Exclusive Lifehacker Download: Better Flickr version 0.2 now available


Firefox only: Just posted an upgrade to Lifehacker's own Better Flickr Firefox extension, which adds extra functionality to our favorite photo-sharing web application, Flickr.

This update fixes a MAJOR bug in 0.1 with disabling features (oops), and adds 4 more fabulous scripts that offer HTML controls on comment boxes, handy user and photos size links and rollover access to photo metadata. After the jump, see the new features in action and grab the download.

Note: Current Better Flickr users can use Firefox's Add-ons dialog box in the Tools menu to upgrade to the newest version; just hit the Find Updates button.

Better Flickr version 0.2's new features include:

That's just the new features, you see. See Better Flickr's full option set and download the latest version at its homepage. As always, bug reports, script addition requests, suggestions, criticism and adulation are all welcome in the comments.

RealPlayer takes online videos offline

Yahoo Mail and the little checkbox that could

Yahoo Ads Back the Checkbox to Yahoo Mail
Many users of Yahoo's new Mail application have recently noticed the sudden (and very welcome) return of a long lost old friend: the checkbox. While Yahoo's massive and very exciting mail overhaul focused on making web email function more like desktop email, they forgot this one important feature from their web mail roots.

The checkbox's triumphant return is testament to the mistakes designers often make when they cater to their power users. It also shows the need for applications to focus on simple, visual, and adaptive (as in "single click") controls. Before they added back in the CheckBox you could still select multiple messages by holding the Ctrl key or select all messages by pressing Ctrl-A, but these shortcuts were difficult to communicate to anyone but the power desktop user. The checkbox, however, is easy to understand.

The other cool thing about the checkbox (and a reason why it could be a cool addition even to desktop mail clients) is that it lets you interact with multiple messages or select all messages using only your mouse. Trying to explain to your Grandmother that she needs to hold a key on her keyboard while carefully clicking on each message is neigh on impossible, it is easier for her to just move one message at a time. But give her a checkbox and she's in business! The checkbox makes organizing into folders much more accessible to all users, power or otherwise.

This brings us to the other old-is-new feature recently added back to Yahoo Mail: the move button. Again, you can move messages just by dragging and dropping, but that requires a precise (i.e. difficult) series of mouse moves that make the application less than accessible. By adding back the checkbox and the move button Yahoo Mail now has the power of a Web 2.0 mail client but the flexibility to be used just like a good old fashion "Hotmail inspired" mail client. Which just goes to show that the newest, flashiest, and most amazing features are nothing but liabilities if only 10% of your audience are comfortable using them.

Interested in doing more with Yahoo Mail? Check out our top 11 list of tips and tricks.
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Backup: Set up simple file versioning with Automator


The MacApper weblog details how to take advantage of Automator to create a very simple version control system when you need a good versioning solution but a full-on version control system, like previously mentioned Subversion, would be out-and-out overkill.

The backup methods used are very similar to my simple version control system for Windows, but this Mac solution takes advantage of the much-maligned/beloved Automator. Not only is this a useful versioning method, but the post also serves as a nice introduction to Automator.

Featured Mac Download: Lightning fast word processing with Bean


Mac OS X only: Free, open source application Bean is a lightweight, Cocoa-based word processor for Macs.

When we highlighted NeoOffice, the Mac-like port of OpenOffice.org, a lot of readers wanted to find a simple word processor that was a bit more spry than the generally slow Neo/Open/Microsoft Office suites provide. Bean may very well be that application. It's low on features compared to the Office suites, but it's got a lot more word processing power to than a totally simple text editor like Text Edit.

Is Google planning to add search to Google Reader?

Google Reader Search?For a company that's primarily known for its search engine, Google's been a bit slow to add a search function to its RSS reader. The ability to search your read and unread feeds would come in handy about a thousand times a day when you're trying to recall that item you glanced at and quickly moved past.

Martin Porcheron has spotted some changes in Google Reader's CSS file that hint that a search could be showing up soon. It looks like Google plans to add a search box to the right of the Google logo. Or this could all just be a big misunderstanding.

In somewhat related news, you may notice a link to your Google Reader Trends has popped up among the navigation links on the left side of the page, under your starred and shared items.

