Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First Impression

Alan Henry

Odds are someone is searching the web for you right now, or at least has looked you up fairly recently. Do you know what they learned? Better yet, do you control the pages and profiles they visited? If not, it's time to take your online reputation into your own hands instead of leaving it to Google. Here's how.

Why First Impressions Matter on the Internet

How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First ImpressionIt's no secret that friends, nosy family members, and potential employers will all take to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to look for more information about you when they want it. In the case of family and friends, they already know you. When it comes to potential employers or people interested in working with you, it's important to make sure that the things they find about you are representative of who you are (or who you want them to think you are.) Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.
You don't have to be a job-seeker to understand the importance of your online reputation, though. You can be a freelancer or entrepreneur who wants to control their image, or just someone who doesn't your name dragged through the mud. It may seem like the wall of Google search results when you search your name is impossible to control, but there are some clever things you can do. In this post, we'll tackle some of them, and by the end you'll have a better picture of what people find when they search for you. With work, you'll even have better control over what they find.

Step One: Find Out Where You Stand (and Erase Embarrassments)

Before we get started, it's a good idea to see what others see when they search for you. Then we can tweak what we find so it's representative of the "you" that you want the public to see, not just what Google collects.

Search For Yourself on Google and Facebook

We'll start with Google. You've probably done a vanity Google search before, but if not, now's the time. Just log out of your Google accounts or use a browser where you're not logged in (Google personalizes results based on your account activity) and search for your name. Don't bother going more than a few pages deep, and make note of what you see. Remember, making a good first impression requires actually making an impression. While turning up nothing means no one will find anything bad, it also means they won't learn anything good about you, and that can be pretty bad too.
How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First ImpressionNext, let's check Facebook. You can view your public self on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Google+:
  1. Log out (or use a browser that's logged out) and search for yourself by name. Even if you don't use your name as your account ID, it may be easy to find yourself with a quick name search. See if that's the case, and see what's visible.
  2. Log back in and view your profile "as public." Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ all make it easy to do this from your profile page. This way you can see what your profile looks like to someone who stumbles on you, even if you're not easily found.
  3. Optional: Go deeper.We've covered how to do an even deeper dive on someone before. Most people won't go to such lengths, but if you're curious, give it a try.

Clean Up Any Results You Don't Like

Now that you've seen what others see, it's time to get rid of anything you don't like. You can't trust you'll have the opportunity to explain the bad stuff away in a phone or in-person interview. We've discussed how to fix internet embarrassments before. Whether the behavior is your own, someone trolled you and set up fake profiles to defame you, or someone's been impersonating you online, here's how to handle it for each service:
  • How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First ImpressionGoogle and Other Search Engines: If you found the offending results at Google or another search engine, ask them to remove the pages from their results. Google has a process for this, and another for Google Images, but they only apply to pages that have been taken down, or old, cached versions of pages that are still up-it's not for pulling down any old page. DuckDuckGo has a feedback form, as does Bing, where you can submit takedown requests for non-legal reasons.
  • Facebook: Deleting is your best option (so no one takes screenshots or makes your private posts public without you knowing.) Alternatively, change post visibility individually, or can go go to Privacy Settings > Limit Past Post Visibility to hide everything at once. Get familiar with Facebook's privacy options, and if the content is on Facebook but not under your control, we have some tips to help. Don't get caught making the same mistake Lindsey Stonedid. Make sure private posts are truly private, the only things public are the ones that showcase your public persona, and you think before you post.
  • How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First ImpressionTwitter: Twitter is easy, just look at your profile by name. If your profile is public, everyone can see it, and if you use your real name as your handle, it's easy to find. You can take your account private, but that won't stop public users from quoting you (although it does stop retweets) or responding to you publicly. Remember, Twitter is probably the most public of all networks. Think before you tweet.
  • Google+: Your posts at Google+ aren't as important as your Google profile. Hide anything you saw but wanted private when you viewed your profile earlier. Make useful details (a contact email address, links to your portfolio or personal web site, etc) are visible. Create topical circles for sharing andfamiliarize yourself with Google+'s privacy settings.
  • LinkedIn: If you post articles to LinkedIn, make sure they're professional in nature and relevant to the public persona you want to put forward. While you're there, go ahead and fill out your profile with additional details: odds are your profile may be incomplete, or the last time you updated it was the last time you changed jobs.
If all else fails, you can turn to services that promise to protect your online reputation. They're usually effective, but they all cost money. For example, previously mentioned BrandYourself (formerly Reputation Defender) will all help streamline this process for you.

