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August 25, 2006

Man Gets 6 Years in Software Piracy Case

A Florida man who made millions of dollars selling illegal copies of computer programs was sentenced Friday to six years in prison in one of the nation's largest software piracy cases.

Danny Ferrer, of Lakeland, Fla., pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy and copyright infringement charges after an FBI investigation of his Web site, BuysUSA.com. Ferrer also was ordered to pay more than $4.1 million in restitution to software makers Adobe Systems Inc., Autodesk, and Macromedia Inc.

Ferrer bought numerous airplanes, a fighter-jet simulator, a Lamborghini, a Hummer and other luxury vehicles with his profits. U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III ordered the items be sold to pay restitution in the case.

"You extended your hand into the pockets of these people," Ellis said before sentencing Ferrer. "If severe penalties were not attached, people would line up from here to Los Angeles to do what you've done."

Ferrer told the judge he started selling the pirated software to pay for a feeding tube for his sick wife, but "there was probably a certain amount of greed."

Prosecutors said they are working with the FBI to investigate the providers of fake software serial numbers on the Internet, which allowed Ferrer to sell the programs.

The software looked legitimate to consumers, but was deeply discounted, said John Wolfe, of Business Software Alliance, an industry group.

Ferrer's Web site began selling software in 2002 and was shut down by the FBI in October 2005, authorities said.

Prosecutors said the illegal sales cost the software companies as much as $20 million, but industry officials say the amount could be higher.

"This is the ultimate case," prosecutor Jay V. Prabhu said in court. "This is a case where someone made a lot of money."

(Source: www.sfgate.com)

August 23, 2006

50 coolest websites of 2006

Time.com has published their list of the 50 coolest websites of 2006.

They publish this list each year and it reflects the trend as to the websites of the moment, as perceived by the main stream media. There are 7 categories this year: (Check out category 5 !)


Read the whole article with all sites and descriptions here: http://www.time.com/time/2006/50coolest/index.html

August 17, 2006

Google Enables AdSense for Search On Your Own Pages

Google announced and update for AdSense for Search that enables you to host the search results directly on your own pages, unlike before, where you were redirected to a Google domain.

Publishers using AdSense for search now have the option to open search results within their own websites. By adding an additional set of search results code to your page, you can display Google search results framed within your own site. This new option will help you blend AdSense for search into your site even further. You'll also have the added advantage of keeping users on your site while still offering them the useful information available through Google search.
(Source: Google)
How do I implement Adsense for search results on my own page?

Before you can implement AdSense for search results within your own site, be sure to create the page where the search results will be displayed. If your web host or site application does not offer you the ability to create an separate URL for your search results -- for example, if you're using Blogger -- you will not be able to implement your search results within your page.

Once you've created the page where search results will be displayed, follow these steps:

1. Log in to your account at https://www.google.com/adsense.
2. Visit the AdSense Setup tab
3. Choose AdSense for search as the product.
4. During the first step of the guided setup, scroll down to the More options section and click the radio button marked Open results within my own site
5. Enter the URL of the page you've created in which you'd like search results to appear. You must create this page yourself; it will not be created or displayed automatically on the URL you enter. If you're familiar with relative URLs, you're welcome to enter one instead of the full URL.

6. Continue to choose any other options for your search box and results.
7. Copy the code generated in the Your search box code box and paste it into the HTML source of the page where you'd like to display the search box.
8. Copy the code generated in the Your search results codebox and paste it into the HTML source of the page on which you'd like to display the search results.
9. Save your webpages

Note: Any AdSense for search settings or options that you've selected, including Competitive Ad Filters and site-flavored search, will continue to work with search results in an IFRAME.

August 16, 2006

I got interviewed!

Hello everybody!

Today I got interviewed by the X10 community director, Michael Mallari.
You can find the original here: http://www.x10community.com/article_meetx10marko_08162006.html

Here"s a text version of it:

Meet Team X10.com!
By Mike Mallari - August 16, 2006

We want to take the opportunity to introduce you to members of the X10.com team! Today, we sat down with Marko Wollschlaeger, one of the Web Producers at X10.com and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Marko has been with X10.com since January of this year, working on many projects for the company. His striving to put out a great product has rewarded Marko and his team with many compliments from customers for his designs. Here’s what Marko had to say:

X10C: Tell us about your title and role at X10.com.

