Volume 14, Issue 32

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A-ONE #1432 08/17/12 ~ Wikileaks Back Online! ~ People Are Talking! ~ Social Media Openness! ~ EA in Talks To Sell? ~ Supercharge Your Laptop ~ Facebook Stock Drops!

~ AT&T Attack Temporary! ~ Virus Shuts Down Saudis ~ Twitter’s Medium.com! ~ Nexus: Poor Man’s iPad ~ Facebook "Owner" Fined! ~ Hacks Are About Money!

-* Sony Confirms PSN Hack Is Fake *- -* Digital Piracy Can Not Be Stopped! *- -* Teens and Video Games: How Much Is Too Much *-

->From the Editor’s Keyboard "Saying it like it is!"

TOW TO Tr Wr Wr ee ee oe oe ee ee ee

Can you believe that, in only a few weeks, we’ll be celebrating Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer! Personally, this entire year has been nothing less than a blur. And, there’s no clarity in sight with all of the personal issues we’re dealing with here. One step forward, a half dozen backward. We can’t seem to catch a break.

But, sometimes one must create their own breaks. So, I’ve taken some action with regard to some of our family issues. And, we’re taking a week off, for a much-needed rest! Looking forward to it!

Until next time...

->In This Week's Gaming Section - Teens and Video Games: How Much Is Too Much?

TOUT Tr ae Or Oe We ae ee oe ee ae ee oe ee oe ee oe ee ee ee EA in Talks To Sell to Private Equity Firms!

Sony Confirms PSN Hack Claim Is Fake!

—>A-ONE’s Game Console Industry News - The Latest Gaming News!

TOUT Tr em Or er ee ee ee ee ee ee

Teens and Video Games: How Much Is Too Much?

The gamer community had a near-miss this week in Ohio, when a 15-year-old boy collapsed after playing "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" for up to five days straight.

The Columbus teen was rushed to the hospital with severe dehydration, where he recovered, according to a report from TV station WCMH on Aug. 7.

Players who delve too deeply into their electronic worlds can face various health risks, ranging from deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots, to severe dehydration.

For instance, in July, a Taiwanese teenager was found dead after sitting for 40 hours in an Internet cafe playing "Diablo 3." At the time, doctors speculated he died from a heart attack caused by a blood clot that formed during the long session.

And last summer, a 20-year-old man from the U.K. died from a blood clot after spending 12-hour sessions on his Xbox. His father told "The Sun" newspaper, "He lived for his Xbox. I never dreamed he was in any danger."

While these ar xtreme cases, they are a reminder that sitting at a computer or console for days, whether it’s for "World of Warcraft" or for work, isn’t healthy for anyone. But psychologists who study video games and kids say parents needn’t worry about the amount of time spent gaming, unless screen time starts to affect school, health or social life. (And, of course, a stint of tens of hours gaming is likely to negatively affect schoolwork and lead to social woes.) That said, researchers remain concerned about the effects of violent content in video games, which have been linked by many studies to aggressive behavior.

These days, screens of one kind or another occupy youth for 50 hours a week, a 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation reports. "It’s a full-time job plus 10 hours of overtime, and that’s the average," said Douglas Gentile, a psychologist and director of the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University.

Video-gaming consumed nine weekly hours for teens, the Kaiser survey found, while a Harris Poll conducted for Gentile during the same period reported 13 hours a week spent gaming on computers and consoles.

While some kids can shoot ’em up for hours, for others, too much time gaming leads to poor school performance. Recent studies have finally linked the cause and effect, showing that gaming displaces after-school academic activities such as homework and reading. A 2010 study from researchers at Denison University in Ohio, published in the journal Psychological Science, compared two groups of boys that had never owned gaming systems. They gave one group a system right away, but withheld games from the other group for four months. Boys who received the video-game system first had more teacher-reported learning problems and significantly lower reading and writing scores than the other boys.

