Sudden move seen as final step toward DNS privatization
The U.S. government, often accused of having a disproportionate say in the working of the Internet, is about to loosen its grip considerably by ceding control of key domain name functions to the international community. To this end, U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit responsible for the global coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers (names, IP addresses and protocol parameters), “to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA.”
Google should have taken a page from The Outer Limits and told anyone with an Internet connection, "There is nothing wrong with your monitor. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling the transmission. If we wish to change the font, we will change the font." And that's exactly what Google did -- the sultan of search changed its search page fonts, in part to accommodate an easier way of identifying ad-supported links.
Another high performance router option in the 802.11ac space
If you've been putting off upgrading your home network, now is a good time to finally upgrade your hardware, starting with your router. Wireless-AC is here (still in Draft form, but we've run into very few quirks with the routers we've tested to date) and it can make a world of difference in your home network, even if you own a Wireless-N router. You have a growing number of options to choose from, including Trendnet's new TEW-818DRU dual-band router, which is the company's new flagship consumer model.
Bizarre hacking incident comes to a happy conclusion
Naoki Hiroshima, original owner of the @N handle on Twitter, claims he routinely fielded offers for his coveted username, including one that was as high as $50,000. People have also tried to steal the rare username from him, though those attempts were unsuccessful until a hacker applied some social engineering skills to ultimately force him to hand it over. It's a bizarre story that involves ineptitude on the part of both GoDaddy and PayPal, though there's a happy ending -- Hiroshima has his username back.
Google has announced plans to investigate the possibility of expanding its Google Fiber service to nine metro areas in the United States. Having set up its network system in Kansas City (KS), Austin (TX), and Provo (UT), Google is looking to branch out and discover how feasible it will be to bring its service to other areas.
Lucky residents in Kansas City and Provo, Utah can already sign up for 1Gbps Google Fiber service, and Austin, Texas isn't far behind. That's 100 times faster than the average American speed of 9.8Mbps (based on Akamai's State of the Internet 3Q2013), and yet it's also only the tip of the iceberg. Apparently bitten by the speed bug, Google is currently working on speeds of 10Gbps.
Cable companies and tech firms like Microsoft share a common goal
A coalition of cable companies and well known technology firms has been formed to address the "Wi-Fi spectrum crunch" and to lobby Washington to free up unlicensed spectrum. The coaltion is called WifiForward and it includes cable companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable (which Comcast is trying to acquire), and Charter Communications, along with technology firms like Microsoft, Google, and Broadcom.
Notice to new Firefox users: You've been served (ads)
Mozilla has decided that the best course of action going forward is to fill all those blank squares in new tabs with sponsored content (ads, for the layman). The new initiative is called Directory Tiles and it's intended to "improve the first-time-with-Firefox experience," or at least that's the sales pitch from Darren Herman, Mozilla's Vice President of Content Services. It's his job to diversify revenue and sustain Mozilla's mission through innovation in content and personalization products, and this is one way he plans to do that.
Microsoft co-founder makes his second Reddit AMA appearance in a year
It was almost a year ago to the day when Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates jumped into an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit. There have been a lot of changes since then culminating in the promotion of Satya Nadella to Chief Executive Officer, who replaced outgoing chief Steve Ballmer. Bill Gates addressed that topic and more in another Reddit AMA today, and also revealed his "most expensive guilty pleasure purchase."
Attention Surface owners and anyone else rocking a touchscreen display with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, there's a version of Firefox you might be interested in. Mozilla today made its "Firefox for Windows 8 Touch" beta available to download, so you can tap and swipe your way through cyberspace the way you do on the Start screen. The browser has a new tile-based Firefox start screen with one-tap access to Top Sites, Bookmarks, and History.