Penny Arcade's latest offshoot, Penny Arcade Report, has closed its doors for good after only two years in business. Penny Arcade's Tycho Brahe said that he felt his company had forked off into too many branches, and the closure of Penny Arcade Report would allow it to focus on its Comics, PAX, and Childs Play.
"I don't think I want to 'grow my business' anymore; I sort of want to do the opposite. And I'm tired, sick to death, of saying 'Maybe Someday' when it comes to the things we really want to make," wrote Brahe. "So, we're not going to do that anymore. The next year is going to be a pretty big one, one of the biggest yet; it's the year the previous fifteen have been leading up to in the literal."
"I'm not really interested in crying over spilled milk; sometimes these things work out, and sometimes they don't," he wrote. "I've had a wonderful two years at Penny Arcade, and the few times I worked directly out of the office I enjoyed the commitment and joy that everyone found in their work."
Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have all been ordered by a French court to remove search results from 16 websites that host pirated materials. The case itself began in December 2011, with a handful of French organizations and groups that protect large companies like Paramount, and Sony.
Local ISPs are being ordered to "implement all appropriate means including blocking" of these pirate websites. Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and ISPs have two weeks to remote or block the 16 websites in question, which the court found were in violation of copyright laws, as these websites are "dedicated or virtually dedicated to the distribution of audiovisual works without the consent of their creators."
Google Play Music All Access is already here, and with a name that is far too long, but it looks like it will use the YouTube side of its business to launch another music streaming service, aimed at a younger crowd, according to Android Police.
Android Police dug right into YouTube's innards, finding references to a "Music Pass" service, as well as references to background music playback, offline playback, and an ad-free listening experience. It has been rumored before that Google would launch another music streaming service through YouTube, but it looks like this is going to happen sooner, rather than later.
It looks like Netflix is having issues pushing out its content to its massive user base, and because of that, Netflix is not able to push it all out in what it calls "Super HD", or 1080p.
Netflix's stream gets pushed out to you as soon as possible, but not in its full-resolution glory. This is done so that you're not sitting there watching it buffer for minutes on end, but as soon as the stream is capable of delivering 1080p video, it will switch over. If the bandwidth slows down, the resolution will drop and the buffering of Super HD will begin again.
This is all done to keep you, the content consumer, with a full show always - instead of buffering constantly, not being able to enjoy the latest episode of Orange is the New Black, or House of Cards. The bigger question I have, is that Netflix wants to push Ultra HD, or 4K, content to the masses, but if it's tripping over the network cables in its servers trying to deliver Full HD, with issues, what will Ultra HD cause?
Microsoft is launching its Xbox Video service on the web today. Previously Microsoft had said they would launch their Xbox Video service on the web and Windows Phone 8 by the end of this year. They are planning to release the Windows Phone 8 version shortly. With the web service you'll be able to access TV show and movies, just like the Windows 8.1 version. Although both the app and the web version lack HD. Content in HD is only available on the Xbox one or Windows 8.
You will need to use Microsoft's Silverlight plug-in to stream content through your web browser. Pre-purchased content is available immediately to stream, other content can be purchased and streamed and will automatically be available on your Xbox One or on Windows 8. The Xbox Video web service is up now and can be found at video.xbox.com
Film photography all but died with the invention of digital cameras, and likewise so did the photo album when online photo galleries became mainstream. Until recently, having a photo book printed from digital images was quite expensive, but now the price seems to have leveled off and the books are more affordable than ever.
Hoping to get more printed photos onto your coffee table, Flickr has just unveiled a new printed photo book product that users can purchase starting at $35 for a 20-page book. Flickr provides a new "intelligent" creation tool that automatically crops, adjust, and prepares user selected images for printing in the book, and up to 240 pages are possible. Each page is crafted from high-quality white photo paper and finished with a lustre coating. Books are bound in a glossy hardcover and come with a dust jacket.
Back in my days as a professional photographer, getting a similar sized book required hours of photo preparation, and laying out everything in PDF format before shipping off to the printer. It appears that Flickr has greatly simplified this process, and made it much cheaper as well.
It looks like Google is a little more secure today, after the Mountain View-based search giant unveiled that it has completely the upgrade of all its SSL certificates to 2048-bit RSA, which is a few months ahead of schedule.
Google Security Engineer, Dan Dulay, said: "we have completed this process which will allow the industry to start removing trust from weaker 1024-bit keys next year." The company announced back in May that it had started work on changing its key lengths, and wanted to complete the task before the end of the year. This was around two weeks prior to Edward Snowden making headlines on the NSA PRISM system.
