The NewsDemon Blog
February 8th, 2010
Linus Torvalds is a programmer and has been known as an honest man. So when he finds something he likes he says so, without artifice, and that’s all it means. Torvalds is the person who created the ever popular open-source Linux kernel which forms the cornerstone of the Android operating system that runs the Google Nexus One alongside a host of operating systems, software and naturally, newsreaders.
Linus Torvalds, who had announced his creation of Linux on USENET newsgroups has proclaimed that the “Google Nexus One is a winner”. Unsurprisingly, the man who invented the most popular open source operating system in the world is a “happy camper” over the fact that this cellphone runs Linux. But Linux alone wasn’t enough to get Linus on board with the rest of the smartphone crazy 21rst century. His previous phones, in fact—the ones he mostly used to “play Galaga” on long flights—also had various versions of Linux, but lacked that certain spark.
After a week of using the new smartphone, Torvalds is now raving about the Google Android based Nexus One:
“I generally hate phones. They’re irritating and disturb you as you work or read or whatever – and a cell phone to me is just an opportunity to be irritated wherever you are,” Torvalds said in a blog post. “But I have to admit, the Nexus One is a winner.”
Torvalds has owned a number of phones before, including Google’s G1 device and ‘one of the early China-only Motorola Linux phones’, but it took for Google to add multi-touch capabilities to the Nexus One before he finally broke down and bought one from the company’s web store. The device can run open-source software created for the Android device including a couple of newsreaders.
Google’s Android operating system used in the Nexus One is built atop a Linux foundation, but the applications typically don’t run on the Linux. Instead, as Android and Google related newsgroups discuss, they run atop Linux on a Java-like layer, Google’s Dalvik virtual machine and accompanying software libraries. Through that technology, another open source foundation, Mozilla, is working on a version of Firefox browser for Android. Recently, newsgroups had discussed rumors that Google was struggling with Nexus One sales, so an unsolicited celebrity endorsement such as this couldn’t have come at a better time.
‘I no longer feel like I’m dragging a phone with me “just in case”’ Linus Torvalds says, ‘… now I’m having a useful (and admittedly pretty good-looking) gadget instead. The fact you can use it as a phone too is kind of secondary.’
Read more about Linus Torvalds, Linux and the Google Android operating system on the largest forum on the planet, USENET newsgroups. Recently, Linux celebrated its 18th Birthday
November 30th, 2009
First out of the veritable search engine gates this year, Bing has posted its top searches for 2009. Each year, the big three give us a reveal on what most of us have been looking for all year long.
Here are 2009 top search results from Bing:
1) Michael Jackson - No surprise that the death of the one glove entertainment goliath topped the list.
2) Twitter – The USENET inspired service gained a curious look by many this year – few REAL people joined.
3) Swine Flu – Achoo.
4) Stock Market – Achoo.
5) Farrah Fawcett – Charlie lost an angel this year.
6) Patrick Swayze – Although Ghost and Dirty Dancing brought him fame, he earned the online world respect early with Road House.
7) Cash for Clunkers – A government incentive program to encourage US citizens to purchase foreign cars.
8) Jon and Kate Gosselin – Talk of divorce clogged both the interwebs as well as many USENET newsgroups for the reality television couple with 100 kids.
9) Billy Mays – But wait, there’s one more:
10) Jaycee Dugard – Kidnapped as a child, Jaycee was discovered alive after 18 years from her disappearance, also with a child.
The search trends tend to coincide with the popularity of these topics on newsgroups. Each of these top 10 either have a dedicated newsgroup to the matter or at the very least – a newsgroup related to the topic.
According to Bing, other searches were prominent this year:
“Not surprisingly, we saw a lot of folks using Bing for quick access to favorite sites like Facebook, MSN, Youtube and Craigslist. We also saw a lot of more complex searches such as product related queries in which people used Bing to help decide what MP3 player to buy and travel searches to help find the best deals on a tropical vacation.”
Separate from “Top Trending Topics”, the most popular searches is a general category of search terms that gained the most interest. Top Trending Topics is another list compiled by Bing which mostly covers celebrities. This year, the top three were Megan Fox, Robert Pattinson and holding in at number one – Perez Hilton.
Google has its own trends section will allow users to see real time results on popular searches. Yahoo and Google both are expected to have their own 2009 top 10 searches coming out soon. The Bing results are only gathered from US results and do not include a UK edition. To find out more, many Microsoft and search engine newsgroups provide discussion groups on the matter.
Google and Yahoo have both released their top 10 results. In each, Michael Jackson takes hold of the charts in each. However, looking closely at the rest is where all the similarities apparently end:
- michael jackson
- new moon
- lady gaga
- windows 7
- torpedo gratis
1) Michael Jackson
2) The Twilight Saga
4) Megan Fox
5) Britney Spears
7) American Idol
8) Kim Kardashian
May 18th, 2009
After an initial service outage on Thursday, Google was dealt with another service outage this Monday morning which impacted users around the world. Beginning around 8:30AM, the primary Google service, Google News, had been inaccessible to many users, generating a “503 Server Error”.
