Tag Archives: online

Passover Contracts Online (selling “chametz” via the web)

During the 8 days of the Passover festival it is forbidden for a Jew to have any “chametz” (refers to bread, grains and leavened products that are not consumed during Passover) in their possession.  We throw lots of stuff away, clean like germaphobes with OCD, and seal any cabinets in the kitchen with masking tape that contain chametz products that we didn’t want to toss out.  Then we sign a contract with our rabbis to “sell our chametz” in a paper transaction that removes ownership of the products sealed in our houses until the holiday is over, at which time the chametz are transferred back to our possession.

Enter the Internet

My wife usually needs to remind and remind me again to sell the chametz.  I usually wait until a day or two before Passover before signing the 1 page simple contract with our rabbi and fulfilling the obligation.  Well not this year.  Here I am almost a week away and I fulfilled my obligation without ever leaving my home.

My friend Yoni forwarded a link to Kipa.com’s program to sell your chumetz online.  The site is in Hebrew, but thanks to Google Translate (or the built in translator on Google Chrome) I could read what it said.  Basically, you enter your email address and they send you a verification code.  You then enter the verification code, which brings up the web form equivalent of the rabbis contract asking for your name, home address, phone number, and places where chametz can be found.  The whole process took me 3-minutes and once finished I received a verification email that my chametz would be “sold” right before the holiday and revert back to me 1-hour after it.

This brilliant use of the Internet is just another reason I love all things online.  What are some of the novel things you have found the Internet to do that used to require physical actions?


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The Death of “Social Media” (“Augmented Reality” is Next)

Many sites have been predicting the death of the term “social media” as a trend to watch in 2010.  Adam Singer on Future Buzz has a great post about how the genericizing of the term “social media” as a buzz word in 2009 and 2010 will dilute its meaning of any substance so that eventually it describes just what we do online.  Intrigued by this thought, I left the following comment on his post and encourage you to add to the conversation there:

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the term “social media” for a while now, and have tried to come up with a better term.  It’s not just about semantics.  When I tell people that I am a community manager for a large professional network of lawyers they say, “oh – so you’re a webmaster?”

“No,” I say, “I’m a community manager – we have a team that deals with code and development.  I’m more the people, engagement, and business development side of things.”

“Hmm,” they say, looking at me suspiciously and thinking that I just dropped a load of crap on them, until I say, “I work in social media.” Then they’re like, “oh, right, like Twitter and stuff.”  Tired of the conversation, at this point I’ll say, “yeah, something like that.”

I will not mourn the death of the term “social media” as a buzz word among popular culture, but it does come in handy for the reason stated above, as well as, doing searches and Google alerts for things I want to read about.  If I used as generic a term as “online” I would have to filter through even more junk than I already do (I read mabye 15 – 20% of the 150+ articles I pick up in RSS per day searching for the term “social media.”)  I agree with you that it is risky to name a business after a buzz word (anyone out there still called “Web Surfers”or “Super Information Highway Cruisers”?), but as with my own blog, putting the term “social media” in the subtitle helps with traffic and orientation for new visitors.  Of course, if your post is right and the term social media comes to mean anything online, well then I’m back to square one.

So what do you and others think the term to describe augmented reality, specialized online social networking, community and content sharing should be?

Terms like “information super highway,” “cyber (insert here),” “world wide web,” were aliases we used to describe what eventually became the generic term “online.”  Does “social media” describe something else or will it eventually come to be what we know and expect as “online”?  Is there any differentiation between e-commerce, gaming, cloud computing, and “online” or do these terms describe a distinct aspect of “online” that has validity even after they have become integrated into our general expectations?  I would dare to say that the term “augmented reality,” which we are going to hear thrown around A LOT in 2010 is going to suffer an even quicker death than the term “social media.”  As Adam notes in his blog, the demise of social media is perhaps a long way off.  Business is just starting to hit milestones in adoption (see Pepsi to Skip Super Bowl Ads in Favor of $20M Social Media Campaign) and as I hinted to in my comment to him, the term is genericizing b/c it is how people are coming to understand this functionality of the web.

