Twitter isn't the most secure platform. They've had several data breaches and now a bug has come to light that allowed passwords to be transmitted in plaintext. Plaintext passwords are never a good thing to be sending around on the public internet, so this bug has been quickly patched by the engineering team.
Twitter's main page uses SSL (HTTPS) to send the login information. However, when logging in from the drop-down box on a tweet detail page, a bug in the menu sent the passwords unencrypted. The issue was orignally discovered by Dome9, who then detailed it to TheNextWeb who tried it out and contacted Twitter.
Twitter has reportedly patched the bug now, and it was apparently not used by anyone--at least not widely used. Security is important when you're dealing with personal data, though I'd be a bit more concerned if this bug was found on Facebook.
Facebook holds hackathons quite frequently to continue to encourage the hacking culture that gave Facebook its start in the first place. Now that we are coming up upon the end of the year, Facebook has taken a look back at all of the hacks generated during these hackathons and have picked their favorites.
One of the especially cool ones is pictured above. Facebook engineer Paul Tarjan was inspired by a conversation during a flight. The person next to him explained how people in a part of Michigan were actually Packers fans. He hacked together the view seen in the picture above, which correlates NFL team Likes with the counties of the people who liked the team on Facebook.
He found that the girl was right, and also hacked together a pretty interesting visualization of some of the data Facebook has available. Head on over to the source link to check out all of Facebook's favorites.
Facebook has been tinkering again (do they ever stop?) and this time they have modified the messaging aspect of the site. The new version of Messenger will allow users to send messages to a person's inbox even if they aren't friends or friends of friends. The new service will act as a spam filter as it charges users $1 to make sure it gets to the inbox.
Right now, if someone, as described above, sends you a message, it will most likely go to the "Other" folder, rather than your inbox. For $1 dollar, a potential job candidate or someone who heard you speak somewhere can send you a message on Facebook and not have it be missed. Facebook said:
For example, if you want to send a message to someone you head speak at an event but are not friends with, or you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox. For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.
The paid message feature is currently undergoing testing with a limited set of users. "Brands can't use this feature, not at the moment," a Facebook spokesperson said. Facebook needs to continue to monetize its usergroup and this is certainly a way to do it.
Twitter suspended @YourAnonNews, a popular Twitter handle that spreads Anonymous related news. The reason for suspension is said to be a picture that they tweeted, and it is believed to have contained the addresses or personal information of people in regards to the Westboro Baptist Church.
Twitter sent the Twitter handle owners and e-mail that contained the following: "Your account has been suspended for posting an individual's private information such as private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents." They tweeted out a picture of the e-mail that they received.
The handle has since been restored and subsequently tweeted "BREAKING: We're back motherf**kers." (Pardon the censorship) Anonymous is a bit upset with the Westboro Baptist Church for protesting the vigils of Sandy Hook victims, hence the reason for them tweeting a picture believed to contain personal information.
The Twittersphere was not happy with the suspension, with some even going so far as to call it censorship, even though they did break the rules stipulated by Twitter.
We recently told you how NORAD is doing away with Google Maps as the mapping software used to track Santa and is instead opting to use Microsoft's Bing. Well, it seems as though Google feels that they don't need NORAD to track Santa just as much as NORAD doesn't need Google. Instead, Google has launched their own Santa tracker called Santa's Village.
As part of Santa's Village, kids will be able to track Santa's movements around the world starting at 2:00 am PST on Christmas Eve. Google has made a Chrome extension and Android app available to make the process even easier. Google has a bit of experience in tracking Santa, as they have been using Google Earth to do so since 2004.
The new version features an updated tracking algorithm and is sure to keep kids engaged, even before the actual trip begins. You can check out everything Google has to offer over at their new Santa Tracker page.
Bing's image search has been updated today to make searching images more engaging, quick, and easy. Bing is promoting that you no longer have to load a new page or "dig through clutter." They say that the new design "loads quickly placing the image center stage." They offer a demonstration by searching for cute puppies:
We completely redesigned the image viewer, putting the spotlight on the picture and stripping out anything that got in the way. We "dimmed the lights" around the photo, adding a darker look that makes it easier on the eyes and lets the results shine in high definition. Simply click on the main image to navigate to the original source web page.
I'm still not sure who uses Bing--Google has over 60% of the market--but this is certainly a nice improvement for those who do use it. What do you think of the changes? Are you likely to choose Bing over Google because of them?
Google has brought its iTunes-like scan-and-match service for Google Music to the United States today after previously launching the service in Europe around a month ago. The service allows you to scan your music and find a match for it in the Google Cloud so that you aren't required to upload your tracks to the server.
