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iReport boot camp: Get your stories seen

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

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iReport CNN iReport
By Topher Kohan, CNN
September 10, 2010 2:13 p.m. EDT

Topher Kohan is the SEO Coordinator at CNN.com. He says there are a lot of small things you can do to make your stories more search-friendly.

Topher Kohan is the SEO Coordinator at CNN.com. He says there are a lot of small things you can do to make your stories more search-friendly.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

iReporters put a lot of work into their photos and videos so it’s natural for them to want their stories to be seen by as many people as possible. That’s why this week’s CNN iReport boot camp challenge looks at search engine optimization, or SEO. CNN.com SEO Manager Topher Kohan has some tips to make your iReports more visible on Google, Bing and other search engines. Check out what he has to say, and then try out his tips with our SEO challenge.

(CNN) — Lets talk about SEO!

I am sure some of you are asking, “What the heck is SEO?” It stands for Search Engine Optimization. In the simplest terms, it is organizing a website and its content to help it rank higher in a search engine such as Google.

At CNN, I work with the editors and writers to help them take the great stuff they produce and make it as search-friendly as possible so more people can find it and read it. I also work with the design and development teams to make sure the Web pages are as SEO-friendly as possible.

We do all this work and training so that search engines hopefully list our stories higher on the correct results pages.

Here are some things that can make your iReport submission, and anything else you publish on the Web, more search-friendly.

1. Headline:

The headline is one of the best ways for a search engine to find out what your story is about. So your story is more likely to turn up in a search if your headline includes the terms people are searching for.

Here’s an example of a search-friendly iReport headline: “Nonlethal projectiles fired into crowd in Los Angeles

It works because it tells the user exactly what the story is about and includes the terms we think people would be searching for to find info on this event.

Here’s an example of a headline for a story about Colorado wildfires that’s not friendly:
11 a.m. Sept. 6

This headline doesn’t work well with search engines because it doesn’t say what the story is about.

It makes sense after you see the story, but search engines and the people doing the searching don’t have that context. Therefore it won’t show up as high in the Google search results pages.

2. Description:

The description should tell both readers and the search engines what the iReport is about. You want to use words that you think people will be searching for, but you still want it to sound normal.

Jamming too many search terms into a description is called “stuffing.” Search engines look for that sort of thing, so it can hurt how your iReport shows up in Google.

Here’s an example of a good iReport description:

Scenes from Boulder, CO fire. Accidentally happened upon the epicenter of the fire shortly after it started this morning. Such a moving human experience.

It works because it is simple and to the point. It tells you what the story is about, what you will see in the iReport and also give good information to the search engines.

Here’s one that wasn’t as helpful:

People queuing to board a bus near the Marylebone and Edgware Road stations in London, UK

This one did not work because there wasn’t any context in the description. Why are people queuing? Is this a unusual happening? Content without context is not content to the search engines.

3. File name:

The search engines cannot watch a video or see a image, so what you name them can help the engines know what they are about. It’s a lot easier for a search engine to find “denverfire.jpg” than “IMG_0358.jpg.”

One last thought: All these things will help, but remember that you do not want to mislead readers or the search engines by saying the iReport is about one thing when it is really about something else.

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U.S. and Israel spying behind BlackBerry woe: Dubai police

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

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A family walks past a display of a BlackBerry smart phone at a shopping mall in Dubai August 1, 2010. REUTERS/Mosab Omar

A family walks past a display of a BlackBerry smart phone at a shopping mall in Dubai August 1, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mosab Omar

DUBAI | Fri Sep 3, 2010 10:30am EDT

DUBAI (Reuters) – Concerns over Israeli access to BlackBerry data, and the use of the device by the United States to spy on the United Arab Emirates are behind the Gulf state’s moves to curb the smartphone, Dubai’s police chief said.

“The Unites States is the primary beneficiary of having no controls over the BlackBerry, as it has an interest to spy on the UAE,” Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said in remarks carried by the website of the daily al-Khaleej on Friday.

“The West has accused us of curbing the liberties of BlackBerry users, while America, Israel, Britain and other countries are allowed access to all transferred data,” Tamim added.

Tamim, who has been outspoken in blaming Israeli agents for the assassination of a top Palestinian militant at a Dubai hotel in January, did not say why Washington had an interest in spying on Western-allied UAE.

The UAE, where BlackBerry maker RIM has 500,000 users, has said it would suspend BlackBerry Messenger, email and Web browser services from October11 until the government could get access to encrypted messages.

Blackberry won a reprieve on a shutdown in India last month, after RIM agreed to give India access to secure BlackBerry data, according to an Indian government source.

BlackBerry’s Messenger application has spread rapidly in the Gulf where it is a popular business and social networking tool. But because the data is encrypted and sent to offshore servers, it cannot be tracked locally.

That has raised fears in security-conscious Gulf states, especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, that a lack of access could fetter their ability to ferret out potential spies, assassins or Islamic militants, analysts say.