Step Two: Beef Up Your Online Presence with Better Profiles, a Nameplate Site, and More

Now that we've ditched the bad stuff, it's time to build up the good stuff. Potential employers, business contacts, and people you network with will look you up anyway, so why not make sure what they find is what you want them to know?
How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First ImpressionSpruce Up Your Social NetworksYour social networks can be valuable tools if you use them. Update your LinkedIn profile with your interests and skills, not just your work history. Add some relevant interests to Facebook and leave them public. You may even want to like a few job or industry-related pages, or create a Facebook pagespecifically for your professional persona. Upload a good-looking profile photo to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google profiles, and consider filling out your photo gallery with flattering shots of you, your work, or even your projects and things you've worked on. Use every opportunity to showcase your skills, talents and interests, whether it's in the "Likes" section of your Facebook profile, or the photos in your Instagram account. There's nothing wrong with food photos at Instagram if you're a self-described foodie, for example.
Sign up for new services that best showcase your skills. For example, if you want your indie film to get attention or you want to expand the audience of your video podcast, consider signing up for Vimeo as well as YouTube. You get access to a whole new community, and much more exposure. Are you a writer? Consider nabbing a named Tumblr account, even if you already blog at Wordpress. If you're a photographer and want to build a portfolio, consider hosting your photos at FlickrSmugmug, and Picasa to get the most exposure and make it easy for people to find you. At the very least, you can direct visitors to the service you regularly use.
How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First ImpressionGet a nameplate site (or several) that accurately reflects who you areChoose the best nameplate site for the information you want to convey and sign up. For example, almost anyone can benefit from, or Vizify account, but students may want to try Seelio because you can upload videos and projects that show off your skills even if you don't have a resume to speak of. Business owners with projects can use Sidengo because their template pages feature things like contact pages, maps, and document downloads for things like forms and menus. They're all free, and do a great job of linking visitors to networks you already use while conveying useful information.
How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First ImpressionGet your own domain and use it as a portfolio and for email. Owning your own domain is extremely valuable and worth more than the money you'll pay to get it. Before you say "all the best domains are gone," keep in mind that even if you can't get, you should be able to get a variation on it that's close enough. If you can't use your name, pick a domain you're comfortable using as your personal banner and use that instead. Once you're registered with a great registrar, choose a great hosting company and set up shop. If you're a writer, host your own blog, or publish selected clips of your writing from other blogs. Republish yourself if you wrote something amazing elsewhere. If you're a photographer or artist, use your domain as a portfolio to showcase your work. You can even just use it as an additional nameplate site. Behind the scenes, use your domain for email. It looks professional and every email you send is an invitation for the recipient to come and see your portfolio, full of links to the things you want them to see.
Make the most of those services. Make sure all of your profiles are filled out with as much useful information as possible. Don't just sign up and walk away. Upload a good photo of yourself to your social networks and nameplates—preferably a flattering one—so potential employers and new friends alike see you at your best. Use a consistent email address across all of those services so it's easy to get in touch with you, and cross-link them to one another frequently. This makes sure anyone who lands on one can easily get to everything else you do, and makes it easier for Google to index the real you.
Keep an eye on the results. For people who just want a good face and impression, you can stop here. For others who enjoy analyzing how people find them, most nameplate services offer analytics so you can see how people find you and where they click to leave. Add Google Analyticsto your personal site and portfolio to see how well you're being recieved, and what people come to your site to see. This way you can keep an eye on who's looking for you and what their eyes are drawn to when they find you.

Step Three: Keep Your Best Foot Forward

How to Clean Up Your Online Presence and Make a Great First ImpressionBy now, you've done your homework to find out what other people find when they look for you, cleaned up your profiles, and added content to the web that you control so people only see what you want them to learn about you. As you go forward with your shiny, professional online persona, make sure to keep it clean by following the fundamental rule of sharing on the internet: don't post it if you don't want it to be public. The internet is a big place with a long memory. Internet Shame Insurance can remind you if you're about to post something you might regret. Photo by Lukas Mathis.
Keep in mind that your ideal online first impression doesn't have to be a perfect, rosy picture of your personality, just a truthful one. We agree with XKCD on this point—if putting your best foot forward keeps you from being a jerk, then great, but don't let it stifle your brilliance or keep you from expressing your opinion and being true to your ideals. After all, those are the things we want people to learn about us when they go looking.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Japan Display Shows Off 'Innovation Vehicles:' Incredibly Thin Smartphones, Tablets And More

