Mt. Gox hacked – My Bitcoins trapped!

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I’ve just had my first scare with Bitcoin, the virtual crypto-currency that I decided to dabble with. I bought 4.943 Bitcoins for $98 last week through the Mt. Gox exchange. I haven’t done anything with them since then, so they have remained at Mt. Gox in my trading account. I was scrolling through Twitter today and noticed a tweet from one of the Bitcoin-related accounts I follow warning of a hack at Mt. Gox. The site had a message posted saying all activity has been frozen after someone had $1,000 worth of Bitcoins stolen. Here’s the fun part: More

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Do I need to print another photo ever again?

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Photo credit: Me!

I was browsing at Staples this week and considered buying some photo paper for my inkjet printer. I used to love printing my favorite photos, especially letter-sized. And recently I went on a photo-shooting binge. But the urge to print was gone. There are just too many sharing options now that don’t involve paper. I upload pictures to Facebook, Flickr, and Imgur. I use Instagram and Picplz, which also allows me to share on Twitter (and Facebook and Flickr). I post photos to Tumblr, which is the best blogging platform for images. With the exception of Flickr, all these options are free. I have a Flickr Pro account, which I paid for so I could liberate old photos the site was holding hostage. I also store some photos in Dropbox and Gmail. My video needs are met for free by YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. Every week there seems to be a new photo-sharing or storing service being launched. Wherever there is an Internet connection and a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, anyone will be able to view my photos. As long as there is an Internet, some of my photos will be out there somewhere. My one printing exception currently is Postagram, which offers to print and mail Instagram photos as postcards for 99 cents a piece. I do that because it’s novel and fun – and cheap. Will I print a photo again? I have a nice printer, so I can if I want to. But paper is expensive, and ink is very expensive. There must be a new free or super-cheap printing service being launched with venture capital money. I’ll poke around and see what I find.

Infographics are everywhere!

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Venn Diagram!
Image credit: Think Brilliant

First, an update on the Gmail mess. Based on a report on the Washington Post’s website, I said the problem was fixed. However, it apparently lingered a few days. Google says it’s fixed now. I highlighted the fact that Gmail accounts are backed up on computer tapes, which means that the software update error that caused the latest outage was not physically connected to the backup. So it’s reassuring to know your data is not lost. But if you haven’t been able to access it since last weekend, that’s a problem, especially for businesses. The solution to that is to have your own backup and also have contingency plans in place, as you would for other mishap/disaster scenarios.

Now let’s turn to infographics. I’ll use an infographic if it is well done. Mashable loves infographics. They are supposed to help you understand data, but some aren’t so good at that. And some are just ridiculously confusing. Infographics are more likely to fail if they are overloaded with information. All that said, I want to learn how to make simple ones that I can use here as original illustrations. But I fear I might be wasting a lot of time making graphics, as is mentioned in my favorite infographic after the jump. More

Gmail is Safe

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Mainframe computer
Image credit: scriptingnews via Flickr

Your Gmail is safe. This is important. Do not sweat it. Cloud computing, done right, works. I was wondering if Gmail was compromised this weekend when news first broke that as many as 500,000 accounts had been reset. You shouldn’t worry. I did for a bit this weekend when the news circulated about people losing their email accounts. Google took care of business. But I have since learned that it is something that is easily manageable. Why? Because everything is on tape. It took a bit of time to get everything back. As far as I know, the naysayers look stupid. However, those who lost precious hours were screwed. If you are still worried, there are plenty of solutions in the mix. I added my main Gmail account to my Mac email client and downloaded my emails. ┬áThat was my backup system. I feel so much better about Google right now. Trust in cloud computing is all that matters. And they have you covered, so far. More

Party like it’s 1998!

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Have you seen the Drudge Report?

I was skipping around the usual tech websites when I saw this article about Hotmail. Whoa….Monica Lewinsky, the Drudge Report, Jesse Ventura elected governor of Minnesota. <— That was a little 1998 flashback. I had a vague idea that Hotmail was still around – as a journalist I sometimes get emails from offbeat accounts. I have since learned that it remains the largest web-based email service with roughly 360 million users. It has been trying to shed the image that it is stale compared to Gmail and has been adding various doodads. And it’s still free. Now I read that Hotmail is offering alias accounts. I thought that’s what Hotmail accounts were for: To be an alias account. Well, now you can make alias accounts on your Hotmail account, which already was one of your aliases. More