Archive for May, 2013

Helping passwords better protect you

Knowing how to stay safe and secure online is important, which is why we created our Good to Know site with advice and tips for safe and savvy Internet use. Starting today, we’ll also be posting regularly with privacy and security tips. We hope this information helps you understand the choices and control that you have over your online information. -Ed.

It could be your Gmail, your photos or your documents—whatever you have in your Google Account, we work hard to make sure it’s protected from would-be identity thieves, other bad guys, or any illegitimate attempts to access your information.

But you can also help keep your information safe. Think of how upset you would be if someone else got access to your Google Account without your permission, and then take five minutes to follow the steps below and help make it more secure. Let’s start with the key to unlocking your account—your password:

1. Use a different password for each important service
Make sure you have a different password for every important online account you have. Bad guys will steal your username and password from one site, and then use them to try to log into lots of other sites where you might have an account. Even large, reputable sites sometimes have their password databases stolen. If you use the same password across many different sites, there’s a greater chance it might end up on a list of stolen passwords. And the more accounts you have that use that password, the more data you might lose if that password is stolen.

Giving an account its own, strong password helps protect you and your information in that account. Start today by making sure your Google Account has a unique password.

2. Make your password hard to guess
“password.” “123456.” “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” These examples are terrible passwords because everyone knows them—including potential attackers. Making your passwords longer or more complicated makes them harder to guess for both bad guys and people who know you. We know it’s hard: the average password is shorter than 8 characters, and many just contain letters. In a database of 32 million real passwords that were made public in 2009, analysis showed

As we search for investments that can help speed up the adoption of renewable energy, we’ve been looking beyond the U.S. and Europe to parts of the world where our investments can have an even greater impact. We’ve just closed our first investment in Africa: $12 million USD (103 million Rand) investment in the Jasper Power Project, a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Upon completion, Jasper will be one of the largest solar installations on the continent, capable of generating enough electricity to power 30,000 South African homes. The project, developed and funded by SolarReserve, Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group, is also backed by Rand Merchant Bank, the Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust.

View Jasper Power Project in a larger map

The Jasper Power Project is located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, near Postmasburg

When we consider investing in a renewable energy project, we focus on two key factors. First, we only pursue investments that we believe make financial sense. South Africa’s strong resources and supportive policies for renewable energy make it an attractive place to invest—which is why it had the highest growth in clean energy investment in the world last year. Second, we look for projects that have transformative potential—that is, projects that will bolster the growth of the renewable energy industry and move the world closer to a clean energy future. The Jasper Power Project is one of those transformative opportunities. To explain why, perhaps some background would be helpful.

Back in 2008, South Africa experienced a severe energy shortage, which resulted in blackouts throughout the country and slowed down economic growth. Since then the South African government has been actively supporting the growth of new sources of electricity to power the nation. While today South Africa is primarily dependent on fossil fuels, there’s lots of potential for renewable energy—it’s a country blessed with abundant wind and solar resources—and the government has set an ambitious goal of generating 18 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030 (as a comparison, the entire South African grid is currently 44 GW).

To meet this goal, the South African government has established the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). Through the program, renewable energy projects compete on the basis of cost and contribution to the local economy to be awarded a contract with Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned energy utility. Jasper and the other projects being developed through the REIPPPP have the potential to transform the South African energy grid. And given South Africa’s position as an economic powerhouse in Africa, a greener grid in South Africa can set an example for the whole continent.

Once constructed, the project will use solar panels like these.

Just as compelling are the economic and social benefits that the project will bring to the local community. Jasper will create approximately 300 construction and 50 permanent jobs in a region experiencing high rates of unemployment, as well as providing rural development and education programs and setting aside a portion of total project revenues—amounting to approximately $26 million over the life of the project—for enterprise and socio-economic development. We appreciate how forward-thinking the South African government has been in designing the REIPPPP to encourage these kinds of local economic benefits.

Google has committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy investments and we continue to search for new opportunities. Our search has brought us from the U.S. to Europe and now to Africa. We’re excited to see where else it might lead.

