Diaspora Could Open New Social Scene for Business

The code was released to the public for a new social network designed to deliver the benefits of Facebook without the privacy concerns. The project--called Diaspora--also has potential as a tool for businesses to create their own social networks, but its value depends on how businesses intend to use social networking.

It is little secret that Facebook is often the subject of privacy concerns. Every time Facebook introduces a new feature, or updates the functionality it seems to share information in new and nefarious ways that users feel they have little control over. Diaspora was born from that controversy with the tagline, "The privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all, open source social network."

The originators of Diaspora feel they have taken the project as far as they can, stating in a blog post, "We began the summer a list of technologies, and a few bold claims and the goal to make an intrinsically more private social network. The overwhelming response that we elicited made us realize that technology woudn't be enough. Even the most powerful, granular set of dropdowns and checkboxes will never give people control over where their content is going, let alone give them ownership of their digital self."

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Facebook Ads: Success Secrets From a Facebook Insider

Many people log on to Facebook primarily for fun, but businesses are increasingly turning to the social networking site as an advertising gold mine. By placing ads on Facebook, you can zero in on a select portion of some half a billion users according to their interests and demographics.

Facebook advertising involves different considerations than other online ad platforms do. Google AdWords, for one, matches keywords on the pages of Google search results, whereas Facebook Ads can match specifics in a user profile.

Rather than tailoring ad content to concepts or things, such as digital cameras, think of Facebook as targeting people, such as the users of digital cameras, says Tim Kendall, director of monetization for Facebook.

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Microsoft Reveals Stuxnet Worm Exploits Multiple Zero Days

Microsoft released nine new security bulletins--four with an overall rating of Critical this week for the September Patch Tuesday. The big news of the month, though, is the Stuxnet worm. Microsoft revealed that four additional zero day flaws are exploited by the worm, and two of those four remain unpatched.

The Stuxnet worm made headlines earlier this year when it was discovered to be used in sophisticated attacks against SCADA networks. Microsoft released an out-of-band update (MS10-046) to address the Windows shortcut flaw that enabled the malware to execute simply by displaying icons, but the worm apparently had some additional tricks up its sleeve.

A blog post from Kaspersky details the Stuxnet findings, "Until now, most of the focus has been on the LNK/PIF vulnerability which Stuxnet exploits in order to spread via removable storage media and networks. But this has turned out not to be Stuxnet's only surprise. The worm doesn't just spread by using the LNK vulnerability. Once it's infected a computer on a local network, it then attempts to penetrate other computers using two other propagation routines."

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Users Spend More Time on Facebook, So You Should Too

ComScore reports that Facebook has surpassed Google as the online destination where users spend the most time. Google may lead in the volume of visits or visitors, but Facebook users take off their coat and stay awhile, while Google users are just passing through.

Facebook is an online powerhouse and businesses need to understand how to use it effectively to reach customers.
According to comScore, users spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook during the month of August. That time accounts for nearly ten percent of the total time spent online, and beats out Google which captured only 9.6 percent of the total time even though it has an array of online properties to draw in users including Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google News and others.

If Facebook is the online destination where your customers are spending the majority of their time on the Web, then that is where you should be investing your time and marketing dollars as well. Don't expect your customers to come and find your business Web site, set up camp where your customers are already spending their time--Facebook.

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'Here You Have' Virus Shows Security Weakness

A worm known affectionately as "Here You Have" based on the subject line of the infected e-mail used to propagate it has quickly spread into a global malware attack. The efficacy of the simple, and poorly worded e-mail luring users to click on a malicious link demonstrates why we need a whole new approach to malware defense.

If the subject line sounds déjà vu, it's because it is if you've been around long enough. The Anna Kournikova virus that spread around the world in 2001 used the exact same subject line. Here we are nearly a decade later and essentially the same attack that worked in 2001 is once again compromising tens of thousands of machines around the globe.

A McAfee spokesperson contacted me and explained the threat in a nutshell "The threat arrives via e-mail and contains a link that appears to direct to a PDF file, but instead goes to a malicious program," adding "Clicking on the link and activating the malware results in the worm attempting to disable security software and send itself to all the contacts in the user's address book. As a result, e-mail infrastructures of organizations could cripple under the e-mail load."

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'Limitless' Whiteboarding Tool Enables Online Meetings

A unique online presentation tool on Thursday began letting users in multiple locations work on the same page at the same time. With Prezi Meeting, up to 10 people can access and edit Flash-based presentations made in Prezi.

What sets Prezi apart from presentation services like PowerPoint is its nonlinear, spatial way of sharing information--making it ideal for brainstorming with far-apart team members. Just imagine a large whiteboard that lives inside your browser.

Prezi is "slideless", so you don't flip through a presentation page by page. Rather, it establishes a single page through which users can wander, zoom in and out, and interact. On its blank slate, you can place and tinker with text, images, drawings, and videos. (Prezi says the space is "limitless" as long as you don't abuse the zoom controls.)

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10 Businesses You Can Start From Your Smartphone

You're out of work. The job listings are thin. You have no money to start your own business. Maybe you don't even have a computer to assist in conducting a proper job search.

Rest easy, we're here to help. We've scoured the earth for ten solid business ideas--endeavors that you can mostly start up with little more than a smartphone and a Gmail address, and that you could get under way tomorrow if you absolutely had to.

Business on your smartphone
Sure, a computer--or at least a netbook--would help with just about any of these suggestions, but for most of your day-to-day activities in these ten enterprises, you won't need anything more than your phone and a big dose of old-fashioned gumption. Now get out there--the economy is waiting!

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