In an interesting, yet somewhat expected, turn of events, the High Court's ruling last Friday that all of UK's ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay has had an affect on The Pirate Bay's web traffic. But not in the direction you think. Instead of losing hits and traffic, the file sharing website has seen an increase of 12 million visitors, more than it has ever had.
I guess this proves what they say is true: "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Clearly. "Thanks to the High Court and the fact that the news was on the BBC, we had 12 million more visitors yesterday than we had ever had before. We should write a thank you note to the BPI [British Phonographic Industry]," a spokesperson told TorrentFreak.
Virgin Media has already started to block access to the website, however, these blocks aren't hard to get around. Now, I'm not going to tell you how to do it, but I will tell you who will. The Pirate Bay, in the time before the rest of the ISPs block access to the site, is using the time to educate users how to beat censorship. If you happen to be on Virgin Media, you can check out The Pirate Party's website as they are mirroring the content.
Google have announced through their Google Docs Blog that the Google Docs Team have unveiled 450 new fonts and 60 creative templates. The new fonts and templates are part of an array of new features an updates announced today, which expand the range of documents users can create.
This drags Google's offering up to compete with the capabilities of its main productivity suite competitor, Microsoft Office. Template options are divided into different sections, Work, School, Home and Fun. The update to Google Docs also supports the importing of images from Google Drive and increased support for screenreaders.
Google Docs supports importing images from webcams and the LIFE Photo archive. The new update also bumps the size limit for files from 2MB to 50MB.
It's pretty tough to run a website, especially a mega-large website, without some sort of revenue. Servers, IT people, web developers, and the rest aren't free, so Tumblr has been living off of its start-up investments for a while now. They have finally decided that they need to make some money off of the site in order to keep running.
Enter Tumblr's first ads. These were first announced two weeks ago at Ad Age's digital conference. The ads aren't very intrusive on users' blogs, which is a good thing. MySpace fell out of favor because of the sheer intrusiveness of its advertising. It wasn't too long ago that the CEO of Tumblr said they would rather sell the desks in the office than put ads on the site. Curiously, that same CEO left the company yesterday. It is possible that that and today's launch have some sort of connection.
These ads aren't ads in the traditional sense. Instead the company is using its Radar and Spotlight features to help highlight content from advertisers/sponsors. According to the company, Tumblr Radar gets 120 million impressions a day. The feature is designed to hgihlight "the most creative and interesting media" on the Tumblr network and advertisers will "get a dedicated share of attention, with the opportunity to gain thousands of new followers, likes and reblogs."
Often Facebook receives complaints and heat over privacy concerns and constant changes the layout. However, today's minor tweak won't garner complaints over a layout change and, likely, won't receive complaints over privacy concerns. No, today's tweak is likely to gain acclaim, at least among the medical world.
So, what is today's tweak? Facebook has now added an option to show that you are an organ donor on your Timeline. It also provides an option to share this decision with your friends in order to increase awareness. Hopefully as people select and share this, more people will join in and make the decision to become an organ donor.
After all, 18 Americans die each day waiting for an organ transplant that never comes. "By simply telling people that you're an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role," Zuckerberg explained. The feature is currently only available in the United States. I, for one, will be making the change to my profile.
Google is constantly trying to improve its products for the end users' sake. Often times Google first puts new features into the Labs section of Google. These Labs are basically beta versions of features they plan to add to existing projects or as brand new projects. Every now and again the more popular labs get promoted to full versions.
Today just happens to be one of those days for one lucky Lab project. There was a Lab that has been around since 2009 that uses Google Translate to translate e-mails in a foreign language to that of the user. It works in a similar manner to the way Google Chrome recognizes foreign language websites and offers to convert them.
A few other more minor tweaks have also been promoted from Labs. These features include a tweak to change the title on the tab of a Gmail page. The tweak places the number of unread e-mails first. Another Lab improves the Mute button's ability to stop you from being harassed by company-wide reply all e-mails. The tweaks are said to be live, so check them out yourselves!
The Pirate Bay is pretty much synonymous with copyright infringement. As such, a UK court has ruled that because the site is infringing on copyright on a massive scale, six of the country's ISPs must block access to the Swedish website. In what can only be described as a major censorship of the internet, this court ruling could set dangerous precedent.
