The NewsDemon Blog

25th In Internet Speed Makes United States USENET Slower

September 23rd, 2011

According to a post found on USENET Newsgroups, Pando Networks has released a study of internet speeds in different countries. South Korea came in first, while the United States finished 26th according to the study. The researchers looked at 27 million downloads by 20 million computers located around the world in 224 countries. The research was collected from January to June of this year.

The study showed that the average download speed among all countries is 580 KBps. The US came in with an average download speed of 616 KBps. In contrast, South Korea had an average download speed of 2,202 KBps, while Romania and Bulgaria finished second and third with 1,909 KBps and 1,611 KBps, respectively.

The Congo finished last in the study with average download speeds of 13 KBps, followed by the Central African Republic at 14 KBps.

Some blame a lack of competition thanks to tossing out of “competitive broadband safeguards such as open-access requirements, which opened lines to other providers,” according to aFree Press Campaign Director Tim Karr in an article on Karr argues that this “went against the long-held assumption that open communications in competitive markets were essential to economic growth and innovation.” Meanwhile, competition in Europe and Asia has led to better service, availability and speed.

Usenet is an open communications forum in which people around the world may share ideas and communicate across cultures. In the United States, download speeds on Usenet are only limited by the connection speed of the internet service provider (ISP).


Where Did The Google Bing Facebook Twitter And Other Strange Names Come From?

June 27th, 2011

There are a lot of websites and online services on the web today. And although you may frequent them daily, do you really know what they are about? Newsgroups researched a few to find out where the names originated from some of the most popular online destinations.

The meaning of Yahoo!?

From search engine newsgroups, we learn:

“The Web site started out as “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web” but eventually received a new moniker with the help of a dictionary. The name Yahoo! is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” but Filo and Yang insist they selected the name because they liked the general definition of a yahoo: “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” Yahoo! itself first resided on Yang’s student workstation, “Akebono,” while the software was lodged on Filo’s computer, “Konishiki” – both named after legendary sumo wrestlers.”

How did Microsoft come up with Bing?

Combing through Microsoft newsgroups we learn:

No, it doesn’t stand for “big investment, no goals” although it may seem like to some. Nor does it mean “but its not google”. No, the real story is that Steve Balmer was looking to “verb up” a phrase for users when searching. Much like the popularity “Google It” has become, Steve hoped that “Bing” would unambiguously said search.

Why choose the name Twitter for a social network?

Popular newsgroups reveal:

The service’s name morphed from “Status/” to “twittr” to Twitter. From the creators, they stated “Twittering is the sound birds make when they communicate with each other—an apt description of the conversations here. As it turns out, because Twitter provides people with real-time public information, it also helps groups of people mimic the effortless way a flock of birds move in unison.”

Where did Mark Zuckerberg come up with the Facebook name?

USENET reveals:

The name of the service stems from the colloquial name for the book given to students at the start of the academic year by Harvard university administrators to help students get to know each other better.

What does USENET mean?

Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea of USENET in 1979 and it was established in 1980. The name came from the love of UNIX and something that best described its function – The USERS NETWORK.

What does Cisco stand for?

Nothing actually.

The name “Cisco” was derived from the city name, San Francisco, which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in the early days.

What does the Google name mean?

Page and Brin began developing a search engine called “BackRub” as grad students at Stanford in 1996. Google derived its name from the word “googol”, a term coined by then nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner. The story goes, Kasner had asked his nephew to invent a name for a very large number – ten to the power of one hundred (the numeral one followed by 100 zeros), and Milton called it a googol. The term was later made popular and in Kasner’s book, Mathematics and the Imagination. After focused brainstorming, they come up with the name “Google”—a derivative of the mathematical term.

How did Steve Jobs come up with Apple

Steve Jobs worked summer jobs at a California apple farm. He also liked the Beatles and their label, Apple Records. When he and Steve Wozniak tried to come up with a company name, they decided that if they couldn’t think of anything better by the end of the day, they’d go with the name “Apple”. And they couldn’t, so they did.

