Saturday, February 23, 2008

Click Fraud Keeps Rising, Up 15 percent in 2007


click-fraud-chart-1.pngClick Forensics has some data out on click fraud (clicks on Internet ads that are not real) in the fourth quarter of 2007 and for the full year. The industry-wide average click fraud rate for the entire year went up 15 percent, ending the year with 16.6 percent of all clicks on Web ads being fraudulent. The click fraud rate for search engine ad networks alone, including Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network, grew even more. That was up 47 percent in the fourth quarter, ending the year with a 28.3 percent click fraud rate. According to this data, nearly one out of every three clicks on a Google or Yahoo ad is fraudulent.

While the year-over-year growth is cause for concern, the click fraud rates remained pretty steady compared to the third quarter of 2007, when the overall click fraud rate was 16.2 percent and the search-engine click fraud rate was 28.1 percent (see charts above). One quarter does not make a trend, but could the click fraud rate be leveling off? One can hope. If Google can ever get that rate to actually go down, maybe its stock will shoot up again.

Click Forensics also published the handy heat map below showing the countries where the most click fraud is originating. (Red is bad, green is benign). The biggest sources of click fraud are India (4.3 percent), Germany (3.9 percent), and South Korea (3.7 percent). Mexico is also in the red.


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Facebook Fatigue? Visitors Level Off In the U.S.



The number of people who visit Facebook has been leveling off over the past few months in the U.S., and even dipped by about 800,000 individuals in January. According to the latest stats from comScore, Facebook attracted 33.9 million unique visitors in January, 2008, down 2 percent from 34.7 million in December, 2007. Maybe all that friend spam has something to do with the decline. Will the Facebook fatigue get worse, or is this just a temporary dip?

Worldwide, Facebook is still doing fine. It grew 3 percent in January over December, attracting 100.7 million unique visitors. (MySpace had 109.3 million visitors worldwide, up 2 percent month-over-month. And in the U.S., it was slightly down as well from 68.9 million visitors in December, 2007 to 68.6 million in January, 2008. Despite its larger size, though, MySpace lost fewer visitors in the U.S. than Facebook did).


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Yahoo Buzz Launching Soon


Half of the country’s tech bloggers and journalists, it seems, are under embargo around next week’s launch of Yahoo Buzz. Word has still leaked, likely from recently layed off Yahoo employees. We’re under embargo, too, so I can’t say much. But the posters up all over Yahoo give a taste of what is.

“We’re re-launching Yahoo! Buzz as a destination site where users determine the best stories & videos” - sounds a lot like Digg to me. The URL given in the poster - - can only be accessed by Yahoo employees. The launch URL will be If you happen to be online, check out TechCrunch at 9 pm on Monday.

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Microsoft SkyDrive Offers 5 GB of Online Storage Space, Out of Beta


Windows Live SkyDrive, a free online storage service from Microsoft, just got better and bigger. They now provide 5 GB of storage space which is the same as offered by AOL XDrive.


SkyDrive was earlier available only for users in US, UK and India but now they have expanded the service to included many new countries including Australia, France, Switzerland and Canada among others.

Windows SkyDrive provides RSS feeds for their folders so your subscribers will know the moment you upload new files. You can also embed files / folders in web pages for your readers to download files directly from your website. | SkyDrive Team Blog

Microsoft SkyDrive Offers 5 GB of Online Storage Space, Out of Beta - Digital Inspiration


Embed Images from Google Maps In Emails & Blogs Without Using Screen Capture Software


It is now possible to embed live images of Google Maps in emails and other websites (like MySpace, Facebook or that do not allow JavaScript.

Earlier you had to take a screenshot of the Google Maps and save that as an image file but that’s no longer necessary as this Static Maps Wizard will let you create a still but dynamic image of any location on Google Maps.

For instance, the map of Hyderabad above is not a screenshot but a live image served from Google Maps using this URL.

You can place the Google Maps image in any web page using the standard <img> tag. For embedding maps in web emails (like Gmail), simply compose a new message and drag the Google Map on to the email body. Thanks Tom Manshreck.

Embed Images from Google Maps In Emails & Blogs Without Using Screen Capture Software - Digital Inspiration


Flickr Follows Wikipedia - No Google Juice for External Websites


flickr nofollow seo

Like Wikipedia and, Flickr too joins a growing list of websites that are ranked very high in search engines but do not pass any link juice to external websites.

Flickr has recently enabled the nofollow tag for all HTML links placed in photo descriptions and comments - that means Flickr will not pass any PageRank benefits to external sites. See example.

And though Flickr has nofollowed all external links, they still want external websites (who post Flickr photos) to link to the original photo page without using the nofollow tag (check the HTML code generated by Flickr when you want to link to some photo).


