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The third season of House of Cards floated up onto Netflix yesterday, but it was quickly pulled by the streaming giant, put back in its slumber until its February 27 release date.
Netflix has said that a "technical glitch" saw House of Cards' third season arrive early, but reiterated that the entire 13 episode run will be launched on February 27. The official House of Cards Twitter account tweeted: "This is Washington. There's always a leak. All 13 episodes will launch February 27". If I had to make a guess, I'd say this was elaborate marketing to remind us that the third season of House of Cards is coming, and it's coming very soon. Knock on wood.
Major advertisers such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon have secretly entered negotiations to pay Adblock Plus to stop blocking ads from their advertising networks. Eyeo, which makes Adblock Plus, said the free extension has more than 50 million monthly active users and has been downloaded more than 300 million times.
Non-intrusive advertisements could be added to an Adblock whitelist so they will not be blocked - which is how Eyeo makes money - and larger advertisers will certainly have to pay.
"Microsoft will always give consumers choice when it comes to advertisements," according to a statement Microsoft issued to the Financial Times. "We are committed to working with partners who share our vision for relevant, impactful brand interaction and respect the integrity of consumer choice."
Ye olde trusty wooden pirateship has sailed back! The Pirate Bay, hailed as "The galaxy's most resilient BitTorrent site", is now back online at thepiratebay.se. This long hiatus has come to an end after a Swedish police raids shuttered the site, and employee infighting led to several of the original cast and crew heading for bluer waters.
The latest Pirate Bay saga began when Swedish police raided the servers, which were housed in a converted nuclear shelter in Nacka, Sweden. The Pirate Bay was taken offline and its web ratings plunged from being the 88th largest website in the world to 176. In recent weeks a timer appeared that counted down to the time that the site came online, letting the world at large know that The Pirate Bay may have been down, but it certainly was not out.
The familiar pirate ship logo can still be found throughout the site, but upon resurfacing The Pirate Bay is sporting a new homepage logo with what appears to be a Phoenix, which is unsurprising since The Pirate Bay has once again sprung from the ashes.
Islamic extremist groups still enjoy using the Internet and social media to spread propaganda and recruit, but are becoming more skilled in flying under the radar. Intelligence experts are collecting information from previous reckless Internet posts, and that is something the terrorists want to avoid in the future.
To help share propaganda, the groups are largely turning to the Dark Web - and using Skype, WhatsApp, and software that isn't as open. ISIS went a step further by issuing guidelines to its members posting on social media, such as blurring out faces, ensuring geographic tagging is disabled, and being careful what information they are providing on current operations.
"We realize that the people we are interested in are increasingly specialized in computing," said Philippe Chadrys, the head investigator of France's judicial police responsible for fighting terrorism, in a statement to the AFP. "They master encryption software and methods to better erase data. That makes our probes much more complicated."
As of today, YouTube will now default to HTML5 video on your web browser when available - if not, Flash will still be used. This is said to promote faster video loading, better compression and smoother frame rates.
Flash was was seen on almost every major website, providing a once-new aged feel and expansive additions to various companies who loved to auto-play music, display animations and provide interactive experiences. Now these features are long gone, along with Flash and their default integration with the massive online streaming service, YouTube.
Explained as a four-year development cycle, HTML5 will enable YouTube videos to load "15 to 80 percent" faster due to this process including updates for MediaSource extensions, enabling ABR and the potential for time-shifted live video broadcasts. This HTML5 inclusion supports Ultra HD and 60 frames per second streaming, hinging on Google's open-source VP9 codec - often known as WebM. WebM is said to continue the video quality trend of H.264, but will reduce bandwidth requirements by 35 percent as explained by Gizmodo.
The FCC is attempting to expand the definition of broadband internet, but the usual suspects are lining up to oppose the move. The FCC wants broadband to be defined as 25Mbps down, and 3Mbps up, to match the reality of current generation internet connections. Unfortunately the entrenched ISP's want to leave the definition at a paltry 4Mbps download speed.
