Amty Tech Blog

Archive for November 2007

Reared on reality TV, paparazzi, cell phone cameras and the insatiable maw of the World Wide Web, it’s no wonder teens and adults in their 20s think a little differently when it comes to privacy.

“I am constantly broadcasting who I am,” says Indigo Rael, 22, of Lake Dallas, Texas. “The Internet is just a way for me to reach more people with who I am. It’s the age of information; I’m used to giving and receiving tons.”

To the Internet generation, reaching out and touching a few hundred of their closest friends – especially through social-networking sites MySpace and Facebook – is as natural as brushing their teeth.

“They’re dealing with privacy differently than any of us over 35 ever have,” says Steve Jones, communications professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

In the old days of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations when teens wanted to talk to each other, they’d pick up the phone. Sometimes, they’d have to resort to actual face-to-face conversations.

Today’s teens and adults in their 20s are a lot more likely to reach for a computer keyboard to convey something as fleeting as a mood or as traumatic as a breakup – even if it’s only to a list of trusted friends.

“They are growing up in an environment, in a culture where you get constant feedback from others on yourself in ways that we never did,” says psychologist Linda R. Young, who teaches at Seattle University and writes about teens and technology.

“The private self and public self become intertwined in a way that we (older folks) can’t possibly understand,” Young says. “So they’re not embarrassed about some of the things that we think they should be embarrassed about because it’s an extension of the self that they’re used to having viewed.”

The trend toward online self-disclosure “really started with reality television and the confessional nature of that form of entertainment,” says Anastasia Goodstein, author of “Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens Are Really Doing Online.” “And that began to permeate our culture.”

So when sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Xanga, where people can post everything from the mundane details of their days to their innermost thoughts, began gaining popularity, teens were ready to jump right in.

“Because they’ve grown up with the Internet and the ability to put that stuff online, it’s just become more comfortable for them,” Goodstein says.‘A generation thing’

It’s so comfortable that some worry that teens are inadvertently broadcasting to a wider audience than they intend.

Elli Langford, 19, a sophomore at Auburn University in Alabama, says that while she guards her own privacy by being selective about sharing information online, she has seen others display more than they should.

“I guess my generation really puts a lot less stock into privacy,” Langford says. “I mean, every other celebrity couple is letting movie cameras into their houses. And you’ve got shows like ‘The Hills’ and ‘Laguna Beach’ (both on MTV) where they’re in high school, but they’re letting cameras follow them around and putting their lives on TV. I guess it’s just like a generation thing.”

The issue is widespread enough that some schools, including Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia, are offering seminars for students, staff and the community about the ramifications of using these sites.

A preference for privacy may be catching on. A study in April by the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed that 66 percent of teens who posted online profiles kept at least some part of them hidden from public view.

And most social sites, including MySpace and Facebook, are adding tools to protect – and, perhaps as important, control – the personal information of their users.

Kiyoshi Martinez, 23, a Web assistant for a chain of newspapers in Orland Park, Ill., says privacy settings give “people a willingness to use these social networks and put some elements of their lives out there. I think everyone is kind of the editor of their own lives.”

But the sense of control can be illusory, says Amanda Lenhart of the Pew project.

“Because there is that sense of greater privacy, teens believe that ‘as long as I control who is my friend, it’s no problem.'”

As teens have been learning recently, however, online areas you might think are private may not be. What goes on MySpace or Xanga, or even seemingly private e-mail, often does not stay there.

“We are all figuring out in real time what is socially correct and incorrect,” says Paul Saffo, technology forecaster and consulting associate professor of engineering at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

“The difference is (older folks) are doing it with dead, old technology that kids don’t use. They’re doing it with the new technology.”

Hard lessons

For the Web generation, socially correct is different from what it was for those who grew up before Google was a verb.

“The Internet generation” may not expect privacy in the same way older people do, but they do rely on trust, Jones says. “They expect that their peers will treat particular activities as private.”

If they go to a party where there’s underage drinking, for instance, they trust that their friends will keep it private, Jones says. And their intentions may very well be to do that.

But “people will leave this party, and they’ll think: ‘If I just share these photos with the people who were at the party, that’s fine.’ But what they end up doing more often than not is posting the photos in an online forum that seems private but is not.”

Says Internet safety consultant Parry Aftab, “You have this disconnect between what they know is risky and what they do anyway.”

