links for 2010-12-23

  • Signs you’re an old fogey: You still watch movies on a VCR, listen to vinyl records and shoot photos on film. And you enjoy using e-mail. Young people, of course, much prefer online chats and text messages. These have been on the rise for years but are now threatening to eclipse e-mail, much as they have already superseded phone calls. Major Internet companies like Facebook are responding with message services that are focused on immediate gratification. The problem with e-mail, young people say, is that it involves a boringly long process of signing into an account, typing out a subject line and then sending a message that might not be received or answered for hours. And sign-offs like “sincerely” — seriously?
    (tags: email facebook im)
  • Raising venture capital is more difficult than getting married.  In marriage if you’re unhappy you can at least get divorced (in most countries).  Not so in venture capital.  You’re tied at the hip to your VC. And worse still, your VC will have certain controls in the company that don’t make it simply a matter of a “wasted opportunity.”  They’ll likely be influential in future financings, in major economic decisions, in executive hiring / firing, annual business plans & ultimately in M&A discussions.
  • Many political activists, nonprofits, and businesses use an anonymity system called Tor to encrypt and obscure what they do on the Internet. Now the U.S.-based nonprofit that distributes Tor is developing a low-cost home router with the same privacy protection built in. The Tor software masks Web traffic by encrypting network messages and passing them through a series of relays (each Tor client can also become a relay for other users' messages). But using Tor has typically meant installing the software on a computer and then tweaking its operating system to ensure that all traffic is routed correctly through the program.
    (tags: privacy)

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