Problems in school are relatively easy for parents to fix: Limit screen time of course, if you can get the controller out of his or her hands. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one to two hours per day in front of any electronics.

What’s harder to control is violent content in video games. The Pew Research Center reported in 2008 that more than 90 percent of games rated as appropriate for children 10 years or older contained violence, including games rated "E" for everyone. (Most researchers define violenc as the ability of a player to intentionally harm others in a game.)

Now most researchers will agree that video games can help as well as

harm. For example, educational games boost learning, and action games can improve vision and spatial skills. Video games have also been used successfully to teach children self-care skills for asthma and diabetes.

And then there’s the primary reason people play video games: They’re relaxing. Gentile thinks the flickering screen and varying sound levels trigger a primitive brain response. "One of the reasons I think we find television and video games so relaxing is they provide the attention for you. It forces you to orient to the media. You don’t have to work to pay attention like you do in [a] classroom lecture," said Gentile.

But a preponderance of evidence links violent video games to an increase in aggressive behavior in teens. The behavior wasn’t violent crime, like school shootings, but small yet hurtful offenses like teasing, name-calling, rumor-spreading and fist fights. In a review of 130 studies of kids and teens, Iowa State University researchers found that violent video games increased the likelihood of aggression and decreased empathy. The meta-analysis appeared in 2010 in the journal Psychological Bulletin.

Of course, repeated exposure to violence in any environment has a deleterious effect, Gentile noted. "Seeing violence anywhere increases the risks that a child might become involved in aggression, whether as a perpetrator or a victim," he said. But video games are phenomenal teachers. Players get immediate feedback and rewards for punishing competitors. And not only do games reward hostility, they train your brain to respond to real-life problems with aggression, research indicates.

In fact, games can prime teens to react to slights with name-calling or pushing, instead of choosing to avoid confrontation. "So when I get bumped in the hallway, I don’t assume it’s an accident anymore," explained Gentile. "What comes to mind first is to retaliate in some way. Those aren’t the only options you have, but we never think of them because what we see over and over in the media is ’You killed my monster, now you must die.’"

But psychologist Patrick Markey’s research suggests just some teens are susceptible to these effects. Markey found people with certain personality traits those who are highly neurotic, less agreeable and less conscientious are those more likely to become hostile from gaming. The 2010 study appeared in the journal Review of General Psychology.

"The truth of the matter is that most people can handle this media, but for some people with a select predisposition, these people might be a little more aggressive, more prone to an argument here and there," said Markey, a professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.

"The most interesting part is there is really no research that suggests video games have a different effect than TV or movies. It has empirically never been shown," said Markey. "Any media is supposed to engage us emotionally, and video games are a form of media, a form of art even."

EA in Talks To Sell to Private Equity Firms

Publishing giant EA has apparently been approached by two private equity firms about a potential sale.

Sources close to the New York Post have claimed that the company was

approached by private equity firms KKR and Providence Equity Partners over the possibilty of a purchase, but emphasised that talks are at an early stage.

One source said, "It’s early days," but another added that EA has "made it known they’d do a deal at $20 a share." EA’s stock has had a tumultuous ride so far this year, suffering a 37% drop. When trading closed yesterday shares were being sold at $13.09.

It’s a difficult economic time right now, and many videogame companies have experienced similar stock falls to EA thanks to increased interest in casual and social games. With a third of the company’s value disappearing so far this year though, it’s unsurprising that potential buyers are being sought.

A possible reason for this is the current uncertainty regarding Star Wars: The Old Republic and its free-to-play future; the most expensive videogame ever made with a rumoured cost of around $200 million recently announced it was abandoning its subscription fee, less than a year after launching.

But what does this mean for the average gamer? At the moment, nothing. This hasn’t been confirmed and even the claims state that any deal is still a long way off. But what is interesting to consider is the fact that Providence Equity Partners is a major shareholder in Bethesda’s parent company, Zenimax. As a result, it’s certainly a story worth keeping an

eye on.

