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.
YouTube has just announced the launch of a new audio library that will allow content creators to use more than 150 royalty-free instrumental tracks as the background music to their videos. This new library is available in the video manager and allows users to select background music based on mood, genre, instrument, and duration.
The tracks are downloadable at a quality of 320kbps in MP3 format so that they can then be added to your video in post processing. Additionally, the tracks can be used for any creative purpose you desire as they are 100 percent royalty-free and not limited to use on YouTube.
"We searched far and wide for musicians to create tracks for us and ended up finding co-conspirators in multiple places: an acquaintance down in L.A., music houses across the country and a well-known music producer in Brooklyn," YouTube wrote on its official blog. "And it turns out the latter produced albums for Phish and Sean Lennon."
Over the past few years, comments on YouTube have degraded into something akin to a cesspool. Derogatory statements, racism, and trolls have grown to dominate the comments of even the best quality videos. YouTube has teamed up with parent company Google to rollout a completely new commenting system that is said to take care of these issues.
The new system is deeply integrated with Google+ and will allow comments to be sorted based on relevance instead of the order in which they were posted. Positively rated comments will quickly move to the top of the comment list, and individual comments can be threaded themselves. Additionally, if you share your video on Google+, comments from the YouTube page will appear in the Google+ comments.
For even more commenting control, content creators can choose to share their comments with the public or specific circles from their Google+ account. This allows for private conversations within video comments as well. The new system will also allow content creators to build user whitelists while at the same blacklisting words and phrases they do not wish to appear in the comments. For the full rundown of features, check out the source below.
Yesterday was not a good day for Google's usually reliable Gmail service. Google says that due to a dual network failure, some users experienced partial service interruptions, slow performance, or total outages for up to 11 hours.
The company says that almost one-third of all emails routed through it servers were affected and that about 1.5 percent of all emails sent or received through the service were delayed by as much as two hours. Google has apologized via an official statement, and says that it will be implementing steps over the next few weeks to make sure these issues do not happen again.
Google plans to beef up its network and its backup capacity for Gmail, and says that it will make email delivery more resilient even in the event of a dual network failure. For many of us who use Gmail as our exclusive email provider, yesterday's issues were a little more serious. However, I am sure that the service will not see a loss of users over the recent issues. Google's complete statement can be found after the jump.
Google has just announced the launch of a new project it calls Constitute, a website that organizes all of the world's constitutions in one easily searchable and user-friendly interface. The website allows users to filter charters by the date that they were created and indexes both basic details and policies.
This new service offered by Google is a very important service just for the fact that it makes every constitution in the world easily readable, something that many countries make very hard to find. I am sure that there are more than a few political science majors out there who are viewing this new website as a true godsend and thanking Google for making their research much easier.
Throughout the day, Gmail users have been experiencing spotty performance issues as well as downtime when trying to access their email. Sluggish load times and delayed receipt of emails are the major nuisances, while some users, including myself, were unable to access the service altogether several times throughout the day.
Google has confirmed that as many as 50 percent of users may have been affected by the performance issues and service disruptions, which appeared to start around 2:05PM Eastern Time. Google says that they are working diligently to return things to normal and as of this posting, all of my issues seem to have been resolved.
Netflix's Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos has some harsh words about Canada's big ISPs, where he said that: "it's almost a human rights violation what they're charging for internet access in Canada."
Sarandos' harsh words were said during the Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment conference in Los Angeles Wednesday. Sarandos was referring to the low broadband caps in Canadian ISPs like Bell and Shaw, which force their customers to pay more if they exceed their 15GB monthly cap. Netflix's CEO, Reed Hastings, has called caps and overage feeds like the aforementioned ones above are "grossly overpriced."
Sarandos was asked if business for Netflix would grow in Canada if consumers' Internet caps were increased, where he said: "The problem in Canada is... they have almost third-world access to the internet."
Today, Google unveiled a new logo and a completely redesigned navigation bar that effectively removes the black bar that resides at the top of the screen when visiting any of Google's online services. The new logo is much flatter and removes the glossy embossing that it featured for so long. Additionally, the font is a little bit different and the colors are a little more subdued.
The other major change is the removal of the black navigation bar we first hated but quickly grew to love. It has been replaced by an icon that opens up to reveal a Chrome Launcher-style window that lets you choose which service you would like to navigate to. I don't know how I feel about this yet as it seems to add an additional click into my workflow. I'm sure that as time progresses I will learn to love it just like I did the black bar.
The new logo and navigation bar will roll out to all users in the coming weeks and will be featured on mobile devices as well. Google says that these changes have been made to help streamline user workflow and to bring the company's UI up to date with current trends.
