Hack This Site

March 8, 2008 – 2:20 PM

Those of you who want to try your hacking prowess, yet avoid legal entanglements, can try out this site. A lot harder than I thought it would be, but very interesting. The only caveat is that you aren’t allowed to share information about the levels. So if you figure it out, no spoilers.

Click here to try…

Most Web Surfers Oblivious to Web Site Collection of Personal Data

March 8, 2008 – 2:20 PM

U.S. Internet users are often unsuspecting of what goes on behind the scenes of their favorite Web sites. According to data from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, 57 percent of U.S. Internet users incorrectly believe that when a Web site has a privacy policy, it will not share their personal information with other sites or companies. This misconception, among others, underscores the lack of education Internet users have about data flows, what the study calls, “…the invisible, cutting edge techniques whereby online organizations extract, manipulate, append, profile and share information about people online are part and parcel of how Web sites operate.”

While 59 percent know that Web sites collect information about them even if they don’t register, they don’t understand that data flows behind their screens invisibly connect seemingly unrelated bits about them. When presented with a common version of the way sites track, extract, and share information to make money from advertising, 85 percent of adults who go online at home said they would not accept it on even a valued site.

Full story…

AMD Overclocking Help

March 8, 2008 – 2:18 PM

Experimentation with things can be a great way to learn about how the magic happens under the hood of a PC, so there can be other benefits beyond simply squeezing out a few more crunched numbers. AMD users have found it increasingly difficult to keep up with the changes, and with the required modifications to achieve the desired results. That’s where this interactive pin-mod guide comes in. Just plug in the appropriate model and configuration data, then let the guide show you the pins involved in making your processor jump through the hoops you’ve set.

Click here…

The Google Dance Viewer

March 8, 2008 – 2:17 PM

Author: Mark Horrell @ www.markhorrell.com

The Google Dance is the name given to the behaviour observed by the Google search engine during the monthly period when it updates its index.

Because the traffic to Google is vast, numbering hundreds of millions of queries a day to some 3 billion documents, it spreads its database across several data centres, each comprising thousands of individual servers. Since it aims to assemble a complete map of the web once a month, updating all its data centres with the new index can take several days.

Each time you query the main Google domain at www.google.com, the domain name itself could direct you to the IP number for any one of its data centres, depending on your location in the world and the relative loads in terms of internet traffic using the data centres’ servers.

Google runs two additional domains, www2.google.com, and www3.google.com, which are used as testing grounds for the new index after re-indexing has occurred and while the search engine’s relevance ranking algorithms and PageRank iterations are being re-calculated. Once the new index has been tested and its results deemed satisfactory, it is then transferred in turn to each of Google’s individual data centres.

Most of the time when you query Google, you will not observe this behaviour taking place. During the period of the transfer however, you may notice the results on Google ‘dancing’ up and down depending on which data centre the domain www.google.com is directing you to and whether or not that data centre has been updated with the new index. It is for this reason that the updating period is known as The Google Dance.

The Google Dance Viewer is simply a tool which allows you to query each of Google’s data centres from one convenient interface, and compare the results against those of the main Google site. If you are a webmaster, you can thus see whether the Dance is taking place and how the latest update may be affecting the ranking of your web sites.

Click here to try the Google Dance Viewer.

How to spot and stop spam

March 8, 2008 – 2:15 PM

Unsolicited e-mails now infuriatingly clutter many inboxes, just as paper junk mail buried many a front door map. But is smart technology set to save us from spam? To us humans, spam is very easy to spot.

Unfortunately to your computer one e-mail message looks very like another.

Without help it will see nothing special about the formatting in junk mail to distinguish it from the stuff you want to read.

Many anti-spam programs work by scanning e-mail messages for the keywords that spammers use, but your genuine friends tend to avoid.

Full story…

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