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Many users of the popular Google service Gmail were reporting the service as unavailable this morning. The extent and cause of the outage are not known at the moment. Twitter was abuzz with reports from many users who are unable to access the service. The outage was not a complete outage as some people were still able to access the service.
Other services appeared to be down in conjunction with Gmail. If Gmail was down for you, it is likely that Docs and Google+ were unavailable for you as well. Google acknowledged the problem with a post Google's Apps status dashboard: "We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information shortly."
At 10:40am PT Google Tweeted that, "#Gmail should be back for some of you already, and will be back for everyone soon. Thanks for your patience."
At 10:42am PT A Google spokesperson said, "We're aware that some users are experiencing an error when accessing their Gmail. We are working on a resolution and apologize for the inconvenience. Thanks for your patience."
At 11:00am PT Google's Apps status dashboard said, "The problem with Google Mail should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."
For all of the Harry Potter fans out there, Pottormore finally opens for all, sort of. You see, you can now register after providing some personal details to find out if you're magical or not, but that doesn't give you access. Your account has to be verified before you can access the site.
Unfortunately for us, the site's management has let it be known that the approval/verification process could be slow even though they plan to verify a steady stream of accounts. They make note that you may not gain access right away. Darn. Currently you will find e-books of all 7 books as well as the audiobook versions.
Once you do gain access, you will be able to have access to interactive tours of locations mentioned in the books and the virtual tools needed to practice your magical arts. The owners plan to add more features over the coming weeks and months. Additionally, after your registration is approved, you will be sorted into one of the four houses and be chosen by your wand.
Last year LastPass was the target of an alleged hacking attempt which forced them to ask users to change their passwords. Additionally, LastPass relies on browser plug-ins whereas this new service does not. With the upcoming release of Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8 Metro, it will no longer support browser plug-ins which is a major issue.
This new service is set to be more secure than LastPass and work without any browser plug-ins or software installs. It will be more secure since your passwords are encrypted with a secure password phrase which isn't stored by the service. This means that they will be unable to see any of your passwords, not that they want to anyway.
my1login can sign users into any site with one click. Apps for iOS and Android are in the works. The new service has gained $1 million in funding which launched at the beginning of last month. They hope to go viral by allowing people who refer people to the service to get the pro version of the service. I'm not sure what the pro version offers.
Facebook probably knows more about you than you do. They collect and track pretty much everything you do on the site, so it's not that much of a stretch to assume they have more data than they tell you. If Target can predict when a girl is pregnant based upon what she buys, then imagine what Facebook can do with all of your 'Likes' and posts.
Facebook's Download Your Information feature is getting expanded after an audit last year by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner concluded that the company still wasn't doing enough. The feature was first introduced in 2010 and provides a limited archive of the data that Facebook has collected.
The expanded feature should provide more information such as previous names you've used, friend requests, and IP addresses from which you've logged in. The feature is relaunching today and will see a gradual roll out to all users so you may not be able to access it quite yet. Facebook is promising to add more categories of data down the road. The feature is accessed the same way as before.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been accepting applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLD). Right now there are approximately 22 gTLDs including com and org. After the application period closes April 12, it is expected that hundreds if not thousands of new gTLDs will be created.
These new gTLDs will be anything from ".Google" or ".YouTube" to ".Pepsi" or ".Delta". Google is expected to pick up all of their trademarks and then some as stated by a company spokesman: "We plan to apply for Google's trademarked TLDs, as well as a handful of new ones. We want to help make this a smooth experience for web users -- one that promotes innovation and competition on the internet."
The new gTLDs could allow YouTube to brand YouTube channels with something like "mychannel.YouTube" as the URL. The new gTLDs have some interesting new uses, but come at a cost. gTLDs have the application fee and operating costs. The initial application fee of $185,000 is quite a bit for most to overcome. A full list of applications will be posted April 30.
