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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.
Dubbed 'The Promo Bay', The Pirate Bay would like to help promote your cool music, video, comedic skill, or other talent provided you allow free, easy access to the material that is being promoted. Submissions are thrown into a pool and occasionally one is picked to have their image replace the default Pirate Bay logo and be linked to the page of their choosing.
Originally they planned to release only a few submissions a year, but after 5000 people submitted applications to be promoted, the plans changed. "Thus far we've done 14 regular campaigns in 3 countries each and 8 worldwide promotions," Pirate Bay's Winston told TorrentFreak. "When we started the project the plan was to do a few worldwide promotions a year, but the submissions have been too good. So now we're gonna do the worldwide promos every weekend and some regulars every now and then."
The infamous term 'blog' has a new competitor. Similarly to how 'facial tissues' became 'Kleenex' or 'copies' became 'Xeroxes', 'blog' is set to become known as 'Tumblr' if the current trends, available here, continue. Usually the names of companies become synonymous with what they do only after they have achieved a majority usage.
This achievement would confirm that Tumblr really has established itself as the most popular blogging platform on the web. Currently, the term 'blog' is ahead of 'Tumblr' but XKCD blogger Randall Munroe believes that 'Tumblr' will see more Google searches by October 12 this year. If you want traffic to your blog, your best bet is to publish it on Tumblr.
As for Tumblr itself, it is looking to capitalize on its explosion of popularity. Tumblr has reiterated its commitment to keep ads off of the site, instead moving towards other forms of revenue generation. David Karp calls the $1 post highlighting "one of [Tumblr's] most successful revenue-generating features."