computer addiction

Is the Internet Replacing Your Memory?

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Woman on laptop

– Google, Facebook, Internet Movie Database, and many other sources of information on the Internet are changing the way in which we remember.

Whether it’s an actor’s name that is on the tip of your tongue, or even a loved one’s birthday, all you have to do is type in some key words and you often can have your answer.

As a result of this instant access, growing numbers of us may actually be outsourcing our memories. It’s called the “Google effect,” and it is documented online in the journal Science.

“Google is just another form of external memory,” says Betsy Sparrow, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of psychology at Columbia University in New York City.

Most of us have some go-to experts for this topic or that. For example, you may go to your husband if you need information on sports, a co-worker for cooking advice, and a best friend to remind you of upcoming birthdays or college memories.

These people serve as our external memory for choice topics, she says. Search engines, however, are akin to having a really well-rounded phone-a-friend if you were a contestant on the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

“The Internet is much more ubiquitous,” she says. “You can find anything at any time very quickly with a lot less effort,” Sparrow says.

As a result, “we do have a little bit of a dependence on it, and we expect to get information when we want to know it,” she says.

Internet’s Impact on Ability to Recall Facts

Sparrow and colleagues conducted four experiments to see how our reliance on search engines or smart phones affects our ability to recall. In one of the experiments, students typed in answers to trivia questions. Some thought their work would be saved while others thought it would be deleted. Participants who thought their information would be erased remembered more than those who thought they could just hit “save.”

During another experiment, volunteers were told that all of the information they typed into the computer could be saved, and they were given generic file names such as facts and data. They were then asked to write down on a sheet of paper as many of the answers as they could remember and in which folders the information was stored. Participants were more likely to remember where the information was stored than the actual information.

“I was surprised by the magnitude of the difference between prioritizing where to find things over the things themselves,” Sparrow says. This epitomizes the so-called Google effect because we now tend to remember where things are and how to find them as opposed to the actual information.

This shift away from memorizing may ultimately help people improve their comprehension and become better learners, she says.

“Memory is so much more than memorization,” she says. The Google effect may allow us to free up more space on our internal hard drives and focus on processing as opposed to memorizing.

Neuropsychologist Mark Mapstone, PhD, University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., isn’t sure the Google effect is such a good thing for our memories.

“This is not as good for us from a brain perspective,” he says. “If you download your information to a device, you are not using your brain to make connections as you should be.”

That said, “When you don’t burden your memory with rote remembering, it does free up activity for more complex thinking,” he says.


Facebook song: ‘I delete them, but they add me again’

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(Credit: Video screenshot by Boonsri Dickinson/CNET)

One Facebook user is expressing her annoyance with the social network–not through a Facebook status update, but by posting a parody song on YouTube.

One of the points Australian singer Madelaine Zammit stresses in the song is the randomness of friendship requests, singing about a 40-year-old man trying to add her as a friend. Zammit, a high school student, sang her song live during an Australian morning show and it took off from there. “I thought only my friends would watch it and like we’d have a laugh about it. Then it got to be over 300,000 hits. I didn’t think it would,” she told the morning show.

Zammit’s second video on YouTube (watch it below) is much better than her first (not even sure what she’s saying in this one). Does she want to be a singer in the future? “I can’t imagine doing anything else because, like, schoolwork, I don’t find very interesting. Music would be heaps good to do in the future,” she told the morning show hosts.

Her rapid-fire lyrics perhaps reflect the frenzied nature of checking updates, poking crushes, and liking the latest cat video. “I get distracted then go scrolling up and down the feed/Then notice all the people that I really wished I didn’t have to meet/I don’t like skinny guys with little muscle who think they’re strong.”

Zammit set out to write a funny song and decided to write about Facebook, in part because she knew a lot of people would relate. Hers is not the first tune about Facebook, however. Lynnea Malley sings about her digital stalker tendencies. And Kate Miller-Heidke sings about a former lover: “You wanna be my friend on Facebook? Are you f*cking kidding?”



i am a beggar hood_photoshoot_deadbj_BIJAY ACHARYA movie review

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Nepali Documentary movie by “bijay acharya”[DEADBJ]
aimed to be released on 2013-2014 A.D.


Goal of movie : To give Catchy Dailouges,Scenes, and FX effects in Nepali Cinematic Field.
Director : Bijay Acharya [deadbj]
Film Length : About 30-35 Minutes

Anonymous Declares War On The City Of Orlando

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The hacktivist group Anonymous may be setting its sights on the city of Orlando, Florida next, if an anonymous press release which has landed in our inbox is to be believed (see bellow). The group is threatening to take down a different city-related website every day, starting with Orlando Florida Guide, which doesn’t even appear to be owned by the city of Orlando (it isregistered to an organization called Utopia, administered by a man named Steven Ridenour). So any random website extolling the virtues of Orlando could be targeted.

The DDOS attacks are justified in the press release as retaliation for the repeated arrests of members of a non-profit group called Food Not Bombs, which feeds homeless people in a park without a permit. The leader of the group, Keith McHenry, was also recently arrested.

“This is a declaration of war,” writes Anonymous in its press release describing “Operation Orlando.” It warns the entire city that “Anonymous will now begin a massive campaign against you and your city web assets. Everyday we will launch a new DDoS attack on a different Target.” Its first target will be Orlando Florida Guide, which it threatens to take down between 10 AM and 6 PM tomorrow. No reason is given as to what the site or its owner did to incur the wrath of Anonymous, other than its local boosterism. It’s not even the City of Orlando‘s official website.