Marko: Most people here wear so many hats that it sometimes is hard to remember what my official title is. In fact, that is one of the things I really like about X10: They're not big on titles, but what you bring to the job! This thinking gives talented people a real chance to bloom! To answer your question: My title is Web Producer

X10C: How long have you been a web producer?

Marko: Like many web guys I always loved computers and everything around it. HTML and all the other languages gave me the opportunity to combine the technical with the creative aspect. Then, when you then add ecommerce to it, it really becomes fun! Many think I'm crazy (especially my wife!), but after 10 hours of computer work, I go home and work a bit on...you guessed it...my computer! :) I first started fooling around with HTML in 1997, and since 2000 I have done it professionally.

X10C: Prior to X10.com, what other companies have you designed sites for?

Marko: I worked for myself since 2000, designing many, many pages. A lot of my works were in somewhat of an academic background. For example, I built the Tacoma Public Library Intranet in 2001/2002. But I also have a love for music pages (what is it with web designers and music?), and I got the chance to design the site of my favorite band, Kingdom Come (www.kingdomcome.de). Other than that there are numerous short-term projects from advertising agencies to private websites for my grandfather in law.

X10C: Which sites have you worked on at X10.com?

Marko: You should ask which sites I HAVEN'T worked on! :) While I’ve had my fingers pretty much everywhere, my real babies that I can claim ownership on are:
www.x10sentinel.com, www.x10minitimer.com, www.newtox10.com and www.x10securitysystems.com

X10C: Can you tell me what you’ve learned or taken away from each of these sites? What do you do when you move on to the next project in order to be better than the previous?

Marko: Obviously, one learns all the time, especially in the web production business. A web producer that tells you he knows it all, most likely knows nothing. With every new project we try to apply what we’ve learned before. We put something out, test it, improve it and test it again. In a way that is the beauty of web production, it never gets boring!

X10C: Many people are pleased with your style, in fact, I hear you get many compliments from the forum members. How does this influence how you design your site?

Marko: Well, first of all, I believe in being nice. Sounds simple, but many people have no concept of it. As you know I am German, and I noticed that here in the states being nice is often misinterpreted as being weak. For me it takes much more strength and patience to stay nice even under pressure and it will always win out in the long run. So, I try to do the same in the forums. I am nice, I make an honest attempt to help out, and most important I try to listen! Not everything can be implemented, but on more than one occasion I was able to realize certain wishes of our community. A recent example was a pop-up that I disabled on all my sites after the community made me aware of some of the flaws. I wish I had more time to spend in and with the community.

X10C: You have your own team to assist you, can you tell us more about your team and who they are?

Marko: Firstly, if something goes wrong it was Owen's (my graphical merchandiser) fault! No, seriously it is great fun to work with my team. It can be a challenge sometimes to balance all the different opinions and personalities, but I love it. I believe in open communication and exchange, for it assures the best results. We joke a lot, yet work very hard, which is a great combination. All team members are involved in what's happening, so they understand WHY we're doing what we're doing. Usually, a small taskforce consists of a web producer, a graphical merchandiser and a copywriter.

X10C: What about your copyrighter? How is it working with her?

Marko: Well, she writes copy! :) Seriously, I am not good at writing copy, partially because I am German, partially because I am just more the programmer, marketer and search engine optimizer. I am very happy to have a good copywriter taking care of the copy. It's not easy to find good copywriters. Only good web producer are even rarer!

X10C: What does a graphical merchandiser do to help you out?

Marko: Good question. Owen, what do you do all day? Okay, Owen is responsible for pretty much any image you see on our websites, he also got into HTML lately, helping me out that way, too. And like I said before, I involve all my team members in the whole cycle of things. For example, Owen also helps me with statistics and numbers I need to base decisions.

X10C: What are some of your future goals in working for X10?

Marko: Well, I always want to grow professionally and personally. Fortunately, training and professional growth is very supported by X10's leaders. They believe in making an employee more valuable by training him. I think it's a win/win situation. So, learning and getting better in all aspects of my work is certainly my first goal. Furthermore, I would like to see the community grow and become a one-stop base for all people interested in home automation, security and much more. I would like to ask all members to keep posting their feedbacks, or comments in my blog www.x10community.com/marko .

X10C: What can people expect from Marko down the road?

Marko: An even better X10 experience!

X10C: Anything else you would like our reader’s to know about?

Marko: It's Owen's fault.

