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SOPA/PIPA Internet Protests Go Viral, Hit Home

The protests to the widely condemned SOPA & PIPA "antipiracy" censorship bills have been a resounding success. They have gone viral with many, many websites blacking out and putting up protest pages, with big players taking part such as Wikipedia, Google, EFF, Reddit, Craigslist, Techdirt (greyed out) and many more taking part. Unsurprisingly, the bills' backers have not shown any sign of backing down (yet) but were prompted to make statements "wondering what all the fuss is about" to play down the damage done to their play for power, since they have recently made changes to them, such as removing the DNS blocking provisions - for now. Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) senior vice president of communications Jonathan Lamy called the protests 'stunts': "It's a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users and arm them with misinformation. It's time for the stunts to end and those who claim to care about rogue website theft to back up their rhetoric and work with us on meaningful solutions." This is the same RIAA that sued their own customers with extortionate "settlement" letters remember.

English Wikipedia to go dark January 18 in opposition to SOPA/PIPA

On January 18, 2012, in an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and PROTECTIP (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States.

Wikipedia Reaches $20 Million Fundraising Goal

It looks like those large "personal appeal" banners from Wikipedia's founders, staff, and contributors seemed to have finally "paid off", with the foundation achieving its US $20 million fundraising goal. Wikipedia is an ad-free service, but relies on donations to operate. While you can donate to Wikipedia any time of the year, the foundation starts fundraisers each time it's faced with a cash-crunch.

Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation thanked all donors "We've taken down our fundraising banners, because we’ve hit our target. Thanks to you. Over the past few months, more than one million people have come together from all over the world to keep Wikipedia and its sister sites alive and flourishing for another year." She continued: "Your support is how we pay our bills. People like you, giving five dollars, twenty dollars, a hundred dollars. Thank you for helping us. We’re the #5 most-popular site in the world --- we operate on a tiny fraction of the resources of any other top site. We will use your money carefully and well, I promise you." So there you go, no more opening articles about, say, massacres or wars to find inappropriately-placed pictures of smiling contributors or Wikipedia staff asking you to drop a few quids.

Source: Wikimedia Foundation

The GoDaddy Boycott: It Worked

The GoDaddy boycott over their support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation, which took effect today, appears to have worked. The initial fallout over GoDaddy's support for it, resulted in a furious backpedal and then a bit of dirty tricks to stop customers leaving. However, this backpedal stopped short of actually criticising it. The boycott, called by a user on Reddit and aided by Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, appears to have focused GoDaddy's mind on what's right and what's wrong. They have finally given us that criticism of SOPA that they should have made in the first place, as CEO Warren Adelman, said in this statement:
We have observed a spike in domain name transfers, which are running above normal rates and which we attribute to GoDaddy's prior support for SOPA, which was reversed. GoDaddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities. Our company regrets the loss of any of our customers, who remain our highest priority, and we hope to repair those relationships and win back their business over time.

Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

Commodore 64 Replica: The Ultimate PC Enthusiast Retro PC Gets An Upgrade

The original 8-bit Commodore 64 computer was very popular in the early 1980s, but the original company eventually closed down in the 1990s, having launched their 16-bit Amiga range in the meantime as the C64s successor. For a while now, replica C64 models, packed with the latest PC technology, have been made by Commodore USA, a different company that has purchased the original Commodore brand.

Since last summer, they have been selling a replica for $999 powered by an Intel CPU. This PC, called the C64x Ultimate (model number: C64x-UL) included a dual core Atom D525, NVIDIA Ion 2 graphics, 4 GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. A barebones version is available for $349 without a motherboard, just the keyboard and case, allowing the customer to add their own hardware into the retro box. However, Commodore USA has now upgraded their offering with a considerably more powerful CPU. This version is the C64x Extreme (model number: C64x-EX) which includes a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-2720QM CPU, mini-ITX motherboard and PSU, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, DVD writer (slot loading) 2 TB 7200 RPM HDD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The back panel has the following ports: legacy PS/2, USB 2.0 x5 (one eSATA combo) USB 3.0 x2, Ethernet and three audio jacks. Video connectivity is looked after by HDMI, DVI-D and VGA outputs.