The map above illustrates just how depressingly slow the internet is at most locations in the US. The areas in blue all have access to speeds above 25Mbps, but the remainder of the map does not even have access to services that reach that speed.
The FCC has opened the floor for debate on the issue, and several cable companies have come forward to decry the new definition. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is one of the most vocal opponents to the new classification system. This isn't surprising in light of the fact that current regulations stifle competition in many markets, a system that President Obama is trying to change through executive actions that remove much of the red tape for new telecom companies.
There are 19 states that have very restrictive policies that discourage open competition. This results in only 25% of US household actually having a choice between two providers who offer the base speed of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. Chattanooga, Tennessee, took the step of providing their own internet service with amazing results. For only $70 a month their residents enjoy gigabit speeds, and other providers in the area have been forced to lower their price-gouging rates in response.
Google is announcing four new cities they are adding to the ultra-fast Google Fiber network. According to the Wall Street Journal the blazing-fast one gigabit connections will soon be added in Atlanta and Nashville. Lucky North Carolinians will get two cities added to the list, with Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte joining the ranks of those blessed with fast connections for as low as $80 per month.
The rollouts will not be offered to the entire city in each area, but instead will be deployed based upon customer interest. This expansion more than doubles the number of cities benefitting from Google Fiber connections, which are currently offered in Kansas City, MO, Austin, TX, and Provo, UT.
Google Fiber is challenging the status quo of normal ISP's, which charge prices well in excess of global averages for a fraction of the speed. The US lags woefully behind other developed countries in terms of speed and price, and much of that has to do with rules and regulations governing telecommunication firms. President Obama recently took to the airwaves to announce executive actions targeting these restrictive regulations, so there are some hopeful developments along that front.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans believe they have been distracted at work by checking emails, browsing the Web, and engaging in social media, according to a survey released by Stop Procrastinating. The figure is a nine percent increase year-over-year, and 39 percent of respondents said it cost them at least one hour per day browsing the Web, booking personal travel, or looking at viral videos.
Companies also have shown concern that a growing number of employees bring a smartphone or tablet into the workplace, so they have access to content they otherwise couldn't find on a work PC.
"It seems that being able to communicate with friends quickly over social media is a positive development, but engaging on social forums to debate issues, as some people in our survey admitted, suggests that some people are becoming more distracted by the Internet at work than they should," said Will Little, designer and creator of Stop Procrastinating, said in a statement. "While the immediate sense of gratification might be high, over time our survey shows this leads to a lack of satisfaction as productivity levels drop and people begin to achieve less."
Social media platforms like Facebook are being closely watched alongside the tech giant Google - not just for their updates, technology advancements and product launches, but their apparent sale of your personal data to advertisers.
Back in 1990, the Wall Street Journal released an article titled "Computer Disc Spurs New Fears About Privacy," publicizing a concern that marketers are buying your personal data on computer disks. We were reminded by Gizmodo that this information came around due to a company named Lotus selling disks of basic information to companies who would use this for direct mail marketing.
This was a big deal in 1990, with the article stating: "Privacy advocates are raising the alarm about a new Lotus Development Corp. product that lists names, addresses, shopping habits and likely income levels for some 80 million U.S. households. Due for release early next year, Lotus Marketplace packs the data on palm-sized compact disks aimed at small and midsized businesses that want to do inexpensive, targeted direct-mail marketing".
Raleigh and Durham will see Google events held within their borders next Wednesday and Thursday respectively, rumored to be an announcement of a Google Fiber service roll-out. Reports claim that construction may begin as of April, as released by the local TV station, WRAL.
These two locations combine with Chapel Hill to make an area known as Research Triangle, all of which were on the preliminary list of 34 locations that Google released last February as possible new Fiber locations.
Currently available in Provo, Utah, Austin, Texas and Kansas City, Google Fiber provides consumers with a free 5Mbps service, with only a $300 setup fee needing to be paid. However if you're looking for something more substantial, they offer gigabit plans for $70 per month, or you can pay between $30-$30 more to have 100+ TV channels included in the bundle - both of these latter options requiring no setup fee.