Posts Tagged ‘Google’

customersYears ago … deep in the last millennium … the Managing Director of the ad agency I worked for stuck a photocopied note on the wall outside the door of his office.

It read “If there’s anything a customer loves more than a reactive agency, it’s a pro-active agency”.

Time and again in the last 25 years we have had cause to reflect on those words, and to consider how right he was. Customers stay with agencies that don’t wait to be asked to help. Customers move to agencies that demonstrate initiative.

Then again, there was an interesting counter-intuitive moment in the Wellthisiswhatithink household over breakfast this morning.

Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink’s cellphone rang, and it was our local estate agent. About a year ago we asked them in to give us an idea of what the house might be worth, in case we decided to sell. (We didn’t.) Since then we have received Christmas cards, Easter cards, birthday greetings, and even once, chocolates.

After politely informing the realtor that we weren’t selling anytime soon, he obviously chanced his arm a bit and kept talking. “Look, we’re really not interested.” Mrs W warmed to her task. “Would you please take us off your list? Yes, off your list altogether. Thank you.”

customer puzzleSo much for “Customer Relationship Management” systems.

I can’t really fault the professionalism and interest shown in us by the poor chap.

We just popped up on his computer screen once too often and he tried a bit hard.

I have often wondered how much pro-active contact from companies is too much. It’s a fine balancing act, to be sure.

Anyhow, coincidentally, later in the morning, (when you’re pregnant all you see is babies, right?) at the Wellthisiswhatithink desk we wandered across these comments in a discussion on the topic:

“As companies adjust to the emergence and convergence of both new and more customer service channels, reactive customer service remains the day-to-day norm for most organisations. But taking steps to move from predominantly reactive service and support delivery, to reactively proactive, to proactive can make all the difference in increased customer satisfaction and retention, establishing a differentiator for the brands that can (even at times) delight in this manner.”

Interesting. The article continued:

“According to a recent Harris Interactive survey of more than 2,000 consumers, 87% of U.S. adults are receptive to being proactively contacted by an organisation when it comes to service and support. Nearly three-quarters (73%) who have had a pleasant surprise or positive experience with proactive communication from a brand report they had a also positive change in their perception of that organisation; 62% said they took action as a result of that positive experience.”

Yet the same article reported that only 29% of enterprises are investing in proactive outbound communications, even though customer expectations for real-time updates and information may be steadily increasing, and new service channels such as social and mobile are making it easier than ever to reach out proactively at scale.”

The article went on to make these suggestions for making a move to more proactive customer service:

social media

1. Provide Alerts and Updates.

Use channels such as mobile, social, IVR messaging and Knowledgebase/FAQ updates to provide reactively proactive (great) or proactive (even better) information and updates about service and product statuses.

For example, utilities companies could use the above-mentioned channels to proactively alert and update customers on outages and estimated service restoration times. Retailers could alert customers as to shipping specials, price reductions, product availability or recalls, and airlines can proactively update passengers regarding delays, cancellations or weather announcements. In the USA Delta Airline’s mobile app, for example, proactively delivers flight notifications and allows customers to re-book without having to call or wait in line at the airport. All of these proactive communications can reduce high call or email volumes as well as social media complaints.

2. Make Money or Time-Saving Suggestions.

While predictive analytics have been a topic of conversation for many years now in customer service, the technology to make full use of them is now catching up. A great example of this anticipatory service is Google Now, which combines information that Google knows about you from the devices you use, your location and your online searches to suggest information you might need before you even need it, whether that’s weather, traffic information or the nearest metro station. Brands can apply the same analytics to dramatically improve the customer experience.

Historic analytics can also be used to save customers money, which typically results in delight. Whether it’s an adjustment in utilities usage based on the customer history, or notifying a customer who has placed and then removed a pricey electronics device from their online shopping cart three times that it is now on sale, this proactive customer communication can foster enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Reach Out with a Random Act of Kindness.