Commander X@OpOrlando2011
Commander X

We have a Target, there will be an assault and take down at 10:00 AM ET tomorrow. Media should watch for a Press Release tonight. #OpOrlando

Anonymous Press Release – Operation Orlando

June 27, 2011

The City of Orlando has ignored our warnings, and our generous offer of a cease fire. On Wednesday last you not only arrested two more people for feeding but you arrested the worldwide President of Food Not Bombs Keith Mchenry. This is a declaration of war.

Henceforth there will be no more cease fires, no more attempts to get you to resolve this issue with human decency. We will now treat you like the human rights abusers that you are.

Anonymous will now begin a massive campaign against you and your city web assets. Everyday we will launch a new DDoS attack on a different Target. We will continue to E-Mail millions of people in 50 countries with the Boycott Orlando campiagn [sic] message.

In our experience a government that acts this way is also corrupt. We therefore call on any government or police employee who has evidence of any kind of wrongdoing to consider disclosing it to an organization that specializes in dealing with local disclosures.

We have said what we have to say. The media has many press releases and communiques from us. From now on we will DO not talk. Journalists should follow the Twitter for that days targeted take down or other un-planned assaults.

Tomorrow morning at exactly 10:00 AM ET Anonymous will remove from the world wide web and it shall remain down until 6:00 PM ET. We will also E-Mail Bomb and Black Fax the owners of this site, identified as one Utopia, Inc.

We Are Anonymous – We Are Everywhere – We Are Legion – We Never Forget – We Never Forgive

FREE Keith McHenry

EXPECT US — Anonymous


Now You Can Reach Out & Smack Someone On Facebook [VIDEO]

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Getting frustrated with your Facebook pals? Now you can take it out on their profile pics with RageGage Connect, a goofy Facebook-aware USB gadget that you pound with your fist. Then you can post the grisly results.

As you bang on the padded and unbreakable RageGage on your desk, you’ll hear convincing sound effects and see a cartoon fist punching out your friend on-screen.

Open up your virtual can of whoop-ass on that unfortunate victim, and the Facebook picture gets more and more shattered as you continue your ersatz assault. When you figure the poor soul has had enough, you’re free to further humiliate, sharing those battle pics with all those who might be interested.

I have a RageGage here, and after a quick download of the RageGage Connect software, I was ready to begin the beating. Although I’m not at all frustrated with my colleagues and exude nothing but peace and love, I tried it on my esteemed Mashable friend Brian Anthony Hernandez (with his permission), and look what happened to the poor guy:




Ouch. Although it looks more like you’re breaking the screen than your friend’s face, you get the idea.

Besides being repelled by the sheer violence, I wish the RageGage Connect applet was more tightly integrated with Facebook — as it stands, you do all your pic-picking using the separate applet that asks for permission to access your Facebook data, a worrisome prospect for some users.

RageGage inventor Ian Campbell says he got tired of that “like” button on Facebook and needed the exact opposite: “I wanted a ‘Smack’ button, but what we’ve put into RageGage Connect is even better … and much more gratifying!”

There’s an additional use for the device: you can just bang on it and register your rage level on Facebook, warning others to steer clear until your rampage subsides. And you don’t have to be connected, either. As you can see in the video below, the $20 RageGage works well on its own, taunting you with an annoying voice as you pound on it. Much like a “test your strength” hammer you’d see at a carnival, it registers your force with a group of blinking LEDs.



Hackers break into Tony Blair’s webmail server, disclose former PM’s address book

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Tony Blair

A hacking group known as TeaMp0isoN have published private information belonging to former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

TeaMp0isoN have been in the news recently for allegedly hacking into a web site they claimed belonged to a member of LulzSec.

This time they targeted a webmail server used by Tony Blair in December of 2010. It is unclear why they waited for so long to disclose the breach and there is no evidence as of yet to confirm their story.

The information disclosed includes “Tony Blair Office Members Information, Tony Blair Address & Phone Book (Includes family, friends, MPs & lords) and Katie Kay Curriculum vitae (Tony Blairs special adviser).”

Screen capture of stolen Blair address book

Information on Mr. Blair’s friends and colleagues includes names, home addresses, home, work and cell phone numbers and email addresses. Additionally Mr. Blair’s National Insurance Number (NIN) and Ms. Kay’s CV (resume) are also included in the dump.

We don’t know what specific flaws were exploited in this attack, but seeing that it is a webmail server the most likely method was SQL injection. It is extremely important to keep web servers patched and up to date, especially if they are running Linux using commonly exploited CMSs, webmail solutions and blogging software.

TeaMp0isoN logo

This attack like many we have reported on this year appears to be politically motivated. The TeaMp0isoN attackers called Mr. Blair a war criminal in a Twitter post and much of the language used is derogatory.

LulzSec hacks Arizona police over immigration issues

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Creative Commons photo courtesy of beej55

The latest in a string of attacks by a hacker group known as Lulz Security (LulzSec) targeted the Arizona police today. The hackers exposed user names and personal information of law enforcement officers as well as sensitive documents housed on their servers.

While rumors surfaced about a supposed kingpin of LulzSec being arrested by New Scotland Yard this week, their intimidation tactics continue, and we have no idea who the next target will be.

As usual many of the dumped passwords were easy to guess or crack, showing that too many people believe it can’t happen to them. It is increasingly apparent that using software and encryption to create and protect unique passwords for every website is necessary.

That LulzSec exposed these passwords suggests they were either unencrypted, or used an insecure hashing algorithm. This is bad in and of itself, but far worse if the victims used the same passwords elsewhere.

While many of us are frustrated with the current state of corporate security and would like to affect change in a meaningful way, we control our own destiny. Most of us reside within nations that have democratic governments and can participate in shaping our futures through legal means.

In my view, the hacker ethic is to empower people with understanding and to use our collective intelligence to advance our ideas. Destroying privacy by exposing the information of innocent victims doesn’t advance anything.