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It's pretty tough to run a website, especially a mega-large website, without some sort of revenue. Servers, IT people, web developers, and the rest aren't free, so Tumblr has been living off of its start-up investments for a while now. They have finally decided that they need to make some money off of the site in order to keep running.
Enter Tumblr's first ads. These were first announced two weeks ago at Ad Age's digital conference. The ads aren't very intrusive on users' blogs, which is a good thing. MySpace fell out of favor because of the sheer intrusiveness of its advertising. It wasn't too long ago that the CEO of Tumblr said they would rather sell the desks in the office than put ads on the site. Curiously, that same CEO left the company yesterday. It is possible that that and today's launch have some sort of connection.
These ads aren't ads in the traditional sense. Instead the company is using its Radar and Spotlight features to help highlight content from advertisers/sponsors. According to the company, Tumblr Radar gets 120 million impressions a day. The feature is designed to hgihlight "the most creative and interesting media" on the Tumblr network and advertisers will "get a dedicated share of attention, with the opportunity to gain thousands of new followers, likes and reblogs."
Often Facebook receives complaints and heat over privacy concerns and constant changes the layout. However, today's minor tweak won't garner complaints over a layout change and, likely, won't receive complaints over privacy concerns. No, today's tweak is likely to gain acclaim, at least among the medical world.
So, what is today's tweak? Facebook has now added an option to show that you are an organ donor on your Timeline. It also provides an option to share this decision with your friends in order to increase awareness. Hopefully as people select and share this, more people will join in and make the decision to become an organ donor.
After all, 18 Americans die each day waiting for an organ transplant that never comes. "By simply telling people that you're an organ donor, the power of sharing and connection can play an important role," Zuckerberg explained. The feature is currently only available in the United States. I, for one, will be making the change to my profile.
Google is constantly trying to improve its products for the end users' sake. Often times Google first puts new features into the Labs section of Google. These Labs are basically beta versions of features they plan to add to existing projects or as brand new projects. Every now and again the more popular labs get promoted to full versions.
Today just happens to be one of those days for one lucky Lab project. There was a Lab that has been around since 2009 that uses Google Translate to translate e-mails in a foreign language to that of the user. It works in a similar manner to the way Google Chrome recognizes foreign language websites and offers to convert them.
A few other more minor tweaks have also been promoted from Labs. These features include a tweak to change the title on the tab of a Gmail page. The tweak places the number of unread e-mails first. Another Lab improves the Mute button's ability to stop you from being harassed by company-wide reply all e-mails. The tweaks are said to be live, so check them out yourselves!
The Pirate Bay is pretty much synonymous with copyright infringement. As such, a UK court has ruled that because the site is infringing on copyright on a massive scale, six of the country's ISPs must block access to the Swedish website. In what can only be described as a major censorship of the internet, this court ruling could set dangerous precedent.
If you are a British user of Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 or Virgin Media and a user of The Pirate Bay, soon you will be unable to access the site. "Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists," the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.
The British ISP BT has requested a few more weeks to decide if they will block access to the site. "Unfortunately, the move to order blocking on The Pirate Bay comes as no surprise," Pirate Party UK leader Loz Kaye told the BBC. "The truth is that we are on a slippery slope towards internet censorship here in the United Kingdom."
Additionally, most of our readers know just how pointless blocking a site in a single country can be. We've seen similar attempts in Iran and China fail. This is because users can use proxies to circumvent the blocks instituted by ISPs. Not only does it not work, but as stated before, it sets a dangerous precedent.
Google has yet another bragging point that they've used a blog post to talk about: Google Translate is used by more than 200 million people per month. What some more number stats? Break this number down, and Google translates the equivalent to as much text you'd find in 1 million books. Wow.
Franz Och, a research scientist with Google Translate discusses how Google's translation service has grown through the years. Back in 2001, Gogole offered a service that could translate eight different languages to and from English. This service used state-of-the-art commercial machine translation (MT) and whilst it worked, it wasn't efficient, or very effective.
