A year ago today marked the 10-year anniversary of the most tragic attack on American soil, and here we are again, at the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Time usually heals wounds, but the wounds caused by these attacks are still wide open, and still hurting for most Americans.
I'm yet to have visited the United States, but I hope to more than once next year and would love to visit the 9/11 memorial site. Until then, enjoy a tribute video that we displayed last year - by Alex Mihal.
Things are looking to heat up for Mitt Romney, with a hacker claiming to have in his (or her) possession, the presidential candidate's previous tax returns. Romney has been accused of hiding something, as he has only released the previous two years worth of tax returns.
The hacker who claims to be part of Anonymous, claims to have copies of Romney's tax returns in the years before 2010 in which he or she posted to Pastebin. The hacker has also described how the files were accessed, where an actual person gained physical access to accounting form PricewaterhouseCoopers' office in Tennessee on August 25, where they copied the files onto a USB flash drive.
President Obama has turned to popular 'first page of the Internet' site, Reddit, to do an AMA. If you haven't heard of an AMA before, I suggest you visit Reddit, and from now on in, goodbye, it was nice to know you. Reddit is a huge time waster, and is one of the best sites on the Internet.
Obama's staff must know this, and this is why he did an AMA. An AMA is "Ask Me Anything", and there are plenty of them on Reddit. Having Obama do one, well, took the site to a whole new level, causing some serious issues of traffic congestion for the site. Even the link to Obama's AMA is in "read-only mode" due to the heavy traffic the site is experiencing.
Obama answered questions for thirty minutes, where he tackled just a handful of them on his AMA. You'll notice on the picture that Obama is using an Apple MacBook Pro. Just thought I'd point that out.
We reported that the world's largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, was hacked with a malware attack, but details were scarce. The oil producer has now come out and given some information of the cyber attack.
The company experienced 30,000 workstations hacked in mid-August, with the company stating that the virus "originated from external sources", and that they were still investigating. They have since cleaned up the workstations, and resumed operations for their internal network today.
Oil exploration and production operations were not affected, according to the company, as the networks they operate on are separate. Saudi Aramco's website is still down, with a message shown above.
Here's a bit of a weird one, and a sign of the changing times. A park in Israel is designed to teleport visitors back to ancient biblical times so that they can see how people of the Old Testament lived. Now, the donkeys that are used for transportation have been outfitted with Wi-Fi hotspots, something I'm pretty confident they didn't have back then.
The device is hung from the donkey's neck like a feedbag and provides wireless Internet access so users can surf the web, update Facebook and Twitter, or send e-mails to family and friends. "You take some pictures, you want to change your picture on Facebook - you can do it," Goldberg, the park manager, said.
Peter Scherr, a visitor from New York: "It has been used as a working animal for 5000 years," he learned, reading from a Wikipedia page on his iPad. "There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world. That's a lot of donkeys!"
"I don't miss any news," Scherr said. "I send pictures back to my family while I'm having fun on the donkeys."
It seems like an interesting choice for a park that is supposed to take visitors back to times before electricity. That said, the trial has been running for around a week and has been a smashing success.
The second episode to Intel and Toshiba's joint social film, The Beauty Inside, is out. The first episode tackled how the character feels waking up each day as a new person, with this new episode taking a new direction, too.
The second episode of The Beauty Inside is called "Leah", where the main character, Alex, seems to discover her for the first time in the antique store. The episode is crafted carefully, and you can see this character will be of importance in the coming episodes. But, how do you fall in love when tomorrow you wake up as another person?
How would one tell another, that they morph into another human being, who could be female, or old, or young, within hours of meeting them? The series has four more episodes coming, each released every Thursday from now.
Intel and Toshiba have been hard at work on a social film project called 'The Beauty Inside'. It features some Hollywood talent, with Topher Grace narrating, Sundance award-winning Director, Drake Doremus, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead starring.
The first episode is above, for your viewing pleasure, and after watching it, I'm quite intrigued. The main character wakes up as a new person, every single day. Imagine that. You wake up and could be a thin, 20-something year old male, and in the morning, you're an overweight, 50-year-old woman. The changes in clothes, in body weight, aches, hair color, female/male body parts, would make your head spin.
