Flash and Java will be opt-in features in future versions of Firefox

Adobe's Flash plug-in is one of the biggest reasons that your web browser may crash or your computer may get infected with malware. Photo credit: Eandroid

Mozilla announced last week that it will be adding an opt-in feature to future versions of its Firefox browser that allows users to add only the plug-ins they want to use.

It’s been widely cited that plug-ins are currently the leading cause of slowdowns and security issues with browsers like Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.

Adobe’s Flash, Microsoft Silverlight and Sun’s Java are the biggest culprits that can cause your browser to go haywire or get infected with malware.

Firefox’s opt-in feature essentially works just like the popular Flashblock add-on. It leaves blank spots on the web pages you’re viewing, and only displays the content when you click to allow it.

I think it’s great that Mozilla is finally adding this feature. They should have done it a long time ago, since competitors like Google Chrome have had the feature for over a year now.

What are your thoughts about this new opt-in feature?

Do you wish that there were more opt-in features like this in your browser of choice?

In case you’re curious, here’s how a YouTube video page looks when Flashblock is enabled – which is similar to how Mozilla’s opt-in feature will look:

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Watch out for this: New bill called CISPA, just like SOPA and PIPA, but worse

A new bill called 'CISPA' is the next version of SOPA/PIPA. It's got much more power behind it though - Internet companies like Facebook, Verizon and Microsoft support it. Photo credit: Digital Trends

A new U.S. centered bill has been proposed that would give law enforcement officials the power to push aside the legal barriers that prevent internet companies from handing your information over to the government.

Sound familiar?

Remember SOPA and PIPA, those failed bills that wanted to give the government the power to police the internet for pirated content?

While they may have failed, another new bill has been proposed that has been flying under the radar in comparison to SOPA and PIPA.

The bill is called CISPA, which stands for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (PDF) which is also known as H.R. 3523.

But this bill is worse than SOPA and PIPA because it has the approval of 28 companies like Facebook, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Verizon, Oracle and Symantec.

Yikes!

So what differentiates CISPA from SOPA and PIPA?

Not much.

The only major difference is that CISPA is about cyber security and SOPA/PIPA were about intellectual property.

But the authors of CISPA, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), want you to think that CISPA is “nothing like SOPA.”

Don’t believe it!

It’s still an overreach of governmental power just like with SOPA. But since the outcry over SOPA and PIPA has died down, the Congressmen think that people have put their guard down.

CNET does a good job explaining what CISPA is all about in this quote:

CISPA is primarily a surveillance bill. With CISPA, a company like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or AT&T could intercept your e-mails and text messages, send copies to one another and to the government, and keep it from being sent if it fits into a plan to stop “cybersecurity” threats.

There has also been a revision to CISPA, but they didn’t change much and it’s still a scary piece of legislation.

What are your thoughts about bills like CISPA, SOPA and PIPA?

Is it an overreach of government power?

If you’re not sure what to think, the video below from RT America helps to explain in more detail what CISPA is all about.

Careerbuilder study shows how employers are looking at your Facebook

A survey conducted by Careerbuilder in 2009 looked at how employers are using social media sites to screen job candidates. This infographic shows which sites were the most popular for employers to check out. Photo credit: Huffingtonpost

In 2009, a survey done by CareerBuilder looked at how employers are using social media to look for information about job candidates.

Overall, 45% of the employers admitted that they screen social media for information about job candidates.

What else did they find?

Facebook, rather than LinkedIn, is the most popular website that employers use to look up information about job candidates.

29% of employers admitted that they use Facebook to screen job candidates.

Here are some other fun facts about the way that employers look at your social media profiles:

  • 18% of employers found information that influenced them to hire a candidate
  • 50% got a good feel for the candidate’s personality from social media sites
  • 35% found information that caused them to NOT hire someone
  • 53% found provocative/inappropriate photographs or other information

So what can we make of all this information? Well, here are five things to avoid doing on social media sites, according to the survey:

  1. Avoid leaving around “digital dirt”: those questionable photos about last night’s party, for example.
  2. Terrible troll:  don’t leave huge amounts of pointless, stupid comments with excessive amounts of swear words.
  3. Don’t have a big mouth about your employer: this should go without saying, but don’t rant about your employer on social media sites. It looks REALLY BAD to other employers.
  4. Huge amounts of contacts and comments: don’t add sketchy people as friends because they may leave comments on your profile that look bad on you.
  5. Don’t be negative: keep a positive attitude on social media sites – if everything you say is a rant or a complaint, it looks like you’re a consistently negative person.

