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Twitter, just like Facebook, tracks its users. Twitter does track users less, but it is still there. The microblog has now joined Mozilla in giving its users a way to opt-out of being tracked in any way. Twitter is implementing this feature by enabling Firefox's Do Not Track feature. The Firefox feature only works if a website acknowledges it.
The new feature was announced by Ed Felten, chief technology officer for the Federal Trade Commission, at the New York Internet Week privacy panel. Twitter has since confirmed the announcement on its website. Carolyn Penner, a spokeswoman for Twitter, said, "As the Federal Trade Commission's CTO, Ed Felten, mentioned this morning, Twitter now supports Do Not Track. We applaud the FTC's leadership on Do Not Track, and are excited to provide the benefits of Do Not Track."
This move is just another in recent times that attempts to put power in the hands of its users. Not to long ago, Twitter filed a court motion to protect the information of one of its users who used Twitter during an Occupy protest. Mozilla shared some statistics on Do Not Track in a post. "We're excited that Twitter now supports Do Not Track and global user adoption rates continue to increase, which signifies a big step forward for Do Not Track and the Web," Mozilla said in the post.
The largest cable TV provider in the US, Comcast, has announced changes to its data cap to encourage users to use their internet without fear of hitting the cap. These changes are actually simple as they are just removing the cap. Unfortunately for users in the new test markets, this means that they will be getting switched to a tiered plan similar to wireless carriers.
The users of these test markets are going to get to try the new model which includes overage fees. There are actually two different models that are going to be tested. The first sees a 300GB allotment for all internet speeds with overage fees for exceeding that. The overage fees would be something like $10 for 50GB more.
The second model will increase the 300GB allotment with each increase in speed. The same "overage" fee would apply to these. Either way, users are getting an extra 50GB, but are now running the risk of getting hit with massive bills if they happen to use the internet a lot one month. Additionally, while these trials are underway, the 250GB cap will be suspended around the country.
Yesterday we reported about how The Pirate Bay was under attack from a DDoS. Of course, since it was a DDoS, it is pretty hard to figure out who is behind it...unless they post on Pastebin that they are the cause of it. That's just what this former Anonymous member turned hater did. This lone user has claimed responsibility for the entire DDoS.
The lone assailant goes by the pseudonym "Nyre" and left a message on Pastebin explaining the reasoning behind his actions. According to the post, "The Pirate Bay was a press-release website for Anonymous." Since he no longer likes or agrees with Anonymous, he decided he should block them from releasing press releases by taking down the entire site.
Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt. Anybody can post on Pastebin as an anonymous guest and say whatever they would like. Looking through his Tweets, he seems to be an interesting fellow. I would still lean towards the current common theory that The Pirate Bay angered Anonymous with its admonishment of Anonymous' DDoS of Virgin Media. More as it comes.
We talked about the redesigned socially-driven Bing last week, with a massively redesigned interface, that promised new features that would differentiate itself from search giant, Google. Well, today, Bing is mostly up and can be tested by everyone.
It's not available on bing.com yet, but it is available at bing.com/new. If you want the 'full experience', you'll want to link your Facebook account up. The only thing missing is 'Snapshot', the center of the new three column design. But, the new interface is shown off, as well as Bing's new social integration elements.
I haven't tested it thoroughly, but it does look nice. I'm too much of a Google fanboy (everything I use is powered by Google), so Bing doesn't interest me that much. This will most likely change somewhat when Windows 8 is released. But, The Next Web is reporting that the new Bing is faster, not by a large margin, but noticeable in some areas.
Note: If you're not in the United States, set your country to the US in Bing, or else you won't see the new version.
Reports are coming in from around the world that The Pirate Bay is largely unreachable. No, this isn't due to some country's court order. Instead, according to a TorrentFreak insider, The Pirate Bay is suffering from a DDoS. This DDoS comes at an interesting time as they had recently openly criticized Anonymous for DDoS'ing Virgin Media.
In all likelihood, this is an attack by Anonymous after being criticized. However, it has not been confirmed to be them. At the time of writing, the site has been down for about 24 hours and seems to be unreachable from my end. TorrentFreak's inbox often suffers when The Pirate Bay goes down, but this time seems even worse.
The problem lies in the fact that people were expecting The Pirate Bay to be unreachable due to the censorship rulings, but they were also expecting to use the bypass methods. They weren't expecting those methods to fail. It will be interesting to see if Anonymous claims responsibility for this attack. More as it comes.
