#140chars: On the influence of A-listers on the real world market

mg-sieglerTechcrunch author MG Siegler reminded the hole world and every TC reader of what we all already knew here at JOAB: nobody cares about A-Listers. Sadly his reminder to Jason Calacanis is an epic post, that long it might have been written by JCal himself. Luckily we only need to quote MG (with minor editing) to resume his entry, and the influence of A-Listers on the real world market:

While Calacanis may have spent $20,000 on Apple products over the years, everyone else has spent billions upon billions more.

What to Eat When You Have the Flu?


It’s hard to believe, but even the Jack of All Blogs gets sick.

Bed-ridden over the past few days, the flu bug has me in its grips and has wreaked havoc on my body. What was once an entry point has become an exit.

Thirty-six consecutive hours in bed and lots of H2O seems to have done the trick. I’m still a bit weak, but strong enough to write about my disappointment in the Internet. You see, I expect blogs and Websites and forums to answer any question I can conjure up. So why is it, in my 102-degree-fever state, could I not find a single list of foods that are good to eat when you have the flu?

I know it’s important to stay hydrated. And yes, I know it’s all about starving a fever. But why was a simple list of FOODS TO EAT WHEN YOU HAVE THE FLU so difficult to find?

First stop, Yahoo! Answers. A query of “eat” and “flu” yielded ZERO results. Perhaps it was the fever, but for the first time in my life I clicked on a Google AdSense ad that appeared on the page. It led me to RightHealth.com and didn’t give me a shred if decent info, just a page littered with links.

Prevention, the health magazine with “smart ways to live well” made me sicker. It started with their top banner ad hawking salad and grilled chicken that made my stomach turn. Then there was the advice on eating shellfish and milk. These are clearly pre-emptive measures, but that doesn’t stop Google from turning it up first for “What to Eat Flu.”

Reader’s Digest recommended Vitamin C, oatmeal, bananas, fish, chicken, turkey, apples, cranberries and tomato sauce. I’m sure these items are loaded with nutrients, but when I’m sick and nauseous, I ask myself a simple question: “How will it taste coming up?”

WebMD shared 10 tips to cope with the flu and I immediately took issue with tip #1.

“Get rest and watch DVDs.”

My head hurt so bad that watching TV or staring at the computer monitor for more than five minutes was not an option. This isn’t horrendous advice for day two or three, but it’s darn obvious.

And speaking of obvious, in the end, the Internet didn’t have the answer. I did.

- Drink tons of room-temperature water
- Stay in bed
- Don’t eat

That should be the advice that search engines and their algorithms pick up. The Internet might be made of machines, but the sickly flu advice definitely shows that there is no dot com cure-all.

Now please excuse me, I feel… a little… ill…

Fantasy and Sex Top Internet Searches


As 2007 winds down one thing is crystal clear: people are desperate for escape. Case in point, the Top 10 queries on Yahoo! over the past year. Of the top 10, six are female sex symbols, two are faux sports and two are grounded in an alternate universe. Shame on any of you who typed the following words into a search engine in 2007.

10) Jessica Alba. I guess we can thank Maxim magazine’s “Hot 100″ for this search. The Mexican-Danish “actress” has suffered from OCD and has a tattoo of a daisy with a ladybug on the back of her neck. I only know this from searching her name. I swear I wasn’t looking for images!

9) Fergie. She’ll be 33 in 2008, making her the oldest person to make the Top 10, and all but ensuring she won’t make the list next year. She’s a chameleon. Part gangster part “lady.” But even that didn’t lock in her spot. Take notes people, if you wanna land in the Top 10 you just need to piss in your pants.

8- Fantasy Football. I love sports. In fact for a while, I was into all of the fantasy sports. Then one day I woke up and realized that players making the league minimum were still earning six times my salary. And to add insult to injury, they actually like their jobs.

7) Rune Scape. This is one of two items on the list that I am not embarrassed to admit I did not know. Now that I’ve search it, I still don’t get it. Something about casting spells or something. Maybe this is the reason athletes make so much money. Unlike you, they’re not sitting in cubicle playing video games.

6) Lindsay Lohan. Not to be mean but the only reason to search Ms. Lohan is to see if you’ve finally won the Dead Pool. It’ll be interesting to see if she takes the number one slot after she OD’s. Even money says that will happen in ’08.

5) Beyonce. Number one hits, a budding movie career and almost as many endorsement deals as Peyton Manning. Given her media saturation, don’t you people get enough? Maybe you’re searching her obviously fake relationship with Jay-Z. Either way, you can bet her sister Solange is in her room crying, she ranked number 987,872.

4) Naruto.
Loud, obnoxious and hyperactive, Naruto Uzumaki is the world’s most famous fictional adolescent ninja. I had no idea what Naruto was. Honestly, I’ll probably forget tomorrow – so I’ll just search it again. Maybe that’s why it ranked so well.