[via Googlified]

Webapps: Make screencasts online with Screencast-O-Matic


Web app Screencast-O-Matic lets you quickly create and host video screencasts (with audio) in a jiffy.

All you need to do is head to the web site, click on Create, choose your capture size, audio preferences, and then hit Go! Screencast-O-Matic runs a Java applet that handles the screen captures, and though it could use a little work smoothing things out around the edges, it's really easy to use (check out my done-in-a-minute demo here). We've covered free screencasting apps before (like Wink and CamStudio), but Screencast-O-Matic shows a lot of promise, would be great for quickly creating and sending simple instructions to your less computer-literate friends or family, and since it runs through a Java web applet, it works on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.

Slacker - new desktop app for your tunes

Slacker the internet radio for people who are, uh slackers, or too weary to create playlists for their tunes, has just released a desktop app in beta. You can now manage your entire music library and create playlists. (Gasp!) This goes without saying, but only if you want to. You can still be the slacker you were before you downloaded the desktop app.

Some neat features of the desktop app are a mini-player, large album art and groovy visualizations, and of course the playlist thing ability (no pressure though).

Here are the system requirements:
  1. Windows XP + SP2 or Vista
  2. Flash player 8.0 or higher
  3. Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher
  4. Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher
  5. Broadband Internet connection
Sorry Mac users - Mac is not supported at this time (and we're not happy about it).

When the Slacker portable player becomes available sometime in June, you can use the desktop app to sync your custom Slacker stations and music collection to it.

Here's the link for the Slacker's desktop download.

[via Digg]

ITunes: Save a Smart Playlist as a static playlist


Macworld details how you can easily save your dynamic iTunes Smart Playlists as a regular static playlist by simply dragging and dropping the Smart Playlist onto the Playlists header.

Once you drop, the contents of the Smart Playlist will be automatically copied to a new playlist that you can rename to your liking. We're nuts about Smart Playlists, and every now and then those dynamic playlists produce a list so killer that you'll want to listen to over and over again. This simple tip offers a quick way to make it happen. Works on Mac and Windows.

Windows Live Writer Beta 2 released

Windows Live Writer Beta 2When we posted that the commercial WSIWYG blogging application Post2Blog had gone freeware, one reader pointed out that it looked a lot like Windows Live Writer.

While Post2Blog had a number of features missing from Live Writer, (and still does), Microsoft has released a major update to Live Writer with support for:

  • Live spell checking
  • Table editing
  • Categories, tags, and labels (depending on your platform)
  • Available in 6 languages
  • Support for new APIs
Existing Live Writer plugins should work with the new version, and Digital Inspiration has a nice list of useful plugins.

Featured Windows Download: Upload Picasa pics to Flickr with Picasa2Flickr


Windows only: The Picasa2Flickr plugin adds a button to Picasa that lets you directly upload selected pictures to your Flickr account from the comfort of Picasa.

If you're a Flickr die-hard who's love for Picasa has turned your eyes to the Picasa Web Albums more than once, this little plugin adds the same simple one-click upload capability for Flickr. It's currently not the prettiest implemenation the world has ever seen, but it works like a charm. Picasa2Flickr is free, Windows only, requires Picasa and Java.

Warner to create (semi) comprehensive music video website

Warner VideoWarner Music is working with Premium TV to create an online site featuring the record label's entire music video library. The service will be supported by advertising, and the videos will be available to stream for free. You'll be able to download videos for a fee.

While you can currently access some Warner content from the label's website, the deal would include Warner's entire library, plus previously unseen content.

As CD sales continue to decline and online video continues to grow in popularity, the move seems to make sense. But most music fans don't really associate artists with the labels they're on. In other words, even if Warner posts its complete catalog, there's a good chance you wont' find the artist you're looking for on Warner's site.

It'll be hard to compete with existing sites such as YouTube or MTV's Overdrive that have videos from multiple labels.