Where brands can impact the individual customer experience and deliver delight is through random acts of kindness. Provide customer service representatives with a 15 to 30 minute window each day to reach out to at least one customer whether that’s by phone, email, social media or what have you, just to say thanks for being a customer, happy birthday, hope your day’s going well, or to even present them with a discount or small thank you.

The brands that make this extra effort to deliver small unexpected kindnesses with no expectations will master what customers are craving from today’s big brands: authenticity, care and delight created by a small human kindness.”

Well, we’re not so sure. We can’t fault the logic. We can’t fault the intent. And we’re sure pro-active marketing is going to employ a lot of people in coming years.

But we are tempted to also wonder whether marketeers risk merely adding to the information overload that we all suffer from, and producing the exactly opposite result to that which they intended.

Maybe it’s just that pro-active marketing is a bit like salt in the marketing stew. Just the right amount brings out all the great flavours of everything else. Too much, and the whole thing becomes inedible. And ensure the pro-activity suits the character, likes and dislikes of your audience.

Leave chocolates on my doorstep whenever you like. Don’t ring over breakfast.

(In his “day job”, the author of Wellthisiswhatithink is a marketing and advertising consultant working for one of Melbourne’s leading ad agencies, Magnum Opus, To chat to Steve Yolland about proper grown-up paid advertising advice or to sample his communications knowledge, or maybe to get an opinion on your organisation’s current public profile, just email him on

I think I need a pork and Nazi curry for dinner tonight.

I think I need a pork and Nazi curry for dinner tonight.

1. There’s just no point telling someone with whose political beliefs you disagree in a bunch of places in Southern Africa that they’re a Nazi.

In Swahili, it means “coconut”.

2. Never get in the water without checking for vending machines first.

You are four times as likely to be killed in the US by a vending machine than a shark. Vending machines kill 2.18 people compared to .6 of a person, per annum.

So the movie should have been called “Drawers” not “Jaws”, we guess.

3. A “tittle” isn’t a rude word, much as we like the word “tit” on this blog. (Use the search box and see why.) A tittle is the little dot above an “i”. Hence the term “every jot and tittle” meaning “every little thing”.

In case you’ve always dreamed of knowing what all the other bits of type are called, here you go. of such happy little facts is a creative person’s life made up. Pretty sad? Yup.

4. Human sperm travel about 7-10 inches an hour. Giddyup boys!

5. The sun is “20 years old”. Since it’s inception, it has traveled round the centre of our galaxy 20 times.

6. You are about 40% more likely to survive a plane crash in the back row of a plane than in the front row, according to a study in Popular Mechanics that investigate all plane smashes in the period 1971-2007. Wellthisiswhatithink could have predicted this: not many planes reverse into mountains in our experience.

Then again, you’ll have to sit for hours while an entire plane load of people empty their bladders just behind your head after they’ve enjoyed their breakfast, so we still think we prefer the big seats at the pointy end, thank you very much. We’ll take our chances.

Insert very impressive chart stolen from the interweb here. Pretend you know what it means.

Insert very impressive chart stolen from the interweb here. Pretend you know what it means.

7. OK, this is very cool. Worried about cell phone emissions? By the time you’ve read this paragraph, hundreds if not thousands of billions of neutrinos pouring out of the sun will have passed through you. Specifically 65 billion neutrinos pass through every square centimetre of you that is currently perpendicular to the Sun. Zap. Kapow. And stuff.

8. “Mother in Law” is a perfect anagram of “Hitler woman”. Cute, huh?

Horrid then. Horrid now. Trust us, boil your head in acid first, you'll have more fun.

Horrid then. Horrid now. Trust us, boil your head in acid first, you’ll have more fun.

Which leads me also (constantly mindful of the need to add value to our discourse, Dear Reader) to remind you that Fratton Park, home of the hated Portsmouth Football Club, is also an anagram of “Krap? Nottarf.”

Oh, how we laughed in those lazy hazy days of summer when they were relegated. Again.

And did you know “Here come dots” is an anagram of “The Morse Code”? Well, dash it, you do now.

