Saturday, April 14, 2007

MP3 Players Cause Hearing Problems.

If you like listening to mp3 players, or you have kids who do, MoneyControl.Com has a bad news for you. And it's not about money, it's about hearing.

"A survey carried out in the UK has shown that today's youth are at a risk of going deaf up to 30 years earlier than their parents because they are listening to MP3 players too loudly and too often.

The survey found that 14% of people spend up to 28 hours a week listening to their personal music player. More than a third of people who have experienced ringing in their ears after listening to loud music, listen to their MP3 player every day. Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, is a sign of damage to their hearing.

Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK, says, "Many young people are regularly using MP3 players for long periods of time and are frighteningly unaware of the fact that loud noise can permanently damage your hearing. Hearing loss can make life unbearable. It cuts people off from their family and friends and makes everyday communication extremely difficult."

The survey also found that 38% of 16-34 year olds are not aware that listening to loud music on a personal music player, going to loud bars/nightclubs/concert, playing loud music in the car or working with machinery, can damage their hearing. 28% of 16-34 year olds visit noisy bars, pubs or nightclubs once or twice a week and 82% of people who have experienced tinnitus after listening to loud music go to nightclubs - of these, a quarter go once a week or more."

Admin�culos extra�os del USB que no sab�as existido
Drug Tests Methadone

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Man Who Put Al-Qaeda on the Web

This isn't really weird tech news, but Barry Levin of NewsFactor.Com has done some extensive research of on how al-Qaeda got to use the Internet for their evil deeds. It's a great read.

The Man Who Put Al-Qaeda On The Web

by Barry Levin

Like radar in the last century, the Internet is a radical new tool that is helping to redefine the dimensions of warfare. For al-Qaeda, the shadowy terrorist organization behind 9/11, the Net is helping it to be everywhere and nowhere.

But there are real people, in real space, maintaining what is, in effect, al-Qaeda's I.T. department. Last October, the most important member of that group so far -- the man who has been called "the Godfather of cyber-terrorism" -- was arrested. He is a 22-year-old Muslim immigrant to Great Britain named Younis Tsouli.

On that cold autumn morning, police raided the West London flat where Tsouli lived and worked, and arrested him. As they entered, Tsouli was reportedly putting the finishing touches on a Web page titled "You Bomb It." On his hard drive, police said they found a video of how to make a car bomb, and another showing several locations in Washington, D.C. Tsouli, now residing in Belmarsh Prison in England, is expected to go on trial in January, along with two other young Muslim immigrants arrested at the same time.

The three suspects were reportedly discovered at least in part as the result of intelligence obtained in previous busts in Sarajevo and Denmark. In the Sarajevo arrest, more than 40 pounds of plastic explosives and a suicide-bomb belt were reportedly found, as well as plans pointing to bombing attacks in Europe and the U.S.

Although he may have been part of those cells, Tsouli was not your ordinary terrorist. By all indications, it appears that he was the most visible al-Qaeda Internet operative so far, better known by his screen name: Irhabi007.

Radar brought pinpoint tracking to the age of centralized warfare. By contrast, the Internet, in this distributed age, is helping to decentralize warfare. And like many decentralized franchises, al-Qaeda has come to use the World Wide Web for marketing, distribution, research, fund raising, recruiting, and, on occasion, operations.

Marketing Terrorism

But, at first, the Internet was only a means for al-Qaeda to distribute its equivalent of brochures. "Initially, before 9/11, [al-Qaeda] appeared to be using the Net primarily as a marketing tool," says Ned Moran, an intelligence analyst at the Terrorism Research Center outside Washington, D.C. He cites a Web site called as a key promoter of radical Islam.

Shortly after 9/11, and others were attacked by unknown hackers and shut down. It was about the time that al-Qaeda was being pushed out of Afghanistan, and the Internet became a perfect communications mechanism for what was now a terrorist organization on the move.

At that point, Moran says, "They were forced to innovate." On the Internet, al-Qaeda undertook two big innovations.