[via I4U News]

Linux Tip: Use Synaptic Package Manager to remove abandoned packages


Linux only: Whenever you've installed a package using apt, Synaptic, or any other package management system, you've undoubtedly noticed that your package of choice's dependencies are installed simultaneously. The process is streamlined and very convenient. You've also probably noticed that whenever you remove a package, the package's dependencies get left behind -- lost somewhere in the soul of your machine.

Similar to Mac application AppDelete, Synaptic Package Manager has built in functionality that allows you to locate and remove packages that have been left behind. The Ubuntu Forums has very detailed instructions on how to remove packages of this variety including: residual config packages, partial packages, unncessary locale data, and orphaned packages. Although the tutorial is housed in the Ubuntu Forums, it will work in any Linux distro that uses Synaptic. Thanks, Nano!

Tailgate Hacks: Open a beer with your car door


You're at the tailgate with plenty of bottled beverages and no opener. No problem, says Jason Valalik - just use your car door latch. Check out his ultra-short video to see how.

If that doesn't work, you could always open the bottle with another bottle or with a simple piece of paper.

Herding Cats:

Meeting master Merlin Mann sings the praises of Doodle, an organizing webapp that helps schedule busy folks in different time zones in meetings.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: Lifehacker design adjustments

Hello. You may have noticed that Lifehacker's look and feel just changed slightly. We've made some design adjustments to make our content easier for you to scan and read, and we hope you like them.

We did our best to test the new look across major browsers, but if you see anything out of whack, let us know here in the comments. (Be sure to hit Control-Refresh in your browser to make sure you're seeing the latest style.) Thanks for your help and patience while we make Lifehacker the best it can be. Now back to productivity and software.

How To: Use Firefox as a Windows file manager


We've already discussed how to replace Windows Explorer with the excellent, tabbed Xplorer 2, which is a lot like Firefox for files. Now reader Mark says he actually uses Firefox - with the IETab extension - to browser web pages and local folders all in one Firefox window:

I just have IEtab set up to automatically engage whenever the page begins with "file:///*" and set the folders I open often as my homepage such as Recently Downloaded Music, My Documents, iTunes Music, etc.

The great thing about this method is that all of Firefox's tabbed bookmark and keyboard quick search tricks work just as well with file:// URLs as web site URLs. Thanks, Mark!

Scanner Hacks:

Avoid bleed-through from the dark image on the backside of that newspaper or magazine clipping you're scanning: put a piece of dark construction paper behind it first.

Featured Linux Download: Awn Linux application dock


Linux only: Free open-source app Awn is an application dock for Linux.

Awn allows you to setup custom launchers exactly the same way it's done on the Mac OS X Dock. Additionally, Awn supports the drag and drop method of adding launchers, and it even tracks your open windows. The homepage describes the features of Awn very concisely:

Clicking an icon switches to that window, clicking again will minimize the window. Right-clicking will bring up a menu exactly like that of what you see on the window-list, allowing you to maximize, minimize, close, and resize the window. Dragging something on top of an icon will activate that window. Visually (and quite attractively) responds to 'needs attention' & 'urgent' events. Can show windows from the entire viewport, or just the visible viewport.

Ubuntu users should closely follow the installation instructions on the Awn homepage. Users of other Linux distros can find specific instructions on the homepage, also. Awn is a free download for Linux and requires Affinity.

Launch: Access your Google Reader feeds offline with Google Gears


Holy offline access, Batgirl! Google releases Google Gears, an application that lets web sites store their data on your local computer using only your web browser. Google Reader is already supported - read your feeds on the plane! - and word on the street is that Gmail and Google Docs is to come. Screenshots after the jump:

On the Mac, Google Gears is just a regular Firefox extension; on the PC it's a full-blown application (.exe installer.)


To install, first you must ponder and agree to your "relationship with Google," to make sure this data-mingling is, you know, consensual.


On Windows download the installer and run it; Mac, install the Firefox extension. After this things got dicey for me on the PC, but on the Mac when I restarted my browser and went to Google Reader, I got this prompt:


Once you allow, you'll have the option to "go offline" (check the little icon on the upper righthand corner:


When you do go offline, Gears will download all your unread items for offline access:


Once that's done, you can read feed items even when you're not connected to the intertubes. And I must say it's hella snappy without all that network traffic happening! When you go back online, Gears sync's up your read items with new items waiting for you in the cloud.


