News Posts matching "Internet"

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Facebook Allows Users to Delete Accounts

Yes, for quite some time, once you had a Facebook account, it wasn't going anywhere. Now, fortunately for college students and people with no attention span everywhere, Facebook now allows said people to delete their Facebook accounts. This was in direct response to user complaints about not being able to delete their accounts, if desired. Even if users were able to delete their own accounts, there were no obvious directions on how to do that. Another reason that Facebook decided to allow users to delete their accounts was a reason that could have gotten Facebook sued if they did not address it: privacy. The "I didn't actually make a Facebook" E-mails were really racking up in Facebook's inbox, and Facebook sometimes made it all too easy for people to research intimate/private/personal details of users' lives. At this point, deleting your account is just a help-page away. Facebook admins are considering adding a "delete account" button.Source: The Inquirer

America's First Amendment Extended to Internet Trolls

While most people inside and outside America feel that the right of free speech has succumbed to weaker minds and a move towards political correctness, a recent court decision would prove otherwise. DailyTech summed up what happened pretty nicely:
A California judge in the Sixth Appellate District in Santa Clara County last week ruled that anonymous trolls on the Internet are allowed to stay anonymous. Along with remaining anonymous, Internet trolls are able to say what they like, by exercising their First Amendment rights, no matter how belittling is it.
This decision reversed a prior ruling made just two years ago, in which ten subpoenas were issued to people that would fit into the definition of "internet trolls" who took things to new extremes.Source: DailyTech

Half of UK Children Have Seen Pornography

While the rest of the world is focused on being dainty, Victorian, and politically correct, the children have a much better idea in mind. The London School of Economics concluded something that many paranoid parents do not want to hear. Over 50% of respondents to the EU Kids Online survey from the United Kingdom confessed to watching internet pornography. When this survey was brought to Poland, a whopping 71% confessed to the same thing. However, this is where the good things end. Children from the United Kingdom claimed that they received a lot of "unwanted sexual solicitations"...over twice the average for the rest of Europe.

And now, time for a reality check. The above numbers were attained from a teaser to unpublished results of a survey. The results will be published sometime in June. The London School of Economics failed to define what exactly pornography was, or how old a child was according to them, in the teaser to the survey results.Source: The Inquirer

UK Internet Users Could be Banned for Illegal Downloads

No doubt this news will be met with ferocious attacks from the generally public, but it looks like internet users in the UK could soon see themselves banned from the internet for illegal film and music downloads if new government proposals are approved. Internet service providers will be legally required to enforce a “three-strikes” system – strike one means an email from the ISP, strike two means a suspension and strike three a ban. Under the proposals ISPs would be prosecuted for failing to enforce the new rules and suspected customers details could be made available to the courts. The government is yet to decide whether information on offenders will be shared between ISPs, but if so it could make it much more difficult to find a new ISP once you have been banned. This move comes as a result of six million UK broadband users downloading files illegally each year, with the proposals being officially unveiled next week.Source: Times Online

Indian IT Departments Riddled With Crippling Arthritis and Other Diseases

It's fairly obvious that most IT work is outsourced to places like India, where minimum wage and benefits are either not required or are much lower than they would be in America. However, there are huge problems with outsourcing to India, that was either overlooked or not considered at the time of outsourcing. Be it the fault of an utter lack of medical benefits, or a sheer volume of required tasks, IT departments in India are beginning to contract diseases relating to typing too much and/or too fast. Over 75% of the workers in Indian city Bangalore have been diagnosed with "musculoskeletal symptoms related to work". The most crippling, RSI, is known for putting victims through searing pain when doing even the most mundane tasks. Fortunately, only 20% of the workers with diseases suffer chronically, and with a little time off, the remaining 55% can probably function like normal. Whether or not big Western companies are willing to be humane and give said workers the mentioned time off is a different story.Source: The Inquirer