First, like any organization that wants to secure a loyal base, al-Qaeda wanted to increase its online "stickiness" and cultivate its market, and so it started to use community-building tools. Bulletin boards, chat rooms, and other mechanisms -- sometimes under passwords and mostly in Arabic -- became key attractions.

And, second, the Internet operations began to repeat themselves. Many sites were launched, and content was cross-posted between several dozen of them. Al-Qaeda's Internet operations began to mirror its replicating terrorist cells, multiplying as soon as some were destroyed. But all the while, the Net was a key unifier. The Internet operation, Moran says, was "the central pole in the tent holding up the organization."

Al-Qaeda became, in the words of a BBC2-TV series last year, "a global brand driven by the power of the World Wide Web."

But Aaron Weisburd, the head of an anti-terrorist group called Internet Hagganah, downplays the number of al-Qaeda sites. "The 'proliferation of jihadist Web sites' is not quite the problem it is made out to be," he says. "There are really only a handful of Web sites of significance, and the rest are peripheral, though as Web sites fall, some in the periphery may gain more significance."

Weisburd contends that, behind the curtain, "There are only a relatively small number of people responsible for much of what we see online."

License to Kill

It was in this murky scene -- al-Qaeda emerging in various forms on the Net, but with no dominant personalities -- that a character known by the screen name of Irhabi007 emerged.

Posting and boasting his way to prominence, Irhabi007 started appearing on radical Islamist bulletin boards and in chat rooms. He had no apparent reluctance in melding "irhabi," which means "terrorist" in Arabic, to the code number of the world's most famous, albeit fictional, British secret agent.

In addition to his proclamations, Irhabi007 frequently posted low-level, apparently stolen documents, such as a purportedly official Israeli map program, complete with serial number, and a U.S. Army Handbook on Intelligence for Combat Commanders. He was also posting training tips about the Internet for other jihadists.

Irhabi007 "put a face and a name to al-Qaeda's Internet presence" for the first time, Moran says.

According to Internet Hagganah, Irhabi007 was not a native speaker of Arabic, and, when posting in that language, he used translation software. But English was often his language of choice. "We all know some Yankees recentely [sic] got back from Iraq," went a typical posting, as quoted by Internet Hagganah, "and we all know these idiots tend to tape on camera anything so im [sic] sure in a couple of weeks we might see personal home pages displaying footages from Iraq giving us � a little insight into how things go."

Irhabi007 was also becoming known for ratcheting up al-Qaeda's use of the Internet for propaganda, rapidly posting documents and media. For instance, he gained notoriety for quickly posting the gruesome video of American Nicholas Berg's beheading, as well as many videos.

The Berg decapitation was reportedly downloaded half a million times in 24 hours. As was his specialty, Irhabi007 made sure that it was cross-posted at other sites, in order to handle the traffic. He was, Moran says, "sort of al-Qaeda's super administrator."

The 2004 Berg video in particular became a model. It showed a masked man purporting to be none other than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as the executioner. Killed in June by an American air assault, al-Zarqawi was the apparent leader of the al-Qaeda contingent in Iraq. That video and others like it -- of similarly gruesome executions, or attacks on Americans, or training exercises -- influenced the creation and distribution of similar material from other terrorist cells, such as ones from Thailand. Most of these videos were in clear homage to al-Zarqawi.

In fact, it was Irhabi007's speed in posting information and media relating to attacks, especially those in Iraq, that led to his reputation as al-Zarqawi's Internet point man.

The Net-distributed videos and proclamations became an important part of al-Zarqawi's outreach to the faithful. Osama Bin Laden was known for using Al Jazeera, the Arab world's most prominent TV network, to get his message out. But beginning with a communiqu� posted on a jihadist forum in 2004, al-Zarqawi began to cultivate the Internet to distribute pronouncements and media.

Al-Zarqawi discovered, for instance, that when he allowed a video scene to be posted showing his face for the first time, within hours followers had posted translations of his words into several languages. If the Web was pumping up the global brand of al-Qaeda, that brand was hot in certain circles.

And Irhabi007 was its PR guy.