Like I said, even after running the local installer a couple of times on my XP (virtual) machine, Gears seemed to have no effect, but it worked like a charm on the Mac with Firefox. Your mileage, of course, may vary. Google Gears is hot out of the oven and still in beta so do use with care.

DIY Mashups:

I wasn't able to get in to try it myself, but the newly-launched Google Mashup Editor smells like GOOG's attempt at Yahoo! Pipes.

Retro Roundup: One year ago on Lifehacker

Launch: Get hand-picked search results at Mahalo


Newly-launched search engine Mahalo offers results filtered by human beings.

Our Guides spend their days searching, filtering out spam, and hand-crafting the best search results possible. If they haven't yet built a search result, you can request that search result. You can also suggest links for any of our search results.

While the results lists aren't (and won't ever be) as extensive as Yahoo or Google's, the engine says what you do get is higher quality. A quick foray through Mahalo's popular searches listed on the front page and a few other terms makes it look promising, but the whole human bottleneck issue is worrisome. The web's a big place.

Negotiation Skills:

Finance blogger Ramit Sethi describes how he convinced his bank to waive an overdraft fee.

Launch: Google Maps' Mapplets add data layers to your map

A new feature in Google Maps, Mapplets, places data overlays onto your map - like movie times, crime rates and real estate prices. We've covered dozens of Google Maps mashups since Maps launched, and Mapplets just makes those mashups available on Google Maps proper, instead of having to go to another site to see them.

Mapplets are available at the developer preview. Once you add a few, a "Mapplets" tab appears in your Maps interface. Hit the video for a Mapplets demonstration courtesy of Google.

Home Office:

The Unclutterer weblog suggests using labeled, extra-large magazine files to stow software CD's, manuals and other information for each of your computers. Damn, does that look good.

Linux Tip: Beautify Firefox web page forms on Ubuntu


Web page form elements in Firefox - like buttons, dropdowns and checkboxes - don't look so good by default on Ubuntu. Tame the pixelly, aliased madness with a style installation script that smooths out those buttons and input boxes with a much-improved look. See the difference in the image above - radio buttons and checkboxes especially benefit from the upgrade.

Get A Job, Son: Your new gig is here

This week at Lifehacker Jobs:

Employers, tap into the hive of productivity that is the Lifehacker readership. Submit your job listing now and we'll include it on the Gizmodo Job Board, too.

Featured Windows Download: Speed up file copying with TeraCopy


Windows only: Free file-copying utility TeraCopy speeds up file transfers and can pause, resume and test file copy operations. With TeraCopy you can:

Copy files faster. TeraCopy uses dynamically adjusted buffers to reduce seek times. Asynchronous copy speeds up file transfer between two physical hard drives.
Pause and resume file transfers. Pause copy process at any time to free up system resources and continue with a single click.
Error recovery. In case of copy error, TeraCopy will try several times and in the worse case just skips the file, not terminating the entire transfer.

You can also use TeraCopy to diff the contents of two directories by running a "Test" copy, which shows you which files exist in the destination directory as compared to the source. If you've ever had Windows fail at the very last minute of a multi-gigabyte file copy, TeraCopy's for you. TeraCopy is a free download for home use for Windows. Thanks, Daniel!

Coolest Workspace Contest: Let the voting begin


After five glorious weeks of highlighting user-submitted workspaces, the time has come to narrow down our favorites. To crown this year's winner, we're going to choose a favorite from each weeks' themed entries one at a time and then undertake one final vote-off between the finalists.

Our first batch of entries highlighted workspaces that were tightly integrated into the home. Hit the jump to pick your favorite from the first week, get more contest details, and take a look at a roundup of all of our accepted Coolest Workspace submissions.

Our first week brought our lowest number of entries, so we've only got three workspaces in competition today. Give them a look and cast your vote. For a closer look, click the image to check out the submission's full gallery.

As always, keep in mind that our polling system is not bulletproof and is, indeed, quite gameable, but we trust that you'll keep this fight fair. (For more details, check out the official contest rules.)

