Tango Down: Topiary arrested, or maybe not?

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The morning started with news of stock volatility for eBay, parent company of PayPal, which was the subject of a boycott launched by hacktivist group Anonymous. Turned out that the entire stock market was jittery, mainly because the clowns in Washington were yanking America’s chain on the debt ceiling stand-off. But Anonymous was back in the news a few hours later when British authorities announced they had arrested an 18-year-old on an island in the far-northernmost reaches of the United Kingdom. They had taken down “Topiary,” the entertaining spokesman for LulzSec, which was an offshoot of Anonymous. So they had a key figure of LulzSec/Anonymous in custody. Or did they? More

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Anonymous launches boycott of PayPal

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Last night, Anonymous, through its @AnonymousIRC Twitter account, launched a boycott of PayPal. Unlike previous campaigns, Anonymous did not organize a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, which overloads a website and causes it to crash. This time, as one supporter described it, they were launching a DBoS (Distributed Boycott of Services). Backstory: Anonymous launched a DDoS attack on PayPal in December when the online-payment site refused to let users donate to WikiLeaks. Last week, the FBI announced the arrest of 14 people it said participated in that campaign. On Monday, the student newspaper at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas reported that one of its students, Mercedes Renee Haefer, 20, was one of the 14 arrested. On Monday night, @AnonmousIRC tweeted a link to another story purportedly showing a picture of Haefer. Her name had been reported before, and her attorney was quoted as comparing her to Daniel Ellsberg, who famously leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Maybe it was the photo – a webcam shot of an attractive young woman wearing headphones – that got Anonymous fired up. Ironically, a face to sympathize with. @AnonymousIRC retweeted people who said they had closed their PayPal accounts and shared screencaps to prove it. More

Google+ coming soon for your business

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There’s been a lot of confusion on Google+ about when businesses will be allowed to have pages, and why certain companies and news outlets were allowed to violate the initial prohibition. There was a lot of bellyaching (see above) the other day and then heads started to roll. On Thursday, Google purged the unauthorized accounts of companies such as CBS News, NBC News, the Seattle Times, and Mashable News, which now is founder Pete Cashmore’s page. (see above.) No need to despair, capitalists! In “the next few months” Google will roll out “business profiles.” Until then, as TheNextWeb reported:

It seems however that Google is encouraging businesses, for the time being, to pick a real person from its organization as a mouthpiece who can share links on the network.

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Google+ app for iPhone, and William Shatner!

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Finally there is an iPhone app for Google+. I complained on Twitter this weekend that I was tempted to get an Android phone. Almost! The Google phones already had a G+ app and I was envious. Of course I won’t give up my iPhone 4 until a phone comes along that kicks the shit out of it. That probably will come this fall with the iPhone 5. 😀 Okay, the G+ app is nifty. You don’t get full functionality. No group video chat with hangouts, but who needs that on their phone? Group chat, yes. So my Google+ plus journey continues and the universe expands. There was a hiccup at the beginning when the iTunes App Store released a test version rather than the true release. I downloaded the test version and it was glitchy and the tech heads started to immediately bellyache. Within an hour or two, the correct version was released. Works fine so far.

Tonight I found out William Shatner is on Plus, and he calls us Plusers. And he was complaining that you can only put 5,000 total people in your circles. I hope Google listens to him, because I plan on putting the entire world into Google+.

Trapped by barricaded killer in New Jersey, woman posts online updates

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Photo credit: Stephanie Savas

On Thursday, a man in a Ewing Township, New Jersey, shot and killed another man reportedly over a parking space. Wayne Voorhees fired multiple shots from his second-floor unit at the Versailles Apartments in a nearly eight-hour stand-off with police. Stephanie Savas was in an apartment alone in a neighboring building inside the complex and, she said, unaware that others had been evacuated. She shared her situation with friends on Facebook. Then she decided to write about her situation on Reddit, the popular online community, and the post took off, garnering hundreds of replies, and sparking a controversy about whether she was faking it. A moderator in the forum flagged the post as a suspected fake. The red flag was lifted, but the post has yet to be confirmed as true. I decided to investigate. More

My Google+ is cannibalizing My Twitter

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In my last post, I said Google+ is what you make of it. So far, I’ve created an expanded Twitter. The people I know at some level and the people I follow are drawn almost exclusively from Twitter. A few are also friends on Facebook. My universe of Facebook friends is a hodgepodge collection of real-life friends and co-workers, old classmates, people I friended to interview for stories, people I met on MySpace who switched to Facebook (use your imagination), people I met from other online groups (such as Wonkette commenters), etc. My Google+ crowd is on Twitter, is tech-savvy, and smart. The quality of posting and commenting is very high. These folks also talk a lot about Google+, which I don’t mind, though some are feeling free to post animated cat GIFS and otherwise diversify their voice. I called My Version of Google+ an expanded Twitter because the people I know on Twitter are now being revealed to me beyond the 140-character limit. Especially for people I’m following, such as high-profile entrepreneurs and tech journalists, I am getting access to their thinking that was only available if they had some other outlet and linked to it on Twitter. With all that said, this means that these people are spending less time on Twitter. So my version of Google+ plus is cannibalizing Twitter. Every minute I spend on Google+ is a minute I would have spent scrolling through my fast-paced Twitter stream. I love Twitter and don’t want to hurt it. Xeni Jardin, an editor at Boing Boing, wasn’t so sentimental when she declared: “It’s official. I like G+ more than Twitter now.
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Google+ I’m in, baby

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I finally got access to Google+. After Facebook announced and launched Skype videochat, Google unlocked Google+ overnight, to presumably steal a little bit of the spotlight back. Once I got in, my first major task was to contend with Circles, the feature that groups people by categories. Who goes where? I decided to get rid of the “acquaintances” circle and start off with friends, family, and people I follow. I uploaded a few photos just so people can have something to see and that was about it. I’ve ordered a headset so I can use the group videochat function called Hangouts, which means I haven’t tried it yet. People seem to like it. Anyway, I did a lot of reading and one idea stood out: Google+ is where you can restart your social network. More

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