Directed by MICHAEL ANDERSON A CHARLES FRIES production

19.30: Open Space

Breaking the Mould?
For the bulk of production line workers throughout British industry tomorrow’s work will be just like today’s. Mindless…. repetitive…. demoralising. But deep in the ‘pot bank’ they’re trying to reshape working lives. Staffordshire Potteries, Britain’s major mug producers, have adopted a new Japanese style of management. They are aiming to increase the motivation and job satisfaction of their employees by giving them more say in the company’s decisions. But will this really improve work and conditions on the shopfloor, or is it just subtle psychology designed to boost productivity? Open Space goes to the Potteries to find out how shopfloor and management approach the new tomorrow. Producer JEREMY GIBSON COMMUNITY PROGRAMME UNIT

20.00Commercial Breaks

A series that follows the fortunes of entrepreneurs around the world as their stories unfold. Who Dares, Wins Readers? The inside story of this summer’s bizarre circulation war between Fleet Street’s tabloids. Last week’s Commercial Breaks showed how multi-millionnaire Robert Maxwell bought the Daily Mirror. He immediately vowed to topple the Sun as Britain’s top-selling tabloid. This programme goes behind the scenes as Maxwell controls every detail of his campaign, from directing his own commercials to cross-examining his circulation managers.
Narrator Hugh Sykes
Film editor PETER DELFGOU Research ROBERT THIRKELL Executive producer JONATHAN CRANE
Producer DAVID DUGAN

20.30Do They Mean Us?

Our sense of humour baffles them, our politics bother them, our preoccupation with tradition bemuses them. Apparently we don’t wash, and we are morose and miserable even on holiday. On the other hand we are polite and kind to animals, and we would be great in a crisis – if we knew one when we saw one. Each week Derek Jameson looks at the way foreign television reports this country. Tonight he looks at foreign interest in the Royal Family and discovers that, in some ways, they are even more obsessed with them than are the natives.
Research MARK ROGERS Producer LAURENCE REES

21.00A Kick Up the 80s

with Ron Bain, Robbie Coltrane. Miriam Margolyes, Roger Sloman, Tracey Ullman. Also featuring Kevin Turvey
Special weight-watchers edition: non-fattening sketches, low-calorie situations, semi-skimmed jokes and a protein-packed song.

Music DAVID MCNIVEN DirectorBRIAN JOBSON Producer COLIN GILBERT BBC Scotland

21.25: Life of an Orchestra

3: On Tour
The third documentary in the informal four-part series on the London Symphony Orchestra follows the 107 musicians and their £350,000’s worth of instruments on tour to Paris, Vienna and Frankfurt. The film goes behind the scenes with the orchestra and their conductor Claudio Abbado as they rehearse, relax, worry about the Vienna concert and celebrate their successes. There’s music from WEBERN. MAHLER and SCHUBERT, an appearance by Zubin Mehta and more unexpected glimpses into the habits and attitudes of orchestral musicians.
Film cameraman JOHN GOODYER Sound STAN NIGHTINGALE Film editor PETER HARRIS Produced and directed by JENNY BARRACLOUGH

22.15: A Hot Summer Night with Donna

The second part of the spectacular concert featuring the queen of disco, Donna Summer.

22.50: Newsnight

John Tusa and Vincent Hanna with a full report on the day’s events at the Labour Party Conference in Blackpool, with Donald MacCormick and Jenni Murray in London to assess the news at home and abroad. Producer DAVE STANFORD Editor DAVID DICKINSON

23.45Open University

Discussion: Alan Plater ‘s ‘Reunion’ The play concerns two men who meet again many years after their schooldays together. It explores the risks involved in personal relationships, and is followed by a discussion with the author and actors.

*****

For our readers and bloggers from the HEM Community, especially those from the UK, you can see what the BBC played on your birthday and reminisce while you’re doing so. Visit the BBC’s Genome project at this link

SOURCES:
“The BBC Genome Project lets you see what was on TV on the day you were born” – Sarah Deen, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (16 October 2014) http://metro.co.uk/2014/10/16/the-bbc-genome-project-lets-you-see-what-was-on-tv-on-the-day-you-were-born-4908844/?ito=facebook
“Welcome to the BBC Genome Project” – BBC Genome Beta – Radio Times 1923 – 2009, BBC http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/
“1984” – BBC Genome Beta – Radio Times 1923 – 2009, BBC http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/years/1984
“Listings” – BBC Genome Beta – Radio Times 1923 – 2009, BBC http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbcone/london/1984-10-04
IMAGE CREDITS:
Creative Commons CC Search http://search.creativecommons.org/
“Radio Times, Doctor Who, Nov 2003, McCoy” – Jem Stone, Flickr (17 June 2005) https://www.flickr.com/photos/jemstone/19864460/
“File:Family watching television 1958.jpg” – Evert F. Baumgardner, National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons (original 1958, uploaded 22 January 2007) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Family_watching_television_1958.jpg
“File:Bbc logo before 1986.png” – BBC, Briantist & John Bot II, Wikimedia Commons (5 May 2009) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bbc_logo_before_1986.png
“BBC Television Centre” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Television_Centre

