I’m on the job in Montreal this week, so there hasn’t been a lot of time for actual blogging. But here’s some of the stuff that’s turned up in my late-night surfing … and no, don’t panic; it’s all office-safe:

Spy vs. Spyware: Over at StraightGoods.ca, my brother (I mean that in the family as well as the “Solidarity Forever” sense) Mike Cottingham has penned a handy guide to fake spyware-removal utilities. These charming bits of software actually install spyware instead of removing it. As Mike puts it, “Owning an Internet-connected PC these days is like having frequent, unprotected sex: you are almost asking to be infected.” (And if you’re having frequent unprotected sex with your PC, well, that’s just reckless.)

Apple knows about your Barry Manilow collection: Speaking of spyware, Tasteful Future relates an eyebrow-raising revelation that Apple is listening in on some of your music choices via the latest edition of iTunes. The goal is to serve you ads — sorry, recommendations — for related songs you can purchase at their music store. This sounds a lot like Google’s misstep around ads in Gmail. Update: Apple says it discards the info as soon as it updates the recommended songs in the iTunes mini-store. They say nothing about not disclosing the fact up-front that they’re gathering that information in the first place. The parallel with Gmail grows stronger…

Making your vote count: Idealistic Pragmatist makes a pretty compelling case against “strategic” voting by NDP supporters worried about a Stephen Harper win. Mandos at Politblogo disagrees with one or two of her reasons (“In the past on this blog and elsewhere, I have stated my decided preference to corruption over malice.”), but takes her point on what a worn-out bunch these guys are and warns “Fact is, it’s dangerous to have a party in power for too long, particularly when the forces of reaction have any momentum at all.” It’s a thoughtful, respectful discussion. (Compare and contrast with the shoutfest directed at Greg at Sinister Thoughts, slamming his critique of the new spate of Liberal attack ads on Harper.)

Possible best Paul Wells quote of the campaign: Referring to that barrage of Liberal attack ads, “Now Stephen Harper is about to find out what it felt like to be a mid-level Liberal who volunteered for Allan Rock in 2002.

Copyright junkies: Cory Doctorow is keeping up the heat on Sam Bulte, the Liberal MP who’s done such a bang-up job of representing the interests of giant copyright holders in Ottawa. (And in return, said interests are throwing a big fundraising bash in her honour.)

Doctorow writes on BoingBoing, one of blogging’s 800-pound gorillas, and Michael Geist – who originally took the issue on – continues to fuel it with incisive commentary. And now the recently-formed group Online Rights Canada has taken on the fight, targeting Bulte in her riding. (Where, by the way, the NDP candidate is Peggy Nash.)

Notwithstanding Scott Feschuk’s campaign blog and the holiday brouhahah over various Liberal and Conservative online missteps, this may be the one truly important blogging story to come out of the campaign. Then again, we still have a little under two weeks…

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