Better yet is the price. While Apple and Amazon charge around $25 a year for this service, Google is offering it for free for up to 20,000 tracks. Google also has not put a size limit on these tracks, and they say they will allow you to stream at 320 kbps. You can, however, only download it at a similar bit-rate to that of the track you uploaded.
You can check it out and get uploading at Google Music. Now, I wonder if this will allow me to fix all of my messed up tags...
Back in 2011 Google published five high resolution digital images of manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, as a collaboration with the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Taking its historical initiative even further Google has launched the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.
The new library wich was launched in partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority, inclued some 5,000 images of scroll fragments which includes one of the oldest known copies of the Ten Commandments.
Also included in the library is a centuries old copy of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, which describes the first three days of the worlds creation according to christian beliefs. Hundreds of other documents are on display in both infrared and color images at an amazing 1215 dpi resolution.
Everyone knows, and just about universally hates, those crazy word Captchas that require you to enter the text seen in a distorted image. Sometimes the text is easy to read and you get it first try, other times it takes several frustrating attempts to finally solve what the text says and to prove you're a human.
Minteye has developed a new form of the Captcha that could very well catch on and become the new frustrating method of proving you are a human. Their new Captcha features a distorted or scrambled image that you have to fix by moving a slider at the bottom. If you move the slider to the correct place, congrats, you're a human!
The issue is whether or not this is easier for a spambot to solve. One of the original inventors of the Captcha thinks the new process might not work as well: he says software written to detect straight lines "would probably have a pretty good chance at defeating this." Then again, there is no perfectly secure Captcha.
Is this something you would prefer to the current Captchas?
You can now play your favorite bird-flinging game on Facebook. Rovio has launched Angry Birds Star Wars on the Facebook App Platform today, with a few minor modifications from the version available across Windows 8, PC, Mac, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, Android, and iOS. The changes relate to social integration and power ups.
The Facebook version of Angry Birds Star Wars pits player against player as Facebook friends can compete directly against each other. The game play is generally untouched, except for the changes needed for the social integration as described above. Even cooler, players can compete in weekly tournaments.
Rovio is also producing five new levels every week, meaning that players can never truly beat the game. However, this probably isn't a bad thing, as there isn't a reason to "beat" Angry Birds, per say. New power-ups for the Facebook version are included and you can check them out on the game.
Yup, you will soon have to confirm your clicks on ads displayed in apps, if you don't already. Google has updated the way the ads work, so now if you click near the border of the ad, it will ask you to click again to confirm. This reduces false clickthroughs, reducing the amount advertisers have to pay.
Another benefit of removing false clicks is that the mobile ads see higher conversion rates, which make the ad pay-off for the advertiser more. This means Google can then charge more for the ad, which offsets the decline in revenue by charging for fewer clicks. The new confirmation will be in all in-app image banner ads.
"This is only the beginning. As devices continue to converge there will be new challenges in the fight against what many have called the 'fat finger' problem. But implementing confirmed clicks is an important step that we think will benefit users, advertisers, publishers, and the mobile ecosystem overall, and we'll continue to look for ways to improve mobile ads for everyone."
Teenage boys across the world have just let out a collective sigh after Mountain View-based search giant Google updated their image search algorithm which now makes it much harder to find pornographic images through Google.
Even with SafeSearch disabled, the new algorithm puts up a brick wall, and Google have said that they are not censoring any adult content, but there should be some people that would disagree with that right now.
A Google spokesperson has said that they are just trying to show the explicit images to those who are intentionally searching for them instead of a minor stumbling across something they shouldn't. The algorithms Google are using try to work out which images are best to display for the search query a user enters, so that if someone is on the hunt for adult images, they might have to be more specific with their search.
So you should be a bit safer typing "pussy cats" into Google, now. Meow.
Google is an ISP, at least in Kansas City, where it is providing stupid-fast fiber internet for only $70 a month, or free for the slower option. Apparently, at least according to Eric Schmidt, this isn't just publicity stunt of experiment by Google and they are actually planning on expanding the service locations.
While he doesn't offer up a specific time frame, or location for expansion, he does say they are "trying to decide now." I know I would love for 1Gbps upload and download to come to my location, but I don't live in a major city, so I'm just dreaming for now. However, there are plenty of large cities in which Google Fiber would be perfect.
We'll of course keep you up-to-date with the latest Google Fiber news, including any new expansions or plans for expansion.
FreedomPop made waves by producing a case that provided an allotment of free 4G data to iPhone and iPod Touch users, with the option to purchase greater amounts of data. The case, a rather cheap device, used the Clearwire 4G network to provide the internet. Now, FreedomPop is doing it again, this time with home internet.