Do you try to keep your social media profiles family friendly and clear of these things?

If there are any other pieces of advice you can think of, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

KONY 2012 is the most viral video ever

KONY 2012 is the most viral video ever, getting 100 million views in six days, according to research by Visible Measures. Photo credit: The Washington Times

The controversial video KONY 2012, which is a 30 minute documentary which seeks the arrest of the Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, has become the most viral video of all time.

The video was viewed over 100 million times in just six days between both YouTube and Vimeo, and it has only been online for about a month.

The video ran rampant through Facebook and Twitter last week because of people in the 18 to 29 year-old demographic, according to research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

I have not watched the whole documentary yet, but I remember going to class last week and it seemed like everyone was either talking about KONY 2012 or watching it on their computers, tablets or phones everywhere I went.

The sudden spotlight on the director of the film, Jason Russell, caused him to have a bit of a mental breakdown last week. There has also been a lot of criticism of the group behind the film, Invisible Children.

It seems like all of the news that came out of the film’s release is a reminder of the power of the internet and social media.

Here’s a video from Mashable that explains more about the social media phenomena that lead to KONY 2012 going viral:

Large majority of Pinterest users are … you guessed it, female!

Pinterest? What the heck is a pinterest?

Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea.

Pinterest is a new social media website that was launched in it’s current form in May of 2011.

Since then, it has surged in popularity, getting around 11.7 million unique visitors last month alone according to an article from PC Mag.

I found out about the website by accident when I went to my Introduction to New Media class.

My professor asked the class how many of us were on Pinterest, and from what I remember, there were quite a few.

The amount of unique viewers that Pinterest has been getting is very impressive, given the fact that it is an independent, invite-only website that started last May.

Another thing that is very interesting about the site, according to a report from TechCrunch, is that the website is used by an overwhelming majority of women.

How much of a majority?

The data provided by the TechCrunch report said that 97% of Pinterest’s Facebook fans are women.

Wow.

Men don’t seem to be showing much interest in the site at all.

Why?

With many of the most popular posts being like this:

Source: wanelo.com via Rachael on Pinterest

I can see why the site might be having a hard time attracting male interest.

Pinterest is like a giant public scrapbook, which is probably why many men aren’t showing much Pinterest, er, um, interest, I mean.

What do you think about Pinterest?

Would you be interested in trying it out?

Or are you suffering from whiplash from all of the social media websites there are to choose from?

I’d love to know what you think.

Please leave me a comment below, or vote in the poll to let me know.

Facebook Timeline. Love it? Or not so much?

There seems to be a lack of love for the new Facebook Timeline.

Technology enthusiast website CNET.com posted new poll figures from opinion site SodaHead.com, which are shown in the info-graphic below, and an overwhelming 70% of those who voiced their opinions said they disliked Timeline.

Facebook first rolled out Timeline back in December, as an optional way to customize your profile.

Whether Facebook users love it, hate it, or aren’t sure about it, Facebook Timeline is on the way.

On the Facebook Blog, it was announced that all 800 Million Facebook users will be opted in to the Timeline format over the next few weeks.

There are some helpful tutorials that will tell all you Facebook users everything you might be wondering about Timeline.

Change is never easy, and it seems that Facebook keeps learning that the hard way.

Coming from a Facebook user, they should have allowed more time for people to try out the new layout before they opt all users into it.

That would have made the transition much less painful.

What are your thoughts about Timeline? Do you think Facebook is rushing the decision to switch all of their user profiles to this new format?

This poll, from opinion website SodaHead.com, shows that Facebook Timeline is not being shown much love. Image source: SodaHead.com 

A new iPhone? Wait, wasn’t there a new one just a few months ago?!

Why are companies coming out with SO MANY new gadgets? Are you in the same boat as this guy? Gadget overload.

Will Facebook’s ongoing privacy concerns have a major effect on us?

SOPA? PIPA? Megaupload.com being shut down? What the heck are those all about, and what does it mean for the internet?

Can Apple change our educational system with their new textbooks feature in iBooks for the iPad?

Those are some examples of things I hope to explore with this blog.

Hello there! My name is Adam Hawkins. I am 22 years old, and a senior at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. I was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, so I really haven’t gotten out of the Hoosier state much.

I have a passion for technology and the media, so I’m excited that his blog will be a platform to share the things that I love to nerd out about.

I want to make this blog a fun look at the rapidly changing world of technology. With so many changes happening in such a short amount of time, I hope to keep you informed about some of the most important developments in tech.