9. Your average beef cow (about 200 kilos worth of usable meat) makes up about 4,500 McDonalds burgers. Doesn’t seem enough, really, does it? Poor thing.

The average iPhone in a case sold by the Chinese ladies on the stall at my local shopping centre weights 3.2 kilos.

The average iPhone in a case sold by the Chinese ladies on the stall at my local shopping centre weighs 3.2 kilos.

10. A 32Gb iPhone weighs about 0.000000000000000008 grams more when it’s hard drive is full as opposed to being empty. I mean, who needs to know that?

11. During his lifetime, an average male human will produce about 1,500 sperm a second. That’s enough to repopulate the earth more than 400 times at the current population level of about 7 billion. A woman, however, will produce only about 450 eggs to be fertilised in their lifetime.

Lift your game, girls. No wonder men spend so much time trying to work their way into the gene pool. The wastage figures are horrendous!

(This column is getting very sperm-y. Ed.)

12. OK, this has to be the best trivia contest question ever.

Which American was both Vice-President and President, but wasn’t elected to either position? Answer: Gerald Ford.

Surely the most remarkable thing Gerard Ford did in his lifetime was actually to lose to Jimmy Carter.

Surely the most remarkable thing Gerard Ford did in his lifetime was actually to lose to Jimmy Carter.

He replaced Spiro T Agnew as VP when he resigned for corruption, and then the ever-lovable Richard “Tricky Dicky” Nixon when he resigned for, well, for doing just about everything illegal a President could do really.

If you fancy another rider to the main question, you might care to note that Ford also lived longer than any other U.S. president, living 93 years and 165 days, while his 895-day presidency remains the shortest of all presidents who did not die in office.

13. If you search the word “askew” in Google, the browser results will actually tilt and be askew. Go on, try it, you know you want to. The same happens with “tilt”.

14. Oh, those crazy wacky student types. Have a look: cheerfully redirects you to … Berkeley.

15. So, that’s enough for today. Except: “Am I as bored as you are?” (Now try reading it backwards. Clever, huh?)

(Yes, that was fifteen. Roll on the weekend.)


Overnight, Wellthisiswhatithink smashed triumphantly through the “100,000 articles read barrier”. We can only say we are delighted, heart-warmed, humbled, and excited at this major milestone.

One hundred thousand readings of whatever it is we have been burbling about is an astonishing compliment, Dear Reader, and one that we can only respond to with an increased determination to deliver commentary, thoughts and stories that you will continue to find stimulating, thought-provoking and meaningful.

As is customary at such moments, and in the fading light of a blessedly cool and grey afternoon, we turn to Google to find anything else interesting to say about the figure 100,000.

First and foremost, one hundred thousand (100,000) is the natural number following 99999 and preceding 100001. In scientific notation, it is written as 105. So there.

In South Asia, one hundred thousand is called a lakh. The Thai, Lao, Khmer and Vietnamese languages also have separate words for this number: แสน, ແສນ, សែន [saen] and ức [uc] respectively.

In astronomy, 100,000 metres, (equivalent to 62 miles) is the altitude at which the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) defines spaceflight to begin.

In the Irish Language, Ceád Mile Fáilte (pronounced: KAY-ed MEE-luh FOIL-cha) is a popular greeting meaning “A Hundred Thousand Welcomes”. Which seems a neat way to sum up our gratitude to everyone who has visited the blog.

In piphilology, (wonderful word), one hundred thousand is the current world record for the number of digits of pi memorized by a human being.

Lucinda Drayton

Lucinda Drayton

But by far the most delightful surprise we found when scouring the worldwide resources of the interweb for references to 100,000 was this gorgeous song “100,000 Angels” which was originally by a band called Bliss and has been covered by a variety of singers such as here by Lucinda Drayton, (who toured with Bliss), and more recently by Sinead O’Connor.

The more world-weary amongst you may be surprised that I believe angels walk the earth with us, but if one has any religious belief they are mentioned repeatedly in religious documents of all major faiths, and I believe that if we listen, we can hear their guidance.

