According to the Google Apps Dashboard, the incident began at 4:37pm Pacific Time and lasted from one to five minutes. The blackout seemingly affected the entire collection Google’s online services at the same time, but everything was noted as up and running again by 4:48pm.
However, this was more than a typical outage. The scope of Google’s influence and impact on overall general web use has never been more obvious. GoSquared, a web analytics firm, determined that 40% of total Internet traffic worldwide was lost during Google’s momentary blackout. GoSquared noted that the significant dip in Internet usage was telling and that “our reliance on google.com being up is huge.” The firm also revealed that pageviews spiked just after Google came back online.
What would have happened if the outage had lasted for more than a few brief moments? Chaos, it seems. It’s not that Google is the only search engine at our disposal, others like Bing work just as well, but Google is generally thought to be a more reliable and credible source of information that its competitors.
Luckily, internet users around the world didn’t have to resort to alternative search engines for long, as Google’s services were back in action within minutes. However, it is a still unnerving to know that one company’s downtime can affect us all so heavily, especially since the cause for Google’s blackout remains unclear.
If tweeting from your phone or computer using a keyboard or voice is getting too boring for you, you might want to check out an alternative way of inputting your thoughts i.e. via Morse code. Some folks have hacked together a telegraph key together with an Arduino board and came up with the Tworse Key. All you have to do is plug the key into an Ethernet port, make sure you’re connected to the internet, and start typing away. Sure it’s not a very efficient process, neither are there any advantages to using this over a regular keyboard, but it looks pretty cool. And it makes you feel like you’re on a ship. Check out the video of the Tworse Key in action, and another Twitter-Morse code device we covered previously.
Various startups are already in on the movement to make learning how to code more accessible to the general populous, but a new tool was released last week aimed at educating children on the subject. The new company is called Tynker, and they want children to begin learning code in elementary school. Tynker believes that in our technologically saturated society, kids should grow up with at least a rudimentary understanding of how computers operate and are programmed.
The Tynker Learning Platform is designed to bring STEM learning tools to elementary school classrooms, so it’s targeted more towards teachers than students or parents. Tynker explains on their blog that their approach to teaching code isn’t just focused on perfecting Python syntax or even learning one entire programming language; rather, they want students to grasp the basic “underlying computational logic” behind each language. They insist that no child is too young to start learning to program, and remind us that coding is perhaps one of the most valuable skills this century.
The learning platform provides free access to lesson plans, tutorials, and software to assist with grading assignments and develop additional lessons. The plans include kid-friendly, fun assignments that will hopefully entice school-aged children to continue learning more complex forms of code, as they get older. The projects range from building mobile games to producing cartoons. Silicon Valley has already fallen in love with the beta version of the school program.
Codeacademy is one of the most popular platforms designed for teensn and adults that teaches anyone to learn how to code, starting with the very basics. The idea is that programming skills should be encouraged among the general public through simple step-by-step lessons. The approach is practical rather than theoretical, allowing students to start creating small programs from the get-go, which will hopefully attract more people to the learning process than if the lessons began with ideas, definitions and theory.
The Sony Xperia tablet z was released on the 22nd of January, so you don’t have to listen to all the rumors anymore and you can finally check out the actual specs.
The Tablet Z will be featuring running on Android 4.1 tablet while sporting a 10.1” display with a resolution of 1920×1200, and under the hood Sony will be packing a quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. It will also feature an 8MP rear-facing camera which is a great camera that Sony has designed to capture the best photos with the minimal lighting.
Sony has come up with many features for this tablet to stand out against competitors. The Xperia tablet is only 6.9mm thin which is thinner than the Apple’s Ipad Mini.
While that might not be the sharpest display on the market it’s certainly up there as one of the better ones in terms of clarity. The new Sony Mobile Bravia Engine 2 technology has been incorporated into this device which ensures the quality of brightness, contrast and colors delivered to the audiences.
