Follow Your Favorite NFL Team on Your iPad in Flipboard

With N4MD’s new NFL coverage it’s simple to stay up-to-date on your favorite pro football team on your iPad. Simply add your team to your Flipboard favorites and you’ll be informed of all the important team news all season long.

Here’s how to add your team to Flipboard:

  1. Launch Flipboard and click the “+ More…” box or on the “More…” in the red ribbon in the upper right corner.
  2. That will open the “Add Content” page. This is where you can search for your team’s magazine. Type the appropriate search term for your team:
    – Type FanMag_Cards for the Arizona Cardinals.
    – Type FanMag_Bucs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
    For all other teams type FanMag_YourTeamName. For example, FanMag_49ers, FanMag_Steelers, FanMag_Cowboys, etc.

    Then just tap the magazine which will appear in the search results (see the red arrow in the image below).

  3. The final step is to add that magazine to your Flipboard favorites. Do that by tapping the “Add” button at the top of the screen.

Foiling Phishers

Recently the editor of Kiplinger’s magazine asked readers to suggest (nonviolent) ways to punish phishers. This month they printed the most popular response: overwhelm the phishers with false information. I think that’s a great idea. And since I got a phishing email just hours after reading that this (obvious) fake Wells Fargo site will be my first victim. I think I’ll hit them with about 10 fake sets of data. Somebody should make a site to collect URLs of these clowns. Just imagine if they started getting hit with thousands of useless user IDs & passwords each day… 🙂

Technorati Beta

Check out the revamped (and well designed) Technorati. Here’s what’s new in the beta release:

  • We’ve improved the user experience, making Technorati accessible to more people and, specifically, people who are new to blogging. We’ve tried
    to make it very simple to understand what Technorati is all about, and make it easy to understand how we’re different from other search engines.
  • We’ve learned from the incredible success of tags, and brought some of the those same features into search, as well as expanding tag functionality. Now, if your search matches a tag, we bring in photos and links from flickr, furl, delicious, and now buzznet as well.
  • We now have more powerful advanced search features. You can now click the “Options” link beside any search box for power searching options.
  • We’ve added more personalization. Sign in, and you’ll see your current set of watchlists, claimed blogs, and profile info, right on the homepage, giving you quick access to the stuff you want as quickly as possible.
  • New Watchlist capabilities have been added. For example, you no longer need a RSS reader to watch your favorite searches. Now you can view all of your favorite searches on one page. Of course, you can still get your watchlists via RSS, and it is even easier to create new watchlists. You can also get RSS feeds for tagged posts, just check the bottom of each page of tag results!

Interview with a Link / Comment Spammer

The Register interviewed a link spammer who revealed some of his methods and motivation. The bottom line — spammers can make up to seven figure incomes from some simple computer code. Some key points:

For even a semi-competent programmer, writing programs that will link-spam vulnerable websites and blogs is pretty easy. All you need is a list of blogs – which again, even a semi-competent programmer will be able to pull together (by searching for sites with keywords such as “WordPress”, “Movable Type” and “Blogger”) a huge list of blogs to hit.

And people like Sam are much more than competent. “You could be aiming at 20,000 or 100,000 blogs. Any sensible spammer will be looking to spam not for quality [of site] but quantity of links.” When a new blog format appears, it can take less than ten minutes to work out how to comment spam it. Write a couple of hundred lines of terminal script, and the spam can begin. But you can’t just set your PC to start doing that. It’ll get spotted by your ISP, and shut down; or the IP address of your machine will be blocked forver by the targeted blogs.

So Sam, like other link spammers, uses the thousands of ‘open proxies’ on the net. These are machines which, by accident (read: clueless sysadmins) or design (read: clueless managers) are set up so that anyone, anywhere, can access another website through them. Usually intended for internal use, so a company only needs one machine facing the net, they’re actually hard to lock down completely.

By this Sam means spammers setting up their own blogs, and referencing posts on zillions of blogs, which will then incestuously point back to the spammer, whose profile is thus raised. So what does put a link spammer off? It’s those trusty friends, captchas – test humans are meant to be able to do but computers can’t, like reading distorted images of letters. “Even user authentication can be automated.” (Unix’s curl command is so wonderfully flexible.)

“The hardest form to spam is that which requires manual authentication such as captchas. Or those where you have to reply to an email, click on a link in it; though that can be automated too. Those where you have to register and click on links, they’re hard as well. And if you change the folder names where things usually reside, that’s a challenge, because you just gather lists of installations’ folder names.”