The first outage on Thursday had already resulted in paniced users, including Usenet newsgroup users who also felt the affect as Google Groups was also down for the hour and a half it was reported being down. The net result was that not only did five percent of the traffic disappear, but it also jammed the rest of the web, as it slowed to a crawl. In a recent official company blog post, Google said that an error in one of its systems caused it to direct some of our web traffic through Asia, which created a traffic jam. It claimed that only 14 per cent of its users experienced slow services or even interruptions.
Traffic would have fallen even more if the outage had been wider, as it affected just 14 percent of Google’s users. Analysts said the outage demonstrated exactly how reliant the world has become on Google, which now handles nearly three out of four search queries in America each day. Google Groups, which many had considered a stable source of accessing Usenet, was also compromised.
The outage happened after Google accidentally routed online traffic through Asia, creating a massive backup. The slowdown peaked around mid-afternoon in Europe and morning in the US, affecting millions of users.
Usenet newsgroups lit up throughout the morning with comments and complaints about the outage and the company.
”An error in one of our systems caused us to direct some of our Web traffic through Asia,” Google said.
“We’ve been working hard to make our services ultrafast and always on, so it’s especially embarrassing when a glitch like this one happens.”
The disruption prevented users around the world from loading Google Group newsgroup pages, but the problems were in scattered areas. The outage was been reported by users from California to Massachusetts and as far away as Sydney, Australia, India, and the United Kingdom.
Although today’s outage is still being determined, only Google News has been reported to be affected this time around, versus the suite of applications and services affected at the end of last week.
April 27th, 2009
Two Android powered devices have recently been announced, growing the exposure and the adoption of the Google OS. The open source operating system is being displayed in new phones and netbooks. The Android OS currently supports Usenet newsgroups by means of the mobile version of Google Groups as well as a 3rd party newsreader application.
Samsung released its first handset based on Google’s Android platform, the I7500. O2 Germany will launch the phone in June. The candybar handset will have tri-band 7.2 Mbps HSDPA (in the 900 MHz, 1700 MHz and 2100 MHz bands), WiFi, a 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera and 8GB of internal storage (with a microSD slot capable of holding up to an additional 32GB). It also has Bluetooth 2.0, GPS and a 3.5 mm headset jack. The phone does not have a physical keyboard.
This model will have a tablet shape and an HVGA display. Users will need to depend on the touchscreen for text input and dialing numbers, as there is no hardware keyboard.
With the introduction of the I7500, there are now two handset makers currently selling Android phones. HTC has unveiled both the G1 and the Magic, and plans on releasing at least two more Android handsets by the end of the year. LG Electronics and Motorola have also indicated their intentions to release Android phones this year, as have smaller firms such as Acer and Huawei.
In the netbook market, Skytone announced the first Android-powered netbook earlier this week, when the Alpha 680 quietly appeared on the company’s website. The Alpha 680 is to be the first netbook to carry the Google Android platform from Guangzhou Skytone Transmission Technologies Company LTD. The Alpha 680 will run a low cost ARM chip and is expected to become available possibly within the next 3 months.
Roughly priced at $250, the Alpha 680 will run on Google’s Android operating system, and will make use of the economical and energy-efficient ARM processor – used in mobile phones, including iPhone – rather than the commonly-used Atom processor used in most netbooks.
The current prototypes measure 8.5 inches long, 6 inches wide and 1.2 inches thick, which is small enough to inside a small bag. The unit will also be very lightweight at just 700g (1.5lbs) and between 2 to 4 hours of battery life out of the Alpha 680’s 2-cell battery. ARM 11 533MHz processor,128MB RAM and 1GB of flash storage are standard on the device. An optional upgrade to 256MB RAM and 4GB flash storage is possible. For those that want more, a SDHC slot is also supported.
They were showcased at Hongkong’s electronics trade show last week and will likely be readied by June, with the final product to become available within a couple of months after that.
Currently, the only supported newsreader for the Android OS is the Groundhog Newsreader.
December 22nd, 2008
Google Earth is fantastic, but this might be its most amazing feat yet: A scientist stumbled across an unknown green patch that turned out to be an unexplored forest home to brand new undiscovered species.
Julian Bayliss was looking around Google Earth for a new conservation project when he came across patches of green in Mozambique that appeared to be previously unexplored. Sure enough, those green patches were “7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity” that had been left untouched by scientists thanks to minor blips like miserable terrain and constant civil war.
An expedition launched in the fall to Mount Mabu discovered three new species of butterflies, a new Gaboon viper than can kill a human in a single bite, along with all kinds of other wildlife, like 200 types of butterflies and tropical plants, all in a matter of weeks.