As someone said: Our “unseen friends” surround us with their love and light daily. You have to reach out beyond the dark periods in your life. Learn the lesson, act with pure intent and listen to your conscience.”

Reach beyond – yes, one must be active to hear the angels. Especially in times of challenge or grief. Whilst you must acknowledge it, you must reach past current difficulty. Look away from the problems, the sadnesses, and the fear. Look for goodness, search for meaning, and celebrate the possible.

Very often, the joy we seek is all around us, we just don’t notice it.

I also believe, profoundly, that the angels sent to us are often simply the people we meet, often entirely unaware that their steps or actions are being guided to help us, and completely un-knowing of the effect their strength, kindness or advice is having on us.

The music is soothing, and ethereally beautiful. The video is rather exquisite, too. Let it in.

Do you
Hear me calling you?
The voice of a mother, a father and a child
Would you recognize the truth?
Do you feel a love that’s falling from my eyes?

Take just a minute
Come and rest you by my side
Let me tell you your own story
Let me walk you through your lives
Only a second
That’s all it takes to realize
There’s a hundred thousand angels
By your side

Do you
Hear me talk to you?
I whisper through the doorways
And pathways of your mind
Clear like the morning dew
And fresh from my journey
Cross an ocean of blue

Take just a minute
Come and rest you by my side
Let me tell you your own story
Let me walk you through your lives
Only a second
That’s all it takes to realize

There’s a hundred thousand angels by your side
There’s a hundred thousand angels here, tonight

If you need an angel, I hope one is near you.

Here’s to the next 100,000 conversations. With love, Stephen.

Apple Maps Navigation iOS 6 vs iOS

iO6 on the left, iO5 on the right

(From Yahoo and others)

Apple today released iOS 6 through an over-the-air update and Australian users everywhere are getting ready to upgrade their devices.

Apple has updated iOS like clockwork each year, adding marquee new features like iCloud and multitasking. This year, iOS 6 is a relatively modest update. Apple has instead focused on refining the experience, there are a multitude of nips and tucks and the operating system feels faster than ever.

However there are still some key new features, and interestingly a few big ones that have been removed from prior versions. iOS 6 adds Facebook integration, smarter Siri commands and Passbook, a much-touted (and potentially very significant) digital wallet to store your tickets and coupons.

Critically, Apple has removed Google Maps from the operating system and replaced it with their own Apple-built maps application.

They’ve also left out the previously built-in Youtube app.

Let’s take a closer look at how the new features stack up.

Goodbye Google, hello Apple maps.

The most visible change in iOS 6 is unquestionably the banishing of Google maps to make way for Apple’s own revamped mapping service. Apple has now taken control of the location and map experience on their devices, removing their biggest competitor from the platform. But what does that mean for users?

The new maps application adds some great features that were previously missing, the biggest being turn-by-turn navigation coming in an October update for Australian users. It works very similarly to devices from TomTom and Garmin, enter your destination and the app will present different routes for both driving and walking.

Navigation mode displays in a rich 3D view giving a bird’s eye perspective of the road you’re driving on, in typical Apple style the experience is smooth.

You can even enter destinations through Siri, try it by telling Siri “take me home”.

‘Flyover’ is another key feature of the new maps application.

As the name suggests, it literally allows you to fly over cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. It’s an astonishing presentation of satellite imagery, a 3D view of the city allowing you to pan in and around the skyline. It’s currently limited to bigger Australian cities and other cities around the world, expect Apple to keep adding and enhancing this with more satellite data over time.

Not all good news

It’s not (yet) all good news for maps, however.

As this excellent review (including screen caps) discusses, public transport information is one of the casualties, as Apple hasn’t added this data to their application. Instead you’ll need to download third party apps to get this functionality, at least until Apple is ready with their own transit data. Google’s extensive business listings and points-of-interest are also missing, and while Apple has used Yelp and Yellow Pages to add some of this data it’s not as comprehensive as it was in the prior maps application. Presumably Apple will add functionality as they catch up. The new maps certainly look nice, but will that compensate for loss of function, even temporary?


