4

Splogs

splog5.jpgWhat’s a “splog” you might ask? It’s the newest kid on the block, the ugly offspring spawned when spam and blogs mate. As one blogger describes them:

Splogging is a term coined by Mark Cuban to describe blogs with no added value, existing solely to trick people into visiting and exposing them to advertising. Splogs are often encountered in two ways: by searching for a key word on a search engine, or receiving it as a fradulent hit through your RSS aggregator. More often than not, they’re automated, linking to countless blogs and other websites, using keywords selected solely to attract more eyeballs and click-throughs for their advertising. And automation means that splogs are being created at a dizzying pace, to the point that when you do a search for almost any term, you’re bound to get a bunch of hits that are nothing but money-hungry splogs.

Yes, the person who coined the term “splog” is Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

Splogs are used to increase the page ranking of a website in Google. It is a way to game the Google system, to get one’s website to appear higher up on the result list for particular searches. Splogs work by generating a lot of links. They are not real blogs; instead, their content is generated by randomly grabbing chunks of text from other blogs. And they are easy to create, given that Google’s Blogger service allows anybody to create a blog for free. They are often constructed automatically by computer programs. Here’s an image of part of what appears to be a splog:

splog3.jpg

Thus far, the best article I’ve been able to find about splogs is one by Online Media Daily. According to the article:

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10

Law Teaching Interview Advice

lawprofessor5.jpgThe AALS law teaching interview season will be commencing soon, and since a number of our readers will be interviewing for law teaching jobs, here are a few quick words of advice.

First, keep in mind that your interview lasts only for 30 minutes, and the law professors interviewing you will be interviewing dozens of people. They will be cooped up in a stuffy room all day, meeting one bright-eyed candidate after the next. Only a few of these scores of people will be invited back to the law school for a full all-day interview. This means that at the end of the day, your 30 minutes needs to be memorable. You need to make an impression on them. But what kind of impression?

Here’s the ideal impression, in my opinion, that you should create:

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4

When Your Cell Phone Can Recognize You

cellphone2b.jpgIn Finland, scientists are developing a cell phone that can recognize who you are by the way you walk. According to one article:

Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a prototype of a cell phone that uses motion sensors to record a user’s walking pattern of movement, or gait. The device then periodically checks to see that it is still in the possession of its legitimate owner, by measuring the current stride and comparing it against that stored in its memory.

If the phone suspects it has fallen into the wrong hands, it will prompt the user for a password if they attempt to make calls or access its memory.

As for accuracy:

Ailisto says, using the simple motion sensing gait method, the prototype phone correctly identified when it was being carried by someone other than its owner 98% of the time. It also only triggered accidentally, when it was with its rightful owner, 4% of the time.

6

IBM vs. NBA: Using Employee Genetic Information

ibm-nba1.jpgThis week, IBM announced that it would not use genetic information in making any employment decision:

On October 10, IBM Chairman Sam Palmisano signed a revision of the company’s equal opportunity policy specifying that IBM would not “use genetic information in its employment decisions.” In doing so, Big Blue became the first major corporation to proactively take this position. “Business activities such as hiring, promotion and compensation of employees will be conducted without regard to a person’s genetics,” wrote Palmisano in a letter to employees announcing the change.

In contrast, consider the story of Eddie Curry, an NBA basketball player. Curry was with the Chicago Bulls, but he had two incidents of heart arrhythmia. General Manager John Paxson decided to bench Curry for the rest of the season. Paxson wanted Curry to undergo a genetic test to further diagnose his heart condition, but Curry refused. According to this CNN-Sports Illustrated article:

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0

Google’s New Privacy Policy

google.jpgGoogle recently revised its privacy policy:

Old Policy (July 1, 2004)

New Policy (Oct. 14, 2005)

Philipp Lenssen has a humorous translation of the legalese of Google’s new privacy policy. A brief excerpt:

 

What they say

What they really mean

 

Google collects personal information when you register for a Google service

or otherwise voluntarily provide such information. We may combine personal

information collected from you with information from other Google services

or third parties to provide a better user experience, including customizing

content for you.