As for the rest of the contest, it's going to look like this:

  • We'll run a poll asking for your favorite pick from each week of the Coolest Workspace Contest for the next 4 workdays (Friday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday).
  • Each poll will remain open for 24 hours only, so be sure to get your votes in the day the poll goes up.
  • After 24 hours, I'll declare the winner for that weeks' Coolest Workspace submission.
  • The five winners will then battle it out for supremacy next Thursday in a final poll to decide this year's Coolest Workspace Winner—a lucky soul with a $500 Amazon Gift Certificate in the mail.

Finally, if you're playing catch-up on the Coolest Workspace Contest, here's where we've been so far:

Lastly, you can check out every workspace we highlighted this year by clicking through to the '07 gallery (not every workspace will show up in the thumbnails, but individually clicking through the images should let you get a look at every highlighted entry).

Good luck to everyone in the running, and to the rest of you - get voting!

Easy HTML To Any Script Converter

Easy HTML to Any Script ConverterSometimes the headlines just write themselves. Easy HTML To Any Script Converter deserves an award for most accurately named program - ever! It does just what it says. The basic idea is that you paste in a block of HTML, select a language, hit go, and copy the code into your application. The Converter delivers a block of code for the particular language you selected with all offending characters escaped correctly and the HTML ready to be printed to the users screen.

A large number of languages are supported ranging from C# to PHP to JavaScript to Ruby. The actual conversion process is pretty simple. You can even setup your own conversion routine if your particular coding flavor isn't included with the default languages. Another nice feature is that you can convert a single file or a large list of files automatically, without having to copy and paste anything.

One other feature, which appears to have been added as an after thought, is a simple Email to Javascript conversion tool. Enter your email address and the subject you'd like the email to contain and the tool will generate some illegible code that you can put on your web page. The code should protect your email address from the various harvesting bots often used by spammers, but still allow your visitors to email you without going through a nasty contact form.

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Customizing Firefox through about:config

about:configFirefox is a highly customizable browser. You probably knew that. But there's a lot you can do to optimize your browsing experience beyond changing some options in the "Tools" dropdown menu. And in order make those changes, all you need to do is type about:config into your address bar.

We've shown you a few of the changes you can make before. But ComputerWorld has put together a great list of more than 20 ways to enhance Firefox through about:config. Here are a few highlights:

  • Tweaks that (may) speed up the way Firefox renders pages
  • Control the way the X button shows up on tabs (ie: make Firefox 2.0 look like Firefox 1.5)
  • Open search results in a new tab
  • Reduce the amount of memory Firefox uses for caching

Make Screencasts the easy way with Screencast-O-Matic

There are plenty of free tools out that let you make videos of the activity on your desktop. Wink and CamStudio are two excellent tools, but Wink records your screencast as a flash file, while CamStudio doesn't let you record audio and video at the same time when using Vista (yet).

Screencast-O-Matic is a new web-based screencast program that is incredibly easy to use. And since it uses a Java applet, it runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux machines. Here's a little screencast we put together showing the new Street View in Google Maps.

You may notice two things right off the bat. The audio sounds like it's recorded through a telephone. It's not, but Screencast-O-Matic seems to emphasize video over audio, and the resulting sound is a bit subpar.

Second, we uploaded this video to YouTube in order to share it. Although Screencast-O-Matic lets you upload your videos directly to their site as soon as you've finished recording, there doesn't appear to be any way to embed those videos in a blog. Fortunately, you can also export videos as a Quicktime videos, which you can then upload to YouTube or other sites.

We would have made a screencast showing how to set up a screencast, but that probably would have crashed our test PC. While you could take us at our word that Screencast-O-Matic is super easy to use, we've created a photo gallery to walk you through the process.

[via TechCrunch]


Steve Jobs: YouTube coming to AppleTV

AppleTV streaming YouTube
Steve Jobs is taking all of the fun out of hacking Apple products like the AppleTV by announcing that new features are on their way. While hackers have been busy working on a plugin to play YouTube videos on an AppleTV box, apparently so has Apple.

Jobs made the announcement during a talk with the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg at the paper's "D: All Things Digital" conference.

