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
YouTube has a new competitor, with the government of Iran launching their Mehr.ir website, a user-generated video content site just like Google's mammoth YouTube.
Mehr.ir has a goal of spreading the influence of Islamic and Iranian culture throughout the Persian-speaking world. The Iranian government, until now, has spent years blocking most of their population from YouTube videos - so Mehr.ir is a step in a new direction.
Iran have expressed intent to create a closed-off Internet network, which would see international access severed - including huge services like Gmail and Google search. Iran hopes that the Mehr network will contain no anti-Islamic videos, such as the anti-Mohammed video that sparked conflict from the American filmmaker a couple of months ago.
For those who would be interested in this news, or know about NZBMatrix itself, I'm sure you've already found out - but for those who don't know, NZBMatrix has been shut down.
The site were slapped with a "very large takedown request" from a company called Wiggin LLC who represent some of the industries biggest companies: Federation Against Copyright Theft Limited ("FACT"), Paramount Home Entertainment International Limited; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Limited; The Walt Disney Company Limited; Twentieth Century Fox Film Company Limited; Universal Pictures (UK) Limited; Warner Bros. Entertainment UK Limited.
This will pain hundreds of thousands if not more all around the world, Sickbeard users, SABnzbd users, NAS users and oh-so-many more. With Newbin being taken down recently, reappearing and disappearing again, it's not good for Usenet users.
Twitter is updating the way their t.co link shortener works and the end result is that users who share a link in a Tweet will have 2 fewer available characters for the rest of the message. The shortened links will now be 2 characters longer, meaning http links will now take up 22 characters and https URLs will gobble up 23 characters.
Twitter hasn't specified why they are making this change, but they did say "we made this change for a variety of reasons." I would guess that so many links are being shared on Twitter that they were running out of URLs to use. It's possible that there are further reasons behind the change, but those are not immediately clear.
The official change for this isn't until February 20, 2013, though Twitter alerted third-party developers yesterday so that they could ready their applications, if need be.
Everyone's getting excited about the upcoming cloud storage locker known as Mega. The new service by Kim Dotcom, formerly the owner of MegaUpload, will be launched on January 19, which will mark the one year anniversary of the police raid upon his New Zealand mansion.
The first screen shot, seen above, shows that the new cloud locker will use 2048-bit RSA encryption for files uploaded to the service. Mega will be encrypting every uploaded file so as to make sure that the site is squarely within the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions.
The file manager, seen above, features everything you would expect, with folders being supported. It shows modification date and time, file/folder name, size, and file type. The bottom of the file manager features the upload portion, which contains information on upload speed and other details.
Will you be signing up for Mega when it launches in January?
Oh how I'd love to go back in time and have Google and Wikipedia available when I was in school - when I reached high school we were only just receiving proper PCs and basic access to the Internet through dual ISDN connections - kids of today are so spoilt.
Well, American kids use modern tools to help write assignments and papers, with the Pew Internet and American Life Project conducing a survey of over 2400 middle school and high school teachers that shows 94% of teachers saying their students were "very likely" to use Google for research.
Wikipedia comes in with 75% of students using the great research tool. Just 18% of teachers said their students were to use textbooks, and just 12% said their students were very likely to use other kinds of printed books.
YouTube have decided to put their best dress on going into the holidays, offering up new features that are designed to make it easier for users to subscribe and watch channels through the site. YouTube have pushed out a new Guide feature, which reaches out to multiple devies. The site have also unveiled a new look for the site, which I'm personally not fond of.
The video sharing site have also made it easier for people to subscribe and use channel subscriptions by adding the Guide to the homepage, something that was rolled out five years ago now - but now in a better position to users. When adding subscriptions to your Guide, it will display videos related to things you've seen before. The Guide will pass through all of your YouTube-enabled devices, be it the iPhone, iPad, PlayStation 3, Google TV and Android-based devices.
Each month YouTube offer up 4 billion hours of videos - an astounding number. Within the last twelve months, the number of users subscribing to channels has doubled, with the company estimating that an additional 30% rise is to be expected. This is why YouTube are concentrating more on subscribers, as the expansion has been huge.
It's a small change, but Facebook has decided to ditch the word "Subscribe" in favor of "Follow" for all profile pages. This marks a change that brings it in line with the term that Twitter uses to describe the action of electing to receive a profile's public updates.
Subscribe is a bit unclear as to what it does, though once you know what it does, it becomes perfectly clear and acceptable. Clearly, though, not enough people knew what it meant, and this has prompted Facebook to make this change. The function of the button is remaining exactly the same as before.
Starting today we are updating the term "Subscribe" to become "Follow" across the site as we found it is a term that resonates better with people on the service. Nothing is changing about how the feature works.