Some People Just don’t Understand RSS

Last night I happened across a post by Martin Schwimmer entitled “Why I Have Asked Bloglines To Remove My Site From Its ‘Service’“. It generally accepted that BlogLines is by far the number one news aggregator so I had to go read that post. Here’s Martin’s post (emphasis is mine):

This website is published under a Creative Commons license that allows for non-commercial use, provided there is attribution. Commercial use and derivative works are prohibited.

It was brought to my attention that a website named Bloglines was reproducing the Trademark Blog, surrounding it with its own frame, stripping the page of my contact info. It identifies itself as a news aggregator. It is not authorized to reproduce my content nor to change the appearance of my pages, which it does. In response to my inquiry to Blogline’s CEO as to whether they sell advertising, he indicated that they ‘are not currently running advertising.’ Nevertheless, the Blogline’s home page currently is soliciting ‘targeted advertisements.’ I would also assume that Blogline is accumulating commercially-useful mailing lists (its privacy policy appears to allow it to sell information). The privacy policy also has a provision entitled ‘mergers and acquisitions’ clearly allowing it to sell its lists.

Thus, in my view, Bloglines’ reproduction of my site is a commercial derivative work. Bloglines has agreed to remove my site from its service and I thank it in advance for its cooperation.

I create content in part to promote my law firm, which I cannot do effectively if my contact info is removed. I do not participate in targeted advertising programs because the majority of advertisers that target the keyword ‘trademark’ are competitors. I cannot prevent such advertising when my page is reproduced and ‘framed’ by a third party.

For the 190 of you who subscribe to this site through Bloglines, I apologize for any inconvenience, but I think that you will still find my site easily accessible, here.

If anyone desires the convenience of being notified only when this blog (or most any blog) is updated, then I recommend subscribing to one of the many RSS programs available.

Those of you who are familiar with syndication will understand why Martin was quickly reamed across the blogosphere. People rightly pointed out that other aggregators display ads, including “My Yahoo!”. So to single out BlogLines, which isn’t even showing ads yet, and is very likely his biggest pool of RSS readers doesn’t make much sense.

The part that really gets me is when he talks about BlogLines “reproducing his site” and “Stripping out his contact info”, yet he tells people to use (other) newsreaders. Martin fails to realize that newsreaders only display what’s in your feed. So if Martin didn’t put his contact info inside his feed it won’t display in any of the newsreaders. It seems to me that Martin would have been better off changing his feed to:

  1. Only display excerpts/summaries of his posts.
  2. Include his contact information on every post.

His other option is to turn off his RSS feeds.

Martin does raise an interesting issue about fair use of feeds under Creative Commons licenses. I won’t pretend to be able to describe what constitutes fair use but it seems to me that Bloglines isn’t doing anything different than any other aggregator.

Interestingly enough, another attorney, Dennis Kennedy, also has issues with Bloglines. I’m beginning to share Scoble’s fear that RSS may soon come under legal attack.

P.S. If Martin is so concerned about others making money off of his content he should ask the search engines not to index his site. That’s where he really needs to be concerned about ads being wrapped around his content!

Six Apart Addresses Comment Spam Issues

There’s some important information MovableType’s blog about Movable Type creating server load issues when dealing with comment spam. It contains some tips for lessening your server load while Six Apart readies a patch. I’m glad to hear that Siz Apart is on this because I was really getting worried after reading ‘MT Plus Comment Spam Equals Dead Site‘ the other day.

Comment Spammers are Wilding Out

I just took a look at my MT-Blacklist statistics and was shocked by what I saw. A couple of weeks ago I noticed an increase in the amount of comment spam that was slipping by the blacklist. So I decided to add some items of my own to the filter. I’m not going to list the terms that I added (in case any spammers are watching) but they’re easy enough to figure out. OK, I’ll mention one — I added the “URL Pattern” ‘texas’ to block all the “texas holdem poker” spam. I added nine other similar items to my blacklist. Collectively they’ve blocked about 1,500 messages in about two weeks. What would we do without MT-Blacklist???

On a related note, are they just giving “.info” domains away for free? Probably 95% of the spam attempts come from (ridiculously long) “.info” domains. Spammers are registering new domains faster than we can add them to blacklists. Somebody stop the madness.