As far as the logo, the Apple newsgroup post the following from the original designer:

“I designed it with a bite for scale, so people get that it was an apple not a cherry. Also it was kind of iconic about taking a bite out of an apple. Something that everyone can experience … It was after I designed it, that my creative director told me: “Well you know, there is a computer term called byte”. And I was like: “You’re kidding!” So, it was like perfect, but it was coincidental that it was also a computer term.”

How did Intel get their name?

When pioneers Moore and Noyce left Fairfield Semiconductors to start their company they were going to call it Moore Noyce but it sounded like More Noise… very unfortunate for a semi-conductor/electronics company. They decided on INT(egrated) EL(ectronics) after trading under NMElectronics for a while but had to buy some rights for Intel as there was a similar sounding hotel chain called INTELCO.


NewsDemon Reaches 1000 Days Binary Retention

May 12th, 2011 Newsgroups is proud to announce another milestone in binary retention which now supports over 1000 days of retention across all supported binary newsgroups.

Recent upgrades to Newsgroup servers located in both the US and EU locations now spool over a full 1000 days of binary retention and well over three years of text retention with a full 99.9% completion rate.

USENET Newsgroup retention reflects the length of time that a binary and/or text article is accessible to subscribers. The new increase in retention means that Newsgroup subscribers may access binary newsgroup articles that were posted over 1000 days ago! Find out more about USENET newsgroup retention increase here.

It doesn’t stop here! Newsgroups expects the retention rate to only increase over time, allowing members even more articles available in all binary and text newsgroups.

With blazing fast access with up to 50 simultaneous connections and a combination of affordable subscription or block plans to choose from, Newsgroups 1000 day binary retention increase joins our efforts to consistently provide members with industry leading premium USENET access.


ESRB Changes Ratings For Download Games

April 18th, 2011

Reported on gaming newsgroups, the ESRB won’t look at downloadable games until after release, following a change in its the rating procedure.

Gaming newsgroups report that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) which is responsible for rating all of the games released and judging which age group is appropriate for the content of each game has been flooded by the availability of new downloadable games available each week. The system, up to now, has relied on ESRB employees personally rating each game before release. The flood of downloadable video games being created every week has become too much for the ESRB and in an attempt to streamline the ratings process a computer program will now be used to decide a game’s rating.

Previously, every game was vetted by a independent panel, and a report would then be written detailing exactly why a game received a rating. Now, publishers will be given much more power, as they will have to fill out a digital questionnaire which will then be used to determine the rating the game receives.

The computer then analyzes the readings and awards the game a rating based on the answers that were given. At the moment, only games on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network will be scrutinized by the computer. The system is designed to have no human beings to help out with the rating process.

For now, mobile, Facebook and all other types of games will continue to undergo the traditional rating process, which involves completion of a more open-ended questionnaire and review of a content DVD by a minimum of three raters who reach consensus on the appropriate rating.


Virgin Media Imposes Bandwidth Cap

March 17th, 2011

UK ISP Virgin Media has been trialling a new traffic management system that throttles upstream speeds on P2P networks and USENET newsgroups, upsetting a number of users in the process.

The ISP has long restricted download P2P traffic during peak hours to ensure a more consistent service for all customers, but the change to its terms marks a harder line approach and has already angered some customers – particularly USENET newsgroup subscribers.

Virgin said in a post that the new traffic management policy would be trialled for a period of one week starting March 2nd between 17:00 PM and 00:00 AM (12:00 and 00:00 at weekends).

“Between these times, P2P and newsgroup upstream traffic will be managed in a similar way to our current downstream traffic management. If the trial is successful we’ll launch the new policy immediately,” the company explained.

Virgin Media also invited users to give their feedback about the trials and let the company know if their online USENET experience was being affected.

It was clear that after a while newsgroup subscribers in particular were not at all happy about the trials and expressed their displeasure on the company’s user forums.

The clamp down will apply on top of the existing traffic shaping Virgin Media has in place and will affect all packages, including the previously unmanaged 100mb deal. Newsgroups $7.00 Holiday Special

December 24th, 2010

In lieu of the holidays, Newsgroups is having one last sale for the season for all subscription based accounts.