The company has just announced pre-orders for its new device called the FreedomPop Hub Burst, a modem that uses the same 4G network to provide internet for your home. The modem could ship as early as next month and will come with 1GB of free 4G data per month, again utilizing the Clearwire WiMax 4G network.
For $10 a month, users can get 10GB of data, or a pay-as-you-go option that works out ot be $5 per GB. Here, the choice is clear that anyone using more than 3GB of data should opt for the $10 plan. Since it relies on a wireless connection, the ping may not be as great as your DSL or cable connection, but it sure is a heck of a lot cheaper.
Well, the title is a bit misleading. At least in California, people were always required to pay sales tax on the items purchased online. However, it wasn't until September of this year that Amazon was actually required to collect the sales tax and provide it to the government. After all, who would pay the tax otherwise?
Amazon will start collecting the sales tax by this time next year, meaning that Massachusetts shoppers can enjoy the sorta-tax-free shopping for another 11 months or so. Starting November 1, 2013, Amazon will start imposing a sales tax on purchases made by Massachusetts shoppers.
Over sites, such as Overstock.com, are not required to collect sales tax under this agreement, though it's only time before the state decides to try and squeeze more money out of the other sites. CNet reports that "Residents of New Jersey and Virginia will have to start paying up next year. Buyers from Tennessee, Indiana, Nevada, and South Carolina will also have to pony up sales tax sometime in the next few years."
Bing looks to compete with Google's Knowledge Graph, adds people and places to Bing Snapshot sidebar
Google has apparently got something good with its Knowledge Graph product as Bing has decided to try and do something similar. Today, Microsoft has announced that Bing's snapshot sidebar will now show results for famous people and places, much in the same way that Google's Knowledge Graph does. Take a look:
Yes, we're sure that that is Bing in the image. The sidebar aims to fill the need for quick information and helps keep users on Bing's site for longer, an important aspect for advertising revenue. Which of the two services is better? I guess we'll just have to wait for Microsoft to run another one of its blind taste-tests!
Twitter has said that the new profile design, the one that features an avatar and header photo, will be rolled out to everyone by December 12. As of right now, only part of the Twitter community has the profile layout. Twitter released a video back in November that detailed the new profile layout:
The profile change really changes the profile from a stream of text into something a bit more personal and "you." It sorts media that has been shared, tweets, and plenty more, though the change is still incremental as opposed to revolutionary. Are you happy to be getting the new profile design?
Google experienced a bit of downtime across a few of its services today, a rare occurrence for the web giant. From about 9:30a.m. to 11:30a.m., Google's Mail service experienced a "Service disruption" meaning that some were able to access the service and some couldn't. I happened to be in the group that didn't experience any issues.
Alongside the Gmail outage, Google Drive experienced a very brief piece of downtime from 9:42 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. About an hour after Gmail was fixed up, Google's Admin control panel / API experienced an outage from 12:50 p.m. to 2:34 p.m. The control panel is that of the Google Apps and is mostly used by businesses.
Some reported that Google Chrome crashed while this outage was affecting Google's services. People who experienced the crash said that they were signed into Google Chrome. It's not clear how the two are related, but usually programs are designed to not fail if another component does. Clearly, this isn't the case with Chrome.
Thanks to a bit of collaboration between Google, NASA, and NOAA, everyone can now browse around the Earth at night using Google Maps. All of the typical controls work just like they do in Google Maps and the image is built on top of Google Maps. If you zoom in too far, you'll see the normal Google Maps.
The image is from the same angle as NASA's Blue Marble photo and is composed of imagery taken over nine days in April 2012 and 13 additional days in October 2012. According to NASA, "It took 312 orbits to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth's land surface and islands."
It doesn't look like an official Maps feature, and Google hasn't indicated any plans to make it such. If you want to check out the awesome map, or maybe what your city looks like at night from above, you can head over to Google's website and scroll around.
After another dismal turnout for a Facebook vote, the changes that eliminate the possibility of of a user vote will go into effect. Facebook needed to reach some 300 million votes cast to make the vote a binding one, and only 668,872 users on the social network cast a vote. 79,731 were for the changes, 589,141 were against.
The vote never really stood a chance at getting the 300 million votes needed and the changes aren't really all that significant. It appears that most users either didn't care about the vote or didn't know about it, despite Facebook making efforts to publicize the vote on the proposed changes.
Will you stop using Facebook because you aren't allowed to vote anymore? Probably not. Maybe, if you were one of the 589,141 users who voted against it, you might, but otherwise, it seems as though it will be business as usual