HACKER’S DELIGHT: ‘123456’ tops worst password of 2013

As more and more people get online to chat, play, shop and bank, there never has been a more important time to be secure on the internet. Choosing a password is one decision that should be made very carefully, as cyber-criminals and website administrators continue to battle it out over stealing or safeguarding internet users’ details. Yet it seems that not everyone got the memo, as Irish news site thejournal.ie discovers. 

Most of us are guilty of using passwords that may be easy to remember but also easy for a hacker or disgruntled partner to crack. However some password choices really take the biscuit, as thejournal.ie reporter Michelle Hennessy uncovered. Unbelievably many still go for far from fail-safe choices like ‘123456’ and ‘password’. Slightly more witty surfers have opted for eclectic picks such as ‘monkey’ and ‘letmein’ to access their accounts.

Hackers
Hackers (Photo credit: José Goulão)

Every year, mobile data company Splashdata releases a special list of the top easy-to-break passwords used by the public. All their data comes from lists of passwords placed online by hackers who have broken into websites. Last year’s list was influenced by a daring raid on the servers of software company Adobe in which several thousand passwords were leaked onto the Web.

The list of the worst passwords to use is as follows:
1. 123456
2. password
3. 12345678
4. qwerty
5. abc123
6. 123456789
7. 111111
8. 1234567
9. iloveyou
10. adobe123
11. 123123
12. admin
13. 1234567890
14. letmein
15. photoshop
16. 1234
17. monkey
18. shadow
19. sunrise
20. 12345

Splashdata released some valuable advice to go with their top 20 worse possible choice of passwords. The company has recommended that users think up passwords with at least eight characters, and ideally aim to create a ‘pass-phrase’ rather than just a single word, using other characters and underscores to separate the words. Use a variety of characters and numbers to create your password, the more complicated, the better. Also avoid using the same password combination for multiple accounts. If a hacker gains access to one of your accounts, then this will only make life easier for them when they realise that the key fits all the locks, and this can cause untold online damage and financial losses. It also goes without saying that if one of your passwords appears in the above list, or you have one that is just as simple, you are strongly advised to change it immediately.

Be careful when surfing, as some websites and downloads carry malware and trojans that can log keystrokes and send your password to a waiting hacker. Make sure your firewall is fully turned on and check that you have a current and updated anti-virus software package present. Even if you use a common word such as ‘password’ and change the ‘o’ to a zero for example, Splashdata warns that hackers could still get in. The CEO of the company, Morgan Slain, said “Hackers can easily break into many accounts just by repeatedly trying common passwords”. Indeed a select, but growing number of enterprising password breakers have made use of customised hacking programs that can flick through an entire dictionary of words before finding the right one, often in a matter of minutes.

Even though people are encouraged to select secure, strong passwords, many people continue to choose weak, easy-to-guess ones, placing themselves at risk from fraud and identity theft.” Slain added.

Hacker inside
Hacker inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hackers in search of easy money and Dick Turpinesque status on the information superhighway have already made headlines last year. In December, two million passwords belonging to Facebook, Gmail and Twitter accounts were uncovered by an unknown group of hackers using a keyword logging virus and a Dutch server. The compromised accounts, which also included 6,000 remote log-ins and 41,000 credentials used to connect to File Transfer Protocol (FTP, the standard network used when transferring big files), were being illegally accessed as early as October. The sites were forced to reset all the compromised passwords.

Also in that same month, American supermarket chain Target became the victim of a serious hack in which the credit and debit card details of 40 million online grocery shoppers were swiped. That was larger than the entire population of neighbouring Canada. Earlier in 2013, dating site Cupid Media had 42 million names, emails and ‘plaintext’ passwords lifted from its profiles. The hoarded cache of personal information was found by cyber investigators located on the same server as other stolen details from  Adobe, PR Newswire, and the National White Collar Crime Center. This incident was described by technology news outlet Ars Technica as ‘one of the bigger passcode breaches on record’. The Cupid Media user records contained the usual assortment of weak passwords. More than 1.9 million accounts were protected by ‘123456’. Another 1.2 million used ‘111111’. 