"He facilitated a lot of online activities," Weisburd says, "often committing crimes along the way. He was always part of a bunch of guys all working on similar projects, not all of whom are in custody." Far from being a tech mastermind, Weisburd says, Irhabi007 "was more a problem solver than a great hacker."

"He seemed to have had an energizing role, in that videos started to regularly appear," says Mark Burgess, director of the World Security Institute's office in Brussels. "He was good, but he wasn't a rocket scientist. He got caught."

Binary Bread Crumbs

According to Internet Hagganah, by mid-2004 Irhabi007 had established a pattern of behavior that included posting Web pages on free hosting sites, sometimes with downloadable materials. He was regularly posting on jihadist forums like al-Palsm and al-Erhap and, when those forums ended, on another called Muntada al-Ansar al-Islami. The al-Ansar forum in particular was connected to al-Zarqawi.

Irhabi007 was beginning to attract his own following, with terrorist wannabes sometimes attaching "007" to the end of their screen names. By the fall of 2004, he was able to post videos of suicide bombings faster and more efficiently than most others, and received a clear mark of distinction: public praise from an aide to al-Zarqawi. According to the Terrorist Research Center, Irhabi007 was even credited as the "administrator" on al-Zarqawi's al-Ansar site.

Internet Hagganah said it kept after Irhabi, getting the free Web and FTP sites he was using to shut down. "The point of that effort was not to silence Irhabi007," the group reported later on its site, but "to keep him busy. This increased the chance of him making a mistake that would allow us to locate him. The plan worked better than expected."

"There's an old saying: In jungle warfare, the jungle is neutral," says Burgess of the World Security Institute. "Like anything else, the Net has its vulnerabilities. [Terrorists] can spread their ideology, but potentially they can be tracked down."

In mid-2004, Irhabi007's brazenness began to work against him. In July, he became an FBI target for the first time when he tried to use an FTP server that belonged to the State of Arkansas Highway Department.

He even registered as a domain, using the name and address of an American first lieutenant stationed in Iraq.

When, at one point in 2004, Weisburd and his group succeeded in getting Irhabi's service provider to shut him off, Irhabi hit the roof. He posted threats in chat rooms of how he was going to slice up Weisburd. Weisburd, who acknowledges that he always keeps a loaded gun nearby, reported the threat to the FBI.

But then Irhabi started to leave a trail. On a site he was developing to post threats against targets in Italy, he left his IP address. Weisburd says Irhabi also left a different IP address on another online community he visited.

Then, Weisburd says, his group did a little fishing. Internet Hagganah posted a notice on its site warning that Irhabi's files were infected.

His wounded pride as an Internet administrator must have affected his judgment, because, in reply, Irhabi became even more careless. As part of an effort to show that his files were not infected, Weisburd says, Irhabi posted a screen shot that included a third IP address -- but it was only partially blurred out.

According to Weisburd, all three IP addresses pointed to the Ealing area of London, and he says he passed the information to U.S. and British authorities at the time. Nearly a year and a half later, whether from that lead or from the information obtained in the Sarajevo raid, or both, Tsouli was arrested. Reportedly, it was only after his arrest that authorities realized they might have just captured Irhabi007.

Since Tsouli's arrest, no one has posted using that screen name.

Calculated Risks

Although Irhabi007 seems to have been involuntarily retired, the Net-based terrorist subculture could yield another star. There have even been online competitions, according to Burgess, in which prospective terrorists can display their skills, such as a competition to fire a rocket and hit a U.S. military target in Iraq.

But this isn't American Idol. If it's a War on Terrorism, why aren't the sites being forced to shut down by Western authorities?

"While these sites can present a danger, they give us a great window into [terrorists'] mindset," says Moran, the intelligence analyst. As an example, he cites a recent, foiled plot to blow up buildings in Toronto -- with information apparently provided, in part, by al-Qaeda-leaning chat rooms. News reports indicated that the Internet was used for communication, coordination, and recruitment in that plot.

There has also been speculation that some of the al-Qaeda sites are actually "honey pots" -- fake sites set up by Western intelligence agencies as part of a Net-based sting operation, in order to capture such information as the credit card numbers used to buy videos.