Sony offers only one option for the Xperia Tablet Z which has 32GB internal storage and microSD support for cards up to 32GB and high-capacity up to 64GB.
With Sony’s waterproofing and dust proofing technology that’s featured on the Xperia Z, this tablet might give Apple some competition.
Also the tablet will also feature the S-Force Front Surround 3D, which will improve sound volume and quality compare to the competitors. The Xperia Tablet Z will also pack LTE and NFC connectivity and is said to be available in Japan this Spring.
The latest line-up from Sony reveals a new hope for low-end laptops, demonstrating that you shouldn’t need to purchase the most expensive product to get a high-quality device. Unfortunately, they’ve made the naming system for the new product line as confusing as possible. Hopefully this won’t discourage consumers from checking out what they’ve got to offer.
Sony introduced the new VAIO Fit lineup on Tuesday May 7th, and although the new notebooks are marketed as entry-level, they are actually quite impressive devices. Starting at $549, the Fit E is the most basic model notebook and includes an Intel Core processor, hybrid hard drives and Nvidia graphics.
Another new device, simply called Fit (without the E; see how this could get confusing?), runs a price tag of $649 and is support by an attractive aluminum structure. The Fit is slimmer than many low-end laptops that run for a similar cost, but they aren’t quite lightweight enough to qualify as ultrabooks. The Fit devices come in two sizes: the 14 and 15-inch screens; and three cool colours: pink, black and silver.
The VAIO’s product manager, Travis Furst, has been quote by The Verge saying “we’re really focusing on the power of Sony.” Sony’s various divisions seem to be working together to support the Fit line of devices; the Fit’s display is it’s most significant specification, which is in line with Sony’s expertise in televisions and screens. Additionally, the Fit products boast top-notch imaging and audio capabilities, including an improved webcam.
The Republic of Georgia gave the Russian hacker who had been persistently attacking their government databases a taste of his own medicine.
The country’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) tricked the hacker into downloading a file infected with his own spyware. This allowed CERT to actually capture the man’s image using his own webcam and search through his hard drive.
Georgia’s CERT members first discovered the alleged hacker’s activity in early 2011. He had been planting harmful software on computers to collect confidential data.
“After investigating the attackers servers and malicious files, we have linked this cyber-attack to Russian official security agencies,” Georgian CERT reported.
The report claims the attacks were highly targeted and aimed at a variety of organizations from Georgia government agencies to news sites, as well as targeted at several other countries. Infected pages spread malicious software to the computers of anyone who visited them. The malware would then take control of the computer, seek out documents containing sensitive words, and capture video and audio from any built-in camera or microphone in the computers.
The hacker in questions had connections to the Russian Business Network, an infamous perpetrator of malicious online activity.
The Raspberry Pi is a revolutionary product in the media world, its simply a computer the size of a credit card. While it is very sophisticated and high technology, it is only being sold for an affordable price of $35. You simply plug this card into a television and a keyboard and you will be able to utilize the television as if it were a computer.
The possibilities are endless, you can do work, spreadsheets, word-processing, watching a video and even able to play games, the possibilities are simply endless.
Even though they experienced many delays and problems with manufacturing the product, the pre-orders were sold out within 24 hours.
Since the price is so affordable it will soon become a learning tool in all schools and teaching facilities, which was the company’s main intention.
The two companies that will be selling it will be Element 14 and RS components. both companies will be selling the Raspberry Pi online.
The Raspberry Pi is a charitable company in which you cannot purchase stock from. If one wanted to show the support, all they ask is you simply purchase one.
There is a 700 MHz processor that can be overclocked up to 1 GHz by using the turbo mode that will not affect your warranty.
The older models had 256 mb of ram but the newer ones have been upgraded to 512 mb of ram.
The Raspberry Pi does not come with an internal hard drive but can use a SD card for booting and long term storage.