Sometimes it takes a lesson – such as knowing that someone was denied a job because of a drunken picture posted on Facebook – for teens to understand the ramifications of their actions, says privacy expert Lauren Weinstein.

Teens in general tend to be lax about their privacy because “they don’t have a lot of baggage,” says Weinstein, co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility. But, he says, “they’re only OK with (being very open) until the point that it bites them.”

A networking tool

Most teens really do understand privacy more than many realize, Goodstein says.

“They’ve grown up with the reality that if you put things out there, things can happen,” she says. “People find out about things, and you just get a thicker skin or figure out how to manage your public identity and just bounce back from it.”

Martinez says he has weighed the risks and decided it’s worth the risk to divulge lots of personal information, including his work experience – even his address. He knows that anyone can find him anywhere and that his information could be abused.

“I’m personally just not concerned about people stalking me,” he says. “I’m more concerned with using my credit card information online than about having pictures of me out there.”

He says the question rarely comes up with his peers. But he has had conversations with older people “who refuse to go on Facebook or MySpace, or they don’t want anything to come up when you enter their name in Google.”

That, he believes, is foolish. “If people are interested in who you are, and you maybe want to use that as a way to network, why not have that up there and market yourself?”

Martinez has had job interviews through his posted rsum, and he found out about his current job through a friend on Facebook.

Putting his life online also allows him to more easily keep up with friends. “Maybe it’s a generational disconnect between seeing the Internet as a bogeyman, vs. “I really want to stay in touch with the people that I know.”

“Maybe that’s the main difference between the current generation and older generations. We want to be in touch with people and our friends and stay connected through the Internet, whereas security and privacy is maybe a secondary concern to us.


Personal folders usually contain confidential data that one tries to protect from nosy siblings, troublesome friends or inquisitive co-workers. Now one can safely protect his/her personal data from all these people. Just follow these simple guidelines:

Firstly, double click on the My Computer icon. Next what you have to do is to identify the drive where your Windows is installed. Usually this is the C: drive by default. However, most people have more than one drive on their computers so they will have to be extra watchful. For others this can be a breeze. Sometimes the contents of a drive may be hidden and not visible to the naked eye under System Tasks. The user must then click the option: show the contents of this drive. Next, double click the Documents and Settings folder. Then double click your user folder. Right click any folder in your user profile and then click Properties. On the sharing tab, select the ‘Make this folder private’ option so that you, the authenticated user only have access to it.

How to rename the Recycle Bin
You now no longer have to look at that recycle bin with discomfort and the usual indifference. For those people who are bored of reading ‘recycle bin’ repeatedly can change its name to whatever they feel like. You can either use your boss’s, your pets’ or even your own name for the recycle bin. Just follow these simple steps:

To change the name of the Recycle Bin desktop icon, open Regedit and go to
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/CLSID/ {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}
Moreover, you can change the name “Recycle Bin” to whatever you want. You can really have fun having this knowledge and can change the recycle bin title to your personal geographical preferences. This can really become an enjoyable task.


Windows XP has an auto logon feature, which can be very useful for a person who is the chief operator of a computer. A person not bothered by the trivialities of having to share his/her computer can easily employ Window XP’s auto logon feature. By using this simple auto logon feature, one can use a computer without the hassles of having to enter his/her, username/password combination. Firstly, click the “Start” button and select the option “Run”. Next, what appears is a box titled “Open”. In this, “Open” box, type the command “Regedit”. After having typed this command in the “Open” box click “Ok”. Next, navigate to the:

HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ WindowsNT\ CurrentVersion \Winlogon key
The string value “Default password” should be missing. This option should be turned-off. Next, open the registry editor menu and then click the “Edit” option from the registry editor menu. Then, select “New” and click the “String value”. There should be a box that must, by now be visible if every other step previously mentioned has been strictly followed. In this box there will be an instruction visible that says: New value #1
In this box, type the command “Default Password”. Now, after performing all these steps there should be a “Default Password” entry. Double click this entry. Next, enter the password for the user account that is required to be automatically logged-on. Next, click “Ok”. After, having performed all these steps there should be a string by the name of “Default Username”. This should contain the user account for which the user wants to automatically log on. Next, click the “AutoAdminLogon” and change its value to 1. Finally, click “Ok”. Now the user is instructed to close the registry editor.