Iran will soon be without the public internet. They already have strict filters on the content, but these can be avoided by using programs such Tor. Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology released a statement last week: "All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August."
The new intranet would prevent access to Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, and similar sites. These would be replaced by alternative services provided by the Iranian government such as such as Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine. The government has already started the signup process for those services. Names and addresses are being verified and recorded.
Iran denies the report: "The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry." They instead blame the report on the propaganda wing of the West. Either way, this new firewalled internet is of serious concern to cyberactivists in Iran because it would give the government an advantage in the battle raging between them.
World's second largest porn site talks facts and figures, doesn't need to measure up against the rest
Porn. We all know the Internet is filled with it, and would be a contributing factor toward cloud storage upgrades for many porn sites, and many, many more home users. ExtremeTech talked to YouPorn who are the second largest porn site, about their backend, and how many people use their "services".
Some of the figures are pretty insane, which we've listed below:
- YouPorn has over 100 terabytes of porn on its server.
- The site delivers over 100 million page views each day.
- That amounts to almost a petabyte of a data transfered each day.
- When people are exceptionally busy on the site, it can deliver 4,000 pages a second. ExtremeTech calculates that that adds up to 800Gbps, or 100 gigabytes per second.
- Here's the kicker: that's about 2% of the Internet's total traffic.
At it's peak, YouPorn makes up 2-percent of the Internet's total traffic. It may not sound like a lot, but 2-percent of the entire Internet traffic is quite amazing. If it were inches, then it'd be a different story altogether.
First off, it's pretty incredible that a 2D movie could be converted to a 3D movie. Usually a 3D movie has different perspectives, so I'm not quite sure how this technology works. But, YouTube seems to have a pretty good understanding because they are now allowing any 2D clip to be converted to 3D. It's not just for video creators anymore!
Any ordinary user will be able to watch certain 1080p videos and convert them to 3D. The option will be in the Quality settings pane. Upon clicking it, Google sets to work converting the video into 3D. YouTube analyzes a host of video components, including "color, spatial layout, and motion to estimate a depth map for each frame of a monoscopic video sequence" to create the 3D effect.
However, usually if the video wasn't shot in 3D, the effects are somewhat boring. And 3D just gets old after a while if the effects aren't up to snuff. Google disagrees, saying that hundreds of thousands of videos were converted in the past months by their respective content creators. Also, how many people are set up to watch 3D? I know I'm not.
Tor is a popular program which enables people behind heavy government censorship to view the entire unobstructed internet. It's basically a proxy server which encrypts the outgoing packets so that they can't be snooped on. Unfortunately, these data packets can still be identified so the traffic can theoretically still be blocked.
Computer scientists have now come up with a way to mask these data packets as Skype traffic. This makes it near impossible for the government to block the data packets. If a government were to block Skype, there would be a massive outcry from other governments and the citizens themselves.
"The goal is to make the traffic look like some other protocol that they are not willing to block," Ian Goldberg, a professor at the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, told Ars. "They could just shut off the Internet, of course, like Egypt did for a few days a year or so ago, but that, of course, would be extremely unpopular to their own people that are wondering why can't see pictures of cute cats."
SkypeMorph, as the application is called, uses traffic shaping to convert Tor packets into User Datagram Protocol packets to avoid detection. The traffic shaping also mimics the sizes and timings of packets produced by normal Skype video conversations to further mask the connection from suspicion.
I always thought it was the government that I had to watch out for here in the United States. At least they allow me freedom of speech. However, Microsoft is no longer affording its users the same right. Now, if you try to send a message containing a link to The Pirate Bay, it will be rejected and an automated message will be sent back.
The message reads: "The link you tried to send was blocked because it was reported as unsafe." It doesn't matter if you are using the Microsoft client, or a third party one. Curiously enough, links to Demonoid still work without any issue. I'm not quite sure why Microsoft is appointing themselves the "Chat Police," but I do not like it one bit.