If you are a British user of Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 or Virgin Media and a user of The Pirate Bay, soon you will be unable to access the site. "Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists," the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.
The British ISP BT has requested a few more weeks to decide if they will block access to the site. "Unfortunately, the move to order blocking on The Pirate Bay comes as no surprise," Pirate Party UK leader Loz Kaye told the BBC. "The truth is that we are on a slippery slope towards internet censorship here in the United Kingdom."
Additionally, most of our readers know just how pointless blocking a site in a single country can be. We've seen similar attempts in Iran and China fail. This is because users can use proxies to circumvent the blocks instituted by ISPs. Not only does it not work, but as stated before, it sets a dangerous precedent.
Google has yet another bragging point that they've used a blog post to talk about: Google Translate is used by more than 200 million people per month. What some more number stats? Break this number down, and Google translates the equivalent to as much text you'd find in 1 million books. Wow.
Franz Och, a research scientist with Google Translate discusses how Google's translation service has grown through the years. Back in 2001, Gogole offered a service that could translate eight different languages to and from English. This service used state-of-the-art commercial machine translation (MT) and whilst it worked, it wasn't efficient, or very effective.
The service didn't really go well, and in 2003 Google decided to make some changes, one of these key steps was hiring Och away from his research position at DARPA. The team was then able to use Google's massive computing infrastructure, and got some very strong results, but it still wasn't quick enough for practical use. It took Google 40 hours and 1,000 computers to translate 1,000 sentences.
While it's great that the internet is an open, widely available network, this openness yields some security flaws. Most have been dealt with by encryption and other security measures, but one gaping hole remains unfixed. This major hole can cause massive, widespread outages or allow your data to be snooped on.
The problem resides in the routers used by every corporation or company who owns a block of IPs. These routers are constantly communicating with other routers in order to update internal information. This internal information, some 400,000 entries, contains the best routes to get to other networks using a protocol called Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).
According to InfoWorld, "BGP enables routers to find the best path when, say, a network used to retrieve a web page from South Korea is not working properly. Changes in that routing information are distributed quickly to routers around the world in as few as five minutes."
The flaw resides in the fact that the routers do not verify the "announcements." So outages can occur because people accidentally put in incorrect information or typos or because someone maliciously enters the information. The latter can cause data to be routed through someone's network where it can be sniffed and snooped upon.
Ever wanted to feel like a boss when writing, but didn't have the skills to do so? Well, you don't need skills if you want to use EssayTyper. EssayTyper turns your absolutely random keystrokes, or even pecking at the keyboard, into a literal piece of art. It's explained as:
EssayTyper uses a patented combination of magic and wikipedia to help you write your essay - fast!
That said, please don't ever try to use this legitimately. The magic part is not real...and that's plagiarism.
Once you've visited EssayTyper's website, you'll be placed into a page that looks like a Word document, where you can start typing away. You can type whatever you want, because it pulls information from Wikipedia on the subject of your choice.
If you are one of the growing number of consumers who doesn't have a credit or debit card to use while shopping online, WalMart has a new program designed just for you. According to WalMart, many of its customers shop paycheck to paycheck so they need more ways to purchase items online. This is where WalMart's "Pay with Cash" program comes in.
Obviously, most people's computers don't have any sort of cash terminal sitting there, so the program had to come up with a solution. How it works is you shop online and place your order. You receive an email receipt which you then take in to your local WalMart. Head to any register with the receipt and pay cash.
If you still have to go to the store, what's the point of shopping online? Well, WalMart.com offers a much wider selection of goods than the store counterparts do. Additionally, you can have the products shipped straight to your door, rather than having to walk around the store and pick them up.
"Many of our customers shop paycheck to paycheck and are looking for more ways to purchase items online but don't have the means to a credit, debit or prepaid card," Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com, said today in a statement. "Our new 'Pay with Cash' offering is designed just for them. It makes it easier for our customers to shop the way they want, where they have access to a broader product selection at Walmart.com coupled with the convenience of payment and shipping as they want."
