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In a hope to "make the internet a better place," an online retailer in Australia has decided that they have had enough developing for Internet Explorer 7. Hence, they are now charging a fee to users who insist on using the old, out-of-date browser which is extremely hard to make webpages look correct in.
Ruslan Kogan is now charging a 6.8% fee on any purchase made using the old browser in order to offset the cost of maintaining the site to be compatible with Internet Explorer 7. Dubbed "Internet Explorer 7 Tax," users are made aware of the issue via a popup. However, it's not clear just how much of an issue it is.
Internet Explorer 7 makes up only 2.99% of internet traffic, so it wouldn't kill their business not to support it if it did cost this much. It would appear that this is more of a publicity stunt than an actual business need. Kogan insists that Internet Explorer 7 use is a problem in an interview:
Internet Explorer 7 has long since passed its use-by date. It's a constant source of frustration for our web guys and we're sick of burning cash on a browser that hit the market nearly six years ago. It's not only costing us a huge amount, it's affecting any business with an online presence, and costing the internet economy millions of dollars.
Reddit has found that certain websites or their operators spam links on Reddit and has banned these domains from being posted on the site. The newly created /r/BannedDomains subreddit details the sites whose links are banned from being posted. Users who try to post a message containing a link to a banned site will be denied with an informative message.
The list of banned domains contains some major sites and is as follows:
The reason behind blocking these sites? It turns out editors from the sites, some of which are highly influential, have been posting links to their site on Reddit in a rather spamming fashion. A link on Reddit can often garner the site many extra hits or views that would otherwise not have come in. These hits are monetized by advertising making the site more money.
Reddit explains the ban in a short post:
Some domains are not allowed on any part of reddit because they are spammy, malicious, or involved in cheating shenanigans. Attempting to submit a link to one of these domains will now fail with an informative error message.
The internet is about to get even more confusing for old people. ICANN has been working on offering generic top-level-domains for about six years now, and today sees another step in that direction. Top-level-domains (TLD) are the endings on domains such as ".com" or ".org" and generic TLDs will come in the form of brands, ".samsung," or topics, ".lol."
"It's a historic day for the Internet," said ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom. "The internet is about to change forever." Notice that he doesn't specify that it is changing for the better as no one truly knows the full impact that these domains will have. It has the possibility to create widespread confusion, or easy ways to find topic-specific sites.
Brands had to pay a whopping $185,000 just to apply for a TLD; some brands applied for multiple. Applicants also had to prove their ability to pay to run a registry by putting up additional money. The application period has ended and ICANN has finally released a listing of applicants and the TLDs that they applied for.
Google was the heaviest hitter and applied for .Google, .android, .chrome, .cloud, .lol, .vip, and .wow. Amazon wasn't left out of the party and applied for .amazon, .book, .fire., .music, and .free. A few interesting TLDs were applied for such as .sex and .porn, as well as .sucks. ICANN has reiterated that they have the ability to take back a domain if the owner is abusing it.
I imagine most of you are sick of the spam floating around on Facebook; I know I am. Part of the problem is due to OpenGraph and the ability to auto-share. This auto-sharing is the source of many of the annoying, spammy posts that keep showing up in my already crowded news feed. And they crowd out the really important things, such as TweakTown posts.
Facebook has come up with a solution to this problem: the "10 second rule." What this rule does is require a user to read a post or watch a video for at least 10 seconds before it can auto-share it out with the rest of your friends. According to a developer blog post, "Built-in watch and read actions can only be published after someone engages with the content for 10 or more seconds. If a video is shorter than 10 seconds, the viewer must watch the entire video."
The frictionless sharing that Facebook introduced a year ago was helpful in gaining views for integrated services, but it has been taken advantage of since then. Thankfully, Facebook has decided to try curbing it with this new rule. Facebook is also requiring developers to access app content without auto-sharing it. It will be interesting to see if the amount of spam is cut down due to these new changes.
Think your home internet connection is fast? How about your work connection? How about you try 4700Mbps on for size. That's the new speed that has been reached by a German ISP using existing cable network infrastructure. This speed is incredible considering that most PCs only feature Gigabit Ethernet and this would manage to flood that.
Kabel Deutschland, a German cable operator, is claiming to have created a real-world download speed of 4,700Mbps. This ins't theoretical either as they are claiming this speed in a real-world test. Let's see just how fast that is. Four Gigabit connected computers would be unable to max the bandwidth available.
More incredibly, a connection of that speed, if you were able to use it all, could download a full 4.7GB DVD in just a mere 8 seconds. This title isn't the fastest real-world connection, as someone already provided a 40Gbps fiber connection to a residence, but this does use the existing cable networks. The test was carried out to test an upgraded network using the 862MHz spectrum, channel bonding, and the EuroDocsis 3.0 standard.
