Put down the political pitchforks, because whether or not you're into politics, you might want to start paying attention in the coming months. Among the topics a Democratic aide said is likely to make a comeback this year is Net neutrality, along with possible changes to digital copyright and patent law.
Net neutrality, who Aaron Cooper, counsel to Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in the Senate Judiciary Committee, says is a "completely judiciary issue" might soon take center stage. And if you're not keeping a close eye on where things are going, you can bet that copyright holders are. Case in point - Cablevision has proposed a service that would allow subscribers to record broadcast TV shows and movies on a DVR hosted by Cablevision, but not everyone likes the idea. Alec French, VP for government relations for NBC Universal, warns that Cablevision's plan would be "setting a roadmap out for anyone who wants to create a copyright infringing service."
Issues like this and statutory licensing reform (of high interest to Webcasters) are just some of the topics that could step into the limelight in 2009 and affect how you use your PC.
Afraid to let your teen and pre-teen children online for fear the boogeyman might reach through the screen and take them away? Understandable, given the prominence of social networking sites, which has made it easier than ever for child predators to target new prey. But lest you go in a panic, a long awaited report form the Internet Safety Technical Task Force says children and teens aren't as vulnerable to sexual predation as commonly feared.
The task force, which was formed as a result of a joint agreement between MySpace and 49 state attorneys general, concludes that "actual threats that youth may face appear to be different than the threats most people imagine" and that "the image presented by the media of an older male deceiving and preying on a young child does not paint an accurate picture of the nature of the majority of sexual solicitations and internet-initiated offline encounters."
Hit the jump to find out who the task force identified as the real online danger.
Lock manufacturer Schlage is about to roll out Schlage Link, an assortment of web-controlled locks, lights and thermostats. The package allows a person to control these devices using an internet-enabled cellphone or computer. Schlage Link is designed to operate in concert with Webcams. However, the product elicits a bit of skepticism as such attempts in recent times have met with little success.
There are three ways to open the lock, using a key, by entering a four-digit code, or through a web interface. It constantly relays information to the owners and alerts them if it suspects something fishy. Schlage Link’s price is not what people might be willing to pay with a smile. It carries a price tag of $299 besides a monthly fee of $12.99.
If you’re in to RSS feeds to help capture your news, then you’re more than likely already using Google Reader. Alternatives to the popular RSS aggregator exist, but as one of the best cloud based solutions out there it enjoys one of the largest and most robust user bases. Since it appears as though RSS has peaked as a technology, the creative minds at Google are hoping to bring in fresh blood by offering video tutorials to help get new users over the learning curve. These videos attempt to teach everything from the basics, to the more advanced features. They are no doubt hoping this will help push up adoption rate.
Unofficial how to clips have been around on You Tube for awhile now. In fact, last year’s help video challenge spawned a great many of them. This however, is the first official series offered by the company and even covers off some of the newest features that were just added during December’s redesign. As an avid user of Google reader I can defiantly recommend the advanced tutorials. You are almost guaranteed to pick up something you didn’t know. Want to try out Google Reader with some of the Maximum PC RSS feeds? Look no further.
Do you use Google's Reader? If not what is your RSS reader of choice?
Google Street View has been on the radar of privacy advocates and has had its fair share of legal run-ins with them. But many of them might just undergo a change of heart after being told that cops in Massachussetes solved a kidnapping case using Google Street View. Although it is too early to say whether it will remain an isolated incident or become a precedent, the story is truly amazing.
When cops were trying to find the whereabouts of a 9-year old girl, who had been abducted by her granny, they were able to trace the coordinates of her phone to a location in Virginia. They then came up with an ingenious plan of identifying possible hideouts in that area using Google Street View.
Local cops were soon dispatched to a suspected hideout, where they found that technology had not disappointed them.
All systems are go for Comcast, who confirmed to DSL Reports it has implemented its broadband throttling system across all markets. The two-condition throttling system works by first examining aggregate traffic usage data for individual segments of Comcast's high-speed internet (HSI) network. If the overall upstream or downstream usage reaches a predetermined level, the software system then identifies which subscribers are using a disproportionate share of the bandwidth and assigns them a lower priority status. According to Comcast, throttling won't actually occur "so long as the network segment is not actually congested" (see Comcast's filings with the FCC in PDF form).
It will take a sustained use of 70 percent of the downstream throughput for a user to be assigned a lower priority, which will remain that way until usage drops to 50 percent of the provisioned upstream or downstream bandwidth for about 15 minutes. In this throttled state, traffic may or may not be delayed or dropped, depending on the overall demand, Comcast says.
In the past, Comcast received heavy criticism over its decision to use forged TCP packets to throttle upstream P2P services no matter how much bandwidth a user was consuming. This new system of identifying and potentially thwarting bandwidth hogs sounds a fair bit, well, more fair than the ISP's previous approach, but we'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Do you like what Comcast is doing? Hit the jump and sound off.
It seems inevitable that ISPs currently training their guns at p2p traffic will soon start fretting over video sharing websites, which are gaining in popularity and gradually conquering more internet bandwidth. November 2008 proved to be another prolific month for online video websites. According to data released by comScore Video Metrix service, there was a 34% year-over-year increase in online viewership in the US in November. A staggering 12.7 billion online videos kept online viewers riveted to their computer screens.
Google websites accounted for 40% of the total views in that month. Google obviously has its Youtube juggernaut to thank for being in the ascendancy. Youtube contributed 98% of Google’s market share. Google websites also triumphed as far as total number of viewers goes with 98 million viewers in November.
One website that has come up by leaps and bounds is Hulu, which retained the 6th spot in the high-stakes online video market in November 2008. Hulu scored a major victory over its competitors by emerging as the website with most riveting videos as the average duration of each video viewed at Hulu was 11.9 minutes – way higher than the industry average of 3.1 minutes.
Facebook has dragged Brazilian start-up Power.com to court. The Brazilian company has been on collision course with Facebook ever since its launch, for it is a social-network aggregator that allows internet users to access all major social network websites, including Facebook and MySpace, through its website. Power.com raised Facebook’s ire by proceeding with the launch of its service without seeking its blessings.
The two parties tried to settle their differences across the negotiation table, but all in vain. Facebook stipulated that the Meebo for social networks utilize Facebook connect. It eventually decided to file suit against the Brazilian start-up. Although the Brazilian website’s CEO Steve Vachani maintains the case against his company is weak, the website is no longer offering access to Facebook through its website. Ironically, Facebook has been under fire for showing feeds from Google Reader, Hulu, Last.fm, Pandora, StumbleUpon, and YouTube.
With outsourced support now the de facto standard in the IT and ISP industries, do-it-yourself computer repair has gone from being an optional luxury to an outright necessity. You might feel hopeless and abandoned the first time your network connection gives out, but don’t fret just yet. Given the right direction, even the greenest of users can fix a number of common network errors. We’re going to give you all the tools you need to become your own network tech support.
You might be skeptical, but LAN/WAN troubleshooting isn’t all that difficult. Upgrades are easy and cheap—if required at all—and the analysis process is brief and painless, even if you’ve never wired a Cat5 cable or run a command line ipconfig. Even better, many of the steps and instructions are identical in Vista and XP, which goes a long way toward easing the troubleshooting transition, should you switch from one OS to the other.
While sometimes a call to your ISP is unavoidable, when you do have to do it, at least you’ll brandish the knowledge to blaze through all the low-level BS and head straight to a speedy resolution. Don’t let the Internet and networking companies bully you any longer—it’s time to stand up and take matters into your own hands.
Read on to find out how to optimize your internet experience!