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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.
Today Google announced that it has updated its Slides service with two new features that help improve the presentation experience. For those who are not familiar with Google Slides, the service is part of Google Drive and is the company's answer to a free PowerPoint-like tool for building presentations.
The update adds new editable master slides which allow the user to change the overall theme of their presentation by selecting "Edit Master from the slide menu. This lets you do things such as setting all of your first level bullets to bold, or change the font of your header. The program now defaults to widescreen now as well which makes building a presentation on a widescreen monitor much easier.
Recently Slashdot announced the websites third redesign in its thirteen year lifespan, and TweakTown was invited over to take a look at the new diggs. This morning I was given a personal walkthrough with Slashdot's Senior Editor, Tim Lord, who emphasized that Slashdot's goal with the redesign is to help better deliver content to its readers across all devices.
The first thing that really caught my eye is the website's new modern theme. The old sites rounded corners and "Web 2.0" gradients are no more, and the new layout is very appealing to the eye. Lord told me that they really focused hard on simplifying the overall layout, and wanted to make things easy to navigate. The removal of the sites old left-hand navigation bar has greatly cleaned up the overall appearance as well.
Lord said that while Slashdot has always been more heavily weighted towards text, the new layout allows Slashdot to display a single eye catching image atop some of the frontpage post. While some users prefer an image along with their teaser, so do not, and Slashdot has kept those users in mind. A new widget has been placed at the top of the news feed that allows users to switch between three viewing modes. The Standard View will appear as default and will display a single image along with the content teaser. Additionally users can select Headline and Classic views that will set the site to display just the post headlines or the classic view which displays the full post.
Over the last year, Yahoo's Marissa Meyer has been working hard at revitalizing the stale company with new looks, new services, and changing the companys image to something more modern and hip. Today the company has unveiled a complete redesign for its Mail service that brings forth a more refined and elegant email experience.
The new Yahoo Mail is being rolled out today across all platforms and features a new compose screen as well as a new Flickr-generated theme that gives the service a transparent UI. Users now also have a data cap of 1TB, which is much larger than Gmail, but still not unlimited like previously given. Yahoo does say that 1TB of email storage is enough room for 6,000 years of email though.
Yahoo chose to roll out the new design today, on what is the service's 16th birthday, and personally I love the look and feel of the new Yahoo Mail. As an avid Gmail user I really hope that Google takes a long and hard look at this new UI from Yahoo and implements some changes of its own to Gmail. What do you think about the new layout? Are you a fan of Gmail or Yahoo? Let me know in the comments.
The NASA website is currently down due to the US government shutdown dilemma, but The Pirate Party of Russia has stepped up, offering its dedicated servers to the US space agency to host its website.
NASA was meant to celebrate its 55th birthday last week, but couldn't because of the government shutdown stopping its operations. A total of 18,000 employees have been affected, with future missions now at risk. The Pirate Party said in a statement: "We would like to offer you bulletproof collocation or dedicated servers on our hosting platform till the end of the crisis."
The statement also said: "We stand for Internet privacy, and as the result you would not have to worry about programs such as PRISM and other illegal activities of secret services of different countries. Your traffic, your activity and the activity of your users will be in safety." Now, if you're like me and didn't hear about the Pirate Party of Russia until today, they were founded in 2009 and are quite active in Russia as a public movement.
Earlier today, the FBI announced that it had seized Silk Road, an underground drug marketplace located on the darkweb. Along with the seizure came the arrest of the website's founder, Ross Ulbricht. Silk Road was only accessible through the TOR network, and was responsible for the sale of billions of dollars of drugs.
Anyone could logon, and purchase a bag of weed, a few ecstasy pills, or even much harder drugs like heroin and crystal meth. Ulbricht is being charged with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, and money laundering, and could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. The bust came after FBI agents and law enforcement officers made more than 100 purchases through the "hidden" site, many of which were said to contain very high purity drugs.
The FBI report says that Silk Road did more than $1.2 billion in illegal drug transactions since 2011 which netted Ulbricht about $80 million in commissions from the sale. The website had more than 957,079 registered users and conducted more than 1.2 million transactions. Between 2011 and 2013.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a major fan of all things outdoors. From kayaking to camping, I stay pretty active in nature, and this week's Google doodle really makes me smile. Google decided to commemorate Yosemite National Park, one of our nation's national treasures, on its 123rd anniversary.
Unfortunately, if you are planning a visit to the park, you will find it closed upon arrival because as of last night the park was shut down along with a fair portion of the US Government. While I would imagine that the park rangers are sticking around to prevent looting and damage, all of the national parks ran by the federal government have been closed until Congress sorts a budget out.
Up until just recently, Netflix required ISPs to join its Open Connect Content Delivery Network if they wanted to offer their customers "Super HD" and 3D video streams, but not anymore!
Netflix has announced back in January that it would begin offering Super HD and 3D streams, but if customers wanted to access it, it would only be if their ISP used Netflix's CDN. The content streaming giant is now untethering the Super HD option from its CDN, opening it up to all ISPs. Netflix's Joris Evers says: "Based on the performance data we've seen, and in response to member requests, we are now expanding availability to give all our members the ability to enjoy Netflix in the best possible quality."
Google's deprecated messaging service, Talk, appears to be experiencing some major issues as of late. The service has been erroneously sending messages to the wrong recipient, and many times to Talk users who are not on your contact list. The cause of the issue is not very clear at the moment, but thankfully there is a fix that is easily deployable.
Anyone using Google Talk can bypass these errors by simply downloading and installing Google Hangouts, the messaging service that has replaced Google Talk for several months now. When Google first began receiving reports about the error, it said that it immediately dispatched a team to investigate and as of this writing, things appear to be back to normal. I suggest installing Hangouts anyway. I have used the service for months and like it much better than the antiquated feeling Talk messenger.