If you're anything like me, you certainly like to know how the things you use work. Well, I've been dying for a good, brief explanation of how Google works, and apparently I wasn't the only one. RobertvH from Munich did too and sent in a question to Google who produced a video explaining the crawling, indexing, and search portions of the process.
Mountain View's head of web-spam, Matt Cutts takes you through the process in the video. The short answer to the question is a lot of processing power and experience. Matt does a great job of keeping the audience engaged, so I really hope more videos like this get released. It really is a nice view into the inner workings of Google.
With construction completed on Facebook's new datacenter in Forest City, NC, Facebook has flipped the switch in one of the buildings and now it is serving Facebook traffic. The new datacenter broke ground in November 2010 and should be fully operational by the end of the year.
The datacenter is composed of two buildings which house the first major deployment of the v2 Open Compute Project web servers. These servers are based on Intel's lower power Sandy Bridge architecture. The whole of the datacenter was designed to conserve energy, hence the new web servers. The climate in North Carolina will test Open Compute's outdoor air cooling system, as the humidity and temperature is outside of what is normally needed inside a datacenter.
The datacenter stands as a trophy to Facebook's ongoing success as the servers are needed to power Facebook for its 845+ million users. The timing of the opening of the facility is almost perfect because Facebook is nearing an initial public offering which could value the company somewhere around $100 billion.
Dubbed 'The Promo Bay', The Pirate Bay would like to help promote your cool music, video, comedic skill, or other talent provided you allow free, easy access to the material that is being promoted. Submissions are thrown into a pool and occasionally one is picked to have their image replace the default Pirate Bay logo and be linked to the page of their choosing.
Originally they planned to release only a few submissions a year, but after 5000 people submitted applications to be promoted, the plans changed. "Thus far we've done 14 regular campaigns in 3 countries each and 8 worldwide promotions," Pirate Bay's Winston told TorrentFreak. "When we started the project the plan was to do a few worldwide promotions a year, but the submissions have been too good. So now we're gonna do the worldwide promos every weekend and some regulars every now and then."
The infamous term 'blog' has a new competitor. Similarly to how 'facial tissues' became 'Kleenex' or 'copies' became 'Xeroxes', 'blog' is set to become known as 'Tumblr' if the current trends, available here, continue. Usually the names of companies become synonymous with what they do only after they have achieved a majority usage.
This achievement would confirm that Tumblr really has established itself as the most popular blogging platform on the web. Currently, the term 'blog' is ahead of 'Tumblr' but XKCD blogger Randall Munroe believes that 'Tumblr' will see more Google searches by October 12 this year. If you want traffic to your blog, your best bet is to publish it on Tumblr.
As for Tumblr itself, it is looking to capitalize on its explosion of popularity. Tumblr has reiterated its commitment to keep ads off of the site, instead moving towards other forms of revenue generation. David Karp calls the $1 post highlighting "one of [Tumblr's] most successful revenue-generating features."
Many users of the popular Google service Gmail were reporting the service as unavailable this morning. The extent and cause of the outage are not known at the moment. Twitter was abuzz with reports from many users who are unable to access the service. The outage was not a complete outage as some people were still able to access the service.
Other services appeared to be down in conjunction with Gmail. If Gmail was down for you, it is likely that Docs and Google+ were unavailable for you as well. Google acknowledged the problem with a post Google's Apps status dashboard: "We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information shortly."
At 10:40am PT Google Tweeted that, "#Gmail should be back for some of you already, and will be back for everyone soon. Thanks for your patience."
At 10:42am PT A Google spokesperson said, "We're aware that some users are experiencing an error when accessing their Gmail. We are working on a resolution and apologize for the inconvenience. Thanks for your patience."
At 11:00am PT Google's Apps status dashboard said, "The problem with Google Mail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."
For all of the Harry Potter fans out there, Pottormore finally opens for all, sort of. You see, you can now register after providing some personal details to find out if you're magical or not, but that doesn't give you access. Your account has to be verified before you can access the site.
Unfortunately for us, the site's management has let it be known that the approval/verification process could be slow even though they plan to verify a steady stream of accounts. They make note that you may not gain access right away. Darn. Currently you will find e-books of all 7 books as well as the audiobook versions.