SOURCES:
Half-Eaten Mind on Twitter LINK
TheJournal.ie on Twitter LINK
“Weird Wide Web: Bad passwords, printed chocolate and creepy human emojis” – Michelle Hennessy, thejournal.ie/Journal Media (26 January 2014) LINK
“’123456′ tops list of worst passwords of 2013” – Quinton O Reilly, Business ETC/Journal Media (20 January 2014) LINK
“New study finds the 25 worst internet passwords” – thejournal.ie/Journal Media (20 November 2011) LINK
“2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack” – Jose Pagliery, CNNMoney/Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company (4 December 2013) LINK
“2013 was a very hacked year” – Dave Neal, The Inquirer/Incisive Media Investments Limited (26 December 2013) LINK
“Hack of Cupid Media dating website exposes 42 million plaintext passwords” – Dan Goodin, Ars Technica/Condé Nast  (20 November 2013) LINK
“What is internet security?” – BBC Webwise Learning and Knowledge Beta, BBC (6 June 2013) LINK 

 

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SUITS ME, SUITS YOU: A mail-order company for Asian clothes

By Vijay Shah

Here at the Half-Eaten Mind, we receive our fair share of junk mail through the post. Clothes charity leaflets, double glazing, letters addressed to ‘The Occupier’ imploring us to put our modest terraced up for sale. And takeaway leaflets. We get a lot of those here. One morning after breakfast, when I wasn’t feeling particularly peckish to begin with, I was about to leave for the day job, when I noticed this yellow and red piece of glossy paper jammed in the duster of the house letterhole. Here we go again, another damn pizza leaflet. I’ll just have a quick gander then bin it. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a leaflet advertising something that even I, or anyone else I know for that matter, had never seen advertised to sleepy pyjama-clad customers before. The leaflet was for a mail-order company specialising in south Asian fashion.

Now I’m half-Indo-Mauritian, so I know a fair amount about Asian fashion and clothing. Lenghas, churidars, Punjabi suits, dupattas, and sarees. Mmmmm, sarees. Gaudy, bright, multicoloured, shiny, sparkly, sequins, gold thread, traditional, modern. A childhood spent being dragged from clothes shop to clothes shop by mother through Green Street (one of the UK’s premier shopping spaces for South Asian foods and clothing) and having to dodge podgy aunties at parties and festivals meant that I was on-point with all that….But this leaflet shattered an illusion I had, that Asian clothes were pricey. How could something that complimentary and beautiful be flogged off on the cheap?

The Suits Me leaflet. (c) photo: V. Shah/HEM

The company behind all this is “Suits Me”. The name doesn’t strike you as being what you’d expect for a Asian fashion outlet. Clearly whoever christened it spends a lot of rainy evenings huddled on the sofa watching The League of Gentlemen. It does sound posh though, and that ties in well with their emphasis that quality…and looking your best costs less. I say, old chum!!. Suits Me bills itself as “the Leading Asian Mail Order Company in the U.K. and Europe”, with eleven branches scattered over the country. Glasgow, Bradford, Manchester, London and Birmingham have offices and warehouses. They offer almost too-good-to-be-true savings, with 84% slashed off the cost of ladieswear, 54% off suits for the guys, and a whopping 96% reduction in price for their jewellery line. And as any self-respecting Asian shopper knows – we love discounts.

Here are some handpicked examples of how good their savings are:

  • A dark-blue short sleeved women’s kameez with Paisley & vine motif reduced from £22.00 to just £7.99.
  • A wine red rustic-style saree originally sold at fifty quid, going for only £11.99
  • A much cheaper light yellow saree with silver embroidery dropped from £17.00 to £7.99
  • Pure white men’s kameez suit halved from £14.99 to £7.99
  • Kids’ kameezs and churidars (dresses) for under a fiver.
  • Earrings for as little as 60 pence a pair.

While their offerings may not be as glitzy and as fashionable as clothes bought from specialist saree shops in places like Leicester or Upton Park, they are great for wedding party bulk-buys or that occasion when you need something traditional/formal/good to wear but are a bit short on the dough. They also offer Western clothes like maxi dresses as a sideline. Suit Me’s website is updated with the latest fashions and they have a 24-hour hotline that is the cost of a local call in Great Britain. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter too.

I am going to keep that leaflet somewhere safe. Could use a couple of ‘fly desi guy’ kameezes soon 😉

http://www.suitsmeonline.com/

MAIL ORDER LINE: 0845 8 676767

DISCLAIMER: HalfEatenMind has not been being paid by Suits Me or any affiliate to produce this article. The article is written purely for the sake of information. We don’t believe in selling out.