Technology in Society

How Technology is used in society and how it affects it

Arab themed Advance Fee Fraud / 419 Nigerian Scam

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This version is the first time where I saw an Arab theme used for this fraud. It also uses an Islamic tone as well, which is not that uncommon, but not widespread either. Also note the use of the link from a well reputed news web site. This shows that the crooks behind these scams keep up with the news, and reinvent their scam to use whatever is new.

The Advanced Fee Fraud / 419 Nigerian Scam

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Those who have been on the internet for some time, must know the Nigerian scam. This is the one where you get an email from someone who claims he is the relative of some deceased African president/dictator/official who amassed millions of dollars and agree to give you This is known as the Advance Fee Fraud, or the 419 scam. There are many variations in this fraud, but all center on some West African country, such as Nigeria, but also include Ghana, Togo, Congo and others. Some use South Africa as well.

Mistaken Identity: How some people confuse my site for others

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One of the interesting aspects of running a web site is getting feedback from visitors on various subjects I write on.It becomes more interesting and bizarre when people mistake my web site for other organizations, including a language school, a high end hotel, a large library, Sears Kenmore, and more.Here are some examples of confused emails that I got. 

Life Interrupted: Stressed by Distraction

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In a previous article, titled Interrupting Interruptions, I discussed how technological advances have affected our daily life.Now, Professor David Levy, of the University of Washington has studied the phenomenon and its effects on us. Read the article in the Seattle Times, which also quotes David Meyer, a cognitive scientist and psychologist.

Evaluation of RateMyProfessors.com and its implications

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RateMyProfessors.comis a web site that allows university students to rate their professors on various metrics anonymously, and write comments about them as well.

This site has come to my attention about two years ago. I found that it is an interesting concept, offering raw unembellished input, and allowing students to have more say about their teachers.

Verifying Online News: Lessons from the beheading video hoax

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Yesterday, news spread around that another American was beheaded by terrorists. The video, titled "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi beheads an American", stated that Benjamin Vanderford, 22, was beheaded, with Quran verses chanted in the background, interspersed with images of mutilated dead bodies of men, women and children. Soon afterwards, news emerged that the video was a hoax by Benjamin Vanderford, and his friends Robert Martin, 23, and Laurie Kirchner, 20.

The rise and fall of non-English writing in Internet communities

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This article documents some observations on the evolution of non-English writing systems on internet communities, such as chat, newsgroups and forums.In the mid and late 1990s, the growth of internet usage was explosive, specially as it spread outside North America and Western Europe.Early adopters are technically savvy people, who most likely can speak and read English because of their education and/or work, such as scientists, and programmers.Then as technology spreads among the less technologically savvy, people who do not know English well want to express themselves in their native lang

Interrupting Interruptions, or How Technology affects daily life

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Take an average work day of a 'knowledge worker', someone whose main work day is around information. For example, a programmer, a stock broker, and other office workers.She probably has a cell phone, and an organizer. This is in addition to the land line she has on her desk. Of course she also has a desktop computer, or a laptop that she takes with her at home and on trips. On that computer, she must have email, e.g. Microsoft Outlook probably with immediate notification when a message arrives. She also has an Instant Messaging program, such as Yahoo Messenger, ICQ or MSN Messenger.

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