August 14, 2006

AOL search leaks, and "You are what you search"

AOL researchers recently published the search logs of about 650,000 members—a total of 36,389,629 individual searches. AOL's search nerds intended the files to be an academic resource but didn't consider that users might be peeved to see their private queries become a research tool. Last weekend, the Internet service provider tried to pull back the data, but by that point it had leaked all over the Web.

Paul Boutin, employee of the start-up Splunk, categorized the log entries by parsing the AOL data to create a typology of AOL Search users. He came up with 7 different types...

The Pornhound. Big surprise, there are millions of searches for mind-bendingly kinky stuff. User No. 927 is already an Internet legend—click here if you're not faint of heart (and not at the office). When I clicked Splunk's "Show Events by Time" button, though, I found that porn searchers vary not only by what they search for, but when they search for it. Some users are on a quest for pornography at all hours, seeking little else from AOL. Another subgroup, including No. 927, search only within reliable time slots. The data doesn't list each user's time zone, but 11 p.m. Eastern and 11 p.m. Pacific appear to be prime time for porn on AOL's servers. My favorite plots show hours of G-rated searches before the user switches gears—what I call the Avenue Q Theory of Internet usage. User No. 190827 goes from "talking parrots jokes" and "poems about a red rose" before midnight to multiple clicks for "sexy dogs and hot girls" a half hour later. An important related discovery: Nobody knows how to spell "bestiality."

The Manhunter. The person who searches for other people. Again, I used Splunk's "Show Events by Time" function to plot name searches by date and time. Surprisingly, I didn't uncover many long-term stalkers. Most of the data showed bursts of searches for a specific name only once, all within an hour or a day, and then never again. Maybe these folks are background-checking job candidates, maybe they're looking up the new cutie at the office, or maybe they just miss old friends. Most of the names in AOL's logs are too ambiguous to pinpoint to a single person in the real world, so don't get too tweaked if you find your own name and hometown in there. I've got it much worse. There are 36 million searches here, but none of them are for me.

The Shopper. The user who hits "treo 700" 37 times in three days. Here, the data didn't confirm my biases. I'd expected to find window shoppers who searched for Porsche Cayman pages every weekend. But AOL's logs reveal that searches for "coupons" are a lot more common. My favorite specimen is the guy who mostly looked up food brands like Dole, Wendy's, Red Lobster, and Turkey Hill, with an occasional break for "asian movie stars." How much more American could America Online get?

The Obsessive. The guy who searches for the same thing over and over and over. Looking at the search words themselves can obfuscate a more general long-term pattern—A, A, A, A, B, A, A, C, A, D, A—that suggests a user who can't let go of one topic, whether it's Judaism, real estate, or Macs. Obsessives are most likely to craft advanced search terms like "craven randy fanfic -wes" and "pfeffern**sse."

The Omnivore. Many users aren't obsessive—they're just online a lot. My taxonomy fails them, because their search terms, while frequent, show little repetition or regularity. Still, I can spot a few subcategories. There are the trivia buffs who searched "imdb" hundreds of times in three months and the nostalgia surfers on the hunt for "pat benatar helter skelter lyrics."

The Newbie. They just figured out how to turn on the computer. User No. 12792510 is one of many who confuses AOL's search box with its browser address window—he keeps seaching for "www.google." Other AOLers type their searches without spaces between the words ("newcaddillacdeville") as if they were 1990s-era AOL keywords.

The Basket Case. In college I had to write a version of the classic ELIZA program, a pretend therapist who only responds to your problems ("I am sad") with more questions ("Why do you say you are sad?"). AOL Search, it seems, serves the same purpose for a lot of users. I stumbled across queries like "i hate my job" and "why am i so ugly." For me, one log entry stands above the rest: "i hurt when i think too much i love roadtrips i hate my weight i fear being alone for the rest of my life." Me too, 3696023. Me too.

Source: http://www.slate.com/id/2147590/?nav=tap3

August 01, 2006

SEO answers on Google Video

Matt Cutts, the Google search engine guru, started publishing search engine optimization (SEO) tips on Google Video.
Especially the Google SEO myths I found very interesting!


New Multi-Camera Packages

We've just got done adding our new Sentinel Surveillance multi-camera packages. Everybody that reads this blog knows, that I am not big on writing salesy copy, but I fear this will sound a bit like it! You honestly can make HUGE savings when you buy multiple camera packages at www.x10sentinel.com.

We divided the kits in wireless, wired and web controlled packages to suit every need. Go and check them out:



Web Controlled:

As always, I appreciate any comments and or feedback, so we can get even better!