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2015 Reverse Phone Lookup
A worthy cause: Update Your Parents' Browser Day
Perhaps you have a hard time getting behind National Parfait Day or Dress Spotty Day.Here's a worthy cause for today, though: Update Your Parents' Browser Day.The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal came up with it as a constructive pasttime for the day after Thanksgiving, when many folks are visiting their folks at home.If you can't persuade your parents to drop Internet Explorer 6 because YouTube will stop working, "wait until they slip into a tryptophan-induced coma and then sneak into the den," Madrigal suggests.I'd throw protection against security vulnerabilities into the upgrade argument, too--there's a time and a place for scare tactics, and browser upgrades is one of them. And I'd also advise sticking around to make sure your parents are comfortable with any user-interface changes.My own personal motivation is a lot more carrot than stick, though. Using old browsers sucks up Web developers' time as they struggle with compatibility issues, and it keeps them from adding useful features that can make Web sites more polished and responsive. And if you want to observe family traditions by playing the guilt card on your parents, you can say that people who use new browsers are indirectly hurt by those who use old browsers.The event has drawn support from Microsoft and Google's influential search exec, Matt Cutts. They're preaching to the choir, though--my guess is that anybody who reads Windows and IE blogs or follows a prominent Googler on Twitter already has a newer browser. If you're a member of that choir, go bring the modern-browser gospel to your parents.Wisely, Madrigal also recommends not switching browser brands on your parents. Of course, that means all those Windows XP users with IE will only get as far as clunky old IE8, since Microsoft chose to make Windows Vista or Windows 7 as a requirement for the speedier and more modern IE9. But even IE8 is a big step up from IE6.Though it's now a decade old, IE6 still accounts for 7.86 percent of global browser usage, according to Net Applications' data. Even Microsoft is trying to get people to upgrade off IE6 now.Unfortunately, , countries that don't observe Thanksgiving. Fortunately, filial piety holds that it's always a good idea to take care of your parents.One of the big reasons IE6 remains popular is that it's used in corporations that are reluctant to switch for reasons such as internal Web site compatibility or IT staff constraints.Cajoling your parents may be hard, but getting corporate computer support staffs to budge is a lot harder. Nevertheless, I have a suggested addition to Madrigal's idea.When any of you still saddled with IE6 gets back to work on Monday, observe Beg Your CIO to Upgrade the Company's Browser Day.Aardvark emerges: Social search that works
It archives everything on the Aardvark Web site, where you can also manage your friends and the topics you're interested in helping people with.Aardvark's intelligence is the parsing and networking. It assigns categories to your natural-language queries and matches them to people who've indicated they can answer questions in them. I won't be getting fashion queries, for example, but I might get questions on places to take 2-year-olds in San Francisco.I also set it up so I only get questions when I'm online (per my IM status), so I don't get questions stacking up in my account.In its early stage of development, it connects to AIM, GTalk, and Windows Live Messenger, but not to Yahoo IM. It also connects to Facebook. That's great--you don't have to start your Aardvark network from scratch. I found that 20 of my Facebook friends were already on Aardvark, and when I sent out my first query, I got replies back in minutes from people on that list as well as from friends of the person who invited me to Aardvark, co-founder and ex-Googler Nathan Stoll.Who told Aardvark what I know?Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNETI was impressed by the speed and quality of the answers I got back to my sample queries. Also, Aardvark expanded on the three topic areas I put down that I was knowledgeable about with several more that were accurate. I think it got them from my Facebook profile.You could of course use Twitter to send questions to your circle of friends, but Aardvark is better, since it sends queries to friends of friends, doesn't spam all your followers with questions they may not be able to answer, and collects and organizes the replies for you.Aardvark doesn't yet work with Twitter, but that's coming, as are Yahoo IM and SMS connections.Stoll said Aardvark will open to the public "in a few months."See also: Fluther (review), another IM Q&A service, and Delver (review), a social-proximity-based search engine.ACCC websites exposed to email data breach
According to a statement released this afternoon on the ACCC's news website: "The ACCC has today become aware of a breach of personal data collected from some of its websites. The affected websites are Recalls Australia, Product Safety Australia, SCAMwatch and the ACCC Public Registers website."All four websites feature the Australian Government ".gov.au" domain, and are used by both consumers and businesses — Recalls Australia, for example, offers updates on products being pulled from shelves because of safety risks, while SCAMwatch allows individuals to confidentially report banking and identity theft scams. According to the ACCC, the email addresses of some people who subscribe to information alert services on these websites were "inadvertently made accessible online". "They were not indexed by search engines or linked from a web page on our sites," the statement continued. "They could only be found if specific URLs were tried. The ACCC resolved this issue as soon as it became of aware of it to prevent further access to the email addresses. "The ACCC is investigating how this issue occurred and is reporting this breach to the Office of Australian Information Commissioner."It is not yet clear to the ACCC how many users have been affected or how long this has been an issue. The ACCC takes the issue of privacy, including any breaches, very seriously and apologises to affected users."While the ACCC was not offering further comment on the matter, a spokesperson for the commission confirmed that the privacy breach was unrelated to the Heartbleed OpenSSL security bug discovered in recent days.