YouTube video won't officially be supported for a few more weeks, but it should greatly expand the utility of that little box in the living room by providing tons of free (if short) content to go along with your iTunes purchases.

Google Maps Street View invades privacy, exposes alien life

tabby cat
That certainly didn't take long. Google launches a new "Street View" mode for Google Maps, showing thousands of streets up close and personal, and within 24 hours, users start to get a bit creeped out by just how close up those photos are.

BoingBoing reader Mary Kalin-Casey
noticed that you can see in her apartment window. In fact, when you look into her living room, you'll see her cat peeking back at you. Of course, the first thing she did when she discovered this invasion of personal privacy was to email the link out to the world, so go figure.

But wait, that's not all. As one Gizmodo reader noticed, if you know where to look, you can also find what appears to be an image of E.T. attempting to phone home -- and almost getting sliced in half by a laser beam. Or something. You can check out that image after the jump.

Continue reading Google Maps Street View invades privacy, exposes alien life

Calacanis launches human based search engine, Mahalo

mahalo human powered search

Jason Calacanis, the man behind the Weblogs Inc empire, (that this blog is a part of) has officially announced his latest project, Mahalo, and its main goal is to help people - a lot. Jason has kept a great number of people itching to know what he's been working on during his Entrepreneur in Action at Sequoia Capital and the news was dropped today at the Wall Street Journal's D conference.

Mahalo (thank you, in Hawaiian) plays off what Yahoo and Ask did way back in the early days of the internet and what DMOZ is still well known for today, indexing internet content by hand. However Mahalo spices things up to provide much better end results for users. But how can people do this better then say for instance, Google's machines? Typically when searching Google, Yahoo, or other machine based search engines, top quality results can get lost in the mix, and a real deep quality search might not get made. Mahalo's search guides that compile these results do use top locations like Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN, Flickr, Delicious and other services to create clean and organized results, except they aim to get the best results possible for users. Could it ever beat out Google? No, they really are not in competition, but it sure can provide an additional location to search for more accurate and higher quality results.

The 40 person team behind Mahalo currently has the top 4,000 search engine result pages complete so far in the initial Alpha launch, and hopes to have over 10,000 by the end of 2007.

Google Gears takes online applications, offline

google gears takes online applications, offlineOnline applications are great, but what happens when you can't get a connection to the internet? Whether it is because you are on an airplane, or in the middle of nowhere camping, and have to get certain emails, calendar items, or files, you are quite possibly out of luck. Its sure a bummer, and one of the reasons why so many people are hesitant about using online applications for their most important information.

Now Imagine being able to take your online applications, offline, and store that data locally in a completely searchable database? Google is making this possible with Gears. Google Gears is an open source browser extension that enables web applications to provide complete offline functionality. Google hopes that developers will use this new toolset to create offline web applications using JavaScript APIs to store and serve the applications resources locally, as well as store data in searchable databases. All of the syncing runs in the background without burning out the browsers memory usage, or slowing anything down.

The Google Gears Beta is currently available for installation on Windows XP,Vista, as well as on Mac and Linux machines. The plug-in works with Firefox 1.5+ and IE 6+. Google's first stop with Gears is Reader, with JavaScript APIs getting released shortly for data storage for use in applications like Docs and Spreadsheets.

The official Google Gears announcement will be made tomorrow to over 5,000 developers at Google's Developer Day gathering.

First Google Gears app: Offline Google Reader

Google Gears

Well, that was fast. Google Gears hasn't even been announced yet, and already Google Reader users can install it and wallow in the splendor that is offline reading. Yep, Google Reader now offers the ability to download the 2000 most recent unread posts, so that you can read them when not connected to the internet.

The link shows up as a single innocuous red word, "offline", at the top right of your Google Reader screen. Clicking on it takes you to a page where you are invited to install the beta of Google Gears. So far we've only tested it on a Mac with BonEcho (a Mac-specific version of Firefox), and it works great. Since Google Gears is going to be available for all major platforms, we can assume this will work just as well on Windows.

Now the wait for what we're drooling after: Offline Gmail. Please, Google? Pretty-please?!

It's official, eBay pays $75 million for StumbleUpon

StumbleUponLooks like the rumors were true. Auction site eBay is shelling out $75 million to buy social web discovery service StumbleUpon.