Did you know what the Subscribe button was used for? Is it a feature that you even knew existed on Facebook? Let us know!
Hackers have ravaged Tumblr with a worm that is going around posting a spammy message. It's important to note that no accounts have been compromised by any hack, just that Tumblr has a flaw in it that allowed this worm to run around posting spammy messages.
The GNAA has taken responsibility for the worm and spam message that has been showing up all over Tumblr. The GNAA is an online trolling group who like to "crapflood" blogs and mess with media organizations for entertainment. The GNAA spokesperson spoke with Gawker and explained that they had warned Tumblr of the bug weeks ago.
"We contacted Tumblr about this weeks ago and nothing came of it. This was a serious issue that needed to be fixed. Someone would have done a lot worse than just posting a message over and over if they didn't fix it right away..."
Tumblr fixed the issue earlier this morning. Were you affected? Let us know!
I'm sure nearly all of our readers will remember when BPI earned a court order in England which forced ISPs to block The Pirate Bay. Well, that same court order is now being used to block The Promo Bay, a site ran by the same people as The Pirate Bay but operated on completely different servers and completely within the law.
That's right, the BPI, someone who would have an interest in preventing independent artists from making in the world is using a court order to block a site that helps promote independent artists. The Promo Bay is a legal promotional platform that seeks to help independent artists reach notoriety.
Virgin Media, BE broadband and BT and currently blocking the perfectly legal site. BT and Virgin Media say that the domain promobay.org is on the list of sites to be blocked under the court order. Virgin Media's spokesperson: "Promobay.org is included on the list of URLs Virgin Media is required to block under UK law following the ruling of the High Court against the Pirate Bay."
2012 was quite the year for those hungry for knowledge to learn about Apple's iPhone 5 as well as information regarding this year's elections in the United States as Yahoo has revealed its top 10 searches of the year. The election took the first spot in their list, while the iPhone 5 came in second place, which is one spot down from the iPhone's previous #1 spot on Yahoo's 2011 popular searches list.
Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton and Kate Middleton rounded up the top 5 popular searches of 2012, which just goes to show no matter how hard people search for worthwhile content, there's going to be a swarm of folks searching for the latest celebrity gossip.
The operator of the .com registry, Verisign, has just signed a new contract with the U.S. Commerce Department. The new contract has terms that stipulate that the company can not raise fees for .com registration unless the Commerce Department approves of them. The latter say they plan to only approve increases for "extraordinary expenses related to security or stability threats."
The price increases will be prevented until 2018. Verisign has raised prices, sometimes by as much as 7 percent, four out of the past six years. The current price is at $7.85 per year and is likely to remain at or close to that amount. Ironically, the similar .net TLD is only $5.86 to register, even though they require the same technology to operate.
The key difference is that .net is a far less popular TLD than .com. This is strictly a case of supply and demand as opposed to any sort of operational cost difference. "This is an important event that provides certainty and sets a clear direction for the company," Jim Bidzos, Verisign's CEO, said in a prepared statement.
Google has known about medicine since 2010, but Google's Knowledge Graph has just learned about the various drugs available in a bit more detail. Previously when a drug was searched for, Google would display a short paragraph and links to lists of the various side effects and other information.
Now, Google is utilizing its Knowledge Graph product to display more information about drugs directly on the search page. In collaboration with the US FDA, National Library of Medicine, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and others, Google's Knowledge Graph will now display side effects, pregnancy risk, drug class, and related medications.
Of course, the information still comes with links to in-depth readings about the drugs. The Knowledge Graph launched back in May 2012 and has since learned many new facts and has become better at answering questions. It's one of Google's ways of making search and finding answers easier for the common user.
Microsoft is continuing to spend money on Bing to try and take away some of Google's market share. Today, they have announced that Bing Maps has been updated with 121 terabytes of new satellite and Global Ortho imagery. 121 terabytes is quite the amount of data, so just how much land does that cover?
Microsoft says that the new imagery covers about 15 million square kilometers of land, with most of the update being focused on parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. Microsoft has also updated 800,000 square kilometers of Global Ortho image data, which now totals 10,777,300 square kilometers.
The entire United States, save for restricted zones, and 83 percent of Europe are covered with this imagery that is captured by pilots. Once all of the Global Ortho data is collected, Microsoft is planning on going back and updating roughly 50 percent of the original coverage, mainly in popular areas.
A feature that Facebook had been testing on both iOS and Android devices is now becoming available to everyone. The feature, also known as Photo Sync, uploads all of the pictures a device takes to a private photo album on Facebook in the background. Users can then go through and make public those photos they want to share.