3) Paris Hilton. She’s bared it all on video and served her time in jail. Now that she’s a “lady,” there’s really not much for her to accomplish. Short of killing someone (always possible) I’d expect to see her slide down the list next year.

2) WWE. Yes, wrestling is fake; but it’s still damn entertaining. Whether it’s Vince McMahon accusing his mom of molestation or an A-list star succumbing to roid rage (allegedly) and wiping out his family, the physical soap opera known as wrestling was custom-made for Internet buzz.

1) Britney Spears. She might be pregnant again. Let us set the record straight, the baby is ours. What can I say? We’re a fertile bunch here at Jack of All Blogs.

CAPTCHA and Social Engineering

CAPTCHA is the bane of spammers who use bots to register email addresses and submit comments right? Wrong. Whenever there’s a problem, there would inevitably be a solution. And for CAPTCHA, spammers have found an innovative way of getting past the cryptic images for verification (sometimes too cryptic that legitimate users cannot decipher them!).

It’s all about social engineering, of course. Loose Wire alerts us to the Strip CAPTCHA trojan, which attacks unknowing perverts individuals. It’s simple: decipher the code, and the young lady will show some skin. Now who wouldn’t be interested in deciphering the CAPTCHA code with that?



The images above were hotlinked from Trend Micro (thanks guys!) who have issued a warning about this kind of social engineering ploy.

A nifty little program which Trend Micro detects as TROJ_CAPTCHAR.A disguises itself as a strip-tease game, wherein a scantily-clad “Melissa” agrees to take off a little bit of her clothing. However, for her to strut her stuff, users must identify the letters hidden within a CAPTCHA. Input the letters correctly, press “go” and “Melissa” reveals more of herself.

However, the “answers” are then sent to a remote server, where a malicious user eagerly awaits them. The “strip-tease” game is actually a ploy by ingenious malware authors to identify and match ambiguous CAPTCHA images from legitimate sites, using the unsuspecting user as the decoder of the said image.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And when there’s a way, there would be unsuspecting people who would be stupid enough play your game.

The CAPTCHA “game” being discussed by Trend Micro doesn’t relate directly with blogging, though. Most blogs these days use passive forms of spam-catching, such as Akismet and comment moderation. Still, this means we bloggers shouldn’t be complacent with securing our systems from spam attacks and other intrusions.

Facebook, Your Friendly Spambox

Facebox, spam from your friendsLittle by little I noticed that the once so-popular and hyped Facebook platform has turned in to a perfect spam box, spam with friendly greetings of… your friends.

Day after day my mailbox is flooded with spam messages, clickthrough messages, every time requiring me to visit the FB website. Sometimes just to read a message or discover that someone has added a picture. Basically the same thing I would have discovered anyway, when trying to follow my friend. That is whenever I log in. Daily actually.

And when I log in… then I am greeted by another spam box, the requests.
A little more than 24 hours of facebox absence generated this nice list, as seen in the screenshot at the right. This list obliging me to go on and on with my rant, because the screenshot is more than 700 pixel high. 700+ Pixels of useless spam, cyberwaste waiting to be added to the list of 32 applications I already have installed. And don’t use except for 4 or 5.

A never-ending list of applications, because most of time someone has been flirting cybervirtually flirting, more than just poke, and I HAVE TO add the application to see what they gossiped about me or check if they gave me a slippery banana or a wet nipple growing in my garden to produce endless bread for the rest of my life as a pirate bitten by zombies who lost the battle against the ninjas.

Not to forget the many notifications landing in my so conventional mailbox, because XXX wants me to add a slideshow to my facebox profile… just because she is too damn lazy to click the link to my flickr account in my facebook profile. *sigh*

Facebox, love from your friendsLuckily facebox can be rather satisfying, ego-galaxy-stroking even, too… because right now I am… see the second screenshot. :-P
If only they would have spammed me to let me know that!

Facebook, I’m done with you… you’re nothing more than a better looking, but worse, MySpace.

Hold On to Your Utterz!

Here’s yet another microblogging service (if it can be called that, at all). The name is Utterz, and it supposedly mashes up voice, photos, videos, and texts so you can just send in stuff from your mobile phone and it comes out automatically on your Utterz page.

Utterz is the first way you can instantly blog your experiences, thoughts and ideas, anywhere, using all the capabilities of your mobile phone. Utterz mashes together the voice, video, pictures, and text you call or send in and creates an ‘Utter’ that can immediately update your existing web pages on sites like Blogger, Facebook, LiveJournal, MySpace and more.

Utterz supposedly came from utter (which means to speak or say something), but I think it sounds more like udders. I think these guys lived up to their namesake, though. Check out their logo.


Now isn’t that utterly creative?

Where Will You Blog Next Year?

Steve Rubel, power marketer raises a good point in yesterday’s entry, Building an Online Identity Through Lifestreams.