Apple has added a new built-in app to digitally store all those tickets, coupons and gift cards you have in your wallet or purse. Instead of fumbling in your email trying to find that movie ticket or digging through app folders to find a coupon code, Passbook aims to simplify the process by storing all these items in one location.

It also utilises the device’s GPS abilities in a convenient way. If you have a coffee card stored in Passbook, when you walk into the associated coffee shop it will send a push notification and pull up the card right on your phone. It’s a futuristic feature however at launch it seems anemic, with few supporting services. Virgin Australia and Event Cinemas have stated they will be supporting it, but we’ll have to patiently wait for more businesses to offer Passbook integration to make it useful. In due course, it may replace all manner of paper and plastic items.

Siri knows more

Apple hailed Siri as the stand-out feature in the iPhone 4S, today Siri has been added to the iPad and has also received some major improvements.

The virtual assistant with attitude can now look up sports scores, local business listings, give directions, post to social networks and open apps. Li’l ol Australia hasn’t received all of Siri’s new features though, for example missing is the ability to book restaurant reservations and pull up movie listings. Grrr.

Still, it’s a solid update and the inclusion of the once missing business and location listings in Australia is a welcome improvement. It’s not quite the virtual assistant as demonstrated in Apple’s ads, but it’s slowly getting there with each iteration. Apple still lists Siri as being in beta, in an apparent attempt to lower expectations.

I ‘like’ this

For all fellow Facebook addicts, Facebook is now baked-in like Twitter was in iOS 5. This means you can sign in to Facebook directly through the settings app, giving users the ability to share photos and other items directly from the device without using another application.

They have also added a convenient Facebook post button directly in the notification panel, allowing to you post and also tweet from any screen.

Apple has added the ability to ‘like’ apps directly in the App Store. When you like an app, it will be shared with your friends and you can also see when your friends have liked an app right in the store.

There are numerous other features and enhancements that make using iOS 6 an improved experience.

Do Not Disturb

‘Do Not Disturb’ is one such feature;  it’s essentially a switch that allows you to stop all incoming notifications such as messages, phone calls or alerts. This is really useful before bed or in a cinema. You can even set exemptions, so if you still want all calls from your partner or colleague/boss to come through you can set that in the settings. Very helpful and practical.

‘Photo streams’ are now shareable, so you can take a few photos and directly share with them a friend or group of friends. This will be useful at parties or for times you don’t necessarily want every photo up on Facebook.

Apple have also added the ability to comment and like photos, a surprising move adding more social networking style features to the Photos app.

The Bottom Line?

Overall it’s a solid update to an already strong mobile operating system loved by many.

Apple have decided to take a more cautious approach with this release, looking to add refinements and improve the overall experience without rocking the boat too much.

It’s significant that Apple have removed key Google features like maps and Youtube, which is a signal that Apple doesn’t want to rely on competitors to provide core features for their platform. It will also be a challenge for Apple to provide a comprehensive mapping service like Google does.

If you already enjoy the iOS experience, then updating to iOS 6 is a no-brainer. If you prefer Android or Windows Phone, this update will not do much to change your view. As a whole, it’s an update that doesn’t rely on one big feature to sell it like in past updates, but iOS 6 still provides an overall more pleasant and useful experience. Seems Apple pretty much can’t miss a trick right now.

Computer Spying

A few easy suggestions for how to stop your computer spying on you.

How to Stop Facebook from Tracking You

By Samantha Felix | Business Insider – Thu, Sep 13, 2012 10:13 AM EDT

Do Not Track Plus

Just installed this, and it got rid of one tracker on my computer instantly …

Most people don’t realize that Facebook can continue to monitor their internet activity, even if they are no longer logged into the site.

Using “Facebook Connect,” and other social plug-ins, Facebook is able to set up a cookie on any site that has a “Like” or “share” button, giving Facebook access to a startling amount of user information. Technically, the purpose of these plug-ins is to authenticate users, but it still has the ability to collect personal information such as the IP address of your computer, browsing data, outside login information, phone numbers, etc.

