While most web service companies work day and night to lock you in, Google has always maintained funding to its Data Liberation Front to help you do the exact opposite. One of the principles that have always made us admire Google is their commitment to making it as easy to leave a web service as it was to join, and today they are adding an important new expansion. As of now, YouTube users can download the original (non-transcoded) version of any clip they have uploaded to the service in the past, or in the future.
Replacing physical media with streaming music, movies and more is a wonderful idea, but in order to do it, you need a big, open bandwidth pipe. Nobody's ever watched an HD version of "Mad Men" on a 768kbps connection, after all. Christmas in July came early for cord cutting Verizon FiOS customers; the company plans on increasing users' max download speeds by a factor of two-fold or more, depending on which plan you're currently subscribed to.
Microsoft wasn't quite ready to tip its hand with a Windows 8 Release Preview until sometime next week, but ready or not, someone leaked the Chinese version to the Web. With the cat out of the bag, the Windows 8 Release Preview has been making the rounds, giving us more than just a glimpse at what the next build has in store, including an updated boot screen.
If your trigger finger starts itching for a new FPS frag fest while you're out-and-about and away from your PC, Steam now offers the gaming equivalent of calamine lotion: remote game management. Yup, Valve's made it possible to install new games on your PC while you're "busy" at work. Yay instant gratification!
Oh, those tricky Pirate Bay folks. The Teflon buccaneers have always managed to stay one step ahead of the law; for example, the site recently switched to the .SE domain to avoid a Megaupload-style takedown and three of its founding operators fled Sweden to avoid facing jail time and millions in fines. Now, a Pirate Bay user has released a zipped 90MB file containing the key components of every torrent hosted by the site. Basically, if Pirate Bay goes down, anyone with this file will be able to get it up and running again lickity split.
Mozilla's popular Firefox browser officially turns 10 today, as in version 10, not years in existence (if we're to use the launch of Firefox 1.0 as the browser's birth date, Firefox will turn 10 years old on November 9, 2014). New to version 10 is the absence of the Forward browsing button, which is now hidden until you navigate back. It also includes anti-aliasing for WebGL, and a few other tricks.
We imagine Santa did his fair share of grumbling this year as he reminisced about the days when kids asked for toy trains and dolls. The current generation is more interested in smartphones and tablets, which would explain why the last week of the 2011 saw more iOS and Android device activations than any previous week of the year. That kind of strong finish should have app developers smiling from ear to ear.
This just in from the “Isn’t it ironic?” department: IP addresses from some of the top content creation companies, including Fox, Sony and Universal, have been caught red-handed downloading torrents of movies, music and TV shows. That’s the claim from TorrentFreak, at least, who sifted through data from YouHaveDownloaded, a Russian site that logs – and exposes! – IP addresses downloading many of the public torrents you can find out there. TorrentFreak did some digging and managed to match several infringing IP addresses to IP addresses registered to the aforementioned companies.
The typical Maximum PC reader is unlikely to break a sweat while installing Windows, but that’s not to say that it’s a walk in the park for everyone out there. As acknowledged by the Windows engineering team in its most recent Building Windows 8 blog post, there are still those who find the whole process fairly “complex.” But they will be happy to know that Microsoft has promised a simpler and much more streamlined setup experience with Windows 8. Details after the jump.
Ancient people used the sun to calculate the passing of time. That isn’t necessarily the most accurate time-keeping method around now – especially with the whole daylight savings time thing – but fortunately, us modern types have something just as reliable to keep track of the days: Firefox’s new rapid-release schedule. Six weeks after Firefox 7 launched, Firefox 8 is now available for download – but you’ll need to scrounge around a bit for it.