Posted by Rick Needham, Director, Energy & Sustainability

Question by xtra9009: Can you make money by writing a blog and not updating it?
I know someone is making money with links on their blog. What if I told a story (about a health ordeal) that I didn’t change and had links. Can you make money somehow?

Best answer:

Answer by Izzy Charm
You can make money with your blog by having affiliate links on your pages. Like http://www.blogsvertise.com/?rid=b33641
The easiest is signing up for Google AdSense and placing their ads and links on your blog.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

A new inbox that puts you back in control

We get a lot of different types of email: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more. All of these emails can compete for our attention and make it harder to focus on the things we need to get done. Sometimes it feels like our inboxes are controlling us, rather than the other way around.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, Gmail is getting a brand new inbox on desktop and mobile that puts you back in control using simple, easy organization.

On the desktop, the new inbox groups your mail into categories which appear as different tabs. You simply choose which categories you want and voilà! Your inbox is organized in a way that lets you see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when.



You can easily customize the new inbox—select the tabs you want from all five to none, drag-and-drop to move messages between tabs, set certain senders to always appear in a particular tab and star messages so that they also appear in the Primary tab.

In the Gmail for Android 4.0+

The Next 10 Starts Now

All around the globe today, people are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first WordPress release, affectionately known as #wp10. Watching the feed of photos, tweets, and posts from Auckland to Zambia is incredible; from first-time bloggers to successful WordPress-based business owners, people are coming out in droves to raise a glass and share the “holiday” with their local communities. With hundreds of parties going on today, it’s more visible than ever just how popular WordPress has become.

Thank you to everyone who has ever contributed to this project: your labors of love made this day possible.

But today isn’t just about reflecting on how we got this far (though I thought Matt’s reflection on the first ten years was lovely). We are constantly moving forward. As each release cycle begins and ends (3.6 will be here soon, promise!), we always see an ebb and flow in the contributor pool. Part of ensuring the longevity of WordPress means mentoring new contributors, continually bringing new talent and fresh points of view to our family table.

I am beyond pleased to announce that this summer we will be mentoring 8 interns, most of them new contributors, through Google Summer of Code and the Gnome Outreach Program for Women. Current contributors, who already volunteer their time working on WordPress, will provide the guidance and oversight for a variety of exciting projects  this summer. Here are the people/projects involved in the summer internships:

  • Ryan McCue, from Australia, working on a JSON-based REST API. Mentors will be Bryan Petty and Eric Mann, with a reviewer assist from Andrew Norcross.
  • Kat Hagan, from the United States, working on a Post by Email plugin to replace the core function. Mentors will be Justin Shreve and George Stephanis, with an assist from Peter Westwood.
  • Siobhan Bamber, from Wales, working on a support (forums, training, documentation) internship. Mentors will be Mika Epstein and Hanni Ross.
  • Frederick Ding, from the United States, working on improving portability. Mentors will be Andrew Nacin and Mike Schroder.
  • Sayak Sakar, from India, working on porting WordPress for WebOS to Firefox OS. Mentor will be Eric Johnson.
  • Alex Höreth, from Germany, working on  adding WordPress native revisions to the theme and plugin code editors. Mentors will be Dominik Schilling and Aaron Campbell, with a reviewer assist from Daniel Bachhuber.
  • Mert Yazicioglu, from Turkey, working on ways to improve our community profiles at profiles.wordpress.org. Mentors will be Scott Reilly and Boone Gorges.
  • Daniele Maio, from Italy, working on a native WordPress app for Blackberry 10. Mentor will be Danilo Ercoli.

Did you notice that our summer cohort is as international as the #wp10 parties going on today? I can only think that this is a good sign.

It’s always a difficult process to decide which projects to mentor through these programs. There are always more applicants with interesting ideas with whom we’d like to work than there are opportunities. Luckily, WordPress is a free/libre open source software project, and anyone can begin contributing at any time. Is this the year for you? We’d love for you to join us as we work toward #wp20. ;)

WordPress News

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Brief Update

I just wanted everyone to know I have a bunch of small tweaks in the queue for the Semiologic Reloaded theme and plugins such as Google Analytics, XML Sitemaps and Sem-Cache.  I'm going to try and get these pushed out over the next week.