The cookie, known as the “datr” cookie, has been a controversial topic for the past year. Using this cookie, among other things, Facebook knows what you have read on a web page even if you did not click the “like” button. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “for this to work, a person only needs to have logged into Facebook or Twitter once in the past month. The sites will continue to collect browsing data, even if the person closes their browser or turns off their computers.”

To help users control how and when their information is tracked and distributed, companies such as Abine and Ghostery have developed tools that allow users to block Facebook social plug-ins, cookies, and other trackers.

We identified five practical options for consideration, including an option for web site publishers that will help protect their customers from trackers while keeping their websites running smoothly.

Do Not Track Plus — A browser add-on that will identify and block trackers.

(DNT+ website)As Business Insider previously reported, Abine’s DNT+ tool is a FREE add-on that monitors, tracks, and allows users to block any trackers and requests that may be following their internet activity. It is compatible with MAC or PC for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. It is currently able to block more than 600 trackers, and automatically updates to catch new trackers.

Ghostery is similar to DNT+ but this add-on is also available for Opera.

GhosterySimilar to DNT+, Ghostery is a browser add-on, owned by Evidon, that protects consumer privacy while online.

By giving the consumer visibility into who is tracking their online activity and allowing them to block all or specific trackers, it empowers users with the ability to stop third parties from collecting their personal information without permission.

It currently has more than 16 million monthly users and pulls data from over 26 million web domains via an opt-in service of 7 million users.

Ghostery is free to download, free to use, and does not contain any adware or spyware.

It is available for all major browsers: Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer.

Disconnect and Collusion for Chrome — A robust tool that will identify and block trackers, but is only available for Chrome.

Collusion for ChromeChrome Disconnect Website

Similar to DNT+ and Ghostery, Chrome Disconnect allows you to stop third parties and search engines from tracking your web activity. Specifically, this tool focuses on allowing users to disconnect from sites such as Facebook, Digg, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo without risking the performance of the sites.

The tool blocks identifiable cookies while allowing you stay logged into various sites.

Collusion for Chrome
This site allows users to then see which third parties are tracking them by graphing the spread of the data from sites to tracks, exposing them, and giving users the ability to block the trackers.

Consider adjusting browser settings to control trackers.

Adjust your settingsBefore downloading yet another piece of software on your computer, consider simply adjusting the settings on your browser.

Firefox: Firefox> Tools> Options> Privacy> click the box that says, “Tell websites I do not want to be tracked.” Then you should set it to “never save your history” and remove cookies frequently.

Chrome: Chrome> Preferences> Settings> Advanced Settings> Privacy> Content Settings> Click, “Block Third Party Cookies and Site Data.”

Safari: Safari> Preferences> Security> Accept Cookies> select “never.” You might also want to consider browsing privately so your history and passwords are not stored, and thus accessible.

Internet Explorer 10: Microsoft’s latest version of Internet Explorer 10 will default to a “Do Not Track” position. The browser will send a signal to advertisers altering them that users do not want to be tracked.

Stop it before it starts with Evidon — A blocking and tracking tool for web publishers.

Evidon(Evidon)Evidon Encompass Revenue Protection

This product is designed for website owners who want to keep the intentional tracking code on their sites from spawning additional code from third parties. It allows websites to see all trackers and how they are affecting the site’s performance, while securing the site’s customer data.

Evidon Encompass Privacy

This is a tool designed specifically for web publishers to help them both comply with privacy regulations, ePrivacy Directive and “AdChoices” self-regulatory programs, and protect the private information of their customers. In addition to showing all of the trackers on a site, and where they are originating from, this tool also alerts web site owners of everything that needs to be disclosed to consumers about how their information is being used.

Well done to Business Insider for publishing such a useful article with great links. I suggest you employ one of these means to stop peopleyou don’t want to know your private business, er, knowing it.