Two U.S.-based e-mail services, Microsoft and Yahoo!, have taken Iran off their country lists

Yahoo! issued a statement saying it continually reviews its business operations to comply with U.S. restrictions on “conducting business in specified countries, such as Iran.”

“Consistent with this policy, our current practice is to not accept registrations from countries subject to these restrictions,” the company said.

Microsoft had no comment, said The Register, a British Web site covering the online world.

Iran remains an option for Google G-mail users. The company said it did not believe that keeping Iran on its country list violates the sanctions

yahoologo.gifEarlier, we laid out the reasons Time Warner (TWX) should sell AOL to Yahoo.  Here, we discuss the reasons why Yahoo should buy it.  We estimate a fair price for the whole thing (access+advertising) would be about $13-$15 billion.  We believe a fair price for the advertising business alone might be $10-$12 billion.

We believe the acquisition would be immediately accretive to Yahoo earnings, especially after cost cuts. 
See this online spreadsheet, which lays out a back-of-the-envelope look at the impact at a “Low” purchase price of $12 billion and a “High” price of $15 billion, assuming an all-stock deal.  In both cases, the transaction would be immediately accretive to Yahoo’s earnings.

  • In the “low price for AOL” scenario, Yahoo would end up with 76% of the combined company.
  • In the “high price for AOL” scenario, Yahoo would end up with 72%…

The Internet market has become a waltz of elephants, and there is only room for three big generalists.  Right now there are four.  Mature markets usually support three big generalists, not four.  Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL simply have to combine forces, or Yahoo will remain under pressure and AOL or Microsoft will die (if Microsoft’s Internet division were a stand-alone business, it would already be dead).  The combination of AOL and Yahoo makes the most sense.

The combination would bolster Yahoo’s domestic market position, especially in ad networks and display advertising.  Yahoo and AOL have almost exactly the same strategy with regard to owned-and-operated properties and third-party ad networks.  By combining forces with AOL’s, Tacoda, et al, Yahoo would absolutely dominate the third-party network business.  It would also have far stronger owned-and-operated properties than AOL ever will as a standalone. The combination of both would allow it to more effectively become a “must-buy” for advertisers, as well as a desperately desired alternative to Google.

The combined company would have a stronger share of search queries.  Yahoo’s search share has been declining, as has AOL’s. It’s true that tying two bricks together won’t make them float, but neither will keeping them separate.  More share is good, especially with search algorithm efficiency heavily dependent on volume.

AOL’s stand-alone brands–TMZ, Mapquest, Truveo, etc.–would fit will within the Yahoo empire and could be further leveraged though Yahoo’s global distribution platform. .

AOL’s AIM, ICQ, and Yahoo Messenger could all be standardized and made interoperable
.  This combination would make Yahoo by far the most powerful online communications platform, an area where Google is still weak.

Yahoo could replace AOL’s ghastly email system with Yahoo Mail, bolstering Yahoo Mail’s competitive position.  This would save money and customers.

Yahoo could cut a lot of redundant cost
(technology, data centers, distribution), which would make the AOL business far more profitable than it is today.  This could make the deal less expensive.

Yahoo could cut long-term distribution agreements with other Time Warner content properties, which would benefit both sides.


We estimate that AOL’s advertising business (portal and platform) is worth about $10-$12 billion.  We estimate that the access piece–which Yahoo could buy and then sell or keep–is worth about $2-$3 billion ($2.5 billion in revenue probably going to about $1.5 billion, estimated EBITDA of about $1 billion going to perhaps $500 million).  This suggests that a fair price for the whole kit and kaboodle is about $13-$15 billion.

Yahoo currently has about a $40 billion market cap.  A stock deal would produce a combined company worth about $50-$55 billion, with Time Warner shareholders owning about 25%.  Please see this online spreadsheet for details.

While Google has grabbed mobile headlines with its Gphone, rival Yahoo! is working feverishly to lock up distribution deals that can give mobile advertisers the scale they’ve been searching for.

Marco Boerries, Yahoo’s mobile chief, told Reuters that the company has a three-pronged approach to wireless that could make the medium as big as computer-based advertising. While Google is working to develop software that can turn virtually any phone into a Gphone, Yahoo has split the difference between carriers, handset manufacturers and web services.

“The race is going to be who builds the biggest arsenal of partners and numbers of page views,” Boerries said.

For Boerries, that means circling the globe to lock up distribution deals with handset manufacturers like Nokia and Motorola and carriers like Vodafone.



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