With the new longer key lengths, Google makes cracking SSL connections much harder, which should have e-mail communication, encrypted banking transactions and more, much more secure. Dulay said: "hardware security module that contained our old 1024-bit intermediate certificate has served us well. Its final duty after all outstanding certificates were revoked was to be carefully destroyed."
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, has awarded London the rights to its own domain name, paving the way for cities across the world to do the same thing.
This means that from spring 2014, businesses, individuals, and organizations in the UK's capital city will be able to apply for a web address with the .london suffix. It's believed that New York, Paris, Berlin and other cities have all applied for the same status. ICANN has reportedly had "tens of thousands" of businesses express interest in a .london domain.
Mayor Boris Johnson, said: "This is an excellent opportunity to expand London's digital presence, which in turn is set to generate funds to invest back into the city."
If you have ever wanted to visit the streets of Venice and be escorted through its historic waterways vis gondolier, then you do not have to wait any longer. Today Google rolled out a very extensive and thorough look at the city of love via its Street View service.
The tour through Venice not only hits the tourist highlights, but little visited areas of the city as well. Google utilized its Trekker backpack and Trike Street View imaging devices to capture the beautiful city in 360 degrees of glory. Head over to the source link below to visit places like Piazza San Marco and St. Marks' Cathedral, the Synagogue of the first Jewish Ghetto and even the Devil's Bridge in Torcello island.
"The narrow roads and bridges of Venice show off the need for the Trekker to bring imagery of more breathtaking places online for the world to see," a Google spokesperson said in an Interview. "Other pedestrian-only places we could take the Trekker include hiking in the natural forests and climbing the steps of ancient temples and castles."
Google is continuing to improve on its Gmail service, and today the search giant released new updates to Gmail that make using other web services much easier. Google has expanded the quick action button in Gmail and added one-click-access to even more popular web services than ever before.
One-click access allows users to quickly view things such as YouTube Videos, Open Dropbox and Google Drive documents, and even review and rate recently visited restaurants, all from within Gmail's inbox. Google says that these additions are not the last we will see, and that it will continue to add more quick-access buttons in the future as well as continuing to improve Gmail.
If you thought BitTorrent and Usenet would be the kings of peak-hour download traffic in the US, well, you'd be wrong. A new study from broadband company Sandvine, estimates that YouTube and Netflix are the kings of the US download traffic hill, by a long shot.
As you can see from the chart above, Netflix takes a huge 31.62% of the downstream traffic while YouTube scoops up 18.69%, so combined, they enjoy over half the US downstream traffic. If you look to the left, upstream traffic is completely dominated by BitTorrent with a huge 36.35%, and in second place is the usual HTTP traffic, with just 6.03%.
On November 17th, Amazon.com and the United States Postal Service will launch a new initiative that will see Amazon customers receiving packages in the mail on Sundays. Initially, this service will only be offered in Los Angeles and New York City, with the majority of the country receiving the service later in 2014.
Amazon says that Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix will be amongst the first additional cities to receive the service in 2014, and further rollout will take place as it grows in popularity. Amazon will deliver its packages from shipping centers to USPS facilities on Saturday evenings, and will then hand things off to USPS for Sunday delivery. At the moment, it is unclear if this service will cost extra or not, but the truth is that USPS could use a financial boost at the moment.
Kim Dotcom's cloud storage service, Mega, has exited its 'beta' label and is now featuring huge improvements, optimizations and a fresh new look. The new interface is said to have lowered CPU consumption, as well as some snips here and there within the code that should make it load faster.
The new, non-beta Mega also allows your session to be cached within your web browser, which should increase the speed of logins, as it'll only require the most recent of changes to be loaded from the Mega servers. Not only this, but you can now set your profile picture up, which will reflect in the contact lists of your friends in real-time.
Mega users can also dive in and check the progress of just how many files a specific user is sharing with you, as well as each file's last modification date, and time. Later this month, iOS users can expect a Mega app which will also be accompanied by a sync client, which will be nice. Early next year, we can expect Mega to unleash its encrypted messaging and chat services.
If you haven't heard about Lavabit, well, it was the e-mail service that Edward Snowden used until it was pretty much forced to close its electronic doors. The creator of the service, Ladar Levison, has now launched a Kickstarter campaign, where he's trying to raise funds for a dark mail encrypted e-mail service.
