January 21, 2012

You can help!

Are you a business professional in Second Life?

We're all seeing the troubles that many SL businesses are facing. The economy, as many say is improving, is still pretty much in the shitter!

So I'd like to pose it to the business owners in Second Life, whatever industry you are in. Simply answer the following:

What ONE piece of advice would you offer to new or existing businesses trying to stay afloat and succeed in a very saturated market?

(Please post your answer as a comment and feel free to post your business name and SLurl if you like.)

January 20, 2012


SOPA Is Dead: Smith Pulls Bill

3 hours ago by Todd Wasserman

Lamar Smith, the chief sponsor of SOPA, said on Friday that he is pulling the bill “until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Smith (R-Texas) said. “It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”

Smith also released the following statement on Friday:

“We need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products. “The problem of online piracy is too big to ignore. American intellectual property industries provide 19 million high-paying jobs and account for more than 60% of U.S. exports. The theft of America’s intellectual property costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while American innovators and job creators are under attack.”

“The online theft of American intellectual property is no different than the theft of products from a store. It is illegal and the law should be enforced both in the store and online.

“The Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.”

The move comes after widespread protest on the Internet on Wednesday by Wikipedia, Reddit and others. The sites signaled their displeasure with the bill by going dark. That day, several Congressmen dropped their support for SOPA and its Senate counterpart, PIPA. The latter bill has also been taken off the table for now.

Smith’s stance comes just two days after he told The Wall Street Journal that he didn’t plan to back down on SOPA, telling the newspaper he expected to “move forward” with the bill in February.

U.S. shuts Megaupload.com, hackers retaliate

(Reuters) - The U.S. government shut down the Megaupload.com content sharing website, charging its founders and several employees with massive copyright infringement, the latest skirmish in a high-profile battle against piracy of movies and music.
The Department of Justice announced the indictment and arrests of four company executives in New Zealand on Friday as debate over online piracy reaches fever pitch in Washington where lawmakers are trying to craft tougher legislation.
The movie and music industries want Congress to crack down on Internet piracy and content theft, but major Internet companies like Google and Facebook have complained that current drafts of the legislation would lead to censorship.
A Justice Department official said the timing of the arrests was not related to the battle in Congress.
New Zealand police on Friday raided a mansion in Auckland and arrested Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, 37, a German national with New Zealand residency.
About 70 police, some armed, raided 10 properties and also arrested the website's chief marketing officer, Finn Batato, 38, chief technical officer and co-founder Mathias Ortmann, 40, both also from Germany, and Dutch national Bram van der Kolk, 29, who is also a New Zealand resident.
New Zealand police seized millions of dollars worth of assets, which included luxury cars such as a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, from the group, dubbed the "Mega Conspiracy" by prosecutors. They also seized more than NZ$10 million ($8 million) from financial institutions.
"The FBI contacted New Zealand Police in early 2011 with a request to assist with their investigation into the Mega Conspiracy," said Detective Inspector Grant Wormald from the Organised & Financial Crime Agency New Zealand.
"All the accused have been indicted in the United States. We will continue to work with the U.S. authorities to assist with the extradition proceedings," Wormald said in a statement.
The men appeared briefly in an Auckland court on Friday and were remanded in custody until Monday for a bail hearing.
"We have nothing to hide," Kim Dotcom said from the dock after his lawyer opposed media cameras in the court, reported New Zealand media.

