Spring cleaning is in full effect over at Google. Usually during the spring, Google attempts to rid itself of dead-end projects or, you know, push to overhaul the internet's DNS system. In this case, Google would like to replace HTTP with a new protocol called SPDY. To encourage this, it's showing potential speed gains on mobile networks.
Relying on the company's benchmarks, I can say that mean page load times on a Galaxy Nexus are 23% faster with the new system. Google hypothesizes that even more speed can be gained with future optimization. Google has already implemented SPDY in Chrome and Mozilla in Firefox. For once, even Microsoft seems to be on board.
So, as a way to transition, Google is proposing an Apache 2.2 module called mod_spdy. This module would allow web servers to take advantage of features such as stream multiplexing and header compression. HTTP, you've been good to us, but it appears that it is about time for you to go into the history books.
DNS, at its roots, is somewhat complicated and complex, so when a couple of years ago a group released a piece of malware that sent people to the wrong sites, fixing it has proven difficult. You see, the piece of malware changed users' DNS settings to point to a server owned by the perpetrators which then forwarded them the wrong IP.
People that are infected with the malware still rely on these "bad" DNS servers. Obviously they aren't bad anymore, but they are being maintained by the FBI. The FBI is planning to shut these servers down come July 9, 2012. If a user's computer is infected, it will no longer have access to the internet due to the lack of DNS.
Starting today, any site running on CloudFlare can simply enable an app that will alert users who come from the improper DNS servers. This is a pretty good reach, but not quite enough. So CloudFlare has gone one step further and released the code on GitHub so that any website can implement the warning page.
So, you might have just saw our video hands-on demonstration of the brilliant ASUS Wi-Fi GO! which is part of most new ASUS Z77 based motherboard that only just came onto the market with the Ivy bridge launch last month. Next up and right here we give you similar treatment, but this time we're looking at ASUS Fan Xpert 2 - a big improvement over previous versions of Fan Xpert.
One of the biggest single features of Fan Xpert 2 is the ability to auto tune the cooling fans inside your case. This software has the ability to check and report back to the Fan Xpert 2 software rather impressive information regarding those fans installed inside your chassis. After you click the "Fan Auto Tuning" button it will run a fan tests that lasts between two and five minutes. While running, this tests measures the maximum and lowest RPM of all of the fans inside your case that are connected to one of the fan headers (3-pin or 4-pin) on your ASUS Z77 motherboard. Once complete, Fan Xpert 2 now has an intimate knowledge of all of your cooling fans and it knows how to dynamically control them based on the CPU temperature as well as let you manually control them to a rather extreme level.
Once the auto tune test is complete, you reach the next screen that allows you to create a name for each fan as well as select their position in your case. For most companies that would have been where things ended, but ASUS perfect the software one step further by implementing a "search" function that allows you to more easily identify the location of the fan. Once you start the search function, the fan in question spins up to 100% RPM, hence making it easier to find. Once you've done that you can enter the Smart Mode area which allows you to change the curve of the fan performance and what RPM level it spins at depending on the system temperature. Not only that, ASUS is claiming they have a world first here that allows you to adjust each individual fan by its RPM in 50 rotations per minute levels.
In an interesting, yet somewhat expected, turn of events, the High Court's ruling last Friday that all of UK's ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay has had an affect on The Pirate Bay's web traffic. But not in the direction you think. Instead of losing hits and traffic, the file sharing website has seen an increase of 12 million visitors, more than it has ever had.
I guess this proves what they say is true: "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Clearly. "Thanks to the High Court and the fact that the news was on the BBC, we had 12 million more visitors yesterday than we had ever had before. We should write a thank you note to the BPI [British Phonographic Industry]," a spokesperson told TorrentFreak.
Virgin Media has already started to block access to the website, however, these blocks aren't hard to get around. Now, I'm not going to tell you how to do it, but I will tell you who will. The Pirate Bay, in the time before the rest of the ISPs block access to the site, is using the time to educate users how to beat censorship. If you happen to be on Virgin Media, you can check out The Pirate Party's website as they are mirroring the content.
Earlier on today we were invited to the ASUS headquarters here in Taipei where we got a look at a couple of exclusive features that part of is range of new Intel Z77 Express based motherboards. We got a look at Fan Xpert 2 as well as Wi-Fi GO! We're going to look at the latter first.
Wi-Fi GO! is a combination of hardware and software that is included in most new ASUS Z77 motherboards. It includes a hardware Wi-Fi chip on the board and lovely and easy to use software on your PC and finally an Android or iPad app called Wi-Fi GO! Remote. We tested in the video above using the currently unreleased app version of V1.1.01 - it should be released to the public in a week or two. It includes the following functions: DLNA Media Hub, Remote Desktop, Remote Keyboard and Mouse, Smart Motion Control, File Transfer and Capture and Send.