This new feature has several implications. First of all, it marks Facebook's entrance into the cloud storage market as they are essentially storing photos for users and they aren't requiring them to be made public. Second, this new feature could increase the numbers of photos shared on Facebook, an important thing for the company.
More photos shared will result in people staying on the site longer, increasing the amount of ads that can be served, which, in turn, increases revenue. It will also take away some of the frustration users experience as they will no longer have to wait for photos to upload. You can find out more information about the feature from Facebook.
Microsoft has been directing the majority of its marketing campaigns lately directly at Google with its recent campaign pitting Bing directly against Google in blind tests comparing the two services. This week, the company has launched another campaign, this time, going against Google's Shopping search results.
According to Microsoft's new "Scroogled" campaign, it's suggesting Google users are getting the short end of the stick when they search in Google's Shopping section as those results are paid for and not based on relevance of what users are searching for.
Early adopters of ultra high-end tech usually find themselves with their shiny new toy, such as a super high-res 4K TV, and nothing to play on it. Well, Sony are looking after their customers who have bought their 84-inch Bravia 84X900 4K TV.
After spending $25,000 - you'd kind of hope so. But, Sony have come out as the good guys here and announced that they're bundling a 4K Ultra HD Video Player with their $25k-priced 4K Ultra HD TV. The player includes 10 preloaded movies: The Amazing Spiderman, Total Recall, Bad Teacher, Salt, The Other Guys, Battle Los Angeles, The Karate Kid, That's My Boy, Taxi Driver, and The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Sony haven't stopped there either, where they'll also offer some extra 4K content which is set to include "shorts from cool contributors like Red Bull Media House and others". Sony plan to unveil some new solutions at CES in January, so keep your eyes peeled and we'll be covering this early next year in person.
It seems as though Hurricane Sandy might have actually done something useful, at least is your a pirate. The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) has said that the new Copyright Alert System has been delayed for a third time, with this latest delay being blamed on Hurricane Sandy.
"Due to unexpected factors largely stemming from Hurricane Sandy which have seriously affected our final testing schedules," wrote CCI's executive director Jill Lesser in a blog post, "CCI anticipates that the participating ISPs will begin sending alerts under the Copyright Alert System in the early part of 2013, rather than by the end of the year."
The new six strikes agreement will see ISPs voluntarily sending out informative notices to users that pirating files is illegal. The notices are designed to "educate consumers about copyright and peer-to-peer networks, encourage the use of legal alternatives [and] safeguard customer privacy."
The first two will simply be a notification, while the next two will use a pop-up window, or similar, as a read receipt so that they can be sure the user saw the message. The final two warnings can see a user's internet speed being slowed or terminated all together, though termination is not mandatory.
If you haven't enjoyed the imposed 25MB limit on Gmail attachments, this news should put a smile on your cloud dial. Google are ushering in a new Drive integration feature that will allow users to bake in files that you have in your Drive account.
These files can be up to 10GB in size - and instead of sending them to the user, it provides a link to your file in your Drive account. This feature hasn't rolled out to everyone just yet, but if you're lucky enough to receive the new composer tool, you'll see the Drive logo in the bottom toolbar and away you go - the sky is the limit (get it?!).
Just click the icon, choose your file and if your recipient doesn't have access, Google will prompt you to provide them with permission by the end of the e-mail. Since the file is already in the cloud, any changes made to the file after the message is sent will be instantly visible to the user, a handy additional feature.
Twitter CEO to users: "By the end of the year you'll be able to download the archive history of your entire tweets"
Most Twitter users know that they can't download all of their old tweets, nor can they readily access them if they need to. CEO Dick Costolo has already promised to provide users a way to download a copy of all of those tweets so that they could be archived, searched, or turned into a collage, if that's your thing.
Well, he has once again promised that feature, but this time he has put a date on it. In a talk at the University of Michigan, his alma mater for those who care, he doubled down on the feature and told the audience that the engineers may be mad at him, but they should have the ability to download an archive copy by the end of the year.
Here's a fun new website to mess around with: Google Type. Google Type uses Google's image search engine to create a custom "font" from images found around the web. It manages this feat by using a quirk in Google's image search. If you type in just a letter into Google Images, it will return a bunch of pictures that are that letter.
For instance, above I used Google Type to make TweakTown out of letters found around the internet. While you can't really use this as a font, it could just become the next tool for making ransom letters. No longer will I have to scrounge around newspapers and magazines for letters to cut out and glue into a message. After all, this is becoming increasingly difficult as papers go out of business.
Google Type comes from a group called the Internet Club, which is composed of web developers from Brussels, Belgium. They go by the tagline "Because Internet gave us so much we decided to give back." It's good to see them doing something for the benefit of the web--well, sort of--rather than the detriment.
Enjoy the tool for what it's worth.