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Watch out for jobs that could put you in jail

Better watch out for offers of a job that pays well in the short term but could send you to jail. The warning comes from a local reader who works in the Internet security business. He directed me to an article about “interesting job offers” made through spam e-mails or via advertising on Internet listings sites.

The article in BetaNews.com was about incredible job offers to essentially receive and transfer money in exchange for a cut off the top. All the talent you need is to be able to speak English, have an e-mail box, a computer, a bank account and be without a criminal record.

Of course the job description should be “money launderer”. Such “jobs” land the “employee” in trouble and the “boss” gets away. Some of these ads have appeared in ads on a local website, so don't bite. You could be the next mule taken to jail.

Beyond drab

The Bermuda Government's websites look drab but generally get the job done in directing people to information. Most were obviously designed when the techie was king. Who after all would describe government sections in a pull down menu as “subcommunities”? Most public service websites have long moved on to better web experiences.

However, I must commend the site for the Department of

Consumer Affairs for being darn good, if not excellent, in design, usability and providing information. It looks modern and provides lots to explore.

I especially love the lemon cart image, which declares quite bravely “Bermuda has no lemon laws”. Information articles that focus on general issues of consumer interest are right at the top, where they should be, along with a link to file a complaint against unfair practices on the island. The publications section contains a good number of PDF brochures for download, including one on making your BlackBerry device more secure.

To those folks working at what must be a frustrating job, given their relative lack of power to right the wrongs on behalf of consumers, I salute you.

Perhaps Business Development Minister Patrice Minors, who commendably has launched the 2011 Technology Innovation Awards, should look to improving the sites under her watch. This includes the section on e-commerce, which seems as if it came out of a box 20 years ago, and even Bermuda Tourism, which is more than a little faded for a commercial site (it sells Bermuda and package tours).

Google Labs

While Google is known for launching services at an astounding rate, the ones it is closing down get less attention, and are an indicator of a company about to jettison its valuable but not lucrative services. I hear the shareholders speaking, and a tougher, more commercial direction.

It's disappointing that so many of the services at Google Labs are being shuttered, though I can understand. If we didn't use them enough, then we deserve to lose them. Perhaps some enterprising person in Bermuda can take them on? If they are small onions to a giant corporation, they could yield ready profits for smaller folk.

As the Google blog proclaimed last week, the company is having a “fall spring-clean” by getting rid or merging services such as so as to focus on “higher-impact products”. Among the more useful ones about to be phased out are Aardvark (an interactive social search engine in which people answer each other's questions); Desktop (due to the shift from local to cloud-based storage and computing); Fast Flip (a way to mimic reading a book or magazine online); Google Web Security; Image Labeler (a way to explore and label the images on the web as part of a game); Notebook (clip items from the web); City Tours (set up and share a sightseeing agenda); and App Inventor for Android. Google notes the popularity of App Inventor in the educational sector and will explore ways to target that market.

Some of the other services are being moved over as apps for Google's Android software; others are being kept as part of the company's main offerings at a special Google URL when Labs closes down.

Among my favourites is the

Google Art Project, which allows you to browse through and examine closely art from selected galleries around the world. Staring at a Van Gogh painting as if I had my nose to it is something I would have been clobbered for doing when I visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

The site allows visitors to create their own collection by saving specific views of any of the more than 1,000 artworks in a personalised collection, comment on them and share with family and friends. Of course, it is also a great tool for art teachers. Google plans on opening up the site to other art museums around the world.

Perhaps Bermuda's artists can start making enquires now on a virtual collection for the Island?

Send any comments to elamin.ahmed@gmail.com.

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Published September 07, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated September 07, 2011 at 9:49 am)

Watch out for jobs that could put you in jail

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