Archive for the 'spam' Category

OPLIN 4Cast #101: Ban Second Life? Backscatter, Spam is 30, Xobni

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

1. Virtual worlds in the hot seat
As reported in the 4Cast last week, there are 100+ youth-oriented virtual worlds in existence. With that kind of availability comes vulnerability. One Congressman wants to stop children from accessing these sites in schools and libraries. Below are the links to Congressman Kirk’s (IL) statements and the recent congressional hearings on virtual communities.

2. Now there’s a term for it – “backscattered”.
You open your in-box and you see LOTS of bounced or “return to sender” type messages, so you open one to see what could have possibly come back to you. The thing is, you didn’t send out any pharmaceutical ads, or lottery announcements, or Louis Vuitton ads, or other such spam. Unfortunately, people will use random valid e-mail addresses (sometimes even a librarian’s!) to send out their spam and when their messages reach invalid addresses, it gets bounced to you.

3. Happy birthday, spam!
Spammers love it, users hate it, poetry is written with it, and it’s 30 years old.

4. Xobni
From our Twitter feed…Xobni, or spelled backward, Inbox, is a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003/2007 running on Windows XP/Vista. Basically, it indexes all of your e-mail messages in a more user-friendly way. What’s really cool about it? Xobni Analytics. You can view some really interesting statistics on your e-mail usage, such as what time of day you receive the most mail and who contacts you the most often.

4cast #83: Knol, Spam, Identity, Jargon

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Watch Your Back, Wikipedia

As Wikipedia has become increasingly huge (see 4cast #72, item 4), it was inevitable that for-profit competitors would emerge. But it wasn’t until last week that a truly terrifying rival appeared – Google, and its Knol project.

2. Spam? What Spam? Oh… You Mean All of THAT Spam.

Although Google claims that improved filtering technologies are causing many spammers to give up on junk e-mailing, another recent report shows that 95% of all e-mail sent in 2007 was in fact, spam. So who’s winning the war?

3. You’ve Got a Bad Online Reputation

A recent Pew Internet study shows that people are increasingly aware of their online identity and the importance of making sure their digital tracks don’t lead searchers (potential employers, for example) to unflattering places. Still, most Internet users either don’t worry or are completely oblivious to the amount of information that’s floating around about them online.

4. Premium Bibliographic Resources Fail to Engage Remote End-Users

From a non-librarian’s perspective, one of the biggest deterrents to using the public library is confusing industry jargon, both inside the library and on the library website. John Kupersmith, a reference library at UC Berkeley, has developed a comprehensive list of library jargon and alternative terms that a non-librarian might actually comprehend.

4cast #79: Library 2.0, Shelfari, Audiobooks, Portable Apps

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Okay Librarians… What Now?

Several recent library blog posts have generated a lot of online discussion about the future of libraries and library services.

2. Spamfari

Many social networking sites ask new members if they want to automatically “invite” contacts from their online address books to also join the network. This practice has been getting negative attention lately, as e-mail boxes nationwide fill up with more of these types of invites (often sent by users who didn’t really mean to, and with whom the recipients are only barely acquainted). Shelfari, the popular social network for book lovers, is currently being lambasted for this practice, especially by LibraryThing, their chief competitor.

3. You Can’t Judge a Book by its Encoding

John Miedema ( recently wrote a four-part series on audiobooks, illustrating some of the problems he finds with the format and how they relate to libraries.

4. Do It All from Anywhere

We last touched on the topic of portable apps a while back (see 4cast #9), but if you’re interested in carrying around all of your necessary computer programs and files on a USB memory stick, check out these links.

OPLIN 4cast #68

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. You Say You Want a Library 2.0 Revolution

It’s been a year since Library Journal published an article calling for libraries to embrace the Library 2.0 movement. Since then, has there really been much change?

2. This is Not a Book

If a book is not printed on paper and bound, is it still a book? Furthermore, as the world’s printed and bound books are gradually digitized, what will become of libraries?

3. Information Wrangling, Old Style

A new book by Alex Wright titled Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages explores the history of how humans have organized large amounts of information, and how new information explosions cause ineffective organizational systems to collapse as new ones rise. Consider it a companion piece to David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous (see 4cast #60 (item 3) and 4cast #54).