The social film's first episode feels like an introduction to the world, and the advertising from Intel and Toshiba is subtle. It's there, but it's not forced into your face, which is nice. I expected it to jump out at me more, and was pleasantly surprised, as you really only see the advertisement when the characters use a notebook. Another great thing about The Beauty Inside, is this is just the first episode, there's more to come, and if you want to get a chance to audition for a leading role in an upcoming episode, you might want to click here.
YouTube started preparing for the London 2012 Olympics last year, and it is probably a good thing they did. Considering the site pushed out a total of 231 million streams to the US and 64 countries in Africa and Asia.
From these 231 million streams, 72 million of them came from the IOC YouTube Channel. At the Olympics' peak, YouTube delivered more than 500,000 livestreams at the same time, this is five times the capacity of the Wembley Stadium. YouTube notes that a seven times improvement in quality based on low buffering and high frame rates contributed to the live video looking "better than ever before".
US-only stats sit with YouTube powering the online coverage at NBCOlympics.com, where they delivered more than 159 million total streams. NBC's native apps saw 37% of the views from mobile devices, and more than 50% of these were in HD. The US Olympic Committee YouTube Channel shared behind the scenes video with more than 6.75 million views, and 50 YouTube Creator "Invaded" London to show the full experience through their eyes.
The Oatmeal, a popular web comic site, seems to be drawing on its success in dealing with that 9gag lawyer. In that campaign, he raised over $200,000 for charity, more than 10 times what the lawyer was demanding from him. This campaign appears to be a similar idea, using his audience to spread the message far and wide.
And it appears to be working. In under 48 hours since the campaign went live, The Oatmeal's IndieGoGo campaign has raised more than $500,000 towards its goal of $850,000. The money is being raised to purchase the land where Nikola Tesla's laboratory, which was supposed to provide free power to the masses, was constructed.
Once the land is built, it will be cleaned up and a museum will be built on top. The Oatmeal is not actually the one behind this plan. Instead, they are just helping raise funds for the 501(c)3 charity Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe. The charity has received a matching grant from the state of New York of up to $850,000.
The asking price for the property is $1.6 million, so between the two they should have no issue obtaining the property and starting the clean up. Any extra beyond the goal goes to the eventual mission of building a "GODDAMN TESLA MUSEUM" on the site. More information can be found on TheOatmeal's website.
Times are changing, and the way American teens digest digital content, more specifically, music, is changing in strides. According to a new study from Nielsen Music 360, American teenagers are using Google's YouTube to listen to music compared to radio, iTunes or CDs.
Radio still remains the biggest music discovery option, but when it comes to listening, YouTube is out in front. The study reveals that nearly 50% of teens have radio apps on their smartphones and that digital music has passed physical CDs in terms of perception of value.
This study from Nielsen is based on results from 3,000 online consumer surveys conducted in the US. This would be why YouTube drives so much traffic, and I personally have young nieces and nephews who use YouTube to stream music all the time. They're finally getting onto the bandwagon with me and Spotify, though. I think the 'fads' these days will change quicker, as music discovery applications such as Spotify become more well-known.
Taiwan-based United Daily News has reported that a Taiwanese teenager collapsed and died at an Internet cafe after an insane 40-hour Diablo III marathon. The man was only 18 years old, and identified by last name only, Chuang.
Chuang booked a private room at the Internet cafe in Tainan, southern Taiwan, at around 12pm on July 13. He proceeded to play for 40 hours straight without eating. On the morning of July 15, an attendant entered the room and found Chuang resting on the table. The attendant then woke Chuang, who stood up, took a few steps and then collapsed.
He was taken to the local hospital, and pronounced dead shortly after. Police are investigating the cause of death, with an autopsy being carried out. The report speculates that the long hours in a sedentary position created cardiovascular problems for Chuang. The people behind Diablo III, Blizzard, have come out and said that it's important that people play in moderation.
If you want to check out the 2012 London Olympic games, and don't fancy sitting in front of your TV, or want to take the games with you at all time, then here's your chance. Thanks to the technology improvements in mobile devices, apps, and everything in between, this year you can stream the games live to your smart device.