If you thought the iPhone 5 was ridiculously slender, then you won't believe the specs on three recently unveiled prototypes from Japan Display.
The Japanese company has produced unbelievably slim mock-ups of a 5-inch smartphone display and a 7-inch tablet display, dubbed "Innovation Vehicles." They measure 1 to 1.5 millimeters in boarder thickness, respectively. That would be like owning a mobile phone with a display thinner than a U.S. dime.
Japan Display -- a firm that is the result of a merger between the small- and medium-sized display units of Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi -- has also created a curved 12.2-inch, 1920-by-720-pixel display screen with rounded edges that will supposedly be used as a tech-savvy dashboard in vehicles. (Forget smartphones. We're ready for "smartcars.")
Check out the video below to see examples of these futuristic devices in action:
But how are these phone and tablet displays so incredibly thin? According to the Tokyo-based news site DigInfo TV, integrating the screen's touch panel right into the display eliminated a large part of the bulk.
"[T]he touch-panel is built in, rather than being attached from outside. The structure becomes simple, so it's easy to make the display thin," group manager Kazunori Yamaguchi states in the DigInfo video. "Such a thin display is very sensitive, so we've utilized that to enable writing with a pen. Currently, finger operation is the norm, but we'd like to provide a pen-drawing solution next."
The gadgets also use white pixels in addition to the traditional red, green and blue pixels in order to reduce about 40 percent of power consumption. Sony's website states that "by combining this sophisticated new hardware with advanced algorithms," the display upgrade will allow users to easily peer at their devices in sunlight.
The MIT Technology Review called Japan Display's products "exciting," and expects the prototypes to be "mass-produced within the next year or so." The companylaunched in April 2012.

Citizen’s Satellite Wave Syncs Itself to the Heavens

citizen eco-drive satellite wave - Citizen's Satellite Wave Syncs Itself to the Heavens

Watches that sync themselves to atomic time broadcasts only remain accurate as long as you're within range of one of those radio signals. So Citizen is upgrading their Eco-Drive line to instead rely on the omnipresent time broadcasts of GPS satellites.
Most users probably won't worry about being slightly late for a meeting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But if you're a stickler for punctuality who often ventures off the beaten path, Citizen's new limited edition Satellite Wave will always remain accurate no matter where on Earth you're standing. Unlike Garmin's GPS watch offerings, the new Eco-Drive doesn't provide any kind of navigation or wayfaring functionality. So the GPS hardware isn't going to drain the batteries over night. In fact, since the Satellite Wave comes from Citizen's Eco-Drive line, the watch is also solar powered, perpetually topping itself off from any light source. On a full charge it's claimed to run for roughly two and a half years, so battery life should never be a concern.
Besides unwavering accuracy, the Satellite Wave is also world time savvy, waterproof to fifty meters and the 990 pieces being produced will sell for about $3,000. Though, you can probably expect that price to jump given their limited availability. [Citizen Satellite Wave via The Gadgeteer]

Seiko Astron. The world’s first GPS solar watch.

The watch that understands all the 39 official time zones.

At last, the search for totally precise time, everywhere on the planet, is over. By developing our own, patented, low-energy-consumption GPS receiver, Seiko has been able to create a watch that can receive GPS signals and identify time zone, time and date data using the global network of GPS satellites. It recognizes all the 39 time zones on earth. This breakthrough timepiece is called Seiko Astron. Like its celebrated 1969 predecessor which was the world’s first quartz watch, the new Seiko Astron developed under the supervision of Seiko Epson Corporation, ushers in a new age of timekeeping technology. Seiko Astron will be released simultaneously in all markets of the world this autumn. Could this be the most intelligent watch ever built ?

Seiko Astron GPS Solar. The world’s first truly global watch.
Seiko Astron GPS Solar. The world’s first truly global watch.
Accurate time, anywhere on earth.
Once a day, Seiko Astron receives the time signal automatically and, on demand, connects to four or more of the GPS satellites that orbit the earth, thus pinpointing its position and identifying the time zone and the exact time. The hands adjust automatically to the correct local time with Atomic Clock precision. The new Seiko Astron is solar powered, so never needs a battery change, and it also has a perpetual calendar, so the date will always be as accurate as the time.
No part of the planet is beyond the reach of the GPS satellite network.
No part of the planet is beyond the reach of the GPS satellite network.

A complete collection, with innovation in every detail
Seiko Astron is not just a watch. It’s already a collection. There are three models in high-intensity titanium, which is stronger than stainless steel but has only 60% of its weight, and two in stainless steel. All have ceramic bezels, the same functions and high specifications, including a dual time sub-dial, in-flight mode indicator and sapphire crystal with Super-Clear Coating*.
The elegance and legibility of the dials disguise the richness of the information that can be displayed. In addition to the traditional date and dual time displays, the status of the GPS signal is indicated by the second hand and indicator at 10 o’clock position when the appropriate button is pressed. At a glance, you see whether a GPS signal has been received, and from how many satellites and whether Daylight Saving Time is activated.