AMOLED Technology Finally Poised For The Big Time?

The current display technology standard for most PCs and TVs is LCD nowadays. However, LCD technology has significant and well known drawbacks, such as limited viewing angles, poor colours, motion blur and input lag. These problems cause some people to swear by and hold on to the old and now obsolete CRT monitors, as it had none of these problems (it did however, have lots of others). There are various types of LCD technology in mainstream use today which attempt to address these shortcomings, but none fix them all. For example, TN displays are cheap to buy, relatively fast which reduces motion smear and input lag, but at the expense of viewing angle and colour accuracy, making them suitable for fast gaming and animation. Meanwhile, IPS displays have the opposite characteristics, making them suitable for professional photographic work, where accurate colours and vibrant pictures are essential.

Walled Garden Outfit Valve Accuses Apple Of Operating A Walled Garden

You've got to laugh at the hypocrisy of big companies sometimes. It's a well known fact that Apple operates a very closed and controlling walled garden eco system with all of their products, courtesy of the late Steve Jobs. Examples include the iPhone, which can only purchase apps from the official Apple apps store and the iPod, which can also only sync with iTunes, both due to deliberate vendor lock-in using a combination of hardware and software DRM (Digital Restrictions Management). Apple claims that this is to ensure a seamless, consistent and high quality user experience. Savvy users know this to be only half the story, instead it's there to shut out competition and lock you in to Apple for everything in order to charge high prices for allegedly "premium" product. The only way to avoid this, is to jailbreak the devices (break the DRM) which conveniently (for Apple) voids the warranty on these expensive gadgets. Thankfully, this process is no longer underground, due to a recent court ruling that said jailbreaking was legal, much to Apple's displeasure.

However, the equally closed Valve, with their Steam gaming platform and it's account-based DRM has accused Apple of being a closed system! They are also "concerned" about it. This happened in an interview between Bellevue-based Valve's Gabe Newell and leading games investor Ed Fries at the WTIA TechNW conference. This has been reported in The Seattle Times in Brier Dudley's blog.

Wikipedia Donation Campaign Succeeds in Raising Above $6 Million

What started off on a low-key as a free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia now stands as an indispensable part of the internet, as one of the most important information resources. Earlier in 2008, the Wikimedia Foundation (the parent organisation behind Wikipedia) found itself in a severe cash deficit that threatened the very existence of the Website. The organisation then sought to go public for help, launching a worldwide donation campaign. Their donation goal was set at US $ 6 million. The organisation kept its operations fairly transparent by providing a break-down of its 2008~09 budget.

Around the last week of 2008, their donations stood at $3.8 million. Following Christmas, a surge in donations was observed. In a matter of five days since Christmas, not only was the $6 million goal approached at, but also surpassed, which now stands at roughly $6.158 million. Wikipedia is thus saved and will live to see the light of this year.Source: TG Daily

Wikipedia Reaches Ten Million Articles

Earlier this week the Wikimedia Foundation reached a significant new milestone: on Thursday, March 27, at 00:07 UTC the official article count for all Wikipedias combined reached 10 million. The ten millionth article, a short biography of 16th century English goldsmith and painter Nicholas Hilliard, was created in the Hungarian Wikipedia by user Pataki Márta.

Google Developing Wikipedia Competitor

Google has decided to continue its bid for world domination by introducing Google Knol, where the company will “encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it” – sound familiar? The name Knol stands for a unit of knowledge, and Google’s service differs from Wikipedia in that users will not edit each other’s articles, instead they will write individual knols which compete against others written about the same subject. Another major difference between Knol and Wikipedia is that if the author chooses to let Google include ads with their knol, they will receive a “substantial revenue share” of the money that Google makes from the ads. So basically, Google is trying to encourage users to write encyclopedia entries about a subject by offering them a financial reward in return. At present the tool is still in the first phase of testing, and you only join by invitation, but Google eventually plans to let everyone use Knol for free.Source: Official Google Blog

