You may have heard about this little thing called the Internet (how else are you reading this?). As it turns out, the World Wide Web is wide indeed and set to exceed 2 billion users before the end of the year, according to a report by the International Telecommunications Union.
That's nearly a third of the human population on earth (6.9 billion). The ITU figures the Internet will add around 226 million new users by the end of 2010, and out of those 162 million will connect from developing countries.
When 2010 comes to a close, some 71 percent of the population in developed countries will be online. Broken down regionally, 65 percent of the population in Europe will surf the Web, while 55 percent of the population in the Americas will be online.
A recent hacker attack against hosting provider Reality Check Network resulted in a massive blackout for several popular torrent sites, TorrentFreak reports. The attack took place on Saturday morning, corrupting the Master Boot Records (MBRs) of several servers, RCN said.
"We are writing this letter to inform you that a very targeted malicious attack took place on our network this morning at 6AM EST. As a result, most of our server operating systems have been corrupted resulting in the current downtime," the company wrote to the affected customers.
"We have access to all backups and have already figured out a strategy for bringing your servers back up, and have all hands on deck working to restore service," Reality Check Network President Moisey Uretsky added.
Much to the dismay of conspiracy theorists, the hacker in question doesn't appear to be a hired goon of the RIAA. Instead, Reality Check Network said "it was the result of an ex-employee" who had worked for the company for three years and "had intimate knowledge" of the systems.
Tens of millions of Facebook users are potentially being bamboozled by many of the social network's most popular apps, The Wall Street Journalreports. According to WSJ's investigation, these apps are sharing users' names, and even their friends' names, to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies.
But that's only the half of it. The issue supposedly even affects users who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings, which means these apps are blatantly ignoring Facebook's rules. So what is Facebook doing to combat the problem?
"Our technical systems have always been complemented by strong policy enforcement, and we will continue to rely on both to keep people in control of their information," a Facebook official said.
And yes, according to the WSJ, these apps include Zynga's ever popular FarmVille, which boasts 59 million users, as well as Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille.
"Zynga has a strict policy of not passing personally identifiable information to any third parties," a Zynga spokeswoman said. "We look forward to working with Facebook to refine how Web technologies work to keep people in control of their information."
Back in January of this year, the number of available IPv4 addressed fell below 10 percent, and if you thought we still had plenty of time to transition to IPv6, think again. The Number Resource Organization is now saying that less than five percent of the world's IPv4 addresses remain unallocated.
"This is a major milestone in the life of the Internet, and means that allocation of the last blocks of IPv4 to the RIRs is imminent," states Axel Pawlik, Chairman of the Number Resource Organization (NRO), the official representative of the five RIRs. "It is critical that all Internet stakeholders take definitive action now to ensure the timely adoption of IPv6."
IPv4 has proved popular in part because a single address can be shared by multiple computers by using a technique called network address translation (NAT). NAT has its limits, however, while IPv6 offers an almost infinite number of addresses and a better renumbering scheme.
Microsoft and Facebook are now friends in the search game, as the two companies on Wednesday announced a partnership that will integrate the popular social network into Bing's search results. It's not a full-on gut punch to Google, but perhaps a solid sock to the arm.
"When you search for something on Bing or in Web results on Facebook (powered by Bing), you'll be able to see your friends' faces next to the webpages they've liked," Facebook stated in a blog post. "So, you can lean on friends to figure out the best websites for your search."
The collaboration also purports to improve people search results on Bing so that it's easier to find old friends or hook up with new ones. When you type in a search query, Bing tracks down and provides the results most relevant to you based on your Facebook connections. Type the name of someone, for example, and you can click to add them as a Friend or send them a message if they're already in your Facebook clan.
On the privacy front, Microsoft says "you will only see Facebook users who have enabled 'public search' in their Facebook profiles."
The latest release also includes enhanced support for advanced Web standards, like HTML5 and WebM video, search suggestions for selected providers has been fine tuned, and Opera can now prompt you to share your location to make better use of geolocation-supporting sites.
In addition, Opera Software vaporized a box full of bugs, everything from goofiness with the user interface (no more Opera Link freezing on startup, for example) to a handful of security fixes.
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A new report by market research firm SocialTwist suggests that marketers might want to take a long, hard look at social networking. SocialTwist offers a widget called Tell-a-Friend that lets users share sites through social media, and it was through this tool that the company was able to analyze over a million referral messages.
What SocialTwist found was that email still dominates by accounting for 55 percent of referrals. At the same time, social networking sites are becoming increasingly popular and saw a 10 percent increase in usage, as well as a 16 percent jump in click-throughs. And here's where things get interesting.
As far as click-throughs are concerned, social networking sites top email by accounting for 60 percent of the market versus 31 percent, respectively. Of those sites, Facebook sits way up on top with a 78 percent usage rate, followed by MySpace (14 percent) and Twitter (5 percent). But despite trailing Facebook by a significant margin, Twitter is pummeling Facebook as the most effective portal for click-throughs. According to SocialTwist's numbers, Twitter yielded an average of 19.04 clicks, compared to just 2.87 clicks via Facebook.
Alright, cheap geeks. It’s tough to want to put out even $0.99 for the latest single on iTunes (or wherever), and don’t even get me started about the annoyance that occurs when you find some slammin’ new track on Youtube, only to realize that you can’t rock out to it in your car because… it’s… on… Youtube.
Youtube is like the poor man’s free music library – just go scan for any music video and voila! It’s an instant way to dial up your favorite songs without having to pay for the track. However, this isn’t really the kind of solution that you can take with you.
For starters, pulling up Youtube video after Youtube video on your phone in a vain attempt to rock out sans cash investment will make you look like the biggest cheapskate alive. It’ll also drain your battery. And, here’s the kicker, it won’t work anywhere that’s lacking in wireless coverage. Or, to put it another way, there’s no reason why you should be trying to transform Youtube videos into your song library.
For those of you who use Yahoo Search, you may have noticed some changes lately. That's because Yahoo has begun kicking out the first in a series of search enhancements, such as search categories laid out in vertical tabs.
"With these shortcuts, you can watch movie trailers, listen to songs from an album, see the latest photos, and read the latest tweets about certain topics," Yahoo said in a blog post. "We're creating a search experience that, instead of merely presenting you with a simple list of results, lets you discover important, relevant information and get things done right after you search."
Not just for the PC, Yahoo says it also enhanced Web search for iPhones and Android devices with better organized results that tap into HTML5 technology. To see this in action, Yahoo suggests visiting m.yahoo.com on your mobile Web browser and searching for a stock quote.
Just because you added your boss to your network of friends on Facebook doesn't mean you want him/her to see what you did over the weekend. Same holds true for your Aunt Mabel. To address this, Facebook has revamped its Groups feature so you can be more selective over who sees what.
"Today we're announcing a completely overhauled, brand new version of Groups," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced in a blog post. "It's a simple way to stay up to date with small groups of your friends and to share things with only them in a private space. The default setting is Closed, which means only members see what's going on in a group.
"From this space, you can quickly post photos, make plans, and keep up with ongoing conversations. You can also group chat with members who are online right now. You can even use each group as an email list to quickly share things when you're not on Facebook."