The secret is in energy management
Why now and why Seiko? To combine Seiko’s solar technology with GPS required years of painstaking and ground-breaking R&D by Seiko Epson Corporation, which has resulted in no less than 100 patent applications. Only Seiko’s advanced energy-efficiency technology could invent the miniature GPS receiver that requires so little energy to receive GPS signals from four or more satellites. Only Seiko’s unrivalled skills in micro-engineering could package this technology into a watch that is just 47 mm in diameter and weighs about 135 grams (with high intensity titanium case and bracelet). And only Seiko’s advanced IC circuitry expertise could make it possible for the watch to divide the world into one million ‘squares’ and allocate a time zone to each.

Convenient, simple and easy to wear.
Seiko Astron may be intelligent, but to wear it is a simple joy. When you step off a plane, just press the button and the time and time zone adjust automatically. It takes six seconds or a little more for the time to self-correct (to better than one second every 100,000 years!) and 30 seconds or a little more for the time zone, and the adjustment takes place whether you are stationary or on the move. So, if you can see the sky, you will know the time. The adjustment to or from Daylight Saving Time or Summer Time is also a one-touch operation, and the date is also always exact; Seiko Astron’s perpetual calendar is correct until February, 2100. The ease of use is further enhanced by Seiko’s solar technology which ensures that maintenance is never an issue. The watch takes power from all kinds of light and never needs a battery change.
Never before has time management been so simple. Wherever you travel, the new Seiko Astron will keep you on time. Effortlessly.
The Seiko GPS Solar Astron collection comprises designs in both high-intensity titanium and stainless steel.
The Seiko GPS Solar Astron collection comprises designs in both high-intensity titanium and stainless steel.
*sapphire crystal with Super-Clear Coating.
Our proprietary newly-developed anti-reflective coating, applied on both the front and back of the glass.
It prevents 99% of light reflection and allows the dial to be easily legible, even in bright light.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar
Caliber 7X52
GPS controlled time and time zone adjustment
Hour, minute and second hands
Date calendar
Perpetual calendar correct to February 2100
Signal reception result indication
World time function (39 Time Zones)
Daylight Saving Time function
Power saving function
Accuracy:+/-15 seconds per month (without receiving a time signal and in temperatures between 5℃ and 35℃)
Case:High-intensity titanium with black hard coating with ceramic bezel (SAST007)
High-intensity titanium with ceramic bezel (SAST003/005)
Stainless Steel with ceramic bezel (SAST009)
Stainless Steel with black hard coating with ceramic bezel (SAST011)
Case diameter: 47.0 mm, thickness: 16.5 mm
Band:High-intensity titanium with black hard coating with three-fold clasp with push button release (SAST007)
High-intensity titanium with three-fold clasp with push button release (SAST003/005)
Extra-strength silicon with three-fold clasp with push button release (SAST009/011)
Glass:Sapphire crystal with Super-Clear Coating
Water resistance:10 bar
Magnetic resistance:4,800 A/m
Recommended retail price in Japan:JPY 152,250 – 210,000

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Experiment: Try not to Yawn While You Read This

As you might’ve already experienced yourself (and if not – do try it with someone!) – yawing is medically proved to be contagious. If you hear or see someone yawn, chances are that within seconds you’ll catch yourself doing the same. Some say that the only mammals on Earth that don’t yawn are the giraffes (which, of course, you could also try challenging by testing it in a zoo. Let us know how it goes).
If you’re having a hard time falling asleep, you can always use this post for therapeutic purposes. Besides it being an animal post, which already soothes the heart, it is bound to have you start yawning yourself. And once you do, you’ll notice that all of a sudden you got way sleepier…
So let’s do a little experiment – scroll down the list and try not to yawn!
Photo by: Yves Adams
Photo by: Mario Moreno
Photo by: Michael Wolf
Photo by: Tom Magnum
Photo by: Nicolas Dori
Photo by: Steve Macay
Photo by: Greg Gard
Photo by: Krishnachandran U
Photo by: rainermaly
Photo by: Seb Loram
Photo by: Kurt Bowman
Photo by: Irene Mei
Photo by: John Mead
Photo by: Brett Lewis
Photo by: Dev Raj
Photo by: Robert Baucom
Photo by: Csaba Tökölyi
Photo by: Yuri Gomelsky
Photo by: Victoria Wright
Photo by: Håkan Dahlström
Photo by Phil
Photo by: Priyanka Patel

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OLYMPUS Introduce New M.ZUIKO® DIGITAL 17mm f1.8

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., November 15, 2012 – Today, Olympus adds to the Micro Four Thirds family of lenses with the release of the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 lens (34mm in 35mm equivalent), a bright, wide-angle, single-focal-length lens ideal for snapshot street shooting, landscape photography or capturing subjects in challenging low-light environments. This high quality, compact lens features a stunning metal body and a Snapshot Focus mechanism for pan focusing with a distance indicator.