Choose any subscription plan from Newsgroups for only $7.00 for the lifetime of the account. Newsgroups is having this limited time offer holiday sale to celebrate the season and give thanks to all of our loyal fans and members. The one day sale takes all of our monthly subscription packages down to one low price of only $7.00 a month for the lifetime of the account. This offer will only be available through December 25th 2010.

All subscription plans include all of the features and benefits that Newsgroup offers.

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Additional to the current promotion, you’ll also receive an additional 14 days of free access. Simply join at any time during this limited time promotion, and have your first recurring billing date 45 days after you sign up, giving you a total of 14 days of blazing USENET access absolutely free.

The $7.00 offer on any of our subscription plans range from 15GB to our UNLIMITED access monthly packages. Any monthly subscription packages will automatically rebill at $7.00 a month for as long as you remain a member.

Save up to $13.00 a month with this special one day offer! This December 25th one-day holiday special will go quickly, so act fast and join the Newsgroups family now for only $7.00 a month for any subscription package.

From all of us at Newsgroups, we wish you a joyous, fun and safe holiday season and a happy new year!


Americans Now Online More Than TV Watching

December 16th, 2010

Americans Online Newsgroups Usenet
Americans are now spending as many hours online as they do in front of their TV screens, according to a survey released by Forrester on Monday.

The average American now spends roughly 13 hours per week using the Internet and watching TV offline, Forrester finds, based on its survey of more than 30,000 customers. The Internet has long captivated the attention of younger Americans to a greater extent than TV and is now proving more popular to Gen X (ages 31 to 44) for the first time ever. Younger Baby Boomers (ages 45 to 54) are spending the same amount of time per week using both media.

While the amount of time Americans spend watching TV has remained roughly the same in the past five years, Internet use has increased by 121% in the same time frame.

So what are Americans doing online? Shopping, mostly. In a similar survey issued in 2007, a little more than one-third of online respondents said they were shopping online; now, 60% claim to do so. A little more than one-third also access social networking sites, such as newsgroups regularly, two-thirds of Generation Yers report that they update a social networking profile at least once per month.

Blogging, listening to streaming audio and IMing prove far less popular, engaging one-third or less of the U.S. online population respectively.

In addition, Forrester expects that 2 million new households will be connected to the Internet by the end of the year compared to the end of 2009, and that 82% of households will have Internet by 2015. Broadband will have reached 5.5 million new households by the end of this year, meaning that more than 90% of connected households will have access to high speed Internet by the end of 2010.

The effect and growth of subscribers to Usenet newsgroups are expected to follow an increasing trend. Newsgroups Extended Black Friday Deal Ends Tonight!

November 30th, 2010

Due to the amazing success and requests of this offer, we’ve extended our Black Friday sale well beyond the weekend and is now coming to a close.

This is your last chance to get in on an amazing deal on premium USENET newsgroup access from Newsgroups.

We’re currently offering the Black Friday 40% OFF all subscription packages until December 1st at midnight. After tonight, our deals on all of our monthly subscriptions, including our Unlimited and Unlimited plus plans will no longer be available!

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All of our special prices entitles our new members with all of the fantastic features and services provided by Newsgroups including:

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The 40% Off sale ends tonight, so don’t miss out.


What Does Google Say About You?

November 17th, 2010

There’s no two ways about it: if you use a lot of Google services, then Google knows a lot about you. Google has received a solid amount of criticism because of this, and they’ve alleviated the issue by launching Privacy Dashboard; a one-stop-shop with all the information that Google knows about you and your online habits collected in one place. Something many might have not known about since Google doesn’t really advertise this at all to make easy to find.

To view the information Google’s servers store about you (or at least the amount the company is willing to fess up to storing), sign in to your Google account and scroll through the Google Dashboard. On a single page you’ll find settings for and information about your Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Voice, YouTube, and other Google accounts, including an extensive search history.

The dashboard is a great way to review and update your Google profile, Checkout purchase information, Google Sync settings, Picasa Web albums, and contacts. You can also revoke access to any service you’ve allowed to connect directly to your Google account by clicking the “Websites authorized to access the account” link under Accounts. This opens a window listing all such services along with a link to remove each one, if you wish.