The Overclocker's latest issue is out, Issue 19. The latest read covers a bunch of hot topics such as a 'Z77 Battle Royal', a cover feature about the Ivy Bridge-based Core i7, and they also interview Brazil's finest overclocker, Rbuass.
Also covered is a review of GIGABYTE's GEFORCE GTX 680, Plextor's M3 256GB SSD, ASUS' Rampage IV Formula, ASUS Radeon vs. GIGABYTE HD7870, G.Skill Trident 2400MHz CL10 RAM, and finally, Intel's 520 Series SSD. There's much more to read, so don't miss out!
You can read the entire issue, all for free, here.
GM has announced that they will be pulling $10 million in ads from Facebook as they say they don't work. This comes at a bad time for Facebook as they are about to launch their IPO. GM's marketing executive have apparently been reviewing GM's advertising and found that the paid ads are worth the money. They will, however, continue to use the free advertising on Facebook.
GM currently spends somewhere in the neighborhood of $40million on Facebook advertising, though only $10 million of that goes to paid Facebook ads. (These are presumably annual figures) The other $30 million goes to upkeep on the company's Facebook page, along with paying for promotions and giveaways which don't appear to make Facebook any money.
This $10 million isn't much in terms of the $3.7 billion that Facebook brought in last year in advertising. However, GM is the third largest advertiser in the United States, so the fact of them pulling their advertising may cause other companies to reexamine their strategies to see if Facebook is really worth it.
Business Insider's Jim Edwards points out that Facebook has a much lower clickthrough rate than Google does. This could be due to the different medium that Google is compared to Facebook:
The photo sharing site Flickr is set to improve a major feature. Flickr is moving to something they are calling a "liquid layout" which will change the layout to match the size of the browser window viewing the site. The layout will focus on showing high-res images as large as it can on the main photo pages along with the usual information around the side.
The image above is what it used to look like. The image below is what the new "liquid layout" will look like for someone with a large monitor. The pictures were originally 500px wide as the site launched when 800x600 was the norm. In 2010, this was increase to 640px. Now they have selected a range of sizes so that images won't have to be upsampled.
This redesign is just one of many that the aging site is in need of. The site promises many more over the coming year. Next is speed: "Now that the algorithm is complete, we need to work on the performance," said Flickr developer Ross Harmes in a Flickr code blog post. "The first time you go to a liquid photo page, we have no choice but to adjust the page width on the fly. But every other photo page you visit will have the dimensions stored from the last page, and the page will be rendered with the correct width from the start."
YouTube is an empire like Google, one that is built on clicks and advertising. However, as of late, clicks have been falling, but YouTube isn't concerned. You see, this is all going perfectly according to plan. YouTube would rather have "engagement" than "views" as it will allow them to garner a more lucrative advertising market.
YouTube has invested $100 million in order to create content channels which should aid in getting users to more engagement and fewer clicks. Incidentally, this type of video, the engaging type, is more appealing to advertisers as users who are engaged are thought to be in a more receptive mind-set for brand advertising.
"Our goal is we want users to watch more and click less," said Cristos Goodrow, a former Google search executive who joined YouTube as director of engineering a year ago. "This is better for users because it takes less clicking to get to the video you want to watch." Eli Goodman, media evangelist at ComScore, said, "The effectiveness of advertising is enhanced when someone is in an engaged state."
Additionally, YouTube is struggling with when to show a user an ad. Previously, an ad was shown about every 7 minutes. Now, however, they are changing that to an equation that features hundreds of variables. This equation tries to decide when a user is engaged. At that point is when the ad should be shown. However, some people were worried that some people would never see ads. "There were some internal struggles; some people
I'm pretty sure Mark Zuckerberg is even more OCD about GUI layout and usage than even Steve Jobs was. The latest example of this is the new update that has been released for mobile users. The update aims to make better use of the limited screen real estate that is often a restriction on mobile design.
Facebook plans to make better use of the real estate by reducing the amount of white space, or blank space. Instead, some of the content will be more densely packed so that more fits onto the screen. Above is a before picture and below is an after. You can clearly see the change in the size of the 4 photos posted.
Starting today, we're rolling out an improved design for posts in news feed on your mobile phone. Now photos are up to 3x larger, and all posts will fill your mobile screen from edge to edge. The new design will be available on iOS, Android and m.facebook.com. Check out some before/after screenshots below.[above]
It is likely that if you go to use Facebook Mobile you will immediately see the change. Whether or not you like it, however, is another story. Part of the problem is that there are too many features to pack into a mobile experience. However, it seems as though what Facebook can fix, they will.