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

Wikipedia Entry on George W. Bush Vandalized

Wikipedia prides itself in being the only open source dictionary with the approximate accuracy of the Encyclopedia Britannica that anybody at all can edit. Unfortunately, the noble cause of Wikipedia is sometimes out-shined by the immature vandalism of punks. This would be one such case: the entry for George W. Bush (the current president of the United States of America) was recently vandalized to show the anti-Bush views of an un-named editor. Before the article even begins, it reads...
Quite Simply, The Worse President In History! A Terrorist HimSelf, and a truly "stupid" Mother F*cker who we all wish would leave this country for ever befor he starts another war and kills us all, he's just in it for the money, Watch ZeitGeistmovie.com "pt2" to see what really happened on 9/11/01
Needless to say, Wikipedia will get this sorted out very soon, and will also probably lock this article to editing in the future. For those of us who want a quick giggle before this happens, I saved a screenshot of the vandalism for our entertainment.

Source: Wikipedia

Wikipedia Posts Two-Millionth English Article

Some people love Wikipedia for the large amount of useful information on it. Others hate it when they fail college essays because they used Wikipedia as their only source. However, regardless of how good or bad it really is, Wikipedia is immensely popular. Since 2001, the encyclopedia anybody can edit has seen over eight million articles in different languages, boasts 3.4 million editors, and is the sixth most visited website on the internet, behind Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Time Warner and eBay.

The article that claimed the honor of being the two-millionth published was about the Spanish television show "El Hormiguero".Source: Neowin

Wikipedia going compact

Free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia could soon be available on a CD as volunteers work on an offline version of the website. A preliminary version of the CD has already been released earlier this month, with Wikipedia hoping to become available to those without access to the internet – although this obviously destroys Wikipedia’s aim of allowing users to contribute to the encyclopaedia themselves. The CD, which can be purchased for $13.99 plus postage, is intended to be of a higher quality than the online version with all bad language and vandalism is being removed. Although the current version only features 2,000 articles, it likely to slowly expand to become a comprehensive offline encyclopaedia to compete with the likes of Britannica and Encarta.Source: Australian IT

Wikipedia falsely claims the death of Los Angeles entertainer

Recently, it seems like the encyclopedia anybody can edit, Wikipedia, has been getting a lot of bad press. Following the recent New Yorker interview fiasco where one of Wikipedia's chief editors blatantly lied about their identity, Wikipedia has been scrutinized on just about every one of their articles. Enough history. Wikipedia recently wrote that Los Angeles comedian Sinbad had died from a heart attack in their article on him. People started noticing Wikipedia's extreme error right after Sinbad started getting phone calls and e-mails asking where his funeral would be. Wikipedia has since fixed the article, locked it to editing, and hopes that everyone can forgive them. Incidents such as this make people wonder whether they should really trust Wikipedia as much as they probably do. This also brings the validity of Wikipedia as a source for, say, term papers and other school projects, into question.Source: The Inquirer

US Senate aims to ban Wikipedia from schools/libraries

Senator Ted Stevens is working to pass senate bill 49. Senate bill 49's goal is to reduce the seduction and rape of children over the internet. It does this by making access to interactive websites illegal on a school/library network (or at least the ones that get federal internet subsidies). The theory behind this is that interactive sites can be used to seduce children into meeting sex offenders over the internet. Unfortunately, useful sites like Amazon, Wikipedia, and TechPowerUp are considered "interactive", meaning that they would be banned if this bill was passed.Source: The Inquirer

Wikipedia set to take on Google

Jimmy Sales, the founder of online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, is planning a search engine called Wikiasari to compete with search giant Google. It will use a similar theme to Wikipedia by relying on volunteers to fine tune search results so they suit everyone better. Users will have the ability to re-rank search results and change the order in which they appear in. By collecting how the majority of users change results, Wikiasari will then decide the order in which results are shown to everyone else. Google controlled 49.5% of searches in December this year, so the competition from them will be fierce, but Wikipedia was a huge success.Source: BusinessWeek.com
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