Spam trends… Google Sky… Avatars run amok?… China mobile mania… Back to the future with DVDs


Spam trends

Big spam generators are now changing tactics and bombarding the internet almost daily with a different form of bogus emails, according to internet content security provider Marshal.

The latest variant is “confirmation” spam. Before that it was “hot picture” spam. “The ‘confirmation spam’ outbreak has been launched by the same group that launched the hot pictures spam campaign earlier in the week,” reports ITWire.

Spam campaigns used to last weeks; now they are changed almost daily. Confirmation spam are those emails that appear to come from a legitimate organisation and provides recipients with temporary login confirmation details for a web site. 

The spam uses text like “for security purposes, please login and change the temporary login ID and password”. The messages include a link to an IP address which is in fact a website infected with the Storm Trojan.


Look up at the Sky

If you feel you have seen everything on earth, look up – online. Google Earth has introduced a new feature called Sky to bring astronomy to all. The tool allows viewers to navigate 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies using high resolution imaging and overlays.

There are some layers and navigation aids to help you get around among the stars:

  • Constellations – from Cassiopeia to Andromeda.
  • Backyard astronomy.
  • Hubble space telescope imagery.
  • Moon.
  • Planets.
  • Users guide to galaxies.
  • Life of a star.

The data has come from the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Digital Sky Survey Consortium, CalTech’s Palomar Observatory, the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre, and the Anglo-Australian Observatory.

To access Sky in Google Earth, users need to download the newest version of Google Earth. The feature will be available on all Google Earth domains, in 13 languages. To learn more about Sky, view the demo or watch Sally Ride and Google engineer Greg Coombe showcasing some of Sky’s capabilities.


The takeover of the avatars

Remember the most ridiculous predictions you have ever heard? We would all be working from home this century, flying around in space machines and pills would take the place of food?

Is this another one? In four years time, 80% of internet users will have an avatar – virtual replicas of themselves working or playing online.

This is the latest prediction from Gartner Research that also points out that given that people have more than one avatar, there could well be more avatars in the world than people – at least in the industrialised world.


China mobile mania

China is the largest mobile phopne market in the world and there will be more than 500 million phones by the third quarter of this year. China Mobile is leading the market with a market share of nearly 70%, reveals Wireless Intelligence, a joint venture between Ovum and the GSM Association.


Back to the future with DVDs

New technology on online movies was predicted to slowly choke the DVD market to death. But then new technology in TVs changed the whole picture. As Australians embraced the home cinema, retail and rental revenue has surged 16.7% to a record $1.24 billion last financial year.

Two million videos are rented every weekend with the majority still picked up at the video store even though people can get their videos by renting them online or downloading them. And people are continuing to buy videos with boxed sets of TV series accounting for about 30% of DVD sales.

For more on the industry picture see our industry trends story CD, DVD fortunes held to ransom.




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