The dark mail service requires $196,608 in order to take the Lavabit source code and bake it into a free, and open-source project with the new dark mail protocol. Dark mail is looking to deliver a next-generation form of e-mail with end-to-end encryption, free from the prying eyes of our governments and their spy agencies.
The campaign will also be delivering the first dark mail clients to Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.
Today Amazon officially launched its Matchbook service that we reported on a while back. The service offers electronic versions of hard copies of books customers purchase for an additional $3 or less. Amazon says that the service is retroactive and any books you have purchased over the years qualify if they are in e-book form.
The books are in Kindle format and include all the features one would expect when buying a book for their kindle. Whispersync, X-ray and everything else functions as normal. The company says that it will continue adding titles to the service and new releases will be added as well. Personally, I love this new service. Last year I lost my entire book collection when my home was destroyed in a fire, and now I can go to Amazon, and replace a lot of those books in digital form for just $3 each!
Today Google announced that two of its largest web services now support handwriting input. Thats right, both Gmail and Google Docs now let you transcribe text using input from a handwriting peripheral such as a stylus or usb-based pen. While this is useful for some, the real benefit comes when you combine this with Google Translate.
When combined with Google Translate, users who have to send an email to China or Japan can significantly speed up the writing process as users can simply handwrite the email in their own language, and let Translate handle the hard work for them. Unfortunately, anyone who has ever used Google Translate knows that it is notorious for inaccuracies so beware.
It appears that Hollywood has won one of its larger battles in the "war on bittorrent." Long time torrent search engine, isoHunt, will be closing its site forever as the result of a pre-trial settlement. The settlement includes an agreement that sees isoHunt paying $110 million in damages to Hollywood studios.
This settlement ended what has been an ongoing battle over the last seven years between isoHunt founder Gary Fung, and was filed on grounds that the website enticed internet users to torrent movies and TV shows. The settlement comes after a ruling against isoHunt back in March of this year, where the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that there was ample evidence that Fung offered his service with the intent to promote piracy.
Chris Dodd, chairman of the MPAA, said in a statement that the settlement "sends a strong message that those who build businesses around encouraging, enabling and helping others to commit copyright infringement are themselves infringers, and will be held accountable for their actions."
Kickstarter has been absolutely massive for some companies, with products like Oculus Rift and OUYA being born from the crowdfunding website. Now Kickstarter will make the jump to Australia and New Zealand starting November 13.
The crowdfunding site has requested that interested parties begin their projects now in preparation for the launch, with Kickstarter holding a "school" in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. Those who are interested should sign up now, as it should be capped out in no time. You can check out the Kickstarter site for more details.
Just a few months ago, Yahoo announced that it had completely redesigned Flickr in an attempt to make the service more modern and user friendly. Yahoo has once again updated its image hosting and sharing service and has focused on making individual photos as large as possible.
Alongside the large photos, Flickr has moved all of the extra info, additional images, and relevant information off to the left hand sidebar. This really cleans things up and makes navigation easier than ever. Additionally, the new layout really speeds things up, which is something many Flickr users had complained about since the redesign was launched.
"With the new photo experience the image is about 25% bigger than on the previous photo page," Flickr said in a blog post. "You'll see more pixels, get a cleaner view without any elements on the top or the bottom of the screen, so that photos can really be the center point."
The day has come: every single major Internet organization has pledged to free themselves of the influence of the US government's control at a summit in Uruguay.
The parties involved include the directors of ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Architecture Board, the World Wide Web Consortium, the Internet Society and all five of the regional Internet address registries have promised to cut ties with the US government. During a statement, the group asked for "accelerating the globalization of ICANN and IANA functions, towards an environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing."
Right now, the US department of commerce has oversight in the operations of ICANN, but not for long. During a separate part of the statement, the group "expressed strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance."
YouTube has provided some more details on how its upcoming offline viewing mode will work: if you add a video to your device to view later, and then disconnect that device from the Internet, you'll be able to watch that video for up to 48 hours without Internet connectivity.
Once those 48 hours are up, you'll need to reconnect to the Internet if you want to watch the videos again, it will refresh that you're connected, and the videos will still be playable, for another 48 hours. The offline videos and playlists will be stored on your device, under an "on device" section of the YouTube sidebar. You can add more content to your device directly from the watch page, or from wherever you are viewing a video from.
Google will push out an update of YouTube for mobile in the coming weeks, where this new feature will be front and center.