Suspected New Zealand Teenager Cybercrime Ringleader Questioned and Released

A New Zealand teenager was questioned and released as part of a joint jurisdiction investigation.  The teenager is accused of ring leading a penetration into 1.3 million computers and skimming millions of dollars from owners bank accounts.

Working with the FBI and the police in the Netherlands, the New Zealand police raided the home of the 18-year-old in the North Island city of Hamilton and took him into custody along with several computers, said Martin Kleintjes, head of the police electronic crime center. The youth was released without charge, though the police said he was still part of their investigation.

New Zealand teen questioned on suspected cybercrime ring

Identity theft now has impacted 1 out of every 25 Americans and it is rapidly becoming obvious that authorities are falling behind in the race to protect people from this type of crime.  One minute you are surfing Google, not even making a purchase, you click on a search result, and before you know it a teenager is lifting personal and sensitive information from your computer and engaging in a shopping spree to outfit their cats with high end modern platform beds.

Black Friday Started and All I got Was this stupid 10 percent off email!

Many holiday shoppers this year are going to have to settle for paying normal price on Black Friday.  The deals in a tumbling economy with a continually devaluing dollar and hints of inflation are going to keep inventory tight retailers from pushing out the big incentives.


I received my first personal example of this on Wednesday.  Circuit City sent me a nice email offering me a whopping 10 percent off if I shop online and enter their tracking code.

Now as a consumer, 10 percent off is not going to get me to act on anything unless, I just happen to be going to circuit city that same day and the email comes an hour or so before I go.  Then I might remember or make the connection and use it. 

Otherwise I suspect Circuit City is just wasting their direct email budget.  I'd rather they spend that by giving me a free diet coke while I wait in a long check out line next month when I do spend some money at the last minute.

Has The Zune Evolved Enough for Prime Time?

Microsoft's mobile Zune Player is releasing this week with a major upgrade. 

The Zune is now able to sync up wirelessly.


That may not sound like a real big deal, but from an ease of use perspective it is much bigger than you might think.  I happen to be one of the few people in the world to have used a mobile WiFi media player with a full synchronization capability, almost 3 years ago. 

Microsoft may not be first to market with this capability in a wifi media player, but they are doing it more successfully.

So why is wireless synchronization so important for the Zune?

It works like this.  You set up your synchronization settings.  You set them up once or update them as you like.  Your Zune player can then log in in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning, while you are working out on exercise equipment or whenever, and grab your updated content.

  • Get the latest news before you leave the house
  • refresh part of your song list
  • Get the latest podcasts or video casts downloaded
  • You can even have your email audioized and sucked into your player to listen to your unread email on the way to work.

The point is that this can all happen without the user having to do anything.  It all happens while the player sits somewhere in your house or maybe even your car charging up for a new day.

This upgrade is all about making the users life easier.  You get an iPod and you get a job managing files.

You get a Zune now (or get the free upgrade on your old Zune) and suddenly the Zune takes over your former job as a file manager.  You have more time to do something important, more time to enjoy your Zune and more time to consume the information or media on your Zune.

Free Upgrade is so Un-Apple

Now look, you can be an Apple fan boy all day long, and I will not sway your opinion.  I could care less, do what you will.  The Zune however is doing something with this major upgrade that is so Un-Apple.  They are providing a firmware upgrade to all existing Zune players to provide this new functionality.  When Apple comes out with a major upgrade, you usually have to get a new device or computer, Zune is giving this new functionality and usability to its existing customer base.

Blogworld Kicks off a few little SNAFUs

First, what is the plural spelling of SNAFU?  Is it SNAFI?  SNAFUes?

Anyway, I'm out at Blogworld for the convention in Las Vegas.  Writing this during the corporate blogger session.  I write as a ghost writer on several corporate blogs, write as a ceo on my own blog and write on a number of niche topics as well (as you know among many other areas of business, marketing, entertainment and specialization.)

blogworld corporate conference session

There are not too many of us blogger / social media/ social marketing gurus in the world and that is a big reason why we are in such high demand these days. 

Blogs may be a dime a dozen but good blogging/marketing skills are a valuable commodity.

I wanted to point out a few of the negatives about the show so far (there aren't that many and I view these as areas of opportunity for the organizers).

  1. There are no shuttles running bloggers around.  Navigating Vegas for first time visitors sometimes is easier when conferences provide shuttles at least to the show.
  2. Sound, Sound, Sound, the first keynote address this morning had bad sound, and even lost sound for a while.  The audience interaction fell apart for about the middle third of the conversation because people could not hear the speakers correctly.
  3. Food and drinks at the convention center.  For what ever reason finding plentiful food and drink at the Las Vegas Convention center is always problematic whether its Blogworld or CES.

Note. Someone is probably looking for some new cufflinks.  I know this because I had one lodged in my shoe after getting off the escalator.  Fortunately, it didn't puncture my skin and I didn't need a tetanus shot after attending Blogworld. 

I will be providing a much longer list of positives later!

BlogWorld in Vegas 7 - 9th - Next Week!


I am heading to BlogWorld in Las Vegas on Wednesday.  It should be a fun time.  There are several parties already lined up on Wednesday(hard rock) and Saturday(Tao) and I've heard unconfirmed rumors about parties on Thursday and Friday too. 

What Happens When you turn on tens of thousands of bloggers in Las Vegas?

Lots of talk, lots of gossip, lots of pictures, lots of video and lots and lots of blogging.

Seriously, it will be a good chance for everyone to get together learn some new stuff (I'm all tracked up with conference sessions to go to in an effort to learn the latest and greatest in blogging) and then since its Vegas where they pump Oxygen into the casinos to help keep you awake, no one will sleep.

Now if only they had wifi at the craps tables . . . .

If you are going to be out at BlogWorld next week or over the weekend, contact me and maybe we can catch up at one of the events.  I'll be staying a few days at the Stratosphere (saving money) and at the Hilton (proximity) but I won't be at the Orleans hotel Las Vegas

PS not sure if it is still there, but the night club known I think as Lights in the Bellagio Sucks!  (I promised them a plug the last time I was there.)

Microsoft Zune is Like a Portable TiVo for Television Recordings

What is the Important difference between a Zune and an iPod?


Free TV Recording Capability!

The iPod will sell you some but not all TV shows for a couple bucks. Plus, the list of available shows seems to be dwindling as the networks, like studios become more wary of Apple's power.  However, consumers are in for a big benefit from Zune's and the studios and networks might be looking at a VCR/TIVO like nightmare in the portable Zune devices.

Using a PC running Media Center (I am writing this on a laptop with Media Center), you can record television programs and zap them over to your Zune.

There is one feature that may well call out to a certain group of users: the Zune can download television programs recorded on computers with the Media Center feature of Windows Vista. I haven’t tried this, and it well could be harder to use than it should be. I would say it’s the sort of thing that mainstream users might want to wait to do when Apple introduces an easy version.

Microsoft Sings a New Zune

That is a huge deal.  All that is needed to make that popular and useful . . .


Well that's locked up inside my head.  Microsoft will have to hire me for that information. 

I worked on the first Wireless Media Player device that was introduced 2 years before any other device including the Zune, so I have a few lessons learned and tricks up my sleeve that I'm banking for retirement.

In the meantime, the Zune guys, (very nice and very smart people, I met several of them a year ago and again last month) will have to either figure out these key lessons on their own or  . . . .  :)

In the meantime, I'll continue to write and as winter approaches start to focus on some indoor exercise ellipticals , I've been working a bit too hard the last couple months and picked up a few extra pounds that I don't need.


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