IBM Announces Grand Plans to Make Master Server for Entire Internet

IBM was never known for making anything small. From some of the very first computers to the PlayStation 3 processor, IBM is one of the largest influences of the tech industry. As if to add to this success, IBM wants to be a host: to the entire internet. The thought is, at first, silly, and then unfathomable. How can one computer, let alone one company, run the entire internet? IBM claims they can pull it off with a heavily modified Blue Gene computer, which they have codenamed "Kittyhawk". The processing power of Kittyhawk would be immense. The software is too complex to explain, and will be left at "Kittyhawk will run the internet as a single application". As far as hardware is concerned, current estimates say that Kittyhawk will need 67.1 million cores and 32PB of memory.Source: DailyTech

Three out of Five Broken Undersea Cables to be Repaired by Sunday

The owner of the cables decided it's high time to repair them. The broken cables, which disrupted internet access across much of the middle east and Asia, are well on their way to becoming fully operational again. At this point, there is still an investigation going on as to exactly why the cables were broken. Five cables being broken in the course of a week cannot be a coincidence. The current timeframe for repairs is one cable by Saturday and two by Sunday. The other two cables will be repaired in the very imminent future. At this point, internet traffic has been re-routed, so this whole issue is not as terrible as some would make it out to be.Source: Neowin.net

Microsoft Responds to 'Save XP' Petition

The folks over at Redmond are very serious when they say that they're trying to make Windows a product developed with a lot of user feedback. The 'Save XP' petition that we reported on yesterday got some recognition by Microsoft. Beating extreme improbabilities, and documenting one of the few times a petition actually does something, Microsoft acknowledged the users' concerns, and promised that fresh Windows XP licenses will be around as long as partners and customers feel like they need them. In the words of a Microsoft spokesperson...
We're aware of it, but are listening first and foremost to feedback we hear from partners and customers about what makes sense based on their needs. That's what informed our decision to extend the availability of XP initially, and what will continue to guide us.
Source: The Inquirer

Children Much Safer on Social Networking Sites Than Instant Messaging, Chat Rooms

Sites such as MySpace and Facebook have come under fire in recent times for allowing children to post as much as they want about themselves, which in some tragic cases hooks pedophiles up to pubescent girls. For a while, this was the only type of news coming in: bad press for social networking sites of any kind. Fortunately, things are changing. A recent study conducted by the University of New Hampshire confirmed what teenagers could have told you years ago: social networking sites are nothing compared to instant messaging clients and chatrooms. The University of New Hampshire took 1,600 healthy 10-15 year olds, and asked them to report any instances of sexual solicitation while on the internet. Roughly 4% said they were solicited while on a social networking site, and 9% said they were harassed. While these figures are nothing to dismiss, much more dire figures were found when children were asked if they had ever been solicited/harassed on an instant messaging/chat client. An astounding 59% of children were harassed while instant messaging, and 19% were harassed while in a chat room.Source: DailyTech

Google Testing New Way to Search, Calls it 'Google Experimental'

Google seems to have been around for about as long as the internet, and provides a necessary function. When there's something on the internet you just cannot find, Google takes less than two tenths of a second to find it for you. However, some people seem to have become awful bored with the same old way of searching for results. And so, Google remedied this issue by re-doing the way the search engine works. Google Experimental, instead of just slapping results in a user's face, gives users a lot of different options as far as how to review the results.
Aside from a list, users can view a map of results or a timeline with results chronologically organized. From there users can apply special informational filters, to further pare down the information obtained.
Dan Crowe, production manager over at Google, put the changes in place to make the user base happy. If you want to make Mr.Crowe happy, simply head on over to Google and let Google know you want to run the Experimental search by default.Source: DailyTech

Undersea Fiber Optic Network Cables Being Cut, Owners Won't Speculate As to Why

When an undersea fiber optic cable, who's sole job is to connect countries and continents, is cut, bad things happen. Entire countries, or even continents, can lose internet access, and entire chunks of the world can appear to go offline. When one was cut a week ago, nobody really considered it that big a deal, because the owner would replace it soon anyways. However, the owner has done no such thing, has not paid for any form of investigation, and merely watches as more cables are cut. Thus far, no less than five cables that run under the ocean have been lost, all five being in the middle east. Worse still, it would seem as though the owner is not looking into the exact cause of the cables all failing within one week of each other. Hopefully, action will be taken soon, and places near Southern Asia and the Middle East will have internet once again.Source: DailyTech