(Reporting by Firouz Sedarat; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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HP CEO latest exec to lose job over relationship


Mark Hurd, President, CEO and chairman of Hewlett Packard, testifies during a hearing held by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating Hewlett-Packard on Capitol Hill in Washington September 28, 2006. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Mark Hurd, President, CEO and chairman of Hewlett Packard, testifies during a hearing held by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating Hewlett-Packard on Capitol Hill in Washington September 28, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

By Gabriel Madway and Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO | Fri Aug 6, 2010 7:24pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Hewlett-Packard Co CEO Mark Hurd unexpectedly resigned on Friday after a sexual harassment probe found he had a “close personal relationship” with an HP contractor who received improper payments.

The shocking announcement from the world’s top personal computer maker sent its shares plunging 10 percent as Hurd is one of the most admired chief executives in Silicon Valley and credited with reviving the company after the tumultuous reign of Carly Fiorina.

HP said one of its former contractors, involved in marketing activities from late 2007 to the fall of 2009, had levied sexual harassment allegations at Hurd.

HP said Hurd, who is 53 and married, had a “close personal relationship” with the contractor. An investigation found no violation of HP’s sexual harassment policy, but did find that Hurd violated standards of business conduct, HP said.

There were instances where the female contractor received compensation or reimbursement without a legitimate business purpose, HP said.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that Hurd never had sex with the woman and that the expense account issues stretched over two years and amounted to no more than $20,000.

“The board investigation found that Mark demonstrated a profound lack of judgment that seriously undermined his credibility and damaged his effectiveness in leading HP and Mark agreed,” HP General Counsel Mike Holston said.

Hurd will be replaced by Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak on an interim basis. Lesjak has taken herself out of consideration as the permanent CEO, HP said.

Hurd said the decision to step aside was a “painful” one.

“I realized there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP,” Hurd said in a statement.

News of the shake-up stunned the technology world. HP is the largest technology company in the world on a revenue basis, and is a major player in personal computers, servers, services and printers.

“Shock and puzzlement, that’s how it’s going to go down,” said Russell Hancock, president and chief executive of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, an area business group. “There wasn’t anybody who criticized his handling of the company.”

The buttoned-down Hurd brought stability to HP after Fiorina resigned in February 2005 in the wake of a controversial deal to acquire PC maker Compaq.

“Mark Hurd was extremely instrumental in turning this company around,” said Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro. “There’s going to be a serious gap in leadership at the top of this company.”

HP, a Silicon Valley icon that was founded in a Palo Alto garage in 1939, has experienced a fair amount of turmoil in recent years. In 2006, former HP Chair Patricia Dunn resigned after reports surfaced that the company had hired private investigators to spy on board members and journalists to plug media leaks.

A SUCCESSFUL TENURE

Hurd will be well compensated as he departs HP. According to a regulatory filing, he will receive a severance payment of $12.2 million.

Shares of HP have more than doubled since Hurd, the former CEO of NCR Corp, took the helm five years ago, cutting costs and expanding HP’s footprint in the services market with acquisitions like the 2008 purchase of EDS Corp for $13.9 billion.

In a bid to reassure investors that its financials are healthy despite the departure of Hurd, HP raised its outlook for the full year, saying it now expects profit, excluding items, of $4.49 to $4.51 per share, compared with a previous outlook of $4.45 to $4.50.

HP said its board of directors has formed a search committee to find a new chief executive and board chair.

“It’s a negative because the positive leadership that HP has had under Hurd is identified with his name,” said Nehal Chokshi, an analyst with Technology Insights Research-Southridge Research Group.

HP, which was scheduled to report quarterly earnings later this month, also pre-reported its results.

Shares of Palo Alto, California-based HP closed at $46.30 on the New York Stock Exchange and fell to $41.50 in extended trading.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Additional reporting by Sinead Carew, Alex Dobuzinskis, Jim Christie, and Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Gary Hill, Tiffany Wu and Richard Chang)

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WikiLeaks Iraq Cache More Than Three Times As Big

July 28, 2010 1 comment

Newsweek

The cache of classified U.S. military reports on the Iraq War as yet unreleased by WikiLeaks may be more than three times as large as the set of roughly 76,000 similar reports on the war in Afghanistan made public by the whistle-blower Web site earlier this week, Declassified has learned.

Three sources familiar with the Iraq material in WikiLeaks hands, requesting anonymity to discuss what they described as highly sensitive information, say it’s similar to this week’s Afghanistan material, consisting largely of field reports from U.S. military personnel and classified no higher than the “secret” level. According to one of the sources, the Iraq material portrays U.S. forces being involved in a “bloodbath,” but some of the most disturbing material relates to the abusive treatment of detainees not by Americans but by Iraqi security forces, the source says.

Although WikiLeaks founder and principal operative, Julian Assange, provided three news organizations—The New York Times, London newspaper The Guardian, and the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel—with weeks of advance access to the Afghan War material before making it public himself, he’s apparently being more coy in his handling of the Iraq War material, the source indicates. Assange is keeping tighter personal control over the Iraq material than he maintained over the Afghan material, the source says, adding that it’s not clear whether any media organizations have had advance access to it or when it might be made public.