The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 has nine carefully placed lens elements in six groups to deliver sharp images of subjects with beautiful, eye-catching depth of field. The advanced optical system features three aspherical lenses, including a Dual Super Aspherical element to correct aberrations, as well as a High Refractive index lens to correct high spherical aberrations. Each lens element is polished to an ultra-high level of working precision only possible with the progressive techniques developed by Olympus master craftsmen, and carefully assembled to ensure maximum accuracy and reliability. Olympus’ exclusive ZERO (ZUIKO Extra-low Reflection Optical Coating) lens coatings are applied to the elements to reduce lens flare and ghost images even when shooting against the light.

The Snapshot Focus mechanism lets users easily take spontaneous, blur-free images by shifting the focusing point to a specific distance. Sliding the focus ring back reveals range markings on the lens barrel, including distance and depth of field scales, which can be used as guides as the user adjusts the focal distance by rotating the ring.

With a total length of just 1.4 inches, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 is incredibly compact and adds to the rapidly growing lineup of Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses that enhance the performance and versatility of Olympus OM-D® and PEN® Compact System Cameras. The sophisticated, textured metallic finish projects a stylish, classic look that complements the design of Olympus® compact system cameras.

Ideal for capturing brilliant still images and high-definition (HD) videos, the lens employs Olympus' proven MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) autofocusing mechanism featuring an inner focus system to drive this single-focal-length lens for fast and quiet focusing.

The optional LH-48B Lens Hood and LC-48B Lens Cap are designed exclusively for the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 and both are elegant in design with a finely textured metallic outer finish and distinctive, classic appearance. The Olympus VF-1 optical viewfinder, originally developed for use with the M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f2.8 lens, is also compatible with the new lens.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 17mm f1.8 Lens will be available in December.
Estimated Street Price: $499.99

For a complete list of specifications, visit the Olympus website:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When the legend becomes history – Skype to globally replace MSN

1999 is a year of advancement to Microsoft. In that year, Microsoft first introduced Windows Live Messenger (MSN) to the global Internet users, and this communication media quickly became a trend that dominated the world for over a decade. However, there is always an end to every story. In the morning of November 6th, 2012, Microsoft announced that Skype would replace MSN in the first quarter of 2013. MSN will retire from the world’s stage.

The cause for the fall of MSN is traceable. Over the last few years, Microsoft shows a lack of attention on users’ satisfaction. Users have been reporting about MSN’s bad user service and problems with log in, junk mails, viruses and scamming. Microsoft shows no endeavor in deriving solutions. Also, there are an increasing number of competitors in the market. The emergence of Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other innovative medias not only introduce new communication experience, but also undermine MSN’s market share. However, MSN remains traditional. Since 2005, Microsoft had published three new versions of MSN, but there were no significant improvement on these updates. In the end, Microsoft pays the price for its mistake. In 2012, the number of active user plummets to 100 million, returning to the 2003 level, and the figure is even smaller than Skype’s current record of 280 million users.

Microsoft finally realizes the urgency of the problem, and decides to replace MSN by Skype, with the intention to maintain the current users while exploring new groups of applicants. This is only the first step in Microsoft’s plan of revolution. It also decides to replace Hotmail by Outlook, and even consider connecting systems of PCs and tablets like Apple. I agree that by changing the strategy from being traditional to being innovative is a correct approach. Microsoft tries hard to discover another breakthrough.  However, it is still yet too early to decide whether or not these are successful and useful changes. First of all, the transition from MSN to Skype is difficult for many users. Some users might report in lose in contact information and not everyone can adjust to the new system of communication. Some users might even consider turning completely away from Microsoft to other applications. Secondly, instead of being innovative, Microsoft is only following steps of Apple. This makes me question about the capability of Microsoft in developing a new niche.

The story of MSN once again alarms possible entrepreneurs the importance of creativity in the technology market. No monopoly can last forever and groups that fail to adapt to changes will eventually become obsolete.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

BRAIN POWER: From Neurons to Networks

Both a young child's brain and our young, global Internet brain are in highly creative, experimental, innovative states of rapid development -- just waiting to make connections. So, here's a question for the 21st century: How do we help shape both of these young, rapidly growing networks to set a course for a better future? 