According to the press release, the acquisition gives eBay exposure to StumbleUpon's growing community of over 2 million users. Still seems like an awkward match to us. In recent years, eBay purchased PayPal, but that was a no-brainer, and Skype, which has an obvious commercial aspect.

The company hardly needed StumbleUpon to build its brand recognition. And if they just start injecting eBay auctions willy nilly into stumble results, they'll pretty much break the community they bought as members begin to evacuate the spam-laden sinking ship. Still, a separate "stumble to find books, computer parts, or hummels" section could make a lot of sense.

eBay senior director Michael Buhr assumes the post of general manager of StumbleUpon, while StumbleUpon's current management team remains in place.

BUY the First Beta Invite to eBay's San Dimas Project

We talked about the San Dimas project before, and we just got an update from Alan Lewis, San Dimas product manager. He says the beta is feature complete and they are working hard to get rid of bugs while also making minor changes. Response to the project has been greater than expected and beta invites, which will be starting soon, may flow forth slower than they hoped. They have also a project FAQ, for which you can submit questions, at the San Dimas blog

But for the l33t who want in on the beta, you can bid on the first invite with proceeds going to charity. At the auction they give all the details on what the winner will get. This includes the very first beta email, and it will be sent 6 hours prior to any other invites. The winner will also get a certificate to prove to your friends and family you were there first... which we're sure they'll be impressed with, just as soon as they're done asking, "What the heck is San Dimas?" The final kicker -- a "Preston / Logan '08" T-shirt -- which reminds us to remind you, "Be excellent to each other."

Feds arrest one of world's most prolific spammers

spamA 27 year old Seattle man responsible for sending billions of spam e-mails every day has been taken into custody. A lawyer for Microsoft calls Robert Soloway one of the world's top 10 spammer. And officials suggest now that he has been arrested you may notice an immediate drop in the amount of spam in your inbox.

Soloway's been charged with 35 counts including fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

While no one wants to receive unsolicited email advertising products you don't want, (well, apparently someone must, or there wouldn't be any point to spamming), prosecutors say Soloway went much further, breaking numerous laws to get his messages out.

Many of his emails include fake headers with e-mail addresses registered to names of innocent individuals or organizations, which has led to some email services blacklisting those addresses or domains.

He tells prosecutors he has no money, but he drives a Mercedes and lives in an expensive apartment. This isn't Soloway's first tussle with the law. In 2005 Microsoft won a $7 million judgment against him, and in 2006, an Oklahoma ISP won another $10 million. If found guilty in the federal case, Soloway could be facing some serious jail time.

Google buys Panoramio to use with Google Earth

google buys PanoramioGoogle is all about buying companies. Not just any company, companies that help with their mission to organize all of the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Well, they have done it again with a site we profiled late last year, Panoramio.

Panoramio was built as a Google Maps mashup that lets users map photos based on geographic locations. The company is based in Spain and connects digital photographers with the ability to geo locate, store and organize photos in Google Earth. An API is also available with Panoramio that lets developers embed functionality into websites.

Google has already been using Panoramio's images in Google Earth as a default layer since early this year.

Fedora 7 released today

Red Hat released Fedora 7 today, a new version of their Linux operating system developed in partnership with the open source community and Red Hat engineers. This is Fedora's first release to merge the Fedora Core and Fedora Extras package repositories under one set of packaging policies. Another first for Fedora 7 is all the software used is released under a free license, and all decision-making is made in public.

The big innovations touted for this release are:
  • Revisor tool - a graphical appliation built on top of Fedora's other build tools that gives flexibility to build an ISO, a live CD, etc. Mike Spevack, Fedora's project leader, feels this is Fedora's crown jewel. Customized versions of Fedora are now possible to an extent that was not available previously.
  • Live CD - first time for Fedora, (however not an industry shake-up here).
  • Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology has been integrated with the Fedora graphical virtualization manager tool. KVM provides a full virtualization solution, and users have a choice between KVM and Xen, along with Qemu, in this release.
You can pick up a copy of this new version at the Fedora Project.
Thanks FF!

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