All you need is an iOS or Android-based device, and you can stream the entire London Olympics to your device. NBC and Adobe have announced a partnership which will see them bringing the Olympics to mobiles. There is one problem, you have to be in the United States.
If you're based in the U.K., don't worry, the BBC has 24-hour streaming. The apps are very social, where you can share things with Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
WikiLeaks are back in the news this week, with reports saying the whistle-blowing website is set to unleash 2.4 million e-mails from Syrian officials and government accounts. The e-mails would likely reveal communication between the Syrian government and Western companies, that would put them in a spot of controversy over the alleged collusion between the Syrian regime and its supposed "enemies".
Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks told journalists that the leak will cause embarrassment to both Syria and its opponents, with e-mails dating back to as far as August 2006, and as recent as March of this year, with some of the e-mails originating in Syria's Ministry of Presidential Affairs.
Of course, the source of the leak hasn't been confirmed, but Harrison claims that WikiLeaks is confident that they are genuine. WikiLeaks have begun posting some of these e-mails online, with the rest of them to follow.
Up until the weekend, if you were to declare you were married on Facebook, it would show the traditional cake-topper style icon of a male and a female together. Well, with the whole gay marriage debacle going on across the world, Facebook have gotten with the times and updated the options for marriage.
Considering the social networking site features more than 900 million users, it is a move that should've been done a while ago. In the U.S. over the weekend, users started to notice new icons, either two males, or two females. James Lazar, a 38-year-old Chicago man was married to a man, but refused to change his status due to the male-female cake-topper style icons. He says "I don't like being forced into typical gender roles -- because we aren't. I think it's offensive".
Eventually, he changed his relationship status on Facebook to married and shortly after his icon changed to two men. He said in an interview with CNN, "I honestly didn't realize it was going to show up in my feed. I have 80,000 people 'liking' it and congratulating me and I'm like, 'Well, it was seven years ago!'"
While most American's are sleeping off yesterday's July 4 festivities, Anonymous have just announced a new operation. Anonymous' goals aren't really known, but we're getting closer to their end game it seems with the newly-announced #OpBlackout Phase 3. I've just sat here and watched the 18-minute video, and it should really hit home for not just Americans, but for any human on this planet.
Anonymous use the video to reiterate that they do not want chaos, they do not want anarchy, they just want to restore power to the people. The power that has been taken out the American citizens' hands, and into the corporately-owned governments. Anonymous say that over the coming months, they'll be releasing videos detailing their reformation plans.
The video goes over various topics, with footage from various events, showcasing the power the police, military and government use to surpress the people. It covers the bankers, and Wall Street who have all but fleeced the United States, and even features celebrities chiming in with their words toward the end. Check it out and let us know what you think. #OpBlackout Phase 3 is a go.
Over the weekend you might have noticed that a few of your popular sites weren't working, such as Instagram, Netflix, and more. This is thanks to a huge storm which took down most of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud. Clients that are on this cloud are Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
What caused the downtime? The "leap second" bug", which International time keepers adjusted, adding one second to the global time standards in order to offset differences between our ultra-precise atomic clocks and the natural rotation of our planet, a rotation which is ever so slightly irregular. Sometimes, such as back in 2008, there's a second that is added to adjust time as needed.
Amazon's servers weren't the only ones that were affected, Gawker (Lifehacker, Gizmodo and others), Reddit, Mozilla and many, many more fell prey to this leap second bug. During the update, some software can't handle the unexpected change in seconds, and the effects are, well, the events of the weekend.
Alan Turing, a man you've probably never heard of and you probably couldn't live without his work, would have celebrated his 100th birthday tomorrow. Mr. Turing was the man who basically invented modern computing. He was also significantly important during World War Two due to his work in cryptography and code breaking.
Now, one of his inventions has been rendered in Lego form as a cerebration of his brithday, which, for inventors, is like an actor being parodied on The Simpsons. It's a sign that you have really made it. The machine is really simple and the heart of the machine is a Lego Mindstorms NXT set, but the soul is Alan Turing's genius.