Vocal critics of the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and Protect IP Act (PIPA), quickly showed their opposition to the shutdown of Megaupload.com, with hackers attacking the public websites of the Justice Department, the world's largest music company Universal Music, and the two big trade groups that represent the music and film industries.
"The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government & record label sites," a member of Anonymous said via Twitter.
Representatives with the Justice Department and Recording Industry Association of America declined comment on the attacks. Officials with Universal Music could not immediately be reached.
Motion Picture Association of America spokesman Howard Gantman said his group was working with law enforcement to identify the attackers.
The Mega Conspiracy group was accused of engaging in a scheme that took more than $500 million away from copyright holders and generated over $175 million in proceeds from subscriptions and advertising, according to the indictment unsealed on Thursday.
"In exchange for payment, the Mega Conspiracy provides fast reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted works from its servers located around the world," the indictment said.
U.S. Justice Department officials said that the estimate of $500 million in economic harm to copyright holders was on the low end and likely significantly more.
The allegations included copyright infringement as well as conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.
If convicted, the maximum penalties are 20 years for conspiracy to commit racketeering and to commit money laundering and five years for each count of copyright infringement and five years for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.
The companies charged, Megaupload Ltd and Vestor Ltd, were both registered in Hong Kong and owned either in large part or solely by Dotcom. A lawyer who has previously worked with Megaupload was not immediately available for comment.
Megaupload has boasted of having more than 150 million registered users and 50 million daily visitors, according to the indictment. At one point, it was estimated to be the 13th most frequently visited website on the Internet.
Users could upload material to the company's sites which then would create a link that could be distributed. The sites, which included video, music and pornography, did not provide search capabilities but rather relied on others to publish the links, the indictment said.
Users could purchase memberships to the site to obtain faster upload and download services, the primary source of revenue. Material that was not regularly downloaded was deleted and financial incentives were offered for popular content, according to the charges.
The web page with the link to the copyrighted material would include advertisements, another source of revenue.
If copyright holders complained about a specific link to the website, prosecutors said that Megaupload.com would remove that link but scores of others existed to the same material, according to prosecutors.
Other material found uploaded included child pornography and terrorism propaganda videos, according to the indictment. The U.S. government's investigation began in March 2010.
(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky and Jim Finkle in WASHINGTON; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz and Yinka Adegoke, and Mantik Kusjanto in Wellington.; Editing by Gary Hill, Phil Berlowitz, Michael Perry and Mark Bendeich)

January 18, 2012

Yahoo! News - Woman makes it onto flight in Texas with gun in her purse!

DALLAS (Reuters) - A 65-year-old woman made it past a checkpoint and onto a flight at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday with a revolver tucked away in her handbag, and was only stopped after the plane was called back to the gate, the airport said.

The woman was carrying a .38-caliber revolver in her handbag, the airport said in a statement. She was to be charged with a state felony for carrying a weapon where prohibited.

The release said airport police got a call from the Transportation Security Administration at about 6 a.m., asking for help locating a person who had gotten through the checkpoint but needed secondary screening.
Airport Department of Public Safety officers searched all five terminals and found the woman at about 8 a.m. on board an American Airlines domestic flight that had been called back to the gate for inspection. A total of 10 flights were delayed an average of 20-25 minutes during the incident.

The TSA has said that airport security officers found about four firearms per day, many of them loaded, at airport checkpoints last year. Most passengers said they had forgotten the weapons were in their bags, the TSA said.

Google Blackens Its Logo To Protest SOPA/PIPA, While Bing & Yahoo Carry On As Usual

Google Blackens Its Logo To Protest SOPA/PIPA, While Bing & Yahoo Carry On As Usual

Academic Research Paper on OpenSim Community

Academic Research Paper on OpenSim Community

January 16, 2012

Facebook's IPO

Facebook‘s long-awaited IPO is likely to come in late May, according to a report. Citing “multiple sources,” All Things D reports that the social networking giant will offer shares to the general public during the third week of May. That means Facebook has to file its documents with the SEC within a month since a review by the agency usually takes three to four months, the site reports.
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However, the report also warns that the timing could fluctuate. “This IPO planning could all change in a New York minute to another month.” Indeed, after the market’s gyrations over the summer of 2011, IPO dates for Groupon and Zynga became moving targets as the companies sought favorable conditions.

Facebook reps could not be reached for comment on the report.

The timing of Facebook’s IPO has been a source of speculation for the past few months since the $100 billion offering will likely be one of the 10 biggest IPOs of all time and the largest of any tech company. In November, The Wall Street Journal, which, like All Things D, is owned by Dow Jones & Co., reported that Facebook would go public sometime between April and June.
Yelp, which is planning its own $100 million IPO sometime this year, will undoubtedly be closely watching the timing around a purported Facebook IPO with vigor.

CNN.com - U.S.

RollingStone.com: All News