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Recently Slashdot announced the websites third redesign in its thirteen year lifespan, and TweakTown was invited over to take a look at the new diggs. This morning I was given a personal walkthrough with Slashdot's Senior Editor, Tim Lord, who emphasized that Slashdot's goal with the redesign is to help better deliver content to its readers across all devices.
The first thing that really caught my eye is the website's new modern theme. The old sites rounded corners and "Web 2.0" gradients are no more, and the new layout is very appealing to the eye. Lord told me that they really focused hard on simplifying the overall layout, and wanted to make things easy to navigate. The removal of the sites old left-hand navigation bar has greatly cleaned up the overall appearance as well.
Lord said that while Slashdot has always been more heavily weighted towards text, the new layout allows Slashdot to display a single eye catching image atop some of the frontpage post. While some users prefer an image along with their teaser, so do not, and Slashdot has kept those users in mind. A new widget has been placed at the top of the news feed that allows users to switch between three viewing modes. The Standard View will appear as default and will display a single image along with the content teaser. Additionally users can select Headline and Classic views that will set the site to display just the post headlines or the classic view which displays the full post.
Over the last year, Yahoo's Marissa Meyer has been working hard at revitalizing the stale company with new looks, new services, and changing the companys image to something more modern and hip. Today the company has unveiled a complete redesign for its Mail service that brings forth a more refined and elegant email experience.
The new Yahoo Mail is being rolled out today across all platforms and features a new compose screen as well as a new Flickr-generated theme that gives the service a transparent UI. Users now also have a data cap of 1TB, which is much larger than Gmail, but still not unlimited like previously given. Yahoo does say that 1TB of email storage is enough room for 6,000 years of email though.
Yahoo chose to roll out the new design today, on what is the service's 16th birthday, and personally I love the look and feel of the new Yahoo Mail. As an avid Gmail user I really hope that Google takes a long and hard look at this new UI from Yahoo and implements some changes of its own to Gmail. What do you think about the new layout? Are you a fan of Gmail or Yahoo? Let me know in the comments.
The NASA website is currently down due to the US government shutdown dilemma, but The Pirate Party of Russia has stepped up, offering its dedicated servers to the US space agency to host its website.
NASA was meant to celebrate its 55th birthday last week, but couldn't because of the government shutdown stopping its operations. A total of 18,000 employees have been affected, with future missions now at risk. The Pirate Party said in a statement: "We would like to offer you bulletproof collocation or dedicated servers on our hosting platform till the end of the crisis."
The statement also said: "We stand for Internet privacy, and as the result you would not have to worry about programs such as PRISM and other illegal activities of secret services of different countries. Your traffic, your activity and the activity of your users will be in safety." Now, if you're like me and didn't hear about the Pirate Party of Russia until today, they were founded in 2009 and are quite active in Russia as a public movement.
Earlier today, the FBI announced that it had seized Silk Road, an underground drug marketplace located on the darkweb. Along with the seizure came the arrest of the website's founder, Ross Ulbricht. Silk Road was only accessible through the TOR network, and was responsible for the sale of billions of dollars of drugs.
Anyone could logon, and purchase a bag of weed, a few ecstasy pills, or even much harder drugs like heroin and crystal meth. Ulbricht is being charged with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, and money laundering, and could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. The bust came after FBI agents and law enforcement officers made more than 100 purchases through the "hidden" site, many of which were said to contain very high purity drugs.
The FBI report says that Silk Road did more than $1.2 billion in illegal drug transactions since 2011 which netted Ulbricht about $80 million in commissions from the sale. The website had more than 957,079 registered users and conducted more than 1.2 million transactions. Between 2011 and 2013.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a major fan of all things outdoors. From kayaking to camping, I stay pretty active in nature, and this week's Google doodle really makes me smile. Google decided to commemorate Yosemite National Park, one of our nation's national treasures, on its 123rd anniversary.
Unfortunately, if you are planning a visit to the park, you will find it closed upon arrival because as of last night the park was shut down along with a fair portion of the US Government. While I would imagine that the park rangers are sticking around to prevent looting and damage, all of the national parks ran by the federal government have been closed until Congress sorts a budget out.
Up until just recently, Netflix required ISPs to join its Open Connect Content Delivery Network if they wanted to offer their customers "Super HD" and 3D video streams, but not anymore!
Netflix has announced back in January that it would begin offering Super HD and 3D streams, but if customers wanted to access it, it would only be if their ISP used Netflix's CDN. The content streaming giant is now untethering the Super HD option from its CDN, opening it up to all ISPs. Netflix's Joris Evers says: "Based on the performance data we've seen, and in response to member requests, we are now expanding availability to give all our members the ability to enjoy Netflix in the best possible quality."
Google's deprecated messaging service, Talk, appears to be experiencing some major issues as of late. The service has been erroneously sending messages to the wrong recipient, and many times to Talk users who are not on your contact list. The cause of the issue is not very clear at the moment, but thankfully there is a fix that is easily deployable.
Anyone using Google Talk can bypass these errors by simply downloading and installing Google Hangouts, the messaging service that has replaced Google Talk for several months now. When Google first began receiving reports about the error, it said that it immediately dispatched a team to investigate and as of this writing, things appear to be back to normal. I suggest installing Hangouts anyway. I have used the service for months and like it much better than the antiquated feeling Talk messenger.
YouTube has just announced the launch of a new audio library that will allow content creators to use more than 150 royalty-free instrumental tracks as the background music to their videos. This new library is available in the video manager and allows users to select background music based on mood, genre, instrument, and duration.
The tracks are downloadable at a quality of 320kbps in MP3 format so that they can then be added to your video in post processing. Additionally, the tracks can be used for any creative purpose you desire as they are 100 percent royalty-free and not limited to use on YouTube.
"We searched far and wide for musicians to create tracks for us and ended up finding co-conspirators in multiple places: an acquaintance down in L.A., music houses across the country and a well-known music producer in Brooklyn," YouTube wrote on its official blog. "And it turns out the latter produced albums for Phish and Sean Lennon."
Over the past few years, comments on YouTube have degraded into something akin to a cesspool. Derogatory statements, racism, and trolls have grown to dominate the comments of even the best quality videos. YouTube has teamed up with parent company Google to rollout a completely new commenting system that is said to take care of these issues.
The new system is deeply integrated with Google+ and will allow comments to be sorted based on relevance instead of the order in which they were posted. Positively rated comments will quickly move to the top of the comment list, and individual comments can be threaded themselves. Additionally, if you share your video on Google+, comments from the YouTube page will appear in the Google+ comments.
For even more commenting control, content creators can choose to share their comments with the public or specific circles from their Google+ account. This allows for private conversations within video comments as well. The new system will also allow content creators to build user whitelists while at the same blacklisting words and phrases they do not wish to appear in the comments. For the full rundown of features, check out the source below.
Yesterday was not a good day for Google's usually reliable Gmail service. Google says that due to a dual network failure, some users experienced partial service interruptions, slow performance, or total outages for up to 11 hours.
The company says that almost one-third of all emails routed through it servers were affected and that about 1.5 percent of all emails sent or received through the service were delayed by as much as two hours. Google has apologized via an official statement, and says that it will be implementing steps over the next few weeks to make sure these issues do not happen again.
Google plans to beef up its network and its backup capacity for Gmail, and says that it will make email delivery more resilient even in the event of a dual network failure. For many of us who use Gmail as our exclusive email provider, yesterday's issues were a little more serious. However, I am sure that the service will not see a loss of users over the recent issues. Google's complete statement can be found after the jump.