Sony Confirms PSN Hack Claim Is Fake

Update 4: Sony has given IGN the following statement:

"Weve confirmed that the recent claim that PlayStation Network was illegally hacked and that customer passwords and email addresses were accessed is completely false."

All is well!

Update 3: Anonymous has deleted the Tweet claiming that it hacked the PSN. You can see the image of the Tweet as it existed in the original story below.

We’re still waiting to hear back from Sony, but the removal of the Tweet is probably all the confirmation we need that this was fake. We’ll update with any further developments if and when they occur.

Update 2: While this shouldn’t be counted as an official comment from Sony, Shane Bettenhausen -- EGM and 1Up alum who now works for Sony’s PlayStation-centric business development Tweeted the following:

We’re still waiting for official comment from Sony, but in the meantime, file Mr. Bettenhausen’s comment as further confirmation that all is well.

Update: Kotaku points out that the document of leaked data linked to in the Twitter account appears to be identical to one posted on the Internet

back in March.

This suggests that PSN - and the data therein - is safe, though we’re

still waiting to hear back from Sony for confirmation and will update when we hear back.

Infamous hacking group Anonymous claims to have hacked the PlayStation Network again. The following was posted on Twitter:

The group linked to a lengthy document of the data they purportedly mined, including e-mail addresses and what appears to be other encrypted information.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is totally unconfirmed. It’s also worth noting that PlayStation Network is still up, so if this is real, it was a data leak and hasn’t led to an outage (at least at this point).

Weve reached out to Sony for comment and will update when we hear back.

A-ONE’s Headline News The Latest in Computer Technology News Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson

Digital Piracy Cannot Be Stopped

From the early days of IRC to the creation of The Pirate Bay, online piracy has grown from a minor annoyance perpetrated by an underground community to a mainstream issue that impacts several industries. Internet savvy users originally shared music and videos with one another through a string of underground chatrooms, however with the rise of video-sharing website YouTube, it has become increasingly easy to watch or listen to copyrighted material on the Web for free. While Google (GOOG) does its best to remove infringing content, throughout the years users have found various techniques that allow them to bypass the Internet giants search and destroy tools, and keep their videos online for millions to see. YouTube and similar sites are only the tip of the iceberg, however.

Each day more and more users are turning to peer-to-peer file-sharing websites that use the BitTorrent protocol, the most popular being The Pirate Bay. These websites offer users the opportunity to download millions of movies, music, games and software with a simple click of the button. For years, the United States government has attempted to shut down pirate websites, however it isnt that simple and online pirates always seem to be one step ahead of the authorities.

Even as popular services like Demonoid and Megaupload are shuttered, users will find new places to download pirated content.

As Nick Bilton of the The New York Times notes, stopping online piracy is like playing the worlds largest game of Whac-A-Mole. In the arcade

version of Whac-A-Mole, the gam ventually ends often when the player loses. Bilton wrote. In the piracy arms-race version, there doesnt seem

to be a conclusion. Sooner or later, the people who still believe they can hit the moles with their slow mallets might realize that their time would

be better spent playing an entirely different game.

AT&T Says Attack Temporarily Cut Internet Access

AT&T Inc said some business customers temporarily lost internet access because its network was targeted by unknown attackers on Wednesday.

Company spokesman Mark Siegel said that domain name system, or DNS, servers that direct traffic for AT&T customers were targeted at two locations by a distributed denial of service attack.

In such attacks perpetrators target a server with a lot of requests at the same time, making it unavailable to users.

The issue has now been resolved, he said.

Saudi Aramco Says Virus Shuts Down Its Computer Network

Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco) said its computer systems had been shut down by a virus late on Wednesday, but it added that production had not been affected.

"An official source of Saudi Aramco confirmed that it had isolated electronic systems for the entire company today and cut off external access as an early precaution," said a statement in Arabic from the company.

The world’s biggest oil company said that although the virus affected some computers, it did not penetrate key components of the network, which it said would return to normal operating mode soon.