The next big task will be testing and certifying everything against the upcoming WordPress 3.6 release.  I don't anticipate any major surprises but one never knows until things are tested.   I have been encouraged by how well the WordPress 3.5 updates went for people and the lack of issues reported (knock on wood).

This all brings up the issue of sales and renewals.  I had updated many subscriptions to expire the end of the May to allow those who had renewed over the past few years the ability to obtain the latest updates.   With May coming to a close (where does the time go?), I need to give some serious thought about renewals over this holiday weekend.

As always, thank you for your continued support of Semiologic!

Mike

 

Semiologic

How can a teenager make good money online?

Question by : How can a teenager make good money online?
Hey guys, i’m in high school and i’m looking to make a little money cuz of the economy and stuff.
I’m really good with computers and smart (if i do say so myself =P) so i figured that it would be easy to make some money online, but i haven’t been able to so far. Anyone know any good way to make some money on the internet where you don’t have to be 18? I’m not looking for anything huge, just some extra spending / saving money.
thanks.

Best answer:

Answer by Matt
work for the text message answer question site kgb.com

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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Video Rating: 4 / 5

The Galapagos Islands are some of the most biologically unique ecosystems in the world. Explorers and scientists alike have long studied and marveled at these islands—made famous by Charles Darwin. The Ecuadorean Government, local conservation groups and scientists are working to protect the Galapagos from threats posed by invasive species, climate change and other human impacts.

It’s critical that we share images with the world of this place in order to continue to study and preserve the islands’ unique biodiversity. Today we’re honored to announce, in partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Parks Directorate (GNPD), that we’ve collected panoramic imagery of the islands with the Street View Trekker. These stunning images will be available on Google Maps later this year so people around the world can experience this remote archipelago.

Daniel Orellana of Charles Darwin Foundation crossing a field of ferns to reach Minas de Azufre (naturally-occurring sulfur mines) on the top of Sierra Negra, an active volcano on Isabela Island. The Google Maps team traveled for more than three hours, hiking and on horseback, to reach this remote location.

Images, like the one you see above, are also an important visual record that the CDF and GNPD will use to study and protect the islands by showing the world how these delicate environments have changed over time.

Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation climbs out of a lava tunnel where he was collecting imagery. The dramatic lava landscapes found on Isabela island tell the story of the formation of the Galapagos Islands.

Our 10-day adventure in the Galapagos was full of hiking, boating and diving around the islands (in hot and humid conditions) to capture 360-degree images of the unique wildlife and geological features of the islands with the Trekker. We captured imagery from 10 locations that were hand-selected by CDF and GNPD. We walked past giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies, navigated through steep trails and lava fields, and picked our way down the crater of an active volcano called Sierra Negra.


A Galapagos giant tortoise crawls along the path near Googler Karin Tuxen-Bettman while she collects imagery with the Street View Trekker in Galapaguera, a tortoise breeding center, which is managed by the Galapagos National Park Service.

Life underwater in the Galapagos is just as diverse as life on land. We knew our map of the islands wouldn’t be comprehensive without exploring the ocean that surrounds them. So for the second time we teamed up with the folks at the Catlin Seaview Survey to collect underwater panoramic imagery of areas being studied by CDF and GNPD. This imagery will be used by Catlin Seaview Survey to create a visual and scientific baseline record of the marine environment surrounding the islands, allowing for any future changes to be measured and evaluated by scientists around the world.

Christophe Bailhache navigates the SVII camera through a large group of Sea Lions at Champion Island in Galapagos. Image courtesy of the Catlin Seaview Survey.

We truly believe that in order to protect these Galapagos Islands, we must understand them. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” We hope this Street View imagery not only advances the important scientific research, but also inspires you to learn more about this special place. Stay tuned for updates on this collection—the first time we’ve captured imagery from both land and sea! We can’t wait to share this amazing imagery with you later this year.

Posted by Raleigh Seamster, Project Lead, Google Maps

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