Surprisingly, the nofollow tag is not applied if the URL in the photo description points to another page on Flickr. And external links in descriptions of Flickr Sets and Photo Pools continue to pass PageRank as noted by Jeff Muendel but am sure that will change very soon.

Flickr Follows Wikipedia - No Google Juice for External Websites - Digital Inspiration


Friday, February 22, 2008

Upstart Solazyme promises to make fuel from algae


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It's not the first to turn to algae and biomass as a source of fuel, but upstart Solazyme seems to think it's got a leg up on other biofuel makers and its apparently lining up the deals and big bucks to prove it. As Technology Review reports, that includes Chevron, which is now in a "testing agreement" with the start-up, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which dished out a $2 million grant to the company. The trick that's attracted all that interest, it seems, is the company's particular way of using algae to convert biomass into fuel, which takes the apparently unorthodox approach of growing them in the dark, which causes them to produce more oil than they do in the light. What's more, Solazyme's method also apparently allows them to use different strains of algae to produce different types of oil, including a mix of hydrocarbons that's similar to light crude petroleum. Needless to say, all of this is still quite a ways away from finding its way into your car's tank, but the company has demonstrated its algae-based fuel in a diesel car, so it's at least moved beyond the lab.


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Intel Acquires Project Offset

Intel's sure in the gaming mood this week. Then again, that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's been following the events unfolding at the Game Developer Conference this week in San Francisco. On Tuesday, the news broke about the creation of the new Gaming Alliance between Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Acer, Nvidia, Razer and Epic Games.

On Wednesday, Havok, the premier provider of interactive software and services to digital creators in the games and movie industries, announced that the company would offer the PC version of its award-winning physics and animation software product – Havok Complete – for download free of charge. According to Havok's official press release, the download will be made available sometime in May.

Yet the biggest buzz coming out of the conference today is that that Intel has acquired Project Software, the creator of the yet released next generation first shooter fantasy video game called Project Offset.

According to Sam McGrath, Technical Director of Offset Software, "Today we have some major news to announce. Intel has acquired Offset Software. Yes, you read it correctly! Project Offset is going strong and we are excited about things to come. Stay tuned."

According to Offset Software's own website, the company started with just 3 people: Sam McGrath, Travis Stringer and Trevor Stringer. Initially working out of an apartment and completely self-funded, the engine and all art was created with a tiny budget — just enough to purchase the software and hardware needed for development. The budget was small but the goal was big: to create a next generation First Person Shooter set in a fantasy world (codenamed "Project Offset"), and a powerful game engine to run it.

After a year and a half of programming work by Sam McGrath on the game engine, and with the amazing artistic skills of Travis and Trevor Stringer, the three released the two "Sneak Peek" videos, showing off the technology and world behind Project Offset. The videos took the gaming industry by storm, showing that high quality, next generation technology, graphics, and gameplay rivaling that of the biggest game studios, could still be created by a small team.

You could check out one of their cool trailers here and another one here. In fact you'll notice that a number of others are available on the links to noted above.

Yet to understand what Intel was most likely interested in acquiring, you could check out Project Software's own technology overview webpage.



Thursday, February 21, 2008

NVIDIA's GeForce 9600 GT card is officially the new budget hotness


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It's been a long time coming, but it looks like the GPU industry finally figured out the fact that most consumers don't want to blow a couple grand on an SLI setup, they just want to play Crysis debt-free. The new GeForce 9600 GT from NVIDIA is an answer to those prayers, offering solid performance ratings nearly in line with last-gen's 8800 GT, at a completely lovable $199-and-under pricepoint. For now the top of the performance charts is still the 8800 Ultra -- as NVIDIA will readily admit -- but the 9600 GT is just the first of NVIDIA's GeForce 9 series, and while it's sure to be followed by bigger, badder and more expensive versions, it's refreshing to see the 9600 hitting the market first.

- GeForce 9600 GT
Read - PC Per GeForce 9600 GT review
Read - HotHardware GeForce 9600 GT review


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Convert PDF Documents to SWF Flash Movies Online with PDFMeNot


convert pdf swf flash Like Scibd and SlideShare, PDFMeNot is an online PDF to Flash converter that will instantly convert any Adobe PDF document into a Macromedia Flash (SWF) movie while preserving the original layout, image graphics and formatting.

The PDF to SWF converter can very useful when you have to embed PDF files in web pages for inline viewing or you want to read PDF files on a computer that has no Acrobat Reader.

Here’s how to create Flash movies from PDF documents:

1. Go to (Username: stateless Password: systems) and type the URL of the PDF file - you can use this PDF link as an example. Alternatively upload a PDF from the local hard drive.

2. In your Firefox menu bar, click Tools -> Page Info -> Media. Select the object that has an SWF extension (e.g.  and save it to your disk. That’s the SWF file created from your PDF document. For IE, here’s the trick to save Flash locally.

Bloggers can embed the following JS code in their web templates and PDF links will open in Flash SWF format via PDFMeNot.