EBay to Ban Negative/Neutral User Feedback

Most of you surely know how trading on eBay works: the buyer buys something the seller is selling, and they both leave each other feedback based on their experience. If one of them stiffed the other, the feedback will reflect that, providing a nice layer of protection. However, eBay is planning on relinquishing that protection. It would seem as though some pesky buyers abused the system, and left negative feedback where none was necessary. Now, to prevent future problems, eBay is planning on eliminating the negative and neutral feedback altogether. In a quest to be politically correct and universally pleasing, eBay has taken up the mentality "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". This has left both buyers and sellers in a uproar, claiming that there is very little protection if a sale fails to come through.Source: Neowin.net

'Text to Pee' Service Launched on Finnish Highways to Curb Vandalism

It's pretty obvious that vandalism is not a small issue when it comes to public restrooms, especially those at rest stops on highways. The local highway patrol in Finland decided to do something to curb said vandalism. Called "SMS lock", anyone hoping to utilize a public restroom will have to text something along the lines of "open" to the phone number posted on the side of the stall, subject to standard SMS fees. While this may sound ridiculous for anyone who does not have text messaging on their phone, it actually has a sound reason behind it. Vandals may be a lot less tempted to vandalize if their mobile phone number is tagged to the crime.Source: Reg Hardware

Doctor Analyzes Cyber Sex and its Effect on the Technology Industry

While some would dismiss "cyber sex", or two people pleasuring themselves/each other utilizing technology, as a childish game reserved for hackers and 14-year-old girls from California, a doctor from the University of Portsmouth says that there is much more to cyber sex than just that. A lot more people are having cyber sex than we would like to think, and have a detrimental effect on technology. Dr Trudy Barber decided to investigate what this effect is and how deep it runs. She completed her thesis on "Creative Digital Practice and Theory Mash-up", and will present it on Friday. Until then, The Inquirer was able to interview Dr.Barber on the effect of cyber sex on the world. Much like in real life, the desire for sexual gratification has led to some interesting innovations. AOL Instant Messenger, Webcams, and various services would likely not have seen the success that they have had if not for a lot of people seeking digital sexual gratification. Dr.Barber also asserts that the digital universe allows cyber sex partners to assume roles that they have always wanted to. Please follow the source link for The Inquirer's interview with Dr.Barber.Source: The Inquirer

Web Address System Faces Changes; We Will Run Out of IPv4 Domains by 2011

Someone with a lot of spare time and a calculator determined the exact amount of time until we run out of web domains as we know them. By the year 2011, there will simply not be any room on the internet for any more websites the way we know them. Technologically speaking, every web address, or URL, has to be translated by a master server into an IPv4 address, which is a long string of numbers, much like many license plates on automobiles. Now that everyone is making their own website, we're starting to run low on figurative license plates. By 2011, all possible combinations of numbers will be used up. Thankfully, *nix geeks have already thought up the solution: make a new IP version. IPv6 has room for a lot more addresses, and is already in the middle of being adopted to the master server of IP addresses. Eventually, routers and operating systems will need upgrading, because anything that can't read IPv6 will not be able to visit IPv6 websites or view IPv6 content. However, the master geeks over at the master server have assured us all that such grandiloquent upgrades are a long way off.Source: Neowin.net

High School Student May Not Graduate Because he Built a Proxy Server

While some schools do everything they can to facilitate children learning about computers, others draw a fine line between "edutainment" and "security risk". A high school student in Fairfax County, Virginia must visit one of the latter categories. He was pulled out of his Philosophy exam to be told that he may not graduate; he built a proxy server in his (parents') home. Dubbed "Afnani’s Moo Proxy", it was used by himself and a couple technologically-adept students to bypass school firewalls. The administrator of the school networks would not have any of it. He tried to declare the server illegal, despite nothing in the usage contract saying using any proxy, let alone your own personal one, was illegal. When the student pointed out the flaw in the contract, the administrator simply changed his accusations to "repeat network abuse", which can keep the boy from walking at graduation.