Why Google Wants You to Google Yourself

The act of Googling oneself has become the digital age's premiere guilty pleasure — an activity enjoyed by all and admitted by few. The phenomenon has even been the subject of scholarly research. Last year, a team of Swiss and Australian social scientists published a study concluding that the practice of self-Googling (or "ego-surfing," as it's sometimes called) can partly be traced to a rise in narcissism in society, but that it is also an attempt by people to identify and shape their personal online "brand." The authors of the survey no doubt returned to their cubicles and Googled themselves to see if the study was posted online. (It is: right here.)
The folks at Google are well aware that their site handles millions of vanity searches every day, and that users aren't always thrilled about the results that pop up when they Google themselves. (See TIME's photo gallery "Google Earth Adds Historical Photos.")
"The reason people search for themselves is that they're curious about what other people see when they search for their name," says Joe Kraus, Google's director of product management. "One problem is they don't have any control over the search results. Either they don't like the search results, or what happens most of the time is, they're not listed on the first page. If your name is Brian Jones and you're not the deceased Rolling Stones guitarist, you don't exist."
To give people a bit more control over search results, Google introduced a feature this week it calls a "Google profile," which users can create so that a thumbnail of personal information appears at the bottom of U.S. name-query search pages. Once users create a Google profile, their name, occupation and location (and photo if they choose) appears in a box on the first page of the search results for their name. Next to the thumbnail info, there's a link to a full Google profile page that in many ways resembles a Facebook page.
The similarity to Facebook is no accident. Google profiles are the search giant's fiendishly clever attempt to turn your ego-surfing pain into their gain. By giving users a modicum of control over the results that appear on a search for their name, Google hopes to establish a social network beachhead and take on wildly popular sites like Facebook and MySpace. Facebook users who otherwise couldn't be bothered to set up a separate profile page on Google might find the idea appealing if it gives them some control over the Google search results for their name. And if you're already using Gmail for e-mail, Google Maps for directions and Google's Picasa for photo-sharing, you may wind up spending more time with your Google profile than your Facebook or MySpace page.
The Google profile lets you set up a personalized page on which you can include links to your blog, Twitter feed or company website, plus share online photos and link to your other profiles on sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. There's room for a brief bio, along with a place to list your current interests, places you've lived and schools you've attended. There's also a space that asks you to list your "superpower," proof that the engineers at Google have a sense of humor. Or think they do.
Like Facebook, your Google profile doesn't display any private information unless you've explicitly added it. You can share info with friends and family and control who sees what. There's no Google profile feature that lets you "friend" another user — at least not yet. But there is a "Send a message" feature that lets anyone with a Google account e-mail you without revealing your e-mail address. Another feature called "My places" displays all the cities you've entered on your profile and your current location on a map. A Google map, of course.
The more information you add to your profile, the higher your page is likely to be ranked on a Google search for your name and associated keywords, such as the name of your hometown, your job title or where you work or go to school. And the more richly detailed your Google profile is, the more Google knows about you. There's no advertising attached to Google profiles, but in the future, the company could easily sell ads targeted to your personal details, much as they've already done on Gmail.
These days, Big Brother isn't just watching you — he wants to know your superpower and the name of your childhood pet. And he already knows you like to Google yourself, so don't try to deny it.

Read more:,8599,1893965,00.html#ixzz2CCjDXY00

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


A funny joke from my friend's fb post.

Dear Tech Support Team, ... ... Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 5.0 to Wife 1.0. I soon noticed that the new program began unexpected child-processes that took up a lot of space and valuable resources. ... In addition, Wife 1.0 installed itself into all other programs and now monitors all other system activities. Applications such as BachelorNights 10.3 , PlayBall 5.0 , BeerWithBuddies 7.5, and Outings 3.6 no longer run, crashing the system whenever selected.

I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my favorite applications. I'm thinking about going back to Girlfriend 5.0 , but the 'uninstall' doesn't work on Wife 1.0 .

Please help!


"A Troubled User"

REPLY: Dear Troubled User,

This is a very common problem that people complain about.

Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 5.0 to Wife 1.0 , thinking that it is just a Utilities and Entertainment program. Wife 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its Creator to run EVERYTHING!!!

It is also impossible to delete Wife 1.0 and to return to Girlfriend 5.0 . It is impossible to uninstall, or purge the program files from the system once installed. You cannot go back to Girlfriend 5.0 because Wife 1.0 is designed not to allow this. (Look in your Wife 1.0 Manual under Warnings-Alimony-Child Support).

I recommend that you keep Wife1.0 and work on improving the environment. I suggest installing the background application "Yes Dear" to alleviate software augmentation. The best course of action is to enter the command C:\APOLOGIZE because ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal anyway.

Wife 1.0 is a great program, but it tends to be very high maintenance. Wife 1.0 comes with several support programs, such as Clean 2.5, Sweep 3.0, Cook 1.5 and DoLaundry 4.2.