"The source ... reiterated the lack of any effect at all on the work of production due to the strength of advanced protection systems," the statement added.

Rumors had spread among traders earlier on Wednesday that the state-owned company had been subjected to a hacking attack.

WikiLeaks Resumes Operations After Massive Cyberattack

A hacker group calling itself "AntiLeaks" took credit for the attacks against WikiLeaks on Twitter, claiming it targeted the website because of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s ongoing efforts to seek political asylum in Ecuador.

We are not doing this to call attention to ourselves," @antileaks said in an extended tweet.

"We are young adults, citizens of the United States of America and are deeply concerned about the recent developments with Julian Assange and his attempt at aslyum [sic] in Ecuador. Assange is the head of a new

breed of terrorist. We are doing this as a protest against his attempt

to escape justice into Ecuador. This would be a catalyst for many more like him to rise up in his place. We will not stop and they will not stop us.

DDoS attacks work by targeting heavy amounts of bogus traffic at a website’s host server in hopes of overloading it and forcing it offline. They’ re among the most common form of cyberattacks.

AntiLeaks claimed it had no relationship to the United States or other governments considered enemies of WikiLeaks. However, that hasn’t stopped ongoing speculation that the attack was a response to WikiLeaks’ posting of documents related to TrapWire, a counterterrorism surveillance system that collects and analyzes footage from security cameras and license plate readers.

Details about TrapWire were discovered in emails from security intelligence firm Stratfor acquired by Anonymous and leaked by WikiLeaks earlier this year. Some observers immediately labeled it a secret digital surveillance

effort that’s in use around the world, though recent reports have cast doubt on several of the more audacious claims made about the system.

WikiLeaks’ documents regarding TrapWire are now back online.

Nexus 7 Is Great If Youre Too Cheap for An iPad

Consumer Reports today added Googles Nexus 7 to its tablet rankings and concluded that while its probably the best cheap tablet on the market, it still cant match the overall quality of the Apple iPad. Overall, the

Nexus 7 scored a 79 out of 100 and did particularly well in Consumer Reportss ratings for both touch response and portability. This gives the Nexus 7 vastly superior scores than similarly-priced tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, which scored 66 and 65 respectively.

All that said, Consumer Reports said that the iPad remains the best option for users who value having the best overall tablet experience regardless of price.

With its bigger, excellent Retina display and a still-unmatched app store, the iPad still has the edge over the Nexus 7, wrote Consumer Reportss Donna L. Tapellini in a blog post. But if you want a tablet in a smaller package for a lot less money, the Nexus 7 is worth thinking about.

5 Ways to Supercharge Your Laptop For Under $100

Whether you have a 4-year-old notebook or a shiny new system you bought yesterday, you can dramatically improve your PCs performance and productivity value for less than the cost of a nice dinner out. For less than $100, you can purchase your choice of significant hardware upgrades that will allow you to get more done in less time and put off buying a new system for several more years.

1. Upgrade to SSD ($80 to $100)

There is no single upgrade that will improve your digital life more than going from a standard hard drive to an Solid State Drive (SSD). If youre still using a 7,200 rpm or (gasp) 5,400 rpm drive, youre wasting precious seconds of your life every time you boot, open a file or a launch a program. Instead of twiddling your thumbs while the old-fashioned turnable-like head spins inside your hard drive, you can be up and running in your favorite programs, including heavy applications like Photoshop,

in just a few seconds.

When we took a 5-year-old Dell Latitude D630 running Windows Vista on a 2.4-GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and tested it with both its original 7,200-rpm hard drive and a speedy Kingston HyperX SH100S3 SSD, it felt like we were using two different computers. On PCMark Vantage, a synthetic benchmark that measures system performance, upgrading to SSD raised the D630’s overall score from 3,210 to 4,693 and its HDD score from 2,666 to 16,715.