The high school student has decided to comply, and has shut down all proxy servers he owns. His personal school computer account has been disabled, but he is (at this point) allowed to graduate.Source: The Inquirer

RIAA Does Not See Need for ISP Filtering

It's not news that Comcast secretly monitors all web traffic for possible illegal activity and shuts down anything that sets off their alarms. However, there has lately been a move to push this ISP filtering one step further, and making it mandatory for all ISPs. Thankfully, the RIAA, known throughout America for taking ridiculous measures to prevent piracy, really does not see the need for the proposed solution. All the RIAA asks instead is that ISPs, instead of monitoring and filtering everything that comes their way, merely respond to the RIAA's demands to shut down certain servers and users, when necessary.Source: Neowin.net

Study Concludes Googling Oneself is Popular

Apparently, people enjoy stalking themselves and each other using the power of Google. A recent study concludes that 47% of internet users have "Googled" themselves at one point in time to research themselves. A larger percentage of people have used Google to find information about other people. The group that did the study, called "The Pew Internet and American Life Project", was surprised that this number was not higher. After all, who hasn't felt the urge to put their name into Google to see what comes up?

The study also concluded that some 60% of people are not worried about the personal information that can be found about them online. Most of the people who were found to Google themselves more often were less than 50 years old, or had careers that required a powerful online persona.Source: Neowin

Microsoft's 'Santa' IM Program Pulled After Discussing Sex and Drugs With Children

'Tis the season to be jolly. This must have been the mentality the coders of a Santa Claus instant-messaging bot adopted when creating it. However, it would seem that one of the coders was getting a little too jolly. A hardworking man from The Register walked in on his pubescent nieces discussing oral sex with "northpole@live.com", the address of the Santa Claus bot. Disturbed and appalled, the man led a journalistic expedition, and tried to find the cause of the tirade and isolate the language. After playing a certain pizza game, the Santa Claus impersonator was very quick to begin discussing oral sex with the man from The Register, and promptly proceeded to call him a "Dirty Bastard". On an entirely different occasion, when you tell Santa you want some "cake", he will respond "You don't need drugs when you're high on life!"

When The Register brought this to Microsoft's attention, the men at Redmond were very prompt in changing the words that the robo Santa said, and in lieu of more complaints, has decided to pull the bot altogether. They profusely apologized to the nieces that were jaded by the perverted Santa, and are doing an internal investigation to find out more about it.


Source: The Register

'IYule' Log Puts Fireplace in Your Pocket

If you ignore the bad romance novel pun, the iYule really does put a fireplace in your pocket. You can install the iYule on various digital devices, including the iPod, iPod Touch, Zune, Apple TV, Xbox 360 and of course computers (as a screen-saver). When initiated, the clever 30-minute looping track is a full-screen video of a crackling log fire, complete with crackling, popping, and sizzling sounds from a fire recorded in HD. It also comes with an intriguing piano soundtrack, but you can choose to get a version that does not include the music. The iYule is priced at $5 for mobile versions, $7 for the PC/Xbox 360 version, $7 for all versions sans music, and $10 for every version available, with "bonus features". 10% of all proceeds from the iYule will go to charity. You can see a full flash sample here, to help you decide whether or not a digital fire is your kind of thing. If you'd like to buy your very own iYule, please go here.