However, be very careful how you use these programs. Improper use will cause the system to launch the program NagNag 9.5. Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0 is to purchase additional software Dresses 2.1 and Jewellery 5.0.

WARNING: DO NOT, under any circumstances, install SecretaryWithSh ortSkirt 3.3 . This application is not supported by Wife 1.0 and will cause irreversible damage to the operating system and to your computer as well.

Million-Dollar Traders Replaced With Machines Amid Cuts

By Mary Childs - Nov 7, 2012 

Wall Street’s credit-derivatives traders, who before the financial crisis commanded $2 million of annual pay, are being replaced by machines as banks cut costs and heed new regulations.

UBS AG (UBSN), Switzerland’s biggest bank, fired its head of credit-default swaps index trading, David Gallers, last week, with no plan to fill the position, according to two people familiar with the matter. Instead, the bank replaced Gallers with computer algorithms that trade using mathematical models, said the people, who asked not to be identified because moves are private.
UBS joins Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in using computer programs to trade financial instruments that once generated some of their biggest fees. Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg
UBS joins Barclays Plc (BARC)Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) in using computer programs to trade financial instruments that once generated some of their biggest fees. With regulators preparing rules under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform that will push swaps toward exchange-like systems to improve transparency, credit dealers are going digital as automated trading makes humans too expensive.
“It’s natural to push away from humans and large size to machines and small size,” Peter Tchir, the founder of New York- based TF Market Advisors, said in a telephone interview. “It’s been gaining momentum.”

$250 Million

UBS’s algorithm, which can trade as much as $250 million of the Markit CDX North America Investment Grade index and $50 million on the speculative-grade benchmark in one transaction, was introduced last month, the people said.
Megan Stinson, a spokeswoman for Zurich-based UBS, declined to comment, as did Gallers.
Automated trading of swaps marks a shift in a market where transactions historically have been negotiated over the phone after dealers, acting as a go-between for clients, send out indicative prices by e-mail. The dealers offer to buy a swap from a client at one price and sell the same contract to another for a higher amount, profiting from the gap, known as the bid- offer spread.
Outstanding contracts ballooned to more than $62 trillion at the market’s peak in 2007 from $632 billion in 2001 as the derivatives gained popularity as a way to wager on debt without owning bonds or loans, data from the International Swaps and Derivatives Association show.

Human Costs

As late as 2005, managing directors on credit-derivative trading desks were being paid an average $250,000 in salaries and $1.75 million in bonuses, Michael Karp, co-founder of executive-search firm Options Group, said in a 2006 interview with Bloomberg News.
Building an algorithm may cost a few hundred thousand dollars, said Tchir, a former credit-derivatives trader.
Elsewhere in credit markets, Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical company by sales, is planning its first benchmark bond issue this year. Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest carmaker, sold 2.5 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in bonds that will automatically convert to shares at maturity to boost liquidity following the purchases of Porsche and Ducati.
The U.S. two-year interest-rate swap spread, a measure of debt-market stress, rose 0.22 basis point to 10 basis points as of 11:48 a.m. in New York. The gauge, which widens when investors seek the perceived safety of government securities and narrows when they favor assets such as corporate bonds, has climbed from 8 basis points on Oct. 17, the lowest intra-day level in Bloomberg data back to 1988.

Credit Benchmarks

The Markit CDX investment-grade index, a credit swaps benchmark that investors use to hedge against losses or to speculate on creditworthiness, fell 0.5 basis point to a mid- price of 96.4 basis points, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg.
In London, the Markit iTraxx Europe Index of 125 companies with investment-grade ratings declined 3.3 to 126.2.
The indexes typically fall as investor confidence improves and rise as it deteriorates. Credit swaps pay the buyer face value if a borrower fails to meet its obligations, less the value of the defaulted debt. A basis point equals $1,000 annually on a contract protecting $10 million of debt.
Bonds of Itau Unibanco Holding SA are the most actively traded dollar-denominated corporate securities by dealers today, with 234 trades of $1 million or more as of 11:50 a.m. in New York, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Brazil’s biggest bank by market value sold $1.87 billion of 5.125 percent subordinated notes yesterday that are due in May 2023, Bloomberg data show.

Dow Offering

Dow, the maker of chemical, plastic and agricultural products, may offer 10-year securities and 30-year debt as soon as today, according to a person familiar with the transaction, who asked not to be identified because terms aren’t set. Benchmark offerings are typically at least $500 million.
The company last issued benchmark debt in November 2011, selling $1.25 billion of 4.125 percent, 10-year notes and $750 million of 5.25 percent, 30-year bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bonds due November 2021 traded at 109.4 cents on the dollar to yield 2.94 percent on Nov. 1, Trace data show.
Volkswagen’s three-year notes will pay an annual coupon of 5.5 percent, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker said in a statement today. The minimum conversion price has been set at 154.50 euros and the maximum at 185.40 euros.