In real-world tests, the Latitude D630’s Vista boot time decreased by around 20 percent, falling from an average start time of 37.3 seconds to 31 seconds. When we tested the launch times for five popular applications (Photoshop CS5.1 opening to a 400MB TIF, Adobe Reader 10 opening to a 500 page PDF, Excel 2007 opening to a 20,000 row worksheet, Mozilla Firefox 14 and Word 2007 opening to a blank document), each program opened about three times faster after the SSD upgrade.

To see how much benefit an SSD provides on a new notebook, we opened some of the same applications and timed them on a 3rd Generation Intel Core i7 notebook, both with a 7,200 rpm 750GB hard drive and the same Kingston HyperX SH100S3 SSD. Even with a much newer, faster processor, launch times were 2 to 4 times faster after the upgrade.

Today, you can get a 120 or 128GB SSD for well under $100. A quick glance at popular retailers such as NewEgg, Tiger Direct and Amazon shows some budget-oriented SSDs like the OCZ Agility 3 selling for under $90 while the Samsung 830 Series, the winner of our Fall SSD roundup, can often be found on sale for $99 or less. If you require more capacity, you can find a 256GB drive for as little as $150.

2. Add more RAM ($20 to $40)

The more RAM your notebook has, the less time it must spend writing to the Windows paging file on your hard drive (or SSD) to help make up for a lack of a physical memory. Since physical memory is infinitely faster than even the fastest SSD, you want to avoid your system needing to use that paging file whenever possible. Even better, if you have some memory to spare, you can create a RAM disk which will load your favorite programs much faster than even a speedy SSD.

Most of todays notebooks come with 4GB of RAM and moving from 4GB (or less) up to 8GB can provide significant performance gains. If you have DDR3 memory, the standard type since 2009, an 8GB kits (2 x 4GB DIMMs) will cost you $40 or less.

Since most notebooks have just two slots for RAM and come with both filled, youll probably have to remove your existing RAM. However, if you do have a free slot, the cost of a 4GB DIMM is around $20. To find out what kind of memory your notebook takes, either consult your owners manual or visit an online RAM configurator like the one on Crucial Memorys home page. Removing and replacing RAM on most notebooks is as

simple as unscrewing a door on the bottom of the system, popping out the old chips and popping the new ones in.

[To show the benefit of increased memory, we ran PCMark 07, a leading synthetic benchmark, on an Intel 3rd Generation Core i7 CPU, with both 4GB and 8GB of RAM installed. With 8GB installed, the benchmark returned a score of 3,398, about 9 percent higher than the mark or 3,121 it provided with 4GB on board.

We also tried configuring 4 out of the 8GB as a RAM disk, using DataRAMs free RAMDisk software. With some of our favorite programs installed on the RAM disk, we were able to cut open times in half from what they were on a 7,200 rpm hard drive and reduce them even further when we paired th RAM Disk with an SSD.

3. Get an external monitor ($80 to $100)

You can never be too rich, too thin or have too many pixels on your desktop. If youre just relying on your laptops single screen, youre slowing yourself down, because you cant fit enough windows on the screen at once.

Just imagine this situation. Youre working on a PowerPoint presentation in one window while using data from an Excel sheet thats in another window, looking up some facts on the Web in your browser and keeping track of your email in a fourth window. Every time you switch windows either by hitting ALT tab or by navigating to the task bar youre wasting a good 2 seconds and taxing your short-term human memory because you have to remember the contents of a window thats now covered over.

With an external monitor attached, you can add a whole second desktop, which can either show one full screen window or two half windows that are docked next to each other. These days, you can get an 18.5- or 20-inch monitor today for $80 to $100. A quick survey of online retail sites shows several 20-inch, 1600 x 900 monitors priced at just under $100 and 18.5-inchers with 1366 x 768 resolutions starting as low as $80. If youre willing to splurge, you can find a 1080p, 22- or 23-inch monitor for well under $150.

If you want a monitor you can take with you on the road, you can find a portable, USB-powered monitor such as the 15.6-inch AOC e1649Fwu for under $100. However, we prefer the lighter, more portable, but more expensive $174 Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421.