The expedition leader, Jonathan Timberlake, says that this could just be the beginning—Google Earth might help scientists find other undiscovered pockets of biodiversity in areas like Mozambique and Papua New Guinea that haven’t been fully explored. I’ve got my fingers crossed for hobbits and Big Foot
November 25th, 2008
The continuing transformation of YouTube’s “post-Hulu” era has now taken shape in a new widescreen format, increasing the layout to 960 pixels and 16:9 aspect ratio. After the news regarding YouTube’s move to carry feature-length films, the site-wide move is clearly designed not only to accommodate the incoming new official content, but to upgrade the capacity for higher quality user-generated content as well.
Videos which carry the traditional YouTube layout of 4:3 aspect ratio (which at this point is the majority of them,) will be contained in columns of black bars to preserve the integrity of the original ratio, similar to what one might see while watching a non-HD channel on an HDTV.
It’s no secret that Google has been paying close attention to the revenue figures between themselves and Hulu. They realize that Hulu, while having not as much traffic yet, is making serious money considering the short time it’s been in existence. The question (that has already been asked by many) remains: Exactly WHAT will the YouTube we all know and love transform into?
September 19th, 2008
Want to know what you might die of? The company, called 23andMe, uses DNA to predict health risks and provide ancestry information to consumers.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is just one of many that, with a bit of saliva, can help you Google your DNA. But 23andMe has drawn more attention than most because co-founder Anne Wojcicki is married to Sergey Brin, who helped launch Google. The search giant is one of 23andMe’s investors.
Google invested $3.9 million in 23andMe, which Wojcicki, a former healthcare industry analyst, and Avey, a biopharmaceutical industry veteran, started in 2006. Brin and Wojcicki met after her sister rented her garage to him and Larry Page as office space for their then-budding search engine.
In the name, 23 refers to the number of pairs of chromosomes in the human body. The company hopes that by encouraging people to learn about their genetic information, it can help propel understanding of the human genome, bring the promise of personalized medicine and accelerate the discovery of new drugs.
With the launch of the new blog by a founding member of google whose wife works with 23and me, it was revealed that Sergey Brin has a greater than average risk of Parkinson’s disease.
In a way, this method is a farewell to guessing what ailments you might suffer if you have the opportunity to grow old.
We’re waiting for the next science breakthrough that exacts the how, the hour and the location.
September 9th, 2008
Google has started an ambitious project to digitally archive millions of pages of old newspapers.
In 2006, Google started working with the New York Times and the Washington Post to index existing digital archives and make them searchable via Google’s search technology. The new effort expands that initiative, with the goal of reaching every story ever printed, “from the smallest local weekly paper up to the largest national daily,” according to a post on Google’s official blog.
“For more than 200 years, matters of local and national significance have been conveyed in newsprint–from revolutions and politics to fashion to local weather or high school football scores. Around the globe, we estimate that there are billions of news pages containing every story ever written. And it’s our goal to help readers find all of them,” wrote Punit Soni, a product manager at Google, on Google’s blog.
Google plans to archive the stories exactly as they appeared on the original paper, not just text versions. The stories would include original photographs, headlines and advertisements as well.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is partnering with ProQuest and Heritage, two online archiving companies, on the project.
“You’ll be able to explore this historical treasure trove by searching the Google News Archive or by using the timeline feature after searching Google News . Not every search will trigger this new content, but you can start by trying queries like [Nixon space shuttle] or [Titanic located],” Soni wrote on the blog. “Over time, as we scan more articles and our index grows, we’ll also start blending these archives into our main search results so that when you search Google.com, you’ll be searching the full text of these newspapers as well.”
September 2nd, 2008
Recently, Google sent out a comic book unveiling the Google Chrome browser to bloggers and the media. Google now also officially announced Chrome on their blog and says that the beta version of Google Chrome will be available for download today.
Google’s reason to launch a new web browser is their believe that they can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web.
Google is releasing a beta of Chrome for Windows today and is at work building versions for Mac and Linux.
July 28th, 2008
A group of former Google engineers Monday unveiled a new search engine they hope will challenge the Internet giant’s supremacy. Cuil, (pronounced “cool”), takes a different tack than previous threats to Google.
Instead of concentrating on links to Web pages, Cuil focuses on a Web page’s actual content. The venture-financed search engine also presents the data in a different manner – a horizontal layout that includes images rather than Google’s low-key plain text displayed vertical.
Privacy is another area the four founding engineers hope will differentiate Cuil. The search engine won’t hold onto search histories, unlike Google.
Cuil also boasts it searches 120 billion Web pages. In 2005, when Google stopped publicly divulging the size of its search database, the Internet giant said it had a database of 8.2 billion Web locations. Friday, after public prodding, Google said it searches 1 trillion Web links.
Cuil, who’s name originates from Celtic folklore, is the child of three former Google engineers: Anna Patterson, Russell Power and Louis Monier, along with Tom Costello, Patterson’s former-IBM search husband. In 2004, Google acquired Patterson’s last search engine.
Cuil’s inventors have a tough road to hoe to compete with Google. Searches for Usenet and Newsgroups are much different than Google results and seem to partial more to blog community sites rather than useful resources at the moment.
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