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Today, Google launched a digital textbook section in Google Play Books. The new section is only available in the US and is available through the Google Play website, Android, and iOS apps. Many of the textbooks are available for rental, but most must be purchased outright.
Website GigaOM is advising returning students to be cautious and still shop around as both Amazon and Barnes & Noble also rent digital textbooks and prices varied across the stores on the same books. They found that a psychology textbook rented for $66 for 180 days, while a print version from Amazon can be rented for $25.23 per semester with the option to extend the rental period by 15 days for $5.
Until just recently, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden used the e-mail services of Lavabit. But now Lavabit has shut its doors, with the owner of Lavabit, Ladar Levison, leaving a very cryptic and scary message stating he walked away from his business as he has "become complicit in crimes against the American public."
It gets a little scarier, with the Lavabit owner saying that until real reform happens, he "would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States." This includes most e-mail services, like GMail, Hotmail, and more.
The full message reads:
Today, Amazon launched a new online fine art store named Amazon Art. This new marketplace will give customers direct access to more than 40,000 works of fine art from over 150 galleries around the world. Amazon says that the new store will showcase artwork from more than 4500 artists and is one of the largest online marketplace collections of original and limited-edition artwork in the world.
"We are excited to bring one of the largest selections of fine art direct from galleries to our customers. Amazon Art gives galleries a way to bring their passion and expertise about the artists they represent to our millions of customers," said Peter Faricy, vice president for the Amazon Marketplace. "We're thrilled to bring the excitement and emotional connection of art to our customers."
Amazon says that the new store provides easy searching discoverability that enables smaller art galleries to get their collection seen by millions of people, which in turn will lead to higher sales numbers and will allow the small galleries to grow. Head over to Source #2 to visit the online art store for yourself and let us know if you pick up something such as a work from one the old Masters.
And it's about time: Google have just allowed YouTube to live stream to anyone with 100 or more subscribers. This is a great step, as it puts the smaller creators on nearly the same playing field as the big boys on YouTube.
YouTube previously reduced the number of subscribers required to 1,000 just three months ago, and have now reduced it to just 100. YouTube says that this feature is rolling out gradually, so don't feel bad if you don't see an "Enable" button for YouTube Live any time soon. Smaller creators are also getting some more benefits, with the ability to add custom thumbnail images to video, link out to online stores or other sites in their videos' annotations, and place viewers inside video playlists.
Crytek's official website is down right now, with the German developer stating they were hit with "suspicious activity" which means hackers have most likely infiltrated the site. A bunch of Crytek's websites are down right now, including:
But, some of their sites are ok, such as:
We should expect the sites to be back up shortly, with an explanation from Crytek.
This morning, many webmasters awoke to emails and phone calls from clients and users informing them that their website was not reachable. Unfortunately, I was on both sides of the story. Shared hosting giant BlueHost announced this morning that they were experiencing "networking issues" that were affecting a good portion of their client base.
Sometime around 9AM EST, websites hosted with BlueHost began dropping offline, while others continued to function periodically. An hour later, BlueHost officially addressed the issue via Twitter and said that the company ran into networking issues during an upgrade the night before and the issues were still persisting into the morning. The latest tweet from the company says that the networking issues are still popping up, but most sites should be back online. It appears that my personal sites fall into the niche that remains offline and a call to BlueHost support resulted in a busy signal. You can follow updates on the outage by visiting the company's support Twitter account at Source #1 below.
When Google first announced plans to shut down its popular Google Reader service, the web was set ablaze with millions of users scrambling to find a new RSS reader to call home. Amidst all of the hustle and bustle, three big names arose out of the noise and offered up awesome solutions to this new found problem.
Digg announced that it would begin building an RSS reader, while RSS reader veteran Feedly welcomed Google refugees with open arms. Finally, The Old Reader started to get major attention as it kept things simple and truly felt like the old Google Reader we were all about to lose. Unfortunately, it appears that the developers behind The Old Reader were flooded by the massive influx of users and as a result, were overwhelmed by the issues that come along with running a project used by millions of people daily.
Today, the developers behind The Old Reader announced that they will be closing all public access to the site in two weeks and will only be allowing a select number of users access to the private site. Currently, new user registration has been disabled and the site is not accepting any more new user accounts at all. Current users have two weeks to export their feed's OPML file that can be used to migrate to another service. I have posted the full release from the developers below.
In the last 7 months, copyright holders have asked Google to remove over 100,000,000 links to infringing sites. The 100 million site figure is double what Google removed in the entire of 2012. Google are processing an average of 15 million "infringing" sites per month at the moment.
Companies are hoping to get consumers back, and in order to do that they need to take the temptation of pirate sites away. This is the reason Google are receiving millions upon millions of DCMA takedown requests. Since January of this year, Google have been asked to remove a staggering 105,300,000 links to 'pirate' websites.
If you take a look at the graph above, things have really escalated in the last twelve months. Which site got hit the most? That would be file-hosting search engine FilesTube with 5,801,661 URLs. Torrentz.eu saw 2,508,595 URLs gone, and third, Rapidgator.net with 2,166,977 URLs.
YouTube's Comedy Week has widely been considered a smashing success and the company is now looking to follow up that success with another week of themed, highlighted content. On August 4, YouTube will kick off its first annual Geek Week event in which the video sharing service will highlight more than 100 channels that feature Geeky and Nerdy content.
Participating channels include heavy hitters such as Chris Hardwick's Nerdist, the UK's Channel Flip, Machinima, and Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton's own Geek and Sundry. Additionally, Schmidt and Co will be hiding easter eggs over the event and will give users collectable virtual badges if spotted. Some big time players in the motion picture industry have taken notice as well, and an exclusive trailer for Thor: The Dark World will premier on Wednesday, August 7, right in the middle of the event.
Yahoo has announced that it will be taking Flickr offline tomorrow, July 25, between the hours of 4pm and 10pm Pacific. The downtime is scheduled so that the company can perform some much needed maintenance on the now quickly growing photo sharing site. Yahoo did not specify what maintenance would be performed, but we assume that it has something to do with networking hardware.
Yahoo says that the outage will affect more than just its Flickr property, and any and all sites that use the Flickr API for image sharing will see the images go offline during this time. This means any Flickr image that has been hotlinked on any website will not work for six hours or so. Once the service is back online, everything should return to normal. The service will be unavailable across all platforms including Mobile, Web, Smart TV, and any other device that can access Flickr.