The use of Legos demonstrates just how simple his machine was:
It's very simplr, but describes the fundamental capabilities of practically all computers in use today. This means that if something can be done on a computer, it can also be done on a Turing machine. This makes it a great model for scientists to use to discover the limits of computers (e.g. complexity theory) and also to show to a broad audience how a computer fundamentally operates.
The Lego model is on display at Asterdam's Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica's Turings Erfenis exhibit. The only difference in the Lego version is the lack of an infinite tape. The Lego Turing Machine only has 32 positions. If you aren't in Amsterdam and are unable to see it, you can check out the video in the source link.
If you're wondering what to do when you're worth $36 billion, take a look at Larry Ellison for ideas. The co-founder of Oracle is listed as the sixth richest man on Forbe's list of global billionaires and seems as though he knows how to live life to the fullest. Err, at least spend money to the fullest.
The Hawaiian governor has announced that Larry Ellison is buying 98% of Lanai, one of the Hawaiian islands. The final price is not known, but the asking price is said to have been somewhere between $500 and $600 million. The island is 141 square miles and is currently owned by David Murdock. Lanai is also known as "Pineapple Island" as it was formerly a pineapple plantation.
It's not exactly clear why Mr. Ellison wants the island as it currently has 3,200 residents and several luxury resorts. The current company running the resorts and power, water, and other utilities is losing somewhere around $40 million a year. The remaining 2% is not owned by the same company who sold the other 98%.
Confiming the successful bid, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie said on Wednesday: "It is my understanding that Mr Ellison has had a long standing interest in Lanai. He is also a businessman whose record of community involvement in medical research and education causes is equally notable. We look forward to welcoming Mr Ellison in the near future."
Google has announced a new project to save endangered languages in order to prevent them from becoming extinct. The idea is to make sure that there is a record to keep languages able to be spoken so that they can be taught to future generations. Languages have many aspects which result from the culture they are spoken in, so this is important for people who study these cultures.
Google has an endearing story about one such language thought to be extinct, but revived through historical manuscripts:
The Miami-Illinois language was considered by some to be extinct. Once spoken by Native American communities throughout what's now the American Midwest, its last fluent speakers died in the 1960s. Decades later, Daryl Baldwin, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, began teaching himself the language from historical manuscripts and now works with the Miami University in Ohio to continue the work of revitalizing the language, publishing stories, audio files and other educational materials. Miami children are once again learning the language and-even more inspiring-teaching it to each other.
The new project by Google gives people working on learning and teaching these languages a place to collaborate research and share advice. This could include uploading audio files of spoken words so people can hear how they are pronounced, to other information about the language such as knowledge-sharing articles.
A rare, functioning Apple 1 computer was put up for auction by Sotheby's and set a new record for the price of the item. Only about 200 of these Apple 1 computers were hand-built by Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak, and only 6 are believed to still function. The original selling price of the Apple 1 was $666.66.
The final selling price blew Sotheby's high estimate away. Sotheby's had said they expected the high to be up to $180,000 and the product more than doubled that. The hand-built, still functioning Apple 1 computer ended up selling for an incredible $374,500, partly due to it coming with the original manuals.
The other item auctioned off was a four-page memo handwritten by Steve Jobs. The memo detailed how the Atari World Cup football game could be made more fun to play and included circuit drawings and diagrams. It also included his Los Altos home address stamped onto the pages along with a Buddhist mantra - "gate gate paragate parasangate bodhi svahdl". The item was expected to sell for $15,000 but managed to pull in an incredible $27,500.
Occasionally some funky stuff happens with technology. Usually the cause can be traced down. This time, it's not exactly clear what happened, but the story is hilarious nevertheless. It would appear that the Nook eBook version wanted to remove all references to Kindle in the book War and Peace.
In the translated book, all references to the word "kindled" have been replaced by "nookd." The only explanation I can think of is someone got lazy in the conversion from Kindle eBook to Nook eBook. It would appear that someone CTRL +F'd to change the title reference of Kindle to Nook and didn't realize the word was used elsewhere in the text.
It's highly unlikely that it was done on purpose, but it is hilarious even if it wasn't. Another example of why people should take the extra time to do a job right. If it was done on purpose, I can't see the reason for it. I'm sure a fixed version will be released shortly, if it hasn't already.