Some have wondered if, by not immediately trying to shut down sites that post information about making bombs and poisons, authorities aren't taking a fatal risk in the name of acquiring intelligence about a bigger plan. Not to worry, says George Smith, a senior fellow at the public-policy and research organization Smith dismisses the effectiveness of al-Qaeda's online training information. "The level of sophistication is equivalent to what teenagers were distributing about 10 or 15 years ago," he says.

While al-Qaeda and its sympathizers see the Internet as another weapon in the hands of radical Islam, it is in fact "a double-edged sword," Moran says. Terrorists can recruit, propagandize, even exchange tactical information, he says, but they are also vulnerable. "They can be tracked down."

As in the jungle, successfully tracking down targets requires that they leave a trail.

Some observers believe that al-Qaeda Internet operatives are not much more than serious amateurs, unable to hide their activities very well. Moran notes that in discovering a reported plot targeting commuter trains in New York, authorities found that the planners were using the Internet in "unsophisticated ways," such as communicating without using a proxy server. This made their trail easier to follow.'s Smith describes the general level of Internet security maintained by al-Qaeda as "really lousy," and says that its sites are routinely invaded by people within U.S. borders. Moran goes so far as to call the online terrorists "script-kiddies," a derogatory term for inexperienced hackers who use programs developed by others. For example, he says, in trying to promote denial-of-service attacks, the jihadists have simply instructed sympathizers to "download this tool and drop in an address."

But primitive can be deadly. After all, primitive box cutters and a basic understanding of how to fly a plane brought down the World Trade Center. What happens when al-Qaeda learns the Internet equivalent of flying a plane?

It means that it will be much harder to track and decipher the terrorist network, Moran says. For example, if al-Qaeda ever mastered heavy encrypting of communications, he says, it could lead to major problems. "And al-Qaeda might only need that info to stay encrypted for 24 hours. NSA (the National Security Agency) might be able to decode it, but maybe not fast enough."

Moran says he believes al-Qaeda is trying out new tactics, such as saving communications as "drafts" within free e-mail accounts but never sending them. If the message is never sent, it can never be tracked. But anyone can log onto a free e-mail client with a screen name and password and read the information contained in the draft.

There have also been unconfirmed reports that al-Qaeda has used steganography, the process of writing hidden messages that only the intended recipient will recognize. Al-Qaeda's particular brand of steganography encodes media files -- such as a photo -- with secret messages that can be seen only at the binary level, when the photo is reduced to its bits and analyzed.

Not all observers believe that al-Qaeda's Internet operations are junior-grade. Some experts, such as terrorist researcher Evan Kohlmann, have said that al-Qaeda is quite sophisticated in its use of the Internet. And another terrorism expert, Bruce Hoffman of the Rand Corporation, recently testified before Congress that not enough is being done to counter al-Qaeda's propaganda on the Net.

Finally Paying Attention

Regardless of al-Qaeda's level of expertise, there are indications that Western authorities are finally paying serious attention to what might collectively be referred to as

They apparently now realize that al-Qaeda's use of the Internet, as described in a 2003 study by the U.S. Army War College, constitutes "an outstanding command-and-control mechanism." And at least some authorities realize the obstacles the West faces in bringing down such a mechanism, including a lack of native Arabic speakers who are also computer experts.

"The tipping point might have been the London bombings of July 7, 2005," Moran says. Like the 9/11 plotters, the terrorists in that attack, which took 52 lives and wounded about 700, apparently used the World Wide Web in planning the catastrophe.

A tipping point seems to have been reached by al-Qaeda as well, in that the Net has become invaluable in both the ideological and actual war against the West. Tsouli, his presumptive alter ego Irhabi007, and al-Zarqawi are now out of the Internet business. But they have helped to establish the notion of online jihad as war by other means.

By the end of World War II, the Allies had the upper hand in radar and planes, and we owned the sky. Whoever owned the sky, won the war.

But no one owns the Internet. And, at this point in history, it is not yet clear if the online War on Terrorism will ever fall off the radar.