Where I will publish in a year’s time is anyone’s guess. However, what you can bank on is that I will have even more community accounts than I do now.

Right now, just as most other bloggers, the number of online profiles I have reminds me of the early days of domaining. You never have enough of them and any semi interesting, or worse even hyped, platform soon has you as member too.

But what’s the point of all those profiles? Agreed, there’there’s Facebook, where one can add almost everything. Or just stick to a Facebook profile and MySpace-ify the formerly geek cyber space of students.
But does exclusive Facebook networking alone satisfy the blogger or does one have to jump the bandwagon and spend valuable time on every possible network? And how much time does all this cost?

But most of all, where will you blog next year? Will any of those profiles, or services such as tumblr, replace your blog?

Blogs Are Made To Piss Off People

Way too often lately have I read pro blogs. Blogs trying to teach me what to do and how to behave. But wasn’t blogging all about getting rif of my monthly male PMS cramps and telling people what I really think about them?

I really thought that was what blogging was about. And luckily, bad ass par excellence, Loren Feldman, AKA vlogging sell out #1, proved my right.

Take those wise words from the guy who endorsed a struggling and controversial multimedia network, only on the promise he’ld earn more than he did in the old YouTube days.
So, how come, his excellence, hasn’t called out struggling popularity h0 [tag]Scoble[/tag] yet?

Scoble, the grey corporate blogging Eminence, nowadays publicly hunting for a job at Facebook. Or if that would fail a job as public facebook apps sell out.

Loren, if somehow you care about what blogging is about, calling out people, you have to be consequent. And call out [tag]Scoble[/tag], even if only for his inconsistency in his statements.

Non-Stop Broadcasts, Another Only A-List Only Worthy Gig?

Before I start, I’ll immediately admit that I am a rather compulsive nickname and domain-claimer, so yes, of course did I claim not only my first name, but also my favorite nickname at the service that might be mentioned in this post.

One of the more hip [sic] things I never really understood was the need for a permanent broadcast. And I don’t mean a hyped gig like Justin.tv, but services like UStream, more specifically streams like Pirillo Live or Zooomr Live.

Where I can understand the intense desire of Kristopher Tate to be watched by other obsessive compulsive geeky dudes, I don’t understand the hype around Pirillo at all. And much less the need or desire to broadcast non-stop how fluently you can type, swear, curse and how little of your real screen estate you use. I just don’t get it. Unless it’s all about showing off your two nice monitors.
Maybe it’s because I’m no A-Lister and am a bad whore. My networking sucks and there’s no one to hype me either, but actually when I look at the chat in Pirillo’s live box, I can only be happy that there’s no hype around me anyway.

Although I plan using Ustream during the Blogathon, when I will cheer some Blogathoners, I just don’t get it. Can someone please explain me what the non-stop broadcast thing is and why I should reposition my webcam so you can try to understand how much I procastinate work?

Note: I have no problems with scheduled streams, offering some ‘focus’, topic, concept, but I highly doubt that anyone would be interested watching how much screen estate I have and actually actively use (note: the picture is not actual anymore, right now I have around 2000px more screen estate but I hardly doubt anyone is interested in an updated picture).

Google and Preferential Treatment: Boo!

Google is poised to take over the world. But they seem to prefer doing it covertly. They want to take over the world by slowly buying up the services and software you use, and quietly assimilating all of these into their system so things work more seamlessly if you used them than not.

Take for example FeedBurner, which was recently bought by Google (probably for a gajillion dollars). It used to be that FeedBurner was platform agnostic–meaning it won’t give a damn if you used Blogger, WordPress, TypePad or any other blogging software, as long as you published an RSS feed. But now, if your blog is hosted by Blog*Spot, or published via Blogger, you would find it a tad easier to integrate FB into your blog.

If you host your content on a Blogger blog with a blogspot.com address (or use Blogger’s “custom domain” feature), you can now redirect your native Blogger feed to your FeedBurner feed (quite easily, might we add). Gone are the muggy, languorous days of wrestling with “autodiscovery” tags in foreboding corners of your Blogger template code or hacking through this tangled discussion thread for a glimpse of configuration clarity. Starting right now, you just log into your Blogger account, select Settings | Site Feed, enter your FeedBurner feed address and click “Save Settings.” Zap! Pow! Kraaakkkk! Now you’ve got the complete picture of how your content is being consumed out here, out there, out everywhere.

I probably shouldn’t care, though, since I use self-hosted WordPress installations, anyway, and can always just use the FeedBurner redirect plugin to automatically redirect feed subscribers to FeedBurner. (Incidentally, that particular plugin is now maintained by FeedBurner officially.) But this sure is one advantage of Blogger over what is now its main competitor, WordPress.com. And I don’t think there’s a way for WP.com users to redirect their feed URL to their FeedBurner URL right now.

I guess WP.com should just install this plugin and make redirection an option easily accessible to everyone. This should be easy enough to do.

[via Blog Herald]