4. There’s a Bad Storm on the Rise

The Storm Worm botnet has been infecting computers and growing since January, but researchers are now predicting that the real storm has only just begun. Get ready for more spam in your inbox.

OPLIN 4cast #66

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. You’ve Been Listening to Books Again, Haven’t You?

The New York Times recently ran an article about audiobooks, and how some bibliophiles think listening to the audio version of a book is not as good as actually reading it. Even so, interest in audiobooks is seemingly on the rise.

2. Open, Meet Limited

Last week’s 4cast (item 2) mentioned that the FCC was about to set rules for next year’s auction of the 700-MHz broadcast spectrum. Google had been pushing hard for a nationwide, completely open wireless network, but the FCC’s decision was seen by many analysts as only a limited endorsement of Google’s proposal.

3. Massive Conspiracy to Freely Distribute Copywritten Material Uncovered!

Every now and again, a reporter wanders into a public library for the very first time.

4. How’s Your Spam?

Spam, viruses, phishing, malware, and botnets? Still thriving.

OPLIN 4cast #58

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Microsoft Surface Has Surfaced

Microsoft recently unveiled the Surface computer – a flat tabletop touch screen that allows users to move and manipulate data with their fingers, instead of a mouse or keyboard.

2. Where Dewey Go From Here?

A new public library is opening in Arizona that has everything you’d expect, except for one small detail – the Dewey Decimal System. Instead, the library will organize its collection the way most bookstores do, by topic. Librarians aren’t sure how to react to this development.

3. Learning to Live with Being Annoyed

According to a new Pew Internet report, as the overall volume of spam continues to increase, more and more computer users are simply learning to accept that the spammers are winning. But that doesn’t mean the fight is over.

4. It’s Tough Being a Social (Network) Butterfly

A number of librarians are realizing that too much social networking can leave you little time for anything else.

OPLIN 4cast #31

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

This week’s 4cast:

1. Already Sick of Sharing?

Social networking is still huge, but as more and more people (and libraries) join in, is the coolness factor wearing off?

2. Extra! Extra! Young People Are Not Reading All About It!

Meanwhile, as the newspaper industry watches its readership (especially young readers) dwindle, some observers see a parallel downward spiral in library circulation.

3. Library Patrons Fight for Their Right to Women & Guns

A Washington regional library system is getting hit from both the left (American Civil Liberties Union) and right (Second Amendment Foundation) by a lawsuit challenging its refusal to disable Internet filters on public-access computers.

4. The Perfect Stocking Stuffer? Lots & Lots of Spam

Researchers have confirmed that in recent weeks, the world is getting slammed with spam. Why? Some say it’s the holidays – others blame the Russians.

OPLIN 4cast Podcast #8: About Spam

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

The topic of this week’s OPLIN 4cast Podcast is spam (the podcast itself is not spam, it’s just about spam). Find out how spammers get a hold of your e-mail address and what you can do to help defend your inbox.

OPLIN 4cast #7

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

This week’s 4cast:

1. Wrangle Your Knowledge with a Wiki

In a recent entry on the LibraryCrunch blog, Michael Casey wrote about the amount of knowledge that becomes lost when libraries fail to implement any sort of method for managing it. One method that a library (or any group) can use to manage its collective knowledge is to create an organizational wiki. Gina Trapani recently demonstrated one way to do this in her regular Geek to Live column at Lifehacker.

2. Luring the Crowd from MySpace to Other Spaces

Now that MySpace has successfully captured the attention of both the American media and lawmakers (not to mention actual users), a whole new crop of social networking websites are trying to figure out how they can be like, totally popular too.

3. In Order to Defeat the Spam, We Must First Understand the Spam

Where does spam come from anyway? Questions overheard by OPLIN staff at recent library conferences suggest that many of us don’t really understand the basics about spam e-mail messages. Here are a few recent headlines from the front lines of the war against the dreaded “potted meat.”

4. 20 Reasons To Use Flickr

At the Tame the Web: Libraries & Technology blog, Michael Stephens has now posted a grand total of 20 reasons why libraries should use Flickr.