So what do you think we should call “social media”?  If not “social media” then what search terms should we use to find out about this kind of activity on the web?  What are the buzz words of yesteryear that have died and what can we learn from them?

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Chrome Browser Now on Mac: A Photo Journal

It has been a long wait for Chrome on the Mac, and today it is finally here.  My reaction when I saw the post on Mashable?  YES, YES, YESSSSS!!!!! (but whispered b/c the kids are sleeping).   As the proud new parent of the Chrome browser, here is a photo journal of this exciting day:

The article that started it all.

Me, when I saw the headline "Google Chrome for Mac Launches"

The download screen: it's really true!

There it is, in my Finder.

And there it is in my Dock

Of course I want Chrome to be default Browser (sorry Firefox) ...

Google Chrome is finally my browser on a Mac.

I'm happy.


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Fear the Conficker Worm

“I saw it on 60-minutes,” Mom said.  “They said don’t go online b/c of this virus.”

“Worm,” I said. 

“What?” she asked.

“It’s a worm, not a virus,” I said. 

N00B Alert: worm v. virus (from the Big W) 

A computer worm is a self-replicating computer program. It uses a network to send copies of itself to other nodes (computers on the network) and it may do so without any user intervention. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program.

“Besides they sell fear, Mom.  Fear and weather.  My buddy who retired after 30-years at ABC told me that.”

“It still scares me,” she said.  “I wouldn’t go near the Internet or Facebook this week.”  Mom just discovered Facebook, and in just three short weeks became addicted.  “I only go on it during weekends.  I’ll start looking at things and then a few hours goes by!”  She laughed at herself, but I could hear the withdrawal of a Facebook junky looking for their next fix.  Mom has pretty good self control though, quit cigarettes after thirty years via willpower, so it didn’t surpise me to hear she had joined the ranks of the “FB weekend warriors.”

“You shouldn’t be so frightened,” I told her. 

“Do you go online during these viruses?” she asked. 

Worm, Mom.  And yes, I my life is online,” I said.  “You can’t let a worm-scare stop you from doing what you need to do.”  Working in the e-Content arena I spend all day online on my PC.  Then at night, I go home to blog and write on my Mac, the diversity in operating systems deluding me into thinking I am doing something different than what I do all day for pay.  At least I didn’t have to worry about Conficker at home, Macs got a special pass.  Still, Conficker’s capacity to cause mass-public terror and sell news amazed me.

Conficker is the worst worm to hit the Internet since an SQL slammer worm of 2003Maximum PC said:

The first two versions of Conficker — variants A and B — exploit a vulnerability in the Server Service on Windows-based PCs to take advantage of an already-infected source computer. Once infected, the worm goes to work exploiting the network hole, cracking administrator passwords, prevents access to security websites and services for automatic updates, disables backup services, erases recently saved documents, and among other things, also leaves you vulnerable to other infected machines.

Bascially a huge pain in the a**.  Yet April 1st came and went without anything remotely resembling the “Fire Sale” in Diehard 4.  Even today, opinions were divided over whether this worm had shriveled on the sidewalk or if it still lurked inside the Apple … I mean the PC

Whatever the future of the Conficker Worm, it scared my hair stylist, Imana Scissorhands.  She had a new PC for her new salon and it was acting “weird” all day.  She feared it might be the Conficker.  Having promised to build her a nice photo blog for a free haircut, I went on her computer and observed some strange activities.  Clicking on Google results that had definite targets brought us to strange destinations, often for generic search and sell portals.  

One thing I noticed right away was that Imana Scissorhands did not have any anti-virus or spyware protection installed.  Now I’m not IT expert, but it seemed risky going it alone without any protection.  We tried to download a free-90-day trial of McAffee, but her comp wouldn’t allow us to initiate the auto-run (sounding more like Conficker?).  We did download and run CC Cleaner prior to that, but the strange activity continued.  In the end, I told her to call a professional and see what they could do.  We did manage to get her photo blog up though, and I may have found a side-career as a ghostwriter.   

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