I am updating and re-publishing this article, because if your computer is ever going to go tits up because of a virus you didn’t even know you had, it’s going to happen on Monday, and if it does, well, you are going to be bloody irritated with yourself that you didn’t check sooner.

For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing vital Internet connections this July.

Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world.

In a highly unusual response, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system is to be shut down.

So the FBI and other law enforcement authorities are encouraging users to visit a website run by the FBI’s security partner, , that will inform them whether they’re infected and explain how to fix the problem. You must check now: because after July 9, infected users won’t be able to connect to the Internet.

This means you. Maybe.

About 300,000 computers worldwide remain infected, it is estimated, as at this weekend.

Most victims don’t even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.

Last November, the FBI and other authorities were preparing to take down a hacker ring that had been running an Internet ad scam on a massive network of infected computers.

“We started to realise that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because … if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service,” said Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent.

“The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get ‘page not found’ and think the Internet is broken.”

On the night of the arrests, the agency brought in Paul Vixie, chairman and founder of Internet Systems Consortium, to install two Internet servers to take the place of the truckload of impounded rogue servers that infected computers were using.

Federal officials planned to keep their servers online until March, giving everyone opportunity to clean their computers. But it wasn’t enough time. A federal judge in New York extended the deadline until July.

Now, said Grasso, “the full court press is on to get people to address this problem.” And it’s up to computer users to check their PCs.

This is what happened

Hackers infected a network of probably more than 570,000 computers worldwide. They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim computers. This turned off antivirus updates and changed the way the computers reconcile website addresses behind the scenes on the Internet’s domain name system.

The DNS system is a network of servers that translates a web address — such as — into the numerical addresses that computers use. Victim computers were reprogrammed to use rogue DNS servers owned by the attackers. This allowed the attackers to redirect computers to fraudulent versions of any website.

The hackers earned profits from advertisements that appeared on websites that victims were tricked into visiting. The scam netted the hackers at least $14 million, according to the FBI. It also made thousands of computers reliant on the rogue servers for their Internet browsing.

When the FBI and others arrested six Estonians last November, the agency replaced the rogue servers with Vixie’s clean ones. Installing and running the two substitute servers for eight months is costing the federal government about $87,000.

The number of victims is hard to pinpoint, but the FBI believes that on the day of the arrests, at least 568,000 unique Internet addresses were using the rogue servers. Five months later, FBI estimates that the number is down to at least 360,000. The US has the most, about 85,000, federal authorities said.

Other countries with more than 20,000 each include Italy, India, England and Germany. Smaller numbers are online in Spain, France, Canada, China and Mexico.

Home users most at risk

Vixie said most of the victims are probably individual home users, rather than corporations that have technology staffs who routinely check the computers.

FBI officials said they organised an unusual system to avoid any appearance of government intrusion into the Internet or private computers. And while this is the first time the FBI used it, it won’t be the last.

“This is the future of what we will be doing,” said Eric Strom, a unit chief in the FBI’s Cyber Division. “Until there is a change in legal systems, both inside and outside the United States, to get up to speed with the cyber problem, we will have to go down these paths, trail-blazing if you will, on these types of investigations.”

Now, he said, every time the agency gets near the end of a cyber case, “we get to the point where we say, how are we going to do this, how are we going to clean the system” without creating a bigger mess than before.

(Thanks to AP, Yahoo and others)

The lazy man’s way to blog is, of course, to re-blog other people’s blogs when you agree with them. The page I link to below is short, charming, and thought-provoking. We should all remember this.

The rest of sgmarinova’s blog is good too. Why not look around while you’re there?

BBQ Pork Buns 茶居

BBQ Pork Buns – picture stolen unashamedly from internet. Copyright be buggered. Look, it’s Sunday, right? Be nice.

Anyway, personally, I am not putting off going to Taipan for Yum Cha lunch for another Sunday.

Monosodium glutamate overload here I come. I may re-deem myself later by posting a nice photo or two of some food. Celebrating authentic Chinese culture. And, er … eating.