<script type=”text/javascript” src=””></script>

While PDFMeNot is an extremely convenient option for quickly viewing PDF files in the browser without loading Adobe Reader, the downside is that the generated SWF objects contains Zoom but no Print and Search function. They are all supported in Macromedia Flash Paper format used by Scribd. Thanks Marshall.

Related: Convert PDF into 3D Flipbook Magazines, Embed PDF Files in Web Pages

Convert PDF Documents to SWF Flash Movies Online with PDFMeNot - Digital Inspiration


Infrared LEDs make you invisible to CCTV cameras


This German exibition is showcasing bright infrared LED devices that overwhelm the CCDs in security cameras, allowing you to move through modern society in relative privacy. I used this as a gimmick in my story I, Robot -- now I want to own one!
The URA / FILOART developed device promises to the citizens of a more reliable protection against security measures of the state (and other Ɯberwachenden).

In addition to monitoring purposes organised systems interaction between man and machine is still IR.ASC an additional interaction between machines dar. This absurd accumulation of technology is symptomatic, because although the entire expense of the protection measures for the alleged safety of citizens is made, the person slips on the importance scale of the current security plan ever deeper down.

Link (Thanks, Bill!)


Debunk: Samsung P9 UMPC


Filed under: , , , ,

We've been getting tipped all morning on a supposed Samsung P9 UMPC. Sorry Charlie, it's not the P9. It's not even from Samsung. As sleek and sexy as this crazy, detachable slider is, no amount of wishful thinking is going to make it more than a university design project. An HTC Shift-inspired concept by Umang Dokey. Okie, uh, dokie? Nevertheless, we've posted the video after the break -- it deserves to be seen.

Continue reading Debunk: Samsung P9 UMPC


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Integrate Skype IM into Pidgin [Featured Early Adopter Download]


skype_plugin.jpgWindows/Mac/Linux (All platforms): Multi-protocol instant messaging client Pidgin can do a lot of things, especially through built-in plug-ins, but has yet to integrate internet calling service Skype into its offerings. Enter the Skype API Plugin, an early attempt at getting Skype's instant messaging features working in Pidgin (or Adium for OS X users). The good news: It's relatively easy to install and actually works. The bad news: Voice calls can't be made from Pidgin, and you have to keep the Skype application running in the background (which you might do anyways to make and receive calls). The plug-in also imports every out-call and phone contact in your Skype account as a contact, so heavy Skype users might keep this plug-in disabled by default. All in all, however, it helps reduce the number of contact windows on a desktop and provides a promising early look at (hopefully) tighter integration. The Skype API plug-in is a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux systems.


Strip DRM from Your iTunes Purchases with DoubleTwist [Featured Windows Download]


Windows only: Freeware application doubleTwist converts your DRM-laden iTunes purchases to DRM-free MP3s that you can play pretty much anywhere. In addition to the DRM-stripping (which really is the marquee feature), doubleTwist is actually a full-fledged tool for sharing music with friends and syncing your iTunes library to any device—currently supporting devices like the PSP and Sony phones, Nokia N-Series phones, Windows Mobile phones, and even the Amazon Kindle. The DRM-stripping isn't lossless (sound degradation is reportedly about 5%), but at a conversion rate of about 100 songs per half hour, it's very fast. Brought to you by DVD Jon (the guy famous for cracking DVD encryption), this freeware, Windows-only (for now) app can free you from the shackles of Apple DRM.


A Steak Toaster. Did You Hear Me? I Said a Steak Toaster [Good Eatin]


steakhouse-grill-ariete.jpgSometimes, you just want a steak and you don't want to go through a whole process to get it. Who wants to light the grill just so you can have one measly steak? Why make a whole production out of it? What you need, my friend, is a steak toaster.

OK, so it's not called the steak toaster, it's called the Ariete SteakHouse Indoor Grill, but that's pretty much what it is. It holds your hunk of meat vertically, keeping the heating elements on the side so all the fatty, greasy juices drip down to a tray and don't smoke. Sure, for $220 you could just fire up the grill, go to a steak house or get a cheap George Foreman grill to get similar results, but then you wouldn't be able to brag to your friends that you have a steak toaster. [Product Page via Boing Boing Gadgets]


Next-Gen Microsoft PC Concept Attaches to Your Neck Like a Symbiote, Feeds Off Your Life Force [Majority Report]


momenta.jpg The Momenta PC is a finalist in Microsoft's Next-Gen PC Design Competition that you strap to your neck. It records your whole life in an active buffer until it detects your heart rate going up. Then it really turns on, and records whatever's making you excited until you tell it to stop, so you can check it out later, Cloverfield-style. Or green, poorly lit raccoon-eye-style of a night you actually didn't want to remember. Or...okay there's about a million ways this is nothing but trouble. [Next-Gen PC Design via core77]