The service didn't really go well, and in 2003 Google decided to make some changes, one of these key steps was hiring Och away from his research position at DARPA. The team was then able to use Google's massive computing infrastructure, and got some very strong results, but it still wasn't quick enough for practical use. It took Google 40 hours and 1,000 computers to translate 1,000 sentences.
While it's great that the internet is an open, widely available network, this openness yields some security flaws. Most have been dealt with by encryption and other security measures, but one gaping hole remains unfixed. This major hole can cause massive, widespread outages or allow your data to be snooped on.
The problem resides in the routers used by every corporation or company who owns a block of IPs. These routers are constantly communicating with other routers in order to update internal information. This internal information, some 400,000 entries, contains the best routes to get to other networks using a protocol called Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).
According to InfoWorld, "BGP enables routers to find the best path when, say, a network used to retrieve a web page from South Korea is not working properly. Changes in that routing information are distributed quickly to routers around the world in as few as five minutes."
The flaw resides in the fact that the routers do not verify the "announcements." So outages can occur because people accidentally put in incorrect information or typos or because someone maliciously enters the information. The latter can cause data to be routed through someone's network where it can be sniffed and snooped upon.
Ever wanted to feel like a boss when writing, but didn't have the skills to do so? Well, you don't need skills if you want to use EssayTyper. EssayTyper turns your absolutely random keystrokes, or even pecking at the keyboard, into a literal piece of art. It's explained as:
EssayTyper uses a patented combination of magic and wikipedia to help you write your essay - fast!
That said, please don't ever try to use this legitimately. The magic part is not real...and that's plagiarism.
Once you've visited EssayTyper's website, you'll be placed into a page that looks like a Word document, where you can start typing away. You can type whatever you want, because it pulls information from Wikipedia on the subject of your choice.
If you are one of the growing number of consumers who doesn't have a credit or debit card to use while shopping online, WalMart has a new program designed just for you. According to WalMart, many of its customers shop paycheck to paycheck so they need more ways to purchase items online. This is where WalMart's "Pay with Cash" program comes in.
Obviously, most people's computers don't have any sort of cash terminal sitting there, so the program had to come up with a solution. How it works is you shop online and place your order. You receive an email receipt which you then take in to your local WalMart. Head to any register with the receipt and pay cash.
If you still have to go to the store, what's the point of shopping online? Well, WalMart.com offers a much wider selection of goods than the store counterparts do. Additionally, you can have the products shipped straight to your door, rather than having to walk around the store and pick them up.
"Many of our customers shop paycheck to paycheck and are looking for more ways to purchase items online but don't have the means to a credit, debit or prepaid card," Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com, said today in a statement. "Our new 'Pay with Cash' offering is designed just for them. It makes it easier for our customers to shop the way they want, where they have access to a broader product selection at Walmart.com coupled with the convenience of payment and shipping as they want."
If you're anything like me, you certainly like to know how the things you use work. Well, I've been dying for a good, brief explanation of how Google works, and apparently I wasn't the only one. RobertvH from Munich did too and sent in a question to Google who produced a video explaining the crawling, indexing, and search portions of the process.
Mountain View's head of web-spam, Matt Cutts takes you through the process in the video. The short answer to the question is a lot of processing power and experience. Matt does a great job of keeping the audience engaged, so I really hope more videos like this get released. It really is a nice view into the inner workings of Google.
With construction completed on Facebook's new datacenter in Forest City, NC, Facebook has flipped the switch in one of the buildings and now it is serving Facebook traffic. The new datacenter broke ground in November 2010 and should be fully operational by the end of the year.
The datacenter is composed of two buildings which house the first major deployment of the v2 Open Compute Project web servers. These servers are based on Intel's lower power Sandy Bridge architecture. The whole of the datacenter was designed to conserve energy, hence the new web servers. The climate in North Carolina will test Open Compute's outdoor air cooling system, as the humidity and temperature is outside of what is normally needed inside a datacenter.
The datacenter stands as a trophy to Facebook's ongoing success as the servers are needed to power Facebook for its 845+ million users. The timing of the opening of the facility is almost perfect because Facebook is nearing an initial public offering which could value the company somewhere around $100 billion.