I am not sure the Buddha would agree that chowing down on seemingly endless dishes of squid tentacles, pork buns (see pic) and various non-identifiable masses wrapped in rice paper is noble. Not to mention sticky rice, that amazing invention that sits in your gut like a cannon ball for days. Comfort food for winter. (And winter has arrived in Melbourne with a vengeance … brrrr.)

Well, maybe the little fat smiling Buddha outside my front door would approve. But given the Buddha sat under a tree not eating much for years, where did the fat Buddha come from in world consciousness?

Hmmm. I feel some Google research coming on.


Busy, crowded, chaotic, noisy, delicious. Yum Cha at its finest at Tai Pan in Doncaster, Melbourne

Too much is never enough.

Nom, nom, nom …

I do love the internet. Well, I’m fascinated by it, anyhow.

One of the great things about WordPress is it lets you see which Google searches (or other search engines) have led to people dropping in on your blog. I always give it a glance, to see whether my tagging of the 100 articles I have now written and image descriptions and so on is actually doing any good.

Anyhow, here is a brief selection of ways that people found my writing the last two days.

  • the biggest naked tits in the world
  • big breast touch
  • snooki
  • hot teen naked tits
  • short naked teen with big tits
  • big tits naked
  • who has the biggest tits
  • tits actress Italian
  • nude beach big bobs
  • bigtitted readheads
  • tits

You’ve gotta love that last one, haven’t you?

Just “tits”.

Now there’s someone who knows exactly what he wants Google to deliver him. (Well, “Him”, presumably. But maybe not.) I just had to have a go. And you know what? Hopefully seaching on simply “tits” brings up 645 MILLION hits on Google.

So, if you could click on one link a second, which you can’t, that’s over 20 days of wall-to-wall mammary glands of all shapes and sizes. Why oh why doesn’t WordPress let me know who used that search term? I want to ring them and just ask, you know, wtf?

And a little way down the list was someone with a website called “Two Tits Per Hour”, which looked, on a cursory glance, like someone, somewhere could be bothered to post a photo of, yes, a girl with two tits, every hour. For, seemingly, ever. 24/7. Anonymously, for no apparent economic gain. I mean, hello?

Interestingly, Googling images of tits with “safe search off” revealed only 177 MILLION hits, so writing about tits is clearly more than three and a half times more common than photographing them. Who’d of thought, eh?

There was a slight pause in writing this article while I perused the Google images result. Research, dear reader, research. Within a very short space of time I had found my way to a website asking the question “Which celebrity has the best tits?” Apparently the answer is Jennifer Love Hewitt closely followed by Katy Perry. Discuss. No, better still, don’t.

Why my website has become such a magnet for tit searchers is because I wrote a serious (well, moderately serious) article about popular culture that actually included a discussion on popular TV’s obsession with, er, tits – and someone called Snooki from the show “Jersey Shore” in particular.

It’s far and away consistently the most popular article on my blog, and I actually am happy with it; I think it’s a fun read. Sadly, I am sure most of the people accessing it aren’t thoughtfully considering my erudite take on popular culture. They’re just accidentally rocking up there because about day 14 of their twenty day tit-fest I come up on Google. They will be sadly disappointed, and I apologise to them. You can read the original article here, and it’s worth it:

Meanwhile, I am delighted with all the attention my blog is getting, as some of the great unwashed will also be happening upon articles about politics, economics, culture, art, iPhones, and Lord knows what else. I think I am onto something here.

So: tits tits tits tits tits tits. Er, bottom. Arse. See how I did that? Targeting a whole new demographic. There ya go.

Oh yes, and some artfully shot pictures, of course to deliver satisfaction to the third or so of readers who need such things. A pair of Great Tits. Oo-er, missus.

A Great pair of Tits

Did you know the Great Tit is, like other tits, a very vocal bird, and has up to 40 types of calls and songs? Celebs: they all release an album sooner or later, right?

As I publish this, the blog is approaching 9000 hits. I confidently expect to crack 10,000 in about the next four minutes.