E un'altra cosa?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Five Weird But Obscenely Profitable AdSense Niches

I'm now reading a new site about AdSense niches (NicheGeek) and it lists profitable niches that are quite different from what ever-so-popular keyword list creators are trying to sell you (GeekNiche is 100% free, too).

I've picked five weird niches that make at least 50 cents per click or more. That's about 5-10 times what an average AdSenser can expect to make.

Psychic Readings.

Psychic readings are nothing new. You've probably seen ads for phone psychic readings on cable stations for years. You can expect to make up to 70 cents per click on average and individual clicks may very well be worth couple of bucks.

Car donations

Now, think about that. Someone would give you something that worth several hundred to several thousand dollars (donated car) FOR FREE. Wouldn't you love it? All you have to do to get that free money is to advertise. Of course, car donations is a great AdSense niche.

Breathalyzers And Alcohol Tests

Now, I don't know why this is a killer niche. I guess is a thriving market for breathalyzers out there, including portable breathalyzers, like keychain breathalyzers or cellphone breathalyzers that I wrote about.

ATM Machines

Holy crap, you can buy anything online today, including an ATM Machine. I wonder if it comes with cash, though? I wouldn't mind paying three grand for an ATM if it came with $20000.


CCTV simply stands for Closed Circuit Television and it's basically a video surveillance system. CCTV and other types of surveillance systems are creeping up everywhere – not just convenience stores and warehouses, but offices, homes, parks, streets, schools, etc.

Les Am�ricains ne veulent pas �tre des amis avec quiconque

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Top 10 Dumbest Online Business Ideas That Made It Big Time.

EBay Success Story

1. Million Dollar Homepage

1000000 pixels, charge a dollar per pixel – that's perhaps the dumbest idea for online business anyone could have possible come up with. Still, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old who came up with the idea, is now a millionaire.

2. SantaMail

Ok, how's that for a brilliant idea. Get a postal address at North Pole, Alaska, pretend you are Santa Claus and charge parents 10 bucks for every letter you send to their kids? Well, Byron Reese sent over 200000 letters since the start of the business in 2001, which makes him a couple million dollars richer.

3. Doggles

Create goggles for dogs and sell them online? Boy, this IS the dumbest idea for a business. How in the world did they manage to become millionaires and have shops all over the world with that one? Beyond me.

4. LaserMonks is a for-profit subsidiary of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank, an eight-monk monastery in the hills of Monroe County, 90 miles northwest of Madison. Yeah, real monks refilling your cartridges. Hallelujah! Their 2005 sales were $2.5 million! Praise the Lord.

5. AntennaBalls

You can't sell antenna ball online. There is no way. And surely it wouldn't make you rich. But this is exactly what Jason Wall did, and now he is now a millionaire.

6. FitDeck

Create a deck of cards featuring exercise routines, and sell it online for $18.95. Sounds like a disaster idea to me. But former Navy SEAL and fitness instructor Phil Black reported last year sales of $4.7 million. Surely beats what military pays.

7. PositivesDating.Com

How would you like to go on a date with an HIV positive person? Paul Graves and Brandon Koechlin thought that someone would, so they created a dating site for HIV positive folks last year. Projected 2006 sales are $110,000, and the two hope to have 50,000 members by their two-year mark.

8. Designer Diaper Bags

Christie Rein was tired of carrying diapers around in a freezer bag. The 34-year-old mother of three found herself constantly stuffing diapers for her infant son into freezer bags to keep them from getting scrunched up in her purse. Rein wanted something that was compact, sleek and stylish, so in November 2004, she sat down with her husband, Marcus, who helped her design a custom diaper bag that's big enough to hold a travel pack of wipes and two to four diapers. With more than $180,000 in sales for 2005, Christie's company, Diapees & Wipees, has bags in 22 different styles, available online and in 120 boutiques across the globe for $14.99.

9. TruGamerz

Faux-suede padded covers for game controllers and gel thumb pads for analog joysticks? No one will buy that. Forget it. The product proved to be so popular, it got picked up by and and annual sales new exceed half a million dollars.