Swaps Volumes

Trading volumes in the current version of the Markit CDX high-yield credit swaps index have declined 20.4 percent through Oct. 26 from last year, according to Barclays analysts led by Brad Rogoff. The firm cited data from the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., which runs a central credit-swaps repository.
Market makers have slimmed down as regulators have ordered them to raise capital to prevent a repeat of the taxpayer-funded bailouts that followed the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Banks will hold more reserves against riskier assets under the rules, known as Basel III. Swiss capital rules, applicable to UBS and Credit Suisse, are among the most stringent.
“I don’t think it’s driven by a desire for efficiency as much as a desire to control costs,” Bonnie Baha, head of global developed credit at Los Angeles-based DoubleLine Capital LP, which oversees more than $45 billion, said in a telephone interview. “The cost of a major trading error which could possibly be avoided by having a real human person sitting and thinking about things will far outweigh the personnel costs they save by firing all these guys.”

‘Natural Fit’

Credit Suisse’s program, which started in early 2011, is “a natural fit with our other strong electronic-trading businesses in rates, FX, and commodities,” said Jack Grone, a spokesman in New York for Switzerland’s second-biggest bank.
Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs in New York, didn’t immediately comment.
Barclays’s algorithm was designed to handle smaller trade sizes and began in April 2011 with the capacity to handle transactions as large as $25 million on the investment-grade index and $5 million on the high-yield benchmark, according to Drew Mogavero, head of U.S. credit-swaps trading. Those sizes have since doubled, he said.
For smaller trades in which there’s less at stake, “we want to automate that process as much as possible and free up the sales people and traders,” Fred Orlan, head of global credit trading, said in a telephone interview. “We want to spend our time driving ideas and solutions to things that have a bigger impact on clients’ overall returns, so that’s really what we’re here for.”

Liquidity Response

The algorithm is designed to respond to liquidity in the market, so the bid-offer spread widens and tightens according to flows, Mogavero said. In liquid markets, trading odd lots through the algorithm typically cuts down that spread, he said.
“It’s not hard to envision an environment given the growth and popularity of algo trading of indices where the sizes continue to increase,” Mogavero said.
The programs so far are primarily used when markets have a balance of buyers and sellers and are driven by dealers to make markets or hedge their own books, according to Nancy Davis, director of derivatives in New York at AllianceBernstein LP.
Barclays shut off its algorithm in Europe in May, deciding conditions and market structure weren’t yet suitable to support it, according to two people familiar with the decision.

Market Share

Dealers are “definitely fighting for market share,” Davis said in a telephone interview. “Once you get plugged, it just becomes operationally easy to trade, so that’s what the rush is to get all these algos out. It’s kind of a race to say who has the best plug-and-play-model right now to gain market share. I don’t think there’s a clear winner or loser at this point.”
Clearing and margin required by Dodd-Frank will also change the cost structure of trading, and algorithms may be one area where traders will be required to post less capital relative to other types of transactions, she said.
Algorithms may also get a boost if CDX futures get traction, Davis and Tchir said.
“You’ll see more people do it, and as these products become more easy for people to trade electronically there will be more participants” from firms such as Citadel LLC, Susquehanna International Group LLP, or Knight Capital Group Inc., Tchir said. “They’ll be able to add their algos to it once it becomes more mainstream.”

Like Stocks

The increasing popularity of algorithms is an example of how credit markets are becoming more like stocks, Tchir said, citing so-called E-mini S&P 500 futures, with a contract value of $70,513 as of yesterday and trading volume of as much as $200 billion a day with no real market maker, he said.
Banks will probably be successful in block trading or in systems resembling so-called dark pools where large orders are traded without identifying the brokers and institutions that buy and sell, he said. There will be “fewer market makers, but those that remain will provide very large-size block trades,” he said.
Computer-driven transactions and high-frequency trading have come under increased scrutiny after the so-called flash crash in May 2010, when a 20-minute plunge in stock prices temporarily erased some $862 billion of market value. A report by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission pinned the decline partly on an algorithm employed by one firm trading stock futures.
“They have a bad rap on the street as driving the ’87 crash and they’re not considered by Main Street as friendly vehicles, but at the same time, they are liquidity providers and that’s the biggest change with Dodd-Frank,” AllianceBernstein’s Davis said. “Having more algos in the market in these products will help because it will give market makers a way to have more liquidity so when you call a dealer up they’ll have another outlet.”