Source: The Inquirer

Online Shoppers Ignore Advertising; Trust Customer Reviews

For the past several years, advertisers have been trying to get new customers by throwing advertisements of their products in their faces. They do this by way of pop-ups, vibrant banners, in-line text, and other crazy methods. A recent survey proposes that customers listen to almost none of that. In fact, most customers were more likely to avoid a product if the advertisement annoyed them. Instead, what really gets consumers to buy a product is positive customer reviews, forums, blogs, and other forms of product recommendations on a more personal level. As if in support of this, other studies conclude that offline influences of purchases are, in order from most to least influential, the recommendation of a friend, magazine/newspaper editorials, salespersons advice, press advertising and clever TV advertising.Source: Vnunet

Black Friday Web Traffic Kills Websites

As we all know, Black Friday is the time where people looking for great deals run to stores at 4AM to take advantage of 50%-off sales. However, this year, it took a particularly high toll on the internet, which does not require you to be at the store at 4AM to take advantage of deals. As people rushed to such sites as Lowe's and Macy's to buy stuff, servers crumpled under the load. And when they crumpled, they crumpled where it hurt users most: at transaction points. Some sites suffered a ridiculous 400% slowdown as a result of Black Friday sales, which caused some customers to abandon their product search/purchase. Some sites were even temporarily shut down due to Black Friday traffic, such as esteemed technology retailer Newegg.Source: EWeek

American School Librarian Starts 'Say No to Wikipedia' Campaign

Any member of techPowerUp! that currently attends or has attended a public school, and done a research paper at said public school, knows that using Wikipedia as a source is a huge no-no. New Jersey librarian Linda O'Connor decided to take the verbal no-nos and grading penalties on papers citing Wikipedia a step further. She designed, purchased, and distributed "just say no to Wikipedia" posters all around the local high school that she works in. O'Connor of course has the backing of several teachers that do not like to see students too lazy to find and cite the sources themselves.

There are, of course, legitimate reasons behind banning a well-meaning website from research papers. One student nearly wrote a Martin Luther King Jr. report based on information found on a white-supremacist version of the Wikipedia article on the black man. Another student found a drastically lowered casualty count when researching the Vietnam war. Wikipedia of course does not tolerate these instances when found, and deals with them by locking the articles to editing by new/untrustworthy users. Teachers argue that such methods are too little, too late.Source: The Inquirer

France Unveils Plan to Cut Internet Service to Pirates

While the RIAA and CRIA (the respective American and Canadian anti-piracy firms) work hard to shut down piracy sites and sue every old man and college student with a pirated "all your base are belong to us" clip, France has a slightly different approach to getting pirates off the map. The SNEP (Syndicat National de l'Edition Phonographique) recently unveiled plans to cut off internet to anyone that ISPs decide are pirating. ISPs will give their customers "three strikes", and then their internet is cut off. The SNEP believes that this is a much easier and fair way to eliminate piracy, as opposed to the RIAA's infamous search-and-sue methods. French president Nicolas Sarkozy claims that this is a "decisive moment for the future of a civilized Internet." While this move received much fanfare from the various artists and media industries, politicians aren't so sure this is a good idea. Some politicians feel that this move is "very tough, potentially destructive of freedom, anti-economic and against digital history." The main incentive behind this maneuver is to counter the 40% drop in music sales noted since 2002.Source: DailyTech

Firefox 3.0 Beta 1 Memory Usage Tested

Ever since Firefox 3.0 Beta 1 was released to the public, people have been wondering whether or not memory usage was any better. An independent tester decided to take it upon himself to investigate. Running a Windows Vista Home Premium system with 2GB of RAM that had never had Firefox installed on it before, the man put each browser under three different testing scenarios (that were equivalent between the two systems). First, he loaded five web pages into the browser. Then, he loaded a single page and let the browser idle for 10 minutes. Finally, he loaded 12 pages and waited five minutes. The results are very interesting.

Firefox 2.0.0.9 used 35,640KB of RAM on the first test, 47,852KB on the second test, and a staggering 103,180KB on the last test. Firefox 3.0 Beta 1 at first did not seem to be doing much better, using 38,644KB and 63,764KB of RAM on the first and second tests, respectively. However, on the final test, Firefox 3.0 Beta 1 required only 62,312KB, over 40,000KB less than what Firefox 2.0.0.9 required. For comparison, Internet Explorer 7 used 89,756KB on the final test. Please check out the source link for screenshots and more detailed test results.Source: ZDNet
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