4. Step up to 802.11n Wi-Fi ($10 to $20)

If your notebook is more than three years old, it may have an older 802.11g wireless radio, which is significantly slower and less reliable than the current 802.11n standard. With 802.11n, you move from a theoretical maximum of just 54 Mbps to 150 or 300 Mbps, depending on your router and radio.

While the stepping up from 54 to 150 Mbps probably wont improve Web page loads, it will enable you to transfer files a lot faster within your home or office network. That means better streaming from your media center, better backups to connected storage drives and faster copying of photos to and from your family members PCs. If you have an extremely fast fiber optic broadband plan such as Verizions 300 Mbps FIOS Quantum, youll see

a boost in video streaming and file downloads. No matter what youre

doing, youll also see an increase in range, making it easier to get a

strong signal when youre further away from the router.

The good news is that you can get an 802.11n Wi-Fi dongle that plugs into one of your USB ports for under $20. For just $10, Rosewills $9.99 RNX-MiniN1 802.11n dongle offers speeds up to 150 Mbps and is so tiny that it looks like one of those nano receivers that come with some wireless mice. The $16.99 Rosewill RNX-MiniN2 sticks out a little bit more, but offers up to 300 Mbps and is still short enough to stay attached to your notebook when you stick it in your bag. If you dont already have an 802.11n router at home, you can purchase one for as little as $25 for a 150 Mbps unit or under $50 for a 300 Mbps model.

To see just how much additional throughput you get from upgrading to 802.11n, we used the Netperf benchmark to test an old Dell Latitude D630 laptop with its native 802.11lg Wi-Fi, and then with the Rosewill RNX-MiniN1l and the faster Rosewill RNX-MiniN2. Though our results on the small file transfer were well below whats theoretically possible even with 802.1llg, there was a clear difference in performance between the three adapters.

5. Get an external battery ($70)

If your notebook provides over 12 hours of endurance, perhaps you can live without more battery life. Whether youre sitting on an airplane or lying on the couch, you dont want to have to worry about finding and tethering yourself to an outlet.

Unfortunately, in LAPTOPs tests, the average mainstream notebook

provides just five and a half hours of endurance at 40 percent brightness. Even worse, more and more new systems come with sealed batteries you cant replace, so forget about buying an extended unit or carrying a spare.

However, for around $70, you can purchase an external notebook battery such as the $69 Veho Pebble Pro. Ive been using the Pebble Pro for a couple of months now and found that the 13,200 mAH battery provides another several hours of charge to my notebook while, at just 14 ounces, barely adding any weight to my bag. Because the battery comes with 10 different connectors, it works with nearly any brand of PC notebook on the market and is able to charge a phone or tablet at the same time.

Mac users can opt for pricier Hyperjuice Mini external battery, which retails for $169.

Judge Fines Man in Facebook Case

THE RULING: A federal judge again ordered the release of a letter that Facebook says can help prove that a man’s lawsuit claiming half ownership of the multibillion-dollar company is a fraud.

HE FINES: The judge also fined the man and his attorney for not giving the letter to Facebook’s lawyers when told to twice before.

HE LETTER: Facebook says the letter from the Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman law firm informs two other law firms that once represented the man, Paul Ceglia, that it is withdrawing from the case based on a finding that the contract is a fake.

2012 Conventions

Embrace Social Media Openness

Democrats and Republicans are using social media to turn their national

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Organizers hope to use the Web to direct people to sites in more than a

dozen states where they can take buses to Charlotte to join in the various protests during the week.

Social media is allowing modern-day campaigns and political parties to get their messages out unfiltered. That’s especially useful as broadcasters and newspapers have drastically reduced the amount of air time and space they devote to conventions.

Convention organizers will use social media to emphasize themes that might get lost in the traditional media’s limited coverage, said Daniel Kreiss, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill journalism school who authored a book about the use of new media from former presidential candidate Howard Dean to President Barack Obama.