10. Lucky Wishbone Co.

Fake wishbones. Now, this stupid idea is just destined to flop. Who in the world needs FAKE PLASTIC wishbones? A lot of people, it turns out. Now producing 30,000 wishbones daily (they retail for 3 bucks a pop) Ken Ahroni, the company founder, expects 2006 sales to reach $1 million.

Deux t�tes de technologie cr�ent UFOs faux, font effrayer la ville enti�re

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Weird Gadgets, Part One

If you are looking for a weird gadget, Japan is the best place to start. For example, they have a gadget called "Otohime." It has a sensor that detects when you sit down and automatically plays the sound effect of water rushing for 25 seconds (I researched this today) to mask the sound of your ablutions. I found this article from a Japanese newspaper called Metropolis that talks about the gadget and its history.

Before the Otohime existed, some 90 percent of Japanese women admitted to flushing twice when they used public toilets, according to a Toto survey. Nearly all of those who did said they wanted to mask their own unflattering flatulence.

The product was first conceived 12 years ago by Suzue Endo, a Toto employee. She, too, was a double-flusher. What bothered her was the enormous amount of water that was being wasted. (On average, one flush of the toilet requires 13 liters of water.) She thought, however, that if women had some kind of a noise maker, they might not flush and needlessly waste water. That was the idea that she pitched to her bosses at Toto.

The next question was what sound effect to use. "They considered music, chirping birds and a trickling stream," said Taiki Kiyosue, a Toto employee in the sales and planning division. "But after conducting a survey of female employees, they finally settled on a flushing toilet."

With that, the Otohime was born. But the concept itself is hundreds of years old. In fact, Japanese aristocratic women may have used such noisemakers as early as the 15th century.

One artifact from that period is an ornate vase with a spigot that, when opened, splashes water to drown out the urinary hiss. By the 17th century Edo Period, upper-class women were opting for a more human touch.

History has it that the wife of Yoshinobu Tokugawa, last in a line of the ruling Tokugawa shoguns, allegedly dragged an attendant into the lavatory with her. While the Tokugawa princess peed, her attendant would swish water about in a bowl. Others had an attendant repeatedly drop balls of dirt into a pot of water to disguise any disgusting sounds.

That custom perhaps explains why the Otohime has been such a hit here. Toto officials also use it, however, to explain why the product's overseas debut is not in their near-term plans. "There are the obvious cultural differences", Kiyosue said.

Not to mention the potential for confusion. One long-time employee of this magazine told of how she once spent several confusing minutes in the loo searching for the flusher. Eventually, she came upon the Otohime, only to find that while pressing the button brought the predictable sound of rushing water, the contents of the bowl stayed put. Frustrated, she left without flushing.

Mariah Carey Song Lyrics

Monday, April 9, 2007

Five Strangerst iPod Accessories

1. iPod Toilet Paper Holder ($99)

2. Bullet Proof iPod Case (Hot In Japan)

3. iPod Nano Thong ($19.95)

4. iPod Chair Man Speakers (sold in Japan for $33)

5. Tunebuckle

Insieme a parte

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Best Tech Joke Of All Times.

Hello, gang, this is my favorite tech joke of all times. If you think you've got something better, make sure you post your joke in the comments.

At a computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: "If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason at all, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally, executing a manoeuver such as a left-turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, and you would have to reinstall the engine.

4. When your car died on the freeway for no reason, you would just accept this, restart and drive on.

5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought 'Car95' or 'CarNT', and then added more seats.

6. Apple would make a car powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would run on only five per cent of the roads.

7. Oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single 'general car default' warning light.

8. New seats would force every-one to have the same size butt.

9. The airbag would say 'Are you sure?' before going off.

10. Occasionally, for no reason, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed the radio antenna.

11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of road maps from Rand-McNally (a subsidiary of GM), even though they neither need them nor want them. Trying to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50 per cent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.

12. Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

13. You would press the 'start' button to shut off the engine.

Drug Stability Testing