A second source says there are indications that WikiLeaks has been receiving leaked material from sources besides Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army private who recently was charged by military authorities with illegally handling classified information. Among other offenses, Manning has been charged with improperly downloading more than 150,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.

The Obama administration and many members of Congress have strongly condemned the leaking of U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks, although many experts have said the newly published Afghan material reveals little that was not already known about U.S. conduct of the war or about the perfidy of such parties as Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. WikiLeaks is said to have an additional 15,000 unreleased reports in its Afghan trove, for a total of about 92,000 documents. It remains to be seen whether the unpublished material will bring any greater understanding to the war.

Assange did not immediately reply to e-mails from Declassified seeking comment on what further revelations might be forthcoming.

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The gambling man who co-founded Apple and left for $800


STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ron Wayne, 76, is one of the original Apple, Inc. founders
  • After 11 days, Wayne sold his 10 percent stake in the company for $800
  • “When you’re at a focal point of history, you don’t realize you’re at a focal point,” he says

Pahrump, Nevada (CNN) — Ron Wayne is usually just another gambler at the Nugget Hotel & Casino in Nevada. He comes here a couple of days a week to try his luck on the video poker machine. But on this trip, he drew some curious onlookers, as he was escorted by a CNN camera crew. A gift-shop worker asked him if he’s famous.

“Well, I’m one of the founders of Apple Computer,” Wayne responded.

Wayne, 76, is used to the puzzled looks. He said people assume that he must be living in a mansion.

“I’m living off my Social Security and I do a modest trade in collectors’ stamps and coins,” he said.

The irony of being inside a casino is not lost on Wayne. After all, if his short-lived career at Apple had gone differently, he would be holding a different kind of winnings: 10 percent of Apple’s stock.

Today, that stock would be worth $22 billion.

Wayne left Apple for only $800.

“What can I say? You make a decision based on your understanding of the circumstances, and you live with it,” he said.

Wayne’s tenure at Apple began on April 1, 1976. His name is signed on the legal document that established Apple — next to those of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the Silicon Valley giants most people associate with the popular tech company, which makes the iPhone and iPad.

Jobs and Wayne had become friends a few years earlier while both were working for the Atari Corporation.

“We did get fairly chummy, had lunch together, dinner together and had conversations,” he said.

As Wayne tells it, Jobs asked for his help in drafting documents and mediating a dispute between Jobs and Wozniak. He also drafted the company’s first logo and operating manual. For this work, Wayne was awarded a 10 percent stake in Apple.

“What Jobs had in mind was that he and Woz [as Wozniak is sometimes called] should each have 45 percent and I would have 10 percent as mediator in any dispute that would come up,” he said.

That account is backed up by other reports.

In Steve Wozniak’s autobiography, “iWoZ,” he described Wayne as “one of those people who seemed to have a quick answer for everything.”

“He seemed to know all the things we didn’t,” Wozniak wrote. “Ron ended up play a huge role in those very early days at Apple.”

But Wayne had early misgivings. He had been unsuccessful in starting a slot-machine manufacturing business. He racked up thousands of dollars in debt.

With Apple, he was concerned history would repeat itself.

“I could see myself getting into this situation again, and I was really getting too old for that kind of thing,” Wayne said, noting that his partners at Apple were 20 years younger than he was.

“The way these guys were going, they were going to bulldoze through anything to make this company succeed. But it was going to be very rough ride, and if I wasn’t careful, I was going to be the richest man in the cemetery.”

Eleven days after Apple was formed, Wayne removed himself from the company charter. He eventually was given $800 for his stake in Apple, and he let go of that valuable Apple stock, which has exploded in value since.

Wayne said he doesn’t let himself wonder how things could have been different if he had chosen to stay with Apple.

“Obviously he [Wayne] didn’t have the foresight to know what Apple would become. Like any company in the very early stages, there’s a risk associated and you’ve got to be willing to take it, or you’re not,” said Ben Bajarin, a technology industry analyst for Creative Strategies.

Wayne, whose net worth is mostly tied up in his extensive coin and stamp collection, said he’s as “enamored with money as anybody else.”

“But when you’re at a focal point of history, you don’t realize you’re at a focal point of history,” he said.

A retired engineer, who has worked at various companies since his departure, Wayne said he never has owned an Apple product.

“I never had a real use for computers,” he said. He recently purchased a Dell, saying he’s too familiar with Microsoft Windows to want to switch.

Dan Simon, CNN

| Filed under: Web

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Top 3 Free Email Accounts


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  • Google
  • Gmail and Googlemail personal and business email addresses

  • Yahoo Free Yahoo, Ymail and Rocketmail email accounts
  • Welcome to Yahoo!, the world’s most visited home page. Quickly find what you’re searching for, get in touch with friends and stay in-the-know with the latest news and information.

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  • MSN is Microsoft’s portal, offering MSNBC News, sports, MSN Money, games, videos, entertainment & celebrity gossip, weather, shopping and more great content, as well as Windows Live services such as Hotmail and Messenger.


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