"There’s just not a lot of convention coverage that is going to be offered by the major networks, and this becomes a way that individual figures’ speeches get publicity," Kreiss said.

Social media is increasingly allowing parties to control their message and spreading those key messages through an online network of "friends" may allow them to create a sense of credibility, Kreiss said. It will be "Viewed as more credible and more authentic" than less-personal media coverage.

The candidates’ overall campaigns are also ratcheting up efforts to reach voters online. A report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center found that President Barack Obama’s campaign was more active than Republican Mitt Romney’s on the digital front.

The group’s Project for Excellent in Journalism analyzed both campaigns’ efforts between June 4-17 and found Obama’s team posted almost four times as much content during the period and maintained an active presence on almost twice as many platforms. But Romney’s campaign said his Facebook page has more people who share or comment on his posts.

Of course, the only metric that matters will be votes in November, and both campaigns and their parties think social media will be critical to get their voters excited enough to go to the polls.

Democrats have already released a smartphone app that provides one place for videos, blog posts and photos. The app also includes an interactive map to help visitors to Charlotte find convention locations or restaurants.

Their convention Facebook site has been running posts spotlighting different delegates and volunteers from across the country for months. Its Flickr page included more than 150 photos from people who printed out a special "I’m There" logo and had their pictures made with it, promising to either be in Charlotte or to follow the convention online. One person holding up his sign on the site is Vice President Joe Biden.

On the GOP convention’s Facebook page, a posting showed a picture of lighting rigs inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum and said: "The lights are on and we only have 17 more days to go! Are you ready to nominate the next President of the United States?? The entry had more than 360 "likes" and 400 comments on Wednesday afternoon.

The Democrats used Twitter to invite more than a dozen followers on a tour in July. They got to see Time-Warner Arena, where most of the convention

is taking place the first week in September, and the city’s football

stadium, where Obama will give his acceptance speech.

For Rashon Carraway, the tour was a dream come true. He sells men’s clothes online, but the political science major in college hasn’t forgotten his first love.

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This was a great opportunity for me to get an up close and personal look at something I am passionate about, and I have always wanted to do," said Carraway.

He plans to attend as many convention events as he can using his cellphone to make online posts.

And it’s just not the parties and protesters who have an interactive strategy.

Donna Chen, the director of marketing and communications for the Tampa Downtown Partnership said more than 15 tourism and convention groups are setting up their own "Social Media Command Center" for the convention.

Tampa Bay and Co., the area’s tourism and marketing agency, is coordinating the effort. They’1ll use the hashtag "TampaBay" to curate the posts.

Chen said about 50 local experts will monitor and interact with people online. They will staff the center and answer questions about the area from people in town for the convention for instance, "where’s a good Italian restaurant?" or "What’s the closest beach to downtown Tampa?"

Twitter Co-founders Create Online Publishing Site

A website launched by Twitter co-founders as a publishing platform for stories, memories and news was open Wednesday to members of the hit one-to-many text messaging service.

A preview version of Medium.com, launched by Biz Stone and Evan Williams, was live with collections such as "This Happened to Me" stories and "When I Was a Kid" pictures.

"We’re rethinking publishing and building a new platform from scratch," Williams said in a message on the site.

"Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing information, but there’s been less progress toward raising the quality of what’s produced."

"While it’s great that you can be a one-person media company, it’d be even better if there were more ways you could work with others."

Stone and Williams are building the platform through their Obvious Corporation, an enterprise named for the notion that many great ideas seem "obvious" in retrospect.

"We believe publishing, and media much more broadly, is important... It’s easy to forget this given how much pointless and destructive media is in the world," Williams said.

"But there’s also more great stuff than ever before - and we haven’t even

scratched the surface of what our smart devices and our networks that connect most of the planet might enable."

Reading Medium posts was open to anyone with a Twitter account, but posting was initially limited to an invitation-only group that Williams promised would expand rapidly to include those who register.

Google: An Update to Our Search Algorithms

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