Let's start off with DLNA Media Hub. This part of the app allows you use your Android tablet or iPad as a big remote control to stream content from your host (your ASUS Z77 PC) to any DLNA-compatible media player or device on your local network. The only requirement is that all of the devices (the tablet, your PC and your media streaming device) are all connected to the same network. After starting the sexy looking app and loading the DLNA Media Hub, you are quickly promoted with a new screen that allows you to select the type of media you want to stream to your device - pictures, music or video. In our video above we streamed a video and as you can see it worked quite well.
Microsoft scooped up well-known social network researcher Duncan Watts over the weekend, but he wasn't the only one Microsoft had their sights on. Microsoft have scooped up 13 other Yahoo researchers to kick-start a new New York research lab.
From these 13 people Microsoft have acquired brings David Pennock who is an algorithmic economist and will over see day-to-day lab operations. Microsoft also scored machine learning expert John Langford. Microsoft aren't new to research organizations, where they have budgets in the billions, and 850 PhDs. NYC will be Microsoft's 13th global office according to Jennifer Chayes, who manages Microsoft Research New England, as well as the New York Group.
Microsoft were fortunate enough to grab these people as Yahoo made cuts to their research organization last month. Chayes adds that the Yahoo researchers didn't necessarily come as a package, where she elaborates:
Samsung have done the world some good, pre-announcing their Series 9 Ultrabook. The model in question is the Samsung NP900X4C, which will be the company's first 15-inch model in the Series 9 family of notebooks.
Ivy Bridge processors destined for Ultrabooks aren't supposed to be available for another month, but this hasn't stopped Samsung's UK-based branch from teasing us with their Series 9 line of notebooks sporting the 22nm-based processor. The NP900X4C sports a mid-range Core i5-3317U running at 1.7GHz with a top turbo speed of 2.6GHz.
Filling the Ultrabook out is the HM75 chipset, 8GB (!) of 1600MHz DDR3 memory, a 128GB SSD drive, the 15-inch aforementioned screen with a resolution of 1600x900 and a panel with 400nits brightness. Graphics power will be driven with Intel's HD 4000 IGP, which isn't gaming-worthy, but its better than previous offerings. The NP900X4C also comes with 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with WiDi support, Bluetooth 4.0, a microHDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, combo headphone/mic jack, an SD/MMC slot and a 1.3-megapixel webcam.
Google have announced through their Google Docs Blog that the Google Docs Team have unveiled 450 new fonts and 60 creative templates. The new fonts and templates are part of an array of new features an updates announced today, which expand the range of documents users can create.
This drags Google's offering up to compete with the capabilities of its main productivity suite competitor, Microsoft Office. Template options are divided into different sections, Work, School, Home and Fun. The update to Google Docs also supports the importing of images from Google Drive and increased support for screenreaders.
Google Docs supports importing images from webcams and the LIFE Photo archive. The new update also bumps the size limit for files from 2MB to 50MB.
ASUS' Padfone came smashing onto the scene during February's Mobile World Congress, and was meant to be launching in Taiwan in late-April, with an Italian launch rumored for the month after. But, it seems that a tweet from ASUS Indonesia is showing that it seems that Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 shortages are delaying the Padfone's launch in some markets.
Translation is always messy, but the tweet says that Qualcomm is still experiencing Snapdragon S4 shortages and that "unfortunately" that's the processor baked into the Padfone. The Verge sent ASUS an e-mail to get a clearer answer, with a company spokesperson reiterating the shortage saying "I believe [the shortage is] affecting all of Qualcomm's customers".
While ASUS aren't directly confirming the delayed Padfone launch, they're putting themselves into the basket of Qualcomm customers who are affected by the shortage. We should have more information as it happens.
Microsoft are reportedly set to release a $99 Xbox bundle which will include the 4GB-sporting Xbox 360, as well as their Kinect motion sensor device. The Xbox 360 won't be sold flat-out for $99, but will have a two-year $15 per month subscription attached to it.
At the end of the two-year period, customers would have paid slightly more for the bundle, compared to if they had dumped $299 down up-front. But, most people would rather pay a smaller monthly fee, then dump all of that money down at once. It's how smartphones are sold, in droves.
Included with the two-year subscription is a two-year warranty, membership to Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold service, and possible extra streaming material. If customers want to break the contract, they can do so by paying an early termination fee. This fee is currently unknown.