Once you do gain access, you will be able to have access to interactive tours of locations mentioned in the books and the virtual tools needed to practice your magical arts. The owners plan to add more features over the coming weeks and months. Additionally, after your registration is approved, you will be sorted into one of the four houses and be chosen by your wand.
Last year LastPass was the target of an alleged hacking attempt which forced them to ask users to change their passwords. Additionally, LastPass relies on browser plug-ins whereas this new service does not. With the upcoming release of Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8 Metro, it will no longer support browser plug-ins which is a major issue.
This new service is set to be more secure than LastPass and work without any browser plug-ins or software installs. It will be more secure since your passwords are encrypted with a secure password phrase which isn't stored by the service. This means that they will be unable to see any of your passwords, not that they want to anyway.
my1login can sign users into any site with one click. Apps for iOS and Android are in the works. The new service has gained $1 million in funding which launched at the beginning of last month. They hope to go viral by allowing people who refer people to the service to get the pro version of the service. I'm not sure what the pro version offers.
Facebook probably knows more about you than you do. They collect and track pretty much everything you do on the site, so it's not that much of a stretch to assume they have more data than they tell you. If Target can predict when a girl is pregnant based upon what she buys, then imagine what Facebook can do with all of your 'Likes' and posts.
Facebook's Download Your Information feature is getting expanded after an audit last year by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner concluded that the company still wasn't doing enough. The feature was first introduced in 2010 and provides a limited archive of the data that Facebook has collected.
The expanded feature should provide more information such as previous names you've used, friend requests, and IP addresses from which you've logged in. The feature is relaunching today and will see a gradual roll out to all users so you may not be able to access it quite yet. Facebook is promising to add more categories of data down the road. The feature is accessed the same way as before.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been accepting applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLD). Right now there are approximately 22 gTLDs including com and org. After the application period closes April 12, it is expected that hundreds if not thousands of new gTLDs will be created.
These new gTLDs will be anything from ".Google" or ".YouTube" to ".Pepsi" or ".Delta". Google is expected to pick up all of their trademarks and then some as stated by a company spokesman: "We plan to apply for Google's trademarked TLDs, as well as a handful of new ones. We want to help make this a smooth experience for web users -- one that promotes innovation and competition on the internet."
The new gTLDs could allow YouTube to brand YouTube channels with something like "mychannel.YouTube" as the URL. The new gTLDs have some interesting new uses, but come at a cost. gTLDs have the application fee and operating costs. The initial application fee of $185,000 is quite a bit for most to overcome. A full list of applications will be posted April 30.
Iran will soon be without the public internet. They already have strict filters on the content, but these can be avoided by using programs such Tor. Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology released a statement last week: "All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August."
The new intranet would prevent access to Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, and similar sites. These would be replaced by alternative services provided by the Iranian government such as such as Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine. The government has already started the signup process for those services. Names and addresses are being verified and recorded.
Iran denies the report: "The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry." They instead blame the report on the propaganda wing of the West. Either way, this new firewalled internet is of serious concern to cyberactivists in Iran because it would give the government an advantage in the battle raging between them.
World's second largest porn site talks facts and figures, doesn't need to measure up against the rest
Porn. We all know the Internet is filled with it, and would be a contributing factor toward cloud storage upgrades for many porn sites, and many, many more home users. ExtremeTech talked to YouPorn who are the second largest porn site, about their backend, and how many people use their "services".
Some of the figures are pretty insane, which we've listed below:
- YouPorn has over 100 terabytes of porn on its server.
- The site delivers over 100 million page views each day.
- That amounts to almost a petabyte of a data transfered each day.
- When people are exceptionally busy on the site, it can deliver 4,000 pages a second. ExtremeTech calculates that that adds up to 800Gbps, or 100 gigabytes per second.
- Here's the kicker: that's about 2% of the Internet's total traffic.
At it's peak, YouPorn makes up 2-percent of the Internet's total traffic. It may not sound like a lot, but 2-percent of the entire Internet traffic is quite amazing. If it were inches, then it'd be a different story altogether.