It contains fascinating details like how many contacts you have, stored credit card numbers, recent status messages, most commonly e-mailed individuals, most recent piece of spam received, most recent alerts, newest e-mails, number of conversations logged, number of docs trashed, number of gadgets installed and more. Interestingly, any account activity using their the newsgroup feed, does not seem to be logged yet.

It will also indicate most recent Web search, image search, news search, product search, video search, map search, blog and book search with the corresponding date and time. It also indicates how quickly information becomes irrelevant.

The complete list of Google services that are participating in “Google Dashboard” include:

  • Google Account
  • Alerts
  • Blogger
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Docs
  • Finance
  • Gmail
  • Health
  • iGoogle
  • Latitude
  • Orkut
  • Picasa Web Albums
  • Product Search
  • Profile
  • Reader
  • Talk
  • Tasks
  • Voice
  • Web History
  • YouTube

In some ways, it’s freaky how much honest info people unwittingly hand over to Google, but the company insists that it’s all under user control, and can be removed at any time. Google is considering sending out dentist-like reminders to remind users to check their Dashboard settings every six months (an alert that users would be able to control, of course), but the company is always open to suggestions. A step up from where Google is now would be to put the relevant settings on the Dashboard itself, but we think things are off to a decent start. Newsgroups, in contrast, never keeps any logs or information on members. Completely anonymous, members usage of their USENET newsgroup accounts are completely private and secure.


Kill All Open Applications Windows PC Tutorial

October 21st, 2010

Ever have a whole bunch of programs open on your Windows PC and wish you could just kill the process of all of them? Although there are some freeware programs out to help you do that, here’s a homebrew way provided by helpful advice from the USENET community on how to do it yourself.

What we’ll do is use the taskkill command with a bunch of custom arguments that specify to kill everything other than Explorer—but you can really customize it to anything you’d like, and keep in mind you should really read this carefully before proceeding.

The first thing you’ll want to do is open up a command prompt by going to your start menu, click run and type “cmd”. Once it ups, then type:

taskkill /?

and press enter. You can see the syntax with loads of options!

We’ll be using a couple of operators to accomplish what we want, including these two:

  • /F – force closes the applications (this is optional, keep in mind force closing will lose unsaved data)
  • /FI – uses a filter, which is where the magic is

Now it’s time to put them together. For example, if you wanted to kill every app by your username, you’d use taskkill like this to check where your username is “eq” (equal) to geek.

taskkill /F /FI “USERNAME eq geek”

The only problem with this is that it would also kill explorer.exe and dwm.exe, so your whole screen would flash and the Start Menu would completely disappear—probably not what you want.

Thankfully we can chain together multiple instances of the /FI argument to fix this problem, and we’ll use the IMAGENAME, which is the name of the executable, and the “ne” for “Not Equal” to the ones we don’t want to kill.

taskkill /F /FI “USERNAME eq geek” /FI “IMAGENAME ne explorer.exe” /FI “IMAGENAME ne dwm.exe”

You can customize this even further if you’d like, adding extra processes that you don’t want to close into the list. It’s really up to you—just keep in mind that if you accidentally kill Explorer.exe you can always use Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager, and restart the process from the File –> Run menu.

Note: if you don’t want to force kill the applications, you should remove the /F argument.

Once you’ve got the command figured out, it’s easy enough to create the shortcut—just right-click anywhere and choose New Shortcut. Once you’re there, drop the full command into the location box.

Give it an icon and put the shortcut somewhere, and you’re all done. Now you can kill everything in one shortcut, with no added software!

You can do this with certain applications only too. Want to have a shortcut to force kill a application and then start it again easily?

Create a new Text Document (.txt file) and change the extension to .bat
Open it in Notepad and paste:

taskkill /im firefox.exe /f
start “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe”

That would be an example with Firefox, but you can change it to what ever program you like as long as you have the path to the program correctly.

Note: Use of this shortcut should be done at your own risk, and if your computer explodes don’t blame us. We warned you.