Yahoo is continuing its image revamp by continually rolling out new products and redesigning existing ones that have become stale. Today, Yahoo released an update to its My Yahoo service that completely refreshes the personalized homepage.
I understand that in today's era of multiple tabs, smartphones, and tablets, the idea of an all-in-one home page seems kind of pointless to some, but there was a time that the homepage ruled supreme. Services like Yahoo, AOL, MSN, and even iGoogle popped up to fill this niche, but they almost all slipped into a stagnant state as tabbed browsing and mobile computing took over.
Yahoo is hoping that its completely redesigned My Yahoo service will once again resurrect the now all but defunct all-in-one home page. With iGoogle nearing its end of life, this does appear to be a smart move on Yahoo's part as Google refugees can equate to big money. Just ask the little-known RSS service Feedly about its increase in traffic since Google Reader shutdown.
Yahoo's newly refreshed My Yahoo allows users to custom tailor their homepage with widgets to access their various email accounts, calendars, stocks, and even sports scoreboards. Weather, Flickr, and and other Yahoo-based content is also available to put into your homepage and the company says that content from around the web can be added. Head over to the source below to check out a new animated GIF from Yahoo that shows how things might work.
We've seen Yahoo recently change its logo and now it is Microsoft's turn, the Redmond-based giant has just unveiled a redesigned Bing logo. The new Bing logo throws its older curly blue logo for a more modern, yellow look.
Microsoft's Lawrence Ripsher, a design lead for Bing's User Experiences, said during an interview with The Verge: "The logo, obviously, is a big deal for us, a lot more angular and fresh and sharper than we've used in the past. Bing has typically been kind of curly, softer, so this fits much more with the modern kind of approach we've taken on some of the other logos."
Google acquired Snapseed close to a year ago, and it looks like the Mountain View-based giant is finally using its acquisition by adding some photo editing tools based off of Snapseed's technology.
You can use these photo editing tools by looking at one of your photos in a lightbox in Google+ and clicking the new "Edit" button above the image which will then display a sidebar with a bunch of options. These tools give you the ability to adjust, crop, rotate, add borders, selectively adjust, tilt-shift, apply several filters and more.
Once you've finished editing your photo, you can either save it or replace the original, if you've made a mistake, you can revert the changes and go back to the original photo. The new Snapseed-like tools should have rolled out to most Google+ users, but if you can't see them yet, give it another couple of days.
Google did something great for the United States when they decided to make the Moto X smartphone on US soil, but now anyone in the world can visit the factory that Google's latest smartphone is made in.
The Mountain View-based everything giant opened the doors to its Moto X factory in Fort Worth, Texas, unveiling a bunch of 360-degree panoramic images of the Flextronics factory that pumps out over 100,000 Moto X smartphones each and every week. Sensitive information is of course blurred out, but you can still check out the factory which looks quite cool.
The images coming in from Google's Trekker backpack loan program are simply breathtaking. Adventurers, historians, and people from all over the world are taking advantage of the company's generosity and are capturing Street View-like images of some of the most spectacular and amazing places on earth.
Today, Google added images from the 800-year-old Wieliczka Salt Mine in Wieliczka, Poland, to the company's Street View product in Google Maps. The imagery is part of the company's UNESCO World Heritage series and takes us inside the 187 mile long, 1,000 foot deep salt mine. The imagery that has been posted includes three hand carved full-size chapels and a massive cathedral that is carved from the natural gray salt deposits.
Today, Microsoft announced on its Bing Blogs page that it has added an additional five million square miles of satellite imagery to its Bing Maps service. The update amounts to 316TB of aerial imagery from around the world being added to the service. In the image below, each yellow dot represents the new imagery that was added.
This is the first major update to Bing's imagery since June 12 of this year when the company added 270TB worth of high resolution satellite imagery of tourist location, including Rome, Milan, Stravanger, and Kaanapali. Today's update marks the largest addition to the search engine's map service since it was first launched. Head over to Bing.com and check out some of the new imagery, and if you spot something cool, be sure to post a link to it in the comments.
In between all of the IFA 2013 news, Yahoo has chosen to unveil its new logo. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has tried to provide some fresh visual interest in the Yahoo brand, so let's hope that the new logo helps.
As you can see, it retains its color, in a way, as well as keeping the exclamation point. The video above shows the work that went into the new logo, but I don't know if I'm convinced so far. Sure, a logo doesn't make a company, but it goes a long way for first impressions. What are your thoughts on Yahoo's new logo? Let us know in the comments.