Not only are the browser wars heating up again, but apparently a new mapping war is heating up. The mapping world used to be just a few key players: Microsoft, Google, and a few other smaller ones. But with Apple now rumored to release its own solution at WWDC, the market is about to become a lot more complex.
It would appear that Google would like to steal some of Apple's thunder before its rumored release of a new mapping service. Google is hosting an invite-only press event in San Francisco to unveil "the next dimension of Google Maps." Considering Apple's new mapping service is expected to be 3D, does the mention of "dimension" in the invitation indicate Google is going to be adding more 3D features?
Google will also offer attendees "a behind-the-scenes look at Google Maps and share our vision. We'll also demo some of the newest technology and provide a sneak peek at upcoming features that will help people get where they want to go - both physically and virtually." Of course, Google already has the 3D Earth, but it requires a plug-in. Could this event be releasing one that runs without a plug-in?
We're not sure, and we haven't received an invitation yet, but we will be sure to find out everything that we can to report to you, our reader.
Thought your FiOS fiber connection wasn't fast enough? Well, you won't have to worry any more as Verizon has just announced speed upgrades to all of the FiOS tiers except for the base 15Mb/s connection. The increase in speed across the board is at least double, and in some cases triple, so there will be no more waiting for downloads.
Even the uploads have seen a boost in speed, though not quite as much as the downloads. Verizon is touting that both a 2-hour HD movie download and a 10GB backup will finish in 22 minutes or less on the faster connection. Verizon is saying that they are increasing the speed because of people needing it for uses like previously described.
There is no announcement regarding pricing. It's possible that there could be a price drop, although I don't see that in the cards. There also could be a price increase, although I don't see that as very likely either. We'll just have to wait until the speed rolls out this coming June. Verizon just needs to get the availability increased as I would love to get this to my house.
As such, Twitter is bringing some of the front-end grunt work back onto the servers in order to speed up load times. As Twitter says, "To connect you to information in real time, it's important for Twitter to be fast." Part of the change is not using # (hashbang) in the permalink URLs to improve initial load times.
There are many other improvements discussed in the post on Twitter's engineering blog, so I encourage you to check it out for yourself if you are interested. The Twitter blog post can be found on Twitter's engineering blog here.
With the SOPA and PIPA protests becoming distant memories, the attacks on internet freedoms have been renewed by Congress in the form of CISPA. There have been no protests like there were against PIPA and SOPA and that has Reddit's Alexis Ohanian concerned. An entrepreneurial group now wants to create the internet equivalent of the Bat-Signal.
The idea is that SOPA-like mass protests could be started at the push of a button when internet freedoms were deemed in danger. Website owners can sign up on the group's website and add a piece of code to their website that can be activated when a political crisis like SOPA rears its ugly head. Owners can also receive the code by e-mail when the signal is turned on.
"People who wish to be tapped can see, oh look, the Bat-Signal is up. Time to do something," says Ohanian. "Whatever website you own, this is a way for you to be notified if something comes up and take some basic actions If we aggregate everyone that's doing it, the numbers start exploding."
The code can do more than just display a banner. Tiffiny Cheng, co-director of Internet-focused political advocacy group Fight for the Future, explains how it could implement a SOPA-style blackout: "We'll invent something at the time, and it will be some really unified and shocking action. We're creating the tools and the forms of protest that allow for viral organizing. That's how the SOPA protests were able to get started and grow to the level they did."
Ever see a game on Facebook that looks interesting but you don't want to play it because of all the hassle of installing and uninstalling if it's bad? Facebook is looking to change that with a new feature which will allow game developers to demo their wares in the news feed. Developers won't be given any information about the users.
If players like the game then they are able to click through onto the full version. This new feature is great, although I'm not sure that the news feed is a proper location for it. Personally, my news feed is already overflowing with the posts of my friend and the posts of quality content here on TweakTown, so I don't think I want more posts, especially ones that take up a lot of room.
Facebook has provided some examples of games already using the new feature. These games include: Idle Worship, Angry Birds, and Bubble Witch Saga. Developers of these games receive statistics about impressions of the story and how many people use the game contained within. Facebook has provided examples of how current games are using the new feature:
- Angry Birds lets users challenge friends to beat your score on a level.
- Bubble Witch Saga enables sharing coins with friends, they can earn a multiplier for a high score.
- Idle Worship lets users share a mini-game which gives friends a glimpse of the full game.
- Tetris Battle allows publishing a replay of a two-player battle.