When

you want to use one of our sites, I mean really use them, we put up

those little boxes where you type your name and stuff. Whatever you type in

any of those sites goes to our great big machine somewhere in the basement,

and from there, all of our employees can pretty much sniff around in it and

do fun stuff with it, like read it out loud on office parties.

 

For more Google humor, check out Randy Siegel’s joke Google website in the year 2084. (Hat tip: Thinking About Technology)

We here at Concurring Opinions have a privacy policy. Please don’t get alarmed after reading it — it’s a joke, of course. We don’t sell your information to others. Really. Not because we care about your privacy — just because we haven’t found somebody to pay us for it yet. . . .

2

Italy’s Surveillance of Cyber Cafes

italy3.jpgThis interesting story describes Italy’s strong antiterrorism laws, which require extensive monitoring of people’s use of the Internet in cyber cafes:

After Italy passed a new antiterrorism package in July, authorities ordered managers offering public communications services, like Mr. Savoni, to make passport photocopies of every customer seeking to use the Internet, phone, or fax. . . .

Passed within weeks of the London bombings this summer, the law is part of the most extensive antiterror package introduced in Italy since 9/11 and the country’s subsequent support of the Iraq war.

Though the legislation also includes measures to heighten transportation security, permit DNA collection, and facilitate the detention or deportation of suspects, average Italians are feeling its effect mainly in Internet cafes.

Before the law was passed, Savoni’s clients were anonymous to him. Now they must be identified by first and last name. He must also document which computer they use, as well as their log-in and log-out times.

Like other owners of Internet cafes, Savoni had to obtain a new public communications business license, and purchase tracking software that costs up to $1,600.

The software saves a list of all sites visited by clients, and Internet cafe operators must periodically turn this list into their local police headquarters.

1

Update on Sober = Drunk in Washington DC

Earlier this week, I wrote a post on how people can be arrested for DUI even when they have a BAC well below the legal limit of .08. The Washington Post article I blogged about sparked a considerable public outcry, and now the DC Council is rushing to revise the law. According to a follow-up article in the Washington Post:

D.C. Council members, swamped with irate calls and threats to boycott

D.C. bars and restaurants, introduced emergency legislation yesterday

that would override the police department’s controversial and

little-known zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving.

5

Does Google Image Search Violate Copyright Law?

googleimagesearch.jpgPerfect10, an adult industry website, has sued Google claiming that Google Image Search is violating its copyright. For those who haven’t tried it, Google Image Search is a terrific resource. One can search the web for images, which appear as thumbnails on the search results page. EFF, which has filed an amicus brief in the case, argues on its website:

Thumbnails created by Google Image Search allow users to identify information they are looking for online and then access that information—much like an electronic card catalog. As certain information about images can only be conveyed visually, there is no other feasible way to provide image search on the Internet than capturing images, transforming them into thumbnails, and then displaying them on a search results page for users.

0

The Most Expensive Blog Ad Ever?

To post an advertisement for just one day on the home page for WordPress, which gets about 11,000 unique visits per day, how much do you think it costs? $50 per day? $100? $200?

Nope. Try $20,000! That’s right — $20,000 for just one day. Ads for a week cost $100,000 and ads for a month cost $250,000.

blog-ad.jpg

No takers so far. If there are, you might start to see a lot of ads here . . .

Hat tip: Google Blogoscoped

7

The Music of the Law

Unlike my co-bloggers, I practice law for a living. Like most would-be lawyers my view of practice was powerfully shaped by Law & Order episodes. I do mainly civil and appellate litigation, so my practice contains few trips to Attica, but I did envision the practice of law as being a much more social endeavor. At the very least, I expected there to be some noise. My law firm, however, tends to be a very quiet place. People work in their offices, and if they talk they do so in conference rooms. There is none of the noisy bustle of the Law & Order DA’s office. As it happens, I don’t think well in silence. I find it distracting and unnerving. Even in college, for example, I found it impossible to study economics in the library. The quiet destroyed my concentration, so I always did econ work in the student union cafeteria. At work, I escape the silence by closing my door and playing music, which leads to the important question of which music goes with which tasks.

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