In the near future, you may be able to control your home electronics and kitchen appliances by simply waving your hand. Researchers have developed a new way for technology to track and identify certain movements; meaning gesture-based controls may become a household capability for a number of appliances. The American research team at the Univeristy of Washington claims a new system called WiSee has the ability to detect specific gestures and movements using Wi-Fi signals.
The researchers are calling WiSee a “simpler, cheaper” substitute for other gesture-based sensor, such as Microsoft’s Kinect, which uses a camera to detect movements. WiSee, on the other hand, registers human movements based on their effect on Wi-Fi signals. The technology detects changes that occur in electromagnetic waves when a gesture is performed, and can measure the scope and direction based on how the signal reflects off the person who performed the gesture.
Experts are already raising the question of accuracy, wondering whether the WiSee system would be able to pick up nuances of specific movements well enough that it could be integrated into products we use on a daily basis. There certainly is a distinction between the Kinect’s function as a gaming device, and the WiSee’s potential as a way to control appliances and items used in the home beyond entertainment.
In order to prevent the device was being accidentally triggered by gestures in its vicinity, the user will be required to activate it with a repetitive gesture-based password. The equipment can operate with as many as five people standing near the router, but the more people in its vicinity, the less effective its accuracy becomes. Currently, the system reportedly has an accuracy of 94%.
The team’s findings have been published by the University of Washington but the paper is still considered to be a “working draft.”
The Pirate Bay has created a new browser to help Internet users surpass the censorship put in place by certain strict governments. The PirateBrowser combines FireFox and Tor client with addons to provide anti-censorship web browsing for anyone around the world. The site says it is targeted towards Internet users in Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and more where web restrictions are in enforced by the government.
Developed to ensure that anyone can access the Pirate Bay, the launch of the Pirate Browser on Saturday marked the 10-year anniversary of Pirate Bay. And the browser quickly became more popular than anyone on the Pirate Bay team could have predicted.
With 100,000 users and counting, it seems that Pirate Bay’s new browser is quickly making an impact and doing its job in thwarting censorship. One of Pirate Bay’s team members, Winston Brahma, expressed surprise at the browser’s instant popularity: “I didn’t think it would catch on so fast.”
However, it’s important to note that even though the browser runs on the Tor network, it cannot offer anonymity to its users. Its only function is to allow users to surpass Internet censorship and it isn’t really intended to replace your normal browser, unless you’re in a country where certain sites that you’d like to reach are blocked. As Brahma pointed out, “PirateBrowser is only supposed to circumvent censoring and website blocking. If we made the browser fully anonymous it would only slow down browsing.”
TorrentFreak reported that the browser peaked at more than 1,000 downloads per hour, forcing the Pirate Bay team to upgrade the download link to a better connection. The site also reported that the official torrent file for Pirate Browser has now been shared by over 5,000 individual users.
New studies have emerged suggesting a new and valuable use for noise-cancelling technology that doesn’t involve muffling sounds. Research published by Nature Photonics says that noise-cancelling tech can also be used to significantly improve the speed, quality and consistency of Internet connections. If applied to fiber optic cables, the technology we currently use in expensive noise-cancelling headphones could be used to provide better Internet to consumers. The technology would remove background noise from the cables to drastically increase the quality and clarity of the connection.
The potential benefits of this discovery are incredible. The research team at Bell Laboratories, who authored the study, believes that the technology can be used to improve Internet signal by up to a whopping 400%. International high-speed signals can be made faster and more reliable using this technology, which means Internet speeds across continents will be greatly improved.
So how does it work? In basic terms, light transmissions are used to cancel out the noise that would normally accompany the Internet signal as it travels through fiber optic networks; this noise reduction can contribute to faster signal transfers across long-distance networks.
The best part is that the changes necessary to make use of this technology will not require much cost, since it doesn’t require changes to the overall Internet infrastructure.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any estimates on how early sound-cancelling technology can feasibly be worked into the fiber optic systems that bring Internet to consumers. Seeing as this problem has been on the radar for many researchers and engineers in recent years, hopefully their efforts will now be put into implementing the technology now that we finally have a solution.