Category Archives: News

Current events and developments happening with the Internet.

Burn After Reading: Private Messages Made Simple

Email and texting are great modern conveniences, but they were never intended to be secret. Nowadays, with hackers dumping stolen messages on the Web and the government recording everything, these methods are decidedly risky for sending any information that must remain truly confidential. In fact, email was designed to be like an electronic equivalent of a postcard that can be read anywhere along the way by anyone who comes across it. Encryption with software, despite many forms being compromised by the NSA and others, is still held up by Edward Snowden and many security experts as the best means of securing private communications. But to do it right is hard, requiring preparation and a kind of discipline. If there were only some simple way of harnessing current available technology to permit an easy exchange of private information between individuals… And indeed there is. Southwest Cyberport presents Burn After Reading, free for anyone’s use. Burn After Reading is a secure private message dead-drop. It cleverly uses the same Internet technology already built into everyone’s Web browsers that enables safe purchasing online to allow private communications between two parties. All you need do is visit the Burn After Reading page and write your message into the field. You can have it send a link to the message for you, or you can send the link the page generates yourself in your own email to the other party. Either way, once the person … Continue reading

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Mobilegeddon is Upon Us

“Mobilegeddon” is a funny way of referring to Google’s latest change of its search engine ranking algorithm. Of course, whenever the world’s most-used means of finding things tinkers with the way it works, people are concerned and easily spooked. You can see how the changes affect overall rankings here. But this particular tweak only affects smartphone users and the websites they look at – which these days, may be a whole lot of people but it’s still nothing like an Armageddon, except possibly to panicky overworked web-designers. Starting April 21, Google began ranking websites for smartphone users by how mobile user-friendly they are. But these rankings will only affect Google listings accessed by smartphones – traditional desktop, laptop, and also tablet user rankings will not be affected in any way. And it applies not just to entire websites, but page by page. This is Google’s way of encouraging website owners and developers to make their sites more easy to use on smartphones, where Web usage continues to explode. Tiny screens and different needs Surf on a cell-phone for a short time and the need for such modernization is soon obvious. Most websites that look great with huge pictures, small type, and plenty of fashionable white space on a nice large desktop or laptop screen look bad and are hard to navigate on a tiny handheld device. Scrolling and zooming all over the place can be very frustrating, and it’s hard … Continue reading

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Internet Is Still Not TV – But It’s Getting There

This Sunday’s showing of the much-awaited 5th season premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones grimdark fantasy drama was anxiously watched, and not just by avid fans. The wildly-popular series also provided an excellent real-life test case of just how good Internet streaming could be in the wake of the FCC’s historic decision to support Net Neutrality. The results were highly encouraging. The episode topped cable charts for the week, hauling in an estimated 7,997,000 viewers. Only pro wrestling came near. And despite rampant piracy, including the first four episodes of the new season leaking on the Internet, Game of Thrones broke its own audience record. The event was also a test case for HBO’s brand-new standalone streaming service, HBO Now, aimed only at Apple users, which survived without crashing. However, Dish TV’s Sling streaming service was not so lucky, with users citing delays signing in, not being able to get the show or even any other Sling channels on various platforms, including Roku and Xbox. Sling is Dish TV’s service for those unwilling to subscribe to cable, but this is not the first time it has had problems. March Madness basketball’s semi-final game also caused the service to falter. The basic reason is the hidden difference between TV and the Internet. As we’ve written before, TV and the Internet work by completely different and opposite models. TV, even cable and satellite, is a broadcast medium – content is sent out … Continue reading

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